Harrison Barnes

Pacific Notes: Barnes, George, Paul, Johnson

The Kings are not involved in any trade talks regarding Harrison Barnes, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets.

Barnes is averaging 11.6 points, his lowest output since the 2014/15 season, when he produced 10.1 points per game for Golden State. Barnes has started all 14 games this season, averaging 30.9 minutes, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

A report this week stated the Suns, who are looking to deal Jae Crowder, were interested in Barnes. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Paul George exited the team’s game against San Antonio early due to knee soreness but it shouldn’t cause him to miss any games, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports. George told owner Steve Ballmer he was “OK” on his way to the locker room after Saturday’s win. George is listed as questionable to play Monday against Utah.
  • Chris Paul sat out again on Sunday and the Suns point guard will be reevaluated during the coming week, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets. Paul hasn’t played since November 7 due to a heel injury.
  • The Suns’ final offer to Cameron Johnson in preseason rookie scale extension negotiations was for four years in the range of $66MM, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.  Phoenix refused to go higher to sign Johnson, who is currently sidelined for one or two months after undergoing surgery to remove part of his right meniscus. A previous report stated the Suns’ offer was in the range of $66-72MM. He’ll be a restricted free agent after the season.

Hawks Talking John Collins Trades; Suns, Jazz Interested?

7:00pm: The Jazz have also shown recent interest in Collins, Charania said in an appearance on The Rally (Twitter video link).

3:06pm: John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 disputes Charania’s claim that the Suns are a potential suitor for Collins, tweeting that Phoenix doesn’t have interest in the veteran forward.

Gambadoro adds (via Twitter) that the Suns and Kings had a discussion about Barnes over the summer, but with Sacramento playing well and Mike Brown a fan of the veteran forward, the Kings don’t intend to move Barnes.

10:09am: Hawks big man John Collins, who has been the subject of trade rumors multiple times in recent years, is considered available once again this season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Charania, the Hawks have opened “preliminary” trade talks involving Collins, with the Suns among the teams showing interest in the 25-year-old. Sources tell The Athletic that a Collins trade doesn’t appear imminent, and Charania cites executives who believe it could take weeks or months for the Hawks to find a deal they like — if they move him at all.

Collins was considered a trade candidate during the year leading up to his restricted free agency in 2021, but signed a five-year, $125MM contract to remain in Atlanta. That deal did little to quiet the trade rumors surrounding him though — those rumors popped up again at the 2022 trade deadline and during this past offseason, prompting Hawks general manager Landry Fields to tell reporters on Media Day in September that Collins was “still here for a reason.”

In 15 games so far this season, Collins has struggled to produce consistently. His average of 12.6 points per game is his lowest since his rookie year, and his .493 FG% is a career-worst mark, as is his .227 3PT%. Still, given his track record, the power forward should bounce back and will be an intriguing trade target for any team looking to acquire an impact frontcourt player.

As Charania notes, the Hawks have been one of the primary suitors for Suns forward Jae Crowder and have been engaged with Phoenix in trade talks in recent weeks, so it’s plausible the two teams could come together for a bigger deal involving both Crowder and Collins.

In order to match Collins’ salary, Phoenix would have to include at least one more mid-level type contract besides Crowder’s expiring deal. Dario Saric ($9.24MM expiring contract) and Landry Shamet ($9.5MM in 2022/23, plus $21.25MM across two more guaranteed years) would be the top candidates.

However, the Suns may be averse to the idea of taking on Collins’ long-term contract, according to Charania. He’s owed $23.5MM in 2022/23 and nearly $52MM in the following two seasons, with a $26.6MM player option for ’25/26. With the Suns facing a possible ownership change, it’s unclear how comfortable they are adding more big long-term financial commitments to their books.

In addition to Collins, the Suns have expressed interests in forwards such as Harrison Barnes of the Kings, Kyle Kuzma of the Wizards, and Kenyon Martin Jr. of the Rockets, sources tell Charania. Phoenix has also reportedly engaged in Crowder-related trade talks with the Bucks, with one report suggesting Milwaukee is the frontrunner to land the veteran forward.

Kings Notes: Starting Lineup, Barnes, Sabonis

While De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Harrison Barnes are locked in as starters, two spots in the Kings‘ starting lineup remain up for grabs, head coach Mike Brown said this weekend.

“Obviously, Fox is going to start for us. Domas is going to start for us. HB is going to start for us,” Brown said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “But we’re kind of up in the air a little bit with the two and the four spot, and there are some guys that we feel have a real good chance to start for us in those spots, but we’re going to keep mixing those two spots around to see what we can get.”

Kevin Huerter started as shooting guard during the Kings’ presseason opener vs. the Lakers on Monday, while KZ Okpala got the nod at power forward. However, neither player had a big night, while Malik Monk and Keegan Murray – two other contenders for those starting spots – combined for 24 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.

Brown won’t make any decisions based on one night, but with the start of the regular season just two weeks away, every preseason game will be an important one as the Kings consider their options.

Here are a few more notes out of Sacramento:

  • Barnes, who is entering the final season of a four-year deal, isn’t oblivious to the fact that his name has popped up frequently in trade rumors over the last year or two, but he’s preparing to spend his full contract year in Sacramento, Anderson writes for The Sacramento Bee. “You know how the NBA is,” Barnes said. “I check Woj. I check Shams. They’ve still got me here, so as far as I’m concerned, this is where I’m supposed to be and I’m going to give it my best effort.”
  • Speaking to Mark Medina of NBA.com, Sabonis discussed the Kings’ playoff chances, his chemistry with Fox, and how having the defensive-minded Brown on the sidelines will impact the team. “He’s a defensive coach, and he’s definitely trying to make life easy for us in terms of the terminology,” Sabonis said of Brown. “The defensive stuff we’re doing is going to help us out. It’ll depend on us. He’s giving us all the answers and the system of how we want to play as a team. Defense is about effort and competing. If we compete every game, it’s going to be tough.”
  • Making the play-in tournament is a “completely reasonable goal” for the Kings, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who previews Sacramento’s season and projects the team to finish 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record.

Heat Notes: Trade Possibilities, Eastern Conference, Mexico City Game

Beyond re-signing many of their own free agents, the Heat have remained relatively quiet this summer, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Miami enjoyed a successful 2021/22 campaign, and found itself one win shy of qualifying for their second NBA Finals appearance in three years.

Aside from the big fish – Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant and Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell – there are many other viable trade candidates the team could look to add this summer after having lost starting power forward P.J. Tucker in free agency, says Winderman. He lists players like Pacers big man Myles Turner, Hawks power forward John Collins, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Hornets power forward Gordon Hayward, and Suns power forward Jae Crowder – a starter on Miami’s 2020 Finals team – as potentially attainable frontcourt players who could help the Heat replace Tucker.

Winderman notes that Miami has three big pieces it could include in a trade: swingman Duncan Robinson and his $16.9MM salary; extension-eligible 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro; and the ability to send out up to three first-round draft picks, plus this year’s No. 27 pick, Nikola Jovic. Winderman acknowledges that emptying the team’s coffers to get a less starry component than Durant or Mitchell could leave the team’s front office feeling as if it missed out.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Though the Heat’s competitors in the Eastern Conference have, on paper, made moves to improve their rosters, Winderman wonders in a recent reader mailbag if the gains made by Miami’s East rivals may have been somewhat overstated. Though Winderman concedes that the acquisitions made by the Celtics and Hawks were fairly major, he thinks that the rest of the competitive portion of the conference made merely supplemental moves.
  • When the NBA’s full schedule is announced later this month, it will reveal that the Heat are set to play their second Mexico City regular season contest in five seasons, Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes in a separate piece. As Winderman details, Miami will play at an elevation even more extreme than the NBA’s normal high, Denver, at 5,280 feet above sea level — Mexico City stands 7,350 feet above sea level. This Mexico City return game is among several international contests the league is scheduling during the preseason and regular season for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Games are also scheduled to take place this year in Abu Dhabi, between the Hawks and Bucks, during the October preseason and in Paris, between the Bulls and Pistons, in January.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Yurtseven, Jovic, Durant

Though the Heat are still making an effort to trade for a star like Nets forward Kevin Durant or Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, the team could eventually consider pivoting to pursuing a solid veteran like John Collins, Myles Turner, or Harrison Barnes in their frontcourt, says Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Winderman writes that Miami’s front office has had conversations about potentially including young All-Defensive center Bam Adebayo in a deal for Durant, but not everyone in the Heat brain trust is on board with offloading the 25-year-old big man for the injury-prone 33-year-old veteran.

