Terrence Ross

Southeast Notes: Fournier, Reddish, Ross, Kuzma

After spending six-and-a-half years in Orlando, Knicks guard Evan Fournier knew he was on the way out last season when he heard the Magic sent Nikola Vucevic to Chicago, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Orlando purged most of its veteran talent at the trade deadline as the team committed fully to rebuilding. Within a few hours, the Magic finalized deals involving Vucevic, Fournier and Aaron Gordon.

“Once they pulled the plug with Vuc — because Vuc got traded first to Chicago — I remember it was the one year where I felt, OK, this might happen for real now,’’ Fournier said. ‘When I saw Vuc, I was with my wife at home like, ‘Yeah, honey, we out,’ because obviously you trade Vuc. Then it was myself, then it was Gordon.’’

Fournier, who was dealt to the Celtics before signing with New York over the summer, is glad to be in different surroundings as he prepares to face his former team for the second straight game. With a roster full of young players, the Magic may be looking at several years before they return to the playoffs.

“That’s a rebuild, so a rebuild takes time,’’ Fournier said. “It is definitely gonna take them time to figure it out. It’s not my problem anymore.’’

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Rival teams view Hawks forward Cam Reddish as a strong trade candidate, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Atlanta made Reddish available at the March deadline and again heading into the draft, but couldn’t find the right deal, Scotto states. One executive told Scotto that teams would be willing to offer a protected lottery pick for Reddish.
  • Executives around the league expect the Magic to eventually trade Terrence Ross to a playoff team, Scotto adds in the same piece. Orlando was seeking a first-round pick in exchange for the veteran swingman last season, but teams may not be willing to meet that price. “He’ll be moved,” an unidentified executive said. “They were trying to move him at the draft. They wanted to put him in a place where he could win. I think he’s worth a couple of second-round picks.”
  • Kyle Kuzma, who was part of the Wizards‘ return for sending Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, believes the deal has made Washington a better team, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I mean, you gotta do that trade 10 out of 10 times,” Kuzma said. “If you have an opportunity to get five good basketball players for one, it makes sense. Granted, (Westbrook is) obviously a Hall-of-Fame player and everything. He’s an unbelievable player, don’t take that wrong. But especially for a team like Washington, if you look at the track record from the past couple of years, it hasn’t necessarily been enough ballplayers here. … It’s smart, you have to do it if you’re a GM.”

Southeast Notes: Avdija, Dinwiddie, Ball, Heat, Magic

Wizards forward Deni Avdija, who fractured his right ankle in April, participated in 5-on-5 scrimmages on Monday for the first time during his recovery process, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team is hoping Avdija will be able to return to the court during the preseason, perhaps as soon as Saturday.

Meanwhile, another player coming off a major injury – Spencer Dinwiddie – is making a strong early impression with his new club. Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Tuesday that he has been “pleasantly surprised” with how Dinwiddie looks this fall, suggesting that the veteran point guard appears “he’s back to normal” following his partial ACL tear last December (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • LaMelo Ball looks fully healthy after dealing with a wrist injury at the end of last season, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, who notes that the Hornets have inserted Miles Bridges into their starting lineup this season at least in part to take advantage of the chemistry between him and Ball.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic was surprised that the win-now Heat weren’t more willing to cross the luxury tax line this offseason, pointing out that they could’ve given free agent guard Kendrick Nunn the same deal he got from the Lakers and remained below the hard cap. As Hollinger outlines, Miami could avoid the tax this season and next, but project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24 if Tyler Herro is extended.
  • The Magic started rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner alongside veterans Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, and Wendell Carter in their first preseason game on Monday, but head coach Jamahl Mosley said that won’t necessarily be the same group that opens the regular season as the team’s starting five. “The way I try to look at it in this instance was, because it’s an extension of training camp, I’m just going to try looking at different lineups,” Mosley said, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “So it was treating it similar to a practice: We’d have different lineups going against one another, different combinations.”

Eastern Rumors: Ball, Rose, Tucker, Portis, Allen, Williams, Fournier, Schroder, Horton-Tucker

The Bulls are looking to make to major additions to shore up their point guard position, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have been linked for months to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and there’s thought to be mutual interest between the two sides on a four-year deal worth more than $80MM. If the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball, he’ll be a restricted free agent — the Bulls would have to give him an offer sheet and hope New Orleans doesn’t match it, or work out a sign-and-trade with the Pels.

The Bulls may have some competition from the Celtics, who have been recently mentioned as a potential Ball suitor after dealing away Kemba Walker. There’s increasing speculation the Celtics will not look to re-sign unrestricted free agent Evan Fournier, says Fischer. That possibility increased significantly after the Celtics agreed to acquire Josh Richardson from the Mavericks.

