Every NBA Team's Biggest Regret This Season

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterJuly 5, 2021

Every NBA Team's Biggest Regret This Season

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    No matter how well (or disastrous) the 2020-21 season has gone for every NBA team, there's bound to be at least one move they've grown to regret.

    This could be a free-agent signing, trade, draft pick, coaching hire, a rumored move that never actually happened, or any number of things.

    Here's what every franchise could have done better in the past year.

Atlanta Hawks: The Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn Signings

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The Atlanta Hawks went wild in free agency last offseason, spending $158.4 million on Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn.

    While the first two have paid off, Rondo and Dunn have been busts.

    Before Atlanta traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal for Lou Williams at the end of March, Rondo was averaging just 3.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 0.7 steals on 40.0 percent shooting in his 27 games. In 402 minutes with the Hawks, he got to the free-throw line just twice. The idea to bring in a veteran backup point guard behind Trae Young was noble, but Rondo just never played up to his two-year, $15 million deal.

    Dunn played in just four regular-season games following ankle surgery, making just one of his 12 total shots (8.3 percent). He's played sparingly in the postseason, getting 32 minutes of court time over four games while totaling six points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks on 1-of-5 shooting.

    His two-year, $10 million deal includes a $5 million player option for 2021-22, one he'll almost certainly pick up.

Boston Celtics: Fumbling the Gordon Hayward Trade Exception

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The Boston Celtics created a $28.5 million trade exception, the largest in league history, by agreeing to a sign-and-trade with Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets last offseason.

    Despite possessing this incredible asset, the Celtics have turned it into 21 games of Evan Fournier, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 2.

    Boston should have taken an offer from the Indiana Pacers, which included center Myles Turner, a first-round pick and rotation player for Hayward, per J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

    Turner would have been a terrific fit in Boston, solidifying center and allowing the Celtics to use their mid-level exception on someone other than Tristan Thompson. At the time, Turner also had three years left on his deal.

Brooklyn Nets: Not Using Spencer Dinwiddie's Contract as Trade Bait

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    The Brooklyn Nets had limited trade assets after the James Harden swap yet still chose not to use one of them at the March deadline.

    After the team lost Spencer Dinwiddie just three games into the season to a torn ACL, the guard's $11.5 million expiring contract could still have been used to match salaries in a deal. Teams that wanted to re-sign him in free agency would also have been interested in trading for Dinwiddie, as they would have acquired his Bird rights.

    Although he has a $12.3 million player option for next season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Dinwiddie will decline it and become an unrestricted free agent.

    The Nets have to hope they can either re-sign him (which would pile on to an already sky-high luxury-tax bill) or work out a sign-and-trade so they don't lose him for nothing.

    Both options are tricky, however, and using his contract as trade bait when they had the chance would have been the safe option.

Charlotte Hornets: Not Upgrading Center

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The Charlotte Hornets have assembled one of the best young rosters in the Eastern Conference, yet they missed the playoffs in part because of their lack of talent at center.

    Cody Zeller, 28, has entered the terrific backup/meh starter part of his career and will head into unrestricted free agency next month. Bismack Biyombo can still protect the rim but provides little offensively. Neither offers Charlotte any floor spacing, causing the Hornets to go small at times with the 6'7" P.J. Washington at the 5.

    The Hornets ranked just 28th in restricted area field-goal percentage (60.3 percent) and should have made a move at the trade deadline to add a reliable big who could both stretch the floor and score in the paint.

    The free-agent class is loaded with starting-caliber centers, so Charlotte can finally address its biggest positional weakness, but after the team finished the season on a 6-15 skid, an upgrade should have come earlier.

Chicago Bulls: Not Putting a Better Protection on the Traded 2021 1st-Rounder

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bulls caught some bad luck after trading for All-Star center Nikola Vucevic in March, as fellow All-Star Zach LaVine would miss 11 games the following month after he tested positive for COVID-19. While a healthy LaVine-Vucevic combo would have had Chicago in position for a playoff run, the Bulls went 4-7 with LaVine out and could never make up the ground.

