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Impact of Rick Carlisle’s departure on the Dallas Mavericks
Things have changed dramatically for Dallas over the past 48 hours. It started with the firing of longtime general manager Donnie Nelson. Then in shocking news, head coach Rick Carlisle resigned after 13 seasons with the team.
There’s a major backdrop here with Dallas coming off a second consecutive first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs. Luka Doncic is not happy with the direction of the organization and certain front office members. It’s going to be very interesting to see who Dallas replaces Carlisle with and whether that caters to the aforementioned Doncic.
Joel Embiid contract extension not in the cards?
Following an historical choke job in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers are on the brink of elimination. As the No. 1 seed, losing in the second round of the NBA Playoffs would be a major failure. It could also lead to questions about how Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will fit in Philadelphia long-term.
As it relates to Embiid, he’s currently playing with a torn meniscus in the knee. This could also play a role in his long-term future with the 76ers. Derek Bodner of The Athletic notes that Philadelphia could push back against signing Embiid to an extension this summer. Said deal would be valued at $190 million over four seasons after he earned All-NBA honors.
Zion Williamson unhappy, leading to NBA trade rumors
Reports surfaced recently that Williamson is unhappy with the direction of the Pelicans organization. Specifically, some family members want the star forward to be traded. While that’s highly unlikely to be the case here over the short term, it’s something worth monitoring after the Pels fired head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Williamson, 20, has been absolutely brilliant in two seasons with the Pelicans — averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists on a god-like 60% shooting from the field. Despite this, the Pelicans have not earned a playoff spot in those two seasons. Williamson is under contract through the 2022-23 season.
New Orleans headed in another direction without Stan Van Gundy?
The head coach was fired on Wednesday after one disappointing season as New Orleans’ head coach. It’s notable in that he apparently did not see eye-to-eye with the team’s young core. It’s also notable in that the Pelicans are going to have to make moves this summer in order to return to relevance on the broader NBA stage.
Who New Orleans brings in to replace Van Gundy will be telling. Guards Lonzo Bal and Josh Hart are slated to become restricted free agents. There’s also been some subtle rumors that front office head David Griffin might look to trade Brandon Ingram and find another running partner for star forward Zion Williamson.
Washington Wizards move on from Scott Brooks, adding to Bradley Beal trade rumors
It is being reported that Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard did speak with Beal before deciding to part ways with longtime head coach Scott Brooks. That’s the good news for Washington. Unfortunately, Beal went to bat for Brooks many times throughout their tenure together. It’s not yet known how the star two-guard feels about the head coach’s departure.
What we do know is that rumors of Beal requesting a trade from the nation’s capital will pick up steam this summer. That’s especially true if he doesn’t sign an extension and opts out of his current contract to become a free agent next offseason. Right now, Wizards fans are on pins and needles attempting to figure out what’s going to happen here.
Impact of Donnie Nelson’s firing on the Dallas Mavericks
We already know that star Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is not happy about the team’s front office after yet another first-round playoff exit. Now that Dallas has moved on from general manager Donnie Nelson after nearly a quarter century in that role, this could be magnified further.
While Doncic is more than likely to sign a max contract extension with the Mavericks, it’s not clear how long the star guard is going to be in Dallas. We’re going to have to wait and see as it relates to his reaction over this momentous news. For now, fans in Big D are on pins and needles.
Jimmy Butler expected to sign contract extension with the Miami Heat
Ethan Skolnick of 5 Reasons Sports reports that Butler will eventually be offered a max-contract extension this summer and is expected to sign it. We previously noted that Butler wanted an extension from the Heat. However, it was not then known whether Pat Riley and Co. were willing to commit to him long-term. Said deal would be worth $182 million over four years and would replace his $37.65 million option for the 2022-23 season.
Butler, 31, was tremendous this past season en route to earning All-NBA Third Team honors. He averaged 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists and an NBA-high 2.1 steals per game for an otherwise underperforming Heat team.
No, Luka Doncic is not going to be traded
Reports surfaced recently that the Mavericks’ star is not happy about the direction of the organization and those who seemingly hold power within the front office. This came after Dallas lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs despite Doncic playing at an otherworldly level.
The always active social media presence that is Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took to social media to discount this report in a big way. So, forget about hitting up the NBA trade machine or looking at potential blockbuster trade scenarios. Instead, Doncic plans on signing a five-year max contract valued at north of $200 million this summer. In no way does this mean Doncic is content with the current direction of the Mavs. It’s up to the organization to improve his supporting cast this summer.
What the Portland Trail Blazers head coach search means for Damian Lillard
One of Lillard’s hand-picked candidates to replace the recently-fired Terry Stotts just recently removed his name from contention. That came in the form of Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd. Meanwhile, Portland is interviewing a group of candidates this week, led by Mike D’Antoni, Chauncey Billups and Becky Hammon.
Right now, Billups is seen as the favorite to land the job in the Pacific Northwest. However, D’Antoni’s emergence as a candidate could complicate things. Reports continue to persist that Lillard might force his way from Portland after its fourth first-round playoff exit in five years. Primarily, the issue is on defense. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that D’Antoni is not known for his defense. Could the Blazers’ hiring process have a direct correlation on Lillard’s future in Portland? It seems possible.
Kevin Love on the move from the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Five-time All-Star big man Kevin Love has been subjected to trade rumors on a near never-ending loop over the past several seasons. Now that he has two years and roughly $60 million remaining on his contract, a trade is more feasible than in the past. However, this report from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests that the Cavaliers would have to give up a draft pick and young player to unload Love’s contract.
Love, 32, has played in all of 113 games since the end of the 2017-18 season. He’s now seen as an injury-plagued enigma. With that said, a healthy version of Love could very well help a contending team given his ability as a stretch big.
Dallas Mavericks to have hard time finding value in Kristaps Porzingis trade
Following their first-round exit at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Playoffs, big-time changes could be in store for Dallas. The team needs to find a better supporting cast behind franchise legend Luka Doncic. This has led to reports that the Mavs could move off injury-plagued and high-priced big man Kristaps Porzingis. Unfortunately for Dallas, there’s not going to be a strong market for his services.
“Those injuries – and the resulting diminished mobility – made him a defensive liability, and they are among the reasons it would be difficult for Dallas to get value for Porzingis in a trade,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon noted recently. “He is owed $101.5 million over the next three seasons, a contract that executives and scouts around the league view as an albatross.”
Indeed, Porzingis is not going to be an easy asset for the Mavericks to move. In addition to being owed $101.5 million over the next three seasons, he’s played in all of 100 games since the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
NBA trade rumors: Will the Los Angeles Clippers move off Paul George
It took seven games for Los Angeles to defeat the upstart Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. It now faces a deficit against the Utah Jazz in the conference semifinals with Paul George struggling big time. While he’s averaging 23.1 points in the postseason, the All-Star forward is shooting a mere 43% from the field, including a 32% mark from distance. In a Game 1 loss to Utah, he connected on 4-of-17 shots.
The backdrop here is Kawhi Leonard’s status as a potential pending free agent. The former NBA Finals MVP will opt out of his contract this summer. Another premature playoff exit in his second season with George could either lead to Leonard’s departure or force the Clippers’ brass to move off the recently-extended George for another running partner for Kawhi. It’s a major storyline with the playoffs ongoing.
What Indiana Pacers’ coaching move tells us about their plans
Indiana’s decision to fire head coach Nate Bjorkgren after just one season wasn’t necessarily a surprise. The team struggled to a 34-38 record and was blown out by the Washington Wizards in the play-in tournament. Rather, it’s reports that Pacers front office head Kevin Pritchard wants a proven head coach that is somewhat surprising. This is a clear indication that Indy wants to run it back with the team’s core group.
That likely means Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and T.J. Warren will remain with the team after all three were subjected to trade rumors throughout the season. As for stud defensive big man Myles Turner, there’s still a chance that he might be moved for more perimeter help.
Kemba Walker upset with the Boston Celtics, trade likely on the horizon
“The Kemba Walker experiment in Boston seems to be coming to an end. Sources said the Boston Celtics and Walker are likely to move forward from their relationship this offseason in a mutual agreement between the parties,” Bleacher Report’s Farbod Esnaashari reported on Wednesday.
Previous suggestions were that other teams view Walker to have negative trade value after two injury-plagued seasons for the former Charlotte Hornets All-Star in Boston. During that span, Walker is averaging 19.9 points and 4.8 assists in 99 games. A potential trade is complicated by the fact that Walker is set to count north of $74 million against the cap over the next two seasons.
New York Knicks looking to trade up in 2021 NBA Draft
Fresh off a surprising season, New York will likely be extremely active this summer. Most rumors have linked the team to big-name players. However, a trade up into the lottery during the 2021 NBA Draft could potentially be in the cards.
Marc Berman of the NY Post reported recently that the Knicks are looking to package their first-round picks (19th and 21st overall) and second rounders (32, 58) to move into the top-14 picks. It’s not yet known who the Knicks might target and whether a lottery team might be willing to move down. Slated to select sixth and 14th overall (lottery pending), the Golden State Warriors could make sense.
Los Angeles Lakers aim to keep Andre Drummond
Los Angeles’ addition of Drummond on the NBA buyout market coincided with continued injury issues relating to star big man Anthony Davis. The All-Star also had some success in 21 regular-season games with the Lakers — averaging 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds. Could this lead to a return to the Lakers during free agency? Looks like Los Angeles is open to that idea.
