Jeff Teague

Mock NBA expansion draft
(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Mock NBA expansion draft: Hawks, Hornets, Heat, Magic, Wizards

Leave a comment

The NBA season is on hiatus. NBC Sports is not – even if we have to venture into fantasy.

We’re holding a mock NBA expansion draft. Keith Smith is setting protected lists for existing teams. Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman will run two new teams as this project culminates in an expansion draft.

Current teams can protect up to eight players. Each team must make at least one player available. If selected, restricted free agents become unrestricted free agents. Pending options can be decided before or after the expansion draft at the discretion of the option-holder. Anyone selected in the expansion draft can’t return to his prior team for one year. Players entering unrestricted free agency and players on two-way contracts are essentially ignored.

We’re unveiling protected/unprotected lists by division (here is the Atlantic Division, Central Division, Pacific Division and Northwest Division). Players are listed with their 2020-21 salary. Up now, the Southeast:

Atlanta Hawks

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 4

Ineligible – 3

Analysis: The Hawks protections are very straightforward. Every player they are protecting is either a rotation player, under team control for a while or both. No hard decisions here.

That means that Atlanta is leaving their restricted free agents and Brandon Goodwin unprotected. No major concerns over losing any of the four.

Charlotte Hornets

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 3

Ineligible – 2

Analysis: Charlotte’s decisions were fairly easy. Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington are all core pieces. Despite his suspension, Malik Monk still has upside. And the three young forwards (Cody Martin, Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels) are locked in on low salaries for a while.

Keeping the three minimum salary forwards meant leaving Dwayne Bacon unprotected. Bacon had been out of the rotation and sent to the G-League, so he’s out of the plans for now. As for Nic Batum or Cody Zeller, the Hornets would welcome getting either big salary off the books.

Miami Heat

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 1

Ineligible – 6

Analysis: Miami was really helped by having six players ineligible because they are unrestricted free agents this summer. That left just this decision point: Andre Iguodala vs KZ Okpala vs Kelly Olynyk.

Okpala is a minimum salary player, so that means he stays. Iguodala was just added and given an extension. He stays. That means Olynyk and his $13 million salary are left exposed.

Orlando Magic

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 5

Ineligible – 2

Analysis: Orlando had seven fairly easy protections. Their five starters, sixth man, and their promising young big man in Mo Bamba.

That left Khem Birch vs Al-Farouq Aminu vs Wesley Iwundu. Aminu was left unprotected due to salary and coming off a knee injury. It’s unlikely he’ll be selected and the Magic will be happy to have him back. That means it came down to Birch vs Iwundu. It’s more likely Birch will be selected, given his low salary and skill as a big man, so Iwundu was left unprotected.

Washington Wizards

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 3

  • John Wall – $41,254,920
  • Isaac Bonga – $1,663,861 (Non-Guaranteed)
  • Anzejs Pasecnicks – $1,517,981 ($250,000 Guaranteed)

Ineligible – 4

Analysis: The Wizards are taking a gamble. Most of the protections were pretty easy. Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant are key players. Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown, Mo Wagner and Jerome Robinson are all on their rookie scale deals.

Then things get interesting. Leaving John Wall unprotected may seem crazy, given he’s a former All-Star. But Wall is coming off two lost seasons due to injury and will be 30 years old at the start of next season. He’s also owed $133 million over the next three seasons. Ish Smith and Admiral Schofield stay and the Wizards throw caution to the wind. It’s unlikely Wall will be selected, but just the chance of clearing that salary off the books is a gamble worth taking for Washington.

NBA Trade Deadline tracker: All the player movement, new teams, impact

Leave a comment

The NBA trade deadline has passed and it had a little bit of everything – big names on the move, important players being sent to contenders, and other teams shedding salaries.

We’re here to help you sort everything that happened in the last few days, from the biggest trades to the smallest ones.

What trades happened?

• D’Angelo Russell traded to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins

Minnesota gets: D'Angelo Russell
Golden State gets: Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota’s 2021 first-round pick (top-three protected), a 2022 second-round pick

Analysis: Minnesota has desperately wanted Russell to pair with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns, keeping the superstar Towns happy (he has expressed frustration lately, he hasn’t been on the court for a win since November). Golden State is betting its culture can push Wiggins to live up to his potential nightly (not just once every couple of weeks), giving them what Harrison Barnes once did.

