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.
Do you think LeBron James has a good chance of playing for the Lakers next season as he just bought a new house in Los Angeles? — Greg Dizon
The LeBron-to-L.A. rumors started shortly after last year’s NBA Finals and will keep going until he announces a decision this summer. The Lakers seem committed to clearing enough cap space to offer two maximum contracts, and LeBron surely recognizes the historical significance of lifting L.A. back to championship status. Nobody knows for sure what he is thinking or if he plans to give much though to free agency until this season is done. If he has taken a good look at the Lakers, he has surely noticed the chaos of the past week related to LaVar Ball’s comments about coach Luke Walton and the delayed response from the team’s front office. He would also see a team with a 15-27 record and a recent nine-game losing streak. The best-case scenario for the Lakers would be to sign James and Paul George, but that means getting rid of Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson first. Would that roster be enough be enough to get through the West with the Warriors, Rockets and Spurs standing in the way? That thought will influence LeBron’s decision much more than a new home.
What kind of package would Andre Drummond bring in a trade? — Mark Holmes
Drummond’s improvement this season makes him much less likely to be traded than he was a year ago. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy’s concerns about his intensity level seem to be a thing of the past, and Drummond has added a playmaking element to his game, averaging a career-best 3.8 assists per night to go with a league-leading 15.0 rebounds. Drummond is only 24 and is signed through 2019/20 with a player option for the following season. He has become the cornerstone of the franchise and won’t be dealt unless the Pistons decide to rebuild. It’s hard to picture an offer the Pistons might consider right now, but if they want to get out of the most expensive years of Drummond’s contract and replace Reggie Jackson at point guard, they could match salary by sending them to Miami for Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside.
Milwaukee is obviously after centers, and we noted in a recent Mailbag that Knicks backup Kyle O’Quinn is a possibility. They will continue to make a push for Jordan until the February 8 trade deadline and will probably opt for one of the lower-cost options if they can’t work out a deal with the Clippers. If you want a complete wild card to consider, how about Dwight Howard? His salary is similar to Jordan’s ($23MM vs. $22,642,350), with the main difference being that Howard is under contract for another year at more than $23.8MM, while Jordan has a player option. The Hornets are sliding out of the East race at 16-25 and probably wouldn’t mind unloading Howard’s contract. His reputation has suffered in recent years, but Howard’s numbers have been fairly steady since he left Orlando. He is averaging 15.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per night and could give the Bucks everything that Jordan would.