Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

Portland Trail Blazers trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Nuggets Talk Afflalo With Thunder, Others

February 16 at 12:12pm CST By Chuck Myron

MONDAY, 12:12pm: Shelburne mentions the Thunder among the teams that have discussed Afflalo with the Nuggets in her latest tweet. The Kings, Bulls and Clippers are the others Shelburne names, though she cautions that none of the talks have become serious. Grantland’s Zach Lowe indicated this morning that the Nuggets are seeking multiple first-rounders for Afflalo. Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes that the Nuggets are seeking only a mid-to-late first-rounder, but that teams are hesitant to pay even that price.

WEDNESDAY, 8:59am: The Nuggets have discussed Arron Afflalo with the Blazers, Bulls and Kings, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link), who also reiterates her earlier report that Denver has heard from the Clippers and Heat about the shooting guard, too. That dispatch also had the Hornets in the Afflalo discussion, but Shelburne doesn’t mention Charlotte this time around, perhaps an indication that the Hornets have moved on in the wake of their Mo Williams acquisition. The Nuggets seek a first-round pick for Afflalo, as Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reported earlier and as Shelburne alludes to, but even given that sort of cost to other teams, Afflalo is more likely to end up in a trade before the deadline than Wilson Chandler, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link).

Indeed, the Nuggets would prefer to move Afflalo instead of Chandler if they had to choose, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News wrote a week ago. The general belief is that Denver is also seeking a first-rounder for Chandler, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reported last week and as he reiterated overnight (on Twitter), echoing another report from Dempsey that the Blazers and Clippers, also apparent Afflalo suitors, are interested.

The Bulls have all of their own first-rounders for the coming years, plus they have a first-round pick coming from the Kings as soon as this year. Portland also has all of its own first-rounders. The Kings owe their pick to Chicago but otherwise have all of their first-rounders, too, while the Heat are in a similar position, with all of their own first-rounders except one that they owe to the Sixers that could go out this year. The Clippers are in the worst position among the latest teams connected to Afflalo, owing this year’s first-round pick to the Celtics and their 2017 pick, with protections that carry through 2019, to the Bucks.

I profiled the trade candidacies of Afflalo and Chandler, but they’re not the only Nuggets liable to move between now and the February 19th deadline, as Stein names Randy Foye and Jameer Nelson trade candidates, too (Twitter link). Denver can’t aggregate Nelson’s $2.732MM salary with any other player, since the team acquired him via trade less than two months ago, but there are no such restrictions on Foye, who makes $3MM. Foye’s $3.135MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed while Nelson has a player option worth nearly $2.855MM.

And-Ones: Knight, Lopez, OKC, Clippers

February 15 at 11:22pm CST By Zach Links

Impending restricted free agent Brandon Knight says he’s in a “great situation” with the Bucks, but that’s no guarantee that he’ll want to stay put, Susan Bible of Basketball Insiders writes.  “Well, speaking for myself, I would want to go into a situation where I can win,” Knight said regarding what factors he’ll consider in free agency. “I think that’s the biggest thing. Winning has to be a priority. I’m pretty sure if you ask any top free agent, winning is going to be the main thing.” Here’s more from around the Association..

  • An executive told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links) that the Thunder and Nets are the most aggressive teams in trade talks. The two teams want to make a move and they may wind up trading with each other.  He adds that OKC’s interest in center Brook Lopez is real and he wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal involving him go down.
  • The Clippers have been trying very hard to make a trade, but they don’t have the assets to swing a worthwhile deal, so they’ll instead try and sign bought out players to bolster their roster, Kennedy tweets.
  • When asked whether the frigid weather would scare him off from signing in New York, Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge responded, “It’s cold everywhere,” Sean Deveney of the Sporting News tweets.
  • Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders gathered quotes from Aldridge, Knight, and other prospective Knicks free agent targets regarding their thoughts on the team and the city.
  • Any deal the Suns make would be made in the name of building an elite team down the line, not a fringe playoff team now, as Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes.  Meanwhile, both Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic have been mentioned in recent trade rumors.

