Terry Rozier

Pincus’ Latest: VanVleet, Rozier, Russell, Conley, More

There’s a huge market for Fred VanVleet if the Raptors decide to trade him, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

The 28-year-old guard will be a free agent this summer if he turns down a $22.8MM player option, which Pincus says many league insiders expect to happen. VanVleet can negotiate an extension with Toronto through June 30, but the Raptors could try to move him before the deadline if they aren’t confident about reaching a new deal.

Pincus hears that the Heat, Lakers, Clippers, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Suns and Wizards would be among the most interested teams if VanVleet is made available. He also throws in the Magic, who are seeking an experienced lead guard to play alongside their young core.

The Raptors will want a premium price if they decide to part with VanVleet, Pincus adds, with some combination of young talent, draft assets and players on team-friendly contracts.

Pincus looks at a few other guards who could be changing teams before the deadline:

  • With the Hornets near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they may be willing to consider trading Terry Rozier, who has three more years and nearly $75MM left on his contract. Pincus notes that Charlotte discussed dealing Rozier to the Lakers last offseason and points out that Marc Stein recently identified the Suns as a possible suitor.
  • Pincus hears that the Heat, Suns, Mavericks and Clippers would all be interested in trading for D’Angelo Russell if the Timberwolves can’t reach an extension soon with the impending free agent.
  • Pincus lists the Lakers, Clippers and Timberwolves as teams in the market for Mike Conley if the Jazz decide to part with their veteran point guard. Conley has a $14.32MM guarantee on his $24.4MM salary for next season and would be much cheaper to acquire than Van Vleet.
  • Eric Gordon is attracting interest from the Suns, Lakers and Bucks, but Pincus believes the Rockets may not get the first-round pick they want in return. He suggests Houston might have to settle for a pick swap, using the 2023 first-rounder the team is owed from Milwaukee.
  • The Lakers haven’t given up trying to trade Russell Westbrook, but Pincus says they’re not willing to part with their two available first-round picks unless they get a star in return. He adds that L.A. may focus on smaller deals involving Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker in an effort to find wing depth or a backup big man.
  • The Hawks aren’t looking to move Trae Young now, but a source tells Pincus that it could be a consideration during the offseason. Young has clashed with coach Nate McMillan, and Atlanta’s overall turmoil may lead the team to seek a fresh start.

Trade Rumors: Suns, Holmes, Reid, Raptors, Bamba

Suns point guard Chris Paul has missed 21 of 48 games this season due to injuries and has seen his production dip even when he’s healthy — his 13.4 points per game would be a career low, while his 42.7% field goal percentage is the second-worst mark of his career.

Paul’s limitations have prompted the Suns to begin considering their post-CP3 future at point guard, according to Marc Stein, who reports at Substack that Phoenix has identified the RaptorsFred VanVleet, the HornetsTerry Rozier, and the KnicksImmanuel Quickley as potential trade targets.

As Stein outlines, the Knicks are considered unlikely to move Quickley and it remains to be seen what Toronto’s intentions are for VanVleet, but Rozier is widely believed to be very much available for a struggling Hornets club that will likely be one of the deadline’s top sellers.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors from around the NBA:

  • Teams with a need for frontcourt help are keeping an eye on Kings center Richaun Holmes as a possible buyout candidate if Sacramento can’t move him before the trade deadline, says Stein. That seems like a long shot, given that Holmes is still owed $12MM in 2023/24 and $12.9MM on a ’24/25 player option after this season.
  • Following up on Michael Scotto’s reporting on Naz Reid, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer cites league sources who say that the Nets are among the teams who have inquired on the Timberwolves big man. Scotto identified the Clippers and Nuggets as teams with interest in Reid.
  • League sources are skeptical that the Raptors will move Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby unless the return is massive, but view Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet as more viable trade candidates due to their contract situations, writes O’Connor. Both Trent and VanVleet have 2023/24 player options which they’re expected to decline.
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba is considered “readily available” via trade, sources tell O’Connor. Bamba re-signed with Orlando in the offseason but has played a modest reserve role, averaging 17.4 minutes per game in 37 appearances. His $10.3MM salary for 2023/24 is non-guaranteed.

