Trey Burke

Northwest Notes: De Colo, Nuggets, Stotts, Jazz

Nando De Colo, who is coming off a big year with CSKA Moscow, is reportedly drawing interest from several NBA teams hoping to bring him back to North America. According to Nikos Varlas of, the Nuggets have been monitoring De Colo for some time, and are interested in making him an offer. However, with CSKA Moscow invested in hanging onto the Euroleague standout, and De Colo’s NBA rights still being held by Toronto, his contract situation will be a tricky one to navigate.

As we wait to see what happens with De Colo, let’s check in on a few other Monday notes from out of the NBA’s Northwest division:

  • A report last week indicated that the Trail Blazers intend to discuss a possible extension for head coach Terry Stotts, and according to Jay Allen of Rip City Radio 620 AM in Portland (Twitter link), Portland’s current offer to Stotts is in the neighborhood of $20MM over five years. Allen cautions in subsequent tweets that those numbers are hardly set in stone, noting that they could just be a starting point for the two sides.
  • The criteria for renegotiating an NBA player’s contract are somewhat complicated and restrictive, but the Jazz could rework Derrick Favors‘ deal this October if they so choose, and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders explains why it might make sense to do so.
  • Trey Burke, who was once considered the point guard of the future in Utah, may not longer be a part of the plans going forward for the Jazz, writes Randy Hollis of The Deseret News. As Hollis details, general manager Dennis Lindsey remains positive about Burke, but the former top-10 pick saw his minutes slashed this past season, and didn’t start a single game.

And-Ones: Hield, Burke, SuperSonics, Huestis

Buddy Hield’s outstanding performance in the NCAA Tournament may not be helping his draft position as much as casual fans would assume, according to Jonathan Givony of The Vertical. The high-scoring Oklahoma star has led the Sooners to the Final Four, but an unidentified GM says teams knew what Hield was capable of doing even before the tournament started. Hield had considered declaring for last year’s draft, but feedback from teams placed him in the middle of the second round at best. Now he projects as a top-10 pick.

There’s more from around the world of basketball:

  • Hield has impressed NBA executives and scouts who talked to Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops, and one Western Conference exec thinks he could go as high as No. 3. Scotto has Hield atop his list of prospects who have improved their draft stock in the tourney, followed by Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis, North Carolina’s Brice Johnson, Baylor’s Taurean Prince and Iowa State’s Georges Niang.
  • Jazz point guard Trey Burke has seen his playing time cut since the trade for Shelvin Mack, but he’s trying to stay positive, according to The Associated Press“I know I’ll have a long career in this league, regardless of what anybody says,” Burke said. “That’s my mindset. It is a little frustrating because you want to be out there. You know you can help the team. But, for me, I’m looking at the big picture. I don’t really look at the temporary situation. I just try to get better every day. Be the best version of me that I can be.”
  • The annual trip to Portland makes Celtics guards Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley nostalgic for the Seattle SuperSonics, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Both Pacific Northwest natives were just teenagers eight years ago when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. “That hurt kids’ childhoods, man, not growing up with a professional basketball team like everyone else had,” Thomas recalled. “It’s tough now, and Portland is the closest team to them. I’m glad I was raised on Sonics basketball.”
  • The Thunder have assigned Josh Huestis to their Oklahoma City Blue affiliate in the D-League, the team announced today. Huestis is averaging 13.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.52 blocks in 23 games with the Blue.

Western Notes: Harrell, Foye, Burke

Rockets rookie power forward Montrezl Harrell has been suspended five games without pay by the NBA D-League for shoving a referee to the floor in the midst of an altercation with another player during Rio Grande Valley’s contest on Saturday night, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report relays (on Twitter). The suspension will cost Harrell approximately $45K in salary and Houston will shave roughly $34K off its luxury tax bill as a result, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). Harrell will not be eligible to be recalled from the D-League by the Rockets until the suspension is completed.

Here’s more from out West:

  • The Thunder sent Denver $1,169,559 as part of the trade that landed Randy Foye in Oklahoma City, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter).
  • The Mavericks have been struggling on the defensive end and coach Rick Carlisle plans on using Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson, the team’s youngest players, as starters the rest of the way to help provide a spark, Earl K. Sneed of writes. “Well, if you’re having an energy problem and you’re having a problem defending, then you need to get more energetic and better defenders in the game,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to make the point, and I felt right now we’ve got to make the point that anything other than your best effort and your best energy is unacceptable. These two guys are going to go hard unconditionally, and they delivered tonight. … You know, you’re going to see some of these guys going forward. There’s no question about it.
  • When the Jazz traded two draft picks to the Wolves in exchange for the rights to Trey Burke, the team thought it was a coup, but nearly three years later it would appear Minnesota came out on top in that transaction, Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News writes. Both players Minnesota acquired (Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad) have been productive, while Burke is stuck in a reserve role despite the run of backcourt injuries Utah has endured this season, Sorensen notes. Burke admits he wonders what his career would be like if he had gone to the Wolves, the scribe adds. “I think about it every time I play against them — it motivates me,” Burke said. “That’s one of the teams I play really well against. It’s just motivation, that’s how it’s been my whole life, the underdog who’s overlooked.”

Rockets, Jazz End Talks On Ty Lawson, Trey Burke

10:29am: The talks are over, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports, who indicates the discussion was only casual anyway (Twitter link). Wojnarowski also casts doubt on the idea the Rockets will waive Lawson.

7:47am: The Rockets would give considerable thought to waiving Lawson if they don’t trade him to Utah, sources tell Marc Stein of (Twitter link).

THURSDAY: 7:01am: The talks are serious, with the Jazz having committed to send Burke away, and the growing sense around the league is that Utah is ready to accept Houston’s offer, reports Marc Stein of (Twitter links). However, Andy Larsen of hears the teams are trending in the direction of not getting a deal done (Twitter link).

7:42pm: Utah is looking at deals for several other veteran point guards as well as Lawson, according to Stein.

6:38pm: The Jazz have been interested in acquiring Lawson for a few weeks, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Burke would be headed to Houston in return as part of a proposal the teams are discussing, but his salary is just short of $2.66MM — nearly $10MM less than Lawson — so other players would have to be included to make the deal work, Jones says (Twitter links). Burke is signed through the 2016/17 season, when he will make nearly $3.39MM.

WEDNESDAY, 5:35pm: The Rockets are looking to Utah in their quest to find a taker for point guard Ty Lawson, tweets Marc Stein of Lawson has reportedly been on the market since at least December, while the Jazz have been down a point guard with Dante Exum missing the season after undergoing left knee surgery last summer. A slow market left Houston expecting to hang on to Lawson through the deadline, as USA Today’s Sam Amick reported last month, but it appears the team is making a renewed effort to find a new home for him.

Lawson was expected to add spark to Houston’s offense after being acquired in an offseason deal with the Nuggets. He opened the season as the team’s starting point guard, but proved to be a poor fit and was demoted to the bench after coach Kevin McHale was fired in November. Lawson is averaging just 6.3 points and 3.6 assists in 48 games.

Utah passed on a chance to deal for Lawson last summer, tweets Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. He believes any deal made now would have to include more than Lawson. The seventh-year point guard has a salary of more than $12.4MM this season, so it won’t be easy for the Jazz to match without giving up something significant. A combination of Trey Burke and Joe Ingles or Burke and Tibor Pleiss would work, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Lawson is due to make more than $13.2MM next season, but that salary is non-guaranteed. 

If a trade goes through, it would be an unusual deal for two teams locked in a tight battle for a playoff spot. The Jazz entered the All-Star break leading the Rockets by half a game for eighth place in the West.

Northwest Notes: Martin, Cheeks, Pleiss, Burke

Kevin Martin is hoping the Wolves will trade him to a winning team before Thursday’s deadline, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. A source said Martin would like to see the deal done as a reward for his “professionalism and mentoring of young teammates.” The 12th-year shooting guard is making $7.085MM this year and has a player option worth nearly $7.38MM for next season.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks will be out of action for about six weeks after undergoing hip surgery, the team announced today. Mark Daigneault, head coach of the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, will take Cheeks’ place, while OKC Blue assistant Jarell Christian will coach that team for the rest of the season.
  • The Jazz recalled center Tibor Pleiss from the D-League today, tweets Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. However, the move was just so Pleiss could attend practice, and he was sent back down later in the day.
  • Jazz point guard Trey Burke, who is rumored to be in a proposal that would send him to Houston in exchange for Ty Lawson, works better as a backup than a starter, according to Bobby Marks of the Vertical on Yahoo Sports. In his guide to the trade deadline for Utah, Marks says the Jazz have been missing a floor leader in the absence of Dante Exum, who is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery last summer. Marks advises the Jazz to hang onto Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and rookie Trey Lyles as they push for a playoff spot.
  • Randy Rigby will retire as president of the Jazz at the end of the season and will be replaced by Steve Starks, Genessy tweets. “I am excited about the future of the Jazz and my continued involvement as an adviser,” said Rigby, who has been with the organization since 1986.
  • The Nuggets may be able to get a second-round pick for J.J. Hickson, Marks writes in his trade deadline guide for Denver. Hickson has fallen out of the team’s rotation and has been on the market for weeks. Marks credits the Denver front office with being on the right track for rebuilding and says the team should consider moving either the Rockets’ or Blazers’ first-round picks, which are both conditional, in exchange for a future pick or veteran player.

Jazz Have External Trade Talk About Trey Burke

The Jazz have held multiple discussions with other teams about trades involving Trey Burke, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Still, the Jazz aren’t in line to acquire fellow point guard Jeff Teague from the Hawks, Jones tweets, despite an earlier report that they were thinking about pursuing him. Utah rejected an offer from the Hawks of Teague for Rodney Hood and a draft pick, according to Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone radio in Salt Lake City (Twitter link).

Jazz coach Quin Snyder has praised Burke for his defense, Jones notes, and the No. 9 overall pick is shooting a career best 42.3% from the floor and 34.7% from 3-point range. Still, his minutes are at a career-low 23.6 per game, down significantly from the 30.1 he saw last season, even though he seemed to be first in line to start when Dante Exum went down with a torn ACL in the summer. The Jazz have gone with rookie Raul Neto as the starter instead and often employed lineups with three wing players instead of a point guard.

Burke, the No. 9 pick from the 2013 draft, is making more than $2.658MM this season in year three of his four-year rookie scale contract. He’ll be up for an extension this summer.

Jones speculates that George Hill, whom the Pacers have reportedly dangled in talks with Atlanta about Teague, would be a strong fit for the Jazz, and that he’d be obtainable if Utah has interest (Twitter links). The Tribune scribe believes that an offer of Burke and the unprotected 2017 first-round pick the Warriors owe the Jazz would be reasonable in exchange for Hill. Still, it’s unclear whether any connection exists between the Jazz and Pacers on that front.

Western Notes: Durant, Burke, Cauley-Stein

Thunder small forward Kevin Durant maintains that his mind is not on his impending free agency this summer, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes. “I’m just really, to be honest with you, I haven’t sat down and thought about it,” said Durant. “The season moves along so quickly. Every time I get alone, it’s on the plane or in the city thinking about the game the next day. Of course, I can’t say I haven’t totally thought about it at all. But I haven’t sat down and really put a lot of time into what I’m looking for. Just focusing on my teammates, focusing on the season and how I can be better as a player, as a leader. Everything else comes after that.

When asked if his friendship with point guard Russell Westbrook would make him think twice about leaving Oklahoma City, Durant responded, “Like I said, I haven’t really thought about that much. I’m just enjoying every single moment. I told myself that before the year. It’s easy for me to kinda stray off path and think about the future. It’s my ninth season in the league and I can remember my first game in Madison Square Garden like it was yesterday. Just try to stay in the moment and we’ll worry about that stuff when I get there. I know that’s people want to hear, information, want to get it out and talk about everything right now. But to be honest, I’m just trying to stay in the moment and enjoy where I am. I’ll tell you everything you need to know when that time comes.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Trey Burke is settling into his new role with the Jazz as a reserve point guard and he believes that the early results have been positive, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. “It’s been great; for me, it’s just been doing whatever the team asks me to do,” Burke said. “Coach told me he wanted me to be a spark coming off the bench and being a team guy, I’ve always just wanted to win. That’s really what it’s all about for me. I’ve grown a lot this year, mentally as a player, going through some adversity, but it’s helped me out.
  • Kings rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein believes that he has found a home in Sacramento and in return the franchise has clearly let him know that he is wanted, Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee writes. “When I came here [for a predraft workout], I sensed they wanted me,” Cauley-Stein said, “and I loved it. I can’t really explain it. It’s just a feel.”

Jazz Exercise Options On Four Players

The Jazz have exercised third-year options on Dante Exum and Rodney Hood and fourth-year options on Trey Burke and Rudy Gobert, the team announced today. All four options are for the 2016/17 season.

The 20-year-old Exum will receive slightly more than $3.94MM. He is expected to miss the upcoming season after damaging the ACL in his left knee while playing for the Australian National Team. He appeared in all 82 games during his rookie season in Utah, averaging 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Exum was part of the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.

Hood, 22, will earn a little over $1.4MM. He averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists during his rookie campaign and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month during the final month of last season.

The 22-year-old Burke will make nearly $3.39MM. He has started 111 games during his first two NBA seasons and has averages of 12.8 points 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2013/14 and has been part of the Rising Stars Challenge the past two seasons.

