Follow Live: Latest NBA trades, rumors all in one place as deadline nears

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The NBA’s trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday (Feb. 18), and that means a tsunami of rumors will wash over twitter. And in that maybe a few trades will happen (maybe more than a few trades, who knows?). We understand you’re a busy person with a life and a job/school to tend to and don’t have time just to sit around and follow trade rumors all day (well, unless you go to Arizona State). So we’ve compiled them all in one place, which will be updated as news breaks, and we will link to PBT’s longer stories on some of this news.

• 3:21 PM ET: There was a good one that just beat the trade deadline: The Clippers have traded Lance Stephenson to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jeff Green, a trade broken by Zach Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN. I like this trade for the Clippers in that Green is erratic but that’s better than Stephenson, who had fallen out of Rivers’ rotation. This is an upgrade for the Clippers (does not vault them to contender, but an upgrade), but it came at a price. The Grizzlies take on the enigmatic Stephenson — who also has moments of strong play — plus they get a protected first-round pick from the Clippers (heavily protected 2019 first round pick). That’s a good haul for the Grizzlies.

• 3:10 PM ET:  We have one of those late trades — Kirk Hinrich is going from Chicago to Atlanta for a second round pick.

• 3:02 PM ET: The big names did not move: Dwight Howard is still with the Rockets, who were also unable to move Ty Lawson. Ryan Anderson is still with the Pelicans. Al Horford and Jeff Teague are still Rockets.

• 3:00 PM ET: The trade deadline has passed, although a few deals will still trickle in (they don’t get announced immediately).

• 2:44 PM ET: The Phoenix Suns have traded disgruntled power forward Markieff Morris to the Washington Wizards, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. The Wizards want to get more athletic and add shooting to play better off John Wall, and good Morris does that. However disgruntled Morris is not a help, the Wizards are rolling the dice. But after a 23-28 start that has them three games out of the playoffs, they need to roll the dice. Phoenix got a good haul back: The serviceable Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, and a protected 2016 first round pick (protected top nine).

• 2:29 PM ET: If you’re looking for a deal that does go down in the final half-hour, keep an eye on Ben McLemore out of Sacramento. They want to make a roster upgrade and a playoff push and he is their best asset to dangle. The Bulls were in the mix among other, but Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Dallas has moved into the discussions for McLemore.

• 2:22 PM ET: We have another minor deal, the Miami Heat have traded Brian Roberts to the Portland Trail Blazers for a second round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news. Why did the teams do this? For Miami, this move (combined with others earlier in the day) gets them below the luxury tax line, saving $6 million. For Portland, they had a lot of cap space, now they are up to the salary floor, and in getting there they stockpiled picks. Neil Olshey in Portland remains one of the smartest GMs out there.

• 2:18 PM ET: Things have gotten quiet on the trade front, and part of the reason is a lot of executives are on their way to Oklahoma City for the memorial for Monty Williams’ beloved wife, Ramona Shelburne notes. Which is far more important.

• 2:10 PM ET: If there was one thing I was certain would happen at the deadline, it was Toronto getting an upgrade at the power forward spot (sorry Luis Scola). Nothing yet. They are offering the Knicks’ first round pick this season (which is the worse pick of the Nuggets or Knicks) and Patrick Patterson. That’s not a bad package, but nobody’s biting, according to Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

• 1:56 PM ET: With just more than an hour to go until the trade deadline, a lot of deals seem to be falling apart. The Knicks had talked to the Timberwolves about Kevin Martin but that deal collapsed, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Also, Minnesota and Milwaukee resumed Ricky Rubio trade talks, but nothing has come of them, reports Stein.

• 1:51 PM ET: With Channing Frye going to Cleveland, that is one less suitor for Ryan Anderson in New Orleans. With a good chance they lose him in free agency most expected the Pelicans to deal Anderson, but he could be around through the end of the season in the Big Easy.

• 1:45 PM ET: Randy Foye to Oklahoma City is a done deal, and now we have the details. Denver will get point guard D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second-round picks. The Nuggets will try to flip Novak before the deadline.

