REJOICE, WE HAVE A TRADE! After a dry spell that lasted 160 days, the great NBA trade drought of 2019 is finally over. It wasn’t a major deal that ended the drought, but this could signal more deals are on the way, particularly as we enter January. On Monday, the Cavaliers agreed to send Jordan Clarkson to Utah in exchange for 2014 draft bust Dante Exum and two future second-round picks.
Clarkson will surely provide a boost to the Jazz’s bench scoring, as the explosive guard is averaging 14.6 points this season while shooting over 37 percent from beyond the arc. For a Utah team that ranks 21st league-wide in offensive efficiency, Clarkson could wind up being a big addition. What’s more, considering the 27-year-old is on the final year of his contract, this deal looks like it could be a savvy rental for the Jazz.
On the other side of things, Exum heads to a Cleveland team in the early stages of a complete rebuild. The Australian ball-handler is the exact type of player the Cavs should be targeting: He’s young, has upside and desperately needs a change of scenery. Perhaps going to Cleveland will help Exum start to resemble the player who was drafted fifth overall five years ago. His deal is relatively team-friendly, too, with the Cavaliers only owing Exum two years and $19.2 million.
MORE POTENTIAL TRADE TARGETS: ESPN reports back from the Las Vegas G League Showcase, where execs from every team convened this past weekend. Apparently various league execs believe Evan Fournier could be traded before February. League execs also voted Jrue Holiday as the player teams would be most willing to risk assets in order to acquire.
JAZZ WAIVE VETERAN: Utah is reportedly waiving veteran forward Jeff Green, which was surprising, considering the news came out less than an hour after the Jazz lost to the Heat on Monday night. Green was averaging 7.8 points and 2.8 rebounds this season.
In a related move, Utah is reportedly signing G League guard Rayjon Tucker, who averaged 23.8 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Bucks’ G League squad this year.
PARSONS OPENS UP: We had a nice conversation with Chandler Parsons, who opened up about the injuries he’s suffered and the idea that he’s the most overpaid player in the league. Parsons told us: “I think anybody with a brain in my situation would have taken the contract. Should I have predicted that I was going to be hurt and took less or took half the money? That’s psychotic. Now the contract is what it was and, obviously, I didn’t live up to it.”
💰 Can’t say he’s wrong. Parsons is on the final year of a four-year, $94.4 million contract; he’s the 45th-highest paid player in the league this season.
MVP RANKINGS: We have ranked the Top 10 players in the 2019-20 MVP race. Giannis is holding steady while LeBron is starting to slip.
UNCLE DENNIS: The Athletic dropped a bombshell report on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency, where Sam Amick said league sources told him Uncle Dennis, Kawhi’s infamous uncle/agent, was asking teams for part ownership of whichever team Leonard signed with, a private plane that could be used at any point, a house and a guaranteed amount of off-court endorsement money. The league reportedly launched an investigation into the accusations, but they found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Clippers.
🤦 Shoot your shot, Uncle Dennis.
WAITERS DONE? League execs refer to Dion Waiters’ contract as one of the most untradeable they’ve ever seen, and believe the mercurial 2-guard’s NBA career could be over, barring a huge change in the situation between him and Miami.
LEBRON VS. KAWHI: Bleacher Report talks to league execs about the Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James rivalry. The duo reportedly respects each other but don’t exactly admire each other.
COLLINS RETURNS: John Collins returned last night after a 25-game suspension related to taking a banned substance. He talked about leaning on his teammates and what being gone for so long was like. Collins went off for 27 points and 10 rebounds in his return game, but the Hawks fell to the Cavs 121-118 in what was their eighth loss in a row.
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Ja Morant discusses what skills he’d like to pick from other star players. For starters, he chose LeBron’s strength and Kyrie’s ball-handling. Smart kid.
FIZDALE FINDS LANDING SPOT: David Fizdale has found his next job, but it won’t be as a coach. The former Grizzlies and Knicks head man is returning to ESPN as an NBA analyst, according to SNY.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
Click here for the answer.
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