Jordan Clarkson

Central Notes: Ball, Clarkson, Bogdanovic, Livers, Vucevic, Caruso

There’s confidence that Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball will return at some point this season, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Ball underwent another left knee surgery on Wednesday and doctors are optimistic the issue has been fully addressed. However, he’s going to be out a number of months, Charania adds.

Ball was still unable to “run or jump” entering training camp despite a lengthy rehab from two previous procedures this year.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks showed a lot of interest in trading for the Jazz‘s Jordan Clarkson but the Jazz balked at Milwaukee’s proposal, Tony Jones of The Athletic said on the Bill Riley Show podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype). Utah was uninterested at taking back George Hill‘s contract, which Jones described as a non-starter in trade discussions. One of the league’s top scoring reserves, Clarkson averaged 16 points last season. He has two years left on his four-year, $51.52MM contract. Hill has an expiring $4MM contract, so Milwaukee would have still needed to send out more salary in a potential trade.
  • The Lakers and Suns were among the teams reportedly pursuing Bojan Bogdanovic but he wound up getting traded to the Pistons. The former Jazz forward says he wasn’t concerned where he ended up, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com“I didn’t have any preference,” Bogdanovic said. “There’s a lot of rumors. Who knows if that’s true or not? I’m super happy and excited to be part of the Pistons.”
  • Pistons forward Isaiah Livers wound up playing 19 games during his rookie season after recovering from a foot injury. He’s aiming to become a regular part of the rotation this season, he told James Edwards III of The Athletic. “I wanted to build off those last 19, 20 games,” the 2021 second-round pick said. “Coaches and everyone seemed to love the way that I was playing. It was working effectively.”
  • There was heavy speculation that Bulls center Nikola Vucevic would be part of a package to acquire Rudy Gobert during the offseason. Vucevic had serious doubts that would happen and was proven correct when Gobert was dealt to Minnesota, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “Rumors are a part of what we do,’’ said Vucevic, who is on an expiring contract. “Whether they’re true or not, it’s out of my control. I focus on what I can control, and, in the end, I had some fun with [the Jazz rumors]. At no point did I feel it was going to happen.’’
  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso is one of the candidates to replace Ball in the starting lineup as he mends from his latest knee surgery, but that’s not Caruso’s focus, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. “It won’t be a conversation I’ll have with Billy (Donovan). He might have it with me depending on what we need,” Caruso said. “But I’ve always been team-first trying to win games. If that’s me starting basketball games then that’s what we’ll do. If that’s me coming off the bench, that’s fine too. I’ve always been I’d rather finish games than start games.

Jazz Notes: Sexton, Kessler, Azubuike, Conley, Clarkson, Zeller, Lee

New Jazz guard Collin Sexton has been fully cleared following last year’s knee injury that sidelined him for all but 11 games, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). Newly acquired rookie big man Walker Kessler has also received clearance from his toe injury, Walden adds.

While Sexton and Kessler should be good to go for training camp, former Jazz first-rounder Udoka Azubuike isn’t quite there yet. According to Walden, Azubuike continues to progress from the ankle surgery that ended his 2021/22 season early, but has yet to be cleared for 5-on-5 work.

Here are a few more updates on the Jazz:

  • Following an offseason fire sale in Utah, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson look like obvious candidates to be traded at some point in the coming weeks or months. But general manager Justin Zanik said today that there has been “nothing but total buy-in from those guys,” so it doesn’t sound as if either Conley or Clarkson is pushing to be dealt (Twitter link via Walden).
  • Conley told reporters today that he’s “10 toes in” with the Jazz, even as he acknowledged the possibility of a trade. He’s conflicted about the idea of being moved, since he could end up with a contending team but would likely have to finish the season away from his family (Twitter links via Walden and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune).
  • After undergoing eight surgeries in nine years, Cody Zeller wants to show in Utah that he’s finally healthy, telling reporters today that he believes he can bring value to a young roster as an experienced veteran (Twitter link via Walden). The Jazz have a roster logjam to clear in the next few weeks, but Zeller should have a shot at a 15-man roster spot due to the team’s lack of veteran frontcourt depth.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic sounds unconvinced that Saben Lee is part of the Jazz’s plans going forward, tweeting that he believes the newly acquired guard will need to have “a hell of a camp” in order to stick.

