It’s Black Friday. If you’re old enough you can remember this day as one of a mild shopping frenzy, early-birds putting up decorations and department store Santas appearing, plus some sales for those who chose to get out of the house, for whatever reason.
The younger might remember it as a time of absolute consumer madness. Fights, tramplings, even death, were common as shoppers battled to get a (theoretically) limited supply of bargains. In a move of incredible brutality to many store clerks, big box stores began opening at midnight on Thanksgiving, to further fuel a frenzy of acquisition.
I think Black Friday has peaked, the deals more or less smeared across several weeks, pre and post Thanksgiving, with Cyber Monday being a preferred option for the misanthropic bargain seeker.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not still an item of discussion! No, sir! The less puissant Eastern Conference will get its lesser Cyber Monday treatment, but today we see what’s on offer from the Western Conference.
We’ll go in alphabetical order.
Wesley Matthews - Scratch & Ding. Wesley is an older model 3&D player, whose physical style doesn’t mesh with the “Obstruction Era” NBA. Injury sapped him of much of his game, time and rule changes are doing the rest.
MSRP - $18.6 million, expiring. You might have to give Dallas something of note if you want to get off multiple years of similar salary, like a first round pick, or a value priced player. Still, he’s very, very, available.
Harrison Barnes - Roster Improvement - There’s nothing particularly wrong with Harrison Barnes, but at $24.1 million this year, and $25.1 million next (a player option he almost certainly takes) that’s $50 million of “perfectly decent” over the next two years.
Would you consider one bad contract, a good pick, and a decent young player for both?
All offers considered!
Paul Millsap - Old Stock - Now in his 13th NBA season, versatile and once robust Millsapian technology is starting to show its age. He’s getting a whopping $29 million this season, but the rest of Denver’s salary structure is incredibly friendly. Paul’s $30 million team option makes him an expiring deal. Denver would take some sort of sweet draft pick, or player, to get you off a bad deal, probably. $29 million expiring for a still-useful player can fix a lot of roster damage.
Right now Golden State wants to sell you a story, would like you to lead an A Round. The Elevator Pitch is that all will be well when Steph Curry returns. If Curry is in Super Sniper Unlock Mode, that could well be true. But if you saw the past few Warriors games you saw a team with little energy, depth or enthusiasm to spare, but a great reserve of personal distaste for any number of things. Like most worries that have afflicted Golden State over the past few years, it’ll probably all come right over the next couple of months. The love fest will resume, and all those scary injuries will have helpfully resolved before playoff crunch-time once again.
Oh, you want something tangible? How about:
Andre Iguodala - Old Stock - At $16 and $17.1 million over the next two years, Andre “Finals MVP” Iguodala isn’t that expensive. Right now, though, it seems like a lot for not much coming back. The Warriors don’t have much to send your way - late picks, maybe a young player, and why do you want to help fix their looming TaxPocalypse, anyway?
Carmelo Anthony - Deep Discount - 90% OFF! That’s right, you can have a former scoring champ for 90% off MSRP. Carmelo needs a new home, and if your team lacks anyone who can create his own shot (cough, Cleveland), Carmelo at the low, low price of $2.5 million could be the player you’ve been looking for!
Danilo Gallinari - Refurbished - The Clippers have to be pretty happy with their salary structure, sans Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and D’Andre Jordan. At $21.4 and $22.6 million Gallinari seems like a pricy Italian luxury car that struggles to find an everyday role in life. Capable of high performance, but usually in the shop awaiting repairs, it’s hard to see which team wants a 2018 Gallinari. The Clippers have basically NO salary on the books next year, so if they can find a garage to house a leaky, temperamental Italian luxury player, they might sweeten a deal, so they can be bigger players in 2019 Free Agency.
Much like the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers are going to be spending a lot of money in 2019 Free Agency. Luol Deng is already bought out, and back with the man who abused him. All the Laker deals are either rookie contracts, LeBron, or one year engagements. So much LA money will be chasing a limited number of top players, it should be fun.
In the meantime, maybe you’d want Kentavious Caldwell Pope? No?
Honestly, the Lakers should be looking to do their summer shopping as early as possible, and bringing players in for the future.
