The day before NBA free agency begins, a lot of side deals are going on before they can really be announced. Harrison Barnes is going to re-sign with Sacramento on a four year $88 million deal. Barnes has never lived up to his 7th pick in the 2012 draft. He’s a lottery pick that has never been an All-Star. He’s more a 3rd option than a number one or two. He had two 18 ppg and 19 ppg seasons in Dallas, but his 28 games with Sacramento is more of what the Kings are getting. 14 ppg, 40% from three, 5.5 rebounds. His defense is pretty much garbage and he only made 37% of his jump shots. Not to mention the tighter the game gets, the more his jump shot bricks off the rim. But trying to figure out Sac-town will make your brain bleed.
Same story with Orlando. They are planning to offer Nik Vucevic a $90 million 4 year contract. Because, why? Vucevic is a regular season All-Star. In the playoffs, his flaws are exaggerated. The Magic are desperate for a point guard. Having the money doesn’t mean you have to spend it. But then again, the Celtics want Vucevic after talks broke down with Al Horford.
Derrick Rose and Detroit Pistons may be hooking up. Rose had a career year after his knee injury and was a surprise with the 3-ball. The Pistons are desperate for a point guard who can feed Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Acquiring Reggie Jackson from OKC several years ago was a flat out bust. Jackson is all about Jackson and isn’t that good of a point guard. They had Ish Smith and other temporary replacements to fill in the hole. Rose can solidify a desperate position of need. Rose isn’t wanted at Minnesota because the Wolves are expected to meet with restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell in the hopes of signing him to an offer sheet.
Kevin Durant is going to meet with both New York teams, the Clippers and the Warriors. It makes no sense to go the logic move for Durant because he’s the same man who left OKC to join the team that beat him. With Durant, every team he visits is in play though it would seem he’d only sign in New York if he had a running mate in Kyrie Irving. By the time he returns from his Achilles, KD will be 32 years old. RJ Barrett will be 20 years old. Not a pairing that will work. Kyrie needs to be part of the NY package for KD, or Jimmy Butler, but KD is adamant he is going to make his own decision on his own timetable.
Kawhi Leonard is linked with everyone. He is talking about teaming up with Durant. And Irving. And LeBron. And Jimmy Butler. He asked to meet with Magic Johnson. Or he didn’t and Johnson is throwing that out there. Among all the players approaching this pivotal moment in their careers, Kawhi is the mysterious one. If you believe what you read, the Lakers intrigue Kawhi when a few months ago he was a no thank you Lake Show. But since then, the Lakers have gotten Anthony Davis and gotten rid of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. It may or may not be related.
Michael Jordan refuses to pay luxury tax for a team that isn’t a contender. I feel MJ the businessman. But he’s getting rid of a player in Kemba Walker that is just too hard to find. This is a point guard league. Kemba shoots the three and organizes the action. Good luck with the Kemba replacement. As for Kemba, the Celtics have the inside track, finally admitting the Kyrie experience is over. The Lakers have an outside shot.
Jimmy Butler is like Kawhi and he’s linked all over the place. We know the Rockets are willing to move the earth to start a train wreck starring Jimmy. Philly may not want Butler but they need him. The Clippers like a Butler-Leonard duo in L.A. to neutralize LeBron and AD in the same building. If Toronto loses Kawhi, Masai Ujiri may do a shout out for Butler to keep them relevant. Don’t rule the Celtics out.
Kyrie Irving turning the page. The Celtics have been trashing Irving which means it’s over, the Kyrie experiment. Which means the Celtics gambled and lost. As for Kyrie, he’ll keep it 100. He’s not sentimental. The Nets are the only team that wants Kyrie, outside of a long shot Lakers reunification with you know who which is what Kyrie does not want. But here’s the skinny. The Nets are younger and less experienced than the Celtics. It doesn’t bode well for Kyrie in 2019-20.