21 Jan

Breakers-Stallions rematch, Panthers-Maulers surprise

The USFL’s 10-week regular season is in the books and with the two playoff semifinals set, there couldn’t be a much bigger contrast. The South Division semifinal features the league’s two highest-scoring teams with the two best records. The North Division semifinal features the two lowest-scoring teams, with both below .500.

Here’s a quick rundown of what to know after the weekend’s final four regular-season games:

— The two USFL semifinals will be Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Michigan Panthers on Saturday, followed by Birmingham Stallions vs. New Orleans Breakers on Sunday. The winners will play in the championship game the following Saturday, July 1.

— The defending champion Stallions are favored to repeat. The Stallions, who beat the Memphis Showboats 27-20 over the weekend, have the league’s best record at 8-2. In two seasons of the rebooted USFL, the Stallions have gone 19-3.

— The Breakers are the No. 2 seed in the South Division and will face the Stallions for the third time this year in the semifinals, a rematch of last year’s South semifinal. The Breakers clinched a playoff spot by beating the Houston Gamblers on Sunday, 17-10.

— The Pittsburgh Maulers clinched a semifinal berth by beating the New Jersey Generals on Saturday, 26-6. Fittingly for a team from Pittsburgh, the Maulers have allowed the fewest points in the league. However, they finished with just a 4-6 record, and needed victories in the final two weeks to reach four wins — which was somehow good enough to win the division.

— The Michigan Panthers got the final playoff spot by coming back from a 20-6 halftime deficit against the Philadelphia Stars on Sunday night in a 23-20 victory. The Panthers, Stars and Maulers all finished 4-6 in the East, but the Maulers got the top seed with the best division record (4-2), including going 2-0 against Michigan. The Panthers swept the Stars.

Below we’ll break down everything to know about the 2023 USFL playoffs. Here’s how to watch the two semifinals:

North Division semifinal
Teams: Pittsburgh Maulers (4-6) vs. Michigan Panthers (4-6)
Location: Canton, Ohio
Date, time: Saturday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET

South Division semifinal
Teams: Birmingham Stallions (8-2) vs. New Orleans Breakers (7-3)
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Date, time: Sunday, June 25 at 7 p.m. ET
TV: Fox

Stallions vs. Breakers: USFL’s top teams set for playoff rematch
The bad news for the Breakers is that their reward for finishing with the league’s second-best record is that they’ll have to beat the team with the best record to reach the final. Birmingham beat New Orleans three times last year, including the semifinal, and once more this season. On top of that, the South Division semi will be held in Birmingham.

But the Breakers — who won one more game than they did last season — do have reason to believe they can pull off an upset. For one thing, they scorched the Stallions defense in Week 3 in a 45-32 victory. The teams’ other meeting, in Week 7, saw Birmingham win 24-20.

The Stallions have scored the most points in the league by far, led by quarterback Alex McGough (league-leading 20 TD passes, second-most passing yards at 2,104). Jace Sternberger leads the USFL in receiving TDs (7) despite playing tight end.

The Breakers, meanwhile, have allowed the second-fewest points in the USFL, while also scoring the second-most. New Orleans quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson is the only QB to have thrown for more yards (2,433) than McGough, while running back Wes Hills is the league’s rushing yards leader (679).

The Stallions beat the Breakers 31-17 in last year’s semifinal after grabbing the lead before halftime on a 90-yard kick return TD (the league’s first). The rematch is set up to be the best game of the season; expect the Breakers to keep it closer than last year, with a real shot at an upset.

Maulers, Panthers both playoff surprises
Pittsburgh was 2-6 through eight weeks. Michigan entered Sunday night with a 3-6 record and trailed the Stars by two touchdowns at halftime. Yet somehow here we are, with one of those teams set to make the USFL championship game.

To the Maulers’ credit, they finished with a bang, holding their last two opponents to a combined 13 points to finish 4-6. Pittsburgh relies on the league’s best defense. Offensively, quarterback Troy Williams (1,414 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs) is also the team’s rushing leader (341 yards, 3 TDs).

