Community Shootaround

Community Shootaround: Communication Between Owner And Star Player

On Monday, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert parted ways with GM David Griffin, who was up for an extension. Griffin had been instrumental in bringing the Cavaliers’ star player, LeBron James, back to Cleveland. The executive also built a championship team by shrewdly trading for Kevin Love and cleverly filling out the Cavaliers roster over the years with key ancillary players like Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Channing Frye. He did all of this with creativity under considerable budgetary constraints. Unsurprisingly, James had long been an outspoken advocate for Griffin to continue at his GM post.  According to Brian Windhorst, LBJ was not notified before Gilbert decided to let Griffin go (link via Twitter). Naturally, this seemed to upset James (link via Twitter).

Should Gilbert have consulted LeBron before getting rid of LBJ’s guy? Is it prudent for an owner to do what he can to make his superstar, who is arguably the best player of all-time, happy? LeBron James left Cleveland once before. Could behavior like this from the owner fuel LBJ’s already potentially wandering eye? Conversely, do you believe that players need not be involved in front office decisions like this one? Should players be divorced from personnel decisions?

We would love to see your thoughts reflected in the comments section.

Community Shootaround: Potential 76ers Big Three

Even if your mother always warned you not to get ahead of yourself, let’s get ahead of ourselves anyway. After all, Coach Klein did teach Bobby Boucher in The Waterboy that “what Mama don’t know, won’t hurt her.”

Classic movies from 1998 aside, the 76ers are reportedly close to trading for the Celtics‘ No. 1 overall pick in next week’s draft. If completed, Philly would very likely select Markelle Fultz, the tantalizing University of Washington freshman with major upside. Can you imagine Fultz on the court with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons? The Sixers could boast three of the most promising young players in the NBA. Fultz is 19 years old, Simmons is 20, and Embiid is 23. Lest we forget, Philly also possesses promising 23-year-olds Dario Saric and Richaun Holmes on its youthful roster.

If Fultz’s workout with the Sixers (scheduled for 6 PM Eastern Time Saturday night) goes as well as expected, the trade could soon be finalized, and 76ers fans could witness their fantasy coming true of a Fultz-Simmons-Embiid big (and young) three. Today’s discussion question is: assuming the trade is completed and the Sixers wind up with Fultz, how special can this trio be together? What kind of obstacles do you expect them to face? If Brett Brown still elects to play Simmons at point guard, would that mostly help or hurt Fultz’s development on the court?

We’d love to hear your insight in the comment section.

Community Shootaround: Sixers Draft

What the Sixers decide to do with the No. 3 overall pick could shape the entire draft, as I suggested in the team’s offseason preview. While it’s not a forgone conclusion that Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball go in the top-2, counting on any other outcome would be unwise.

Philadelphia has a tough decision to make with No. 3 and that leads us to tonight’s topic: Assuming Fultz and Ball are off the board, what should the Sixers do with their first round pick?

Malik Monk seems like a great fit because of his outside shooting, though it’s likely that he’ll be available in the latter half of the top-10, so trading down may be the best maneuver. If the team stays put, Josh Jackson could be the selection because of his tremendous upside or team president Bryan Colangelo could opt for the explosive skill-set of De’Aaron Fox.

Jayson Tatum is arguably the most pro-ready player in the draft and he could step in from day one alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to form a special young nucleus. If the team intends on playing the 2016 No. 1 overall selection at the point guard spot, having a slasher with Tatum’s repertoire on the wing will only help his development.

Philly could go in multiple directions on draft night and we’re putting you on the clock in tonight’s community shootaround. Tell us what you would do with the No. 3 overall pick in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!

Community Shootaround: New Policy On Resting Players

The NBA is ready to address the issue of healthy stars sitting out games during the regular season.

Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call Friday with the league’s competition committee, developing guidelines to deal with the topic, relays ESPN.com. He plans to “strongly recommend” that teams rest their stars only during home games, with a limit of one per contest.

