NBA Rumors Chat With Steve Kyler – 1/23/17

Basketball Insiders Publisher Steve Kyler will hold his weekly chat at 11:00am EST on Mondays. Drop in your questions regarding NBA trades, the NBA Draft, roster moves or questions about your team.

  1. Wendy

    Hi Mr. Kyler!
    The Mo Williams signing/waiving just missed Larry Coon’s chat day, but I was wondering if you know why they did it. The article states that it brings the 76ers closer to the floor (okay I get that), but also that they “will save an extra $1.1 million this season with its move to claim Williams, denying the Nuggets from the same amount of savings”.
    I can understand using that floor money to claim guys to use as chips if they have to spend that money anyway, but I don’t get why waiving him will end up saving them money (or how it would have saved Denver money).
    Thanks as always for the chats!

    • Steve Kyler

      Welcome in everyone. I hope the week was good to you. There are lots of things in the queue so let’s get after them

      So, let’s start with this. Any money under the floor gets paid out to the existing roster players.

      So, in claiming a contract like Mo Williams, basically, the team that ends up with him pays the balance of his contract. As of today, he’s owed $1.032 million in actual cash. However, the cap value of his contract is $2.194 million. Meaning the team that gets him gets to count $2.194 million towards hitting the cap floor, while only having to write a $1.032 million check – hence what that’s called saving because the team avoids paying that to their current roster being under the cap floor.

      Keep in mind the NBA fixed this loophole in the new CBA, so this will be the last year of that situation being possible. Going forward actual cash paid is what will count towards meeting the cap floor.

  2. Jesus Naves

    Aaron Gordon is playing very well lately, especially his defense is so valuable. The offensive output is inconsistent, but he is still young. What are you thinking will his ceiling be? And how are the Magic planning to go on with him?

    I came across following comparison:
    Leonard 3rd season: 13pt 6reb 2ast in 30min – with Pop/Spurs and great culture to develop
    AG 3rd season: 12pt 5reb 2ast in 27min – with 4 Coaches, position change
    also the PER36 stats are comparable

    and he is one year younger than Kawhi was. I think the future is bright for the kid!

    • Steve Kyler

      There are many things wrong with trying to compare Gordon with Kawhi – namely the roles each play is very different. But I’ll concede a couple of things. Arron is still really young in his NBA career, and he’s got a very high ceiling.

      As for the future, who knows who will be shaping the future. Given where the team is at I think it’s fair to speculate that Rob Hennigan might be in real trouble. If the Magic change things in the off-season, then all bets are off on what the future of the team looks like.

      There are a dozen reasons for the Magic to be impatient about the rebuild, namely, it’s time to start renewing corporate sponsorships, and that’s hard to do when you are not having success.

      Most of the higher dollar deals were done when the Magic were in the playoffs, so there is some pressure to right the ship and not embark on another protracted rebuild. To achieve that, the Magic may have to sell off their remaining youth.

      I don’t think there is anything carved in stone at this point, other than try and make this season work. Hard to think about the future when you are 18-28 and have dropped eight of your last ten games.

  3. Luke

    Are you hearing anything on possible points guards that are going to become available other than rubio? The bulls need help MCW and Rondo just are not cutting it.

    • Steve Kyler

      Not sure there is an answer for the Bulls in trade. I think the Pelicans have to make some decisions on Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Rubio is out there. I have heard Darren Collison mentioned. We’ll see what the Magic do with their guards – they have been hit with some injuries lately.

  4. Mike Fort

    Hello Steve,
    Would a package of Gordon, Hezjona and a 1st round pick net an all star? It is high time for the Magic to fix this deal. The team tanked and traded players for nothing. It has been basketball malfeasance. I believe Alex Martins is the main problem.

    • Steve Kyler

      Not likely. All-Stars don’t get traded.

      Could the Magic move say a Serge Ibaka and get back a promising guy, maybe. I think Toronto would have to look at that, even if it cost them say a Terrence Ross.

