Nets Rumors

Trade Candidate Watch: Veteran Guards

Leading up to the February 9 trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA. We’re continuing today with a handful of veteran guards.


D’Angelo Russell, Timberwolves

2022/23: $31.4MM

2023/24: UFA

Like many players on Minnesota’s roster, Russell had a slow start to the season, averaging 14.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.7 APG and 1.3 SPG on a sub-optimal .425/.318/.759 shooting line (53.1 true shooting percentage) through the end of November (22 games, 31.3 MPG).

However, he has been on fire ever since, averaging 20.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.9 APG and 1.0 SPG on .496/.441/.931 shooting (65.7 TS%) over his past 27 games (34.4 MPG).

Overall, he is averaging 17.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.2 APG and 1.1 SPG. He’s posting career-best shooting splits from all over the court, including 54.2% on twos, 39.1% on threes (46.6% from the field), and 87.1% from the free throw line, for a career-high (by far) 60.5 TS%.

Part of the reason he’s had so much success scoring lately is because the Wolves been using him more off the ball – he’s shooting 39.3% on catch-and-shoot threes, per NBA.com. It will be difficult for the Wolves to replace the former All-Star’s production, as they rank just 18th in 3PT%, and he has been the team’s second-leading scorer with Karl-Anthony Towns injured.

That’s not to say he’s a perfect player by any means, as he has always been a below-average defender and rebounder who can frustrate with lack of effort. His decision-making can also be questionable at times, which is why he’s best utilized as more of a combo guard than a traditional point.

Russell, who turns 27 next month, is not making it an easy decision for the Wolves to move him in his contract year. They have been winning lately, and he’s had a big role in that. Do they want to pay him in free agency if they don’t extend him, especially after last year’s poor playoff performance?

Mike Conley, Jazz

2022/23: $22.7MM

2023/24: $24.4MM ($14.3MM guaranteed)

Conley, on the other hand, is more of a traditional pass-first floor general, with an elite 4.73-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. At 35 years old, he is on the downside of his career, but the Jazz have been better (+2.0 net rating) when he’s on the court, going 21-19 when he plays and 5-7 without him.

While he isn’t scoring much this season (10.3 PPG), Conley is dishing out a career-high 7.6 APG, and his 36.6% mark from deep is above league average. He’s fallen off a little more on the other end – Conley used to be one of the better point-of-attack defenders in the league, but isn’t as quick as he once was.

The big thing with Conley isn’t whether he provides an immediate positive impact (he does), it’s more about paying a small, aging point guard $24.4MM next season. His large partial guarantee makes it impractical to waive him, because whichever team he’s on would still be on the hook for a substantial amount.

Patrick Beverley, Lakers

2022/23: $13MM

2023/24: UFA

As is the case with Russell, it’s been a tale of two halves for Beverley. Through 20 games (26.9 MPG), he was averaging just 4.5 PPG on a miserable .298/.234/.760 shooting slash line.

Over the past 21 games (26.7 MPG), that has completely flipped, as he’s averaging 8.2 PPG on an excellent .473/.434/.875 shooting line. He’s up to 34.7% from deep on the season, which isn’t great, but it’s respectable (his career mark is 37.6%).

Beverley’s fit with the Lakers has been a little more awkward than anticipated, but it’s probably not a coincidence that he’s been playing some of his best basketball while two other guards (Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker) have been injured (Walker just returned on Saturday against Boston). That’s more a product of poor roster construction than anything against the players individually.

The 34-year-old is a natural trade candidate because he’s the only player on the roster who makes more than $7MM and less than $37MM, plus his deal expires at the end of the season. Beverley’s improved play of late makes him more than just a salary-matching piece – the Lakers will need a legitimate upgrade if they move him, even if it almost seems inevitable.

Seth Curry, Nets

2022/23: $8.5MM

2023/24: UFA

Fun fact: Curry is the NBA’s active leader with a career mark of 43.9% from three-point range, good for third-best all-time. In ’22/23, he’s shooting 43.8% from deep.

Curry, who turns 33 this summer, is an impending free agent with an affordable expiring contract. He got off to a slow start following offseason ankle surgery, but he is a very good offensive player due to his elite shooting (he’s also great on mid-range pull-ups).

The problem is he’s only 6’2” and is definitely more of a two guard than a lead ball-handler. He has always been a negative defensively.

Curry would provide value on a lot of teams – the main issue is the Nets have multiple small guards who can shoot and struggle defensively, making his skill set a little redundant. Adding frontcourt size and depth seems like it should be a priority.


Note: This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just a brief overview. There are a number of other guards that have been in the rumor mill, including Kyle Lowry (though he seems unlikely to be traded), Russell Westbrook (ditto), Bones Hyland, Derrick Rose, R.J. Hampton, Grayson Allen and Gary Harris, among others.

