While the NBA's rumor mill has slowed from a waterfall to a leaky faucet, it still puts out a handful of interesting tidbits for the hoops world to dissect.
At this stage, clubs (hopefully) have their infrastructure in place, but there are still opportunities to put the finishing touches on rosters. Not to mention, the Association often operates with a forward-thinking slant, so executives are also focusing on their long-term designs.
The latest basketball buzz includes an item each from Columns A and B—trade talk and an early preview of a potential development down the line. Let's dig in.
Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics Have "Mutual Understanding"
While Irving technically holds a $21.3 million player option for 2019-20, there's a reason he's often one of the first names mentioned as part of the 2019 free-agency class.
In the super-sized world of NBA economics, $21.3 million is well below market value for a 26-year-old riding a streak of five consecutive All-Star selections.
The fact he's a different breed—forget the flat earth stuff, he requested a trade away from LeBron James—has made him seem potentially obtainable despite the Celtics having both a bright present and a blinding future. Both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, for instance, plan to pursue him, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.
That said, at least one observer has heard it would be premature to print Irving's ticket out of Boston.
"My best intel is that the Celtics and Kyrie have a pretty good mutual understanding that he wasn't going to get traded in the offseason and that there are long-term aspirations for both parties," ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz said on "The Jump." "Anything can happen over the course of an eight-month season, but I kind of like him staying."
It should be noted, of course, that Arnovitz' comments came in response to an ESPN Forecast piece where 46.9 percent of their panelists predicted Irving will be a Knick by 2019-20. The Celtics, by the way, where a close second at 43.8.
What does this tell us? Mostly, that no one knows what the future holds for Irving—a fact that holds true for virtually every player headed for free agency.
But it also says he'll have options. And even though the Celtics seem a more appealing squad for now, maybe that's different next summer once Kristaps Porzingis returns from his ACL rehab, youngsters like Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina get more seasoning and New York potentially has the cap space to chase multiple stars.
Miami Heat Aren't Interested in Ryan Anderson
Despite finishing one win shy of the NBA Finals, the Houston Rockets have had a busy summer. New deals were inked with Chris Paul and Clint Capela, while Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute exited and Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis III and Michael Carter-Williams came onboard.
The eye test grades Houston's offseason as maybe a half-step backward. It wasn't a disaster by any stretch, since Paul and Capela are still around, but the Rockets' sixth-ranked defense won't be as versatile or probably as stingy without Ariza and Mbah a Moute.
Couple that information with the fact general manager Daryl Morey seemingly always has something up his sleeve, and it's little surprise to hear Houston is still tinkering. Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire recently reported a desire for the club to add another defender.
It sounds like one potential upgrade is off the table, though. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported the Miami Heat aren't interested in a possible swap with Space City:
"Regarding rumors about a Heat trade involving Houston forward Ryan Anderson, that's not something that interests Miami at this time, according to a league source.
Both USA Today and ESPN have floated the idea of Houston trading Anderson and a draft pick to Miami for Tyler Johnson or James Johnson. But while that would appear to interest the Rockets, it's not something the Heat has found appealing."
This makes sense for Miami, which hopes to remain competitive in the now LeBron James-less Eastern Conference.
Tyler Johnson and James Johnson were third and fifth, respectively, on the Heat in minutes played last season. Neither player is perfect and both might be overpaid—Tyler is owed $19.2 million for this season and next; James has three years and $46 million left—but they're capable of playing significant minutes.
Anderson, on the other hand, just averaged his fewest minutes since 2010-11 (26.1). That number plummeted to 8.6 in the playoffs, when his defensive deficiencies and offensive limitations were too much to mask.
The good news for the Rockets is they have time to continue exploring Anderson deals, and even if none surfaces, they know he was part of last season's team, which set a franchise record for wins (65) and held a 3-2 lead in the conference finals before a hamstring injury sidelined Paul.