Tag: NBA Trade rumors

The Houston Rockets Championship window is closing

With the Golden State Warriors era of basketball running amuck on the league, the difficulty to win a championship for any team is tough especially for the Houston Rockets.

Winning against a team with 5 all-stars, in a 7-game series, is not only a daunting task but an impossible one for many teams. With Demarcus Cousins set to return on Friday against the Clippers, The Warriors now have 6 all-stars playing on their team.

Organizations around the league were forced to adapt to playing against Golden State’s brand of basketball. The three-point shot has evolved, becoming the most valuable way of scoring in today’s era of basketball. Post ups and Mid-range shooting are a thing of the past.

The Houston Rockets were one of the organizations who had to adopt a new style of basketball centered around 3 point shooting. Houston’s offense is the closest to the Warriors and even the Rockets couldn’t beat them in the Western Conference finals.

Last year, the Houston Rockets were only one game away from reaching the NBA Finals. But when Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury, all hope was lost for the Rockets.

Chris Paul has been plagued with injuries playing in only 26 games this season. With the recent news that Clint Capela is out for 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, James Harden is forced to carry the load for this team.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela are key pieces to the Rockets’ success. This team will go far as these two players go. If they can’t stay healthy or consistent, the Rockets will not be in contention for winning the championship this year.

The best shot the Rockets had to win a title was last season. It seems that the Rockets hasn’t mentally recovered from the western conference finals and free agency.

Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger and there are signs showing that father time is catching up to him. The Rockets are a struggling team this season. They had stretches where they were extremely bad, then they played good, and then bad again.

This team simply can’t stay consistent. If you can’t stay consistent in a Western Conference of the Warriors, Thunder, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers, you are bound to end up at the bottom of the pack.

 

With last night’s loss to the Nets, James Harden scored 58 points and the team attempted an unbelievable 70 three-pointers only making 23 of them. This raises concerns of if this team is even on the same page as they were up against the Nets late in the fourth quarter until giving up three straight 3 pointers from Spencer Dinwiddie to force overtime.

We have seen this same situation a couple weeks back against the Dallas Mavericks as rookie Luka Doncic capped off a comeback scoring 11 points in the final minutes of the game to defeat the Rockets.

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Three Teams that would be the best fit for New York Knick Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter has been the topic of conversation within the past couple of days since announcing that he wouldn’t be attending the UK trip with the New York Knicks. The Knicks Center has also been frustrated with the team due to his role and also where the team is headed, which eventually led to talks about other teams in the NBA showing interest in trading for the big man. The frustration started about less than a month ago when the Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale made a change to the rotation as he put Enes Kanter on the bench and started second year player Luke Kornet. 

“It’s very embarrassing. I understand we want our young guys to get better. But it’s very painful to watch it,” -Enes Kanter

 Since these trade talks have been happening, it was never confirmed on which teams were interested in trading for Kanter. I’ve listed three teams below and scenarios that I personally believe would fit well for Enes Kanter. I will only include Enes Kanter from the Knicks and no draft picks to be traded in these scenarios because Kanter is the only player as of now on the Knicks that they would trade. Not going to big in depth on the draft picks.

First Trade (NYK & LAC): LAC receive C Enes Kanter. NYK receive C Marcin Gortat, G Patrick Beverly.

The Clippers would receive Enes Kanter who is an outstanding rebounder, which is a major piece that the Clippers need on their team. Right now for the Clippers, their current leader in rebounds is Tobias Harris, averaging 8.0 rpg. Kanter has averaged 10+ rebounds within the last two seasons and would be an improvement to the team. Also, Kanter is a promising scorer at the center position, averaging 14.9 ppg within the last two seasons with the Knicks which is much needed for the Clippers young lineup. The Clippers are currently a playoff team that can confidently be a playoff team within the next couple of seasons. So with Kanter in their lineup, they can improve their backcourt by pairing Kanter with current Clipper Montrezl Harrell.

As for the Knicks, they would receive Marcin Gortat and Patrick Beverly who are veterans in the NBA. Adding a new Center to the Knicks in Marcin Gortat would be a major change in their rotation and most likely have Coach Fizdale give more minutes to the young centers in Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson. Giving Robinson more minutes might not sound like a good idea to most Knicks fans as of now, due to his injuries and development, but he would be better defensive presence in the paint then Kanter was. The Knicks will also be adding another guard to the team in Pat Beverly who can help the young guards on the team. Beverly has a strong work ethic that can help the young guys with their game.

