cameroncrazies02
As the season gets under way, a few news notes:

-Justise Winslow, MIA agree to 3/39 extension
A curious extension for MIA considering their cap situation, but it's already bad, so might as well just make it worse and bet on Winslow's talent.  He was a top 10 draft pick who battled injuries and inconsistent offense, but the potential is there.  

-Larry Nance, Cavs agree to 4/45 extension
Now this is an overpay.  I don't love much about Nance.  He's high energy, can dunk, a decent defender, but isn't positionally versatile and is a pretty net-negative on offense.  Unless the Cavs play really small, he can't play center so they have to play another big next to him which shrinks the floor.  Now the Cavs do have Kevin Love, a great compliment to Nance and a Nance/Love front court works, but their rim protection is nill.  These are the types of deal that drag out a team looking to re-build, but they seem very set on their current roster and like it moving forward.  They do have Clarkson, Hill and JR Smith expiring next year to clear up some room, but if the Cavs are bad, they have a bunch of contracts which aren't all that appealing.

Myles Turner, IND agree to 4/80 extension
This contract is actually closer to 4/72 with $8M in incentives.  For a guy who's only 22 and has all the physical tools in the world, this is a good deal.  Glass half empty though, says Turner has yet to put it together at all and is a poor rebounder.  They have a formidable team around him so the deal is a good one, especially because they didn't let him get to free agency where he could get a lot more.
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The Jimmy Butler saga continues....

As this saga turns into weeks, Butler continues to be outspoken with the media about his team and the Wolves are inevitably going to trade Butler.  There were three teams on his initial list that he'd want a trade to (i.e. potentially sign an extension with) and they were Brooklyn, NY Knicks and Miami.  Miami came the closest before trade talks fell apart and both seem to have walked away.  NYK seemed to never be in the conversation as they're in a rebuilding year, have some young assets they don't want to punt on in a trade and know they'll have cap space for max free agents next summer, so why give up assets now when they could outright sign Butler next summer?  BKN had some conversations, but there was some hang up on who BKN was willing to send out.  Now, two games in, Butler scores 33 points on 12 shots and fills up the stat sheets while the rest of team looks lackluster while Butler looks to be every bit of the star he has been in the past.  MIN has to unload him, he's not coming back after all this drama, but with Miami potentially out of the equation (for now), here's a few scenarios I see playing out.

BKN trades D'Angelo Russell, Demarre Carroll, BKN 2019 1st to MIN for Jimmy Butler

Why for MIN-Russell came out like gangbusters before going down with an injury last season and looked like a borderline all-star as a combo guard.  He hasn't been able to retain that flare over the last 9 months in part because he shared the ball with Lin, Dinwiddie as the other primary ball handlers.  He's in the final year of his rookie contract and has a lot to prove and could provide an offensive spark MIN needs.  He plays PG, but can play off ball as well next to Jeff Teague.  Carroll is a 3&D player who would compliment the roster well.  Most notably, both are expiring contracts.  They'd get a potential lottery pick this summer to add to MIN's chest of assets as well.  
Why for BKN-this is a no brainer for them.  BKN is one of a handful of teams that will have massive cap space this summer, but may not be a top destination.  They would get Butler for the rest of the year, giving up assets not entirely likely to be back next summer, while auditioning Butler for an extension.  BKN is one Jimmy Butler away from being a threat in the East.  They are young and need a veteran with a winning mentality to spark them.  BKN has traded a ton of picks in the past, but sending out their 2019 1st would be fine since they own DEN's future 1st rd pick as well from a draft day trade in the 2018 draft.  

IND trades Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, future 1st to MIN for Jimmy Butler

Why for MIN-Bogdanovic and Young would give MIN a more well rounded roster with Bogdanovic's outside shooting and Young's toughness on the interior.  This certainly does not have top end talent return, but MIN's leverage is dwindling in trade discussions.  MIN would also nab a future 1st (potentially 2019), which would be a very light sweetener considering IND will be picking in the 20's.  Both Bogdanovic and Young are expiring as well so it wouldn't cap them out long term.

Why for IND-it's the all-in move to try to take the next step this year.  Oladipo is a borderline all-star, but there's just a bunch of other pretty good players around him.  Myles Turner can stretch the floor and block shots, Collison can hit shots and run the offense, Tyreke Evans is a great 6th man scorer.  But IND could roll out a crunch time lineup of Oladipo, Evans, Butler, Sabonis and Turner which would be lethal.  IND isn't bringing back Bogdanovic or Young considering Sabonis is the future for them and they just signed Doug McDermott to a 3/22 contract that will surplant Bogdanovic for the future.

Charlotte trades Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, Bismack Biyombo, 2019 1st to MIN for Jimmy Butler, Gorgui Dieng

Why for MIN-Lamb and Kaminsky would probably become instant starters for CHA.  Lamb is expiring, but is a good all around scorer.  Kaminsky is buried in CHA right now behind Zeller, Marvin Williams, and Miles Bridges and Kidd-Gilchrist.  He has a ton of talent, but hasn't been able to show case it in CHA yet.  He'd be a great fit next to KAT.  MIN would also cut a year off of Dieng's contract as Biyombo's is expiring next year while Dieng is for this year plus two more.  They'd also add a 1st in the deal.

Why for CHA-another all in move for a team kind of going nowhere right now.  They have such a bad cap sheet, this wouldn't help, but it'd make them intriguing.  Kemba and Butler would be deadly together.  Add in Malik Monk, Miles Bridges and a few scrappy guys like Kidd-Gilchrist, Zeller, Batum, Parker and they have a real shot at being a tough out in the playoffs.  Now, it's likely Butler wouldn't re-sign, but it'd give them some hope.  They'd be paying Dieng, Zeller, and Batum a combined $54M per year for this year, plus two more, so it'd get tricky having to resign Kemba and Butler this off-season, but it might be worth a shot for them.

CLE trades Cedi Osman, George Hill and JR Smith to MIN for Jimmy Butler, Gorgui Dieng

Why for MIN-this is a cap-savings, plus asset move.  Osman, I think, is a candidate for MIP this year and has a ton of talent.  He's very young and a sneaky good passer and scorer.  The big win here is getting Hill and JR Smith who both have non-guaranteed contracts next season.  I think they'd have to eat about $8M next season if they cut them, but it'd save them about $25M in cap space next summer if they cut both.  This would almost entirely wipe out the Dieng contract and if they did that, plus cut Justin Patton or traded him for nothing, they'd have about $15M in cap space next summer, a huge turnaround for the Wolves.  They have KAT and Wiggins locked up, so they don't have to worry about bringing in win-now pieces either, they could slow play a re-tool.

Why for CLE-again, an all-in move.  They have a weird mix of veteran talent (Love, Thompson, Hill, Smith) with young budding players (Osman, Sexton, Nance).  This would give them a bump this year.  Now, CLE is finally getting over the Lebron saga and talking about a team mentality and still being a team to not mess around with, but it's a facad, this team is not going to be good this year without an overhaul.  Again, it's unlikely Butler would stay, he doesn't want to play in CLE or for the team that Lebron built and he'd bolt for a bigger market, but if it came down to CLE turning out to be good this year, plus them being able to offer him the super max over any other team, will he leave that money on the table?

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MIN trades Jimmy Butler, Justin Patton to PHI for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, 2020 2nd rd pick

For MIN-well, the saga is finally over.  And it got really bad the last few weeks.  Butler was taking every other game off and demanding not to play more than 32 MPG.  A lot of that had to do with the fact he wanted to stay healthy prior to getting traded.  But he also continued talking in the media about the situation.  Quite frankly, the pieces MIN got would've been a lot more enticing last year and they don't fit the team all that well, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out.  MIN is set on their core KAT and Wiggins, at least financially, as Wiggins entered his max extension this year while KAT begins his next season.  The biggest add to this is getting over the drama this was causing.  MIN is 4-9 on the season and needed to do something.  This is addition by subtraction.  I don't know that this team will suddenly become very good, they're still very weak defensively up front and their cap situation isn't friendly for awhile.  They didn't unload Dieng in the deal which would've been a home run, but Covington is a phenomenal defender and a 40% 3P shooter, something MIN needed desperately.  Saric has fallen off since his rookie year, but he operates in space well, he's a good rebounder, really good passer and can score.  I think getting away from such an iso-heavy team will be good for him. 

MIN's rotation looks like Teague, Wiggins, Covington, Saric, KAT with Rose, Okogie, Gibson, Tolliver, T. Jones off the bench.  Okogie looks to be a real player in the NBA, he's super athletic, a tough ball handler and a relentless defender.  Financially, MIN is going to be locked up for awhile now.  With Covington having 3+ years on his contract, Dieng having this year plus 2 more, Teague a $19M player option next season and the KAT/Wiggins extensions, they won't have cap room for awhile and when they do, Saric will need an extension.  This team also doesn't fit Thibodeau's system.  If they don't make the playoffs, I see Thibs out and a coach in with an up-tempo, 3P shooting style a la Bud to infuse the offense.

For PHI-well, they swung for the fences.  It was obvious PHI needed another wing ball handler.  Simmons and Embiid did most of the initiating and playmaking which caused them to have a ton of turnovers.  And Butler can absolutely close games.  He's a respectable 3P shooter and a tough defender, grading as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.  The tough part will be managing the egos.  Between Simmons and Embiid being a bit lax in their approach while also being very outspoken, and Butler's no-nonsense style, it'll be interesting to watch their chemistry.  The major concern for PHI is they went from adding trading two starters for one when they were already pretty thin.  But with acquiring Patton (expiring rookie contract) and Bayless's expiring, they can throw out those two and a 2nd round pick and offer it around for someone like Kyle Korver or JR Smith to add to their bench.  PHI has a load of cap space still so they could wait until buyout season like they did last season when they struck gold getting Ilyasova and Belinelli.  There has already been a lot of talk about Wiggins resigning for the max 5/190 which seems likely so PHI is going to move forward with this core.  

Their lineup looks like it's going to be Fultz, Redick, Butler, Simmons, Embiid with Wilson Chandler (when he's healthy), McConnell, Muscala, Z. Smith (when he gets healthy), Shamet, Amir Johnson, Korkmaz.  That is a dangerously thin bench which is already riddled with injuries.

Overall, I was surprised to see MIN couldn't pry one of the 76ers 1st rd picks away from them.  But they lost leverage long ago.  I don't love it for either team or hate it for either team either.  Trading Butler and Dieng in the same deal was near impossible.  MIN will remain somewhat competitive which was the goal while PHI took it's home run shot.  
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Durant, Draymond Green feud-
A few nights ago, late in a game, the Warriors were tied, opposing team at FT line to go up 1 with about 10 seconds to go, opposing team misses FT, Draymond comes away with the rebound, Durant is standing next to him with his hands open waiting for the ball.  Draymond instead runs up the floor, ignoring Durant, Draymond dribbles into a crowd and turns the ball over as Durant is hopping around behind him screaming for the ball.  As the ball fumbles away, regulation ticks out.  On the way back to the huddle and in the huddle going into OT, Durant has a few words for Green and Green goes in on Durant.  Draymond reportedly started calling him out for his free agency causing a fiasco for GS amongst other issues and calls Durant a bitch.  This goes on for several minutes as teammates try to get between them, clapping at Green.  They go on to win in OT.  Green was then then suspended for 1 game by GS.

The biggest talking point of all of this is Durant's pending free agency.  He's been thought to be on his way out of GS and this only adds fuel to that fire.  To keep both Klay and Durant (free agents this summer) is going to be really tough.  They'd have to buyout Iguodala and probably Livingston.  Even more tough, is Draymond is a free agent after next season.  My guess is they're going to let Durant move on and try to keep Klay and Draymond.

Carmelo to be released-
After a disastrous 6-7 start from HOU, their team is in shambles and the addition of Melo won't last to 1/4 of the way into the season.  He's likely to be released soon.  It hasn't happened yet because I think they're trying to be respectful of Melo and transition him to sign elsewhere and not stick around in FA long.  This is what was said all along.  Replacing Ariza and Mbah A Moute for Melo and James Ennis wasn't going to work and it hasn't to the tune of HOU being horrendous defensively and offensively confusing.  This is now the second team in a row Carmelo has really dragged a team along.  He has suitors and he'll sign on elsewhere, but he has to be near the tail end of his career.  His iso game, heavy 3 point shot and serious lack of defensive intensity has caused a dramatic downfall for him.

Markelle Fultz moved to bench, unhappy-
After finding out he was moved to the bench in favor of Jimmy Butler, Fultz retweeted an old tweet of his about respect and loyalty.  Clearly he's upset with the team.  And Fultz isn't doing himself any favors by behind a complete zero on offense.  He also fired his long time trainer recently.  I wouldn't be surprised to see PHI move Fultz in a deal for a backup big, but Fultz has really lost some trade value.  The Process is really grinding to a hault.  Now with Butler though, they should have a closer and some deadly offense all over the floor, but in Butler's debut tonight, they lost a 16 point 4th quarter lead to the Magic and lost.
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Chicago fires head coach Fred Hoiberg-
This was shocking.  I've always said it's hard to judge another team's head coaching decision without watching every single game.  A la Jason Kidd and Mike McCarthy, the outsiders jumped all over the Bucks and Packers throwing out resumes and stuff to stifle any positivity towards a coach being fired, but this was poor IMO.  He has certainly been given enough time, he was hired in 2015, with a mixed bag of results, but he has never had a consistent team.  And to put blame on him for the Bulls starting 5-19 is absurd.  They have been without Markkanen, Portis and Dunn for much, if not all of the season thus far, and Jabari Parker was forced down his throat.  He moved him to a 6th man role in the pre-season and immediately put him back in the starting lineup, IMO, due to a front office push.

