Jayson Tatum

Kyrie Irving Rumors: Spurs, Celtics, Porzingis

If the Cavaliers had received assurances from LeBron James that he intends to remain with the franchise beyond the 2017/18 season, their approach to a Kyrie Irving trade might be much different, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the Cavs certainly haven’t given up hope of James remaining in Cleveland, the franchise wants to use an Irving trade to protect itself against his possible departure — that means focusing on acquiring a young potential star, rather than targeting veteran help for LeBron.

Initially, the Cavs’ desire in an Irving trade was to acquire young players and picks that could help the team down the road and to get pieces that could help the club contend immediately. However, that kind of massive return may not be available for the star point guard, forcing the Cavaliers to choose one path or the other. And with LeBron unwilling to commit, the Cavs are leaning toward prioritizing long-term pieces over short-term help.

As Wojnarowski details, Josh Jackson (Suns), Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), and even Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) are among the young players the Cavaliers have their eye on in trade talks. In his own piece on the situation in Cleveland, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders agrees that those four teams – Phoenix, Boston, Denver, and New York – are mentioned most frequently as trade partners, and continue to have discussions with the Cavs.

Here’s plenty more on the Irving situation:

  • According to both Wojnarowski and Kyler, teams around the NBA believe that the Cavaliers will ramp up trade talks and get more serious about moving Irving in September, with training camps approaching.
  • The Spurs have interest in Irving, but the fact that the Cavs are prioritizing young potential stars over veteran help means Cleveland doesn’t have much interest in the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, or Danny Green, says Wojnarowski.
  • Although the Cavaliers are intrigued by Tatum, the Celtics have yet to make an official offer for Irving and the two sides haven’t formally discussed this year’s No. 3 overall pick, according to Wojnarowski. Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe adds (via Twitter) that Boston has remained in touch with the Cavs throughout the process.
  • The idea of including Porzingis in an Irving offer is currently a “non-starter” for the Knicks, per Wojnarowski. However, Woj adds there may still be some lingering tension between Porzingis and the franchise, and teams are wondering how emphatic the Knicks’ “no” really is — especially if the Cavaliers would be willing to take on Joakim Noah‘s contract.
  • Wojnarowski reports that the Bucks have shown interest in Irving. However, with Giannis Antetokounmpo obviously untouchable, Milwaukee may not have a young star who makes sense for the Cavs.
  • Although the Clippers have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Irving, a league source tells Kyler that L.A. doesn’t appear to have the right combination of assets to appeal to the Cavs — a third team would be necessary, and even that may not be enough to make the Clips a serious contender for Irving.

East Notes: Knicks, The Morrii, Wall

For the first time in over a decade the Knicks appear to be embarking on a genuine rebuild. It’s a changing of the guard, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes, that extends beyond the literal fact that Derrick Rose is out and Frank Ntilikina is in.

After years of seeming to prioritize headlines over wins, the Knicks have a young core in place and a respected general manager that may just be up to the task of gradually building a winner.

While the Knicks’ decision to take Ntilikina eighth overall in the June NBA Draft will forever be tied to how well Dennis Smith Jr. (ninth overall) and Malik Monk (12th) fare throughout their careers, the 19-year-old represents the long developmental process inherent with a genuine rebuild.

Joining Ntilikina as anchors of the Knicks’ decent young core are Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez and even 2017 free agent acquisition Tim Hardaway Jr., Hamilton writes.

It may be some time before the Knicks end up back in the postseason but the fact that the franchise may, for now at least, be committed to rebuilding authentically as opposed to chasing shortcut solutions is a step in the right direction.

There’s more from the East:

  • Figuring to make the CelticsWizards rivalry slightly more interesting in 2017/18 is the fact that Marcus Morris, brother of Wiz forward Markieff Morris, will suit up for Boston. “I think we’ll still have that rivalry because we don’t like those guys and they don’t like us,” Markieff told Ben Standig of FanRag Sports. “I don’t think that should change with my brother on the team.
  • The Wizards came up short against the Celtics in their second-round playoff series but John Wall isn’t letting the fact that he went cold down the stretch. “Game 7 was not the way we wanted it to end, but I definitely went out swinging,” the guard told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I didn’t go 0-for-0. I went 0-for-11. I shot the ball and played the game I wanted to play. At least I wasn’t being passive. I was aggressive like I was the whole playoffs. I can deal with losing that way and use that as motivation for this season coming up.
  • Despite going third overall versus Josh Jackson‘s fourth, Jayson Tatum‘s NBA 2K18 rating is one point lower, D.J. Bean of CSN New England writes. Bean reminds readers that the Celtics were unable to secure a pre-draft workout with Jackson, who ultimately ended up with the Suns.