    Sending a pair of first-round picks to the Orlando Magic for Vucevic was understandable, especially since Chicago thought it wouldn't pick in the top 10 this year. As a result, the Bulls only put a top-four protection on both the 2021 and 2023 outgoing picks, a move that would haunt them.

    The Bulls' pick ended up eighth overall in a loaded draft class, giving Orlando selections at Nos. 5 and 8.

    While Chicago still has a nice core, adding one more top-10 pick would have been huge.

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Kevin Porter Jr. Fallout

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    During the 2019-20 season, it was Kevin Porter Jr., not Collin Sexton or Darius Garland, who looked like the most talented young player on the Cavaliers roster. The final pick of the first round in 2019, Porter appeared to be a steal.

    Then came last offseason. The Cavs held him out of action after he was arrested and charged with improperly handling a firearm, among other lesser charges, in November. The arrest happened after he flipped his SUV and police found a loaded handgun and a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle, though he wasn't believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All charges were later dropped.

    The final straw came when Porter then had a screaming match with team officials, including general manager Koby Altman, in January, prompting the franchise to trade him to the Houston Rockets for a top-55-protected second-round pick that likely won't convey. The move was essentially a salary dump of Porter's rookie contract.

    The 21-year-old would go on to average 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 26 games with the Rockets, including a 50-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Could Cleveland have done anything differently? It's impossible to say, but the way things ended between the rising young star and a franchise desperate for talent was unfortunate all around.

Dallas Mavericks: Drafting Josh Green

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    While Josh Green, 20, could still have a terrific career, his rough rookie season is already causing some uneasiness for the Dallas Mavericks.

    As Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman reported, the "Mavs' decision to take Josh Green over Saddiq Bey frustrated number of key execs/scouts. Some wanted Bey. Analytics said Green and won. Bey went one pick later and was just named to First Team All-Rookie."

    Green was the 18th selection by Dallas and averaged just 2.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists and shot 16.0 percent from three in his 39 games. Bey went to the Detroit Pistons, finishing his rookie season with 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists per contest and a 38.0 percent mark from deep.

    While one season doesn't make a career, several more impactful rookies went after Green, including Immanuel Quickley, Tyrese Maxey, Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman Sr. and Kenyon Martin Jr.

    For a franchise that doesn't own a pick in the 2021 draft and has a top-10-protected 2023 first-rounder possibly going to the New York Knicks, the Mavs needed to nail their 2020 selection. So far, it doesn't look good.

Denver Nuggets: Timing of the Aaron Gordon Trade

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Should the Denver Nuggets regret trading for Aaron Gordon? No, although the timing of the deal turned out to be quite unfortunate with the injury to Jamal Murray.

    No one could blame Denver for giving up rookie R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris and a future first-round pick for Gordon, as he looked like the missing piece to a title with his ability to defend multiple positions and provide scoring pop. Gordon and Murray only got to play together for just over two weeks before Murray tore his ACL in April, however, crushing the championship aspirations the Nuggets had just built.

    If Denver had waited until this offseason to go all-in, Harris' deal would be down to an expiring $20.5 million pact and the team would have had more time to develop Hampton, potentially getting his stock up as well.

    Murray's injury was just bad luck, with the Gordon trade turning out to be bad timing. Here's hoping the guard will be healthy and ready to go in 2021-22.

Detroit Pistons: Not Re-Signing Christian Wood

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    Troy Taormina/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons' signing of Jerami Grant to a three-year, $60 million deal last offseason was a huge success. Even the three-year, $25 million contract handed out to Mason Plumlee doesn't look too bad.

