Josh Richardson

Trade Breakdown: Josh Richardson To The Pelicans

This is the seventh entry in our series breaking down the significant trades of the 2022/23 season. As opposed to giving out grades, this series explores why the teams were motivated to make the moves. Let’s dive into a deal between the Pelicans and Spurs

On February 9, the Pelicans sent guard Devonte’ Graham and four second-round picks (details here) to the Spurs in exchange for swingman Josh Richardson.

The Pelicans’ perspective:

Acquiring Graham via sign-and-trade in 2021 didn’t work out for New Orleans. The team wound up dealing for CJ McCollum last year and running him at starting point guard, and Graham got outplayed by undrafted free agent Jose Alvarado in each of the past two seasons.

The Pelicans also had former first-rounder Kira Lewis Jr. return from a torn ACL in 2022/23 and drafted Dyson Daniels No. 8 overall last summer. Carrying five players on the 15-man roster who primarily play the point isn’t ideal.

There’s also the fact that, when healthy, both Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram handle the ball a significant portion of the time and are play-makers. That makes a short (6’1″) subpar defender like Graham an awkward fit.

The 6’6″ Richardson, meanwhile, fills a positional need at shooting guard and is a much better defensive player than Graham. At his best, Richardson uses his 6’10” wingspan, athleticism and quick hands to be disruptive on that end of the floor — he has averaged 2.6 SPG and 0.8 BPG through nine games with the Pelicans (his career marks are 1.1 SPG and 0.6 BPG).

Shedding Graham’s salary over the next couple of seasons — he’s owed $12.1MM in ‘23/24 and a partially guaranteed $2.85MM ($12.65MM base) in ‘24/25 — likely cost the Pelicans at least two second-round picks, if not three. Replacing him with Richardson for an extra second or two was a low-risk maneuver.

Richardson is on an expiring $12.2MM contract, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If the Pelicans can bring him back at a similar rate — essentially swapping Graham’s salary slot for Richardson — that would be solid value. Letting him walk is also a valid option if they’re concerned about the luxury tax going forward.

Richardson has bounced around quite a bit after spending his first four, most successful seasons with Miami, having played for Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, San Antonio and now New Orleans over the past four seasons.

As is the case with nearly every NBA player outside of the superstars, how a player fits within the dynamic of the rest of the roster largely determines whether he’s successful or not. Richardson is a quality role player, but not on every team.

The 29-year-old sometimes gets the generic 3-and-D label, which I think is a little bit of a misnomer in his case.

While Richardson is a solid defensive player, his offensive game is more varied than just spotting up for open threes. He’s an erratic outside shooter, converting 36.4% for his career from deep, which is right around league average (35.9% over the same eight seasons). However, he has been as high as 46.1% (on his lowest volume as a rookie), and as low as 33.0% (two separate seasons).

Richardson plays with a lot of energy on both sides of the ball and understands how to optimize spacing offensively. If things look congested on one side of the floor, you will see him flying around to an open area to create more room and better passing angles. 90.5% of his career three-point attempts have been assisted — he’s not looking to create his own shot from beyond the arc.

He is a crafty complementary pick-and-roll operator who particularly favors getting his defender on his hip and then stopping and pulling up around 12-to-17 feet. He has been very efficient from mid-range this season, converting 48.5% of those opportunities — that ranks in the 85th percentile, per

If the right-handed Richardson gets all the way into the paint, he prefers to finish with his left hand, often using a scoop shot. He will use hesitation moves or his speed to get to the rim during pick-and-rolls.

The eight-year veteran is an unselfish passer and has a soft touch when throwing lobs, though his handle is a little loose at times, which can lead to turnovers. He generally does a solid job of taking care of the ball and making good reads though, especially for a secondary or tertiary ball-handler – his career assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.97-to-1, a respectable mark for a shooting guard.

