Kevin Huerter

Central Rumors: LaVine, Bulls, Pistons, Cade, Bucks, Cavs, More

The Bulls continue to seek a deal involving Zach LaVine, but last week’s four-year, $78MM contract agreement between the Kings and Malik Monk may have removed a prime suitor from the picture, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who says some rival executives believe retaining Monk will take Sacramento out of talks for LaVine. As Scotto has previously reported, Kings wing Kevin Huerter has fans within Chicago’s front office, so if the two teams did explore a trade involving LaVine, it seems safe to assume Huerter would be involved.

In other Bulls news, Chicago is interested in re-signing center Andre Drummond, league sources tell Scotto. The big man will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after spending the past two seasons backing up Nikola Vucevic.

Scotto also states that – prior to last week’s Alex Caruso/Josh Giddey swap – there was a belief around the league that the Bulls and Thunder would consider a possible sign-and-trade deal involving Patrick Williams. It’s unclear if that idea is off the table now or if the two clubs will look into making a second offseason trade.

Finally, Scotto reports that before they struck deals to add Wes Unseld Jr. and Dan Craig to Billy Donovan‘s coaching staff, the Bulls also reached out and talked to former head coaches Nate McMillan and Dwane Casey.

Here are a few more items of interest from around the Central:

  • The Pistons – along with the Magic – were expected to be in the mix for Monk before he reached an agreement to return to Sacramento, according to Scotto, who says Detroit will continue to explore the trade and free agent markets for shooting help this offseason.
  • Elsewhere on the Pistons front, Scotto writes that a number of executives around the NBA believe Detroit will come to terms on a maximum-salary rookie scale extension for former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham.
  • The Bucks, still very much in win-now mode, are open to the idea of trading the No. 23 pick in the draft, league sources tell Scotto. Executives with rival teams also get the sense that Milwaukee would be willing to move Bobby Portis and/or Pat Connaughton in order to upgrade the roster, though Scotto notes that both players have come up in trade talks in the past and nothing has come of it to this point.
  • James Borrego was considered the frontrunner for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job last week before the front office met with team owner Dan Gilbert, per Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. After that meeting between management and Gilbert, Kenny Atkinson‘s candidacy “gained considerable momentum,” The Athletic’s trio adds. Assistant coaches Jordan Ott and Trevor Hendry, who worked with Atkinson in Brooklyn, are viewed as potential additions to his new staff in Cleveland, notes Scotto.

Fischer’s Latest: Bridges, Bulls, Kings, Magic, Smart, More

Free agent forward Miles Bridges‘ could receive $30MM+ annually on his next contract, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, it remains to be seen if that money will come from the Hornets or another team.

According to Fischer, Charlotte is “believed to be open” to sign-and-trade concepts involving Bridges if the right opportunity arises. Sources tell Fischer the Nets discussed a Bridges trade concept with Charlotte in February that would have sent Ben Simmons to Charlotte. The Kings also inquired about Bridges ahead of the deadline, per Fischer.

As Fischer writes, the Hornets are viewed as a “salary-dumping ground” this summer as their new front office and head coach spearhead a rebuild. The same is true of the Pistons, who are looking for a new coach after dismissing Monty Williams.

Bridges’ market value has been difficult to gauge due to his off-court history, which includes multiple domestic violence allegations. One of those cases was dropped, but the other caused him to miss the entire 2022/23 season after he pleaded no contest (accepting punishment without formally admitting guilt).

