In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have 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:
“Where do you see Kevin Love playing next season?” — Trey
The situation with Love is certainly going to be an interesting one to watch this offseason. I don’t see him remaining in Cleveland long-term, nor do I think Love is a good fit for that particular roster. But I’m not quite sure that the split will occur this offseason. Love could decide that exercising his $16,744,218 player option for 2015/16 and waiting until the potential salary cap explosion the following offseason would be his wisest financial move. Plus, Cleveland would likely be considered the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next season, so one more opportunity to chase a ring could hold some level of appeal for Love.
But if he does indeed decide that he’s had enough playing second-fiddle to LeBron James, I would have to go with the Lakers as Love’s likely landing spot. The team has the cap room to ink both he and Rajon Rondo potentially. And with Kobe Bryant possibly entering his final campaign, the team would be Love’s in a year’s time. The main problem for Love if he departs for a rebuilding team like Los Angeles is one of public perception. He was known as a stat sheet guy who didn’t make his teammates better while in Minnesota. Leaving a team like the Cavs, who will be in contention as long as LeBron remains healthy, would not be a great reflection on Love’s hunger to win as opposed to his need to put up individual numbers. But receiving a max level contract from a major market team in Los Angeles would certainly go a long way toward making Love not care what is said and written about him.
“Do you think it was a good move for the Magic to hire Scott Skiles as coach? If not, who should they have hired?” — Ralph
While I don’t think that Skiles is a bad coach, I’m not a fan of him being paired up with Orlando’s young roster. The team is an offensively challenged one already, and bringing in Skiles, who is a defense first type of guy, seems like a bad idea to me. The Magic also have a very young roster, and Skiles is an extremely demanding coach who tends to wear out his welcome because of his tough as nails approach. I think the hire lacks creativity and boldness on the Magic’s part, which is disappointing.
If Orlando truly wanted a disciplinarian, why not go for Michael Malone instead? He’s also a coach who demands accountability and defensive focus, but is also a bit more progressive offensively than Skiles has shown himself to be. Malone also reportedly had a great relationship with DeMarcus Cousins, who isn’t the easiest player to reach. If Malone could get Boogie on board with his philosophy, the players in Orlando would be a cinch.
If it was me making the call for the Magic, I’d have attempted to think outside the box with this hire. I realize that he just signed his deal with Texas, but Shaka Smart would have been my prime target. Smart is an innovative coach who is climbing up the ranks quickly, and he would mesh well with the Magic’s young roster. If not Smart, then I say they should have gone for John Calipari. Orlando isn’t viewed as a free agent destination, but coach Cal could certainly help change that. He would also match up well with the team’s personnel, though I’m not sure Orlando would have ceded the level of control that Calipari would probably be looking for if he were to make the jump back to the NBA.
“What are the chances that Dwyane Wade leaves Miami this summer?” — Vinnie
This is certainly a story that seemingly came out of nowhere. I get where Wade is coming from here regarding wanting to be paid. He did sacrifice some salary for the team when he re-signed last summer, which the team should take under consideration. But on the other side of the argument, Wade is no longer a player who will play 82 games in a season. He is also not the player he once was, so committing a significant amount of cap space over the next three seasons makes little business sense for the Heat given all the other needs the franchise has to fill.
That said, I don’t think Wade ultimately leaves Miami. He is the face of that franchise and it wouldn’t be great for public relations if the team held out and let him walk away. Especially after the departure of LeBron a year ago left a bitter taste amongst the team’s fanbase. But never say never. I never thought I would see Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform, nor Patrick Ewing wearing Orlando’s colors. If I had to put a number to it, I’ll say there is a 90% chance that Wade is back in South Beach next season.
“Which teams (if any) are most likely to deal away their first round picks this year?” — Marcus
I do think that there will be a robust trade market for draft picks this year. Whether or not these deals will come to fruition is another story, but there will likely be a lot of chatter regarding picks potentially changing hands. This is mainly because of how the talent in the 2015 draft shakes out. There is a distinct dropoff from the top five or six players to the rest of the field, which could make quite a few teams consider moving up, or dealing away their picks for future assets. The other factor that should stimulate the trade market is the depth of that second tier of players. There isn’t much separation talent-wise between the No. 18 pick and the No. 28 one this year. This reduces the risk of moving down in the draft somewhat, and could also cause a number of teams to try and snag a late first-rounder via trade.
As for what teams are most likely to deal, I would definitely have my eye on the Celtics at No. 28 overall, the Suns at No. 13, and perhaps the Knicks at No. 4 overall. The Celtics have more draft picks than they know what to do with, and there are only so many roster spots to go around. I can easily see Danny Ainge flipping the pick for future assets, or packaged as part of a larger trade. The Suns are loaded with younger players already, and GM Ryan McDonough has indicated that he is more willing to deal his first-rounder than in years past. As for the Knicks…I’m not sure they know what they want to do right now. Dropping to fourth in the lottery was a gut punch to the franchise, and complicates matters for Phil Jackson. If I had to go on record as to which team is the likeliest to deal, I’ll go with the Celtics here.
Thanks for all of the submissions and please keep them coming! That’s going to do it for this week, but I’ll be back next Saturday with some more responses to your inquiries.