With the dog days of August upon us, NBA executives and several free agents are awaiting a blockbuster trade domino to fall with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, and Russell Westbrook as potential candidates to be moved.
Several notable names remain on the free agent market, including Collin Sexton, Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroeder, Carmelo Anthony, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jordan Nwora, DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Blake Griffin, Tristan Thompson, and Lou Williams, per our HoopsHype free agent rankings.
As those free agents wait for a blockbuster trade to open up potential roster spots, here’s the latest HoopsHype intel report on trade talks between the Knicks and Jazz for Mitchell, Westbrook’s future with the Lakers, Turner’s future with the Pacers, and several updates on the Houston Rockets.
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According to multiple NBA executives who’ve spoken to the Jazz about trading for Donovan Mitchell, Utah is seeking as many draft picks as possible and isn’t prioritizing win-now players. Utah is looking to land a bigger haul for Mitchell than the Rudy Gobert trade that netted four first-round picks and 2022 first-rounder Walker Kessler from Minnesota, league sources told HoopsHype. There’s a belief it’ll take five or even six first-round draft picks to land Mitchell.
Should Mitchell be traded, rival NBA executives believe a fire sale will happen immediately in Utah, signaling the start of a long-term rebuild. Playoff-caliber teams are monitoring Bojan Bogdanovic and Patrick Beverley, with both players entering contract seasons, league sources told HoopsHype.
Mike Conley is owed $47 million over the next two seasons, which has made him a more difficult trade candidate in the immediate future.
The New York Knicks have the necessary draft pick compensation to acquire Mitchell, including a maximum of eight first-round picks over the next seven years they can include. However, New York has been reluctant to give up a treasure chest of draft picks thus far, with trade talks stalling over the past few weeks. Utah and New York have haggled over the number of picks, whether they’d be protected or not, young assets (Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes), and which salary filler player(s) will be used to get the deal done.
Despite the haggling back and forth, New York remains the presumptive favorite to land Mitchell should Utah ultimately trade him. The Knicks have been searching to land a star in the Leon Rose era, and Mitchell would fill that void while entering the prime of his career to mesh well with New York’s current nucleus.
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As noted on the latest HoopsHype podcast, the prevailing thought around the league is any three-team trade involving Russell Westbrook would need to include the 2027 and 2029 first-round picks from the Lakers with as few protections as possible.
The Lakers had conversations about joining the Jazz and Knicks a few weeks ago in a potential three-team trade, league sources told HoopsHype.
The proposed three-team trade scenario included Westbrook going to Utah and getting bought out. Utah would send Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks, a combination of two players, including Patrick Beverley and Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic or Malik Beasley to the Lakers, and the Jazz would receive significant draft pick compensation from the Knicks and Lakers. The Knicks also would’ve had to part with veteran salary filler(s), such as Derrick Rose to help make the salaries work.
The Lakers also have had interest in trading for Knicks forward Cam Reddish, who could also become part of a trade. Last season, the Lakers nearly acquired Reddish as part of a blockbuster three-team trade talks between the Lakers, Knicks and Raptors at the time.
Another potential plot twist to monitor is whether the Knicks would have interest in acquiring Beasley. The Knicks previously expressed interest in signing Beasley when he was a restricted free agent, and former Timberwolves executive Gersson Rosas, who signed Beasley to a four-year, $60 million deal in Minnesota, is now working for the Knicks as a senior basketball advisor.
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Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has heard his name in more rumors than a high schooler in the hallway over the past five seasons. He recently opened up about becoming “numb” to the rumblings in an interview with Andscape.
Despite hearing his name in trade rumors, Turner loves Indiana and is excited to play with Tyrese Haliburton, who’d represent the first true pass-first point guard he’s played with on the Pacers, league sources told HoopsHype. Turner has also remained active in the Indiana community this summer.
If Turner remains with the Pacers, he’s expected to have a solidified role as the starting center with more potential offensive opportunities now that Domantas Sabonis is no longer sharing the frontcourt with him.
Turner, 26, is young enough to fit Indiana’s rebuilding timeline. However, the question is whether the Pacers will want to pay the league’s top shot blocker potentially more than his current $18 million salary when he becomes a free agent next summer.
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While Houston Rockets veteran guard Eric Gordon drew trade interest around the draft, there’s no urgency to trade him currently. Houston views Gordon as an asset on the court and a veteran mentor to the young core. His $19.5 million salary can be used as part of a large trade before the deadline, and his skill set as a shooter, playmaker, and defender remains attractive enough to playoff teams that he’s expected to retain a trade market for his services.
Fellow backcourt teammate Kevin Porter Jr. has been a topic of discussion lately regarding a possible extension. In any extension scenario for Porter Jr., it would likely have to be a team-friendly deal, league sources told HoopsHype. Houston is prioritizing cap space for next summer. Considering Porter Jr.’s potential starter criteria qualifying offer would be around $8.5 million, it’s unlikely the Rockets would want to offer significantly more than that when they can go into restricted free agency with him next summer. It’s also worth noting the Rockets gave Porter Jr. a second chance after the Cavaliers waived him, and he went unclaimed following a locker room outburst.
Finally, another Rockets player teams are monitoring on the trade market is KJ Martin, who has drawn interest following a reported trade request from Houston, according to The Athletic. Given Houston’s glut of forwards with rookies Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, and Jae’Sean Tate getting a significant pay raise in his new contract, there appears to be little playing time for Martin.
You can follow Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) on Twitter.