The 2017 offseason has gone on for a bit more than a month already, yet there are still many players surrounded by questions regarding their future. With the way the league is headed, there should be a lot of competitive basketball by 2021.
The Kyrie Conundrum
1. The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t found a legitimate suitor for Kyrie Irving. Teams are low balling the Cavs by offering up B-level players instead of A-level players.
2. For example, the Phoenix Suns offered Eric Bledsoe, Dragan Bender and a 2018 first-round pick. The Cavs have expressed their desire in acquiring No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson in a return package, but there are reports saying that he is untouchable in any trades scenario.
3. The Minnesota Timberwolves have also expressed their interest in acquiring Irving, but they aren’t willing to part ways with Andrew Wiggins, who just signed an extension for five-year, $150 million. Signing the extension prevents Wiggins from being available in trades.
4. According to NESN, the Detroit Pistons entered in on the Kyrie sweepstakes. In addition, team president and head coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed that team execs have had talks with the Cavaliers.
Per Ellis, team president and coach Stan Van Gundy recently told the Pistons’ team website that Detroit has had “some level of conversation” with the Cavs
5. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Cleveland is seeking a package containing a veteran starter, young player on a rookie-scale contract and draft picks. However, both the Timberwolves and Pistons do not have many assets to offer.
6. With so many teams in the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes, which team can offer the Cavaliers the best package for Irving? The Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are the only team in the NBA “as of now” who has the pieces to acquire Irving . However, it seems like they aren’t looking to part with Gary Harris and Jamal Murray because they are afraid of a possible rental for Irving.
7. If Irving doesn’t get traded, the Cavaliers could bolster their bench by sending new signee Derrick Rose to the lead their second unit. Rose would provide immediate scoring and could potentially be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Rose still has the ability to score in the paint, where he ranked second amongst all guards in the league (10.1 points per game in the paint) and provide the scoring punch the Cavaliers desperately need from the bench. The Cavs could also have Rose play alongside Kyrie in the starting lineup and run a combo guard threat against other teams. Just imagine Kyrie, Rose, and LeBron all in the same lineup.
8. Just like Irving, Carmelo Anthony hasn’t found a new home after expressing his interest in suiting up for a new team. Melo’s name has been linked with the Houston Rockets since the offseason began, but talks have stalled with no advances.
Is it Luck?
9. Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Taytum, who was drafted No. 3 overall in this year’s draft, said the Celtics were originally going to pick him No. 1 on a podcast. However, knowing that Markelle Fultz was the best prospect available, with Lonzo Ball behind him, the Celtics traded the No. 1 pick for the No. 3 pick and a future pick, where they still got the player they wanted at No. 3. Got to give credit to Ainge for the deal.
10. In all actuality, the NBA is in good hands for years to come. The now-lopsided league will start to become competitive again in two to four years. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings are currently headed in the right direction to build a solid foundation for the years to come. With potential superstars, a solid blend of veteran presence and young players, and draft picks in future drafts, these teams are on the come-up.
12. Porzingis is a one-of-a-kind athletic 7’3 big man. When thinking about physical frame and athletic ability, it seems like Porzingis can do anything. However, it’s the complete opposite. Set to enter his third NBA season, Porzingis still has trouble posting up and using his body. If his jumper isn’t going in, he’s a liability on the court. Another issue has also been his fouls, as he finished the 2016-17 season ranked second-highest in personal fouls per game. The results in his unnecessary fouls are due to having a low IQ. Leveling up his IQ would change a lot about his decisions in games.
13. To improve on his game this upcoming season, Porzingis will have to use his body and athleticism to post up, drive to the rim, draw fouls, have a consistent jump shot and three point shooting, stay out of foul trouble, not getting bullied by smaller power forwards, and get stronger.
CJ McCollum: Star?
14. Last but not least, when will CJ McCollum get his recognition as the best shooting guard in the game right now? Oliver Maroney of Dime Uproxx joined me and Jonathan Costello of the Spark Sports “Charged Up” podcast to talk about McCollum and where he ranks among the NBA’s best. Episode will be up on iTunes on Monday. Be sure to subscribe!