Storyline: DeMar DeRozan Trade?

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The Spurs (16-20; eighth in the West) have been exploring the market for DeRozan, but a source with knowledge of his situation is quick to point out that the free-agent-to-be has a significant influence on the situation here too. DeRozan, who has a $27.7 million player option for next season, will have the freedom to walk this summer if he doesn’t like his next landing spot. It’s tough to find serious takers when you know the guy might skip town in just a few months. Meanwhile, there remains the possibility that he could sign an extension to remain in San Antonio (I reported in October that the sides were far apart, but those talks aren’t dead). With the Spurs somehow still in position to set a new NBA record by securing their 23rd consecutive playoff berth, DeRozan is leading the team in scoring (21.7 points per game) and assists (4.9 per).

DeMar DeRozan’s name pops up often in possible trade talks with the Magic. DeRozan is owed $27.7 million next season, though it’s a player option. The Spurs don’t normally make in-season trades, but given where they are, this might be the time to move DeRozan. It’s a new era in San Antonio. R.C. Buford has turned over operations to new general manager Brian Wright, who is running the show and thinking about the future for a franchise that has been a playoff mainstay for two-plus decades.

And, for what it’s worth, Orlando has reportedly expressed some interest in DeRozan. One of the executives who spoke to HoopsHype said that they’ve also heard the DeRozan-to-Orlando rumblings, while another mentioned both the Magic and the Sacramento Kings as sensible suitors for the All-Star 2-guard: “A landing spot for DeRozan is probably a team that badly wants to make the playoffs and, right now, they’re in the 7-to-10 range in their conference. The Magic, the Kings and other teams like that would make sense. What the Spurs could get back really depends on if they’re willing to take back money in the deal.”

Magic interested in DeMar DeRozan?

This is a team at a crossroads. Despite the fact that he has performed ably since arriving in Texas from Canada, DeRozan might not be in town for that much longer. He could even be traded ahead of the deadline. DeRozan can become a free agent in 2020 by declining his $27.7 million player option; he was far apart from the team on extension talks before the season, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. The Spurs could always deal him sooner rather than let him walk for nothing. Multiple league sources say the Magic are scouring the trade market for scoring help and have already expressed interest in trading for DeRozan.
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August 3, 2020 | 7:05 pm EDT Update
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August 3, 2020 | 3:32 pm EDT Update
“Zion is not on their injury report,” said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. “They are treating him as though he’s coming back from an injury, but he’s not on their injury report. I cannot make an assumption as to what’s going on there. When you watch him play, he clearly is not in condition to compete at the highest level. As I’ve watched him play two games, I don’t actually think they should have played him at all with the way he’s playing. I talked to a scout who said to me he shouldn’t be out there right now with the condition he is in. He said to me, ‘He’s moving worse than he did in Summer League last summer when he got hurt in his first or second game.’ “I don’t know if that’s because he’s out of condition, or that’s because he’s got something that they’re not discussing. This is one of the things that the Pelicans have to deal with… this is a guy who has a history of knee injuries and is not right either because of conditioning or because of something else.”
Williamson was gone from the Pelicans for over a week and then was under quarantine for a few days when he returned to Orlando. “He does not look right,” said Kirk Goldsberry. “It does not look good. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say he shouldn’t be out there because I don’t know… Something smells fishy here. I don’t know what’s going on. He does not look like the kid that was dominating the league in March.”
Now that the Wizards have lost their first two games at Disney World, that rule is coming back into the forefront. The Wizards are currently tied in the loss column with the Hornets, who aren’t in Orlando but are locked in with the eighth-best lottery odds. What that means is if the Wizards continue to lose, they can’t gain more ping-pong balls for lottery night, which is set for Aug. 25. And now there is a distinct possibility they could have worse odds than a team with a better win percentage than them.
Storyline: Draft Lottery
It would be a cruel twist for the Wizards, who need as much help as they can get in this year’s draft as they hope to find another blue chip prospect to add to their burgeoning young core. Making that pick count is especially important given their salary cap situation with John Wall and Bradley Beal on the books, which has left them with fewer resources to work with. They could get another key rotation player on a rookie contract. The good news is that the lottery rules were changed more permanently before last year’s drawing in order to create more parity in the annual event. It smoothed out the odds to discourage tanking and the results in its first year were as-intended.
August 3, 2020 | 2:49 pm EDT Update
Zalgiris big man Jock Landale will be playing in a different team next season. With the request of the player, Jock Landale and Zalgiris have mutually agreed to part ways, as the Aussie continues to seek out his dream of playing in the NBA. A member of the Australian men’s national team signed a deal with Zalgiris last summer and had a running contract for next season. After the two sides reached an agreement, the 24-year-old addressed the fans and the Zalgiris organization. “I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for everything you’ve done for the past year. It was such an incredible experience coming to Lithuania and playing for such a historic club and a legendary coach. To the organization, I appreciate what you guys have done. Everyone’s got goals and ambitions, and you really helped me reach mine. You’ve got a fan in me for life.”
Storyline: Jock Landale Free Agency
August 3, 2020 | 2:11 pm EDT Update
August 3, 2020 | 12:55 pm EDT Update
While watching Sunday night’s box-office affair between the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks, perhaps the saying speaks more to the mental exercise of what it takes to play defense and get stops. “Heart and will,” James Harden said. “Everybody says we’re undersized — and they got a couple of offensive rebounds on us just cause they have 7-footers and whatnot — but you gotta just keep fighting, keep fighting. Once we get that ball, we’re out, so it just takes good spirit, fighting and making sure we’re communicating defensively and in our right positions.”
Westbrook finished with 31 points, eight assists and six rebounds, but it’s more important to note how he kept Houston afloat while Harden sat with foul trouble. He constantly put pressure on the Bucks’ defense, forcing them to concede open shots to Green, Tucker, Ben McLemore, and others. In addition, it seemed like him and Harden struck a good balance of when to attack versus when to move the ball and look for others. When Harden struggles offensively, Westbrook is more than capable of picking up the slack. “Yeah, I think we’re comfortable now,” Harden said of the pair’s chemistry. “I think with that training camp, we’re in a good place. We found ourselves.”
Storyline: Harden-Westbrook Dynamic
“We loaded up,” House explained. “We talked. The most important thing was to stop him before he got downhill, of course. We did a good job about locating him before he could get the ball or even after he got the ball to make sure that we were on the help side and that guys were already communicating with one another. That’s been a big help and a big factor for us — communication on defense. So we don’t have those “my bad” moments.” “Very important,” Harden added on their late-game defense. “I think throughout the course of the game we played some really good defense. Obviously, they’re a really good offensive team, but throughout the course of the game we got stops when we needed to.”