Saturday, May 13, 2017

Building a Pacer Super Team

The Indiana Pacers were swept out of the playoffs by the Cavaliers, leading to a lot of offseason questions. How will Larry Bird's exit affect them in both the long and short term? Do they trade Paul George and rebuild? Or do they build a super team? I've come up with a crazy yet realistic way to make them a super team.
The first step is not trading Paul George. Despite the fact that George can opt out after next season, the Pacers should bet on him staying. He's one of the best two way players in the NBA and one of the few people who have had some success guarding LeBron. So keeping Paul George is a must.
Second is signing Kyle Lowry. The Raptors were also swept by the Cavaliers and they may face even more uncertainties than the Pacers. Kyle Lowry is one of them. The Pacers should jump at the chance to sign him. With all the surprisingly good contracts on the books they have enough to offer a max contract to Lowry. With Lowry they have a Point Guard they have a player who can take pressure off Paul George, shoot 3s at a high percentage and assist as well as Jeff Teague. If my information is correct Lowry will cost between 26 million and 30 million. The Pacers have about 36 million to play with.
The third step is doing a sign and trade with the Clippers for Blake Griffin. Now this sounds like it would be impossible given that they just signed Kyle Lowry to a max deal. That's why it has to be a sign and trade. The Clippers are in need of an overhaul and Griffin, in my opinion is the odd man out. The Clippers need more of a stretch 4 with DeAndre Jordan on the team. Plus they intend to sign Chris Paul to a max contract as well. So I have the Pacers packaging Thaddeus Young, Monta Ellis and next years 1st Round Pick for Blake Griffin. Young and Ellis is would add up to about 26 million of the 30 million needed to acquire Blake Griffin on a max contract. They Pacers can either dip into the little money they have left or decline Lavoy Allen's 4.3 million team option. I'm going with declining Allen's option for now. I may change my opinion. Why would the Clippers take on that salary though? So that they can slip Ellis to the Knicks in a package for Carmelo Anthony.
The final step is filling out the roster. C.J, Miles is a very important part of the roster, but he has a player option for 4.7 million. Miles had a great season as the sixth man for the Pacers, so I believe he can make much more money on the open market. If the Pacers explain the plan and ask him to stay he just might. Waiting on Miles decision will determine their next move. If Miles stays, I have the Pacers drafting a Point Guard like Juwan Evans or Andrew Jones to backup Lowry and having Glenn Robinson start at Shooting Guard. If Miles leaves, I have them drafting Luke Kennard and having him start. If they draft Kennard I think they should re-sign Aaron Brooks or Rodney Stuckey to a veterans minimum. Then they can pair with Lance Stephenson off the bench. Either way they will have 13 players on the roster.
The team should look something like this.
Starters
  1. Kyle Lowry
  2. Glenn Robinson
  3. Paul George
  4. Blake Griffin
  5. Myles Turner
Bench
  1. Evans/Jones
  2. Lance Stephenson
  3. C.J. Miles
  4. Kevin Seraphin
  5. Al Jefferson
Reserves
  1. Rakeem Christmas
  2. Joe Young
  3. Georges Niang
Or it will look like this.
Starters
  1. Kyle Lowry
  2. Luke Kennard
  3. Paul George
  4. Blake Griffin
  5. Myles Turner
Bench
  1. Brooks/Stuckey
  2. Lance Stephenson
  3. Glenn Robinson
  4. Kevin Seraphin
  5. Al Jefferson
Reserves
  1. Rakeem Christmas
  2. Joe Young
  3. Georges Niang
The Pacers may want to add one or two more veterans to sure up the roster but I think they should keep it like this. Now doing all this will risk them losing Paul George after next season. However it is a risk worth taking because if they lose him then Kennard and Turner will take up a bigger offense role and they can signing a cheaper defensive small forward. Can this team beat the Cavs and Warriors? I'm going with absolutely.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Celtics Trade for Carmelo Anthony

The latest rumor in the Carmelo Anthony drama has the Celtics linked to the All-Star forward. At the trade deadline Anthony was seemingly willing to waive his no-trade clause because of the tension between him and Phil Jackson. Boston was linked to him then as well. Boston General Manager was not willing at the time to trade significant role players or draft picks to the Knicks, despite Boston's coaching staff's desire to acquire him. Now with the playoffs in full effect and the offseason looming, the rumor is back. Should the Celtics trade for Carmelo though? That is genuinely a tough question. If the Celtics do trade for him, neither of Brooklyn's draft picks would be involved. That doesn't seem to be a big issue due to New York's desire to move on from Carmelo. The Celtics would however have to trade Jaw Crowder and likely Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart. My proposed trade is Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier, two 2nd Round Picks and sign and trade Kelly Olynyk for Carmelo Anthony and Willy Hernangomez. New York will be wary of trading Hernangomez but with bad contract of Joakim Noah and the desire to move Carmelo they will likely give in.
