Danilo Gallinari

Scotto’s Latest: Bufkin, Wizards, Payton, Las Vegas

The Hawks tried to trade for Raptors forward Pascal Siakam this summer, but they weren’t willing to part with first-round pick Kobe Bufkin, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Atlanta’s offers focused on De’Andre HunterAJ Griffin and draft picks, but Bufkin wasn’t included, sources tell Scotto.

Toronto considered selecting Bufkin with the 13th pick before opting for Gradey Dick, Scotto adds. He also hears that Hawks coach Quin Snyder is a huge proponent of Bufkin, who is coming off an impressive sophomore season at Michigan.

Scotto notes that Atlanta’s options will expand when Bogdan Bogdanovic becomes trade-eligible on Saturday. The veteran swingman, who was named to the All-Star 5 at the World Cup, is under contract for $68MM over the next four years, including a $16MM team option for 2026/27.

Scotto offers more inside information from around the league:

  • The Wizards aren’t looking to make a move right away, but they expect to get trade offers for Danilo Gallinari, Landry Shamet and Delon Wright. Scotto points out that Gallinari at $6.8MM and Wright at $8.2MM both have expiring contracts. Shamet is signed for three more years, but his only guaranteed money is $10.25MM for 2023/24. Sources tell Scotto that Gallinari hasn’t engaged in buyout talks with the Wizards and is focused on making a comeback after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. The Hornets considered making a trade offer for Wright before targeting Frank Ntilikina instead, Scotto adds, and league executives told him that Washington could probably get a second-round pick or two in exchange for the veteran guard.
  • Elfrid Payton recently had workouts with the Timberwolves and Hornets, sources told Scotto. Payton spent part of last season in the G League, then signed to play in Puerto Rico in late March. He hasn’t been in the NBA since playing 50 games with the Suns during the 2021/22 season.
  • When Las Vegas hosts the semifinals and finals of the in-season tournament in December, the response could go a long way toward securing an expansion team for the city, multiple executives told Scotto. The NBA has been expanding its presence in Las Vegas in recent years with the annual Summer League and the G League Showcase. Seattle and Las Vegas are widely considered the leading contenders for the next round of expansion.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, J. Richardson, D. Robinson, Gallinari

Restricted free agent P.J. Washington and the Hornets remain at an impasse in contract negotiations and there have been “no indications” of that changing anytime soon, league sources tell Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Boone examines the team’s roster and depth chart entering the 2023/24 season, writing that No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller projects to come off the bench behind veterans Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward.

Assuming Washington is on the roster, he’ll have the inside track for the starting power forward position, with Miles Bridges suspended for the first 10 games. However, Boone wonders if the Hornets will eventually pivot to Bridges if they get off to a slow start.

2021 first-round picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones will likely find minutes tough to come by, Boone adds.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Appearing at the Heat‘s youth camp on Wednesday, returning swingman Josh Richardson said Damian Lillard is the best player he’s played against, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays. Lillard’s status, of course, has been one of the primary stories of the offseason, as the longtime Trail Blazers star requested a trade to Miami. Richardson, a free agent signee, said his game is malleable and he’s ready for whatever role he’s given. “I mean, you know how (head coach Erik Spoelstra) Spo is, he’s kind of like, ‘I can put you out there and do anything,’” Richardson said of not sweating how the roster or his role ultimately could shake out. “So it’s kind of what I’m good at. I’m kind of a jack of all trades. Our talk was good before, but I’ll guess we’ll see more concrete once the games get started.”
  • In a subscriber-only mailbag for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman notes that while losing Max Strus‘ shooting could make Duncan Robinson more valuable to the Heat, the latter certainly isn’t irreplaceable. Robinson’s name has popped up in trade rumors for several months and he could be used as a salary-matching piece in a possible Lillard deal.
  • Wizards forward Danilo Gallinari, who was acquired from Boston as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, says he’s looking forward to competing against the Celtics next season, according to Daniel Donabedian of Clutch Points. “I can’t wait to play against Boston,” Gallinari said on the Italian A Cresta Alta podcast. “When the schedule will be unveiled, I’ll put an X on the games we will play at Boston against the Celtics.” Gallinari grew up idolizing Celtics legend Larry Bird and hoped to win a title in Boston, but missed all of last season after tearing his ACL last year.

