Connect with us

NBA

NBA AM: The Latest Trade Deadline Scuttle

The NBA trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. EST. Here are the latest rumblings from around the NBA.

Steve Kyler

Published

on

The Latest Scuttle

The 2016 NBA trade deadline is at 3 p.m. EST today, so teams have to get their deals into the league office in advance of that deadline.

To sort of refresh the process, once the teams involved in a trade reach an agreement, a trade call is scheduled with the league office and the NBA’s legal department. The details of the trade are discussed with all parties and all of the legalities are checked against the NBA’s trade rules. Assuming everything checks out, the NBA makes the trade official. While all trades must be submitted by 3 p.m., it is fairly common that the trade call process can roll well past the deadline.

Last year, 38 players and player rights changed hands at the deadline, with the largest chunk of that number happening within 45 minutes of the deadline. So hang on to your hat, it looks like we are headed toward another crazy day.

Here is what we know this morning:

Moving Pau Gasol?

The Chicago Bulls have been kicking the tires on several scenarios, but the one picking up the most steam seems to be big man Pau Gasol heading to the Sacramento Kings for a package of players including Kostas Koufos and Ben McLemore. The Kings are also said to be willing to reduce some of the draft protections on the 2016 pick they owe to the Bulls in an effort to ensure the Bulls get the picks.

The hurdle there is the Kings also traded the right to swap picks with the Philadelphia 76ers. While it’s unlikely the Sixers would be willing to swap their pick, which should be more favorable, it’s still something to be negotiated in order to make the deal with the Bulls.

The belief is the Kings would have to part with a future draft asset or pick swap to get the 76ers to sign off on the change.

For Gasol, he holds a player option worth roughly $7.7 million and has made it clear he would be opting for free agency, but would like to remain in Chicago on a new deal.

The Bulls have been gauging the trade value of not only Gasol but also guard Tony Snell and forward Taj Gibson.

Holding Pattern With Frye

The Orlando Magic had completed the framework of a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers that would have sent forward Channing Frye to L.A. in exchange for guard Lance Stephenson, guard C.J. Wilcox and a second-round draft pick. The Clippers asked the Magic for more time on that deal as they looked at other options, which league sources believed was them trying to pry forward Ryan Anderson out of New Orleans.

The Magic had been talking with the Cleveland Cavaliers about an alternative Frye deal that would have sent Frye to Cleveland. The problem there is the Cavaliers wanted to send back big man Anderson Varejao, who is owed about $19 million in guaranteed money. This is a deal the Magic would not do.

The Cavaliers have two fairly large Traded Players Exception – one worth a little more than $2.8 million and another worth $10.52 million. The Cavs could absorb Frye into their $10.52 million exception, but that would add more than $35 million to the team’s luxury tax bill.

The Cavs have been trying to find a place to dump off Varejao, but league sources say the teams with cap space do not seem overly interested in that.

The Clippers deal is still on the table and the Magic are still exploring options outside of the Cavs and Clippers. This one looks like it could go down to the wire.

Frye practiced with the Magic yesterday and even addressed the media. As things stand today, the Magic are waiting on a trade partner to say yes.

Two other names to watch from Orlando today are forward Andrew Nicholson and guard Shabazz Napier. Both are believed to be available – with Nicholson’s camp pushing for a deal somewhere the big man can get more playing time. Over the last seven games, Nicholson has logged a combined 28 minutes and is headed toward free agency this summer.

As for Napier, he is under contract next season at a very reasonable $1.35 million and the Magic do like him quite a bit. It seems moving him would be more of a favor to Napier and his agent, so that one might come down to what are the Magic offered.

An interesting wrinkle to how the Magic pulled off their Tobias Harris trade has surfaced. Our own cap guru Eric Pincus revealed that prior to the Brandon Jennings/Ersan Ilyasova trade with the Detroit Pistons, the Magic renounced rights to free agents Willie Green and Jeremy Richardson, which dropped them below the salary cap and negated the Traded Player Exception the team received this summer for trading Moe Harkless.

By dropping below the cap prior to the trade, the Magic have the option to immediately re-trade either of the players they acquired in a package deal.

While Magic general manager Rob Hennigan spoke highly of both players after the trade and praised how well both would fit into the situation in Orlando, they do have the option to pack either of those guys into a deal to make a splashier move if it surfaces.

It is highly unusual for a team to renounce player rights prior to a trade unless there is the possibility of something bigger where those restrictions could be a factor.

This is likely a case of keeping your options open, but it’s an interesting wrinkle for the Magic.

No Home For Howard

The Houston Rockets and the representation for Dwight Howard have been looking for a new home for the Rockets big man. However, as the deadline approaches, there does not seem to be a lot there.

