Nets Rumors

Rival Teams Wary Of Signing Kyrie Irving?

Multiple teams that were said to have interest in pursuing Kyrie Irving this summer are having second thoughts, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes. Irving will undoubtedly land a max contract, though his list of suitors may not be as long as anticipated just months ago.

The pause on Irving is a byproduct of how he ended his campaign with the Celtics. Two clubs are telling people around the league that they will only go after the point guard if another marquee free agent says he wants to play with Irving. Bulpett writes that the main target for each of these franchises is a different player and one of the teams had concerns that ownership would overrule the front office and dictate an Irving pursuit, though those concerns have been alleviated.

The talk behind the scenes is all over the place. Bulpett heard months ago that a source within the Knicks‘ front office was convinced that Irving and Kevin Durant were coming to New York. However, the scribe hears from an NBA agent that Irving wants the Nets and Durant favors the Knicks, thus causing a dilemma in the duo teaming up. Someone within the Warriors‘ organization tells Bulpett that Irving and Durant definitely spoke about the possibility of joining forces and Bulpett hears from another source that the Brooklyn talk is just a smokescreen.

The Celtics continue to hold out hope that Irving will re-sign with the team. It was reported earlier in the week that the front office believed that trading for Anthony Davis would make Irving warm up to the idea of returning. Irving has a Nike commercial in which he has his number retired in Boston and the organization hopes that becomes reality.

Two summers ago when Irving demanded a trade from the Cavs, some front offices were told by his camp that he would not re-sign with them. Some executives got the feeling that Irving got exactly what he wanted with the trade to Boston.

“We were told that the team he wanted to go to was getting ready to trade for him,” one general manager tells Bulpett. “And that team was Boston. So the Celtics were where he wanted to go. He got what he wanted. Now here we are two years later. Crazy.”

Execs Expect Hawks, Celtics, Sixers, Nets To Shop Draft Picks

Several executives around the NBA who spoke to Michael Scotto of The Athletic identified the Hawks, Celtics, Sixers, and Nets as teams that will be looking to trade at least one of their 2019 draft picks.

As we noted in our breakdown of draft picks by team earlier this week, there are eight teams that currently hold more than two selections apiece in the 2019 draft, and Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia represent four of those teams.

The Hawks, in particular, find themselves well-stocked for draft night, with a pair of top-10 picks and three more selections in the first half of the second round. When GM Travis Schlenk spoke about those five draft picks earlier this month, he acknowledged that the club is unlikely to bring five rookies to camp in the fall.

The 76ers also hold five picks, all of which fall between Nos. 24 and 54. Scotto suggests that Philadelphia may dangle some of those picks on the trade market in an effort to acquire bench depth.

Three of the Celtics’ four selections in the 2019 draft are first-rounders (Nos. 14, 20, and 22), and Scotto expects those picks to be brought up in any trade discussions Boston has about Anthony Davis.

As for the Nets, they only have three picks, but two are first-rounders (Nos. 17 and 27) and the third is the first pick of the second round (No. 31). Scotto has pointed out previously that those selections could help grease the wheels for an Allen Crabbe salary dump if Brooklyn wants to create additional cap room.

A year ago, NBA teams agreed to a total of 11 trades on draft night, so it’s safe to say that these four teams won’t be the only ones that consider moving picks next month. Still, they rank among the clubs most likely to be active, so they’re worth keeping an eye on leading up to – and during – the draft.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Pelicans, Rockets, Mavs

Responding to a report which claimed she had said she’d only trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers “over my dead body,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson laughed and called it “totally absurd” and “completely untrue,” tweets Fletcher Mackel of WDSU.

Rumors of the Pelicans’ reluctance to send Davis to the Lakers have persisted since before the trade deadline. There was a perception that the timing of Davis’ trade request was orchestrated by his camp to attempt to push him to Los Angeles, with the Pels resisting that outcome.