• 1:40 PM ET: As had been rumored for a while, the Atlanta Hawks have shut down talks on Jeff Teague. They are going to stand pat with Teague and Al Horford, try to re-sign Horford this summer and re-consider trading one of their key point guards during the summer.

• 12:58 PM ET: Oklahoma City may be getting some help at the two guard that they desperately need. The Thuder are in “advanced talks” with Denver for Randy Foye. That would be a solid upgrade for OKC, considering Dion Waiters and Andre Roberson get the minutes now.

• 12:55 PM ET: Looking for a little point guard depth, the Chicago Bulls are talking to the Orlando about a trade for Shabazz Napier. This would be a pretty minor deal. Adrian Wojnarowski had the news.

• 12:50 PM ET: The Cleveland Cavaliers are acquiring Channing Frye from Orlando in a three-team deal that will ultimately send long-time Cav big man Anderson Varejao to Portland. Sam Amick of the USA Today broke the story. A lot of details still to follow in this one — Portland is going to have to get a heck of a sweetener to use their free cap space on Varejao — but the details are still coming. Remember the Clippers were in the front of the line for Channing Frye, but decided today to pull out of the deal (that could mean Lance Stephenson is headed elsewhere, although the buzz is the Clippers stand pat).

• 12:30 PM ET: The deal is done — Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton are headed to Detroit, in exchange the Rockets get little used (and with back issues) Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news. I like that move for Detroit, Stan Van Gundy has had a fantastic trade deadline. The Rockets free up salary cap space — they are now $1.2 million below the hard cap they brought on themselves — and have a roster spot, plus get a pick (it is top eight protected, which makes it highly unlikely the Pistons pick does not go to the Rockets this June).

• 12:16 PM ET: The Pistons have proposed a Joel Anthony for Donatas Motiejunas trade with the Rockets, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. No way the Rockets do that straight up, so there are going to have to be other picks/players to sweeten the deal. The Pistons have coveted Motiejunas for a while, he is the kind of stretch four needed next to Andre Drummond in Stan Van Gundy’s system.

• 12:12 PM ET: A number of teams are calling the Nuggets about solid veteran guard Randy Foye, the Nuggets are listening but may not move him (unless they get an offer they genuinely like).

• 12:05 PM ET: We have a trade! Not a big one, not a thrilling one, but a trade. The Miami Heat have moved Jarnell Stokes to the New Orleans Pelicans, something first reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN. Stokes, a 6’9 power forward/center, has bounced between Memphis and Miami this season and has played a total of 18 minutes for these teams. He’s not a game-changer for the Pelicans, who also are getting $700,000 in cash in this trade. Why do the Heat do it? Because it saves them nearly $3 million in luxury tax.

• 11:50 ET: The Jazz still would like an upgrade or some depth at the point, now that they are out of the Lawson talks (see the next note below), so they are looking at other options. One of them as a fallback is Shelvin Mack, the rarely used third point guard of the Atlanta Hawks.

• 11:28 ET: The Rockets trading Ty Lawson to the Jazz deal appears to be DOA, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Jazz were hesitant from the start about Lawson, will look for another point guard to bring in, Trey Burke is still on the trade block. Houston is having trouble finding takers for Lawson or Dwight Howard, even at reduced prices. Also, the Rockets do not plan to buy Lawson out.

• 11:25 ET: Atlanta tested the trade market for current All-Star Al Horford and former All-Star Jeff Teague, but the asking price was ridiculously high, as percieved by other teams. The Hawks never backed off much from that asking price (particularly for Horford). Now as the deadline nears, the Hawks are telling teams no deal, they are keeping the team together. The Hawks want to re-sign Horford this summer and stand a good chance of landing him.

• 11:12 ET: And already teams are calling brand new Nets GM Sean Marks to see if he wants to move Thaddeus Young, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Not a shock, the Raptors and a few other teams are interested in Young.

• 11:01 ET: The Kevin Love to Boston in three-way trade that includes Ryan Anderson to Cleveland idea is not totally dead yet. It may take Miracle Max to save it, the Cavs are very hesitant to move Love as they are in a win-now place and need an upgrade, not a lateral move (and Anderson is not an upgrade, there needs to be more) but the talks are not dead.

