June 28, 2022 | 9:57 am EDT Update
The New York Knicks have had exploratory discussions on trading center Nerlens Noel to the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told HoopsHype. Noel could fit into the Clippers’ $9.7 million trade exception previously generated by the Serge Ibaka trade. The Knicks have a surplus of draft pick compensation (22 picks total over the next seven years) to dangle.
This would seem to end the Irving drama for the Nets, at least for now, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says people around the NBA are skeptical. On the latest episode of The Hoop Collective pod, Windy revealed what he has been hearing on this situation after Kyrie’s decision (h/t RealGM): “I think it turned down the heat in at least kept the Nets with two star players, with all of their options for next year alive,” said Brian Windhorst. “And, boy, was that not what some people, agents and executives thought. They don’t think this is over. “Now, Kyrie tried to make it sound like it was over. ‘I’ll see you in the fall’ sounds like it’s over.”
Windy went on to say that Irving did not tell the Nets about his decision before it went public. He also reiterated that people around the league don’t really believe Kyrie is actually all in: “I don’t know if anything has changed,” said Windhorst. “The people I talk to in the league are skeptical that Kyrie is going to be all for one and one for all on this.”
Something important to consider is that Irving’s stature around the league should improve from its current state if he can stay healthy in 2022-23. After all, the seven-time All-Star tied a career-high with 27.4 points per game in just 29 contests last season and did so at roughly the same efficiency as the rest of his career. Anything close to a full season could remind the basketball world what Irving can do on the court, even at 30 years old, which could propel him to a longer tenure in Brooklyn or a more significant long-term commitment from another franchise than he received over the last few weeks. No matter what, it will be simultaneously fascinating and significant for both the league landscape and the future of the Brooklyn Nets.
Warriors center Kevon Looney played in 104 combined games from the regular season through the NBA Finals for the Warriors. Now, the ironman could nearly double his salary close to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception this offseason. According to six NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype, Looney could command $9 million annually in free agency.
Following a breakout season where Gary Payton II solidified himself as an NBA rotation player and stout on-ball defender, he’s expected to earn a sizable pay raise this offseason. Payton II is projected to earn $6-7 million annually, according to six NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype. That figure would put him in range for the taxpayer mid-level exception for several teams across the league.
As a contingency plan, the Detroit Pistons discussed offering a future first-round pick and an additional future second-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 14th pick if Detroit couldn’t select Jalen Duren with the 13th overall pick in a separate trade with the Charlotte Hornets, league sources told HoopsHype.