Utah Jazz Add Depth with Emmanuel Mudiay and Jeff Green (7/2/19 8:45 p.m.)
The Jazz have agreed to one-year deals with both Emmanuel Mudiay and Jeff Green. The Jazz currently sit atop the Western Conference standings with Kawhi Leonard yet to choose his destination, and they continue to add to their depth. Mudiay, Green, and Ed Davis should provide quality minutes as second-unit players this season.
Willie Cauley-Stein to Golden State. Kevon Looney Re-Signs with Warriors (7/2/19 6:00 p.m.)
Willie Cauley-Stein has agreed to a deal to join the Golden State Warriors for just above the league minimum. I think this is a good move for both sides. Cauley-Stein will have a brighter spotlight this season in Golden State, while the Warriors needed depth at Center. Cauley-Stein was an elite defender coming out of Kentucky and could fill in at Jordan Bell's role for GSW. Kevon Looney is headed back to the Warriors at three-years, $15 million. The Warriors refuse to give in after the loss of KD. The Warriors re-signed Klay Thompson, who will miss a chunk of the season from a torn ACL, to the max, signed D'Angelo Russell to a huge deal, and bring back Looney. The Warriors are going to take a bit of a step back while they deal with injuries but could be right back in the thick of things late in the season.
Enes Kanter to Boston (7/1/19 4:00 p.m.)
Shams Charania reported that Enes Kanter is signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the Boston Celtics. Kanter will very likely be the starting Center for the Celtics when the season begins. Although Kanter is a defensive liability, according to our simulations he helps improve Boston's projected win total by 1.8 games due to his efficient scoring and great rebounding. Boston is projected to win 48.2 games next season with a 97.0% chance of making the playoffs. The Celtics currently slot in at the 5th seed in the East.
Thoughts: Kanter is a good addition for the Celtics at $5 million a year, which is much more team friendly than the $18.6 million that he made last season. Kanter is very talented offensively but a big liability on defense. OKC coach Billy Donovan was often displeased with Kanter's defense, especially late in the season, when Kanter was on the Thunder, and I can see Brad Stevens getting frustrated with Kanter as well. I think Boston will have to make a trade or add another big man in order to compete in the playoffs, but I like this signing given the low annual salary.
Kings Sign Barnes, Ariza, Dedmon, and Joseph
The Sacramento Kings have re-signed Harrison Barnes and also added Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon, and Cory Joseph. Barnes was acquired by the Kings before the deadline from the Mavericks. Barnes, who averaged 14.3 PPG in 28 games for the Kings a season ago, re-signed for four-years, $85. The Kings were rumored to be making a run at Al Horford, but they quickly pivoted and grabbed Dewayne Dedmon when they realized that they were unlikely to grab Horford. Dedmon signed for three-years, $41 million after after averaging 10.8 PPG for the Hawks last season. Corey Joseph agreed to a three-year, $37 million deal, and Ariza agreed to a two-year, $25 million deal.
Thoughts: The Kings didn't make any moves that are going to push them over the hump. Barnes is a good scorer and solid defender, and I don't hate that the Kings brought him back, but I don't love it. Dedmon is an improvement over Willie Cauley-Stein because he should fit much better next to Marvin Bagley than Cauley-Stein did. The Kings really over-payed for Corey Joseph, and I think there were better options at guard if they were going to spend this kind of money. Ariza provides value with his ability to shoot the ball, but I don't think he provides much else. Our simulations have the Kings getting slightly worse from Post-Draft to now, going from a projected 38.3 wins to 37.7 wins.
Miami Heat Trade Hassan Whiteside to Portland
Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Heat and Trail Blazers are finalizing a trade that will send Whiteside to Portland in exchange for Mo Harkless and Meyers Leonard. All three players are on the final years of their contracts, and this trade is a move for the Heat to clear some salary cap space. The Heat free up around $5 million with this trade.
Thoughts: I think this could be a good move for both teams. The Heat clear salary cap space while also allowing Bam Adebayo to get more minutes with this trade. The Blazers add a player in Whiteside that has the potential to be productive if he puts it all together. Whiteside quickly fell out of favor with the Heat, and Portland gives him a new start and the opportunity to fill in for Jusuf Nurkic while he recovers from injury.
Bulls add Satoransky and Thaddeus Young
The Bulls agreed to a three-year, $41 million deal with Thaddeus Young on Sunday. Early Monday morning, the Bulls also agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with Tomas Satoransky, who they will acquire in a sing-and-trade with the Wizards
Thoughts: Young is a solid veteran presence in a very young Bull's frontcourt. Lauri Markkanen is the future at PF for the Bulls, but Young should provide good depth on a rebuilding team. Satoransky will likely be the starting PG while rookie Coby White learns to play at an NBA level. Satoransky isn't a huge difference maker, but he is a good shooter and above average passer. A starting lineup of Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter, Laurri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. should make the Bulls much more competitive next season.
D'Angelo Russell to the Golden State Warriors (6/30/19 11:30 p.m.)
Shams Charania is reporting that the Golden State Warriors are acquiring D'Angelo Russell on four-year, $117 million max contract in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors will also acquire Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier from Brooklyn. This trade clears up several roster spots for the Nets and gives the Warriors an All-Star to pair with Steph Curry while Klay Thompson recovers from a torn ACL. The Warriors lost Kevin Durant to the Nets earlier today but get Russell from the Nets. However, the Warriors actually get worse with the addition of Russell according to our simulations. Golden State was the #5 seed in the West and winning 48.2 games before adding Russell, and the Warriors are now at the #7 seed and projected to win 45.6 games next season.
Thoughts: I did not see this move coming for the Warriors. I am not completely surprised, however, as the Warriors had to make a move to offset the loss of Kevin Durant while Klay is healing. Marc Stein is reporting that Russell isn't a long term piece for them and will most likely be traded away. The Warriors can get some pieces for Russell after Durant left for nothing. It will be interesting to see if Russell and Steph get to play with eachother. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Andre Iguodala has been traded to the Grizziles to clear cap space so that they can get this move done. The Warriors still need to add a Center and will most likely add a veteran or two at the MLE.
DeAndre Jordan to the Brooklyn Nets (6/30/19 9:55 p.m.)
The Brooklyn Nets' big day just got even bigger with the addition of DeAndre Jordan. Woj is reporting that Jordan will join the Nets on a four-year, $40 million deal, and KD and Kyrie are taking less than the max so that the Nets can afford Jordan.
Thoughts: The Nets are the big winners of Free Agency so far. Jordan provides a big interior presence and should be heavily utilized in pick-and-rolls with Kyrie Irving. I am interested to see how young Center Jarrett Allen is affected by this move. Allen was emerging as a really talented defensive center, and his minutes with the addition of Jordan is something to monitor.
Al Horford to the 76ers; Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat in Sign-and-Trade With 76ers for Josh Richardson (6/30/19 9:15 p.m)
Al Horford has agreed to a four-year deal worth a possible $109 million with the Philadelphia 76ers according to Woj. The 76ers had already agreed to a deal with Tobias Harris earlier in the day and now add Horford. With the losses of Butler and Reddick and addition of Horford, the Sixers are projected to win 53.5 games this upcoming season compared to 54.4 wins before Free Agency started. The Sixers playoff outlook didn't change much, and they remain the #3 seed in the East. At about the same time that Horford to the 76ers news went out, the 76ers agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat, sending the Heat Jimmy Butler in exchange for Josh Richardson. Butler agreed to a four-year, $142 million max deal with the Heat. Earlier I detailed the possibility of the Heat swapping Richardson for Butler. With the addition of Butler, our simulations give the Heat a 20.9% increase in odds to make the playoffs, jumping from 51.7% to 72.6%. The Heat also have a 2.8 increase in win total (39.0 wins to 41.8 wins) while going from the projected 9th seed in the East to the 6th seed.
