Domantas Sabonis

Kings Tell De’Aaron Fox They Don’t Want To Trade Him

The Kings have informed De’Aaron Fox and agent Chris Gaston that they don’t want to trade the 24-year-old guard, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Fox’s name has surfaced more frequently in trade rumors as of late, including earlier today. However, sources tell Charania that the Kings’ current mindset is that they want to keep both Fox and second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton and build the team around them. Sacramento has conveyed that stance to potential trade partners and to Fox and his reps, says Charania.

Multiple reports this week stated that the Kings have expressed interest in Pacers center Domantas Sabonis, with one report suggesting Fox had been brought up in those discussions. Charania says a deal centered around Sabonis and Fox won’t happen.

The Kings are also believed to be very much in the hunt for Ben Simmons, though Sam Amick of The Athletic – who previously reported that Sacramento was open to the idea of acquiring Tobias Harris along with Simmons – now hears from a source that the team doesn’t have interest in that scenario (Twitter link). Amick says the Kings still see a pathway to landing Simmons, but it’s hard to imagine how they’ll construct an offer that meets the Sixers‘ asking price without including either Fox or Haliburton.

Fox and Haliburton were reported last summer to be off-limits, but that changed earlier this month, as Amick reported that no Kings players were considered untouchable. While that report – and others – stated that Sacramento’s preference would be to build around Fox and Haliburton, there had been a sense that the team was becoming more open to doing something drastic and perhaps breaking up its backcourt.

Based on Charania’s report, it sounds like the Kings are once again leaning toward making Fox and Haliburton untouchable. It’s possible they arrived at their latest position as a result of being underwhelmed by how the two guards were being valued on the trade market — it’s also possible this is posturing and Sacramento will reverse its stance again within the next three weeks.

For now though, it appears that any major move made by the Kings will involve some combination of Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, and others on the roster rather than Fox or Haliburton.

Kings Eyeing Domantas Sabonis, Discussing De’Aaron Fox

The Kings are interested in Domantas Sabonis and have recently ramped up their pursuit of the Pacers big man, a league source tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

According to Anderson, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who was considered off-limits when the team talked to the Sixers in the summer about Ben Simmons, has now been included in separate trade discussions involving Sabonis and Simmons.

Sam Amick of The Athletic, who reported earlier in the month that the Kings no longer view Fox as untouchable, stated during a radio appearance on Sports 1140 KHTK (hat tip to HoopsHype) that the team is eyeing both Sabonis and Simmons, and suggested that he wouldn’t be surprised if Sacramento makes a “big-time” trade in the coming days or weeks.

“There is a fair amount of pressure for this roster to look pretty different after the deadline,” Amick said.

Multiple reports, dating back to early December, have indicated that the Pacers are open to the idea of trading one of Sabonis or Myles Turner, but wouldn’t move both players. Turner had long been considered the most likely trade candidate of the two, but his left foot injury may diminish his value leading up to the deadline, opening the door for a Sabonis deal.

The Pacers would want an All-Star caliber player in return for Sabonis, according to Anderson, who hears that the team has received offers meeting that criteria. Fox hasn’t made an All-Star team, but Anderson suggests an offer that includes the 24-year-old and at least one draft pick could pique Indiana’s interest.

As for the Simmons scenario, Amick said this week on The Athletic NBA Show that he believes the Kings are “actually pondering” the idea of acquiring both Simmons and Tobias Harris from Philadelphia (hat tip to HoopsHype).

The 76ers have reportedly explored the idea of attaching Harris to a Simmons trade, which is viewed as complicated due to the duo’s $69MM cap hit in 2021/22, as well as the $190MM+ they’re owed beyond this season. However, Amick suggests that scenario isn’t off the table for Sacramento. Marc Stein also recently reported that there’s a sense around the league the Kings could be convinced to take on Harris’ oversized contract in a Simmons deal.

In addition to Fox, players like Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, Tristan Thompson, and – to a lesser extent – Harrison Barnes have been cited as potential trade candidates for Sacramento. Presumably, if the Kings were to make a play for Sabonis, they’d also be open to discussing current starting center Richaun Holmes.

