Kyle Kuzma

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Mavericks Attempted To Acquire Danny Green

As the trade deadline approached, it seemed Marcus Morris was heading to Los Angeles one way or another; it was just a matter of if it was going to be the Lakers or the Clippers. It ended up being the latter in a deal that saw Maurice Harkless and a 2020 first-round pick, among other pieces, head to New York.

[RELATED: Clippers to acquire Marcus Morris in three-team trade]

Had the Lakers found success with obtaining Morris, the Mavericks would have attempted to take Danny Green off their hands, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

As Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets, New York was looking to acquire both Kyle Kuzma and Green in talks with the Lakers, who would have had to salary-match Morris’ $15M contract. The Knicks would’ve then flipped Green to Dallas. However, the Lakers were unwilling to part with both Kuzma and Green.

Dallas pursued Green over the summer. The shooting guard decided to sign with the Lakers over Mark Cuban‘s squad. He’s making $14.6M this season and will take home $15.4M next year.

To trade for Green, the Mavericks would have had to give up Courtney Lee‘s expiring contract and Golden State’s 2020 second-round draft pick, a source tells Townsend (Twitter link). That pick currently projects to be 31st overall.

Clippers Talking To Knicks About Marcus Morris; Lakers Won’t Offer Kyle Kuzma

The Clippers are in serious talks with the Knicks about acquiring Marcus Morris, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

L.A. is offering Maurice Harkless, Mfiondu Kabengele, Terance Mann and its 2020 first-round pick, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). Harkless’ $11MM contract would be needed to help match Morris’ $15MM salary.

There has been progress in talks since this morning, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). However, it doesn’t appear the Clippers are willing to part with Landry Shamet, whom the Knicks would like to add.

The Lakers, who were also interested in Morris, have decided not to make Kyle Kuzma available, Charania reports (Twitter link). The Knicks aren’t willing to send Morris to the Lakers without Kuzma involved, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link).

Clippers, Lakers Pursuing Marcus Morris

Reports earlier today suggested that the Knicks are expected to move Marcus Morris before Thursday’s trade deadline — it’s just a matter of where.

Los Angeles is one potential landing spot for Morris, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link via Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints), who said today that the Clippers and Lakers are competing for the veteran forward. As Woj pointed out, if either L.A. team lands Morris, it would have the added bonus of keeping him away from a top rival.

Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times provides some additional info on those talks, tweeting that the Knicks are interested in Kyle Kuzma in talks with the Lakers and Landry Shamet in talks with the Clippers. Kuzma is the more attainable player of the two — the Clips are unwilling to part with Shamet, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

While the Clippers have a logical salary-matching piece in Maurice Harkless, the Lakers’ path to absorbing Morris’ $15MM salary is less straightforward. A three- or four-player package of lower-cost guys could work, but Turner suggests in his tweet that the teams may be discussing Danny Green. The Knicks would want to flip Green to another team, according to Turner. For what it’s worth, I’d be pretty surprised if the Lakers are willing to move both Kuzma and Green for Morris alone.

Meanwhile, Marcus Morris may be the more sought-after twin, but his brother Markieff Morris is also drawing interest from contenders, including the Lakers and Clippers, reports Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (via Twitter).

O’Connor (Twitter link) names the Bucks, Sixers, Celtics, and Rockets as other clubs that have interest in Markieff. The Pistons’ forward hasn’t had the type of season his brother has, but wouldn’t cost as much in terms of a trade package and has a modest $3.2MM cap hit.

Amick’s Latest: Rockets, Len, D-Lo, Bogdanovic, Pistons

The Rockets remain on the lookout for a center who can help the team fill the hole that will be created when Clint Capela is officially sent to Atlanta, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (via Twitter), Houston is moving closer to a deal for a center and is in talks with a pair of Eastern Conference teams.

Both Amick and Iko indicate the Rockets have shown a willingness to take on some “bad” salary if it helps them acquire an asset or two.

Once the four-team trade involving Capela is officially complete, Houston will have limited flexibility to acquire a center or absorb an unwanted contract. However, until that point, the Rockets could try to fold a separate trade into that four-team deal, which would allow them to take back up to $12MM+ in additional salary (up to $5.8MM before reaching the tax line).

Alex Len is one potential fit for the Rockets, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests that the Hawks would want at least a second-round pick for Len. Since Atlanta is already part of the Rockets’ four-team trade, this could be simpler than bringing a fifth club. But I wonder if the Hawks would want to get back the 2024 second-rounder they’re sending to the Rockets in addition to acquiring a separate second-rounder for Len.

Here’s more from Amick and Hollinger:

  • A source confirmed to Amick that the Knicks continue to pursue D’Angelo Russell, but said none of New York’s offers have been “even remotely appealing” to the Warriors.
  • Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic is generating “serious” interest, but a source says the Kings are still happy to keep Bogdanovic and attempt to re-sign him in free agency, according to Amick. As of this afternoon, Sacramento wasn’t discussing a Kyle Kuzma deal with the Lakers, but many teams around the NBA have registered interest in Bogdanovic, including the Sixers and Hornets, Amick notes.
  • The Pistons are “open for business” and willing to discuss just about anyone, per Amick and Hollinger. However, a source with knowledge of the situation downplayed the idea that Derrick Rose will be moved before the deadline.
  • The Magic are unlikely to do anything too significant, but remain in the market for “good, young perimeter help,” says Hollinger.

Knicks Have Had Exploratory Kyle Kuzma Talks

The Knicks and Lakers have had exploratory discussions about a possible Kyle Kuzma trade, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Charania follows up by tweeting that several contending teams are expressing interest in Marcus Morris. He doesn’t explicitly state that the Lakers are among those teams, but it seems safe to connect those dots.

While Morris could be a nice fit for the Lakers, it would be a challenge for the club to build a trade package for him with Kuzma as a centerpiece. Los Angeles would need to send out at least $10MM in salary and Kuzma makes just under $2MM. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope unlikely to waive his no-trade clause to accept a trade to New York, that means the Lakers would have to package three or four players to get up to $10MM.

The Knicks added several veteran power forwards during the 2019 offseason, signing Morris, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson in free agency. However, there’s no guarantee that any of those players will be with the franchise for the long term. Only Randle has a fully guaranteed salary for next season, and the man that signed off on all those deals – former president Steve Mills – was dismissed today by the team. It’s possible new interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry envisions a young player like Kuzma as a more logical long-term investment at the four.

Let’s round up a few more Knicks-related items…

  • While it remains to be seen what sort of compensation the Raptors would want for Masai Ujiri, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that a team in a similar situation last year asked for two first-round picks when another club inquired about a top executive under contract. That exec was considered to be a tier below Ujiri, according to Begley, who suggests that any Knicks’ discussions for the Raptors’ president of basketball operations would probably have to start with a baseline of two first-rounders.
  • Within that same story, Begley identifies several other veteran executives who could make sense as targets for the Knicks, including Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon. Sources tell Begley that Langdon has fans within the organization.
  • Kevin Durant‘s manager Rich Kleiman could be a candidate for the Knicks’ front office opening, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A longtime fan of the team, Kleiman has previously expressed interest in running the Knicks. Sources tell Berman that Kleiman would likely want to hire Mark Jackson as New York’s head coach if he were in position to do so.

Charania’s Latest: Kuzma, Love, Russell, Covington, Rose, Drummond

While forward Kyle Kuzma has been mentioned prominently in trade rumors, the Lakers are reluctant to make a deal that would negatively impact their team chemistry, The Athletic’s Shams Charania told Alex Kennedy on a HoopsHype podcast (Twitter link). The Lakers would only consider moving the offensive-skilled power forward if they received a “high-end rotation player” in return. “Those guys really get along on and off the floor,” Charania said.

The Athletic’s top NBA writer also commented on a number of other players on the trade market:

  • It’s unlikely the Cavaliers will be able to find a taker for Kevin Love and his big multi-year contract. “I don’t see a logical landing spot,” he said.
  • The Knicks are willing to give up their 2018 first-round pick, forward Kevin Knox, as part of a package for the Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell. However, that doesn’t hold much appeal to the Warriors. Golden State, as Charania reported earlier, is seeking multiple unprotected first-round picks for Russell. The Timberwolves looking to acquire first-round picks for forward Robert Covington, which it would then flip in a Russell deal.
  • The Rockets, Bucks and Mavericks are among the suitors for Covington, with Houston showing “a lot of interest.”
  • The Pistons are seeking a great asset — a quality first-round pick — for Derrick Rose. But Rose, who missed Monday’s game at Memphis with an adductor strain, doesn’t want to be dealt. “He wants to be in Detroit,” Charania said. “Derrick feels at home and Detroit has embraced him with open arms.”
  • The market for the Pistons’ Andre Drummond is “stagnant.” Drummond’s high salary and ability to opt out in the summer makes it difficult to find a suitable trade, Charania notes.

Lowe’s Latest: Redick, Bertans, Collins, Drummond, OKC, More

A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.

For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.

The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.

As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.

As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:

  • Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
  • The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
  • The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
  • The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
  • Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
  • A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.

O’Connor’s Latest: Lakers, Kings, Wolves, Gordon, More

When reports surfaced earlier in January suggesting that the Lakers and Kings had discussed a possible deal involving Kyle Kuzma and Bogdan Bogdanovic, there were conflicting accounts on which team instigated the talks and what was offered.

In his latest article for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor provides some clarity on those discussions, citing sources who say the Kings offered Nemanja Bjelica and a draft pick in exchange for Kuzma. The Lakers countered by asking for Bogdanovic and Sacramento balked, according to O’Connor.

Bogdanovic is one of a handful of players that O’Connor would target in trade talks over the next week, as he explains in today’s article. That piece also features a few more noteworthy tidbits from O’Connor’s sources, so let’s round up some highlights…

  • The Timberwolves called the Magic about Aaron Gordon earlier in the season, league sources tell O’Connor. If Minnesota made an offer for Gordon, it’s unclear what exactly that offer consisted of, per O’Connor. However, he notes that the Wolves are shopping Robert Covington.
  • League sources don’t expect any major deals from the Pacers at this year’s deadline, according to O’Connor. However, the club could consider a significant move in the offseason if it’s eliminated in the first round this spring. O’Connor points to Myles Turner as a potential trade candidate down the road, though he acknowledges that Indiana would likely be more inclined to consider moving Turner if rookie Goga Bitadze was closer to being a reliable contributor.
  • NBA teams have begun to monitor Vasilije Micic‘s situation in Europe, since the Anadolu Efes guard has become one of the world’s best non-NBA players, sources tell O’Connor. Currently, the Sixers hold Micic’s rights. The 26-year-old, who was the No. 52 pick in the 2014 draft, is averaging 14.2 PPG and 5.8 APG in EuroLeague play this season.

Lakers Notes: Kuzma, LeBron, Howard, KCP

It’s too early to declare that Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma can’t be effective alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He notes that Kuzma missed training camp because of a foot injury he suffered with Team USA and didn’t get a chance to develop chemistry with his All-Star teammates. Kuzma has been mentioned as a possible trade option, but coach Frank Vogel says his value to the team is increasing.

“His rhythm is growing, with our offense, with his new teammates, with the defensive schemes,” Vogel said. “All those things when they change frequently for a young player, it can be a challenge. But I think he is coming around … he has got to make the right plays. Sometimes that means you don’t take as many shots because the defense is rotating to you or double teaming you. That’s something we preach to the whole team … it’s not different with Kyle. Some nights he is going to facilitate more, some nights he is going to be the recipient more.”

Mannix believes the Lakers will decide to keep Kuzma and hope he becomes a consistent third scoring option. He points out that Kuzma is only 24 and is trying to find his role on a team that has undergone considerable changes in the last two offseasons.

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • After James passed Kobe Bryant last night to move into third place on the career scoring list, the all-time record now seems attainable, states Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. James remains at the top of his game at age 35 and is averaging more than 25 PPG for the 16th straight season. He needs 4,733 points to catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which would mean averaging about 20 PPG for three more years.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy examines whether the Lakers are willing to pay Dwight Howard enough to keep him when he becomes a free agent this summer. A rival executive tells Deveney that Howard should be able to demand “a good part” of L.A.’s $9.7MM mid-level exception. “I am very happy here,” Howard said of L.A. “I like being here, I am having fun being here. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but I know I can’t think about that or focus on it. I am just focused on being here.”
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has overcome a rough start to become an important contributor, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. He has also quieted the boos at Staples Center that were frequent when his shot was misfiring early in the season. “He trusts his talent,” assistant coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s done what we’ve asked him to do, from coming off the bench to starting, to coming off again. That’s a true pro.”