To be clear, the Rockets are more than willing to move Howard so this is not a case of reluctance on Houston’s part. The problem is that Howard has a unique set of issues that may make a deal before the deadline improbable.

The biggest is Howard’s $22.35 million salary. Unless a team with cap space (Portland, Philadelphia or Utah) is willing to use a big chunk of it on Howard, the Rockets have to take back at least $16.75 million in salary. The Rockets are unwilling to take back contracts that affect their cap space next summer so that’s a barrier that’s proving hard to cross.

The second part is that Howard will be an unrestricted free agent and likely walks to the best situation for him; that’s risky for any team, especially if you have to part with players or assets that matter.

The final part is Howard himself. This would be the third team in which Howard exits amid controversy. Combine that with a decline in his overall production, the fact that his now 30 years old and has battled injury not only to his surgically repaired back but also a troublesome knee, and you can see why some teams aren’t interested.

Any one of these issue could be workable, but when you combine them together Howard is an unfavorable trade target.

League sources say it’s still possible that Houston can give Howard away, but returning anything of real value for him seems to be dwindling away as the deadline gets closer.

Lawson To The Jazz

The Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets have been talking about a deal that would send point guard Ty Lawson to the Jazz for the balance of the season in a deal centered around point guard Trey Burke and what’s believed to be center Tibor Pleiss. The Jazz are about $7.6 million below the salary cap so they can absorb the difference into cap space.

The Jazz have been pondering this deal since before the All-Star break and have been trying to come to terms with Lawson’s off-court history. Lawson has a well-documented history with alcoholism and that’s been a huge barrier for the Jazz.

Sources close to the situation say there have been a number of Rockets’ approved conversations with Lawson’s agents in efforts to smooth over a potential deal.

Lawson once did a Reddit chat where he proclaimed that he’d never play in Utah, which is something his camp has tried to walk back from – pointing out that the situation for Lawson has changed and he’d welcome the chance to prove himself in Utah.

Lawson waived the guarantee on the final year of his contract to get traded out of Denver last summer, making him a low-risk move for the Jazz who have 30 games left on the season and are currently the eighth seed in the West.

This deal is not done yet and there are still more discussions expected today. However, the Jazz have told Burke that they would honor his request for a trade desire to be in a situation where he can start,  so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

If this deal were to fall through for whatever reason, it is believed the Rockets will waive Lawson, which would likely make him an unrestricted free agent.

Where Are The Thunder?

The Oklahoma City Thunder made an aggressive trade last year at the deadline and it’s expected they will again trigger something today.

As things stand today, the Thunder are $12.417 million over the luxury tax line and facing a tax bill of more than $22.29 million.

It’s believed that the Thunder have made both Steve Novak ($3.75 million) and guard D.J. Augustin ($3 million) available in trade and are looking for very little in return for either player. Shedding both players would reduce the Thunder’s tax bill by $13.62 million. It’s also believed the Thunder may be willing to include big man Mitch McGary or Josh Huestis in the deal in place of draft picks, which would further reduce their tax burden.

The Thunder have been fairly clever in creating multi-team deals, so it’s not out of the question they are involved in something at the deadline if only to reduce their tax bill.

For the very latest NBA Trade Deadline information, make sure to check out the 2016 NBA Trade Deadline Diary. All the deals, all the rumors and all the reactions are in one place.

The Deadline Podcast

In case you missed it, Alex Kennedy and I dropped the Trade Deadline Preview Podcast recently. We hit on all the major trade rumors and teams looking to make deals. Take a listen:

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @eric_saar and @CodyTaylorNBA .

Advertisement




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NBA

Looking Toward The Draft: Power Forwards

Basketball Insiders continues their NBA Draft watch, this time with the power forwards.

David Yapkowitz

Published

on

We got some updated NBA draft news this week when the league announced that several key dates have been pushed back including the draft, the start of free agency and the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The 2020 draft was originally scheduled for Oct. 16, but it will now likely occur sometime in November. Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic still wildly out of control in the United States, all of these potential deadlines are fluid and subject to change.

With that said, we’re continuing our position by position breakdown here at Basketball Insiders of some of the top 2020 draft prospects. We looked at the point guards and shooting guards last week, and this week we’re covering the small forwards and power forwards.

The power forward crop, like the draft overall, doesn’t appear to be as strong as recent years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential contributors and high-level NBA players available, as well as one who might just turn out to be a star-caliber player.

Onyeka Okongwu, USC – 19 years old

Okongwu is the player who just might develop into a star on some level. He was actually underrated in high school and was snubbed for a McDonald’s All-American selection his senior year. He established himself early on at USC as the team’s best player as a freshman and now appears to have turned some heads.

He’s been mentioned as a lottery pick and in some mock drafts, he’s top 4-5. He possesses a great all-around skill-set; he can score in the post, he can put the ball on the floor and attack and he can shoot. But perhaps his biggest attribute is his versatility on the defensive end. He’s got quick feet and mobility and can guard multiple positions.

Okongwu might actually play center in the NBA, especially in small-ball lineups, but he’s mostly played power forward and so he’ll probably see time there in the league. His skill-set fits perfectly with today’s game.

Obi Toppin, Dayton – 22 years old

Toppin is one of the older players in the draft, and in recent history, players that age tend to slip on draft boards. In Toppin’s case, it looks like the reverse might actually be true. He’s been projected as a lottery pick, and even going in the top 3.

He’s an incredibly athletic player who thrives in the open court. He looks like he’ll do well in an up-tempo offensive system that has capable playmakers who can find him in transition. He’s extremely active around the rim and he can finish strong. A decent shooter too, something he’ll need at the next level.

Toppin has the physical tools to be an effective defensive player, but that’s where the questions marks on him have been. In the NBA, he’s likely going to have to play and guard multiple positions. Whether or not he can adapt to that likely will answer the question as to what his ceiling can be.

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis – 20 years old

Achiuwa is another intriguing prospect. this writer actually got to watch him play in person while he was in high school and he was very impressive. He looked like a man among boys. He’s projected to be a late lottery pick.

He has an NBA-ready body and he’s got some toughness around the rim and in the paint. He was a double-double threat during his one season at Memphis and his knack for rebounding is something that should translate to the NBA. He’s a very good defender too, in particular, as a rim protector. He’s very quick and has the ability to guard multiple positions.

One of the main knocks on Achiuwa is his shooting ability. He didn’t shoot that well in college and power forwards being able to space the floor is almost a requirement in today’s NBA game. It’s something he can certainly work on and improve on though.

Honorable Mentions:
Paul Reed, DePaul – 21 years old
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State – 21 years old
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga – 22 years old

Continue Reading

NBA

Looking Toward the Draft: Small Forwards

Basketball Insiders’ examination of the 2020 draft class continues with a look at the small forwards.

Drew Maresca

Published

on

It was announced on Wednesday that the NBA Draft would be delayed from Oct. 16 to Nov. 18. The rationale is that the extra month gives the league and its players association more time to negotiate changes to the CBA. It also grants teams additional time to procure information on prospects and allows the NBA to establish regional virtual combines. But nothing is set in stone.

Still, draft prep must continue. This year’s draft class has more question marks than usual – which was complicated by the cancellation of the NCAA tournament (along with the NIT and a number of conference tournaments). There are incredibly skilled offensive players with limited offensive upside and jaw-droppingly talented defenders with incomplete offensive packages. But if (recent) history serves as a guide, there will be a few guys who make an immediate impact – and some of them very well could be small forwards.

The small forward position is key for the modern NBA. Want proof? Survey the league and you’ll find that most – if not all – contenders have an elite small forward – Milwaukee, Los Angeles (both), Boston, Miami, Toronto.

But the list of can’t miss small forward prospects feels smaller than usual. Scanning the numerous legitimate mock drafts (including our own by Steve Kyler), it becomes apparent that we lack a consensus on which small forwards will be selected (and in what order) after the top 3 or 4. Can any of them grow into a star? Maybe. Maybe not. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s identify what the top few bring to the table.

Deni Avdija, Israel – 19 years old

Avdija is a relatively well-rounded prospect who’s played professionally since he was 16. He boasts good height (6-foot-9) and uses it effectively to shoot over and pass around opposing defenses. Further, Avdija is an exceptional playmaker and he’s incredibly confident, enabling him to take chances many players would be apprehensive trying. Avdija is a high-IQ player. And what’s more, he’s a surprisingly strong defender. His height and above-average athleticism allow him to block shots, and he’s more physical than you’d expect him to be.

But there are drawbacks to Avdija, too. His main issue is around shooting. Avdija shot only 28% in the EuroLeague last season, and he shot only 60% from the free-throw line. Further, while he’s a decent athlete, he’ll struggle to secure a role in the NBA. He’s going to need to add speed to stay with modern wings, and he’ll also have to bulk up to bang with power forwards.

Still, Avdija’s upside is alluring. He’s only 19, and his smarts, confidence and grittiness should provide him cover for much of his rookie season. Avdija should be the first small forward off of the board.

