Taurean Prince

Timberwolves To Trade Ricky Rubio To Cavaliers

The Timberwolves have agreed to trade Ricky Rubio to the Cavaliers in exchange for Taurean Prince, a 2022 second-round pick, and cash, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski’s original report stated that the second-round pick and cash were going from Minnesota to Cleveland, but according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Wolves are actually acquiring those assets along with Prince.

Subsequent reporting confirms as much — Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweets that the Cavs are sending $2.5MM to Minnesota as part of the deal, while Wojnarowski tweets that the pick changing hands is the Wizards’ 2022 second-rounder, which had been controlled by Cleveland.

It’s an interesting deal for the Cavaliers, who already have Darius Garland running the point and Collin Sexton acting as a secondary ball-handler. Giving up assets for Rubio doesn’t necessarily mean the Cavs have to move on from one of those players (likely Sexton), since the team needs depth at the point and was seeking a reliable veteran, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Still, that added depth would make it easier for Cleveland to move Sexton, who has been the subject of some trade rumors this month.

Rubio, who is currently representing Spain at the Tokyo Olympics, averaged a career-low 8.6 PPG for Minnesota in 2020/21 and shot just .388/.308/.867 in 68 games (26.1 MPG). However, the 30-year-old remains an effective play-maker (6.4 APG) and received praise for his leadership of the young Wolves.

The Timberwolves will create some extra financial flexibility below the luxury tax line as a result of this deal, as Rubio is on a $17.8MM expiring contract, while Prince is making $13MM in the last year of his contract. The team now projects to be about $5.4MM below the tax, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

It’s unclear if Minnesota intends to keep Prince, but the team was lacking in reliable forward depth this past season, so the former Baylor standout could help out there. He’s a career 37.0% three-point shooter and knocked down 40.0% of his attempts from beyond the arc for Brooklyn and Cleveland in 2020/21.

Central Notes: Pistons, Prince, Bulls, Cavaliers

At 19-43, the Pistons currently are tied with the Magic for the third-best lottery odds in the NBA. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic wonders if Detroit is willing to go all-in on playing youngsters – including projects like Deividas Sirvydis – over veterans in its quest to maximize the team’s lottery odds as the season winds down.

Edwards is hopeful that the Pistons will do their darnedest to avoid too many more victories over superior teams, like their Monday 100-86 defeat of the Hawks sans star point guard Trae Young, to maximize their odds of landing a potentially transformative top-four pick.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince only underwent season-ending ankle surgery this past Tuesday, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that the issue is relatively long-term. The swingman considered surgery to address the issue even prior to the start of the 2020/21 season, per Fedor.
  • Chicago’s United Center, home to the Bulls and the NHL’s Blackhawks, will begin to welcome fans back for in-door game attendance at 25% capacity on May 7, per a team press release. Hundreds of friends and family of players will begin being permitted to attend games on May 7. Among other precautions, fans will be required to take a COVID-19 test 12 hours prior to tip-off.
  • With a 21-41 record, the Cavaliers are currently the No. 13 seed in the East and are bound for the 2021 draft lottery in what looks to be a stacked year. Kelsey Russo and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic appraise the various draft scenarios and trade options available to Cleveland as it heads into the offseason. The Athletic’s duo also considers which players among their intriguing roster that includes Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, rookie Isaac Okoro, and Jarrett Allen are keepers and which could be more valuable in trades.

Taurean Prince Undergoes Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, the team announced today in a press release. The procedure took place on Tuesday in New York.

Prince had been experiencing ongoing discomfort in his left ankle for several weeks, and there had long been an expectation that he’d undergo surgery during the offseason. However, as was reported last week, he and the team opted to move up that procedure, completing it before the end of the 2020/21 season.

The Cavaliers didn’t provide a specific timeline for Prince’s recovery, simply stating that he has been ruled out indefinitely. It’s safe to assume his season is over and that he’ll aim to be ready by the fall, but the club says his return to basketball activities will be updated as appropriate.

Prince, who started the season in Brooklyn, was sent to Cleveland in the four-team James Harden trade in January. He has appeared in a total of 41 games for the Nets and Cavs this season, averaging 9.5 PPG and 3.5 RPG with a very solid .400 3PT% in 22.1 minutes per contest.

Prince will be entering a contract year in 2021/22 — his expiring $13MM salary could make him a trade candidate either in the offseason or at next year’s deadline.

Taurean Prince Expected To Undergo Season-Ending Ankle Surgery

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince is expected to undergo surgery on his ankle that would bring his 2020/21 season to an end, reports Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Prince has been a regular rotation player off Cleveland’s bench for most of the last month, there was always an expectation that he’d address his ankle by undergoing a procedure in the offseason, as we relayed earlier in April. It now appears he’ll get a jump on his rehab process by going under the knife before the season ends. A timeline for his recovery is not yet known.

Prince, who started the season in Brooklyn, was sent to the Cavaliers in the four-team James Harden trade in January. He has appeared in a total of 41 games for the two teams this season, averaging 9.5 PPG and 3.5 RPG with a very solid .400 3PT% in 22.1 minutes per contest.

Prince will be on an expiring $13MM contract in 2021/22, making him a potential trade candidate if he’s not in the Cavs’ plans beyond next season.

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Nance, Dellavedova, Prince

Cavaliers big men Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. have resumed basketball-related activities on a limited basis and may be ready to play next week, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Both players were able to work out during a practice session Friday.

Allen has been sidelined since suffering a concussion in a March 26 game. He missed his seventh consecutive game tonight and isn’t expected to play Sunday. Sources tell Fedor he may return Wednesday at Charlotte if he continues to progress through the league’s concussion protocol.

Nance has missed the past four games while fighting the effects of an unknown illness that resulted in a loss of about 20 pounds and forced him to be bedridden. A source told Fedor that Nance is “close to feeling like himself once again.” The team is also looking at a Wednesday return for Nance if his recovery continues. The Cavs will practice Tuesday before making a final decision on either player.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Matthew Dellavedova‘s return has given Cleveland the backup point guard it has been lacking all season, Fedor writes in a separate story. Dellavedova, who missed 47 games due to a concussion, whiplash, and an emergency appendectomy, is averaging a modest 2.3 points and 5.5 assists through four games, but his plus-minus rating is at plus-29 in 70 minutes. “Delly really does a great job of playing with his brain,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He understands how to set the table for other people. His game isn’t based on himself. When your game is based on the team and making your teammates’ job easier, it makes … your comeback a little bit easier.” The Cavs signed Yogi Ferrell and Quinn Cook to 10-day contracts to try to fill Dellavedova’s role, but neither was kept on the roster.
  • Forward Taurean Prince will likely need ankle surgery once the season is done, Fedor tweets. Acquired in a January trade, Prince has one more year on his contract at $13MM.
  • Cavaliers players, coaches and staff members received COVID-19 shots March 30, Fedor adds in another piece. Because it was the Johnson & Johnson version, they won’t have to schedule a second dose, except for Bickerstaff, who got a Moderna shot before the others became available.

Cavaliers Rumors: McGee, Prince, Drummond

A report on Monday suggested that a buyout is becoming more likely than a trade for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, but Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com disputes that notion.

While McGee could be on the move in a trade, it also wouldn’t be a surprise if he remains in Cleveland beyond Thursday’s deadline, according to Fedor. And in that scenario, the Cavaliers wouldn’t be interested in a buyout, multiple sources tell Fedor, who says the team’s plan is to either trade or keep McGee.

If potential suitors believe McGee could get bought out, it would significantly impact the Cavs’ leverage in trade talks, so it’s fair to be skeptical of this report. On the other hand though, Cleveland hasn’t given up on pushing for a postseason play-in spot and McGee is the team’s primary backup center, so the team won’t be eager to hand him to a contender just to save a small amount of money.

