Nets Rumors

New York Notes: Durant, Sexton, Williams, Nash

Kevin Durant and the Nets’ other stars can pursue extensions this summer. Durant is taking a diplomatic approach to questions regarding that possibility, Chris Milholen of NetsDaily.com relays. “First of all, you enjoy playing the game. That’s the most important thing and I think we all three enjoy playing with each other … I’m sure when that time is right, we’ll all make the right decision for ourselves,” Durant said.

We have more tidbits regarding the New York City teams:

  • Trading for Cavaliers high scoring guard Collin Sexton could be a buyer-beware situation for the Knicks, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Sexton has a stubborn streak that can turn off his teammates, according to a Berman source, and he might ultimately be more suited to a sixth-man, Lou Williams-style role rather than a No. 1 option at the point.
  • The Knicks could pursue Stanford wing Ziaire Williams in the draft, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Williams worked out for the Knicks and felt very good about his experience. However, Williams may go much higher than the No. 19 pick, the Knicks’ highest selection. He’s even been rumored to go to the Magic in the top 10.
  • Steve Nash issued a statement, Marc Stein of Substack tweets, regarding Mike D’Antoni‘s decision to step down from his post as a Nets assistant which read in part, “I will be forever grateful of his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together.”

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Duarte, Thunder, Pacers, Kings, Giddey, Nuggets

With the draft just over 24 hours away, here’s some of the latest rumors:

  • The Knicks hold the Nos. 19 and 21 picks on Thursday but they’re aggressively trying to move into the lottery with the hope of landing Oregon guard Chris Duarte, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Hornets (No. 11) and Pacers (No. 13) are among the teams that appear willing to trade down. The Knicks are trying to leapfrog the Warriors (No. 14) and Wizards (No. 15), the teams most likely to pick Duarte ahead of them. However, a package of their two first-rounders alone won’t get it done, Ford adds. The Thunder have also held discussions with Charlotte regarding the No. 11 pick, Ford reports in another tweet.
  • Duarte may not last beyond the Pacers, either, unless they deal the pick. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), Indiana’s selection is expeccted to come down to Duarte and Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, assuming both are still available.
  • If the Knicks can’t move up, West Virginia point guard Miles McBride and VCU point guard Nah’Shon Hyland are potential targets at No. 21, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • The Kings (No. 9) are taking a long look at Australia’s Josh Giddey, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Kings not only interviewed Giddey, they made a trip to Las Vegas to see the 6’8” guard work out with the Australian national team.
  • The Nuggets (No. 26) have fielded some calls from teams in the 20-25 range looking to trade down, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. One of those teams is apparently the Lakers (No. 22).

Mavs, Lakers, Pelicans Have Interest In Landry Shamet

The Mavericks, Lakers, and Pelicans are among the teams with interest in Nets shooting guard Landry Shamet, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

An earlier report indicated that Brooklyn has been willing to discuss Shamet in trade talks. Begley confirms as much, writing that several teams have been in touch with the Nets about a possible Shamet trade. Most of those scenarios would involve Brooklyn receiving a first-round pick, Begley adds.

Shamet, 24, averaged 9.3 PPG on .408/.387/.846 shooting in 61 games (23.0 MPG) for the Nets in 2020/21. He’s eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason and would reach restricted free agency in 2022 if he’s not extended, so if Brooklyn isn’t prepared to give him a raise, it makes sense that the team would gauge his value on the trade market. If he’s traded, he’d be joining his fourth team in four seasons.

The Mavs don’t have a first-round selection in 2021, but both the Pelicans (No. 17) and Lakers (No. 22) pick ahead of the Nets (No. 27) and could be in the market for low-cost veteran help on the wing. Begley notes that the Knicks, who hold the 19th and 21st overall picks, have had interest in Shamet in the past.

The Nets have also discussed DeAndre Jordan with potential trade partners, according to Begley, who hears from sources that one of those conversations was about a possible three-team deal.

