The New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies kick-started the excitement before Thursday’s draft by agreeing to a trade involving Jonas Valanciunas, Eric Bledsoe, and Steven Adams, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
With the draft two days away, trade talks are ramping up, and more trades will happen. Here’s the latest intel HoopsHype has gathered.
Several teams have called the Cavaliers to gauge the price tag for the third overall pick, including the Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, and New York Knicks.
During exploratory conversations with the Cavaliers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was not a part of the talks with the Thunder, HoopsHype has learned. It’s a noteworthy development since Gilgeous-Alexander was reportedly in trade talks with the sixth pick for Detroit’s No. 1 overall pick, according to BasketballNews.com.
The Cavaliers are open to acquiring another top-10 pick in the first round, HoopsHype has learned.
New York Knicks
The Knicks tried to package the No. 19 and 21 picks to move up in the draft and called the Pelicans about moving up to the 10th pick before New Orleans and Memphis agreed to a trade, league sources said. The Knicks also called the Warriors hoping to package the No. 19 and 21 picks to move up to the 14th pick but found no traction.
There’s a growing buzz around the league that the potential target for the Knicks is Oregon guard Chris Duarte, who won the Jerry West Award as the nation’s top shooting guard.
Duarte discussed how he came over to the United States from the Dominican Republic, learned to speak English, and started playing basketball at 14, why he pulled out of the NBA draft combine, his long-term career goals, and more on the HoopsHype podcast.
Lakers: Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma
Montrezl Harrell’s decision on his $9.7 million player option is considered a genuine “50-50” either way at this stage, multiple league sources told HoopsHype.
Harrell could exercise his player option and be traded. The Lakers and Kings have discussed a deal centered on Kyle Kuzma and Buddy Hield, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported. Multiple league sources told HoopsHype that Harrell and the Lakers’ 22nd overall pick were also discussed in variations of the trade talks centered around Kuzma and Hield.
Harrell’s insertion into trade talks with the Kings is noteworthy as Richaun Holmes enters unrestricted free agency this summer. As noted on the HoopsHype podcast, there are four teams to keep an eye on for Holmes in free agency, including the Kings, who have his Early Bird Rights, the Dallas Mavericks, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Toronto Raptors.
Kuzma and the Lakers’ 22nd pick was also discussed with the Pacers. The talks centered around acquiring the 13th overall pick from Indiana and needed salary filler but was turned down, HoopsHype has learned.
Gary Trent Jr.’s free agency value
The Toronto Raptors officially tendered Trent Jr. a qualifying offer, as expected, which will make him a restricted free agent. Several people around the league believe Trent Jr. could command $18-20 million annually.
Grizzlies point guard Tyus Jones has been made available in trade talks, league sources told HoopsHype. Jones is entering the final year of his contract and is on the books for $8.38 million next season. Jones, 25, has proven to be a capable backup in the league.
Summer League commitments
Jordan Bone, who has been a two-way contract player for the Pistons and Magic, will play with the Indiana Pacers in Summer League, HoopsHype has learned.
Jordan Bowden, who spent last season with the G League’s Long Island Nets, has committed to play for the Brooklyn Nets in Summer League, HoopsHype has learned.
Simi Shittu, who averaged a double-double for the G League’s Westchester Knicks last season, will play for the Chicago Bulls in Summer League, HoopsHype has learned.
You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto