It’s 👀 Season!!
The Finals ended, but the NBA is 365! In the days leading up to the draft, DefinePrint Editors Jordan Smith and Quinn Kaiser are keeping a running log of all the events Draft Week has to offer including trade rumors, draft analysis, and actual trades! Updated from earliest to latest posts.
06/19/17 6:30 PM MST
Jordan Smith: The draft isn’t even here yet, but the NBA rumor mill is dropping WOJ-bombs all over NBA twitter. At the heart of the turmoil we have the NBA champion runner-ups: Cleveland Cavaliers. Quinn, what’s the atmosphere like for LeBron James’ club?
06/19/17 8:31 PM MST
Quinn Kaiser: It’s a good place to start, as within the evening (Monday, June 19th) the Cavaliers have let go of their General Manager, David Griffin, along with one of his assistants, Trent Redden. At first glance, uh oh LeBron is making moves for the Banana Boat, but James’ camp has steered clear of bad publicity pinning these moves on comic sans, Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert. This apparently after a day Griffin spent working deep into deals for Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
The cynic in me still sees this as LBJ creating some waves to drive the narrative of the wedge between himself and Gilbert. The legacy of the self-proclaimed Chosen One must be protected so the jump to Los Angeles in 2018 won’t be met with burning jerseys, but instead burning down The Q.
But, let’s entertain this at face value… would LeBron really waste a year in Cleveland without getting another All-Star, just to throw the right amount of shade on Dan Gilbert’s name? No, the Cavaliers are 100% making multiple moves this offseason whether Griffin, LeBron, or Chauncey Billups is their GM. And the story for next offseason is 100% already being written.
My favorite, probably not going to happen, move that I wish would happen, includes 4 teams and puts Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in Cleveland for one season before it’s LA or bust. The trade partner NY Knicks get Ricky Rubio, continue to alienate their fanbase, and full-steam ahead for Porzingod (3 wins for Phil Jackson! And I totally missed a chance for a triangle joke here). The Pacers end up with Kevin Love and the Timberwolves add Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye. Multiple teams say no unless there is some careful future pick movings and under the table bribing, but a fan can dream.
Back to reality, Jordan, what moves are realistic to get the Cavaliers past the Warriors?
06/20/17 6:37 AM MST
Jordan: Kevin Love for Paul George is necessary if you’re the Cleveland Cavaliers and recouping some assets for a star player that’s going to bolt anyway is necessary for the Indiana Pacers. I’m going to compile a list of pros and cons to break this down:
- Cleveland gets another player to throw at Kevin Durant and the Warriors. LeBron will be 33-years old by the time next year’s Finals roll around and if we’re blessed with Cavs-Warriors Part 4 then having a long George guard Durant, leaving LeBron to roam the floor while kinda guarding Draymond Green will allow them to play a defense similar to their 2016 Finals team.
- The Warriors would then be forced to hide Steph Curry on J.R. Smith which means we’re getting a 3-ball barrage by the Pipe God.
- Kevin Love just isn’t long for these Cavaliers anymore. Playing Love and Tristan Thompson on the floor at the same time during the Finals was just cringeworthy. Something’s gotta give.
- Love is a good value to get back for George. There’s not a team that would trade a high draft pick for a one-year rental on Paul George except for the Lakers and they’re not that stupid to repeat the mistake the Knicks made when acquiring Carmelo, right?
- Paul George gets to play with LeBron and have his closest shot at a Championship. 2 things that he’s never had.
- The Cavs organization can show that they’re working to keep LeBron this time around. I think the whispers of LeBron leaving Cleveland are much stronger than when he went to Miami because he’s finally delivered a trophy the Cleveland.
- Skip Bayless tweeted this so the opposite is definitely true:
- There’s no guarantee that Paul George would stay. He’s from Southern California and his roots are buried deep there. It might be LA or Bust for the young SF.
- The package to get George may include more than just Kevin Love and a smaller contract. The assets could be too great to give up and may require Cleveland to get a 3rd team involved like a Minnesota or Phoenix.
- Kevin Durant slid in seamlessly in Golden State, but there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t take an entire season to integrate George into the Cavs. Paul plays very well without the ball and isn’t a ball dominant star, but my guess is that he’d still want his shots which would mean less for Kyrie Irving and LeBron (though, I doubt Bron would care).