This Bulls team is a train wreck right now, but they have a lot of guys like Antonio Blakeney, Justin Holiday, Ryan Arcidacano and Cam Payne playing major minutes.  CHI could make a pretty good run once they get all of their starters back, LaVine is having a really good season for his standards, but they need to decline Jabari's team option this summer and start over with the core they have.  CHI is in a good position moving forward though.  Bobby Portis is their only key free agent this summer (outside of Jabari) and I'd expect them to let him walk depending on his asking price considering they have Markkanen and Carter as their front court of the future while paying Portis upwards of $15M+ per year to come off the bench isn't ideal.  They'll nab a really high draft pick, in the top 10 likely, barring some huge run when they get guys back from injury and have A TON of cap space, along with a young core.  
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The Anthony Davis conundrum-the Pelicans have made some horrendous moves the last few seasons trying to build a competent roster outside of Davis. Jrue Holiday is steady and a fine PG for the team, but moves like signing Solomon Hill among others to bad contracts have crippled them.  They made two very good moves over the last year that have helped-trading a 1st for Nikola Mirotic and signing Julius Randle to a 1 year prove-it deal. Both of them, when healthy, are really good pairings next to Davis. The problem is Davis, Randle and Mirotic are three of their four best players and you can't play those three on the court together at the same time. I definitely see NOP getting into the trade discussions dangling Mirotic and a 1st rd pick to try to bring in a high impact wing player to make a push. They're currently just under.500, but the West is so wide open right now.  A few wins or losses can bump them up or down anywhere from the 4th seed to the 13th seed.  

The Pelicans can offer Davis the supermax this summer starting July 1st. If he doesn't take the deal and decides to opt for free agency in 2020, the Pelicans are very likely to immediately start trade discussions a la Kawhi Leonard where they're going to be handcuffed by Davis desire to play for a certain team while getting back adequate assets from one of his teams on his "list."  I'd expect LAL and BOS to be in that list who also have the highest stockpile of assets to offer.

BOS can offer an enticing package that could involve Horford, Tatum, Brown, Smart and Hayward along with a stockpile of draft picks that BOS owns. The problem with BOS acquiring Davis is there's a rule in the NBA CBA that a team can't trade for two players who qualify for the contracts both Davis and Irving are under. That rule prevents BOS from having the ability to trade for Davis until after Irving opts out of his contract which will be late June, after the draft. By then, BOS will have already had completed the 2019 draft where they own their own, LAC, MEM and SAC's picks and have already made or traded those picks so NO would have to be satisfied with who the Celtics drafted and acquire.

Also difficult is figuring out how LA would manage a Davis trade. They'll know on the night of free agency begins whether Davis could be traded. But LA will have a boat load of cap space to sign max players to. So they'll have begun their free agency negotiations while also trying to trade for Davis. So say they want to sign Jimmy Butler, and are negotiating and verbally agree to a contract, but a Davis trade is in the works, they then complete a Davis trade, they'd have to rescind the offer to Butler which is just bad practice. But LA can offer a Ball, Kuzma, Ingram, future picks type package to get a deal done.
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Memphis Grizzlies, currently at 18-19, 3 games back from the 8th seed, haven't quite met the expectations of this season as they anticipated.  They're also 2-8 in their last 10 and have lost 3 straight, so they're moving in the wrong direction.  They had a players only meeting that allegedly resulted in a physical confrontation between Omri Casspi and Garrett Temple.  The Grizzlies acquired Temple this summer in a trade and seemingly fleeced the Kings in the deal.  Casspi was signed this summer as well.  Temple has started almost every game for them and has been solid as a defender and shooter.  

On the same note, the Grizzlies traded Marshon Brooks, Wayne Selden a 2019 and 2020 2nd rd draft pick to CHI for Justin Holiday.

For MEM-this was a really backwards move IMO.  The Grizzlies don't have a lot of assets in their chest right now as they have three massive contracts-Gasol, Conley and Parsons.  Parsons contract is untradeable, while the other two are certainly moveable, but highly unlikely.  In this deal, they definitely improved, personnel wise, Holiday is a lights out shooter and a pretty good hustle player, but to give away TWO 2nd round picks for him and two players is egregious.  2nd rd picks are of high commodity, especially for a cash-strapped team like MEM who is always a threat to be bought and moved, yet they gave them away.  Holiday is a good shooter, but he and Temple are of similar style.  I imagine they're going to play them together a lot, if not start them together, but again, what they gave away was way too much.

For CHI-CHI is clearly in the tank.  The team is a trainwreck, their coach is making Jason Kidd look like a god send and they have a bunch of mashed up talent being under utilized.  Holiday was somewhat of an afterthought, especially after re-signing Antonio Blakeney, a raw microwave scorer SG, and drafting Chandler Hutchison, but Holiday got the nod over Jabari Parker in the starting lineup early on and thrived for them.  He's a free agent after this year and is 28 or 29, so not likely in their long term plans and they are probably going to go full youth movement soon so they got a great deal for him, acquiring two 2nd round picks.
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NBA midseason awards-

We are exactly 1/2 way through the season and the awards are shaping up to be some of the closest in recent memory.  Here are my midseason awards.

MVP-
1-Giannis Antetokounmpo
2-James Harden
3-Anthony Davis
4-Lebron James
5-Kawhi Leonard

Any way that you look at this, there's no clear front runner and a case can be made for any of the top 4 to be #1.  Some bias has me leaning heavily towards Giannis at #1.  Giannis isn't necessarily, truly the most valuable, nor is putting up the best stats of any of the candidates, but he's top 2 in each of those categories.  Harden is probably having one of the best statistical seasons, but his Westbrook-style of play on top of the brand he plays (draw as many crap fouls as possible), it's going to keep him away from the top spot.  Anthony Davis also has some negative feelings surrounding him including signing with Klutch sports and likely bolting for a big market has drawn some attention away from his stellar season.  Lebron has missed some games and while he's still one of the best players in the NBA, voter fatigue is going to come into play.  Kawhi has missed so many games due to rest, it's really hurting his stock.  Giannis not only is one of the best players in the game, he's on one of the best teams, has such a likeability to him and can win games on both ends of the floor, something a few of the others can't boast.

