Translation: A combination of late first-round draft picks and young players like the ones wearing green in Boston, it appears, likely wouldn’t be enough to get it done. The Kings are clearly still pondering the possibility of adding the kind of impact piece that they believe would put them in the playoff mix. Does that mean Barnes won’t get moved? Never say never, but it seems the Kings are holding onto Barnes a little tighter than expected here.
July 3, 2022 | 3:20 pm EDT Update
Brooklyn insists that talks are only preliminary at this point, but Chris Haynes’ report Saturday that the Nets and Lakers have discussed a Kyrie Irving trade only fueled what is already a widespread expectation that Irving is destined to end up with the Lakers. I certainly believe that, too. I know Irving has been in Los Angeles this week, but that’s not the source of my confidence. It stems from repeated rumbles in circulation that LeBron James is rooting hard for Irving’s addition to the roster. James, I’m told, wants to see Irving in Lakerland more than anyone. What other team, furthermore, has a LeBron-sized personality with the experience to cope with all the chaos that comes with adding Kyrie? James, remember, has often thrived in chaos.
The Kevin Durant Trade Sweepstakes should keep the NBA’s Transaction Game at the forefront of discussion far longer than this summer’s marketplace was projected to entertain us. Sixty done deals and 10 contract extensions, after all, were already reported entering Sunday’s Day 4. Everyone on the NBA map knows that Brooklyn is prepared to accede to Durant’s trade request in what is widely expected to pan out as a blockbuster involving three (or more) teams. It just might not come to fruition as quickly as the masses hope, with Durant under contract for the next four seasons and the Nets thus possessing almost all of the leverage. Brooklyn is incentivized to be a bit patient to ensure it secures the optimal trade package for the ages.
My pal Brian Windhorst became the darling of NBA Twitter on Friday for his dramatic burst of morning prognostication mere hours before Utah traded Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. Yet I suspect that Windy, when he was musing so irresistibly about the intrigue building in Salt Lake City, was thinking as much about the prospect of Donovan Mitchell landing in Brooklyn as part of a three-way deal sending Durant to the Suns as he was about what might happen with Gobert.
That’s because, on the surface, Mitchell appears to be precisely the sort of star that would appeal to the Nets as their part of their Durant surrender. Mitchell is a face of the franchise-level player with ties to New York. The Nets just acquired Royce O’Neale, his favorite teammate in Utah not named Eric Paschall. Launching a retooling around Mitchell, who has been coveted by the crosstown Knicks for years, makes so much sense for Brooklyn.
The problem is that Mitchell is unavailable to the Nets for the same primary reason as many top young stars: Brooklyn is ineligible to trade for Mitchell as long as Ben Simmons is on the roster. League rules preclude one team from employing two players on “designated rookie” contracts acquired via trade. Another considerable obstacle: Utah, for now, has been adamant that it won’t trade Mitchell. One nonetheless suspects that the Jazz, for all their messaging about wanting to reload around Mitchell, would eventually be willing to trade Mitchell in the proverbial “right” deal if the Nets suddenly no longer had Simmons (or were shipping him out in the same trade). Something to file away if a multi-team Durant deal doesn’t materialize immediately.
July 3, 2022 | 1:59 pm EDT Update
Second-year forward Sam Hauser has agreed to a three-year contract with the Celtics worth approximately $6 million, a league source told the Globe on Sunday. The first two years of the deal are fully guaranteed, the source said. The Celtics signed the sharpshooter from Virginia to a two-way contract last summer, and in February the deal was converted to an NBA contract after a collection of trades opened up several roster spots. Last week, Boston declined Hauser’s $1.6 million option for next season and made him a restricted free agent, making this multi-year deal possible.