Jalen Johnson

Spurs Haven’t Shown Much Interest In Trae Young

Trae Young could be an ideal fit for the Spurs. However, San Antonio has thus far shown little interest in acquiring the Hawks point guard, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer’s story echoes a couple other reports from the past month that have downplayed the idea of Young ending up in San Antonio.

The Hawks, who unexpectedly landed the top overall pick via the draft lottery, are widely expected to consider trade scenarios that would break up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray. Atlanta scoured the league to gauge interest in all of its players prior to February’s trade deadline with the exception of forward Jalen Johnson, Fischer notes.

San Antonio has no clear long-term floor leader and it’s expected the Spurs will explore their options to find a pick-and-roll partner for Victor Wembanyama. Yet multiple league figures tell Fischer that San Antonio’s interest in trading for Young has been vastly overstated.

The two teams could be doing some business together this summer, whether or not it involves Young. San Antonio holds the No. 4 and No. 8 picks, making it a natural trade partner if the Hawks choose to move down. The franchises, of course, completed the Murray blockbuster two summers ago and Atlanta’s front office duo of general manager Landry Fields and assistant GM Onsi Saleh began their careers in the Spurs’ front office.

As for Young, the Lakers hold some interest in him and now have three first-rounders available to trade. Los Angeles will have to consider other options before committing any type of capital for Young, Fischer adds, though Donovan Mitchell might be off the table if he signs an extension.

The Lakers are still pondering their coaching options and they might wait until next month to make that hire, Fischer confirms in a separate story. That’s primarily due to their interest in J.J. Redick. His current obligation to ESPN/ABC for the network’s postseason schedule and NBA Finals has various insiders under the impression Los Angeles’ search may stretch into June, as Marc Stein previously reported.

The Lakers have numerous candidates on their list, but James Borrego has been widely categorized as the experienced, veteran foil to Redick’s candidacy, Fischer writes. The former Hornets head man and current Pelicans assistant has maintained close ties with Anthony Davis since Davis was a rookie and Borrego was an assistant for the then-Hornets.

In other coaching news, Mike Brown’s contract extension talks with the Kings are expected to center around an eight-figure threshold and a Tom Thibodeau extension with the Knicks is also expected to reach those figures, Fischer notes.

Hawks’ Johnson, Okongwu To Miss Multiple Weeks

Hawks forward Jalen Johnson underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed a Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain. He’ll be reevaluated in about three weeks, Atlanta announced in a press release.

Johnson, 22, has had a breakout third season for the Hawks, averaging 16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.2 SPG on .511/.355/.728 shooting in 56 games (33.7 MPG). He sustained the injury in Tuesday’s double-overtime loss to Miami.

The former first-round pick will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason. If no deal is reached, Johnson will hit restricted free agency in 2025.

The Hawks also provided an injury update on backup big man Onyeka Okongwu, who has been limited to just two games since the All-Star break due to a left big toe sprain. Okongwu underwent a non-surgical procedure in California on Tuesday in order to address ongoing inflammation in the toe, per the team. He’ll be reevaluated in approximately four weeks.

Okongwu, 23, has averaged 10.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 1.1 BPG on .611/.333/.793 shooting in 55 games in 2023/24 (25.5 MPG). He signed a four-year, $62MM rookie scale extension last offseason that begins in ’24/25.

The injuries are devastating for the Hawks, who just got Trae Young back from hand surgery on Wednesday but will now be missing three of their top frontcourt players entering the play-in tournament. Forward Saddiq Bey is also out for the season after suffering a torn ACL.

Atlanta is currently 36-44, the No. 10 seed in the East, and trail the No. 9 Bulls by 1.5 games with two games remaining in the regular season.

Forward De’Andre Hunter and center Bruno Fernando will likely receive extra playing time entering the postseason. Guard/forward Vit Krejci is also a candidate to be promoted from his two-way deal, but the Hawks have a full 15-man roster, so they’d have to waive someone in order to convert the former second-round pick.

Southeast Notes: Russell, Johnson, Griffin, Gueye, Miller, George

The Magic may take a run at D’Angelo Russell in free agency this summer. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, who covers the Lakers, has heard that Orlando would be the biggest threat to sign away the combo guard (hat tip to Jesse Cinquini of LakersDaily.com).

“Orlando is the team that — talking to people with the Lakers, talking to people outside the Lakers — Orlando is the team that probably gives them the most concern in terms of a potential suitor,” Buha said.

Russell would give Orlando’s backcourt an offensive boost. He’s averaging 18.1 points and 6.4 assists per game while shooting a career-best 41.9% from deep this season. Russell holds an $18.7MM option on his contract for next season and can become an unrestricted free agent by turning down that option.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks forward Jalen Johnson will return to action on Monday night against the Bulls, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets. Johnson, who is averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest, has been out since March 18 after suffering an ankle sprain against the Lakers. The Hawks currently hold the final spot for the East’s play-in tournament at No. 10 in the conference.
  • Several other Hawks players still require more time to come back from their injuries, the team’s PR department tweets. AJ Griffin (right high ankle sprain) has progressed to individual basketball activities and will be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days. Mouhamed Gueye (right UCL sprain) has progressed to full contact workouts, while Onyeka Okongwu (left big toe sprain) has resumed individual basketball activities. He will also be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days.
  • Hornets rookie forward Brandon Miller has labeled Clippers forward Paul George the “Greatest Player of All-Time.” Miller got a chance to match up against his idol on Sunday, contributing 22 points, six rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes during Charlotte’s 12-point loss. George paid back Miller with a compliment, according to Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “He’s got a ton of game, and a ton of talent and I’m in his corner,” George said. “So can’t wait to see him fully blossom and be one of those guys that carried the league for a long time.”

Southeast Notes: Coulibaly, Rozier, Hawks Injuries, Fultz

Wizards rookie wing Bilal Coulibaly is out for the rest of the season with a wrist injury, but he left a strong impression on his teammates and coaching staff in his first year in the league, Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network writes, cementing his place as one of the franchise’s cornerstones moving forward.

Fantastic [season]. He made the Rising Stars Challenge. Going to All-Star weekend in your first year is huge,Jordan Poole told MSN. “He got a lot of playing time, a lot of experience, which is huge, especially for a rookie… he had a really good season and I’m excited for his future.

Coulibaly, 19, averaged 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game while often guarding opposing star players like Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the season wore on, Hughes writes.

Interim head coach Brian Keefe raved about Coulibaly’s work ethic as he heads into his first full NBA offseason. According to Hughes, Keefe described the rookie’s maturity as “beyond his years.”

There’s still going to be growth, there’s still going to be an opportunity to learn,” teammate Anthony Gill said. “But this offseason is going to be very important for him getting stronger and understanding his body more, understanding the game and getting more confident in what he can do at a high level. It’s going to be a very important offseason for him, but I know he’s ready to attack it. We’ve already talked about it.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Terry Rozier‘s transition to the Heat hasn’t gone smoothly at times, with the ex-Hornet having endured an injury, a three-point shooting slump and the Heat’s longest losing streak since 2008. However, as The Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang writes, games like the one Rozier had on Wednesday against the Cavaliers make it all worth it. He scored nine points in the final 1:24 of the game to lead Miami to a much-needed victory. Heat players and coaches are continuing to tell Rozier to be aggressive, Chiang writes, since his usage rate and shot volume have decreased.
  • The Hawks provided injury updates for several players on Thursday. Kobe Bufkin (toe) was reevaluated Tuesday and is making progress from his toe sprain. He’ll be reevaluated again in seven-to-10 days. AJ Griffin (ankle) underwent an MRI on Wednesday, confirming a right high ankle sprain. He’ll also be reevaluated in seven-to-10 days. Jalen Johnson (ankle) left Monday’s game against the Lakers due to a right ankle sprain, and he’ll be looked at again in one week.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz continues to face obstacles in his seven-year NBA career, having gone from being touted as the final piece of Philadelphia’s “The Process” to enduring numerous injuries to being traded to Orlando, where he has become a rotation player. As The Ringer’s Nick Friedell observes, Fultz is still just 25 years old despite his long road to where he is today. “I think a lot of people forget that,” Fultz said. “And I forget it as well. And at the same time, I feel like I’m older because I’ve been through so much.” Friedell examines how Fultz is building himself into a different kind of cornerstone for the Magic.

