All-Star wing Paul George is saying all the right things for now, but his looming free agency will be a question surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder all season. And there are already rumblings linking him to the Golden State Warriors.
Avery Bradley is another wing who will be on the open market soon. And his new team, the Detroit Pistons, appear willing to sign him long term.
And finally, the Houston Rockets’ Trevor Ariza may be nice to receive as part of a return for Anthony, but it looks like he’s staying put as well.
Paul George to the Golden State Warriors?
Shortly after his trade to the Thunder was official, George made an appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski‘s The Woj Pod podcast.
“There were a lot of trade discussions,” Wojnarowski said. “I think probably every team in the league checked in with Indiana about you in that window when you were available. One offer I was told was made was that Indiana offered you to Golden State for Klay Thompson, Golden State said no, and talks didn’t go anywhere.”
George has significant edges over Thompson in nearly every advanced metric, per Basketball Reference, but loyalty to a player who helped win two titles made sense for Golden State. Plus, Thompson is under contract for an extra year.
That hasn’t kept Bay Area reporters from wondering about George winding up with the Warriors, though.
“Marcus [Thompson] and I have teased this for more than a year,” The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami said on the Posting Up podcast with Tim Bontemps (h/t NESN). “We think they’re going to go after Paul George somehow. I think Joe Lacob is going to try to find a way to get Paul George. I don’t know how that would happen, but I didn’t know how it was going to happen three years ago when they said they were going after Durant.”
Considering the max, or near-max, money already tied up in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Thompson, some kind of trade is the only way George would end up there. And considering Golden State already turned down a Thompson-George swap, it seems a lot would have to go wrong for that to make its way back to the table.
Is Avery Bradley Detroit’s Long-Term Shooting Guard?
Bradley is on a team-friendly contract this season, but that deal expires in 2018, and he will enter free agency as an intriguing option for several teams as a combo guard.
Detroit may not be able to let him walk, though. It let Kentavious Caldwell-Pope go this offseason, and the only other shooting guard on the roster right now is rookie Luke Kennard.
“Sources close to the process believe that Detroit traded for Bradley knowing full well it would be very expensive to retain him beyond this season,” Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler wrote. “If he is everything they hope he’ll be, they have no issues paying him.”
So, essentially, this just looks like a KCP-Bradley swap, and the only discernible benefit is delaying the payday by a year. Plus, Caldwell-Pope is three inches taller and over two years younger.
Could Trevor Ariza be on the Move?
It’s long been reported that Anthony’s desired destination is Houston, and since he has a no-trade clause, he holds plenty of cards in this situation.
What he can’t control, though, is what the Rockets are able to offer the New York Knicks. Ryan Anderson doesn’t make a ton of sense for a team that is on the verge of a rebuild and already has plenty of big men. Clint Capela has the potential to be a near-perfect rim-roller for a team that includes two distributors in Chris Paul or James Harden.
Would Trevor Ariza move the needle for New York? Like Anderson, he doesn’t fit New York’s new timeline, but he’s on an expiring contract.
And even if the Knicks were interested, Houston isn’t looking to deal him, according to Kyler, “As much as Knicks fans may want to see Ariza included in a package for Carmelo Anthony, the prevailing thought out of Houston is the Rockets need the versatile Ariza to make it all work, especially on the defensive side.”
So, as has often been the case when it comes to news in this saga, it looks like the takeaway will be that more patience is necessary.
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