NBA News Roundup

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We’re not even a week removed from the Warriors winning the 2021-2022 NBA championship, but plenty of news from around the league has flooded in since then. And by the time you’re reading this, we’ll be one sleep away from the NBA draft, which will leave plenty to talk about as well. I’ll discuss some more Kyrie Irving drama, trade rumors and some player options that were picked up (or declined) over the past few days.

Main storylines

Kyrie Irving and Nets currently at an “impasse” about his future

Shocker. Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported two weeks ago that all signs were pointing towards Kyrie remaining on the Nets, but now they’re having some issues again. Kyrie has until June 29 to make a decision on his player option worth around $37 million for next season, and teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks are among those that could pursue him. Landing on the Knicks would make the most sense as they’d just need to get rid of a few contracts, but the Lakers and Clippers would likely need him to opt into his PO and then be traded after the fact.

Robert Williams will only need rest this offseason to get knee back to full strength

Time Lord played through what was labelled as “left knee soreness” for the entire postseason, but he won’t require any sort of procedure to get back to 100% and will just need to rest. Williams was truly a warrior out there and looked like his old self at times, and he’s going to be a very popular second-round pick in fantasy drafts assuming all goes well this summer.

Kenny Atkinson changes his mind, won’t coach Charlotte

Atkinson agreed to a four-year deal to become the new head coach of the Charlotte Hornets on June 10, but changed his mind basically right after the Warriors (who he assists) won the championship. I don’t blame him for staying with such a successful franchise, and the Hornets’ search for a new coach continues. Mike D’Antoni will meet with Michael Jordan regarding the coaching vacancy, so he and Terry Stotts are the most likely next guys up to land the job.

There is “hesitancy” on if Charlotte will match a max offer sheet on Miles Bridges

Bridges is coming off a career season in most statistical categories, but the belief is that he will be commanding a max contract or something very close to it this offseason. The Hornets have to decide if this is something they’ll go through with, or if they’ll let him enter free agency. The team recently mentioned that why’d be looking to offload salary in order to re-sign him, which makes far more sense than letting him walk after being one of the most improved players in the entire league.

James Wiseman says there’s a 90% chance he’ll play in LV Summer League

Wiseman is around 14 months removed from a surgery that helped repair a torn meniscus and he didn’t play a single second in the 2021-2022 campaign. If he gets enough action in Summer League and is ready for the start of the season, his fantasy relevance will depend largely on what happens with Kevon Looney, who will enter free agency. The Hornets and Kings are two teams rumored to be interested in Looney, who are both in obvious need of some frontcourt depth.

Collin Sexton has been cleared for full basketball activity

Sexton only appeared in 11 games for the Cavs this past season and had surgery to repair a torn left meniscus in his left knee in November. This most recent season was the final year of Sexton’s contract but he has a qualifying offer for the 2022-2023 season, so he may or may not remain a Cavalier. He’s demanding the big bucks (around $20 million annually), so one of the teams out there has to be prepared to pay him that.

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Grayson Allen undergoes small procedure on left ring finger

Allen just wrapped up his fourth professional season and it was his best yet, and he’s well on pace to be fully healthy for next season. He was fantastic to start last season but slowed down considerably after the fact, so at worst, he’ll help fantasy teams boost their triples.

Lou Williams intends to keep playing next season

Williams is now a free agent but says he has no plans to retire, regardless of where he lands. Regardless of destination, his days of fantasy relevance appear to be over after averaging just 6.3 points in 14.3 minutes per game last season.

KJ Martin Jr. approached Rockets about a trade

His spot in the rotation isn’t guaranteed and it’ll only make matters worse for him assuming Houston drafts one of Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr. or Chet Holmgren. Given that does occur, Martin Jr. will need to be on another team to have any chance of proving relevant in fantasy hoops, but even then, it’s not a sure thing whatsoever.

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Trade/free agency rumors

Hornets express interest in Pacers center Myles Turner

The word on Turner has gone back and forth for a while now, as he was originally likely to stay in Indiana, but is now clearly on the market. If the Hornets can pull this off, they’d have a massive upgrade at the center spot and Turner could be a fantasy beast as well. Gordon Hayward is one name that has come up in trade scenarios for Turner, which would highly benefit both teams, and we may see something go down as soon as Thursday evening.

Jazz would be happy to keep Rudy Gobert if they don’t like the trade packages

Utah said they were willing to discuss trades surrounding Rudy Gobert, which makes complete sense given his visibly shaky relationship with Donovan Mitchell. However, most recently, the team said they’d be fine keeping him if they don’t get the right offer, but they may just be saying this for the heck of it. Utah hasn’t had much success with the Mitchell/Gobert duo over the past few seasons, and if one of them is on the move, it’ll almost assuredly be The Stifle Tower.

Malcolm Brogdon likely to be moved this week

This was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Tuesday night, and the idea of Brogdon being on the move has been in circulation for quite some time now. The Wizards and Knicks are the two most likely landing spots for him, and if he stays healthy, he could be a fantasy monster in either city (but that’s a big “if”). Tyrese Haliburton would also stand to benefit and he could be looking at legitimate first-round numbers as the main man in Indiana if all goes well.

Kings and Hawks have discussed a trade for John Collins

The kicker here is that Sacramento is not including the fourth overall pick in negotiations, so if they really want Collins, they’ll have to go a different route. There’s a good chance Harrison Barnes is included in this deal if it actually goes through, and maybe, just maybe, the Kings can get back into the playoffs for the first time since 1378. Hawks center Clint Capela has also gained some traction as the Timberwolves are reportedly interested, and if Capela is actually on the move, it could be Onyeka Okongwu season in Atlanta. The Capela-KAT fit is bizarre, but if they can somehow coexist, Minnesota could be in as good of shape as we’ve seen in many years.

