Hoops Rumors Originals

Weekly Mailbag: 2/13/16 – 2/19/16

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. Here are this week’s inquiries:

What’s your opinion of the Serge Ibaka trade from the Raptors’ perspective? They have Jonas Valanciunas, drafted Jakob Poeltl, as well as Patrick Patterson and Jared Sullinger. So why trade from the backcourt depth for something that doesn’t appear on paper as a need? — Matt Elliott

The Raptors believe they are in position to contend for a title this season, and the organization didn’t see Poeltl, Patterson or Sullinger as a difference maker at power forward. After losing to the Cavaliers in last year’s Eastern finals, Toronto didn’t want to enter the playoffs with basically the same roster. Ibaka is a better shooter and rim protector than anyone they had at the position and he got a ton of playoff experience in Oklahoma City. No matter how much the Raptors may miss Ross, it was worth rolling the dice on a deal that makes their starting lineup significantly better.

Who would Detroit give the hardest matchup to, Boston or Washington? Is there a player out there that would fit their biggest need before the deadline? — Mark Holmes

Despite their 27-30 record, the Pistons wouldn’t be an easy playoff matchup for either team. The Celtics, with their rebounding and interior defensive issues, would probably have a tougher time containing Andre Drummond in a seven-game series. Detroit has discussed a deal that would send Reggie Jackson to Orlando in exchange for D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green. While that may help with chemistry issues, it’s not a talent upgrade and it wouldn’t guarantee the Pistons a playoff spot. They could also revisit a deal with Minnesota for Ricky Rubio, who continues to be available. More likely, Detroit will save its most significant moves for the offseason.

Isn’t Kyle O’Quinn a legitimate candidate for Most Improved? Who would be his competition? — Ed Fields

The 26-year-old center has stepped up his game this season and has helped the Knicks deal with a disappointing performance from Joakim Noah. However, the modest increase in his numbers (going from 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game a year ago to 6.4 and 5.6 this season) won’t be enough to take home the award. Bucks point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is almost a shoo-in for the honor, even though he was recognized as a star before the season began. His averages are up significantly in points (16.9 to 23.4), rebounds (7.7 to 8.6) and assists (4.3 to 5.4) and he has become an on-court leader for the Bucks. His most serious competition was probably Zach LaVine before the season-ending ACL injury. O’Quinn is having a nice season, but this year’s award belongs to the Greek Freak.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Pacific Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic, Northwest, and Southeast. Today, we’re examining the Pacific.

Buyers:

As the odds-on favorite to win the 2017 NBA championship, the Warriors (47-9) are undoubtedly buyers rather than sellers, but the team may not be overly active within the next few days. Adding another reliable guard or rim protector would provide the roster with a little additional depth as the playoffs approach, but Golden State doesn’t have any glaring holes that need to be filled, and the team isn’t brimming with expendable trade assets. With huge max deals for Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant looming, the Warriors may need to rely on young, inexpensive players like Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney, and Damian Jones to assume regular rotation roles in future seasons, so it makes sense to hang onto them rather than to dangle them in search of a minor upgrade.

The Clippers (35-21) will likely look a little harder for an upgrade than the Warriors, but like Golden State, their trade assets are limited. A 2021 pick is the earliest first-rounder Los Angeles could move, and as the Carmelo Anthony rumors proved, adding an impact player would probably require giving up one or more rotation players out of a group that includes Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and J.J. Redick. If the Clippers were willing to make Blake Griffin available and really reshape their roster, things could get interesting, but there’s no indication that’s on the table at all. If L.A. makes a move, it’s far more likely be a small one.

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Community Shootaround: All-Star Weekend Winners

After last year’s duel with Zach LaVine in the finals of the slam dunk contest, Aaron Gordon comes into this year’s event as a heavy favorite. The high-flying Magic forward impressed judges with some jaw-dropping dunks a year ago, and LaVine, the two-time defending champion, is out of action with a torn ACL that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

Gordon’s competition will come from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Pacers swingman Glenn Robinson III and little-used Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr., who has spent most of the season in the D-League.

