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. This week, in a continued effort to change things up a bit, I’ve once again invited some of the other staff members to join in on the fun. Now for this week’s inquiries:
“With Harrison Barnes and the Warriors not likely to work out an extension, what kind of cap issues will this cause for the team next offseason?” Is Barnes likely to head elsewhere next summer now?” — Li
Chuck Myron: Theoretically, it gives the Warriors a chance to open some cap room for next season, especially if the cap escalates to $95MM instead of the projected $89MM, as some agents and executives around the league reportedly think it will. Still, it’s a long shot that Golden State would clear that cap room, since it would involve waiving Shaun Livingston and Jason Thompson and renouncing the rights to players like Festus Ezeli, who might just sign an extension before Monday’s deadline and close off the cap room possibility anyway. The more realistic effect of failing to sign Barnes to an extension is that the Warriors will be unable to trade him without his consent next summer if an appetizing deal, such as a sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant, were to materialize, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group has written on multiple occasions. Granted, I wouldn’t bet on Durant playing with the Warriors next season regardless of what happened with Barnes, but this makes that possibility slightly more remote.
Ultimately, I think Barnes is likely to remain with Golden State, since the Warriors have the ability to match competing bids for him next summer. The question is just how much Barnes is going to cost. That depends heavily on how he performs this season. If he falls flat and another team offers him the max, or close to it, I think that would be the only scenario in which the Warriors decide against matching an offer sheet for him.
“The Raptors look like they’re missing Lou Williams‘ offense already. Will the team take a step back this season despite improving its defense? Is there a trade the team should consider making?” — Jacob
: Hi, Jacob. First, relax. It’s kind of early. Actually, it’s really early. There’s no doubt, the Raptors at times will miss Lou Williams
‘ offensive ability, but they’re better off in the long run with the roster they assembled. Think of this way, too: Without Williams, other players — like Jonas Valanciunas
— will get more touches and the expectation is for them to make the most of it. Cory Joseph
is a guy worth keeping an eye on in terms of the Raptors’ scoring. A trade at this point would scream panic and you don’t want that. Trust in the defense — there’s plenty of it.
“Which training camp cut did you find the most surprising, and why?” — Michael
: That’s an easy one as far as I’m concerned —
the Celtics cutting Perry Jones III
loose. Jones is still a young player (24 years old), he possessed a fully guaranteed deal ($2,038,206 for 2015/16), and Boston is a young team in need of scorers, which Jones has the ability to become if given the opportunity. I get that Jones was waived mainly because of a numbers crunch in Boston, where Jones owned one of the 16 fully guaranteed salaries the Celtics carried into training camp, but I still think the team would have been better served to see if Jones could have contributed over the course of the season rather than eating his contract. Don’t get me wrong here. It’s not like Boston cut Anthony Davis
or another player of that caliber, but I still think Jones has the potential to be a useful rotation player in the league if given some regular minutes off the pine.
“Which rookies will be the biggest surprises this season (both good and bad)?” — Carl
: I think Myles Turner
will have a chance to make a real impact with the Pacers this season. Indiana has a surplus of bigs, but none of them have exceptional talent, so it’s possible that Turner could end up seeing some major minutes if he’s able to produce when he’s given time on the court. Of course, at just 19 years old, Turner is still rough around the edges, but it’s a short list of players in this year’s draft who have a higher upside than him. As for a rookie that might produce below expectations, I’m going to say Stanley Johnson
. While I think he’ll end up having a solid year, I’ve seen multiple publications list him as their pick to win Rookie of the Year. With the amount of rookie talent in the league, it’s hard for me to see him bringing home that title since he’ll be battling for minutes in Detroit.
“How high do you think Hassan Whiteside‘s ceiling is? Do you think he’s worth max contract, and if so, will the Heat offer him that amount?” — Doug
: I envision him having a solid career, but I don’t believe he becomes the dominant force that we saw flashes of last season. Marcin Gortat
or Robin Lopez
would be fair comparisons as far as career arcs go. Both have had solid careers and both have been important parts of playoff runs, yet neither are great enough to carry the team. Whiteside is in a good spot in Miami; he doesn’t have to carry the team. If he has a great season, some team may offer him the max, but I don’t believe Miami will consider that kind of deal for him. The Heat are thinking bigger. They want a big fish and they can only hand out one more big contract unless Wade takes a substantial pay cut. I don’t see Wade doing that to allow the team to pay Whiteside. The center could very well be playing in South Beach for years to come, just not on a max contact.
That’s going to put a bow on this week’s mailbag. Thanks to all those who sent in their inquiries. Please keep them coming, and we’ll see you back here next Saturday.