I don’t know about you but it feels like bomb after bomb has been dropping in the NBA off season this year. It started with the Jimmy Butler trade on draft night then Phil Jackson got fired and while I was recovering from that, I heard about the Chris Paul trade. In this post, I will attempt to (a) Do a quick draft recap (b) Discuss the Jimmy Butler trade (c) Touch on the Phil Jackson firing and (d) Try to understand the Chris Paul trade.
The draft went mostly to plan (Fultz to the Sixers and Ball to the Lakers) although I don’t know how Malik Monk fell to the hornets at 11. Also how undersized does Charlotte’s back court become? Monk and Kemba are generally listed at 6’4 and 6’1). I didn’t like the Taytum pick at 3 by the Celtics but I understand Danny Ainge flew from Boston to Sacramento to watch Josh Jackson work out only for Josh Jackson to cancel the work out. I like Josh Jackson as a player but I hope his career doesn’t turn out like another highly recruited player out of Kansas (Thomas Robinson).
Elsewhere in the draft, Vlade Divac deserves a pat on the back for some smart moves. He took one of my favourite players in the draft (De’Aaron Fox) with the 5th pick then flipped the 10th pick for the 15th (Justin Jackson) and 20th (Harry Giles) picks and drafted Frank Mason in the second round.
As far as the Nigerians are concerned, I am surprised Bam Adebayo got drafted by Miami at 14. He’s basically a younger version of Whiteside and he can’t space the floor. OG Anunoby went in the 20’s as expected but Ojeleye and Anigbogu (I think Anigbogu should have stayed an extra year. He didn’t play a ton in college and had injury issues) dropped to the second round.
Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves
There is no other way to put this, Chicago got fleeced in this trade. I don’t understand the urgency to move Jimmy Butler right now. Even if you want to move him why will you move him for an athletic player coming off ACL surgery, a rookie point guard who can’t shoot and averaged 3 points in his rookie year and the number 7 pick which you don’t even use to draft the best player available at the time! (if they wanted a guard, they could have taken Ntilikina or Dennis Smith). To make matters worse, they even traded the 16th pick as well. Just look at the complement of guards they now have – Rondo, Wade, Cameron Payne, Jerian Grant, Dunn, Carter Williams (although they renounced their rights to him)what can any of those guards get you in today’s NBA? Nowt! The Timberwolves on the other hand are on to something. The work isn’t done yet. They seem to be in a hurry to move Rubio and they need floor spacing as well for their big 3 to thrive.
Pjax is out of the Door
Phil Jackson seemed to be on a mission to ruin the Knicks. He made so many questionable decisions. Even if we ignore everything else he has done before June 2017. This summer alone, he has publically shopped his two best players. He comes off as a mad scientist who has lost the plot. Everyone is playing pace and space, baba is trying to fit squares into his triangle and acting like he can’t see it’s not working plus there is the $72 Million he gave Joakim Noah to play basketball which is fine except that Noah has had and injury ravaged few years is 31 years old ,averaged 5 points and missed 36 games last year. I honestly didn’t think James Dolan had the mettle to pull the trigger but the final straw was apparently Phil trying to convict Dolan to buy out the remaining $55 Million of Melo’s contract (oh no, Phil baby, what is you doing?). Don’t take my word for it. The ringer had an excellent piece on Phil’s most shocking decisions over the years.
Chris Paul is headed to H-Town
I’d like Christopher Emmanuel Paul III to come to the front of the congregation, I’d like to have a word with him. My main gripe with you sir is that you are a sell out. In the summer of 2015, you abandoned your vacation and flew to Dallas to convince Deandre Jordan to remain in LA after the young man decided he wanted out. You will change your behaviour you said. He is so instrumental to the team you said. The Clippers need him and you will help him become a better player. What do you do 2 years after? Decide you want out after Mr Jordan believed what you told him. Now I can go on about other things I don’t like about Chris Paul but I will leave it at that. I will focus on the trade that sends him to Houston.
Here is what happened. Christopher Emmanuel Paul III told the Clippers he no longer wanted to remain with them and he was going to sign with Houston in free agency. The Clippers made him opt into the final year of his deal so they could trade him. In return they get Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker and a bag of potato chips. The Clippers team reminds me of the Boston team when Ray Allen bolted. Doc Rivers will make them believe they’re competitive and they will believe this. They will play their hearts out and get bounced in the second round of the playoffs (best case scenario). But I think they will be much worse. Remember, JJ Reddick is probably going to leave. We don’t know if Blake will stay. What do they have for sure? Austin Rivers (who gets blamed for everything), Deandre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson? I honestly don’t know what they can do. They also don’t have any cap flexibility.
As for Houston, I don’t understand how you make James Harden into an elite point guard then take the ball away from him. I have read that Mike D’antoni is the king of staggering minutes and he will make sure one of CP3 or Harden is always on the floor. I have 2 problems with that. (a) what’s the point of having 2 top 10 players if one is always on the bench. (b) what happens in crunch time? Remember there is only one ball. Having said that, I remember making this one ball argument when Lebron’s big 3 journey started in Miami and also when Kevin Durant went to Golden State. I guess it could work but they need one more elite player to be competitive. I’d say turn Ryan Anderson into Paul George or Melo but according to Bill Simmons, no NBA franchise wants that Anderson contract. Another option is can they clear space to sign Gordon Hayward? Do they even have a meeting with Hayward? And why did they move all their assets to trade for CP3 when they could have signed him in free agency? So many questions! A big 3 is no longer enough by the way, you need a big 4 now!
It has been a strange summer so far. I get the eerie feeling that there will be many more jaw dropping moves this summer. Free agency hasn’t even started yet! *breathe* the fun hasn’t even started,