Malik Beasley

And-Ones: Coach Contracts, Options, Star Trades, Glickman

Monty Williams‘ record-setting six-year, $78.5MM contract with the Pistons will have a major impact on some of the league’s top coaches, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on NBA countdown (YouTube link).

It’s going to significantly impact the head coaching landscape for high-level coaches, including (the Heat‘s) Erik Spoelstra and (the Warriors‘) Steve Kerr,” said Wojnarowski (hat tip to RealGM). “Both of those coaches have one year left, next season, on their deals. Both, I’m told, in the $8 million annual range right now. Both coaches, when you talk to owners and executives around the league, if they were on the open market might be able to get what (Denver Broncos coach) Sean Payton got: in the neighborhood of $20 million per year.

It’s hard to imagine Erik Spoelstra leaving a Miami organization where he started 28 years ago as a video intern, where he’s spent 15 years as a head coach with two championships.

Steve Kerr is going to be a different situation. His president/GM Bob Myers announced last week that he’s leaving. This is an aging roster. The worldview for Steve Kerr may look different. Watch his negotiations this summer on an extension.

One other coach who is going to benefit from Monty Williams changing the pay structure of NBA head coach is Clippers coach Tyronn Lue.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Which players are likely to exercise their player options? Which teams will exercise their options on players’ contracts? Which players on partially guaranteed and non-guaranteed contracts will be waived before free agency? John Hollinger of The Athletic predicts all of those decisions. The former Grizzlies executive believes Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker ($11MM) will decline his option and test free agency, writing that his age (22) could help him get a new contract for the full mid-level exception or better. According to Hollinger, the Lakers will likely decline their $16.6MM team option on guard Malik Beasley, while the Magic will retain Gary Harris‘ $13MM deal, which is currently non-guaranteed (it will become guaranteed if he’s still on the roster July 1).
  • Mike Vorkunov, Fred Katz and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic draft the NBA teams they think have the top assets to offer in hypothetical trades for star players this offseason, with two caveats: The team’s best player cannot be included for the star, and the outgoing pieces will be both players and draft picks. Vorkunov selects the Thunder No. 1, followed by the Magic at No. 2 (Katz), and surprisingly the Trail Blazers at No. 3 (Edwards).
  • Marshall Glickman, the acting CEO of the EuroLeague, announced he will step down from his post when his contract expires at the end of July, tweets Donatas Urbonas of As BasketNews relays, a previous report indicated that Glickman’s work relationship with EuroLeague president Dejan Bodiroga was strained, which made have contributed to the decision. Glickman has been acting CEO since last September.

And-Ones: Free Agency, Parity, RSNs, Finals Matchup

NBA executives who spoke to Alex Kennedy of are split on how they feel about the 2023 free agent class. While one Eastern Conference exec referred to it as “very weak,” an East general manager suggested there should be a “strong group of rotational pieces” available this offseason. That GM added that we shouldn’t necessarily expect future free agent classes to be stronger than this year’s.

“This free agent class is a reflection of what future classes could look like with the new extension rules,” he said. “There will likely be even more extensions done moving forward with the new rules, which will water down the free agent classes.”

In a separate article for, Kennedy ranks the top free agents of 2023, while over at The Athletic, Danny Leroux considers which free agent will receive the most guaranteed money this summer. As Leroux observes, many of this year’s best potential FAs many not sign lucrative long-term contracts due to concerns about their age and/or injury histories. That group includes James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, Kristaps Porzingis, and Khris Middleton.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Frank Urbina of HoopsHype takes a look at a few free-agents-to-be whose playoff performances negatively affected their stock, including Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Nets guard Seth Curry, and Lakers teammates D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley.
  • His comments about Ja Morant made the most headlines, but commissioner Adam Silver also discussed multiple other topics during his press conference prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Silver spoke in support of the increased parity the NBA has seen in recent years (link via RealGM) and referred to the ongoing issues with regional sports networks as “a problem we have to fix” (Twitter link via Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files).
  • A series between the Nuggets and Heat may not have been the Finals matchup that league advertisers fantasized about, but it’s great for the NBA, contends Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. As Krawczynski writes, Denver and Miami have been the two “best, most determined and precise teams” in the playoffs and will allow the league to “embrace the game over the glitz” in the Finals.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that the Nuggets‘ and Heat‘s success this spring is proof that being patient – rather than reactionary – following postseason heartbreak can pay off in the long run.

Lakers Notes: D-Lo, Kyrie, Walker, Reaves, Harrison, Beasley, Bamba, Draft

In a conversation on the HoopsHype podcast about the Lakers‘ free agency situation, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he still believes a new deal with Los Angeles is the most likely outcome for D’Angelo Russell, though if it’s far from a lock.

A previous report stated that Russell was hoping for a four-year, $100MM contract before being traded from Minnesota to L.A. Given that he had an up-and-down postseason and there aren’t a ton of obvious suitors for his services this offseason, Russell may be hard-pressed to get four years or $25MM annually, Buha observes, suggesting that a two- or three-year deal, perhaps around $20MM per year, might be more realistic.

While the Lakers may also explore the sign-and-trade market for Russell, neither Buha nor Scotto views Kyrie Irving as a serious option for the club, even though Scotto has heard there’s no truth to the idea that Irving and the Mavericks have a “handshake” deal in place. Buha suggests it’s hard to imagine the Lakers making a compelling offer for Irving that Dallas would accept.

Elsewhere on the free agency front, Buha and Scotto agree that Lonnie Walker could get offers in the $4-7MM range and might seek a larger role with a new team.

As for Austin Reaves, Buha continues to hear that the Lakers will match any offer sheet for the guard, but he names the Spurs as a possible “dark horse” suitor for Reaves, while Scotto identifies the Rockets and Magic as two other cap-room teams who could have interest in testing the Lakers’ limits.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Buha says that Shaquille Harrison is expected to be waived this offseason and adds there are doubts about whether Malik Beasley ($16.5MM team option) and Mohamed Bamba ($10.3MM) will be retained. Beasley and Bamba would be on expiring deals and might be useful salary-matching pieces in trades, but they’re not bargains on their current contracts and could be cut loose to help accommodate new deals for free agents like Reaves, Russell, and Rui Hachimura.
  • The Lakers are more likely than not to hang onto the No. 17 pick in this year’s draft, sources tell Buha within that same mailbag. That might change if the team is able to use the pick as part of a trade package to land a starting-caliber player, Buha notes.
  • None are likely to receive consideration as early as No. 17, but the Lakers hosted six prospects for a pre-draft workout on Friday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link): Nadir Hifi (France), Jalen Wilson (Kansas), Morris Udeze (New Mexico), Cameron Shelton (Loyola Marymount), Terquavion Smith (NC State), and Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky).

Central Notes: Mannion, Bucks, LaVine, Cavs, Pistons

Former Warriors guard Nico Mannion, who has spent the past two seasons in Europe, is expected to play for the Bucks‘ Summer League team this July, reports Donatas Urbonas of

The No. 48 pick in the 2020 draft, Mannion spent just one season in Golden State, logging limited minutes in 30 games, before returning to his home country of Italy to play for Virtus Bologna. The former Arizona Wildcat is still just 22 years old, so there’s plenty of time for him to take another shot at the NBA.

However, it’s worth noting that Mannion wouldn’t be able to sign outright with the Bucks or another team, since the Warriors have tendered him a two-way qualifying offer in each of the last two offseasons, ensuring they still have his rights as a restricted free agent. If Golden State reissues that QO this summer, Mannion would once again be an RFA, giving the Warriors the ability to control his NBA free agency.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, while the Knicksreported interest at the trade deadline was overstated, a number of rival executives around the NBA are “skeptical about the long-term marriage” between the Bulls and Zach LaVine. Johnson cautions that the Bulls have backed LaVine at every opportunity and have shown no indications that they intend to move on from him anytime soon, but says the speculation about an eventual break-up that he heard at the combine was “prevalent enough to acknowledge.”
  • Chris Fedor of names Malik Beasley, Seth Curry, Yuta Watanabe, Terrence Ross, and Justin Holiday as some potential free agents who could be of interest to the Cavaliers this summer as the team seeks shooting help.
  • In a mock draft for The Detroit News (subscription required), Mike Curtis has the Pistons selecting Houston forward Jarace Walker at No. 5 overall, noting that the pick may not be the most exciting one Detroit could make, but arguing it would instantly make the team “more formidable” on defense. Curtis’ pick for the Pistons at No. 31 is Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Lakers Rumors: Russell, Point Guard, LeBron, Hachimura

Before he was traded from Minnesota to the Lakers in February, D’Angelo Russell was believed to be seeking $100MM over four years on his next contract, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Russell, who will be a free agent this summer, had an up-and-down postseason and only played 15 minutes off the bench in the final game of L.A.’s season, so Fischer is skeptical there will be bidders at that price point.

Still, Fischer hears from sources that Russell was viewed as a “positive presence” in the Lakers’ locker room and speculates that the two sides may be able to get a shorter-term (and less lucrative) deal done. Los Angeles could even keep D-Lo off the free agent market altogether by signing him to an extension on or before June 30.

Because he was traded within the last six months, Russell would be ineligible to sign an extension longer than two years, and Dave McMenamin of ESPN hears that the Lakers won’t pursue a two-year deal worth the veteran guard’s maximum number (approximately $67.5MM). However, Fischer suggests that something closer to $40MM over two years might make sense for both sides.

Given Russell’s playoff struggles, it’s certainly possible the Lakers will explore alternatives at point guard this summer, but their flexibility will be limited if they intend to bring back free agents like Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, as has been reported. Within his story, McMenamin explores the different paths L.A. could take at the point guard spot, noting that the team might be able to package Malik Beasley ($16.5MM) and Mohamed Bamba ($10.3MM) in a trade to bring someone in without requiring cap room.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • There’s “widespread skepticism” that LeBron James will retire this offseason, according to Fischer, who says LeBron’s post-game comments on Monday surprised many team staffers. McMenamin, like, some other reporters earlier in the week, cites a source close to James who believes LeBron will return in 2023/24. Nonetheless, if only as a thought exercise, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores what the Lakers’ next steps might look like if the future Hall-of-Famer does decide to call it a career this offseason.
  • While retirement may not be in the cards for James this summer, foot surgery could be. After McMenamin reported this week that LeBron isn’t ruling out the possibility of undergoing a procedure to address a torn tendon in his right foot, Shams Charania of The Athletic says that surgery would likely sideline the 38-year-old for about two months, with an expectation that he’d be ready for training camp. James is undergoing further evaluations to determine whether it’s necessary.
  • During extension negotiations with Rui Hachimura last fall, the Wizards initially offered a contract in the neighborhood of $12MM per year and eventually bumped that offer to $13-14MM, according to Fischer. Hachimura’s camp was seeking something in the four-year, $60MM range, so a deal didn’t get done. The Lakers forward appears to be in good position to match or exceed that number after a strong finish to the regular season and a productive postseason — Fischer views $15MM per year as a possible floor for Hachimura.
  • The Pacers and Suns could be rival suitors to watch for Hachimura, per Fischer, who notes that both clubs pursued him on the trade market during the winter. The Pacers, who will have cap room this offseason, are better positioned to consider an offer sheet for Hachimura than the capped-out Suns would be.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Offseason, Kyrie, Prospects

All-NBA Lakers small forward LeBron James surprised the basketball world at large on Monday when he suggested he would be contemplating retirement this offseason.

Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV (Twitter video link) that he believes the 19-time All-Star will stick around at least a while longer.

“My sense is LeBron could have two years left remaining in his his career,” Charania said. “… There’s certainly an expectation that he’s gonna continue playing, he’s got two years left on his Lakers deal. … It would be a true surprise if he really did actually retire.”

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers only have three guaranteed contracts on their books for 2023/24. Multiple league executives spoke with Sean Deveney of about what Los Angeles might decide to do this offseason in terms of roster construction. The team has a player option on swingman Malik Beasley, which one executive expects the club to pick up. “He can be a contributor, really on any team,” they said. “The expectation is they’ll keep him. He can be a good trade piece if you need one. It’s just, if the tax is a big worry, he’d be the easy piece to move off of.” Following some big playoff games essentially in Beasley’s stead, unrestricted free agent Lonnie Walker IV may get more money elsewhere, another executive speculates. “I can’t see how they can pay him, he is probably a goner,” the exec said.
  • James’ former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, now an unrestricted free agent, has long been seen as a potential fit for Los Angeles. Jason Lloyd and Jon Greenberg of The Athletic weigh the pros and cons of adding an erratic, controversial talent of Irving’s caliber and price tag.
  • The Lakers, possessors of the Nos. 17 and 47 picks in this year’s draft, will work out six young prospects on Friday, headlined by G League Ignite small forward Leonard Miller, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Virginia guard Kihei Clark, Kentucky forward Chris Livingston, Pepperdine forward Maxwell Lewis, Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II, and Baylor guard Adam Flagler round out the invitees.

