2020 NBA Draft pick-by-pick tracker with analysis of selections, trades

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Tonight’s NBA Draft is going to be a wild ride.

With no clear-cut No. 1 pick — and more than enough time for teams to delve deep into studying the process during the coronavirus hiatus — there are more questions than answers heading into the 2020 NBA Draft. There have been a few trades (the Knicks moving up in the first round) and a Niagra Falls of rumors about other deals, which could lead to a bumpy ride as picks get announced then traded. Through it all there is some real talent in this draft, the question is which teams can identify and develop those players.

Here is a breakdown of every pick, every trade — complete with analysis of how that player fits (or doesn’t) with his new surroundings.

FIRST ROUND

 
No. 1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, 6’5″ shooting guard, Georgia. Physically strong guard who is at his best using an explosive first step to drive to the rim, creating contact, and getting up the shot — he’s going to get buckets in the NBA. He’s a freight train that is difficult to stop in transition, but he also has a pull-up jumper that is a threat in the halfcourt. That shot can be a bit streaky, his decision making needs work, and he has been a disinterested defender, but he reportedly does have a good work ethic. Not all scouts love him, but he seems a good fit next to D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota.

 
Warriors small icon No. 2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, 7’1″ center, Memphis. He has the potential to be a very good center in the modern NBA game — he is incredibly mobile and athletic, has a 7’6″ wingspan, has the potential to be a strong rim-runner on offense who can space the floor a little, and on defense be a quality rim protector. He also needs seasons of development to get there — Wiseman is not plug-and-play — and he will have to accept that role and not try to be the next KD/Giannis/AD, facing up from 18 and taking his guy off the dribble. He will have a role with the Warriors.

 
Hornets small icon No. 3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, 6’7″ guard, Illawarra Hawks (Australia). He has the highest ceiling of any player in this draft, but also the lowest floor of any player near the top of the draft. Ball is tall for a guard, already a gifted passer and ball handler who could become a pick-and-roll force at the NBA level, plus will help the Hornets in transition. The concerns are not just his weaknesses — poor shooting, terrible defense, needing to put in time on his playmaking decisions — but questions about his willingness to put in the work to fix those things. His performance in interviews with teams did not help that perception. But if this pick hits, Charlotte just found it’s franchise guy.

 
Bulls small icon No. 4. Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams, 6’8″ forward, Florida State. He was a late riser up draft boards and he shot all the way up to the top four. Williams has the physical tools to be one of the best players in this draft. He’s also raw and there is a lot of player development ahead of him. He is an elite athlete and has versatility as a scorer, with the ability to finish at the rim (with either hand) plus an improving jumper. He makes good decisions as a playmaker. He has potential as a top defender on and off the ball. If Billy Donovan and the Bulls can develop him this pick could look like a steal in a few years.

 
Cavaliers small icon No. 5. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Bucks): Isaac Okoro, 6’6″ wing, Auburn. One of the top pure athletes in this draft and also the best perimeter defender in this draft — an excellent combination for the Cavaliers to add to their mix. He’s a smart player who works hard (on and off the court), he makes good decisions and that athleticism and strength lets him finish through contact at the rim. He is a poor jumpshooter — his mechanics need work — that teams will ignore off the ball in the halfcourt. Develop that shot and he could be the breakout pick of this draft.

 
Hawks small icon No. 6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, 6’9″ power forward/center, USC. Could be the best big man in this draft in a few years, he has a role in the NBA because of his energy. A very strong defender who can do whatever is needed on the pick-and-roll — switch, hedge, or drop back and use his impressive bounce to block shots (he could be an elite shot blocker). Has potential on the offensive end, he’s a good ball handler and has soft hands, he’s a good passer, but his shot is inconsistent (at best) and his decision making needs work. He is bit undersized to be a starting five in the NBA, and is not a stretch four. Could develop into something special.

Pistons small icon No. 7. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, 6’5″ point guard, France. A big point guard, he showed he can be creative as the pick-and-roll ball handler playing professionally in France (with his team, Ulm, leaning on him) for a couple of seasons. Good change of speeds guard who likes the pull-up midrange jumper (if he can translate that to the NBA he becomes more valuable). Not an elite athlete at the NBA level, and he needs to be a better and more consistent defender.

 
Knicks small icon No. 8. New York Knicks: Obi Toppin, 6’9″ forward, Dayton. Everyone’s favorite player to watch in college because of his ferocious dunks and ability to drain the deep three — two things that translate to the NBA. He will put on a show in the Garden. Can be a real threat as a pick setter in the NBA who can pop out to the three or roll hard to the rim and finish (he has good hands), or he can function out of the dunker’s spot. Plays hard. He’s a big liability on the defensive end, he can get pushed around by stronger players, and that may only change so much over time.

 
Wizards small icon No. 9. Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija, 6’9″ wing, Maccabi Tel Aviv. Good pick who fell farther than expected to Washington. A big playmaking wing with versatility and fantastic decision making who can help run or be the passing hub of an offense. He’s played a full season at the highest levels of European basketball, teams know he can compete in the NBA. Solid defender in a team system. The concerns are his shooting — 27.7% from three last season and, more concerning, 55.6% on free throws — and he’s not an elite athlete at the NBA level. On a team with John Wall and Bradley Beal he serves as another playmaker that can help now.

 
Suns small icon No. 10. Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith, 6’10” forward/center, Maryland. This was a lot higher than he was projected to go, he was seen as a late first/early second round pick (the Suns could have traded back and got him). Here is what caught scouts’ eyes with Smith: He’s 6’10” with a 7’1″ wingspan who shot 36.8% last season from three — he can be a modern stretch four (or five). He sets a good pick, can pop out or roll to the rim and finish (he has good hands), and he plays hard. He’s got to get stronger and he’s not a naturally fluid athlete, which could be an issue on the defensive end.

 
Spurs small icon No. 11. San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, 6’5″ wing, Florida State. One of the better perimeter defenders in this class, he has potential to develop into a quality 3&D player. He is a strong on-ball and team defender and plays with a high motor. Vassell also shot 41.5% from three last season. He’s not a shot creator or elite passer, but he fills a valuable role, and Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are masters of putting guys like this in positions to succeed.

 
Kings small icon 12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Haliburton, 6’5″ guard, Iowa State. A steal this far back in the draft A big guard with impressive playmaking skills, and he may be the highest basketball IQ player in the draft. Fantastic vision and decision making in the pick-and-roll, and he uses his change of pace to throw defenders off. Not an elite athlete, which limited his playmaking in college against better defenders, and will limit him defensively at the NBA level. Still a great get to the Kings to put in the backcourt with De'Aaron Fox.

