- Rookie Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli will be joining his teammates Zion Williamson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker in tomorrow’s All-Star Rising Stars Game, according to an official NBA release. Melli will replace second-year Suns center Deandre Ayton, out with a sore ankle. Since Ayton was representing the World Team, his replacement had to come from that group as well.
The Knicks have had a miserable 12 months, finishing the 2018/19 season with a league-worst 17 wins, missing out on their top free agent targets, and then firing head coach David Fizdale and president of basketball operations Steve Mills during the 2019/20 season.
None of that seems to have had a noticeable impact on the team’s market value though. Once again, the franchise is considered the most valuable of any of the NBA’s 30 clubs, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Lakers and Warriors aren’t far behind, having both surpassed the $4 billion mark for the first time this year.
For the first time, all 30 NBA teams have a perceived worth of $1.3 billion or more, per Forbes’ annual report. Every team’s value increased by at least 6% since Forbes put out their 2019 valuations last February, with a handful of franchises jumping by 20% or more.
The NBA-wide average of $2.12 billion per team in 2020 is also a new record — that league-wide average surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time. NBA franchise values are up almost sixfold over the last decade, according to Badenhausen.
Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:
- New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
- Los Angeles Lakers: $4.4 billion
- Golden State Warriors: $4.3 billion
- Chicago Bulls: $3.2 billion
- Boston Celtics: $3.1 billion
- Los Angeles Clippers: $2.6 billion
- Brooklyn Nets: $2.5 billion
- Houston Rockets: $2.475 billion
- Dallas Mavericks: $2.4 billion
- Toronto Raptors: $2.1 billion
- Philadelphia 76ers: $2 billion
- Miami Heat: $1.95 billion
- Portland Trail Blazers: $1.85 billion
- San Antonio Spurs: $1.8 billion
- Sacramento Kings: $1.775 billion
- Washington Wizards: $1.75 billion
- Phoenix Suns: $1.625 billion
- Denver Nuggets: $1.6 billion
- Milwaukee Bucks: $1.58 billion
- Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.575 billion
- Utah Jazz: $1.55 billion
- Indiana Pacers: $1.525 billion
- Atlanta Hawks: $1.52 billion
- Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.51 billion
- Charlotte Hornets: $1.5 billion
- Detroit Pistons: $1.45 billion
- Orlando Magic: $1.43 billion
- Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.375 billion
- New Orleans Pelicans: $1.35 billion
- Memphis Grizzlies: $1.3 billion
The Raptors are among this year’s big “winners,” with their value rising 25%, from $1.675 billion a year ago to $2.1 billion this year following their first NBA championship. The Clippers also had a noteworthy bump, moving from ninth place on Forbes’ list to sixth after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last summer.
Although every franchise’s value increased, the Nets had the smallest jump, just 6%. The Magic‘s modest 8% increase resulted in the team slipping from 23rd on last year’s list to 27th this year.
It’s worth noting that when a franchise has been sold in recent years, the price often exceeds Forbes’ valuation, so these figures are just estimates.
USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.
“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.
“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”
Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.
Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:
- Bam Adebayo (Heat)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
- Harrison Barnes (Kings)
- Bradley Beal (Wizards)
- Devin Booker (Suns)
- Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
- Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
- Jimmy Butler (Heat)
- Mike Conley (Jazz)
- Stephen Curry (Warriors)
- Anthony Davis (Lakers)
- DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
- Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
- Kevin Durant (Nets)
- Paul George (Clippers)
- Draymond Green (Warriors)
- James Harden (Rockets)
- Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
- Joe Harris (Nets)
- Tobias Harris (76ers)
- Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
- Dwight Howard (Lakers)
- Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
- Kyrie Irving (Nets)
- LeBron James (Lakers)
- Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
- Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
- Damian Lillard (Blazers)
- Brook Lopez (Bucks)
- Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
- Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
- JaVale McGee (Lakers)
- Khris Middleton (Bucks)
- Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
- Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
- Chris Paul (Thunder)
- Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
- Marcus Smart (Celtics)
- Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
- Klay Thompson (Warriors)
- Myles Turner (Pacers)
- Kemba Walker (Celtics)
- Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
- Derrick White (Spurs)
When the Thunder and Heat discussed a potential Danilo Gallinari trade leading up to last week’s deadline, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, and draft compensation were among the various assets that came up in talks, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Miami reportedly wanted to extend Gallinari’s contract as part of a deal, but couldn’t agree to terms with his camp, which is one main reason the trade didn’t happen.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last week that he believed the Heat could’ve acquired Gallinari without surrendering any of their young players like Nunn. So even though his name came up in discussions, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Thunder would have insisted on his inclusion, depending on what other pieces were involved.
