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.

Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu not expected to be back for Magic when games restart

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Jonathan Isaac was having a breakout season for Orlando. He had become a go-to defensive stopper for the Magic, a long, athletic, switchable defender averaging 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals a game. He was going to get All-Defensive team votes this season and looked like a future Defensive Player of the Year candidate. (On offense he’s averaged 12 points and 6.9 rebounds a game, both career bests, but he is still a project.)

He hyperextended his knee and suffered a bone bruise in January, but it looks like neither he nor veteran Al-Farouq Aminu (torn meniscus) will be on the court for the Magic when games restart in July, reports Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.

Injured forwards Jonathan Isaac (knee) and Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) most likely will not be healthy enough to return…

“Not a whole lot of news there,” [Magic president of basketball operations Jeff] Weltman said when asked about the possibility of Isaac or Aminu returning. “As always, we’re going to wait and see how they respond to rehab. They’re both working very hard.

“There’s a difference of being healthy and then being safely healthy. It will have been a long, long time since those guys played and you know organizationally that we’re never going to put our guys in a position where they’re exposed to any sort of risk of injury. So that being said, we’ll just continue to see how they progress.”

Put plainly, the risk is not worth the reward. Isaac is a key part of what the Magic want to build in the future and they do not want to push him too hard to return for this handful of games.

Come July, the Magic will head down the street to the Walt Disney World resort complex in Orlando as the eighth seed in the East with a 5.5 game lead over the ninth-seeded Wizards (who will not have John Wall back). If Washington can close that gap to four games or fewer during the eight “seeding games,” then there will be a two-game play-in series between the teams, with the Magic just needing to win one of the two to advance (assuming they are still the eight seed).

After that, it’s on to the first round of the playoffs and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Isaac’s defense would be helpful against Bradley Beal and/or Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Magic are thinking bigger picture.

Winning percentage will determine final seedings in NBA restart; regular tiebreakers used

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Heading into the NBA’s restart in Orlando, the Trail Blazers are the nine seed in the West, followed by the Pelicans and Kings. All three of those teams are 3.5 games back of Memphis for the eighth seed, however, Portland gets the nine seed because it played two more games than either New Orleans and Sacramento, went 1-1 in those two games, and that gives Portland a slightly better winning percentage (.439 to .438).

That winning percentage matters because it’s how the league will determine seeding in a situation where teams have played a different number of games, reports Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

In practical terms, this may not matter much.

In the West, if Portland and New Orleans both went 8-0 in the seeding games then winning percentage would play a role with the Blazers getting the higher seed. However, that scenario is highly unlikely. More likely is wins and losses in Orlando will decide this and other tiebreakers (New Orleans beat Sacramento in their one head-to-head meeting, but our projected schedule for those teams has them playing twice, so the head-to-head tiebreaker is still up in the air). Because of how the records shake out, tiebreakers are irrelevant to Portland — it will not tie any teams, winning percentage will decide their seed.

In the East, winning percentage is irrelevant for the playoff chase — either Washington gets within four games of Orlando hand forces play-in games for the final playoff spot, or it doesn’t and Orlando is in.

Eight teams not headed to Orlando considering mini-camps, summer games to help players

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Nine months is a long time to go without playing a basketball game.

That’s what the eight teams not going to the NBA season restart in Orlando — Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Golden State, Minnesota, and New York — face. And for all of those teams except the Warriors, developing young players to be the future core of the franchise is their goal, and no games from March to December will set that effort back.

Which is why the teams are talking about “mini-camps” — think college spring football — with two teams at least playing each other during those camps, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Among the front-office ideas presented to the NBA, sources said:

• A combination of voluntary and mandatory workouts for two weeks in July.
• Regional minicamps in August that include joint practices for a period of days and approximately three televised games.

Those teams also want other “voluntary” team workouts and to start their training camps for next season earlier than the teams headed to Orlando.

The NBA isn’t going to grant teams everything on their wish list, but there should be some allowance for organized mini-camps and scrimmages/exhibitions. This would be particularly important to New York (and maybe Chicago), where a new coach will be installing a new system and trying to start a new culture.

Those eight teams missed out on 17 or so “meaningless” games with their season put on hold, games that would have meant something in terms of developing young players and giving guys key minutes. The league should — and almost certainly will — take steps to allow those off-season camps and scrimmages, helping teams get their player development programs back on track.

Gregg Popovich’s powerful statement: ‘Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race’

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As protests continue across the nation — sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, but really the culmination of decades of systemic and, sometimes, overt racism across the United States — NBA voices have spoken up. Players, coaches, and staff have done more than take to social media, they have participated in and led marches across the nation, and put their money where their mouth is.

One of those voices is Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

He had spoken to Dave Zirin at The Nation, and on Saturday he released a powerful video statement through the Spurs.

Popovich has been at the forefront of NBA voices willing to speak out on social issues and criticize President Donald Trump. Popovich’s voice carries a lot of weight, both as a leader of men, and as a former Air Force officer who underwent intelligence training and specialized in Soviet studies.

In addition to coaching the San Antonio Spurs, Popovich will coach the USA Basketball team in the Tokyo Olympics, now set for July of 2021.