Jonathon Simmons

The Deadline Deals That Didn’t Happen

The Raptors were close to acquiring Nikola Mirotic, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports on his podcast. The power forward would have been part of a three-team trade with the Pelicans and Magic in the proposed framework. Toronto didn’t have the expiring contracts that New Orleans was seeking and Mirotic was instead sent to the Bucks.

Toronto shifted its focus back to Marc Gasol and acquired the big man from Memphis in exchange for Jonas ValanciunasDelon WrightC.J. Miles, and a 2024 second-round pick.

The Hornets came close to acquiring Gasol before some “last-minute haggling,”  ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. Charlotte had a lottery-protected first-round pick on the table for most of the week leading up to the deadline. Lowe passes along more deals that were discussed behind the scenes. Here are the highlights from his latest piece:

  • The Sixers offered two second-rounders to the Pelicans for Mirotic and prior to trading for Tobias Harris, Philadelphia and New Orleans discussed a Markelle Fultz-Mirotic swap. Fultz was dealt to the Magic for Jonathon Simmons and a pair of picks.
  • The Hornets pursued a deal for Harrison Barnes, dangling a first-round pick to the Mavericks, Lowe adds in the same piece. Dallas would have had to take back long-term money in the potential deal, something that it wasn’t willing to do.
  • The Nets and Grizzlies briefly discussed sending Allen Crabbe to Memphis along with a first-round pick (Denver’s 2019 selection) in exchange for Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green, sources tell Lowe. Tax concerns led Memphis to shy away from acquiring Crabbe, who will take home approximately $19MM next season.
  • Several teams attempted to pry Andrew Wiggins from the Wolves without giving up much in return. Minnesota was uninterested in giving Wiggins away.
  • Kris Dunn was available at the deadline but the Bulls weren’t looking to deal Zach LaVine. Lowe writes that Chicago may have only considered trading LaVine if it received an overwhelming offer, something that was unlikely to occur.

Magic Acquire Markelle Fultz From Sixers

6:58pm: The Sixers have officially traded Markelle Fultz to the Magic for Jonathon Simmons, a protected 2020 first-round pick and 2019 second-round pick, the teams announced in press releases.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Markelle [Fultz] to the Magic family,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. “This is an incredible opporunity for us to add a former No. 1 draft pick to our roster and to add depth to our backcourt. We will provide Markelle with the best possible support at his own pace and look forward to his future contributions.”

1:45pm: The Sixers are trading former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz to the Magic, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). In exchange, Philadelphia will receive Jonathon Simmons, a future Thunder first-round pick, and a future Cavs second-rounder from Orlando, tweets Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

It’s a huge decision for the 76ers, just a year and a half after then-GM Bryan Colangelo sent the No. 3 pick (Jayson Tatum) and a future first-rounder to Boston in exchange for the right to select Fultz first overall.

The former Washington standout has barely seen the court since then, having been sidelined by shooting issues that some observers believe are mental. Fultz was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in December and continues his rehab process.

A source tells Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that Orlando will be patient with Fultz, taking the long view and potentially sitting him out the rest of this season if needed. However, the club will continue pushing for a playoff spot in the East this season.

Smith suggests (via Twitter) that the Magic opted to include the Thunder first-rounder in the deal so they’d only part with Simmons rather than Terrence Ross — Ross will remain with Orlando and help the team’s efforts to make the postseason.

The Thunder pick involved in the swap is OKC’s 2020 selection, which is top-20 protected and will turn into 2022 and 2023 second-rounders if it’s not conveyed next year. The pick, which was originally traded to Philadelphia for Jerami Grant, was subsequently sent to Orlando in a draft-night trade in 2017 for Anzejs Pasecniks. Now it’s headed back to Philadelphia.

The second-round pick included in the deal is technically the most favorable of Cleveland’s, Orlando’s, Houston’s, or Portland’s 2019 second-rounders. For now, that projects to be the Cavs’ pick.

In addition to those draft assets, the Sixers will acquire Simmons, a wing with some size who can immediately step into the club’s rotation. In 41 games this season for Orlando, Simmons averaged just 6.9 PPG on .364/.229/.778 shooting, but he was much better in his first year with the Magic, posting 13.9 PPG on .465/.338/.768 shooting in 2017/18.

