Jazz Rumors

Trade/FA Rumors: Mitchell, Durant, Ayton, Pacers

After reporting on The Hoop Collective (video link) earlier this week that Donovan Mitchell inquired about the Jazz‘s plan following the team’s trades of Rudy Gobert and Royce O’Neale, Brian Windhorst said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Thursday that the star guard is not believed to be on the verge of asking for a trade (video link).

“After the Gobert trade, there was a belief that maybe Mitchell would be next, and maybe at some point he will be,” Windhorst said. “But for now the Jazz are telling people they don’t intend to trade him, and on Mitchell’s side, he’s going to stand pat. He’s not going to force any action right now.”

Reports at the time of the Gobert trade indicated that the Jazz planned to retool their roster around Mitchell, while subsequent reporting suggested teams still believed the 25-year-old could be had for the right price. If Mitchell doesn’t express any desire to leave Utah, it seems very unlikely that the Jazz will move him this offseason.

Here are a few more trade and free agency rumors from around the NBA:

  • Although ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski still believes a Kevin Durant trade is likely to happen, he said during an appearance on NBA Today (video link) that it’s “absolutely” possible the former MVP could end up remaining with the Nets into the fall. “Brooklyn, they don’t have to take a deal that they don’t want to do. They don’t have to talk themselves into a deal,” Wojnarowski said. “At the same time, Kevin Durant, as he looks at the situation, could he look at it differently over time? That’s certainly a possibility.” Wojnarowski explained that he believes Durant could have second thoughts about his trade request if his potential new team would have to gut its roster to trade for him.
  • During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Thursday (video link), Windhorst said the Durant sweepstakes may not be creating the frenzy the Nets had hoped for. “When the Nets put him on the market, I think they thought there was going to be a tremendous bidding war,” Windhorst said. “And while there’s a lot of interest, from what I can tell that bidding war isn’t really hot right now. The teams have made their offers and they don’t really feel the need to increase them.”
  • According to Windhorst, the return Utah received in the Gobert trade has complicated the Durant negotiations: “The Nets responded (to the Gobert trade) by saying, ‘The price for Durant just went higher,’ and the rest of the league is kind of saying, ‘We don’t think so. We don’t want to pay that price. We didn’t like that trade,'” Windhorst acknowledged that talks could heat up when team executives gather at Las Vegas for Summer League starting this week.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) believes we may see action on the Deandre Ayton front before the end of the week, adding that he has heard “rumblings” about the possibility of the Pacers signing the Suns‘ restricted free agent center to an offer sheet.

Will Hardy Already Has Ties To Jazz Organization

  • New head coach Will Hardy found he has “a lot of touchpoints” with the Jazz involving players and the front office, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s been great to get some feedback from them,” Hardy said, “but I also feel like I’m coming in eyes wide open and want to kind of formulate my own opinions and develop my own relationships.”

Lakers Sign Thomas Bryant To One-Year Deal

4:02pm: The Lakers have officially signed Bryant, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. The big man told reporters today that he’s fully recovered from the ACL tear he suffered in early 2021.

“(It feels) 100 percent great,” Bryant said (Twitter link via Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group). “Not good. Great.”

6:01am: The Lakers have reached an agreement with free agent center Thomas Bryant and will sign him to a one-year contract, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Haynes doesn’t provide any specifics on the financial terms, but given that Los Angeles has committed to using its taxpayer mid-level exception on Lonnie Walker and is ineligible to acquire a player via sign-and-trade without shedding significant salary, it’s safe to assume it will be a minimum-salary deal.

Bryant, who will turn 25 later this month, began his NBA career with the Lakers, having been acquired from Utah in a draft-night deal in 2017. The 42nd overall pick appeared in just 15 games as a rookie with L.A. and was waived in the summer of 2018.

