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Buy or Sell NBA Trade and Offseason Rumors After 2023 Draft Lottery

Greg Swartz

Congratulations, San Antonio Spurs. Victor Wembanyama will soon be on his way.

While all 29 other NBA teams can't help but be at least a little bit jealous, there's no time to sit and pout. The offseason has already begun for all but four franchises, with the 2023 draft just over a month away.

From free agency, to the trade market, to the draft itself, summer rumors are heating up—especially now that we know where each team will be picking.

Following the 2023 draft lottery, it's time to buy or sell the latest NBA offseason rumors.

"Strong Level of Trade Interest" in Warriors Jonathan Kuminga

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Following a second-round exit to the Los Angeles Lakers, the future of the Golden State Warriors' dynasty has become unclear.

Between Draymond Green's upcoming player option, Klay Thompson entering the final year of his contract and trying to balance the future and the present, there's a lot to be sorted out by the Bay this summer.

After Golden State traded James Wiseman at the deadline, another top-10 pick could potentially be on the move.

Jonathan Kuminga, the No. 7 overall selection in 2021, fell out of head coach Steve Kerr's playoff rotation after averaging a career-high 20.8 minutes during the regular season.

As ESPN's Zach Lowe writes, "judging from my conversations, there remains a strong level of interest in Jonathan Kuminga around the league."

Despite his modest stats this season (9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.5 steals), teams would be smart to try and poach Kuminga from the Warriors now.

Heading into his third professional season, Kuminga won't even turn 21 until October, is already a good defender and is one of the most athletic players in the NBA. His 6'8" frame is ideal for a modern wing and Kuminga raised his three-point shooting from 33.6 percent as a rookie to 37.0 percent this past season. Despite being drafted a year earlier, Kuminga is still younger than a lot of the top players in the 2022 class (Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, Benedict Mathurin, Walker Kessler, Jalen Williams).

Kuminga is the perfect player for a rebuilding team to bring in and let grow in an expanded role. The Warriors should protect him and find more minutes for the G-League Ignite alum at all costs.

Buy or Sell: Buy. Kuminga still has crazy-high potential and would thrive in a bigger role.

Mavericks to "Explore the Market" for No. 10 Overall Pick

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The Mavericks were one of the big winners of the draft lottery, as their pick landing in the top 10 means they'll get to keep it thanks to a protection in the Kristaps Porzingis-New York Knicks trade of 2019.

Whoever they select may not be wearing a Dallas hat for long, however, as the Mavs are very much in win-now mode and looking to upgrade the roster as soon as possible.

As Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer writes:

"There are other teams rival executives are already pinning as potential trade candidates. Dallas avoided disaster by landing its top-10 protected pick at the No. 10 spot, and the Mavericks are certainly expected to explore the market for that selection in hopes of adding to their All-Star backcourt of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, the latter of which will become an unrestricted free agent this summer."

This should come as no surprise.

The Mavericks can't afford to be patient and develop a rookie to become an important playoff rotation piece next to Doncic—not after this team crashed and burned during the final few months of the season.

Dallas has to pay Kyrie Irving given what it sacrificed to obtain him and should now be looking to package the No. 10 overall pick with some salary to try and get a high-level starter back in return.

While Doncic still has three seasons and $129 million remaining on his contract, trade requests are now made years in advance of free agency from today's stars.

At this point, it would be a surprise if Dallas actually kept the pick—one that will ultimately end up in the hands of another franchise.

Buy or Sell: Buy. The Mavs don't have time to develop another rookie with Doncic entering Year 6 and Irving now 31.

Suns Expect Chris Paul to Open Next Season as Starting Point Guard

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The Suns once again melted down in glorious fashion to end their season in the second round and are now looking for a new head coach following the dismissal of Monty Williams.

While Kevin Durant and Devin Booker appear safe, the rest of the roster shouldn't look at new real estate in the valley just yet.

The future of Chris Paul as the team's floor general is (momentarily) secure, as the Suns are expected to fully guarantee his salary next season, according to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes.

As Haynes goes on to write, "Paul, 38, is only guaranteed $15.8 million of his $30.8 million wage if he were to be waived by the June 28 deadline. Phoenix still maintains some flexibility with the decision, but the franchise is currently of the mindset that Paul will open up next season as the team's starting point guard, sources say."

