MLB Trade Deadline Primer: Buyers and Sellers

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The special day is finally upon us. With the MLB Trade Deadline fast approaching, some deals are already coming across the wires. As we find out which teams think they’ve got what it takes to win it all and which teams are phoning in the last few months with hopes of a better shot in the future, allow me to sort through the contenders and pretenders. Let’s take a look at the potential buyers and sellers on Monday.

Sellers

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We start with those who don’t quite have what it takes to contend for the World Series this year. Obviously, with only 10 teams out of 30 making the cut to play in October, we can expect about two-thirds of the league to look at deals to release some potential deadweight or wasted talent. Some easy picks to be sellers are those in the cellar.

Exhibit A: The Phillies. Just two days ago Philly sent their lone All-star Pat Neshek to Colorado in exchange for three Top 100 prospects. If that’s not a steal for a rental relief pitcher, I don’t know what is. Meanwhile, the Rockies’ biggest struggle has been their bullpen. So, if Neshek remains ‘rock solid’ in Colorado, that will be a huge boost as they fight for a WIld Card spot.

Exhibit B: The Giants. Ironically, despite owning the worst record in the MLB, there were questions as to whether or not the injury-laden Giants would be sellers, or if they’d hold on to what they have and hope for better luck next year. Again, two days ago, the Giants chose the former by shipping utility man Eduardo Nunez up to Boston. This is a priceless pick up for the Red Sox, as Nunez can finally fill the void at third base and then some. Furthermore, his contract leaves plenty of space to trade for some more pitching help. Now the question is, who else are the Giants willing to part with?

Here’s where it gets tricky. The Padres and Tigers are two more teams with little hope of success in the next few years. Yet, they possess some really nice late inning help in the form of Brad Hand and Justin Wilson respectively. With most contenders seeking relievers, the price on these left-handers is astronomical. While I definitely expect these guys to be moved, I’m really interested to see who the better negotiators are. Contenders tend to be desperate and over-buy here, so the Padres and Tigers can really position themselves for a run down the road (like the Phillies).

Then there are teams like the Cardinals who are sitting close to .500 with scores of talent. Without the glue to put it all together, they face a tough decision to part with some dispensable pending free agents. With a nice balance across the board of various skill levels, the Cardinals’ front office faces tough decisions on which prospect additions can continue to build chemistry in St. Louis and which would be detrimental in the long run.

Other teams with the toughest decisions this year are the Orioles, Rays, and Rangers. With the AL Wild Card pretty wide open, an easy choice would be to go for it and press your luck in the single elimination game. But that would be stupid. Why go all out just to play game 163 and either win and face the 1 seed, or lose and be behind the 8-ball for the next few years?

The Rangers are the most well-documented team in this predicament because of all of their veterans… specifically Yu Darvish. It’s definitely now or never in Texas, and unfortunately they have said that they are open to trade talks before the deadline on Monday. This is a smart move for the Rangers because they can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to get something in return for their aging roster that can be much more well-suited on a contending team.

But who could these sellers talk with?

 

Buyers

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By my count, there are 12 buyers in the market this year… 6 contenders, 3 challengers, and 3 mistakes. The 6 contenders, for argument’s sake, are the division leaders, most of which need to shore up their pitching to go along with their hot bats. There are plenty of quality starting pitchers in the market like Sonny Gray, who has long-term contract control, and Yu Darvish who would be a rental. Either way, Gray and Darvish provide a significant boost to a team’s 2017 World Series hopes, and the Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers, and Yankees are prime contenders to use their talents.

Speaking of the Yankees, while not a division leader, they are looked upon as having the best outside chance to compete deep into the postseason. With an enormous farm system full of top-rated prospects, as well as cap space, they can go out and grab whoever they want… and you better believe they will. With an embarrassment of riches at the plate, I except a starter or two to find a new home in New York. The Yankees will definitely be the team to make headlines on July 31st, but will it be enough to stretch late into October? I’m not so sure… worst case scenario, they’re a top contender in 2018.

