Hoops Rumors Originals

Community Shootaround: Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker has spent his entire seven-year NBA career with the Hornets. But Walker’s future with the organization is murky at best as he heads into his walk year.

The 6’1” point guard has one year and $12MM remaining on his contract before he enters unrestricted free agency for the first time next summer. He recently said he’s intrigued about that prospect.

“I’ve never been a free agent. I don’t know how the process works,” he told the New York Post. “I will have options unless Charlotte gets something done.”

If anything gets done prior to next July, it will likely be a trade. A contract extension isn’t feasible because of Charlotte’s salary-cap restraints. The Hornets are hard-capped and will have make a move or two to avoid being a luxury taxpayer.

The Cavaliers reportedly explored the possibility of trading for Walker early in the summer prior to LeBron James‘ decision to bolt to the West Coast. New York has long been rumored as a potential landing spot for Walker, who grew up in the city. Both the Knicks and Nets might view Walker as an upgrade at that spot.

Walker has increased his offensive output with greater efficiency over the past two years. In 2016/17, he averaged career highs of 23.2 PPG on 44.4% shooting.

His numbers went down slightly last season, as he scored at a 22.1 PPG clip on 43.1% shooting. He’s become an outstanding 3-point shooter over the past three seasons, making 38.6% of his attempts.

Walker will be 29 during the next offseason and should be effective for at least another five seasons.

That brings us to our question of the day: Will Kemba Walker re-sign with the Hornets as a free agent next summer? If not, where do you think he will wind up?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to what you have to say.

Remaining Offseason Questions: Southwest Division

NBA teams have now completed the brunt of their offseason work, with the draft and free agency practically distant memories. Still, with training camps more than a month away, most clubs around the league have at least one or two outstanding issues they’ve yet to address.

We’re in the midst of looking at all 30 NBA teams, separating them by division and checking in on the key outstanding question that each club still needs to answer before the 2018/19 regular season begins.

After focusing on the Atlantic, Central, and Southeast last week, we’re heading to the Western Conference this week, starting with the Southwest…

Dallas Mavericks
When will the investigation into allegations of misconduct in the Mavericks’ workplace wrap up?

It was way back in February that an SI.com report revealed a seemingly corrosive workplace culture in the Mavericks‘ business offices, prompting the team to hire outside counsel to look into the issue. Six months later, that investigation has yet to conclude.

The probe into alleged misconduct within the Mavs’ organization may not have any real impact on the on-court product in Dallas, and it didn’t scare away free agents this summer — the club landed DeAndre Jordan, one of the top players on the market. Still, Mark Cuban‘s organization needs to repair its image, so the Mavs figure to take steps to address the investigators’ findings once the outside firm has finished its work.

While there’s no specific timeline for the completion of the investigation, I’d be surprised if it’s not done by the time the Mavs play their first regular season game of 2018/19.

Houston Rockets
Will they be able to acquire another veteran wing player?

After coming within a game of the NBA Finals this spring, the Rockets are zeroed in on beating the Warriors in 2018/19. As they showed in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State, the best way to attack the defending champs is with a series of three-and-D wings who are capable of making corner threes after Chris Paul and James Harden break down the defense, and who can slow down the Dubs’ perimeter scorers on the other end of the court.

Houston lost two of those players – Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute – this offseason, and while they brought in veterans like James Ennis and Carmelo Anthony, the Rockets really could use another reliable wing. They’re said to be in the market for a player who fits that bill, dangling Ryan Anderson and a draft pick in trade talks.

Given Anderson’s exorbitant salary, the Rockets have to target well-paid vets as they scour the trade market, so players like Kent Bazemore and J.R. Smith have been cited as potential targets. Nicolas Batum, DeMarre Carroll, Courtney Lee, Danilo Gallinari, Marvin Williams, and Wesley Matthews are among the other players who could appeal to Houston and who shouldn’t be untouchable.

Although a trade remains possible, the Rockets may have to strike within the next month or so, before training camps get underway. Teams will become more reluctant to shake up their rosters once they’ve brought players to camp.

Memphis Grizzlies
Who will be traded or released in order to finalize the 15-man roster?