While Gallinari remained with the Thunder for this season, Scotto suggests the Heat and Knicks could be among his potential suitors this summer. Miami clearly has interest, and created some cap flexibility for 2020/21 by moving Johnson and Dion Waiters last week. New York, meanwhile, will have cap space and is hiring veteran CAA agent Leon Rose as its new president of basketball operations. Gallinari is a CAA client.
Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Scotto’s look at the post-deadline landscape:
- The Knicks and Pacers discussed a possible Marcus Morris trade. According to Scotto, a package that featured Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. Leaf was “briefly kicked around,” but didn’t end up going far.
- McDermott’s name also came up in discussions about a potential Pacers trade with the Bucks involving Ersan Ilyasova, says Scotto. It’s not known which team initiated those talks.
- Before the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond, they called the Pacers to ask about Myles Turner‘s availability, per Scotto. Indiana has remained firm on keeping Turner, though many executives expect the team to eventually break up its Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt.
- The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez as part of a package for Bulls guard Zach LaVine or Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, sources tell Scotto. New Orleans set a very high asking price for Holiday, while LaVine was said to be “off-limits” for Chicago, so Denver didn’t get far on either front.
Pelicans shooting guard Jrue Holiday was excited to remain in New Orleans through the trade deadline this season, as he explained to The Athletic’s William Guillory. The 29-year-old Holiday, considered one of the best defensive guards in the league, is on the third year of a fairly reasonable five-year, $126MM contract.
Holiday held appeal for several contending teams looking to shore up their backcourt ahead of a playoff push, including the Heat and Nuggets. The Pelicans themselves are just 4.5 games out of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. With 2019 No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson finally debuting on January 22, New Orleans valued Holiday too much to make a deal just yet.
“I feel like what we’re doing here is something promising,” Holiday told Guillory of his season with the new-look Pelicans. “Obviously with the new management and the new guys coming in, we’re fairly young but we’re all very, very hungry. What we have here, we can build together.”
There’s more out of the Southwest Division:
- New Rockets forward Robert Covington and his very reasonable four-year, $47MM contract took him from overlooked role player to highly coveted glue guy very quickly ahead of this season’s trade deadline, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle details.
- Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is optimistic that All-Star guard Luka Doncic will return to the court ahead of the All-Star break, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “That’s not definite, but that’s the hope,” Carlisle said.
- The future of Spurs bench big man Trey Lyles in San Antonio is appraised by the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff McDonald. Lyles is averaging a robust 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in just 18 minutes per game for the club. He has suited up 51 games, including 41 starts. The 6’9″ Kentucky alum signed a two-year, $11MM contract with San Antonio this summer. Only $1MM of his $5.5MM salary next year is guaranteed.
Within the past month, both Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez approached Nuggets management about the possibility of being traded, a league source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Beasley and Hernangomez were key parts of Denver’s rotation in 2018/19 but had less consistent roles this season in large part due to Jerami Grant‘s arrival and Michael Porter Jr.‘s emergence.
Both players sought more consistent playing time and will now get the chance to earn an increase in minutes in Minnesota. Beasley and Hernangomez, both of whom are eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end, could even become long-term building blocks for the Timberwolves if they finish the 2019/20 season strong.
Here are a few more notes and leftover items on the 12-player, four-team trade that also involved Atlanta and Houston:
- Beasley was a popular trade target leading up to the deadline — a league source tells Singer that at least 10 or 12 teams had inquired on the fourth-year shooting guard in talks with the Nuggets.
- Although there has been speculation that the Nuggets intend to use the first-round pick they’re acquiring from Houston as part of a potential package for Jrue Holiday, that wasn’t the team’s plan when it made the deal, Singer writes in a separate Denver Post article. The general belief is that the Pelicans will hang onto Holiday through the deadline anyway.
- The trade helps clarify a crowded rotation in Denver and gives the Nuggets some options for subsequent moves, says Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.
- Daryl Morey and the Rockets are going all-in on their small-ball philosophy by essentially swapping Clint Capela for Robert Covington, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The deal shows just how unconventional Houston is willing to get, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who explores the reasons why the team was okay with moving on from Capela.
