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NBA Daily: LaMarcus Aldridge’s Bleak Trade Market

The LaMarcus Aldridge era is coming to an end in San Antonio. Matt John dives into what could be a not-so-great market for the veteran big.

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Former All-Stars agreeing to part ways with their teams is apparently the NBA’s latest fad.

First, Andre Drummond and the Cleveland Cavaliers chose to part, then Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons. Now, after more than five seasons together, LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs have parted.

The writing had been on the wall for the Aldridge and the Spurs — and it showed on the court. Unfortunately, now his value is at its lowest. Benched for Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio was a minus-8.1 when the 35-year-old took the floor, per NBA.com. Much of that stemmed from Aldridge’s deficiencies on the defensive end — defense was never his forte — as the Spurs’ were plus-7.5 on that end with him on the bench. Surprisingly, Aldridge had been a negative on offense as well, with the team 0.7 points per 100 possession worse with him on the court.

The fact that Aldridge missed most of February only amplified his struggles. After he went down with a hip injury on Feb. 1, San Antonio won five of their next six, further diminishing his value. The Spurs’ chance to recoup any sort of major asset of value has long since passed, but they can still likely get something, if not immediate financial relief, for the big man in the last year of his deal. But from whom?

The knee-jerk reaction was the Boston Celtics, who can take on Aldridge’s contract with relative ease due to their Gordon Hayward trade exception. And, at least on paper, he’s a fit; his 36 percent shooting on 3.6 threes per game would make life a lot easier for Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. They would have to shed some salary, but could Aldridge do enough to warrant the move in the first place? General manager Danny Ainge has gone on record that he doesn’t plan to use the exception on a “band-aid.”

Would Aldridge be considered more of a “band-aid” than a legitimate contributor? Likely, though Boston may yet prove a landing spot for Aldridge, just expect it to be via buyout rather than Ainge utilizing the trade exception.

The Miami HEAT may prove a more immediate (and, for the Spurs, lucrative) option. The HEAT have been linked to Aldridge since it came out that he was available. Not only do they have expiring and expendable contracts to match in Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard, but either paired with a late first or early second round draft choice would be more than a good deal for San Antonio.

That said, Miami could just as easily use those contracts as salary filler in a deal for someone better than Aldridge. Yes, Aldridge should prove an upgrade over Olynyk and Leonard but, were the HEAT to trade for him, odds are that he would be the team’s backup plan as opposed to their primary target.

Beyond Boston and Miami, it’s hard to imagine many teams trading for Aldridge the player over Aldridge the contract. While some postseason-bound rosters could make use of him on the court, more teams would love to make use of his expiring contract to clear cap space next season. But would those teams be willing to offer similar compensation to one interested in his basketball talents?

The Oklahoma City Thunder might, given their 16-21 record. The Thunder have definitely taken a from last season, but they’ve managed to remain competitive — they may not make the postseason, but they can certainly make it difficult for those that will. Perhaps a swap of centers, Aldridge-for-Al Horford, could be in order, as Horford has seen a resurgence in his first season in Oklahoma City and could certainly help the Spurs in their playoff push. Further compensation could prove interesting — would the Spurs throw in a sweetener to push a deal through? — but may ultimately prove a deal-breaker for San Antonio.

Perhaps, in a similar vein, San Antonio and Cleveland could agree to an Aldridge-Drummond swap. The Cavaliers, for lack of interest or otherwise, have yet to move the center from their bench — and a deal could seemingly benefit both parties. The Spurs get a bit younger, while some time with Gregg Popovich may prove Drummond productive yet. For Cleveland, they save some money — possibly more were they to buy Aldridge out — and gain a veteran presence and mentor to aid their young roster.

Atlanta is another intriguing option. They may not be interested in Aldgride’s services, but they would certainly take on his deal to unload some of the ill-advised contracts they handed out prior to the season. And, if push came to shove, the Spurs might try to utilize some of their own younger assets, along with the cap-clearing contract that is Aldridge, to take a swing at the disgruntled John Collins.

None of these options are perfect for either the Spurs or Aldridge. But nothing ever is; and, while neither party is likely happy as to how their relationship came to an end, parting ways would seem to be the best for both.

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Wizards, Lakers agree to Russell Westbrook and Three-Player Trade Deal

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The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook in a three-player trade, sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft to the Wizards. According to ESPN, the Wizards are also giving up their 2024 and 2028 second-round picks as well. During last night’s draft, at pick No. 22, the Lakers sent Wildcats’ center Isaiah Jackson to the Pacers via the Wizards. At pick No. 15, the Wizards drafted Gonzaga’s forward Corey Kispert. In the second round, at pick No. 31, the Milwaukee Bucks traded NBA G League player Isaiah Todd to the Wizards via the Pacers.

