Ham’s Hoops Roundup Thursday 2/1: Have A Night, CJ McCollum

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The Pelicans trade for Nikola Mirotic and close in on Greg Monroe. CJ McCollum hangs 28 in the first and 50 for the game on Chicago. The Knicks are still an embarrassment. The Cavs win, but they’re still screwed. And no, LeBron is not going to the Warriors. It’s the Hoops Roundup for Thursday, February 1st. Let’s get it…

Scores from Wednesday, January 31st:

Memphis 101  –  Indiana 105
LA Lakers 105  –  Orlando 127
Charlotte 123  –  Atlanta 110
Philadelphia 108  –  Brooklyn 116
Miami 89  –  Cleveland 91
New York 73  –  Boston 103
Chicago 108  –  Portland 124
Dallas 88  –  Phoenix 102

Schedule for Thursday, February 1st

7:00  Memphis  @  Detroit
7:00  Toronto  @  Washington
8:00  Milwaukee  @  Minnesota
8:00  Houston  @  San Antonio    TNT
10:30  Oklahoma City  @  Denver    TNT

Around The Association

Switched things up to post tonight’s schedule up near the top. Had thought about doing that anyway with how late this blog can go up. But tonight makes perfect sense to start it.

Only five games tonight… but they are five AWESOME games. 

  • We get Blake’s Detroit debut.
  • A very interesting challenge for Wall-less Washington hosting Toronto.
  • Giannis vs. Towns in Super Bowl City Minnesota that will be attended by no less than one million journalists.
  • The always great Rockets-Spurs matchup on TNT, this right after Harden’s 60 point triple double
  • And a potentially really fun up-and-down Thunder-Nuggets matchup to close the night.

The Pelicans gave in and guaranteed Nikola Mirotic’s salary for next season, completing the trade.

This deal popped up yesterday when Woj reported that it had died. The trade yesterday was Nikola Mirotic for Omer Asik’s contract (2 years, $23.3 mil remaining after this season) and a future 1st round pick.

Mirotic declined the deal. I actually did a shockingly good job in yesterday’s Roundup of laying out how and why:

Mirotic has somewhat of a no-trade clause, and he exercised it. Basically he can deny a trade to any team that won’t guarantee his salary ($12.5 mil) gets picked up next season.

New Orleans only wants him as a three-month rental. The expected salary cap for next season is $101 million. With Mirotic’s $12.5 mil replacing Omer Asik’s $11.3 mil, NO would be at $96 million between nine players before they even re-sign Boogie. They want to get rid of Asik’s $11.3 without locking anything in for next season.

Mirotic doesn’t want to approve the trade without that guarantee because that would forfeit his Bird Rights – meaning New Orleans could only re-sign him this summer using one of their exceptions (i.e. less money) since they’ll be over the salary cap. And with so many teams with little to no cap room this summer, Mirotic also doesn’t want to take a chance on the open market, where he might end up getting significantly less than $12.5 mil next season.

Today, New Orleans gave in and decided to guarantee the $12.5 mil option for next season. They’ve also added some things to the original deal to make it work. Here are the details:

New Orleans gets:

  • Nikola Mirotic (with $12.5 mil salary guaranteed for next season)
  • Their own 2021 2nd Round Pick back, which Chicago had acquired earlier this season. But Chicago now has the right to swap 2nd Round picks in that 2021 draft.

Chicago gets:

  • New Orleans’ 2018 First Round Pick, protected 1-5 (it will likely fall in the 17-20 range)
  • Omer Asik (2 years, $23.3 mil remaining after this season)
  • Tony Allen (who will get waived)
  • Jameer Nelson (who they will keep)

For Chicago, it’s a great trade for a young, rebuilding team. So they swallow a bad contract for two years? In return they get a really nice pick (again, probably somewhere around 17-20) in a loaded draft while also clearing space for Markkanen and Portis to get more minutes. Also remember when Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face? Those two are no longer on teh same team. That’s a good thing.

For New Orleans, it’s pretty much desperation for a front office that is gone if they don’t make the playoffs.

As for the fit, I wrote this yesterday…

It’s an interesting concept. Mirotic obviously isn’t Boogie – both in production and style. He’d force Davis to Center in their best lineups, which Davis has never liked to do. But he would give them much improved spacing around Davis and a decently prolific second/third scoring option. He’s averaging 17p/6r on fantastic 47/43/82 splits in just 25 minutes a night. The two big man advantage obviously died with Boogie’s achilles… but a Davis-Mirotic big duo is at least intriguing enough to create a different, more perimeter-oriented set of mismatches.

It will get interesting next season… now that Mirotic is staying… we’ll see. If–and probably when–they re-sign Boogie, that’s a fascinating big rotation. It gives them more shooting, and guarantees they always have two bigs on the floor capable of getting 20. We’ll save that for June and July…

…But we could also get somewhat of a look at what that would be like. Because…

The Pelicans are close to a deal with Greg Monroe, who was bought out by Phoenix last night.

