Reality: Superstar Hunting
Brett Brown stated in his post draft presser, the following. First, he drafted the local kid and 2 time National Champ Mikael Bridges at number 10. His tenure as a Sixer did not last long. Within an hour of that pick, a trade was made. The trade details are below.
The 2021 pick from the Heat is unprotected. Doing some more research into the Miami Heat’s payroll, we learn more about their current situation. First, we know they are more than a few players away. The Sixers were able to dispose of them in five games, in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. We also know the team is aging and does not have any real assets. We also know they are well over the cap, and high in the luxury tax bracket, going into next season.
After the 2019-2020 season, players such as Whiteside, Dragic, and Tyler Johnson could exercise their player options and leave. That would free up roughly 66 million dollars in salary. However, they will look to acquire talent, specifically younger as they are in need of a rebuild to compete. The current talent on the squad has peaked at this point.
Why the 2021 Pick From Miami is Important
Please let us not take the value out of this asset. When the trade happened, many of the Philadelphia fans, got upset before looking at the entire context. First, I like Mikael Bridges, but I struggle for the name of a stud NBA Player who went to Villanova. I will wait. My feelings exactly. Jay Wright’s coaching ability in College will not transfer to the NBA for his players to be successful. While Mikael Bridges is a great defensive player with length, which transfers to the NBA, I would argue Zhaire Smith is much better, is younger and is more athletic with a much higher upside.
The video speaks for itself:
Brett Brown’s comparisons to a younger more athletic Kawhi Leonard, are not overblown. This teams biggest problem in the series against the Celtics was that it got exposed defensively, especially on the perimeter. If Brown, as he stated has a goal to win the title this will need to improve. Not just to past the Celtics in the east, but also to be able to compete against a team like Golden State or Houston, who can shoot from anywhere.
Along with that the salary defense from the 10th pick to the 16th pick is about 900k-1.3 million dollars. It may not sound like a ton, but we need all the wiggle room we can get. Then when we pair this with what Miami could look like in 2021, not only is it a viable trade piece, but it also holds value to the Sixers if not moved. Also, keep in mind the 2021 draft may be the next that allows players to go straight from High School to the NBA.
The Free Agents
At the top of every list, this year is the greatest player in the world, Lebron James. The second best available player by a wide margin is Paul George. Other high profile names include Kevin Durant (will re-sign) with Warriors and Chris Paul. Carmelo Anthony picked up his option earlier this week and will stay in OKC. Let us start with the King.
First, while it looks like a foregone conclusion Lebron James is not yet a free agent. Is it possible he accepts his player option and plays at a 35.6 million dollar salary? It is definitely possible, it seems unlikely, but it is possible. James has till Friday to make this decision. During this time, the only team allowed to negotiate with Lebron is Cleveland. If he opts out, the rest of the league can begin recruiting July 1. No deals can become official until July 6 however.
The push for Lebron has begun here already in Philadelphia. From “the process” himself.
Joel Embiid wants LeBron James to Trust the Process. pic.twitter.com/7PO9ta7Jih
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 26, 2018
From Super Bowl Champion to soon to be NFL MVP, Carson Wentz:
— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) June 13, 2018
I am sure, this is common in all NBA Cities, including Cleveland. Who would not want the services of the best player in the NBA hands down to join their team? If history tells us anything, adding his services is a lock for an NBA finals appearance.
In May, I wrote an article stating that I believed LBJ would be here. I had inside info, that believed the following. Here is a snippet from the post.
“As his career moves more towards its end, Lebron has stated a desire, to lead a team of young talent, and play off the ball. While injuries, have never been a problem in Lebron’s career, and he keeps himself in peek physical condition. Since about the age of 30 off season workouts, and development have become a more grueling process.
Lebron wants to go to a place where he can lead. He also wants to go to a place where he has the abilities to win titles. While 6 is no longer a goal or a desire for him, he still knows it is how he will be measured when compared to the other greats. He is also interested in not being the main piece on a team anymore where he feels he has to carry them as well as the city on his shoulders. He would like to be able to continue his legacy while also helping young players grow into their full potential.