Thoughts: The Sixers are going all in to win now. They have a loaded roster with Simmons, Embiid, Richardson, Harris, and Horford. Although the Sixers drafted Matisse Thybulle in this year's draft, they are still lacking a perimeter threat at point guard. The Sixers now have one of the most talented rosters in the league, but I am not sure how well they will mesh. Horford and Embiid were both heavily used in high ball screens, and how they fit together is something to watch for. $109 million is a very big investment on a 33-year-old. The Heat got the star player that they have been lacking recently in Jimmy Butler. The Heat still need to add more talent before they can contend and are waiting on some big contracts to come off the books. Hassan Whiteside will be gone next year, and I see Butler and the Heat making a big run at star players next offseason. Look for the Heat to possibly be contenders in 2020-2021.
Utah Jazz Projected to be #2 Seed in West with Addition of Bogdanovic; Pacers Chance of Winning the East Increases by 9.9%; Suns Hurt by Addition of Rubio
Our SportsLine simulations now have the Jazz as the #2 seed in the West with the addition of Bojan Bogdanovic. The Jazz are now projected to win 53.4 games next season, which is up from the 52.9 projected wins before his addition. The Pacers are another team that has benefited from Free Agency so far. Despite the loss of Bogdanovic, the addition of Malcolm Brogden and Jeremy Lamb give the Pacers an 18.0% chance at winning the East, which is up from the 8.1% chance that our sims previously had. The Pacers are projected to win 51.2 games next season and finish as the #4 seed in the East. The Suns are worse off with the addition of Ricky Rubio. Our simulations had the Suns at 21.2 wins before his addition and at 18.6 wins after. The Suns are still projected to finish last in the West both with and without Rubio.
Pelicans see 4.3 win Increase with Addition of J.J. Reddick
It was reported earlier that J.J. Reddick agreed to a two-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. Before the addition of Reddick and the loss of Julius Randle, our simulations had the Pelicans winning 33.3 wins next season and as the 13th seed in the West. Our simulations now have the Pelicans at 37.6 wins and the 11th seed in the West. While Reddick isn't a star player, his addition is a solid one for the Pelicans.
Julius Randle to the New York Knicks (6/30/19 7:40 p.m.)
Julius Randle has agreed to a three-year, $63 million deal with the New York Knicks according to Woj. The Knicks lost out on the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sweepstakes and have a lot of money leftover to spend on players like Randle. Randle had the best year of his young career with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, averaging 21.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG. The addition of Randle doesn't really change the Knicks' outlook for 2019-20. The Knicks see just a 0.1 win improvement with the addition of Randle, going from 18.7 projected wins to 18.8.
Kevin Durant Gives the Nets a 9 Wins Increase in 2020-2021
Kevin Durant is more than likely going to miss all of next season, but the Nets should see a tremendous improvement when he is healthy in 2020. With Kyrie Irving, the Nets are projected 40.8 wins next season, which would slot them at the #6 seed in the East. With both Irving and Durant, the Nets are projected 49.7 wins and the #6 seed in the East. A healthy Durant gives the Nets a 6.0% chance of winning the championship in 2020-2021 according to our simulations compared to a 0.1% with just Irving in 2019-2020.
Tobias Harris to Re-Sign with the Philadelphia 76ers (6/30/19 7:10 p.m.)
Shams Charania is reporting that Tobias Harris has agreed to re-sign with the 76ers on a five-year, $180 million deal. The Sixers acquired Harris from the L.A. Clippers in February, giving up Landry Shamet and several first-rounders. Harris averaged 18.2 PPG in 27 games for the Sixers last season. The Sixers have also agreed to a deal to re-sign Mike Scott on a two-year deal.
Thoughts: The 76ers had to keep at least one of Tobias Harris or Jimmy Butler after giving up so many assets to acquire them last season. The 76ers still have a solid core with Harris, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid, and can possibly still re-sign Jimmy Butler or maybe even add Al Horford. Jimmy Butler is a much more important piece in my opinion, and it will be interesting to see if the Sixers can land him or at least get something back in a sign-and-trade. J.J. Reddick is off to New Orleans, and the Sixers will need to add capable guards if they are going to make a deep run next season.
