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Free agency is an important time for every NBA team. Even the squads that don’t have cap space will face certain stakes come July 1.
Some teams trip over themselves to add A-list talent. Others try to prevent irreplaceable players from leaving. Capped-out suitors must hunt for bargains. Rebuilding teams aim for leaps. Fallen contenders adapt to new realities.
What happens over the summer is a tone-setter. We’re looking for the franchises with the most on the line. Run-of-the mill stakes don’t cut it.
The Denver Nuggets are a good cutoff for this exercise. They’re declining Nikola Jokic’s team option and plan to offer him a five-year max deal, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania. His salary in 2018-19 roughly $25.3 million will drag them into the luxury tax $123 million.
Scores of offseason scenarios are now on the table for them. daftar poker Do they submit to the tax and keep their core together? Will they let Will Barton walk in free agency and cut additional costs? Are they so committed to their nucleus they’ll sweeten salary dumps on all their expiring contracts, look to spend money on free agents and then cannonball deeper into the tax by reupping Jokic after the fact?
Denver’s summer will be big, but not big enough. More precarious situations will get the apple of our affections—extreme cases in which entire eras and windows, both new and old, are hanging in the balance.
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Marcio Jose Sanchez
Every offseason has been a course-correcting experience for the second-era LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers. His short-term contracts kept them on default tilt, while the Golden State Warriors’ budding dynasty and Kyrie Irving’s departure contributed to annual wholesale reassessments.
This summer won’t be any different. If anything, it will be the most crucial offseason the Cavaliers have faced since James returned in 2014. He has their entire future on a string as he contemplates his player option.
Losing him will be a death blow. Depending on the day, it’s also the most likely outcome. The Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, among a select few other teams, are all expected to pique his interest, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein. Each destination arguably offers him a better crack at taking down the Warriors in the short or long hauls.
If he leaves in free agency or by way of a forced trade, then James will force Cleveland to start over. Though Clevelandm’s Terry Pluto has heard the Cavaliers will resist a full-scale teardown, they’ll have no other choice. A soon-to-be 30-year-old Kevin Love, Collin Sexton, a mishmash of veterans and scattered youth does not equate to relevance.
“They have some ammo now, thanks to that Nets pick Sexton, but they are poorly prepared for a potential transition of this magnitude,” ESPNm’s Zach Lowe wrote. “If LeBron leaves again, it will be a long while before we are talking about Cleveland basketball in May.”
Tanking has finite appeal since lottery reform will take effect ahead of next year’s draft. The Cavaliers will consider plumbing rock bottom anyway. Collecting losses still improves their chances at landing a top selection, and the draft is their best hope at getting another cornerstone for the post-LeBron cycle. Cleveland is not a free-agent hot spot without him, and the Cavaliers won’t have cap space even if he bolts.