The Grizzlies currently have 15 players with fully guaranteed salaries for the 2018/19 season. They also have a 16th player – Andrew Harrison – whose salary is non-guaranteed but who appears likely to make the regular season roster. In other words, Memphis may end up trading or waiving someone with a guaranteed contract.

Memphis will have until mid-October to make a roster decision, but based on the team’s offseason moves and the nature of certain players’ contracts, there aren’t many viable candidates to be cut.

Dakari Johnson, acquired in a financially motivated trade with the Magic, is the likeliest release candidate on the roster, but waiving him would leave the Grizzlies pretty thin at center behind Marc Gasol. The club would have to be confident that Jaren Jackson Jr. can contribute in his rookie season or that a forward like Ivan Rabb or JaMychal Green can slide to the five.

"<strongNew Orleans Pelicans
How many players do the Pelicans intend to carry to start the season?

As we noted on Sunday, the Pelicans have 12 players on fully guaranteed salaries. That leaves up to three spots on the club’s roster for the regular season, and there are several legit NBA players who figure to be in the mix for those spots.

A pair of Okafors will be seeking a place in the frontcourt rotation, with both Emeka Okafor and Jahlil Okafor on partially guaranteed deals. On the wing, Troy Williams and DeAndre Liggins will look to stick in New Orleans after bouncing from team to team in recent seasons.

If the Pelicans don’t make any other additions to their NBA roster this offseason, they could carry three of those players on their 15-man roster, leaving just one of the four on the outside looking in. However, if New Orleans prefers to retain a little roster flexibility, the team could enter the season with an open roster spot. That would likely mean carrying just one of the two Okafors, as well as one of Williams or Liggins. In that scenario, we could see some pretty fierce roster battles in training camp and the preseason.

San Antonio Spurs
Will Manu Ginobili be back for one more season?

Tim Duncan is gone. Tony Parker is gone. Kawhi Leonard is gone. But Manu Ginobili is still a Spur. Now, it’s just a question of whether or not the NBA’s second-oldest player wants to play out the final season of his current contract with the franchise.

If Ginobili was a free agent this offseason, the threat of retirement might loom a little larger, but at this point in the summer, I’d be a little surprised if the veteran guard decides he didn’t want to return for the second season of the two-year deal he inked last summer.

Assuming Ginobili is back – which seems like the safe bet for now – the Spurs’ roster for 2018/19 should essentially be set. The 41-year-old figures to announce his plans in the coming days or weeks.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Key 2018 NBA Preseason Dates

The most notable dates of the 2018 NBA offseason are behind us now that we’re through the draft and the free agent period. However, there are still a number of dates and deadlines to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months before teams take the court again to kick off the 2017/18 regular season.

The list below doesn’t include every event or deadline that will take place prior to opening night on October 16, but these are several of the most important upcoming dates for teams and players.

Here’s the breakdown:

August 31:

  • Last day teams can waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2018/19 salaries. After August 31, teams can still use the stretch provision players who have multiple years left on their contracts, but their ’18/19 cap hits will remain unchanged.

September 5:

  • Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.

September 25 (approximate; may vary by team):

  • Training camps begin.

October 1:

  • Last day for a restricted free agent to sign his qualifying offer, unless his team agrees to extend the deadline. If an RFA is still unsigned after October 1, he remains restricted, but can no longer sign that one-year QO.

October 13:

  • Last day for players on fully non-guaranteed contracts to be waived and not count at all against a team’s 2017/18 cap. They must clear waivers before the first day of the regular season.

October 15:

  • Last day of the 2018 offseason.
  • Roster limits decrease from 20 players to 15.
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a rookie scale extension. [RELATED: Players eligible for rookie scale extensions]
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a veteran extension in certain scenarios. Extension-eligible veteran contracts with more than one season remaining can’t be extended after October 16; designated veteran extensions can’t be signed after October 16.
  • Last day for teams to complete sign-and-trade deals.
  • Last day for teams to convert an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way contract.
  • Last day for teams to waive a player on a summer contract without having him apply to team salary.

October 16:

Traded Second Round Picks For 2019 NBA Draft

The 2019 NBA draft is still 10 months away, but many teams have already traded their second round picks for that night, and more clubs may do so before this season’s trade deadline.