This season represents the first time in Richardson’s career that he’s taken more threes than twos, and from an efficiency standpoint you could argue he should have been pushed in that direction sooner, even if he’s just an average shooter from long distance. He’s also not a great rebounder for a two guard and can struggle with bigger, more physical players on defense, as his frame is relatively thin (he’s listed at 200 pounds).

Another weak point is that Richardson will gamble on occasion defensively, reaching instead of using his feet to stick with his opponent. Still, when he’s engaged, he’s an above-average defender.

Overall, this trade made a lot sense for New Orleans. The Pelicans were able to fill a positional need in the short term and get rid of Graham’s contract, which had become problematic given his poor fit and the long-term commitments to other players.

The Spurs’ perspective:

Richardson played some of his best basketball since his Miami days with San Antonio, but he’s 29 years old and on expiring contract. The Spurs are in the midst of their first rebuild in decades, so extracting value for Richardson was logical.

While Graham was redundant on the Pelicans, the Spurs had a glaring need at point guard – Tre Jones is the only other true lead guard on the roster. In fact, Richardson was serving as the backup point at times, and though he did a respectable job, Graham is better suited for the role.

Graham is a good ball-handler and passer. He also takes care of the ball, posting a career 3.09-to-1- assist-to-turnover ratio – 3-to-1 is generally considered a very good benchmark. He is more of a shoot-first point guard who can play off the ball than a traditional pass-first floor general.

This trade is a good example of how statistics can be misleading without context. Richardson is a career 36.4% three-point shooter, while Graham is at 35.7%. On the surface, that seems like Graham is a worse three-point shooter.

Yet if you watch the two play, it would immediately be evident that Graham is a much more dangerous outside shooter. He has taken more than twice as many threes as twos in his career and is able to find shots from long distance in multiple ways.

Graham doesn’t hesitate to pull up from deep in transition, and utilizes dribble moves – including side-steps, crossovers and relocation dribbles – to create his own shot. He can shoot on the move coming off screens, in addition to the typical catch-and-shoot threes.

The Spurs rank just 26th in the league in three-point attempts and 25th in the three-point percentage. Graham’s shot selection can be a little questionable at times, in my opinion, but his ability to stretch the floor and make good reads while passing adds a different dynamic to their offense.

If the young draft picks on San Antonio’s roster can learn from some of Graham’s offensive skills, that would be an added bonus. Several of them are still in the early stages of their development.

In 53 games with the Pelicans this season (15.3 MPG), Graham was averaging just 5.3 PPG and 2.2 APG on .368/.347/.746 shooting. In 11 games (28.1 MPG) with the Spurs, he’s averaging 15.8 PPG and 4.2 APG on .394/.378/.825 shooting. He’s attempting 8.9 threes per game with San Antonio, which is right around what he averaged a few years ago with Charlotte.

Graham is a limited defensive player due to his size and doesn’t always give the required effort; the Spurs are dreadful on that end, ranking dead last in the NBA. Still, they’re barely better on offense (29th), and I do think Graham is an upgrade over Richardson in that regard. In a vacuum, their values are closer than this trade might make it seem – look how similar their contracts are (Graham makes $11.55MM this season).

Unlike New Orleans, San Antonio has plenty of cap room going forward, so adding Graham’s longer-term salary isn’t burdensome. He just turned 28 years old and has already showed in his brief stint with the Spurs that he can still play, so trading him in the future for more assets could be an option.

Another aspect of this deal that I found interesting is that both Graham (No. 34 overall in 2018) and Richardson (No. 40 overall in 2015) are examples of successful second-round picks. The Spurs added four second-rounders in this deal while filling a positional need – that’s a quality return for a solid role player on an expiring deal.

Pelicans Notes: Richardson, Daniels, Zion, Nance

Having inserted new addition Josh Richardson into his starting five ahead of incumbent second-year swingman Trey Murphy, Pelicans head coach Willie Green spoke on Saturday about that decision, per Christian Clark of (Twitter link).