Hawks Notes: Snyder, Johnson, Gueye, Griffin, Young

Hawks head coach Quin Snyder received a rousing ovation and a video tribute as he returned to Utah Friday night, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. It was Snyder’s first time back at the Delta Center since parting ways with the Jazz following the 2021/22 season, and fans were eager to celebrate the success he had during his eight years as head coach.

“There were so many people here in Utah that me and my family came across that touched our lives,” Snyder said. “Those relationships are timeless for me, even if I’m not here. I have so much gratitude for the people that I worked here with and for, particularly Ryan Smith and Justin Zanik and Danny Ainge. So to come back here to Utah and be reminded of that brings a lot of emotion. But life is about change, and it’s about adapting, and we all have to do these things at some point.”

Jones notes that Snyder had to build a winning team from scratch after he took over the Jazz in 2014, and he’s still early in that process with Atlanta. The Hawks are holding onto the East’s final play-in spot at 29-37 in Snyder’s first full season, but they aren’t nearly where he wants them to be.

“I think we know that we have a lot of work to do, but that’s what makes it fun,” Snyder said. “The most important thing for us is to make sure that we improve each day and that we are doing the right things. We have to make sure that we have the right habits and then work from there.”

There’s more on the Hawks:

  • Jalen Johnson, who returned Friday after missing three games with a sprained right ankle, is one of the few NBA players who spends the All-Star break training rather than relaxing, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. While most of the league is on vacation, Johnson undergoes an intense three-day workout in Los Angeles. “It lets you know how unsatisfied he is,” said his trainer, Chris Johnson. “He’s a starter now, he’s getting everything he wants, and he’s still unsatisfied. He has this desire to be the best version of himself. … Jalen Johnson is the next superstar in the making.”
  • Rookie big man Mouhamed Gueye suffered an ulnar collateral ligament sprain to his right elbow/forearm area in a G League game this week, the Hawks announced (via Twitter). Gueye will undergo rehabilitation in Atlanta and will be reevaluated in seven-to-10 days.
  • Second-year wing AJ Griffin has missed four straight G League games because of pain in his lower right leg and ankle, the team tweeted. He will be examined by the Hawks’ medical staff next week.
  • Michael Cunningham of The Journal-Constitution (subscription required) argues that Trae Young should try to return from hand surgery if the Hawks are still in strong position for the play-in tournament when he’s healed, but that’s not a guarantee considering their recent performance. Young’s timeline has him set to be reevaluated in about a week.

Injury Notes: Middleton, J. Johnson, Harden, Heat, Avdija

Bucks forward Khris Middleton still isn’t quite healthy enough to return from the ankle injury that has sidelined him since February 6, head coach Doc Rivers said on Thursday, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter links).

“He’s just not ready,” Rivers said. “He’s close, as I’ve said for, I don’t know, 10 games now, it feels like it, but he’s really close. I’ll stop there.”

After wrapping up a four-game road trip on Tuesday, the Bucks are back in Milwaukee for a two-game homestand and will have days off on Friday and Saturday between those two contests. Those off days could result in some practice time for Middleton, Rivers noted.

“It does help,” Rivers said. “We have two days off. And we may practice on both days, which is unusual to do, number one, and unusual that you have two days. But we feel like we may do it regardless, just to get him some time with the guys.”

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

  • Hawks forward Jalen Johnson, who has missed the past three games due to a right ankle sprain, has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Friday’s game in Utah, tweets Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There’s optimism Johnson will be available for that matchup with the Jazz, adds Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
  • Star forward Kawhi Leonard was available for the Clippers on Thursday after leaving Tuesday’s contest due to back spasms, but James Harden missed the game in Chicago due to a left shoulder strain. As Law Murray of The Athletic tweets, it snapped a streak of 59 straight appearances for Harden, his longest such run since 2017.
  • Injured Heat guard Tyler Herro and big man Kevin Love didn’t travel with the team to Detroit for Friday’s contest, the first of a four-game road trip, per Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. While Herro (right foot) and Love (right heel) could meet up with the Heat at some point during the trip, it doesn’t appear either player is on the verge of returning.
  • Wizards forward Deni Avdija left Thursday’s game vs. Houston following an awkward collision with Rockets guard Fred VanVleet (video link) and told Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link) after the game that his left knee is sore. However, he’s optimistic about his prognosis. I feel like I kind of avoided something severe, and I’m happy about that,” Avdija said. “That’s all that matters.”

