Trey Burke

Thunder, Rockets Complete Eight-Player Trade

SEPTEMBER 30: Both teams have announced that the trade is now official. However, the terms of the deal are slightly different than was previously reported.

Instead of Atlanta’s protected 2025 second-round pick, the Rockets will receive a 2026 second-rounder from Oklahoma City. That pick will be the second-most favorable of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ 2026 second-round picks. Houston is also receiving cash considerations in the deal.


SEPTEMBER 29, 9:15pm: The Rockets intend to waive Jerome, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen adds that Favors and Maledon are considered the most likely among Houston’s new additions to claim spots on the 15-man regular season roster.


SEPTEMBER 29, 8:13pm: The Thunder have agreed to send center/power forward Derrick Favors, shooting guard Ty Jerome, forward Maurice Harkless, point guard Theo Maledon and the Hawks’ 2025 second-round draft pick (top-40 protected) to the Rockets in exchange for athletic swingman David Nwaba, wing Sterling Brown, point guard Trey Burke and power forward Marquese Chriss, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As Wojnarowski observes, Oklahoma City will create two trade exceptions in the deal. In pure salary terms, the exchange will help the Thunder get $10MM under the league’s punitive luxury tax cap threshold. Wojnarowski notes that Favors in particular is tradable among the returning players arriving in Houston, as a solid backup big man on an expiring $10.2MM salary.

The 6’9″ Favors, 31, spent most of the last decade as a key role player with several good playoff-bound Jazz teams. Last year with the Thunder, he appeared in just 39 games, averaging 5.3 PPG on 51.6% shooting, plus 4.7 RPG, across 16.7 MPG.

Jerome and Maledon are both young players on modest contracts with remaining potential upside. Harkless, like Favors, is a veteran on an expiring deal.

On the Rockets’ side of the transaction, Houston is acquiring a future second-round draft pick in exchange for taking on some added salary, as Woj details.

According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (via Twitter) if that Hawks 2025 second-rounder lands in the top 40 and is protected, Houston will instead receive the second-best of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ 2026 second-round picks.

Given that No. 2 draft pick Chet Holmgren has been ruled out for the year with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot, and with the best player in this new trade being sent away from the team, it appears the Thunder are once again prioritizing a year of youthful development, as they look to the 2023 draft lottery to build out their impressive young roster.

Oklahoma City added four rookies in the 2022 draft, including two additional lottery picks beyond Holmgren. The Thunder have been in full-on rebuild mode since the end of the 2019/20 season, winning a total of 46 games over the last two years.

Houston has also been in the asset-collection and draft lottery-targeting phase of its journey since 2020. The team went 37-127 from 2020-22. This year, the Rockets drafted intriguing rookie power forward Jabari Smith with the third pick out of Auburn. They also made two other selections in the first round.

It appears unlikely that every player in this deal will be with their new clubs when the regular season opens. Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter) notes that both teams will still have 18 guaranteed contracts on their books following this deal. Per league rules, they’ll each need to get down to 15 players by October 17.

Rockets Trade Christian Wood To Mavericks

JUNE 24: The trade is now official, the Mavericks announced in the early hours of Friday morning. Wood has officially landed in Dallas in exchange for Marjanovic, Brown, Burke, Chriss, and the draft rights to No. 26 overall pick Wendell Moore. Houston is flipping Moore to Minnesota in a separate deal.


JUNE 15: The Rockets are trading Christian Wood to the Mavericks in exchange for the No. 26 overall pick of the 2022 draft, Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

All five players are on expiring contracts in 2022/23, with the four Mavs players being sent out for salary-matching purposes. Wood will earn $14.3MM next season.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the trade can’t be officially completed until draft night, which is June 23, because the Mavs owe a protected first-round pick to the Knicks in 2023. Six months after the trade is completed, Wood will be eligible to sign a contract extension worth up to $77MM over four years, says Marks.

Burke holds a $3.3MM player option for ’22/23 and will need to exercise the option in order for the trade to work, Marks notes (via Twitter), adding that rosters expanding to 20 in the offseason will allow the Rockets to take back four players in exchange for one. Burke will receive a trade bonus of $247,500 from Dallas as part of the deal, Marks relays in another tweet.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicated on Tuesday that the Mavericks were looking to trade their only draft pick, and they found a match in the rebuilding Rockets, who now control three first-round picks: Nos. 3, 17 and 26. The Rockets have multiple options to explore ahead of the draft. If they want to package Nos. 17 and 26 to move up a bit, they likely could.

The 26-year-old Wood is a very solid return for Dallas, even if he comes with some character concerns. The talented big man averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 block in 109 games for Houston the past two seasons, posting a shooting line of .507/.384/.626.

The move definitely comes with risks for the Mavs, because Wood is a subpar defensive player and can be quite inconsistent, especially from an effort standpoint, from game-to-game. However, he’s on an expiring contract, which limits the risk, and is theoretically in a good situation with star Luka Doncic.

Mavs GM Nico Harrison said the team would be looking to acquire a quality big man who could provide rebounding and rim protection after the team lost in the Western Conference Finals. Wood fulfills the first criteria — he’s a good rebounder — but falls a bit short on the second, as he isn’t much of a deterrent at the basket.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), the Rockets wanted to move Wood in order to create more playing time for Alperen Sengun, who was a rookie this past season, and the No. 3 pick, who will likely be another big man. They’ll get a look at some veterans on expiring deals, but obviously the main appeal was the No. 26 pick and no long-term salary.

Chriss, who will make $2.19MM next season, underwent knee surgery on Wednesday and will be sidelined while rehabbing for the next couple months, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Rockets Notes: Free Agent Targets, Burke, Gordon, Draft

The Rockets will target a backup center when free agency opens at the end of the month, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The team is short on reliable big men after agreeing to trade Christian Wood to the Mavericks, and although Houston will receive Boban Marjanovic in the deal, the front office plans to explore other options on the free agent market.

Feigen identifies Nic Claxton as one possibility, saying the Nets likely wouldn’t match a full mid-level exception offer (starting at $10MM+) because of luxury tax concerns. Claxton was a part-time starter this season and put up career-best numbers with 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per night.

Other free agents that Feigen mentions include former Rocket Isaiah Hartenstein, Andre Drummond, Mason Plumlee, Mo Bamba, Hassan Whiteside, JaVale McGee and Dewayne Dedmon. After a promising rookie year, Alperen Sengun is expected to be Houston’s starting center next season.

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • As expected, Mavericks guard Trey Burke has officially exercised his $3.3MM player option for next season, which is necessary for the Wood trade to be finalized, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. The deal still can’t be announced until after Dallas picks at No. 26 on Thursday because the Mavs owe a protected 2023 first-round pick to New York.
  • In his latest piece for Substack, Marc Stein confirms that the Rockets are shopping veteran guard Eric Gordon in hopes of getting a first-round pick in return. Houston also tried to move Gordon at the trade deadline, but couldn’t find an acceptable offer. The 33-year-old will make $19.57MM next season and a non-guaranteed $20.92MM in 2023/24.
  • In a separate story, Feigen examines the information the Rockets use when evaluating draft prospects. The team was among the first to embrace analytics under former general manager Daryl Morey, but current GM Rafael Stone admits there are many times when the numbers don’t match what talent evaluators believe they’re seeing. “There are so many different tools you can look at,” he said. “If you like a particular stat a majority of the time it can easily lie to you in individual instances. You don’t just go back to work with video. You can back to work with the whole thing. It gives you hints about what you need to study more with a particular player.”

Injury Updates: LeBron, LaVine, Murray, Powell, Knicks, More

Facing a must-win game in Phoenix on Tuesday and looking to keep their play-in hopes alive, the Lakers will once again be without star forward LeBron James, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James, who continues to deal with a left ankle sprain, has been ruled out for a second consecutive game and will now have missed three of the last four.

If the Lakers lose to the Suns and the Spurs win in Denver, L.A. would be officially eliminated from play-in contention by the end of the night.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine (knee) will likely miss Tuesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). LaVine’s left knee has been an issue for much of the season, though he has been able to play through the discomfort for the most part — this would only be the second game he has missed since the All-Star break.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (ACL) has “really ramped up” his activity in the last week, Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on Sunday (video link). While Wojnarowski describes Murray as “aggressive” in his efforts to get back on the court, he cautions that the guard is still experiencing some soreness at times in his surgically-repaired left knee.
  • Norman Powell (foot) will be a full participant in Tuesday’s practice for the Clippers, according to head coach Tyronn Lue, who noted that the team isn’t playing five-on-five today. Lue is hopeful that Powell will be able to return within the next several days, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group.
  • Asked today about whether Julius Randle (quad) or Derrick Rose (ankle) will play again this season, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau responded, “I don’t see it happening” (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).
  • Mavericks guards Sterling Brown and Trey Burke are out of the COVID-19 protocols and will be available on Wednesday vs. Detroit, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).
  • Out since March 14 due to a high ankle sprain, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels has been upgraded to questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link). I think he’s had a really good week, good evaluation,” head coach Chris Finch said (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic). “Just not sure if he’s ready to play in the game tonight, but try to push him today in our ‘stay in shape league‘ and see how everything goes.”

