Steven Adams

Raptors Notes: Lowry, S. Adams, Draft Options, Lawson

Kyle Lowry‘s free agency decision will probably determine whether the Raptors operate above or below the salary cap in free agency, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Demand is expected to be high for the 35-year-old point guard, with the Sixers and Heat among the contending teams likely to make offers.

If Lowry opts to stay in Toronto, where he has been for the past nine seasons, the team won’t have to be concerned with creating cap space. Murphy notes that the Raptors already have about $78MM committed to five players for next season, along with $32.18MM for seven non-guaranteed contracts and $66.3MM in cap holds. With a projected salary cap of $112.41MM, any new deal for Lowry would virtually ensure that the Raptors operate over the cap.

If he opts to go elsewhere, Toronto would be faced with the choice of taking the open cap room or trying to work out a sign-and-trade. Murphy points out that the Raptors can get to nearly $28MM by waiving and renouncing everyone without guaranteed money, which would be almost enough for a max offer for a player who has been in the league less than seven years. A sign-and-trade would likely make operating above the cap a better option, Murphy adds, but it would depend on how much salary the Raptors are willing to take back in return.

There’s more from Toronto:

Pelicans Likely To Trade At Least One Of Bledsoe, Adams

There’s an expectation that the Pelicans will move at least one of Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams in a trade this offseason, sources tell Will Guillory of The Athletic.

Neither Bledsoe nor Adams has positive trade value, as they’re both coming off underwhelming seasons in New Orleans and are under contract for two more years (though Bledsoe’s 2022/23 salary is only partially guaranteed). The two veterans will earn $18MM and $17MM, respectively, during the ’21/22 season.

That means the Pelicans would have to attach a sweetener to Bledsoe and Adams to move them, and it’s unclear how much they’d be willing to give up, according to Guillory. However, the team would like to move at least one of those salaries in order to gain flexibility to add more depth to the roster, Guillory notes. Clearing some salary would also make it easier for New Orleans to pursue an impact free agent such as Kyle Lowry, who is reportedly on the club’s radar.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Offseason Preview: New Orleans Pelicans]

As Sam Vecenie of The Athletic observes within the same story, Adams may have more trade value than Bledsoe, since the veteran center’s play didn’t drop off significantly — he just wasn’t a great fit alongside Zion Williamson in the Pelicans’ frontcourt. Bledsoe, on the other hand, saw his PPG (12.2), APG (3.8), and FG% (.421) dip to their lowest marks in years and didn’t make his usual impact on the defensive end.

If the Pelicans want to aggressively clear salary from their books without surrendering too many assets, they could consider trading Adams and waiving-and-stretching Bledsoe, Vecenie suggests. Bledsoe has two years left on his deal but only about $22MM in guaranteed salary, which could be spread across five seasons.

New Orleans does have the draft assets necessary to trade both Bledsoe and Adams if that’s the team’s preferred route. The Pelicans control all their own first-round picks, plus four extra first-rounders and three first-round pick swaps from the Lakers and Bucks.

Pelicans Notes: Van Gundy, Ingram, Ball, Hart, Adams

There were signs that Stan Van Gundy might not return for another season as Pelicans head coach well before the news became official Wednesday, according to Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and William Guillory of The Athletic. Earlier today, we shared their insights into Zion Williamson‘s future in New Orleans, and they have information on the coaching situation as well.

Van Gundy expressed his frustrations about the team’s performance to an assistant coach during a late-season bus trip, and someone relayed those comments to executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin with a warning that Van Gundy may not want to go through another season. Additionally, a meeting between Van Gundy and Griffin prior to the last weekend of the season turned out poorly, according to sources.

Sources also tell the authors that Brandon Ingram, who earned an All-Star nod under previous coach Alvin Gentry, didn’t like Van Gundy’s coaching methods. Ingram frequently talked about the way he and Williamson were used when they were on the court together, saying they rarely created better shot opportunities for each other.

There’s more from New Orleans:

  • The Pelicans will face important decisions this summer on two players who were at the heart of the Anthony Davis trade, Charania, Vardon and Guillory add in the same story. Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart will both be restricted free agents and will be seeking substantial raises. Hart has become a vocal leader on a team without a strong veteran presence, and Williamson and Ingram have spoken out in favor of bringing both players back.
  • The puzzling decisions to trade for Steven Adams and then give him a two-year extension look worse than ever, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. New Orleans gave up a first-round pick in the deal for the veteran center, who clogs the lane and takes away room for Williamson to operate. Hollinger also questions the choice to take Eric Bledsoe‘s sizable contract from the Bucks instead of George Hill in the Jrue Holiday trade.
  • The latest coaching change comes at a crucial time for the franchise, Hollinger adds. The Pelicans’ lease in New Orleans expires in 2024, so there’s a need to put a competitive team on the floor as soon as possible to ease any fears of relocation. He adds that owner Gayle Benson is very connected to the city and isn’t currently looking to sell, but the team continues to lose money while missing the playoffs.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Adams, Reynolds, Rockets

Luka Doncic‘s neck strain appears to be improving heading into Wednesday’s pivotal Game 5 against the Clippers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Mavericks superstar downplayed the nerve issue in his neck after his subpar shooting performance in Game 4, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. “Injuries are part of basketball, but I was 100 percent,” Doncic said. “I played terrible, so just got to move on to next one.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans handed center Steven Adams a two-year, $35MM extension in November but they may be having second thoughts about that decision, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. While Adams is a beloved teammate, there are major questions regarding his on-court fit and durability, which may compel the front office to explore trade options.
  • Cameron Reynolds has an uphill climb to remain with the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle opines. An excess of players at the the wing positions could make it difficult to Reynolds to work his way into the team’s plans. He was signed on a 10-day deal using the hardship provision in the last week of the regular season. He appeared in two games, including a 31-minute stint against San Antonio.
  • The Rockets own three first-round picks, though they would have to convey their highest pick to Oklahoma City as part of a pick swap if they slide out of the top four in the draft lottery. Feigen takes a look at the prospects in each of the areas where the Rockets might be selecting.

Southwest Notes: Alexander-Walker, KP, Adams, Mavs

Pelicans combo guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker found ways to improve during his second NBA season, writes Christian Clark of Clark highlights Alexander-Walker’s growth as a ball-handler. The 22-year-old, who may play for Team Canada this summer, averaged an encouraging 19.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 3.0 APG across the 13 games he started.

Alexander-Walker indicated that extended reps at the NBA level have yielded his growth with the Pelicans. “You start to catch onto things,” he said. “You start to read things and understand what buttons control different things.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis told reporters that the behavior that violated COVID-19 protocols and yielded a $50K league fine was a result of his not understanding the NBA’s stringent new rules as more businesses open across the country during the pandemic, tweets Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “I was honestly a little bit confused (about the protocols), but I made a mistake and I paid for it,” Porzingis said. The Dallas big man, who is vaccinated, visited an indoor L.A.-area club.
  • In trading for and subsequently extending center Steven Adams, the Pelicans were hoping to establish an intense interior presence with their new frontcourt tandem of Adams and All-Star power forward Zion Williamson, writes Christian Clark of That approach did not even yield a top-10 finish in the West this season, prompting Clark to wonder if New Orleans head of basketball operations David Griffin will attempt to move on from Adams.
  • Though the Mavericks won both the first two games of their first-round matchup against the Clippers on the road, the team is looking to improve from a lackluster free-throw shooting performance, writes Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “It’s an area where we can gain ground,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. The Mavericks connected on just 66% of their foul shots during the first two games of the series, down from 77.8% during the regular season. Swingman Tim Hardaway Jr., an unrestricted free agent this summer whom Dallas hopes to retain, has shot just 4-of-8 from the charity stripe.

Scotto’s Latest: Oubre, Bazemore, Wiseman, Ball, Spurs

The Warriors have interest in bringing back free agent wings Kelly Oubre and Kent Bazemore, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. However, it sounds like neither player will be as affordable on his next contract as he was on his previous deal.

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast alongside Yossi Gozlan, Scotto said he has gotten the sense from a league source that Oubre and his camp believe they can get a long-term contract worth at least $20MM annually, which may be higher than the Warriors are willing to go. As for Bazemore, Scotto didn’t specify an asking price, but said the goal for the veteran forward is to get a multiyear deal — ideally one that covers three years rather than two.

The Warriors have Oubre’s full Bird rights, but only hold Non-Bird rights on Bazemore, so their ability to offer him a raise on his minimum-salary contract will be limited.

Here’s more from Scotto, including another note on the Warriors:

  • Although the Warriors won’t be actively looking to move James Wiseman, they’d be open to listening to inquiries on the big man if an All-Star caliber player is available, a league source tells Scotto.
  • There’s a belief that Lonzo Ball will be able to get around $20MM per year in restricted free agency, though it’s unclear if the Pelicans are prepared to go that high, says Scotto, adding that rumors of the Bulls’ interest in the former No. 2 overall pick seem to “have some legs.”
  • Re-signing RFAs-to-be Ball and Josh Hart would almost certainly take the Pelicans into luxury tax territory, so Scotto expects Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams to be names that come up in trade rumors this offseason. Bledsoe will earn $18.1MM in 2021/22, while Adams will make $17.1MM.
  • Scotto says he has heard from an executive or two around the NBA that Spurs assistant Will Hardy is viewed as a legit candidate to be Gregg Popovich‘s eventual replacement as San Antonio’s head coach. Hardy received consideration from multiple teams that sought a head coach in 2020.

Injury Updates: Lakers, Nets, Hornets, Pelicans, Mavs, C’s

The NBA’s injury report is of particular interest this week in the regular season’s final days, as we wait to see which players may or may not be available for teams fighting for playoff positioning.

A pair of big-market superstars, LeBron James and James Harden, are said to be targeting Wednesday returns for the Lakers and Nets, respectively. James has been listed as questionable by the Lakers, while Harden is probable for Brooklyn.

Each of those teams also has another star player whose status for Wednesday’s games is up in the air. Lakers big man Anthony Davis is questionable due to left adductor tightness, while Kyrie Irving is questionable due to the facial contusion he suffered on Tuesday.

The Nets hold the No. 2 seed in the East and the Lakers are hosting a Houston team that is 5-43 since February 4, so neither club should feel a ton of urgency to push its stars back into action if they’re not quite ready.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Hornets forward Miles Bridges, out since May 2 due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, has a chance to return this weekend, head coach James Borrego said today. However, Borrego’s responses to questions about Gordon Hayward‘s foot injury made it sound as if Hayward may not be ready for the play-in tournament, says Rod Boone of (Twitter links). Hayward hasn’t played since April 2.
  • The Pelicans need a win tonight in Dallas to remain in the hunt for a play-in spot, but they’ll be missing a number of key players, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets. Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Steven Adams all remain out, and Lonzo Ball (right thumb) will join them on the sidelines.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Redick, who left Tuesday’s game with right heel soreness, will also miss Wednesday’s game vs. New Orleans, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.
  • The Celtics, who appear likely to finish the regular season at No. 7 in the East, will be without Kemba Walker (left knee) and Marcus Smart (right calf) on Wednesday in Cleveland, notes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Jaylen Brown has already been ruled out for the season, and Robert Williams remains on the shelf as well.

Hawks Notes: McMillan, Young, Capela, Shooting

After starting the season with a 14-20 record, the Hawks have gone 22-10 since Nate McMillan took over as the team’s head coach. The role McMillan has played in turning around Atlanta’s season hasn’t been lost on leading scorer Trae Young, who appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj Pod this week and praised the Hawks’ head coach for “connecting with the players.”

Asked about McMillan’s potential future with the team, Young said he’d be surprised if the interim coach isn’t retained beyond 2020/21.

“I couldn’t see a scenario where he’s not back with us,” Young said. “The way we’re winning right now. If we go into the playoffs and do really well, it’s hard to see him not back next year. At the end of the day it’s not up to me, but as a player, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be back.”

While Young is right that the decision won’t ultimately be up to him, Hawks management will likely take the All-Star guard’s opinion into account when they determine what’s next for McMillan, who looks like a pretty safe bet to have his interim label removed.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • In an in-depth profile, Zach Lowe of ESPN examines the growth of Hawks center Clint Capela, who has gone from a rookie the Rockets initially viewed as a draft-and-stash prospect to the anchor of Atlanta’s defense and a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
  • Within his story on Capela, Lowe cites sources who say the Hawks discussed the possibility of trading for Andre Drummond and Steven Adams before ultimately acquiring Capela from Houston a year ago. Atlanta believed that elements of Capela’s pick-and-roll game with James Harden would work for Trae Young, Lowe notes.
  • After finishing dead-last in three-point percentage a year ago, the Hawks prioritized shooting in the offseason when they signed Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari to lucrative multiyear deals, and those moves have helped make the Hawks a playoff team, writes Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bogdanovic (42.0% on threes) and Gallinari (41.6%) have been two of the club’s most reliable marksmen in 2020/21.

