Bam Adebayo

Latest On Kevin Durant

After speaking to “a couple” NBA general managers, Marc J. Spears of ESPN (video link via Talkin NBA) outlined during an appearance on NBA Today what sort of return the Nets are seeking as they explore the trade market for Kevin Durant.

“A young or future All-Star,” Spears said, “lots of picks, the ability to swap picks, and another starter.”

Spears went on to say that Durant “might not have as much control of the situation as one would think,” not only because he has four years left on his contract but because there are so many teams involved in the bidding. According to Spears, about half the league’s clubs remain interested.

Here’s more on Durant:

  • Sam Amick of The Athletic explains that Phoenix is Durant’s preferred destination in part because of his close relationship with Monty Williams, who was an assistant for the Thunder in 2015/16. The bond between the two men grew deeper after Williams’ wife was killed in a car accident in February 2016, Amick writes.
  • While Phoenix may be atop Durant’s wish list, Amick has gotten the sense that the Nets would want something more – or something “different” – than a Suns package headlined by Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges. Cameron Johnson is a player who might help move the needle for the Nets, Amick adds. However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) suggests that any deal between the Suns and Nets would likely see Phoenix giving up the maximum amount of first-round picks (four) and pick swaps (three).
  • The Heat are also on Durant’s wish list, but Amick says the former MVP would only want to play on a Miami team that features Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry. Amick is understandably skeptical that a package centered around Tyler Herro would gain any momentum.
  • The Nets have been “emboldened” by the returns in the Rudy Gobert and Dejounte Murray trades, which both included multiple unprotected first-round picks, Adrian Wojnarowski said during an appearance on ESPN’s televised NBA Free Agency Special on Friday evening. Wojnarowski added that he doesn’t believe the Nets are in any rush to make a deal, since they want to fully assess all their options.
  • Wojnarowski also said during ESPN’s NBA Free Agency Special (video link) that he believes the Raptors are “lurking” as a possible suitor for Durant, given their combination of players and draft picks, as well as their track record for making this sort of deal (for Kawhi Leonard in 2018).

More Than Half Of NBA Teams Have Inquired On Durant

Since word broke this afternoon that Nets star Kevin Durant has requested a trade out of Brooklyn, more than half of the teams in the NBA have called to inquire about the former MVP, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said during an appearance on NBA Today this afternoon (video link via Malika Andrews).

The Suns and Heat have been mentioned as two of Durant’s preferred landing spots, but the Nets are expected to take the best deal available to them rather than focusing on sending the veteran forward to a specific destination.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Warriors are probably the only team that can be ruled out as a landing spot for Durant. I’d also be shocked if the Nets were willing to send him to the cross-town Knicks.

Early indications are that the Nets aren’t especially inclined to acquire Deandre Ayton via sign-and-trade as the centerpiece of a Durant deal, Fischer writes, adding that – from Brooklyn’s perspective – any deal with Phoenix or Miami would likely have to start with Devin Booker or Bam Adebayo. However, both of those players are on designated rookie extensions, prohibiting the Nets from acquiring either one unless they move Ben Simmons.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Designated Rookies]

Given that the Rockets control the Nets’ draft picks (either outright or via swap rights) for the next several years, don’t expect Brooklyn to pivot to a full-fledged rebuild as part of a Durant trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the same episode of NBA Today (video link)

Windhorst isn’t sure if the Nets will get a superstar in return, but expects them to target selfless, team-first players, citing Suns forward Mikal Bridges as an example. As Windhorst observes, those are the types of players GM Sean Marks spoke about wanting during his end-of-season media session in May.

“We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available,” Marks said at the time.

[RELATED: Nets To Acquire Royce O’Neale From Jazz]

Windhorst also says his phone is “blowing up” with executives wondering where Kyrie Irving is going to end up. There has been no indication that Irving has requested a trade, but he seems far less likely to remain in Brooklyn for the final year of his contract if Durant is traded.

“If Kevin Durant is on the first train out, Kyrie Irving will be on the caboose as far as the Nets are concerned,” Windhorst said.

According to Fischer, league sources “continue to whisper” about Irving’s desire to join the Lakers and reunite with LeBron James. However, a trade between L.A. and Brooklyn would be challenging, since the Nets reportedly have no interest in Russell Westbrook.