• Andre Iguodala traded to Miami

Miami gets: Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill
Memphis gets: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, James Johnson

Analysis: At one point this was discussed as a three-team trade with Oklahoma City sending Danilo Gallinari to Miami, but that fell apart. With Iguodala and Crowder, Miami becomes more of a threat in the East. Memphis likes Winslow’s fit.

• Andre Drummond sent to Cleveland

Detroit gets: Brandon Knight, John Henson, second-round pick
Cleveland gets: Andre Drummond

Analysis: Let’s be honest: The Pistons dumped Drummond. It’s a minuscule return for an All-Star center, but that also speaks to exactly where the market is on Drummond — teams looked at his game, looked at that $28.8 million next season, and said no thanks.

• A 12-player, four-team trade that sends Clint Capela to Atlanta

Houston gets: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell
Atlanta gets: Clint Capela, Nene
Minnesota gets: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Evan Turner, Jarred Vanderbilt, a first-round pick
Denver gets: Shabazz Napier, Gerald Green, Keita Bates-Diop, Noah Vonleh, a first-round pick

Analysis: This is a win for Atlanta, which gets a good pick-and-roll center to pair with Trae Young. Houston is going all-in on small ball, with P.J. Tucker now their starting center.

• Clippers beat out Lakers for Marcus Morris

Los Angeles gets: Marcus Morris, Isaiah Thomas
New York gets: Moe Harkless, 2020 first-round pick
Washington: Jerome Robinson

Analysis: Morris will bring both floor spacing and some interior toughness to the Clippers (plus a few technicals). Morris leads the Knicks scoring at 18.5 points per game. The Clippers will not keep Thomas.

• Dwayne Dedmon traded back to Atlanta

Atlanta gets: Dwayne Dedmon, a 2020 and 2021 second-round pick
Sacramento gets: Jabari Parker, Alex Len

Analysis: Dedmon returns to Atlanta to be the backup center for Clint Capela.

• Warriors trade Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks to the 76ers

Philadelphia gets: Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks
Golden State gets: Second-round picks in 2020 (Dallas), 2021 (Denver), and 2022 (Toronto)

Analysis: Philadelphia needs shooting and it just added some.

• Clippers trade Derrick Walton to Atlanta

Atlanta gets: Derrick Walton
L.A. Clippers get: A second-round pick, $1.3 million in cash

Analysis: This clears a roster spot for the Clippers to make another, more significant move.

• Denver flips Shabazz Napier to Washington for Jordan McRae

Washington gets: Shabazz Napier
Denver gets: Jordan McRae

Analysis: And interesting flip of reserve guards (both 28-years-old, both on expiring minimum contracts). Nappier has played well as he has grown out of LeBron’s shadow. I really like this deal for Denver, however, as McRae can just flat out go get buckets, and Denver could use more of that off the bench.

• Golden State trades Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas

Dallas gets: Willie Cauley-Stein
Golden State gets: A second-round pick

Analysis: After Dwight Powell tore his Achilles Dallas needed depth at center.

• Cleveland trades Jordan Clarkson to Utah

Utah gets: Jordan Clarkson
Cleveland gets: Dante Exum, two second-round picks

Analysis: Utah needed more bench scoring and Jordan Clarkson provides that.

• Minnesota trades Jeff Teague to Atlanta

Atlanta gets: Jeff Teague, Treveon Graham
Minnesota gets: Allen Crabbe

Analysis: Atlanta needed a quality backup point guard for Trae Young, so they traded for one.

• Philadelphia trades James Ennis to Orlando

Orlando gets: James Ennis
Philadelphia gets: a second-round pick

Analysis: Long Beach State’s own James Ennis was going to be crowded out on the improved Philly bench so he waived his no-trade clause to be sent to Orlando, where he should provide desperately needed shooting.

• Rockets send Jordan Bell to Grizz

Houston gets: Bruno Caboclo, Second-round 2023 pick
Minnesota gets: Jordan Bell, Second-round 2023 pick

Analysis: Bell doesn’t fit as well in Memphis with the Grizzlies also acquiring Gorgui Dieng. But I’d generally rather have Bell than Caboclo.

• Blazers trade Skal Labissiere to Atlanta

Atlanta gets: Skal Labissiere, plus $2M
Portland gets: Luxury-tax savings

Analysis: The Hawks get a more-than-fully subsidized flier on Labissiere, who’s due $924,968 the rest of this season then will be a free agent this summer.