So that leaves five buyers left…and only the Rockies and Dbacks have a right to be. If not for the Dodgers and Nationals, Colorado and Arizona would hold the best records in the National League. Unfortunately they’re trapped in the N.L. West with L.A., so a division title might be a stretch. Nonetheless, they have a lot of tools around them to potentially surprise the 1 seed. If it’s the Dodgers, they have the benefit of being very familiar with what L.A. can do, and if it’s the Nationals, well… D.C.’s bullpen might gift the victory to the Rockies or Dbacks. Long story short: buy, gather some momentum, and survive as long as possible.

That model doesn’t work for everybody. The Brewers, Royals, and Twins have shown their cards- and they made a huge mistake. While they’ve put together a surprise run at potentially sneaking into the playoffs, there is no way they can win a World Series with their current lineup. A slugger or ace is great and all but no one can be the difference between missing the playoffs and becoming World Champions. It’s always tough to come to the realization that one’s team can’t contend, but they need to be honest with themselves (like the Cardinals).

The best case scenario is that one of these teams squeaks into the playoffs, MAYBE wins the Wild Card game, and then gets swept by the best team in the league in the next round. What a great way to throw away your prospects on a veteran rental. I guess it’s too late to say now, but they should’ve recognized that there was a reason they are surprised to be in playoff contention. Regardless, soon they’ll realize there’s a large gap between playoff contention and World Series contention.

 

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National League Midsummer Report

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If you thought the American League was crazy, wait until you hear about the NL. With injuries abound, the defending World Champs floundering, and a few dark horses emerging, it’s anyone’s guess what the second half of the season will hold. Luckily for you, I think I can help sort through the mess. Let’s take a look at what’s happening in the National League.

NL West

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We start with the best division in baseball, and we’re not even talking about the Giants. The top 3 teams in the National League at the All-star break all hail from the NL West. While it’s no surprise that this was going to be a competitive division, until game 162 I never expected the race to be this high-profile.

I knew last year that the Diamondbacks were primed to shake up the MLB, and if it wasn’t for A.J. Pollock’s injury during 2016 Spring Training, they may have been in this position sooner. In any case, the stars are aligning in Arizona. The Zack Greinke of old has returned, Paul Goldschmidt has a chance to capture MVP honors, and most importantly, they’re healthy. I’m eager to write more about my preseason dark horse as the trade deadline approaches, as I expect them to continue to push the pedal down and try to make a run in the NL that’s completely up for grabs. So until then, do yourself a favor and keep an eye on the Dbacks.

UPDATE: The Diamondbacks have acquired slugger J.D. Martinez from the Tigers to beef up their roster. Awesome. Keep it up, Arizona.

Not-so-lost in Arizona’s ascent has been the Rockies’ rise. Nolan Arenado and the Mile-High city have matched the Dbacks step-for-step as they chase down the Dodgers atop the division. I credit this climb to a host of breakout arms. All 5 starters have exceeded the loftiest of expectations, and even the veteran Greg Holland is playing like he’s in his prime again. Despite surrendering about 4 runs per game in a hitter-friendly park, Colorado’s bats seemingly always outmuscle their opponents’. If it wasn’t for Carlos Gonzalez’s season-long slump, I don’t think the Rockies would be looking up at anyone. As for now, I anticipate a tight Wild Card race among the Rockies, Cubs, and Brewers. I’m interested to see if the Rockies will sacrifice some prospects to win-now, or if they’ll throw in the towel if things get rough and go for it next year.

Finally, we focus on the best team in the MLB, the L.A. Dodgers. Currently boasting a 65-29 record along with a 10-game win streak, L.A. sent a league-best 6 All-stars to Miami. Headlined by perhaps the greatest pitcher of all time in Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers saw rookie Chris Bellinger, and stellar infielders Corey Seager and Justin Turner take at-bats during the Midsummer Classic. To complete the overall dominance, closer Kenley Jansen has been as perfect as can be by carrying an incredible 0.90 ERA into the second half of the season. The only question surrounding L.A. right now is…Can anyone stop the Dodgers??

NL Central

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Shifting gears to the NL Central, the main headline is, “What happened in Chicago?” The answer… nothing. Chill. No, the Cubs aren’t going to win an MLB-best 103 games again, and they’re only on pace for a 84-78 record. While I’m fairly certain the champs won’t repeat, I’m equally confident they will make the playoffs. The World Series hangover is real. No one has been able to repeat since the Yankees won 3 in a row from 1998-2000. Among the reasons for this are the shortened offseason. Not only did the Cubs play an extra month of baseball, but they spent most of the winter on a world celebration tour with the trophy. Before they could breathe, it was time for spring training again.  So it’s no wonder that the Cubs struggled out of the gate. The odds are stacked against them. Not only do they have a huge target on their back, but what do they have to play for? They just won the first title for Chicago in 108 years. All of their dreams came true. The value of a 2nd Commissioner’s trophy is far less than the first.