    Still, it's not who Detroit signed in free agency that should cause regret, but rather who it let go. As The Athletic's James L. Edwards III and Kelly Iko wrote, the Pistons were only willing to pay Christian Wood up to $10 million per year:

    "During this process, the Pistons also offered Wood a contract, per sources. Detroit wanted him to be part of this retooling, as well. However, there was a specific price in mind. Detroit had Wood's 'Early Bird' rights, which meant that if it were able to sign him to a deal that paid, roughly, $10 million annually, Wood's salary would only count as $1.7 million against their cap. Anything more would count toward the cap in full. Per sources, Detroit didn't offer more than the annual amount that it would take for the smallest cap hit."

    Wood would go on to sign a three-year, $41 million deal with the Rockets, or about $3.7 million more per season than Detroit was willing to offer. The 25-year-old center averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game and hit 37.4 percent of his three-pointers for Houston, looking like an All-Star for much of the first half of the season.

    The Pistons should have tried harder to sign Wood, even if it meant clearing additional cap space to do so.

Golden State Warriors: Passing on LaMelo Ball

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    James Wiseman represented the best fit for the Golden State Warriors during the 2020 NBA draft as a 7-foot center with unlimited potential, even if LaMelo Ball was ranked higher as a prospect by most draft experts.

    The selection wasn't without controversy, however, as ESPN's Jalen Rose noted on the Jalen & Jacoby podcast that the Warriors told Ball they would take him second overall before switching to Wiseman.

    Wiseman's rookie season was a disappointment, as the 20-year-old averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds yet registered one of the NBA's worst on/off ratings at minus-14.6. His season ended after just 39 games, following knee surgery.

    Ball, on the other hand, won Rookie of the Year and looks like a bona fide star with his scoring, rebounding and incredible playmaking abilities. Even if he and Stephen Curry both technically play the same position, Golden State could have absolutely rolled out a lineup with Ball, Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney during the upcoming season.

    Ball would have contributed immediately to winning, something Wiseman may still be a year or two away from.

Houston Rockets: Choosing Victor Oladipo over Caris LeVert

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    Trading Harden wasn't the problem for the Houston Rockets, who could have gotten a package of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and first-round picks for the 2018 MVP.

    The mistake was trying to stay competitive in a loaded Western Conference around a backcourt of John Wall and Victor Oladipo, two injury-plagued guards who are either on bloated or expiring contracts.

    A two-team deal quickly expanded to four, as the Rockets chose to receive a future first-round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks (owned by the Cleveland Cavaliers) instead of Allen, and Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers over the 26-year-old LeVert.

    Houston would trade Oladipo to the Miami Heat at the deadline after he turned down a two-year, $45.2 million extension, getting Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley and a pick swap in return. After passing on LeVert, that stings.

    Now with the No. 2 pick, the Rockets could be on their way to a quick rebuild with a core of Jalen Green, Porter, LeVert, Wood and Allen, rather than the remnants of trading Oladipo again and no Allen.

Indiana Pacers: Hiring Nate Bjorkgren

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Firing a good head coach in Nate McMillan was one mistake, but hiring a first-time NBA head coach with a questionable background of relationship building is by far the biggest regret the Indiana Pacers should have.

    Nate Bjorkgren lasted just one season, which included a 34-38 record and trip to the lottery.

    "When he was hired, I was surprised, because he's not the easiest to work with just on anything," one of Bjorkgren's former G League players told Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer. "He's kind of stubborn, won't listen, even though it might be good conversation. He's a micromanager, and he's not for everyone."

    Perhaps Indiana learned from its mistakes, as it quickly scooped up its former head coach Rick Carlisle on a four-year, $29 million deal. The Pacers doubled up on head coaching experience, also hiring former Atlanta Hawks leading man Lloyd Pierce to be Carlisle's top assistant.

    The Pacers don't rebuild, and it's possible a coaching change was all they needed for a return to the postseason.

Los Angeles Clippers: Not Using Terance Mann More

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    While no one's going to take shots away from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the Los Angeles Clippers, Mann looks the part of a third scorer.