6th Man of the Year-
1-Domantas Sabonis
2-Lou Williams
3-Montrezl Harrell
4-Dwyane Wade
5-Terrence Ross

While the true 6th man has really fizzled out around the NBA recently, there are still a number of players that come off the bench and truly impact the game.  Sabonis plays the 6th man role, in large part because Myles Turner starts and the numbers haven't been great when both Sabonis and Turner are on the court together.  Regardless, Sabonis is an absolute force on the boards, can score underneath and from the perimeter and while physically limited, still plays defense well above his size and ability.  Oddly enough, the Clippers have TWO 6th man candidates in Williams and Harrell.  That is a pretty punch to come in off the bench and destroy second units.  I have Williams barely ahead of Harrell because of his ability to close games.  Wade is in the twilight of his career, but he's the glue to the Heat as they don't have a great starting lineup, nor a productive bench.  And Ross has been the surprise of the league this season taking advantage of Fournier's putrid season and a lack of true ballhandlers.

Rookie of the Year-
1-Luka Doncic
2-DeAndre Ayton
3-Jaren Jackson Jr

I didn't go 5 deep for two reasons: 1) Luka Doncic is the clear cut winner, and 2) the next group of about 4-9 has had similar impacts for their teams.  Doncic is incredible and has to make every game feel like death by 1000 cuts to ATL fans after ATL traded the pick that was Doncic away for Trae Young and a future 1st.  Ayton is an old school player, a pretty lumbering big who can score every which way within 15 feet of the basket and swallow up rebounds.  But his lack of blocked shots and advanced rim protection stats are shockingly bad.  Jackson might ultimately end up with the better career than Ayton, he's an absolute force on defense and has deep range from 3, just needs to work on the in between game.

Most Improved Player-
1-John Collins
2-Pascal Siakam
3-De'Aaron Fox

This is a tough race.  But Collins went from being a high energy/rebound guy last year to being a threat from all over the floor offensively, a major pick and roll weapon and an improving defender.  He upped his averages from 10 and 7 to 19 and 10 this season with a 35% 3P clip at 2.3 per game, up from 31% with less than 1 per game last season.  Siakam is getting a ton of buzz and he's a force as a defender, athletic big, but is benefitting from having Ibaka and Valanciunas behind him and Kawhi and OG next to him which to me, dampers his resume.  Fox has went from an intriguing young point guard to a top flight future all-star and is the key cog behind SAC looking respectable this season.

Coach of the Year-
1-Mike Budenholzer-Milwaukee
2-Nick Nurse-Toronto
3-Nate McMillan-Indiana

I think this is an easy one.  Bud came in and transformed a 44 win team into a potential 55-60 win team with a few lesser signings and an entirely new system.  His 5-out style of play has absolutely unlocked Giannis and Bledsoe while also transforming Brook Lopez's career.  Nurse isn't too terribly far behind in Toronto, he has them atop the East right now, but they're loaded with talent.  He's done a really nice job though, keeping them afloat and winning while Kawhi gets his rest and Lowry has been injured and bad.  And don't sleep on IND.  They're only 1.5 games back of MIL in the East and surging with little top end talent aside from Oladipo.  They play well as a team and have an efficient offense although they don't shoot 3's and a scrappy defense, even though Oladipo is their only lock down defender.
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The 2019 trade deadline is exactly 3 weeks away (!!!).  That came up really fast.  I'm betting on this being a quieter than usual deadline, but I've also been very wrong about the busyness of the deadline in the past.  My reasoning is there are so many teams that are right in the playoff spot, that there aren't as many sellers as their might be buyers.  But here are some of the bigger names that may be targeted around the deadline...
------------------------------------
Pistons C Andre Drummond-
The Pistons went all in last year in the trade for Griffin, seemingly overpaying by about a mile.  Griffin is on a revenge tour though, and is making everyone pay for the Clippers malfeasance.  With that said, their front court heavy system is outdated.  And Drummond seems to have tired of his situation.  A fresh start would be good for him.  But what he would fetch in a trade might not be as valuable as what he is and has been to DET.  It still stands that he can't shoot, and can't shoot free throws.  In today's NBA, that's bad.  So a lesser contract and an asset may be about all they can fetch, but less COULD be more for this team, especially if they can get some better playmakers on the perimeter.  But in all the searching, I found ONE suitor for Drummond-Charlotte.  And it's not perfect.  DET would have to take back one of Zeller or Biyombo as CHA isn't paying three centers each over $14M per year.  

One caveat-there is something to a Drummond/Otto Porter swap.  It almost seems too perfect-both flawed in their own right, both badly need scenary changes...the problem is WAS is paying Dwight Howard $5M this year and next (although a buyout seems likely soon), Ian Mahinmi is STILL on the books for $15M per this year and next and Tomas Bryant is breaking out as a 21 year old, 7 foot center, so they probably don't need Drummond when Bryant is the much younger, cheaper option.  Finding that third team for Drummond though is still very difficult.  Here's the ONE trade I could really conjur up.

-Hornets trade Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to DET for Andre Drummond-
For CHA-on a team that has some AWFUL contracts, they could turn two not great contracts and not great players into one perfectly imperfect Kemba partner.  A Drummond/Kemba pick and roll would be fun.  And Drummond would have a lot more space to operate if CHA went to a 4 out/1 in type offense where they place Kemba as the ball handler, three shooters and Drummond on the interior.  

For DET-it's not great, I'm sure they'd want Lamb over Kidd-Gilchrist, but MKG has positional versatility and can open the opportunity for a Griffin small-ball 5 with MKG at the 4 and three guards.  Zeller would also operate further out of Griffin's space, not always looking to roll and hit the same spots as Blake.  Zeller's contract is also for this year, plus two more like Drummonds, but is half the price at about $13M per (as opposed to Drummond's $25M per).  MKG is at $14M per this year and next year is a player option he's likely to exercise, but this would give DET another expiring next year to add to Reggie Jackson ($19M), Jon Leuer ($10M), and Langston Galloway ($7M).  They could sport a very interesting trade partner for teams looking at 2020 free agency packaging their expirings together for a bigger contract.
------------------------------
Mavericks PG Dennis Smith Jr-
One year removed from being the 7th pick in the draft, Smith Jr is on the trade blocks.  He's been in and out of the lineup all year due to injury and he has been plagued by turnovers.  All of his numbers are down this year, most dramatically being his ast:to rate went from 5.2:2.8 in 17-18' to 3.9:3.1 this year, basically a 2:1 to a 1:1 rate which is not a good sign for a young PG.  2:1 as a rookie is fine, plenty of guys have figured it out, but he started playing off ball this year, taking it out of his hands which some would've thought would've been good for him, but it's actually hurt him playing next to a ball dominant Doncic.  But there's still plenty of potential-he's big, long, super athletic, a microwave scorer and what has been good to see is all of his shooting percentages are up.  FG% went from 39% to 44%, 3P went from 31% to 37%, however what's really concerning is he is a subpar 70% FT shooter.  Can you trust a PG to close games that shoots that low?  FT rate also is a really good indicator of long term shooting projections.  Will he always be wildly inconsistent like this?  But still, someone will take a chance on him.  Rick Carlisle's system has never been friendly to young players, nor does he stand for any enigmatic play.  Smith needs a scenery where he can grow and develop without retribution.  Couple that with the Mavericks having loads of expiring contracts (Wes Matthews-$18M, DeAndre Jordan-$22M) and they can put together an enticing package.

