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Because the NBA offseason continues for all teams outside of Golden State and Boston, considered one of the more intriguing names to emerge in early league trade chatter has been Toronto Raptors swingman OG Anunoby.
Following a standout season from Rookie of the Yr Scottie Barnes, word has circulated amongst rival front offices that Anunoby grew dissatisfied at times together with his role in Toronto, where Barnes joined Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet as the first ball-handlers in Nick Nurse’s offense.
Two sources with knowledge of the dynamic told B/R that Anunoby has indirectly expressed discontent together with his situation with the Raptors. Perhaps the conversation around him has been driven more by external interest in acquiring the fifth-year forward’s services.
Dating back to the trade deadline, sources said, the Raptors have postured with opposing teams that each one of their “top six,” including Anunoby, Barnes, Siakam, VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa, are untouchable in trade conversation. But Toronto can be widely known to covet a starting center. The Raptors initially chased Jarrett Allen last summer. Then in February, Toronto flirted with Indiana about each Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and contacted San Antonio about Jakob Poeltl. Landing a middle of that caliber would almost definitely require the Raptors to sacrifice considered one of those purportedly untouchable players.
If Anunoby becomes available this offseason, expect an extended list of interested suitors. Anunoby, 24, is a proven blue-chip prospect who already has deep postseason experience. He’s also playing under a price contract, not even halfway through the four-year, $72 million extension he signed in 2020 (with a player option in 2024-25).
Two landing spots already linked by league personnel have been Utah and Portland.
The Jazz are weighing trade possibilities with three-time Defensive Player of the Yr Rudy Gobert, who NBA sources have pegged as considered one of Toronto’s targets to satisfy its appetite for a starting rim-protector. While there’s much debate each across the league and amongst Utah staffers about whether moving Gobert, the Jazz’s true defensive lynchpin, is probably the most effective avenue to improving Utah’s issues guarding on the perimeter, Anunoby would clearly pose as an incredible addition for any team lacking on the wing.
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To match Gobert’s lofty salary, which can range from $38.2 million to $46.7 million between 2022-23 and 2025-26, Toronto would want so as to add one other significant contract to Anunoby’s average annual salary of $18 million. Including Trent, one other two-way perimeter force, would make the maths work, but that cost may be too wealthy for Toronto brass and would go away the Raptors with little proven shooting. Early word from league personnel has also suggested the Raptors value Siakam greater than Gobert.
The Trail Blazers remain widely expected to pursue trade scenarios with the No. 7 pick with the intention to add a complementary veteran alongside All-NBA guard Damian Lillard, and Anunoby is believed to be considered one of their primary targets together with Jerami Grant.
Each contracts would fit into Portland’s $20.9 million trade exception from the deal that sent CJ McCollum to Latest Orleans. There is a possibility Portland looks to create cap space to land a maximum-salary free agent reminiscent of Zach LaVine, but all indications point to the Blazers guaranteeing Josh Hart’s $12.9 million for next season, which might likely negate a significant free-agency signing. The deadline to ensure Hart is June 25, two days after the NBA draft and nearly per week before free agency begins July 1.
Picking up Hart’s money would require the Blazers to surrender their rights to free agents Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons with the intention to still create space for a significant free-agent acquisition like LaVine. But Portland’s probably path to acquiring a splashy counterpart for Lillard is via trade exception, and Anunoby could be a house run addition in that scenario.
Nonetheless, league personnel imagine Toronto would require excess of Hart and the seventh pick to part with Anunoby, considered to be a darling of Raptors lead executive Masai Ujiri. Anunoby’s trade value is seen as greater than Detroit’s known asking price for Grant: two first-round picks or a primary and a promising rookie-scale prospect.
Latest York Knicks’ Point Guard Search
League sources often mention Latest York’s most important offseason focus is to enhance at the purpose guard position, but acquiring Utah’s other All-Star, Donovan Mitchell, stays highly unlikely. Even when Mitchell were to ultimately request a trade from the Jazz, he still has three full years committed on his contract before a player option in 2025-26. Plus, there’s healthy skepticism across the NBA that Latest York’s best offer for Mitchell would trump other teams’ pursuits, reminiscent of a possible package from Miami that may theoretically focus on Tyler Herro plus other salary and multiple first-round picks.
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Within the meantime, there is a growing sense amongst league personnel that Jalen Brunson will return to Dallas following the Mavericks’ sprint to the Western Conference Finals. After Dallas’ defeat to Golden State, Mavericks governor Mark Cuban reaffirmed to Marc Stein the boldness team personnel have projected in keeping Brunson. Dallas indeed can offer him an extra fifth 12 months and, subsequently, extra money than any rival, especially Latest York. With Brunson’s next salary expected to exceed $20 million annually, perhaps John Collins’ recent five-year, $125 million extension in Atlanta will probably be an excellent benchmark for Brunson to stay in Dallas.
The Knicks offering a comparable four-year rate would require notable cap-sheet changes. They already got here near sending out Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel at February’s trade deadline to clear salary for a run at Brunson. At this point within the NBA calendar, to maneuver off unwanted contracts, league executives imagine Latest York would should trade either the No. 11 pick in June’s draft or promising point guard Immanuel Quickley to entice a rival team to tackle any long-term salary.
However the Knicks can propose something to Brunson that Dallas cannot: an unquestioned role as the place to begin guard and lead ball-handler. In Dallas, he’ll all the time function Luka Doncic’s sidekick. The identical could be the case in Detroit, where the Pistons are said to ascertain Brunson as an analogous counterpart to Cade Cunningham. If Brunson desires to be the true table-setter of a team’s offense, that may appear to be the one bird in Latest York’s hand.
Elsewhere in the purpose guard conversation, word of Latest York’s interest in Purdue sophomore Jaden Ivey has been often repeated by league personnel. Ivey, though, is all but assured to be chosen throughout the first six picks of the draft, where the Indiana Pacers are considered by several executives contacted by B/R as his floor.
Because the Knicks work down the list of their point guard options, rival executives have pointed to Minnesota Timberwolves starter D’Angelo Russell as a possible lower-level trade goal. Latest York’s front office recently added former Minnesota president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, who once chased Russell in free agency and later traded Andrew Wiggins to Golden State for the creative point guard.
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The Knicks should not expected to make a run at Collin Sexton, sources said. The Cavaliers have interest in keeping him, but finding a salary figure that extends the combo guard’s tenure in Cleveland could also be tricky, especially after the Cavs’ 2021-22 success and the team’s growing cap figure. Indiana, Detroit and Washington have all been mentioned as early potential landing spots for Sexton.
The Pistons, sources told B/R, are expected to make use of their cap space to accumulate one impact player within the frontcourt and backcourt. While Brunson and Sexton are often known as guards of real interest to fill that backcourt slot, Detroit is claimed to have an eye fixed on Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, along with Phoenix Suns restricted free-agent big man Deandre Ayton.
Charlotte Hornets’ Coaching Search
On the coaching front, Charlotte is the one team left with a emptiness after the Sacramento Kings hired Mike Brown and the Los Angeles Lakers named Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as their next play-caller.
Ham was a finalist for the Hornets’ opening and was scheduled to fulfill with Charlotte this Tuesday before agreeing on a four-year cope with the Lakers, sources said. The sitdown would have marked Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak’s first development in his coaching search since spending the previous week in Los Angeles for agency workouts and pro days upfront of the draft. Kupchak’s own multiyear contract extension, which he announced during a recent media availability, is for 2 more seasons, sources told B/R.
At this juncture, former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson are widely believed to be the ultimate names under serious consideration to switch James Borrego. No candidate has met with Charlotte principal governor Michael Jordan, sources said, believed to be the ultimate step within the Hornets’ search process. That round of interviews could begin as early as this week after Jordan returns from an out of market vacation.
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When league personnel descended upon Chicago for the NBA Draft Mix, word appeared to indicate that Atkinson was gaining some momentum within the Hornets’ search. He phoned several current Hornets staffers and league personnel aware of the Charlotte organization, sources said, and projected great confidence that the job would ultimately be his. Atkinson has been described as a very thorough person, and a number of other figures near the coach indicated his research calls were simply a trademark of his personality and approach.
D’Antoni has long been categorized because the true front-runner for the position. Known for his dynamic offensive principles, and his previous success unlocking Steve Nash in Phoenix after which James Harden with the Rockets, D’Antoni is seen by some as the best coach to oversee the subsequent step of LaMelo Ball’s progression as an elite point guard. One source with knowledge of the franchise told B/R that D’Antoni’s profile appears to be more of the preference of Charlotte’s Jordan-led group.
Atkinson’s noted background in player development, highlighted by his success as the pinnacle coach in Brooklyn, would appear to align more with a young team hoping to rise out of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament and into the postseason.
Nonetheless, various league figures have suggested the similarities between Atkinson and Borrego may ultimately work against Atkinson, and help result in D’Antoni’s hire. The Hornets had no specific profile for his or her next head coach once they dismissed Borrego, sources said, but Charlotte brass clearly sought a unique voice and direction than Borrego’s.
Jake Fischer covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and is the writer of Built to Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Modified the League Endlessly.