Eric Gordon

Multi-Team Deal Possible For Jae Crowder

Several teams have expressed interest in Suns forward Jae Crowder and there’s speculation that a trade could get done soon, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Crowder, who had been a starter during his first two years in Phoenix, is working out on his own while he waits for a deal to be completed.

The Bucks, Hawks and Warriors are among the most prominent suitors for Crowder, sources tell Pincus, and an unidentified executive believes the final version of the deal could include as many as five teams.

Pincus hears that Milwaukee has offered Grayson Allen for Crowder, while Atlanta is willing to part with some combination of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Holiday and John Collins. The Suns don’t have any immediate interest in either of those offers, Pincus adds.

As reported earlier today by Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Rockets could play an important role in a multi-team deal. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports stated last week that Phoenix had interest in Kenyon Martin Jr., and Pincus speculates that veteran guard Eric Gordon could also be included in a trade that sends Crowder and Dario Saric to another team. Pincus hears that Houston would want “real value” to get involved, whether it’s in the form of young talent or draft assets.

The Warriors could be a team to watch in the Crowder sweepstakes if they’ve become more willing to unload some of their young players after an 8-10 start, Pincus writes. Golden State’s defense has regressed after losing Gary Payton II and Otto Porter in free agency, and Crowder is the type of multi-positional defender who could fix those issues.

The Warriors also need help with rebounding after falling from seventh to 25th in the league in that category, and rival executives expect them to target another big man as well as a defensive wing. Pincus cites Myles Turner and Jakob Poeltl as possibilities, though the Pacers may decide to keep Turner after their strong start. The Spurs are limited to less than $13MM as the starting point for an extension offer to Poeltl, and the team may be inclined to trade him rather than risk losing him in free agency.

Golden State would have to send out nearly $16MM in salary to acquire both Crowder and Poeltl, but it’s limited in what it can offer until Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney become trade-eligible later this season.

Pincus offers a sample trade in which send the Warriors send James Wiseman and Ryan Rollins to the Spurs, while the Rockets get Jonathan Kuminga from Golden State and Saric from Phoenix. Another Pincus suggestion has the Warriors keeping Kuminga while shipping Moses Moody and either Patrick Baldwin or Rollins to the Rockets, while San Antonio gets Baldwin or Rollins along with Wiseman.

Rockets Notes: Tate, Mathews, Offense, Smith, Silas, Gordon

Rockets guard Garrison Mathews and forward Jae’Sean Tate have returned to the team’s active lineup and are eager to work with their new colleagues, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“We have a bunch of new guys so it’s important to play with everybody,” Mathews said. “Everybody’s different this year. We have a bunch of athletic guys, a bunch of guys that can guard. For me, my job stays the same, space, play hard, take charges. That’s (my) main job.”

Tate, meanwhile, is looking to mesh with his new compatriots on defense.

“I think it’s ultimately just to get more chemistry,” Tate said. “Shots are going to come; shots are going to fall throughout the season. Really, my main focus throughout this training camp is to get our communication down, especially on the defensive end, knowing we can trust each other. If we make mistakes or miss gambles, just have that chemistry.”

There’s more out of Houston:

  • The Rockets have plenty of talent on offense, but the club will have to figure out a way to get its sometimes-disparate pieces in sync, opines Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Head coach Stephen Silas and his staff are cooking up creative new ways to incorporate his best players on the hardwood together, though there have been some growing pains. “Our biggest concern — we have a lot of guys who can score — is whether they’re going to share the basketball,” assistant coach John Lucas said. “If they’re going to share the basketball, we’re going to have great continuity, great shots. If we don’t worry about who’s getting what shots, we’ll be very good.”
  • Rockets rookie lottery selection Jabari Smith Jr. suffered a left ankle sprain during the team’s Wednesday practice and will miss Houston’s Friday preseason contest with the Raptors, reports Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle“I would say it was more precautionary” than anything else, noted assistant coach John Lucas, who has been running practices with Stephen Silas currently sidelined. Silas has missed the team’s last three practices while in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, though the team hopes he will return in time for tomorrow’s Raptors game, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle in a separate piece.
  • Veteran Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon has changed agencies, sources inform Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Gordon – who is under contract through 2024, albeit with a non-guaranteed salary next season – has departed longtime representatives Landmark Sports Agency in favor of CAA.

