Community Shootaround

Community Shootaround: What Should Knicks Do With Noah?

Earlier today, we relayed the latest comments from Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek on exiled center Joakim Noah. Hornacek sounded like someone who doesn’t expect Noah to return to the team this season, suggesting that the Knicks have “moved on” and adding that the veteran big man may be ready to seek an opportunity elsewhere.

While those comments made it sound like Noah’s release may be imminent, Hornacek’s answers to other questions made it clear that’s not necessarily the case. The Knicks head coach didn’t rule out the possibility of Noah returning to the team, suggesting that decision would ultimately be up to president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry. Ian Begley of ESPN also heard from sources that the Knicks have shown no desire yet to waive Noah outright.

Hornacek’s comments and Begley’s reporting raise several questions about what exactly the Knicks’ plan is for Noah. For starters, would the team would be willing to bring back Noah this season and get him some playing time down the stretch in an effort to at least slightly improve his trade value for the offseason?

With Willy Hernangomez out of the picture, getting Noah some minutes at the expense of veterans Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn wouldn’t be the worst thing for a tanking team. However, there may be lingering concern about Noah’s impact on the locker room. He was last seen getting into a practice altercation with Hornacek, so the club may not want to risk further incidents along those lines.

If Noah doesn’t return to the Knicks and he’s not interested in discussing a buyout, would the club be willing to just waive him? If so, when? As we outlined in December, if the Knicks don’t mind keeping Noah’s full $18MM+ cap hit for 2018/19 on their books, waiting until after August 31 to waive and stretch the veteran could make sense. Noah’s future cap hits in that scenario would be less expensive – and would end a year earlier – than if he’s waived and stretch before the end of August. Still, either approach would involve cutting into New York’s cap space until at least 2022.

What do you think? What’s the next step for the Knicks? Assuming Noah doesn’t suddenly show a willingness to give up money in a buyout, is there any path that doesn’t involve the Knicks compromising future cap flexibility or giving up important assets to part with him?

Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Community Shootaround: Fixing The All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star Game has always been more about scoring and showmanship than defense and fundamentals. But after watching last year’s 192-182 contest in New Orleans, which resembled a glorified layup line, there was a feeling in the league that things had swung too far in the wrong direction.

Among those unhappy with what they saw on TV was Chris Paul, who wasn’t chosen for the game last season. He called commissioner Adam Silver the next morning and discussed the need to make changes.

Particularly egregious, according to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report, was a play where Giannis Antetokounmpo had a fast-break dunk and Stephen Curry fell to the ground and covered his ears rather than try to play defense. Paul decided the game had turned into too much of a show, with not enough competition.

“For the first time, he actually just sat at home and watched it like a fan would watch it,” someone close to Paul told Berger. “I got the sense that he thought what everybody else thought; there’s very little competition. He’s an ultra-competitive guy. … I think he viewed it from a different perspective and was like, ‘We’ve got to do something.'”

Silver was glad to see the players adopt that position, and was even happier when Hornets owner Michael Jordan and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts added their support.

The first steps were to scrap the traditional East vs. West matchup in favor of two captains picking players from a pre-selected roster. Also, the prize money for each member of the winning team has been increased from $50K to $100K to provide more incentive.

We’ll find out tomorrow if these changes made a difference or if more needs to be done. But tonight we want your input. What should the NBA do to make its All-Star Game a better product? Jump into the comments section below and give us your opinion.

Community Shootaround: Knicks’ Head Coaching Job

As we outlined in an earlier Knicks post, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote today that it’s “hard to envision a scenario” in which head coach Jeff Hornacek is back next season. Hornacek is in his second year at the helm and the Knicks have struggled to a 54-87 record under his watch. The roster has been in a constant of flux, the front office has been at odds, and Hornacek has taken the brunt of the blame.

Since 2014, the New York has had four head coaches, with Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Hornacek holding down the position. However, the Knicks have not enjoyed a winning campaign since the 2012/13 season and have seemingly been building for the future for half a decade.

The rest of this season is all but over as the Knicks sport the ninth-worst record in the NBA and are likely out of the playoff picture after franchise star Kristaps Porzingis went down with a season-ending torn ACL. With solid young long-term pieces such as Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Tim Hardaway Jr. in place, the front office – along with Hornacek – has stressed that this year is designed to prepare for the future.

