NBA Chat with Joel Brigham, 7/24/2014

Join Joel Brigham this Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET to chat about all things NBA, from trade rumors and free agency rumblings to this upcoming season’s potential. Get your questions in early, and be back here Thursday afternoon to take part in all the fun!

  1. Colin

    Good afternoon Mr Brigham.
    If the Bulls indeed lose Gibson, Mirotic and McDermott in their pursuit of Love, they will have a need to find some rotation guys on minimum salaries. With most of the available free agent money drying up, the Bulls would have to be an attractive destination for guys like Marion, Garcia, Udoh and even O’Neal, wouldn’t they?

    • Joel Brigham

      Good afternoon, Basketball Insiders Family, and welcome to another edition of my weekly chat! This rollercoaster summer is still rolling long after the overwhelming majority of the major free agents have been snatched up thanks in large part to the trade talk surrounding Kevin Love, but with Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe both still on the market, we still have upper-crust free agents to worry about. July is the best, isn’t it, folks?

      As for the reported Bulls offer reported by Chris Sheridan yesterday (who we know apparently have to take very seriously after his Cleveland-to-LeBron Nostradamus work), I like it for both teams, even if it does deplete the team’s depth a little bit and robs me of one of my favorite Bulls players of all time in Taj Gibson. Bill Simmons would you tell you that you never pass on trading three quarters for a dollar bill, and that’s what this trade would be. Even at the lack of depth, I’m all for it.

      It’s not like building a team around three studs and then stacking minimum guys around them hasn’t proven to work. That’s how the best team in the Eastern Conference the last four years operated, and they got four Finals trips and two rings out of that gameplan. Getting Love gives the Bulls the offense they hoped they were getting in McDermott and Mirotic, so you can stomach that. Pau Gasol can’t play defense like Gibson, but he’s another big in the rotation around the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and to me, that’s more than enough to win the East with the other pieces they’ve got in place there.

      Plus, if that deal were made, those minimum vets would flock to Chicago looking for a ring. If you build it, they will come.

      The problem in all of this, of course, is that any Andrew Wiggins offer is more enticing. He’s got the best chance of anybody in any offer I’ve seen (including the Klay Thompson one) of being a perennial All-Star. Tough to trade him if you’re Cleveland, but that’s the most logical trade for both Love and the Timberwolves, if not, ya know, poor Andrew Wiggins.

  2. Colin

    Do you think guys like Kenyon Martin or Marcus Camby are worth a risk for a team like Chicago?

    • Joel Brigham

      Not interested. Too old. I’d rather they gamble on young D-League standouts and hope they pop. Young bodies with potential. That’s my preference.

  3. Frank

    Hi Joel,
    1) Do you believe Mayo & Ilyasova with each be with the BUCKS next season? Which is more likely to be moved ?

    2)Since KIDD was once a teammate of J.R.Smith & Shumpert would that encourage a trade of Mayo or ILY to NYK?

    • Joel Brigham

      1. Both are being shopped. Ilyasova should have been traded like three years ago, but ownership loved him so much that they wouldn’t let him go. These days he’s not quite as valuable as he used to be, but he’s still a piece that can be sold off for something. Mayo hasn’t worked out the way Milwaukee hoped he would, but his contract isn’t completely untradable and they’d certainly like to get a player back that can actually play, or at least an asset that can help them move forward with their rebuilding.

      2. JR Smith is NOT coming to Milwaukee. They want the ball in the hands of Jabari Parker and Giannis Alphabet as much usage as possible on the offensive end and Smith would eat a lot of that up. I like Shumpert, though, and he could play pretty much anywhere. Not sure I see a deal between these two teams, but the Kidd connection certainly is there. He felt strongly, I’m sure the higher-ups would consider it. I don’t see this specific recommendation happening, though. Smith is a bad fit on the young Bucks.

