Deandre Ayton

Latest On Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant‘s trade request increases the chances of a Kyrie Irving trade to the Lakers, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

A straight Irving for Russell Westbrook swap would not work financially, so the Nets would either have to add another contract or include a third — and perhaps fourth team — for salary-matching purposes. Irving would be a better fit for LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook, providing better spacing offensively.

A potential deal could also lead the Lakers to part with first-rounders in 2027 or later.

If the Nets don’t want Westbrook’s salary, a third team could take that contract, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved.

A source told the Athletic that the chances of the Lakers landing Durant in a deal involving Davis is “zero.” Their focus, apparently, is on Irving.

We have more on the Durant/Irving situation:

  • The Nets don’t appear to be interested in Deandre Ayton, sources told John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Thus, a potential trade with the Suns may not include the restricted free agent or it would have to involve a third team.
  • Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to RealGM). Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract.
  • Ben Simmons would be the major impediment to the Nuggets getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. League rules stipulate that teams can’t have two players on a rookie scale max extension that have been acquired via trade. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. would both fit that description.
  • In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton raised the possibility of an Ayton-Mikal Bridges deal with the Nets, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. It was unclear at that time whether or not Durant was going to ask for a trade.
  • In the same piece, Alex Schiffer says he’s heard the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant.

More Than Half Of NBA Teams Have Inquired On Durant

Since word broke this afternoon that Nets star Kevin Durant has requested a trade out of Brooklyn, more than half of the teams in the NBA have called to inquire about the former MVP, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said during an appearance on NBA Today this afternoon (video link via Malika Andrews).

The Suns and Heat have been mentioned as two of Durant’s preferred landing spots, but the Nets are expected to take the best deal available to them rather than focusing on sending the veteran forward to a specific destination.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Warriors are probably the only team that can be ruled out as a landing spot for Durant. I’d also be shocked if the Nets were willing to send him to the cross-town Knicks.

Early indications are that the Nets aren’t especially inclined to acquire Deandre Ayton via sign-and-trade as the centerpiece of a Durant deal, Fischer writes, adding that – from Brooklyn’s perspective – any deal with Phoenix or Miami would likely have to start with Devin Booker or Bam Adebayo. However, both of those players are on designated rookie extensions, prohibiting the Nets from acquiring either one unless they move Ben Simmons.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Designated Rookies]

Given that the Rockets control the Nets’ draft picks (either outright or via swap rights) for the next several years, don’t expect Brooklyn to pivot to a full-fledged rebuild as part of a Durant trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the same episode of NBA Today (video link)

Windhorst isn’t sure if the Nets will get a superstar in return, but expects them to target selfless, team-first players, citing Suns forward Mikal Bridges as an example. As Windhorst observes, those are the types of players GM Sean Marks spoke about wanting during his end-of-season media session in May.

“We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available,” Marks said at the time.

[RELATED: Nets To Acquire Royce O’Neale From Jazz]

Windhorst also says his phone is “blowing up” with executives wondering where Kyrie Irving is going to end up. There has been no indication that Irving has requested a trade, but he seems far less likely to remain in Brooklyn for the final year of his contract if Durant is traded.

“If Kevin Durant is on the first train out, Kyrie Irving will be on the caboose as far as the Nets are concerned,” Windhorst said.

According to Fischer, league sources “continue to whisper” about Irving’s desire to join the Lakers and reunite with LeBron James. However, a trade between L.A. and Brooklyn would be challenging, since the Nets reportedly have no interest in Russell Westbrook.

Hawks Rumors: Murray, Durant, Collins, Hunter

The Hawkstrade for Dejounte Murray was the result of pressure from ownership to improve the roster before Trae Young‘s super-max extension takes effect next season, according to Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Murray is under contract for a combined $34.2MM over the next two years, and while the team doesn’t expect him to agree to an early extension that would limit his future earnings, there’s confidence that he will be a long-term backcourt partner for Young.

Atlanta’s front office had a “sense of confusion and disbelief” that the Spurs were willing to part with Murray, a 25-year-old All-Star with a team-friendly contract, the authors add. Sources tell them that the teams discussed a Murray deal last week, but the Spurs didn’t contact the Hawks for a long time afterward, leading to concerns on Atlanta’s side that San Antonio was reconsidering the trade or may have found a better offer.

San Antonio also discussed Murray with the Timberwolves, but Minnesota wasn’t willing to give up as much as the Hawks eventually did, Kirschner and Amick add. The Knicks were reported as a possible destination, but the authors say they never had trade talks with the Spurs about Murray.

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • Amid the chaos surrounding the Nets last week, the Hawks were preparing to have an offer ready in case Kevin Durant asked for a trade, according to Kirschner and Amick.
  • Young is “really excited” about the Murray trade, states ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who adds that Atlanta likely isn’t done reshaping its roster (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks are facing a shrinking market for John Collins, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a podcast with Kirschner that was recorded Wednesday before the Murray trade was announced. Two potential destinations were eliminated when the Kings drafted Keegan Murray and the Trail Blazers traded for Jerami Grant. Kirschner adds that Atlanta won’t give up Collins without a decent return, so there’s a chance he won’t be traded this offseason.
  • Scotto and Kirschner address a number of other Hawks-related items. Atlanta may have interest in a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade but only if it’s less than a max deal, De’Andre Hunter is considered part of the team’s core and could eventually land an extension near $20MM per season, and Delon Wright is much more likely to be re-signed than Lou Williams. Kirschner also cites potential “heat” on Nate McMillan, saying the Hawks will consider a coaching change if they don’t get off to a fast start next season.

Latest On Deandre Ayton

Reports this week have continued to suggest that the Suns and Deandre Ayton may be headed for a divorce, with a sign-and-trade agreement considered the most likely outcome. However, it remains unclear which teams will be Ayton’s top suitors in restricted free agency.

Prior to last week’s draft, the Pistons were viewed as a strong candidate to make a play for Ayton, but they landed Jalen Duren on draft night and committed to using most of their available cap room to accommodate salary dumps, reducing the likelihood that they’ll make a serious play for the former No. 1 overall pick.

In the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said to “keep an eye on Indiana,” noting that the Pacers spoke to Phoenix about a possible Ayton deal prior to February’s trade deadline (hat tip to Timothy Rapp of Bleacher Report).

Indiana would make sense as a landing spot for Ayton if the team trades incumbent center Myles Turner. The Pacers have some cap flexibility and wouldn’t be as hamstrung by the base year compensation rule impacting Ayton as some of his other suitors might be.

As a result of the base year compensation rule, Ayton’s incoming salary from a new team’s perspective will count in full (on a maximum-salary contract, that’d be approximately $31MM), whereas from the Suns’ perspective, the outgoing salary would only be half that amount (about $15.5MM).

That will make salary-matching very challenging in some cases, but not for the Pacers, who have the cap flexibility necessary to accommodate Ayton’s new contract while sending out less than the $24-25MM+ that would be required to meet matching requirements.

Here are a few more rumors on possible landing spots for Ayton:

  • The Timberwolves, who are believed to be in the market for a rim-protecting center, are “another team to watch” for Ayton, Windhorst said during the aforementioned episode of his Hoop Collective podcast. The Wolves will be over the cap and would need to make a sign-and-trade deal. It’s unclear if they have the pieces necessary for such a move.
  • The Nets like Ayton, according to Chris Mannix of, who suggests Brooklyn could put together a package centered around Joe Harris. However, that would be extremely difficult, since acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would hard-cap the Nets, who project to be well over the tax. It’s hard to see how they could make such a move without moving off Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons.
  • The Raptors have been mentioned as a possible Ayton suitor, but Michael Grange of (Twitter link) doesn’t believe there have been any talks about Toronto acquiring the big man.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) suggests that the looming possibility of a Rudy Gobert trade could affect Ayton’s market, since some of the teams in the market for an impact center prefer the Jazz star to Ayton.

