In addition to our weekly chat every Wednesday, we have a second 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:
Do you know if there is movement on Seattle getting a team via expansion or team relocation? — Marques Garrett
HR: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed this topic in March during a speech at the South by Southwest festival. He said owners are focused on making the 30-team league as strong as possible and expressed reservations that there is enough NBA-level talent to justify adding franchises. Without specifying a time frame, he suggested expansion may come in the future. A deal is on the table among Seattle, King County and entrepreneur Chris Hansen that would trigger $200MM in funding for a new arena if the NBA approves a team for the city. However, the deal expires in November 2017, and it seems very unlikely the NBA will expand before then. As far as relocation, there are no franchises thatare in danger of moving soon, but when the NBA does pick its next city, either through expansion or relocation, Seattle will be at the front of the line.
What can the Pelicans do to improve? Would there be any takers for Omer Asik if Tyreke Evans is attached to the deal? Then could they maybe look at Kent Bazemore and Nicolas Batum in free agency? — Brandon Givens
HR: Asik’s contract will make him very hard to trade for at least another season or two, no matter who else is part of the deal. He will make $11MM for each of the next three seasons, with a non-guaranteed $14MM for 2019/20. Evans and Jrue Holiday both have expiring contracts next summer, so there may be interest in them, and the Pelicans will have some cap room to play with if Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson don’t re-sign. But what New Orleans really needs is good health, especially from Anthony Davis, who was limited to 61 games this year. A full season from him might put the Pelicans back in the playoffs.
Who do you think ends up coaching the Rockets? — Christian Cueto
Obviously, this was sent before Houston announced the hiring of Mike D’Antoni this week. There are two schools of thought on D’Antoni. One is that his teams are undisciplined and don’t play defense and that he will bring out all of James Harden‘s worst instincts. The other is that D’Antoni is an offensive genius who paved the way for the modern attack that many teams use and that his teams can be very good, especially with a defensive specialist next to him on the bench. If there were a perfect test case for whether D’Antoni’s theories still work, it should be next season’s Rockets.