- Would the regular season even matter? Unless Boston acquires Gordon Hayward and possibly Jimmy Butler, there’s not another team with the firepower that could contend with the Warriors and a Irving-George-James Cavaliers.
Speaking of Boston, Sir Quinn, what’s our boy Danny Ainge up to?
06/20/17 2:41 PM MST
Quinn: After trading the first pick of Thursday night’s draft to Philly and finding themselves with pick 3 and an extra future first, Ainge and Company should be hammering away at deals with only two other teams, neither of which currently roster the previously mentioned all-stars, George and Butler.. Even if we didn’t already know the intent to court Gordon Hayward, this C’s roster features minutes by Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown (isn’t Jimmy Butler his ceiling?) and most likely another SF, (Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson) on draft night if they stay at pick 3. The Celtics should be in no rush to grab one of: PG13 or Jimmy Buckets.
Enter the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks. I don’t know who I’m more excited to talk about here Anthony Davis or KRISTAPS PORZINGIS is on the freaking trade market????
So, I’ll start with neither. Carmelo Anthony, anyone? Back at the February trade deadline the Celtics were among three teams Melo gave the green light to Phil Jackson to pursue trade talks with (Cavs and Clips being the other two.. Maybe Anthony just has a thing about getting C’s.. barely passing. HEY LOW BLOW.. I digress). At the time the HoopsHype rumor mill put the lack of a deal on Danny Ainge not wanting to part with any cap space before the 2017 free agency period. Well Danny Boy, we are basically here and no one will argue with a Celtics starting 5 of: Isaiah, Bradley, Jaylen, Melo and Horford… maybe Hayward will still be available if he decides to go all in with my next move that probably won’t happen, but should happen because Twitter would explode and the NBA offseason is the best:
Celtics receive: Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis
Knicks receive: any mish mash of contracts and players Phil wants plus pick 3, and two future 1sts.
Isaiah, Hayward, Melo, Zinger, Horford HOW DID THE FINALS ONLY END LAST WEEK! The only issue, the Zen Master couldn’t possibly completely hit the reset button, right? RIGHT?
Okay, reel me back in. Danny Ainge keeps telling people he is getting the player he wanted at 1, but only at pick 3. Most media believe that means he is taking Tatum and pushing his weight around in free agency. Maybe the Celtics simply make a lot of noise with trading for stars, but sit on their hands as to not panic. I.E. every trade deadline since the Brooklyn trade.
With the roster looking to be okay at SF with Brown and Crowder in case Hayward doesn’t come, the only player I can honestly see Ainge moving the 3rd pick for is Anthony Davis and try try try as much as he wants, the Pelicans just aren’t smart enough to raid the Celtics stockpile and trust the process. Davis got too good, too fast, much like LeBron’s first time in Cleveland. Sorry New Orleans, enjoy Boogie, the Brow and 40–45 wins.
The most likely scenario here is drafting Tatum, signing Hayward, and then figuring out a way to move Crowder, Avery Bradley, minimal picks and contracts to push the chips a little further towards win now mode, while maintaining a young enough core to also win later. I just wish Phil Jackson would say yes to a move of Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and a future Brooklyn pick for Porzingis.
What say ye, Young Prince? Am I missing the Jimmy Bulter move that gives the Celtics a starting 5 of Isaiah, Horford and 3 SFs?
06/20/17 3:46 PM MST
Jordan: If I’m a Knicks fan, I riot. It doesn’t even matter that Kristaps isn’t (likely) going to get traded, it’s that Phil Jackson is willing to damage the relationship with the only good thing he’s done during his time in New York. Why would Porzingis want to stay? Sure, New York is probably a dope place to play, but you’re stuck playing in an archaic system for a ‘Get Off My Lawn-type’ President of basketball operations.
If I’m a Celtics fan, I’m getting close to insanity, but not Knicks-level just yet.. At what point do you stop building for the future and actually make a move? The value of a draft pick is never as high as it is once you actually make the pick. It’s the idea of the value that makes it so valuable. You’re about to give a 5’8” point guard $200 million to play into his 30’s and if you keep the 3rd overall pick, you’re talking about a roster of Jaylen Brown, Tatum/Jackson, Crowder, and maybe Hayward if you’re serious about getting him? The only reason to crowd the roster with that many players at the same position is if you’re taking them into the depths of the TD Garden where Ainge has hired scientists to morph those players into the world’s greatest small forward. Their best move is to trade down once again or finally part with a pick to bring in an All-Star wing in Jimmy Butler.
