Russell Westbrook

Jared Dudley Had Hoped To Return To Lakers

Veteran NBA forward Jared Dudley appears prepared to retire as a player, having reportedly agreed to become an assistant coach on Jason Kidd‘s Mavericks staff. However, Dudley tells Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times that his first choice this summer would’ve been to return to the Lakers as a player.

“I thought I was coming back to the Lakers,” Dudley said. “This is crazy.”

As Plaschke explains, Dudley would have been willing to accept a non-guaranteed contract, and veteran Lakers like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook wanted him to return (James published a series of tweets expressing his dismay over Dudley’s departure). However, Los Angeles appears to be prioritizing filling out its last couple open roster spots with younger players.

“I talked to (executives) Rob (Pelinka) and Kurt (Rambis), I thanked them, but I told them, ‘You’re valuing youth more than a locker room presence guy,'” Dudley told Plaschke. “I said, ‘I respect you for doing that, but I think you’re wrong.’

“… My job was way more than a locker room presence,” Dudley added. “You’re a guidance counselor, a relationship expert. … I’m the middle-man that brings it all together.”

Even if the Lakers didn’t want to re-sign Dudley as a player, it would have made sense for the team to offer him a spot on its coaching staff. Perhaps Dudley preferred to join Kidd in Dallas, but Plaschke’s story makes it sound as if the Lakers didn’t discuss the possibility of the 36-year-old retiring and becoming a coach.

With Dudley no longer in the picture, the Lakers continue to consider how to fill out the openings on a 15-man roster whose only returning players are James, Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Marc Gasol.

“No one owed me anything, Rob and Kurt were honest and upfront, nothing but respect and gratitude to them and (team owner) Jeanie (Buss), I will be forever thankful for the opportunity they gave me,” Dudley told Plaschke. “But I did want to come back. I did think I could help the team, especially having so many new players, but I understand they wanted to get younger.”

Pacific Notes: Kerr, Buss, Clippers, Durant, Green

The mantra for the Warriors this coming season appears to be “balance,” writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. According to Johnson, the way the team has re-balanced through its veteran signings and draft class is one of the main things that excites head coach Steve Kerr coming into the season.

I think this year’s team will offer a much better mix of mentors and veterans to go along with those young guys,” Kerr said on the latest episode of Dubs Talk podcast. “… It’s real exciting to think of the structure of the team and the balance and what we can accomplish.”

After two straight years of missing the playoffs, Kerr says he feels the team is back to a level where it can compete every night, especially once star Klay Thompson returns from his two-year hiatus due to ACL and Achilles injuries.

It’s really hard to gauge where we are against the rest of the Western Conference,” Kerr said. “Obviously there’s a lot of great teams. We haven’t even had a practice to put the group together. But I’m very excited about the potential.”

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss recently sat down with Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. In the interview, she describes why the legacy of her father’s Showtime Lakers impels her to build not just a great basketball team, but a stylish one. She talks about why she doesn’t like the play-in tournament, why Kobe Bryant‘s 20-year run with a single team is unlikely to be repeated, and says “our fans are going to be just cuckoo for (Russell Westbrook), are going to be so happy that he’s here.
  • The Clippers may not have shaken up their roster in a major way, but Summer League provided some reasons for excitement, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. No. 51 pick Brandon Boston outperformed expectations, knocking down shots and creating off the dribble, No. 33 pick Jason Preston overcame a rough start to show his ability to orchestrate the offense and get into the paint, while hyper-athletic wings Jay Scrubb and Keon Johnson both showcased why they’re intriguing talents while also laying bare the flaws that could keep them off the floor early on.
  • In a much-discussed interview with Bleacher Report, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green explored the last year of their time together with the Warriors, as well as their infamous blow-up in November of 2018. As Nick Friedell of ESPN explores, Durant and Green blamed head coach Steve Kerr and president of basketball operations Bob Myers for mishandling the response to that dust-up. “Y’all are about to f— this up,” Green said he told the Warriors front office. “I said, ‘The only person that can make this right is me and (Durant). And there is nothing that y’all can do, and y’all are going to f— this up.’ And in my opinion, they f—ed it up.” In response, Durant said, “I think so too.”

Southeast Notes: J. Johnson, Cooper, Westbrook, K. Jones, Jarreau

Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper were both considered risky picks on draft night, but the Hawks‘ rookies appear to be much less of a gamble after strong showings during Summer League, writes Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. Johnson slipped to No. 20 after playing just 13 games at Duke and leaving school early to prepare for the draft. Cooper fell to No. 48 after a freshman season at Auburn that was delayed 11 games because of eligibility issues.

