Rockets Rumors

Magic Win 2022 NBA Draft Lottery; Thunder, Rockets, Kings In Top Four

With Tuesday night’s lottery results now official, the top 14 slots for the 2022 NBA draft have been set. The lottery order is as follows:

  1. Orlando Magic
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. Sacramento Kings
  5. Detroit Pistons
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Portland Trail Blazers
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers)
  9. San Antonio Spurs
  10. Washington Wizards
  11. New York Knicks
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Clippers)
  13. Charlotte Hornets
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s great news for the rebuilding Magic, who finished dead last in the Eastern Conference this season and had the NBA’s second-worst record (22-60). They entered the night tied for the best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick at 14.0%, and will be picking first in the draft for the first time since 2004, when they selected Dwight Howard.

This time around, the Magic appear likely to draft a big man once again. Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith, and Duke’s Paolo Banchero, all power forwards or centers, are widely considered to be the top prospects in the 2022 class. Orlando could add one of them to a core that includes 2021 lottery picks Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs.

The Thunder are one of the night’s other big winners, moving up from fourth in the pre-lottery order to No. 2 overall. The rebuilding squad is loaded with first-round picks over the next five years, and will have the opportunity to draft a potential franchise player next month to complement guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Oklahoma City is the only team with two picks in this year’s lottery, having acquired the No. 12 overall selection from the Clippers.

The Rockets will have a top-three pick for a second straight year after nabbing Jalen Green second overall in 2021. They’ll be followed by the Kings, who moved up from seventh in the pre-lottery order to No. 4 in the draft, making good on their 31.9% chance to jump into the top four.

It’s the fourth consecutive time that the seventh team in the lottery standings has moved into the top four. The Pelicans (Zion Williamson), Hornets (LaMelo Ball), and Raptors (Scottie Barnes) did it in 2019, 2020, and 2021 after the NBA revamped its lottery format ahead of the 2019 event.

The Pistons, Pacers, and Trail Blazers were among the biggest losers on lottery night. Detroit moved down two spots, from No. 3 to No. 5, while Indiana and Portland both dropped one spot from their place in the pre-lottery order, landing at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

Since the Lakers’ first-round pick stayed at No. 8, it will head to the Pelicans rather than the Grizzlies — Memphis would have received it if it had fallen out of the top 10.

The rest of the lottery played out as expected, with the Spurs, Wizards, Knicks, Thunder, Hornets, and Cavaliers rounding out the top 14.

2022 NBA Draft Lottery Primer

The 2022 NBA draft lottery will take place on Tuesday night prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and Celtics. The half-hour event will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 7:00 pm central time.

This year’s draft pool features a group of four prospects generally considered by experts to be a level above the rest of the class: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., Paolo Banchero, and Jaden Ivey. Teams that move into the top four on Tuesday night will have the opportunity to snag one of those potential future stars.

Here’s what you need to know heading into tonight’s lottery:


Pre-Lottery Draft Order:

The top 14 picks in the 2022 NBA draft would look like this if tonight’s lottery results don’t change the order:

  1. Houston Rockets
  2. Orlando Magic
  3. Detroit Pistons
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Indiana Pacers
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers)
    • Note: The Grizzlies will receive this pick if it falls to No. 11 or No. 12.
  9. San Antonio Spurs
  10. Washington Wizards
  11. New York Knicks
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Clippers)
  13. Charlotte Hornets
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers

For the full pre-lottery draft order, click here.


Draft Lottery Odds:

The Rockets, Magic, Pistons, and Thunder have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick. Each of those four teams has a 14.0% chance to pick first overall.

Typically, only the top three teams in the lottery standings would have a 14.0% shot at the No. 1 overall pick, but the Thunder join that group by virtue of holding two lottery picks — there’s a 12.5% chance that their own pick will move up to No. 1 and a 1.5% chance the Clippers’ pick, which they also control, will be No. 1.

From there, the Pacers (10.5%), Trail Blazers (9.0%), Kings (7.5%), and Pelicans (6.0%) have the best odds to receive the first overall pick.