Al-Farouq Aminu to the Orlando Magic; Rodney Hood Re-Signs with the Trail Blazers; Terrence Ross Re-Signs with the Magic (6/30/19 6:40 p.m.)
Woj is reporting that Al-Farouq Aminu has agreed to a three-year, $29 million deal with the Orlando Magic. He also reported that Terrence Ross is re-signing with the Magic on a four-year, $54 million deal. Aminu started every game that he played in for the Portland Trail Blazers a season ago and averaged 9.4 PPG and 7.5 RPG. The Magic spent big in order to keep Terrence Ross in Orlando. Ross averaged a career-high 15.1 PPG a season ago for the Magic last season and is getting $13.5 million a year to stay. Rodney Hood will return to the Trail Blazers on a two-year, $8 million deal.
Bojan Bogdanovic to the Utah Jazz (6/30/19 6:35 p.m.)
Bojan Bogdanovic has agreed to a four-year, $73 million deal to join the Utah Jazz according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Bogdanovic is coming off a season in which he averaged 18.0 PPG for the Indiana Pacers. The Jazz were rumored to be going after Nikola Mirotic, who decided to leave the NBA and sign with Barcelona instead, but then pivoted and turned to Bogdanovic.
Thoughts: I am a big fan of this move. The Jazz are in win-now mode and see an opportunity to be contenders in the West with the Warriors losing KD and Klay Thompson likely missing most of next season. The Jazz have already added Mike Conley this offseason, and a Conley/Mitchell back court can be one of the best in the league. A Conley, Mitchell, Ingles, Bogdanovic, and Gobert lineup can compete with any team in my opinion. Derrick Favors' contract is non-guaranteed, and the Jazz will more than likely renounce their rights to Favors.
Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb to Indiana; Ricky Rubio to Phoenix (6/30/19 6:30 p.m.)
Before Free Agency started, it was heavily reported that Ricky Rubio would be signing with the Pacers once Free Agency opened. However, it is now reported that Rubio is headed to the Phoenix Suns on a three-year, $51 million deal according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj also reported that Indiana has agreed to a four-year, $85 million deal with Malcolm Brogdon and will send Milwaukee a first-round pick and two future second-round picks. Jeremy Lamb has also agreed to a deal with the Pacers for three-years, $31.5 according to Shams Charania.
Thoughts: I really like these moves for Indiana. Brogdon and Lamb are great additions for the Pacers, who could make a run in the postseason if Victor Oladipo is able to return later this season. The Pacers do lose Bojan Bogdonovic to Utah, but I like that Indiana went out and got a very good player in Brogdon instead of signing Rubio. I am not a fan of what the Suns did on draft night, and I am not a fan of the Rubio signing. The Suns should've tried to clear more money to make a run at D'Angelo Russell, who would be a much better fit than Rubio. Rubio is a good defender and facilitator but is not a good perimeter scorer.
J.J. Reddick to New Orleans (6/30/19 6:15 p.m.)
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, J.J. Reddick has agreed to a two-year, $26.5 million with the New Orleans Pelicans. Reddick joins a very young Pelicans team that lacked three point shooters. Reddick is a solid addition to a team with a young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball.
Thoughts: I like this move a lot. The Pelicans' needed to add a perimeter threat in Free Agency and did just that with the addition of Reddick. The Pelicans also agreed to a deal with Italian forward Nicolo Melli and still have around $18 million in cap, which they should use to add another big man. Zion will play some small-ball center and the Pelicans drafted Jaxson Hayes, who needs time before he is ready to play big minutes.
Khris Middleton and Brooke Lopez Re-Sign with the Milwaukee Bucks (6/30/19 6:00 p.m.)
Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that Middleton plans to stay with the Bucks and will re-sign for 5-years, $178 million. "Woj" announced earlier that Brooke Lopez will re-sign with the Bucks on a 4-year, $52 million deal. Both players are coming off breakout seasons for the Bucks, who were just one win away from reaching the NBA Finals this season.
Thoughts: The Bucks our predicted to be the #1 seed in the East according to our simulations. Re-signing Lopez and Middleton is huge for the Bucks and should keep Giannis Antetokounmpo happy. Malcolm Brogdon is a restricted free agent, and the Bucks must find a way to keep him. This past season, Brogdon became just the 8th player in NBA history to join the 50-40-90 club.
Terry Rozier to Charlotte (6/30/19 5:45 p.m.)
Terry Rozier has agreed to a 3-year, $58 million fully guaranteed deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier have switched teams, with Walker already announcing his intentions of going to Boston.
Thoughts: I think this deal is a little too much for Rozier. The Hornets needed a point guard with the departure of Kemba Walker, and Terry Rozier will become their starter. Rozier only has 30 career starts in 4 seasons, and his career FG% is .380. The Hornets' future is bleak at the moment, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets (6/30/19 5:30 p.m.)
Kevin Durant is planning to sign a 4-year, $164 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets when Free Agency opens according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Durant will teammate with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn but will likely miss all of next season due to a torn achilles that he suffered during the NBA finals. With the addition of Irving, our simulations gave the Nets a 68.7% chance of making the playoff, and that number would stay the same given that Durant will miss next season. Wojnarowski also tweeted that DeAndre Jordan is planning on signing with the Nets and joining the two superstars in Brooklyn.
Thoughts: The Nets are the clear winners of Free Agency so far. The Nets are in prime position to make a deep run at a Championship when KD returns in 2020-2021. The Knicks come up empty handed again after looking like they might land several superstars just a couple months ago. I wouldn't be surprised if KD's injury caused a lack of trust in the Warrior's training staff, which was a factor in him choosing to leave Golden State.
Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat? (Updated 6/30/19 3:00 p.m.)
NBA writer Tim Reynolds is reporting that Jimmy Butler is expected to notify the Heat that he wishes to play for them. We ran a scenario where the Heat acquire Butler in a sign-and-trade with the 76ers, who get Josh Richardson back in return. Our simulations give the Heat a 20.9% increase in odds to make the playoffs, jumping from 51.7% to 72.6%. The Heat also have a 2.8 increase in win total (39.0 wins to 41.8 wins) while going from the projected 9th seed in the East to the 6th seed. The loss of Butler and addition of Richardson results in 1.8 more losses (54.4 wins to 52.6 wins) for the 76ers next season, but doesn't change their playoff outlook. Our simulations have the 76ers as the #3 seed in the East with Butler and without Butler.
(6/29/19 7:00 p.m)
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Jimmy Butler is expected to meet with the Miami Heat on Sunday. Butler has now been linked to the Heat and Rockets if the Sixers are unable to re-sign him. The Sixers are open to working a sign-and-trade if they can't retain Butler.
Ricky Rubio to the Pacers (6/30/19 1:00 p.m.)
New York Times' Marc Stein is reporting that a deal between Ricky Rubio and the Indiana Pacers is "virtually done". Rubio will take over at PG for Darren Collison, who surprised many by deciding to retire from the league at just 31 years-old. The addition of Rubio makes the Pacers a worse team according to our simulations. The Pacers with Rubio are projected to win 48.5 games compared to 50.3 games without him. The Pacers' playoff outlook doesn't change much, and they still slot in at the #4 seed in the East according to our simulations.
Thoughts: Rubio has proven that he can run an offense and be effective on defense, but that is not enough to overcome his inefficiencies shooting the ball. I'm not a big fan of this signing, especially with the Pacers being a piece or two away from being legit contenders. Victor Oladipo is probably going to miss most, if not all, of next season, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young are Free Agents.
Nikola Vucevic to Re-Sign with the Magic (6/30/19 7:00 a.m.)