While sending their All-NBA big man to a big-market conference rival may not be their first choice, the idea that the Pelicans would rule out a trade partner altogether is far-fetched — if the Lakers’ offer is clearly the most favorable, it wouldn’t make sense for New Orleans to look elsewhere out of spite.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Speaking of potential Davis trade talks, Kevin Knox may be a centerpiece in any Knicks offer for the Pelicans‘ star, but a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that New Orleans isn’t high on the 2018 first-rounder.
  • In the view of Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, the Rockets‘ biggest offseason priority should be adding a frontcourt player who is capable of creating shots and offense.
  • The risks associated with acquiring Kristaps Porzingis keep growing for the Mavericks, Kevin Sherrington of the Daily Morning News opines. While it’s unlikely to prevent owner Mark Cuban from offering Porzingis an extension this summer, the Latvian big man carries plenty of baggage with him, Sherrington continues. The latest unsavory incident is his alleged involvement in a bar room brawl in his home country.
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic might be a better free agent fit than Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, Sherrington writes in a separate story. Vucevic would give Dallas size, rebounding, scoring and play-making, with his relative lack of athleticism the only downside. Walker and Doncic would have to share the ball and that approach didn’t work well with Dennis Smith Jr. this season, Sherrington notes.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Nets Expected To Be In Mix For Jimmy Butler

There’s a feeling around the NBA that the Nets will have a real shot to land Jimmy Butler in free agency, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who reports that Brooklyn is expected to be in the hunt for the veteran swingman this offseason. As Lewis notes, Kevin Durant figures to be the Nets’ top free agent target, but the team is eyeing other players, and Butler will be near the top of that list.

“We’re going to have options,” head coach Kenny Atkinson told ESPN on Thursday, per Lewis. “A, I think we all know what A is. There’s some great players out there. But we also feel comfortable with B, C and D that if it doesn’t go our way in free agency.”

In addition to Durant, the Nets will likely explore the possibility of signing Kyrie Irving, who is expected to give the team consideration. But with Spencer Dinwiddie set to begin a multiyear extension and D’Angelo Russell a good candidate to return on a new deal, a two-way wing like Butler may be the better fit.

As Lewis points out, Butler reportedly had the Nets among the teams on his wish list – along with the Clippers, Knicks, and Heat – before he was traded from Minnesota to Philadelphia last fall. The 29-year-old had a productive season with the Sixers, coming within one game of the Eastern Finals, but he’s believed to still look favorably on Brooklyn, Lewis writes.

With Butler set to turn 30 before the 2019/20 season begins, the battle for his services could come down to which teams are willing to offer him the max, and for how long. After the Sixers were eliminated on Sunday, Butler said, “Technically I think, knock on wood, I will get a max contract anywhere I choose to go.” But there’s no guarantee that teams will be willing to go up to four (or more) years on a player who would be earning $40MM+ in his age-33 season.

Based on current cap projections, the 76ers could offer Butler up to about $189.7MM over five years, while a rival team could put a four-year, $140.6MM offer on the table. The Nets won’t quite have enough cap room for a max free agent unless they renounce Russell, but could make other moves to create that space.

Draft Notes: Reddish, Clarke, Paschall

Cam Reddish met with the Lakers during the draft combine, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Los Angeles owns the No. 4 overall pick and the organization apparently sent all stakeholders to the meeting. When asked who was there, Reddish replied, “Everybody, you name it.”

Reddish also sat down with the Bulls this week, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets.  He has a meeting set up with the Cavaliers on Friday, as we passed along earlier today.

There are more draft notes to pass along:

  • Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga) met with the Timberwolves today and the forward feels like they had a “really, really good talk,” as Dane Moore of Zone Coverage tweets. “Obviously, I think I would love playing with KAT,” Clarke said. The 22-year-old will work out for Minnesota in June.
  • Clarke’s first workout will be with the Hornets and Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports (Twitter link) that the team “clearly” has interest in him. Clarke, who met with Charlotte during the combine, will also meet with the Suns, per Gina Mizell of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that Clarke will work out for the Celtics. The forward also has a workout set up with the Heat, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Villanova’s Eric Paschall is performing some personal PR, checking through his social media to make sure he hasn’t tweeted out anything a team might deem as a red flag. “I thought I was in the clear… In today’s age, social media is everything,” Paschall said, as Mike Vorkunov of the Athletic passes along (Twitter link). Paschall has met with the Suns, Wizards, Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Lakers. He’ll add the Pacers to that list on Friday.

