Danilo Gallinari

Fischer’s Latest: McCollum, Powell, Simmons, Turner, Hawks, Schroder

Anfernee Simons‘ breakout season is leading to speculation that the Trail Blazers may try to trade CJ McCollum or Norman Powell, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Portland entered the season with plans to be a contender, but injuries and some disappointing performances have left the team in a tight race for a play-in spot. With Damian Lillard sidelined after abdominal surgery, the Blazers may opt to unload some of their assets and take advantage of a high draft pick going into next season.

There have been whispers throughout the league that McCollum might be available, though Fischer wonders how much of a return he’ll provide considering that he’s 30 years old, is in the middle of a down season, and has been out of action for six weeks after suffering a collapsed lung. He also has two full years left on his contract at $33.3MM and $35.8MM.

Powell, who signed a five-year, $90MM extension during the offseason, seems like a more surprising name to be included in trade talks. However, about a dozen teams wanted to acquire him before he went to Portland at last season’s deadline and Fischer found that many league executives see his contract as valuable.

There’s a belief that Powell wouldn’t mind being traded again, as sources tell Fischer that there were “several snags” in his contract negotiations with the Blazers. One of the teams he considered in free agency was the Pelicans, according to Fischer, who notes that New Orleans is seeking to upgrade to improve its chances of reaching the play-in tournament.

Fischer shares a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Little has changed on the Ben Simmons trade front since the offseason, as Sixers ownership, the front office, coach Doc Rivers, and star center Joel Embiid are all united in the stance that the team needs to get an elite player in return. Fischer states that Philadelphia is willing to wait for someone along the lines of Lillard, Bradley Beal, James Harden or Jaylen Brown to become available. The Sixers have discussed three-team packages with the Kings, Pacers and Timberwolves, but none of those teams can offer a star that Philadelphia sees as equal value for Simmons.
  • The Pacers are seeking multiple first-round picks in exchange for center Myles Turner. The Mavericks, Timberwolves, Knicks, Kings, Hornets and Trail Blazers have all expressed interest, and several league executives told Fischer that the Raptors might be a team to watch. The Cavaliers and Knicks have asked about Caris LeVert, but Indiana also wants multiple first-rounders for him. The Pacers have gauged the trade value of Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and Torrey Craig too, Fischer adds.
  • The Hawks are willing to consider a major upheaval before the deadline, with a rival assistant GM telling Fischer that he believes everyone except Trae Young and Clint Capela are available. Atlanta appears willing to move De’Andre Hunter for veteran help, and there may be a market for Danilo Gallinari, who only has a $5MM guarantee next season on his $20MM contract.
  • The Celtics will try to trade Dennis Schröder, who is unlikely to be re-signed next season because of tax considerations. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Mavericks are all possible destinations. Boston has also targeted Suns center Jalen Smith, who will be a free agent after Phoenix declined his third-year option.

Scotto’s Latest: Bulls, Hawks, Finney-Smith, Thunder, Rockets

The Bulls figure to explore potential roster upgrades at the trade deadline, but they’re resistant to the idea of moving Patrick Williams, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.

If the Bulls want to make a major move at the deadline, it may have to involve Williams, 2020’s No. 4 overall pick, since the club has already traded away multiple future first-rounders. Williams’ ability to help the team this year may also be limited, since a wrist injury is expected to sideline him for most or all of the regular season.

Still, based on Scotto’s reporting, it sounds as if Chicago will likely hang onto Williams. One Bulls player who is available in the right deal is 2019 lottery pick Coby White, rival executives tell Scotto.

Here’s more from the HoopsHype Podcast:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari could be had for a first-round pick or as part of a larger package, rival executives tell Scotto. I’m very skeptical any team will be willing to give up a first-rounder for Gallinari unless they can dump an unwanted long-term contract on Atlanta. Scotto adds that execs believe Hawks forward Cam Reddish is more likely than not to be on the move at the deadline.
  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams are among the role players on modest contracts who are drawing trade interest from playoff teams, says Scotto. Oklahoma City is obviously more likely than Dallas to be a seller, but rival executives believe there may be an opportunity to poach Finney-Smith since he and Jalen Brunson are free agents in 2022 and re-signing both would likely make the Mavs a taxpayer.
  • Playoff-caliber teams are also monitoring Rockets veterans Eric Gordon and Daniel Theis, according to Scotto. They’ve been mentioned multiple times this season as potential trade candidates, since they probably don’t fit the timeline of a rebuilding Houston squad.
  • League sources tell Scotto that Thunder rookie Aaron Wiggins is a good candidate to have his two-way contract turned into a standard deal at some point this season.

Southeast Notes: Herro, Heat, Gallinari, Beal

Heat guard Tyler Herro believes his tumultuous 2020/21 campaign has helped him succeed this season, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Herro has showed improvement from last season, raising his averages across the board for Miami thus far.

“I think I’m more mature,” Herro said. “I’ve been through, not everything, but enough now to know what to expect, really. Just having a couple years under my belt, things change quickly in this league. So just being able to adjust, make adjustments on the fly, stay ready and just continuing to put the work in every single game. I’m just worrying about the end goal and the end result.”

Herro averaged 15.1 points and 3.4 assists in 30.3 minutes per game last season, shooting 43.9% from the floor and 36% from deep. Those averages have increased to 20.6 PPG and 3.9 APG in 32.8 MPG this season, shooting 42.7% from the field and 38.8% from downtown.

Here are some other notes out of the Southeast:

  • The Heat are moving on from their six 10-day hardship players with appreciation for their efforts, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Two-time champion Mario Chalmers is among the players Miami signed as the team dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak, but Chalmers never saw any action. The club is now 25-15, good for third in the Eastern Conference.
  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari would like to remain in Atlanta throughout the rest of the season, he told SkySport (as relayed by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). The NBA’s trade deadline falls on February 10 this year. “I am ready to stay and I would love to remain for the remainder of the season because a change of a team is never easy, for several reasons. But anything can happen,” Gallinari said.
  • Wizards star Bradley Beal isn’t concerned by not receiving many All-Star votes to date, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Beal wasn’t included in the top-10 rankings of the NBA’s first fan voting returns last week. “Yeah, I’ve seen it,” Beal said. “You know me, it’s the same every year or every other year. I control what I can control, I don’t control the fan voting or anyone that votes for that matter.”

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Magic, Wagner, Bryant

After a remarkable 2021 postseason run that saw them reach the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks have staggered out of the gate in 2021/22. The team is off to a 16-20 start and currently occupies the conference’s No. 12 seed. Chris Kirschner and John Hollinger of The Athletic discuss several potential trades for Atlanta. Kirschner and Hollinger identify a defensive upgrade on the wing as the ideal priority for the club.

Hollinger pinpoints the expiring mid-sized deals of Lou Williams, Gorgui Dieng and Delon Wright, as well as intriguing young players such as Cam Reddish, Onyeka Okongwu and Jalen Johnson, as possible trade chips that team president Travis Schlenk could look to move. Kirschner considers the Pacers and Celtics to be amenable to making deals that could suit the Hawks’ needs.

The Hawks would be open to offloading some of their depth to add a high-impact player in a two-for-one deal, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic in another piece. Amick suggests that forwards Danilo Gallinari and Reddish may be the most likely players to be moved.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Several Magic players signed to 10-day hardship exception deals will soon discover their fates with the club, writes Khobi Price of the Orlando SentinelHassani Gravett, Admiral Schofield, Tim Frazier and Freddie Gillespie are the team’s four current hardship exception signings. The contracts of Gravett and Schofield, who signed their second 10-day deals with Orlando in late December, expire today. “The one thing is these guys understand what we’re asking them to do,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Their ability to move the basketball, sit down and defend the right way — no matter who’s out there, they’re coming in and doing their jobs.” 
  • Rookie Magic small forward Franz Wagner, selected with the eighth pick out of Michigan, has emerged as one of the prime bright spots for the 7-32 team this season, writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has revealed that center Thomas Bryant, still recuperating from ACL surgery, could rejoin Washington within the next two weeks, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).

COVID-19 Updates: Doncic, SGA, Robinson, Hawks, Nuggets, More

Mavericks star Luka Doncic has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols, sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Doncic, who hasn’t played since December 10, missed a combined 10 games due to a left ankle injury and his time in the protocols. He’s expected to meet his teammates in Oklahoma City and may return to the court on Sunday.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber may also be able to exit the protocols in time for Sunday’s game, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Dallas, which has five other players still in protocols, managed to go 5-5 without Doncic and is holding onto eighth place in the Western Conference.

Here are more updates on players entering and exiting the protocols:

Caldwell-Pope, Gallinari, Capela, Others Enter Protocols

Wizards wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Washington had been one of 10 teams that didn’t currently have any players in the protocols, but that’s no longer the case.

According to Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr., Caldwell-Pope returned a positive COVID-19 test on Monday evening (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). He’ll be sidelined for 10 days or until he can return consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari and center Clint Capela been placed in the health and safety protocols, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). An earlier report stated that two Atlanta players were entering the protocols today — now we know that Gallinari and Capela are those two players.
  • Lakers center Dwight Howard and guard Talen Horton-Tucker have exited the health and safety protocols, the team announced today (Twitter link via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). That doesn’t necessarily mean that both players have been cleared to return to action, but they’re able to rejoin the team for practices and should be available soon.
  • Bulls two-way guard Devon Dotson is now in the health and safety protocols, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). Chicago has had some players return since the team’s initial COVID-19 outbreak, but still has five other players in the protocols in addition to Dotson.
  • Kings two-way center Neemias Queta is the latest Sacramento player to enter the COVID-19 protocols, tweets Wojnarowski. The club now has seven players in the protocols.
  • The NBA has told the 10 teams scheduled to play on December 25 that some of their games could be shifted to new times if any Christmas Day contests have to be postponed, tweets Wojnarowski. As Woj explains, the league is prioritizing the 2:30pm ET, 5:00pm, and 8:00pm windows, so if one of those games is postponed, either the early or late game would likely be moved.

Hawks Notes: Reddish, Collins, Huerter, Hunter

The Hawks have enough young players and future draft picks to facilitate a Ben Simmons trade, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. He uses the Timberwolves as an example of a team that wants Simmons, but may not have the assets to make an offer that would interest the Sixers. Kirschner suggests Cam Reddish could be appealing in that scenario, with Atlanta getting something of value for helping the deal get done.

The Hawks looked into trading Reddish around draft time, but sources tell Kirschner that no deal was ever imminent. There’s a decent chance Reddish will be eventually be moved, Kirschner adds, but there’s no urgency to deal him right away. Injuries limited Reddish to 26 games last season, but he averaged 12.8 PPG when he returned for the playoff series with the Bucks.

There’s more on the Hawks, all from Kirschner:

  • Atlanta didn’t receive any legitimate sign-and-trade offers for John Collins before re-signing him for five years at $125MM. Kirschner suggests that the Hawks may have been bidding against themselves by giving Collins that much, but they’re still happy to keep an important part of their starting lineup.
  • The Hawks are talking to Kevin Huerter about an extension, but Kirschner doesn’t expect anything to be resolved until closer to the start of the season. He believes it’s likely that the team will decide to let Huerter become a restricted free agent, just like it did with Collins, and hope to work out a new contract next summer.
  • Reddish and De’Andre Hunter will both be eligible for rookie scale extensions next offseason, which will affect the Hawks’ other financial decisions. Kirschner sees Hunter as an ideal backcourt partner for Trae Young, if he can recover from his second meniscus surgery, so he figures to be the Hawks’ priority. Danilo Gallinari only has a $5MM guarantee for 2022/23 in the final year of his contract, so Kirschner expects him to be on the trade market at some point.

Trade Rumors: Raptors, McCollum, SGA, Celtics, Wolves

As long as Ben Simmons remains in Philadelphia and Kyle Lowry hasn’t reached an agreement in free agency, league sources aren’t ruling out the possibility of a deal between the Sixers and Raptors that would send Lowry to his hometown via sign-and-trade, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, with several suitors expected to pursue Lowry aggressively in free agency, that doesn’t appear to be a likely outcome for the time being.

