Warriors Win! Now onto the draft, trades and free agency. Warriors probably don’t need to do a single thing, but I’m sure they’ll make a few moves depending on the offers. I suppose the best news (personnel-wise) for the Dubs going into next season is that even if Wiseman doesn’t play a minute in 22-23 they can afford to keep bringing him along until he’s 100%. Meanwhile …
Something is terribly wrong with the Suns who have no choice but to make at least one big change. Ayton isn’t likely to stay, but it’s still possible. Whether he does or not could setup a great many dominos to fall next, starting with the draft on June 23rd.
Jazz … really seems hopeless with the current roster. The good news is that Ainge and Wade are now big time decision makers in Utah. Something big will unquestionably happen, and possibly before the draft. In fact I think it would be stupid to not trade one of their core players (not named Clarkson) to at least try for a high draft pick or a nice young player. Unfortunately, I doubt even Jerami Grant will help much. Regardless, Utah absolutely needs to go into this next season with a different roster.
Christian Wood is now a Maverick. Big time move by Cuban. West is going to be stacked more than it already is, especially if Brunson decides to stay. Now onto signing Brunson, but does he even want to stay?
Apparently the Rockets want to build around Sengun in the middle.
Pels say they’re all in on Zion now. He’s apparently saying something similar, but that doesn’t mean no moves by the Pels this offseason. Looking forward to seeing what David Griffin will try to put together around the talented core of Zion, Ingram and McCollum. McCollum has proven to be a fantastic pickup, and the Pels pass the eye test for would-be 2023 contenders with their skillful and Zion-less challenge vs the Suns in the 2nd round. They need depth, so let’s see where this goes.
Sixers – did they mortgage their future or does Morey have more smooth-operator moves up his sleeve? Hard to see how, but they need more to contend with several teams rising in the East. Does not look good at all for Harden and Embiid in their primes. Is Tobias Harris even a trade possibility? Does anyone else want him badly enough to pay his salary?
Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland and Charlotte all appear to be off the blocks and running. The Bulls might be all set with their roster, assuming Lonzo is back and fully healthy. If not it’s very hard to see Coby White being the guy in that PG role. Do they make a move to give backup to Ball? Re. Cavs, is this the year Kevin Love moves on? Seems like it’s time to get more young and fresh blood in the lineup, and a lot of veteran teams could use Love … at a discount if possible. Wolves need one more piece and they may become the hardest offense to stop. Well … need to get by the Warriors in that dept first, and for that to happen D’Angelo Russell must go. However, as always seems to be the case at this time of year there’s no reason to expect the Wolves to make intelligent moves. It’s just so obvious though: Russell needs to go! Good reason to assume they won’t even consider it, and for me to place a bet down that they don’t. Charlotte showed signs of a young core coming together at the end of last season. They need some size, and they should be able to get that.
Is this the offseason when Beal finally puts his DC loyalty aside and signs elsewhere? Seems doubtful, hence this comment stuck down here instead of up top joining the FA headliners Ayton & Brunson.
Pacers would be all set if they didn’t lose their versatile Big Man. They could certainly use Ayton. Turner and Hield to the Suns? If Hield is a playmaker I’d expect the Suns to take a good long look at that possibility.
Lots and lots of other things coming up. Starting with OKC and their massive trove of picks and schemes. No way in hell to know what Presti will do. Might say the same about Houston, but they’ve already started the show with the Christian Woods move. We stay tuned to see what comes out of their magic hats. Portland? Something needs to happen, and it seems they’ve set themselves up for this offseason Lillard or no-Lillard. Raptors might be only one player away from jumping back into the fray. Lots of talent that can be moved at the right price. Could be interesting. Sacramento is now building around the Fox-Sabonis-Mitchell core. It’s a nice core, and maybe Fox just needs more heady wings to trust (so he doesn’t hog the ball so much). Still young enough. Time for Divac to do something smart. Knicks must make moves, but who frickin knows. What a mess.
Like the Warriors some teams really don’t need to do much. Bucks, Grizz, Clippers, Celtics and maybe the Heat? No clue what the Nuggets need if anything. Depends entirely on what is known about the health of Murray and MPJ.
Detroit and Orlando are in excellent position as young teams with no pressure to do anything but add excellent young pieces to their sound if not solid young cores. Jerami Grant may or may not move on. There’s really no hurry for that to happen but I’m sure there’s some pressure coming from somewhere to at least make Pistons consider what are sure to be excellent offers.
Nets? Well … really hinges on everything we don’t know about Simmons. Lakers – why bother even going there unless someone smart realizes that either LeBron or Davis must go. I just don’t want to think about it any more.
Personally I’m impressed with Orlando and would be surprised to see them make a single mistake this offseason. With the first pick in the draft …
66 thoughts on “
And the clock is ticking fast with the draft coming up next Thursday, June 23rd. Lot to unpack with your excellent intro above, but I’ll start here…
Rumors are that the Heat are pushing hard to get Donovan Mitchell and may be willing to give up Tyler Herro in the deal. Would Herro and the Heat’s 1st round pick (#27) enough or do the Heat have to throw more into the deal? If that deal gets done, how would it look that Wade joined the Jazz ownership group and then the best Jazz player gets traded to Wade’s old team? Mitchell reportedly wants to be a Knick, but I’m guessing he’ll be fine with going to a championship-ready team.
To me that’s a wash, but never underestimate Riley.
Ainge and Wade are probably (secretly) in discussions with Lillard by the way. Unless Lillard just shut it down, given that apparently he’s a Steph Curry & Bradley Beal kind of class act. What would Portland need in addition to Mitchell to be ok with the Lillard move?
Unless Portland wants to go all in on a rebuild, I’m not sure that Utah has the assets to get Lillard. However, assuming Portland wants to go the Houston/OKC route, the Jazz could send them Conley and Bogdanovich and, say, 3 1st round picks and maybe one or two pick swaps for Lillard. Gotta think Mitchell would be happy to have Lillard on board as that immediately makes them a championship contender.
I just don’t see how Ainge and Wade can think that the core of Gobert, Mitchell, Bog, Conley can win even if you add great pieces around them. Mitchell has proven to be a bad decision maker, especially down the stretch of games with pressure on. If you keep him, do you keep him as your closer/decision maker? I really doubt that makes sense to either one of those guys.
Clarkson can play a starting role. Not saying he should, but he can so Conley could be traded at the right price. But even with Mitchell and Clarkson as your backcourt you still need a primary decision maker & ball mover and playmaker on the wing. Unfortunately (for many teams) Haliburton is no longer available and probably not LeBron either;-)
Utah always has the additional problem that some players don’t want to be there, which is basically a very white, middle of nowhere area. Seems to me they may better off trading Mitchell and maybe Gobert for young players and draft picks.
Maybe this discussion should be about the risks Ainge and Wade et al are willing to take. If players don’t want to be there then maybe they need to manufacture a way for them to want to be there. Need to spend top $$ on at least one big 3 year contract, right?
Some thoughts on the Warriors…
Steph, Klay, Draymond, Wiggs, Wiseman, Kuminga, Moody, and Poole are all under contract for next year with Wise and Poole on team options that Warriors would obviously invoke. Just those players alone on current salaries puts the Dubs at a team payroll of $171 million, $50 or so million above the cap. Any player I didn’t mention is a free agent.
Let’s start with Poole. Although there is a $3.9 million team option, he has earned a huge raise and is eligible to sign a new contract this offseason. If the Warriors simply exercised the team option and waited another year to negotiate with Poole, they run the risk of pissing him off. So it is likely that the Dubs work out a contract that gives Poole more than $20 million. Which, of course, pushes their payroll up into the $190 million area.
Then there’s Wiggins. He’s entering the last year of his current contract ($33.6 mil) and is also eligible to sign a new deal. Do the Dubs extend his contract or run the risk of losing him to free agency next summer? I think it is likely that the Dubs extend him, but his contract amount for the coming season would likely remain about the same.
Looney is a free agent and the Warriors need him as the sole big man who is comfortable in the offense. Even if Wiseman is healthy, we don’t know yet how well he will fit in. Looney made $5.1 mil this year and is worth more. I’m gonna guess here that the Dubs re-sign Looney for something like a 2-yr deal worth a total of $20-25 million, so about $10-12 mil a year. That pushes the Dubs’ team payroll up another $10 million or so.
Gary Payton II was playing on a minimum salary contract this year and proved he’s worth it. I know the Warriors will want him back, but are they willing to offer as much as other teams might be willing to pay him now? If Payton is willing to come back on a $5 mil or so salary, I think the Warriors will gladly do it. If some other team offers GPII a $10 million salary, I’m not sure the Dubs would match it because it would effectively cost them twice that with the luxury tax.
I’m assuming Iggy retires and joins the Dubs’ front office. Bjelica had some nice moments this year, but the Warriors may not re-sign him unless he agrees to the vet minimum again. On the other hand, the Warriors may want to bring Porter back at something a little above the vet minimum he played for this year. However, like GPII, some other team may be willing to give Porter a salary in the $10 mil area and, if so, I don’t think the Dubs match it. Finally, there are Damion Lee and JTA. Both made minimum salaries and won’t command more than that and both likely want to remain Warriors because of their connections here. The Dubs will probably wait to see what else is out there or who they get in the draft before they think about re-signing them.
Dubs have the #28 pick in the draft. Assuming they make the pick and don’t trade it, whoever they pick will add another $3 million to the payroll. Dubs’ payroll is likely to be about $200 million next season and luxury taxes will nearly double what they have to pay. Fortunately, Joe Lacob will pay that in hopes of bringing home another championship.
It is already being reported that the Kings and Hornets are interested in Looney, which makes some kind of sense as Warriors assistant Mike Brown is the new head coach in Sacramento and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson was almost the new head coach in Charlotte (more on that in a second). Gotta figure that Mike Brown wants to run a Warrior-style offense and defense with the Kings, so importing Looney would a big benefit. The Kings probably have enough cap room (about $14 million) to afford Looney and outbid the Dubs. Bigger question is whether Looney is willing to take a bigger paycheck elsewhere or stick with the Dubs at likely a smaller salary. He has shown great loyalty to the Warriors thus far, but three championships in, maybe the money is a bigger draw now.
As for Atkinson, it was announced last week that he would be the new head coach of the Hornets. However, apparently the contract was never signed and Atkinson has had 2nd thoughts and decided to stay with the Warriors, where he would now be Kerr’s top assistant, taking over for Brown. Maybe Atkinson isn’t quite as enamored of the Ball/Bridges core and how much money is wrapped up in Hayward and Rozier over the next two and four years respectively. Charlotte does have the 13th and 15th picks however, so they could look for some team to take Hayward’s contract off their hands and see what they could by drafting well.
Some details have come out on why Kenny Atkinson did not sign a contract with the Hornets after word leaked that he would be their new head coach. The Hornets have one of the lowest paid coaching staffs in the league and apparently wanted to retain most of James Borrego’s coaching staff from last year. So Atkinson wasn’t going to be allowed to pick his own staff and wasn’t going to be able to pay his assistants what he wanted to pay them. If this is how Charlotte is operating, they will not be a championship team in the near future because they won’t attract top coaches or retain top assistants.
Reportedly, Charlotte has interviewed Mike D’Antoni for the head coaching job now. I’d have to think he would have similar issues concerning assistants.
One player that probably should be mentioned is Cam Johnson whose upside appears to have skyrocketed. His team imploded but he didn’t (nor did Bridges). I don’t think the Suns have any plans to move him, but who knows what kind of offers they’ll get? They screwed up the Haliburton-less pick, and even though they haven’t admitted it that was such a huge mistake that it must be stinging Jones if not Sarver. Cam Johnson could go to any team in the league right now and be considered for either a starting role or as a 6th man. The Suns will only be interested in an excellent young playmaker/shooter/defender to fill that slot. Emphasize the playmaker/defender part of that. Gotta think that between Houston and OKC and some of these teams in the lottery that there would be tremendous interest in CamJ.
RJ Barrett would fit right in. That is not a straight up trade though. I’d love to see something like Miles Turner, Hield and Barrett on the Suns next year as an upgrade to Ayton and CamJ. If that’s not an upgrade then other pieces can be thrown in, but they need that kind of playmaker in Barrett.
Just now seeing the Pacers have the 6th pick in the draft. Didn’t know! In that case I think they must be front runners in Ayton acquisition talks with Turner and Hield in a sign and trade possibility. That’s because their 6th pick can be used to make up for what they lose in Turner.
I’ll need to think more about the Pacers and move them to the top of my Post. Whoever shows interest in Ayton before the draft (if any want to go public with it) … that team or teams could very well determine this offseason.
Even if the Suns sign Ayton to a max contract and then trade him, Turner ($18 mil/yr) & Hield ($22.8 mil/yr) likely make too much money to make a trade work unless the Suns throw in several more contracts or one larger contract like Saric. Also, do the Suns really want Hield? He plays the same position as Booker.
Also I figure that the Pacers would be happy to trade Malcolm Brogdon since he makes too much money to be Haliburton’s back-up. How does Ayton and Saric for Turner and Brogdon sound to you?
By the way, I hadn’t noticed, but Jalen Smith actually had a decent season for the Pacers this year. 13.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg.
If it’s Brogdon and Turner for Ayton the Suns are much better. More defensive size at the wing and off the bench than Cam Payne and Shamet. Suns need playmaking, and I have seen Hield (not Heald) make plays or at least facilitate similar to Herro who creates a lot of space and open lanes. Suns need more of that and they need to be more flexible a la Warriors. Problem is that they don’t have a Dray. Maybe they should trade Ayton straight up for Dray?
But I can see the Suns being more focused on Hield regardless of the salary because of the playmaking with or without Booker or Paul in the lineup.
Hield’s ball distribution got much better with Indiana than it had been in Sacto. Perhaps that is a coaching thing, the benefit of getting some coaching from Rick Carlisle. Still, I like Brogdon as a better fit for Phoenix because he is a better defender and provides back-up and eventual successor for Chris Paul.
Pretty sure I know the answer to this one because I saw it in his first 2 games w Pacers (youtube highlights )
Both an opportunity thing and a “fit” thing. I don’t think he got better. He just wasn’t in position to distribute in Sac. From what I’ve seen of Fox he’s still trying to play Hero Ball like Harden does rather than go the way of the league where the idea is constant ball movement. And when Fox wasn’t hogging it Haliburton was playmaking.
Maybe Fox is just hard to get a long with. Maybe the coach doesn’t have control of Fox who just does what he wants. Something’s wrong there, because it’s clear to me that Hield has excellent control of the ball and his body and has good albeit unproven distribution skills. He seems like much more than just a scorer and shooter to me.
