- In an interview with Kelly Iko of The Athletic, former Rockets guard John Wall talked about mentoring the team’s young backcourt and his relationship with head coach Stephen Silas, among other topics. Wall signed with the Clippers over the summer after being bought out by Houston, and is averaging 11.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 5.7 APG and 1.1 APG through 15 games (22.1 MPG) as Los Angeles’ backup point guard.
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.
Team personnel around the NBA are keeping an eye on Pistons forward Saddiq Bey, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who says Detroit has received some calls from clubs inquiring about the third-year pro.
Bey has been considered part of the Pistons’ core since being selected 19th overall in the 2020 draft. However, his production has dipped so far this season and he was recently moved to a reserve role for one game before an Isaiah Stewart injury reopened a spot for him in the starting five. That brief demotion represented the first time Bey had come off the bench since the first half of his rookie season.
Still, while the Pistons may be more amenable to listening to inquiries on Bey than they have been in the past, Fischer says the team still seems intent on further evaluating the former first-round pick before seriously considering the idea of making him available.
- The Suns‘ interest in Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr., first reported by Shams Charania last week, has resulted in Houston getting involved in some three-team Jae Crowder trade discussions, Fischer reports. Sources also confirm to Yahoo Sports that the Bucks have tried to use Grayson Allen to acquire Crowder, but Phoenix and Milwaukee have yet to find common ground on a straight-up deal.
- There was “true momentum” toward a trade this past offseason that would have sent Hawks big man John Collins to the Kings, and the Wizards showed real interest in Collins prior to last season’s trade deadline, writes Fischer. However, Sacramento was happy to make a deal with Atlanta for Kevin Huerter instead, while Washington ended up landing Kristaps Porzingis to fortify its frontcourt. Fischer doesn’t say it outright, but the implication is that neither team is still pursuing Collins at this time.
- Fischer echoes a John Gambadoro report stating that the Suns aren’t interested in acquiring Collins, largely due to the long-term money still left on his contract (he’s in the second season of a five-year, $125MM deal). And Phoenix may not be the only team that feels that way — Collins’ contract could complicate the Hawks‘ efforts to find a trade partner, according to Fischer, who suggests that the deal is “perceived to be above market value.”
- Hawks wing Justin Holiday is worth monitoring as a possible trade candidate, per Fischer, especially if AJ Griffin continues to solidify a role in Atlanta’s regular rotation.
The term “poison pill” doesn’t actually show up in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it’s used colloquially to refer to a provision in the CBA that affects players who recently signed rookie scale contract extensions.
As we explain in our glossary entry, the so-called poison pill provision applies when a player who signed a rookie scale extension is traded before the extension takes effect.
In that scenario, the player’s incoming value for the receiving team for matching purposes is determined by averaging his current-year salary and the salaries in each year of his new extension. His current team, on the other hand, simply treats his current-year salary as the outgoing figure for matching purposes.
For instance, Heat guard Tyler Herro is earning a $5,722,116 salary in 2022/23, but signed a four-year, $120MM extension that will begin in ’23/24. Therefore, if Miami wanted to trade Herro this season, his outgoing value for salary-matching purposes would be $5,722,116 (this year’s salary), while his incoming value for the team acquiring him would be $25,144,423 (this year’s salary, plus the $120MM extension, divided by five years).
[RELATED: 2022 NBA Rookie Scale Extension Recap]
Most of the players who signed rookie scale extensions aren’t candidates to be traded anytime soon. But even in the event that a team does want to look into trading one of these recently extended players, the gap between the player’s incoming trade value and outgoing trade value could make it a real challenge to find a deal that works for both sides.
The “poison pill” provision applies to 11 players who signed rookie scale extensions in 2022. Here are those players, along with their outgoing salaries and incoming salaries for trade purposes:
|Player||Team||Outgoing trade value||Incoming trade value
|Kevin Porter Jr.||HOU||$3,217,631||$15,234,726|
Once the 2023/24 league year begins, the poison pill provision will no longer apply to these players. At that time, the player’s ’23/24 salary would represent both his outgoing and incoming value.
Until then though, the gap between those outgoing and incoming figures will make it tricky for these players to be moved, with one or two exceptions.
The small difference between Little’s incoming and outgoing trade figures, for instance, wouldn’t be very problematic if the Blazers wanted to trade him. But the much larger divide between Poole’s incoming and outgoing numbers means there’s virtually no chance he could be moved to an over-the-cap team in 2022/23, even if the Warriors wanted to.
After sitting out a week with a right foot contusion, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson said he’ll “definitely” be ready for Monday’s game, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Williamson suffered the injury last Saturday in a game against the Rockets when he stepped on Usman Garuba‘s foot on a drive to the basket. Williamson landed awkwardly and awoke with pain the next day.
- Rockets coach Stephen Silas remains optimistic despite a disappointing start to the season, according to Brian T. Smith of The Houston Chronicle. Houston is 3-13 and in danger of posting the league’s worst record for the third straight year, but Silas is confident that patience will eventually pay off for a roster filled with young players. “I was with LeBron (James) in his first year and I was with (Stephen Curry) in his first year and I was with Luka (Doncic) in his first year,” he said, “and things were uneven and hard, but you have to go through it. I am more than prepared to go through it and will be happy to see the results of it.”
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.
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.
Rockets rookie first-round pick TyTy Washington was sent to Houston’s NBAGL affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, this week as he continues to rehabilitate from his sprained left knee, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
“I’m excited,” Washington, the No. 29 pick out of Kentucky this summer, said. “I can’t wait. I can play and get my feet under me, go down there, have fun. This is the game I love. I can go down there and handle my business. And when I get back up here, get my moment and do what I’ll do down there and help win games.”
“He just needs to play,” Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. “We very obviously value the G League. Almost all of our players have spent real extensive time down there. It’s more of an abnormality for people not to. He’s coming off an injury. He needs to get back in game shape and play minutes. Right now, we don’t have that opportunity for him here.”
There’s more out of the Southwest Division:
- Starting Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr. may have unlocked something as a passer lately, having averaged 11 assists per game across his last two contests, Feigen writes in a separate piece. “It’s just the flow of the game,” Porter said. “I’ve just been able to balance sharing the ball and taking my shots, knowing my guys, where they like the ball and just getting them where they’re open. It’s been easy to read these last couple games. I want to continue to do that and find my shots, too.”
- Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson has struggled defensively thus far this season, to the point where William Guillory of The Athletic wonders if it could impact how far New Orleans can actually go in the postseason this year. Guillory notes that Williams has exhibited promising flashes as a defender thanks to his speed and strength, but overall has struggled communicating on the floor to teammates and has had trouble defending against dribble penetration.
- Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant opines that he and breakout shooting guard Desmond Bane are the NBA’s current best backcourt, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Top two, not [number] two,” Morant responded to a question about where the duo ranks among league backcourt tandems. “That’s the easiest question ever.” Morant was already an All-NBA guard, but Bane has taken a major leap in expanding his breadth as a scorer. “That was the goal this summer,” Bane said. “Not just be a 3-point shooter, be able to affect the game. Being able to set it up for myself and my teammates, getting to the free-throw line. All of that will help me remain consistent.”
All-Star Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is off to a high-scoring start for Dallas, but it hasn’t entirely translated to team success for the 6-5 club. Seth Partnow of The Athletic explores whether Doncic may be carrying too big a burden for the Mavericks in the team’s heliocentric offense.
Through 11 games, Doncic is averaging 33.6 PPG for the club. Partnow notes that so much of the Mavericks’ offensive attack revolves around Doncic, operating as the team’s primary play-maker and scorer, that he is already showing signs of exhaustion late in games. Partnow writes that the effects of handling so much of the team’s offense are even visible in the second halves of recent games, when Doncic’s output subsides somewhat.
There’s more out of the Lone Star State:
- Mavericks reserve center Christian Wood missed his second consecutive game tonight due to a left knee sprain, the team announced (via Twitter). Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes that Wood injured his knee in the second half of the team’s 96-94 win against the Nets on Monday, and did not travel with Dallas for its back-to-back road games against the Magic and Wizards, both losses.
- Rockets backup big man Usman Garuba, who played for Spain in the EuroBasket tournament earlier this year, spoke with Toni Canyameras of Mundo Deportivo about his current role in Houston. “They told me that if I played as in the EuroBasket, with that intensity, I would be playing minutes and it is what I am doing, trying to give everything on the court and improving, knowing that I can give more and improve and be ready for everything,” Garuba said. The 6’8″ 20-year-old is averaging 3.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 0.4 BPG through the team’s first 10 contests.
- Young Spurs swingmen Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell have been struggling to convert their jump shots in key moments recently, but both players are hoping to learn from their misses, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I’ll be in the gym tomorrow,” Vassell said after missing an overtime buzzer-beater try against the Grizzlies last night. “Don’t worry about it.” Both players are averaging over 20 PPG for the first time in their NBA careers, having become primary focal points in San Antonio’s offense.