Richaun Holmes

Scotto’s Latest: Markkanen, Noel, Raptors, Pistons, L. Williams

The Bulls and Lauri Markkanen are open to working out a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to a new team, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Chicago issued Markkanen a qualifying offer this week that will ensure he’s a restricted free agent, giving the team some leverage in negotiations.

Scotto identifies the Timberwolves – who have long been on the hunt for a power forward – as one team to watch as a possible sign-and-trade destination for Markkanen. The Spurs and Thunder are also among the teams with Markkanen on their radar, per Scotto. San Antonio and Oklahoma City would have the cap flexibility necessary to issue Markkanen an offer sheet without giving up an asset in a sign-and-trade if they’re confident Chicago won’t match.

Here are a few more updates on free agency from Scotto:

  • Following a strong season in New York, free agent big man Nerlens Noel is expected to draw interest from the Raptors, Knicks, Pistons, and Kings, writes Scotto.
  • The Raptors and Pistons should have a little cap flexibility and will likely look to the free agent market to address the center position. Scotto reiterates that Jarrett Allen and Richaun Holmes are on Toronto’s radar, and names Kelly Olynyk as a potential Detroit target. Some people around the league believe Olynyk will end up signing a deal worth $10-12MM per year, Scotto adds.
  • Despite mutual interest in a new deal between the Hawks and Lou Williams, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year will receive interest from other clubs, including the Pacers and Bucks, says Scotto. Williams is seeking a multiyear deal.

Eastern Rumors: Ball, Rose, Tucker, Portis, Allen, Williams, Fournier, Schroder, Horton-Tucker

The Bulls are looking to make to major additions to shore up their point guard position, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have been linked for months to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and there’s thought to be mutual interest between the two sides on a four-year deal worth more than $80MM. If the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball, he’ll be a restricted free agent — the Bulls would have to give him an offer sheet and hope New Orleans doesn’t match it, or work out a sign-and-trade with the Pels.

The Bulls may have some competition from the Celtics, who have been recently mentioned as a potential Ball suitor after dealing away Kemba Walker. There’s increasing speculation the Celtics will not look to re-sign unrestricted free agent Evan Fournier, says Fischer. That possibility increased significantly after the Celtics agreed to acquire Josh Richardson from the Mavericks.

Chicago is also considering another Derrick Rose reunion and there’s mutual interest. It’s uncertain if the Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau can convince Rose, an unrestricted free agent, to re-sign with them if the Bulls make a hard push. However, Chicago will likely need to shed salary in order to bring in both Ball and Rose and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to outbid the Bulls for his services. While that’s a best case scenario in the Bulls’ eyes, they’re intent on adding two point guards this summer, especially with Coby White out indefinitely after undergoing left shoulder surgery, per Fischer.

Fischer offers up a number of other interesting items:

  • The Bucks are interested in bringing back two of their prominent free agents. They’d like to re-sign defensive specialist P.J. Tucker on a contract in the neighborhood of two years and $20MM. They are also hoping to re-sign forward Bobby Portis and the feeling is mutual. Since the Bucks only have Non-Bird rights on Portis, they’d have to use their mid-level exception to give him a starting salary higher than about $4.3MM.
  • The Cavaliers view the Raptors as their main threat to re-signing restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. Toronto’s interest in Allen surfaced last weekend. However, Cleveland is likely to match any offer sheet for Allen. The Raptors are also eying Kings free agent Richaun Holmes.
  • League sources think Lou Williams, one of the league’s top reserves, could re-sign with the Hawks on a veteran’s minimum deal, sys Fischer.
  • The Knicks, who need to add scoring punch, have expressed interest in Fournier. They’ve also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. Schroder will be looking for a new home after the Lakers agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook. Previous reports have indicated the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Fournier and Schroder. Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent after the Lakers extended a qualifying offer, though the team has the option of pulling it off the table.
  • According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, there’s support within the Knicks organization to pursue Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie and he’s interested in remaining in New York. Devonte’ GrahamKendrick Nunn, and Kyle Lowry are some other potential targets at point guard. At the wing, the Knicks have some interest in the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and they’ve had discussions with the Magic this week regarding a potential Terrence Ross trade.

Western Rumors: Lakers, Pelicans, McDermott, Ja. Green, Holmes, More

After agreeing to acquire Russell Westbrook from Washington, the Lakers won’t have a ton of cap flexibility to add outside free agents this offseason. Los Angeles will likely be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum-salary contracts, since acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would create a hard cap that the team wouldn’t be able to stay under.

However, even with limited resources, that doesn’t mean the Lakers will have to wait until the second or third wave of free agency to go bargain hunting. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, people around the NBA believe that several veterans in search of a championship ring could be willing to pass on more lucrative offers elsewhere to join the Lakers. Fischer identifies DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Carmelo Anthony as some players who may fit that bill.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans, Suns, and Nuggets are believed to be among the teams interested in pursuing Pacers sharpshooter Doug McDermott in free agency, according to Fischer. A recent report from The Indianapolis Star suggested Indiana may lose McDermott this summer.
  • A return to the Nuggets is a possibility for JaMychal Green, but the power forward is also expected to draw interest from the Pelicans and Timberwolves, says Fischer.
  • Following up on a Marc Stein report linking Daniel Theis to the Rockets, Fischer confirms Houston is eyeing the veteran big man and suggests the team’s $8.2MM trade exception could be used to land Theis in a sign-and-trade.
  • According to Fischer, sources expect Richaun Holmes to remain with the Kings. That’s a bit of a surprise — Sacramento only has Holmes’ Early Bird rights and has been linked to several other centers, having agreed on Friday to acquire Tristan Thompson. But the Hornets, one of Holmes’ presumed suitors, are no longer expected to go big for a free agent center after drafting Kai Jones and agreeing to trade for Mason Plumlee, per Fischer. The Raptors, Mavericks, and Knicks may still be possibilities for Holmes, Fischer adds.
  • The Mavericks are viewed as the favorites to sign Sterling Brown in free agency, league sources tell Fischer.

Tristan Thompson Headed To Kings in Three-Way Deal

The Celtics are trading veteran big man Tristan Thompson to the Hawks for guard Kris Dunn, forward Bruno Fernando and a 2023 second-rounder, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

However, Thompson isn’t staying with the Hawks. He’s being forwarded to the Kings, with guard Delon Wright going to Atlanta.

All the players in the three-way deal have expiring contracts. Thompson will make $9.7MM next season, while Dunn will secure just over $5MM and Fernando will collect $1.8MM. Wright will make approximately $8.5MM next season.

The move pushes the Celtics another $3MM below the luxury tax threshold, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Dunn had a player option on his contract and opted in earlier this week, which made the trade viable.

After nine seasons in Cleveland, Thompson played in 54 regular-season games with the Celtics, including 43 starts. He averaged 7.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

Dunn’s lone season in Atlanta was a washout due to an ankle injury.  He only appeared in four regular-season games, but does give the Celtics another option for their backcourt rotation with Kemba Walker getting traded this offseason.

Fernando, an early second-round pick in 2019, appeared in 89 regular-season games during his first two years in the league.

Thompson gives the Kings some frontcourt insurance with Richaun Holmes entering free agency.

Wright averaged 10.0 PPG and 3.6 APG in 27 games with Sacramento after being acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. Wright can play either guard spot and will likely slide into a backup role with Atlanta.

Latest On Lakers’ Buddy Hield Trade Talks

A weekend report indicated that the Lakers and Kings have discussed a potential trade centered around Buddy Hield, and it sounds like those talks may be gaining some momentum.

After Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Hield scenario is the “most promising” of the possible deals the Lakers are pursuing, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote late last night that L.A. has stepped up its efforts to get something done, adding that the talks have gained “real traction.”

According to O’Connor, the Lakers’ offer to the Kings would include the No. 22 pick in tonight’s draft, along with Montrezl Harrell and either Kyle Kuzma or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Harrell technically isn’t eligible to be traded at this point, since he has yet to make a decision on his $9.7MM player option for the 2021/22 season. He’d have to pick up that option to be dealt, so he’ll have to consider several factors — if he opts out, he’d get to choose his next team, but he may not be able to match his option salary, whereas if he opts in, he may immediately be dealt to Sacramento or another team.

As O’Connor outlines, the proposed trade makes some sense for both teams. The Lakers could use a sharpshooter and secondary play-maker on the wing, and Hield certainly fits that bill, having knocked down 4.0 three-pointers per game at a 39.1% clip in 2020/21. His contract is pricey, but not especially unfavorable for a shooter of his caliber — he’s owed $62.5MM over the next three years, and his salary declines each season.

