2020 PBT Awards: All-Rookie

Coby White, Zion Williamson, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, R.J. Barrett, Ja Morant and De'Andre Hunter
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The NBA regular season might be finished. Heck, the entire NBA season might be finished. Even if play resumes with regular-season games, there’d likely be an abridged finish before the playoffs (which will also likely be shortened).

So, we’re making our 2019-20 award picks now. If the regular season somehow lasts long enough to reconsider our choices, we’ll do that. But here are our selections on the assumption the regular season is over.

Kurt Helin

First team

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kendrick Nunn, Heat

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies

Coby White, Bulls

Second team

RJ Barrett, Knicks

P.J. Washington, Hornets

Eric Paschall, Warriors

Rui Hachimura, Wizards

Terence Davis, Raptors

With most of the awards in our end-of-season series, I am comfortable with my picks. When the official NBA ballot come,s my Sixth Man, Rookie, and MVP picks likely will not change. All-Rookie team, however, I may keep changing around because picking the second team this season is challenging — there’s a lot of flawed young players at about the same level. I hated leaving off Matisse Thybulle and Tyler Herro. Michael Porter Jr. came on at the end but just didn’t play enough minutes this season to make the cut.

Dan Feldman

First team

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kendrick Nunn, Heat

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies

Terence Davis, Raptors

Second team

Eric Paschall, Warriors

Rui Hachimura, Wizards

Matisse Thybulle, 76ers

P.J. Washington, Hornets

Coby White, Bulls

I had an easy cutoff for the first team – my top four for Rookie of the Year plus Terence Davis, who put his stamp on the Raptors even in a limited role.

By the final second team spot, I ran out of rookies I felt good about including. Coby White, Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and Heat guard Tyler Herro had the brightest flashes but were also unreliable. Timberwolves guard Jordan McLaughlin came on too late. In over his head with the Knicks, RJ Barrett was too often destructive. Ultimately, I landed on White, who had just enough explosive performances and contributed just enough between.

Keith Smith

First team

Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kendrick Nunn, Heat

Brandon Clarke, Grizzlies

RJ Barrett, Knicks

Second team

Rui Hachimura, Wizards

De’Andre Hunter, Hawks

Tyler Herro, Heat

Darius Garland, Cavaliers

Eric Paschall, Warriors

Normally, by the time you get to the All-Rookie second team, you’re searching a bit. Not this year. There were enough good players to fill at least three teams’ worth of slots. The first team is pretty much no-brainers. Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and Kendrick Nunn were the three best rookies by a decent margin. Brandon Clarke might have edged out Nunn, and maybe even Williamson, if he had played just a bit more. RJ Barrett might be far from a finished product, but he produced solid all-around numbers.

The second team was a little tougher, but only because of the players who were omitted. Rui Hachimura was a clear pick, and he could have beat out Barrett for first-team honors. De’Andre Hunter was more quietly solid and consistent than most realize. Tyler Herro and

Darius Garland came in and immediately assumed scoring and playmaking roles for their teams, albeit in different competitive environments. Eric Paschall made the most of the Warriors’ injuries and snagged a role for himself with very good play all season. The toughest omissions were P.J. Washington, Terence Davis and Coby White. Washington could have made it, as he had a nice year for Charlotte. Davis just didn’t play enough, but his shooting numbers are great for a rookie. And for White it was a “too little, too late” sort of deal. But he might be the best of the non-Ja/Zion group when all is said and done.

Cavaliers reportedly extend Dean Wade for three years, $18.5 million

Pregame of Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers
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This could be a steal for the Cavaliers — Dean Wade could be the starting three for the Cavaliers by the end of this season and he’s got a genuine upside.

The Cavaliers have extended Wade for three years, $18.5 million, a story where multiple sources were on top of it, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wade’s counting stats aren’t eye-popping — 5.3 points a game and shooting 35.7% from 3 — but he is a quality wing defender who has improved as a floor spacer (sometimes setting picks and popping out). He’s a two-way player who has put in the work and could pass Isaac Okoro on the depth chart this season.

The Cavaliers have four All-Stars who will undoubtedly be starting for them — Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front — and the looming question is at the three. Wade has a chance this season to step into that role.

Which makes extending him at a little over $6 million a season a potential steal for the Cavaliers.