Injury Notes: Porzingis, Hart, Adams, Hayward, Walker, Hartenstein, Hunter, Beverley

The Mavericks will hold center Kristaps Porzingis out of both games this weekend as he deals with pain in his right knee, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “He’s going to rehab and work out,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “He’s doing better than he was two nights ago in Detroit. Things are moving in a good direction.”

Porzingis was also dealing with a sprained left ankle last week, so Thursday’s game against the Pistons marked the only time he has played since April 22. Carlisle said he had no other specifics to offer and no timetable beyond this weekend. He added that Porzingis is “very diligent” about rehab work.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • The Pelicans aren’t sure if guard Josh Hart will be able to return before the end of the regular season, according to Jim Eichenhofer (Twitter link). Hart had surgery April 6 to fix a torn UCL in his right thumb. “We knew going in that his timetable to get back (in uniform) would be the last week to 10 days (of the regular season), coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We’ll have to wait and see as we get later into next week.”
  • Pelicans center Steven Adams suffered a sprained toe this week, but Van Gundy said it’s a day-to-day issue and Adams should be available for the rest of the season (Twitter link from Andrew Lopez of ESPN).
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward no longer needs a walking boot for his sprained right foot, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
  • Celtics guard Kemba Walker is listed as doubtful for Sunday with a strain in his left side, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). It would be the fourth straight missed game for Walker.
  • Cavaliers center Isaiah Hartenstein was able to work out at the arena tonight for the first time since entering concussion protocol, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link). Hartenstein has missed the past four games.
  • Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who has been out since March 23 with a knee injury, hasn’t been able to work out for several days, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Coach Nate McMillan said he has no idea if Hunter will be able to play again this season.
  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley may be able to return in the “next couple games” if his left hand continues to improve, coach Tyronn Lue told Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Trade Rumors: Pelicans, Bledsoe, Knicks, Pacers, Holiday, More

The Pelicans are hoping to move off some of their expensive, longer-term contracts, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who points to Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams as two players who fit that bill. Since neither Bledsoe nor Adams looks like a positive trade asset at this point, a more appealing young player like Lonzo Ball could “serve as a reward” for a trade partner who is open to absorbing one of those contracts, Vardon writes.

Reports from Ian Begley of and Mike Mazzeo (Twitter link) also suggest that the Pelicans are looking to dump some long-term salary. Begley hears from sources that New Orleans has spoken to multiple teams – including the Knicks – about attaching a first-round pick to Bledsoe’s contract in potential trades. It’s not clear what sort of return the Pels are seeking in exchange for Bledsoe and a first-rounder.

Meanwhile, Mazzeo hears that the Knicks and Pelicans have discussed the possibility of a trade that includes both Ball and Bledsoe, but that New York would want to find a third team to take on Bledsoe’s contract in that scenario.

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

  • Although at least one “prominent voice” within the Knicks‘ organization is in favor of acquiring Andre Drummond from the Cavaliers, the majority of the front office doesn’t view the big man as a fit, according to Begley.
  • The Pacers have held numerous trade discussions this week about Myles Turner, Aaron Holiday, and Doug McDermott, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). A previous report stated that Indiana would have to be blown away to move Turner this week, but Holiday and McDermott are more viable trade candidates.
  • Addressing the Holiday situation, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star cites league sources who say that many people around the Pacers guard are hoping he’s dealt this week or during the offseason. Playing time is a top priority for Holiday, and he has seen his minutes dip to 18.0 per game under Nate Bjorkgren this season (after averaging 24.5 MPG a year ago). According to Michael, the Knicks and Suns have had interest in Holiday in the past, but it’s not clear if he’s on either team’s radar now.
  • If LaMarcus Aldridge is bought out rather than traded, the Suns would be in the mix, though the Heat and Nets would probably be ahead of Phoenix in the pecking order, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.