With the Feb. 8 Trade Deadline quickly approaching, Basketball Insiders is running a series of positional breakdowns for trade candidates; David Yapkowitz has already covered point guards here. In the series’ second installment we’ll be looking shooting guards. A glut of two-guards are seemingly up for grabs at this point in the season, but who are the biggest bargains and the most likely to be on the move? Take a look.
1. Tyreke Evans — $3,290,000
Tyreke Evans is the perfect trade candidate for the Memphis Grizzlies. Not only should he net them a significant return, but Evans’ contract — a low-cost deal that expires after the season — is easily movable.
Evans is in the midst of perhaps the best season of his career, and certainly one of his healthiest. Sporting averages of 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, five assists and one steal per game, the Sixth Man of the Year candidate can do a little bit of everything for a squad looking to add some punch off their bench as teams begin to look toward the postseason. The Grizzlies have been a wreck this season in the absence of point guard Mike Conley and, with Memphis likely gunning for draft assets as they look to retool and add youth to the roster, it only makes sense to move Evans while they can.
2. Lou Williams — $7,000,000
Like Evans, Lou Williams can do a little bit of everything and has been a major asset for the Los Angeles Clippers; he has been their best, most consistent player up to this point in the season. While his contract is a little heftier than Evans’, most teams wouldn’t blink at the opportunity to add Williams’ 23.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game averages to their bench.
The Clippers, with a record of 23-23, sit on the Western Conference playoff bubble and just a half-game back of the eighth seed. With just two weeks until the Trade Deadline, the Clippers may opt to hold on to Williams should they believe they can make a postseason run. But, should they stumble and decide to sell off some pieces, Williams could be one of the first to go. He very well could be the best addition of trade season.
3. Garrett Temple – $8,000,000
Garrett Temple isn’t nearly the same type of add that Evans and Williams are, but he is certainly an intriguing trade chip for the Sacramento Kings and a good bench add for any playoff contender.
Temple is currently averaging 8.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 36.7 percent from three. While he doesn’t provide the same offensive firepower that others can, he is a reliable shooter and is certainly capable of providing a spark off the bench. The Kings will likely be motivated to move him in order to get more minutes for younger players Bogdan Bogdanovic and Malachi Richardson, so he could likely be had on the cheap as well.
4. Rodney Hood — $2,386,864
Not many players that provide the same combination of low cost and high offensive upside that Rodney Hood does are currently available. Averaging a career-high 16.7 points per game on 41.3 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent from three (also a career-high) for the Utah Jazz, Hood can create his own offensive and can be a game changer off the wing.
A player that can start or come off the bench if need be, Hood could certainly be had for a more than reasonable price given his contract and the fact that the Jazz are actively trying to move him. For the playoff squad with an offensively starved bench on a tight budget, Hood could certainly be the play rather than more expensive options in Evans and Williams.
5. Jeremy Lamb — $7,000,000
With the Charlotte Hornets falling towards the backend of the Eastern Conference, head coach Steve Clifford needs to consider getting more minutes for rookies Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon. However, with the team unlikely to move Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb would seem the odd man out in the rotation should Clifford want to take a look at the younger guys.
Lamb is averaging career highs in points (14.1), rebounds (4.7), assists (2.3) and three-point percentage (36.1 percent) while playing just over 25 minutes per game. Like Hood, Lamb can start or come off the bench and can provide instant offense. Lamb has been impressive for the Hornets this season, and could definitely net them some draft capital to aid in a rebuild that they have seemingly been stuck in for more than a few seasons.
6. Jordan Clarkson — $11,562,500
Jordan Clarkson getting moved is almost an inevitability for the Los Angeles Lakers, who will likely look to position themselves to make a free agent splash next offseason. The only thing holding Clarkson and the team back, however, is his contract.
Clarkson is set to make over $11 million this season, with salary increases in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. That doesn’t necessarily preclude him from being moved at the deadline, but it will be difficult for the Lakers to find a team willing to take on that kind of salary. Clarkson, averaging 14.4 points, three rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, can certainly be an effective scorer and playmaker off the bench. Moving Clarkson also clears up more minutes for rookie Josh Hart as well.
A plethora of shooting guards are available at this point in the season and, while these six may present the most intriguing options, there are plenty of others that could be moved. Make sure to check back with Basketball Insiders for the other positional breakdowns throughout the week and for the latest news and rumors as the deadline approaches as well.
NBA Daily: 2018 NBA Mock Draft – 3/20/18
With most of the major NBA draft prospects eliminated from March Madness, things in the mock draft world are starting to get interesting.
A Lot of Mock Movement
With the race to the bottom in full swing in the NBA and the field of 64 in college basketball whittled down to a very sweet sixteen, there has been considerable talk in NBA circles about the impending 2018 NBA Draft class. There seems to be a more consistent view of the top 15 to 20 prospects, but there still seems to be a lack of a firm pecking order. Arizona’s Deandre Ayton seems like to the prohibitive favorite to go number one overall, but its far from a lock.
It’s important to note that these weekly Mock Draft will start to take on more of a “team driven” shape as we get closer to the mid-May NBA Combine in Chicago and more importantly once the draft order gets set. Until then, we’ll continue to drop our views of the draft class each Tuesday, until we reach May when we’ll drop the weekly Consensus Mock drafts, giving you four different views of the draft all the way to the final decisions in late June.
Here is this week’s Mock Draft:
Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:
The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer. The Brooklyn Nets traded several unprotected picks to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trades in 2015.
The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers’ 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015. The 76ers traded that pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the draft pick trade that became Markelle Fultz before the draft; it has 2 through 5 protections and based on the standings today would convey to Philadelphia.
The LA Clippers are owed the Detroit Pistons first-round pick in 2018 as a result of the Blake Griffin trade. The pick is top four protected and based on the current standings would convey.
The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would convey.
The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.
The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.
The Chicago Bulls are owed the New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick as a result of the Nikola Mirotic trade. The pick is top-five protected and based on the current standings would convey.
The LA Lakers are owed the Cleveland Cavaliers first-round pick as a result of Jordan Clarkson/Larry Nance Jr. trade. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Jazz/Wolves Ricky Rubio trade this past summer. The Jazz acquired the pick as part of the Thunder’s deal to obtain Enes Kanter in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.
The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors’ first-round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.
The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.
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NBA Daily: Jonathan Isaac Proving to be Key Part of Orlando’s Future
Basketball Insiders spoke with Jonathan Isaac about his rookie season, injuries, areas to improve on, his faith and more.
On January 13, the Orlando Magic were eliminated from playoff contention. This date served as a formality as the team has known for quite some time that any postseason hopes had long since sailed. The Magic started the year off on a winning note and held an 8-4 record in early November. However, the team lost their next nine games and never really recovered.
Many factors play a role in a young but talented team like the Magic having another season end like this. Injuries to franchise cornerstone Aaron Gordon as well as forward Evan Fournier and forward Jonathan Isaac magnified the team’s issues.
Isaac, a rookie selected sixth overall in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, started the season off reasonably well. On November 10, in 21 minutes of action, he registered an 11-point, six-rebound, one-assist, one-steal, two-block all-around effort against the Phoenix Suns to help the Magic get to that 8-4 record. Isaac then suffered an ankle injury midway through his next game and wouldn’t play again until December 17, by which time the team was already 11-20 with athe season quickly going sideways. From November until March, Isaac would only play in three games until finally returning to consistent action in the month of March with the season all but decided.
Basketball Insiders spoke to Isaac recently to discuss how he has pushed through this season, staying healthy, his impressive skill set and more.
“I’ve had a lot of time off from being injured so, I think my body is holding up fine along with how much I’ve played. I haven’t played a full season,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders “I feel good. I feel good.”
Isaac talked about what part of his game he feels strongly about and has improved on.
“I think defensively,” Isaac said. “I didn’t expect myself to make strides defensively like I have. I’ve been able to just be able to just do different things and help this team defensively and I didn’t expect that coming in so, that would be the one thing.”
Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise of Isaac’s defense and also focused on the rookie’s great defensive potential.
“His defense is out of this world. I mean it’s really something else,” Vogel said. “Just watch him play and everybody’s getting a taste of it right now. They haven’t seen him a whole lot but he’s an elite defender right now at 20-years old and the sky’s the limit for what he can be on that end of the floor.
