Hoops Rumors Polls

Poll: Anthony Davis’ 2019/20 Team

When the Pelicans opted to hang onto Anthony Davis at this season’s trade deadline, it ensured that the Davis saga in New Orleans, which began when his camp publicly requested a trade last month, would drag on for at least several more months.

While Davis and the Pelicans still have to figure out how much he’ll play – or whether he should be playing at all – for the rest of the season, the two sides are essentially on a holding pattern for now. It’s not as if the team is going to buy out the All-NBA big man, so we’ll have to wait until the offseason for trade talks to heat up and for the possibility of Davis changing teams to potentially become a reality.

Given how messy things already are in New Orleans, it seems extremely unlikely that the Pelicans will once again pass on the opportunity to trade Davis during the offseason. I’d expect Davis to be on a new team by opening night of the 2019/20 season, but it remains to be seen which team that will be.

The Celtics, who weren’t eligible to trade for Davis as long as Kyrie Irving was on his current contract, may emerge as the front-runner, particularly now that AD has added them to his list of preferred destinations. However, other teams on his wish list shouldn’t be ruled out.

The Lakers can still put a tantalizing combination of young players and draft picks on the table this summer, and the Knicks may hold a trump card if they land the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Bucks probably can’t make a realistic play for Davis, but the Clippers could — a package headlined by promising young prospect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a handful of unprotected picks would be intriguing.

Of course, as the Pelicans have tried to make clear, Davis and his camp don’t control this process, which means that New Orleans doesn’t necessarily have to send him to a team on his wish list. In recent years, teams like the Thunder (Paul George) and Raptors (Kawhi Leonard) have come out of nowhere to make trades for star players, and those moves have paid off for those franchises, at least so far.

In the case of Davis, an unlikely suitor could certainly talk itself into making a play for the All-Star — after all, if things go south quickly, that team could always flip him at the trade deadline in 2020. If things work out, a deep playoff run and a five-year maximum-salary offer could make AD re-think his long-term plans.

What do you think? Which team will Davis play for when the 2019/20 season gets underway? Is there any chance he’s still a Pelican? Will a longtime frontrunner like the Lakers or Celtics land him? Or will a dark-horse suitor make a play?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: 2019 NBA MVP Race

An MVP race that looked like Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s to lose during the first third of the 2018/19 season became much more hotly contested over the last couple months. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes today, James Harden and Paul George have both been on incredible runs that have made them legitimate MVP candidates – if not frontrunners – as the season enters its home stretch.

Harden’s streak of 30-point outings, which is now up to 31 consecutive games, has been well documented, but it’s still worth repeating some of his eye-popping numbers. His current rate of 36.6 points per game would rank seventh in NBA history, and would be the second-best ever mark for any player not named Wilt Chamberlain.

Harden is also chipping in 7.7 APG and 6.6 RPG while playing a league-high 37.4 MPG, and has averaged a staggering 41.5 PPG in his last 31 games. Perhaps most importantly, his run has coincided with a push up the standings for the Rockets — out of the playoff picture early in the season, Houston is now 33-24 and is vying for a top-four seed in the West.

George, obviously, hasn’t matched Harden’s historic scoring numbers, but his 28.7 PPG is easily the best mark of his career. George is also averaging career highs in RPG (8.0), APG (4.1), and SPG (an NBA-best 2.3), while making 40.6% of his three-point shots. Plus, unlike Harden, he’s a legit contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award due to his excellent work on his other end of the floor. His Thunder, at 37-20, are also a few games ahead of Houston in the standings.

Of course, when it comes to team success, neither Harden’s Rockets nor George’s Thunder can match Giannis’ Bucks, whose league-best record sits at 43-14 heading into the All-Star break. Antetokounmpo still doesn’t have a reliable outside shot, but he hasn’t needed one this season — he’s shooting 58.1% from the field, including 64.0% on two-point attempts.

The Greek Freak is averaging a double-double for the second straight year, with 27.2 PPG and 12.7 RPG. And he has supplemented those numbers with impressive play-making abilities (6.0 APG) and defensive prowess (1.4 BPG and 1.4 SPG). In close MVP races, team success is often a tiebreaker, and Antetokounmpo – in addition to being the best player in the Eastern Conference – is simply the best player on the NBA’s best team so far this season.