      I do not agree with you on Alex Martins, mainly because I understand how they got here. As I have said in previous chats, things changed for the Magic pretty drastically.

      They got together after last season and did an honest assessment of where they were as a team and decided that it was going to take too long to develop the young guys. They’d have to start handing out $100m deals before they knew what guys were.

      They decided it was better to sign more proven guys with that money and try and jumpstart the rebuild, hence the moves they made.

      This was not an Alex Martins directive. This was the team making that decision as a collective. Rob picked these guys.

      The moves did not pan out. It happens, and there will likely be a change in the off-season. Keep in Mind Hennigan has one more year on his deal. It’s likely that the Magic give this the deadline and maybe the off-season to see if this works.

      We’ll see. I don’t disagree that the Magic need to make some changes, but I also don’t think the Magic have much other teams want, at least not at value. If you are giving away Elfrid Payton or Nicola Vucevic teams would take them in a heartbeat, but would a team give value in return? I am not sold they would.

  5. JimInCyberspace


    Lots of trade smoke…fire anywhere?

    Van Gundy reassures Reggie Jackson by texting him that this is crazy season, and we’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio. That’s always what “they” text just before they trade “you” for Ricky Rubio. 😉 Can’t trust management when it comes to trade rumors.

    Does Melo get traded? It could be a good thing for both Melo and the Knicks. Although I”m not too sure Melo has the fire in his gut or D required to compete for an NBA Championship? He seems content to collect his paycheck from Dolan at this point.

    • Steve Kyler

      A couple of comments…

      #1 – I genuinely believe Stan believes what he is saying. I have experienced this with a number of teams. Nos become Yes’ pretty quick. Think about last year, everyone knew the Pistons needed to trade Brandon Jennings, Stan said for weeks he didn’t think Brandon would be traded and then he got offered Tobias. I don’t think Stan was lying when he said that about Brandon, it’s just that the right offer changes the algebra on a trade quickly. The difference with Stan and other GM types is, they don’t have to address the media three times a day and Stan won’t play the BS game, he’s gonna say what he’s thinking.

      #2 – I don’t think Melo approves a trade mid-season. If things continue to go bad, I think its more likely in the summer when he can direct the process. Keep in mind Melo wants to be in New York. He is settled in his life. His family is settled and he likes being the face of the Knicks. I think it’s more likely that Jackson is gone rather than Melo, but it’s a possibility.

      Lastly, Carmelo is not a paycheck player. He wants to win in New York but he does not build the team, they keep appointing others to do that.

  6. Hoopsworld Fan

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your chats. Do you think any other team will take on Chris Bosh after the Heat waive him? Seems like the new CBA deals with this tricky issue, however, the Heat could potentially be on the hook if another team signs Chris. As an aside, I’ve often thought of Chris as one of the more thoughtful and cerebral players in the NBA – it is hard to see him risking his long term health.

    One more question: Chris Bosh, first ballot HOF?

    • Steve Kyler

      I do think a team takes a chance on Bosh, but only after they get a full understanding of what’s going with him health wise. Keep in mind Blood thinners are not a small thing, it’s a huge thing and I don;t think any team in the NBA green lights him to play while on blood thinners.

      That said if it seems like Chris has progressed enough where they can consider taking him off the meds, I think a team would spend the minimum on him to see if he can play again.

      As for the Hall of Fame, not really my thing, but I’ll say the Basketball Hall is the easiest of all the pro sports to get into and Bosh has a great resume.

  7. Deven

    What I love and respect about Kawhi’s game is after a very exciting play, he has no antics. Has he always been that focused? He makes some great plays, he can go crazy, make faces at the camera, but he’s always laser-focused and is always solid. Where did that come from?

    • Steve Kyler

      He has always been that way. He’s just wired differently than most. He;s the kind of guy that comes to work in a sweatshirt hoodie putting in a full day and goes home. He’s not a lifestyle guy. He does not want attention. He’s a little shy and little reserved.