Trey Burke Second Mavs Player To Enter Protocols

4:53pm: Burke did not make the window for his daily COVID-19 test, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News). All unvaccinated NBA players are still being tested every day. This marks the third such instance this year that Burke has entered league protocols due to a missed test.


1:29pm: Veteran guard Trey Burke has become the second Mavericks player to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols in recent days, joining fellow reserve Sterling Brown, the team’s PR department tweets.

As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News observes (via Twitter), this is the fourth time Burke has entered the protocols this season — he had two stints in the fall for not participating in the daily testing requirement for unvaccinated players, and a third in December when he contracted COVID-19.

Coach Jason Kidd stated after Brown tested positive that the team was hoping to avoid another outbreak before the playoffs.

That’s just part of the league. That’s just part of the world is COVID now, right? So it happens. We move forward. Next guy up,” said Kidd, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “We just hope that it doesn’t spread throughout the team here late in the season. But we have to be prepared that something like this could happen going forward.”

The NBA was decimated by players entering the COVID-19 protocols back in December, with a record-breaking number of 10-day contracts handed out via the updated hardship exception to keep the season afloat and mostly remain on-schedule — there were a total of 11 postponed games, and all but one (Cavs at Hawks on March 31) have since been played.

Things have been much smoother since mid-February, with Devin Booker and CJ McCollum the being the only two players to enter the health and safety protocols prior to Brown and now Burke.

Through 39 games this season in a limited role (10.7 MPG), Burke is averaging 5.3 PPG and 1.3 APG on .395/.313/.870 shooting. He holds a player option next season for $3.3MM. After beating Utah on Sunday, the Mavs (46-39) have overtaken the Jazz (45-30) for the No. 4 seed in the West.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Toliver, Kleiman, Rockets

With several key Mavericks players exceeding their season-long minutes per game averages since the All-Star break, head coach Jason Kidd wants to make a concerted effort to ease those players’ workloads going forward, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.

“We’d like to get more guys involved here, Sterling (Brown) and Trey (Burke),” Kidd said. “We’ve been running the minutes for those eight to nine guys that we have been playing. So we want to get everybody involved and get some of the minutes down for Luka (Doncic) and Reggie (Bullock). We’re playing Reggie over 40 minutes a night. So those are the things I’m looking at.”

As Sefko outlines, Doncic (37.5 MPG) and Bullock (37.0 MPG) have been the Mavericks’ most-used players since the All-Star break, but the team is also leaning heavily on Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith. Expanding the rotation should help the club avoid overusing those players without having to rest them for full games.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Mavericks assistant – and WNBA star – Kristi Toliver spoke to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic about how she ended up on Dallas’ coaching staff, what it’s like to remain active as a WNBA player while holding an NBA job, and her future coaching aspirations.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Vorkunov examines Zach Kleiman‘s rapid ascension through the Grizzlies‘ front office and the admirable job he has done since becoming Memphis’ top basketball decision-maker. Kleiman has helped turn the team into a legit contender since being named executive VP of basketball operations at age 30 in 2019. “I wouldn’t be in this position without (Grizzlies owner) Robert Pera’s vision and emphasis on organizational culture,” Kleiman said. “He entrusted me to lead basketball operations despite me being a relative unknown in NBA circles, and has challenged us to be intentional about establishing and sticking to our core tenets.”
  • The Rockets are in position to finish with the NBA’s worst record for a second consecutive year, but all is going according to plan, according to Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle, who argues that team owner Tilman Fertitta deserves credit for signing off on a full-fledged rebuild rather than trying to stay competitive as a borderline playoff contender following last year’s James Harden trade.

COVID-19 Updates: Randle, Williams, Nurkic, Burke, Bradley

Knicks forward Julius Randle has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (via Twitter). Randle, who only entered the protocols last Thursday, will be listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s game vs. Indiana.

The Knicks were hit hard in December by COVID-19, but are in pretty decent shape for the time being. Nerlens Noel is the only player on the roster who is still in the protocols.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Suns head coach Monty Williams has cleared the COVID-19 protocols and will return to the club for Tuesday’s game against New Orleans, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Kevin Young, who temporarily replaced Williams as Phoenix’s head coach, will revert to his assistant role.
  • Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic broke the news on Monday that he had cleared the health and safety protocols and would be back in Portland’s starting lineup. He logged 26 minutes on Monday in his first game since December 21.
  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke took part in the team’s shootaround on Monday, a pretty good indication that he has exited the protocols, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Burke didn’t play on Monday, but could be back later this week.
  • Bulls center Tony Bradley apparently cleared the protocols on Monday, having been listed as out due to return to competition conditioning on the team’s injury report.

Luka Doncic, Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel Enter Protocols

Two more Mavericks players have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to the team (Twitter link). Luka Doncic and Trey Burke are the fifth and sixth Dallas players in the protocols.

It’s especially tough timing for Doncic, who appeared to be on the verge of returning to action after missing the Mavs’ last five games due to a left ankle ailment. Assuming he has tested positive, he’ll now be out for the next 10 days or until he can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

We suspected that two more Mavericks may have entered the protocols today, since the club has now signed or reached agreements with six replacement players in the last week. The NBA’s new roster rules allow clubs to sign a replacement for each player in the protocols.

Meanwhile, a former Mav has also been placed in the COVID-19 protocols today, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who tweets that center Nerlens Noel is the latest Knicks player to be affected by the virus.

New York now has seven players in the protocols, though a couple of those players – Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett – have reached the 10-day mark and should hopefully be cleared soon.

Maxi Kleber To Miss At Least 7-10 Days With Oblique Strain

Mavericks power forward Maxi Kleber is set to miss at least seven-to-10 days of action with an oblique muscle strain, per Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Caplan notes that the injury had initially been considered a back strain.

The 6’10” big man has primarily backed up starting power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who will also miss tonight’s home game against the visiting Heat. This season, the 29-year-old Kleber is averaging 7.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.2 BPG in just 18.8 MPG for Dallas.

There’s more availability news coming out of Dallas before tipoff tonight.

Caplan reports that Porzingis will also not play tonight against Miami, but adds that head coach Jason Kidd sounds optimistic Porzingis will be available for tomorrow’s contest against the Spurs. Porzingis has been sidelined by a back injury for the Mavericks’ past three games. Kidd said today that Porzingis was “progressing” in his recovery from the injury, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (via Twitter).

With Porzingis and Kleber both absent, tweener forward Dorian Finney-Smith looks to be the starter at power forward for Dallas. Reserve guard Jalen Brunson appears set to move into the starting lineup at shooting guard, while swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. would subsequently shift up a slot to starting small forward.

Reserve point guard Trey Burke did not comply with the league’s mandated COVID-19 testing window for the second time in the last four games, but is still set to travel with the club to San Antonio tonight, per Caplan. MacMahon tweets that Burke will now miss his second game of the young 2021/22 season due to not wanting to get vaccinated, and will not be compensated for this missed game.

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (Twitter link) that Burke will miss out on $34,389 per each missed game as a result of not following COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players. Burke is earning $3.2MM this season and holds a $3.3MM player option for next season.

Southwest Notes: Morant, Burke, Wieskamp, Temple

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant says he’s motivated by his desire to be recognized as an All-Star player, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes. Morant, who has been on a scoring tear this season, averaging 30.5 PPG and 8.5 APG, says he has a chip on his shoulder after being passed over for the All-Star Game in his first two NBA seasons.

“I feel like it took me averaging 35 points a game to finally get some All-Star recognition,” Morant said. “But, I really can’t speak too much on that. I feel like my chip will never leave.”

We have more on the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke will not play against San Antonio on Thursday due to COVID-19 protocols, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Burke is not sick, but he missed part of his protocol sequence, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Unvaccinated players are required to go through more COVID protocols between games than those who are vaccinated. Burke, who is signed through 2022/23, has only made two brief appearances this season.
  • Rookie Joe Wieskamp is taking a positive approach to being assigned to the G League by the Spurs, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. “It was really fun to be around the (NBA) team and go to the games, but obviously we weren’t getting too many minutes, if at all,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to go out there and play and develop.” The former Iowa wing is playing on a two-way contract.
  • Pelicans guard Garrett Temple is doubtful to play on Friday after injuring his ankle on Wednesday, according to a post on the team’s website. “It’s still pretty sore with his left ankle,” coach Willie Green said. “We’re not sure about (Temple’s availability for) tomorrow, but we’ll know more as we get closer to the game.”