Hoops Rumors Live Chat: 2/2/2021
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Luke Adams
Apologies for this, guys, but I messed up our planned start time, and it'll actually be 12 pm CT instead of 11 am. That's an extra hour to submit questions though, so keep 'em coming!
Hey all! Welcome to today's Hoops Rumors live chat. It's been a while since we've done this, so hopefully I can shake off the rust quickly. The plan is to do this every week at least through the trade deadline, and potentially longer if there's interest.
Birds the word
Should the wizards keep losing and draft Cunningham this year
Luke Adams
The Wizards are in a tough spot -- their number one goal is to show Bradley Beal they're capable of being a playoff team (and hopefully more than that, within the next couple years). If they're going to pivot to tanking, they can't realistically expect Beal to want to be part of it.
With that in mind, I don't see it happening this year unless something drastically changes. The good news is that the NBA's flattened lottery odds mean that even if they finish with the 8th-worst and 10th-worst record in the league, there's a decent chance they could jump into the top four in the draft.
Pistons fan
Colossal gaffe trading away Christian Wood instead of keeping and just paying him?
Luke Adams
As good as Wood has been this year, I'm not ready to call it a "colossal" gaffe. A questionable decision, definitely, especially given the Plumlee signing. It seemed like Troy Weaver came in with a plan for what he wanted to do with the Pistons' cap room, and Wood wasn't part of that -- so once he got an offer exceeding the Early Bird exception (starting salary of about $10MM), that was that.
What do you think the Pistons can reasonably get in a Blake Griffin trade this season and what team do you think is most interested in trading for him?
Luke Adams
If Griffin was playing like his 2018/19 self this season, you could make a case that he has some trade value. He really hasn't looked good though, and his contract is one of the NBA's worst (the fact that it only runs through 2022 helps a little). Trading him this season would probably mean attaching a draft pick or two unless you can find an even worse contract to take back. I don't see it.
The Caru-show
Is Schroeder getting more minutes over Caruso simply because of name recognition and his vocal desires to be a starter? The stats show the Lakers are a better team with Caruso on the floor.
Luke Adams
Lakers beat reporter Kyle Goon theorized this week that Schroder's contract situation is contributing to that decision, which is interesting. The thinking there is that if the Lakers want to convince Schroder he should extend his deal rather than opting for free agency, they can't afford to bench him and have him become disillusioned with his situation.
I suspect there are some growing pains at work there, but if his struggles continue, it'll be fascinating to see if they consider a change (and if an extension remains a high priority).
Rambis's Goggs
Couple teams have been slow out the gate for various reasons...the Heat and the Mavs. What does each team need to do to get to a consistent level of play?
Luke Adams
I think the Heat will be fine. They've been hit hard by COVID absences so far this season and I don't know if they were ever quite as good as their Finals appearance suggested (they had a great playoff run, but they were a No. 5 seed during the season). I'd be pretty surprised if they finish the season below .500 and/or don't earn a playoff spot.
I'm more concerned about the Mavs. Even when he's healthy, Porzingis doesn't look like the second-best player on a title-contending team. And the rest of the supporting cast consists is nothing special. I wonder if we'll see them try to lift the restrictions on the 2023 pick they traded to New York in order to free up their 2025 and 2027 first-rounders to use in a trade. They could really use another impact player to take the pressure off Doncic and try to make the most of his prime years.
Andre Drummond
Why in the world would the Cavs buy me out or trade me for a second round pick or two?  We can make the playoffs this year with me!
Luke Adams
I agree with you! The Cavs aren't going to get much for Drummond in any trade, and there's no reason not to expect them to at least be in the mix for the No. 10 seed and the play-in tournament. Unless Drummond is REALLY pushing for a post-deadline buyout and you're worried about the relationship with his agent, buying him out and potentially handing him to a team you could play in round one of the playoffs (ie. the Nets) seems ill-advised.
You see the Knicks making a trade for any significant player during the season or just keeping the 4 picks in the 2021draft and young players?
Luke Adams
Not using at least some of their remaining cap room would be a mistake. But I think they may be more inclined to use it on a salary dump that gets them another draft pick (or young player) than on an impact veteran. Any major additions are more likely to happen in the offseason.