Financially this should work out and give the Celtics room to sign their stash players and their 1st Round Pick. RealGM estimates the Celtics max cap space will be around 35 million. Max cap space being after renouncing rights to free agents and waiving non guaranteed contracts. Carmelo is making around 26 million next season and Hernangomez about 1.5 million. That gives the Celtics about 7.5 million to play with plus the 7 million moved to New York from Jaw Crowder and 1.5 million from Terry Rozier. That leaves Boston about 16 million before signing their picks. If the Celtics get the number 1 overall pick that will cost about 6 million. Signing Guerschon Yabusele would be around 2.5 million, Ante Zizic about 2 million and Abdel Nader about 1 million. That doesn't leave much left but the can use their room exception to bring back Gerald Green and keep Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey instead of waiving them. The Celtics will likely have to add one more veteran player to help develop and take the pressure off the young players, They'll have a room exception so that likely won't be a problem.
The Celtics team would look something like this.
Starters
  1. Isaiah Thomas
  2. Avery Bradley
  3. Carmelo Anthony
  4. Al Horford
  5. Willy Hernangomez
Reserves
  1. Marcus Smart
  2. Markelle Fultz
  3. Jaylen Brown
  4. Guerschon Yabusele
  5. Ante Zizic
Bench
  1. Gerald Green
  2. Abdel Nader
  3. Jordan Mickey
  4. Demetrius Jackson
Carmelo brings a player who can create his own offense, scoring multiple ways and play small ball. He also takes a lot of pressure off Isaiah Thomas. Hernangomez brings desperately needed rebounding and post presence. On the negative side Carmelo can be streaking and isn't as good of a defender as Jae Crowder. Carmelo does however bring a the veteran leadership and a desire to win that Boston needs.  So should the Celtics trade for Carmelo? I say yes.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Making the Boston Celtics a Super Team...Now!

It's trade season and the rumors are starting to heat up. The Celtics are seemingly connected to most of the rumors. With their assets, expiring contracts and flexibility it's time for them to build the next super team. There are two big trades that I'm proposing to make them the new team to beat.
First let's begin with Jimmy Butler. If the rumors are to be believed then Butler is on the block and the Celtics are the most likely to acquire him. I have the Celtics sending Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson and their 2017 1st Round Pick for Butler. Remember the Celtics have the rights to swap with Brooklyn and Brooklyn has the highest chance to win the lottery currently. Now the Bulls may need more in return so the Celtics could always send a pair of 2nd Round Picks or one of their stash players. Bringing in Butler would elevate the Celtics to the second best team in the East, moving them past the Raptors. Moving Smart and Crowder would free up playing time for Terry Rozier and Gerald Green as well. When Rozier plays more than 20 minutes he's averaging over 8 points and 4 rebounds. As for Green, since his been getting more playing time he's been averaging around 10 points in only about 12 minutes. Give them both 20 plus minutes off the bench and they'll be a great backcourt second unit.
The other trade is for Paul Millsap. Now I'm going to be honest but I'm wary of pairing Millsap and Horford together again. I really like Horford playing Power Forward and the pairs rebounding was a problem against the Cavs in Eastern Conference finals. With Butler and Bradley averaging career highs in rebounding I believe they can make up for the pair. Anyways, acquiring Millsap won't cost nearly as much as Butler. Sending Jaylen Brown, Jonas Jerebko and the Nets 2018 pick should be enough. I think the Celtics should throw in Demetrius Jackson in order to also acquire Thabo Sefolosha. With Brown going to the Hawks, the Celtics will need a backup Small Forward. Sefolosha's defense and rebounding will play great with the Celtics style. As for Millsap, I believe he is the second best defensive Power Forward in the game only behind Draymond Green. The difference is he is a better offensive player. With Bradley, Butler and Horford the Celtics have four of the best two-way players starting for them.
