cameroncrazies02
EASTERN CONFERENCE-

1-Milwaukee Bucks-
PG-Eric Bledsoe, George Hill
SG-Wes Matthews, Kyle Korver, Pat Connaughton, Donte Divincenzo
SF-Khris Middleton, Sterling Brown, Thanasis Antetokounmpo
PF-Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson
C-Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez

By virtue of getting to the Eastern Finals and the Raptors losing Kawhi, the Bucks are atop the East in the early rankings.  While the loss of Malcolm Brogdon may hurt in some scenarios, the Bucks have found far more formidable perimeter shooting this summer.  The additions of Matthews and Korver should surpass the contributions Brogdon brought, solely by their ability to roam the perimeter.  Matthews and Korver's numbers are far greater as spot up 3 point shooters who don't need the ball, which will put an end to what seemed like some issues the Bucks dealt with last year of too many mouths to feed.  The addition of Robin Lopez seems to cement Bud is going to go away from center Giannis, which should be a benefit.  Center Giannis or the whacky frontcourt of Giannis, Mirotic and Ilyasova, by the eye test, seemed far less productive on both ends of the floor.  The Bucks will face their biggest test against the 76ers who have built a team to try to stop Giannis by going ultra-big.  And that's exactly the position you want to be in-other teams building to try to stop you.

2-Philadelpiha 76ers-
PG-Ben Simmons, Trey Burke, Raul Neto
SG-Josh Richardson, Zhaire Smith, Shake Milton
SF-Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, James Ennis
PF-Al Horford, Mike Scott, Jonah Bolden
C-Joel Embiid, Kyle O'Quinn

The 76ers big move this summer was swapping Jimmy Butler, arguably their best all around player the second half of the season and closer, with Al Horford and Josh Richardson.  They sport 7 guys on their roster 6'9" or taller, four of which will start and close games.  The rest of their roster remains relatively inexperienced and uninspiring.  They drafted Matisse Thybulle and traded up to get him.  He's a defensive stopper with a very raw offensive game however showed some ability to hit corner 3's in summer league.  Zhaire Smith comes off a rookie season where he played very little, but as a high flyer, could provide some athleticism on the perimeter from a guard position.  The 76ers will likely play a lot of forwards.  Horford, Scott, Bolden and Simmons could theoretically all play on the floor at the same time.  But while they tried to get creative and create matchup problems for opposing teams, they've created their own problem.  They don't have anyone to guard small guards, instead relying on overwhelming size to create fear.  And while they do have some defensive minded wings-Richardson, Thybulle and Smith, it remains to be seen if the latter two will be apart of the rotation.  By default, the 76ers lock in the #2 spot in the East early on, but a slow start could cause some panic.

3-Indiana Pacers-
PG-Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell, Aaron Holiday
SG-Victor Oladipo, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner
SF-TJ Warren, Doug McDermott, Jakarr Sampson
PF-Damantas Sabonis, TJ Leaf, Alize Johnson
C-Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze

The losses of Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison and Thad Young were filled with Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren and Jeremy Lamb.  While the additions seem to wash the losses, IND is a bit deeper this season with slightly more firepower.  They're going to have to test their front court this year.  Sabonis and Turner were an awkward combo together who often played opposite minutes of each other, but will likely see far more time together this year.  The rest of their front court is uninspiring.  TJ Leaf hasn't lived up to his potential and Goga Bitadze is a name that flew up draft boards in the final weeks leading up to the draft before IND selected him in the middle of the 1st round.  He'll be thrown into the fire early and often.  IND's backcourt is deeper this year with a lot of firepower.  Oladipo is likely out until December, so Brogdon, Lamb and McConnell will have to run the show until then.  Without Oladipo, IND faltered in the second half of the season.  The combination of Brogdon and Oladipo is a bit awkward.  Neither are traditional point guards and both will be tested to cover faster, smaller guards.  IND has had a knack for playing team oriented defense which will be tested this year.  They'll need to play together to keep that mantra.

4-Boston Celtics-
PG-Kemba Walker, Carsen Edwards, Brad Wanamaker
SG-Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford
SF-Gordon Hayward
PF-Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye
C-Enes Kanter, Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Vincent Poirer

It's laughable that Danny Ainge said the plan all along was Kemba and Kanter.  They had far greater aspirations this summer.  They have cap space and draft picks and looked to package them all together, but their lone prize was Kemba.  They were left, even in the draft, picking up around the hedges, with Kanter, Langford, Williams and Edwards.  But the Celtics were a force in the year Kyrie missed the second half of the season and playoffs. They'll need a big boost from Brown and Tatum this year, alongside Kemba, but the major concern is defense.  Aside frm Smart, they don't have any top flight defenders.  Brown and Tatum can certainly lock some guys down, but even they struggled with Khris Middleton in the playoffs.  I have them fourth, but that's not in cement.  BKN is vastly improved, as is Miami.  There's going to be a cluster of teams 4-10, some of which are going to underperform and BOS wouldn't surprise me if they fell on that list.

5-Brooklyn Nets-
PG-Kyrie Irving
SG-Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LaVert, Garrett Temple, David Nwaba
SF-Taurean Prince, Joe Harris, Dzanan Musa, Theo Pinson
PF-Rodions Kurucs, Nic Claxton
C-Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan
*Kevin Durant-out

The Nets managed to finish with 42 wins this past season that netted them the 6th seed on one of the most fun teams in the NBA.  They were built around D'Angelo Russell and a bunch of try-hards.  LaVert started the year out looking like an all-star before a leg injury kept him out most of the year.  They then relied heavily on Dinwiddie who put together a really nice season and was re-signed on a bargain.  They got major contributions from lesser named guys or rookies like Joe Harris and Rodions Kurucs.  Now they added Kyrie and Durant to the mix in place of Russell.  While the roster construction is strange, they have a very deep team that can go 10-12 deep on any given night.  Their lack of depth at PG is concerning.  Kyrie and Dinwiddie will handle PG duties, but they don't have a 3rd PG which could become problematic if injuries occur.  They've also built their team on Durant playing the 4, but with Durant out most of the season, they're going to be playing a lot of small ball with Kurucs, a versatile 6'9" player, likely starting at PF which isn't terrible considering his range and length, but behind him, they're likely going to have to play Prince at PF quite a bit too.  The other odd construction point is the Allen/Jordan issue.  If Allen plays 28 MPG, that leaves Jordan with only around 20 MPG and signing him for 4/40 seems to be more of a sign they want him as a locker room guy and friend to Kyrie and KD than his actual talent.  Regardless, this ranking seems low.  BKN should be sniffing around 50 wins this season if all things break right, and Durant could potentially return for a playoff run making them a very dangerous bottom half seed in the East.