The Memphis Grizzlies have been on a tear lately, having won their last seven games. Do you believe they will stand pat at the trade deadline, or could you see them pursuing a depth piece (possibly at the 3 or 4, since Winslow and Jackson are out with injuries)
Luke Adams
I could see them talking themselves into guys like Winslow and Jackson being their de facto in-season additions. Winslow says he'll be back later this month, and I expect Jackson could return in March. If there are any setbacks, maybe the Grizzlies consider an outside addition, but I don't expect anything drastic -- they're not at the point where they want to be giving up first-round picks for non-core players.
Luke, glad HR is still doing live chats! I miss the ESPN chats with Kevin Pelton- they were always a good time. Do you think San Antonio will try to trade LaMarcus Aldridge? If so, what's the best case scenario on a player in the return.. or will he be traded for draft picks only?
Luke Adams
The Spurs are always one of the hardest teams to get a read on. Almost every year, I feel like they SHOULD be ready to make a trade, but they almost never make any major in-season moves. I'd like to see that change this year, since guys like Aldridge, DeRozan, Gay, and Mills are all on expiring deals and seem like logical trade candidates. But I'm not counting on a ton of activity.
Even if they do make an in-season deal, an Aldridge trade would be tricky. He's got a big cap number given his age and his declining production.
Goat Glasses
Who is the best NBA player to even don some form of glasses/goggles?
Luke Adams
It's gotta be Kareem, right? Though I feel like LeBron briefly wore goggles one game a few years ago....
Manny the Cab driver
Can the Warriors sign a player to a 10-Day Contract without it counting against the Roster?  How does that work?  I see Tyler Zeller and Thon Maker out there for them to Sign.  Justin Patton, Deyonta Davis, Ian Mahinmi, and Brandon McCoy are some other players that can help them get over this James Wiseman injury.
Luke Adams
10-day signings count against a team's roster and aren't permitted until later this month. The exception is if a team has several injured players and is granted a hardship exception. In that case, the team could get a 16th roster spot and sign a 10-day contract. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they don't qualify unless they expect Wiseman to miss a few weeks.
J.J. Redick
Who is my next team (if you had to take a guess)?
Luke Adams
Of the rumored Atlantic teams, the Nets make no sense to me. The Sixers and Celtics are a little more logical, though I'm skeptical that either team would give up anything of real value. I'll predict you eventually get bought out and sign with Boston.
Little Dunker
When do you think we'll start to hear concrete talk of expansion, i.e. cities, timeline?
Luke Adams
I expect we're still at least a year or two away from anything concrete materializing. And even if plans are set in motion, it'll take a couple years after that for a new team (or two) to officially start playing.
While I don't believe the Knicks are a playoff team, they are better than expected. Is it time to start believing in the process? If so, how should they approach the rest of the year? Is Julius Randle essentially auditioning for playoff contenders at this point?
Luke Adams
If the Knicks can trade Randle for something of value that will help them in the long term, I think they should do it -- I've never been a huge fan of his game, but his performance this year has been impressive. The time looks right to sell high. The Knicks can afford to be patient though, since he's under contract for another year.
The best thing the Knicks can do this year is to continue to show that there's a sense of stability and normalcy under Rose and Thibodeau -- getting players around the league interested in playing for the franchise again would be a huge step.
who would the Magic need to, at the very least, get past the first round of the playoffs, or tank?
Now that Aaron Gordon is out 4-6 weeks will the Magic just tank the rest of the season or do you expect them to trade for more offense?
Luke Adams
A few Magic questions today -- these are just a couple. The Isaac and Fultz injuries have really crushed Orlando this season and put the team in a tough spot. If those two guys had been healthy, this would've been the year to evaluate once and for all what works on the roster and what doesn't, and to start to consider major changes (maybe trading Gordon and Fournier).
Even without that chance to evaluate the full roster this year, I think they should start considering those major changes. They have a few veteran pieces that would appeal to contending teams (I'm not sure they'd want to move Vucevic, but Gordon, Fournier, and Ross would draw interest). Acquiring a few picks, bottoming out, and bringing in a top prospect to join a healthy Fultz and Isaac next year is intriguing to me.
Think it makes more sense for the Rockets to trade or keep Tucker and VO at this point? They’ve looked really good here lately. And what do you think they could realistically get for VO if they dealt him again?
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