We’ll use the space below to keep tabs on each team’s second round pick for 2019, continually updating it as necessary throughout the year. Our list of traded first round picks for 2019 can be found right here.

We’ve listed all 30 teams here, so even if a team hasn’t traded its second round pick, that will be noted. We’ll also provide details on protections for each traded pick, including what happens to the pick in 2020 if it doesn’t change hands in 2019.

Here’s the full breakdown on the status of each 2019 second round pick:

Atlantic

  • Boston Celtics: Traded to Grizzlies (top-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2019, Celtics’ obligation to Grizzlies is extinguished.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Traded to Magic (unprotected).
  • New York Knicks: Traded to Nets (unprotected).
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Own pick.
  • Toronto Raptors: Own pick.

Central

  • Chicago Bulls: Traded to Sixers (unprotected).
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Traded to Magic, Kings, Knicks, or Clippers.
    • Magic will receive most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, Rockets’, and Trail Blazers’ second round picks; Kings will receive second-most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’ and Rockets’ second round picks; Knicks will receive least favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks; Clippers will receive less favorable of (a) Trail Blazers’ second rounder or (b) most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks.
  • Detroit Pistons: Own pick.
  • Indiana Pacers: Traded to Nets (45-60 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2019, 45-60 protected in 2020.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Traded to Sixers or Kings.
    • Sixers will receive more favorable of Bucks’ and Kings’ second round picks; Kings will receive less favorable of the two.

Southeast

  • Atlanta Hawks: Traded to Wizards (top-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2019, Hawks’ obligation to Wizards is extinguished.
  • Charlotte Hornets: Traded to Hawks (unprotected).
  • Miami Heat: Traded to Timberwolves (unprotected).
  • Orlando Magic: Possibly traded to Kings, Knicks, or Clippers.
    • Magic will receive most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, Rockets’, and Trail Blazers’ second round picks; Kings will receive second-most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’ and Rockets’ second round picks; Knicks will receive least favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks; Clippers will receive less favorable of (a) Trail Blazers’ second rounder or (b) most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks.
  • Washington Wizards: Traded to Nuggets or Hornets.
    • Nuggets will receive more favorable of their own second round pick (56-60 protected) and Wizards’ second round pick; Hornets will receive less favorable of the two. If Nuggets’ pick falls between 56-60, Hornets will instead receive Wizards’ pick.

Northwest

  • Denver Nuggets: Traded to Bucks (top-55 protected) or possibly traded to Hornets (56-60 protected).
    • If top-55 protected in 2019, Nuggets’ obligation to Bucks is extinguished.
    • Nuggets will receive more favorable of their own second round pick (56-60 protected) and Wizards’ second round pick; Hornets will receive less favorable of the two. If Nuggets’ pick falls between 56-60, Hornets will instead receive Wizards’ pick.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Traded to Kings or Hawks.
    • Kings will receive more favorable of Lakers’ and Timberwolves’ second round picks; Hawks will receive less favorable of the two.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Traded to Hornets (unprotected).
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Traded to Magic or Clippers.
    • Magic will receive most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, Rockets’, and Trail Blazers’ second round picks; Kings will receive second-most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’ and Rockets’ second round picks; Knicks will receive least favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks; Clippers will receive less favorable of (a) Trail Blazers’ second rounder or (b) most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks.
  • Utah Jazz: Own pick.

Pacific

  • Golden State Warriors: Own pick.
  • Los Angeles Clippers: Own pick.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Traded to Kings or Hawks.
    • Kings will receive more favorable of Lakers’ and Timberwolves’ second round picks; Hawks will receive less favorable of the two.
  • Phoenix Suns: Own pick.
  • Sacramento Kings: Possibly traded to Sixers.
    • Sixers will receive more favorable of Bucks’ and Kings’ second round picks; Kings will receive less favorable of the two.