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Confirming previous reporting, Fischer hears the Bulls remain active in trade talks around the league. The Thunder, Raptors and Hornets are among the teams with interest in restricted free agent Patrick Williams, Fischer writes.
  • The Kings appear to be the most likely suitor right now for Zach LaVine, according to Fischer, who adds that Sacramento has continued shopping Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter in trade talks. Huerter, in particular, has drawn a “healthy amount external interest.” Still, the Bulls haven’t gained serious traction on a potential LaVine deal in several months despite being active in negotiations, sources tell Fischer. The Kings are also contemplating moving the No. 13 pick in next week’s draft, Fischer adds.
  • In previous trade windows, the Bulls pushed for unprotected picks when discussing Alex Caruso, sources tell Fischer. One scenario saw the Bulls push for four first-rounders, though presumably that total would have included protected picks. Chicago officially traded Caruso to Oklahoma City on Friday for Josh Giddey.
  • Fischer confirms LaVine is a “backup option” for the Sixers and their significant cap room. Fischer also suggests (via Twitter) the 76ers shouldn’t be ruled out as a landing spot for Paul George, despite a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic stating that their interest in George has waned as of late.
  • Fischer says the Magic are looking for a veteran wing who can space the floor, naming Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as perhaps their top target. If they lose Williams, the Bulls could have interest in Caldwell-Pope, with the Sixers another potential landing spot depending on how things work out with other targets. There are scenarios in which Orlando would exercise its $11MM team option on Joe Ingles as well, sources tell Fischer. Fischer previously touched on Klay Thompson‘s fit with the Magic.
  • The Grizzlies, who control the No. 9 pick, are known to be looking for big men, with UConn’s Donovan Clingan one draft target in a move-up scenario. However, Fischer hears from sources who say Memphis is also open to moving back in the draft. The Grizzlies are unwilling to move Marcus Smart, but Luke Kennard has drawn “strong interest” in trade talks, according to Fischer — the team holds a $14.7MM option on Kennard for 2024/25.

Moore’s Latest: Kings, Kuzma, Bulls, Bridges, Sixers, Jones, Grizzlies, More

The Kings are expected to return to the trade market this offseason with the same assets they offered Toronto for Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby earlier in 2023/24, writes Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com: Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, and draft compensation.

While Sacramento will do its best to re-sign Malik Monk, the team only holds his Early Bird rights and will be limited to offering him up to $78MM over four years. If Monk ends up getting away, the Kings will likely feel some additional pressure to make a trade to upgrade its rotation — and will have some additional financial flexibility to add salary.

The Kings will likely circle back to the Wizards to discuss Kyle Kuzma, according to Moore, who says Sacramento has also talked to the Bulls about Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso. LaVine, whose price tag is believed to be lower now than it ever has been, could become a more attractive target if Monk departs, Moore adds.

Here are a few more items of interest from Moore’s latest look at free agency and the trade market:

  • The Sixers are expected to have interest in forward Miles Bridges in free agency, according to Moore. Philadelphia would have more than enough cap room to make a competitive offer for Bridges, especially if it misses out on its top targets. Moore reports that the Hornets are “known to be” fans of Bulls restricted free agent Patrick Williams, so he could be a target for Charlotte if the team loses Bridges.
  • Veteran point guard Tyus Jones, who was a full-time starter this past season for the Wizards, is expected to seek a deal worth north of $15MM annually, two sources tell Moore. Jones is the No. 15 free agent on our top-50 list.
  • There’s an expectation that the Grizzlies will look to add multiple centers this summer, Moore writes, noting that Nets big man Day’Ron Sharpe is a name to watch for Memphis. A Grizzlies offer for Sharpe could consist of a second-round pick and one of their bench wings, Moore adds.
  • The Grizzlies are also among the teams that have expressed interest in Hawks center Clint Capela, along with the Wizards, Pelicans, and Bulls, Moore says.
  • The free agent market for Heat forward Haywood Highsmith is expected to start around the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.2MM), two team cap strategists tell Moore.

Scotto’s Latest: J. Smith, Toppin, Weaver, Hartenstein, Huerter, O’Neale, More

Early indications suggest that Pacers power forward Jalen Smith will decline his $5.4MM player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest aggregate mock draft. Sources tell Scotto that a final decision hasn’t been made, but Smith appears to be leaning toward testing the free agency waters. He has a June 29 deadline to opt in for 2024/25.

Smith, 24, appeared in 61 games this season and posted a career high in scoring at 9.9 PPG, along with 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 17.2 minutes per night. He was selected 10th overall by Phoenix in the 2020 draft and was acquired by Indiana at the 2022 trade deadline.

Scotto notes that rival teams are watching to see whether the Pacers will re-sign restricted free agent Obi Toppin. If the fourth-year power forward reaches a new deal, there’s a belief that Indiana might be willing to trade Jarace Walker, who was a lottery pick last June.

