NBA Rumors: Latest on Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard, Jerryd Bayless TradeJuly 20, 2018
The biggest remaining name on the NBA trading block finally headed elsewhere, as the San Antonio Spurs traded forward Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected first-round pick. Danny Green also went north in the deal.
Now attention turns to other names out there who will or could be changing teams before the regular season begins. You can find some information on them below, in addition to an interesting note on what the Spurs were looking for in a Leonard trade.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, forward Carmelo Anthony will soon be free to sign where he wants after the Oklahoma City Thunder traded him to the Atlanta Hawks, who are expected to waive him:
Both Wojnarowski and David Aldridge of Turner Sports have the Houston Rockets pegged as his most likely destination:
Melo will certainly help the team on offense. Kelly Scaletta of Bleacher Report noted how the 34-year-old could mesh well with Rockets guards Chris Paul and James Harden.
For Paul, Scaletta wrote that the "measured pace" Anthony and the point guard like to play will suit them both.
For Harden, Scaletta noted how the 2017-18 MVP is a better fit for Anthony than Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook:
"There's a fundamental difference in the way Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Westbrook tends to collapse defenses, which limits Anthony's game. Harden can either kick it out, lead Anthony to the rim, or drop a bounce pass for a smooth mid-range jumper."
Anthony struggled finding a rhythm with the Thunder, posting a career-low 16.2 points per game on 40.4 percent shooting. Part of that could be contributed to the fact he's on the back end of his career, having played 15 full seasons.
However, the Westbrook-Paul George-Anthony trio simply didn't work out. With Paul, Harden and head coach Mike D'Antoni, Melo may experience a resurgence.
The downside is Anthony likely won't help improve a defense that has already lost two solid defenders in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza in the offseason. Per Basketball Reference, Anthony has a -1.2 defensive plus minus for his career.
As of now, the Rockets have 15-2 odds to win the NBA championship, per OddsShark. It will be a long road ahead for them with or without Anthony, especially with the Golden State Warriors picking up center DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason.
However, Anthony should at least give the Rockets an excellent third scoring option.
At one point, it looked like the saga between Leonard and the Spurs would drag on with no end in sight. However, San Antonio eventually found a trading partner, and a new era has begun for the Spurs.
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer provided some insight on what the Spurs were looking for in a deal: "Multiple league executives say the Spurs were prioritizing scoring in all prospective trade packages for Leonard, not picks or unproven players."
The Spurs clearly got what they wanted in DeMar DeRozan, a nine-year veteran and four-time All-Star who has averaged 23.4 points per game in his last five seasons. He's also enjoyed his most efficient seasons in his last three years, averaging a 22.2 PER during that span.
DeRozan's calling card is his mid-range game, which is one of the best in the NBA. There's no reason to believe his proficient play in that area will change any time soon.
However, he also took more three-pointers last year, to the tune of 3.6 per game (up from his career average of 1.7). DeRozan wasn't as successful behind the arc, shooting just 31.2 percent. In fairness, it wasn't something he was asked to do much for the majority of his career.
As Zach Lowe of ESPN noted in March, the Raptors asked DeRozan to shoot more threes last year. It will be interesting to see if San Antonio does the same or if the 28-year-old hangs out more in the mid-range.
Either way, DeRozan is now tasked with co-leading the Spurs' scoring burden with LaMarcus Aldridge.
Kyle Korver-Jerryd Bayless Trade
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Kyle Korver started his NBA career in Philadelphia after being drafted by the 76ers in 2003. He stayed there for four-plus years before being traded to the Utah Jazz in 2007.
Now Korver's career could be going full circle as he's been connected to a return to Philly in recent days.
Per 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com:
Sixers insider Jon Johnson of 94 WIP and KYW 1060 Radio in Philadelphia also added this note regarding the 76ers' desire for a player with Korver's skill set:
As Pompey noted, Korver could be headed to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless, a 10-year veteran. With Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and T.J. McConnell all capable of handling the ball, the point guard is on the wrong end of a log jam on the 76ers' depth chart.
He's a better fit elsewhere for a team more in need of a point guard. The Cavs do have three notable ball-handlers (George Hill, Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson), although Clarkson is arguably better off the ball.
As for Korver, he could join a 76ers team who needs some outside scoring help off the bench after Marco Belinelli left for the Spurs.
At age 37, Korver showed that his shooting stroke was still sharp, making 43.6 percent of his three-pointers. Remarkably, that number is better than the 15-year veteran's career average of 43.1 percent.
If he can come off the bench, provide 20-22 minutes per game and still shoot three-pointers around his career range, this proposed deal should end up being a big win for Philadelphia.