Brooklyn Nets

Nets Moving Closer To Trading Bojan Bogdanovic?

Teams with interest in Bojan Bogdanovic have suggested to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link) that they’re ramping up their offers. According to Wojnarowski, signs are pointing to the Nets soon choosing the best available deal for Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic, who will turn 28 in April, was the 31st overall pick in the 2011 draft and eventually joined the Nets in 2014. The 6’8″ forward is is enjoying a career year this season, with 14.2 PPG and a .357 3PT% in 55 games so far.

Although Bogdanovic is on an expiring deal, he’ll be eligible for restricted – rather than unrestricted – free agency this summer. That has some value, since the team that ends up with him at season’s end will also have the opportunity to match any offer he receives in the offseason. The Nets know first-hand that it can be difficult to steal an RFA away from another team — the club had offer sheets for Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson, and Donatas Motiejunas matched in 2016.

Wojnarowski’s report doesn’t name possible trade partners for Brooklyn, but there is no shortage of teams in the market for a scorer off the bench. When I previewed the trade deadline for the Atlantic teams last week, I identified Bogdanovic as a potentially intriguing under-the-radar trade candidate, given his shooting prowess and his affordable salary ($3.573MM).

Nets Lower Asking Price For Brook Lopez

The Nets have lowered their asking price for Brook Lopez, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). Previously, Brooklyn was said to be seeking two first-round picks in any offer for Lopez, but the club is now open to accepting a first-rounder and a second-rounder, according to Stein.

This week’s DeMarcus Cousins deal likely cooled the market for any teams shopping an impact player. Cousins was viewed as perhaps the most talented trade candidate on the market, but the Kings only received one future first-round pick in that deal, along with a young player (Buddy Hield) and a second-round pick. As Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets, that deal has “depressed the market for everyone.”

Still, the Nets have Lopez under contract through the 2017/18 season, and have long insisted that there’s no rush to move him, so it’s unlikely that the franchise abruptly changed course in the wake of the Cousins trade. If the club is willing to lower its asking price now, it’s probably because no team was willing to meet that price even before the Cousins deal.

Prior to acquiring Cousins, the Pelicans were linked to Lopez, having reportedly offered Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Tim Frazier, and a protected 2018 first-round pick for the Nets center. New Orleans is certainly out of the running now, however, so Brooklyn will have to look elsewhere for a trade partner. One possibility is Indiana, as the Pacers are said to be dangling a first-round pick in search of an immediate upgrade on the wing or in the frontcourt.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Okafor, Atkinson, Ibaka, Porzingis

Knicks legend Willis Reed had an interesting take on the team’s leadership woes. The Hall of Famer suggested Phil Jackson take the helm as head coach, replacing Jeff Hornacek. 

“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter…He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”

Reed was critical of Jackson’s inability to find a suitable head coach during his run as Knicks president, citing Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Hornacek as disappointments. Jackson’s most recent season as a head coach came with the Lakers in 2010/11, in which L.A. finished with a 57-25 record.

More from the Atlantic…

  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN discussed Jahlil Okafor in a recent mailbag, calling the Pelicans the best fit for the former #3 overall pick. In the event that Okafor isn’t traded at the deadline, however, Pelton named the Bucks as a potential landing spot over the offseason. Milwaukee big man Greg Monroe may opt out of his contract, making Okafor a logical candidate to slide into his role.
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post handed out individual grades to the 9-47 Nets. Kenny Atkinson received a B-, as the rookie head coach has done a good job of keeping his players focused despite their gaudy record. GM Sean Marks was given a C+, largely due to his inability to capitalize on Yogi Ferrell‘s potential, and wasting $4MM on Greivis Vasquez.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave props to the Celtics, saying Brad Stevens‘ squad is well-positioned for the future. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach [Brad Stevens] and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft, which is remarkable,” Kerr said. “Boston’s in a great place. I have a lot of respect for Brad and Danny [Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations] for what they’ve done and obviously, Isaiah Thomas. They’ve been a great story this year.”
  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Raptors received assurances that Serge Ibaka would re-sign after the season. Ibaka, who has yet to make his team debut, will be expected to help lift Toronto out of their recent funk- entering the All-Star break having dropped six of their last 10. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out, if Toronto doesn’t retain Ibaka over the offseason, their cap space can expand to $21.2MM.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has struggled to get on the same page as Derrick Rose, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “We’re still trying to find that connection between us, where we know exactly where the guy’s going to be,’’ Porzingis said. “We have to get a really good feel for each other. That doesn’t happen overnight. We’re still trying to work on that.’’ An anonymous NBA source added fuel to the fire, observing “I don’t think Derrick is helping Porzingis’s growth, with his head down going to the basket, not really looking for him.’’

Woj: Butler Trade To The Celtics Still Possible

A potential trade sending Jimmy Butler from the Bulls to the Celtics will loom over deadline week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).

In a video interview, Wojnarowski says the teams have discussed a deal involving Butler, but talks haven’t progressed very far. He adds that Chicago officials have to to fully commit to the rebuilding process before they would be willing to give up Butler.

Wojnarowski says the trade would involve one of the Nets’ first-rounders — but probably not both — that Boston owns in the next two drafts. If the Bulls get this year’s pick, Wojnarowski states they can find a replacement for Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks last summer. Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball are point guards mentioned as likely choices at the top of the draft.

Teaming Butler with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would give the Celtics enough firepower to challenge Cleveland for supremacy in the East, Wojnarowski states, not just this season but for years to come.

Other highlights from the interview:

  • The Clippers and Thunder are both potential landing spots for Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. However, both teams are low on draft picks and may not have the assets that Denver would want in return.
  • The Thunder were trying to acquire Kings forward Rudy Gay before a season-ending Achilles injury.
  • The Wizards would like to add another wing player to their bench, with the LakersLou Williams and the NetsBojan Bogdanovic as possibilities. Wojnarowski says Washington is willing to part with a draft pick to get veteran help.
  • The Suns have been shopping P.J. Tucker, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight, hoping to get picks or young players in return.
  • Chandler is one of several centers on the market, along with the SixersJahlil Okafor, the MavericksAndrew Bogut, the BucksGreg Monroe and the NetsBrook Lopez. However, there is limited interest in back-to-the basket centers. Wojnarowski speculates that one or two of them may be traded this week, but cautions that there aren’t enough buyers for all of them to be moved.
  • Unless something changes, Carmelo Anthony will remain with the Knicks. New York management hasn’t presented him with any deals that would tempt him to waive his no-trade clause. Most of the teams that were interested in dealing for Anthony are now “looking in other directions,” but Wojnarowski thinks the Clippers might revisit their attempt to land Anthony this summer.

Jeremy Lin Set To Return Right After Break

  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is expected to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Lin practiced on Tuesday without any setbacks, according to NetsDaily.com. Lin’s season has been wrecked by hamstring woes. Signed to a three-year, $36MM contract last summer to be the team’s No. 1 point guard, Lin has appeared in just 12 games.

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

Booker Leading By Example

  • Trevor Booker was recently moved to the bench and he’s handled coach’s decision extremely well, Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. Booker felt it was important to show his younger teammates how to act in the face of adversity. “We got some younger guys that’s new to it,” Booker said. “For me, being that leader, showing them different things, that’s what the young guys need.” The Nets brought in the power forward to mentor the team’s youth and to help build a winning culture, as I detailed in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Atlantic Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. Today, we’re examining the Atlantic.

Buyers:

Two Atlantic teams currently hold top-four spots in the Eastern Conference, and both the Celtics (35-19) and Raptors (32-23) are in great position to strengthen their rosters at this year’s deadline.

Boston, in particular, is loaded with trade assets, including a handful of extra first-round picks. While there are several teams around the league holding additional draft picks, none have the upside that the Celtics’ selections do. The C’s have the right to swap picks with Brooklyn this season, and hold the Nets’ 2018 pick outright, and no NBA team has a worse 2016/17 record that the Nets. If any club wants to make a superstar available, a logical first step would be to give Danny Ainge a call and ask about those two Brooklyn picks, either of which would be a great starting point for any trade package.

The Raptors, meanwhile, don’t have quite the stash of draft picks that Boston does, but Toronto holds a couple extra future first-rounders, and is also carrying several intriguing young players on its roster. Guys like Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo should be available, and in the right deal, perhaps the Raps would be willing to include a rotation player like Terrence Ross, Norman Powell, Lucas Nogueira, or even Jonas Valanciunas. Although they’ve struggled lately, the Raptors took Cleveland to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and adding an impact power forward would make their roster even more dangerous.Read more

Details On Pelicans’ Brook Lopez Trade Talks

Reports last week indicated that the Pelicans were scouring the market for a center, dangling their 2018 first-round pick in trade talks. At the time, Brook Lopez was identified as one potential target for New Orleans, and now, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders has some specific details on the sort of package the Pelicans and Nets were discussing.

According to Scotto, the two teams have talked about a trade that would send Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Tim Frazier, and a 2018 protected first-round pick to Brooklyn in exchange for Lopez.

Such a trade package would likely pique the Nets’ interest, since it includes two young guards on reasonable deals, a sizable expiring contract (Evans’), and a future first-round pick to replace the Nets’ own 2018 selection.

Still, the Nets have long been said to be seeking multiple first-round picks in any Lopez deal, and ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Sunday that the team’s asking price hadn’t changed. The Pelicans’ proposal includes just one first-rounder, and depending on how heavily it’s protected, it’s possible it wouldn’t be a lottery selection.

While the Nets are willing to discuss deals involving Lopez, multiple reports have downplayed the team’s interest in making a deal during the season. The veteran center remains under contract through 2017/18, so Brooklyn appears willing to revisit trade discussions during the offseason if the team doesn’t receive an offer it likes this month.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, are believed to be engaged in talks with the Sixers involving Jahlil Okafor. New Orleans probably has a few more irons in the fire around the NBA as well, as the team looks for a big man to pair with Anthony Davis in the frontcourt.

Stein’s Latest: Ibaka, Gallinari, Lopez, Millsap

There’s a growing sense around the league that Serge Ibaka could be dealt before the trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. Orlando traded for Ibaka during the offseason with the thought that he could be a long-term fixture with the team. However, the Magic now feel retaining the big man in free agency could be harder to accomplish than they initially expected.

A source told Stein that the belief around the league is that Orlando will take the best offer for Ibaka at the deadline. The Magic are fielding calls from several teams and Toronto and Miami are among the Eastern Conference teams to express interest in Ibaka this month, sources tell Stein.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest piece:

  • There is growing belief that the Nuggets are prepared to move Danilo Gallinari, as the team believes he will turn down the player option in his contract and become a free agent this offseason. Stein adds that Denver doesn’t plan on breaking the bank for the small forward and notes that the Raptors and Clippers are among the teams monitoring the situation.
  • The Nets continue to demand two first-round picks in exchange for Brook Lopez, Stein writes.
  • The Hawks remain adamant that Paul Millsap will not be traded. The team is willing to stick it out with Millsap this season even if it means losing him for nothing come summertime.
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