Scotto’s Latest: DiVincenzo, VanVleet, Poeltl, Lakers, Niang, Gallinari, More

Donte DiVincenzo is expected to be a popular target on the free agent market, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who identifies the Knicks, Timberwolves, Pistons, Pelicans, Rockets, Magic, and Bulls as teams that have interest in the veteran swingman. After settling for a $4.5MM salary in his last foray into free agency a year ago, DiVincenzo could get offers in the neighborhood of the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4MM) this time around, says Scotto.

Here are a few more highlights from Scotto’s latest round-up of news and rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Raptors are hoping to re-sign Fred VanVleet on a three-year deal in the range of $90-100MM, says Scotto. The team is also looking to bring back center Jakob Poeltl, but may face serious competition from the Rockets on both players. Although Brook Lopez has been considered Houston’s primary target at center, there’s a belief that Lopez would prefer to return to the Bucks as long as their offer is in the same ballpark as Houston’s, Scotto explains. That could prompt Houston to pivot to Poeltl, who is also expected to receive from the Spurs, as previously reported.
  • While the Lakers would like to re-sign Dennis Schröder, they’re keeping an eye on several other free agent point guards, including Shake Milton, Cory Joseph, and Jevon Carter, says Scotto. In addition to the Bucks and Lakers, Carter is expected to receive interest from the Timberwolves and Suns, among others, Scotto adds.
  • Scotto is the second reporter to link Georges Niang to the Cavaliers today, noting that Cleveland offered a pair of second-round picks for him at the trade deadline. The Sixers, Bulls, and Spurs are a few of the other clubs expected to express interest in Niang, league sources tell HoopsHype.
  • Despite a report indicating that the Wizards are likely to buy out Danilo Gallinari, the two sides haven’t had any discussions about that possibility yet, per Scotto, who writes that the veteran forward is comfortable with the idea of opening the season in D.C.
  • According to Scotto, former NBA wing Glenn Robinson III is attempting a comeback, having signed with agent Keith Kreiter and scheduled workouts with a handful of NBA teams in Las Vegas last month. A career 37.3% three-point shooter, Robinson has been out of the league for the last two seasons.
  • Vin Bhavnani and Mike Batiste are expected to join the Raptors as assistants on Darko Rajakovic‘s new coaching staff, Scotto reports. Bhavnani is a former Thunder assistant, while Batiste was on Stephen Silas‘ staff in Houston last season.

Heat Willing To Wait For Damian Lillard

The Heat aren’t giving up their pursuit of Damian Lillard. They’re taking a wait-and-see approach with the hope that Lillard will eventually request a trade, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

Miami views Lillard as a player worth waiting for, as Jackson describes it, with no other viable paths to significantly upgrade the roster in the short term.

Lillard and his agent met with Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin on Monday. Cronin issued a short statement after the meeting, saying the two sides had a “great dialogue” and that the Blazers “remain committed to building a winner around Dame.”

Portland’s front office will try to make moves to markedly improve its roster and appease Lillard. If the Blazers are unable to do so, it’s still quite possible that Lillard finally asks to be moved.

It would be helpful for the Heat if that request came before August 31, the deadline to use the waive-and-stretch provision on Kyle Lowry‘s contract. Lowry’s $29.7MM expiring contract could be integral in a trade with Portland.

Beyond Lillard, an All-Star talent level may be out of reach for the tax-paying Heat. However, they are intent on keeping at least one of their key free agents. Gabe Vincent is expected to meet with Heat president Pat Riley in Southern California before free agency begins on Friday, according to Jackson. Miami holds his Bird rights.

Vincent appears to be a bigger priority for the Heat than fellow free agent Max Strus, who’s also expected to have multiple suitors in the open market.

A league source tells Jackson that Danilo Gallinari, who was included in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, could be a low-cost free agent target if, as expected, he receives a buyout from the Wizards.

Fischer’s Latest: Jazz, Cavs, Wolves, DiVincenzo, Gallinari, More

The Jazz‘s trade for John Collins and the Timberwolves‘ extension agreement with Naz Reid are two transactions that could have a ripple effect on other offseason activity, Jake Fischer writes in his latest story for Yahoo Sports.

As Fischer explains, the Jazz were expected to be a player for forwards in free agency, with Celtics RFA Grant Williams among Utah’s rumored targets. The Jazz still project to have cap room available, especially if Jordan Clarkson doesn’t remain with the team, but after adding Collins to a frontcourt that now features Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and lottery pick Taylor Hendricks, it’s hard to see them spending big on another forward or center, Fischer observes.

As for Reid, the Cavaliers were among the teams that hoped to take a run at him in free agency, sources tell Fischer. It’s unclear whether Cleveland – which should have the full mid-level exception available – will pivot to pursuing another significant frontcourt addition to complement Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley or whether the club specifically valued Reid highly, Fischer writes.

Meanwhile, opposing executives are curious about how the Timberwolves’ new deal with Reid might affect the rest of their roster. In particular, Fischer says, rival teams are wondering if Minnesota might waive veteran wing Taurean Prince, whose $7.5MM salary for 2023/24 is non-guaranteed.

With Prince on the books, the Wolves likely won’t have access to the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, and they’re believe to be in the market for a combo guard with size using that MLE, according to Fischer, who names Bruce Brown and Donte DiVincenzo as two possible targets.

Here’s more of Fischer’s latest reporting:

  • Minnesota is hardly the only team with interest in DiVincenzo. There has been “growing noise” among league personnel about the possibility of DiVincenzo joining the Knicks and teaming up with fellow Villanova alums Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, says Fischer.
  • Teams with cap room, including the Pacers, Magic, and Pistons, are believed to be eyeing players like Grant Williams (RFA) and Max Strus, according to Fischer, though he has heard the same rumblings that Marc Stein has about Detroit potentially using its room to make a room at Cameron Johnson. If the Nets bring back Johnson, rival executives are prepared for Brooklyn to make a cost-cutting trade to help accommodate Johnson’s increased salary.
  • The Wizards are considered likely to reach a buyout agreement with Danilo Gallinari, freeing up the veteran forward to pursue a deal with a team closer to contention, Fischer reports. Gallinari would be ineligible to re-sign with the Celtics in that scenario.
  • The Rockets are considering high-salary, short-term deals in order to land their preferred targets in free agency, per Fischer, who suggests it might take a maximum-salary offer to lure Fred VanVleet away from the Raptors. VanVleet is rumored to be one of Houston’s top priorities in free agency.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along more of Fischer’s latest tidbits in a pair of stories earlier today.

Celtics Notes: Brogdon, G. Williams, Gallinari, Summer League

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens reached out to Malcolm Brogdon after he was offered to the Clippers last week in a three-team trade for Kristaps Porzingis, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.

L.A. eventually pulled out of the deal because it didn’t have time to examine Brogdon — who suffered a right forearm strain during the playoffs — before Porzingis’ deadline to pick up his option. Stevens said he called Brogdon to let him know that he’s still a valuable part of the team, and he considers it unfortunate that word of the potential deal was leaked in the press.

“There are a lot of narratives out there because of (the failed trade) that certainly are inaccurate,” Stevens said. “The bottom line is, right now, he’s going through a period of four-to-eight weeks where he’s resting and rehabbing, as suggested by our docs, as suggested by the third-party doc that he went to see. He feels good and we expect him to be back right (at the) start of the season and have the great year that he’s had every year he’s been in the league. So we’re excited about that. But it’s hard for him. That’s the other part, being in the rumors and stuff, that stinks.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • The addition of Porzingis will make it much harder for the Celtics to keep Grant Williams, Forsberg adds. Even if they can work out a sign-and-trade deal involving the restricted free agent, Forsberg doesn’t expect the team to get much value in return.
  • Danilo Gallinari was disappointed that he never got to play for Boston because of a torn ACL, but he offered a message of thanks to the team on Twitter after being sent to Washington in the Porzingis trade, relays Souichi Terada of MassLive. “A huge thanks to the Celtics staff that helped me rehab and reach my goal,” Gallinari wrote. “It would have been even better to show it on the court.”
  • Mychal Mulder and Jay Scrubb are among the players with NBA experience projected to be on the Celtics’ Summer League roster, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Mulder played three seasons with the Warriors, Magic and Heat, while Scrubb spent time with the Clippers and Magic before Orlando waived him this month. A source tells Himmelsbach that Boston’s Summer League team is also expected to include 22-year-old Polish center Aleksander Balcerowski, whom Celtics officials have been monitoring for several years.

Porzingis To Celtics, Smart To Grizzlies, Jones To Wizards In Three-Team Trade

JUNE 23: The three-team blockbuster is official, according to a press release from the Celtics.

As our draft recap shows, the No. 25 and No. 35 draft picks included in this deal were both flipped to new teams in separate draft-night trade agreements.

JUNE 21: After their three-team framework with the Clippers was scrapped, the Wizards and Celtics have reached a new agreement to send Kristaps Porzingis to Boston, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

The Grizzlies will also be involved in the revamped three-team deal, with point guard Tyus Jones heading to Washington and Celtics guard Marcus Smart headed to Memphis, per Wojnarowski.

