Justin Holiday

Hawks To Trade Kevin Huerter To Kings

The Hawks and Kings have agreed to a trade that will send sharpshooter Kevin Huerter to Sacramento, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Atlanta will receive forwards Justin Holiday and Maurice Harkless in the deal, along with a future first-round pick.

That first-rounder will be the Kings’ own 2024 selection and will be lottery-protected, reports Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter link). If it doesn’t convey immediately, it would be top-12 protected in 2025 and top-10 protected in 2026. If it still hasn’t changed hands by that point, the Hawks would instead receive two second-rounders, says Kirschner.

The Kings have clearly made it a priority this offseason to add reliable outside shooting to complement their two stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Huerter made a career-high 38.9% of his three-pointers in 2021/22, attempting 5.6 per game.

Neither Fox nor Sabonis is a major threat from beyond the arc, but they should be surrounded by solid floor-spaces. In addition to striking a deal for Huerter, the Kings have also drafted Keegan Murray and agreed to sign Malik Monk since the offseason began.

The Hawks, meanwhile, will replenish their stash of draft assets slightly after giving up three first-round picks and a swap to acquire Dejounte Murray earlier in the week.

Atlanta will also move off Huerter’s four-year, $65MM contract, creating a little extra long-term flexibility and also shedding some salary in the short term. As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets, Atlanta is hovering right around the tax line for 13 players.

While the Hawks will miss Huerter’s shooting, their first-round pick, AJ Griffin, was considered one of the top marksmen in this year’s draft class and should help make up for that loss. Assuming both are retained, Holiday and Harkless also offer some defensive versatility that Huerter lacked.

The Hawks have now agreed to acquire two of the Holiday brothers today — they also reached a deal to sign point guard Aaron Holiday.

Sabonis To Kings, Haliburton To Pacers In Six-Player Trade

9:00pm: The trade is now official, the Pacers announced in a press release.

4:36pm: The second-rounder being sent to Sacramento in the deal is actually a 2023 pick that will be convey if it lands anywhere from 31-55, per Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter links).

12:37pm: The Pacers have agreed to send Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday to the Kings in exchange for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Sacramento will also receive a 2027 second-round pick in the trade, according to Wojnarowski. That pick will presumably be the Utah selection the Pacers acquired from Cleveland on Monday, since Indiana has traded away its own 2027 second-rounder.

The deal involves two teams that have been trying to shake up their rosters ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. Both are in the middle of disappointing seasons, with the Pacers 13th in the East at 19-36 and the Kings, who were open about their need to make the playoffs heading into the season, stuck at 13th in the West at 20-35, two games out of the final play-in spot.

Sabonis, who was an All-Star in 2020 and 2021, carries a $19.8MM cap hit this season, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. As Marks notes, Sabonis’ cap figure is expected to eventually drop to $18.5MM this season and $19.4MM next year because his All-Star bonus will be considered unlikely going forward.

Sabonis’ production has remained steady at 18.9 points, 12.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists through 47 games, but the Pacers have been looking to break up the combination of Sabonis and Myles Turner.

Lamb has an expiring $10.5MM deal, while Holiday is under contract for $6MM and $6.3MM next season. The Kings will create a $4MM trade exception in the deal, Marks adds.

It’s a fascinating deal for the Kings, since reports in recent weeks repeatedly stated they preferred to build around Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox going forward. They relented on Haliburton in order to land a star center and will now move ahead with rookie Davion Mitchell as Fox’s potential long-term backcourt partner. It’s unclear whether more moves are coming for Sacramento, which still has a frontcourt logjam that includes center Richaun Holmes.

The Pacers, meanwhile, acquire a potential future star in Haliburton, who has emerged as a full-time starter this season and is averaging 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 51 games. He will make $4.2MM and $5.8MM over the next two seasons and will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the summer of 2023.

Indiana also lands Hield, who has a $23.1MM salary this year that will drop to $21.2MM next season and $19.3MM in 2023/24, and Thompson, who has a $9.7MM expiring deal. The Pacers will create a $10.5MM trade exception, according to Marks (Twitter link).

