The NBA rumor mill is a glorious gift in all its forms.
Reports can fill sports radio segments, populate entire podcasts and spark the fiercest of social media debates. The best is the report type doesn't much matter. Trade and free-agency talks might spur the most water-cooler conversations, but mysterious injury updates can be critical this time of year. And who doesn't like hearing about the latest burner account controversy reported by The Ringer?
On or off the court, the Association does professional sports better than anyone. So, let's not waste any more time and dive right into the latest reports.
Injured Iguodala Searching for Answers
Andre Iguodala bumped knees with James Harden late in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals and hasn't suited up since. Before Golden State can get a timetable for Iguodala's return, it first needs to pin down what's wrong.
"Iguodala recently got a second opinion on his injured left knee and is still trying to figure out what's wrong, league sources told ESPN," Chris Haynes reported. "The Warriors are officially labeling the injury a left lateral leg contusion."
The NBA Finals tip off Thursday night, and Iguodala is still searching for a diagnosis. And whenever that gets figured out, how much longer would he need for the actual recovery?
While he's the lowest profile member of the Hamptons 5, he always plays a calming role for this club at both ends. Not to mention, he's typically handled the lion's share of defensive duties on LeBron James during their three previous Finals bouts.
Golden State has enough to win without Iguodala, but he's still a critical puzzle piece. Only the Warriors' four All-Stars and P.J. Tucker top Iguodala's playoff plus/minus of plus-85.
Marcus Smart Pricing His Way Out of Boston?
Marcus Smart figures to be one of this summer's trickiest free agents to price.
He's relentless and versatile on defense, and he often serves as the emotional spark plug of the Boston Celtics. But he's also 6'4" with career shooting percentages of 36 from the field and 29.3 from distance—a shooting guard who can't shoot at a time when almost everyone is relied upon for some level of spacing.
Oh, and he's a restricted free agent, a status that almost always muddles the market.
So, how much should that add up to? Smart has an idea.
"I'm worth more than $12-14 million," Smart told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. "Just for the things I do on the court that don't show up on the stat sheet. You don't find guys like that. I always leave everything on the court, every game. Tell me how many other players can say that."
The Celtics should appreciate Smart's resolve. It's part of what allows him to make such an outsized impact on the court—well, that and a sweeping 6'9" wingspan.
What Boston will like less is his message. It already has at least $104.6 million on next season's books without accounting for new contracts given to Smart or the other impending free agents. Unless Smart is willing to come down from what he believes he's worth, he may have played his final game with the Shamrocks.
"The Celtics can make a qualifying offer of nearly $6.1 million to Smart and can match any free-agent offer that is made by another team, but it's unlikely they will do so if the numbers climb too high," MacMullan wrote. "... The Celtics are resigned that Smart will opt for a bigger payday elsewhere instead of taking a hometown discount."
Michael Beasley's Suitor List Growing?
The New York Knicks lost Kristaps Porzingis to an ACL tear and 50-plus games for the fourth straight season. If you moved them off your radar, no one would have blamed you.
That said, you would have missed some interesting developments—like Michael Beasley averaging his most points (13.2) and rebounds (5.6) since 2010-11. That resurgence apparently wasn't lost on everyone.
"According to an NBA source, the Hawks and Suns have interest in Beasley and both clubs have cap space," Marc Berman reported for the New York Post. "Beasley has a home in Atlanta and is said to be intrigued. ... At least five teams are expected to vie for Beasley."
Phoenix would seem to make for a curious destination, since he previously had a disastrous one-year stint there. The Suns also have bigger needs than a volume scorer who would potentially take touches away from Devin Booker, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson.
Their rumored interest has been strongly refuted by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
But the Hawks could be interesting, since they need more scoring, especially if they trade away Dennis Schroder. And it wouldn't be shocking to win-now clubs express interest, since Beasley fits the mold of an athletic combo forward and just went for 21.3 points per 36 minutes while shooting 50.7 percent overall and 39.5 percent outside.
He's also said to be open to a return to New York, where he would reunite with head coach David Fizdale, who was a Heat assistant during both of Beasley's stints in Miami.
"He definitely wants to come back to New York and play for Fizdale," a source told Berman. "Fizdale is another plus. But it's still a business."
No matter how Beasley's free agency plays out, this is already quite the turnaround. He went unsigned into August last summer before eventually settling for the veteran's minimum. His free-agency forecast is calling for a much warmer reception this offseason.