 
Pelicans small icon No. 13. New Orleans Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr., 6’3″ point guard, Alabama. With Jrue Holiday gone (and questions about Lonzo Ball‘s future in the Big Easy), the Pelicans went with a point guard. Lewis put up numbers for the Crimson Tide – 18.5 points and 5.2 assists a game, shooting 36.6% from three — a testament to his improved shooting. He is maybe the quickest player with the ball in this draft, but that has led to some recklessness with the ball as he plays a little too fast. He needs to become a more consistent playmaker and shooter. Lewis has lot of potential as a pick-and-roll point guard, he needs time to develop.

 
Celtics small icon No. 14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis): Aaron Nesmith, 6’6″ wing, Vanderbilt. Arguably the best shooter in the draft (and every year those guys end up out performing their draft position), he hit 52.2% from three last season. Nesmith knows how to come off picks and knock down the catch-and-shoot, he can shoot off the bounce, and he has a good stepback three. He’s not going to drive and create for others, he’s just going to shoot. Not a great defender, but with his 6’10” wingspan and effort he’s solid on that end and can improve.

 
Magic small icon No. 15. Orlando Magic: Cole Anthony, 6’3″ point guard, North Carolina. Teams were all over the map on Anthony, but he generally fell as the draft process wore on. He is a score-first point guard who has fantastic handles and was able to create space for himself and hit shots at the college level. He brings toughness on both ends of the court. His detractors (and there are a lot of them) say his lack of high-level athleticism will make it difficult for him to get and make those same shots at the NBA level, and he’s not a great playmaker beyond that. Most project him more as a backup.

Pistons small icon No. 16. Detroit Pistons (via Houston and Portland): Isaiah Stewart, 6’9″ power forward/center, Washington. Portland made the selection for Detroit, the pick was traded earlier in the day. Stewart has strong potential as a modern NBA rim-running big man. He has a 7’4″ wingspan, an NBA body weighing in at 250 pounds, and he plays with a high level of energy often outrunning defenders down the floor in transition (and reportedly has a strong work ethic). Stewart is strong on the glass on both ends. He has the potential to become a quality outside shooter as well. He’s not an explosive athlete by NBA standards, and his offensive decision making needs to improve, but there is potential here and he is a good pick to go next to Christian Wood (if Detroit can develop him).

WE HAVE A TRADE:

Oklahoma City will get the No. 17 pick from Minnesota for the No. 25 and No. 28 picks, plus Ricky Rubio.

 
Thunder small icon No. 17. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Minnesota and Brooklyn): Aleksej Pokusevski, 7’0″ power forward/center, Serbia. This is a great roll of the dice here by an OKC team looking to rebuild and add top talent. Pokusevski is a seven footer who has impressive handles, is a good passer, and can shoot the rock from three — everything teams want in a modern big man. He’s also not physically ready or strong enough to defend well or display those offensive skills at an NBA level (he is the youngest player in the draft). He played for Olympiacos B in the Greek second division last season and put up good but not eye-popping numbers (10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists a game) but didn’t dominate at a not very high level of European play. Pokusevski is a project, but one with a high upside.

 
Mavericks small icon No. 18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, 6’6″ wing, Arizona. He projects as a potential 3&D wing and quality rotation player. He defended well last season at Arizona, particularly on-ball because of his length (6’10” wingspan). He hit 36.1% from three last season but was not consistent and his form needs work. He has a good feel for the game, when to cut backdoor to the rim and make plays off closeouts, but he’s got to finish better at the rim and improve his handle.

WE HAVE A THREE WAY TRADE:

The Clippers sent Landry Shammet to Brooklyn for the No. 19 pick, then flipped that pick to Detroit for Luke Kennard. This is a three-way trade.

Pistons small icon No. 19. Detroit Pistons (via Brooklyn and L.A. Clippers): Saddiq Bey, 6’8″ wing, Villanova. A steal where the Pistons picked him. Good size for a wing with a 6’10” wingspan, he shot 45.1% from three, and he makes smart decisions with the ball and works hard off it. Solid defender with potential on that end. Look at the guys out of Villanova in recent years — Eric Paschall, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart — and you see guys who understand how to play the game and fit into an NBA role, helping a team quickly. Bey is one of those guys.

 
Heat small icon No. 20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, 6’9″ power forward/center, Memphis. The other big man out of Memphis (besides Wiseman), Achiuwa is incredibly athletic and very long — a 7’2″ wingspan and a standing reach of more than nine feet. He plays bigger than his size. What he brings is the kind of incredible motor and energy the Heat love. His skills make him a guy who can rim run and finish a pick-and-roll off a lob, he’s a beast in transition, and he has defensive versatility. The challenges are an unimpressive jump shot and his feel for the game is not great, leading to poor decisions on both ends of the court. He’s a bit of a project, but Miami is good with those players.

 
Sixers small icon No. 21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Okalahoma City): Tyrese Maxey, 6’3″ guard, Kentucky. Maxey is versatile and can play either the one or the two, and he knows how to get to the rim off the pick-and-roll and score. He is an impressive on-ball defender (his 6’6″ wingspan helps) who also understands team defense. His jumper is not consistent, he’s not an elite athlete by NBA standards, and he needs to clean up his shot selection, but he’s one of those guards who brings toughness and just finds a way to make winning plays.

 
Nuggets small icon No. 22. Denver Nuggets: Zeke Nnaji, 6’10 power forward/center, Arizona. He has impressive size and athleticism, good hands and a respectable jump shot, but he is raw on both ends of the court and needs to be developed (Denver has time, they are pretty set at center with Nikola Jokic). Nnaji’s athleticism makes him an elite finisher at the rim, but his handles need work to better create space. Despite the athleticism he struggles to defend both on the perimeter and protecting the rim, and he needs to work on his offensive decision making. Nnaji is a project but one with the potential to develop into an impressive rotation big.

WE HAVE A THREE WAY TRADE:

After making the next selection, the Knicks traded Leandro Bolmaro to Minnesota for the No. 25 and 33 picks.

No. 23. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah and New York): Leandro Bolmaro, 6’8″ forward, Argentina. This pick was traded to the Timberwolves after it was made. This is a draft-and-stash pick as he has already chosen to remain in Barcelona, signing a three-year deal (which could be broken early, but not this year). He has potential as a secondary playmaker on the wing for an NBA team, Bolmaro has impressive handles and passing skills. However, his shot has got to become much better to take advantage of those other skills. He is a high IQ player and works hard on the defensive end. He played last season for FC Barcelona B, their second division team.

WE HAVE A TRADE:

The No. 22 pick was made by Oklahoma City but will bounce through a couple of trades to Denver.

