Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.
1) NBA trade rumors roundup as deadline nears
We are just 22 days away from the NBA trade deadline of Feb. 9, and talks are warming up… kind of. It seemed time for a roundup of the latest trade rumors and discussions around the league. This is not a comprehensive list but a snapshot of where some big names stand.
• The temperature of talks around the league are warming up, but everything is still on simmer so far and this is looking like another quiet trade deadline. Blame the play-in tournament that has more teams looking to hold on to stars. Because there are not a lot of sellers on the market, the few there are can keep their prices high, cooling down the market. Don’t expect many moves; the best players traded may be John Collins and Bojan Bogdanovic.
• Speaking of Collins, the Jazz are the team going hardest to land him, reports Marc Stein. With Utah having slid to 23-24 on the season and eighth in the West some teams thought they would be sellers at the deadline, but instead they are looking to pair Collins with Lauri Markkanen (there seems a lot of overlap of positions there, but the Jazz are looking). The Wizards, Nets, and Pacers also have interest in Collins.
• One three-team trade involving Collins would send Malik Beasley from Utah to Cleveland, while the Jazz would acquire John Collins, and the Hawks would get Caris LeVert and another player or pick. The draft compensation moving around in that deal appears to be the hold-up.
• The Jazz may be sellers on one front: They are discussing Mike Conley trades, with the Clippers being one of the more aggressive suitors (Los Angeles is open to sending out John Wall in any trade). The Clippers seek help at the point, more size on the wings, and a backup big at the deadline.
• The Timberwolves also have interest in Conley and are checking the trade market for their own point guard, D'Angelo Russell, after the two sides couldn’t reach a deal on an extension.
• The Heat have interest in Russell as an upgrade for them at the point, but the Timberwolves have no interest in a Kyle Lowry for Russell swap (it would put them next season right back to having to extend or trade a point guard they don’t see as part of the long term with the team). It’s tough to make the trade work without Lowry, unless the Timberwolves suddenly want Duncan Robinson (they don’t).
• Fred VanVleet is having a down season in Toronto (18.2 points per game on 37.6% shooting overall), leading other teams to call. However, the Raptors seem more interested in working out an extension after the season than looking for a trade.
• The Raptor most likely to be traded is wing Gary Trent Jr., however, the wing that other teams hopes becomes available is OG Anunoby. However, he is a favorite of the Toronto front office, and it will take multiple first-round picks to get them to consider a move.
• Bojan Bogdanovic trade rumors are everywhere, but the Pistons are keeping the price high and want an unprotected first-round pick in any trade to move him. The Lakers are the most mentioned suitor — and he would fit their needs on the court next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis — but have not been willing to give up a first-round pick in other trades. The Bucks, Pelicans, Cavaliers and Mavericks are also interested in Bogdanovic.
• Jakob Poeltl is absolutely available from the Spurs (they’d ideally keep him around, but he’s a free agent at the end of the season and likely walks), but (as Jared Weiss confirmed today at The Athletic) the asking price is two first-round picks. I doubt any team is willing to meet that, but what about a first and a high second (or a young player the Spurs like)? Will the Spurs drop that price? The Celtics, Raptors and Clippers are among the teams interested.
• Jae Crowder is still out there waiting for the Suns to trade him. The Heat get mentioned but that deal is a longshot, and his trade value drops as the season gets shorter. Crowder reportedly is looking for his new team — whoever it might be — to give him an extension in the ballpark of the three-year, $33 million deal P.J. Tucker got from Philadelphia.
• One seller at the deadline is the Charlotte Hornets, who are open to moving nearly anyone not named LaMelo: Terry Rozier has drawn considerable interest, but also available are Mason Plumlee, Jalen McDaniels and Kelly Oubre Jr.
2) Damian Lillard had a night scoring 44, Jokic and the Nuggets had a better one
Damian Lillard had himself another big night in an impressive bounce-back season for the Portland icon, scoring 44 against the Nuggets.
44 points and 8 dimes for @Dame_Lillard tonight.
He's got 40+ in 3 of his last 4 games. pic.twitter.com/3cvJnEUC2B
— NBA (@NBA) January 18, 2023
It just wasn’t enough. Nikola Jokic, finished with 36 points on 13-of-14 shooting plus 12 rebounds and 10 assists to spark a Nuggets win, 122-113.
Just another unreal night for Nikola Jokic.
— NBA (@NBA) January 18, 2023
The Nuggets have won seven in a row overall, 14 in a row at home, and at 31-13 lead the West.
3) Dallas artist paints over Doncic “Please send help” mural
A local artist in Dallas spoke to the mood of Mavericks fans (and maybe Luka Doncic himself, although he would never say so publicly) by painting this mural.
Mark Cuban was not a fan of this artwork and called it “disrespectful.” Not long after, Doncic called the artist himself, and now the mural is painted over with this message.
I get the change, but that first message was pretty on the mark.