Western Notes: Kings, Karl, Matthews, Suns

February 15 at 8:59am CST By Arthur Hill

The hiring of George Karl as coach of the Kings shows that second-year GM Pete D’Alessandro has won a power struggle in Sacramento, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. D’Alessandro and Karl have a history together with the Nuggets, as do Kings assistant GM Mike Bratz and analytics expert Dean Oliver. It was the GM who pushed for Karl’s hiring and prevailed despite rumored opposition from minority owners and star player DeMarcus Cousins. “I think any time there’s a coaching vacancy, if you’re a serious team, and George Karl is a free agent, he should be the first name that pops into your mind,” D’Alessandro said. “He’s top tier, both in terms of basketball acumen and what he has accomplished.”

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • As Karl assembles a staff, a name to watch is Tim Grgurich, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. The veteran coach could be Sacramento’s top assistant next season.
  • In New York for Saturday’s three-point shooting contest, the Trail Blazers’ Wesley Matthews didn’t sound like a man with plans to leave Portland, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders“To be honest with you, I haven’t even really thought about being a free agent, man,” Matthews said in response to a question. “I’m extremely happy in Portland and we have a great thing going there and that is where my mind is.” Matthews, who has become one of the elite three-point threats in the NBA, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • The Suns are more apt to try and trade Isaiah Thomas than to deal Goran Dragic before the trade deadline and the guard understands the trade rumors surrounding his name, writes Shlomo Sprung of Sheridan Hoops. “I can’t comment on it too much just because it’s out of my control,” Thomas told Sprung. “The game of basketball, especially the NBA, is a business and nobody is ever safe. You just have to be professional and come to work every day.” Thomas signed a four-year deal worth slightly more than $27MM last offseason.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Sixers, Nets, Patterson

February 14 at 10:04pm CST By Arthur Hill

Who would want to come to a freezing city with a lousy team? The Knicks are hoping one of the NBA’s top free agents will, reports Mark Herrmann of Newsday. A bitter cold snap wasn’t very welcoming to the free-agents-to-be who were selected for this year’s All-Star Game in New York, but LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Paul Millsap brushed off the weather, just as they did questions about their future from the New York media. “I don’t think about free agency yet,” Gasol said. “It’s going to come to one point in time when I’m going to have to do that and I’ll weigh all my options. And when that happens, I’ll look at everything on the table.” None of the players had anything bad to say about New York, with Gasol calling it “one of the capitals of the world,” and Aldridge expressing admiration for team president Phil Jackson and the triangle offense.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Expect Sixers GM Sam Hinkie to go full-speed ahead into Thursday’s trade deadline with his tanking strategy, writes Bob Ford of The Inquirer. He sees two goals for Hinkie: taking on bad contracts to acquire assets, and reducing Philadelphia’s talent level in hopes of moving up the draft board. The Sixers stand a little more than $13MM below the cap floor, the amount they are bound by the collective bargaining agreement to spend on player salary. They rank third in the Hoops Rumors Reverse Standings.
  • If the Nets are sold, Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil expects a huge price tag, reports Cork Gaines of Yahoo! Finance. “I think they go for $1.4, $1.5 billion,” O’Neil said on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” “[the exact amount] depends on what’s included, what the lease looks like, how much of the arena you get. There is a whole bunch of different factors. But I would say, given the current set up, the current structure now, $1.5-ish [billion].”
  • Patrick Patterson’s stats may not show it, but he has become one of the Raptors‘ most valuable players, writes Eric Koreen of The National Post. Patterson averages 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, but his versatility and agility on defense make him a valuable piece in Toronto. “Defensively, he fits in a lot of different schemes,” coach Dwane Casey said, “doing different things: double-teaming in the post, showing in the pick-and-roll, walling in the pick-and-roll.” Patterson is in the first season of a three-year, $18MM contract.

Northwest Notes: Aldridge, Kanter, Muhammad

February 14 at 9:02pm CST By Arthur Hill

LaMarcus Aldridge figures to be among the most sought-after free agents this summer, but he tells reporters, including Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders that recruiting by other players at All-Star weekend hasn’t started yet. The Trail Blazers forward may be hearing a few pitches at tonight’s festivities. Aldridge is among the most productive players in the league, averaging 23.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, and gained a new level of respect by delaying surgery on an injured thumb so he could keep playing. He cited “winning and being happy” as his top priorities in free agency. “I want to like the management and feel comfortable that they are going to do the right things to keep winning,” Aldridge said, “and I want to spend my time with an organization where I love what they’re doing and where they’re going.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Enes Kanter‘s trade request this week caught some of his Jazz  teammates by surprise, reports Jody Genessy of The Deseret News“Sometimes guys hold things in, they bottle things [up] and … just got to let what they really feel go,” said Trey Burke. “I’m not saying I agree with it. At the same time, I’m not one of those guys to get super angry about it.” Kanter, unhappy with his reduction in playing time since the emergence of Rudy Gobert, was on the floor for just 18 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to Dallas. Kanter makes nearly $5.7MM this season and can become a restricted free agent in July.
  • Kanter’s unhappiness isn’t necessarily bad for the Jazz, argues Brad Rock of The Deseret News. Rock contends it’s a sign that the team is improving. Kanter, who Utah took third overall in the 2011 NBA draft, hasn’t fallen in the rotation because he’s playing poorly. It has happened because Gobert and others are contributing more. If the Jazz do find a taker for Kanter, Rock would like to see them pick up a shooting guard to replace Alec Burks, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his injured left shoulder.
  • Getting in better shape and improving his attitude has made Shabazz Muhammad a rising star with the Timberwolves, writes Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders. Muhammad, who has tripled his minutes and scoring average in his second season, said a D-League stint last year helped him gain confidence that he could play at the NBA level.

Northwest Notes: Kanter, Burke, Blazers

February 14 at 11:01am CST By Eddie Scarito

Enes Kanter‘s displeasure with his playing time and his reported desire to be traded is actually a good thing for the Jazz, Brad Rock of The Deseret News posits. Rock’s rationale behind that stance is that it means Utah is getting better as a team if a player with Kanter’s talents has to fight for minutes. While many teams interested in Kanter may wish to wait for the summer when the big man will become a restricted free agent, the Jazz may attempt to swap him for some backcourt depth with Alec Burks out for the remainder of the season, Rock adds.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Kanter’s trade request caught his teammates on the Jazz off guard, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “It’s a little surprising as a teammate,” point guard Trey Burke said. “Sometimes guys hold things in, they bottle things [up] and … just got to let what they really feel go. I’m not saying I agree with it. At the same time, I’m not one of those guys to get super angry about it.
  • Utah’s coach Quin Snyder is happy with Kanter’s overall progress as a player, and says that Kanter has worked hard trying to improve his defense, Genessy adds. It’s the big man’s defensive faults that have led to him losing minutes to Rudy Gobert, who is a far superior defender, the Deseret scribe notes. “I think Enes is getting better,” Snyder said. “I think he’s committed to the defensive end in a way that pleased me, particularly the progress he’s made from the beginning of the year. That’s been our primary goal.”
  • The NBPA rejecting the league’s cap smoothing proposal for 2016 could be good news for the Trail Blazers, Mike Tokito of The Oregonian writes. With the contracts of LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews expiring at the end of this season, Portland’s owner Paul Allen may be more willing to re-sign all three and dip into the luxury tax for 2015/16 if he knows that a big bump in the salary cap was due the following season, Tokito opines.

And-Ones: Buyouts, Dragic, Stauskas, Magic

February 12 at 10:53am CST By Chuck Myron

Andrea BargnaniBrandon Bass, Marcus Thornton, Andrei Kirilenko, Willie Green, Randy Foye and Darrell Arthur are all likely buyout candidates if they’re not traded before the deadline, league sources tell Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. Beck also mentions Tayshaun Prince, who’ll probably strike a buyout deal with the Celtics if he’s not traded, as Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported last month. The Bleacher Report scribe also reiterates that Kevin Garnett isn’t seeking a buyout, seconding an earlier report from Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • The Suns want a first-round pick if they’re to give up Goran Dragic in a trade, as Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times hears (Twitter link). Woelfel suggests that opposing teams will be willing to pay that price and believes the Rockets, who’ve reportedly tried to trade for Dragic this season, will consider going after him again.
  • There are rumors connecting the Bucks to Kings rookie Nik Stauskas, according to Woelfel (Twitter link). Still, it’s unclear if there’s truly interest from Milwaukee’s end.
  • James Borrego says the Magic haven’t told him whether or not he’ll be the head coach for the rest of the season, and he takes it as a signal that he’ll remain in place, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The timing of the situation and the Magic’s track record don’t suggest they’ll make a move before season’s end, though “it’s widely believed” the team will eventually replace Borrego with a proven coaching veteran, Schmitz writes. Rumored coaching candidate Scott Skiles indeed has interest in the job, but the Magic’s players seem to be supporting Borrego, Schmitz adds.
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey is exploring possible trades to help shore up the team’s depth, The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman writes, noting that Thomas Robinson and Will Barton seem unsure if they’ll remain on the team past the deadline. Olshey declared earlier this week that he wouldn’t trade any of the team’s starters and also talked up the value of his bench players in an interview during a game broadcast, as Mike Richman of The Oregonian transcribes.
  • Former Mavs guard Dominique Jones is drawing renewed NBA interest following an impressive showing in China, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Jones, who last played in the league in 2012/13, averaged an eye-popping 36.8 points per game over 41 appearances in China this season.

