Kristaps Porzingis

Wizards Rumors: Kuzma, Porzingis, Carey, Barton, Hachimura

The Wizards‘ willingness to trade Rui Hachimura reflects their increased confidence that they’ll be able to re-sign Kyle Kuzma as a free agent in the summer, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack story.

According to Stein, Washington has been telling rival teams that it plans to re-sign both Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, who also has a player option for 2023/24 that he may decline. Porzingis likes his situation in D.C., Stein adds, so if he does turn down his option, it sounds like he’d be open to a new deal with the Wizards.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports has heard similar rumblings on Kuzma, reporting that the Wizards have told inquiring teams like the Suns and Hawks that the veteran forward isn’t available for trade.

Still, even if Kuzma isn’t going anywhere, Washington seems likely to make at least one more trade before the February 9 deadline, Fischer writes. The team wants to open up a spot on its 15-man roster to promote Jordan Goodwin from his two-way contract, and center Vernon Carey Jr. is considered a trade candidate, according to Fischer, who adds that rival executives are also keeping an eye on Will Barton as a possible buyout candidate if he remains in D.C. through the deadline.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • One source tells Stein that Hachimura requested a trade before he was dealt to Los Angeles, which the 24-year-old didn’t deny over the weekend.
  • Three-team discussions involving the Suns, Bucks, and Wizards helped set the price for the Lakers to acquire Hachimura, according to Fischer (Twitter link), who reports that those three clubs discussed a concept that would have sent Hachimura to Phoenix, Jae Crowder to Milwaukee, and three second-round picks and matching salaries to Washington. The Wizards ultimately decided they preferred the deal with L.A.
  • In columns reacting to the Hachimura trade, Candace Buckner of The Washington Post questioned the Wizards’ plan and direction following their latest move, while David Aldridge of The Athletic referred to the deal as a “salvage operation” rather than a win for president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard. “Not impactful, but better than letting your No. 9 pick walk for nothing,” a league executive said in a text message to Aldridge. “Not a championship move. Not a playoff move. Maybe a play-in move.”
  • As Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes in a column on the trade, the Wizards generated a $6.26MM traded player exception in the swap for Hachimura’s outgoing salary, since they were able to take Nunn’s $5.25MM salary into an existing trade exception created at last season’s deadline. Washington will have until January 23, 2024 to use the newly created TPE.

Kristaps Porzingis Week-To-Week With Sprained Ankle

3:19pm: The Wizards are optimistic that Porzingis could return to action within two weeks, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

10:55am: The sprained left ankle that Kristaps Porzingis suffered in Saturday’s game will keep him out of action for a while. The Wizards announced (via Twitter) that Porzingis is being listed as week-to-week because of the injury.

Prior to Saturday, Porzingis had been able to remain relatively healthy in his first full season in Washington, appearing in 41 of the team’s first 46 games. He was putting up his best numbers since before his ACL injury, averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 46.8% from the field and 34.8% from three-point range.

Porzingis posted a career high of 72 games played during his rookie year and hasn’t appeared in more than 57 in a season since tearing the ACL in his left knee in 2018. He has a $36MM player option for next season, and the length of his current absence could play a role in whether he decides to exercise that.

At 20-26, Washington is on the brink of the race for a play-in spot in the East, trailing the 10th-place Bulls by a game and a half. If the Porzingis injury results in a losing skid, that could affect the organization’s mindset heading into the trade deadline, which is only 17 days away. Rui Hachimura and Kyle Kuzma are among the Wizards who have been mentioned prominently in trade rumors.

Southeast Notes: Hachimura, Porzingis, Ball, Strus

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura may have raised his trade value with a 30-point performance Saturday night, but he wanted to avoid discussing a potential deal after the game, writes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “No comment,” Hachimura told reporters when they asked if he has requested a trade, although he indicated that he’s looking for a comfortable situation, whether that’s in Washington or somewhere else.

“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player,” Hachimura said. “And I want to be somewhere that loves my — likes my game, you know? … I just want to be somewhere that trusts, believes in me. Just I can be myself — that’s my goal.”

