Malcolm Brogdon

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Brogdon, NAW, Micic, Jokic

Bucks guard Damian Lillard expects to have a positive reception from fans when he plays in Portland on Wednesday for the first time as a visitor, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian (subscriber link). The longtime Trail Blazers star is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, spending his first 11 NBA seasons with the club.

I think it will be emotional because I care,” Lillard said. “I loved playing in Portland. I loved living there and still live there. I’m not like a big crier. I don’t think I’ll be crying, and all of that. But I care. Everything I ever said about my time in Portland playing there, I meant that s–t. So, yeah, it will be.”

Lillard requested a trade last summer when he felt like he and the Blazers were moving in different directions. The 33-year-old wanted a chance to compete for championships. Milwaukee (32-15, second in the East) and Portland (14-33, 14th in the West) are at opposite ends of the standings thus far in 2023/24.

I loved the organization. I loved everybody I went to work with every day. And I think what made it the hardest is it wasn’t a wasn’t a broken relationship. So coming back, being able to be here, I’m in a great situation,” Lillard said, per “The reason it all came about in the first place was for a chance to win it all. We couldn’t be at that place at the same time. So I come back with love, and I’m excited to be back in the Moda Center.”

Here’s from the Northwest:

  • Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon has been a popular name in trade rumors ever since he was sent to Portland as part of the Jrue Holiday deal. However, he tells Jason Quick of The Athletic that he’s pleased with his situation and isn’t seeking a trade. “I’m happy here. I’m valued here. Valued in this leadership/lead-guard role,” Brogdon told The Athletic. “And I can’t complain with that. I’m happy in Portland.” The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, who also said he hasn’t spoken to GM Joe Cronin about a potential deal, added that he didn’t necessarily feel as valued by the Celtics, who traded him after a single season.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker says he was “terrified” after being traded to the Timberwolves last February, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. The 25-year-old had already been traded two times in 2022 (to Portland and Utah), and wasn’t playing a regular role with the Jazz last season. Alexander-Walker wondered how he’d be able to crack the rotation for the Wolves, but wound up becoming a key contributor after injuries to Naz Reid and Jaden McDaniels down the stretch. He re-signed with Minnesota on a two-year, $9MM contract over the summer.
  • Former EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic doesn’t seem to mind his lack of playing time thus far with the Thunder, per Micic won back-to-back EuroLeague titles (2021 and 2022) with Anadolu Efes. “From the outside for people that follow my career, maybe some things are not smooth and easygoing for me,” Micic said. “But that’s not important to me. The most important is my current feeling, and my current feeling is showing me that everything makes sense, everything was with a reason.Everything in Europe that I achieved was not given to me. I had to work for that. Nobody gave me anything there. So that’s how I learned it.” The 30-year-old NBA rookie is averaging 3.2 PPG and 2.3 APG in 11.8 MPG over 26 appearances with Oklahoma City this season.
  • Nuggets star Nikola Jokic will be sidelined for Wednesday’s contest in Oklahoma City due to lower back pain, but it’s not expected to be a long-term injury, head coach Michael Malone told reporters prior to the game (Twitter link via Bennett Durando of The Denver Post). “I wouldn’t say anything that I think is gonna be a long-term concern. … That back pain was not improving, wasn’t getting any better, so it was just determined by medical staff to try to get that back right, rehab and treatment,” Malone said.

Rockets Rumors: Bridges, Centers, Tate, Brogdon, Core

Despite a modest 22-24 record that places them 11th in the West, the Rockets are motivated to be buyers on the trade market at next week’s deadline and will be seeking high-level talent, according to Kelly Iko, Shams Charania, and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

As The Athletic’s trio explains, the presence of new head coach Ime Udoka – and his strong influence with the team’s top decision-makers – has contributed to an acceleration of the Rockets’ timeline. Udoka has been frustrated by the team’s “inconsistencies” and is determined to make the postseason, and his level of urgency has helped convince the front office to adjust its expectations for the club and its strategy on the trade market.

