Weekly Mailbag

Weekly Mailbag: 8/14/17 – 8/20/17

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.

Is it really true that LeBron James will leave the Cavaliers next season for the Lakers? — Greg Dizon

Nobody knows the answer for sure, except for maybe LeBron and a few members of his inner circle. What we do know is that these rumors started shortly after the NBA Finals, and James hasn’t made a public statement to quash them. We also know that James was a strong supporter of former GM David Griffin and was upset that he wasn’t retained. And we’ve seen reports that James was disappointed by the team’s offseason moves, which amounted to re-signing Kyle Korver and adding Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon and Cedi Osman. Add in any lingering bitterness toward owner Dan Gilbert from their parting in 2011 and the feeling that James accomplished his mission when he brought the 2016 championship to Cleveland, and it’s easy to see why he might be on the move again. It may depend on what the Cavs do this season, or it may be a decision that has already been made.

Aside from the Lakers, where else could you potentially see LeBron in 2018-2019 if he leaves the Cavs? — Vijay Cruz

It’s hard to find another scenario that seems plausible, unless LeBron and his banana boat friends are all plotting to end up in the same place. Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade will both be free agents next summer (and maybe earlier for Wade if a rumored buyout happens in Chicago), while Carmelo Anthony has an early termination option. If Anthony winds up in Houston with Paul, the Rockets could emerge as a possible contender. An online betting site has already posted odds about LeBron’s next decision, listing the Cavs as favorites to keep him, followed closely by the Lakers. The Rockets and Spurs are tied at fourth, with the Celtics a surprising choice at third.

What’s happening with Giannis Antetokounmpo and EuroBasket? Why do NBA teams let their players risk injury in these international tournaments? — Ellis K., via Twitter

Antetokounmpo announced Saturday on social media that a knee injury will keep him out of this year’s competition and cited a failed physical administered by team doctors from Milwaukee. The Greek basketball federation is disputing the results of the physical and accusing the Bucks of using deception to prevent Antetokounmpo from playing. Greece’s fortunes rely on Antetokounmpo, who would probably be the best player in the tournament, but because he’s under contract to the Bucks, there’s little the national team can do. As to why teams let players participate, there’s a lot of nationalistic pride at stake in these competitions, so it would create rifts with international players to try to block them. Plus, players tend to play all summer anyway, so it’s safer to have them do it in an organized format with trainers and team doctors than on pick-up courts.

Weekly Mailbag: 8/7/17 – 8/13/17

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.

Fact or fiction: Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving will be on new teams before training camp begins. — Deven Parikh

These will be the top two stories to watch in the next six weeks or so until training camps open. To recap, Anthony has agreed to waive his no-trade clause, but so far only to join the Rockets, while Irving has asked Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert for a trade so he can escape the long shadow of LeBron James. Whether the deals happen before camp starts — or at all –depends on how the front offices in New York and Cleveland view their situations. The Knicks have launched a youth movement that Anthony doesn’t fit. However, they don’t want to take on an expensive long-term contract in return, and the Rockets have to find a taker for Ryan Anderson to accommodate Anthony’s salary, so at least one more team is needed to make the deal work. The danger for the Knicks in holding onto Anthony is that he may not opt out of a nearly $28MM salary for 2018/19, limiting the team’s free agent options for another year. In Cleveland, it’s a matter of chemistry as the once-private feud between Irving and James is now very public and it’s almost impossible to imagine them co-existing for another season. The Knicks and Cavaliers will keep searching for the best deal, so this might take a while, but I expect Anthony and Irving to be both traded prior to camp and certainly before the season opens.

Who could the Thunder target in a trade that would make them contenders? I feel Thunder are one star away from being able to challenge Golden State. — Sawbone Sanchez

One more star to team with Russell Westbrook and Paul George would certainly make Oklahoma City a serious challenger. However, there aren’t any stars on the market right now except for Anthony and Irving and neither is a realistic option for OKC. The Thunder are also low on tradable assets after sending Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers in exchange for George. Their best chance to add a star may come at the trade deadline in February, but to fit another hefty salary, they would have to find a taker for Steven Adams, who is owed $100MM over the next four years, or Enes Kanter, who will make nearly $17.9MM this season with an $18.6MM player option for 2018/19. Oklahoma City is also well over the cap for this season and the next one, so they will likely have to get by with the two stars they have.