The Celtics should look like this after the trades.
Starters
  1. Isaiah Thomas
  2. Avery Bradley
  3. Jimmy Butler
  4. Paul Millsap
  5. Al Horford
Reserves
  1. Terry Rozier
  2. Gerald Green
  3. Thabo Sefolosha
  4. Jordan Mickey
  5. Kelly Olynyk
Bench
  1. Tyler Zeller
  2. James Young
  3. Abdel Nader
With Isaiah Thomas becoming, in my opinion one of the top 5 players this season leading the offense, this Celtics team would soar past the Cavs and become the best team in the East and maybe the NBA.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Boston Celtics Big Man Options 2

The Celtics are finally healthy and playing like most people expected them to. They however still have a rebounding problem. Now I have another handful of big men the Celtics should target at some point this season. This time they will strictly play Center.
First off I have Omer Asik. With small ball taking over the NBA and Anthony Davis able to play both Power Forward and Center, Asik doesn't see too many minutes. Like Nikola Vucevic in my previous article, Asik is a professional rebounder. In his first season with New Orleans he averaged 3.2 offensive rebounds and his offensive rebound percentage sat at 14 percent in 26.1 minutes. This season he hasn't seen nearly as many minutes but the rebounds are still there. He's averaging 1.7 offensive rebounds, which is good for 10.2 percent in only 18 minutes. Give him about 22 to 24 minutes a game and he'll be back to 3 offensive rebounds a game. Another plus is he's a legitimate 7 footer, making it easier for him to box out shorter centers. Getting him should be pretty easy since the Pelicans kind of want to move him. Send Amir Johnson over for Asik and a future 2nd Round Pick.
Next is Nerlens Noel. Rumor has it that the 76ers prefer to move him over Jahlil Okafor and the Celtics had been linked to him all offseason. Noel is plus defender and a good rebounder. Among the players on this list he is the weakest on the offensive boards. His shot blocking, on ball defense and boxout game should make up for his fewer offensive rebounds. He hasn't played this season so I'll use his career stats. In 30.1 minutes Noel is averaging 2.4 offensive rebounds per game on an 8.3 percentage. He also averages 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. He likely won't play 30 minutes but more likely 25. I think Demetrius Jackson and two or three 2nd Round Picks would suffice. The problem that the 76ers have then belongs to the Celtics in that they have too many big men. They would likely have to send Zeller or Johnson away to another team for a veteran guard. Maybe Jose Calderon of the Lakers.
Next I have the return of Sully, Jared Sullinger. Like Noel, Sully has not played this season. I've always been a huge fan of his and was very sad to see him go. I believe that he would fit this team even now than before. Last season he averaged 2.4 offensive rebounds a game and had a 10.6 offensive rebound percentage in 23.6 minutes. His career percentage is a little better at 11.5 so anywhere being that would be where he'd sit. He is an undersized Center at only 6'9" but he's strong and a good on ball defender. If Brad Stevens has him stick to low post offense and mid range jumpers he should also be better on the offensive game. To get Sully they'd likely just have to send Johnson over. Both men are on one year deals so money likely won't be an issue.
The final player to target is Enes Kanter. Unlike the others on this list, Kanter is a plus offensive option. He's been came off the bench last and has been so this season as well, so I'm going to use his starter stats from the two season ago. In 28.5 minutes for the Thunder and Jazz he averaged 3.7 offensive rebounds and a 14.6 offensive rebound percentage. Plus he averaged 15.5 points per game. Getting him will be more costly than the others however. His 17 million dollar contract is the main issue. The Celtics would have to send Amir Johnson and his 12 million dollar contract over in any deal. So I have Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Demetrius Jackson and the Celtics 2018 1st Round Pick for Kanter and Anthony Morrow. The Thunder might want to send over another player instead of waiving one. I would say Nick Collison but the Thunder are very loyal and might not want to move him.
