Royce O’Neale

Eastern Rumors: Nets, Quickley, Hawks, Hayward, Martin

Executives around the NBA continue to monitor Nets forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, who were considered trade candidates during the offseason, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Rival executives believe Brooklyn will seek the equivalent of two first-round picks for Finney-Smith, though they hope that cost will drop closer to the deadline, according to Scotto, who adds that some execs who spoke to HoopsHype think the Nets would want a protected first-round pick for O’Neale. Finney-Smith still has multiple years left on his contract, while O’Neale is on an expiring deal.

Teams are also eyeing Nic Claxton and are curious to see whether Brooklyn is willing to roll the dice on re-signing him as an unrestricted free agent next summer, since he won’t become extension-eligible before then. For now, the Nets view Claxton as part of their core and wouldn’t be inclined to move him unless they get an offer that blows them away, Scotto explains.

Finally, some NBA executives think that veteran guard Spencer Dinwiddie might be available on the trade market later this season — and they think he’d have some value. “Dinwiddie can help a team and make big shots,” one exec told Scotto.

Scotto has more trade rumors and notes from around the Eastern Conference. Let’s dive in…

  • Rival teams are keeping an eye on whether or not the Knicks will make Immanuel Quickley available, according to Scotto, who says the guard was seeking about $25MM per year on a rookie scale extension before the season, while New York offered approximately $18MM annually. “I think Quickley might be New York’s best trade asset besides Jalen Brunson,” one league executive told HoopsHype.
  • The Hawks still have some trade interest in Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, says Scotto. De’Andre Hunter and Clint Capela were mentioned during the offseason as possible trade candidates for Atlanta and Scotto believes one or both players could be available again before February’s deadline. However, the Mavericks‘ interest in Capela has diminished due to the strong play of rookie Dereck Lively, Scotto notes.
  • Multiple “playoff-caliber” teams have been in touch with the Hornets to gauge the potential availability of veteran forward Gordon Hayward, per Scotto.
  • Scotto also reports that teams have expressed some exploratory interest in Sixers wing KJ Martin, who was part of the James Harden blockbuster earlier this month. Martin has played a limited role in Philadelphia but is coming off a solid year in Houston.

Mikal Bridges Doesn’t Expect Any Major Moves From Nets

The Nets have been rumored as a potential participant in a Damian Lillard trade — either acquiring him directly or helping to facilitate a deal between Portland and Miami — but Mikal Bridges believes the team is done with major offseason moves, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Speaking at his youth camp, Bridges said the opening night roster is probably more or less set and he’s looking forward to seeing how the team can benefit from stability and what Jacque Vaughn can implement in his first full season as head coach.

“Just excited for him to have a preseason, have his guys he wants around and pretty much have it his way,” Bridges said. “And I’m excited for us to all be together and have these schemes from jump, (instead of) being thrown out there with three different teams in one lineup and just trying to go figure it out. So I’m definitely excited.”

Brooklyn still has some minor decisions to make before training camp, Lewis adds. The team has a two-way slot to fill and it has to decide whether to keep guard David Duke, who is an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a qualifying offer. Lewis notes that the Nets have also received trade interest involving Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith.

Bridges is relieved that Brooklyn was able to re-sign forward Cameron Johnson, who has been his close friend since they both entered the league in Phoenix. The Pistons in particular were viewed as a potential destination for Johnson before he agreed to a four-year, $94.5MM deal early in free agency.

“I think Detroit was in talks a lot, and I know (former Suns coach Monty Williams) is over there, so I’m just like, ‘All right now, calm down. Don’t take Twin away,’” Bridges said. “So definitely very, very for the team — outside my selfish reasons, but for the team — big-time. We need Cam. And for him to get paid and kind of get that baby weight off his shoulders, I think it’s great for the team and great for him.”

Nets Guaranteeing Royce O’Neale’s Contract

The Nets are guaranteeing Royce O’Neale‘s $9.5MM contract for 2023/24, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

O’Neale’s contract for next season had a partial guarantee of $2.5MM. As our tracker of early salary guarantee dates shows, Brooklyn had until today to determine whether or not to guarantee his full $9.5MM salary. According to Scotto, the Nets are keeping him around, which isn’t a surprise.