Jordan, who has two years and $19.7MM left on his contract, probably doesn’t have positive trade value, so Brooklyn could use Shamet or the No. 27 pick as a sweetener to try to move his salary. However, it’s not clear if any of the talks involving Jordan have gained any traction, says Begley.

D’Antoni Stepping Away From Role With Nets, Not Retiring

Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni is stepping away from his full-time role as a member of Steve Nash‘s staff in Brooklyn, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Wojnarowski’s use of the term “full-time” leaves the door open to the possibility that D’Antoni will still act as a consultant for Brooklyn or another team on a part-time basis. It’s unclear whether or not that’s in the cards, but Woj says that D’Antoni isn’t retiring and is expected to pursue NBA head coaching jobs again in the future.

D’Antoni sought a head coaching position this offseason and was a finalist for the Trail Blazers’ job, which eventually went to Chauncey Billups. A report in early June suggested D’Antoni had also received interest from Boston and Orlando, though there was no indication he was a serious contender for either job.

D’Antoni, whose most recent head coaching gig was with the Rockets up until 2020, has coached five different NBA teams and ranks 21st on the league’s all-time list with 672 regular season wins. However, at age 70, he may be running out of time to get another shot. Only two head coaches in NBA history – including current Spurs coach Gregg Popovich – have remained on the sidelines into their 70s, according to HoopsHype.

Southeast Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Beal, Hornets, Hawks

The Magic, like every other NBA team, didn’t have a chance to scout prospects in person for most of this year. But Orlando has one tool at their disposal that other teams don’t, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic: an Artificial Intelligence system called AutoStats.

AutoStats works similarly to the tracking program Second Spectrum, but without requiring the same specialized set-up, instead working off a basic broadcast to compile physical data and analyze it. Because of an agreement reached with the team in 2019, the Magic have exclusive rights to the technology.

It helps us get a better read on everything that the naked eye may miss,” said President of Basketball Ops Jeff Weltman. “It’s very powerful information. It’s what drives most of NBA analytics. So to have the next best thing applied to colleges, where it’s typically unavailable to most teams, we believe that is a significant competitive advantage.”

How it will effect the Magic’s draft decision-making process remains to be seen.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • In the view of David Aldridge of The Athletic, it’s time for either Bradley Beal or the Wizards to be the bad guy and throw in the towel on this partnership. Aldridge contends that there’s no realistic path for Beal to contention as long as he stays in Washington, and despite his continued loyalty to the franchise he’s been with since he was 19, competing at the highest level is still a priority. Aldridge touches on the reported interest from the Warriors and Raptors, and adds that a Beal trade would almost certainly necessitate moving Russell Westbrook as well.
  • The Hornets held a pre-draft workout for center Day’Ron Sharpe today, per a team PR tweet. Sharpe is considered a fringe first/second-round pick, and though the Hornets only have two very late second-round picks, it’s possible they could consider a move into the first half of the second round to try to address their glaring hole at center.
  • The Hawks have hired Steve Gansey to be the head coach of their G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, reports Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Gansey spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Nets Issuing Qualifying Offer To Bruce Brown

The Nets are tendering a qualifying offer to Bruce Brown, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The procedural move will ensure that Brown is a restricted free agent this summer.

Brown, who will turn 25 next month, played an important role for the Nets in 2020/21 after being acquired last fall from Detroit. He averaged 8.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG on .556/.288/.735 shooting in 65 games (22.3 MPG) and played tough, versatile defense for Brooklyn.

Because he met the starter criteria, Brown’s qualifying offer is worth approximately $4.7MM. If he accepts that one-year offer, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent in 2022, but he’s more likely to negotiate a new multiyear deal with the Nets or a rival suitor. Brooklyn would have the ability to match any offer sheet Brown signs with another team.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Offseason Preview: Brooklyn Nets]

The Nets hold Brown’s Bird rights, so they won’t face any cap restrictions when it comes to re-signing him — it will simply be a matter of how much further into tax territory team ownership is willing to go.

