Josh Okogie

Trade Rumors: Bucks, Wright, Suns, Mavs, Hornets, Knicks, Magic, Bulls

The Bucks remain committed to upgrading their roster in the hopes of contending for a championship this season and are “shopping hard for help,” one league source tells Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Milwaukee doesn’t have a ton of trade assets on hand to offer, so the team’s most likely outgoing package would consist of Pat Connaughton, Cameron Payne, and Portland’s 2024 second-round pick (currently projected to be No. 35), says Fischer. Connaughton and Payne only make up $11.4MM in outgoing money, so Bobby Portis and his $11.7MM cap hit would need to be included if Milwaukee targets a higher-salary player, Fischer notes.

One potential target who has been linked to the Bucks is Wizards guard Delon Wright, sources tell Fischer. Wright would be a logical fit for a Milwaukee team looking to improve its perimeter defense, though it’s unclear how high he ranks on the Bucks’ list of targets, Fischer writes, adding that the veteran point guard has a wide-ranging market.

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

  • The Suns are still viewed as the leading suitor for Hornets forward Miles Bridges, league sources tell Fischer. Phoenix’s offer would likely consist of Nassir Little, Josh Okogie, and two second-round picks, per Fischer, though Charlotte is holding out hope of landing a first-rounder for Bridges. The Pistons and Jazz also continue to be linked to the Hornets forward, who has the ability to veto a trade, but the Mavericks – who are seeking forward help – haven’t shown interest in Bridges or Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith as of late, Fischer reports.
  • The Hornets are fielding more trade inquiries on forward P.J. Washington than any other player, though they aren’t necessarily actively shopping him, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Fischer confirms a previous report stating the Mavericks are among the teams with interest in Washington, but hears that the Clippers are an unlikely landing spot.
  • Although the Knicks are among the other clubs with interest in Washington, sources tell Fischer, New York is believed to prefer Raptors wing Bruce Brown. Fischer adds that Quentin Grimes continues to generate interest from teams like the Hawks and Jazz, while Tony Jones of The Athletic said during an appearance on ESPN 700 in Utah that he believes Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson would welcome a trade to the Knicks (hat tip to Patrick Byrnes of SI.com).
  • There have been some whispers around the league about the Magic targeting an experienced point guard such as Kyle Lowry (Hornets) or Chris Paul (Warriors), but Fischer doesn’t believe Orlando has trade interest in either player. Additionally, while the Magic could use some more outside shooting, the club isn’t thought to be pursuing upgrades in that area unless there’s a player who would be a positive on defense as well, according to Fischer, who cites Kings sharpshooter Kevin Huerter as one example of a player who is not on Orlando’s wish list.
  • Bulls guard Coby White is considered off limits in trade talks and Chicago’s asking price for Alex Caruso is very steep, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. With Zach LaVine out for the season, center Andre Drummond now appears to be the Bull most likely to be dealt, Fischer adds.

Suns Notes: Beal, Durant, Okogie, Gordon, Rotation

The Suns have won three straight entering their contest against Portland on Monday night. Bradley Beal has played the last two games after recovering from an ankle injury and his presence has been a “game-changer,” according to Devin Booker, Jack Thompson of The Associated Press relays.

Beal had seven assists against Charlotte in his return and 25 points in a five-point victory over Orlando.

“It’s a game-changer, being at full strength,” Booker said. “The offense was moving, the ball was hopping around and we were getting the best available shot.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Kevin Durant had a team-high 31 points in 39 minutes against the Magic. He’ll sit out the second game of the back-to-back with the Suns listing right hamstring soreness as the reason. Eric Gordon (right calf soreness) is questionable, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets.
  • Josh Okogie has only scored one point in three games since returning from an ankle injury but coach Frank Vogel is glad to have the defensive specialist at his disposal, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. “He’s an important part of what we do with his ability to guard on the perimeter,” Vogel said. “We’ll measure it game to game in terms of what his nights look like. Some nights are going to be bigger than others based on the matchup.”
  • Beyond sixth man Gordon, the second unit remains in flux, Rankin notes. Even Okogie’s spot is not guaranteed, due to subpar perimeter shooting. Nassir Little or Jordan Goodwin could emerge as alternatives.

