We’re still a few days away from the official start of the new NBA league year, but there is plenty of drama already building up from all corners of the NBA map.
A shocking number of the league’s biggest names are either set to become free agents, or are on the trading block. And while many of them—Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, for example—are expected to re-sign with their current franchise, there will still be plenty of movement to shake up the look of the NBA this fall.
As teams prepare for the new league year to kick off free agency on July 1, here’s a look at some of the latest rumors around the NBA.
Celtics Looking to Overhaul Roster
On Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical laid out his report on the Celtics’ aggressive offseason plans, which include landing Gordon Hayward on the free-agent market and then trading for Indiana Pacers forward Paul George.
It’s a bold strategy for Boston, and a fairly complicated one in terms of making the money work.
As Wojnarowski explained, the Celtics are hoping for a commitment from Hayward before finalizing a trade for George, in order to make sure the money works out.
However, Boston isn’t all in on its Hayward/George plans, and it does have some fall-back options in case Plan A doesn’t work out.
According to Wojnarowski, Plan B likely involves targeting Blake Griffin as a free agent, and then adding George in a trade.
Of course, all of these plans could be derailed by the Pacers. As Wojnarowski noted, Indiana isn’t in a rush to dump George and might be willing to hold out until later in the summer. If the Pacers are holding out for a better deal, it’s possible the Celtics will get nervous and take their plans in another direction entirely, using the money they have allotted for George on other players in the current free-agent pool.
Jazz Aren’t Giving up on Hayward
While Wojnarowski‘s latest piece focused on the Celtics plan, he also noted that the Jazz aren’t resigned to the fact that Hayward is leaving.
Utah has cap room to spend before the league year starts on July 1, putting them in the mix to acquire someone in a trade before the free-agency period begins. And according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, they may already be working on a deal:
Adding Rubio could help entice Hayward to stay in Utah, if he believes the addition would help the Jazz compete in the crowded Western Conference.
The Jazz finished with the No. 5 seed in the West this past season, and some aggressive moves would need to take place to close the gap between the top teams in the conference.
If playing for a championship contender is high on Hayward’s list of priorities, it’s difficult to imagine the acquisition of Rubio swaying his decision. But if he’s otherwise happy in Utah and content to simply be a mid-level playoff contender, maybe such a trade would be enough to keep him in town.
Carmelo Anthony to Become a Free Agent?
Seemingly from the moment the New York Knicks re-signed Carmelo Anthony in 2014, the future of Anthony with the Knicks has been a constant ominous cloud hanging over the franchise.
The Knicks have won just one playoff series during Anthony’s time in New York, and have missed the postseason entirely in each of the past four years.
Given the state of the franchise, New York would presumably love to trade Anthony, who still has two years left on his contract. However, Anthony has a no-trade clause, and he has made it clear he would reject almost any trade that would send him out of New York.
So the Knicks are in a difficult spot. How do you trade someone who is destroying his own trade value by dictating the teams with which the Knicks are allowed to negotiate?
But now, in a somewhat surprising move, Anthony is reportedly ready to leave New York, according to Stein:
In a follow-up tweet, Stein stated that the Knicks are reluctant to cut Anthony loose, potentially because they believe it would just clear a path for him to join the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If Anthony is trying to force his way out of New York in an effort to join the Cavs, the Knicks have regained some power in these discussions. And, as a result, this likely won’t be a drama that gets quickly resolved.
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