Yes, it happened. The Pelicans have officially traded out of the #4 pick. To make this even better, I called this exact situation happening…with incorrect details haha. Details are as follows:

Pelicans Receive: #8, #17, and #35 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft
Hawks Receive: #4 and #57 in the 2019 NBA Draft, a future 2nd round pick, and PF Solomon Hill

Catch me and @soft7juice popping bottles for predicting this, but this is exactly what the Pelicans wanted to do. This gives them cap space to pursue an All-Star or absorb an All-Star via trade. It also puts them in line to grab Zion’s other college teammate, Cam Reddish.

Hawks wise, this gives them the ability to draft DeAndre Hunter, aka the player they always wanted. Cannot wait to see this all go down in about 2 hours.

Buck’s Big Board – My 2019 NBA Draft Player Rankings

With the draft occurring in just a few hours, it is time to finally release my rankings with a mock on the way later. I don’t care if you on’t like it, since these are my feelings on who will be good based on what I have seen on film. Enjoy!

  1. Zion Williamson
  2. Ja Morant
  3. Darius Garland
  4. DeAndre Hunter
  5. Jarrett Culver
  6. Coby White
  7. Sekou Doumbouya
  8. Cam Reddish
  9. Goga Bitadze
  10. RJ Barrett
  11. Brandon Clarke
  12. Rui Hachimura
  13. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  14. Nicolas Claxton
  15. PJ Washington
  16. Nassir Little
  17. Keldon Johnson
  18. Kevin Porter
  19. Jaxson Hayes
  20. Tyler Herro
  21. Matisse Thybulle
  22. KZ Okpala
  23. Ty Jerome
  24. Cameron Johnson
  25. Romeo Langford
  26. Mfiondu Kabengele
  27. Dylan Windler
  28. Isaiah Roby
  29. Carsen Edwards
  30. Chuma Okeke
  31. Terrance Mann
  32. Naz Reid
  33. Admiral Schofield
  34. Grant Williams
  35. Jalen Hoard
  36. Louis King
  37. Brian Bowen
  38. Jalen McDaniels
  39. Daniel Gafford
  40. Bol Bol
  41. Jontay Porter
  42. Bruno Fernando
  43. Luka Samanic
  44. Eric Paschall
  45. Kyle Guy

Comment down below if what you like or disagree with. All hardcore logic will come more in the mock GM piece.

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BREAKING: Mike Conley to Utah Jazz

Yes, Woj dropped yet ANOTHER bomb on all us unsuspecting fans of the NBA. The breakdown is as follows…

  • Jazz Receive: PG Mike Conley
  • Grizzlies Receive: SG Grayson Allen, SG/SF Kyle Korver, SF/PF Jae Crowder, 23rd pick in 2019 NBA Draft, future 1st round pick (being reported as a late lottery pick 2020 pick to translate to a lightly protected lottery in 2022)

This. Is. Amazing.

…well, for the Jazz. Conley and Mitchell are a 1-2 combo that people have been wanting to see ever since the Grizzlies said they were willing trade him. The defensive potential is ridiculous, and the offensive firepower will be able to run through a depleted West. Throw in the fact they will still have Ingles and Gobert on the team? Doubly amazing. Add the cherry on top with rumors coming out they are looking at pursuing a combo forward (like Trevor Ariza or Harrison Barnes) or 4-5 big that can space the floor (like Al Horford or Paul Millsap)? Sweet baby Jesus the Jazz are now legit contenders in the West.

Sure, the big downside to this trade is the haul that the Grizzlies got for Conley. Korver and Crowder are dead money, filler contracts, and they will be off the books at the end of next season. That’s good, since they can’t afford to have anymore bad money long-term. However, I do not think Grayson Allen is that good of a fit for their team. He does the same thing as their projected #2 pick Ja Morant, but he is way worse. He isn’t even that good of a shooting guard. The future pick could be good, but I don’t see it turning out into something special. The real value, unfortunately, is the 23rd pick. The 23 puts them in prime range to draft someone like Tyler Herro, Admiral Schofield, Isaiah Roby, PJ Washington, or Kevin Porter. This could be huge for the franchise, since they could get a really solid player to pair with Ja and 3J (Jaren Jackson, Jr.). Hopefully they make the right decision there, since that could likely spell out (in clear and bold letters) how the franchise will fair in this upcoming rebuild process.

Al Horford’s Best Fit If He Leaves Celtics

Big Al may be one of my favorite players of all time. Sure, his two-time national champion Gators beat my Bucks and a K-Love led UCLA, but he wasn’t regarded as the best player on those teams. Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer were regarded as the cream of the crop, and he was relegated to maybe being a bust in the draft when he came out. Fast forward to the Hawks team that had him, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroeder, DeMarre Carroll, and other good players. He was viewed as the most expendable of the bunch, and many said they should let him walk in order to keep Carroll and Teague. Now? He’s been the best player on the Celtics the last 3 years, and he was even willing to take a paycut in order to make the team better. Sure, I will hold out hope Ainge comes to his senses, and offers Al the 4 year, $60-72 million contract he deserves for all the dirty work he did and all that he sacrificed for the team. However, we now exist in a world were Al will not only be on the market again, but will be highly sought after by numerous teams. Let’s run through a few, since it may be likely he is no longer in the Celtic green come tip-off next season…

1) Brooklyn Nets

Yes, the ol’ Black and White might be able to poach not one, but two All-Stars from the Celtics this offseason. Having a lack of playable forward/center depth, the Nets can offer Al a max contract, plenty of touches, and plenty of minutes. A small-ball lineup of Irving-Dinwiddie-Lavert-Harris-Horford sounds like it has the offensive potential to down anyone in the league. I could see them emerging with offers in the coming days, but I doubt they will be able to offer much else to him.

