Kevin Huerter

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Leonard, Huerter, Green

New starting Suns power forward Cameron Johnson is undergoing a positive on-court evolution in accordance with his new gig, reports Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

“Getting more used to that on a night-in, night-out basis, and also finishing the game, man, that’s something that I love doing,” Johnson said of his adjustment to the new responsibilities of the role. “Being in there and being part of that critical thinking on top of high-level basketball portion of the game, it’s a lot of fun.”

Through seven contests for the West’s top-seeded 6-1 Suns, the 6’8″ Phoenix forward is averaging a career-best 14.9 PPG on .457/.440/.727 shooting splits, along with 3.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard only lasted two regular season games before knee issues flared up. L.A. head coach Tyronn Lue has provided a minor update on the state of the five-time All-Star’s health, noting that Leonard is “doing better and moving in a positive direction,” per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). Youngmisuk adds that Leonard will sit out the team’s upcoming two Texas road games. In his two healthy games for the Clippers, Leonard has played limited minutes as a reserve, averaging just 21 MPG.
  • New Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter has thus far managed to thrive with Sacramento following an offseason trade from Atlanta, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “My role has the potential to expand a little bit more here,” Huerter said. “Just the way we’re built, the personnel, a lot of that has to do with (Sacramento center Domantas Sabonis), playing through a five man.” The 6’7″ swingman is averaging 18.9 PPG, with a slash line of .506/.518/.789. He is also chipping in 3.9 APG, 2.9 RPG, and 0.6 SPG.
  • While wondering whether Warriors star power forward Draymond Green would be as special in another team’s system as he has been in an 11-season partnership with Golden State that has yielded four NBA titles, Zach Lowe of ESPN reports that the team has yet to discuss any potential deals for the 32-year-old big man, and at present does not intend to explore trades that would send him out of town. Green, who has a $27.6MM player option for the 2023/24 season, punched teammate Jordan Poole in the face during a practice altercation, and had to spend a portion of the club’s preseason away from the other Warriors. The team opted to extend the contracts of Poole and starting small forward Andrew Wiggins ahead of the 2022/23 season, but did not do so with Green.

Pacific Notes: C. Johnson, Payne, Kings, Schröder, Wall

The Suns will be without a pair of rotation players for the rest of the preseason, the team announced today (Twitter link via Kellan Olson of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM). Cameron Johnson is out with a right thumb sprain, while Cameron Payne is dealing with a right finger sprain. Both Johnson and Payne will be reevaluated in a week, per the Suns, so it’s unclear at this point whether they’ll be ready to for the start of the regular season.

Here are a few more notes from around the Pacific:

  • Kevin Huerter is expected to be the Kings‘ starting shooting guard when the regular season tips off, but the starting power forward job remains up for grabs, head coach Mike Brown told reporters today (Twitter link via Sean Cunningham of FOX40 Sacramento). KZ Okpala and No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray appear to be the top contenders for that spot.
  • According to Cunningham, the Kings aren’t expected to make any cuts until after their second preseason game on Sunday. The team has just 12 players on guaranteed contracts, with five veterans and rookie Chima Moneke in camp on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals, vying for back-end roster spots.
  • Dennis Schröder‘s arrival stateside has been delayed due to a visa issue, but he’s scheduled to fly from Germany to Los Angeles this weekend to report to the Lakers, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Head coach Darvin Ham previously stated that he doesn’t expect it to take long for Schröder to find his rhythm once he joins the team.
  • John Wall is embracing the opportunity to play a secondary role alongside Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this season after years of being a go-to option in Washington, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “Like I told (George) and Kawhi when I came here, my job is to make the game easier for them so when the fourth quarter comes around they’re not having to waste all that energy to make all the plays,” Wall said.

Kings Notes: Starting Lineup, Barnes, Sabonis

While De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Harrison Barnes are locked in as starters, two spots in the Kings‘ starting lineup remain up for grabs, head coach Mike Brown said this weekend.