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Watson, Raptors, Kokoskov, Mavs, More

Former Suns head coach Earl Watson appears set to return to the sidelines for an NBA team, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that Watson is finalizing a deal to join the Raptors. Watson – who was pursued by multiple teams, according to Haynes – would be an assistant on Nick Nurse‘s staff. Watson hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2017, but Devin Booker has credited the former Phoenix coach for his accelerated development at the NBA level, Haynes notes.

Here are a few more notes on coaching and front office hires from around the NBA:

  • Veteran assistant Popeye Jones, who spent over a decade in the NBA as a player, will leave the Sixers to take a job on Michael Malone‘s staff with the Nuggets, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Marc Stein first reported (via Twitter) that Jones – a former Nuggets player – was emerging as a strong candidate to be hired by Denver.
  • Turkish club Fenerbahce officially announced today that head coach Igor Kokoskov won’t return to the team next season. As previously rumored, the former Suns coach is on track to take a job on Jason Kidd‘s staff with the Mavericks, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. In Dallas, Kokoskov will get the opportunity to reunite with Luka Doncic, whom he coached on the Slovenian national team in 2017.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, they’ve hired Nets salary cap strategist Andrew Baker for a senior role in their front office under new president of basketball operations Nico Harrison, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
  • Fischer also identifies Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson and Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham as two potential targets for the Celtics as they seek a general manager under new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.

Point Guard Rumors: Paul, Conley, Lowry, Dinwiddie, More

After watching Chris Paul play a key role in turning the Suns into a legit title contender in 2020/21, teams around the NBA are weighing whether they might be able to replicate that success by adding a veteran guard such as Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, or Paul himself this summer, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Those three point guards will be free agents and will headline a talented group that also includes Lonzo Ball, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dennis Schröder, and Derrick Rose, among others.

According to both Windhorst and Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, there’s a belief around the NBA that the Jazz will be able to re-sign Conley this offseason, even if they have to shed some salary to comfortably do so. However, they’ll face competition for the point guard. Windhorst and Fischer identify the Mavericks as one team expected to be in the hunt for Conley.

As for Paul, he has indicated he’s prepared to turn down his $44MM+ player option for 2021/22, but it’s possible that’s a leverage play, writes Windhorst. If the Suns and Paul are interested in continuing their relationship, a scenario in which CP3 picks up his player option and then signs an extension at a lesser rate may be in both sides’ best interest. If Paul does opt out and seeks a new team, he’ll be limited by the Over-38 rule to a three-year contract.

Here are a few more notes on the point guard free agent market:

  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms a Miami Herald report that stated Kyle Lowry is expected to be seeking a three-year, $90MM contract in free agency.
  • The Knicks will be among Lowry’s suitors and are willing to offer him somewhere between $20-30MM per year for two seasons, according to Pompey, who says that Spencer Dinwiddie and swingman Evan Fournier are among New York’s other potential targets. Dinwiddie is thought to be seeking $25MM annually, while Fournier is after $18MM per year, says Pompey. I’m skeptical that Dinwiddie, especially, will achieve that goal.
  • Dinwiddie is viewed as a likely Plan B for the Pelicans if they’re unable to land Lowry, according to Fischer. As Windhorst notes, current New Orleans GM Trajan Langdon previously worked in Brooklyn’s front office during Dinwiddie’s time with the Nets.
  • League executives believe the Pelicans are willing to let Lonzo Ball go if they find another option they like or if Ball receives an aggressive offer sheet, writes Windhorst.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, who had success with Dennis Schröder in Oklahoma City, is thought to be interested in a potential reunion with the Lakers guard, according to Windhorst.
  • Timberwolves veteran Ricky Rubio is among the point guards whose names have been floated on the trade market so far, per Windhorst.

Draft Rumors: Spurs, Pacers, Knicks, Nets, Duarte, Warriors, More

Reports in recent weeks identified the Nos. 9 and 10 picks in the draft as two of the most available lottery picks. New Orleans agreed on Monday to move the 10th pick to Memphis, while the Kings‘ pick at No. 9 continues to be viewed as available, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

In addition to Sacramento’s pick, the Spurs‘ (No. 12) and Pacers‘ (No. 13) selections are among the lottery choices that could be had, according to Fischer, who suggests that both teams are viewed as candidates to move back into the mid-teens or early 20s if the price is right.

