BS Meter on NBA's Biggest Offseason Rumors

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2020

BS Meter on NBA's Biggest Offseason Rumors

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Unprecedented circumstances pushed everything back this year, but the NBA's annual tradition of firing up the rumor mill is well underway.

    After the season wrapped, tidbits on Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, Victor Oladipo, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden quickly made their way to the mill.

    As is the case every year, though, we know a lot of these rumors won't materialize into actual moves.

    We'll comb through some of the biggest and apply a wholly scientific "BS Meter" with a one-to-five scale to each.

Anthony Davis to Re-Sign with the Lakers

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    This one toes the line between rumor and foregone conclusion.

    Anthony Davis just won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers as the clear No. 2 to the legendary LeBron James. He appears ready to become the new face of the organization whenever LeBron recedes from that role. He's the next great big in a line that includes George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol.

    To solidify his place on that path, he'll need a new contract. And rumor has it that deal may be on the way.

    "Davis plans to opt out of his $28.7 million player option and re-sign with the Lakers," Shams Charania wrote for The Athletic. "... Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, will hold meetings in the coming weeks to discuss the situation and the contract term that is most sensible for Davis."

    Given AD's eight years of experience, a two-plus-one contract (two years guaranteed, followed by a player option for Year 3) makes a ton of sense.

    After the 10th season, Davis would be qualified for the so-called supermax, which starts at 35 percent of that season's cap. At that point, another opt-out, followed by a max deal, would be in play.

    However the logistics play out, one thing seems clear: Davis will likely be a Laker for a long time.

    BS Meter: Minus-5 out of 5

Derrick Rose to the Lakers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Lakers won the title, but the asterisk police are already out in force, picking apart their run.

    YouTuber JxmyHighroller added up the simple rating system (point differential combined with strength of schedule) of each of the four teams L.A. beat on its way to the title and found this run was the third-easiest in the last 37 years (at least according to that number).

    Through no fault of their own, the Lakers avoided Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers and Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. 

    Chances are, next season's title defense will offer tougher tests. That means L.A. might need to beef up its roster for a successful title defense, and a rumor that made sense months ago has resurfaced in the wake of the championship.

    A general manager told Heavy.com's Sean Deveney the following about the possibility of Derrick Rose joining the Lakers:

    "I think both sides were reluctant when they went into in January, February. I don't think the Lakers wanted to make a major move because they thought they could do something on the buyout market. And I don't think the Pistons wanted to make a major move because Derrick was happy there. You know, the Lakers wanted to be involved in case the Clippers got involved or someone else, the Bucks or the Nuggets, whoever. So there was interest but not too serious. Now, everything has shifted a little. Now, they're both in a position to where a deal is much more likely now."

    The Pistons are beyond the point at which they need to blow it up. In fact, they already started that process when they salary-dumped Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Now, they need to see what value they can get for Rose and Blake Griffin, and L.A. is a team that can justify giving something up for the 32-year-old point guard.

    This season, the Lakers were thoroughly outproduced at the 1, and Rose just had his best offensive campaign since injuries almost derailed his career.

    BS Meter: 1 out of 5

Pacers Shopping Oladipo

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Injuries have wreaked havoc on the past two seasons of Victor Oladipo's career. Since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, he's managed just 55 appearances thanks to a ruptured quad tendon.

    In his absence, Domantas Sabonis has developed into an All-Star as the rest of the Indiana Pacers have learned to function without the shooting guard. During the 2019-20 season, Indiana was minus-0.4 points per 100 possessions with Oladipo on the floor and plus-2.8 with him off.

    As he approaches free agency in 2021, the Pacers might have to think long and hard about taking any decent offers that come along for the two-time All-Star.

    According to Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus, "Oladipo is heading into the last year of his contract, and several executives around the league believe Indiana will shop him this offseason."

    If they do, a number of teams are likely to be interested.

    Over the previously mentioned 55 games, Oladipo averaged 17.3 points on a well-below-average effective field-goal percentage, but his last fully healthy campaign was a much different story. In 2017-18, he averaged 23.1 points and posted a 53.7 effective field-goal percentage. If he can get back to that level, or even close to it, his $21 million salary would be solid value for whatever team acquires him.

    Even though he's suffered a serious injury and is headed into his age-28 season, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team take a chance on him during a contract year.

    At the same time, Indiana may be interested in seeing that fully healthy version alongside Sabonis, T.J. Warren, Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner.

    BS Meter: 2 out of 5

Carmelo Anthony Back to the Knicks?

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Carmelo Anthony could be headed back to the New York Knicks...assuming one huge domino falls first.

    Chris Paul's presence on the Oklahoma City Thunder always felt like it wasn't going to be permanent. His stellar play and OKC's better-than-expected 2019-20 curbed talk of his being re-routed to a contender. But this offseason is sure to bring it back.

    And if he winds up in the league's biggest media market, Melo could follow.

    "If point guard Chris Paul makes his way to the Knicks via a trade, sources have said Anthony is likely to want to follow," Marc Berman wrote for the New York Post. "Anthony and Paul are close friends who dreamed of playing together in the NBA and saw their alliance in Houston end prematurely."

    Sniffing out the BS on this one is a little different. If the rumor were based purely on the desire of Anthony, a free agent, to go back to New York, the meter might barely nudge. Additional factors move the needle instead.

    For one, the rebuilding Knicks, who have youngsters like RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox at Anthony's position, would need to share his interest.

    Second, though a CP3 trade makes plenty of sense for New York, we still have to err on the side of it not happening. Generally speaking, most trade rumors are unlikely. Throw in Paul's age (35) and contract (two years and $85.6 million left), and this one is even flimsier.

    The thought of the two legends returning the Knicks to glory in the twilights of their careers is tantalizing, but there may be too many obstacles in the way.

    BS Meter: 3 out of 5

James Harden Trade

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    Shortly after general manager Daryl Morey's departure from the Houston Rockets was announced, buzz about James Harden's future with the organization followed.

    ESPN's Zach Lowe and Tim MacMahon discussed the idea on the Lowe Post, adding that the Russell Westbrook trade was the brainchild of Harden and owner Tilman Fertitta. 

    It may be too early to say that particular move was a bust, but Westbrook's contract is a tough one to live up to, and the Rockets have yet to make it to the Finals with Harden as the alpha. When those two shared the floor this season, Houston was a solid (though not quite on par with other star duos) plus-4.9 points per 100 possessions.

    But the notion of blowing up the roster isn't absurd. Harden would certainly command a massive haul in a trade, and that could restock Houston's empty cupboard of future assets.

    The Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen told Pushin' Thru's B.J. Armstrong and Tate Frazier that possibility is at least a year off, though.

    "The blow-it-up-and-start-over thing is not for this offseason," Feigen said (h/t HoopsHype). "And the reason I feel fairly certain about that is they're certainly keeping James Harden informed and getting his input on coaching, discussions and considerations. You wouldn't involve him if you're planning to send them off somewhere."

    On top of that common sense, Harden's presence on the roster all but guarantees good offense and a spot in the playoffs.

    Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign (Harden's first in Houston), the Rockets are third in the league in winning percentage and first in points per 100 possessions. They were also one of the only teams in the league that truly pushed the Golden State Warriors during a dynasty that caused plenty to fold until age and injuries knocked Stephen Curry and Co. out of contention.

    Harden is one of the greatest offensive players of all time, and he's at or near the peak of his powers. Trading him now is not the way.

    BS Meter: 5 out of 5