Heat Notes: Robinson, Adebayo, Herro, Oladipo, Haslem

Less than a year after signing a five-year, $90MM contract with the Heat, Duncan Robinson was replaced in the starting lineup by minimum-salary wing Max Strus and then fell out of the rotation completely in the second round of the postseason. As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald relays, Robinson admitted this week that it wasn’t easy to take that role reduction in stride.

“It does not matter if you’re playing JV basketball, if you’re playing middle school basketball, if you’re playing college basketball, if you’re playing in the NBA at the highest level. Not playing, it sucks in a lot of ways,” Robinson said in the latest episode of his podcast. “Especially when you feel that you’re capable and you feel that you can help win. It’s a really, really challenging feeling to combat, especially when you’re on the cusp and in the midst of a run where your team is playing really well.”

Robinson is the Heat’s most prolific three-point shooter, making 232 threes and converting them at a 37.2% rate during the 2021/22 season. However, he’s not an especially strong defender, so if his shot isn’t falling, he sometimes struggles to have an impact on the game. Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley believes there’s room for Robinson to raise his level on the defensive end of the court.

“Defensively as a young player, even though he’s not as young as some of the other guys, he’s got to get better,” Riley said on Monday, per Chiang. “Look, we hang our hat on that. … To me, yes Duncan can improve. That message has been delivered to him many times.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • While the Heat will make an effort to upgrade their roster in free agency and on the trade market this summer, they’ll also be counting on internal improvement from players like Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, Chiang writes in another story for The Miami Herald. Riley suggested this week that he feels both Adebayo and Herro, who are just 24 and 22 respectively, still have room to grow.
  • After missing much of the 2021/22 season while recovering from quad surgery and then being incorporated slowly into the rotation, Victor Oladipo was starting to look a little more like his old self by the end of the Heat’s season. With Oladipo’s contract set to expire, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders what sort of role – and how much money – Miami will feel comfortable offering the two-time All-Star in free agency.
  • In another Sun Sentinel article, Winderman looks at the decision facing Udonis Haslem, who has no interest in becoming a coach and is weighing whether or not to play a 20th NBA season.

Eastern Notes: Adebayo, Herro, Knicks, Nets

Heat star Bam Adebayo didn’t have a problem with the team getting fined $25K for its “bench decorum” in Game 6, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. While this shouldn’t come as a surprise, Adebayo did have a positive way of looking at it, explaining why the fine didn’t bother him.

“At the end of the day, it just shows how much support your teammates have for you, to the point we get fined,” Adebayo said.

The Heat aren’t the only team to be fined for violating bench decorum rules this postseason, as the Mavericks were fined three separate times for a total of $175K for the same issue. According to the NBA, several Heat players stood for an extended period in the team bench area. They were on, encroached upon or entered the court during live game action.

Here are some other Eastern Conference notes:

  • The Heat remain concerned about Tyler Herro‘s injury in the short term, Ira Winderman writes in a separate story for the Sun-Sentinel. Herro, who suffered a groin strain earlier in the team’s series against Boston, was the club’s second-leading scorer at 20.7 points per game this season and won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, so his absence has naturally been felt. “It’s a sensitive injury, so got to take his time,” Adebayo said of Herro.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday explores whether the Knicks or the Nets are in a better spot going forward. The Knicks entered 2021/22 coming off a successful campaign with a young core, but their season became rife with injuries and chemistry issues. The Nets had championship expectations, but Kyrie Irving‘s part-time availability, James Harden‘s trade request and Joe Harris‘ season-ending injury harmed their hopes.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post examines why the Nets‘ lack of length is no longer an issue they can live with by simply scoring more. Brooklyn was often overmatched in its first-round series against Boston, playing two or three point guards at a time against the Celtics’ bigger lineup. The team simply lacked wing depth, something that Harris and Ben Simmons can help address when they play next season.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Hornets, “Shadow Heat,” Bam

The Magic, owners of the top pick as well as the Nos. 32 and 35 selections in the 2022 draft, interviewed a variety of players at the pre-draft combine, have hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts, and are expected to host several others as they do their due diligence with an eye towards the future.

Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel lists all the players the Magic are doing their homework on, including Duke guard Trevor Keels, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, Kentucky guard TyTy Washington Jr., and more.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets, who possess the Nos. 13 and 15 picks in the upcoming draft, are hosting UT-Arlington forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu, Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton, LSU forward Tari Eason, North Carolina State guard Terquavion Smith, SMU forward Marcus Weathers, and Connecticut forward Isaiah Whaley for a pre-draft workout today, per Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • The Heat‘s young deep-bench players, a.k.a. the “Shadow Heat,” are gearing up for a summer of development, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Winderman notes that the Miami front office brain trust of Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg, and Adam Simon have made it a habit to add intriguing youngsters near the end of the regular season, letting them work out with the team during the end of the year and the postseason ahead of hopeful Summer League success. The Heat have hit on solid role players this way in the past, and hope to do so again with Haywood Highsmith and two-way players Mychal Mulder and Javonte Smart. That trio has been traveling with the club as it continues its playoff run. “I think that gives you invaluable experience, any time you can be a part of a playoff run,” said Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven, who underwent a similar late-season development process last year.
  • Though Heat All-Defensive Team center Bam Adebayo has had a relatively modest offensive output in the team’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics thus far, the team assesses his production beyond just the box score, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Adebayo is averaging just 13.3 PPG in the series.

2021/2022 All-NBA Teams Announced

The 2021/22 All-NBA teams have officially been announced by the NBA. For the fourth straight season, Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to the All-NBA First Team by a voter panel of 100 media members. Antetokounmpo, 27, is making his sixth All-NBA team overall.

Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic received the most votes. Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker and Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid rounded out the list of top five vote-getters. Because the All-NBA teams, unlike the All-Star squads, require just one center per team, Embiid was relegated to an All-NBA Second Team placing.

Below is a list of the three All-NBA teams. Vote tallies are listed in parentheses next to player names. Five points were awarded to players for a First Team Vote, three points netted for a Second Team vote, and one for a Third Team vote. Antetokounmpo earned a perfect 500 points.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat center Bam Adebayo and small forward Jimmy Butler, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, and Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet all received All-NBA votes. Surprisingly, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who played in just 29 games this season, also received a single vote.

As we previously outlined, the All-NBA selections come with significant financial ramifications. As a result of being named to All-NBA teams, Booker and Towns have become eligible for super-max extensions that would begin in 2024/25. If they’re signed this offseason, those deals would be for four years and would start at 35% of the ’24/25 cap. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter), they currently project to be worth $211MM apiece.

Young’s five-year contract extension, which was signed last August and will go into effect in 2022/23, will now be worth 30% of next season’s cap instead of 25% by virtue of his All-NBA selection. Based on a projected $122MM cap, that means it’ll be worth about $212MM instead of $177MM.

Jokic had already met the super-max requirements prior to this announcement, since he won last year’s MVP award — he’s eligible to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason and has said he plans to do so. Doncic, who signed a maximum-salary contract extension last summer, also previously met the super-max criteria by earning All-NBA nods in 2020 and 2021.

Notable players who are not eligible this offseason for super-max deals include Morant and Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. As Marks tweets, Morant needs to make the All-NBA team again in 2023 to qualify for a starting salary worth 30% of the cap (instead of 25%) on his next deal.

LaVine, a free agent this offseason, would have been eligible to earn up to 35% of next season’s cap from the Bulls if he had made an All-NBA team, but will instead be able to earn no more than 30% of the ’22/23 cap on his next contract.

With their inclusions, Morant, Booker, and Young are making their All-NBA team debuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the NBA aging curve, two 37-year-old veterans further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials during the 2021/22 season. James made his 18th All-NBA team, while Paul was named to his 11th All-NBA team.

Heat Notes: Butler, Strus, Lowry, Adebayo

The Heat are optimistic about Jimmy Butler‘s status for the rest of the Eastern Conference Finals even though he wasn’t able to play in the second half of Game 3, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters that Butler won’t have to undergo another MRI, but his availability for Monday night hasn’t been determined.

Butler is experiencing inflammation in his right knee, a problem that has plagued him since Game 4 of Miami’s first-round series against Atlanta. Spoelstra said the team’s training staff decided at halftime Saturday that he shouldn’t try to keep playing through it.

