NBA draft day excitement starts early

on June 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

If we take a quick trip across the sporting landscape in Toronto, we notice a few things. Toronto FC and the Wolfpack are leading MLS & Kingstone Press League 1 respectively; the Blue Jays are battling for .500 yet again; the Argonauts are starting off what hopes to be a winning season; and the Maple Leafs are in the midst of the Las Vegas draft process with hopes to possibly net a defenceman, regardless of who the Knights take from them.

In this cornucopia of local sports news, it’s almost unforgivable to be talking about basketball, but giddyup people as this has been a most interesting week of NBA news and this is even before any draft day dealings. So let’s take a quick look at what has taken place and finish off with the most important of questions.

Philly moving on up

Whether it turns out or it fails, Bryan Colangelo has never been afraid of making a big trade. He finds out what he wants and then does what he can to get it. What he and the Philadelphia 76ers want right now is Markelle Fultz, touted to go first overall in this year’s draft. Philadelphia traded their third pick overall plus another first round pick (2018 or 2019 depending on some restrictions) to the Boston Celtics for the first overall pick in 2017.

It is a steep price to pay, but in Fultz they are getting a 6’10” point guard who is versatile on offence either getting to the rim or pulling up from behind the arc and yet, still has great passing instincts to get others involved. He does need work on his defensive game but in all fairness, the past couple of years have proven defence may not be as important as it once was. Fultz can be that one piece that fits perfectly for the 76ers with their youthful bigs Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor.

Now if Fultz has the potential to be a great player, why would the Celtics trade him away? Two words… Isaiah “freakin” Thomas.

Something happened on my way to LA

Paul George made it clear this week that he will not be resigning with the Indiana Pacers at the end of his contract which has one year left on it. Which is a polite way of saying, you better trade me now or have nothing to show for it. It does put the Pacers at a disadvantage for one they are not dealing in a position of strength and secondly, it is most likely that the team that gets George will only have him for the one year. Rumour has it that the all-star is looking to sign with the Lakers in 2018. There was a chance (and still might be) that the Lakers will trade for him now, but they just made the trade below to clear cap space for next year, so it may be unlikely.

Now, there are teams like the LA Clippers who believe if they get him this year and control his bird rights, they have hope he will sign there long term. There is also the case of the Cleveland Cavaliers. They don’t currently have a GM after David Griffin resigned, but they may be interested in paying for one year of Paul George to combat this year’s champs the Golden State Warriors. But the Cavs are also interested in Chicago Bulls Jimmy Butler, so who knows what Chauncey Billups (frontrunner to be the next Cavs GM) will do… or, more realistically, what LeBron will tell him to do. (wink wink)

These are not the words out of my mouth

Finally, our very own Raptors have graced the rumour mill as it is was reported that Lowry had issues with the team these last few months and that he is out of Toronto unless he gets a max 5 year deal. Is this true? Well, first of all, I don’t think Masai Ujiri is looking to give Lowry the longest term because of his age, but I don’t see a matured Lowry making any sort of indication like that, even if there was any hint of truth behind it.

This doesn’ guarantee that Lowry will re-sign with Toronto obviously, but after the 76ers just traded for Fultz, I sincerely doubt there is any further interest (if there was any to begin with) from them. So with all the “changes” that Masai preached about after they lost to Cleveland, this may just be the same old, same old Raptors team as before. Which by the way ain’t too shabby having back-to-back 50 win seasons.

This all leads to the most important question. If the Warriors are able to stay intact, do any of these moves prevent the Warriors from repeating as champions?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

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