I don’t think Hill has forgotten how to play or that his skills have taken a dive. He averaged a career-high 16.9 points last season for Utah. I think it’s just an uncomfortable situation that will take time to smooth out. A new team could give Hill the chance to win now and rediscover his old form. Whether the Kings can strike a deal with another team for Hill’s $20 million salary this season is another question. But if they can do so without tying up too much money long-term, giving the reins to Fox and Mason makes sense.
The Knicks management was presented with a challenge in trading Carmelo Anthony. He clearly had reached a point of no return, but his no-trade clause gave Scott Perry and Steve Mills few options. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine them coming up with a more successful return than they got from Oklahoma City, landing Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott as well as the second-round pick of the Bulls, which right now sits at No. 31, just outside of the first round. “I’ve been very pleased with the additions of both Enes and McDermott,” Perry said. “I think Enes has come in and he’s quickly becoming a crowd favorite for the people of New York. He brings a toughness, he brings a commitment to team. I think he’s complementing K.P. very well. He’s relentless on the boards, adds a little edge and toughness to our basketball team. And Doug McDermott is a consummate professional. He continues to get better. He gives us someone who can stretch the defense because he can shoot three-point shots. I think he’s done even better on the defensive end than I think most people have thought. And that’s been a pleasure to see. Both of those guys have been about enhancing the type of culture that we want to have here. So I’ve definitely been pleased with both of them.”
It will be fascinating to watch how they evolve. Milwaukee will investigate DeAndre Jordan, and that is another future version of this team: Antetokounmpo running pick-and-roll with a lob dunker, shooters surrounding them. That would also require something of a stylistic overhaul; Kidd has favored a more egalitarian motion offense, with cuts and handoffs swirling around the elbows. The Bucks can’t pay all of Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe, Parker, Middleton, Tony Snell, and Jordan. They almost certainly can’t get Jordan without giving up one of their good and expensive rotation guys, anyway. (I would be very surprised if they flipped Parker for Jordan, to be clear.)
After the season, Jordan can opt out of the four-year, $87.6 million deal he signed with the Clippers in 2015. And with the Clippers situated precariously in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, numerous teams have inquired about Jordan’s availability as the February trade deadline approaches. Both are scenarios that Jordan, 29, would be ill-suited to navigate without an agent. “It’s so hard to know otherwise what’s going on,” a person who advises several NBA stars told B/R. “I look at it like this: If you play for a team, is the team ever really going to tell you, ‘We’re trying to trade you?’ How do you get a guy to buy in after that?”
“If a team’s trying to trade for you, they’re going to want some kind of commitment if they’re going to give away significant pieces,” the adviser said. “How do you do that without an agent involved?” Among the teams “kicking the tires hard” on Jordan’s availability in a trade, according to a Western Conference executive, are the Milwaukee Bucks. Having added Bledsoe to a rising young core that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks are an intriguing potential destination. According to the Western Conference executive, Milwaukee is intent on adding size and rebounding at the trade deadline. Jordan would provide both, and the Bucks have the pieces to get a deal done. They also have something else that should not be underestimated: head coach Jason Kidd’s close ties to Jordan’s agent.
Upon his return to Los Angeles where he spent the most time with a single team in the NBA, Crawford detailed his reaction to being traded and what the city as well as the fanbase meant to him. ‘I know it’s a business, but to fall in love with something, you have to be vulnerable. I fell in love with the city and the fans here, so I was vulnerable. I guess the shock of the trade hurt that much more. I really gave everything.’