Kings sent Trevor Ariza to Portland for Kent Bazemore

Sacramento gets: Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver, two second-round picks
Portland gets: Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan, Wenyen Gabriel

Analysis: Portland had the highest payroll in the league and was going to shell out a lot of luxury tax for a team that might not even make the playoffs. This trade cut their tax bill by more than half. Ariza also has played well for Portland.

Report: Clippers trade reserve guard Derrick Walton to Hawks for cash

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

This move is a prelude to the next one, it opens up a roster spot on the Clippers for something.

Los Angeles is sending reserve guard Derrick Walton Jr. to Atlanta for cash, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It ends up being a little more than cash.

Look at it this way: Does Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer need cash? Los Angeles made this trade to clear a roster spot for something else, either a trade today or a buyout/free agent signing later.

Walton has shown flashes — and he’s shooting 42.9 percent from three this season — but has bounced between the Clippers and the G-League all season. Last season he was on a two-way contract with the Heat.

Walton is not going to get a lot of run behind Trae Young and Jeff Teague in Atlanta, but maybe he’ll get more chances later in the season to show what he can do.

Report: Warriors closing D’Angelo Russell trade negotiations with Timberwolves

Leave a comment

The Timberwolves reportedly really, really, really want D'Angelo Russell.

They tried to sign him last summer. They engaged Golden State in trade talks. They tried to orchestrate a four-team trade to meet the Warriors’ demands.

But Minnesota keeps falling short.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

This could be a negotiating tactic by the Warriors, leaking how dissatisfied they are with Minnesota’s offers and prompting the Timberwolves to offer more. The teams could still strike a deal before Thursday’s trade deadline.

But this is at least an indicator they’e actually just too far apart.

Especially because I already questioned the sincerity of Minnesota’s urgency to acquire Russell, a friend of Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, someone who might be unhappy with the franchise. Trading aggregatable Jeff Teague for non-aggregatable Allen Crabbe made it much more difficult to construct a Russell trade.

Minnesota could still be active before the deadline. The Rockets want Timberwolves forward Robert Covington and could send out Clint Capela, whom interests the Hawks. But if not Russell, what return for Covington will satisfy Minnesota?

Timberwolves trying to orchestrate four-team trade with Rockets, Hawks, Warriors

Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell and Rockets center Clint Capela
David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Rockets want Timberwolves forward Robert Covington and would trade center Clint Capela. But with Karl-Anthony Towns starring, Minnesota doesn’t need another center. The Timberwolves reportedly want Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell. The Hawks could use Capela, though.

Is there a way for all four teams to achieve their goals?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Minnesota Timberwolves are orchestrating multi-team trade discussions with Houston and Atlanta – with hopes of ultimately turning discussions into a four-way deal that brings Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Hawks possess the assets to fulfill some of each team’s goals: forward Robert Covington to Houston, center Clint Capela to the Hawks and potentially two first-round picks and an expiring contract to Minnesota, league sources said.

The huge question: What would the Warriors get?

They reportedly rejected an offer for Russell that would’ve netted the Timberwolves’ 2020 first-rounder and, via the Hawks, the Nets’ lottery-protected 2020 first-rounder. But I suspect there’s more to the story.

Russell is earning $15,983,781 more than Covington. So, the Timberwolves must send out more salary in a deal for Russell. A prime candidate: Gorgui Dieng.

But due $17,287,640 next season, Dieng has negative value. If Golden State also had to take Dieng, the return looks far worse.

The Hawks could help. They’ve shown a willingness to eat bad salary for a sweetener, and Chandler Parsons‘ or Allen Crabbe‘s large expiring contracts could prove handy.

Here’s a trade framework that could appeal to all teams (via TradeNBA):

The key would be sorting out picks.

The Warriors would obviously need substantial value for Russell. Parsons is just a neutral-value conduit.

The Hawks would give up less for Capela if forced to take Dieng, too. Atlanta might even demand a sweetener in addition to Capela, whom Houston seems eager to unload.

How much would the Rockets and Timberwolves add to the pot to get this done before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday?

This would have been easier if Minnesota hadn’t already traded Jeff Teague to the Hawks for Allen Crabbe. Teague’s expiring contract would have been far easier to include in this deal than Dieng’s burdensome contract, especially because we know Atlanta wanted Teague.

As if four-team trades needed any extra sources of tension.