We’ve gone over what’s going on with the Nerlens Noel free agency and why the Dallas Mavericks seem content to stick to their guns. Teams with available cap space to offer Noel the large contract he and his agent are aiming for are few and far between. And of those teams, not many are looking for a center. It’s unclear what the Mavericks’ ultimate goal is, although there are theories about who the Mavericks are really after.
It’s cheap nba jerseys authentic entirely possible that Noel leaves after one full season with Dallas (see: Chandler, Tyson). The Mavs will be in desperate need for a starting center, and possibly a backup center, too (more on that later). If Dallas decides to renounce all cap holds and exceptions next summer, they’ll have about $34 million in cap space. So, say Noel signs his qualifying offer this year and becomes an unrestricted free agent a year from now. Who could the Mavs target next summer? Here are a few of the more interesting free agent centers in 2018. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins will no doubt have his share of suitors as the biggest of the free agent center class in 2018. Having just escaped Sacramento for the greener swamp of New Orleans, Cousins is now playing alongside an incredible talent in Anthony Davis. The Pelicans also just signed Jrue Holiday to a long-term contract. Cousins made it known to Holiday that he wanted him back, and now Holiday has already started returning the favor, pressuring the future unrestricted free agent to sign a long-term contract of his own. New Orleans can offer Cousins a five-year deal of up to $180 million.
Prying Cousins away could depend on how the Pelicans perform this year. If they meet their playoff expectations, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Cousins chooses to leave their potential behind. If they miss the playoffs and the Davis pairing proves disastrous, then all bets are off.
The good news for the Portland Trail Blazers is that their mid-season acquisition of Jusuf Nurkic powered a playoff run. The 22-year old averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds, and helped improve their defense by eight points with him on the floor. The bad news for the Blazers is that they will be one of the teams next season already over the salary cap. They started shedding salary by trading away Alan Crabbe for essentially air. However, he’ll be a restricted free agent next year, meaning the Blazers can match any offer he receives.
Although he performed well for the Blazers, it’s a question about what type of contract he’ll attract. Players with fewer than six years of experience are eligible for a max contract of 25 percent of the salary cap. Even with his gutsy return to the playoffs just 25 days after suffering a non-displaced fibular fracture in his right leg, Nurkic will most likely receive offers below the max threshold. And don’t forget that the Blazers are owned by one of the wealthiest people in the world, so paying the luxury tax may not be much of a deterrent in order to retain Nurkic.
In addition to Noel, the Mavs could also lose their backup center. Mejri has yet to prove he can become a legitimate starter in the league, although he has shown plenty of promise to become a bench player who blocks shots and mixes it up with the other team. However, he’s already one of the oldest players on the roster, making him a bit of a bad fit with Dallas’s youth movement. There are a handful of other free agent centers who fall into the “too old” category, including Brook Lopez, Greg Monroe, and NBA-champion Zaza Pachulia. Mejri will be a restricted free agent, so the Mavericks will be able to keep him if they choose to do so at a price that they can live with.
Durant bested James in the 2017 NBA Finals as the Warriors beat the Cavaliers 4-1 to win their second title in three years.
James has overshadowed Durant for much of his NBA career. James has three more MVP Awards and, prior to this past year, owned a three-to-none edge in NBA championships. James’ Miami Heat were victorious over Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Finals.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins in April 2013, Durant discussed how he had grown tired of looking up at James.
“I’ve been second my whole life,” he said. “I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
A little over cheap jerseys China four years later, Durant may be on the verge of surpassing James. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the Finals, en route to winning Finals MVP. Durant also hit what was the biggest shot of the series, putting the Warriors ahead in Game 3 on a pull-up three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining. Despite Durant’s objection, James arguably remains the best player in the world.
Building on the success of his first season in the Bay Area, it wouldn’t be surprising, however, to see Durant eclipse his biggest on-court rival in the near future.
It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, but there’s a late submission for the craziest move of the offseason: Kyrie Irving’s trade demand.