For the full draft lottery odds for all 14 spots, click here.


Trades Affecting The Draft Lottery:

The Clippers and Lakers are the only non-playoff teams that have traded away their lottery picks this year, and neither team put protections on its traded first-rounder.

The Thunder will receive the Clippers’ pick, as detailed above.

The Lakers’ pick technically still remains up for grabs, depending on the lottery results, due to a trade between New Orleans and Memphis. Here are the details on that deal:

Pelicans/Grizzlies

The Pelicans will acquire the Lakers’ pick if it lands in the top 10, while the Grizzlies will receive it if it ends up at No. 11 or 12.

Since the Lakers finished eighth in the lottery standings, there’s approximately a 99.5% chance that New Orleans will hang onto the pick. At least three teams in the 9-14 range would have to jump into the top four in order for Memphis to receive it.


Draft Lottery Representatives:

The representatives for each of this year’s lottery teams are as follows, according to a pair of announcements from the NBA:

  1. Houston Rockets
    • On stage: Rafael Stone (general manager)
    • Lottery room: Clay Allen (general counsel)
  2. Orlando Magic

    • On stage: Jeff Weltman (president of basketball operations)
    • Lottery room: Joel Glass (chief communications officer)
  3. Detroit Pistons

    • On stage: Richard Hamilton (former Pistons player)
    • Lottery room: George David (assistant GM)
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder

    • On stage: Nick Collison (former Thunder player / special assistant to GM)
    • Lottery room: Sam Presti (executive VP / general manager)
  5. Indiana Pacers

    • On stage: Kelly Krauskopf (assistant GM)
    • Lottery room: Chad Buchanan (general manager)
  6. Portland Trail Blazers

    • On stage: Damian Lillard
    • Lottery room: Dewayne Hankins (president of business operations)
  7. Sacramento Kings

  8. New Orleans Pelicans

    • On stage: Swin Cash-Canal (VP of basketball operations)
    • Lottery room: David Griffin (executive VP of basketball operations)
  9. San Antonio Spurs

    • On stage: David Robinson (former Spurs player / strategic partner)
    • Lottery room: Niraj Mulji (director of basketball strategy)
  10. Washington Wizards

    • On stage: Wes Unseld Jr. (head coach)
    • Lottery room: Tommy Sheppard (president of basketball operations / general manager)
  11. New York Knicks
    • On stage: William Wesley (executive VP / senior basketball advisor)
    • Lottery room: Brock Aller (VP of basketball and strategic planning)
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. Cleveland Cavaliers

    • On stage: Anderson Varejao (former Cavaliers player / team ambassador)
    • Lottery room: Jon Nichols (VP of basketball strategy and personnel)

Lottery Format:

This will be the fourth year that the NBA uses its revamped lottery system, which reduces the odds that the league’s very worst teams will land a top pick and makes the top four selections available via the lottery, instead of the top three.

Before the NBA changed its lottery format, there was a 60.5% chance that one of the league’s bottom three teams would secure the No. 1 pick, and only a 27.6% chance that a team in the 5-14 range of the lottery standings would do so. Now, those odds are 42.0% and 45.5%, respectively.

The results since the new format was implemented have shown that the smoothed-out odds have the potential to create a little more mayhem on lottery night.

In 2019, the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Lakers claimed three of the top four picks despite ranking seventh, eighth, and 11th, respectively, in the lottery standings. In 2020, the Hornets and Bulls each moved up four spots, from Nos. 7 and 8 to Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

A year ago, the results were more by-the-numbers. However, the seventh spot in the lottery standings was lucky again, this time for the Raptors, who moved up to No. 4 and grabbed eventual Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.

For full details on the revamped lottery format, click here.

Texas Notes: Green, Garuba, Bertans, Finney-Smith, Holt

Rockets rookie power forward Usman Garuba has great expectations for the future of fellow Houston first-year player Jalen Green, projecting Green’s scoring to ascend in the coming seasons, per Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype. The second pick in the 2021 draft, Green averaged 17.3 PPG on .426/.343/.797 shooting across 67 contests this year.

