NBA pre-agency: Players of interest

By: | February 14, 2019

In the modern NBA, teams can no longer afford to only worry about a player leaving when he hits free agency.

No, in this day and age of trade demands and super-team formation, with what has become known as pre-agency, teams recruiting their own players has become a day-by-day, monthly and yearlong process.

Because if a team’s star is unhappy in his current situation, he can easily hold the franchise hostage until they finally acquiesce to his demands and trade him. We’ve seen example after example of it recently.

As such, we have ranked the 15 players whose pre-agency periods most intrigue us. For our purposes, we’re not including soon-to-be restricted free agents since teams are still in control of those situations, considering they can match any offer sheet their guys sign.

The perfect example of a team flubbing

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Pascal Siakam has become one of the most prolific transition scorers

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By: | February 14, 2019

One of the most exciting young players currently in the NBA is 24-year-old Pascal Siakam, who has been a revelation for the Toronto Raptors.

The 6-foot-9, Cameroon-born basketball player is averaging 15.6 points per game. However, he has been on a hot streak recently, putting up even better numbers. For example, he dropped a career-high 44 points (with 20 coming in the second half) against the Washington Wizards this week. It was the fourth time he has scored at least 28 points in a game since January 1.

He started just five games for the Raptors last season. But this year, he is an early favorite for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He was a fringe All-Star candidate who even took home the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week award in November 2018.

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Lowe: Ten things I like and don't like, including this MVP race

Feb 15, 2019

One last round of 10 things before All-Star Weekend:

1. The insanity of Paul George and James Harden

What a visceral thrill watching the insane shot-making of George and Harden intersect last Saturday in Houston.

No matter how many think pieces we write, I’m not sure we can adequately appreciate in real time the revolutionary nature of Harden’s step-back 3. Harden has canned 173 step-back triples, per Second Spectrum; Luka Doncic remains second … with 53. Absurd.

Harden is on pace for almost 270 step-back 3s. Stephen Curry led the league with 272 total 3s as recently as 2012-13.

Harden is now pulling this craziness in the corners:

It is hard just staying in bounds there under pressure. Harden is somehow executing lunges.

Curry pioneered the step-back to clown big men on switches. He fakes toward the hoop, gets them backpedaling, and moonwalks into a

Wherever basketball takes him, Durant is building a future off the court

The story of When Kevin Met Rich began at a Jay-Z concert back in 2008. Kleiman was representing the rapper Wale. Wale knew Durant because they both were from the DC area. Before the show, Jay-Z’s manager invited Durant backstage to meet HOV himself. In a moment of 19-year-old self-doubt, Durant balked. A bad case of impostor syndrome set in.

“I was just a rookie,” Durant says. “Who the f— am I to go in there? Like, I’ll probably walk in there and see Kobe or LeBron. I can’t be sitting in there, talking with them yet. I ain’t up there on that level.”

Kleiman loves telling this story. It’s still the essence of his relationship with Durant. He’s always begging Durant to talk more about the business and philanthropic ventures they’ve built together. Durant is always humbly stepping away from the spotlight. Because while Durant can impose his will