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Knicks trying to clear $25 million for Jalen Brunson

The Knicks have liked Brunson for quite some time and it’s looking like they’re going to do whatever it takes to try to get him. The Knicks need a point guard pretty desperately, but Brunson had a career year in what was considered a successful season for the Mavericks. If Brunson does head to New York, guys like Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel could very well be on their way out.

Mavs intend to pursue Goran Dragić in free agency

Dragić would hypothetically be yet another ball-handler that could help relieve Luka Dončić at times, but this probably won’t translate well into fantasy value. Dallas just traded for Christian Wood as well, so they’re clearly not shy about making moves after an impressive postseason run.

Rockets among teams interested in Nicolas Claxton

Jonathan Feigan of The Houston Chronicle stated that the Nets would be unlikely to match a mid-level offer to Claxton, so he may be on the move. If he is shipped to the Rockets, this would be very bad news for Alperen Şengün, who was one of the big winners of the Christian Wood trade. Maybe another team will snatch up Claxton so we can fully embrace Şengün season.

Pistons have very strong interest in re-signing Marvin Bagley

Bagley actually played quite well once traded to Detroit, averaging 14.6 points and 6.8 boards per game in 18 appearances, so they’d probably love to have him back. Detroit is still in rebuild mode as they look to find the right pieces to surround Cade Cunningham, and maybe Bagley is one of them. The Pistons have also expressed interest in point guard Dennis Schroder, who would be a nice backup point guard that could provide some scoring off the pine.

76ers and Suns have expressed interest in acquiring Eric Gordon

Gordon has one year left on his contract and then a player option worth a whopping $21 million for the 2023-2024 season, and the Rockets really don’t have much reason to keep him around. He’d provide another shooting weapon for either team if he ends up leaving Houston, but don’t expect him to be a steady fantasy contributor.

Knicks to be active in discussing trades for Nerlens Noel

New York seems to be set at center with Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims getting the majority of the minutes at the five, so trading Noel for a positional need makes most sense. He’s a fantastic per-minute shot blocker but he can’t seem to stay healthy, as he made it through just 25 contests last season.

76ers looking into trade options centered around Danny Green and No. 23 pick

Green suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee and his expiring $10 million contract could be used for salary-matching purposes. He’ll have a few random fun lines when he’s healthy, but he’s not someone to put on your draft board.

Lance Stephenson wants to return to the Pacers

Stephenson was one of the many fun stories from last season and had some truly incredible moments, but at the end of the day, he’d really just be a veteran presence in Indiana.

Rookies (or rather, soon-to-be rookies)

– Chet Holmgren prefers to be drafted to OKC – Holmgren is going to be a joy to watch no matter where he ends up, but it may be the most enjoyable if he ends up in OKC. The Thunder are well into its rebuild and Holmgren would help expedite that off the bat, joining youngsters like Josh Giddey and his twin Aleksej Pokusevski. Holmgren did meet with the Orlando front office last week, however, and Orlando can choose whoever they’d like since they have the No. 1 overall pick.

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– Shaedon Sharpe works out for CHA, DET, OKC, ORL and SAS – Sharpe is one of the biggest question marks of this year’s draft class, but one team was left off this list – the Kings. He met with the Kings at the combine but they didn’t work him out, but Sacramento should be able to get him rather easily with the No. 4 pick if they change their mind about him. Top-three projected pick Paolo Banchero also hasn’t spoken to the Kings, but there don’t seem to be many scenarios in which he would fall past third.

– Keegan Murray likes the potential fit with Sacramento – Like I mentioned above, the Kings should have no problem getting Murray if they’d like with Holmgren, Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr. projected to be the first three picks. Murray can play either the three or four, which would help the Kings out quite a bit, but they’ll have a tough decision to make on Thursday. It doesn’t help that Jaden Ivy of Purdue has also been linked to Sactown, so who they select is really anyone’s guess.

Player options

– Bradley Beal will decline his $36.4 million player option – Beal will officially enter unrestricted free agency on Thursday, but he can still sign a five-year, $248 million deal with the Wizards. The other option would be choosing to go elsewhere entirely, and there shouldn’t be a shortage of teams interested in him if that’s the case. In terms of his health for next season, Beal recently mentioned that he has 80-90% of the range of motion back in his left wrist after undergoing surgery in February, so hopefully one of the league’s best pure scorers gets that to 100% by the time October rolls around.

– John Wall picks up $47.4 million player option – No surprise here, and as it stands, the only player making more money than Wall is Stephen Curry. Wall didn’t play one second last season but is expected to work on a buy-out or trade to get away from the Rockets, and many teams could be interested if it’s not for an absurd asking price.

– P.J. Tucker declines $7.4 million player option – Tucker will enter unrestricted free agency and will try to find one last multi-year deal for his career. The 76ers have been brought up as potential suitors for Tucker, and while they’d surely like to bring him back, he’s going to gain a good amount of interest from across the league. The 76ers are also reportedly looking to move Matisse Thybulle, which goes hand in hand with this Tucker news, so we’ll see how all that pans out.

– Kendrick Nunn picks up $5.25 million player option – He played in Nunn of the games last season with a bone bruise in his right knee, and he’ll provide a nice scoring punch for the Lakers whenever he’s fully healthy.

Other players that have picked up player options include Jeff Green ($4.5 million), Thanasis Antetokounmpo ($1.88 million), Trey Burke ($3.3 million) and Cory Joseph ($5.1 million), while Nicolas Batum is planning to decline his PO worth $3.3 million. Finally, the Miami Heat extended a $2.1 million qualifying offer to Caleb Martin, and he’ll provide some wing depth to whatever team on which he ends up.

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