Kevin Durant and Keri Irving live with the Nets. Are you surprised at all? And do you think the networks will be good?
Marilyn Dubinsky: It certainly doesn’t surprise me that no one would raise their hand with all the baggage and demands (like imposing a 60-game max and not having to play back-to-back) that he’s carrying, but more surprisingly there wasn’t a market for Durant. He’s still a top 5 player in the league when he’s healthy, but here’s the catch: He’s prone to injury and will definitely leave his head in the remaining four years of his contract, so I can see reluctance from other franchises to give up a lot for him in return. (Plus his trade order has always sounded somewhat dubious and out of place.) And as far as if they’d be any good: if everyone (including Ben Simmons) participated, they should be a Top 4 in the East. How close they are to the competitor remains to be seen.
Mark Barrington: Networking is somewhat similar to a file Misfit Island Toys, Which is where all the games no one wanted to play in the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas ended. Some inappropriate games were really cool, like a cowboy riding an ostrich instead of a pony. But like a square-wheeled toy train, it’s really hard to find a place for Kyrie Irving, so he’s staying on the island. At least one team was interested in Durant, but not at the asking price of the Nets, which was said to have been set in the venture capital that landed Jazz Jubert as well as at least one star player. I think the nets are going to be very good if they stay healthy, because they have patty mills. But I doubt they can compete for the title, because there is no cohesion. I see their exit from the second round in their future this season.
Bruno Passos: Hindsight is 20/20, but the fact that finding the right deal for Durant, who remains one of the world’s greatest players at 33 years old and with 4 years remaining on his contract, was easier said than done makes perfect sense. The Nets had no reason to rush to move him, especially when most of the performances reported there a) paled in comparison to Utah’s distance and b) didn’t keep them among the best teams in the East and didn’t give them a real long-term high. Irving is a different beast for all the reasons that are constantly reported, and it is understandable that few teams were willing to go out of their way to incorporate such a wild, albeit extremely talented, card. I look forward to them trying to make it work, given how down-to-earth Irving is, Durant’s skills all over the world, and the idea of Binance. There’s also some interesting depth behind it which makes it fun to imagine things clicking through. Having said that, I wouldn’t bet them competing because there are simply so many ways things can go wrong, one of the least mentioned being Simmons’ return from lower back surgery.
Jesus Gomez: It’s a bit surprising because superstars usually work their way hard to break out of teams, and the Nets seemed poised to move on after a disastrous season. Under more normal circumstances, I suppose the two could have been transferred, but with Kyrie Irving emerging as more of a liability than an asset, Durant entered the final phase of his start, and other teams worried about giving away too many players with a track record of leaving whenever they weren’t comfortable. To put them, it was clear that the market was more lukewarm than it was two years ago. However, the people in charge in Brooklyn deserve to be commended for their ability to handle the situation well. The question is, will it pay off in the long run?
Bed nets should be good if everyone is healthy. It’s hard to give them contender status with so many question marks. If Kyrie is ready for the playoffs, Durant doesn’t hold back too much and Simmons has the season’s best defensive player, they can get there. The most likely scenario is that something goes wrong, Valents is a good but not great team and doesn’t make it to the finals, and more drama to come in the off-season.
JR Wilco: If it was anyone other than Kevin Durant (and maybe one or two other NBA players), I’d be surprised about no trade. But KD is so weird that I could see him pull his trade order and decide to stick with it and see if it works. After all, the team is loaded and can be very special once players sneak in and play to their strengths.
If it’s anyone other than Kyrie Irving, I’d be surprised about the non-trade…
Jazz musicians have been rewarded for their patience with great distance Donovan Mitchell. What do you think of the deal?
deep: Utah was smart. Lots of teams – including Tottenham – have had years of panicking when their star demands a deal and just taking an ‘acceptable’ package too soon when, with more time, they could have done better.