Winderman adds that the team could trade up to three future first-round selections at present, but could theoretically acquire more to include in a deal if it opted to move other young players like Tyler Herro, Max Strus, Omer Yurtseven, Gabe Vincent, or Nikola Jovic in separate trades with other clubs for additional draft picks.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat will probably wait to move on to Plan B trade targets until they have exhausted their possibilities for adding Durant or Mitchell, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. According to Chiang, Miami most likely will want to keep its coffers open should another superstar become available via trade.
  • Following summer training obligations with their respective national teams, Heat big men Omer Yurtseven and Nikola Jovic will have to hop directly to a training camp with Miami, with possibly as little as a two weeks off in between, notes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
  • In a separate piece, Winderman wonders if the Heat are hurting themselves as they await a potential Durant deal. With league activities essentially on hold until Durant is moved, Miami finds itself at something of a crossroads. The team currently lacks a true NBA rotational power forward after having let P.J. Tucker walk in free agency and thus far not opting to re-sign Markieff Morris.

Southeast Notes: Barton, Gafford, Gibson, Barnes, Heat

Wizards guard Will Barton expressed excitement about playing with his new teammates next season, including 23-year-old center Daniel Gafford, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Barton and Monte Morris were recently traded to Washington after playing with Denver last season.

“Big Gaff, I want to get out there with him, man,” Barton said. “I’m a guy that likes to get to the rim and when I get to the rim, if I can’t score it myself, I want to put that lob up there and I know he’s a guy who can go get it. So, he’s definitely a guy I’m looking forward to playing with.”

Barton also mentioned Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma, who combined to score 40.3 points per game last season. Gafford will likely come off the bench behind Kristaps Porzingis in 2022/23, but it’s possible head coach Wes Unseld Jr. will test bigger lineups featuring both players at some point.

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division:

  • New Wizards big man Taj Gibson plans to be a mentor and help the team’s younger players this year, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes. Gibson recently joined the club after playing with New York for the past three seasons. He holds 13 years of NBA experience, which includes several playoff runs with the Bulls earlier in his career.
  • In his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines whether the Heat should consider trading for Harrison Barnes. Barnes averaged 16.4 points per game for the Kings last season, shooting 39% from three-point range. Aside from Miami needing a power forward, Barnes would also fit in the team’s switch-heavy defensive scheme.
  • In a separate story for the Sun Sentinel, Winderman explores whether the Heat truly need a power forward. The short answer is yes. Miami lost P.J. Tucker to Philadelphia this month and hasn’t re-signed Markieff Morris, leaving a gaping hole in the starting lineup. The team did re-sign undersized forward Caleb Martin and has a budding two-way player in Haywood Highsmith, but starting Jimmy Butler at the four would likely be difficult against bigger teams in the East such as Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Assuming Tyler Herro and Max Strus start, the team would have to commit to playing in transition and likely blitz more defensively.

Stein’s Latest: Irving, Heat, Brunson, Tucker, Collins

Kyrie Irving has reportedly talked to LeBron James about a reunion in L.A., but it’s “a stretch” to say the Lakers are currently trying to acquire Irving, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column. There’s increased speculation this week that Irving and the Nets may not be able to work out a new contract, and the Lakers are believed to be one of his potential landing spots if he does leave Brooklyn.

However, Stein is skeptical of their chances considering their current financial situation. If Irving opts in to his $36.9MM salary for next season, the Lakers don’t have the necessary trade assets to pry him away from the Nets, Stein states. And if he opts out, L.A. can’t offer more than the taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected at $6.39MM.

Stein expects Irving to remain in Brooklyn, saying it’s unlikely he’ll pass on such a lucrative player option. Stein also cites a leaguewide expectation that the Nets will work out at least a short-term deal with Irving to avoid causing any friction with Kevin Durant.

