We are just a little more than two weeks away from the NBA trade deadline, we've had one not-unexpected trade with Terry Rozier landing in Miami, and a flurry more are likely coming. However, many of the rumors now are tamping down expectations. Here are the latest.
• Wizards do not sound eager to part with Kyle Kuzma. A lot of playoff teams could use a scoring wing like Kuzma, so teams are calling to test the trade waters. Earlier reports suggested the Wizards are keeping the price high — two first-round picks. All that has teams thinking Washington doesn't really want to part with him, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast. Here's Wojnarowski's direct quote:
"People are calling them. Teams tell me they call them and they're not getting counters from Washington. If you want to register an offer for Kuzma, fine, you can do it. But they're not at the point now where it seems like they're really active in maybe seriously trying to move him. It could change by the deadline, but I know Michael Winger and Will Dawkins like Kuzma, like having him there."
Maybe move Kuzma off the top of the "will get traded at the deadline" list. It still feels like he could be traded at the NBA Draft or during the offseason.
• Bucks looking to upgrade roster, especially defensively, at deadline. While Adrian Griffin paid the price, it was personnel moves by the front office, as much or more than anything else, that has Milwaukee in the bottom 10 in the NBA in defense. Now the Bucks are using their limited trade assets — Portland's 2024 second-round pick and a couple of role players — to find defensive upgrades at the trade deadline, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.
Milwaukee has contacted various teams about what it could return with the second-round pick it will receive from Portland, sources said, which currently stands as No. 35 in the 2024 NBA Draft... With their early second, the Bucks are considering different combinations of trades that could move veteran wing Pat Connaughton, plus reserve guard Cameron Payne, sources said, to help fortify Milwaukee's defensive rotation.
Connaughton's decline this season has been both a surprise and a blow to Milwaukee's depth. If another team believes it can revive his confidence and play it may be open to a trade, but it's not much and not likely to net the Bucks a player that really moves the defensive needle.
• Update on Dejounte Murray to Lakers is there's not much to update. A few days back, there was a lot of buzz about the Lakers’ interest in Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. On his podcast, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had an update. Here's Wojnarowski's quote:
"They've talked with the Lakers. They've exchanged the idea of on some concepts. There's nothing there yet. Certainly some other places, some other teams, with interest in Murray, but Atlanta wants to get value back."
The reported hangup was that Atlanta understandably doesn't want to keep D'Angelo Russell and pair him with Trae Young (if Young and Murray didn't work, there is no way Young and Russell will). The Lakers and Hawks are reportedly looking for a third team willing to take Russell, who has played some of his best basketball with the Lakers over the past couple of weeks. So far, nothing promising.
• Teams interested in Gordon Hayward, but his salary makes a deal difficult. When healthy, Gordon Hayward has played solidly for Charlotte this season, averaging 14.5 points a game while shooting 36.1% from 3. A lot of playoff teams could use a veteran like that for depth heading into the playoffs, and Zach Lowe said on his podcast teams are interested. The catch: Hayward makes $31.5 million this season in the final year of his contract. That's a lot of salary to match.
It's much the same situation with Kyle Lowry, also now in Charlotte after the Terry Rozier trade. Lowry makes $29.7 million and that's a lot of salary to match for a backup point guard. If Hayward and/or Lowry get bought out after the trade deadline several teams would be interested in adding them, but those salaries make a trade unlikely.
• Suns plan to hold on to Grayson Allen. Phoenix has won six in a row and 11-of-14, climbing up to the No. 6 seed in the West and out of the play-in. They have been so happy with Grayson Allen's play during this run that they have no plans to trade him now, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.
Allen has played so well in Phoenix, as part of the three-team megadeal that landed Lillard in Milwaukee, the Suns are no longer considering him for a trade prior to next month's deadline, according to league sources.