NBA training camp is just around the corner. Still, teams are searching to fill holes in their roster. The Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers are two of those teams. Both teams have long been rumored to be looking to add point guard depth. Here is the latest on those fronts.
NBA Rumors: Suns and Clippers Still Interested In Acquiring A Point Guard
Phoenix Still Interested In T.J. McConnell
Yahoo Sports Jake Fischer said on the September 28 episode of the No Cap Room podcast that the Suns are believed to have interest in Indiana Pacers backup point guard T.J. McConnell.
While the Suns reportedly had interest in McConnell this summer, Fisher said they now have an easier path to acquiring the 31-year-old after trading Deandre Ayton in a three-team deal. The Suns acquired Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, Grayson Allen, and Jusuf Nurkic in the trade. Little is making $6.25 million this year, while Allen’s salary is $8.7 million.
McConnell would be an excellent addition for Phoenix as the Suns’ only true point guard currently on their roster is Jordan Goodwin. McConnell is a hard-nosed defender who is a true lead guard that looks to facilitate first. He is also a fantastic ball-handler who often gets into the defense’s teeth and doesn’t turn the ball over.
McConnell had a career season last year. He averaged 8.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.9 turnovers. McConnell, who is extension-eligible, also produced a shooting slash line of .543/.441/.853.
However, Indiana general manager Chad Buchannan told Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star that the Pacers are in no rush to work out an extension for the veteran point guard. McConnell is under contract next year, with $5 million of his $9.7 million salary guaranteed in 2024-25. Also, his spot in the Pacers rotation is in question.
“T.J. is another guy who wants to play, and he deserves to play,” Buchanan said. “He’s going to come in to compete. T.J. has had to compete for everything in his life. How that’s going to look, we don’t know yet, but I think he wants to be a Pacer. He’s happy being a Pacer. He wants to be here, which we need to see play out and where it goes.”
Indiana upgraded its roster this offseason with several players who can fill the backup point guard role. Bruce Brown, a big free agent signing, is one option. At the same time, Andrew Nembhard is also a candidate to fill the role if he comes off the bench. Nembhard started alongside Tyrese Haliburton for most of last season.
Despite Phoenix’s lack of a true point guard, Bradley Beal has already been named the starter. Trading for McConnell at this point makes no sense. This is considering that Goodwin will make the Suns 15-man roster, which appears to be the case as Phoenix reportedly plans to waive Johnson, according to Fischer.
“I don’t think they’ve officially waived Keon Johnson yet, but from my understanding, they plan to waive him.”
Goodwin showed he can be a serviceable point guard off the bench for the Washington Wizards last season. The 25-year-old, a pesky defender, averaged 6.6 points along with 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 64 contests last season. He also didn’t turn the ball over much and produced a shooting line of .448/.322/.768.
Allen and Little are expected to have significant roles this year for the Suns. Both players are expected to compete for the starting small forward spot.
Ish Wainwright is the other player expected to be cut, as the Suns have 17 players on standard contracts.
Los Angeles Clippers Continue To Engage Boston Celtics About Malcolm Brogdon
Jared Weiss of the Athletic reported yesterday that the Clippers have continued to engage the Boston Celtics about the availability of Malcolm Brogdon. The Clippers were interested in acquiring Brogdon as part of the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Boston. But the Clippers pulled out of the deal due to concerns over Brogdon’s elbow injury.
Brogdon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is expected to be an important part of the Celtics rotation as Boston has designs to be a title contender once again. However, Brogdon feelings were hurt by the near trade.
“I would say he had every right to feel (upset),” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said, per the Boston Globe. “We said that this summer. But he’s a real pro, so we’ve had several discussions. He’s looking forward to getting started. We’re looking forward to getting started, and here we go.”
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 21, 2023
Brogdon is expected to be fully healthy by the start of training camp, so it is no wonder the Clippers remain interested. Los Angeles re-signed Russell Westbrook to be their starting point guard. But Westbrook is better suited to come off the bench at this point of his career. Terence Mann and Bones Hyland are currently slated to be Westbrook’s backup.
However, expect the Celtics to keep Brogdon due to his importance to the franchise unless they can’t mend the fences. Multiple NBA executives and coaches spoke to Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett about how the Celtics can accomplish this.
“The one thing that characterizes (Brogdon) more than anything is his intelligence, his intellect,” one front office source told Bulpett. “If you appeal to him on that basis, if you appeal to his rationality, then he’ll understand. I have no doubt that (Brad) Stevens will handle this the right way — and he has to because Boston needs Brogdon even more than they did last year.”
Clippers Have Other Options
While the Clippers are interested in Brogdon, they do have other options. Los Angeles is also keen on Jrue Holiday, whom Portland is shopping. While no trade is imminent, there are plenty of other suitors for Holiday. Like the Celtics, the Clippers would likely be outbid by others as they don’t possess a ton of draft assets, which the Trail Blazers want in any deal. The Clippers don’t have a first-rounder next year or 2026. Oklahoma City has the right to swap first-rounders with the Clippers in 2025.
Philadelphia, Miami, Brooklyn, Toronto, Golden State, New York, and Indiana are expected to be among the teams to among the teams interested. While Portland is gauging trade interest for the 33-year-old point guard, they are willing to take their time in making a decision. It is more likely the Blazers will hold onto him for at least the first few months of the campaign.
Also, James Harden’s situation remains looming. The Clippers have been bullish on Harden, but the Sixers have yet to relent on their asking price. So, we must wait to see if something materializes later in the season.