Another week is in the books and we have tons of rumors for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and more as the NBA season inches closer and closer. For news and fantasy advice, drop me a follow on Twitter here!
Bones Hyland hype ramps up
This should come as no surprise to anyone reading this, as Bones is loved around these parts. He's equally loved in Denver, unsurprisingly, as they made a big offseason move with him in mind when they sent Monte Morris and Will Barton packing.
“I knew what the move was,” Hyland said. “They were already contacting me before and letting me know what was happening. After the moves even happened, the coaches called me, players called me, like, ‘Time to just go out there and be Bizzy. It's a big opportunity for you.' And they tell me every day, like, ‘You're going to have a big role, big opportunity, a lot more minutes, just to just go out there and be yourself.'”
Bones was terrific as a rookie, averaging 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.9 triples in only 19.0 minutes per game. Coach Malone would constantly talk about giving him more minutes which didn't happen until late in the season, but better late than never, I guess. Now he should be set up for a big season as the sixth man and backup ball-handler behind a limited Jamal Murray. Anything less than minutes in the mid-20s would be a massive buzzkill with so much hype around this guy.
Magic to pursue Jordan Poole?
An anonymous Eastern Conference executive said he believes that the Magic could pursue Jordan Poole if he hits free agency next summer. This only qualifies as news because it's mid-August, and the Magic may need to get in line with a ton of teams expected to be in the same boat. The Warriors have some serious salary cap issues and are paying a hilarious amount of luxury tax, so they'll have some tough decisions to make with Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green all expecting massive pay raises. The Warriors will have the ability to match any offer he receives in restricted free agency if they can't negotiate an extension prior to the deadline, but in my opinion he's the safest bet of those three guys to stay put given his age and career trajectory.
Lakers hesitant to attach multiple picks to Russell Westbrook
This report comes from Dan Woike of LA Times who is very plugged into the team. The asking price for taking on Westbrook's expiring contract of $47M is two future first round picks, but mortgaging their future like this is obviously not ideal. Los Angeles' best path forward is to get through the final year of Westbrook's deal and just hope and pray that new head coach Darvin Ham can salvage something out of him. I can see so many ways this season goes off the rails for Los Angeles, so it's best to avoid going near Westbrook in fantasy drafts since his name value is likely to see him get drafted earlier than he should.
Lakers bumping up their bid for Kyrie?
While we're on the topic of the Lakers, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Lakers are now willing to include both of the team's future first-round picks (2027 and 2029) in a trade for Kyrie Irving. Los Angeles becomes the clear favorites for Kyrie with this news, as his market is extremely limited after burning so many bridges around the NBA. It would be foolish of the Nets to dump Kyrie before getting clarity on the Kevin Durant front first though, so I wouldn't expect any movement in the near future. If Kyrie is in the right frame of mind and truly wants to play with LeBron, this would be a no-brainer for the Lakers (assuming they can unload Westbrook).
Heat linked to Kyrie Irving
According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, an executive believes that Miami will enter the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes. “If they're resigned to losing K.D., I don't see why they would keep Kyrie in place, too,” the executive said. “You'd really have to get younger. They would have to look around and maybe revisit the Lakers stuff. The Heat, too, but the Lakers had a framework on a deal.” While none of Miami's players were mentioned, you can see why the Heat would have interest in swapping out Kyle Lowry for Irving after his performance and conditioning issues down the stretch. It would obviously take more than Lowry to acquire Irving though, and they would be bidding against the Lakers who could be extremely aggressive if LeBron gives the front office a nudge.
The latest on Kevin Durant
Where do we even begin? Durant reportedly wants to play with Marcus Smart in Boston, and it's been widely reported that Robert Williams is not going anywhere. That means Boston's offer would likely be something around Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Al Horford and draft capital. Boston has certainly the best package on the table for Durant if they are willing to let Jaylen go (there has been mixed reports), and it's no secret that Durant has an outstanding relationship with head coach Ime Udoka. And with how petty Durant is, you know he's already dreaming of a potential Finals matchup against his frenemies in Golden State.
Elsewhere, the 76ers are reportedly looking to get into the Durant sweepstakes. They don't have nearly the amount of assets that Boston has, though they can build a pretty sweet package around Tyrese Maxey. You would think it would be weird for Durant to team up with James Harden again, but those two have repaired their relationship and have been working out together overseas.
And finally, Marc Stein reported that one anonymous front office executive said that Durant was more likely to retire than to play for the Nets again, so Durant took to Twitter to clear the air. “I know most people will believe unnamed sources over me but if it's anyone out there that'll listen, I don't plan on retiring anytime soon. S*** is comical at this point.” I still think Durant ends up holding out of Brooklyn's training camp, making this a messy situation for fantasy managers to deal with as draft season gets closer and closer. I have zero clue where to draft him right now. Zero.
Zion says he was in a dark place last season
“It's been a lot. I can sit here and explain it, but nobody will really be able to feel it the way I did,” Zion said. “My foot was broken and I couldn't magically heal it. It hurt, because I love the game of basketball. But because of it, I was experiencing hate and pain from people I don't know every day, and it started to wear on me.” Zion will obviously be one of the most polarizing players in fantasy drafts this season, and what kind of shape he shows up to for camp will send his ADP flying in one direction or another. For what it's worth, there have been some videos surfacing which shows him looking somewhat slim and very explosive, but he's not at the same level he was at for Duke just yet.
Giannis' jumper looks very smooth
Giannis Antetokounmpo looks more and more unfair by the day and now he's showcasing a new-look jumper (take a look here). Giannis was already No. 3 on my draft board behind Nikola Jokić and Stephen Curry, but this solidifies it and more. Giannis also made an interesting comment about the Bulls this week, mentioning that he wouldn't one day rule out playing for Chicago. He's under contract through the 2025-26 season, so don't stress just yet, Milwaukee.