The NBA Draft, the annual talent exchange of the best basketball league in the world, is scheduled for Wednesday evening (November 18th, 2020). The excitement is limited this time, not only because of the special circumstances in the middle of the corona pandemic, which again only allows sterile video switching, instead of the otherwise celebrated talent festival on the big stage. Unlike in previous years, when two young players with child prodigy status, Zion Williamson and Luka Doncic, entered the draft, this time there are no players in the raffle who are already considered to be future NBA superstars before the draw.
LaMelo traded as the top pick in the draft
The top pick for this is traded in the US media: LaMelo Ball, the next offspring of the highly hyped family around the bizarre LaVar Ball, who mainly used the basketball career of his three sons as an advertising platform for their own fashion empire and a reality TV series is advancing. LaMelo Ball is considered a solid playmaker with manageable skills on the defensive, most recently he played in the Australian league, which is not one of the top international leagues.
Lots of excitement in the trade season
The transfers of established NBA players, who are recently emerging or who have already been firmly agreed, ensure significantly more excitement in the off-season: including the change of national player Dennis Schröder from Oklahoma City to the Lakers. It is true that none of the big names are on the market as free agents this year – unlike in 2019, when three superstars changed clubs with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard. Nevertheless, there has been a lot of movement on the player market since the official start of the switching period last Monday. The focus is on two of the NBA’s biggest stars: Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden.
Bucks fight for Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo, most recently Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice in a row, so most valuable player in the league, could become a free agent next summer. The Milwaukee Bucks have presented the “Greek Freak” with an offer to extend his contract early. They do everything they can to keep their franchise player. That is why they have already started to upgrade the squad and put stronger men at the side of the Greek than they did recently: In the playoffs, the Bucks, the best team in the east, had disappointed badly and had failed early on.
Above all, the commitment of Jrue Holiday is to be seen as a real reinforcement, Holiday is considered a versatile and also defensively strong shooting guard. In return, the Bucks gave their playmakers Eric Bledsoe and George Hill to New Orleans, plus a number of first-round picks in the upcoming drafts. They were taking a risk: If star player Antetokounmpo, who reportedly can make a decision by Christmas, doesn’t sign a new contract, Milwaukee faces a difficult rebuilding without real assets in the squad.
James Harden – future at Houston uncertain
The change scenarios for James Harden, who held the title of league MVP before Antetokounmpo, are much more specific. According to many US experts, Harden apparently no longer believes that he can win the long-awaited NBA title with the Houston Rockets. Especially since the Rockets are facing uncertain times after the departure of coach Mike D’Antoni and General Manager Daryl Morey. Last reported Sports Illustratedthat Russell Westbrook was no longer happy in Houston, Harden’s most important neighbor.
Harden is drawn to another superstar with whom he once stormed into the NBA final at OKC: Kevin Durant. According to an ESPN report, The Beard is said to have turned down a monster offer from the Rockets for a new contract that would have guaranteed him $ 50 million a year. Harden seems determined, as it rushes through the US channels, to want to force the move to Brooklyn. There he would not only be reunited with Durant. Together with Kyrie Irving, the two old OKC buddies could lead a new super team and attack the NBA title. Financially, the Nets would be in the league to pull a monster deal with Harden.
Schröder in future at the side of LeBron James
Dennis Schröder unexpectedly came closer to the dream of his first NBA title. For the trade of the German playmaker to the Los Angeles Lakers, only the official announcement is pending. Schröder had confirmed just a few days ago that he wanted to stay in Oklahoma City. But as a player without a corresponding contractual clause, he had no right of veto in the deal between the Lakers and the Thunder, who in return got wingman Danny Green and a first-round pick in the draft.
Schröder is now playing for the master at the side of the superstars LeBron James and Antony Davis, Lakers legend Magic Johnson hailed the deal with Schröder on Twitter, which increases the chances that the Lakers can defend their title. For the German national team, however, this is likely to be less good news: Should Schröder go far with the Lakers in the playoffs, he will probably miss the Olympic qualification tournament, which is to be played at the end of June 2021.
Chris Paul from OKC to the Suns
At Schröder’s previous team OKC, everything looks like a major rebuild after the departure of playmaker Chris Paul to Phoenix was confirmed. Phoenix was more than ready to take on the 35-year-old playmaker’s contract and the total of $ 85 million that could fall due over the next two years. To this end, Paul should further develop the young team around Devin Booker and put them on the road to success. Oklahoma City got several players in return, including an experienced playmaker in Ricky Rubio. Another first-round pick, the Thunder now have several of them in their portfolio and are already well equipped for the coming seasons: This increases the chances for OKC of catching a real top-class player in the future.
Stand: 17.11.2020, 11:45