Cameron Johnson

Trade Rumors: Markkanen, DeRozan, Young, Cavaliers

The Jazz continue to listen to trade offers for Lauri Markkanen, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (subscriber link), who hears from sources who say the Heat are among the teams interested in the star forward.

As Lowe writes, Markkanen’s situation is complicated because he’s on a below-market contract that will pay him $18MM in 2024/25, which is the final season of his contract. That makes a standard contract extension – which can’t start above 40% of his current salary – unlikely. Rival teams may not be willing to give up a major haul of assets with no guarantees that the 27-year-old would stick around beyond next season.

Utah could potentially get more value in return for Markkanen in several months if the team renegotiates and then extends his contract. However, that scenario is also tricky.

As Marc Stein details (Substack link), Markkanen becomes eligible for a renegotiation and extension on August 6, but he won’t be trade-eligible for six months if he signs a new deal. That means if he signs the extension on the first day he’s eligible to, he would only be eligible to be traded for one day during the season: February 6, the day of the deadline. If the extension is signed on August 7 (or later), Markkanen would not be eligible to traded during the upcoming season.

While it’s not surprising that the Heat have shown interest in the Finnish star, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald casts doubt (via Twitter) on the feasibility of the team actually acquiring him. As Jackson notes, Utah has placed a high asking price in previous talks with Miami, which lacks future first-round picks to offer.

One team interested in Markkanen seems confident that he’ll eventually be traded, per Stein. Utah’s own 2025 first-round pick is top-10 protected, so the Jazz could be incentivized to tank ahead of a strong draft class. Utah has also struggled to acquire a second star to build the roster around him.

Here are some more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Kings appear to be the frontrunner to acquire DeMar DeRozan in a sign-and-trade with the Bulls, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who made the comments on SportsCenter (Twitter video link; hat tip to RealGM). However, Wojnarowski said a third team would likely to be need to be involved to absorb salaries, as Chicago is reluctant to add to its payroll. A six-time All-Star, DeRozan remains the top free agent left on the market.
  • According to Lowe, the trade market for Hawks point guard Trae Young “is as chilly as it has ever been.” Sources tell Lowe that the Spurs and Lakers — two teams linked to Young — haven’t expressed much recent interest in the three-time All-Star. Lowe says San Antonio appears unmotivated to help Atlanta regain control of its own first-round picks in a deal for Young.
  • Lowe hears rumors of Darius Garland potentially requesting a trade from the Cavaliers following Donovan Mitchell‘s extension have “quieted,” which confirms a report from his ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst. According to Lowe’s sources, the Cavs are still on the hunt for a 3-and-D wing, with Nets forwards Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith worth monitoring, though Cleveland only has one tradable first-round pick (2031). Stein has also heard that center Jarrett Allen will likely be difficult to acquire after Kenny Atkinson was hired as head coach, which means the Cavs could have the same core together entering next season.

Trade Rumors: LaVine, Johnson, Ingram, Pacers, Carter

The Bulls don’t appear to have made any progress on the Zach LaVine trade front, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (YouTube link). Chicago has made an effort this offseason to find a taker for LaVine, but hasn’t found many teams with interest — even if a draft pick is attached to the two-time All-Star.

“Literally, there is no market for Zach LaVine,” Marks said. “They are trying to give him away and attach a first-round pick. I’ve been told that by multiple people.”

LaVine’s maximum-salary contract looks especially onerous as teams grapple with the implications of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. He’s owed $43MM next season coming off foot surgery and has a guaranteed salary of $46MM in 2025/26, with a player option worth nearly $49MM for ’26/27.

Here are a few more trade rumors from across the league:

  • Nets forward Cameron Johnson is generating trade interest from the Raptors and Kings, with the Pacers and Magic among the other teams to register exploratory interest, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The Cavaliers have been mentioned as another possible suitor for Johnson, but “nothing has materialized on that front” yet, according to Scotto. Brookyn is believed to be open to inquiries to most of the veterans on its roster after having agreed to send Mikal Bridges to New York.
  • The Kings are a team to keep an eye on as a possible suitor for Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, Scotto writes, confirming reporting from Jake Fischer. For now, Sacramento’s interest in Ingram has only been exploratory, Scotto notes.
  • Teams talking to the Pacers have inquired about youngsters Bennedict Mathurin and Jarace Walker, per Scotto. While there has been no indication that Indiana is looking to move either player, the team made the Eastern Conference finals without Mathurin available and has reached lucrative new free agent deals for two power forwards who are ahead of Walker on the depth chart (Pascal Siakam and Obi Toppin), so it’s fair to wonder whether they’ll be available this summer.
  • With the Magic considered a potential suitor for Isaiah Hartenstein, teams have expressed interest in trading for Orlando center Wendell Carter, according to Scotto, who says the Pelicans are among the clubs to inquire on Carter.

Atlantic Notes: Stevens, Celtics, Sixers, George, Nets

Since the Celtics won the NBA title 12 days ago, team president Brad Stevens has watched other contenders make roster moves to try to catch up, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The battle to keep Boston from repeating next season will kick into high gear when free agency starts Sunday evening.

The Celtics won’t be very active because their status as a second-apron team places restrictions on what they’re permitted to do. The offseason focus will be on extensions for Jayson Tatum, Derrick White and Sam Hauser and possibly re-signing one or more of their free agent big men. Stevens understood the limits his team would face when he traded for Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday last offseason.

“You saw a couple of moves today where people are setting themselves up to sign the next contract or to do things they can to dance around that second apron,” he said. “Obviously, we’re projected to be a little bit above, but we projected to that last year when we made those trades and we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We just have to all navigate it. We all know the basketball penalties that are associated with it. We have to look at A) How are we going to be able to navigate that world from a financial standpoint, from a basketball standpoint, from a penalty standpoint, and B) Put the best roster together than you can.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Stevens also talked about the importance of hitting on draft choices for second-apron teams and expressed confidence that first-round pick Baylor Scheierman and second-rounder Anton Watson will both have a future with the Celtics, Washburn adds. “The draft is important, and if you have a chance to get a really good player, it could make a huge difference,” Stevens said. “We’re hopeful that these two guys come in with the right mindset. I have no doubt that they’ll have good careers and we look forward to playing a part in it.”
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines the Sixers‘ chances of landing Paul George in free agency now that he has declined his $48.8MM option for next season. George will meet with Sixers officials Sunday night, but Pompey notes that the Magic are also a strong contender and there’s a chance he’ll remain with the Clippers if they add a fourth year to their current offer. Sources tell Pompey that George is expected to be involved in helping to recruit role players if he signs with Philadelphia.
  • With the Nets over the salary cap, their significant moves are likely to happen on the trade market, observes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lewis points to Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith as players who would be better fits on contenders and states that the Cavaliers, Kings and Lakers have expressed interest in Johnson.

Trade Rumors: Kings, Wizards, THJ, Grizzlies, Rockets

In the minutes and hours leading up to their No. 13 pick in tonight’s draft, the Kings were engaged in trade talks involving that selection, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).

Sacramento ultimately used that pick to select Providence guard Devin Carter and it doesn’t appear that there are any plans to trade him, but it seems safe to assume the Kings will remain on the lookout for help on the wing. Anderson says Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma and Nets sharpshooter Cameron Johnson were among the names he heard linked to the Kings, while Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) notes that Sacramento expressed interest in another Net, Dorian Finney-Smith, prior to February’s trade deadline.

Here are a few more draft-day trade rumors:

  • The Wizards have emerged as another “viable” trade partner for the Mavericks with Tim Hardaway Jr., according to Marc Stein (Twitter link), who previously identified Detroit as a possible landing spot for Hardaway. Unlike the Pistons, Washington doesn’t project to have cap room this offseason, so Dallas would likely have to take back some salary in a deal with the Wizards. As Stein points out, the two teams have already made one trade this year, with Washington sending Daniel Gafford to the Mavs in February.
  • Before drafting Ron Holland at No. 5, Detroit talked to the Grizzlies about a trade back to No. 9, but Memphis didn’t present anything “substantial” to convince the Pistons to make a deal, reports James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The Grizzlies, who were believed to be eyeing Donovan Clingan, also spoke to the Hornets about the No. 6 pick, according to Fischer (Twitter link). Clingan ultimately went to Portland at No. 7, with Memphis opting for another center, Zach Edey, at No. 9.
  • Despite rumors that the Rockets want to turn around and immediately trade the draft assets they got from Brooklyn for a star – possibly Kevin DurantJonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle believes the team will take a longer-term outlook. As Feigen writes in a subscriber-only story, if Houston were prioritizing making a deal in the short term, the Nets picks they gave up would’ve been valuable assets. By kicking those picks down the road, the Rockets created a longer runway to explore the trade market and pursue possible deals.