If D’Aaron Fox is playing too much hero-ball, then the Kings may a huge mistake trading Haliburton instead of Fox.
Since the draft is just two days away, figured we needed something showing the draft order:
2. Oklahoma City
8. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
9. San Antonio
11. New York
12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers)
15. Charlotte (from New Orleans)
17. Houston (from Brooklyn)
20. San Antonio (from Toronto)
22. Memphis (from Utah)
25. San Antonio (from Boston)
28. Golden State
30. Oklahoma City (from Phoenix)
31. Indiana (from Houston via Cleveland)
33. Toronto (from Detroit via San Antonio, Washington and Chicago)
34. Oklahoma City
35. Orlando (from Indiana via Milwaukee)
38. San Antonio (from Los Angeles Lakers via Chicago and Washington)
39. Cleveland (from San Antonio via Utah)
40. Minnesota (from Washington via Cleveland)
41. New Orleans
42. New York
43. LA Clippers
46. Detroit (from Brooklyn)
47. Memphis (from Cleveland via New Orleans and Atlanta)
49. Sacramento (from Chicago via Memphis and Detroit)
50. Minnesota (from Denver via Philadelphia)
51. Golden State (from Toronto via Philadelphia)
52. New Orleans (from Utah)
— Milwaukee (forfeited)
— Miami (from Philadelphia via Denver; forfeited by Miami)
54. Washington (from Dallas)
55. Golden State
56. Cleveland (from Miami via Indiana)
57. Portland (from Memphis via Utah)
58. Indiana (from Phoenix)
Looks like the Suns have no picks. Wonder if they will pull a Warrior move and essentially buy a 2nd round pick from some team.
The consensus top 3 in the draft seem to be:
1. Jabari Smith, PF, Auburn, 6’10”, 220 lbs
2. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga, 7’0″, 195 lbs
3. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke, 6’10”, 250 lbs
Most mocks have them going in that order, respectively, to Orlando, OKC, and Houston. However, there are some who feel that Holmgren’s body won’t hold up at that weight in the NBA. Obviously, he needs to do work to beef up. He kind of looks like Shawn Bradley at that height and weight. Smith is the best shooter and both he and Banchero can defend the wing.
Warriors have the #28 pick, along with two 2nd round picks at #51 and #55. No telling who will be available at any of those picks. I suspect the Dubs will look to draft a wing and a big man. With the other pick, maybe they will pull a Spurs move and draft a foreign player that they can keep stashed overseas and not have to pay yet, like they did 2 years ago with Justinian Jessup (wonder if they are thinking of bringing him to camp this year).
Pretty much right after I posted the above, I read that the Warriors are “aggressively” shopping the #28 pick in the draft. Not that surprising. Given their payroll and having Wiseman, Kuminga, and Moody all likely to have bigger roles next season, any new 1st round pick won’t see much action and the Dubs would like to avoid having to pay 1st round pick money that gets doubled because of taxes. Guessing they are seeking a future 1st round pick for this year’s pick.
Here’s a list of the top unrestricted free agents available in no particular order:
1. Zach Lavine
2. Ricky Rubio
3. Joe Ingles
4. Jusuf Nurkic
5. TJ Warren
6. Serge Ibaka
7. PJ Tucker
8. Kevon Looney
9. Blake Griffin
10. Dwight Howard
11. Otto Porter, Jr.
12. Carmelo Anthony
13. Rajon Rondo
14. Nicholas Batum
15. Gary Payton II
16. Mitchel Robinson
17. Goran Dragic
18. DeAndre Jordan
19. Wes Matthews
20. Victor Oladipo
21. Austin Rivers
22. LaMarcus Aldridge
23. Jalen Smith
24. Dennis Schroder
25. Gary Harris
Here’s the top restricted free agents available, again in no particular order. Current teams have the right to match any offer to these players:
1. DeAndre Ayton
2. Collin Sexton
3. Miles Bridges
4. Kevin Knox
5. Donte DiVincenzo
6. Marvin Bagley
7. Mo Bamba
8. Facundo Campazzo
9. Lonnie Walker IV
10. Anfernee Simmons
11. Nic Claxton
12. Juan Toscano-Anderson
13. Cody Martin
14. Josh Okogie
15. Aaron Holiday
Here are the top players with player options that can be declined making them unrestricted free agents:
1. Jalen Brunson
2. Bradley Beal
3. James Harden
4. Kyrie Irving
5. Patty Mills
6. Pat Connaughton
7. Bobby Portis
The unrestricted free agent list above somehow missed Jalen Brunson. Apparently the Knicks are planning on making a push to sign him. They’ve gone so far as to hire his father, Rick Brunson, who is a former NBA player and assistant coach. Brunson also spent part of his early life in the New Jersey suburbs of NYC.
If the Knicks do sign Brunson, it makes the Mavs weaker.. They are not in a position to sign an expensive free agent as they are over the cap and don’t really have any tradeable contracts, except for Powell and Kleber, who they may wish to keep. One possible replacement for Brunson is GPII, who the Mavs are allegedly interested in. They could sign Payton for the mid-level exception, though the Warriors would probably be willing to give him at least the same. Free agency begins this Thursday.
As just discussed, the Knicks are trading Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, two 2nd round picks and $6 million to the Pistons for nothing other than some cap space. Since they previously unloaded Kemba Walker on the Pistons, the Knicks will apparently have about $30 million in cap space, which is more than enough to sign Brunson.
Should also say something here about Kyrie Irving. As noted in the free agents post, Kyrie can opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Reportedly, the Nets and Kyrie have been negotiating a new contract, but have apparently had some issues on reaching an agreement. Kyrie is eligible for a max 5-year, $248 million contract. The fact that this is not done yet suggests to me that the Nets don’t want to give Kyrie five years, don’t want to give him the supermax amount of $248 million, or both. Last year, when KD was eligible for a supermax extension, the Nets just went ahead and gave him max years and max money. Further complicating this is that if the Nets don’t give Kyrie what he wants and he walks, would KD start demanding a trade? Just to keep KD happy, the Nets should probably give Kyrie the max deal. Kyrie’s talent certainly justifies it, but his unwillingness to play at times is undoubtedly what is making the Nets balk.
Apparently the Nets want Kyrie to opt in to the last year of his deal and see how willing he is to play this year before committing to him with a long-term max contract. Kyrie, of course, doesn’t want to do that. He gave the Nets a list of teams that he is willing to go to in a sign and trade. Those teams included the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavericks, and 76ers. I believe that Kyrie has another week or so to opt in or out. If he opts out, the Knicks have money to sign him after unloading Kemba Walker during the draft, but the other teams on the list wouldn’t have more than the mid-level exception to sign him. Would the Nets be willing to take Westbrook in a sign and trade with the Lakers?
If the Nets lose Kyrie in either a free agency or sign and trade scenario, what does KD do? Would he want to stick around or would he then demand a trade? You can bet that there are a lot of teams that would be happy to trade for KD if he suddenly became available.
Looks like the Nets have won their game of chicken with Kyrie. Earlier today, there were multiple reports that the Nets were prepared to lose Irving and KD, if Kyrie opted out and then KD demanded a trade. Apparently, the only team pursuing a sign and trade for Kyrie was the Lakers and the Nets didn’t like what they would et back because it would surely have to include Westbrook and/or draft picks that would be a long way away because the Lakers have traded off their near future to acquire AD and Russ. Sure enough, later in the day, word came out that Kyrie would opt in to his contract. If he opted out of his $36.5 million contract, there would be no team with sufficient cap space to get that amount back. Plus, the teams with some cap space are terrible (Orlando, Detroit) and teams that Kyrie would want to play for, aka, the Lakers, could only sign him for the mid-level exception around $6 million. So Kyrie opts in and will be a free agent next summer. We will see if some good team tries to manipulate cap space to sign him then.
Well, here’s one player off the board for trades. The Pistons have traded Jeremi Grant to Portland for a 2025 1st round pick that is protected 1-4, a swap of 2nd round picks this year–Pistons get #36, Trail Blazers get #46–and Pistons get 2nd round picks in 2025 and 2026. By not taking a salary back, the Pistons also get a $21 million trade exception.
Despite pre-draft speculation that the Warriors were looking to trade out of the 1st round, they stayed put and draft 6’9″ UW-Milwaukee freshman wing Patrick Baldwin, Jr. This was a high-risk, high-reward pick for the Dubs. Baldwin was a five-star recruit out of high school, despite losing nearly all of his senior season to an ankle injury. He chose UW-Milwaukee over Duke and Georgetown because his father was the head coach there. Which means, of course, that Baldwin is a coach’s son that is likely the reason that he is seen as a high basketball IQ player. Unfortunately, his one college season was also injury-plagued. At the beginning of the 2021-22 college season, Baldwin was looked at as a top ten pick. The injuries led him to drop to the Dubs at #28. Next year, he will likely spend much of the season in Santa Cruz and working on strengthening his body.
The one draft trade the Warriors did make was to swap their #51 pick in the 2nd round and $2 million for the Atlanta Hawks’ #44 pick. The Dubs took 6’4″ Toledo sophomore combo guard Ryan Rollins with that pick. Rollins was considered a sleeper in the draft and Jay Bilas raved about the Warriors picking him. He is considered a good scorer, playmaker, and defender, but needs to improve his long distance shooting. He is more likely than Baldwin to contribute to the Dubs next season.
With their second 2nd round pick, the Dubs took Gui Santos, a 6’8″ wing from Brazil. Don’t know a whole lot about him, but he has played for the Brazil national team and in the Brazilian pro league. Both his parents played basketball in Brazil, with his dad playing in the pro league there. So likely another smart player. Dubs will likely have him stay in Brazil for a few more years before bringing him stateside.
John Wall has worked out a buyout from Houston and plans to sign with the Clippers. Since the Rockets will be paying most of his salary for this season (apparently $40 million out of what was supposed to be a $47 million contract), he can sign with over-the-cap Clippers for the vet minimum or mid-level exception. Adding Wall is a nice get for the Clippers.