Barrington: I’m a little surprised that the Cavs were the team that pulled out of the deal, but when you see how much the Jazz received, it’s pretty clear that the Knicks lost in a bidding war they couldn’t win. The Jazz has been ransomed by King’s Ransom, and it looks like all of the first-round picks over the next 10 years will belong to either Thunder or Jazz. The Jazz now has 15 first-round picks in the next seven years of the draft, which propelled Danny Inge ahead of Sam Prieste in the draft hoarding lottery. While the Cavs paid a lot for Donovan Mitchell, they kept all of their star players, except Sexton, who was replaced, as well as their 2024 first-round pick, so they’re set up for a good run as a Donovan Championship contender, which is all they’re looking for. This trade helps both teams, the Cavs for now and the Jazz for the next decade and beyond.
steps: Jazz’s bet that the Knicks were the Knicks, so hungry for the nearest shiny object that they succumbed to what was said to be a ridiculous comeback for players and players. New York didn’t bite, but it’s no surprise that someone else did. With how good and young Mitchell is, I think it was a good idea to wait for a show closer than they thought they could get.
Gomez: It’s a good trade for both teams. It didn’t make sense for the Knicks to give up as much as the Cleveland did, as Mitchell alone doesn’t turn the team into a contender, but his pairing with Garland and Mobley should give the Cavaliers a good core for years to come. As for the jazz, they got the kind of deal they wanted so obviously waiting a few weeks pays off, but I’m not sure they’d be as patient as they would be working with a more famous star willing to work with the media in order to pressure the front office to deal with him at his favorite destination.
Wilco: Cleveland is a young team, and they’re getting younger (and have plenty of room) when Kevin Love drops out of the books at the end of the season. It will be interesting to see how they rise in East that looks to finally put the “Leastern Conference” sign behind it.
Utah had to move Mitchell, and getting a lot of money back for him should be fun for the fans. It almost makes me wonder what would have happened if the Kohhi group had decided to let PATFO take their time rather than choosing to devalue his trade. (Not because I’m bitter or anything.)
Not counting netizens, who do you think will be the next All-Star to be traded?
deep: This might be an easy exit, but I’ll go with Russell Westbrook because some insiders are still confident it won’t be Laker on opening night. Maybe he’s finding chemistry with the other Lakers stars this season and things are going better, but if nothing changes, they still have to get more market for him during the season because he’s on an expired contract, which opens up another market for him as the season wears. As a possible side note, they also just traded for his archenemy Patrick Beverly. They may both be more mature in relation to each other than they represent on social media and will find a way to get along, but I don’t see that as a move the Lakers would take if they really wanted Westbrook to be happy.
Barrington: I think the Lakers are eager to move Westbrook, but it will probably be part of a huge multi-team business with a lot of players. There are a lot of teams out there that have some obvious holes to fill, but don’t have the ultimate flexibility or the venture capital to make important deals on their own. For example, the Mavericks need some help in the front yard, even after acquiring Christian Wood, but they don’t have a first-round pick next year because they sent him away in 2019 as part of the deal to acquire Christaps Porzingis (who is now on the Wizards).
That’s why I think the Mitchell deal could be the last big step in the off season. Although making these kinds of predictions makes me nervous, because it always seems like the opposite happens soon after something like that is said.
steps: I choose to ignore the above answers to frame Westbrook as an All-Star, bypassing Julius Randle’s suggestion on similar fraudulent terms, and I’ll stick to Pascal Siakam’s more legitimate All-Star talent. It’s a long shot, but I think the Raptors will eventually have to boost the abundance of guys aged 6-9 who can just dribble or shoot and differentiate a little. Scotty Barnes is now untouchable, which could make Siakam his best path toward a more complete star-studded piece.
Gomez: The Gilgus Alexander Shay would be optional, but despite his star-studded seasons, he hasn’t made the All-Star Team. So instead I’m going with four-time All-Star Nikola Vucevich. Vooch struggled at times in Chicago, especially when his outside shot gave him up. If everyone is healthy, his role in attack should be reduced further as he is pushed further into the periphery, and while it is not a responsibility in defense, it is not the kind of inner being that Bulls can use. I can see the front desk trying to move it for more depth and shooting, which might make sense to both ends.
Wilco: I don’t see any All-Star trading before the season starts. But then, I think the Lakers will dump Westbrook once it becomes clear that he is unable to change his style of play to benefit his team as long as he is on his current contract.