Home NBA Three Things to Know: Nothing is finalized. Yet. An NBA trade deadline rumors update. – NBCSports.com
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Three Things to Know: Nothing is finalized. Yet. An NBA trade deadline rumors update. – NBCSports.com

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Nothing is finalized… yet. Here’s your NBA trade deadline rumors update. With the NBA trade deadline just about 48 hours away, NBA teams are getting serious with their offers and the rumors are flying… but no deals. Yet. Here are some of the latest rumors flying around the NBA.

• A three-team deal that would have sent Clint Capela to Atlanta, Robert Covington to Houston, and picks to Minnesota for it to flip into D’Angelo Russell has died because the Warriors shot down trading Russell for those picks, reports Kevin O’Conner at the Ringer.

The Warriors have said all along they want to see what a Russell/Stephen Curry backcourt looks like before they trade Russell. Also, because Russell came in a sign-and-trade the Warriors are hard-capped and believe they can find a better trade (for themselves) after July 1 when that restriction is out of the way.

Otherwise, this trade gets Houston the wing they wanted (although if they trade Capela they need to bring back another rim-protecting center somehow), and Atlanta gets its center (which would mean John Collins becomes available via trade now or this summer). Speaking of Capela…

Houston and Boston are talking about a Capela trade. In this scenario (possibly with a third team), the Celtics would get Capela as their playoff center, and Minnesota would get Enes Kanter or Daniel Theis back from Boston plus one of Boston’s three first-round picks for 2020. That pick could be part of a package flipped to Golden State for Russell. Except, as mentioned above, the Warriors aren’t eager to trade Russell right now.

Whatever Houston does, don’t be surprised if they also maneuver to get below the luxury tax line.

• As an aside, the Timberwolves with Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns would be an offensive force, but could they get any stops? That’s a troubling defensive combo, and opposing coaches are going to drag Russell and KAT into all the pick-and-rolls.

• The Knicks reportedly have interest in Russell, too, but are not throwing their (likely very high) 2020 pick in the mix. Instead, it seems Kevin Knox and Bobby Portis plus a future pick are the bait. Hard to see the Warriors biting on that.

• The Clippers have been rumored in a lot of trades (looking for an upgrade at center and more shooting) but Paul George likes the roster Los Angeles has.

The Hornets are talking to the Knicks about a possible Julius Randle trade. That would raise the floor in Charlotte, but can the Hornets get the Knicks enough players/picks to make it interesting?

The Phoenix Suns need shooting and are talking with the Pistons about a Luke Kennard trade, with a first-round pick going back to Detroit in the deal.

Andre Iguodala let it be known (through sources) that he would sit out the rest of the season if not traded to “agreed-upon teams.” So there’s a list. This was leaked to scare off teams not on that list who are calling Memphis, it should not scare off Memphis. The Grizzlies need to get the best deal they can for Iguodala, it’s the other team’s problem if he doesn’t want to be there. Meanwhile, Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant want Iguodala traded so they can go at him on another team for not wanting to play with them.

• The Cavaliers have made Tristan Thompson available via trade as Cleveland reportedly goes into “asset acquisition mode.” What other mode have they been in for two years?

The Spurs are working on a DeMarre Carroll trade, and reportedly Rudy Gay also is available for the right price.

• There continues to be little market for Andre Drummond of Detroit, multiple sources tell NBC Sports. Drummond has game — he is the best rebounder in the league and can get buckets around the basket — but he is not a great rim protector, does not space the floor, the game is moving away from his style of play, and he makes $27 million this season then can opt-out to become a free agent next summer. That’s a lot of matching salary to put in a trade, then a lot of money spent next summer to keep him, for whatever team trades for Drummond. It’s hard to construct a trade teams will take around that.

2) Ben Simmons calls Sixers soft after another road loss. Miami continues to play good basketball, and on Monday night Jimmy Butler went off for a season-high 38 points — and he didn’t even need to play the fourth quarter — as the Heat scored a franchise-record 81 points in the second half and crushed the 76ers 137-106.

The Sixers are now 22-2 at home but just 9-18 on the road, including having dropped 10-of-12 away from the Wells Fargo Center. A frustrated Ben Simmons called Philadelphia “soft” after the loss.