The Rockets’ interest in Nets forward Mikal Bridges, reported earlier today by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, is one example of the club’s pursuit of impact players. The Athletic’s reporters confirm that Houston’s level of interest in Bridges is “extremely high,” but echo Scotto in saying that Brooklyn continues to view the 27-year-old as a cornerstone piece and has no interest in moving him.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Houston also continues to scour the trade market for more frontcourt help, with Kelly Olynyk (Jazz), Clint Capela (Hawks), Andre Drummond (Bulls), and Robert Williams (Trail Blazers) among the big men on the team’s radar, per Iko, Charania, and Amick. Udoka would like to find a center capable of not only manning the position when Alperen Sengun is on the bench but also potentially playing alongside Sengun, like Williams and Al Horford did during Udoka’s time in Boston.
  • While the Rockets will likely look to package draft capital with expiring or pseudo-expiring contracts like those belonging to Victor Oladipo, Jock Landale, and Boban Marjanovic, they also view forward Jae’Sean Tate as “movable,” according to The Athletic’s report. League sources tell The Athletic that the Celtics and Suns have shown some level of interest in Tate.
  • A ball-handler who can defend would also be on the Rockets’ wish list, league sources tell The Athletic’s trio, who mention Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon as one player who fits the bill. However, Houston isn’t eager to cut into Cam Whitmore‘s or Amen Thompson‘s minutes, which may affect the club’s aggressiveness in pursuing backcourt help.
  • Whitmore and Thompson are considered off-limits in most trade talks, according to Iko, Charania, and Amick, who say the Rockets aren’t interested in moving Jabari Smith or Tari Eason either. Jalen Green is also in that group of young players Houston would be very reluctant to trade, though The Athletic’s reporters suggest he’s not necessarily viewed as untouchable like he would’ve been a year or two ago, with Sengun having overtaken him as the player prioritized in the Rockets’ schemes. It sounds as if Houston won’t move any of its young core players in a deal for a mere rotation upgrade, but would consider including one in a package for a star.

Lakers Notes: Reddish, Russell, Murray, Brown, Lowry

The Lakers will be without forward Cam Reddish until after the trade deadline, announcing on Friday that he has been diagnosed with a right ankle sprain and will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks (Twitter link via Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times).

Reddish has been a regular part of the rotation in his first season with the Lakers, starting 26 games and coming off the bench in nine more for an average of 23.3 minutes per contest. However, he has been plagued by various injuries over the past couple months, missing games due to both left and right groin ailments and left and right knee soreness.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • D’Angelo Russell‘s hot streak continued on Thursday as he put up 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting in a win over Chicago. Russell has now averaged 27.4 PPG and 6.6 APG since reentering the starting lineup on January 13, raising questions about whether it really makes sense to trade him, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.
  • Although Russell’s heater has raised his standing in the Lakers’ eyes, the team still believes that his strengths and weaknesses overlap too much with Austin Reaves‘ and would like to upgrade the point guard spot, says Jovan Buha of The Athletic. However, Buha notes that the Lakers would view a Russell trade involving a player like Malcolm Brogdon, Tyus Jones, or Spencer Dinwiddie as a “lateral move at best.” Dejounte Murray is an exception, since L.A. considers him a player who could replicate Russell’s offensive production while upgrading the defense, Buha writes.
  • Within the same mailbag, Buha says that there are people within the Lakers’ organization who believe the club needs to make two moves on the trade market, not just one. Murray and Bruce Brown are currently the team’s top targets, sources tell Buha, though acquiring both guards likely isn’t realistic.
  • Kyle Lowry is a potential target to watch for the Lakers if he’s bought out by Charlotte, team and league sources tell Buha. Los Angeles’ team salary is above the luxury tax line but below the first apron, so the club wouldn’t be prohibited from signing Lowry on the buyout market.

