FREE AGENT CLASS DRIES UP EVEN MORE: Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, Kings’ Buddy Hield, Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis, Spurs’ Dejounte Murray and Nets’ Taurean Prince all agreed to rich contract extensions right before the deadline, so remove their names from what was already a very weak 2020 free-agent class.
Among those not getting one, Minnesota’s Dario Saric and the 2016 draft No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, who should be in line for a big-time contract if he puts up numbers this season considering there’s very little talent in the 2020 free agent pool. As of now, we’re putting the Pelicans forward at No. 3 in the free agent rankings only behind Anthony Davis and DeMar DeRozan.
UNDER THE KNIFE: 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson had surgery on a torn meniscus, which will sideline him for between 6-8 weeks.
It’s unfortunate news, and forces one to wonder: Is the super prospect too heavy? Currently, he’s listed at 285 pounds, making him one of the heaviest players in the league.
NITTY A KEEPER: After much speculation both last season and over the summer that the Knicks were ready to give up on former lottery pick Frank Ntilikina, a strong showing for the French point guard in the World Cup and in preseason forced New York to change their minds. Now, the Knicks have decided to pick up the fourth-year option on the 21-year-old, a savvy decision considering his age and upside.
FINAL PREVIEWS: The Celtics were a disappointment last season, but perhaps having diminished expectations in 2019-20 could help them embody the scrappy-underdog role they used back in 2017-18 to come within a game of reaching the Finals. We have them finishing third in the East this year despite losing Kyrie Irving and Al Horford.
Houston underwent a major shakeup this offseason, shipping out Chris Paul and creating a new insane backcourt featuring James Harden and former running mate Russell Westbrook. We think their lack of depth could hurt them, though, so we predict they finish fifth in the loaded Western Conference.
Finally, the Warriors’ dynastic seasons may be over, but with a healthy Stephen Curry and Draymond Green holding down the fort until Klay Thompson returns, that could be enough for Golden State to sneak into the playoffs, and perhaps do some damage once there. We predict they finish eighth in the West.
AWARDS TALK: All teams have players with a decent shot at an individual award this season. Yes, even the Phoenix Suns.
REALLY? Michael Jordan went on the “Today” show and, for some reason, said Stephen Curry, despite being a great player, is not a Hall-of-Famer quite yet. Bold words considering Curry is a two-time regular-season MVP and a three-time champion. For what it’s worth, Basketball Reference has Curry’s Hall-of-Fame probability at a robust 99.9 percent at the moment… so there’s that.
CRYPTO TALK: ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz explains what Spencer Dinwiddie is trying to do with his contract. A must-read for those who both love basketball and want to learn more about cryptocurrency.
BATTLE FOR L.A.: Head coach Doc Rivers has respect for what the Lakers have accomplished throughout their illustrious history, but, at the same time, is ready for a modern-day Clippers movement.
TERRIFYING NIGHT IN TEXAS: A monster tornado ripped through and around the Dallas region late Sunday night, causing a ton of damage. Mavs guard Seth Curry was lucky in that his home only took a minor hit, but regardless, the situation was quite scary for him, his wife and their 17-month-old daughter.
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
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