Yes, what is sounds like. I mocked the first round of the draft, trades and free agent signings. Sure, it is a complete waste of time, but what else was I going to do on a Thursday afternoon?
Not going to bore with specifics of various trades. If you want to know any just ask and I’ll post.
1. Miami Heat
C – Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, Chris Silva
PF – Danilo Gallinari, Duncan Robinson
SF – Jimmy Butler, Davis Bertans, KZ Okpala
SG – Tyler Herro, Andre Iguodala, Josh Green
PG – DJ Augustin, Goran Dragic, Kendrick Nunn
When you win, free agents will take discounts to join your cause. Miami adds even more shooting to their core with the additions of Gallinari, Bertans and Augustin. Dragic is also back, giving the Heat one of the deepest benches in the league. The early favorites to come out of the East once again.
2. Boston Celtics
C – Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter, Vincent Poirier
PF – Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams
SF – Bogdan Bogdanovic, Doug McDermott, Semi Ojeleye, Javonte Green
SG – Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart
PG – Kemba Walker, Tre Jones, Carsen Edwards
Boston made a couple of big trades, basically turning Gordon Hayward into Bogdan Bogdanovic and Doug McDermott. Those two will give the Celtics even more shooting and scoring. Boston is pretty tapped out cap wise, so they were unable to add anything to the front court, but this team should be better balanced and will once again contend for a championship.
3. Brooklyn Nets
C – Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan, Nicolas Claxton
PF – Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony
SF – Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler
SG – Jrue Holiday, Justin Holiday
PG – Kyrie Irving, Reggie Jackson, Kira Lewis Jr.
Brooklyn dealt quite a bit of depth to acquire Jrue Holiday, but were able to resign Joe Harris and will field one of the best starting lineups in basketball. With championship aspirations come ring chasing veterans, and Carmelo Anthony, Reggie Jackson and Justin Holiday jump into the fold to round out a veteran bench.
4. Milwaukee Bucks
C – Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Tyson Chandler
PF – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson
SF – Khris Middleton, Jared Dudley, Thanasis Antetokounmpo
SG – Wesley Matthews, JJ Redick
PG – Eric Bledsoe, Jeff Teague
With the East improving, the Bucks have to do something, but what can they do? Khris Middleton and/or Eric Bledsoe will not fetch much. The Bucks moved a couple young pieces for JJ Redick, who will be an upgrade over Kyle Korver, but other than that, they will have to hope the current core is enough.
5. Philadelphia 76ers
C – Joel Embiid, Bismack Biyombo, Norvel Pelle
PF – Al Horford, PJ Tucker
SF – Robert Covington, Matisse Thybulle, Kyle Korver
SG – Josh Richardson, Eric Gordon, Marial Shayok
PG – Ben Simmons, Shake Milton, Cole Anthony
Hiring Doc Rivers was a good start, but the unbalanced roster needed shaking up. Al Horford is nearly untradeable, so they moved Tobias Harris to Houston for shooting. Eric Gordon, Kyle Korver and Robert Covington should compliment Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid quite well, and PJ Tucker will be a beast on defense. This is a better constructed lineup, but it is good enough to move the needle?
6. Toronto Raptors
C – Serge Ibaka, Aron Baynes, Zeke Nnaji
PF – Pascal Siakam, Dario Saric, Chris Boucher
SF – OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw, Stanley Johnson
SG – Norman Powell, Terence Davis, Kent Bazemore
PG – Kyle Lowry, Emmanuel Mudiay
Fred VanVleet decided to take the money and run to Detroit to lead his own team, and Toronto is reeling. There is no obvious free agent replacement. The Raptors resigned Serge Ibaka and added a few bench pieces, but this team will still only go as far as Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry takes it.
7. Indiana Pacers
C – Domantas Sabonis, Goga Bitadze
PF – TJ Warren, Marvin Williams, Anthony Tolliver
SF – Gordon Hayward, Mo Harkless
SG – Victor Oladipo, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner
PG – Malcolm Brogdon, Aaron Holiday, TJ McConnell
The Pacers are ready to give the starting center job to Domantas Sabonis. They were able to move Myles Turner and add Gordon Hayward, giving this lineup better balance. If Hayward and Victor Oladipo can stay healthy, this team will be quite a handful on offense.
8. New York Knicks
C – Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Mitchell Robinson
PF – Julius Randle, Meyers Leonard, Abdel Nader
SF – RJ Barrett, Evan Turner, Ignas Brazdeikis
SG – Avery Bradley, Bryn Forbes
PG – Chris Paul, Elfrid Payton, Malachi Flynn
The Knicks traded quite a few young players for Chris Paul, but I do not think New York fans will mind. Those guys were not difference makers, but Chris Paul has shown he still is. His addition could get the Knicks back into the playoffs, which will get people at least somewhat interested in New York basketball again.
