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The NBA offseason continues to unfold, and it has been a whirlwind to date. The motion began with the news that Kevin Durant had requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets and has not subsided.
While Brooklyn has yet to search out a recent home for Durant, the Nets did acquire Royce O’Neale from the Utah Jazz. Utah didn’t stop there, either, and sent standout Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a separate trade.
The O’Neale and Gobert trades were two big early dominoes, they will not be the last to fall. Utah is more likely to make other moves, Durant’s request clouds the longer term of Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, and the trade market stays wide open for many teams across the league.
What’s the most recent buzz because the NBA wraps its first weekend of free agency? Let’s have a look.
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With O’Neale and Gobert out in Utah, it’s fair to wonder how the approaching rebuild will impact star guard Donovan Mitchell. There have been conflicting reports.
In keeping with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t SNY’s Ian Begley), Utah intends to retool the roster around star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell somewhat than completely tear down and rebuild the roster.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, nonetheless, reported that teams imagine that Mitchell will be had in a trade.
“Talking to league executives who saw a few of this coming, they think it could be abnormal for Donovan to not want out at this point,” Windhorst said on NBA Today (h/t Talkin’ NBA).
Windhorst also reported that some teams are preparing to make a run at Mitchell if he can indeed be had.
“Straight away, there are teams on the market which might be revving up the potential of calling Utah and seeing what it is going to take to get Donovan Mitchell, because they’re not going to be done,” he said.
The Ringer’s Logan Murdock got much more specific, hinting that Mitchell may already be eying a move to the Miami Heat.
“But the whole lot suggests that the writing is on the wall for Donovan Mitchell to depart,” Murdock said on the Ringer podcast (h/t Thomas Darro of Heavy). “…I don’t know if the baggage are packed, but we’re (Mitchell) spots in some beachside homes somewhere in Florida.”
In keeping with Wojnarowski,
the Heat are amongst Durant’s preferred destinations. If each he and Mitchell are keen on joining Miami, then the Heat may find yourself with a recent star this offseason.
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With Durant on the way in which out of Brooklyn, Irving’s future is entirely up within the air. The 30-year-old opted in for the 2022-23 season but did so
to “fulfill his four-year commitment” to the Nets and to Durant, based on Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The Los Angeles Lakers, it seems, at the moment are attempting to reunite Irving with LeBron James in L.A. The Lakers might just find a way to unload Russell Westbrook’s contract in the method.
“The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are actively engaged in discussions on a trade package that will send star point guard Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn in exchange for star point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources told Yahoo Sports,” Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote.
There are obstacles to an Irving-Westbrook swap, after all. Haynes noted that draft compensation is an “ongoing talking point” and that Brooklyn desires to unload Joe Harris as a part of the deal.
As Windhorst identified on First Take (starting on the 4:30 mark) on Friday, the Nets are going to make use of Irving to do what’s best for the franchise. That will mean trading him to a team apart from Los Angeles.
In keeping with Charania, several teams are “engaged” in attempting to get Irving. So, while an Irving-Westbrook swap feels as likely because it ever has in 2022, it’s still removed from a done teal.
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No matter Mitchell’s future, Utah must rebuild its roster within the wake of the O’Neale and Gobert trades. In keeping with Marc J. Spears of ESPN, Tacko Fall could turn out to be Utah’s recent center.
“With Rudy Gobert gone, Jazz trying out one other giant in 7-6 free agent center Tacko Fall,” Spears tweeted. “Fall is playing on Utah’s summer league team and is connected to Danny Ainge dating back to his time with the Celtics.”
The 26-year-old Fall first joined the NBA as an undrafted free agent in 2019. As Spears noted, he began his profession with the Boston Celtics, when Ainge was president of basketball operations.
Now CEO of the Jazz, Ainge appears to be targeting a well-recognized face to assist reload the roster. Or, not less than, Ainge is willing to present Fall a possibility.
The UCF product has had limited exposure within the NBA and has spent most of his playing time within the G-League. Since being signed in 2019, Fall has appeared in only 37 games with the Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers and he’s averaged just over six minutes per game.
Fall will not be going to exchange Gobert’s production. Nonetheless, he does have an intriguing combination of size and skill set and will make for an intriguing project in Utah.