Jarrett Allen

Central Notes: Donovan, DeRozan, Bucks, Allen

John Calipari‘s decision to leave Kentucky for Arkansas spawned rumors that the Wildcats will make a run at Bulls head coach Billy Donovan. However, it would be a complicated process if he had any interest in returning to the college ranks, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes.

Donovan is under contract for two more years with the Bulls, and he’s held in high regard by not only management but ownership, says Johnson. Donovan, who won back-to-back championships at Florida, has often talked about how much he enjoys coaching in the NBA.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times also casts doubt on the idea of Donovan taking the Kentucky job. A source told him on Tuesday that there has been no communication between the school and the Bulls’ head coach.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls are locked into the 9-10 play-in tournament matchup with the Hawks but DeMar DeRozan believes his team needs to finish strong, Cowley writes. “Yeah, but we’re coming to a point where we can’t play those (down) games, and we’ve got to have that mentality,” DeRozan said. “We can’t switch it on. It’s do or die.” The Bulls play at home against the Knicks tonight, then finish up with a road trip to Detroit, Washington and New York.
  • Despite their addition of Damian Lillard prior to the season, the Bucks have consistently looked like a team that’s not having any fun, Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opines. Now they’re stumbling toward the regular season finish line, with the stress of the postseason looming. “Adversity builds character; we have to embrace it,” forward Jae Crowder said. “We can’t shy away from the fact that we just lost six of the last seven. It’s tough days, but at the same time, this is how you build team character. If we come out of this thing on the other side, we’ll be a better group going into the playoffs.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen believes more All-Star honors will come to him down the road after he didn’t make the team this season, he told Mark Medina of Sportskeeda.com. “The guys that got in definitely deserve it,” he said. “Don’t get that wrong. My time will come.”

NBA Announces Finalists For Sportsmanship, Teammate Of The Year Awards

The NBA announced the 2023/24 finalists for a pair of awards on Tuesday, naming the six players who are eligible to win the Sportsmanship Award for this season, as well as the 12 players who are in the running for Teammate of the Year honors.

The Sportsmanship Award honors the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” per the NBA. Each of the league’s 30 teams nominated one of its players for the award, then a panel of league executives narrows that group to six finalists (one from each division) and current players voted for the winner.

The trophy for the Sportsmanship Award is named after Joe Dumars, the Hall-of-Fame guard who won the inaugural award back in ’95/96. This season’s finalists are as follows (via Twitter):

None of this year’s finalists for the Sportsmanship Award have earned the honor in the past, so the 2023/24 winner will be a first-timer. Mike Conley won the award last year for a record fourth time.

Meanwhile, the NBA also announced its finalists for the Teammate of the Year award for 2023/24. According to the league, the player selected for the honor is “deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.”

The voting process is similar to the Sportsmanship Award — a panel of league executives selects 12 finalists (six from each conference) for the award, then current players vote on the winner.

Like Conley with the Sportsmanship Award, last season’s Teammate of the Year – Jrue Holiday – has the record for most times winning the award (three), but isn’t among the finalists for 2023/24. Of this season’s 12 finalists, the only one to take home the award in the past is Conley, who claimed it in 2019.

The Teammate of the Year finalists finalists are as follows (via Twitter):

Fischer’s Latest: Pelicans, Stewart, Hawks, Olynyk, Drummond, Lakers, Nets

The Pelicans are searching for a rim protector, but they’ve had to cross at least two names off their wish list, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Sources tell Fischer that New Orleans was hoping to acquire Jarrett Allen, but the Cavaliers aren’t willing to include him in trade talks. The team also targeted Wendell Carter, but Fischer’s sources say the Magic refuse to make him available.

Fischer cites Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart as a potential alternative for the Pelicans. Detroit agreed to two deals today and may be willing to consider moving Stewart as the team reshapes its roster. Hawks centers Onyeka Okongwu and Clint Capela could also be possibilities, according to Fischer.

Fischer hears that the Pelicans and Hawks were involved in “tangible trade talks” this week involving both centers, along with guard Dejounte Murray, who’s considered one of the top names on this year’s trade market. However, sources tell Fischer that the teams haven’t been able to make any progress toward a deal.

Fischer offers more inside information on the eve of the deadline:

  • Jazz center Kelly Olynyk could be on the way to Toronto, but there are plenty of teams interested in acquiring him, whether it’s from Utah or the Raptors, according to Fischer’s sources. Fischer names the Sixers, Heat and Warriors as teams that have shown interest in Olynyk, adding that the Celtics were also on that list before today’s trade for Xavier Tillman.
  • The Tillman deal removes one suitor for Bulls center Andre Drummond, Fischer adds. The Sixers remain interested in Drummond as a short-term starter while Joel Embiid is injured, according to Fischer, who also lists the Mavericks and Suns as potential landing spots. Fischer’s sources say the Rockets and Lakers also had interest in the veteran center, but they’re considered less likely alternatives. Chicago is hoping for multiple second-round picks in exchange for Drummond, with Fischer noting that it seems like a reasonable price considering that’s what the Celtics gave Memphis for Tillman. Fischer also cautions that the Bulls are hoping to advance through the play-in tournament, so Drummond isn’t certain to be dealt.
  • The Lakers like several Brooklyn players, including Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale, Fischer adds. He also points out that the Nets have Lonnie Walker, who was popular with L.A. fans in last year’s playoffs and has attracted interest from several contenders.

Trade Rumors: Wiggins, Pacers, Brogdon, Lakers, More

While the 21-25 Warriors have had a disappointing season to this point and are once again projected to have a record-setting payroll and luxury tax bill, ownership hasn’t given a mandate for the front office to do anything but try to improve the roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says Golden State won’t be looking to simply offload the large salaries of players like Andrew Wiggins or Chris Paul.

Charania includes Klay Thompson in that group as well, though ESPN’s Brian Windhorst previously stated the Warriors aren’t interested in moving Thompson.

Charania confirms the Mavericks are interested in Wiggins, and adds the Pacers to the list of teams intrigued by the former No. 1 overall pick. Any deal sending Wiggins to Indiana would likely have to include Buddy Hield for salary-matching purposes, though that’s just an observation, not reporting.

According to Charania, unless the Warriors are blown away by an offer, they’re unlikely to trade any of those three veterans, particularly with their values at low points for various reasons. To this point, Charania says Golden State hasn’t received an offer that “moves the needle.”

Here are some more trade rumors from around the NBA, all courtesy of Marc Stein at Substack:

  • Once viewed as a strong trade candidate, Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon may have swung in the opposite direction. He has publicly said he’s happy in Portland and would prefer to stay, with Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports later reporting there was skepticism Brogdon would be moved. According to Stein, there have been “recent rumblings” that Brogdon is actually hoping to sign an extension with the Blazers. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is not eligible for an in-season extension, but will become extension-eligible during the 2024 offseason, when he will make $22.5MM in the final year of his deal. Given Portland’s place in the standings and the presence of Anfernee Simons and Scoot Henderson, Stein wonders whether the Blazers will actually consider an extension for a 31-year-old veteran like Brogdon, but says the idea of a “longer stay than anticipated” has “gained credence.”
  • Given their limited asset pool — they can only trade one future first-round pick right now — the Lakers appear more likely to make a minor trade than a major one, Stein says. They continue to be linked to the RaptorsBruce Brown, but Jarred Vanderbilt‘s injury weakened the roster, and Stein suggests Los Angeles may not see a major difference-makers in the market, particularly for what it can offer. Waiting until the offseason would free up more options, as the Lakers could then trade as many as three first-round picks.
  • According to Stein, Bulls guard Zach LaVine (foot surgery), Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant, and the CavaliersDonovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen are among the “marquee players” who won’t be moved this season. Dejounte Murray and Kyle Kuzma are “two of the most coveted players” ahead of the February 8 deadline, but because they’re on long-term contracts, the Hawks and Wizards, respectively, might need to be patient to receive the assets they want in return, as first-round picks are hard to come by at the moment, per Stein.

Fischer’s Latest: Carter, Brogdon, Smart, Hawks, Jones, Hornets

While there will likely be plenty of trades completed between now and next Thursday’s deadline, many of the players whom rival teams had hoped would hit the market aren’t expected to be available this season, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

As Fischer details, that list of players who are believed to be off-limits includes several current and former All-Stars, such as Lauri Markkanen, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, and Karl-Anthony Towns. It also features talented forwards Mikal Bridges and Jerami Grant, as well as rising talent Jonathan Kuminga.

Fischer isn’t the first to report that those players likely won’t be on the move at the deadline, so no names in that group come as real surprises. However, Fischer adds a few more players to the list of unlikely trade candidates, writing that Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is no longer considered available and citing league personnel who are skeptical that the Trail Blazers will part with Malcolm Brogdon.