Free Agent Rumors: Ayton, Batum, Hartenstein, Clippers, Wizards

There has been no progress between the Suns and Deandre Ayton on a new contract, and a sign-and-trade appears to be the most likely outcome, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Sports Center (video link).

Ayton is a restricted free agent, giving Phoenix the opportunity to match any offer he receives, but that’s unlikely to happen, according to Woj. He explains that the Suns don’t value Ayton as a max contract player, but other teams do, which means that’s what he’ll likely receive when free agency begins Thursday afternoon.

Although he doesn’t mention any specific teams, Wojnarowski cites “several” potential destinations for Ayton on a max deal, with the Suns receiving some combination of players, draft picks and cap flexibility in return.

There’s more on the free agent market:

  • With Ivica Zubac‘s extension and an expected deal with John Wall out of the way, re-signing Nicolas Batum will be a priority for the Clippers, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Greif notes that Batum is very loyal to the organization and has turned down offers from other teams over the past two years to stay in L.A.
  • Jay Scrubb and Xavier Moon will likely compete for a two-way contract if the Clippers decide to re-sign them, Greif adds in the same piece. The team plans to give one of its two-way slots to second-round pick Moussa Diabate.
  • The Rockets have interest in bringing back free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko notes that Hartenstein, who started his career in Houston in 2018, is only 24 and fits well with the team’s current roster.
  • Kris Dunn and Pierriá Henry attended a Wizards mini-camp this week in hopes of winning a roster spot on a team searching for point guards, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Henry is an accomplished player in the EuroLeague, while Dunn, a lottery pick in 2016, is hoping to prove that he’s healthy after missing most of the past two seasons with injuries. “I feel like over the last two years, I didn’t have a leg, almost,” Dunn said. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of rehab, and everything’s starting to work out perfectly.”

Raptors Rumors: VanVleet, Young, Boucher, Bamba, Gobert

The Raptors and Fred VanVleet appear on track to reach an agreement on a four-year contract extension that could approach $120MM in total value, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

VanVleet, who will be extension-eligible this offseason, will earn $21.25MM in 2022/23 and has a $22.82MM player option for 2023/24. If he were to decline that option, he could sign a four-year extension worth up to $114.24MM, so Fischer’s $120MM projection looks a little high.

Still, it sounds as if the Raptors will be prepared to offer VanVleet the maximum amount he can receive on an extension. The All-Star point guard would become eligible for a more lucrative contract if he plays out the ’22/23 season, then turns down his player option to become a free agent next summer. But an extension worth $28.5MM per year that locks him up until age 33 may be hard to pass up.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • According to Fischer, Thaddeus Young appears likely to remain in Toronto, potentially on a two-year contract agreement worth at least $10MM. Young was acquired by the Raptors from San Antonio in a trade deadline deal in February.
  • Young is one of the Raptors’ two key free agents this offseason, along with big man Chris Boucher. Zach Kram of The Ringer makes a case for why he considers Boucher the most interesting free agent on the market due to his unusual combination of skills and physical traits.
  • The Raptors and Bulls are among the teams that appear to have interest in Magic big man Mohamed Bamba, Fischer reports. However, Bamba will be a restricted free agent and may not leave Orlando — he and the Magic are motivated to work out a new deal, sources tell Fischer.
  • In considering potential landing spots for Suns restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton, Fischer notes that the Raptors continue to monitor the availability of a handful of top big men, including Jazz star Rudy Gobert. While Ayton may also be on the team’s radar, Toronto won’t have cap room and could only acquire him via sign-and-trade.

Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III Among Players Receiving QOs

The Suns have issued a qualifying offer to center Deandre Ayton, making him a restricted free agent, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Ayton’s qualifying offer is worth $16,422,835.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Qualifying Offers]

Although there have been consistent whispers about the possibility of Ayton leaving Phoenix in free agency this summer, there was never any doubt that he’d receive a qualifying offer. That QO ensures that he doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent and gives the Suns the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signs with a rival team. Ayton also has the option of signing the one-year, $16.4MM deal if he wants to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023, though that’s considered very unlikely.

Here are a few more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • The Pistons have tendered a qualifying offer worth $7,228,448 to big man Marvin Bagley III, making him a restricted free agent, tweets Smith. Multiple reports in recent weeks and months have indicated that re-signing Bagley will be a priority for Detroit this offseason. His cap hold will exceed $28MM, but if the two sides agree to terms quickly once free agency opens, the Pistons will be able to maximize their cap room by reducing that $28MM cap hold to a first-year salary that will come in much lower.
  • The Nets have issued qualifying offers to center Nic Claxton and two-way guard David Duke, per Smith (Twitter link). Claxton’s QO is worth $2,228,276 while Duke’s is for another two-way contract. Both players are now restricted free agents.
  • The Nuggets have extended qualifying offers to forward Vlatko Cancar and two-way swingman Davon Reed, according to Smith (Twitter link). Like Claxton, Cancar has a $2,228,276 qualifying offer. Reed’s is for another two-way contract, though it’s possible he could generate interest from teams interested in giving him a standard roster spot.
  • Wizards forward Anthony Gill received a qualifying offer making him a restricted free agent, according to Smith (Twitter link). Gill’s QO projects to be worth $2,011,516, though that could increase or decrease slightly depending on where the salary cap for 2022/23 ends up.
  • The Warriors have made swingman Quinndary Weatherspoon a restricted free agent by giving him a two-way qualifying offer, reports Smith (Twitter link). Golden State reportedly agreed to a deal with Lester Quinones to fill the team’s other two-way slot.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Suns, Irving, Lakers, Warriors

Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton received support from his teammates this week, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Key players Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson expressed hope Ayton will return next season, although recent reports suggest it’s still unclear.

“From my perspective, personally, definitely somebody I always want on my team,” Johnson said. “We want all of our guys (to stay). What we’ve been able to build, what we’ve been able to go through together these last couple of years has meant a lot to us. You kind of bond with a guy in a big way going through that process together.”

The Suns won a franchise-record 64 games this season, but lost to the Mavericks in seven games during the second round. Phoenix has the right to match any offer sheet Ayton signs with a rival club. If Ayton prefers to leave, the team could also work out a sign-and-trade agreement.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • Suns general manager James Jones remains optimistic Ayton will stay, Rankin writes in a different article for the Arizona Republic. “Nothing has changed on our end,” Jones explained. “We haven’t said anything different. DA remains a huge part of what we do and he’s a free agent. So we’ll talk about free agency when that time comes, but that hasn’t changed. I think you hear his teammates. They echo the same sentiment that we have. This team is a really good team and we’re going to keep it together.” 
  • Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register explores Kyrie Irving‘s uncertain situation, posing four questions the Lakers should ask themselves before pursuing him. While Irving may fit well on the court, the Lakers could struggle to acquire him. If Irving declines of his $36.5MM player option and seeks a multi-year deal, the team currently doesn’t have the cap space to sign him. If he opts in, offering an appealing trade package to Brooklyn without involving a third or fourth team would be difficult.
  • In a story for Yahoo Sports, Vincent Goodwill examines how the Warriors revived their dynasty. Golden State welcomed back a healthy Klay Thompson this season, adding him to a core of Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and others. The result was a fourth championship in the past eight seasons for the franchise.

Scotto’s Latest: Wizards, T. Jones, Brunson, Knicks, Ayton, More

The Wizards used their No. 10 overall pick on Thursday night to land one of the top guards in this year’s draft, selecting Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis. However, the Wizards remain in the market for veteran help at the point guard spot, and Grizzlies free agent Tyus Jones is among the players on their radar, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

As Scotto explains, Washington should have the flexibility to use the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception and could make a compelling bid for Jones. The club could potentially give him the opportunity to start, which Jones “ideally desires,” writes Scotto.

The Grizzlies hold Jones’ Bird rights, giving them the ability to make a strong offer to retain Jones. Memphis’ decision to trade De’Anthony Melton to Philadelphia perhaps signaled that re-signing Jones will be an offseason priority, though the team did draft a potential backup point guard in Kennedy Chandler on Thursday night.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Rival NBA executives believe the Knicks are “all-in” for Jalen Brunson after making efforts to open up cap space on Thursday. Taj Gibson and his $5MM+ non-guaranteed salary will likely be waived to create more cap flexibility, says Scotto.
  • The Knicks will have to open up more cap room to make a serious bid for Brunson, and Scotto reiterates that Cam Reddish and Alec Burks are possible trade candidates. Reddish was part of one of the offers New York sent to the Pistons for Jaden Ivey, according to Scotto, who says Burks has been offered to the Cavaliers and Pacers, among other teams.
  • In considering potential landing spots for Suns RFA center Deandre Ayton, Scotto writes that people around the NBA have speculated about a possible sign-and-trade deal involving Pacers center Myles Turner — both players are represented by the same agent, Bill Duffy. Previous reports have indicated the Pacers spoke to the Suns prior to the trade deadline about Ayton.
  • The Trail Blazers have been mentioned as a possible suitor for Ayton, but they remain intent on re-signing incumbent center Jusuf Nurkic, league sources tell Scotto.
  • Although EuroLeague star Vasilije Micic is interested in coming to the NBA for the 2022/23 season, he wants to join a playoff contender and is interested in a salary worth close to the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, says Scotto. The Thunder may have to trade Micic’s draft rights for those goals to come to fruition.

Central Notes: Ayton, Duren, Agbaji, Pacers, Bulls

The Pistons‘ draft haul Thursday night makes it less likely that they’ll pursue Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Ayton was believed to be Detroit’s main target after opening up roughly $43MM in cap space by agreeing to trade Jerami Grant to the Trail Blazers. Thursday’s deals knock that number down to about $30MM, which sources tell Edwards the team plans to use to sign multiple players rather than handing out one large contract.

The Pistons landed their center of the future by acquiring Jalen Duren of Memphis, who “blew away” the organization during the pre-draft process, according to Edwards’ sources. Multiple teams called Detroit in hopes of making a deal for No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey, but the Pistons were more interested in landing another first-round selection. One of those calls came from the Knicks, who needed to offload salary in hopes of making a run at free agent guard Jalen Brunson. Detroit was able to use some of its cap room to take on Kemba Walker‘s contract, valued at $9.17MM next season, and received Duren, whom New York acquired from the Hornets in a previous deal.

Detroit now has an exciting young core with Ivey and Duren joining Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey, along with enough cap room to be a significant player in free agency. The Pistons are still expected to be big spenders when the process begins next week, sources tell Edwards.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers passed on several younger talents to take four-year college player Ochai Agbaji, notes Chris Fedor of After reaching the play-in tournament this season, Cleveland was focused on finding someone who could contribute right away, and there’s hope that the Kansas sharpshooter will add another dimension to the offense. The Cavs were extremely interested in French star Ousmane Dieng, Fedor adds, and would have considered him at No. 14 if the Thunder hadn’t traded up to grab him with the 11th pick.
  • The Pacers had numerous trade opportunities Thursday night, but nothing worth pulling the trigger on, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “We’re always gonna be aggressive, but there’s always certain price points,” general manager Chad Buchanan said. “Sometimes you have to walk away from deals if it’s not right for your team.”
  • Finding a rim protector will be one of the Bulls‘ priorities for the summer, tweets Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls will explore their options through free agency and trades, according to general manager Marc Eversley, who suggested the team wants a player who can complement current center Nikola Vucevic.