Klay Thompson

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Report: Heat treating Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo as ‘untouchable’ in trade talks


The Heat want stars.

They got one this summer in Jimmy Butler. Miami’s next star could come from within – Bam Adebayo and/or Tyler Herro, who has generated buzz this preseason.

Sean Deveney of Heavy:

“They’ve been firm on him and (Bam) Adebayo being untouchable,” one GM told Heavy.com before Herro’s explosive night. “Maybe they would move off of that as the season goes on, but as it stands, they think they’ve got the second coming of Klay Thompson offensively. They have not had a lot of useful guys on rookie contracts in past years and that’s killed their cap. They’ve got two now, they don’t want to let them go.”

I doubt Herro and Adebayo are totally untouchable. If the right star became available, Miami could change its stance. But that wasn’t Russell Westbrook. Bradley Beal? We’ll see if the Wizards ever make him available.

The No. 13 pick in this year’s draft, Herro is an excellent shooter with plenty of range. But Klay Thompson comparisons look off base. A large part of Thompson’s value is his defense. Herro has a long way to go to prove he’s not a defensive liability. (To be fair to the Heat, this is just some anonymous GM. He’s not necessarily conveying an assessment from Miami.)

Adebayo has looked good in his two NBA seasons. But the level of play for centers across the league is so high. It’s a tough position for creating value.

The Heat should be pleased to have both players. But they also can’t rest on their laurels and assume Herro and Adebayo will develop into prominent players on a contender.

NBA players most likely to be traded this season

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NBA teams had historically high roster churn this summer. With so many newcomers around the league, there are fewer than usual obvious in-season trade candidates entering the year. But a few still stand out:

Nene (Rockets)

The NBA nixed the Rockets’ plan to have Nene as a $10 million trade chip. But that might have made it even more likely they trade him.

The upside Nene’s contract provided would’ve been to add salary, which would’ve almost certainly pushed Houston into the luxury tax. Obviously, that was at least a consideration. Otherwise, why sign Nene to that deal? But it’s unclear just how good of a return Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta – notorious for dodging the tax – would’ve required to greenlight a trade.

Fertitta won’t have to worry about that now. With the NBA’s ruling, Nene counts $2,564,753 against the cap. His salary would nearly double if he plays 10 games, which therefore almost certainly won’t happen. He has become too-expensive dead weight on a team flirting with the luxury-tax line.

The Rockets attaching a sweetener to dump Nene is most likely. He could also be dealt as an expiring contract to facilitate something else. But one way or another, expect Houston to trade Nene before the luxury tax is assessed the final day of the regular season – which of course means trading Nene before the trade deadline.

Several other deep reserves (Rockets)

Of the five minimum-salary players who began last year with Houston and didn’t hold an implicit no-trade clause, three got traded during the season.

The Rockets have figured they can move players on full-season minimum salaries and replace them with players on the pro-rated minimum. It’s a clever way to meet the roster minimum all season and still get more breathing room under the luxury tax.

So, Tyson Chandler, Thabo Sefolosha, Ryan Anderson, Gary Clark and Isaiah Hartenstein all look like prime candidates to get traded this year. If any of Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Jaron Blossomgame, Michael Frazier, Shamorie Ponds or Chris Clemons make the regular-season roster, add them to the list.

Jae Crowder (Grizzlies)

Andre Iguodala isn’t Memphis’ only veteran forward on an expiring contract who’d help a winner more than this rebuilding outfit. Crowder also fits the bill, and he’s more likely to get traded for a couple reasons:

1. Crower’s salary ($7,815,533) is far lower than Iguodala’s ($17,185,185). Interested teams will have a more difficult time matching salary for Iguodala. Acquiring Crowder is much more manageable.

2. Iguodala is a 15-year pro with supporters all around the league, First Vice President of the players’ union and former NBA Finals MVP. Crowder lacks those credentials. Iguodala has far more cache to command a buyout.

Iguodala is more likely to change teams this season, but it could be by trade or buyout. Crowder is more likely to change teams via trade.

Josh Jackson (Grizzlies)

Iguodala isn’t even the second-most-likely Grizzly to be traded. That’s Jackson, who’s so far from Memphis’ plans, he didn’t even report to training camp.

With his fourth-year option sure to be declined, Jackson will become a $7,059,480 expiring contract. That makes him useful in so many possible trade constructions. He could allow Memphis to acquire an undesirable long-term contract plus an asset. He could grease the wheels of a larger trade. Maybe another team even wants to take a flier on the 2017 No. 4 pick.

Between all the possibilities, it seems like a decent bet one comes to fruition.

Danilo Gallinari (Thunder)

Chris Paul has generated all the headlines, but in its star trades, Oklahoma City acquired two quality veterans to match salary. Gallinari, 31, is younger and maybe even better at this stage. His contract (one year, $22,615,559 remaining) is definitely more favorable than Paul’s (three years, $124,076,442 remaining)

Plenty of contending teams could use another talented forward like Gallinari – if he’s healthy. That’s the big catch. Gallinari thrived with the Clippers last year, but that was his healthiest season in years.