Wallace confirms a report from The Athletic this week that the Wizards have discussed a potential Hachimura trade with several teams. The 24-year-old became an instant starter after being selected with the ninth pick in the 2019 draft, but injuries and other roadblocks have limited his effectiveness since then. The team didn’t reach a rookie scale extension with Hachimura before the October deadline, so he’s headed for free agency this summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kristaps Porzingis left Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, but the Wizards are optimistic about his prognosis, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “Sprained ankle. He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after the game. “We’ll see where it is. I don’t think it’s too bad, but fingers crossed.” Porzingis has experienced frequent health issues throughout his career, but he’s been relatively injury-free this season, appearing in 41 of the team’s 46 games.
  • Hornets guard LaMelo Ball is quickly recovering from a sprained ankle he suffered Wednesday, but a right wrist problem may be a bigger concern, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Ball banged his wrist during the same game, which raises concerns because he had surgery on his right hand as a rookie. “The wrist had been not hurting, but ever since I broke it, it’s been the same little one (thing),” Ball said. “In Houston, I was fine with it until I hit it again … So, yeah once I get over that little hump I think I’ll be smooth.”
  • Max Strus‘ flexibility has been valuable for the Heat in an injury-filled season, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The impending free agent has played 24 games as a starter and 21 off the bench and has seen time at every position except center.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Caruso, Thybulle, Knicks, Porzingis

Even though the Pistons are floundering with franchise player Cade Cunningham sidelined, general manager Troy Weaver remains confident that the franchise will soon become a perennial contender, he told James Edwards III of The Athletic.

“A lot of teams go through rebuilds, retooling, whatever you want to call it, and they can’t make it out of it because of what they have in the locker room,” the Pistons’ top exec said. “We take tremendous pride in having the right guys and having a great locker room so that we can fight through this thing. Trust me, the dam is going to break, and when it breaks, it’s going to have a great flow to it. We just have to stay patient, stay in the boat and keep working.”

Weaver plans to remain active before the trade deadline to improve the Pistons’ chances of long-term success: “We’re going to approach this deadline like we approached the previous ones. We’re going to turn over every rock, and if something comes our way that we think can improve our team, we’ll look at it, for sure.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Who’s the most untouchable player on the Bulls’ roster? The answer may be a surprise, if you trust one of Joe Cowley’s Chicago Sun-Times sources. Alex Caruso could be the one untouchable before the trade deadline because of his defense and how he impacts the game, as reflected in the plus/minus category, Cowley writes.
  • Wing Matisse Thybulle is headed to free agency this summer — possibly restricted if he’s extended a qualifying offer — and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice examines the pros and cons of the Sixers trading him. He could be a defensive factor in the postseason and the Sixers have a 10-0 record in games when he plays 20 or more minutes. However, he remains a major offensive liability.
  • It once seemed unthinkable but it’s not so far-fetched now that the Knicks would consider a reunion with Wizards big Kristaps Porzingis, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Porzingis can reject his $36MM player option for 2023/24 in order to become a free agent this summer. The Knicks could also target the shot-blocking, three-point specialist if he becomes available on the trade market.

Wizards Discussing Potential Rui Hachimura Trades

The Wizards have engaged in trade discusions with multiple teams about potential deals that would include forward Rui Hachimura, according to Shams Charania and Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

While Charania and Robbins don’t offer specifics on which teams have talked to Washington about Hachimura, The Athletic’s duo says the 24-year-old has drawn interest from “several Western Conference teams in need of scoring.” The Suns are one team that fits that bill and have been previously linked to Hachimura.

Another Wizards forward, Kyle Kuzma, continues to generate interest around the league, but Washington values him highly and would like to hang onto him, per Charania and Robbins.

Kuzma, Hachimura, and Kristaps Porzingis are all eligible for free agency during the 2023 offseason, so if the Wizards were to trade Hachimura, it would put them in a better position to focus on bringing back the other two. It may also signal a level of confidence in their ability to re-sign Kuzma, The Athletic’s reporters note, since trading Hachimura and then losing Kuzma in free agency would significantly deplete the club’s forward depth.

The ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Hachimura has missed some time due to injury this season, but has played well when available, averaging 12.9 PPG and 4.4 RPG on .492/.346/.768 shooting in 28 games (24.2 MPG). He’s earning approximately $6.26MM this season and will become a restricted free agent in July, assuming his team issues a qualifying offer that will likely be worth about $7.74MM.

Eastern Notes: Beal, Porzingis, Knicks, Caruso, Ibaka, Rubio

Bradley Beal, who has been sidelined for the Wizards‘ last four games due to a low-grade left hamstring strain, is nearing a return.

