NBA: The Armchair GM Experiment

draft

Just like in the NHL, draft time means rumour time. Although the NBA lacks the drama of the introduction of an expansion team, the rumour mill has still been spinning at an accelerated rate. Jimmy Butler is on his way to 10 different teams, Paul George is going to LA, Blake Griffen is about to hit free agency, and “The Process” is turning into “The Result of The Process”. Woj-Bombs are dropping all over the place, making the NBA look like the Dunkirk movie trailer – including recent news that Kristaps Porzingis could be had for the right price.

I was once told I am the ultimate Armchair GM – I would marry NBA 2K17’s MyGM Mode – which is especially relevant because of the recent re-launch of ESPN’s Trade Machine. Here are the trades that make the most sense with the rumours that are making the rounds right now:

Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves

Butler
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota gets: SG Jimmy Butler, PF Nikola Mirotic

Chicago gets: #7 Overall pick, PG/SG Zach Lavine, SG/SF Shabazz Muhammed, 2018 Second Round Pick

Let’s make one thing clear: I do not think Jimmy Butler is going to be traded this year. Not when the Bulls are committed, at least for another year, to an aging and expensive roster. Next year, when they are rid of Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo? Maybe a trade happens. But for now, Butler is, in my opinion, likely to stay put.

IF he does end up getting traded though, there could not be a better fit than the Minnesota Timberwolves, who can offer a mix of young, proven assets like Lavine and Muhammed, as well as a potential star in the #7 pick, where Jonathan Isaac and Lauri Markkanen are probably going to be available. This trade allows the Bulls to start their rebuilding process, while also possibly competing for a playoff spot. Gar Forman and the whole staff in Chicago seem intent on staying competitive – and, for some reason, trading Butler – and this trade will accomplish that goal.

Paul George Goes to LaLa Land

PGLAK
Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports

LA Lakers get: SG/SF Paul George

Indiana Pacers get: #2 Pick, Jordan Clarkson

Take that LaVar Ball, your son is headed to The Hoosier State! Just imagine the media appearances LaVar would make after this. Who knows, maybe Lonzo would drop further than #2, possibly going to the Celtics at #3, the Suns at #4, or the Kings at #5. How hilarious would it be if Lonzo ended up with the Kings, becoming Vivek Ranadive’s new toy to play with until he gets tired of him.

In all seriousness though, the Pacers should do this deal in a heartbeat if they can. Everyone around the NBA already knows PG13 is headed to Laker-Land after this season, and I doubt anyone would beat this package for a rental – even if that rental IS PAUL GEORGE. Not only do they get a pretty good player in Clarkson who could instantly step into the starting PG spot, but also one of Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, and Lonzo Ball. If the Pacers plan on taking Ball, they can take Randle from the Lakers instead of Clarkson for positional fit – I’m sure Magic Johnson doesn’t care which one goes if he gets his superstar a year early. This trade makes so much sense on so many levels for the Pacers.

The Lakers don’t have much to gain by making this trade other than guaranteeing that George doesn’t become a rental somewhere else, then have enough success and fun that he decides to stay. This trade isn’t necessary for the Lakers to make, but it will be interesting to see how much faith Magic has on Los Angeles’ attractiveness to George and other stars.

Phil Jackson Destroys the Knicks Future

porz
(BRIAN BABINEAU/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES)

Boston gets: PF Kristaps Porzingis

Knicks get: #3 Overall Pick, SF Jaylen Brown, SF Jae Crowder, Conditional 2018 1st round pick (via. LA Lakers)

For some reason, Phil Jackson is obsessed with doing stupid things with his basketball team. First, he traded for Derrick Rose, then he signed Joakim Noah to one of the worst contracts in NBA history, and to top it all off, he’s now trying to trade his team’s only two good players. Although Carmelo Anthony isn’t generating much chatter around the NBA, the younger – and arguably more talented – Porzingis is. Although Porzingis has one of the brightest futures in the NBA, Jackson has been taking – and apparently making – calls about him.

Well, Phil, if you have to trade PorzinGod, this package should be enough. #3 will end up being one of Tatum and Jackson – both great players with bright futures in their own right. The Knicks would also get last year’s #3 pick Jaylen Brown, a potential superstar on, at least, the defensive end, Crowder who is a good 3-and-D guy, and the conditional pick the Celtics acquired in their trade down from #1. That’s a pretty hefty package, and rightfully so, for Porzingis. Think about it: the Knicks would go from a two-player team to a team that can roll out a combination of ‘Melo, Jackson/Tatum, Brown, and Crowder in their own, poor-man’s Lineup of Death. Brown has proven capable of playing the 2, 3, and 4 in his time in Boston, and so has Crowder. Jackson has the ability to defend all 5 positions on the court, and could be the best defensive player to come out of this draft. If the Knicks would prefer Avery Bradley over Crowder because of positional fit, I’m sure Danny Ainge would oblige.

On the Celtics’ side of things, they get the ultimate stretch 4 in Porzingis for a price that would barely make a dent in their treasure chest of a wallet. While they are forced to part with value assets in this year’s #3 pick and the conditional pick, they still manage to keep hold of Brooklyn’s 2018 pick, as well as Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and one of Bradley/Crowder.

Wrap-Up

No matter what I think, unfortunately, I’m not the GM of every team in the NBA – in fact, I’m not even the GM, or an employee, of even 1 NBA team. It is not I who holds all the chips at the table, but Danny Ainge. It is not I who can claim credit for The Process, but Sam Hinkie. Whoever gets moved, whoever stays put, the drama is sure to unfold tonight at 8 PM inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Oh, P.S., Dan Gilbert (or should I say LeBron James), I’m available if you have an opening (I heard rumblings that maybe the GM position is open?). Please, let me know if I can help your franchise in any way. I win a championship every year in NBA 2K17… I think I’m qualified, no?

What do you think about any of the proposed deals? Do you have any others that you think would help your – or any – team? Let us know in the comment section, and don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter!

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