Isaac Okoro, Auburn – 19 years old

Avdija might be the flashier name currently, but Okoro will give him a run for his money in terms of which small forward is first off the board. Okoro is built like a traditional NBA wing; he’s 6-foot-6 with good strength packed in his muscular frame (215 lbs). Okoro finishes well around the rim and he converts well through contact. He’s an exceptional athlete who excels catching the ball on the move. Like Avdija, Okoro has the poise and composure of a more experienced player. Also, like Avdija, Okoro looked the part of a high IQ player in his lone season at Auburn.

And while all that is great, the main allure of Okoro is his defense. He’s a fairly advanced defender given his age, and his athleticism and timing make him an effective weak side help defender.

While Okoro’s raw abilities are exquisite, his refined offensive skills leave something to be desired. Okoro shot 28 percent on three-point field goals and he struggled from the free-throw line (67.2 percent). His mid-range jump shot also needs work, and he struggles in isolation situations.

If Okoro can hone his offensive game, he could grow into an All-Star. He has the ability to guard multiple positions, and his strength and athleticism give him a leg up on most prospects. But even if he doesn’t become an All-Star, he possesses a fairly high floor given his defensive abilities — and the guy definitely fills the state sheet (12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, .9 steals and .9 blocks). He has lockdown defender potential and he’ll put his stamp on the game beginning on night one.

Devin Vassell, Florida State – 20 years old

Vassell played two seasons at Florida State, but he came into his own in his Sophomore season. He averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot a more than respectable 41.5% on three-point attempts, and he demonstrated a strong stroke from the free-throw line (73.8 percent) and on two-point field goal attempts (53.2).

Vassell is an extremely athletic leaper, who can rise up for a highlight dunk and sprint down the floor with ease. He has good body control and demonstrated a strong mid-range game, especially his step-back jump shot. But Vassell must generate more free throws through decisive moves to the hoop, which would be bolstered by a more muscular frame. Additionally, he must improve his ball-handling to get more from isolations.

Vassell will have an adjustment period in terms of scoring the ball at the next level. Fortunately, his defense and shooting should get him by. If he can bulk up and improve his handling, Vassell could grow into a serious player.

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt – 20 years old

Nesmith probably has a lower floor than any of the other top small forward prospects given that he’ll be 21 by the draft. Still, he looked quite good in his Junior year, averaging 23 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game on a scorching 52.2 percent shooting from deep. Nesmith is an incredibly gifted shooter who has impressive range. His ability to catch-and-shoot and create space with fakes makes him a promising prospect – for the right team.

Nesmith is a high IQ player who uses his smarts on the defensive end. He’s also quite strong, can get buckets in the open floor and demonstrates above average ball-handling skills, as long as he’s not taking the ball to the hoop.

But there are inherent limitations in Nesmith’s game. He’s doesn’t create for his teammates too effectively and he turns the ball over more frequently than one would like with. Further, Nesmith is plagued by robotic movements that limit his athleticism. His ball-handling breaks down when taking the ball to the rack – something he’ll certainly have to work on in the NBA if he wants to be a versatile scoring threat against the bigger and stronger competition.

Still, Nesmith’s positives give him an excellent chance at being selected in the first round. His range alone will intrigue teams in need of a shooter.

Honorable Mentions:

Saddiq Bey, Villanova – 21 years old

Jaden McDaniels, Washington – 19 years old

Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State – 20 years old

With the uncertainty around small forward prospects, expect to see a revolving door of names enter the discussion after the first four wing prospects are off the board prior to Nov. 16 – assuming the draft is held then. But regardless of how you have them ranked, all of the aforementioned prospects have question marks. But all have had far more time to improve than they would have in years’ past. Let’s hope that shows come next season.

Continue Reading

NBA

NBA Daily: Opposite Plotlines for Today’s Matchups

With the two matchups going on today, Matt John examines the two teams who could be in the most trouble because of one of their individual stars for opposite reasons.

Matt John

Published

on

The second round of the NBA playoffs was hyped up to be one of the most entertaining we’ve had in years. So far, they haven’t fallen short of expectations. We knew that Houston and Los Angeles’ battle of opposite philosophies would make for some twists and turns. We knew that Boston and Toronto would duke it out in an Atlantic Division showdown. We knew that Miami would push Milwaukee to new heights. We didn’t really know if the Nuggets would give the Clippers a good series, but the fact that they have so far has made an intense postseason all the more gripping.

Anyway, today we’re getting two games from two series in completely opposite places. The Lakers and the Rockets will face off for the series lead, while the HEAT will try to finish off the Bucks once and for all. Below, we’re going to focus on two teams who have an individual star that either may be more flawed than we thought or one that may not be as flawed as we thought.

Bucks vs. HEAT: Giannis is great and all, but…

We all pretty much knew this was going to be a good series. We did not expect this.

The buzz surrounding Bucks v. HEAT was that Miami was going to make Milwaukee earn every win they got in this series. If that was the plan, then Miami has failed miserably, because until Khris Middleton went supernova on them on Sunday, Milwaukee had come up terribly short.

Let’s first give Miami the credit that they are due and more. With Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler alone, Miami was going to be a tough matchup for Milwaukee – but to see the Bucks all but roll over in this series is an unpleasant sight. Acquiring Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala has paid huge dividends and it’s showing. There are other factors involved, but Miami’s defensive efforts have limited Giannis to 21.8 points a game and that’s played a role in the HEAT being in the driver’s seat of this series.

Speaking of Giannis Antetokounmpo, this series has not been a good look for the Defensive Player of the Year. Especially since it looks like his second consecutive MVP (presumably) is right around the corner. So, to see both him and Milwaukee, once an unstoppable force without an immovable object in sight, get stopped by a sturdy but not immovable squad is saddening.

Nearly a year ago, Basketball Insiders compared these current Bucks to the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic from the late-2000’s/early 2010’s. To oversimplify things, both were contenders led by a superstar with a rare physique that made them tough to stop. To put the superstar in the best position, they surrounded them with playmakers and three-point shooters.

While the teams’ roster constructions weren’t exactly the same, their strengths as a team certainly were. Now we’re seeing the Bucks’ flaws just as we did the Magic 10 years ago. If you have the personnel to make the lone superstar uncomfortable, the team doesn’t function as well.

Giannis is near impossible to stop, but the one major flaw is that if you take away his ability to drive and force him into a jumper, he loses his rhythm. Even if his shot is on – never a guarantee – his opponents will let him beat them that way until he makes them pay. Hardly any team can pick on this, but the HEAT are one of them, and now they’re one win away from their first Eastern Conference Finals since LeBron James took his talents out of South Beach.

This ultimately is what puts Antetokounmpo below the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard for now. Those guys are rare physical specimens like him, but their elite games don’t revolve entirely around their natural gifts as he does or Dwight did. At 25 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to change that and, for all we know, he will, but to see him struggle at a time when the conference was supposed to run through him has ignited tons of questions.

Milwaukee’s technically not out yet, but they’ve shown their mortality against Miami. If this really is it for them, then they’ve got to find a quick fix for this problem because if they don’t, then the unspeakable may happen.

Lakers vs. Rockets: Westbrook has been bad and all but…

Shaking off the rust and recovering from a balky knee would be tough for anyone. For Russell Westbrook, it’s killing his productivity and, in turn, the Rockets’ playoff chances. He’s averaging 15.6 points on 39/16/47 splits with a most recent 10-point, 4-of-15 effort from the field which included seven turnovers and air balling wide-open threes sticking out like a sore thumb.

It also doesn’t help that he’s playing the Lakers of all teams. When Westbrook has been in, the Lakers have taken advantage of his shortcomings offensively and it shows both on the court and the stat line.

Most of Westbrook’s damage is hurting Houston on the offensive end. With the All-Star guard in the game, Houston is minus-13.7 with him on the court, the worst offensive rating on the team. The 12 turnovers he’s coughed up in this series probably have something to do with that.

With Westbrook’s struggles and his predecessor Chris Paul coming off of his best individual season since 2016, this, of course, has led to many second-guessing the swap last summer. Or let’s rephrase that: People have been second-guessing that trade since the moment it was announced and, in light of recent events, they’re piling on now more than ever.

Maybe they’re right. Even after playing in the NBA for over a decade now, Westbrook still hasn’t proven that he can control himself enough to reach his potential as a team player. We’ve seen glimpses. On the other hand, Paul showed that he can still pick apart defenses while holding his own on that end.

But replacing Paul with Westbrook was Harden’s idea. He didn’t want to play with Paul anymore and chose to play with one of his closest friends. You may think that the better fit is what’s best for the team, but we’ve seen the damage that can happen when your team’s best players have friction with one another. It hurt Utah this season. It hurt Boston last season. It destroyed the Lakers back in 2013. There’s no telling what it could have done to Houston this season.

Besides, we know that as bad as Westbrook has been, he’s capable of being better. Not a knockdown shooter, not even an efficient scorer, but he has done better in the past when the focus was on him. The more days he takes to shake off the rust from his knee, the more optimistic the Rockets ought to be.

The Rockets have to take the glass-half-full on this one because they don’t really have a choice otherwise.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Online Betting Site Betway
Advertisement
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries

Advertisement

CloseUp360

Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now