League sources say that Cousins rebuffed New Orleans’ offer of a two-year contract extension in the $40 million range after the injury but before the season ended. When that offer was declined, sources say, New Orleans took it off the table.
May 27, 2022 | 5:40 pm EDT Update
Sources nonetheless maintain that one option already being weighed by team brass is the prospect of joining the sign-and-trade bidding for the Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine, amid a growing belief around the league that LaVine, as he heads into free agency, has more interest in leaving Chicago than initially presumed. Atlanta, Portland and San Antonio — all of whom possess either the cap space or the trade pieces to more readily chase him — have already been mentioned as likely LaVine suitors.
The word choice there does not appear to be accidental. Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking say that the team, for all of Dončić’s individual brilliance, remains intent on finding at least one more All-Star-caliber player to complement him, fearful that it would be too difficult to win another championship without one.
The Mavericks, again, know they must address their shortcomings on the front line, but sources indicate that their oft-reported interest in Gobert is somewhat overstated because of Gobert’s offensive limitations and the offensive success they just had in the playoffs with a 5-out style that left the paint uncluttered.
Sources say Dallas remains hopeful of making a significant upgrade at the first opportunity, after acknowledging with its midseason exile of Porziņģis to Washington that its first attempt to secure a starry sidekick for Dončić was a misfire.
The pick that seems even more certain to be on the move is Portland’s at No. 7, with sources saying the Blazers will push to immediately put a competitive team around Damian Lillard rather than start over. Detroit’s Jerami Grant has been the hot name here, but the Blazers could look at other options.
Callie Caplan: Luka Doncic’s exit interview: On personnel decisions: “I’m involved. Two-way conversations with me, Nico, Fin and J.” On Jalen Brunson’s free agency: “He’s going to deserve all the money he gets.” Favorite moment this season? “I don’t know.” — until he was reminded of Game 7.