NBA

NBA Daily: Don’t Panic, But You Have To Consider It

With so many NBA teams getting bounced in the playoffs, it would be easy to overreact, there are some situations to watch and Steve Kyler digs in to several of them.

10 min read
Alan Draper profile picture
Disclosure
We sometimes use affiliate links in our content, when clicking on those we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you. By using this website you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

Don’t Panic, But You Have To Consider It

With the NBA playoffs down to just four remaining teams, there are some franchises that exited the playoffs far too early to think that roster change shouldn’t be considered. In some cases, a few teams have harsh realities to face and some tough questions that won’t be easy to answer.

While no franchise should overreact to a single playoff series, there are some things that surfaced in the postseason that turned into bigger issues than any expected and are going to have to be addressed.

Here are a few of them:

Hassan Whiteside

The Miami HEAT continues to say all the right things about disgruntled big man Hassan Whiteside, but with the HEAT season in the rear-view mirror, there is a growing sense that Whiteside wants out of Miami, and the feeling may be mutual.

The challenge for the HEAT is that White has basically two years remaining on his contract, one next season worth $25.4 million and a Player Option in 2019 that he will surely stay in worth $27 million.

Combining the ugly contract money and sub-par play this season, it may be pretty hard for Miami to move Whiteside without including something else of value.

The HEAT have been trying to shed contract obligations since the NBA trade deadline, so how they ultimately handle Whiteside is worth watching.

Jabari Parker

Much like Whiteside, the Bucks have some tough decisions to make regarding the future of Parker. Fresh off a second ACL tear of the same knee, Parker’s postseason was less than impressive. Some have tried to write that off to the rust associated with missing so much time. However, the Bucks must decide what Parker is really worth and they have to do that in July.

The upside for Parker is he is well-liked by the organization and given where the team is at cap wise; there is no reason for the Bucks not to match any deal that he gets. They will not be a salary cap team at any time in the near future, so matching an offer sheet won’t impact the team’s immediate flexibility.

The question for the Bucks becomes is he worth the commitment, based on what they saw in the postseason.

It’s tough to value players trending downward because a team never knows who might try and poach the talent away. There is no question Parker’s value is down but does a team with cap space like Brooklyn, Phoenix or Indiana pounce and test the Bucks resolve?

The prevailing thought out of Milwaukee is Parker will be back; the question becomes at what price and who sets that line?

Dwane Casey

Before the playoffs, the idea that Raptors head coach Dwyane Casey could be in trouble was laughable. The Raptors just finished their best season in franchise history, winning 59 games and the Eastern Conference. But after this week’s sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Casey’s future was the primary topic at yesterday’s postseason press conferences.

While the wounds of defeat are still very raw, there is an increasing sense that Casey is the easy change for Raptors president Masai Ujiri to make, mainly because the roster is locked in with so many high-priced guys that didn’t perform.

Is there anyone lining up to take Serge Ibaka or Kyle Lowry off the Raptors hands? If so, for what in return? That’s the puzzle the Raptors have to solve.

There were some clues dropped yesterday when Ujiri said he’d have to look back at the last five years and judge what the next five years need to look like. Those are ominous words for Casey’s future, mainly because the easiest thing for a team to change is the head coach.

DeMarcus Cousins

It is almost not debatable to say the New Orleans Pelicans started playing their best basketball of the season when big man DeMarcus Cousins went down with injury.

The Pelicans have said all the right things about Cousins’ future with the team, but the real question is how much money and how many years is a new contract for Cousins going to cost? And, does that make any sense considering that best version of the front court was Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic?

The riddle for the Pelicans isn’t just cost. What’s Cousins going to look like after suffering an Achilles tear? Few players have ever been the same after an Achilles injury.

Unfortunately, the Pelicans won’t know how Cousins’ performance has been impacted because his rehab won’t be close to complete before they have to decide on a new contract. In the interim, another team that’s a little desperate may try to poach him.

There was a narrative floating around during the playoffs that said the Pelicans would have been a tougher out with Cousins, but the reality is the team was better without him.

