Marc Stein isn’t certain whether the Mavericks or the Knicks will end up signing Jalen Brunson this offseason, but he hints in his latest Substack article that it would be a surprise if the point guard ends up anywhere else.
After being identified earlier this year as possible suitors for Brunson, the Pistons and Pacers are no longer being mentioned as potential destinations, Stein writes. Both teams used lottery picks to draft guards last Thursday, with Detroit selecting Jaden Ivey and Indiana nabbing Bennedict Mathurin.
Elsewhere on the free agency front, Stein provides an update on P.J. Tucker after reporting last week that the Sixers are considered the biggest threat to sign the forward away from the Heat. According to Stein, numerous rival teams are saying “with even more conviction now than they did last week” that they believe Tucker will end up in Philadelphia on a three-year, $30MM deal.
After adding De’Anthony Melton, the Sixers project to be a taxpayer and would likely have to shed a little salary in order to give Tucker $30MM over three years. Using the full mid-level exception or acquiring him via sign-and-trade are the only ways Philadelphia could realistically offer a $10MM annual salary — either approach would hard-cap team salary at the tax apron.
Here are more free agency rumors from across the NBA:
- K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes that all signs still point toward the Bulls being prepared to offer Zach LaVine a five-year, maximum-salary contract when free agency opens this week, with LaVine likely to accept.
- The Wizards have some interest in Collin Sexton but are probably in the market for a more traditional point guard in free agency, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports in a subscriber-exclusive story. Fedor believes the Cavaliers remain in the driver’s seat to re-sign Sexton, especially given that some of his potential suitors – including Detroit – drafted guards last Thursday.
- After indicating an openness to returning overseas, Nuggets free agent guard Facundo Campazzo clarified that his goal is to remain in the NBA. He tweeted out a statement in Spanish that translates to English as follows: “My priority one, two, and three is to continue in the NBA. For now, I don’t have in mind to return to Europe. It is obvious that at some point it will happen, but not now. I have it very clear: I want to try again, in whatever franchise it is, but to try again.“
- In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes an in-depth look at which teams project to have cap room, which will be taxpayers, and which fall somewhere in between.