Monday, December 4 2023
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The 2023 NBA Draft is in the books, and we’ve already had a number of blockbuster trades this offseason, with Bradley Beal, Chris Paul, Marcus Smart and Kristaps Porzingis all on the move. But with the start of free agency only days away, the action isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Here’s a look at some of the latest rumblings across the association. 

Earlier this week, Chris Haynes reported that the Phoenix Suns are planning to keep Deandre Ayton. That was generally seen as an admission that they weren’t finding any worthwhile trades rather than an endorsement of the big man. Sure enough, Marc Stein reported on Tuesday that the team almost sent Ayton to the Mavericks during the draft. 

Per Stein, the deal would have been Ayton to Dallas in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr., Richaun Holmes and JaVale McGee. However, the Suns were not interested in taking on McGee, and the deal fell apart. 

If that’s all the Suns are able to get for Ayton, it’s no surprise that they’re planning to keep him. For all of his faults, he’s still one of the biggest, most athletic centers around and can get you a double-double every night. Perhaps they could even talk themselves in to new coach Frank Vogel pushing Ayton to elevate his game. 

Rockets vying for VanVleet?

The Houston Rockets had a terrific draft night, as they managed to come away with Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore after the latter slipped out of the lottery. Heading into the draft, Thompson and Whitmore were seen as potential top-five picks, and the Rockets got both of them without having to make a big trade. 

After yet another successful draft, it’s time for the Rockets to take the next step and start winning some games. The James Harden reunion rumors have cooled off a bit, but the team still may look to bring in some veteran help. Per Jake Fischer, they are expected to vie for Fred VanVleet. The Rockets have $61 million in cap space and could offer VanVleet a big deal to make him their starting point guard and bring some maturity to the roster. 

Heat could waive Lowry

The Miami Heat have been the subject of a number of rumors following their surprise run to the Finals, most notably in relation to Damian Lillard. Speaking of another point guard, it appears that Kyle Lowry is no longer in their future plans. The veteran has one year left on his contract at $29.6 million, but given his declining form it’s going to be hard to find a trade partner. In the result that they can’t move him, the Heat could waive and stretch Lowry, even though his money is fully guaranteed, according to the Miami Herald

“According to two sources, the Heat has been giving thought to potentially using the waive-and-stretch provision on Lowry if Miami is unable to trade him, though a firm decision on that has not been made. That waive-and-stretch mechanism would allocate his remaining cap hit equally over three seasons.”

Gallinari buyout on the way

Danilo Gallinari, who sat out all of last season while rehabbing from a torn ACL, was included in the big three-team deal between the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies, which sent Marcus Smart to Memphis and Kristaps Porzingis to Boston. Gallinari wound up with the Wizards, but don’t expect him to play there. 

According to Fischer, the Wizards will come to a buyout agreement with Gallinari in due course, rending the veteran big man a free agent. Even coming off the injury, Gallinari should get plenty of interest from contending teams around the league because he is still a reliable scorer and shooter. 



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