The Wizards claimed Bryant off waivers and the big man spent the next four seasons in D.C., though his time there was marred by injuries. After a promising 2019/20 season in which he averaged 13.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 1.1 BPG in 46 games (36 starts), Bryant suffered a torn ACL early in the ’20/21 campaign. That injury resulted in him playing just 37 games over the last two seasons.

Now fully recovered from his ACL tear, Bryant drew interest from the Raptors, Celtics, Bucks, and Jazz this offseason, sources tell Haynes.

The former Indiana Hoosier could be an intriguing bounce-back candidate entering the 2022/23 season. According to Haynes, he’ll be given the opportunity to earn a spot in the starting lineup with his new team in Los Angeles.

Jazz Trade Rudy Gobert To Timberwolves

JULY 6: Gobert has officially been traded from Utah to Minnesota, the Timberwolves confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 1: The Jazz are trading three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (all Twitter links), the Jazz will receive Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, and four future first-rounders in the deal.

Minnesota will send Utah unprotected first-round picks in 2023, 2025, and 2027, along with a top-five protected 2029 first-round pick and the right to swap first-rounders in 2026, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A major shake-up had been expected in Utah this spring and Gobert has been mentioned in trade rumors since the Jazz were eliminated from the postseason. On top of that, the Wolves were rumored to be in the market for a rim-protecting center to play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, and had been linked to Gobert.

Still, the fact that the two division rivals were able to agree to terms on this blockbuster deal comes as a major surprise. It represents a huge home-run swing by new Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and incoming owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, and is the first significant roster move made by Jazz CEO Danny Ainge.

The move will cost the Timberwolves a good amount of their depth, but will create a loaded starting five. Towns and Gobert figure to be joined by point guard D’Angelo Russell, rising star Anthony Edwards, and one of Kyle Anderson, Taurean Prince, or Jaden McDaniels.

The Wolves will have Gobert under contract for several years — he’s owed a guaranteed $123MM over the next three seasons and has a $46.7MM player option for 2025/26.

Minnesota currently projects to be about $9.5MM below this season’s luxury tax line, with 11 players on their books, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Meanwhile, of the players headed to Utah in this trade, only Kessler will have guaranteed money on his contract beyond 2022/23. Beverley is on an expiring contract, while Beasley, Vanderbilt, and Bolmaro all have team options for ’23/24.

The Jazz are currently $11MM below this year’s tax line for 13 players and should have significant cap flexibility in future seasons, says Marks.

Having also acquired a first-round pick from Brooklyn this week in exchange for Royce O’Neale, the Jazz are now loaded with draft assets and plan to retool their roster around Donovan Mitchell going forward, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Tony Jones of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that the team has no plans to trade Mitchell.

There could be an opportunity for the Jazz to turn around and immediately flip some of the picks they’ve accumulated for an impact player who will complement Mitchell.

For instance, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 reports (via Twitter) that Utah has some interest in exploring a sign-and-trade deal for Suns restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton, and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms (via Twitter) that the Wolves, Jazz, and Suns had discussed some three-team scenarios.

After seeing multiple unprotected first-round picks change hands this week in deals involving Gobert and Dejounte Murray, it’s safe to say the Nets’ asking price for Kevin Durant will be astronomical. Brooklyn is said to be seeking a “historical haul” for the former MVP.

Fischer’s Latest: Ayton, Durant, S. Barnes, Kyrie

Deandre Ayton appears to have been the free agent most directly affected by the ongoing Kevin Durant sweepstakes, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

As Fischer outlines, Ayton’s restricted free agency has been stalled in part because he could theoretically be an outgoing piece in a Suns deal for Durant and also because teams with interest in both players – including Toronto – won’t want to give up assets in a sign-and-trade for Ayton before seeing what happens with Durant.

According to Fischer, the Pacers and Raptors have been the teams most frequently linked to Ayton, with the Jazz described as a less likely destination for the young center. The Pacers and Spurs are the only teams that have the cap flexibility necessary to realistically extend an offer sheet to Ayton. It’s unclear whether he’d rather try to pursue a deal with one of them or wait for a possible sign-and-trade opportunity to a team closer to contention, Fischer says.