Charania’s Latest: Collins, Simmons, Celtics, Pacers, Wall, Cavs

Hawks big man John Collins has grown increasingly frustrated with his role in Atlanta, multiple sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Although Collins signed a five-year, $125MM contract with the team in the offseason, his usage rate and scoring average (17.5 PPG) are the lowest they’ve been since he was a rookie in 2017/18.

According to Charania, Collins has challenged his Hawks teammates in the locker room multiple times this season, encouraging them to play team basketball. He has “felt his voice go unheard,” Charania adds.

Although Charania doesn’t explicitly state that Collins is a candidate to be traded before this year’s deadline, he notes that the Hawks are a team to watch in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes, echoing a Friday report from Marc Stein. If Atlanta is willing to make Collins available, it would certainly increase the number of trade possibilities open to the team.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Besides Atlanta, the Kings, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, and Pacers are among the clubs still in the mix for Simmons, according to Charania, who says the Sixers don’t appear any closer to moving the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up than they were prior to the season. Philadelphia hasn’t been fining Simmons, since he has been participating in training sessions and team meetings and continues to meet with mental health specialists, per Charania.
  • The Celtics have continued to convey to rival teams that they want to build around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rather than trading one of them, sources tell Charania.
  • The Pacers are having trade discussions about Myles Turner and Caris LeVert, with Turner drawing interest from the Mavericks, Knicks, Lakers, and Hornets, while the Cavaliers remain interested in LeVert, according to Charania. Rival executives tell The Athletic that Indiana values Domantas Sabonis very highly and seems less likely to move him.
  • Teams would be interested in Rockets guard John Wall if he reaches the open market, but a trade remains very unlikely and Houston still doesn’t appear to have interest in a buyout, Charania writes.
  • As the Cavaliers consider possible backcourt upgrades, building a deal around Ricky Rubio‘s expiring contract and draft assets is a possibility, says Charania.

Eastern Notes: Johnson, Celtics, Wizards, Sabonis, Walton, Sixers

The Celtics won’t retain veteran guard Joe Johnson past his first 10-day hardship contract, head coach Ime Udoka said, as relayed by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).

Udoka believes Johnson could still sign another deal in the NBA, but Boston has had players clear the health and safety protocols since signing him. Johnson only appeared in one game, logging just under two minutes and making his only shot attempt.

As Washburn notes (via Twitter), Boston would have to make another roster move or lose additional players to protocols in order to retain Johnson. The 40-year-old now enters free agency as an 18-year NBA veteran, owning 1,397 games of experience between the regular season and playoffs.

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe says not to be surprised if the Wizards kick the tires on Pacers center Domantas Sabonis prior to this season’s trade deadline. Lowe views Washington as a good candidate to make a consolidation trade, since the team has plenty of depth and could use a running mate for Bradley Beal.
  • Pistons guard Derrick Walton is living his hometown dream by playing with the franchise, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes. Walton, 26, is currently on a 10-day hardship deal with the organization.
  • The Sixers appear to be ready to overcome adversity and compete for a championship, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Philadelphia remains firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff picture despite dealing with a series of injuries, COVID-19 cases, and Ben Simmons‘ absence. The team’s ceiling could increase significantly if Simmons returns or is traded for quality pieces.

Windhorst’s Latest: Pacers, LeVert, Blazers, Simmons, Fox

Based on the whispers he has heard around the league, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst views Caris LeVert and Myles Turner as more likely trade candidates for the Pacers than Domantas Sabonis, he said on the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast. Although Sabonis has frequently been mentioned alongside LeVert and Turner in reports on Indiana’s potential trade chips, Windhorst hasn’t heard much chatter about the All-Star center.

During Friday’s episode of the Hoop Collective podcast, Windhorst spoke at length to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon about the report on the Mavericks that MacMahon published earlier this week, which included details on how the relationship between Luka Doncic and Rick Carlisle became frayed. Interestingly, Windhorst suggested that LeVert could perhaps relate to Doncic, stating that the Pacers swingman and Carlisle have not had the “greatest partnership” so far this season.

