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Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 8/23/15-8/29/15

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:

What are your thoughts on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s contract extension? Is he worth the money in your opinion? — Jason

I keep having to remind myself that the salary cap is going to jump next Summer when considering each new deal that is handed out. If I look at the current salary structure that exists in the NBA, then $13MM for a wing who can’t shoot from the outside seems a bit high to me. But beginning next season, that figure will probably be in line with what players of Kidd-Gilchrist’s talent level will be pulling down.

Charlotte isn’t really a free agent destination for players, which means that it’s vital for the franchise to retain the players it has taken the time to nurture and develop. That’s one of the reasons why I think that it was a wise move to lock up Kidd-Gilchrist for four more seasons, or at least three, if he decides to opt out of the final season of the deal. His defensive prowess, leadership, hustle, and superior athleticism are the other factors that make the young forward a keeper. While it’s not ideal in today’s NBA to have a starting three who isn’t a threat from the outside, possessing a player who can shut down opponents’ top scorers on a nightly basis certainly is an excellent trade off.

One area of concern though is with Kidd-Gilchrist’s ability to remain healthy and on the court. The 21-year-old has missed roughly 29% of Charlotte’s games the last two seasons, which isn’t great. But no matter my thoughts, in the end, I don’t believe that the Hornets had any other choice but to extend Kidd-Gilchrist. With quite a few teams expected to have ample cap space to throw around next offseason, it’s more than likely that Charlotte would have been forced to pony up at least $13MM per season to match any offer sheets that Kidd-Gilchrist were to sign as a restricted free agent anyway.

“Who do you see being the top pick in next year’s NBA Draft?” — Scott

Wow. Questions about the 2016 draft already! I guess it’s never too early to look forward to adding a potential star player for lottery bound teams…unless you’re talking about the Knicks, who will send their first-rounder to Toronto for having had the privilege of Andrea Bargnani sitting behind their bench in street clothes for 95 of the 164 games he was part of the team for. And yes, I am still working out some feelings regarding that trade…

Back to your question, it’s extremely early to definitively predict who will be the first player off the board next June. After all, Jahlil Okafor was the overwhelming choice in most preseason mock drafts last year to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2015, and he fell to No. 3 overall. That just shows what an inexact science player scouting can be. But the early favorite to be the first name intoned by Adam Silver next June is LSU freshman Ben Simmons. Simmons is 6’10” and plays the game like a point guard. The sky is the limit for the 18-year-old, and he certainly has the potential to become a superstar in the NBA. Simmons stiffest competition for the top spot is Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, who should be the next great Wildcat big man.

What are your thoughts on the Clippers being fined for offering DeAndre Jordan an endorsement deal as part of their pitch?” — Benny

I don’t think it’s a big deal at all really. The fine imposed by the NBA is mere pocket change to an owner as rich as Steve Ballmer is, so the Clippers organization will be just fine. The situation hasn’t reached the conspiracy level associated with the Patriots and “Deflategate,” as well it shouldn’t be. I’d hazard a guess that this sort of deal sweetener is not at all uncommon during negotiations in the NBA, and it’s only coming to light because of the highly unusual circumstances attached to Jordan’s free agent flip-flop on where to sign. I’d also like to take a moment to commend the Mavs’ organization for not trying to turn this into a bigger issue than it really is. While the league’s investigation determined that the Lexus endorsement offer that Jordan was offered didn’t influence him to return to Los Angeles, one can never know for sure if it played a part, no matter how small. Dallas could have made some noise about this, but it has seemingly moved on, which is a good thing for all involved.

In the end, Ballmer’s wallet is a little lighter, Jordan is back where he wants to play, and Dallas still needs a starting center. The league stepped in and meted out a fair punishment, and everyone involved seems satisfied and ready to move on. If this was the NFL we’d be talking about this situation for months, so kudos to the NBA for handling the whole affair swiftly and professionally.

That’s all for this week. Thanks to all those who submitted questions. Please keep them coming in. I’ll be off next Saturday, so I’ll return in two weeks with the next installment.

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