6-Miami Heat-

PG-Goran Dragic
SG-Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Dion Waiters, Kendrick Nunn
SF-Justice Winslow, Derrick Jones Jr, Duncan Robinson, KZ Okapala
PF-James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk
C-Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard

If nothing else, a clean locker room should benefit Miami.  They have struggled with Whiteside's locker room and media antics the last two seasons which forced them to play him often.  They're now going to move in a direction which rotates a front court of Adebayo, Johnson, Olynyk and Leonard.  My guess is they'd alternate a defender (Adebayo/Johnson) with a floor spacer (Olynyk, Leonard) type of pairing.  They also had to deal with the Dwayne Wade farewell tour which also forced them into playing him large minutes which was fine at times, but drew away from winning.  While they lost some pieces this summer, most notably Josh Richardson, they've added Butler and Herro to their backcourt which is a massive upgrade over anything they've had in years.  They should be back in playoff contention again this year, but they could use sme addition depth, specifically at backup PG.

7-Toronto Raptors-

PG-Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Cam Payne
SG-Norm Powell, Patrick McCaw, Matt Thomas, Terence Davis
SF-OG Anunoby, Stanley Johnson
PF-Pascal Siakam, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris Boucher, Dewan Hernandez
C-Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Raptors anywhere from 4-12 in this list.  While they did play well even when Kawhi rested last year, they're another year older, and also lost Danny Green, a very underrated loss.  They're now going to rely on a very rag tag group at the wing with Powell, Anunoby, McCaw and Johnson, none of which inspire a lot of hope aside from Anunoby who has a lot of potential, but has had chronic injury issues and a limited offensive game thus far.  They're likely going to give the keys to Siakam this year as the #1 option.  They also have a host of expiring contracts and appealing trade assets if TOR wants to blow it up or re-tool.  It's hard to grade TOR out of the playoffs after 58 wins, but the loss of Kawhi and Green could propel them to a losing season.

8-Orlando Magic-

PG-DJ Augustin, Markelle Fultz, Michael Carter-Williams
SG-Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Melvin Frazier
SF-Jonathan Isaac, Wes Iwundu, Chuma Okeke
PF-Aaron Gordon, Al Farouq-Aminu
C-Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba, Khem Birch

ORL had option this summer.  With a lot of cap space, but two major free agents, they chose to run it back after making the playoffs and winning a lone game in TOR in the playoffs.  They resigned Ross and Vucevic to $155M total and have locked themselves in for awhile with those contracts.  On top of that, they duplicated some of what they already had in Isaac by signing Aminu.  They're going to need Fultz to have a rejuvenation season to propel forward, because outside of that, they haven't improved much.  Their moves have been questionable at best.  Between Isaac, Gordon, Aminu, Vucevic and Bamba, someone's going to be left very far out of the rotation or Isaac is going to play a lot of 3, an unnatural position for him.  By virtue of a weak Eastern conference, ORL is going to slide into the 8th seed and get bounced early again.

9-Detroit Pistons-

PG-Derrick Rose, Reggie Jackson, Tim Frazier
SG-Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Langston Galloway, Khryi Thomas, Svi Mhykhailiuk
SF-Tony Snell, Sekou Doumbouya
PF-Blake Griffin, Markieff Morris, Christian Wood
C-Andre Drummond, Thon Maker

In all honesty, the Pistons did a really good job on the fringes adding to their team this year.  They got Doumbouya in the draft, a really nice future prospect who probably won't see the floor a ton this year, but should be tabbed as a guy to watch out for in the future.  The Pistons wing position and backcourt looked horrendous last year.  They added Snell, Rose and Frazier to the mix.  Rose had a bounceback year in MIN last year and showed some of the magic he still has.  The question will be how he can be successful on a team with Griffin and Drummond in the front court.  As for their front court, they were playing a lot of Jon Leuer last year, but upgraded to Morris and Wood in their rotation.  They have a decent young group too in Brown, a lock down defender, and Svi, an athletic shooter who they accepted his team option to bring him back.  Their roster though, doesn't look great on paper and collectively as a group.  Are they going to play a lot of Rose and Jackson together?  Both have tunnel vision when they have the ball in their hands.  And who are their defenders?  Brown and Snell are incredibly low usage players who don't spread the floor well.  One injury to DET could derail them and I have them on the outside looking in despite their 8th seed run last year and improved roster.

10-Atlanta Hawks-
PG-Trae Young, Evan Turner
SG-Kevin Huerter, Allen Crabbe, DeAndre Bembry
SF-DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter
PF-John Collins, Jabari Parker, Bruno Fernando
C-Alex Len, Damian Jones

The Hawks had a host of draft picks and cap space this summer.  They used that cap space minimally, by signing Jabari Parker ad taking on Allen Crabbe's contract for two future 1st round picks.  They then used their draft picks to trade up and get Hunter, and used their remaining pick on Cam Reddish.  This time is a wild pairing of Trae Young and a bunch of forwards.  At times, ATL could play Turner, Huerter, Reddish, Hunter and Collins.  Damian Jones probably isn't an NBA contributor which is going to force Collins into a lot of center.  Their defense as a whole was bad when Collins played center last year.  They should be helped by defensive contributions of Hunter, Reddish and Turner, but Jabari playing backup PF is going to sink them defensively.  I still see them being a relatively fun team to watch, Young is a serious talent with some future all-stars in him, but they're still a few pieces away.  This is going to be another transition year for ATL.  They have three guys on massive expiring deals (Turner, Crabbe and Parsons) which they could utilize, along with their draft picks, to better their team.

11-Chicago Bulls-

PG-Tomas Satoransky, Coby White, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacano
SG-Zach LaVine, Denzel Valentine, Shaq Harrison, Antonio Blakeney
SF-Otto Porter, Chandler Hutchison
PF-Lauri Markkanen, Thad Young, Daniel Gafford
C-Wendell Carter Jr, Luke Kornet, Cristiano Felicio

By the numbers I see, CHI is entering the season thus far with 16 guaranteed contracts.  I'd bet they try to unload Dunn who is the odd man out after they signed Satoransky, drafted White and resigned Arcidiacano.  I just don't see this team as being overwhelmingly better than last year.  The defense is going to be a struggle for them again.  Only Porter and Young are plus defenders and theyre going to struggle mightily against quicker or stronger guards.  They need Markkanen to stay healthy and be more consistent and Carter Jr to take a massive leap after somewhat of a disappointing rookie season.  11th is probably worst case scenario for them, but I still don't see them as a playoff team.

