Russell Westbrook, OG Anunoby, Cam Reddish, Kyle Kuzma, Rui Hachimura, more


With just over two weeks until the NBA’s trade deadline, there’s more urgency between rival executives to determine if there’s a middle ground on the asking price for a coveted player and what’s real beyond the smokescreens. 

With that in mind, this week’s NBA notebook includes the latest trade intel on Bojan BogdanovicJakob PoeltlCam Reddish, Grayson Allen, Rui Hachimura, Naz Reid, Alec Burks, Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, Serge Ibaka, and Kyle Kuzma’s free agency from our Michael Scotto. Plus, the latest trade rumors commentary on OG Anunoby and Hachimura from our capologist Yossi Gozlan, a free agency stock watch from our Frank Urbina, and a look at Russell Westbrook’s case for Sixth Man of the Year by Alberto De Roa

Knicks and Bucks trade talks


Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks swingman Cam Reddish has been benched for 25 consecutive games and counting under Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau with no end in sight before the trade deadline.

As reported two weeks ago in a HoopsHype NBA notebook, the Milwaukee Bucks were one of several teams to express interest in trading for Reddish.

With trade talks surrounding Reddish ongoing, the Knicks have expressed interest in Bucks starter Grayson Allen, a career 39.5 percent three-point shooter, league sources told HoopsHype.

Allen’s name has come up in several trade discussions around the league, including several three-team trade concepts where Suns forward Jae Crowder or Rockets guard Eric Gordon would end up in Milwaukee.

Given the frequency of trade concepts Allen has been linked to involving Crowder and Gordon, it appears more likely he’d be moved – if at all – for one of those players rather than Reddish. However, the Bucks and Knicks have also discussed other concepts involving Reddish going to Milwaukee that wouldn’t involve Allen, so a trade between the two teams could still happen.

– Michael Scotto 

Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks trade values


Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Typically, a team like the Detroit Pistons, residing at the bottom of the East, would be considered a seller at the trade deadline, but that’s not necessarily the case this season.

Despite numerous inquiries on Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, rival executives have been met with a consistent stance from Detroit: It’s going to take overwhelming offers to move either player.

While some rival executives believe it could be a posturing tactic, others are taking the Pistons at face value that they want to compete next season with a high lottery pick alongside the backcourt trio of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes and veteran presences of Bogdanovic and Burks.

Bogdanovic, who’s averaging a career-high 21.3 points, could force a desperate playoff team looking to get over the hump to offer a lightly protected first-round pick and a good young player. He turns 34 in April and is owed $39 million over the next two seasons, which includes a partially guaranteed $2 million for the 2024-25 season.

Some rival executives believed Detroit could get two second-round picks for reserve swingman Alec Burks, but the current stance from Detroit is that won’t be enough.

Burks, who’s shooting a career-best 44.4 percent from downtown, turns 32 in July and has a $10.49 million team option for next season. If Burks remains with the Pistons past the trade deadline, Detroit is expected to exercise that team option with potential extension talks on the horizon for Burks as well, league sources told HoopsHype.

– Michael Scotto 

Naz Reid drawing trade interest


Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid has drawn interest from various teams on the trade market, including the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets, league sources told HoopsHype.

With the Timberwolves reportedly gauging the trade market on point guard D’Angelo Russell, could the Clippers entice Minnesota executive Tim Connelly with guard Terance Mann as part of a trade package, or the Nuggets with guard Bones Hyland, whom Connelly drafted in Denver?

Reid, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, could potentially command an average annual salary around the full taxpayer or non-taxpayer mid-level exception as one of the notable free agents on the market.

In seven games as a starter, Reid has averaged 15.4 points in 25.9 minutes with a plus-14.8 rating, per Basketball-Reference.

– Michael Scotto 

Jakob Poeltl, Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson trade values


Ronald Cortes-Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are considered a potential trade deadline seller in the eyes of NBA executives around the league with a trio of enticing veterans.

While the current asking price for Jakob Poeltl is two second-round picks, multiple executives who spoke with HoopsHype believe the Spurs can get one first-round pick for Poeltl, but two is unlikely given he’ll enter unrestricted free agency and could potentially earn roughly $20 million annually this summer. If the Spurs can get a first-round pick and a solid young player, it might be the middle ground to get a deal done.

If San Antonio keeps Poeltl past the deadline, the Spurs would seemingly pay to keep him since they wouldn’t want to lose an asset of his caliber for nothing.

If traded, Poeltl’s new team would also have pressure to retain him in free agency, especially if the team gave up a first-round pick to acquire him.

Veteran sharpshooter Doug McDermott could command one or two second-round picks on the trade market depending on the pick number and any protections, league sources told HoopsHype. McDermott has shot 41.8 percent from downtown during his Spurs tenure and is owed $13.75 million next season.

Veteran wing Josh Richardson is also available for a second-round pick, league sources told HoopsHype. Richardson, a 29-year-old 3-and-D swingman, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

– Michael Scotto 

Rui Hachimura trade suitors emerging


Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Japanese forward Rui Hachimura, who turns 25 a day before the trade deadline, raised eyebrows around the league. When recently asked if he demanded a trade, Hachimura told reporters, “No comment.”

“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player,” Hachimura also said.

Several teams have expressed interest in trading for Hachimura, including the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings, league sources told HoopsHype.

The Suns and Wizards were previously linked regarding a Jae Crowder for Hachimura swap, according to Marc Stein. Now, however, a Crowder trade for Washington is unlikely since he won’t be able to make an immediate impact, HoopsHype has learned.

Washington will have a challenge this summer keeping its core together. Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma have player options, and re-signing both could put Washington close to the projected $162 million luxury tax threshold, as colleague Yossi Gozlan notes. This scenario could make Hachimura a tax casualty, which would explain why Washington is looking to get value for him now.

The Kings can match salaries with a player like Terence Davis or Alex Len, while the Mavericks need to send out at least $4.9 million in a trade, according to Gozlan. Hachimura can become a restricted free agent this offseason, provided he gets tendered a $7.7 million qualifying offer – a decrease from his $8.5 million qualifying offer since he won’t reach starter’s criteria – as Gozlan notes.

– Michael Scotto 

Serge Ibaka suitors emerging


Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks and Serge Ibaka have mutually agreed to find the veteran center a new home via trade, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Several teams are monitoring Ibaka, including the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks, league sources told HoopsHype. The sense is that Milwaukee would be willing to part with Ibaka for a second-round pick, according to NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype.

Brooklyn is searching for a veteran frontcourt bench player who can protect the paint and stretch the floor. It’s also worth noting that Ibaka also has ties to Kevin Durant dating back to their days as teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With Miami center Dewayne Dedmon considered expendable, as noted in a recent HoopsHype podcast episode and echoed by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Ibaka could be a veteran alternative at center for the Heat.

– Michael Scotto 

Kyle Kuzma’s free agency priorities


Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

While rival executives hope to pry Kyle Kuzma away from Washington, the Wizards have maintained he’s a part of the team’s long-term plans as he nears unrestricted free agency.

After beating the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 18, HoopsHype asked Kuzma how playing with Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis will affect his free-agent decision if he remains with Washington past the trade deadline. “It plays into it a lot,” Kuzma replied. “I love playing with those guys. I see how easy it is for me, but this is something I’m not really thinking about right now. I’m so far away from it. I’m just focused on trying to get better and develop. That’s a part of whatever decision I make.”

The Wizards are banking on the appeal of Kuzma’s current role – one which has given him more freedom than ever as an offensive focal point and a playmaker off the dribble – as the focal point of re-signing him. Should Kuzma remain a Wizard past the deadline, Washington will be incentivized to offer him the most money or risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

– Michael Scotto 

Potential OG Anunoby trade destinations


Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors remain the most fascinating team ahead of the trade deadline at 21-27. Last week we looked at what a retool could look like for them if the Raptors were to trade Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Gary Trent Jr., and argued that OG Anunoby’s age and potential to improve makes him less of a priority to move right now. But with so many theoretical fits for Anunoby, the Raptors may get a strong enough offer to move him now.

One team that would be a very intriguing fit for Anunoby is the Grizzlies. For Memphis, trading assets for a player like him would be a departure from their approach of drafting and developing most of their players in-house. But with the NBA Finals in reach, adding a player of his two-way versatility could put them over the top in the West. Now is as good a time as ever for them to make an aggressive move like this.

Memphis has all their first-round picks going forward and a Top 4 protected Warriors first-rounder for 2024. A combination of those could serve as the foundation of an Anunoby package. Who they move on the roster gets more interesting. Would a combination of Danny Green and a young player like Ziaire Williams or one of their recent draft selections be enough? Or could the Raptors push for Dillon Brooks, an Ontario native, as well? Although Anunoby could start and close over Brooks, having both gives the Grizzlies more lineup optionality in the playoffs if they wanted to play small.

The Blazers previously tried to acquire Anunoby for the No. 7 pick ahead of the 2023 NBA draft, according to Chris Haynes. Perhaps this could be revisited, especially with Portland on the outside looking in of the play-in picture. Would they consider trading future picks and Shaedon Sharpe, who they selected with that pick? A package featuring him and Josh Hart would allow the Blazers to remain under the luxury tax for this season.

New York can easily get in the mix since they have all their first-rounders and four owed by other teams. The Knicks have a good combination of young players they can trade who could also make up the $12.4 million matching salary required.

The Kings are another team that could use help on their perimeter defense and could be a sneaky aggressive team now that they hold the No. 3 seed. Would they be willing to part with Keegan Murray already to get that done?