Knicks To Pursue Jackson, Butler, Matthews

February 10 at 11:24am CST By Chuck Myron

The Knicks plan to target Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Butler and Wesley Matthews, among others, this summer, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. Scotto also hears the team will go after Greg Monroe, echoing an earlier report. A pursuit of Matthews would be contingent on the team missing out on Butler, Scotto adds, but Butler is a long shot at best. The Bulls are poised to make a max offer to the soon-to-be restricted free agent and executive VP of basketball ops John Paxson has already said he’ll match any offer sheet he signs. Scotto also names the Knicks as a potential free agent suitor for Draymond Green, though Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob has hinted that he intends to retain Green, who’s also due for restricted free agency, and all signs point to the Warriors matching any offer for the third-year forward.

There are conflicting reports about the likelihood that the Thunder will trade Jackson before the deadline, but the Knicks came close enough to trading for Jackson last month that he thought he was on his way to New York, and the Knicks are likely to make another go at trading for him. Jackson, too, is in line for restricted free agency, but he’s apparently open to signing his qualifying offer, which would give him a discounted salary in exchange for unrestricted free agency in 2016. In any case, the Knicks probably don’t have the assets to make a play for Jackson at the deadline, as I wrote when I examined Jackson’s trade candidacy, so a free agent pursuit makes more sense.

Matthews, the only unrestricted free agent aside from Monroe whom Scotto mentions, has expressed a desire to return to the Blazers based on their winning ways, which contrast sharply from the performance of the 10-42 Knicks this season. Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned Matthews as an example of the sort of second-tier free agent whom Berman says many believe the Knicks will target this summer, couching the report amid a piece on the team’s plan to go after Tobias Harris, yet another restricted free agent.

The Knicks have a little more than $32.717MM committed for next season against a projected $66.5MM salary cap, leaving room for multiple so-called second-tier free agents. Scotto hears from several GMs who estimate Green will receive salaries anywhere from $10MM to $14MM. Some teams reportedly believed at the beginning of the season that Jackson would command between $13-14MM. It’s unclear just how much it would take to sign the others the Knicks are eyeing, aside from Butler, who appears in line for the max from the Bulls.

Eastern Notes: Gibson, Prigioni, Muscala

February 7 at 8:59am CST By Eddie Scarito

The Bulls have made no calls to other teams about trading Taj Gibson , a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, who indicates that the team is especially reluctant to part with Gibson given health concerns surrounding Joakim Noah. The Raptors, Suns, Pistons and Trail Blazers are reportedly interested in the sixth-year veteran.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni, whom the team has reportedly been trying to trade for a second round draft pick, says that he is extremely focused on staying in New York, and doesn’t wish to be dealt, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports (Twitter link). Prigioni also revealed that he recently injured his hip during a workout, Berman notes. The full extent of his injury, nor its impact on the Knicks’ efforts to find a taker for Prigioni, isn’t yet known.
  • Steve Kerr was Knicks team president Phil Jackson‘s first choice to replace Mike Woodson as head coach this past offseason, but Kerr accepted the coaching job in Golden State instead. Kerr’s Warriors currently possess the NBA’s second best record, while the Knicks have floundered to a 10-40 mark. When asked if he has thought about what might have been if he had come to New York instead of heading to Oakland, Kerr said, “Sometimes I lie when I say I haven’t thought about stuff. But I’m not lying this time. I haven’t thought about the Knicks at all,” Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group relays (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks have assigned Mike Muscala to the Iowa Energy, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Muscala’s fourth trek of the season to Iowa.
  • Marcus Thornton knows that his expiring contract makes him a likely candidate to be dealt by the Celtics, but the veteran would love to remain in Beantown, Ben Rohrbach of WEEI 93.7 FM writes. “No, I’m not thinking about that,” Thornton said regarding the February 19th trade deadline. “Whatever happens, happens. I would like to stay here. Who wouldn’t? We’ve got a good thing going, but like I said, it’s not controllable. I can’t control it, so whatever happens, happens.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Amar’e Stoudemire Still Considering Buyout

