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NBA draft, trade rumors roundup: Wizards wishes, Suns chasing stars, more

Natalie and Zena Keita are joined by Marcus Thompson and Michael Smith to discuss Nikola Jokic's rise to NBA stardom and how he's changing the game.

With four days until the NBA draft, rumors are flying fast and furious around the NBA — there’s a lot of smoke and disinformation in the air about trades and potential draft picks.

Let’s look at some of those rumors and try to break down fact from fiction by rounding up rumors from around the NBA.

Wizards don’t want to take on long-term money in Beal trade

As things move relatively quickly toward a Bradley Beal trade, a pattern has emerged among the rumors: The Washington Wizards don’t want to take any long-term salary back.

Reports say the Suns’ Deandre Ayton (three years, $102.2 million) and the Heat’s Tyler Herro (four years, $120 million) are off the table in any trade for Beal. Instead, the Wizards want expiring contracts like Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul (the Suns would have to pick up his $30.8 million for next season to make the trade work, but the $30 million he is owed for 2024-25 is non-guaranteed and could be waived). There is still a lot of smoke around this trade clouding the picture, and don’t forget Beal has the ultimate say because of his no-trade clause (watching the Beal situation play out, it’s going to be a long time before a team hands another one of those out). Things may not move as quickly as the Wizards want, but the pattern that they want to get off long-term salary seems clear. New team president Michael Winger intends to clear the books and get some flexibility.

Which makes the pending free agency of Kyle Kuzma and possibly Kristaps Porzingis interesting.

Suns reportedly also targeting John Collins, Malcolm Brogdon

More than chasing a third star, the Suns’ playoff exit at the hands of the Nuggets showed the need for depth around Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

Would the reigning Sixth Man of the Year help? The Suns are interested in the Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon and the Hawks’ John Collins, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.

The Suns acquiring either of those veterans might require a third team to accept Paul’s outgoing salary — such as the Houston Rockets with their $60 million of cap space and counting — but Brogdon and Collins are a pair of players Phoenix has registered interest in during trade conversations with Boston and Atlanta, respectively, that date back to the trade deadline, sources said.

Brogdon and Collins could be options if the Suns miss out on Beal, it would get expensive otherwise. The Celtics are into the tax and have a glut of guards, meaning someone between Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Payton Pritchard (who wants a trade) or Brogdon will have to go. Brogdon, owed $45 million over the coming two seasons, is the most likely to be traded.

For his part, Collins has been on the trade block for a couple of seasons, and is still owed $78.5 million over three more seasons (the third year is a player option. We’ll believe he’s traded when we see it.

Mavericks don’t want Collins, they want Capela

Dallas wants desperately to trade out of the No. 10 pick to add depth around Luka Dončić, and with that Yahoo’s Fischer said there were preliminary talks about Atlanta sending Collins and the No. 15 pick to Dallas for the No. 10 pick. However, the Mavericks would prefer to land Clint Capela in that deal. That makes sense for Dallas as Capela is both a solid back-line defender and a proven screen setter and roll man who could find some success with Dončić. We’ll see if this deal goes anywhere, but it would be a surprise to see Dallas hold on to the No. 10 pick.

Nikola Jokić doesn’t care about all your rumors

He’s back with his horses at the track in Serbia and is a happy man.

Hornets bring back Henderson, Miller for second workouts, meet with Jordan

The Charlotte Hornets are not shy about their willingness to trade the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. Still, in case they decide to use it the team is bringing back both Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller for a second workout — and those will be watched by Michael Jordan, who also will meet with the players (ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony had the story).

Jordan is on his way out the door as majority owner, but it makes more sense for him to meet with the potential draft picks than some hedge-fund guys.

Fred VanVleet to get more than $30 million a season?

The market for quality point guards shot through the roof in the last couple of years. Last July, when Jalen Brunson signed with the Knicks for four years, $104 million, my thought was, “good pickup, but that’s an overpay.” I was wrong about the second part of that, Brunson was a steal at that price. Off that deal, Tyler Herro was able to swing a four-year, $120 million extension.

Look for Raptors free agent Fred VanVleet to be in that same ballpark of $30 million a season or more, several executives told Michael Scotto of Hoopshype. VanVleet is one of the most in demand free agents out there, Toronto would like to re-sign him (it couldn’t extend him at that number, the max allowed was $114 million over four years), but the Rockets, Suns, Magic (a good sleeper in this race) and the Lakers (a longshot) are also known to be in the mix. VanVleet will have options.