Scotto’s Latest: Hart, Knicks, Thybulle, Prince, Nuggets, Suns

The Knicks are among the teams with interest in Trail Blazers wing Josh Hart, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Previous reports have linked the 27-year-old to the Cavaliers and possibly the Heat.

Hart is expected to decline his $12.96MM player option for 2023/24, which is non-guaranteed, in search of a long-term deal. His cap hit for ’22/23 is also $12.96MM.

As Scotto notes, Hart won a national championship in college at Villanova with Knicks guards Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono. Through 51 games (33.4 MPG), he’s averaging 9.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.9 APG and 1.1 APG on .504/.304/.731 shooting.

The Knicks have a number of options for potentially matching Hart’s salary in a trade. However, since the Blazers are unlikely to be interested in Derrick Rose or Evan Fournier, combining some smaller contracts could be in play — Cam Reddish and Obi Toppin would work, for example.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle is drawing a significant amount of interest around the NBA. In addition to the Warriors, Kings and Hawks, the Pacers, Trail Blazers, Bucks, Mavericks, Hornets, Raptors and Suns have all had exploratory conversations with Philadelphia regarding the former first-round pick, Scotto reports. A two-time All-Defensive Second Team member, Thybulle is playing a career-low 12.1 minutes per game in ’22/23 and will hit restricted free agency if he’s tendered a $6.28MM qualifying offer, Scotto notes.
  • The Nuggets are interested in Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, sources tell Scotto. Prince’s cap hit this season is $7.3MM and he has a non-guaranteed $7.65MM cap hit for ’23/24. In addition to Bones Hyland, the Nuggets are also open to moving Zeke Nnaji for a roster upgrade, sources tell HoopsHype. Prince has dealt with injuries in ’22/23, but has posted a rock-solid .479/.389/.833 shooting line in 33 games (21.1 MPG) off Minnesota’s bench. Ish Smith ($4.73MM) would likely be included if one of Hyland ($2.2MM) or Nnaji ($2.6MM) were moved for Prince due to salary-matching rules.
  • When Scotto asked Suns forward Cameron Johnson about his impending restricted free agency, he suggested he hopes to remain in Phoenix going forward. “I love being in Phoenix,” Johnson replied. “I love the team, the staff, and the city. The organization has treated me really well to this point. Whatever the future holds, the future holds. Phoenix has really become a home to me. These guys have become my brothers, which from my understanding, is not something you should take for granted in professional sports.”
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