Taurean Prince

O’Connor’s Latest: Gasol, Conley, OKC, Prince, More

As we relayed earlier today, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer hears that the Hornets‘ offer for Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a protected first-round pick. That would be an underwhelming return for Gasol, but there hasn’t been much league-wide interest in the 34-year-old, O’Connor writes.

The Kings and Pistons were among the teams potentially in the mix for Gasol, according to O’Connor, but Memphis didn’t have any interest in Detroit center Andre Drummond and Sacramento was unwilling to part with promising young wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Grizzlies wanted.

The Raptors reportedly explored a potential Gasol deal, initially attempting to come up with an individual trade for one Grizzlies veteran before turning it into a package for both Gasol and Mike Conley, O’Connor writes. However, those talks didn’t advance and league sources tell The Ringer that it’s unlikely Toronto ends up with Gasol or Conley.

Elsewhere on the Conley front, the Jazz continue to make a strong push, with an offer that includes Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and a first-round pick, per O’Connor. The sense around the NBA is that the Grizzlies won’t settle for a modest return for Conley, which is something we heard in relation to the Pistons’ offer earlier today.

O’Connor’s latest piece for The Ringer features several more trade-related tidbits, so we’ll round them up here…

  • The Thunder are believed to be among the teams with interest in Cavaliers guard Alec Burks, league sources tell O’Connor. However, Burks wouldn’t fit into OKC’s $10.88MM trade exception. The Thunder, along with the Sixers and Trail Blazers, have expressed interest in Hawks wing Taurean Prince, O’Connor adds.
  • Following up on his report from last week about the Rockets and Grizzlies discussing a Brandon Knight trade, O’Connor suggests that Marquese Chriss and a first-round pick would also go to Memphis in that proposed deal. Houston would be targeting JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple in the swap, though it remains in the discussion stage for now.
  • The Kings have made calls about veteran forwards Harrison Barnes (Mavericks) and Otto Porter (Wizards) but have found no traction on a Porter deal, writes O’Connor.
  • While DeAndre Jordan looks like an obvious trade candidate, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Knicks keep him around as a potential recruiter for Kevin Durant, according to O’Connor, who notes that Durant and Jordan are good friends. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote about this subject on Tuesday.
  • League sources don’t expect the Celtics to do anything at the deadline with Terry Rozier, since he could serve as potential Kyrie Irving insurance or a sign-and-trade sweetener for Anthony Davis in the offseason, says O’Connor.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers remain open to moving one of their two veteran point guards, Cory Joseph or Darren Collison. Both players are on expiring contracts.

Lowe’s Latest: Rockets, Prince, Blazers, Heat

The Rockets and Cavaliers had discussions about sending Brandon Knight to Cleveland along with a first-round pick in exchange for Alec Burks. However, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com hears that those talks have ceased. Houston has also spoken with the Grizzlies about potential Knight deals.

Cleveland is selling Burks, Rodney Hood, and any other “indispensable asset” prior to the deadline, Lowe writes. The team is willing to take back future salary in exchange for picks.

Houston is expected to scour the market for deals leading up to the deadline with an eye on attaching a future first-rounder to Knight and Marquese Chriss. The Rockets would likely push for lottery protections on any picks that would convey past James Harden‘s prime.

Lowe’s latest piece contains trade nuggets from several teams in the league and we’ve already passed along news from the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley and Marc Gasol sweepstakes as well as the Magic’s pre-deadline plan. Here are the rest of the newsworthy notes from the ESPN piece:

  • The Hawks have made Taurean Prince available in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Atlanta hasn’t received a ton of traction on Prince deals because of its asking price. The organization wants a young prospect and a pick in exchange for the small forward.
  • The Blazers have put their first-rounder on the table in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Portland has reached out about Otto Porter Jr.‘s availability, though Wizards owner Ted Leonsis previously announced that the team would not be trading Porter before the deadline.
  • Porter has drawn interest from several teams. In addition to the Blazers, the Mavericks and Jazz have kept an eye on the situation. Dallas was interested in swapping Harrison Barnes for Porter prior to the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
  • Miami appears to be willing to move anyone but Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo for cap relief. Lowe expects the Heat to try to get at least a second-round pick for Wayne Ellington.
  • Lowe confirms a previous report that JaMychal Green, Justin Holiday, and Garrett Temple are all available. Holiday, who was acquired from the Bulls earlier this year, cost the Grizzlies two second-round picks.
  • The Kings have approximately $11MM in cap space available and they want to use it to pick up an asset. Lowe writes that it could be a draft pick or a player who will help them win this season.
  • Sacramento is willing to engage in trade talks about Willie Cauley-Stein, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Kings may simply let the center walk should he receive too high of an offer this offseason.
  • The Bulls are expected to listen to offers for anyone but Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter. Lowe doesn’t expect Chicago to deal either Kris Dunn or Zach LaVine though, as the team’s asking price is anticipated to be too high.
  • The Nuggets own a pair of trade exceptions and have slightly less than $7MM in breathing room under the tax. They are open to taking on a salary dump if another team calls and has to shed a player in that price range.

