NBA Rumor: Josh Hart Free Agency

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There seems to be legitimate traction on a three-team sign-and-trade framework between Chicago, New Orleans and Charlotte that would likely nullify any of the Bulls’ fears of losing out on their preferred point guard target. From conversations with multiple league sources, the framework that would be discussed appears to focus on landing Ball in Chicago, Devonte’ Graham in New Orleans and Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart and draft capital to Charlotte.

Since Hart was drafted by the Lakers in 2017, the 26-year-old has garnered a reputation as the ultimate “glue guy”. He has played every position except for center and can start (65 games) or come off the bench as a sixth man (177 games). Hart, who suffered a season-ending thumb injury in early April, finished first in rebounds (8.0 per game) among all small forwards. At the minimum, Hart will have teams lined up with their $9.5 million midlevel exception and should see offers in the $12-13 million range. According to ProFitX, the projected high on a new contract in 2021-22 for Hart would start at $11.8 million.

Josh Hart still in Pels' long-term plans?

Instead, his season is most likely over, and it’s time to look forward to contract talks. From everything I’ve heard, I still believe the Pels front office views him as an essential part of the team’s core moving forward, and his skill set complements the stars of the franchise — Williamson and Ingram — very well. He’s also one of the vocal leaders in the locker room, and his willingness to speak up is essential because Ingram and Williamson aren’t quite comfortable filling that role just yet.

The way things go with Ball’s contract negotiations will undoubtedly affect what happens with Hart, but I expect New Orleans to do whatever it takes to make sure their “Junkyard Dog” sticks around. His attitude, approach, and physicality are everything the Pels should be trying to establish within their culture around all the other young pieces. If another team does swoop in with a huge contract offer and steals him away, it would be a big loss on the court and in the locker room.

Matthew Moreno: Luke Walton sees Josh Hart as much more than a ‘3-and-D’ player. “He’s one of our best finishers, he’s one of our best rebounders, he can push it in transition. … Saying he’s a 3-and-D guy is limiting his potential as player,” Walton said. Hart on that perception: “I think I do a lot more things than that. I can defend some of the best players, I can rebound, I can push it, make plays off the dribble and that kind of thing. I don’t label myself a 3-and-D guy because I’m not going to sell myself short.”
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September 18, 2021 | 9:28 pm EDT Update
September 18, 2021 | 5:41 pm EDT Update
You’re here for at least the next five years now that you’ve signed an extension. Do you allow yourself to think – or dream – about what might come over that time span since you’ve talked openly about wanting to win a title in New York? Have you allowed yourself to think about how things might progress? Julius Randle: Obviously, it’s a process. Everything is a process. We’ve been building this from the ground up. But for me, personally, that is the expectation (winning a title in New York). That’s what I want to happen within that time frame. There’s a lot of things, factors that go into that. So obviously you’ve got to weigh that stuff in.
Julius Randle: But as far as myself, I know Thibs (Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau) is thinking (it as well), it’s just win at all costs. For me personally, that’s just how I prepare myself. I prepare myself to compete at the highest level of our game. Like I said, there’s a lot of factors (that go into winning an NBA title). But I trust Leon (Knicks president Leon Rose), I trust Thibs, Wes (Knicks vice president William Wesley), our coaches, Scott (Knicks GM Scott Perry) – all these guys, I trust. That was part of my process in thinking of signing the extension and that’s my goal, that’s our goal as a team and the guys that are around us. We want to be able to say that we won a championship here in New York. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that.
Did you guys see the video clip of Trae Young at the Garden with WWE? Do you care about that stuff? Julius Randle: Yeah I see it. But honestly, I don’t care. Obviously, that’s (for) entertainment purposes and all that (stuff), so I let people enjoy it. For me, honestly, I don’t care. I honestly didn’t even watch it. Knicks fans, they’re going to make a big deal out of it – they didn’t like it (laughs). But it’s all fun and games and hopefully they enjoyed it.
September 18, 2021 | 12:10 pm EDT Update

Rockets re-sign Dante Exum, waive Tyler Bey

The Rockets have officially re-signed guard Dante Exum and waived Tyler Bey to create a roster space for him, according to the NBA’s transactions log. Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw was the first to report the Bey transaction (Twitter link). With John Wall not expected to play for the team this season as it seeks to trade him, the Rockets were in the market for another point guard. The Rockets’ interest in Exum surfaced on Tuesday.
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