When Larry Nance Jr. joined the Cavaliers in a Feb. 8 trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, he needed direction about how his new team did things. He needed a workout partner. He needed insight into the Cavs offense and his responsibilities on defense. The Revere High School product got all that from Tristan Thompson, a player much like himself — a high-energy, athletic and versatile big man who to this point in his career has not been a prolific scorer.
Exec weighs in: “Three years, that’s the big number. They’re going to want a draft pick in a package for him, and there aren’t a lot of teams that are going to include possibly good picks or young players for a guy who is kind of a square peg in today’s league. It’s not saying DeRozan doesn’t have value, it’s just that you’d have to adjust your whole offense for him. You can’t just stick him on the Pelicans, for example, because he wouldn’t pair up with Anthony Davis well. There’s too many obstacles.”
Exec weighs in: “If anything does happen with that roster, Lowry is probably the guy who makes the most sense. He can be hard-headed, that was always his reputation, but he seems to have mellowed out now that he’s older. He’s tough and he has two years left on the contract, which makes it easy to take, especially if you can get rid of a bad deal on your books. I think that is what Toronto is going to be looking at with him and of all the possibilities, that’s the most likely.”
Exec weighs in: “They’ve shopped him in the past, but the contract is not so bad anymore, and he is playing better. He is a more aggressive defender and rebounder. So the thing that makes another team more willing to trade for him has got to make you think that you don’t really want to deal him after all. If you can find a piece that helps you on the wing, that’s great. But even with JV playing better, there are not a lot of teams looking for back-to-the-basket centers. I don’t see anything happening with him.”
“I think their owner would trade management/the coach before he would trade Karl-Anthony Towns,” Wojnarowski said. “I don’t think they would allow that. I just don’t believe they’d allow that kind of decision. And I don’t know that they’d want to trade him. To answer this first, Minnesota’s bigger issue is not…he’s Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re not moving him, Towns is eligible for his extension this summer. You know Jimmy Butler…it’s more of a question of Andrew Wiggins. That to me would be, if someone was going to get moved — and I’m not saying anyone’s going to get moved — I think Andrew Wiggins is the one you’re going to look at first. Because…you don’t have to make a decision on Towns and Jimmy Butler and one of those guys having to take less on an extension, because you can’t have three [max] guys.”
As far as potential trade partners for Whiteside, Dallas — a team that tried to sign Whiteside in the past — appears inclined instead to pursue impending free agent big men. According to The Ringer, Dallas is expected to pursue DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins and restricted free agent Julius Randle. From the Heat’s standpoint, there remains sentiment internally toward moving on from Whiteside.