We have an 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 us a line at [email protected] Here are this week’s inquiries:
With the recent Orlando Magic acquisitions, do you think Nikola Vucevic gets traded before the upcoming season? –Jeff Turner
After giving $68MM to Bismack Biyombo and drafting Stephen Zimmerman, there’s reason to think the Magic are looking in a new direction at center. Only 25, Vucevic is a very productive player, averaging 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season. He still has three years and nearly $37MM left on his contract, which is starting to look like a bargain as salaries rise around the league. I wouldn’t count on a deal right away, but depending how playing time is distributed in Orlando, Vucevic seems like a candidate to be moved before the February deadline.
Hey, guys! So, I’m a Timberwolves fan. What can you tell me about what’s going on with Ricky Rubio and who Minnesota should target next free agency or anyone via trade. Thanks! — Cameron Johnson
Officially, the Wolves keep saying that they aren’t looking to trade Rubio, but anyone who watched Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones during summer league can tell that Rubio isn’t the point guard of the future in Minnesota. It makes sense to integrate Dunn as a starter with the rest of the young core as quickly as possible, rather than make that adjustment down the road, and no one will be happy if Rubio is a $13.4MM backup. As far as trades, the Wolves need veteran help at wing and Rudy Gay is known to be available in Sacramento. The Kings need a replacement for Rajon Rondo, so a deal with Rubio and Gay as the centerpieces makes sense for both sides.
As a concerned, die-hard Knicks fan, I can’t help but wonder, deeply, about how our inevitable pursuit of Russell Westbrook will affect the status, or at the very least, morale of Joakim Noah on the team if Russ were to sign with us. That would almost certainly mean that Derrick Rose would be banished to another city, something Jo wouldn’t be quite fond of. Rose is on the brink of a, perhaps, do-or-die season while Jo is on a brand new, multi-year deal. If Derrick Rose ends up on another team after an underwhelming season, it can’t be helped to wonder how it affects Jo. A contract is a contract, but this would be a peculiar disposition on the team a season from now. — Kevon
Noah and Rose may be close, but they’re not inseparable. Noah seemed certain to leave Chicago as a free agent before anyone knew Rose was going to be traded. The Knicks gave Noah $72MM over four years, so he will find a way to be happy in New York no matter who his point guard is. One interesting factor is that Westbrook isn’t likely to consider the Knicks unless they become contenders, and that won’t happen unless Rose plays very well next season. If Rose re-discovers his game in New York, it’s possible that Phil Jackson will try to keep him and sign Westbrook, and then hope they can co-exist in the same backcourt.