We also saw last year with Tristan Thompson that the Cavs are willing to play out the string with a veteran buyout candidate, even if he ends up eventually walking in unrestricted free agency.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Taurean Prince, who has appeared in just two games since February 15, is dealing with what’s been diagnosed as a left shoulder sprain. He’s attempting to rehab the injury, but may ultimately require surgery, sources tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic. That will complicate any efforts the Cavs make to trade him before this week’s deadline.
  • Besides Andre Drummond‘s pricey salary, there may be some “reputational concerns” hindering the Cavs’ ability to trade him, according to Vardon. Before the Cavs benched Drummond for good, they asked him multiple times to accept a role reduction and/or to come off the bench, and he refused, Vardon continues. Teams will still be interested in the veteran center if he reaches the buyout market, so it’s not as if his attitude is a deal-breaker, per Vardon, but it’s another obstacle in Cleveland’s attempts to make a trade.
  • Be sure to check out our Cavs team page for all the latest updates on the club, including Quinn Cook signing a second 10-day contract and the Warriors reportedly inquiring on Cedi Osman.

Cavaliers Notes: Drummond, Allen, Love, Cook

The Cavaliers are still optimistic about an Andre Drummond trade before Thursday’s deadline, although they don’t expect much in return, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond hasn’t played since February 12 while the Cavs searched for a trading partner, and he will be a strong buyout candidate if Cleveland can’t work out a deal.

The interest level in Drummond has always been high, Fedor adds, but his $28.7MM contract makes any deal complicated. Many teams would like to add the veteran center for a playoff run, but the players they would have to give up to match salaries are too good to part with.

Fedor states that general manager Koby Altman will need to be creative and suggests a multi-team deal is the only realistic way for Drummond to be traded. Cedi Osman or Taurean Prince could be offered to motivate other teams to get involved, according to Fedor.

Rival teams are becoming skeptical that Drummond will be traded, Fedor adds, but he says the idea that only a few teams will have a chance to sign him after a buyout works in Cleveland’s favor. The Knicks, Raptors, Bulls, Heat and Celtics probably couldn’t compete with the Lakers or Nets if Drummond becomes a free agent, so they may be willing to make modest trade offers. Fedor points to New York as the most likely team to trade for Drummond.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers should expect an offseason extension for Jarrett Allen to cost about $100MM, Fedor notes in the same story. Even though he will be a restricted free agent, Allen is expected to be one of the top players on the market this summer. Cleveland is committed to keeping him, Fedor adds, but will have to start his new contract at around $20MM per year.
  • Kevin Love has been offered up in trades for several months, but the Cavs haven’t found any takers, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. A calf injury that has sidelined Love for most of the season and a pricey contract that pays him more than $60MM over the next two years have limited the market for the veteran forward.
  • The Cavaliers are facing a decision on Quinn Cook, whose 10-day contract expires today. Cook has appeared in four games since signing with Cleveland, averaging 5.0 PPG in 12.8 minutes per night. He is eligible to sign another 10-day deal with the team.

Aggregation Restriction Lifted For Players In James Harden Trade

The trade aggregation restriction has expired for the seven players who were involved in this season’s most significant deal, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. That means everyone who was part of the four-team swap that sent James Harden to the Nets in January can now be combined with other salaries in another trade.

While that may not matter much to the other three teams involved, it’s significant for the Rockets, particularly involving Victor Oladipo, who has an expiring $21MM contract. Oladipo has remained a productive scorer in Houston, averaging 19.9 PPG in 15 games, but he’s shooting just 38.7% from the field and 31.3% from three-point range.

The rebuilding Rockets will have to decide whether they want to make a long-term investment in Oladipo, who will turn 29 before the season ends and is still sitting out one-half of back-to-back sets due to health concerns. He declined a two-year, $45MM extension offer from Houston shortly after the trade, the largest the Rockets could offer at the time, but the team admits that was just a way to show he was wanted. Oladipo will seek a longer deal once free agency arrives.

If Houston decides not to make that investment, its best option is to trade him before the March 25 deadline. The Knicks would be among the teams with interest, according to a report this week.