That’s if the Cavs don’t pick him up first. It’s being reported that the Bulls are actively shopping Butler and that LeBron and Kyrie each reached out to Jimmy personally.
I haven’t been this excited for an East coast arms race since the aforementioned, sad-sack Knicks overpaid for Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
06/20/17 8:08 PM MST
CENTER TALK: The least valued position in the modern NBA has been the center (shoots for pun, swish) of the evening Trade Mill.
The Los Angeles Lakers made a big splash by dumping that God awful Timofey Mozgov contract to Brooklyn in exchange for Brook Lopez. The Nets were also able to finagle former №2 overall pick, D’Angelo Russell and the 27th pick in this year’s draft.
The Nets essentially pulled a Cleveland Browns by absorbing the Mozgov contract in order to get a draft pick in this year’s draft, since, you know, they traded them all away. And L.A. clears very obvious room for Lonzo Ball to be drafted this year and CAP SPACE FOR LEBRON JAMES AND PAUL GEORGE IN 2018. They’re serious.
In more CENTER TALK, Dwight Howard’s homecoming to Atlanta has officially been cut short. He was just dealt to the Charlotte Hornets for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and swapped their 41st pick with Atlanta’s 31st pick. Also, Dwight was hilariously traded away while doing a trade rumor Q&A on Twitter.
Not to be out done, the other L.A. team wanted to get in on the evenings’ Center rumors. The Clippers have reportedly been gauging interest for their Center, DeAndre Jordan. One team interested in acquiring the big man were the Phoenix Suns involving the №4 pick and C Tyson Chandler.
Curious if he got dealt because the ink isn’t dry on a Chris Paul deal just yet and Blake Griffin may be moving on. You think this is the signal of a teardown and rebuild, Quinn?
06/20/17 9:44 PM MST
Kawhi cut his braids off.
06/21/17 9:41 PM MST
Quinn: Sorry, I just came out of my Twitter rabbit hole to find proof that Phil Jackson is too salty about Porzingis missing his final meeting with the Knicks and will dump him for the best package Boston can get together before tomorrow night’s draft. Why can’t Knicks fans have anything nice while the Nets get a new shiny toy? I’ll get back to the Zinger trade story that won’t stop gaining steam..
But first, in response to the LA Clips roster: there is no chance new consultant, Jerry West decides to run it back. From all of the decisions or nondecisions (i.e. Klay Thompson instead of Kevin Love) West made in his time with Golden State, the biggest takeaway is that he understands where the NBA is and where it is going. Until DeAndre and Blake can space and shoot 3’s there isn’t a spot for them in West’s plans. Not to mention the cap space those two bigs are eating up while the likes of Houston, Utah and San Antonio take care of business in LA.
Unfortunately for West, there doesn’t seem to be a constant drumbeat signaling interest in Jordan and Blake could easily walk on his own. Dwight Howard getting traded by his hometown Hawks for Steve Rogers, a Captain America shield and Marco Belinelli, points out that the market for big rim protectors just isn’t what it was 2 years ago when DeAndre was being held hostage.
Time to get creative Mr. West, how about a little help?
Sign and trade Blake Griffin straight up for Carmelo Anthony. I know, I know, I’ve been pushing the Knicks to move Melo since I first bought a NBA 2k video game, but hear me out. Phil brings in a new face for Madison Square Garden to promote, a player that..TRIANGLE OFFENSE.. My bad, couldn’t help myself. I wanted to wait for that to be my third point behind Blake Griffin being a player that is well aware of his brand as Kia spokesman and comic, but the truth is Blake is a player that Phil might just want to build around, while Anthony clearly isn’t.
On the Clippers side, they don’t get any younger with this move, but it puts them halfway to the Banana Boat crew in 2018 as one best-case scenario. Another scenario, they add an all-time scorer that fits with the modern NBA and has the ceiling of a top 10 player in the league once he gets out of NY and into a situation with a championship hungry best friend in Chris Paul.
As for DeAndre Jordan, how about a trip to Sacramento for pick 10, Skal Labissiere (a 6’11” 21-year old with a sweet jumper), and something to make the contracts work out? It might be an initial loss, but would allow the Clippers to be cap flexible going into free agency with two young, highly skilled players on limited contracts, in place of DeAndre.