There are other players who should be included in the MVP conversation too. Despite the Bucks’ superior record, NBA observers would still consider the Warriors the team to beat, and Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are both having MVP-caliber seasons.

Joel Embiid‘s two-way impact for the Sixers deserves consideration. There are cases to be made for guys like Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) and Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers). Kawhi Leonard (Raptors) and LeBron James (Lakers) would be viable contenders if not for their injury absences, and could get back in the conversation if they finish the season strong.

What do you think? Which player do you expect to win this season’s MVP award?

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

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Western Conference Playoff Race

A Clippers loss on Monday night was good news for the Kings, who have now passed in L.A. in the Western Conference standings by percentage points.

At 30-26, the Kings currently hold the No. 8 position in the West, followed closely by the Clippers (31-27), with the Lakers (28-28) also lingering.

For much of the season, the general consensus on Sacramento has been that the young club is a great story, but will ultimately fall short of the postseason. While that may still be the case, we’re more than two-thirds of the way through the season, and the Kings deserve to be taken seriously.

Having been led by youngsters De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic all season, the Kings added reinforcements at the trade deadline by trading for Harrison Barnes and are aiming to earn a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

However, even after trading away Tobias Harris, the Clippers aren’t about to roll over and give up their own hunt for a postseason slot. The team still has two other players who are nearly scoring 20 points per game – Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams – and features one of the deepest, most diverse rotations in the NBA.

The Clips are getting contributions from youngsters – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet, Montrezl Harrell, and Ivica Zubac – and veterans – Gallinari, Williams, Patrick Beverley, and Garrett Temple – alike, and have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the West, per Tankathon.com.

Of course, of these three playoff contenders, the Lakers are the team league observers believed would be the best bet to finish in the West’s top eight. LeBron James hasn’t missed the postseason since 2005 and hasn’t missed the Finals since 2010. However, the Lakers struggled during his month-long absence with a groin injury and a playoff berth is far from a lock.

What do you think? Which of these three teams do you expect to make the playoffs in the West? Do you think more than one of them will ultimately end up in the top eight, knocking out a team like the Spurs or Jazz? Will a dark horse club like the Timberwolves or Mavericks make a run and prevent any of these three from reaching the postseason?

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

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Which Team Will Win The East?

It was a wild trade-deadline week across the NBA, but most of the major win-now additions were made by Eastern Conference clubs. The Sixers, Bucks, and Raptors all completed significant trades at the deadline, while Western Conference contenders like the Warriors, Thunder, Nuggets, Jazz, and Spurs didn’t make a single move.

The result? A four-team group of East contenders looks even more dangerous than it did a week ago, creating the potential for a tantalizing pair of matchups in the Eastern Conference Semifinals this spring.

The Bucks were already the conference’s No. 1 team heading into this week and they added Nikola Mirotic without sacrificing a rotation player or a first-round pick. A sharpshooting power forward who can spread the floor and hold his own on the glass, Mirotic should fit right into Mike Budenholzer‘s system, which has allowed Brook Lopez to thrive this season.

The No. 2 team in the East, the Raptors, responded to Milwaukee’s move by making a deal for former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. While Gasol is 34 and may not be as dynamic a player as he once was, Toronto won’t ask him to do as much as Memphis did, and he figures to be an upgrade on Jonas Valanciunas, given his shooting and passing ability. The Raptors gave up some depth pieces in Delon Wright and C.J. Miles, but neither of those players was likely to be a difference maker in a playoff series.

The Sixers, meanwhile, made the splashiest move of any of the East’s top contenders, acquiring Tobias Harris from the Clippers in a trade that involved six players and multiple first-round picks. Harris had been enjoying the best year of his career in Los Angeles, and his shooting ability (.496/.434/.877) should be a great fit for a Sixers lineup that has struggled to spread the floor, despite J.J. Redick‘s best efforts. Philadelphia also acquired James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons in minor deals, adding depth on the wing.

As for the Celtics, their deadline was quiet, but they were the Eastern Conference favorites coming into the season and remain confident that they have the pieces necessary to make a run to the Finals. Boston has gone 25-10 since getting off to a slow 10-10 start, and has won 10 of its last 12 games as the team starts to get comfortable with its rotation.

