Davion Mitchell

Kings Trade Davion Mitchell, Sasha Vezenkov To Raptors

JUNE 28: The trade is official, the Raptors announced in a press release, confirming the details outlined below. Toronto used the No. 45 pick to select Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead on Thursday.

“This trade provides us with a mix of young and veteran players, as well as future flexibility and draft assets, as we continue our quest to win, and so we’re pleased to welcome Davion, Sasha and Jamal to the Raptors and to Toronto,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said in a statement. “We thank Jalen for his contributions, and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Because the trade was completed before the new league year began, Toronto completed it using salary-matching and the Siakam trade exception (as explained below) rather than using cap room, which is a signal that they intend to operate over the cap this offseason.

JUNE 27: The Kings have agreed to trade guard Davion Mitchell and forward Sasha Vezenkov to the Raptors, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Toronto is also receiving the No. 45 pick in tonight’s draft, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link), as well as Portland’s 2025 second-round pick, according to Sean Cunningham of FOX 40 Sacramento (Twitter link).

Sacramento will acquire forward Jalen McDaniels from Toronto in the swap, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

The ninth overall pick in the 2021 draft, Mitchell averaged 11.5 points per game as a rookie but is primarily known as a defensive specialist. In 2023/24, he averaged 5.3 points and 1.9 assists in 15.3 minutes per game across 72 appearances for the Kings, almost exclusively in a reserve role.

Keon Ellis‘ emergence last season and the arrival of No. 13 pick Devin Carter created a crowded backcourt picture in Sacramento and it appears Mitchell will be the odd man out.

Vezenkov, the 2022/23 EuroLeague MVP, was selected 57th overall in the 2017 draft but didn’t make the move to the NBA until last summer, when he signed a three-year, $20MM contract with the Kings. It was an up-and-down NBA rookie year for the 28-year-old, who converted 37.5% of his three-point tries but averaged just 12.2 minutes per game in 42 contests, contributing 5.4 PPG and 2.3 RPG.

A series of June reports suggested that a trade involving Vezenkov was a possibility for the Kings, who projected to be up against the luxury tax after agreeing to re-sign Malik Monk to a four-year, $78MM contract. As cap expert Yossi Gozlan tweets, swapping out Vezenkov’s $6.66MM salary and Mitchell’s $6.45MM cap hit for McDaniels’ incoming $4.74MM salary will give Sacramento about $7MM in spending flexibility below the tax heading into free agency.

The move will also open up a spot on the Kings’ 15-man roster and should generate a pair of trade exceptions for Sacramento, including one worth Vezenkov’s salary ($6.66MM).

McDaniels had a poor season in Toronto in 2023/24, averaging just 3.4 PPG on .344/.169/.730 shooting in 50 games (10.8 MPG). But the athletic 6’9″ wing is only one year removed from scoring a career-high 9.4 PPG, and he had a career shooting line of .465/.345/.784 prior to last season.

As for the Raptors, they’ll take on some extra salary for 2024/25 but neither Mitchell nor Vezenkov is owed guaranteed money beyond next season, and both players could vie for rotation minutes if they remain on the roster. Mitchell is extension-eligible this offseason before potentially reaching restricted free agency in 2025, while Vezenkov’s deal includes a $6.98MM team option for 2025/26.

Toronto now controls the No. 31 and No. 45 picks on Thursday after selecting Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter at No. 19 on Wednesday.

The Raptors have multiple options for how to complete the deal. If they intend to operate over the cap, they could use McDaniels’ outgoing salary to match Vezenkov’s incoming figure, then take Mitchell’s salary into a $10MM+ trade exception they created in January’s Pascal Siakam deal. If they plan to operate under the cap, they’ll simply absorb the two incoming salaries using their room. Taking the former route would hard-cap them at the first tax apron for 2024/25.

Fischer’s Latest: Point Guard Rumors, Sixers, Rockets, More

After Charlotte was able to secure a first-round pick from Miami in this week’s deal for Terry Rozier, teams with quality guards available are expected to use that return as a benchmark, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who suggests that the Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Raptors want “at least a first-round pick” for Tyus Jones, Malcolm Brogdon, and Bruce Brown, respectively.

It will presumably be more difficult to extract a first-round pick for a player headed for free agency in 2024 and 2025 than it was for Rozier, who has two more years left on his contract beyond this one. Still, as Fischer notes, there will be no shortage of teams in the market for backcourt help at this season’s deadline.