“The Lakers have signaled to everyone listening that Drummond is “part of the future moving forward with this franchise,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin noted recently.
Depending on what they do this summer, the Lakers are not going to be in position to add high-profile free agents. Bringing Drummond back on the cheap could make sense.
What’s next for the Boston Celtics after front office shake up?
One day after falling in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Celtics changed their entire front office hierarchy. Longtime team president Danny Ainge retired with Brad Stevens leaving his coaching role to become Boston’s top front office man. This comes following a disappointing 36-36 regular season. It could also lead to some dramatic roster shake ups, including a trade of veteran guard Marcus Smart.
I think they’ll trade Smart this summer if I had to guess,” an NBA executive told Hoops Hype. “Retool around Tatum and Brown if they can get real value for Smart, but a lot up in the air there.”
Blockbuster Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Draft trade
Minnesota only has a 27.6% chance of keeping its top-three protected first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. If said selection falls outside of the top-three, it heads to the Golden State Warriors. If it is indeed top-three, there’s a good chance that the Timberwolves will look to use said selection in a blockbuster trade.
“If they keep their pick, that means it fell in the top three. If you’re Minnesota and you keep the pick, you haven’t made the playoffs in three years, you haven’t made noise as a contender since 2004, and you want to show to your franchise player this is a team where you can contend for many years to come, I think they’re going to make a major splash. I expect them to try to get aggressive and get a really good impact player,” Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype noted.
With D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns and stud rookie Anthony Edwards in the mix to close out the 2020-21 season, Minnesota finished with a solid 7-5 record over its final 12 games. Getting an immediate-impact performer with that top-three pick would help the Wolves break out of their current funk.
NBA Draft tiebreakers
The 2021 NBA Draft lottery will be held on June 22 with the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic boasting the best odds to nab the No. 1 pick. However, tiebreakers were also held for picks, both in the lottery and for playoff teams.
Kelly Oubre targeting $20 million annually on long-term deal
Golden State Warriors forward and impending free agent Kelly Oubre missed the final 10 games of his initial season with the team due to a wrist injury. Prior to going down, the 25-year-old wing had been playing at a high level — averaging 17.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in his final 34 games.
According to this note from Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, Oubre believes he can get $20 million annually on a long-term deal during NBA free agency. This could potentially lead to his departure from the Warriors. Head coach Steve Kerr said they’d welcome him back as a bench option. With Klay Thompson set to return at the two-guard and an improved Andrew Wiggins manning the three, there might not be any room for Oubre in Golden State moving forward.
Chris Paul likely to re-sign with the Phoenix Suns during NBA free agency
Future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul just finished up shop on a tremendous initial regular season with the Phoenix Suns, helping them to one of their most-successful finishes in franchise history.
Paul, 35, has a player option for the 2021-22 season for a cool $44.2 million. Whether he exercises it or opts out for one final multi-year deal, the expectation is that Paul will return to the Suns. At the very least, that’s what NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski is hearing.
Uncertainty surrounds the Indiana Pacers
After an ugly performance in a play-in loss to the Washington Wizards earlier in May, this summer is going to be interesting for an underperforming Pacers squad. That could include moving on from head coach Nate Bjorkgren after just one season. Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard would not commit to him during a season-ending press conference recently.
As for holdovers from the Pacers’ roster, it appears that Pritchard is going to decide between complete rebuild or adding to Indiana’s core group.
While the general manager did indicate that he views big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis to be core members of the Pacers, there’s an open question whether the two can coexist. If Indiana does tear this thing apart, they will be the big names to watch as NBA trade rumors pick up steam here soon.
Golden State Warriors not looking to trade James Wiseman
After a somewhat promising start, Wiseman’s rookie season for the Warriors became a wash. The former No. 2 overall pick appeared in just 39-of-72 games, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds while struggling with the nuances of the NBA. It has led to some speculation that Golden State might might look to move Wiseman after it barely missed out on the playoffs. That’s unlikely to be the case.
“I think he can be helpful in the future and in the present,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers told reporters during his season-ending press conference. Whether that is the case depends heavily on the Warriors’ direction during the summer. They expect to be active.
Chicago Bulls star Lauri Markkanen wants to play for the Dallas Mavericks?
Regardless of what happens in the NBA Playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks are going to have to make some decisions. That includes whether to keep struggling big man Kristaps Porzingis or find someone else to help Luka Doncic. It appears that Chicago Bulls stretch forward and impending restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen would like to help Dallas make that decision.
“The one place he privately wants to land is with the Mavericks, joining guard Luka Doncic and big man Kristaps Porzingis,” Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported recently.
That would certainly be one interesting trio right there. Still only 24 years old, Markkanen is coming off a 2020-21 NBA season that saw him average 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds on 49% shooting from the field. Dallas should have the cap space to sign him to a lucrative offer sheet, too.
