HomeSportsNBA trade, free agency rumors roundup: Does Caruso's trade mean DeRozan will...

NBA trade, free agency rumors roundup: Does Caruso’s trade mean DeRozan will leave Bulls as a free agent?

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Since the end of the NBA Finals, teams have been allowed to negotiate with their own free agents and extension-eligible players. In just over a week, free agency will open and negotiations between teams and other players can formally begin. (Informally, back-channel negotiations are already in full swing; tampering is the lifeblood of the NBA this time of year.)

Here’s an update on some of the latest free agent rumors.

• Could DeMar DeRozan put Chicago in free agency? The Bulls traded Alex Caruso to the Thunder, bringing back another playmaker in Josh Giddey to take his place. Chicago is focused on trading Zach LaVine. With all this, does DeMar DeRozan want to return to Chicago? That’s a big question in league circles, Marc Stein wrote in his Saturday newsletter.

“One of the loudest questions swirling around the league right now is: Will DeRozan now be more available in free agency than expected once the market officially opens on June 30 at 6:00 PM ET? Likewise: Will DeRozan even want to return to the Bulls?”

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Both DeRozan and the Bulls have publicly said they want their relationship to continue, but… as KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago put it“This time last year, there was more momentum for Nikola Vucevic to re-sign in this exclusive negotiating period before free agency begins than there currently is for DeRozan.”

DeRozan, 35, averaged 24 points and 5.3 assists per game last season. He’s a mid-range hitman who could help a playoff or contending team like Philadelphia find himself in the right role. If he’s available, there will be suitors.

• The Bulls are once again finding the LaVine trade market lukewarm. The Bulls and Zach LaVine are on the same page: It’s time to part ways. Chicago looked for a deal at the trade deadline, but nothing materialized. As we head into the peak of the off-season… the market is still pretty tepid. The Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz, two of LaVine’s rumored targets, “don’t have much interest” Stein reported.

The leading candidate for a LaVine trade is the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento has Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter dangling along with a first-round pick, and that could be enough to get a deal done.

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• Yes Morant is not cleared from shoulder surgery yet, but he will be soon. This isn’t a free agency note, but it’s worth passing on. Morant has been out of action since January following surgery to repair a labral tear, and he has yet to be cleared by doctors to return to basketball activities. reports Drew Hill in the Daily Memphian. The good news is he should be cleared in the coming weeks and ready to head to training camp. “I hate being at basketball and not being able to play,” Morant said. “I don’t have much longer. I can wait to make sure I can play and be free when the season comes.”

• Warriors are expected to bring back Kevon Looney. The Warriors are trying to do a balancing act by upgrading the roster and getting more play around Stephen Curry while cutting payroll to get out of the second apron of the luxury tax. That put Kevon Looney in a bind, as only $3 million of his $8 million contract is guaranteed, and Golden State had until Monday to make that call. However, the Warriors are expected to guarantee his salary. Anthony Slater reports for The Athletic.

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They are expected to have the remainder of Looney’s $8 million contract guaranteed, keeping him within their current plans, although it does remain possible that they ultimately use his salary to help complete an offseason trade.

• Mavericks try Tim Hardaway Jr. Again. As was evident during the playoffs, Tim Hardaway Jr. slipped out of Jason Kidd’s regular rotation when things get serious. With that, Dallas is trying to trade Hardaway and his expiring $16.2 million deal. reports Stein.

“Finding a new home for Hardaway is a key part of Dallas’ strategy to re-sign Derrick Jones Jr., whose return next season after excelling this season on a minimum contract was labeled by Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison” priority 1A and 1B “for Dallas this offseason.”

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