The trade leaves Indiana $615K below the luxury tax line, though Hield has nine bonuses in his contract that could affect that, Marks adds (via Twitter). Two of them are considered likely — fewer than two turnovers per game and finishing in the top 10 in made three-pointers — which would add up to $595,962 and push team salary dangerously close to the threshold. If the Pacers make more deals this week, they’ll likely try to trim a little more salary to create additional breathing room below the tax line.

Indiana was said to be seeking a Nikola Vucevic-esque package of several draft picks and/or young prospects in exchange for Sabonis. However, as we noted when we previewed the trade deadline for Central teams last week, the Pacers have historically preferred to acquire packages headlined by promising NBA-ready players rather than draft picks when they’ve traded away stars. The team first acquired Sabonis along with Victor Oladipo for Paul George in a 2017 blockbuster that was widely panned by experts at the time.

Sabonis and Oladipo both eventually developed into All-Stars in Indiana, and now the Pacers will hope for the same from Haliburton, a potential two-way impact player who is still just 21 years old.

Central Notes: Sabonis, Lonzo, Vucevic, Holiday, Stewart

Pacers center Domantas Sabonis returned to action Friday at Oklahoma City, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Sabonis put up 24 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and two blocks in Indiana’s 113-110 overtime victory. Sabonis missed four games with a sprained left ankle suffered Jan. 19 against the Lakers. We noted earlier this week that a weekend return was a possibility.

The two-time All-Star is having another strong season for Indiana, putting up 19.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest on .577/.327/.744 shooting through 44 games (34.9 minutes).

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball had successful knee surgery to repair his torn meniscus, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. If he returns within the projected six-to-eight week recovery period, Ball could be back in mid-to-late March.
  • Two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic is having a disappointing individual season for Chicago, and James L. Jackson of FiveThirtyEight writes that the banged-up Bulls need the version of Vucevic they traded for last year. Vucevic is shooting just 33% from deep after shooting 40% last season, and his 49% mark on two-pointers is his lowest since 2016/17.
  • Pacers wing Justin Holiday is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and plans to remain that way, which could limit his appeal on the trade market somewhat because certain NBA cities have vaccine mandates, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star relays (via Twitter).
  • Second-year Pistons center Isaiah Stewart is a meticulous student of the game, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Stewart has recorded notes in a binder for every game he’s played in his young career, frequently watching film to monitor his progress. He said not afraid to ask questions to improve his game. “Growing up, I’ve just always asked questions,” Stewart said. “I want to learn more. I know I don’t know it all. If there’s something I don’t see or understand, I’m definitely going to ask instead of acting like I know it all. Bottom line: I want to learn.”

Eastern Trade Rumors: Pacers, Sixers, Hawks, Celtics, More

Although Domantas Sabonis‘ name has frequently surfaced in trade rumors in the last couple months, one executive who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said he doesn’t think the Pacers will move Sabonis unless they get a package like the one Orlando got for Nikola Vucevic last season. Chicago gave up two lightly-protected first-round picks and young center Wendell Carter Jr. for Vucevic, and took on Al-Farouq Aminu‘s multiyear contract in the deal.

The price will be significantly lower for other Pacers trade candidates, including Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb, who are both available, according to Scotto. Rival executives tell HoopsHype that Indiana is thought to be seeking a couple second-round picks for Holiday.

