Tyrese Maxey

Rockets Notes: Harden Trade, Wall, House, Wood

The idea that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told general manager Rafael Stone not to trade James Harden to the Sixers – whose front office is led by former Rockets GM Daryl Morey – is incorrect, reports Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Fertitta stays out of trade discussions, according to Feigen, who says that Stone and Morey had “extensive” discussions. In fact, talks on Harden advanced to the point where Stone made one final demand of the Sixers in the final stage of negotiations and would have traded the former MVP to Philadelphia if Morey had agreed.

As Feigen explains, Stone wanted one more draft pick or player – believed to be Tyrese Maxey – and less protection on the draft picks included in the Sixers’ offer. Philadelphia was unwilling to meet those demands, so Houston made a deal with Brooklyn. Morey has since told confidants that he thinks his former lieutenant Stone made a great trade, according to Feigen.

Here’s more out of Houston:

  • While some reports have suggested that Harden favored Tyronn Lue for the Rockets’ head coaching job over Stephen Silas, the team actually didn’t know which coaching candidate Harden liked best, Feigen writes in the same story. While Russell Westbrook preferred Lue, Harden never expressed a strong preference, which may have been due to his simmering desire to be traded. Westbrook and Harden both ultimately signed off on the hiring of Silas, Feigen notes.
  • Rockets point guard John Wall isn’t accompanying the team on its road trip this weekend due to a sore knee and isn’t expected back in the lineup until at least Tuesday, according to Feigen. Danuel House (health and safety protocols) also won’t play until Tuesday at the earliest, while Christian Wood (ankle) will miss at least Friday’s game in Detroit.
  • Injuries, absences related to COVID-19, and the Harden trade had the Rockets playing rotational roulette during the first month of this season, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who suggests the club will ideally be able to get a better read on its roster in the coming weeks.

Rockets Seeking Three Second-Round Picks For Tucker?

After replenishing their stash of first-round picks by acquiring four first-rounders (and four more potential pick swaps) in their deal sending James Harden to Brooklyn, the Rockets are reportedly looking to stockpile second-round picks if they move forward P.J. Tucker.

League sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that the Rockets are currently demanding three second-round picks in return for Tucker, who has been receiving trade interest from teams around the NBA.

[RELATED: Wolves Expected To Re-Engage With Rockets On P.J. Tucker]

Tucker is a strong, versatile defender and a reliable three-point shooter who is making just $8MM this season, making him an ideal fit for any contender. On the other hand, he’s 35 years old and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so teams may be reluctant to meet Houston’s asking price.

Houston previously traded away its second-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2027. The team has acquired Golden State’s 2024 second-round selection and has the ability to swap second-round picks with Philadelphia in 2021, but would benefit from landing two or three extra second-rounders for Tucker — those picks could be used to draft cheap young talent in future seasons or could help grease the wheels on future trades.

Within the same Ringer article, O’Connor reports that the Rockets were seeking Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and three first-round picks from Philadelphia when the two teams discussed Harden last week.

The Sixers were reportedly prepared to surrender Simmons and Matisse Thybulle, but were said to be reluctant to part with Maxey and apparently felt Houston’s final asking price was too high. It’s also unclear how willing Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was to send Harden to Philadelphia, where former Houston GM Daryl Morey is the Sixers’ new president of basketball operations.

Rockets Moving Closer To Harden Trade; Sixers, Nets In Mix

2:34pm: The Sixers, who have traded away a protected 2025 first-rounder, are attempting to scrounge up more draft picks to sweeten the pot for the Rockets, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. As Stein explains (via Twitter), Philadelphia is making an effort to keep Maxey out of a potential deal.


1:47pm: The Rockets continue to haggle over exactly which players and other assets would be included a Harden trade, but league sources say the Sixers appear to be the favorites, tweets Stein.

Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle confirms that Philadelphia has offered Simmons, but says the Rockets and 76ers have yet to agree on the rest of a trade structure. Houston wants Thybulle included in the package, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.


1:28pm: The Rockets are pursuing a Sixers trade package that would be headlined by Simmons and Tyrese Maxey, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). The 76ers are known to be interested in P.J. Tucker in addition to Harden, Stein says (via Twitter).


1:13pm: As the Rockets seriously consider their trade options, they conducted today’s practice without Harden in attendance, head coach Stephen Silas told reporters (Twitter link via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon).

We felt that it was best for the group and best for James not to come to practice,” Silas said.

The Rockets plan to keep Harden away from the team until a trade is done, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link). That’s another sign that the team is moving toward finalizing a deal in the very near future.

Woj and Shelburne add (via Twitter) that Houston’s talks with Brooklyn and Philadelphia were gaining momentum in recent days, even before Tuesday’s postgame presser.


1:04pm: It appears the Rockets have increased their efforts to trade James Harden in the wake of his blunt assessment of the team’s shortcomings on Tuesday night. According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Houston is “sifting through offers” from the Nets and Sixers and could move quickly to complete a deal.

