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.