Good afternoon, folks. Get ready for some Woj bombs. Let’s talk NBA.
“The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.” — Kobe Bryant
Trade deadline week is upon us
There is an unofficial rule amongst NBA organizations that everybody relaxes and enjoys time with their families and friends for Super Bowl Sunday. They might take a few glances at their text messages or emails, but generally, it’s a day of rest in preparation for the real work that begins the next day.
The NBA’s trade deadline is this Thursday (Feb. 6) at 3 p.m. EST and every member of each franchise will be working vigorously until that time has passed. I hope you have your Twitter notifications set on for Woj and Shams because this is where things can get wonky.
A slew of national NBA reporters (Woj, Shams, Zach Lowe, and Chris Haynes) have already dropped some newsy nuggets earlier on Monday to stir the pot. While there isn’t too much on the BBNBA front at this exact moment, we’ve seen in years past that literally anything can happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2:59 on Thursday; a mega-deal can still happen.
At the time I write this post (it is currently 11:35 a.m.), some notable names have already been brought up by these reporters as possible trade targets; Tristan Thompson (CLE), Marcus Morris (NYK), and D’Angelo Russell (GSW) are all apparently on the trade block. Andre Iguodala (MEM) is figured to be one of the hottest players on the market, too.
But let’s talk about Russell for a minute, because a potential trade for him could have indirect consequences on a former Wildcat. Shams reported that Russell has been made available by the Golden State Warriors and that the Minnesota Timberwolves (the same team that tried to acquire him back in the offseason) are inquiring about the young point guard. Wolves superstar Karl-Anthony Towns has publicly stated his friendship and desire to play alongside Russell and the franchise hasn’t stopped pursuing him since he was a free agent this past summer. According to Shams, the Wolves don’t want to part with its unprotected 2020 first-round draft pick. Minnesota has pieces that could intrigue the Warriors for when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson come back such as Josh Okogie, Robert Covington, Gorgui Dieng, and a few other younger players. I would guess Golden State wants that pick more than anything.
Minnesota is expected to be one of the most active teams over the next few days and not just as buyers. There is belief they would like to deal Robert Covington and that they still have a desire to make the playoffs (currently 7.5 games out of the eighth seed, so that might be a longgggg-shot). In my opinion – from the outside looking in – Minnesota changes its five-year trajectory every 10 months. I would love to see Russell next to Towns, however, I’m skeptical they’ll get a deal done without coming out as losers. If they really wanted him, they could have snagged him half-a-year ago. But KAT needs help. He hasn’t won a game since Nov. 27.
The only noise I’ve seen/read regarding any other former Kentucky players is the status of Malik Monk down in Charlotte. If you remember my Trade Season Watch List post (which you can read by clicking that blue link), I included Monk as a potential trading chip for Charlotte after some rumblings emerged earlier at the start of the new year. Zach Lowe listed Monk as one of his “names to watch”. Lowe also stated that the Hornets were looking into Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic. Monk could be a valuable asset if that trade were to come to fruition.
The big names such as Kevin Love (CLE), Andre Drummond (DET), and Jrue Holiday (NOP) will continue to swirl around until they are either traded or the deadline passes. Even if they aren’t traded before Feb. 6, those are three names to keep an eye on this coming offseason. But Holiday could flip a team into a contender right now (Love could, too, but talks with him are currently stalled). Lowe briefly mentions that the Denver Nuggets have interest in Holiday. Whether or not Jamal Murray would be included in that deal is up in the air, although it would be unlikely. I personally believe that a Murray-Holiday combo would be unstoppable next to Nikola Jokic, especially if Murray plays more of an off-the-ball role. So that might be something else to keep an eye on.
Brandon Knight’s name seems to keep popping up in potential trades. The former ‘Cat is on an expiring contract and could be a piece that helps make the money work as a smaller component of a much bigger trade. He’s been dealing with a bad knee over the last couple of weeks, too.
Kevin Pelton of ESPN wrote a few days ago that he predicts DeMarcus Cousins to be traded from the Los Angeles Lakers as a salary matcher.
It’s going to be an interesting next few days that will surely feature at least one unorthodox trade that came out of nowhere. Now let’s get into the games from Super Bowl Sunday.
Bucks terrorize Suns
With the football game taking up the afternoon, only four NBA games were showcased on Sunday – all of them coming in the early afternoon. The only matchup worth watching was the Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Phoenix Suns. But even that turned out to be a stinker. The Bucks mowed down the Suns by a final score of 129-108.
Devin Booker’s 32 points were not enough to overcome a massive hole that they dug themselves in the first half. The Suns trailed by 15 at the half but Booker did his best to help lead them back, cutting the Bucks’ lead to as little as nine late in the third quarter. However, Milwaukee responded with three straight dagger triples to push the advantage back to double-digits. Booker added seven rebounds and six assists while shooting 9-15 from the field and 12-13 from the free-throw line.
For the Bucks, Eric Bledsoe posted 12 points, seven rebounds, and four assists with just one turnover on a 5-8 shooting clip.
- Jamal Murray continues to rest on the bench as he recovers from an ankle injury that has forced him to sit out the Denver Nuggets’ last 10 games. There is currently no timetable for his return. But not all is bad! Denver is maneuvering through a few key injuries right now and it’s allowed some extra clock for Jarred Vanderbilt, who appeared in five minutes on Sunday, recording four points, one rebound, one steal, and one block. Vando has played in four of the Nuggets last seven games but has yet to top eight minutes in any of them.
Check out the full stat sheet below.
|Devin Booker (PHX)||108-129 L @ MIL||32||9-15 (2-5)||7||6||0||0||5||-13||33|
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||129-108 W vs. PHX||12||5-8 (2-3)||7||4||0||1||1||+14||31|
|Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)||123-128 (OT) L @ DET||4||2-2 (0-0)||1||0||1||1||0||-4||5|
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||123-128 (OT) L @ DET||DNP-Ankle||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
|Darius Miller (NOP)||109-117 L @ HOU||DNP-Achilles||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
7:00: Magic @ Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk, Washington)
7:00: Knicks (Knox, Randle) @ Cavaliers (Knight-out)
7:00: Mavericks (Cauley-Stein) @ Pacers
7:00: Warriors @ Wizards (Wall-out)
7:30: Celtics (Kanter) @ Hawks
7:30: Suns (Booker) @ Nets
7:30 (NBATV): 76ers @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
8:00: Pistons @ Grizzlies
10:00: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Kings (Fox)
10:30 (NBATV): Spurs (Johnson, Lyles) @ Clippers (Patterson)