The basketball world is buzzing and not entirely for on-court reasons.
As per usual, the NBA's off-court activity is rivaling the on-court action in both drama and excitement.
The latest batch of rumors around the Association include the New York Knicks balking at a superstar's price, (on a related note) potential big changes coming in the Big Apple and a scoring-starved squad targeting DeMar DeRozan. Let's dig in.
Knicks Thought AD Was Too Expensive?
It was supposed to have been a transformational summer for the New York Knicks. Turns out it possibly could have been, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving opting to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
When word first broke about Anthony Davis wanting out of New Orleans, the Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers were said to be at the top of his wish list. A recent report from ESPN's Brian Windhorst confirms as much, but he noted the 'Bockers were scared off by the Brow's price tag:
"Unlike other major stars recently, Davis had expressed interest in playing for the Knicks. But [team president Steve] Mills and [general manager Scott] Perry told people they were turned off by the Pelicans' high asking price of multiple first-round picks plus multiple young players, even though the Knicks had that type of package thanks to their [Kristaps] Porzingis trade. They said it would have undercut their long-range plan of building through the draft and developing picks into stars."
It's possible to defend New York's stance, to a degree. The Lakers paid a massive price to get him, coughing up three prospects (including rising star Brandon Ingram) and three future first-round picks. Davis can also become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, so perhaps this would've only been a rental.
That said, teams stockpile assets in hopes of one day landing a player of Davis' caliber. He's a six-time All-Star and owner of the league's third-highest career player efficiency rating ever (27.43). Plus, he's all of 26 years old, meaning he's either in the heart of his prime or still ascending toward it.
If ever you were going to blow the budget on a player, this was the one.
Instead, the Knicks are left holding a roster of some youngsters and a bunch of veteran placeholders, hoping one day to find a player like Davis.
Knicks Coach, Executives on Hot Seat?
The Knicks lost 65 games last season. They will almost assuredly put another massive number in that column this time around.
That level of losing isn't often conducive to longevity for the decision-makers. It doesn't sound like this will be one of the exceptions.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews reported Mills has "started to lay the internal groundwork for the eventual dismissal of coach David Fizdale."
"Everyone is moving to their positions now," a league source told ESPN. "This [is] how they'll make (Fizdale) the fall guy."
But that might not be enough to protect the top brass. Ian Begley of SNY hears "that Mills, Perry and Fizdale are all under greater scrutiny" amid the team's sluggish star—they are currently 3-9.
Sustained success might be the only saving grace, but it's hard to see that happening anytime soon. The Knicks roster is a mess. This group struggles to score and struggles to keep opponents from doing so. Their frontcourt is overcrowded, and their backcourt is underwhelming.
In other words, it might take a miracle to cool off all these warming seats.
Magic Eyeing DeMar DeRozan?
After a surprise return to last year's playoffs, the Orlando Magic are losing their fight against regression
The primary culprit? An offense struggling to find consistency from anywhere. No one on this team is averaging 18 points or five assists.
With positive production in short supply and the payroll suggesting this club is in win-now mode, the Magic might be ready to take their scoring search outside the organization. More specifically, they're reportedly taking a long look at four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan
"Multiple league sources say the Magic are scouring the trade market for scoring help and have already expressed interest in trading for DeRozan," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote.
The Spurs have encountered their own early struggles, and maybe that's motivation to pull the plug. With DeRozan able to hit free agency this summer (he has a $27.7 million player option for next season) and San Antonio employing a number of intriguing, young perimeter players, this might be the time to make a DeRozan deal.
If the 30-year-old moves to the Magic Kingdom, he would instantly be the club's high man in points (20.1) and assists (4.8) per game. But it remains to be seen what San Antonio would seek in return and how Orlando would make the money match.