Another instant ripple effect from Detroit trading Grant to Portland is the sudden wealth of financial flexibility now facing the Pistons’ front office. Detroit has been linked as a potential bogeyman to steal Deandre Ayton, Mitchell Robinson, Miles Bridges, Jalen Brunson and Collin Sexton in free agency.
Detroit always looked to be the biggest threat to offer Ayton the maximum salary he and his representatives so clearly crave. Despite Portland’s rumored interest, the Trail Blazers are widely expected to retain starting center Jusuf Nurkic. Atlanta brass have their hands in various other cookie jars, including Gobert. San Antonio has been frequently mentioned as an Ayton suitor as well.
Though the Pistons cannot possibly swipe all of those aforementioned players, Detroit is now likely to have upward of $50 million in cap space, with the expectation that the Pistons pick up team options for Hamidou Diallo and Luka Garza.
Now, the Pistons could feasibly spend that $30-plus million for Ayton’s big payday and still chase other free agents they covet. A sign-and-trade with Jerami Grant had long been mentioned by league personnel as a potential mechanism to get Ayton to the Pistons.
However, even before Grant was moved to Portland, Suns officials had started messaging to rival teams and other external league personnel that Phoenix will not necessarily balk at matching any offer sheet for Ayton, sources told B/R. With no obvious sign-and-trade piece to send back to the Suns, it is unclear whether Detroit will have an unencumbered pursuit of Ayton on the restricted free-agent market.
POINT GUARD Carousel
The Pacers have most consistently discussed Brogdon trades with the Knicks and Wizards ahead of Thursday’s NBA draft, sources said, but there is a strong sense of skepticism from league officials that Brogdon would actually be moved to either Washington or New York in a package centered on the No. 10 or No. 11 pick.
Should New York ultimately fall short in its efforts to lure Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks, Malcolm Brogdon is widely expected to be the Knicks’ next point guard target this offseason, sources told B/R, not the splashier headline name that is Kyrie Irving.
The Wizards have been willing to discuss Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in trade conversations, sources said. New York is exploring all options pertaining to Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, Nerlens Noel, Kemba Walker and Cam Reddish.
Other veteran ball-handlers said to be available for trade, in addition to the aforementioned Murray and Russell, are Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, Pelicans point guard Devonte’ Graham, along with Nuggets table-setter Monte Morris.
Latest on Myles Turner, Tobias Harris, and Price for Jazz Star etc.
• The market for Pacers center Myles Turner was said to feature Minnesota, Toronto and Charlotte. New York has long registered interest in Turner as well, but the Knicks are only considered a serious Turner suitor if Mitchell Robinson departs in free agency.
• Philadelphia has continued to explore Tobias Harris trade packages. The Sixers have called a healthy portion of teams to gauge the value for each of Harris, Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle, sources said, and have called several teams specifically searching for a first-round pick in exchange for Thybulle as part of a three-team deal framework to land an impact veteran rotation player.
• Indiana, Utah, Boston and Detroit have all been described as teams looking to acquire picks in the back half of the first round.
• To do so, the Celtics appear willing to engage in conversations on rotation players like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard, but only for the right price.
• Utah is searching for a first-round pick to move any non-Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert rotation player. Royce O’Neale has registered a bevy of trade interests from around the league.
• Phoenix has called rivals to measure Jae Crowder’s value on the trade market, sources said, while the Suns linked once again to Eric Gordon. Phoenix held discussions with Houston to acquire Gordon, a former teammate of Chris Paul with the Rockets, back at February’s trade deadline. Phoenix is also said to be searching for a second-round selection.
• Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic remains a hot name on the trade market. OKC holds his draft rights, and Nikola Jokic has been said to be a driving factor in Denver’s interest to obtain the EuroLeague MVP. San Antonio, Milwaukee and Chicago have also been mentioned as legitimate suitors.