12-Cleveland Cavaliers

PG-Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Matthew Dellavedova
SG-Jordan Clarkson, Kevin Porter Jr, Brandon Knight
SF-Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler
PF-Kevin Love
C-Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance, John Henson, Ante Zizic

After falling to 4th in the draft, CLE was in a lot of trade rumors, but ultimately decided to take Darius Garland, a combo guard, to pair alongside Sexton.  The trio of Sexton, Clarkson and Garland is a disaster defensively, but at least their offensive output may be fun to watch.  At center, they have a host of players who can't exactly play together.  Theyre going to continue to shoehorn Nance into PF role alongside another non shooter in Thompson or Henson.  They're also tragically thin at SF with only Osman and Windler.  It's going to be a struggle for them again next year, and they'll need to stay as a bottom 10 team otherwise their pick will convey to NOP.  That's probably why CLE didn't make any big moves yet.  Clarkson and Love could be on the move this year as veteran help additions to a contending team.  CLE is about to have a bunch of expiring contracts as well in Delly, Knight, Thompson and Henson which will clear their cap sheet and allow them to start fresh with their young guards.

13-New York Knicks-
PG-Dennis Smith Jr, Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina
SG-RJ Barrett, Allonzo Trier, Wayne Ellington, Daymean Dotson
SF-Kevin Knox, Reggie Bullock, Izzy Brazdeikis
PF-Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson
C-Mitchell Robinson

After losing out on Zion and all the top free agents, NY swerved on signing a bunch of 2 year contracts.  Theyre going to try to do it by committee this year with Barrett and Randle running the show.  It's an odd combination they have of young and older players.  Will Trier get buried in favor of 30-something year old Wayne Ellington?  Will Morris ride the bench in his fancy new $15M contract in favor of Taj Gibson?  Will Brazdeikis be better than Kevin Knox?  They have a lot of decent rotational players without one real shining star to put their name on.  They've locked themselves into this group for the next 2 years, but will likely be a bottom 5 team with another chance at a high lottery pick next summer.

14-Washington Wizards-
PG-Isaiah Thomas, Ish Smith, Isaac Bonga
SG-Bradley Beal
SF-Rui Hachimura, CJ Miles, Troy Brown, Admiral Schofield
PF-Davis Bertans, Jemerio Jones
C-Thomas Bryant, Ian Mahinmi, Mo Wagner
*John Wall-out for the year

While you'd think the Wizards have the worst team on paper, the Hornets have something to say about it.  They tried for three years too long to get themselves into the playoffs and it's now costing them.  I can't find one half way decent rotation for this team.  IT is looking for a massive comeback year which is a scary thing for a team that might not win 25 games.  Beal is going to be in a wasteland and while he hasn't requested a trade yet, he may do so pretty quickly with this roster.  They have a few decent young players-Bryant, Brown Jr and Schofield, and Bryant was really good for them last year as a rim protector and extending his range to 3P land, but that's reaching for something to be good.

15-Charlotte Hornets-
PG-Terry Rozier, Devonte Graham
SG-Malik Monk, Dwyane Bacon
SF-Miles Bridges, Nicolas Batum, Cody Martin
PF-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PJ Washington, Marvin Williams
C-Cody Zeller, Willy Hernangomez, Bismack Biyombo

It's very difficult for me to parse the 14th and 15th teams in the East.  CHA on paper has some young players that could actually get hot and win them some games-notably Monk, Bridges and Washington, but all have serious flaws.  Monk couldn't get out of the doghouse last year, Bridges didn't put it all together on either end of the court and Washington doesn't do one thing all that well, but is more of an all-around role player.  I pitted CHA here because the signing of Rozier was so questionable, that they might've been better off lighting $58M on fire.  Rozier whined and complained about his playing time very vocally in BOS and now he'll get his chance on a lead guard role on a terrible team.  They have some massive contracts that don't expire for 2 more years which leaves CHA in a wasteland for quite some time.
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cameroncrazies02


1-LA Clippers-

PG-Pat Beverley
SG-Landry Shamet, Lou Williams, Rodney McGruder, Jerome Robinson
SF-Paul George, Mo Harkless, Terrence Mann
PF-Kawhi Leonard, JaMychal Green, Patrick Patterson
C-Ivica Zubac, Montrezl Harrell, Mfiondu Kabengele

Even with one of PG13 or Kawhi NOT on the Clippers, I'd still have them as a top 3 team in the West, that's how good this team CAN be.  While their route to a top seed in the West may not be perfect with how theyre going to constantly rest Kawhi and George likely missing the start of the season after a shoulder surgery, theyre still going to be dominant.  This is a very similar team, sans Gilgeous-Alexander, that won 48 games a year ago, and now they added Kawhi and PG.  They are talented to start games, with George and Kawhi running the offense, Beverley defending and Shamet running off screens, but also incredibly deep with Lou Williams and Harrell running their bench mob, Harkless defending, Green spacing the floor and some young talented guys like McGruder, Robinson and Kabengele.  

2-LA Lakers-

PG-Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso
SG-Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels
SF-Lebron James, Talen Horton-Tucker
PF-Kyle Kuzma, Jared Dudley
C-Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee

It starts with Lebron and AD and quite frankly, no matter how bad the rest of their summer went, it may not matter.  Lebron is still Lebron, regardless of injury and age.  He didn't sit out for most of the second half of the season because of a long term injury, although his groin did hamper him.  They weren't in a winning pattern and he wasn't going to risk it all to injure himself when a big summer ws coming.  Anthony Davis was a top MVP candidate a year ago.  With all that said, their roster construction is still strange and there's a lot of questions.  It starts in their front court.  Will AD start at center next to Kuzma, or are they going to push Kuzma to the bench and start Cousins at center?  On the perimeter, theyre going to be forced into a ton of 3 guard lineups with Caruso playing SG, or Green/Pope/Bradley playing SF during bench run.  Theyre also very thin up front yet.  One injury to Lebron or Kuzma could be costly to them if an injury is long term.  Regardless, the rest of the West is very good, but not Lebron/AD good and that alone puts LAL #2.

3-Denver Nuggets-

PG-Jamal Murray, Monte Morris
SG-Gary Harris, Malik Beasley
SF-Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr, Torrey Craig
PF-Paul Millsap, Jerami Grant, Juan Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt
C-Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee, Bol Bol

The Nuggets didn't make a lot of moves this summer, but the one they did make (acquiring Jerami Grant for a 1st round pick) was stellar.  Grant is a fantastic defender of multiple positions and athletic as all get-out.  He plays similar to a Millsap mold and it'll provide DEN an opportunity to go small with a Millsap/Grant front court instead of the whacky Jokic/PLumlee front court they often trotted out.  The only other move of note was trading for Bol Bol for a 2nd round pick.  He will be afforded an opportunity to get healthy and likely redshirt his rookie season.  DEN is going to rely on internal growth the most.  Jamal Murray showed out last year as a top flight guard and was rewarded a max extension at 5/170 this summer.  They desperately need Harris to have a bounce back year after dealing with a lot of injuries, but this could be a huge year for DEN, especially if LAL doesn't pan out as expected.

