The Pelicans aren’t content adding just Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to a dynamic backcourt that already included Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez.
They’re also ready to offer Tyreke Evans, a restricted free agent, a sizable contract. David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Using numbers from ShamSports.com, the Pelicans have $61,356,465 in salary counting against the cap, which is expected to be set at $58.5 million. But they can reduce their salary commitments to $47,121,716 by renouncing free agents Al-Farouq Aminu ($3,749,602 of additional cap space), Xavier Henry ($3,201,370), Louis Amundson ($884,293) and Roger Mason ($884,293) and waiving players with partially unguaranteed contracts Robin Lopez ($4,619,761), Lance Thomas
Long story short, if the expected salary cap comes to fruition, the Pelicans could offer Evans a contract starting at $11,378,284. More than likely, that would prevent the Kings from matching and make Evans a Pelican. Even more likely, New Orleans wouldn’t offer quite that much, but that’s the amount available.
If the Pelicans sign Evans, would they use a three-guard backcourt, making Evans their nominal small forward, or would they explore a trade of Gordon? It’s always nice to add talent, but it’s not always simple to do or handle once its done.
Signing Evans to an offer sheet, which hasn’t yet happened, would merely be step one of many for New Orleans.
Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.
New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.
That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.
First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.
The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.
That seemed odd.
In fact, it’s unprecedented.
That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron James‘ cachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.
Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.
In the end, the entire Kyrie Irving blockbuster trade was about LeBron James. It started because Kyrie Irving wanted out of LeBron’s enormous shadow. Cleveland went with this trade because Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder help them win now, and whatever LeBron decides to do next summer the Brooklyn pick (and maybe Ante Zizic) helps them build for the future.
But what does this trade mean to LeBron James?
Honestly, it doesn’t change much. That’s what I get into in this latest PBT Extra. LeBron is leaving his options open, but maybe this deal could help Cleveland keep him if it makes them more competitive with the Warriors.
After a loss last January, Dwyane Wade (in conjunction with since-traded Jimmy Butler) lashed out at his Bulls teammates for not caring enough. Those younger players didn’t receive the message gratefully, questioning why Wade didn’t practice more.
The simple answer: Wade is 35, and he and his team are better served if he saves himself for games. But Wade also should have known his schedule left him ill-suited to criticize harder-working teammates.
The whole saga exposed the inherent tension that occurs when an accomplished veteran with declining skills is thrust into a leadership position on a mediocre team.
Consider that backdrop as Wade and Chicago dance around a buyout.
Nick Friedell on ESPN discussing Wade getting bought out:
This is inevitable. It’s coming. It’s a matter of when, not if.
But right now, guys, it’s just kind of a staring contest. Everybody’s looking at each other saying, “OK, how much money are you willing to give up?”
And Gar Forman, the Bulls’ GM, at summer league, said, “Oh, we’re not having conversations.” I don’t think that’s the case. I think Dwyane’s agents and the Bulls are wanting to get this thing done.
But I’d really be surprised if it happened before the season. I still think it’s more likely that it’ll happen probably somewhere in December or January.
But this is a divorce that’s going to happen. It’s just going to take some time.
The young players on the Bulls really can’t stand Dwyane, and it’s the little secret in Chicago. They have had enough.
Wade’s January criticism was reportedly particularly directed at Nikola Mirotic and Michael Carter-Williams, neither of whom are on the roster. (Mirotic, a restricted free agent, will likely return.) Even if Wade’s comments cast a wider net, Jerian Grant, Paul Zipser, Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio are the only young players still on the team from that time. None of those players deserve much influence in how the franchise operates.
Still, no matter what the young players want, it’s clear Wade no longer fits on a rebuilding Chicago. They might get their wish.
Wade is set to earn $23.8 million in the final season of an expiring contract. That salary could prove useful in a bigger trade.
If bought out, Wade would count as dead money against Chicago’s cap at his buyout amount. They Bulls should obviously be amenable if he sacrifices enough, but a small discount doesn’t justify locking into that money rather than having a trade chip available.
If Chicago is deep into the cellar as expected after the trade deadline, a buyout would be completely logical then. Maybe the Bulls even assess the trade market sooner and conclude Wade’s huge expiring contract won’t facilitate a trade.
It’s easy to see a buyout happening eventually. In the meantime, Wade and his younger teammates will just have to get along. I trust Wade’s professionalism to make this situation at least tenable, but Fred Hoiberg might have his hands full building cooperation with all the people involved.