Fischer’s Latest: Point Guard Rumors, Sixers, Rockets, More

After Charlotte was able to secure a first-round pick from Miami in this week’s deal for Terry Rozier, teams with quality guards available are expected to use that return as a benchmark, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who suggests that the Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Raptors want “at least a first-round pick” for Tyus Jones, Malcolm Brogdon, and Bruce Brown, respectively.

It will presumably be more difficult to extract a first-round pick for a player headed for free agency in 2024 and 2025 than it was for Rozier, who has two more years left on his contract beyond this one. Still, as Fischer notes, there will be no shortage of teams in the market for backcourt help at this season’s deadline.

Sources tell Yahoo Sports that the Lakers are “chief among backcourt buyers” as they seek a point guard upgrade on D’Angelo Russell. The Knicks, Bucks, and Sixers are among the other potential buyers at that position, while the Nets have “poked around” the market too, per Fischer.

Fischer names the Cavaliers and Timberwolves as two other clubs expected to peruse the market in search of backcourt depth and notes that the Spurs will always be a team to watch for point guards until they find a long-term answer at the position to pair with Victor Wembanyama.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Veteran point guard T.J. McConnell was viewed as a possible target for teams looking for backcourt help, but the Pacers have indicated to potential trade partners that they don’t want to move him, Fischer reports. Some of the backup point guards who are available around the NBA, per Fischer, are Davion Mitchell (Kings), Cameron Payne (Bucks), Cory Joseph (Warriors), and Devonte’ Graham (Spurs).
  • Kyle Lowry isn’t expected to join the Hornets prior to the trade deadline as Charlotte looks to flip him to a new team. If he’s still a Hornet once the deadline passes, Lowry will be a strong candidate for a buyout, and the Sixers appear to be a “real possibility” for the Philadelphia native, says Fischer.
  • The Sixers are prioritizing fit alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey as they consider their trade options. They don’t appear to have significant interest in Bruce Brown and will have to seriously consider whether Dejounte Murray is the right piece next to Maxey, given the Hawks‘ high asking price for Murray, Fischer writes. Atlanta is reportedly seeking two first-round picks and a starting-caliber player for the guard.
  • The Rockets have their eye on a pair of Trail Blazers, according to Fischer, who says Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams have both drawn interest from Houston. The Lakers and Knicks are among the other teams that have been connected to Brogdon.
  • The Pelicans and Magic are two teams that rival executives expect to be in the market for a point guard in the summer, though New Orleans is focused more on the center spot for now, per Fischer.

Scotto’s Latest: Lakers, Murray, Russell, Hachimura, Brown, More

Dejounte Murray is the Lakers‘ top target as they search for a point guard before the trade deadline, but they’ll likely need to find a third team to get a deal done, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a discussion about the team with Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

L.A. has discussed a deal with the Hawks involving D’Angelo Russell, rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino and the team’s next available first-round pick in 2029, according to Scotto. However, Russell has an $18.7MM player option for next season, and Atlanta doesn’t want to take back any salary beyond this year, plus there are questions about Russell’s fit alongside Trae Young.

There’s no obvious third team to make a deal work, Scotto adds. He points to the Hornets as an organization that’s willing to take unwanted contracts in return for draft assets, but notes that Russell is also an awkward fit with LaMelo Ball. The Lakers wouldn’t have another first-rounder to offer Charlotte since their 2029 pick would be going to the Hawks in the proposed deal.

Scotto mentions the Nets as a potential landing spot for Russell with Spencer Dinwiddie heading to Atlanta or L.A., but he’s skeptical of Brooklyn’s desire to add Russell. He sees the Wizards as a better option, with Tyus Jones possibly moving, but notes that a fourth team might be necessary to provide enough draft picks to make a deal work.