Nets Notes: O’Neale, Claxton, Simmons, Warren, Frontcourt

The Nets agreed to give up a first-round pick in exchange for Royce O’Neale last summer on the same day that news of Kevin Durant‘s trade request broke. The timing created some confusion among NBA observers about why a Brooklyn team in flux would give up a valuable future asset for a veteran role player. Seven months later, it’s clear why the Nets felt O’Neale was worth investing in, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required).

“It’s the total confidence that he gives you, the effort and the care factor that he has on a nightly basis … going over the scouting report and looking to see who he might guard that night,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said. “His teammates get a chance to see him be extremely professional. Whether it’s the conversations that I have with him on an off day about how our group is, what’s important, how can we get better.

“To see the concern that he has of doing his part as a teammate, that goes a long ways when there’s been nights where maybe he didn’t have a great shooting night but he’s still finished the game for us. Or he’s in a position where he’s able to shoot a crucial three because he’s in the game. At the end of the day, the trust that he’s garnered amongst the coaching staff, his teammates, (is) because he shows up every single day. Every day, every practice and every game. And nearly every minute of those games.”

As Lewis notes, O’Neale’s availability has been one of his most valuable assets for the Nets this season. The forward has started 45 games – tied with Nic Claxton for the team high – and his 1,563 total minutes are easily the most on the team, ahead of No. 2 Kevin Durant (1,403).

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Already emerging as a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year contender, Claxton has taken his offensive game to a new level since Durant went down, having averaged 21.1 points per night on 77.5% shooting in his last seven games. Vaughn has been just as impressed with Claxton’s mindset and preparation between games as his production on the court, according to Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. “That professionalism, that maturity will go a long ways for Nic Claxton. It’s paying off for him,” Vaughn said. “The preparation, the dedication to your craft, to show up and be prepared to play every single night — there’s something to it, and he’s getting rewarded for it.”
  • Ben Simmons (left knee soreness) and T.J. Warren (left shin contusion) both departed Thursday’s game vs. Detroit early. While both players could miss a little time, it doesn’t sound as if either injury should be a long-term issue. Joe Vardon of The Athletic indicated that Simmons wasn’t expected to undergo an MRI on his ailing knee, and the former No. 1 overall pick is listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. New York. Warren is listed as doubtful.
  • Alex Schiffer and John Hollinger of The Athletic check in on the state of the Nets and consider what the team will be looking for at the trade deadline and on the buyout market. Hollinger suggests that Brooklyn should keep an eye on big men like Damian Jones and Mason Plumlee, since the club could still use one more frontcourt player to help match up with bigger centers.

New York Notes: Nets Trade Talk, Simmons, Vaughn, Dolan, Robinson

The Nets are one of the more active teams on the trade market, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Joe Harris, Seth Curry and/or Patty Mills could potentially be on the move due to their short-term salaries and reduced roles, O’Connor notes. Beyond that, they could only dangle young players Day’Ron Sharpe and Cam Thomas, their 2028 or 2029 first-round pick, and a future first-rounder from Philadelphia in 2027 or 2028.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons says that coach Jacque Vaughn hasn’t really informed him why he’s often been on the bench in late-game situations, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. “I really had no message from him. I think it’s more just wherever team needs,” Simmons said. “When we’re winning I have no problem with it; if we’re losing then I got an issue.”
  • Speaking of Simmons, Vaughn says he expects him to be more consistent in the second half of the season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Simmons had a 10-point third quarter against Philadelphia on Wednesday and the coach wants to see that offensive aggression more often. “That’s the goal,” Vaughn said. “That’s where we’re going to get him to, where each possession he has to be dealt with on both ends of the floor. Where you feel him on both ends of the floor and he imposes his will and has an impact on every single possession, which he has the ability to do. That’s where we’re going to get to, that’s the challenge and we’re going to continue to expect it from him.”
  • Knicks owner James Dolan figures it’ll be another month or so before center Mitchell Robinson returns to action, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays (Twitter link). In a Fox5 interview, Dolan said the Knicks will have to “make it through the next four weeks” without Robinson. Robinson underwent thumb surgery last week and is expected to be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.

Antetokounmpo, James Head All-Star Starters; Embiid Falls Short

Lakers forward LeBron James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Thursday with his 19th NBA All-Star selection. James, who currently shares the record with Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star Games played with 18, was chosen as a starter, according to a league press release.

All of the starters were revealed on Thursday night.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic were the other starters chosen out of the Western Conference. James will serve as a team captain for the sixth straight year, since he received the most votes.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, named a team captain for the third time, heads the list of starters out of the Eastern Conference. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Nets forward Kevin Durant, Nets guard Kyrie Irving, and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell will join him, but the league’s second-leading scorer, Sixers center Joel Embiid (33.4 PPG), didn’t garner enough votes.

The starters are selected by a weighted voting process with the fan vote accounting for half of the final outcome. The player and media portions of the vote each counted for 25 percent. Three frontcourt players and two guards were selected from each conference.

Embiid finished third in the player and media voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players but fourth in the fan voting. All voting results can be found here.

The game will be played Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. James and Antetokounmpo will choose their teams shortly before the game begins. James will set the league record for most All-Star appearances if he plays, since Abdul-Jabbar did not play in the 1973 game after being chosen.

The reserves, which are chosen by the league’s coaches, will be announced Feb. 2.

Kyrie Irving Seeks Contract Extension In Brooklyn

Kyrie Irving is ready to talk to the Nets about a contract extension, but no discussions have taken place yet, writes Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

Irving is eligible for a veteran extension that would pay him up to about $200MM over four years. A report last week indicated that a shorter deal with Brooklyn might be more realistic.

“Around Kyrie and staying with the Nets? I have reached out to the Nets regarding this,” said his agent, Shetellia Irving. “We have had no significant conversations to date. The desire is to make Brooklyn home, with the right type of extension, which means the ball is in the Nets’ court to communicate now if their desire is the same.”

Irving will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if the two sides can’t agree on an extension. He had the opportunity to enter free agency last offseason by turning down his $36.5MM player option, but there was said to be little interest in him around the league following a season in which his playing time was limited because of his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The situation may be different if Irving hits the free agent market this year. He has been on his best behavior since an early-season suspension for promoting an antisemitic film and has helped the Nets climb into contention for the top seed in the East.

Irving is averaging 26.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists through 35 games and is the leader among Eastern Conference guards in the latest round of All-Star voting.

Atlantic Notes: Fournier, Durant, Tatum, Raptors

Asked directly if he wants to remain with the Knicks, Evan Fournier paused to consider his answer before responding, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. As the veteran wing eventually explained, while his preference would be to stay in New York, that may not be the case if he’s going to remain out of the team’s rotation.

“Best-case scenario, I want to stay here. I want to play here,” Fournier said. “I had a bunch of different choices in free agency and I wanted to be a Knick. I love New York. I wanted to play for (head coach Tom Thibodeau). So I’d love to stay, but I’d love to play.”

Fournier went on to say that he feels like he’s in the best shape of his career and that he’d rather not spend some of his prime years sitting on the bench.

“I should be in my prime. I am in my prime,” he said, per Braziller. “You want to play, for sure. Especially as a competitor. It’s not like I forgot how to play. Last year I had a different role and somehow I was able to break a 30-year-old franchise record (most three-pointers in a season). So I am going to find a way to adapt to any situation.”

The veteran wing has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game vs. Cleveland for personal reasons, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). According to Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link), Fournier’s wife gave birth today.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • It’s uncertain after today’s update from the team whether Kevin Durant will be healthy in time to play in next month’s All-Star Game, but if the decision is up to him, the Nets star would like to suit up in Salt Lake City, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I want to play tomorrow if I can,” Durant said. “So that’s what my sense of urgency is. Obviously, I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I’m 100%. But yeah, I want to play. I want to be a part of all these events.”
  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum didn’t rule out the possibility that his sore left wrist will require surgery after the season, but indicated that he has no plans to miss extended time during the season, using rest and injury management to play through the ailment, per Bobby Manning of CLNS Media.
  • Eric Koreen and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to take a closer look at the Raptors‘ approach to the trade deadline and various factors the team should be considering as it weighs its options. Hollinger views the Lakers as one logical trade partner for Gary Trent Jr., pointing out that L.A. would be in position to re-sign the veteran swingman to a new contract this summer.

Trade Rumors: Suns, Holmes, Reid, Raptors, Bamba

Suns point guard Chris Paul has missed 21 of 48 games this season due to injuries and has seen his production dip even when he’s healthy — his 13.4 points per game would be a career low, while his 42.7% field goal percentage is the second-worst mark of his career.

Paul’s limitations have prompted the Suns to begin considering their post-CP3 future at point guard, according to Marc Stein, who reports at Substack that Phoenix has identified the RaptorsFred VanVleet, the HornetsTerry Rozier, and the KnicksImmanuel Quickley as potential trade targets.

