Duncan Robinson

Free Agent Stock Watch: Eastern Conference

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look at players from the Eastern Conference:

Elfrid Payton, Knicks, 27, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $4.77MM deal in 2020

Payton’s postseason role was reduced to something rarely seen in any sport – the starting lineup cameo. He played a few ineffective minutes, then never returned to the court for two games until coach Tom Thibodeau completely gave up on him. Payton started regularly all season but his post-All-Star break woes drove Knicks fans nuts. They won’t have to worry about a repeat – Payton will be an unrestricted free agent. Payton has been a starter throughout his career but it’s hard to imagine him getting much more than the veteran’s minimum to fill out someone’s bench next season.

Evan Fournier, Celtics, 28, SF (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $85MM deal in 2016

Fournier was the biggest acquisition the Celtics made at the trade deadline and they leaned on him heavily against the Nets with Jaylen Brown sidelined. Fournier averaged 15.4 PPG on 43.3% shooting from 3-point range in 33.4 MPG. Solid numbers, but he’s not the type of player who can carry a team. Fournier is expected to seek a contract similar to the one he signed with the Magic five seasons ago but is he really a $17MM a year player? There’s a general sense that Fournier may have to settle for the mid-level exception or something slightly above that figure.

Duncan Robinson, Heat, 27, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3MM deal in 2018

Robinson pumped in 24 points in Game 1 against the Bucks, then petered out the rest of the series. That won’t hurt him in restricted free agency. The Heat have to make a lot of tough decisions this offseason – one of them will be how big an offer sheet they’d be willing to match to retain Robinson. First, they’ll have to extend a $4.7MM qualifying offer but that’s a formality. During last season’s playoff run to the Finals, Robinson averaged 11.7 PPG. He’s a career 42.3% 3-point shooter and he’ll be looking for a big payday after playing on a rookie contract.

Alex Len, Wizards, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.7MM deal in 2020

Len has passed through a handful of organizations over the past four seasons. He’ll be on the move again as an unrestricted free agent. Len received 40 regular-season starts from the injury-depleted Wizards after getting waived by the Raptors. His playing time shrunk throughout the first-round series against Philadelphia – he played a grand total of three minutes in the last two games. Whether or not Thomas Bryant can effectively return from his knee injury next season, Washington needs to upgrade its frontcourt. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Ukranian-born Len explores European options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Notes: Butler, Adebayo, Achiuwa, Robinson

Heat star Jimmy Butler is eligible for a contract extension this summer, and according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, it’s likely he will seek a four-year, maximum-salary deal worth $181MM. The 32-year old wing is currently under contract through the 2022/23 season, but a four-year extension would align his contract with star center Bam Adebayo‘s recently-signed max extension, as both would expire following the 2025/26 season. Such an extension would pay Butler $50MM in 2025/26, when he’d be 36 years old.

Following a disappointing first round sweep at the hands of the Bucks, the Heat will be looking to add to their roster this summer. When asked if he would be taking a role in roster decisions, Butler said: “I don’t know. I’ve got to be active… Me myself, Bam, hell probably Tyler (Herro), some other guys, as well — they’re going to ask and we have to be honest. But at the end of the day, that’s not our job either.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • With the Tokyo Olypmics postponed until this summer, several Heat players will have important decisions to make, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Precious Achiuwa and Gabe Vincent are both potential members of the Nigerian national team, while Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo are in the player pool for the U.S. team and Omer Yurtseven is likely to represent Turkey. But with a short training camp this season, the possibility of missing out on yet another summer of training with the Heat represents a major decision, especially for young players such as Achiuwa and Vincent. The choice between Summer League and representing his nation in the Olympics is one Achiuwa isn’t rushing. “Right now,” he says, “I have time on my hands to kind of just weigh my options and see where I go from there.”
  • Not only do the Heat not have a pick in this year’s draft, but they have the fewest tradable future picks of any team in the NBA, notes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. As a result of trades for players such as Butler, Goran Dragic, and Victor Oladipo, a 2024 second-round pick is the only draft asset they have that’s available to be traded over the next seven drafts.
  • In a Q&A for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ira Winderman explains why Adebayo and Butler should be considered untouchable in trades, details the fallacy of the “Leastern Conference” idea, and discusses whether adding a three point shot should be the primary focus of Adebayo’s summer.
  • With the 2020/21 season in the rearview mirror, Winderman graded each team member’s performance, as well as sharing his thoughts for their futures in Dade County. In regards to Duncan Robinson‘s impending restricted free agency, Winderman views $15MM per season as a reasonable cutoff point.

