Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 NBA Draft Week Recap

Now that the NBA draft is complete with details of moves more available, it seems like the right time to recap what happened. I shared my views on some of the players and team fits in my mock draft, and here's how my predictions played out, with the right picks highlighted:

1. Towns
1. Towns
2. Okafor
2. Russell
3. Russell
3. Okafor
4. Porzingis
4. Porzingis
5. Winslow
5. Hezonja
6. Hezonja
6. Cauley-Stein
7. Mudiay
7. Mudiay
8. Johnson
8. Johnson
9. Kaminsky
9. Kaminsky
10. Booker
10. Winslow
11. Cauley-Stein
11. Turner
12. Lyles
12. Lyles
13. Turner
13. Booker
14. Oubre
14. Payne
15. N/A 
15. Oubre

In a lottery that surprisingly lacked trades, I finished with only 6 players at the right pick, but 4 others were within one spot of where they ended up going. The other surprises, at least in my opinion, were the notable undrafted players such as Florida guard Michael Frazier or big men like UNLV's Christian Wood, UCSB's Alan Williams, Kansas' Cliff Alexander, Washington's Robert Upshaw, and Texas' Jonathan Holmes. I think that each of them, in that order, could eventually become contributors to teams, and a lot of people will be watching them during summer league.

In any case, there's plenty to talk about with all 30 teams, so I'll go through each of them in order of when they're spot was up. As always,,,, and were invaluable resources for information.
Towns was the guy all along.
Minnesota Timberwolves
Drafted Karl-Anthony Towns #1; traded #31, #36, and 2019 2nd rounder for #24 to draft Tyus Jones

Despite Flip Saunders' "traditional" inclinations, he didn't screw up the top choice thanks to a private workout that he called the best since Kevin Garnett. Now Towns will have the Big Ticket to mentor him in a somewhat crowded frontcourt that will likely be alleviated by trades eventually. Consolidating assets to move up for Jones, a hometown hero, was a good move for a roster that's already filled with so many young players that they don't need more marginal prospects. I actually like Lorenzo Brown as a backup point guard, but Jones has so much more upside and can eventually play alongside the defensively versatile starter, Ricky Rubio, with his shooting range.

Los Angeles Lakers
Drafted D'Angelo Russell #2, Larry Nance Jr. #27, and Anthony Brown #34

The franchise with such a strong history of centers taking the new age combo guard threw the draft for a loop, but I can't blame them because Russell arguably has the most star potential in this class. I'm not sure what position he'll guard on defense, but he can effortlessly move between the 1 and 2 offensively with fellow 6' 5" combo guard Jordan Clarkson from Day 1. Nance was perhaps the biggest reach of the draft since practically no one viewed him as a first rounder, so they must be counting on his versatile game overcoming the projections. I like their next pick, Brown, so much more because you can easily see what he can be as a 3-and-D wing, and it'll be interesting to see what kind of deal they can sign him to as a 2nd rounder since they're under the cap and thus can offer 3rd and 4th years, likely of the non-guaranteed variety.

Philadelphia 76ers
Drafted Jahlil Okafor #3, Richaun Holmes #37, ArtÅ«ras Gudaitis #47, J. P. Tokoto #57, and Luka Mitrović #60; traded #35 for 2020 and 2021 2nd rounders and $1,500,000

Losing out on Russell hurt since they desperately need shooting and overall talent in their backcourt, but in typical Sam Hinkie fashion, he regrouped to take the best player available despite taking big men with each of his last two top picks. With the latest news of Joel Embiid's unfortunate setback and Nerlens Noel's defensive versatility, adding a relatively safe commodity like Okafor makes sense to help the offense, but I would have went with point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

They got a good deal for the first of their hoard of 2nd rounders, and Hinkie's shown in the past that he can extract value with these selections. I think Tokoto, especially, is a steal at the end of the round, and it's fitting that the Tar Heel I've been calling "a young Andre Iguodola" for over a year -- due to his size, defensive chops, sneaky passing ability, and athletic throwdowns -- ends up in the city the Finals MVP started his career in.

