Month: May 2024

Nets Sign Iman Shumpert

JANUARY 31: The Nets made the signing official on Saturday night, announcing it in a press release.

JANUARY 30: The Nets are finalizing a deal with free agent swingman Iman Shumpert, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Shumpert will return to the team after playing 13 games for Brooklyn last season. He was a rotation member and a strong defensive presence after signing with the Nets in November of 2019, but without a guaranteed contract the team wasn’t willing to give him a long-term roster spot. He was “reluctantly” released a month later when Wilson Chandler returned from a 25-game suspension.

Shumpert has played for five teams in his 10 NBA seasons, averaging 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 459 games. He has been out of the league since the Nets let him go.

Brooklyn was required to fill at least one spot by today to get its roster up to 14 players. Today marks two weeks since the James Harden trade became official, with the Nets sending out four players while taking back only Harden.

Scott Brooks: Wizards Aren’t Trading Bradley Beal

After a report earlier this week that the Wizards aren’t considering any trades involving Bradley Beal, coach Scott Brooks issued an emphatic declaration today that the star guard isn’t on the market, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports.

Brad and I have never talked about it,” Brooks said after today’s practice. “We know that’s part of it. We haven’t won and when you don’t win, teams think that you’re just gonna throw the towel in and give up, that you’re just gonna want to get rid of your good players. So, that’s all part of the business.

“Brad is no different. He’s one of the best players in the league, of course every team would want him. But the good part about it is the team he’s on loves him the most. I love coaching him. He wants to be here, he signed an extension. He didn’t have to.”

Beal’s appeal is obvious. He’s one of the league’s most dangerous offensive players and is on pace to win his first scoring title. He’s averaging 34.7 PPG through 14 games, more than four points better than second-place Kevin Durant.

However, he’s putting up those numbers for the league’s worst team. Playing short-handed for much of the year due to COVID-19 and contact tracing, the Wizards have lost four straight games and are off to a 3-12 start. With six games already postponed, they face a loaded schedule for the second half of the season.

Beal admitted this week that the losing is getting to him, responding “Is the sky blue?” when asked if he was frustrated after Wednesday’s loss to the Pelicans.

Even so, Beal hasn’t asked to be traded and sources close to him tell Hughes that he doesn’t plan to. The Wizards are sticking to their position that they won’t seek a deal unless he requests one.

The extension that Beal signed in 2019 keeps him under contract through the end of next season, with a $36.4MM player option for 2022/23. The Wizards are hoping to quiet trade speculation by getting back in the playoff race once their full team is available again. In the meantime, Brooks is trying a more direct approach.

We’re not interested,” he told reporters. “I’m gonna just tell (general manager Tommy Sheppard) you might as well block all the 29 other teams’ numbers. We’re not answering.”

Kings Notes: Bagley, Walton, Robinson, G League

The Kings are encouraged by Marvin Bagley III‘s performance through the first quarter of the season, but mostly they’re happy he has been able to avoid injuries, writes James Ham of NBC Sports. Bagley has appeared in all 18 of Sacramento’s games so far after being limited to 13 last year by a variety of mishaps.

“Just being able to be there for my team — available, that’s something that I wanted to do and I did everything in the offseason to make sure I was ready for that,” Bagley said. “I’m feeling good.”

There has been a cloud hanging over Bagley’s career, not only due to injuries but because of the Kings’ decision to draft him ahead of Luka Doncic and Trae Young, who have already been to All-Star games. Sacramento hopes better health will lead Bagley on a similar course.

“We have to be patient,” coach Luke Walton said. “He hasn’t had the experience he needs. He’s still a very young player. He’s a very willing learner. He’s a very talented player and it just takes time.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • Walton probably won’t have to worry about his job for a while, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. New general manager Monte McNair is still assembling his long-term roster, and Anderson thinks McNair will want to see what Walton can do with that group before making a decision on his coach. Anderson points out that the Kings have been through 10 head coaches in the past 15 years.
  • Glenn Robinson III is one of several NBA players with a father who played in the league, notes Alex Kramers of The swingman, who’s in his first year with the Kings, said he has learned to rely on that connection. “Throughout the years and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve appreciated my dad more and more,” Robinson said. “Obviously, we both have the same career, and I’m able to call him and get advice, on and off the court. That’s something that I can never replace. I’m forever grateful for that.”
  • Sacramento has assigned two players to the G League bubble, Anderson writes in a separate story. Because the Kings’ affiliate isn’t participating, they sent Jahmi’us Ramsey to play for the Clippers’ team (Agua Caliente) and Robert Woodard to the Spurs’ squad (Austin). Both are rookies who were selected in the second round of November’s draft.

Jimmy Butler Returns For Heat

Jimmy Butler will be back in Miami’s lineup tonight after missing the past 10 games due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the All-Star forward won’t be on a minutes restriction (Twitter link).

Butler will be a welcome addition for Miami, which has lost five straight games and is 2-8 since he was sidelined. Butler spent most of the week doing conditioning work and was deemed ready to return tonight.

“He’s worked extremely hard behind the scenes,” Spoelstra said in a tweet from the team.

Butler, whose addition sparked Miami to an NBA Finals run last year, has been limited to just six games this season. He’s averaging 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists per night and will be crucial to helping the Heat move back up the standings.

Timberwolves Notes: Rubio, Rosas, Reid, Towns

Ricky Rubio hasn’t found a level of comfort since returning to the Timberwolves, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. After the Suns traded Rubio to Oklahoma City on draft day, Minnesota expressed interest in bringing him back to the place where he played his first six NBA seasons. However, he hasn’t developed a rapport with backcourt mate D’Angelo Russell, and the Wolves are sinking with their best player, Karl-Anthony Towns, sidelined by COVID-19.

“Trying to pick it up, but it’s tough,” Rubio said. “It is what it is. There’s no excuses. I’m going to keep working hard. I’ve been in the league for 10 years and I know who I am, but it’s off. My game is not here, and I’ve got to find it.”

Through the first part of the season, Rubio is averaging career lows at 6.2 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. His shot has been off as he’s posting his worst marks ever in effective field-goal percentage (.369), field-goal percentage (.341) and 3-point shooting (.185).

“There’s a fine line of overthinking,” Rubio said. “Sometimes, if you think too much, it’s bad for you, but you can’t just let it go and go out there. You’ve got to fix it if things are not working. Got to feel better with the system, with what we’re running, and as a point guard, I’ve got to do my job.”

There’s more on the Wolves:

  • Rubio could wind up being a trade chip, suggests Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. The veteran guard will have a $17.8MM expiring contract next season, which could be useful to help match salary in a deal. Hine adds that team president Gersson Rosas views trades as the best way to improve.
  • Second-year center Naz Reid, who has taken over as a starter in Towns’ absence, shares the organizational philosophy of avoiding mid-range shots, Hine writes in a separate story. “It’s not that I can’t shoot them. It’s that I don’t feel right shooting (them),” Reid said. “The system of (rim) twos, threes, free throws is a proper system.”
  • Towns revealed this week that he was hit by a drunk driver in Los Angeles before the start of the season, relays Mark Medina of USA Today. Towns, who lost his mother and six other family members to COVID-19 last year, talked about the incident in a question-and-answer session on Instagram about how he has overcome so much adversity.

Dennis Smith Jr. Asks To Play In G League

Buried on the Knicks’ bench, guard Dennis Smith Jr. has asked the front office to send him to the G League in order to receive playing time, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports.

It’s a highly unusual request for a former lottery pick but Smith hasn’t played in the past nine games. Smith, who also battled a thigh injury this season, has only appeared in three games.

Smith came to New York two years ago as part of Kristaps Porzingis deal with Dallas. He was viewed back then as a potential long-term solution at point guard but he soon fell out of favor. Smith averaged 15.2 PPG and 5.2 APG in his rookie year with the Mavs.

Last season, he appeared in just 34 games, averaging 5.5 PPG and 2.9 APG with New York.

Smith is due to become an unrestricted free agent unless the team extends a $7MM+ qualifying offer, a highly unlikely scenario.

The Westchester Knicks are one of the 18 teams participating in the G League season in Orlando. Myles Powell, Jared Harper and Theo Pinson are among the notables on the Westchester roster.

