It’s NBA draft day and honestly, my head is spinning. While Wednesday was a bit calmer on the NBA news front, several deals have already been made and there are so many rumors about potential deals it’s impossible to keep track. To recap, this is what has happened and what people are reporting will (or in some cases, won’t) happen:
- The Lakers have traded D’Angelo Russell + Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and the #27 in today’s draft
- The Hawks have traded Dwight Howard + the #31 pick to the Hornets for Miles Plumlee + Marco Belinelli + the #41 pick
- The Celtics traded the #1 pick to the 76ers for the #3 pick and a future 1st round pick (either the Lakers 2018 pick if it is not #2 – #5 or the Kings 2019 pick)
- The Indy Star is reporting that a Paul George trade is no longer imminent before the draft. Is this the Pacers posturing? It feels like it to me. Indy GM Kevin Pritchard has little to no leverage here and this feels like he’s trying to create some. Of course, this could backfire if he can’t secure the type of offer that makes the Lakers up the ante. Because the longer George is on the Pacers, the more prices are going to go down.
- Brian Windhorst is reporting that the Cavs are not going to be able to make a deal for George (or Jimmy Butler, for that matter) because they cannot drive up enough interest in Kevin Love to facilitate a trade.
- After Pau Gasol opted out of his contract to become a FA (with the intent of re-signing with the Spurs), San Antonio is reportedly interested in one of either Chris Paul or Derrick Rose in free agency. An additional report has Danny Green available in a trade with the implication even more cap space would be generated.
- Is Kristaps Porzingis on the trade block? Phil is taking (and, in some cases making) calls on his prized prospect, but asking for a major haul in return (as he should be if he’s going to entertain such a wild thing in the first place). Apparently Phil loves him some Josh “is he actually related to Phil?” Jackson, and would want a top 4 pick in return for KP in order to draft the Kansas Forward.
This isn’t even a comprehensive list, either. But it shows how active this period is, turning the week of the draft into a mini free agency all its own.
The question I think most of us have, though, is what will the Lakers do next? I shudder to make a prediction, honestly. We simply have too little data on this front office to even guess. Logically speaking, though, I would imagine that:
1. The Lakers draft Lonzo Ball. I just don’t see trading Russell and then also passing on Ball. The Lakers need a lead ball handler and, even if a trade for George happens, you still need a point guard and, no offense to him, it’s not Jordan Clarkson.
2. They continue to work the phones on Paul George. If what Windhorst is reporting above is true, the Pacers list of viable suitors is down one of the most intriguing options for George as a long term destination. George’s agent is reportedly telling teams that whoever trades for his client can expect it to be a rental, but that being true today doesn’t make it true a year from today. Other teams are still going to put their bids in and I think the Lakers will be one of them. Now, if I were making an offer, I would not include Randle (though I can understand an argument for doing so), with my “take it or leave it” proposition including Clarkson, a 1st rounder this year (27 or 28), and a future (heavily protected) 1st rounder. Again, if I were the Pacers, that wouldn’t move the needle enough for me, but if I’m the Lakers, I’m not sweetening it more than that.
Of course, all of that could be wrong. For all I know the Lakers will trade the #2 pick or look to get in on the Porzingis sweepstakes or do something drastic on George. Again, I just don’t have a feel for this FO and after they moved on from Russell, I’m taking a step back to acknowledge that they are too unpredictable for me at this stage and I need more data.
Which, honestly, is one of the things I am looking forward to today and over the next few weeks. The first major decision the team has made (I don’t count the Lou Williams trade) is one that I do not really agree with, but beyond that it gives us a peek into what their potential plan is. Today/tonight, with the draft, we get another peek. And another in free agency. Etc, etc. So, not only am I excited to welcome the newest member to the team and get excited about that, I’m anxious to see the outcome of this process leading up to today.