Spurs, Hornets Expected To Be Among Top Deadline Sellers

The Spurs and Hornets are viewed as two of the NBA’s “assured” sellers in this season’s trade market, Shams Charania of The Athletic writes in his latest Inside Pass column.

In San Antonio, veterans Jakob Poeltl, Doug McDermott, and Josh Richardson are considered the team’s top trade candidates. Poeltl and Richardson are on expiring contracts, while McDermott is under contract for one more season at the same salary he’s earning this year ($13.75MM).

Confirming a previous report indicating that Poeltl is generating significant interest, Charania says the Raptors and Celtics are among the teams that have shown interest in the big man. According to Charania, Poeltl is widely respected within the organization and the Spurs would like him to be part of their long-term future, but they’ll have to take into account his price tag as a free agent and the risk of losing him for nothing this summer.

The Spurs have had a standing extension offer of four years and $58MM (his in-season max) on the table for Poeltl since before the season, per Charania, but the center has passed on that offer and is expected to do much better on the open market. Rival executives believe he could approach $20MM per year on his next deal, Charania adds.

San Antonio will have a ton of cap room available this summer, so it’s not as if the franchise won’t have the means to retain Poeltl. However, there’s a belief among rival teams that the 27-year-old’s desire to play for a contender could be an important factor as he weighs his future, Charania notes.

As for the Hornets, Mason Plumlee, Kelly Oubre, and Jalen McDaniels – all on track for unrestricted free agency in 2023 – are considered candidates to be moved. According to Charania, Charlotte is also expected to listen to inquiries on guard Terry Rozier, even though he’s still under contract for three years beyond this one.

More sellers besides Charlotte and San Antonio figure to emerge in the coming weeks, but for now, only two other teams are with them in the NBA’s cellar, well out of play-in contention. Those teams are the Pistons and Rockets.

Multiple recent reports have suggested that Detroit has set a high asking price for veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, but the team is believed to be open to conversations. The Raptors, Lakers, Pelicans, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Mavericks are among the clubs that have registered interest in Bogdanovic, league sources tell The Athletic.

As for the Rockets, their roster isn’t exactly loaded with expendable vets. Shooting guard Eric Gordon is the team’s most obvious trade candidate, but Houston is seeking either a good young player or a first-round pick in exchange for Gordon, says Charania.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Trade Market, LeBron, Bryant, Christie

The foot injury that Anthony Davis suffered last week has decreased the chances that the Lakers will gamble on a major trade, multiple sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. He adds that the only exception would be if the team can acquire a young star that it believes can succeed alongside Davis over the next few years.

Even before the Davis injury, the Lakers’ front office wasn’t confident that there was a trade available that would turn the team into contenders, Buha states. He suggests the most likely current scenario is a deal that would include some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-rounder in either 2027 or 2029 in exchange for a 3-and-D wing or a combo forward.

Along with the players who have already been linked to the Lakers in trade talks, Buha’s sources point to the SunsJae Crowder, the RocketsEric Gordon, the PistonsAlec Burks, the HornetsTerry RozierP.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. and the SpursJosh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl as players to watch.

There’s more on the Lakers, all from Buha:

  • LeBron James has posted four straight 30-point games, but his playing time is starting to become a concern. He’s averaged 39.2 minutes over the past five games, and the Lakers need to be careful that they don’t rely too heavily on him. Buha notes that James, who will turn 38 next week, ranks sixth in minutes per game among players with at least 50 total games over the past two seasons.
  • The loss of Davis has been eased somewhat by the emergence of Thomas Bryant. Buha states that Bryant was considered “almost unplayable” before Davis got hurt, but he’s averaging 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in the last three games while shooting 61.1% from the field and 55.6% from three-point range. The 25-year-old center joined the Lakers during the offseason on a veteran’s minimum contract and will be a free agent again next summer.
  • Rookie shooting guard Max Christie recently moved into the rotation and may be playing well enough to stay there. The second-round pick provides a much-needed 3-and-D option for coach Darvin Ham, and he’s one of the best rebounders among the team’s guards.
  • The starting backcourt of Beverley and Dennis Schroder hasn’t performed well, and Buha wonders why Ham keeps playing them together. The Lakers are minus-50 in 161 minutes when they’re on the court at the same time, and their skills seem to be redundant.