What do you think? Which of these four teams do you believe will come out of the East this spring? Or do you think there’s a dark horse out there capable of making an unlikely run to the Finals?

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

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Nets’ Playoff Chances

Heading into the 2018/19 season, many expected the Nets to make another jump in the standings as a result of their players developing and the quality depth they added in the offseason. However, there were no expectations that at the halfway point of the season, the Nets would be sitting in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference despite not having their best player available for the past two months.

The Nets are 21-23, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that they were 8-18 in early December. Instead of focusing on getting the best draft pick possible, Kenny Atkinson continued to believe that his team could turn it around, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Since December 6, the Nets own the league’s 12th-ranked offense and 15th-best defense.

D’Angelo Russell has made strides as a playmaker and scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie is a top candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and Joe Harris has provided elite shooting and floor-spacing.

Keep in mind that a lot of this recent run by the Nets has come without Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, not to mention Caris LeVert. The Nets use their depth and bench to their advantage on a nightly basis, which allows them to stay afloat when injuries strike.

With that being said, many still expect teams like the Pistons and Hornets to improve moving forward, while the Wizards have found new life since John Wall went down for the season. Do the Nets have enough top-end talent to lead them to the playoffs? Or will their strong bench and depth be enough for them to sneak in? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote

Poll: Pelicans’ Playoff Chances

Coming off of a strong 48-win season and Western Conference Semifinals appearance, the Pelicans were widely expected to build on that success with a roster that, while flawed, played to the team’s strengths and style of play. Adding Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle around the core of Jrue Holiday, Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis appeared to be solid moves on the surface, but injuries and poor play in close games have plagued the Pelicans so far.

The Pelicans currently sit at 16-21, good for 14th in the Western Conference. Payton has only played in six games so far, while Mirotic has missed significant time with an ankle injury, appearing in just 25 games. While Holiday, Davis and Randle have stayed healthy, the team’s lack of point guard and wing options have hampered their play.

What’s more troubling is that the Pelicans are 6-14 in clutch games, with an 87.2 offensive rating and 110.1 defensive rating in such situations. Their -22.9 net rating in the clutch is 29th in the league, behind only the Cavaliers. This is in stark contrast to last season, when the Pelicans went 30-20 in clutch games while posting a +8.2 net rating.

While many consider Davis to be an MVP candidate, he can only do so much with this current roster, despite having Holiday and Randle alongside him. The Pelicans have been one of the best offensive teams in the league (they currently own the league’s fourth ranked offense), but have been plagued by their 26th-ranked defense.

With that being said, the Pelicans are still just four games out of the playoff picture at the moment, with the surprising Kings holding down the eighth seed. There is certainly time for the Pelicans to turn things around just enough to squeeze into the playoffs, especially if they can stay healthy and/or make a trade to bolster the team’s depth in the backcourt or on the wing.

How do you feel about the Pelicans’ playoff chances? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote

Poll: 2018/19 NBA MVP Race

We’re nearing the halfway mark of the 2018/19 NBA regular season, and a clear favorite has emerged in this season’s MVP race.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led the Bucks to a 24-10 record (second-best in the NBA) with a +8.4 net rating (first). He’s averaging 26.5 PPG on an eye-popping .581 FG% and has posted career highs in RPG (12.8) and APG (5.9) while also chipping in excellent defensive numbers (1.3 SPG, 1.5 BPG).

By maximizing their roster around Antetokounmpo and bringing in a coach (Mike Budenholzer) who can get the most out of those players, the Bucks have paved the way for their 24-year-old star to take his game to the next level, and he looks like the frontrunner to snatch the 2018/19 NBA MVP award at this point.

We still have three and a half months to play though, and several other viable MVP candidates are looking to challenge Giannis. One is the reigning MVP, James Harden, whose league-leading 32.7 PPG have been buoyed by an eight-game run in which he has averaged a staggering 40.5 PPG. After a big Rockets win over the Celtics on Thursday night, Harden said there should be no doubt that he’s a candidate to win another MVP award, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com details.

“I mean, I receive a lot of hate, but it won’t stop me from going out there and killing every single night, being that dog that I am,” Harden said. “You can name a few other people that should be in the [MVP] conversation. But realistically? It’s coming back.”

