Ryan Knaus

Offseason Beat

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NBA News Roundup

Thursday, June 15, 2017


The Warriors won the 2017 NBA Championship this week after an historic playoff run, but fantasy owners are already looking ahead. The NBA Draft is on the horizon, followed by the start of free agency, and before long we'll be covering Summer League, training camps and the preseason.

 

That said, we've already seen a ton of fantasy-relevant news since the end of the regular season -- I covered the period from mid-April through mid-May in a previous column, which you can find here (NBA News Roundup, May 10, 2017). Today's column sums up news since the end of May, including relevant injury updates, free agency news, draft chatter and other tidbits from the past month.

 

Injuries


Joel Embiid (knee) recently kicked around a soccer ball and did some conditioning at a boxing gym. He won't play during Summer League but it sounds like he'll be ready for training camp and the preseason. Philly is going to play it safe here, and he's still a risky fantasy pick despite his tremendous upside -- depending upon how the offseason plays out, he could emerge as a late second-round pick in most leagues. Ben Simmons (foot) has also been ruled out for Summer League, but like Embiid he'll probably be ready for training camp. Simmons will be one of the most-watched players this offseason, especially with Philly planning to deploy him as their de facto point guard. http://www.nba.com/sixers/players-organize-workout-front-street-boxing-gym


Kelly Oubre (right knee) had PRP injections in early June. He's expected to return to the court later this month, but has been ruled out for Summer League. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wizards-insider/wp/2017/06/02/wizards-kelly-oubre-jr-receives-prp-treatment-on-right-knee/?utm_term=.9abc26269e79

 

Isaiah Thomas (hip) acknowledged in late May that surgery is an option, adding, "We're waiting on the swelling to go down ... Hopefully I don't have to have surgery." We've heard nothing since May 26, and presumably no news is good news. http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0659814734983337322-4

 

Jerryd Bayless (wrist surgery) is expected to be ready for training camp. https://twitter.com/tmoore76ers/status/870086516680380418


Rajon Rondo (right wrist, fractured right thumb) said that he'll be "100 percent" for training camp. All signs point to Chicago picking up their team option for Rondo. https://twitter.com/TheRealC_Los/status/870024772536512512

 


NBA Tidbits


A few plausible reports named Fred Hoiberg as a candidate for Ohio State's coaching job, but the Bulls coach refuted those reports, saying, "I'm head coach of the Bulls [and] have no intention of leaving." Sure enough, Ohio State subsequently named Chris Holtmann, formerly of Butler, as their new head coach. https://twitter.com/GaryParrishCBS/status/872604374807318528


The Pistons are reportedly "gauging the trade market" for Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. This is thoroughly in the vague, preliminary rumor stage. https://twitter.com/MikeAScotto/status/872941126981963776

 


Chris Bosh is seeking medical clearance for a possible return to the NBA. The odds of that happening don't seem great, however, given the severity of his condition and the fact that he turned 33 years old in March. The NBA and the NBA Players' Association recently agreed with Miami's argument that Bosh has a career-ending illness, which would shift the rest of his salary from the Heat to an insurance company. Even if he doesn't return to the Association, his fantastic career has almost assured him a spot in the Hall of Fame -- Basketball Reference gives him a 99.51% chance of making the Hall of Fame. https://twitter.com/flasportsbuzz/status/870783203820396546

 

David West isn't sure if he'll contemplate retirement this summer. https://theundefeated.com/features/warriors-david-west-win-2017-nba-title/

 

Steve Kerr is expected to return as the Warriors' head coach for 2017-18 despite chronic back pain, according to GM Bob Myers. "There's no doubt in my mind that he will return as the coach of this team," Myers said. "I'm confident we'll have him back. Steve will be our coach." Here's hoping Kerr can stalk the sidelines without pain next season. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19621368/warriors-gm-says-steve-kerr-back-coach-next-season

 

Aaron Gordon is focused on improving his 3-point shooting and passing this summer. He thrived after being moved to a straight PF role last season, and the ability to stretch the court with 3-point shooting would be huge for him, in both reality and fantasy.  https://twitter.com/Double0AG/status/873230593223311360

 

Dwight Howard has been "working on" his 3-point shooting and is "really trying to add some range" as a shooter. He acknowledged that better shooting is necessary for him to extend his career, but this is a quintessential offseason report -- a player declaring that they'll fix their biggest weaknesses. In the case of Dwight wanting to make long jumpers, it's essentially meaningless. For what it's worth, new Hawks GM Travis Schlenk praised Howard for helping the Hawks become "one of the top five defenses in the league" last season. On a related note, Hassan Whiteside said that he "might shoot a three every once and a while," but he doesn't want to trade a dominant presence in the paint for a spotty perimeter game. https://sports.yahoo.com/dwight-howard-says-hes-going-become-3-point-shooter-hes-probably-wrong-032123264.html

 

The Bucks are still trying to fill their vacant GM position, and they're reportedly down to two candidates -- current assistant GM Justin Zanik, and Arturas Karnisovas, who is the Nuggets assistant GM and VP of Basketball Operations. https://twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/status/874382633546817537

 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants to reduce 'DNP-Rest' days next season, particularly during road games. The schedule is already slated to begin one week earlier than normal, but Silver is also "requiring our arenas to free up more dates" to reduce the number of back-to-back games. That said, Silver acknowledged that rest days won't be eliminated overnight. "I think it's always been part of this league and it's part of every sport that players rest occasionally," he said. We're looking at you, Gregg Popovich. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19517000/adam-silver-discusses-rest-other-league-issues-ahead-nba-finals

 

Muscle Watch: The NBA Finals just ended, but we've already had effusively positive reports about the physical progress made by Thon Maker, Julius Randle and Victor Oladipo. Expect dozens of similar reports over the next few months.

