Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) in action during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Westbrook’s ears might be perking up at the latest trade rumor involving the Los Angeles Lakers.
Longtime San Antonio Spurs insider LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk reported on Monday that the Lakers have targeted Spurs wings Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott in potential trades. McDermott previously played with Westbrook on the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2016-17 campaign, Westbrook’s MVP season.
But don’t get too excited about a potential reunion just yet. Ellis adds that the trade scenarios with the Spurs have involved Westbrook himself (though the talks reportedly failed to gain traction because the Lakers have only been willing to give up a pair of second-round picks for both Richardson and McDermott individually).
Still, it is especially interesting that the Lakers are targeting McDermott in particular. He is currently averaging 10.2 points per game off the bench on an elite 43.1 percent from three-point land. That could really help a Lakers roster with some extremely raggedy long-range shooting right now.
McDermott is also owed a reasonable $27.5 million between this season and next season. If the Lakers decide to circle back to him, regardless of whether Westbrook is included in the deal, McDermott could be a much cheaper get than this other sharpshooting target for the purple and gold.
Apr 10, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich looks on during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Though the San Antonio Spurs already traded All-Star Dejounte Murray earlier this summer, the sell-off may only intensify from here.
Veteran Spurs writer LJ Ellis reports Monday that center Jakob Poeltl and guard Josh Richardson are two players who have commonly been involved in the Spurs’ trade talks. San Antonio is reportedly seeking a first-round draft pick in exchange for the latter and two first-rounders for the former.
Ellis adds that the Spurs have also shopped former College Basketball Player of the Year Doug McDermott this summer but have received little interest.
After going 34-48 last year, the Spurs seem to be eyeing a full knockdown of their roster. They sent Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in July and immediately waived Danilo Gallinari, the one player they got in exchange for Murray (the rest of San Antonio’s return package consisted of future draft picks).
The 26-year-old Poeltl, a shot-blocking seven-footer who is a nightly double-double threat, might be the Spurs’ most valuable asset remaining. But with their seller’s mindset, it would not be very surprising if San Antonio ended up facilitating a potential multi-team trade involving this player.
The 2017-18 NBA season featured breakout performances from a number of talented young players: Victor Oladipo, Devin Booker, Fred VanVleet, and Jamal Murray, among others. Though at this point most attention is (understandably) focused on the key stars and title contenders for this coming season, we’re wondering which young players could go up a level in 2018-19.
Some of the following players just haven’t found the right fit. Others have stayed with one team, gradually improved, and seem poised to really emerge this season. Here are 10 breakout candidates we’ll be keeping an eye on.
10. Doug McDermott, Indiana Pacers
McDermott has bounced around since the Denver Nuggets selected the Creighton star No. 11 in the 2014 draft. He’s now on his fifth NBA team. McDermott’s shooting has never been an issue, but it became a major asset last season; after joining Dallas, he hit nearly 50 percent (!) of his outside attempts. His defense has gradually improved throughout his career, and he’s no longer a liability on that end. Indiana strikes me as the perfect fit for McBuckets. He should shine playing off of Victor Oladipo in Nate McMillan’s shooter-friendly system, much like Bojan Bogdanovic broke out last season.
It’s still very early in NBA free agency, but players are already committing to sign contracts with teams — some old, some new. Some of these deals make a lot of sense, while others are headscratchers, even with many of the offseason dominoes yet to fall.
Here are five of the best and worst deals of free agency in the NBA so far — and remember, none of these contracts can become official until July 6, so things are subject to change.
5) Nuggets to sign Will Barton to four-year, $54 million deal
Keeping their core intact is a big deal for the Nuggets, who are also set to ink Nikola Jokic long-term in the week ahead as well. It’s a great deal for Barton, who gets a lot of guaranteed money, and the Nuggets get to keep a player who became very valuable to them. He’s a 37 percent three-point shooter and a threat on the perimeter coveted by many teams. It’s a deal that works for both sides.
4) Bucks to sign Ersan Ilyasova to three-year, $21 million deal
Ilyasova knows Milwaukee well, and he does a lot of things that will help a team. He’s a competent defender who can stretch the floor and shoot from the perimeter, and the Sixers even employed him as a small-ball center at times, opening up a new possible route for his game. It’s not hard to envision him paired with Giannis Antetokounmpo in a smaller lineup causing some havoc. The three year deal is a risk for Milwaukee, but a big win for Ilyasova, who should fit in nicely and rather affordably in Milwaukee.
3) Nets to sign Ed Davis to one-year, $4.4 million deal
Davis seems perpetually underused and underpaid, and here he is again on a rather cheap deal, but one that could pay dividends for Brooklyn. Davis isn’t a starter, but he can come off the bench and grab you rebounds and score you some points in stretches. Players like that are very valuable, and it’s even better if you can get them on low-risk contracts such as this one. Worst-case scenario? He becomes a nice little trade chip in February.
2) Mavericks to sign DeAndre Jordan to one-year, $24 million deal
It’s a low-risk, high-reward move for both sides. The Mavericks aren’t contenders, but getting a year of Jordan ensures that they have a quality player that they’re not married to long-term if things don’t work out. Jordan gets a nice payday and the opportunity to rebuild some value. He’s still an offensive weapon, though some concerns began to arise about his defense last season. If he answers those, he could either opt to make his stay long-term or get one more big contract somewhere else next summer.
The Denver Nuggets have reportedly traded Emmanuel Mudiay to the New York Knicks as part of a three-team trade.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Mudiay is heading to the Knicks with fellow point guard Devin Harris going to Denver. The third team, the Dallas Mavericks, are getting Doug McDermott.
The Nuggets will also get a future second-round pick in the deal, according to Woj.