Between this deal and their James Ennis swap with the Rockets, the Sixers were able to add two wings for depth purposes today while also replenishing their collection of draft picks that took a hit in Wednesday’s Tobias Harris trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Kings, Divac, Carmelo

The Warriors’ decision on what to do with their open roster spot depends on which teams they view as their biggest threats, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. While GM Bob Myers recently stated that adding another big was a priority, that could change if small-ball teams like Houston, Boston and Toronto are viewed as the primary threats to another championship. It makes more sense for Golden State to obtain another big if Utah, Denver and Oklahoma City are viewed as potential stumbling blocks. A deadline deal is unlikely, so the buyout market is a more likely source for a roster addition, Slater continues. Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon is a name to watch on the buyout market if the Hawks are unable to deal him, Slater adds.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings are in the market for a small forward with more size and a quality backup to point guard De’Aaron Fox, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. The Kings have been linked to Washington’s Otto Porter but the Wizards don’t appear to be in sell mode, Jones continues.  Dallas’ Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore are some of the other wings the Kings could pursue, while Atlanta’s Jeremy Lin would be a good fit at the point.
  • The perception of Kings GM Vlade Divac has changed dramatically for the better over the past two years, Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee points out. Divac was heavily criticized for the DeMarcus Cousins deal with New Orleans but it turned out Sacramento’s favor. The Kings have been one of the league’s surprise teams this season despite a modest payroll. “We’ve made a huge step forward and I’m very happy where we are now,” Divac told Breton. “We need to grow. We need time … (But) we’re not in a hurry. We’re going to go step by step.”
  • Carmelo Anthony would be a poor fit for the Lakers, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Los Angeles has been mentioned as a possible destination if the agreed-upon deal between Houston and Chicago becomes official and the Bulls waive him. Anthony would be competing for limited minutes with Michael Beasley, who is a superior rebounder and more efficient scorer. He might also take minutes away from wing players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart, who are better 3-point shooters and defenders. They’re also more comfortable playing off the ball than Anthony.

Trade Rumors: Hawks, Most Active Teams, Porter

The NBA’s 2019 trade deadline is now less than three weeks away, and a number of the trade candidates whose names are popping up the most have something in common, as Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets: They’re all on expiring contracts.

Smith identifies Dewayne Dedmon (Hawks), Jeremy Lin (Hawks), Jonathon Simmons (Magic), Wayne Ellington (Heat), Robin Lopez (Bulls), Enes Kanter (Knicks), Noah Vonleh (Knicks), and David Nwaba (Cavaliers) as those players cited most frequently in trade chatter. Of those eight players, Simmons is the only one under contract for next season, and his 2019/20 salary of $5.7MM is partially guaranteed for just $1MM. In other words, his deal can be viewed as a de facto expiring contract too.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s trade market:

  • The Hawks appear willing to take on 2019/20 salary in trade discussions, according to Smith (Twitter link). A willingness to eat a bad contract in exchange for a more favorable asset could make Atlanta a team to watch in the coming weeks, since most teams around the NBA want to preserve their cap space for 2019.
  • Smith names the Sixers, Nets, Magic, Kings, Rockets, Pelicans, and Clippers as the teams that appear to be most active in trying to upgrade their rosters (Twitter link). Besides gauging the trade market, these clubs are also keeping an eye on potential buyout candidates, Smith notes.
  • The Wizards have shown “little appetite” for any trade that involves moving Otto Porter for a return heavy on future assets and cap flexibility, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. That stance aligns with comments on Thursday made by owner Ted Leonsis, who stressed that Washington continues to push for a playoff spot and has no plans to tank.

Charania’s Latest: Kings, Mavs, Simmons, Celtics

The Kings were identified earlier this month as a probable buyer on the trade market, but rival executives don’t sense any urgency to make major changes in Sacramento, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. At 18-16 so far this season, the Kings are ahead of schedule in their rebuilding process and are essentially “playing with house money” at this point, Charania notes.

With a handful of veterans on expiring contracts and about $11MM in cap room available immediately, the Kings are in a good position to make a move if they so choose. However, it sounds unlikely that Iman Shumpert – one of those veterans on an expiring contract – will be going anywhere. De’Aaron Fox has credited Shumpert for bringing leadership and championship experience to Sacramento, writes Charania.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Mavericks want to improve their roster and are “open for business,” according to Charania, who reiterates that teams around the NBA are monitoring Dennis Smith Jr. We heard earlier this week that Dallas has gauged the market on Smith.
  • Rival teams believe Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons will be among the players available on the trade market this season, per Charania. A previous report indicated that Orlando would probably prefer to move Simmons instead of Terrence Ross.
  • Major in-season changes are unlikely in Boston, since trading a player like Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown for a draft pick wouldn’t help the Celtics win now. As Charania details, the C’s may re-evaluate their roster closer to the deadline, but the club is unlikely to cash in any major assets until at least the 2019 offseason.
  • The Rockets have had discussions about Hawks wing Kent Bazemore, who is expected to draw interest from multiple contending teams, according to Charania.
  • Several teams have inquired with the Bulls about Justin Holiday, league sources tell Charania.
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith is known to be on the trade block, but clubs with interest in Smith are monitoring the situation to see whether he’ll end up on the buyout market, Charania writes.
  • Charania wonders if the Grizzliesdecision to make Chandler Parsons a healthy inactive will eventually lead to a standoff between the player and the team.