There can be only one Grizzly Black Friday offering. You know him, you think he’s a tool:
Chandler Parsons - Broken Pretty Boy - Memphis doesn’t have much to offer, but aside from Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Jaren Jackson you can absolutely have it if you’ll take Parsons and his $24.1 and $25.1 million salaries off their hands. If you came with something really nice, maybe you could even get Jackson.
And honestly, you could offer on:
Mike Conley - Scratch & Ding - $30.5, $32.5, $34.5 million. Ok, fine. Just saying, you could have him, a better value than John Wall, anyway.
Well, huh. Do you want Andrew Wiggins? Because you can absolutely have him. How about the inexplicable:
Gorgui Dieng contract? Overstock - At $15.1, $16.3 and $17.3 million this deal isn’t a budget buster, but it doesn’t push you towards a title, either. The Timberwolves hoped Dieng, with an extra letter more in his name than Deng, might blossom into the player Deng was until Thibs broke him. He’s perfectly adequate. Not sure what they’ll use to entice you to take him. Robert Covington? Dario Saric? Both of those guys solve real problems. Odds are Dieng stays where he is, now that he won’t be packaged with Jimmy Butler.
New Orleans only has one problem contract. No, it’s true.
Solomon Hill - Closeout - The Solomon Hill model didn’t take off like expected, and now mostly sits on the bench, eating money. It’s unclear if he’s even in the NBA after his contract expires. New Orleans might offer you a pick to make him go away and open a lot of salary space in 2019, when, like 2016, many teams will be flush with money and bidding will be high. You know, the sort of summer that brought you the Solomon Hill deal in the first place.
Well, obviously it’s Russell Westbrook. Ok, before I have to duck brickbats, of course not, he’s invaluable. Truly.
You might be surprised to learn that the Cheap-O-Thunder who let James Harden go, are the #2 salary paying team in the NBA. That said, it’s hard to see what salary OKC wants to shed. How about:
Dennis Schroder - German Indictee - At $15.5 x 3 million, he’s the guy Atlanta ate Carmelo Anthony’s contract to shed. Yet there’s real talent here, and a real talent for getting crossways with humanity. Could be good, could be Dennis Schroder.
The Suns offerings will look familiar to Rockets fans. Suns are unlikely to be big Black Friday sellers.
Ryan Anderson - As-Is - At one time I thought Ryan Anderson was a player who might not do that much to help a contender at the highest levels, but could easily add wins to a team with no particular aspirations. Without his shooting, and the gravity it creates, he’s an albatross. Owed $20.4 and $21.3 million over this year and next, he’s probably not moving until the spring sales at the earliest, when it becomes Ryan Anderson’s Expiring Contract.
Trevor Ariza - Model Closeout - In some ways the NBA prototype of a modern 3&D wing, Trevor Ariza appears to be coming to the end of the line. $15 million is a lot for veteran leadership. A spring buyout or expiring deal candidate, too.
Sitting perhaps surprisingly at #7 in NBA salaries, the Trailblazers have needs, but few ways to address them. Their picks look to be middling, their most desirable players seem to be part of a long-term core, with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins being the key players. But wait, who’s this?
Evan Turner -
Odd Player One of A Kind - At $17.8, and $18.6 million Evan Turner is the Ryan Anderson of Wings’N’Things. It’s unclear just what Turner does, or does well, except get paid. If you took his deal, a pick and Anfernee Simmons you’ve probably done well.
The Kings will not be participating in this year’s Black Friday. For the first time in forever, they have no terrible deals they wish to shed. They might buy yours. They have less than $50 million of salary committed next season. By the rules they have to sell something? Fine.
Zach Randolph, Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos - Old, Badish, Badisher - at $11.7, $11 and $8.8 million respectively, all of these are expiring deals, so they aren’t items that will go as cheaply as you might think.
Utah is thrifty. Their big deals typically go with players they actually want, and next year they look to have a decent amount of cap space. They keep paying Derrick Favors, but that’s their business, I suppose. The Jazz don’t really need to move anyone, as their salaries will sit at $83 million next summer (though with several guys they probably want to re-sign). Still, there’s a guy they’d like you to look at closely:
Dante Exum - Discontinued Superstar - He’s not that expensive, but it just hasn’t happened for Exum, for whatever reason, primarily injury. At times he looks fantastic, and at $10.6 million for the next three seasons, he’s not terrible value. There are teams who could really use him, but I expect the least trading team in the NBA to not trade anyone.