• 10:24 ET: Interesting note on the Ty Lawson to Utah rumors via the well-connected Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com: When Lawson dropped the guarantee on the final year of his contract to facilitate his trade to Houston, there was a gentlemen’s agreement that the Rockets would let Lawson become a free agent regardless of how he plays. Utah is not bound by that and if Lawson plays well for them may want to keep him for that next season. Lawson would like the cash that comes with free agency. It may not change the deal, but it’s an interesting wrinkle. Basically, Utah doesn’t want Lawson unless Lawson wants to be there, and in the past Lawson has publicly slammed Utah as “boring.”

• 10:20 ET: The Brooklyn Nets have hired Sean Marks away from the San Antonio front office to be their General Manager. Yes, the guy owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn’t know less than 24 hours ago. The Nets had to back up the Brinks truck, but they got their man. Marks could be a fantastic GM in Brooklyn — if Prokhorov and company give him space and let him do his job. This is not going to be quick rebuild, can the Russians be patient?

• 10:07 ET: Boston wants to add a true No. 1 option to their rotation, but they are not giving up their numerous assets for rentals of free agents to be Dwight Howard or Al Horford (according to Adrian Wojnarowski). The issue with Howard is about re-signing him — who wants to pay him a max over multiple years? — and with Horford the Hawks have not backed off requests for the moon.

• 10:02 ET: The Phoenix Suns are considering trading Mirza Teletovic to the Milwaukee Bucks.

• 10:00 ET: The Suns and Toronto are still talking about a potential P.J. Tucker trade. Expect the Raptors to make some kind of move today to bring in an upgrade at the power forward spot, Luis Scola isn’t cutting it. The Suns would like the Raptors to take Markieff Morris, the Raptors have no interest in him. Phoenix continues to shop Morris.

• RUMORS, TRADES LEADING INTO DEADLINE DAY

• The Sacramento Kings have made a strong push to land Pau Gasol in a trade with Chicago (because Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive wants to make the playoffs this year, and his constant meddling has always helped with that… oh, wait). The proposal on the table is Gasol and Tony Snell Sacramento for Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and a lessening of restrictions on a pick the Sixers owe the Bulls for the 2016 draft. For his part, Gasol wants to stay with the Bulls. The Kings also fired an assistant coach and close confidant of George Karl’s on Wednesday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would like a stretch four, are talking to New Orleans about Ryan Anderson and Orlando about Channing Frye.

The Rockets and Jazz are in serious talks about a deal that would send struggling point guard Ty Lawson to Utah. Because Lawson’s contract is unguaranteed for next season, this is a low-risk gamble for the Jazz, who would send Trey Burke back as the centerpiece.

• The Bucks are not trading Greg Monroe. Michael Carter-Williams, on the other hand, still may be available (even though he’s been told he’s not being moved).

• Doc Rivers said the Clippers are not trading Blake Griffin. (At least not at the deadline, but that could be revisited this summer. The Clippers certainly listened to offers to gauge Griffin’s value in the marketplace.)

• Memphis sent Courtney Lee to the Charlotte Hornets in a three-team deal that also included the Miami Heat.

• Detroit acquired Tobias Harris in a trade that sent Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to Orlando. I love this move long-term for the Pistons, and it is a good deal for Orlando as well if Scott Skiles has moved on from Harris.

Miami, Milwaukee have their eyes on Jae Crowder

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The Heat and Bucks don’t just have interest in the same player. They’re looking to replace the same player.

Two years ago, P.J. Tucker helped Milwaukee win their first championship in a half-century. Last season, he helped Miami lock up the top seed in the East and make the Conference Finals.

With Tucker in Philadelphia, both the Heat and Bucks are looking to fill the void with a different lockdown enforcer that can stretch the floor.

Jae Crowder and the Suns agreed that he won’t participate in practice as the team looks to accommodate his trade request. In a recent ESPN+ article, Zach Lowe made it clear that both Miami and Milwaukee are interested in pursuing a trade for Crowder.

“The Bucks have internal interest in Crowder as that Tucker replacement after getting into the recent Jerami Grant and Bojan Bogdanovic discussions, sources say. They will search all season for one more piece.