Stein shares information on a few more topics:

  • The Heat could be a team to watch if the Nets decide to trade Irving. Although Irving doesn’t seem like a natural fit for “Heat culture,” Stein notes that Miami is always willing to pursue stars when they hit the market.
  • League sources tell Stein that the Knicks would be a legitimate threat to sign Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson if they can clear enough cap space to make a max offer. The Brunson family’s connections to team president Leon Rose and the team’s recent hiring of Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, as an assistant coach give New York an advantage. However, Stein notes that the Knicks’ efforts to unload salary suffered a setback with Alec Burks‘ offseason foot surgery.
  • The Sixers are considered “by far the favorite” to sign Heat forward P.J. Tucker if he decides to leave Miami. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who signed Tucker in Houston, is reportedly willing to offer a three-year, $30MM contract.
  • A deal with the Kings involving Harrison Barnes is among the Hawks‘ “prime options” as they try to work out a John Collins trade, Stein tweets.

Fischer’s Latest: Kyrie, Collins, Barnes, Knicks, Magic

Monday’s report stating that Kyrie Irving is at an impasse in contract discussions with the Nets and could consider other destinations is widely viewed as an attempt by Irving’s camp to create leverage in those negotiations, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated during an appearance on Get Up on Tuesday (video link).

Still, even if that’s the case, the Nets and Irving have some work to do to bridge the gap in their contract talks, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says the team prefers a shorter-term deal that includes incentives, while Irving naturally wants a longer-term commitment.

Despite the report of an “impasse,” talks between Irving and the Nets are expected to remain fluid as his option decision deadline and the start of free agency near, says Fischer. There still appears to be mutual interest in figuring something out, and Brooklyn team officials have been operating as if Irving, Kevin Durant, and Ben Simmons will all be back in 2022/23, Fischer adds.

According to Fischer, word has circulated among league personnel since May’s draft combine that Irving has interest in the Lakers and Knicks, but most team executives haven’t given much credence to that chatter, given how challenging it would be for either team to acquire him.

Here’s more from Fischer’s newest round-up of NBA rumors:

  • Fischer is the latest reporter to reiterate that John Collins is viewed as one of the NBA’s most likely offseason trade candidates, writing that Collins and the Hawks seem to have mutual interest in finding him a new home. Fischer also confirms a previous report which stated that the Collins talks between the Hawks and Kings haven’t included the No. 4 overall pick, though he notes that Sacramento forward Harrison Barnes is believed to be available.
  • The Knicks are considered likely to trade Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel, according to Fischer, who says the team is exploring ways to create $25MM in cap room, possibly to pursue free agent point guard Jalen Brunson. However, Fischer cautions that league personnel still widely expect Brunson to re-sign with the Mavericks.
  • Teams looking to shed a contract or two will likely be in touch with the Magic. Fischer hears from sources that Orlando – one of the only teams projected to have cap room – has emerged as a possible landing spot for unwanted salary. Any team looking to dump a contract on the Magic would have to be willing to give up an asset or two to make it happen.

Cavaliers Rumors: Sexton, LeVert, Trade Targets, More

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com recently spoke to Michael Scotto about a number of Cavaliers-related topics for the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast.

Guard Collin Sexton, whose season ended prematurely after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee just 11 games into the season, will be an interesting player to watch this summer. Sexton will be a restricted free agent once Cleveland tenders him a $7,228,449 qualifying offer. As a restricted free agent, the Cavs will have the ability to match any offer sheet for the 23-year-old, and since he’s coming off an injury and not many teams will have cap space to spend on free agents, a reunion seems likely.

When the Cavs were discussing a rookie scale extension with Sexton’s representatives last summer, the two sides floated a contract similar to the one Bogdan Bogdanovic received from Atlanta, which was four years and $72MM (with a player option in the final season), sources tell Fedor. However, he hears that the Cavs value Sexton in the $15-18MM per year range, while Sexton is seeking something closer to $18-22MM annually.

Although Sexton has undoubtedly been productive on the offense end, averaging 24.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 4.4 APG on .475/.371/.815 shooting in 2020/21, Fedor notes that there were questions about Sexton’s fit entering ’21/22, and his injury and the team’s success without him didn’t help his case. Given that he’s a 6’1″ shooting guard and a subpar defender, some teams view the former No. 8 pick as more of a sixth man than a starter, which could hurt his leverage in contract negotiations.