 

Free Agency

 

The Lakers are reportedly "actively seeking" trade deals involving Jordan Clarkson. The implication is that they could be seeking to clear out room for Lonzo Ball, but their lack of backcourt depth doesn't make a Clarkson deal mandatory. It's an interesting situation to watch. https://twitter.com/Schultz_Report/status/870287990932869120

 

C.J. Miles will decline his $4.8 million player option in favor of free agency, and the Pistons might have interest in signing him. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19498788/indiana-pacers-swingman-cj-miles-decline-player-option-2017-18-season?ex_cid=espnapi_public


The Celtics are coming after Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward in free agency, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Boston has a ton of assets, not to mention the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, so they'll continue to be mentioned in rumors throughout the summer. https://art19.com/shows/vertical/episodes/33f46b84-81d8-4297-a197-9cf38b637f75

 

Willie Reed declined his $1.5 million player option in favor of free agency. https://twitter.com/WojVerticalNBA/status/870347513701687296

 

The Clippers are favored to retain unrestricted FA Chris Paul this summer, but he'll reportedly give "serious consideration" to joining the Spurs. The financial hurdles to San Antonio acquiring CP3 are substantial, and L.A. is still in the driver's seat with the ability to offer him an extra year and more than $50 million more than other teams.  http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19521062/chris-paul-give-strong-consideration-san-antonio-spurs-free-agency-sources

 

Dion Waiters will decline his $3.2 player option, predictably, but he reportedly hopes to stay with the Heat and would give them a 'hometown discount'. Justise Winslow suggested he'll be lobbying for both Waiters and unrestricted FA James Johnson to re-sign with Miami. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19524019/miami-heat-guard-dion-waiters-decline-2017-18-player-option

 

The Mavericks might decline their $25 million option for Dirk Nowitzki, but he's not leaving Dallas. The move would simply give Dallas more financial options as they continue building toward a post-Nowitzki era. https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-mavericks/mavericks/2017/06/08/examining-dirk-nowitzkis-team-option-will-impact-mavericks-cap-space

 

Rudy Gay rolled the dice on free agency by declining his $14.3 million player option with the Kings. The 30-year-old forward is coming off surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles, and it makes sense for him to seek long-term security in the open market. Given his age and the severity of his injury, any team that inks him will be taking a major risk -- the same can be said for his prospective fantasy owners. https://twitter.com/AlbertNahmad/status/874283445823918080

 

Gordon Hayward also reportedly has "interest" in signing with the Heat this summer. The Jazz are still expected to retain him despite what should be stiff competition from the Heat and Celtics. http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article155266314.html

 

Free agent Amir Johnson and the Raptors are "strongly considering" a reunion, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/nba-free-agency-rumors-predictions-2017-amir-johnson-raptors-celtics-contract-details/1ayx5zu36ptx81jnncgbjngbuq?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

Dwyane Wade reportedly had a "positive" meeting with the Bulls in mid-June, and it looks like he'll opt into his $23.8 million player option this year. It also looks like Chicago will keep Rajon Rondo on the roster for $13.4 million, even though his salary is only guaranteed for $3.0 million. If they do opt to cut him loose, they'll need to do so by June 30. Jimmy Butler's meeting with the Bulls was also reported to have been "positive," so there's not much to glean here. Assuming Chicago doesn't flip the switch on a rebuild, it looks like Butler will stay put this summer.  https://twitter.com/NickFriedell/status/871924083553964032

 


The 76ers picked up their no-brainer, $1.5 million extension for Robert Covington. He got off to a sluggish start in 2016-17, hurting owners with his FG%, but he was excellent the rest of the way with post-Break averages of 16.3 points (43.7% FGs, 88.1% FTs), 2.3 triples, 7.5 boards, 1.4 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.4 blocks. There's a lot of uncertainty about Philly's rotations next season, but RoCo still projects as a reasonable option in the middle-to-late rounds. https://twitter.com/JCameratoCSN/status/875002153177407488

 

Draft Chatter

The Knicks have reportedly discussed trading for one of the Blazers' three 1st-round picks -- Nos. 15, 20 and 26. There's been no mention of New York giving up their lottery pick and it sounds like this could be a salary-dump situation on Portland's end, with Moe Harkless (owed a guaranteed $40 million over the next three seasons) being mentioned as an option. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19513139/new-york-knicks-discuss-trade-portland-trail-blazers-first-round-pick


The Kings are reportedly considering a package of picks Nos. 5 and 10 to trade up for De'Aaron Fox. Fox has worked out with the 76ers, who hold the No. 3 pick, and he's also worked out for the Lakers (No. 2) and the Knicks (No. 8). http://www.espn.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/19553938/chad-ford-nba-mock-draft-60-first-round-picks-lakers-sixers-celtics-more


The 76ers plan to trade at least one of their first-round draft picks this summer, which is no surprise since they have five total picks, including four in the second round. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/Philadelphia_76ers_Sixers_2017_NBA_draft_second_round_picks.html

 

Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson are both expected to have another workout with the Lakers, who may not be sold on Ball as the No. 2 pick -- he was reportedly out of shape during his first workout. De'Aaron Fox also worked out for the Lakers on Tuesday, and Markelle Fultz is expected to work out for L.A. on Thursday. Nevertheless, it would be very surprising to see Boston pass on him with the No. 1 pick (assuming they keep it).
Jackson: https://twitter.com/MarkG_Medina/status/874689390282395648

 

That does it for this edition of the offseason news roundup!



Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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