Does trading for Robert Covington solve that problem? This was a game where the Sixers defense — sixth-best in the NBA this season — just got torched by Butler, Bad Adebayo and the Heat.

As an aside, and just my gut feel, but at some point Brett Brown is going to be the fall guy in Philly. That ultimately may not solve the problem that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are both All-Star/All-NBA level players whose games simply don’t mesh. Still, teams will dump the coach and try that approach before coming to the realization they need to break up two outstanding players. That is always the last resort.

3) The coronavirus outbreak has shut down the Chinese Basketball Association indefinitely. As Americans, we tend to like our sports as an escape from reality, even though it never really works that way.

It’s certainly not in China right now, where the Coronavirus — which has become a pandemic, infecting more than 17,000 people in 23 countries (including the United States) and killed more than 360 — has restricted travel and led to precautions to halt the spread of the virus.

That has shut down the Chinese Basketball Association for now, and a lot of American players in that league have already come home. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony was Tweeting about this a few days ago, but the information is still relevant.

Mix in fraught USA/China relations, and it’s easy to see how this could come out poorly for the players involved.

Jeremy Lin said on Instagram: “The CBA season’s been postponed indefinitely and I’m on standby, training and staying ready if the season resumes.” In the wake of the disease, the death of Kobe Bryant, and much more, Lin talks about the need to live life to the fullest because “Today isn’t guaranteed. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Nothing in life is guaranteed.” He also rails against the fools using this virus and human suffering to promote their racist viewpoints.

View this post on Instagram

Time flies and life is a blur. As I sit back and reflect, all I can say is this past year has been so crazy. The NBA and China’s relationship soured, my friend Godfrey suddenly died filming on set, last year’s Beijing Ducks captain G-Man was diagnosed w a terminal disease midseason and passed away, the coronavirus became a global health emergency, and Kobe/Gianna/7 others passed away in a tragic accident. The CBA season’s been postponed indefinitely and I’m on standby, training and staying ready if the season resumes. Since last summer I haven’t had much to say on social media, but I felt very strongly about this post. Today isn’t guaranteed. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Live life to the fullest, pursue the best version of yourself. If you aren’t content along the journey, you won’t be content at your destination. I learned this lesson the hard way. Find joy, find purpose, find truth. Love radically, serve generously. Life is too short and too precious for time to be wasted. I’ve lived in China this past season and now being back on US soil, I’m saddened by the racist comments regarding the virus in China. There are real people suffering and real heroes working around the clock in service to others – please don’t let your fear or ignorance rob you of seeing that. This world needs more compassion and empathy. We are all imperfect humans – we all need grace. You have one life to live, focus on what really matters in life. And pray that God blesses us with the chance to see tmrw 🙏🏼

A post shared by Jeremy Lin 林書豪 (@jlin7) on Jan 31, 2020 at 1:13pm PST

Don’t take anything away from Miami in this win. Jimmy Butler went off for a season-high 38 points — and he didn’t even need to play the fourth quarter — as the Heat scored a franchise-record 81 points in the second half and crushed the 76ers 137-106. They earned this win.

Philadelphia, however, has some issues.

The Sixers are now 22-2 at home but just 9-18 on the road, including having dropped 10-of-12. That led a frustrated Ben Simmons to call Philadelphia “soft” after the loss.

“We were soft… Don’t get bullied, fight over screens, get through screens. You’ve gotta knock somebody, knock ‘em over. You’ve gotta hit somebody in the face and knock ‘em down, make sure they don’t score, hit ‘em in the face.”

Mike Scott agreed with Simmons. When asked what needed to change, he put it simply.

“Not be soft,” Scott said.

The Sixers road woes have them sitting as the six seed in the East, four games back of Miami and having home court in the first round. This looks nothing like the team we thought would be a contender in the East.

Philly is looking to shake things up at the trade deadline and has pursued Robert Covington out of Minnesota, among others, but there has been no deal yet. Maybe Covington would have helped on Monday night, the Sixers defense — sixth-best in the NBA this season — just got torched by Butler, Bad Adebayo, and company. That came a couple of nights after Atlanta also shredded the defense.

