Weekly Mailbag

Weekly Mailbag: 3/4/19 – 3/10/19

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 Kyrie Irving will move to the Knicks with Kevin Durant next season or try to entice Durant to join the Celtics, as they’re both good buddies? — Greg Dizon

The interplay between Irving and Durant was one of the most interesting subplots of All-Star Weekend. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst compared them to a “middle school couple” on his “Hoop Collective Podcast” because they spent so much time together. Their conversations that weekend surely included the topic of becoming teammates next year, but we’ll have to see how the postseason plays out before setting any odds on that possibility. If it does happen, it will probably be in New York. Boston won’t have the cap space to sign Durant unless Al Horford opts out of a $30.1MM salary or the Celtics can find a taker for Gordon Hayward.

If the Knicks get the second or third pick, is there a possibility of selecting Ja Morant, and do you think he is better than Dennis Smith Jr.? — Howie

The Knicks keep investing in point guards and changing their minds, so who knows for sure? Considering their personnel, a wing like R.J. Barrett or Cam Reddish makes more sense. However, anything less than the No. 1 pick will instantly become trade bait. Morant put on a sensational performance in this week’s Ohio Valley Conference tournament, getting rave reviews from many observers, including Tony Jones of The Athletic, who considers Morant far more skilled than Smith (Twitter link).

Who do you think the Lakers will sign in the free agency? Is there any chance Brook Lopez returns? Where will Kawhi Leonard land? — Raphael Brandao
The Lakers will target stars in hopes of landing another elite player to team with LeBron James. If an Anthony Davis deal takes away their ability to offer a max contract, they’ll gladly pay that price. If that doesn’t happen, L.A. will turn to Leonard, Durant, Irving, Klay Thompson and anyone else they consider to be at that level. The rumor for months has been that Leonard’s first choice is the Clippers if he decides to leave Toronto. Durant and Irving seem to be looking elsewhere, while Thompson will stay with the Warriors if he gets a max offer, so the Lakers may have to be aggressive in their pursuit of a player such as Kemba Walker or Jimmy Butler. They may target Lopez if they have money left over, but he’s such a good fit in Milwaukee that the Bucks will fight to keep him.

Weekly Mailbag: 2/11/19 – 2/17/19

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.

If the Pelicans fall into the lottery and get a chance to draft Zion Williamson, do you think Anthony Davis might change his mind and stick with the Pelicans? — Greg Dizon

Davis has lost confidence in New Orleans’ ability to build a contender around him, and it’s too late for any personnel moves to change his mind. At 26-33, the Pelicans seem like a lock for the lottery, but their odds of landing the No. 1 pick are remote. And even if that were to happen, Williamson may not be a difference maker in his first year in the league. Davis wants to win right away and won’t go back on his desire to be traded.

Who are some realistic options for the Warriors on the buyout market? — Patrick Cavanaugh

Golden State doesn’t have many weaknesses, but the defending champs could use another veteran big man, if only to provide insurance in the event of another injury to DeMarcus Cousins. Chicago’s Robin Lopez has been rumored for a while as a possible target, but the Bulls may prefer to keep him for the rest of the season. Marcin Gortat and Greg Monroe recently agreed to buyouts, but neither seems like an ideal fit for the Warriors. Zach Randolph may be a possibility if Golden State isn’t afraid to gamble on a player who hasn’t suited up yet this season. For an even bigger wild card, how about J.R. Smith, who has been waiting months to resolve his situation in Cleveland and would provide another another outside shooter with playoff experience.

The Hall of Fame announced its 13 finalists over the weekend. Who’s the biggest omission from that list? – M.N.N., via twitter

Rudy Tomjanovich, a finalist in 2017 and 2018, was inexplicably left off of this year’s list. He not only led the Rockets to two NBA titles in the 1990s, he paved the way for the modern game by expanding the use of the 3-point shot and introducing the concept of a stretch four. His coaching resume includes 527 NBA wins and an Olympic gold medal. He should have been a Hall of Famer years ago.

Weekly Mailbag: 1/28/19 – 2/3/19

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.