2) New York Knicks

Now being the other team in New York with a ton of max contract slots, the Knicks can offer Al anything and everything he wants. Does he want to be the guy all next season while KD takes a year off and rehabs? Sure, you’ll have to be on a super young team and be the old man in the locker room the whole season, but the money, the touches, the minutes, and the spotlight are all his to soak up and enjoy for a year. Might not be a contender next season, but in two? Expect Al to come at the East crown with a vengeance.

3) Dallas Mavericks

This is a team I had to really make the mental gymnastics work for, but it makes sense. The Mavericks have long shown that they are an organization that takes care of its players, and they are willing to renegotiate longer deals for less money if it means keeping a guy they like around. I mean, Dirk only signed one contract…just had a ton of extensions. The possibility of seeing Luka, Kristaps, and Al on the court at the same time intrigues me so much, considering that Luka and Kristaps definitely need a mentor on the court for the next season or two.

4) New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans need someone that can play basketball without the ball in their hand desperately. I know reports are saying they are targeting another young, All-Star guard, but that is stupid. They need a player that can just play and help teach their young core a few tricks. I mean, think about how ball-dominant their team is now. Lonzo needs the ball in his hands; Ingram needs the ball in his hands; Zion is better with the ball in his hands; Jrue is better with the ball in his hands. To cap it all off, Zion is too new in the league to be playing center his first year. An experienced, All-Star center in the West, like Towns, Jokic, or Davis, would eat him alive. I can subscribe to a Lonzo-Jrue-Brandon-Zion-Al lineup with Hart coming off the bench to keep Lonzo’s minutes down. They’d be more of a title contender than if they got another guard.

5) Los Angeles Clippers

This is the best team Al can go to. With Kawhi looking like he’s 60-40 in leaving Toronto, the only position the Clippers need to shore up is center. The only centers on their roster right now are Ante Zizic, a traditional center, and Montrezl Harrell, asmall ball center and Draymond Green type of power forward. While both are good in their own right, they need someone that can play both requirements at center, not specialize at one. Picking up Al would allow the Clips to let Patrick Beverly walk, giving more time to the talented young duo of Landry Shamet and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. This is the best situation I can see him going to, especially since they almost beat a fully healthy Warriors in the first round of this past playoffs. A SGA-Shamet-Lou Will-Leonard-Gallinari-Harrell-Horford-Zizic-Robinson-Chandler roster? Sounds just as stacked as last years roster and infinitely better.

Jimmy Butler to…Houston?

I personally love this move. I want to get that out of the way first. However, the only way this move can occur is if the Rockets can find any takers for Chris Paul’s albatross of a contract or the absolute negative value contract of Clint Capela. However, with Chris Paul likely out of Houston sometime in the near future, this would give the Rockets plenty of space to target Jimmy Butler this FA.

Jimmy Butler would be the ideal fit next to Harden. Jimmy can play both shooting guard and small forward, can move without the ball, and can actually score on his man (regardless of who is guarding him). He is a two-way player, so he is automatically an upgrade over Chris Paul on the defensive end. A Rivers-Harden-Gordon-Butler-Tucker small ball lineup to come in after a Harden-Gordon-Butler-Tucker-Capela one (barring a Capela trade)? The defensive potential would be extraordinary, and I find it hard to envision a lineup that can score on anyone (besides Harden) in it.

This is obviously assuming the Jimmy does not wish to return to Philly next season. I believe that he truly does want to return to Philly, but the fit there is questionable to say the least. Simmons can’t shoot, and Embiid can’t stay healthy. Philly’s cap is gona be crazy to manage, and that is with the fact they only had 5 people that could play playoff basketball this year. The Rockets, on the other hand, have shown numerous times they are a playoff basketball team. They maximize their cap, and can turn any roster into a contender. Sure, the owner is not willing to spend to win, but having a contender with healthy players is better than being on a contender with unskilled/injured ones.

Can easily see Jimmy take this offer seriously, or at least leverage it to get more from the 76ers. Personally, with how dismantled the Warriors are looking, I would make the trek out to the West if I was Jimmy. The East now runs through Milwaukee, and the Nets may turn into a power house. This is all assuming the NBA champion Toronto Raptors can’t resign Kawhi and decide to blow the team up. The East is starting to look formidable, and this is all without Danny Ainge having a chance to work his Ainge-magic and form a contender of the Celtics (with or without Kyrie and Horford) overnight.

Right now, the best team in the West is either the Nuggets, Rockets, TrailBlazers, Lakers, or Clippers. If Jimmy were to join the Rockets?

I think the title would go back to Houston next year.

Harrison Barnes Opts Out

Harrison Barnes opted out of his $25.1 million contract, but is open to return to the Kings. “Blue blood” Kings would sure take a hit if they lost the forward from UNC. This is a great move for both the player and the franchise. Barnes gives them another option at small forward, can play both forward positions, and is good on the defensive end of the court. The Kings free up some cap space heading into this loaded Free Agency, allowing them to go after a big name All-Star.

Al Horford Opts Out

Don’t worry Celtics fans, no need to die just yet. Sure, your best player just opted out of his contract, but there is reportedly a deal in place to bring him back. Apparently, Al will take a longer contract with less money in the hopes of them targeting someone else in Free Agency to place on the team. Expect a 4 year contract where he makes between $15-$20 million a year, especially since that will give the Celtics the most room to play with in FA. Early reports are indicating that the Celtics will make a play for D’Angelo Russell. A Russell-Brown-Tatum-Hayward-Horford-Rozier-Smart led team that doesnt have to deal with the dysfunctional Kyrie in the background? Sign me up!