The Athletic’s staff released an article this week focused of one player with the most to prove for each of the NBA’s 30 teams in 2022/23. Interestingly, several players mentioned are current or former All-Stars, including a trio who missed all of last season: Ben Simmons of the Nets, Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, and Zion Williamson of the Pelicans.
Simmons’ head coach, Steve Nash, also made the list, as Alex Schiffer wonders whether or not Nash can finally show he’s a solid coach if the roster stays healthy.
In addition to more established veterans, eight former first-round picks who are still on their rookie contracts made the cut, including De’Andre Hunter of the Hawks, Killian Hayes of the Pistons, and James Wiseman of the Warriors, amongst others.
Here are a few more odds and ends from the NBA world:
- One league executive of tells Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com that he expects more transactional activity, like the recent Lakers/Jazz trade, to transpire now that the Kevin Durant saga is over — at least for now. “I think we’ll see some things,” the executive said. “I don’t think L.A. thought it had a chance at Durant, but they had to see how that played out. You had to be on the whole ‘Let’s keep hope alive for the possibility of being involved in this,’ thing. Teams have been like, ‘Something may fall to us if a deal for KD gets expanded to include other teams.’ But now I think teams return to sanity and say, ‘OK, what do we need to do?’“
- The Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, recently made a couple of returning player rights trades, the team announced in a press release. The Skyforce acquired the G League rights to Jared Harper from the Birmingham Squad (Pelicans’ affiliate) for Javonte Smart. They also acquired Cheick Diallo from the Motor City Cruise (Pistons’ affiliate) for Micah Potter, with Potter subsequently signing an Exhibit 10 deal with Detroit. Both deals involved G League draft picks swapping hands. All four players have NBA experience, and Harper, Smart and Diallo remain NBA free agents, these moves only impact their G League rights.
- The Motor City Cruise made a separate trade (Twitter link) with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s affiliate. The Cruise sent Cassius Stanley‘s returning player rights to the Vipers in exchange for the Vipers’ 2022 first-round pick. Like previously mentioned with the players above, Stanley remains an NBA free agent.