In the latest episode of The Woj Pod, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was joined by ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Royce Young to discuss a handful of topics from around the NBA. Since Young covers the Thunder, much of the conversation focused on Oklahoma City’s early-season struggles, but the ESPN trio bounced around the league to touch on several other teams and subjects too.
Let’s round up a few highlights…
- Despite the fact that the Thunder expressed a willingness to go deeper into luxury-tax territory next year to keep Paul George and Carmelo Anthony around, Wojnarowski is very skeptical, suggesting it will probably just be a one-year run with the current roster. “This would be an incredible [tax] bill for the New York Knicks, the Lakers or Steve Ballmer to pay, never mind Clay Bennett in a small market like Oklahoma City,” Woj said.
- Meanwhile, Young and Marks questioned the Thunder‘s decision to decline Josh Huestis‘ fourth-year option, indicating that it was likely related to tax concerns. The trio observed that the idea of replacing Huestis with a minimum-salary veteran goes against the draft-and-develop strategy the Thunder have practiced in recent years.
- With the Cavaliers looking vulnerable and several Eastern Conference teams off to decent starts, Wojnarowski believes that the wide-open nature of the conference could have an impact on the trade market. One executive tells Wojnarowski that it wouldn’t be surprising to see some talent head from the West to the East, since Western teams are less inclined to believe there’s an opening to make it to the Finals, with the Warriors looking as strong as ever.
- According to Wojnarowski, the Suns were initially seeking a good young player and a first-round pick – or two – in exchange for Eric Bledsoe. Of course, the return Phoenix got from Milwaukee in exchange for Bledsoe didn’t come close to that. Bledsoe’s value had taken a hit because of the public nature of the situation, but Marks points out that most teams already have solid point guards and weren’t ready to make a major trade so early in the season, further limiting the Suns’ options.