Southwest

  • Dallas Mavericks: Traded to Warriors (top-55 protected).
    • If not conveyed in 2019, Mavericks’ obligation to Warriors is extinguished.
  • Houston Rockets: Traded to Magic, Kings, Knicks, or Clippers.
    • Magic will receive most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, Rockets’, and Trail Blazers’ second round picks; Kings will receive second-most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’ and Rockets’ second round picks; Knicks will receive least favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks; Clippers will receive less favorable of (a) Trail Blazers’ second rounder or (b) most favorable of Magic’s, Cavaliers’, and Rockets’ second-round picks.
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Own pick.
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Own pick.
  • San Antonio Spurs: Own pick.

The four-way mess involving the Cavaliers’, Rockets’, Trail Blazers’, and Magic’s second round picks is somewhat confusing, so here’s a quick breakdown of how it would work based on this year’s projected standings:

Let’s assume the Rockets finish first among those four teams, followed by the Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, and Magic. In that scenario…

  • The Magic would keep their own pick (the most favorable of the four).
  • The Kings would get the Cavaliers’ pick (the second-most favorable out of the Orlando, Cleveland, and Houston picks).
  • The Knicks would get the Rockets’ pick (the least favorable of the Orlando, Cleveland, and Houston picks).
  • The Clippers would get the Blazers’ pick (the less favorable of the Portland and Orlando picks).

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Recent NBA Rookie Scale Extension History

Shortly after the July moratorium ended last month, Suns guard Devin Booker became the first player to sign a rookie scale extension in 2018, inking a five-year, maximum salary contract that will take effect in 2019/20. Currently, it’s projected to be worth just over $158MM.

While Booker was the first fourth-year player to sign a rookie scale extension this year, he likely won’t be the last. Twenty-two other players are extension-eligible up until the first day of the regular season, and in a typical NBA offseason, between four and eight rookie scale extensions are completed.

Listed below are all the rookie scale extensions that have been signed over the last five offseasons. These deals should help give us an idea of what we can expect this year

Typically, at least a couple mega-deals are completed in each offseason, so it’s a safe bet that at least one more star (likely Karl-Anthony Towns) will join Booker in that group. A handful of less lucrative contracts are often finalized in each offseason too, so non-stars can be extension candidates — Bobby Portis, Larry Nance, Justise Winslow, and Trey Lyles are among the players who could fit that bill this offseason.

Here’s the full list of rookie scale extensions from the last five years:

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Will Be East’s Best Player In 2018/19?

During the 2017/18 season, five of the league’s 15 All-NBA players were from the Eastern Conference. Two of those stars – LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan – headed to Western Conference teams this offseason, leaving only three All-NBA players in the East: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Victor Oladipo.

Anteokounmpo, Embiid, and Oladipo will head into the 2018/19 season as virtual locks for the Eastern All-Star team, assuming they stay healthy, especially given the relative lack of talent in the conference. However, they’re not the only stars left in the East.

Kawhi Leonard wasn’t an All-NBA player last year, but he earned a spot on the First Team in each of the previous two seasons. His health remains a major question mark, given his lost ’17/18 season, but if he’s back to full strength for the Raptors, he could be in line for a monster contract year. Having lost their leading scorer in the trade that sent Kawhi to Toronto, the Raptors figure to lean heavily on Leonard on both ends of the court.

Kyrie Irving didn’t miss as much of last season as Leonard did, but injury issues ended his year early as well. Irving earned a little MVP buzz during the first half of the season, and while the Celtics’ roster may be too deep for the star point guard to put up massive individual numbers, he’ll likely be the best player on what is expected to be the best team in the East.

Another Sixer, Ben Simmons, figures to give Embiid a run for his money for the title of best player on Philadelphia’s roster. Already an excellent finisher, play-maker, and passer, Simmons is capable of becoming one of the NBA’s most dangerous players if he can add a reliable jump shot. Both he and Embiid have future MVP potential, though Embiid looks closer to reaching those heights in 2018/19.

Elsewhere in the East, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Kevin Love, and Goran Dragic are among the players that figure to vie for spots on the All-Star roster, but it would be a surprise if any of them is the most effective player in the conference in 2018/19.

What do you think? Who will be the East’s best player next season? Will Antetokounmpo take another step forward and claim that title? Will Leonard bounce back after his change of scenery and reclaim his spot as a First Team All-NBA player? Can Embiid stay healthy all year long and ascend to new heights?

Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

NBA Teams With Most, Fewest Guaranteed Salaries

At this point in the NBA offseason, most teams are carrying 14 and 15 players on guaranteed salaries. The clubs with 14 guaranteed contracts on their books will likely either enter the season with an open roster spot or allow camp invitees to compete for that 15th-man role. Teams with 15 players already on guaranteed deals have their regular-season rosters all but set already.

Still, several teams around the NBA have more than 15 or fewer than 14 fully guaranteed salaries on their cap for now. Using our roster counts tool, here’s a look at those teams, with details on what they might be thinking as the 2018/19 season nears:

Fewer than 14 guaranteed contracts:

  • Houston Rockets (11 guaranteed contracts): In addition to their 11 fully guaranteed contracts, the Rockets also figure to hang onto Michael Carter-Williams, who has a significant partial guarantee. Second-round pick De’Anthony Melton is a good bet to sign a guaranteed contract at some point too. That would increase the Rockets’ roster count to 13, with Zhou Qi the most likely candidate for the 14th spot.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (12): While they only have 12 guaranteed salaries on their books for now, the Cavaliers figure to increase that count by two once they officially sign David Nwaba and bring back Rodney Hood.
  • Miami Heat (12): The Heat continue to wait on Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem to make decisions on whether or not they’ll continue their respective careers. They’ll be penciled in to the 13th and 14th spots if they elect to return.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (12): Although he only has a partial guarantee, James Nunnally is a safe bet to make the Timberwolves’ roster as the 13th man. It’s not clear what the team intends to do with its last opening or two.
  • New Orleans Pelicans (12): Only 12 Pelicans have fully guaranteed salaries, but there are several legit NBA players – Emeka Okafor, DeAndre Liggins, Jahlil Okafor, and Troy Williams – vying for roster spots on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts. At least two of them figure to make the team.
  • Atlanta Hawks (13): The Hawks will increase their roster count to 15 guaranteed salaries once Vince Carter and Daniel Hamilton make their deals with Atlanta official.
  • Golden State Warriors (13): The Warriors plan to enter the season with 14 players under contract, leaving a spot open for flexibility. Their 14th man will likely be Patrick McCaw, who is still a restricted free agent for now.
  • Toronto Raptors (13): The Raptors may enter the season with a 14-man roster. Lorenzo Brown is currently the top candidate for that 14th spot, though Chris Boucher and others could provide competition.

More than 15 guaranteed contracts:

  • Sacramento Kings (16): When the Kings took advantage of their leftover cap room to sign Nemanja Bjelica and Yogi Ferrell, it created a roster crunch. If the club doesn’t trade a player before the season begins, Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore, and Deyonta Davis are among the release candidates on the roster — all four are on expiring contracts.
  • Los Angeles Clippers (15 + Patrick Beverley): The Clippers technically only have 15 players on guaranteed salaries, but Beverley, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, will probably make the team. Assuming he does, that will mean trading or releasing another player, perhaps Wesley Johnson or Jawun Evans.
  • Memphis Grizzlies (15 + Andrew Harrison): Like Beverley in L.A., Harrison is on a non-guaranteed salary, but may not be expendable. If he remains on Memphis’ roster, the Grizzlies may end up releasing Dakari Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Weekly Mailbag: 8/13/18 – 8/19/18

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.

ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz said this week that Kyrie Irving and the Celtics have a “mutual understanding” about a long-term contract. If Irving and Jimmy Butler want to play together, does that mean Butler might be coming to Boston? — Stephen W., via Twitter

In an appearance on “The Jump,” Arnovitz said, “My best intel is that the Celtics and Kyrie have a pretty good mutual understanding that he wasn’t going to get traded in the offseason and that there are long-term aspirations for both parties.” While things can change over the course of the season, that’s a pretty strong indication that Irving doesn’t plan to leave Boston. The Celtics potentially have enough cap room to sign a max-level free agent next summer, but only if Al Horford opts out and they renounce his rights, which isn’t likely. A better path toward Butler is a trade around the deadline, but salary matching will be tricky because Boston’s roster is filled with high-end contracts and rookie deals. Assuming Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are off the table, it’s hard to see what the Celtics might offer that the Timberwolves would accept.