Draft Rumors: Hornets, Salaun, Nets, Celtics, Spurs

The Hornets are considering Tidjane Salaun with the No. 6 pick, sources tell Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The French power forward has been rising up draft boards recently.

Salaun had to cancel workouts with Charlotte and Detroit after spraining his ankle during a recent session in San Antonio, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. He did work out for the Trail Blazers, who hold the seventh pick, and the Spurs are believed to have interest at No. 8, so there’s a good chance he’ll be selected somewhere in the middle of the lottery. Oklahoma City (No. 12) and Sacramento (No. 13) also hosted workouts with Salaun.

Here are a few more rumors as the draft draws closer:

  • The Nets are “open for business” after reaching an agreement to trade Mikal Bridges to New York, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith are among the players believed to be available as Brooklyn tries to move into the first round.
  • The Celtics are shopping the final pick in the first round in hopes of acquiring some extra selections later on, a source tells Brian Robb of MassLive. Robb notes that Boston sent out two second-round picks to acquire Xavier Tillman from Memphis and another in the Jaden Springer deal with Philadelphia, so the team is short on second-rounders. A source tells Robb the Celtics are planning offseason extensions with Derrick White and Sam Hauser, so it will be important to fill out the roster as inexpensively as possible.
  • The Spurs will be looking for shooters with at least one of their lottery picks, general manager Brian Wright told Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. The team ranked 28th in three-point shooting percentage this season. “We broke the (franchise) record for (total) three-pointers, but then percentage-wise we’re towards the bottom end of the league, right?” Wright said. “So I think you obviously want to add shooting.” McDonald views Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard as a possible shooting upgrade with the fourth pick if he slips past Houston at No. 3, while Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht is in the mix at No. 8.

Nets Notes: Johnson, Finney-Smith, Sharpe, Claxton, Bridges

Mikal Bridges was the first player the Nets agreed to trade this offseason, but he seems unlikely to be the last. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Cameron Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dennis Schröder, Ben Simmons, Day’Ron Sharpe, and newcomer Bojan Bogdanovic are among the potential trade candidates to keep an eye on Brooklyn going forward.

Johnson, in particular, could appeal to teams in the market for shooting help, Scotto notes. The former Sun has made 39.2% of his career-three point attempts and is under contract for three more seasons on a deal that declines to $22.5MM in 2024/25 and to $20.5MM in ’25/26 before returning to $22.5MM in ’26/27.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • The package Brooklyn is receiving for Bridges doesn’t include any 2024 draft picks, but the Nets still believe they’ll be able to move into the 20s on Wednesday night if there’s a specific player they like in the range, according to Scotto, who points to Finney-Smith as a player who may be dangled in that scenario.
  • Sharpe has drawn trade interest from teams around the league beyond just the Grizzlies. Executives who spoke to Scotto believe Brooklyn could demand multiple second-round picks in exchange for the young big man, who is entering the final year of his rookie scale contract.
  • The Nets’ desire to re-sign free agent center Nic Claxton doesn’t appear to have diminished, according to Scotto, who hears from sources that the team wants to hang onto the big man going forward. The Pelicans – who were among the teams pursuing Bridges, sources tell HoopsHype – have “several admirers” of Claxton in their front office and are one of the clubs curious to see if he might become available via sign-and-trade, Scotto adds.
  • While there were conflicting reports on Tuesday about whether Bridges explicitly requested a trade to the Knicks, Brian Lewis of The New York Post hears that the forward at least “quietly angled” to get to Brooklyn’s cross-town rivals. The deal – along with the Nets’ trade to regain control of their 2025 and 2026 first-round picks – has “turbocharged” the organization’s rebuild, Lewis writes.

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, C. Johnson, Bridges, Sixers

The Celtics are hoping Kristaps Porzingis can recover from his right soleus (calf) strain in time for the Eastern Conference Finals, Chris Haynes reported tonight on TNT (video link via ClutchPoints).

