Following the barrage of rumors involving teams possibly looking to move up in the draft, the NBA focus shifts to trades involving players and free agency.
This is the season of constant speculation, though only so much of what gets said is capable of happening. That's going to leave a lot of fanbases upset, but some will be rejoicing in celebration as their favorite teams move closer to winning a championship.
A lot of teams should be willing to take chances this summer—with trades and in free agency—with the salary cap on the verge of exploding next year, when the NBA's new television contracts go into effect.
Expect a frenzy once teams can begin negotiating with players July 1. Here's a look at the hottest rumors, now that the draft insanity has subsided.
The Sacramento Mess
There are always ways to see why the best and worst franchises in any sport occupy those particular spaces. A lot of it revolves around stability between the front office and coaching staff, while the relationship between a head coach and star players will also define it.
It's no wonder that the Sacramento Kings have been a mess for nine years, as they are on their eighth head coach in that span. ESPN's Chris Broussard reported the Kings have considered firing head coach George Karl—four months after hiring him—because he wants to convince the team to trade DeMarcus Cousins.
That leaves the Cousins situation to sort out. Sacramento has made it clear that the Kings hierarchy doesn't want to deal the 24-year-old.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday, however, the Kings had exchanged the possible framework of a deal involving Cousins with the Los Angeles Lakers built around the No. 2 pick, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
However, the potential for a deal between the Kings and Lakers seems less likely since Los Angeles made D'Angelo Russell the second overall pick. It also doesn't help that Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported Randle is off the table:
It's easy to understand why some with the Kings would be reluctant to get rid of Cousins. It's hard to find a player who averages 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, but given that he's had issues with coaches in the past, at some point the headaches have to outweigh the production.
If the Kings were winning with Cousins causing problems, that would be different. They have been dismal for years and would seem to be enabling the star center if they get rid of a coach to appease him.
Houston's Aggressive Plan
The Houston Rockets always seem to fly under the radar, despite winning more than 50 games in each of the last two years and making it to the Western Conference Finals this year.
Yet the Rockets could be taking steps to ensure that no one ignores them when the 2015-16 season starts, as ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported the team is looking at ways to make a play for two huge free agents:
It will be tricky for the Rockets to work the salary cap in their favor—but not impossible. HoopsHype has Houston's payroll for 2015-16 at $65.6 million. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress reported in April that the cap is expected to be at $67.1 million with a luxury-tax threshold of $81.6 million.
To that end, Stein reported the Rockets were going to try to deal Terrence Jones during Thursday's draft. Things did not pan out, though Houston was able to get Sam Dekker with the 18th overall pick.
Finding a way to make the money work for LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love will be difficult, but Houston has become a bigger player in free agency recently. Dwight Howard spurned the Lakers for the Rockets two years ago.
NBA players have gravitated toward teams that are capable of winning championships now and in the future. The Rockets have built a terrific roster, led by Howard and James Harden, and aren't afraid to spend money.
Aldridge has Texas ties, growing up in Dallas and playing college basketball at the University of Texas, but many expect the bidding for the 29-year-old to be intense, with Stein writing that the Lakers will be in the mix with San Antonio, Atlanta, Dallas and New York.
It will take a small miracle for the Rockets to land Aldridge or Love, but give the front office credit for at least trying to think of creative ways to upgrade a roster that was one step away from the NBA Finals.
Tobias Harris on the Move
The Orlando Magic added to their talented stable of young players on draft night by bringing in Mario Hezonja's shooting touch to play with stellar defenders like Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon.
However, the Magic seem like they are going to lose one of their talented assets in restricted free agent Tobias Harris.
According to Shams Charania of RealGM, the Magic don't appear likely to match the kind of offer sheet Harris will receive.
"As Orlando restricted free agent Tobias Harris will pursue a maximum-level offer sheet on July 1 that the Magic possibly won’t match, the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics have emerged as leading candidates for the talented forward, league sources told RealGM," Charania wrote.
Harris, who is just 22 years old, has battled injuries throughout his career. He's never played more than 68 games in any of his four seasons. (During the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, he played in only 42 games.)
Despite those issues, Harris is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 17.1 points per game and shooting 46.6 percent from the floor (36.4 percent from three-point range).
Even though the Magic are hurting for scorers, signing Harris to a huge deal only because he can do that isn't good business. He's undeniably talented, but durability has to come into play at some point. The Magic have a four-year sample to judge him on—and he's missed at least 14 games every year.
The Magic are on the rise in the Eastern Conference and don't need to get bogged down by a big deal they don't feel 100 percent comfortable with. A team like the Celtics, which need size after loading up on guards, can afford to take that kind of risk.