Richardson, who arrived to the Pelicans via the Spurs in a trade deadline deal, has started the club’s last two games ahead of Murphy, on Thursday and Saturday.

“Just want to give us a different look,” Green said of the change. “Looking at that lineup over the past few weeks, we wanted to make an adjustment. Trey will still play 25 plus minutes. Just putting a bit more know-how on the floor with Josh. And Herb (Jones). Being able to guard multiple guys. Trey getting some minutes against teams’ second units. We want to see if that helps us.”

There’s more out of The Big Easy:

  • The Pelicans have gone 7-17 since All-Star forward Zion Williamson injured his right hamstring. As a result, the team has plummeted in the Western Conference standings while Williamson remains out indefinitely. Andrew Lopez of ESPN identifies three key questions for New Orleans heading into the 2022/23 season’s closing stretch. When he was available, Williamson was his typically spectacular self, averaging 26 PPG on .608/.368/.714 shooting splits. He also chipped in 7.0 PRG and 4.6 APG in his 29 healthy contests.
  • Pelicans rookie point guard Dyson Daniels returned to the floor tonight for New Orleans after missing 12 games with a right ankle sprain, reports Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans Podcast (Twitter link). The 6’8″ guard was selected with the eighth pick in the 2022 draft by New Orleans. He has averaged 4.5 PPG on .445/.333/.621 shooting splits, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG and 0.9 SPG across his 39 games for the Pelicans thus far.
  • Veteran Pelicans reserve forward Larry Nance Jr. departed the team’s road game tonight against the Knicks with what New Orleans is calling a left ankle sprain, Clark tweets. Nance was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

Pelicans Notes: McCollum, Zion Injury, Deadline, Richardson

In his latest diary entry for Andscape, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum touches on several interesting topics, including Zion Williamson‘s rehab setback, the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations (McCollum, the NBPA president, says those talks are going in “the right direction”), and his own health.

As McCollum explains, he has been battling a right thumb injury that has affected his ability to dribble, shoot, and catch passes. With the All-Star break around the corner, the veteran guard is somewhat relieved that he won’t be part of the festivities in Salt Lake City and will get a week to rest the injury.

“I was talking to (All-Star center Domantas) Sabonis, as we both are playing with thumb injuries,” McCollum wrote. “I’ve been playing with a splint for a few weeks now, and he actually fractured his thumb completely. So, I was looking at his thumb, he’s looking at mine. At least I get a week off. Yeah, I need a week off instead of going to go play in the All-Star Game.

“I don’t think that I’ll need surgery after the season, fingers crossed. I’ll get another image in two weeks, I believe. As of right now, I’m not under the impression that I’ll need surgery when the season’s over.”

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at seven key questions related to the latest news on Williamson, who is expected to be out for several more weeks as he recovers from his right hamstring injury. Guillory believes Williamson’s extended recovery timeline probably affected the Pelicans’ aggressiveness at the trade deadline, though he’s skeptical that the club would have been willing to offer the pieces necessary to land an impact player like OG Anunoby or Mikal Bridges even if Zion were due back soon.
  • The Pelicans’ approach to the trade deadline made it clear that the team isn’t quite ready to go “all in” yet, writes Christian Clark of The belief is that New Orleans will be willing to surrender first-round picks and go into the tax when the time is right, but the club gave up only second-round picks and shed some 2023/24 salary at last week’s deadline.
  • The Pelicans’ lone deadline addition, Josh Richardson, made his debut in Oklahoma City on Monday and head coach Willie Green liked what he saw from the veteran swingman, who had a season-high five steals. “J-Rich was good,” Green said, according to Clark. “You could see his veteran savviness on the floor. Makes great decisions defensively. I thought he changed the game with steal after steal. That’s a part of what we wanted when we acquired him.”