If that is the plan, is Hornacek the man to lead the Knicks into the future? Do you think the Knicks should move on from Hornacek? If the team does make a change, who do you feel would be the right coach for the current roster? Sound off in the comments below!

Community Shootaround: Derrick Rose’s Future

It was just over one year ago when ESPN.com’s Ian Begley reported that Derrick Rose, who was headed for unrestricted free agency, would seek a maximum salary deal. Despite his decorated injury history, Rose was enjoying a solid offensive season in New York and while a max deal seemed unlikely at the time, the idea sounds downright laughable a year later.

Just like in years past, Rose finished the 2016/17 season on his team’s injured list after he tore the meniscus in his left knee. Rose finished the year averaging 18.0 PPG, his highest in a season where he played at least 40 games since his MVP campaign in 2010/11. The Knicks had no clear solution at point guard and reports suggested that Rose wanted to stay in New York.

However, the Knicks were immersed in behind-the-scenes turmoil while then-team president Phil Jackson was in control. Jackson confirmed Rose wanted to stay and was open to the idea. Shortly thereafter, Jackson was fired, the Knicks drafted Frenchman Frank Ntilikina, and Rose was in search of a new home. Rose’s max contract did not materialize; the market for his services never developed and he signed a one-year, minimum salary deal with Cleveland.

“I get a chance to reintroduce myself back to the league. I get to bet on myself,” Rose said after signing the deal (via ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin). “That was one of the reasons I came here: I get to bet on myself. And I’m from Chicago, I’ve got that hustling side; it’s in me, man. Next time you’ve got to pay me, you’ve got to pay me double, so it’s fine with me.”

Rose’s stint in The Land was nothing short of forgettable. He left the team in late November to contemplate his future as injuries piled up. He reportedly considered retirement — something he denied later on. Rose returned to the court in mid-January, but the Cavaliers were falling apart and the former MVP — strictly a part-time reserve — was not much of a factor.

In 16 games with Cleveland, Rose averaged a career-worst 9.8 PPG. He was traded to the Jazz as part of a three-team deal on deadline day and was officially waived on Saturday. Reports have mentioned the Timberwolves and Wizards as two potential destinations. Minnesota is led by Tom Thibodeau,  who was Rose’s coach during his best seasons in Chicago; the Wizards will be without star John Wall for a while and could use some point guard depth.

At 29 years old, both Rose’s production and body are unreliable. For many — particularly Rose — it is hard to accept that a player who was once the youngest MVP in league history is unemployed at an age where many assumed he would still be one of the game’s elite.

The pressing question is how much longer will Rose want to continue? Where do you see Rose finishing the 2017/18 season, if he plays at all? Should he sit out the rest of the year and try again in 2018/19? Rose averaged 18.0 PPG just one year ago; can he come anywhere close to that again? Please share your thoughts and comments down below.

Community Shootaround: Cleveland Cavaliers

The new-look Cavaliers made a statement today, annihilating the Celtics in Boston in a nationally televised game. The problems that plagued the team all season appear to be vanquished with a younger, faster and more athletic lineup now in place around LeBron James.

All four newly acquired players made an impact with Jordan Clarkson scoring 17 points, Rodney Hood adding 15 with three 3-pointers, George Hill posting 12 points and Larry Nance Jr. contributing five points and four rebounds.

The ball was moving, there were no signs of in-fighting on the court and the issues with defense appear to have been resolved. Most importantly, James looked happy and energized by his new crop of teammates.

“They were phenomenal,” coach Tyronn Lue told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “They played hard and they competed, and it was just good to see the team smiling again and having fun.”

Nobody in Cleveland was having much fun for the past month or so. Especially not Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose, who were all sent packing in three separate deals just before Thursday’s trade deadline.

“Attention to detail was at an all-time high this season,” James said in a post-game interview on ABC. “We have players who can get their own and are pretty smart.”

It’s only one game, of course, but it’s a very impressive start for a group that hasn’t played together before and it may be enough to propel the Cavaliers to a fourth straight NBA Finals. But we want to get your opinion. Does this new collection of talent make Cleveland the favorites to win the East? Please leave your response in the comments section below.

Community Shootaround: Buyout Market

As soon as the NBA’s trade deadline passes, the buyout market begins. Each year, there are some prominent players who either don’t get traded or get shipped to teams that have no intention of keeping them.

