October 20, 2021 | 12:34 pm EDT Update
Andrew Lopez: New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has agreed on a two-year extension worth $30.1 million, his agents Aaron Mintz, Mitch Nathan and Drew Morrison of @CAA_Basketball tell ESPN. Valanciunas is now committed to the Pelicans for $44.1M over the next three seasons.
Tim Bontemps: Udoka says starting lineup could change once Al Horford, who is out with COVID-19, is able to return. Besides saying Horford is feeling well, there isn’t an update on his timeline to return.
October 20, 2021 | 11:49 am EDT Update
One league source told me trade talks regarding Simmons have been quiet to this point. Philadelphia still wants him back, and they think he’s their best chance of winning right now, but clearly, Joel Embiid is over it. He was talking about how they can’t be “babysitting” someone. They’ve never been that tight, so I can see now how Embiid is done with this.
Scotto: Deandre and his representation, Billy Duffy and Nima Namakian, made it clear they wanted a max, and Phoenix made it clear they didn’t view him as a max player. With that in mind, I was checking in with executives around the league for their thoughts on the Ayton situation. The first executive said to me, “That owner (Robert Sarver) is cheap, and he’ll get killed for it again. He finally had some goodwill making the Finals, and he pulls this (not extending Ayton). The fact is the kid earned it. Yes, prior to last season, I’d have questions about it, but he performed the whole season, and you invested a number one pick in him. He was a little bit, maybe, slow to develop, but he got there. I don’t think he’s mature enough to handle stuff like that (no extension), so I think it could hurt him for a while. Monty (Williams) seems to have a way with him, so maybe they can pull him back in and say, “Do your job and get paid.”
Another executive focused on it from an optics standpoint. He was saying, “It was one thing not to do an extension with Ayton, but then to do one for Landry Shamet, who hasn’t even played for their team yet was surprising.”
Scotto: One executive told me, “Some of these extensions have been surprising like Jaren Jackson. I can’t believe it. He’s barely played the last two years.” Memphis is making a statement here taking care of their guy. When he’s healthy, he can stretch the floor and he can block shots. They took him high in the draft. He and Ja Morant are the cornerstones there.
Scotto: In the last podcast, I touched on how some executives thought he could get $20 million or $20-plus, and he ends up getting $22.5 million annually on his extension. Gozlan: I wouldn’t have been opposed if he got $100 million, so it goes without saying, I think Phoenix got great value for Bridges. You’ve got to pay up for All-Defense level wings that can guard multiple positions.