With this year's historic NBA Finals now history, the entire league turns to the offseason and, specifically, key additions to be made by every team over the summer. From blockbuster trades to key squad additions through the draft and free agency, general managers have already begun answering calls, and rumors now turn into chatter throughout the league and its insiders.
Today is officially the first day of the NBA offseason for the entire league; here are some potential trades that can either rock a young core or bolster a team to a championship caliber.
Despite rumors that Phil Jackson could leave for his old franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks president seems to be committed to his club and now desires to upgrade the horrific point guard position for the Knicks, even risking a gamble on Chicago‘s ex-superstar point guard Derrick Rose.
Rose has only played 50% of Chicago's last four seasons due to a number of various injuries that plagued him throughout his career, yet Rose still remains heavily touted due to his unbelievable 2010-11 season in which he won the regular season MVP and averaged 25 points and 7.7 assists per game.
This trade, however, would definitely help a struggling Knicks backcourt that will presumably start aging veteran Jose Calderon going into the next season. Calderon played 28.1 minutes per game this past season yet only averaged 7 points per game and, even more astonishingly, 4.1 assists per game as the team's first option point guard.
Chicago remains unclear about their desire to trade the injury-plagued Rose, especially with the Knicks only having two players with significant trade value, forwards Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Furthermore, Rose's $21 million contract over 2016-17 and his free agent status after that year remain two big concerns for the Knicks, who need more security after some tragic performances over the past few years.
With the draft looming this Thursday, the Knicks will have to move quickly in order to package a deal with their first round pick, hopefully tempting enough for Chicago to comply. Either way, Rose's future with the Bulls remains largely up in the air.
D'Angelo Russell had an interesting first year in the NBA, both on and off the court, and now, the Lakers could be looking to off-load their second-year point guard as well as the second pick in the 2016 draft in exchange for some more proven NBA talent in the form of Jazz forwards Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward.
For the Lakers, the return to greatness remains a pressing motivation for the front office, and trading away Russell, who averaged 13.2 points per game and 3.3 assists per game in his rookie season for the Lakers, for the forward pair could provide a key resurgence in the Lakers' defense that was ranked the fourth worst in the 2016 season. Furthermore, L.A. would be adding two forwards to their lineup and could easily find another guard in this backcourt drenched Western Conference.
After Los Angeles presumably dumps most of their free agent contracts, the Lakers could easily assume the $27.1 million the two will make combined next season, and in this scenario, Los Angeles could keep beloved young guard Jordan Clarkson, who has shown some light in his growth for the Laker organization in these past dreary years.
When asked about the draft and potential trade for picks, the Utah Jazz VP of player personnel omniously commented,“We've been on the phone quite a bit. I think we're still open to anything and everything. Whether that's to keep the pick, to trade up, to trade down or whatever.” Either way, Russell's future with the Lakers remains heavily debated throughout the league.
When the rebuilding Bucks offered the free agent center Greg Monroe a three-year maximum deal last summer, they did not expect to be heavily shopping him around the league the following summer. Yet, after a dismal first season in Milwaukee with chemistry as a major concern, the Bucks are now discussing possible exit strategies for the 6'11” center.
Monroe has garnered interest throughout the league in the past couple years because of his ability to score, rebound, and pass as an NBA big man. However, despite averaging 15.3 points per game and 8.8 rebounds, Monroe never seemed to truly compliment the Bucks play, and the Milwaukee regressed to a 33-49 record after going 41-41 the season before.
Monroe has now been dubbed as an outlander in head coach Jason Kidd‘s strategy, yet the big man shows strong potential in fitting the triangle system and thus gained strong interest from the New York Knicks under president and face of the triangle offense, Phil Jackson. The Knicks already have two strong forwards in Porzingis and Anthony, and Monroe could be a great addition in the center role for New York.
Monroe's contract, however, remains a big problem for any team that desires to reach the center. Monroe is set to earn $17.1 million through the 2016-17 season and another $17.8 million the season after that. When asked earlier in the season, Milwaukee did not rule out Monroe being a part of a larger deal that could include the “gettable” young guard Michael Carter-Williams or some other role player part of this young Bucks squad.
Although this is not a trade, Kevin Durant‘s free agency status presents easily the biggest capability for shock waves throughout the NBA. Durant remained quiet throughout the season on his free agency status, but three scenarios remain large for Durant this offseason, assuming he does improbably leave Oklahoma City, which he calls “home”.
Possibly the most deadly has been the rumor that Durant could leave to join the Western Conference rival Golden State Warriors, forming a sharp shooting big three with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. However, despite the Warriors' upcoming conversations with Durant, the Dubs would have to make a number of cap space moves and ultimately dump a lot of their bench core in order to acquire KD. Furthermore, where the 19.2 shots per game Durant puts up will come from remains largely unknown.
Another scenario sees Durant making another power trio, this time in San Antonio where Durant could catapult the Spurs into a dynasty for years to come. San Antonio would also have to make some cap space gymnastics, involving dumping Danny Green‘s $10 million and renouncing the rights to both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, but the tantalizing picture of LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and Durant could provide enough motivation for the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich to pursue the free agent.
Finally, Durant could take his talents to the Eastern Conference and become a superstar for the Boston Celtics, who already have a number of different players ready to push this team into the championship conversation. Celtics star guard Isaiah Thomas averages 22.2 points per game, and the Thomas/Durant duo could pose a strong threat to the Eastern Conference balance of power, which lies almost entirely with the Cavs. Whether this dynamic duo would pry Durant from his already strong partnership with superstar Russell Westbrook remains highly questionable, however.
Nonetheless, Durant's free agent status remains highly anticipated throughout the league and could provide any number of teams a championship boost going into the next season. With free agency on its way, general managers and spectators alike will wait and see where Durant will take his superb talents.
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