Tim Hardaway Jr.

No Traction For Mavs On Buddy Hield Trade

The Mavericks have interest in acquiring Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein confirmed in the latest edition of The Saturday Stein Line on 97.1 FM in Dallas (hat tip to Grant Afseth of SI.com). However, according to Stein, there’s “no traction between the teams at this point.”

Shams Charania of The Athletic previously identified the Mavericks as a potential suitor for Hield. In addition to confirming that interest, Stein points out that the 30-year-old maintains an offseason residence in Dallas, meaning that – in all likelihood – he “wouldn’t exactly protest” if he were traded to the Mavs.

Dallas also has a logical outgoing trade chip in Tim Hardaway Jr., whose $17.9MM cap hit could be used as a salary-matching piece for Hield’s $19.3MM expiring deal. But Stein doesn’t get the sense that Indiana would have much interest in acquiring Hardaway.

“My read at this juncture is that the Pacers are not inclined to make that sort of swap,” Stein said. “At least not now.”

Unlike Hield, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, Hardaway has a second guaranteed season left on his contract and will count for $16.2MM against the cap in 2024/25. If they’re not acquiring a player who can be part of their long-term core in a Hield deal, the Pacers would likely prefer to take back expiring salaries so as not to compromise their potential 2024 cap flexibility.

Still, if the Mavericks were willing to attach the right assets to Hardaway, Indiana would have to consider such a deal. So far this offseason though, Dallas has shown no inclination to move either Josh Green or Jaden Hardy, having kept both young players out of their Clint Capela trade talks with Atlanta. The Mavs’ ability to trade future draft assets is also pretty limited — they have just one movable first-round pick and three tradable second-rounders.

If Dallas were to offer a first-rounder without heavy protection, the Pacers would presumably become more open to the idea of a Hield/Hardaway swap. I’m skeptical the Mavs would be willing to pay that sort of price for a role player on an expiring contract – even one who shoots as well as Hield – but Stein does think the Pacers will be able to extract a solid return for the veteran wing.

“My instinct is that the Pacers actually do have a pretty good chance to manufacture a first-rounder from someone out there when they trade Hield,” he said.

Southwest Notes: Eason, Doncic, Hardaway, K. Johnson

Rockets‘ free agent addition Dillon Brooks recently said he’s looking forward to teaming up with Tari Eason, and Eason tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic that the feeling is mutual. Eason gained a reputation as a tough, aggressive defender during his rookie season, and he wants to build on that with help from Brooks.

“He’s one of the best defenders around and I can learn so many things from him,” Eason said. “There are so many other things to defense besides just guarding your man. There are so many things I can get better at in defense. Just being able to be paired with him and his skill, his approach and how he sees things from a defensive standpoint. I’ll be able to pick his brain, learn and become a better defender.”

Eason quickly earned a rotation spot last season as a rookie on one of the worst teams in the league. Houston is expecting to be much better after signing Brooks and three other veteran free agents, and new coach Ime Udoka has emphasized to Eason that defense will be important for him to keep getting regular minutes.

“Just be vocal. Be in the right spots, things like that,” Eason said of Udoka’s message. “As far as my defensive approach, they want me to be locked in. We have an older team now so for me to be on the floor, I have to be one of the best defenders on the floor at all times. So just really being homed in on defense, that’s the biggest thing. Being able to knock down a consistent shot and play defense.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks likely have two more seasons to show Luka Doncic that they can build a contender around him before they have to worry about him leaving, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Doncic can opt out of his current deal in 2026, and although Cato is skeptical that the Slovenian star would ask for a trade before then, he acknowledges that the organization is operating under a “Doomsday Clock.” Cato also points out that Dallas has amassed a wealth of young talent, draft assets and tradable contracts to bid for the next big star that becomes available.
  • Cato believes it’s probably a coin flip on whether the Mavericks will trade Tim Hardaway Jr. before training camp, but he says it should become more likely as the season wears on. He points out that the acquisition of Seth Curry makes Hardaway more expendable, and the team needs to find minutes for second-year guard Jaden Hardy.
  • Keldon Johnson has established himself as a starter with the Spurs, but the addition of No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama may push him into a sixth-man role, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I just want to win,” Johnson said. “Whatever I got to do to win, I am looking forward to that, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Free Agent Rumors: Oubre, Jones, Brooks, Smith, Giles

The Mavericks are actively looking to improve their roster and have shown “exploratory interest in several free agent forwards,” including veterans Kelly Oubre and Derrick Jones Jr., league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Although Dallas technically still has a good chunk of its full mid-level exception available, the team has yet to sign first-rounder Olivier-Maxence Prosper, and once that occurs the Mavs will be pretty close to the luxury tax line. They do have an open standard roster spot and could offer a free agent more money than the veteran’s minimum, but not much more unless other moves are made.

On a related note, Scotto confirms that the Mavs continue to shop Tim Hardaway Jr. and JaVale McGee in trade talks. Recent rumors have indicated Dallas tried to package Hardaway and McGee to the Pistons for Bojan Bogdanovic and Killian Hayes.

Scotto hears Detroit was looking for “essentially two first-round picks” in exchange for Bogdanovic last season, though Hayes could available with a glut of guards on the Pistons’ roster.

Here are more free agent rumors from Scotto:

  • Free agent guard Armoni Brooks, who has been playing well for the Nets in Summer League, could be a candidate for a two-way deal from Brooklyn, according to Scotto. However, if that doesn’t transpire, the 25-year-old has also drawn interest from “multiple EuroLeague teams,” Scotto reports. Brooks holds two years of NBA experience with the Rockets and Raptors. He played for Atlanta’s G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, in 2022/23.
  • League sources tell Scotto that the Hornets offered Dennis Smith Jr. more than the veteran’s minimum to return to Charlotte, but the Nets reached out to the point guard right after free agency opened and he saw an opportunity for more playing time in Brooklyn. The fact that he was a priority for the Nets also appealed to the former lottery pick, says Scotto.
  • The Pistons, Cavaliers, Knicks and Bucks were among the teams who watched Harry Giles‘ recent workout in Las Vegas, sources tell Scotto. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News recently reported that members of the Timberwolves attended as well, which Scotto confirms. A former first-round pick, Giles has been out of the league the past two seasons after playing with the Kings and Trail Blazers from 2018-21. Still just 25 years old, Giles recently discussed his attempt to make it back into the NBA.

Mavs Notes: Draft Picks, Bogdanovic, McGee, Centers

The Mavericksacquisition of Grant Williams in a three-team sign-and-trade agreement with Boston and San Antonio was initially reported on July 5, but wasn’t officially completed until a week later. According to Tim Cato of The Athletic, that delay was by design, as the three clubs agreed to keep the deal unofficial through Tuesday evening to give everyone a chance to explore expanding it further. No opportunities materialized, so the teams completed the trade as planned on Wednesday.

The Mavs were – and remain – willing to immediately flip the 2025 and 2028 second-rounders they acquired from San Antonio in order to further upgrade their roster, but they’ve been “incredibly cautious” about trading their own 2027 first-round pick, a team source tells Cato.

Because Dallas has already moved its 2029 first-rounder, it would be difficult to put any protections on its 2027 first-rounder due to the Stepien rule, which prohibits a team from leaving itself without a first-round selection in any two consecutive future drafts.

If the Mavs were to trade their 2027 pick, it would have to either be unprotected or turn into a second-rounder (or multiple second-rouders) if it were to fall into its protected range in ’27, since it couldn’t be rolled over to 2028. An unprotected pick would be an extremely valuable trade chip, whereas one that would become a second-rounder if not conveyed in 2027 would have more limited appeal to potential trade partners.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Confirming an ESPN report, Cato says that the Mavericks and Pistons recently revisited conversations about a possible Bojan Bogdanovic trade. League sources tell The Athletic that the two teams discussed a framework that would’ve sent Bogdanovic and Killian Hayes to Dallas, with Tim Hardaway Jr. and JaVale McGee going to Detroit. It’s unclear what level of draft compensation the Pistons would’ve been seeking in such a deal or how far discussions advanced, says Cato.
  • As previously suggested during Tim MacMahon’s Howdy Partners podcast (YouTube link), the Mavericks are considered likely to trade or waive McGee before the 2023/24 regular season begins, according to Cato.
  • Assuming McGee is moved or let go, the Mavericks’ centers would be Richaun Holmes, Dwight Powell, and Dereck Lively. The team could still trade for another big man, but would be content to open the season with that trio, according to Cato. While Powell would be the favorite to start, Mavs staffers are optimistic about Holmes’ bounce-back potential, believing that he’ll be a better fit in the team’s “guard-based schemes” than he was in a Sacramento system centered around Domantas Sabonis, Cato adds.

