The offseason of the NBA is one of the most exciting times in sports—well at least during the summer. With Major League Baseball having lost some of its luster, and Major League Soccer still gathering a fan base, the end of June the entire month of July can be a slow sports month—especially with no World Cup or Olympics. Trades, the draft, and Free Agency seem to come at us with the ferocity of a hurricane, leaving our teams in disarray.
There are only a couple marquee free agents this summer: Steph Curry, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul round out the A-list free agents. So, while this summer’s free agent pick up options aren’t as glorious as they could be, there is quite a bit of unrest in the NBA. Trades options are abound. The Celtics seemed primed to trade for a super star, or maybe even trade their super star. There are rumors that the Indiana Pacers might change ownership, what does that mean for Paul George? Will Phil Jackson finally push out Melo?
We’ll find out.
15 Boston Celtics Trade the Number One Pick
The Celtics own the rights to the number one pick in this year’s deep, deep draft. The number one pick is expected to be Markelle Fultz out of Washington—which happens to be the Alma Mater of Celtics star, Isaiah Thomas. While Fultz has discussed wanting to play for the Celtics, and Isaiah Thomas says there would be no problem playing together, the Celtics may decide they don’t need another point guard and that they’re ready to contend with the Cleveland Caveliers and Golden State Warriors for a Championship.
There are a slew of stars and franchises that could decide it’s time for a change of direction. The Celtics are in need of another scoring star—having only one—and could trade this pick to get one. Danny Ainge has packaged high draft picks and turned them into stars before (Ray Allen). We’ll see.
14 Boston Celtics Don’t Trade the Number One Pick
Something that’s bound to change the game—the offseason game that is. Everyone seems to be of the mind that Boston is going to get a super star this offseason. And barring Curry, Paul or Gordon Hayward joining the Celtics in free agency, the Celtics are probably going to have to trade the number one pick in order to get a Paul George.
Boston not trading the pick though, that will signal a couple things. The Celtics don’t think the Cavaliers are assailable right now, or the Celtics think they can get Hayward, or the Celtics are choosing Fultz over Thomas in the long term.
The Celtics not trading the pick would mean others are more likely to land George or Butler, or that George or Butler are not available. Boston not being aggressive and trading the pick could scare teams off from being aggressive as well, and the whole eastern conference, other than the Raptors and Wizards might continue to try and build for a future of contending next decade.
13 Isaiah Thomas is Traded
A trio of options for the Celtics to start the article, but trading Isaiah Thomas is a real possibility. Thomas is due for an enormous contract after this next season. That contract won’t be an albatross, as Thomas is in his late twenties, but by the end of the contract he’ll be a short guard nearing his mid thirties. It will probably be the only mega contract he’ll get, and there is a possibility injuries and slowing down occur, making those last two years too expensive.
With the Celtics expected to take Markelle Fultz at number one in the draft, Boston may just say, “We chose Fultz.” He’ll be less expensive over the next four years, and may even prove to be as good as Thomas within the next three seasons. If Boston finds the right franchise, they could package next years Brooklyn pick (yes, there is one more left from the KG, Pierce deal) with Thomas for someone like Jimmy Butler, or Paul George.
12 LaMarcus Aldridge is Traded
The San Antonia Spurs are at a bit of a crossroads. They should have two super stars. But Aldridge hasn’t played like one since joining the Spurs. When Kawhi Leonard was injured (on purpose or not) by Zaza Pachulia against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, Aldridge did not rise to the challenge. His scoring was down, and at times he looked hesitant. Greg Popovich even insisted that he needed to play better for them.
It may be that Aldridge has worn out his welcome, and that Kawhi needs a better second fiddle. With big men being somewhat of a need in the league, the Spurs could package Aldridge into something that helps the team more, whether it’s another b-list super star, or a bag of goods that Popovich turns into the next big three. Whichever direction they go, Spurs fans knows, trust in Pop.
11 Paul George is Traded
This is not breaking news, but Paul George is available. The Indiana Pacers star has been playing on a mediocre team for a while now, and it does not look like they are going to improve anytime soon. It may be time for the Pacers to hit the reset button and trade both George and Myles Turner into a package not unlike what Boston got from the Nets.