February 6 at 5:44pm CST By Chuck Myron

5:44pm: Stoudemire reiterated that he will use the upcoming NBA All-Star break to decide whether or not to ask the Knicks to work out a buyout arrangement with him, Josh Newman of SNY.tv notes. “We’ll discuss that after the break,” Stoudemire said. “Right now, I’m focused on the rest of the season. We’ve got four games before the break, so I’m focused on that right now. I’ll keep you guys posted, man. Right now, we’ve got games in front of us today and tomorrow. We’ve got a lot going on, so I’ll keep you guys posted.”

9:32am: The Knicks have yet to speak with Stoudemire about a buyout, sources told Ian Begley of ESPN.com earlier this week.

12:54am: Amar’e Stoudemire‘s recent comments seemed to engender the belief that he wouldn’t ask the Knicks to agree to a buyout deal, but he tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he plans to think about doing so over the upcoming All-Star break. The 32-year-old, who’s in the final year of a massive five-year contract worth nearly $99.744MM that pays him almost $23.411MM this season, nonetheless emphasized to Spears his strong affection for the Knicks organization and living in New York. Meanwhile, the Knicks are more focused on talking buyout with Andrea Bargnani, a league source tells Spears.

“All possibilities at this point are still open,” Stoudemire said of his own buyout possibility. “The door is still open for that. But at the same time, I am with the Knicks now. I got to stay optimistic about things and what we are doing here. I can’t really focus on the future because it’s not here. We still have a couple weeks left before it’s all said and done. It’s a decision I have to make with my family to figure out the best scenario for the near future.”

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers has spoken of his intention to fill the team’s pair of open roster spots with players who come free during “buyout season,” as Spears points out, speculating that they could become candidates to sign Stoudemire if he hits the market. The Mavs and Blazers are also looking for big men, Spears notes. Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote that it’s “quite possible” that Stoudemire would return to the Suns this summer and speculated that the Magic would have interest in the central Florida native this summer. It’s not entirely clear whether any of those teams would have interest in Stoudemire later this season, but if the Happy Walters client is willing to accept the minimum salary, he’d surely have no shortage of teams in pursuit.

Stoudemire is averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game for the Knicks this season, and the rebounding average is by far his best since 2011/12. A 19.4 PER shows he’s still efficient in the playing time he sees, which persistent knee trouble and other ailments have limited in recent years. The Knicks have nonetheless been appreciative of his professionalism throughout his health struggles and the team’s woes on the court, Spears writes. Stoudemire tells Spears that he’s interested in playing several more years and said earlier this week that he expected to soon have a conversation with Knicks officials about a future with the team beyond this season.

“My heart always lies with the Knicks,” Stoudemire tells Spears. “My loyalty is with [Knicks owner] Mr. [Jim] Dolan. I feel like New York is my home now. I feel like I’m a New Yorker for sure.”

The Knicks reportedly engaged in internal discussions about a buyout for Stoudemire earlier this season. Team president Phil Jackson and company apparently spoke with the Sixers this summer about a trade, but it’ll be “virtually impossible” for the Knicks to find a taker for his bloated salary before the February 19th trade deadline, according to Spears. The Knicks have reportedly shopped Bargnani recently, though it has appeared as though the team was putting off buyout talks with him until after the deadline passes. The last day that either Stoudemire or Bargnani could hit waivers and still be eligible to appear in the postseason for another team is March 1st. That effectively sets the date as a buyout deadline, since there’d be little reason for either to give up salary if they couldn’t join another club for the postseason.