 

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Embiid, Tatum

If you ask Carmelo Anthony, there hasn’t been a breakdown of communication between him and the Knicks. In fact, the forward says, the team’s front office knows exactly what he’s looking for and how he feels. Marc Berman of the New York Post breaks down the latest in the ongoing saga.

Put simply, Anthony would like to be traded to the Rockets and has a powerful no-trade clause that he can wave around until he gets there. The Knicks, however, don’t see a deal worth pulling the trigger on.

Despite the standstill, Anthony remains hopeful. “I’m very optimistic. I’ve had great conversations with new [Knicks] GM Scott Perry,” he says. “He understands my mindset, where I’m at. My career right now, what I’m looking for.

Whether or not that will translate into a trade to Houston, however, remains to be seen.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • According to Jayson Tatum himself, the Celtics intended to draft him all along, even prior to trading down from No. 1 to No. 3 ahead of the June 22 draft. Tatum explained as much on a recent podcast. The Sixers, he says, were under the assumption that Boston was looking at Markelle Fultz with the top pick.
  • While he hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5, Sixers big man Joel Embiid is doing non-contact drills and expects to be ready for training camp, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets.
  • Offseason signee Daniel Theis could bring energy on the glass and defensive versatility to the Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes in a profile piece on the German forward.
  • After a solid first campaign, Ron Baker is back with the Knicks on a far more lucrative contract. Barbara Barker of Newsday writes that head coach Jeff Hornacek continues to see parallels between himself and his undrafted role player. “I may not have been the fastest guy or the strongest guy or the highest jumper. But I did things that the coach wanted to see. I got the ball to the star guys. Ron came in doing the same thing and that’s what made him earn minutes with us,” the coach said.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Perry, Wiley

While much of the credit for “the process” can be attributed to Sam Hinkie, current general manager Bryan Colangelo has made a series of moves to keep the Sixers headed in the right direction, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes.

This summer Colangelo opted to bring a pair of veterans aboard and the impact they’ll have on the Sixers is clear.

Now we have guys that can help grow the program with leadership, mentorship, and professionalism,” Colangelo said of the newest Sixers, Amir Johnson and J.J. Redick.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • That’s enough optimism for one week, Knicks fans. Marc Berman of the New York Post devoted a column to recently appointed general manager Scott Perry‘s involvement in the front office that gave Bismack Biyombo a four-year, $71MM contract.
  • After growing as a player, Tim Hardaway Jr. believes that Knicks fans skeptical of his lofty contract will see that the controversial move wasn’t a mistake. The shooting guard opened up to Steve Serby of New York Post about his return to the team that drafted him.
  • The 7-11 nickname for Celtics wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum was never meant to be, D.J. Bean of CSN New England writes. Following the trade that sent Avery Bradley to the Pistons, Tatum has decided to re-adopt the jersey number he wore during his one season at Duke: 0.
  • Now signed to a two-way contract with the Nets, recently acquired Jacob Wiley has an opportunity he never envisioned as recently as six months ago. Brian Lewis of the New York Post has penned an excellent feature on the forward’s tumultuous path.

Celtics Notes: Crowder, Morris, Thomas

The Celtics landed Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris this week but the reigning Eastern Conference No. 1 seed isn’t comfortable yet.

Per a CSN New England report, president Danny Ainge is searching for further moves that can improve their roster this offseason. It’s just a matter of figuring out what those moves might look like.

Initially the report speculated that Ainge could be targeting rebounding, something the Celtics lacked in 2016/17, but the executive noted that he feels young forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could help in that regard.

Another area that Boston could address is their backup point guard position. That said, the team president also mentioned that he was currently impressed with backup point guard Terry Rozier.

There’s more from Beantown:

  • The Celtics have no intention of trading Jae Crowder, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The forward had been floated as a possible component of a sign-and-trade deal to bring Gordon Hayward to Boston prior to the Avery Bradley deal.
  • Veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas told CSN New England’s A. Sherrod Blakely that he believes he’s a max contract guy and that the Celtics are aware that they’ll need to bring the Brinks trucks out to retain his services when he becomes a free agent next summer.
  • Newly added Celtics forward Marcus Morris comes with legal baggage and a CSN New England report breaks down the pending trial that will begin on August 21.
  • The Celtics wouldn’t have had enough Brinks trucks to retain both Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes, a harsh reality that led to the trade that sent Bradley to the Pistons.