Other than maybe Anthony Davis, do you see any big trades going down in the next couple of days? — Jimmy Robinson, via Twitter

There may not be any All-Stars on the move this week, but the trade deadline is shaping up to be more active than it originally appeared. Because so many teams remain in playoff contention, there will be far more buyers than sellers, but the sellers should have their pick of attractive offers. The Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks, Suns and Grizzlies all have players they would like to move, and most of those teams are willing to take on long-term salary to make it happen. The big names most likely to be traded before the deadline are Memphis’ Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, but as the Kristaps Porzingis trade reminded us this week, huge deals sometimes happen without warning.

How available is Julius Randle, how much does he fit with Philly and what would he cost? Would a combo of Nikola Mirotic and Randle work out if Markelle Fultz is involved (I don’t want Fultz to go)? — Sean Hamilton

There was a report last week that the Pelicans were looking for takers for Randle, Mirotic and E’Twaun Moore, so availability shouldn’t be an issue. Mirotic has a $12.5MM expiring contract, while Randle makes $8.64MM, so the Sixers can’t realistically match salaries to get both of them without giving up players they prefer to keep. Either one would be a welcome addition in Philadelphia, particularly Mirotic, who would provide a badly needed outside shooter. However, it’s hard to see how a deal gets done unless Fultz is included, and at least from public statements, the Sixers don’t appear ready to give him up.

The Bucks were 16-8 (9-8 after starting season 7-0) when they traded Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson for George Hill and some other guy (Jason Smith). They are 22-5 since. Underrated, rated or overrated trade of the year? — Roger Skifstad

It was certainly an under-the-radar deal that has benefited the Bucks. Hill’s numbers aren’t flashy since arriving in Milwaukee (6.0/2.6/2.2 in about 21 minutes per game), but he has provided a stabilizing veteran presence off the bench. It didn’t get a lot of headlines when it happened, but small trades like this can sometimes have a huge impact at playoff time.

Weekly Mailbag: 12/31/18 – 1/6/19

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.

How likely is it the Knicks can rid themselves of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee without taking back non-expiring contracts? Who could you see as potential trade partners. For Hardaway, I could see Memphis, Utah and Detroit. For Lee (and Hardaway) I could see Sacramento trying to bolster their lineup for a playoff push. — Eli Samuels

Virtually every team in the league places a high value on cap space, so it’s not going to be easy for the Knicks to move either player without taking on some long-term salary. Hardaway is owed $18.15MM next season and has an $18.975MM player option for 2020/21. That’s a lot of money for someone with a low field goal percentage (39.4%) and limited value beyond the scoring he provides. Lee is owed $12.76MM for next season, which is a gamble for a 33-year-old who has only played 10 games this season because of injuries. The Grizzlies have luxury tax concerns next year if Marc Gasol opts in, as do the Pistons, so neither team can really afford to add Hardaway. The Jazz are already set at shooting guard with Donovan Mitchell. The Knicks might have to attach a draft pick or two to entice someone to take Hardaway or Lee. Their willingness to do so may say a lot about how confident they are in their free agency pursuit of Kevin Durant.

Do you think Lauri Markkanen stays with Chicago through this next contract? I really hope he goes to a real team. — Bryan 

It’s unusual for a player to turn down a rookie contract extension, which the Bulls will almost certainly offer when Markkanen becomes eligible in the summer of 2020. As Chicago sorts through its young talent, it’s pretty clear Markkanen has star potential and will be part of the organization’s foundation for the future. After returning from an elbow injury he suffered in training camp, Markkanen is putting up better numbers than he did in his rookie season, raising his scoring averaging from 15.2 to 17.6 PPG and improving his 3-point percentage from 36.2% to 40.6%. He’ll be in Chicago for a long time. The only question is whether Bulls management can build a “real team” around him.

Where is the best fit for Tobias Harris in free agency? — Bryan 

Harris is putting up career-best numbers of 20.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and is poised for a huge raise from the $14.8MM he’s making this season. The Clippers own his Bird rights and can offer more years and higher annual raises than anyone else. It’s hard to envision a better situation than what Harris already has in Los Angeles. Even if the Clippers are successful in landing a star in free agency — the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard is expected to be their main target — Harris would remain valuable in a complementary role.

Weekly Mailbag: 12/24/18 – 12/30/18

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.

