Kyrie Irving will go No. 1 overall to the Cavaliers. Minnesota may be shopping the No. 2 pick like Vince “ShamWow guy” Shlomi, but if they keep asking for Steve Nash and Andrew Bynum they will be making the pick themselves. And taking Derrick Williams.
Then things get interesting.
The Jazz will set the tone the rest of the way with their pick (or trade) at No. 3.
The conventional wisdom is that they will take Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, but ESPN’s Andy Katz heard different things.
Utah is deciding among four players at No. 3 with two of them likely not within its reach. If Irving and Williams are indeed gone by the time they come on the clock, the Jazz are leaning toward (Enes) Kanter over Brandon Knight of Kentucky, but that remains a fluid discussion for management.
Be careful about what teams are saying right now — everyone is blowing smoke to hide their intentions. My bet is the Jazz have their board set right now. But the Jazz do not want to tip their hand (in the same way the Cavaliers are saying they have not yet made a commitment to Irving).
Knight makes the most sense — with Deron Williams gone the Jazz need a point guard of the future. Knight can be that guy. Kanter kind of duplicates what they already get from Paul Millsap (at least in terms of position, not in terms of type of game). But the Jazz do go with the “best player available” theory, and if they have Kanter higher they would take him.
That pick impacts what happens next — a lot of the rumored trades up in the draft are because teams have interest in Kanter. A lot of movement in this draft is about teams who like Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas. The real fun of this draft starts at No. 3.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.