    The 24-year-old wing broke out in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz, dropping 39 points on 15-of-21 shooting and 7-of-10 from three.

    This followed a regular season in which he only saw 18.9 minutes per night yet played the role of an ultra-efficient scorer when given the opportunity.

    Mann shot 50.9 percent overall and 41.8 percent from three during the season, making for a true shooting percentage (60.3 percent) that actually ranked above George's (59.8 percent).

    On a roster that lacks young talent, perhaps the Clippers should have given Mann even more of an opportunity earlier.

Los Angeles Lakers: Lack of Spacing/Outside Shooting

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Injuries doomed the Los Angeles Lakers' season, but there was a noticeable lack of shooting far before this team got knocked out in the first round.

    Los Angeles finished just 21st in three-point percentage this season (35.4 percent) and 25th in makes per game (11.1). LeBron James and Anthony Davis, for all of their incredible abilities, simply aren't great outside shooters, meaning this roster should be filled with guys who can space the floor.

    Instead, the Lakers traded for Dennis Schroder (career 33.7 percent shooter from three), signed Montrezl Harrell (5-of-60, 8.3 percent in his career) and picked up Andre Drummond (13.5 percent lifetime mark) following his buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    While all talented players, this roster was already craving shooters, and they complicated the team's spacing even more.

    Shooting should be at the top of the Lakers' offseason priority list.

Memphis Grizzlies: Not Getting Anything for Gorgui Dieng

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Do the Memphis Grizzlies really regret anything this past year?

    The team still made the playoffs despite missing Jaren Jackson Jr. for nearly the entire season because of a knee injury, hit on both draft picks in Desmond Bane and Xavier Tillman Sr. and got career years from Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson.

    If we're being picky, the way things ended between center Gorgui Dieng and Memphis could have been better.

    Dieng seemed like a tradable piece at the deadline. He was shooting the lights out (47.9 percent from three), serving as a stretch big who was playing on an expiring $17.3 million deal. And with the return of Jackson and the existing collection of bigs, Dieng was no longer needed.

    Instead of finding a trade partner, however, the Grizzlies eventually agreed to a buyout with him, with Memphis losing him for nothing.

    While not ideal, the rest of the season went pretty well for the Grizzlies.

Miami Heat: Not Trading for James Harden or Kyle Lowry

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    While a deal likely would have gutted the roster outside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat could have made a competitive offer for Harden before he was traded to the Nets.

    Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson would have headlined any package going out, with Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk needed to make the money work. As Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote, the Heat weren't going to clean house for Harden:

    "But the Rockets want more. Even if the Heat offered Herro, Robinson, Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, Iguodala, Olynyk and first-round picks in 2025 and 2027, I'm not sure that would be enough to satisfy the Rockets. Perhaps it would be, but that's no sure thing. That's all moot, for now, because the Heat isn't willing to give up that much."

    If not Harden, Kyle Lowry would have been a nice fit at point guard for a Miami team that got swept in the first round.

    Herro, once Miami's most valuable moveable piece, struggled in the playoffs (9.3 points on 31.6 percent shooting), and Robinson is set to be a restricted free agent, complicating the Heat's ability to trade him.

    Miami should have been more aggressive to get another star with Butler still in his prime, even if it meant sacrificing a part of the future.

Milwaukee Bucks: Botching the Bogdan Bogdanovic Trade

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    The Milwaukee Bucks were beginning to put together a dream offseason, trading for New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and adding Bogdan Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings.

    Bogdanovic was going to become Milwaukee's new starting shooting guard, with Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson going to Sacramento in return. The problem proved to be the timing of the deal, as word of the trade leaked days before the free-agency period began, thus making it illegal for the Bucks to negotiate.

    The trade eventually collapsed, and Milwaukee was stripped of a 2022 second-round pick as punishment by the league.

    Now with DiVincenzo out with a foot injury and Bogdanovic playing a big role for the Atlanta Hawks against the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, Milwaukee has to really regret missing out on this deal. 