9. Atlanta Hawks
C – Clint Capela, DeMarcus Cousins, Dewayne Dedmon
PF – John Collins, Onyeka Okongwu, Bruno Fernando
SF – De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Josh Jackson
SG – Kevin Huerter, Jordan Clarkson
PG – Trae Young, Shabazz Napier, Brandon Goodwin
The Hawks have the most cap space in basketball, and use some of it in a variety of ways. Jordan Clarkson should be one of the better bench scorers in the league. Josh Jackson is a worthy gamble, the talent is still there somewhere. Finally, perhaps DeMarcus Cousins can actually stay healthy and begin to rehab his career a bit. Of course, this team will go as far as Trae Young, John Collins and the young core will take it. If Cousins can bounce back a bit and Onyeka Okongwu shows he is ready, Atlanta could get something for Clint Capela, who has not played a game for the Hawks yet.
10. Chicago Bulls
C – Wendell Carter Jr., Luke Kornet, Daniel Gafford
PF – Lauri Markkanen, Thaddeus Young, Cristiano Felicio
SF – Otto Porter, Deni Avdija, Chandler Hutchison
SG – Zach LaVine, Coby White, Pat Connaughton
PG – Tomas Satoransky, Ryan Arcidiacono
The Bulls have a new front office group, finally, but choose so stay pat here. The only moves were drafting Deni Avdija and adding Pat Connaughton. The most important thing will be stability with Billy Donovan and development for the young players.
11. Orlando Magic
C – Nikola Vucevic, Khem Birch, Alex Len
PF – Aaron Gordon, Chuma Okeke, Cheick Diallo
SF – James Ennis, Al-Farouq Aminu, Aaron Nesmith, Jonathan Isaac (INJ)
SG – Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross
PG – Markelle Fultz, Tyrese Haliburton, Ty Jerome
Orlando chose to give up on Mohamed Bamba, who was always a redundant draft pick and bad fit, by trading him for the draft rights to Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is not the scorer Orlando needs, but he will definitely push Markell Fultz. Aaron Nesmith gives Orlando even more scoring punch off the bench. Other than that, Orlando chose to stay pat and hope the young guys will be enough. I see obvious regression here.
12. Washington Wizards
C – Thomas Bryant, Anzejs Pasecniks
PF – Rui Hachimura, Moritz Wagner, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
SF – Troy Brown Jr., Devin Vassell, Admiral Schofield
SG – Bradley Beal, E’Twaun Moore, Jerome Robinson
PG – John Wall, Ish Smith, Isaac Bonga
With an immensely expensive back court and a losing culture, the Wizards were not going to sign any free agents. The main addition, of course, is a presumably healthy John Wall. A Wall/Beal backcourt will be enough to push for a playoff spot. If the young front court guys can continue to develop, Washington could get there.
13. Cleveland Cavaliers
C – Andre Drummond, Jahlil Okafor
PF – Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Bell
SF – Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, Alfonzo McKinnie, Dylan Windler
SG – Collin Sexton, Kevin Porter Jr., Tyler Johnson
PG – Darius Garland, Dante Exum, Cameron Payne
An Andre Drummond/Kevin Love front court certainly makes headlines, but neither player is All Star caliber anymore. There still is not much to get excited about in Cleveland, and I think they will have to break up the defensive deficient back court before they have any success. Cleveland drafted Isaac Okoro to help defensively and added a couple bench free agents, but do not expect much else.
14. Detroit Pistons
C – Blake Griffin, Boban Marjanovic, Justin Patton
PF – Sekou Doumbouya, Justin Jackson
SF – Tony Snell, Derrick Jones Jr., Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
SG – Luke Kennard, Killian Hayes, Khyri Thomas
PG – Fred VanVleet, Bruce Brown
The Pistons are due for a flat out rebuild, but with a ton of cap space they won the Fred VanVleet sweepstakes. VanVleet could want to get out of Kyle Lowry’s shadow and run his own team, and he gets that here (and probably a max contract). Detroit added Killian Hayes in the draft and shook up the bench a bit. Blake Griffin is a trade candidate, but I do not see him being moved during the short off-season.