We have another deal. The Denver Nuggets are sending Will Barton and Monte Morris to the Wizards for…, no, not Beal, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. The Nuggets are making the deal to upgrade their defense. While it is a downgrade on offense, Barton and Morris were likely to have reduced roles with Murray and Porter coming back next season. It also gives the Nugs a little financial flexibility. For the Wizards, I guess this gives them a little more offensive firepower, but doubt that it makes them any better.
This is a must watch:
A collaboration between the Old Man & the Three podcast (JJ Redick) and the Draymond Green Show. They also bring out Stephen A., though that is later in the podcast. Draymond takes no prisoners.
Some pre-free agency begins reports:
1. Contrary to reports earlier this morning, Jalen Brunson is not meeting with the Heat, nor was such a meeting scheduled. Looks like it is just the Mavs and Knicks. I wonder if the Mavs would be interested in a sign-and-trade with the Knicks where they get Randle?
2. Reportedly, Malik Monk has interest in the Kings. Yes, I said the Kings. He and De’Aaron Fox are buddies from their time together at Kentucky, so Fox may be recruiting him.
3. Interesting speculation this morning about what the Spurs were up to in the Murray trade with the Hawks. Apparently the consensus #1 pick for 2023 is a French kid named Victor Wembenyama, a 7’2″ player with both inside and outside scoring ability. By unloading Murray, the Spurs are likely a bad team this year that ends up in the lottery. While they can’t be assured of getting the #1 pick in the lottery, having 3 unprotected picks from Atlanta and their own picks gives them good ammunition to trade up to the #1 spot. The Spurs have had great success drafting big men with the #1 overall pick and with drafting a French player. If this is their plan, I wonder if the Spurs would make a play to get Killian Hayes, another French player who is now kind of irrelevant in Detroit. That would give Wembenyama some comfort level when he gets to town.
This makes sense.
As expected, the first chip off the table is Brunson. He announced that he intends to sign a 4-yr., $110 mil contract with the Knicks. I like Brunson, but he’s only had one good year and I don’t think I would have given him a max contract based on that one year. But this is a typical Knicks move.
Also now, Malik Monk has agreed to a 2-year, $19 mil deal with the Kings.
Bradley Beal signs a 5-yr, max deal worth $251 mil to stay with Wiz.
Guess we got to start the KD trade speculation post. As we’ve discussed, Suns and Heat are KD’s thus far announced preferred destinations. So let’s spin up the Trade Machine:
1. Suns – KD makes $42 mil/yr, so we’ll need about that much going back. We’ll assume Ayton gets a max deal paying him around $25 mil/yr. So another $17 mil or so is needed. Bridges makes $5.5 mil. That leaves $11.5 needed. Saric at $8.5 mil and a Shamet ($3.7 mil) or Holiday ($3.9 mil) will get you there. Presumably some draft picks would be headed Brooklyn’s way as well.
2. Heat – as previously noted, Adebayo cannot be included in any deal unless the Nets deal Simmons as you can’t have two “preferred rookie deal” players (players who signed max deals at end of rookie contract) via trade on your team. That means it would likely take Herro and Robinson to start and they don’t have nearly enough salary between them to make the deal. So add Lowry (and draft picks again) to get it done.
Some possible non-preferred destination deals:
1. Bucks – Middleton and Connaughton get the money right, then add whatever other young players/draft picks are needed to get the deal done. Could you image KD and the Freak together?
2. Nuggets – Porter and the newly acquired Caldwell-Pope will get money part done, then add the usual young player/draft pick mix. Gotta think that KD would love playing with the Joker.
3. Celtics – in the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em deal,” much like before he joined the Warriors, Celtics could give up Brown and White for the money part. Durant & Tatum together? Though I gotta think the Nets would want Tatum instead of Brown.
4. Bulls – Either DeRozan or Lavine (on a sign-and-trade) & Ball work on the money end.
5. Mavericks – unless Brunson is willing to go on a sign-and-trade, it will be difficult for the Mavs to pull it off. Hardaway, Jr., Bertans, and Dinwiddie are the non-Doncic big contracts and doubtful the Nets want anybody that old. KD would love playing with Luka though.
6. Clippers – KD for PG? They make about the same. Have the Clippers throw in a boatload of draft picks and KD gets to play with Kawhi.
7. Lakers – clearly the Lakers would gladly trade Russ for KD, but no reason for the Nets to do that, particularly when the Laker’s cupboard of draft picks is virtually bare for awhile. So would Lakes give up AD to get KD. Or maybe KD and Simmons for AD and Russ? This seems highly unlikely, but you know that LeBron is working right now on getting KD to the Lakers.
8. Grizzlies – JJJ would have to be the centerpiece of the deal. Add Brooks or Bane (on a sign-and-trade) to get money done. Ja and KD would be quite the show.
9. Pelicans – Either Ingram or Zion (on sign-and-trade) plus Graham to get money right. Nets would obviously want Zion and Zion always wanted to be in New York to begin with.