Scotto doesn’t specify an asking price for Lamb, but I imagine it will be a challenge for the Pacers to get positive value for the veteran wing — he’s having a down year and is earning more than $10MM.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the Eastern Conference from the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast:

  • When the Sixers and Hawks discussed Ben Simmons, they “briefly kicked around” a trade that would’ve involved Simmons, Tobias Harris, John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Danilo Gallinari, according to Scotto. That concept didn’t gain any traction though, as Atlanta has no interest in Harris.
  • Scotto has heard the Celtics did due diligence on Rockets center Daniel Theis, but says a reunion with the big man is less likely following last week’s Juan Hernangomez trade, since Hernangomez would’ve been the most logical salary-matching piece in any deal involving Theis. Scotto adds that rival executives believe Boston will hang onto Robert Williams, viewing him as part of the team’s current core.
  • The Hornets, Raptors, and Bulls are among the teams in the market for a center, says Scotto. The position has been an area of concern for Charlotte and Toronto for a while — Chicago has Vucevic, but would be interested in adding a backup.

Moore’s Latest: Hawks, Bogdanovic, LeVert, Celtics, Robinson

The Hawks are a good bet to make significant changes at the trade deadline, according to Matt Moore of Action Network. Multiple sources tell Moore that the directive from team ownership is to turn the season around following an 18-25 start, so Atlanta won’t just be sellers — they’ll want to acquire players who can help right away.

While the price tag would likely be high, John Collins is someone the Hawks are willing to talk about, according to Moore, who hears from sources that Bogdan Bogdanovic is another veteran the team would discuss.

Here are a few more items of interest from Moore:

  • The Pacers have received multiple offers for Caris LeVert, sources tell Moore. While Moore views LeVert as the Pacer most likely to be traded, he says it wouldn’t be surprising if others, such as Justin Holiday, are on the move, possibly in a larger deal.
  • A pair of rival executives who spoke to Moore were skeptical that the Celtics will do anything too drastic at the trade deadline. “They’re not so off track that they need to just give up and trade Jaylen Brown and blow the whole thing up,” one of the execs said. “They’re where they usually are, with a team good enough to compete but not good enough to scare you. They’ll look for a big upgrade without having to give up anything.”
  • With Max Strus‘ playing time on the rise and Duncan Robinson seeing his role reduced a little as of late, there’s a belief around the league that the Heat would be open to discussing the sharpshooter, says Moore. Robinson, who entered the season with a .423 career 3PT%, has made just 34.8% of his threes in 2021/22.

Fischer’s Latest: McCollum, Powell, Simmons, Turner, Hawks, Schroder

Anfernee Simons‘ breakout season is leading to speculation that the Trail Blazers may try to trade CJ McCollum or Norman Powell, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Portland entered the season with plans to be a contender, but injuries and some disappointing performances have left the team in a tight race for a play-in spot. With Damian Lillard sidelined after abdominal surgery, the Blazers may opt to unload some of their assets and take advantage of a high draft pick going into next season.

There have been whispers throughout the league that McCollum might be available, though Fischer wonders how much of a return he’ll provide considering that he’s 30 years old, is in the middle of a down season, and has been out of action for six weeks after suffering a collapsed lung. He also has two full years left on his contract at $33.3MM and $35.8MM.

Powell, who signed a five-year, $90MM extension during the offseason, seems like a more surprising name to be included in trade talks. However, about a dozen teams wanted to acquire him before he went to Portland at last season’s deadline and Fischer found that many league executives see his contract as valuable.

There’s a belief that Powell wouldn’t mind being traded again, as sources tell Fischer that there were “several snags” in his contract negotiations with the Blazers. One of the teams he considered in free agency was the Pelicans, according to Fischer, who notes that New Orleans is seeking to upgrade to improve its chances of reaching the play-in tournament.

Fischer shares a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Little has changed on the Ben Simmons trade front since the offseason, as Sixers ownership, the front office, coach Doc Rivers, and star center Joel Embiid are all united in the stance that the team needs to get an elite player in return. Fischer states that Philadelphia is willing to wait for someone along the lines of Lillard, Bradley Beal, James Harden or Jaylen Brown to become available. The Sixers have discussed three-team packages with the Kings, Pacers and Timberwolves, but none of those teams can offer a star that Philadelphia sees as equal value for Simmons.
  • The Pacers are seeking multiple first-round picks in exchange for center Myles Turner. The Mavericks, Timberwolves, Knicks, Kings, Hornets and Trail Blazers have all expressed interest, and several league executives told Fischer that the Raptors might be a team to watch. The Cavaliers and Knicks have asked about Caris LeVert, but Indiana also wants multiple first-rounders for him. The Pacers have gauged the trade value of Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and Torrey Craig too, Fischer adds.
  • The Hawks are willing to consider a major upheaval before the deadline, with a rival assistant GM telling Fischer that he believes everyone except Trae Young and Clint Capela are available. Atlanta appears willing to move De’Andre Hunter for veteran help, and there may be a market for Danilo Gallinari, who only has a $5MM guarantee next season on his $20MM contract.
  • The Celtics will try to trade Dennis Schröder, who is unlikely to be re-signed next season because of tax considerations. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Mavericks are all possible destinations. Boston has also targeted Suns center Jalen Smith, who will be a free agent after Phoenix declined his third-year option.

COVID-19 Updates: Rivers, Millsap, Hornets, Holiday, Brooks

The Nuggets are expecting Austin Rivers to exit the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. It may take an extra day or two before Rivers is fully cleared to play, but his impeding return means Davon Reed‘s time with the team is likely done for the time being, Singer notes.

Denver signed Reed to a 10-day contract using the hardship exception on December 4. That deal will expire after Monday’s game, and with Rivers due back, the Nuggets will no longer be eligible to carry an extra player via the hardship provision.

Although Reed will likely head back to the Grand Rapids Gold – the Nuggets’ G League affiliate – he made a strong impression on the team during his time in the NBA and could be back later this season, says Singer (via Twitter).

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Nets forward Paul Millsap has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Millsap is averaging a career-low 11.2 minutes per game in Brooklyn this season, so his absence shouldn’t create a huge hole in the team’s rotation.
  • Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels and center Mason Plumlee cleared the league’s health and safety protocols on Monday and were sent to the G League to complete a conditioning/rehab assignment with the Greensboro Swarm, the club announced (via Twitter). Charlotte still has LaMelo Ball and Ish Smith in the protocols, but the team is moving closer to getting all its affected players back after Terry Rozier was cleared on Sunday (Twitter link).
  • Pacers wing Justin Holiday, who has missed the team’s last five games while in the health and safety protocols, returned to practice on Sunday and said he’ll likely remain unvaccinated after having contracted COVID-19, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Assuming his stance doesn’t change, Holiday won’t be eligible to cross the Canadian border to play in Toronto on March 26.
  • Dillon Brooks‘ stint in the health and safety protocols was a short one. The Grizzlies forward received clearance on Saturday after being placed in the protocols on Thursday, as Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. The quick reversal suggests Brooks may have registered a false positive test.

Pacers’ Holiday In COVID-19 Protocols, Out Several Games

Pacers wing Justin Holiday has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). Agness adds that Holiday will be sidelined for at least 10 days of action with Indiana, which will cover the club’s next four contests.

A player in the league’s health and safety protocols for 10 days or more has typically tested positive for the coronavirus, though no official confirmation of Holiday’s health status has been confirmed. Holiday has been in and out of the starting lineup this season, most recently replaceng rookie Chris Duarte as the club’s starting small forward.

The 6’6″ swingman, 32, is averaging 9.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.7 APG for the Pacers. He is boasting a .398/.357/.727 shooting line, relatively comparable to his career numbers of .399/.364/.819, besides the notably lower free-throw percentage.

Holiday is in the second year of a three-season, $18MM contract he signed with the Pacers in the 2020 offseason.

Central Notes: Cousins, Vucevic, Holiday, Duarte, Hayes

DeMarcus Cousins won’t be asked to play major minutes for the Bucks, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The veteran center can give them 10-15 minutes a game and help lessen the load on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis, who have been manning the middle while Brook Lopez has been sidelined with a back injury. Cousins agreed on Sunday to sign a non-guaranteed deal.