As for the Kings, they still have interest in re-signing center Richaun Holmes, but Holmes is believed to be seeking a four-year, $80MM deal, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California. Armed with only the big man’s Early Bird rights, Sacramento will have a very hard time getting anywhere near that asking price without dumping some salary to create cap space. If the Kings expect to lose Holmes, they could view Harrell as a solid alternative to step into that role of a rim-running center.

O’Connor’s report suggests the Kings would likely prefer Kuzma to Caldwell-Pope as the second player in the deal, but either one would fit into Sacramento’s rotation. Caldwell-Pope could play a three-and-D role, while Kuzma would see minutes at the four. The Kings are reportedly exploring trading Marvin Bagley III, which would open up more playing time in the frontcourt for a player like Kuzma.

The Lakers have shopped Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope to many teams around the NBA this month, per a weekend report. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), the Pacers, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Jazz, and Knicks are among the teams that have been offered Kuzma in various trade scenarios.

If the Lakers and Kings want to move forward on a deal involving Hield, we can probably expect an agreement to be reached later today so that Sacramento is the team making the No. 22 pick. In that scenario, the deal may not be made official until the new league year begins next week for cap reasons.

O’Connor’s Latest: Nuggets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, Hornets

Within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms a few items we’ve heard elsewhere in recent days. According to O’Connor, Jalen Green‘s workout with the Pistons last week was “outstanding,” the Jazz are willing to attach the No. 30 pick to Derrick Favors in a potential trade, and league sources widely expect Scottie Barnes to be the Magic‘s pick at No. 5.

O’Connor also reiterates that the Rockets continue to explore moving up to No. 1 and says the Thunder have made efforts to trade up, with Green, Cade Cunningham, and Evan Mobley among their presumed targets.

Here are a few more notes of interest from O’Connor’s latest article:

  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Nuggets are trying to move up from No. 26 into the top 20, dangling young bench players or future draft assets in those talks.
  • Although O’Connor confirms that the Grizzlies are interested in Josh Giddey after trading up to No. 10, he says Memphis could try to move up even further, with an eye on Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.
  • Giddey, Kuminga, and Bouknight could also be in the mix for the Warriors at No. 7, according to O’Connor, who says Giddey is thought to be one of Golden State’s “main targets.” O’Connor adds that Keon Johnson‘s ceiling may be the Warriors’ pick at No. 7.
  • The Kings continue to be active in shopping the No. 9 pick, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III in separate trade scenarios, per O’Connor.
  • League sources continue to connect the Hornets, who will be seeking a center this summer, to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Nerlens Noel, according to O’Connor.

Scotto’s Latest: Harrell, Cavaliers, Knicks, Trent Jr., Jones

Lakers center Montrezl Harrell remains undecided on his player option as a Saturday deadline looms, sources tell Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype. Harrell is described as “50-50” on the option, which would pay him $9.7MM for next season.

Picking up the option would make the 27-year-old a trade chip for the Lakers, who are hoping to add another star to their roster. There was a report over the weekend that L.A. has discussed moving Kyle Kuzma and the 22nd pick to the Kings in exchange for Buddy Hield, and multiple sources tell Scotto that Harrell has been included in several variations of that hypothetical trade.

Sacramento may view Harrell as a replacement for Richaun Holmes, who is headed toward free agency. Scotto reiterates that the Mavericks, Hornets and Raptors are among the teams likely to enter the bidding for Holmes. He adds that the Lakers offered Kumza and the 22nd choice to the Pacers for pick No. 13 and salary filler, but Indiana turned it down.

There’s more from Scotto:

  • The Cavaliers have been contacted about the No. 3 pick by the Raptors, Thunder, Warriors and Knicks, but Oklahoma City didn’t talk to Cleveland about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was reportedly part of an offer the Thunder made to the Pistons for the top overall selection. Cleveland would like to acquire another top-10 pick, Scotto adds.
  • Before the Pelicans agreed to trade the 10th pick to the Grizzlies, the Knicks made an unsuccessful offer involving the 19th and 21st selections, according to league sources. New York is believed to be focused on Oregon’s Chris Duarte.
  • Several people around the league believe that Gary Trent Jr., who received a qualifying offer from the Raptors on Monday, could get an offer in the neighborhood of $18-$20MM per season.
  • The Grizzlies are making back-up point guard Tyus Jones available in trade talks, league sources tell Scotto. Jones will make $8.38MM next season in the final year of his contract.