Elsewhere in the West, the conference-leading Nuggets have a candidate of their own in Nikola Jokic, according to Ben Alamar of The Athletic, who explains why it’s not outlandish to consider the young center a realistic contender for the award. Jokic, who has always been an excellent offensive player, has made strides on defense and helped Denver post a 105.4 defensive rating (seventh) so far.

Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have been as good as ever this season, though they’ll likely split votes and will face an uphill battle if Golden State doesn’t win at least 55-60 games. The Thunder have a pair of stars too, and despite Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double again, it’s probably Paul George who deserves more MVP consideration at this point — George is averaging career bests in PPG (26.3) and RPG (8.4) while playing solid perimeter defense.

LeBron James had been putting together a strong case for the Lakers before being sidelined by a strained groin this week. That injury could actually work in his favor if he doesn’t miss much time and L.A. struggles to keep winning in his absence. Kawhi Leonard deserves a long look for the NBA-best Raptors, but he has already missed nine games and Toronto has done just fine (7-2) without him.

Joel Embiid has been the best player on a Sixers team stacked with talent, and the same is true of Kyrie Irving and the Celtics. Anthony Davis is also having another monster year, though he’ll need the 15-20 Pelicans to go on a prolonged hot streak to receive serious MVP consideration.

In today’s poll, we’re asking which player should be considered the most serious threat to Antetokounmpo in this season’s MVP race. Place your vote below, then head to the comment section to make your case for your pick — or to explain why Giannis shouldn’t necessarily be the considered the odds-on favorite.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Eastern Conference Playoff Race

Four Eastern Conference teams have reached the 20-win mark so far, and all four clubs look like locks to earn spots in the postseason. The Raptors (23-9) still hold the lead in the standings, followed by the Bucks (20-9), Pacers (20-10), and Sixers (20-12).

That group of four doesn’t include the team that many observers expected to be the East’s top seed in 2018/19, but the Celtics (18-11) have come on strong lately, winning eight straight games before falling to Detroit on Saturday. That eight-game win streak didn’t exactly come against the most difficult stretch of their schedule, but the C’s still look like a surefire bet to make the playoffs.

That leaves us with five postseason locks in the East, with three spots available. No other team in the conference is currently above .500, so it’s probably too early to pencil in any clubs for the No. 6, No. 7, or No. 8 seed.

The contenders include…

  • Pistons (14-14): Blake Griffin is having perhaps the best year of his career so far, but he might need a little more help, as Detroit has lost seven of eight games since starting 13-7.
  • Hornets (14-15): Like Griffin in Detroit, Kemba Walker is carrying his team to a playoff spot for now, but may need more from his supporting cast to hang onto that spot. Charlotte has hovered right around .500 all season, never going more than one game over or two games under.
  • Magic (14-15): New head coach Steve Clifford has the Magic playing hard and exceeding expectations, with Nikola Vucevic having a huge season so far. Still, there are holes on the roster, including at point guard.
  • Heat (13-16): Miami has invested heavily in several players who are just good, not great, and some of those players are having a hard time staying healthy. There’s talent and depth on the roster, but no real star power.
  • Nets (13-18): Brooklyn appeared to be headed toward the bottom of the NBA’s standings after losing Caris LeVert to a major foot injury, but they’ve rebounded nicely, winning five games in a row since falling to 8-18.
  • Wizards (12-18): The Wizards got off to a 2-9 start and have appeared on the verge of turning the corner multiple times since then. However, they recently endured another four-game losing streak and remain well below .500. Their trade for Trevor Ariza signals that they still believe they’re a playoff team in a weak conference.

Given how weak the back half of the Eastern Conference has been so far this season, perhaps the Knicks (9-23), Cavaliers (7-23), Bulls (7-24), and Hawks (6-23) shouldn’t be ruled out of the playoff hunt, but it’s hard to imagine any of those clubs making a serious second-half run.

What do you think? Which of these relatively uninspiring clubs will join the Raptors, Bucks, Pacers, Sixers, and Celtics in the Eastern Conference playoffs when April rolls around?

Vote for your three choices below, then head down to the comment section to weigh in.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Which L.A./NYC Team Is Most Likely To Land Top 2019 Free Agent?

