Over the last several days, it has become clear that Melo’s time with the Thunder is set to end after one season this summer. This initially created chatter that the team would buy him out in order to save $100 million in salary cap and luxury tax toward the 2018-19 campaign. However, the front office has decided to head in the direction of possibly moving him via the trade market in order to acquire additional assets. According to Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio, the Thunder are possibly looking into a trade scenario with the Brooklyn Nets that could see Jeremy Lin and sent over in exchange for Melo and a pick or picks. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Nets have interest in making a deal ,as the team is looking to secure more salary cap space for the summer of 2019 where there will be several top-tier free agents available. Brooklyn started out on this route once this offseason with the decision to trade for former All-Star big man Dwight Howard and then buy him out to secure more salary cap space. Lin is in the final year of his three-year, $38.3 million deal that will pay him $12.5 million for next season. He is an attractive asset given that it frees up more salary cap space next offseason, and he could be bought out at a much cheaper rate than Anthony’s $27.9 million for the 2018-19 campaign. On top of that, there is the potential add more draft picks to the mix to help either bring in more young talent or bundle them for a trade down the road. Nonetheless, it appears that the Thunder are exploring the various options that they have in front of them before coming to a final decision.
A headline emerged in Spanish newspapers that “Pau Gasol podría ser traspasado a los Sixers en la operación de salida de Kawhi Leonard”. Both Pau and Marc Gasol are icons in Spanish basketball and practically any news of their accomplishments on the court are reported on heavily. However, this one was different; it was an article about an NBA trade rumor and that simply doesn’t usually get traction on their basketball side. Marca picked up on a story by former ESPN basketball writer and current senior sports gambling writer for Get More Sports, Chris Sheridan, who reported today that Pau Gasol has been mentioned in trade scenarios between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers as part of a Kawhi Leonard deal: “When you are having simultaneous conversations with people all around the world and not a single person is telling you “That is untrue,” you have a smoke/fire situation. A trade scenario that would send Gasol to the 76ers is very much in play as one of the various Kawhi Leonard deals being pondered by the San Antonio Spurs.” In addition to Gasol being an expiring contract, there’s a feeling that he could bring invaluable leadership and experience to a team led by the young core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Markelle Fultz. Remember, Brett Brown and company once pursued Manu Ginobili as a veteran presence for a young Sixers squad. Speaking of Fultz, Sheridan mentioned that Fultz has not been mentioned in the trade scenarios being discussed, though he does believe that in addition to players, the Sixers would need to include three first-round picks. As to the players involved in trade talks: “Everyone in the NBA knows that an offer constructed around Dario Saric and Robert Covington has been put forth by the Sixers…”
The best nugget in the entire article – the one that has given me irrational confidence that a deal will be struck between the Spurs and Sixers – is this one: “everyone around the NBA expects Gregg Popovich to eventually take care of his former assistant, Brown, despite swiping Marco Belinelli away from him in the first hours of free agency. Whether or not Saric ends up in the deal is an open question.” For those who question Leonard’s commitment to playing basketball and his teammates, I once again implore you to remember: Brett Brown served as an assistant coach on a staff that developed the former #15 overall pick (Pacers) in the 2011 NBA Draft into a Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
The Timberwolves and All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns are reportedly discussing a long-term contract extension.On Wednesday, Michael Scotto and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported the sides are engaged in ongoing conversations about a maximum rookie-scale deal. Towns has established himself as one of the NBA’s most talented young building blocks across his first three seasons since the Wolves selected him with the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. The 22-year-old University of Kentucky product averaged 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks across 82 appearances during the 2017-18 campaign. He hasn’t missed a game during his pro career, showcasing terrific durability, especially for a post player. Towns is set to earn $7.8 million next season, but he’ll become a restricted free agent next summer if no extension is in place, per Spotrac. “We’re just optimistic it will be done as soon as possible,” Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters in June. Along with Towns’ situation, Minnesota shooting guard Jimmy Butler can use a player option in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. So the next 12 months are going to play a crucial role in the Wolves’ attempt to remain competitive in the loaded Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and the newly LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers.