Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-day-a-week recap of the night before in the NBA. Visit NBCSports.com each weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before, plus the rumor, drama and dunks that make the NBA a must-watch.
1) NBA trade rumors recap as deadline nears
We’re just 22 days away from the February 9th NBA trade deadline, and talks are ramping up… sort of. It seemed time for a round-up of the latest trade rumors and discussions surrounding the league. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but rather a snapshot of where some big names rank.
• Talks are heating up in the league but so far things are simmering and looks set for another quiet trading session. Blame the play-in tournament with more teams trying to hang on to the stars. Since there aren’t many sellers in the market, the few that are able to keep their prices high and cool the market down. Don’t expect a lot of movement; The best players traded are possibly John Collins and Bojan Bogdanovic.
• Speaking of Collins, the Jazz are the team trying hardest to win him, reports Marc Stein. After Utah slipped to 23-24 for the season and eighth in the West, some teams thought they’d be deadline-day sellers, but instead are looking to pair Collins with Lauri Markkanen (it seems there’s a lot of positions overlapping, but who are looking for jazz). The Wizards, Nets and Pacers are also interested in Collins.
• A three-team trade involving Collins would send Malik Beasley from Utah to Cleveland while the Jazz would take John Collins and the Hawks would get Caris LeVert and another player or pick. The compensation draft moving in this deal seems to be the delay.
• The Jazz could be sellers on one front: discussing Mike Conley trades, with the Clippers being one of the more aggressive suitors (Los Angeles is open to sending John Wall in any trade). The Clippers are looking for help on the spot, more size on the wings and a support big by the deadline.
• The Timberwolves are also interested in Conley and are looking to the trade market for their own point guard, D’Angelo Russell, after the sides failed to reach an agreement on an extension.
• The Heat are currently interested in Russell as an upgrade for them, but the Timberwolves have no interest in trading Kyle Lowry for Russell (it would make them want to roll over or trade a point guard they don’t have. don’t see it as part of a long-term collaboration with the team). It’s difficult to make the trade work without Lowry, unless the Timberwolves suddenly want Duncan Robinson (they don’t want that).
• Fred VanVleet is having a poor season in Toronto (18.2 points per game on 37.6% shooting overall) and leading other teams to call. However, the Raptors seem more interested in working out an extension after the season than looking for a trade.
• The Raptor most likely to be traded is wing Gary Trent Jr., however, the wing other teams are hoping will become available is OG Anunoby. He’s a favorite in the Toronto front office, however, and it will take several first-round picks to get them considering a move.
• Trade rumors about Bojan Bogdanovic are everywhere, but the Pistons are keeping the price high and want an unprotected first-round pick in every trade to move it. The Lakers are the most frequently mentioned admirer – and he would fill their needs on the court alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis – but were unwilling to give up a first-round pick in other trades. The Bucks, Pelicans, Cavaliers and Mavericks are also interested in Bogdanovic.
• Jakob Poeltl is perfectly available at Spurs (ideally they would keep him, but he’s a free agent by the end of the season and will likely walk) but (as Jared Weiss confirmed to The Athletic today) the asking price is two first-round picks I doubt any team is ready to fulfill that, but what about a first and a high second (or a young player that Spurs like)? Will the Spurs lower that price? The Celtics, Raptors and Clippers are among the interested teams.
• Jae Crowder is still waiting for the Suns to trade him. The Heat is mentioned, but this deal goes a long way, and its retail value drops as the season gets shorter. Crowder is reportedly looking for his new team – whoever it may be – to give him a ballpark extension of the three-year, $33 million contract Philadelphia’s PJ Tucker received.
• One seller as of the deadline is the Charlotte Hornets, who are open to signing just about anyone whose name isn’t LaMelo: Terry Rozier has attracted considerable interest, but Mason Plumlee, Jalen McDaniels and Kelly Oubre Jr. are also available.
2) Damian Lillard had a 44-point night, Jokic and the Nuggets had a better one
Damian Lillard had another big night in an impressive bounce-back season for the Portland icon, scoring 44 points against the Nuggets.
It just wasn’t enough. Nikola Jokic finished with 36 points on 13-of-14 shooting plus 12 rebounds and 10 assists to spark a 122-113 Nuggets win.
The Nuggets have won seven straight games overall, 14 straight at home and lead the West 31-13.
3) Dallas artist paints over Doncic’s Please Send Help mural
A local Dallas artist addressed the mood of Mavericks fans (and perhaps Luka Doncic himself, although he would never say so publicly) by painting this mural.
Mark Cuban wasn’t a fan of this artwork, calling it “disrespectful.” Not long after, Doncic called the artist himself, and now the mural is painted over with that message.
I understand the change, but that first message was pretty spot on.
Three Things to Know: NBA Trade Rumors Roundup as the Deadline Approaches, originally appeared on NBCSports.com