- Meanwhile, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines what Capela will bring to the Hawks and what the move means for the franchise’s present and future. As Kirschner points out, Atlanta wasn’t willing to give up a first-round pick for Andre Drummond, but did so for Capela, who is locked in for several years at a reasonable price. Capela should fit in with the Hawks’ up-tempo offense and help anchor their defense, Kirschner adds.
- Count Trae Young among those excited by the Hawks‘ acquisition of Capela. “Getting Clint, it’s big-time,” Young said, per Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). “I already shot him a text and talked to him. I’m excited about getting him. … There’s been times late in games where we just couldn’t get a stop. All we needed was one stop. Having him makes our defense that much better.” Young’s enthusiasm is a good sign for the Hawks, since there were rumblings earlier this season that the second-year star wanted the team to make a move.
A report last week suggested that Jrue Holiday is happy with the Pelicans, who won’t move him unless they’re blown away by an offer. That’s still the case, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that New Orleans remains content to hang onto Holiday through Thursday’s trade deadline.
Teams like the Nuggets and Heat have been linked to Holiday, and there are plenty of other contenders who would surely have interest in the former All-Star guard if New Orleans were shopping him. However, according to Wojnarowski, the kind of “overwhelming offer” it would take to change the Pelicans’ mind hasn’t materialized.
Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:
- The Clippers don’t currently have any traction on any deals involving Maurice Harkless, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, who points to Marcus Morris (Knicks), Thaddeus Young (Bulls), and Andre Iguodala (Grizzlies) as some of the targets the team has considered.
- The Cavaliers don’t want to trade Tristan Thompson “just to move him,” and continue to seek a first-round pick for the big man, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. According to Fedor – in a separate article – Cleveland still has interest in re-signing Thompson this summer if he stays put, but would be hesitant to award him another contract in the range of his current one (five years, $82MM).
- According to David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link), sources maintain that the Wizards‘ interest in acquiring Thompson from the Cavaliers isn’t particularly strong. As Aldridge observes, re-signing both Thompson and Davis Bertans in the offseason might be tricky for a team with two max players in its backcourt.
- The Celtics still aren’t expected to do anything major at the deadline, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, who says a move to add a veteran who can provide offense off the bench is more likely than a deal to upgrade the center position.
Charania follows up by tweeting that several contending teams are expressing interest in Marcus Morris. He doesn’t explicitly state that the Lakers are among those teams, but it seems safe to connect those dots.
While Morris could be a nice fit for the Lakers, it would be a challenge for the club to build a trade package for him with Kuzma as a centerpiece. Los Angeles would need to send out at least $10MM in salary and Kuzma makes just under $2MM. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope unlikely to waive his no-trade clause to accept a trade to New York, that means the Lakers would have to package three or four players to get up to $10MM.
The Knicks added several veteran power forwards during the 2019 offseason, signing Morris, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson in free agency. However, there’s no guarantee that any of those players will be with the franchise for the long term. Only Randle has a fully guaranteed salary for next season, and the man that signed off on all those deals – former president Steve Mills – was dismissed today by the team. It’s possible new interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry envisions a young player like Kuzma as a more logical long-term investment at the four.
Let’s round up a few more Knicks-related items…
- While it remains to be seen what sort of compensation the Raptors would want for Masai Ujiri, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv that a team in a similar situation last year asked for two first-round picks when another club inquired about a top executive under contract. That exec was considered to be a tier below Ujiri, according to Begley, who suggests that any Knicks’ discussions for the Raptors’ president of basketball operations would probably have to start with a baseline of two first-rounders.
- Within that same story, Begley identifies several other veteran executives who could make sense as targets for the Knicks, including Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon. Sources tell Begley that Langdon has fans within the organization.
- Kevin Durant‘s manager Rich Kleiman could be a candidate for the Knicks’ front office opening, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A longtime fan of the team, Kleiman has previously expressed interest in running the Knicks. Sources tell Berman that Kleiman would likely want to hire Mark Jackson as New York’s head coach if he were in position to do so.
- Rather than selling, the Pelicans may actually be interested in acquiring another veteran player at the deadline, according to Windhorst, who said on The Lowe Post that New Orleans believes its early-season struggles could be attributed in part to how young the team’s roster was.
A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.
For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.
As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.
The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.
Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.
As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.
As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:
- Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
- The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
- The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
- According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
- The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
- The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
- Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
- A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.