Do you think the Lakers can make the playoffs this year with their current roster? – Armond Godfrey, via Twitter

L.A. has done a lot to improve over the offseason, trading for Brook Lopez, signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and drafting Lonzo Ball to add to an already-impressive collection of young talent. The Lakers will be better, but they still look overmatched in a loaded Western Conference. The team is coming off a 26-56 season, so just getting near .500 will be a significant improvement, but a .500 record won’t get them into the playoffs. Even so, the future is very bright in L.A., and if the rumors about George and LeBron joining the team next summer are true, the Lakers will be among the league’s elite teams again very quickly.

Weekly Mailbag: 7/31/17 – 8/6/17

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.

I am a Warriors fan. Is there really a chance the W’s go after Paul George next summer? Good lord! — Phillip Malan, via Twitter

That became a rumor this week, and although Golden State’s cap situation makes it very unlikely, it’s not impossible. Kevin Durant will have a player option worth $26.5MM for 2018/19, which means the Warriors will be just a little over the salary cap when free agency begins next July. If they decide to offload a significant contract — possibly Klay Thompson, who will be entering the final year of his deal at nearly $19MM — they could theoretically sign George, although the offer would be well below the maximum. Nothing would shake up the NBA like the Warriors landing another All-Star, but the chances of it happening are extremely small.

What is one thing the Knicks could do to change the direction of the franchise? –SKPlayBall, via Twitter

They probably did it already when they fired Phil Jackson as team president. Jackson’s devotion to the triangle offense and his public feud with Carmelo Anthony were dragging down the franchise faster than anything else. There was a sense throughout the league that the Knicks were being poorly run, with few free agents willing to give them serious consideration. Going forward, the best thing the franchise can do to turn itself around is stick with its stated plan of building around young players. Even tanking for a season or two wouldn’t be a bad idea. Drafting a young star like Michael Porter next year would get New York fans excited about the team again.

I’m confused when I see someone like Nicolas Brussino claimed off waivers and not see other players who I think of as better who don’t. Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson both were blocked from any kind of advancement in Boston due to its depth, yet they were highly touted prospects just two years ago. Why did no one claim them? — Holger P. Stolzenberg

There’s a lot that factors into waiver claims, including contract terms and team needs. The Hawks were looking for help on the wing and decided to take a chance on Brussino, who is only 24 and has extensive international experience. Brussino will make about $1.3MM this year and a nonguaranteed $1.544MM in 2018/19, which offers a small risk and makes him a bargain if he can contribute. No one was willing to take the same chance on Mickey, who remains unsigned, or Jackson, who later signed a two-way contract with the Rockets. Most players who wind up on waivers don’t get claimed, as teams would rather negotiate with them as free agents instead of taking on their current contracts.

Weekly Mailbag: 7/24/17 – 7/30/17

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.

Welcome to an all-Kyrie Irving edition of the Mailbag:

How long do you predict until a Kyrie trade will happen? Who made the best offer that the Cavs should take? — Nick Klipstein

Here’s the dilemma the Cavaliers face: The best offers may not come until mid-December, when most free agents who signed this summer are eligible to be traded. However, waiting would mean playing out the feud between Irving and LeBron James through training camp and the first two months of the regular season. Minnesota, for example, is on Irving’s reported list of the four places he would like to go. The Wolves are said to be interested, but no deal makes sense without including Jeff Teague, who just signed a three-year, $57MM deal with Minnesota. We’ll see how long new Cavs GM Koby Altman can wait to pull the trigger on a trade if James and Irving keep taking swipes at each other on social media. As far as the best offer, nobody knows for sure what the Cavs are hearing, but they reportedly want a veteran, a young player and draft picks. To predict Kyrie’s destination, focus on the teams who can offer that.

Any chance New York, Cleveland and Houston just get together and send Kyrie to the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony to Rockets and Cleveland gets stuff from both? — Vijay Cruz, via Twitter

The problem with that scenario is Ryan Anderson‘s contract, which has been holding up all trade proposals between the Knicks and Rockets. Carmelo will make more than $26.2MM next season. The Rockets are well over the cap and can’t absorb that figure unless they get rid of Anderson, who is owed more than $61MM over the next three years. The Knicks don’t want to take on that salary, and the Cavaliers wouldn’t trade Irving for Anderson, who is a scaled-down version of Kevin Love. A fourth team — and maybe more — would be needed to make the deal work, and the Knicks and Rockets haven’t been able to find any takers.

I feel like no one is talking about the Jazz’ chances to land Kyrie. They have the perfect mix of young assets [Rodney Hood, Dante Exum], vets [Joe Johnson, Derrick Favors] and a solid point guard in Ricky Rubio that could be mixed and matched into a variety of trade packages that the Cavs should find very tempting. The Jazz are also an incredible defensive team that could hide Kyrie’s lack of defense and give him full rein of an offense that without him is fixed to struggle to average over 100 points a game this year. Am I overstating this, or are the Jazz really the best option for the Cavs and the best system for Kyrie? — Matt Mervis

We know that 20 teams have contacted Cleveland about Irving and at least six — the SpursClippersHeatKnicksSuns and Timberwolves — have made offers. We don’t know Utah’s level of interest, but you’re right in saying they have the type of assets that Cleveland wants. The Jazz also have full possession of their future draft picks, so that’s another way they could sweeten an offer. Irving would fit well with the personnel in Utah and it would certainly give him the spotlight he wants. The only concern is whether Salt Lake City is a big enough market to make him want to stay when his option year arrives in 2019. The Jazz could become a surprise candidate in the bidding for Kyrie. Stay tuned.

Weekly Mailbag: 7/17/17 – 7/23/17

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 are the chances that Kyrie Irving is traded to the Heat? And what would that trade have to look like? — Reid Parrish

Miami is one of four preferred destinations [along with San Antonio, New York and Minnesota] that Irving submitted to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Although Cleveland has no obligation to honor that list, it does bring the Heat into the conversation. Start with point guard Goran Dragic, whose $17MM salary for next season is close to Irving’s $18,868,625. Dragic is six years older than Irving and not on the same All-Star level, so Miami would have to sweeten the deal quite a bit. Justise Winslow is an obvious possibility, along with Josh Richardson or rookie Bam Adebayo. None of them moves the Cavs any closer to a title in what could be LeBron James‘ final season in Cleveland, so a third team would probably be necessary to get Irving to Miami.

What’s the most likely scenario for the Cavs with the turmoil going on? Will they still be strong enough to dethrone the Warriors with Irving gone? — Greg Dizon

There’s no way to tell until we know what they’re able to get back in an Irving trade, and we’re in the very early stages of that process. But this isn’t like the situation the Pacers faced with Paul George, where he was a year away from free agency and it was widely believed he plans to sign with the Lakers. Irving is under contract for two more seasons and has a player option for 2019/20. Whoever gets him will have an opportunity to keep him for the rest of his career, especially if it’s one of the teams on his list. So the Cavaliers should be able to get what they want in return, whether it’s veterans to make another run at a title or young players and picks to help them rebuild if LeBron James leaves next summer. That said, Cleveland is having an awful offseason so far, watching George and Jimmy Butler get traded elsewhere and settling for Jose Calderon and Jeff Green in free agency. With the Celtics signing Gordon Hayward, there’s no guarantee that the Cavs are headed to a fourth straight NBA Finals.

Since the end of their season, all members of the Mavericks’ front office (Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle) spoke of their view that Nerlens Noel was a part of their “young core,” suggesting that they would match any offer. Do you think the lack of an offer sheet has more to do with the assumption of the Mavs’ willingness to match or a true lack of interest? — Jonathan Dennis

Life is tough for restricted free agents. Most of the offer sheets they receive get matched, and teams don’t want to tie up resources on a fruitless effort in the middle of free agency. Look at what happened with the Nets and Otto Porter. They made a max offer of $106.5MM over four years on July 4th, which was a Tuesday. The offer sheet couldn’t be officially extended until the moratorium ended two days later. Despite announcing in advance that they planned to match any deal, the Wizards took almost the full 48 hours to reach an official decision, making their announcement on Saturday night. Porter then had two days to take his physical, and Washington had two days after that to send the results to the league. So the Nets didn’t have their resources freed up to complete the DeMarre Carroll deal until nine days after they made the offer to Porter. Things have slowed down now, but few teams have the cap space left to give Noel an offer that would make the Mavericks think twice. He’ll probably get a deal done soon, but he’ll have to decide if he wants to take a long-term contract on Dallas’ terms or sign for one year and try unrestricted free agency next summer.

Weekly Mailbag: 7/10/17 – 7/16/17

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 will the Celtics fit Isaiah Thomas‘ extension max contract as they are near max cap after signing up Gordon Hayward? — Greg Dizon

The first step, as Thomas stated last week, is to load up a Brinks truck full of money because he sees himself as a max player and won’t accept anything less. The Celtics own Thomas’ Bird rights, so they have the freedom to give him a full five-year max extension. The only question is whether Boston wants to accept the tax ramifications of carrying three max deals in Thomas, Hayward and Al Horford. Apart from them, most of the roster is still on rookie contracts, so the Celtics won’t face any other difficult financial decisions for a few years. Golden State and Cleveland have proven that if you want to be a super team, you have to have to pay super salaries, and there’s every indication that the Celtics plan to do that with Thomas.

Why does a team have to clear cap space to sign a free agent, but most teams sign way over cap? Very confused on signing with cap or having to make trades to make it happen. — Keith

Every team receives salary exceptions that can be used to sign free agents. Teams operating above the salary cap get a mid-level exception, which is $8.406MM this year for non-taxpaying teams and $5.192MM for teams over the tax apron (or in danger of passing that threshold). Teams that are under the cap receive a “room” exception valued at $4.328MM.

Also, teams over the cap – but below the apron – have a bi-annual exception. It can’t be used two years in a row and is valued this year at $3.29MM. As an example, the Rockets went over the cap when they completed their trade for Chris Paul. However, they were able to use the MLE to sign P.J. Tucker and the BAE to add Tarik Black. Most teams don’t mind being over the cap. It’s the tax threshold where they start to get nervous.

What will happen with the Carmelo Anthony situation? — 617 Sports News, via Twitter

Acknowledging that the Knicks are among the most unpredictable franchises in all of sports, here’s how it’s likely to play out. New GM Scott Perry has requested a meeting with Anthony. Even if that happens, don’t expect Anthony to change his mind about a trade. He wants to join his friends and get a shot at a title before he retires. The Knicks want to rebuild around younger players. They don’t fit together any more.

New York’s front office doesn’t have as much leverage here as it might believe. Having Anthony on the team at the start of the season, or even the start of training camp, could be a disaster. He could be disruptive in any number of ways and poison his young teammates’ view of the organization. Don’t forget that Kristaps Porzingis isn’t that far away from his first taste of free agency. Prolonging the standoff with Anthony any further is also going to hurt the Knicks’ prospects with future free agents and anger Anthony’s powerful agent, Leon Rose, who could respond by discouraging any of his clients from signing there. In short, it’s a players’ league now and the top players get what they want. Anthony wants to go to Houston, so expect him to be there by the end of summer.

Weekly Mailbag: 7/3/17 – 7/9/17

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:

Which veteran free agent guard would best suit the Knicks, Derrick Rose or Rajon Rondo? — Charles Johnson, via Twitter

If we are to believe what the Knicks are saying, they want to get serious about building around a young core of Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Frank Ntilikina and the newly acquired Tim Hardaway Jr. That means no long-term, big-money offers for veterans like the 31-year-old Rondo or the 28-year-old Rose. Things could always change, of course. A trade of Carmelo Anthony or Courtney Lee could free up cap room or David Griffin could make the case for some veteran leadership if he becomes the new GM, but for now count New York out of the race for Rondo and Rose.

Any closer to knowing what will happen with D-Rose? Are the Bucks still trying to clear space to get him, or has that passed? — Ben J. Fischer, via Twitter

Rose had a meeting with Milwaukee this week, but it looks like an awkward fit. The Bucks are already about $10MM over the cap, so the only way they could afford him is in a sign-and-trade with the Knicks, probably involving Greg Monroe, who is entering the final year of his contract. Also, Milwaukee spent heavily on a point guard last summer in Matthew Dellavedova, and Giannis Antetokounmpo runs the offense there anyway. Right now, there isn’t a clear landing spot for Rose unless he’s willing to take a short-term deal or drastically reduce his salary expectations.

What direction do the Grizzlies go in the offseason? How bad do they regret giving Chandler Parsons $94MM? — Hugh Austin

The first year of the Parsons deal was a disaster. He managed just 34 games and had another knee surgery, this time in March to repair a partial tear of his left medial meniscus. However, Parsons is only 28, is under contract for three more seasons and remains a very good player when healthy. Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace took an optimistic approach toward Parsons last month, saying the team expects him to be a full participant when training camp opens in September. But the Parsons contract does limit Memphis’ options in free agency, especially when combined with large deals for Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, giving them three players who will make more than $74MM next season. The Grizzlies will be limited to small deals as long as all three remain on the roster.

Weekly Mailbag: 6/19/17 – 6/25/17

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 happens to LaMarcus Aldridge? — Terrance, via Twitter

Words like “unhappy” and “frustrated” were used this week to describe Aldridge, who signed with San Antonio two years ago in hopes of winning a title, but now appears to be looking for a way out of town. The Spurs made some calls ahead of the draft to see if they could land a top 10 pick in exchange for Aldridge, but came away empty. That’s not surprising, as lottery teams in the midst of rebuilding don’t have much need for a 31-year-old who might be a short-term rental. If San Antonio can get a commitment from Chris Paul, look for Aldridge and his $21.46MM contract to be shipped somewhere, along with a generous sweetener, to clear cap room. More likely, he spends another unhappy season with the Spurs, then opts out next summer.

Who will Gordon Hayward sign with? — Peter Chiu, via Twitter

The Celtics and Heat are the top threats to the Jazz. Boston offers an instant contender, along with a reunion with his college coach, Brad Stevens. Miami has a clear need at small forward, a history of swinging for the fences in free agency and no state income tax, which lessen’s Utah’s financial advantage. It’s going to be interesting to watch how many big-name free agents leave the Western Conference over the next few years if the Warriors continue to dominate. Hayward might lean that way, but he reportedly likes the security of a five-year deal that only the Jazz can offer. The best guess is he stays in Utah.

The Timberwolves were clearly the draft day winners with the acquisition of Jimmy Butler. With Butler in the fold, is Minnesota a legitimate free agent destination? If so, what are some potential free agent targets to complement the trio of Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins? — Matt Trapp

The Wolves plan to pursue point guards, with Kyle Lowry as the top choice, followed by Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague and George Hill. Lowry will demand a maximum deal for sure, and the others will be at least close. Minnesota needs to shed roughly $10MM in salary to be able to afford that, and the obvious candidate is Ricky Rubio, who will make $14.25MM next season. If they can’t find a taker for Rubio and don’t want to part with Gorgui Dieng, the Wolves will have to find someone willing to deal for Cole Aldrich ($7.3MM) and Jordan Hill (a little more than $4M).

Weekly Mailbag: 6/12/17 – 6/18/17

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:

Will any of these stars get traded on draft night: Carmelo Anthony, Paul George or Jimmy Butler? — Deven Parikh, via Twitter

Probably not Carmelo. The Clippers are his most likely destination and they don’t have any draft picks to offer New York. Then there’s the matter of putting together a deal and convincing Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, all in four days. Look for any movement on that front after the draft. George continues to pledge his loyalty to the Pacers and the franchise says it intends to keep him, but management has to see the writing on the wall. He’s going to be one of the biggest names in free agency in 12 months, and Indiana may decide to unload him now if the right offer arises. A deal still seems more likely closer to next year’s deadline as the Pacers take more time to gauge the market and try to convince George to stay. Butler could be interesting, especially if Dwyane Wade opts out and makes his announcement by Thursday instead of the June 27th deadline. If Wade leaves, that could be the last straw in pushing the Bulls toward rebuilding.

