By: Heath Montgomery
There is always a point during the NBA Off-season that I like to refer to as the “Slow-season”. This is the time in the off-season where there isn’t much happening; the biggest free agents have been signed, the draft is over, and the summer league is not that exciting (even if Lonzo is playing insanely well). So, I wanted to take this time to talk about the small stories that I couldn’t write a whole piece about but still need to be discussed.
Melo is probably the last major player that will be dealt this offseason which makes his situation so much more important. The Knicks are in trade talks with Houston, Cleveland, and Portland; although Houston and Cleveland have been talked about longer than Portland, don’t count the Blazers out; there has been a strong push made by the Blazers in the last couple of days. Their starting Shooting Guard, CJ McCollum, even went as far as to put a picture of Carmelo in a Blazers jersey on his Instagram. Although, I don’t necessarily have any insider information to know where Melo will be playing next year, if I had to rank the most likely to least likely I would say: Houston, Blazers, Cleveland. Even Melo has said himself he would like to play in Houston and he believes a deal would be done. With their recent acquisition of Chris Paul, the Rockets may struggle to find key assets to give to the Knicks, so if they want a trade they will probably look to add other teams to it. The Blazers have recent draftees to offer the Knicks so that is why I put them ahead of Cleveland. Although, I would love to Melo to the Cavs it is hard to imagine given all the recent struggle in the Cavaliers Front Office.
I also wanted to address a question many people have asked me: Will Melo be an impact player for whichever team he goes to? My answer: absolutely. While playing for the Knicks, it seems like everyone had a negative outlook on Carmelo; they saw the Knicks losing and just assumed it was because of Melo being “selfish” and a “ballhog”. It may be true that Melo had the ball in his hands a lot, but, why wouldn’t he? The Knicks were garbage when he got there and still are. They may have Porzingis but the pieces around Melo before him were horrible. I believe once Carmelo backs away from being “the guy” and doesn’t have as much defensive pressure put on him because he will be surrounded by other good players, then he will show how good of a player he is (worked for KD). Melo proved he can play amazing when surrounded by other great players in the Olympics; maybe he can do the same in the NBA on a super team of his own. (Maybe I could’ve written a whole piece on this)
NBA Rule Changes
Yes, that’s how boring the NBA is right now, I am talking about rule changes. I’ll go over a few of the rules that were approved and what they would do for the league.
Looking at the rule changes, the theme of them seem to be game flow. My two favorite rule changes that I think every fan will like is the number of timeouts and the time of each timeout. The amount of timeouts per team was lowered to 7, so now teams can’t call a timeout after like a 4-0 run by their opponent. Also, there is now only one type of timeout; instead of full timeouts and 20-second timeouts (30-second timeout is better anyway 😉) there will now only be “team” timeouts that are 75 seconds long.
The NBA is also getting rid of some of the drama during the All-Star weekend by moving the trade deadline up a week before it. We all remember the blockbuster trade of Cousins this past season that made him get bombarded with questions, even though he knew only minutes before. Although, it is nice that players will never have a situation like that ever again it makes you wonder if it will bring down the buzz around All-Star weekend since the rumor mill will be shutdown.
None of these rules are very big and may not change the game greatly, but it fixes game flow problems and helps the viewer enjoy watching games by not having a timeout every couple of minutes. Adam Silver has done well.
I don’t like to take anything in the Summer League too seriously; I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of players that have a great Summer League before, only to be disappointed. With this years loaded class coming in however, I just couldn’t stay away. Names like Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum lived up to the hype by performing exceptionally, and other players, like Kyle Kuzma and John Collins, had breakout games to show off their skill. Now don’t fall into the same trap that I did and believe that everyone who does well in the Summer League will be amazing (Lonzo isn’t Magic Johnson yet), but it is exciting to see these rookies already starting to do so well.
This Summer James Harden and Steph Curry signed HUGE contracts, with over $200 million guaranteed in each of their deals. Now, most of you might just see this and think “That’s so stupid! They are so overpaid”, but this leads into the discussion of why they are actually underpaid. If you look at how much superstars, like Harden and Curry, can make for a team they are extremely valuable. They sell tickets, jerseys, souvenirs, basically anything with their name on it. The players know this and that is how these contracts keep increasing with the popularity of the NBA. In 2008, the year before Steph Curry was drafted to the Warriors, the Golden State Warriors team was worth $309 million; in 2017, they are now worth $2.6 billion, now tell me that Curry is underpaid. Expect more of these monstrous contracts to come, as many of the other players in the league will want to cash in, many sources believe the next will be Russell Westbrook and they expect him to obliterate James Harden’s record contract. Harden’s contract guaranteed $228 million… that’s a lot moolah.
I can’t wait for the games to start so we can watch all of the new super-teams and rookies go at it. We only have a couple more months so everyone bear with me through his hard “slow-season”. We can get through this together!