In theory, this will eliminate the problem of fans in cities where LeBron James or Stephen Curry plays once or twice a year missing out on seeing the stars in action after paying top dollar for tickets.

“Where we’re heading is the adoption of guidelines that will be in place for next season which will strongly recommend that the extent they rest, they rest at home, and teams also not rest multiple starters on the same night,” Silver said. “Let’s see how that plays out.

“I’m reluctant to get into the business of directing these great coaches on minutes. As you know, players are often injured during the season, not to the point where they otherwise can’t play but maybe shouldn’t play. Then it’s a function of league doctors versus team doctors on how healthy a player is and whether it’s appropriate a player should be on the floor that night.

“I’d like to come up with a system that relies on the good faith of our teams that to the extent rest is necessary — and it is on occasion — that it’s done in an appropriate [manner] but the league executives are not dictating to coaches and GMs precisely what games their players should or shouldn’t be playing in.”

It’s a problem unique to the NBA. The series nature of baseball means no one objects when a player gets a night off. NFL players never skip games with they’re healthy, unless it’s a meaningless one at the end of the season. NHL players have a tough-guy code and most wouldn’t think of sitting out a game just for rest.

But it’s an issue in pro basketball, as teams worry about being healthy and fresh for the playoffs.

We want to know what you think of Silver’s new guidelines. Do they go far enough? Do you believe the league will enforce them? Or is this really a problem at all?

Please share your opinion in the comments section. We look forward to what you have to say.

Community Shootaround: Draymond Green

The Cavaliers and Warriors are in the middle of a competitive Game 4 with the NBA title hanging in the balance (for one of them). If Cleveland can’t eke out a victory by the end of the night, they’ll be on the losing end of Golden State’s historic 16-0 playoff run and the offseason will have officially begun.

Such an impressive run, just one season removed from their historic 73-win 2015/16 campaign would put the already legendary Warriors club in even more impressive territory.

This isn’t a post about the Warriors winning the 2017 NBA title, however, as we at Hoops Rumors remain dutifully impartial and simply hopeful that the series will continue and hoops fans the world over get several more games of NBA action.

This is a post about last year.

Earlier this week, notoriously emotional Draymond Green told Zach Lowe of ESPN that he believes his suspension in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals cost his team the title. Green, of course, was sidelined after an incident in which he appeared to take a swipe at LeBron James‘ groin.

Whether or not you agree that the suspension was warranted, the question we’d like to propose is whether or not you think having Green in the lineup for Game 5 last year would have changed the outcome of the best-of-seven series.

If the Dubs had pulled off the 2016 title, they’d be within a game from a threepeat here tonight, which comes with its own place among the league’s greatest dynasties.

The question is, if Golden State were reigning two-time defending champions, would they be perceived any different than they are? Would Kevin Durant still have signed? Would James’ legacy be impacted?

It’ll be a long 15 minutes as we await the third quarter of this fourth game of the 2017 NBA Finals, so join us on a hypothetical journey back to last year.

Community Shootaround: LeBron James’ Future

The Cavaliers are one game away from being swept by the Warriors, and Chris Mannix of The Vertical makes the case that Cleveland won’t have a legit chance to knock off Golden State anytime soon. In fact, Mannix suggests that if they hadn’t won last year’s Finals, the Cavs would likely be headed for a Buffalo Bills-esque run — good enough to come out of their conference, but not to win the championship.

With that in mind, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explores the idea that LeBron’s second stint in Cleveland may not be permanent. James came back to the Cavs with a goal of bringing a title to Cleveland, and did so last year, meaning there likely wouldn’t be as much animosity if elected to take his talents elsewhere for a second time.

According to O’Connor, there are rumblings around the NBA about the possibility of LeBron heading out west when he becomes eligible to opt out of his contract in 2018. Multiple league sources that spoke to O’Connor suggests that Los Angeles is a potential destination for the reigning Finals MVP, with both the Lakers or Clippers as viable possibilities.