Second Trade (NYK & CHA): CHA receive C Enes Kanter. NYK receive F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and F/C Frank Kaminsky.

At this point into the NBA season, the Charlotte Hornets are hoping to maintain a spot in the NBA playoffs as they are currently looking to stay as one of the top 8 seeds in the eastern conference. With Kemba Walker having the best season of his career, averaging a career high in points, he could really use some help with a new center added to their team. Within the recent years, the Hornets have not had a solid player at the center position. They’ve relied on players such as Bismack Biyambo, Dwight Howard, and Cody Zeller within the years. Cody Zeller was their the 4thpick in the 2013 and has averaged a total of 8.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, & 0.7 bpg during his six seasons as a Charlotte Hornet. Zeller is also currently out for 4-6 weeks of the regular season due to having surgery on his right hand. Kanter would be a great fit for the Hornets at the center position until Zeller is ready to get back onto the court.

The Knicks would receive Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Frank Kaminsky. Kidd-Gilchrist wasn’t the promising player that the Hornets were expecting after drafting him at the number two spot in the 2012 NBA Draft. Since his arrival in the NBA, MKG is averaging 9.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg in his career. Sending Kidd-Gilchrist to New York can give him more of an opportunity to place since only playing 19 minutes per game right now with Charlotte. Kaminsky is a stretch forward who can also play the center position. With his ability to shoot the three point line, Kaminsky can help out the Knicks current offense with the loss of Kanter and Porzingis. Kaminsky is also a RFA this coming offseason as well. Whether he works out or not, the Knicks can find a way to match offers with other teams who are interested in him.

Third Trade (NYK & SAC): SAC receive C Enes Kanter. NYK would receive Zach Randolph.

This was trade that both teams had discussed on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. It was first tweeted out by NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.

This trade would be beneficial for both teams in this trade. For Sacramento, they can add a big man who they can promise to consistently put up 10+ points and rebounds in every game he plays. Their current starting center Willie Cauley-Stein has been improving since his rookie year but isn’t that consistent with double-doubles like Kanter is. To make room on the starting lineup, the Kings can slide Cauley-Stein down to the power forward position, start Kanter at the center position,  and have Nemanja Bjelica come off the bench. With the addition of Enes Kanter, the Kings can improve their offensive rebounding stat line.

Z-Bo would return to the New York since being traded by the Knicks in 2008. As a 37 year old last season, Randolph averaged a total of 14.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 2.2 apg while only playing 25 minutes each game. Even though he didn’t finish the season and hasn’t played at all yet in this current season, he would be a great leader on the young team. The 2-time all-star has yet to average under 10 points per game since his 2ndseason in the league. Even getting older in age, it seems like he has not yet lost his touch in the game of basketball. 

In my opinion, Enes Kanter belongs on a playoff team that has a bright future ahead of them. Clearly the Knicks aren’t that team in his mind. This trade may happen before the trade deadline or it may happen during the offseason. So as of now, we just have to wait and see. 

The Best Center in College Basketball: Breaking Down Bol Bol’s Game

Bol Bol is taking college basketball by storm, leading the Oregon Ducks to a 9-4 record.

Bol is a freakish 7’2, 234lb athletic player. His ability to space the floor, and be a consistent scorer is helping Oregon to a winning record. Along with his freakish stature, Bol has a 7’6 wingspan which helps him defend and block shots.

Bol is currently averaging 21 points, 9.6 Rebs and 2.7 blocks on 56% shooting from the field and an unbelievable 52% from 3.

Bol’s strength lies in his ability to score, defend, rebound, and block shots. He can do a lot of damage anywhere on the court. His ability to space the floor will make him a valuable asset for any team come the 2019 NBA Draft.

Bol’s most underrated skill is his IQ, he knows how to be an efficient scorer, as well as a smart defender. These skills will translate well in the NBA.

Bol’s weaknesses stem from his skinny stature. Ultimately, he needs to bulk up and work on being a force down low. Bol has a tendency to get knocked out of place by stronger opponents. Also, he isn’t the best screener and he isn’t keen on setting picks and rolling to the basket much.

Bol has to work on being a force as a big man, he sometimes looks for the jump shot rather than taking his opponent inside. His inability to do this is due to his lack of strength as he doesn’t feel enthusiastic about playing inside. He is very raw in this area, and to be a great center in the NBA, he must develop a consistent inside game.