      I spent some time with him during the draft process and if he said ten words in an hour conversation it was a lot. He’s just not built for the limelight which is why he fits so perfectly in San Antonio.

  8. Spaceman


    Always enjoy your chats. Portland seems primed to mix things up as the season as not unfolded as hoped, yet I haven’t heard much on the trade front.

    Are you hearing any specific players Portland is targeting? Any Blazers that are drawing significant interest from other teams?

    • Steve Kyler

      The Blazers have recently shaken up the rotation trying to find some juice, so we’ll see who they’d ultimately move. Was talking with someone close to that situation yesterday and they didn’t seem optimistic on the trade value of the non-named guys (Damian and McCollum).

      The Blazers have been linked to big guys, so we’ll see I am not sold they can make a splashy move.

  9. Spaceman

    Nurkic seems like a sure bet to be moved. What does the market look like for him / what have you heard Denver is looking for in return?

    Starting level player + late first round pick? Young player + a pick?


    • Steve Kyler

      My understanding is the Nuggets and Nurkic’s agents are working on finding a place that’s good for Nurkic. This is not a case of trying to hold the guy hostage in a trade. I was told Nuggets looking for fair draft value or a good rookie scale guy in return. So I wouldn’t expect a ton. Everyone knows the Nuggets have to make a deal on this.

  10. Spaceman

    The HEAT already have 2 All-NBA talents in Whiteside and Tyler Johnson, who can we get to complete the Big 3 and return to a top team in the East?

    • Steve Kyler

      I am not sure I agree with your assessment of the HEAT guys as All-NBA. But they have pieces to start with.

      The HEAT can get out of the Bosh deal at some point this year,t hat will open roughly $20 million in cap space. They could move Dragic and get to the mid 30’s. That’s a good place to be in signing proven guys.

      The HEAT likely come out of the draft with a top 4-5 guy and when you combine that with what’s there, they should be in a good place for a quick rebuild.

  11. Mark

    What’s Philly’s asking price in a Nerlens Noel trade? Any teams close to getting a deal done here?

    • Steve Kyler

      I continue to hear that teams are not overly interested in giving up an asset for the privilege to pay Nerlens in July. Maybe that changes, but this story has been the same all year.

      I spoke with people near that situation yesterday and there is nothing on deck with Nerlens.

  12. badax33

    Sorry if I was overly critical of the Kings. I’m not a King’s fan, I’m a Celtic’s fan, but I like the Kings and they have such fantastic fans they deserve more. The Kings won’t make the playoffs this year and with teams like Minn, Phoenix and Denver on the rise, the future doesn’t look good. I still believe the Kings are doomed and most of it is management. Last year their moves to create Cap Space and the resulting signings failed and they still have their 2019 1st round pick to give up. Why would the Kings give Koufus 4yrs/32M when they already had Boogie and just drafted WCS? I understand Rondo, hoping that he could unlock Boogie and give them good PG play. At least, they only gave him a 1-year deal. Their drafting has been horrible, and for some reason they keep drafting big men when the NBA is going smaller. I understand the BPA but there is also drafting by tiers and I can’t believe that Big men were the only players in the available tier. Of course, they won’t have a first round pick this year (goes to Chicago) and 2019 is owed to Philly.And they won’t have all that much Cap space. I’ve checked several sites and most have them with around 20M. Now they can create more by letting Ben McLemore go. They would have had more but the injury to Rudy Gay is a killer. I can’t see him option out after tearing his Achilles. And I’m sure they’ll sign Boogie to a 6yr/210M contract, then use every bit of Cap Space and miss the playoffs again next year and the year after. Eventually, they’ll have to bring in someone like Jerry Colangelo to clear everything out and get them on solid footing. And it’s a shame because Sacramento is just a great basketball town and had to fight so hard to keep their team.

    • Steve Kyler

      Not sure I see the question.

      I will say this. The Kings are in a tough spot with the Rudy Gay contract because if he opts in and they do give Cousins that Designated veteran deal, they may not have meaningful cap space, which is why they need to trade for some guys with Bird Rights before the deadline.