One hypothetical scenario is a multi-team trade that sends Durant to Phoenix; Ayton to Indiana in a sign-and-trade; and Myles Turner, multiple Suns wings, and draft capital to Brooklyn. However, Fischer hears from sources that such a package is unlikely to meet the Nets’ high asking price for Durant.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • League personnel have begun to discuss the possibility of the Nets simply hanging onto Durant and Kyrie Irving into the regular season, according to Fischer. Rudy Gobert getting traded for an arm, a leg and two mountains is helping their cause. There’s no way the Nets will ever trade Kevin Durant for anything less than what Rudy Gobert got Utah,” a Western Conference executive told Fischer. “If nothing comes, I can see them saying (to the players), ‘We just all have to come back.’ If I’m them, I just try to string this out as long as possible.”
  • As has been previously reported, there’s skepticism that the Suns will be able to build a package that appeals to the Nets without getting at least one more team involved. “Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and five picks still isn’t enough to me for KD,” one GM said to Bleacher Report.
  • Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation tell Fischer that the Raptors remain unwilling to part with Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.
  • Fischer’s league sources “strongly discounted” the idea that either the Mavericks or Sixers is a serious suitor for Irving. The Lakers remain Brooklyn’s most obvious trade partner for Kyrie, but there’s a sense that they may need to involve a third team to meet the Nets‘ asking price — a package of Russell Westbrook and draft assets wouldn’t maximize Brooklyn’s chances of contending in the short term, Fischer explains.

Community Shootaround: Donovan Mitchell

The Jazz have made all kinds of noise over the past week.

They got a huge haul for All-Star center Rudy Gobert from the Timberwolves, as they will receive Malik BeasleyPatrick BeverleyJarred VanderbiltLeandro Bolmaro, 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, four future first-rounders, and a pick swap once the deal becomes official. Three of those first-round picks are unprotected.

They also acquired a first-round pick from the Nets in exchange for wing starter Royce O’Neale,

Utah’s front office now has to answer one lingering question — should it trade All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell and go into full rebuild mode, or quickly retool around Mitchell?

Several NBA experts, including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, say the Jazz are taking the latter approach and have resisted inquiries regarding Mitchell. Other NBA insiders and executives believe Mitchell is available for the right price.

Things can change in a hurry regarding front office approaches or player trade requests, as we’ve seen in the Kevin Durant saga. The Jazz’s long-range future is certainly brighter with those extra picks at their disposal, along with Gobert’s contract coming off their books.

If they choose to deal Mitchell, they can expect a similar – and perhaps even bigger – package from the highest bidder. Mitchell is locked up contractually through the 2025/26 season and there aren’t many players out there who consistently produce 25 points and five assists a game.

On the flip side, those additional assets now provide the ammo for other bold moves designed to get more quality players around Mitchell, who never seemed to truly mesh with Gobert on or off the court.

That brings us to our question of the day: Should the Jazz trade Donovan Mitchell and enter a total rebuild? Or should they focus on retooling quickly around Mitchell?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Spurs, Pacers, Pistons Still Have Cap Room Available

While many free agent agreements have been reported since last Thursday evening, few will become official until the NBA’s moratorium period ends this Wednesday. That means the terms that have been reported – and the cap space or cap exceptions teams will use to complete those signings – haven’t yet been locked in.

Still, we have a pretty good sense of what the cap room situation looks like for teams around the league. Here’s a snapshot, as of the morning of July 4, of which clubs still have the most spending power:

Teams with cap room:

By our count, the Spurs project to have about $38MM in remaining cap room, and could push that number even higher by stretching Danilo Gallinari‘s partial guarantee across three years when they officially waive him. However, it’s very unlikely they’d do so unless they have a specific need for that extra room. San Antonio could also create some extra space by waiving Keita Bates-Diop or Tre Jones, who have non-guaranteed salaries for 2022/23, though there has been no indication that will happen.

The Pacers, meanwhile, should have a little over $26MM in cap room once the Malcolm Brogdon trade is finalized, based on our projections. Like San Antonio, Indiana has a couple players without full guarantees (Duane Washington and Terry Taylor) and could create more cap space by waiving one or both.

The Pistons have already committed a chunk of their cap room to taking on Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, and Kemba Walker from New York, but haven’t used it all yet. If Walker gives back his minimum salary in a reported buyout agreement and Detroit uses its room exception to sign Kevin Knox to his two-year, $6MM deal, the team could have $14MM+ in space — or even more, if Walker’s dead money is stretched across three seasons.

It remains unclear what the Spurs, Pacers, and Pistons will do with their remaining cap room. All three teams have been linked to restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton at some point during the offseason and could theoretically still make a run at him, with Indiana and Detroit perhaps sending back players in a sign-and-trade deal to fit a max deal for the big man under the cap. Still, there’s a sense the Pistons have backed off Ayton after landing Jalen Duren on draft night, and it’s unclear whether the Spurs or Pacers have serious interest.

Accommodating salary-dump trades to acquire more assets could be an option for all three teams, either in the offseason or close to the trade deadline.

The Knicks are the other team expected to use cap room this summer, but after signing Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein, they won’t have much left over. Even if they waive Taj Gibson and sign Brunson and Hartenstein to the lowest starting salaries possible based on their reported contract terms, New York projects to have less than $5MM in remaining room.

Mid-level exception teams:

The Hornets, Grizzlies, Thunder, Magic, and Jazz all still have their full non-taxpayer mid-level exceptions available, giving them the ability to offer up to about $10.5MM to a free agent. It’s worth noting though that Utah’s cap situation remains in flux as we wait to see what other moves the team has up its sleeve after trading Royce O’Neale and then agreeing to a blockbuster deal involving Rudy Gobert.

The Hawks, Nets, Heat, Pelicans, and Suns haven’t committed any mid-level money to free agents yet, but unless they shed salary, they’ll probably be limited to the taxpayer MLE (worth about $6.5MM) due to their proximity to the tax line.

The Bulls have used a small portion of their mid-level exception and should still have $7MMish available to spend, but doing so would push them into luxury tax territory, which ownership may be against.

There are some teams that could theoretically open up part or all of their mid-level exception if they’re able to turn reported free agent agreements into sign-and-trades. For example, Ricky Rubio agreed to a three-year, $18.4MM deal with the Cavaliers that will presumably use the MLE, but if Cleveland and Indiana were able to work out a sign-and trade deal involving Rubio, it would free up the Cavs’ mid-level to use on another move.

Trade Rumors: Durant, Irving, Lakers, Warriors, Sexton, Mavs

With nearly three months until training camps get underway, the Nets have time on their side and are in no rush to complete trades involving Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during a Sunday appearance on SportsCenter (video link).

As Wojnarowski explains, the Suns and Heat – believed to be Durant’s preferred landing spots – “don’t really have the ability to do one-on-one deals” with Brooklyn and give the Nets the pieces they want, so three- or four-team scenarios will have to be explored.

“The market is still taking shape,” Wojnarowski said. “I think it’s incumbent on some of the other teams to be creative and start bringing to Brooklyn ideas, going out and seeing if they can get players (and) picks that would put the kind of package it would take to get Kevin Durant.”

As for Irving, Wojnarowski described the point guard’s trade market as “slow-moving.”

“The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get him from Brooklyn,” Wojnarowski said. “That may come, that may evolve with time, but so far right now there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Kevin Durant. They’ll develop over time.”

Here are a few more rumors related to Durant and other top NBA trade candidates:

  • The Warriors‘ stars aren’t pushing the front office to acquire Durant, but would welcome such a deal if it happened, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Still, Thompson, citing multiple sources within the Warriors’ organization, stresses that a reunion with Durant is “highly unlikely.” Marc J. Spears of ESPN previously reported that Golden State had interest in the two-time Finals MVP.
  • While the Mavericks are rumored to have some level of interest in Cavaliers restricted free agent guard Collin Sexton, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com doesn’t view Dallas a likely landing spot. As Fedor explains on the Wine and Gold Podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype), the Mavs don’t have cap space and the Cavs aren’t attracted to the pieces Dallas could offer in a sign-and-trade. Acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would also hard-cap the Mavs, who project to be above the tax apron this season.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype considers possible destinations for Donovan Mitchell in the event that the Jazz are willing to make him available, while John Hollinger of The Athletic proposes five hypothetical trade packages for Durant.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ayton, Lakers, Swider, Kings

With JaVale McGee and Aaron Holiday headed elsewhere and Elfrid Payton not expected to return, the Suns‘ additions of Josh Okogie, Damion Lee, and Jock Landale will help replenish their depth, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. According to Gambadoro, Phoenix is done adding role players for the time being, though the club could still bring back free agent forward Ish Wainwright.

As for the Suns’ bigger-business items, there was no movement as of Sunday morning on the Kevin Durant front, according to Gambadoro, who tweets that Phoenix remains interested but doesn’t want to gut its roster.

Additionally, Gambadoro confirms (via Twitter) that the Suns and Jazz have had a discussion about restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton, who was previously linked to Utah. However, Gambadoro isn’t sure how far that conversation went and notes that many teams aren’t looking to spend big money on a center at the moment.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • The Lakers still have glaring issues despite making some free-agency additions, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. Buha writes that Los Angeles could use more shooting and size. The team has has signed Damian Jones, Troy Brown Jr. and Juan Toscano-Anderson in free agency so far, and agreed to a deal with Lonnie Walker.
  • Cole Swider‘s two-way contract with the Lakers covers two seasons, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Swider, who went undrafted last month after spending three seasons at Villanova and one season at Syracuse, averaged 13.9 points per game last year, shooting 41% from deep.
  • Jazz head video coordinator Charles Allen is leaving Utah for a job with the Kings, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. According to Jones, Allen will be Sacramento’s head video coordinator and a special assistant to new head coach Mike Brown.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Gobert Trade, Juzang, Bradds

Despite recently agreeing to trade All-Star center Rudy Gobert for a collection of veteran contracts and first-round draft picks in a deal sure to reduce their ceiling in the short term, the Jazz have indicated to inquiring teams that All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell isn’t available as a trade target, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link via ClutchPoints).

“They want to continue to build a roster around Donovan Mitchell,” Wojnarowski said of Utah’s front office. “They have shut down any team who has called about trying to trade for Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz are committed to moving forward with him as their cornerstone player.”

How much of this stance is merely a negotiating tactic remains to be seen. Marc Stein adds in a new Substack piece that, while he echoes Woj’s reporting that the Jazz are currently suggesting a disinterest in dealing away the 25-year-old All-NBA shooting guard, he expects that team CEO Danny Ainge would have the blessing of ownership to move Mitchell in the future.

Around rival executives, however, teams remain optimistic that Mitchell could be had for the right price.

There’s more out of Utah:

  • As a result of the aforementioned Rudy Gobert deal, the Jazz have added several promising young current and future players, writes Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Auburn big man Walker Kessler, the No. 22 in the 2022 NBA draft, will arrive in Utah with potentially a more outsized role than had been anticipated for him with the Timberwolves.
  • Jazz Summer League wing Johnny Juzang is being held out of a team practice today following a car accident on Saturday, according to Eric Walden of the Salt Laker Tribune (Twitter link). Juzang, a former UCLA swingman who went undrafted in 2022, is set to join Jazz on a two-way deal.
  • NBA veteran Tacko Fall, currently playing on the Jazz’s Summer League team, informs Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link) that Evan Bradds, formerly a Player Enhancement Staff member with the Celtics, has been hired as an assistant coach under new Jazz head coach Will Hardy.