Monday, July 15, 2024

NBA Rumors: Latest news on coaching vacancies, free agents and Lakers moves

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Although the NBA postseason is not over, there is still a flurry of rumors surrounding some of the upcoming offseason‘s most pressing questions. The most intriguing is undoubtedly the Lakers’ head coaching position. Even with LeBron James’ future in LA still uncertain, the possibility that LeBron could find a new head coach will certainly grab fans’ attention.

That is not the only rumor floating around the Twittersphere though. As the offseason approaches, news about impending/potential free agents like LeBron James as well as Paul George, Pascal Siakim, and Tyrese Maxey also has fans scrubbing through the internet looking for clues as to where these players might sign.

As the NBA playoffs rage on, here are the latest rumors around the league.

NBA News: Here are six candidates for Phoenix Suns head coach opening. Mike Budenholzer tops list

NBA coaching news and rumors

Charles Lee winds up in Charlotte

Boston Celtics’ assistant head coach Charles Lee was once considered a candidate for the Lakers head coaching position. However, as of Thursday, May 9, Lee has accepted the head coaching gig for the Charlotte Hornets. Before working with the Celtics, Lee had operated as an assistant coach to Mike Budenholzer with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, even helping guide the Bucks to a championship in 2021. He’d been long considered a future head coach, but reports hint that the Lakers’ delayed search for a head coach may have played a role in why Lee opted for the Hornets job instead of the Lakers. That rumor has not been confirmed though.

According to Shams Charania, other candidates like Mike Budenholzer, Tyronn Lue, and JJ Redick (who was also being considered for the Hornets job) are all still in the running for the Lakers’ head coaching gig.

As of right now, the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards are the only teams without a head coach.

Vogel out for Suns. Who will replace him?

With Frank Vogel out for the Suns, Phoenix has a head coach opening for the second time in as many years. Although no rumors regarding the Suns’ top candidates have emerged as of yet, USA Today took at look at six potential hires for the team.

The names listed are Mike Budenholzer, Terry Stotts, Ty Lue, Scott Brooks, David Adelman, and JJ Redick. That said, there are several other names that could still earn the Suns’ head coaching job.

Lakers rumors

LeBron James free agency options

LeBron James has until June 29 to opt-in or out of his player option for the Lakers next season. Until then, there are a lot of options for James to ponder regarding his future.

First, he could exercise his player option, giving him a guaranteed $51.4 million next season, while still giving him the flexibility to sign another extension when he becomes eligible on August 18, which would essentially give him a three-year contract worth close to $160 million in total. While this would be the most lucrative option for James, the only caveat is that he would not be able to include a no-trade clause in his extension.

LeBron could also opt-out, then re-sign with Los Angeles. During All-Star weekend, James stated that he wants to retire a Laker. While this option would not be as great financially for James, it would give him the security to decide his own future, as he could put a no-trade clause in his new contract.

Finally, James could obviously opt out and sign elsewhere, although that seems unlikely at this point. Most teams do not have the cap space to sign a player like LeBron to a three-year contract, which seems to be what James is looking for. Furthermore, if James was hoping to remain on a team that can contend for an NBA title, the list of viable teams would decrease even further.

Will the Lakers draft Bronny?

LeBron James has made it clear that it is his goal to play in the NBA alongside his son. That said, he has also made it clear that he will not push Bronny to do anything he does not want to do. In a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, he states that LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, does not believe James views playing with his son as a top priority.

“The idea of them playing together is not a priority, it’s not foremost, at least any longer, in LeBron James’ mind,” Wojnarowski said.

Although Bronny entered the transfer portal and submitted his name in the 2024 NBA Draft pool in early April, Bronny could still remove his name from the pool and play another year in college.

In late April, The Athletic reported that the Lakers would be willing to consider drafting Bronny James in the upcoming draft. However, the Lakers do not have the rights to their 2024 first-round pick. That pick could go to the New Orleans Pelicans (via the Anthony Davis trade) or the Pelicans could opt for their first-round pick in 2025. The Lakers do have a second-round pick though, which is honestly a much better spot to draft Bronny James, as many experts believe Bronny could go undrafted.

Currently, the Lakers are the favorites to land Bronny in the 2024 NBA Draft at +190 odds, per DraftKings. The 76ers, Thunder, Cavaliers, and Knicks are all tied for the second-best odds at +1000.

Other NBA free agent rumors

Paul George could wind up a 76er

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that Paul George is at the top of the 76ers’ list heading into the 2024 offseason. He even goes as far as to claim the 76ers could come out with a max offer right out the gate. Sixers President of basketball operations Daryl Morey reportedly stated earlier this week that his goal was to find someone who could play wing and deliver in the playoffs.

Paul George played in 74 games this year, his most since 2019. However, injury concerns could hold the Sixers back from pulling the trigger on George. After all, star center Joel Embiid has injury concerns of his own, and having their two biggest contracts off-the-court with injuries, all while having to sign Tyrese Maxey to a massive extension, could play out horribly long-term.

Klay Thompson and the Orlando Magic have mutual interest

Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career and will be entering his age-34 season next year. Shams Charania reports that there is mutual interest between the Orlando Magic and Thompson though.

The fit makes sense given the Magic’s immense cap space and their need for shooting. Orlando shot just 30.9% from three in their seven-game series loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thompson certainly could have helped in that regard. Still, the Warriors will certainly be in the running for Thompson as well. If Golden State makes a similar offer to Orlando, it’s hard to envision a world where Thompson leaves the Bay Area behind.

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