Buckle in, folks. The trade moratorium has been lifted and, and the NBA has delivered with no shortage of action thus far, with potentially much more on the horizon. Let’s get up to date.
New Orleans is nearing completion of a deal to send G Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and what's described as "significant" draft compensation, sources tell ESPN. Teams are still working through the picks in trade.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 17, 2020
This was the big deal of the evening. Milwaukee has acquired Jrue Holiday to run with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. This deal initially looked like a heist for Milwaukee, but we later found out they were also sending three first-round picks to New Orleans as well as two pick-swaps in the odd years.
To be clear, that’s an incredibly hefty price to pay for Jrue Holiday. Holiday is a fantastic player, who probably classifies as a pseudo-star or just plain star, but that draft compensation is Anthony Davis-level.
The catch is that this likely signals that Milwaukee either has word from Giannis, or has incredibly good reason to believe he will sign his supermax extension. In that case, this becomes one of those scenarios where the outsized draft capital lands you more than one star, albeit in a roundabout way and for a player that is already on your roster. Think of this as somewhat similar to the Paul George draft compensation that Oklahoma City extracted from the Clippers to ensure they got George and Kawhi Leonard.
The last two weeks have been filled with chatter that Giannis Antetokounmpo indeed plans to sign his five-year supermax with the Bucks before the Dec. 21 deadline to do so ...— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 17, 2020
The Bucks just made a trade that suggests they must believe it
In a vaccuum, this is an upgrade for Milwaukee. Holiday is better than Eric Bledsoe, and gives them a bit more juice on offense. He might not be Chris Paul in that sense, but he should give them more than Bledsoe did in a postseason setting.
As it turns out, Milwaukee was only just getting started.
Milwaukee is landing Sacramento's Bogdan Bogdanovich in a sign-and-trade deal, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 17, 2020
While this may not be the most exciting deal of the offseason, I love this move for Milwaukee when paired with the Holiday move. One thing the Bucks really needed to insulate themselves from was teams forming a wall and developing a scheme to at least contain Giannis. That has killed their offense the past couple of postseasons.
Neither Holiday nor Bogdanovic solve that problem entirely on their own, but together and joined by Khris Middleton, Milwaukee has a much better safety net against teams who are able to slow down Antetokounmpo.
They’ve sent out pretty much all of their draft capital moving forward, and there’s surely some risk given that Holiday has a player option following the season, but this is the risk you take when you need to keep Giannis freaking Antetokounmpo on your team.
The Rockets are finalizing a trade to send Robert Covington to Portland for Trevor Ariza and 2020 first-round pick and 2021 protected first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 17, 2020
This news got largely overshadowed by the Holiday news, but it’s pretty significant.
For one, this signals that despite what Houston is saying publicly, they know it’s time to blow it up. You simply do not trade Robert Covington for salary filler and draft capital if you’re trying to win a championship. I fully expect Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and P.J. Tucker to be next.
It is impossible to prove that this is the sole reason for the Rockets implosion, but it’s remarkable how quickly this franchise has imploded since the sale of the franchise to Tilman Fertitta.
Rockets' Tilman Fertitta on 5/10/19: "I'm a fighter. They're gonna pick up more of my culture"— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 17, 2020
Morey, McNair & D'Antoni: Gone
CP3, Clint, Green, Nene & Shump: Gone
Harden: Wants out
Russ: Wasn't on team yet but wants out
PJ: Wants $
EG: Unhappy w/ role?
Rivers: Gone soon?
On the flip side, what a move by Portland. Is it maybe a bit steep to give up two first-round picks for Robert Covington? Yeah, probably, but not by much. Plus, it’s time to give Damian Lillard the supporting cast he deserves. It’s time to go for it and see just how far Dame can guide you. You know who’s the perfect type of player to put next to pretty much any defensively challenged superstar? Robert Covington, that’s who. A core four of Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and RoCo is really, really good. Covington will be masterful working as a help defender behind Nurkic.
This was the first big transaction, and man, what a swing it was for Phoenix. Frankly, I love this deal for both sides.
I know our own Jack Borman likes Phoenix as a top-4 team in the West, but I still think that’s a bit rich. Still, if you’re Phoenix, having a remarkably fun team who realistically can try to be a top-6 or so team in the West is well worth what they gave up to get one of the best point guards of all time. They’re going to be so, so fun to watch next year.
On Oklahoma City’s end, Sam Presti just keeps picking up assets. Flipping Russell Westbrook for a boatload of picks, and then sending out Chris Paul for ANOTHER first-round pick is pure insanity. Between this move and the trade of Dennis Schroder for Danny Green and the Lakers first-rounder this year, Presti has a boatload of options. He can and probably will try to move Green, Ricky Rubio, and Steven Adams for more picks. He can see what happens with Kelly Oubre the first half of this season before making a decision on whether they want to bring him back long-term (I like this idea) or whether he’d like to try to turn Oubre into another pick himself.
Presti will no doubt get a ton of credit for the way he’s acquired draft capital, and he absolutely deserves it. The amount of capital he’s received for Paul George and Russell Westbrook is insane. The catch is that he must spend them wisely. Presti will be looking for his next Westbrook, Harden, Durant, or Ibaka as opposed to his next Perry Jones, Terrence Ferguson, Cameron Payne, or Josh Heustis.
In all reality, OKC has way too many picks to actually use all of them, but when any young star becomes available, most teams will have a difficult time beating what Presti can offer.
What’s really stuck out to me is that teams with even a 1% chance of winning the championship are going for it, with the exception of Houston where the sky is falling. It’s refreshing in a non-2017 Warriors world where each competitive team is looking to upgrade. On the other end, it’s fascinating to watch David Griffin and Sam Presti use that as motivation to build their teams up to be ready to compete when some of these teams eventually age out of contention or need to rebuild. The NBA is going to stay interesting for a very, very long time.
These are the major transactions that have occurred so far, and as new ones pop up (looking at you, Houston Rockets), we’ll update this thread to give our instant reaction.
LET CHAOS REIGN.