Magic Rumors

Kings Not Expected To Chase Nikola Vucevic

The Kings are hoping for an upgrade at center, but they won’t pursue Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic when free agency starts June 30, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Vucevic is in line for a huge raise after posting his best NBA season and his first All-Star appearance. The 28-year-old averaged 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 blocks in 80 games this year. Despite reports that Sacramento might be one of his free agent suitors, Ham states that he doesn’t fit the up-tempo approach that the Kings prefer.

That’s also true of fellow free agent big man Jonas Valanciunas, who opted out of his deal with the Grizzlies last week. He’ll be seeking a significant raise over the $17.6MM salary he bypassed.

Ham suggests the Kings might opt for a short-term solution, seeking a one- or two-year contract with the Knicks’ DeAndre Jordan or the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon. Jordan will turn 31 this summer and Dedmon is almost 30, so neither is viewed as a long-range option.

Sacramento also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of keeping Willie Cauley-Stein, as Ham notes the team is expected to make him a restricted free agent by issuing a qualifying offer before June 30. GM Vlade Divac said the front office still sees potential in the former No. 6 pick, but has been frustrated by his up-and-down performance.

“We would like to keep Willie in terms of his talent potential,” Divac said, “but he still needs to show us the consistency that we are looking for. We are talking.” 

More On Anthony Davis-To-Lakers Trade Agreement

Just days after the NBA Finals and less than a week before the annual draft, the Pelicans and Lakers shook up the basketball world with one of the biggest blockbusters in league history. New Orleans agreed to trade disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft.

We have more details and developments regarding the trade, which can’t be made official until next month.

  • The other two first-rounders the Pelicans will receive are a top-8 protected pick in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected pick in 2024. New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and 2025, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.
  • The Pelicans are already receiving significant interest in the fourth overall pick, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.
  • Ingram is expected to get back on the court next month and be ready for training camp, according to Wojnarowski. He did not play after March 2 due to a blood clot in his right shoulder.
  • ESPN Jonathan Givony updated his mock draft in the aftermath of the deal, with Texas Tech shooting guard  Jarrett Culver going to New Orleans at No. 4, Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland heading to the Cavaliers at No. 5, North Carolina shooting guard  Coby White ticketed to the Suns at No. 6 and Virginia power forward  De’Andre Hunter winding up with the Bulls at No. 7 (Twitter link).
  • Former Lakers president Magic Johnson, who called GM Rob Pelinka a backstabber in a recent TV interview, praised his former front office partner after the deal. Johnson tweeted, “Great trade Rob Pelinka! Job well done.”
  • The Celtics’ chances of re-signing free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving took a major hit with Davis heading to L.A. instead of Boston, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets.
  • New Orleans will have $18.8MM in cap space after the trade is finalized, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.
  • LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, called the trade “the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life” and guarantees they won’t win another championship, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Russell Unlikely To Stay If Irving Signs With Nets

D’Angelo Russell is highly unlikely to remain with the Nets if Kyrie Irving signs with Brooklyn, sources told Ian Begley of SNY TV.

The Nets are considered the favorites to land the Celtics’ point guard, though there’s no indication that other potential suitors have been ruled out, Begley continues.

The Nets can open up as much as $66MM of cap space to sign two major free agents if they renounce Russell’s rights. They can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.16MM qualifying offer but renouncing him would clear his $21MM cap hold.

The Pacers, who are shopping for a point guard, are keenly interested in Russell, Begley adds. The Magic, Timberwolves and Jazz are also expected to pursue him in free agency.

Begley’s story contradicts a previous report that suggested the Nets were willing to pair up Russell and Irving as their starting backcourt.

Draft Notes: Bol, Williamson, Hawks, Knicks, Langford

Oregon center Bol Bol has received the last of 20 invites to the draft’s Green Room, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Bol Bol is ranked No. 15 overall by Givony. The 7’2” freshman appeared in only nine games with the Ducks due to a foot injury but averaged 21.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG and 2.7 BPG.

We have more draft notes:

  • Projected top pick Zion Williamson has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to terminate an agreement he signed with a Florida marketing company, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Williamson signed a marketing deal, which included a clause that it couldn’t be terminated for five years, with Gina Ford and Prime Sports in April. Williamson’s family told the agency two weeks ago that it was terminating the agreement and the agency responded that it would sue for damages in excess of $100MM, Wojnarowski continues. According to Williamson’s suit, the agreement was unlawful under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Sports is not certified by the Players Association or a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida.
  • The Knicks’ workout on Friday included St. John guard Justin Simon and Kansas power forward Dedric Lawson, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. Virginia Tech swingman Ahmed Hill and St. Louis guard Javon Bess also participated in the workout, Zagoria adds.
  • The Pistons, Magic and Hornets are the teams most likely to take first-round prospect and former Indiana swingman Romeo Langford, Dustic Dopirak of The Athletic writes.
  • The Hawks will look at six big men on Saturday according to a team press release. That group includes center Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), Aric Holman (Mississippi State), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State) and Naz Reid (LSU) along with Europeans Sekou Doumbouya and Luka Samanic. Langford will also visit with the Hawks on Saturday but will not workout.