4-Portland Trailblazers-

PG-Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons
SG-CJ McCollum, Kent Bazemore, Gary Trent Jr
SF-Rodney Hood, Mario Hezonja, Nassir Little
PF-Zach Collins, Anthony Tolliver, Skal Labissiere
C-Hassan Whiteside, Paul Gasol
*Jusuf Nurkic-out (injured)

For a few years now, it seemed as though POR was hurting themselves with bad contracts, sideways moves and below average drafting.  They seemed dead in the water last year after locking themselves back into Nurkic after extending him, letting a few key free agents go and making minimal signings.  The same could be said for this year, but they did upgrade their roster at some spots.  Their depth on the perimeter is far greater this year, valuing more offensive players.  They added Bazemore, a good 2-way player, in exchange for Evan Turner, who underwhelmed for years.  They also added Hezonja, a flash in the pan offensive spark that can come in and provide some instant offense and has size to play both forward positions.  They got Little late in the 1st round after lottery projections.  Little didn't perform well in college, he has limited offensive ability, but he was a highly ranked college recruit for a reason.  The question will be their front court.  With Nurkic out, they needed depth and a center replacement until he can return from a gruesome leg injury.  Whiteside is a good option in the mean time if he can keep his head on straight.  He can protect the rim and defend with the best of them when he's motivated.  He's going to need touches to stay interested, but he'll have the middle of the paint to himself and will drastically improve with such perimeter threats.  Zach Collins has shown some flashes of offensive ability, but hasn't put it together.  He and Whiteside as a pairing is a bit of a question mark.  Collins can shoot the 3, but doesn't do it consistently enough yet.  They also don't have great options behind him with Tolliver in his mid-30's and Labissiere a journeyman.  Hezonja and Little will be tasked with playing the 4 frequently, but can get away with it with Whiteside behind them.  If POR can stay above water, a healthy Nurkic for a playoff run will do them wonders.

5-Utah Jazz

PG-Mike Conley, Emmanuel Mudiay, Dante Exum
SG-Donovan Mitchell, Miye Oni
SF-Joe Ingles, Royce O'Neale, Georges Niang
PF-Bojan Bogdanovic, Jeff Green, William Howard
C-Rudy Gobert, Ed Davis, Tony Bradley

Everyone is hot and heavy on Utah after they traded for Conley and signed Bogdanovic, but I'm very skeptical.  They lost some of their front court luster.  Instead of having the opportunity to go big with Gobert/Favors but also be able to alternately run small with Crowder/Sefolosha/Ingles rotating at F with Gobert as center, they've relegated themselves to a bunch of perimeter players and Gobert.  Their bench is dangerously thin.  Mudiay, Exum, O'Neale, Green, Howard doesn't spell a ton of confidence.  While their starting 5 is dangerous, theyre going to struggle with any team that has a semblance of lock down perimeter defense or size to swallow them up, like LAL or LAC.

6-Houston Rockets-

PG-Russell Westbrook, Austin Rivers
SG-James Harden, Eric Gordon, Michael Frazier
SF-Daniel House, Gerald Green
PF-PJ Tucker, Gary Clark
C-Clint Capela, Tyson Chandler, Isaiah Hartenstein

This isn't the final roster for HOU, they have a few roster spots open yet and are reportedly waiting on an Andre Iguodala buyout.  They are talented in the back court, going legitimately 4 deep which will help when they can push Harden to the 3 and play 3-guard lineups.  But their front court is a mess.  Only Tucker and Capela are notable contributors and Tucker is really getting up their in age.  HOU went all in this summer by trading Chris Paul and control of four 1st round draft picks for Westbrook.  It remains to be seen how that pairing with Harden will work out, but the two most ball dominant players in the NBA on the same team?  How can't that be a recipe for disaster.  One injury to Westbrook, Harden or Capela would devastate this team and I don't love the experiment their putting out there.  6th in the West seems low for HOU as they are perennial contenders, but if there's a year they drop off, it could be this one after an improving West and a depleted HOU roster.

7-San Antonio Spurs-

PG-Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills
SG-Bryn Forbes, Marco Belinelli, Lonnie Walker
SF-Demar DeRozan, Demarre Carroll, Keldon Johnson
PF-Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, Luka Samanic
C-Lamarcus Aldridge, Jakob Poeltl

Spurs are a hard team to slot.  They finished 48-34 last season, 7th in the West and everyone around them improved, including LAL and LAC jumping them.  They are deep at almost every position and have a good mix of young talent and veteran players.  They didn't lose much of anything this summer, most notably trading Davis Bertans and signing Trey Lyles, which wasn't plan A.  They salary dumped Bertans to sign Marcus Morris who initially agreed to a contract, then double-crossed them and rescinded his acceptance, instead signing with NYK.  Derrick White had a huge break out season that catapulted after a Murray injury.  Murray will be looking to have a bounce back year.  Their front court is a bit small, but also versatile.  They can play big (Aldridge/Poeltl) or small (Aldridge/Gay) with a mix of Lyles and Samanic grouped in.  They also have a cash of young assets-Walker, Johnson and Samanic, along with some expiring contracts.  If things start to go sideways for SA, they could begin a re-build or re-tooling process with still some decent cornrstones to build around.  It's hard to believe this team with Popp would miss the playoffs, but this was the closest I had them to missing in quite some time.

8-Sacramento Kings-

PG-De'Aaron Fox, Cory Joseph, Yogi Ferrell
SG-Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin James
SF-Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza
PF-Marvin Bagley, Nemanja Bjelica, Caleb Swanigan, Tyler Lydon
C-Dewayne Dedmon, Richaun Holmes, Harry Giles

Regardless of how bad I thought SAC played their hand this off-season, I think for this year, they could finally break through and get to the playoffs.  They fell 9 games short out of 8th seed, but with OKC and GSW reeling this summer, it could be SAC's time to pounce.  They entered the off-season with max cap space, and instead of playing it smart, they extended Harrison Barnes to 4/85, then followed it up by signing Joseph, Ariza and Dedmon to massive overpays to blow all their cap space.  It's a total sell out for the playoffs, but SAC is desperate for a winning team.  They're deep and versatile at every position.  Fox is on the verge of a massive all-star level break out and they have enough defense and firepower to win 46 games.

9-Minnesota Timberwolves-

PG-Jeff Teague, Dorell Wright, Shabazz Napier
SG-Andrew Wiggins, Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie, Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Nowell
SF-Robert Covington, Jake Layman, Keita Bates-Diop
PF-Jordan Bell
C-Karl Anthony-Towns, Gorgui Dieng

Considering the options MIN had this summer, I thought they did relatively well.  They brought in Wright, Layman and Bell to provide them some competent depth, but the best move they made was flipping Saric and 11 for 6 and taking Culver, another perimeter playmaker they desperately needed.  It's hard to leave them out of the playoffs, but they still seem a little discombobulated.  They're going to rely heavily on Bell and Dieng with key minutes in the front court alongside KAT, or try to play small with Covington at the 4 which seems fine, but KAT is soft on the interior and doesn't provide that 4 out, 1 in all-around game you'd need to be successful in that scheme.  KAT signed an extension last summer, but he could be one of the biggest names on the trading block if MIN doesn't turn it around and get to the playoffs.