Both could be steals based on their early performances in Las Vegas, Peek observes. Johnson has been one of the most versatile players in the league and excels in the open court. Cooper has been a reliable playmaker and has eased concerns about his outside shooting.

“This isn’t just Summer League for me,” Cooper said. “Any game where I put on a jersey and represent something way bigger than me in the Hawks, it’s something I don’t take lightly.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard wasn’t planning to trade Russell Westbrook this summer, but he changed course when the opportunity arose to send him to the Lakers, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I had a heart-to-heart with Russell and it was important to him that I knew and the Wizards knew he wants to play here,” Sheppard said. “If there was ever an opportunity with the Lakers, that would be the one place. I look at his Hall-of-Fame career and all he did for us, certainly, for me, I will try to help a guy as long as it helps the Wizards. In this case, we could do a deal and it did help the Wizards.”
  • Hornets rookie Kai Jones is confident enough to become the first Charlotte player to wear No. 23 since Michael Jordan became owner of the franchise, notes Jonathan M. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer. The 6’11” power forward is getting plenty of his attention in Las Vegas for his athleticism and dunking prowess. “I think until you see him out there with (LaMelo Ball) and the entire group, we won’t have a true sense of what he can be for our program,” coach James Borrego said. “He’s working through our Summer League right now and trying to figure it out along the way, but he’s a tremendous athlete.”
  • The Heat weren’t able to trade for a draft pick to select DeJon Jarreau, but they wound up with the Houston guard anyway and like what they have seen during Summer League, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Jarreau, who may be in contention for one of Miami’s two-way contracts, posted 10 assists in a game this week.

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Simon, Poole, Jackson, Leonard

The Lakers‘ addition of Russell Westbrook should ease the burden on LeBron James as a playmaker and scorer. The newest Laker sees that as his main role with the team, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

“Bron is one of the best players to play this game, and his ability to be able to kind of do everything on the floor allows me to be able to just figure it out,” Westbrook said. “I’m coming to a championship-caliber team and my job is to make sure that I’m able to make his game easier for him, and I’ll find ways to do that throughout the game.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are negotiating with Miles Simon to become the head coach of their G League team, the South Bay Lakers, ESPN’s Zach Lowe tweets. Simon would also retain a role on Frank Vogel‘s staff, Lowe adds.
  • The Warriors didn’t make a splashy move for a veteran guard and they’re looking at Jordan Poole to play a prominent role, particularly until Klay Thompson is ready to return to the starting lineup. according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “Being able to bring someone back of that type of caliber, it’s going to separate us,” Poole said of Thompson. “We don’t want to rush him back. Whenever he’s healthy and able to benefit, we will jump to another level as a team.” Poole, who averaged 12 PPG last season, is entering his third season.
  • Reggie Jackson‘s new contract with the Clippers includes a 15% trade kicker, Lowe reports in another tweet. Jackson received a two-year, $22MM deal to remain in Los Angeles.
  • Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss most or all of next season as he recovers from knee surgery. However, the Clippers won’t be able to apply for a $9.5MM disabled player exception for Leonard because he entered free agency and re-signed since suffering the injury, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Paul, Ariza, Lakers, Howard

The two-year, $21.6MM commitment the Clippers made to Reggie Jackson, including a $10.38MM cap hit next season, will have major tax implications for the team, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. After accounting for new contracts for Jackson and Kawhi Leonard, who is expected to sign for the maximum, the Clippers’ tax bill is projected to be $95MM. Taking into account both salaries and tax penalties, the cost of the roster will be $265MM, says Marks.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • In a separate tweet, Marks provides the specific details on Chris Paul‘s new four-year, $120MM contract with the Suns, confirming a report that the deal includes $75MM in guaranteed money. It will start at $30MM before dipping in year two and increasing again in the third year, which is partially guaranteed for $15.8MM. The structure will allow Phoenix to stay out of the tax in 2021/22 and ensures the deal’s cap hit will be lowest in ’22/23, when potential new contracts for Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges go into effect.
  • Trevor Ariza, who has signed a one-year deal with the Lakers, said that Russell Westbrook recruited him, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. Westbrook called Ariza approximately 20 minutes after Westbrook was traded to the Lakers, the veteran forward said. He also said his children urged him to sign with the Lakers.
  • The Lakers may be stockpiling aging veterans like Ariza, Carmelo Anthony, Wayne Ellington and Dwight Howard to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis win another title, but Howard said there won’t be a lack of energy or enthusiasm, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. “I think we have new life, all of us coming together and playing,” he said of the Lakers’ vets. “I think it’s going to provide new life being able to see who we have on our roster, who’s going to be playing alongside of us each and every day. I think we’ll have so much energy it will be hard to contain.”

