Per usual, rumors are flying around during NBA free agency. Let’s break down the big ones.
NBA free agency gets underway in just a few days. However, big names have already started moving around via trade. Chris Paul is now a Rocket. Jimmy Butler is the newest Minnesota resident. And Dwight Howard’s latest stop is now Charlotte. As we near the official free agency period, there are plenty of rumors flying around in regards to even more stars. What do you believe? How hopeful do you allow yourself to get? The quick answers are “nothing” and “not at all”! But hey…they’re out there. So let’s address them.
What you need to know:
Saturday, July 1: The official start of 2017-18 league year at 12:01 a.m. Eastern. The July moratorium begins, and free agents can begin negotiations. They can reach verbal agreements with teams, but can’t officially sign until …
Thursday, July 6: Teams can start signing players and making trades at noon Eastern.
There are numerous rumors circling around George. The Cavs, Celtics, Rockets and Lakers are the most prominent. So, we’ll just digest these one-by-one.
George to the Cavs: For this to happen, the Cavs would 1) have to get a third team involved and 2) be willing to part with Kevin Love. As for that third team, Denver has been the one most associated with this transaction. George would bring length, athleticism and versatility that Love just doesn’t offer Cleveland. Meanwhile, Love would give Denver a front-court star to pair with up-and-comer Nikola Jokic. Indiana could start its rebuild with young talent from Denver, such as Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray.
George to the Celtics: Many have discussed the Celtics landing George, along with Gordon Hayward (with we’ll get to that later). With George alone, Boston would push Cleveland for Eastern supremacy, given George’s ability to score and defend on an elite level. However, Boston has been reluctant to part with many of its many trade assets so far this off-season. And that’s what it’d take to acquire George straight up.
George to the Rockets: With the Rockets recent acquisition of Chris Paul, it’s hard not to envision the addition of George vaulting Houston into a legit race with Golden State. But, the Rockets don’t currently have much to offer the Pacers in return. Clint Capela and/or Eric Gordon (who is from Indianapolis) just isn’t enough.
George to the Lakers: It’s widely known that George wants to play for the purple and gold, and will likely do so during 2018 free agency. However, will Magic Johnson and the Lakers want to give up much of its young talent to land George now? And if they don’t, they’ll risk losing him completely if he goes to a winner and decides to stay long-term. If the Lakers want him not, they may have to offer Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson or heaven forbid, Brandon Ingram.
Now let’s talk about Gordon Hayward. The most tossed-about scenario lands Hayward in Boston. Like George, Hayward would give the Celtics and established scorer with size, length and versatility. He also played for Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens in college. Now, can the Celtics sign Hayward and land George? That’s the big one. If they are able to pull it off, then they may surpass Cleveland as favorites in the East. The funny thing is, if Utah is able to get in on a 3-way trade with Cleveland and Indiana, Kevin Love in Utah may be enticing enough to sway Hayward into re-signing with the Jazz.
Gordon also has the Miami Heat on his wishlist and plans to meet with the Heat after his initial meet with Utah.
Early talk of Griffin to Boston have died down quite a bit. The latest scuttlebutt is that the Clippers are dialed in on retaining Griffin, although he opted out of his deal. This scenario would probably be best for both team and player.
However, if Boston is not able to land Hayward, Griffin could be their target. Also, Denver, if the Love deal doesn’t happen, could look to Griffin. The Nuggets are trying to upgrade at power forward.
The Phoenix Suns are hot after Griffin as well.
Lowry’s landscape seems to be shriveling up immensely, now that his hometown Sixers drafted Markelle Fultz and the Rockets have acquired Chris Paul. San Antonio could get in on the Lowry chase now. This is a great opportunity for the Raptors to retain Lowry.
All signs are pointing to Oklahoma City being the team most keen on Gay. The Thunder reportedly see him as a fit in their system and a solid offensive option outside of Russell Westbrook.
Things have been, surprisingly quiet on the Millsap front. The Nuggets, as mentioned earlier, are looking to upgrade at the four and have been linked to Millsap as an option. Houston is another team to look out for in the pursuit of Millsap. He’d give them a strong defender and rebounder who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. He’d also provide a solid third scoring option.