Shams Charania reported last night that Center Nikola Vucevic plans to re-sign with the Orlando magic for 4-years, $100 million when Free Agency opens. Keeping Vucevic is huge for the Magic, who are projected to be the 7th seed in the East with him and the 10th seed in the East without him. The potential loss of Vucevic in our simulations dropped the Magic's win total by 5.3 games (40.8 wins to 35.5 wins) and their odds at making the playoffs by 42.9% (68.8 %to 25.9%).
Thoughts: The Magic prioritized keeping Vucevic and it paid off. Vucevic was an All-Star a season ago and was the Magic's best player. His loss would've been huge, and the Magic wouldn't be able to find anyone to replace his production. The Magic's 6th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Center Mo Bamba, still looks incredibly raw and would not be able to shoulder the load at Center for the Magic. The Magic did a great job of keeping Vucevic who could have easily bolted for a team that is in better position to be a contender.
Kyrie Irving to the Nets (6/29/19 6:30 p.m)
It is being reported that Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets is pretty much a done deal at this point. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that the former Celtic PG is expected to sign a 4-year, $141 million max deal with the Nets when free agency opens. This means that D'Angelo Russell is on his way out. A reunion with the L.A. Lakers seems like a real possibility for Russell. The swap of Irving for Russell significantly improves the Nets chances at making the playoffs. with Irving, our simulations give the Nets a 68.7% chance of making the playoffs, an increase of 23.9& from the original 44.8%. The addition gives the Nets a projected 2.9 more wins (37.9 wins to 40.8 wins) and moves them from the #9 seed to the #6 seed in the East.
Thoughts: The addition of Kyrie is clearly an improvement over Russell. The Nets have enough money to sign one more player to a max contract and have been linked to Kevin Durant and Tobias Harris among others. The Nets are still very young and won't make it deep into the postseason with Kyrie alone.
Kemba Walker to the Celtics (6/29/19 5:00 p.m.)
Shams Charania is reporting that Kemba Walker has agreed to a 4-year, $141 million max deal with the Boston Celtics. Kemba will take over the starting point guard role from Kyrie Irving, who is rumored to be going to Brooklyn at this time. Our updated simulations give the Celtics a 2 win increase (44.5 to 46.5) with the addition of Walker, and this move has no effect on the Celtics projected playoff seed, which remains at #5 in the East. Before the NBA Draft and with both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford still on the team, the Celtics were projected to win 51.1 games, but were still the #5 seed in the East. Kemba leaving has a big impact on the Hornets, who lose 3.7 games more games (36.7 to 33.0) with Walker off the roster. The Hornet's playoff odds decrease by 25.1% with Walker leaving.
My Thoughts: I think this is a solid addition for the Celtics but an enormous loss for the Hornets. Kemba never had much of a supporting cast in Charlotte, and Boston has a much brighter outlook than Charlotte. The Celtics still need to add a center to replace Al Horford and Aron Baynes. It will be interesting to see who the Celtics target; maybe they can convince a big man to take a discount to join a contender.
Free Agency Primer
Kemba Walker to the Celtics or Mavericks?
Charlotte Hornets' Free Agent PG Kemba Walker is rumored to possibly be headed to the Boston Celtics or Dallas Mavericks this offseason. After initially being rumored to be willing to take less money to stay in Charlotte, Kemba Walker is now rumored to have "sizable gaps" in contract talks with the Hornets according to the Athletic's Shams Charania. The Celtics are now rumored to be the favorites to sign Walker. Interesting enough, the Celtics adding Kemba only changes their projected win total by +.3 wins (44.4 to 44.7) and has no effect on the Celtics projected playoff seed, which remains at #5 in the East. The Dallas Mavericks actually got worse with Walker on their team, which changed their win total by -.5 wins (39.2 to 38.7) but doesn't change their projected #10 seed in the West. The biggest impact that Kemba would have if he chooses to leave would be on the Hornets, who lose 3.3 games (36.7 to 33.4) with Walker off the roster. The Hornet's playoff odds decrease by 21.9% if Walker chooses to leave.