Porzingis was ruled out for Game 5 after suffering the injury on Monday, but no official announcement has been made beyond that. Sources tell Haynes that the Celtics are preparing for Porzingis to be out for that second round but that team officials are optimistic that Porzingis can make a full recovery with some time off.

“The Celtics are very ecstatic and happy that this injury wasn’t anything more severe,” Haynes said. “He will use his time to rest and go through rehab and then around the six- or seven-day mark, they will reevaluate him to see how he is feeling and then go from there.”

Appearing on a Boston radio show, coach Joe Mazzulla confirmed that doctors will reexamine Porzingis next week to see how much progress he has made, writes Brian Robb of MassLive.

“I don’t know the specifics of it, they used a lot of fancy words,” Mazzulla said. “But I do know it’ll be kind of a more reevaluated next week. We’ll see how he responds to the treatment and how much better he gets here in the first week. I think that’s kind of the goal is to just get crazy in the next week and see where we’re at from there.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Cameron Johnson was one of two Nets players who showed up to welcome new head coach Jordi Fernandez at his introductory press conference, according to a NetsDaily article. Johnson admitted being disappointed by his performance this season, which played a role in the coaching change and caused him to be pulled from the starting lineup. “Nobody ever says anything will be handed to you, anything will be easy, adversity won’t come up, so it’s part of it,” he said. “You just got to take it, keep it pushing, keep working, and focus on tomorrow, focus on what we can do today.”
  • The Nets have to be careful in how they deal with Mikal Bridges, who will be eligible for an extension this summer, Keith Smith of Spotrac states in his offseason preview for the team. Smith believes Bridges is miscast as a franchise player in Brooklyn because he doesn’t score consistently enough to lead the offense and he doesn’t have enough size to anchor the defense. Smith sees a three-year extension in the range of $100MM to $120MM as reasonable, but adds that anything beyond that could be a bad use of resources.
  • The Sixers are taking steps to make sure Wells Fargo Center isn’t filled with Knicks fans for Game 6 like it was on Sunday, per David Aldridge of The Athletic. The team’s ownership joined with Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin – a former minority stakeholder in the franchise – to purchase and distribute more than 2,000 tickets from the secondary market.

Injury Notes: Heat, C. Johnson, J. Brown, Warriors

While Tyler Herro (foot) remains sidelined for Sunday’s game vs. Washington and Caleb Martin (ankle) will also be unavailable, the Heat are getting a little healthier overall.

As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes, Kevin Love was available on Friday after missing 14 games due to a heel injury, but he wasn’t needed in a 60-point blowout of Portland, so head coach Erik Spoelstra opted to give him another day off.

Love will be active on Sunday and Duncan Robinson appears to be on track to return from a five-game absence due to a back ailment. According to the team (Twitter link), Robinson has been listed as probable to play vs. the Wizards.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Nets wing Cameron Johnson, who has missed three straight games due to a sprained left big toe, was upgraded to questionable for the club’s game vs. the Lakers on Sunday, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. It looks like there’s a good chance Johnson will be available for at least one end of Brooklyn’s back-to-back set on Sunday and Monday against L.A. and Indiana, respectively.
  • Celtics star Jaylen Brown said after Saturday’s win in New Orleans that his left hand has been bothering him as of late and that he plans to get it “looked at” when the team returns home after playing in Charlotte on Monday (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe). Brown hasn’t missed any time as a result of the injury, but this would be the time to give him a game off if it’s needed, since Boston has already clinched the top seed in the East.
  • The Warriors, in the thick of a race for a play-in spot, were missing Jonathan Kuminga (knee) and Klay Thompson (knee) on Friday in Charlotte (Twitter links via Kendra Andrews of ESPN). Both players are considered day-to-day and have been listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest in San Antonio.

New York Notes: DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Thomas, Nets’ Team Meeting

Donte DiVincenzo always feels like he has something to prove when he faces the Kings, and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t want that to dominate his shooting guard’s thoughts heading into Saturday’s game, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. DiVincenzo played for Sacramento at the end of the 2021/22 season, but his time with the organization ended when the Kings withdrew his qualifying offer a few days into free agency. Thibodeau talked with DiVincenzo before the game to make sure that wouldn’t affect his decision-making.

“Not like anything crazy. Just something quick,” DiVincenzo said. “Just a reminder, don’t get too locked in — because everyone knows you want to try so hard to beat your former team, stick it to them. But at the end of the day, when I’m at my best I’m focused on this locker room and making the right plays.”

Bondy notes that DiVincenzo will have a much friendlier reunion tonight with the Warriors, who helped him reestablish his market value last season. He spent one year with Golden State before landing a four-year, $46.9MM deal with the Knicks, and he still communicates with many of his ex-teammates.

“I watch a lot of their games because they’re on the West Coast, so we play our game and they’re usually on afterwards,” DiVincenzo said. “Keep in touch with a lot of those guys. That’s pretty much it. It’s just a personal relationship rather than — there’s no like extra motivation or anything like that.”

There’s more on the NBA’s New York teams:

  • The Knicks‘ stifling defense will get a significant test against the Warriors, Bondy states in a separate story. Helped by the return of OG Anunoby and a league-wide decision to permit more contact, New York has held teams to 94 or fewer points in five straight games. The Knicks will have to get by tonight without Anunoby, who will miss the game due to “injury management” for his right elbow, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.
  • High-scoring guard Cam Thomas wasn’t on the court for a crucial possession when the Nets needed a basket late in Sunday’s loss at San Antonio, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. During a timeout prior to the play, interim coach Kevin Ollie replaced Dennis Smith Jr. with Cameron Johnson, who misfired on a three-point attempt. “I guess they thought that was the best lineup to get a three off. So, you know, it was a good look. He just missed it…” Thomas said. “I mean, it is what it is. I mean if he made it, we wouldn’t be here right now talking about if I was in the game or not. But you know, it is what it is. You can’t get it back; you just gotta move on to the next game.”
  • The Nets held a players-only meeting after Saturday’s loss in Indiana, but they couldn’t hold onto a late lead against the Spurs, Lewis adds in another piece. “We’ve just got to close out the last couple, six minutes better,” said Dennis Schroder, who Lewis hears was one of the leading voices at the meeting.

Atlantic Notes: Melton, Embiid, C. Johnson, Barrett

Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton says a hit he took in a February 27 game against Boston caused his back to “finally [give] out,” writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Melton only appeared in two games from January 2 to February 22 after being diagnosed with a lumbar spine stress response. He played two full games after returning, but was knocked out of action in the first half against the Celtics.

On March 6, the Sixers announced that Melton had begun an “offloading” program to ease the stress on the back. According to Mizell, he was able to walk normally and sit in a chair during an annual chess event Friday at the team’s practice facility. Melton is scheduled to have his condition reevaluated in about a week.

“I think what I’m doing now is definitely going to help me with [the issue] not returning,” he said. “I think how I’m going about it, and the time I’m taking, I’ll be good.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers center Joel Embiid visited a doctor last week to have his progress checked in his recovery from meniscus surgery, tweets Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports. Coach Nick Nurse told reporters before tonight’s game that doctors are happy with the way Embiid is healing and he’s still expected to return before the end of the regular season.
  • Cameron Johnson may be in danger of becoming a bench player for the Nets after signing a four-year, $94.5MM extension last summer, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required). Johnson came off the bench again Wednesday as he returned to the lineup after missing three games with a right ankle sprain. He and Dorian Finney-Smith have split time at power forward this season, and Lewis expects interim coach Kevin Ollie to continue that pattern for the rest of the season. “Control what you can control,” Johnson said. “That’s what I always try to do, that’s what I pride myself on and just trying to contribute to the team in any way that I can. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me in my career, and it’s not any stranger than any other circumstances. But my job is to help this team win games, and that’s what I’m gonna do, whether I’m starting, coming off bench, playing 10 minutes or playing 40 minutes.”
  • The Raptors are expressing support for RJ Barrett while he’s away from the team mourning his brother’s death, per Eric Koreen of The Athletic. “RJ knows really well that we are here for him and that he can make a call and get anything that he needs,” coach Darko Rajaković said. “Sometimes it’s just a conversation. Sometimes it’s just getting in the gym and getting some shots and getting your thoughts off of it. (We’re) just making sure that everybody knows that we are here for (all the players), that we’re gonna help you in any way possible. The worst thing for anybody in that case is just to shut down and get in your own world. You’ve got to be able to ask for help and receive help and just have conversations.”