NBA rumors: Paolo Banchero, Deandre Ayton, Jalen Brunson, Tyus Jones, Vasilije Micic

NBA rumors: Paolo Banchero, Deandre Ayton, Jalen Brunson, Tyus Jones, Vasilije Micic

Free Agency

NBA rumors: Paolo Banchero, Deandre Ayton, Jalen Brunson, Tyus Jones, Vasilije Micic

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A flurry of trades at the NBA Draft had ramifications that’ll affect the top free agents on the market, including Deandre Ayton, Jalen Brunson, Tyus Jones, and others.

Below is the latest intel gathered by HoopsHype on what’s next for Ayton, Brunson, Jones, and behind the scenes of how Paolo Banchero learned he’d be the top overall pick.

Deandre Ayton

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

With the Detroit Pistons trading for center Jalen Duren in the draft, it’s unclear if that could affect the team’s pursuit of Deandre Ayton as a primary free agent target. Duren, who won’t turn 19 until November, is a raw talent and needs time to develop. Pistons general manager Troy Weaver has always been enamored with Ayton, dating back to 2017, a league source familiar with Weaver’s thinking told HoopsHype.

The Atlanta Hawks are among the teams interested in Ayton and have a potential sign-and-trade chip in center Clint Capela, who had career-highs in points (16.6) and field goal percentage (.652) playing alongside Chris Paul during their two seasons on the Rockets.

The San Antonio Spurs have the cap space flexibility to make a potential run at Ayton in restricted free agency and have center Jakob Poeltl, who averaged a career-high 13.5 points and 9.3 rebounds last season, as a possible sign-and-trade chip. Poeltl is entering the final year of his deal at $9.4 million.

Privately, some around the league wondered if the Indiana Pacers would make sense for Ayton in a sign-and-trade with Myles Turner. Both players are represented by agent Bill Duffy of BDA Sports. Turner, arguably the league’s top shot blocker, would represent a defensive upgrade for the Suns entering a contract season. However, some wonder if Indiana would be willing to spend max money on a center amid a rebuild.

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was reportedly interested in playing with Ayton. However, Portland kept Jusuf Nurkic through the trade deadline with the intention of re-signing him in free agency this summer, which remains the case a week before free agency begins, league sources told HoopsHype.

Jalen Brunson

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Rival NBA executives around the league believe the New York Knicks are “all in” to try and sign guard Jalen Brunson in free agency this summer following their draft night trades with more moves expected. The Knicks also hired his dad, Rick, as an assistant coach, and team president Leon Rose was his former agent.

Keep an eye on the Knicks potentially waiving Taj Gibson to create more cap space for a run at Brunson, league sources told HoopsHype. Gibson, a beloved player for Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, has a $5.2 million non-guaranteed salary for next season.

It’s also worth noting Cam Reddish, who’s owed nearly $6 million next season, could be on the move this summer to create more cap space. When the Knicks tried to trade for Pistons guard Jaden Ivey on draft night, Reddish was a part of the proposal, league sources told HoopsHype.

The Knicks also dangled Alec Burks on the trade market to several teams, including the Pacers and Cavaliers, before it was reported Burks underwent foot surgery and is expected to return for the start of training camp, league sources told HoopsHype.

Tyus Jones

Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports

Add free agent point guard Tyus Jones to the long list of point guards the Washington Wizards have on their radar, league sources told HoopsHype. Washington has the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception heading into free agency and could potentially provide Jones an opportunity to start, which he ideally desires.

Jones has been a solid backup point guard for the Grizzlies since signing a three-year deal in 2019. This summer, Jones is ranked as one of HoopsHype’s top free agent point guards on the market.

Memphis traded for former Tennessee standout Kennedy Chandler on draft night as insurance if Jones leaves in free agency this summer.

Learn more about Chandler’s game and why he’s compared to Chris Paul and Jeff Teague by checking out our recent HoopsHype interview.

Paolo Banchero

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Leading up to the draft, Paolo Banchero was tentatively scheduled to visit with the Orlando Magic on Sunday. However, the potential visit fell through, and Banchero never met with the Magic for a workout prior to the draft. When the draft officially began, Banchero and his camp didn’t know Orlando would select him until a few minutes into the Magic’s selection while on the clock.

Orlando has a loaded frontcourt looking ahead with Banchero, Jonathan Isaac, and Wendell Carter Jr. It’s unclear how the selection of Banchero will affect the looming free agency of Mo Bamba.

Vasilije Micic

Nicholas Muller/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Vasilije Micic, the EuroLeague 2021 MVP and back-to-back Final Four MVP winner, would like to play in the NBA this upcoming season and land with a playoff-caliber team.

The Oklahoma City Thunder own Micic’s rights, but he’s reportedly drawn interest from the Bucks, Bulls, Nuggets, and Spurs.

Micic is seeking a salary close to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception if he’s going to play in the NBA next season, league sources told HoopsHype.

You can follow Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) on Twitter.

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