L.A. Notes: Playoff Race, George, Lakers’ Depth, Roster Spot

The Clippers kept the inside track on the fifth seed in the West, but they had to rally past a depleted Trail Blazers team on Saturday, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Coach Tyronn Lue admits there was “a lot of cussing” in his halftime speech as L.A. entered the locker room trailing by six after surrendering 70 first half points to a Portland squad that was missing most of its rotation players.

“We gotta be more professional with our approach, and we all realized that wasn’t our greatest first half,” Lue said. “We didn’t play the right way and we just can’t do that. And so they understood; that’s why they came out in the third quarter and played the way they did.”

The Clippers have control over their playoff destiny and can wrap up the No. 5 slot by beating Phoenix on Sunday. However, that would guarantee a first-round series against the Suns, who are undefeated with Kevin Durant in the lineup. Losing to Phoenix would carry an element of risk, as L.A. could still fall into the play-in tournament. Lue assured reporters that his plan is to play to win.

“I mean if you don’t treat the game right, basketball gods will make you pay for it,” Lue said.

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Paul George is working out again, but he doesn’t appear close to returning from the sprained right knee that has sidelined him since March 21, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Clippers officials said George didn’t suffer any damage to significant ligaments, but he had to keep the knee immobilized for a long time to promote healing.
  • In Friday’s win over Phoenix, the Lakers‘ reserves showed they can carry the team if LeBron James and Anthony Davis are having off nights, per Elliott Teaford of The Orange County Register. D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Malik Beasley combined for 67 points as L.A. displayed depth that it didn’t have before the trade deadline and kept its hopes alive for a top-six finish. “It’s huge for those guys to be able to carry the load and make some shots and have their own different segments during the game,” coach Darvin Ham said. “Huge, man. The more pressure we can take off Bron and AD to have to go out and save the day or make every play, the better. When they can just play manageable minutes and those other guys step up and play well, it just makes us that much more dangerous. And it saves some gas for our two big dogs.”
  • The Lakers still have an open roster spot, and Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report expects them to fill it Sunday, likely with a multiyear contract that is non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed for next season (Twitter link).

Lakers Notes: LeBron, AD, Russell, Bamba, Offseason

Lakers stars LeBron James (right foot soreness) and Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) are both active for Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, tweets Mark Medina of Both players had previously been considered game-time decisions, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, the availability of the team’s two best players was up in the air leading into tonight’s game after going to overtime to defeat the Jazz in Utah on Tuesday night. James played in 38 minutes, while Davis played 42 — both high marks since returning from their respective foot injuries in March and January.

The extra five minutes definitely didn’t help,” James said. “It definitely didn’t help but we needed to get the win.”

Wednesday will also mark the first time Davis has played in back-to-back games for several months, McMenamin notes, with the Lakers’ medical staff concerned about a possible re-injury due to overuse. Head coach Darvin Ham said the team wouldn’t risk jeopardizing anyone’s long-term health for a short-term situation — the Lakers and Clippers are tied with identical 41-38 records.

If we see that they won’t have any issues, in terms of their health, and we’re not putting them at risk, then we’ll proceed,” Ham said. “If there’s any kind of question marks, we’ll walk through them, talk through them, and go from there.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Guard D’Angelo Russell (left foot soreness) was ruled out of Tuesday’s game for precautionary reasons, tweets McMenamin. Ham said Russell has been dealing with the issue for over a year and called it “bad timing” that it started to bother him recently. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on Get Up (YouTube link) that there was optimism Russell would be able to return on Wednesday and that was indeed the case — he started at point guard.
  • Backup center Mohamed Bamba, who has been out for a month with a high left ankle sprain, was initially probable for Wednesday’s game (Twitter link via McMenamin) and was later upgraded to available. It will be interesting to see if Bamba gets minutes over Wenyen Gabriel, who has played well this season off the bench.
  • In another story for ESPN, McMenamin explores how the Lakers can retain six players who helped reshape the roster. The six are Russell, Bamba, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Davon Reed, all of whom could be free agents in the offseason, though the Lakers are extremely unlikely to release Vanderbilt, who only has a small partial guarantee ($300K) on his team-friendly $4.7MM salary for 2023/24 (it becomes fully guaranteed if they don’t waive him by the end of June).

