DeMar DeRozan

Southeast Notes: Beal, Wizards, Heat, Hawks, Magic

Following a tough loss to the Bulls on Wednesday night, Wizards star Bradley Beal voiced concern about his team’s culture, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. After telling reporters that he was frustrated about losing “winnable games,” Beal was asked if that losing builds up.

“I would hope it does,” Beal said. “I don’t like losing so it’s going to keep blowing up for me… Until we start winning and changing our culture.” Asked what a changed culture would like, the Wizards guard replied: Winning games. Get that winning attitude and winning habits.”

As Hughes notes in a separate article, the timing of Beal’s comments is interesting, since the 26-year-old signed an extension in the offseason despite recognizing it would be a challenging season for the Wizards. The team has been fun to watch and certainly hasn’t fallen short of preseason expectations, so Beal’s comments are a little surprising.

Pointing out that Beal recently co-signed a J.J. Redick complaint about some NBA players prioritizing fashion and social media over winning, Hughes wonders if that was just coincidental timing or if the Wizards’ star is frustrated by some of his teammates’ behavior.

David Aldridge of The Athletic, who heard from a source that Beal seemed as angry and emotional after Wednesday’s loss as he’s been since joining the Wizards, noted that Washington’s defense has been “spectacularly bad” this season and speculated that the team’s effort on that end of the floor may be a source of frustration for the All-Star.

As we wait to see how Washington responds to Beal’s concerns, here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggests that preserving 2021 cap room isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for the Heat if they find a trade they like, since the team believes it can acquire star free agents even without cap space, as it did last summer with Jimmy Butler.
  • Within the same article, Jackson also explores several trade options for the Heat, citing one source who says the team will likely be in touch with San Antonio. The Spurs haven’t given any indication they want to move LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan, but would consider Miami a potential trade partner if they do consider dealing either veteran star, says Jackson.
  • Count Trae Young among those who like the Hawkstrade for Jeff Teague. According to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Young referred to Teague as “one of the underrated point guards in our league” and praised the veteran’s ability to score, draw fouls, and get teammates involved.
  • With Michael Carter-Williams still battling a shoulder injury and fellow point guard D.J. Augustin out for at least the next three or four weeks with a knee issue, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he’d speak to president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman about whether or not the team will make a roster move, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Orlando has a full 15-man roster, but Gary Clark is on a 10-day contract.

Southwest Notes: McLemore, Aldridge, Porzingis, DeRozan

Former lottery pick Ben McLemore has revitalized his career with the RocketsESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote an excellent profile piece examining the reemergence of McLemore in Houston.

On his third team in three years, McLemore seized his opportunity with the Rockets when injuries befell Eric Gordon and Gerald Green. McLemore has transformed himself into an effective catch-and-shoot option in Houston. For nine games starting on November 30th, McLemore averaged 14 PPG while shooting 39-of-85 from long range.

The first season of McLemore’s two-year, $4.4MM contract with the Rockets became fully guaranteed on January 10th. “I love Ben,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told Lowe. “All he was lacking was confidence and an opportunity.” The rangy, athletic McLemore is averaging 10.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 1.0 APG for the 26-12 Rockets. He is shooting 36.5% from long range on 6.7 attempts and 80% from the free-throw line.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The trade market stock of 34-year-old Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge is rising, writes San Antonio Express-News reporter Mike Finger. Finger postulates that Aldridge would have net more interest as a trade piece than fellow 30+ former All-Star big man, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, who has been very, very vocal about being unhappy in Cleveland. Aldridge has emerged as a moderate three-point shooting threat for the first time in his career, knocking down 45.5% of his 2.5 attempts per game, both career highs.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was given a platelet-rich-plasma injection to treat the soreness in his right knee that has kept him in street clothes for two weeks, according to ESPN’s Tim McMahon. Porzingis is also grappling with an illness that has slowed his recovery process.
  • Polarizing, old-fashioned Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan returns to the team for whom he made four All-Star appearances today, the Raptors, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports. His former teammate, current Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry, reflected on his contributions to Toronto basketball. “I think he poured his heart into the city,” Lowry said. “He gave the city and lot and the city [saw] him grow from a boy to being a man.”

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.

Southwest Notes: DeRozan, Brooks, Favors, Mavericks

The Spurs are off to a rough start this season. San Antonio currently sits at the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference with an 11-16 record. Head coach Gregg Popovich has been searching for answers all over the roster lately. This has included shaking up some rotational minutes.

During a tilt against Houston on December 16, Popovich pulled starting shoot guard DeMar DeRozan, the team’s highest earner with a $27.7MM salary this season, with 4:46 left in the game and the Spurs down 101-97. San Antonio had led by as many as 25 points in the first half. Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News notes that DeRozan’s disengaged body language while languishing during the eventual 109-107 loss on the bench was criticized.

Following the criticism, power forward Rudy Gay defended DeRozan’s reaction to the late-game benching, calling the two-time All-NBA selection a “competitor.” DeRozan did stay on the court late to help seal the Spurs’ subsequent game, a 118-105 defeat of the Nets on Thursday. Popovich substituted all starters with 47 seconds left and the victory sewn up.

There’s more out of the Southwest:

  • In his latest mailbag column, The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington touches on Dillon Brooks‘ value as a 2020 restricted free agent. Brooks, the 45th pick in the 2017 draft, has been solid in his third NBA season thus far. He has shown his mettle as a long-range shooter for the Grizzlies, connecting on 37.1% of his 4.9 three-point attempts a game this year. He can also defend at a position of need — albeit while getting into foul trouble. Herrington considers Brooks’ best fit on a playoff team to be as a bench scorer. Herrington hopes that Memphis waits out the market for Brooks, and exercises caution if offers from other teams venture significantly beyond the mid-level exception ($9.8MM annually).
  • ESPN’s Andrew Lopez (Twitter link) reports that Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry has lifted the team’s minutes restriction on starting center Derrick Favors. Gentry anticipates Favors playing 25-27 minutes. He has averaged 20.9 minutes a night in 14 games this season.
  • The Mavericks showed off their roster depth beyond starry headliners Luka Doncic (still out with an injury) and Kristaps Porzingis in a 117-98 road win over the Sixers last night. To be fair, Porzingis scored 22 points, pulled down 18 rebounds, and blocked three opponents’ shots. Still, Tim McMahon of ESPN notes that Tim Hardaway, Seth Curry, and even Ryan Broekhoff have had clutch moments for Dallas so far. “We have so many different weapons and so many different guys that can come in,” Porzingis noted after the victory. “I almost feel bad because we have so many guys that can come in, and sometimes they don’t get the opportunity.”

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southwest Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

The Southwest could end up being one of the NBA’s most interesting divisions as the trade deadline approaches. The Mavericks and Rockets are headed for the postseason and may be motivated to make roster upgrades. On the other end of the spectrum, the Grizzlies were always willing to sell, and disappointing seasons may clear the way for the Spurs and Pelicans to join them as sellers.

After initially identifying three trade candidates from the Southwest last month, we’re examining three more today. Let’s dive in…

Jrue Holiday, G
New Orleans Pelicans
$26.2MM cap hit; $26.2MM cap hit in 2020/21; $27.1MM player option for 2021/22

Marc Stein of The New York Times injected some intrigue into this season’s trade market on Tuesday when he suggested that the Pelicans no longer view Jrue Holiday as untouchable. A two-time All-Defensive player and a former All-Star, Holiday is capable of playing on or off the ball and may be the most appealing trade chip on the market this winter.

Of course, just because the Pelicans are open to listening to inquires doesn’t mean they’ll simply take the best offer they get for Holiday at the deadline. It will likely require a substantial package to pry him out of New Orleans, particularly since he’s under contract for at least one more year beyond this season — the Pels could wait until the offseason or even the 2021 deadline to shop Holiday more aggressively.

If the Pelicans do seriously consider a deal this season, I’d expect the team to seek a package with a similar structure to the one they got for Davis, featuring a mix of young players and draft picks. The Nuggets, Heat, and Timberwolves are among the teams that should be motivated to pursue Holiday and might have the assets to get something done.

DeMar DeRozan, SG
San Antonio Spurs
$27.7MM cap hit; $27.7MM player option for 2020/21

Another former All-Star, DeRozan almost certainly won’t be as sought-after a trade target as Holiday, even if the Spurs convey a willingness to move him. He’s not a strong defender and his limitations from beyond the arc will turn some teams off.

For instance, Orlando is in need of scoring help and reportedly expressed interest in DeRozan, but given their roster construction, the Magic would likely prefer a player who can stretch the floor and help improve their spacing. DeRozan isn’t that player.