Celtics big men Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari will be sent to the Wizards in the trade, according to Adam Himmselbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter links). Muscala has a $3.5MM team option, which will be exercised as part of the deal.

The Celtics will be receiving Memphis’ first-round pick (No. 25) and Golden State’s top-four protected 2024 first-round pick (via Memphis) for Smart, while the Wizards will acquire No. 35 from Boston for Porzingis.

Although Boston still found a way to acquire Porzingis, who picked up his $36MM player option for 2023/24 as part of the agreement, the incoming and outgoing packages are significantly different than the ones the team discussed with Washington and the Clippers earlier on Wednesday.

Rather than sending out Malcolm Brogdon, the Celtics will lose Smart, the longest-tenured player on the roster who had appeared in nearly 700 total regular season and playoff games for the franchise since 2014. It was widely known that Boston was looking to clear a logjam in its backcourt, but it’s a surprise that Smart will be the odd man out rather than Brogdon or Payton Pritchard. Derrick White appears likely to become the new starting point guard in Boston.

According to NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link), the Clippers had concerns over Brogdon’s injury status. The veteran guard tore a tendon in his right elbow this year and is reportedly hoping to avoid surgery.

Having agreed to give up Smart instead of Brogdon, the Celtics will acquire a pair of first-round picks in addition to Porzingis, who is coming off perhaps the best season of his career. He averaged 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 65 games (32.6 MPG) in 2022/23, posting a shooting line of .498/.385/.851.

According to Stein, Porzingis is hoping to sign an extension with the Celtics and there’s a “strong expectation” that he’ll get two years tacked onto his current contract once he becomes eligible for a new deal in July.

Assuming the Celtics hang onto the No. 25 pick, their projected 2023/24 team salary will increase by about $10MM as a result of this deal, pushing their payroll toward the second tax apron, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It will be interesting to see what the financial outlook – and the addition of Porzingis – means for restricted free agent Grant Williams, who is hardly a lock to re-sign.

The Wizards, meanwhile, continue their roster reset following the hiring of Michael Winger to run their front office. The team previously agreed to trade Bradley Beal to Phoenix and has focused on avoiding multiyear salary commitments in both deals — Jones ($14MM expiring contract), Gallinari ($6.8MM), and Muscala ($3.5MM) are all on track to reach unrestricted free agency by 2024.

While Gallinari and Muscala look like mere salary-matching inclusions, Jones and the No. 35 overall pick are positive assets.

The Wizards could probably accumulate more draft picks if they were to flip Jones to another team, but it sounds like the plan is to make him their starting point guard in 2023/24, per ESPN’s reporting. Monte Morris and Delon Wright are also in that point guard picture for the time being, as is Chris Paul, though he may be traded to a new team or bought out.

It’s an especially interesting move for the Grizzlies, who will be without star point guard Ja Morant for the first 25 games of 2023/24 while he serves a suspension. Jones, one of the league’s top reserve point guards in recent years, projected to be the starter in Morant’s absence, but now that job may belong to Smart.

Besides being able to handle point guard duties, Smart – the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year – will provide the Grizzlies with the sort of perimeter stopper they’ll be losing when Dillon Brooks departs in free agency this offseason. As Stein writes, he should also bring some veteran leadership and stability to Memphis’ locker room.

Smart will receive a $1MM trade bonus as a result of the deal, according to Marks (Twitter link). That money will be spread out across the remaining years on his contract, slightly bumping his cap hits for each season.

The Grizzlies now project to be about $20MM below next season’s tax line, so they should have the full mid-level exception available to spend in free agency if they so choose, Marks adds (via Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Celtics, Wizards, Clippers Trade Talks Fall Through

The three-team trade that would have sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers, and Marcus Morris, Amir Coffey, Danilo Gallinari and the No. 30 pick to the Wizards has fallen through and the clubs have decided to move on, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While multiple reporters said the deal was nearing completion, Wojnarowski previously cautioned that there was more work to do to make an agreement official, and now the three-team trade has been shelved.

Sources tell Marc Stein that the Clippers had concerns over Brogdon’s medicals, which caused the three-team framework to collapse (Twitter link).

Brogdon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. He said after the Celtics’ season ended that he’d consider undergoing surgery on his shooting arm, though a report earlier today indicated he was optimistic about avoiding a procedure and would like to stay in Boston.

The Wizards are still working on a deal to send Porzingis to Boston, but the Clippers won’t be involved, according to both Wojnarowski and Stein.

It’s very rare for a details of a trade to emerge so publicly and seemingly be so close to the finish line and eventually fall through. Evidently the Clippers’ medical staff saw something they didn’t like though, so Boston decided to pivot and try to acquire Porzingis in new framework.

Brogdon has two years and $45MM left on his contract. It’s unclear if he’ll be involved in the new proposal.

Celtics, Clippers, Wizards Nearing Deal Involving Porzingis, Brogdon

3:49pm: The three teams are closing in on an agreement, reports Charania (Twitter link). According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link), negotiations on the deal are “nearing the final stages.”

The Wizards are expected to receive the No. 30 pick in Thursday’s draft from the Clippers as part of the potential trade, Charania adds (via Twitter). Amir Coffey would also be sent from L.A. to D.C., according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who cautions (via Twitter) that there’s more work to do to complete an agreement.

2:34pm: There’s a “high possibility” of the three-team deal getting done, per Charania and Jared Weiss of The Athletic. The Athletic’s duo adds that Gallinari would likely be involved in the trade, since Boston needs to send out additional salary. Gallinari would head to Washington, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

1:55pm: The Celtics, Wizards, and Clippers are engaged in serious talks about a possible three-way trade that would send Porzingis to Boston, Brogdon to Los Angeles, and Marcus Morris and draft compensation to Washington, reports Charania (Twitter link).

More pieces would need to be included and it remains to be seen whether Porzingis will opt in, so nothing’s done yet. However, the framework makes some sense for all three teams, including the Clippers, who have been on the lookout for backcourt help.

1:18pm: The Celtics have interest in acquiring big man Kristaps Porzingis and are talking to the Wizards about a possible trade that would involve Porzingis picking up his 2023/24 player option, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link).

Porzingis’ decision on a $36MM player option is reportedly due on Wednesday, unless he and the Wizards agree to push back that deadline. If he were to opt out, the 27-year-old would be on track to reach unrestricted free agency and couldn’t be dealt this offseason unless it happened in a sign-and-trade deal.

Acquiring a player via sign-and-trade hard-caps a team at the first tax apron, so it would be simpler for the Celtics – a projected taxpayer – to trade for Porzingis if he were to pick up his option. That would make him immediately trade-eligible and wouldn’t result in hard-cap complications.

Porzingis is coming off perhaps the best season of his career. He averaged 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 65 games (32.6 MPG) in 2022/23, posting a shooting line of .498/.385/.851.

Still, Porzingis’ future in D.C. is murky following the upheaval in the team’s front office. The new group, led by president of basketball operations Michael Winger, is in the process of resetting the Wizards’ roster, starting with a trade that will send Bradley Beal to Phoenix.

According to Charania, the team hasn’t closed the door on working out a new deal with Porzingis, but the big man is receiving interest from rival suitors. It’s also unclear if he’d want to stick with the Wizards through a retooling process.

Charania doesn’t clarify what pieces the Celtics might include in an offer for Porzingis, but the team would have a variety of options for salary-matching in a trade. Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari is one hypothetical combination that would work. Derrick White and Marcus Smart will each make $18MM+ next season and could be traded, though Brogdon and his $22.5MM salary seem more likely to be included in an offer.

Robert Williams and Al Horford are among Boston’s other potential trade pieces if the team envisions Porzingis replacing one of them in the frontcourt rather than supplementing them. Restricted free agent Grant Williams could be a sign-and-trade chip. It at least seems safe to assume the Celtics will keep Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown out of any offer for Porzingis.

It’s also worth noting that the C’s have traded away their 2023 first-round pick and swap rights to their 2028 first-round selection, but are otherwise fairly unencumbered in offering future first-rounders.

Celtics’ Danilo Gallinari Exercises 2023/24 Player Option

As expected, Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari has exercised his $6.8MM player option for the 2023/24 season, his agent Michael Tellem of Excel Sports Management tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gallinari signed a two-year, $13.3MM contract with Boston as a free agent last summer. However, he never suited up for his new club, having missed the entire ’22/23 season with a major knee injury.

The 34-year-old sustained a torn left ACL last August while playing in a World Cup qualifier for the Italian national team. It was his second torn ACL in the same knee — the first came back in 2013, which caused him to miss the ’13/14 season.

According to Wojnarowski, Gallinari is expected to have a “sizeable role” for the Celtics next season. The veteran forward is close to being fully recovered from the injury.

A talented scorer and shooter, Gallinari holds career averages of 15.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.9 APG on .428/.382/.877 shooting in 728 career regular season games (29.9 MPG). In ’21/22 with Atlanta, his last healthy campaign, he averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.7 RPG on .434/.381/.904 shooting in 66 games (25.3 MPG).