 
Nuggets small icon No. 24. Denver Nuggets: (via Indiana and Milwaukee and New Orleans): R.J. Hampton, 6’5″ guard, Breakers (New Zealand). He may have slid down draft boards in the last year, but he remains one of the most explosive athletes in this draft — he can drive around guys and get to the rim (the finishing needs work). That athleticism and his scoring instincts give him potential, but both his shot (including his shooting form) and his decision making are inconsistent. He needs to be developed, but the potential is there.

 
Knicks small icon No. 25. New York Knicks (via Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and Denver): Immanuel Quickley, 6’2″ guard, Kentucky. OKC made the pick but he will end up in New York after trades. Quickley was a force in college, scoring 16.1 points a game, shooting 42.8% from three, and winning SEC Player of the Year. He can shoot the rock and is a score-first guard. Defensively he was solid. However, he is really a two guard and is undersized in that role at the next level, he’s not explosive and will struggle to finish at the rim against NBA defenders. Scouts have questions about whether he is athletic enough to do the same things in the NBA that made him such a success at Kentucky, but the Knicks are believers.

 
Celtics small icon No. 26. Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard, 6’2″ point guard, Oregon. He had a very productive senior season for the Ducks, showing he could attack the rim off the pick-and-roll, pull up from the midrange, and bomb deep threes (he shot 42% from beyond the arc last season). He’s more of a scorer than a playmaker. He works hard on the defensive end. He is not an elite athlete, but he showed a lot more polish as a senior and could be a guy able to give the Celtics rotation minutes.

 
Jazz small icon No. 27. Utah Jazz: Udoka Azubuike, 7’0″ center, Kansas. His size caught scouts’ eyes: 270 pound, 7’8″ wingspan and a 9’4″ standing reach. That size made him dominant in the college game, where he bullied teams inside, and his offensive game took steps forward. It’s much harder to play that way against the men inside in the NBA, and his 44% free throw shooting is a concern. He’s an old-school big man at a time the game is moving away from that, but there could be a role for him in the league.

 
No. 28. Minnesota Timberwolves (via L.A. Lakers and Oklahoma City): Jaden McDaniels, 6’10” forward, Washington. A player whose game may translate better in the NBA than in college because he will find more space to use his length and agility. There were nights in college he showed the promise of a top-level high school recruit — good handles, good shot form, can finish and play above the rim — and other games college defenses swallowed him up (and he got frustrated at points, picking up technicals). He’s a project, but his athleticism, handles, and form on his shot show the potential of a quality NBA player, if he can develop. He’s got to get much stronger.

 
Raptors small icon No. 29. Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn, 6’1″ point guard, San Diego State. He was the heart of a surprisingly good Aztec team last season and he does a lot of things well: Run the pick-and-roll and make smart passes out of it, shoot off the dribble, make good decisions, and he works hard on the defensive end. He’s not an elite athlete and that will be an issue at times, but he makes up for it with a high motor and work ethic. He has the potential to be be a solid backup PG in the league.

WE HAVE A TRADE:

Boston is sending the No. 30 pick to Memphis.

 
Grizzlies small icon No. 30. Memphis Grizzlies (via Boston): Desmond Bane, 6’5″ guard, TCU. One of the best shooters in the draft, odd mechanics or not he hit 44.2% of his threes his senior season (on 6.5 attempts a game). He works hard coming off picks and can knock down shots, he’s good at relocation and finding space, and he’s improved as a ball handler (although that is an area that still needs a lot of development). Works hard on defense but is not a great athlete, is not long and will not be a plus defender in the NBA. Memphis just put a knockdown shooter with Ja Morant, that could be a beautiful thing.

SECOND ROUND

 
Mavericks small icon No. 31. Dallas Mavericks (via Golden State): Tyrell Terry, 6’1″ point guard, Stanford. One of the better shooters in this draft, he hit 40.8% from three last season for the Cardinal and has deep range. He’s also a fluid athlete with a good feel for the game on offense, although his shot selection needs to improve. He’s undersized and needs to add a lot of strength/muscle, he is going to get hunted by bigger and stronger ball-handling guards on defense. Terry is a bit of a project but could become a quality NBA point guard.

 
Hornets small icon No. 32. Charlotte Hornets (via Cleveland): Vernon Carey Jr., 6’10” center, Duke. Carey is an old-school center, but with some good footwork and ability to get off his jump hook around the rim. He was able to use his size and strength to bully defenders around the rim in college, but that will not be much more difficult in the NBA, plus that is not the direction the game is evolving. Carey has struggled to defend well in space. He’s going to have to grow his game to be more than a backup/situational center in the NBA.

 
Clippers small icon No. 33. Los Angeles Clippers (via New York and Minnesota): Daniel Oturu, 6’10” center, Minnesota. Perfect early second-round roll of the dice by the Clipers. There is a lot of potential here as a floor-spacing big man in the modern game. Oturu put up numbers at Minnesota — 20.1 points 11.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks a game — and showed his 36.5% shooting from three was not a fluke. He has all the skills, but Oturu is very raw and is going to take some time to develop to an NBA level, his game awareness is limiting on both ends of the court. He could see time in the G-League, but if the Clippers can develop him this pick might look like a steal in a few years.

 
Thunder small icon No. 34. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Philadelphia and Atlanta): Theo Maledon, 6’4″ guard, France. Played well for ASVEL in the top French league (that’s Tony Parker’s team), meaning he’s been tested at a higher level than most in this draft. He can play on or off the ball, is quick, and plays smart. He’s not an elite athlete by NBA standards and he needs to add muscle, but his basketball IQ and work ethic point to someone who could stick in the NBA.

 
Grizzlies small icon No. 35. Memphis Grizzlies (via Sacramento and Detroit): Xavier Tillman, 6’8″ power forward/center, Michigan State He’s an undersized big man who plays an old-school game on offense. He’s not an explosive athlete, and he’s not going to be able to post up guys and bully them to get buckets. What teams like about him is he brings a high motor and great defensive instincts. Tillman was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and he can switch on a pick and guard out on the perimeter. Tillman is also strong on the boards and is a tough player.

 
Mavericks small icon No. 36. Dallas Mavericks (via Philadelphia and New York): Tyler Bey, 6’7″ forward, Colorado He is an impressive athlete, has an NBA build, and was the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year — Bey should be able to step in and help on that end from Day 1. The challenge is a very inconsistent jump shot that will have teams daring him to shoot on the other end. Develop Bey, get that jumper to fall and you have a quality 3&D rotation player.

 
Wizards small icon No. 37. Washington Wizards: Vit Krejci, 6’8″ guard, Czech Republic. He has been traded to Oklahoma City after being selected. An unexpected pick. Played most recently for Basket Zaragoza in Spain. He played limited minutes but has an impressive highlight reel for an under-21 player. He is a project who will spend a few more years in Spain developing, but the Wizards rolled the dice on a 6’8″ point forward.

Pistons small icon No. 38. Detroit Pistons (via Utah): Saben Lee, 6’2″ guard, Vanderbilt. The Pistons are betting on athleticism here, Lee is an explosive athlete who is tough to stop once he gets rolling downhill, and he’s a strong finisher at the rim. The challenge is right now his game is all athleticism — he needs to become a much better shooter and decision maker, plus in the NBA even the most explosive guards need a floater. He’s got to improve defensively. Lee has the tools, this is a bet on player development and some time in the G-League.

 
Jazz small icon No. 39. Utah Jazz: Elijah Hughes, 6’7″ wing, Syracuse. The Pelicans made this pick but he is headed to Utah as part of a trade. Hughes was the primary shot creator for Syracuse last season, averaging 19 points 4.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists a game. He did most of his scoring in isolation and as the pick-and-roll ball handler, how he adapts to playing off the ball remains to be seen. He’s got great range as a shooter but is not consistent with his shot, something that needs to improve. Hughes has the build and potential to develop into a solid wing player in the league.

 
Kings small icon 40. Sacramento Kings: Robert Woodard, 6’7″ swingman, Mississippi State. A lot of potential to play either forward spot if he can develop. Woodard has got a strong 6’7″ frame with a 7’1″ wingspan, he shot 42.9% from three last season (2.3 attempts a game), and he has impressive defensive potential because of his length. He is not a shot creator — his handles need work, and is isn’t a fantastic decision maker — but there could be a role for him on the wing down the line as his game evolves and improves.

 
Spurs small icon No. 41. San Antonio Spurs: Tre Jones, 6’2″ point guard, Duke The brother of Memphis’s Tyus Jones, teams were divided on him. Some see a potential defense-first starting point guard. Others see a game-managing back-up with a limited role. If he’s going to live up to the promise of a starter he’s got to become a better finisher at the rim and become a more consistent shooter (his three point percentage did jump to 36% his sophomore season).

 
Hornets small icon No. 42. Charlotte Hornets (via New Orleans): Nick Richards, 6’11” center, Kentucky. He has the build of an NBA center and uses that size well to protect the paint, both as a shot block and just clogging driving lanes. He has the athleticism of an NBA big and shows flashes of potential, including a jump shot and the ability to defend in space, but none of it is consistent. He doesn’t seem to have a natural feel for the game. He was a top recruit out of high school and could get closer to that potential with some good development by the Pelicans.

 
Kings small icon 43. Sacramento Kings: Jahmi’us Ramsey, 6’4″ guard, Texas Tech. One of the youngest players in the draft, he already has an NBA build and comes in as a score-first guard who averaged 15 points a game last season. He’s done a lot of damage as an isolation scorer, he’s shows some passing and defensive potential, but Sacramento is betting his shooting skills improve, which would make him a solid secondary shot creation option (or sixth man). Ramsey has potential but needs to be developed over time.

 
Bulls small icon No. 44. Chicago Bulls: Marko Simonovic, 6’11” center, Montenegro. This is a draft-and-stash pick that could develop in a few years and payoff for the Bulls. Simonovic played last season for Mega in Serbia. He is a mobile big with footwork and athleticism and could develop into a stretch five, someone with a pick-and-pop game. He’s got to improve his defense, his feel for the game, and make his shot more consistent. The Bulls can be patient and see all that happens.

 
Bucks small icon 45. Milwaukee Bucks: Jordan Nwora, 6’7″ forward, Louisville. A catch-and-shoot specialist on the wing, he shot 40.2% from three and 66% on catch-and-shoot chances last season for the Cardinals. He is good at relocating and finding open space. He could play either forward spot in the NBA. The challenge is he’s not an elite athlete, his handle isn’t great and if a defense makes him put it on the floor he’s less dangerous as a shooter. Also, he’s got work to do on his defense. He’s a project to become a rotation player, but grabbing a guy who can shoot the rock in the second round is never a bad idea.

 
Blazers small icon No. 46. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. Elleby, 6’6″ wing, Washington State. He averaged 18.4 points per game for the Cougers last season, but he didn’t do it efficiently, including shooting just 33.9% from three. Some of that may have been how he was used, in the NBA he’d be just an off-ball shooter. He’s not athletic or a shot creator by NBA standards, but he was a solid defender. If he can adjust his game to an off-the-ball, catch-and-shoot role maybe he can develop into a role player for Portland.

 
Celtics small icon No. 47. Boston Celtics: Yam Madar, 6’3″ guard, Israel. Played last season for Hapoel Tel Aviv, he’s a high-energy player and a pesky defender who never gives up. He plays a smart game on both ends and has fantastic floor vision, making him a very good passer. The challenge is his shot, which needs a lot of work. More of a draft-and-stash player at age 19 to see if he can develop overseas into an NBA-level player.

 
Warriors small icon No. 48. Golden State Warriors: Nico Mannion, 6’3″ point guard, Arizona. He showed flashes of impressive scoring and playmaking in college — his 23-point game against Illinois was a highlight — but he was very inconsistent. Mannion can shoot from three and knows how to finish at the rim, and he’s a solid floor general, but he is not a standout athlete, will struggle to create a lot at the NBA level, and it raises defensive questions. If he can become a dangerous shooter (32.7% from three last season) he would be a solid rotation point guard, but he needs to develop an NBA-level skill he can rely on.

 
Sixers small icon No. 49. Philadelphia 76ers (via Okalahoma City): Isaiah Joe, 6’5″ wing, Arkansas. One of the better pure shooters in the draft, don’t be fooled by his 34.2% mark from three last season, he had to carry a heavy load in the Razorback offense and with that had to take some tough shots. Joe can knock it down. The challenge is Joe doesn’t do much of anything else at near an NBA level and needs to be developed. He needs to improve his handle, get stronger, and become a better and more committed defender.

 
Hawks small icon No. 50. Atlanta Hawks: Skylar Mays, 6’4″ guard, LSU. A high IQ player with a real feel for the game, Mays uses hesitation moves to create space, reads the floor well as a pick-and-roll ball handler, and shot 39.1% from three last season. He’s a solid, strong defender. What held him back is he’s not an explosive athlete by NBA standards and may have trouble translating his game at the next level. Older at 22, but potentially could contribute more right away than others in this draft range.

 
Warriors small icon No. 51. Golden State Warriors: Justinian Jessup, 6’7″ wing, Boise State. Jessup has good size for an NBA wing and is a knock-down shooter (career 40% from three while carrying a heavy load for Boise). His size and high IQ play makes teams want to give him a chance in a Duncan Robinson kind of way. However, he may not be an NBA-level athlete and that could become a real issue on the defensive end. This late in the draft, never a bad call to draft and develop a shooter.