Celtics Sign Jayson Tatum, Ante Zizic

The Celtics have formally signed 2017 first-round pick Jayson Tatum and 2016 first-rounder Ante Zizic to their respective rookie deals, the team announced today in a press release. Both players are now under contract with the club through 2020/21.

As our breakdown of this year’s rookie scale salaries shows, Tatum will be in for a nice payday as this year’s third overall pick. He’ll earn $5,645,400 in his rookie season, and more than $30MM over the life of his four-year contract, assuming his third and fourth team options are exercised.

As for Zizic, the Croatian big man will join the Celtics after spending the 2016/17 season stashed overseas. Zizic’s contract will be worth the same amount as that of OG Anunoby, the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft. He’ll make $1,645,200 in his first year, and about $9.75MM over four years.

With Zizic now officially a Celtic, it remains to be seen if Guerschon Yabusele, the team’s other draft-and-stash prospect from the 2016 first round, will join him in Boston.

Lowe’s Latest: George, Hayward, Ibaka, Gallinari

A proposed scenario that would see the Celtics sign Gordon Hayward, trade for Paul George, and sign George to a contract extension isn’t realistic, writes Zach Lowe in his latest report for ESPN.com. As Lowe points out, there would be no reason for George to re-up with Boston right away in that scenario unless he could renegotiate a maximum salary, and it would be extremely difficult for the C’s to accommodate such a deal without moving Al Horford.

Knowing that if they acquire George, he could be a rental, the Celtics have thus far been unwilling to include Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, or the Lakers’ 2018 first-rounder in any of their offers to Indiana, Lowe reports. Lowe’s best guess at Boston’s offer is a package that would include Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and one of the team’s other first-round picks. The C’s will be reluctant to go much higher than that, given their fear that George could leave in 2018 — Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times wrote on Thursday night that the Pacers forward is still telling friends he expects to be a Laker in 2018.

While George could just be a one-year rental, the Celtics have competition for him. According to Lowe, the Wizards would likely be willing to sign-and-trade Otto Porter and include a first-round pick. The Cavaliers would swap Kevin Love straight up, though that doesn’t interest Indiana much, per Lowe. If the Nuggets get involved again via three-way talks for George and Love, they could offer Gary Harris and a first-round pick, though NBA execs expect Harris to command upwards of $20MM annually on his next contract, which is due soon, says Lowe.

Here’s more from Lowe with the free agent period right around the corner:

  • Lowe views Hayward as less than a 50-50 bet to stay with the Jazz, with both the Celtics and Heat as legitimate suitors. The ESPN scribe adds that he wouldn’t be surprised if a mystery fourth team ends up getting a meeting with Hayward.
  • The market for Raptors big man Serge Ibaka and Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is expected to be in about the $20MM-per-year range, sources tell Lowe.
  • The Sixers have told player agents that they plan on signing one-year contracts in free agency this summer to preserve future cap space. They may also use some of their current cap room to sign Robert Covington to a renegotiated extension, writes Lowe.
  • Lowe expects the Bucks to sign Tony Snell to a deal in the range of $10-12MM annually.
  • Despite drafting De’Aaron Fox, the Kings may still spend on a free agent point guard as a veteran mentor, particularly if they decide they want to chase a playoff spot right away, says Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies are “crossing their fingers” that the market for RFA power forward JaMychal Green isn’t as competitive as expected, according to Lowe.

Celtics Rumors: Tatum, Jackson, Porzingis, Brown

Following the completion of the Celtics’ trade with the Sixers earlier this week, C’s president Danny Ainge suggested that the player the team drafted at No. 3 would likely be the same player the club would’ve taken at No. 1. Ainge reiterated that point on Thursday night, telling reporters that he felt the draft was “very even” at the top, and would’ve selected Jayson Tatum with the first overall pick (Twitter link).

Josh Jackson was the other prospect considered to be in play for that No. 3 pick, and Ainge admitted that he was upset when the former Kansas forward cancelled his workout with the Celtics. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com details, Ainge, Brad Stevens, and Mike Zarren flew out to Sacramento, only to find out that Jackson wouldn’t be working out. Ainge indicated that there may have been something to the idea that Jackson didn’t want to be drafted by Boston.