He also isn’t the best decision maker as he currently averages more turnovers at 2.0 a game than assists at 1 a game. Sometimes when he is given the ball, he would look to dribble and go for a midrange shot rather than looking for a better shot.

The biggest question with Bol’s game is his heart to play. Does he really want it? He doesn’t always hustle and is sometimes the last man up the court in offensive and defensive possessions. Bol doesn’t always box out players and plays at one speed. He isn’t the toughest player at this point in his career, and that will get exposed at the NBA level if he doesn’t show the willingness to do the little things on the court.

Overall Bol’s value will lie on his defensive and offensive abilities. He is a remarkable athlete but needs to get stronger if he wants to play at the next level. Bol is a point guard’s dream, he is the ideal stretch big that NBA teams want.

Bol’s upside is unclear at this point, as it seems this may be the peak of his game. His work ethic and ability to play consistent minutes in the NBA will determine how better he will get.

Bol Bol may find more playing time at the power forward position more than the center position in the NBA, as his ability to stretch the floor will be a huge asset to teams.

Bol is the son of Manute Bol, who is famous for playing for the Washington Bullets in the late 1980s. Manute was 7’7 with an 8’6 wingspan but struggled to find consistent play timing.

Bol has a lot of the skills that Manute had but better. Bol is a better offensive player at this stage then his father was.

Bol has drawn comparisons to New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis. They both are similar in their strengths and weaknesses going into the draft. The biggest question with Porzingis was his strength, toughness, and feel for the game. Bol has similar question marks at this point in his college career.

Are The Brooklyn Nets Future Championship Contenders?

The Brooklyn Nets currently sit at the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, winning 8 of their last 10 games and are 16-19 on the season. The Nets are quietly sneaking up into playoff contention in the east.

The Nets had impressive wins over the 76ers, Raptors, and the Lakers in their 10 game stretch. The play of D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen have been key to the Nets’ success.

“I still think the defense can be better,” said Kenny Atkinson, Nets Head Coach. “we are in an “ok” place, not a “great” place.”

The Nets currently rank 19th in team defense per game. They are falling below average in this category. This has been a weak spot for the Nets all season as they haven’t figured it out defensively yet.

Their bench production has also been something to take note of, including the impressive play by their 2018 2nd round pick, Rodions Kurucs, who is averaging 10 Points and 3.4 rebounds in the month of December.

“We play like a team, we support each other, we got each other’s back,” said Kurucs after defeating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. “We are helping each other, we are pushing each other.”

The Nets have been turning heads as they’re not far from being in the playoffs. Right now, they are currently behind the Detroit Pistons for the 8th seed. But if the Nets keep up their level of play, they may surprise everyone and grab the 6th seed.

The Nets are only a couple of years away from being true championship contenders, and it may come as a surprise due to their lack of draft picks and activity in the free agency.

Through the years, they were able to draft diamond in the rough players. After trading multiple draft picks for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back in 2013, they quietly were able to build a team of quality hard-working players during the aftermath of that trade.

The Nets traded their franchise center in Brook Lopez for a young and promising guard in D’Angelo Russell. They drafted Caris Levert, Rodions Kurucs, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen. They all proved to be productive players on the team.

The Nets are still missing something, and that is a franchise player. The Nets need a go-to scorer to compliment D’Angelo Russell and Caris Levert. Luckily, the Nets will have their draft pick this year as well as money to spend in the 2019 NBA Free Agency.

With names such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Demarcus Cousins, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant testing the free agency waters, the Nets wouldn’t look like a bad option if they are able to contend in the east this year.

The development of D’Angelo Russell is crucial to the Nets’ future. Right now, he isn’t a consistent scorer to be a franchise player. He is still extremely young, 22 Years old, so he will have more time to develop.

Russell is averaging 17.5 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 41% from the field and 36% from 3pt land. These are promising numbers from Russell, but if he wants to take that leap to stardom, he is going to have to be a consistent scorer in the league.

Early Top 5 NBA MVP Candidates

The NBA season has been full of surprises, we have seen the rise of the Denver Nuggets and the fall of the Houston Rockets. Questions remain with all the surprises in the NBA, who will be the MVP this season?

