LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard. Kevin Love. Marc Gasol. DeAndre Jordan. Draymond Green. Jimmy Butler. Dwyane Wade. Brook Lopez. Goran Dragic. Danny Green.
Every one of those top free agents this summer re-signed with their own team — security and taking the cash on the table were the themes of the summer. Even the restricted guys (Leonard, Green and Butler) didn’t meet with other teams, they were never really on the market. LaMarcus Aldridge was the outlier, bolting Portland to contend in San Antonio.
What does that portend heading into the much-discussed free agent summer of 2016, when the salary cap spikes and every team will be flush with cash?
Don’t bet on Kevin Durant leaving OKC.
Executives around the league expect him to stay put, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.
Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they’re an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant’s hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory.
I will say I’ve heard there is some pressure within Durant’s circle to consider the Knicks, but will they have a roster that he wants to come to?
Oklahoma City has always been the frontrunners, and the owner has signed off on paying the tax this year to show his commitment to winning (that came with matching the Blazers’ Enes Kanter offer). Durant likes the city, the team is a legit title contender, and as we have seen this year the lure of a big market alone is not near enough to draw a superstar.
The NBA season between now and Durant’s decision is a lifetime, and a lot of things could change. But it’s good to be in front of the race now, and Oklahoma City is that.
Rule number one of trade leverage: Don’t look eager to make a move. Pretend you’re not interested at all.
That could be what is going on here with the Brooklyn Nets.
Or, maybe the report from ESPN’s Marc Stein is accurate — maybe now, after buying out and waiving Deron Williams thereby dramatically lowering their payroll, the Nets have no intention of trading Joe Johnson.
That last part is true, the Nets have no lottery pick to tank for. With Johnson, plus the re-signed Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, they stand a legitimate chance of making the playoffs in the East. They are not going to challenge Cleveland for supremacy, or frankly even Chicago/Washington/Miami/Atlanta for that second tier. But they could get an invite to the dance.
Still, this is in a rebuilding mode, just one with a couple of key pieces in place. Johnson is not part of the long-term future, and if a team offers the right combination of picks and players to move that rebuilding along faster, the Nets have to strongly consider it. That may not happen with his steep price tag, but it’s possible an offer comes because this is the last year of his deal.
The Nets just don’t want to look eager.
I know I tease my brother (he’s earned it). That’s just kind of how guys are with each other.
Brook Lopez was already in New York when he re-signed this summer with the Brooklyn Nets. Now he will be joined in New York by his brother Robin Lopez, who signed with the Knicks.
Two brothers, both now in New York.
Brook welcomed Robin to the Big Apple with some serious roasting on WFAN (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie for the transcription).
Q. Did you help recruit your brother to the Knicks?
A. I did help recruit my brother to the Knicks, but as a non-Knicks supporter I helped recruit him there. I think he’s going to be a detriment to them, absolutely.
Q. You have always gotten the better of him in head-to-head matchups, so maybe that’s another reason, right?
A. Right, absolutely. I’m kind of the Robin Lopez Kryptonite, and there’s a lot of Robin Lopez Kryptonite in the world.
Q. Will you guys consider living together here in New York City?
A. I’ve been telling a few people I’m going to, first off, charge him rent definitely. I’m going to kind of go the Harry Potter route, like the Dursleys kept Harry Potter under the staircase in the cupboard. Something like that….
Q. Is there anything that Robin Lopez does better than you?
A. He loses better than I do. I know that. That came to me right away.
That is awesome. And well done with the Harry Potter reference as well.
Brook and Robin are pretty tight; the twins played their high school and college ball (Stanford) together. This is all in good fun. Not like Robin and those mascots.
Now, they both likely miss the playoffs together in New York. That’s another real bonding experience.