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:
Should the Celtics bite the bullet and trade for Kevin Love in a deal that sends Nerlens Noel to the Cavs, Love to Boston and Jaylen Brown to 76ers, then target Gordon Hayward in free agency should he opt out, which seems to be the consensus around the NBA. Or should they wait until Blake Griffin hits the market and see what the Nets pick brings during the lottery process, where they’ll likely target Harry Giles? — Chris Hawkins
That’s a lot of moving parts. Let’s address them one at a time. Boston probably would have been the best destination for Love if the Cavaliers had lost in the Finals and were looking to shake up the team. But right now, Cleveland has no intention of breaking up the core of its world champions. Also, Love is too similar to Al Horford and that combination would leave the Celtics with no rim protector. Boston will have about $26MM to spend next summer, so it can afford to target Hayward, who has become one of the league’s best small forwards. Griffin seems like a long shot, and Boston shouldn’t be making plans around the possibility that he will decide to leave L.A. And whether it’s Giles or someone else, the Celtics seemed poised to hit the jackpot with the Nets’ picks in the next two drafts. That’s another reason to hold onto Brown and set up a mega-offer for someone like DeMarcus Cousins.
Which free agents are most likely to be off the market at the start of the season? — Ryan Smith
J.R. Smith, for sure. With no other offers to give him leverage, he should sign fairly soon at a number close to what the Cavs offered. Likewise, Donatas Motiejunas got no offers as a restricted free agent and appears to be a lock to remain in Houston. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have both been linked to the Cavaliers, who need an experienced point guard to back up Kyrie Irving. Carl Landry was waived by the Sixers last week, and someone will probably pick him up before training camp opens.
What are your thoughts on every NBA team getting to choose its own rep for an All Star dunk, skills or 3-point competition? Seems like this would increase fan interest, as everyone would have a hometown guy to root for. Also, how close are we to having an NBA and D-League relationship that more closely mirrors what MLB has with its upper minor leagues? (Example: Each NBA team has an expanded 20-man roster and 12-man active roster, while the other eight would be in the D-League or disabled list.) Seems this would give more guys a path to the NBA, solve some of the fatigue and injury complaints from the players, increase talent in the D-League, while also keeping more talent stateside instead of going to Europe. — Beauen Bogner
Your first suggestion is intriguing, but I don’t know if it’s workable to have 30 contestants in any of those contests. They often stretch out too long as it is. The D-League has added five teams for the upcoming season, bringing its total to 22, and all have a direct association with an NBA team. There are so many advantages to having a D-League affiliate that it seems eventually all 30 teams will go that route. But even if the D-League evolves into a baseball-style minor league, it will never be able to compete with the salaries that overseas teams pay, so that’s going to remain the first choice for players who don’t make an NBA roster.