Western Notes: Schroder, Allen, Grizzlies, Kennard

Dennis Schroder‘s contract situation is one of the reasons why Alex Caruso isn’t logging more minutes, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register speculates. After acquiring Schroder from the Thunder during the offseason, the Lakers are hoping to convince him to sign an extension instead of allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency this offseason. That’s why it is in the team’s best interests to keep Schroder in a starting role and give him steady minutes even though his offensive production has dipped significantly compared to last season.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen will not be active on Saturday against San Antonio due to the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Allen joined center Jonas Valanciunas on the list, as Memphis prepares to play for the first time since January 18. Valanciunas indicated on social media he’s recovered from COVID-19 and rejoined the team, though he’s not expected to play until next week.
  • The Grizzlies will allow MVP season ticket holders to attend games starting on February 4 against Houston, Barnes indicates in a separate story. That will raise capacity inside FedExForum to just under 2,000 fans, or 11% capacity. The Grizzlies have allowed up to 74 season ticket holders to sit courtside, as well as 220 additional fans in suites and club boxes.
  • Luke Kennard missed a good chunk of last season with Detroit due to tendinitis in both knees. Now a key reserve for the Clippers, Kennard is grateful for all the rehab he last season, as he told Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “It helped so much more than I could have thought and now I’m feeling great, my body feels great and I’m moving well,” Kennard said. “I hated it at the time — didn’t hate it, but it just took a while. It was pretty hard. Looking back now, I’m grateful and thankful I went through it.” Kennard signed a four-year extension in December.
  • Even if the Warriors show improvement over the course of the season, they’re no better than the best of a mediocre group of Western Conference teams contending for a playoff berth, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.

Magic Granted DPE For Fultz’s Injury

The NBA has granted the Magic a Disabled Player Exception worth approximately $6.14MM due to Markelle Fultz‘s season-ending injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The DPE will expire on April 19.

It’s the second DPE awarded to Orlando this season. The Magic were also granted a DPE following Jonathan Isaac‘s season-ending ACL tear. Fultz tore the ACL in his left knee early this month.

The DPE is a salary cap exception designed to allow teams to add a replacement for a player who suffers a season-ending injury. It’s worth either half the injured player’s salary or the value of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, whichever is lesser. Fultz has a $12,288,697 salary this season.

The disabled player exception doesn’t give a team an extra roster spot, but it allows the club to add a player without requiring cap space to do so. It can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. However, it can only be used on one player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

The Magic currently have a full 15-man roster and are approximately $3MM away from the luxury tax line. However, guard Michael Carter-Williams is dealing with a sprained left foot and is out indefinitely, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets, which might increase the odds of the Magic making a roster move.

Lonzo Ball On Trade Rumors: “Stay Away From The Noise”

Fresh off a season-high 27 points and a career-best seven three-pointers, Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball showed a glimpse of the potential that made him a second overall pick and part of the package New Orleans acquired for Anthony Davis.

The performance on Friday comes on the heels of reports that the Pelicans are getting calls on both Ball and J.J. Redick. Per the report, the Pelicans have shown a willingness to move both players, but Ball says he’s not letting the “noise” get to him.

“I just stay the course. I’ve been playing basketball for a long time. I put a lot of work in and just try to play my game,” Ball said after New Orleans defeated the Bucks, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “That’s how I play. I just try to stay away from all the noise and just go out there and try to help my team win games.”

Ball’s performance with the Pelicans since he was acquired prior to last season has been inconsistent. In 63 games last season, the 23-year-old averaged 11.8 PPG and 7.0 APG for the Pelicans and is posting similar numbers this season with a decrease in assists (4.9 APG).

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Harris, Randle, Free Agency

Immanuel Quickley has quickly emerged as a bright spot for the streaky Knicks, becoming a high-scoring option off the bench in his rookie campaign. He added to his impressive start with a 25-point performance against the Cavaliers on Friday, helping New York end a three-game losing streak.

After a recent 31-point showing in a loss to the Trail Blazers, Quickley was connected with Portland’s perennial MVP candidate Damian Lillard. As Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes, Lillard provided some advice and insight to Quickley in the midst of his standout introduction to the NBA.

“I took everything away, honestly, from the type of person he is first of all, the type of player he is, [the] competitor [he is],” Quickley said. “Then really just giving me advice on obviously the point guard position, but what it takes to win in this league, what it takes to help your team win, how to bounce back from good games, bad games, staying even-keeled throughout the whole season.

“It was good to just have someone like to be able to go to, someone that’s been through a lot, Western Conference finals, the MVP [race], things like that.”

Check out more news and notes from the Atlantic division:

  • After his impressive start to the 2020/21 season, Tobias Harris is earning himself serious All-Star consideration, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Of note, the Sixers forward has shown defensive improvements while averaging 20.1 PPG with career bests in field-goal percentage (52.5%) and three-point shooting (46.2%).
  • Given Julius Randle‘s monstrous performance to begin this season, it’s time to stop viewing the forward as an athletic underachiever and more as an All-Star keeping a streaky team within playoff contention, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Randle showed up in great shape and has since been the Knicks‘ key to the offense, as an improved scorer, passer and defender.
  • The Nets will have to fill one of their two open roster spots by Sunday and it’s likely the team looks outside the organization to fill it, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “I guess it’s possible to sign one of our two-way guys,” Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash said. “But I think we’re probably looking to sign somebody on a free-agent deal here.”