In the 3-point contest, Golden State’s Klay Thompson is back to defend his title, but fellow “Splash Brother” Stephen Curry is sitting this one out. Thompson will be challenged by Kyrie Irving, C.J. McCollum, Kyle Lowry, Eric Gordon, Nick Young, Wesley Matthews and Kemba Walker.

There’s a wide-open field in the skills challenge, with MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas among the competitors. He will be challenged by John Wall, Devin Booker, Gordon Hayward, Anthony Davis, Kristaps Porzingis, DeMarcus Cousins and Nikola Jokic.

But before the action gets under way, we want to hear from you. Give us your picks to win the dunk contest, the 3-point contest and the skills challenge, along with the best bet to be named MVP of tomorrow’s game.

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

Hoops Rumors Originals: 2/11/17 – 2/18/17

The trade deadline is less than a week away, so the Hoops Rumors staff has been busy keeping tabs on all of the latest insights and headlines. Still, we like to post our share of original content throughout the week as well. Here’s a look at some of our favorite features.

  • For the first time since signing with the Warriors, former Thunder forward Kevin Durant made his return to Oklahoma City. Fans were predictably hostile toward the superstar as the game approached, enough for us to ask the question how much is too much? Do fans have the right to denounce professional athletes and, if so, what constitutes crossing the line?
  • Arthur Hill answered questions in our weekly mailbag feature, including one reader’s question wondering just how much Andre Drummond could yield for the Pistons. Don’t forget to get your own questions in for next week’s mailbag.
  • The February 23 trade deadline is right around the corner. Luke Adams is putting together division-by-division break downs, summarizing the overall outlook as the big day approaches. This week he tackled the Atlantic, Northwest and Southeast Divisions.
  • A few early trades have already an impact on the fantasy basketball scene. Chris Crouse explains how Aaron Gordon and Jusuf Nurkic could be the big winners from the transactions that have unfolded thus far.
  • In case you missed them last time, here are last week’s Hoops Rumors Originals.

Send Us Your Mailbag Questions, Hoops Links Entries

Every Sunday at Hoops Rumors, we publish a pair of features that rely on input and submissions from our readers. One is our Weekly Mailbag, in which Arthur Hill answers a few questions related to the latest news and rumors from around the NBA. The second is our Hoops Links feature, which showcases a selection of notable NBA blog entries from all over the internet. In each instance, the content for those features comes from you.

Have a question regarding player movement, free agent rumors, the salary cap, the NBA draft, or the top storylines of the week? You can e-mail them here for consideration for our Weekly Mailbag: hoopsrumorsmailbag@gmail.com.

Got a new NBA blog post that you’d like to see featured on Hoops Rumors? You can send the URL and a brief description of the piece to hoopslinks@gmail.com for consideration.

Be sure to send us your new mailbag questions and NBA blog posts each week, and check back every Sunday to see if you’ve been featured in that week’s installment!

Trade Deadline Outlook: Southeast Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic and Northwest. Today, we’re examining the Southeast.

Buyers:

The Wizards (33-21) have been one of the NBA’s best teams since the first 10 games of the 2016/17 season, but their roster probably isn’t quite deep or talented enough to match up to a healthy Cavaliers squad in the playoffs. Washington doesn’t exactly have a huge collection of promising young players to dangle in trade talks, but the team does have all of its future first-round picks, and could use at least one of them to strengthen its rotation. A deal similar to last year’s Markieff Morris acquisition wouldn’t move the needle enough to make the Wizards conference favorites, but it would make the club a little more dangerous in the postseason without mortgaging much of its future.

