• About a week ago, Jake Fischer released an article that quickly got passed along the internet.  In the article, Griffin spoke very candidly about his unhappiness in Cleveland, and his comments were taken by many as a slight to LeBron James.  Because LeBron news gets pushed to the forefront of conversation, some things buried inside the article were not talked about as much.  One of these quotes was important:

    “Instead of chasing ping pong balls, they [the Pelicans] expect to battle despite the West’s stingy field. Griffin warns New Orleans will play buyer at the trade deadline if the playoffs are within his grasp. “People are gonna be like, ‘What the f— are they doing?’” he says. “We’re trying to win basketball games!” He knows vying for victory most often ends in defeat. But teams that overcome losing together—like Griffin’s Suns, unlike Griffin’s Cavs—grow together”

     

    We can look back at the entirety of his summer to put this into context.  After all, in regards to the Anthony Davis trade, Griffin made it clear that the team was open to any avenues: if someone had blown the doors open with a trade that meant a longer rebuild, he would’ve been okay with that.

    “So we were open-minded to if the best offer we got was going to be entirely a future play form someone, then maybe we would’ve gone that route.  But building in such a way that the best offer we received was some really quality basketball players that were going to help us win immediately, it gave us a real confidence in, okay, let’s keep augmenting this group.”

     

    Putting this all together, I think Griffin’s comment about what the Pelicans could do at the deadline is pretty clear.  I don’t think Griffin means that he is going to sacrifice the future to make a last-minute push for the playoffs.  What I do think he is open to is finding the in-between for players that will help now and help later.  What makes this interesting to me is that Griffin’s mindset is not altogether different from the approach that Dell Demps took.

    In my mind, what makes it different is that Griffin has a big set of chips to throw at the table.  Because of some bad contracts/decisions and some awfully bad luck, Demps was not in the position that Griffin is.  As it stands, the Pelicans have at least four or five good young prospects and a few that could be elite.  The Pelicans have no bad contracts, no ultimatum from a superstar to sacrifice everything now, and are in the driver’s seat for their future.  This means they can be patient for now.

    If I had to guess, Griffin is still trying to accomplish the one piece of the AD trade goal (via him) that is still unfinished: to acquire a young, All-Star caliber player.  Shamit Dua has been on the Bradley Beal train for a long time, and I think Beal is certainly someone who fits the bill.  Washington just made a huge hire in analytics pioneer Dean Oliver, and I fully expect that they’ll try to do whatever they can to get Beal to stay… but I also think there could be others.

    I think Griffin is waiting to unload some of the assets in his treasure chest to obtain a player in an unhappy situation or whose timeline doesn’t match his team’s.  Tracing back to Griffin’s comments, and considering the situation that the Pelicans are in, I would expect that anything he does at the deadline this year will be something he wants to do, not something he feels pressure to do.

Fantasy News

  • Caris LeVert
    SG, Brooklyn Nets

    The Nets and Caris LeVert have agreed to terms on a three-year, $52.5 million contract extension, as per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    This makes sense for the Nets, who have long extolled their love for LeVert's long-term outlook. This sounds like they're fully committed to making him a core player. Enjoy his upside this season, as he will likely take a usage hit when Kevin Durant returns to full health and takes the floor.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Evan Fournier
    SF, Orlando Magic

    In an 82-80 win by France over Italy on Sunday, Evan Fournier posted 29 points in 19 minutes of action.

    This was nice showing for Fournier, who is coming of a relatively lackluster 2018-19 campaign. He will have to fend off an emergent Terrence Ross for those minutes at the wing this season and will need production-per-minute on this level if he wants to stay on the floor for the Magic.

    Source: Orlando Magic Daily on Twitter

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Victor Oladipo had little to say about his rehab process (ruptured quad tendon) at his basketball camp in Indiana.

    We weren't expecting earth shattering details while Oladipo was busy overseeing his basketball camp, but more information about the Pacer would be most welcome. It is hard to know what you will get from Oladipo on draft day, but you have to figure someone in your league will be interested in taking a gamble on him. He is still not scrimmaging with other players, and whenever he does return to game action this season, it is unlikely he will resume being a top player in the early going.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Briante Weber
    PG, International

    Briante Weber, after spending the end of last season with the Greek club Olympiacos, is joining the Metropolitians 92, based in Boulogne-Levallois, France.

    Weber attended free agent mini-camps in June with the Raptors and Wolves, and spent time in the G-League last year, but has never been able to catch on long-term with an NBA team. He has had brief stops with several NBA squads over the years, so it is possible he could return to a roster at some point this season. There is nothing to see here in terms of fantasy though.

    Source: BeBasket.com

  • Rui Hachimura
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Rui Hachimura showed off his scoring prowess with 31 points in Japan's comeback victory over Germany on Saturday.

    After a nice string of Summer League performances, Rui Hachimura is continuing his strong play in FIBA World Cup exhibition games for Japan. He can clearly get his own look in the mid-range, and the rookie should get a chance to perform for the Wizards this year. Keep an eye on Hachimura's preseason opportunities, as the competition for the Wizards' power forward minutes isn't fierce. He could be worth a late-round flyer in standard league-drafts.

    Source: Mike Schmitz on Twitter

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee) is not expected to have any limitations heading into training camp.

    Covington had arthroscopic surgery in April after missing 47 games last season due to a bone bruise on his right knee.

    Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune

  • Jeff Teague
    PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Jeff Teague (left ankle) is not expected to have any restrictions for training camp.

    Teague had a left ankle debridement procedure in April to help alleviate inflammation. Teague's ankles have given him trouble throughout his career and he only played 42 games last season. With a clean bill of health Teague will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing season.

    Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White has reportedly passed the first concussion test after taking a nasty fall in Team USA's tuneup game vs. the Australian Boomers on Saturday.

    This is good news. White has worked hard for his Team USA roster spot and should provide some guard depth for them once he clears concussion protocols. He was an eye-opener last season and should still hold some fantasy value despite the return of a now-healthy Dejounte Murray.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.

    Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.

    Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.

    Source: USAB.com