Dallas trades Dennis Smith Jr, Wes Matthews to NYK for Tim Hardaway Jr, Frank Ntilikina and Noah Vonleh

For Dallas-sign me up for this ASAP.  A Ntilikina, Hardaway, Doncic, Vonleh and whoever else you want (MAXI KLEBER!) lineup is a little death lineup-y.  I love all of those guys for various reasons.  Dallas is in a position to be a major free agent player this summer, but the way they've handled FA in the past, coupled with the fact they don't have their draft pick (unless it's in the top 5), they need to maximize their assets now so as to not strike out completely.  Hardaway Jr is an electric scorer.  He may not be a top 3 player on a championship team, but for what he can offer on the offensive end, he's worth it.  He's been on bad teams since he came into the NBA and it's not his fault his efficiency is bad this year, he's playing on a horrible team.  Get him off ball, playing off Doncic and his percentages sky rocket.  Then add in Ntilikina.  I don't care if he'll never be a PG.  On this team, he doesn't have to handle the offense.  He can be Andre Roberson-defend anyone 1-4, play hard, make layups and stand in the corner.  He'd be PERFECT next to Doncic.  And Vonleh is going to be a hot commodity at this deadline-he's turned into this weird, 6'10", long, ball handling, 3P shooting, defending multiple positions guy that fits on many teams.  He'd be great alongside all of DAL other front court players-DeAndre, Dirk or Kleber.  DAL is dangerously close to getting too far behind in the West, but this would give them an automatic punch.

For NYK-a super secret tank and immediate re-build mode.  NYK has been searching for a PG for a long time and they have their eyes on Kyrie from BOS, but is status is so up in the air.  He swore to re-sign in BOS at the beginning of the season, but he's been tough to listen to in postgame commentary without thinking he could leave.  This is a safe move for NYK.  Hardaway Jr is a good 3rd or 4th banana, but at this point, salary cap relief is greater than what he can offer them right now.  Now, to get Smith and that cap relief, they have to give up something good and that's Ntilikina and Vonleh, both good players, but Frank has fallen out of favor in NYK and Vonleh is a free agent that NYK aren't likely to target re-signing next summer.  This deal would clear up $17M in cap space from their books this summer.  And in this deal, they don't have to give up a future asset like a draft pick.  They could, in turn, flip Courtney Lee (owed this year and next year) to SAC for Iman Shumpert (expiring) and add a future 1st with protections that turn into two 2nds, and suddenly, they're a two max free agent team this summer.  They could re-sign Kristaps to the max and go after Kevin Durant.  Then NYK looks like Durant, Porzingis, Smith Jr, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson...that team is freaky.

ORL in-Dennis Smith Jr, Courtney Lee, Mario Hezonja, 2019 draft pick swap (NYK), NYK 2020 1st, CHA 2020 2nd, DAL 2019 2nd
ORL out-Jonathan Isaac, Nikola Vucevic

DAL in-Nikola Vucevic, Tim Hardaway Jr, Jonathan Isaac
DAL out-DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr, 2019 2nd (31-55)

NYK in-DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews
NYK out-Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee, Mario Hezonja, 2019 draft pick swap (ORL), NYK 2020 1st, CHA 2020 2nd

For ORL-ORL is in a position to go a lot of different ways-a) sell yourself on Vucevic being the future, trade young guys and assets and build around him, b) trade off your best players for assets, c) take on contracts for assets.  This is a bit of the latter two put together.  Vucevic is probably gone this summer, not only because of the payday he'll get, but because Bamba is waiting in the wings.  Isaac is also imperfect on this roster, because of Aaron Gordon.  You need a center along side those two, but playing Isaac, Gordon and a center makes you slow with poor shooting and bad defensively on the perimeter.  And with Gordon freshly re-signed, Isaac would be the most logical trade asset.  So in this deal, they get back a PG who's imperfect, but could be fun in Smith Jr who you'd have in control for this season, plus two more on a rookie deal.  You'd take on the Lee contract which is inconsequential considering some of the contracts they have that they can't get out of and take on Hezonja as a throw in to make salaries match.  In return for giving up your two best assets, you get the right to pick swap with NYK this year, their 1st next year and two additional 2nds, both potentially top half, in consecutive years.  That is a stockpile of assets to get and something ORL should highly consider, considering their lack of true building blocks currently.

For DAL-swing for Vucevic and make him your big get.  I can you can certainly talk your way into re-signing Vucevic for something like 4/80 in DAL to play alongside Luka.  Add in Hardaway as perimeter shooting/scoring, and Isaac as your versatile 4 and you're the mini-Sixers trotting out Luka, Hardaway, Barnes, Isaac and Vucevic.  In return, DAL sends out their two expirings and Smith and a 2nd rd pick.  Considering the haul, it's a steal.

For NYK-all in on free agency.  That's what this is about.  Jordan and Matthews would probably be buyout candidates for NYK.  I can't imagine they're going to try to fight and claw, especially if it's only a pick swap with ORL in 2019.  They cut Hardaway and Lee's salary off their books next summer which frees them up $30M this summer giving them the opportunity to max Porzingis, and offer one more max while retaining Knox and Ntilikina.  The deal would essentially be a 2020 1st and 2020 2nd for $30M off the books in 2019-2020, and $18M off in 2020-2021.  


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cameroncrazies02
Piggy backing off the last post....

