Obviously the major development that occurred this past week was the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers each advancing with relative ease to the Finals, setting us up for yet another rematch between two teams that may or may not have a rivalry (they totally have a rivalry). Unfortunately, we have another full six days to go before we can witness this battle of the titans, and I know that we have some in-depth matchup preview columns on the way, so I’m going to use this particular column to focus on some of the news that you may have missed this past week.
David Lee, who was forced out of Game 3 after suffering a slight tear to the patellar tendon in his left knee, will not require surgery to remedy the issue. He’s expected to make a full recovery in about six weeks, so this should be a non-issue by the time next season comes along. Lee has a player option worth $1.6 million the 2017-18 season, but considering that’s essentially the minimum amount anyone can commit to him next year, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him opt out to see if he can find another deal elsewhere for slightly above the minimum. Either way, Lee is well past his days of being relevant in fantasy hoops.
The Knicks will reportedly go after P.J. Tucker and Dante Cunningham during free agency, and they also could have an interest in trading for Ricky Rubio or Jae Crowder. Cunningham doesn’t really do anything for me, and I don’t love the idea of Tucker in New York from a fantasy perspective, but the Rubio thing does seem like something that could potentially materialize. There were rumors floating around on trade deadline day this past season that the Knicks and Timberwolves had engaged in talks centered around Ricky Rubio and Derrick Rose, but when the Knicks asked to do a straight-up, one-for-one Rubio-Rose swap; the Wolves balked (as they should have) and that was the end of that conversation. Perhaps Phil Jackson will offer something real to Tom Thibodeau and Co. this next time around, and finally get the starting point guard he desperately needs. As for Crowder, the only way that rumor goes down is if the Celtics would be interested in swapping him out for Carmelo Anthony, and I just don’t see that happening.
As for Rose, Tom Thibodeau is reportedly still intrigued by him, and the Timberwolves are expected to make him an offer during free agency. This infatuation between Thibs and Rose is one of the stranger storylines I’ve come across over the years, but apparently Thibs is that one guy in your league that can’t let go of the fact that Rose was the youngest player ever to hoist up the MVP trophy; what these people tend to neglect is that historic feat occurred six years and four knee surgeries ago. Don’t be like Thibs, guys.
Nerlens Noel has been going through voluntary workouts at the Mavs practice facility as of late, which could hint that he’ll be willing to re-sign with Dallas as a restricted free agent this offseason. Noel didn’t do all that much when he arrived in Dallas after the deadline, compiling averages of just 8.5 points, 6.8 boards, 1.0 steal and 1.1 blocks per game on 57.5 percent shooting from the field and 70.8 percent from the stripe, but keep in mind that his knee was still bothering him during that post-break stretch and he only was averaging 22.0 minutes a night. Noel definitely has top-50 upside due to his ability to rack up the defensive stats, but he does hurt you in free throw percentage. Still, I think he could take a big jump during Year-3 if he lands in the right spot, and he’s on my radar right now as a possible sleeper option with major bounce-back potential.
Paul Millsap officially opted out of his contract and he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Millsap will easily be one of the more sought after free agents this summer, and in my opinion, he seems like one of the most likely to potentially leave. Millsap didn’t really fit next to Dwight Howard, and while Atlanta can offer him the most money during free agency, it’s pretty obvious they can’t offer him a realistic title shot. It’s tough to speculate on Millsap’s fantasy potential without knowing the jersey that he’ll be wearing, but that being said, I wouldn’t expect him to have a major bounce-back year during his age-32 season in 2017. He struggled with some knee issues for the first time in his career this past season, and unfortunately, that’s an issue that starts to become more and more of a problem around his age.
Speaking of big name free agents that could be changing jerseys this summer, rumors regarding Chris Paul making his way over to San Antonio as a free agent have begun to pick up steam. It all started with Zach Lowe mentioning on his podcast that he’s been hearing “a lot of rumblings” regarding their being a mutual interest between CP3 and San Antonio, which was followed up by a Marc Stein report stating that the Clippers take the Spurs threat of a pursuit for Paul “very seriously,” and that the Spurs are indeed exploring the feasibility of making an actual bid for the All-Star point guard. San Antonio would need to do some serious roster maneuvering in order to make a competitive offer to Paul, and they simply will not be able to offer anywhere near the amount of money that Los Angeles will be able to, but what they can offer is a legitimate shot at some serious postseason success; and that may be something that is more interesting to Paul at this point in his career. In terms of fantasy hoops, San Antonio would be one of the more annoying places for him to land, as he’d be sure to pick up more than a few random rest days that would likely come at the worst possible time in the fantasy season.
The Clippers are currently poised as the favorites to re-sign Blake Griffin (toe) as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to command a max contract after spending much of the past three seasons on the sidelines.
Dwyane Wade expected to pick up his player option worth $23.8 million for the 2017-18 season, thus remaining in Chicago. Wade was okay during his first year with the Bulls, posting six-round value behind averages of 18.0 points, 4.6 boards, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, 0.8 triples and 2.2 turnovers per contest on 42.8 percent shooting, but he also only managed to make it through 66 games. He’ll be 36 next year, so I won’t be looking to draft him anywhere next year.
Josh McRoberts picked up his player option worth $6 million with the Heat, which is substantially more than he would have made on the open market. Don’t be surprised if he’s traded or waived during free agency.
Guerschon Yabusele underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from the top of both feet on Monday and while he’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to play during Summer League.