NBA Draft rumor roundup for Tuesday

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There are 8 million rumors out there in the naked city, and while only a handful will come true we thought we’d put a bunch of them in one place, because we know how valuable your time is.

One of the biggest ones our own John Krolik just wrote about — the Wizards trying to move up to the No. 3 or No. 4 pick to get Enes Kanter. Several sources have variations of this and while it is still smoke there is enough to think there is some fire there.

One guy being shopped around is Raymond Felton, with the Nuggets. They are sold on Ty Lawson. The Lakers are reportedly interested, although hard to see the Nuggets helping out the Lakers and filling a real need for them. How about Felton to Sacramento for the No. 7 pick?

The Bucks have their target on someone — probably JonasValanciunas — and if he is gone by then the often active on draft day Bucks may trade the pick to Houston for the 14 and 23 picks.

The Rockets have been offering the 14 and 23 picks to anybody in the top 10 who will take them.

The Phoenix Suns may have offered center Marcin Gortat plus their No. 13 pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the No. 2 overall pick, which will be Derrick Williams.

The Timberwolves have continued to listen to a number of offers for the No. 2 pick, one rumored one of Roy Hibbert and the 15th pick from the Pacers was shot down by Larry Bird. There are a lot more No. 2 pick rumors out there, from a lot of teams.

One that will not happen, anything involving Pau Gasol and the Lakers.

Yes, the Cavaliers will take Kyrie Irving No. 1. They have not made a formal commitment to him, but that’s’ what will happen.

With all the talk about the Jazz taking Jimmer Fredette if he is there at No. 12 (and there would be a lot of pressure on them to do just that) they may take Florida State big man and defender Chris Singleton instead.

Markieff Morris, one of the brothers out of Kansas, could go to the Pistons at No. 8.

The Knicks, if they don’t move up, have reported interest in Marshon Brooks, Iman Shumpert and Kenneth Faried. According to Chad Ford at ESPN, they want a guy to help now not a project (but not a lot of those at 17).

The Chicago Bulls are reportedly going to keep their two late first round picks.

Rockets to add Spurs buyout DeMarre Carroll, free agent Jeff Green

Spurs forward DeMarre Caroll
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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that DeMarre Carroll and the San Antonio Spurs have agreed to a buyout. Carroll will then sign with the Houston Rockets:

ESPN’s Tim McMahon added in a subsequent report that the Rockets will bring in free agent forward Jeff Green:

Green will first sign a 10-day contract with the Rockets, so he can get used to their system and see if there is a fit, Woj reported.

Carroll signed a three-year, $20.65 million contract as part of a sign and trade from the Brooklyn Nets to the Spurs this past summer. That agreement was part of a three-team trade that saw San Antonio send forward Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards. The 10-year veteran is owed $7 million for this season, $6.65 million for 2020-21 and $1.35 million guaranteed for 2021-22. San Antonio will incur a cap hit for each of the three seasons as part of the buyout process with Carroll. How much of a cap hit will depend on how much money Carroll gave up as part of the buyout agreement.

Carroll was added via sign and trade after Marcus Morris spurned the Spurs in free agency. Morris had originally agreed to sign with San Antonio, but backed out after the New York Knicks offered him $15 million as a free agent. The Spurs moved on to Carroll as a backup plan, but he was never able to crack the rotation. He’s played only 135 minutes over 15 games with San Antonio.

Green was with the Utah Jazz earlier this season, before being waived to create a roster spot for Rayjon Tucker. The 11-year veteran Green averaged 7.7 points per game in 30 appearances with Utah. The Rockets will be the ninth different franchise Green has played for.

In Houston, Carroll and Green will join Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball crew as big man depth. Carroll and Green will likely back up P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington up front. Their experience at both forward spots will give the Rockets additional depth for their playoff run. Carroll and Green are also likely be to asked to play some center, as Houston has downsized dramatically at that position, including trading Clint Capela at the trade deadline.

NBA players’ union votes to support formation of G-League union

Kyrie Irving
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Better pay. Better working conditions. Not to be treated as disposable parts by their employers.

The players in the G-League want the same thing out of a union that auto workers, teachers, and (most obviously) NBA players do. As had been expected (talks had been going on for a while), on Monday the National Basketball Players Association (the NBA players’ union) voted to support the formation of a G-League union, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The G-League players are expected to support this. Sources have told NBC Sports that team and league officials will not oppose the players unionizing, they believe there will be benefits, too.

The primary issue will be pay. Most players in the G-League earn a $35,000 salary, unless they’re an elite high school prospect, or on a two-way contract (which means they are tied to an NBA team and can be called up for 45 days a season). Some players make more through an Exhibit 10 contract with a team — meaning they go to training camp with a team, then get a bonus ($50,000 or so) if they sign with that team’s G-League team.

Other issues would include freedom of player movement, work benefits, and giving the players a voice in other matters like discipline issues.

The NBA continues to push toward each of its teams having a minor-league affiliate. Right now, only the Trail Blazers and Nuggets do not. As the G-League grows, it’s understandable the players want a larger voice in how things are run.

In other news out of the players’ union meeting, Kyrie Irving was voted in as vice president, replacing Paul Gasol. Via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Chris Paul remains the union president.

Check out Dr. Dre’s Kobe Bryant tribute

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CHICAGO — In a weekend filled with spectacular tributes to Kobe Bryant, this one stood out.

Legendary rapper, songwriter, record producer, and businessman Dr. Dre — a guy who grew up in Los Angeles — released a tribute that stood out (and was highlighted on TNT). Dre did this with Gibson Hazard and Jackson Bannon.

Kobe’s public memorial service takes place Feb. 24 at Staples Center.

Giannis Antetokounmpo on team’s All-Star plan: Attack James Harden

Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden
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CHICAGO – James Harden has griped about Giannis Antetokounmpo winning Most Valuable Player last year.

After his team lost to Harden’s in the All-Star game Sunday, Antetokounmpo got in a dig at Harden.

“Offensively, we were just trying to find whoever James Harden was guarding,” Antetokounmpo said of his team’s strategy late. “That’s who we thought we’d have the opportunity to score on.”

Harden is not a good defender. But this is playing right into his hands. He’s at his best in isolation, especially in the post. He faces far more difficulty when run through actions off the ball or trying to keep up in transition.

Down the stretch, Harden defended more effectively than usual. Not great, but above his usual standard. Good enough for LeBron James‘ team to win.

At least, as Giannis previously noted, the MVP trophy is at his house.