Atlantic Notes: Crabbe, Draft, Sixers’ No. 24

The Nets are heading into the most crucial offseason under GM Sean Marks. The franchise is armed with cap space, owns a bevy of draft selections (Nos. 17, 27, and 31 overall picks), and has young talent on hand, all parts that make Brooklyn a reportedly desirable destination for marquee free agents.

Michael Scotto of The Athletic examines what strategy the Nets should take with their picks. Attaching a draft selection to Allen Crabbe in order to shed his $18.5MM salary via trade makes sense, especially if the team intends to pursue two marquee free agents. Without making moves like this, the Nets only project to have roughly 30.4MM in salary cap space, as our Salary Cap Digest shows.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Oregon’s Bol Bol is a name to keep an eye on for the Nets, Scotto adds in the same piece. Bol, who is getting attention from the Cavaliers at No. 5 overall, could drop out of the lottery because of medical concerns. Brooklyn could find itself with a similar opportunity to the one it had in 2017 with Caris LeVert.
  • Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech) has met with the Knicks. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays (Twitter link). Culver, who is reportedly on the Hawks’ radar, is a top-10 prospect and New York owns the No. 3 overall pick.
  • North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson and Purdue’s Carsen Edwards could be options for the Sixers in the first round, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Philadelphia owns the No. 24 overall pick in addition to four second-rounders.

2019 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers and Celtics suffered disappointing losses in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and face uncertain futures, both teams can at least fall back on the fact that they’re still loaded with draft assets. Philadelphia and Boston are two of only three NBA teams – the Hawks are the other – that possess at least four picks in the 2019 NBA draft.

As our full 2019 draft order shows, there are five other teams that more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, nine teams own just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Nuggets and Rockets – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2019 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Atlanta Hawks (5): 8, 10, 35, 41, 44
  • Philadelphia 76ers (5): 24, 33, 34, 42, 54
  • Boston Celtics (4): 14, 20, 22, 51
  • New Orleans Pelicans (3): 1, 39, 57
  • Charlotte Hornets (3): 12, 36, 52
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 17, 27, 31
  • San Antonio Spurs (3): 19, 29, 49
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 40, 47, 60

Teams with two picks:

  • New York Knicks: 3, 55
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 5, 26
  • Phoenix Suns: 6, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 38
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 11, 43
  • Detroit Pistons: 15, 45
  • Orlando Magic: 16, 46
  • Indiana Pacers: 18, 50
  • Utah Jazz: 23, 53
  • Golden State Warriors: 28, 58
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 48, 56

Teams with one pick:

  • Memphis Grizzlies: 2
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 4
  • Washington Wizards: 9
  • Miami Heat: 13
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 21
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 25
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 30
  • Dallas Mavericks: 37
  • Toronto Raptors: 59

Teams with no picks:

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets

Pelicans Win 2019 NBA Draft Lottery; Grizzlies, Knicks In Top 3

With Tuesday night’s lottery results now official, the top 14 picks in the 2019 NBA draft have been set. The lottery order is as follows:

  1. New Orleans Pelicans
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. New York Knicks
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers
  6. Phoenix Suns
  7. Chicago Bulls
  8. Atlanta Hawks
  9. Washington Wizards
  10. Atlanta Hawks (from Mavericks)
  11. Minnesota Timberwolves
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. Miami Heat
  14. Boston Celtics (from Kings)

It’s a huge development for the Pelicans, who were facing the potential loss of franchise player Anthony Davis this offseason and only had a 6.0% chance of moving up in the draft. New head of basketball operations David Griffin will now have the opportunity to either sell Davis on staying in New Orleans by adding Duke forward Zion Williamson to play alongside him, or will be able to build around Williamson after trading AD.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, moved up to No. 2 (6.3% chance), putting them in position to potentially select Murray State point guard Ja Morant. Mike Conley, of course, has been the longtime point guard in Memphis, but he has been the subject of trade rumors for the last several months — drafting Morant would be a terrific way to replace Conley if the Grizzlies decide to move the veteran this summer.

