On the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast, Michael Scotto welcomed ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks. Scotto and Marks discuss the winners and losers from the NBA offseason, James Harden trade talks, trade candidates around the league, and predict each award winner for the upcoming season. Listen to the podcast above or check out some snippets of the conversation in a transcribed version below.
1:25 Winners of the NBA offseason starting with the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers
6:00 Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
6:40 Serge Ibaka’s impact on the Los Angeles Clippers
7:00 Can Chris Paul lead the Phoenix Suns to the playoffs?
8:37 Why Marks thinks the Utah Jazz are a sleeper team
11:24 Examining the Jrue Holiday trade for the New Orleans Pelicans
13:37 Why the Atlanta Hawks are one of the offseason winners
18:00 Expectations for the Washington Wizards
Scotto: From what I’ve heard within their organization, they think they can be a playoff team certainly with the Russell Westbrook trade and maybe even go higher than that somewhere around the sixth (seed) range in the East.
19:22 Losers of the NBA offseason starting with the Sacramento Kings and the Bogdan Bogdanovic situation
23:05 Reviewing the offseason for the Detroit Pistons and why Derrick Rose is a prime trade candidate
Marks: I thought three years, $25 million for Mason Plumlee was a huge reach, especially considering where centers were on the market. You’ve got Hassan Whiteside basically going for the minimum, and Aron Baynes went for two years with a non-guarantee in year two.
Scotto: I do think they’re eventually going to look to flip Derrick Rose at the trade deadline and get an asset back for him. It’s been already determined that Killian Hayes, their rookie draft pick, is going to be the point guard of the present and the future. That doesn’t mean that a guy like Rose doesn’t have value to a team that’s contending. I do look for him to be their most sought after asset as we get into the season.
26:18 Thoughts on the Charlotte Hornets adding Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball
28:20 James Harden trade talks
Marks: I think with Harden, and we’ll wait and see what he has to say, but from the outside looking in, it is probably the worst case of player empowerment that I’ve ever seen in my 20 years with the Nets and five years in the media. You have a player that’s got three years left on his contract, has basically had an opinion on how that roster was put together when you look at Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and basically how they built that roster. It’s different than what Anthony Davis went through in New Orleans where AD was there for seven or eight years, had gotten to a Conference Semifinals one time in his career, and basically said, ‘I want out. I want to go somewhere where I can win.’ The front office hasn’t done a good enough job, but you can get something for me in value here. He was on an expiring contract. The Harden situation, he’s got three years left on his contract. Everyone says it’s two. I still say it’s three because it’s $47 million in year three. Who knows where we’re going to be in three years from now?
The Jrue Holiday trade to Milwaukee at least sets the bar from a draft standpoint when you’re getting three ones (first-round picks), two pick swaps, Eric Bledsoe and George Hill. If you’re Houston, you’re saying I’ve got Harden under contract for three years. Holiday could be a free agent next offseason. I’m getting double that. Does Brooklyn have double of that to offer? I don’t think they do. Is it Philadelphia? Does Ben Simmons become available here? Does that appeal to the Rockets?
Scotto: You touched on Philadelphia. I think Simmons would be possibly the best player they can get right now on the market if they were going to do a trade. We know Daryl Morey has a love for Harden like no other.
32:46 More trade candidates
Scotto: You look at San Antonio and LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan as some guys I could see being on the trade block because, to me, San Antonio is on the cusp of a rebuild with their young team.
Marks: You can probably put Rudy Gay in there too. They’re three really big large expiring contracts.
I think an interesting name is PJ Tucker in Houston. I think that’s going to be fascinating because Tucker is on an expiring contract who wants an extension. This guy is an ironman. He doesn’t miss games. He plays multiple positions. He is a team-first player. He’s on a really good number close to $8 million. I think he’s a name to keep an eye on. I think Spencer Dinwiddie in Brooklyn. Certainly, keep an eye on him. Can this Brooklyn team afford keeping Dinwiddie on a high number when you’ve already got Kyrie Irving making $33 or $34 million? They brought back Joe Harris. Your luxury tax bill for 2021-22 would go through the roof like it is right now.
Certainly what happens in Indiana with Victor Oladipo if that team gets off to a slow start with him on an expiring contract.
Scotto: Myles Turner as well is another guy with Indiana whose name has been floated out there. They have a ton of big men with Domantas Sabonis and Goga Bitadze.
I would say in Orlando, Aaron Gordon is a guy to keep an eye on. A lot of teams have checked in on him.
40:15 NBA awards predictions
44:47 Defensive Player of the Year
46:35 Rookie of the Year
49:33 Sixth Man of the Year
51:10 Most Improved Player
53:22 Coach of the Year