It’s your eighth birthday. You ditch the Chicago Bulls quilt, throw on SpongeBob slippers, and go downstairs. Glide on the handrail and descend like a professional gymnast.
Ready to welcome you into the living room, loving parents with the gift you’ve always wanted. How could it not be the new bike? The cover chart shows that it’s daytime: two wheels, a seat, and some cruising. This summer is about to shine!
Begin to tear off the wrapping paper. All you can think of is the fun mess that’s about to be guaranteed. He rides to the park. He heads off to Seven Eleven for a slush. Ride… back to the park. Before you know it, all the paper is on the floor and you’ll be backing down to enjoy the glory of Christmas.
Where the best bike in the world should be is a pile of vegetables. Broccoli, carrots, zucchini, radish. Unlike fun. What is F***!?
This is my longstanding metaphor for this off season trade market. Although there are two of the game’s biggest names in the trade bloc – Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell – reports on either have been few and far between. News about men like Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and Myles Turner has slowed, too. What seemed like one of the craziest summers at some point has turned into a snooze, and it doesn’t look like things will change anytime soon.
The last we heard about Durant’s position was about a potential deal with the Boston Celtics centered around Jaylen Brown. However, that failed to gain almost any traction after the initial report came out. As for Mitchell, the Knicks have loomed as a potential landing point, but the talks have yet to gain momentum.
In fact, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype didn’t inspire much confidence that a Mitchell deal was on the horizon:
The New York Knicks have the draft pick compensation necessary to get Mitchell, including a maximum of eight first-round picks over the next seven years that they can include. However, New York has been reluctant to let go of the treasure chest of enlistment choices thus far, with trade talks stalled over the past few weeks.
Scotto also commented on the potential move for Westbrook. He stated that a potential three-team deal between the Knicks, Jazz and Lakers has been discussed in the past. The deal would have brought the Lakers some much-needed role players while sending Westbrook to rebuild the Jazz (which he would have bought). Mitchell, duh, would have ended up in New York.
While that sounds crazy, Scotto doesn’t seem to indicate that this is an active discussion. The Lakers have always been reluctant to part with their remaining picks in the first round (2027, 2029), which I have to imagine is part of the reason this deal failed to take off. In any case, be sure to read Scotto’s comments on these players – as well as other veterans who circulated trade rumors – here.
Sure enough, whether it’s for Durant, Mitchell or Westbrook, the deal can still pay off. As training camp approaches, the reality of where the teams are standing will begin to emerge. We can see the sense of urgency for those looking to trade players, as well as those looking to acquire players, increase exponentially as they hope to enter a new team into the season with a clear game plan.
With that said, it looks like the potential for a huge deal could drop dramatically the moment the ball tilts in October. Adding a player like Mitchell or Durant mid-season would be quite a complex adjustment, especially when we consider the huge amount of assets teams are looking for in exchange for either of them. So while some teams may decide to go ahead with the big move after seeing their product on the field in the coming months, can these moves be considered? very big?
If teams choose to wait until the next vacation date to re-visit certain talks, the entire commercial market could still be stuck in the mud. Even smaller deals can be difficult for teams like the Chicago Bulls to pull out of mid-season, as prices remain inflated and certain teams hesitate to move tradable assets.
Conversely, if these superstars are transferred mid-season, teams like the Bulls may find themselves with many interesting options. Maybe the Jazz or the Nets go into full sale mode and it becomes much easier to land some veterans. But, again, this seems like the least likely outcome at the moment…any kind of stinky.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that I don’t remember the last time we went into a regular season with the futures of so many big names involved. And I’m left wondering what kind of effect it will have on how the front offices approach the season as a whole. I think all we can do is wait and see.