Charania’s Latest: Wizards, Hornets, Grizzlies, DSJ

As Shams Charania of The Athletic details in his latest round-up of trade rumors from around the NBA, there still aren’t many clear-cut sellers out there, which may limit activity leading up to the February 7 deadline. However, clubs like the Wizards and Magic still haven’t made any decisions one way or the other and could end up being sellers if they’re trending downward a couple weeks from now, says Charania.

The Wizards have made it “adamantly clear” the Bradley Beal isn’t going anywhere, league sources tell Charania. Otto Porter could be more available though, according to Charania, who hears that the Jazz are among the clubs to show interest in Porter.

The Hornets are another team competing for one of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots and – like the Wizards – have made it clear that they don’t intend to move their star guard. Nonetheless, teams have tested the Hornets on Kemba Walker, says Charania, citing sources who say that the Mavericks recently inquired on Walker and were told Charlotte wants to keep him.

Charania’s article includes many more rumors on the trade market, so let’s round up some of the highlights…

  • Despite indicating they’re willing to listen to inquiries on Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, Grizzlies officials told players on Tuesday that the team remains committed to winning and to tune out any trade noise, writes Charania. Elsewhere on the Memphis front, JaMychal Green is expected to attract significant trade interest and the Grizzlies have attempted to engage the Hawks about a Chandler Parsons deal, Charania reports.
  • Charania adds the Knicks and Lakers to the list of teams that discussed a possible Dennis Smith Jr. trade with the Mavericks. The Magic are also on that list.
  • In addition to discussing deals involving veterans like Kent Bazemore and Dewayne Dedmon, the Hawks may also consider moving younger players such as Taurean Prince and Tyler Dorsey, says Charania.
  • According to Charania, the Thunder plan to explore ways to use their traded player exception, which is worth nearly $11MM. Oklahoma City is reportedly seeking a forward who can shoot, though acquiring a player without sending out any salary would increase the club’s tax bill exponentially.
  • The Sixers are seeking a wing shooter and a center, sources tell Charania.
  • Cavaliers swingman Rodney Hood has emerged as a “targeted” trade asset, according to Charania, who identifies the Pelicans, Thunder, and Bucks as some of the teams that have scoured the market for wing help.

Southeast Notes: Huerter, Beal, Prince, Isaac

The Hawks are in the early stages of a rebuild. Having brought in a new coaching staff and with a new focus on player development, it has been very encouraging for the team to see Kevin Huerter break out in recent weeks. After slowly adjusting to the NBA, Huerter has received more playing time as of late and has been productive in his role. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details Huerter’s recent stretch of play and what it means for the Hawks’ future.

For the season, Huerter is averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while knocking down 38% of his 3-pointers. However, in January the 20-year-old guard is averaging 15 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while playing 38 minutes per contest.

As Huerter continues to develop alongside Trae Young and John Collins, it’s clear that the Hawks have quality young talent to grow and develop for years to come.

There’s more from the Southeast division:

Taurean Prince To Miss Time With Ankle Injury

Taurean Prince suffered an ankle injury during the Hawks‘ game against the Warriors on Monday night, according to a team press release. The testing today revealed a ligament sprain, a bone bruise and soft tissue inflammation,

Prince will be reevaluated in approximately three weeks, per the team.

The 2016 No. 12 overall pick has appeared in 21 games for the Hawks this season, starting in all but one contest. He’s averaging 15.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

Trail Blazers Rumors: Stotts, Lillard, Collins

After their 2017/18 season ended with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Pelicans in the first round of the postseason, the Trail Blazers came close to firing head coach Terry Stotts, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Portland was close enough to making a move that teams like the Suns begin reaching out to intermediaries to gauge Stotts’ potential interest in their own coaching openings.

However, while ownership seriously considered a change, president of basketball operations Neil Olshey and star point guard Damian Lillard fought for Stotts, according to Lowe.

