TRADE MARKET LATEST: This weekend was a busy one on the trade market in the NBA, as on Saturday, the Kings and Blazers agreed on a deal that will send Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second-round picks (2024 and 2025) to Sacramento in exchange for veteran 3-and-D wing Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan. It wasn’t an Earth-shattering deal by any means, but it was one that could indicate the market is about to heat up as we approach the Feb. 6 deadline. The deal can’t be made official until Tuesday, when a restriction on Gabriel’s deal becomes lifted, by the way.
Official or not, talks around the Association seemed to be hot and heavy over the weekend, as a flurry of other rumors regarding the trade market came out over the past two days.
🏀 The Heat are looking around for a trade, and are interested in Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, as well as in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan if, for whatever reason, San Antonio decides to blow things up.
🏀 The Clippers have their eye on Suns center Aron Baynes.
SPEAKING OF WHICH: We ranked the five players who have appeared most in trade rumors over the past week. Usually a pretty good indicator of who is trending on the market.
CATCHING UP: We talked to Gary Payton recently, who told us that among the NBA’s current crop of elite defenders, the ones that reminds him most of himself are Marcus Smart and Patrick Beverley. The NBA Hall-of-Famer spoke to us about a bunch of other stuff, too; his openness in the interview was refreshing.
SAVVY DEAL: The Jazz and 3-and-D swingman Royce O’Neale agreed to a four-year, $36 million extension over the weekend, a deal that could prove worthwhile for Utah as it ages over the next four seasons. O’Neale isn’t just a top-notch defender, he’s also shooting a career-high 44.3 percent from three this year.
🏦 Prior to this season, O’Neale had made a total of $2.1 million in his NBA career, and he was the 389th highest-paid player in the league in 2019-20.
POTENTIAL RETURN: Kevin Durant raised some eyebrows this weekend by getting in a workout on the Nets’ main court, which some thought could mean a return might still take place this season. However, Kenny Atkinson essentially shut that down when asked about it yesterday. The idea was fun while it lasted, at least.
AND ANOTHER: One player who reportedly is sure to return this season, apparently, is Stephen Curry, whose return date is tentatively set for March 1. Curry has been seen working out at practice without much (if any) limitation to his injured hand recently.
COMPLETE COMEBACK: Another star point guard, in this case John Wall, has also been ramping up workouts recently. The Wizards are reportedly confident Wall will make a complete recovery from his brutal series of injuries.
CLEARING THE AIR: Karl-Anthony Towns completely disputed reports about his potential unhappiness with the Timberwolves, basically referring to those rumblings as fake news. For now, Towns says he’s happy in Minnesota. They probably need to start winning for things to remain that way, though.
DELAY ON CHANGES: The NBA will reportedly no longer hold a vote regarding potential schedule changes at April’s Board of Governors meeting, as the league continues to decide how to approach these potentially major shifts in scheduling.
UGLY PETTINESS: Back when he was still Kings head coach, Dave Joerger reportedly texted Vlade Divac, Sacramento’s president of basketball operations, informing his boss that he had negotiated an in-season trade for then-rookie phenom Luka Doncic. Divac responded by asking if the Kings could get Dallas’ head coach as part of the deal, too.
With ugliness like that going on behind the scenes, it’s not surprising Sacramento continues to be a mess. Oh, and by the way, the Luke Walton hiring hasn’t exactly been a home run there, Vlade.
VET OPENS UP: Tyson Chandler talks about a variety of intense topics, from experiencing homelessness while growing up to thinking about the potential of his retirement coming up.
BACK HOME: Jeff Teague says his time in Minnesota was up, as he envisioned his entire stint there would have involved him suiting up for a playoff contender, since no one expected Jimmy Butler to leave so quickly. It’s all right though, because Teague loves Atlanta and is thrilled to be back.
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