10-Golden State Warriors-

PG-Steph Curry
SG-D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Poole, Alec Burks, Jacob Evans
SF-Alfonso McKinnie, Glenn Robinson III
PF-Draymond Green, Omari Spellman, Alan Smailagic, Eric Paschall
C-Kevon Looney, Willie Cauley-Stein
*Klay Thompson-out-injured

How this is going to work is beyond me.  They're so far out of their element from the last few years, it's going to take a herculean effort for GS to be relevant this season.  Curry and Russell are going to have to dominate on offense every night for them to win.  Their third best scoring option is going to change from night to night. They went rookie heavy this year bringing in Poole, Smailagic, and Paschall and picking up scraps like Glenn Robinson and Spellman.  With Klay out for most of the regular season, I don't see how they make the playoffs.  Steph Curry is so good, but he's not THIS good.  They went from an embarrassment of riches to a lot of question marks as to not only their starting lineup, but who in the heck is going to come off the bench.  They COULD flip Russell in December to re-build, which seems likely.  They didn't sign him to bring him in and play for the next 3 years for them no matter what they say and they could get a good return on Russell, but as of right now, GS is on the outside looking in.


11-Oklahoma City Thunder

PG-Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroeder
SG-Andre Roberson, Hamidou Diallo, Deonte Burton
SF-Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader
PF-Danilo Gallinari, Darius Bazley, Mike Muscala
C-Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel

The Ewing Theory will be tested with OKC this year.  Will they still actually be good without Westbrook?  OKC got a load of talent and draft picks for Paul George of epic proportions and then flipped Westbrook, probably too quick, for Chris Paul and gained control over four 1st round picks from HOU.  I think they thought they could then flip Paul and garner even more assets, but a trade didn't, or hasn't come to fruition yet.  This team is thin on the bench, but a very unique grouping.  Adams will have the middle to himself with a lot of perimeter oriented players around him and he'll be a key guy to watch this season.  He was left as a box out guy and defender with Westbrook, but could he break out a little offensively playing more effective scoring pick and roll?  They're going to rely a ton on some young players like Diallo, Ferguson and Bazley considering their lack of depth.  

12-Dallas Mavericks

PG-Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright, Seth Curry
SG-Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee, Ryan Broekhoff
SF-Luka Doncic, Justin Jackson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Isaiah Roby
PF-Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber
C-Dwight Powell, Boban Marjanovic

The Mavericks won 33 games last year and were 14th in the West.  It's hard to fathom they'd be only slightly improved when they added Porzingis, Wright and Curry, but outside of Doncic and Porzingis, the Mavericks roster is rather unimpressive.  They had a ton of cap space to utilize and chose to sign some massive middling contracts to Wright, Curry and extended Powell and Kleber, locking themselves into this roster for awhile.  I'd imagine DAL is going to run with a Brunson, Wright, Doncic, KP and Powell starting lineup with notable bench players of Curry, Kleber and one of Jackson/Finney-Smith.  It just doesn't overly impress me, no matter how good their top two players are.  A very talented West team is going to fall to a 35 win team and I have DAL slotted into that position, somewhat hesitantly.

13-New Orleans Pelicans

PG-Lonzo Ball, Frank Jackson
SG-Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, E'Twuan Moore
SF-Brandon Ingram, Darius Miller, Kenrich Williams
PF-Zion Williamson, Nicolo Melli
C-Derrick Favors, Jahlil Okafor, Jaxson Hayes

Similar to DAL, NOP has a very talented and relatively deep roster that seems hard to push them so low.  They have an ultra deep and talented guard/wing rotation, but their front court is a bit underwhelming, especially behind Zion.  I'm not sold NOP is going to be this low, they should be better than a 35 win team, but this is where I have them slotted.  I think it's going to take some time for Zion to become an efficient player in the NBA.  Ingram is still recovering from a nerve issue in his shoulder and Lonzo has had chronic soft tissue injuries.  They're also playing Favors somewhat out of position at center.  For these reasons, I think NOP will struggle, but will be a fun team to watch regardless.

14-Memphis Grizzlies

PG-Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, DeAnthony Melton
SG-Dillon Brooks, Grayson Allen
SF-Jae Crowder, Josh Jackson, Kyle Anderson, Bruno Cabocolo, Solomon Hill
PF-Jaren Jackson Jr, Brandon Clarke, Ivan Rabb
C-Jonas Valanciunas Miles Plumlee
*Andre Iguodala-likely to be traded or waived befor the season

While the Grizzlies did a fantastic job transforming their roster this off-season, with some help from the lottery, theyre going to have a lot of growing pains.  Only Crowder and Valanciunas are proven NBA players.  Jones, and Jackson are on reclamation projects in MEM.  This is going to be a growing year for MEM to see what their two star young players (Morant and Jackson) can provide.  They did a great job around the edges of their roster-bringing in Jackson and Melton and getting two 2nd round picks for giving them a shot and nabbing Brandon Clarke late in the 1st round, a perfect fit next to Jackson and Valanciunas.  MEM also is in a stalemate with Iguodala.  He's ultra valuable to contending teams, but not many have the ability to trade for him and instead will likely wait out a buyout of him.  

15-Phoenix Suns

PG-Ricky Rubio, Tyler Johnson, Ty Jerome, Elie Okobo, Jevon Carter
SG-Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges
SF-Kelly Oubre, Cam Johnson
PF-Dario Saric, Cheik Diallo
C-DeAndre Ayton, Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky

PHX went into the summer with a ton of cap space, tradeable young players and the 6th pick in the draft.  They turned that cap space, TJ Warren and Josh Jackson and the 6th pick into Rubio, Saric, Baynes, Kaminsky, Johnson, Jerome and Carter.  It started with a bad trade of 6 for Saric and Johnson.  Saric still hasn't found his footing in the NBA.  He was in a great system for him in PHI as a pace and space big, then was traded to MIN to play off of KAT and in neither situation was he efficient as a scorer or defender.  He's also in the final year of his rookie contract where PHX will have to decide whether to resign him or let him walk.  They then drafted Johnson about 15 spots too high in the draft.  He's one of the best shooters in this rookie class, but he's already 23 and doesn't have a high ceiling.  They then signed Rubio to a huge contract-3/51, probably $10M too high.  They didn't seem to have much of an idea what to do with their cap space either.  They initially created some by dumping Warren and adding the 32nd pick to do so, sending him to IND which was baffling as Warren is an effective starter.  Then with that cap space, they absorbed Baynes and took back MIL's 2020 1st round pick.  They also added Saric's rookie contract in the draft pick swap deal, and also signed Oubre to an extension, before dumping Josh Jackson's rookie contract and having to give up two 2nd round picks to do so.  They went back and forth with their direction of spending money and dumping salary three times in the span of two weeks.  It's incredible how many top 5-10 draft picks PHX has had over the last 10 years and little to show for it.  It's also incredible they still end up at the bottom of the West STILL.  The few good moves they did make was nabbing Ty Jerome late in the 1st round.  Jerome is a valuable ball handler and shooter as a combo guard.  They also got Diallo for cheap-a bruising big man who can rebound and score around the basket.





