The Heat and Thunder project to be taxpaying teams next season based on their current salary commitments, but according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, both clubs are already mulling possible ways to cut costs.
Sources tell Charania that the Thunder have had multiple conversations with teams about the No. 21 overall pick in the draft. Oklahoma City appears to be dangling that pick as a way to shed salary and relieve some of the financial pressure facing the club. While Charania doesn’t identify any specific players the Thunder would try to move, Andre Roberson ($10.74MM) and Patrick Patterson ($5.71MM) look like potential trade candidates.
As for the Heat, Charania reports that they’re among the teams that have expressed some interest in a J.R. Smith with the Cavaliers. As we’ve previously explained, Smith isn’t an attractive trade target for his on-court contributions, but for his contract — acquiring Smith in a trade and then waiving him could allow a team to save up to $18MM on its 2019/20 cap. The Heat, with several pricey guaranteed contracts on their books, would make sense as a possible trade partner for Cleveland.
Here’s more from Charania:
- The Hawks may once again be among the teams willing to accommodate salary dumps, according to Charania. Atlanta has acquired first-round picks in each of the past two offseasons by taking on Jamal Crawford‘s and Carmelo Anthony‘s unwanted contracts.
- The Hawks also have interest in re-signing center Dewayne Dedmon, per Charania, who suggests that a one-year “balloon” deal or a short-term contract similar to Dedmon’s previous pact (two years, $14MM) would appeal to Atlanta.
- With Khem Birch eligible for restricted free agency, the Magic will almost certainly issue him a qualifying offer and try to re-sign him, Charania writes. However, the Sixers expressed interest in Birch during the season and could target him again in free agency, and they’ll likely face competition from other interested teams.
- The Kings have been prioritizing centers as they prepare for the free agent market, sources tell Charania. Although Charania doesn’t identify any specific targets, Nikola Vucevic has frequently been cited as one name on Sacramento’s wish list.