Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, Bulls wing Zach LaVine, and Wizards guard Bradley Beal are all considered likely to remain with their respective teams in free agency this offseason, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said during an appearance on the Dunc’d On podcast this week.
Brunson has been linked to teams like the Knicks, Pistons, and Pacers over the last few months, but the Mavs have consistently stated both publicly and privately that they want to hang onto the point guard. According to Fischer, people around the league are writing in Brunson’s return to Dallas “in Sharpie” at this point. “Literally, everyone in the league is saying that,” Fischer said.
Fischer has been among the reporters to suggest that LaVine’s return to Chicago is no longer viewed as a sure thing, but he doesn’t believe the All-Star swingman will actually leave the Bulls.
“Even people around him have been saying all along, ‘Yeah, the door’s open, but we don’t think he’s going to leave,’” Fischer said.
Asked if there’s any smoke around the idea of Beal exiting Washington, Fischer said he hasn’t heard anything he’s “giving much weight to.” As Fischer observes, the Wizards guard could accept a lucrative contract offer to remain in D.C. this offseason, knowing that he could request a trade down the road if he eventually decides he wants out.
“The Zach LaVine thing, like I said, I don’t expect him to leave, but people there are at least saying, ‘Yeah, the door’s open for him to go,’” Fischer said. “No one’s even coming close to that type of verbiage when it comes to Brad.”
Here are a few more of the highlights from Fischer’s Dunc’d On appearance:
- Following up on his reporting on OG Anunoby, Fischer reiterated that he believes the Raptors wing wants a greater role on offense. “I do definitely think there’s definitive truth that he wants more opportunity,” Fischer said. “That’s the one thing that’s been repeated across the board from everyone I’ve talked to — from people within his representation, to coaches who’ve worked with him in the past, to general people in the league who would know, let’s say. And that’s the one word that everyone consistently agrees on, that he wants more opportunity, and it doesn’t seem like a clear path to having that in Toronto.”
- The Raptors aren’t going to “sell off” Anunoby, but appear open to the idea of including him in a trade for an impact player, according to Fischer, who once again identifies the Trail Blazers and Jazz as teams with interest. “Portland is definitely targeting OG. He’s definitely said to be someone that (Damian) Lillard wants to pair with,” Fischer said. “Utah has had conversations – I think they’ve even had conversations with Toronto, (though) I don’t want to say there’s been offers made. Right now most of these teams are in super-early conversations and the only team I hear about that’s ready to talk trade right now is (the Hawks).”
- Fischer believes Suns center Deandre Ayton could be the biggest name to change teams in free agency this summer, perhaps in a sign-and-trade. “He wants the max, he doesn’t want to come down from that,” Fischer said of Ayton. “… Detroit gets mentioned a lot. Portland, it seems like he’s another guy that Dame has interest in playing with. Toronto gets mentioned. San Antonio’s been mentioned.”
- Hawks big man John Collins is another player Fischer believes is drawing interest from the Trail Blazers. Fischer adds that the Spurs had serious interest in Collins a year or two ago, but admits he’s not sure whether that’s still the case. “There was someone I talked to today who had just spoken to Atlanta in recent days who said that John Collins is clearly the guy that they are most interested in moving,” Fischer said.