A Phoenix Suns star’s monster contract demands could push him out of the Western powerhouse as the New York Knicks keep their eye on a crucial piece of the puzzle in Dallas.
Read on for the latest whispers floating around in the NBA Rumor Mill!
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SUNS STAR’S MAX DEAL REQUIREMENTS MAKES IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION
Keeping a superstar team together and staying under the salary cap is never easy and it’s a problem facing the Phoenix Suns.
DeAndre Ayton becomes a restricted free agent and according to Bleacher Report, he is expected to enforce a maximum salary.
However, the report claims that the Suns are skeptical about matching such a gargantuan offering.
It’s not the first time Ayton and the Suns have not looked each other in the eye when it comes to his salary demands, as the Western Conference heavyweights were somewhat taken aback by the five-year $238 million dollar cap in negotiations last off-season.
In mid-January, the Suns also had to do without Ayton for a seven-game period, with Javale McGee and Bismack Biyombo starring and doing appropriate work.
Given Phoenix’s success during that period, has it been proven that the team has a solution to Ayton’s absence at a significantly lower cost?
Anyway, Bleacher Report claims there are five realistic teams that could push for Ayton: Atlanta, Detroit, Portland, Charlotte and San Antonio.
Charlotte has a gaping hole in the middle position, while the Spurs also have plenty of wiggle room within the salary cap.
Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic becomes a free agent and could be involved in a trade deal, while the Pistons could divorce Jerami Grant in a possible deal.
MAGIC URGES LAKERS TO STAY ON RUSS
The Lakers don’t want-they don’t want drama about Russell Westbrook just keeps going.
Westbrook has flopped since moving to Los Angeles, resulting in an absolutely horrific season for the glamor franchise this year.
But former Lakers player and executive Magic Johnson says discharging the star – despite all the gossip to suggest that’s their intention – may not be the best move given Westbrook’s huge contract.
Johnson told the athletic: “Well, it can only work if you have the coach – the right coach. For me it still comes down to who is the coach? And then, also, he has a $47 million (contract) one-year contract. Even if you offer it (in a trade), what do you realistically get in return?
“I told them this too – you’re going to get some contracts that you probably don’t want, and they’re going (chronologically) past his contract. You really have to think about that. Are those players you’re going to get back, are they really going to help you I said, talk to him.
“Whatever has happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell? How can you make it more comfortable? So they have to figure out all these things. Take him out, take him out to dinner, or let him sit.
“How can this be better? Because if he will be there, it must be better. I think whoever they name is, that’s the first thing they’ll have to do.”
Johnson also said the hunt for the Laker’s coaching needs to find a leader who can restore focus on player responsibility.
“And we’ve gotten away from the responsibility. Guys have never talked about that this season. It was always someone else’s fault. I hated that. Never, ‘Hey, I played bad. Hey, it’s me.’”
KNICKS EYE UP MAVERICKS STAR
Like the Suns, the Dallas Mavericks could be in a bit of trouble if they want to keep one of their stars.
Jalen Brunson has taken his game to a whole new level in the playoffs, highlighting his importance to the team.
However, if Dallas wants to keep him, a deal for Brunson could cost more than $25 million.
With six stars already earning between $14 million and $28 million, it could force the Mavericks to part with Brunson in order to stay within their spending schedule.
Brunson is ready to become an unrestricted free agent, and The Athletic reports that the New York Knicks are looming as the most likely team to land his signature.
Given that the Knicks are looking for a point guard, and the fact that Brunson’s father, Rick, has said his son will make a move in New York think, it seems the stars are aligned so that the Mavs star to the Big Apple.
RAPTORS ACE SEEN LARGE $160M CONUNDRUM
The playing future of Raptors star Fred VanVleet is of great concern not to Toronto fans, but to the NBA world as a whole.
With one year left on his current contract, VanVleet must make a big decision.
Will he negotiate a deal with the Raptors quickly, or will he retire from senior year and hit the market earlier than planned?
According to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, VanVleet is likely to remain in Toronto on a $160 million four-year deal that would begin in the 2023/24 season.
However, Koreen also raised the possibility that multiple teams across the league could create cap space to match VanVleet’s salary if they’d like to dive into the free agency market.
BEAL “LEANS TO” MONSTER DEAL
Bradley Beal’s future is all but resolved as he continues his rehabilitation from season-ending wrist surgery in February.
Beal had his cast removed at the end of April and it will be quite some time before he is back on the track.
But according to The Washington Postthe injury has done little to alter the 28-year-old’s immediate playing path.
The Washington Post reports that Beal is “still leaning towards” a multi-year deal with his current team, the Washington Wizards, for a deal worth about $351 million.
Beal has spent his entire career thus far with the Wizards and this latest deal will likely keep him there until his twilight.
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