While Isaac hasn’t logged a huge number of minutes on the floor this season, he has impressed in his limited action. As Coach Vogel stated, anyone who has taken the time to watch Isaac play this season has noticed his ability to guard other big men and his overall defensive impact.
“I think I’ve been able to do a good job on most of the people that I’ve had to guard,” Isaac said.
Missing Isaac’s defense impact and overall contributions partially explains why the Magic cooled off after their hot start. However, with the playoffs no longer an option, younger players like Isaac now have the opportunity to play with less attention and pressure. While it can be argued that the Magic aren’t really playing for anything, the truth is these late-season games can be an opportunity to develop these younger players and determine what to work on during the offseason.
There is more to Isaac than just basketball, however. Isaac discussed other parts of his life that are important to him, including religion and his faith.
“[M]y faith in Jesus is something that I put a lot of emphasis on,” Isaac told Basketball Insiders. “It’s a part of me.”
Isaac did not hesitate to credit his faith when asked if it helped him push through his injuries.
“I would say definitely,” Isaac said. “Especially with getting injured so early in the season and being out for 40 games. That’s a lot on somebody’s mental capacity and then just staying positive, staying joyful in times where joy doesn’t seem like it’s the right emotion to have. And I definitely [attribute] that to my faith.”
Looking forward, both Vogel and Isaac discussed the future and what the young big man can improve on.
“Offensively, he’s grown in confidence, he’s gained so he’s going to give us a big lift and our future’s bright with him,” Vogel stated.
Isaac gave a hint of his offseason training plans when asked what he looks forward to working on.
“I would say consistency with my jump shot. Really working on my three-ball and I would say ball-handling,” Isaac stated.
When asked if there was anything more he wanted to add, Isaac simply smiled and said, “Oh no, I think I got to get to church right now,” as the team prepared to play later that evening.
Tyronn Lue’s Health Concerns Latest Bump In The Road For Cavaliers
Spencer Davies outlines Tyronn Lue’s decision to take a leave of absence to deal with health issues and covers the reaction around the NBA.
The win-loss record is not where they want it to be.
The performances have not been up to par with what they expect.
With that said, one thing is for certain: There is no other team that will have been more battle tested going into the playoffs than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Day after day and week after week, there’s always something going on with the team. Between in-house arguments, on-court miscommunication, roster turnover, and more, it has been one giant roller coaster of a season.
Monday morning, another twist was added to the ride. In a statement released by the Cavaliers organization, Tyronn Lue and general manager Koby Altman announced that the head coach would be taking a leave of absence to address his health:
“After many conversations with our doctors and Koby and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.
“I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is. While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team.
“I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards. I greatly appreciate Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, our medical team and the organization’s support throughout.”
There were multiple instances where Lue either missed part of a half or an entire game this season. The symptoms are definitely not to be taken lightly. According to a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lue attempted to return to the bench Saturday night in Chicago but the team didn’t allow him to. Evidently, Lue was “coughing up blood” some nights.
Seeing it first hand after postgame press conferences, Lue was visibly exhausted and stress could likely be playing a part. He’s been fighting through the tough times the team has been going through and avoided stepping away twice this season.
Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford had his own battle with health problems earlier this season and temporarily left the team for those reasons. He has attempted to reach out to Lue, a friend and former player of his.
Other head coaches around the league—Joe Prunty, Steve Kerr, and Luke Walton—have all gone to bat for Lue when discussing the rigors of an NBA schedule and the toll it takes.
Altman supports the decision for Lue to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
“We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues,” he said.
LeBron James is glad that Lue is going to take some time to get better.
“Obviously, health is the most important with everything in life,” James said Monday after shootaround. “Not surprised by it at all. I knew he was struggling, but he was never not himself. He was just dealing with it the best way he could, but he was never not himself when he was around.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on here. We play a great sport, our coaches get to coach a great sport, and you guys get to cover a great sports. But health is most important right now and that’s what our coach is doing right now and we’re all in favor for it.”
The latest piece of news is a blow to the already injury-ridden Cleveland group. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over duties until Lue returns.
The good news for the Cavaliers is that Kevin Love can potentially return to the mix as soon as Monday night against Milwaukee.