Scotto shares more inside information in his aggregate draft:

  • Washington is believed to be a potential destination for former Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, who recently parted ways with the team, Scotto writes, noting that Weaver was once part of Oklahoma City’s front office along with Wizards executives Michael Winger and Will Dawkins.
  • Scotto talked with some NBA executives who believe the Magic should be considered a threat to sign Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein. Orlando could have close to $50MM in cap space to work with.
  • Executives also expect the Kings to explore deals involving Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes, Scotto adds.
  • The Raptors plan to work out an extension with Scottie Barnes this summer, sources tell Scotto. The versatile swingman made his first All-Star appearance this year.
  • Scotto echoes other reports in stating that Royce O’Neale is likely to reach a new contract with the Suns. The 31-year-old forward, who was acquired from Brooklyn at the trade deadline, is expected to receive about $10MM per year, according to Scotto.
  • Vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry isn’t expected to return to the Spurs next season, sources tell Scotto. The longtime NBA player has been an executive with San Antonio since 2018.
  • Assistant coach Jason Love will likely leave the Sixers and join Doc Rivers’ staff with the Bucks, Scotto states. Love previously worked for Rivers in Philadelphia.
  • The Hornets are assembling a staff of assistants for new head coach Charles Lee. Scotto hears it will include Lamar SkeeterJosh LongstaffChris JentRyan FrazierZach PetersonMatt Hill and Blaine Mueller.

Pacific Notes: Harden, Leonard, Russell, Huerter

The Clippers‘ acquisition of James Harden during the opening weeks of the 2023/24 regular season was met with mixed reviews at the time of the trade, then major skepticism after the team lost its first five games with the former MVP in uniform. However, as Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes, Harden has been indispensable in the first round for Los Angeles with star forward Kawhi Leonard ailing.

Harden has played over 39 minutes in each of the Clippers’ four playoff games so far. He leads the team in postseason scoring (26.0 PPG), has been L.A.’s top play-maker (7.0 APG), has a scorching hot shooting line of .541/.500/.913, and even leads the club with 1.3 blocked shots per contest.

“That’s what James is here for,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said on Sunday. “When PG or Kawhi or one of our top dogs is out, to be able to step in and fill in and be able to score the basketball, make plays for other guys, make it easier for Norm (Powell) and Zu (Ivica Zubac) and Mace (Mason Plumlee) and those guys.”

Because Harden is in the second season of a two-year contract, he won’t become eligible for an extension before reaching unrestricted free agency this offseason. The Clippers will hold his full Bird rights though, putting them in a good position to bring him back.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • With uncertainty surrounding Leonard’s availability for the rest of the Clippers‘ first-round series, Lue is focused on supporting the star forward rather than bemoaning the fact that the team might have to continue playing without him, per Law Murray of The Athletic. “(He’s) worked hard to get to this point, to a place he wants to be in the playoffs,” Lue said of Kawhi. “And then to be hurt and not be able to be 100 percent and play the way he’s capable of playing, it’s very frustrating for him. I feel bad for him.”
  • The first-round series vs. Denver has been a roller coaster ride for Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell, who made just 6-of-20 shots in Game 1 and 0-of-7 in Game 3, but had 44 total points on 51.6% shooting (57.9% on threes) in Games 2 and 4. Mark Medina of The Sporting Tribune takes a look at Saturday’s bounce-back performance from Russell, who could become a free agent this summer by turning down his $18.7MM player option for 2024/25. For what it’s worth, L.A. has a +3.6 net rating in D-Lo’s 145 minutes on the court during the series.
  • It was a forgettable year for Kings wing Kevin Huerter, who saw his minutes reduced, shot a career-worst 36.1% on three-point attempts, and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in March. “Frustrating is definitely the word,” Huerter said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “Even before the injury, just a lot of ups and downs — a lot more downs, I think, than previous years.” On a positive note, the 25-year-old said he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery: “They said 12 weeks out from surgery was (when I can) start shooting, doing on-court stuff. … We’re hoping August is contact. Should be on pace for training camp in September.”

