The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Saturday evening:
Already today, we've passed along a few trade rumors from Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game and Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. Now, it's Chris Broussard's turn, as the ESPN reporter has published a lengthy Insider-only piece on the latest rumblings from around the league. Here's what Broussard has for us:
- The Hornets have made some calls to gauge Eric Gordon's trade value, but Broussard hears that there's less than a 10% chance he's moved within the next week. The Mavericks, Rockets, and the Warriors are among the clubs believed to have inquired on Gordon.
- The Rockets still figure to make a run at Dwight Howard this summer, but Andrew Bynum and perhaps a trade for Gordon are the team's Plan Bs. Since Houston is saving its cap space for the summer, the club isn't expected to be too active at the trade deadline.
- Indiana will likely keep Danny Granger through the deadline, but is willing to move Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, or Gerald Green. The Pacers dangled Hansbrough and Augustin when talking to the Magic about J.J. Redick, but Orlando didn't have interest.
- Three different general managers told Broussard on Wednesday that Danny Ferry and the Hawks have decided not to re-sign Josh Smith this summer and are trying hard to trade him this week. Rival executives don't expect Ferry to settle for the Nets' offer of Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks, however.
- The Hawks have also discussed moving Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow.
- Teams have been calling the Suns, one of the league's most active clubs, about Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and Jared Dudley. A deal with the Knicks involving Dudley and Iman Shumpert is "not happening," according to Broussard's sources.
- As has been the case for many reporters over the last few weeks, Broussard has received mixed reports on whether the Jazz are more likely to trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson. The Trail Blazers are one team that likes Millsap, says Broussard.
- A few executives that have spoken to Broussard have mentioned the possibility of the Clippers trying to trade DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler to create the necessary cap space to make a play for Dwight Howard this summer. That one sounds awfully far-fetched to me though, considering the team would have to make additional moves to clear enough room, and would have to acquire only expiring contracts in return. Even then, there's no guarantee they could land Howard as a free agent.
The Suns have exercised their 2013/14 option on Markieff Morris' contract, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Morris will earn a guaranteed $2.09MM salary for '13/14, with the team holding an additional option for 2014/15.
Morris' is one of two option decisions facing the Suns this month. Wesley Johnson also has a 2013/14 option on the fourth year of his rookie contract, worth $5.42MM. The fact that there's no word yet on Johnson's option suggests to me that perhaps the Suns will turn it down and let the former fourth overall pick unrestricted free agency next summer. The team still has until next Wednesday to make a decision, however.
On Thursday, Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby, President of Business Operations Brad Casper, and GM Lance Blanks answered questions from fans on the team's official website. Here are some relevant details regarding the team's future:
- Babby praised the team's analytics-based system for evaluating players, pointing to rookie Markieff Morris as an example of its success
- He believes that the Suns have the cap flexibility and assets to get back into contention in the near future.
- Blanks uses Grant Hill as an example of a free agent choosing to play in Phoenix in answer to a question regarding the city's attractiveness to players.