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 Brandon Jennings playing this season? With the Pistons or somewhere else?” — Rey
He’ll almost assuredly begin the season in Detroit since he’s not expected to return to game action until late November or early December. I don’t see Stan Van Gundy selling low on Jennings prior to the season beginning, and the team would be better served to let him establish his value before trying to flip him for some assets. I don’t see a long-term future for Jennings in Detroit, so the franchise may very well do its best to deal him prior to the February trade deadline.
As for where Jennings may end up, that’s a tough one to predict because of his $8,344,497 cap hit for this season. There are two teams that immediately jump to mind as possible landing spots for Jennings — the Sixers and the Knicks. The Sixers are always in the discussion when it comes to teams looking to dump salaries, though the addition of Kendall Marshall on a fully guaranteed deal does lessen the potential need for Jennings in Philly somewhat.
The Knicks are in need of an upgrade at the point, and Phil Jackson may decide to take a chance on Jennings, though it will require a bit of creativity for the two sides to work out a deal given New York’s cap situation this season. But if Jackson and Van Gundy can get creative, then Jennings could end up being a fit with the Knicks, though I don’t see him being ideal for the triangle offense.
“With his strong play this Summer for Team Canada, do you see the Wolves picking up Anthony Bennett ‘s team option for 2016/17?” — Chris
This is going to be a tough call for Flip Saunders and the Wolves, that’s for sure. Bennett has shown remarkable improvement in his game this Summer, though the competition he’s doing it against isn’t as stout as what he’ll see on a nightly basis in the NBA. Training camp will be a huge determining factor since the team has to make its decision regarding Bennett’s option by November 2nd. Normally it would be a given that the No. 1 overall pick would have his option picked up, but that high draftee status, as well as the corresponding rookie scale salary, is what is complicating matters regarding his option.
Minnesota needs to decide if a reserve rotation player is worth over $7.3MM for the 2016/17 campaign, no matter how much improvement he demonstrates. If the salary cap was going to remain in line with what we have seen the past few seasons, then I’d wager against that option being picked up. But with the cap set to increase significantly next season, Bennett’s salary won’t eat up quite as much cap space as it would have in seasons past.
If Bennett has a strong training camp, then it’s highly likely that Minnesota elects to exercise its option for the forward. The x-factor here will be the play of rookie Nemanja Bjelica, and if he dazzles the front office and coaching staff, then Bennett may be deemed expendable, no matter how well he fares during the preseason.
“Which head coach’s seat will be the hottest this season?” — Xander
I’d have to think there are a few coaches whose job security will be a hot topic for discussion throughout this season. Here’s a quick rundown on some of my pink slip possibilities for 2015/16:
- Steve Clifford immediately jumps to mind, with the Hornets taking a pronounced step back last season. It will be interesting to see what the subtraction of Lance Stephenson does for this squad.
- Derek Fisher, while he hasn’t had much talent to work with in New York during his brief tenure, Fisher still hasn’t proven that he has a long-term future as a head coach, and the team may decide it has seen enough if the Knicks get off to a slow start.
- Randy Wittman has done a solid job with the Wizards, but if the team falters, which is a distinct possibility with the departure of Paul Pierce, whose intangibles could be considered more valuable than his stats, then Wittman could be the one to take the fall in Washington.
- Of course, no coaches in jeopardy list would be complete without George Karl, who the Kings already reportedly considered letting go this Summer. Sacramento’s organization from all outward appearances is a mess right now, which is a shame, because the fanbase and the city certainly deserve better. There are a number of power struggles that Karl could lose early in the season, not only with the front office, but also with star center DeMarcus Cousins. This will be a very interesting team to watch this year, and there is the potential for some truly soap opera worthy drama in 2015/16 in Sacramento.
That’s all the space I have for this week. Thanks to all who submitted inquiries, and please keep them coming. I’ll be back next Saturday with more responses.