“I was asked what I thought, and I just said I love him as a coach,” Lillard said of Stotts. “We all love him.”

Lowe’s piece takes a deep dive into the Trail Blazers’ culture, as he notes that Lillard and C.J. McCollum “tolerate no squabbling, or blame games.” That attitude permeates the organization from top to bottom, according to Lowe, who points to the relationship between Olshey and Stotts as another example.

Although the two team leaders haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on everything, they’ve developed an understanding that Olshey will avoid players who don’t fit Stotts’ style and Stotts will coach the players he gets. As a result of their relationship, Lowe explains, players will never see Olshey and Stotts at odds in any serious way, as the organization emphasizes a drama-free and resentment-free culture.

Here’s more from Lowe on the Blazers:

  • The Blazers’ late owner Paul Allen, who passed away last month, addressed the team in the wake of its first-round exit, calling the four-game sweep “unacceptable,” sources tell Lowe. Based on the language and the tone, people within the organization were nervous that a major shakeup was coming during the offseason.
  • Allen was ultimately convinced to give everyone – including Stotts and the Blazers’ core – one more season, while team management and coaches vowed to make changes heading into 2018/19. Namely, as Lowe details, Portland wanted to surround Evan Turner with more shooting on the second unit, re-shuffle the rotation to get Lillard and McCollum more playing time together, and get off to a faster start this season. So far, that plan is going well.
  • The Blazers still want to find a way to supplement their Lillard/McCollum duo with a third impact player, sources around the NBA tell Lowe. Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic have emerged as perhaps Portland’s most valuable trade chips, but the club doesn’t want to trade Collins and “almost certainly won’t” anytime soon, Lowe reports.
  • Lowe identifies Khris Middleton and Tobias Harris as the type of player who would appeal to the Blazers, though acquiring either of those guys in a trade or as a free agent would be an extreme long shot. Forwards like Otto Porter of the Wizards and Taurean Prince of the Hawks may be more realistic trade targets, Lowe notes.
  • Lillard still believes the Blazers are capable of reaching greater heights during his tenure with the team. “Good things come to good people, even if you get swept somewhere along the way,” he tells Lowe. “This is what goes through my mind: I’m gonna be in my 11th year or something here, I’m gonna stick with it, and we’re gonna make the Finals.”

Hawks Pick Up 2019/20 Options For Three Players

The Hawks, as expected, have picked up their 2019/20 team options for three players on rookie scale contracts, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry have had their fourth-year options exercised, while John Collins‘ third-year option has also been picked up.

Prince and Collins are two key pieces of Atlanta’s young core. Prince, who averaged 14.1 PPG and made 38.5% of his three-pointers last season, will now have his $3,481,986 cap hit guaranteed for 2019/20 and will be eligible for a rookie scale extension as of next July. Collins, who emerged as Atlanta’s starting center down the stretch in his rookie season, recorded 10.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 74 games (24.1 MPG). His ’19/20 cap charge of $2,686,560 is now locked in.

As for Bembry, he has struggled to make the same impact as some of his fellow first-rounders so far, having averaged just 5.2 PPG in 26 games last season, but the cost of his fourth-year option ($2,603,982) is barely more than the minimum salary, making it an easy decision for the rebuilding Hawks.

The full list of rookie scale option decisions for 2019/20 can be found right here.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Prince, Gordon/Isaac, Johnson

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is excited about the prospect of getting the team’s two-way players, Derrick Jones Jr. and Derrick Walton, back with the team this weekend, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

With the G League regular season concluding tomorrow, the 45-day restriction upon two-way players is lifted, freeing them to return to the NBA for the remainder of the regular season. Jones Jr. is back with the Heat for tonight’s game against Oklahoma City, with Walton joining the team before Sunday’s game in Indiana. As for the two-way system itself, Spoelstra is a fan, even though he thinks a few issues need ironing out.

“The system is a little bit clumsy, but I’m sure we’ll iron that all out in years to come. I’m a big fan of the two-way contract. I think it’s good for teams, it’s good for the player. We’ve seen the benefits of developing our guys with us (the Heat), but also getting those guys a lot of game reps in our culture, in Sioux Falls.”

Jones Jr., 21, is averaging 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game this season for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G League affiliate, while also starting eight games for the Heat during the team’s struggle through injuries. Asked whether his development is of importance to the team, Spoelstra said of course:

“Absolutely. We always envision where a player can go. We do that with an open mind and a commitment to our player development. He’s improved this year with us and that’s worth noting, because he’s committed to our (the Heat’s) process. I think he has to break into this program as a defensive-minded player. That’s really where his potential is. It’s been very intentional that we try to get him on the best wing opponent every night and really embrace that challenge regardless of how many minutes he plays and what his offensive responsibility is. He has to guard, he has to be able to impact on that side of the floor. And that got better. It still has a long ways to go, but he’s starting to understand where he can break through.”