10. 76ers – probably not a chance in hell that Nets would trade him there and not sure KD would want to play with Harden again and 76ers have limited draft picks after already sending them to Brooklyn in the Harden deal. However, Tobias Harris’ contract alone get the money almost right if there were no other issues.
11. Raptors – unlikely KD wants to head north of the border, but a package of Siakam and Barnes would be pretty enticing to the Nets.
I’m not gonna bother with the Jazz although they are a contender as I don’t see KD wanting to go there or the Jazz making such a huge deal. And although Dame sent out a tweet last week of KD in a Trailblazers uniform, I don’t see how Portland could make the money work without trading Dame.
The only ones I like are the Grizz & keep Bane or the Pels letting go of Zion. I think that’s better than what the Suns can do. However, I’m expecting this to be a multi-team deal since everyone will want to get in on it and there’s no rush to finalize terms. Also, teams in the West in particular will want to know what they’re up against. KD, Ja & Bane? KD, Booker & CP3? KD, Kawhi & ??, KD & Zion?
I doubt Zion would stay in NO now that I think this through. KD wouldn’t want to take the chance on his health, but the Nets might want to. Ingram seems like the perfect match for KD. And David Griffin is a master of negotiations I hear.
I really think KD’s best chance at a title next year is either the Grizz or the Pels. They both have more toughness and versatility than the Suns IMO.
OK. Since I know almost for certain that David Griffin is on the phone with both teams right now, I can’t help but wonder about this possibility and how to match the numbers …
Suns get Zion and Seth Curry and ?
Pels get KD and Bridges and ?
Nets get Ayton and McCollum and ?
I realize there’s likely something wrong here. Can McCollum be traded? Whatever it is I’m guessing Griffin is getting it out there while I type.
Although I want to see Zion on the Suns it’s not going to happen, so … scratch the above off the list.
Suns match Pacers four-year, $133 million offer sheet for Ayton
What I don’t understand about this is the following: for the Pacers to offer Ayton that much they must value him extremely highly. Perhaps moreso than any other team, and clearly more than the Suns. So they do their homework, obviously take their time, and go full on historical max with their offer knowing with certainty that the Suns might match. Whether the Suns were 40% likely to match or 100% likely to match, Pacers knew there was a good chance. So what the hell were they thinking? They love Ayton that much but they weren’t able to get somewhat creative and give up some pieces to get him in a sign and trade? Or let’s say they tried by offering Turner and Hield (just an example of something rather than nothing and such that the numbers add up) in a sign and trade. If Suns said “no” to that then why not some other offer or discussion with other teams? After 2 weeks there must have been a few of these sign and trade ideas floating around. Instead, the Pacers completely shut the door on any future possibilities of getting Ayton. Shut and locked.
The only ways this makes sense to me is either the Pacers had already put that sheet together a long time ago, or it was something they threw together with little or no effort two days ago. Apparently they completely gave up on any more discussions and just threw out the offer sheet because they could.
There was no chance of that working for them, and in my opinion it makes them look foolish.
they did it out of spite knowing it would kill any chance that Suns could sign and trade him elsewhere? maybe Sarver pissed them off, so they gave him the finger disguised as an offer sheet?
The NBA finally completed their investigation and came down on Robert Sarver today. The Suns owner received a one-year suspension from all involvement with the Suns (and Mercury), was fined $10 million, and complete some kind of appropriate workplace conduct training.
Among other things, the investigation found that Sarver:
1. Used the N-word at least five times;
2. Made sexual comments and engaged in questionable conduct with female employees;
3. Engaged in inappropriate physical conduct with male employees;
4. Engaged in general demeaning and harsh treatment of employees.
Unlike Donald Sterling however, Sarver gets to keep the teams. I am unclear how Sarver can be completely removed from basketball operations as he would likely normally be involved in setting budgets and approving big free agent contracts. Although it is his money behind it all, I guess someone else will have final say on that stuff for the next year.
Pressure on Sarver from all fronts succeeded. He announced today that he is beginning the process of selling the Suns and Mercury.
As we briefly discussed, Ime Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for the season because of an “inappropriate consensual” relationship with a female staffer. Celtics held a press conference this morning where they basically said nothing because of privacy concerns. They did say that they hired outside counsel to conduct an investigation that was only completed a few days ago and that there have not decided if Udoka will be brought back at the end of the suspension. They indicated that decision would be made sometime next year when the suspension is ending. My guess is that if Joe Mazzulla does well as Celtics coach this year, Udoka does not come back. Certain players may have some input in that decision.
There were other unconfirmed reports that the undisclosed woman that Udoka had the relationship with initially said the relationship was consensual, but later admitted that Udoka had made unwanted comments to her. Not sure what that means. Were the unwanted comments before, during, or after the relationship? Apparently everyone involved has signed a non-disclosure agreement, so we may never know.
Just a hunch, but one based on my experience of Phoenix as the biggest small town in the US.