Free Agent Stock Watch: Los Angeles Lakers

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents during the 2023 offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Lakers players.

Note: We also covered a couple other Lakers earlier this month.

Dennis Schröder, G

  • 2022/23: Minimum salary
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

Before the 2022/23 season started, Schröder said he had “unfinished business” with the Lakers after reportedly being unwilling to discuss a lucrative extension in his first stint with the team a couple of seasons ago. The rumored four-year, $80MM offer was never signed, and Schröder instead inked a one-year, $5.9MM contract with Boston in 2021 free agency.

Despite a tepid market in ’21, I was surprised it took Schröder so long to find a team last offseason. He didn’t sign until September, when he was running the show for Germany during EuroBasket, helping lead his national team to a bronze medal.

A reunion with the Lakers has worked out well for both sides, as Schröder has been one of the league’s better bargains on his minimum-salary contract.

The Lakers had an abysmal start this season in part due to injuries to Schröder and Thomas Bryant, who both underwent thumb surgeries right before the season began. The team went just 3-10 in the 13 games they missed (Bryant was traded to Denver at last month’s deadline).

Since he returned, Schröder has only missed one game and the Lakers have gone 34-28 with him in the lineup. He leads L.A. in total minutes played and the team has been better on both ends of the court when he’s playing — and significantly worse when he’s not. He only trails LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves in net rating differential among players with a large sample size.

I’ve been impressed with Schröder’s point-of-attack defense this season. He has also cut down on his turnovers and has generally just been willing to do the little things necessary to win games. He’s not a great three-point shooter (33.8%), but he remains extremely quick and is a very good ball-handler who can create shots and draw fouls. Schröder is also highly accurate on free throws, converting 87% of his looks this season – an important factor when trying to close out games.

The Lakers only have his Non-Bird rights, so they will be limited to offering the 29-year-old 120% of the veteran’s minimum, which would amount to $3.8MM. If the two sides go that route, it would almost certainly be a one-year deal or a two-year pact with a player option. That would give him Early Bird rights in 2024 and make it easier for the Lakers to give him a more lucrative longer-term contract, if they’re so inclined. They could also give him a bigger raise this summer by using one of their exceptions (either the bi-annual or the mid-level).

Rui Hachimura, F

  • 2022/23: $6.26MM
  • 2023/24: RFA
  • Stock: Down

When the Lakers traded three second-rounders (and Kendrick Nunn) to acquire Hachimura, I don’t think they envisioned him averaging 9.2 points and playing just 22.3 minutes per night, but that’s what he’s put up through 27 games.

The former lottery pick is a talented mid-range scorer, but he’s sort of a one-trick pony in that his game isn’t very well-rounded. His three-point accuracy (33.9%) has been virtually identical to what it was with the Wizards this season (33.7%), which is disappointing.

Hachimura has looked better on defense than I’ve seen in the past, but it’s still merely passable, and he doesn’t always play with a lot of energy. His role has been reduced of late, as he received one healthy scratch and averaged 5.3 PPG and 2.5 RPG in the six contests (16.0 MPG) he did play over the past seven games.

Hachimura’s $7,744,600 qualifying offer isn’t prohibitive, and he’s only 25 years old. Are the Lakers really gung-ho about bringing him back? Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see a huge market for him in restricted free agency based on his relative lack of development over his first four NBA seasons. One report said he might get something around the full mid-level exception, which is projected to start at $11.37MM — I would wish him luck and let him walk at that price.

Troy Brown, G/F

  • 2022/23: Minimum salary
  • 2023/24: UFA
  • Stock: Up

There’s nothing about Brown’s game that really jumps out at you, nor do his modest numbers — he’s averaging 7.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 1.2 APG in 70 games (45 starts, 24.9 MPG).

What Brown provides is prototypical size on the wing at 6’6″ and 215 pounds and a strong understanding of the game. He can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t stand out in any one particular area. The 23-year-old is shooting a career-high 37.3% from deep, tries hard on defense, and is an unselfish passer.

Despite giving forth solid effort, Brown isn’t the greatest athlete by NBA standards, and is only around league average on defense. He hasn’t been much of a scoring threat, but the Lakers only really ask him to shoot when he’s open.

As with Schröder, Brown is another player the Lakers added on a minimum deal last summer, so unless they use one of their exceptions, they can only offer him 120% of the minimum using his Non-Bird rights – that would be about $2.77MM.

Could he get more than that from another team? I think something in the $3-6MM range could be in play, but I’m not sure. Either way, he has provided positive value considering his compensation this season, and I would imagine there’s motivation from both sides to bring him back – he’s getting regular minutes, which wasn’t the case the past couple seasons.

Malik Beasley, G/F

  • 2022/23: $15.49MM
  • 2023/24: $16.52MM team option
  • Stock: Down

Beasley is a long-range shooting specialist and the Lakers rank just 26th in the league in three-point percentage, which is why they traded for him. The problem is, he’s only shooting 35.6% from deep in 2022/23 (34.7% in 20 games with the Lakers), which is his worst conversion rate since he became a rotation regular in ‘18/19.

The 26-year-old is extremely streaky, and perhaps more than any other player on the team’s roster, he was negatively impacted by James’ absence due to a foot injury. LeBron has always been great at finding open shooters and Beasley has by far the best track record on the team as a high-volume outside shooter, despite his down season and inconsistency.

Free agents D’Angelo Russell and Reaves will likely higher on the team’s priority list this offseason than Beasley, and they won’t be cheap. However, it’s convenient to have mid-size contracts like Beasley’s on the roster, and his specialty is certainly more valuable than Hachimura’s.

How Beasley fares for the rest of the season will likely determine whether the Lakers exercise their team option on his deal, because it’s a hefty price tag considering he doesn’t provide a whole lot else beyond shooting and floor spacing. One report indicated the Lakers were likely to pick the option. They could potentially bring him back at a lower annual cost if they decline it, though there’s always a risk another team could swoop in with a better offer in that scenario.

Pelicans Reportedly Came Close To Acquiring Beasley, Vanderbilt

Before the Jazz agreed to trade Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt to the Lakers as part of a three-team deal last month, the Pelicans came close to acquiring the duo from Utah, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on The Lowe Post podcast this week (YouTube link).

“The Pelicans were close to getting Beasley and Vanderbilt from Utah at the trade deadline, or close-ish,” Lowe told ESPN colleague Kevin Pelton. “They had a pretty good offer on the table. It was a draft equity-based offer with a pick that maybe was not as good as the Lakers pick that they ended up trading, but pretty close, I think, from what I’ve heard.

“But one of the issues was – maybe the picks weren’t exactly equivalent – but then another issue was (Mike) Conley and the Jazz’s determination to get off of Conley (who is owed at least $14MM in 2023/24), and could the Pelicans figure that out somehow? And it became a little complicated.”

The trade that the Jazz eventually completed also included the Timberwolves, who acquired Conley and flipped D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers. Los Angeles, in turn, send a top-four protected 2027 first-round pick to Utah as part of the three-way agreement.

The Pelicans still possess all of their own future first-rounders and control a couple others, including the Lakers’ unprotected 2024 pick (which could be deferred to 2025) and the Bucks’ unprotected 2027 selection.

It’s not clear which of those first-rounders they offered to the Jazz, but based on Lowe’s comments, it’s possible the Pelicans wanted to protect the pick they were offering more heavily than the Lakers protected theirs. Or Utah may have simply liked the upside of the ’27 Lakers first-rounder more than any single pick New Orleans was willing to put on the table.

It’s also worth noting that matching salaries for Beasley and Vanderbilt (who earn a combined $20MM) using only expiring or pseudo-expiring contracts would have been nearly impossible for the Pelicans, whose prime salary-matching piece at the deadline was Devonte’ Graham ($11.55MM).

Adding either Jaxson Hayes ($6.8MM) or Garrett Temple ($5.2MM) to Graham would have been sufficient outgoing salary, but Utah likely wouldn’t have been eager to take on Graham’s guaranteed $12.1MM cap charge for 2023/24, especially without Conley involved in the swap. So the Pelicans may have offered additional draft compensation beyond a single first-rounder if Graham was part of the package.

In any case, the Jazz ultimately decided to deal with two other teams in the Western Conference playoff race rather than the Pelicans. That presumably increased the sting of missing out on Beasley and Vanderbilt for New Orleans, as Lowe and Pelton point out.

At the trade deadline, the Pelicans were in a virtual tie in the standings with the Wolves and were 3.5 games up on the Lakers. The slumping Pels – who ended up trading Graham and four second-round picks to San Antnio for Josh Richardson – now trail both teams.