Heat Notes: Olympics, Dedmon, Robinson, Haslem

Nine Heat players spoke to reporters today as part of the team’s end-of-season media availability, and many of those players intend to represent their countries in international play this summer, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald details.

Nigeria, one of the eight countries to have already clinched its spot in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, has talked to Precious Achiuwa about playing this summer, but he has yet to make a final decision. Teammate Gabe Vincent will train with Nigeria and hopes to make the Olympic roster.

Nemanja Bjelica, meanwhile, plans to play for Serbia at the Tokyo Olympics, while Omer Yurtseven – who signed with the Heat at the end of the season – intends to be part of the Turkish team as the club looks to secure an Olympic berth in next month’s qualifying tournament.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Veteran center Dewayne Dedmon said that he’d like to return to the Heat next season, but added, “That’s up to the people upstairs.” While Miami’s front office would probably reciprocate Dedmon’s interest, given how he played down the stretch, he’ll only have Non-Bird rights, limiting the team’s ability to give him much of a raise beyond the veteran’s minimum, as Jackson notes.
  • Asked about his priorities in free agency, Duncan Robinson offered the following response: “First and foremost, a fit, a place I can really feel comfortable. Winning is a priority for me. And also a business and there’s an opportunity to take care of people that I love.” Robinson will be a restricted free agent, so the Heat will have the ability to match if he signs an offer sheet.
  • Udonis Haslem remains undecided on whether he’ll retire or return to the Heat for 2021/22, but he made it clear he doesn’t take his spot on the roster for granted, as Jackson writes. “I don’t have an offseason. I’m 40 years old. If I have an offseason, I might as well retire,” Haslem said. “Straight from the season to back in the gym. I’m calling Bam (Adebayo); his (butt) is coming with me. I’m calling Precious. He’s coming with me.” Haslem added that he doesn’t have interest in coaching, but suggested he wants to eventually own part of a franchise, according to Jackson.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Ariza, Nunn, Robinson

Unsurprisingly, Heat forward/center Bam Adebayo learned on Thursday that he isn’t a finalist for either the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

That’s notable not because Adebayo had a realistic shot at either award, but because the value of his five-year, maximum-salary extension would have risen to $195.6MM if he had won the MVP award or $179.3MM if he had been named Defensive Player of the Year (based on a 3% salary cap increase)

The value of that five-year extension could still technically increase to $185.8MM if Adebayo is named to the All-NBA First Team. However, that’s not going to happen, so the Heat can safely pencil in $163MM as the projected five-year amount of the big man’s new contract, which begins in 2021/22.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Given how important Jae Crowder‘s contributions were in last year’s playoff run to the NBA Finals, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald wonders if Trevor Ariza, acquired during the season, can play a similar role this time around. “We might be similar players but we have different roles and different attributes about ourselves,” Ariza said. “To say I can come in and do what he did would probably be disrespectful to what he brings to teams. I’m my own individual player. I would like to think what I do is good.”
  • The book is now closed on the Heat’s 2015 acquisition of Goran Dragic, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel observes. While surrendering two future first-round picks for Dragic was a bit of a risk, the 2018 first-rounder (Zhaire Smith) had little impact and this year’s pick will fall outside of the lottery, at No. 18. It’ll go to Houston or Oklahoma City depending on the lottery results.
  • Of the Heat’s two key RFAs-to-be, Kendrick Nunn would probably benefit more than Duncan Robinson from a strong performance in the postseason, Winderman says in a separate story for The Sun Sentinel. As Winderman explains, Robinson has already established his value over the last two seasons, while Nunn’s contributions have been less consistent, and the aftereffects of COVID-19 limited his role in last year’s postseason.

Southeast Notes: Ariza, Westbrook, Robinson, Brazdeikis

Heat forward Trevor Ariza has provided a maximum payoff since being traded to Miami earlier this year, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Ariza has since earned a role in the team’s starting lineup, giving consistent production on both ends of the floor.

“Trevor’s one of the most underrated players in this league,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Ariza. “But I would say that the contending teams that had him before, he’s not underrated. He does so many things — his activity, his deflections, his ability to guard multiple positions.

“And he also has been a very underrated scorer over the course of his career.”

Ariza has averaged 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this season, playing an average of 27.1 minutes across 23 contests. He’s provided versatility alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo at 6’8″, also shooting 35% from downtown.