Southeast Notes: Carter, Wizards, Morris, Rozier

Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is targeting Friday for his return from a right plantar fascia strain, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Carter, who hasn’t played since November 18, told Price that the injured area is “feeling a lot better.”

Carter said he and the team put together a plan several days ago for him to play in Friday’s matchup with the Spurs, which marks the start of a two-game homestand. In preparation, Carter has been scrimmaging with assistant coaches and some of his teammates.

“Since I missed so much [time] it was like 75% getting my foot back right and then the other 25% of making sure — I haven’t played in four weeks — they want to make sure I don’t go out there and tweak something because it hasn’t had that same stress,” Carter said. “Hamstrings, quads, whatever the case may be. They just want to make sure I ramp it up to the point where it might not be exactly how the game will be but it’s close enough to where my body can start to get re-acclimated and be good to go.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason for the Wizards‘ losing streak, which reached 10 games with Sunday’s narrow defeat against the Lakers, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Injuries have been an issue, but the losing continued as Kristaps Porzingis came back Saturday and Bradley Beal returned Sunday.
  • Monte Morris was surprised to learn that he had been traded to the Wizards after five years in Denver, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth admits that he went to dinner with Morris and promised him that he wouldn’t be dealt, but Booth said he couldn’t pass up the chance to acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope when the opportunity arose. “I was definitely shocked because I heard different things like I wasn’t going nowhere and stuff,” Morris said. “For me, that just showed me you can’t really put all your eggs in one basket nowhere. Ain’t no hard feelings towards him or nobody. I put that personal side behind me the moment they said the trade was done with. It’s just business.”
  • Hornets guard Terry Rozier suffered a contusion on his right hip while diving for a loose ball Sunday night, according to Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. Rozier’s status for Monday’s game at Sacramento will be determined later today.

Trade Rumors: Reddish, Fournier, Bogdanovic, Raptors, More

The Lakers have discussed trade concepts involving Knicks wings Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported last week that the Lakers and Knicks discussed a potential three-team deal, so perhaps Fournier, who’s out of New York’s rotation and owed $36.86MM through 2023/24 (with a $19MM club option in ’24/25), could have been heading to the unknown team in that scenario.

Reddish was also removed from Knicks’ rotation recently and is in the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $5.95MM this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent in 2023 if he’s issued an $8.1MM qualifying offer.

Here are some more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Following up on the Lakers/Knicks reports, sources tell Kurt Helin of NBC Sports that Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring salary is unlikely to be dealt due to the assets the Lakers would have to attach to move him.
  • Charania wrote earlier today that L.A. remains in pursuit of forward Bojan Bogdanovic, and are offering a protected first-round pick and salary-matching contracts. Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack article (subscriber link) that the Pistons are “insisting on a fully unprotected future first from the Lakers to seriously entertain” dealing the veteran sharpshooter.
  • Though they’re considered a less likely seller than the Bulls, rival teams are keeping a close eye on the Raptors ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “The timeline of their players don’t match,” one source said. “They have good players, but it will be interesting to see how they navigate with OG [Anunoby] and Fred [VanVleet].” VanVleet will likely decline his $22.8MM player option for ’23/24 in search of a longer-term deal, while Anunoby will almost certainly decline his own option in ’24/25, so Toronto has more time to decide what to do with him. According to Pincus’ sources, the Magic and other rebuilding clubs with cap space next summer might be worth keeping an eye on for VanVleet, who has struggled mightily with his shot this season (.360/.326/.846 splits through 21 games).
  • Perhaps the most available player amongst the Raptors‘ rotation regulars could be shooting guard Gary Trent Jr., who can also become a free agent if he declines his $18.8MM player option for ’23/24. “I don’t think they want to keep Trent,” one source told Pincus. Toronto is just 2-5 in its last seven games, including two straight losses at Orlando, and currently holds a 13-14 record.
  • Pincus suggests the Jazz might be more of a buyer than a seller after their 15-14 start to the season. He also mentions that teams are eyeing the Hornets as a seller after injuries and off-court issues ravaged the roster. According to Pincus, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre, Mason Plumlee and P.J. Washington are among the players worth watching. Washington, in particular, is reportedly seeking more money than Charlotte might be willing to offer in restricted free agency, per Pincus.

Hornets’ Ball, Rozier, Martin “Extremely Close” To Return

The Hornets have been shorthanded to start the 2022/23 season and currently sit with a 3-5 record entering Friday’s game at Memphis, but reinforcements could be coming soon.

Head coach Steve Clifford said on Friday that LaMelo Ball (Grade 2 left ankle sprain), Terry Rozier (right ankle sprain) and Cody Martin (left quad soreness) are all “extremely close” to returning from their injuries, adding that the team has been cautious so they don’t have any setbacks, as Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer tweets.

While Clifford’s update was certainly positive, he wouldn’t commit to any of three players participating in Saturday’s game against the Nets or Monday’s game against the Wizards. Still, it appears that their returns are imminent, according to Boone (Twitter link).

Ball was previously ruled out for Friday’s game, and Rozier and Martin were both downgraded from doubtful to out, the Hornets announced (via Twitter). Gordon Hayward is also sidelined with a left shoulder contusion.

The 21-year-old Ball, a former No. 3 overall pick, has missed the entire regular season to this point after suffering the Grade 2 ankle sprain in a preseason game on October 10. A first-time All-Star last season for the Hornets, the point guard will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next offseason after the team picked up his 2023/24 option.

Rozier, typically the team’s other starting guard, has been limited to just two games thus far. He has been very productive when healthy, averaging 23.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 8.5 APG and 1.5 BPG in 33.0 MPG.

Martin was injured less than a minute into the season opener after re-signing with the Hornets on a four-year, $31.36MM deal over the summer (the final year is non-guaranteed). Clifford previously called the small forward a “critical player” for Charlotte.

Once all of the Hornets are healthy, guards Dennis Smith Jr. (who has been starting at point guard), James Bouknight and Theo Maledon will almost certainly see their minutes reduced. Having said that, Smith seems like an excellent candidate to remain in the rotation going forward, as he’s played very well through eight games, averaging 12.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.4 APG and 2.3 SPG on .494/.421/.571 shooting in 30.9 MPG.

Charania’s Latest: Lakers, Rozier, J. Richardson, Crowder

Hornets guard Terry Rozier was on the Lakers‘ radar over the offseason as a potential trade candidate, and Los Angeles still has a “high” level of interest in him, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As Charania outlines, the Lakers and Hornets explored possible three- and four-team trade scenarios involving Rozier during the summer, but his availability during the season will depend on how Charlotte performs.

As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer noted earlier today, Charlotte was mentioned as a possible landing spot for Lakers guard Russell Westbrook earlier in the year, but that was when the Hornets were interested in moving off some multiyear salary in preparation of a lucrative new deal for Miles Bridges. With Bridges’ basketball future up in the air, that may no longer be a priority.

Still, it’s possible that if the Hornets fall out of playoff contention, a deal structured around Westbrook, Rozier, and perhaps Gordon Hayward (who is owed $31.5MM in 2023/24) could appeal to the team, despite a reduced need to create future financial flexibility.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Lakers have had preliminary discussions in recent weeks about a possible trade involving Spurs swingman Josh Richardson, sources tell Charania. San Antonio still has a significant amount of cap room available this season and could take on Westbrook’s contract without having to match salaries. However, the Spurs would need to trade at least one more player in addition to Richardson to be able to absorb Westbrook’s $47MM+ cap hit.
  • Charania reiterates that the Bucks, Heat, and Hawks are potential suitors for veteran forward Jae Crowder, who remains away from the Suns as they seek a trade. According to Charania, Phoenix and Milwaukee have engaged in some recent discussions about a possible deal involving Crowder.
  • As we relayed in a full story earlier this morning, Charania also reported that the Timberwolves have discussed possible extensions with Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Porzingis, Rozier, Bridges, Herro, Magic

The Wizards‘ two stars remain on track to be available for the team’s regular season opener next week. Bradley Beal, who briefly entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, was cleared on Monday following a negative COVID-19 test and has since rejoined the club at practice, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter links).