Speaking of Boston, they and the Lakers are the front runners to get George. If Boston packages Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, the first pick and next years Brooklyn pick they could land both George and Turner, to create lineup of Thomas, Avery Bradly, Paul George, Al Horford and Turner. That could challenge the Caveliers starting five.
Of course, Paul George grew up in Los Angeles, and grew up a Lakers fan. His preference may be to play for his hometown club. The Lakers have the draft picks and young talent to create a good package for George. But the Lakers may decide to wait a year and see if they can get George during the offseason.
10 Jimmy Butler is Traded
Jimmy Butler is in the same sort of situation as Paul George. He’s a star on a team that’s been mediocre for a while. The Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Butler mix didn’t work quite as well as the Chicago front office wanted. And unless the Bulls can pull off a miraculous trade, it seems they’ll be in mediocre land for as long as the Pacers are. Dwyane Wade may be deciding to stay in Chicago, but the front office may decide that it is time to move on from what’s left of the Derrick Rose era.
There are plenty of teams that could use Butler: The Clippers, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Knicks, the pretty much everyone. The Celtics seem to be interested, and they have the ability to trade for Butler. Detroit might trade Cadwell-Pope to get Butler partnering with Drummond. There are a lot of possibilities for a Butler trade.
9 DeMarcus Cousins is Traded
DeMarcus Cousins was just traded. The Sacramento Kings flung him off their roster, shipping him to New Orleans to partner with Anthony Davis and Co. Cousins could have made a lot more money if he’d stayed on the Kings, and Cousins’ agent warned teams that whoever traded for him would get punished by making sure Cousins wouldn’t resign with them.
The Davis and Cousins matchup didn’t work as well as media and fans thought it would. Though they only played a handful of games together. The Pelicans may decide to cash in on trading Cousins now—teams aren’t scared of the agents threat anymore, since Cousins will make as much as he could no matter where he gets traded, and Cousins is a premium big man. They might even get a package back that is better than what they sent to Sacramento.
8 Anthony Davis is Traded
The Brow may be done with New Orleans. The franchise hasn’t improved since drafting Anthony Davis, and the team is probably in the most financial trouble of any NBA franchise. Davis is perhaps the most talented young talent in the game. He can be a real turn around. For example, imagine if the Clippers orchestrated a sign-and-trade where they send Blake Griffin to OKC, draft picks to the Pelicans, while OKC sent prospects and picks to the Pelicans, and Davis joined the Clippers. You don’t think the Clippers are better than last season? What if Boston traded for the big man? Boston trades Marcus Smart, two Brooklyn picks, Kelly Olynyk for Anthony Davis. Boston then has a starting lineup of Thomas, Bradley, Crowder, Horford and Davis. That team probably beats Cleveland.
7 Chris Paul Joins the Spurs
There has been a lot of speculation over Chris Paul’s free agency. It’s just fascinating because Paul has never really been on the market. The last time, he signed his contract extension with the Clippers immediately. With this new contract extension for NBA veterans, Paul will make way more money if he stays with the Clippers and is offered the max. But it isn’t a guarantee that the Clippers will offer the max to Paul. With Steve Ballmer trying to bring in Jerry West, it may be that West drives the Clippers to either blow it up, or build around Griffin and let Paul walk. Or the Clippers may offer more money than any other team could, but not the max.
If any of those possibilities do take, it may be that Paul leaves LA. The only team that has been linked to Paul outside the Clippers are the San Antonio Spurs. Kawhi and Paul on the same team would be very dangerous indeed, at least for the next couple seasons.
6 Blake Griffin Joins the Thunder
The Los Angeles Clippers are at a crossroads. Do they bring back both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in hopes that the group can compete for a championship. Many NBA fans think it’s time to break up that group as they’ve never gotten out of the second round of the Playoffs. It may be time to retool for the Clippers, and they may decide to break up there top two stars.
If the Clippers choose to build around Chris Paul rather than Blake Griffin, that could mean great things for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Griffin grew up in Oklahoma, and played for the University of Oklahoma. Yet, Griffin seems to like Los Angeles and the career opportunities it brings by living there full time; namely the TV and Film opportunities. But, coming home could be on Griffin’s radar, and the super star Russell Westbrook would be waiting with open arms on a team that desperately needs another All-Star if they want to compete for a championship.