New York Knicks
Drafted Kristaps Porzingis #4; traded Tim Hardaway Jr. for #19 to draft Jerian Grant; traded 2020 and 2021 2nd rounders and $1,500,000 for #35 to draft Guillermo Hernangomez

Can we talk about how much I hate booing? Seriously: what does it accomplish? If you're wrong about a guy, you look like an idiot, and if you're right about a're still stuck with the bust because the boos do nothing to change that. Whoever gets drafted just accomplished a longtime dream, yet a proud moment he should be able to celebrate with his loved ones is tainted by some idiot fans who probably need to do more research.

Besides being even more impressed by Porzingis' readiness for America, nothing's changed in my opinion of the Latvian phenom since I wrote in my mock about his potential in NY, but Phil Jackson continuing to take a big picture approach with his later moves was refreshing. Flipping the last two years of the one dimensional Hardaway for four rookie-scale years of a mid-1st prospect like Grant is a major come-up, and although Hernangomez won't come in from overseas right away, he is a solid prospect to have stashed away. As a battled-tested senior, Grant can come in and contribute right away, though, and he fits right in the mold of big point guards that Phil (who has a lot of history with his uncle, Horace) likes for the Triangle. His outside shooting needs to rise up to the level of his passing ability, but they have enough room to add a shooter like Aaron Afflalo even after signing a big (Greg Monroe) at around $16M. If they don't give Alexey Shved the qualifying offer, they can easily offer a deal structured as $11,483,253/$11,999,999/$12,516,746 to total 3/$36M like Woj suggests. Shved coming back on just the Room Exception is much more in line with his free agent value, anyway.

Orlando Magic
Drafted Mario Hezonja #5 and Tyler Harvey #51

Like I mentioned in my mock, I was that close to believing the Magic would roll the dice on the gunner that they desperately need, but I thought they'd stick to their typical profile of low maintenance defenders. Regardless of whether they open up the wallet to match offers for forward Tobias Harris in restricted free agency, I love the interchangeability of their roster, and that applies to the other deadly shooter they got in the 2nd, Harvey, although he has much more work to do in improving his defense. Great draft.

Sacramento Kings
Drafted Willie Cauley-Stein #6

Now this one somewhat caught me by surprise since after many mocks had Cauley-Stein joining DeMarcus Cousins for an all-Wildcat frontcourt early in the process, recent meetings and medicals supposedly had him dropping out of the top 10. The fit makes sense to a certain extent since Cousins is skilled enough to play the 4 on offense while Cauley-Stein can defend practically anyone, but they'll need Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas to become more consistent shooters to have any semblance of floor spacing. That's assuming no major trades with all of their management uncertainty, and it sounds like they might be shifting their focus to signing Rajon Rondo to a one year, prove-it deal that will kill their spacing even more. A lot of all this just sounds like an attempt to appease Cousins by surrounding him with other Kentucky alumni, but there's almost no way ownership approves of a trade with his bargain contract.
Mudiay could rise to the top of this class.

Denver Nuggets
Drafted Emmanuel Mudiay #7 and Nikola Radicevic #57

Everything fell into place for the Nuggets, with a player that at one point was considered a contender for the top overall pick fell in their laps at 7. What his free throw numbers mean for his long term shooting outlook is a bit concerning, but I think if he would have been able to go to SMU this year (and recruit Myles Turner with him), there's no way he'd be around this late after starring in the traditional route. The rebuild under Mike Malone has a bright outlook with some young pieces, a clean salary sheet, and draft assets.

Detroit Pistons
Drafted Stanley Johnson #8 and Darrun Hilliard #38

Sticking with the projected Johnson over the suddenly available Justise Winslow is not as big of a deal as it seems since the two of them went back and forth as the best wings of their class all year, and I actually preferred the Arizona product for much of the year. He's not as explosive finishing at the rim as he could be, but he should thrive in Stan Van Gundy's system. I'm not worried about them using some of their massive cap room on Tobias Harris at the same position since they can play the 2/3 or 3/4 together with either Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Ersan Ilyasova alongside them, Andre Drummond, and presumably Reggie Jackson in a competent lineup by Eastern standards. I'm not as high on Hilliard, especially that early in the second with who else had fallen to them, but he is a knockdown shooter who could contribute right away as an experienced senior.