  4. Charlie

    Eric Bledsoe rejected a 4 year / 48 million dollar deal with Phoenix. But the problem for him is the only other team with major capspace is Philly and their 23 million. I know GM’s have learned they can trade capspace for draft picks (ala Utah). But doesn’t it make sense for the 76ers to offer Bledsoe a major contract then trade him at the deadline for 75 cents on the dollar to a team trying to make a playoff push. This way you could gain multiple young players and draft picks while only paying 1/2 of a years max salary. What do you think of the idea? And would you put in a higher bid than Phoenix’s if you were the GM of Philly?

    • Joel Brigham

      It’s a really interesting question, but with Bledsoe’s injury history, there’s a chance that he ends up hurt and then you can’t move him and a big chunk of your cap space has been eaten up. I don’t think you sign a guy to a max deal with the intention to trade him. You sign a guy to a max deal because you consider him a cornerstone of your franchise. Philly isn’t ready to spend money on big free agents just yet. By drafting Saric and Embiid they’re admitting to needing another year of bad basketball to make one more run at a high pick. Bledsoe hurts their odds there, honestly. He’s not the plan.

      If Bledsoe really wants more than $12 million a year, he may need to take the QO this season and do the unrestricted dance next summer. Teams obviously hate restricted free agents, and being unrestricted will give him more options in a year when a lot of teams are expected to have space. He’ll have more options then, even though I still think he’s a terrific fit in Phoenix, plus the training staff there is good for keeping him healthy.

  5. Dennis

    If the Golden State Warriors make the Kevin Love deal, would a Steph Curry/Kevin Martin backcourt be too exposed on defence?

    • Joel Brigham

      It’s not like Klay Thompson was All-Defense first team. Just like with Chicago, if you can get Kevin Love, you get Kevin Love, and you work out the other pieces of the puzzle later. I can’t for the life of me understand why Klay Thompson is off the table. Craziest thing.

  6. Frank

    The Toronto Raptors opted into Tyler Hansborogh’s 3.3 million dollar contract and signed James Johnson to a 2 year 5 million dollar deal. This while former draft pick Ed Davis signs for 2 years and 2 million with LA. Toronto drafted this guy in the lottery and groomed him for 2+ years before packaging him in a trade for Rudy Gay. Yet they chose these two options at more money over bringing him back. What do you think of Davis potential in the NBA? And who of the three would you have taken given the choice at equal money.

    • Joel Brigham

      Davis, without question. I think he’s the best player of the three, which makes his contract a ridiculous bargain. I’m not sure what inspired him to sign such a cruddy deal, but he’s definitely worth more than a million bucks a season. I’m with you in that he would’ve been a better fit, but Hansbrough and Johnson aren’t necessarily expensive gambles. They know the organization, too, and last year built a lot of positive momentum. Hansbrough makes sense because teams need bench guys like that, who are gritty and pains in the other teams’ butts. Johnson I’m less enthusiastic about, but the Lowry deal was one of the best of the summer. Toronto’s on the up-and-up, and I love Ujiri, so I’ll let all this play out before I judge. He’s a guy that really seems to know what he’s doing.

  7. Mac

    After watching Summer League, would you have traded the #16 and #19 draft picks for Doug McDermott?

    • Joel Brigham

      Not if I knew I could’ve gotten Garry Harris at #19. I’m not in love with Nurkic, but I still think Denver got the better of that deal, especially by throwing in Anthony Randolph. Chicago thought McDermott was the best fit for their team, though, and he looked great in Summer League, so I’m okay with how things played out. Would you trade Shabazz Muhammed and Gorgui Dieng for Trey Burke? Same thing happened a year ago and now Dieng and Burke both look solid. I think we’ll say the same about Harris and McDermott.

  8. Julian

    Reality is starting to hit Laker fans after this offseason. Kobe eats up too much of the cap, Steve Nash is washed up, and no major free agents wanted to sign in LA. So they were forced at bandaid moves such as Carlos Boozer, still haven’t hired a coach, and no one seems to have confidence in the new Buss ownership. What are the few bright spots for the Lakers this season? And where do you think Vegas will set win totals for the Lakers this year: under 30, 35, over 40?