The Southeast’s second-place team, the Hawks (32-24), looked like sellers a month ago, but the team is prepared to buy now, and has several future draft picks and expiring contracts to dangle in trade discussions. As some observers have pointed out, Atlanta actually looks like a good fit for Carmelo Anthony, matching up better as a trade partner for the Knicks than most of Carmelo’s preferred destinations. Anthony’s no-trade clause makes a move to the Hawks extremely unlikely though, so the team will have to look elsewhere for scoring help on the wing or in the backcourt.

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Fantasy Hoops: Ibaka, Nurkic, Collison

Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more analysis.


Breaking Down The Trades: Part 1

Magic send Serge Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick

Ibaka was a top-50 player before the trade and his overall ranking doesn’t change that much. He was averaging 15.1 points per game, which ties the highest mark of his career, and while that figure will probably decrease, it won’t hurt his overall value too much. He’ll likely offset a dip in scoring with an increase in field goal percentage, as Toronto’s offense should get him better looks than what he saw in Orlando’s clogged sets.

Ross should see additional opportunities with the Magic and he should be on the fantasy radar by the time he settles into a role with his new team. He was scoring 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game while adding a steal per contest in Toronto. He was only seeing 22.4 minutes per contest before the trade. The Magic rank 29th in the league in offensive efficiency, so Ross will likely see an increase in minutes as coach Frank Vogel looks to improve the team on that end of the floor.

Aaron Gordon is the player whom could see his fantasy value rise the most as a result of this trade. By shipping Ibaka north, the Magic can give Gordon more run at the power forward spot, which is his natural position. The offense should be better overall and Gordon should be able to take advantage of the extra space in the post.

Blazers trade Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder to the Nuggets for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick

The deal isn’t great for Plumlee’s stat line. He’s going to come off the bench for the Nuggets and it remains to be seen whether or not he can play meaningful minutes next to Nikola Jokic. If he can’t, his value takes a major dive, as he will likely go from a player seeing 28.1 minutes per contest to someone who sees about two-thirds of that figure.

The trade is good news for Nurkic. He didn’t see action in five of his final 17 games with the Nuggets and in the 12 he played, he only saw 12.5 minutes per contest. While there’s not much elbow room in Portland’s frontcourt, the team doesn’t have one future star soaking up all the center minutes. Nurkic will get his opportunity to prove he deserves court time and I suspect he’ll eventually settle into a role that’ll provide him with 20-25 minutes per night. That’s enough run to make him worth adding in most leagues, though I’d let the situation develop before dropping a productive player for him.

There was another trade this week: Cleveland shipped Chris Andersen to Charlotte, but that deal doesn’t have any direct fantasy impact. Here’s more fantasy notes and analysis from around the league:

  • Pau Gasol should be back on the court for the Spurs after the All-Star break and he’s a top-75 fantasy player going forward. If someone in your league dropped him when he injured his hand, pick him up now.
  • Trevor Booker, who I wrote about in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops, has been taken out of the starting lineup in Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same with him in your fantasy lineups. Since becoming a reserve, he has a higher field goal percentage and he’s averaging more points and steals per game than he did as a starter.
  • Since the start of February, Darren Collison is sixth in the league in minutes per game. He’s taken on a bigger role on the Kings since Rudy Gay went down with a torn Achilles and he’s available in roughly 34% of ESPN leagues.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Statistics are current through Tuesday afternoon.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Northwest Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic. Today, we’re examining the Northwest.

Buyers:

Two Northwest teams are currently over .500, and both the Thunder (31-25) and Jazz (34-22) are in decent position to add reinforcements, though that’s certainly no lock for either team. Oklahoma City has already cashed in many of its trade assets, including a protected 2020 first-round pick sent to the Sixers for Jerami Grant earlier this season. With no trade-eligible first-round picks before 2022 and Enes Kanter on the shelf, the Thunder have limited trade options. Young players like Cameron Payne and Josh Huestis are probably their strongest realistic trade chips at the moment.