The Cavaliers star has reportedly asked team brass to move him, stunning everyone from his teammates to outside observers. The relationship between Irving and the Cavs has grown so toxic that the team reportedly can’t even get him on the phone.
With one of the NBA’s biggest stars on the trading block, there’s been no shortage of suitors. What team can’t use a superstar point guard in his prime? With that in mind, The Crossover asked its writers: Which team should trade for Kyrie? While most teams have already made their “big move” this summer, there’s plenty of teams with assets and point-guard needs to make a deal. Let’s take a look at five of the most plausible scenarios.
The Earth, no matter cheap jerseys what shape it might be, will collapse in on itself if this completely insane but also completely perfect trade happens.
The Celtics do this because Irving is younger than Thomas, because he’s more famous than Thomas, because he’s bigger than Thomas, because his offensive ceiling as The Man in a Brad Stevens system is higher than Thomas, and because he’s under contract for a year longer than Thomas. Danny Ainge would have an answer to skeptics suggesting he is too conservative in trade talks, he would sell high on Thomas and pass any potential injury issues to Cleveland, he would buy himself another year before needing to shell out true max money to his point guard, and he would theoretically ease the transition to his next generation core by preparing to build around Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and company.
The Cavaliers do this because they need to maximize their short-term return to chase the 2018 title and appease LeBron James, Thomas is the only All-NBA level point guard who is marginally available, Crowder is a playoff-tested wing defender who could give quality minutes in a Finals match-up against Golden State, and the first-round pick is a chip to soften the blow if James and/or Thomas leave next summer. First-time GM Koby Altman could salvage Cleveland’s rocky summer by selling this deal as his organization’s best shot to keep up with Golden State, by giving James the creative and dependable secondary playmaker who he desperately needs if Irving exits, and by adding a hard-nosed veteran stopper to an aging bench that provided little during the 2017 Finals.
The real winners, however, would be the thousands of Twitter uses who spent last season debating whether Irving or Thomas was better as this trade would immediately pay off with a series of must-see head-to-head match-ups and a possible Eastern Conference finals showdown. Thomas is entering a contract year with a shot at his first big payday. Irving is clearly thirsting for his own stage. Let’s make this happen and marvel at the insanity that will inevitably unfold.
Or, Ainge can sit tight and play killjoy yet again. — Ben Golliver
In the midst of this offseason, the New York Knicks are looking to go into rebuild mode. They finally parted ways with wholesale nba jerseys Phil Jackson, drafted a young point guard in Frank Ntilikina. Now, they are looking to trade Carmelo Anthony. So the time has come to finally build the team around the new face of the Knicks, the 21-year-old Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis is coming off a year where he averaged 18.1 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game. He has shown constant improvement during his first two years and is growing more comfortable with being the go to guy. He does need to improve his rebounding; hopefully, Kristaps can get his average to at least nine per game.
Kristaps has also increased his shots per game from 12.3 to 14.9 per game, which shows that he wants to take over more of the offense (all stats provided by basketball-reference.com). Along with his scoring increase, Kristaps also improved his field goal percentage from .421 to .450 and his three point percentage from .333 to .357. As for the defensive end, Porzingis averaged two blocks per game last season, which indicates that he is not afraid to get in the paint and contest shots.
We are near the end of the Carmelo Anthony era in New York. Anthony is only getting older and does not appear to want to stay in New York for the upcoming season. So it’s time to make our young star the face of the Knicks. Porzingis seems comfortable with the New York media and the expectations of what being a Knick brings. He was booed on his draft night, but so far has overcome all his doubters and has shown that he is the next best big in New York since Patrick Ewing. He also seems like he is adapting to the American lifestyle which can be hard for a young man coming from a different country.
So this is the blue print for the Knicks the next few seasons: keep Porzingis happy and bring some help for him. Trade Carmelo for maybe a very good young player to pair with Porzingis as well as some draft picks. Keep developing Kristaps to become a more potent scorer so that we can be looking a superstar in the next year or two. Then maybe the Knicks can finally break the Ewing Curse.