Additionally, while a handful of clubs – including the Bucks and Lakers – have called the Grizzlies to inquire about Marcus Smart, according to Fischer, Memphis has shown no interest in moving the veteran guard, who remains in the team’s plans beyond this season.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from Fischer:

  • The Hawks are viewed by rival executives as the most “active and aggressive” team in the trade market, with Dejounte Murray, Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, and AJ Griffin among the players who could be moved. While previous reports have indicated that Trae Young and Jalen Johnson are Atlanta’s only two untouchable players, Fischer says the club values Bogdan Bogdanovic as highly as any player on its roster outside of Young and Johnson.
  • Even though the Wizards are seeking a first-round pick for Tyus Jones, rival executives are confident that Washington will ultimately accept a package consisting of multiple second-rounders for the veteran point guard, per Fischer. Jones is on an expiring contract and wouldn’t be a starter on many teams, so a first-rounder would be a high price to pay.
  • Hornets forward P.J. Washington and center Nick Richards are generating a good deal of interest from potential trade partners, league sources tell Fischer. Kyle Lowry, Gordon Hayward, and Miles Bridges are among Charlotte’s other trade candidates.
  • We also passed along several of Fischer’s trade rumors related to Western Conference teams in a separate article.

Stein’s Latest: Lakers, Murray, TV Deal, Tillman, J. Allen

There has been “little to no” dialogue in recent days between the Lakers and Hawks about a potential Dejounte Murray trade, league sources tell veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Substack link). The clubs reportedly previously discussed the possibility of a deal that would include D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers’ 2029 first-round pick, a pick swap, and possibly rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino.

As Stein notes, there’s still more than enough time before the February 8 trade deadline for the two teams to reengage, but he spoke to one source briefed on the talks who believes it’s “unrealistic” that Murray ends up with the Lakers.

One factor for the disconnect between the two clubs, Stein explains, is a gap in how they value Russell. The veteran point guard has been playing some of the best basketball of his career as of late, averaging 27.5 points and 6.4 assists per game since being reinserted into the Lakers’ starting lineup on January 13.

However, the Hawks appear to have no real interest in acquiring D-Lo and would want to flip him to a third team in a potential Murray trade. With Russell performing so well recently, the Lakers’ pursuit of Murray seems to have been “dialed back,” Stein writes.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest Substack article:

  • Some industry insiders think the NBA’s next media rights deal will be a shorter-term agreement than the league’s current nine-year pact, which is expiring in 2025. As Stein points out, a five-year media rights deal could put commissioner Adam Silver in position to lead negotiations on the next contract after that, before his new extension expires.
  • Grizzlies big man Xavier Tillman is a player to watch as a possible trade candidate in the next week-and-a-half, according to Stein. Tillman is the only one of 15 Grizzlies on standard deals who doesn’t have a contract for next season — 13 have guaranteed salaries, while Memphis holds a team option on Luke Kennard.
  • Stein also passes along some reporting from his podcast co-host Chris Haynes, who stated on his latest Bleacher Report live stream that the Cavaliers have zero interest in fielding inquiries on Jarrett Allen at this season’s trade deadline.

Cavaliers Notes: Mobley, Garland, Allen, Thompson, Porter

Injured Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley is making steady progress in his return from left knee surgery and participated in a contact practice on Thursday, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who says Mobley could return as soon as next week after being sidelined since December 6.

If everything continues to progress, it will be soon,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told Fedor. “He’s progressed positively. It’s what you want to see. He hasn’t had any setbacks to slow his progression. He continues to ramp up in the right direction. It’s what we expected. He looks good. He continues to build. It remains a matter of how everything responds.”

However, even if Mobley does come back next week, he’ll be on a minutes restriction to start out, Fedor notes.

It will probably be a low-20-minute-a-night workload to start with,” Bickerstaff said. “We’ve got to ramp him back up. When you go down with a knee injury, not a lot of conditioning that you can do and those types of things. You can’t simulate the NBA. We will work on that. We will let him get his conditioning back. The minutes will increase as that gets better.”