Southwest Notes: Wood, Hardaway, Poeltl, Rockets, Pelicans

Despite being the subjects of trade rumors for weeks, Mavericks veterans Christian Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. remained with Dallas beyond this year’s trade deadline. Still, Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News notes that their futures with the club are somewhat unclear.

As Caplan writes, Hardaway’s inefficient play has made him and his remaining contract money tough to trade. Including this season, the veteran wing still has three years and $53.7MM left on his current deal.

Wood, meanwhile, is eligible for a four-year contract extension worth up to $77MM through the rest of the season, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent. A source tells Caplan that the Mavericks’ front office has not offered Wood an extension yet, in an effort to maximize the team’s flexibility this summer.

There’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Spurs opted to ship center Jakob Poeltl to the Raptors, rather than have to pay him in free agency this summer, in part because the team reportedly was not comfortable paying the rim-protecting center more than $65MM over four years, per LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk. Ellis says San Antonio believes the bidding price for Poeltl will go well north of that sum.
  • New veteran Rockets additions Danny Green, Justin Holiday and Frank Kaminsky could ultimately be retained by Houston, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The Rockets are set to assess if Green would like to remain on their roster, which has been their general policy with the veterans they’ve traded for in the recent past. Houston likes the possible fit of Holiday even past 2022/23, and Kaminsky has a connection with head coach Stephen Silas, thanks to their shared time on the Hornets.
  • The Pelicans made just one trade deadline deal, acquiring swingman Josh Richardson from the Spurs. William Guillory of The Athletic reveals that New Orleans hopes to bring Richardson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, back into the fold next season as well.

Spurs Trade Josh Richardson To Pelicans

9:47pm: The trade sending Richardson to New Orleans and Graham to San Antonio is now official, the Pelicans announced in a press release.

According to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link), the 2024 second-rounder going to the Spurs will be either the Bulls’ or Pelicans’ pick (whichever is more favorable), while the 2026 second-rounder will be either the Pelicans’ or Trail Blazers’ pick (whichever is less favorable).

The 2028 and 2029 second-round picks headed to San Antonio are New Orleans’ own.

1:30pm: The Spurs and Pelicans are in agreement on a trade that will send veteran swingman Josh Richardson to New Orleans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). Sources tell Charania that San Antonio will receive guard Devonte’ Graham and four second-round picks in the deal.

The four picks are the Pelicans’ second-rounders in 2024, 2026, 2028 and 2029, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Richardson has bounced around the league in recent years but he provides another versatile two-way option for a Pelicans club that has won three straight after a lengthy losing streak dropped them under the .500 mark.

Richardson has appeared in 41 games, including five starts, for San Antonio this season. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.3 assists in those contests.

The 29-year-old played for the Celtics and San Antonio last season and has also worn the uniforms of the Heat, Sixers and Mavericks during his career. He’s a career 36.5 percent 3-point shooter who has averaged 12 points in 479 NBA games.

Richardson will be an unrestricted free agent after making $12.2MM this season.

Graham is making $11.55MM this season and is signed through the 2024/25 season, though the final year is only partially guaranteed. Graham has been a regular member of New Orleans’ rotation, averaging 5.3 points and 2.2 assists in 15.3 minutes in 53 games.

New Orleans had to surrender draft capital to unload its salary commitment to Graham. San Antonio now has 23 draft picks in the next five drafts, according to McDonald’s count (Twitter link).

Moore’s Latest: Pelicans, Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets, VanVleet, Vanderbilt, More

The latest trade intel column from Matt Moore of Action Network is packed full of tidbits about the upcoming deadline, including some details on which players a handful of Western Conference teams have made available.

According to Moore, the Pelicans – in the market for another shooter – have made players like Jaxson Hayes, Devonte’ Graham, and Naji Marshall available, while the Spurs are discussing Isaiah Roby in addition to previously reported trade candidates like Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Perhaps most interestingly, Moore says the Warriors consider Jonathan Kuminga “off limits,” but have been willing to discuss youngsters James Wiseman and Moses Moody.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets – who have put second-year guard Bones Hyland on the trade block – are seeking another wing and have their eye on players like Bulls guard Alex Caruso, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Pacers swingman Chris Duarte, Moore writes.