Chicago is also considering another Derrick Rose reunion and there’s mutual interest. It’s uncertain if the Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau can convince Rose, an unrestricted free agent, to re-sign with them if the Bulls make a hard push. However, Chicago will likely need to shed salary in order to bring in both Ball and Rose and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to outbid the Bulls for his services. While that’s a best case scenario in the Bulls’ eyes, they’re intent on adding two point guards this summer, especially with Coby White out indefinitely after undergoing left shoulder surgery, per Fischer.

Fischer offers up a number of other interesting items:

  • The Bucks are interested in bringing back two of their prominent free agents. They’d like to re-sign defensive specialist P.J. Tucker on a contract in the neighborhood of two years and $20MM. They are also hoping to re-sign forward Bobby Portis and the feeling is mutual. Since the Bucks only have Non-Bird rights on Portis, they’d have to use their mid-level exception to give him a starting salary higher than about $4.3MM.
  • The Cavaliers view the Raptors as their main threat to re-signing restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. Toronto’s interest in Allen surfaced last weekend. However, Cleveland is likely to match any offer sheet for Allen. The Raptors are also eying Kings free agent Richaun Holmes.
  • League sources think Lou Williams, one of the league’s top reserves, could re-sign with the Hawks on a veteran’s minimum deal, sys Fischer.
  • The Knicks, who need to add scoring punch, have expressed interest in Fournier. They’ve also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. Schroder will be looking for a new home after the Lakers agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook. Previous reports have indicated the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Fournier and Schroder. Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent after the Lakers extended a qualifying offer, though the team has the option of pulling it off the table.
  • According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, there’s support within the Knicks organization to pursue Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie and he’s interested in remaining in New York. Devonte’ GrahamKendrick Nunn, and Kyle Lowry are some other potential targets at point guard. At the wing, the Knicks have some interest in the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and they’ve had discussions with the Magic this week regarding a potential Terrence Ross trade.

Trade Rumors: Reddish, Pacers, Knicks, McDaniels, Kemba, Bulls

The Hawks and Pacers have had exploratory talks about a deal that would send Cam Reddish and the No. 20 pick to Indiana in exchange for the No. 13 selection, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer had previously reported that the Hawks and Pacers had discussed the No. 13 pick, and reported separately that Atlanta had offered Reddish and the No. 20 pick to teams in the late lottery, so it was safe to assume Reddish was on the table in those talks with Indiana. Scotto confirms as much, though it remains to be seen if the two sides will work out an agreement.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the league as the start of the 2021 NBA draft nears:

  • Scotto and Marc Berman of The New York Post each confirmed that the Knicks have talked to the Magic about a possible Terrence Ross trade, as was reported earlier. Berman hears that the Knicks are offering draft assets and that Orlando has made Ross available for the better part of a year.
  • According to Scotto, the Knicks have asked the Magic about the No. 8 pick, but didn’t gain any real traction. They’ve also talked to the Spurs about No. 12, per Scotto, who says the sense around the league is that New York is eyeing Chris Duarte.
  • Multiple lottery teams have expressed interest in trading for Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, according to Scotto. However, Minnesota remains reluctant to move McDaniels, whom the team views as part of its core going forward.
  • The Thunder are exploring possible trades for Kemba Walker, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. This had been expected, as Oklahoma City has made a habit in the last couple years of taking on unwanted contracts and then trying to flip them for positive value.
  • The Bulls are eyeing draft prospects Miles McBride and Nah’Shon Hyland and may be looking to trade into the back half of the first round, tweets Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago currently only has the No. 38 pick in the 2021 draft.

O’Connor’s Latest: Pistons, OKC, Grizzlies, Wagner, Pacers, More

The Pistons continued to receive inquiries about what it would take to trade the No. 1 pick, with the draft now just hours away, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Although there has been increasing speculation about the possibility of Detroit trading down or even using the top pick to select Jalen Green, executives around the NBA still think the club will end up drafting Cade Cunningham, says O’Connor.

