Six Key Stories: 6/8/19 – 6/15/19

If you missed any of this past week’s biggest headlines from around the NBA, we’ve got you covered with our Week in Review. Here are some of the most noteworthy stories from the last seven days:

The Pelicans and new head of basketball operations David Griffin have begun to provide teams in pursuit of Anthony Davis with an idea of the package they’re seeking in return for the All-Star big man. As of now, it appears as though a three-team trade may be necessary for the Pelicans to obtain the package they seek – an All-Star, a young player with All-Star potential, and multiple first-round picks. Davis is reportedly interested in joining the Lakers or the Knicks, with agent Rich Paul even publicly proclaiming that should another team (like the Celtics) trade for AD, it would be for a one-year rental. Despite Paul’s remarks, the Celtics (and the Lakers) are currently engaged in trade talks with New Orleans, with L.A. thought to be the current leader for Davis’ services.

Warriors’ All-Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both suffered serious injuries during this year’s NBA Finals, with Durant suffering a ruptured right Achilles tendon and Thompson suffering a torn ACL in his left knee. However, neither injury is expected to deter the Warriors’ pursuit of their stars, with GM Bob Myers saying that the team will do everything in their power (i.e. offer max-contracts) to keep both Durant and Thompson in San Francisco. Durant’s injury will will likewise not deter other teams from pursuit of the all-time great, with reports indicating that the KnicksNetsLakers, and Clippers would likely all still offer the forward a max-deal knowing he likely won’t play next season.

As expected, All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving plans to decline his player option for the 2019/20 season. In what ended up being a busy week for Irving, it was also reported that he and his longtime agent Jeff Weschler parted ways, with Irving planning to sign with ROC Nation Sports. This decision, of course, fueled rumors that Irving plans to sign with the Nets this summer, and just one day after the ROC Nation report, it was reported that Irving does indeed plan to sign with Brooklyn this summer. Interestingly, this will likely signal the end of D’Angelo Russell‘s tenure with the Nets, as he is unlikely to remain in Brooklyn should Irving sign.

Jimmy Butler will likewise turn down his player option for the 2019/20 season and hit the free agent market. The Sixers remain adamant about retaining Butler long term, but the Lakers are reportedly interested in Butler also, and there have been rumors about a potential pairing on Butler and Irving in Brooklyn. Regardless, it’ll likely take a maximum-salary offer to sign Butler this offseason.

There are conflicting reports about whether the Wizards are preparing a massive contract offer to Raptors head of basketball operations Masai Ujiri. An initial report indicated that Washington was willing to pay upwards of $10MM per season over six years to poach Ujiri, with owner Ted Leonis planning to reach out to Raptors’ ownership for permission to speak with Ujiri. Then, one day later, the Wizards denied that there were any imminent plans to make an offer to Ujiri, with Raptors’ majority owner Larry Tanenbaum telling reporters there is no chance Ujiri will leave Toronto.

Eligible for a super-max contract with the Hornets this summer, All-NBA point guard Kemba Walker wants to stay in Charlotte long term. Walker’s first priority during free agency will be to sit down with Hornets brass and try to get a deal done. Walker even said he’d potentially be willing to take less money to stay. But, Walker will still meet with other teams, and teams like the LakersMavericks, and Knicks are still interested in signing the point guard this offseason despite his interest in remaining with the Hornets.

Here are 12 more noteworthy headlines from the past week:

  • Heat point guard Goran Dragic has picked up his $19.2MM player option for the 2019/20 season.
  • In a somewhat surprising move, Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas has decided that he won’t opt into the final year of his contract. He’ll instead become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Hornets forward Marvin Williams has exercised his player option for the 2019/20 season, thereby locking in a salary of just over $15MM for next season.
  • Celtics center Aron Baynes also exercised his player option for the 2019/20 season. The big man is contracted to make just under $5.5MM.
  • The Knicks exercised rookie Allonzo Trier‘s team option for next season. The guard will make $3.5MM.
  • Longtime NBA point guard and Spurs all-time great Tony Parker is retiring from basketball after 18 seasons.
  • The Grizzlies have hired longtime Mike Budenholzer assistant Taylor Jenkins as their new head coach.
  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris, a Long Island native, is interested in meeting with the Nets during free agency this summer.
  • Top prospect Ja Morant planned to meet with the Knicks in New York City on Friday less than a week after meeting with the Grizzlies. The teams hold the No. 3 and No. 2 picks, respectively.
  • Big man Deyonta Davis, armed with a non-guaranteed salary of just over $1.6MM for next season, was claimed by the Rockets after he was released by the Hawks.
  • The NBA officially announced its complete list of early entrant prospects eligible for the 2019 NBA draft.
  • Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina has agreed to a deal to become president of basketball operations and head coach for Italian club Olimpia Milano
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