Here’s more:

  • The Magic, who have previously been cited as a possible free agency suitor for Fred VanVleet, have “real” interest in the Raptors point guard, reports Moore. While VanVleet is thought to be available at the trade deadline due to his uncertain contract status beyond this season, one executive told Moore that trying to get a deal done with Toronto is “like blood from stone.”
  • There’s a growing belief that forward Jarred Vanderbilt will be on the move this week even if the Jazz don’t get the first-round pick they’re seeking for him, according to Moore, who suggest the Trail Blazers may be the frontrunner to land Vanderbilt.
  • Two league sources tell Moore that the Cavaliers have contacted the Hawks to inquire about Bogdan Bogdanovic. While there’s no indication those talks went anywhere, it’s worth noting Caris LeVert‘s $18.8MM salary is a near-perfect match for Bogdanovic’s $18MM cap hit.
  • Recent strong play from Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein has reduced the odds that he’ll be traded before Thursday’s deadline — the belief is that he’ll remain in New York, per Moore.

Lakers Notes: Trade Deadline, Westbrook, Irving, Reaves

Now that Kyrie Irving is headed to Dallas, the Lakers are left to search for other ways to upgrade their roster, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register.

There don’t appear to be any other All-Star level talents available for what L.A. has to offer, so Goon believes the options now involve role players such as Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley from the Jazz, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott from the Spurs or possibly Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Mason Plumlee from the Hornets.

The Lakers are also in a difficult situation because the player they most want to part with, Russell Westbrook, has a contract that will likely require three or four players in return to match salaries, Goon adds. Utah, Charlotte and San Antonio may not be interested in making such a complex deal when there are simpler options with other teams.

Last month’s acquisition of Rui Hachimura — and the likelihood of a new contract this summer — will cut into L.A.’s projected cap room. A rival executive told Goon that the Lakers want to limit this year’s hit on their repeater tax, which also reduces their options in the trade market.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Westbrook has been better this season, teams remain reluctant to take on his $47.1MM contract, Goon adds. The same executive says potential trade partners still want at least one future unprotected first-round pick attached in any Westbrook deal. Goon also speculates that the Lakers’ interest in Irving may have opened old wounds with Westbrook that could affect locker room chemistry if he remains with the team.
  • The Lakers received permission from the Nets to talk to Irving’s representatives when he was pondering his player option last summer, but they didn’t follow up, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Even though L.A. appeared to be the most likely trade partner at the time, Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, never heard from any member of the team’s front office. Buha’s sources say the Nets informed the Lakers that they wouldn’t have accepted Westbrook in an Irving deal, so his only path to L.A. was to decline the option and sign for the mid-level exception, which the Lakers didn’t believe he would do. L.A. reportedly tried again in early July and during Summer League, but Brooklyn wasn’t interested in dealing Irving at the time.
  • Austin Reaves talks about the difficulty of breaking into the NBA as an undrafted free agent during an interview with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Spurs Rumors: Poeltl, Free Agency, McDermott, Richardson

The Spurs are in the midst of discussing trades oriented around starting center Jakob Poeltl with over half a dozen clubs, reports LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk. Ellis previously stated in December that Poeltl, an unrestricted free agent in 2023, had been San Antonio’s most popular player on the trade market. With just a few weeks left until the February 9 trade deadline, interest appears to be heating up.

Two sources inform Ellis that the Raptors are interested in reacquiring Poeltl, whom Toronto initially traded as part of its deal for All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard in 2018. A three-team deal that includes the contract of Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. has been discussed.

The Celtics are interested in shoring up their front line with Poeltl, and are reportedly prepared to move an unprotected future first-round pick in 2028.