Charlotte Hornets
Drafted Frank Kaminsky #9; traded #39 for Brooklyn's 2018 and 2019 2nd rounders and $880,000

Once Michael Jordan decides on a productive college player with minimal upside, there's no talking him out of it, even if a much better player falls to his spot and Danny Ainge is supposedly offering six draft picks, including FOUR 1st rounders. Kaminsky will probably become a solid player who can do a little bit of everything for you at either big spot offensively, but I think he'll be lucky to just be passable on defense. However, he can mimic the Josh McRoberts role with Al Jefferson in the last year of his contract, and they did get good value for their early 2nd rounder since you never know how high the Nets' picks will be down the line.

Miami Heat
Drafted Justise Winslow #10 and Josh Richardson #40

Based on reports, the Arisons were singing with joy once Winslow inexplicably fell to them to add some much needed youth and upside on the wings, and now the onus is on them continuing to foot the bill for a possible Eastern contender. Luol Deng's somewhat surprising decision to opt into the last year of his deal today allows him a year to mentor his fellow Duke defender, but now, they'll be even deeper into the Repeater Tax once they re-sign Goran Dragic and Dywane Wade, with a total salary commitment that could approach $159 million overall (hat tip to for the more exact Tax payments). Since Hassan Whiteside won't have Bird rights next year, I doubt that they'll end up being major players in 2016 free agency, but it will be fascinating to see how they negotiate the deals for their backcourt. If they bite the bullet with their massive tax bill this season by making Wade whole after last year's discount and paying Dragic market value in year one, the maximum amount their salaries can decrease next season to help manage a little more cap room is 7.5%. $97 million over 5 years is still more than the 4 year/$80 million other teams can offer the 29 year old Dragic, but it's hard to gauge what Wade, 34, should get since he's worth more to the Heat than other teams. Either way, I expect both of them back, and although I thought there some better options than Richardson on the board, he and Winslow will provide important value on their cheap contracts.

Indiana Pacers
Drafted Myles Turner #11 and Joseph Young #43

I was hoping the pieces would fall in place for this pairing since Turner is one of the best values of the draft and a great fit for how the Pacers want to start playing. He can help maintain their defensive identity with his excellent shot blocking and also start to provide floor spacing with his offensive skills that will eventually include 3 point range. Roy Hibbert wisely decided to opt into the high priced last year of his contract on draft night, and barring a trade, that could provide some time for Turner to develop since he still has a long ways to go to achieve his potential as one of the top 5 players in this draft. Young is a nice scoring guard that can get some playing time alongside George Hill, who is so valuable since he can run the offense and guard opposing shooting guards.

Utah Jazz
Drafted Trey Lyles #12 and Olivier Hanlan #42; traded #54 for $1,500,000

Although I think Lyles was a little overrated, it is true that we didn't get to see too much of him at his natural position in college, and I like this pick for where the Jazz are in the process. I pretty much covered the frontcourt fit in my mock, but I will say that Hanlan is an interesting fit as a combo guard with a roster with a few of them. I'm not typically a fan of just selling draft picks, especially with some talent left on the board, but at least they got a good price from the deep-pocketed Blazers.

Phoenix Suns
Drafted Devin Booker #11; traded #44 for Jon Leuer

Booker joins Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, and Archie Goodwin in Kentuc--err, Phoenix's backcourt, and he adds some extra size to that group in addition to his outside range. It's too bad that they didn't keep fellow Wildcat guard Andrew Harrison just for the sake of it, but you can't argue with securing a known commodity like Leuer with that pick, even if he's only signed for this season. These two shooters should help Jeff Hornacek's system get back on track after last year's implosion.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Drafted Cameron Payne #14 and Dakari Johnson #48

The rumor about Payne receiving a promise turned out to be true despite him continuing workouts with other teams after visiting OKC, and you can't blame them for making a somewhat safe pick that still has upside. With D.J. Augustin only signed for this year, backup point guard was a position that could use a long term improvement, and Payne can be a better shooting version of Reggie Jackson. Like typical Thunder point guards, he has good scoring instincts but can also make every pass and has good length with a 6' 7.5" wingspan. Thanks to smart reads, the ball doesn't have to stick in his hands to be effective, so I think that he can eventually become a starter with Russell Westbrook's ability to guard 2's if there's not traction with the Andre Roberson project, Dion Waiters experiment, Josh Huestis case study, or Alex Abrines stash. On the other hand, they already have multiple starting centers available to them, so Johnson profiling as a solid backup down the line fits, as well. Hopefully he turns out better than Daniel Orton did for them.