    • Joel Brigham

      Kobe’s $24 is the biggest problem, honestly, followed closely by Nash’s money. Just too much cash invested in old, broken players. They should be grateful for the Boozer bandaid and lucking into a player as good as Julius Randle with the 7th pick. The Ed David contract was one of the nicest of the summer. But man they’re going to be bad. If Kobe’s healthy I think they can win 38-40 games, but in the West that’s nowhere near the postseason picture. They’re in for another trip to the lottery, methinks.

  9. Ricky

    If you were the GM of the Golden State Warriors, would you include Klay Thompson in a deal for Kevin Love (with no-opt in agreement) to outbid Cleveland + Chicago. Why or why not.

    • Joel Brigham

      Yes, because Kevin Love is better than Klay Thompson. As long as you’re not selling the farm, getting the best player in a deal means you win the deal. San Francisco is an awesome city, and Love’s roots are in that part of the country. They’ve got enough there to be very good for a very long time, so if Golden State won a playoff series and Love got to experience that, I think he’d re-up no problemo. Gotta take some gambles in this game, you know? This one feel like it’d be worth it.

  10. virgil

    This is the most important question I think this offseason that needs answering. So please I have asked you counterparts but no one is answering. With Steve Kerr going to phoenix, who will be the commentator on the new NBA 2k15 game?

    • Joel Brigham

      I have no clue. Reggie Miller?

  11. Oleg

    Good day sir!

    What free-agent combinations for next year would the Lakers target with their cap room? Thank you!

    • Joel Brigham

      Attaboy, Oleg. Keeping things positive. But to be frank, the Lakers won’t be set up to make another huge run at a free agent until 2016, when Kobe’s money comes off the books. That’s Kevin Durant’s year. Deron Williams, Lance Stephenson, Nic Batum, Al Horford, Joakim Noah could be up, too. I think L.A. is going to keep flexibility leading into that summer, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you who might actually be considering switching teams two years from now. Look at that list and dream. There are more here:

      http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-salaries/nba-free-agents-2016-2017/

  12. jj

    Personally I preferred love to mello all along & the thought process of improving the bulls thru depth instead of ONLY 1 high priced guy, but does the rumored proposal make sense after everyone( media) has lauded them for getting better/ deeper?
    If they make the move wouldn’t if have been a mistake to not use both picks because now you have virtually killed your depth & still need a shooting guard? do you think we have great minds in the front office????

    • Joel Brigham

      Chiacago made the best pick they could at the time, and that, in their opinion, was McDermott. They wanted him regardless of what happened with other pieces. You can’t count on the maybe stuff happening, so take the certainty in front of you now. When they lost Carmelo they signed Pau and Mirotic because those two players were the best they could do at that time. They haven’t really missed any boats completely this summer, even though also did not land the big fish. That’s good, because they’re stacked with enough assets now to leave a very strong team even after a 3-for-1. I wouldn’t say I prefer Love to Melo, but I respect them taking a shot at getting him.

      Once again, though, let’s be real: the Cavs have the better offer. Unless they make Wiggins untouchable, I can’t see Chicago winning this sweepstakes.

  13. Jon

    Have the Mavs’ off-season moves elevated them in the Western Conference?

    • Joel Brigham

      They’ve very quietly gotten much better, adding Jameer Nelson, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler. They were a middling team a year ago, but I think the additions certainly help the cause. Not a championship team, by any means, but good and deep and improved.

  14. Phil

    1) Why aren’t the Rockets actively going after Eric Bledsoe? He’s already an allstar caliber player and in my opinion, he has all the tools he needs to make the superstar jump. Crazy prediction but I see it in him.

    2) What’s next for the Rockets? After this “failure” of an offseason, where do they go from here?