Minnesota Timberwolves: Not Making a Coaching Change Sooner

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    Injuries and a lack of time with Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell on the court together limited the Minnesota Timberwolves' ceiling, although switching coaches in February seemed to jump-start the team.

    The Wolves began just 7-24 under Ryan Saunders, posting the league's worst record at the time. Since they made the switch to Chris Finch, the record improved to 16-25 while Minnesota showed some real fight down the stretch.

    This jump in win percentage (22.6 to 39.0) should have Wolves fans excited about next year but also have them wondering why team president Gersson Rosas didn't make a switch earlier.

    While Minnesota played so well that it lost out on its first-round pick (top-three protected only, conveys to the Golden State Warriors at No. 7), it gets to keep its unprotected 2022 first-rounder that would have gone to the Warriors instead.

New Orleans Pelicans: Extending Steven Adams' Deal for $35 Million

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    Trading for Steven Adams last offseason seemed like a worthy gamble, as the veteran defender and rebounder was on an expiring deal and could take a nice test drive next to Zion Williamson in the New Orleans Pelicans frontcourt.

    For whatever reason, New Orleans immediately signed Adams to a two-year, $35 million extension before he ever played a game outside Oklahoma City.

    The 27-year-old would go on to average 7.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 61.4 percent overall. With Williamson showing a reluctance to shoot threes and Adams rarely leaving the paint, the fit was awkward at best and created spacing problems all around.

    Had the Pelicans not signed Adams to the extension, they would have an extra $17.9 million in cap space to go shopping with in free agency this summer, perhaps for a center who can space the floor better.

New York Knicks: Taking Obi Toppin No. 8 Overall

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    Power forward went from a need to perhaps the Knicks' greatest strength, all thanks to the play of Julius Randle this season.

    If only New York had foreseen this kind of breakout, it likely wouldn't have taken power forward Obi Toppin with the No. 8 pick. Tyrese Haliburton (12th to the Kings) would have looked great next to RJ Barrett in the Knicks backcourt, with Saddiq Bey, Cole Anthony and Devin Vassell appearing like much better selections now as well.

    Toppin struggled to play a big role in the Knicks rotation all season and is already 23 years old. He averaged 4.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 11.0 minutes per game. Defense was going to be an issue coming into the league, and Toppin's solid outside shot in college went missing, as he hit just 30.6 percent from three.

    Randle's presence means at least another year off the bench for Toppin, who may never get a chance to start if his All-Star teammate, who's set to enter the final season of his pact, signs an extension.

    There's no way of knowing Randle was going to be this good in year two in New York, which was both a blessing and a curse for the Knicks when factoring the draft.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The Return for Chris Paul

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder were patient with Chris Paul, choosing not to attach an asset to move his contract while playing out the 2019-20 season.

    They finally settled on a trade with the Phoenix Suns last November, getting Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 top-12 protected pick in return.

    Looking back at what Paul has done by leading the Suns to the NBA Finals, should the Thunder have tried to get more?

    Phoenix traded Oubre to the Golden State Warriors for a protected first-rounder and Rubio was shuffled to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a deal that brought in 17th pick Aleksej Pokusevski.

    Of course, the $44.2 million in cap space that OKC created by trading Paul was a huge factor as well.

    The Thunder made a good deal at the time but probably can't help but feel like Phoenix got the better end of the trade after seeing everything Paul has done.

Orlando Magic: Not Getting More for Evan Fournier

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The Orlando Magic's fire sale at the March deadline went well—for the most part.

    Getting two first-round picks (including No. 8 overall this year) and Wendell Carter Jr. as part of the package for Nikola Vucevic was good value. Adding a first and R.J. Hampton in the deal for Aaron Gordon was solid as well.

    The good returns ended there, though.

    Evan Fournier was averaging 19.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game and shooting 38.8 percent from three, numbers that should have netted at least a protected first-round pick.

