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With all the player movement, trade rumors and participation in other leagues, the NBA offseason seems to get shorter every year.
This summer, in particular, has arguably had more action than the postseason. Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio and Dwight Howard, just to name a few, were all traded. Free agents Gordon Hayward, George Hill and J.J. Redick all switched teams. And then, to cap it all off, Kyrie Irving demanded a trade.
With no resolution on the Kyrie front, the rumor mill has continued to churn. And even though it’s the end of July, his isn’t the only name in there.
Asking Price for Kyrie Irving
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It’s been almost two weeks since Irving’s trade demand surfaced in a report by ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. Since then, potential suitors and trade packages from the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and more have been analyzed ad nauseam.
Many of those were based entirely on hypotheticals, though. Thanks to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, a more concrete asking price is has been made available.
“The word is out around the NBA,” Vardon wrote. “The Cavaliers want a veteran starter, a blue-chipper on a rookie contract and a first-round pick for Kyrie Irving.”
On paper, plenty of teams could meet that price. Denver could offer Wilson Chandler, Jamal Murray and a pick. Phoenix could go with Eric Bledsoe, Josh Jackson and a pick. The Utah Jazz could throw their hat in the ring with Derrick Favors, Donovan Mitchell and a pick.
It may come down to which team is willing to add the most on top of that base. For a 25-year-old point guard who’s already made four All-Star teams, expect the bidding war to be intense.
Bucks Bigs on the Market
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Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe has been on the trading block for what feels like the duration of his time with the team. Despite posting his best box plus-minus since 2012-13, per Basketball Reference, Monroe’s apparently still on the market.
“Say this for the Milwaukee Bucks, they are a persistent bunch,” Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times wrote for Woelfel’s Press Box. “According to sources, the Bucks are still actively trying to trade veteran centers Greg Monroe and John Henson, two players who have seen their roles with the team diminish.”
The knock on Monroe has generally been about his defense. But in 2016-17, the Bucks surrendered the same 106.4 points per 100 possessions, whether he was on the floor or the bench, per NBA.com. And if he can be a net neutral as a defender, his offense should be enough to attract some suitors. Since joining the Bucks, he’s averaged 18.8 points per 36 minutes, while shooting 52.7 percent from the field.
As for Henson, he’d almost certainly bring back a smaller haul in a trade, but it’s not hard to see how he can still fit in today’s NBA.
For a center who doesn’t shoot threes, the ideal role for him is a rim-running paint protector. Henson struggled with the first part last season but was in the 70th percentile as the roll man in 2015-16, per NBA.com. And among players with at least as many minutes, Henson’s career block percentage ranks seventh all-time, per Basketball Reference.
He may just need a new situation where he can display his abilities on a more consistent basis.
Josh Jackson Untouchable?
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Jackson, the No. 4 pick in this summer’s draft, has yet to suit up for a single regular-season game for Phoenix. But the team already sounds high on his potential.
Arizona Sports 98.7’s John Gambadoro first tweeted out a potential package for Irving that fit the criteria laid out above, but then added that the Suns won’t part with Jackson:
John Gambadoro @Gambo987
Cavs want Bledsoe, Jackson- Plus for Kyrie in any deal with the Suns. But I do not know what the plus is.
John Gambadoro @Gambo987
The Phoenix Suns will NOT include Josh Jackson in any trade for Kyrie Irving.
In the NBA, the intrigue of the unknown often outweighs the security of the known. Jackson, a 6’8″ combo forward, has the size and athleticism to perhaps one day be the next Shawn Marion on defense. If he can figure out how to shoot, he might even make some All-Star teams.
Irving is already a star, though. And while his defensive issues are real, his talent on the other end is undeniable. In tandem with Devin Booker, Phoenix would have one of the most explosive young backcourts in the league.
Sure, it’d get torched on the other end, at least in the near future. But there’s plenty of time to teach those two how to defend and fill out the roster with players who can help them on that end.