DeRozan’s contract also complicates matters. A team focused on 2021 flexibility may like the idea of acquiring the veteran guard and having him exercise his 2020/21 player option to keep him around for the next year-and-a-half. But there’s no guarantee DeRozan won’t opt out at season’s end, so a potential trade partner would have to be comfortable with either losing him in 2020 or ponying up for a new contract at that time.

Throw in the fact that the Spurs haven’t made a midseason trade in nearly six years and there are plenty of factors working against a DeRozan deal. But if San Antonio continues to slip out of playoff contention, it’s an idea the team will have to at least consider.

Jae Crowder, F
Memphis Grizzlies
$7.8MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Andre Iguodala has been the most-discussed trade candidate in Memphis, but teams in need of help on the wing may end up pivoting to Crowder instead.

Unlike Iguodala, Crowder has actually played this season, averaging more than 31 minutes per game in 26 starts for the Grizzlies. It hasn’t been one of his best seasons – his shooting line has slipped to .376/.314/.746 – but Crowder is averaging career-best rates in rebounds and assists and remains capable of filling a three-and-D role.

Perhaps most importantly, his expiring contract has a cap charge nearly $10MM less than Iguodala’s $17MM+ figure. A non-taxpaying team would only have to send out about $4.4MM in salary to meet the salary-matching requirements for Crowder, which would be much more realistic for several contending teams that lack expendable mid-level contracts.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, DeRozan, McLemore, Pelicans

The Spurs have historically been averse to mid-season trades, having not completed a deal outside of the offseason since February 2014, when they sent Nando De Colo to Toronto in exchange for Austin Daye. However, as Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News writes, after a 9-15 start to the season, the organization will have to consider both the upside and potential downside of simply standing pat again.

Four-time All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan will have the ability to opt out of his contract during the summer of 2020, and while the Spurs seem unlikely to make a blockbuster deal by February 6, it might represent their last real opportunity to acquire something of value in exchange for DeRozan — if he opts for free agency and signs elsewhere, the club likely won’t have the cap flexibility to adequately replace him, Finger observes.

As San Antonio considers its options, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southwest…

  • When the Spurs weigh what to do with DeRozan, they’ll attempt to determine what type of contract he might be able to command on the open market. Only rebuilding teams are projected to have cap room this summer, creating uncertainty about where a big payday for the veteran might come from, if not San Antonio. “I like DeRozan as my third option, and those type of players are not earning near max-type money,” one league executive tells ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link).
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the renaissance of Ben McLemore, a former No. 7 overall pick whose days as an NBA rotation player appeared numbered before he bounced back with Houston this season. According to Iko, McLemore received a pair of guaranteed contract offers in the offseason, but chose the Rockets‘ partially guaranteed offer because they offered the best combination of playing for a contender and potentially earning a regular role.
  • Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said this week that this year’s team is one of the quietest he has been around during his time in the NBA, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. As Guillory notes, that’s one reason why New Orleans’ defensive communication has been an issue all season long.

Southeast Notes: Smith, Young, Adebayo, Magic

Big man Jason Smith said he’s interested in returning to the Wizards if they want him, Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington relays. Smith made the comment on a Wizards Postgame Live broadcast. Washington’s frontcourt has been depleted by injuries, including a foot ailment to starting center Thomas Bryant that will sideline him for at least three weeks. The 33-year-old seven-footer played 20 games last season, including 12 with the Wizards.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Luka Doncic and Trae Young were essentially traded for each other on draft night 2018 but the Hawks guard doesn’t mind the comparisons, he said in an ESPN interview“We’re going to be compared throughout our whole careers,” Young said. “That’s fine, that’s what it’s going to be — it happened on draft night, and I don’t think it’ll stop until we’re both retired.”
  • The Heat want center Bam Adebayo to be more aggressive offensively, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets. Adebayo is averaging 14.2 PPG while averaging nine shot attempts and 5.7 free throw attempts.
  • Trading for DeMar DeRozan doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Magic, Josh Robbins of The Athletic opines. The Magic are reportedly interested in DeRozan but he can become an unrestricted free agent by declining his $27.7MM player option this summer, Robbins notes. Giving up a good young player like Aaron Gordon for DeRozan would be too risky unless the veteran guard made a commitment to stay with Orlando. A trade with the Warriors for guard D’Angelo Russell would be more feasible, though the Magic’s interest level in doing that is unknown, Robbins adds.

Heat Notes: Winslow, DeRozan, Leonard

Justise Winslow made his return to the lineup on Wednesday, playing 34 minutes in his first game back from a concussion. After the game, coach Erik Spoelstra said that the plan moving forward is not to have the Duke product play that much.

“I had no intention of playing him that much. K-Nunn got hit in the chest. He couldn’t play. Duncan got five fouls. So thank goodness we had Justise for those minutes,” Spo said (via Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

The team was also without Jimmy Butler, who missed the contest because he was not feeling well. Butler is expected to be back in action on Friday, so that will also cut into Winslow’s playing time.

Here’s more from Miami.

Magic Rumors: Gordon, DeRozan, Russell, Isaac

The Magic have been at the center of a pair of intriguing early-season reports this week, with a Wednesday report suggesting Orlando has expressed interest in DeMar DeRozan, while a Friday story indicated that teams are monitoring Aaron Gordon with potential interest in a trade.

That report on Gordon, from Shams Charania of The Athletic, made it clear that the Magic have expressed no interest in moving the young forward. However, Sean Deveney of Forbes.com hears that there are some concerns that Gordon might not fit be an ideal long-term fit alongside Jonathan Isaac.

Could the Magic and Spurs explore a trade centered around DeRozan and Gordon then? Probably not, according to Deveney, who writes that the Magic would be reluctant to give up a significant package for the Spurs’ guard, who could reach the free agent market next summer if he turns down his 2020/21 player option. Even if Orlando did become open to moving Gordon, it wouldn’t be for a rental.

Here’s more on the Magic, via Deveney:

  • While the Magic have starting looking into possible trades to address their offense, no deals are around the corner, a source with knowledge of the club’s thinking tells Deveney. “You’ve got a lot of players dealing with some shooting slumps and that is going to turn around, those players are going to get back to their usual percentages,” that source said. “So everyone does due diligence on the market but it doesn’t seem like anything is about to come down. If you make a move now with the offense at a low point, it’s like you’re selling low. See who comes back, who bounces back. Then go from there. It’s far away and a lot can change.”
  • Deveney identifies D’Angelo Russell as one player who could pique the Magic’s interest once he becomes trade-eligible, since Orlando considered him in free agency this past summer.
  • For now, Orlando is banking on offensive improvements from within. As Deveney outlines, the team is willing to be patient with young players like Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, since there are indications that Fultz’s shot could come around and that Isaac is “just scratching the surface of his offensive potential.”

Magic Have Expressed Interest In DeMar DeRozan

In an excellent piece covering the state of the Spurs, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports the Magic have expressed interest in Spurs wing DeMar DeRozan.

O’Connor notes that the Magic are “scouring the trade market for scoring help,” meaning the team has likely kicked the tires on players besides DeRozan. KOC goes on to indicate that front office executives around the NBA wouldn’t be shocked if San Antonio dealt the 30-year-old four-time All-Star, who sports a famously archaic shot profile.

DeRozan has a $27.7MM player option on the final year of his contract, for the 2020/21 season. Were he to decline it, he could top-line a fairly lackluster free agent class. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, DeRozan and San Antonio struggled to find common ground while negotiating a possible extension prior to this season. The maximum potential value of an extension for DeRozan would be approximately $150MM over four years. Given that DeRozan would be 35 by the end of that deal, San Antonio’s probable reticence feels sensible.

The Magic’s anemic offense could use the help. The 3-7 Magic’s 98.1 points scored per game currently ranks them dead-last in the NBA. And the Knicks play in the NBA! Orlando also ranks 29th in offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions).

HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky took a detailed look at the midrange-happy DeRozan’s potential offensive fit on Orlando. Kalbrosky notes that DeRozan’s proclivity for mid-range jumpers would fit in well with Orlando, as the team currently ranks third in the NBA in mid-range frequency, according to Cleaning The Glass.

In ten games, DeRozan has attempted just four three-pointers. He has missed them all. Despite this, his excellent handle and size make him a great drive-and-kick cog in any offense. He is currently averaging 19.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, while shooting 49.3% from the floor and 77.2% from the charity stripe.

If the Magic were to make an offer for DeRozan, they’d almost certainly want to hang onto Jonathan Isaac and would likely aim to keep Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon as well. That might mean starting with Evan Fournier ($17.15MM) for salary-matching purposes. The team has a couple intriguing young prospects in Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba, and has all its future first- and second-round draft picks available.