Washington Wizards-
-Two years in a row, John Wall has went down with a prolonged injury.  And two years in a row, the Wizards have been much better when he's been hurt.  They've been a few games above .500 since his injury, a drastic improvement from before the Wall injury.  When Wall went down, there was a consensus that the Wiz should tank, trade Beal and collect assets and trade Porter for cap space and start over.  Beal has been on an absolute tear and any trade for Beal would probably rake in the most assets since...I don't even know.  The Wizards aren't trading him.  In fact, I see them going the other way.  They are not shy about trading first round picks and I see the same thing happening again this year.

Wizards trade Ian Mahinmi, 2019 1st, future 2nd to ATL for Jeremy Lin
-While the Hawks tend to hold out for draft picks, this may be the best they can do for Lin.  The going rate to take on a year of salary in the $15M range is a 1st round pick.  This satisfies that rate, but also the Wiz would throw in a future 2nd to get Lin as well in the deal.  Lin would give them another ball handler, something WAS needs.  They have plenty of wing players that are good scorers off the ball (Porter, Ariza, Dekker) but could use someone to take pressure off Beal all the time.  Satoransky is a steady PG for them that can play both guard spots and Lin would provide a compliment to that guard rotation.  ATL would cash in another 1st when Lin isn't in their plans.  The problem is, they'd have to take on a year of Mahinmi ($16M next season) while also paying Miles Plumlee about the same amount next year.  That's less than ideal, but for a team clearly still re-building, having a stockpile of draft picks, coupled with the expiring contracts next season, they could make a monster play for a trade in the future.

Wizards trade Troy Brown Jr to CHI for Bobby Portis
-This might be a tougher sell for WAS, Brown was their 1st rd pick this last season and is only 18 years old.  He's buried behind Porter, Ariza and Dekker, but if the Wiz still want to make a run at the playoffs, they could use some additional depth in the front court.  Portis is a good scorer, high energy rebounder that can stretch the floor.  And with Markieff Morris out for about 5 weeks, they could use the additional depth.  Chicago would collect a young asset in Brown to go along with Hutchison, Blakeney and their host of other young players and hold him under contract for 3 more years.
--------------------------------
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cameroncrazies02
The All-Star game is right around the corner.  And because the NBA still can't figure out how to handle all-star voting, it's going to get a little wonky with the picks.  You can select three front court players and two back court players to vote for.  But that still leaves a lot of room for error.  Is Ben Simmons a front court or back court?  He's labeled as a guard currently.  And the East/West differential is stupid until there's reason to incentivize it being an East/West pick.  Considering the two leading vote getters pick their team playground style, it should just be top 10 in the NBA are voted for regardless of conference or position.  Then the remainder of the roster is picked by coaches, but in the same style-no conference or positional differential.

Here's my ballot.  I base my vote entirely off this season.  I don't care about previous accomplishments or name recognition.  I also have a personal take that if you've missed 25% of your games thus far, you're not eligible.  I also take into account team success ever so slightly.  It matters to me, but only in very close decisions.  As far as the bench goes, coaches pick the bench and are given a very lax guidelines of positions, but apparently they can kind of pick who they want, so that's what I'm going to do.

East-
Frontcourt-Giannis Antetotokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid
Backcourt-Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal

Bench-Kemba Walker, Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Khris Middleton

Left off-Jimmy Butler, Tim Hardaway Jr, Andre Drummond, Jayson Tatum, Eric Bledsoe

The East is tough.  The top end talent just isn't there anymore.  The two toughest were LaVine and Middleton.  I can't in good faith vote for Butler.  He had some antics in Minnesota that were so inexcusable, then came to PHI and they had a really rough start together with chemistry.  It's not a coincidence.  I also don't think PHI, a 3 seed, deserves three all-stars.  LaVine is just a straight up toss up.  I generally like him.  That's about it.  I think Tatum is overrated and overhyped.

West-
Frontcourt-Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic
Backcourt-James Harden, Steph Curry

Bench-Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tobias Harris, Demar DeRozan, Rudy Gobert

Left off-Lebron James (missed 27% of team's games), Devin Booker, Klay Thompson, Donovan Mitchell, Jrue Holiday, CJ McCollum, Lamarcus Aldridge, Luka Doncic, De'Aaron Fox, Derrick Rose, Jamal Murray

This was tough.  The one slightly easier part is that Lebron was DQ'ed based on my 25% missed games rule.  I somewhat broke it down to bigs and smalls.  The decision to give it to Gobert and Harris over Aldridge was a pretty easy one for me.  I think those two are more impactful on the floor than Aldridge.  As for guards, I really struggled putting DeRozan up there.  Especially over that crew of guards.  I'm not a fan of Murray, Rose, or McCollum which made those three easy.  I think Klay is gifted a system so I left him off.  Booker is lethal, but on a 9-win team.  You don't get on my ballot with your team winning 9 games.  Mitchell, Holiday, Doncic and Fox were my next on my ballot.  
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cameroncrazies02
Knicks trade Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee, Trey Burke to DAL for Dennis Smith Jr, DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews, unprotected 2021 1st, 2023 top 10 protected 1st

For NYK-Wow.  So apparently Porzingis held a meeting with the Knicks front office this morning and said he wanted a trade.  He didn't like the direction the team was heading and wanted out.  This is a bit of a head scratcher to me, for the time being.  First things first, they didn't do any of this for the players they received except for Smith Jr.  They did it to appease Porzingis, but also to open up cap space entirely.  There is almost no other team in the league that the Knicks could've found to take on both Hardaway and Lee in the same deal.  Instead of off loading picks or prospects to attach to the Hardaway and Lee contracts, they made a massive overhaul trade to try to swoon superstars.  They have now effectively opened up two max salary slots this summer in free agency.  It is likely they will seek a buyout of both Jordan and Matthews.  The picks they got are not likely to be high picks.  If Porzingis signs an extension with DAL, they will have a core of Doncic and Porzingis going forward, a really nice, young core that is set to move up in the West in the future meaning these picks will be non-lottery picks.  On top of all that, they couldn't even get the 2023 unprotected.  It's top 10 protected in 23' and 24', then becomes a 2025 2nd round pick.  

So moving forward to this summer, they will have their 2019 1st rd draft pick, Smith Jr, Ntilikina, Knox, Robinson, Trier, Dotson and Lance Thomas under contract.  That very young group will try to bring in two superstars.  It's not a gradeable trade for them until we see what they do this summer.  If they end up with like, Middleton and Jimmy Butler on the max, it'll be a failure.  But if they draw in Durant and Kawhi, that's a whole different ball game.  They're playing this a bit like LAL did last year.  They off-loaded contracts, had a core of young players and cap space to draw Lebron into a big market with the ability to hand pick another max salary player.  It didn't work out for LAL yet, but that chapter hasn't been written yet.