Suns Notes: Gordon, Booker, Beal, Okogie

After Eric Gordon attempted a season-low two shots from the floor on Friday and told Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that he’d like to have a bigger role in the Suns‘ offense, Devin Booker didn’t disagree with his teammate’s assessment, telling reporters on Sunday that Phoenix could benefit from getting the veteran guard more involved.

“I think we just have to find ways to open up looks for him and put him a position to do what he does,” Booker said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). “Nobody takes what he said personal around here. He’s been in this for a long time. He’s earned that respect and he has the talent to do what he said.”

As we detailed on Saturday, Gordon has averaged just 9.8 points on 8.8 shots per night during the Suns’ recent 3-8 stretch. He posted 14.9 points on 12.1 attempts per night (with a .469/.404/.786 shooting line) through his first 16 games with the club, which included 11 wins.

Gordon, who is celebrating his 36th birthday today, said on Sunday that head coach Frank Vogel has put an emphasis on getting him more involved offensively, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Suns, who are in action in the late Christmas Day game vs. Dallas:

  • Bradley Beal is hoping to return “much sooner” from his right ankle sprain that the team initially projected, but Vogel isn’t necessarily counting on that. Speaking on Sunday to reporters, Vogel said Beal remains “hobbled” and has still only done non-contact work in practices (Twitter video link via PHNX Sports). “If he gets healthier sooner, then he’ll be back sooner,” Vogel said. “But the expectation is he’s probably gonna be (out) until January.”
  • Suns wing Josh Okogie appears set to return on Monday after missing the past five games due to a hip flexor. He’s listed as probable and is expected to play, per Vogel (Twitter link via Bourguet). Prior to his injury, Okogie started 11 of 23 games for Phoenix.
  • In a story for The Arizona Republic, Rankin lists six items on the Suns’ Christmas wish list, including getting Beal back as soon as possible and breaking out of a shooting slump from beyond the arc.

Suns Notes: Slump, Beal, Nurkic, Okogie, Trade Ideas

Even without Bradley Beal available, the Suns should be performing better than they have as of late, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports, who identifies myriad problems that were on display in Tuesday’s ugly loss in Portland. The team’s role players haven’t shot three-pointers particularly well, the fourth-quarter offense has relied too much on iso-ball, and the perimeter defense hasn’t been stout enough, Bourguet writes.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, star guard Devin Booker said his teammates can’t be “scared to hold each other accountable” and that it’s important to “keep learning each other, keep talking,” per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

“We all feel it,” Booker said of the Suns’ recent underwhelming play. “Not just one of us. It’s everybody in here. We all have a job and this is the highest form of basketball in the world. It’s not an easy job and we understand that. We have the talent. We have the basketball minds in here to play better than we were.”

While the Suns are disappointed with their performances in the past few games, there have been “no players-only meetings for us so far,” forward/center Chimezie Metu said with a smile on Friday (Twitter video link via Rankin). “Hopefully we don’t have to get to that point, but we’ll see,” he added.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Phoenix announced on Monday that Beal’s sprained right ankle will be reevaluated in two weeks, but the veteran guard tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link) that he hopes to return “much sooner” than that.
  • While starting center Jusuf Nurkic won’t be available for Friday’s game in Sacramento for personal reasons, he’s expected to rejoin the club for the Christmas Day game vs. Dallas, tweets Rankin.
  • Suns wing Josh Okogie, who has missed the past four games due to a hip flexor, said he’ll be a “game-time decision” on Friday (Twitter video link via Rankin). Okogie added that he’s able to run without issue now but needs to make sure he has regained his “explosiveness” before he gets back on the court.
  • Taking into account the limited collection of movable assets the Suns have at their disposal this season, Bourguet offers up 12 ideas for trades that might be viable and that would potentially upgrade the team’s depth.

Suns’ Bradley Beal Exits Friday’s Game With Ankle Injury

In just the second game featuring all of the members of Phoenix’s “big three,” Suns guard Bradley Beal sustained a right ankle injury in the first quarter of Friday’s contest against New York, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (all Twitter links here).