Mobley may be back soon, but point guard Darius Garland will likely be out a while longer, Fedor adds. Garland is working his way back into shape after sustaining a broken jaw on December 14 vs. Boston.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Center Jarrett Allen set a team record with his 12th consecutive double-double in Monday’s win over Orlando, Fedor writes for Cleveland.com (subscription required). Allen later extended the streak to 13 games in Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee. Allen has stepped up in a major way since Mobley and Garland went down with injuries, averaging 18.4 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.4 BPG while shooting 64.0% from the field and 83.9 from the line during the streak. “He’s a hell of a person,” star guard Donovan Mitchell said of Allen, a former All-Star. “To see the work that he puts in on a daily basis, it’s great to see those efforts starting to come to fruition. To be able to do it after losing someone who is an All-Defensive player like Ev, be able to hold the fort down, set that tone for us, it’s incredible. I’m happy for him. He acknowledged it but he’s not satisfied. The biggest thing was the win. These don’t mean anything if we lose. I think that’s one of the things that’s so special about him. He means everything to us. He is the catalyst.”
  • Backup center Tristan Thompson gave an emotional apology to his teammates before the news of his 25-game suspension was announced, Fedor adds in another subscriber-only story. A veteran leader with a prominent voice in the locker room, Thompson was suspended for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Thompson’s teammates said they gained more respect for him for taking responsibility for his actions. “Tristan is huge for our team,” Max Strus said. “The things he does as leader off the court and what he does for us on the bench, the inspiration he gives us when he plays and how hard he plays, we’re going to miss that. We’re just gonna ask somebody else to step up. We have to band around our brother. We’re always going to be here for him.”
  • According to rookie guard Craig Porter, who is on a two-way deal with Cleveland, the only reason he’s in the NBA is because he was able to attend the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, he told Alex Kennedy on the Running Up The Score podcast (Twitter video link). That’s how he drew the attention of NBA scouts, with Porter saying he’d be playing overseas right now if he hadn’t had the opportunity. Porter has been viewed as a strong candidate to be promoted to a standard deal later in the season, as two-way players aren’t playoff-eligible.

Team USA Announces 41-Player Pool For 2024 Olympics

USA Basketball has officially announced a pool of 41 players who are in the mix for the 12 spots on the 2024 Olympic men’s basketball team.

While the pool is subject to change, Team USA’s 12-man roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics will, in all likelihood, be made up of players from this group.

The list figures to shrink as the summer nears due to players suffering injuries or opting not to participate for other reasons, but at some point prior to the July event the U.S. decision-makers will have to choose a final roster from the remaining candidates.

Here’s the full list of 41 players, 28 of whom have represented Team USA in a previous World Cup or Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers)
  3. Paolo Banchero (Magic)
  4. Desmond Bane (Grizzlies)
  5. Scottie Barnes (Raptors)
  6. Devin Booker (Suns)
  7. Mikal Bridges (Nets)
  8. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  9. Jalen Brunson (Knicks)
  10. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  11. Alex Caruso (Bulls)
  12. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  13. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Suns)
  15. Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves)
  16. Joel Embiid (Sixers)
  17. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  18. Paul George (Clippers)
  19. Aaron Gordon (Nuggets)
  20. Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers)
  21. James Harden (Clippers)
  22. Josh Hart (Knicks)
  23. Tyler Herro (Heat)
  24. Jrue Holiday (Celtics)
  25. Chet Holmgren (Thunder)
  26. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  27. Kyrie Irving (Mavericks)
  28. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies)
  29. LeBron James (Lakers)
  30. Cameron Johnson (Nets)
  31. Walker Kessler (Jazz)
  32. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  33. Damian Lillard (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers)
  35. Chris Paul (Warriors)
  36. Bobby Portis (Bucks)
  37. Austin Reaves (Lakers)
  38. Duncan Robinson (Heat)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Derrick White (Celtics)
  41. Trae Young (Hawks)

Adebayo, Booker, Durant, Holiday, Lillard, and Tatum were part of the Olympic team that won gold in Tokyo in 2021. Jerami Grant, Draymond Green, Keldon Johnson, Zach LaVine, JaVale McGee, and Khris Middleton were also on that roster, but aren’t part of the preliminary pool this time around. It’s possible some of them turned down invitations.

“The United States boasts unbelievable basketball talent and I am thrilled that many of the game’s superstars have expressed interest in representing our country at the 2024 Olympic Summer Games,” national team managing director Grant Hill said in a statement. “It is a privilege to select the team that will help us toward the goal of once again standing atop the Olympic podium. This challenging process will unfold over the next several months as we eagerly anticipate the start of national team activity.”

USA Basketball also announced today that Team USA will face Team Canada in Las Vegas on July 10 in an exhibition game. It sounds like that contest will take place during the NBA’s 2024 Summer League.