      I don’t think you can blame all the Kings problems on the current management, but I do think it’s clear they are also not the solution either. Ownership is a big part of the problem too. Until those things get solved I doubt the Kings turn the corner.

      Also, Colangelo is not the answer.

  13. tiger wave

    what do you think about the lakers in general? kupchak, the buss family and their drama, the lakers future?

    • Steve Kyler

      I think the Lakers have a promising future. They need to resist the temptation to try and fast-track. Their window is not right now. They can’t trade or sign their way into a roster that competes with the Warriors, Spurs or Rockets, so they should understand they have two maybe three years to set this team up before their window is real.

      As for Kupchak and the Buss family. It is what it is. Not sure it’s the most functional situation in basketball, but it is whats it is.

  14. tiger wave

    if your the lakers gm this summer, should you buy free agents or try to
    get picks?

    • Steve Kyler

      No mutually exclusive. The Lakers can and likely will do both.

      I do think they have to be smarter in free agency than they were this summer, but we’ll see.

  15. Raphael de Aguiar Brandão

    Hi Sir

    The fans of the Lakers, like me, all the time talk about trading veteran players like Lou and Nick and of course Mozgov. (Some of them less patients here in Brazil talk about trading the boys).

    Lou probably will not be part of the rebuilding of the team in the future. His contract expires next year and he should ask for more than the current 7M.

    The Toronto Raptors have two late first-round draft picks next year (TOR and LAC). And in my opinion with Lou and Ross coming off the bench they can become an even better team.

    Norman Powell is a good player, even defensively, something the Lakers really need,young, athletic,has a good shoot, but he does not have so many minutes on the court because he is DeMar DeRozan’s reserve and when he plays he is overshadowed by Terence Ross.

    Do you think it would be possible to involve Lou in a trade for one of those picks + Norman Powell ?? Could we imagine this scenario?

    Would both teams win with this trade in your opinion?

    And how about Nick what do you see Lakers could earn in a trade??? How worthy is Young in the current market??

    Another one sir. With that last shame against Dallas and embittering the last position of the west the Lakers Front Office could change their mind and starting searching for trades of the veterans??

    Thanks a lot!

    Have a nice day!

    • Steve Kyler

      I don’t think Lou is going back to Toronto.

      Equally Toronto is very high on Norman Powell, enough so that they might be willing to move Terrence Ross for the answer to the playoff puzzle.

      As for the other items. Not sure anyone wants Nick Young. I think Laker fans need to accept that management likes having Lou Williams around. As for trades. I think it’s always possible, but Kupchak keeps saying its not necessary.

  16. Danny C

    Which 2017 lottery projected lottery pick has most potential to be a star, and which has the most potential to bust in your opinion? (I understand it’s also up to situation and other circumstances)

    • Steve Kyler

      I am a big fan of Markelle Fultz. I am not as high on Lonzo Ball as others, but he could be special. I think Dennis Smith is being way undervalued by many. I think Jonathan Isaac is being a little overvalued because of how good he looks at FSU. I think he’ll be good but I caution people to lower the bar a little.

      I think Frank Ntilikina could be really good at this level and not being talked about enough. I think Harry Giles is being projected a bit too low. I think Tyler Lydon might be a nice sleeper late in the first.

  17. Pete

    What free agents would have gotten a big contract last summer, but this summer will get far less? With the money being more scarce this summer, will that create a bigger trade market or hinder it? Thanks

    • Steve Kyler

      I don’t really look at the world like that.

      Each market is a little different, we had so much money that had to be spent and so few guys to spend it on it drove prices why up. I think think the top tier guys are still going to get silly money and I think the rise in all the exceptions are going to may $8-$9 million deals the norm.

      As for who wouldn’t have gotten what – not something I have thought about.

  18. Joe

    Sixers still talking to teams? Also, who do you see likely to be moved first, out of Noel & Okafor?