Mudiay, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft, had been discussed as a possible piece of a trade that would bring Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart to the Nuggets, but that obviously never materialized.
The first round of the NBA playoffs has arrived, after a season packed with surprises and intrigue. Following last offseason, nearly all of the viewing public thought a Cavs-Warriors rematch was inevitable. Now with more than a thousand games played, that is clearly not the case.
MVP candidates are dominating the majority of media coverage, but in a seven game series, the lesser names on the roster can often play a major role. No team reaches the deep rounds of the playoffs without being able to rely on a group of reliable role players who know what is needed of them and how to execute in the clutch.
With all eight series kicking off this weekend, a crop of role players will find their way to the spotlight, swinging some of the most highly-contested series.
Here’s a look at five of the most important role players for the first round of the playoffs.
1. Doug McDermott, Oklahoma City Thunder
So much focus, by fans, media, and opponents, will be on Russell Westbrook. He’s earned that right by averaging a triple-double for the season — the first player to do so since Oscar Robertson. Clearly Westbrook will dominate the Rockets’ defensive gameplan.
But for the Thunder to collect four wins against Houston, Oklahoma City will need to find a way to either score with the high-flying Rockets or figure out how to defend James Harden and the Houston attack.
The Thunder have defensive pieces to slow the Rockets, but stopping a team with so many shooters and weapons is easier said than done.
For the Thunder to win an offensive shootout instead, someone other than Russell Westbrook will need to make shots. The rest of the Thunder roster has plenty of valuable role players or great athletic defenders, but only Doug McDermott can force Houston to divert some of their defensive strategy his way. That’s exactly why Oklahoma City traded for the former Creighton star.
Having a deadeye like McDermott on the wing allows more room for Westbrook to execute in the pick-and-roll. For the Thunder to steal a game on the road, they’ll need McDermott to pitch in a 20-point effort. He’s only had one 20-point game since being acquired by the Thunder and is averaging 6.6 points on 45.2 percent shooting for OKC. He’ll have to step up with some big shots this postseason.
2. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks
The Oklahoma City Thunder are doing their best to improve their playoff hopes.
According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, the Thunder are working on a trade to acquire Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Chicago Bulls. Charania says the Thunder will send Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to the Bulls for Gibson, McDermott and a second-round pick.
Gibson is a veteran forward averaging 11.6 points and 7 rebounds per game. He should give the Thunder some extra depth in the frontcourt, particularly with Enes Kanter out. McDermott’s specialty is his three-point shooting. He’s making 44.5 percent of his field goals and 37.3 of his threes this season. Both players should help OKC, while the Thunder aren’t losing a ton.
Payne was the No. 14 overall pick by OKC in 2015 and is a bench player. Lauvergne was a 2013 draft pick who was stashed in Europe but is now in his third NBA season. The center has shown some promise in limited minutes, as he’s averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Morrow is another bench player whom the Thunder shouldn’t miss too much.
The Chicago Bulls are trying to add another draft pick by dealing from depth, according to a report.
Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reported Monday that the Bulls are shopping forward Doug McDermott and center Robin Lopez in hopes that someone will give up a first-round selection for one of them.
The Bulls do have their own first round pick, and would also be owed the Sacramento Kings’ first-rounder as long as it falls outside of the top ten.
Scotto notes that the Bulls do maintain interest in Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor, so this is not simply a sell-off. Chicago is currently tied for the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Previous reports indicated that these weren’t the only two players on the block. It’s not clear if that has changed with the team still theoretically in the playoff hunt.
McDermott, 25, is a first-round pick from 2014. He is under team control for the next two seasons. Lopez, 28, is set to make around $28 million the next two seasons.
When we hear about concussions in sports, they generally are in relation to NFL players. That doesn’t mean they’re limited to football, though, and one NBA player got a reminder of how nasty they can be.
Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott has suffered two concussions this season, and he detailed the scary side effects he’s dealt with. That includes some that still linger nearly two months later, such as short-term memory loss at certain moments.
“There are still times it takes me a little bit to think of a play. That’s something the specialist told me would take a little bit of time,” McDermott said, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “Coaches are aware of that when we go through walk-through and stuff. I may be a little slow. But I feel good. I’ve been sleeping good, no headaches.”
McDermott thought the concussion protocol would be a straightforward process, but he realized very quickly the seriousness of what he was dealing with.
“I got into the cab to get home and I just completely lost my head,” McDermott said of the period about ten days after he suffered the concussion. “I didn’t know where I was in Chicago. I finally got back to my place and just had a crazy headache. That’s when I was like, ‘Dang, this will take longer than I thought.’ It was a real low point.”
You can see the incident in which McDermott was hurt here. It took him a full month to be cleared to return to the court, and that didn’t mean his symptoms were over. You can’t blame him for being a bit scared, so it’s good to see him back playing.
Doug McDermott is in concussion protocol for the second time this season after he landed hard following a dunk attempt on Saturday night.
The Chicago Bulls forward was going up for a dunk in the fourth quarter against the Wizards when he was met by Washington’s Markieff Morris. McDermott fell to the floor and landed hard, hitting his head.
McDermott was hit in the head on Halloween and entered concussion protocol after that. He was cleared to play later in the week. Then eight days after being cleared, he hit his head again.
Bulls teammate Taj Gibson was concerned about McDermott after seeing the way he looked.
“The first thing I noticed after he got hit was he wasn’t there,” Gibson told the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve had three concussions in my career and it’s one thing people (don’t) understand. We hit that floor (and it) tends to smack you pretty hard too. When I looked at his eyes as soon as I ran up on him I didn’t like the signs that I saw.”
McDermott was averaging 10.6 points on 51.6 percent shooting this season.