Magic Rumors: Fultz, Rozier, Russell, Ross, Simmons

As they cling to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Magic are said to be exploring the trade market in search of possible deals, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

According to Kyler, an ideal trade for Orlando would involve a starting-caliber point guard. While D.J. Augustin is having another solid season for the Magic, averaging 10.3 PPG and 5.0 APG with a shooting line of .450/.439/.875, the 31-year-old is almost certainly not the long-term solution at the position for the franchise.

Here’s more on the Magic’s hunt for a point guard, along with a couple other rumors out of Orlando:

  • While the Magic have been named as a team with interest in former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, team sources have downplayed the seriousness of any talks they’ve had with the Sixers, Kyler reports.
  • The Magic have begun to do due diligence on some of 2019’s free agent point guards, with Terry Rozier and D’Angelo Russell among the players on their radar, sources tell Kyler. Rozier is considered Orlando’s top potential target, Kyler adds. However, he’ll be a restricted free agent and figures to attract interest from several other teams too.
  • Although many teams believe the Magic are “open for business,” the front office won’t be willing to make any deals that compromise their long-term outlook, says Kyler. In other words, players on expiring or short-term contracts are Orlando’s most likely trade candidates.
  • Marc Stein of The New York Times suggested on Tuesday that the Magic are more inclined to move Jonathon Simmons than Terrence Ross, but league sources have repeatedly told Kyler that Ross would have more value on the trade market, even though he’s on track to reach unrestricted free agency in 2019. Ross’s name is the one that comes up most frequently from teams that have been “poking around” Orlando’s roster, per Kyler.

Stein’s Latest: Melo, Bazemore, Ross, Davis

The Rockets continue to search for a taker for Carmelo Anthony, Marc Stein of The New York Times reports in his latest newsletter. Moving Anthony’s $2.4MM salary – which has a cap hit of $1.5MM, would afford the team roughly $2.6MM in luxury tax savings.

Stein notes that the Sixers and Lakers—two teams often mentioned as potential landing spots for Melo—appear uninterested in bringing the prolific scorer aboard. The Hornets have also resisted the idea of adding Anthony despite the connection between team owner Michael Jordan and Anthony through the Jordan Brand.

Anthony became trade-eligible on the weekend and perhaps as NBA clubs gather in Las Vegas for the G League showcase, a rival team will strike a deal with Houston.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest newsletter.

  • Kent Bazemore is generating interest from contending teams looking for a swingman, Stein reports. Bazemore has one more year and $19.3MM left on his deal with the Hawks after this season and the interest in the wing at that price speaks to how highly he’s regarded in the marketplace, Stein writes.
  • Hawks veterans Jeremy Lin and Dewayne Dedmon are also receiving interest from around the league. Both players are on expiring deals.
  • Terrence Ross is the Orlando wing who is generating the most interest. However, the Magic would prefer to trade Jonathon Simmons over Ross, who is on an expiring $10.5MM contract.
  • It’s unlikely that the Pelicans deal Anthony Davis this season but a critical point is approaching. New Orleans can offer Davis a massive contract extension worth over $200MM in total value this summer and should the big man decline it, the Pelicans will realistically have to trade him.

Southeast Notes: Vucevic, Simmons, Wizards, Wade

The hiring of Steve Clifford in Orlando has improved the game of Magic big man Nikola Vucevic to a new level, writes Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. Vucevic, who recently averaged a cool 30.5 PPG in back-to-back road games against the Lakers and Warriors, is playing so well  that at least one advanced statistical metric has him ranked ahead of Kevin Durant and James Harden.

As Helin notes, Vucevic is giving credit to Clifford for putting him in better situations this season, which has sparked his improved numbers. Specifically, Vucevic took 56 percent of his shots last season within eight feet of the rim, whereas this season that number is up to 65 percent. Meanwhile, the shots the 28-year-old center is taking from beyond the arc of lesser in number, but higher in efficiency. His three-point percentage has jumped from 31.4 percent a year ago to 39 percent this season.

