Jalen McDaniels

Warriors Rumors: Wiseman, Moody, Kuminga, J. Green, Lamb, More

The Warriors‘ approach to this season’s trade deadline might resemble the path they took two years ago, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Back in 2021, Kelly Oubre was considered a potential trade chip as Golden State hovered around .500, but the team hung onto Oubre and only made two small salary-dump deals involving Marquese Chriss and Brad Wanamaker.

According to Slater, this season’s Warriors are a better bet to make moves on the fringe like those ones than to do anything drastic. That’s why former lottery picks James Wiseman, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga are likely to remain in Golden State through the deadline instead of being moved, Slater adds. Those youngsters could be traded in the right deal, but the Warriors won’t want to sell low on Wiseman and Moody, and they view Kuminga as a legitimate playoff rotation piece.

If the Warriors make a small move to dump a contract and open up another roster spot, JaMychal Green would be the most obvious trade candidate, Slater observes.

The team already has one spot open on its 15-man roster, but the expectation is that two-way player Anthony Lamb will eventually be promoted to fill that spot. Opening up a second roster slot would position the Warriors to be players on the buyout market. Unlike last year, they could have both a roster and rotation spot to offer veteran free agents this time around, Slater writes.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Theoretically, big men like Jakob Poeltl or Kelly Olynyk would appeal to the Warriors, but the price will likely be too high for a Golden State team that already has Draymond Green and Kevon Looney in its frontcourt and only really needs an insurance policy, Slater writes. Sources tell The Athletic that the Dubs would be more interested in a “versatile multi-positional wing” to play a role similar to the one Otto Porter Jr. did last season.
  • Slater names Jalen McDaniels, Darius Bazley, Rui Hachimura, and Obi Toppin as some possible targets the Warriors could kick the tires on, but acknowledges that rival suitors would probably be in position to outbid Golden State on those sorts of players.
  • While Stephen Curry has been cleared to play in both parts of back-to-back sets going forward, Klay Thompson is still awaiting that same clearance, says Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Thompson sat out on Monday after scoring a team-high 26 points on Sunday, but the expectation is that he’ll be able to play in back-to-backs at some point this season. Assuming he misses either Friday’s game after playing tonight, Thompson’s next opportunity to play in both ends of a back-to-back would be on February 1 and 2.
  • In a conversation with David Aldridge of The Athletic, Draymond Green says he believes he’ll eventually make the Basketball Hall of Fame. “You won’t go and look at my stats and say, ‘This guy’s a surefire Hall of Famer,'” Green said. “But if you know the game of basketball, and you look at the game of basketball, then I think I have a case.”

Raptors Rumors: VanVleet, Trent, McDaniels, Anunoby

Although Fred VanVleet and the Raptors previously agreed to shelve contract extension talks during the season, the two sides appear open to revisiting those discussions after the team’s season is over, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

VanVleet’s market is cloudier now than it was in the fall, given his struggles this season — his .376 FG% and .328 3PT% are both well below his career averages. Prior to free agency, he’s eligible for an extension worth up to about $114MM over four years, and he had seemingly outplayed that sort of deal entering this season. Is that still the case?

According to Fischer, people around the league still think VanVleet can get $30-35MM per year on his next contract, though it remains to be seen how many years he’ll be offered. As Fischer observes, former Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry signed a three-year, $100MM extension with the franchise prior to the 2017/18 season at age 31 and that contract worked out very well for Toronto — Lowry earned two All-Star nods and won a title during those three years. VanVleet will be 29 when his current contract expires this summer.