O’Connor lays out both of those hypothetical scenarios, writing that LeBron could theoretically team with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Paul George for the Lakers, or with his “Banana Boat” friends – Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony – for the Clippers.

At this point, both of those outcomes seem like long shots. Either L.A. team would have to complete a series of challenging roster moves to put together the groups O’Connor mentions, and there’s certainly no guarantee that LeBron will leave Cleveland anyway when he has the opportunity to reach free agency next summer. Heading west also wouldn’t necessarily improve his chances of toppling the Warriors, since he’d be in their division rather than in another conference.

Still, with the Cavs on the verge of defeat in this year’s Finals, it’s an interesting subject of speculation. What do you think? Will LeBron finish his career with the Cavaliers, or do you expect to see him eventually change teams again? If he heads elsewhere, are the Lakers and Clippers the most likely landing spots?

Weigh in below in the comments section with your thoughts!

Community Shootaround: Game 3

The third installment of the WarriorsCavaliers Finals promised plenty of drama and tight finishes. Instead, it’s looking more like a Golden State coronation, as the Western Conference champions dominated the first two games.

Cleveland seems helpless in slowing down the Warriors and their turbo-boost attack, fueled by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Curry is averaging 30 PPG, 8 RPG and 10.5 APG, while Durant is posting 35.5 PPG, 11 RPG and 7 APG in the series.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have a multitude of issues, particularly regarding the role players around their Big 3. Two of their starters, shooting guard J.R. Smith and center Tristan Thompson, have provided nothing but angst for Cavaliers supporters. Smith has scored three points in 42 minutes and is still looking for his first assist and steal. Thompson has grabbed a total of eight rebounds in 43 minutes and hasn’t blocked a shot.

Cleveland’s bench, fortified by a variety of front office moves this season, has also not helped the cause. Veteran point guard Deron Williams has not scored in 33 minutes. Long-range specialist Kyle Korver is 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts. None of the other reserves have made a significant impact.

LeBron James has 12 turnovers, a sign that he may be trying to do too much while his teammates are doing too little. However, fans must be reminded that the Warriors only did what they were supposed to do — win at home. With the series shifting to Cleveland, the Cavaliers should put up much more resistance.

In any case, no team with LeBron James should be underestimated. The Cavaliers were counted out by virtually everyone last year after falling behind 3-1 in the series.

There are rumblings that Smith will be replaced in the lineup by Iman Shumpert for Game 3. It could be just one of several tweaks coming for the Cavs.

That brings us to today’s question: What moves should Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue make for Game 3 of the Finals in order to get his club back on track?

Please take to the comments section to voice your opinion. We look forward to what you have to say.

Community Shootaround: Media Obligations

Displeased with how the media scheduling has been set up in the NBA Finals, LeBron James opted out of speaking at the podium after Game 2, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. James also chose to bypass the podium after practice on Saturday.

Per Vardon, James wasn’t happy having to wait for the Warriors to finish their own interviews before he could give his own following the Game 1 loss last Thursday. Instead, on Sunday, James opted to speak to the media in the team’s locker room as soon as he was available to do so.

This begs the question of whether James’ response is appropriate given the situation. We’d like to hear what readers have to say about it in the comments section below.

Should athletes like James, paid handsomely to serve as professional athletes (a role that comes with inherent media obligations) speak whenever they’re scheduled by the league’s media department? Or does James have a point here?

In contrast, should the league’s media department be more sensitive to the fact that frustrated players aren’t likely to be enthused by the thought of sitting around waiting just to answer questions?

Ultimately the majority of fans acknowledge the media commitments that come with playing in the NBA but perhaps there’s a compromise that would appease all parties.

Weigh in below!

Community Shootaround: Klay Thompson’s Struggles

The Warriors blew out the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and received little offensive help from sharpshooter Klay Thompson. Thompson posted just six points on 3-of-16 shooting as teammates Kevin Durant (38 points) and Stephen Curry (28 points) picked up the slack. Despite his shooting, Thompson’s impact was felt on on the defensive side of the ball.

Thompson’s defense on LeBron James, J.R. Smith, and Kevin Love helped Golden State in its 113-91 win, entering Sunday’s Game 2 with an early series lead. However, Thompson’s struggles with shooting in the playoffs have been evident; one half of the Splash Brothers is shooting 36.6 percent from the field, 33.8 percent from beyond the arc, and hasn’t posted a 20-point game since Game 4 of the Semifinals against the Jazz on May 8. The reason could be a prolonged slump or it could be the addition of Durant disrupting his role on offense. Either way, Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders feels that the 76ers should pursue the 27-year-old shooting guard.

During a recent interview on Philadelphia ESPN radio affiliate, 97.5 The Fantatic, Thompson’s father and former first overall pick Mychal Thompson spoke highly of the Sixers’ evolving core.

“Yes, [former general manager] Sam Hinkie was right,” Thompson told host Mike Missanelli. “The talent that he amassed there with Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid], as long as those two guys stay healthy Philadelphia is the team of the future in the Eastern Conference. No doubt about that. They’re going to be better than Washington, better than Atlanta, better than Toronto. Love that roster that you have there in Philly right now.”

The elder Thompson also added that Philadelphia is “one shooter” away from being a complete team, mentioning soon-to-be free agent J.J. Redick as a target. However, Redick is 32 years old and is closer to the end of his prime whereas Thompson is in the midst of his. Thompson is no stranger to trade rumors as his name was connected to a possible Love deal years ago before the Cavaliers — the Warriors’ opponent in the NBA Finals the last three years — snagged the talented big man. Thompson told Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post last January how much those rumors motivated him.

“A little bit. I was very happy. But I did take it as motivation,” Thompson said. “I had to prove they made the right decision. But I also look at the bright side of everything. It also meant that I’m wanted. It did motivate me to prove them right, and show them they made the right decision, and just keep working.”

For his part, Thompson enjoyed a strong regular season, posting 22.3 PPG while shooting .468 percent from the field and .414 percent from three. Any trade talks for Thompson with the 76ers would likely include the team’s third overall pick and other young assets.

That brings up a few questions: Is trading Thompson something the Warriors should explore this offseason? What should the team look to acquire in such a scenario? Could Kevin Durant‘s hefty salary in the future be a good reason to deal Thompson now?

Community Shootaround: Re-evaluating The NBA’s Age Limit

As we wrote about earlier today, Adam Silver has an interest in raising the NBA’s age limit from 19 to 20. The commissioner says that the current system in place hasn’t done enough to adequately prepare prospects for life in the pros considering how many simply use the NCAA as a one-and-done launchpad for the NBA Draft.

The player’s union, however, is opposed to the age limit just as they were when the original was implemented over 10 years ago. Doing so restricts young players from dictating when and how they begin careers even though they’re legally old enough to vote or enlist in the army.

Essentially, the two parties have every reason to disagree but sooner or later they’ll have to agree on something. If this is a battle that Silver ultimately wins, we could see players waiting two years before declaring for the draft. The question is, would that be any better? Would student athletes end up being significantly more motivated to see their college programs through to completion if they’ve already logged two years as opposed to just one?

Alternatively, it’s hard not to empathize with the player’s union when they talk about players running the risk of injuring themselves in college and jeopardizing million-dollar careers all because of an arbitrary decision that some young prospects aren’t prepared enough to succeed in the pros.

A compromise would be ideal but it’s hard to gauge what that may look like. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer recently suggested that the league could follow Major League Baseball’s lead and let players choose one of two paths. On one hand players could opt to jump straight out of high school, on the other they could commit to playing at least two seasons of college ball if they choose to accept an NCAA scholarship.

What do you think about all of the options presented? Are there any other compromises that could give all parties what they want?

Weigh in with the comments section below!

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