There may not be a single player who started for a playoff-type team last season and is still on the roster who’s job is more in question than Lonzo Ball. Since the start of the offseason, the Pelicans have traded for point guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill with the rumoured intention of keeping Bledsoe who was an All-Defensive team member last year. They also drafted Kira Lewis who the team supposedly was targeting and also just happens to be a point guard. Add in Zo is looking for an extension right now and things appear to be on the track of ending in New Orleans. With guard minutes so in doubt and Ball wanting a deal, it seems to only make sense for the Pels to move him if he isn’t a part of the future. Don’t be surprised if before the start of the season and Ball’s extension deadline he’s playing for a new organization.
After having essentially no front court depth at all heading into the offseason, Atlanta has promptly drafted Onyeka Okongwu and signed Danilo Gallinari. Add in they traded for Clint Capela towards the end of the season and this front office group drafted De’Andre Hunter last season and John Collins time in Atlanta may be running out. Collins is up for an extension and supposedly seeking the max from a team that just paid big money for a guy in his position. Unless the Hawks envision Gallinari sliding to small forward which would be brutal defensively, Collins feels like an extra in this film we thought he was set to star in. Even if Atlanta still likes him, Collins age and skillset would be valuable in a trade for a position of need. With his lack of defensive ability, the pairing with Trae Young always felt difficult. It seems now that pairing may be coming to a close sooner than we anticipated.
Much like John Collins above him, Zach Collins has seen his team add depth at his position. With the addition of Robert Covington and resigning of Carmelo Anthony, Collins feels headed straight for the bench. As his team’s most valued asset and in what appears to be a win now year, trading him feels logical. Whether or not the team that by all accounts loves him would be willing to give him up is anyone’s guess but it feels like Covington’s two years remaining seems like the window this team is targeting. For a young piece like Collins, his fit into that quick timeline is questionable but, are the Blazers comfortable in giving up on him this soon?
Blake Griffin’s fit in Detroit before the draft was weird. After it and the start of free agency, it now feels down right bizarre. It’s hard to imagine Jerami Grant not starting after getting $60 million so unless he slides to the three, Griffin feels like a man in the way. Similarly, you’d imagine the team at some point wants Sekou Doumbouya to get minutes and Griffin is blocking those as well. I’m not sure what Griffin’s market actually is via trade but expect Detroit’s new front office to check every potential alley for an answer. Grant and Killian Hayes signal a new era in the motor city that it’s hard to see Griffin being a part of.
As an impending free agent for a team that just gave another young centre good many for three years to stay, LaMarcus Aldridge feels like a dead man walking in San Antonio. The only real question is, where the heck could he go? He makes a significant amount of money which makes trading him for young pieces hard. That said, him walking in free agency has to be inevitable so hopefully the Spurs would want something for him. They appear to finally be going young and Aldridge is obviously the opposite of that plan. How they choose to move forward is in question but what isn’t, is that Aldridge deserves to go to a team with a chance to win this season. He can’t have many productive years left as a member of the 2006 Draft Class so with the clock ticking, here’s hoping the Spurs help him out sooner rather than later.
After watching Kendrick Nunn play himself out of the rotation in the playoffs, Miami has responded by resigning Goran Dragic and getting free agent Avery Bradley. With Tyler Herro’s playoff emergence as well, Nunn on this team felt redundant before they even added Bradley. Now with him, Nunn’s name as a trade chip is inevitable. What Miami chooses to do with Nunn with their precious 2021 cap space in question will be fascinating. We forget how good he was pre-Covid and bubble when he was a deserving first-team all rookie selection. What team’s value that and what Miami targets will be a fascinating combination coming soon to the NBA. He may start the season in Miami but Nunn’s time in south beach is clearly on the clock.