Sources tell Charania and Amick that the Nets have prepared a package that would include four future first-round picks and three pick swaps. Teams are only permitted to trade draft picks up to seven years in advance and can’t leave themselves without a first-round pick in consecutive future seasons, so Brooklyn is essentially willing to put all its first-rounders on the table.

In that scenario, the Nets would presumably trade its 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027 selections and agree to pick swaps for 2022, 2024, and 2026. However, The Athletic’s duo cautions that Brooklyn may hesitate to mortgage so many future assets.

It’s also not clear which players the Nets would make available in such a package. Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link) is among those who have heard that Houston hasn’t been enamored with the players the Nets have to offer. Previous reports have suggested a third team may be necessary to complete a trade sending Harden to Brooklyn, but it’s not clear if the 31-year-old’s comments on Tuesday night changed the equation and prompted the Rockets to lower their asking price a little.

As for the Sixers, Charania and Amick note that the Rockets have pursued a package headlined by Ben Simmons. The report doesn’t make it explicitly clear whether or not Simmons is on the table, but suggests he could be had. According to The Athletic, the Rockets and 76ers have also discussed Matisse Thybulle, a player Houston likes.

While Harden has expanded his list of preferred destinations beyond Brooklyn and Philadelphia, those were said to be the first two teams he expressed interest in joining and are still believed to be atop his wish list. Both teams make sense as fits, since they have the assets to acquire Harden without giving up their very best players.

Joining the Nets would give Harden the opportunity to reunite with former teammate Kevin Durant, while heading to Philadelphia would see him rejoin former Rockets GM Daryl Morey and team up with star center Joel Embiid.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Langford, VanVleet, Cross

Because so many Sixers players are absent as a result of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, the team is currently relying on its rookies, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Seth Curry is quarantining away from the team after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Vincent Poirier are all out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. With those veterans missing, rookies Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Dakota Mathias have all logged significant rotation minutes.

Though All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons returned to action tonight in the Sixers’ hard-fought 137-134 victory tonight against the Heat, wings Furkan Korkmaz and Terrance Ferguson also remained absent. Embiid scored 45 points and pulled down 16 boards.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Because the Celtics have limited wing depth, second-year swingman Romeo Langford may still break into Boston’s rotation this season, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes. Forsberg notes that Langford is a solid perimeter defender, but must develop his long-range shooting to become a staple.
  • Though the Raptors are currently the No. 13 seed in the East with a disappointing 2-8 record, newly re-signed 6’1″ guard Fred VanVleet continues to contribute to the level of his $85MM contract, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. VanVleet has been the club’s most steady offensive presence, averaging a career-high 20.9 PPG through his first 10 games. “I think the game is just really slow for him right now and that’s a good thing,” fellow starting guard Kyle Lowry said. VanVleet is also averaging a career-high 9.0 three-point attempts per night.
  • Former Kings amateur scouting director Gene Cross has been added to the Knicks as a college scout, Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated tweets.

Sixers’ Korkmaz To Miss Minimum Of Two Weeks

The Sixers have lost one of their key reserves for at least the next two weeks. Guard Furkan Korkmaz has a left adductor strain and will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Korkmaz suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at Cleveland. He had gotten off to a slow start, averaging 6.0 PPG on 25% shooting in 18.3 MPG off the bench during Philadelphia’s first three contests.

Last season, Korkmaz appeared in 72 regular season games, averaging 9.8 PPG in 21.7 MPG while making 40.2% of his 3-point tries.

The Sixers have good depth at the wing positions, and players such as Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey should see an uptick in playing time with Korkmaz sidelined.

Korkmaz had his $1,762,796 salary for this season guaranteed last month. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Sixers Notes: OKC Trade, Maxey, Scott, Harden

Nearly three weeks after first agreeing to terms, the Sixers were finally able to complete their six-player trade with the Thunder today, acquiring Danny Green, Terrance Ferguson, and Vincent Poirier in the deal.

According to Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link), one minor aspect of the deal was previously unreported, as the 76ers sent $2MM in cash to Oklahoma City to complete the move. That amount will count toward the $5.617MM limit that Philadelphia can sent out in trades over the course of the 2020/21 league year.

Here’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Tyrese Maxey and Mike Scott received clearance to participate in non-contact drills today and are expected to join the team’s group workouts on Wednesday, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Maxey and Scott had to clear the NBA’s coronavirus protocols after registering positive tests.
  • Addressing the James Harden trade rumors connecting the Sixers to the Rockets star, head coach Doc Rivers said he’s making it clear to his players that those rumors aren’t coming from Philadelphia’s side (Twitter link via Pompey). You know, as long as you don’t hear them from us, you should be very comfortable,” Rivers said. “We like our team, man. I tell you, that team I just watched out there (at practice) is really special.”
  • Rivers’ comments were in response to a report that said Harden has indicated to Houston that he’d be open to a trade to Philadelphia. In an Insider-only story, ESPN’s Bobby Marks explores which teams could realistically make a play for Harden, noting that any 76ers offer would almost certainly have to start with Ben Simmons.