Buha also hears that Murray is the Lakers’ top priority, but warns that the market is constantly changing, citing this week’s trade of Terry Rozier to Miami as an example. He suggests that might increase the price for Murray and wonders if the Sixers or another team with more assets than L.A. will enter the bidding. Buha proposes that the Lakers might try to get Brooklyn involved in a Murray trade and add another asset such as Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith or Royce O’Neale.

There’s more on the Lakers’ trade market from Scotto and Buha:

  • L.A. would like to move Gabe Vincent, who’s recovering from knee surgery and still has two years left on his contract, but he currently has negative value around the league, Scotto and Buha agree. Buha points to Rui Hachimura as another player who might be involved in trade discussions, but says the Lakers would create a hole in their frontcourt by parting with him.
  • A rumored deal of Russell and Hachimura to the Bulls for Zach LaVine seems to be dead at this point, according to Scotto. Buha adds that L.A. always had more interest in DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso than LaVine, but has been reluctant to part with Austin Reaves to acquire them.
  • Executives around the league tell Scotto that it would likely take at least a first-round pick to get Malcolm Brogdon from the Trail Blazers. He also reiterates that the Cavaliers are informing teams they’re not interested in trading Donovan Mitchell.
  • Buha notes that the Lakers had interest in Bruce Brown dating back to last offseason, but it may take a third team to get involved if the Raptors don’t want Russell. He sees a Brown-Hachimura trade as a more realistic option, depending on what else L.A. would have to give up.

Trade Rumors: R. Williams, Knicks, Lakers, Hawks, Wizards

Trail Blazers center Robert Williams won’t play again this season after undergoing knee surgery in November, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s off the table in trade talks. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT suggested during the latest episode of the #thisleague UNCUT podcast that Williams is a trade candidate to watch.

“There are some teams that are pondering making a move for Robert Williams,” Haynes said (hat tip to Blazer’s Edge). “Now, I know Robert Williams is out for the season, had another surgery on his right knee. But teams feel like he would be somebody they could get on the cheap right now and allow him to continue recovering, continue rehabbing in hopes that next season he can blossom back into the Robert Williams that we’ve seen when he was playing at a high level with the Boston Celtics.”

Williams was one of the players acquired by Portland in October’s Jrue Holiday deal with the Celtics. While he has shown some promise in his first few years in the NBA, is still just 26 years old, and is on a multiyear contract, there was a sense that the Blazers could be willing to flip the big man to a new team, given that they already have their center of the future in Deandre Ayton. Haynes confirms that’s the case.

“The Blazers will be very open (to moving Williams),” Haynes said. “That’s not up for debate. They’ll be very open. If they feel like they can get the right deal in place, they’re open. The Blazers, they’re in a youth movement right now, so they have nothing but time on their side. Some players don’t fit the development arc of most of the youth they have on that team. Robert Williams is somebody who is definitely available, given the right price.”

While Haynes didn’t specify exactly which teams are potential suitors for Williams, he noted that Ime Udoka is “very fond” of the big man after coaching him in Boston and speculated that the Rockets could have interest.

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

  • Discussing the Knicks‘ approach to the trade deadline on the Katz and Shoot podcast, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports said Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon is the player he has heard most frequently linked to New York (Twitter video link). Fred Katz of The Athletic cited Pistons guard Alec Burks as another player the Knicks had their eye on and confirmed the team has looked into Dejounte Murray, but isn’t sure whether that interest in the Hawks guard is serious or just a matter of the Knicks doing their due diligence.
  • Murray, Bruce Brown, Terry Rozier, and Tyus Jones are potential Lakers trade targets to keep an eye on, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link). The team’s interest in all four guards has been previously reported.
  • Charania also confirms a previous report about the Lakers and Hawks discussing Murray, adding that a pick swap was part of those negotiations. The talks stalled due to Atlanta’s desire to reroute D’Angelo Russell to a third team, but Charania expects the two teams to resume those discussions before the trade deadline.
  • Only one Wizards player is truly off-limits in trade talks at this season’s deadline, according to Charania (Twitter video link): 2023 lottery pick Bilal Coulibaly. Washington would be open to inquiries on anyone else on the roster.

