Jonas Nader

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead

Monday, January 18, 2016


Hey guys, welcome back to The Week Ahead! Every weekend I’ll touch on some of the major storylines across the NBA and will take a brief look at what’s in store during the coming days. Additionally, I’ll have a complete report on the latest injury news and trade rumors. If you guys have any questions or just need some advice, be sure to follow me on Twitter or just shoot me an email!


Week 13 Schedule

 

4 Games: ATL, BOS, BRK, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, LAC, NOP, NYK, OKC, TOR, UTA

3 Games: DEN, GSW, IND, LAK, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, ORL, PHI, PHX, POR, SAC. WAS

2 Games: SAS

 

Storylines: 

 

Joakim Noah (shoulder) is out for the season

 

Noah suffered a dislocation to his left shoulder during Friday’s game, and an MRI confirmed that he will need surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. He is on the last year of his deal and the Bulls made him “available” in trade talks before the injury, so it’s possible that he may never play for Chicago again. Noah was averaging 21.9 minutes per game on the season, but his injury may make it less likely that the Bulls trade Pau Gasol or Taj Gibson. Nikola Mirotic could end up playing more at the four as opposed to the three moving forward, and I’m hoping that Bobby Portis can find his form again and carve out a role with minutes in the 20s. If the Bulls don’t feel like this roster can challenge for a championship, don’t be surprised if they make some major changes at the deadline. As good as Jimmy Butler is, this team simply doesn’t stack up to the Cavaliers, let alone the Warriors and Spurs.

 

Blake Griffin (quad) to return on road trip?

 

The All-Star forward has been sidelined since Christmas, but he said that he is "definitely" going to play at some point during the Clippers' upcoming five-game road trip that begins on Thursday vs. the Cavaliers. Griffin has been able to do on-court work without any soreness, and he is set to meet with a doctor on Tuesday. The Clippers had won 10 straight games without Griffin until their loss on Saturday vs. the Kings, so there is no real incentive to rush him back. His owners shouldn’t expect him back until at least next week.

 

Lakers to focus on player development?

 

It only took coach Byron Scott half a season to realize that his team isn’t going anywhere but down, and he finally admitted last week that he needs to start playing his younger guys more. ”I’m trying to get these young guys more experience and playing time so they can understand what this league is all about," Scott said. "Hopefully at the end of the season, the game has slowed down for all of us.” Unfortunately, Scott didn’t stay true to his word (of course) in Saturday’s blowout loss to the Jazz, as D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle played just 25 minutes each. Instead of giving meaningful minutes to the building blocks of the organizations, Scott played Marcelo Huertas and Ryan Kelly down the stretch. I think the Lakers will keep Scott around because he will increase their chances of securing their top-3 protected lottery pick, but hopefully the front office will start putting some pressure on him to set the youngsters free. I still like Russell’s outlook after the All-Star break, but I’m less confident about Randle.

 

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Trade chatter and rumors

 

The Cavaliers have reportedly started making calls on the market for Timofey Mozgov. The massive center has been nothing short of a letdown this season, but it’s possible that he isn’t fully recovered from his offseason knee surgery. He is averaging just 17.8 minutes per game in Cleveland, so a move away from the Cavs would only help his value. The only problem is that the Cavs would struggle to find a decent big to replace Mozgov with his reasonable contract, so a deal doesn’t seem likely. I’m not stashing him in any league for now. 

 

Speaking of the Cavs, their key players would reportedly welcome a Markieff Morris trade. The Suns have been giving Morris significant minutes again after he was in the doghouse just last week, so it’s obvious that they are showcasing him for a trade. Morris would strictly be Kevin Love’s backup in Cleveland, so his owners shouldn’t be rooting for this trade to happen.

 

The Pelicans have interest in Rudy Gay and the Kings are intrigued by Ryan Anderson (along with half the league it seems), but the two sides reportedly didn’t get very far in recent talks. In fact, the Pelicans reportedly tried to offer a package involving Eric Gordon and Alonzo Gee for Gay (did they seriously think they could get Rudy for that?), but the Kings predictably turned them down. Expect some more talk closer to the Feb. 18 trade deadline because the Pelicans should be one of the busiest teams.

 

The Bulls “quietly” made some calls around the league to gauge the interest in Pau Gasol, but Joakim Noah’s shoulder injury may force them to change directions. Gasol is the only true center left in Chicago, but the Bulls are in a very tricky position because he can leave this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Regardless of what happens with Gasol, his fantasy value should be safe.

 

According to Calvin Watkins of ESPN, the Rockets still have a “desire” to improve their roster despite playing a lot better lately. Terrence Jones and Corey Brewer have been mentioned in several rumors this season, while Ty Lawson could continue to be shopped around as well. If you have a roster spot, stashing a player with Jones’ upside makes a lot of sense.

 


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