According to Fischer, one intriguing trade framework that the Raptors have discussed with the Trail Blazers would involve Pascal Siakam and CJ McCollum. But those talks haven’t gathered any real momentum yet, Fischer cautions.

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

  • Although Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s name popped up in trade rumors leading up to the draft, the Thunder never offered him to the Cavaliers in negotiations for the No. 3 pick, according to Fischer, who reports that Oklahoma City only made present and future draft assets available in those discussions. The expectation is that the Thunder and Gilgeous-Alexander will reach an agreement on a maximum-salary contract extension this offseason, Fischer adds.
  • Before agreeing to a deal to acquire Josh Richardson from Dallas, the Celtics also expressed trade interest in Grizzlies wing Kyle Anderson, sources tell Fischer.
  • The Timberwolves, who have long been in the market for a power forward, inquired on Danilo Gallinari before agreeing to send Ricky Rubio to Cleveland, says Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. The Hawks turned down Minnesota’s offer for Gallinari.

Olympic Notes: Gallinari, Italy, Slovenia, Germany

Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari is interested in playing for Italy during the Olympics this summer, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Gallinari is coming off a successful postseason run with Atlanta, averaging 12.8 points per game on 42% shooting from the field and 40.5% from deep.

“I still believe in the Olympics, and if the coach and federation give me the chance to go to the Olympics once we win this game today, I’d be honored to be a part of that team,” Gallinari said prior to the final game of the qualifying tournament in Serbia, according to Scotto.

Italy defeated Serbia in that qualifying game on Sunday, officially joining Australia, Nigeria and Germany in Group B for the Tokyo games.

Here are some other Olympic-related notes tonight:

  • Slovenia defeated Lithuania 96-85 to clinch a spot in the Olympics on Sunday, receiving a key performance from Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic in the outing, as relayed by the Associated Press and ESPN. Doncic finished with a triple-double, notching 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. “I don’t care about the MVP,” Doncic said. “We won here. We’re going to the Olympics, the first time in our country. It’s amazing. I think every kid dreams about being in the Olympics. I did, too. So, here we are. We fought really, really hard and I think we deserve to be here.”
  • Germany also qualified for the Olympic tournament on Sunday behind Moritz Wagner‘s 28 points, as relayed by Sportando. Germany defeated Brazil, which was led by Anderson Varejao‘s 14 points and four rebounds in the outing.
  • Greece and the Czech Republic are battling on Sunday night for the last spot in the 12-team Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Young, Capela, Shooting

After starting the season with a 14-20 record, the Hawks have gone 22-10 since Nate McMillan took over as the team’s head coach. The role McMillan has played in turning around Atlanta’s season hasn’t been lost on leading scorer Trae Young, who appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj Pod this week and praised the Hawks’ head coach for “connecting with the players.”

Asked about McMillan’s potential future with the team, Young said he’d be surprised if the interim coach isn’t retained beyond 2020/21.

“I couldn’t see a scenario where he’s not back with us,” Young said. “The way we’re winning right now. If we go into the playoffs and do really well, it’s hard to see him not back next year. At the end of the day it’s not up to me, but as a player, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be back.”

While Young is right that the decision won’t ultimately be up to him, Hawks management will likely take the All-Star guard’s opinion into account when they determine what’s next for McMillan, who looks like a pretty safe bet to have his interim label removed.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • In an in-depth profile, Zach Lowe of ESPN examines the growth of Hawks center Clint Capela, who has gone from a rookie the Rockets initially viewed as a draft-and-stash prospect to the anchor of Atlanta’s defense and a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
  • Within his story on Capela, Lowe cites sources who say the Hawks discussed the possibility of trading for Andre Drummond and Steven Adams before ultimately acquiring Capela from Houston a year ago. Atlanta believed that elements of Capela’s pick-and-roll game with James Harden would work for Trae Young, Lowe notes.
  • After finishing dead-last in three-point percentage a year ago, the Hawks prioritized shooting in the offseason when they signed Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari to lucrative multiyear deals, and those moves have helped make the Hawks a playoff team, writes Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bogdanovic (42.0% on threes) and Gallinari (41.6%) have been two of the club’s most reliable marksmen in 2020/21.