Can you keep up with the NBA trade rumors? I’m not sure how much weight half of these NBA trade rumors hold, but I’m also not sure if Usain Bolt can keep up with them. And I love it.
The NBA Draft is Thursday, and if these last few days have been any indication, Thursday night will be bananas.
I think that every year, because every year ESPN’s insiders and the all-knowing Adrian Wojnarowski fill Twitter timelines with crazy trade discussions. We see column after column of 3,000-word, anonymous-source-filled hype trains that get even the most casual NBA fan excited about stuffing the league in a blender.
“Is LeBron James actually leaving Cleveland?”
“One source close to LeBron’s camp said he’s even considering playing with Amare Stoudemire on Hapoel Jerusalem. Remember, these are two guys who once ate breakfast at two different cafes within close proximity to each other, so there is some connection there.”
And every year, I hype myself up for crazy draft-night trades that involve the biggest stars and biggest surprises; and every year, I’m disappointed when the best I get is the second-best Plumlee brother being sent to Phoenix for a second-round pick, cash considerations (my favorite kind of considerations) and a turkey sub.
This year feels different, though.
Those same insiders who tease me with lustful trade talks year after year also mostly know what they’re talking about. They have rolodexes full of front-office cronies; they sit in on pre-draft workouts; and they have every resource possible at their disposal when it comes to NBA analytics.
Will somebody please hire Ryen Russillo to be their GM?
They’ve all billed the 2017 draft as the deepest in decades, and my minor knowledge of college basketball can’t disagree. While Markelle Fultz doesn’t have the hype of Kyrie Irving or other previous No. 1 picks, picks two through about 40 are very intriguing.
That’s why draft night could actually be bananas this year. Assets are becoming increasingly valuable in the NBA. The Cavs and Warriors built superteams. It’s getting harder and harder for the rest of the league to keep up without either A) stocking up on draft picks and using them to select eventual superstars or B) trading those potential-superstar picks to other teams to try and create a superteam to throw into the mix.
The Celtics went with B. They’ve been stockpiling picks since World War II and now they’ll have a lottery pick in every upcoming draft until the Earth melts into itself. There’s no limit to what they can do, now. Draft Jayson Tatum and hope he’s the next Karl-Anthony Towns? Trade for franchise-player Paul George? Bring in Brad Stevens’ monster Gordon Hayward? All the above?
The options are pretty endless, and that’s what the NBA has become. With salaries blasting through the roof and superstars taking advantage of that with short-term contracts, NBA GMs salivate at the potential to nab a Kevin Durant — even though it won’t happen.
Most of these small-market teams have no chance to compete with Cleveland and Golden State. The best bet is to build for the future, three or four years from now when these superteams are maybe, possibly, hopefully? Broken up.
Stockpile draft picks. Draft 15 guys in this year’s draft if you can. Loan your team to Mr. Swackhammer in hopes that he’ll kidnap Durant forever. Whatever you can do to keep up with the rapidly-changing NBA, you have to do it.
This year is the year to do that, and Thursday’s draft is the place to start. Maybe, just maybe, Danny Ainge will peddle draft picks like bootleg DVDs on a New York subway train.
Give me some draft-night drama!
And I make a mean turkey sandwich if it helps the Pacers land Lonzo Ball. Lavar, call me.