“He’ll be an All-Star for sure,” Green raved. “And I think he’s going to be the NBA’s leading scorer in a few years. We have to help him to achieve those goals. He’s by far the player that has surprised me the most this year. We all know how good was Anthony Edwards this season, right? Green will play like him next year, maybe even better.”

The 6’8″ Garuba, selected with the No. 23 pick by Houston in the 2021 draft, did not get a ton of run during his first year on a developing Rockets club. The 20-year-old averaged just 10.0 MPG across 24 games in 2021/22. He confirmed his interest in a return to the Summer League and to Spain during the 2022 offseason, with the blessing of the Houston front office.

“What I need now is to play games,” Garuba said. “After a season where I suffered some injuries, I started to play regularly by the end of March. Just when we played the last game I was like ‘Is that it? I want to play more!’ The Rockets know that if I’m healthy, I want to play for the Spanish team (in EuroBasket) – if they call me – and they’re OK with it.”

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Sharpshooting new Mavericks big man Davis Bertans has made his mark for Dallas in the playoffs thus far, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Bertans was fairly demure in addressing his postseason performances, particularly a strong Game 4. “That is always a big deal every game, not just the playoffs,” Bertans said. “You have the guys bailing out the starters. Very often that boost comes when the team is leading, and the second unit comes in and lifts the team up even more. That just gives more confidence to the team and the starters for the rest of the game.”
  • The $55MM contract extension the Mavericks lavished on forward Dorian Finney-Smith earlier this year is looking better as the playoffs progress, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Finney gave the Mavs a much-needed boost in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Suns on Sunday, scoring 24 points while going 8-of-12 from long range. “When he’s playing like that, when he’s aggressive and not thinking about the shot and just catch-and-shoot, he’s as good as anyone,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “We needed that lift, and he picked us up.” Finney-Smith’s two-way play has been a massive help to Dallas throughout the postseason. In the first round of the playoffs, he averaged an efficient 13.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG across 43.3 MPG while guarding All-Star Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell the majority of the time.
  • Spurs owner Peter J. Holt has reiterated to Spurs fans that he intends to keep the club in San Antonio for the long haul in a statement published on the team site. “There are no Spurs without the city and the people of San Antonio,” Holt wrote. “Your team, our team, together we are the silver and black. Spurs fans – we are here to stay, Por Vida.” The letter reassured Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “It makes one feel better,” Calvert said. Fears of the team possibly relocating may have been stirred after news broke that the team wants to play four “home” games away from their home arena during each of the next two NBA seasons. The Spurs are eyeing home games elsewhere in Texas (Austin and San Marcos) and in Mexico (Mexico City and Monterrey).

Deveney’s Latest: A. Davis, Schröder, Bulls, Knicks

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said last week that “numerous” league executives suggested to him that Lakers star Anthony Davis doesn’t have significant trade value due to his injury history. However, execs who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com scoffed at that idea.

One general manager told Deveney that there would be “29 teams ready with offers” if the Lakers made Davis available. An Eastern Conference executive said the idea of Davis not having much value is “crazy.”

“Look, it is beauty in the eye of the beholder. But he is an elite talent and he is 29 years old,” the East exec told Deveney. “Everybody wants him, everybody thinks that if they get their hands on him, they can keep him healthy, etc., etc.

“Now, can you get the kind of offer the Lakers gave up when they traded for him (in 2019)? No, of course not. But a team like Chicago, where he is from, they would bend over backwards to get him. Dallas, putting him with Luka (Doncic)? Of course, they would. Phoenix, Miami, any team that really wants to take that next step. The injury is a risk, but the payoff you get if you can keep him on the floor is worth it.”

While there seems to be no real consensus on Davis’ value, it may be a moot point this offseason, since there’s no indication the Lakers would consider moving him.

Here’s more from Deveney:

  • It’s possible the Rockets will re-sign free agent point guard Dennis Schröder and then look to trade him during the 2022/23 season, like Boston did this past year, a source tells Deveney. Although Deveney suggests Houston could use part of its mid-level exception to retain Schröder, the Non-Bird exception would allow an offer up to about $7MM, which could be enough. It’s also worth pointing out that signing a one-year deal with the Rockets would give Schröder the ability to veto a trade next season.
  • The Bulls are one team to watch as a potential free agent suitor for Schröder, but probably only if they trade Coby White, according to Deveney, who notes that Schröder had his best year playing for Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City in 2019/20.
  • Executives around the NBA believe the Knicks – who added Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker last summer – are more likely to pursue “young-ish” players with some upside this offseason rather than going after veterans again. Deveney mentions Tyus Jones, Mohamed Bamba, Chris Boucher, and Schröder as possible targets, though he acknowledges that some of those players aren’t particularly young.

Porter May Switch Positions If Rockets Draft Ivey

  • Purdue’s Jaden Ivey may be the most talented guard in the draft, but he might be an awkward fit with the Rockets, who already have Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green in their backcourt, observes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. If Houston ends up taking Ivey, who is consistently projected as a top four pick, Iko believes Porter would move from lead guard to playmaking forward, which was his original position when he entered the NBA.

Usman Garuba Hopes To Play For Spain In EuroBasket

  • Rockets forward/center Usman Garuba said in an interview with Spanish outlet AS.com that he’s committed to representing Spain at this year’s EuroBasket competition, as Eurohoops relays.

2022 NBA Offseason Preview: Houston Rockets

Unlike the 2020/21 version of the Rockets, who began the season hanging onto a disgruntled James Harden and holding out hope for a spot in the playoffs, the ’21/22 squad had no misconceptions about its place in the NBA’s pecking order. The primary focus in Houston this past year wasn’t to make the postseason, but rather to develop the team’s cadre of incoming rookies, including No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green.

Ultimately, the end result in 2021/22 was the same as it was a year earlier — the Rockets won fewer than a quarter of their games and finished with the worst record in the NBA.

But there’s a little more reason for optimism now than there was at this time last year, even if Houston is still probably a year or two away from seriously contending for a playoff berth. Green and big man Alperen Sengun looked like players worth building around long-term, and the club will once again have a top-five pick this June, providing a terrific opportunity to add another cornerstone piece to the roster.


The Rockets’ Offseason Plan:

The need for a rebuilding team to trade away its productive veterans is generally overstated. Having a couple reliable veterans on the roster for young players to lean on and learn from can be more valuable to a team than the modest draft assets it could acquire by moving those vets.

With that in mind, I understand the Rockets’ decision to hang onto Eric Gordon and Christian Wood through the 2022 deadline. However, this offseason looks like the right time to seriously consider trading one or both of those players.

Gordon’s 41.2% three-point percentage this season was the second-best mark of his career, and his contract, which only has one more guaranteed year left before it becomes non-guaranteed in 2023/24, is no longer especially onerous. Wood, meanwhile, is entering a contract year and has a manageable $14.3MM cap hit for 2022/23. The Rockets could get positive value for both of them right now, which may not be true later in the season if Gordon’s production dips or either player gets injured.

Of course, the Rockets will once again scour the market in search of a taker for John Wall, who is a lock to pick up his $47.3MM player option, but finding a suitable deal won’t be easy. With no desire to attach draft picks to Wall and little appetite for taking on pricey multiyear veteran contracts, the Rockets probably won’t get an offer that appeals to them.

It’s possible that attaching Wood or Gordon to Wall would create more options for the Rockets, but outside of the Lakers and a small handful of other teams, most clubs don’t have that much expendable salary on their books for matching purposes. Houston may be better off simply pursuing a buyout with Wall, trying to save a few million dollars this season, and clearing his contract from the team’s books entirely when it expires in 2023.

After adding four first-round picks to their roster last year, the Rockets have two more first-rounders this season. They’ll certainly keep their lottery pick, but the No. 17 selection (from Brooklyn) could be a trade chip used to acquire future assets if the team isn’t interested in once again incorporating multiple rookies.

The Rockets will also have to assess which of their extension-eligible young players are worth investing in this offseason. Kevin Porter Jr. is eligible for a rookie scale extension, while Jae’Sean Tate and Kenyon Martin Jr. could both sign veteran extensions.


Salary Cap Situation

Note: Our salary cap figures are based on the league’s latest projection ($122MM) for 2022/23.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

Two-Way Free Agents

Draft Picks

  • No. 1 overall pick ($10,907,160) 1
  • No. 17 overall pick ($3,314,160)
  • Total: $14,221,320

Extension-Eligible Players

Note: These are players who are either already eligible for an extension or will become eligible before the 2022/23 season begins.

  • Eric Gordon (veteran)
  • Kenyon Martin Jr. (veteran)
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (rookie scale)
  • Jae’Sean Tate (veteran) 2
  • John Wall (veteran) 2
  • Christian Wood (veteran)

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

The Rockets currently only have about $65.6MM in guaranteed money on their books for next season, but that figure is deceiving. Once the options for Wall and Tate and the cap holds for their two first-round picks are accounted for, the Rockets will be over the cap, even if they renounce all of their free agents. Team salary will remain well below the tax line though, so Houston will have the full mid-level exception at its disposal if needed.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $10,349,000 4
  • Bi-annual exception: $4,050,000 4
  • Trade exception: $607,730

Footnotes

  1. This pick is dependent on the lottery results. It could land anywhere between No. 1 and No. 5. The Rockets’ lottery odds can be viewed here.
  2. Tate and Wall would only be eligible if their options are exercised, which is expected.
  3. The cap hold for Frazier remain on the Rockets’ books from a prior season because he hasn’t been renounced. He can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  4. These are projected values.

Salary and cap information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Stein’s Latest: Nash, Hornets, Pacers, Wall, Turner, Mavs

The Nets‘ season could be over in a matter of hours, as the team faces an elimination game at home on Monday night, down 3-0 to Boston in its first-round series.

While a first-round sweep would be a disastrous outcome for a club that entered the season as a championship favorite and would certainly increase scrutiny on head coach Steve Nash, one source close to the situation tells Substack writer Marc Stein that he doesn’t expect Nash to become a fall guy for a disappointing playoff run.

As Stein and his source observe, Nash has faced an inordinate number of challenges during the 2021/22 season, including Kyrie Irving‘s vaccination decision, James Harden‘s trade request, and injuries to players like Kevin Durant and Joe Harris. Stein suggests that Nash shouldn’t avoid blame for the Nets’ struggles, but says there are many larger issues in play as well.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • A concern about player discipline both on and off the court was among the factors in the Hornets‘ decision to part ways with head coach James Borrego, league sources tell Stein.
  • The Pacers expressed some interest in Rockets guard John Wall early in the 2021/22 season, but it didn’t go anywhere and it happened before they acquired Tyrese Haliburton, according to Stein. In other words, Indiana is probably an unlikely offseason suitor for Wall.
  • After seriously considering trading Myles Turner during the ’21/22 season, the Pacers now hope to keep the big man long-term, sources tell Stein. Turner will be extension-eligible this offseason as he enters a contract year.
  • While some Jazz staffers were reportedly upset about seeing Knicks executive William Wesley and Julius Randle courtside at Game 1 of their series vs. Dallas, the Mavericks weren’t particularly bothered by it, since it “didn’t really change anything” in their view, Stein writes. The Knicks are believed to have interest in Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Mavs guard Jalen Brunson, and Dallas is aware of New York’s interest in Brunson. Of course, Brunson is an unrestricted free agent this summer, while Mitchell is under team control for at least three more years.
  • Some teams have asked the NBA to consider making qualification for the play-in tournament contingent on the Nos. 9 and 10 teams finishing within a certain distance of the No. 8 seed, says Stein. It’s unclear whether the league will tweak that rule going forward or leave the format as is.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Nance, Wall, Spurs

The Pelicans are aware that evening their current first-round playoff matchup against the top-seeded Suns will require them to keep their cool, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com.

In the middle of Game 3’s second quarter, Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes was ejected from the contest, an eventual Suns win, after aggressively pushing Phoenix forward Jae Crowder. New Orleans would go on to lose at home by a narrow margin (114-111). The Suns now have a 2-1 series edge.

Pelicans head coach Willie Green acknowledged that Hayes let his emotions get the best of him in that instance, but that the team overall has been effective at managing its emotions in a playoff environment.

“I thought we’ve done a really good job of that this series,” Green said of the Pelicans’ approach to their emotions. “We had a moment — the Jaxson-Jae Crowder thing. But other than that, it was a close game coming down the stretch, the last five minutes. They pulled away a bit. But we’re doing a lot of good. We just have to be better down the stretch.”

New Orleans will face off against the Suns in a big Game 4 today.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. is confident in the team’s core even without star forward Zion Williamson, writes Logan Murdock of The Ringer“We’re the real deal,” Nance tells Murdock. “This team is here and this team is for real… And we have a top-10 asset that hasn’t even touched the court yet.” Murdock notes that three promising New Orleans rookies have emerged as key additions to the club’s playoff rotation: Herbert Jones, Jose Alvarado, and Trey Murphy III. Star veterans CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram have proven they belong in these playoffs thus far.
  • Rockets veteran point guard John Wall is expected to opt in to the final season on his max deal, worth $47.3MM in 2022/23. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggests that Wall’s agents and Houston brass will discuss the possibility of a buyout arrangement if the Rockets are unable to find a trade partner for Wall before the 2022 draft in June. Should Wall be bought out, the Heat and Clippers may have interest in adding the former All-Star, says Fischer.
  • With the team’s youth movement fully underway, the Spurs are ready for an offseason typical of San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich: one full of Popovich’s exacting standards, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Third-year forward Keldon Johnson knows what to expect from Popovich, who wants to see Johnson improve his defense. “He’s hard on me because he wants me to be great,” Johnson said. “If it was anything different, I wouldn’t want that.” McDonald writes that San Antonio All-Star guard Dejounte Murray will need Johnson, forward Devin Vassell, and rookie shooting guard Joshua Primo to develop for the Spurs to return to the playoffs.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Wall, Monk, THT, Nunn, Vogel, James

Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explore potential offseason moves for the Lakers in their latest podcast. Scotto asked three different league executives for their opinions regarding Russell Westbrook‘s trade value, with slightly different results.

One said he had no interest in acquiring Westbrook whatsoever. The second executive called Westbrook’s contract “terrible” and said it’s viewed very negatively around the league, and would only be dealt for multiple other salary dumps.

The third executive was a little more circumspect in his assessment, noting that Westbrook’s $47MM player option for 2022/23 is likely to be perceived as a negative asset, but certain teams might take it on in order to get rid of long-term contracts.

Gozlan doesn’t think the Lakers’ front office will consider using the waive-and-stretch provision on Westbrook, considering the team will finally be clear of Luol Deng‘s dead money cap hit ($5MM) this summer. Teams might be interested trading for Westbrook if he indicates he’d accept a buyout agreement for a slightly discounted rate — perhaps $5-10MM less — which Gozlan believes is the high-end of the range he might earn as a free agent.

Both Gozlan and Scotto think that the framework for a potential Westbrook/John Wall swap will be revisited this summer, with one GM telling Scotto that he thinks the Rockets guard can still be a high-level backup in the NBA, or even a fringe starter.

Here are some more Lakers rumors:

  • Scotto queried four executives to gauge the value of unrestricted free agent Malik Monk, and they projected his next deal to be in the range of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) to the non-taxpayer mid-level ($10MM). As of now, the most the Lakers can offer Monk is the taxpayer mid-level.
  • Expect Los Angeles to again dangle Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26MM), Kendrick Nunn ($5.25MM) and draft compensation to improve the roster, says Scotto.
  • League executives agree that former coach Frank Vogel was the scapegoat for the team’s disastrous season, with one noting that the well-respected Vogel should “be able to pick his spot as a high-level assistant if that’s something he wants to do,” according to Scotto.
  • LeBron James‘ future in L.A. is the biggest story surrounding the franchise, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. James is eligible for a two-year, $97MM extension in August, which could secure his place on the roster through 2025. However, sources at Klutch Sports say that the agency and James have yet to discuss the star’s future, per Pincus.