Three things to Know: Hachimura trade, Porzingis injury shake up Wizards

Phoenix Suns v Washington Wizards
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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) Hachimura trade, Porzingis injury shake up Wizards

Monday ended up being a big day for the Wizards.

First came the expected update on Kristaps Porzingis, who will miss time with a sprained ankle suffered against the Magic. Porzingis — averaging 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game — is likely out for at least a couple of weeks.

“I think I’m probably holding out a little more hope than most, but he’s responding better than I anticipated,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said, via Chase Hughes at NBC Sports Washington. “We’ll see where it goes in the next day or so and hopefully we’ll have him back sooner than later.”

They need him back: The Wizards have outscored opponents by 1.6 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court but have gotten outscored by 3.7 when he is off.

Then came the news of the day, which also depleted Washington’s frontcourt depth: The Wizards traded Rui Hachimura to the Lakers for Kendrick Nunn (salary ballast) and three second-round picks.

While it’s obvious why the Lakers made the trade, for the Wizards this move is… mid. Hachimura was not part of the long-term plans D.C. — this is more evidence of the plan to throw a lot of money at Kyle Kuzma this offseason — but if they had waited would they have gotten more than three second-rounders for the young forward? Maybe not, but the market would not get worse, so why not wait, just in case? Maybe try to play a couple of teams off each other and see if you can do a little better, the deadline is still weeks away.

It’s just not a win to trade a former No. 9 pick that you developed for second-rounders.

But this is not a bad deal for Washington, and losing Hachimura does not damage the rotation. Not nearly as much as losing Porzingis for the next couple of weeks.

2) Jalen Green goes off for career-high 42, Rockets win

Jalen Green has not made a leap in his second season. The wildly athletic wing is shooting more and scoring more, but his efficiency has taken a little dip, and he’s getting to the rim less often (and not finishing as well when he gets there). It has not been an impressive season for the No.2 pick.

But there are still flashes — Monday night was one of those as Green scored a career-high 42 on the Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves had won 8-of-11 coming into Monday, but this is a reminder of how difficult it is to win both ends of one of these “baseball” series where the teams play each other twice in a row at one team’s home. You see more playoff-like adjustments, sometimes a little tension rolls over from game to game, and sometimes a guy just goes off. Green did that for the Rockets, who won 119-114.

The best non-Green highlight from this game? D'Angelo Russell crashing into Alex Rodriguez while chasing a loose ball.

3) Jonathan Isaac makes return to court for Magic

After 904 days and a couple of knee surgeries since he last stepped on an NBA court — way back during the bubble — Jonathan Isaac returned to play for the Orlando Magic on Monday night against Boston.

Isaac ended up playing a little less than 10 minutes (he’s on a restriction, as would be expected) but the 6-foot-10 power forward finished with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t (have doubts) with this injury,” Isaac said, via the Associated Press. “I was like, `I don’t know if I want to keep going.’ But then again, God gave me a purpose. I was made to play basketball … so I was going to continue the process no matter what anybody was saying.”

Orland withstood a run and comeback by the Celtics to take the 113-98 win, snapping Boston’s nine-game win streak. Maybe the travel from Toronto to Orlando got to them, but the more interesting test is on the second night of the back-to-back in Miami.

LeBron, other NBA players react to Kyrie Irving trade to Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks v Brooklyn Nets
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Is there going to be a football game of some kind next weekend? You’d never know the way the NBA trade deadline can dominate the headlines.

Kyrie Irving is getting traded to the Mavericks, which has blown up the NBA world — Dallas looks like a threat in the West, and there is a countdown clock over Kevin Durant‘s time in Brooklyn. It wasn’t just fans and pundits stunned by the news, NBA players past and present took to Twitter and social media to react and give their thoughts on the Irving trade. Starting with LeBron James and one of the guys in the trade.

Nets reportedly trade Kyrie Irving to Mavericks for Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith, picks

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets
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Dallas desperately needed a second star and shot creator to go next to Luka Dončić.

They got one — Mark Cuban has always been willing to take risks to win. The question about how long this can last comes later.

The Nets are trading Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, their unprotected 2029 first-round pick their 2027 and 2029 second-round picks, according to multiple reports.

Irving is reportedly “ecstatic” to make the move to Dallas (the hard questions about a future contract will wait until after the season).

Irving reportedly will land in Dallas Monday, take the standard post-trade physical, and could be available for the Mavericks on Wednesday against the Clippers.

Brooklyn had several suitors to choose from but wanted in return players it could slot in around Kevin Durant now (or, once he is healthy and returns) so they could still have a puncher’s chance to win the East. Dinwiddie gives Brooklyn a point guard and shot creator who can play some off the ball — and he returns to Brooklyn, where he made a name for himself in the league. Finney-Smith is a coveted two-way wing who can step in right now. Plus, the Nets add some potentially valuable picks down the line.

That offer gave the Nets more win-now possibilities than they got out of the Lakers’ offer (two future first-rounders and Russell Westbrook) or what the Suns and Clippers put in the mix.

There are questions for Dallas, but ones they believe they can answer — elite talents figure out a way to make it work on the court. Off the court, it helps that both coach Jason Kidd and former Nike executive turned Mavericks GM Nico Harrison have strong relationships with Irving. That’s a start.

The pairing of Dončić and Irving should lead to games and stretches where they look brilliant, but the question is not the highs but the lows — how deep and how prolonged will those be? Irving works well off the ball (as he has done with Durant and LeBron James) and should be able to play off Dončić. However, can Dončić play well off the ball when Irving is hot? Do the Mavericks — with Tim Hardaway Jr., Christian Wood, Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock and the rest — have enough around their two stars to be a serious threat in the West? Off the court, can the very different personalities of Irving and Dončić mesh, or at least work well enough not to be a distraction?

The biggest question: Do Cuban and the Mavericks really want to re-sign Irving for the four-years, $198.5 million he demands at the end of the season? There are reports that Dallas (like every other front office in the league, including Brooklyn) is hesitant to do a long-term deal with Irving that gives him that kind of guaranteed money.

But that is a concern for the future — Dallas got its second star. It has vaulted itself into the upper echelons of the Western Conference and positioned itself to contend.

Reports: Stephen Curry out ‘weeks’ with leg injury, Warriors hope for return after All-Star Break

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors
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This is bad news for the Warriors. How bad depends on how the word “weeks” is ultimately defined.

Stephen Curry has torn ligaments in his leg — in the shin area just below the knee — and while the team does not have an official timeline he will be out “weeks” reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“Weeks” is a vague word, and for the Warriors the difference in Curry being out three weeks (with one of those being the All-Star Break) versus him being out six to eight weeks could be the difference in how long a playoff run the Warriors have.

The Warriors are hoping for a Curry return just after the All-Star break, reports Monty Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Of short-term concern, this has Curry out for the All-Star Game where the fans voted him a starter. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will bump one of the reserves up to a starting spot — likely Ja Morant, who was third in fan voting — and name an injury replacement for the team. The top candidates are Devin Booker (if he returns from injury this week as expected), De'Aaron Fox or Anthony Edwards.

Longer term, the Warriors can’t afford to be without Curry for an extended period.

Curry is averaging 27.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists a game, and the Warriors outscore opponents by 5 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court and get outscored by 5.4 when he is off. With the team one game above .500 and struggling to avoid the play-in, an extended absence for Curry is trouble for a Warriors team that has never found its footing this season.

 

Nets reportedly going to sit Kyrie Irving until he is traded

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This time it looks like it’s going to happen, the Brooklyn Nets will trade Kyrie Irving (unlike this summer).

Just don’t expect to see Irving on the court for Brooklyn until he’s moved, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

That is at one time a combination of smart, the only real call to make, the Nets wanting to look like they have control over the situation because Irving’s camp already leaked that he was going to sit out the rest of the season if not traded.

Irving did not play Saturday night when the Nets went down by 20 in the first quarter but rallied behind 44 points from Cam Thomas to get a much-needed win.

Four primary suitors have stepped up for Irving: The Lakers (considered Irving’s preferred destination), Suns, Mavericks and Clippers. The question is what do the Nets want back in a trade? If, as most around the league expect, the goal is to remain in the championship picture around Kevin Durant, Brooklyn will prize quality players and depth over draft picks. That’s bad news for the Lakers (the core of their offer is two future first-round picks plus Russell Westbrook) and good for the team down the hall, the Clippers can offer good players — John Wall, Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson, plus young players such as Terance Mann — plus a pick if they need it.

The question for teams: Irving wants a max contract after this summer, similar to the four-year, $198.5 million fully guaranteed extension the Nets would not offer after Irving had 10 weeks or so of not being disruptive and focusing on basketball. Around the league, front offices are very hesitant to get into the Irving business for that long (most thought he would never get more than a two-year offer). Are the four teams above desperate enough for a bold move that ownership would sign off on four years with Irving? Will any of them? Or, like this summer, will Irving find the market not to his liking?

It’s going to be interesting until the Feb. 9 trade deadline.