“The way we play now, it helps me playing inside-out, it gets me going and makes me more comfortable,” Vucevic said. “Last year I felt I was a little too much on the perimeter, space the floor, which is fine, but at the same time [this season’s style] makes it much more difficult for the other team and gives them a different look. It works great for me because I get some easy ones in the paint and am able to step out… The way coach wants me, wants us, to play fits my skill set.”

Vucevic will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and if his numbers continue at the pace he’s set for himself so far this season, he’s likely to be looking at some lucrative contract offers this summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • In other Magic news, swingman Jonathon Simmons was inserted into the starting lineup recently after making a positive impression on Clifford during Sunday’s game against the Lakers, writes John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com. As is often the case, Simmons, 29, impressed his coach with his energy and defense after struggling to find his shot early on this season as a result of offseason surgery on his shooting wrist.
  • The Wizards seem to play best when turmoil strikes, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. In the past couple of weeks, negative stories and/or rumors have emerged regarding John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Dwight Howard. Yet, the Wizards are now winners of three of their last four games and playing their best basketball of the season.
  • Heat great Dwyane Wade isn’t choosing to retire after this season because he feels he can’t physically play anymore. Rather, he simply believes that he’s given everything he can to the game of basketball and wants to give something else a shot, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Southeast Notes: Gordon, Simmons, Muscala, James

Newly-hired Magic head coach Steve Clifford recently visited Aaron Gordon in San Jose, California as part of an effort to get to know his players, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Gordon is a restricted free agent this summer, but reports have indicated that the Magic are likely to retain his services, even if they have to go up to the maximum salary to do so.

In April, Gordon addressed what his “ideal’ contract would be this summer. “Ideal is max,” Gordon said, per Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). “That would be ideal. Three letters. … Definitely here (in Orlando).”

While injuries limited him to 58 games this past season, Gordon posted the best totals of his career. Gordon, 22, averaged 17.6 PPG and 7.9 RPG for the Magic.

Check out more Southeast Division notes below:

  • Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons underwent surgery on his right wrist in late April, a team spokesman confirmed to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Simmons missed the final 12 games of the season due to a wrist injury. It’s unclear when Simmons will resume basketball activities. In 69 games, Simmons averaged  13.9 PPG while shooting 46.5% from the field.
  • Hawks big man Mike Muscala remains undecided about what he will do with his $5MM player option for 2018/19, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Muscala has until June 29 to make a decision on that option.
  • While the possibility may be slim, LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers to join the Wizards is not that far-fetched, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington opines. Hughes writes that the opportunity to stay in the Eastern Conference, a chance to win now, and a fondness for D.C. are just a few reasons why James could consider the nation’s capital.

And-Ones: G League Mini Camp, Combine, Balls

A number of NBA players with recent big league experience have been named to the G League’s Elite Mini Camp roster. In mid-May, about 40 players from the developmental league will get the chance to strut their stuff in front of NBA personnel.

A total of 13 players from the initial roster have had at least some NBA experience, including the always intriguing likes of K.J. McDaniels and Archie Goodwin.

Other players, like Marcus Thornton and Naz Mitrou-Long who signed 10-day contracts in 2017/18 will look to prove that they deserve another crack at a rotation spot.

While it will be tough for a significant number of these players to make final rosters next season, there are plenty of opportunities between training camp and the regular season, especially now with the introduction of two-way contracts last season.

Jonathon Simmons, the G League is quick to mention, once participated in this event, prior to latching on with the Spurs and spinning that into a role with the Magic last summer.

There’s more from around the league this afternoon:

  • While it’s become commonplace for highly regarded draft prospects to skip out on the combine, a number of reputable players from last year’s class were in attendance, including Donovan Mitchell and Bam Adebayo. Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype broke down some of the best players from this year’s rookie crop that are actually expected to participate in the pre-draft event later this month.
  • The dust has settled after LaVar Ball‘s decision to move his non-Lonzo sons to Lithuania. According to Donatas Urbonas of 15min.It, LiAngelo Ball may have been slightly underrated prior to arriving in Europe while LaMelo Ball isn’t prepared to perform at the pro level yet. Urbonas connected with USA Today’s Andrew Joseph to discuss the Ball family’s Lithuanian adventure.
  • The NBA offseason is a lot closer than you might think. In fact, players like Cory Joseph and Wesley Johnson have already made key decisions on contract options for the 2018/19 campaign. For a rundown of what we expect from each team’s pending free agents, check out your respective team’s recap in our Free Agent Stock Watch series. Similarly, Hoops Rumors writers have ranked who we think the top available 2018 NBA free agents are.