Do you think the Kings would scoff at Timofey Mozgov and the 28th pick for Kosta Koufos and Garrett Temple? — thedirewolf

If there is a franchise willing to take Mozgov’s albatross contract away from the Lakers, it could be Sacramento, which will have more cap room than anyone this summer. It depends on the Kings’ plans for Koufos with younger big men like Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere already on the roster. There are cheaper ways to unload Koufos than to pay Mozgov $48MM over the next three years, but the Kings might consider it to pick up an extra draft choice. If they deal away picks No. 5 and 10 to move up for De’Aaron Fox, they’ll be looking for another selection later in the round.

Is T.J. Leaf the next Kevin Love? Is Frank Jackson a first-round pick? — Michael Huff, via Twitter

There are a lot of big guys in college who can shoot, but few of them ever get to Love’s level. Don’t forget that Love was a top prospect in 2008 who was drafted fifth overall. Leaf is projected somewhere in the middle of the first round. He could eventually develop into a Love-type player, but he could also have a rookie season similar to Henry Ellenson‘s. Jackson is a fringe first-rounder who will probably go in the late 20s or early 30s, depending how the other picks play out. In the latest mock drafts, he is listed 25th by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and 33rd by DraftExpress.

Am I the only one who is absolutely terrified of the prospect of the Spurs drafting Jordan Bell? — Alex Joel, via Twitter

An impressive athlete and a tenacious defender, Bell would replace some of what Jonathon Simmons provides if the Spurs lose him in free agency. But Bell’s limited shooting range doesn’t fit the profile of what San Antonio looks for in a power forward.

Weekly Mailbag: 6/5/17 – 6/11/17

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:

Would a package of the No. 3 pick, Jahlil Okafor or Richaun Holmes, one of next year’s first-rounders and a couple second-rounders get Philly Klay Thompson? — Kevin Wisla

It’s a decent offer that might tempt some other franchise, but the Warriors aren’t going to break up the core of a team that is poised to be title favorites for the next five years. Thompson is only 27 and is under contract for about $17.8MM next season and nearly $19MM in 2018/19, a very good price for a three-time All-Star. Thompson’s shooting troubles early in the NBA Finals prompted some fans and media to start trade speculation, but he’s simply not leaving Golden State. A more realistic, and cheaper, target to fill the shooting guard slot would be Jordan Clarkson, who could become expendable if the Lakers draft another guard and is rumored to be available. The Sixers also have plenty of cash to make a run at Clippers free agent J.J. Redick this summer.

Do you think the Pistons will seek trade offers for Reggie Jackson or Andre Drummond or let Kentavious Caldwell-Pope accept a deal elsewhere to save cap space, or will they keep the roster together, but over the salary cap? — Barron Hudson

Word leaked Friday that Detroit once again plans to explore the trade value for Jackson and Drummond, who were both on the block in February. Jackson is coming off a disappointing year, and the Pistons played worse once he returned from an early-season knee injury. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy has publicly questioned Drummond’s work ethic and said he needs to improve in several areas. Those aren’t the guys you want to build your team around, especially coming off a 37-45 season. The Pistons are committed to keeping Caldwell-Pope, a restricted free agent, and don’t have any cap room to replace him if he leaves. But they had better be prepared to make or match a max offer. There are plenty of teams with cap space [Brooklyn will be throwing money around again] and KCP is one of the best guards on the market.

Any NBA draft rumors starting to surface? Which player is most likely to fall in the draft? Which player is most likely to rise? Which team is most likely to trade up? Which team is most likely to trade down? — Matt Trapp

It may be another week or so before the rumors really start to take shape, as teams are in the middle of pre-draft workouts and still haven’t seen all the players they might be interested in. Duke’s Harry Giles is a name to watch in the late lottery, as someone may take a chance on a super talent with a history of knee problems, and teammate Luke Kennard could get chosen much higher than originally projected by a team that needs shooting help. As far as trade rumors, the Sixers don’t have a clear choice at No. 3 and the Kings at No. 5 are reportedly interested in trading up to get Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, so that’s a situation to watch.

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