NBA Draft day trade wrap-up… because we all got confused

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There was a point while putting up PBT’s pick-by-pick updates through the draft that I thought every pick on the board started with “He was selected for Team X as part of a trade…”

To help sort it all out, here is a breakdown of all the draft day trades.

• Bobcats, Bucks, Kings big three-team deal. This was the trade of the day, the one that totally reshaped the draft. In the end, here’s how it works out:

The Charlotte Bobcats gave up their leading scorer in Stephen Jackson and end up with Bismack Biyombo and Corey Maggette out of this trade. How this pans out really comes down to how good Biyombo turns out to be, high ceiling but he could be Joel Anthony Part II. (They also ended the day with Kemba Walker, but not as part of this deal.)

The Milwaukee Bucks end up with Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, No. 19 pick Tobias Harris of Tennessee and reserve point guard Shaun Livingston. This is a team that needed more creativity on offense. They got that… and a lot more technical fouls.

The Sacramento Kings gets John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette (which is who the owner Maloof brothers had pushed for, and in the end owners get what they want). Not sure all these moves makes them a better team, but it does make them more marketable.

• Portland, Denver swap point guards. Portland gets Raymond Felton, a younger, better shooting from three version of Andre Miller, Denver gets in Miller a guy that works for them with a much shorter contract. I’m not sure either team really got better in this deal.

• Indiana and San Antonio take some risks. Indiana is bringing home combo guard George Hill. He’s a solid, smart player going to a team that needs more of that and fewer projects. But they gave up potentially good players to the Spurs to do it — No. 15 Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State (very athletic and the best small forward on the board), No. 42 pick Davis Bertrans of Latvia (considered a first round pick talent) and 2005 No. 46 pick Erazem Lorbek of Slovenia (yea, I got no idea either). I understand why Indiana made the move, but they have good guards already. How this trade is viewed down the road depends on how Leonard pans out. It could be another big Spurs win.

• The Mavericks get older still. Dallas acquired Rudy Fernandez (and the rights to Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen) from Portland for Jordan Hamilton. I think Fernandez is a fit in Dallas, if they can dip him in the fountain of youth like they seem to all their veterans. Fernandez has seen his game slip in recent years, if it rebounds this is a great pick up for more scoring off the bench. For Portland, they get a good young prospect at forward for a guy they don’t care about, so a win.

• Houston and Minnesota swap picks. Houston really wanted No. 20 pick Donatas Motiejunas, because no team is complete without a 7-foot Lithuanian project. To get him they also took on Jonny Flynn, who they are shopping again already, plus the Rockets will save about $10 million over the course of this deal.

The Timberwolves end up with No. 23 pick Nikola Mirotic (Serbia), No. 38 pick Chandler Parsons of Florida, a future first-round pick, and whatever is left in the tank of Brad Miller. I’m not a Parson’s fan, maybe he proves me wrong, so it’s about Mirotic. Really, the winner of this trade is whoever ends up with the better of the European project players, so ask again in three years.

• Celtics and Nets swap picks. Boston made the kind of move you see from Patriots coach Bill Belichick — they traded down two spots to get a future second rounder. They end up with No. 27 pick JaJuan Johnson of Purdue. They gave over to New Jersey No. 25 pick MarShon Brooks of Providence — a volume scorer in college but a guy with a potentially higher ceiling in the NBA. Good deal for the rebuilding Nets, they need guys like that.

• Orlando and Cleveland swap picks. The Magic get No. 32 pick Justin Harper of Richmond — a guy who can hit threes and fits their system — and the Cavaliers get two future second-round picks. Yawn.

• Golden State buys a player. Charlotte drafted big man project Jeremy Tyler at No. 39. Golden State needs a big man that doesn’t suck, and they have an owner with a lot of cash. The Bobcats are a tiny market team that needs cash. So, everybody wins a little something.

• New York buys a player. At No. 45 the Hornets drafted likely NBA stiff Josh Harrellson of Kentucky, but the Knicks are so desperate for size they paid cash to get him and give him a shot.

James Harden on shooting struggles: ‘Who cares?’

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A couple of years ago, could anyone have imagined James Harden not only saying he’s willing to give up scoring to do the little things to win but then actually doing it?

That’s exactly what Harden has done through five games against Golden State, and it’s why his Houston team is up 3-2.

Harden has struggled with his shot the past two games: He has shot 16-of-47 overall the past two games (34 percent) but also 3-of-23 from three. Yet he has done a good job setting up others. In Game 5, in particular, he did a better job getting into the middle of the paint, opening up passing lanes when the defense collapsed on him. He’s also worked hard on the defensive end, played Stephen Curry reasonably well, and been a solid team defender.

With his team one game from the Finals, he’s not concerned about his shot.

“Who cares?” Harden said to reporters after the game. “I’m just missing shots. But we’re winning, and I’m trying to compete on the defensive end and do other things to help my team win. But if we’ve got a guy like Eric Gordon making shots and being aggressive, who cares?”

A lot of players give that idea lip service, but in recent games Harden has backed it up.

“It’s just the shots [are] not falling, and a lot of it has to do with how hard everybody is playing,” Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Probably his legs aren’t the freshest things in the world. But he’s invaluable to the defense and offense.”

The Rockets are going to need more scoring from Harden to close this series out — Chris Paul is out for Game 6 with a strained hamstring, and it’s unlikely he plays if there is a Game 7. Eric Gordon will get the start and has lit it up the past couple of games (he led the Rockets with 24 points in Game 5), but more scoring and shot creation will fall on the Harden’s shoulders.

If the Rockets are going to close this series out, Harden is going to have to look every bit the presumptive MVP. The little things are great, but Houston needs him to get buckets now.

Suns GM: ‘Overwhelming likelihood’ team keeps No. 1 pick

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It takes a rare kind of courage, an extraordinary level of organizational backing, and a special kind of draft to do what Danny Ainge did a year ago trading the No. 1 pick. While a consensus had formed around Markelle Fultz as the best player in the draft, Ainge was a Jayson Tatum guy. Doubts about the top pick are common, but that alone is far from enough to trade that pick away — most GMs don’t have the job security to know if they miss on moving the pick and sliding down they will not be let go. Ainge had that, and he had his confidence in his scouting, so he made the move to trade the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia. (While it looks good now for Ainge, it’s too early to judge how that pick plays out — Fultz has barely played, we don’t know what extra pick the Celtics will get out of this, it takes time to fully judge these kinds of moves.)

This year is different. DeAndre Ayton is more of a clear No. 1, a guy with franchise changing potential. Plus Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough may not be standing on the kind of bedrock that allows for the trade of a No. 1 pick.

Recently McDonough said he’d listen to trade offers for the pick. That’s very different from trading it, as Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic had the GM saying Friday.

Because they should do their due diligence, the Suns will look at Luka Doncic (who does have a relationship with new coach Igor Kokoskov) and Marvin Bagley III, among others. Rumors may leak, spun by agents or other teams. However, at the end of the day, good luck finding anyone around the league who thinks Phoenix will not take Ayton — who attended college in Arizona — to be the inside to Devin Booker‘s outside. It’s the smart play.

Kokoskov and the Suns have a lot of work to do to build a foundation for success with this franchise. However, that almost never starts by trading away the top pick in the draft.

Rumor: Paul George’s agent telling people client will re-sign with Thunder

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That rumor Paul George will leave the Thunder?

How about the exact opposite?

Dean Blevins of News 9:

Allegedly, apparently, Paul George plans to stay with the Thunder. I know. It’s not what people believe. But in separate conversations, I’m told P.G.’s agent has told people associated with the NBA that P.G. believes the injury loss of Andre Roberson was huge and he’s staying. Disclaimer, though: Believing everything that agents allegedly say can be dangerous to your health.

This, by Blevins’ own admission, isn’t the staunchest reporting. Nonetheless, I appreciate him sharing and contextualizing it. We can evaluate it for what it’s worth.

George is known to share his plans – though the previous example was him planning to sign with the Lakers. And he might have really believed it at the time, when he was still with the Pacers.

But throughout the season, George seemingly went out of his way to profess his affection for Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and the Thunder. That only raised expectations in Oklahoma City of George staying, and if he leaves after doing that, he’d be inviting even more backlash. I think he’s smart enough to understand that, which is why I thought he made those especially strong pro-Thunder comments only after deciding he’d likely stay.

On the other hand, even if my assessment was correct, conditions change. The Jazz brutally exposed Oklahoma City’s flaws, and if George re-signs and Anthony opts in, the Thunder will have minimal cap flexibility to upgrade the roster. In fact, they might take a step back with the supporting cast to keep the luxury-tax bill manageable. George could see free agency as his chance to escape that mess.

Roberson was a huge loss, and if George is focused on that, that would bode well for Oklahoma City. Though Roberson was just a role player, he was pivotal to the Thunder’s defense. And his teammates had learned how to play around his offensive shortcomings. Oklahoma City didn’t have any good replacements for him on the roster. Roberson getting healthy is the clearest way for the Thunder to improve next season.

Of course, that’s predicated on George returning, too. Will he?

One last note of caution: People often believe what they want to hear. It’s easy to see someone in Oklahoma City hearing George bemoan the loss of Roberson and elevate that to George planning to re-sign, even George wasn’t going that far.

Draymond Green guarantees Warriors will beat Rockets in Western Conference finals

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr is confident despite his team trailing the Rockets 3-2 in the Western Conference finals.

Golden State forward Draymond Green goes further.

Green, via Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

“We still winning this,” Draymond Green said. “Book it.”

Of course, Green is confident. He’d never say he expects his team to lose.

But he didn’t need to frame it this way. He could’ve said he was just focused on the next game rather than make such a bold proclamation.

He’s taking pressure upon himself and putting his reputation on the line. If Golden State loses, especially in Game 6 at home with Chris Paul out, Green will be widely mocked.

If he and the Warriors pull through, he’ll probably deserve praise for setting a tone that helped them advance.