We’ve had a couple of players and picks moving over the past 24 hours, mainly courtesy of Sam Presti. Yes, that’s right. Presti has struck again and OKC has mostly come out on top, once again. Let’s have a look at the two trades that have taken place and break them down.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers traded Danny Green and the 28th pick in tomorrows draft to OKC in return for Dennis Schroder. The deal will be made official at the close of the draft. I feel like both teams have actually come away as winners in this trade.
Firstly, Los Angeles get rid of Danny Green. I’ve said enough on the topic of Green in the past to make my feelings clear. Consistency wins titles and Green does not have that. I said in my mock draft that the Lakers needed guard help and would likely target Cassius Winston with the 28th pick.
By combining the pick and Green, the Lakers have managed to get the guard help that they need. Schroder has been a polarising player throughout his career. He looks pretty good coming off the bench, but has never been able to make the transition successfully to a starter.
I’m not sure if the Lakers will start him or not, but he would make a good 2 guard opposite LeBron. Schroder is a pretty good catch and shoot guy, much better than Danny Green. LeBron is comfortable playing point and Schroder would be a threat to create spacing for the Lakers. As long as he continues to shoot the ball effectively, this is a good move for L.A. Heck, all he really has to do is be better than Green.
For OKC, they get yet another first round pick (I’ll get to their collection of them later) and a tradable “asset” in Danny Green. I can’t imagine that OKC will keep Green around for long and some contending team will likely talk themselves into Green. The only question is what can Presti get in return for him? Surely not another first round pick, right? Knowing Sam Presti he will probably turn Danny Green into 2 picks and a player.
Today it was reported that the OKC had made another trade, this time with the Phoenix Suns. OKC are moving on from Chris Paul and in return they are receiving : Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Ty Jerome, Jaden Lecque and a future first round draft pick. Goodness, Presti has done it again.
I don’t want to be seen as being critical of Chris Paul. He did an amazing job with OKC in the recent NBA season. It’s not a stretch to say that nobody really saw that kind of success coming. They were supposed to be rebuilding and instead they were going head to head with Houston in the playoffs. Not only that, some people (myself included) had actually tipped OKC to win that series! Chris Paul definitely did a fantastic job.
Here is the but, and it’s a big one. MC Hammer will love it. Chris Paul is 35 years old and owed upwards of 80 million dollars over the next 2 years. That’s a lot of money for a move that might not work out. I feel that Phoenix have taken a huge gamble here and I’m not sure why. I agree that Phoenix had to do something, but I don’t think it was this. Realistically, what is the ceiling with Chris Paul on the Suns? At best (and I think I’m being generous here) they are the 6th seed. At worst, they miss the playoffs again and have mortgaged their future for no good reason.
Again, I’m not trying to be critical of Paul. He really did do a great job with OKC and will bring a veteran leader to a team that really needs one. Booker obviously needs some help and Paul seems to be a good match for him. I want to see Booker succeed. I want to see the Suns succeed. Hopefully, this works out. It’s just a big gamble. I don’t understand why the Suns are taking such a huge swing. I don’t think I have a problem with Paul, it’s with what they paid for him.
As I said, OKC get 4 players and another first round draft pick. It has some protections and could fall to OKC sometime between 2021 and 2024 (I think). It’s hard to see this being a loss for OKC. Rubio is a pretty decent starting point and a valuable enough trade asset. I love Kelly Oubre Jr. I hope that OKC keeps him, but if not there is definitely a trade market for him. And they pick up two good young players for their rebuild in Jerome and Lecque.
OKC sure are a wildcard team. Who knows what happens for them this season? I don’t think it would be fair to sleep on them again and declare the playoffs out of reach. They proved everyone wrong on that! How far can they go in a stacked western conference? I daresay that this isn’t the last move that Presti has made for this season. Will they move Adams? They’ve got the recently acquired Green, Rubio and Oubre. Jr that they could trade, once they are able to that is. They’ve got about 40,000 first round draft picks that they could package together for a star player. I don’t think they will do that soon, but next off-season they could do something.
Once again, OKC have come away from a trade looking like a clear and obvious winner and left me scratching my head, wondering why the other team agreed to it. Is Sam Presti blackmailing other GM’s? I cannot understand why teams keep agreeing to things like this. It’s ludicrous. Let’s recap.
Russell Westbrook is trade for Chris Paul, 2 first round picks and 2 first round pick swaps.
Paul George is traded for Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 5 (5!) first round draft picks and 2 first round pick swaps.
Chris Paul is traded for Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a first round draft pick.
That’s 3 players leaving and 7 players, 8 picks and 4 swaps coming back in return. I can’t fathom that at all and I am worried it is setting a bad precedent for the league. Teams are literally sacrificing 5-10 years of their futures for a single player. Why don’t we ask the Clippers how the Paul George trade worked out for them? Imagine how bad the next 10 years of Clippers basketball is going to be when they lose this season and George and Leonard walk. Westbrook didn’t exactly pay dividends for Houston and I am doubtful of what Paul can do for OKC. I would almost guarantee that OKC will find success before the Clippers, Rockets or Suns do.
It is the precedent that really worries me. It’s not just Presti out here fleecing guys. Remember the Anthony Davis trade? The Pelicans gave up AD and in return they demanded Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and 3 first round draft picks. A ridiculous amount. If I was a GM, I would not give out that much for anybody.
Sure it worked out for both teams in the end. The Pelicans lucked into Zion Williamson. The Lakers got the title, although I would argue that was because of James and not Davis. It is the precedent that really worries me. I’ve said that a lot, but I’m driving home my point! I worry about what the future of the NBA trade market.