D'Angelo Russell

Trade Rumors: Bucks, Rockets, Covington, Heat, More

With teams around the NBA looking for ways to upgrade their roster in advance of the February 6 trade deadline, Chris Mannix of SI.com wonders whether the 37-6 Bucks would be better off just standing pat. As Mannix notes, most general managers are inclined to give stock answers about being opportunistic and always looking for favorable deals, but Milwaukee might not want to even risk disrupting the team’s chemistry.

“The stock answer is true,” Bucks GM Jon Horst told Mannix. “Of course we are going to look around. Of course we are going to do our jobs. But we are going to be incredibly patient and incredibly protective of what we have. I think that’s fair and I think that’s smart. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to do anything or that we shouldn’t do anything. But we have guys here that have shown they can impact games.”

Here are a few more notes and rumors related to the NBA’s trade market:

  • The Rockets have shown previous interest in Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, but that interest has cooled and Houston isn’t currently pursuing him, an executive with knowledge of the team’s thinking tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe thinks the Heat are one player away from being “really dangerous” and hears from sources that the team is actively looking for that piece. According to Lowe, there has been plenty of speculation around the NBA about Miami – and other teams – targeting Jrue Holiday, but potential suitors don’t expect the Pelicans to move him this season.
  • The Hawks‘ trade interest in Andre Drummond – which has apparently ended – was believed to be more ownership-driven, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who says the Pistons don’t have any real traction on a Drummond deal for now. Within his mailbag, Mannix also says he’d be surprised if the Warriors move D’Angelo Russell before the 2020 offseason.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com says he’s gotten the sense that the Cavaliers have set an “internal price tag” on Tristan Thompson. Fedor believes the Cavs are probably unlikely to move the big man unless they get a first-round pick — a package like the one they got for Jordan Clarkson probably wouldn’t be enough.

Pacific Notes: Russell, Evans, Kings, Vogel

As we’ve detailed before, the Timberwolves put on the full-court press in their efforts to recruit D’Angelo Russell during the 2019 free agent period, but the Warriors‘ maximum-salary offer and the opportunity to play alongside Stephen Curry ultimately swayed Russell to Golden State. Discussing that decision with Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report, Russell made it sound as if it didn’t take him long to choose the Dubs once his agent called him to inform him of the max offer.

“I’m like, ‘Why the f–k is you on the phone with me?!'” Russell said. “‘Tell them yes!'”

Of course, his first year in the Bay Area hasn’t played out like he’d hoped, with Curry joining Klay Thompson on the long-term injury list and the Warriors plummeting to the bottom of the Western Conference.

Russell has been linked to the Wolves again as of late, with Minnesota reportedly intensifying its efforts to trade for him. While a deal seems unlikely to happen before the deadline, D-Lo acknowledged that this has been something of a lost season for the Warriors, who are essentially evaluating their roster for 2020/21.

“This whole year is kind of a test of seeing what’s gonna fit, what’s gonna make sense for next year,” Russell told Sepkowitz. “It’s them kind of sitting back, seeing who I am as a teammate and a player, what I bring to the table.”

Here’s more out of the Pacific:

  • Warriors guard Jacob Evans has been diagnosed with a concussion and a broken nose after taking an elbow to the face on Tuesday, the club announced (Twitter link). It’s not clear how much time Evans will miss, but he’s currently in the NBA’s concussion protocol and will wear a protective mask when he returns, according to the Warriors.
  • The Kings passed on Luka Doncic in the 2018 draft due to concerns about his fit alongside De’Aaron Fox, a decision that some fans in Sacramento have had a hard time moving past, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. According to Amick, former Kings coach Dave Joerger passive-aggressively joked to GM Vlade Divac midway through last season that he’d negotiated a trade with the Mavericks to land Doncic, to which Divac shot back: “Do I get their coach, too?”
  • In an interesting piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Arnovitz explores how the perception of Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has changed over the last several months. When Vogel was hired in the spring, he was viewed as a Plan C whose hiring was proof of the franchise’s dysfunction. However, he has helped right the ship in L.A., leading the team to a 33-8 first-half record.