15. Charlotte Hornets
C – Myles Turner, Cody Zeller, Robert Williams III
PF – Christian Wood, PJ Washington, TJ Leaf, Jalen McDaniels
SF – Miles Bridges, Nicolas Batum, Caleb Martin
SG – Devonte’ Graham, Malik Monk, Cody Martin
PG – LaMelo Ball, Langston Galloway
A team without a plan, Charlotte continues that curious ideology here. They spent a pretty penny to bring in Christian Wood, and traded their big 2019 free agent signing Terry Rozier to add more size in Myles Turner. Throw in the draft selection of LaMelo Ball, and there are three new starters in Charlotte. The lineup is still a mess though. It will take time to clear things up.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
C – Tristan Thompson, JaVale McGee
PF – Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Devontae Cacok
SF – Danny Green, Wayne Ellington
SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker
PG – LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, Theo Maledon
The blueprint in Los Angeles is obvious. As long as you have the James/Davis duo, you’re a championship favorite. There were some tweaks here and there, but overall, the Lakers are going to run it back with basically the same team. Why not? It worked in 2020.
2. Dallas Mavericks
C – Dwight Powell, Mason Plumlee
PF – Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, Chimezie Metu
SF – DeMar DeRozan, Dorian Finney-Smith
SG – Delon Wright, Seth Curry, Alec Burks, Desmond Bane
PG – Luka Doncic, Derrick Rose, JJ Barea
Maybe I am a bit too eager with Dallas, especially with Kristaps Porzingis continuing injury woes, but this roster looks pretty set. DeMar DeRozan was unhappy in San Antonio, so the Spurs decided to get something for him before he hit free agency in 2021. Mark Cuban and company have never been afraid to swing deals, and they brought in DeRozan and Derrick Rose to give this roster more depth and veteran leadership. Of course, it is all about Luka Doncic, who is my early pick for 2020-2021 MVP.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
C – Kvica Zubac, Marc Gasol, Mfiondu Kabengele
PF – Paul George, Marcus Morris, JaMychal Green
SF – Kawhi Leonard, Thabo Sefolosha, Terance Mann
SG – Landry Shamet, Garrett Temple, Rodney McGruder
PG – Spencer Dinwiddie, Lou Williams
It was a disastrous ending for the Clippers, but as long as they have Kawhi Leonard, they are contenders. The cash strapped team managed to swing a trade for Spencer Dinwiddie and sign Marc Gasol and Marcus Morris to make up for the loss of Montrezl Harrell. Both Harrell and Patrick Beverley, who were distractions, are gone. This team will still go as far as Leonard and Paul George takes them.
4. Denver Nuggets
C – Nikola Jokic, Bol Bol
PF – Michael Porter Jr., Jerami Grant, Noah Vonleh
SF – Torrey Craig, Andre Roberson, Tyler Bey, Vlatko Cancar
SG – Gary Harris, Will Barton, Keita Bates-Diop
PG – Jamal Murray, Monte Morris, PJ Dozier
The Nuggets want to add another star like Jrue Holiday, but they are not trading their big three (Murray, Jokic, Porter Jr.) That takes them out of bidding for most players. More than likely, they will hope for bounce back years from Harris and Barton. Resigning Jerami Grant taps the team out cap wise. They resigned Craig and added Roberson and Bey, giving them three lock down wing defenders.
5. Golden State Warriors
C – Steven Adams, Marquese Chriss, Dwight Howard, Alen Smailagic
PF – Draymond Green, Eric Paschall, Kevon Looney
SF – Klay Thompson, Damion Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson
SG – Stephen Curry, Mychal Mulder
PG – Dennis Schroder, Ky Bowman
The Warriors continue to swing deals left and right. They moved the second overall pick to get out from under Andrew Wiggins contract, and added a perfect fit at center in Steven Adams. Dennis Schroder will be a big help, also. Depth is a major issue here, but the Warriors get their stars back. How long will it take for the team to gel?
6. Houston Rockets
C – Paul Millsap, Nerlens Noel
PF – Tobias Harris, Jeff Green, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
SF – Danuel House, Ben McLemore, Robert Woodard II
SG – James Harden, David Nwaba, Zhaire Smith
PG – Russell Westbrook, Austin Rivers
The Rockets continue to make trades at a blistering pace, rebuilding the roster on the fly. The key will always be James Harden, but adding Tobias Harris (and his monstrous contract), Paul Millsap and Nerlens Noel will at least give the team a little size, but not seriously change the philosophy. The Harris trade zapped Houston of any reasonable depth, but that has always been a concern in Houston.
7. Utah Jazz
C – Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Tony Bradley
PF – Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davis
SF – Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, Georges Niang
SG – Donovan Mitchell, Marco Belinelli, RJ Hampton
PG – Mike Conley, Yogi Farrell, Nigel Williams-Goss
The Jazz core is set. The key will be health and bounce back years from Bogdanovic and Conley respectively. Utah does bring back a familiar face in Derrick Favors, but other than that, this is basically the same team.