Jazz Notes: Bogdanovic, Trade Reaction, Clarkson

After the Jazz reached an agreement to send Bojan Bogdanovic to the Pistons for Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee in a cost-cutting move, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune reports (via Twitter) that Utah had late first-round pick offers for the veteran sharpshooter, but the proposals also included longer-term salaries, so the team chose to maintain financial flexibility instead.

Once the trade is complete, the Jazz will have traded away Rudy Gobert, Royce O’Neale, Patrick Beverley (acquired as part of the Gobert deal), Donovan Mitchell and Bogdanovic this offseason, with more veterans likely to follow in the coming months as the team pivots towards a full rebuild.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • In his video reaction to the trade, ESPN’s Bobby Marks says he likes the deal for Detroit, noting that Bogdanovic has both more on-court and trade value than Olynyk and Lee, and the 60-day trade aggregation rule doesn’t apply to Bogdanovic because the Pistons used their cap room to acquire him — they theoretically could flip him again immediately, even though there’s no indication that’s imminent. Marks says there shouldn’t be a rush to judge Utah too harshly for seemingly not getting great value for Bogdanovic because creating more breathing room below the luxury tax line might enable the Jazz to take on added salary in other trades as they look to clear a roster logjam, and they could always trade Olynyk closer to the deadline.
  • Sarah Todd of The Desert News analyzes the trade, writing that Bogdanovic was “too good to keep on the roster” for a team trying to lose games. According to Todd, Bogdanovic’s age (33) and expiring deal made rival teams reluctant to part with significant assets for the veteran forward, despite his impressive production. She also points out that trading him to Detroit, a team that’s been towards the bottom in the standings the past few years, also could have been a motivating factor, since it might ensure the Pistons win more games than the Jazz, increasing Utah’s lottery odds.
  • In an interview with Mike DeStefano of Complex, guard Jordan Clarkson says he’s “ready for whatever happens” as a veteran player whose name has popped up in trade rumors. “If I’m in a different jersey in a week or tomorrow I get a phone call and I have to put on whatever jersey it is, I’m just trying to win and take whatever team it is to the next level to hopefully win a championship one day,” Clarkson said as part of a larger quote.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Role, Ham, Trade Talks, Schröder

Despite the recent additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder, Russell Westbrook is increasingly likely to remain on the Lakers‘ roster, according to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

However, sources tell The Athletic that Westbrook’s role might change, with the team “strongly” considering having the former league MVP come off the bench in 2022/23. New head coach Darvin Ham has the “full backing” of the organization to determine lineups for the upcoming season, and Westbrook will have to outperform his new teammates during minicamp, training camp and the preseason to remain the Lakers’ starting point guard, Buha and Amick write.

Unless the Lakers can find a trade that they believe makes them a legitimate title contender, Westbrook is “highly likely” to stay on the roster, sources tell The Athletic.

A major part of that line of thinking is the Lakers want to keep their financial and trade options open for ’23/24, when they project to have $30MM+ in cap room for free agency, per Buha and Amick. Westbrook is on an expiring contract worth $47.1MM, and the Lakers have been reluctant to trade their 2027 and/or 2029 first-round picks to offload him.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Los Angeles is banking on Ham being able to optimize Westbrook’s talent — and get through to him in a way that Frank Vogel couldn’t — as well as a return to health for Anthony Davis in order for the ’22/23 season to be successful, sources tell Buha and Amick.
  • According to Buha and Amick, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Jazz, Knicks and Hornets prior to Donovan Mitchell being dealt to Cleveland, with an early framework sending Bojan Bogdanovic and Terry Rozier to L.A.
  • Los Angeles continues to show interest in Bogdanovic, with The Athletic’s duo reporting that Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley have been included in recent talks with Utah for Westbrook. However, a deal is considered unlikely because of the aforementioned reasons — the Lakers don’t want to part with first-rounders and Clarkson has a $14.3MM player option for ’23/24 that would eat into the team’s potential cap room.
  • Along the same lines, Buha and Amick write that dealing Westbrook to the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, which has been rumored multiple times, is also “not expected” — Hield has a $19.3MM cap hit in ’23/24.
  • Schröder made an Instagram post expressing his excitement about returning to the Lakers, saying that he wanted to “make s–t right!” Schröder’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link) that the team informed Schröder that “there will be a lot of minutes for everybody” despite a crowded backcourt.

Jazz Notes: Trade Candidates, Ainge, Rebuild

Having traded away Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Royce O’Neale so far this offseason, the Jazz may still have more moves to make before the season begins, but they’re not feeling any urgency to continue selling off their veteran players, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said this week during an appearance on NBA Today (YouTube link).

“It feels like they have a lot more business to do. The question is when do they do that business,” Shelburne said. “They still have Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley. The sense around the league is that the Jazz at least feel they have deals for all of those veteran players – if and when they want them – where they would return a first-round pick for each of these kind of players. But my sense in talking to people close to these conversations is the Jazz are not in any hurry to make these decisions now.”

The general sense is that the Jazz are hoping to put themselves in position to claim a top pick in the 2023 draft, where they could potentially land a cornerstone player. However, Shelburne suggested that Utah isn’t necessarily in full tanking mode quite yet.

“I was actually assured by somebody close to the situation the other day that if this group gets out there and plays well, if they start off well, they’ll let them play,” she said. “There’s a reset going on and they have players and veterans that have value to teams that are trying to contend this year. But if this group that they have right now – with the new coach Will Hardy and the young players they got that they’re very high on – if they start out well, they’re going to let them play a while. They’re not in any hurry.”

Here’s more out of Utah:

  • Within the same NBA Today segment, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst speculated that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge‘s comments earlier this week about the Jazz players not believing in one another were probably toned down by about 50-75% compared to how he really felt — in other words, Ainge really wasn’t high on the team’s current roster and outlook entering this summer, which is why he felt compelled to blow things up.
  • Given the sizable hauls the Jazz received in the Mitchell deal and (especially) the Gobert blockbuster, team executives around the NBA are wary of what the trade market will look like going forward, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “I’m just dreading all (the) ridiculous stuff people are going to be asking me for now before we can get down to real business,” one exec said.
  • Despite the newfound collection of future draft assets the Jazz hold, not everyone is convinced Utah’s rebuild will be as successful as the one Ainge oversaw in Boston. “He really hit on some of those picks he got, but, remember, they also got (Al) Horford and (Gordon) Hayward to come there as free agents,” a source told Bulpett. “I know Hayward didn’t work out like they wanted; that injury was tough. But those guys were top free agents. I think Danny’s going to find it harder to attract big-time free agents in Utah.”
  • Sarah Todd of The Deseret News takes a look at the factors that contributed to Utah’s decision to rebuild, arguing that while the Jazz have enjoyed plenty of regular season success in recent years, it feels as if it’s been a while since they had a legitimate shot at a title.

Jazz Notes: Bogdanovic, Clarkson, Beasley, Sexton, Conley

The Jazz believe Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley are each worth first-round picks in a potential trade, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his podcast, The Lowe Post (hat tip to HoopsHype). Utah acquired Beasley as part of this offseason’s Rudy Gobert trade, while Bogdanovic and Clarkson have spent multiple seasons with the team.

While all three players have value, it’s unclear if Utah will be able to net first-round picks for each. It also remains to be seen whether the Jazz will make another trade before the season starts, but since the team has moved Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, other veterans may eventually be dealt. Utah also has Mike Conley and Rudy Gay under contract.

Here are some other notes from Utah today:

  • Speaking of a potential Jazz fire sale, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines which players may be traded next. As mentioned, Utah has a group of veterans that could be acquired for a slightly cheaper price now that the team is rebuilding, though it’s unknown who may be dealt and when.
  • Sarah Todd of the Deseret News explores why fans should be excited about Collin Sexton. The 23-year-old agreed to a four-year, $71MM deal as part of a sign-and-trade with the Jazz, who added him to a young nucleus of players and draft picks.
  • In a separate article for the Deseret News, Sarah Todd takes a look at whether the team could move forward with Conley remaining on the roster. Conley will turn 35 years old next month and appeared in 72 games last season, averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 assists per outing.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell Trade, Knicks Talks, Conley, Bass

Within their Thursday press release officially confirming the trade that sent Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland, the Jazz‘s top decision-makers explained why they felt it was necessary to move the club’s leading scorer, a three-time All-Star who just turned 26.