Ben Simmons

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons is going to win Rookie of the Year in a walk. He posted one of the best all-around seasons of a player classified as a rookie in more than a decade. The 76ers have themselves a gem and that’s not debatable.

The problem for the 76ers is that against Boston, you started to see the flaws of a 6-foot-10 point guard, so much so that the 76ers turned to T.J. McConnell to create a spark for the offense.

Let’s be fair, Simmons is going to learn and grow as a player, and adversity in the NBA tends to be the best teacher. But, for the 76ers, is having Simmons at the point guard spot really the future? Can you be the team you want to be with a point guard that can’t shoot from three?

It’s fair to say that LeBron James runs the offense for the Cavaliers as the lead playmaker. He doesn’t man the point guard spot on the floor, he simply initiates the offense, which is often what Simmons does.

So what is the future for Simmons and the Sixers? He clearly is a franchise cornerstone, but where do you really play him?

With the 76ers season ending, they do have some decisions to make, notably, about McConnell’s future (one more year remaining) and that of guard J.J. Redick (pending free agent).

The 76ers have top overall pick Markelle Fultz waiting in the wings and dreams of free agent spending on a marquee all-star like Paul George or even LeBron James.

However the chips fall in the summer, one thing is clear, Simmons has to evolve in one direction or the other. He can be breathtaking as a playmaker, but his lack of perimeter game may become a bigger problem as the 76ers try and become legit championship contenders.

Paul George

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that Paul George underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. His expected recovery is anywhere from six to eight weeks, which would line up with the opening of free agency.

There have been some mixed messages all season about where George’s head is at, but those around the situation continue to say its more likely that George leaves the Thunder than stays as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Thunder GM Sam Presti disputed the idea that George was already out the door during his season-ending press conference, saying he had been speaking directly with George and didn’t get the sense that’s where things were.

The Thunder can win the day financially as they can offer the longest-term and largest-dollar deal. The Thunder continue to say paying luxury tax won’t be a problem to keep the All-Star core together, the question facing George is can he and guard Russell Westbrook be anything more than two players competing for shots on the same team.

If the playoffs has shown anything about the Thunder, it’s that playing with Westbrook can be a blessing and a curse. How does that work for the Thunder? More importantly, how does that work for George?

The narrative around the relationship all season is that George thoroughly enjoyed not having to shoulder the burden of a franchise by himself. Having other elite level players made the season easier both mentally and physically.

The popular narrative is that George is heading to the LA Lakers, and that may very well end up being true, but if the idea of not having to shoulder the franchise is really appealing, the Lakers might be more like Indiana, even with all their impressive young players.

Jimmy Butler

The Minnesota Timberwolves made the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. However, they didn’t compete nearly at the level they were hoping for.

There are big questions for the Wolves, and some of them are financially driven. Guard Andrew Wiggins got his maximum contract extension last year, and former top overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns is due his this summer.

On top of that, this is the first summer in which guard Jimmy Butler can extend his deal.

Suddenly, it’s going to get very expensive in Minnesota for a team that wasn’t very impressive in the postseason.

It’s easy to dismiss the Wolves struggles to their youth, that’s a fair thing to believe, but as the franchise has to start committing $150 plus million deals, is this the right core?

Its hard to argue that Butler isn’t the heart and soul of the team, but if he won’t extend his deal, he has the option to hit unrestricted free agency in July of 2019.

Butler wisely structured his current deal that he signed with the Bulls to front load as much money as possible, knowing he wouldn’t stay in his option year unless he was injured. That option year seems pretty unfavorable to Butler given where the salary cap is situated, which could make an extension tough to get done.

While it seems unlikely that Butler is going anywhere, how extensions talks go could say a lot about his future in Minnesota.

With the 2018 NBA Draft Combine getting underway in Chicago next week, the rumors and chatter about some of these situations are going to pick up. While it’s easy to be a prisoner of the moment, most teams will be deliberate about what they do next, but it’s hard to argue that the results of the postseason won’t warrant at least some of these situations changing.

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, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, @mike_yaffe, @MattJohnNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

Trending Now