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July 27, 2021 | 8:16 am EDT Update
Dallas has actively explored trade scenarios involving Josh Richardson, sources said, in the event the swingman opts in to his 2021-22 player option. The Mavericks must make their own efforts to clear salary space for a planned spurge in free agency that still appears to prioritize retaining Tim Hardaway Jr. in addition to Dallas’ other pursuits.
And league executives contacted by B/R continue to mention the possibility of the Sixers holding onto Simmons, should a desirable offer still fail to arise during the draft, in the hopes of Damian Lillard ultimately seeking to leave Portland. Talks between the Raptors and Sixers are considered to be the most advanced of any early conversations Philadelphia has had for the 25-year-old All-Star.
New Orleans’ deal appears directly engineered as a way to clear salary-cap space for an aggressive offer for Kyle Lowry in free agency. The Lakers, Sixers, Mavericks and Heat all remain linked by league sources as potential Lowry suitors, which will be just one element of a cluttered point guard market. It’s believed New Orleans, like each other team just mentioned, would have its sights set on Spencer Dinwiddie should Lowry choose to play elsewhere. The spinning of that point guard carousel will surely impact the landing spots for Lonzo Ball and Dennis Schroder, too.
Houston (Nos. 23, 24) and New York (Nos. 19, 21) have continued their efforts searching to jump into the teens, while Brooklyn also appears active in talks to move up from No. 27, with the Nets offering sharpshooting guard Landry Shamet, sources said. Would a team like Indiana be willing to drop so far back? The Pacers are also discussing Aaron Holiday with rival teams, sources said.
And the next All-Star-caliber player team personnel currently eye as available: Oklahoma City point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who’s suddenly eligible to sign a projected five-year, $168 million rookie scale extension this summer. It would appear, however, any interested team would need to meet the Thunder’s significant asking price. “It’s going to take a f–king lot to get him, but he’s no longer impossible to get,” said one team executive.
That would present a categorical change in the Thunder’s approach to Gilgeous-Alexander from ahead of the 2020 draft last August, sources said, when all four teams selecting within the first four picks contacted OKC about the 23-year-old and were quickly rebuffed by Thunder officials.
There’s still a strong expectation that OKC will search for avenues to move up in the first round, with a swap centered on the Thunder sending pick Nos. 16 and 18 to Charlotte for No. 11 as a deal structure to monitor, sources said. There’s a sense among team officials that Oklahoma City and Toronto are exploring options on swapping the No. 4 and No. 6 picks as well.