“Agents and players have all sorts of motivations to get to certain places, as we’ve seen in the past,” Ainge said, per Forsberg. “Remember last year, Kris Dunn didn’t want to come here; we didn’t hold it against him. We felt like we were just taking the player that we wanted [last year]. And I think the same thing this time. I don’t think we were trying to penalize Josh too much, but we didn’t get to see him or talk to him face-to-face.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Asked about the Kristaps Porzingis rumors that swirled around the Celtics this week, Ainge said that he felt they were “a little blown out of proportion” (Twitter link via Forsberg).
  • Ainge suggested there could be “some truth” to the idea that teams ask for more from the Celtics in trades due to the team’s stockpile of assets (link via Scott Souza of The MetroWest Daily News). People around the league know the things that we have and they are asking for some of our prime real estate,” Ainge said. “Over the last few trading periods it’s been a little bit of a hurdle. But the bottom line is we have to do the trades that we believe in.”
  • One player Ainge generally isn’t interested in discussing in trade talks is Jaylen Brown. The team president said on CSNNE that Boston gets the urge to “hang up” when Brown’s name comes up in negotiations (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe).
  • It’s possible that neither of the Celtics’ draft-and-stash prospects will be on the team’s Summer League roster. Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets that Guerschon Yabusele won’t play due to foot surgery, while Ainge said that Ante Zizic has visa issues, raising doubts about his status (Twitter link via Jay King of MassLive.com).

Draft Night Rumors: Holiday, Smith Jr., Butler, Cavs

9:14pm: In response to Amico’s note below, Channing Frye has posted an Instagram message dismissing the idea that he’s planning to retire.

Meanwhile, Mavs president Donnie Nelson also addresses an item below, telling reporters that he thinks the Dennis Smith Jr. pick means the Mavs likely won’t target a point guard in free agency (Twitter link via Damon R. Marx of The Dallas Morning News).

8:28pm: The Mavericks may not be ready to hand their offense over to No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. The team still plans to make a run at Pelicans‘ point guard Jrue Holiday once free agency begins, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. A former All-Star in Philadelphia, Holiday will be seeking a significant raise after making less than $11.3MM this season. The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists in 67 games.

There’s more news from an eventful draft night:

  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle offered a different perspective, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Before being asked, Carlisle told reporters that he sees Smith as an immediate starter, noting his blend of intelligence, maturity and athleticism. “We believe he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and right away,” he said.
  • Carlisle added that the Mavs definitely preferred Smith over French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was taken by the Knicks at No. 8. The coach said there was “uproarious” applause in the Dallas draft room when New York’s pick was announced (Twitter link).
  • In negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Celtics refused to part with their No. 3 pick this year or the Nets‘ pick for 2018, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Butler was shipped to Minnesota in a deal involving the No. 7 pick, and the Celtics may send Jayson Tatum, whom they drafted at No. 3, to Indiana in a trade for Paul George.
  • Cavaliers veterans Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson may retire this offseason, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). If they do, it will reduce the salary commitment in Cleveland and open up two roster spots, giving the new GM some flexibility. Frye, 34, made more than $7.4MM this season, while Jefferson, who turned 37 yesterday, collected a little more than $2.6MM.

Celtics Rumors: No. 3 Pick, Tatum, Isaac, Smith

With just over 24 hours until the NBA draft gets underway, one NBA executive tells Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the Celtics may be looking into the possibility of moving down in the draft again. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets that he has heard the same thing.

Per Bulpett, most sources still believe that the Celtics’ decision will come down to Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum, but it doesn’t appear Boston is necessarily locked in on one specific player at No. 3. Jonathan Isaac has even “crept into the speculation,” according to Bulpett, who adds that another exec believes the C’s would like to find a way to end up with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. — that scenario would almost certainly involve a trade down.

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • A coach from one NBA franchise tells Bulpett that if you asked 10 different teams which player Danny Ainge wants in this draft, you might get 10 different answers. “We call him the minister of disinformation,” the coach said of Ainge. “He’s putting a lot of stuff out there.”
  • Rumblings on Wednesday have indicated the Celtics may be leaning more toward Tatum than Jackson with the third overall pick. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress appears to be on board that bandwagon — his latest mock draft for The Vertical has Boston selecting Tatum at No. 3, though he acknowledges Jackson is also in the conversation.
  • The NBA’s rumor mill appears to be more active this year than it usually is prior to the draft, and the Celtics – loaded with assets of all sorts – are at the eye of the storm, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
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