Atlanta Hawks
Traded #15 for #19 and Washington's 2016 and 2019 2nd rounders; traded #19 for Tim Hardaway Jr.; drafted Marcus Eriksson #50 and Dimitrios Agravanis #59

They got decent value when moving back four spots, but trading the 19th overall pick in a deep draft for the last two years of Hardaway's rookie contract is not good asset management in my eyes. He fits their profile as a good 3 point shooter, but that's about all he does. They might be able to make use of his size on the wing in their defensive system, but that would be a hell of a job by Coach of the Year winner, Mike Budenholzer.
I think the Hawks will regret not drafting a potential DeMarre Carrol replacement
Washington Wizards
Traded #19 and 2016 and 2019 2nd rounders for #15 to draft Kelly Oubre; drafted Aaron White #49

I ended up one pick off with Oubre, but he still ends up on a playoff team on the rise with the ability to bring him on slowly, and at a fair cost. Otto Porter's coming out party in the playoffs should bode well for the possibility of Paul Pierce reuniting with Doc Rivers in a homecoming of sorts, but just in case 2013's #3 pick doesn't maintain consistency, this pick could be a good insurance policy. In addition to being a good backup for both Brad Beal and Porter on the wings, Oubre can interchange with Porter as stretch 4s since both have over 7' wingspans and can rebound adequately. White has some potential to be a playmaker at that spot, as well, but his limitations on the defensive end will be tough to overcome.

Boston Celtics
Drafted Terry Rozier #16, R.J. Hunter #28, Jordan Mickey #33, and Marcus Thornton #45

As RealGM's Daniel Leroux pointed out, they were able to get a better player at #28 than they did in the middle of the round, and then they continued to get value in the 2nd, making up for the first big reach of the draft in Rozier. I actually like his game to a certain extent, but he's another combo guard on a team full of them and was not the 16th best player in this draft, no matter what his private workouts indicated to Danny Ainge. He's going to have to become a much more consistent shooter or decision maker if he's to make an impact as a possible bench spark since he doesn't have the same size as Marcus Smart, his new teammate that he has been compared to.

On the other hand, let's use the old Player A versus Player B trick to show off the gem of this class:

Player A: 6' 6", 185 lbs, 6' 10.5" wingspan. 34.7 MPG in 99 college games:
5.6 of 13.3 FG (42.3%), 2.6 of 7.2 3PA (35.4%), 4.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 18.4 PPG, 1.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Player B: 6' 7.25", 206 lbs, 6' 9" wingspan. 33.6 MPG in 98 college games:
6.1 of 14.4 FG (42.4%), 2.5 of 6.3 3PA (39%), 4.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 17.9 PPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG

You won't be surprised that Player A is Hunter, but Player B? Klay Thompson. Obviously, the 3 pointers are the big difference since Thompson's picture perfect stroke is his calling card while Hunter's unorthodox form is what makes him resemble Kevin Martin, but the Georgia State product did make 38.2% his first two years. He carried a heavier load as a junior en route to the NCAA tournament's round of 32, and opposing defenses centering on him led to both an assist total that was over twice as high as his previous marks and some ridiculous shot selection that brought his efficiency numbers down. Although this occurred in the Sun Belt compared to a much stronger Pac-10 conference, the fact that his numbers compare so favorably to an All-NBA performer should have resulted in a much higher selection. He'll need to get stronger and continue to work on using his length to be a strong defender like Thompson, and even if he doesn't, his shooting alone makes him valuable to this team.