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Powell, Fox, Ellis, Huerter, Allen

The Clippers found a way to hold the Mavericks to 30 points in the first half of Game 1. Coach Tyronn Lue knows that keeping Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving under control for Game 2 tonight will be even tougher, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

“It’s very challenging,” he said. “You got two of the best scorers in the league on the same team. So, when they’re both on the court at the same time, it’s kind of hard to double-team one guy and leave the other guy. So, you got to pick your poison. I thought for the most part our guys did a good job with executing the defensive plan.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Norman Powell is upset he wasn’t one of the finalists for the Sixth Man of the Year award, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. “I mean, I think it’s BS, to be honest, two years in a row,” he said. “I don’t know what else you’ve got to do to be a sixth man. Last year, you’re leading the league in bench points. Don’t get nominated. This year, the most efficient off the bench, given the fact I’m playing with four Hall of Famers, limited touches. … it’s just tough.” Powell averaged 13.9 points during the regular season on .486/.435/.831 shooting.
  • De’Aaron Fox said on Monday that it’s impossible to think of this Kings season as anything but a major disappointment, per Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Sacramento was bounced in the play-in tournament. “You want to continue to play for more,” Fox said. “I don’t think we were bad this year, but obviously the West got tougher and I don’t think we stepped up to that plate. … We took a step backward a little bit as a team. We still have things we can continue to get better at as a group.”
  • In the same story, Patterson notes that Keon Ellis and Kevin Huerter could have a spirited battle for the Kings’ starting shooting guard spot next season. Ellis impressed with his defense, while Huerter is a career 38.2% 3-point shooter. “It’s definitely the season where I’ve kind of made a name for myself a little bit,” Ellis said. “We didn’t finish the way we wanted to with the injuries and all of the things that go into that, but definitely for me it’s a season I’m going to look back at and be like, ‘This is where it started for me.’”
  • Suns wing Grayson Allen suffered a right ankle injury in Tuesday’s game against Minnesota and did not return. Allen came into the game with a sore ankle, per The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin (Twitter link), but was deemed healthy enough to play.

Injury Updates: Embiid, Lillard, Hart, Sharpe, Turner, Sochan, Huerter

Joel Embiid returned to the Sixers‘ lineup Tuesday, but he may not be available for an important showdown in Miami Thursday night, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The reigning MVP is listed as questionable for the contest after playing nearly 30 minutes and scoring 24 points in his first game since undergoing meniscus surgery in late January.

Tomorrow’s game will go a long way toward determining which teams wind up in the play-in tournament. The Heat are currently in sixth place at 42-33, followed by the Pacers at 43-34 and Philadelphia at 41-35. Miami can clinch the tiebreaker over the Sixers with a win.

Philadelphia could be missing several rotation players even if Embiid is cleared, Pompey adds. Also listed as questionable are Tyrese Maxey, who missed the past two games with tightness in his left hip, Tobias Harris, who has a hyperextended left knee, and Mohamed Bamba, who sat out Tuesday’s game with an illness.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers provided an update on Damian Lillard, who sat out Tuesday and tonight with a right groin strain, tweets Eric Nehm of The Journal-Sentinel. Rivers said Lillard is “feeling a lot better” today and there’s hope that he’ll be able to return Friday. “I think he’s closer,” Rivers said. “I cannot guarantee that, though. … Now that’s one (injury) that if it’s not 100 percent or 90-whatever percentile they put him in, then no. With that one, we’re just not going to take any chances. It’s not worth it.”
  • Josh Hart is the latest addition to the Knicks‘ injury report, being listed as questionable for Friday’s game at Chicago with a sprained right wrist, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (Twitter link). Hart was icing the wrist at the morning shootaround before Tuesday’s contest, Bondy adds.
  • Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe, who hasn’t played since January 11 due to core muscle surgery, is moving closer to a return, coach Chauncey Billups told reporters, including Casey Holdahl (Twitter link). “(Sharpe) is getting better, getting on the court with us,” Billups said. “He did a few things in our practice the other day, I thought he looked good so I was really excited about that. … We’ll just keep trying to ramp him up, challenge him physically to see if he can take it.”
  • Pacers center Myles Turner sat out Wednesday’s loss at Brooklyn after dislocating his right index finger while dunking on Monday, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.
  • Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan confirmed that he underwent successful surgery today on his left ankle, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Sochan hopes to be recovered in time to join the Polish national team for this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament, Orsborn adds.
  • Kings guard Kevin Huerter had successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). The team expects him to be ready for the start of next season.

Kevin Huerter To Undergo Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

Kevin Huerter‘s 2023/24 season will come to an early end due to his left shoulder injury, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Kings‘ wing will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Wojnarowski.

The expectation is that Huerter will make a full recovery this offseason and will be ready for the start of the 2024/25 season, Woj adds.