A veteran forward who played internationally for a few seasons after going undrafted out of Baylor, O’Neale got his NBA start with Utah, spending five seasons with the Jazz until they traded him to the Nets last summer.

The 30-year-old appeared in 76 games (53 starts, 31.7 MPG) last season, averaging 8.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.7 APG and 0.9 SPG on .386/.389/.725 shooting.

O’Neale’s name has popped up in trade rumors over the past few weeks, and guaranteeing his mid-sized expiring contract means the Nets will be able to continue to explore the possibility of moving him, if they so choose.

Scotto’s Latest: Bridges, O’Neale, Finney-Smith, Blazers, Brown, DSJ

While it’s possible the Nets will get involved in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, Mikal Bridges is “not for sale,” league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. That was the case leading up to the draft when the Trail Blazers‘ No. 3 pick was rumored to be on the trade block, and it will be the case again if Brooklyn makes a play for Lillard.

While the Nets aren’t Lillard’s preferred landing spot – he’s reportedly focused on Miami – they could put together a strong package of draft picks and quality players on team-friendly contracts, such as Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith. According to Scotto, in trade negotiations involving those two forwards, Brooklyn has been unwilling to part with O’Neale for less than the equivalent of a first-round pick or Finney-Smith for the equivalent of two first-rounders.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Trail Blazers are expected to discuss Jusuf Nurkic in their Lillard trade talks, Scotto confirms. Meanwhile, even though Jerami Grant is re-signing with Portland, Scotto expects the forward to emerge as a trade candidate down the road, since he may not fit the Blazers’ post-Lillard timeline. The Pistons and Pacers were among the teams expected to have interest in Grant before word broke that he’d be re-signing with the Blazers, Scotto writes.
  • Before he agreed to accept a two-year, $45MM offer from the Pacers, Bruce Brown received six offers in the neighborhood of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4MM), according to Scotto, who says other teams with cap room also inquired on the popular free agent guard.
  • The Nets‘ one-year deal with Dennis Smith Jr. is worth $2.53MM, league sources tell Scotto. That makes it a minimum-salary contract — the veteran’s minimum this season for a player with Smith’s six years of NBA experience is $2,528,233.

Trade Rumors: Harden, Bulls, Zubac, Brogdon, Osman, Morris

There’s no urgency for the Sixers to complete a James Harden trade, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Friday in an appearance on “Get Up” (video link). Even though Harden has asked to be dealt and seems to prefer the Clippers, Wojnarowski notes that the track record of president of basketball operations Daryl Morey suggests he’ll explore all available possibilities before committing to a deal.

“You may let free agency settle,” Wojnarowski said, “see where players land, see where needs arise for different teams that might not be interested today but could be in a few days. I don’t anticipate necessarily that this is going to be quick because it doesn’t have to.”

Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times also hears that a Harden trade may not happen right away. He cites league sources who said they’ll be watching how patient the Sixers decide to be and what they’ll be seeking in return. Greif names Terance Mann as a player the Clippers might be reluctant to include in a Harden deal.

There are more trade rumors to pass along:

  • The Bulls may be an option for Harden, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Chicago has already explored trade scenarios regarding Zach LaVine and might be willing to part with DeMar DeRozan to acquire Harden. Fischer also cautions that Morey has a lot of options to consider before deciding how to handle Harden’s trade request.
  • The Clippers, who would like to re-sign Mason Plumlee have let teams know that Ivica Zubac is available in a trade, Fischer adds. L.A. may also have interest in acquiring P.J. Tucker in a Harden deal, as Fischer notes that the Clippers previously reached out to him when he was a free agent.
  • The Clippers pulled out of an original version of the three-team Kristaps Porzingis trade because of medical concerns regarding Malcolm Brogdon, but they recently contacted the Celtics about Brogdon again, according to Fischer. L.A. was also willing to offer Norman Powell to the Wizards for Chris Paul before the Warriors landed him in exchange for Jordan Poole, Fischer states.
  • Fischer hears that the Cavaliers are engaged in trade talks regarding Cedi Osman and offered him to the Nets in a deal for Dorian Finney-Smith or Royce O’Neale.
  • Numerous teams have reached out to the Wizards about point guard Monte Morris, Fischer adds. The Timberwolves, Bulls, Pelicans, Jazz and Nets are all considered possibilities for Morris, and Fischer believes the Heat could be added to the list if they lose Gabe Vincent in free agency.