Because they jumped up to No. 2, the Grizzlies will keep their pick (top-eight protected) rather than sending it to Boston. Memphis will now owe the Celtics their top-six protected first-round pick in 2020.

Knicks fans will be disappointed not to land a top-two pick, but considering they only had a 40.1% chance to land a top-three selection, things could have been worse. Another Duke prospect, R.J. Barrett, is widely considered the favorite to be the third player off the board, but New York could dangle that pick in trade talks if the team wants to shift into contention mode immediately.

Another big-market team, the Lakers, jumped up to No. 4 despite only having a 9.4% chance at a top-four pick (2.8% for No. 4). The Lakers could shop that pick for immediate help this spring, since they’re in win-now mode during LeBron James‘ tenure.

The Cavaliers, Suns, Bulls, and Wizards are among the losers of the night, having each slid down three spots in the draft order. The Hawks also moved down three spots, but they’ll still pick twice in the top 10, at Nos. 8 and 10.

Atlanta will receive the Mavericks‘ selection at No. 10 as a result of last year’s Luka Doncic/Trae Young swap. The pick was top-five protected, so Dallas would have retained it if it had moved up in the lottery. The Mavs will now own their 2020 and 2022 first-round selections — they’ll owe the Knicks their 2021 first-rounder (unprotected) and their 2023 first-rounder (top-10 protected) due to the Kristaps Porzingis deal.

The Celtics, rather than the Sixers, will receive the Kings‘ pick at No. 14. The 76ers would have swapped first-rounders if that pick had moved up to No. 1, but they’ll keep their own selection instead. Sacramento now has all its first-rounders moving forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Isaia Cordinier To Play For Nets' Summer League Squad?

  • Draft-and-stash prospect Isaia Cordinier expects to play for the Nets in this year’s Summer League and hopes to join the team at some point, as he tells French site BeBasket (link via NetsDaily).
  • Illinois State wing Milik Yarbrough was among the prospects who worked out for the Nets last week, tweets Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Brooklyn Nets

A long, challenging rebuild began to pay dividends for the Nets in 2018/19, as the team finished sixth in the Eastern Conference, returning to the postseason for the first time since 2015.

With promising young players like Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Rodions Kurucs still on rookie deals and reliable contributors like Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris also locked up for next season, Brooklyn is set up well for the future. But the Nets will have to answer two crucial questions this summer: Will they invest big money in D’Angelo Russell, and will they be able to land a star in free agency?

Here’s where things currently stand for the Nets financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Standard cap room projection: $30.4MM
  • For all the talk of the Nets being a player for a maximum-salary free agent, they’d have to shed some money to create enough room for one. This projection takes into account their seven guaranteed salaries, Russell’s cap hold, and the cap holds for their two first-round picks.
  • More aggressive cap room projection: $50MM
  • If the Nets want to open up more space, waiving-and-stretching Crabbe would be one option, but it might make more sense to trade him, using one of their first-round picks as a sweetener to convince a team to take on his contract. This projection assumes the Nets trade Crabbe along with the No. 17 overall pick without taking back any salary.
  • Other scenarios:
    • The most aggressive scenario I can envision for the Nets would involve trading Crabbe and both of their two first-round picks while also renouncing Russell’s cap hold. That’s probably not a likely outcome, but it would get Brooklyn all the way up to $71.3MM in space, enough for two maximum contracts.
    • If the Nets were to retain their first-round picks and Russell’s cap hold and simply waived-and-stretched Crabbe, their cap room would increase from $30.4MM (our initial projection) to $41.8MM. This would be the simplest way to create a max slot if the team doesn’t want to sacrifice a first-round pick and doesn’t mind spreading out Crabbe’s salary across three years.
    • Attaching their No. 27 pick to Crabbe in a trade while retaining Russell’s cap hold and their No. 17 pick would leave the Nets with $49MM in cap room.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,760,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Napier’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  2. Graham’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  3. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  4. This is a projected value. In the unlikely event the Nets remain over the cap, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.