Following the flurry of activity that took place at yesterday’s trade deadline, it’s inevitable that we dissect where each team went wrong, declare some the “big winners,” and reminisce over what could have been as we pore over the details of trades big and small.
What if Miami really had traded for Carlos Boozer? What if the Bobcats had completed a regrettable deal with the Pacers that brought back T.J. Ford and Brandon Rush in exchange for D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson, and Nazr Mohammed? What if the Knicks hadn’t given away just about every significant asset in their possession to shed the contract of Jared Jeffries? Or, perhaps the most relevant, what was stopping your team from trading for Kevin Martin with whatever sizable expiring contract was sitting in the franchise’s coffers?
The headline-grabbers in yesterday’s three-way trade between the Knicks, the Rockets, and the Kings are undoubtedly Martin and Tracy McGrady, but the latter has more utility as an expiring contract than he’s had as a player. So on paper, the Rockets only stood the same chance to steal away Martin as any other team with a big enough expiring contract…right?
Kind of. From Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee:
With all due respect to former Rocket Joey Dorsey and former New York Knick Larry Hughes, Landry is the reason Kevin Martin was sent to the Rockets in a three-team, nine-player deal that was formalized Thursday. He is the sort of impactful forward they had been seeking, undersized at 6-foot-9 but overachieving in every way during this, the best of his three seasons. He is averaging 16.1 points (54.7 percent shooting) and 5.5 rebounds off the bench. Landry was the point of inspiration for Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, who hid his willingness to move Martin from most league executives until the trading deadline’s 11th hour but jumped at the chance to land the gritty, athletic big man.
Look, the expiring contract matters; Martin was owed $34.6 million over the next three seasons, and the Kings took back only one $3 million team option that extends beyond this season. But the real catalyst in this trade is the underrated Landry, a tough power forward that could cement the Kings’ front-court rotation for years to come. It seems more and more that this deal wasn’t done to clear away cap space or save money, but to acquire Landry.
The Chicago Bulls traded Derrick Rose to New York, in hopes that the locker room, “whose team is this?” drama would head East with him. This is Jimmy Butler‘s team, with Dwyane Wade now assisting.
But the drama isn’t gone yet.
On their way out the door, the camps around Rose and Joakim Noah tried to paint Butler as a Diva who was the real problem. When Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times asked Butler about it, he basically laughed off the idea.
“Am I a diva? I don’t call it that,’’ Butler said before Thursday’s 97-81 loss to Atlanta in their final preseason game. “My will to win rubs people the wrong way sometimes. I can blame it on that, but won’t apologize for it. Never will.
“As far as that talk goes, I don’t care. I’m going to keep working and if people don’t like it, people want to say what they want to say, that’s fine. I know, and I think these guys know, where my heart is and how I want to do right by everybody.’’
Rose and Noah thought Butler tried to jump the line to be the leader of the team, which they saw as still their right as the veterans. Butler didn’t care what they thought then, he certainly doesn’t now.
What matters more, Nicola Mirotic and Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis don’t care, and they are the guys still there.
Who will finish with the better record, Bulls or Knicks, is one of my favorite subplots of the NBA season.
The Spurs are counting on Danny Green to regain his top-flight “3&D” form this season and give them another defender and weapon when they go up against that potential juggernaut out West. And the Clippers, too.
But that comeback is getting off to a slow start, the team announced Friday.
This likely means a little more run for Manu Ginobili and Kevin Martin to start the season, plus some funky lineups from Gregg Popovich.
Green played great defense last season but struggled from three (where 60 percent of his attempts are taken). Green shot 33.2 percent from deep on the season, which is well below his career average of 40.3 percent (and last year’s down numbers were buoyed by a red-hot January, he was much worse the rest of the season).
It’s something for Spurs fans to monitor, they need to get his legs right before his shot can return.
The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.
Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.
In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.
During the ProBasketballTalk podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown, you could hear the frustration in his voice. He has all these talented young front line players — Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor — but he can’t begin to figure out how they all fit together if he can’t get them on the court at the same time.
That problem just got worse.
The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:
During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.
The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.
That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.