If things continue to go poorly for Philly, including in the playoffs, Brett Brown is poised to be the fall guy. That ultimately may not solve the problem that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are both All-Star/All-NBA level players whose games simply don’t mesh. Still, teams will dump the coach and try that approach before coming to the realization they need to break up two outstanding players. That is always the last resort.

For now, Simmons wants the Sixers to toughen up.

Andre Iguodala will almost certainly be in another uniform by Thursday night — and the young Grizzlies apparently can’t wait until he’s gone.

Golden State traded Iguodala to Memphis last summer in a cost-saving move, and Iguodala didn’t want to suit up for a rebuilding team. Memphis wasn’t going to buy him out, so the two sides agreed that Iguodala would sit out, away from the team, until a trade could be put together. Thing is, those “rebuilding” Grizzlies are 25-25 and comfortably sitting as the eighth seed in the West. They could use a veteran wing such as Iguodala, but he has not joined the team.

After another win on Monday night, Dillon Brooks made his thoughts on Iguodala public — and Ja Morant backed him up.

Stephen Curry stepped up and had Iguodala’s back.

It’s easy to see why an aging veteran such as Iguodala wouldn’t want to spend the season on a rebuilding team. It’s also easy to see the feisty young Grizzlies would take offense to that.

If Iguodala gets traded — he’s trying to control where he gets sent — circle the date that team goes to Memphis. That will be a show.

The Phoenix Suns could use more shooting.

That seems a strange thing to say about a team with Devin Booker as its star, but the bottom line is the Suns are bottom 10 in the league in both three point shooting percentage and total percentage of points the team gets from three. The Suns need shooters.

Such as Detroit’s Luke Kennard. The two sides are in talks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The connection here: Jeff Bower, the Suns’ VP of basketball operations, used to be the Pistons GM and drafted Kennard.

The big question is what protections would be on that first-round pick. The Suns seem lottery bound this year, but in a down draft they may want Kennard more than a late lottery selection.

Kennard is a career 40.2 percent shooter from beyond arc who plays the wing (call him a two or three, whatever makes you happy). He’s not a spot-up guy, more than a third of his threes this season are unassisted — meaning he created the shot himself — plus he can play a little defense.

There’s some logic to the deal. If the two sides can figure out the protections on the pick, this trade could get done.

MIAMI (AP) — Jimmy Butler shook off the notion that a game against his former team should carry extra significance.

The win was all that mattered.

Butler scored a season-high 38 points before getting the fourth quarter off, and the Miami Heat scored a franchise-record 81 points in the second half to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 137-106 on Monday night.

“I’m never worried about offense,” Butler said. “Hell, I’m never worried about defense. I’m only worried about winning.”

Goran Dragic scored 24 points for Miami, Duncan Robinson scored 19 and All-Star Bam Adebayo finished with 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Heat. Derrick Jones Jr. added 15 points for Miami, which set season-highs for points and victory margin.

Miami also won the season series, 3-1.

“We just want to get better as the season goes on and we knew that this game was important just from the standpoint of being able to go up 3-1 against one of the teams we’re jostling against in this competitive Eastern Conference,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It matters.”

For Philadelphia, it was more of the same. The team with an NBA-best 22-2 home record lost for the 10th time in its last 12 road games. Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 29 points and 12 rebounds, and Mike Scott scored 17 points — most of it off 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range — in 18 minutes.

Ben Simmons had 16 points for Philadelphia.

“Second half we were pretty much nonexistent all around,” Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris said. “We just never made our mark on the defensive end in the second half.”

The 76ers are winning home games by an average of 10 points. But on the road, they’ve been beaten nine times by double-digits already this season — and this 31-point defeat came only two days after what had been a season-worst 21-point loss at Brooklyn on Saturday.

“We’re not playing defense the way we can play defense,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “It starts and almost stops there for me.”

Butler was 14 for 20 from the field and 8 for 8 from the foul line. The Heat committed only three turnovers; its previous franchise-low for a game was four, set against Orlando on Jan. 24, 2009.

“We want Jimmy to be aggressive,” Dragic said. “He’s our leader.”

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