Beal appeared to be in a lot of pain after attempting a shot and having Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo step under his foot as he landed, which caused him to roll his right ankle (video link). DiVincenzo received a Flagrant 1 foul on the play.

Beal stayed in the game to shoot free throws and was able to walk off the court without assistance, but he seemed to have a limp and immediately headed back to the locker room. The Suns later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest, Bourguet adds.

It’s a tough setback for Beal, who was making just his sixth appearance of the 2023/24 season after battling a back injury for much of the fall, which caused him to miss 19 games. Phoenix’s other two stars — Kevin Durant and Devin Booker — have also missed time this season due to various injuries (four absences for Durant, nine for Booker).

As Bourguet tweets, the sample size is extremely small, but the Suns are plus-15 in the 23.8 minutes the trio have shared the court together thus far.

Hopefully the injury turns out to be minor, though it certainly looked like a bad sprain. Despite dealing with several injuries, the Suns have held their own to this point and had a 13-11 record entering Friday’s game.

Here are a few more injury notes on the Suns:

  • Sharpshooter Grayson Allen was questionable heading into the game but he returned from a three-game absence on Friday after dealing with a right groin strain, as Bourguet relays (via Twitter). Allen, who was acquired via trade in the offseason, is averaging career highs in several statistics, including points (12.3), rebounds (4.5), assists (2.9) and three-point percentage (46.8) through 19 games, all starts.
  • Josh Okogie missed his second straight game on Friday with a right hip injury, but it’s not a long-term concern, head coach Frank Vogel told reporters, including Bourguet (Twitter link). The 25-year-old is in his second season with the Suns after re-signing on a two-year deal in free agency over the summer.
  • Forward Nassir Little, who was acquired in the same blockbuster trade as Allen, recently returned from an orbital fracture, which requires him to wear a face mask on the court. He thinks the play he was injured on (video link) was a “dirty” one by Kings center JaVale McGee, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). “I feel like it was a dirty play, I watched it over and over,” Little said. “He had hooked my arm … I could have broke my arm.”

Injury Notes: Smart, Kennard, Smith, LeBron, Zion, Suns

The Grizzlies are aiming to get some 5-on-5 work in for Marcus Smart this weekend, head coach Taylor Jenkins said on Wednesday (Twitter link via Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal). Jenkins added that Luke Kennard is “probably a step behind” Smart in the recovery process, per Cole.

Smart was diagnosed with a left foot sprain on November 17 and was expected to miss three-to-five weeks. He’s four weeks into that process now, and could be nearing a return. Kennard, meanwhile, has been dealing with a left knee bone bruise. Almost two weeks ago, the Grizzlies said he was expected to be back in two-to-three weeks.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Pacers big man Jalen Smith (left knee bone bruise) has begun on-court work, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters, including Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). It’s possible within the next week to 10 days we could see him in a game,” Carlisle said. Smith is averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 70.7% from the field through 14 games (15.4 MPG).
  • Lakers star LeBron James was held out of Wednesday’s back-to-back in San Antonio after playing 40 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to Dallas, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The Lakers said James, who was initially listed as questionable, was dealing with left calf soreness, but it doesn’t sound like anything serious, as he was interacting with teammates on the sidelines throughout the contest.
  • Pelicans forward Zion Williamson missed Wednesday’s win over Washington with left ankle soreness, but it should be a short-term injury, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “His ankle is getting better,” head coach Willie Green said. ” ... His ankle is fine. Day to day.” Williamson sustained the injury late in Monday’s game, Clark notes.
  • Suns wing Josh Okogie sustained a right hip injury and was sidelined for Wednesday’s loss to Brooklyn, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). It’s unclear how long Okogie might be sidelined. Guard Eric Gordon also missed the game with a calf injury. On a more positive note for Phoenix, fellow wing Nassir Little returned to the lineup after clearing the NBA’s concussion protocol, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Little wore a black face mask during the contest, as he sustained an orbital fracture last Friday against Sacramento. Surprisingly, Little only missed one full game and most of another with the injury.