    Instead, the Magic received just Jeff Teague and a pair of second-rounders from the Boston Celtics, and not good ones at that. Boston only had to send 2025 (lower of Boston and the Memphis Grizzlies) and 2027 second-rounders for the 28-year-old wing, who it absorbed into the Gordon Hayward trade exception. Orlando won't see a pick from the deal for another four years.

    Hitting on the Vucevic and Gordon deals were good, but it's hard to believe the Magic didn't have a better offer for Fournier.

Philadelphia 76ers: Not Trading Ben Simmons

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Ben Simmons has taken a similar path as NBA Top Shot: If you were involved with either, it would have been best to cash out months ago while the value was at its highest.

    To the Philadelphia 76ers' credit, they tried to trade Simmons in a deal for Harden. The swap got so close that Simmons was even told about it, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia inquirer: "But the Sixers thought they had a deal for Harden done, according to sources. The team won’t come out and say it, but [team president Daryl] Morey pushed hard to reunite with the 2018 MVP. Simmons and [Matisse] Thybulle were even informed by their agents on Wednesday of an expected trade."

    Following his disastrous playoff showing against the Atlanta Hawks (9.9 points in 34.5 minutes per game, 33.3 percent shooting from the free-throw line), Simmons' value is at an all-time low. While he remains a terrific defender and passer, it's become all too painfully obvious that his jumper may never develop.

    Trading him now means taking a major hit on anything Philly could have gotten last offseason when his stock was still extremely high.

Phoenix Suns: Drafting Jalen Smith

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    Being named Executive of the Year doesn't mean you were perfect, as Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones' trade for Chris Paul helped cover up what looks like a bust of a draft pick.

    Jones selected Maryland big man Jalen Smith with the 10th pick, even though the team needed a young point guard to develop behind Paul. Smith's best position may very well be center, a spot where Phoenix used the No. 1 pick on Deandre Ayton just three years ago.

    Smith averaged just 2.0 points on 44.0 percent shooting in 5.8 minutes over 27 games, never fully cracking the rotation.

    As good as Phoenix has been, imagine if Jones selected Tyrese Haliburton instead. Even players like Cole Anthony, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey would have made more of an impact for the Suns this season.

    Smith could have a fine career, but he'll likely never be more than a backup in Phoenix.

Portland Trail Blazers: Failure to Fix Defense at Trade Deadline

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    One of the worst defensive teams in basketball, the Portland Blazers were smart to add Robert Covington via offseason trade, yet they still needed to do more to improve their stopping power.

    Portland had the young talent (Gary Trent Jr., Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little) to help bring in another star with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in their primes, yet the team opted to trade for yet another modest-sized scoring guard.

    Swapping Trent as part of the package for the 6'3" Norman Powell was a head-scratching move. Powell is good, but this was like painting a car that needed an oil change. Sure, the new paint may look great, but it doesn't fix the main issue.

    Getting a versatile, defensive wing like Aaron Gordon would have been great for Portland. Marcus Smart would have made a great addition as well.

    Powell was fine (17.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 44.3 percent shooting) but is set to become an unrestricted free agent. If he leaves for nothing, that means the Blazers wasted their top trade asset in Trent, who they could have easily brought back as a restricted free agent.

    Portland, which finished 29th in defense with a 115.3 rating, needs size and gritty defenders around Lillard and McCollum, not a 6'3" guard it forced to play small forward.

Sacramento Kings: Letting Bogdan Bogdanovic Go for Nothing

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    While the Sacramento Kings made one of the draft's best selections by taking Tyrese Haliburton at No. 12, the failure to trade Bogdan Bogdanovic or match his offer sheet from the Atlanta Hawks was a big mistake.

    A restricted free agent, Bogdanovic was first set to go to the Milwaukee Bucks in a sign-and-trade that would have brought back Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson. When the deal fell through, the Hawks swooped in and offered the 28-year-old a four-year, $72 million pact.