Timberwolves Intensifying Pursuit Of D’Angelo Russell

Having traded Jeff Teague to Atlanta today, the Timberwolves are actively pursuing additional deals and have intensified their pursuit of Warriors point guard D’Angelo Russell, report Shams Charania and Jon Krawcznyski of The Athletic.

[RELATED: Timberwolves trade Jeff Teague to Hawks]

Russell was atop Minnesota’s wish list in free agency this past offseason, but the Wolves’ recruiting efforts fell short when the Warriors swooped in with a four-year, maximum-salary offer for the All-Star guard.

Russell has been viewed as a trade candidate essentially since the day he agreed to sign with Golden State, but the Warriors appear inclined to keep him at least through the 2020 trade deadline, per Charania and Krawcznyski, since the club would have more trade options once its hard cap lifts in July. As such, there has been no traction so far on a potential deal between the Wolves and Warriors.

While nothing is imminent on the Russell front, rival teams say the market for Robert Covington has been heating up as of late, according to Charania and Krawczynski. Minnesota is expected to “drive a hard bargain” for the talented three-and-D wing, but plenty of contenders have interest, including the Rockets, Mavericks, and Sixers.

New Wolves head of basketball operations Gersson Rosas spent nearly two decades working in Houston’s front office and was Daryl Morey‘s top lieutenant for years. He shares Morey’s aggressive approach to the trade market and likely won’t hesitate to shake things up and reshape Minnesota’s roster to fit his vision. After today’s Teague deal, it seems safe to say the Wolves aren’t done dealing.

Amick’s Latest: Bogdanovic, Drummond, OKC, Gordon, More

Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s name popped up in trade rumors at the start of the week, but the Kings still view the swingman as a key part of their push for the postseason and team sources “swear” they’re comfortable dealing with his restricted free agency this summer, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic. Interestingly, Amick notes that it was the Lakers, not the Kings, who initiated those reported trade discussions involving Bogdanovic and Kyle Kuzma.

According to Amick, winning is Bogdanovic’s top priority, and he’s not opposed to the idea of a long-term stay in Sacramento if the team continues to improve. If the Kings fall further out of the playoff race in the coming weeks, it’s possible both sides will become more open to a trade, but the price for Bogdanovic would be high.

Meanwhile, the Kings are also considering the possibility of a Dewayne Dedmon trade, and Amick confirms that the Hawks are among the teams with interest in the big man. However, Sacramento’s asking price for Dedmon has been too high for Atlanta’s liking so far, per Amick.

Amick’s latest Athletic article, which lists 16 top trade candidates from around the NBA, is jam-packed with noteworthy tidbits related to those players. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A source with knowledge of the situation downplays the likelihood of the Hawks and Pistons agreeing on an Andre Drummond trade, according to Amick, who hears from a second source that Atlanta could already have landed the center if the team was willing to include a first-round pick in its offer.
  • The Thunder have been sending “mixed messages” in trade discussions, sources tell Amick. They’re open to making moves if there’s something significant to be gained, but also aren’t opposed to standing pat, given how well they’re playing.
  • “There is chatter coming from Orlando” related to forward Aaron Gordon, one executive tells Amick. However, a source with knowledge of the Warriors‘ activity gave Amick a hard “no” when asked specifically about the possibility of the Magic trading Gordon for D’Angelo Russell. Another source said a Russell deal is “unlikely” to happen this season, Amick adds.
  • The Timberwolves are trying to find upgrades, one general manager tells Amick, who points to Robert Covington as the most logical trade chip to help Minnesota land that upgrade.
  • While the Trail Blazers are frequently cited as a potential Kevin Love landing spot, Amick says there’s “serious skepticism” among key people close to the Blazers that the Cavaliers forward will ever end up in Portland.
  • The Spurs have been gauging DeMar DeRozan‘s trade market, but the guard’s ability to walk in free agency this summer if he lands in an unfavorable spot complicates a potential deal. According to Amick, extension talks between San Antonio and DeRozan aren’t dead yet either. Based on the Spurs’ transaction history, an in-season extension might be more likely than an in-season trade.

Charania’s Latest: Hawks, Dedmon, Kuzma, Warriors

The 7-27 Hawks have been the NBA’s worst team on the court so far this season, and it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the franchise in the locker room either, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Charania that there has been a “disconnect at times” between the coaching staff and the club’s most important players.

“No energy, no one playing hard,” one source with knowledge of the Hawks’ situation told The Athletic after a recent loss. Another added: “This s–t is depressing.”

While it has been a discouraging year in Atlanta, the front office remains active and has been targeting a center and a backup point guard on the trade market, per Charania. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, who recently reported that the Hawks had internally discussed the possibility of pursuing Steven Adams, hears that the team has also considered a reunion with Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon, who spent the last two seasons in Atlanta, signed with the Kings in the offseason but wants to be traded.

Charania passed along a few more tidbits in his latest Inside Pass column for The Athletic. Here are the highlights:

  • Several teams are doing due diligence on Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma in case he’s placed on the trade block, says Charania. However, league sources tell The Athletic that the Lakers still view Kuzma as a core long-term piece. Additionally, L.A. is more focused on making moves around the edges than making a big splash at the deadline.
  • While the Warriors have made players like Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III available, rival teams that have talked to the Dubs say the club isn’t looking to move D’Angelo Russell, according to Charania. The Warriors continue to insist they want to see Russell play with a fully healthy roster, and won’t deal him unless they get an offer that blows them away.
  • Knicks forward Marcus Morris and Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans have drawn interest from teams around the NBA, but it’s not clear if either player will be dealt. Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard has stated his team wants to retain Bertans, and Charania writes that New York prefers to keep Morris. Still, I doubt either player would be untouchable if the right offer surfaces.

Injury Updates: Russell, Bagley, Bledsoe, Smart

The Warriors got a scare tonight involving D’Angelo Russell, who remained on the ground for about five minutes after colliding with the MavericksLuka Doncic while chasing a loose ball, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic (video link).

A stretcher was brought out, but Russell was eventually able to walk off under his own power. After being checked in the locker room, he was diagnosed with a right shoulder contusion, according to Kerith Burke of NBC Sports (Twitter link), and eventually re-entered the game.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Kings forward Marvin Bagley III has a mid-foot sprain and will miss the “next few games,” according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Bagley left Thursday’s game in the third quarter after suffering the injury. He had an MRI on Friday and met with a foot specialist today before details of his condition were announced.
  • Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe continues to recover from a fibula avulsion fracture and is nearing a return to the court, coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters before tonight’s game (video link from the team). Bledsoe may go through contact drills tomorrow in hopes of playing next week. “He’s making progress and getting close,” Budenholzer said.
  • The Celtics got Marcus Smart back tonight after an eight-game absence caused by an infection in both of his eyes, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
  • Celtics center Robert Williams will undergo another MRI in about a week to monitor the healing of a bone edema in his left hip, Blakely adds (Twitter link). He hasn’t been able to do any basketball-related activities since the injury was discovered nearly two weeks ago.

Woj, Lowe On D-Lo, Mavs, MPJ, Love, VanVleet, More

Approximately 120 players around the NBA became trade-eligible on Sunday, signaling the unofficial start of the NBA’s 2019/20 trade season. To celebrate the occasion, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe hosted an ESPN special to survey the trade market, discussing which teams are most likely to make moves and which players are most likely to be dealt.

Here are several of the highlights from that discussion between Woj and Lowe:

Western Conference:

  • The Warriors may field trade inquiries on D’Angelo Russell leading up to February’s trade deadline, but they’re unlikely to actively shop him and probably won’t move him before the 2020 offseason, according to Wojnarowski (video link).
  • Wojnarowski believes the Mavericks would like to acquire a standout center to complement Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis (video link). He cites Montrezl Harrell as one player who might fit that bill, though Dallas would have to wait for the Clippers‘ big man to reach free agency.
  • The Nuggets essentially view Michael Porter Jr. as “untouchable,” says Wojnarowski (video link).
  • Wojnarowski and Lowe expect contenders to keep a close eye on Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick as the deadline nears (video link). According to Woj, Holiday loves New Orleans, but it’s not clear how patient he’ll be with the team’s rebuilding process.
  • Woj and Lowe note that the Clippers pursued Marcus Morris in free agency and could have interest in him again on the trade market. Lowe wouldn’t be surprised if the club tries to see what it can get using a package of Maurice Harkless, Patrick Patterson, and its first-round pick (video link).
  • Wojnarowski views 2019/20 as a pivotal year for the Rockets, adding that GM Daryl Morey seems to have given up trying to find a way to trade for Grizzlies wing Andre Iguodala after exploring multi-team scenarios earlier in the year (video link).

Eastern Conference:

  • Wojnarowski thinks the best the Cavaliers can realistically expect in a Kevin Love trade is a protected first-round pick, an expiring salary, and another throw-in player (video link). Woj adds that it seems as if Love is “ready to go,” having lost patience with the rebuild in Cleveland.
  • Count the Raptors and Heat among teams that will be reluctant to make any moves that compromise their 2021 cap flexibility (video links). According to Wojnarowski, Toronto wants to re-sign Fred VanVleet this summer, but continues to eye Giannis Antetokounmpo for ’21. As for the Heat, they seem less likely to trade young players for veterans than they have been in the past.
  • Pistons owner Tom Gores “loves” Andre Drummond, but the club will soon have to have a serious conversation about whether to go all-in on the veteran center or whether to try to shop him, per Woj (video link).
  • Lowe thinks players like Timberwolves forward Robert Covington and J.J. Redick will be on the Bucks‘ radar if they’re available, adding that Milwaukee appears willing to go over the tax line for the right deal (video link).

Details On Wolves’ FA Offer To D’Angelo Russell

While D’Angelo Russell ultimately landed with the Warriors in free agency as part of a complicated sign-and-trade deal involving Kevin Durant, reports at the time indicated that the Timberwolves made the All-Star point guard their top offseason priority. Anthony Slater of The Athletic confirms as much in an in-depth piece on Russell, citing sources who say Minnesota’s initial offer to Russell was worth about $107MM over four years.

The Wolves and Warriors were two of three serious bidders in the mix for Russell, according to Slater. The Lakers were also in play and would potentially have been willing to make an offer in the $100MM range, but were in a holding pattern as they pursued Kawhi Leonard.

Minnesota “desperately wanted” to pair Russell with Karl-Anthony Towns and had spent much of June planning their recruiting pitch for the 23-year-old, Slater writes. However, when the Warriors put a maximum-salary ($117MM) offer on the table for D-Lo near the start of free agency, it didn’t take him long to choose Golden State.

As Slater details, word of Russell’s tentative agreement with the Dubs broke when D-Lo was being transported back via helicopter from his meeting with the Wolves. “The mood in the cabin changed” when that news came out, Slater writes.

“An awkward goodbye on the tarmac,” a source told The Athletic.

In addition to the fact that the Warriors’ offer was more lucrative financially, Russell was intrigued by the idea of teaming up with two potential Hall-of-Famers like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Speaking to Slater, Russell said he was excited about the idea of getting to “take a year and just learn from all these guys” — he caught himself when he realized he was talking as if expecting a trade.

“Well, we signed a four-year deal,” Russell said. “Hopefully, four years.”

According to Slater, Russell would like to remain with the Warriors for the entirety of his contract, but recognizes the team faces certain roster and cap constraints and knows nothing is guaranteed.

“Yeah, you know, that’s what sucks more than anything,” Russell said of not being able to settle in for the long-term. “Like, it sucks more than anything. That’s kind of what I’m doing now though. I’m kind of just putting two feet into the house that I’m in now.

“… I can’t control if (Warriors president of basketball operations) Bob Myers is like, yo, let’s go get such and such for this and make this pick,” D-Lo added. “That’s his job. I can’t control it or say anything about it, especially if I’m a part of it. So I don’t waste energy worrying about it.”

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Ellis, Robinson

After dominating the NBA for half the decade, the Warriors are enduring a trying season in 2019/20. At 5-19, Golden State has the worst record in the Western Conference and is mere percentage points away from the Knicks (4-18) for the worst record in the league.

Key departures in free agency (Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala) and injuries to their superstars (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) dampened the Warriors’ hopes to reach a sixth straight NBA Finals. For head coach Steve Kerr, who has presided over that success, the challenge of developing the younger stars on the roster has been invigorating.

“I’m enjoying coaching the young guys and going through the details of what they need to learn and helping them develop,” Kerr said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. “I basically survived my whole career. I was never really in a position where I felt like, ‘OK, I’ve made it.’ From year to year, it was just survival. So I can relate to a lot of these young guys and I can relate a lot of experiences to them. That’s a satisfying process when you see them do well.”

Check out more Warriors notes below:

  • Among the standout parts of the Warriors’ reshaped roster has been the performance of Glenn Robinson III. Anthony Slater of The Athletic examined Robinson’s play, specifically him reprising elements from Iguodala’s play and how he’s trying to incorporate it into the current system.
  • In a lengthy, in-depth feature, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic writes that Monta Ellis is proud of his tenure with the Warriors. Ellis spent six-and-a-half seasons with the Warriors and was part of the team’s unexpected success in the late 2000s.  “Everything, even through my bad times, I still enjoyed it,” Ellis said. “Because at the end of the day, they gave me my shot.”
  • As we relayed earlier, the Warriors are in no rush to trade D’Angelo Russell, who is considered a candidate to be dealt at some point this season.

Warriors In No Rush To Deal D’Angelo Russell

From the time the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell in the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade, many around the league have been operating under the assumption that the Dubs would deal Russell once they were eligible to do so.

“It’s just going to come down to when they want to do it,” one executive tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “Could do it now. Could do it later. But they’ll do it.”

The majority of offseason signings will be eligible for a trade on December 15 (sign-and-trades like the acquisition of Russell count as a signing) and leading up to that date, one might suspect the Warriors to already be in the process of parsing the market.

However, Deveney hears that Golden State has been quiet with regard to Russell negotiations with other clubs. One rival GM doesn’t believe the Warriors are pushing for a deal.

“If it is something that they’re going to do quickly, like before the end of this month, I wouldn’t say they’re pushing for it,” one general manager said. “Maybe they have a deal in mind, maybe they’re sitting on something and laying low. But I’d be surprised. That’s not how they’d approach it, I’d think. You want to create a market if you are going to trade a player like him, you want to pit teams against each other, drive up the price. You don’t want to lock into one deal. But the market thing, that’s not really happening yet. They’re not pushing the market for him.”

Russell has struggled to stay on the court, as various injuries have limited him to just 11 games. When he has been able to suit up, he’s impressed. Russell is averaging 23.7 points per game, he’s sporting a career-high 21.6 player efficiency rating, and he leads the Warriors in NBA Math’s Total Points Added despite many of his teammates playing twice as many games as him.

It’s likely that the lack of trade talks between the Warriors and other teams doesn’t reflect a lack of interest from rivals. The franchise, which is expected to land a top pick in the 2020 draft, could be planning to keep Russell for the season and then package the point guard with the likely top-five selection for a star via trade since adding a rookie to the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green wouldn’t exactly mesh timeline-wise.

Then again, the team could keep Russell and head into next season with a three-guard rotation that is unmatched by any around the league. Deveney writes that the Warriors have let it slip that this could be their approach in talks with rival teams, though one GM says that is likely a “smokescreen” intended to make the Warriors look less eager to trade Russell.

The Wolves are among the teams expected to pursue a Russell trade. Minnesota went after him in free agency. Perhaps a package that includes Robert Covington could entice Bob Myers and Golden State’s front office.

Russell is in the first year of the four-year, max deal he inked this past offseason. Where he finishes that contract is anyone’s guess.