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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
The Los Angeles Lakers and star LeBron James had contract-extension talks Thursday, per Rich Paul, the CEO of Klutch Sports Group. The uniqueness of James' looming free agency is multifold; due to the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, the 18-time All-Star is capped to signing a two-year extension, but the looming possibility of his son, Bronny, entering the NBA may give him a desire to keep his options open. While the 2022-23 season was a flop for L.A., James looked resurgent, averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game, all while shooting 52.4 percent overall. While injuries have slowed James during his Lakers tenure, his otherworldly talent continues to be on display.
The Pelicans are reportedly unwilling to offer Brandon Ingram to Brooklyn in a deal for Kevin Durant, according to league sources. While New Orleans recently emerged as a potential destination for Durant, the team is eager to see how the pairing of Ingram and Zion Williamson plays out this season. The 24-year-old is also much younger and has a more agreeable salary. Nevertheless, Ingram has played well throughout his time with the Pelicans (three seasons), averaging 23.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. His shooting percentage from deep could use a little work. He also hasn't suited up for more than 62 games in any of the previous five seasons. With that said, Ingram's inability to remain healthy is an issue, so history suggests fantasy managers may be without him during some of the 2022-23 campaign.
The New York Knicks have recently resumed discussions regarding a potential trade for Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. The Knicks are still the front-runners to acquire his talents. However, according to sources, a deal isn't imminent. Both clubs have had several talks throughout the offseason already, although "hurdles remain." Nevertheless, it's clear Mitchell is one of the most talented fantasy options going. That shouldn't change if he lands in New York or somewhere else, for that matter.
Chicago Bulls forward Justin Lewis (knee) will miss time after tearing his right ACL, according to an official release from the team. He will undergo surgery within the coming weeks and is out indefinitely. The 20-year-old played for Marquette over the last two years, averaging 13.2 points and 6.9 rebounds throughout 53 games. However, after going undrafted in 2022, he signed a two-way deal with the Bulls and was forecasted to see minutes in the G League this season. While Lewis isn't expected to get a shot at consistently suiting up at the professional level for at least a few years, he is someone to consider stashing in deep dynasty formats.
Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (foot) is expected to miss a significant amount of time to begin the season. The 22-year-old underwent surgery in June to repair a stress fracture in his right foot. However, according to Dr. Kenneth Jung, a foot and ankle specialist, Jackson should be 100% after completing rehab. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft played a career-high 78 games in 2021 after playing 58 or less throughout his previous three seasons, including suiting up for only 11 contests in 2020-21 due to a knee injury. Unquestionably, Jackson has plenty of talent. But his inability to remain healthy will cause his fantasy stock to plummet heading into October. Nevertheless, with Memphis anticipated to be without Jackson for a while, Brandon Clarke may be the primary beneficiary, whether as a starter or off the bench.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro isn't concerned about being traded, a sentiment he echoed to reporters while appearing for his foundation. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is projected to make $5.7 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal. He is eligible to sign a lucrative extension. However, doing so would make it challenging to trade him before the 2023 offseason. The 22-year-old is coming off a fantastic season, averaging a career-high 20.7 points while adding 5.0 boards, 4.0 assists, and shooting 39.9% from deep. Herro needs to improve on the defensive side of the ball. He also hasn't played more than 66 games in any of his three seasons, which may continue to be an issue for all fantasy managers heading into the 2022-23 campaign, no matter where he is playing.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant announced on Twitter that he's not retiring. Durant's name has been in the news throughout most of the offseason, so the latest rumor shouldn't come as a surprise. While it's confirmed the multi-time All-Star isn't calling it quits, his future in Brooklyn still remains a mystery. However, no matter what uniform he's wearing, he has a strong chance to finish the year as a top-five fantasy option in all formats, assuming he stays healthy.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving opted into his player option for the 2022-23 campaign. However, according to Ric Bucher of FS1, the multi-time All-Star had some interesting demands while attempting to negotiate a new deal with the team, including ensuring he wouldn't be required to play more than 60 games during any given season. He was also reportedly looking for a guarantee he could sit during back-to-back contests. The 30-year-old has been a proven contributor over the years. Yet, he has a reputation for missing time, failing to suit up for an entire season since entering the league in 2011. Although he's not guaranteed to stay in Brooklyn moving forward, fantasy managers in all formats must be cautious before selecting him in drafts heading into October, regardless of where he's playing.
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell may have already played his final game for the club. While there are some teams throughout the league capable of making a deal for the All-Star, the Knicks reportedly remain the frontrunners to acquire his services. The 25-year-old has been one of the best fantasy contributors since arriving in the NBA in 2017, averaging 23.9 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 boards, and 1.3 steals. He could be in line to have his highest producing season to date during the 2022-23 campaign, primarily with the Jazz lacking consistent offensive options. Yet, if he ends up in New York, he'll have to split scoring chances with Jalen Brunson. Even then, he should remain a top-25 fantasy option.
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown wants to remain with the team. Although the franchise enjoyed a trip to the NBA Finals with the 25-year-old on the roster, he could be traded if it meant landing Nets superstar Kevin Durant. Still, the C's aren't actively shopping Brown, so if a deal with Brooklyn doesn't come to fruition, he would almost be guaranteed to stay in Boston. It's clear Jayson Tatum is the primary offensive option for the Celtics. However, Brown has been fantastic over the years, averaging at least 20 points in each of the last three seasons. His statistical contributions may rise if he is dealt to Brooklyn, especially on the scoring end, even more so if Kyrie Irving is also moved. Yet, his health needs to improve regardless of who signs his checks moving ahead, as he has played 58 games or less in two of his previous three seasons.
Philadelphia 76ers point guard De'Anthony Melton had it all working during the Drew League playoffs Saturday, as he compiled 26 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals to lead the Hometown Favorites to victory. Melton is coming off having averaged a career-high 10.8 PPG last season for the Grizzlies, where he played in 73 games (15 starts). The 24-year-old's role appeared to be on a straight trajectory upward before he was dealt to Philly, complicating how the team's backcourt minutes will shake out. With a group consisting of James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz, Melton may be blocked from blossoming into a redraft league option, even as he'll be a name to monitor in his new situation.