“He didn’t have his, like, normal explosive burst,” Spoelstra explained. “He’s been able to manage this. I think the next two days will be really important, obviously. At halftime, really, the trainers made the call. Just feel like we’ve been in this situation a lot with a few of our guys. We almost have to restrain them. We get it, and we love it about them, how they are wired. But we also don’t want to be irresponsible.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • One of the biggest shots of the night was hit by Max Strus, a former G League player who was waived by the Celtics in 2019, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. After Boston closed to within a point, Strus drained a three-pointer with 2:16 remaining to swing the momentum back to Miami. He said the play was suggested in the huddle by Kyle Lowry. “In the timeout, Kyle said: ‘Let’s run a pin-down for Max. Let’s get him open,’” Strus said. “So when he said that, I had all the confidence in the world to step up and make a shot. Just shot my normal shot. I got two great screens from Bam (Adebayo) and P.J. (Tucker) and hit a wide-open jumper.”
  • Although there are health questions about Butler and Tyler Herro, who appeared to suffer a quad injury, the Heat were briefly at full strength on Saturday as Lowry returned from an injured left hamstring, notes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Lowry, who has played 78 total minutes over the past month, had 11 points and six assists and provided a strong defensive presence as Miami built a large early lead.
  • With Butler unavailable, the Heat got the performance they needed from Adebayo, observes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The big man had a 31-point night, including eight in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Celtics’ rally. “When Jimmy was out in the second half, he just stabilized us,” Spoelstra said. “It got a little gnarly out there and when it did, we were able to get the ball to Bam and just get something coherent.”

Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges Head All-Defensive Team

Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaren Jackson Jr. comprise the 2021/22 All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Smart, who was voted Defensive Player of the Year, received the most points with 198 (99 first-place votes), but he was left off of one voter’s ballot. It’s his third All-Defensive nod, all First Team.

DPOY runner-up Bridges was second with 193 points (it’s his first All-Defensive team), followed by third place finisher Gobert (171), a three-time DPOY who has now been voted to the First Team for the sixth straight season.

Antetokounmpo, the ’19/20 DPOY, was voted to his fourth consecutive First Team. He was also selected to the Second Team in ’16/17, so it’s his fifth nod overall.

Jackson, who led the league in blocked shots per game at 2.27, makes his first All-Defensive Team, edging Bam Adebayo by just one point (153 to 152) for the First Team. It’s the third straight season Adebayo has been selected to the Second Team.

Jrue Holiday earns his fourth All-Defensive honor, now owning two Firsts and two Seconds. He also earned a $120K bonus for his efforts, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), which will increase the Bucks‘ luxury tax payment to about $52MM.

Matisse Thybulle was selected to the Second Team for the second straight year, while Robert Williams earns his first nod. Williams has a $223,215 bonus attached to his rookie scale extension, but he won’t earn it for his efforts this season because he’s in the final season of his rookie contract. However, the award will change his cap hit for ’22/23 (up to $10,937,502), because he’s now considered likely to achieve an All-D nod again next season, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks relays (via Twitter).

Draymond Green, the ’16/17 DPOY, was the final selection to the Second Team. It’s his seventh All-Defensive Team overall (four Firsts, three Seconds). Green is now second among all active players in All-Defensive Team awards, only trailing Chris Paul (nine). He was previously tied with LeBron James at six.

Here are both All-Defensive teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Defensive First Team:

2021/22 All-Defensive Second Team:

A total of 24 other players received votes: 10 guards, 11 forwards and three centers. Among the group that missed the cut, Fred VanVleet was the top guard with 41 points, Evan Mobley was the top forward with 13, and Joel Embiid was the top center with 33. The full results can be found here.

One thing worth noting, which I personally disagree with: media members with ballots are asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, and vote for players “at the position they play regularly,” which is counterintuitive in the modern NBA, where positions increasingly matter less and less. “Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position at which they received the most voting points,” per the release.

Forcing voters to shoehorn players into positions is a poor process. For example, Adebayo starts at center, but is listed as a forward; Bridges is listed at guard, but starts at small forward. I’m not saying those players were undeserving, far from it — but it’s an irritating and outdated inconsistency.