 
Rockets small icon 52. Houston Rockets (via Sacramento): Kenyon Martin Jr., 6’7″ forward, IMG Academy. Yes, he’s the son of former No.1 pick and All-star Kenyon Martin, but he goes by K.J. What he got from his father was elite athleticism and size — he’s as good an athlete as there is in the draft. He can play through contact because of his strength and has great defensive potential. The challenge is his game is just raw — he needs to improve his dribbling, shooting, and ability to read the game on the offensive end of the court. He is a good bet as a two-way player who spends most of his time in the G-League developing. A good gamble this late in the draft.

 
Wizards small icon No. 53. Washington Wizards (via Oklahoma City): Cassius Winston, 6’1″ point guard, Michigan State. Winston enters the NBA after four years in East Lansing as a crafty league guard who knows how to run a pick-and-roll and use his change of speed to create space for his shot. Dangerous pull-up shooter. Not an elite athlete, may struggle to finish at the rim in the NBA, and will have challenges defensively. However, he can step in right now with some backup point guard minutes behind John Wall in Washington.

 
Pacers small icon No. 54. Indiana Pacers: Cassius Stanley, 6’6″ wing, Duke. The Pacers have made a bet on athleticism with this pick — Stanley is one of the best pure athletes in this draft. He has an amazing first step and once around his guy he knows how to finish at the rim. The rest of his game needs a lot of work — he’s not a great shooter, he should be better at defense than he is (considering his athleticism). If Indiana can help him improve his shot and defensive instincts then they will have a guy who can contribute, but there is a lot of development work to do.

 
Clippers small icon No. 55. Los Angeles Clippers (via Brooklyn): Jay Scrubb, 6’6″ wing, John A. Logan Junior College. He’s an NBA-level athlete but one who is very raw, and the bet here by the Clippers is that they can develop him over time into a rotation player. He’s uses his athleticism to attack the paint and also has a nice floater. His effort was inconsistent at the Juco level. Offensively all he does is try to score, he is not a playmaker. There’s a lot of development needed, but he is an NBA-level athlete.

 
Hornets small icon No. 56. Charlotte Hornets: Grant Riller, 6’3″ guard, University of Charleston. He’s some scouts favorite sleeper, he’s a polished scorer at the mid-major level who averaged 21.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists a game last season. He can score but the question is can he do much else to keep himself on an NBA court? He’s not a great athlete, which limits him some defensively, and he’s not an elite passer. That said, he is polished enough to help a team sooner rather than later.

 
Nets small icon No. 57. Brooklyn Nets (via L.A. Clippers): Reggie Perry, 6’9″ center, Mississippi State. He’s undersized but strong enough at 250 pounds to be physical inside, he works hard and he put up numbers last season in college — 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. In workouts he reportedly showed an improving three point touch, which would up his value in the league. He’s got to show a better feel for the game with his decision making, and he’s got to prove he’s a better defender, but worth a shot here.

 
Sixers small icon No. 58. Philadelphia 76ers (via Okalahoma City): Paul Reed, 6’9″ power forward, DePaul. His strength appears to be on the defensive end as a long, switchable on-ball defender who has some bounce and protects the rim, providing he can do that at the NBA level. Offensively he is a big who runs the floor well in transition and could be a rim runner. If you believe his shot can come around (33% from three last season) then he has potential as a rotation big. He’s a project.

 
Raptors small icon No. 59. Toronto Raptors: Jalen Harris, 6’4″ guard, Nevada Harris was an impressive scorer for the Wolfpack — knocking down threes, getting to the rim, and he is especially strong from the midrage. Harris can get some buckets in the NBA. The concern is how well he will play off the ball — at the NBA level he will not have the ball in his hands much. When he doesn’t have the ball his effort seems to wane, both defensively and moving off the ball. He has potential as a player to develop, but there is work to do.

 
Bucks small icon 60. Milwaukee Bucks (via New Orleans): Sam Merrill, 6’5″ guard, Utah State. Surprised he slid this far down draft boards, a lot of teams had him higher up (like in the 30s). Merrill has good size and is one of the better shooters and scorers in this draft. He shot 41% from three, he can pull up from there, is effective off dribble handoffs, and he can get into the midrange and pull up. Merrill plays a smart game. The challenge is he’s not athletic by NBA standards and that is going to be a big issue defensively. Plus, he’s 24, he’s older and teams expect less growth. Still, he could step in and knock down shots for the Bucks in a role next season. This last pick could be one of the steals of this draft.

NBA trade deadline tracker: latest news, rumors, deals

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Things are going to get insane in the run-up to the NBA trade deadline, at 3 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. There’s already been a blockbuster Kyrie Irving trade to Dallas, which will spawn other deals, and every team is looking for upgrades large or small. The Lakers made their bold move. What contenders will deepen their bench, and what teams will pivot toward the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes? We will have all the latest NBA rumors, news, and any deals that get done in one place. It’s going to get wild, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Feb.9, 2:45 A.M.: Could Durant trade lead to O.G. Anunoby trade?

• Interesting note from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN: With Kevin Durant now in the Western Conference, it could pressure other teams in the conference to up their offers for the Raptors O.G. Anunoby or others who might help defend Durant.

• Yes, with Durant and Irving out the door the Nets have been talking to teams about a possible Ben Simmons trade, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Good luck with that. After Simmons recent play, NBC Sports was told by a source there is no market for him and the Nets would need to attach a sweetener to get a deal done.

TRADE: Kevin Durant traded to Phoenix Suns

Suns receive: Kevin Durant
Nets receive: Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson, four first-round picks (2023, ’25, ’27’ and ’29) plus one pick swap in 2028)
Analysis: HOLY S$%@#!

When Kyrie Irving was traded to Dallas, any chance of the Nets contending for a title this season walked out the door with him (despite the Nets publicly posturing they would try to build a winner around Durant). The expectation was that KD would put his trade demand back on the table over the summer, when the biggest deals tend to get done.

Not this time. New Phoenix owner Mat Ishbia said his Suns would be aggressive — and were they ever, pulling off an all-time move at the trade deadline.

Durant paired with Devin Booker, not to mention an aging but still valuable Chris Paul, turns the Suns into possible favorites to come out of the West. As long as the core guys can stay healthy. The Suns just forced their championship window open for a couple of more seasons with this trade, although the front office has work to do rounding out the roster.

In Brooklyn, the Durant and Kyrie Irving experiment ends in rapid fashion, unable to survive the weight of its own expectations, combined with injuries and the distractions of the circus it became. In the last two days, with this trade and the Irving trade, the Nets have restocked their draft assets and turned this into a rebuilding project, but one that gets a jump start.

TRADE: Spurs trade center Jakob Poeltl to Raptors

Raptors receive: Jakob Poeltl
Spurs receive: Khem Birch, protected 2024 first-round pick, two future second-round picks
Analysis: About the Raptors being sellers at the deadline… they might be buyers, instead.

This a move that signals Toronto is about to move away from the “everyone can switch everything” lineups where four starters were between 6’5″ and 6’9″, instead bringing in a traditional center in Poeltl who can provide rim protection and bulk inside the Raptors have lacked defensively, plus set picks and roll to the rim providing some vertical spacing on offense. It’s a good fit. It’s also a homecoming for Poeltl, who the Raptors drafted, developed then sent to San Antonio in the Kawhi Leonard trade.

The Spurs keep racking up good draft capital for their rebuild. The question is what are the protections on those picks, we do not have those details yet.

TRADE: Cam Reddish headed from New York to Portland

Knicks receive: Josh Hart
Trail Blazers receive: Cam Reddish, Svi Mykhailiuk, protected first-round pick
Analysis: Knicks fans, Jalen Brunson‘s reaction to finding out the news should tell you all you need to know.

Reddish was out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation (it felt like he was out from Day 1), Hart is a rock-solid role player who can hit twos, defends, and helps at the guard spot the moment he walks in the door. He also has the league’s funkiest contract for next season: $12.9 million with player option but also non-guaranteed (either side could walk away). Hart was on the floor warming up for the Trail Blazers pregame when the news came down, he dapped up teammates and headed back to the locker room.

The big question: What are the protections on that first-round pick? Reddish is worth taking a flier on — and this opens up a lot more minutes for rookie Shaedon Sharpe — but for the Blazers this is about the pick.

Feb.8, 9:05 P.M.: A Josh Hart for cam Reddish swap?

• The Knicks and Trail Blazers have talked about a problems swap: Cam Reddish for Josh Hart, reports Ian Begley.

• The Spurs are expressing increasing interest in trading Jakob Poeltl before the deadline, according to Marc Stein. The Toronto Raptors are the most active team in trying to acquire him (a sign they may not be trading everyone away and tearing it down).

TRADE: Lakers find new home for Russell Westbrook in three-team trade

Lakers receive: D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt
Jazz receive: Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, Lakers 2027 first-round pick (1-4 protected)
Timberwolves receive: Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, second-round picks in 2024, 2025 and 2026

Analysis: This is a win for the Lakers, who suddenly look a lot better now than they did to start the season (putting shooting around LeBron James, what a novel concept). Russell is a better shooter than Westbrook (39.1% from 3 this season), and in recent weeks he has impressed playing off the ball as Minnesota turned more of the offense over to Anthony Edwards (a preview of life with LeBron James and Anthony Davis). Plus, Russell is in the final year of his contract, so the Lakers have flexibility this summer (and can re-sign him). Plus, Beasley brings more shooting and Vanderbilt brings versatile defense, is strong on the glass, can hit jumpers if he sets his feet, and is a player a lot of teams had their eye on.

Danny Ainge gets another high-value pick for the Jazz, but they just gave up a lot of assets for it. After the smart moves and big haul’s Ainge got this summer, they should have gotten more for the three good players they sent out. Utah is expected to buy out Westbrook and both the Clippers and Bulls reportedly have already expressed interest.

Conley is more of a pass-first point guard who should fit better in Minnesota than Russell, he can set up Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. He’s the kind of floor general Minnesota needs. There’s a lot of chemistry work to do with the Timberwolves and Conley is an adult-in-the-room veteran who is expensive but might help this roster find its way.

Feb.8, 5:40 P.M.: The Lakers in talks to trade Russell Westbrook in three-team deal

• The Lakers may have found a way to move on from Russell Westbrook after all, a three-team trade that would send Westbrook and a draft pick (likely one of the Lakers first rounders in 2027 or 2029) to Utah, the Jazz would send Mike Conley to Minnesota, and the Timberwolves would send D’Angelo Russell back to the team that drafted him in the Lakers.

To make the numbers work (Conley makes about $25 million less than Westbrook) Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt need to be thrown in (or other players on the roster). Adrian Wojnarowski says the Lakers and Jazz like the deal and are set, but Minnesota is still talking to other teams about Russell to see if they can find a better deal.

A lot going on in this potential trade, but for the Lakers Russell would be an upgrade over Westbrook at this point in their careers (his game has matured, and would be a good fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis). Utah would buy out Westbrook, making him a free agent.

• The Knicks, along with the Cavaliers and Heat, are talking to Portland about a Josh Hart, reports Michael Scotto of Hoopshype. Coaches and front office people around the league love Hart’s versatility and solid play, but he’s going to opt out this summer and be a free agent, whoever trades for him has to be willing to pay up.

• Speaking of Sotto and the Suns, he aso also spoke with Deandre Ayton about what has been a challlenging this season. Here’s what Ayton had to say: “This is more like an adversity type of season for me to show them what type of player I truly am, and me sticking with it and blocking out all the noise and haters, and getting back to the thing I do best, being dominant.”

Feb.8, 2:28 P.M.: Sixers looking hare at Vanderbilt, but will they pay Ainge’s price?

• One of the hottest names on the trade market right now Jazz big man Jarred Vanderbilt, and the 76ers are at the front of the line according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers are looking for versatile depth behind Joel Embiid, and Vanderbilt is absolutely available. The question is price, and you can be sure Danny Ainge in Utah is asking for way too much. The question is will he come down?

Also from Pompey, Nerlens Noel is likely the only Piston to get traded at the deadline. It continues to look less and less likely Bojan Bogdanovic will be sent to a new home by Feb. 9.

• Teams are still calling the Washington Wizards about Kyle Kuzma, and they are still getting shot down, according to Fred Katz at The Athletic. That’s not a surprise, when the Wizards traded Rui Hachimura to the Lakers, it was a signal they were willing to spend to keep Kuzma, who can be a free agent this summer (and will be). There has been some buzz from other teams they could poach Kuzma, which may or may not be true, but Washington is going to have to pay a lot — and maybe overpay a little — to keep him.

• Lakers coach Darvin Ham and guard Russell Westbrook had a brief but heated argument at halftime of the Lakers’ eventual loss to the Thunder on Monday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Nobody was really focused on those two on Tuesday night anyway.

Feb.8, 11:30 A.M.: The Nets want to make moves to keep Durant, but not everyone wants to help them

• The Brooklyn Nets took the Mavericks’ trade package for Kyrie Irving in large part because it gave them players who could help them right now in Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. Brooklyn isn’t done, they are working hard at the deadline to find other “win now” players who can help them be a playoff threat with Durant. However, teams interested in trading for KD this summer — and there are a lot of them — are not willing to help Brooklyn out, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN said on the Hoop Collective podcast. There is a little gamesmanship going on as teams try to force the Nets into a tough spot and clear the path for Durant to demand a trade. Again.