Where do you think Anthony Davis gets traded to after reports floated of Danny Ainge trying to trade for him, offering Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and LeBron James spotted having dinner with AD, Celtics or Lakers? — Greg Dizon

Trading Davis remains a last resort for the Pelicans and it will only happen if he turns down an extension this summer. But if he does become available, the Celtics and Lakers will both be ready to lavish New Orleans in riches to obtain his rights. Boston may have four first-rounders in this year’s draft, and L.A. has been building up young talent for several seasons. The Pelicans will want to make the best deal possible, but Davis’ decision to sign with Rich Paul, LeBron’s agent, offers a major clue to how things will play out. James and Paul wield a lot of power, and they won’t hesitate to throw it around to make Davis a Laker.

Do the Grizzlies make a move before the trade deadline? Who goes or who comes in? — David Day II, via Twitter

Memphis tried to get involved in the deal that sent Trevor Ariza from Phoenix to Washington and attempted to sign Austin Rivers after his buyout with the Suns, so there’s reason to believe the front office will continue to be active. There was a report last month that the Grizzlies contacted the Knicks about Frank Ntilikina, so the organization seems to believe it needs at least one more productive guard. Like a lot of teams, Memphis could be buyers or sellers by the February 7 deadline. Who goes and who stays will depend on what shape the playoff race takes over the next month.

Patrick McCaw‘s decision to hold out with such little leverage always seemed odd. Will it pay off with the offer from Cleveland? — J.B., via Twitter

Whether the Warriors elect to match or not, there is no guaranteed money in McCaw’s deal, at least for another week. The Cavaliers are giving him two non-guaranteed years at $6MM, but all NBA contracts guarantee for the rest of the year on January 10 and teams have to waive players to avoid that by January 7. So it looks like McCaw will receive $3MM this year, with a chance to earn another $3MM in 2019/20. That’s much better than the $1.7MM qualifying offer he turned down, and assuming he isn’t released, it beats the Warriors’ best offer of $5.2MM over two seasons with one year guaranteed. If McCaw winds up in Cleveland, he will get a chance to prove himself with a young team and set up a larger payday later on.

Weekly Mailbag: 11/26/18 – 12/2/18

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.

Which star is most likely to get traded before the deadline? And what team is most likely to acquire said star? The Lakers? — Thatisspelledwrong, via Twitter

That will become much clearer once the playoff races are a little better formed. The Wizards, for example, may have been more willing to move John Wall or Bradley Beal before this week’s surge put them back into contention. The Spurs have a lot of veterans — LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Marco Belinelli — who might become available if they fall out of the Western race. The Heat are another team that might start dealing if they can’t turn things around. If none of those teams decides to blow things up, speculation will turn toward Kevin Love in Cleveland, who becomes eligible to be dealt on January 24. The Cavaliers seem to have accepted the need to rebuild and could get a nice package of assets for the five-time All-Star. There will be plenty of suitors for any big name on the market, but the Lakers are focused on free agency and will only add salary beyond this season if they can land the second star they want.

Should the Spurs make a trade? — Mr. T, via Twitter

San Antonio is a patient organization that won’t rush into panic deals. But after losing back-to-back games this week by a combined 70 points, it might be time to accept that the long run of playoff appearances is about to end. Gasol only has a $6.7MM guarantee on his $16MM salary for next season, so there could be a strong market for him once he returns from a stress fracture in his left foot. Gay has an expiring $10MM contract, while Belinelli has an affordable $5.85MM deal for next season, so there should be interest in both. Aldridge is signed for another year at $26MM, then has a partial guarantee on his $24MM salary for 2020/21, so he won’t be as easy to move. If this week’s disaster is an indication of things to come, the Spurs will definitely be active on the trade market with an eye for the future.

I saw that DeMarcus Cousins is expected back around Christmas. How much is he going to help the Warriors? — RB4, via Twitter

Center is by far the weakest position for the two-time defending champs and it’s starting to grate on coach Steve Kerr, who snapped at a reporter last night for asking about it. Golden State let all its veteran big men leave over the summer, and the combination of Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell hasn’t been able to replace them. Cousins gives them a potential star in the middle, although his effectiveness will depend on how his body recovers from the Achilles injury. Reports suggest that he has fit in well with the Warriors’ culture, and he will be focused on winning a ring and rebuilding his value for next summer’s free agency. If he play like his old self for just a few minutes a night, he will be exactly what Golden State needs.

Weekly Mailbag: 11/12/18 – 11/18/18

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 there an actual trade market for Wesley Matthews? I’ve seen him on plenty of “trade candidate” type articles lately but can’t imagine who would take him, and I’m a Mavs fan. — Mike O’Neill, via Twitter

Matthews has a couple of advantages that could create a strong demand before the trade deadline arrives in February. He’s only 32 and seems fully recovered from the Achilles injury that derailed his career in Portland, plus he’s got an $18.6MM expiring contract. Matthews is off to his best start in years, averaging 16.2 PPG through 13 games while shooting 38% from 3-point range. If he keeps up that level of play, Dallas should get a nice return for him. Of course, that’s assuming the Mavericks are sellers rather than buyers at the deadline. Last night’s win over the Warriors has them at 7-8 and back in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race.

I was wondering where Jawun Evans ended up. The Clippers were trying to trade him to make the best out of an overflow situation, but the rumor was no one was biting was despite four or five teams wanting him. They knew the Clips had to make the cut. What happened to the four or five teams waiting for Evans? — Nicolas Galipeau

Evans recently signed with the Suns’ G League affiliate in Northern Arizona and is waiting for his next NBA opportunity. Players who get cut right before the season starts usually have a hard time getting picked up right away because everyone’s roster is set. Evans certainly looked like he has an NBA future during the 48 games he played for the Clippers last year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the league before the end of the season.

If the Wizards can’t get back into contention after their slow start, which players are most likely to be moved when the sell-off begins? — D.P., via Twitter

John Wall may seem like the most obvious answer, but the Designated Veteran Player Extension he signed in the summer of 2017 will kick in next season, making him a huge financial risk. Wall will get $170MM over the next four years, including a cap-draining $47.3MM in 2022-23. Teams may ask for Bradley Beal, but he is much more affordable for the Wizards to keep with a deal that pays $27MM and $28.75MM over the next two years. The answer may be Otto Porter Jr., who was mentioned as a possibility for the Rockets in a recent story by Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer. That’s a situation to keep an eye on if Washington can’t climb up the standings before the trade deadline.

Weekly Mailbag: 10/15/18 – 10/21/18

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.

Any leads on where Joakim Noah will end up? — Nicolaus Galipeau

It’s not a good sign for the former Knicks center that he has been on the market for a week now and no serious suitors have stepped up. There was a time when it was assumed he would be the next ex-Bull to follow Tom Thibodeau to Minnesota, but Thibs has indicated that the Wolves aren’t interested, plus he has bigger concerns to deal with. The Lakers don’t really have a center to back up JaVale McGee, so that might be a situation to watch. Noah is only 33 and was a First Team All-NBA center in 2014. On the other hand, he hasn’t turned in a really effective season since then and his reputation took a major hit in New York. Even if he does get another chance, his time as a productive player may be finished.

Do you think the one-and-done rule for NBA rookies should be abolished as Commisioner Adam Silver wants? For me, it should be continued as very few high school players are ready to jump from high school to NBA. — Greg Dizon

There are too many options for young players now for the one-and-done rule to remain effective. The NBA announced this week that high school graduates will be able to join the G League, making $125K while they wait to become draft eligible. Others have chosen to play overseas for a year, and LaVar Ball has talked about starting a Junior Basketball Association for high school grads. With so many opportunities to play professionally, there’s no reason to keep denying elite 18-year-olds access to the NBA.

The Nuggets signed Michael Malone to an extension this week. Why would they make that kind of commitment to a coach who has never been to the playoffs? — Nuggets Fan, via Twitter

While it’s true that Malone has never reached the postseason as a head coach, he missed by the slimmest possible margin last year, losing to the Timberwolves in overtime on the last night of the regular season. Malone has the organization moving in the right direction, posting win totals of 33, 40 and 46 in his three seasons at the helm. He was entering the final year of his contract, and management didn’t want didn’t want that to become a distraction. The Nuggets believe they have the right mix of players in place to be successful and they like the stability of having Malone signed through the end of 2020/21.

Weekly Mailbag: 9/24/18 – 9/30/18

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.

