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Across the NBA: The league finally changes rules regarding non-basketball moves, Rockets aggressively pursue top pick, and more

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New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Folks—hallelujah. The NBA will apply rules to prevent non-basketball moves resulting in fouls. Nugget fans witnessed Lillard and Paul master the ability to draw fouls with non-basketball moves in the playoffs and finally, the NBA is addressing the issue.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports “NBA officiating staffs will be trained to identify and properly rule overt non-basketball actions to initiate contact with defender — such as offensive player launches into defender, abruptly veers off path, kicks leg at abnormal angle, or his off-arm hooks defender.

These rules will be applied for the upcoming season and we await to see the impact it has on the game. Players like James Harden, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, and Luka Doncic are already difficult to guard and when they are able to draw silly touch fouls it makes it nearly impossible. The rule changes should not significantly reduce their production, but in key fourth-quarter situations, they might not be able to rely on the whistle. Good for you NBA.

Draft news/rumors

Rockets targeting a trade for #1 pick

The Houston Rockets have been exploring ways to bolster their roster all offseason, and the most common notion in executing that has been trading up to the #1 slot. They have the second overall pick which could give them potential stars in Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, and others but they have their eye on Cade Cunningham. On Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic said the Rockets are “aggressively pursuing Detroit's number one overall pick” in hopes to acquire Cunningham.

There are rumors circulating that the Detroit Pistons are not completely sold on Cunningham, so a deal between the two teams could benefit both sides.

Pistons fielding numerous offers for top pick

The Pistons are another squad that has been active in trade rumors. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Pistons are keying in on Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, or Jalen Green with their selection, but as stated earlier, they might not be as high on Cunningham as others are.

Lead NBA scout/draft analyst for Bleacher Report Jonathan Wasserman tweeted on Monday the Oklahoma City Thunder “made a legitimate offer” which the Pistons turned down. OKC has the 6th,16th, and 18th selections in this year’s draft with the desire and assets to move up, and a team the Pistons could acquire some serious draft capital from.

Warriors active in draft trading

The Golden State Warriors are looking for a star to pair with Curry and Thompson and trading their 7th and 14th overall selections could be a way they do that. There are nice pieces they can find in those spots, but Golden State is in a win-now mode. Curry and Thompson are in their 30’s, plus Thompson just missed the past two seasons with injuries, so their championship window is not as open as it once was. With their two first-round picks, that could be enough ammunition to acquire a significant impact player.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported the Warriors are “ highly active in trade talks,” and then Marc Stein wrote in a piece that Golden State “has indeed signaled a willingness” to trade their two picks but they want a “star” in return.


Free agency/trades

Monday’s blockbuster trade between the Grizzlies and the Pelicans sent Jonas Valanciunas, the 17th pick, and 51st pick to the Pelicans for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, the 10th pick, and a top-10 protected 2022 first-rounder from Lakers. Eric Bledsoe reportedly won't stay in Memphis, but the Pelicans get what they want with an upgrade at center and the Grizzlies move up seven spots in the draft.

New Orleans is still looking for another veteran upgrade and they have their eyes on Kyle Lowry so this move gives them the cap space to do so. Valanciunas also gives them more options offensively and a dangerous frontcourt paired with Zion.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Utah Jazz v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Beal unhappy about head coaching hire

The Washington Wizards recently hired former Nugget assistant Wes Unseld Jr. to be their head coach and their star Bradley Beal is upset regarding his role in the situation. Fred Katz of The Athletic reported Beal is frustrated with the lack of input he received about the head coaching decision.

Veteran player and current 76ers assistant Sam Cassell was Beal’s top choice but Cassell did not receive a second interview. For over a year Beal has been visibly upset with the state of the organization and this does not help bring confidence to his return. Like Damian Lillard, Beal is weighing his options and multiple teams are lining up to acquire him. The Warriors, 76ers, Heat, and Hawks are potential suitors for the star guard, and Katz also reported “a verdict on whether or not he will choose to stay with the Wizards could come as soon as this week.”

OKC may be willing to trade SGA

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the real upcoming stars in this league and has been on the Thunder’s no-trade list for a while but that is reportedly not the case anymore. Jake Fischer of The Athletic reports “He’s no longer impossible to get.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is able to sign a $160+ million extension this summer, and the Thunder might want to avoid that cost in their rebuilding state. Oklahoma City has been stacking draft picks for years now and they may look to use those assets as they have been active in discussions to trade up in this year’s draft.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Lakers looking to move Kuzma and KCP

The Lakers are usually a heavy topic of discussion around the offseason and they are not shy about trying to upgrade their roster. They are interested in DeMar DeRozan, Buddy Hield, and Kyle Lowry so they need to clear some cap space to sign a potential upgrade. Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could end up being casualties as a result because ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported “They have literally offered Kyle Kuzma and KCP to almost every team I’ve talked to in the league.”

Kuzma ($13 million) and KCP ($13 million) carry the highest cap amount on the team aside from AD and LeBron for this upcoming season and their production was not worth the dent to their cap. Unfortunately for Nugget fans, the Lakers almost certainly will upgrade this offseason and this might be the first domino to fall.

Knicks eye DeRozen and Dinwiddie

The New York Knicks are desperately trying to acquire some offensive talent and per SNY sources, DeMar DeRozen and Spencer Dinwiddie are “on their radar.” Procuring Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard might be too lofty for the Knicks this offseason, but DeRozen and Dinwiddie are excellent offensive pieces and do not require elite, star money.

The Knicks have the cap space to make this move and others possible, but acquiring just one of these players gives them the shot-creating to pair with their stifling defense.

Brooklyn Nets v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images