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Biggest Names Traded This Year-

This summer was the summer of big name trades and acquisitions and it doesn't seem like it'll slow down.  There are a few big names still out there that will be ones to watch throughout the season.  40% of the league can't be traded until December 15th when some trade restrictions are lifted.

Karl Anthony-Towns-MIN did a pretty good job trying to improve their team this summer.  They traded up in the draft and nabbed Jarrett Culver, they signed Jake Layman and Jordan Bell.  They're rail thin up front and still don't have an improved backcourt. Their rotation of Teague, Wiggins, Covington, Bell and KAT with Culver, Okogie, Dieng, Layman still leaves a lot to be desired.  If MIN is still trending in a losing direction, KAT may finally demand a trade or MIN may see this as a good time to move forward with their young core.  The other option for them is to put together a package of Covington, Okogie and a pick to try to improve their roster, but KAT could nab them a huge haul and with how Memphis, New Orleans and OKC have revamped their roster in a positive way after trading their stars, MIN could be intrigued with the idea.  KAT's 5 year max extension kicks in this year making him even more valuable that any team acquiring him holds his rights for the duration of that contract.  He's also only 23, 24 in November.  Those factors combined could make him one of the most valuable assets ever.

But what kind of package could even come close to getting MIN interested in the idea?  

CHI offer-Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr, Daniel Gafford, four future 1st round picks for KAT

Why for CHI-CHI has a ton of valuable young players, but the depth they do have is a bit lackluster as a hole.  They can put together one of the best packages and the iron would be hot for CHI now, to strike.  With KAT, they'd have Coby White, Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter to surround KAT with along with solid role players in Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky, and a few interesting young players like Antonio Blakeney, Chandler Hutchison and Denzel Valentine.  

Why for MIN-getting back LaVine, alongside Culver, Wiggins, Okogie and Covington would create a logjam at the wing position, but they'd most definitely look to flip Covington as well to a contender.  They could build around LaVine, Culver and Carter.  But taking back LaVine would be an awkward situation after they traded him for Jimmy Butler two years ago.  

CLE offer-Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr, Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight, 2022, 2024, 2026 1st round picks, 2023 and 2025 pick swaps for KAT and Dieng.

For CLE-CLE is not in expiring contract and young player territory with not much in between except Kevin Love.  They have some young players, most notable Garland, the 4th pick in the draft who would absolutely be the stalwart to any deal.  Porter is an enigma, as seen by him falling in the draft to 30th, but his talent is undeniable.  They'd have to give up every future draft pick they have which doesn't even mention they owe their 2020 1st round pick to NOP if it falls outside the top 10.  But they could begin a core around Sexton, Towns, Love and still have massive cap space this summer.

For MIN-the one big piece to this that is a bit underrated is MIN would dump a year off of Dieng's contract as his contract runs for two more years.  They'd get the expirings of Thompson and Knight to alleviate some of that.  Garland and the picks are the catalyst for the deal, similar to the Paul George trade where Gilgeous-Alexander and a bunch of draft picks were the mainstays to the deal.  MIN would then have a core of Garland, Wiggins, Culver and Okogie.  If they flipped Covington for expirings and a pick, they'd enter max cap space territory next summer.

GSW offer-D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jordan Poole, 1st rd picks in 2022, 2026 and 2028.

For GSW-this is the type of deal GS had in mind when they signed Russell.  Russell is likely to be traded and if they could land KAT, I'd think they'd give up everyone not named Steph, Klay and Draymond to do it.  They don't have all that many assets aside from Russell, WCS and Poole are young players, but aside from them it's a lot of minimal role players and 2nd round rookies.  They'd have to entice MIN based on the future picks.  But when healthy, Steph, Klay, Draymond and KAT would be deadly.

For MIN-it's not a great deal, but may offer them one of the best top end assets in return, getting Russell.  Any trade is going to be complicated.  Wiggins likely isn't getting traded for anything of value so they probably stick it out with him for now.  So they'd probably look to acquire the most talent that can help them now.  
------------------------------------
Bradley Beal-
WAS is in a horrendous position.  Wall is out for the year and WAS's clock is ticking with Beal under contract only for this year and next.  If they're going to trade him for a massive haul, they have to do it before the trade deadline this year.  Otherwise, they wait until next year when Wall is back, pick up a top 5 pick in the draft, try to win some games and hope that max extension for Beal is enough to keep him around.  They're in a dangerous position now.  They know they're going to be terrible this year and Beal will be the focal point.  If he gets hurt, which is always possible, he dealt with a lot of injuries early in his career, theyre screwed.  Beal is 25 and under contract control for two years.  It's the perfect time for any team to acquire him, get him settled into a winning environment and be able to offer hi the 5 year max.

DEN offer-Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr, Monte Morris, 1st rd picks in 2022 and 2024, pick swap in 2025.

For DEN-DEN is on the brink of breaking through in the West, but theyre teetering in that 3rd-4th seed range with the LA's coming in hot this summer with top flight players.  Beal could put them over the edge.  DEN has so many young talented players, some aren't even playing a lot due to their depth and they should package some together now.  Murray and Beal together, along with Jokic would be a crazy trio of players not too mention Millsap, Grant, Barton, Malik Beasley filling out their rotation.

For WAS-while they may be able to get more for Beal, Porter has the highest ceiling and lowest floor of any young, tradeable player in the league.  His injuries are a massive concern, but if he can get healthy, he could be an all-star in 2 years.  Harris has battled an injury bug, but before that, he was nearing 20 PPG and a solid two-way player.  He reminds me a lot of Middleton in his style of play.  Morris is an extremely underrated PG.  He absolutely fills up the stat sheet when he enters a game and at an extremely efficient rate.  He's one of the biggest secrets in the NBA and could be due for a break out if given an opportunity.

