NBA Draft: Who's dealing? A look at tradeable picks

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A significant side effect of the lottery is that teams who don’t necessarily need or want a nigh impact player at various positions get slotted in draft positions to acquire such a player. It also means that teams see an opportunity to cash in on a high impact young player by moving the pick for veterans and/or dumping off long-term anchor contracts.

So we wanted to take a look at the top of the draft and see who’s likely to make a move.

1. Washington Wizards: Verdict? Don’t count on it. The Wizards need a revamp, a reboot of their franchise. John Wall provides them that, and you’ll have to pry that pick from their cold dead hands. Be careful. They’re armed.

Sorry, couldn’t help it.

2. Philadelphia 76ers:
Verdict? Flip a coin.  The Sixers have already notified teams that the No.2 overall pick is available if their trade partner is willing to take on Elton Brand. And while they’re holding on to that stipulation for the time being, they have similar money tied up in Samuel Dalembert and Andre Iguodala. If the right team comes along with the right price and is convinced Evan Turner is going to be an All-Star, a deal could get done without Brand. But it’s going to have to bowl the Sixers over to give up the pick. After all, they can always take Turner and figure the rest out later.

3. New Jersey Nets: Verdict? Not out of the question. The Nets have drastic needs all over the floor, and having missed out on John Wall, they need to maximize what they can get. Derrick Favors is the consensus No.3 pick, and it’s unclear whether he’s the kind of impact player the Nets need. If a team thinks Favors, Cousins, or Wesley Johnson is the answer to their problems and need to dump off some money, the Nets can accommodate them. The Nets also have two other picks in the top 32 selections, so a package deal can be done.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves: Verdict? There’s always a chance with Kahn. David Kahn has made noise about wanting to improve quicker than they were on pace for (which had them making the playoffs in 2020 as an eighth seed). So it’s possible the Wolves would be willing to move their No. 4 pick, and would definitely be open to moving it alongside Al Jefferson (who is rumored to be on the block) for a superstar. Not many of those on the market, though. On the other hand, David Kahn thinks Darko Milicic is the answer, so it’s possible a team can rip them off. Brace yourselves, Wolvesies.

5. Sacramento King: Verdict? Not bloody likely. The Kings didn’t hit the jackpot in the lottery, but they landed in a favorable position. The Kings know they’re working for contention in three to four years, not immediately, and have their back court solidified with Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. Any of the players that are likely to fall to them at No. 5 would fit in a need, and they have no intention of taking on longer term contracts to help out a team wanting to trade for the pick.

6. Golden State Warriors: Verdict? The Crazy Store is always open. The Warriors are already being talked about as a team looking for trades. They’re the wild card here. You can’t really point to a need on their team, since they have good players that don’t play well under Don Nelson, an unstable ownership situation, and a dysfunctional team that has never played defense, we’re pretty sure. Ever. Monta Ellis is likely available, and the Warriors always enjoy trading for players that don’t make much sense.

7. Detroit Pistons: Verdict? Coin flip. The Pistons have contracts to move, are desperate to improve, and aren’t playing for the future. So Detroit could be open. On the other hand, Joe Dumars has also shown a willingness to stay pat and not force the issue. Could be they wind up being part of multi-team trade, but we can also see them staying put and taking the best center or small forward available.

Cavaliers try to convey confidence amid their own star crisis (crises?)

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Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said the Pacers could have done better in their Paul George trade – a bold (though correct) public critique from someone who had to apologize for his handling of the last time he lost a star and is staring down the prospect of losing another star this summer and the original star again next summer.

What was supposed to be a press conference introducing new general manager Koby Altman today predictably turned into an examination of Kyrie Irving‘s trade request and LeBron James2018 free agency.

“This thing is not broken,” said Altman, who takes over a team that has reached three straight NBA Finals – winning the 2016 title – but now faces immense peril.

Both Gilbert and Altman kept their assessments of Irving’s trade request close to the vest, not even confirming it occurred. But even NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he assumes reports of Irving’s request are accurate.

Gilbert said he planned to call Silver, clearly part of an attempt to project stability. That was the transparent underpinning of the entire press conference, which included Gilbert saying he felt better about hiring Altman than any prior general manager. The plan went awry when Gilbert stumbled through an answer about why he’s never given a general manager a second contract and why the Cavs couldn’t lure Chauncey Billups, who turned down leading the front office and later said he knew of Irving’s discontent and labeled it “alarming.”

But Gilbert did give his assessments on the franchise’s biggest issues.

On LeBron’s future beyond this season: “We do not control all the cards we get dealt.”

