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:
Where do you see the Raptors going with the No. 9 pick? If they trade it, it will likely be for a stretch four with a couple years under contract. I like Thaddeus Young and Brooklyn has no picks. Who else do you think is in play? — Enio Pippo
Young would be a nice fit in Toronto, but new Nets GM Sean Marks has let it be known that he considers Young and Brook Lopez the foundation of the team and he doesn’t plan to trade either one. Brooklyn would like to move into the first round, but probably not badly enough to give up Young and set off a Sixers-style rebuilding project. This year’s draft is well stocked with power forwards, and the ideal scenario would be if either Jaylen Brown, Marquese Chriss or Dragan Bender slides to the ninth spot. If not and the Raptors can’t find the power forward they want via trade, they will be choosing from Domantas Sabonis, Skal Labissiere and Henry Ellenson.
You are Danny Ainge, trying to make a move, but just like last year, you get stonewalled and are unable to make a trade during the draft. What do you do to build a team? Who do you try to sign? — Tyler Norton
The obvious answer is to see how the Kevin Love situation plays out in Cleveland. If the Cavs decide Love isn’t the right fit and they want to unload his contract for luxury tax relief, Boston should be first in line as a trading partner. The Celtics could give up a package centering on Jae Crowder and a couple of young athletes who fit Tyronn Lue’s up-tempo style in Cleveland. If that doesn’t work out, Boston has nearly $42MM in cap space this summer. Ainge can afford to pursue every big name free agent on the market, starting with Kevin Durant. If he stays in Oklahoma City, Al Horford would be a good alternative.
Could the pick Boston has at the top of the second round be a valuable commodity to use in trades? — Richard Barnett
Many teams find second-round picks enticing because they don’t come with guaranteed contracts. GMs are willing to take more chances because they aren’t bound to the players they draft if they wind up being washouts. The Celtics have three picks in the first round and five in the second round, so they’ll surely be in a trading mood. It won’t be hard to find a taker for the 31st pick or the 35th or 45th. Most likely, Ainge will try to package a few of those selections and maybe some players in a bid to get an established star.