Dorian Finney-Smith

Nets Notes: Bridges Trade, Wilson, Whitehead, Z. Williams

Nets general manager Sean Marks said the trade that sent Mikal Bridges to the Knicks came together quickly, but an unidentified source tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post that the framework was actually set at the trade deadline. Although Bojan Bogdanovic and Shake Milton may not have been mentioned in the original discussions, it appears the idea of five first-round picks and a swap was discussed in February.

“We were always prepared for a rebuild. It wasn’t like, oh, let’s wait to be lucky to find the star that’s coming into free agency. We were always prepared to pivot in the other direction if we could see the right opportunity to do that,” the source said. “And who would’ve thought we could trade Mikal Bridges for five first-round draft picks? And who would’ve thought we were able to find that window of opportunity to get Houston to agree to get our picks back?

“It was eye-opening to see the Knicks offer these kinds of assets for Mikal. If you look at our ability to reload our assets, particularly in the draft year of 2025, we have one pick that’s our own that could be very. very good. … We’ve got three more first-round picks that probably will be in the 20s but it’s a very deep draft. Plus, we have our own second-round pick. That’s a class we can get very excited about.”

Lewis adds that the Nets began to strongly consider a Bridges trade after he openly criticized the team’s direction following a lopsided loss to Boston on February 14. Up to that point, the focus had been on finding an All-Star to pair with him.

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Jalen Wilson is a leading contender for Summer League MVP honors, Lewis states in a subscriber-only story. Through four games, Wilson is averaging 24.3 PPG with 46.3/55.6/88.2 shooting figures. His three-point shooting is especially significant because he only connected at 31.6% from beyond the arc in college, 27.5% last season in the G League and 32.4% in 43 NBA games. Concerns about Wilson’s shooting caused him to fall to the 51st pick in the 2023 draft, but he becomes much more valuable if he can maintain anything close to his Summer League pace. “Shooting helps everything at any level of basketball because it provides space on the floor for his teammates,” said Nets Summer League coach Steve Hetzel.
  • It’s been a difficult Summer League for Dariq Whitehead, who’s trying to return to the court after three surgeries severely limited his playing time in college and during his rookie season, Lewis adds. Whitehead shot 4-of-34 from the field and 2-of-21 from three-point range in his first three games before being held out of Thursday’s contest against Orlando for “rest.” “I’d just like for him to step on the court and play as hard as he can and don’t worry about the makes or misses,” Hetzel said. “That’s been our message from Day 1. … He’s had a tough journey being out as long as he has, and I don’t think any of us can know what he’s going through. It’s our job to just keep encouraging him, put him back out there and have him play as hard as he can the next year.”
  • Lewis suggests more trades could be in the works after Friday’s deal to acquire Ziaire Williams from Memphis. The Nets are determined to stay under the luxury tax, and their cushion dropped from $8.2MM to $4.3MM by adding Williams. League sources told Lewis “there are still moving pieces,” possibly involving Dorian Finney-Smith and Cameron Johnson.

New York Notes: Finney-Smith, Nets, Johnson, Kolek

Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith knows he could be dealt this offseason or sometime next season. He’s a productive role player with two years and a little over $30MM remaining on his contract, including a player option for the 2025/26 season. He admits the possiblity is on his mind.

“I’m human. So of course I’ve got family always asking me what’s going on and (stuff) like that,”  he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). “But I’m just honest. I’m human so I’m going to pay attention a little bit. But I’m wherever my feet are at. And so I’m a Brooklyn Net.”

We have more from the New York teams:

  • Player development is key for the Nets during Summer League play and they displayed some tenacity against Indiana on Friday, rallying from 15 points down to claim a two-point win. “They never quit, down 15, fought as hard as they could. Scrapped, clawed … There’s a lot to clean up, but I’m very happy with with their effort. They never gave in,” Summer League coach Steve Hetzel said, per Lucas Kaplan of
  • Unrestricted free agent Keon Johnson had 16 points and six assists in that game. Johnson had a two-way contract with the Nets last season and is trying to earn another NBA deal, with the Nets or another team. “Right now I’m just really focused on summer league. This is the only opportunity that I know I have right now,” Johnson told Lewis. “So I’m just really focused on playing summer league and just showing what I can do. And hopefully I’ll be here. But just giving myself the best opportunity for my career.”
  • Early second-round pick Tyler Kolek started for the Knicks’ Summer League squad on Saturday and dished out seven assists. The former Marquette floor leader could be a better option as a depth point guard than the remaining free agent options, says Stefan Bondy of the New York Post.

Trade Rumors: DeRozan, Kings, Lakers, Grant, Cavs, Finney-Smith, Okoro, More

While the Kings are among the teams believed to have some interest in Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, there has been a growing sense entering the weekend that Sacramento is more focused on free agent forward DeMar DeRozan, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Earlier reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski named the Kings as a legitimate suitor for DeRozan, who would need to be acquired via sign-and-trade, with a third team likely taking on salary from Sacramento in the deal.

Sean Cunningham of FOX 40 Sacramento (Twitter link) confirms there’s “mutual interest” between DeRozan and the Kings, while James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter link) confirms Sacramento has talked to the Bulls about a sign-and-trade and suggests that a third team has been “lined up.”

However, there continues to be competition from rival suitors for the 34-year-old’s services, Ham adds. As John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, it also won’t be easy to construct a three-team trade that gets DeRozan the type of salary he wants, ensures the Bulls don’t take back much money, and has the Kings sending out enough assets to Chicago and a third team to incentivize them to make the deal.

Although there are other teams who could open up a little cap room, Detroit and Utah are the only two teams with significant space still available, and the Pistons are rumored to be keeping their room open for trade opportunities, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Chicago and Sacramento have been talking to Detroit in relation to a possible DeRozan deal.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • The Trail Blazers and Lakers have had conversations about Jerami Grant, but if the Blazers are going to send him to Los Angeles, they’d want both of the future first-round picks the Lakers can trade (2029 and 2031), along with matching salaries, according to Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. The Lakers have been unwilling to meet that price and Portland isn’t in any rush to move its top forward, so the talks haven’t gotten far, Highkin writes, noting that – outside of Rui Hachimura – the Blazers wouldn’t have much interest in the players L.A. could put in a package for Grant.
  • After Zach Lowe reported earlier today that Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith is a possible trade target to watch for the Cavaliers, Scotto confirms that Cleveland likes Finney-Smith and has monitored him since Brooklyn acquired him in 2023. Scotto adds that Cavs restricted free agent Isaac Okoro is viewed as a potential sign-and-trade candidate (in general, not specifically for Finney-Smith).
  • Nuggets forward/center Zeke Nnaji and Sixers free agent KJ Martin are two trade candidates to keep an eye on, according to Scotto. Nnaji is beginning a four-year, $32MM contract after not playing a regular role in Denver last season, so his value on the market would be limited. As for Martin, his small cap hold could allow the Sixers to get creative by signing-and-trading him in order to take back more salary than they would be able to accommodate with the cap room they’ll have left over once their major signings are complete.
  • Speaking of the Sixers, they’re on track to add Paul George as a straight free agent signing rather than in a sign-and-trade, according to Marc Stein at Substack. That comes as no surprise, since acquiring George via sign-and-trade would hard-cap Philadelphia at the first tax apron, potentially limiting the team’s flexibility for the rest of 2024/25.

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.

Scotto’s Latest: Markkanen, Achiuwa, Knicks, Kessler, Vucevic, Sixers

The expectation around the NBA, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, is that the Jazz will only seriously consider trading Lauri Markkanen if they receive a huge offer similar in value to the one Brooklyn got for Mikal Bridges, which included four unprotected first-round picks, an unprotected first-round swap, and one more lightly protected first-rounder.

The decision on Markkanen is viewed as an inflection point for the Jazz, who could accelerate their timeline by trying to find another star to join him in Utah or extend their timeline by moving the star forward and continuing to stockpile assets ahead of a loaded 2025 draft.