“It was clear that in order to optimize our opportunity to create a team that could truly contend and establish sustained success, we needed to transition our roster,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said in a statement. “In trading Rudy (Gobert) and now Donovan, it was a rare opportunity to maximize our ability to get quality talent and picks to best position us moving forward. We have a plan in place to help us assemble the championship team our fans deserve. It will take time to craft our roster. We all understand the work ahead and are committed to our vision.”

General manager Justin Zanik, meanwhile, referred to Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and Ochai Agbaji as three “exciting young players,” suggesting the front office views the trio as part of the Jazz’s long-term plan.

“We believe that they fit the Jazz culture and hard-nosed, competitive brand of basketball we’ve built here in Utah,” Zanik said. “They give us versatility and athleticism on both ends of the floor as we grow toward the future. We look forward to our fans getting to know them.”

Here’s more out of Utah:

  • Previous reports suggested there was some level of “animus” between the Jazz and Knicks, due in part to Knicks executives sitting courtside at Utah’s first playoff game vs. Dallas in the spring, as well as to New York’s decision to extend RJ Barrett while the two teams were negotiating his possible inclusion in a Mitchell trade. However, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his Lowe Post podcast that any hard feelings between the Jazz and the Knicks weren’t the reason why Utah made a deal with Cleveland instead of New York.
  • “Emotions can play into this,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “I’ve been assured by the Utah side that ‘No, look, we’re mature people. Yes, we were upset with particularly the Mavs’ game incident, but we’re not going to make decisions based on those kind of things that now happened four months ago or whatever. We’ve made the best deal possible.'”
  • In a column for The Salt Lake Tribune, Robert Gehrke focuses on the off-court impact of the Mitchell trade, arguing that Utah has lost a “conscience of our community.”
  • Nekias Duncan of BasketballNews.com considers what Mike Conley can still bring to a contending team and explores which clubs might be realistic trade suitors for the veteran point guard. Meanwhile, Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune weighs where Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jordan Clarkson could land if they’re traded.
  • The Salt Lake City Stars – Utah’s G League affiliate – acquired the returning rights to Paris Bass and Elijah Cain in a trade with the South Bay Lakers, per a press release. Bass is reportedly signing an Exhibit 10 deal with the Jazz, so the team clearly intends to have him play for the Stars — it remains to be seen whether Cain is also in SLC’s plans for 2022/23.

Lakers Interested In Jazz Vets, Hope To Preserve 2023 Cap Room

The Lakers have “some interest” in Jazz veterans Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson, but are still trying to maintain their cap room for 2023, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports (Twitter links). The Lakers currently project to have about $30MM in cap room next summer.

As Zillgitt observes, Conley’s $24.36MM salary for 2023/24 is partially guaranteed at $14.32MM, while Clarkson has a player option worth $14.26MM, which may affect how much interest L.A. has in the two guards.

Bogdanovic is on a $19.55MM expiring contract, and several teams are reportedly pursuing the 33-year-old forward, a talented scorer and shooter who has converted at least 38.7% of his three-point tries in each of the last five seasons.

In order to match salaries, Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring deal would have to be sent to Utah, because the Lakers don’t have any tradable mid-sized contracts. If they don’t want to take on money beyond next season, a package of Bogdanovic, Malik Beasley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker theoretically works for salary-matching purposes, and all are on expiring or pseudo-expiring deals (there’s a ’23/24 team option for Beasley at $16.52MM).

However, it’s unclear if the Lakers would be interested in that scenario, considering the Jazz might ask for both of the Lakers’ available first-round picks (2027 and 2029). Utah is in the middle of a roster teardown, with a particular emphasis on accumulating unprotected first-rounders.

In other Lakers-related news, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reassesses the team’s depth chart and rotation after acquiring Patrick Beverley from Utah in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson. Sources tell Buha that Thomas Bryant and Austin Reaves have been “standout performers” in offseason workouts, and Buha currently has both players slotted in the starting lineup at center and shooting guard, respectively.

Jazz Continue To Engage In Trade Discussions

The Jazz have traded three starters from last year’s roster so far this offseason, but even after moving Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Royce O’Neale for a boatload of draft picks, the team isn’t necessarily done with its offseason work.

According to Tony Jones of The Athletic, the Jazz continue to engage in trade conversations about a number of their remaining veterans, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson.

In the latest episode of his Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report confirms that Bogdanovic, Conley, and Clarkson are “definitely on the trade block.” Fischer says he has also gotten the impression that the Jazz would “love to move off” Rudy Gay and has heard Leandro Bolmaro‘s name come up in some trade rumors.

Even beyond those five players, Utah would likely be willing to listen to inquiries on many others members of their roster, including Malik Beasley, according to Fischer. Jarred Vanderbilt is another player the club could theoretically move, though Fischer says a team might have to “knock Utah’s socks off” to acquire the young forward.

Based on the deals they’ve made so far this summer, it’s safe to assume the Jazz would be prioritizing draft assets as they continue to gauge the trade market.

Among Utah’s veterans, Bogdanovic might be the one with the most trade value. He’s on a reasonable $19.55MM expiring contract and is a talented frontcourt scorer, having averaged 18.4 PPG over the last three seasons (204 games) with the Jazz. The 33-year-old forward is also a major threat from beyond the arc — he has made at least 38.7% of his three-point tries in each of the last five seasons.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 reported on Thursday that the Suns had inquired on Bogdanovic, but Phoenix is hardly the only team with interest. Gambadoro tweeted late last night that several teams, including the Lakers, are eyeing Bogdanovic.

Any trade sending Bogdanovic to the Lakers would have to involve Russell Westbrook for salary-matching purposes, and would require at least one or two other players to go to Los Angeles — the Jazz would likely try to pry away the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in that scenario, though L.A. has been reluctant to attach more than one first-rounder to Westbrook.

Bogdanovic’s cap hit of nearly $20MM will make it tricky for certain teams to seriously pursue him. For instance, while he might be a good fit in Boston following Danilo Gallinari‘s injury, the Celtics probably can’t make a viable offer for him that doesn’t include at least one key rotation player whose value matches or exceeds Bogdanovic’s.

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Westbrook, Saric, Kings

Since the Lakers traded for veteran point guard Patrick Beverley, the future of 2021/22 starter Russell Westbrook has seemed murky. Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register wonders if the duo can actually share the floor together, or at the very least both stick around on the team this season.

Swanson reads tea leaves in recent public statements from head coach Darvin Ham and team owner Jeanie Buss that seem to suggest they appreciate Westbrook and his contributions to the club last year. Swanson writes that, because Beverley can function so well off the ball as a catch-and-shoot long range sniper, and can defend at least both guard positions, he could theoretically play alongside Westbrook, who tends to be significantly more ball-dominant.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • With Donovan Mitchell headed to the Cavaliers, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines that the Lakers could look to move Westbrook (and draft compensation) to the Jazz, who have already offloaded four of their best veteran players in separate deals this summer, including both their All-Stars. Woike writes that combo forward Bojan Bogdanovic should be L.A.’s top priority, and also floats the possibility of adding some combination of Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley and Rudy Gay into such a deal.
  • Suns reserve big man Dario Saric missed all of the 2021/22 season while he recovered from a ruptured ACL in his right knee suffered in the first game of the 2021 Finals. The 6’10” big man played well during the Croatian national team’s FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifiers in August, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.
  • Three reserve point guards will be duking it out during the Kings‘ training camp later this month. James Ham of Kings Beat assesses each player in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses on the current Sacramento roster. As a former lottery pick, defensive-oriented second-year guard Davion Mitchell seems guaranteed to get some run behind pricey starter De’Aaron Fox. Ham predicts that Quinn Cook could have an edge over Matthew Dellavedova as the team’s third point guard option.