Five-Team Russell Westbrook, Spencer Dinwiddie Trade Now Official

The five-team trade involving the Lakers, Wizards, Nets, Spurs, and Pacers, headlined by Russell Westbrook (to Los Angeles) and Spencer Dinwiddie (to Washington) is now official, according to press releases from multiple clubs.

The deal began as a two-team trade sending Westbrook from the Wizards to the Lakers, an agreement that was completed around the start of the draft last Thursday. Later that night, the Wizards and Pacers agreed to a deal sending Aaron Holiday that would be folded into the Westbrook blockbuster.

Subsequently, during free agency, the Wizards and Dinwiddie wanted to find a way to get the point guard to D.C. and ultimately convinced the Nets to accommodate a sign-and-trade. The Spurs entered the mix late to accommodate Washington’s salary-dump of Chandler Hutchison.

Here’s the full breakdown of the deal, based on reports to date:

  • To Lakers:
    • Russell Westbrook (from Wizards)
    • The Bulls’ 2023 second-round pick (from Wizards)
    • Either the Wizards’ or Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is least favorable; from Wizards)
    • The Wizards’ 2028 second-round pick (from Wizards)
  • To Wizards:
  • To Nets:
    • Either the Wizards’ or the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Wizards)
    • The right to swap the Warriors’ 2025 second-round pick for the Wizards’ 2025 second-round pick (from Wizards)
    • The draft rights to Nikola Milutinov (from Spurs)
  • To Spurs:
    • Chandler Hutchison (from Wizards)
    • Either the Bulls’, the Lakers’, or the Pistons 2022 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Wizards)
  • To Pacers:

The Nets also generated the most significant trade exception of any team in the deal — it’ll be worth about $11.5MM.

While it was a fairly minor move for Brooklyn, San Antonio, and Indiana, the deal will significantly reshape the Lakers’ and Wizards’ rosters for the 2021/22 season. Los Angeles consolidated its depth, acquiring a star player who wanted to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, then filled out its roster in free agency.

The Wizards, meanwhile, traded one star for several depth pieces and managed to replace their old point guard with one who will earn less than half of Westbrook’s salary for the next couple seasons. The deal should increase the club’s cap flexibility while fortifying its bench.

Wizards To Acquire Spencer Dinwiddie Via Sign-And-Trade

11:56pm: The Spurs are sending the draft rights to 2015 first-round pick Nikola Milutinov to the Nets in the five-team trade, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). That will satisfy the “touching” requirements we outlined below and allow the deal to be officially completed once the moratorium ends on Friday.

Katz adds (via Twitter) that the Wizards have also agreed to trade one more second-round pick (Chicago’s 2023 selection) to the Lakers. Washington is giving up five second-round selections in the deal (three to the Lakers, one to the Spurs, and one to the Nets), as well as a second-round swap (to the Nets).

Finally, Katz reports that the third year of Dinwiddie’s contract will be partially guaranteed (Twitter link).


5:04pm: The Wizards and Spencer Dinwiddie are in agreement on a three-year, $62MM deal that will land the veteran point guard in Washington, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The club will acquire Dinwiddie from the Nets via sign-and-trade.

That $62MM figure had been expected for Dinwiddie’s deal with the Wizards, since it’s the most the team could pay him by looping his sign-and-trade into the larger Russell Westbrook deal with the Lakers, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania (Twitter link), the Nets will receive a second-round pick and a draft-pick swap from the Wizards in the sign-and-trade agreement. The move will also create an $11.5MM trade exception for Brooklyn.

Additionally, the Wizards will trade Chandler Hutchison and a second-round pick to the Spurs as part of the multi-team deal, Charania reports (via Twitter). Moving Hutchison’s $4MM+ salary will allow Washington to remain out of tax territory for now, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) provides the details on the draft assets, reporting that the Wizards are sending a 2022 second-rounder to San Antonio and a 2024 second-rounder to Brooklyn, as well as a 2025 second-round pick swap to the Nets.

The 2022 second-round pick headed to San Antonio will be the most favorable of the Lakers’, Bulls’, and Pistons’ second-rounders, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

That 2025 swap will give Brooklyn a chance to send Golden State’s second-rounder to Washington in exchange for the Wizards’ 2025 second-rounder, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. The 2024 second-rounder will be the more favorable of the Wizards’ and Grizzlies’ selections, Bontemps adds.