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Wizards guard Russell Westbrook further proved that he’s still a star in the team’s game against the Mavericks on Saturday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Westbrook finished with 42 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two steals against Dallas, shooting 17-of-30 from the floor.
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald examines the impressive milestone from Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson. Robinson became the fastest player to reach 500 made threes in NBA history on Saturday, finishing the game against Cleveland shooting 6-of-9 from deep. He’ll be a restricted free agent in August.
  • Josh Cohen of NBA.com examines 10 interesting basketball facts about new Magic forward Ignas Brazdeikis, who signed a 10-day contract with the team on Sunday. Brazdeikis, the No. 47 pick in 2019, holds brief NBA experience with the Knicks and Sixers.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Vucevic, Heat, Pacers, Wizards

One of the NBA’s most reliable trade-deadline traditions is hearing after the fact which big-name players the Celtics came close to acquiring. Although Boston was active at this year’s deadline, adding Evan Fournier in one deal and moving Daniel Theis in another, the team didn’t let that annual tradition fall by the wayside.

League sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that the Celtics were a finalist in the Nikola Vucevic sweepstakes, having included multiple first-round picks in their offer to Orlando before the big man was sent to Chicago.

Additionally, Himmelsbach reports that the Celtics offered a first-round pick and a young player (believed to be Aaron Nesmith) to Orlando for Aaron Gordon, and were prepared to increase that offer, but the Magic accepted Denver’s offer before Boston had a chance to do so.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Another post-deadline tradition? Teams insisting they didn’t offer players whose names were repeatedly mentioned in trade rumors. The Heat did that today, issuing a statement stating that they never offered Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Precious Achiuwa in any deals. “They were asked for, but an offer was never made,” the team said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. While the Heat’s reluctance to part with Herro was widely reported, at least one of Robinson or Achiuwa – and perhaps both – would’ve had to be included in any viable package for Kyle Lowry, so saying they were “never offered” is likely just a matter of semantics.
  • Although they were the subject of several trade rumors prior to the deadline, the Pacers were one of the few teams to stand pat. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required), that inactivity can be attributed in large part to the team’s belief in Caris LeVert. Indiana, encouraged by the early returns, is satisfied letting LeVert get back up to speed and seeing how he meshes with the club’s current core.
  • Addressing the Wizards‘ acquisition of Daniel Gafford, general manager Tommy Sheppard cited the youngster’s shot-blocking ability and athleticism, as Ava Wallace of The Washington Post relays.

Trade Rumors: Lowry, Knicks, Ball, Suns, Nuggets

Kyle Lowry‘s future is the focus around the NBA right now, Shams Charania said on Stadium’s live trade deadline show on Twitter.

According to Charania, the Raptors remain seriously engaged with the Heat and Lakers, having been offered packages headed by Duncan Robinson (Miami) or Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (L.A.). Toronto is pushing for the inclusion of Tyler Herro or Talen Horton-Tucker in any deal with the Heat or Lakers, says Charania.

Charania adds that the Heat are believed to be Lowry’s preferred destination.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Knicks have remained engaged with the Pelicans today about a possible Lonzo Ball trade, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York is also receiving inquiries on center Mitchell Robinson, according to Begley, though it’s not clear if the team is open at all to moving Robinson.
  • As of earlier this afternoon, the Suns weren’t close to making any deals, and all signs pointed to them standing pat at the deadline, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Nuggets are likely done dealing after agreeing to trades for Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Fischer’s Latest: Gordon, Vucevic, Lowry, Redick, Ball, DeRozan

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Nuggets have become the favorites to pry Aaron Gordon away from the Magic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Denver’s offer would include guard Gary Harris, a first-round pick, and either R.J. Hampton, Zeke Nnaji or Bol Bol.

Although the Nuggets seem to have the momentum, the Celtics are still “very engaged” in the process, according to Fischer. Boston’s proposed deal has involved Marcus Smart and a first-rounder, and it’s possible that a second first-round pick and the Celtics’ $28.5MM traded player exception could be used as well, with Evan Fournier also headed to Boston, says Fischer. Previous reports indicated that the C’s were looking to keep Smart out of the deal, offering a younger player in his place.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Trail Blazers all remain interested in acquiring Gordon too.

Fischer passes on a few more trade rumors as the deadline draws near:

  • The Celtics are one of the few teams to express interest in trading for center Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic are putting a much higher price on him than Gordon. Orlando is asking for multiple first-round picks and a player who fits with their young core. Fischer expects Vucevic to stay with the Magic.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Sixers and Heat are all still pursuing Kyle Lowry, but the Raptors‘ high price tag may prevent a deal from getting done. Fischer believes Philadelphia would have to offer two players from the group of Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, while Miami would need to part with Goran Dragic, another large salary and either Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. Both Los Angeles teams are limited by their lack of available draft picks.
  • J.J. Redick appears headed for a buyout as the Pelicans haven’t found a team willing to offer draft picks or prospects in return for the veteran guard. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests a return to the Sixers is possible or maybe a reunion with former teammate Chris Paul on the Suns.
  • The Knicks are interested in Lonzo Ball and have the cap space to keep him in free agency, Pincus adds. The price could be Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and possibly the Mavericks’ 2021 first-round pick.
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is also high on the Knicks‘ wish list, states A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report.