Lakers Rumors: Irving, Trade Targets, Westbrook

It remains to be seen whether or not the Lakers will be able to work out a trade with the Nets for Kyrie Irving, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN believes L.A. has at least one more major roster move up its sleeve this offseason, as he stated on Monday during the network’s latest episode of Get Up (video link).

“I think the Lakers will make a deal. Maybe more than one deal,” Wojnarowski said. “It may not be for Kyrie Irving, it may not be for an All-NBA player, an All-Star. But players like Eric Gordon in Houston, Buddy Hield in Indiana, players like Patrick Beverley, who came to the Jazz in a trade from Minnesota, who are role players are winning teams. What is the price for those kind of moves? I think they’re going to continue to be active on all those things.”

As Wojnarowski explains, the Lakers aren’t eager to part with all of their most valuable trade assets for modest short-term upgrades, but they still feel the need to add more talent to the roster to take advantage of LeBron James‘ remaining prime years.

“When LeBron’s putting pressure on the front office, on the organization, teams are asking for a lot to do a deal with the Lakers,” Wojnarowski said. Rob Pelinka‘s trying to keep from trading the 2027, 2029 unprotected first-round picks that obviously LeBron James doesn’t value greatly because he may not be around. He wants to win now. That’s the balance of being in the front office vs. having to serve the fact that you’ve got LeBron James still playing at an incredibly high level at an age we’ve never seen a player play at that level.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • A potential trade sending Irving to the Lakers is “not completely dead,” per Wojnarowski, but such a deal still hinges in large part on what the Nets do with Kevin Durant. “The Nets are more focused on trying to find a deal for KD before they would even move Kyrie Irving,” Woj said. “I think there’s a good chance that Kyrie Irving is back in Brooklyn to start the season if Kevin Durant is back in Brooklyn.”
  • Russell Westbrook‘s public split with his longtime agent doesn’t bode well for the former MVP’s relationship with the Lakers, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says that dynamic between Westbrook and the team is becoming “more untenable with each passing week.” League sources tell Buha that the divorce between Westbrook and agent Thad Foucher caught several people around the Lakers by surprise.
  • Foucher’s statement, which hinted that Westbrook is seeking another change of scenery, may further hurt the Lakers’ leverage in trade talks, Buha writes. Multiple league sources tell The Athletic that potential trade partners are already asking for at least L.A.’s 2027 or 2029 first-round pick in order to take on Westbrook’s pricey expiring contract.
  • Marc Stein says in his latest Substack article that the Knicks and Jazz are viewed by some people around the league as possible landing spots for Westbrook if the two teams complete a Donovan Mitchell trade. Stein explains that the Knicks may be more inclined to trade away Julius Randle and his long-term contract for a big expiring deal like Westbrook’s in that scenario, though it strikes me as a long shot that New York and L.A. would be able to find a mutually beneficial swap involving those two players.

Rockets Notes: Gordon, Eason, Christopher, Porter Jr.

The Rockets continue to value Eric Gordon very highly and despite several teams inquiring about his availability, including the Sixers, Heat, Bucks, Suns and Lakers, Houston has not shopped the veteran guard and has turned down trade offers for his services, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Gordon has been working out with his young teammates in preparation for next season and is taking a wait-and-see approach to his future with the franchise.

I know how the business works,” Gordon said, per Feigen. “I don’t know what is going to happen. All I can worry about is how I play basketball, and I’ll see what happens. Anything can happen in this business.”

Gordon’s brother, Eron Gordon, who went undrafted out of Valparaiso, is a member of Houston’s Summer League squad and said it’s a “special” opportunity.

It’s definitely pretty special. It’s pretty special for my family. Not too many times in the world two brothers play on a major, professional sports team. So, it’s definitely a special moment for the Gordon family,” Eron said.

As Feigen notes, Eron is very unlikely to make the NBA club, but the Rockets value both brothers’ professionalism, which is why he was given a chance.

