Three Things to Know: Nothing is finalized. Yet. An NBA trade deadline rumors update.
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Nothing is finalized… yet. Here’s your NBA trade deadline rumors update. With the NBA trade deadline just about 48 hours away, NBA teams are getting serious with their offers and the rumors are flying… but no deals. Yet. Here are some of the latest rumors flying around the NBA.
• A three-team deal that would have sent Clint Capela to Atlanta, Robert Covington to Houston, and picks to Minnesota for it to flip into D’Angelo Russell has died because the Warriors shot down trading Russell for those picks, reports Kevin O’Connor at the Ringer.
The Warriors have said all along they want to see what a Russell/Stephen Curry backcourt looks like before they trade Russell. Also, because Russell came in a sign-and-trade the Warriors are hard-capped and believe they can find a better trade (for themselves) after July 1 when that restriction is out of the way.
Otherwise, this trade gets Houston the wing they wanted (although if they trade Capela they need to bring back another rim-protecting center somehow), and Atlanta gets its center (which would mean John Collins becomes available via trade now or this summer). Speaking of Capela…
• Houston and Boston are talking about a Capela trade. In this scenario (possibly with a third team), the Celtics would get Capela as their playoff center, and Minnesota would get Enes Kanter or Daniel Theis back from Boston plus one of Boston’s three first-round picks for 2020. That pick could be part of a package flipped to Golden State for Russell. Except, as mentioned above, the Warriors aren’t eager to trade Russell right now.
Whatever Houston does, don’t be surprised if they also maneuver to get below the luxury tax line.
• As an aside, the Timberwolves with Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns would be an offensive force, but could they get any stops? That’s a troubling defensive combo, and opposing coaches are going to drag Russell and KAT into all the pick-and-rolls.
• The Knicks reportedly have interest in Russell, too, but are not throwing their (likely very high) 2020 pick in the mix. Instead, it seems Kevin Knox and Bobby Portis plus a future pick are the bait. Hard to see the Warriors biting on that.
• The Clippers have been rumored in a lot of trades (looking for an upgrade at center and more shooting) but Paul George likes the roster Los Angeles has.
• The Hornets are talking to the Knicks about a possible Julius Randle trade. That would raise the floor in Charlotte, but can the Hornets get the Knicks enough players/picks to make it interesting?
• The Phoenix Suns need shooting and are talking with the Pistons about a Luke Kennard trade, with a first-round pick going back to Detroit in the deal.
• Andre Iguodala let it be known (through sources) that he would sit out the rest of the season if not traded to “agreed-upon teams.” So there’s a list. This was leaked to scare off teams not on that list who are calling Memphis, it should not scare off Memphis. The Grizzlies need to get the best deal they can for Iguodala, it’s the other team’s problem if he doesn’t want to be there. Meanwhile, Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant want Iguodala traded so they can go at him on another team for not wanting to play with them.
• The Cavaliers have made Tristan Thompson available via trade as Cleveland reportedly goes into “asset acquisition mode.” What other mode have they been in for two years?
• The Spurs are working on a DeMarre Carroll trade, and reportedly Rudy Gay also is available for the right price.
• There continues to be little market for Andre Drummond of Detroit, multiple sources tell NBC Sports. Drummond has game — he is the best rebounder in the league and can get buckets around the basket — but he is not a great rim protector, does not space the floor, the game is moving away from his style of play, and he makes $27 million this season then can opt-out to become a free agent next summer. That’s a lot of matching salary to put in a trade, then a lot of money spent next summer to keep him, for whatever team trades for Drummond. It’s hard to construct a trade teams will take around that.
2) Ben Simmons calls Sixers soft after another road loss. Miami continues to play good basketball, and on Monday night Jimmy Butler went off for a season-high 38 points — and he didn’t even need to play the fourth quarter — as the Heat scored a franchise-record 81 points in the second half and crushed the 76ers 137-106.
The Sixers are now 22-2 at home but just 9-18 on the road, including having dropped 10-of-12 away from the Wells Fargo Center. A frustrated Ben Simmons called Philadelphia “soft” after the loss.
Does trading for Robert Covington solve that problem? This was a game where the Sixers defense — sixth-best in the NBA this season — just got torched by Butler, Bad Adebayo and the Heat.
As an aside, and just my gut feel, but at some point Brett Brown is going to be the fall guy in Philly. That ultimately may not solve the problem that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are both All-Star/All-NBA level players whose games simply don’t mesh. Still, teams will dump the coach and try that approach before coming to the realization they need to break up two outstanding players. That is always the last resort.
3) The coronavirus outbreak has shut down the Chinese Basketball Association indefinitely. As Americans, we tend to like our sports as an escape from reality, even though it never really works that way.
It’s certainly not in China right now, where the Coronavirus — which has become a pandemic, infecting more than 17,000 people in 23 countries (including the United States) and killed more than 360 — has restricted travel and led to precautions to halt the spread of the virus.
That has shut down the Chinese Basketball Association for now, and a lot of American players in that league have already come home. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony was Tweeting about this a few days ago, but the information is still relevant.
The Chinese CBA league is currently postponed indefinitely, with this weekend's round of games delayed for at least two weeks, sources say, and possibly extending into March.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 30, 2020
CBA teams have mostly reacted by sending American players and their families home (some were back regardless for the Lunar New Year break) and telling them to await further news next week. Others preferred players (and US assistant coaches) stay.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 30, 2020
A handful of Americans are still in China, fearing leaving would jeopardize lucrative (and sometimes non-guaranteed) contracts. Others left on their own volition. There is talk the league may be postponed until March, or potentially cancelled, although there's no final decision.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 30, 2020
Now its unclear how long the league will extend for, although its almost certain the playoffs will be shortened. Players say getting real information has been challenging for them. Every team seemingly has conveyed different information to different players about what's going on.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 30, 2020
Players are wondering how FIBA will approach the issue of late payments, contracts potentially being voided, and players with guaranteed or non-guaranteed contracts signing in Europe/the G League while this gets sorted out. Will FIBA letters of clearance be issued for example?— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 30, 2020
Mix in fraught USA/China relations, and it’s easy to see how this could come out poorly for the players involved.
Jeremy Lin said on Instagram: “The CBA season’s been postponed indefinitely and I’m on standby, training and staying ready if the season resumes.” In the wake of the disease, the death of Kobe Bryant, and much more, Lin talks about the need to live life to the fullest because “Today isn’t guaranteed. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Nothing in life is guaranteed.” He also rails against the fools using this virus and human suffering to promote their racist viewpoints.
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