This isn’t final, as Monroe will explore his options with different teams and won’t clear waivers until 5pm Friday. New Orleans can offer him a starting spot, but Boston can offer him more money with the $8.4 million disabled player exception they received from Gordon Hayward’s injury.

It’s an interesting add for either team. I’d like to see him in New Orleans because 1) I never want Boston to have nice things, and 2) Monroe in NO would give us a really good idea of what a Boogie-AD-Mirotic big rotation would look like, even if Monroe is much more of a traditional Center than Boogie.

We’ll wait and see on this

Chris Haynes dropped this little nugget last night and set NBA Twitter on fire

LeBron James is not going to the Golden State Warriors. But he is leaving. And I know where he’s going.

That’s what we in the biz call a tease. Check back later today.

Lee Jenkins wrote a feature on Lou Will, in which Lou Will had an all time flex with this quote about his two girlfriends.

For reference, it’s from the song 6 Man off If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. And yes, he released in in February of 2015, the same season Lou Will would go on to win Sixth Man Of The Year for Toronto. 

The fact that Drake has his whole obsession with The 6… and became the ambassador for the Raptors that year… and then gets Lou Will there that same year… and Lou is this perfect 6th man… and is also a perfect NBA-Rap crossover figure with the two girlfriends and the robbery story and him rapping on songs with Meek (who btw would have his beef with Drake five months later) when he was in Philly… and Drake makes this song probably in like December of that season… and then Lou Will goes on to actually win the Sixth Man…

It’s just… that’s honestly too much to all just be coincidence. The more I think about it with this 6 thing Drake might just be the devil. And holy shit his most recent hit is literally called God’s Plan.

Dude Drake is Satan. Drake is actually Satan. It literally says in the bible “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” – that he’d fool the masses into believing in him. Like, come on. I’m not religious… but holy shit… Drake is actually Satan.

I have no idea what just happened let’s just get to the games

Charlotte 123  –  Atlanta 110

Charlotte  (21-29)  11th in East
Atlanta  (15-36)  15th in East

It’s a real, genuine debate throughout the league whether Isaiah Thomas–who led unexpectedly carried the Celtics to the playoffs in his first full season, then turned into an MVP candidate, led them to the 1 seed, became the most beloved Celtic since KG led them to a title, played through a brutal injury in the playoffs, hung 52 on Washington for them the day after HIS SISTER DIED, and… in an age where every star views this as the business that it is… was so into the team and the city of Boston that he still feels betrayed and treats this like Danny Ainge went and fucked his friend behind his back–deserved a tribute video. People are like 50/50 on him deserving a tribute video.

Last night the Atlanta Hawks pulled what I view as one of the funniest troll jobs of all time and gave Dwight Howard a tribute video for his one wildly underwhelming and staggeringly inconsequential season, that by the way ended with Hawks players cheering and high-fiving when they heard he was traded to Charlotte.

The Hawks marketing team has pulled some amazing moves over the past few years. Tinder Night, the “Real Ashley Madison” promotion, and now the “try to guard Hot Sauce” bit that’s resulted in some absolutely hilarious videos these past few weeks.

Trolling Dwight with a “Thank You Dwight” tribute video might be the funniest one yet.


Thank You Dwight… for gettin’ the fuck up outta here. We getting DeAndre Ayton baby!

The thing is… I don’t think Dwight liked it that much. And he took it out on poor Mike Muscala.

He finished with 20p/12r. And despite Kemba’s 38 points on a record 9 threes, it pains me to say that Dwight stole the show with that. RIP in Peace, Mike Muscala. The Hawks Marketing Team will pay for the service.

LA Lakers 105  –  Orlando 127

LA Lakers  (19-31)  11th in West
Orlando  (15-35)  14th in East

Nice bounce back from Orlando but the fact that they gave up a 60 point triple double to James Harden really isn’t going away any time soon. I might post this under every Magic score for the rest of the season.

Memphis 101  –  Indiana 105

Memphis  (18-32)  12th in West
Indiana  (29-23)  6th in East

Seven Pacers scored in double figures, led by Bojan Bogdanovic (21p/5r) and Myles Turner (15p/11r/3b). And seven Pacers recorded at least two steals. What a recap this was.

Philadelphia 108  –  Brooklyn 116

Philadelphia  (24-24)  8th in East
Brooklyn  (19-33)  12th in East

Not a great week here for Philly, who last their third straight game despite 73 points from Embiid (29p/14r), Simmons (24p/7a), and Redick (20p, 9-10 from the line).

If I had to guess, it’s probably the defense.

They let the two Brooklyn PG’s combine for 49 points in their 51 combined minutes, with Dinwittie going for 27p/4a and getting to the line 15 times (hitting 13-15) in his 34 minutes, and D’Angelo Russell posting his best game since returning from knee surgery two weeks ago with 22p/5r/3a on 8-15 shooting in just 17 minutes of action.

Philly hosts Miami tomorrow on ESPN, goes to Indy on Saturday, and hosts Washington Tuesday on TNT.

