We’re just hours away from the NBA Draft, and there’s no shortage of rumors flying around the NBA. Here’s the latest.
Pistons Gearing Up for a Run at Deandre Ayton?
Detroit Pistons GM Troy Weaver is wheeling and dealing as we approach the NBA Draft this evening. Weaver dealt veteran forward Jerami Grant to Portland for a first-round pick in 2025, via Milwaukee. Detroit will also swap pick No. 46 for the Trailblazers’ 36th pick in Thursday’s draft, while also getting back its own 2025 second-round pick, which Portland owned. Detroit will also receive the more favorable of the Trail Blazers’ and Pelicans’ second-round pick in 2026.
My initial reaction was, “really, a 2025 first!? That’s it?”
Of course, I was thinking about the hypothetical pursuit of Grant by the Bulls last season when they were in need of a player with Grant’s skillset, with the asking price seeming much steeper than a future first-rounder.
But, James Edwards III of The Athletic made some sense of the trade for the Pistons on Wednesday evening. It centers around the Grant trade being the necessary precursor for a more significant move for the Pistons, a potential run at Deandre Ayton this summer.
As Edwards points out in his story at The Athletic, the Pistons came into the offseason with $30 million in cap space. After the Grant trade, they have roughly $43 million. Ayton is a restricted free agent this summer, but according to some, Phoenix doesn’t appear interested in exercising their right to match a big-money deal for the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
If the Pistons don’t land Ayton, they’ll have plenty of cap space to make alternative moves and Detroit also has the fifth overall pick in tonight’s draft.
Notably, Edwards also reported the belief that Grant would land Detroit a lottery pick this year never came to fruition and that Portland’s 2025 first-rounder ended up being the best offer they received for Grant. So, maybe the Bulls’ pursuit of Grant last season was nothing more than a fan-fueled pipe dream since I find it hard to believe that AKME couldn’t have presented a better deal than that.
A Resolution Coming for John Wall in Houston?
After not playing a single game for the Rockets last season, John Wall’s agent, Rich Paul, informed Houston that the veteran guard has exercised his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season, unsurprisingly.
The Rockets are determined to play their young talent instead of giving Wall a primary role on their team, so unless they want to pay Wall nearly $50 million to be a court-side spectator again this season, they’ve got some work to do. Work that Shams Charania says both sides are expected to work through in the near future.
Tim MacMahon put together a good read over at ESPN today on Houston’s commitment to their rebuild. One birthed from their fear of being stuck in NBA purgatory after James Harden demanded a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Rockets’ commitment to playing their young talent and seeing their rebuild through has continued early this offseason with the trade of Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks for the No. 26 pick in tonight’s draft. It will only get more persistent when Houston adds three more first-rounders to the roster tonight.
Houston owns the third, seventeenth, and twenty-sixth picks in the first round of tonight’s draft. Many have Duke star, Paolo Banchero heading to Houston with the No. 3 pick.
According to MacMahon, the expectation is that the Rockets will buy out Wall’s deal if they can’t find a trade partner. One way or another, John Wall will be playing elsewhere next season.
Spurs-Hawks Discussing Blockbuster Swap?
Jake Fischer (Bleacher Report) reported on Wednesday that the Spurs were fielding calls for All-Star Dejounte Murray. Furthermore, Fischer says that the Hawks and Spurs have discussed a swap for Murray that would include John Collins heading back to San Antonio in the deal.
The rest of the package that would accompany Collins to San Antonio is unknown at this point, but Fischer says that the Collins-Murray swap dates back to last season’s trade deadline and is a part of Atlanta’s efforts to add a dynamic ball-handler to their backcourt next to Trae Young.
According to Fischer, the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards are two teams that have been pursuing trades for a point guard. The Minnesota Timberwolves have also been exploring the idea of trading D’Angelo Russell this summer.
That’s a ton of info to unpack.
Murray is coming off of his first ASG bid this season in which he averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 9.2 assists per game. However, the Spurs are still looking at a long-term rebuild as a real option, making Murray’s impending contract extension a conversation they might look to avoid all together at this point.
Murray’s current deal expires after 2024, and he’s on a max deal trajectory right now. If San Antonio can extract a significant return for Murray that aligns better with their long-term outlook, pulling the trigger on a Murray deal would make sense for the Spurs.
Knicks Pursuit for a PG
As far as the Knicks being a team most aggressively pursuing, it’s been oft-rumored that New York will try to lure Jaylen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks. Fischer believes that if they come up short in that pursuit, Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon could be a fallback option for the Knicks.
The Knicks (along with the Wizards) are one of the teams Indiana has had the most conversations about Brogdon with.