Lowe’s Latest: GM Meetings, Wizards, Blazers, Lue, Kuminga, Harden

The NBA’s general managers held their annual meeting in Chicago on draft lottery day and the discussions among those GMs about a handful of competition-related issues were “lively,” according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link).

One of the topics the GMs talked about on Tuesday, according to Lowe, was the idea of turning the NBA draft into a two-day event. They also discussed whether the modern game has tilted too far toward offensive production and considered what could be done to help defenses. Additionally, sources tell Lowe that some executives in attendance suggested bringing back escalating fines as a penalty for players who flop.

Much of the general managers’ conversation revolved around the issue of load management, and Lowe hears from sources that there may be more load management-related rules implemented as soon as next season. According to Lowe, some in attendance at the meetings believe the NBA may revisit its guidelines on when teams are permitted to rest players, as well as the penalties for clubs that violate those guidelines.

Here’s more from Lowe, who was in the drawing room for Tuesday night’s lottery:

  • Before the fourth and final lottery ball was drawn for the No. 1 pick, the Wizards had six of the 11 available combinations, according to Lowe and other reporters who attended the drawing. The Magic, Pacers, and Trail Blazers were also still alive for the top pick at that point, but it was the Spurs who lucked out and held the winning combination: 14-5-8-2.
  • Rival executives are expecting Portland to re-sign Jerami Grant this offseason, according to Lowe, who says he believes the Trail Blazers will also look into renegotiating the protections on the lottery-protected first-round pick they owe to the Bulls. Removing or reducing the protections on that pick would give the Blazers more flexibility to trade future first-rounders.
  • The Clippers love having Tyronn Lue as their head coach and are “happy to remind” teams with interest in Lue that he remains under contract, Lowe reports. The Suns are said to have legitimate interest in hiring Lue away from their division rivals, but it sounds like Los Angeles would make that very difficult. As Lowe notes, it’s still unclear whether or not that’s even something Lue would want.
  • Executives in Chicago are “buzzing” about what the future holds for the Warriors and Sixers. Based on his conversations, Lowe says there’s a strong level of interest in Golden State forward Jonathan Kuminga around the NBA. Lowe adds that, while the Rockets and James Harden have mutual interest in a reunion, league sources made it clear that Harden’s return to Houston is no lock after the dismissal of Doc Rivers in Philadelphia.
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