Talks have really only ever led, to a discussion of 3 destinations. Those 3 destinations are Cleveland, as it is where he is familiar, and currently settled LA, and Philadelphia. LA is appealing to him cause he has a home out there and he is on a mission to become the first billion-dollar athlete, and it is a platform to promote his business aspirations. Philadelphia is very intriguing to him, for three reasons. For one, he has never played with a big man with the skill set of Joel Embiid, he admires the work ethic of backup point guard TJ McConnell, and believes that Ben Simmons is the future of the NBA.”
This was info that was given to me in May, but it seems like Lebron after being swept out in the NBA Finals, may have rethought his future. All signs point to things changing. For example, you have all seen the reports. The more and more I begin to look at things, it seems his decision has already been made. While I hope for the best, my thought is it is between Cleveland and LA. The decision this time does not appear to be about the basketball player Lebron, but more so the man Lebron James. It seems to be more focused on his family and most importantly his children and their future. I can not hate on a man, for putting that first over his already great legacy.
While the Sixers, can free up the money and do have pieces that are tempting to Lebron. It just seems like the fit is not there, at this point in his life, if only we had this in 2014 and not 2018, things would have been different.
Let’s move on to Paul George, the second best FA on the Market. Everyone knows that he is an LA Kid, and the rumors are ripe that he has a desire to play at home. He confirmed, he will opt out. This morning on bleacher report, Paul stated the decision will be made based on what is best for him. The Lakers have a ton of flexibility in terms of cap room if they intend to acquire his services. However, as the second-best free agent on the market, many teams would benefit from his services as well. They would find ways to free up money to land him.
The Laker talk has heated up and seems to be the favorite. My thoughts are this decision is not as close as the LBJ one is. Paul George could end up on a team that will offer him the most money. My belief is the Lakers will not be able to pay both him and LBJ if they land him. I have a feeling that Paul George could be a Sixer or even a Toronto Raptor, while the Raptors look to move DeRozan. The decision for Paul could influence Lebron and vice versa. I think the big elephant in the room is ultimately what Lebron decides.
What about Kawhi?
This story has so many pieces and is interesting on many levels. There is so much back and forth talk. Does he want to be in San Antonio? Kawhi and his camp have said no. Greg Popovich and Kawhi have had multiple meetings since the end of the season, and Kawhi could sign a super-max 5 year 219 million dollar deal with the Spurs next year. There is no other team that can offer him this type of deal.
So what does this all mean? Does Kawhi feel, he was mistreated by the team, during his injury? Does he believe that San Antonio is a small market team where he does not get the attention of other superstars and or teams? Are Kawhi and the best coach in the NBA, Popovich in a riff? Is it possible Kawhi wants to win and knows the product in his current situation is not good enough to compete in the west? Is money the ultimate goal? What is Kawhis real agenda here,?
Well, let’s look at a few of these questions. If cashing in is the most important concern, staying in San Antonio is his best option. If the rumors are true and Kawhi asked for a trade from the Spurs, ideally to Los Angelos than money is not the issue here.
Is there a desire to play on any team, not in the position to win a title. That is an answer we do not know. He played 9 games last season, and if he is looking to get paid on either a super max deal from the Spurs or a max deal from any other team, you would think he should be on the court.
I am trying to figure out what is really driving him here, and how he views his future. It seems to me that Kawhi has a desire to be great and be a very important piece on an extremely competitive team. He is the best way 2 player in the game when motivated, and one of the few players in this league capable of shutting down its most skilled players. This includes even the great Lebron.
You never hear much from Kawhi or his camp. He could be the games most humble, superstar. A two time NBA Defensive player of the year, and the 2014 Finals MVP is the games best 2-way player. To me, it seems that Kawhi is driven by greatness, accolades, and titles. You do not have to be a basketball guru, to understand that the Spurs are not set up to be competitive in the west. It could also be just that Kawhi is unhappy and misses home, which is why he has a desire to be traded to LA.
There are reports that the Lakers approached the Spurs about a trade and were shot down quickly. There is also reports that the Spurs, would trade him only to the Eastern Conference. There is also that possibility as well, that the team is able to mend their relationship with him and he stays in San Antonio. The layers to this story make it almost too good to be true.
At this point to me, my dream this off season has no turned into a Pipe Dream longshot.