    While $18 million per year for someone who primarily came off the bench did seem high, losing a good player in his prime for nothing but financial flexibility was worse. 

    Bogdanovic had a career year by averaging 16.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game and shot 43.8 percent from three while helping take the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Sacramento should have tried to trade Buddy Hield instead, keeping Bogdanovic to serve as a scorer and playmaker alongside the young backcourt of Haliburton and De'Aaron Fox. 

San Antonio Spurs: Not Choosing a Direction

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    Knowing they were going into the last year of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge's contracts, the San Antonio Spurs could have capitalized in the offseason and added veteran talent around their stars.

    San Antonio could also have embraced its youth movement, trading both veterans for assets when it could and giving more shots to Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.

    But the team did neither. 

    So what exactly was the plan last offseason? The Spurs seemed perfectly content to drift somewhere in the middle, eventually agreeing to a buyout with Aldridge and letting DeRozan go to unrestricted free agency. Unsurprisingly, they missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year, with the direction of the franchise still a mystery.

    The Spurs should see if they can salvage what appears to have been a lack of planning by trying to sign-and-trade DeRozan somewhere before losing him for nothing. 

Toronto Raptors: Keeping Kyle Lowry

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    While it was noble of Kyle Lowry to not demand a trade from the sinking Toronto Raptors ship, a move to a contender before he hits free agency could have benefited everyone.

    Toronto cleared roster spots right before the March deadline, seemingly signaling that a bigger trade was being set up. Instead, the Raptors settled for a swap involving Norman Powell and Gary Trent Jr. and kept Lowry on their way to the lottery.

    The 76ers, Heat and Lakers all could have used his services in the postseason, with only Miami set to have the cap space to sign Lowry outright.

    Toronto was fortunate to move up three spots in the draft lottery, as it sits No. 4 overall, where point guard Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga could be available. A backcourt of Suggs and Fred VanVleet (with Trent off the bench) looks like a strong guard rotation, with Lowry not needed nearly as much in such a scenario.

    Working out a sign-and-trade is still a possibility, but losing the franchise icon for nothing in free agency would hurt. The Raptors should have played it safe and traded him when he was still under contract.

Utah Jazz: Giving Rudy Gobert a $205 Million Extension

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    The Utah Jazz probably don't regret giving Rudy Gobert a $205 million extension just yet, but they certainly will before the contract is over.

    Gobert is a great player. His third Defensive Player of the Year trophy was well-earned, and he led the NBA with a 67.5 percent shooting mark while finishing second in rebounding (13.5 per game).

    So what's the problem?

    The old-school center continually gets played off the court in the postseason when teams go small, limiting his impact and Utah's ceiling overall. At 29, Gobert likely has no hope of developing any sort of offensive game other than screening and rolling hard to the rim. His average shot distance this season was just 2.7 feet, and he is yet to make a three-pointer in eight seasons.

    As good as he is defensively, an average of $41 million per year over the next five seasons is a gross overpay, especially with players with similar skill sets like Myles Turner and Clint Capela making less than half that.

Washington Wizards: Re-Signing Davis Bertans for $80 Million

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Wanting to keep the floor spread around Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal was a noble goal for the Washington Wizards, who were hellbent on keeping Davis Bertans in free agency.

    Still, $80 million over five years seemed like a lot for a player who's limited to a single skill, even as good as it may be. This season, 89.5 percent of Bertans' shots came from outside the arc, although his success rate dropped to 39.5 percent, his lowest in three years.

    Bertans isn't a strong defender, doesn't have a diverse offensive game and rarely passes. His sole job is to provide spacing and knock down threes, something he did far better the year before (42.4 percent).

    With lottery picks Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija both needing time at power forward, giving $80 million to another 4 in Bertans seems like a mistake.


    Stats via NBA.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted. Salary info via Basketball Insiders. 


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