The NBA Draft is only a few days away and the trade rumors are flying around the league at Fast and Furious X pace…except most of them are fake. That being said, there is some truth out there.
Let’s break down the latest NBA draft and trade rumors and news.
Just as impressed as Karl-Anthony Towns somehow was with the Timberwolves’ run to the playoffs last season, it wasn’t a success considering the team went all-in with the Rudy Gobert trade. Last season’s stumble led to a lot of speculation that Minnesota could break things up, specifically trading Towns (because Gobert is essentially untradeable, while KAT’s offense gives him great value) and rebuilding the team around Anthony Edwards.
After we’ve just spent a few weeks praising the patience and continuity shown by Miami and Denver — remember, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly was with the Nuggets previously — it would be hypocritical to say Minnesota needs to blow this in the air now. That being said, Minnesota needs to develop into Edwards’ team, he will be the best of this group and the team should be rebuilt around him. Also, while there is something to be said for patience, there may not be enough of it in the world to make Towns and Gobert fit together as a front line. If it doesn’t work out this season, at what point do they pull the plug on the experiment? With Towns’ supermax contract extension starting for the 2024-25 season, is it time?
Trail Blazers have eyes that look north of the border of Siakam, Anunoby
There are many “What are the Raptors going to do?” questions are floating around the NBA. There are also a lot of “What should the Trail Blazers do?” questions leading up to the draft (although trading Bam Adebayo shouldn’t be one of them).
Maybe the two teams should talk to each other. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated says they are, and that Portland has reached out to Toronto with eyes on a possible Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby trade. The buzz around the league has been that the Raptors seem more willing to consider a Siakam trade than Anunoby, but are the No. 3 pick and Anfernee Simons (plus likely more picks) enough to interest Toronto in the move? Maybe if Scoot Henderson falls to No. 3 (depending on what Charlotte does with the No. 2 pick).
Siakam is underrated by many fans and would be a good two-way fit next to Lillard if the Raptors are serious about making a move.
Also with the Raptors, Gary Trent Jr. chooses. possibility for next season
Things will be different next season on the Toronto Raptors roster whether Siakam is there or not. One thing that won’t change is that Gary Trent Jr. will be back, he has picked up his $18.5 option for next season.
Trent Jr. was the focus of a lot of offseason and trade speculation, and he could still be moved even after picking up his option. But good two-way swings who averaged 17.6 points per game and can shoot the three, are hard to come by, the Raptors want a lot in return.
What was the best offer the Spurs got for the No. 1 pick?
Never say never… except in this case, where we can say with certainty that the Spurs would never trade the #1 pick and the rights to Victor Wembanyama. Except you know some teams called and at least funnily tried to make an offer. Spurs GM Brian Wright was asked what was the best offer he received (via Jeff McDonald at the San Antonio Express-News).
“The best offer we got was from a (general manager) two days after the lottery who said, ‘I’ll give you my assistant GM’s right arm and left leg,'” Wright said.
He rejected the GM, which was good for both the GM and the lucky assistant GM from the other team.
Bulls keep asking the price for Zach LaVine sky high
Zach LaVine is an All-Star and a scoring machine averaging 27.4 points per game. game. With the Bulls stuck in the mud as a franchise, the team is reportedly listening to offers for their best player, considering at least shaking things up at some core level. But they don’t give him away. Not even close.
Bulls want “a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary padding” reports KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. That’s a steep price for a guy with four years and $178 million still on his contract. All of this is to say, you’d expect LaVine to be a Bull at the start of next season, but at least the team is kicking the bums on deals.
If the Clippers trade for Chris Paul, where does that leave Russell Westbrook?
After last season, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue and everyone in the organization heaped praise on Russell Westbrook, his play and his fit with the team. It all worked out, better than many of us outside the locker room expected. Everyone said they wanted him back.
Then reports emerged that the Clippers are the frontrunners to trade for Chris Paul.
Westbrook and CP3 in the same backcourt? How would that work? Lue might have to find out since the Clippers are open to having both CP3 and Westbrook on the roster, according to Law Murray at The Athletic. Part of the reason both work for the Clippers is financial – trading for Paul means he’s trading for his $30.8 million salary this season, but the most the Clippers can offer Westbrook is 120% of the veteran minimum. Westbrook isn’t expensive in NBA terms, it’s not a huge financial risk.
None of that answers what Westbrook’s role is on a roster with Paul? Westbrook is not going to run it back in the same role he was in.
As much as he loves being home in Los Angeles, if another team offers more, Westbrook will strongly consider it. Except who would it be? The Bulls, seeing how things are going with Lonzo Ball? Trail Blazers? There are few obvious options for his services that could push Westbrook back to the Clippers, where he is in demand. Even if the fit is now more of a question mark.
Damian Jones will return to Utah next season
Not a surprise, but passing it on.