Since Bruce Brown Jr. was sent to Toronto in January, as the major salary of the Pacers’ package for Pascal Siakam, league personnel consistently mentioned two teams to monitor for Brown’s next destination before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline: New York and Los Angeles. Both the Knicks and Lakers pursued Brown as a free agent this past summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports, before Brown ended up taking a ballooned two-year, $45 million offer from Indiana.
There’s another team to consider as a strong possibility for Brown. The Jazz, according to league sources, have discussed a framework with the Raptors that would bring Brown to Utah in return for Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji. What draft capital could be part of that conversation remains to be seen, but Toronto has been consistent with its messaging to rival teams that it is looking for a first-round pick for Brown, sources said.
If there’s ultimately a deal with Utah that would be one data point that would further suggest the mounting noise around the league that the Lakers aren’t expected to pursue a major upgrade before the deadline. Los Angeles had called Toronto about Brown, sources said, and the Lakers held widely reported conversations with Atlanta about Dejounte Murray. Yet the Lakers will have greater ammunition to pursue top-tier talent this summer, when two more first-round draft picks will be at Los Angeles’ disposal.
If Olynyk does end up being dealt to Toronto, it’s certainly possible the Raptors would be interested in keeping the veteran center who helped Team Canada win gold at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He could provide valuable spacing around first-time All-Star Scottie Barnes. Olynyk is also on an expiring $12.1 million contract and could quite feasibly be rerouted to another team if Toronto determines he’s not going to be part of the Raptors’ future plans.
Philadelphia, Miami and Golden State also have shown interest in Olynyk, according to league sources. Boston had also been interested in reuniting with the big man it drafted out of Gonzaga, sources said, but the Celtics trading for Memphis’ Xavier Tillman will likely rule out Boston for Olynyk.
The Tillman trade should rule out the Celtics in the running for Andre Drummond as well. Chicago’s reserve center has drawn interest from various teams with varying postseason hopes. Philadelphia remains one club with an eye toward acquiring Drummond, sources said, as the former Sixer could possibly start in the absence of injured reigning MVP Joel Embiid. Along with Dallas, Phoenix is another team that’s shown interest in Drummond, sources said. The Rockets and Lakers had shown interest in Drummond as well, per sources, but both teams have been categorized as less likely outcomes for the 30-year-old big man.
Chicago has stated it will take at least multiple second-round picks for the Bulls to part with Drummond — if they move him at all — sources said. Tillman’s cost of two second-rounders for Memphis would seem to suggest that’s a reasonable price point for Drummond. But the Bulls, by all accounts, still have eyes on the postseason, and it’s no sure thing Chicago will ultimately move one of the game’s top offensive rebounders.
Smaller moves for the Lakers?
One of the most consistent pieces of league-wide information has been Los Angeles’ interest in several players on the Brooklyn Nets. It seems Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie are the two Nets who offer the most intrigue to the Lakers, but Los Angeles has also shown interest in Royce O’Neale, sources said. The Nets also roster Lonnie Walker, who fans may recall became a Lakers postseason cult hero last spring and has drawn interest from multiple playoff contenders.
Pelicans, Hawks talking Dejounte Murray?
The Pelicans have been searching for rim-protecting big men for quite some time. New Orleans holds a well-known affinity for Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, sources said, but Cleveland has not made him available for trade. The same goes for Orlando center Wendell Carter, who’s been ruled off limits by the Magic, sources said, and therefore marks another target New Orleans’ front office has had to wipe off its whiteboard.
The Pistons have been the most active team ahead of this trade deadline, and Detroit big man Isaiah Stewart remains a player of interest to New Orleans, sources said. As are Hawks centers Onyeka Okongwu and Clint Capela.
The Pelicans and Hawks indeed held tangible trade talks this week, league sources told Yahoo Sports, that included various concepts regarding both of Okongwu and Capela, as well as All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray. However, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the talks, there has been little traction on anything developing between Atlanta and New Orleans.