Yossi Gozlan: The Pelicans ended up operating over the cap after clearing a lot of money in their trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. While they couldn’t get an All-Star caliber player with their flexibility, they might have better fits on their team now that they have more shooting to surround Williamson. They could be primed for a significant in-season trade with many young players, draft picks and tradeable salaries in their arsenal. Satoransky and Josh Hart could be particularly expendable due to New Orleans’ glut of guards, with Hart being an intriguing name to keep an eye on due to his unique salary structure.
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Sources tell cleveland.com, along with their well-documented hunt for a shooting wing, including recent discussions about a sign-and-trade for restricted free agent swingman Josh Hart, the Cavs are currently exploring the free agent point guard market in hopes of adding a third guard to play behind starter Darius Garland and backup Rubio.
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.
Zach Lowe: From what I’ve heard from teams who have inquired about Josh Hart, the Pelicans absolutely love him. He’s a restricted free agent this summer and have shown very little interest in dealing with them.
Josh Hart: Official a Pelican! Let’s dance!
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter, two first round picks, a first-round pick swap right and cash. As part of the trade, the Lakers also sent Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, Moritz Wagner and a future second round draft pick to the Wizards, who in return, sent cash consideration to the Pelicans.
League sources told ESPN’s Bobby Marks that the Pelicans, Hawks and Wizards are expected to cooperate with the Lakers if Leonard is still undecided by noon on Saturday. The July 6 date was agreed upon initially in the Lakers’ and Pelicans’ deal sending Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks for Davis. The deal was based on the Lakers using the $32 million in cap space created on a max free agent like Leonard or on multiple free agents.
The New Orleans Pelicans are interested in three of the Lakers’ young players — whether that’s Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart — and the No. 4 pick in order to acquire Davis, according to people familiar with the trade discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly because of the fluidity of the situation. It’s possible New Orleans could use the No. 4 pick to acquire a player from a third team.
The one thing Hart said he was fairly certain of was that no one on the roster was untouchable with the exception of two players: LeBron James, the team’s lone All-Star, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents James and Davis: “You’re going through it and you’re like ‘Alright, man.’ You had no idea. Like, really, it seemed like nobody was untouchable honestly, besides LeBron and KCP. That was the only untouchable pieces. Fortunately for me, my name wasn’t really thrown in there until the last day when basically everyone on the roster was allegedly getting traded. It was just a weird situation because you had no idea.”
Here is what we do know. The Lakers made several aggressive offers to New Orleans involving all of their core young players of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. The Pelicans had no intent to trade Davis before the offseason, however, especially not to the Lakers, league sources said. The NBA is a business, however, and these conversations involving the Lakers’ talented young core was warranted, whether they were taken personally or not.
Late Monday night, the Lakers changed their offer at the request of the Pelicans, two people said. The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said. The Lakers were also winning to also send the Pelicans two first-round draft picks.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Lakers have offered the Pelicans two of their talented young players — among Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart — with Rondo or Stephenson as core parts of a deal. For Pelicans, these have not been remotely serious offers.
In the West, the Lakers have to be part of the conversation because of the LeBron James factor, though it’s not clear to rival executives whom they’re willing to trade in any deal and whom they aren’t. “At one point a month ago, they were dangling Lonzo [Ball] a little bit, but now they don’t want to trade him,” one of the execs said. Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac and Moritz Wagner are available, rival executives say, while pretty much everyone else is off the table. To get Beal, it’s going to take a lot more than that.
To date, Los Angeles has not offered players such as Ingram, Kuzma, Ball and Hart in trade discussions. They value each of them highly. The Lakers should have enough cap space to keep all four and still sign a top free agent like Kevin Durant (2019-20 player option), Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard (player option) this offseason. Will Ingram still be a part of L.A.’s young core in six months?
The Lakers won’t surrender Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kyzma or Josh Hart to the Phoenix Suns in their pursuit of forward Trevor Ariza, said people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The Lakers have informed teams that have called about trade proposals that they will not give up any of their young core unless it’s for a superstar player, one person said.
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September 26, 2021 | 6:15 am EDT Update
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
When asked directly about Irving’s vaccination status — or his plans to change it — multiple people familiar with his thinking declined to answer directly. But one confidant and family member floated to Rolling Stone the idea of anti-vaxx players skipping home games to dodge the New York City ordinance… or at least threatening to protest them, until the NBA changes its ways.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” says Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, who runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”
A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth.
Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.”
Enes Kanter — the veteran center, devout Muslim and outspoken liberal — senses a creep of the religious right upon his workplace, which just happens to involve players like Isaac sweating all over him and yelling in his face: “If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” he tells RS. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”