The one negative I have to say for the Knicks is that ok, yes, Porzingis asked for a trade, but he has no leverage.  He either signs a max contract, more than any other team could offer AND had matching powers of any contract, or he signs a qualifying offer for 1/8 of the max for next season, while still rehabbing an ACL injury and trying to get back.  I thought they really jumped the gun on this deal.  I'm sure they did their due diligence to try to get out of the Hardaway and Lee contracts, but attaching a 1st to Hardaway and an asset to Lee to off-load those contracts, then coming back to Porzingis telling him they'll bring in a max player might've been another route to go.  

For DAL-all things considered, DAL made out like bandits.  They have traded three first round picks in the last 8 months-the first being to move up and draft Doncic, the second and third in this deal and they've gone from a rag tag group of bad contracts to a core of Doncic and Porzingis.  All of this points towards Porzingis signing an extension and I'd bet he will re-sign this summer.  So they're moving forward with Doncic, Porzingis, Barnes, Hardaway Jr, Lee, Powell and Brunson under contract for next season.  They'll have cap space to work with prior to re-signing Porzingis, I think, but not much.  Barnes is expiring next year, as is Lee.  They won't have any draft picks to attach in a deal, but they could look to move those two next summer to acquire another player.  They're going to have to get really creative, they lack depth and any semblance of PG for the future.  
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cameroncrazies02
All this talk about max cap space and free agency this summer led to me to make a list of the actual top free agents this summer.

1-Kevin Durant-I think it's still up in the air what KD does.  You can make the argument both ways that if they don't win the championship he could leave, but also vice versa, if they win, he could leave as well.  With NY opening up max cap space, I think they're going to be the #1 contenders for him this summer.

2-Kawhi Leonard-who knows what this guy is going to do.  TOR is doing well and he's seeing what it's like as the #1 guy on a winning team, so maybe that brings him back.  But he had all those things in SA as well.  I'd be hard pressed to believe he'd either go to LA and play second fiddle to Lebron (and be successful) or go to NY in questionable circumstances.  TOR can offer him the most money.  I'd expect him to re-sign.

3-Kyrie Irving-Kyrie too, is also up in the air.  BOS is determined to build around him entirely with many different routes to go.  But if BOS doesn't make another move and Anthony Davis ends up getting traded by the deadline, and BOS doesn't perform well in the playoffs, Kyrie could be off to greener pastures as well.  I would've thought NY would be his #1 spot, but NY got Dennis Smith in the Porzingis trade.  That doesn't exclude Kyrie entirely, Smith could be traded this summer to open up the PG spot, but it makes you wonder if NY has an inside track into Kyrie not signing in NY.  There have also been some small rumors of late that Kyrie could re-join Lebron in LA which would be bizzaro world.

4-Jimmy Butler-while all the stats pointing towards PHI being better when Butler is playing, not everything is hunky-dory in PHI with him.  There have been issues since day 1.  Jimmy's decision will be entirely based on what happens above.  If all three stay where they're at, he could head to LA and play with Lebron.  If I'm PHI, I have major concerns about signing Butler to the max with Simmons contract extension coming up and the issues that hve come up.

5-Klay Thompson-I probably should have Thompson ahead of Butler, I'd take him over Butler 10 times out of 10, but it has to be on the right team.  He's not a #1 guy and he needs a creator next to him to get him the ball.  I would venture to guess if LAL can't land Kyrie, Durant or Kawhi, they go hard after Klay before anybody else.  

6-Kemba Walker-considering the legacy he's built in CHA, I'd be surprised to see Kemba land anywhere else.  There will be teams salivating for his services, but much will depend on the list above.  If there's a lot of shuffling, there may not be room for Kemba anywhere else.

7-Demarcus Cousins-much of this will depend on how Cousins shows out the rest of the season.  He looks a tad slower and more lumbering than ever.  But he's still an ultra talented player on both ends of the floor...when he wants to be.  I don't expect Cousins to get the max, but certainly at least a 3 year deal for big money, maybe with a team option.  I think Cousins will be even more surprised at his lack of suitors than he was last year.

8-Khris Middleton/Eric Bledsoe-if MIL continues their winning ways, gets past the 1st round (and hopefully, at MINIMUM to the ECF) I'd be the owners open up their wallets to keep both players.  Everyone, right now, fits so well together, they play off each other and nobody seems to be all that unhappy.  Certainly, Middleton would like to be more of a focal point, but it's not like he's being drowned out for someone else, it's Giannis's team and then a team effort beyond that and Middleton knows it.  He's gotten to pick his spots more of late and has been up for the task.  Bledsoe will have suitors, especially the way he defends, but I'm not sure anybody's outbidding MIL for him.

9-Tobias Harris-someone is going to be Tobes.  LAC offered up a 5/80 contract to him which he betted on himself and turned down.  He's played just beyond that level of play this year, but he's not a 1st or 2nd option on a championship caliber team.  I can mostly see him staying in LAC if they can't draw in someone like Kawhi, but could also see someone like NYK talking themselves into Tobias as their near max guy and way overpaying for him after striking out elsewhere.  But 2020 is a strong FA class too and there haven't been as many teams desperate to give away money as of late and could be more patient for the possibility of Anthony Davis rather than paying Harris early.

10-Malcolm Brogdon-the Bucks hold Brogdon's RFA rights so they can match any offer as well.  With this being such a guard/wing heavy class and Brogdon already 26, (27 next season), I don't see anybody blowing the Bucks out of the water to get them not to match.

11-Paul Millsap-Millsap, to my surprise, will be 34.  He's way overpaid right now and DEN will certainly decline his $30M player option.  He's still a really good player on both ends of the floor, tailor made for today's NBA, but he's going to start to slow down.  I see Millsap as a bargain player.

Option guys-
Porzingis-DAL will hold Porzingis RFA rights and will certainly match any offer.  The only way Porzingis isn't in DAL beyond the 19-20' season is if he takes the qualifying offer next summer and becomes unrestricted in 2020 (not likely)

Marc Gasol-while Gasol holds a player option of $26M, he has to be mightily unhappy in MEM.  If they don't trade him before the deadline, I see him declining his option and taking less to go to a team that can offer winning-maybe something in the range of 3/60.

Al Horford-Horford has a $30M player option for next season.  Short of BOS just completely imploding and fist fights breaking out in the locker room, Horford isn't going anywhere.
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cameroncrazies02
Anthony Davis trade demand-

Davis, after 7 years with the Pelicans, has asked for a trade from New Orleans.  NOP has been absolutely abysmal at building a team around Davis.  They've traded away pick after pick, signed some horrible contracts and just haven't found a good fit.  Last year was the one year they did some good things-signed Rondo, the trade for Cousins wasn't great, but only because of injury, and even without Cousins they swept POR in the 1st round.