Sources tell Yahoo Sports that the Lakers are “chief among backcourt buyers” as they seek a point guard upgrade on D’Angelo Russell. The Knicks, Bucks, and Sixers are among the other potential buyers at that position, while the Nets have “poked around” the market too, per Fischer.

Fischer names the Cavaliers and Timberwolves as two other clubs expected to peruse the market in search of backcourt depth and notes that the Spurs will always be a team to watch for point guards until they find a long-term answer at the position to pair with Victor Wembanyama.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Veteran point guard T.J. McConnell was viewed as a possible target for teams looking for backcourt help, but the Pacers have indicated to potential trade partners that they don’t want to move him, Fischer reports. Some of the backup point guards who are available around the NBA, per Fischer, are Davion Mitchell (Kings), Cameron Payne (Bucks), Cory Joseph (Warriors), and Devonte’ Graham (Spurs).
  • Kyle Lowry isn’t expected to join the Hornets prior to the trade deadline as Charlotte looks to flip him to a new team. If he’s still a Hornet once the deadline passes, Lowry will be a strong candidate for a buyout, and the Sixers appear to be a “real possibility” for the Philadelphia native, says Fischer.
  • The Sixers are prioritizing fit alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey as they consider their trade options. They don’t appear to have significant interest in Bruce Brown and will have to seriously consider whether Dejounte Murray is the right piece next to Maxey, given the Hawks‘ high asking price for Murray, Fischer writes. Atlanta is reportedly seeking two first-round picks and a starting-caliber player for the guard.
  • The Rockets have their eye on a pair of Trail Blazers, according to Fischer, who says Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams have both drawn interest from Houston. The Lakers and Knicks are among the other teams that have been connected to Brogdon.
  • The Pelicans and Magic are two teams that rival executives expect to be in the market for a point guard in the summer, though New Orleans is focused more on the center spot for now, per Fischer.

Pistons Notes: Muscala, Thompson, Ivey, Cap Room

The Pistons got a strong performance from their new-look bench in Saturday’s loss to Milwaukee, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Alec Burks scored 33 points and teamed with newly acquired Mike Muscala to hit 11-of-18 shots from beyond the arc as Detroit’s reserves put up 85 points, the most of any team this season. Muscala has noticed a commitment to effort from his new teammates since being acquired in a trade last week.

“Guys play really hard here, and it’s an honor to be a part of that,” he said. “It was a good game today, we just couldn’t get it done, especially on defense. We get a chance to play them again on Monday, and obviously they’re a great team. They have a lot of weapons on offense, but I thought we battled hard today.”

Rookie forward Ausar Thompson, who started for much of the first half of the season, has also become an important part of the bench unit, and Sankofa notes that his rebounding and ability to attack the basket make him an effective complement to Muscala. Coach Monty Williams seems confident in his current bench group.

“Ausar coming off the bench and knocking down shots was huge for his confidence and huge for the development of our young group,” Williams said. “Having (Danilo) Gallinari and Mike out there, they’re seamlessly fitting in and figuring out how we play. Burks has been phenomenal. His ability to score the ball, his ability to communicate and help the young guys on the floor have helped us a ton. You don’t typically get that kind of bench production, but with the vets we have coming off the bench, it certainly helps us.”

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Jaden Ivey has excelled over the past two weeks with Cade Cunningham sidelined by a left knee strain, and he’ll continue to have a role in running the offense once Cunningham returns, Sankofa adds. “It’s good to see him not just score the ball. Like I said he’s defending, attacking the basket, knocking down open shots,” Williams said. “I think it’s going to be a good complement with those two playing together within the system.”
  • The Pistons could have $60MM in cap room this summer, and James L. Edwards III and John Hollinger of The Athletic look at how they might spend it, agreeing that it’s likely to be more useful in trading for big salaries rather than signing free agents. Hollinger speculates that the Pistons might have interest in Andrew Wiggins if the Warriors can’t move him before the trade deadline, although he’s a gamble with three years and $85MM left on his contract. Hollinger mentions a few other potential targets with long-term deals, including the NuggetsZeke Nnaji, the SunsNassir Little and the KingsDavion Mitchell.
  • The NBA has moved the starting time of the Pistons’ January 28 contest against the Thunder so it doesn’t conflict with the Detroit Lions’ playoff game on that Sunday, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Kings Notes: Losing Streak, Rotation, Murray, NBAGL Team

The Kings remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with a 23-18 record, but they’re in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, having dropped a fourth consecutive game on Thursday. While road losses in Philadelphia and Milwaukee last Friday and Sunday were understandable, Sacramento blew a big fourth quarter lead in Phoenix on Tuesday and fell at home to a depleted Pacers team last night.

“It’s a lot of little things that are turning into big things,” Keegan Murray said of the Kings’ on-court issues, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

One of those issues is free throw shooting. The Kings’ 72.5% rate from the foul line this season is easily the NBA’s worst mark and the team made just 25-of-44 (56.8%) free throws in its past two losses.

“That’s two games in a row we shoot 50% from the free throw line,” head coach Mike Brown said on Thursday. “I’m not sure what it is. Today we shot more free throws in a shootaround than we ever have in a shootaround since I’ve been here. And yesterday, we shot more free throws in a practice than we ever have since I’ve been here.”

“You go back to the work. You get in the gym,” wing Kevin Huerter said. “You’ve got to build your confidence by trusting the work you put in. We shot ourselves in the foot. This is the third game in a row this has happened against three good teams. It feels like it’s all self-inflicted and that’s why it’s frustrating for us. It’s no secret. We can’t miss 14 free throws at home and expect to beat a team that’s this good, even with the players they have out. That’s stuff that we can control.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Despite the losing streak, Brown seems to have settled into a rotation he likes, with Huerter back in the starting five and Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, Sasha Vezenkov, and Alex Len playing regular minutes off the bench, notes Anderson. “I hate to say this, but I feel fairly comfortable (with the current rotation),” Brown said prior to Thursday’s loss. “Now, that doesn’t mean I may not change again with the way our rotation is right now, but I feel fairly comfortable with what we’re doing right now, and I’m going to ride with it a little bit and give it an opportunity.” Davion Mitchell, Chris Duarte, Keon Ellis, and JaVale McGee are among those not seeing regular playing time as of late.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic outlines why the Kings consider Murray essentially untouchable in trade talks, writing that the team views the former No. 4 overall pick as a player who could round out a long-term big three alongside Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. “Keegan is a huge part of our future,” Brown said. “We rely on him for a lot and, to a certain degree, it is a little unfair. Because we’re a playoff team. There aren’t many guys that are in year two that are expected to do what he does.”
  • Anjali Ranadive, the daughter of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, has stepped down from her position as the general manager of the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate announced today in a press release. She’ll be pursuing a Ph.D. and focusing on her non-profit organization while assistant general manager Gabriel Harris takes on the day-to-day GM responsibilities in Stockton. “We are grateful to Anjali for her contributions to the Stockton Kings over the past two seasons,” Kings GM Monte McNair said in a statement. “Under her leadership the team has excelled on the court and is set for success in the future.”
  • In other Stockton news, the Kings’ G League team added a former NBA first-round pick earlier this week, announcing in a press release that veteran swingman Shabazz Muhammad has joined the roster. The No. 14 pick in the 2013 draft, Muhammad last played in the NBA in 2018 for Milwaukee, but continues to try to make it back to the league.

Stein’s Latest: Rockets, Barnes, O’Neale, Hunter, Bogdanovic, Jazz, Murray

The Rockets are pursuing frontcourt options to give Most Improved Player Award candidate Alperen Şengün some help, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post. They’re danging Victor Oladipo‘s expiring $9.5MM deal and Jock Landale‘s contract, which isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, as enticements. Houston is also seeking another shooter and has shown interest in the Kings’ Harrison Barnes, according to Stein.

Here are more tidbits from Stein’s story:

  • Barnes could be on the move, despite signing a three-year, $54MM extension last offseason. However, the Kings would prefer to get an impact player using Barnes as part of the package. They’ve had discussions with the Raptors regarding a potential Pascal Siakam deal. The Kings have also made Kevin Huerter and Davion Mitchell available but have no interest in dealing second-year forward Keegan Murray.
  • Stein suggested a couple of days ago that the Cavaliers might pursue Royce O’Neale to fill their 3-and-D need. He now hears that the Nets forward is indeed on Cleveland’s list of targets. The Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter could also be a target to watch for Cleveland, but his contract — he’s in the first year of a four-year, $90MM extension — would make the Cavs’ future cap issues more challenging. O’Neale will be a free agent after the season.
  • The Pistons had some exploratory discussions with a number of teams regarding swingman Bojan Bogdanović. However, it’s not a certainty they’ll deal him, says Stein. They may want to keep him around to help avoid setting the NBA record for the worst all-time season record, currently held by Sixers (9-73).
  • The Jazz’s surge up the Western Conference standings has made it tougher to predict what their front office will do in the coming weeks. Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson are the veterans most frequently mentioned as potential trade pieces but the chatter regarding John Collins has died down since he became the team’s starting center, according to Stein. Top exec Danny Ainge will still likely listen to trade pitches for virtually any player on the roster.
  • Dejounte Murray‘s list of potential suitors includes the Spurs, Lakers, Nets, Knicks and Pistons, Stein reports. The Hawks, as previously noted, are looking to replenish their draft assets after they gave up three first-round picks (two of their own) and a pick swap to acquire him from San Antonio in 2022.

Kings Rumors: Siakam, LaVine, Kuzma, Monk, Murray, Ellis

When the Kings and Raptors discussed a possible Pascal Siakam trade, the two teams are believed to have talked about a package that would have included Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, and a first-round pick, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

Shams Charania reported earlier in the week that Sacramento wanted to get a deal done quickly and pulled out of those talks when Toronto didn’t immediately accept the Kings’ initial offer. However, James Ham of The Kings Beat and ESPN 1320, appearing with Scotto on the HoopsHype podcast, said he thinks the Kings would still be in on Siakam if they felt more confident about their chances of re-signing him.

While Ham hasn’t been able to independently confirm the reporting of his ESPN 1320 colleague Damien Barling, he told Scotto that Barling has heard from his sources that Siakam made it clear he wouldn’t re-sign with Sacramento if the team were to acquire him.

Reports dating back to June have suggested that Siakam would be unwilling to re-sign with a team that trades for him — or at least would maintain that stance. The two-time All-Star would be eligible for a super-max contract during the 2024 offseason if he makes an All-NBA team this season, but only if he’s still a Raptor, as a trade would make him ineligible. With those financial considerations in mind, it makes some sense that Siakam might want to dissuade teams from trading for him.

It’s also worth noting that Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca reported over the weekend that the Kings aren’t interested in giving Siakam a standard (non super-max) maximum-salary contract. If that’s accurate and that was conveyed to the 29-year-old, it could also explain why he’d be hesitant to commit to Sacramento.

Here’s more on the Kings from Scotto and Ham:

  • Scotto has heard that the Kings and Bulls at least briefly discussed Zach LaVine earlier in the season. Barnes and Huerter came up in those talks, according to Scotto, who adds that Chicago likes Huerter and has done some background research on him. However, Ham is unconvinced that LaVine is a top target for Sacramento, given Mike Brown‘s focus on defense and LaVine’s massive contract.
  • Ham views Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma as a player who might be a better fit for Sacramento, noting that he has a more modest contract and pointing out that the Kings nearly traded Buddy Hield to the Lakers during the 2021 offseason for a package that would’ve included Kuzma. The team also had interest in Kuzma this past offseason, per Ham, but ultimately decided to extend Barnes to address the power forward position.
  • The Kings will hold Early Bird rights on Malik Monk when he reaches free agency this offseason, giving them the ability to offer up to $78MM over four years. Ham isn’t sure if that will be enough to retain the sharpshooting guard, who is averaging a career-best 14.8 points per game and a 41.2% three-point percentage, noting that he expects Monk to “chase money” if he gets an offer well above what Sacramento could put on the table. For what it’s worth, I’d be a little surprised if there’s a team willing to offer Monk much more than $20MM per year, but we’ll see how his season – and the market – plays out.
  • Ham says he asked a team source last year whether the Kings would be willing to trade Keegan Murray in a deal for Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and was told, “No, we believe he’ll be better than Markkanen.”
  • While Ham doesn’t expect the Kings to fill their 15th roster spot with a rest-of-season signing prior to the trade deadline, he views two-way player Keon Ellis as a prime candidate to claim that spot if it’s still open after the deadline. “They have a lot of faith in who he is as a player and what he’s becoming,” Ham said of Ellis.

Pacific Notes: Siakam, Huerter, Mitchell, Clippers, Russell

Pascal Siakam was still with the Raptors for Friday’s game at Sacramento, and he said he didn’t follow a busy day on the rumor mill regarding him and the Kings, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Kings were “ramping up” their pursuit of Siakam, but he followed up that later in the day by saying trade talks between Toronto and Sacramento are on hold.

“I don’t really pay attention to anything,” Siakam said after the game. “I have people who work on that stuff. I play basketball. I’m a basketball player and that’s all I try to focus on.”

Siakam will be a popular name on the trade market leading up to the February 8 deadline. Numerous teams have already been in touch with the Raptors about the two-time All-Star, who has a $37.9MM expiring contract. Siakam complimented what general manager Monte McNair has been able to do with the Kings, but repeated that he’s focusing on how he can help Toronto rather than listening to trade rumors.

“I’m here. I don’t really think about that,” Siakam said. “I try to take it day by day, to be honest. I can’t control a lot of things, so I just continue to play basketball and come in every day and get better.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Sources have confirmed to James Ham of Kings Beat (subscription required) that the Kings have made calls around the league to gauge the trade value of Kevin Huerter and Davion Mitchell. Jake Fischer reported Friday that both players, along with Harrison Barnes, could be on the move before the deadline.
  • The Clippers are crediting continuity for their recent success, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. has seen several seasons short circuited by injuries, and Greif notes that the current starting five reached a milestone Friday with 265 minutes together, which marks the most of any Clippers lineup since the team acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019. “As a guy who’s been here that whole time and been a starter the whole time, it’s been very frustrating,” Ivica Zubac said. “I thought a lot about my love for the basketball in those four years and I can really tell you, I can say I like this game a lot because I was tested a lot. … It just shows when we’re healthy, we’re a great team.”
  • The Clippers and Lakers are rapidly heading in opposite directions as they prepare for Sunday’s showdown, notes Khobi Price of The Orange County Register. Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell has been upgraded to questionable and could return after missing the last three games with a bruised tailbone, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Latest On Pascal Siakam

Once considered the most aggressive suitor for Pascal Siakam, the Hawks are no longer viewed by league personnel as a top contender to trade for the Raptors forward, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. As Fischer explains, with Atlanta more likely to be a seller than a buyer at the trade deadline, a deal for Siakam no longer makes as much sense as it might have last summer.

Recent chatter among NBA executives has centered on the Pacers, Kings, and Pistons as prime landing spots for Siakam, according to Fischer, who says that the Sixers and Mavericks aren’t considered especially viable destinations for now.

As Fischer writes, in any deal involving Siakam, Toronto would be prioritizing young, established players – like the ones the team got in its OG Anunoby trade – rather than future draft assets. Philadelphia doesn’t really have any trade chips that fit that bill, while Dallas has “long rebuffed inquiries” on wing Josh Green, per Fischer.

Teams like Detroit and Indiana, on the other hand, have young players who could be included in a Siakam package, and the Pistons continue to signal to rival front offices that they’re interested in buying at the trade deadline rather than selling off their veterans, Fischer reports.

Here’s more on Siakam:

  • The Kings won’t consider trading away forward Keegan Murray, says Fischer, which may make them an underdog in the Siakam sweepstakes. However, Davion Mitchell is available, and Sacramento has called teams to gauge the value of a package headed by Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter, Fischer writes, adding that the team also has multiple tradable first-round picks.
  • Before Anunoby was traded to New York, the Pacers made a “strong push” to acquire him from the Raptors, according to Fischer, who says Indiana continues to explore an upgrade at power forward.
  • Raptors officials have suggested to opposing executives that as many as 10 teams have legitimate interest in Siakam, sources tell Fischer.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN is the latest reporter to state that his league sources expect the Raptors to move Siakam before the trade deadline next month.

Kings Notes: Monk, Brown, Duarte, Mitchell, Ellis, Comanche

Following some sloppy play in the first quarter of the Kings‘ loss to the Hornets on Tuesday, Malik Monk was benched for the rest of the first half. When he returned to the game in the third quarter, Monk hit a pair of three-pointers, then turned and appeared to say something to head coach Mike Brown as he passed Sacramento’s bench (Twitter video link via Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 Sacramento).

At the next timeout, Brown and Monk engaged in a heated conversation on the sidelines, but they seemed to resolve their differences quickly, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, who notes that Brown shrugged off the incident when he spoke to reporters after the game.

“Heat of the moment,” Brown said. “Malik and I — I think everybody has seen it — but Malik and I have gotten into exchanges before. This was not the first time, and I would bet money it won’t be the last time, so that’s not a big deal.”

While Brown downplayed his exchange with Monk, he was disappointed in his team’s execution and sense of urgency down the stretch in an ugly loss that ended Charlotte’s 11-game losing streak, describing it as “alarming.”

“Our half-court defense, we’re literally just standing on the weak side of the floor, and we give up a stone-cold layup at a crucial part of the game,” Brown said. “So, to not have an awareness, a sense of urgency, it was not a good feeling being out there and being a part of it, and obviously I had a lot to do with it because I did not have our guys ready apparently.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Kings wing Chris Duarte got a second consecutive start on Tuesday in place of Kevin Huerter and played well, recording 12 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in nearly 30 minutes of action. As Anderson relays, Brown explained on Tuesday that he wants to get a longer look at the new starting lineup before deciding whether or not to stick with it. “It’s one of those things that we just kind of play out, wait and see and see how it goes, but it was not a one-time thing,” Brown said. “It’s a change that we made that, right now, we’re going to continue to take a look at going forward.”
  • In addition to the starting lineup tweak, Brown has made another notable change to his rotation, playing Davion Mitchell over Keon Ellis in each of the past three games. Mitchell has averaged about 14 minutes per night during that time after being out of the rotation for nearly all of December, while Ellis had a pair of DNP-CDs for the first time since November. Mitchell earned the Kings’ defensive player of the game chain in Friday’s win over Atlanta, writes Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. “Even if I’m not in the rotation, I’m still trying to help, still trying to help my team win,” Mitchell said after that game. “Keon’s a really good player in our league and I’m just trying to teach him the little things, things I experienced my rookie year, my sophomore year.”
  • Former Stockton Kings center Chance Comanche, who is accused of killing a woman last month in Nevada, made an initial court appearance in Las Vegas on Tuesday. According to an Associated Press report, separate murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy cases will be combined so that Comanche and his ex-girlfriend (and alleged co-conspirator) Sakari Harnden can be tried together. Comanche, who intends to plead not guilty, will remain in jail without bail — his next court date is set for February 8.

Western Rumors: Markkanen, Giddey, Mann, Kings, Lofton

After Marc Stein reported that teams around the NBA are keeping an eye on Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports says that several clubs have already contacted Utah to inquire on Markkanen.

Fischer stresses that the Jazz are “by no means expected” to trade Markkanen, who is a favorite of team officials. However, opposing executives have gotten the sense that the All-Star forward is no longer quite as untouchable as he was in the past.

“Do I expect Utah to trade Lauri? No,” one general manager told Fischer. “But they are saying they’re willing to listen. They are willing to listen to calls on everyone, but it’s a matter of meeting their price like Minnesota did for Rudy [Gobert].”

As Fischer notes, even if a deal is unlikely, the fact that the Jazz are open to listening on Markkanen means that there will continue to be plenty of buzz around him as the trade deadline nears. League personnel believe that the Kings, Hawks, and Thunder are among the teams that would have the most interest in the Finnish star, Fischer adds.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Rival teams had begun to zero in on Thunder guard Josh Giddey as a possible trade target before the NBA and California police began looking into allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a minor, per Fischer. Depending on the outcome of those investigations, Giddey may still draw interest ahead of the trade deadline. Oklahoma City also explored moving Tre Mann prior to the start of the season, Fischer adds.
  • If the Kings pursue either Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby, the Raptors are expected to ask for Keegan Murray in return, which may be a non-starter for Sacramento, Fischer writes, since the Kings view Murray as an important piece in both the present and the future. However, another former lottery pick, Davion Mitchell, is considered a “strong” trade candidate, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
  • The Grizzlies have made calls to potential trade partners to gauge those teams’ interest in some of Memphis’ reserves, but if a deal doesn’t materialize in the coming days, the expectation is that the team will probably waive Kenneth Lofton Jr. to open up a roster spot to activate Ja Morant next week, says Fischer. We took a closer look at Memphis’ looming roster decisions earlier in the week.