Now, as we get deeper into the MLB season, the Cubs are hitting their stride. Therefore, I’m not worried in the least about their chances of getting back to playing in October. In fact, just 2.5 GB on the division-leading Brewers, Chicago can easily win the division. Regardless, everything resets in the playoffs, so all they have to do is get there. And if you think a team as stacked as the Cubs is won’t squeak in… you’re crazy. I don’t even expect any moves late in July. The Cubs can just play at this pace and wait for the Brewers to drop down a little bit.

But wait.. will the Brewers drop? We’ve been waiting and waiting… but they’re still in first place. Milwaukee has fought off injuries in their starting pitching and continue to get great outings by their rock-solid bullpen. Not to mention… where did Travis Shaw come from?? Probably the biggest snub, I would’ve loved to see him instead of Justin Turner get an invitation to the All-star game (the 6th Dodger voted in). How a team in first place only gets to send one player (well-deserved closer Corey Knebel) is beyond me. Anyway, the world waits to see if this unpredictable production will last the remaining 65ish games, or if it will finally succumb to the Cubs’ pressure. Don’t hold your breath.

NL East

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There’s really only one team worth discussing in the NL East and that’s the Washington Nationals. But before I get into that, here’s a snapshot at the rest of what used to be the best division in the National League. The Braves, Marlins, Mets, and Phillies need to be sellers at the deadline and hope for better luck in the coming years. I love the Phillies’ and Braves’ potential, so look for them to continue to add to their youth. Meanwhile, the Mets have a strong team that was ravaged by injuries and is left wondering what could have been. So New York might be content holding their cards and hoping for better luck in 2018.

As for the Marlins, there are rumors swirling about Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna being up for sale, and I’m all for it… for the right price. Obviously with the unexpected and tragic loss of Jose Fernandez, the Marlins were looking at a tough year. It shouldn’t be time to sell your stars unless you can get proven young talent in return and set a strong base for years to come. If the deal isn’t there, be content to pack up and go at it again next year. There is always the offseason to look forward to, and…mark my words… it’s going to be wild.

And last, but far from the least… the Nationals. There is a clear two sides to this team. First, batting. The Nats lead the NL in runs, hits, doubles, total bases, RBIs, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Wow. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, they only trail the Astros in each of those categories for best in the MLB. In other words, no one hits better than the Astros or the Nationals.

However, while the dominance of the Nationals’ starting rotation is unquestioned, their bullpen has been a huge point of focus for the doubters, and rightly so. Washington’s relievers rank last in the MLB with a 5.26 ERA, only 237 strikeouts, and opponent’s batting average of .277. What really sticks out to me though is the fact that they’ve pitched a league-fewest 258.1 innings, a full 18 innings fewer than the 29th team. While that seems like a good thing, it actually means that most of the innings are being chewed up by the starters. With the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez expected to go 7+ innings every outing, it’s easy to assume they’ll run out of gas when the games matter the most late in the season. Unfortunately, the bullpen woes have left manager Dusty Baker with no choice but to force his stars to go deep into ball games regardless of the score. Hopefully the trade for the Athletics’ Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle can ease some pressure off the rotation, but is the damage already done?

American League Midsummer Report

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It’s the middle of July and you know what that means! Sports fans get to watch baseball and only baseball for the next few months! If you’ve been caught up in all of the NBA craziness and haven’t been keeping tabs on the action since my 2017 MLB Predictions, have no fear… I’ll bring you up to speed. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in the AL and what chaos lies just around the corner.

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In the AL, the Astros have jumped to an astounding 16.5 game lead in the AL West, and their 60-29 record is just .5 games shy of the Dodgers for the best in the MLB. While I had predicted Houston to win their division, I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the dominance that Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer have unleashed across the league. Three of the All-star leading vote-getters, the trio never seems to have an off night (and it’s been great having Correa and Springer on my fantasy team). With the lead the Astros hold, they would literally have to lose for an entire month straight to be in danger of dropping out of the division lead. With that in mind, whether or not they keep up their hot play, consider them a lock for the AL West crown.

The other talking point is whether or not the Rangers and Mariners will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. With these teams only a handful of games out of Wild Card contention, they must quickly decide if they can build a World Series around their current assets, or if they should let them go for top future talent. It’s always a tough spot to be in with only a few weeks left to determine if they have what it takes, but remaining stagnant is never a good option.

In my opinion, I think the Rangers certainly need to be sellers. Their roster has an average age of 29.5 which is good for 26th out of 30 MLB teams. That’s not a recipe for future success, and Texas needs to be honest with themselves here. Even if they pick up controllable bullpen help or the power hitter they’ve been lacking, and it happens to be enough to squeak into the Wild Card, I can’t imagine they’ll get past the division winners in the ALDS. Then, they’ll be in an even worse position in 2018. It’s always tough to give up halfway through the year, but they have to look at the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, both the Rangers and Mariners are currently anticipating buying, and I hope they don’t go through with this huge mistake. Also, keep in mind that they still trail a Trout-less Angels team for second in the division. If Texas and Seattle aren’t better than L.A. now, there is no way they will be after Trout returns… no matter what new bat they could acquire. They better change their tune in the next two weeks before its too late.

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The surprise team of the American League is undoubtedly the Minnesota Twins. In fact, I still don’t know how they’re within a series sweep of 1st place. If you remember, I ripped them apart in my preseason predictions, placing them 4th because the White Sox traded away all of their good players last offseason (and now Jose Quintana). Nonetheless, I must have lit a fire under this gang of misfits as they have showcased a balanced hitting attack night after night, as well as strong outings from their starters. Not to mention, Brandon Kintzler is probably the most underrated closer in the game today right beside Corey Knebel. But seriously- if you want a good laugh, read what I said about the Twins in my AL Central Preview at the beginning of the year. At least I’m proud to say I called Jose Berrios’ rise in the organization!

As I previously mentioned, the last place White Sox traded their ace to the Cubs. Luckily for Quintana, he won’t need to hire a real estate agent as his new home ballpark is 30 minutes away from his old one. I love this move to the “friendly confines.” Quintana has an ERA north of 4.48 this year, but he has seemingly shrugged off a rocky start by avoiding a loss in every appearance since June 11. While it hasn’t been the season Quintana would have liked to this point, the Cubs are showing a great deal of confidence in the 28-year-old to revive their ailing starting rotation.

As for the White Sox, the best farm system in the MLB gets even deeper. Yes, the Yankees have a great one too, but I’m seeing a lot of guys being promoted to the MLB so Chicago will carry the torch. As GM Rick Hahn seems prone to do, after he fleeced the Nationals for most of their prospects, he did the same to the Cubs. CWS picks up MLB top-10 prospect Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease (who is a really strong young arm), as well as two other deep options to load up the minors. Soon enough, the White Sox are going to be MLB’s version of the Celtics… leading the division with all of the chips to help them go all the way.

Finally, the Cleveland Indians. Quietly the reigning AL Champions (just 2 runs away from MLB Champions might I remind you), they find themselves in 1st place again. It took the majority of the first half of the season for Cleveland to overcome the Twins, but now they’re in prime position for another deep playoff run. Assuming the Twins dip off and the Tigers sell at the deadline, the Indians will only have to fend off the Royals to secure back-to-back AL Central titles. Because of recent successes and stability in the organization, I won’t be surprised if you don’t hear Cleveland pop up in any rumors over the coming weeks. As long as they stay the course, they can look ahead to a best-of-5 series in October.

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At last, you get to hear more about the most-talked-about team of 2017 so far. The Yankees rise and fall back to Earth has been well documented, but hardly surprising in my opinion. New York has long held the most prized farm system in the league, and when it was time for the best young talent in the world to finally showcase their skills in the MLB, there’s no wonder as to why they’ve exploded out of the gate. Of course, the unprecedented success of Aaron Judge is an outlier, and I’m anxious to see just how long he can make a mockery of the MLB.

