Taurean Prince

Central Notes: Prince, Cavaliers, Pacers, Bulls

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince is proving to be more than a simple throw-in player in the multi-team trade featuring Jarrett Allen, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes.

Prince, 26, was acquired by Cleveland alongside Allen earlier this month. The five-year veteran has been effective in his five games with the team, averaging 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 41% from downtown.

“He fits the mold of what we’re looking for,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’re looking for guys who can play multiple positions, guys who have the ability to knock down shots, who have athleticism, who can run the floor. And then on the defensive end, guys who take 1-on-1 challenges and compete.

“It’s how he’s willing to work, the toughness that he plays with, the scrap that he has. We’ve seen that from him in the past. But I’ve been even more pleased having him every single day with how he makes his teammates better, how unselfish he is. We’re definitely glad to have him.”

There’s more from the Central Division today:

Nets Notes: Harden, Durant, Kyrie, Allen, Prince

The superstar duo of James Harden and Kevin Durant has looked terrific in Harden’s first two games with the Nets, wins over Orlando and Milwaukee.

Durant has averaged 36.0 PPG in those two victories, while Harden has contributed 33.0 PPG, 13.0 APG, and 9.0 RPG. Their 138 combined points are the highest total since 1961 for any two teammates in their first two games with a franchise, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

Harden and Durant, of course, played together with the Thunder earlier in their respective NBA careers, and Nets coaches and management have said they’d lean on the two stars’ previous chemistry in the early going this season. As Andrews details, Harden believes the increased maturity level of the two former MVPs has helped them quickly reestablish that chemistry.

“We were young in Oklahoma City,” Harden said. “We are grown men now. We know what we want. We really know the game of basketball now. We are not those young guys that want to run around and just shoot and dunk all day. And then for me, I sit back and I know what player Kevin Durant is. He’s one of the best players to ever touch a basketball.”

While Durant said the Nets still have “room to improve,” he told reporters after Monday’s game that incorporating Harden into the lineup has been “pretty seamless,” per Andrews.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Head coach Steve Nash said that Kyrie Irving will “hopefully” be available to return to the Nets’ lineup on Wednesday against Cleveland, tweets Andrews. Irving is back with the team and has been cleared from COVID-19 protocols, but is still ramping up his conditioning. What you want to see is him to get some time in his legs so he’s more able to adapt back to playing,” Nash said.
  • Asked on Monday if they would have pulled the trigger on the trade that brought Harden to Brooklyn if they were running the Nets, both Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince admitted they would have, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “Look at what happened with the Lakers, they did the same thing,” Allen said, referring to the Lakers’ 2019 acquisition of Anthony Davis. “The next year they went and got their ring. So take myself out of it, I’d love to stay in Brooklyn, but I understand in the opportunity like that you have to go do it.”
  • Both Allen and Prince also said on Monday that while they understand the business side of the NBA, that understanding didn’t necessarily make it easier to be traded. “It was definitely rough on me,” Allen said, according to Lewis. “Even though you say it’s the business of basketball, it never makes it easier. But it’s the business and I had to move on.”
  • In case you missed it on Monday, we relayed a report indicating that the Nets shopped Landry Shamet in an effort to avoid including Allen in the Harden blockbuster. We also passed along a series of NBA franchise valuations that estimate the Nets’ worth to be $3.4 billion, fourth-highest in the league.

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Prince, Drummond, McGee, Porter Jr.

The acquisitions of Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from the Nets in the multi-trade trade that sent James Harden to Brooklyn accelerated the Cavaliers’ rebuild, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes. Acquiring Allen, a restricted free agency, gives the Cavs a long-term answer in the middle if they re-sign him. Prince provides the team with a 3-and-D wing who could also see minutes at power forward.

We have more on the Cavaliers:

  • Once Allen is in uniform, coach J.B. Bickerstaff will have a pleasant dilemma of finding time at center for him as well as Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. However, that dilemma may not stretch beyond March’s trade deadline. According to Fedor, shortly after the blockbuster trade, the team received calls on Drummond and McGee, both of whom will be unrestricted free agents after the season. Drummond erupted for 33 points and 23 rebounds against the Knicks on Friday.
  • Second-year swingman Kevin Porter Jr. rejoined his teammates on the bench for the first time this season on Friday, according to Fedor. Porter hasn’t played or practiced since the season started due to personal reasons. In November, he was arrested after flipping his Mercedes SUV. He was charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a felony, in addition to misdemeanors for driving without a license and marijuana possession. All charges were dropped in December by a grand jury.
  • After facing the Knicks on Friday, the Cavaliers don’t play again until they host the Nets on Wednesday. Their two games in-between against the Wizards were postponed due to COVID-19 issues within Washington’s team.

Latest On The James Harden Deal

The Nets are counting on star power to make them a title contender after shipping away much of their depth in the James Harden trade, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. While Brooklyn now has two former MVPs in Harden and Kevin Durant, the move came at the cost of Caris LeVert, an explosive young scorer, and Jarrett Allen, who has been outplaying starting center DeAndre Jordan all season.

Veteran big man Jeff Green, one of the leaders of the now-depleted reserve unit, doesn’t believe the deal for Harden means the team is starting over.

“It’s just one guy that we have to integrate and get acquainted with what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re doing on the floor, and I’m pretty sure he’ll pick it up fast,” said Green, who was Harden’s teammate for part of last season in Houston. “We’re going to do what we’ve got to do to make sure he’s aware of the spots and what we’re looking for. He’s going to do what he does best. I think it will be good for us, but I don’t look at it as a restart. It’s just another juice of energy that we’re going to get from him being on the floor and being part of this team.”

There’s more news related to the trade:

  • Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said the uncertain situation surrounding Kyrie Irving had nothing to do with the deal, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Marks added that Irving is excited to rejoin the team, although he didn’t say when that will happen. Marks indicated that more moves are coming, adds Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). “Without a doubt the roster is not done, it’s not finalized,” Marks said. “We’ll continue to try and add pieces as we go through this season.” The Nets currently have three open roster spots.
  • The Nets wanted to give up Taurean Prince rather than Spencer Dinwiddie for financial reasons, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Dinwiddie may miss the rest of the season after having ACL reconstruction surgery last week, so he won’t be able to contribute to a team that’s built to win a title right away. However, Brooklyn was determined to get rid of Prince’s $13MM contract for next season. Hollinger explains that the Nets are already facing potential luxury tax payments between $70MM and $80MM for 2022, and keeping Prince on the roster could have added up to $50MM to that total.
  • By trading Victor Oladipo for LeVert and a second-round pick, the Pacers are able to avoid a difficult free agency decision this summer, Hollinger notes in the same story. While Oladipo is in the final year of his contract, LeVert is signed for two more years at $17.5MM in 2021/22 and $18.8MM in 2022/23. Hollinger points out that Indiana now has four starters in their 20s who are all under contract through 2023, along with T.J. Warren, whose deal expires in 2022. The Pacers were slightly over the tax line before the deal, but Hollinger adds that they can now use their full mid-level exception this summer without any tax concerns.
  • The Celtics never made a serious bid for Harden, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports. “We had conversations regarding James, but not recently,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on a radio show this morning. “… It was just something that we didn’t want to do … Unanimously we decided it wasn’t the time for us.”

Rockets Trade James Harden To Nets

JANUARY 16: The Pacers/Rockets part of the trade is now official and has been folded back into the initial deal, formally making it a four-team trade once again. Details can be found right here.


JANUARY 14: The trade is now official, the Nets announced in a press release.

“Adding an All-NBA player such as James to our roster better positions our team to compete against the league’s best,” Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said. “James is one of the most prolific scorers and playmakers in our game, and we are thrilled to bring his special talents to Brooklyn.

