Kevin Huerter

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:

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Beal, Wizards, Magic

The Hawks, who are widely expected to be one of the more active NBA teams this summer, are believed to be open to discussing possible trades involving nearly all the players on their roster, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says rival executives view Trae Young as Atlanta’s only untouchable player.

The Hawks had trade conversations prior to this year’s trade deadline about John Collins, Kevin Huerter, and Danilo Gallinari, among others, Fischer notes.

Although Fischer says that restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton has been a “popular rumored target” for the Hawks, he cites multiple league sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking that believe the front office will prioritize adding a wing scorer over a big man.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago previously reported that “league gossip” had linked the Hawks to Zach LaVine, a point Fischer reiterates, writing that multiple sources have mentioned Atlanta as a possible destination for LaVine. Since they’ll be well over the cap, the Hawks would likely have to try to work out a sign-and-trade if they get serious about pursuing LaVine.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After indicating in early March that he’s leaning toward re-signing with the Wizards, Bradley Beal recently suggested his position hasn’t changed. According to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post, Beal – who said his recovery from season-ending wrist surgery has gone well – confirmed that he’s still leaning toward remaining in Washington. “This injury also gave me a mental break, a time to evaluate life, and I haven’t changed my mind-set,” Beal said. “I enjoy being in D.C.; I enjoy being on this team.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Josh Robbins considers whether or not Wizards fans would embrace a full-fledged rebuild and explores whether the team could trade up from No. 10 in the draft. Of course, if Washington re-signs Beal, it’s a safe bet the team isn’t shifting into rebuilding mode this summer.
  • The Magic have a history of trading out of the second round of the draft, but they’re expected to use at least one of the No. 32 and No. 35 picks this year, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Price notes that Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams, who has a 7’2″ wingspan despite being just 6’4″, is the type of player the Magic typically like, and he spoke to the team at last week’s combine.

Windhorst/MacMahon’s Latest: Jazz, Pelicans, Fox, Mavs, Grizzlies

The relationship between Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell is back to being “passively aggressively awkward,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon stated in the latest episode of Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast. Windhorst said he has heard the same thing, suggesting Gobert and Mitchell have gotten “under each other’s skin” and referring to it as “the most underplayed story in the league.”

Asked today about the report, Mitchell dismissed it, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News: “No, no, no, no. We’re good. That’s not true. … I’m getting tired of answering (these questions) to be honest. Look, we put in the work, we’re leaders for our team, and we’re going through a tough stretch and that happens. But this is part of the business and that’s just how it goes.”

Rumors of tension between Gobert and Mitchell were at their height back in 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We haven’t heard as much about the relationship since then — MacMahon says that when the Jazz have everyone healthy and are playing well, the issue “falls in the manageable category.”

Here are a few more highlights from Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast:

  • As the trade deadline nears, the Pelicans have been “pretty active looking to buy,” according to Windhorst, who reports that New Orleans has talked to the Trail Blazers, Kings, Rockets, and Hawks about CJ McCollum, De’Aaron Fox, Eric Gordon, and Kevin Huerter, respectively. Windhorst adds that Josh Hart is believed to be among the players the Pelicans would move.
  • Following up on Fox, Windhorst confirms that the Knicks have shown interest in the Kings‘ point guard and says that people around the league don’t really believe Sacramento is fully out of the Ben Simmons sweepstakes.
  • Windhorst and MacMahon have both heard whispers that the Mavericks are talking to the Celtics about Marcus Smart, though MacMahon admitted he’s not sure whether those discussions have taken place as of late. “I can say with certainty that they’ve shown interest in Marcus Smart in the past,” MacMahon said. “I don’t know how much of that has been recent.”
  • After stating earlier in the week that the Mavericks likely won’t move Jalen Brunson unless they get blown away by an offer, MacMahon repeated that point and applied it to Dorian Finney-Smith as well. MacMahon added that Brunson’s preference in free agency would be to stay in Dallas, but after earning a total of $6.1MM in his first four NBA seasons, the point guard’s top priority will be getting paid — he won’t be interested in taking a home-team discount.
  • Windhorst, MacMahon, and ESPN’s Tim Bontemps all agreed – based on what they’ve heard – that the Grizzlies are unlikely to do anything significant at the trade deadline unless they get an opportunity that’s a “grand slam home run.”

Eastern Trade Rumors: Smart, Hawks, Collins, Siakam, Sabonis, More

Prior to sending Cam Reddish to New York, the Hawks discussed the framework of a trade with the Celtics that would’ve sent Reddish and Kevin Huerter to Boston in a deal for Marcus Smart, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Huerter is one of 11 players affected this season by the poison pill provision, complicating salary-matching in any trade involving him, but the deal described by Fischer theoretically would’ve worked for both sides if Atlanta had included another minimum-salary player (likely Solomon Hill).

Smart ultimately stayed put, and Fischer says it would take “significant value” for the Celtics to move him in another deal in the next two weeks. According to Fischer, there’s a sense around the league that the Celtics will be better in the second half than they were in the first half, as long as they’re healthier and first-year head coach Ime Udoka gets more comfortable.

