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 HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com.
Who is more likely to be traded this summer: Karl-Anthony Towns or Kawhi Leonard? –VJ Cruz, via Twitter
Let’s start by saying that neither should be considered likely to get traded. The Spurs will try to work through Leonard’s reported unhappiness and sign him to a long-term extension, while the Timberwolves would be taking a huge gamble by unloading a young talent like Towns. Rumors emerged this weekend that there is tension in Minnesota involving the 22-year-old center, but some of that could be the change in direction the franchise went through last summer by adding a veteran core in Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. The focus changed from building around Towns and Andrew Wiggins to winning right away. It doesn’t sound like a problem that can’t be solved. Leonard is in position to force the Spurs’ hands because he can opt out next summer, while Towns is under Minnesota’s control for at least two more seasons. If Leonard is willing to give up the benefits of a super max extension for a fresh start with a new team, San Antonio will be tempted to move him now to ensure something in return.
Was Brad Stevens outcoached Saturday night? — Tobin22, via Twitter
When your team loses by 30, everybody was out-everythinged. The result could be explained by the desperation that comes with a 2-0 deficit, but Tyronn Lue and the Cavaliers’ coaching staff deserve credit for some adjustments that are making this a more competitive series. Inserting Tristan Thompson into the starting lineup has reduced the effectiveness of Celtics big man Al Horford, and a more aggressive defense against Jaylen Brown cut into his production Saturday night. Stevens has gotten a lot of accolades during the playoffs, and rightfully so, but there are many smart coaches in the NBA. The postseason is all about adjustments, and we’ll see how Stevens responds in Game 4.
Luka Doncic is great in the EuroLeague, but how will he adjust to the NBA? — JJ, via Twitter
At age 19, Doncic has established himself as the EuroLeague’s top player, collecting both MVP honors and the Rising Star award. But it’s not clear what position he’ll fit into once he comes into the NBA. Doncic is a versatile offensive player at 6’8″ who can easily shoot over smaller defenders and is celebrated for his passing skills. However, there are concerns about his overall athleticism and fears that he doesn’t have the speed or explosiveness to keep up with NBA backcourts. It’s hard to imagine him slowing down opposing point guards if he lands next to Devin Booker in Phoenix. He would be most comfortable creating the offense as an off guard or small forward, but he’ll have to be surrounded with the right combination of talent for that approach to succeed.