The Maulers beat the Panthers twice this season (23-7 in Week 5, and 19-7 in Week 9), accounting for half Pittsburgh’s wins.

Michigan, which struggled through a 1-6 stretch after starting the season 2-0, switched up its starting quarterback for the regular-season finale. After going with Josh Love (1,556 yards, 13 TDs, 10 INTs) all season, the Panthers went with E.J. Perry, a more mobile QB, on Sunday night. Perry threw for 141 yards with without a passing TD or pick, but led the team in rushing with 10 attempts for 48 yards and a touchdown.

These teams have both allowed more points than they’ve scored, but as we saw in the XFL championship game, the regular season doesn’t matter once the playoffs begin.

14 Jan

Bulls star to return Friday vs. Hornets after missing more than a month

Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine is set to return to action Friday night against the Hornets after missing more than a month with a foot injury. LaVine, the subject of trade rumors through the first two months of the season, has not played since Nov. 28 due to a foot injury that the team has been officially calling “right foot inflammation.” LaVine is set to come off the bench Friday night and be on a minutes restriction in his first game back.

“Everything that’s been thrown at him in terms of the way he’s progressed, he’s handled really, really well,” Chicago coach Billy Donovan said earlier this week.

This has been a frustrating season for LaVine, who was off to a rough start before getting hurt. In his first 18 games he was averaging 21 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, while shooting 44.3% from the field and 33.6% from 3-point land. All of his scoring and assist numbers are the lowest they’ve been since his first season with the Bulls back in 2018.

From a talent perspective, LaVine’s return is a boost for the Bulls, but working him back into the mix will require a delicate touch from Donovan. After a dreary 5-14 start, the Bulls went 10-7 with LaVine sidelined. Coby White has taken off in his absence and so has the offense, which is moving a bit quicker and features more ball movement as of late. Overall, the Bulls’ offensive rating has jumped from 108.9 (26th in the league) with LaVine to 115.1 (19th) without him.

“I obviously talk to him in the building pretty regularly,” Donovan said. “I think he has always been … whatever he can do to help the team has kind of been his mentality. I think the one thing that’s always a little bit different when you talk to players that have been out, it’s like you talk to them and it’s a totally different perspective when you’re sitting out looking at it from a non-competitive standpoint. When you’re not in the game and you can see the game. I think he sees how we’re playing, what we’re doing, and I think that the thing that he’d want to do is come in and contribute and enhance that and make it better.

“To me, [our discussions have] been very, very positive. I think he wants to help the group as much as he can. I think I’ve said this before, I don’t think it’s necessarily so much that he has to change his game. It’s what he does really, really well, can he bring that to the table for us?”

The Bulls are 15-21 on the season following the loss to the Knicks on Wednesday and sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

14 Jan

Bucks’ Robin Lopez swaps jerseys with Spurs’ mascot

Postgame jersey swaps are incredibly common in the NBA, but they don’t usually occur between a player and the opposing mascot. Milwaukee Bucks veteran Robin Lopez took part in that rarity following his team’s win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

Shortly after the final horn sounded on the Bucks’ 125-121 win, Lopez knew exactly who he was going to approach for a jersey swap. Lopez made a beeline for The Coyote, the Spurs mascot and requested his jersey.

The Coyote kindly obliged, and the pair were able to swap jerseys. It should be noted that The Coyote did not give Lopez a game-worn jersey off his back, but instead he gave Lopez an extra jersey he had lying around the arena.

Robin Lopez did a jersey swap with the Spurs mascot 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/RFkJvQ22xY

— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) January 5, 2024
Lopez didn’t log any minutes in the victory, but he did find a way to make some noise on social media with this interaction. This was probably a first for him in his 16-year NBA career.

Next up for the Bucks is a road game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday. Tune into that one to find out whether Lopez approaches Clutch about swapping jerseys at the end of the game.