Detroit has gone all-in with Blake and is breathing down their necks (1.5 games back) for the 8 seed. This is gonna be a very important–and very visible–three game stretch here against three East playoff teams before the deadline. Better shape up Philly!

Miami 89  –  Cleveland 91

Miami  (29-22)  4th in East
Cleveland  (30-20)  3rd in East

Remember yesterday when I wrote an entire blog about why losing Kevin Love mean the Cavs were actually in genuine trouble for the first time in this LeBron Cavs era?

They came out last night and beat the 4th seed, second best record in the East this month, breathing down Cleveland’s neck Miami Heat last night. And they did it by playing great defense and holding a team under 90 for just the second time this season and first time since November 20th. Shit, this is only the second time they’ve held a team under 100 since Christmas, and they lost that other game 97-95 to Indy.

Because of course they did.

LeBron (24p/11r/5a) was his usual LeBron. Isaiah shot and awful 2-15, but still went for 13p/5r/6a/4s and hit all 9 of his free throws. And Channing Frye (16p/4r on 6-9 shooting) stepped up again in Kevin Love’s absence.

I don’t know how sustainable it is for Frye at 34. But if he can come in and space the floor and play passable defense for 20 minutes a game that’s at least something.

Despite a nice win here, nothing actually changes about what I wrote yesterday. Even if they now totally commit themselves defensively… Even if Kevin Love’s absence leaves them with no punching bag and forces them to turn inwards and examine themselves… Even if these older guys start to give a shit… they’re still completely limited by their personnel.

Isaiah physically can not defend anyone. Wade can not perform at a high level every night from here through June. Derrick Rose is beyond washed. Jeff Green has never once been consistent in his career. Jae Crowder stinks. And they now have one actual big man on their roster–Tristan Kardashian–who is an absolute shell of himself, does not give a shit, and is the nail in the coffin for anyone who wasn’t totally sold on a Kardashian Curse existing.

Unless they turn around and grab DeAndre and Lou Will this week, they’re still screwed.

New York 73  –  Boston 103

New York  (23-39)  10th in East
Boston  (37-15)  1st in East


28 second half points baby lets hear it for your New. York. KNIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCKKKKKKKSSSSSSSS.

This one started nicely and then, quite evidently, just completely collapsed in the second half.

Kyrie was out, so of course the Knicks came out and allowed Terry Rozier (17p/11r/10a/2b/2s) to post a triple double in his first career start.

And Tatum (15p/3r) and Brown (14p/4r/3a) to run their wings (Lee and Hardaway) off the court.

ESPN even CGI’d Porzingis into this dunk when he wasn’t even on the floor, just to rub it in.

But hey, the good news is that Jeff Hornacek rewarded Frankie Smokes for his really nice play (5p/3r, no turnovers, some quality PNR with KP) in 10 first half minutes by sitting him for the entire third quarter as the team collapsed. The defense was awful, Jarrett Jack looked like shit, and Hornacek decided to give Frank’s minutes to Trey Burke – who promptly missed 2 of 3 free throws and helped dig the Knicks into a deeper hole.

I just… I’d love to know what the reasoning is here. What are Jarrett Jack and Trey Burke bringing to the table for this team, that has now lost 14 of their last 20 games, that warrants not playing Frank. What actually changes if you start Frank, other than getting your most recent first round pick valuable reps with your franchise player? Does this staff and this front office just simply have no concept of how important it is to develop your only two young talents together? I genuinely do not understand what the fuck is happening here.

By the way there’s a little rumor floating around that the Knicks are considering trading their first round pick to get rid of Joakim Noah’s contract.

I’ll say right here right now that if the Knicks trade their pick to clear cap space that is utterly useless this summer and/or to chase a playoff spot that they still will not get, I will kill myslef Knicks fandom. I’ll be out. O-U-T, out. I’ll just watch the league and go full journalist with no attachment.

Honestly I hope they do it now because that sounds like such a better life. This was an awesome Roundup. I was doing really well. And then I got to this game and flew completely off the handle. So go ahead guys, trade the pick and Joakim for Tyreke Evans or something. See how that works out.

Goddammit why do I do this to myself.

Chicago 108  –  Portland 124

Chicago  (18-33)  13th in East
Portland  (29-22)  6th in West

CJ McCollum? He came out and dropped 28 in the first quarter on his way to a nice 50 burger last night.

28 in the first quarter on 11-14 shooting and 4-4 from three. 50 points on the night on 18-25 shooting and 6-9 from three. Just an absolute offensive clinic from CJ McCollum to end the night.

Nobody appreciated it more than Gang Sign John Wa- Zach Collins?

I can’t find the tweet now but someone said “Sigma Alpha Crip” to this tweet and it’s perfect.

Dallas 88  –  Phoenix 102

Dallas  (16-36)  15th in West
Phoenix  (18-34)  13th in West

Isaiah Canaan’s leg went Gordon Hayward last night. It was awful. I don’t even want to talk about it. And nobody cares about these teams anyway.

Awful way to end the rundown but it is what it is. All the best to Isaiah Canaan. Get wells soon dude.



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