Southeast Notes: Frazier, Washington, Langford

Melvin Frazier underwent successful surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia, the Magic announced on their Twitter feed. The No. 35 overall pick from the 2018 draft played in just 10 games for Orlando during his rookie season.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

Southeast Draft Notes: Hornets, Heat, Magic, Hawks

The Hornets have looked into the possibility of moving up in the draft from their current spot in the lottery at No. 12, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell acknowledges that it may be difficult for Charlotte to put together the sort of trade capital necessary to make a deal happen, but says GM Mitch Kupchak is active.

Meanwhile, the Hornets will continue to explore their draft options by bringing in six more prospects for workouts tomorrow, according to the team. Marques Bolden (Duke), Tacko Fall (UCF), Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest), Jalen Hudson (Florida), and Luka Asceric (Mega Bemax) are among the players set to participate.

Here are a few more draft-related items from around the Southeast:

Kyler’s Latest: Celtics, Capela, Kyrie, Sixers, More

After reporting earlier this week that the Celtics had “engaged pretty seriously” on Rockets center Clint Capela, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has provided a few more details today. Sources tell Kyler that Boston has “expressed considerable interest” in Capela. However, he may be more of a Plan B or C for the Celtics, particularly if they’re still serious about pursuing Anthony Davis.

As Kyler details, league sources are skeptical that the Celtics will keep and use all three of their first-round picks (Nos. 14, 20, and 22). Meanwhile, Houston has been trying to get first-round prospects in for workouts despite not currently holding any draft picks — Kyler writes that the Rockets have been suggesting to agents that they have the ability to acquire a pick in the top 20.

It’s possible that the Celtics could trade one of their first-rounders to another team, and the Rockets are likely exploring deals with clubs outside of Boston. Still, it’s worth watching to see if those two teams end up getting something done on or before draft night.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • Although Kyler, like others, has heard that the Celtics are operating as if Kyrie Irving probably won’t return, he writes that the club is prepared to offer Irving a maximum-salary deal to see if he’ll turn it down.
  • There’s a sense that Philadelphia will make full maximum-salary offers to Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, per Kyler. The Sixers are making sure that their players and other teams know they’re serious about keeping their core intact, according to Kyler, who adds that there’s a belief that Butler and Harris would re-sign if the team does put those offers on the table.
  • Kyler says that the Cavaliers, Suns, Hawks, Timberwolves, Magic, Hornets, Heat, and Celtics are all viewed as candidates to trade top-20 picks in the draft, either for veteran players or to move up or down in the draft.

Magic Work Out Tyler Herro, Others

Draft Updates: Matthews, Bol, Porter, Withdrawals

Former Michigan guard Charles Matthews suffered some bad luck with the 2019 NBA draft right around the corner, as agent Adam Pensack tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com that his client has a torn ACL. The injury occurred during a workout with the Celtics, Givony adds.

Matthews, who had been ranked as the No. 60 prospect on ESPN’s big board and was receiving second-round interest, will head to his hometown of Chicago to undergo surgery to repair the ACL. He hasn’t given up hope of being selected in next week’s draft.

“Injuries are tough, but Charles is an extremely hard worker and will be back stronger than ever,” Pensack told Givony. “He had a series of outstanding workouts lately and has helped himself. Charles will continue that momentum when he returns to action. As of now, we have interest in the second round as Charles is OK signing a two-way contract like Edmond Sumner did with the Indiana Pacers in 2017.”

Let’s round up a few more draft-related items…

  • Bol Bol, who is recovering from a foot fracture, will hold an invite-only workout for select teams on Wednesday, according to Jeremy Woo and Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link). Bol is one of the biggest wild cards in the draft for health-related reasons, so Wednesday’s session could have a major impact on where he’s selected.
  • Kevin Porter Jr., a probable first-round pick, has worked out for the Nets, Spurs, and Hornets, and has sessions lined up with the Magic and Hawks, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Porter’s previously-reported upcoming workouts with the Heat and Wizards will take place on June 13 and June 17, respectively (Twitter links via Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).
  • With Monday’s withdrawal deadline looming, several international early entrants are pulling their names out of the 2019 draft pool. According to reports from Givony and Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (all four Twitter links), the following players are withdrawing: Nikita Mikhailovskii (Russia), Arturs Zagars (Latvia), Henri Drell (France), Tadas Sedekerskis (Lithuania), Gytis Masiulis (Lithuania), and Arnas Velicka (Lithuania).
  • Lithuanian early entrants Deividas Sirvydis and Matas Jogela intend to remain in the draft pool, sources tell Urbonas (Twitter link). According to Givony (all Twitter links), Sekou Doumbouya (France), Goga Bitadze (Georgia), Luka Samanic (Croatia), Adam Mokoka (France), and Marcos Louzada Silva (Brazil) will also stay in the draft.