Trade Rumors: Brown, Grant, Brogdon, Jones, Gafford

The Raptors want a minimum of a first-round pick and a “quality player” in exchange for Bruce Brown, according to Marc Stein at Substack.

Toronto just acquired Brown from Indiana in the Pascal Siakam blockbuster, with the Knicks and Lakers among the teams said to be interested in the swingman’s services. Brown cashed in during free agency last summer, signing a two-year, $45MM deal with the Pacers after spending last season as the sixth man of the Nuggets, helping Denver win its first NBA Championship.

However, Brown’s contract could also expire in the offseason, as it features a $23MM team option. He cannot be aggregated with other salaries, but Toronto is free to flip him, and team president Masai Ujiri has said more deals could “definitely” occur before the February 8 deadline.

As Stein writes, due to Brown’s contract and two-way ability, a variety of teams will likely register interest in dealing for the 27-year-old. That has the Raptors optimistic about their chances of landing a valuable return.

For his part, Brown said he’s not requesting a trade and would be open to staying a Raptor.

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

  • The Trail Blazers have been repeatedly described by rivals as “resistant” to the idea of moving Jerami Grant, according to Stein, who is at least the fourth different reporter to say something along those lines. Grant, who re-signed with Portland on a five-year, $160MM deal in the offseason, was viewed as a potential trade candidate after Damian Lillard requested a trade and was eventually moved, but the Blazers front office reportedly likes having a productive veteran such as Grant to help guide a young roster.
  • Veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon, on the other hand, is viewed as “very likely” to be traded by the Trail Blazers, Stein reports. Stein has heard the Knicks are interested in Brogdon, who was acquired from Boston in the Jrue Holiday deal, though Ian Begley of recently suggested that the Knicks and Blazers haven’t engaged in talks about the veteran guard. Brogdon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is in the first season of a two-year, $45MM extension that pays him $22.5MM annually.
  • Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times confirms recent reporting that the Lakers are interested in Wizards point guard Tyus Jones. Woike also adds Jones’ teammate, center Daniel Gafford, to the list of potential Lakers targets. The Wizards are reportedly looking for first-round picks for both players.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Achiuwa, Hartenstein, Trade Rumors

There were good vibes in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, as Knicks fans gave Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett a warm welcome in their return to New York as Raptors, then watched stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle lead the home team to a dominant 126-100 victory. After the game, Brunson and Randle both spoke about how much they enjoyed playing with Quickley and Barrett, who said they appreciated the reception they received from Knicks fans.

“Love those two. Being teammates with them the past couple of years has been special,” Brunson said of Barrett and Quickley, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. “Great character dudes. They both work really hard. Everything you want in a franchise player. Toronto has a couple good dudes over there. I wish them nothing but the best.”

“Those guys are special talents,” Randle added, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “It’s a special relationship I’ve built with them. I know they talk about how much I meant to them, but they mean a lot to me, to be honest. Talking about leadership, how I carry myself, how to be open, how to be honest, how to be motivated — those are things I didn’t necessarily have coming in vocally. I always wanted to lead by example, just play hard every night. But those guys with me brought a different side out of me. … The relationship that I have with them is extremely special.”

While Quickley and Barrett are missed by their former teammates, Saturday’s game was a reminder of why trading them was the right move, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. As Bondy notes, OG Anunoby continues to show he’s a perfect fit alongside the Knicks’ ball-dominant players, who have been on a tear this month.

