NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Andrew Wiggins, Derrick Jones Jr., More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

Golden State Warriors guard Andrew Wiggins (22) against the Toronto Raptors during an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors plan to use the stars currently on their roster to forge a path back up the Western Conference standings. 

Unlike the D'Angelo Russell acquisition, which was followed by a midseason trade, the Warriors reportedly plan to hold on to Andrew Wiggins, instead of flipping him elsewhere. 

Wiggns could be paired with a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as a high first-round draft pick, to improve on a league-worst record. 

There is less of a guarantee for Derrick Jones Jr. to remain with the Miami Heat during free agency. 

Miami's larger free-agent aspirations may allow another team to sign the 23-year-old this summer.


Latest NBA Rumors

Andrew Wiggins

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

According to The Athletic's Anthony Slater, the Warriors plan on using Wiggins as their starting small forward next season. 

"Ask anyone in the organization—during their private or public moments—they got Wiggins with the expectation that he'll be their starting small forward next season, not just a matching contract to flip (like they did with Russell)," Slater wrote. 

Golden State received Wiggins with a pair of 2021 draft picks in the deal that sent Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to Minnesota. 

The 25-year-old is on a deal that increases by $2 million until he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023. 

The decision to keep Wiggins in the fold will not be cheap since he, Curry and Thompson are all scheduled to make over $29 million in the 2020-21 season. The high price tag could be worth it if Wiggins thrives in a secondary scoring role behind the pair of guards. 

In 12 games since the trade, he averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for a young Warriors side. He is averaging 21.8 points per game this year, which marks the first time since the 2016-17 season he eclipsed 20 points per contest. 

If he puts together back-to-back 20-point seasons, Wiggins could help ease concerns that the Warriors need to splash money on another star, like Giannis Antetokounmpo.


Derrick Jones Jr. 

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 11:  Derrick Jones Jr. #5 of the Miami Heat handles the ball against the Charlotte Hornets on March 11, 2020 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or u
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The Antetokounmpo sweepstakes could affect how the Miami Heat approach this offseason. 

The Athletic's John Hollinger pointed out Miami's long-term strategy may play a role in Jones' contract negotiations. 

"The Heat may get squeamish about paying him past next summer, when they're trying to keep their cap space powder dry for a run at an elite free agent (coughGianniscough). That could provide an opportunity for another team to swoop in and grab Jones," he wrote.

The 23-year-old is making $1.6 million in the final part of a two-year deal. Although he will not command huge numbers, he is still deserving of a raise after putting up career-best totals in points, rebounds and assists per game. 

Miami has Jimmy Butler's max deal on the books until at least 2022, and the contracts of Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro have slight increases with each year left. 

A possible re-signing of Goran Dragic also has to be considered in Miami's financial situation, and that could affect Jones, especially if they want to save some cash to make a run at Antetokounmpo in 2021.

If Jones does not return to the Heat, he could be valued for his field-goal percentage inside the three-point arc. He has a 51.4 field-goal percentage and a two-point percentage of 67, according to Hollinger, and that could convince a team to take a shot on him despite a lackluster three-point rate. 


De'Anthony Melton

Brandon Dill/Associated Press

De'Anthony Melton's increase from five points per game with the Phoenix Suns last season to 8.1 points per contest with the Memphis Grizzlies could make him valuable on the free-agent market. 

The 21-year-old is a restricted free agent with a $1.9 million qualifying offer on his deal, but Memphis may not be inclined to keep him if other offers are too high. 

Hollinger noted Melton's value in a weaker offseason market to The Athletic's Peter Edmiston:

"I expect Melton to get offers for the full midlevel exception; the only question is whether a rebuilding cap-room team like Atlanta, Charlotte or Detroit would have the stones to go beyond that. In either case, the Grizzlies are protected by the Arenas rule, meaning that the first two years of any offers sheet to Melton could only be for the MLE, but the money could potentially increase in subsequent years." 

Memphis could be motivated to keep Melton around as a backup to Ja Morant, and he may continue making progress as a scorer. 

However, his scoring ability would be intriguing to a team like the Detroit Pistons, who may be looking for reinforcements behind Derrick Rose if they can't land a point guard in the 2020 NBA draft.

It would make sense for the Grizzlies to keep Melton around for as long as it's reasonable, though, since he has shown improvements this season.


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Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference

Contract information obtained from Spotrac