14 Jan

2024 NBA picks, Jan 5 best bets by proven model

Wells Fargo Center showcases an Atlantic Division matchup between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. The 76ers are 23-10 overall and 13-4 at home, with the Knicks entering at 19-15 overall and on a two-game winning streak. This meeting is the first of four scheduled matchups in 2023-24. De’Anthony Melton (back) is out for the 76ers, with Robert Covington (knee) and Furkan Korkmaz (illness) listed as questionable. Mitchell Robinson (ankle) is out for the Knicks, with Malachi Flynn (ankle) listed as questionable.

For this game, SportsLine consensus lists the 76ers as 6-point favorites, and tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. The total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, or the over/under, is 233 in the latest Knicks vs. 76ers odds. Before making any 76ers vs. Knicks picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s advanced computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 11 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 106-59 roll on all top-rated NBA picks dating back to last season, returning well over $4,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Knicks vs. Sixers and just locked in its picks and NBA predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Now, here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Sixers vs. Knicks:

Knicks vs. 76ers spread: 76ers -6
Knicks vs. 76ers over/under: 233 points
Knicks vs. 76ers money line: 76ers -232, Knicks +188
NYK: The Knicks are 9-10-1 against the spread in road games
PHI: The 76ers are 13-4 against the spread in home games
Knicks vs. 76ers picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Knicks can cover
New York has two-way strengths that should present in this matchup. The Knicks are in the top 10 of the NBA in offense, scoring 1.17 points per possession. New York is led by high-end scorers in Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, and Randle enters on a notable hot streak. He has scored 20 points or more in 19 straight games, and Randle is averaging 28.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this season.

New York’s offense also has elite numbers in free throw creation (24.5 attempts per game) and offensive rebounding, with the Knicks averaging 16.6 second-chance points per game and securing more than 33.4% of missed shots on the glass. The Knicks connect on 37.5% of 3-point attempts on offense and, on the other end, New York is elite in free throw prevention. Opponents average fewer than 21 free throw attempts per game and the Knicks, and New York also boasts top-eight metrics in defensive rebound rate (73.0%), second-chance points allowed (12.8 per game) and points allowed in the paint (47.1 per game) this season. See which team to pick here.

Why the 76ers can cover
Wells Fargo Center provides a strong home-court advantage, with Philadelphia posting a 13-4 home record this season. The 76ers have the second-best net rating (+13.5) in the NBA, thoroughly out-playing opponents in Philadelphia. The Sixers’ offense is also excellent, including a top-four mark in overall efficiency (120.4 points per 100 possessions) and an elite free throw profile. The 76ers are in the top two of the league in free throw attempts (27.1 per game) and free throw accuracy (84.2%), and Philadelphia is in the top eight in turnover rate (12.7%) and offensive rebound rate (30.3%).

On defense, Philadelphia is tremendous, yielding only 1.10 points per possession and leading the league with 9.1 steals per game. The 76ers are in the top eight of the NBA in turnover creation (14.7 per game), 3-point defense (34.0%), and opponent field goal percentage (46.1%), with Joel Embiid providing top-tier rim protection on the back end. See which team to pick here.

How to make 76ers vs. Knicks picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the total, projecting 230 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only see the model’s picks at SportsLine.

14 Jan

Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton stands out among top daily fantasy plays for Friday

Thursday’s main NBA slate was light, but Friday’s will feature 14 games. The action will begin with matchups between the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers, respectively, at 7 p.m. ET. It’ll end with a trio of matchups that will tip at 10 p.m. ET, which will feature the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

Are you looking to sort through all the options on DraftKings and FanDuel? We’ve got you covered. Here’s who you should keep an eye on as you look to build optimal lineups on both sites:

Stud: Tyrese Haliburton
Haliburton finished up December on a high note and is off to a strong start in 2024. The Indiana point guard is averaging 28.5 points, 11.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and a steal this month. Fantasy managers should be salivating over his second matchup against Trae Young this season. Dejounte Murray will look to eliminate Indiana’s advantage as Haliburton’s primary defender, but that didn’t stop the star facilitator from amassing 37 points and 16 assists in his first meeting with the Hawks this season.