Guaranteeing Paul's salary is the smart thing to do, but the key word here is "currently" when discussing the veteran's role for the fall.

Time is not on Paul's side, and the Suns need to be cognizant of this. If Udonis Haslem and Andre Igudoala retire this offseason, only LeBron James and PJ Tucker (by one day) will be older than Paul among all active players. Paul also suffered a groin strain in Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets after previously missing 23 games due to injury in the regular season.

Let's not forget that Phoenix has already tried to trade Paul in an attempt to upgrade the point guard position.

Haynes reported in February that the Suns offered Paul to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal to try and get Kyrie Irving. Guaranteeing Paul's salary now keeps him trade eligible rather than shedding some money and getting nothing in return.

Buy or Sell: Buy Paul being the starter for now, sell that he's still the Suns' starting point guard by next year's playoffs.

Blazers Could Host "Bidding War" for Third Overall Pick If Scoot Henderson Falls

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Portland won't get the chance to draft Victor Wembanyama, but that doesn't mean the draft lottery was a disappointment. The Blazers moved up to No. 3 overall, the highest selection they've had since winning the lottery in 2007.

While Wembanyama is going No. 1 to the San Antonio Spurs, G-League Ignite point guard Scoot Henderson, the presumed No. 2 overall pick, isn't a lock to go to the Charlotte Hornets with LaMelo Ball already running the show.

This could play to Portland's favor.

As Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer writes, "The Blazers hold the hottest commodity. Charlotte jumping to the second pick, up from the fourth-best odds, brings an interesting dilemma and what some league personnel consider a suboptimal fit between Henderson and incumbent All-Star guard LaMelo Ball. That could very well lead the Hornets to choose (Brandon) Miller instead, which could allow Portland to hold a bidding war for teams hoping to acquire Henderson's services."

There are several teams picking below Portland (Houston Rockets at No. 4, Orlando Magic at No. 6, Washington Wizards at No. 8, Utah Jazz at No. 9) that should have interest in Henderson joining their backcourt.

While Portland could choose to keep the pick and begin a rebuild, the team still prefers to build around Damian Lillard, who will be 33 at the start of next season.

"We're a team that's trying to win and trying to maximize Damian's timeline. This was an important night for us," Portland general manager Joe Cronin told Fischer. "Front offices around the league think highly of this draft, so you would think that a lot of teams that were sitting [on stage] tonight will be getting a lot of calls from teams trying to move up and maneuver."

The Blazers could trade this pick outright for win-now help, or simply agree to move down the draft board, picking up additional assets along the way to use in a future trade.

For now, the No. 3 pick looks like it's in play and will only become more valuable if Henderson falls past No. 2.

Buy or Sell: Buy a bidding war for the third overall pick if Henderson is still there, sell if he goes No. 2.

Rockets Think James Harden Will Leave Philly for Houston

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There's been a lot of smoke revolving around a James Harden-Houston Rockets reunion.

Given their league-high projected $59 million in cap space, the Rockets could sign Harden outright this summer. Harden could also take a meeting with Houston, get a mega offer and then ask the Philadelphia 76ers to match as part of a leverage play.

Regardless of where his true intentions lie, Houston believes they are a true contender to sign the 10-time All-Star.

"I don't know what Harden is going to do," ESPN's Zach Lowe said on The Lowe Post Podcast. "God only knows. I don't know what the hell James Harden is going to do."

"The Rockets think he's coming, but go on," ESPN's Tim MacMahon replied.

"I know the Rockets think he's coming," said Lowe.

Unless Houston plans on trading off some of its young talent for veterans and spending all $59 million on Harden and another star, this partnership continues to make no sense. Harden, for all of his incredible on-court talent, has never been known for his leadership, which this young Rockets team desperately needs. Adding a ball-dominant guard isn't going to help the growth of players like Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., Kevin Porter Jr., Alperen Şengün and others, either.

The firing of Doc Rivers should only strengthen the case for Harden to return to Philly, given the rumors of his unhappiness with the veteran coach.

If Harden wants to win, the Sixers are still his best option with Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and company—not with a bunch of players in their early 20s coming off a 22-60 season.

Buy or Sell: Sell Harden ultimately signing with the Rockets, even if they truly believe he will.


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