Monday, July 24, 2017

Sifting through Kyrie and Melo Trade Ideas

When Brian Windhorst broke the story that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded, it was like the shot heard round the world with all sorts of reactions. Does he have that much of an ego that he wants to leave a team that's gone to three straight Finals and won a title just because he's tired of living in LeBron James' shadow? What leverage does he really have to force a trade since he can't opt for free agency until the summer of 2019? If he wants to be the franchise player again, couldn't he just wait it out until next season with all of the rumblings that James is going to move to LA? That last part might be an underrated factor in his thinking since he saw first hand how bad the roster can be when left in shambles after the King's departure: Irving was just 64-117 in games he played while the team was 78-152 overall his first three seasons. He doesn't want to be the last one left at the party, and after the underrated David Griffin wasn't re-signed (because Dan Gilbert never gives GMs second contracts), the dysfunction of the team led to this request that was even more shocking than his flat Earth take.


The Trade Machine is everyone's favorite toy, so I came up with my own quick 3-team deal like so many on Twitter did, not really expecting a perennial Finals contender to actually break up like this. However, more of these details coming out over the weekend kept adding fuel added to the fire, Zach Lowe indicated that Irving's relationship with the team is almost frayed beyond repair, and Joe Vardon's story on Derrick Rose choosing Cleveland had some damning evidence about the team's intentions. The two sides apparently came to a deal after "discussing how the team will return to the Finals without Kyrie Irving" and with Rose "looking at a potential starting spot in the same lineup with LeBron James, now that Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off." Yikes, I guess that means we should think of more trade ideas! Even if I think he's a bit overrated and unlikely to be a true best player on a title contender as something of a one-dimensional player, that singular outstanding talent of shot-making is likely enticing to a lot of teams out there.

Friday, July 7, 2017

2017 NBA Offseason Running Blog, Part 2

Now that the moratorium ended yesterday and the first week of signings and trades produced such a large page already, I decided it's time to start a new post. Again, I'll be including outside links to the reports, adding to it with new moves and my thoughts on them within the day (and usually the hour) of what occurred, and noting whenever any updates came out on previous sections. Free agent salaries are my estimates based on reports and standard 5% or 8% raises while current salaries are from BasketballInsiders.com with the colors indicating player optionteam option, or not fully guaranteed.

Celtics and Pistons swap Bradley and Morris (Shams)

Boston gets:
Marcus Morris$5,000,000$5,375,000

Detroit gets:
Avery Bradley$8,808,989
2019 2nd round pick

At long last, there is the required move by Danny Ainge to have enough cap space to sign Gordon Hayward to a max contract after Jordan Mickey's non-guaranteed deal is waived. That would be the easiest corresponding move compared to keeping Guerschon Yabusele stashed or trading Demetrius Jackson's partial guarantee somewhere, especially since Mickey hasn't shown much in just 198 minutes through two years. It is disappointing that Ainge didn't have this contingency trade lined up ahead of Hayward's decision so that he wouldn't be operating out of a desperate position, and he's paying for it now with a 2nd (I would guess they're sending back the Detroit pick they own) attached as a sweetener in a salary dump. Although I'm not surprised that Bradley's the one sent out because he's about to become a lot more expensive next year, I did think that they'd get a better deal out of it. Morris does come with an extra year of control at a cheap price and brings some needed size to a roster lacking power forwards, but his poor defensive rebounding will only make Boston's struggles in that area worse. At least his solid outside shot and passing will fit in with Brad Stevens' offense, and he's only going to be 28 this season.
It's funny, when I looked at the numbers the other day and tweeted what the Celtics could take back in salary to create the required room, the cheap deal for Morris did jump out at me, but I didn't really mention it for a couple of reasons. First, my concerns above about the fit in Boston, but I didn't think Detroit would add an asset to Morris in order to replace Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whom they could just re-sign. Turns out I was wrong about which direction the extra throw-in would be going! It would seem that Bradley was in fact brought in to replace KCP, though, since they play similar roles as lockdown defenders of either guard spot who can do a bit more offensively than typical 3-and-D players. Between trading for Bradley, signing Langston Galloway, and drafting Luke Kennard, the writing seems to be on the wall, so this year might be a trial run to evaluate what they have before deciding to pay up for Bradley next summer. Furthermore, any match of a large offer sheet for Caldwell-Pope is even more unlikely with them now only around $15 million away from the hard cap that they put on themselves by using the majority of the full Mid-Level Exception on Galloway.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017 NBA Offseason Running Blog

Are you not entertained? In a lot of ways, the NBA Offseason really is its own spectator sport with all of the competition, surprises, and drama involved, but rather than live-tweeting it, I'm going to attempt to track what's going on in this post with outside links to who broke the details and information about current salaries from BasketballInsiders.com (colors mean player option, team option, or not fully guaranteed). Being posted at 10:15 AM PST on July 1st, I've started to add in my commentary alongside my estimates of what the contracts will look like based on reports (max salaries should be pretty set in stone, though), and I'll be updating it throughout the week. The official salary cap was set at $99,093,000 last night, locking in what max salaries can start at, and now we're off!

Utah picks up Rubio before midnight hits (Jones)

Jazz get:
Ricky Rubio$14,250,000$14,950,000

Timberwolves get:
Thunder 2018 1st round pick (top-14 protected through 2020 before becoming 2020 and 2021 2nd round picks)

Ever since the Jimmy Butler trade on draft night, I tried thinking of what teams have both the need and means to acquire Rubio, and Utah stood out with their 2016/2017 cap space expiring once the new league year starts and the uncertainty around Gordon Hayward, George Hill, and Joe Ingles. Zach Lowe reported shortly afterwards that their was interest there. Deadlines spur actions, as Andrew Brandt likes to say, so when talks heated up yesterday, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Jazz secured at least part of their back court at a fair price that I accurately guessed. Now they have a point guard who is four and a half years younger, a better playmakers, a comparable defender, and cheaper than what Hill, a far superior shooter, would have cost after a failed renegotiation and extension fell through during the year. Although it is complicated with Hayward reportedly wanting Hill to stay but also sharing the same agent as Ingles, who would plunge them deep into the Luxury Tax if re-signed with the other two all at market value, this does make sure they are secured at the position ahead of their pitch for him, and in the dooms day scenario of losing their star wing, they can now rely on Rubio to run the offense with Rodney Hood and either Dante Exum, Alec Burks, or rookie Donovan Mitchell.

For Minnesota, it is unfortunate that they had to move on from a valuable player that was often the heartbeat of the team, but with Tom Thibodeau never seemingly a fan and the need for shooting around Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns, the writing was on the wall. Getting a 1st for next year, albeit with protections, is important since they owe a similarly protected pick to Atlanta from the failed Adreian Payne trade, and they have playoff aspirations next year that would mean losing it. Although Rubio had an undervalued contract for the next two years, moving him also brings their max possible cap space to over $32 million as they seek a new point guard and more shooting at forward.