BS Meter on Latest NBA Free-Agency and Trade Rumors
With the 2020 NBA draft now complete, the basketball world turns its attention to free agency and even more trades.
With draft rumors now proved to be true or pure B.S., it's time to separate fact from fiction with the latest rumblings in free agency and trades.
John Wall, Russell Westbrook Swap Being Discussed
While Russell Westbrook is still one of the most talented players in the NBA, the Houston Rockets have yet to find a deal for the 2017 MVP.
If Houston is seriously considering a swap for Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, the market must truly be dry.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the teams discussed a deal centered on the two All-Stars, with Houston seeking more assets in return.
Wall and Westbrook's contracts are nearly identical, with each being owed a bit more than $130 million over the next three years.
The difference? Wall hasn't played in nearly two full calendar years following heel and Achilles injuries, while Westbrook put up 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game last season playing next to the most isolation-heavy player in the NBA in James Harden.
While Wall is reportedly healthy again, that much time off should scare any team away from trading for him, no matter how bad the contract going back to Washington may be.
There's no way the Rockets should consider this unless they get significant assets back in return, while the Wizards should be thrilled to get off Wall's deal, even if it means taking on Westbrook's.
B.S. Meter: No B.S. that teams have talked, but B.S. that Rockets do a straight Westbrook-Wall swap.
Joe Harris Could Sign 4-Year, $72 Million Deal in Free Agency
Harris is one of the best shooters in this year's free-agent class, but he's far from a star and does little other than spread the floor.
This may not stop the 29-year-old from getting paid, however.
While a few teams are likely to pursue Harris, staying with the Brooklyn Nets could land him the biggest contract, writes HoopsHype's Michael Scotto:
"The Hawks also had plans to make a big run at Joe Harris in free agency, but rival executives expect him to remain with the Brooklyn Nets and land a three- or four-year deal worth an average of $18 million annually."
A second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, Harris is coming off a two-year, $16 million deal that could now be eclipsed next season alone.
A four-year deal at that annual salary would be $72 million, a price few other teams (if any) would dare pay.
It also means plunging deeper into luxury-tax hell for the Nets, with a new deal at this range for Harris pushing them close to $160 million in team salary. With the luxury-tax line at $132.6 million for the 2020-21 season, a new deal for Harris will cost Brooklyn well over $100 million when factoring in tax payments.
Brooklyn likes Harris and should definitely want to bring him back, but not for anywhere close to $18 million a year.
B.S. Meter: B.S. that Harris gets $18 million a year from anyone, but no B.S. that he re-signs with the Nets on an eight-figure deal.
Christian Wood Is a Top Free-Agent Target for the Knicks
In a free-agent class that's quite deep at center, Wood is perhaps the best of them all with his outside shooting ability and overall athleticism.
The Pistons should want to bring the 25-year-old center back after he flashed star potential following the Andre Drummond trade, but other rebuilding teams with cap space could be eyeing Wood as well.
As SNY's Ian Begley wrote on Saturday:
"Opposing teams interested in Christian Wood believe New York has Wood as a top free-agent target. The guess here is that Wood ends up back in Detroit, though no team with interest in Wood considers that a done deal at the moment. If New York can ink Wood to a deal that it deems reasonable, I think the club would pull the trigger."
The fit in New York isn't ideal, with Mitchell Robinson locked in as the center of the future and newly selected Obi Toppin coming in to fill the power forward role. Wood spent roughly 53 percent of his court time at center for the Pistons this past season.
New York projects to have cap space, but is Wood really the best target?
Fred VanVleet makes far more sense, as he could be the team's new franchise point guard at age 26. He averaged 17.6 points and 6.6 assists for the Toronto Raptors this past season.
Throwing the bag at Wood with Robinson already on the roster seems like a poor distribution of funds, and the Knicks should either pursue VanVleet or keep cap space open for 2021 instead.
B.S. Meter: No B.S. that Wood was a target before the draft, but B.S. that the Knicks should sign him with a Toppin/Robinson frontcourt.
Gordon Hayward in High Demand, Hawks in Pursuit
While it was widely assumed Gordon Hayward would simply opt in to his massive $34.2 million player option for next season, it appears all options are now on the table for the 30-year-old wing.
Hayward had a nice season as the Boston Celtics' fourth option, proving his abilities to score, pass and defend while helping the team get to the Eastern Conference Finals.
As Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote, the Atlanta Hawks are in play to try acquiring him, and the former Butler star has "plenty of interest" from around the league.
Already with a lengthy history of injuries, Hayward had to leave the Orlando bubble to receive treatment for yet another ankle malady. A long-term deal from any team seems extremely risky, especially given the amount of money a franchise would have to offer to get Hayward to turn down his player option.
The Hawks have around $44 million in practical cap space to sign Hayward outright should he turn down his option, or he could opt in and be traded to Atlanta, which would give the Celtics a huge trade exception to work with for the next year.
The Hawks need to put some veteran pieces around all their young talent if they hope to push for the playoffs this coming season, but throwing a monster deal at a 30-year-old with compounding injuries doesn't seem like the best path.
Without many other All-Star-level free agents available, the Hawks should pursue Hayward, but preferably on his one-year option instead.
B.S. Meter: No B.S. that Atlanta is interested, but B.S. that there's "plenty of interest" around the league from teams lining up to pay Hayward $30-plus million per year.
Stats via Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.