With the draft upon us and free agency at the end of the week, here’s a look at the latest intel HoopsHype has gathered.
* The Oklahoma City Thunder, who just acquired Kelly Oubre Jr., is looking to flip him for a first-round pick, league sources told HoopsHype. He’s entering the final year of his contract this season. As noted in our HoopsHype players most likely to be traded story, following the Chris Paul and Dennis Schroeder trades, executives believe the Thunder will continue to explore the trade market on their veterans, including Steven Adams. With Al Horford reportedly on his way to the Thunder, Adams could be on the move sooner than later.
* The Los Angeles Clippers, who currently own the 57th overall pick, are looking to buy a pick and move up in the draft, league sources told HoopsHype.
* As noted a week ago on the HoopsHype podcast, the Boston Celtics are looking to upgrade in the frontcourt and are eyeing trading up in the draft to get Onyeka Okongwu or even James Wiseman, HoopsHype has learned the Celtics called as high as the Golden State Warriors at No. 2 overall to gauge trade interest. Marcus Smart was made available, but talks didn’t escalate.
Once the dust settles from the draft, the focus will shift to free agency right around the corner, where there are several developments.
* Gordon Hayward is the first major domino some free agents are waiting to fall. With the Atlanta Hawks trying to acquire Hayward, as Yahoo Sports reported, it could dilute the money available on the market even more. If Hayward ends up leaving Boston, it could open up the possibility for a sign-and-trade there for a free agent.
* Atlanta also has interest in Danilo Gallinari, one of HoopsHype’s top-ranked free agents this offseason, as the team looks to make a push for the playoffs next season, league sources told HoopsHype.
* The Miami Heat previously showed interest in the Italian forward at the trade deadline. If Giannis Antetokounmpo signs an extension with Milwaukee, some around the league expect Miami to extend Bam Adebayo, try to bring back Goran Dragic, and upgrade at forward. That could open the door for Gallinari to land with Miami as a free agent on a multi-year deal. At the trade deadline, Miami didn’t want to tie up a ton of money for the next offseason to chase Antetokounmpo. However, Milwaukee’s pending acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic has many convinced that Antetokounmpo isn’t going anywhere. If the Bogdanovic sign-and-trade falls through, as The Athletic reported could happen, it’s unclear what it’ll mean for Antetokounmpo’s future.
* Another Miami note, Heat center Kelly Olynyk is exercising his player option, as expected, a league source told HoopsHype.
* The Dallas Mavericks also had interest at the trade deadline in Gallinari and have been shopping their 18th overall pick. With Thunder GM Sam Presti collecting as many first-round picks as he can, the Mavericks can use their pick to facilitate a sign-and-trade.
As Gallinari noted during an appearance on the HoopsHype podcast, he and New York Knicks President Leon Rose remain close. If the Knicks can land a star point guard like Russell Westbrook on the trade market, it would increase the chances of New York going after Gallinari in free agency. Another relationship that’s worth noting is Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem previously represented Gallinari when he was an agent. Currently, Arn’s son, Michael Tellem of CAA Sports, represents Gallinari. However, both teams are headed for a rebuilding season, which would lessen their desire to make a run at Gallinari.
* The Hawks also had plans to make a big run at Joe Harris in free agency, but rival executives expect him to remain with the Brooklyn Nets and land a three or four-year deal worth an average of $18 million annually. The Charlotte Hornets were another team who had Harris on their wish list, but the team is expected to pivot towards less expensive guards who can provide veteran leadership and shooting off the bench instead.
* The Hawks have also been heavily linked to Rajon Rondo, who they view as a potential veteran mentor and backup to Trae Young. A multi-year deal could entice Rondo to join the rebuilding Hawks, HoopsHype has learned.
* Another veteran who could be changing teams is Paul Millsap. The Ringer reported Millsap is an expected target of the Portland Trail Blazers. Some NBA talent evaluators believe Millsap could be worth Portland’s mid-level exception this offseason.
* Finally, the Memphis Grizzlies will extend a qualifying offer to De’Anthony Melton. The 22-year-old guard becomes a restricted free agent this offseason. He’s a noteworthy player who could draw an offer sheet from another team this offseason.
You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto
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