Kent Bazemore

Trade Rumors: Rockets, Bazemore, Hawks, Heat, Bucks

The Rockets reportedly remain in the market for at least one more wing player, even after reaching a deal with Carmelo Anthony, but Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) hears that the team isn’t actively pursuing Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore.

According to Amick, Bazemore isn’t a major part of the Rockets’ discussions at this point. Amick suggests (via Twitter) that the Houston front office would have more interest in sending Ryan Anderson to the Heat in a deal that brings back a player like James Johnson or Tyler Johnson.

Of course, any Rockets offer would need to include additional compensation, such as a draft pick and/or a young player, to entice the Heat. Even then, it’s not clear if Miami would be interested in such a trade.

One team with apparent interest in dealing with the Rockets is Atlanta, according to Kelly Iko of RocketsWire (Twitter link). While Houston’s interest in Bazemore seems limited, Iko reports that the Hawks would be open to a trade if they could get a draft pick and a young player such as De’Anthony Melton in addition to Anderson. That asking price may be one reason why the Rockets’ interest in a Bazemore trade appears to have dissipated.

According to Iko (via Twitter), the Bucks have also contacted the Hawks about the possibility of acquiring Bazemore. New Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer was in Atlanta with Bazemore, and Iko indicates the young wing would be open to reuniting with his former coach on a contender. Initial trade discussions between the Bucks and Hawks didn’t get far though, Iko notes.

Rockets Remain In Market For Wing Player

The Rockets are poised to finalize a deal with Carmelo Anthony after he clears waivers later today, but signing Anthony won’t necessarily complete Houston’s offseason. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe details in a recent podcast conversation with Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight, the Rockets remain in the market for at least one more wing player.

“They are going to get another wing,” Lowe said of the Rockets. “It’s going to happen.”

The Rockets lost two key forwards last month when Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute signed with new teams in free agency. Despite re-signing Gerald Green, adding James Ennis, and lining up a deal with Anthony, Houston could use another player with the ability to make threes on offense and guard talented perimeter players on defense.

Earlier this week, we heard that Houston has interest in Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore — Lowe and Herring discuss that possibility, with the ESPN analyst suggesting that the Rockets would likely offer Atlanta a package of Ryan Anderson and their 2019 first-round pick. However, the Hawks aren’t the only team the Rockets are keeping an eye on.

According to Lowe, the Rockets have also talked to the Heat. While Lowe doesn’t identify any specific Miami players that Houston is targeting, he speculates that perhaps the Rockets would be willing to offer that same package of Anderson and a pick for someone like Tyler Johnson.

The Rockets have also “kicked the tires” on Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, per Lowe. At $14.72MM, Smith has a smaller 2018/19 salary than players like Bazemore and Johnson, so the Cavaliers wouldn’t be able to trade him straight up for Anderson ($20.42MM) and a pick. Smith also only has a modest partial guarantee on his 2019/20 salary, making his contract much more palatable than Anderson’s. That could complicate any trade discussions between the two teams.

Although Lowe doesn’t go into more details on any other trade talks the Rockets might be having, there are a handful of other players around the NBA who would be logical targets as Houston dangles Anderson and a draft pick. Nicolas Batum, DeMarre Carroll, Marvin Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Courtney Lee are other wings who make between $12-24MM in 2018/19 and are under contract for multiple seasons, though some players in that group are more realistic trade candidates than others.

Rockets Pursuing Hawks’ Kent Bazemore?

The Rockets are interested in dealing for the Hawks’ Kent Bazemore, according to Kelly Iko of RocketsWire.

While the addition of Carmelo Anthony after he clears waivers seems like a foregone conclusion, the Rockets are in the market for a defensive-minded wing. Bazemore fits that bill but Houston would have come up with a package that would interest the Hawks.

Presumably, the Rockets would deal Ryan Anderson’s contract to make the numbers match up, but they’d have to attach a draft pick and/or young player to entice Atlanta’s front office. Anderson has two years and $41.7MM left on his deal with no options; Bazemore has two years and $37.3MM left on his contract but holds a player option for the final year.

A package of Anderson, Chinanu Onuaku and a 2019 first-rounder would be feasible financially but Atlanta doesn’t view Onuaku as a ‘move-the-needle’ player, according to Iko.

Bazemore averaged 12.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 SPG in 65 starts with Atlanta last season.

The Pelicans are also looking at Bazemore, according to Iko, but Atlanta doesn’t want Solomon Hill as part of the deal.

Cavaliers Notes: White, Doncic, Parker, Love

Okaro White has a chance to win a roster spot with the Cavaliers, but first he has to overcome the effects of a broken left foot he suffered in November, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. White’s foot has fully healed, but he is still struggling with the psychological aspects of the injury and admits he’s “babying” it.

“I just gotta get through,” said White, who is part of the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. “I’m old enough, I’m not young anymore, so I gotta get over it [mentally] and try to find a way to showcase my ability.”

White started four games for the Heat before the injury, but it wound up ending his season. He was shipped to the Hawks at the trade deadline, then signed with the Cavs in March, but never took the court for either team. The 25-year-old forward has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 contract for 2018/19.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers passed on an opportunity to trade up on draft night and snag Luka Doncic, Vardon reports in a separate story. A source tells Vardon that Cleveland had an offer from Atlanta that included the No. 3 pick and Kent Bazemore, who will make more than $18MM next season with a $19.27MM option for 2019/20. However, the Cavs wanted Collin Sexton and were confident they could get him at No. 8.
  • With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers should take a gamble on Jabari Parker, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. The second player taken in the 2014 draft, Parker could become a dynamic scorer and rebounder if he can fully bounce back from his second ACL surgery. Swartz suggests Cleveland should use its $8.6MM mid-level exception to offer Parker a two-year contract. That would give him $13.3MM more in guaranteed money than if he accepts his $4.3MM qualifying offer with the Bucks, and it would put him back on the open market in 2020 when he’ll only be 25. Swartz recommends a few other moves for the Cavs, including re-signing Rodney Hood, working out an extension with Larry Nance Jr., trying to trade veterans such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson and taking on unwanted contracts to stockpile draft picks.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests several trades involving Kevin Love, listing the Trail Blazers, Heat, Lakers, Suns and Jazz as possible destinations.

And-Ones: Warriors, Trade Block, Howard

The Warriors are likely to carry only 14 players heading into the season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). The move would save the team money against the luxury tax and leave the organization with room to add a player during the season. Slater notes that the pair of players it signs under two-way deals can fill-in for minutes if needed.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Wilson Chandler, who officially opted into his 2018/19 contract with the Nuggets last week, is available in trade talks, David Aldridge of NBA.com reports (Twitter link). Chandler will make slightly over $12.8MM this upcoming year.
  • The HawksKent Bazemore and the KnicksCourtney Lee are both available in trade talks as well, Aldridge adds. The scribe also confirms that there are no untouchable players on the Raptors.
  • The Warriors insist they are not interested in signing Dwight Howard once the center reaches a buyout with the Nets, Marc Stein of The New York Times writes. Charlotte dealt the big man to Brooklyn after one uninspiring season with the club.
  • LeBron James has indicated that family considerations will play a big role in his free agency decision. Stein (same piece) can envision James choosing the Lakers with a belief that President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson can assist him and his family with their off-court needs.

Mavs Acquire No. 3 Pick, Draft Luka Doncic

9:21pm: Marc Stein of The New York Times has the protection details on the 2019 first-round pick going to Atlanta in the deal. According to Stein (via Twitter), it will be top-five protected in 2019 and 2020, top-three protected in 2021 and 2022, and fully unprotected in 2023.

6:47pm: The Mavericks and Hawks agreed to a blockbuster trade involving the No. 3 pick that allowed Dallas to draft Luka Doncic.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the Hawks will acquire a 2019 first-round pick in the trade, while Atlanta took Trae Young at No. 5. No veteran players are involved in the deal, Woj adds (via Twitter).

Previous versions of the trade had Kent Bazemore going to Dallas and Wesley Matthews to Atlanta, but the Hawks were reluctant to add Matthews to a young, rebuilding team. They opted for a simple swap of picks, with some light protections on the future first-rounder. Atlanta had been hoping to free up some cap room by finding a taker for Bazemore, who is owed more than $18MM next season and has a player option worth nearly $19.3MM in 2019/20.

The teams were close to a trade around 5:00pm ET, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, but fell apart until the Mavs agree to include the future pick. The pick is scheduled to transfer next season, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports and will be top-five protected (Twitter link).

A source from the Mavericks, who described the protections as minimal to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, said, “We hope it conveys next year.” (Twitter link).

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Mavs’ Pursuit Of No. 3 Pick Losing Momentum?

6:11pm: There’s a sense around the NBA that talks between the Mavs and Hawks have stalled, but aren’t dead, as there’s some incentive for both sides to get something done, tweets Jeremy Woo of SI.com.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that the Hawks asked for at least one future draft pick from Dallas in addition to the package noted below by Marc Stein, while Stein adds (via Twitter) that Atlanta was asking for an unprotected first-rounder.

5:59pm: While the Mavericks reportedly made a push for the No. 3 pick in the hopes of drafting Luka Doncic, it doesn’t seem like a trade with the Hawks will materialize, according to reports. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports suggests (via Twitter) that those discussions have “lost momentum” in recent hours.

Meanwhile, Marc Stein of The New York Times reports (via Twitter) that the Hawks and Mavericks are still engaged in talks, but Dallas has been unwilling to send Wesley Matthews to Atlanta in exchange for Kent Bazemore. The two players’ salaries are comparable, but Bazemore is under contract for two more years, while Matthews will be on an expiring deal, so the swap would essentially amount to paying $19MM+ to move up two spots.

Mike Fisher of 247Sports.com and Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter links) are among those suggesting that a trade is still possible. However, at this point it seems more likely than not that the Mavs will stay put at No. 5, as president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson hints.

