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:
“Do you think Doc Rivers was playing coy when he said the team won’t trade Jamal Crawford? Or do you see the Clippers keeping him the full season?” — James
I think Rivers will wait to see how Lance Stephenson will fit in with the team before he makes a final decision regarding Crawford. But beyond that, the Clippers are pretty stocked in the backcourt with Austin Rivers and J.J. Redick also on hand, and who will both cut into Crawford’s playing time. The most sensible path for the Clippers to take would probably be to hang onto Crawford until December, then try to deal him to fill any holes in the team’s rotation. The benefit of holding off on a deal is that it would give the team a better chance to assess its roster, as well as for them to hope that some other teams have a run of early season injuries in their backcourts, thus driving up the asking price for Crawford. Holding off dealing Crawford until the season is underway would also protect the Clippers in the event one of their players were to go down with a serious injury. In the end, I do think Crawford is traded, though it might not be until the February trade deadline.
“Should the Knicks seriously consider trading Carmelo Anthony?” — Vinnie
I think it’s getting to that point, yes. Though, for full-disclosure purposes, I think New York should have worked out a sign-and-trade last offseason rather than ink ‘Melo to his current deal. I’m not the biggest Anthony fan out there, and I firmly believe he needs to be the second or third best player on a team if he ever hopes to win an NBA title. That will likely never be the case with the Knicks, and with him being on the wrong side of 30, Anthony’s almost certainly in his decline phase. With their wealth of roster needs, and distinct lack of future draft picks, the Knicks are in dire need of a complete tear down, which will be difficult to accomplish as long as Anthony’s nearly $23MM salary is on the books for New York.
Of course, Anthony has a big say in all of this, given his no-trade clause. But if the Knicks get off to a slow start and hope for the postseason appears lost, I have a feeling Melo may be more amenable to relocating, though it will be extremely difficult to move that big a salary during the season. If he’s traded, it would likely occur after the season. That would net the Knicks a better return as well as expand the list of potential trade partners.
“Who do you predict will win the Rookie of the Year award for this season?” — Aaron
This is a tough one to answer prior to regular season rosters and starting lineups being set, but I’ll give it a go. The ROTY award is much more about the situation each first year player is placed in than which player is the most talented. Playing time is a huge determining factor, because this is primarily a stats-driven award. So keeping that in mind, I’d have to say the early favorite is the Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor. Philly doesn’t have all that much talent around him, so he should receive ample playing time, as well as become the team’s primary offensive weapon. That combination bodes well for Okafor to earn himself the award … if he can remain healthy and teams don’t park multiple defenders in the paint area to stop him.
“If the Isiah Thomas returning to the Knicks doomsday scenario does indeed come to pass, will Phil Jackson remain with the team?” — Nathan
Quick note, I love the phrasing of your question. It was definitely written by a longtime Knicks fan. I’ve had numerous nightmares involving Isiah making his return to the Knicks, and I hope and pray that it never comes to pass. But unfortunately, Thomas either has some serious blackmail material on James Dolan stashed away, or those two are simply destined to be together…in a basketball sense, of course. I fear as long as Dolan owns the team Isiah will always be lurking in the shadows awaiting his chance to strike, sort of like the antagonist in the film “It Follows.”
If this terrible event should indeed come to pass and Thomas is brought back into the fold with the Knicks, I can’t see any way that he and Jackson could co-exist. I should also mention that I don’t believe Jackson will complete his five year deal with the team regardless of Thomas’ whereabouts. So I could definitely see a scenario where Phil decides he’d rather be on the beach than at Madison Square Garden, and Dolan using that as a reason to bring back Thomas. No matter what the circumstances, I don’t see Thomas and Jackson being able to work together for very long, if at all. All I do know for sure is that I’m actively rooting against the New York Liberty to win even a single game next season. Maybe that would quell the return of Thomas talk? But these are the Knicks after all, so who knows at this point what it would take to make Dolan give up on Thomas for good…
Well, that’s all the space that I have for this week. Thanks to all those who sent in their inquiries. Please keep them coming, and I’ll see you back here next Saturday.