On Thursday, Harrell decided to pursue his $9.7 million player option for next season. Yesterday, rumors surfaced across social media regarding a possible Lakers-Kings trade involving Harrell. Despite all the wrong predictions and mindless speculation over these last couple of days, this trade move could work out for both teams.

After all, Westbrook is a 9-time NBA All-Star and three-time assists leader. In his MVP season back in the 2016-17 season, over the course of 81 games, he averaged a career-high 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. On Twitter, Westbrook tweeted, “I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

In the 2020-21 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in 67 games started for the Lakers. The 28-year-old shooting guard will make $13 million next season. As for Kuzma, in 68 games played last season, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Kuzma is set to earn $13 million next season. For Harrell, in 69 games played last season, he averaged 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. The six-foot-seven power forward/center is also a six-year player. Instead of having one or two notable super stars, the Wizards having several contributing players might work out better in their favor.

Last season, in 65 games played in his only season spent on the Wizards, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 11.7 assists. The 32-year-old point guard finished the 2020-21 season with 38 triple-doubles, ranking first in the league and second highest in his own playing career. Westbrook also surpassed Oscar Robertson last season for the most all-time assists; Robertson accumulated 181 triple-doubles in 14 seasons. Now, the two-time NBA scoring champion has 184 career triple-doubles, the most all-time for any player. Furthermore, this is Westbrook’s fourth team in his NBA career.

He is the fifth former MVP in league history to play on four different teams over the course of four seasons or less, adding to the existent list of Bob McAdoo, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Derrick Rose. Moreover, on December 2, 2020, Westbrook was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Wizards for John Wall and a 2023 first-round draft pick. He is set to earn $44.2 million in the upcoming season. His player option for the 2022-23 season is $47 million. This trade deal will not be official until August 6th.

Per Bovada’s NBA Futures odds, the Lakers now have +300 odds of winning their eighteenth championship in the 2021-22 season. This is a move from 4/1 odds before the trade, leaping the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, and they now have the second best odds behind the Brooklyn Nets (+250). Westbrook also has the best odds of leading the league in assists next season, with first place odds showing EVEN. He is ahead of James Harden (+150), Trae Young (+450), and Luka Doncic (+600). With +6600 odds, he also ranks 19th in the NBA for next season’s MVP odds, trailing Lakers’ teammates such as James (+1200) and Davis (+2800).

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Russell Westbrook joins L.A. Lakers in One of the biggest trades in NBA History

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(Image courtesy of AP)

In one of the biggest NBA Draft trades ever, Los Angeles Lakers acquired the services of Washington Wizards’ former MVP, Russell Westbrook, last night!

As a result of the trade, the Lakers can now boast a holy trinity of attacking talent in Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and, of course, Lebron James, unlike anything seen in recent memory. Assuming this new contingent clicks into gear, it might just be the most frighteningly talented trio to play together in NBA history, rivaling the Bulls triple horn of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, or that great Lakers team of the late 80s with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In exchange for their star man, the Wizards received three players and what was the No 22 overall pick in last night’s NBA Draft. The former Lakers tasked with replacing Westbrook in Washington will be Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell.

Washington then spent the Lakers No.22 pick on Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson, but immediately traded him on to the Indiana Pacers in a deal that saw the Wizards acquire pick No.31 and point guard Aaron Holiday. Wizards then used pick No.33 to draft Isaiah Todd to bolster their ranks at power forward.

 

(Image courtesy of AP)

The effervescent Westbrook had another great year in 2020-21, averaging 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds per game in his first season with the Wizards.

In joining the Lakers star cast, which already boasts the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook, a 9x NBA All-Star & 2016-17 MVP, will now be hoping to end his NBA championship drought.

Westbrook has since taken to social media to thank the WashingtonWizards franchise for a great year spent in the capital, tweeting:

“Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one,” he wrote. “Everyone from the front office, to the training staff, the coaches, my teammates, and the fans. I’m grateful y’all took a chance on me and supported me every step of the way.”

“I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

With a legendary point guard now fixed among the ranks, 2020 NBA Championship winners the Lakers have all the talent required to wrestle back the title from the freshly-crowned Milwaukee Bucks.

So, get yourselves ready for an influx of NBA betting lines on Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Middleton vs. LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook for next year’s championship games!

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NBA Draft Results 2021: Complete List of First & Second Round Picks

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The 2021 NBA Draft unfolded live at the Barclays Center earlier tonight and it did not disappoint!

60 college standouts were selected in total; each will be gunning for a big rookie year once the new season gets underway on October 19.

(Image courtesy of Associated Press)

The Detroit Pistons did exactly what their fanbase asked for when they opted to draft Oklahoma States’s Cade Cunningham, with the first overall pick.