Buyouts are a win-win situation for the players and their non-contending teams. The clubs save a few dollars by negotiating down an unwanted salary, and the players are free to sign with a team headed to the postseason. It’s an even bigger win for the contending teams, who are able to add significant talent at minimal cost. Buyouts seem to have replaced trades for the league’s elite organizations, as the five teams with the current best records — the Warriors, Rockets, Raptors, Celtics and Spurs — were all idle as Thursday’s deadline passed.

A handful of players have already agreed to buyouts — Joe Johnson, Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, Derrick Rose, Tony Allen and Josh McRoberts. Johnson and Wright are headed to the Rockets. Belinelli should have several suitors, including the WarriorsSpurs, Celtics and Thunder. Rose has reportedly attracted attention from the Timberwolves and Wizards. Allen may be headed to the Thunder, while McRoberts will have to convince somebody he can still play after suffering a foot injury and being pushed to the far edge of the bench in Dallas.

More buyouts may be coming with Ersan Ilyasova, Shabazz Muhammad, Vince Carter, Corey Brewer, Kosta Koufos, Marreese SpeightsTyson Chandler and possibly Joakim Noah among the candidates. Also, free agent center Andrew Bogut, who was waived by the Lakers in January, is reportedly close to signing with a contending team and Boris Diaw may be ready for an NBA return.

That brings us to tonight’s question. Who do you see as the most valuable free agent on the market between now and the end of the season? Please share your opinion in our comments section below.

Community Shootaround: Trade Deadline Winners, Losers

The 2018 NBA trade deadline is now behind us, and it was a little busier than expected. A dozen deals were completed on Thursday, after four more trades were finalized in the 10 days prior to the deadline.

The Cavaliers stole the show on deadline day, completing three trades that sent out a total of six players and saw them land four new players: George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance. It was a fascinating roster overhaul for the Cavs, who surrendered their own 2018 first-round pick along with Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, and Channing Frye, but hung onto the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype spoke to several players from around the NBA to get their trade-deadline impressions, and the Cavaliers were the team mentioned most frequently. Trevor Booker called Cleveland the deadline’s “biggest winner,” while an anonymous Eastern Conference guard lauded the Cavs for acquiring several “guys who are hungry.” Multiple players pointed specifically to Hood as a player who will have an impact in Cleveland.

The Lakers also received praise from more than one player who spoke to Kennedy. L.A. only made one trade on deadline day, but it was a big one — in exchange for Clarkson and Nance, two players on multiyear contracts, the Lakers took on a pair of expiring contracts and nabbed the Cavs’ 2018 first-round pick. The move puts the team in great position to go after two star free agents in 2018 or 2019.

The Jazz, who moved Hood and Joe Johnson and landed Crowder and Rose, will also active on deadline day, as were the Heat, who reunited with old friends Wade and Luke Babbitt. The Knicks and Suns each picked up a former top-10 pick, with New York acquiring Emmanuel Mudiay and Phoenix trading for Elfrid Payton. The Pistons added bench depth in the form of James Ennis and Jameer Nelson, while the Trail Blazers got out of the tax. The Nuggets and Mavericks were among the other teams who were active.

Conversely, several potential title contenders had very quiet deadlines. The Spurs, Rockets, Warriors, and Celtics didn’t make any trades on Thursday, and the Raptors‘ only deal was a back-of-the-bench move. Some potential sellers were unexpectedly quiet too, as the Clippers hung onto Avery Bradley and DeAndre Jordan, the Grizzlies kept Tyreke Evans, and the Hawks retained Dewayne Dedmon, Marco Belinelli, and Ersan Ilyasova.

Our full 2018 trade deadline recap can be found right here.

Based on all those moves, and even a few trades from last week too, if you want to count the Blake Griffin and Nikola Mirotic swaps as deadline deals: Which teams – or players – do you think were the winners and losers of this year’s trade deadline?

As multiple 2017 blockbuster trades have shown, our early impressions of a trade can sometimes be off base (just ask the Pacers, who are very happy with Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis these days). But we’re still curious to know what you think of the latest deals from around the NBA. Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround: Griffin Trade

The Pistons were expected to make some sort of move before the trade deadline to improve their playoff prospects. But did anyone see this coming?

Likewise, the Clippers were shopping a couple of their veterans, namely Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan. But how many thought they’d move Blake Griffin this quickly after re-signing him to a five-year, $171.1MM contract over the summer?

