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Around the NBA: Zion expected to return to 5-on-5, Markelle Fultz drops 25 points

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings interested in Kyle Kuzma

According to Marc Stein to the New York Times, the Sacramento Kings are interested in Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers as a trade candidate.

Stein notes Bogdan Bogdanovic as a possible swap for Kuzma. However, Sam Amick of The Atheltic reports that the Kings would not be interested in a straight swap of the two and would need more than Kuzma.

I wouldn’t be shocked if this was leaked by the Lakers in an effort to drum up interested in Kuzma. There just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of substance to these talks.

Markelle Fultz goes for career-high 25 points

“Just when I thought I was out”...

The Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets 101-89 Monday evening, thanks in part to what was one of Markelle Fultz’s best games as a professional. Fultz scored a career-high 25 points (11-20 FG/2-5 3PT/1-1 FT) to go along with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

His jumper still has a hitch at the top and the three-pointer is more of a push shot, but it’s not looking too bad. Good for ‘Kelle!

No love for Kevin Love?

It’s no secret to anyone that follows the NBA closely that Kevin Love wants out of Cleveland. The Cavs are now 10-26, 14th in the Eastern Conference, and Love has been making open displays of frustration and defiance on the court.

Unfortunately for Love, it doesn’t sound like there’s been serious interest in his services around the league, largely due to his onerous contract. On a recent episode of the Hoop Collective, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said the following:

“(Love) absolutely, totally wants to get out of there. It has driven him various levels of crazy to be there this season, but there’s not that much traction for a trade as far I can tell... That is a bit of a mess to say the least.

I think there’s teams that would do it. One of the things that’s been remarkable to me as I’ve talked to some people around the league about Kevin in the last 48-72 hours is there’s a lot of people who really, really value him and really like him, but the problem is because of the contract, it’s a difficult to come up with a trade for. Because the Cavs are viewing trading an All-Star level player. The other teams are saying ‘Yeah, he’s a good player but we’re taking on this money.’ They think they’re bailing the Cavs out.”

Cleveland risks a chance to obtain some assets for Love, but the Cavs should be willing to play hard ball a bit with trade. They can always soften their demands as the deadline gets closer. According to Windhorst, there’s a decent amount of interest in Love and that could snowball into a bidding war between teams desperate to make the playoffs.

Zion Williamson returning to 5-on-5’s in practice

Zion Williamson is expected return to 5-on-5 practice Tuesday afternoon, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is expected to return to 5-on-5 action at practice Tuesday, a source told ESPN, in another step toward his highly anticipated regular-season NBA debut.

On Friday, ESPN reported that Williamson needed about three or four more practices before the Pelicans would clear him to take the preseason assessment test that would allow him to return to game action.

The Pelicans have had difficulty scheduling those practices. Monday was the team’s first of five games in eight days, which doesn’t allow for a lot of practice time.

But if the pregame workout Monday afternoon was any indication, Williamson is starting to look like the old Zion.

Dwight Howard to compete in 2020 Dunk Contest, Ja Morant considering

Dwight Howard will compete in the 2020 All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

Howard competed in the contest each year from 2007 to 2009, winning in 2008. I suppose this is a nostalgia trip for some, but eh, I think the NBA could do better than a 34-year-old center. I like seeing guards out there like Damian Lillard and Zach LaVine, who have the hang time to do something mind-blowing.

But good news for me: Ja Morant is considering the NBA dunk contest this year, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports. Now that’s a guy I want to see. Morant would certainly entertain. Unfortunately, a recent history of back issues may deter the rookie from participating.

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