In addition to confirming the four teams previously reported to have interest in Markkanen (the Warriors, Spurs, Kings, and Timberwolves), Scotto adds the Pelicans to the list of potential suitors for the star forward. However, he says New Orleans has been reluctant to discuss valuable young role players like Trey Murphy and Herbert Jones.

Brandon Ingram, the most obvious trade candidate on the Pelicans’ roster, wouldn’t be a logical target for Utah in a Markkanen trade. New Orleans is including a pair of first-round picks in its deal for Dejounte Murray but could still offer as many as four first-rounders (2025, 2027, 2029, and 2031) in a package for a player like Markkanen.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Unrestricted free agent Precious Achiuwa – who is drawing interest from multiple contenders, per Ian Begley of – liked playing in New York and remains open to re-signing with the Knicks, Scotto writes. The Knicks’ search for help at center has also involved making trade calls to the Jazz about Walker Kessler and the Hornets about Nick Richards, according to Scotto, who says rival executives think the Jazz are more willing to listen to inquiries on Kessler than they would’ve been a year ago.
  • With DeMar DeRozan seemingly on the verge of leaving Chicago, there’s a belief around the league that the Bulls may look to trade Nikola Vucevic and make the roster even younger, league sources tell Scotto.
  • Providing several Sixers-related updates, Scotto says Philadelphia is expected to either trade or waive Paul Reed and his $7.7MM non-guaranteed contract, has exploratory trade interest in Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith, and wants to add more shooting and guard depth, with Lester Quinones and Kyle Lowry among the players on its radar. Additionally, second-round pick Adem Bona is expected to get a standard contract and a place on the 76ers’ 15-man roster, Scotto reports.

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.

Southwest Rumors: Rockets, George, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Sharpe, Doncic

The Rockets are among the teams with interest in Paul George if he can’t work out an extension with the Clippers this week, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Even though Houston is considered an unlikely destination for George, it’s an indication that the team is engaged in “big game hunting” ahead of the draft and free agency, Scotto adds.

He also hears that Rockets general manager Rafael Stone has been involved in exploratory conversations about dealing the No. 3 pick for a “win-now player upgrade” and possibly moving down in the draft.

For Houston to land George, he would have to exercise his $48.8MM player option for next season and request a trade. The organization has six recent first-round picks on its roster, along with the rights to Brooklyn’s first-rounders over the next three years.

Scotto notes that even if the Rockets don’t acquire George, they have plenty of flexibility for a major move, holding team options on Jeff Green ($8MM) and Jae’Sean Tate ($7.57MM), along with an $8MM non-guaranteed salary for Jock Landale. Houston is expected to hang onto all three of those players through their various option/guarantee deadlines, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required), who also reports that the team is open to re-signing free agent guard Aaron Holiday.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • With Jonas Valanciunas considered likely to leave in free agency, the Pelicans are willing to trade the 21st pick in this year’s draft for center help, sources tell Scotto. Along with New Orleans, NBA executives consider the Grizzlies and Thunder to be possible destinations for Hawks center Clint Capela, Scotto adds. If the Pelicans keep their pick, Scotto sees Baylor center Yves Missi as a potential selection, comparing him to Capela as an athletic big man who should thrive in the pick and roll. Scotto also hears that the organization will target another former head coach for Willie Green’s staff if it loses associate head coach James Borrego.
  • The Grizzlies have renewed their interest in Nets backup center Day’Ron Sharpe after holding talks with Brooklyn at the trade deadline, Scotto states. He adds that Memphis considered making an offer for forward Dorian Finney-Smith before the Nets acquired him at the 2023 deadline. In his aggregate mock draft, Scotto suggests the Grizzlies might take Tennessee shooting specialist Dalton Knecht as a potential replacement for Luke Kennard, who has a $14.8MM team option for next season and is considered a possible trade candidate.
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic has joined the Slovenian national team and plans to participate in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament July 2-7 in Greece, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein (Twitter link).