NBA rumors: Warriors after Paul George, Rockets dangling Alperen Sengun, latest on DeMar DeRozan, and more

The 2024 NBA Draft begins in just a few hours.

And as you might expect, the rumors are flying.

Two stunning trades on Tuesday night, including the huge move that sent Mikal Bridges to the New York Knicks, have kicked the NBA pre-draft rumor mill into overdrive. While there are just a few hours remaining until everything gets underway, the rumors are not slowing down.

Here is the latest buzz with just a few hours left.

Will Paul George be traded?

One of the biggest draft-day rumors right now involves the future of Paul George in Los Angeles. According to long-time NBA insider Marc Stein, there is “a growing feeling” in league circles that George will pick up his player option for 2024-25 ahead of the Saturday deadline.

That option is for $48.4 million next year.

George is reportedly looking for a new four-year deal, and to this point the Clippers have been hesitant to play along, in part due to the three-year deal they reached recently with Kawhi Leonard which came in below max. Los Angeles wants to get George closer to that price range, but with potential suitors out there perhaps willing to give George that four-year deal, the forward may land elsewhere.

As for who those suitors might be, teams like the Golden State Warriors are certainly in the mix, and may have something of a “geographic” advantage. George may prefer to stay on the West Coast, something other potential trade suitors like the Philadelphia 76ers are viewing as a hurdle to landing George.

Golden State looms as the flashiest destination for George if the two sides can work out a sign-and-trade:

Might Kevin Durant stay put?

Two massive moves on Tuesday night kicked the NBA rumor mill into overdrive. One was the trade that sent Mikal Bridges to the New York Knicks. The other? The trade between the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets, wherein a number of future first-round picks and first-round pick rights changed hands.

While the bones of the trade are complicated, the underlying motive was not: Houston received as part of the deal picks that once belonged to the Phoenix Suns, and if the Suns wanted those picks back, there is an easy way to get them.

Trade either Kevin Durant or Devin Booker to Houston.

It is a scenario we walked readers through on Tuesday night. But as the draft approaches, sources out of Phoenix indicate that the team is not going to move Durant or Booker, as the Suns want to move ahead with their current core:

Is this a pre-draft negotiating ploy from Phoenix, or a sign that they truly are going to stay pat when it comes to Durant and Booker?

Does the 2024 NBA Draft begin at No. 3 and the Houston Rockets?

Let’s take the above regarding Durant and put it to the side for the moment.

Does the 2024 NBA Draft begin at No. 3 with the Houston Rockets, and might it somehow still involve Durant?

That was the point made by Brian Windhorst on ESPN’s “Get Up” Wednesday morning. Windhorst outlined how the third pick is perhaps the draft’s inflection point, and if the Rockets were to stay pat and make a pick in that spot — specifically UConn center Donovan Clignan — it could make Alperen Sengun available for a potential trade for Durant.

Again, this scenario requires us to ignore the other rumor out of Phoenix, which is that the Suns are willing to move ahead into the 2024-25 season with their current core intact. But if the Rockets are on the clock tonight at No. 3, and Clingan is indeed their selection, keep this hypothetical in mind.

KAT staying in Minnesota?

Financially speaking, the Minnesota Timberwolves are in a difficult position. Fresh off their impressive run to the Western Conference Finals, Minnesota finds themselves facing the luxury tax, and that fact has led to questions regarding whether they would need to trade one of their big names to ease their financial position.

However, according to ESPN NBA Insider Zach Lowe, do not expect the Timberwolves to part ways with Karl-Anthony Towns. According to Lowe, the Timberwolves are looking to retain KAT, whose four-year max extension kicks in next season.

Any cost cutting might have to come elsewhere.

DeMar DeRozan a Plan B for the Clippers?

DeMar DeRozan is on the cusp of becoming a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

If George ends up leaving the Clippers, could Los Angeles view DeRozan as a Plan B?

According to reports, that is a possibility:

Again, the requires the Clippers moving on from George, which remains a strong possibility. Speaking about the George situation on “Get Up” Wednesday morning Brian Windhorst had this to say about the current negotiating position between Los Angeles and George: “To this point, the Clippers have only been willing to offer Paul George about what they gave Kawhi Leonard,” said the ESPN NBA insider Wednesday. “Three years at a little bit less than the max contract, and Paul George, frankly, wants four years. He wants a full out max and there are a number of teams out there, I am told, that are prepared to give it to him, who are prepared to trade for him. One of those teams, potentially, is up the coast in Golden State.”

If this indeed happens, watch for DeRozan to be the Clippers’ Plan B.

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