Anyway, the baseball season is 162 games long for a reason. Sure enough, the Yankees hot streak has fizzled out, and they are now on the bubble for a Wild Card spot. As I said at the beginning of the year, unless GM Brian Cashman makes one more big move at the deadline, New York will be on the outside looking in come October. If that disappoints you, they’re my 2018 World Series favorite so hang in there.

As for the division leader and my World Series champion, the Boston Red Sox are in a great position to finish the season on top. With the rest of the division floundering and the 2nd place Rays losing one of their hottest hitters in Colby Rasmus, there isn’t a lot to get in Boston’s way. Chris Sale has benefited leaving Chicago and is now having perhaps the best year of his career with the Red Sox, and besides David Price, the rest of the staff is following suit.

Furthermore, after a sluggish start by Mookie Betts and Co., the Boston bats have caught fire leading up to the break. Despite not quite having the offensive year fans had anticipated, there are plenty of signs anticipating a solid second half of the season. The only question will be if they have a roster that has what it takes to win in October. I’m looking forward to seeing what depth they might add around July 31 to ensure a deep postseason run.

2017 NBA Free Agency Recap

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With most of the big names signing deals over the weekend, the NBA Free Agency Frenzy is basically wrapped up. Apart from a possible Carmelo Anthony move, I don’t have much investment left in the guys still on the market. So, in case you were out celebrating the holiday like I was and missed the headlines (or if you haven’t seen my past 2 posts in which I correctly predicted most of the signings: Part 1 and Part 2)… allow me to recap. Let’s take a look at what went down during NBA free agency this past week.

 

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The Paul George Saga finally ends in the most fitting way possible… a surprise trade to Oklahoma City. I use the word “end” loosely, because I know his name will be thrown around quite a bit next season when he is a true unrestricted free agent. But for now, we must analyze how this helps the Thunder and the Pacers. Here’s my take: it doesn’t.

The only thing I like is that a deal finally got done, and we can finally stop talking about it. Unfortunately, nobody wins in this trade. The Pacers are taking on more money for long-term control of Victor Oladipo, whom I really like, but he’s obviously not even close to the realm of caliber that George possesses. But the main reason I don’t like this trade from Indiana’s perspective is because it seems like they panicked and signed off on a deal too soon. There were plenty of other suitors with a lot more to offer, and I don’t agree with settling in their situation. While it’s nice that they got something for the departing George, I think they missed a huge opportunity.

As for the Thunder, while they become moderately competitive in the short-term, once things don’t work out this year (I’ll get to that in a minute), they will be left with an organization stuck in the cellar for at least a decade – I’m not exaggerating. Listen, Chris Paul and James Harden will be great together. Paul can play with anybody, as he’s an exceptionally adaptable PG. Russell Westbrook is NOT. He played very well with Kevin Durant in OKC, don’t get me wrong… but what happened when Durant left? The Thunder became Westbrook’s team and he more than earned the MVP honors with 42 triple-doubles. So now the Thunder grabs another strong, sharp-shooting, small forward to presumably make their team stronger. And yeah, it does on paper, but at the cost of making their best player weaker. So whether or not they win the extra 5 or 10 games, they are still the 3rd or 4th best team in the loaded Western Conference, and will ultimately fall short of their lofty goals.

So, then what happens? Paul George won’t want to re-sign to a sinking ship… he will leave in free agency. Likewise, Russell Westbrook will be sick of mediocrity and opt out of his contract and enter free agency himself. Therefore, the Thunder will lose their only 2 legitimate players and   be left with literally nothing with which to build. The only way they can save this from happening is to realize the mistake they’ve made and trade George before the deadline to a desperate, competitive team that might over-buy. Then, before Westbrook takes advantage of his player option, offer a sign-and-trade like the Clippers offered Chris Paul. I hope GM Sam Presti recognizes the reality of Oklahoma City’s situation, and takes action before it’s too late…

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He’s baaaaack! The first of a multitude of re-signings saw Blake Griffin earn a max deal in L.A. There’s not much to say.  The Clippers had a ton of excess cash after trading Chris Paul, and Griffin wanted a max deal. So, this was a great job on both sides getting it done and forming a relationship for the next 5 years.