As we’ve noted generally before, neither Jones Jr. nor Walton are playoff-eligible for the Heat unless signed to a standard contract before the final game of the regular season. This is unlikely as Miami already has 15 players on its roster.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks‘ forward Taurean Prince has improved his three-point prowess throughout his career, but no more so than this season, writes Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, where he is shooting 40.4% from behind the stripe.
  • The Magic are excited to be able to play versatile forwards Aaron Gordon and rookie Jonathan Isaac together for the remainder of this season, writes John Denton of NBA.com.
  • Just in time for the playoffs, James Johnson is finally realizing the level of play the Heat expected when they signed him to a lucrative contract this summer, Winderman adds in another piece.

Southeast Notes: Walker, Hawks, Isaac, Wall

The Hornets have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA this year. Expected to make the playoffs and owing a payroll nearing $120MM, a seldom few could have foreseen a 29-38 record through the first week and a half of March and the word “rebuild” come into the picture.

And according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, team leader and All-Star point guard Kemba Walker isn’t sure he’s prepared to undergo another rebuilding effort in Charlotte. “I’m not sure. Nobody wants to lose. Especially not me,” Walker said at practice Friday, following the Hornets’ fifth consecutive loss.

Walker, who was part of a Bobcats team (before becoming the Hornets) that went 7-59 in his rookie season, has one season left on his contract, which will pay him a team-friendly $12MM, making him a hot commodity on the trade market this summer. When asked about what the offseason may have in store, he added, “I haven’t thought about any of that. It’s something I’ve got to deal with whenever it happens. It’s just not something that has come up to me.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders takes a look at how the bottom-dwelling Hawks can go about their rebuilding efforts in a positive way. Davies opines that Atlanta is already ahead of the curve due to focusing on giving their young core of Taurean Prince and rookie big man John Collins valuable playing time and experience at the expense of veterans. The next step is bringing in a young, talented front court player such as Mohamed Bamba or DeAndre Ayton to pair with Collins.
  • Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac is trying to stay patient through the rustiness associated with returning from an injury, writes John Denton of the team’s official website. Isaac, who missed four months with an ankle injury, still has the confidence of head coach Frank Vogel, who said, “(Isaac) is a 20-year-old young man who is still finding his way on the offensive end. I encouraged him to be more aggressive than he’s been. To his credit, he plays within himself, but there’s going to be some growing pains that come along with that. I was just happy with the spirit that he played with (on Friday).”
  • The Wizards still don’t know when to expect All-Star point guard John Wall back from injury, but per an AP report (via USA Today), Wall is looking to closer to form after working out on the floor in Miami about a half-hour before the Wizards visited the Heat on Saturday night.

Mannix’s Latest: G. Hill, Hornets, Hawks, Suns

The Cavaliers continue to engage the Kings about a possible George Hill trade, sources tell Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. However, the Cavs would like to include both J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in their package for Hill, and taking on multiple expensive non-expiring contracts doesn’t appeal to Sacramento. Meanwhile, the Kings are quietly looking to get a third team involved in a potential deal, according to Mannix.

Mannix’s latest trade rumor roundup features several more tidbits of interest related to Thursday’s deadline, so we’ll pass along the highlights…

  • The future of GM Rich Cho in Charlotte is uncertain, which may complicate the Hornets‘ deadline plans. According to Mannix, there are rumblings about former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak being a candidate to join the Hornets’ front office in the offseason. Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times wrote last week that Kupchak is considered likely to be hired by an Eastern Conference team this summer.
  • Some teams with interest in Marcus Smart view the Celtics‘ asking price of a first-round pick as “unrealistic,” says Mannix.
  • The Hawks have made “everyone” available, and while much has been written about the club’s veteran trade candidates, second-year swingman Taurean Prince is another player who has drawn interest, according to Mannix.
  • The Magic have shopped Mario Hezonja “hard” in recent days, per Mannix.
  • According to Mannix, the Suns are willing to move veterans like Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley. Neither player’s contract is particularly team-friendly though, so it may be tough for Phoenix to find any value.
  • The Clippers say they’re okay with holding onto DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams through the deadline, but rival clubs are skeptical, says Mannix.