His being on a roster definitely means a lot to me,” Eric said. “As soon as he starts playing, he’ll figure it out.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • First-rounder Tari Eason, the No. 17 pick of last month’s draft, has produced solid results during Summer League and looks like he could be a quality contributor for the Rockets, according to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. “Everything that I bring here I think translates to an NBA court. I don’t think I’m playing out of myself, doing too much,” Eason said. “I think that my ability to space the floor, rebound, defend, and knock down an open three are all things that I’ve tried to showcase to the people that I could do here, and I think all those things would translate.” Eason put up 22 points and 10 rebounds in his latest outing.
  • Second-year guard Josh Christopher is still trying to find the right balance between being aggressive and playing under control, Feigen writes in another story for The Houston Chronicle. Christopher has an innate ability to attack the paint, but he’s still working on making good decisions and proper reads instead of relying on talent alone, Feigen notes.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. believes the team’s rookies will help bring a defensive identity Houston has lacked the past couple of seasons, as Feigen relays. “Oh man, I think we’re shaping up good,” Porter said. “Watching these past games in the summer league, I’ve been paying attention to the defensive end. We look like we have the pieces to be a phenomenal defensive team. We already know what we can do on the offensive end so we’re not much worried about that. Defensively, that’s what I’ve been focusing on. I’m excited.” The Rockets ranked 27th in defensive rating in 2020/21 and 29th last season, so there’s certainly room for improvement on that end.

Rockets Notes: Porter, Gordon, Christopher, Garuba

Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. has engaged in early contract extension discussions with Houston, according to a conversation between ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Tim MacMahon on Lowe’s podcast The Lowe Post.

“I’ve heard there have been some very, very, very, very, very, very, very preliminary talks about talking at some point in the future, but some openness to a deal there,” Lowe said (h/t to HoopsHype for the transcription).

“I think there are mixed opinions internally,” MacMahon respond. “And, you know, frankly, externally the opinion I get most often is the Rockets should not give him an extension.”

Since being drafted with the No. 30 pick out of USC in 2019, Porter has had a solid statistical NBA career but has faced questions about his off-court behavior. He spent his rookie year with the Cavaliers before being offloaded to the Rockets in January 2021 following a locker room outburst. During the 2021/22 season, Porter averaged 15.6 PPG, 6.2 APG, 4.4 RPG and 1.1 SPG across 61 games (allstarts) for the Rockets.

There’s more out of Houston:

  • Elsewhere on the same Lowe Post podcast, Lowe and McMahon said they consider veteran Rockets guard Eric Gordon a “lock” to be dealt away from the team. McMahon suggested that Gordon could fetch a first-round pick in a deal. The 33-year-old was a key contributor to several contending Rockets teams led by James Harden, earning Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2016/17. He averaged 13.4 PPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.0 RPG across 57 games during the 2021/22 season for a rebuilding Rockets team that appears poised to prioritize a youth movement for the foreseeable future.
  • Second-year Rockets guard Josh Christopher has been exhibiting leadership and growth during his 2022 Summer League stint, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Head coach Stephen Silas has been hopeful that the 20-year-old, selected with the No. 24 pick out of Arizona State in 2021, would develop defensively, particularly on rotations and as a rim protector. Iko notes that Christopher has thus far displayed improvement in those departments in Summer League. “I’ve been in the gym working, so to be able to come back to Vegas and play ball again, it’s nostalgic almost,” the 6’3″ guard said of his return to Summer League. “It’s good to be on the floor.”
  • Second-year Rockets big man Usman Garuba has suffered a Grade 2 left ankle sprain that will sideline him for all of Summer League, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Feigen notes that various injuries and time spent in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols limited Garuba’s on-court role with the Rockets during his rookie season. The 20-year-old was drafted with the No. 23 pick in 2021 following a successful four-year stint with Real Madrid.

Lakers Rumors: Irving, Hield, Gordon, Turner, LeBron

The Lakers continue to focus on Kyrie Irving, but it’s unlikely that the Nets will give him up without at least one first-round pick in return, Marc Stein writes in his latest column for Substack. Irving was in L.A. this week to watch the WNBA’s Sparks, which Stein characterizes as making “his current presence in Los Angeles loudly known.”

Although Irving would clearly like to reunite with former teammate LeBron James, Stein says the Lakers aren’t making any promises behind the scenes. General manager Rob Pelinka said in a TV interview Friday that he’s still working to upgrade the roster, but league rules prevent him from speaking specifically about a possible deal for Irving.

The Lakers’ concerns about overspending could be a major obstacle to getting a trade done, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated explained on Ryen Rusillo’s podcast (hat tip to Eric Eulau of SI’s Lakers page). Although they’re among the highest-valued teams in the NBA, Mannix calls the Lakers “a mom-and-pop organization masquerading as a multi-billion dollar franchise” and says they’re reluctant to assume all the costs that would be necessary to convince Brooklyn to make a deal.