To me these option are more realistic than in the previous article and possibly better option. I am also going write an Anthony Davis trade article despite the fact that the Pelicans won't trade him.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Boston Celtics Big Man Options

To be fair I am probably overreacting by writing this article. The Celtics are 3 and 4 but are without Jae Crowder and Al Horford. Those two leave two huge holes on both sides of the court. The problem however is in the rebounding game. Even with Crowder and Horford back they are still very poor when it comes to offensive rebounding. Tyler Zeller has been fine on the glass but Amir Johnson has been underwhelming. So I have three big men in mind for the Celtics to targets. Initially I had five targets. Derrick Favors of the Jazz and Anthony Davis of the Pelicans. The Jazz are winning and Trey Lyles is not ready to take over for Favors. As for Anthony Davis, expect an article about him soon.
The first target I have in mind is Kenneth Faried. I have mentioned the idea of acquiring Faried before and now looks like the perfect time. The Nuggets have a very crowded front court and Faried has been pushed to the bench. His rebounds have not suffered however. He's averaging 9.0 rebounds, 3.6 offensive rebounds in only 23.9 minutes. His offensive rebound percentage is well above average with 16.9 percent. His defense is lacking but with Al Horford and Jae Crowder should make up for his shortcomings. The Nuggets have several power forwards but no pure backup center. So I have the Celtics sending Amir Johnson and their two 2017 2nd round picks for Faried. That should be enough to land him. If not send their 2018 1st round pick instead. I'm willing to do that because the Celtics will still have Brooklyn's pick.
The next guy on my list is Nikola Vucevic. The Magic have been disappointing so far and with Bismack Biyombo on the team Vucevic may be available for the right price. Vucevic is a professional rebounder on both the offensive and defensive end. He's averaging 11.1 rebounds, 3.5 offensive rebounds in 28.3 minutes. His offensive rebound percentage is not as good as Faried but is still above average at 12.7 percent. He's also a plus passer and has a great mid range game. Like with Faried he isn't the best defender but the others can make up for it. He will be more costly than Faried but not out of the Celtics price range. Give them Amir Johnson, Demetrius Jackson and the Celtics 2018 1st Round pick for Vucevic and Damjan Rudez. Rudez gives them an extra wing/stretch forward.
The final target is Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies have also disappointed and push Randolph to the bench. Randolph is also in the last year of his contract with the Grizzlies. He has always been a great rebounder and has improved on defense with the Grizzlies. He also know how to play in the playoffs. He's averaging 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 offensive rebounds in 21.5 minutes. His offensive rebounds percentage isn't nearly as good as the other two but is still far better than anything the Celtics have. The flexibility of his contract makes it worth it. The Celtics will probably have to give up Tyler Zeller and two 2017 2nd round picks. James Young and Troy Daniels could be in the mix as well.
The Celtics are desperate for rebounds and these guys could save them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Boston Celtics Offseason: Scenario Number 2

The 2016 Draft is done, free agency is cooling down and the Summer League is on going. All three of which have been a success for the Celtics. Al Horford signed a max deal, Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko had their contracts guaranteed and Jaylen Brown was drafted with the number 3 pick. Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner also left for other teams. With all that there is still work to be done according to Isaiah Thomas and GM Danny Ainge. One rumor in particular is what I want to talk about today. That rumor is a trade for Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin. The trade is speculated as being a three team trade that also includes the Kings. The Celtics would send Jae Crowder to the Kings and Picks to the Clippers, the Kings would send Rudy Gay to the Clippers and the Clippers would send Blake Griffin to the Celtics. There would likely be other pieces as well. I am against trading Jae Crowder in general but I would do this deal if the Celtics got Paul Pierce as well. He would be the sixth man and mentor Jaylen Brown. I don't think we have to give up Crowder however. I have a trade where the Celtics wouldn't have to give up Jae Crowder.
