Though the free agency period does not officially begin until July 1, the landscape of the NBA has already shifted dramatically after the draft, a few franchise-altering trades and a couple front-office shake-ups. To help us sort through all the madness of the last week and predict the remaining changes to come, we’ve brought on Keith Smith, who covers the NBA for Real GM and Fan Rag Sports, and has been presenting detailed analyses of each team’s offseason plans on his show, NBA Front Office. With Keith, we break down the ramifications of the blockbuster trades that sent Chris Paul to Houston and Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, discuss the fallout of the Knicks and the Cavaliers severing ties with executives Phil Jackson and David Griffin, respectively, and, of course, try to forecast the eventual landing spots for Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin, George Hill, Paul Millsap and all of the other high-profile free agents and likely movers this offseason.
7:03-7:30: “One of the things that’s really funny about the Blake Griffin question is you can see it going one of two ways. You can see Blake Griffin saying, ‘Forget it. We can’t replace CP3. I’m not gonna be able to win here now. I want to move on. I want to get out of here and go somewhere else.’ Or you could see Blake Griffin saying, ‘Finally, it’s my team. I have it to myself. I don’t have to deal with this guy yapping at me all the time, and we didn’t necessarily get along great.’ So that’s where it becomes really tricky.”
20:02-21:10: “It’s popular for people to say, ‘Ah, who cares? LeBron is the GM. He makes all the decisions.’ And it’s simply not true. Now, he probably has more input than any other player in the entire NBA, but it’s more along the lines of David Griffin says, ‘Hey, I can go get Kyle Korver. What do you think?’ And then LeBron’s like, ‘Yeah, go get Kyle Korver.’ David Griffin’s still the one who has to put all those pieces together…Losing David Griffin is a massive loss for the Cavaliers, and losing them when they did just didn’t make sense. And especially the way [Cavaliers owner] Dan Gilbert went about it. He didn’t allow Griffin to interview with Orlando or Milwaukee or Atlanta, who all had interest in having a conversation with him. And then as soon as all those opening were filled, he dismissed him and said, ‘We’re done.’”
24:07-24:39: “I think your next piece that you’re looking at is who else do the Wolves go out and add, because they still are gonna have some cap space, they’re gonna be able to do some things. And if they go out and add another big-time defender – all accounts are that’s where they’re looking to go now; they’ve got the offensive side covered…if they go out and add another big-time defender, that’s gonna be what starts to improve it [the defense] so it’s incremental growth, plus whatever they add this summer.”
32:34-33:05: “Paul George has made it clear that he’s leaving, so once you do that, that limits your [team’s] leverage. But where the Pacers have gained back some leverage is that they now are in a position where multiple teams are interested, so that re-ups their leverage because now instead of just being one team that they’re dealing with, they can ask for a little bit more…They have to trade him. They can’t let him walk away for nothing. So now they can pit the teams that are trying to trade for him against each other.”
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Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod