Rockets fans better hope Morey can work his magic and get Iguodala in the mix or maybe Kevin Love?

Iggy and CP3 may be the key to the 2020 NBA title

Iggy and CP3 may be the key to the 2020 NBA title
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

News Flash! The dynasty is over (at least for one year) and the race for the 2020 title in the NBA is wide open. Gone is the Bay Area "superteam" loaded with 4-star players and a supporting cast that does just enough of the dirty work to get the job done. The league is now all about 6 or 7 teams made up of dynamic duos that give their team and city hope that a title run could be in their future. The favorites could very well be the team that has the best 3rd option of the contenders, followed by the team that has the best overall supporting cast. The two teams in Los Angeles are the leaders of the pack with a deadly combination of star power and role players in all the right spots. Milwaukee has one all-world player and a deep roster of talented and capable veterans at every position and Boston is just loaded with above average talent on quite possibly the deepest collection of talent in the league. Philly may have lost J.J. Reddick, but they have Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Teams like Houston, Dallas, Denver, Utah and Miami are waiting in the wings for the perfect deal or salary buyout that could put them over the top and into the mix to have a legitimate shot at a ring. With that said, I present to you the three players that could rearrange the NBA landscape between now and the playoffs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have told teams around the league that they are now open to trade offers for Kevin Love. The veteran power forward has a ton of playoff experience including a ring, he is a stretch-four that shoots a good percentage from distance and is capable of fitting right in with a contender to provide rebounding, locker room leadership and smart decision-making. Obviously he fits in better with teams like the Bucks, Celtics, Rockets and Clippers because of the stars they already have on those squads and style of play of coaching staff in place. I don't think he would be a good fit with his former teammate LeBron James and the Lakers because they had a rocky relationship in Cleveland, Anthony Davis already does what Love can do and numbers that would have to be involved salary wise would make it difficult to execute a deal. He would be a perfect fit in Houston because of his size, shooting ability and experience playing in a system where the ball is dominated by one or more players.

Chris Paul is a guy that a ton of teams around the league would love to have, but his contract and salary number have hindered and prohibited the majority of those clubs from exploring a trade. After his tumultuous stint in Houston and his hamstring that left H-town "hamstrung" in the playoffs two years ago, there were serious doubts if he could still play at a high level and contribute to a title contender. When he was traded to the Thunder he could have pushed back and fought the move, even possibly holding out, but instead he has embraced the jump to OKC and in the process proved to the world he has plenty left in the tank. The Lakers would love to find a way to add CP3 to the mix of AD and 'Bron if they could make it work financially. Miami tried to trade for him before the season and would love to put him next to Jimmy Butler to validate the Heat as a contender in the East. Milwaukee is another team where Paul's services would be sought after and his skill set would fit, but coming up with the players and money needed to consummate a deal, especially as a small market team, might be too big of a challenge for Giannis and company. Obviously the Rockets won't be exploring this option any time soon for obvious reasons that the fans of Houston know far too well. Red Nation just has to hope no contending team gets creative enough to work a deal for CP3 and catapult themselves into the race for the crown in either conference.

Believe it or not, the one player that could decide who raises the Larry O' Brien trophy this coming June is not a superstar or and all-star, it's Andre Iguodala. The veteran wing player is the perfect compliment to just about every team with a shooters chance to be playing in late June in the NBA. He has won titles with the Warriors and dealt with difficult situations both on and off the court, including in-fighting between stars like Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. He is an above average defender capable of guarding multiple positions at a high level and this in itself makes him a hot commodity that every team would love to have. If you leave him open he can knock down the 3-ball and if he gets out on the break he is capable of finishing at the rim whether he goes over someone, around them or to the line.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome