Should Cavaliers trade No. 1 pick to Sixers for No. 3 pick, Thaddeus Young?

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Teams with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft just don’t trade it. With good reason. Those picks tend to be too valuable in a league where you need franchise changing guys and All-Stars to win, you can’t pass up the potential to draft one.

However this year the rumors are out there.

Chad Ford of ESPN started it (he starts a lot of rumors) and others have reported there have been at least some talks about the Sixers packaging the No. 3 pick and Thaddeus Young for the No. 1 pick — the Sixers want to make sure they get Andrew Wiggins that badly. How far down that road talks have gone is up for debate, but it has been discussed.

The Cavaliers have a lot of options, but should they really trade the No. 1 pick? Should the Sixers do it when a lot of mock drafts have Wiggins falling to them at No. 3 anyway?

For the Cavaliers, the answer to the above question is tied to the answer of another question: Do you think Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins can be a transcendent player?

If the Cavaliers believe that Embiid — the Kansas center said by many to be on top of the Cavs draft board — is a future top 10 NBA player who, along with Kyrie Irving, can be the foundation of a team that wins championships, then you keep the pick and take him. Talent wins in the NBA and you need those top 10 guys to get a title. You don’t trade them unless your hand is forced (see Minnesota with Kevin Love). The same is true if the Cavaliers grade Wiggins (or Jabari Parker) out that way.

However, if the Cavaliers believe that those three guys are close together and will all be good but not top 10 players, then I’d make the move because if you want to make the playoffs next season, Young is a good guy to have on your roster. The Cavs would still have the No. 3 pick and get a quality player.

The Sixers are clearly very high on Wiggins, which makes sense because putting the freak athlete on a team that wants to play ultra fast is a good marriage of player and system. But should they give up Young just to make sure they get Wiggins? Again, are they that sold he can be transcendent?

Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com doesn’t think the trade is the best move for the Sixers and GM Sam Hinkie.

…to me that the talent between the three players is marginally equal, and to give up another asset to pick at No. 1 is overpaying for the selection….

For my money, it’s entirely possible that Wiggins slips to No. 3 overall, where the Sixers will make their first selection of the 2014 draft — barring a trade to move up or down.

I would much rather see the Sixers keep the third pick and then package their 10th pick, along with one of their five second-round selections, to move up to eighth and take the shooter they like best in this draft. Imagine if the Sixers’ starting five looked like this next fall: Michael Carter-Williams at point guard, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas — who shot 44 percent from three-point range last year — at two-guard, Wiggins at small forward, Thaddeus Young as a hybrid four and Nerlens Noel protecting the rim.

That would be a fun young core, certainly a group that would struggle at times but be entertaining to watch. There would be hope in Philly.

In a lot of current mocks, Wiggins does slip to three. However, if Hinkie and the Sixers believe Wiggins is going to be a transcendent star, then giving up assets to get him is the right play. It just depends on how you grade him out.

In the end, I just can’t see the Cavaliers moving the pick, this time they seem assured to get somebody who can help them in that slot. You just don’t trade No. 1 picks in the NBA.

Lakers’ recruiting pitch for Paul George leaks

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
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LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.

Paul George never said that, though.

So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.

Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:

Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational

The text:

When you were just a kid

In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale

We were dreaming too.

While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival

And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.

Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.

The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too

Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?

My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?

Report: No divide between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?

Sam Amick of USA Today:

As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.

Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.

Report: LeBron James not planning to sit for elaborate pitch meetings in free agency

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LeBron James held court in Cleveland in 2010, listening to pitch after pitch as teams flew in to recruit the superstar during free agency. That approach became a model, and Kevin Durant followed it in the Hamptons in 2016.

But maybe once is enough.

Durant announced months ago he’d stay with the Warriors. And now LeBron – who could definitely leave Cleveland – is making clear he doesn’t want the hoopla, either.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

sources close to the situation tell ESPN that he has no intention of hearing elaborate pitch meetings from teams.

league sources believe he and his agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini have enough understanding of the stakes and NBA landscape to handle the process without much fanfare.

LeBron is still haunted by The Decision. He’s a great player and philanthropist and does plenty to connect with fans. Yet, people still dislike him purely because of how he changed teams eight years ago.

If I wielded as much power as LeBron, I’d want suitors wining and dining me. He wants to avoid more backlash.

This will probably look similar to 2014 – LeBron’s agents hearing out teams then LeBron meeting with only the most serious options, though the final announcement will likely come via Uninterrupted rather than Sports Illustrated.

The Lakers, Cavaliers, Rockets and 76ers are commonly viewed as the favorites for LeBron. This approach makes it less likely for a longshot to emerge – though, for what it’s worth, we don’t know those four teams are his favorites right now.

Report: Nuggets re-signing Nikola Jokic to five-year max after declining team option

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Nuggets are building around Nikola Jokic.

But a second-round pick turning into a franchise player so quickly creates complications. Denver is resolving one by declining Jokic’s team option, which will send him into restricted free agency (as opposed to unrestricted free agency next year) and paying him.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This ought to please Jokic. He would have earned just $1,600,520 next season if Denver exercised his team option.

Jokic is one of the best-passing full-time centers ever. He also shoots and rebounds well, though he must improve his defense to become worthy of this contract. At just 23, he’s worth betting on.

That said, I’m surprised the Nuggets didn’t get him on a slight discount. Though they clearly didn’t want to risk him testing unrestricted free agency next year, they gave him a MASSIVE raise (about $24 million) next season when they didn’t have to.

Jokic’s exact max salary won’t be determined until the salary cap and luxury-tax line are set this month. But this clearly puts Denver in cost-cutting mode now.

As constructed, the Nuggets are in line for about $24 million in luxury-tax payments. That’s without considering Will Barton, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Expect Denver to look to unload Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Wilson Chandler and/or Mason Plumlee.

Jokic was always going to be in Denver next season. The Nuggets have now secured him far longer. It will cost them next year – an important season to them – but they also clearly value a future with Jokic.