CP3, Melo, Skal, some picks to go get Malik Monk or sit back to get the best 7-footer available to rotate with Skal… and cap room to play? Sounds like the beginnings of a roster fit (financially and competitively) for a King and DWade in 2018.
Time for the East Coast to rest… please god let Phil Jackson be in bed. Tomorrow is a big day for the Process, Danny Ainge’s 3rd pick, Twitter and Jerry West. 7 hours until LeBron is up and in the gym, 19 hours until the 2017–18 season goes full emoji. Jordan, wake me up if Kristaps is headed out.
06/22/17 9:03 AM MST
Jordan: I agree in that I feel like it’s Melo’s destiny to end up with the Clippers as a 2 pivotal quarters of the Banana Boat crew team up. Melo can even rehab his image by being the new wingman in those ridiculous State Farm commercials is DeAndre is shipped off. However, my only issue with DeAndre being moved is the team. I don’t think the Kings acquire DeAndre because they already have their own version of Jordan in Willie Cauley-Stein.
With that said, I can also see the Kings doing exactly that and trying to run DeAndre and Cauley-Stein on the floor at the same time zigging hard while the rest of the league is zagging. The Kings are sadly right up there with the Knicks as the league’s saddest franchise. I have to throw the Timberwolves and Pelicans in there, too, because they both posses generational talents and still can’t win over 34 games.
Sad Team Power Rankings:
- New York Knicks- Phil Jackson wants to trade Kristaps Porzingis and run an offense that requires an off-ball point guard, which is a foreign concept in this league.
- New Orleans Pelicans- Lost Chris Paul, built a terrible roster, will likely lose Anthony Davis, they’re called the Pelicans and the front office gets flipped more times than a bad mattress.
- Sacramento Kings- Vivek Ranadive, Vlade Divac, terrible trades, and are in every talk to get bought and sold. Hopefully that new state of the art arena will keep them there for a long time.
- Minnesota Timberwolves- Lost KG because they couldn’t win, were forced to trade Kevin Love because they couldn’t win, have great young talent, but still can’t win. Basically the Wolves haven’t won anything significant in 13 years.
- Orlando Magic- I know they’ve been to a Finals a lot more recently than everyone else on this list, but look at how many times their hope has been at peak levels and then plummeted. They lost the Shaq and Penny Hardaway combo, they lost Dwight, they lost Tracy McGrady, and lost in the 2009 Finals. It’s been 5 years since the Dwightmare and it’s not looking any better.
06/23/2017 4:11 PM MST
Jordan: Well, the week is winding down and it’s been super fun and I’m crawling out of the bunker until the next barrage of Woj-Bombs. The biggest move on draft night had to have been the Jimmy Butler trade from Chicago to Minnesota. The Timberwolves gave up the №7 overall pick, Kris Dunn, and Zach LaVine on 1 and a half ACL’s while receiving Butler and the №16 pick from Chicago. That’s right, they flipped picks! Chicago got fleeced without the pick swap, but with that as part of the deal they’ll be in the basement for quite a while. This isn’t the deal you make if you’re really committing to a rebuild. You need every asset you can and not being able to keep that 16th pick doesn’t help.
Chicago’s roster is in flux. I need them to free my boy Dwyane Wade. They should also figure out what to do with Rondo whom they can buyout for $3 million before his $13.9 mil is guaranteed on June 30th. Yeah, I’d let him walk. So then you’d have a team of Wade, Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis and I don’t know, Cameron Payne, I guess? The point guard that was a DNP coach’s decision during the playoffs.
Minnesota’s a winner here. Their payroll was about to take a giant hit with Wiggins likely commanding the max soon and Karl Anthony-Towns up after. Just not enough space to justify giving LaVine a max that he very well could ask for himself. Butler is a flight risk when his contract is up in 2 years, but the Wolves won’t have to give him the super max deal his original team could’ve offered him if he stays. My instincts tell me that Butler isn’t in the same situation as Paul George and where he goes next. What I mean by that, is that Butler played his college ball at Marquette in our good old homestate of Wisconsin, spent his first 6 years of pro ball in the Windy City and now is in Minneapolis. Maybe he’ll get tired of the cold midwest or maybe he’s just used to it by now. Butler’s in his prime and a top-15 player back playing with his former coach. Wiggins and Butler can alternate on the guarding the top perimeter player on an opposing team (cough, something the Cavs need to consider if they want to bring in Paul George, cough).
Let’s draft recap next. Any thoughts before we bounce out of here?