Suns Notes: Beal, Nurkic, Bates-Diop, Wall

Suns guard Bradley Beal missed his sixth straight game on Saturday, but there was an encouraging sign that his debut with the team may not be far off, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Beal, who has been sidelined with lower back spasms, went through a 20-minute workout of dribbling, moving and shooting and was able to end it by repeatedly sprinting from one sideline to the other.

Beal isn’t expected to play in Sunday’s game at Detroit, but the team’s medical staff will see how his back responds to today’s exertion. With two off days to follow, it’s possible that Beal’s first game in a Phoenix uniform could take place Wednesday in Chicago.

“I’m just excited for him. I know how much these dudes love to play,” Kevin Durant said, referring to Beal and Devin Booker, who sat out today’s game with ankle soreness. “They hate just being on the sidelines. We don’t want them to rush. We don’t want them to feel like it’s pressure to come back because we lose a couple of games. We want them to be 100% healthy for the rest of the season. So it’s important now to continue to ramp yourself up however you need to.”

There’s more on the Suns:

  • Jusuf Nurkic, who was acquired in a trade just before the start of training camp, continues to have trouble finishing at the rim, Rankin observes in a separate story. He shot 4-of-14 in today’s loss at Philadelphia and is connecting at just 41.7% from the field this season. Nurkic has started shooting more from the outside, with 14 three-point attempts in the last three games after just six in the first three.
  • Keita Bates-Diop made his first start of the season as coach Frank Vogel tinkers with his starting lineup, Rankin adds. Bates-Diop, who replaced Josh Okogie in the starting five, delivered eight points, three rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes. Vogel won’t be able to establish a regular rotation until Booker and Beal are playing full time, and it’s possible the fifth slot will keep changing throughout the season.
  • In an interview with Shams Charania on “Run It Back” (video link), John Wall said he would welcome the chance to reunite with Beal, his former backcourt partner in Washington. “Me and Brad are still brothers, we still talk a lot,” Wall said. “… If I could join their team, for sure, I would love that.” Wall, 33, has been out of the league since being traded to Houston and subsequently waived in February.

Pacific Notes: Green, Paul, Huerter, Lyles, Okogie

Warriors forward Draymond Green, who’s set to make his season debut on Sunday, believes that he and Chris Paul will form a dynamic distributing duo, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“How I see the challenge is for the other team,” Green said. “They’ll have players on the floor that have to think the game of basketball with us. Good luck. That’s how I see the challenge. You put Bill Gates and Paul Allen in a room and you get Microsoft. That’s how I see it.”

Paul will come off the bench for the first time in his career with Green back in the lineup, Slater tweets. The veteran point guard has started in his previous 1,216 regular-season games.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings coach Mike Brown did not rule out the possibility of a lineup change this evening against the Lakers. Shooting guard Kevin Huerter has struggled during the first week of the season. “There are plenty of guys who made mistakes, and when I evaluate the team, I’m not just looking at Kevin and thinking about taking Kevin out of the starting lineup,” Brown told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “There are other changes that can be made, so I always — with the flexibility we feel we have with this team — that’s something that I always have to take a look at.” Huerter went scoreless in Sacramento’s home opener against Golden State on Friday.
  • Trey Lyles, who remained with the Kings on a two-year contract, will miss Sacramento’s game on Sunday with a left calf strain, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets. Lyles has yet to make his season debut.
  • Forward Josh Okogie, who has started the first three games for the Suns, has already drawn a league fine under the new flopping rules. Okogie believes he’ll likely rack up several more, given the way he plays, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “When I saw that, the first thing I thought was it’s going to be a long season,” Okogie said. “You call that a flop or if that’s considered a flop worthy of a fine, then it’s going to be a lot of money going into that fine box this year.” He signed a two-year, veteran’s minimum contract this summer with a player option for next season.