If VanVleet and the Raptors don’t agree to an extension by June 30 and he becomes a free agent, look for the Suns and Magic to be among his suitors, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Orlando may be better positioned than Phoenix to aggressively pursue VanVleet, since the Suns don’t currently project to have any cap space.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While it remains to be seen which direction Toronto will take at the trade deadline, people around the NBA expect them to be active one way or another, Fischer reports. “What they’re not gonna do is be in the middle,” one Western Conference executive told Yahoo Sports.
  • If the Raptors look to buy, they’ll likely be focused on upgrading their perimeter play-making and interior rim protection, per Fischer.
  • Veteran swingman Gary Trent Jr. is, by a wide margin, the likeliest Raptor to be dealt, according to Fischer, who likens Trent’s situation to Norman Powell‘s in 2021, when Toronto traded away Powell for Trent. At the time, Powell and Trent were both in contract years, but the team felt more comfortable investing in a short-term deal with Trent than a long-term deal for Powell.
  • Sources tell Fischer that the Raptors have shown interest in Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, who is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer. People around the league believe McDaniels’ next contract could be in the neighborhood of $10MM per year, while Trent may be seeking $25MM annually, Fischer adds.
  • Referring to forward OG Anunoby as a “known favorite” of Raptors president Masai Ujiri, Fischer suggests it might take a Dejounte Murray-esque haul (multiple unprotected first-round picks) to pry Anunoby away from Toronto. “If the Raptors made him available for trade right now, every single team is going to call,” a general manager said to Yahoo Sports.
  • It’s possible the Raptors could become open to moving Anunoby if they’re unsure about their ability to sign him beyond his current contract (which expires as early as 2024) or if they’re concerned about their future payroll, but so far there have been no indications that they want to do anything but retain him, Fischer writes.

Spurs, Hornets Expected To Be Among Top Deadline Sellers

The Spurs and Hornets are viewed as two of the NBA’s “assured” sellers in this season’s trade market, Shams Charania of The Athletic writes in his latest Inside Pass column.

In San Antonio, veterans Jakob Poeltl, Doug McDermott, and Josh Richardson are considered the team’s top trade candidates. Poeltl and Richardson are on expiring contracts, while McDermott is under contract for one more season at the same salary he’s earning this year ($13.75MM).

Confirming a previous report indicating that Poeltl is generating significant interest, Charania says the Raptors and Celtics are among the teams that have shown interest in the big man. According to Charania, Poeltl is widely respected within the organization and the Spurs would like him to be part of their long-term future, but they’ll have to take into account his price tag as a free agent and the risk of losing him for nothing this summer.

The Spurs have had a standing extension offer of four years and $58MM (his in-season max) on the table for Poeltl since before the season, per Charania, but the center has passed on that offer and is expected to do much better on the open market. Rival executives believe he could approach $20MM per year on his next deal, Charania adds.

San Antonio will have a ton of cap room available this summer, so it’s not as if the franchise won’t have the means to retain Poeltl. However, there’s a belief among rival teams that the 27-year-old’s desire to play for a contender could be an important factor as he weighs his future, Charania notes.

As for the Hornets, Mason Plumlee, Kelly Oubre, and Jalen McDaniels – all on track for unrestricted free agency in 2023 – are considered candidates to be moved. According to Charania, Charlotte is also expected to listen to inquiries on guard Terry Rozier, even though he’s still under contract for three years beyond this one.

More sellers besides Charlotte and San Antonio figure to emerge in the coming weeks, but for now, only two other teams are with them in the NBA’s cellar, well out of play-in contention. Those teams are the Pistons and Rockets.

Multiple recent reports have suggested that Detroit has set a high asking price for veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, but the team is believed to be open to conversations. The Raptors, Lakers, Pelicans, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Mavericks are among the clubs that have registered interest in Bogdanovic, league sources tell The Athletic.

As for the Rockets, their roster isn’t exactly loaded with expendable vets. Shooting guard Eric Gordon is the team’s most obvious trade candidate, but Houston is seeking either a good young player or a first-round pick in exchange for Gordon, says Charania.

Fischer’s Latest: Jazz, Suns, McDaniels, Sixers, Holmes

League personnel expect the Jazz to become a seller ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who reports that Utah has received a lot of interest in Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. The Jazz are looking for a first-round pick in exchange for either player, sources tell Fischer.

A couple weeks ago, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported about three-team trade talks between the Jazz, Suns and Hawks that involved Beasley, Vanderbilt, John Collins and Jae Crowder. Fischer hears from sources that the Jazz and Hawks also discussed a more straightforward deal, with Beasley and Vanderbilt heading to Atlanta in exchange for Collins, but suggests that the deal may have fallen apart when Utah asked for a first-rounder as well.

Echoing a report from Marc Stein, Fischer says Jordan Clarkson “is not considered a trade candidate at this time.” The Jazz want to keep the veteran guard, but are currently limited in what they can offer him in an extension, so he is expected to hit free agency.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Fischer suggests that a three-team deal is the most likely pathway for Crowder to eventually be dealt from the Suns. The Bucks are known to be very interested in Crowder, with Fischer reiterating that Milwaukee has been dangling Grayson Allen to rival teams. Charania reported a couple days ago that the Suns are interested in Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, but sources tell Fischer that the fourth-year forward is a favorite of GM Mitch Kupchak, so Allen and second-round picks is unlikely to be enough for Charlotte.
  • Rival teams have gotten the impression that the Suns are looking for another ball-handler at guard, potentially a long-term replacement for point guard Chris Paul, Fischer adds.
  • Like Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Fischer says the Wizards aren’t currently open to trading Kyle Kuzma, as the team hopes to re-sign him in free agency.
  • Unsurprisingly, Fischer writes that the Sixers will be actively looking for roster upgrades ahead of a playoff push. However, if that doesn’t come to fruition, Fischer suggests Philadelphia might dump a smaller salary to dip below the luxury tax threshold, pointing to Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle and Jaden Springer as potential contracts that could be moved.
  • Kings backup center Richaun Holmes is available on the trade market, sources tell Fischer. The 29-year-old is in the second year of a four-year, $46MM deal, but has fallen out of Sacramento’s rotation under new head coach Mike Brown, averaging just 2.7 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 26 games (9.0 MPG). He averaged 14.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 2020/21, so it’s possible a rival team might view him as a bounce-back candidate, but there’s no question that his value has declined.

Suns Notes: Rowley, Ayton, Washington Jr., McDaniels

Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley has no intention of resigning despite an ESPN story last month that alleged Rowley was among the Suns executives who mistreated employees, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

Rowley told a group of team employees that the story, which placed him at the center of allegations of verbal abuse, retaliation and intimidation in the workplace, misrepresented him.

A statement released by the team on Tuesday and attributed to Rowley read: “I will say this in regards to the closed-door meeting. I confided in them that the story misrepresented me and others. Also, given that the team is going through a period of ownership transition, I communicated that while I do not know my ultimate fate with new ownership, I will never quit on this team and the people who make up this great organization.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Deandre Ayton missed Tuesday’s game against the Warriors after re-injuring his left ankle in Sunday’s loss against Cleveland, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Ayton had already missed four games with a left ankle sprain and will likely remain out for Wednesday’s game at Denver.
  • Two-way guard Duane Washington Jr. has been one of the key replacements for the Suns’ injury-ravaged unit, Gerald Bourguet of GoPhnx.com notes. He scored 25 points against the Cavs but also committed some crucial turnovers. “With where we are, he’s doing a good job,” coach Monty Williams said. “There are times where he gets himself in a little bit of trouble deep in the paint. He had a couple of turnovers that he could have avoided, but I don’t want him playing fearful or worrying about making mistakes, even though you want him to have some balance.”
  • The Suns haven’t had discussions with the Hornets regarding forward Jalen McDaniels, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Phoenix had interest in McDaniels, but didn’t say the Suns had actually held trade talks with Charlotte about him.

Suns Among Teams Interested In Jalen McDaniels

Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels has drawn “increasing interest” around the NBA as a potential trade candidate, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on The Rally (Twitter video link). The Suns are among the clubs monitoring McDaniels as the February 9 trade deadline nears, according to Charania.

McDaniels, who will turn 25 later this month, is enjoying a breakout season in Charlotte, averaging career highs in points (10.9), rebounds (4.9), assists (2.1), and steals (1.1) per game, among other categories.

A fourth-year forward, McDaniels saw his playing time dip to a career-low 16.3 minutes per game under James Borrego last season, but has become a key rotation contributor for new head coach Steve Clifford in 2022/23, logging a career-high 26.5 MPG. He’s also one of just two Hornets to have appeared in all 41 games so far this season, along with Mason Plumlee.

McDaniels’ length, defensive versatility, and ability to make threes (.352 career 3PT%) will make him a popular trade target if the Hornets are willing to move him. Charania notes that the former second-round pick would make sense for Phoenix in a potential Jae Crowder deal, though a third team would almost certainly need to be involved, since Charlotte wouldn’t be a logical fit for Crowder.

Because McDaniels wasn’t a first-round pick, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent – rather than restricted – at the end of his fourth season this summer, and Charania suggests he’ll be “sought after” on the open market. That could make the Suns and other teams hesitant to give up too much for him — McDaniels’ club would have his Bird rights, but wouldn’t be able to control his free agency by unilaterally matching any offer he receives.

Fischer’s Latest: Cavs, LeVert, Crowder, Okoro, Bogdanovic, More

The Cavaliers would love to add a defensive-minded wing who is also a consistent shooting threat, but doing so won’t be easy, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. After acquiring Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, Cleveland no longer has any first-round picks available to trade, so landing a wing would probably require the club to move Caris LeVert and another rotation player, which isn’t an appealing prospect.

Fischer names Tobias Harris and Jae Crowder as a couple veterans who would make sense for the Cavaliers from an on-court perspective. However, Cleveland likely wouldn’t be able to put together a package for Harris that would entice the Sixers, and the Suns are seeking a “playoff-caliber player” in return for Crowder — if the Cavs had that sort of player available, they wouldn’t be in the market for another wing, Fischer writes.

Although LeVert might have to be included in a package for an upgrade on the wing, the Cavaliers still value his “high-character presence in the locker room,” per Fischer, and aren’t looking to move him, even if they’re open to discussing him. As the Cavs consider what sort of impact any potential target might have, LeVert will be the “comparative barometer,” says Fischer.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest story:

  • The Cavaliers are still hopeful about Isaac Okoro‘s development into the sort of two-way wing they’re missing and he has a strong desire to remain in Cleveland, sources tell Fischer. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Okoro will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2023 offseason.
  • The Cavaliers are among the teams with interest in Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic, but Detroit has set a high asking price for Bogdanovic, according to Fischer. The team is believed to be seeking a first-round pick, plus either additional draft assets or a young player with upside. The Mavericks, Lakers, and Suns are among the other teams interested in Bogdanovic, Fischer adds.
  • Crowder, who is in the final year of his contract, is hoping to sign an extension similar to the three-year, $33MM deal P.J. Tucker got from Philadelphia this past summer, Fischer writes. The Suns‘ unwillingness to give Crowder that sort of deal is considered a factor in his decision to remain away from the team this season.
  • While forwards like P.J. Washington, Jalen McDaniels, and Kelly Oubre will draw interest from potential suitors, center Mason Plumlee appears to be the Hornets‘ most likely trade candidate, says Fischer. Moving Plumlee would open up more minutes for youngsters Mark Williams and Nick Richards at center.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Lowry, McDaniels, Oubre

A consultation with a Los Angeles doctor over the weekend resulted in good news on the state of Heat All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler‘s sore right knee, reports Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Butler sat out Miami’s narrow 126-123 victory over the Jazz last night but has been cleared to play in back-to-backs going forward, a source tells Chiang.

In 23 games this year, Butler is averaging 21.8 PPG on .528/.340/.829 shooting splits. He’s also chipping in 6.7 RPG, 5.8 APG and 2.1 SPG for the 19-18 Heat.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • $28.3MM Heat starting point guard Kyle Lowry may need to step up his game or risk being rotated out of the team’s closing lineups for good, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida South Sentinel. The 36-year-old was recently sat for the entirety of the fourth quarter in the Utah win, after experiencing consecutive down nights in back-to-back games against the Nuggets and Jazz.
  • Fourth-year Hornets reserve small forward Jalen McDaniels recently spoke with Alex Kennedy of Basketball News about his long road to major rotation time. “Playing in the G League [for much of his rookie season], it just got me real confident — just letting me play through my mistakes and play a lot of minutes,” McDaniels said. “I learned a lot of the game, coming from the G League, playing in a lot of games and just knowing what to expect. I feel like my game is just locked in and I know where I’m supposed to be.” This season, McDaniels is averaging a career-most 10.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.0 SPG in 25.9 MPG.
  • Starting Hornets small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will be sidelined for at least a few games as he grapples with a sprained left hand, reports Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “He’s working, doing as much as he can now to try and get back,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “Hopefully we’ll know more in the next couple of days. The hand is funny, it just got banged a bunch of times, and this was twice in a short period of time. It was really sore. You could see he was struggling to catch the ball. He definitely needs time for sure.”

Southeast Notes: McDaniels, Porzingis, Hampton, Griffin

It has been a rough season so far for the Hornets, who have battled the injury bug and rank 13th in the East with a 6-15 record. However, the emergence of forward Jalen McDaniels as reliable rotation piece has been a bright spot, writes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

The No. 52 overall pick in the 2019 draft, McDaniels appeared in 118 games in his first three seasons, averaging 17.7 minutes per contest. This season, that number has jumped to 25.8 MPG and he has played in all 21 of Charlotte’s games to date, averaging new career highs in PPG (9.7), RPG (3.6), and APG (2.2), among several other categories.

“It feels great because I really know I’m not supposed to be here,” McDaniels said. “Statistics for the second-round, 52nd pick, 54th pick or whatever it was is like, ‘Not supposed to be here, out (of) the league second year.’ That’s what the statistics say. So it’s just me being an underdog. Even in high school I wasn’t recruited like that until my last year. I just know how this goes, I feel like I’ve always got to take the long route every time I do something.”

Having signed a four-year contract as a rookie in 2019, McDaniels will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in 2023 if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Kristaps Porzingis may be the primary factor in determining how far the Wizards can go this season, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, who says the big man being healthy and productive at both ends of the court is crucial to the team’s success. Porzingis’ effectiveness as a rim protector this season has helped improve a Washington defense that ranked 25th in defensive rating in 2021/22, Aldridge notes.
  • After having his 2023/24 team option declined last month, Magic wing R.J. Hampton doesn’t have a defined role in Orlando in the short- or the long-term, but he’s not letting that bother him, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “It really (doesn’t) change anything,” Hampton said when asked about his fluctuating minutes. “The coaches give me confidence every game whether I’m playing or not. My teammates give me confidence every game, so whether I don’t play for two games or 10 minutes (in) one game, I feel like I’ve been prepared by them.”
  • Hawks rookie AJ Griffin tells Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com that he has felt at home in Atlanta, which has made the adjustment from college to the NBA smoother. “Just the love from the veterans here, I appreciate it. I just really enjoy being here and being able to play with everyone and being able to play on the court with each other. It’s special so far,” Griffin said, singling out guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. “It’s fun to watch, just to be able to play with those guys. It’s still early in the season, and I feel like something special is brewing.” Griffin only played double-digit minutes once in Atlanta’s first nine games, but has done so in all 12 games since then, averaging 21.4 MPG during that stretch.

Hornets Pick Up Jalen McDaniels’ 2022/23 Option

The Hornets have exercised their team option on forward Jalen McDaniels for the 2022/23 season, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). The option is worth $1,930,681.

[RELATED: NBA Team Option Decisions For 2022/23]

The decision doesn’t technically lock in that $1.93MM salary for McDaniels, since his contract remains non-guaranteed even with the option picked up. But as long as the 24-year-old remains under contract through August 1, he’ll receive his full guarantee.

A former second-round pick, McDaniels has emerged as a regular part of Charlotte’s rotation over the last two seasons. He has averaged 6.7 PPG and 3.3 RPG on .476/.357/.721 shooting in 102 games (17.6 MPG) during that time.

Assuming McDaniels plays out the ’22/23 season on his current deal, he’ll become eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.

While the Hornets have no other outstanding player or team option decisions looming, the club will have some decisions to make on players without fully guaranteed contracts. Like McDaniels, big man Nick Richards has a non-guaranteed salary ($1.78MM) for next season, while only $5MM of Kelly Oubre‘s $12.6MM salary is guaranteed.