Mickey also fills a team need with his interior defense, and he could be a good value at #33 after a lot people thought before the draft he could go to Boston at #28. Thornton landing with a team who had the shooting guard of the same name for half of last year is ironic since they have pretty different games. I'm not exactly sure why they're stocking up on so many point guard types, and with trades always on Ainge's radar, I have to wonder if there could potentially be a match with the 76ers, the team that is rebuilding in quite a different way and might be willing to sell low on Embiid given their roster situation and fetish for draft picks. He's never been afraid to take a risk and has done a masterful job of stockpiling 1st rounders for a situation like this.

Milwaukee Bucks
Drafted Rashad Vaughn #17; traded #46 and LAC's lottery protected 2017 1st rounder for Greivis Vasquez

This was a little high for Vaughn but a solid choice as the highly regarded recruit did have a good, under the radar freshman campaign. I view him a bit like the guy he will eventually replace -- O.J. Mayo -- since they're both 6' 5"-ish combo guards who can shoot a bit en route to generally getting buckets. I don't expect Khris Middleton to go anywhere in restricted free agency, so Vaughn can eventually become a dangerous 6th man at the 2. The more questionable move was trading for a backup point guard on an $6.6 million expiring contract at the cost of a future 1st rounder, no matter how late it might turn out. That's just poor asset management to me.

Houston Rockets
Drafted Sam Dekker #18 and Montrezl Harrell #32

With the point guards still available, I was a bit caught off guard that they took another forward instead of someone to help James Harden carry the offensive load. Dekker is a good get at this point in the draft, however, and his potential to be a stretch 4 or possibly a point forward type at the 3 is reminiscent of Chandler Parsons for them. That wasn't the comparison that came to mind until I heard it, but they are around the same size and similarly streaky shooters with similar capabilities. Harrell was also a great value who fits their mold of shorter power forward or center types that are simply relentless. I'm not sure what they'll do with all their young big men, but it is a good collection to have.

Toronto Raptors
Drafted Delon Wright #20; traded Greivis Vasquez for LAC's lottery protected 2017 1st rounder and #46 to draft Norman Powell

This was one of the best draft nights overall thanks to the continued trade magic of Masai Ujiri. He parlayed his backup point guard on an expiring $6.6 million contract into a future 1st round pick (albeit heavily protected from a perennial playoff team) AND a 2nd rounder and then drafted a ready made backup point guard in Delon Wright. Like the departed Vasquez, Wright is long at 6' 5" with a 6' 7.5" wingspan and a streaky shooter who does his best work with the ball in his hands so that he can distribute to others. Some might say #20 is a bit high for him since he's already 23 after having to go the junior college route due to academic issues, but I liked him for this range, especially for a playoff team who could use an experienced player that can contribute right away.

I've also been a fan of Powell's for a while, despite his teammates often getting more publicity over the years. His near 6' 11" wingspan allows him to make up for being slightly undersized and still be a feisty defender, and his athleticism translates on the other end, as well. His shooting consistency still needs to continue to improve, but he can get to the paint pretty well and create for himself and others. He's another senior who can be a contributor early.
Don't even bother negotiating with Masai; he's going to win the trade.
Dallas Mavericks
Drafted Justin Anderson #21 and Satnam Singh Bhamara #52

I can see the appeal of Anderson as a safe role player, but there were still more talented players on the board, especially the very next one drafted who could help their lack of frontcourt depth. I'm not even sure he can be counted on as a 3-and-D wing since it was only as a junior that he suddenly made 47/104 (45.2%) bombs in just 26 games after making only 50/168 (29.7%) in the 72 games of his first two seasons. His strong 6' 6" frame, near 7' wingspan that results in plenty of blocks, and Virginia pedigree do speak to his defensive potential, at least, and they definitely need that on the perimeter. Singh Bhamara could be an intriguing D-League stash with some flashes of skill in combination with his sheer size, but a lot is left to be seen.