This would be a trade between the Celtics and Clippers straight up. The Clippers would get Jaylen Brown, Kelly Olynyk, the Nets 2017 Pick and a 2017 Second Round Pick for Blake Griffin and Paul Pierce. Brown is an upgrade from Wesley Johnson and Kelly Olynyk is the stretch the Clippers need next to DeAndre Jordan. The Nets 2017 Pick is the big piece of course. Blake Griffin has the inside game the Celtics need. His rebounding percentages have declined since DeAndre Jordan started playing big minutes but they should go way up next to Al Horford. As for Paul Pierce he brings leadership and playoff experience that is much needed on this Celtics team. Not to mention it'd be nice to have him finish his career back in Boston. The line up would look like this
Starters
  1. Isaiah Thomas
  2. Avery Bradley
  3. Jae Crowder
  4. Blake Griffin
  5. Al Horford
Reserves
  1. Marcus Smart
  2. Young/Hunter
  3. Paul Pierce
  4. Jonas Jerebko
  5. Amir Johnson
 Of course Marcus Smart would have to improve his percentages and Pierce would have to play better than last year. I don't think Pierce would be an issue because the Clippers were never the best fit for him. I'd say that is easily the second best team in the East. In my opinion the best in the East.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Boston Celtics Offseason: All Defense Scenarios

Being the night before the draft, the Celtics are still looking for a partner to trade the 3rd pick to. In these scenarios I have the Celtics trading the 3rd pick to build a defensive juggernaut. One scenario has Kevin Durant coming to Boston, one does not have him coming to Boston. I'll start with the one without Durant.
There are a few teams I think need a rebuild. One of those teams is the Hawks. Earlier today they traded away Jeff Teague in a 3 team trade and acquired the 12th pick. This allows them to use Dennis Schroder as their starting point guard. I believe they need to rebuild the team completely around Dennis Schroder and a few other players. So that means I have them not re-signing Al Horford and trading Paul Millsap. I can think of a couple other teams I'd trade Millsap to, but this is a Celtics article. In the trade I have Jared Sullinger, Terry Rozier, the 3rd Pick and the right to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017 for Paul Millsap. Sullinger would bring an offensive rebounder with a great mid range jumper, similar to Horford, on a smaller salary. Terry Rozier is plus defending point guard who can rebound and will get better as he puts on muscle. The 3rd pick can grab them Jaylen Brown to take over at Small Forward. For the Celtics Millsap brings another defensive force to the team. The Celtics still needs Center however. I don't have them signing Al Horford however. I don't like the pairing of him and Millsap because of the lack of low post offense and rebounding. I have them bringing Hassan Whiteside. I believe with the right pitch Whiteside would definitely come to Boston. It wouldn't hurt to offer him a max deal in this scenario either. The two other moves I have the Celtics making are re-signing Evan Turner and guaranteeing Jonas Jerebko's contract. Turner has been great for the Celtics, doing anything they've asked him to do and he has said he'd take a hometown discount to come back. Jerebko brings energy and the ability to stretch the floor off the bench. He paired well with Kelly Olynyk and did great when inserted in the starting lineup during the playoffs. Bringing him back would also allow Jordan Mickey to continue his development. So here is what the Celtics would look like in this scenario.
Starters
  1. Isaiah Thomas
  2. Avery Bradley
  3. Jae Crowder
  4. Paul Millsap
  5. Hassan Whiteside
Reserves
  1. Marcus Smart
  2. R.J. Hunter
  3. Evan Turner
  4. Jonas Jerebko
  5. Kelly Olynyk
In my opinion that's an absolute defense that every team will hate playing. I do believe this trade will be harder to accomplish than the Durant scenario trade.
For the Durant scenario the trade I have to acquire Paul Millsap is Jae Crowder, the 3rd Pick and the right to swap with Brooklyn in 2017. I could also have them adding the 16th pick or a young player like Rozier or James Young. After the trade the Celtics would sign Hassan Whiteside for slightly less than max. The Celtics would have to sign him first in order to lure Durant to Boston. I would have them bring back Evan Turner here as well but not Jonas Jerebko, because of their need for cap space. Here is what the Celtics would look like with Kevin Durant.
Starter
  1. Isaiah Thomas
  2. Avery Bradley
  3. Kevin Durant
  4. Paul Millsap
  5. Hassan Whiteside
Reserves
  1. Marcus Smart
  2. R.J. Hunter
  3. Evan Turner
  4. Jordan Mickey
  5. Kelly Olynyk
This team would be a nightmare on both ends of the floor. With a quality bench like this it makes it even worse for opposing team. I believe this team could outplay the Cavs and Raptors next season. On another note I realize I said bringing back Jerebko would allow Mickey to develop more but he's already a plus defensive player with good low post offense. His mid range game has improved dramatically and he has the ability to hit 3s. Give him time in the rotation and he'll flourish.
So let's see what Danny Ainge can do before or on draft night. I have faith in him.