Trade Rumors: Wizards, Morris, George, Bridges, Nets, Bulls

Having agreed to acquire point guards Tyus Jones and Chris Paul in separate trades, the Wizards have begun talking to rival teams about Monte Morris, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, Washington’s front office – which has already been very active this offseason – is telling potential trade partners that the team doesn’t want to take on any long-term money.

It remains to be seen what the Wizards have in mind for Paul. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (YouTube link) said during a TV appearance earlier this week that he doesn’t get the sense that Washington is trying to “bottom out” by going into full tank mode, suggesting he can envision a scenario where Paul is on next season’s roster. However, that was before the team agreed to acquire Jones.

According to Fischer, the Wizards and Suns are tentatively planning for the Bradley Beal trade call to take place on Friday. It’s unclear whether Paul will be flipped to a new team as part of that deal or whether Washington’s three-team trade with Boston and Memphis might be folded into the same transaction.

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

  • Andrew Greif and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times provide a little more context on the recent Paul George trade rumors, suggesting that the Knicks initiated talks with the Clippers but are hesitant to pursue the star forward, who may seek an extension when he becomes eligible this offseason. There’s a sense that George’s value might not be as high as the Clippers would like, given his injury history and his contract situation, per The Times’ duo. A previous report indicated he’s unlikely to be dealt.
  • Rising star Mikal Bridges tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post that he has been informed by the Nets that they have no interest in trading him. The team has conveyed that stance both publicly and privately, according to Lewis. “As of right now they’re saying they’re not, but I think just being a good person kind of helps with that, because there’s just like you don’t want to lose a person like that, which is always a good quality to have,” Bridges said. “So, [I feel] just blessed, man; just blessed and very appreciative for that. And that just does show that love, honestly.”
  • In addition to offering four first-round picks for Bridges at the trade deadline, the Grizzlies are also said to have targeted Magic forward Franz Wagner in recent months, Fischer reports. Fischer refers to the team’s decision to surrender a pair of first-rounders for Marcus Smart as a “middle-ground” move after those more ambitious pursuits didn’t pan out.
  • While it doesn’t sound like Bridges will be going anywhere this offseason, the futures of fellow Nets forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale remain uncertain. According to Fischer, Brooklyn is seeking a first-round pick in return for O’Neale and wants a pick and a player for Finney-Smith.
  • It may end up being a quiet draft night for the Bulls, who don’t currently have a pick, but they’re still exploring ways to acquire a first-rounder, reports Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. In other Bulls news, Cowley hears from sources that free-agent-to-be Nikola Vucevic may be willing to give Chicago a “hometown discount” on a new multiyear contract. The big man made $22MM this past season.

Trade Rumors: Lakers, Kuminga, Nets, LaVine, Raptors

There has been growing buzz in recent days that the Lakers are increasingly more likely to trade their first-round pick (No. 17) than to keep it, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. In his latest story, Buha explores all the possibilities in play for Los Angeles, including hanging onto the pick, trading out of the draft, or trading down.

As Buha writes, the idea of the Lakers packaging the No. 17 pick with Malik Beasley ($16.5MM team option) and/or Mohamed Bamba ($10.3MM) to acquire a starter-caliber player appears more viable than ever. League sources say that Pacers center Myles Turner and sharpshooter Buddy Hield, Nets wings Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, and Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. are among the players who have been linked to the Lakers.

While it sounds less likely than trading down or out of the draft, Buha says the Lakers have at least considered the possibility of trying to move up from No. 17. Dereck Lively and Kobe Bufkin are among the prospects the club likes, a source tells The Athletic.