5 Nerlens Noel gets a Max Deal
Nerlens Noel was a good player for the 76ers out there in Philadelphia. But with a slog of big men all needing big minutes, Noel and Okafor were at the top of the list of possible trades. The 76ers got a deal they liked from the Dallas Mavericks and traded Noel there. Now Dallas has a young center, who excels on the defensive end, to pair next to Dirk. But there could be complications for Noel staying in Dallas.
Is Noel a max player? Do the Mavericks think he’s a max player? If so, there won’t be a problem. But if not, well that’s when the complications start. See, Noel is a restricted free agent, and if another team offers Noel the max, Dallas will be forced to choose to either match that max, or let Noel walk to another team with nothing to say for it. They’re going to have to figure it out soon.
4 Gordon Hayward Joins the Celtics
When Gordon Hayward was up for a new contract after his rookie deal, the Utah Jazz did not offer him the max. Reportedly, that upset Hayward, who thought he was a max player. Now there is no doubt, Hayward is a max player, and multiple teams should offer him the max. There is room for concern that even though the Jazz can offer Hayward more money and an additional year, that Hayward might not be convinced to join them.
The big rumor is that Hayward is looking East, more importantly, at the Boston Celtics. It’s a good matchup. They are in need of a scorer of his talents, having only Isaiah Thomas as the only pure scorer. The East is not as difficult as the West—Hayward wouldn’t have to contend with the Warriors, the Rockets, the Spurs, or the Clippers. It’s only the Cavs that would be the real threat to a Hayward lead Celtics team. And, of course, Brad Stevens, Haywards collegiate coach and someone who has shown great loyalty to, coaches the Celtics.
If Hayward joins the Celtics, look out, because they’ll keep the number one pick, and be able to make smart trades for pieces to bolster their team, without having to gouge out their talent to get a Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
3 Steph Curry leaves the Warriors
This, most likely, won’t happen, as much as fans and the media would like it to. Curry seems at ease with Durant, and not the type of Kobe-esque personality that needs the limelight. And while many a media folk has written that Durant and Curry don’t work together, the reality is that they do, and very efficiently.
However! There is always a possibility that Curry wants to return to North Carolina, where he spent a portion of his childhood. Again, this is most likely a red herring drummed up by a story hungry media—and it’s an interesting thought too. Curry leaving for the East, and immediately making the Hornets a contender—while giving the league much more parity. This would alter the league as much as Durant joining the Warriors, or LeBron leaving and then joining Cleveland.
2 Carmelo Anthony Leaves New York
The drama between Carmelo Anthony, and New York Knicks President of Basketball Operations, Phil Jackson, is well documented. It seems Jackson is doing all he can to throw Carmelo out of New York. It’s not a bad idea—the Knicks aren’t going to get near contending status during the rest of Anthony’s contract. The problem is the execution. Carmelo has a no-trade clause in his contract. So, he has to give his permission for the Knicks to trade him. Jackson has decided that insulting him and making him feel unwelcome in New York will convince Anthony that he wants to be traded.
So far, it hasn’t worked. But if Melo does decide to leave New York that could really change the game. The Clilppers may try and bring back both Griffin and Paul, while trading for Anthony—giving them a big four. Or LA may decide to say goodbye to Griffin, sign Paul, and trade for Anthony—either way the Clippers would be dangerous. Or perhaps the Celtics decide Melo would make a good stretch-four, and trade small pieces for him.
1 Kristaps Porzingis Leaves New York
If Kristaps Porzingis decided he wanted out of New York that would be a heavy blow indeed. Porzingis is about the only good thing to happen to New York since Phil Jackson took over. Porzingis is what the future NBA Center looks like. He can rebound, block shots, and shoot threes. He is New York’s future—a player to build around.
Porzingus is apparently unhappy with Phil Jackson. He skipped his exit interview with Jackson, and then New York management fired his reportedly favorite coach. If Porzingus wants out of New York that could drastically change the future of the franchise, and the shape of the league. Imagine Butler, Wade, and Porzingus; or Paul George, Myles Turner and Porzingus; how about LeBron, Kyrie, Love and Porzingus; or even John Wall and Porzingus. It could be a great for any team that gets him, and bad for New York.