Chicago Bulls
Drafted Bobby Portis #22

Portis is an absolute steal at this spot, as he's a prospect with little weakness who fell 5-10 spots for no apparent reason. He may not be able to sky for monster blocked shot numbers, but he is a very mobile defender who does not give up on any plays. His switching out onto the perimeter may be the cause of some pedestrian defensive rebounding numbers, so I'm not concerned about him on that end, overall. He has pretty good hands and a nice touch that could extend out to the 3 point line eventually, so it may not be before long that he forces the issue in their crowded froncourt and allows one of their older veterans to be traded.

Portland Trail Blazers
Traded #23 and Steve Blake for Mason Plumlee and #41 to draft Pat Connaughton; traded $1,500,000 for #54 to draft Daniel Diez

Picking up a relatively proven big man like Plumlee was a decent move with the specter of losing LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, but I would have just kept Rondoe Hollis-Jefferson as a replacement for Nic Batum, especially with the difference in years on the rookie scale. Still, Connaughton is worth the look as a potential 3-and-D wing down the line with the newly acquired Gerald Henderson just a short term solution, and whenever you can get add a European prospect who has shown the ability to contribute overseas already for just cold hard cash, that's a great get.

Brooklyn Nets
Traded Mason Plumlee and #41 for Steve Blake and #23 to draft Rondae Hollis-Jefferson; drafted Chris McCullough #29; traded 2018 and 2019 2nd rounders and $880,000 for #39 to draft Juan Vaulet

Since they could really use an infusion of youth, athleticism, and upside, McCullough had been linked to Brooklyn at this spot throughout the draft process, but being able to flip Plumlee to move up 18 spots and get a defensive stopper like Hollis-Jefferson was a pleasant surprise. If McCullough can make a full recovery from his torn ACL, they just added two forwards who need to improve their jumpers but have a lot of potential to grow into difference makers. Vaulet came at a steep price, but he's another nice pickup for the future, as well, and keeping him overseas for now keeps him from adding to yet another Luxury Tax bill that will now include the Repeater rates. Overall, these moves would seem to indicate that the Woj report about Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young re-signing to make another run at the playoffs looks likely.
You know about the defense, but RHJ can be a nifty passer at times, as well.
Cleveland Cavaliers
Traded #24 for #31, #36, and Minnesota's 2019 2nd rounder to draft Cedi Osman and Rakeem Christmas; drafted Sir'Dominic Pointer #53

They passed up on some good players still on the board like Hunter or Jones, but it wasn't too surprising to see them trade back 7 spots into the 2nd, where there are no set salaries since they're likely facing a huge Tax bill once they re-sign their impending free agents. With the infamous stash pick, #31, they got a do-it-all wing, Osman, who can eventually become a great glue guy between their stars with his passing, and the later wing they drafted, Pointer, has a chance to become a nice perimeter defender in the event that they don't re-sign Iman Shumpert to a long-term deal. On the other hand, Christmas can contribute right away as a late bloomer who is already 23, and he does some of the same things that Tristian Thompson does. If Kevin Love stays as it's starting to seem, I have to wonder if Thompson could be a candidate to be sign-and-traded for a shooter so that they don't have to bring back J.R. Smith...perhaps someone like Joe Johnson with the Brendan Haywood trade chip since his big expiring contract could give them some flexibility next summer. Despite doing a nice job of creatively building the roster, the needless Anderson Varejao extension ties up so much money in the frontcourt already that it's hard to justify overpaying a limited player like Thompson. Either way, and as silly as it is, the politics dictate that the priority is just making sure that he gets paid in some way since he shares the same agent as LeBron James. Maybe they just bring the band back together and try to make another run at full health and with some extra pieces from a Haywood trade and the taxpayer mid-level exception, but that will be a record-setting Tax bill.

Memphis Grizzlies
Drafted Jarell Martin #25; traded Jon Leuer for #44 to draft Andrew Harrison

DraftExpress was all over the promise Martin received after his Memphis workout, but it's still quite a reach. He can possibly be a better version of last year's 2nd rounder, Jarnell Stokes, as an interior scorer, but I don't see him as fluid enough to play some 3 like some have projected. Since Leuer could never earn consistent minutes and is essentially replaced by Martin anyway, getting a flier like Harrison for him is a real good move as they try to finally lock down a long term backup for Mike Conley. I don't think he's more skilled than their former attempt, Tony Wroten, but he does have some good traits to warrant a shot.

