The NBA landscape continues to change constantly as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a package including guards Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley, forward Sam Dekker and a 2018 first-round pick (top-three protected).
With the way this offseason has been trending, expect more big names to be on the move shortly.
Here’s a look at some recent trade rumors involving Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.
Will Paul George Join Chris Paul in Houston?
Per Brian Windhorst of ESPN (h/t Jack Maloney of CBS Sports), the Rockets may not be done dealing, as they are looking to add George: “[Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s] vision is to bring Paul George and Chris Paul in. Will he be able to do it? His central piece to trade is Indianapolis native Eric Gordon. Is that gonna be enough with other pieces? I don’t know, but Daryl Morey swings for the fences.”
George would be a great fit in Houston. Paul would obviously run the point, with James Harden returning to shooting guard. George would be the small forward, and Trevor Ariza would likely shift to power forward, which is a better fit for him than the small forward position he played more often last year.
Clint Capela would stay at center, with last year’s starting power forward, Ryan Anderson, coming off the bench as a three-point specialist.
Houston’s combination at guard and small forward would rival anyone in the league, including the Golden State Warriors. If the Rockets can find a way to get this move done, then a Warriors vs. Rockets Western Conference Finals might seem inevitable, although discounting Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs is never a good idea.
Boston Celtics Still Alive in the Race for George
As Wojnarowski reported, the Boston Celtics are looking to add Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward in free agency in addition to a trade for George.
On paper, the C’s would have the most well-rounded starting lineup in the NBA with George and Hayward in the mix (provided shooting guard Avery Bradley isn’t involved in a deal).
The C’s would have three players who made the All-Star Game last year (the aforementioned two plus point guard Isaiah Thomas) and a fourth (center Al Horford) who has been there four times and as recently as 2016.
The fifth player (Bradley) averaged a career-high 16.3 points and 6.1 rebounds last season while playing great defense (when he didn’t make this year’s All-Defense team, NBA players went up in arms on Twitter, including Phoenix Suns sharpshooting guard Devin Booker).
The problem is that Hayward and George play the same position. Presumably, the bigger player (George) would be forced to play as a smaller power forward, which isn’t his natural position. He’d be asked to guard bigger and longer players, which is a tall order.
Still, a Celtics team with Hayward and George added to the mix would have an NBA championship ceiling. It’s just a matter of seeing how all the pieces fit.
Ricky Rubio Headed to Utah?
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Jazz are interested in bringing Ricky Rubio aboard:
George Hill, the Jazz point guard last season, is a free agent and could be headed elsewhere, so this may be a play to find a new floor general should he find a new home.
Rubio has been the center of trade rumors for quite some time, and Stein recently reported that the Timberwolves are looking for a better shooter at the position.
Oddly enough, Rubio seems like a better fit for his current home in Minnesota rather than Utah.
The Jazz play fantastic defensive basketball, led by center Rudy Gobert. But they need a few more pieces in the starting lineup and off the bench that can put the ball in the basket. Last year, Utah was third in the NBA in defensive efficiency but a so-so 12th in offensive efficiency, per ESPN.com.
Adding Rubio to replace Hill, who scored a career-high 16.9 points per game last year and shot 47.7 percent from the field, would be a scoring downgrade. Rubio has shot just 37.5 percent from the field for his career, although his mark of 40.2 percent last season (to go along with 11.1 points) were career-highs.
Rubio’s best fit seems to be in Minnesota, where he can distribute to ball dominators like Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler, while Hill should stay in the place where he had a career resurgence in Utah.
Ultimately, it might make sense for both players to stay put.
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