The Suns are another team that could make sense with a combination of Cameron Johnson and future first-round picks. A frontcourt featuring Anunoby and Mikal Bridges would give the Suns the unfair advantage of having two players who can defend the best guards and wings in the league.

– Yossi Gozlan

Free agent stock watch: Up


Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Gabe Vincent 

When Kyle Lowry, a potential trade candidate ahead of the upcoming deadline, recently missed a few games with an injury, it was Gabe Vincent who stepped up for Miami, playing some of the best basketball of his career. Over his last seven games, Vincent has been very solid, averaging 15.6 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 38.0 percent on 7.1 nightly three-point attempts. An upper-level backup point guard with defensive tenacity and some tough-shot-making prowess, Vincent should attract interest as an unrestricted free agent this summer, especially now that he’s shown what he’s capable of when given starter minutes. Miami is in a bit of a bind, too, with Max Strus similarly headed to unrestricted free agency this offseason. It’ll be interesting to see who the Heat are more aggressive about keeping.

– Frank Urbina

Free agent stock: Down


Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay 

Given his play this season, it’s likely that Rudy Gay will exercise his $6.48 million player option this summer. Gay looks like he’s on the last legs of his NBA career (an impressive one, mind you) averaging just 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds on 34.8 percent shooting this season. With the Jazz still in the early stages of a rebuild, they will probably have no problem keeping Gay, a valued veteran presence in the locker room, around for another year, especially if they trade Mike Conley as some expect them to do before the early-February deadline.

– Frank Urbina

Is Russell Westbrook the NBA’s top Sixth Man candidate?


Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook‘s successful transition from superstar to sixth man is a very uncommon event in NBA history. Despite a history of non-starters becoming important players, like Manu Ginobili and Jamal Crawford, there’s still a stigma of demotion to not being on the court when the game begins. However, in his second season with the Lakers — despite the team’s overall disappointing results — Westbrook may be on pace to add to his Hall-of-Fame career by winning Sixth Man of the Year.

Per our HoopsHype advanced statistics, Westbrook is arguably the top candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Per Global Rating, he’s currently second among eligible players for the award, only behind Christian Wood… who has started in 17 of his 42 games, including the last 16 he’s played. According to the award rules, a player must come off the bench in more than half of their appearances to be eligible. Barring a return to a reserve role, Wood will soon become ineligible, leaving Westbrook as the front-runner.

It’s extremely rare for a player who has won the MVP award to win Sixth Man of the Year too. Since the award’s inception in 1982, only two players have accomplished that feat: Bill Walton and James Harden. In Walton’s case, he won the Sixth Man award at a point in his career when he was clearly unable to play starter minutes, averaging less than 20 minutes per game with Boston. On the other hand, Harden won the award while playing for Oklahoma City before rising to stardom with the Houston Rockets.

Besides Walton and Harden, only a select few former MVPs have received votes for the Sixth Man of the Year award. These include Bob McAdoo in 1985 (sixth place), Moses Malone in 1991 (sixth place), Magic Johnson during his brief 1996 comeback (fifth place), and Derrick Rose from 2019 to 2021, with his best result being a third-place finish two seasons ago. With no serious injuries or comebacks from retirement to be considered, only McAdoo and Malone’s late careers as bench players are similar to Westbrook’s situation — and neither of them was really close to winning the award.

Over the last five games, Westbrook has averaged 24 points and 6.2 assists on 39.1 percent from deep. Since Jan. 4, the Lakers’ net rating with Westbrook on the court has been the second-best among players with at least two games played at plus-10.7, only behind LeBron James. In contrast, when he is not on the court, the Lakers have been outscored by 8.1 points per 100 possessions, again only surpassed by LeBron James. While his numbers may not be as good as his prime days in Oklahoma City, Westbrook is effectively making the team better with his contributions.

This impact should not be underestimated. With key rotation players like Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker, and Austin Reaves sidelined due to injury, there is additional pressure on LeBron to perform every night. While James has not disappointed, Westbrook’s increasing consistency has been crucial in drawing attention away from the defense. His ability to shoot close to the league average from beyond the arc has made it difficult for opponents to leave him open, creating more space for his teammates and increasing his opportunities to attack the rim. While not the dominant force he was with the Thunder, Westbrook has been one of the most productive players in drive plays over the last 10 games, shooting at a 53.4 percent success rate in those situations.

Westbrook’s run has helped the Lakers post a competitive 7-4 record in the last 11 games despite the wave of injuries they’re suffering. With Davis likely back soon, having Westbrook as a legit third star option again is really welcome news for a struggling franchise. It also gives Russ a great shot to win Sixth Man of the Year.

– Alberto De Roa

You can follow Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto), Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan), Frank Urbina (@FrankUrbina_), and Alberto De Roa (@TikotDeRoa) on Twitter. 

[listicle id=1874853]

[listicle id=1858125]

[listicle id=1840232]

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype

Source link