It may not have been much of a surprise to see the Pistons exit the Barclays Center, NY, with the freshman All-American (and -10000 betting favorite) in the bag, but that won’t dampen the excitement in Detroit! Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 3.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game for Oklahoma, so expectations are high for the young point guard, who will now be tasked with bringing the glory days back to a Motor City that hasn’t tasted championship gold since 2004.

The Houston Rockets took shooting guard Jalen Green from G League Ignite with the No.2 overall pick, before the Cleveland Cavaliers vouched for Evan Mobley, a forward out of USC, at No.3.

A complete list of picks from rounds 1 & 2 is featured below. A more detailed draft analysis and grades will follow shortly.

Round 1

 
Pick Team Player College
1. Detroit Pistons Cade Cunningham Oklahoma State
2. Houston Rockets Jalen Green G League Ignite
3. Cleveland Cavaliers Evan Mobley USC
4. Toronto Raptors Scottie Barnes Florida State
5. Orlando Magic Jalen Suggs Gonzaga
6. Oklahoma City Thunder Josh Giddey Adelaide 36ers, NBL
7. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota) Jonathan Kuminga G League Ignite
8. Orlando Magic (from Chicago) Franz Wagner Michigan
9. Sacramento Kings Davion Mitchel Baylor
10. Memphis Grizzlies (from New Orleans) Ziaire Williams Stanford
11. Charlotte Hornets James Bouknight UConn
12. San Antonio Spurs Josh Primo Alabama
13. Indiana Pacers Chris Duarte Oregon
14. Golden State Warriors Moses Moody Arkansas
15. Washington Wizards Corey Kispert Gonzaga
16. Houston Rockets (from OKC) Alperen Sengün Beşiktaş, Turkey
17. New Orleans Pelicans (from Memphis) Trey Murphy Virginia
18. Oklahoma City Thunder Tre Mann Florida
19. Charlotte Hornets (from New York) Kai Jones Texas
20. Atlanta Hawks Jalen Johnson Duke
21. LA Clippers (from New York) Keon Johnson Tennesee
22. Indiana Pacers (from Lakers, Wizards) Isaiah Jackson Kentucky
23. Houston Rockets Usman Garuba Real Madrid, Spain
24. Houston Rockets Josh Christopher Arizona State
25. New York Knicks (from Clippers) Quentin Grimes Houston
26. Denver Nuggets Nah’Shon Lee Hyland VCU
27. Brooklyn Nets Cam Thomas LSU
28. Philadelphia 76ers Jaden Springer Tennessee
29. Brooklyn Nets (from Phoenix) Day’Ron Sharpe North Carolina
30. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah) Santi Aldama Loyola (Maryland)

Round 2

 
Pick Team Player College
31. Washington Wizards (from Bucks, Pacers) Isaiah Todd G League Ignite
32. New York Knicks Jeremiah Robinson Earl Villanova
33. LA Clippers (from Orlando) Jason Preston Ohio
34. Oklahoma City Thunder Rokas Jokubaitis FC Barcelona/ Lithuania
35. New Orleans Pelicans Herbert Jones Alabama
36. Oklahoma City Thunder Miles McBride West Virginia
37. Charlotte Hornets (from Detroit) JT Thor Auburn
38. Chicago Bulls Ayo Dosunmu Illinois
39. Sacramento Kings Neemias Queta Utah State
40. Memphis Grizzlies (from New Orleans) Jared Butler Baylor
41. San Antonio Spurs Joe Weskamp Iowa
42. Detroit Pistons Isaiah Livers Michigan
43. New Orleans Pelicans Greg Brown III Texas
44. Brooklyn Nets Kessler Edwards Pepperdine
45. Boston Celtics Juhann Begarin Paris basketball
46. Toronto Raptors Dalanao Banton Nebraska
47. Toronto Raptors David Johnson Louisville
48. Atlanta Hawks Sharife Cooper Auburn
49. Brooklyn Nets Marcus Zegarowski Creighton
50. Philadelphia 76ers Filip Petrusev MegaBasket, Serbia
51. Memphis Grizzlies Brandon Boston Jr. Kentucky
52. Detroit Pistons Luka Garza Iowa
53. Philadelphia 76ers Charles Bassey Western Kentucky
54. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana) Sandro Mamukelashvili Seton Hall
55. Oklahoma City Thunder Aaron Wiggins Maryland
56. Charlotte Hornets Balsa Koprivica Florida State
57. Detroit Pistons (from Charlotte) Scottie Lewis Florida
58. New York Knicks Balsa Koprivica Texas
59. Brooklyn Nets Raiquan Gray Florida State
60. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana) Georgios Kalaitzakis Panathinaikos, Greece

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