NBA Notebook: DeAndre Jordan joins the Lakers
Due to a truncated offseason, the first NBA preseason game begins in just 23 short days. The league was relatively light on news this week, with training camp just around the bend and most rosters nearing completion. We get you all caught up with what did happen though, in the latest edition of our NBA Notebook.
DEANDRE JORDAN JOINS THE LAKERS
Inarguably the biggest news this week was DeAndre Jordan getting traded to the Detroit Pistons from the Brooklyn Nets for a handful of second-round picks, then reaching a buyout agreement and joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Purely as far as the trade goes, the Nets did well not to fork over a first-round pick to get off of DJ’s nearly $10 million salary, though it was a bad contract from the moment they signed it.
On the other end of this transaction, it’s fair to wonder if the Lakers are doing performance art at this point. Their average roster age before the Jordan trade was 30.9 years old, already the highest in the NBA, and nearly two years older on average than the next oldest Miami Heat. If the Lakers go on to win the title, they’ll be the oldest team to do so since the 2012-13 Heat (31.2) per Real GM. Now that’s not all bad. Young teams don’t win in the NBA. But if this Lakers team does reach its potential, it won’t be long before management has to overhaul the team yet again.
Perhaps more worryingly though, the Lakers already seem to be straying from the supposed Russell Westbrook plan (i.e. surrounding the poor shooting Westbrook with shooting at four positions). Right now on the roster, LA has DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Dwight Howard, all of whom exclusively play center. While Gasol can shoot, he’s not the kind of high-volume threat you need to make up for Westbrook’s negative spacing. This Lakers team more than ever needs Anthony Davis to play at the five in order to win, and the Lakers keep adding more and more players that don’t fit that model.
BUYOUT COMING FOR GORAN DRAGIC?
As we theorized in an article earlier this month, Goran Dragic appears to be headed for a buyout. According to reporting by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, all signs are pointing to a buyout agreement being reached between the former Heat guard and the Toronto Raptors.
With the Raptors more interested in on-ball development for Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn, there’s little value in keeping the 35-year-old Dragic on the roster. The Raptors no doubt explored trade possibilities, but at Dragic’s salary number, any trade is unlikely. They’ll likely agree to buy "The Dragon" out and let him join his Slovenian National Team buddy Luka Doncic in Dallas.
BULLS FILL OUT THE ROSTER
The Chicago Bulls, who remade the core of their roster this offseason, signed a handful of players to training camp deals and two-ways, with former Detroit Piston Stanley Johnson highlighting the group. As a big wing defender, he’s exactly the kind of margin move that the Bulls need to hit on to shore up their, shall we say, structural deficiencies on the defensive end of the court.
They also signed Tyler Cook, Alize Johnson, and Matt Thomas.
PACERS GUARD EDMOND SUMNER TEARS ACHILLES
In unfortunate news, Pacers guard Edmond Sumner tore his Achilles during an offseason workout.
There’s reason for optimism though. Not only is Sumner still young at 25, but the recent history of Achilles injuries is nowhere near the career killer it used to be. Kevin Durant and Breanna Stewart both recently returned from Achilles injuries and went back to dominating their respective leagues. The margins, of course, are much smaller for a role player like Sumner, who is now likely to enter unrestricted free agency while undergoing rehab.
Here’s hoping he makes a speedy recovery.