The 2019 NBA offseason is shaping up to be a fascinating one. With plenty of big-name players poised to reach free agency and many teams around the league in position to create cap room, there could be a good deal of player movement on the free agent market.

Making things even more interesting is the fact that all four teams in Los Angeles and New York, the country’s two biggest media markets, are poised to be among those teams with significant cap space, and all four teams will be looking to land a top-tier free agent.

In certain recent years, the Lakers, Clippers, Nets, and Knicks may not have even received consideration from elite free agents. All four clubs have suffered from poor management and/or ownership at times during the last decade, but all four appear to have turned a corner as of late.

The Lakers, under new head of basketball operations Magic Johnson, secured a long-term commitment from LeBron James in free agency and have complemented him with an intriguing collection of young prospects. They should have the cap space necessary to sign another maximum-salary free agent in 2019.

The Clippers, led by owner Steve Ballmer, have transitioned out of the Lob City era by putting together a deep, talented roster, and will have veteran executive Jerry West in their corner as they look to make a splash on the 2019 free agent market. They’ll have more than enough room for one max free agent, and could potentially clear enough space for two.

The Nets are finally out from under their commitments to the Celtics and are trending in the right direction, having acquired young building blocks like Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert despite not having premium first-round picks for the last few years. They could also be in position to open up two maximum-salary contract slots this summer, depending on what happens with their own free agents (note: two max slots are far less likely after Spencer Dinwiddie‘s extension).

Finally, even the Knicks, who have endured more drama and made more questionable roster moves than just about any other NBA team in recent years, have been showing more patience and making smarter roster moves since Scott Perry assumed GM duties in 2017. Assuming they’re able to move a salary or two, the Knicks should have enough cap space for a max free agent in 2019.

All four of these clubs have big-market appeal and will be able to make strong pitches to next year’s best free agents. That’s a group that should include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Khris Middleton, Klay Thompson, Tobias Harris, and Kemba Walker, as our recent free agent power rankings show.

Our question today is which of those four clubs has the best chance to land one of those marquee free agents. For the sake of this poll, we’re focused more on outside free agent signings, so the Clippers re-signing Harris or the Knicks re-signing Kristaps Porzingis wouldn’t really count.

What do you think? Which Los Angeles or New York club is in the best position to land an elite free agent in 2019?

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Poll: Second-Best Team In West

Over the last month, a number of teams have – if only briefly – held the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Nuggets, Clippers, Grizzlies, and Trail Blazers have all been the top team in the West for at least a day, and the Thunder actually currently lead the conference by a mere percentage point.

Despite the fluctuating standings, there’s still little doubt that the Warriors are the clear-cut No. 1 team in the West. They’ve battled injuries, but with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green back in action, the Dubs are in the midst of a four-game winning streak and appear to be hitting their stride — and it’s just a matter of time until they’ll be able to insert another All-Star, DeMarcus Cousins, into their lineup too.

While Golden State’s hold on the top spot in the conference still seems strong, there doesn’t appear to be an obvious No. 2 team behind them. Last season, that team was the Rockets, who edged out the Warriors during the regular season and then pushed them to seven games in the Western Conference Finals. But Houston is currently the No. 14 seed in the West, with an 11-14 record.

While it’s still possible that the Rockets will turn their season around and make another deep postseason run, there appear to be stronger contenders for the title of the West’s second-best team. The five clubs mentioned above – Oklahoma City, Denver, Memphis, Portland, and the Clippers – are among those contenders.

The Thunder have the NBA’s best defensive rating and the West’s best net rating, per Basketball-Reference, despite missing Russell Westbrook for several games earlier this season. The Nuggets rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rating despite a number of injury issues of their own. The Grizzlies have one of the NBA’s best defenses, while the Blazers and Clippers rank among the league’s best offenses.

Those aren’t the only candidates for the honor of being the Warriors’ most dangerous challenger. LeBron James and the Lakers have recovered from a slow start and are just 1.5 games back of Golden State. The Jazz, who many experts viewed as a probable top-four seed entering the season, have struggled so far, but have a talented roster and one of the most favorable second-half schedules in the NBA.

What do you think? Assuming the Warriors are still the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, which team do you consider the second-best in the West? Place your vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to make the case for your choice!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.