Free Agency Notes: Portis, Forbes, Cap Room, Dinwiddie

Bucks rotation players Bobby Portis ($3.8MM) and Bryn Forbes ($2.4MM) both have player options for the 2021/22 season, but are expected to turn down them in search of new contracts, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on his latest podcast with Yossi Gozlan. Since Milwaukee only has Non-Bird rights on both Portis and Forbes, it’ll be a challenge to bring them back, Gozlan notes.

Scotto and Gozlan discussed a handful of other free agency situations on the HoopsHype Podcast, examining the likelihood of P.J. Tucker returning to the Bucks, exploring whether Kyle Lowry is a realistic target for the Pelicans, and suggesting that the Hornets may be in the market for multiple centers – rather than just one – on the free agent market.

Here are a few more items related to the NBA’s upcoming free agent period:

Pacific Notes: Holmes, Schröder, Kuzma, Warriors, More

Speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link), Kings center Richaun Holmes said he’s excited to enter free agency this summer, since he’s “never really been in a position like this before.”

The last time Holmes was a free agent, he had just spent a year as a backup in Phoenix. This time around, he’s coming off a full season as a starter, having averaged 14.2 PPG and 8.3 RPG in 61 games (29.2 MPG) with Sacramento.

“I could fit anywhere,” Holmes told Charania. “The way I play, what I bring, any team is going to need that. Especially playoff teams. That’s something that’s going to be sought after.”

Holmes added that the best piece of advice he has received entering free agency is to do what’s best for him and his family. It remains to be seen whether that will result in a new deal with the Kings, who won’t have the ability to offer him a starting salary worth more than about $10-11MM unless they can create some cap room.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • League sources tell Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link) that Lakers point guard Dennis Schröder and forward Kyle Kuzma “feuded” throughout the 2020/21 season, with things worsening during the playoffs. Schröder is an unrestricted free agent and Kuzma is a trade candidate, so it’s possible that one or both players could join a new team this offseason.
  • UConn shooting guard James Bouknight, who could be an option for the Warriors if they keep the No. 7 pick, had a “great” workout with Golden State on Monday, tweets David Borges of Hearst Connecticut Media. Bouknight ranks eighth on ESPN’s big board of 2021 prospects.
  • The acquisition of Chris Paul and the continued development of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges were major factors in the Suns becoming a legitimate title contender, but head coach Monty Williams‘ role in the team’s improvement shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer.

Kings Notes: Holmes, Trade Ambitions, Workouts

Richaun Holmes had a breakout season with the Kings this year, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and blocks and emerging as one of the better defensive centers in the league. But the 27-year-old is entering unrestricted free agency, and as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes, it may be difficult for the Kings to retain him without freeing up cap space via a trade of Harrison Barnes or Buddy Hield.

Anderson takes a look at some of the options GM Monte McNair could choose from to address the massive hole Holmes’ departure would leave, both in the draft – where the Kings have the ninth overall pick – and in free agency, where cheap but productive veterans such as Nerlens Noel, Daniel Theis, and others could come into play.

Jason Jones of The Athletic has similar concerns, and details why the Kings may want to look at centers Alperen Sengun and Kai Jones in this year’s draft.

We have more from out of Sacramento:

  • The Kings have been reported to be one of the more aggressive suitors for Blazers star Damian Lillard, but even if a deal between the Kings and Blazers doesn’t materialize, McNair may look to get involved from a different angle, Anderson writes. The Kings have also been linked to Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, and are generally expected to be aggressive pursuing upgrades this summer. If they don’t believe they’re in a position to land Lillard, they could try to facilitate a deal with the Blazers and Sixers, Anderson writes, in order to land Simmons in a blockbuster three-team trade.
  • The Kings worked out Isaiah Todd and Jaden Springer on Sunday, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. While neither are expected to be in play for the ninth pick, Todd could be available at No. 39 and Springer could be a trade-up candidate. Todd, a gifted shot-creator at 6’10”, could hold interest as a home-run swing in the second round if he’s still on the board.
  • The Kings are also working out potential undrafted free agent targets. Scottie Lewis, a defensive specialist out of Florida and Jose Alvarado, the 2020/21 ACC DPoY worked out on Monday, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic, and Jason Anderson reports that the Kings will work out sharpshooter Marcus Burk on Wednesday.