In my opinion, the best defensive players should be on the All-Defensive teams, regardless of position. I’d also like to see a third All-D team so more recognition is given to players for their efforts on the less glamorous end of the court.

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Wizards, Hampton, Hawks

Heat center Bam Adebayo dominated the first two games of the series against the Sixers, but Joel Embiid‘s return changed that, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After averaging 23.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in Games 1 and 2, Adebayo put up nine points and three rebounds Friday night while shooting 2-of-9 from the field.

Embiid admitted being upset while watching Adebayo while he was sidelined with a concussion and a broken orbital bone and felt like he needed to make a statement in Game 3. Now it’s Adebayo’s turn to respond when the series resumes Sunday night.

“I still got to be aggressive,” Adebayo said after today’s practice. “That’s part of the game. You see different lineups, you see different personnel and then you’ve just got to adjust your attacks.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Poor team chemistry was among the things that sank the Wizards after a 10-3 start, but the organization believes it has already made moves to fix it, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Team president Tommy Sheppard thought the atmosphere in the locker room was better after Spencer Dinwiddie, Davis Bertans and Montrezl Harrell were moved at the trade deadline. More continuity next season could help, adds Hughes, who points out that Washington used a franchise-record 29 players this year and made significant roster changes twice in six months.
  • Magic guard R.J. Hampton improved in some areas but regressed in others as he was asked to adapt to a new role this season, observes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The addition of lottery pick Jalen Suggs and the late-season comeback by Markelle Fultz meant Hampton didn’t handle the ball as much as he did after Orlando acquired him in a trade midway through his rookie season. He also became less efficient in finishing at the rim, which caused his scoring average to fall to 7.6 PPG after averaging 11.2 PPG last year in 26 games with the Magic.
  • The Hawks hosted six players in a draft workout Friday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. On hand were San Francisco guard Jamaree Bouyea, Washington State big man Mouhamed Gueye and four wing players, Quenton Jackson of Texas A&M, Abu Kigab of Boise State, Kenneth Lofton Jr. of Louisiana Tech and Hunter Maldonado of Wyoming.

Heat Notes: Game 3, Lowry, Herro, Adebayo, Dedmon

The Heat lost Game 3 at Philadelphia 99-79 due to a dreadful shooting performance and a strong fourth quarter from the Sixers, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami shot just 35% from the field and 23% from deep, and was outscored 31-14 in the fourth.

We weren’t totally intentional where we were getting the ball and we paid the price for that,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Kyle Lowry struggled in his return from a strained hamstring, finishing with zero points, three assists and four fouls in 25 minutes, Jackson notes. Lowry had missed four straight playoff games during his two-week absence. He admitted he wasn’t full strength yet.

I’m healthy as I can be right now,” Lowry said. “I had one good day of working out, kind of a half day. I just got to find a rhythm. I didn’t expect to be amazing tonight. [But] I didn’t expect to have zero points.”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Tyler Herro may desire a move to the starting lineup next season, but that might not be best for the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Herro is the team’s primary shot creator off the bench and plays starter minutes (tied for third in MPG with 32.6), so filling that void could be difficult. Victor Oladipo could theoretically slot into Herro’s place, but he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and may desire a starting role himself, Winderman says.
  • There are strong opinions regarding how Bam Adebayo should play, but his versatility is a strength, not a weakness, Winderman relays in another story. “We want Bam to be Bam,” Jimmy Butler said before Game 3. “And I think Spo says it all the time. And it’s funny to me, because like you’re kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If he’s being a playmaker, people are saying you want him to score more. If he’s scoring a lot, then you want him to be a playmaker.” After an awesome first two games against the Sixers, averaging 23.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 SPG while shooting 71.4% from the field and 89.5% from the line, Adebayo struggled in Game 3 upon Joel Embiid‘s return, recording nine points, three rebounds, three turnovers and five fouls on 2-of-9 shooting in 33 minutes.
  • Backup center Dewayne Dedmon has seen his minutes reduced in the postseason due to both the Heat and opponents playing smaller lineups, but he’s ready to step in when his name is called, Winderman writes. “We’ve got crazy versatility on this team,” Dedmon said. “So being able to go small and match up with whatever lineup the other team might throw at us, that’s our talent.”