“There’s not a huge appetite in L.A. at this point to take on all the money they’re going to have to take on to be a deeper-into-the-luxury-tax team and fork over a first-round pick in return,” Mannix said. “As long as that is the asking price, the Lakers are not going to get their hands on Kyrie Irving.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Pelinka’s next priority will be to find more shooters, Stein adds in the same piece. The Lakers have been linked to the PacersBuddy Hield and the RocketsEric Gordon, who were both clients of Pelinka when he was an agent.
  • A source tells Stein that L.A. probably doesn’t have enough assets to get both Hield and Myles Turner from Indiana. Reports have described them as “prime targets” if the Lakers can’t put together a deal for Irving.
  • Pelinka’s willingness to meet Brooklyn’s price for Irving could be influenced by James’ upcoming extension date, Stein adds. Starting August 4, James will be eligible to sign a two-year extension worth about $100MM, and Stein suggests that Pelinka might want to have a major deal in place by then to ensure that his star player is happy.

Rockets Notes: Frontcourt, Tate, Gordon, Martin

Whether or not they hang onto Boban Marjanovic, the Rockets would like to add one more big man to their roster, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who says the club may use a two-way contract slot to add more depth up front. Trevor Hudgins currently occupies one of Houston’s two-way slots, but the other is empty.

Iko names Moses Brown, Freddie Gillespie, Bruno Fernando, and Mfiondu Kabengele as players who could be of interest to the Rockets as they look to add another frontcourt player.

According to Iko, Houston had some interest in Isaiah Roby after he was waived by Oklahoma City, but the Spurs ultimately claimed him off waivers. The Rockets were ahead of San Antonio in the waiver order and had a trade exception available to claim Roby, but they already have 18 players on guaranteed contracts for 15 spots, so they likely weren’t eager to bring in another.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • The $500K annual bonus in Jae’Sean Tate‘s new three-year contract are tied to the Rockets winning at least 35 games, Iko reports. So Tate would earn an extra $1.5MM if Houston wins 35 or more games in each of the next three seasons.
  • The Rockets were close to trading Eric Gordon on draft night, possibly to the Sixers, but the deal fell apart, according to Iko, who says the Heat, Bucks, and Suns also pursued Gordon before the draft. Sources tell The Athletic that Philadelphia re-engaged Houston on the veteran shooting guard at the start of free agency, but there’s certainly no guarantee he’ll be moved before the season begins.
  • The Rockets aren’t in any rush to trade Kenyon Martin Jr. either, says Iko, noting that Martin may “need to mend some internal relationships” if a trade doesn’t materialize and he remains in Houston.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Lundberg, Lakers, Wiseman

The market for Suns center Deandre Ayton has slowed in the wake of Kevin Durant‘s trade request, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski expects it to pick up soon. Appearing on “NBA Today” (video link), Wojnarowski said Durant’s availability affects the few teams with remaining cap room as well as teams that might be considering a sign-and-trade deal for Ayton.

He added that the “worst-case scenario” for Phoenix is that somebody will give Ayton a maximum offer sheet, which the Suns will have to decide whether or not to match. If Ayton’s offer is matched, it will be a full year before he’s eligible to be traded again.

Phoenix, of course, is one of the teams Durant reportedly wants to join, and the details of an Ayton trade could affect what the Suns can offer to the Nets. Wojnarowski said the Durant situation has “complicated the timing” of Ayton’s free agency process.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Gabriel Lundberg, who ended the season on a two-way contract, returned to Denmark rather than play in Summer League because the Suns wouldn’t offer him any guarantees, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I didn’t want to risk playing in the Summer League without having some kind of security,” said Lundberg, who appeared in four games after joining the team in March. “They didn’t want to give me that, so I went home. I can’t risk getting injured without having a deal. My family depends on me to provide for them.” Lundberg hasn’t signed a new contract overseas yet, but said he has received multiple offers.
  • As the Lakers discuss a potential Kyrie Irving trade with the Nets, they’ve also checked on Rockets guard Eric Gordon and Pacers guard Buddy Hield, Wojnarowski said on “NBA Today” (Twitter link). Both are former clients of general manager Rob Pelinka, and L.A. came close to trading for Hield last summer before deciding to pursue Russell Westbrook.
  • Warriors center James Wiseman isn’t expected to play in Friday’s game, but the team plans to use him at some point during Las Vegas Summer League, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Wiseman, who missed the entire season due to right knee issues, participated in a 5-on-5 scrimmage Tuesday. Jonathan Kuminga joined the team today and is also expected to see some game action (Twitter link).