Draymond Green has interesting take as Golden State Warriors prepare for the offseason
Following their ugly loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference play-in tournament, the Golden State Warriors are expected to be busy this coming summer. That pretty much sits well with star forward Draymond Green, who had this interesting assessment of where the team is at.
“We’re not in the playoffs, so we’re a ways away,” Green said following Golden State’s season-ending loss. NBA rumors continue to persist that the Warriors will be looking to make a big move during the summer. They have the assets in what will likely be two first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft and some young players to add a third star. Green and Stephen Curry are expected to be heavily involved in roster decisions this summer.
How Victor Oladipo injury impacts Miami Heat offseason plans
When Miami acquired All-Star guard Victor Oladipo at the trade deadline, the idea was for him to be a long-term option out on the perimeter with Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro. Unfortunately, Oladipo played just four games for Miami before suffering a quad injury. Now, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, he might be lost for the entire 2021-22 season after undergoing surgery.
Slated to become a free agent, this will obviously impact Oladipo’s market. It is also going to change things up for the Heat. They will have money to sign a max-contract player during the summer. They are also going to have to retain restricted free agent Duncan Robinson on a deal that will likely cost $20 million annually. With Oladipo seemingly not an option for next season, Kyle Lowry might now be Miami’s central focus. Time will tell on that front.
NBA trade rumors: Chicago Bulls could target Bradley Beal
There’s no telling whether the Washington Wizards will make high-scoring guard Bradley Beal available during the summer. Right now, things are not pointing in that direction. But for some reason, if he were made available, the Bulls will have interest. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes that there’s been “speculative talk” that Chicago could make a play for Beal. He has a relationship with Bulls head coach Bill Donovan dating back to their days with the Florida Gators. A move of this ilk would likely require Chicago giving up Zach LaVine considering the bounty of draft picks it yielded to the Orlando Magic for Nikola Vucevic at the NBA trade deadline.
New York Knicks to make a play for Jaren Jackson Jr.
We already know that New York plans on being active during the summer. Could that now include 21-year-old forward Jaren Jackson Jr. from the Memphis Grizzlies? According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, Memphis is not sold on Jackson being able to contribute consistently given his injury issues. He suffered a torn meniscus in the knee last August and has suited up in just nine games this season. Meanwhile, New York was intrigued with Jackson Jr. before Memphis selected him fourth overall back in 2018. This could be something to keep an eye on during the summer.
NBA trade rumors: Could we see a blockbuster atop the 2021 draft?
The Houston Rockets are on the verge of clinching the No. 1 spot in the NBA Draft lottery. In no way does that mean they are guaranteed to pick atop the annual event. If said selection lands outside of the top three, Houston will send it to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Meanwhile, there’s a good chance that the top-three protected pick that the Golden State Warriors own from the Minnesota Timberwolves will convey this year.
That could lead to some surprising trades once the NBA Draft comes calling. In particular, there’s a solid chance that the free-falling Thunder will have two selections within the top five. If so, they might look to move one for a proven star. Depending on where the Warriors select and if they own Minnesota’s pick this year, the same thing can be said about Golden State.
Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson looking at huge payday?
An undrafted free agent back in 2018, this former Michigan star has gone from being a two-way player to a lethal shooter on the outside. Robinson, 27, just became the quickest player in NBA history to hit 500 three-pointers. He’s shooting at a 42% mark from distance in his career.
Set to become a restricted free agent during the summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Robinson could receive $20 million annually. There’s a chance that the Heat let him walk for nothing in an attempt to keep the large amount of cap room they possess. However, getting something in return could make sense.
Kyle Lowry remains on the New York Knicks’ radar
Leading up to the March 25 NBA trade deadline, New York was linked to this six-time All-Star from the Toronto Raptors. In fact, it looked like the struggling Raptors would move off the impending free agent. That did not happen. Now, with free agency approaching, the two sides could be headed for a divorce.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks will pursue Lowry as a free agent this coming summer. While New York could opt to sign him outright with its cap room, a sign-and-trade might make sense for both sides. It would enable the Knicks to add another max-contract player while giving the retooling Raptors something in return. Lowry, 35, is averaging 17.2 points and 7.3 assists on the season.
NBA trade rumors: Chicago Bulls targeting point guards
Fresh off acquiring All-Star center Nikola Vucevic in a trade with the Orlando Magic, Chicago is still looking to upgrade its roster. That could include adding a traditional point guard to team up with Zach LaVine out on the perimeter. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bulls are expected to look into free-agent point guards. That includes Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Chicago was linked to Ball ahead of the NBA trade deadline in March. Now that he’s slated to become a restricted free agent, the team might circle back around to this possibility. With Ball looking at roughly $20 million annually, and the Bulls expected to be $12.6 million under the estimated cap, a sign-and-trade would be the name of the game.