Here are a few more interesting tidbits shared by Windhorst during his podcast:

  • Windhorst heard from one executive who said that the Trail Blazers, since their front office shakeup, have created the impression they’re willing to listen to inquiries on anyone except Damian Lillard.
  • According to Windhorst, there are multiple execs around the NBA who believe that when the Sixers eventually trade Ben Simmons, at least one of the Kings, Timberwolves, and/or Rockets will be involved, either as Simmons’ destination or as a third team in the deal. As Windhorst explains, those three teams’ front offices are run by executives who previously worked with Daryl Morey.
  • Although reports earlier this year suggested that De’Aaron Fox was expected to be off-limits in any Kings trade talks, MacMahon has gotten the sense that the point guard is no longer considered untouchable. According to Windhorst, Fox came to camp this fall 15 pounds heavier than he was when the season ended last spring.

Trade Rumors: Sabonis, Kemba, Celtics, Pelicans, Magic

On an episode of The Ringer’s podcast The Mismatch last week, Kevin O’Connor mentioned that Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis wants out of Indiana. The comment was made in passing and wasn’t expanded upon by O’Connor in any subsequent article or tweet, so it wasn’t clear whether it was something he was reporting or something he’d heard but hadn’t fully confirmed.

Following up on that rumor, Matt Moore of Action Network says he has also heard from multiple sources that Sabonis wants out of Indiana, adding that the big man’s desire for a change of scenery dates back to last season. However, all of Sabonis’ public comments have indicated that he’s happy to stick with the Pacers, and Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files, who is plugged in with the team, called O’Connor’s initial report “false” (Twitter link).

The Pacers are reportedly open to the idea of moving Sabonis, so whether or not he wants to be dealt may ultimately be a moot point — Indiana could trade him either way.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Knicks guard Kemba Walker hasn’t generated much – if any – trade interest from rival teams, since his knees are viewed as too much of a risk, Moore reports.
  • Two sources who spoke to Moore suggested the Celtics are more likely to pursue a third impact player to add to their core of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, rather than breaking up the duo.
  • The Bulls are in the market for a wing defender who could come off the bench, says Moore.
  • Some executives were surprised by Jake Fischer’s report that the Pelicans could be buyers this season, since they’d gotten the impression New Orleans is more interested in long-term assets, Moore writes. Josh Hart is viewed as possibly the most likely trade candidate on the Pels’ roster, Moore adds.
  • Despite Mohamed Bamba‘s strong season, the Magic are considered unlikely to discuss center Wendell Carter Jr. in trades, per Moore, who notes that the team also hasn’t yet indicated that Bamba is available.
  • According to Moore, the Thunder are a good candidate to be a third team in a Ben Simmons trade, since Sam Presti and Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey have had multiple past dealings and Oklahoma City is well positioned to take on unwanted contracts.

Pacers Rumors: Simmons, Turner, Sabonis, Duarte, Jackson

The Pacers are considered the NBA team most likely to make a significant move on the trade market, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, Fischer says there’s a leaguewide skepticism that Indiana will embark on a full-fledged rebuild after hiring head coach Rick Carlisle to a four-year contract just months ago.

“Carlisle is not going to allow that to happen,” one assistant general manager told Bleacher Report. “They’re going to ‘middle build.’ They’re going to go with a sense of competing.”

As Fischer observes, a deal for 25-year-old star Ben Simmons would be the sort of big move the Pacers could make if they want to look toward the future while remaining competitive in the present. But none of Indiana’s top trade chips is the kind of star the Sixers would covet as the centerpiece as a Simmons deal. If the Pacers make a serious push for Simmons, they may have to loop in a third team, Fischer writes.

Here’s more on the Pacers from Fischer:

  • As Shams Charania reported on Monday, the expectation among rival executives is that the Pacers will move one of their standout big men – Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis – but not both. Fischer says Indiana may ultimately make its decision based on which player commands a higher return, which suggests the team doesn’t strongly prefer one over the other.
  • Although Turner has been involved in trade rumors for years, the Pacers have always highly valued him, according to Fischer, who hears from sources that the club turned down a Pelicans offer that included the No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft. That pick was eventually sent to the Hawks, who drafted De’Andre Hunter.
  • Sabonis’ value around the NBA is mixed, but Fischer names the Trail Blazers as one team that may be interested. Fischer also mentions the Kings, pointing out that Carlisle thinks highly of Harrison Barnes, but a Monday report indicated Sacramento hasn’t pursued Sabonis or Turner at all this season.
  • Malcolm Brogdon can’t be traded this season after recently signing an extension. But besides Brogdon, rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson are viewed by rival executives as the only Pacers players who are probably off-limits in trade talks. “Sabonis, Turner, (T.J.) Warren, (and Caris) LeVert all can be had at the right price,” another assistant GM told Fischer.
  • In other Pacers news, the team has assigned center Goga Bitadze to the G League for the first time this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. As Agness points out, Bitadze has been out of Indiana’s rotation for weeks and could use some reps with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Kings Shopping Hield, Bagley But Not Pursuing Sabonis, Turner

The Kings are still shopping a package including Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III in hopes of getting a quality player but are not actively pursuing Pacers’ big men Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports.

The Kings have not engaged the Pacers in talks for Sabonis or Turner since last week, when a report surfaced that Indiana was open to dealing its top big men, as well as guard Caris LeVert. Sacramento had displayed interest in Sabonis in the past.

It’s somewhat curious that Sacramento wouldn’t target those big men for its guard-heavy roster. Sabonis is a two-time All-Star and the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, though, as Anderson notes, he’s a 31% 3-point shooter and is not considered a strong defender. Turner is the league’s top shot-blocker and would help space the floor with his 3-point shooting.

Kings GM Monte McNair is looking to make a big move and the Sixers’ Ben Simmons could still be a target. The Kings were one of several teams named as having continued interest in the disgruntled Philadelphia star, who has not played this season.

Hield is averaging 15.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 2.1 APG. Bagley, who will be a free agent (restricted or unrestricted) next summer, was benched earlier in the season but was moved into the rotation last month. The No. 2 pick of the 2018 draft is averaging 7.8 PPG and 6.3 RPG.

LeBron James, Domantas Sabonis Named Players Of The Week

Lakers star LeBron James has been named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week and Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis has won the weekly award for the Eastern Conference, the league announced today (Twitter link).

James, who hadn’t played more than three consecutive games this season until the past week, led Los Angeles to a 3-1 record in games vs. Boston, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Orlando between December 6-12. He averaged 28.3 PPG, 8.0 APG, 7.5 RPG, 1.8 BPG, and 1.8 SPG, with a red-hot shooting line of .608/.417/.867. James had a 30-point triple-double against the Magic on Sunday.

Sabonis, meanwhile, had his best week of the season despite his name popping up in trade rumors. His Pacers were 3-0, defeating the Wizards, Knicks, and Mavericks, and the veteran center put up 25.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 6.0 APG on .750/.750/.857 shooting in those three contests.

James beat out fellow nominees Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Donovan Mitchell in the West. The other Eastern Conference nominees were Jarrett Allen, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Kyle Lowry, and Sabonis’ teammate Caris LeVert (Twitter link).

Charania’s Latest: Ariza, Nunn, Sabonis, Turner, Hawks

The Lakers are hopeful that forward Trevor Ariza will be able to make his season debut within the next week or two, says Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ariza has been sidelined for the entire fall as he recovers from ankle surgery, but continues to ramp up his activity. He was expected to participate on Monday in a practice with some members of the South Bay Lakers, as well as Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Like Ariza, Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn hasn’t played at all for the team this season due to a bone bruise in his right knee. Sources tell Charania that Los Angeles is optimistic about Nunn returning to the court and making his debut for the club at some point in January.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Suns and Kings have shown interest in Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis in recent years, per Charania. It’s unclear if either Pacific team will make a run at Sabonis now that he’s rumored to be available, but they could be worth watching. Charania adds that “a slew” of teams are expected to pursue Myles Turner, and the expectation is that Indiana would only move one of its two big men, not both.
  • Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk and other members of Atlanta’s front office will likely sign contract extensions by the 2022 offseason, Charania reports. There have been rumors that other teams may try to lure assistant general manager Landry Fields away from the Hawks, but Fields is trending toward being promoted to GM in Atlanta under Schlenk, according to Charania.
  • Charania’s latest Inside Pass column for The Athletic included several other notable tidbits, which we rounded up in a series of stories earlier today.