While members of June’s coveted draft class have yet to wow executives in the NBA summer leagues, it hasn’t curbed the chatter among the league’s decision-makers in Las Vegas, writes ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. Arnovitz provides a plethora of big-picture issues being regularly discussed in the desert. Let’s round them up here:
- Between the hefty prices that NBA franchises have fetched this offseason and a new television deal for the league on the horizon, insiders have been “downright giddy” in Vegas this week. Soaring revenues have resulted in teams investing in technology and analytics, though there is a growing fear that the NBA could be headed for another lockout in 2017.
- Speaking of lockouts, the CBA negotiated during the last one has successfully limited the lengths of contracts in the NBA while simultaneously making it more difficult to plan for the long term, according to some executives. By limiting risk, shorter contracts have flooded the marketplace with bidders, in turn driving up the prices on free agents.
- The reactions to the Rockets‘ offseason have been mixed, according to Arnovitz. On one hand, GM Daryl Morey has essentially traded Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and first and second round draft picks for Trevor Ariza, a first round pick and a trade exception. On the other hand, Morey has landed two max players in two years while maintaining the cap space to add another. However, there is sentiment that Morey’s analytics-based approach might eventually discourage future targets from coming to Houston.
- The Spurs are still undoubtedly the model franchise of the NBA, though there is a buzz about what the Suns are building in Phoenix. Citing several insiders, Arnovitz writes that the Suns are adding assets while simultaneously producing an exciting product for their fans.
- LeBron James‘ return to Cleveland hasn’t evoked nearly as much gossip among league insiders as his departure did, but one general manager expressed appreciation for the Cavaliers‘ star “carrying” the NBA right now from a business standpoint.
- The analytics movement continues to devalue the mid-range game, resulting in widespread approval of Channing Frye‘s four-year, $32MM deal with the Magic and even some support for the three-year, $19.5MM deal that Jodie Meeks signed with the Pistons.