Rockets Rumors: Draft, Gordon, Wall, Martin

The Rockets mulled the idea of trying to trade up from No. 3 in last Thursday’s draft, but given that the draft class featured three prospects (Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Chet Holmgren) considered top-tier options, they didn’t feel the need to give up the assets necessary to move up a spot or two, general manager Rafael Stone tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

“We thought about it a lot,” Stone said. “But it wasn’t clear who we’d be moving up to. You think about moving up in every spot of the draft. You always think about that, that’s part of the job. But one of the nice things — and we knew on lottery night — was that we were going to get somebody that we thought could be part of our organization for a long time and really help us take the next step in this process we’re trying to build.

“That doesn’t mean you foreclose conversations; you talk to everybody about everything, but we always felt comfortable picking where we were picking and were really excited.”

Here are several more Rockets-related notes and rumors from Iko:

  • The Rockets received calls when they were on the clock at No. 17 from teams looking to acquire the pick and would have been more inclined to entertain those offers if Tari Eason hadn’t been on the board, according to Iko.
  • Iko describes trade interest in Eric Gordon as having gotten more “fervent” within the last couple weeks and notes that teams were making offers during last week’s draft that included 2022 picks. The Sixers were one of the clubs that made a proposal, but the Rockets continue to value Gordon more highly than the packages they’ve been offered and aren’t desperate to move him, Iko writes.
  • Like Marc Stein, Iko has heard that the Rockets and John Wall may finally be gaining momentum toward a divorce, with a buyout considered more likely than a trade. The two sides are expected to meet this week, and Wall is hoping to come to a resolution by the start of free agency on Thursday, sources tell The Athletic.
  • The Trail Blazers and Nets are among the teams that have inquired on Kenyon Martin Jr., who reportedly wouldn’t be opposed to a trade.

Texas Notes: Murray, Spurs, Wall, Gordon, Eason

The Spurs drafted three high-upside 19-year-olds on Thursday, with the hopes that one or more of their new prospects can help All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray reach new heights on the court — or perhaps replace him as the next face of the franchise, writes Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News.

San Antonio is hopeful that pesky ex-Baylor center Jeremy Sochan, selected with the ninth pick in the draft, sharpshooting wing Malaki Branham, and defensive-oriented guard Blake Wesley will all develop into solid contributors.

Given the fact that Murray is now an All-Star talent on a desirable below-market contract, Finger notes that the Spurs may be wary of giving the 25-year-old point guard a maximum contract extension that would pay in the neighborhood of $40MM annually. If the team decides Murray isn’t capable of being the best player on a title team, it may still look to move him for a solid haul and hope that one of the new players in this rebuild can become the team’s next All-Star.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • The Spurs‘ front office is satisfied with its latest draft picks, per  Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News“We approach every draft trying to find the best available talent,” Spurs general manager Brian Wright said. “We walked away from this one feeling pretty good about what we ended up with. We had all three guys with draft grades inside of [the top] 20.” Osborn notes that the 6’8″ Sochan, a versatile defender honored as the 2022 Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, was drafted with the highest pick the Spurs have used since 1997. “As you see now, teams playing smaller and guys being able to guard multiple positions, do different things on the floor,” Wright said. “We think he complements the group really well. He’s a connector, right? He connects you on both ends of the floor.”
  • After the Rockets enjoyed a robust draft last week, adding three intriguing youngsters in the first round, the team is set to turn its attention to the futures of veteran guards John Wall and Eric Gordon, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Both players could be in the final season of their lucrative contracts: Wall’s deal expires in the summer of 2023, and Gordon has a non-guaranteed $20.9MM team option for the 2023/24 season. Feigen says that Gordon’s defensive skills may make him a solid trade target for contenders, but cautions that teams may temper their trade package offers given that Houston will be hoping to offload him for whatever offer they can finagle.
  • Though new Rockets forward Tari Eason, selected with the No. 17 pick out of LSU, did not even start in college, he is confident he can excel in Houston, writes Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. A speedy, defensively-oriented 6’8″ forward with a 7’2″ wingspan, Eason noted that his emergence as something of a late-blooming prospect helped fuel him. “I’ve always had a pretty good defensive mindset just from my competitive nature from high school, even before then,” Eason said. “I wasn’t heavily recruited so I always carried that chip on my shoulder and that real edge that has helped me carry through.” Eason was not without some pedigree by the time he finished his NCAA tenure: he was voted the 2022 SEC Sixth Man of the Year and made the 2022 All-SEC First Team.