As Stein outlines, the Knicks are considered unlikely to move Quickley and it remains to be seen what Toronto’s intentions are for VanVleet, but Rozier is widely believed to be very much available for a struggling Hornets club that will likely be one of the deadline’s top sellers.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors from around the NBA:

  • Teams with a need for frontcourt help are keeping an eye on Kings center Richaun Holmes as a possible buyout candidate if Sacramento can’t move him before the trade deadline, says Stein. That seems like a long shot, given that Holmes is still owed $12MM in 2023/24 and $12.9MM on a ’24/25 player option after this season.
  • Following up on Michael Scotto’s reporting on Naz Reid, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer cites league sources who say that the Nets are among the teams who have inquired on the Timberwolves big man. Scotto identified the Clippers and Nuggets as teams with interest in Reid.
  • League sources are skeptical that the Raptors will move Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby unless the return is massive, but view Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet as more viable trade candidates due to their contract situations, writes O’Connor. Both Trent and VanVleet have 2023/24 player options which they’re expected to decline.
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba is considered “readily available” via trade, sources tell O’Connor. Bamba re-signed with Orlando in the offseason but has played a modest reserve role, averaging 17.4 minutes per game in 37 appearances. His $10.3MM salary for 2023/24 is non-guaranteed.

Nets Pleased With Kevin Durant’s Progress In Recovery

Kevin Durant is making progress toward returning from his right MCL sprain, the Nets announced (via Twitter). Durant underwent his two-week reevaluation Monday, and the doctor was pleased with the state of his recovery.

Durant will resume running and on-court basketball activities this week, the team added, and he will be reassessed again in two more weeks.

That time frame takes him to February 7, which is about a week before the All-Star break. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests the Nets might consider holding Durant out through the break to give him more time to fully recover before returning February 24 (Twitter link). However, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic there’s optimism that Durant will return in time to play in the All-Star Game (Twitter link).

The Nets are 2-4 since Durant was injured January 8, dropping their first four games and then responding with back-to-back road victories. Kyrie Irving has taken on more of the scoring load to help the team survive without Durant’s production.

Durant was in the midst of an MVP-type season before the injury, averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 39 games.

Atlantic Notes: Sims, Hartenstein, Nets, Raptors, Niang

Knicks reserve big men Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein have seen their roles expand following starting center Mitchell Robinson‘s recent thumb surgery, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post.

Sims had been out of the Knicks’ rotation in the five games leading up to Robinson’s thumb injury last week, while Hartenstein was playing backup center minutes. After Robinson went down, Sims was elevated to starter, while Thibodeau kept Hartenstein in his reserve role.

“I feel good about both guys,” New York head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “What gives us the best chance to win? It may change based on matchups… Jericho and Isaiah have been in the rotation, and that was one of the things that stood out when we were acquiring those guys was the rim protection. We felt both were capable.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Though the Kevin Durant drama may have been taking the lion’s share of headlines as far as the Nets were concerned this summer, the team made some excellent under-the-radar roster moves that are now paying off in a big way, per James Herbert of CBS Sports. Herbert singles out Brooklyn’s re-signing of Nic Claxton, its free agent additions of Yuta Watanabe and T.J. Warren, and its trade for Royce O’Neale.
  • As the Raptors continue to slide in the Eastern Conference standings, team president Masai Ujiri should look to move on from some of its best assets and begin a full-on rebuild around second-year forward Scottie Barnes, opines Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star. Arthur believes that Toronto players OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam could each net at least three first-round draft picks in trades, writing that at least one team previously offered three first-rounders for Anunoby.
  • Sixers reserve power forward Georges Niang is striving to play better defensively, and seems to have truly improved on that end this season, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “People try to knock me, and not give me credit because I don’t look like someone that can defend,” Niang said. “I believe if I’m out there on the court, I’m going to make it tough on anybody that I have to guard.. That’s kind of the narrative that I’m trying to spin the other way.”

Serge Ibaka Drawing Interest From Multiple Teams

The Bucks may have several options in their effort to find a trade for Serge Ibaka, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. League sources tell Scotto that the Nets, Heat and Hawks are among a group of teams that are closely watching the Ibaka situation ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.

NBA executives believe a second-round pick will be enough to acquire the veteran big man, who has barely played for Milwaukee this season, averaging just 11.6 minutes in 16 games. He hasn’t been on the court since January 1 and is currently away from the team as it tries to work out a deal.

Scotto notes that Brooklyn is intriguing because Ibaka played alongside Kevin Durant for several seasons in Oklahoma City. The Nets have been searching for experienced frontcourt help, and Ibaka offers both rim protection and three-point shooting.

With the Heat possibly moving on from backup center Dewayne Dedmon, Ibaka could provide a low-cost alternative, Scotto adds. Dedmon, whose playing time was reduced before his recent one-game suspension, became trade-eligible on January 15.

The Hawks may believe they need insurance at center due to Clint Capela‘s injury woes. Capela returned to the lineup last Monday after missing the previous 10 games with a calf injury, but he has been limited to 31 games this season.