The busiest day in the NBA has come and gone and while we are all done being in awe of the knowledge of Woj, the NBA dust is settling on what promises to be a very intriguing road to the finals.
Some of the East’s top tier teams load up:
· Nikola Mirotic traded to the Milwaukee Bucks: My goodness the Bucks are looking mighty scary. Adding a top tier shooting forward to a team that is already shooting the lights out is scary. Giannis gets another weapon as he tries to fortify his MVP case. Mirotic is a great fit alongside Giannis because he is an efficient 3-point shooter, but he can also rebound and play in the paint a little. If the defense bites on the pass out to Mirotic, Middleton or other shooters, Giannis is almost guaranteed a basket but if the defense collapses towards Giannis he can pass out to a bevy of shooters along the perimeter as the defense scrabbles back.
· Marc Gasol traded to the Toronto Raptors: This move still confuses me. How much better can Gasol make the Raptors instead of Valanciunas? Gasol maybe the better defender and shooter but Valanciunas is just as good as if not better of a rebounder and post player. With Serge Ibaka’s ability to shoot the basketball I don’t really see a logjam in the paint. Valanciunas has always been a Celtics killer and Gasol is not so this is a welcomed sight to me.
· Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic traded to the Philadelphia76ers: The 76ers acquire a shooting forward in Harris, a piece they think they can retain to become pat of a big 4 with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and fellow to be free agent Jimmy Butler. Boban gives them a back center at a ridiculous 7-foot 3-inches and he also happens to be Harris’s best friend, so good for morale I suppose. This move doesn’t scare me as much as Mirotic because Harris is a little more rounded offensively and he isn’t just a catch and shoot type player. Simmons needs the ball to be effective, Embiid can dominate with the ball in the low post and Butler also can make his own shots. If they can make it work, they could be dangerous down the stretch, but they did shed some bench pieces, so they aren’t as deep as Boston, Toronto and Milwaukee.
76ers scrap the latest part of the process: In a shocking move the 76ers dumped second year point guard Markelle Fultz for Johnathon Simmons, a first-round pick and a second-round pick. The 76ers traded up in the draft the summer of 2017 for Fultz, with the Celtics who used the 76ers pick to select Jayson Tatum and the Celtics got another pick. He has been suffering from shoulder issues for most of his career and he has been criticized by the media non-stop for his strange shooting mechanics and disagreements with the 76ers organization. Simmons can help a depleted Philly bench, but he is having a down year offensively. Fultz gets a chance to start over in Orlando where the desperately needed a point guard, they can give him a chance to get physically and mentally healthy as they tank to acquire what could be the last piece in their rebuild.
Mark Cuban’s biggest foreign investment to date: After supposedly only demanding a trade at most an hour before this happened Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in hopes of becoming part of a sensational young duo with a fellow European, Mavs rookie sensation Luka Doncic. Porzingis will miss the remainder of the year as he continues to recover from a torn ACL and has stated he will sign the qualifying offer this summer to forgo restricted free agency to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Where Mark Cuban will either a) throw him a boat load of money b) hand him a blank check for Porzingis to fill out or c) let him sign elsewhere if he doesn’t come back from his torn ACL effectively.
Danny Ainge is a goddamn wizard (and not the Washington kind): Ainge was able to trade Jabari Bird and free up a roster spot. The Celtics can sign someone from the buyout market to a modest 2-year deal. I can hear you saying what’s so impressive about this? Well that player could then be used as salary filler in a potential Anthony Davis deal. Davis, the guy who doesn’t want to play in Boston? You may be saying, well first of all, read before you ask, and secondly yes that Anthony Davis. Ainge was successfully able to keep the Pelicans from trading Davis this deadline and now has secured himself the ability to make official offers to the Pelicans. Unable to trade for Davis because of the Rose rule, the Celtics had to wait until the summer when Kyrie gets a new or deal or leaves if you believe that pile of bullshit. So, by successfully stalling a trade Ainge has guaranteed he will get a chance to send the Pelicans some offers. Who and what will those offers consist of? Nobody knows not even Danny because he’s that unpredictable. But the Celtics would have to draft for the Pelicans if they were to trade some 2019 draft picks because offers can’t be made until July 1st, after the draft. I am not worried about the rumors that Davis won’t resign long term in Boston nor should you be, Kevin Garnett, yes that Kevin Garnett didn’t want to be traded to Boston, then he signed an extension to stay once eligible. Boston wasn’t a preferred destination for Kyrie either but there are more signs pointing towards him stay than leaving. Once in Boston, where fans are some of the most loyal and passionate, where you have new facilities, a great coaching staff, top tier ownership committed to winning and have a chance to become immersed in the rich basketball culture and tradition of excellence it is very possible to have your mind changed. All hail Lord Danny.