With Anthony Davis linking up with same agent as LeBron James, do you think there’s a good chance he’ll join LeBron with Lakers in the near future? — Greg Dizon

It’s a good theory because we know that LeBron likes to play alongside Klutch Sports clients, but Lakers fans shouldn’t be counting on a James-Davis tandem in their future. Davis will be eligible for a supermax extension next summer that could become the richest deal in NBA history. Only the Pelicans can give him that, so he won’t be pushing for a trade before then. Davis could be expected to spend at least two years in New Orleans once that deal is in hand before exploring trade options. LeBron will be 36 by then, and who knows how successful he and the Lakers will be? Davis has said repeatedly that he’s happy with the Pelicans, and as long as they remain a playoff team that’s where he’s likely to stay.

Andrew Bynum is trying to make a comeback. This reminds me of Larry Sanders. They both kind of had the same potential at one point, though Bynum did accomplish more. They both had poor attitudes that led to their NBA exit. Are both these comebacks money grabs? — Nicolas Galipeau

Sanders continued to have off-the-court problems during his brief comeback with the Cavaliers at the end of the 2016/17 season. He spent most of his time with Cleveland’s G League affiliate, but reportedly showed up late and missed a team bus when he was with the Cavs. For all his talent, it never seemed like basketball was his top priority. Bynum’s NBA downfall was related to injuries, especially his knees. He’s not in position to demand more than a veteran’s minimum contract, so he’s probably not motivated by the money. More likely, Bynum misses the NBA lifestyle and would like to prove he can still be productive at age 30.

Luka Doncic looks like a runaway candidate for Rookie of the Year. Is it too early to put his name on the trophy? — Big D, via Twitter

Doncic was impressive in the Mavericks’ preseason opener Saturday night, making five of seven shots and scoring 16 points in 30 minutes, but don’t get carried away. Dallas was playing the Beijing Ducks, so Doncic still hasn’t displayed his skills against NBA competition. He is among the Rookie of the Year favorites, and his role as the primary distributor in the Mavericks’ backcourt will get him a lot of votes. However, there’s a very talented field this year, a lot of whom appear in line for plenty of playing time. Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Trae Young, Wendell Carter, Collin Sexton and Kevin Knox will all be formidable contenders.

Weekly Mailbag: 9/17/18 – 9/23/18

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.

Besides Jimmy Butler, who is and who should be on the radar of the Brooklyn Nets? — D-Rock, via Twitter

The Nets haven’t been successful for a long time, so it was a bit of a surprise to see them included on the list of preferred destinations Butler submitted to the Timberwolves when he made his trade request. Brooklyn has less than $17MM committed right now for 2019/20, although that number could rise depending on what Allen Crabbe does with his $18.5MM player option and how the team handles D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Regardless, the Nets will be in position to offer at least one max deal to an extremely talented free agent class available. It’s hard to say specifically who they will be looking at between now and next summer, but when the next Butler-style situation crops up with an unhappy star — and it’s been a frequent occurrence of late — Brooklyn will be in position to pounce.

Do you think the Spurs will be championship contenders this season with the addition of DeMar DeRozan? Kawhi Leonard hardly played last season and yet the Spurs played well.– Greg Dizon

Championship contender is a hard level to define in an era where the Warriors have dominated, but the Spurs should be better than casual fans probably expect. Leonard was a non-factor last season, playing in just nine games, but San Antonio still posted a 47-win season and finished just two games behind the third seed. DeRozan is a four-time All-Star who will help replace some of Leonard’s scoring punch. Jakob Poeltl, who was acquired in the same deal, with bring some youthful energy to a veteran front line, and the return of Marco Belinelli bolsters the outside shooting. The Spurs may not be in the mix for the NBA title, but they should remain a factor in the playoff race and could have home court advantage in a first-round series.

Why hasn’t anybody signed Jamal Crawford yet? Can’t someone use an explosive scorer off the bench? — Bobby M, via Twitter

There was a report at the start of the week that Crawford and the Celtics have “mutual interest,” but nothing has happened yet on that front. Boston may have a roster spot open after Jabari Bird‘s legal troubles, and Crawford could fill the team’s need for more 3-point shooting. The Sixers, Warriors and Lakers have also shown interest, Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated reported this week. Crawford is still getting paid by the Hawks as part of last year’s buyout, so he doesn’t have to be in a hurry to find a new team. Expect him to land a job with a contender before the season starts.