In total, Wojnarowski tweets, the deal will include five teams: the Wizards, Nets, Spurs, Lakers, and Pacers. The Westbrook trade agreement and the Wizards’ deal for Aaron Holiday will become part of this larger deal once it’s officially completed after the moratorium lifts on Friday.

Here’s what the full trade should look like, based on the details reported to date:

  • Wizards to acquire Dinwiddie (via sign-and-trade), Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Holiday, and the draft rights to Isaiah Todd (No. 31 pick).
  • Lakers to acquire Westbrook, either the Wizards’ or the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is less favorable; from Wizards), and the Wizards’ 2028 second-round pick.
  • Nets to acquire either the Wizards’ or the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable; from Wizards) and the right to swap their the Warriors’ 2025 second-round pick for the Wizards’ 2025 second-round pick.
  • Spurs to acquire Hutchison and either the Bulls’, Lakers,’, or Pistons 2022 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Wizards).
  • Pacers to acquire the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson (No. 22 pick).

As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report points out (via Twitter), there will likely be at least one more piece involved between the Nets and Spurs in order to satisfy the rule that every team in a multi-team trade must “touch” two other teams in the deal. As reported so far, Brooklyn and San Antonio are each only receiving assets from (or sending an asset to) the Wizards. That last piece would likely be something minor, such as cash or the draft rights to a stashed player.

In Dinwiddie, the Wizards are getting a 28-year-old point guard who is coming off a lost season. He appeared in just three games before missing the rest of the 2020/21 campaign due to a partially torn ACL. However, Dinwiddie was reportedly cleared for all basketball activities in June and the expectation is that he’ll be good to go for the fall.

In his last full season, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 PPG and 6.8 APG on .415/.308/.778 shooting in 64 games (31.2 MPG) for Brooklyn in 2019/20.

Word broke on Monday night that the Wizards and Dinwiddie were nearing an agreement, but the club didn’t have the cap space necessary to acquire him without getting the Nets’ cooperation in a sign-and-trade. Because Brooklyn didn’t want to take on any salary but wanted an asset or two for agreeing to play ball, it took all involved parties a couple days to work out the details of the deal that would get the point guard to D.C.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Knicks, Madar, Nets, Wizards

While it’s not out of the question that the Pacers will make a major trade this offseason, the team isn’t any rush to move Myles Turner or Malcolm Brogdon, the two names that pop up most frequently in Pacers-related trade rumors, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

Of those two players, Turner is less likely to be dealt, according to Michael, who suggests that new head coach Rick Carlisle would like to try to figure out the best way to maximize the Turner/Domantas Sabonis duo. It’s possible Carlisle will split up the two Pacers bigs and have Turner come off the bench to start the season, Michael adds.

As for Brogdon, the Pacers have been trying to determine whether he’s the right long-term fit as the team’s point guard and leader, according to Michael. As Michael details, Indiana had some locker room issues in 2020/21 and president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard suggested at the end of the season that the club lacked vocal leadership. The Pacers may expect more in that regard from Brogdon going forward.

Here’s more from around the East:

  • The Knicks, who remain on the lookout for another point guard, have some interest in Dennis Schröder, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman also says New York contacted Elfrid Payton at the start of free agency, though it’s unclear if the club views him as a viable fallback option.
  • Yam Madar, the 47th overall pick in the 2020 draft, hopes to play for the Celtics this season, he told reporters on Tuesday. As Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets, Boston’s plan is to see how Madar’s Summer League stint goes and to evaluate its options from there.
  • Nets star Kevin Durant is thrilled that Blake Griffin is set to return to the team for another season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “To have Blake back, I’m so excited,” Durant said from Tokyo. “I mean, as soon as the season was over, I was telling him that we want him back and telling him that, you know, we should try to do it again. And I was glad to see it get done.” In a separate story, Lewis confirms that James Johnson‘s new deal with Brooklyn is worth the veteran’s minimum.
  • After recently announcing a new deal for NHL star Alex Ovechkin, the centerpiece of his other franchise, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis discussed the contrast between how things played out with Ovechkin and Russell Westbrook, per Emily Kaplan of ESPN. “We had a superstar player with the Wizards, he had an opportunity and wanted to be traded to the Lakers,” Leonsis said. “And I was dealing with that as we were announcing Alex. I couldn’t help but self-reflect on what a difference it is. Here’s a great player in Russell Westbrook, played in OKC, wanted to be traded, went to Houston, wanted to be traded, came to D.C., wanted to be traded and is now in L.A. He’s an unbelievably great person and an unbelievably great player. But that’s the difference between the NBA and the NHL, I suppose.”

