In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have added a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at [email protected] or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:
“If the Knicks win the lottery this year and have the No. 1 pick, who would they choose out of Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Jahlil Okafor? — Mathias
This will be an interesting draft for the Knicks, since it will be Phil Jackson‘s first after a full season as an executive, and he doesn’t have any track record to draw from for reference as to what he might do. Having stated that caveat, I don’t see how New York could pass on Okafor, who is by far the top talent in this draft class. The only way I can see Okafor slipping out of the top slot is if he suffers an injury between now and when his predraft workouts occur. The only other factor that could change Jackson’s focus, possibly to Mudiay, is if Jackson somehow gets the indication that Marc Gasol wants to come to New York via free agency. But that’s an extremely unlikely scenario.
“With all of the trade talk surrounding Michael Carter-Williams, wouldn’t the Sixers be more inclined to trade K.J. McDaniels first? After all, GM Sam Hinkie slipped up in the contract process with McDaniels following the draft. Why not move him and get a return before he can walk?” — Pete D.
I agree with you that Hinkie probably made an error in not signing McDaniels to more than a one-year deal. That kid is a keeper. But it’s for just that reason that I don’t see Philly dealing McDaniels unless the team is absolutely blown away by an offer. But Philadelphia isn’t likely to garner much for what could potentially be just a few months’ rental of McDaniels. Teams will likely be wary of what it might cost them to retain him when he hits restricted free agency this summer. This would likely knock down any potential return that Philadelphia might receive for McDaniels. So I think that Hinkie should, and will, hold onto him, and then do his best to sign McDaniels to a long-term contract this summer. So while he’ll end up costing the Sixers more than if they had simply offered him a guaranteed deal from the start, I think McDaniels is too strong of an asset to give up on this season. Plus, Philly will have ample cap space to match whatever offer sheets McDaniels would garner, within the bounds of the Gilbert Arenas provision and as long as a team doesn’t throw a Chandler Parsons-like contract offer at McDaniels (not very likely). If McDaniels does sign a bloated offer sheet, Philly will just have to swallow hard and let him go.
My honest answer would be neither, but that would be cheating! If I had to pick, I would choose Aldridge as the player more likely to change zip codes and uniforms. Gasol essentially grew up in Memphis, having attended high school there while Pau Gasol was playing for the Grizzlies. Memphis has a solid team that can offer him the most money, and the younger Gasol isn’t a headline chaser, so moving to a major market would likely hold little appeal. Sure, the Spurs may be an intriguing possibility, given how stellar that organization is. But San Antonio’s core won’t be around for too much longer. So why would Gasol risk heading into a potential rebuilding situation when Memphis will remain a contender over the next few seasons?
As for Aldridge, he’s also unlikely to leave his current team, since the Blazers are also a solid franchise and have a talented roster. Plus, Portland could offer Aldridge nearly $30MM more than any other competing team over the life of any deal. But Aldridge is from Texas, and all three teams in the Lone Star state would likely love to add Aldridge to their rosters. But to do so all three teams would need to clear cap space to add him, or in San Antonio’s case, have Tim Duncan and/or Manu Ginobili retire. I would be stunned if Gasol ended up leaving Memphis. Conversely, I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Aldridge changed teams, but it’s still a long shot.
“Is Langston Galloway for real, and is he a big part of the Knicks next season?” — NYCKingpin
I assure you, Langston Galloway exists! But seriously now. Yes, I think he’s an intriguing prospect whom the Knicks should sign for the remainder of the season when his second 10-day deal expires. I also think he’s a keeper for next season as well. From what Galloway has shown thus far, he can be quite a useful rotation piece in the future. Is he a starting-level player on a playoff team? To that I would say probably not. But he can absolutely develop into a valuable bench player on winning team. But I would temper your expectations a bit. It’s too small a sample size to accurately judge his true worth just yet. Sure, he’s putting up decent numbers, but they’re on a dreadful Knicks squad. Competing teams don’t really bring their A-game when playing against New York this season, which is also something to keep in mind when looking at Galloway’s performances. But Galloway has been the best 10-day signee in the league thus far. So at least the Knicks have accomplished something this season!
“Who is the most intriguing free agent in your opinion this summer?” — Kyle M.
For my money it’s the Warriors’ Draymond Green. The 24-year-old will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so Golden State will have the opportunity to match any offer sheets that Green receives. And Green should get a few lucrative offers thrown his way with how well he is performing this season. While Green won’t be the biggest name on the market, he is the one with the most potential to end up being overpaid, since an extremely player-friendly deal is what it will likely take to discourage Golden State from matching another team’s offer sheet. But Green also has as much upside as any player who will be hitting free agency this summer, which is a huge draw.
I simply love Green’s combination of athleticism, hustle, defensive ability, and raw talent. Green’s youth is also a tremendous asset to prospective bidders since his next contract will cover his prime production seasons. Green also has the ability to blossom into a star on a team where the ball isn’t dominated by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. My only concerns regarding Green is if his breakout season is simply a product of Golden State’s system, and how much his stats have benefited from playing alongside two All-Star caliber players in Curry and Thompson. But out of all of the second-tier free agent players that will be on the market this summer, Green is the one that I would say has the most potential to be a franchise changer.
That’s all the space that I have for this week. Thanks to all those who sent in their questions. I’ll be back next Saturday to answer a whole new batch. So fire away and keep filling up my inbox with your inquiries.