“Obviously, Fox is going to start for us. Domas is going to start for us. HB is going to start for us,” Brown said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “But we’re kind of up in the air a little bit with the two and the four spot, and there are some guys that we feel have a real good chance to start for us in those spots, but we’re going to keep mixing those two spots around to see what we can get.”

Kevin Huerter started as shooting guard during the Kings’ presseason opener vs. the Lakers on Monday, while KZ Okpala got the nod at power forward. However, neither player had a big night, while Malik Monk and Keegan Murray – two other contenders for those starting spots – combined for 24 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.

Brown won’t make any decisions based on one night, but with the start of the regular season just two weeks away, every preseason game will be an important one as the Kings consider their options.

Here are a few more notes out of Sacramento:

  • Barnes, who is entering the final season of a four-year deal, isn’t oblivious to the fact that his name has popped up frequently in trade rumors over the last year or two, but he’s preparing to spend his full contract year in Sacramento, Anderson writes for The Sacramento Bee. “You know how the NBA is,” Barnes said. “I check Woj. I check Shams. They’ve still got me here, so as far as I’m concerned, this is where I’m supposed to be and I’m going to give it my best effort.”
  • Speaking to Mark Medina of NBA.com, Sabonis discussed the Kings’ playoff chances, his chemistry with Fox, and how having the defensive-minded Brown on the sidelines will impact the team. “He’s a defensive coach, and he’s definitely trying to make life easy for us in terms of the terminology,” Sabonis said of Brown. “The defensive stuff we’re doing is going to help us out. It’ll depend on us. He’s giving us all the answers and the system of how we want to play as a team. Defense is about effort and competing. If we compete every game, it’s going to be tough.”
  • Making the play-in tournament is a “completely reasonable goal” for the Kings, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who previews Sacramento’s season and projects the team to finish 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record.

California Notes: Kings, Robinson, Warriors, Lakers

While Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox is clearly locked in as the team’s starter at that position, the identity of his backcourt cohort is a bit up in the air. James Ham of The Kings Beat takes stock of the team’s options at shooting guard.

Ham identifies 6’7″ sharpshooter Kevin Huerter, acquired in a trade with the Hawks over the summer, as the option that makes the most sense fit-wise, but notes that free agent signing Malik Monk could get significant consideration as well. Inconsistent wing Terence Davis should get some run in the rotation, while Ham also examines the upside of young swingmen Sam Merrill and Keon Ellis.

There’s more out of California:

  • Shooting guard Jerome Robinson faces an uphill battle when it comes to making the Warriors‘ regular season roster. C.J. Holmes of the San Francisco Chronicle details how the 25-year-old will need to prove his mettle in training camp. In his 2021/22 campaign with Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, the former lottery pick recorded averages of 20.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.8 APG in 22 games. Holmes writes that the team may be prioritizing a point guard or more size with the final one or two spots on its standard 15-man roster.
  • The Warriors seem fully capable of mounting a solid title defense this season, HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan opines in a fresh season preview. Gozlan posits that Golden State’s excellent two-way play and deep roster of veterans, mixed with some intriguing youth, should make the team a formidable threat in the Western Conference.,
  • On a recent episode of his podcast The Hoop Collective, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that the Lakers were never involved in three-team trade talks between the Jazz and Knicks in a potential trade to send Donovan Mitchell to New York. The three-time All-Star was eventually dealt to the Cavaliers instead in a two-team deal. Windhorst adds that the Lakers appear to think that there is no deal for $47MM+ point guard Russell Westbrook, even with their tantalizing 2027 and 2029 first-round picks included, that will significantly upgrade their roster.

Western Notes: Clarkson, Huerter, Bertans, Brooks

With the future of the Jazz uncertain following the trade of Rudy Gobert and news that the team is open to moving its other 2022 All-Star (Donovan Mitchell), 2021 Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson is keeping an even keel, writes Sarah Todd of the Deseret News.

