The 2017 edition of NBA free agency is (almost) officially underway. The NBA’s moratorium period began at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. This means teams and free-agent players can verbally agree to new deals, but nothing can be officially signed until July 6.
The fact contracts cannot be officially signed yet doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to see plenty of action in the coming days—we are. That action isn’t only going to be limited to free agency, either.
As teams begin figuring out who they can and cannot land in free agency, we’re likely to see an increase in trade activity. Some teams will be looking to clear salary in order to sign players, while others will be looking to supplement their rosters in lieu of free agency.
All told, we’re likely to see quite a few big deals go down between now and July 6.
We’re here to examine the latest trade buzz as NBA free agency gets underway. We’ll look at the latest storylines and rumors and discuss what they could mean moving forward.
George Headed to Oklahoma City
We’ve seen two blockbuster trades already this offseason, resulting in both Jimmy Butler and Chris Paul finding new homes. Indiana Pacers forward Paul George then seemed likely to be the next big name to be moved via trade.
Washington Wizards star John Wall would certainly have like to see George land with his team.
“I am talking to some guys—Paul. I know his ultimate goal of where he wants to be,” Wall told ESPN’s The Undefeated on Monday night. “I’m trying to see if we can make something happen.”
Unfortunately, for Wall, it doesn’t look like he’ll get his wish anytime soon.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the Pacers have agreed to send George to the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Per ESPN.com, the Pacers will receive guard Victor Oladipo and second-year big man Domantas Sabonis.
This move may be enough to keep star Russell Westbrook in OKC for the foreseeable future. The Wizards, meanwhile, probably weren’t willing to offer enough to land George.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Wizards were looking to trade forward Otto Porter and a future pick to get George for the one year remaining on his contract.
“The Wizards would likely sign-and-trade Otto Porter, with one protected pick attached, to rent George, according to a league source,” Lowe explained.
Mike Wise of ESPN’s The Undefeated, however, believed that the Wizards were more interested in keeping Porter:
Ultimately, the Wizards may have decided that it makes more sense for the team to keep Porter for the long-term than to rent George for only one season. The team has offered Wall a four-year contract extension, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, though Wall is going to take some time to make his decision.
Wall may be more inclined to ink the long-term contract if he knows the team is going to build something around him for the next half decade. His current deal is up in two years.
Irving-George Trade Was a Pipe Dream
We know that the Cleveland Cavaliers were another team interested in adding George. However, the team is short on young developmental talent and draft capital, so any kind of trade would have to have been of the creative variety.
Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News offered up one trade possibility. Per Lawrence, a three-team deal involving Kyrie Irving, George Hill and the Utah Jazz could have been enough to get George in Cleveland:
That would certainly have been an exciting, league-altering deal, but it appears to be nothing more than a nifty rumor.
Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune reported as much:
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders and Bleacher Report quickly added that George couldn’t deal with Cleveland anyway. If he were part of a sign-and-trade deal, it would trigger a hard salary cap—which Cleveland is clearly over—making the move illegal.
Don’t expect Irving to leave Cleveland this offseason.
Clippers Listening to Offers for DeAndre Jordan
During the regular season, the idea of the Los Angeles Clippers breaking up their Big Three might have sounded a little ludicrous. Chris Paul is now a member of the Houston Rockets, though, and Blake Griffin is headed to free agency.
With the situation in L.A. the way it is—and with Jerry West now in the fold as a consultant—the Clippers could be looking at a total rebuild.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Clippers are listening to offers for center DeAndre Jordan following recent moves.
“Teams called about Jordan last week, perhaps anticipating the Clippers pivoting into a rebuild, sources say,” ESPN’s Lowe wrote. “The Clippers listened. They may listen harder now.”
The Clippers’ willingness to deal Jordan could hinge on how the team plans to build its roster for the future. Financially, dealing Jordan may make sense. It appears Griffin will be commanding a lot of money from the team.
According to Shams Charania of ESPN’s The Vertical, Griffin plans to sign a new five-year deal with L.A.:
Jordan is set to earn more than $22 million this season and can opt out of his contract next offseason.
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