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NBA Rumors Roundup: LA Lakers interested in Washington Wizards star, Ja Morant wants to face the reigning champions at home on Christmas, and more - June 19th, 2022

Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors celebrate after winning the 2022 NBA Finals
Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors celebrate after winning the 2022 NBA Finals
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Kunal Sethi

The 2022 NBA Finals came to an end after 6 games as the Golden State Warriors hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the fourth time in the last eight years.

They have cemented themselves as one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history with their dominance of late. Many analysts and oddsmakers have already picked them as favorites to win the title in 2023.

"I got the Warriors repeating! They are winning the NBA championship AGAIN next year!"@StephenASmith is making his claims for 2023 EARLY. https://t.co/fbhCy1QF5X

With no basketball action for another few weeks, fans are engaging in trade rumors and patiently waiting for the draft. Let's take a look at a few rumors from around the NBA in the last 24 hours.


Charlotte Hornets unsure how to proceed after assistant Kenny Atkinson backed off from the head coach job

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals

In an unheard of move, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson rejected the Charlotte Hornets after they offered him a head coaching job. Atkinson was among several coaches who interviewed for the role and the organization announced that he was selected.

However, after the Warriors won the 2022 NBA championship, Atkinson reneged and decided to stay in San Francisco.

The Hornets are now left with an uncertain future. They reportedly had no idea that Atkinson had cold feet while preparing for his arrival. It's not like they can look at past events and decide what to do because this is unprecedented.

Assistant coaches don't reject head coaching gigs and this move has left the Hornets in scramble mode.

As reported by Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, two league sources described the matter:

"Strange situation and Shocked"
It's NBA Draft week and Kenny Atkinson backed out, so the #Hornets still don’t have a coach. "Strange situation," said a league source.What do they do now?charlotteobserver.com/sports/charlot…

Miami Heat focused on drafting a natural shooter instead of teaching a rookie how to shoot

Miami Heat bench celebrates against the Boston Celtics during the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals
Miami Heat bench celebrates against the Boston Celtics during the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals

The Miami Heat came up short in a Game 7 at home in the Eastern Conference Finals and are now looking to bolster their roster ahead of next season.

They are looking for perimeter shooters who can complement Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The front office believes their current options Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro are not sufficient.

Now, the question facing them is should they draft an average player who is a natural-born shooter or draft an overall player who is average at shooting?

According to Adam Simon, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations, the decision isn't that tough. As reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Simon said:

"That’s a very challenging thing to discuss, having to say, 'Well, we think he can become a better shooter.' It’s very hard for guys to go from being below-average shooters to very good shooters..."

He explained the two types of shooters that enter the NBA.

"I think there’s guys that are born to shoot, that those guys are identified by. The guy that can’t shoot, I think it’s not as easy."
NBA draft could be about who has a shot, or who can give Heat best shot. sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-h… Pick a shooter or create a shooter? "I think there’s guys that are born to shoot, that those guys are identified by. The guy that can’t shoot, I think it’s not as easy." -- Adam Simon

Miami Heat inclined on re-signing PJ Tucker but not Markieff Morris

(L-R) PJ Tucker (1st) and Markieff Morris (4th) on the Miami Heat bench
(L-R) PJ Tucker (1st) and Markieff Morris (4th) on the Miami Heat bench

The Miami Heat want to return next season with a roster ready to compete immediately. They came arguably one three-pointer away from making the NBA Finals, so their roster doesn't need to be meddled with a lot.

Nevertheless, the front office does have a few questions they need to answer. Most importantly, will they bring back Markieff Morris and PJ Tucker?

As per Miami Heat reporter Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, they are heavily inclined to bring back Tucker. But Morris didn't show any production that warrants his return. He reported:

"I’m not sure that Markieff Morris, in his limited time, showed anything that would make you reach for another season. Ultimately, the Heat will weigh all the options available at the minimum against re-signing.
"Markieff...Then again, I’m fully expecting P.J. Tucker back. One thing, though, that should be noted about Markieff is that he remained engaged as a teammate even when not playing."
ASK IRA: Is there a place for a Markieff Morris return to the Heat in NBA free agency? sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-h…

Ja Morant would love an NBA Christmas Day matchup against the Golden State Warriors in Memphis

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies against Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors
Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies against Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors

Ja Morant has infamously been linked to the Golden State Warriors for his trash talk and constant mockery of the players.

Many view the Grizzlies-Warriors matchup as a new budding rivalry in the NBA and Morant has embraced it. Fans tweeted that a Christmas Day matchup between the rivals in San Francisco would be a treat for the fans.

Morant quote-tweeted and said he wants the game in Memphis.

nah in da M. bring em to da trenches twitter.com/BrysonWright3/…

In a constant back-and-forth trash talk, Draymond Green corrected Morant and tweeted:

"The champs play at home Young! Christmas Day…LJ"

LA Lakers interested in acquiring three-time All-Star Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards during the 2021-22 NBA season
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards during the 2021-22 NBA season

The LA Lakers are dealing with a lack of draft and trade capital and their chances of acquiring another NBA All-Star is next to nothing.

But that doesn't stop the LeBron James-led team to ask around. They are reportedly looking at it like "worst thing they can say is no" approach as reported by The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor in his podcast "The Void".

O'Connor reported:

"The one name that I’ve heard recently is Bradley Beal as another guy that they want. I’m not sure if the interest is as mutual...but the Lakers are trying to angle for some moves like that using the Russ expiring and the ’27 and the ’29 firsts."
The Lakers are at least aiming big as they’re reportedly interested in trading for Bradley Beal silverscreenandroll.com/2022/6/18/2317…

Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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