San Antonio Spurs
Drafted Nikola Milutinov #26 and Cady Lalanne #55

In typical Spurs fashion, they picked up two nice draft and stash prospects, and that holds even more importance this summer with their rare opportunity to sign a free agent to the max after waiting to give Kawhi Leonard his max extension. Even though the #26 pick only has a cap hold of $991,600, every penny counts, so filing the paperwork with Milutinov to stay overseas frees up that much more room. Most of the talk is of trading Tiago Splitter to any team with cap room that needs a solid starter, but they could also create just about enough room by renouncing Danny Green, although he's probably who they'd want to keep due to free agent target LaMarcus Aldridge being a big man. Either way, the amount that they have to strip down the roster come downs to how much money Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli are willing to sacrifice if they put off retirement, otherwise they could lose a valuable role player like Green. 

With the cheap cap holds of Leonard and Green on the books before they possibly re-sign, I could see Splitter traded, Reggie Williams waived, and Duncan re-signed for only about $5-6 million in order to have enough space for Aldridge. They could then use the Room Midlevel Exception ($2,814,000) to re-sign Ginobli before making any Leonard and Green deals official and filling out the rest of the roster with veterans on the minimum. They would lose their vaunted depth, but they would keep their title window open while transitioning to the next phase of the franchise. I'm sure they'd get plenty of ring-chasers to sign up for the ride with a lineup of Tony Parker, Green, Leonard, Aldridge, and Duncan, while Patty Mills, Ginobli, Kyle Anderson, and Boris Diaw come off the bench.

Golden State Warriors
Drafted Kevon Looney #30

So much for needing to attach this pick to David Lee's contract in a trade to prevent a huge Luxury Tax payment. Instead, they picked up a top talent that fell into their laps after other teams reached for inferior prospects. A possible lingering hip injury and a mysterious back issue contributed to his drop in a situation that reminded me of Perry Jones III in 2012, but the silver lining is that he landed in a great situation where he can develop under great coaches and take plenty of time to get healthy on the stacked roster of the reigning champs. The only question about the power forward spot being open with regards to Draymond Green is whether it will be for four years or five because they are going to match any offer in restricted free agency. Thus, I think it comes down to whether he gets the most he can on the open market for four years (roughly $67 million) or negotiates with just the Warriors on a little less annually but with an extra year guaranteed since they're the only ones who can offer a fifth year.

If Green does try to sign with someone like his home-state Pistons and/or gets an opt out after three years, that would coincide with the four years of Looney's rookie-scale contract. The UCLA product can at times look like Lamar Odom if you squint really hard and forget your left from your right, and his skillset should fit the Warriors well. He can handle the ball a bit on the break, has shown a bit of an outside shot when his feet are set, and most importantly, is a long, mobile defender who can hold up on the perimeter after switches. His great work on the glass, especially at the offensive end, will be a welcome addition, but he needs to get stronger and do a better job of finishing inside with more than just a finger roll, as nice as it might be. Overall, his hype as a one and done lottery pick may have been overstated, but he could end up as the steal of the draft.

New Orleans Pelicans
Traded #56 for $630,000 in cash

After having yet another 1st round pick traded, you'd think they'd want to add some cheap young talent in the 2nd round, but instead...they sold the pick. And they couldn't even negotiate a good deal since there's a limit to how much total cash you can receive in a season (shout out to Eric Pincus' salary pages at for listing the amounts involved in past transactions), so it's not like they were overwhelmed by an overpayment. It's like they don't even have a college scouting department.
I'm not saying Dawson's a stud, but the spot is worth more than some chump change.
Los Angeles Clippers
Traded $630,000 in cash for #56 to draft Branden Dawson

Based on my comments above, you can probably tell I'm a fan of this move that is essentially cost-free in Steve Ballmer's eyes. There is some strong projectability for Dawson despite already being 22 thanks to his rebound, steal, and block totals, and he's helped by the success of his former Michigan State teammate, Draymond Green, in overcoming position questions. He doesn't have the same skills, but he can become a solid forward off the bench and play some much needed defense on this team.

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