If the Lakers are struggling at midseason, do you think LeBron James and the front office will be OK staying the course or will they push for an aggressive trade deadline deal? Wondering how important winning this next season really is. — VJ Cruz, via Twitter

The Lakers’ priority is finding a second star to play alongside LeBron. With all the one-year contracts the organization handed out this summer, it will be in position to offer another maximum deal in 2019. The Lakers won’t make any trades that interfere with that, even if a deal might seem like the difference in making the playoffs. However, if they can get their second star during the season — if things don’t work out for Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, for example — then the Lakers will be very willing to engage in trade talks.

Say an undrafted rookie gets signed to a two-way contract, plays only in the G League all year, then gets an upgrade the next year to the main team. His day limit is used up strictly by attending practices just in case someone on the main team gets hurt, but doesn’t actually play a game, not even suiting up and sitting on the bench. The next year though, after making the main team roster, he blows up. Is he eligible for Rookie of the Year? — Nicolas Galipeau

Under NBA rules, all players are considered rookies until they appear in their first game. That’s why Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin, who sat out their first seasons with injuries, were able to win Rookie of the Year honors. The two-way status in your hypothetical example doesn’t change that. As long as a player doesn’t appear in an actual game, his rookie status isn’t affected.

Community Shootaround: Portland’s Backcourt

The Trail Blazers were one of the league’s biggest surprises last season. No one thought they’d finish with the third-best record in the loaded Western Conference but there they were, piling up 49 victories and trailing only the Rockets and Warriors.

They also had a surprising postseason for a much different reason. They were swept by Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, creating some soul-searching for the front office.

GM Neil Olshey ultimately decided to keep his core group together, rather than break up his undersized backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Offensively, they can match up with any pair of guards in the league. They combined to average 48.3 PPG and 10.0 APG last season. Defensively, it’s an entirely different story. Basketball Reference’s Defensive Box Plus/Minus ranks both as below-average defenders.

Both players are signed through the next three seasons at substantial figures. Lillard is due nearly $100MM for the remainder of his deal; McCollum has approximately $82.5MM coming to him.

Even so, Lillard is an All-Star talent and McCollum is a prolific scorer. Both would have value on the open market.

Olshey made a long-term commitment to center Jusuf Nurkic in restricted free agency, giving the big man three guaranteed years. The Blazers’ forward group doesn’t quicken the pulse. They’re looking at a rotation of Evan Turner, Maurice HarklessAl-Farouq Aminu and Caleb Swanigan.

Dealing one of their guards for a top-flight forward would theoretically make the team more balanced. Certainly, in the star-laden West, it would seem that Portland would be hard-pressed to finish third again with the same group and could even struggle to make the postseason.

That leads us to our question of the day: Should the Blazers hold onto their prolific backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum or deal one of them for frontcourt help?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to what you have to say.

Hoops Rumors Originals: 8/12/18 – 8/18/18

Every week, the writing team here at Hoops Rumors creates original content to complement our news feed. Here are our segments and features from the past seven days:

  • In two Community Shootaround posts this week, we asked:
    • What would be the best fits for the top unsigned free agents?
    • Will the Knicks surpass their Las Vegas odds of 29.5 wins this season under new coach David Fizdale?
  • In four Polls this week, we asked for your opinion on these topics:
    • Which team will win the Central Division?
    • Which team will win the Northwest Division?
    • How will the Atlantic Division standings shake out?
    • Which prediction by an ESPN panel of landing spots for next summer’s top free agents will most likely come true?
  • We examined the remaining offseason questions for each team in the Southeast, Central and Atlantic divisions.
  • We listed the longest-tenured player on each team.
  • We took a closer look at which teams will likely exceed the luxury tax threshold.
  • Luke Adams broke down the status of each 2019 first-round pick.
  • Luke Adams listed the players who can’t be traded until December 15 and the ones who are ineligible to be traded until January 15.
  • We provided a list of links displaying how teams acquired players this offseason.
  • We noted all the waiver claims made this summer.
  • Luke Adams listed the draft-and-stash signings this offseason.
  • In his latest Weekly Mailbag, Arthur Hill offered his insights on how the Pistons will fare during the first season under new coach Dwane Casey.