The downside is that the Clippers aren’t good enough. Again, stuck in the West, they can barely hope for a playoff spot with their current roster. The reward for a 6-8 seed is a date with the Warriors, Rockets, or Spurs on the road. If that’s the Clippers goal, so be it. But in the end this deal doesn’t accomplish anything except a more stable look at their future.

 

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Kyle Lowry is in a similar position as Griffin. Because of his age, ability, and playing style, he had limited options this offseason for his asking price. As I said prior to his signing, despite a less-than-attractive offer from Toronto, it was his best choice. I love that he can continue to dominate with DeMar DeRozan, but the re-signing only keeps the Raptors in the same situation as last year. No step back, but no progress either.

Meanwhile, they are still not as good as the Cavaliers, and the Celtics have made great strides to improve. That leaves the Raptors as the 3rd best team in the East if everything goes their way where, of course, they would wend their way to a 3rd-straight elimination by the Cavs in Round 2 of the playoffs. Again, if that’s Toronto’s goal, so be it. As long as their roster looks the way that it does, nothing will change, and they can continue to look forward to getting ousted early in the playoffs every year.

 

Paul MillsapImage result for paul millsap

This 3-year, $90 million signing makes a lot of sense. Millsap was in talks with the Nuggets, Suns, Kings, and Hawks, but ultimately chose the Nuggets due to their young core and upside for the future. After missing the playoffs by just one game last year, Millsap can definitely put Denver over the edge and extend their season in 2018 assuming they effectively clear out the excess salaries to meet the cap space requirements.

This decision was made easier by Millsap’s claim that his other top contender, Atlanta, failed to make an offer. He also said that he felt very comfortable in Denver and that they made a compelling pitch. Despite the abrupt end in Atlanta, it seems as though all sides are very content with the proceedings. While Atlanta is in rebuild mode, they are luckily in the very weak Eastern Conference, and Millsap can stay somewhat competitive in the stronger Western Conference. However, like I said about the Clippers, I wonder how long the Nuggets will be content with a low playoff seed.

 

Gordon HaywardImage result for hayward

Finally, the decision we’ve all been waiting for… Gordon Hayward. As ESPN put it… should he choose Money, Respect, or Power? The Heat’s Pat Riley offered Hayward everything he could ask for. Great beaches, great fans, great atmosphere, oh yeah… and a max contract. The Jazz had the ability to offer Hayward more money long-term, but most would agree that Salt Lake City is no Miami, and he would certainly have earned some respect from everyone who has followed his story.

However, in the end, Hayward decided to move to Boston and join Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford as the next powerful Big 3. With so much speculation leading to this decision, there is already plenty of talk about what this means for the NBA.  In my opinion, it doesn’t change as much as you might think.

Hayward adds a secondary option that can flat-out shoot, and he’s a great defender that can make the Celtics competitive on both sides of the ball. While that’s great news for an excessively deep Celtics team, they already earned the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference last year. So, all they can really do to improve is beat the Cavs. Does Hayward do that?

I’m still not sure. At best, they are now equals, and Boston has a 50/50 shot at winning Game 7 against the Cavs to advance and lose to the Warriors in the Finals. I’m cautiously optimistic that Boston will try to trade a few of it’s excess players that it can no longer afford in exchange for a big-time big man. If they trade 2 or 3 forwards and another depth position plus a draft pick or two, there isn’t a team in the country that could say no. Obviously, that’s not the fairest deal of all-time, but the Celtics have the room to do it. Adding one final piece can put Boston over the top and give them a shot at taking down Golden State. Until then, the dynasty will live on.

UPDATE: The Celtics are rumored to be trading Avery Bradley and a 2nd round pick to the Pistons for PF Marcus Morris. Bradley has shown in recent years that he is an excellent guard with amazing defensive skills, so while I’m happy that Boston got their big man, I would’ve tried to keep Bradley for his last year under contract as a 6th man. Nonetheless, they have met the NBA-mandated budget restrictions and filled out their well-rounded roster… job well done.

 

With the NBA news stories wrapping up, it’s time for me to move back to the MLB. If you’re looking forward to more NBA coverage, be sure to tune back in around October for my full NBA preview and predictions. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me at maleopold15@gmail.com for any questions or comments regarding all things basketball.

Until then, please enjoy my midsummer baseball reports, All-star reactions, the long-awaited trade deadline mayhem, and an update on who can play in October. Cheers!