Davis has 1.5 years left on his contract, set to be a free agent in 2020.  Any acquiring team will have that time to show him consistent winning and a culture to try to keep him a la the Kawhi trade.  But it's a huge risk, because any team acquiring him is going to have to give up a huge amount of assets to do so and could lose him anyway.  Davis is a Klutch Sports athlete with a notorious history of getting their guys big contracts in big markets.  Davis has been linked to LA for some time and it seems like he's going to end up there regardless.

There are a few suitors-LAL and BOS come to mind first and foremost.  But BOS has some huge roadblocks.  They can't acquire Davis via trade until the off-season thanks to an outdated CBA rule that you can't acquire two players, via trade, under the Rose rule which is essentially the super max.  With Kyrie Irving already under that contract when BOS traded for him, they'd have to wait for him to opt out of his contract on July 1st, then trade for Davis and re-sign Kyrie.  That is plausible, but again, that deal would have to wait until July 1st.  Second, they'd have to include either Horford in the deal, or a combination of contracts like Hayward or Smart + others to make salaries match.  NOP isn't going to have interest in Horford, he'll be 33 this summer on the final year of his contract (if he doesn't opt out), they're certainly not taking back Hayward who looks like a shell of himself and I'm not sure a Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and picks deal gets it done.  BOS isn't including Jayson Tatum in the deal and this summer, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier will be free agents, so they can't be included either.  On top of all that, Davis' camp has basically come out and said he doesn't want to go to BOS.  So it's a huge risk to make a move for him only to have him bolt after 1 year.  What's more, is Kyrie Irving has been incredibly vocal lately, way too vocal, about how he's the leader and he's trying to teach all these guys something.  Well Kyrie, this team went pretty far without you last year and in reality, Tatum is the only player that has less than 2 years experience.

LAL is the only suitor right now that makes a ton of sense.  Their offer for Davis leaked today being Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and pick(s).  And NO isn't interested in that deal for two reasons.  1-it doesn't give them a bonafide star and LA doesn't have that to offer.  And Lonzo Ball and his enigmatic camp certainly is going to be vocal about him going to NOP where he won't want to play.  It may take LAL offering up Ingram, which IMO is fine, Ingram is overrated and has underwhelmed.  NOP really doesn't have to jump the gun on this, they have time and will have greater offers around the draft when picks are more known.

These types of deals always have darkhorses.  Look at the Porzingis trade.  Nobody saw that coming, let alone DAL getting him.  And it's already shown how dangerous a move like that can be.  Porzingis has already made it known he will only sign the qualifying offer this summer, to become an UFA in the summer of 2020 which is not how DAL saw this trade going.  But still, there are a few times-BKN, MIA to name a few that could throw together packages right now.  

But NOP really has to come up with a plan before they make any deal.  Are they going to re-tool?  They're 6 games under .500 and pretty far out of the playoff race right now.  Will any trade launch them closer to the playoffs?  And for what?  An 8th seed, 1st round out?  Jrue Holiday is already unhappy about the prospect of AD getting traded.  He signed a massive contract two summers ago, in his words, to play with AD, so he would certainly be the next domino to fall.  They could go full fire-sale-trade AD for a big name player or two, expirings and use it to get off the Solomon Hill contract, do the same with Jrue Holiday and sell off Mirotic and/or Randle for a pick too.  

Here's my blueprint-

NOP trades Davis, Hill to BKN for D'Angelo Russell, Rodions Kurucs, Allen Crabbe, Jared Dudley, 2019 DEN 1st, 2020 BKN 1st

NOP trades Jrue Holiday to DET for Andre Drummond, Luke Kennard

NOP trades Nikola Mirotic to PHI for Mike Muscala, Justin Patton, PHI 2019 1st

NOP trades Julius Randle to MIN for Jerryd Bayless, 2020 MIN 1st

NOP starts over with Russell, Drummond, Kennard, Kurucs, they'd own their own, DEN (top 12 protected) and PHI's 2019 1st, and BKN and MIN's 2020 1st on top of their own.  That's six 1st round picks in the next two years.  They'd have to re-sign Russell, but they'd have matching powers and could keep him under any circumstance.  On top of all that, with a re-signed Rusell and the other contracts they acquired, they'd still have a max salary slot.  They'd have to overpay someone big time, but a few of those "top" free agents aren't going to get the money they want and they could max or near-max someone Tobias Harris, Khris Middleton, or Jimmy Butler.  It's not an ideal scenario, but there isn't really any ideal scenario anywhere here.  
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cameroncrazies02
CLE trades Rodney Hood to POR for Nik Stauskas, Wade Baldwin, 2021 and 2023 2nd rd picks

For CLE-The Cavs have fully embraced the tank and are stockpiling draft picks to restart.  They turned George Hill, Kyle Korver, Sam Dekker and Rodney Hood into one 1st rd draft pick and six 2nd round draft picks while also eating the contracts of Delly and Henson.  Neither of those players will likely play or be a key part for them moving forward.  All that said, CLE has a long way to go before they're back in the thick of things.  They're also rumored to still be set on trading Alec Burks for a similar type of deal, but Burks will be harder to off-load considering his $10.5M contract yet this season.  CLE is almost at the salary cap with their contracts for next season with very few key parts moving forward aside from oft-injured Kevin Love and Collin Sexton who has been just plain bad in his rookie season.

For POR-this is why POR hasn't been able to get over the hump, in terms of assets, for the last few years.  They made some horrible signings that are bottling up their cap sheet in waste land-Aminu, Harkless, Leonard, and Evan Turner, while also mis-managing draft picks.  

2018-Anfernee Simons-hasn't played at all
2017-traded 15 and 20 for Zach Collins at 10 who has been relegated to backup duties with Nurkic getting a big contract, then took Caleb Swanigan 26th with Kyle Kuzma going 27th.
2016-traded this pick and Will Barton to DEN for Arron Afflalo-Afflalo played 25 games before signing elsewhere in FA and Barton has been a steady starter for DEN ever since aside from an injury

Those last three years has killed POR and this one is going to sting even more.  Much like Afflalo, Hood is a short-sighted acquisition, he's a free agent after this season who POR has no rights to this summer so would have to re-sign him on an exception like the mid-level, which would be an overpay.  I could understand one 2nd round pick, but they traded two and neither have protections.  It's just been a bad few years in POR.  They're 4th in the West right now at 32-20, one game back from the 3rd spot, but only 3 games back from the 8th.  They're not likely to push anybody in the playoffs and are probably going to be a first round exit.  This is going to end in catastrophe with a Damian Lillard trade demand at some point.
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