“The Heat have interest in Crowder too, sources say, but finding matching salary is tough until Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin and Victor Oladipo become trade-eligible in the winter. Martin might start, and the Heat are optimistic Oladipo can play a huge role.”

– ESPN’s Zach Lowe

Grant and Bogdanovic were traded to Portland and Detroit, respectively. The Heat may struggle to find a trade that works since Phoenix probably won’t want to take on Duncan Robinson’s contract. Dedmon, Martin and Oladipo will become trade eligible on January 15th.

Crowder has a history with the Heat, as he helped them make the NBA Finals in the bubble. He helped Phoenix make the NBA Finals two seasons ago and then helped them finish with the best record in the NBA last season.

LeBron says Wembanyama is an ‘alien’ and a ‘generational talent’

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There was a time when LeBron James was the “it” kid coming for the NBA — a freakish athlete like nobody in the league had seen. A player the size of Karl Malone with the quickness and skills of an elite point guard.

Now the “it” guy is Victor Wembanyama, the 7’4″ mold-breaking big out of France — and LeBron is impressed.

“Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, well he’s more like an alien,” LeBron said after the Lakers’ preseason loss to the Suns in Las Vegas. “I’ve never seen, no one’s ever seen anyone as tall as he is, but it’s fluid and as graceful as on the floor…

“His ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot step-back jumpers on the post, step-back 3s, catch-and-shoot 3s, block shots. He’s for sure a generational talent. And hopefully he continues to stay healthy, that’s the most important for him personally, and as you could tell he loves the game. He was smiling a lot while playing the game last night. I think it was the two best players in the draft on the floor last night and they both did their thing.”

Wembanyama is projected to be the No.1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, just ahead of point guard Scoot Henerson, who scored 28 points with nine assists of his own leading his G-League Ignite to a win over Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92. Wembanyama scored 37 points in the game, hit 7-of-11 shots from 3, had five blocks and a few other shots changed because of his length (7’11” wingspan) and the threat of his block.

Wembanyama and Henderson face off again tonight in a second game between the Ignite and Metropolitans 92 just outside Las Vegas in Henderson (9:30 p.m. ET on NBATV).

Wembanyama will play, with his agent telling ESPN there are no plans to shut the No.1 pick down to avoid injury and protect his draft status. “He’ll never agree to that. He wants to compete and get better,” Bouna Ndiaye said.

LeBron looked back on his time as the “it” player and said simply, “thank got there wasn’t social media” at the time. It’s a different world now, but game still recognizes game.

And LeBron recognizes it in Wembanyama.

LeBron tells Adam Silver he wants to own expansion team in Vegas

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The odds are good that Las Vegas will get an NBA expansion team. Eventually.

But when it happens, LeBron James wants to be in the Vegas ownership group — and he made that pitch directly to Adam Silver after the Lakers exhibition game in Sin City against the Suns on Wednesday.

“I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe. But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players,” James said, via the Associated Press. “So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

Silver is in the United Arab Emirates, which is hosting an exhibition game between the Bucks and Hawks this week. But LeBron doesn’t need to worry about Silver seeing this request. He probably already has.

The widely held belief around the league is that the NBA owners will not entertain expansion until a new CBA and a new television/streaming rights deal are locked in (driving up the franchise prices), things that will take a couple of years. Expansion talk may come after that, and maybe there will be two new NBA teams by the end of the decade.

“We are not discussing that at this time,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of expansion last June. “As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.”

If and when expansion happens, Las Vegas, along with Seattle, are the clear frontrunners to land teams. Most importantly, both cities have NBA-ready stadiums and fan bases to support the franchises, and their mayors are on board.

LeBron would be the face of an ownership group. While LeBron himself is a billionaire, Silver had called reports of a $2.5 billion expansion fee per team “low.” And that’s not including all the other start-up costs that come with a team.

But if the NBA is coming to Las Vegas, don’t be shocked if LeBron is involved.

Zion and more: Five must-watch intriguing NBA players this season

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At the start of every season, there are the guys you just can’t take your eyes off.

The “will it come together” guys. The “will they break through” guys. The “their team really needs them” guys. We know what most NBA players bring to the table, but the intriguing guys are the ones where we don’t know the answer. Where we’re finding out just as their coaches and teammates are.

Here are my five most intriguing, must-watch players of the season.

Zion Williamson, Pelicans

Kind of a no-brainer — but we’re all going to be watching.

Williamson was given a max contract off the 85 games he played through three seasons, and the questions are clear: Can he stay on the court? And if he does, can he mesh with CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, return to being a dominant scoring force inside, and turn the Pelicans into a playoff team?

The early reviews are promising. He came into camp in the best shape we have seen him in, and he showed off his ridiculous explosiveness in his first preseason game following missing last season after foot surgery.

If Williamson can be that guy, if he can play at an All-Star level, lead the league in scoring efficiency, and give the Pelicans a guy who can get to the rim and draw fouls (something they lacked much of last season, McCollum and Ingram are happy to pull up and nail the jumper), it’s not just Zion who is intriguing. This entire team is.

We know we’re not going to be able to take our eyes off Zion all season. No matter what happens.

Ben Simmons, Nets

Another rather obvious selection, but it doesn’t make it any less a reality — we will all be watching. Especially after his ugly exit from Philadelphia last season, only to not play for the Nets.

What will his role be next to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant? In the first preseason game, Simmons brought the ball up, initiated the offense a lot, and didn’t take a shot outside the paint (he made his shots at the rim, but his turnaround jumper was… rusty would be the kind word). Simmons brings elite perimeter defense the Nets need, but most scouts picture him in a Draymond Green-style role within the Brooklyn offense, the question is will he play that way  — and will Steve Nash ask him to?

No team has more questions this season than the Nets, and Simmons may be the biggest one.

Precious Achiuwa, Raptors

Achiuwa was a different player after the All-Star break last season. Something clicked for him and he jumped to averaging 12.2 points a game (up from 7.5 pre-All-Star) with a 55.2 true shooting percentage (46.7%), in part because he found his 3-point stroke (39.2%).

Was that stretch a fluke, or did Achiuwa figure things out? The early preseason returns suggest the latter.

After the All-Star break Achiuwa looked like a key young part of the Raptors moving forward, the question now is can he sustain and grow that? The key is his jumper — if that is falling and he is spacing the floor, he becomes a much bigger part of the Raptors’ offense (and gives Nick Nurse another 6’8″ switchable defender for his positionless style). We’ll be watching to see if Achiuwa can take the next step.

Onyeka Okongwu, Hawks

Clint Capela will be the Hawks starting center to open the season — but for how long?

Make no mistake, Capela is a quality NBA starting center, but Onyeka Okongwu — the No.6 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft — has shown flashes of brilliance in his first two seasons. For example, during the 2021 Atlanta run to the Eastern Conference Finals when he was Atlanta’s best option in dealing with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last season there were stretches where he looked like the future in Atlanta. There’s a sense around the league that this is the season Okongwu puts it together — elite defense with some improved rebounding and a jumper — and Nate McMillan will have no choice but to move him into the starting lineup.

Okongwu will get more minutes this season with Danilo Gallinari gone from the Atlanta rotation and questions about the future of John Collins with the team. He can defend at a high level and is an efficient scorer inside — we’re watching to see if this is the season he breaks out. Combine that with a Trae Young/Dejounte Murray backcourt in Atlanta, and things get interesting.

De'Aaron Fox, Kings

If the Sacramento Kings are going to end the longest playoff drought in major American professional sports (16 years), it will be because De’Aaron Fox found genuine chemistry playing off of Domantas Sabonis, something the two started working on last season.

How is that chemistry now? Does Sabonis working out of his preferred high post make finding driving lanes tough for Fox?

“I mean, it’s still a work in progress, but I feel like I can break down anybody at any time. So for myself getting to the pain is not a problem,” Fox said after the Kings’ first preseason game.

Fox scored 23.2 points a game last season but his efficiency (and 3-point shooting) dipped. That has to change. Fox has to be efficient, and new coach Mike Brown has to find a way for his team to get stops, for them to break the streak. Also, Fox has to stay healthy and on the court — he hasn’t played more than 59 games each of the past three seasons.

The Kings are an interesting team this season, and Fox could be their bellwether.