The NBA free agency period starts on Saturday, and if the past few weeks are any indication, then we are in for a crazy summer.
It probably won’t be as wild as the year DeAndre Jordan agreed to a new deal with the Dallas Mavericks before the Clippers convinced him to stay in L.A., but this offseason should take second place.
As Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on June 18, the Indiana Pacers forward is looking elsewhere after his contract runs out in 2018, preferably to the Los Angeles Lakers.
That has led to a litany of trade rumors involving the All-Star, as the Pacers obviously don’t want to lose George in free agency for nothing.
Many trade rumors involve contending teams looking to add George for a title push, although the kicker is that George may bolt for the Lakers in free agency just one year later.
Per Sam Amick of USA Today, however, George won’t rule out the idea of re-signing with a team if it has a title window and puts itself in contention for long-term success, with the Cleveland Cavaliers (provided LeBron James commits to the Cavs after his contract runs out after next season), Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs as possibilities.
Ultimately, it’s impossible seeing George suiting up for the Pacers this season, so it’s a matter of where he’s headed.
The best bet right now is the Cavs, who have the best player (Kevin Love) to offer in a trade. George would also be a great fit in Cleveland, as he could slot into the small forward position with James playing power forward.
Boston is looking to add George and free-agent small forward Gordon Hayward, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, but the fit there seems awkward. It’s hard seeing the two of them, who play the same position, meshing well on the court at the same time. It’s the same deal with the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard.
Therefore, the money is on the Cavs getting a deal done.
Former Knicks basketball president of operations Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony clearly did not get along, which led to a litany of trade rumors even though the star forward had a no-trade clause.
According to Wojnarowski, however, there’s still talk of Melo’s departure, and it looks like the Knicks want to make a deal:
From a basketball perspective, it makes sense for both sides to part ways.
The Knicks are nowhere close to contending for a championship, and they’ll struggle to even make the playoffs next year if Melo returns. Their best bet is to build around Kristaps Porzingis and hope he develops into a megastar over the next few years.
Melo has been in the NBA for 14 seasons, and the only thing that’s missing on his basketball resume is a ring. He’s not getting it in New York, so his best bet is to latch onto a contending team that hopes Anthony is the missing piece to get it over the top.
It’s just a matter of whether Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause for the right move. If there is an opportunity for him to play with some of his best friends in the league (e.g. Chris Paul or LeBron James), then perhaps he could jump at that chance.
One-third of Lob City is now off the team, as point guard Chris Paul is with the Houston Rockets. Power forward Blake Griffin is a free agent and could be heading elsewhere.
If that wasn’t bad enough news already for Clippers fans, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, it’s a possibility that center DeAndre Jordan could be dealt:
“Teams called about Jordan last week, perhaps anticipating the Clippers pivoting into a rebuild, sources say. The Clippers listened. They may listen harder now. The floor was always cramped with Griffin and Jordan, even though Griffin finally flashed a real 3-point shot last season. They compensated with Redick’s outside shooting, and the combined passing brilliance of Paul and Griffin. Without an all-time point guard, the Griffin-Jordan fit will be a little more awkward.”
Might the Clippers lose all three members of their top trio in one offseason?
If the Clippers retain Griffin, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jordan playing elsewhere next year given Lowe’s comments.
If the Clippers lose Griffin in free agency, then they might as well go into full rebuilding mode and trade Jordan anyway. Shooting guard J.J. Redick is also a free agent, and per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are going to make concerted efforts to obtain him this offseason.
Losing Paul, Griffin and Redick would mean that the Clippers’ top three scorers from 2016-17, who averaged a combined 54.7 points per game, would be playing elsewhere. They’d also lose the only two players who shot better than 39 percent from behind the three-point line (Paul and Redick).
At that point, they might as well accumulate as many draft picks as they can and rebuild a new core over the next few years.
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