According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said today that Beal has been upgraded to questionable for Monday’s game vs. Golden State. If the star guard doesn’t end up playing in that contest, his next chance to return would be on Wednesday in New York.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • In a Q&A with Mark Medina of, Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis discussed why he feels comfortable in D.C., what he’s doing this season to stay healthy, and why his stints with the Knicks and Mavericks didn’t work out as hoped.
  • The Knicks have been scouting the Bulls “closely” as of late, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who suggests New York would be a team to watch if Chicago decides to make guard Alex Caruso available.
  • Bucks big man Serge Ibaka wasn’t with the team on its four-game road trip this past week due to personal reasons, and it doesn’t sound like that will change anytime soon. According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link), head coach Mike Budenholzer said on Saturday that he doesn’t expect Ibaka to rejoin the club when it returns home. The Bucks will play in Milwaukee on Monday and Tuesday before heading back out on the road.
  • After returning to action on Thursday following a year-long recovery from an ACL tear, Ricky Rubio said he was “grateful” to be playing basketball again, per ESPN’s Kevin Pelton. While he acknowledged there were “a lot of emotions” in his first game back, the veteran point guard added that he’s already thinking about what the rest of the season will look like for him and the Cavaliers. “I didn’t work just to come back today,” Rubio said. “I worked hard to come back stronger than ever. It’s not just about today. I’m looking forward to having a strong season, not just a comeback season.”

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Vucevic, Magic, Favors, Heat

Johnny Davis, the 10th overall pick last June, has rarely seen the court for the Wizards, making just 10 appearances for an average of 5.0 minutes per contest. The rookie guard has spent most of the season with the team’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, averaging 11.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.1 APG and 1.0 SPG on .408/.352/.786 shooting in 14 games (25.2 MPG) during the Showcase Cup.

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has been keeping a close eye on the lottery pick’s G League performances, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

I think the injuries have been a big piece of it. It’s hard to really evaluate a guy who hasn’t had a ton of opportunities here. I’ve seen a lot of growth with his G-League development,” Unseld said of Davis, who is currently sidelined with a right hip strain.

The level of confidence he’s playing with, I think he’s starting to see the game slow down for him. Offensively, I think he’s starting to settle in to see the types of plays and the types of shots we want him to take. So, there’s a lot of growth there. I know it’s not translating as fast as maybe we would all like to see, but I think it bodes well.”

Go-Go head coach Mike Williams also spoke to Hughes about Davis, saying he’s done a nice job defensively, but he needs to work on his decision-making and shooting offensively.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • The Wizards are shorthanded for tonight’s game against the Bulls. In addition to guard Bradley Beal, who continues to be sidelined with a left hamstring strain, big men Daniel Gafford (right ankle sprain) and Kristaps Porzingis (right rib contusion) were downgraded from questionable to out (Twitter link). Deni Avdija and Taj Gibson started in place of Gafford and Porzingis. Backup forward Rui Hachimura should also see an uptick in minutes.
  • In an appearance on The Sixth Man Show podcast, Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was asked if he would be open to returning to the Magic if it made sense for him down the road. “Of course, I mean yeah,” Vucevic said. “That’s something that I would love to do at some point. We’ll see when that is possible, if that’s realistic and how it all works out. But yeah, for sure, I would like to, if anything, at least get one last year in Orlando. I think it’s only right it happens, so we’ll see. … I feel like I have a lot of basketball left, so who knows what will happen, but yeah, for sure, it’s something that’s on my mind, I can’t say it’s not.” The two-time All-Star will be a free agent in the summer.
  • Veteran center Derrick Favors, an Atlanta native who just inked a 10-day contract with the Hawks, says he grew up a fan of the team. “Oh, definitely a fan growing up,” Favors said, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscriber link). “Back when they had like Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, those guys. I’m definitely a fan, Al Horford. And just being from Atlanta has always been a dream to, you know, at least put the jersey on at least one time. So, it’s definitely a dream, and I’m blessed and humbled to be here.” According to Williams, Favors went through shootaround Wednesday, but he wasn’t sure if he’d see the court against the Bucks. “It’s up to them, you know, if they call the name, call my number, I’ll be ready,” he said. “You know, if not, then you know, I’ll be ready for the next game. So, you know, we’ll see.”
  • Head coach Nate McMillan provided a little more context on Favors’ potential role during his 10-day stint, Williams adds (Twitter links). He said he would prefer Favors to go through a practice before actually playing, but he might play Wednesday if needed. McMillan views Favors as an “insurance policy” when the Hawks need more size.
  • The Heat have dealt with so many injuries this season that head coach Erik Spoelstra admits that he sometimes forgets who is actually available to play, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We’ve been dealing with a lot of moving parts,” he said. “I kept on forgetting who’s available and who’s not.” Miami only had a seven-man rotation after Dewayne Dedmon was ejected Tuesday.

Eastern Rumors: Bucks, Bogdanovic, Raptors, Wizards, Hampton

Although the Bucks are tied for the NBA’s second-best record, they’re in the bottom five in offensive rating, having relied on one of the league’s best defenses during their strong first half. As they look to upgrade their offense, they’re expected to be in the market for help on the wing at the trade deadline, according to Matt Moore of

The Bucks, Suns, and Rockets reportedly discussed a three-team trade involving Jae Crowder, but it didn’t get done because Houston wanted more draft compensation than Milwaukee and Phoenix were willing to offer. Some league sources who spoke to Moore suggested they wouldn’t be surprised to see the three teams return to that framework and eventually get something done.

Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic is another player who is on the Bucks’ radar, per Moore, and he’d certainly provide the club’s offense with a boost. However, Detroit doesn’t appear eager to move Bogdanovic, Moore adds. Jake Fischer reported earlier this week that the Pistons are believed to be seeking a first-round pick, plus additional draft assets or a young player with upside.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Sources who have spoken to Moore have indicated that the Raptors are willing to discuss a variety of players but have been seeking a substantial return for their potential trade candidates. Moore says the words “insane,” “astronomical,” and “far-fetched” have been used by his sources to describe Toronto’s asking prices. He adds that the price for OG Anunoby is believed to be higher than it was in the offseason, when the Raptors were reportedly seeking a top-10 pick.
  • Although there has been some trade speculation this season centered on Wizards guard Bradley Beal and especially forward Kyle Kuzma, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype has heard that the front office would like to build around Beal, Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis long-term and would ideally find a fourth core player to complement that trio.
  • As he did last month, Magic wing R.J. Hampton requested and was granted an assignment to the G League in order to get more playing time, reports Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Hampton played a couple games with the Lakeland Magic last month before returning to Orlando, but has been a DNP-CD in four of eight contests since then and logged more than five minutes just once.

Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis Named Players Of The Week

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced (via Twitter).

Doncic, the Western winner for the second straight week and the conference’s first repeat winner this season, led Dallas to a 3-0 record and put up historic numbers in the process. He averaged 48.7 points, 13.0 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks, becoming the first player in NBA history to total 140-plus points, 30-plus rebounds and 30-plus assists over any three-game span, according to the Mavericks.

The 23-year-old, who now leads the league in scoring average with 34.2 per game, recorded 60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block against New York, followed by 35 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two blocks against Houston, and lastly had 51 points, six rebounds, nine assists, four steals and one block against San Antonio. Doncic shot 61.7% from the field in the three games, including 48.0% from three, and only had six turnovers.

Porzingis, Doncic’s former teammate with the Mavs, led Washington to a 4-0 week. The East’s winner averaged 24.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks on .559/.364/.857 shooting. Porzingis led the league in plus/minus over the four contests, recording a total of plus-82 for an average of plus-20.5 in each game, per the Wizards.

According to the NBA (Twitter links), the other nominees in the West were LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant, Jordan Poole, Domantas Sabonis and Zion Williamson, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jaylen Brown, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner were nominated in the East.

Southeast Notes: Porzingis, Gafford, Beal, Magic, J. Johnson

The Wizards have strung together four straight wins with a super-sized starting lineup featuring Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Both big men have adapted well to the pairing, enabling Washington to climb back into the race for the play-in tournament.

Hughes notes that both players blocked four shots Friday night at Orlando, becoming the first Wizards teammates to reach that total in the same game in 10 years. With Porzingis getting 13 rebounds and Gafford collecting eight, they are the first Washington players with at least four blocks and eight rebounds in the same game since 1987.

Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said earlier this week that he wanted to watch the Porzingis-Gafford pairing for five games before determining whether to make it permanent, but Hughes suggests that Unseld has probably seen enough already to make a decision. Hughes points out that Porzingis has more freedom on offense with Gafford stationed down low, allowing him to look for three-point shots and post up whenever he has a mismatch.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed Friday’s game with a sore left hamstring and is listed as questionable for Sunday night against the Bucks. He has sat out the past two games.
  • After enjoying an 8-2 stretch earlier this month, the Magic have dropped their last three games, observes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The Magic are short-handed because of suspensions imposed after a fight with the Pistons this week, but they also have a lot of young players who are still getting used to the rigors of a long season. “It’s a tricky balance,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “You have a group of young guys that are working every single day but balancing how much they work vs. understanding their bodies need to get the rest. You don’t want to overdo it in practice to the point that in the game that their energy levels are lower. We’ll balance it out.”
  • Hawks forward Jalen Johnson is coming off the best week of his NBA career, averaging 12.3 PPG over his last three games, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Opportunities have arisen for the team’s younger players after injuries to Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter. “That’s just a part of being an NBA,” Johnson said. “You just got to be prepared for whatever situation like last year, when we had all those COVID cases, like we had a whole new team. So, you just got to be prepared for whatever injuries happen. That’s just a part in this league playing 82 games. So yeah, it’s not really nothing crazy getting adjusted to that.”