    3) I’m really looking into becoming an NBA writer/analyst/journalist. What degree(s) should I persue? Where should I start off? What kind of salary should I expect? I’m really passionate about this stuff so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Joel Brigham

      1. They don’t have enough money after the Ariza contract.
      2. To Ariza, apparently. Gotta hope Harden and Dwight are enough. I don’t think they are.
      3. You’ve got to go journalism, but it’s a hard thing to break into. Even I have a “day job” because the pay is no bueno unless you’re a serious, serious big wig in the industry. I lucked into this opportunity almost a decade ago–just a right time, right place kind of situation. I was like 22 or 23 years old, so I’m the wrong guy to ask about clawing your way into the industry and becoming a huge success. I’m not paid well nor am I huge success. I just like writing about sports and I found a place where I can do that for a good-sized audience. I’m happy writing about sports, so find a place where you can do that, and hope that somebody finds you and wants to compensate you. That’s the best I can tell you. Good luck!

  15. Leno

    Hi Joel,

    What do you think about this actual Bulls roster. It remind me a lot the Spurs team (and possible the deepest in the east). Would you trade Mirotic, Doug Mc, Butler and Gibson for Kevin Love.

    • Joel Brigham

      I’m okay with it. Need someone who can create offense for himself other than Derrick and Nate Rob… I mean D.J. Aug… I mean Aaron Brooks. They’re good and well-coached and they go like 11 players deep. Hard not to see them in the Eastern Conference Finals at this point, but you never know if/when Derrick Rose will die again. It all kinda hinges on that.

      I wouldn’t trade all four, no. Take Butler out of that and the deal is reasonable. As I said earlier, I would make that deal.

  16. robb

    Do you believe the Pacers or done making moves? Would have to be a trade, but still holding out hope for a true PG.

    • Joel Brigham

      I think this is it. They’re not prying away Rondo and I’m not sure who else they’re supposed to end up with. Stuckey can replace some of what Lance did last year, but this team did not improve. They’ll still be among the East’s elite, I think, but they might have peaked around February of 2014, unfortunately. I wish them great things, but the pendulum is swinging the wrong way right now.

  17. Tinola

    Who would win most in the east n west? Who would meet in the finals? I got cavs and okc to win most games and i got bulls or heat vs the spurs in the finals. With me?

    • Joel Brigham

      Bulls are the kings of the regular season. Whatever else happens, I think they’ll win more games than anybody in the NBA next year. San Antonio has won more games than anybody else in the West more often than not over the course of the last half decade, so I’m not voting against them, either. As for the Finals, I don’t think Miami is in this conversation anymore. If not my Bulls, I’ll root for the Cavs/OKC thing, if only to see LeBron and Durant go head-to-head on the sport’s grandest stage.

  18. Sisig at kape

    How is drose doin? And whats uour take on the rockets , can they beat the spurs in 7 games?

    • Joel Brigham

      All indications are that Rose looks very strong and is in great shape, but he needs to play some basketball to fine-tune his instincts. As of right now, he’s 100% and apparently every bit as athletic as he used to be. Good signs, let’s just hope he stays that way.

      See my take on the Rockets in earlier questions, and no, I’m not picking them to beat San Antonio in a series. They’re still the best team in the West until someone proves otherwise.

  19. steppxxxz

    yeah, Im not sure bill simmons equation applies here. Love isnt all that far better than Gibson. Love never plays defense, whines a lot (sometimes via his family) and doesnt hustle on defense. Drove Rambis nuts. Ok ok, maybe there were reasons etc. But Gibson is to my mind a stud defender, part of the soul of this Bulls team. So you lose him AND butler?? And McDermott……..for a guy who is one way player. Im not buying it. Im in the minority but i think its a terrible trade. I think its likely he still ends up in the Bay area honestly because i think thats where he wants to go. Joel….youre favorite under the radar guy out of summer league?

    • Joel Brigham

      Yeah, I’ve seen the numbers of Taj as a starter versus Love and when you factor in Gibson’s two-way skills, those players really aren’t all that far apart. Love is the best player, though, and I just think that if you can get the best player in the trade, you win. Rose, Butler, Pau, Noah, and Love is a great core, and you’d still have Snell, Dunleavy, and Hinrich. I’m more confident in that team winning a championship than I am the current one. Star power wins in the NBA, so go get you some star power. It’s a harsh reality, but a reality all the same.

  20. Raj

    What du you think about lakers roaster?

    • Joel Brigham

      I think I’ve batches of Taco Bell re-fried beans that looked more appetizing.

  21. Bub

    JB – thoughts potential ROY for the upcoming season? Including Noel, I think it will be an interesting race…

    • Joel Brigham

      Bub! I hope you’re well, my friend. Miss you guys like crazy. Let’s do a fantasy league this year, yes?

      As for Rookie of the Year, there are a ton of really good guys in the mix this year, which is in stark contrast to what we saw a year ago where it was basically late round and undrafted garbage trying to keep up with Oladipo and MCW.

      Noel was a Summer League monster and is going to get a ton of minutes in Philadelphia, but I think Jabari Parker is probably the early favorite. He’s going to be asked to shoulder such an incredible amount of the scoring load there, and I think his poise and charisma will make him a favorite among voters. Noel has the flat-top going for him, but I think this is Parker’s to lose.

      Looking at it, though, you’ve got Parker, Noel, Wiggins, Randle, Mirotic, McDermott, Smart, Vonleh, Exum. So much possibility. And I just checked the Vegas odds… Noel is actually at 15/1 odds, behind Parker, Randle, Wiggins, Smart and Exum. If I were a betting man, Noel looks like the best prop.

  22. Mike

    I’ll respectfully disagree with you about Love. If he could play the three, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but getting ride of McBuckets screws up the roster. If they make the trade, Butler and Dunleavy are all you’ve got a two and three (Hinrich and Brooks at the two? Yuck.), unless Minny sticks the Bulls with Kevin Martin…and a Love/Martin duo hasn’t done a thing in Minny, has it? And I’m not convinced the Cavs, even with James and Love, are championship material. In terms of number of wins, I think the trade would be a wash, so why not stick with the depth?

    • Joel Brigham

      Don’t forget Tony Snell! And making that trade would open up roster spots for minimum vets to jump aboard. You don’t think Shawn Marion would want a piece of that action? Come home and play for his hometown team and compete for a championship in the twilight of his career? He’d be all over that. Hinrich will play some two, as well. Love it or hate it, they’ve already said they’re going to play him and Derrick together at times. And Kevin Martin can score. I think you’ve got him, Kirk and Jimmy at the 2 and Dunleavy, Snell and Jimmy at the three, with the possibility of Marion or some other swingman coming in on a minimum deal, you’d be fine. Derrick and Brooks and Kirk at the 1, Love/Pau/Joakim in the frontcourt. They’d be fine.

  23. Ray G

    Hey Joel,

    Long time reader 4th or 5th time asker.

    I don’t want the bulls to trade for Love so this question is based on if the bulls don’t get him.

    What would the frontcourt minute rotation look like. Does pau start next to noah or would he be coming off the bench?

    • Joel Brigham

      I think Pau starts. That was part of their pitch to him and he’s got seniority, I suppose. I’d still expect Taj to finish. Slot Pau for slightly more than Boozer minutes, and I think the rotation will be pretty similar to last year. I expect growing pains for Mirotic, but an injury to Pau or Noah, both of whom are injury prone, will shoot him into the rotation, too. I think there will be times when Mirotic plays a huge three, too, but we’ll see. Plenty of to work with, and the more they’re able to rest Noah, the better. All this frontcourt depth helps him more than anybody.

      Alright gang, my time is up. Thanks for all the great questions, and I look forward to doing this all again next week!

  24. Milwaukee Bucks: Ersan Ilyasova Is The Odd Man Out

    […] long before the Bucks drafted Parker, going back to the moment Herb Kohl decided to sell the team. Joel Brigham from Basketball Insiders said as much during his NBA chat when asked about Ilyasova staying with the Bucks: “Ilyasova should have been traded like […]