Kevin Love has the Trail Blazers at the top of his trade wish list
BetAmerica has teamed up with Covers and Oddschecker to break down the latest news and trends from around the Association. This week NBA columnists Andrew Caley, Sam Farley and Ryan Murphy discuss the NBA's biggest bargains, Kevin Love's future and the single greatest moment in Vince Carter's career.
Who has been the NBA’s biggest bargain this season?Andrew: There are a bunch of players outplaying their contracts so far. As a Raptors fan, Terrance Davis comes to mind. But the player having the biggest impact this season has got to be Brandon Ingram. People were starting to wonder if the former No. 2 overall pick was ever going to live up to his potential, then the Anthony Davis trade happened and getting out of L.A. has been the best thing to happen to him. The Pelicans have unleashed Ingram to great results. He’s scoring a career-high 24.9 points per game and is taking nearly four more three-pointers per game this season, hitting 41.8% of them. Add in seven rebounds and four assists per game, and you’ve got a player who is a real bargain. Lucky for Ingram it’s a contract year.
Sam: I feel like I’m cheating a little here, because this is still a fairly large contract and it’s obviously related to how recently he entered the league, but it’s hard to look past Luka Doncic. You’re getting a guy who is being paid just more than $7.5 million (making him somewhere around the 150th best paid player this year), and he is right in the thick of the MVP conversation. That is a bargain by any definition.
Ryan: There isn't a better deal in the NBA than the $898,310 the Warriors are paying Eric Paschall. The second-round pick is averaging 16.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game and has vastly outperformed expectations at both ends of the court. Paschall's stats wouldn't be quite so gaudy if Golden State was at full strength, but the Villanova grad deserves credit for making the most of his opportunity. Carpe diem Paschanimal!
The Cavaliers are reportedly open to dealing Kevin Love. Where do you think the five-time All-Star will end up?Andrew: Love wants to return home to Portland, and the Toronto rumors intrigue me, but I think he ends up in Boston. There is a history of the Celtics pursuing Love, and while the naysayers will say Danny Ainge won’t move any of his young assets, I think he finally will, considering the Celtics' inability to take the next step. They still have an extra first-round pick of the Grizzlies that is top-six protected next year and unprotected the following year. And the fit is just too perfect for a Brad Stevens-coached team. Love spaces the floor with his three-point shooting, can rebound (something the Celtics desperately need) and is an excellent playmaker. It might mean giving up a good player, but it might be exactly what the Celtics need to battle the long and athletic competition in the East.
Sam: Kevin Love still has a huge amount to offer any team, so I can imagine he’d be chased by a number of contenders. For me there are two standout spots: Brooklyn and Miami. With the Nets, it would give them an opportunity to have a "Big Three" and also allow us to see Love and Kyrie reunited. That said, the team that makes the most sense for me would be the Heat. Miami is performing well above expectations this year. If it adds a second star to play alongside Jimmy Buckets, then they could really force themselves into championship discussions. Love has proven he is a good locker-room presence, and that could be exactly what the Heat need to gel well with their fiery talisman.
Ryan: I wouldn't be surprised to see Love end up back in the Pacific Northwest, where he would form a tantalizing "Big Three" with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland. The Trail Blazers would likely need to cut ties with Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins and Nassir Little to make a deal work, but it would be a small price to pay to acquire a five-time All-Star who is just 31-years-old and has proven himself to be a selfless facilitator with exceptional court awareness. The Western Conference is as wide open as it has been in five years, and Portland shouldn't hesitate to trade up before its championship window closes.
Vince Carter recently turned back the clock with 17 points against the Hornets. What’s your favorite memory of Vinsanity?Andrew: As a Raptors fan from Day 1 (I went to first Raptors game ever, which was played in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia), this is really tough. The obvious answer is the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest. I also think he was the best in-game dunker of all time (I will listen to a Shawn Kemp argument, but go look at his Raptors mix-tape on YouTube). One time he was playing the Clippers in L.A. and it sounded like a home game when he slammed home a ridiculous alley-op before hitting a game-winning three. Carter making the Raptors relevant is what took my love of basketball to the next level, and that peaked in Game 3 of the 2001 Eastern Conference semis. Carter went off for 50 points and hit a then-record eight three-pointers in the first half of a Raptors blowout victory. I remember screaming more at the TV with each three he hit, and the next year everyone was wearing high socks and headbands in my youth basketball league. He changed basketball in Canada forever. Even if it didn’t get better until, well, last year.
Sam: I got into basketball late, so for me Carter has always felt like an ancient treasure in a young league, and I can’t say I saw him at the peak of his powers. He’s a player I know best from low-res highlights and fuzzy clips. There are any number of posterizers that leap out, but the dunk on Alonzo Mourning is always the one that springs to mind. The sweatband, the willpower to force himself to the bucket and the sheer power as he sends Mourning flying. Unreal.
Ryan: Being forced to choose just one highlight from Carter's career is a little bit like having to choose my favorite child (spoiler alert: it's my daughter). The one moment that's indelibly etched in my brain is Carter's soaring dunk over Frederic Weis at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The towering French center was 7-foot-2, but VC treated him like a six-inch pylon, as he hurtled his body toward the hoop and threw down a rim-rattling slam. It was, at the time, the dunk heard 'round the world, and it brought millions of fans to their feet in living rooms and sports bars around the globe. I must have practiced that dunk on my Nerf hoop a thousand times, and not once did I make it look as cool as Carter did back in 2000.