As for which teams picking later in the first round might be looking to move up, Fischer says the Knicks (Nos. 19 and 21), Rockets (Nos. 23 and 24), and Nets (No. 27) fit that bill. Brooklyn has been willing to discuss shooting guard Landry Shamet in trade talks, Fischer adds.

Here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report is the latest reporter to indicate that Chris Duarte is unlikely to fall past the No. 15 pick on Thursday. The Lakers are among the teams that have shown interest in Duarte and have looked into possibly moving up in the draft, Wasserman notes.
  • James Bouknight, Duarte, Trey Murphy, and Jonathan Kuminga are among the prospects the Warriors are eyeing, says Wasserman. While Kuminga isn’t necessarily NBA-ready, there’s support for him within Golden State’s front office from those who consider his upside too significant to pass up, Wasserman adds.
  • The Warriors turned down a Knicks offer of the Nos. 19 and 21 picks for the No. 14 selection, per Wasserman.
  • Some teams outside the top 10 believe Michigan forward Franz Wagner has assurances he’ll be selected in the top 10, according to Wasserman. The Kings at No. 9 are considered a strong candidate for Wagner if they keep their pick.
  • Both Wasserman and Matt Babcock of BasketballNews.com continue to suggest the Raptors aren’t a lock to draft Jalen Suggs at No. 4, since the team has done “extensive homework” on Scottie Barnes.
  • Alabama’s Joshua Primo and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu are two of the prospects Wasserman has heard linked to the Nuggets at No. 26.
  • Alperen Sengun has a good chance of being a lottery pick, according to Babcock, who says the Turkish big man could be picked as high as No. 8 by the Magic.

Woj’s Latest: Kawhi, Simmons, Schröder, Kings, Lowry, Nets, More

There’s no indication that Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard wants to leave Los Angeles as a free agent this offseason, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said in Sunday’s televised Woj & Lowe special (video link). However, there is a belief that Leonard is at risk of missing the entire 2021/22 season following his ACL surgery earlier this month, says Wojnarowski.

That nugget was one of several that Wojnarowski and fellow ESPN reporter Zach Lowe shared during their half-hour special and the bonus YouTube segments that followed. We’ve already passed along several of their other insights, including some draft-related rumors, the latest updates on Bradley Beal‘s status, and the fact that the Lakers have shopped Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to many teams around the NBA.

However, the ESPN duo dropped several more notes and rumors during their special. We’re using the space below to round up a few of the most interesting ones:

  • The Sixers have engaged in Ben Simmons trade talks and are making and receiving offers, says Wojnarowski (video link). However, Woj thinks Philadelphia will be patient, noting that Simmons is under contract for four more years, which “opens up the landscape” for possible trade partners. The 76ers are looking for the best possible player they could get back in a Simmons deal, Woj adds.
  • Despite the fact that the Lakers have been linked to so many other point guards in advance of free agency, Wojnarowski believes there’s still a deal to be made with Dennis Schröder (video link).
  • The Kings have talked to teams in both the West and East about Buddy Hield, according to Wojnarowski (video link), who says the club has also received plenty of trade interest in Harrison Barnes. Woj would be surprised if Barnes is dealt though.
  • In a discussion of free agent point guards, Wojnarowski (video link) said that he anticipates a “big market” for Raptors star Kyle Lowry, who could receive offers in the neighborhood of $25-30MM per year, and that the Bulls and Lonzo Ball would be an ideal match in a perfect world, but his restricted FA status could complicate matters. Woj also thinks luxury tax concerns will prevent the Jazz from simply re-signing Mike Conley and keeping everyone else on their roster (video link).
  • The Nets hope to lock up Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden to contract extensions and are optimistic that Blake Griffin will want to return, per Wojnarowski (video link). Jeff Green may be trickier to re-sign, however, as he’ll likely seek more than the veteran’s minimum. Woj and Lowe both identify the Bucks as a possible suitor for Green if he leaves Brooklyn.