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:
Depending on Russell Westbrook‘s player option decision, who out of Russ and DeMarcus Cousins will the Spurs likely target in 2018 ? My thinking is Russ as Tony Parker is on the home stretch of his career, but if Boogie is there you have to take a long look at his talents. — Chris Hawkins
Parker will be 36 in the summer of 2018 and will be a free agent himself. He may decide to retire then, or if he returns to the Spurs it will be in a reduced role. Backup Patty Mills is headed for free agency next summer, so unless rookie Dejounte Murray makes a huge leap, San Antonio will definitely be in the market for a point guard. And who better than Westbrook, who will have two more seasons to judge whether the Thunder can remain title contenders without Kevin Durant. Cousins seems like a shaky fit with a tough coach like Gregg Popovich, and it seems likely that the Kings will trade him before he reaches free agency. If you’re going to bet on either of those players one day joining the Spurs, put your money on Westbrook.
Will any of the head coaches immediately be on the “hot seat” as the NBA season tips off? Could any of the 11 new hires be on a “short leash”? Can you foresee another mid-season axing, such as the David Blatt firing last season? — Matt Trapp
The first name that springs to mind is Fred Hoiberg in Chicago. Jimmy Butler called him out in a much-publicized incident last season, and Hoiberg didn’t help his case by missing the playoffs. Chicago’s management is expecting big things after signing Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, even though they aren’t the type of shooters that stretch defenses the way Hoiberg wants to. Another surprising name to watch might be Brett Brown. He just received a two-year extension last December, but that was before Bryan Colangelo joined the front office. Philadelphia expects to start winning after three dreadful seasons, and Brown won’t have Ben Simmons for at least the first month. If the Sixers get off to another horrible start, the front office may decide to make a change.
I’ve yet to hear a strong rationale for the Bucks signing Miles Plumlee to that huge deal. It was late in the FA season, they still had John Henson and Greg Monroe on the books and they seemed to be bidding against themselves. Can you shed any light on why they might have done it and at such a seemingly ludicrous price tag? — Daren Hill
Plumlee signed in early August for four years at $49.6MM. It’s a huge jump for a player who barely topped $2MM last season and who played for three teams in his first three years in the league. Plumlee averaged just 5.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 61 games last season, but the Bucks like what he brings defensively and didn’t want to lose any frontcourt depth, so they were willing to take on the extra money during a summer in which salaries jumped dramatically across the league. Henson is under contract through the 2019/20 season, but Monroe can opt out next summer and may be traded away before then, so Plumlee could be given an expanded role to match his new contract.