“While we are excited to welcome James and his family to the Nets, we also want to thank the players who are departing. Caris, Jarrett, Rodions and Taurean were instrumental to the team’s success and have made an enormous impact on our organization. It has been a pleasure watching them grow both as players and as people and they will always be part of our Nets family. We wish each of them and their families all the best in the future.”

In their press release announcing the deal, the Cavs noted that they also acquired the draft rights to 2017 second-round pick Aleksandar Vezenkov from the Nets. Vezenkov has remained overseas since being drafted.

Interestingly, the Nets, Cavs, and Rockets opted to complete this trade as a three-team deal, meaning the trade sending LeVert and a second-round pick to Indiana for Oladipo will be a separate move.

Separating the two trades will allow the Rockets to generate a larger trade exception in this initial deal — that exception will be worth $15,451,216.


JANUARY 13: The Nets will acquire star guard James Harden in a trade with the Rockets, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link). Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that Harden will head to Brooklyn.

According to Wojnarowski and Shelburne (via Twitter) and Charania (Twitter link), it will be a multi-team trade that also involves the Cavaliers and Pacers, with the Rockets receiving Indiana guard Victor Oladipo in the deal.

The Rockets will acquire Oladipo from the Pacers; Rodions Kurucs, three first-round picks, and four pick swaps from the Nets; and Dante Exum and the Bucks’ unprotected 2022 first-round selection from the Cavs, per ESPN and The Athletic.

Cleveland will receive Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince from Brooklyn, while the Pacers acquire Caris LeVert.

Charania reports (via Twitter) that the Pacers will also receive a second-round pick in the trade. That second-rounder is a 2023 selection from the Rockets, tweets Wojnarowski.

In addition to Harden, the Nets will receive a 2024 second-round pick from Cleveland, says Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Cavaliers have traded away the more favorable of their own second-rounder and the Jazz’s second-rounder, so Brooklyn will presumably get the less favorable of those two picks.

This is a massive trade with a ton of moving parts to break down. Let’s start with the Nets’ side of the deal.

Nets’ perspective:

The draft picks the Nets are sending to Houston are their unprotected first-rounders in 2022, 2024, and 2026, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that the Rockets will have the ability to swap first-round picks with the Nets in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027 (without protections, tweets Zach Lowe of ESPN).

That means the Nets won’t control any of their own first-round picks through 2027, making this a massive bet on the star trio of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. Irving is currently away from the team on personal leave and is something of a question mark for the time being, but with Durant and Harden leading the offense, the Nets should have more than enough offensive firepower to get by until he returns.

The move, which makes Brooklyn an immediate championship contender, reunites Harden with his former Thunder teammate and fellow former MVP Durant. Harden will also team up once again with ex-Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who is now a Nets assistant.

As a result of trading four players for one, the Nets will have three open roster spots to fill, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Minimum-salary signings seem likely, since Brooklyn’s projected luxury tax bill will further increase as a result of taking on Harden’s $41MM+ salary.

However, the team also still has its $5.72MM taxpayer mid-level exception available and will likely be granted a disabled player exception worth about the same amount following Spencer Dinwiddie‘s ACL tear. As such, Brooklyn has the flexibility to sign players to deals worth more than the minimum.

Harden had a 15% trade kicker in his contract, but it will be voided since he’s already making the maximum salary.

While this blockbuster trade is probably a safe bet to work out better than the last time the Nets mortgaged their future by surrendering a series of first-round selections and pick swaps (for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce), it’s worth noting that Harden is 31 years old and Durant is 32 — the Nets’ picks for the next couple years figure to fall near the end of the first round, but there’s no guarantee that will still be the case by 2025, 2026, or 2027.

Rockets’ perspective:

The Rockets are clearly betting that some of those draft assets will become valuable, opting for a package heavy on picks rather than pushing to complete a trade with the Sixers for Ben Simmons, as was rumored earlier today. Although Simmons was said to be on the table in talks with Philadelphia, it’s not clear what the rest of that deal might have looked like.

By choosing to trade with the Nets and Pacers, the Rockets landed a two-time All-Star (Oladipo) in addition to four draft picks and four draft swaps. Oladipo will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so there’s no guarantee he’ll be a long-term Rocket. Houston will hold his Bird rights and could re-sign him in the offseason, but acquiring him this early in the season also gives the club the option of extracting further value by flipping him at the March 25 trade deadline.

Today’s trade agreement marks the end of a saga that began in November, when word first broke that Harden had turned down a two-year, $103MM extension offer and had requested a trade out of Houston. The Rockets didn’t move him in the offseason, prompting the superstar guard to express his displeasure by reporting late to training camp.

On Tuesday night, he accelerated his departure by telling reporters after a blowout loss that the Rockets were “just not good enough” and that he didn’t believe the situation could be fixed. Houston decided to keep Harden away from the team until a trade agreement could be reached, and ultimately took less than 24 hours to finalize a deal.

[RELATED: Rockets’ Players, Silas Discuss Harden Situation]

Barring any additional imminent changes, the Rockets will have a fascinating roster in the short term, headlined by a trio of former stars who are coming back from major injuries. Oladipo, who missed a year from 2019-20 with a quad issue, joins John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, who have looked good this season after long-term injury absences of their own.

With Christian Wood and P.J. Tucker in the frontcourt, Houston should be a competitive team this season, albeit probably not a legit contender. Today’s trade is more about the future. Having previously traded away a handful of their own future first-round picks and given up a pair of pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, the Rockets have replenished their stash of draft picks in recent months, first by trading Robert Covington and Russell Westbrook and now by moving Harden.

Houston, which had one open roster spot entering the day, will have to waive a player to complete the trade. The club will also generate an eight-figure trade exception in the deal.

All three of the players acquired in today’s trade by the Rockets – Oladipo, Kurucs, and Exum – can become free agents at season’s end (Kurucs has a team option for 2021/22).

It also shouldn’t be overlooked that moving Harden for three less expensive players will take the Rockets $3.65MM below the luxury tax line and $9.95MM below their hard cap, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Entering the day, Houston was over the tax and only about $1MM from the hard cap — the club should now have added financial and cap flexibility for the rest of the season.

Pacers’ perspective:

Oladipo has been the subject of trade rumors for the last year, since he has at times seemed lukewarm about the idea of remaining in Indiana after his current contract expires in 2021. While the Pacers had insisted they were comfortable hanging onto him and addressing his contract situation when free agency arrived, moving him for LeVert makes sense for the franchise.

While Oladipo is a stronger defender, LeVert is a talented scorer who is two years younger than Oladipo and is on a more favorable contract. LeVert is earning $16.2MM this season and is under contract for two additional years beyond 2020/21, at an affordable rate of $18.1MM per year.

As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report observes (via Twitter), re-signing Oladipo at the price he was seeking would’ve been a challenge for the Pacers, who are already on the hook for lucrative multiyear contracts for Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner. Locking in LeVert through 2022/23 should be much more financially manageable for Indiana.

In the short term, the Pacers will also slip under the luxury tax line as a result of swapping Oladipo ($21MM) for LeVert, tweets Marks.

Cavaliers’ perspective:

The Cavs are acquiring Prince and will send out Exum and a future second-round pick, but this trade is mostly about sending out the Bucks’ 2022 first-rounder in exchange for Allen, a promising young center who will be a restricted free agent during the coming offseason.

Cleveland already has a number of veteran options at the four and five, including Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., and JaVale McGee, so acquiring Allen will create more of a logjam in the short term.

In the long term though, you could make the case that none of the Cavs’ incumbent big men have more upside than Allen, who is averaging a double-double (11.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG) in a part-time role (26.7 MPG) so far this season.

