The Spurs have reportedly entered the Avery Bradley sweepstakes. According to Marc Stein, the Spurs “emerged” as a suitor for Bradley on Wednesday with less than 24 hours remaining until the trade deadline. The Los Angeles Clippers are looking for a first-round pick in exchange for the 27-year-old swingman. The Thunder have also been connected to Bradley, but it’s “unclear” if they have the assets necessary to pry him away from the Clippers. Bradley, who was recently traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Clippers in the Blake Griffin blockbuster, will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He’s currently averaging 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three. The Spurs have a deep stable of swingmen, but they’re going to be in need of some defensive reinforcements on the perimeter so long as Kawhi Leonard is sidelined. Leonard has been limited to nine appearances this season and hasn’t played since Jan. 13 because of a quad injury.
The Cavaliers remain one of the teams interested in acquiring Kings point guard George Hill. The Houston Rockets also have interest in Hill, the sources said. But the Kings are proceeding with caution on any deal to move the veteran because they don’t want to become the dumping spot for another team’s bad contracts. They’re inclined to pass on any deals that don’t include acquiring young players or draft assets. The Kings could do a one-for-one swap with Houston if they were willing to take forward Ryan Anderson, sources said. But Anderson, the former Oak Ridge High School and Cal star, has two more seasons left on his deal worth in excess of $41 million – the kind of contract the Kings want to avoid. Sacramento wants to maintain financial flexibility over the next couple of years to either add an impact player or re-sign players who are still on their rookie contracts. While Hill is the most intriguing trade piece, the Kings have received inquiries about veterans Garrett Temple, Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos, all of whom are relative bargains with salaries of around $8 million. Koufos and Temple both have player options on their deals for next season. Hill to Cleveland has been discussed for weeks, with guard Iman Shumpert the key player who would come to the Kings. Hill’s $20 million salary for this season has been a hangup in negotiations, as has the fact the Kings would likely have to take at least two players, meaning they’d have to cut down their roster. They’re not inclined to part with a young player like Malachi Richardson. If the Kings don’t trade Hill, he would remain a valuable trade asset for them in the summer, or into next season, because his three-year, $57 million contract has a buyout option in the third year. That makes him appealing to a suitor who only wants to commit to him for one season. Hill is averaging 10.3 points and 2.8 assists this season and has moved to a backup role behind rookie De’Aaron Fox.
The Clippers and guard Lou Williams reportedly agreed to a three-year contract extension Wednesday amid his breakout as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. The contract is worth $24 million with a $1.5 million guarantee in the final year of the deal. Williams will make $31 million in total counting this season. Williams, 31, is in his first season with the Clippers. He’s averaging a career-high 23.3 points per game while helping keep the Clippers in the playoff hunt despite a rash of injuries across their roster. Williams after the 50 points game against the Warriors said: “I’ve been playing with confidence for the past month or so now, so tonight was similar to other nights that I’ve had. I’ve had some special nights this far in the year. But this one was pretty good”. Williams came over as part of the offseason trade that sent Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets. While something of an afterthought in the deal, he’s played the best basketball of his career under Doc Rivers. He’s well on his way to blasting his career high in points and threes made while also shooting at a career-best 38 percent from distance. Tying him up on a longer-term deal might not be the best financial situation. Williams is a below-par defender who had never performed at this level on offense coming into the season. Paying him into his mid-30s is a shaky fiscal call for a team that’s already over the cap with no path toward title contention.
Carmelo Anthony felt awful when he heard that his former teammate Kristaps Porzingis tore his left ACL in Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee. Anthony said he planned to reach out to Porzingis, whose season ended after he landed awkwardly following a dunk over Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Porzingis crumbled to the floor, clutching the back of his knee and punching the court. Melo told reporters: “It’s sad, man. It’s sad. It’s just sad to know that injury, the type of year he’s been having, the growth that he has had over this past couple years and even this season”. Anthony played with Porzingis his first two seasons in the NBA and helped prepare the Latvian big man for becoming the Knicks’ franchise player and face of the organization. Porzingis was thrust into that role when Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City and had handled it well. Porzingis became an All-Star for the first time this season, fulfilling a dream. But now he can’t play in next weekend’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Porzingis played in 48 games, averaging 22.7 points to lead the Knicks and an NBA-leading 2.38 blocks per game. Melo added: “As a friend, forget basketball, as a friend, as a little brother, it’s hard to see anybody go through that. But to see him have to deal with that, it’s tough. It’s tough to see and tough to watch”.