On the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast, host Michael Scotto is joined by HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan. The duo discussed potential Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons trade scenarios, what free agency for Suns star Chris Paul and a max extension for Deandre Ayton could look like, NBA coaching updates around the league, and more.
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:35 Damian Lillard trade scenarios from Yossi Gozlan’s article
Gozlan: If Lillard gets traded this offseason, I feel most strongly about the Warriors and 76ers. With the Sixers, you’ve got Ben Simmons, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about his future there. That’s a huge asset the Blazers can get back. I think the Sixers will have to throw in more stuff. They can throw in up to an additional three first-round picks. They can put in some pick swaps in between. You can also throw in some young players like Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle. I’m not saying they should offer all of that. I’m saying these are the most valuable assets they have.
The other one is the Warriors. They ended up getting Minnesota’s pick that’s conveying this year at No. 7. They have the No. 14 pick. They have Andrew Wiggins as a trade filler… They can also offer James Wiseman.
One other aspect of a Warriors offer that I don’t think has really been thought about so far is the Warriors can also offer future picks way out. Once the new league year starts, they can offer their 2028 pick, and they can offer their 2026 pick conditionally because it’s tied up in protection to a pick they owe Memphis right now, but it’ll probably convey in 2024, so they can offer a conditional 2026 pick. I think that’s super valuable if you’re Portland getting those picks back because if Golden State gets Lillard, he’s 31, Steph Curry’s in his early 30s, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green also recently turned 31. Realistically, that team has a four or five-year window of contention, which means those picks way out can be very valuable.
6:10 How the Timberwolves can trade for Ben Simmons
Scotto: The Timberwolves are a team that’s in the mix for Ben Simmons. They’ve wanted an upgrade at the power forward position dating back to the trade deadline last year when they were in the mix for Aaron Gordon. Simmons and D’Angelo Russell played together at Montverde Academy, where they won back-to-back championships. If they ended up playing together, it would be an interesting pairing.
Gozlan: I believe Minnesota might be the best fit out there for (Simmons)… It’ll be a significant upgrade that might send them to the playoffs… The challenge for Minnesota is Philadelphia ideally wants an All-Star back, as we discussed in our last podcast… Minnesota doesn’t have that. Minnesota can be the ideal third team in a trade where Philadelphia gets an All-Star, would send Simmons to Minnesota, then Minnesota and Philadelphia can both send stuff or picks and young players to a team trading an All-Star… They can trade Russell, Malik Beasley, or Anthony Edwards, but I don’t think Minnesota wants to trade any of those guys. I think what they might try to do as a third team is try to package Ricky Rubio, Jarrett Culver and get salary filler out there, and the main asset to send back is Jaden McDaniels, the draft rights to Leandro Bolmaro and multiple picks. With Minnesota, those could be valuable picks. You never know how good they’ll be. They haven’t been very good in the past 15 years.
Scotto: Russell hasn’t had a chance to be healthy with Karl-Anthony Towns, which has been a bit underwhelming for Minnesota. Beasley, they like tremendously. Even when he was going through his legal stuff, they fully supported him and gave him a nice deal. I wrote on HoopsHype how they courted him in free agency and went all out for him. Edwards was their No. 1 pick that they’re fond of. They like McDaniels a lot, but if you’re getting Simmons, you look to move a guy like that. Jarrett Culver is another guy many expect will be available this summer on the trade market leading up to the draft.
12:17 NBA coaching updates
Scotto: I’ve heard the Wizards are continuing their first round of interviews this week, and it could progress to the next stage of interviews by the end of the week.
Another lottery team out there looking to fill their head coaching vacancy is the New Orleans Pelicans. Recently, Jacque Vaughn, depending on who you talk to around the league, many believed that he was a strong candidate, if not the favorite, to land that job for several factors, including his relationship with Trajan Langdon. Ultimately, he ended up pulling out as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that he wants to spend time with his sons and wants to remain in Brooklyn. Multiple teams were in talks with him to be a head coach again, including New Orleans, where he was pretty far along. From a source I’ve spoken to, he wants to be a head coach again. If next year presents the right opportunity, he’ll take it.
And going back to the Wizards for a second, I heard Ronald Nored, who some will remember from Butler and is currently a Hornets assistant, was in the mix for the Washington Wizards job and interviewed there as part of that first round of interviews. Another coach I heard was Chris Quinn of the Miami Heat, who was also in the mix for Washington with their first round of interviews, I was told… For Nored, I’ve heard from coaches around the league there’s a rumbling he could end up in Indiana as part of Rick Carlisle’s staff.
16:30 Chauncey Billups Blazers press conference
Scotto: The PR staff cut off Jason Quick, who covers the team for The Athletic, his follow-up question to Billups about what he learned from the 1997 incident he was a part of. It looked like Chauncey was ready to answer the question in some form, whether he was going to answer it thoroughly or provide a non-answer. I was just surprised the question was cut off completely.
19:20 Deandre Ayton’s maximum contract eligibility
Gozlan: The Phoenix Suns are about to have a very expensive roster, not next season, but the following one, thanks to their success. Deandre Ayton is extension eligible, and so is Mikal Bridges… Now, the Suns are a game away from the Finals. He’s been in the discussion for a max extension now. It would be roughly $168 million over five years, which would average out to $33 million a year.
22:48 Chris Paul’s free agency
Scotto: Winning in this league always drives up the market for the players on the team. You’re going to see that with Chris Paul. This is a guy that I think, coming into this year, not a lot of people would’ve thought he’d really consider opting out of a $44 million player option, but here we are. He’s played himself into a position where the Suns have to pay him and take care of him. Devin Booker wanted help, and he’s talked publicly about how much he’s learned about being a pro from Paul’s daily preparation. Both guys are represented by CAA, so you’ve got those ties as well.
Gozlan: He’s got a very interesting decision to make. The best-case scenario for him would be he opts into that ($44 million player option) and also gets a maximum extension, which would be for two years and $96 million. That would give him $46 million and $50 million over the next two years. If I’m Paul, I’d love to sign that, but I’m not too sure the Suns would want to necessarily give him that much. I believe Eric Pincus reported that Paul could potentially opt out and then re-sign for three years, $100 million.
26:30 Mikal Bridges extension scenarios
Gozlan: Mikal Bridges is another extension-eligible guy. He is probably also going to get a big extension. I think the best comparison right now to look at as a player, and money-wise would be OG Anunoby… I think Bridges should get a little more than that, mainly because of the Suns’ success. I think a pretty safe annual range to start could be around $20 million.
30:30 Reggie Jackson and Cameron Payne free agency outlooks
Gozlan: They both have the same situation. Both have Early Bird Rights and can get roughly $46-47 million over four years starting between $10-10.5 million as a starting salary. If they get this much from their respective teams, it would have to be at least a two-year deal with no options.