D'Angelo Russell Return to the Lakers?
After trading for Anthony Davis, the Lakers are now the favorites to win the West. The Lakers are in need of a point guard, and a player that they rumored to have interest in is D'Angelo Russell. Russell was traded from the Lakers to the Nets to create cap space to sign Free Agents. That same trade might have freed up enough cap space to sign Russell this offseason. With the addition of Russell, SportsLine gives the Lakers a projected 1.1 increase in win total (53.0 to 54.1) in 2019. Russell also increases the Lakers odds to win the championship from 9.0% to 10.9%.
Jimmy Butler to the Rockets?
The Rockets are rumored to be shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and PJ Tucker to create enough cap space to sign Jimmy Butler. The most likely way that the Rockets would land Butler would be in a sign-and-trade with the 76ers. In a scenario where the Rockets trade Gordon and Capela to the 76ers, the Rockets end up being worse off. With Capela and Gordon the Rockets are projected to win 51.8 games next season compared to 51.6 games with Butler. However, the Rockets would still be projected to be the #3 seed in the West either way. The 76ers would drop from a projected 54.2 wins to 53.1 wins but are still projected to be the #3 seed in the East with this trade.
NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers?
Kawhi Leonard is rumored to be deciding on returning to the Raptors (most likely on a one-year deal) or joining the L.A. Clippers. The Clippers would make a huge leap in wins with Kawhi, going from a projected 39.9 wins to 45.4 wins next season. The addition of Kawhi increases the Clippers projected playoff % by 44.5% (23.9% to 68.4%). Without Kawhi, the Clippers are sitting at the 9th seed in the West, but they move up to the 8th seed with Kawhi. The Raptors are still the projected #2 seed in the East with or without Kawhi, but their odds to win the championship drops by 18.0% (23.3% to 5.3%).
Although it is very unlikely to happen, we ran a scenario where the Lakers wind up landing Kawhi. In this scenario, the Lakers championship odds increases by 12.3% (9.0% to 21.3%). The Lakers also have a projected 4.1 more wins (53.0 wins to 57.1 wins) with the addition of Kawhi.
Will Al Horford join Zion?
33-year-old Al Horford recently opted out of his $30.1 million player option with the Boston Celtics. Horford most likely wouldn't do that unless he knows that he is going to get a 4-year deal worth over $100 million. There are several teams that are rumored to have interest in Horford, including the Clippers and Mavericks. Another team that might be a dark horse to land the veteran big is the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans have about $30 million in cap space after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers and unloading Solomon Hill's contract in a draft day trade to the Hawks. The addition of Horford increases the Pelicans' win total by 3.6 wins (34.2 wins to 37.8 wins). Horford most likely wouldn't make the Pelicans a playoff team, but his addition moves the Pelicans from 13th in the West to 11th and changes their playoff odds from 2.3% to 13.0%.
We also ran the scenario where Horford joins Kawhi on the Clippers. The Clippers' odds of making the playoffs increase by 62.5% (23.9% to 86.4%), and their projected standing moves from 9th in the West to 5th. Horford and Leonard also increase the Clippers projected win total by 8.4 games (39.9 to 48.3). The Clippers are a team to watch this offseason.
Kyrie and KD to Brooklyn?
The Brooklyn Nets are rumored to be among the favorites to land both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. KD is most likely out for all of the 2019-2020 season, so our projections will probably apply more to 2020-2021. The addition of Kyrie and KD changes the Nets projected win total from 38.0 wins to 50.8 games. The Nets playoff odds increases by 8.4% (45.6% to 54.0%), and the odds of the Nets winning the championship increases by 4.5% (0.1% to 4.6%).
Although it seems very unlikely at the moment, we also ran simulations based on a scenario where KD and Kyrie land on the New York Knicks. The Knicks' projected win total rises from 18.2 wins to 43.1 wins, an amazing 24.9 increase in win total. The Knicks' playoff odds rise from 0% to 83.3%, and their projected standing in the East goes from 15th to 5th.