• Add the Raptors to the Pelicans and Timberwolves as teams talking to the Nuggets about backup point guard Bones Hyland. He remains one of the two or three most likely players to be traded at the deadline.

• Speaking of the Raptors, they have talked to the Spurs about a trade for center Jakob Poeltl, according to Marc Stein. As he notes, that’s an interesting move because it is not a “let’s blow this thing up” move, that’s a “let’s retool and win now” move, which makes it less likely the Raptors move someone such as O.G. Anunoby.

• Sources have told NBC Sports that the Raptors are not looking to trade Pascal Siakam (or, at least not at this trade deadline). He is their best player, they either will retool around him or, if they do blow it up (unlikely but possible), they will want the kind of massive deal easier to get in the offseason than at the deadline.

• The Wizards, Raptors, and Celtics also are interested in Poeltl.

• Also from Marc Stein, the Magic are not looking to move Gary Harris, or at least they need to be blown away by an offer. Every young team needs a quality veteran or two in the locker room to teach them how to be NBA professionals, Harris is filling that role in Orlando.

Eric Gordon has been on the trade block since before the Avengers killed off Thanos (or, it feels that way), but this time it is likely he gets moved. The Suns and Clippers — two teams searching for guard help — are at the front of the line, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

TRADE: It’s official: Nets Kessler Edwards to the Kings

Kings receive: Kessler Edwards
Nets receive: Cash, draft rights to David Michineau (who plays for Napoli Basket in Italy)

Analysis: As noted below when we first mentioned this trade could happen, this is a salary dump by the Nets, who free up a roster spot and $8 million in salary and tax. Edwards had fallen out of the Brooklyn rotation this season, but Sacramento gets a look at a young wing defender, reportedly sending him to their G-League team to get a little run and show what he can do. Edwards, a second-round pick (number 44 overall in 2021 out of Pepperdine), has a $1.9 million player option for next season.

Feb. 7, 8:05 P.M.: Warriors softening stance on trading James Wiseman

• It’s incredibly difficult to throw in the towel on a No.2 pick, and the Golden State Warriors rarely make in-season trades. However, with the defending champs hovering around .500 — and now without Stephen Curry for maybe a month — Golden State is softening its position on a possible James Wiseman trade, reports Anthony Slater at The Athletic. Same with Moses Moody, a developing young guard who can’t help the Warriors much this season. What are the Warriors looking for? Veterans who can help this season, at just about any position across the board.

• It’s not trade related but passing it along anyway: Kevin Durant will miss the All-Star Game due to his knee injury, the Nets announced. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will appoint his replacement.

• Also being reported about All-Star weekend: the Trail Blazers’ Shaedon Sharpe has pulled out of the Dunk Contest.

Feb. 7, 4:10 P.M.: Don’t bet on a Durant trade at the deadline. This summer…

• We are very close to another trade, but it’s another cap space move primarily: The Nets will send second-year forward Kessler Edwards to the Kings in exchange for cash, reports both Shams Charnia at The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN. The Kings, looking for defense, get a young wing defender they can roll the dice on, while the Nets open up a roster spot for future moves and save $8 million against the tax. Edwards showed some potential as a rookie, but in his second year (on a deeper Brooklyn team) he has been outside the rotation, and not impressed when he has gotten into games. He has a team option for $1.9 million next season. Edwards can veto the trade because of Bird Rights issues but is expected to approve it.

• It’s now official, Mat Ishbia has taken control of the Phoenix Suns organization. We don’t know what kind of owner Ishbia will be, but there is a sense he will spend more willingly and be more aggressive than the Robert Sarver regime – he reportedly is pushing for the team to make a splash at the trade deadline — which is good for Suns fans and the league. Plus, he will clean up the troubles in the organization that pushed Sarver out.

Feb. 7, 3:05 P.M.: Don’t bet on a Durant trade at the deadline. This summer…

• Kevin Durant and the Nets are talking about the long-term (and likely short-term) direction of the franchise, but Brooklyn is not making its other superstar available to teams, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This provides details and is in line with what sources from other teams have told NBC Sports (and I have reported previously): They are under the impression the Nets are going to try and build a contender around KD this season, maybe including another deal or two, and try to convince him to stay. If Durant ends up on the move, it will be over the summer.

• The backup big man market is one of the most crowded at the trade deadline, but you can add another name to it: JaVale McGee. Dallas is looking to move on, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

• The Nuggets and Pistons are the teams talking to New York most recently about a Cam Reddish trade, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Reddish remains one of the players most likely to be on the move by Thursday.

• Kyrie Irving practiced with the Mavericks today — he was the first player to the facilities — and is expected to make his debut with the team Wednesday night.

Feb. 7, 1:29 P.M.: Is potential of Durant on the move hurting Anunoby market?

• Interesting note from Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports: While there are a lot of teams still interested in a trade for Raptors wing O.G. Anunoby — the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Knicks, Pacers, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Suns, and Nets are interested — a number of those teams would prioritize Kevin Durant if he puts his trade demand back on the table this summer. With that, said teams don’t want to give up too much for Anunoby now. The market is getting soft, Anunoby is a favorite of GM Masai Ujiri in Toronto, so maybe he stays put at the deadline.

• It’s far more likely the Raptors trade Fred VanVleet or Gary Trent Jr. at the deadline. VanVleet has become one of the most talked about names in the last few days. That said, the Raptors are listening to offers, at least.

• What are the Celtics looking to do at the trade deadline? Use their $5.9 million trade exception, reports friend-of-the-site Keith Smith.

• Also from Fischer at Yahoo: Mason Plumlee appears to be the Hornet most likely to be traded.

TRADE: Heat send Dewayne Dedmond to the Spurs

San Antonio receives: Dewayne Dedmon, 2028 Heat second-round pick
Heat receive: Cash

Analysis: This is a salary dump by the Heat, and it cost them a second-round pick. Maimi now has some room under the salary cap and two open roster spots, allowing them to bring in a player — via trade or the buyout market — and convert Orlando Johnson’s two-way contract to full-time, he has played well for them. The Spurs get a second-round pick and are expected to waive Dedmon, making him a free agent.

Feb. 7, 11:55 A.M.: Lakers interested in Conley and Beasley from Jazz

• After striking out on Irving, the Lakers are reportedly engaged in talks to send Russell Westbrook and both of the first-round picks they can trade (2027 and 2029) to Utah for Mike Conley and Malik Beasley, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN. While the sides undoubtedly talked, that sounds like a rumor from the Jazz camp. The Lakers have hoarded those picks to swing for a home run, and with Conley declining this season at age 35 — and with a guaranteed $24 million on the books for next season eating up the Lakers’ cap space over the summer — this doesn’t sound like a move the Lakers would suddenly pivot and accept. The Jazz have rebuffed all offers for Conley so far, keeping the asking price high and banking on the desperation of buyers.