Stein’s Latest: Wood, Saric, Bol, Mavs, Pelicans, Reed

Christian Wood and Dario Saric are two of the top unrestricted free agents who have yet to find new teams. There’s a good reason for that, according to Marc Stein at Substack: Both big men have only received contract offers for the veteran’s minimum thus far and are presumably looking for more money.

Stein says Saric will likely land with the Warriors if he’s unable to find a higher-paying offer. The Croatian big man is reportedly Golden State’s top remaining target.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Magic released Bol Bol on Tuesday and he cleared the waiver wire despite having a relatively modest $2.2MM salary. The Suns have a “level of interest” in the 7’2″ big man, according to Stein. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM said on Thursday (via Twitter) that he believed Phoenix might “take a hard look” at potentially signing Bol. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported when Bol was waived that the Suns contemplated trading for him on the night of last month’s draft.
  • The Mavericks aren’t done reshaping their roster this offseason, Stein reports. Dallas is expected to trade Tim Hardaway Jr. at some point, with JaVale McGee another candidate to be on the move, whether it’s via trade or being waived. Stein also hears Theo Pinson‘s time with the Mavs is likely over. The veteran guard remains an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Pelicans are just above the luxury tax threshold and have reportedly been active in trade talks for weeks. Like Fischer, Stein hears New Orleans is shopping guard Kira Lewis Jr. and center Jonas Valanciunas, with Lewis’ name surfacing more frequently in recent days. The Pelicans also unsuccessfully attempted to pry Jarrett Allen away from the Cavaliers, according to Stein.
  • There hasn’t been much buzz about possible offer sheets for restricted free agent Paul Reed, but Stein writes that the Jazz are worth monitoring. However, the Sixers are reportedly keen on retaining Reed, so it’s unclear if that might work out for Utah. The Jazz also already have several frontcourt players, so Reed would be a bit of an odd fit from a roster standpoint.

Suns, Mavs Had Advanced Ayton Trade Talks During Draft

The Suns and Mavericks came close to making a deal on draft night that would have sent Deandre Ayton to Dallas, according to Marc Stein (Substack link).

Sources tell Stein that the proposed trade would have resulted in Tim Hardaway Jr., Richaun Holmes, and JaVale McGee heading to Phoenix. However, the Suns balked at the idea of taking back McGee as part of the package. It’s not yet known if the negotiations can or will be resuscitated, Stein writes.

The packaged described by Stein, which doesn’t include any draft compensation, seems pretty light for a former No. 1 overall pick. Sources tell Stein that the Suns were intrigued because they like Hardaway and Holmes and envisioned them as players who could immediately step into the rotation alongside stars Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Their contracts would also be movable in subsequent trades.

While one of Stein’s sources wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Phoenix and Dallas resuming their trade discussions, separate reports on Friday and Sunday indicated that the Suns intend to hang onto Ayton, which makes it sound as if the team has pivoted away from any talks involving the big man that occurred prior to or during Thursday’s draft.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who reported on Saturday that the Suns had spoken to the Sixers about a deal involving Ayton and Tobias Harris, also followed up on Sunday by stating that Phoenix had ended its pursuit of Harris and planned to keep Ayton.

As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype notes (via Twitter), if the two teams are willing to reopen their negotiations, it would make sense to fold any potential deal into a four-way trade with the Thunder and Kings that includes the previous Davis Bertans and Holmes agreements. In that scenario, they might be able to find a way to reroute McGee to Oklahoma City or Sacramento.

McGee is still owed approximately $12MM in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, including a player option for 2024/25. That 2022 signing looks like a clear mistake by the Mavericks, who also explored signing Bruce Brown using part of their mid-level exception a year ago, but decided that McGee was a “bigger prize,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said during the latest Hoop Collective podcast (Twitter audio link).

Draft Rumors: Trades, Hornets, Blazers, Whitmore, Pistons, Mavs, More

The Lakers, Warriors, Nets, Grizzlies, and Pacers are among the teams with draft picks in the back half of the first round who are believed to be exploring trade scenarios, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo report within their latest mock draft for ESPN.com (Insider link).

According to Givony, the Lakers are especially interested in talking to teams that hold multiple picks, which suggests they may be open to trading down from No. 17 in order to acquire an extra selection or two. The Warriors are looking into the possibility of moving up from No. 19 by moving a young player like Jonathan Kuminga, sources tell ESPN.

The Nets, who hold the Nos. 21 and 22 picks, are investigating whether they might be able to move into the lottery or the middle of the first round by packaging those two selections, according to Givony, who says Memphis (No. 25) is another team seeking opportunities to move into the late lottery or mid-first round.

As for the Pacers, they have a lottery pick at No. 7 and are thought to be interested in adding an “explosive, defensive-minded power forward,” so Givony has them selecting Jarace Walker in that spot, noting that Ausar Thompson and Taylor Hendricks are also very much on their radar. Indiana also controls the 26th, 29th, and 32nd overall picks and has been engaged in trade discussions about those selections. It seems unlikely the club will use all of them, per Woo.

Here’s more from ESPN’s two draft experts:

  • Scoot Henderson had a “highly impressive” workout with the Hornets over the weekend, but Brandon Miller still looks like the favorite to be the pick at No. 2, says Givony. If a team like the Pelicans were willing to include an impact player such as Brandon Ingram in an offer for the second overall pick, that could shake up the top of the draft, but it’s still too early to say whether that’s a realistic possibility, according to Givony.
  • While the Trail Blazers continue to explore trade opportunities at No. 3 and have done due diligence by working out prospects outside of the consensus top three, they seem content to select either Henderson or Miller if they hang onto the pick, Givony reports.
  • Villanova forward Cam Whitmore is receiving consideration from the Rockets at No. 4 and is viewed as one of the leading candidates to be drafted there, along with Amen Thompson, says Woo. If he’s not picked fourth overall, Whitmore seems like a good bet to go fifth, Givony writes, given the makeup of the Pistons‘ roster.
  • Givony suggests that a trade of Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic for Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. and the No. 10 pick is one scenario that could be “in play.” Based on Givony’s wording, it’s unclear whether that offer has been put on the table by either team or if it has even been seriously considered. But the specific terms suggest it has at least been discussed.
  • Arkansas guard Anthony Black has worked out – or will work out – for several lottery teams, including the Magic (Nos. 6 and 11), Jazz (Nos. 9 and 16), and Mavericks (No. 10), says Woo. The ESPN mock has Black being drafted at No. 8 by the Wizards, who are said to be focused primarily on backcourt players.
  • The Raptors are believed to be a “strong suitor” for Kansas wing Gradey Dick, according to Givony, though there’s also speculation that Toronto could be major movers on the trade market and might not end up picking at No. 13.
  • The Jazz (Nos. 9 and 16) and Thunder (No. 12) sent decision-makers to Europe this week to watch French wing Bilal Coulibaly in the LNB Pro A playoffs, according to Woo, who has Coulibaly coming off the board at No. 14 to the Pelicans in ESPN’s mock.

“Handshake Deal” For Kyrie Irving In Dallas?

Representatives of rival teams at last week’s NBA Draft Combine expect Kyrie Irving to re-sign with the Mavericks this summer, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Dallas missed the playoffs after acquiring Irving from Brooklyn in a February trade and he often appeared to be an awkward fit alongside Luka Doncic, but sources tell Pincus that the Mavs didn’t trade for Irving as a short-term experiment.

“I hear they had a handshake deal before the trade,” one of Pincus’ sources said. “And Kyrie wouldn’t have said yes to anything less than the max.”

Irving will be eligible for a new five-year contract in Dallas that could be worth $272MM, Pincus adds. Although he was an All-Star this season for the 10th time in his career, off-court incidents in Brooklyn — and Boston and Cleveland before that — may limit the number of teams interested in signing him.

“I’m not sure what the market is for Kyrie, but no one with cap room is giving it to Kyrie,” another source told Pincus. “He comes with too much drama.”

Pincus talked to an agent who expects Irving to receive a four-year deal with a player option on the final season. It would be worth about $201MM in guaranteed money and would line up with Doncic, who can opt out of his current contract in 2026.

In an appearance Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” Brian Windhorst suggested that the Lakers shouldn’t be dismissed as a possible Irving suitor (video link). L.A. was reportedly interested in Irving when he considered opting out of his contract last summer and again when he submitted a trade request to the Nets in February.

Windhorst admits the Lakers would have to give up most of the assets they just acquired in order to sign Irving outright, but he says the landscape could be more favorable if Dallas would agree to a sign-and-trade. Regardless, Windhorst added that it helps Irving’s negotiating position if he can convince the Mavericks that L.A. is interested.

Pincus also talked with several sources who expect Dallas to be a potential landing spot for Suns center Deandre Ayton, who shares an agent with Doncic.

“The Suns need depth,” a source told Pincus. “I can see them getting Tim Hardaway Jr., JaVale (McGee) back, Josh Green and No. 10 (draft pick). Phoenix would probably flip the pick to another team for depth, or maybe it’d be a big multi-team deal.”

Pincus lists Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans, Reggie Bullock and Jaden Hardy as other players who might be moved in a hypothetical Ayton trade, but he notes that Kleber is among Doncic’s best friends on the team, which gives Dallas incentive to keep him.

Stein’s Latest: Duncan, Spurs, Mavericks, Ayton, Draft

Hall of Fame big man Tim Duncan joined the Spurs‘ coaching staff in 2019/20 at Gregg Popovich‘s request. As Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article, one season was enough to convince Duncan that a full-time coaching gig wasn’t for him.

However, when the Spurs are in San Antonio, there’s an expectation that Duncan will “regularly visit” their practice facility to mentor projected No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama, reports Stein.

Duncan, of course, was the Spurs’ last No. 1 pick (back in 1997), and you could say they had some success with the U.S. Virgin Islands native. He was named to 15 All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive teams, and won two regular season MVPs and three NBA Finals MVPs en route to five championships in his 19 seasons.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Mavericks were able to keep their first-round pick after it landed No. 10 overall (it would have been sent to the Knicks had it landed No. 11 or later). It has been reported multiple times that they’re expected to gauge the value of the pick in an effort to improve the roster. Stein’s sources say the Mavs have been posturing like they plan to explore their options for the prospects who might be available at that slot before deciding whether or not to trade it. Still, rival teams expect Dallas to try to package the pick (perhaps with some combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans, JaVale McGee) in a win-now move.
  • The Suns are expected to “aggressively” explore the trade market for center Deandre Ayton this summer, and the former top pick has been linked to the Mavericks. However, Dallas’ interest in Ayton has been “overstated,” according to Stein, who suggests the team might not view his contract favorably. Stein reports that there are some Ayton fans within the Mavs, but he doesn’t “get any sense” the 24-year-old is atop the their trade wish list.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported a few days ago that one topic of discussion during the annual GM meetings was the possibility of turning the NBA draft into a two-day event. While some viewed that as a potential money-grab for the league, Stein hears only one team broached the subject and the idea was meant to benefit front offices around the league — presumably to give everyone more time to make trades and other roster decisions in an event that can feel rushed, especially the second round. The idea hasn’t gained much traction yet, says Stein.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Irving, Wood, Investigation

In an attempt to ward off trade speculation, Luka Doncic told reporters on Sunday that he’s happy in Dallas, but his demeanor at the podium suggested otherwise, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic was clearly disturbed by the Mavericks‘ late-season collapse that resulted in an early vacation, and he wasn’t on board with the choice to rest rotation players on Friday while there was still a chance to make the play-in tournament.

“I didn’t like that decision,” he said. “That’s it.”

Doncic also said, “Something’s got to change,” but refused to elaborate on specifics, adding, “I don’t want to talk to the media about it.”

Teams around the league are monitoring Doncic’s situation, but he doesn’t have much leverage to push for a trade even if he decides he wants out of Dallas, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. The maximum extension that Doncic signed in 2021 will keep him under contract through the 2026/27 season.

“The only way he can force a trade is to sit out like Ben Simmons did and anyone who knows anything about Luka knows he is not going to do that. There’s just no way,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney. “Anyone saying they’re going to trade him isn’t looking at the facts, or it is wishful thinking. Why trade him? You have him signed through 2027. This is not an issue until 2025 or 2026. That’s just the reality, the way the CBA is set up. He has not been in town long enough to start asking out.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Kyrie Irving didn’t address the media after Sunday’s game, but coach Jason Kidd indicated that Irving has enjoyed his time with the Mavericks and will be open to re-signing in free agency, Townsend adds. “I think he’s excited to be here,” Kidd said. “He’s excited to work with Luka. He believes that we have a chance to win. And so this is a big summer, not just for us as Mavs, but for Kai. Everything we’ve done is to show that this is a great city, a great organization. And now it’s time to continue to build that process of winning the championship.”
  • Free agent big man Christian Wood seems unlikely to return, Marc Stein writes in his latest Subtack article. Stein notes that there was talk of an extension for Wood before the Irving trade, but now it doesn’t appear that Dallas will try to re-sign him. Stein adds that JaVale McGee and Tim Hardaway Jr. also have uncertain futures, but their contracts won’t make them easy to move.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic questions the wisdom of the NBA’s investigation of the Mavericks for resting healthy players, claiming it’s no different than what numerous other teams have done.