Trae Young

Stein’s Latest: Thompson, Magic, Warriors, Caruso, Hawks, More

While he believes that Klay Thompson will ultimately remain in Golden State and eventually retire as a member of the Warriors, Marc Stein writes at Substack that the Magic have been “increasingly mentioned” as a potential suitor for the veteran sharpshooter, who is eligible to reach unrestricted free agency this summer.

Thompson is eligible to sign an extension with the Warriors at any time between now and June 30, but if the two sides don’t reach an agreement by then, he’ll become a free agent and would be able to sign with any team.

While it’s hard to imagine Thompson ending up with the Magic, they’re well positioned to put some pressure on the Warriors — with Markelle Fultz and Gary Harris on expiring contracts and Joe Ingles, Moritz Wagner, and Jonathan Isaac not on guaranteed contracts for 2024/25, Orlando could generate a significant amount of cap room in the offseason.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Despite a belief that Alex Caruso was essentially off-limits at this month’s trade deadline, the Bulls gave “real consideration” to the possibility of moving him before trade talks with the Warriors collapsed, Stein writes.
  • Stein also confirms that Chicago and Sixers had serious discussions about an Andre Drummond deal, but hears from one league source that the Bulls were only willing to move Drummond if they were able to line up another center to replace him. When no such opportunity materialized, they decided to hang onto Drummond.
  • There’s a sense that the Hawks will make a trade involving one of their starting guards – Trae Young and Dejounte Murray – sooner rather than later. “They know they have to trade one or the other,” one source told Stein.
  • While Mike Budenholzer‘s name has been mentioned in league circles as a possibility for the Nets‘ permanent head coaching job, Stein suggests that Budenholzer could very well be a top candidate for multiple jobs this spring, so he has reason to be patient to see how the head coaching market plays out.

Southeast Notes: Young, Banchero, Hornets, Leonsis

Trade rumors are a reality of life for most NBA players, Hawks guard Trae Young told reporters following Sunday’s All-Star Game (video link). Speculation has been growing that Young could be on the move this summer, especially after Atlanta decided to hold onto his backcourt partner, Dejounte Murray, at the deadline.

“The best players in the game have all been traded,” Young said. “Some of the few lucky ones have been blessed to be drafted in situations where they can win championships and it will all be perfect for them. They can stay in that one situation forever. That’s what I wanted to do, and that’s what I want to do with Atlanta. But who knows? This is the type of league where things change, but obviously my mindset is staying in Atlanta right now. I don’t get caught up in all the rumors and stuff. My contract is locked in for a couple years. I don’t have very much say in it right now.”

As Young notes, he’s under contract for the next two seasons and has a nearly $49MM early termination option for 2026/27. His contract also includes a 15% trade kicker, which would factor into the price of any deal unless he chooses to waive it. Young is in his sixth year with the Hawks after being taken with the fifth pick in the 2018 draft, but the organization may be ready for massive changes following another disappointing season.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Now that his first All-Star Game is over, Paolo Banchero will return his focus to getting the Magic into the postseason, tweets Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Banchero said the playoff race was a topic of conversation among Eastern Conference players. “In the locker room, we were talking about the standings and stuff,” he said. “… How intense it’s going to be after the break.”
  • The new-look Hornets entered the All-Star break with three straight wins as the shakeup at the trade deadline has brought a new energy to the team, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The organization opted to part with veterans Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward and P.J. Washington while bringing more young talent onto the roster. “It feels good. Guys are happy, coaches are happy,” said Tre Mann, who was acquired in a deal with Oklahoma City. “We know it’s a lot more work to do. We can get better and it’s a small sample size. And we’ve got to build on it.”
  • The Washington Post (subscription required) takes an inside look at the secret negotiations that led to Ted Leonsis’ plan to move the Wizards and the NHL’s Capitals to Arlington, Virginia.

And-Ones: 2024 Offseason, Vegas, Mudiay, Forbes, More

The NBA had a busy trade deadline, but there were no blockbuster deals completed last week, with role players like Buddy Hield, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Gordon Hayward among the biggest names who were on the move. However, according to Howard Beck of The Ringer, executives around the league are expecting more fireworks during the 2024 offseason.

“There will be a lot of parts moved this offseason,” one Eastern Conference executive told Beck. “There’s going to be some options, some high-level guys that ask to get moved.”

As Beck writes, this spring’s playoff results could have a significant impact on what the trade market looks like this offseason. If a team with expectations of a deep playoff run gets bounced early, rival executives will be watching closely to see if that team’s stars have a wandering eye. The Lakers (LeBron James), Suns (Kevin Durant), and Cavaliers (Donovan Mitchell) are among the examples Beck provides, with one exec predicting that “there’s no doubt” Mitchell leaves Cleveland at the end of his current contract in 2025.

There will also be franchises with increasingly expensive rosters who may begin to feel pressure to make a move to generate more financial flexibility or to avoid committing to a pricey luxury tax bill, Beck notes, identifying the Celtics, Timberwolves, and Pelicans as some of the teams that rivals will be monitoring.

Beck is also the latest reporter to say that executives around the NBA believe Trae Young‘s name will pop up in trade rumors this offseason. One Western Conference exec told Beck, “I think they would love to trade Trae,” while another said the Hawks discussed a potential Young deal with the Spurs prior to last Thursday’s deadline.

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

  • Appearing on ESPN on Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver once again stated that Las Vegas is “definitely on our list” of markets that will receive consideration for the next round of expansion, according to The Associated Press. “We want to figure out what our media relationships are going to look like but then we will turn to expansion,” Silver said.
  • Former NBA lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay has signed with Piratas de Quebradillas, according to an Instagram post from the Puerto Rican team. Mudiay, who also played in Puerto Rico’s BSN league last season for Cangrejeros de Santurce, was the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft and has appeared in over 300 NBA games, most recently with Sacramento in 2021/22.
  • Former NBA sharpshooter Bryn Forbes has been arrested on a family violence charge, per an Associated Press report. Forbes, who was also arrested last February following a domestic incident, was jailed on Tuesday in San Antonio on a charge of assaulting a family member by choking/strangulation, which is considered a third-degree felony. The 30-year-old hasn’t been in the NBA since he was waived by Minnesota a year ago.
  • With G League Ignite prospect Ron Holland unable to participate in All-Star weekend due to a thumb injury, the NBA has announced that Cavaliers two-way forward Emoni Bates will replace him in the Rising Stars game (press release) and that Bulls two-way center Adama Sanogo will take his place in the G League Up Next game (Twitter link).

Lakers Rumors: LeBron, Knicks, Bronny, Murray, LaVine, More

At the end of last month, Lakers forward LeBron James sent out an hourglass emoji on social media that led to plenty of speculation — and eventually an unsuccessful trade pursuit by the Warriors. Later that week in New York, James made some not-so-subtle comments about his love for playing in Madison Square Garden and said he considered signing with the Knicks as a free agent in 2010.

While James may have been attempting to put pressure on L.A.’s front office by using New York as leverage, the Knicks haven’t had any internal discussions about pursuing him this summer, a league source tells Sam Amick, Anthony Slater and Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

As The Athletic’s authors explain, the Knicks won’t have cap room in free agency to make a run at James if he declines his $51.4MM player option, and shedding salaries would mean parting with important rotation players. The Knicks view that possibility as a “serious setback to their long-term plan.”

Los Angeles, meanwhile, has no desire to trade James, and wants him to retire a Laker, multiple team sources tell The Athletic. For his part, James recently informed the team’s brass he wants to stay, per The Athletic’s report.