• The Chicago Bulls are at least listening to offers for defensive guard Alex Caruso, but they are reportedly keeping the price sky-high — two first-round picks. Don’t expect a deal, while Caruso brings value that’s a star-level asking price.

• This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has watched a minute of Brooklyn Nets basketball this season, but ESPN’s Bobby Marks says Ben Simmons has zero trade value right now. Also, the note on Durant being a summer move was something sources told NBC Sports and we wrote about previously.

• If the Miami Heat can’t find a new home for the disappointing Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, this summer they will return their focus to using his salary in a deal for a disgruntled superstar such as Kevin Durant or Bradley Beal, reports Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. That sounds on brand for the Heat.

• Along those lines, the Washington Wizards plan to keep Beal and re-sign Kyle Kuzma.

• Veteran Furkan Korkmaz has been bumped from his regular spot in the 76ers rotation this season and wants to be traded to a place he can get some run. Philly is looking for a new home for him as well as Matisse Thybulle.

• No, LeBron James is not happy the Lakers missed out on Kyrie Irving, but he’s pivoting to what’s going on today.

“I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent, but someone I had great chemistry with and know I got great chemistry with on the floor that can help you win championships. In my mind, in my eyes. But my focus has shifted now my focus has shifted back to where it should be, and that’s with this this club now and what we have in the locker room.”

Reports: Lakers agree to three-team Westbrook trade with Jazz, Timberwolves

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UPDATE: And the deal is agreed do, the three sides are on board.

The pick is protected 1-4, according to the report, and there are now other players involved.

This is a win for the Lakers, who give up one pick and get an upgrade at the point and two other players who upgrade their rotation. They are not sudden favorites in the West — the Lakers still sit as the 13th seed at the time of the trade — but if they can get into the postseason with a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis this is a team no team wants to face.

Russell Westbrook likely will be bought out by the Jazz and become a free agent. Ainge got what he wanted in Utah, another quality draft asset. Minnesota gets a point guard who is more of a floor general, a pass-first one who can play next to Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns (once he gets healthy) and fit in better.

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There may be a Russell Westbrook trade out there after all.

According to multiple reports, the Lakers are in discussions for a three-team point-gaurd trade that would send Westbrook and a draft pick (one of the Lakers first rounders in 2027 or 2029) to Utah, the Jazz would send veteran point Mike Conley to Minnesota, and the Timberwolves would send D'Angelo Russell back to the Lakers team that drafted him in 2015, plus the Lakers likely would get another Jazz player such as Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt (it’s the only way the numbers work).

Adrian Wojnarowski says the Lakers and Jazz like the deal and are set, but Minnesota is still talking to other teams about Russell to see if they can find a better deal.

This trade makes the Lakers better — Russell is a better shooter (39.1% from 3 this season), and he has played well in recent weeks working more off-ball while Anthony Edwards’ role in the offense has increased. Also, Russell’s contract expires after this season, so he doesn’t eat into their cap space.

The Timberwolves would get an adult in the room, a pass-first point guard who is a traditional floor general in Conley. He can work on or off the ball and could run pick-and-rolls with Rudy Gobert or, when he gets healthy, Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Jazz would buy out Westbrook, making him a free agent.

The questions seem to surround protections on the picks as well as if the Timberwolves believe there is a stronger market for Russell. This also could have been leaked by one of the parties hoping to get the deal done in an effort to put pressure on the others to agree to terms.

With the trade deadline a day away, this is one to watch — nothing is certain, but this trade feels like it’s on the two-yard line.

 

Sharpe out, Knicks center Jericho Sims reportedly in for Dunk Contest

NBA: DEC 14 Knicks at Bulls
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High-flying Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe was the first name leaked as taking part in the All-Star Saturday Night Dunk Contest.

Now he has decided to pull out, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic, to be replaced by second-year Knicks center Jericho Sims.

Sims joins G-League fan favorite Mac McClung, the Houston Rockets’ KJ Martin, and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Trey Murphy.

Sims is incredibly athletic — he recorded the third-highest vertical leap in the history of the NBA Draft Combine. In games, he rolls and dunks. Hard. He’s also played an expanded, but still limited, role for Tom Thibodeau this season, getting into 43 games and averaging 3.8 points a night.

The Dunk Contest will headline All-Star Saturday night, Feb. 18, from the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. The event will be broadcast on TNT.

 

Kyrie Irving says at times he “felt very disrespected” in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics
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Kyrie Irving says he is happy. He said he feels celebrated and respected by his new team in Dallas.

While fans in Brooklyn, Boston and Cleveland may snicker and say “wait for it…”, a happy Irving right now is a good thing for a Mavericks team desperate to put a high-level shot creator next to superstar Luka Dončić. Irving emphasized his joy in playing the game while speaking to the media Tuesday after his first practice with his new team. He praised the Mavericks organization while saying he sometimes didn’t feel respected in Brooklyn. Here are Irving’s comments, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“I just know I want to be places where I’m celebrated and not just tolerated or just kind of dealt with in a way that doesn’t make me feel respected,” Irving said after Tuesday’s practice at USC’s Galen Hall. “There were times throughout this process when I was in Brooklyn where I felt very disrespected and my talent — I work extremely hard at what I do. No one ever talks about my work ethic, though. Everyone talks about what I’m doing off the floor, so I just wanted to change that narrative, write my own story and just continue preparing in the gym, and now that I’m in Dallas, just focus on what I control.”

Irving makes it hard not to talk about his off-the-floor choices when he does things that keep him away from his team, such as his vaccination status a season ago, or a Tweet earlier this season promoting a movie with anti-Semitic themes that led to an eight-game suspension by the Nets.

When on the court, Irving’s skills are unquestionable — he has the league’s best handles and averages 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, plus he is shooting 37.4% from 3. It’s those skills he wants to bring to Dallas and make the focus. He wants to move on from the negativity surrounding him in Brooklyn.

Irving cited a lack of “transparency and honesty from people in the front office” as a reason he did not feeling comfortable continuing his career with the Nets…

“I don’t want to go into too many details because it’s water under the bridge now,” said Irving… “I wish them well. I left them in fourth place. I did what I was supposed to do, took care of my teammates, was incredibly selfless in my approach to leading, and I just want to do all the right things for myself — not to appease anybody that had something negative to say about me or judge me. This basketball game — just, it’s fun, and I want to keep it that way.”

If it stays fun and about basketball, this will be an excellent trade for the Mavericks. Irving will have to prove his critics wrong by keeping the spotlight on the court.