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.
What are the latest Bucks trade rumors besides DeAndre Jordan, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia? — ROBZ, via Twitter
Milwaukee has been in the market for a center since sending Greg Monroe to Phoenix in the Eric Bledsoe deal. The Bucks are loaded with talent, but are being held back by their lack of rebounding, where they rank near the bottom of the league. They will be interested in any big man who becomes available between now and the February 8 trade deadline and would probably be first in line for Jordan if the Clippers decide to part with him. An under-the-radar name to watch is Kyle O’Quinn, who has developed into an effective back-up for the Knicks. Enes Kanter has the starting job in New York and the team wants to find additional minutes for Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah, so a deal involving O’Quinn wouldn’t be surprising. He’s relatively cheap at $4.0875MM this year with a $4,256,250 player option for next season, so the Bucks wouldn’t have to give up much in return.
What do you believe is a decent asking price for Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez together or in separate deals? — Mike 2k_97, via Twitter
The Bulls have looked like a playoff team over the past three weeks, but management still has a rebuilding mindset. That means the team will be asking for first-rounders in any deal. Mirotic has been a candidate for Most Improved Player since returning from facial fractures, averaging 18.1 points through 12 games and shooting 48% from 3-point range. His has a $12.5MM salary this season and a team option for the same amount in 2018/19, so he would be a relatively inexpensive piece for a contender to add. He is still bitter over his preseason fight with Bobby Portis and would welcome a trade if it gets him to a playoff team. He doesn’t become eligible to be traded until January 15, but a recent report said the Bulls are willing to move him if they can get a mid to late first-rounder in return. Lopez has a much higher salary at nearly $13.8MM this year and close to $14.36MM next season, so he will be much tougher to trade.
What do you think of LaVar Ball’s junior basketball league that will cater to high school ballers who want to skip college basketball and join the NBA? — Gregory Dizon
It certainly has appeal to some players who see the NBA as their future and don’t want to deal with the academic part of college life, and having Ball in charge means it would get plenty of publicity. But the economics of running any new league are always a concern, as attendance and general interest will depend on landing some big-name prospects each year. The biggest challenge for the league will be proving that it can be an effective path to a pro career. Most five-star recruits are going to view the coaching provided at Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and other major college programs as a better option than an upstart pro league.