Because Poeltl is less concerned with low post touches than their incumbent starting centers, the Trail Blazers and Pelicans are reportedly also potentially intrigued by the Spurs’ big man. The Mavericks view a hypothetical addition of Poeltl as an improvement on their current big men, a Western Conference scout tells Ellis.

Conversations with the Warriors have stalled, as the Spurs don’t have much interest in acquiring either James Wiseman or Jonathan Kuminga in a Poeltl deal, per Ellis.

There’s more out of San Antonio:

  • A team insider tells Ellis that, should San Antonio not find a deal it likes, it would try to re-sign Poeltl. League sources tell Ellis that Poeltl could earn “at least” a four-year, $80MM contract as a free agent, far above an extension offer the Spurs could offer him this season, which would be worth up to $58MM.
  • The Lakers have stayed somewhat engaged in potential trade conversations with San Antonio as well, Ellis reports. L.A. may still want to offload the $47.1MM expiring contract of reserve point guard Russell Westbrook, and could be interested in adding sharpshooters Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott, in addition to Poeltl.
  • San Antonio wants solid returns for both McDermott and Richardson, a source informs Ellis. The Spurs are seeking a first-round draft pick for Richardson, while also hoping for solid value out of McDermott. “Dougie won’t be traded for a second round pick, I can tell you that,” the source told Ellis.

Scotto’s Latest: Reid, Allen, Reddish, Poeltl, Anunoby

The Clippers and Nuggets are among the teams that have expressed interest in Timberwolves center Naz Reid, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype writes in his latest roundup of trade rumors.

Reid will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Scotto says there’s a belief around the league that he could land a contract worth the full taxpayer or non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Although he’s primarily a backup, Reid has been effective amid injuries to Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, averaging 15.4 PPG in seven games as a starter this season.

The Wolves are also exploring offers for D’Angelo Russell, and Scotto suggests that both Minnesota players might be moved in deals involving L.A.’s Terance Mann or Denver’s Bones Hyland, whom Connelly drafted during his time with the Nuggets.

Scotto offers more insight into the trade market with the deadline nearing:

  • The Knicks would like to acquire Grayson Allen from the Bucks as part of a deal involving Cam Reddish, although Scotto notes that might not be realistic given Allen’s inclusion in other trade rumors. Allen is a starter in Milwaukee and is a valuable shooter, connecting at 39.5% from three-point range, while Reddish has been benched in New York for the past 25 games. Allen has been mentioned in deals involving the Suns’ Jae Crowder and the Rockets’ Eric Gordon, which Scotto sees as more likely. However, he adds that the Bucks and Knicks have talked about a Reddish deal that doesn’t involve Allen, so the fourth-year forward could still wind up in Milwaukee.
  • The Spurs may be able to land a first-round pick and a young player in exchange for center Jakob Poeltl. That’s probably the limit, Scotto adds, because Poeltl will be a free agent this summer and will likely get a new contract starting around $20MM per season. If they don’t trade him by the deadline, Scotto expects the Spurs to give him that deal so they don’t lose him without getting something in return.
  • Two other Spurs are also in demand, with Scotto viewing one or two second-round picks as the price for Doug McDermott and one second-rounder enough to land Josh Richardson. McDermott is under contract for $13.75MM in 2023/24, while Richardson is headed toward free agency.
  • The Grizzlies are an interesting team to watch if the Raptors decide to part with OG Anunoby, Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype adds in the same piece. Memphis owns all its first-round picks, along with a Warriors first-rounder in 2024 that’s top-four protected. Gozlan believes the Grizzlies might offer Danny Green and a young asset like Ziaire Williams in addition to draft capital, although Toronto might insist on Dillon Brooks. Other teams that could get involved in the Anunoby bidding, according to Gozlan, include the Trail Blazers, who reportedly offered the No. 7 pick to Toronto for Anunoby before last year’s draft, along with the Knicks, Kings and Suns.

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.