Mid-tier: Jalen Johnson
Johnson asserted himself as a crucial rotation player for the Hawks as soon as he returned from a month-long layoff caused by a wrist injury in late December. The 22-year-old forward has averaged 19.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.8 assists through his first four games back on the hardwood. De’Andre Hunter’s absence has amplified Johnson’s importance, so his outlook against the league’s second-worst scoring defense is ideal. He posted 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and a pair of steals in his first meeting with the Pacers this campaign.

Value: Nikola Jovic
Jovic made his third start of the season in the Miami Heat’s last matchup with the Lakers and recorded season highs in minutes (28) and points (15). The Serbian forward has been given a chance to contribute while Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin are out. While he’s only appeared in eight contests in 2023-24, he’ll likely get to handle a heavier workload than usual against the Phoenix Suns on Friday. Jovic has averaged 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 20 assists in the three career games he’s logged at least 25 minutes.

14 Jan

Anthony Edwards, Tyler Herro among best plus-money player prop targets for Friday’s action

Fourteen games will make up Friday’s jam-packed NBA slate. Tip-off times will range between 7 and 10 p.m. ET ahead of the weekend, and sportsbooks are loaded with quality betting options. Are you looking to find an edge? We’ve got you covered with three strong plus-money plays here.

Jalen Duren over 12.5 rebounds (+102)
Duren wasted no time cleaning the glass after returning from injury in December and recorded at least 13 rebounds in four straight games before totaling just 10 against the Utah Jazz his last time out. The Detroit Pistons are still missing Isaiah Stewart, so Duren will have to continue doing most of the dirty work down low. It’s no secret that the Golden State Warriors are undersized, so Duren shouldn’t have too much trouble reaching this total with his normal workload.

Anthony Edwards over 34.5 points + assists (+106)
Edwards is riding a ridiculous scoring run in which he’s tallied at least 31 points and three assists in four straight games. The Minnesota Timberwolves wing is in for a tough matchup against the Houston Rockets, who have re-invented themselves on defense, with Ime Udoka coaching. Still, Edwards has scored at least 31 points in each of his last two matchups with the Rockets, and has scored at least 35 points in three of his previous four outings.

Tyler Herro over 5.5 rebounds (+108)
Herro’s totaled at least six rebounds in seven consecutive games. The Miami Heat guard has especially thrived on the glass without Jimmy Butler and has gone over this total in six of his previous seven games. Herro has done a good job crashing the glass on offense and defense and trends suggest that he can keep his recent success up on Friday, even if the Phoenix Suns give up fewer rebounds to opposing teams than any other squad this season.

14 Jan

Bucks’ Malik Beasley says it will ‘not be pretty’ for Pacers if the two teams meet in the playoffs

The regular season series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers concluded on Wednesday, but Malik Beasley has ensured that the feud between them will continue. During an interview with Chris Haynes on Friday, Beasley predicted a playoff showdown, which will “not be pretty” for the Pacers.

Beasley’s full comments:

“Their whole team to me is unorthodox. Even the way [Tyrese] Haliburton shoots, how he plays. He’s not your average point guard. He’s [6-foot-6] almost, at the point guard position, doing what he’s doing. Then you got guys like Buddy Hield. TJ McConnell, man, he comes in and kills the game. It’s honestly crazy how much of an impact he is.

“I think it comes down to, for us, how they got our number, there’s certain teams that just [have] your number. We’re still trying to figure that out because I know we’re gonna play them in the playoffs and, boy, it’s not gonna be pretty. It’s not gonna be pretty for them. This reminds me of Memphis-Minnesota, Lakers-Memphis, we played them four, five times a year, and then we played them in the playoffs. The way the league’s shaping up right now, I think we’re gonna play them in the playoffs at 2-7 or 1-8. So we’ll see.”