Here’s more on the Lakers, all from Amick, Slater and Buha:

  • Rival executives have become “increasingly convinced” that the 39-year-old superstar may want out of L.A., and view drafting his son Bronny James as something of a starting point to pursuing LeBron, according to The Athletic’s trio. James has spoken many times over the years about his desire to play in the NBA with his son. The Lakers are also open to the possibility of adding Bronny to keep LeBron happy, as that’s a priority for the organization, a high-ranking team source tells the authors.
  • According to The Athletic, James has long been in favor of adding a star-level ball-handler in the backcourt — hence 2021 trade for Russell Westbrook, which obviously worked out poorly. James pushed the front office to pursue Kyrie Irving over multiple transaction windows in the past, and supported the idea of trading for Dejounte Murray (Hawks) or Zach LaVine (Bulls) — two fellow Klutch clients — prior to this season’s deadline, sources tell Amick, Slater and Buha.
  • The Lakers will have three first-round picks available to trade this summer after standing pat at the deadline — either 2024 or 2025 (New Orleans can acquire this year’s pick or defer it to next year), plus 2029 and 2031. As Buha previously reported, L.A. would ideally like to use those draft assets for Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Trae Young (Hawks) or Irving (Mavericks), though it’s unclear how many of those players – if any – will actually be available on the trade market this offseason. For what it’s worth, rival teams have been speculating that Atlanta might be willing to part with Young after holding onto Murray at the deadline.

Trae Young Fined $35K By NBA

The NBA has fined Hawks guard Trae Young $35K for making an “inappropriate and unprofessional” gesture toward a referee in the fourth quarter of Monday’s loss to Chicago, the league announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

With 3:58 left in the game, Young missed a three-pointer and fell to the court after bumping into Bulls forward Torrey Craig. He was called for a flopping violation and subsequently objected to the call by rubbing his fingers together in a “money” gesture, an implication the league obviously objected to (Twitter video links).

The Hawks, who were down 120-111 at the time of the incident, lost the game by a score of 136-126.

It’s not the first time this season that Young’s behavior toward a game official has cost him some money. He was fined $25K in December for “confronting and directing inappropriate language toward a game official” while arguing a last-second non-foul call.

Of course, that $60K in fine money represents a minuscule portion of Young’s full-season salary. He has a $40,064,220 cap hit in 2023/24 and is owed nearly $138MM over the next three seasons after this one.

Spurs, Lakers Leading Suitors For Trae Young?

The Hawks‘ decision to hold onto Dejounte Murray at the trade deadline has rival teams speculating that they might part with Trae Young this summer, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column (subscription required). If that happens, Stein expects plenty of suitors to line up, with the Spurs and Lakers possibly leading the way.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports published a similar report in the wake of Thursday’s trade deadline and also identified San Antonio and Los Angeles as prospective suitors for Young.

There have been rumors for months that San Antonio might be a realistic location for Young, according to Stein. His ability to stretch the floor would provide more space for Victor Wembanyama to operate, and Wembanyama’s size and shot-blocking could help cover up for Young’s shortcomings on defense. Stein states that it’s “believed in some corners of the league” that Young would be interested in joining the Spurs if Atlanta decides to move him.

Stein also cites the Lakers as a potential destination, considering that Anthony Davis is a good complement for Young’s skills as well. L.A. was rumored to be among the leading contenders to acquire Murray, and general manager Rob Pelinka will have a lot more trade ammunition to work with during the offseason.

“In terms of what was available at the trade deadline, we had one first-round draft pick,” Pelinka said after this year’s deadline passed. “It was our only sort of hook to fish with. And this summer in June, at the time of the draft, we’ll have three first-round draft picks to look for deals, which I think will really unlock an access to potentially a greater or bigger swing.”

Stein points out that the Lakers aren’t completely sure about the future of LeBron James, who faces a decision on a $51.4MM player option. While it seems likely that he’ll choose to take the money, the organization is preparing for all scenarios, according to Stein, and the draft prospects of his son, USC freshman Bronny James, could enter into the equation.

Bronny is no longer considered a first-round prospect, but Stein hears that at least two teams — and possibly more — believe LeBron would considering signing with them for much less than his option figure if they were to select his son in the second round.

If that were to happen, Stein adds, the Lakers would need a marquee name like Young to take his place and Pelinka would be relieved that he held onto the 2027 first-rounder at the deadline.

Lakers Rumors: Reaves, Summer Targets, Prince, Buyout Market, Vanderbilt

Despite making and taking trade calls for weeks, the Lakers didn’t come particularly close to making a deal on Thursday, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the closest the Lakers ever get to reaching a trade agreement was several weeks ago when they discussed a deal with the Hawks that would’ve send Dejounte Murray to Los Angeles for a package centered around D’Angelo Russell, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and the Lakers’ 2029 first-round pick.

Atlanta’s resistance to taking Russell was long viewed as the primary holdup in those discussions, but Buha also hears from team and league sources that the Hawks repeatedly insisted on Austin Reaves‘ inclusion, which was a non-starter for Los Angeles.

Having not made a move at the deadline, the Lakers will have three first-round picks available to trade this offseason — either 2024 or 2025 (New Orleans can acquire this year’s pick or defer it to next year), plus 2029 and 2031. L.A. would ideally like to use their draft assets in a package to acquire a third star, Buha says, identifying Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Trae Young (Hawks), and Kyrie Irving (Mavericks) as some potential targets. It’s unclear how many of those players – if any – will actually be available on the trade market this offseason.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • The front office mulled the possibility of trading Taurean Prince, but head coach Darvin Ham was a among the “vocal supporters” of hanging onto the veteran forward, team sources tell Buha.
  • The Lakers were in position to potentially duck the luxury tax by attaching a minor asset (such as a second-round pick or cash) to a minimum-salary player, but opted against it, deciding they didn’t want to save money at the expense of roster depth, Buha writes.
  • Rob Pelinka indicated that the Lakers will be in the market for a “ball-handling guard” or simply the best available player on the buyout market, per Buha. “Obviously, we signed Gabe Vincent and thought he fit really well, but his health just hasn’t (been there),” Pelinka said. “He’s played five games. I think that would be sort of top of the list. … That would probably be the area we’re trying to address the most, just because right now we have D’Angelo Russell at point guard, but after that we don’t have a point guard on the roster.” Los Angeles has interest in Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Lowry (assuming he’s bought out), but will face competition from rival suitors, including Dallas on Dinwiddie and Philadelphia on Lowry, Buha observes.
  • There’s some pessimism within the organization about Jarred Vanderbilt‘s odds of returning this season, with the possibility of season-ending foot surgery still on the table, according to Buha. “Until an injury is healed and the player’s back, you’re kind of always in the evaluation process of figuring out what it’s gonna take to get a player healthy and back on the court,” Pelinka said. “I would just say we’re hopeful that we can get Jarred back healthy and on the court without surgery, but you never know. Time will tell. But that’s certainly our hope.”

Fischer’s Latest: Hield, Sixers, George, Pacers, Trae, Murray, More

Buddy Hield rejected a “significant” extension offer from Indiana in the fall, and with a lucrative new deal for Pascal Siakam to account for, the Pacers’ ability to retain Hield as a free agent this offseason was in doubt, which is why they sent him to the Sixers on Thursday, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Philadelphia, which doesn’t currently have any guaranteed money on its books beyond 2023/24 besides Joel Embiid‘s contract, is much better positioned to retain Hield, though the 76ers will likely consider many options with their projected cap room.

Echoing Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter video link), Fischer says star forward Paul George figures to be a top target for the Sixers if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Clippers in the coming weeks or months. Nuggets wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who holds a player option for 2024/25, has also been mentioned as a possible Philadelphia target, per Fischer.

The Sixers wouldn’t be the only team in play for George if he reaches free agency, according to Fischer, who suggests there have been whispers that the veteran is intrigued by the possibility of returning to Indiana and teaming up with Tyrese Haliburton. Such a move would be tricky – but certainly not impossible – from a cap perspective.

Philadelphia’s offseason outlook will hinge in part on what the team’s plans are for Tobias Harris. According to Fischer, the Sixers weren’t willing to include him in a deadline deal that would have sent him to Detroit, with Pistons wings Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks going to Philly. The Pistons may be in the mix for Harris in free agency this summer, Fischer notes, adding that Hornets forward Miles Bridges is another player expected to be on Detroit’s radar.