The NBA MVP race has been interesting this season. We have seen remarkable plays and emergence of many players. Here are the 5 players who are the top candidates to win MVP this season:

5. Anthony Davis

Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Record: 14-15
Stats: 27.4 Points 12.2 Rebounds 4.8 Assists 2.8 Blocks

Anthony Davis has been an MVP caliber player for the past four seasons, but his team hasn’t produced the wins for Davis to be a serious candidate. Davis is doing it all for the Pelicans this season. He is producing on both sides of the court, offense, and defense.

The Pelicans are 4-6 in their last 10 games falling to the 10th seed in the Western Conference. For Davis to win MVP this season, his team has to start winning. Davis has MVP caliber stats but unfortunately is not winning games to back up his case for MVP.

Davis does have a decent supporting cast to pull out wins but the Pels haven’t found a way to win games consistently. The Pelicans as a team rank 2nd in both points per game and assists per game. The offense is there for the Pelicans but they must be consistent on this end and also on the defensive end.

4. Stephen Curry

Team: Golden State Warriors
Record: 19-9
Stats: 30.1 Points 5.8 Assists 5.2 Rebounds 1.1 Steals

Stephen Curry is always an MVP candidate every year since 2015. His tremendous shooting ability, playmaking, and overall offensive abilities have helped lead the Warriors to a winning culture.

Curry is currently having a 50/50/90 season. The last person to achieve this historic stat for a season is his coach Steve Kerr in the 1995-1996 season with the Chicago Bulls. Curry is shooting 51% from the field, 50% from the 3, and 93% from the free throw line. These historic shooting numbers from Curry will help elevate his case for MVP this season.

Curry’s MVP case might be tarnished due to early season injuries as well as being on a super team with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Curry is having a historic season and is easily the best player on the Warriors. He will have plenty of nods to be in the MVP conversation this year.

3. Kawhi Leonard

Team: Toronto Raptors
Record: 22-7
Stats: 26.1 Points 3 Assists 8.3 Rebounds 1.9 Steals

The Toronto Raptors are currently the best team in the NBA, holding the best record in the league. This is in large part due to the remarkable play by Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is the best player on the raptors and affects the floor both on offense and defense. With the help of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Serge Ibaka, the Raptors may find themselves in the NBA Finals in June.

After his dramatic departure from San Antonio during the offseason, Leonard is reminding everyone that he is a Top 5 player in the league.

With the Raptors rolling this season, Leonard is a top MVP candidate this year.

2. Lebron James

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Record: 17-10
Stats: 28.3 Points 7.1 Assists 7 Rebounds 1.3 Steals

A 33-year-old Lebron James is leading the Lakers to a 5th seed in the Brutal Western Conference. James is averaging close to a triple-double and producing wins for this Lakers roster whose next best player is Kyle Kuzma.

James is on a tear this season and has been the sole reason this Laker team is winning games. He has the best chance to take the MVP trophy home this season if he continues to produce more wins for his team. He has played in every single game this season and it seems like he is getting better with age.

The Lakers have won 7 games in their last 10 games. James continues to exceed expectations year in and year out as he is leading this team who has struggled the past 5 years to the playoffs. The Lakers are 1.5 games behind from being the number one seed in the conference. With how the Lakers are playing, they might be the first seed by Christmas.

James is leading the Lakers in Points, Rebounds and assists for the Lakers. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is the highest on the team at 27.4. Next highest is Kyle Kuzma at 16.1 PER.

1. Giannis Antentokoumpo

Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Record: 18-8
Stats: 26.5 Points 13.3 Rebounds 6 Assists 1.3 Blocks

Giannis Antentokoumpo is doing everything for the Bucks, scoring, grabbing rebounds, playing defense, dishing out assists. 2019 is the year of the Greek Freak as he has lifted the Bucks to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference.

Giannis is the best player in the Eastern Conference. He is a nightmare for any team. Giannis hasn’t quite figured out his shooting ability in the NBA yet, only shooting 11% but is still finding a way to score buckets and be a force in the league.

The Bucks are a scary team to face as they currently rank 1st as a team in points per game and rebound per game. They also rank 4th in assists per game being one of the more unselfish teams in the league.

Giannis is leading the team in Points, Rebounds, assists and steals basically every statistical category other than blocks which Brook Lopez currently leads the team in.

Giannis is 4th in PER, ranking only behind Steph Curry, Boban Marjanovic and Anthony Davis.

The Bucks are a difficult and scary team to face this season and that is due to the rise of Giannis Antentokoumpo. Giannis has the best chance to win MVP this year as he doing everything and winning with the Bucks.

Should the Knicks trade for John Wall?

The New York Knicks have been waiting for ages for a dynamic point guard. Rumors and speculations have surfaced online that the Knicks are currently gathering assets to make a trade for Washington Wizard’s star John Wall.

The Wall era in Washington has been rather disappointing. The team has underperformed the past couple of seasons and struggled to make it to the conference finals in the weak eastern conference. In addition to that, Wall signed a $170 million contract extension back in the summer of 2017 and that contract may haunt the Wizards if they continue to hold on to him. Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are currently the highest paid players on the roster. If the Wizards want to land a big fish in free agency, they are going to have to let go of one of these players.

Wall has gathered a bad reputation in Washington through the years, butting heads with coach Scott Brooks, former teammate Marcin Gortat and calling out his teammates. With the Wizards not playing up to standards and constant frustration going on in the organization, a new home for Wall may lie in the Big Apple.

The duo of John Wall and Kristaps Porzingis along with Tim Hardaway Jr, Kevin Knox, and Allonzo Trier sounds like a stepping stone into a winning culture for the Knicks. The Knicks need a dynamic point guard who is going to slash up the defense and make plays. Wall can help the Knicks in an area they have been suffering in for ages.

The Knicks have plenty of assets to use as trade bait, particularly, Enes Kanter, Lance Thomas, Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Emmanuel Mudiay. The Untouchables would include Kevin Knox, Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitchell Robinson, Kristaps Porzingis and rising player Allonzo Trier.

Wall, 28, is entering the prime of his career. He is currently averaging around 21 points and 8 assists on the season. Despite all the drama surrounding him, Wall is still a special player who may need a fresh new start.

Whatever the Knicks decide to do, winning should be the priority. If the Knicks do trade for Wall, they need to build right away for playoff contention. If they don’t, developing their young talent and rebuilding for at least two more years isn’t a bad option. The Knicks would have to take on a contract that will last all through Wall’s prime. Either way, the Knicks decide to go, there isn’t a bad route in this situation.

Is Kevin Durant-OKC Reunion Possible in the 2019 NBA Free Agency

In the 2016 NBA Offseason, 9x All-Star Kevin Durant shocked the entire world when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were just coming off two finals appearances and the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green already achieved a championship back in the 2015 Finals and was out for revenge after losing to a Cleveland Cavaliers team led by Lebron James back in the 2016 Finals. 

Durant’s decision sparked disappointment and anger from the fans of Oklahoma City and general fans around the league. Fans labeled him as a “snake”, “cupcake” and a “coward”. With recent videos of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showing friendly gestures such as hugging and shaking hands, all might be forgiven in OKC. The question rises could a possible reunion between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant happen come this year’s free agency?

 

Durant, in his time with the Golden State Warriors, went on to captured 2 NBA Championships as well as 2 NBA Finals MVP’s in back to back years. Durant finally captured the championship he has been chasing his whole career. At this point, it seems highly unlikely he leaves the Warriors.

With the recent clash of Durant and teammate Draymond Green, it seems that Durant may have his foot out the door in Golden State. Draymond, in an interview with ESPN, expressed uncertainty but support in the future of his teammates Durant and Klay Thompson’s decision in free agency:

“You know, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, whatever who decides to do, we had great years together and I support everybody wholeheartedly, 100 percent,” Green Stated. “Because as a man, as a human being, you got the right to do what you want with your life. So I will never question that.”

In a scenario that Durant joins OKC in free agency, the team would be complete and the Thunder would have everything to be championship contenders. The core of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, and Kevin Durant sounds like a dream come true for Thunder fans.

Ultimately, this scenario does not seem likely to happen and this is due to OKC not having the cap space to make this happen. Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams are the top paid players on the team and with Westbrook and George earning over 30 million a year, there is no flexibility that the team has to bring in Kevin Durant unless they trade one of those three guys.

Durant is looking for a big payday come free agency and teams such as the Lakers, Nets, Knicks, Mavericks, and Clippers have the cap to give Durant big time money. Durant’s decision comes down to how satisfied and happy he is. It doesn’t make sense leaving a situation where he is winning championships in Golden State unless he is unhappy with the team.

Durant may possibly be interested in rejoining the team that drafted and molded him at some point in his career but the odds seem low due to OKC’s lack of cap flexibility. But from history, we have learned that the NBA is unpredictable and a scenario such as this doesn’t sound too far-fetched.