Paul, Dennis Schroder (two years, $31 million remaining) and Steven Adams (two years, $53,370,785 remaining) are also candidates to get moved. But there will probably be more urgency from the Thunder to get assets for Gallinari and more of a market for him.

A couple notes on prominent players not yet mentioned:

I predicted Bradley Beal will tire of the Wizards’ losing and leave Washington. It doesn’t have to happen this season. Though I wouldn’t rule out a trade before the deadline, Beal will like ride out the year in hopes of making an All-NBA team and gaining super-max eligibility. That might be his best ticket to staying, though paying Beal and John Wall the super-max would sure limit the Wizards.

The Warriors insist they didn’t acquire D'Angelo Russell just to trade him. I believe them. I also believe he’s a difficult fit with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, especially defensively. A Russell trade remains very much on the table. But if Golden State plans to give it an honest shot with Russell – and with Thompson sidelined most of the season – a Russell trade won’t necessarily happen before the deadline.

Miami rookie Tyler Herro has 18 points in preseason debut

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His fellow rookies voted Tyler Herro the best shooter in this draft class. He showed some of that in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he could score on catch-and-shoot chances, pull-ups, step-backs, running off screens, and he can get out in transition as well. Herro also plays with swagger.

Herro showed all of that in his first preseason game, scoring a team-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, hitting 2-of-5 from three, plus dishing three assists and even getting a block on Tuesday night. It’s just preseason, don’t read too much into one performance, but Herro showed some promise.

If you’re looking for a player to outperform their draft slot, picking the best shooter is a good way to go (Klay Thompson would be the patron saint of this idea). Herro was taken 13th out of Kentucky, and he’s already looking like a player who can space the floor and get a team buckets at the NBA level.

Put that next to Jimmy Butler for stretches and Herro could have an impressive rookie season in Miami. With Buttler and Herro (in the Buttler’s little brother role) Miami is going to have plenty of swagger this season.

Could Warriors keep D’Angelo Russell long term?


Kevin Durant was leaving for the Brooklyn Nets, so the Golden State Warriors needed to do all they could to make sure they weren’t left with nothing. That’s meant making a trade for D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn’s best player last season.

We don’t know how Russell will fit in with Golden State just yet, although there has been some positive news between him and Stephen Curry from practice thus far.

However, many have believed that the team traded for Russell simply to swap him for another player down the road. The team has denied that, and he’s going to hang out at least for a little bit given that Klay Thompson will not start the year due to his ACL injury. But according to a new rumor from The Athletic’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss, the Warriors might be looking to keep Russell long-term.

Via the Athletic:

There’s a strong possibility that the Warriors actually want their newest big acquisition for seasons beyond this one.

After doing a little digging, I’ve come to buy the Warriors front office on this one. I believe that the Warriors’ public messaging actually matches their private beliefs. While it’s nice to retain the “optionality” that comes with signing a 23-year-old max player, I don’t think that he was primarily acquired for his trade value. The front office’s first hope is that Russell flourishes alongside Curry and becomes a foundational piece.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Warriors decided that they actually liked Russell and wanted a combo guard to play in a 3-man backcourt once Thompson returns.

We have seen weirder things in the NBA, and if Draymond Green is still going to be who he has been in the past, that’s a pretty formidable lineup. The Warriors might not be as dominant as they once were, but it’s hard to find guys that match up with each other on the floor.

Russell could also be excellent insurance against one of either Curry or Thompson getting hurt in the future — because, you know, he’s literally filling that role as we speak. Both stars are getting on in age, and we know how Curry has dealt with his ankles in the past.

Whether this is smoke or real, we don’t yet know. In the meantime, this is the NBA and you can’t rule out the possibility that Russell could stay in San Francisco past this season.

Stephen Curry details how he and D’Angelo Russell are already working together (VIDEO)

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It’s a real question in San Francisco is about how the Golden State Warriors will operate with both D'Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry on the floor. The team needs some kind of offensive firepower in lieu of Klay Thompson’s injury and Kevin Durant‘s escape to the Brooklyn Nets.

But last season with the Nets, Russell was seen as more of an isolation and pick-and-roll player. How that fits into the beautiful movement of Steve Kerr’s Warriors offense hasn’t always been clear. Then again, given championship chemistry and organizational stability, players have often altered their styles to match that of an elite team. So far, everyone seems happy with what Russell is bringing to the table.

That includes Curry, who said after practice this week that he and Russell had figured out a way to co-exist on the floor together already.

Via Twitter:


Chalk this up as preseason optimism at the moment, but it wouldn’t really surprise us if things came together for the Warriors this season and the whole opinion of Russell changed entirely.

Styles evolve and change, and Golden State did that considerably with Durant on their team. They will need to do it again with Russell and without Thompson.

In the meantime, no doubt Warriors fans are hoping they get things down pretty solid on the defensive end of the floor as well. That might end up being Golden State’s biggest flaw.