Roster Transformation Looming For Raptors?

With less than 36 hours to go until the 2021 trade deadline, the Raptors are “hurtling toward a roster transformation,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team is engaged in multiple trade discussions involving Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell.

We covered some of the latest Lowry and Powell rumors late last night, noting that Lowry will reportedly seek a two-year contract worth at least $50MM from whichever team lands him, while Powell seems increasingly likely to be moved.

Wojnarowski confirms that Powell will probably be dealt, suggesting the question now is more about which of his “dozen or so” suitors will land him. Toronto could go in a number of different directions on the Powell front, depending on whether the team prioritizes young players or draft picks, Wojnarowski suggests. The odds of a Lowry trade are also gaining traction, Woj adds.

The Sixers and Heat have been frequently cited as the most likely landing spots for Lowry, but there are a handful of other teams involved as well, according to Wojnarowski, who says the Raptors are taking into consideration the veteran guard’s wishes as they consider possible scenarios. Lowry has an “open mind” about several possible destinations, sources tell ESPN.

Here’s more on the Raptors’ top two trade candidates:

  • The Sixers have discussed separate deals with the Raptors involving both Lowry and Powell, reports Wojnarowski.
  • In a deal with the Sixers for Lowry – not Powell – the Raptors would want at least one of Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle, but Philadelphia appears unwilling to part with Thybulle, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype has heard similar rumblings, writing that Maxey is among the assets available in a package for Lowry, while the Sixers are reluctant to part with Thybulle. Some executives around the league believe the inclusion of Thybulle – who has drawn interest from multiple teams – could swing the Lowry sweepstakes, Scotto adds.
  • One league executive thinks a package of Maxey, a first-round pick, and matching salaries (Danny Green, Tony Bradley, and Mike Scott) could get a Lowry deal done, assuming the Raptors can open up roster slots for all the incoming players, Pompey writes.
  • Tyler Herro is the sticking point in a potential Lowry-to-the-Heat trade, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Toronto wants Herro, who still has two years left on his rookie contract after this season, but Miami is more comfortable parting with RFA-to-be Duncan Robinson, Grange explains.

Latest On Kyle Lowry

The Heat and the Sixers continue to be the teams most frequently linked to Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested on the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast that whichever team Lowry finishes the season with would be the frontrunner to keep him beyond 2020/21.

“I was talking to a GM this morning and he basically described it as this: ‘Kyle Lowry’s free agency is happening right now,'” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “The expectation is that Kyle Lowry will have a new contract by the end of this week. It is either going to be to stay in Toronto, whether it’s signed or an understanding that is going to happen. It’s going to be Miami or Philadelphia. Those are the three options that the expectation is out there.”

While Windhorst’s comments, as well as the latest article from Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, suggest that an extension could be in play for Lowry this week – either from the Raptors or a new team – my understanding is that the veteran point guard doesn’t meet the NBA’s criteria for a veteran extension and will have to wait until free agency to sign a new deal.

Still, it’s safe to assume that if he’s traded this week, Lowry’s new team would have a pretty clear idea of what his next contract might look like and would be confident about getting something done.

As for the likelihood of a trade, Jackson and Chiang hear that as of Tuesday morning, Lowry hadn’t asked to be dealt. However, he remains curious about interest in him and has yet to rule anything out. The Raptors’ front office has also let him know they’ve had conversations with other teams.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on Sunday that Miami would be Lowry’s preferred landing spot if he’s dealt, which Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press confirmed today (via Twitter). O’Connor also noted that Lowry’s close friendship with Jimmy Butler is an important factor in that equation, something that Jackson and Chiang wrote about today as well. Butler’s presence on the Heat roster also fueled James Harden‘s interest in the Heat earlier this year, according to the Herald duo.

If the Heat do attempt to make a deal for Lowry, they’ll likely resist including Tyler Herro unless the trade is expanded to include someone like Norman Powell, per Jackson and Chiang, who say that Duncan Robinson is more likely to be part of the package.

Heat president of basketball operations Pat Riley is a major advocate of going after Lowry, Jackson and Chiang add. If Miami doesn’t acquire Lowry this week, the team could target him in free agency.