    • Steve Kyler

      Yes, Sixers still active in the market. They are not close to anything from what I understand.

      I think in the end both Noel and Okafor are moved. The urgency is to move Noel. If it gets to the summer they lose the ability get something for him. They have more time on Okafor.

  19. Maku

    Seems like that Bulls will move Mirotic and Rondo.I believe Niko still has some value but wuestion is-what team will decide to sign guy like Rondo?do you think that Orlando or Nets might be involve in this trade?

    • Steve Kyler

      No, I don’t think Orlando looks at Rondo. The Nets are a maybe, but I don’t think they need to do that.

      My understanding is there is no trade market for Rondo. He’s not staying in his deal and the Bulls won;t take on salary to move him off. He might be a buyout guy after the deadline, but my understanding is nothing there on Rondo.

      As for Nike, he;s going to be a free agent so that weighs in and he’s not producing. Most teams won’t buy on the past at a premium.

  20. Chris

    Hi Steve,

    The Trailblazers appear to be a disaster with no clear path out. Their roster is just horribly constructed. They have a roster with a bunch of “OK, kind of OK and not so OK” rotation players plus Dame and CJ. Both guards are supremely gifted offensively but with limited size and defensive ability. By most defense and rebounding metrics the team is just really bad. So what could be a path to fixing the roster?

    I don’t know that trading a couple of players for a Tyson Chandler or Noel etc. alters the reality that it’s hard to be a top winning team with Dame and CJ as your backcourt.

    I don’t know how you turn Harkless, Leonard, Crabbe, Turner, Aminu, Davis, Plumlee, Vonleh et al into an impact player.

    Because of CJ’s super low contract this year and super high contract next year, it seems like it would be very tough to trade him at the deadline this year for good value.

    So that leads me to the conclusion that the only way to really change the arc of this team this year would be to trade Lillard. I know that you generally would just say – “I haven’t heard that discussed at all.” And I’m sure this isn’t being considered. But do you think it should be?

    It’s a tough step for Portland, but do you think they would be better off if they could swap Lillard for someone like Hassan Whiteside?

    To me a starting lineup of CJ, Crabbe, Harkless, Aminu and Whiteside (all signed longterm except Aminu) looks a lot better than what it is now.

    • Steve Kyler

      Umm… no scenario in which Portland trades Lillard. I doubt they listen on McCollum. Everyone else, very open to discussion.

      There is no question this team is a mess, but they took the chance that the same magic from last year would carry them this year and it hasn’t Most of the money spent was making sure the Blazers had big dollar trade chips and they’ll start shifting those chips into other salary.

      I don’t think Portland has anything Miami wants and I really don;t buy the idea of Miami moving Whiteside.

  21. Chris

    Any updates on the trade front with the Lakers? Last time I believe you mentioned them possibly trading a young asset. Coming off worse loss in franchise history…desperate for star player. What do you think?

    • Steve Kyler

      I don’t think a single game influences a decision as important as roster change. If you are that reactionary in this business you will fail.

      Will the Lakers move a guy, I think they would but I think it’s all about the return and the situation. This team is not playing for anything other than experience. You only make a move if it helps you achieve the goal of getting better for the future.

  22. Chris

    Thoughts on D’Angelo Russell? Can he become the franchise player the Lakers are looking for? Anything going on behind the scenes?

    • Steve Kyler

      I have never been as high on Russell as others were, but he’s progressing. Rember he’s a sophomore. Few guys become who they’ll be in 114 games. I think he is trending in the right direction but to put the whole team on him may not be fair yet.

      He’s a good block to built with.

  23. Fabrice Munyakazi

    Should the blazers hold onto CJ mccolumn or Dame Lillard? does a trade of either player make the blazers better in the short term?

    • Steve Kyler

      I don’t think you ever get better trading an All-Star caliber guy. You never get fair return.

      I do think the Blazers need to pull the trigger and get those guys some help.

      Guys… I am out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Make sure you are following me on Twitter (@stevekylerNBA). See you all next week.