The NBA’s free agency period is still five days from officially starting, but there’s already a lot of sizzle with the NBA Draft going down Thursday night, and teams trading picks and players to rebuild, restock, or tear down.
The Lakers will look to woo two future free agents next month. The first is pick-and-pop’s finest, LaMarcus Aldridge, who appears less and less likely to return to the Pacific Northwest. Then there’s the upcoming free agency of Kevin Love who has been included in Lakers rumors ever since he told Minney he was opting out last summer, forcing the trade to Cleveland.
But now Rockets GM Daryl Morey might be targeting both all-star power forwards in an effort to outdo their Conference peers and boost their drive-and-kick offense that only saw them rank No. 12 in points per possession last season. Here’s the report, via ESPN’s Marc Stein:
Except, with Dwight Howard, James Harden and Trevor Ariza soaking up around $45 million in guaranteed cap space next season, Morey will have to wrangle more room if he wants to be capable of offering the max to either forward.
So long Terrence Jones. Even though Jones played well in the playoffs, when Josh Smith wasn’t suddenly catching fire from deep, he’s expendable, especially when you’re talking about two of the best power forwards in the game today.
With Love or Aldridge, the Rockets would be a formidable foe to a seeming inchoate Warriors dynasty forming in the West. Both can stretch the floor and leave space in the lane for Dwight Howard rolls to the rim, or James Harden drives. Both are so-so defenders who need Dwight’s looming presence in the paint.
But Cleveland GM David Griffin has continued to say he’s going to offer Love a max contract (CLE can offer an extra year), even if LeBron can’t be conscripted to help push Love towards re-signing.
Some suggest Cleveland will try to sign-and-trade Love away, and add more shooters or ancillary pieces who don’t command max money but can fit better with the LeBron-centric style that had the Cavs playing into June. A hobbled Kyrie Irving and no Love revealed a lot about the 2015 Eastern Conference champions, and we could see those changes play out in next month’s free agency.
As for Aldridge, he’s suddenly turned into a total question mark with LA, Dallas and now Houston rumored to be in the running and Portland on the sidelines.
It’s not even July yet. This is just a sprinkle before the deluge and it’s already getting too chaotic to keep up.