One thing you can say about the NBA is that, even with the season over, the summer brings excitement. We have gone from celebrating the San Antonio Spurs' greatness to the uncertainty surrounding the Miami Heat to draft shakeups to big-name stars possibly being traded or leaving via free agency.
There's so much floating around the league right now that keeping it all straight is going to give you a headache. We don't even know what wonders this day will bring from the rumor mill, but that doesn't stop us from scouring the wire to see what's currently happening.
A lot will be settled in the next two weeks through the draft on June 26 and start of free agency on July 1. Until then, here are the latest notes from around the NBA to tide you over.
Lakers Mixing It Up In Kevin Love Trade Talks
With the return of Kobe Bryant, the No. 7 overall pick in Thursday's draft and only $35 million in salary commitments for the 2014-15 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have room to make a big move to get back into playoff contention soon.
One possible plan being explored, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, has the Lakers putting themselves in the trade talks between Minnesota and Golden State over Kevin Love:
The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft, The Times has learned.
The deal would be part of a larger three-way trade that sends Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Warriors. The Lakers are interested but the deal has been put on hold because of a difference in opinion within the Warriors’ organization whether or not to keep Thompson while trying to obtain Love.
Before Hollywood explodes with excitement, Bresnahan notes that the deal appears to be in a stalemate, and Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV in Minnesota reports he's been told definitively the trade isn't happening:
Give the Lakers credit for trying to get creative to improve their roster in short order, but a deal this large, with as many moving parts as are being discussed, isn't easy to consummate.
Minnesota has every reason to deal Love soon, as his trade value will only diminish if he starts the season with the Timberwolves, thus giving an interested team less control over him.
Carmelo Anthony's Looming Decision
The fate of this year's top free agent will become clear on Monday, which is the deadline for Carmelo Anthony to opt out of his deal with the New York Knicks. According to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, the All-Star intends to do just that:
Despite efforts by New York Knicks president Phil Jackson to persuade him to remain under contract, forward Carmelo Anthony hasn't changed his mind and plans to opt out of his contract and test free agency this summer, according to a league source familiar with the situation.
That decision doesn't bode well for Anthony's return to New York, according to Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal, who quotes a source as saying "If he makes the choice to opt out, I think he's gone."
Herring's report later cites a source as saying that Anthony "is intrigued by the idea of playing for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.":
During the season, Anthony sought out multiple ex-Chicago wing players—separate from the widely reported conversations he had with Bulls center Joakim Noah, the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year—about Thibodeau, according to the source.
Aside from more money, what's left for Anthony in New York? The Knicks have been a sinking ship for years, though there have been moments, like last year's playoff berth, where the submersion was slower than others, and won't be able to make a serious move in free agency until next summer.
Anthony could go to Chicago, where the Bulls keep making the playoffs with a stout defense despite being without their best player, Derrick Rose, for most of the last two years.
If Rose returns healthy and Anthony joins the roster, Chicago's offense looks more formidable than it has in years and puts the team back among the elite in the Eastern Conference.
Joel Embiid's Return Date
Once projected to be the top pick in the NBA draft, center Joel Embiid currently finds himself in purgatory following surgery to repair a fractured right foot.
According to Adrian Wojnarowki of Yahoo Sports, the recovery time for the procedure, which included two screws being inserted into Embiid's foot, is four to six months.
If we give Embiid the benefit of the doubt, four months would allow him to start working out on the floor at the end of October, which is roughly around the start of the NBA season. He will obviously need time to regain strength and get into game shape, so hypothetically that could put his debut around the start of December.
Given how injury-prone Embiid has proven to be in his career—remember he missed the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments with a stress fracture in his back—whichever team drafts him can't be in a rush to get him in games for fear of doing more damage.
ESPN.com did a breakdown of players who have endured the same injury as Embiid, noting that Yao Ming, Eric Montross and Bill Walton had their careers ended as a result. Making this even more alarming is the fact all four players are/were centers.
It's not an entirely fair comparison because Embiid is only 20 years old, while Ming was 29 when he had his surgery, Walton was 35 in 1987 and Montross was 31. In the same ESPN.com article, Embiid's surgeon, Dr. Richard Ferkel, is quoted as saying he's "confident" the Kansas star will be able to start his NBA career after the recovery process.
The only thing that seems certain now is that Embiid won't be the No. 1 pick on Thursday. With Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker also worthy of the top selection, the Cleveland Cavaliers have plenty of talent to choose from.
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