As for Utah, the Northwest leaders likely won’t want to shake up their roster too significantly — potential 2017 free agents like Gordon Hayward and George Hill would be trade candidates if they were on lottery teams, but they’re not going anywhere for the Jazz. Still, the team’s sizable chunk of cap room, depth at the point guard spot, and extra first-round picks would make it easy for the Jazz to get something done if they receive an offer they like.

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Trade Deadline Outlook: Atlantic Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. Today, we’re examining the Atlantic.

Buyers:

Two Atlantic teams currently hold top-four spots in the Eastern Conference, and both the Celtics (35-19) and Raptors (32-23) are in great position to strengthen their rosters at this year’s deadline.

Boston, in particular, is loaded with trade assets, including a handful of extra first-round picks. While there are several teams around the league holding additional draft picks, none have the upside that the Celtics’ selections do. The C’s have the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this season, and hold the Nets’ 2018 pick outright, and no NBA team has a worse 2016/17 record that the Nets. If any club wants to make a superstar available, a logical first step would be to give Danny Ainge a call and ask about those two Brooklyn picks, either of which would be a great starting point for any trade package.

The Raptors, meanwhile, don’t have quite the stash of draft picks that Boston does, but Toronto holds a couple extra future first-rounders, and is also carrying several intriguing young players on its roster. Guys like Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo should be available, and in the right deal, perhaps the Raps would be willing to include a rotation player like Terrence Ross, Norman Powell, Lucas Nogueira, or even Jonas Valanciunas. Although they’ve struggled lately, the Raptors took Cleveland to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and adding an impact power forward would make their roster even more dangerous.Read more

Weekly Mailbag: 2/6/16 – 2/12/16

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. Here are this week’s inquiries:

How can James Dolan be so naive? He plans on keeping Phil Jackson after all he has done. He keeps adding fuel to the fire he started about Charles Oakley. Do the Knicks ever have any chance of being any good with Dolan as an owner or is he the biggest issue? — Yaakov Schreier

An old sports adage says, “You can’t fire the owner,” and that’s the Knicks’ biggest problem right now. Fans across the country cheered on Oakley in his confrontation with Dolan, and the former Knicks tough guy has become more popular than ever now that he is banned from Madison Square Garden. MSG crowds have targeted Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony and Jackson as losses have piled up, but the real source of frustration is Dolan, who seems badly out of touch and incapable of building a winner no matter how much money he throws around. There have been suggestions that the Oakley incident will discourage free agents from coming to New York, but it may also make a young talent like Kristaps Porzingis think twice about a long-term future with the Knicks.

What trades are the Pistons most likely to make and what kind of package could they get for Andre Drummond? — Mark Holmes

Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said this week that “everyone is available,” but Drummond is probably less available than anybody else. Detroit should ask for a star and a first-round pick in any deal, but it seems unlikely that Drummond is going anywhere. He’s only 23 and did the organization a favor last year by waiting until the offseason to sign his extension, giving the Pistons more cap room to work with. Reggie Jackson is the first name that comes to mind when discussing potential Detroit trades. A rumor made the rounds this week that the Pelicans were interested in Jackson, possibly as part of a three-team deal involving Jahlil Okafor. Jackson seems like the player to watch as the deadline grows nearer.

There are reports that the Cavs are interested in Jose Calderon and Andrew Bogut. Both are aging veterans. What is the possibility that they go a little younger and call Utah about Shelvin Mack and are they interested in Denver’s seven-footer Jusuf Nurkic, seeing how they really want to move him. — Dayre Dancy

Mack is a real possibility, although one of what seems like dozens for Cleveland as a backup point guard. He helped the Jazz after being acquired in a draft-day deal last season, but he’s on an expiring contract and probably isn’t in the team’s long-term plans. Nurkic would be attractive for the Cavs because he’s still on a rookie contract, but the Nuggets probably want more than Cleveland is willing to part with. The Cavaliers have an obvious need for Calderon, Bogut or almost any big man or point guard, but they may prefer to wait until after the trade deadline and try their luck on the buyout market.

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