Pacific Notes: Green, Harden, Clippers, Mann, Suns, Durant

Warriors forward Draymond Green, who suffered an ankle sprain in an offseason workout, is making good progress, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). Green has been cleared to do light on-court workouts (shooting drills, etc.) and his return to full practices and scrimmages will depend on his continued progress. He’ll be reevaluated again on Sunday.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Despite some promising signs from their current roster in the preseason, a trade for James Harden stills holds appeal for the Clippers, according to Law Murray of The Athletic. He fits the timeline of the team’s other stars and coach Tyronn Lue often prefers having a more traditional point guard who can run an isolation-heavy offense. The Clippers also realize the roster has not undergone enough change after last season’s postseason flameout.
  • There’s still a good vibe around the Clippers thanks to the improved health of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register notes. “Last year, it was tough because we felt we had opportunities to do something special and PG goes down and Kawhi goes down after Game 2 (against the Suns),” Lue said. “You never want to see anyone get injured, but a lot of people said, ‘Oh they’re hurt again,’ or whatever, but the biggest thing is they’re messed up mentally because they want to be out there. Seeing them come back 100 percent and being healthy and just the vibe of our team is totally different.”
  • Following up an earlier reports on the stalled trade discussions between the Clippers and Sixers, a source told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer (Twitter link) that Los Angeles remains unwilling to part with Terance Mann or additional draft capital. That makes it increasingly likely Harden will be on the Sixers’ roster at the beginning of the regular season.
  • The fifth starter for the Suns beyond Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Jusuf Nurkic could vary depending matchups, coach Frank Vogel told Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link) and other media members. Josh Okogie has generally been considered the frontrunner for the starting job.
  • The Suns’ big three are holding each other to a high standard, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “It’s always good to get work in with some of the best players in the world,” Kevin Durant said. “It’s like iron sharpening iron over there. We hold each other to a high standard. So it’s always good to get some of that post-practice work. The more days we stack together, the better.”

Pacific Notes: Okogie, Clippers, Covington, Kuminga

The Suns are headlined by the trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, with the recently acquired Jusuf Nurkic manning the middle. That leaves one spot on the starting lineup open and, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, wing Josh Okogie has the inside track for that slot.

Okogie’s smothering defense is earning him extended playing time, Fischer writes, and he’s showcasing his ability to do all the little things during the preseason. According to Fischer, head coach Frank Vogel has been appreciative of the wing’s ability to guard one through four on the floor. The Suns aren’t loaded with stellar point of attack defenders, but Okogie is showing he can play that role.

Every time you have a team there’s a couple holes that need to be plugged, and I feel like I try to fill in those gaps,” Okogie said.

It’s been a long journey for Okogie, who began his career with the Timberwolves. According to Fischer, he spent some time with former Wolves star wing Jimmy Butler, who took him under his wing. His experience with Butler, along with others, helped prepare him for the load of playing with stars.

He knows that people don’t know him for that, but he’s a really great dude. He pays attention to everything. He cares about the little guys,” Okogie said. “He was helping me how to navigate. Taught me a couple things on how to guard and how to play the game in his short time there.

Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports notes that Okogie has shined so far in the preseason and is solidifying his starting role. Okogie finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals on Tuesday night.

Okogie averaged 7.3 points and 3.5 rebounds with the Suns last year in his first season with the team. He re-signed with Phoenix this offseason.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers have a battle for the starting power forward position taking place, with Terance Mann and Robert Covington both looking to lock down the starting position that was once held by Marcus Morris, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. Murray writes that, barring a trade, it’s looking like one of those two will start. Covington said he has “a vendetta” in his approach to this season after a lost year in which he played sparingly, Murray writes. Murray concludes that Mann has the best qualities if the Clippers want to downsize but Covington’s size and ability to make plays on defense make him appealing.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was complimentary of Covington’s game after L.A.’s preseason game on Tuesday, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times points out (Twitter link). According to Greif, Lue said he wants to see more of the trio of Covington, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing together. “[Covington]’s length and blocking shots, deflections, his cutting is important offensively, and he also rebounds, so just his activity on the defensive end, like I said makes us a different team,” Lue said. “You add Kawhi and PG to that mix, [Russell Westbrook] and then [Ivica Zubac] anchoring it, that’s pretty tough to handle.” Covington started the Clippers’ preseason game on Tuesday.
  • Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga is dealing with a jammed thumb and he’s questionable for Golden State’s preseason tilt against the Lakers on Friday, ESPN’s Kendra Andrews tweets. According to Andrews, he’s not doing live work yet in practice but went through individual work.