Now that the 2013 NBA draft has come and gone, the true offseason is set to begin.
While many teams improved by making smart decisions during the draft, several organizations still need help. In the coming weeks, they’ll be looking to solidify their starting lineups and benches through trades and free agency. Rookies will make a difference but aren’t the entire answer.
What is the Cleveland starting lineup going to look like? Who are the Suns going to have at center next season? Will it be a veteran or rookie running the point for the Jazz in 2013-14? These are all very good questions that’ll soon be answered.
The rumor mill provides us with hints as to what solutions the aforementioned organizations have for their respective issues. Below are the latest rumors about what Cleveland, Phoenix and Utah may end up doing with the draft now over. These are moves that could become official before you know it.
Cavs Still Looking for Impact Players
While the Cavaliers made three selections in the draft, there’s still work to be done this summer for the men and women in Cleveland’s front office. The Cavs drafted Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall pick, Sergey Karasev at No. 19 and then Carrick Felix in the second round.
So, the Cavs have now added another power forward—despite already employing Tristan Thompson—and a pair of players to back up Dion Waiters at shooting guard. There are still a few holes on Cleveland’s roster, and Sam Amico of Fox Sports reports that the team is willing to make a deal to fill those holes:
Cavaliers still seeking center, small forward and backup point guard; willing to deal existing talent.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 28, 2013
Cleveland wouldn’t have so many issues if it‘d selected Alex Len or Nerlens Noel with the first pick. By taking either of those two, the Cavs would have their long-term center. Now, they have two power forwards who are capable of starting, but neither of them can really play small forward or center.
With a need for a center and after doubling up at power forward, one would presume that Thompson might be the guy on his way out. He has a lot of trade value and doesn’t really have a position in the starting lineup anymore with Cleveland selecting Bennett. Trading Thompson could get the Cavs the center or small forward they need.
Suns to Keep Gortat?
The Suns were lucky to have Alex Len fall to them at No. 5. Phoenix now has a big man that it can build around for the future. But with Phoenix drafting Len, many expect it to be the end of Marcin Gortat with the Suns. Gortat started 61 games last season, averaging 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Phoenix, however, isn’t planning to deal Gortat, according to Shams Charania of RealGM.com. New Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said that Gortat could mentor Len and the veteran’s agent, Guy Zucker, said that the Suns plan to hold on to him for now, per Charania.
One reason the Suns may end up keeping Gortat for the 2013-14 season is because how risky of a pick Len was. Len is coming off of a stress fracture in his ankle and isn’t guaranteed to shine in the NBA. In fact, Len wasn’t even that dominant while at Maryland. Keeping Gortat would be a smart move for Phoenix.
While Gortat is only under contract for one more season, that one year will give the Suns a bit of a safety net if Len doesn’t make the smoothest transition to the next level. Gortat could be the backup for Len and his mentor, but he also may need to start depending on how Len’s career kicks off.
Jazz with Dilemma at PG
With four guards hitting the open market as unrestricted free agents this summer, the Jazz knew they had to acquire a guard in this year’s draft, preferably a point guard. While Utah didn’t draft a point guard, it did make a trade with the Timberwolves to acquire former Michigan standout Trey Burke.
Burke was one of the top point guards in this year’s draft class and will make an instant impact in the lineup for Utah. But with Burke on the roster, it seems unlikely that the Jazz would bring back Mo Williams, who started 46 games and averaged 12.9 points per night.
Williams told the Jazz that he’ll re-sign with the team, but only if he remains the starting point guard, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. A source told Spears that Williams wouldn’t return to Salt Lake City as Burke’s backup. Well, it appears to be tough luck for Williams, as it doesn’t seem likely he’d be the starter.
Burke is a great shooter, but he doesn’t have the size or defensive ability to play shooting guard. Williams only wants to be the point guard. See the dilemma? What the Jazz should do is let Williams walk if he’s going make these demands. Burke’s the point guard for the future and the veteran needs to understand that.