Owning the league’s third-worst record after 13 straight losses, the Rockets are expected to be among the league’s most active sellers heading into the deadline. They will also be able to aggregate the $9.6MM contract for Dante Exum and the $1.78MM deal for Rodions Kurucs, as both were acquired in the Harden deal.

In addition to Harden, the other players in the trade – who can now be aggregated – were Pacers guard Caris LeVert and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince.

Larry Nance Jr. Drawing Interest From Multiple Suitors

Larry Nance Jr. has drawn the most interest in the trade market among Cavaliers players, including an offer that featured multiple late first-round picks, Chris Fedor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Nance is in the second year of a four-year, $44.8MM contract that was front-loaded, adding to his appeal. The Timberwolves have been pursuing Nance since the offseason, with the Celtics, Sixers, Pelicans, Heat and Mavericks also showing interest in the power forward, sources tell Fedor.

Nance was sidelined prior to the All-Star break with a fractured left hand but is expected to return as early as next weekend. However, the Cavs’ front office is reluctant to trade the 28-year-old, viewing him as a core player.

Fedor also offered up a number of other insights with the trade deadline approaching later this month:

  • The front office still holds out hope it can deal Andre Drummond, believing that an interested party other than the Nets, Lakers or Clippers will step forward, rather than competing with those top contenders for Drummond on the buyout market.
  • The Cavs are open to dealing small forwards Taurean Prince and Cedi Osman, who aren’t considered core pieces. They could come into play in a potential deal involving Drummond, especially if a third team is needed to make the salaries fit.
  • Teams looking for a big have checked in on JaVale McGee, who has an expiring $4.2MM contract.
  • It’s unlikely the Cavs will be able to shed Kevin Love‘s contract, though the Mavericks view him as a better fit than Drummond. The Cavs tend to overvalue Love and aren’t seeking a salary dump where an asset would need to be attached.

Cavaliers, Pistons Among Definite Deadline Sellers

Because there’s now a potential path to the postseason for the top 10 teams in each NBA conference (via the new play-in tournament), it’s taking longer this season for clear sellers to emerge on the trade market, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“Most teams are still in the playoff chase, which makes everyone bunched together and the trade market less active,” a high-ranking team official told The Athletic.

However, as Charania reports, at least two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings look like definite sellers, according to rival teams. The 13th-seeded Cavaliers and the 15th-seeded Pistons appear to be open for business.

Cleveland’s most obvious trade candidate is Andre Drummond, who has been pulled from the rotation as the team looks to find a taker for him. According to Charania, there have been some exploratory calls on Drummond, with the Bulls among the teams to express some interest, but there’s still skepticism that the Cavs will find an appealing deal for the big man, who has an unwieldy $28.75MM cap hit.

Drummond isn’t the only Cavalier on the trade block. The club has also been open to discussing JaVale McGee, Cedi Osman, and Taurean Prince, according to Charania, who hears that multiple teams have inquired on the Cavs’ wing players. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Isaac Okoro are viewed as the club’s core pieces and are presumably off-limits.

Like the Cavs, the Pistons have an expensive big man who is sitting out as the team attempts to move him. However, Blake Griffin, who is making more than Drummond ($36.8MM) and has another guaranteed year left on his contract, will be even harder to trade. Sources tell Charania and James Edwards III of The Athletic that Detroit will likely work toward a buyout with Griffin.

Veteran shooting guard Wayne Ellington is expected to draw interest from contenders on the trade market and should be a far more valuable trade chip than Griffin, given his affordable minimum salary and his strong production in 2020/21 (10.6 PPG, .435 3PT%).

According to Edwards, combo guard Delon Wright and big man Mason Plumlee have also registered interest from rival teams, but both players are under contract beyond this season, so the Pistons won’t necessarily feel compelled to move them. As Edwards explains, while Detroit will be a deadline seller, the sense around the league is that GM Troy Weaver won’t be as aggressive this month as he was during his first offseason on the job, when he remade nearly the entire roster.