“We feel very comfortable with where we’re at (No. 5) and that’s probably how it’s going to play out,” Nelson said tonight, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

Draft Rumors: Hawks, Bazemore, Porter, Suns

With Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III viewed as near-locks to be the first two players off the board in the 2018 NBA draft, the No. 3 pick is worth keeping a close eye on. Zach Klein of WSB in Atlanta hears (via Twitter) that the Hawks trading back to No. 5 is a viable possibility. In that scenario, the Mavericks would select Luka Doncic and Atlanta would grab Trae Young.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer follows up on Klein’s report, tweeting that the Hawks and Magic – who hold the No. 6 pick – have also been connected, according to a source. In either trade scenario, Kent Bazemore may be involved in a deal, per Klein and O’Connor.

As we wait to see what happens with the No. 3 pick, here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes:

  • In the latest version of his mock draft at ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony reports that there’s a chance Michael Porter Jr. will slip out of the top 10 due to concerns about his back and hip. Givony has Porter coming off the board at No. 12 to the Clippers.
  • The Suns continue to gauge the market as they explore a possible move up from No. 16, but it will be “extremely hard” to make a deal, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, adding that most teams in the top 10 are reluctant to trade. If Phoenix stays at No. 16, keep an eye on Maryland’s Kevin Huerter as a possible “sleeper” pick, Gambadoro adds (via Twitter).
  • As ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter), the Hawks, Bulls, Mavericks, and Sixers are ineligible to acquire any cash in trades tonight, while the Cavaliers and Heat can’t send out any cash. Although those teams have reached their 2017/18 limits, they could always reach a tentative trade agreement and finalize it in July, after those traded-cash restrictions reset.

Hawks’ Schroder, Bazemore On Trade Block?

1:47pm: In addition to having made Schroder available, the Hawks have also been motivated to move Kent Bazemore – their other highest-paid player – since last summer, sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). Fischer adds that Atlanta is currently viewed as the most active team on the “explorative” draft trade market.

11:56am: The Hawks have made Dennis Schroder available in trades, league sources tell Jeremy Woo of SI.com. However, according to Woo, the point guard has been difficult to move due to concerns about his attitude, along with the $46.5MM remaining on his contract.

Schroder had already been considered a trade candidate due to comments he made earlier in the offseason. As we detailed last month, the 24-year-old expressed a desire to compete for a title and a dissatisfaction with the Hawks’ performance in the 2017/18 season. While reports at the time indicated that Schroder hadn’t formally asked for a trade, he didn’t sound like a player excited about the prospect about going through a rebuild in Atlanta.

Schroder averaged a career-best 19.4 PPG last season to go along with 6.2 APG and 3.1 RPG. Typically, when a player entering his mid-20s is producing at that level and is under team control for three more years at a relatively affordable rate ($15.5MM annually), he’s a building block for a rebuilding franchise, rather than a trade chip. However, the Hawks’ current management group didn’t draft or extend Schroder and may not be attached to him. Additionally, the point guard’s hints that he wants out of Atlanta don’t bode well for a long-term union.

Complicating matters further is Schroder’s pending legal case. He was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge last September, with Georgia officials recommending in March that he be prosecuted for felony aggravated battery. Schroder figures to face discipline from his team and/or the league when that case is resolved.

The Hawks’ ability to find a taker for Schroder could have an impact on their draft plans this week. As Woo writes in his mock draft, the team is believed to be high on Trae Young. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders corroborates this account, writing that more and more league sources believe Young is the Hawks’ top target. If Atlanta uses the No. 3 pick on Young, or trades down to select him, it would negatively affect the club’s leverage in trade talks involving Schroder.

Injury Notes: Bazemore, Smart, A. Williams, MCW

Although Kent Bazemore‘s season has ended early due to a bone bruise in his right knee, the Hawks swingman still felt like 2017/18 was a better overall year for him than the 2016/17 campaign, writes Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I’m in a great place,” Bazemore said on Tuesday. “Solid bounce-back season after last year’s efforts. I grew as a player and a leader. I’ve learned a new train of thought for an NBA season. Now it’s up to me to take it to the next level and be able to play all season. … I felt great all year. The injury was kind of a freak accident, in my opinion. I was available every night up to that point. It was a good year overall.”

According to Bazemore, the injury will take him about six to eight weeks to fully recover from, which is why the Hawks are shutting him down for the season — there are only about four weeks left in the regular season, and Atlanta obviously isn’t playoff-bound. Bazemore, who will look to enter the 2018/19 season fully healthy, will be entering the third season of his lucrative four-year contract with the Hawks.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • A league source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) that the Celtics sure aren’t sure what the odds are that Marcus Smart returns to the court this season. Smart, officially diagnosed with a sprained thumb, reportedly tore a tendon in that thumb. “(They’re) waiting for that second opinion,” the source told Murphy. “Don’t know if it’s a 50% chance or a 30% chance (that he can get back on the court this season). Just don’t know.”
  • Although it initially looked like he might play for the Suns tonight, Alan Williams is now targeting Thursday or Saturday for his 2017/18 debut, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Williams has been sidelined all season with a right knee injury.
  • The Hornets confirmed today in a press release that Michael Carter-Williams underwent successful surgery to address the torn labrum in his left shoulder. As initially reported last week, the former Rookie of the Year will miss the rest of the season before reaching unrestricted free agency this summer.