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:
Since we have lost Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, who do you think will be the next great to walk away from the game? I honesty think either Manu Ginobili or Paul Pierce. — [email protected]
Pierce’s 39th birthday is next month and he still hasn’t said definitively that he will play this season. If things don’t go well in training camp, his retirement could be coming soon. Ginobili turned 39 over the summer, but his minutes have been limited to less than half a game for the past five years. He probably can remain in that role for a couple more years if his body doesn’t break down. Another name to watch is Vince Carter, who will turn 40 in January. He said recently that he still loves to play and wants to remain in the league two more years, but as always, that’s only if his body holds up.
How do you think the midseason return of Tyreke Evans will affect the Pelicans’ playoff chances? — Adam Guttuso
The latest report on Evans, who underwent two knee surgeries last season, is that he won’t be ready until December at the earliest. It’s hard to project how he will affect the playoff race without knowing exactly when he will return and how the knee will respond to the rigors of NBA competition. A healthy Evans would certainly give New Orleans a boost, but the Pelicans have to find a way to stay in the race until their roster is full again. Along with Evans, the team will start the season without Jrue Holiday, who has taken a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife, and Quincy Pondexter, who is still recovering from cartilage replacement surgery on his left knee in January.
Those are two good ones to start with. The Celtics and Timberwolves both tried hard to swing a deal for Butler around draft time, but neither team got it done. Butler had a well-publicized clash with coach Fred Hoiberg last season, and if he doesn’t mesh well with newcomers Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, look for trade rumors to heat up again. Cousins enters this season with another new coach and another revamped roster in Sacramento. The clock is ticking toward his free agency in the summer of 2018, and if the Kings get off to another bad start they may explore what they could get in a trade for their big man. A long shot might be Blake Griffin, who angered Clippers management by breaking his hand in a fight with an equipment manager last season. Griffin has an early termination clause and can become a free agent next summer, so the Clippers may look to make a deal if they aren’t one of the top teams in the West.