Here’s more from O’Connor on Thursday’s draft:

  • The Thunder have talked to all five teams drafting ahead of them about the possibility of moving up, per O’Connor. Rival executives aren’t sure exactly which prospect(s) Oklahoma City is targeting, but the club is thought to be high on Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes.
  • The Grizzlies, who agreed to acquire the No. 10 pick from New Orleans, are interested in another move up to the 6-8 range, according to O’Connor, who says Memphis has pursued last-minute meetings with prospects like Jonathan Kuminga, Alperen Sengun, and Davion Mitchell.
  • Franz Wagner claims he has grown two inches since college, to 6’11”, and multiple league sources believe that’s true, though there has been no update on his official measurement, O’Connor reports.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers are “juggling” trade talks involving the No. 13 pick, Myles Turner, and T.J. Warren in separate scenarios. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that Indiana is fielding a lot of calls for the No. 13 selection, including from the Hawks. Atlanta has also been in touch with the Hornets about the No. 11 pick, says O’Connor.
  • O’Connor confirms a couple items that were previously speculated, writing that the Knicks are involved in trade discussions for Magic swingman Terrence Ross and reporting that the Hawks have offered the No. 20 pick and Cam Reddish to teams drafting in the late lottery.

Terrence Ross Receiving Trade Interest

Several teams have been in contact with the Magic to discuss potential trades involving guard/forward Terrence Ross, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

As Begley explains, rival clubs believe the Magic would be open to moving Ross, given their pivot to a full rebuild earlier the year. Ross was essentially the only high-priced Orlando veteran who stayed put at the trade deadline, as Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier were sent to new teams.

Ross, 30, established a new career high in 2020/21 by averaging 15.6 points per game in 46 contests (29.3 MPG). His three-point percentage dipped to 33.7%, but he has been a reliable outside shooter throughout his career, having converted 37.0% of his attempts prior to last season.

Ross is under contract for two more seasons. He’s owed $12.5MM next season and $11.5MM in 2022/23 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023.

Begley doesn’t have information on which teams, specifically, have talked to the Magic about Ross, but he speculates that the Knicks could be a fit, given their surplus of draft picks and cap room. Some of New York’s top three-point marksmen – including Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks – are free agents, so the club will certainly be in the market for shooting.

Southeast Notes: Biyombo, Heat, Dragic, Lowry, Ross

Hornets center Bismack Biyombo provided much-needed leadership and guidance to his younger teammates this season, Sam Perley of NBA.com writes.

Charlotte has a young core of LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington among others. Biyombo, who held per-game averages of 5.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.4 minutes in his 10th NBA season, relished the role of veteran leader for the team.

“The most special part was that this was a team where nobody had an ego,” Biyombo said. “We trusted each other, supported each other. We didn’t want to hear the outside noise. When you’re around a team that doesn’t have egos, it’s easy to lead and be a voice of the team.

“People are able to listen and you can listen to other people give their opinion and be willing to understand where the other person is coming from. I think overall, we trusted and relied on each other. I think that was the most special part about this season.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Some Heat players could still have a short offseason despite being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores. While it won’t be nearly as brief as last offseason, it’ll be shorter than usual — the league plans to return to a normal format next season, meaning training camps will start the final week of September. Should Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo participate in the Olympics, it would reduce their time off even further.
  • In his “Ask Ira” mailbag, Winderman examines whether replacing Goran Dragic with Kyle Lowry would be enough of an upgrade for the team. Miami holds a $19.44MM team option on Dragic for next season, while Lowry is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Magic veteran Terrence Ross found new ways to score this season, elevating his game to another level, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Ross averaged a career-high 15.6 points per game, shooting 41% from the field and 34% from three-point range in 46 contests.

Southeast Notes: Goodwin, Reddish, Hunter, Porter Jr., Magic

Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin and forward Cam Reddish won’t play in Game 3 against Philadelphia on Friday, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Goodwin is dealing with a minor respiratory condition, while Reddish is still working his way back from right Achilles soreness. Reddish has played 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 in practices, but hasn’t progressed to 5-on-5 yet, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. He hasn’t appeared in a game since February 21.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks have missed De’Andre Hunter‘s defensive versatility against the Sixers, Kirschner writes. Hunter, who is out for the season due to a knee injury, has the ability to guard four positions. Hunter would have been a major upgrade over Solomon Hill, who can’t defend as well and also doesn’t offer as much offensively as Hunter.
  • Otto Porter Jr. didn’t get much of a chance to show what he could do for the Magic due to injuries, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Porter was acquired by Orlando from Chicago at the trade deadline to make the salaries match up in the Nikola Vucevic blockbuster. Porter, an unrestricted free agent this summer, was limited to three games with the Magic due to a foot injury.
  • The first step in the Magic’s latest rebuild begins with the return of starters Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz from major knee injuries, Parry writes in a separate story. The draft is another key, since the Magic could have two top-10 picks, if the Bulls’ pick they own doesn’t move into the top four. They could also move Gary Harris or Terrence Ross for more cap flexibility or assets, Parry adds.