Because they met in the inaugural In-Season Tournament semifinals, the Bucks and Pacers played five times this season, all within a two-month span.

Along the way, they developed a budding rivalry, which started in earnest when Haliburton sent them home in the IST and did Damian Lillard’s signature “Dame Time” celebration, and escalated to a near-brawl over a missing basketball and handshakes on Dec. 13. When they faced off again on Jan. 1 and 3, the Pacers won both contests to improve to 4-1 against the Bucks this season.

Styles make fights as the old boxing saying goes, and the Pacers’ fast-paced, high-powered offense has caused all sorts of problems for the Bucks’ beleagured defense. It would be fun to see how the elevated stakes of the playoffs change the matchup, and as Beasley noted, there’s a decent chance they meet in the first round.

The Bucks, as the more talented and experienced team, would certainly be favorites in that scenario, regardless of what we’ve seen so far, which makes Beasley’s comments confusing. There’s absolutely no upside to making them. Either the Bucks win a series they’re supposed to, or the Pacers pull off the upset, and this interview gets dug up and you get dunked on social media relentlessly.

14 Jan

Former NBA All-Star Goran Dragic retires after 15 seasons; plans to have retirement game with Doncic, Jokic

Former NBA All-Star Goran Dragic has revealed the impressive lineup of players participating in the two-day farewell event he’s hosting to celebrate his retirement in August. He built a lot of connections while playing for seven franchises during his 15-year career, and he made sure to include as many big-time former teammates and countrymen as he could. Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Luis Scola, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler are among the most notable names.

“I wanted to bring all the stars I played with,” Dragic told Sport Klub on Thursday.

The event will take place in Slovenia in August of 2024 and will include a game with the aforementioned names, according to reports out of his native country. Dragic additionally held a press conference on Jan. 4, where spoke along with Zoran Janković, the mayor of Ljubljana — Slovenia’s capital and Dragic’s hometown.

After turning pro at the age of 17, Dragic enjoyed a number of successful seasons in Slovenia and Spain before declaring for the NBA Draft. He was selected No. 45 overall in 2008 by the San Antonio Spurs, but was traded to the Suns a few days later for Malik Hairston, cash and a 2009 second-round draft pick.

He played sparingly in his first few seasons, but started to make a name for himself in the 2010 playoffs, when he helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals. Even so, he was traded to the Houston Rockets at the 2011 deadline, though that turned out to be a short-lived partnership. When Dragic became a free agent in 2012, he re-signed with the Suns.

His second stint in Phoenix is when his career really started to take off. In 2014, he won Most Improved Player and made the first and only All-NBA appearance of his career — a 3rd Team selection — after averaging 20.9 points and 5.9 assists per game on 50.5% shooting from the field. The Suns missed the playoffs that season despite winning 48 games.

The next season, Dragic was once again on the move. This time, he was traded to the Miami Heat along with his brother, Zoran. In the summer of 2015, he cashed in on his success, signing a five-year, $90 million deal, which was the biggest contract of his career. With the Heat, he made his first and only All-Star appearance in 2018 and helped the team make the Finals during the 2020 bubble season. Unfortunately, he suffered a plantar fascia injury in Game 1 and missed four of the six games as the Heat were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ahead of the 2021 season, Dragic was traded to the Toronto Raptors in the Kyle Lowry deal, which began his odyssey around the league. Over the next few seasons he suited up for the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Bucks.

In addition to his NBA career, Dragic had plenty of success on the international stage. Most notably, he led Slovenia to its first ever EuroBasket title in 2017 and won MVP of the tournament.

Dragic finishes his career with averages of 13.3 points, three rebounds and 4.7 assists across 946 games played (530 starts)

14 Jan

Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga reportedly ‘losing faith’ in Steve Kerr, and he’s not the only unhappy young player

The wheels seem to be falling off for the Golden State Warriors. On top of Draymond Green’s current indefinite suspension, which reportedly could be coming to an end fairly soon, Klay Thompson’s shooting struggles and blunt conversation with Steve Kerr, there are also some disgruntled young players on the roster.

Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga is reportedly losing faith in Kerr, per The Athletic. Kuminga reportedly feels as though Kerr won’t allow him to reach his full potential with the Warriors, creating a rift between him and the head coach. The situation came to a head after Golden State’s loss to the Nuggets Thursday night, where despite having another strong performance, Kuminga didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter.

“[Thursday night] was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” a source told The Athletic.

Kerr addressed the report on Friday prior to the team’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

“We talked,” Kerr said. “Obviously those things are better discussed behind the scenes. Any time something like that goes public it creates a distraction. It’s important for all of our guys — and I talked to our whole team about it — you got an issue? I’m here. I am the most accesible coach in the league probably. My door is always open.

“It’s a difficult situation because every player naturally has his own goals, his own dreams. Everybody wants to flourish, everybody wants to blossom. We have a lot of guys who are capable of playing and I have very difficult decisions to make each and every night. [Kuminga] is a young player, he’s growing, he’s getting better, that’s why he’s been in the starting lineup. He will continue to grow and this is all part of his growth.”

Kuminga, 21, had a super-efficient 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, as well as four rebounds and assists apiece. When he checked out of the game with 5:48 left in the third quarter, the Warriors were down 85-84. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Warriors worked up a 13-point lead, but as the fourth quarter carried on that lead dwindled until Golden State eventually lost the game. But Kuminga wasn’t put back in the game to try and stop Denver from making a comeback.

When asked after the game the reasoning for the young forward not getting back in the game down the stretch, Kerr mentioned how Andrew Wiggins was also playing well, and that at one point it felt like Kuminga was sitting for too long to then put him back in the game late.

“He was playing great,” Kerr said. “His normal time to go back in would have been around the five-, six-minute mark [of the fourth]. [Wiggins] was playing great, we were rolling, were up 18, 19, whatever it was. So we just stayed with him. Then at that [later] point, it didn’t feel like the right thing to do. He had been sitting for a while, so I stayed with the group that was out there, and, obviously, we couldn’t close it out.”

This isn’t the first time Kuminga has been upset about how he’s being used, as he voiced some confusion after Golden State’s loss on Christmas to the Nuggets.

“Sometimes, I come out the game not knowing what I did,” Kuminga said. “And that messes with my head. It’s like, ‘What they want me to do?’ I can pass and I can do different s—.”

Kuminga has seen an increased role since he was inserted into the starting lineup for Green following his suspension in December, but his minutes have at times been inconsistent, like Thursday where he only saw 19 minutes of action. The same is true of Golden State’s Dec. 17 game against the Trail Blazers, where despite starting and having another efficient 5-of-7 night for 12 points with four rebounds and a steal, Kuminga played just under 19 minutes.

Kuminga has taken great strides in his third season with the Warriors, but it appears as though he wants an even larger role than he’s been given, or at least some consistency. He’s also not the only younger player on the team who wants more. Third-year guard Moses Moody is also reportedly “frustrated” with his role, as he’s registered three consecutive DNP-CD’s in the Warriors last three games, where they’ve gone 1-2.

With the lack of success as of late for the Warriors, who are now 16-18 on the season and sit 11th in the West, it sounds like there’s frustration all around the organization. We’ll have to see how these latest reports impact the team going forward, or if there’s perhaps a trade to be made to eliminate some of the logjam in the rotation as well as improving the roster, but for now it seems like Golden State is on a downward spiral.

14 Jan

Kings pull out of Pascal Siakam talks; Hawks making Dejounte Murray available

The NBA trade deadline is nearly a month away on Feb. 8, so between now and then expect the rumor mill to churn as every team in the league tries to position itself to either compete for the postseason or prepare for the offseason with an eye toward the future. Already we saw one big deal go down, as the Raptors dealt OG Anunoby to the Knicks for a package that centered around RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. While that was one big domino to fall, it was just the beginning of what could be a very active trade deadline.