On whether Irving will be in training camp: “Right now, Kyrie Irving is under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two or three years, depending on the last year. So, as of now, he’s one of our best players. Sure, we expect him to be in camp.”

In context, Gilbert sounded as if he was merely saying he expected every Cavalier under contract to be in training camp until their contract status changed – not that he was predicting Irving wouldn’t be traded this offseason.

All reports are that the Cavs are proceeding as if they’ll trade Irving, though Gilbert also brought Kobe Bryant’s infamous 2007 trade request. Kobe and the Lakers reconciled, and he won two more titles in Los Angeles.

“I’m not saying that that happens here,” Gilbert said. “But the possibilities of what will happen are wide.”

The Cavs at least left the door open publicly for Irving returning. Altman downplayed any animosity between the team’s stars, echoing LeBron’s tweets. But Irving’s issues with LeBron appear to be deeper and different than face-to-face resentment, and this summer’s saga hasn’t necessarily helped.

Altman called LeBron “deeply committed to this team and deeply committed to this city” and Irving a “core piece of who we are and what we do.”

Yet, the new general manager wanted to expand discussion beyond those two.

“It’s interesting,” Altman said. “We’ve had an active offseason that I wish some of you would talk more about, in terms of what we’ve done.”

The offseason LeBron reportedly deemed frustrating?

Altman gets a pass for David Griffin’s departure, which clearly rankled LeBron. But Cleveland’s signings – Derrick Rose, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Jose Calderon, Cedi Osman – leave plenty to be desired, especially as the Warriors load up. A championship looks even further from Cleveland.

With the goal so high and future so turbulent, Gilbert and Altman faced an uphill battle in projecting stability today. Luckily for them, this isn’t the true measure of success.

But things that matter far more – navigating Irving’s trade request, re-signing LeBron – might not be much easier.

Watch the top 60 clutch shots from last NBA season

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It’s that time of the year when there is no basketball, so we fill the time with idle Kyrie Irving speculation and video highlights of last season.

Along those lines, above you can out the top 60 clutch shots from last season, as determined by the folks at NBA.com.

The great thing about the clutch shot list is the ball is in the hands of stars at the ends of games, so there is plenty of Russell Westbrook, John Wall, LeBron James, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and more. Personally, I would have switch No. 1 and No. 2 on the list, but it’s all fun to relive.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert: Pacers ‘could have done better’ on Paul George trade

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Kyrie Irving has requested a trade. LeBron James could leave next summer. The Cavaliers keep churning through general managers, the newest – Koby Altman – the reason for today’s press conference.

But Cavs owner Dan Gilbert looked past his own team’s turmoil and potential turmoil to take a shot at the Pacers, who traded Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

“I will say Indiana could have done better than they did,” Gilbert said after Altman refused to directly address a question about George trade talks and shifted the discussion elsewhere.

This didn’t strike me as Gilbert trying to distract from Cleveland’s troubles. He just seemed to want to take a shot at a foe, something he’s no stranger to doing. The Cavaliers are particularly salty about their trade offer for George, which included Kevin Love, not being accepted.

For what it’s worth, Gilbert is right. The Pacers should have done better. Oladipo is now on a lucrative contract extension, and Sabonis spent his rookie season showcasing the reasons people doubted him the draft. That’s a piddling return for a star, even one on an expiring contract with dreams of joining the Lakers.

Report: Kings meet with former Magic GM Otis Smith about front-office job

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The Kings lost Scott Perry to the Knicks, so Sacramento is seeking someone else to aid Vlade Divac in the front office.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Former Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith has met with Sacramento Kings officials about the franchise’s vacant vice president of basketball operations job, league sources told ESPN.

Smith has plenty of experience, which Divac lacks. But it’s not all good experience.

Running the Magic, Smith made numerous errors – including drafting Fran Vazquez (who has never played in the NBA) No. 11, overpaying Rashard Lewis and then trading Lewis for Gilbert Arenas’ even worse contract. If Smith’s Orlando tenure is predictive, he’ll indulge the Kings’ worst tendencies to mortgage the future for the present.

That said, Smith might have learned from his time with the Magic (though working under Stan Van Gundy with the Pistons the few couple years isn’t exactly the best place to hone long-term-planning skills). What amounts to an assistant general-manager role might be a better fit for him, too.

Usually, this opening wouldn’t garner so much attention. But Perry was lavished with praise for Sacramento’s offseason, raising the profile of this job – which already carried relative prominence. The No. 2 in the Kings’ front office is now perceived, somewhat fairly, as more important than the typical assistant general manager.