Both organizations made very different decisions regarding the direction of their franchises by agreeing to a blockbuster deal on Monday. The Pistons took on Griffin and his huge contract along with a couple of reserves. Detroit shipped two starters, Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley, along with Boban Marjanovic and two draft picks to the Clippers. Los Angeles will get a first-rounder in the June draft unless it’s a top-four pick.

Harris and Bradley lead the Pistons in scoring, though Bradley’s production has dipped since he suffered a groin injury in December. Harris has become an above-average 3-point shooter this season and his contract expires after next season. Bradley is on an expiring deal.

The Clippers gave themselves major cap relief by dealing Griffin’s contract and picked up two solid veterans along with a likely lottery pick. Detroit received a perennial All-Star to pair up with Andre Drummond in the frontcourt, though Griffin’s injury history adds to the risk. But the Pistons clearly weren’t going anywhere with their current roster and now have a marquee player who might bring some more fans into the usually half-empty Little Caesars Arena.

That brings us to our question of the day: Who do you think will benefit the most from the blockbuster trade involving Blake Griffin, the Clippers or the Pistons?

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

Community Shootaround: Trading Marc Gasol

A disastrous season in Memphis got even worse today with the announcement that Mike Conley will have heel surgery and miss the rest of the season. Conley appeared in just 12 games this year and hasn’t been on the court since mid-November.

It’s the latest in a long string of bad news for the Grizzlies, who are 17-31 and mired in 12th place in the Western Conference. Memphis is seven games out of a playoff spot, but only three games from the top in our latest Reverse Standings, which means a high lottery pick could be in the cards for a franchise whose roster got very old while making seven straight playoff appearances.

If the Grizzlies are ready to rebuild, one obvious place to start is with Marc Gasol. The veteran center, who will turn 33 on Monday, is having a typically productive year, averaging 18.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 47 games. He’s a three-time All-Star and probably would have received more consideration this season if Memphis were higher in the standings.

The Grizzlies’ front office continues to say it plans to hang on to Gasol, but the team’s financial situation may force a move. Memphis has three gigantic contracts on its books in Gasol, Conley and Chandler Parsons, and if all three remain, the team won’t have significant cap space until the summer of 2020.

Conley probably has three seasons left on the record-setting contract he signed in the summer of 2016. He will make more than $30.5MM next season, more than $32.5MM in 2019/20 and has a player option worth more than $34.5MM in 2020/21. Parsons, who has only played 26 games this season, still has two more years and more than $49.2MM left on his deal. Gasol is owed nearly $24.12MM next season with a player option for nearly $25.6MM in 2019/20. Conley won’t be dealt because of the surgery, and Parsons’ injury history makes his contract among the most untradable in the league. So that leaves Gasol.

In addition to giving themselves some cap flexibility, the Grizzlies should be able to get a nice package of young talent and draft picks in return. The Cavaliers and Bucks have been tied to trade rumors involving DeAndre Jordan, and both would surely be interested in Gasol. The Celtics, among others, could also get involved.

We want to hear from you. Should the Grizzlies start the rebuilding process by trading Gasol, and what should they ask for in return? Jump into the comments section below and give us your opinion.

Community Shootaround: Drafting All-Star Starters

Last week, the NBA announced the 10 starters for this year’s All-Star Game. Barring injuries, the players on the court to start next month’s event will be the following 10:

Although there are still five representatives from each conference among that group of starters, there will be a twist on the usual format this season. Top vote-getters James and Curry will each captain one All-Star squad, picking teams from the pool of players in what will essentially be a star-studded fantasy draft.

While that draft will ultimately include all 24 players named to the All-Star teams, James and Curry will focus first on the above group, filling out their starting lineups before moving on to the reserves. As explained on NBA.com, James will pick first from the group of those eight remaining starters, with Curry picking second. They’ll alternate after that until all the starters are off the board.

The NBA continues to say it won’t televise the event, so we may not actually get to see how the draft plays out, but it’s still fun to speculate. Will James use his first pick to select Curry’s Warriors teammate Durant? Will LeBron avoid selecting Kyrie? Will the star Pelicans bigs get separated? And, of course, who will be the last player picked?

We want to hear your two cents on how the draft will look for the All-Star starters, so jump into the comment section to make your predictions. What do you expect the two starting lineups to look like? Which players would you like to see team up? What order would you pick the All-Star starters in if you were drafting the teams?

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