Trade Rumors: Simmons, Baynes, Lakers, Cash

David Aldridge of The Athletic is the latest reporter to confirm that the Sixers‘ asking price for Ben Simmons remains “sky high.” According to Aldridge, the 76ers are seeking a minimum of two future first-round picks, two first-round pick swaps, and an All-Star level player in most of their discussions about Simmons. A handful of other reports within the last week have passed along details on what kind of packages Philadelphia sought from Toronto, San Antonio, and Golden State for Simmons.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA, with free agency about to begin:

  • The Raptors are exploring the trade market for center Aron Baynes, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Baynes has a non-guaranteed $7.35MM salary for 2021/22 and seems unlikely to return to Toronto. If the team doesn’t find a taker on the trade market, he’s a candidate to be released.
  • In an in-depth look at how the Lakers‘ acquisition of Russell Westbrook came about, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne shares several fascinating tidbits, including the fact that Westbrook called Kawhi Leonard in 2019 to talk about playing together in Los Angeles. According to Shelburne, the Lakers had been prepared to move forward on a Buddy Hield acquisition before the opportunity to land Westbrook arose.
  • Within his recap of last week’s draft activity, John Hollinger of The Athletic provides a housekeeping notes on trades, writing that the Trail Blazers sent $2MM in cash to the Pelicans as part of their trade for the No. 43 pick, while the Thunder sent $2MM in cash to the Jazz in the Derrick Favors trade.

Free Agent Rumors: Dinwiddie, Ball, DeRozan, Pistons, Clippers

There are conflicting rumors on the possibility of the Wizards acquiring Spencer Dinwiddie via sign-and-trade, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who says that one source described that scenario as “pure vapor,” while another insisted that it’s real if the Nets can dump DeAndre Jordan‘s contract in the process.

As Hollinger points out, if the Wizards expand their Russell Westbrook trade with the Lakers to include Brooklyn, they could theoretically flip Kyle Kuzma to the Nets and acquire Dinwiddie via sign-and-trade while also taking on Jordan’s contract.

However, there are other scenarios in play for both Dinwiddie and the Wizards. Both Hollinger and Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggest that the idea of the Thunder signing Dinwiddie for a deal in the two-year, $40MM range has been floating around the league, and Fischer reiterates that Dinwiddie is a viable Plan B for the Pelicans if they miss out on Kyle Lowry.

Meanwhile, both Hollinger and Fischer say the Wizards are also believed to have interest in point guard Alex Caruso, whose market could be in the neighborhood of the full mid-level exception. Hollinger adds that there has been “some hum” about the possibility of Washington having interest in Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Here are a few more rumors on some of this year’s top free agents:

  • Hollinger and Fischer identify the Bulls as the most likely team to sign Lonzo Ball to an offer sheet, likely in the four-year, $80-84MM range. However, Chicago would have to dump some salary to make room for such an offer sheet, and it’s unclear if the team is prepared to make those moves without being certain the Pelicans won’t match the offer, notes Hollinger.
  • The Celtics continue be mentioned as a possible Ball suitor, per Fischer and Sam Amick of The Atheltic. Amick also names the Mavericks as a possibility for Ball, while Hollinger dubs the Pacers a “dark horse” in the Ball sweepstakes, suggesting that a deal sending Malcolm Brogdon to the Pelicans could tempt New Orleans. Finally, Hollinger mentions an intriguing double sign-and-trade possibility that would send Lonzo to the Hornets to team up with his brother LaMelo Ball, with Devonte’ Graham going to the Pelicans.
    • Note: Hollinger has since amended this last item, suggesting that Lonzo and Graham could be involved in a double-sign-and-trade, but that Ball would likely be rerouted to a team besides Charlotte in that scenario.
  • The idea of DeMar DeRozan signing with the Heat for their mid-level exception has been a hot rumor lately, according to Hollinger. However, Fischer says DeRozan is also said to have interest from the Knicks, Pistons, and Mavericks, while Amick indicates a return to the Spurs remains “very possible.”
  • According to both Hollinger and Fischer, Kelly Olynyk has been increasingly mentioned as a target for the Pistons, who also may re-sign Cory Joseph at a lesser rate after waiving him over the weekend.
  • Outside of bringing back Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers‘ top priorities in free agency are re-signing Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum, sources tell Amick.