We’re bound to see at least a few other big names change cities within the next few weeks, especially with free agency negotiations beginning on Saturday.
Here’s a look at some recent rumors involving some of the NBA‘s best players.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Clippers are trying to keep at least one member of Lob City:
Blake Griffin has missed 83 regular season games over the past three seasons, but in his last full year (2013-14), the former Oklahoma star posted 24.1 points on 52.8 percent shooting. Even during the last three injury-riddled seasons, Griffin was still effective, posting 21.7 points (49.8 percent shooting), 8.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists a night.
If Griffin can stay on the court (per Michael Eaves of ESPN, he may miss the beginning of the season due to the toe injury suffered in last year’s playoffs), then he can still be an All-Star-caliber player even though Chris Paul won’t be on the front end of any alley-oop dunks anymore.
The question is whether Griffin wants to stay in Los Angeles after the Clippers’ chances of winning a ring just took a massive hit. One big factor in the Clippers’ favor: They can offer Griffin more money than any other team (five years and $175 million, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times).
We already knows that Paul George wants to leave the Indiana Pacers at the end of his contract following next season, so it’s just a matter of where his next destination will be.
Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, it might be Houston:
McMahon also mentioned Carmelo Anthony as a Rocket target. Complicating matters there, however, is that Anthony has a no-trade clause, so unless the Knicks agree to buy him out (and that doesn’t seem likely, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical), then that idea seems doubtful.
Focusing on George for a moment, Houston could be a great home for him. If George heads south, then the new Rockets’ big three of Paul, James Harden and George could probably form the best trio in the league outside of Golden State.
If the Rockets continue to improve on last season’s performance, when they won 55 games and made the second round of the playoffs, then one has to wonder whether George would consider staying in Houston long term and trying to win with the team.
As Wojnarowski reported two weeks ago, George’s preference would be to head to the Los Angeles Lakers after his contract expires, but if things go exceedingly well in Houston, then perhaps George’s perspective changes.
Three teams on the rise will do the bidding for Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward’s services, per Jorge Sedano of ESPN: the Jazz, the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.
Boston and Utah would seem to be neck and neck for Hayward. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens coached Hayward at Butler, and the two nearly won the 2010 national championship over Duke after a Hayward half-court heave at the buzzer just missed. Their rapport and chemistry was obvious in college, so a Hayward-Stevens pairing seems like a distinct possibility.
Plus, Hayward could slot right into the small forward position, instantly making the Celtics an even stronger contender for the Eastern Conference title next year.
Hayward has enjoyed success in Utah as well, capped by his breakout All-Star campaign last year and a playoff series win against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Jazz can also offer Hayward the most money out of this trio of teams (five years and $180 million), per ESPN.
The guess here is that it’s a toss-up between Boston and Utah.
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