Following a 38-point showing on Saturday, Brunson has now averaged 28.9 points and 8.4 assists per game since the arrival of Anunoby, who in turn has been an NBA-best +190 during his time on the court as a Knick. Randle had a triple-double in Saturday’s victory and has put up 25.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 5.1 APG since Anunoby’s debut.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • While Anunoby continues to be lauded by his play for the Knicks – including by super-fan Spike Lee, as Michael Grange of details – another former Raptor had a big night vs. his former team on Saturday. Precious Achiuwa established new season highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes of action, writes Jared Schwartz of The New York Post.
  • Achiuwa was playing an increased role due to the fact that starting center Isaiah Hartenstein left the game in the third quarter with an ankle issue. According to Bondy (Twitter link), head coach Tom Thibodeau called it as a sprain, though the team later referred to it as just “sore.” Whether or not Hartenstein has to miss time as a result of the injury, Bondy expects Jericho Sims to see more playing time. Sims logged three minutes on Saturday after sitting out the past five games.
  • Discussing some of the potential trade targets who have been linked to the Knicks, Ian Begley of (Twitter video link) says the Jazz‘s asking price for Jordan Clarkson is very high and that he hasn’t heard anything to suggest that the Knicks and Trail Blazers have had serious talks about Malcolm Brogdon.
  • On the other hand, Begley keeps hearing “again and again” that New York has strong interest in Raptors guard Bruce Brown. Asked on Saturday about those rumors, as well as the belief that Thibodeau is a fan of his play, Brown said he has “nothing but respect” for the Knicks’ head coach and can do “just about whatever [Thibodeau] needs me to do,” per Schwartz. “I play extremely hard,” he said. “I would think [I’m] the type of player that he likes.”

Scotto’s Latest: Pacers, Mavericks, Grant, Kuzma, More

Rival executives applauded the Pacers for being able to land star Pascal Siakam without moving Bennedict Mathurin, Jarace Walker, Andrew Nembhard, Ben Sheppard or Obi Toppin — or including the expiring deal of Buddy HieldHoopsHype’s Michael Scotto details in a trade deadline intel piece.

But the Pacers now have a logjam at the power forward position, with Jalen Smith, Toppin and Walker all playing behind Siakam. On top of that, there’s still a belief Hield could be moved to create playing time for Mathurin, Nembhard and Sheppard, Scotto writes. As a result, rival executives think Indiana are a candidate to make another trade before the deadline.

We have more from Scotto’s latest roundup:

  • The Mavericks are scouring the market to see if there are any available power forward upgrades, Scotto writes. According to Scotto, Dallas tried acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic last year and had their eye on Siakam before he was moved. Dallas has kept tabs on Portland forward Jerami Grant, Scotto writes, and could potentially look into Washington forward Kyle Kuzma. While Dereck Lively has drawn trade interest from other teams, Dallas told teams he’s not available for trade.
  • As noted earlier on Thursday, the Trail Blazers are signaling to opposing teams that they won’t easily part with Grant before the deadline. Portland values what Grant brings to the table in the locker room and on the court and some executives are pondering whether he could be the missing piece to a championship team like Aaron Gordon was, according to Scotto. Executives thus believe Malcolm Brogdon is the likelier of the two to be dealt, with a fair price expected to be a first-round pick and salary filler, Scotto writes.
  • For what it’s worth, both Portland and Brogdon appear to enjoy their partnership, Scotto explains. “At times, it’s been tough, but there’s something very gratifying about coming to a team where your voice and leadership is really valued and you play a different role,” Brogdon said. Meanwhile, head coach Chauncey Billups said Brogdon is one of the team’s leaders, and that he loves having him in Portland, but acknowledged the difficult transition for Brogdon going from a contender to mentor on a rebuilding team. “He’s in a tough spot here,” Billups said. “He’s coming off the bench, and sometimes he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.
  • Rival teams are monitoring the Wizards, and Kuzma is drawing exploratory interest. Scotto writes the Wizards hold Kuzma in a high regard after he chose to re-sign with them over offers from the Kings and Rockets, and they’d seek at least two future first-round picks beyond the 2024 draft in exchange for their leading scorer. Kuzma is viewed as a positive asset partially due to his descending contract. Meanwhile, Washington would desire a first-round pick in exchange for Tyus Jones, but they hope to re-sign the 27-year-old point guard in free agency this year, according to Scotto. Washington is also aiming to use their trade exceptions — such as the $12.35MM exception from the Kristaps Porzingis trade — to acquire picks and young players in salary dumps from other teams.
  • The Pelicans traded Kira Lewis to duck under the luxury tax this year, and rival executives are pondering whether New Orleans will move another player to do so again next year, Scotto writes. Jonas Valanciunas, CJ McCollum, Herbert Jones and Trey Murphy are among players rival teams could monitor, with some facing free agency or potential extensions.
  • The Knicks are gauging the value of a package consisting of Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes and draft capital to look for potential upgrades, Scotto writes. Echoing a report from Marc Stein, Scotto writes the Knicks are eyeing Brogdon, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier and Detroit’s Alec Burks. New York is also in the market for a backup power forward. Additionally, rivals are expecting OG Anunoby to re-up with the Knicks in free agency.