Scotto wonders if the Knicks or Wizards might be interested in Sexton, noting that both teams are looking for guards, but neither team has cap space. As Fedor previously reported, he hears that Cleveland has been curious if the Pistons might pursue Sexton, but sources tell Fedor that the Cavaliers don’t believe any team will end up offering him $20MM+ per season.

Here’s more from Scotto and Fedor:

  • Both the Cavs and Caris LeVert have expressed interest in reaching an extension this summer, and league executives tell Scotto that a shorter deal in the $19-21MM range might make sense for both sides. However, as Fedor observes, LeVert will be on an expiring $18.8MM contract in ’22/23, so if the Cavs don’t like the types of numbers Levert’s agents are throwing out, they could just wait it out and perhaps use him as trade bait next season.
  • Kevin Love improved his trade stock after a bounce-back, healthy season, and both Scotto and Fedor believe that his $28.9MM contract could be used as a trade chip if the team opts to pursue higher-paid veterans.
  • Noting Cleveland needs two-way wing scorers and a solid backup point guard for Darius Garland, Fedor hears the Cavs are interested in a number of veterans as potential trade targets: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Gordon Hayward, Tobias Harris, Harrison Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Jerami Grant, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins, and Mike Conley.
  • Although there’s mutual interest in a reunion with Ricky Rubio, Fedor says money could become an obstacle to a deal being completed. Rubio is likely to miss at least a portion of next season after suffering a second torn ACL in his left knee in December, and using the mid-level exception to sign him would reduce the club’s flexibility while still leaving a hole on the roster until he returns.
  • Sources tell Fedor that if a deal with Rubio doesn’t come to fruition, the Cavs would be very open to using their full mid-level to sign Grizzlies backup point guard Tyus Jones, assuming Memphis lets him walk in free agency and he’s unable to get more money elsewhere. Other guards Cleveland might look into in free agency are Delon Wright, Goran Dragic, and Raul Neto. If the Cavs pivot to a wing/forward, Kyle Anderson, Jeremy Lamb, and T.J. Warren are possibilities, according to Fedor.
  • For potential draft candidates with the No. 14 pick, Fedor hears the Cavs are fans of Malaki Branham, Johnny Davis, Bennedict Mathurin, Tari Eason, TyTy Washington, and Jeremy Sochan. Those players range from Nos. 9-18 on ESPN’s big board, so some might not be available at 14.

Leftover Deadline Rumors: Raptors, Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets, Knicks

The Raptors considered a series of potential trade scenarios before they agreed to send Goran Dragic and a draft pick to San Antonio for Thaddeus Young, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

According to Grange, Toronto had hoped the Hawks would make Bogdan Bogdanovic available, viewing the veteran wing as someone who could help the team in both the short- and long-term. However, Atlanta didn’t budge on Bogdanovic, forcing the Raptors to look elsewhere.

The Raptors inquired on Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Kings forward Harrison Barnes, sources tell Grange, but the price tags for those players were high. As previously reported, there were also discussions about a three-team deal that would’ve sent Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel to Toronto, but Grange suggests those talks never gained serious traction.

Here are a few more leftover rumors on trades that didn’t get made on deadline day:

  • The Rockets never made real progress on a John Wall trade with the Lakers, who were unwilling to attach a first-round pick to Russell Westbrook, but a few days before the deadline, Houston got much closer to moving Wall to another team, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. That proposed deal ultimately fell through, per Feigen, who doesn’t specify which team the Rockets were talking to.
  • During a TV appearance, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) said one concept that “could have been discussed” by the Rockets and Lakers before the deadline, “depending on who you believe,” was a swap of Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and draft capital for Wall and Christian Wood. It doesn’t sound like those talks, if they even occurred, advanced at all.
  • After agreeing to acquire center Jalen Smith from Phoenix, the Pacers explored flipping him to a new team, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer says the Nuggets were among the clubs in the mix for Smith, but Indiana didn’t find a deal it liked and ended up hanging onto the third-year big man.
  • The Knicks didn’t make a deal on deadline day, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Sources tell Steve Popper of Newsday that the club was willing to move just about anyone on its roster, but had trouble finding trade partners for many of its top trade candidates, including Kemba Walker and Noel. According to Popper, his sources suggested there was a “universal lack of interest in the Knicks’ talent and contracts.”