Southeast Notes: Richardson, Rozier, Hawks, Magic, Bridges

Injuries have been a season-long issue for the Heat, who may have lost two more players in Sunday’s game, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. MRIs are scheduled today for Josh Richardson and Terry Rozier, creating more potential challenges as coach Erik Spoelstra works to develop a consistent lineup.

Richardson fell to the court and grabbed his right shoulder early in the second quarter, according to Chiang. After being helped up, he headed to the locker room for an X-ray that came back negative. He was wearing a sling after the game.

“I felt my shoulder pop out on the floor and then pop back in when I was laying on the ground,” Richardson said. “So thank goodness for that. But I’ll know more (Monday).”

Rozier was hurt midway through the third quarter when he landed awkwardly on his right leg on an attempted layup. Trainers had to help him to the locker room as well.

Chiang points out that if Richardson and Rozier have to miss significant time, that leaves Tyler Herro and two-way player Alondes Williams as the only healthy guards on Miami’s roster.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks general manager Landry Fields said signs of progress from the current roster convinced him to stand pat at the trade deadline, per Lauren Williams of The Journal-Constitution. Dejounte Murray was considered one of the top names on the market, but Fields believes there’s value in keeping the current team together. “We’ve seen an uptick with Onyeka (Okongwu),” he said. “We’ve seen an uptick with Jalen Johnson. We’ve seen an uptick with Saddiq Bey, and I can go right down the line even down to (the G League team in) College Park where, Kobe Bufkin is developing extremely well in that environment.”
  • The same approach was taken by Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, whose team was also quiet at the deadline despite having “lengthy conversations” with some teams, according to Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. “We’re very happy with where we are right now from a big-picture standpoint,” Weltman said. “We weren’t going to be overly aggressive, we weren’t going to get out of our comfort zone and we certainly weren’t going to deviate from our plan.”
  • Hornets forward Miles Bridges, whose name was involved in trade rumors over the last several weeks, is relieved that deadline speculation is finally over, notes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges said several times that he prefers to stay in Charlotte and ultimately decided to use his veto power to reject any deal the team might have made. “This was my first year dealing with all that,” he said of the deadline rumors. “Me, I’m happy so I can just focus on the season and focus on trying to get us some wins.”

Southeast Notes: Livers, Bagley, Christopher, Hawks’ Trade Chatter, Washington

The Wizards view Isaiah Livers and Marvin Bagley III as the most important parts of their trade with the Pistons on Sunday, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, rather than the two second-round picks Detroit tossed in to rid itself of Bagley’s contract.

Washngton parted with Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala in the deal. The Wizards are banking on their player development system to get more out of the two forwards they acquired. The team can make Livers a restricted free agent this summer if it likes what it sees from him the rest of the season.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Josh Christopher is joining the Heat’s NBA G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. Christopher, who had a two-way contract with the Jazz before he was waived on Monday, appeared in 138 games with Houston from 2021-23 but hasn’t seen any NBA action this season. He has appeared in 18 games (17 starts) for the Jazz’s G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, averaging 17.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 29.0 minutes per contest.
  • Trae Young and Jalen Johnson are the only players the Hawks are unwilling to trade, John Hollinger of The Athletic confirms. There’s plenty of trade chatter involving Dejounte Murray and they’re also trying to determine the trade value of De’Andre Hunter and Clint Capela. The Hawks could use Murray as means to shed the contract of either Capela or Hunter.
  • Hornets forward P.J. Washington returned to action on Sunday after missing the previous three games with a foot injury. the team’s PR department tweets. Washington, who is averaging 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season, signed a three-year contract over the summer.

Stein’s Latest: Carter, Jazz, Hawks, Murray, Sixers, More

In his latest Substack article, Marc Stein reports that Magic center Wendell Carter is a “player to monitor” ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.

As Stein explains, Orlando has played above expectations through 34 games (the team is currently 19-15), but it has a deep frontcourt featuring Carter, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Moritz Wagner, Goga Bitadze and Jonathan Isaac. Carter has only appeared in 13 games due to hand and knee injuries, and has been coming off the bench of late after he returned.