Here a few more trade notes and rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • One team contacted by the Hawks told Bleacher Report that Atlanta wanted a “valuable” first-round pick and a starting-caliber player in exchange for John Collins. Other teams think the Hawks could get even more than that for Collins, says Fischer.
  • According to Fischer, the Raptors and Pacers at least briefly discussed a trade involving Domantas Sabonis and Pascal Siakam, but those talks stalled. The concept makes some sense in theory, since it would allow Myles Turner to be the lone center in Indiana, and Toronto has long been in the market for a five.
  • Since Brook Lopez‘s recovery timeline remains up in the air, the Bucks are “poking around” the market for a center, with Suns big man Jalen Smith mentioned as a possible target, per Fischer. Semi Ojeleye is considered to be available and Milwaukee has received inquiries about Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo, Fischer adds.
  • A handful of teams have expressed some interest in Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman, including the Spurs, Hornets, Mavericks, and Bucks, writes Fischer.

Southeast Notes: Collins, Reddish, Hachimura, Hornets

According to a Shams Charania report, Hawks big man John Collins has grown increasingly frustrated with his role. The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner provides more detail on Collins’ beefs.

Collins has spoken to head coach Nate McMillan about an increased offensive role but those concerns haven’t been properly addressed. The 24-year-old has also challenged his teammates to be more focused on the defensive end, but it hasn’t worked.

“I’ve banged my head on the wall a couple of times trying to figure it out myself,” Collins said of the defense. “There’s really no excuse. … All I can say is it’s unacceptable and we have to dig down and do the things necessary to win or this is going to be the result every night.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Cam Reddish has been a prime sources of trade chatter, but The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor argues the Hawks should hold onto the 22-year-old forward. In O’Connor’s view, the Hawks would be better off trading Kevin Huerter or Bogdan Bogdanovic since they have similar skills, while Reddish provides more defensively and has a higher ceiling offensively.
  • Rui Hachimura has finally returned to action after an extended personal absence. The Wizards forward wouldn’t go into detail about his absence but said he’s happy to be back in uniform, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I’ve been waiting for this moment,” he said. “I had to take a little time off, but I’m so happy to be back on the court and playing with these guys. I missed the feeling,”
  • Milwaukee’s championship should give the Hornets reason for optimism that their small market team can reach the pinnacle, Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes. Charlotte’s ownership must exercise patience in the front office and the coaching staff, as the Bucks did, to allow the team’s young players to blossom while assembling the right pieces around them.

And-Ones: Thomas, Goodwin, Nurkic, Herro, Hawks/Celtics Trade, Rivers, Carlisle

Maccabi Tel Aviv has targeted former NBA guard Khyri Thomas to improve its backcourt depth, Donatas Urbonas of Basketball News reports. Thomas, a 2018 second-round pick, played in Spain last month before suffering an injury. He saw action in five games with Houston last season and came off the bench in 34 games for Detroit during the previous two seasons.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Archie Goodwin has signed with Budivelnyk Kyiv in the Ukraine, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Goodwin had been playing in France. Goodwin played four seasons in the NBA, most recently in 2016/17 for the Pelicans and Nets.
  • The Trail BlazersJusuf Nurkic and Heat‘s Tyler Herro each drew $25K fines for an altercation on Wednesday, NBA Communications tweets. They were both ejected in the final minute of Miami’s victory. Herro shoved Nurkic in the back after the Portland center knocked the guard to the floor on a screen. Nurkic retaliated with a shove to the face.
  • Could a blockbuster deal energize the inconsistent Hawks and Celtics? Sports Illustrated’s Michael Pina proposes a Jaylen Brown trade in which the Hawks would give up De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Jalen Johnson and two unprotected first-round picks.
  • Nearly half of the league’s head coaches have entered the health and safety protocols this season. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Indiana’s Rick Carlisle on how they interacted with their assistants during their absences.

COVID-19 Updates: Doncic, SGA, Robinson, Hawks, Nuggets, More

Mavericks star Luka Doncic has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols, sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Doncic, who hasn’t played since December 10, missed a combined 10 games due to a left ankle injury and his time in the protocols. He’s expected to meet his teammates in Oklahoma City and may return to the court on Sunday.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber may also be able to exit the protocols in time for Sunday’s game, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Dallas, which has five other players still in protocols, managed to go 5-5 without Doncic and is holding onto eighth place in the Western Conference.

Here are more updates on players entering and exiting the protocols:

Hawks’ Huerter, Warriors’ Lee Placed In Protocols

Hawks guard Kevin Huerter and Warriors guard Damion Lee are the latest additions to the long list of NBA players in health and safety protocols.

Huerter is the sixth Atlanta player to be sidelined because of COVID-19, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joins Trae Young, Clint Capela, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who have all entered the protocols since Sunday.

Huerter is averaging 10.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists through 28 games. The Hawks had been hoping he could carry a larger share of the scoring load with so many rotation members out of action.

Atlanta is also without De’Andre Hunter, who is recovering from an injury to his right wrist, and Solomon Hill, who’s sidelined with a torn right hamstring. Lance Stephenson and Malcolm Hill, who were both added to the roster today under the hardship provision, are expected to be available for tonight’s game with the Magic.

“It’s an adjustment that we have to make, we can’t allow this to be a distraction,” coach Nate McMillan said. “We have a game to play tonight. We have to come out with that energy and that effort we’ve been talking about, no matter who is in uniform. We have to play this game harder than we’ve played here lately. We’ve got to execute better, even though we’ve got a few new faces that will be out on the floor.”

The Warriors are listing Lee as being in the protocols in their latest injury report, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He becomes the third Golden State player affected, joining Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Lee has been a dependable bench player for the Warriors, averaging 8.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 25 games.