 “My vibe is always good,” Clarkson said of his attitude while dealing with the Jazz’s tenuous outlook. “This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works… This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”

There’s more out of the West:

  • New Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter is bringing his playoff pedigree to Sacramento and hopes to help Sacramento reach the postseason, writes Jarrod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel like I’ve been through a lot there, having that playoff experience,” Huerter said. The 6’5″ wing added that he’s “hungry to win” with his new club.
  • In his first full season for the Mavericks, power forward Davis Bertans needs to return to the level of long-range shooting that earned him his current $80MM contract, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. During the 2019/20 season, Bertans connected on 42.4% of his 8.7 three-pointers a night. Last season, in 22 games for Dallas, he connected on 36% of his 3.9 looks a game, a solid but not elite percentage.
  • Veteran swingman Dillon Brooks appears likely to earn a contract extension offer from the Grizzlies, writes Chris Herring of the Daily Memphian in a subscriber-exclusive story. However, Herring expects Brooks to reject such an offer. During the 2021/22 season, Brooks was limited to just 32 games. When he could suit up, he averaged 18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG and 1.1 SPG.

Hawks Trade Kevin Huerter To Kings

JULY 6: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Hawks. Within the team’s announcement, president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk referred to Holiday and Harkless as “two defensive-minded, quality veterans who can help our team on the court and in the locker room.”


JULY 1: 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.

Eastern Rumors: Gallinari, Celtics, Nets, O’Neale, Wizards, Turner

The Hawks and Danilo Gallinari have agreed to push back the forward’s salary guarantee date to July 8, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Gallinari’s $21.45MM salary for 2022/23, which is currently only partially guaranteed for $5MM, was originally set to become fully guaranteed if he remained under contract through Wednesday.

However, with word breaking that he would be sent to San Antonio in a trade for Dejounte Murray, there was an expectation that Gallinari’s guarantee deadline would be moved, giving the two teams some time to complete the trade and assuring him of some extra money — it appears he’s in line to receive about an extra $6.57MM in order to ensure his guarantee is large enough to legally match Murray’s salary.

While Fischer suggests the new guarantee date opens the door for the Hawks to further expand the Murray trade before it becomes official, it will also simply ensure the Spurs and Hawks have a chance to complete the trade once the transaction moratorium ends on July 6 and that San Antonio can subsequently waive Gallinari before the rest of his salary becomes guaranteed. Assuming he’s released next week, Gallinari will have an opportunity to find a new landing spot without having to wait until later in the offseason to reach the open market.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Within their look at possible targets for the Celtics‘ $17MM+ trade exception, Jay King and Jared Weiss of The Athletic say that Boston has been exploring possible deals for Hawks wing Kevin Huerter “for some time now.” John Hollinger of The Athletic thinks a trade sending Huerter to Boston would make sense for both teams if the Celtics can handle the tax hit.
  • The Nets are among the teams that have interest in trading for Jazz forward Royce O’Neale, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. A report last week indicated that O’Neale was generating serious trade interest.
  • The Wizards and free agent point guard Delon Wright have mutual interest, according to Begley. Washington addressed its point guard hole by agreeing to acquire Monte Morris, but could still use another reliable option at the position, and Wright should be attainable using the mid-level exception.
  • Whether he begins the 2022/23 season with the Pacers or a new team, center Myles Turner should be ready to play from day one. According to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files, Turner is now fully healthy, having experienced no setbacks in his recovery from a stress reaction in his left foot.

Givony’s Latest: Sharpe, Magic, Kings, Duarte, Suns, Knicks, More

Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, perhaps the biggest enigma of the 2022 NBA draft, is the subject of several rumors in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link).

Givony has Sharpe coming off the board at No. 7 to Portland, writing that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is believed to be a fan of the young guard, despite the fact that Sharpe is 12 years younger than Lillard and is on a “completely different timetable.”