8. New Orleans Pelicans
C – Jonas Valanciunas, Jaxson Hayes, Isaiah Stewart
PF – Zion Williamson, Nicolo Melli
SF – Brandon Ingram, Saddiq Bey, Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa
SG – Caris LeVert, Donte DiVincenzo, Sindarius Thornwell
PG – Lonzo Ball, George Hill
I doubt the Pelicans will be this busy during the very short off-season window, but it is fun to think about. Brandon Ingram will definitely be resigned. Here, New Orleans turns Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick into several young pieces. With Williamson, LeVert, Ingram and Ball, this team will be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
9. Phoenix Suns
C – DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba
PF – Montrezl Harrell, Frank Kaminsky, Patrick Patterson
SF – Kelly Oubre Jr., Cameron Johnson
SG – Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges
PG – Ricky Rubio, Michael Carter-Williams, Elie Okobo, Jalen Lecque
The Suns 8-0 bubble run (and ample cap space) convinced Montrezl Harrell to accept a large contract and leave Los Angeles. He is exactly the type of rugged presence the Suns need. A draft day trade for Mohamed Bamba gives Phoenix great depth up front.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
C – Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins
PF – Jae Crowder, Markieff Morris, Jalen Smith
SF – Rodney Hood, Trevor Ariza, Nassir Little
SG – CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr.
PG – Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Jaylen Adams
This is a typical off-season for Portland. With a very expensive back court, the Trail Blazers can only throw darts in free agency in hopes of landing contributors. Enter Jae Crowder and Markieff Morris to patch up a weak front court.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
C – Karl-Anthony Towns, Willy Hernangomez, Naz Reid
PF – James Johnson, Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt
SF – Jarrett Culver, Jake Layman, Jacob Evans
SG – Anthony Edwards, Malik Beasley, Josh Okogie, Jacob Evans
PG – D’Angelo Russell, Trey Burke
The Timberwolves will kick the tires on a draft day trade, but ultimately will stay put and draft Anthony Edwards. This team could score a ton of points, especially after resigning Malik Beasley and adding Trey Burke.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
C – Jaren Jackson Jr., Gorgui Dieng
PF – Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson
SF – Dillon Brooks, Justise Winslow
SG – Patrick Beverley, Nickiel Alexander-Walker, Grayson Allen, Marko Guduric
PG – Ja Morant, Tyus Jones, De’Anthony Milton
Jaren Jackson Jr. is a better fit at center, so the Grizzlies move on from Jonas Valanciunas, acquiring some bench scoring in return. Brandon Clarke moves in to a starting lineup. Patrick Beverley wore out his welcome in Los Angeles, but will bring a nice veteran presence to a young team.
13. Sacramento Kings
C – Hassan Whiteside, Richaun Holmes
PF – Nemanja Bjelica, Marvin Bagley III, Patrick Williams
SF – Harrison Barnes, Jabari Parker
SG – Buddy Hield, Terry Rozier, Romeo Langford, Justin James, Kyle Guy
PG – De’Aaron Fox, Kris Dunn, Cory Joseph
Hassan Whiteside just seems like the quintessential Kings signing. He will put up stats and absorb minutes, but will not help Sacramento win any more games. Sacramento signed and traded Bogdanovic for a couple of guards, but this is still a franchise going nowhere. The only thing that will help is a time machine that helps them draft Luka Doncic.
14. San Antonio Spurs
C – LaMarcus Aldridge, Jakob Poeltl, Willie Cauley-Stein
PF – Trey Lyles, Rudy Gay, Precious Achiuwa, Luka Samanic
SF – Tim Hardaway Jr., Keldon Johnson
SG – Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV
PG – Dejounte Murray, Jalen Brunson, Patty Mills
A rebuild is inevitible in San Antonio, and the Spurs got a jump on it by trading DeRozan for Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Spurs will likely look to move Hardaway and Aldridge during the season.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder
C – James Wiseman, Mike Muscala
PF – Obi Toppin, Darius Bazley, Isaiah Roby
SF – Andrew Wiggins, Terrance Ferguson, Kevin Knox
SG – Luguentz Dort, Hamidou Diallo, Frank Ntilikina, Deonte Burton
PG – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jordan Poole, Dennis Smith Jr.
Sam Hinkie would be proud. The tear down in Oklahoma City is finally complete. OKC acquired James Wiseman and Obi Toppin in trades, got some young guys from the Knicks and added Andrew Wiggins, who will get to put up 40 shots per game while the Thunder use their 800 draft picks.