With that being said, here’s a look at the latest rumors around the league as every team readies for Feb. 8:

Kings pull out of Siakam talks; Pacers, Pistons also in the mix
For the longest time it had been the Hawks who were seen as the most aggressive suitors for Siakam, but that’s changed as of late. Atlanta is now viewed as sellers around the league, per Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, as the focus of the team has shifted to regaining assets and gearing up for next season. That’s not a surprising move, as the Hawks gave up three first-round picks to get Murray and are 14-20 this season.

One team that had heavy interest in Siakam was the Kings, who were holding extensive talks with the Raptors until late on Friday night, when they decided to pull out, according to Shams Charania. It’s unclear why talks broke down, but Siakam’s pending free agency could have played a part.

Other teams still thought to be in the mix, per Fischer, are the Pacers and Pistons. Indiana has had known interest in Siakam, but Detroit’s inclusion is interesting. While the Pistons ended their historic 28-game losing streak, it is surprising that this team is interested in trying to add someone like Siakam instead of moving guys like Bojan Bogdanovic. But clearly Detroit isn’t interested in bottoming out — though they’re already there — and are more interested in adding veteran talent to surround the likes of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and the rest of their young core.

Hawks are making Dejounte Murray available
Just a year and a half after the blockbuster trade that landed Murray in Atlanta, the Hawks are reportedly making him “widely available” ahead of the trade deadline, per Fischer. The fit of Murray and Trae Young hasn’t been as successful as the Hawks had hoped, with the pair posting a minus-2.9 net rating when they share the floor. The Knicks have been listed as a potential suitor for Murray, though there are reportedly concerns about if he can coexist alongside Jalen Brunson. But even if it’s not the Knicks, Murray will surely have multiple suitors who are in search of a two-way, All-Star guard on a somewhat team-friendly contract.

Wizards will part with Kyle Kuzma for a high price
The Wizards are once again rudderless, and as we approach the trade deadline they’re reportedly willing to part ways with Kuzma, but the asking price is high. The Wizards are seeking “multiple first-round picks for Kuzma,” per Fischer as they try to stack up their draft capital. It would be surprising if Kuzma netted more than one first-round pick, but he certainly could get the Wizards at least one. He’s averaging a career-high 22.8 points, while shooting the best of his career — 46.8% from the floor. Currently, there haven’t been any teams listed as possible suitors for Kuzma, who is owed $64.3 million over the next three years.

Zach LaVine’s trade market has cooled
It remains to be seen if LaVine will be traded before the deadline, but right now the list of suitors isn’t exactly deep. The Lakers have been connected to the sharpshooting guard, but L.A., as well as several other teams around the league, are reluctant to take on the remaining $180 million on his contract, according to Fischer. LaVine’s injury history is also probably fueling the lack of suitors. Additionally is the fact that the Bulls just went 10-6 without him in the lineup as he sat out with a foot injury. LaVine is expected to return to the Bulls on Friday against the Hornets, so he can start to rebuild his trade value, but as it stands, it doesn’t look like any team is jumping at the chance of taking him on.

Kings open to trading Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter
Sacramento is interested in landing Siakam, but there could be other moves on the horizon for the No. 5 team in the West. The Kings are making Barnes, Huerter and Davion Mitchell available in trade talks, as they look to make a deep run in the playoffs this season. Perhaps those players are used to land Siakam, but in previous reports Toronto covets marksman Keegan Murray. The Kings, however, aren’t interested in trading the young forward. There’s several teams that could use the veteran presence of Barnes, who is owed $37 million over the next two years. He’s a super efficient forward, who can be a positive presence in a young locker room, or a quality role player on a contending team. Huerter’s efficiency and production has taken a dive this season, and he was most recently moved to the bench in favor of Chris Duarte. Despite the shooting struggles, though, Huerter, in the right role, could be a valuable asset on a number of teams