Tyrese Maxey, Two Other Sixers Tested Positive For Coronavirus

5:00pm: Mike Scott and another unidentified Sixers player are also waiting to clear coronavirus protocols after testing positive, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.


3:41pm: Sixers rookie Tyrese Maxey has been held out of training camp after testing positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.

Bodner notes that Philadelphia anticipates the 6’3″ combo guard out of Kentucky, drafted with the No. 21 pick last month, will join the team within the next few days.

Maxey averaged 14.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 0.9 SPG in 34.5 MPG for the Wildcats across 31 games. In his lone collegiate season, he made the All-SEC Second Team and the SEC All-Freshman Team.

The 20-year-old Maxey was new Sixers team president Daryl Morey‘s first selection for Philadelphia. A strong defender projected to be able to operate both as a lead ball-handler and an off-ball option, Maxey had already worked out with Sixers All-Star guard/forward Ben Simmons ahead of team practices.

Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey Signs Rookie Contract

The Sixers have signed first-round pick Tyrese Maxey, the team announced in a press release. A 6’3″ guard out of Kentucky, Maxey was the 21st overall selection in last month’s draft.

Terms of the deal were not released, but as a first-round pick Maxey is eligible to earn up to 120% of the rookie scale, which would be $2,478,840 for the upcoming season.

Maxey played one season for the Wildcats, earning a spot on the All-SEC Second Team and the SEC All-Freshman Team. He averaged 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 31 games.

Now that Maxey is officially under contract, there are no outstanding rookie deals still to be completed for 2020 first-round picks. Twenty-nine of those 30 players have signed their first NBA contracts, with the 30th player – Leandro Bolmaro – remaining in Barcelona for the 2020/21 season.

Draft Notes: Hayes, Anthony, Maxey, Zoom

The Knicks were hoping to work out Killian Hayes before Wednesday’s draft, but a COVID-19 outbreak may prevent that from happening, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The team had to close its training facility in Tarrytown after three staff members tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

New York will consider the French point guard with its No. 8 pick and he may be an even stronger possibility if the Knicks trade down. The team has collected plenty of information on Hayes, such as his measurements and medical records, and interviewed him via Zoom.

“Everyone saw the progress and a lot of changes to my game,’’ Hayes said. “What I really improved on, really, is my body. As soon as you see me, there’s a big difference and change from eight months ago to now. … The player that I was back in March is not the same player I am today. I’ve really leveled up a lot.”

Hayes turned 19 in July, making him one of the youngest players in the draft. However, he faced much older competition in Germany and says fellow Frenchmen Frank Ntilikina and Sekou Doumbouya have helped him prepare for the NBA.

“I learned a lot being able to leading a group of grown men,’’ Hayes said. “I’m used to playing against a lot of physicality. People coming at me. That will definitely help me.’’

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Cole Anthony believes his love for the game will help him succeed in the NBA, writes Chris Dortch of NBA.com. Anthony demonstrated his commitment by returning to the court for North Carolina after undergoing surgery during the season to fix a small meniscus tear in his right knee. “A few things went into my decision to keep playing,” he said. “But first and foremost, I love the sport of basketball. A lot of people say that, but they don’t really mean it. I truly love the game. And I wasn’t going to sit out when I was healthy and I could go.”
  • In an interview with Ethan Fuller of Basketball News, Tyrese Maxey said he’s been working to improve his outside shot after hitting just 29% from beyond the arc in college. “You have to be able to shoot the ball at the next level,” Maxey explained. “As a guard my height, and guards in the NBA, period, it’s hard to be on the floor and play in an NBA game without being able to knock down wide-open threes. I feel like I’m a way better shooter than what the numbers say.”
  • Teams are relying on Zoom and other technology to handle the unusual circumstances surrounding this year’s draft, writes Mark Medina of USA Today.

Draft Notes: Anthony, Vassell, Maledon, Maxey

Southeast Division clubs have shown the most interest in North Carolina point guard Cole Anthony. He’s had individual workouts for the Wizards, Heat and Magic, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. The son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony is ranked 19th on ESPN’s Best Available list. The Wizards own the No. 9 pick, with Orlando holding the No. 15 selection and Miami sitting at No. 20.

We have more draft news:

  • Florida State guard Devin Vassell, ranked 11th by ESPN, has worked out for a handful of teams, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. Vassell said he’s visited with the Knicks, Warriors, Celtics, Hawks and Magic. The presence of the Hawks (No. 6 pick) and Knicks (No. 8) suggest Vassell could go in the top 10. Golden State’s interest is intriguing, suggesting Vassell would be a target if the club trades down from the No. 2 pick.
  • French point guard Theo Maledon has worked out for three Atlantic Division clubs as well as the Spurs, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. The Nets (19th pick), Celtics (three first-rounders) and Raptors (No. 29) have also taken a look at Maledon, who is rated 24th overall by ESPN.
  • As of Thursday, the Pelicans were the only team to host Tyrese Maxey, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. The Kentucky shooting guard is 14th on ESPN’s list and New Orleans holds the 13th pick, so its interest late in the lottery makes sense.