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Free agency, trades, rumours, off-season, Philadelphia 76ers, Lakers new coach, Utah Jazz trades, Rudy Gobert

NBA

Free agency, trades, rumours, off-season, Philadelphia 76ers, Lakers new coach, Utah Jazz trades, Rudy Gobert

The NBA season may not be over just yet, with four teams still in contention for the title, but for many other contenders attention has already turned to the off-season.

The Philadelphia 76ers will be one team to watch after the James Harden trade backfired while the Los Angeles Lakers are still hunting for a new coach.

Read the latest on that and more in this edition of the NBA Rumor Mill!

Tue, 24 May

Tuesday May 24th

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PLAYOFFS ‘DISASTER’ SPELLS TROUBLE FOR AUSSIE

This playoff series did not go well for Matisse Thybulle.

The Australian Boomers bronze medal winner was considered “close to being untouchable” in Ben Simmons trade talks earlier this year.

That made sense at the time, with Thybulle being one of the team’s best perimeter defenders and that being a serious need for Philadelphia if it was to part ways with Simmons.

Now though after another failed title tilt, the Sixers must decide whether Thybulle’s elite capabilities on the defensive end are enough to make up for his offensive shortcomings.

“The end of the season was, to put it lightly, a huge disaster for Thybulle,” PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck wrote.

“Rarely do you see players go from darling of the fanbase to public enemy as quickly as he did, but his choice to not get vaccinated and his horrific second-round performance against Miami won him almost no support.”

Matisse Thybulle struggled this playoffs series. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

So much so that Neubeck reports that Thybulle is “certainly not untouchable and the Sixers would entertain moving him” before next season.

If the Australian is moved though it is going to be part of a “legitimate attempt to improve the team” according to Neubeck, who refuted claims Thybulle could be dumped for “salary reasons”.

After all, Thybulle is only making $ 4.5 million ($ A6.4m) this year and with Danny Green sidelined with an ACL injury, the Sixers can not afford to be short another defensive weapon.

Speaking of Green, Neubeck described his future as “cloudy” after that ACL injury, revealing that the Sixers still think highly of the 34-year-old as a tough call looms.

“Any trade using Green’s salary in combination with other assets to bring back a contributor likely will not develop until closer to draft night,” Neubeck wrote.

“If draft night comes and goes without Green being packaged in a deal, it seems relatively likely the Sixers would release Green prior to July 1st, his entire non-guaranteed salary coming off of the books. If that happens, do not rule Green coming back anyway, potentially on a smaller deal. ”

In positive news for Sixers fans, Neubeck also reported that there will be no big deals involving Tyrese Maxey, with one source telling him: “Maxey is as close to untouchable as you could be”.

Tyrese Maxey is a big part of Philadelphia’s future. Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images / AFPSource: AFP

BLAZERS TO MAKE BIG MOVE TO PLEASE DAME

Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers are another team to monitor in the off-season after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.

Damian Lillard had remained loyal to Portland but there comes a point where that loyalty wears thin and there is a clear need for changes at the Blazers in the summer.

But a complete rebuild would likely see Lillard walk out the door in his quest for a championship ring.

Fortunately for him that does not appear to be the plan.

The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Sam Vecenie report the Blazers look set to move their No. 7 pick at this year’s draft in a bid to “put a more competitive team” around Lillard.

This is opposed to entertaining a complete rebuild, with Detroit Pistons star Jerami Grant heavily linked to Portland as one option it could target in the summer.

This news should make Damian Lillard happy. (Photo by Steph Chambers / Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

SUNS STAR ‘DISAPPOINTED’ AFTER $ 248M CALL

Meanwhile, there is drama brewing at Phoenix after the Suns fell well short of expectations.

The Western Conference’s runaway top seed crashed out of the playoffs in a humiliating Game 7 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

Big man Deandre Ayton was benched in that game and only played 17 minutes as rumors swirled that he could be moved on as Phoenix looked to re-jig its roster.

That has not happened for the time being but as a free agent heading into the offseason, Ayton may still be in new colors next season.

The former No. 1 overall pick is eligible for a max contract worth $ 176.9 million ($ A248m) over five years but as expected, Phoenix is ​​yet to offer it to his management.

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“We are disappointed. We wanted a max contract, ”Bill Duffy, Ayton’s agent, said on Sirius XM’s NBA Radio show.

“He went out and was a soldier the whole year, played well, improved his statistics. So, we’re proud of him. A lot of guys handle things differently, but he was very mature about it.

“He’s a valuable player. There’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds. ”

LAKERS NARROW DOWN COACHING SEARCH

In other news, the Lakers’ hunt for a new head coach seems to be nearing an end.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier this week that three contenders remain in the running for the job – Kenny Atkinson, Terry Stotts and Darvin Ham.

Stotts is the most experienced of the three having been head coach of three NBA teams, including nine years at the helm at Portland.

Atkinson, meanwhile, was head coach of the Nets and is currently assistant coach for the Warriors.

Working against Ham is the fact he has no experience as a head coach, although he has spent time at the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks as an assistant coach in the last 11 years.

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JAZZ MAKE BIG CALL ON STAR DUO

Like the Lakers, the Utah Jazz are also expected to make significant changes in the off-season, or at least that is what most NBA pundits assumed.

Once again, Utah failed to make the step from solid playoffs team to genuine contender, crashing out of the post-season in spectacular fashion.

It prompted immediate calls for the Jazz to ‘blow it up’, with coach Quinn Snyder and franchise cornerstones Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in the firing line.

Gobert was the most likely to be moved on given his considerable value on the open market, although it seems like Utah is not looking to make any major changes in the offseason.

Deseret News’ Sarah Todd reported the Jazz would be more willing to trade Gobert if they had to choose but added Utah could look to keep both players.

Rudy Gobert could still stay put. (Photo by Alex Goodlett / Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“Reports that the Jazz could be looking to keep Gobert and Mitchell for the year that the team would host the All-Star break should be taken seriously,” Todd wrote.

It is consistent with a report from The Athletic’s Tony Jones that the Jazz “do not want to trade Mitchell” and “value Rudy Gobert”, meaning that neither are likely to be moved at this point.

“They do not want to take a step back next season,” Jones wrote.

“Everything else, in some way, shape or form, is in play.”

And that report comes after Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer wrote last week that “there’s reason to believe the main fixtures in Utah aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

Now, of course, this could just be a way of Utah trying to increase Gobert and Mitchell’s trade value.

After all, if rival teams know they are open to trading either it decreases their pulling power at the negotiating table.

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