Buying or Selling the Latest NBA Rumors Entering 2013-14 Season
The NBA season is upon us, but that doesn't mean the rumor mill will stop turning anytime soon.
With the October 31 contract extension deadline approaching quickly, there is still plenty of speculation and murmurs of trades floating around. You see, that's the best part about the NBA offseason: It never really stops.
Does the Marcin Gortat trade signal the end for Goran Dragic in the valley of the Suns? Are the Sacramento Kings really ready to give up on Jimmer Fredette? Is Gordon Hayward's contract negotiation being impacted by Paul George's extension? We're buying or selling those rumors and more as we enter the 2013-14 season.
Did Paul George's Extension Slow Gordon Hayward's Negotiations with Utah Jazz?
Rumor: Paul George's max extension likely slowed down Gordon Hayward's contract negotiations.
Buy or Sell: Sell
Ever since the Utah Jazz chose Gordon Hayward over Paul George in the 2010 NBA Draft, a lot of fans and media in Utah have developed an unhealthy obsession with comparing the two players.
While it's probably true that George is a little overrated at this point and that Hayward is vastly underrated, it seems to be a popular belief in Utah that the two players are equals.
Offensively, George and Hayward aren't that far apart in both skills and production, but that's completely ignoring the defensive side of the ball. That matters.
The comparison between George and Hayward has naturally led to a lot of shade being thrown George's way, and that's apparently shielded more than a few people from the fact that Paul George was going to be a max player whether Indiana extended him now or let him hit restricted free agency.
The size of George's contract shouldn't come as a surprise whatsoever. That was something Hayward's representation and the Jazz front office should have seen from a mile away, and the insinuation that it has slowed down negotiations may be a case of faulty logic being implemented.
Extensions go to the last minute all the time, so I'm selling on George's inevitable max deal delaying negotiations. George, like usual, shouldn't be brought into this conversation.
Is Goran Dragic Next in Line to Be Traded?
Rumor: Goran Dragic will be the next in line to leave the Phoenix Suns.
Buy or Sell: Sell
The Phoenix Suns are very clearly rebuilding and that puts veteran players with actual salaries on the trading block. No arguments there.
That said, when you look up and down the Phoenix Suns roster, there are other pieces to move before a Goran Dragic trade would be necessary.
Putting aside my belief that Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe can work just fine in the same backcourt, keep in mind that Dragic provides leverage for Phoenix during extension negotiations with Bledsoe.
If the Suns don't extend Bledsoe, Dragic provides insurance in case some team comes with a monster offer in free agency next offseason that Phoenix isn't ready to match.
If Bledsoe does get extended before the October 31 deadline, then Dragic would likely be more aggressively shopped, particularly if the duo stumbles out of the gate. It would make sense, however, for Phoenix to give the backcourt an extended shot and see what kind of player Bledsoe can or can't play with going forward.
It seems more likely that Phoenix would look to shed Channing Frye's salary that includes a $6.8 million dollar player option for next season or Gerald Green's $3.5 million dollar deal that also runs through next season before looking to move Dragic. Dragic is a valuable piece on a very fair contract, and at age 27, he's still young enough to keep around long-term if there aren't any overwhelming deals. With four picks in this draft already, Phoenix can afford to be patient.
Considering the depth of the point guard position league-wide, receiving fair value for Dragic may be tougher than it might seem. Expect Frye or Green to be moved before Dragic is.
Shannon Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers?
Rumor: Shannon Brown is headed back to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Buy or Sell: Buy
The Los Angeles Lakers already got some of the band back together, so why not let Shannon Brown in on the reunion? Once he clears waivers after being cut by the Washington Wizards, Brown will be able to go wherever he'd like.
Although the Lakers do have 15 contracts on the roster, only 13 are fully or partially guaranteed. If the Lakers wanted to sign Brown, it would be fairly easy to do so.
Elias Harris would probably be the most likely candidate to go, mainly because he's only guaranteed $100,000 of his deal and he only played 11 minutes a game in preseason.
Xavier Henry and Shawne Williams played their way into roster spots this preseason, and Ryan Kelly is the type of stretch guy D'Antoni wants around. That probably leaves Ellis as the most likely cut if the Lakers want Brown.
Brown should have plenty of options, but going to a familiar, warm-weather place where there's currently a big hole at shooting guard makes an awful lot of sense.
Not to go all TMZ on you here, but Shannon Brown's wife Monica is a famous singer, and Los Angeles isn't a bad place for artists to be. This seems like a natural landing spot, so long as the Lakers are interested.
On that note, the Lakers probably should be, as Brown is still a valuable role player who can add the kind of athleticism the Lakers don't currently possess.
Will Sacramento Kings Decline to Extend All Eligible Candidates?
Rumor: The Kings will likely decline Jimmer Fredette's team option for next year.
Buy or Sell: Sell
Jimmer Fredette may not have a path to playing time as a third-string point guard and shooting guard off the bench for the Sacramento Kings, but he's a trade piece that a team would almost certainly exchange something for.
Fredette hasn't been worth the 10th pick, but he did shoot nearly 42 percent from the three-point line in his second season while posting a respectable PER of 14.6. As a pure shooter off the bench, Fredette can help almost any team.
If the Kings were to decline Fredette's team option worth $3.1 million next season, the third-year guard would become an unrestricted free agent.
That would essentially sink Fredette's trade value around the league, however, as most teams would be uncomfortable sacrificing anything worthwhile for a one-year rental who, in the best case scenario, plays well and improves his value in free agency and becomes even more expensive.
By extending Fredette and allowing him to stay on his rookie deal for two more seasons, the Kings would vastly improve the chances of receiving an asset back for him. He should get his option picked up before Thursday's deadline.
Memphis Grizzlies Unlikely to Extend Ed Davis?
Rumor: The Memphis Grizzlies offering Ed Davis an extension is a long-shot.
Buy or Sell: Buy
The Memphis Grizzlies have a decision pending with the future of Zach Randolph, as keeping Randolph and retaining Ed Davis, Quincy Pondexter and Jerryd Bayless is pretty much impossible this offseason if Memphis wants to stay under the tax. And they do.
That being said, Memphis might be wise to wait a while in order to trade Randolph's expiring deal and get a discount on Davis in restricted free agency. If Davis remains in Randolph's shadow, the chances he gets a big offer next offseason are probably pretty low. It might behoove Memphis financially to keep him buried a bit.
Also, it's important to remember that with extension negotiations, it takes two to tango. Davis would be wise not to accept a low-ball offer to be Randolph's backup when he's only a year away from possibly receiving a more lucrative deal from a team of his choosing that could offer much more playing time.
Players don't often decline long-term financial security, but it wouldn't be a surprise if Memphis is really undervaluing the young big man's potential in negotiation talks.
There are likely too many moving parts for the Grizzlies and Davis to peg down a deal that satisfies both sides. Randolph is the first domino, and Memphis hasn't reached the tipping point there quite yet.