October 19, 2020 | 11:01 am EDT Update
Not every NBA evaluator loves LaMelo Ball, whose shooting and professionalism have been questioned by some around the league, even if they still have him at or near the top of their board. And not everyone trusts Anthony Edwards’ style and impact or sees James Wiseman’s upside or value in today’s NBA. Sources tell B/R the Minnesota Timberwolves are high on Toppin. The question is whether they’d be willing to take him first overall or if they’d only draft the big man out of Dayton in a trade-down scenario.
Multiple NBA front office members told B/R they feel they can mask Toppin’s defensive weaknesses by playing him at center, where he won’t guard as much around the perimeter and can still use his athleticism for shot-blocking at the rim. Toppin’s age (22) has also rarely come up as a deterrent. Teams sound persuaded by his offense, which is something the Timberwolves (No. 24 in offensive rating), Hawks (No. 25), Cavaliers (No. 26), Hornets (No. 28) and Bulls (No. 29) could obviously use.
Multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade Antetokounmpo if he passes on the extension. Instead, the Bucks will try to improve their roster and use the next year to show Antetokounmpo why he should stay. Waiting would give Antetokounmpo maximum leverage over Milwaukee over the next 12 months. If the Bucks are willing to add to their payroll to improve the team — something ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported they are — Milwaukee could chase a significant upgrade in trades (despite being short on prime assets).
The Indiana Pacers can offer an extension beginning at 120% of Oladipo’s salary for the 2020-21 season — a deal that would start around $26 million, a few million per year below what he could sign on a max contract next offseason as an unrestricted free agent. Oladipo, who suffered a torn quadriceps tendon in January 2019 and then struggled upon returning this year, could want to come back next season and try to prove he’s still the All-NBA player he was in 2018.
The Raptors have two primary goals this offseason: re-sign guard Fred VanVleet, and do so without eating too much into their max cap space for 2021. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, any VanVleet deal around four years and $80 million should keep Toronto in the superstar race next offseason. But things get dicey if the Raptors start competing with bigger offers for one of their most important players.
October 19, 2020 | 8:44 am EDT Update
Speaking on the latest Bulls Talk Podcast with K.C. Johnson, Tom Haberstroh said he’s expecting Karnišovas to pursue a move up in his first draft as executive vice president of basketball operations. “I think [Karnišovas] might move up, because I think No. 1 with Minnesota and No. 2 (with Golden State) is going to be readily available,” Haberstroh said. “I would be surprised if you didn’t see Charlotte (at No. 3) or Chicago move up in the draft.”
For now, there is a leaguewide moratorium on transactions while the NBA and NBPA hammer out modifications to the CBA in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic-affected 2019-20 season. But come draft night, Haberstroh thinks the floodgates could open. “I also just think people are going to be more trigger-happy, make some deals because they’ve been so far away, so far removed from real NBA stuff that I do think there’s going to be a circus on draft night with the No. 1 pick,” he said on the podcast. “Top five I just think it’s just going to be all hands on deck.”