Trade Rumors: Murray, Sixers, Mavs, Brown, Pelicans

Shams Charania of The Athletic said a few days ago during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that he has “not gotten the sense” that the Sixers will aggressively pursue Dejounte Murray, despite being identified earlier this month as a potential suitor for the Hawks guard.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype also cast some doubt this week on the idea that Murray will be a top target for Philadelphia, suggesting that he’s a “questionable fit” next to rising 76ers star Tyrese Maxey.

However, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer isn’t ruling out the possibility, exploring the idea of the Sixers going after Murray and positing that he would be a better fit alongside Maxey than he has been with Trae Young in Atlanta, since Maxey wouldn’t be uncomfortable operating off the ball and focusing on scoring.

Still, Pompey acknowledges that the Hawks’ reported asking price for Murray – two first-round picks and a quality player – would be steep for a Philadelphia team that isn’t necessarily loaded with valuable assets. It’s also unclear whether the Sixers view Murray as the sort of player for whom they’d be willing to sacrifice future cap flexibility, including 2024 cap room.

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

  • Brad Townsend of The Dallas News previews the trade deadline from the Mavericks‘ perspective, noting that minority owner and head of basketball operations Mark Cuban confirmed during a recent radio appearance that the team would like to further fortify its frontcourt. “If we can get a big who can also create off the dribble, that’d be a plus,” Cuban said. “Six-eight or bigger.”
  • After being sent from Indiana to Toronto this week, veteran guard Bruce Brown knows that he’s considered a candidate to be moved again before the trade deadline, but he tells Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) that he’d be fine staying with the Raptors and hasn’t asked them to seek a deal. “I don’t know anything. I’m not requesting anything,” Brown said “… That’s up to (team president) Masai (Ujiri), whatever he wants to do. If he moves me he moves me. If he doesn’t, I’ll stay. It is what it is.”
  • After ducking below the luxury tax line by sending Kira Lewis to Toronto (via Indiana), what’s next for the Pelicans on the trade market? Christian Clark of NOLA.com explores that topic, suggesting that the team will almost certainly continue to keep an eye out for a center. Cavaliers starter Jarrett Allen has long been a top target for New Orleans, but he’s unlikely to be available, so a player like Wendell Carter of the Magic or Onyeka Okongwu of the Hawks could be a more viable option, suggests Clark. The poison pill provision applies to Okongwu, which could complicate any deal that involves him.

Stein’s Latest: Mitchell, Allen, Cavs, Heat, Knicks

The Cavaliers continue to convey that they have zero interest in considering the possibility of a Donovan Mitchell trade this season, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article. That stance has been reported by several NBA insiders in recent weeks and remains unchanged with the February 8 deadline just over four weeks away.

As Stein notes, the Cavaliers weren’t interested in the idea of a Mitchell trade when Darius Garland and Evan Mobley first went down with injuries, and team officials have been “emboldened” by the 8-3 run Cleveland has gone on with those two starters out. Center Jarrett Allen, in particular, has been playing some of his best basketball ever, quieting speculation that he might be an in-season trade candidate.

Stein suggests that “pessimism persists” about the Cavaliers’ chances of signing Mitchell to a new contract beyond his current deal, which expires in 2025. However, he doesn’t clarify who exactly is expressing that pessimism, which suggests it’s probably coming from sources outside of the organization and outside of Mitchell’s camp rather than from anyone directly involved in the situation.

Here are a few more items of interest from Stein’s latest story:

  • While the Cavaliers aren’t listening to inquiries for now, the Heat continue to have legitimate interest in Mitchell and could attempt to test Cleveland’s resolve either in the coming weeks or in the 2024 offseason, Stein says. The Knicks and Nets have been frequently mentioned as suitors for Mitchell over the years, but executives from rival front offices view Miami as the top team to watch if the Cavs star becomes available, according to Stein.
  • With no desire to move any of their core players, the Cavaliers are more interested in being a buyer at the trade deadline. Chris Haynes mentioned during a recent episode of the #thisleague UNCUT podcast that Cleveland is in the market for a three-and-D wing, and Stein says he’s heard the same thing. The Cavs’ trade assets are limited, however, as they can’t currently move any of their future first-round picks.
  • The Knicks‘ success since the OG Anunoby gives the team some leverage to remain patient on the trade market in the short term, Stein says, suggesting that New York may focus on smaller moves to improve its depth this season and look to do something bigger in the summer.