Here are a few more post-deadline items of interest from Fischer:

  • Multiple front offices came away from their conversations with the Hawks believing that Atlanta could make star guard Trae Young available this summer, says Fischer. However, he cautions that could “prove to be wishful thinking,” since the information is coming from rival teams rather than from the Hawks themselves. If Young were to hit the trade market, the Lakers and Spurs are among the clubs widely viewed as potential fits, Fischer adds.
  • League personnel anticipate that the Lakers will resume conversations with the Hawks about Dejounte Murray in the offseason, according to Fischer, who notes that the Pelicans could revisit their Murray talks at that point too. Atlanta is known to value multiple players on New Orleans’ roster, league sources Fischer, though one of those players – Naji Marshall – will be an unrestricted free agent this July.
  • Although there were several teams open to the idea of acquiring D’Angelo Russell, many front offices viewed his $18.7MM player option for 2024/25 as having negative value, Fischer reports. That thinking, along with Russell’s strong recent play, factored into the Lakers‘ decision to hang onto him through the deadline.
  • In addition to the recently released players who will hit the free agent market shortly, center Bismack Biyombo, forward Rudy Gay, and swingman Danny Green are among the veterans who were waived earlier in 2023/24 and continue to seek new NBA homes, Fischer writes, singling out Biyombo as a player expected to generate interest.

Trae Young, Scottie Barnes Named 2024 All-Stars

Hawks guard Trae Young and Raptors forward Scottie Barnes have been named All-Stars, according to the NBA, which announced the two players as Eastern Conference injury replacements (press release).

Young and Barnes will take the spots previously held by Sixers center Joel Embiid (knee) and Knicks forward Julius Randle (shoulder). Both players are sidelined with injuries that are expected to keep them on the shelf well beyond the All-Star break.

Young, 25, has been one of the NBA’s top scorers and play-makers once again in 2023/24, averaging 27.3 points, 10.9 assists, and 1.5 steals in 36.6 minutes per game across 45 appearances. He’s also making 38.4% of his three-point attempts, which would be a career high.

Young’s Hawks are just 22-28 so far this season, which presumably hurt his case in the initial round of All-Star voting. That’s also the case for Barnes, who is having a terrific third season despite Toronto’s underwhelming 17-33 record.

Barnes is averaging career highs in points (20.2), rebounds (8.1), assists (5.8), and blocks (1.5) per game, as well as three-point percentage (36.5%). With Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam no longer on the roster, the former Rookie of the Year is now the unquestioned centerpiece of the Raptors’ long-term plans.

Young was selected as an injury replacement despite the fact that he’s replacing a frontcourt player, signaling that the league felt he was the Eastern Conference’s most notable snub. It’s his third All-Star nod, while Barnes is a first-time All-Star.

Embiid was initially voted a starter, so East coach Doc Rivers will have to select one of the conference’s reserves to replace the reigning MVP in his starting lineup.

Kawhi Leonard, Trae Young Named Players Of The Week

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Hawks guard Trae Young have been named the NBA’s Players of the Week, the league announced (via Twitter).

Leonard helped lead L.A. to a 3-1 record last week, averaging 29.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block while posting a .566/.480/1.000 shooting line (33.4 minutes). The 32-year-old was recently named an All-Star reserve for the Western Conference, his sixth selection to the exhibition contest.

Young, 25, helped guide Atlanta to a perfect 3-0 record last week, averaging 31.0 points, 11.3 assists and 1.7 steals on .569/.645/.778 shooting (39.6 minutes). A two-time All-Star, Young wasn’t selected this season, likely in part due to the Hawks’ record (they’re 22-27), but he could be named an injury replacement for Julius Randle or Joel Embiid, unless the league prioritizes frontcourt players.

According to the NBA, the other nominees in the West were Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis, while Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Jalen Brunson, Donovan Mitchell and Cam Thomas were nominated in the East (Twitter link).