NBA Rumors: Latest on Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving-to-Lakers Trade Buzz and More
The NBA offseason continues to unfold, and it's been a whirlwind thus far. The action started with the news that Kevin Durant had requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets and has not subsided.
While Brooklyn has yet to find a new home for Durant, the Nets did acquire Royce O'Neale from the Utah Jazz. Utah didn't stop there, either, and sent standout Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a separate trade.
The O'Neale and Gobert trades were two big early dominoes, and they won't be the last to fall. Utah is likely to make other moves, Durant's request clouds the future of Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, and the trade market remains wide-open for most teams around the league.
What's the latest buzz as the NBA wraps its first weekend of free agency? Let's take a look.
Many Feel That Donovan Mitchell Could Still Be on the Move
With O'Neale and Gobert out in Utah, it's fair to wonder how the impending rebuild will impact star guard Donovan Mitchell. There have been conflicting reports.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t SNY's Ian Begley), Utah intends to retool the roster around Mitchell rather than completely tear down and rebuild the roster.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst, however, reported that teams believe that Mitchell can be had in a trade.
"Talking to league executives who sort of saw some of this coming, they think it would be abnormal for Donovan to not to want out at this point," Windhorst said on NBA Today (h/t Talkin' NBA).
Windhorst also reported that some teams are preparing to make a run at Mitchell if he can indeed be had.
"Right now, there are teams out there who are revving up the possibility of calling Utah and seeing what it's going to take to get Donovan Mitchell because they’re not going to be done," he said of the Jazz.
The Ringer's Logan Murdock got even more specific, hinting that Mitchell may already be eyeing a move to the Miami Heat.
"But everything suggests that the writing is on the wall for Donovan Mitchell to leave," Murdock said on The Ringer NBA podcast (h/t Thomas Darro of Heavy). "... I don’t know if the bags are packed, but we’re [Mitchell] looking at spots in some beachside homes somewhere in Florida."
According to Wojnarowski,
the Heat are among Durant's preferred destinations. If both he and Mitchell are interested in joining Miami, then the Heat may well end up with a new star this offseason.
Lakers, Nets Discussing Irving-Westbrook Swap
With Durant on the way out of Brooklyn, Irving's future is entirely up in the air. The 30-year-old opted in for the 2022-23 season but did so to "fulfill his four-year commitment" to the Nets and to Durant, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The Los Angeles Lakers, it seems, are now trying to reunite Irving with LeBron James in L.A. The Lakers might just be able to unload Russell Westbrook's contract in the process.
"The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are actively engaged in discussions on a trade package that would send star point guard Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn in exchange for star point guard Kyrie Irving," Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote Saturday.
There are obstacles to an Irving-Westbrook swap, of course. Haynes noted that draft compensation is an "ongoing talking point" and that Brooklyn wants to unload Joe Harris as part of the deal.
As Windhorst pointed out on First Take (beginning at the 4:30 mark) on Friday, the Nets are going to use Irving to do what's best for the franchise. That may mean trading him to a team other than Los Angeles.
According to Charania on The Rally, several teams are "engaged" in trying to get Irving. So, while an Irving-Westbrook swap feels as likely as it ever has in 2022, it's still far from a done teal.
Jazz Now Eyeing Tacko Fall
Regardless of Mitchell's future, Utah needs to rebuild its roster in the wake of the O'Neale and Gobert trades. According to Marc J. Spears of ESPN, Tacko Fall could become Utah's new center.
"With Rudy Gobert gone, Jazz checking out another giant in 7-6 free agent center Tacko Fall," Spears tweeted. "Fall is playing on Utah's summer league team and is connected to Danny Ainge dating back to his time with the Celtics."
The 26-year-old first joined the NBA as an undrafted free agent out of UCF in 2019. As Spears noted, Fall began his career with the Boston Celtics when Ainge was president of basketball operations.
Now CEO of the Jazz, Ainge appears to be targeting a familiar face to help reload the roster. Or, at least, Ainge is willing to give Fall an opportunity.
The Senegal native has had limited exposure in the NBA and has spent most of his playing time in the G League. Since being signed in 2019, Fall has appeared in just 37 games with the Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers and he's averaged 6.2 minutes per game.
Fall is not going to replace Gobert's production. However, he does have an intriguing combination of size and skills to make for an intriguing project in Utah.