A pair of teams picking later in the lottery may also have their sights set on Sharpe. The Thunder, who hold the No. 12 pick, continue to pursue trade-up opportunities, according to Givony, who says Sharpe and Jaden Ivey are among the players Oklahoma City appears to be targeting.

Meanwhile, Sharpe is also said to intrigue the Hornets if they trade up from No. 13, Givony writes, noting that the Kentucky guard surprised other teams when he opted to work out for Charlotte.

Here are a few more of the most interesting tidbits from Givony’s newest mock:

  • Virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Jabari Smith first overall and would be surprised if they go in a different direction.
  • The Kings are considered more likely to stand pat than to trade the No. 4 pick, but they’ve had discussions with almost every team behind them in the lottery and even some outside of the lottery, per Givony. Pacers wing Chris Duarte is among the possible trade targets the Kings have done their homework on, Givony adds.
  • Surprisingly, Givony has heard the Suns are among the clubs exploring trade scenarios involving the Pelicans‘ No. 8 pick. Givony suggests Phoenix could potentially include a player like Cameron Johnson in its offer to help create more long-term cap flexibility to retain Deandre Ayton.
  • There’s a widespread belief that the Knicks won’t end up picking at No. 11, Givony reports. they’re “aggressively” exploring scenarios in which they trade back or trade out of the first round.
  • Rival teams believe the Cavaliers are high on Ousmane Dieng, though he could be off the board by No. 14, says Givony.
  • Echoing multiple recent reports, Givony identifies Hawks big man John Collins as a major draft-day trade candidate. Givony goes a step further, suggesting that Collins could even be packaged with Kevin Huerter in a deal involving the Kings‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Bucks (No. 24) are eyeing older prospects who could help them win right away, such as Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate, according to Givony, who has heard from rival teams that Milwaukee has also conveyed some interest in trading up into the teens, possibly for a big man like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.

Hawks To Pursue Extension With De’Andre Hunter

The Hawks‘ plans for an offseason roster shakeup won’t include trading De’Andre Hunter, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

At one time, Atlanta was thought to be willing to part with anyone except Trae Young, but Fischer reports that the team now plans keep Hunter and try to work out a contract extension. The 24-year-old small forward has dealt with injuries throughout his first three NBA seasons, but he has been a full-time starter when healthy.

The Hawks are pursuing numerous trades with the goals of finding a reliable guard to play alongside Young and creating a larger role for second-year big man Onyeka Okongwu, Fischer adds. Atlanta has been mentioned as a possible destination for Jazz center Rudy Gobert, with Clint CapelaJohn Collins, Kevin Huerter and the No. 16 pick in next week’s draft all considered potential trade chips.

Fischer points out that Utah CEO of basketball operations Danny Ainge has pursued a deal for Capela before. According to Fischer’s sources, when Ainge was running the Celtics in 2019, he talked to the Rockets on draft night about swapping Marcus Smart and the No. 22 pick to land Capela. The trade was agreed to in principle, but it fell through when the Grizzlies selected Houston target Brandon Clarke at No. 21.

Collins could also be an option for the Trail Blazers, who are looking to deal the seventh pick in the draft for veteran help, Fischer adds. If Atlanta acquires that pick, G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels will likely be the target, Fischer’s sources say.

The Hawks have been seeking backcourt help for several years, Fischer adds. They tried to acquire CJ McCollum and Goran Dragic before this year’s deadline and have been involved in talks involving Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal. They also discussed a deal with the Pelicans about Jrue Holiday before he was moved to Milwaukee.

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Hunter, Jovic, Griffin, Maker

The Hawks have been identified in previous reports as a possible Rudy Gobert suitor, and multiple league sources have indicated the Jazz are interested in De’Andre Hunter, according to Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. Hunter is extension-eligible this offseason. However, according to Moore, the Hawks have tried to steer any teams inquiring on Hunter to players like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter instead.

We have more from the Northwest Division: