DeMar DeRozan

Scotto’s Latest: Wizards, DeRozan, Hunter, Jazz, Magic, Thunder, More

After using a lottery pick last year to add Bilal Coulibaly, the Wizards may draft another Frenchman early in the 2024 event, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who hears from league sources that the team expects to choose between big man Alexandre Sarr and forward Zaccharie Risacher.

Those prospects sit atop most 2024 big boards and mock drafts, so Washington may not actually get to “choose between” the two, given that one of them will likely be selected at No. 1. Still, Scotto’s report suggests the front office would be happy to add either Sarr or Risacher to its young core.

The Wizards’ long-term goal is to build its roster through the draft, Scotto writes, which is one reason why Brian Keefe – who has a reputation for being a strong player development coach – is considered the “heavy favorite” to be promoted from interim to permanent head coach in D.C.

According to Scotto, Washington would also like to retain free agent point guard Tyus Jones, who started 66 games in 2023/24 and could provide a stabilizing veteran presence for the Wizards youngsters. However, the expectation is that the Wizards will face competition for Jones if and when he reaches the open market.

Here are several more items of interest from Scotto’s latest aggregate mock draft at HoopsHype:

  • If the Clippers end up losing Paul George, they’re a team to watch as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, Scotto reports. A team must remain below the first tax apron if it acquires a player via sign-and-trade — that would be a more viable option for Los Angeles with George’s maximum-salary contract off the books.
  • Rival executives anticipate that Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who has been mentioned in trade rumors in the past, will become available again this offseason, Scotto writes. Hunter, who set new career highs in 2023/24 with 15.6 points per game and a .385 3PT%, is owed approximately $70MM over the next three seasons.
  • The Jazz are expected to be open to trading their picks in this year’s draft, including No. 10 overall, and some people around the league believe team owner Ryan Smith is ready to add more high-level talent to the roster, Scotto writes, adding that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge has “aggressively monitored” the trade market.
  • The Magic will focus on adding shooting in the draft and free agency, according to Scotto, who notes that rival executives are keeping an eye on the Thunder as a team that could be active in the free agent market for centers. Orlando ranked dead-last in the NBA this season in three-pointers made (11.0 per game), while Oklahoma City placed 28th in rebounding rate (48.4%).
  • The Raptors will likely exercise their $23MM team option on swingman Bruce Brown, league sources tell HoopsHype. A previous report from The Toronto Star suggested the team was a good bet to pick up that option with an eye toward trading Brown.
  • Former Weber State wing Dillon Jones has pre-draft workouts lined up with the Pacers, Hornets, Bucks, Celtics, Raptors, and Spurs, per Scotto.

And-Ones: Fan Favorites, Media Deal, Bacon, Shooting Guards

The votes have been tallied for league appreciators’ “Fan Favorites” for the 2023/24 season, per NBA.com. Fans voted for various categories via the NBA App, NBA.com and the @NBA handle on social media.

All-Star Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards won Block, Dunk and Photo of the Year honors, while Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan won Assist of the Year, All-NBA Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was honored with the Style of the Year accolade, and Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving was praised for possessing the Handle of the Year.

There’s more from around the wider basketball world:

  • NBA players stand to reap major financial benefits from the league’s lucrative impending batch of media rights deals, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. As Vorkunov notes, based on the terms reported, the agreement is set to pay the league $6.9 billion annually, which is about two-and-a-half times what the league is earning under its present TV deal. Suddenly, a $100MM maximum annual player salary is in play, and could possibly happen as soon as 2032/33.
  • Following a prolific season with Shanghai Dongfang in Chinese Basketball Association, former journeyman NBA guard Dwayne Bacon  has agreed to a deal with Puerto Rican team Leones de Ponce, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Bacon spent four years in the NBA, last playing for the Magic in 2020/21.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac unpacks the top free agent shooting guards set to hit the market this summer in a new tiered ranking system. He lists seven starting-caliber wings, 17 rotation-level players, and 25 other players with upside at the position.

Central Notes: Bulls, Donovan, Allen, Middleton

This year’s All-NBA voting offered another reminder of the depressing state the Bulls find themselves in, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. DeMar DeRozan, who received one third-team vote, was the only Bulls player mentioned on any of the 99 ballots. That comes after not having an All-Star and missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas promised changes following last month’s loss in the play-in tournament. The front office will reportedly scour the trade market in another attempt to find a taker for Zach LaVine, but Johnson notes that there were more rumors about LaVine at the 2023 draft combine than this year’s version.

If nobody is willing to take on the $139MM that LaVine is owed over the next three seasons, Johnson sees sign-and-trades involving DeRozan and fellow free agent Patrick Williams as the best chances for immediate improvement, along with a potential Lonzo Ball comeback. However, Karnisovas has already stated that he hopes to re-sign both DeRozan and Williams this summer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The recent addition of former Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. to Billy Donovan‘s staff doesn’t mean the Bulls‘ coach is in danger of losing his job, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley states that Donovan is “as safe as he has been since the day he was hired,” noting that Karnisovas expressed support for him after the season ended.
  • The Cavaliers may give serious consideration to breaking up their big-man tandem of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen this summer, suggests Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber only). The team has believed Mobley would eventually develop into a full-time center since he was drafted in 2021, according to Fedor, who adds that the two big men often appear to be in each other’s way on offense. Fedor believes the Cavs might be ready to part with Allen and maybe Donovan Mitchell or Darius Garland for an upgrade at the wing.
  • The Bucks only got minimal financial benefit from Khris Middleton missing out on a combined $2.1MM in bonuses tied to games played and the team’s success in the playoffs, Jim Owczarski of the Journal Sentinel states in a mailbag column. Milwaukee will have a slightly lower tax bill, but all bonuses count in determining the new salary aprons, even if they’re not earned, so the Bucks still project as a second apron team for next season.

2023/24 All-NBA Teams Announced

The All-NBA teams have been announced for the 2023/24 season (Twitter link).

A total of 99 media members voted on the honors, with players receiving five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote and one point for a Third Team vote. This year’s All-NBA teams are as follows:

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

Gilgeous-Alexander and Jokic were the only two unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 possible votes. Doncic earned 98 First Team votes but was named to the Second Team on one ballot. Antetokounmpo (88), Tatum (65), Brunson (37), Edwards (3), and Durant (2) were the only other players to receive multiple First Team votes.

Others receiving votes and their point totals are the CelticsJaylen Brown (50), the ClippersPaul George (16), the SixersTyrese Maxey (16), the TimberwolvesRudy Gobert (12), the SpursVictor Wembanyama (11), the PelicansZion Williamson (11), the Magic’s Paolo Banchero (10), the KingsDe’Aaron Fox (9) the Heat’s Bam Adebayo (7) and the BullsDeMar DeRozan (1).

This is the first season that a minimum number of games was required to qualify for most postseason awards under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Among the stars who might have received All-NBA consideration if they had reached the 65-game threshold are Sixers center Joel Embiid, who was the 2023 MVP, along with Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Knicks forward Julius Randle and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis.

This was also the first season that voting for the All-NBA team was positionless, though that didn’t have a huge impact on the results, as the top two teams still feature two guards, a pair of forwards, and a center. The Third Team is made up a center, three guards, and just one forward.

Wembanyama, who received two votes for the Second Team and five for the Third Team, was the only rookie named on any of the ballots. Earlier this week, he became the first rookie to earn a spot on an All-Defensive First Team.

The Lakers with Davis and James and the Suns with Durant and Booker were the only teams to have multiple players honored. They were both eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Several players became eligible for salary increases or earned a bonus by achieving All-NBA honors. Read more here.

Eastern Notes: Thibodeau, DeRozan, Carter, Nets, Bucks

The Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau will discuss an extension this offseason ahead of his contract year in 2024/25, confirms Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link).

In an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show, Charania said the Knicks “very much want to lock (him) in long-term,” adding that Thibodeau is expected to get a raise on his current deal, which is worth about $7MM per year. Both Charania and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports suggest that an eight-figure annual salary for Thibodeau is a realistic outcome in those negotiations.

Thibodeau has compiled a 175-143 (.550) regular season record since taking over as the Knicks’ head coach in 2020. The team won a playoff series last spring and is on the brink of a conference finals appearance this year, with a 3-2 lead over the Pacers in the Eastern semifinals.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Asked during another Run it Back segment this week whether he can envision himself playing in the NBA for five more seasons, 15-year veteran DeMar DeRozan admitted that sticking around that long isn’t a priority for him. “I don’t want play 20 years, I’ll be honest,” DeRozan said (Twitter video link). “Just from the standpoint of missing my kids, and I kind of love being normal at times. Twenty years is a lot.” The Bulls forward also reiterated (Twitter video link) that he hopes to re-sign with Chicago this summer, a stance that he made clear at season’s end.
  • The Nets announced this week that they intend to retire Vince Carter‘s No. 15 jersey next season (Twitter link). Carter, who began his career in Toronto, was traded to New Jersey in 2004 and averaged 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game with the Nets across 374 regular season contests in four-and-a-half seasons, earning a pair of All-Star berths with the franchise.
  • Could the Bucks‘ G League team be looking for a new home sometime soon? Justin Marville of The Oshkosh Northwestern details how a dispute between the Wisconsin Herd and Oshkosh Arena owner Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc. over their lease agreement could result in the Herd leaving Oshkosh. As Marville notes, the Oshkosh Arena is currently for sale, so a new owner could help smooth things over with the Herd, though it’s unclear how long the sale process might take.

Scotto’s Latest: Wizards, Kuzma, Hawks, Bridges, Brogdon, DeRozan, More

The Wizards already hold a pair of picks in the first round of this year’s draft at No. 2 and No. 26, but there’s an expectation that they’ll try to acquire another 2024 first-rounder, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

As Scotto explains, the Wizards’ current front office – led by president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins – is focused on building through the draft and developing young talent. The group made its first lottery pick last year when it used the No. 7 selection to nab Bilal Coulibaly, who was one of the NBA’s youngest players this past season. It sounds like Washington is in no hurry to accelerate its rebuild and won’t be opposed to taking fliers on more young, raw prospects, with Scotto indicating that the club also has its eye on the 2025 draft class.

Within his discussion of the Wizards’ next steps, Scotto adds that forward Kyle Kuzma is expected to generate interest on the trade market again this summer after being included in some discussions leading up to the February deadline. Prior to the trade deadline, Washington reportedly brought a Mavericks offer to Kuzma and asked him if he wanted to be moved — he opted to remain in D.C.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Echoing previous reports, Scotto says there’s a “widespread belief” from rival executives that the Hawks will break up their starting backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray this offseason by trading one of the two guards. Those execs also believe that Atlanta will be more open than ever to moving Young, though Scotto’s sources say the Spurs didn’t have “substantive” discussions about the three-time All-Star earlier this year and are skeptical that will change this summer.
  • In addition to the Hornets, the teams expected to have interested in free agent forward Miles Bridges this summer include the Pistons and Jazz, league sources tell Scotto.
  • Rival executives are keeping an eye on Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon as a potential offseason trade candidates, Scotto says. Brogdon will be on a $22.5MM expiring contract and there’s an expectation that Portland will be looking to shed some salary.
  • There’s a belief around the NBA that DeMar DeRozan will ultimately re-sign with the Bulls rather than changing teams as a free agent, according to Scotto, who notes that the veteran forward is comfortable in his role in Chicago and the Bulls are seemingly willing to pay him.
  • Scotto refers to G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis as a “notable” candidate for the Pistons with the No. 5 overall pick, pointing out that Buzelis is represented by agent Michael Tellem, the son of Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem.

Eastern Notes: Hornets Draft, Spoelstra, Bulls Draft, LaVine

The Hornets haven’t had much lottery luck over the years and this one was no different. With Brandon Miller representing the Hornets at the lottery, they dropped from the No. 3 pick to No. 6. “In this process, I don’t think anything is a surprise, just because you never know what can go on here,” Miller told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “I think the main thing here is to always be focused, prepared just for anything because it can go the wrong way. It can go the bad way.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • After receiving an eight-year extension, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra won’t be going to the draft combine. Team president Pat Riley said Spoelstra is getting some much-needed time off. “He deserves it,” Riley said of Spoelstra’s extension, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “He could have been a free agent and gone anywhere. That leads to organizational stability with your players. Players who come to him and his staff and develop, other players see that. All of a sudden, they have career contracts and career opportunities. It’s a credit to him.”
  • The Bulls remained in the No. 11 spot in the aftermath of the lottery. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson looks at some potential prospects who could land in that area, including Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, USC’s Isaiah Collier, and Colorado’s Cody Williams.
  • In his Bulls offseason preview for Spotrac.com, Keith Smith says he believes the team will trade Zach LaVine this summer, finding a way to move his contract to a contender in need of scoring punch. DeMar DeRozan‘s free agency is a bit more unpredictable, as the Bulls could re-sign him if they’re intent on remaining a playoff contender. If not, they’ll let him walk and look to rebuild, Smith writes.

Central Notes: Turner, Pacers, Allen, Cavs, Bulls

The Pacers advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 10 years on Thursday night after dispatching the Bucks in six games. T.J. McConnell (20 points, nine assists, four steals in 23 minutes) and Obi Toppin (21 points, eight rebounds in 24 minutes) were particularly impressive off the bench.

As Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star writes, the Pacers are just two years removed from a 25-57 season. And at one point, it seemed inevitable that Myles Turner would be traded.

Instead, the longest-tenured member of the team renegotiated and extended his contract with the Pacers in January 2023. While Turner wishes he could’ve contributed more in Game 6 after several excellent performances during the series, he was thrilled to complete the first playoff series victory of his nine-year career.

It was bittersweet just because of the way things unfolded for myself tonight but I was very excited for our group,” Turner said. “And for the city just because I’ve seen the highs and lows of this, and I know the fans have seen the highs and lows of this over the past 10 years as well. To finally get a little bit of fruit of your labor with this is incredible. We still have a lot of work to do, but for me personally, it means a lot to finally advance, being in the NBA as long as I have.”

Indiana will face the Knicks in the second round, with Game 1 scheduled for Monday in New York.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, who missed Game 5 on Tuesday due to a rib injury, was unable to participate in Thursday’s practice, writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. “He’s still working through some things, still getting treatment,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He’ll be with us on the trip, obviously, and we expect him to give it a go if he can.” Allen is officially questionable for Friday’s Game 6 in Orlando with a right rib contusion, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN.
  • While they’ve won all their home games to hold a 3-2 lead in their first-round series with the Magic, the Cavaliers were blown out in both of their losses in Orlando. Joe Vardon of The Athletic argues that Cleveland should bring Allen off the bench tonight, assuming he’s able to play. According to Vardon, that doesn’t have anything to do with Allen’s performance in the series, as he’s been the team’s “most consistent player.” The Cavs simply have much better floor spacing when they go with one big man in the frontcourt instead of two, Vardon adds, with Evan Mobley filling in at center in Game 5 with Allen out.
  • In a pair of stories for NBC Sports Chicago, K.C. Johnson reviews the seasons of Bulls veterans DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. DeRozan will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, while Vucevic has two years left on his deal.

Doncic, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jokic Named MVP Finalists

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic were revealed on Sunday as the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award, according to the NBA (Twitter link).

Doncic led the league in scoring (33.9 points per game) and finished second in assists (9.8) while also grabbing 9.2 rebounds per contest. Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference by averaging 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.0 steals per contest. Jokic, who is widely considered the favorite to win his third MVP trophy, averaged 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per night.

The NBA also announced the finalists for six other postseason awards. Here are the finalists for all of those awards:

Most Valuable Player

Sixth Man

Defensive Player of the Year

Most Improved Player

Note: Sengun appeared in just 63 games but was eligible for award consideration based on the season-ending injury exception described in our glossary entry on the 65-game rule.

Coach of the Year

  • Mark Daigneault, Thunder
  • Chris Finch, Timberwolves
  • Jamahl Mosley, Magic

Rookie of the Year

Clutch Player of the Year

Arturas Karnisovas Admits Changes Are Necessary In Chicago

After watching his team get eliminated in the play-in round for the second straight season, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas promised that changes are coming, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Addressing reporters today in the wake of Friday’s loss at Miami, Karnisovas sounded ready for a major roster shake-up.

“I’ve said numerous times today: This group, something doesn’t work. I have to find ways to find a group that’s going to make improvements. We’ve done it for a couple years now and it hasn’t worked,” Karnisovas said. “Everything is on the table. I am going to look at totality of the group. This group hasn’t worked. There’s a lot of great things in certain individual players and a lot of young guys who took a step forward and it’s positive. But in totality as a group, it didn’t work. So I’m going to have to find these answers in offseason.”

Presumably that will start with Zach LaVine, whom the team tried to move last fall before injuries derailed his season. Multiple outlets have reported that Karnisovas will make another attempt this summer to find a taker for LaVine, who has three years and about $138MM left on his contract, including a nearly $49MM player option for 2026/27.

Although Karnisovas emphasized the need for change at today’s press conference, Johnson states that he repeated his commitment to re-sign free agents DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams. A source tells Johnson that the team recently offered DeRozan a two-year extension in the neighborhood of $40MM per season. DeRozan reportedly wants a longer deal, but Johnson suggests that could just be a negotiating tactic.

“DeMar’s been great for us for three years,” Karnisovas said. “He’s been invested in the city of Chicago and has been really great to our young guys. So both sides are interested in continuing and we’ll see what happens in free agency.”

Johnson notes that giving new contracts to DeRozan and Williams without trading LaVine means the Bulls would start next season in luxury tax territory. Karnisovas expressed a willingness to pay the tax, but only for a contender, which heightens the need to move LaVine’s contract.

“My approach looking at the luxury tax is if you can prove that your team is going to be in the top four, you go in the luxury tax,” he said. “It just makes no sense to be in play-in if you’re going to be in the luxury tax. As long as I can put a team together that is going to be competing top four in the East, that’s when you start look at retaining guys and go in the luxury tax.” 

Karnisovas also addressed the status of Lonzo Ball, saying the organization will monitor his progress during the offseason, but he’s had no setbacks so far in his latest attempt to return from knee issues that have sidelined him since January of 2022. While Karnisovas didn’t address the possibility, Johnson points out that the Bulls stand to receive $21MM in cap relief if Ball can’t return and an independent doctor declares the injury to be career-ending.

Karnisovas said there’s no plan to replace coach head coach Billy Donovan, who is fresh off an extension and recently stated that he’s not interested in returning to college coaching when his name was floated as a possibility for Kentucky. Although Karnisovas remains loyal to Donovan, Johnson speculates there could be some changes to his staff.

“I like what Billy has done here the last four years. Billy is someone you build a program with,” Karnisovas said. “He’s a very good coach and even a better human being. We established a winning expectation, we defined a profile for the Bulls player and we put an emphasis on player development. It is also on me to facilitate Billy with the resources he needs to build a team that can be successful consistently.”