Huerter spent the first four seasons of his career in Atlanta before being traded to Sacramento during the 2022 offseason in exchange for a protected first-round pick. The 25-year-old set new career highs in points per game (15.2) and three-point percentage (40.2%) during his first season as a King, but saw his role and his numbers dip this season as head coach Mike Brown made defense a greater priority.

Huerter averaged just 10.2 PPG on .443/.361/.766 shooting in 64 contests (24.4 MPG) this season before suffering his shoulder injury on March 18 vs. Memphis. The Kings announced last Thursday that he had been diagnosed with a left shoulder dislocation and a labral tear and that treatment options were still being evaluated.

In Huerter’s absence, Keon Ellis has moved into Sacramento’s starting lineup for the past five games and is averaging 27.0 minutes per contest, a significant step up from his season average. Davion Mitchell and Chris Duarte have also both seen more consistent playing time since Huerter went down.

The Kings are in the midst of a competitive race for playoff positioning in the Western Conference. They’re currently at No. 8 with a 42-30 record, though they’re only one game back of the No. 6 Mavericks. Finishing in the top six would assure the club of a playoff berth without having to win one ore more play-in games.

Kings’ Kevin Huerter Suffers Labral Tear, No Timetable For Return

The Kings announced guard Kevin Huerter suffered a left shoulder dislocation and a labral tear in Monday’s game against the Grizzlies, as The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson relays (Twitter link). Treatment options are still being evaluated but there is no timetable for Huerter’s return.

As FOX40 Sacramento’s Sean Cunningham observes (Twitter link), Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is out for the rest of the season with a labral tear. While that might not be the case for Huerter, time is running out for him to make a return with the regular season set to end on April 14. Regardless, it’s a tough blow for the Kings.

Huerter is averaging 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season while shooting 36.1% on three-pointers. He’s a key piece for the 40-28 Kings, having started 59 of his 64 appearances, with an average of 24.4 minutes per contest.

The Kings are in sixth in the Western Conference, just a half-game ahead of the Mavericks and the Suns to avoid the play-in. They’re also 2.0 games behind the Pelicans for fifth in the West. Keon Ellis started in Huerter’s place on Wednesday, recording six points and four steals in a 34-point win over the Raptors.

Kings Notes: Huerter, Ellis, Vezenkov, Monk

Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter suffered a left shoulder injury in Monday’s game against Memphis and there are concerns that he could miss the rest of the regular season, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Huerter had to leave the game after being fouled by Desmond Bane, and he was ruled out for tonight’s contest at Toronto.

The Kings are likely exploring treatment options for Huerter before making a formal statement on his prognosis, according to Anderson, who cites a 2020 study by the National Library of Medicine showing that NBA players are typically sidelined for 3.6 weeks with shoulder subluxations and 7.6 weeks with shoulder dislocations. Anderson notes that a four-week absence would keep Huerter out until the start of the playoffs, while an eight-week absence would have him returning in mid-May in the midst of the conference semifinals.

Huerter is a valuable part of Sacramento’s offense, averaging 10.2 PPG in 64 games this season while shooting 44.3% from the field and 36.1% from three-point range.

There’s more on the Kings:

  • Coach Mike Brown plans to start Keon Ellis while Huerter is unavailable, Anderson adds. Ellis, who had his two-way contract converted to a multi-year deal last month, has started six games and the Kings have won them all. “Obviously, with this team, it’s always next-man up mentality,” De’Aaron Fox said. “We have to be ready to play without Kev if it is some type of long-term thing, and I think everybody is confident in Keon. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the minutes he’s been providing the last few games, especially since he’s been back in the rotation, have been great.”
  • Sasha Vezenkov isn’t quite ready to return from his right ankle sprain, Anderson tweets. The first-year power forward, who hasn’t played since February 9, had been upgraded to questionable for tonight, but the team opted to give him another night off.
  • In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Malik Monk explains the career arc that has made him the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year honors as well as his decision to leave the Lakers and sign with the Kings as a free agent in 2022. “I feel like the organization needed a turnaround,” Monk said. “I feel like they needed new faces here. I feel like I could bring an energy that Sac had been waiting for since (DeMarcus Cousins) left. And my homie is here, my best friend here. Fox. This was going to be the most comfortable fit for me. Because leaving Los Angeles, a big city, coming here slows everything down. Slow pace. Now I can just focus on my craft. It’s been working for me.”