Injury Notes: Ingram, Vucevic, LeBron, Magic

An MRI has revealed that Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram suffered a left low-ankle sprain during the team’s 108-103 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday, the team has announced via Twitter. Ingram is set to miss Friday night’s contest against the Sixers and is considered day-to-day with the injury beyond that.

Losing Ingram, the club’s second-leading scorer behind All-Star forward Zion Williamson, could be a major blow for New Orleans as the team strives to qualify for the play-in tournament in a crowded Western Conference field. With a 30-36 record, the Pelicans currently sit just two games behind the Spurs for a shot at the play-in tournament in the West this season.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • Bulls All-Star center Nikola Vučević (adductor) was able to fully participate in a team practice today, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Head coach Billy Donovan commented that the sharp-shooting big man, who has missed the club’s last two games, “looked fine.”
  • Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James will miss at least the next two games and potentially more as he grapples with fresh, sharp pain in his sprained ankle, Dave McMenamin told Rachel Nichols and Richard Jefferson on ESPN’s The Jump (Twitter video link). A source informed McMenamin that James is “focusing on the big picture” right now. “Does ‘big picture’ mean two more games missed? I’m not so sure,” McMenamin said. “He is clearly prioritizing using every bit of time he can to… get back for the playoffs.”
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford has indicated that five injured players could miss the rest of the 2020/21 NBA season, tweets Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams and power forward Chuma Okeke are both sidelined with ankle sprains. Wing James Ennis is unavailable with a sore calf. Injury-prone forward Otto Porter Jr., who has played in just 28 games this season for the Magic and Bulls, is struggling with foot pain. Swingman Terrence Ross has been felled by back spasms. “I don’t even know what the time frame [is],” Clifford conceded. “If you look at the schedule now, it’s seven games, I think it’d be 12 days, and I’m not sure even if any of those guys are that close, to be honest with you.”

Magic Rumors: Gordon, Vucevic, Ross, Fournier

As we relayed earlier today, Portland and Minnesota are among the teams interested in Aaron Gordon, but the Magic forward is receiving interest from several other clubs as well.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Rockets, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Warriors are all eyeing Gordon. Some lead members of the Pelicans‘ front office are high on Gordon too, per Fischer. And the Pistons have also inquired about him, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Haynes suggests that Gordon would be “open to a change of scenery.”

Gordon has been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time and the Magic’s current front office hasn’t made many major deals in recent years, so some people around the league are skeptical that Orlando will do anything big at next week’s deadline, per Fischer.

“You talk to them and it’s just like, ‘Well, you know, we’re open to this…’ It’s just like talking in circles,” an assistant general manager told Fischer. Another league source added: “They don’t pick up the phone and call.”

However, according to Fischer, the Magic have already seriously explored moving Gordon and are seeking a return of young players and draft picks. Prior to Gordon’s ankle sprain, the Magic and Timberwolves were making progress on a potential deal that would have sent the 25-year-old to Minnesota for a package that included Ricky Rubio and draft capital, sources told Bleacher Report.

Brooklyn also made an offer for Gordon in mid-January before acquiring James Harden, according to Fischer, though the Nets may not have been targeting the Magic forward for themselves. Fischer reports that Houston is especially interested in Gordon and asked teams during the Harden discussions to engage Orlando about the veteran forward. The Rockets may be taking a similar approach in their Victor Oladipo trade talks, Fischer adds.

Here’ more on the Magic:

  • In addition to Gordon, the Magic are believed to be listening to inquiries on Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vucevic, though Vucevic is considered far less likely than the others to be moved. Sources tell Fischer that for Orlando to consider a Vucevic offer, it would need to include at least a starter-caliber player and multiple first-round picks. “It would have to be to a point where (a team) offers what someone hasn’t yet been willing to offer,” one Western Conference executive said.
  • The Celtics are said to have interest in Vucevic, but their overtures haven’t piqued Orlando’s interest, according to Fischer, who says Boston may be focused on Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge for the time being.
  • Some executives believe the Magic could get a late first-round pick for Ross or Fournier, but most believe that a package of multiple second-rounders is more realistic, writes Fischer. “If you know you can get better, I would give up all my seconds (for Fournier). Who cares?” one assistant GM said. “I think he’s a good sixth man, maybe a fifth starter. One night he might give you 20, the next night he’s giving you eight. But he definitely can put that thing in the basket, and you gotta guard him.”
  • Here’s what one Eastern Conference exec had to say about the Magic and their trade candidates, per Fischer: “They should sell. They own their first-round pick. If you can get that pick into the top five, and you’re adding back Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz next season, all of a sudden things could look very different.”