Gobert, 23, will make more than $2.1MM. He sparked the Jazz to a 22-15 record after moving into the starting lineup in the middle of last season. Gobert finished fifth in the Defensive Player of the Year voting and became the third player in Utah history to top 180 blocked shots in a season. He has career averages of 6.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Northwest Notes: Jones, Gallinari, Donovan

The Timberwolves will consider sending Tyus Jones to the NBA D-League this season in order to get the rookie more playing time, Marcus R. Fuller of The Pioneer Press writes. The decision will come down to whether or not the team believes it can get Jones enough playing time to properly develop, Fuller adds. “We haven’t really used [the D-League] in the past, and that’s something we’re trying to rectify,” GM Milt Newton said. “If there’s an opportunity for us to use the D-League, we will do that, with Tyus especially. But it can be a position where you send him to the D-League and he plays only 14, 15, 20 minutes a game, which was the situation last year. For us, we wanted to utilize the D-League. But the team we were associated with, they couldn’t guarantee that our guys would get the minutes that we felt they needed to develop, and so we felt it was better to keep our players here and let [them] practice and get developed from our coaching staff. If we can fix that situation, while we’re in the situation without a D-League team, that’s a decision we’ll have to make.” Jones was the No. 24 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Danilo Gallinari, who agreed to a renegotiation and extension of his contract this offseason, wants to remain with the Nuggets for his entire NBA career, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. “I was just glad to stay in Denver,” Gallinari said. “That was my goal. If you see my history with contracts, it’s never been about money because if it was about money I would have made other choices. But I love Denver and I want to stay here as long as I can. I would like to finish my career here. I was glad we were able to sign this contract.
  • New Thunder head coach Billy Donovan says he has been humbled by the reception he has received from the community and fans of the team since being hired back in April, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. “The community has been really remarkable in terms of helping myself, helping my kids, my wife adjust. Very very grateful for all the help that so many lended, reached out, to make this a smooth transition,” said Donovan.
  • This season will likely be the final one for Jazz point guard Trey Burke to establish himself as a starter in the league, writes Brad Rock of The Deseret News. With projected starter Dante Exum undergoing surgery on the ACL in his left knee that may cause him to miss the entire season, Utah will need Burke to step up his game if the team is to have a shot at the playoffs this season.
  • The Trail Blazers elected to exercise their team option for Chris Kaman for the 2015/16 season, a move that pleased the veteran big man despite the franchise entering a rebuilding phase, Casey Holdahl of writes. “First of all, I was happy to have the opportunity to come back here again because obviously that was something in question,” said Kaman. “I’m grateful to be back here. Even if it’s a rebuilding season and we’re able to make the playoffs or skirt at the edge there and be somewhere at the end of the season where we’re having a great opportunity, I’m happy to be here.

Northwest Rumors: Burke, Huestis, Donovan

Trey Burke views the Jazz’s logjam at point guard as a source of motivation, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune reports. This summer and upcoming season is crucial to Burke’s future with the club, Falk continues. Burke was a lottery pick in 2013 but lost his starting spot to 2014 lottery selection Dante Exum. The Jazz also have point guards Bryce Cotton, Raul Neto and Olivier Hanlan on the roster. Burke shot just 36.8% from the field and 31.8% on 3-point attempts last season while averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 assists in 30.1 minutes. His shooting percentage was the lowest of any player attempting at least 1,000 shots since 1965, Falk adds.  “I just look at it as another test. A stepping stone. You can use it as motivation going into training camp,” Burke said during a conference call. “Right now, I’m really dedicating myself and, come training camp, I know I’ll be prepared, and that’s all that matters.”

In other news around the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder gave Josh Huestis the full 120% bump on his rookie scale contract and thus he will make about $1.1MM this season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Huestis made a pre-draft arrangement with Oklahoma City in 2014 to be taken in the first round and then delay signing a rookie contract. He spent last season with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate while making approximately $25,000. Huestis, who signed a four-year deal with a team option after the second season, is glad he took that gamble, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman“Obviously I was the first to do it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a more common practice,” Huestis said to Mayberry of the domestic-draft-and-stash route. “Not only does it give you an opportunity to stay close to your organization and stay in America, but you get to play against great competition and learn from great coaches and a great staff.”
  • The focus on the Thunder this offseason has centered on new head coach Billy Donovan, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman writes.  Donovan has already drawn rave reviews from people around Oklahoma City for his personality and seems to be a good fit with the community, Carlson adds.

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