 

Warriors GM Myers reiterates he would like to extend Green, Poole, Wiggins

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings
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Andrew Wiggins is entering the final year of his contract and the Warriors want to extend him. Jordan Poole is up for a contract extension and if it isn’t worked out by the start of the season he becomes a restricted free agent next summer. Draymond Green is eligible — and wants — a four years, $138.4 million extension (the max they can give him).

Bob Myers said again this week that he wants to keep all three of those players — all critical parts of the Warriors run to a title last season — but financial reality could intrude upon that dream. Here’s what Myers said Thursday, via Kendra Andrews of ESPN:

“We want all of those guys,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said at a news conference Thursday. “Can we get all of them? I don’t know.

“It depends on what the money ends up being. What the ask is what we can end up doing. We’re not at a point to make those decisions yet. Some of these decisions may be made in the next two weeks, some might be made in the next seven, eight months.”

The Warriors turned heads around the league paying more than $350 million in player salaries and luxury tax last season — and this season they will be in the same ballpark. Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob has said even with the cash cow that is the new Chase Center, this is not a team that can spend $400 million. Some expenses are locked in, such as Stephen Curry and his $215.4 max contract extension. Klay Thompson is at the max for a couple of more years.

Poole is part of the future in Golden State — along with Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and maybe Jonathan Wiseman — and they can’t let him go. Wiggins was the Warriors’ second-best player in the postseason last year. That has led to some speculation Green could be the odd man out — something Myers has denied. Green will make $25.8 million this season but is  expected to opt out of the $27.6 million player option he has next season. It leaves the Warriors and Green with a choice.

Something’s got to give, but the Myers and the Warriors seem ready to kick that financial can down the road until next summer, and for this season get the band back together and chase another ring.

Poole would be the first up (there is an Oct. 17 deadline to extend him). Whatever happens, this will be an undercurrent of a story all season long in the Bay Area.

C.J. McCollum inks two-year, $64 million extension with Pelicans

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans
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After helping New Orleans return to the playoffs for the first time since Anthony Davis was traded to the Lakers, C.J. McCollum earned a two-year, $64 million extension with the Pelicans. He will remain under contract with the team through the 2025-26 season, and there isn’t a player or team option in the deal. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news Saturday afternoon.

New Orleans traded Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, a 2022 protected first-round pick (turns into 2025 first-round pick that is top-4 protected), and two future second-round picks for McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., and Tony Snell.

New Orleans now has their core of McCollum, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram under contract for the next three seasons.

The expectations will be high for the Pelicans for the next few years. After starting last season 1-12, first-year head coach Willie Green helped turn the team around, and they finished 36-46 before beating the Spurs and Clippers in the play-in tournament. Their season ended after losing to the Suns 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

McCollum averaged 24.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.7 triples per game after the trade to New Orleans.

The return of Zion this season, along with the success of last year’s team, has the team expecting a return to the playoffs. Locking up their star guard in McCollum emphasizes that their rebuild is over. After missing the playoffs during their first three seasons in the post-AD era, they don’t expect to return to the lottery for a long time. The big question surrounding their potential success will be Zion’s health.

Reports: Suns push for Jarred Vanderbilt derailed Bojan Bogdanovic trade

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors
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Utah traded Bojan Bogdanovic not to one of the contenders pushing for him — Phoenix, Miami, even the Lakers — but to rebuilding Detroit. It’s a move that caught the NBA off guard.

News has come out now that part of what hung up the Suns’ effort to land Bogdanovic was their push to make promising young forward Jarred Vanderbilt — who the Jazz got from the Timberwolves in the Rudy Gobert trade — as part of the deal. The well-connected John Gambardoro first had the report.

If the Suns had not pushed for Vanderbilt it doesn’t mean they would have landed Bogdanovic using a Jae Crowder-based package ( with another player, maybe Landry Shamet, and some picks). Reports have also suggested the draft package that was part of the Suns offer was not impressing the Jazz, so Utah moved on to a cost-cutting move rather than one where they took back more salary than they preferred.

The Pistons may decide to trade Bogdanovic again closer to the February deadline and maybe the Suns can get in the mix then. But for now, the Phoenix target is in the Motor City to start the season.