Mark Berman: NBA source: RJ Hunter and Zhou Qi will be …

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January 21, 2019 | 7:12 am EST Update
Thompson stands to make $18.5 million next season. That’s a big number to take on, even if it’s only for one year, because of the 2019 free-agent sweepstakes so many teams want to have salary-cap space for. Unless Thompson puts a team over the top, then it would probably make more sense for a team to trade for him next season. The Cavs want him around to shepherd younger players through the early stages of this rebuild. They’ll probably be able to get better assets in return for him at next year’s trade deadline. There’s also a chance the Cavs want Thompson long term, and could, therefore, keep him and offer him an extension over the summer. What he thinks: “Blake Griffin got traded. At the end of the day, if the trade is right and the pieces are guys they feel can help the franchise moving forward, I’m totally understanding. It’s a business. If you don’t have a no-trade clause, anything can happen.”
Storyline: Tristan Thompson Trade?
In chasing Davis, the Lakers may need a push from his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who also represents James. “I’d say if the [Philadelphia 76ers offer Ben] Simmons, or with the [Boston] Celtics’ package of picks and young players, the Lakers would probably be third,” the former executive said. “One would think that [Pelicans general manager] Dell [Demps] would want a deal done around the draft [with Boston’s picks].”
There is no reason for the Cavs not to trade him. Really, he was acquired from the Jazz for Korver in December in large part because of his contract — it’s such a tradable commodity. They should move him for the best offer they get now because he’s a free agent at season’s end. He’s a capable player, yes, but at age 27 he hasn’t shown enough to warrant a new contract from Cleveland in this rebuild. A nice player, but not a cornerstone. What he thinks: “I don’t want to be traded, but we’ll see what happens. It ain’t up to me. I can’t dwell on something that ain’t happenin’. Just have to wait and see. I like being around my teammates. They’ve shown me so much love, why would I want to leave?”
Storyline: Alec Burks Trade
“I haven’t spoken to him,” Rivers said of Griffin. “That’s happened many times in my career, so I don’t make a big deal of that. You guys do, but I don’t at all. I’ve had some guys, even some guys I’m very close to — most trades and departures don’t go very well, for the record. They just don’t. I can cite you 100 of them, Kendrick Perkins [in Boston], who was like my son. Nah, they don’t go well. We all come back eventually.”
“He’s not my coach anymore,” Griffin said of Rivers. “It was cool to be welcomed back like that [with a tribute video]. I appreciate all the fans. It was nice to get that game out of the way. It’s kind of compared to the first game of the year, in a way. It’s such a big hype, and now you’ve got to play 81 and now we’ve got to play 41 more or whatever it is. It’s over and we’ve got a lot of basketball left.”
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