If Allen starts at least five games for the Cavs during the rest of the 2020/21 season, he’ll meet the starter criteria and his qualifying offer in restricted free agency will be worth $7.7MM. He’d have the option of accepting that one-year offer, negotiating a longer-term deal with Cleveland, or signing an offer sheet with another team, which the Cavs could match.

In a pair of corresponding roster moves, the Cavs will waive Thon Maker and will end Yogi Ferrell‘s 10-day contract early, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Rivers, Thibs, Durant, Nets

Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina was one of the 13 players who didn’t sign a rookie scale extension by Monday’s deadline despite being eligible for a new deal, and will now be on track for 2021 free agency.

While some of those 13 players engaged in contract negotiations with their respective teams, that wasn’t the case for Ntilikina, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who says there were no extension talks between the Knicks and the former lottery pick.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Knicks won’t attempt to re-sign Ntilikina when he becomes a free agent in 2021 or that they’ll try to trade him before then. But it appears as if the team is content to take a wait-and-see approach with the fourth-year guard, as Begley observes.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • New Knicks combo guard Austin Rivers, who has missed all four preseason games due to a right groin injury had yet to return to practice as of Monday and seems very likely to miss the start of the regular season, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post.
  • Ian O’Connor of ESPN takes an in-depth look at Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, examining Thibs’ popularity among players, his coaching style, and his outlook in New York.
  • Nets forward Kevin Durant will face his old team in Tuesday night’s opener, but doesn’t anticipate added emotions or higher stakes in the game against the Warriors, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN“I feel like each game is important to me,” Durant said. “And it’s no more important to me because I am playing against my old teammates. I just feel like the game of basketball is going to have me on that level anyway and it’s going to be good to see some of my old teammates.”
  • The preseason gave us a preview of what the Nets‘ primary bench unit should look like, according to Mollie Walker of The New York Post, who says the group, led by Caris LeVert, should also feature Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Landry Shamet, and Jeff Green.

Nets Notes: Prince, LeVert, Green, Irving

There are questions about how Nets forward Taurean Prince fits into a 3-and-D role on a team featuring Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Despite that, Brooklyn’s front office is not inclined to pursue a salary-dump trade involving Prince, let alone attaching a pick to make it happen, sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Prince is due to make approximately $12.6MM during the upcoming season and another guaranteed $13.3MM in the 2021/22 season before his contract expires. Prince averaged 12.1 PPG and 6.0 RPG during last season but shot just 33.9% from long range.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Caris LeVert is well aware that his name has been bandied about in trade rumors, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. LeVert, whose three-year, $52.5MM extension kicks in this season, is often mentioned in rumors involving a third star to join forces with Durant and Irving. “I try not to pay attention to it, but it’s hard when you turn on TV and see certain things, when you turn on your social media and see certain things,” he said. “I just worry about the team, myself, putting in work every day.”
  • Veteran forward Jeff Green has known Durant since childhood and he’s thrilled they’re rejoining forces with the Nets, Lewis writes in a separate story. They played together in Seattle and Oklahoma City. “That’s where the friendship started to build, and then it just continued to build over the years and grow stronger,” said Green. “So I’m excited for this opportunity to play alongside him.”
  • Irving seems to be planning a media blackout this season, as Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Rather than doing a press conference heading into camp, Irving issued a statement. He wrote in part, “My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself.”

Western Notes: Kings, Atkinson, Pelicans, Thunder

Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon reportedly informed the Kings on Wednesday that he will not be involved in their search for a new head of basketball operations.

With Langdon pulling his name out of the Kings’ search, that leaves Sachin Gupta, Adam Simon, Calvin Booth, Monte McNair, and Wes Wilcox as potential replacements for Vlade Divac. Jason Jones of The Athletic looks at each candidate’s resume, exploring why they would make sense for Sacramento.

As Jones points out, the Kings head into the offseason with four picks in the 2020 NBA draft, including the 12th overall selection, but do not have a lot of cap space. Therefore, whoever Sacramento chooses will have a tall task ahead of them to break the team’s 14-year playoff drought.