One way or the other Jerry Colangelo will likely be involved, even if it’s not financially. This is what everyone in Phoenix wants, and he really has no reason to back away. Of course you can expect Barkley to be involved. Maybe Shaq as well. Banks and all that money flowing in from Scottsdale. There is enormous capital and sway in and around the Scottsdale area. I assume the franchise will sell for well over the $1.8 billion mentioned. I don’t see why it wouldn’t with Scottsdale, ASU, the Cardinals, Mercury and the downtown area all being prime time now. Also, the state has turned slightly blue. This is a very good thing for investors going forward for reasons I’ll need to mention later.
Iggy revealed on his Podcast yesterday that he will return to the Dubs this year. He also stated that it would be his final season. Guessing with all the injuries he suffered last year that he wants to go out on a higher note.
I think it’s awesome news, especially for Kuminga who probably needs someone other than Dray to get him more focused. Clearly Poole needs more focus as well, but he’ll be fighting to hold onto his spot with that up-n-comin Moody man.
Blake Griffin signed a one-year deal with the Celtics. We’ll see if he lasts longer than Danilo Gallinari did when he signed with the Celtics earlier this off-season.
Seems like a good fit if he’s healthy.
The Thunder and Rockets swapped a bunch of players. The breakdown goes like this:
Rockets get: Derrick Favors, Moe Harkless, Ty Jerome, Theo Maledon, and a 2025 2nd round pick
Thunder get: Marquese Chriss, Trey Burke, Sterling Brown, David Nwaba, and two trade exceptions
Favors is the biggest name and best plaer in the deal, but the rumor is that the Rockets will buy him out. The Thunder saved a million dollars in salary in the swap. Both teams are still in the depths of rebuilding and will both likely end up at the bottom of the Western Conference this season.
Dubs beat the Wiz in Japan last night. This morning’s highlight on-line were mostly all the James Wiseman dunks in the game (five overall), including a nice alley oop off a pick and roll with Steph. If he stays healthy, his height and mobility at the center position adds a whole new dimension to the Dubs.
The sky is the limit for … Sky-Wise?
ehh … maybe not. he’s not exactly a leaper:-(
So at practice yesterday, Draymond and JP got into a “chest-to-chest” argument which resulted in Dray punching JP in the face. Although Dray apologized for the incident later, the Warriors feel he crossed a line and are weighing a punishment. Not sure if it would be a fine or suspension or both. Unlikely that the Dubs would suspend him for the 1st game of the season against the Lakers since they will have their ring ceremony that night.
There was at least one report that JP has had an attitude of entitlement this offseason that may not have sat well with Draymond, but Iggy and others were quick to shoot that down. Don’t know what caused the argument, but I would guess it has something to with JP’s defensive failings.
Video of the incident…
There’s no audio, so you don’t hear what got said, but it is a bad look for Draymond.
I assume silver will get involved. I wonder if a 3 month suspension is enough. Maybe the entire year, but I doubt it.
Actually, since this happened during a Warriors practice, the NBA won’t get involved. The decision on what to do is entirely up to the Warriors. Bob Myers has already said that a suspension is unlikely, but that was before the video was leaked (something the Warriors are looking into since, again, it happened during a practice so there should have only been Warriors and Warriors employees there).
More details have come out. Apparently during the scrimmage, JP was calling a lot of fouls, leading Draymond to repeatedly call him a bitch. Then JP said “you know what it is, Draymond.” Apparently this was a brag about his upcoming contract extension. Draymond responded with “no, I don’t know, what is it?” This led to JP pushing Draymond and then the punch by Draymond.
Draymond is taking a few days away from the team, which is supposedly a mutual decision between him and the team.
Stephen A. Smith said today that he expects that this will be Draymond’s last season with the Warriors. Draymond has a player option at the end of this season. He can opt out and become a free agent. There are a lot of rumors that he’d like to either play with LeBron or for his hometown Pistons. We’ll see. I’m sure he understands better than most that neither the Lakers or the Pistons are good championship options in the near term.
The Warriors decided to just fine Draymond and not suspend him. According to Kerr, this decision was made after talking with management and veteran leadership on the team. Kerr also said that Green and Poole have set down to talk about the situation and that JP’s “mature” professional behavior since the incident has made this possible.
I have a feeling that if opening night against the Lakers did not include a ring ceremony, Draymond might have been suspended. But given how important he was to the Dubs’ winning the ring, they opted against the suspension.
I find this to be incredible if not astounding. I still struggle with Silver not getting involved, but at least I understand there are many reasons for why he wouldn’t or cannot. However, I don’t understand how Poole’s family would be ok with this unpredictable and volatile thug being what I think is an everpresent danger to Poole and his livelihood.
Something(s) are clearly wrong with Draymond IMO. Either he or someone else is going to follow up this *lack* of punishment with something much worse.
Regardless, I’ve said my piece. They need him to win another title. They also need Wiseman and Kuminga to develop in a way that involves freedom to do what they do best. I hope they can do that with this potentially violent nutcase on the court.