Those factors, plus needing to eventually re-sign or extend Franz Wagner and Banchero beyond their rookie scale contracts, has led rivals to believe that Carter will be available this winter, Stein writes.

A former lottery pick who is still just 24 years old, Carter has been a productive starter for the Magic the past few seasons and is on a fairly team-friendly contract, which will pay him $35.85MM over the next three seasons (it declines annually, down to $10.85MM in 2025/26). However, he has also missed at least 18 games in every season of his six-year career due to a variety of injuries.

Here are some more trade rumors from Stein:

  • It has been reported multiple times that the Jazz were expected to be sellers ahead of the trade deadline, but they’ve gone 9-3 over their past 12 games and are currently 16-19, a game out of the final play-in spot in the West. That rise up the standings has rival front offices wondering what Utah will do now, per Stein. League sources tell Stein that John Collins is one player the Jazz are continuing to try and move, though it’s unclear how much success they’ll have after acquiring him in the offseason in a salary dump.
  • Stein confirms recent reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports about the Hawks, who are actively involved in trade conversations regarding Dejounte Murray and possibly several players on the roster outside of Trae Young and Jalen Johnson. Bogdan Bogdanovic is expected to be widely coveted by rival teams, according to Stein.
  • Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report said in a live stream on Friday that the Sixers and Lakers could be eventual Murray suitors, and the Knicks have been “increasingly” linked to the former All-Star guard, Stein adds.
  • The Sixers are unlikely to pursue Zach LaVine or Pascal Siakam, with the team looking to take a “thoughtful” approach at the deadline, according to Stein, who gets a “strong sense” that Philadelphia will likely make moves around the edges if it makes more in-season trades.
  • Multiple reporters have linked the Lakers to LaVine, but Stein continues to hear they haven’t been interested — at least to this point — in taking on his long-term money. The two-time All-Star is in the second season of a five-year, $215MM contract.

Fischer’s Latest: Hawks, Murray, Knicks, Wizards, Celtics

Echoing recent reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports confirms that the Hawks are “certainly open for business” ahead of the trade deadline and says Atlanta has been one of the NBA’s most active teams in recent trade conversations.

According to Fischer, the Hawks have told multiple teams in recent discussions that the only untouchable players on their roster are guard Trae Young and forward Jalen Johnson. Notably missing from that group is guard Dejounte Murray, whom Atlanta has “made widely available,” sources tell Yahoo Sports.

While the pairing of Murray and Young in their backcourt hasn’t been as successful as the Hawks hoped, the former Spur would presumably still have significant value on the trade market, in large part due to the relatively team-friendly four-year extension he signed during the offseason. That deal, which begins in 2024/25, can be worth up to $120MM with incentives.

Pointing out that the Hawks control their own 2024 first-round pick and owe their 2025 first-rounder to San Antonio, Fischer suggests that it’s possible the team will move some veterans this year, add a 2024 lottery pick to a core headed by Young and Johnson, and look to get back to the playoffs next season.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Knicks made some calls to potential trade partners about veteran big men following Mitchell Robinson‘s injury, per Fischer, but after they added Precious Achiuwa in their trade with Toronto, rival executives now think the Knicks may be more focused on exploring backcourt trade targets ahead of the deadline. Fischer mentions Alec Burks of the Pistons and Malcolm Brogdon of the Trail Blazers as a couple possibilities, though it’s unclear if New York has actually expressed interest in either player.
  • The Wizards have let teams know that they’re open to trading veterans for draft assets, sources tell Fischer. That list of veterans may include Kyle Kuzma, who signed a new four-year contract with the club last summer, though there’s a sense that Washington would seek multiple first-rounders for the forward, Fischer writes.
  • The Celtics are expected to hang onto big man Luke Kornet through this weekend’s salary guarantee date, according to Fischer, who says that the team’s other non-guaranteed playersSvi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, and Lamar Stevens – are also more likely than not to stick around through that deadline. Fischer adds that rival front offices are preparing for Boston to explore trades that improve the team’s bench.
  • In case you missed it, we also rounded up a few Pascal Siakam-related rumors from Fischer in a separate story.