Stein’s Latest: Raptors, Siakam Trade, Brown, Knicks Targets, More

The Raptors don’t regret not moving Fred VanVleet last trade deadline before he departed that summer in free agency, Marc Stein details in his latest Substack post. Raptors president Masai Ujiri conveyed a similar sentiment earlier on Thursday. As Stein writes, the offers for VanVleet were lackluster and Toronto brass preferred to give the core of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes and VanVleet one more shot at it, adding Jakob Poeltl to the equation.

Stein suggests that the Raptors could have traded VanVleet to the Clippers last year in exchange for Luke Kennard and modest draft capital, but instead opted to run it back with their team. However, VanVleet leaving Toronto in the offseason for Houston had an impact on their willingness to trade Siakam and Anunoby this season, according to Stein.

Though there’s an outside perception the Raptors could have gotten more for Siakam had they traded him earlier, Toronto is pleased with the package it received from the Pacers, according to Stein. As Stein explains, the Hawks offered De’Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin and a first-round pick over the summer, but the Raptors feel Indiana’s offer was better, even without Bennedict Mathurin, Jarace Walker, Andrew Nembhard or Jalen Smith, all of whom Toronto coveted. I recommend checking out the article in full if you are subscribed to Stein’s Substack page.

There are more notes from Marc Stein:

  • There’s a growing belief leaguewide that the Raptors will move recently acquired Bruce Brown in another trade. The Knicks have Evan Fournier‘s $18.9MM salary to help match Brown’s $22MM, Stein observes. An earlier report Thursday indicated Quentin Grimes ($2.4MM in 2023/24) was on the trade block, so perhaps the Knicks kick the tires on packaging Fournier and Grimes together for Brown. We wrote more on New York’s interest in Brown here. The Nuggets would undoubtedly be interested in Brown after he helped lift the franchise to their first NBA title in 2022/23, but they lack feasible ways of acquiring him, Stein adds.
  • Stein expresses skepticism that Brown is the type of scoring guard New York wants to bring in after moving away from Immanuel Quickley. The Knicks have “a level of interest” in Utah’s Jordan Clarkson, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, Detroit’s Alec Burks and Portland’s Malcolm Brogdon, he adds.
  • Rival teams hold the belief that Siakam is a “lock” to re-sign with the Pacers after his current contract expires this summer, Stein writes. The Pacers can only offer Siakam a two-year, $81.5MM extension during the season, but they acquired his Bird rights in the trade, which was a motivating factor in getting him now. Acquiring Siakam’s Bird rights allows the Pacers to go over the salary cap to keep him giving them increased flexibility this summer.
  • After Siakam was traded, attention on the trade market turned to the HawksDejounte Murray, according to Stein, who says the going price for Murray starts at two first-round picks. We took a look earlier today at Murray’s market.