Once the NBA resumes play, a lot will be on the line. Brendan Campbell and Alex Trataros join HAA to break down the list of teams with the most to lose.
Every NBA offseason, there is turnover. Whether it’s within the roster, front office, or coaching staff, change is one of the constants for an NBA franchise.
With eight regular-season games left to play, there’s no doubt that some teams will be feeling the pressure more than others. Knicks Wall contributor Brendan Campbell and Hoops Habit’s Alex Trataros joined Hoops Addicts Anonymous hosts, Geoff Campbell and Chip Murphy for a jammed packed episode, breaking down the teams with the most to lose.
First-time guest Brendan Campbell started the discussion with the Utah Jazz. Campbell referenced a recent article from ESPN’s Tim Macmahon regarding the relationship between stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
“It’s that Gobert has taken both, the understanding that he is part of the problem, and the only one who is trying to make a solution. From what we’ve gleaned, Mitchell has pretty much just punted on the subject any time it’s come up on public.”
Brendan Campbell goes on to explain, “I think what’s most interesting about the situation, honestly and why I think the Jazz have a ton to lose if it doesn’t click in Orlando is that Gobert is up for the supermax this summer, and the other thing is that Mitchell is entering the last year of his contract.”
The NBA salary cap as a result of COVID-19 may also dictate that either Mitchell or Gobert may have to take a pay cut, and how Utah navigates that situation may ultimately shape their franchise for years to come.
Geoff Campbell was up next with the Indiana Pacers. With the recent news of Victor Oladipo opting out of playing during the NBA’s restart, the Pacers’ chances of advancing during the playoffs don’t look good. However, aside from that, there are several other factors that make the Pacers an interesting watch going forward.
“The hard money fact of the Indiana Pacers is that they have $125 million committed in salaries for next year. A lot of their money is tied into Brogdon, Turner, and Domantas Sabonis. So the first thing with Oladipo is…how do they make room for him? Do they value him so much that they’re just gonna say you’re gonna get the four-year max, because I don’t know Indiana’s ownership well, but they don’t strike me as the type of team in that market to just continually pay the luxury tax.”
Geoff Campbell also went on to discuss Myles Turner as a potential trade target for the Pacers to move salary. Sabonis’ ascension as an All-Star has made Turner expendable and that former Texas center may be moved to create room for Oladipo.
As we moved on, Alex Trataros discussed the Philadelphia 76ers, Brett Brown’s job security, and the on-court fit between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. A perennial powerhouse in the Eastern Conference, the 76ers may have to make some big changes within their roster to get to an NBA Finals.
“I think the most startling fact, that everyone knows about, is that they’re 29-2 at home and 10-24 on the road, and that just speaks volumes to how poor of a team it is. Yes, granted home floor advantage is great, but the fact that you can’t go on the road with two of the best talents on the team and actually take care of business. I see this whole thing unraveling.”
Finally, Chip Murphy finished off the discussion with the Houston Rockets. Murphy mentioned that both, Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey may be out of a job if Rockets don’t meet or exceed expectations. Furthermore, questions still remain regarding the fit between superstar James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
“This is do or die for the Houston Rockets…anything short of a championship, Mike D’Antoni is gone…even Daryl Morey has run out of moves for this team…I mean Harden and Russ are run through 2022, they have $47 million player options in 2022, both of them.
Murphy also discusses the fact that Tilman Fertitta, generally described as a frugal owner, may opt to restructure the roster, front office, and coaching staff if results stay stagnant.
Definitely an episode worth listening to as we get closer to the NBA’s restart. It seems unfair that teams might be making such wholesale changes in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, yet it seems naive to think they won’t happen. Give the Hoops Addicts Anonymous a review wherever you’re listening to podcasts and be sure to hit the subscribe button.