June 22, 2016, 11:31 am
The NBA wasted no time after it’s grand finale to get straight in to the NBA Draft and there is already plenty of speculation on roster movement. It’s barely been 72 hours and the Kevin Love rumors are flying! Can you imagine being told at the Championship parade that you are being traded for draft picks? Talk about a bummer of a celebration if that were the case. More on that below.
Meanwhile, J.R. Smith still hasn’t put a shirt on but the NBA Draft is already upon us. Our own John Sill (@JohnRSill) has been all over the NBA Draft coverage for us here at Hoop Ball. His excellent Final NBA Mock Draft is a great guide to follow along with what to expect on Thursday night.
A lot of news and speculation has occurred in the last three days since the end of Game 7 (ICYMI: my Game 7 recap and thoughts on LeBron’s legacy). Just hours after winning a championship, Richard Jefferson announced his retirement. His 15-year career ends with him going out on top as a role player (and as a starter in Game 3 of the NBA Finals) for a historic championship team. He ends his career with per game averages of 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 46.4% shooting. Best of all, he is now an NBA champion. Congrats RJ on a great career, and we will see you at the ring ceremony next season!
It’s time to recap the whirlwind of news going on since Monday. Let’s get to it.
AROUND THE ASSOCIATION
The Olympic roster for the 2016 games in Rio is still slowly being formed, but big names have confirmed their participation in the last few days. Kevin Durant confirmed that he will play and is unphased by the recent withdrawals of Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Warriors forward Draymond Green has also accepted an invitation to play in the summer games. The team is preparing to shape the roster with or without the 2016 Finals MVP LeBron James, as he is undecided but sources say he is leaning toward skipping the Olympics this time around. After six-straight NBA Finals and multiple offseasons playing on Team USA, who can blame him? His legs have been through enough.
On the movement front, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that a three-way deal is underway in Atlanta where Jeff Teague is going to the Pacers, George Hill to the Jazz and Utah’s No. 12 overall pick to the Hawks. Details will develop throughout the afternoon, but those are your key pieces. Teague was rumored to be traded all season and, much to the disappointment of Dennis Schroder fantasy owners, Teague wasn’t dealt until today. The Pacers have already said that they plan to sign Teague to an extension. Meanwhile, George Hill is on the final year of his contract, which is scary if you are a Utah fan.
Another developing story: Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Bulls are trading Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday and a second round pick to the Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant. More details will be hashed out as the story develops. The former MVP has a new home.
Dwight Howard opted out of his player option and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. This news doesn’t come as a surprise, especially given the way Dwight had issues on and off the court in the middle of last season. His playing time was cut in the latter half of the season, which signaled that maybe it was time to move on. Mike D’Antoni‘s signing didn’t help the matter, either. With the salary cap sky rocketing to $94 million next season and Howard in his 30s, he stands to gain a max deal on the open market and would reasonably go elsewhere. Perhaps a redemption season is in the works for the big fella.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News wrote that the Golden State Warriors “want Dirk Nowitzki” and that he is “bouncing around their thought process.” Right out of the NBA Finals losing tunnel, this news seems a bit fast and loose for the Warriors considering Dirk’s relationship to the Dallas Mavericks organization. If we do entertain the idea, the quick retort is who wouldn’t want the former MVP’s services? The flamingo-footed German had a per game average of 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in 75 games of the 2015-16 season for the Mavs, an improvement from the prior season. After an improbable championship for the Mavs in 2011, Dirk has repeatedly confirmed that he is now content and would like to finish out his career with the Mavericks. While he did opt-out of his contract to become a free agent, those close to the Mavs organization know that Dirk wants to finish his career in Dallas.
Speaking of the Mavs, Deron Williams and Chandler Parsons have opted out of their contracts as well and will test free agency this summer, despite Mark Cuban’s pleas. The Mavericks might again be “Team Free Agency,” which has basically developed in to a one to two year purgatory for free agents ever since their fabled 2011 NBA championship. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has done a superb job of developing chemistry among the cards he is dealt and making the playoffs in all but one season under his tenure. The Mavs will play the free agency game once again, as the team gave it’s first round draft pick to the Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo. We all know how that
playedsat out. The Mavs are rumored to join the Dwight Howard and Hassan Whiteside sweepstakes. Be careful what you wish for.
In the aftermath of the NBA Finals, multiple teams have shown interest in Kevin Love after his mostly poor showing. His fit with the Cavs came in to question on the ultimate stage, after he posted a per game average of 7.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists on 36.2% shooting from the field during the NBA Finals. He only played 12 minutes in the Cavs win in Game 6, causing speculation if this would be Love’s final season with the team. While Love is busy celebrating at the parade (and, conveniently, he was the first to hug LeBron as the buzzer sounded to end Game 7), teams are surely inquiring about the three-time NBA all-star. After winning the ultimate prize, this news does not mean any movement is Cleveland’s doing, but you can count on offers pouring in from outside. Draft night would be a bit too soon to see a move, but the phones will ringing. Still, championship teams don’t blow up their key parts too easy.
The Philadelphia 76ers have dominated offseason news lately, and not just because they have the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. Joel Embiid (foot) has been cleared to scrimmage in 5-on-5 situations. He will not participate in the summer league, but this is a step in the right direction.
With the 76ers reportedly telling Ben Simmons that they will select him with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday, that can only mean that the Lakers will choose Brandon Ingram at No. 2. This means that the real draft begins at the Celtics No. 3 pick. Rumors are flying about the Celtics No. 3 overall pick and the 76ers. Names such as Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor have been thrown in to the fire as possible pieces that could be dealt to the Celtics.
The Milwaukee Bucks are aggressively shopping Greg Monroe, according to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops. Monroe signed a three-year, $50 million deal last summer, but the Bucks found success without his services quite a bit this season. Rumors flew midseason after his decline, but it doesn’t seem like Milwaukee can get much in return. Monroe is under contract for the upcoming 2016-17 season and has a player option for the 2017-18 season. He is a poor fit defensively for the Bucks and fell off the map a bit this season as the Bucks slowly phased him out.
Manu Ginobili has opted out of his contract, which adds him to the long list of unrestricted free agents. His option was worth $2.94 million for next season. A lifetime Spur, it would be hard to see him in another jersey. He is likely waiting for Tim Duncan to make a decision about his future.
Matthew Dellavedova is drawing interest from the Bucks and Pistons, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “I think the Bucks have zeroed in on Dellavedova. I think they intend to offer him a bunch of money. The Detroit Pistons were hanging around in the playoffs a lot, sending scouts. They weren’t sending scouts to evaluate J.R. (Smith), I think they intend to go after Dellavedova.” Delly will make a nice addition off the bench.