Meanwhile, Kristaps Porzingis sprained his left ankle during Monday’s preseason game vs. Charlotte, but that injury is considered very minor, Hughes writes for NBC Sports Washington.

“I already knew it was nothing major. I wanted to go back in in the second half,” Porzingis said. “But I just wanted to be smart, they told me to relax and get ready for the next one or for the regular season.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hornets, who aren’t exactly loaded with point guard depth, are expected to shift Terry Rozier over from his shooting guard spot to take on additional ball-handling responsibilities while LaMelo Ball recovers from an ankle sprain, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “Look, Terry was the starting point guard on a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals,” head coach Steve Clifford said, referring to the 2018 Celtics. “So it’s a role that he’s comfortable with. And if that ends up being the situation, that’s how we’d do it.”
  • The preliminary court hearing for Hornets forward Miles Bridges has been delayed yet again, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, who tweets that the new date is October 17. That hearing for Bridges, who has pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges, was initially scheduled for August 19.
  • Trading Tyler Herro after signing him to a rookie scale extension would have been tricky due to the poison pill provision. However, that didn’t stop the Heat from making their initial extension offer to the fourth-year guard on July 1, even as they remained involved in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. According to Herro, that original offer was worth $100MM over four years. He eventually accepted once the Heat upped their offer to a guaranteed $120MM. “Thirty million a year is what I thought I was worth,” Herro said.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel takes a look at how the Magic intend to compensate for the play-making they’ll be missing with guards Markelle Fultz (toe) and Jalen Suggs (knee) sidelined to start the season. “We talk about this often — sometimes injuries provide opportunities for others,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “With that being said, Franz (Wagner) will have an opportunity to handle the ball more, Paolo (Banchero) will handle the ball more. We play maybe a little bit more — as you saw last year — through Wendell (Carter). Those are going to be the opportunities to happen as we move forward.”

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Role, Ham, Trade Talks, Schröder

Despite the recent additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder, Russell Westbrook is increasingly likely to remain on the Lakers‘ roster, according to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

However, sources tell The Athletic that Westbrook’s role might change, with the team “strongly” considering having the former league MVP come off the bench in 2022/23. New head coach Darvin Ham has the “full backing” of the organization to determine lineups for the upcoming season, and Westbrook will have to outperform his new teammates during minicamp, training camp and the preseason to remain the Lakers’ starting point guard, Buha and Amick write.

Unless the Lakers can find a trade that they believe makes them a legitimate title contender, Westbrook is “highly likely” to stay on the roster, sources tell The Athletic.

A major part of that line of thinking is the Lakers want to keep their financial and trade options open for ’23/24, when they project to have $30MM+ in cap room for free agency, per Buha and Amick. Westbrook is on an expiring contract worth $47.1MM, and the Lakers have been reluctant to trade their 2027 and/or 2029 first-round picks to offload him.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Los Angeles is banking on Ham being able to optimize Westbrook’s talent — and get through to him in a way that Frank Vogel couldn’t — as well as a return to health for Anthony Davis in order for the ’22/23 season to be successful, sources tell Buha and Amick.
  • According to Buha and Amick, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Jazz, Knicks and Hornets prior to Donovan Mitchell being dealt to Cleveland, with an early framework sending Bojan Bogdanovic and Terry Rozier to L.A.
  • Los Angeles continues to show interest in Bogdanovic, with The Athletic’s duo reporting that Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley have been included in recent talks with Utah for Westbrook. However, a deal is considered unlikely because of the aforementioned reasons — the Lakers don’t want to part with first-rounders and Clarkson has a $14.3MM player option for ’23/24 that would eat into the team’s potential cap room.
  • Along the same lines, Buha and Amick write that dealing Westbrook to the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, which has been rumored multiple times, is also “not expected” — Hield has a $19.3MM cap hit in ’23/24.
  • Schröder made an Instagram post expressing his excitement about returning to the Lakers, saying that he wanted to “make s–t right!” Schröder’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link) that the team informed Schröder that “there will be a lot of minutes for everybody” despite a crowded backcourt.