NYK offer-Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, 2020 and 2022 1st, pick swaps in 2021 and 2023

Why for NYK-NYK had a weird off-season.  They didn't land Zion or a top free agent, so instead signed a bunch of guys on 2 year contracts to kind of fill the gap in the mean time.  They used all their cap space in doing so and now have this bizzaro lineup of veterans and young players.  It's reminiscent of their last ditch effort with Carmelo where they brought in Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire over the course of a few years and made a run.  It didn't go well and they were left in a tough scenario of playing their vets or playing their young players.  They're going to hold onto their assets in the mean time for a trade offer like this.  Beal is an all-star caliber player and had a huge year last year, but doesn't necessarily lead a team to contender status which is why NYK could go after him, because he's gettable with their somewhat uninspiring package.  This package doesn't work financially would have to include Marcus Morris or Bobby Portis, but it's the bones of a deal.  Robinson is probably the big grab in this deal.  He has a ton of potential as a long, rim running, shot blocking presence who has some ability to handle the ball, but a very raw offensive game.  Knox has a long way to go and his value isn't as high as it was when he was drafted.  But he's very young, barely 20 years old and has a long frame with a lot of tools.  Trier is a bit of a throw in, but he's a microwave scorer and shooter.  The big haul is the Knicks picks.  Their 2020 1st, even with Beal, depending on when they traded for him, could be a top 10 pick which not many other teams could offer. 

Why for WAS-this is a total shut it down and try to run it out with some young players.  They just re-upped Thomas Bryant, a center who is far more polished than Robinson, which makes this deal quirky and could include a third team where Robinson is sent to the 3rd team and assets back to WAS.  Knox, Trier and the picks would be the grab for WAS and it'd be enticing to have two top 10 picks, their own probably being top 3 and NYK's potentially being top 10 next year to continue to add pieces.  

ORL offer-Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac, 2020 and 2022 1st rd picks

Why for ORL-ORL really needs another big time playmaker for them to get past this treadmill of 35-42 win type seasons and nabbing Beal, with two years left on his deal, would build some real excitement around ORL.  They re-signed Vucevic and brought in Al Farouq-Aminu which hampers their young bigs minutes.  Again, WAS has Bryant at center, so Bamba may not be as enticing to them, but a 3rd team could be involved.  Isaac has shown flashes of a very unique game, but his ceiling is a really big question mark, but both have a lot of potential with their skillsets in today's NBA. ORL with a core lineup of Beal, Vucevic, Gordon and Ross would put out a ton of offensive firepower and could be a deadly low seed in the playoffs.

Why for WAS-this is a similar deal to NYK's where they get a few young prospects and picks.  ORL would also have to thrown in someone like Evan Fournier to make contracts work.  This doesn't really move the needle for WAS unless they get back a pretty good haul for Bamba from a third team, but finding teams with loads of assets to give up for Beal is a tough find.

Kevin Love-
-Love is just entering his contract extension with CLE and with the direction they're going, Love is expendable at 31.  His value isn't near what it once was, especially considering his age, contract and injury history.  It'd be a huge gamble for any team to take him on, but there's a lot of teams with expiring contracts to throw at CLE if they thought Love could be the final piece to their puzzle.

POR offer-Meyers Leonard, Kelly Olynyk, 2025 1st

Why for CLE-this cuts the Love contract down to Leonard's $11M expiring this year and Olynyk's $12M owed for this year and next.  They can probably find a better offer out their for love, especially without MIA adding a real assets aside from a pick 6 years down the road, but if they wanted to punt entirely on Love's contract especially after all the frustration with his injury last year, this could be a route to go.

Why for MIA-MIA has clearly shown this summer they're going all in and they've got some really nice pieces to make a mid-seed run.  Adding Love would give them an interior threat.  Dragic, Butler, Winslow, Love and Adebayo with Herro, James Johnson, Waiters off the bench isn't terrible and MIA has given up so many picks over the last few years, what's another one 6 years down the road if it gives them another run at this?

CLE incoming-Jeff Teague, Eric Paschall, MIN 2020 1st rd pick, MIN 2022 pick swap
CLE outgoing-Kevin Love

GSW incoming-Kevin Love, Robert Covington
GSW outgoing-D'Angelo Russell, Eric Paschall

MIN incoming-D'Angelo Russell
MIN outgoing-Robert Covington, Jeff Teague, 2020 1st rd pick, 2022 pick swap

Why for CLE-this one's pretty self explanatory.  CLE gets a big expiring contract in Teague.  He wouldn't be much of a help to CLE who has Sexton and Garland to run PG duties with Dellavedova as their emergency backup.  Paschall was an early 2nd round pick.  He was a heralded glue guy at Villanova and is a relentless defender, good ball handler and has the ability to shoot from deep.  They'd also pick up additional draft capital from MIN, a big win for CLE considering MIN likely doesn't finish higher than the 8th seed in the West even after this trade.  They'd clear their books of most of their contracts and if they stay in the top 10 in the lottery, they'd likely have two lottery picks in next years draft.  By 2022, Sexton and Garland could become a dynamic duo, along with their other rookies Windler and Johnson, while also adding another top rookie in 2020.  MIN could be a complete mess by 2022 and that pick swap could be ultra valuable.

Why for GSW-it's likely GS dumps Russell for assets.  While it seems they could do better than this deal, it's quite possible they don't, considering the amount of big name trades around the league and the lack of a need for someone like Russell.  Love and Covington would be perfect glue guys next to Curry, Klay and Draymond.  They also fit the same contractual parameters while all of their core pieces are on the books for four more years aside from Steph who is on the books for the next 3.  

Why for MIN-MIN highly coveted Russell and KAT went so far as to post on Instagram that he thought they were going to get him in free agency.  They need a desperate upgrade in the backcourt and this deal would service them well.  Teague is a replacement level PG at this point and upgrading to Russell would be huge.  Covington is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, but they'd have to give up a major asset like him to get this deal done.  The draft capital would hurt them, especially considering adding Russell's contract to KAT's and Wiggins nearly maxes them out for the future, but that's a very young core altogether.  Russell, Culver, Wiggins, Bell, KAT with Okogie, Layman, Dieng, Napier off the bench isn't bad. 

D'Angelo Russell-
GSW were in a major pitfall this summer after Durant left and Klay being out for most of the season with injury.  They were left virtually capped out, especially after they re-signed Draymond and Klay, but managed to sneak out a Russell sign and trade.  He's not likely to be in GS long, unless Russell and Curry turn into some sort of dominant force which doesn't seem likely due to their similar skillset and lack of defense.  Russell is a rental to upgrade their team when he can be traded.

ORL offer-Mo Bamba, Evan Fournier, DJ Augustin, 2020 1st rd pick

Why for ORL-ORL has to get something going and this summer, they chose to stand relatively pat and re-sign their own players while also splurging for Al Farouq Aminu.  They have a decent package to put together for someone and a major upgrade at PG would be huge for them.  Nabbing Russell for parts would be a huge win and I think they'd give up even more draft capital to do so.  Russell, Ross, Isaac, Gordon, Vucevic is a versatile starting 5.  Their bench would be relatively depleted leaving them only with Aminu, Fultz, Khem Birch, and Iwundu, but they'd have to give up this much to get a deal done.

Why for GS-this seems a lot like the Harden deal where OKC valued more role players and lost them all shortly after, but in the mean time, it'd provide them far greater depth.  Fournier would fit in nicely as a wing while Klay recovers and would flourish in this system.  He can play either SG or SF whenever Klay returns.  Augustin would give them insurance at backup PG which they don't have at all right now and Bamba's a project, but has a really high ceiling.  He'd serve well on a team where all he has to do is spot up on the perimeter and use his length on the interior to disrupt offenses.  GS also gave up some future draft capital this summer trading Iguodala and reassuring themselves another pick next year would be big for them.
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DaMarcus Cousins has torn an ACL according to league sources...per Shams Charania.
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cameroncrazies02
That's a really big blow to LAL.  Cousins was possibly going to start alongside Lebron and Davis this year with Kuzma coming off the bench.  Davis prefers to play PF so as to not have to constantly be put in pick and rolls and be more of a free roamer on defense.  Now they're left with just Davis and JaVale McGee who can play center.  McGee doesn't fit the rest of their team, especially with non-floor spacers like Lebron, Rondo, Bradley and Kuzma.  I'd imagine LAL is going to try to find a center for their 15th roster spot.  

Kenneth Faried, Zaza Pachulia, Joakim Noah, Marquese Chriss, and Nene are the only real notable centers still available.  None of them space the floor well, except Chriss and Faried who actually tried some 3 pointers last year.  
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cameroncrazies02
A few more notable trade candidates-

OKC's flurry of vets-Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams

OKC built a team similar to LAC last year where they're going to hold onto their vets for now, see how many wins they can pump out and maybe have a firesale from there.  Chris Paul is the most notable-even with his injury issues and insane contract, he was phenomenal when Harden was off the floor.  Chris Paul though, will make $44M at the age of 37 in 2021-2022 which is daunting for any team trading for him.  Gallinari really transformed his game last year in LAC's somewhat free style offense.  He handled the ball quite a bit and while not a lockdown defender, has come to learn to use his size and frame effectively.  Gallo's contract is expiring though and with a trade, any team acquiring him wouldn't hold bird rights to him since he was traded twice.  Adams is an unknown.  He was relegated to boxing out and finishing around the rim with Westbrook.  With a more featured role he could be more effective.  he's also a great locker room guy.  Adams contract runs for 2 more years at $27M per year.

Chris Paul-

MIA offer-Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, James Johnson to OKC for Chris Paul, Andre Roberson

For MIA-MIA was hot on Paul for awhile but a trade never came to fruition, likely in part because MIA wasn't interested in sending out a young asset like Herro, Winslow or Adebayo and rightfully so.  Likely, a MIA trade would flip Waiters into Winslow's spot, but the value for OKC there is minimal as they'd have Waiters and Johnson toiling away with 2 years remaining on their contract.  Inserting Roberson into the trade could flip the deal.  They'd get a lock down defender in Roberson who can guard any position 1-4, pairing him with Butler as a daunting duo on the perimeter defensively.  Roberson's contract is also expiring which would benefit MIA here, cutting a year off Johnson's deal.  And Dragic is aging and showing it in the numbers.  All of his numbers across the board are down and Paul would be an upgrade.  They'd lock themselves into Paul and Butler for the next 3 years, but they'd then have Roberson and Leonard expiring this year, Olynyk and Waiters expiring next year giving them a semblance of flexibility while holding onto their two stars.

For OKC-this would be a massive cut down on salary and gaining a pretty intriguing asset in Winslow.  Winslow's dealt with injury issues, but has a lot of potential as a point forward.  Dragic expires this year, Johnson next year and would be a prime buyout candidate or trade candidate for a team next year looking for defensive versatility.

ORL offer-Evan Fournier, Markelle Fultz, DJ Augustin for Chris Paul

For ORL-salary isn't much of an issue for ORL, they locked in Vucevic and Ross this summer and Gordon last summer, so cap flexibility is out the window.  They're going to try their way with a three headed monster at PG with Augustin, Fultz and Carter-Williams this year which isn't all that intriguing.  Paul would provide them a steady veteran influence around some of their young guys and give them a puncher's chance in the East, at least at a 5 seed, something ORL would be ecstatic at.  But having Paul at 37 for $44M would not be a fun place to be if ORL hasn't turned it around.  

For OKC-Augustin and Fultz are by all accounts expiring.  Fultz has a team option for 2020-2021 at around $10M which is likely to be declined.  OKC would give Fultz another shot at redeeming himself and could provide a unique backcourt of Gilgeous-Alexander and Fultz.  SGA can shoot enough to offset Fultz.  Fournier would insert as the starting SG this year.  He has a player option for next year at around $18M which he'd likely accept, but stranger things have happened.  Fournier would stretch the floor for them and give them another playmaker on the perimeter, something their sorely lacking currently.

MIN offer-Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins to OKC for Chris Paul, Andre Roberson

For MIN-now were cooking.  MIN has some options this year and Paul wouldn't be a top trade candidate for them but could be a fallback plan if they get desperate.  Wiggins contract is bad and long and he hasn't produced, but Paul's contract is just as long and bad and he's old.  So pairing those two together makes some sense for both teams.  Paul running the offense would give a brand new flow to their offense and they have enough other shooters/playmakers-Culver and Covington most notably-to make it interesting.  Paul, Culver, Roberson, Covington, KAT with Okogie, Layman, Bell is a pretty fun group and far more competitive than what they're about to put out their now.

For OKC-they've maintained some flexibility going forward aside from Paul, so I'm not sure they'd want to take on Wiggins and put him in the spotlight where he hasn't thrived yet in MIN doing so, but if all of the other offers for Paul are minor role players on 2 year, large contracts and no assets attached, why not take a chance on him.  Teague is expiring and would cut their salary down by $3M this year, and $9M in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, but Wiggins contract would remain on the books for 2022-2023.  

Steven Adams-

ATL offer-Chandler Parsons, Alex Len, two 2nds for Adams, Terrance Ferguson

For ATL-ATL has a host of expiring contracts-Parsons, Turner, and Crabbe, to turn out something this year.  They also have two additional 1st round picks incoming-BKN's 2020 and OKC's 2022 and a bunch of 2nd round picks.  Their defense is what's going to continue to crush them with Young and Collins their core players.  Adams would be a great nab for them for 2 years, Adams is still relatively young just turning 26 and would be a fantastic locker room leader for them as they continue their re-build.  Ferguson would be a throw in, but he's extremely young and has a lot of physical tools.

For OKC-a pretty decent no brainer for them, Parsons expires and gives them a relatively clean cap sheet next summer, Len is a fill in center for the time being, yet showed quite a bit of promise towards the end of the year knocking down 3's.  They'd also get two more 2nd round picks in the deal to continue adding to their cash of future draft picks
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