Here’s more from across the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans are one of the many teams looking for a brand new head coach after firing Alvin Gentry. One potential candidate who could be of interest to New Orleans is former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who evaluates Atkinson’s fit in New Orleans. As Guillory details, Atkinson has a relationship with Langdon, who was the Nets’ assistant general manager, and could help further the development of New Orleans’ young roster like he did with Brooklyn.
  • After just missing out on the playoffs, the Pelicans hold the 13th overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft. But unlike the other teams in the lottery, New Orleans does not necessarily need its first-round pick and could use it to acquire veteran players. William Guillory of The Athletic draws up three trades that the Pelicans could execute to upgrade their roster. One trade Guillory created has the Nets giving up Taurean Prince and their 2020 first-rounder for Darius Miller, Nicolo Melli, and the No. 13 pick.
  • The Thunder will be looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Billy Donovan on Tuesday. Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman takes a deep dive into potential replacements, listing 50 possible candidates for OKC’s vacancy. Outside of the known options, Mussatto mentions multiple internal candidates, including Maurice Cheeks and Mark Daigneault.

Nets Forward Taurean Prince Tests Positive, Won’t Play In Orlando

In another major blow to the depleted Nets, forward Taurean Prince has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and will not play in Orlando, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Brooklyn has been devastated by injuries, illness and defections as teams head to Orlando for the league’s restart. Earlier on Tuesday, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie revealed he wouldn’t rejoin the team after testing positive for COVID-19 a second time.

A handful of other Nets players were ruled out in earlier weeks. Superstars Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) won’t participate. Nicolas Claxton (shoulder) is also injured, while Wilson Chandler has decided to sit out for family reasons and DeAndre Jordan opted out after contracting COVID-19.

Prince did not opt out of playing but his late positive test put his chances of recovering in time to return to action in jeopardy, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet. In his first season with the club after being traded last offseason by the Hawks, Prince averaged 12.1 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 64 games.

The Nets now have three open slots for substitute players, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes in a tweet. Brooklyn will have to rely heavily on Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen as the team tries to hold onto a playoff spot during the eight-game seeding round.

Atlantic Notes: Randle, Durant, Prince, Walker

New Knicks president Leon Rose is open to dealing Julius Randle despite Randle being a former client when Rose was a player agent, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Rose would also be willing to shed Randle’s contract after next season, even though Randle has a partial guarantee of $4MM on his $19.8MM salary for the 2021/22 season. Prior to Rose taking over, the Knicks had discussions with Charlotte before February’s trade deadline involving Randle, who reportedly upset some teammates this season with his ball-dominant style.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Members of the Knicks organization last summer expressed confidence that Kevin Durant would have signed with them if he hadn’t suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals, Ian Begley of SNY.TV reports. If that were true, Durant would have convinced Kyrie Irving to sign with New York instead of the Nets or recruited a different star to join him, Begley continues. The Knicks were not prepared last summer to offer Durant a max deal due to concerns from owner James Dolan regarding the injury. However, Durant has said publicly that he didn’t give the Knicks much consideration anyway, Begley notes.
  • Forward Taurean Prince took a step back this season and that could lead to a dilemma for the Nets, Zach Lowe of ESPN opines. Brooklyn gave Prince a two-year, $25.25MM rookie scale extension prior to the season that kicks in next season. He could have been a trade chip this summer in a package to bring in another star but it’s unclear what kind of value he has now, Lowe adds.
  • Kemba Walker would have remained with Charlotte for less than a super-max deal last summer but he knew that wouldn’t happen after meeting with Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Walker may have stayed put if the Hornets had offered him five years and approximately $180MM. The Celtics emerged as the most likely destination because they were already a playoff team and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had been enamored with Walker ever since the point guard’s days at the University of Connecticut, Himmelsbach adds.