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:
Jalen Rose said that Russell Westbrook going to the Spurs should become a possibility so that they can form a super team against the Warriors. Could it become a possibility at the trade deadline or in free agency? — Michael Thompson
There is probably nothing that Westbrook would enjoy more than forming his own super team to battle Kevin Durant and the Warriors. The Spurs certainly have the potential for that with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge under long-term contracts, but getting Westbrook to San Antonio might be tricky. The Spurs don’t have the young talent or high draft picks that Oklahoma City would be seeking in return. The Celtics, for instance, could easily outbid their best offer. San Antonio’s hope is that Westbrook plays the entire season with the Thunder and becomes a free agent. The Spurs will have a little more than $93MM committed in salary against a projected cap of $102MM next summer. If newly signed Pau Gasol turns down his nearly $16.2MM player option for 2016/17, San Antonio will have just enough to become a serious bidder for Westbrook.
So all this talk about Greg Monroe‘s availability, what do you think will ultimately happen? Do you think the Bucks will make any more moves [besides anything Monroe related]? Could they be asking OKC about availability of Russell Westbrook? I think he would make a great fit, although I know it is HIGHLY unlikely he would want to stay. What is OKC looking in return if they decide to part ways with him?– Jake Bullis
The Bucks could put together a great package of young talent to offer the Thunder, but it’s far too risky without an assurance from Westbrook that he would re-sign. Something could happen on the Monroe front before the season starts. ESPN’s Zach Lowe said this week that the Bucks and Pelicans had been close to a deal involving Monroe around draft time. Monroe hails from New Orleans and reportedly would like to play there. He still has two seasons and $35MM left on his contract, so Milwaukee’s return might be minimal, but the Bucks could benefit just from getting past what looks like a failed experiment.
Do you think there will be an NBA lockout next year and will it shorten the 2017/18 season? — Greg Dizon
Either side can opt out of the current deal in December, so this question will be hanging over the league until it is resolved. A Washington Post story earlier this month brought a huge dose of pessimism to the situation. Revenues are increasing sharply, but both the owners and players want to increase their share. Many teams would like to institute a franchise tag similar to the NFL’s to keep teams like the Thunder from losing their best players. Also, the union would like to see limits on maximum salaries eliminated. Expect the Collective Bargaining Agreement to be reopened and a lot of tense moments before the standoff ends.