Cousins took part in a workout led by assistant coach Darvin Ham on Saturday in Las Vegas, Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated tweets. Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton and VP of Global Scouting Ryan Hoover attended the workout, and Cousins had a phone conversation with coach Mike Budenholzer afterward.

We have more info on the Central Division:

  • Nikola Vucevic hasn’t looked right since returning from a bout with COVID-19, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. In his third game back on Saturday, the Bulls big man took only nine shots, scored seven points and committed three turnovers. The Heat paid special attention to him defensively. “I do think he’s getting his footing back under him,” coach Billy Donovan said. Vucevic’s 13.4 PPG are his lowest since his first season with the Magic in 2012/13, Cowley notes.
  • Justin Holiday has been giving advice to Pacers rookie Chris Duarte about his new bench role, Brendan Rourke of the team’s website writes. “When you’re young, you focus a lot on being the starter and doing stuff like that,” Holiday said. “I’m just trying to give him a different sight of how he can still help. He’s still just as valuable even though he doesn’t have that starting role.” Holiday has been inserted into the starting lineup in place of Duarte.
  • A four-game layoff to rest a sprained left thumb helped Pistons second-year guard Killian Hayes, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. ‘”It was good for him to take it off, he’s feeling much better now,” coach Dwane Casey said of Hayes, who had six points and eight assists in 29 minutes against the Lakers on Sunday. “We’ll see if he can jumpstart it to do it again. He was playing pretty good, especially defensively.”

Central Notes: Mobley, Garland, Rubio, Holiday, McConnell

Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley and third-year shooting guard Darius Garland have developed strong chemistry in the early part of a surprisingly successful 2021/22 season, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. At 9-5, Cleveland is currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. According to Fedor, the duo’s chemistry extends beyond the hardwood too, as they frequently grab dinner together during road trips.

“They’re dynamic together,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “They put a threat on the floor, where it’s two-sided and it’s in a lot of space. Teams can’t really pick their poison in that. Both are such good playmakers, you’ve got a tough decision to make.”

“I enjoy it a lot,” Mobley said of his on-court fit with his Cavaliers teammate. “We always know where each other [is] on the floor. He knows where I want the ball and then vice versa. I feel like every game, we keep getting better. He does a great job throwing lobs as well. That lob today, that was tough.”

Both players were high lottery picks. The seven-foot Mobley, an early Rookie of the Year favorite, was the third pick out of USC this season, while the 6’1″ Garland was the fifth pick in the 2019 draft out of Vanderbilt.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • New Cavaliers point guard Ricky Rubio, thrust into a starting role due to the absence of incumbent Collin Sexton, has proven to be a game-changing veteran this year, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com“He’s got the heart and grit and level of competition that isn’t matched many places,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “There is something special about him when it comes to impacting winning. He doesn’t have to shoot it great. He doesn’t have to get the stats or numbers. But he somehow impacts winning no matter when he’s on the floor.”
  • Pacers swingman Justin Holiday has found a fit with the team coming off the bench, writes James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star. Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle spoke highly of Holiday’s willingness to accept a bench role with Caris LeVert back in the starting lineup. “Justin’s certainly a very good player as a starter in this league, but it’s better for us if we can have him coming off the bench,” Carlisle said. “He’s a real professional at doing that. He knows how to get into the game, he’s got the right mindset and experience for it, he’s just a total team guy.” Boyd notes that, off the bench, Holiday is averaging 12.8 PPG on 49.1% shooting from the field and 44.4% from long range. In his eight contests as a starter, Holiday has averaged 7.0 PPG while connecting on just 32.3% of his looks from the floor and 29.8% of his efforts from deep.
  • Pacers reserve point guard T.J. McConnell is relishing his life as a bit of a bench pest with the Pacers, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. McConnell has planted real roots in town after signing a four-year extension worth up to $35.2MM with the club in the offseason. “He’s like a little irritant,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers remarked on McConnell. “He’s just solid, high IQ. There’s a bunch of guys that play that role in our league and they all are tough, they’re pesky, but they’re good. They’re more than just a pain, they’re actually good players.”