Here are more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Addressing a report from last week that suggested the Warriors have explored moving up in the draft using Jonathan Kuminga, Anthony Slater of The Athletic provides some additional context, writing that rumor stemmed from an inbound call from a lottery team that has long been interested in Kuminga. Multiple sources tell Slater that Golden State isn’t shopping the young forward.
  • While the lottery team that called the Warriors about Kuminga is unknown, it’s worth noting that Slater uses the Pacers as an example in his discussion of that scenario. Additionally, when ESPN updated its mock draft on Wednesday (subscription required), Jonathan Givony added Kuminga to the list of forwards the Pacers may explore acquiring via trade.
  • In the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe said the Nets‘ asking prices for forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale have been high. Brooklyn is seeking “real first-round pick equity” for those players, not just looking to move up a few spots in the draft, according to Lowe.
  • Despite reports that they’re gauging his trade market, the Bulls continue to value Zach LaVine very highly, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who hears from one league source that the team would seek a good young player, multiple first-round picks, and salary filler if LaVine is moved. Another league source thinks a single first-rounder might be sufficient if the Bulls could get an “established, high-end” player back.
  • Toronto has been involved in a series of trade rumors so far this offseason, but a pair of sources who spoke to Michael Grange of indicated that they wouldn’t be surprised if the Raptors don’t do anything drastic. “What I’m hearing now is they’re not going to trade from their core,” one source told Grange.

Atlantic Rumors: Celtics, I. Stewart, C. Johnson, Harden, More

The Celtics are exploring ways to improve their roster, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who suggests that a sign-and-trade of forward Grant Williams or a trade involving one or more of the team’s guards are among the options in play. Brian Robb of published a similar report, suggesting that a source told him Boston has been one of the most active teams on the trade market.

According to Robb, the Celtics are looking into whether they’ll be able to move a player from their crowded backcourt in order to balance their roster and upgrade at another position. Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Payton Pritchard are all under contract for next season.

While Pritchard is the most logical trade candidate, given that he sought a change of scenery during the 2022/23 season and wasn’t part of the Celtics’ playoff rotation, it might make more sense for Boston to move one of its higher-paid guards, Robb writes. That would allow the Celtics to bring back a bigger salary in a trade or would help create flexibility to re-sign Williams.

Interestingly, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that the Celtics are among the teams to inquire about Isaiah Stewart. However, Edwards doesn’t expect the Pistons to move Stewart, who will be extension-eligible this offseason.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Atlantic, including another one that involves the Pistons:

  • Following the Pistons‘ hiring of Monty Williams, Nets restricted free agent forward Cameron Johnson – who played for Williams in Phoenix – is rising on Detroit’s list of free agent targets, according to Marc Stein at Substack. But Brooklyn is “quietly expressing confidence” about its ability to retain Johnson, says Stein, which suggests the team either knows what it will take to re-sign him or fully intends to match any offer he receives as a restricted free agent.
  • If the Nets commit to a lucrative new deal for Johnson, will they have to cut costs elsewhere? Stein notes that forward Dorian Finney-Smith is still viewed as a “prime trade candidate,” while Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer hears from sources that Brooklyn has received calls about both Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports shares a few Sixers-related tidbits in his latest round-up of rumors from around the NBA, writing that the team appears to prefer another short-term deal with free-agent-to-be James Harden and citing sources who say Philadelphia is “actively seeking” opportunities to trade into the second round of next week’s draft. The 76ers don’t currently own a 2023 draft pick.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, J. Brown, Sixers, Nurse, Raptors

There’s a good chance that the Nets, who have a surplus of wings, will trade at least one of their veterans this offseason, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required). Brooklyn stocked up on two-way wings at the trade deadline, acquiring Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Dorian Finney-Smith in deals with Phoenix and Dallas.

Bridges looks like a player the Nets will build around, and while Johnson will reach free agency this summer, Brooklyn can control that process since he’ll be a restricted free agent. In Lewis’ view, that leaves Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale as the two wings most likely to be on the trade block this offseason. For his part, Finney-Smith is very aware that more changes could be coming to the Nets’ roster in the coming months.

“Everybody here knows what’s going on, we know the pieces we have and you just never know in this league,” he said. “So I guess we’re going to see after the draft. See what’s going on and go from there.”

According to Lewis, while there’s a belief that the Nets could move one of their three-and-D wings to try to balance their roster, people around the NBA also think the club may trade one of its first-round picks in order to add scoring and/or rebounding. Brooklyn currently controls two consecutive first-rounders at No. 21 and No. 22 in this year’s draft.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • If the Celtics were to make Jaylen Brown available this offseason, there would be “robust demand” from “a lot” of teams around the league, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on The Lowe podcast prior to Boston’s Game 4 victory (hat tip to RealGM). Although Brown has struggled in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Miami, it’s obviously not groundbreaking news that a 26-year-old All-NBA wing would be popular on the trade market. Brown, who has one year left on his contract, will be super-max eligible this offseason, but wouldn’t be able to sign a super-max deal if he’s traded.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer believes that Nick Nurse should be atop the Sixers‘ wish list as they seek a new head coach, arguing that the team would benefit from Nurse’s outside-the-box thinking. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Nurse will have interviewed with the Sixers, Bucks, and Suns by week’s end and is believed to be at or near the top of the list for all three jobs. If Nurse is their top choice, the 76ers may need to accelerate their search process in order to avoid losing him to Milwaukee or Phoenix, observes Kyle Neubeck of
  • A perfect offseason for the Raptors would see the team hire Monty Williams as its head coach and trade Pascal Siakam to Portland in a package headlined by Anfernee Simons and this year’s No. 3 pick, Eric Koreen of The Athletic contends. In his proposed scenario, Koreen also envisions Toronto drafting Scoot Henderson, re-signing Jakob Poeltl, letting Gary Trent Jr. walk, signing-and-trading Fred VanVleet to Chicago, using the mid-level exception to sign Donte DiVincenzo, and flipping Simons to Memphis in a deal for Tyus Jones and Luke Kennard.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, C. Johnson, Rupert, Raptors

Joel Embiid called his return to the court “rusty” and coach Doc Rivers said the newly crowned MVP had “growing pains.” Even so, the Sixers were happy to have Embiid back in action Wednesday night, but they’ll need him to play much better to give them a chance to get past the Celtics, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic.

Returning from a sprained LCL in his right knee, Embiid played nearly 27 minutes and contributed 15 points, three rebounds and five blocks, but Boston dominated the second half of Game 2 to even up the series. It was Embiid’s first appearance since he suffered the injury on April 20, and he and the team believed it was important for him to resume playing as soon as possible to help reestablish a rhythm.

Embiid added that his injury would normally keep him sidelined for about four to six weeks, and he accepts that he’s not going to be 100 percent during the series.

“I just felt like it probably would have been the same result as far as how I’m feeling if I would have come back in Game 3. Probably rusty and not myself,” he said. “But I feel like I just got this out of the way. Disappointed by the loss, but that’s a step towards getting back to myself.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Rockets and maybe a couple more teams are likely to make a run at Nets forward Cameron Johnson in free agency, John Hollinger of The Athletic states in a discussion with fellow Athletic writer Alex Schiffer about Brooklyn’s offseason. Hollinger expects Johnson’s next contract to start in the $20MM range, which creates a challenging situation for the Nets, who are about $10MM below the luxury tax line. Re-signing Johnson without cutting salary elsewhere would subject Brooklyn to the repeater tax for a team that’s unlikely to be among the top contenders in the East. Hollinger believes Royce O’Neale‘s $9.6MM contract would be easy to move if they keep Johnson, or the front office could consider stretching the final-year salaries for Joe Harris or Patty Mills.
  • The Nets may not keep both first-round picks they have at No. 21 and 22, but French shooting guard Rayan Rupert is a name to watch in that range, Hollinger adds. Schiffer notes that general manager Sean Marks has traveled to New Zealand twice to watch Rupert in action.
  • Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby are the most likely players to move if the Raptors are looking for an offseason roster shakeup, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen creates trade tiers for Toronto’s roster and considers Scottie Barnes to be the only player who’s “practically untouchable.”