Month: November 2021

And-Ones: Broekhoff, Grant, Whittington, COVID-19 Testing

Former Mavericks swingman Ryan Broekhoff has re-signed with South East Melbourne Phoenix in Australia’s NBL for two years, according to an NBL press release. Broekhoff played for the Phoenix this past season. He withdrew from playing in this summer’s Olympics with the Australian national team in order to focus on mental health issues.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Jerian Grant is expected to sign with Italy’s Olimpia Milano, Aris Barkas of EuroHoops.net reports. While playing for Promitheas Patras in the Greek league this year, Grant averaged team-highs 15.2 PPG and 6.1 APG during the regular season. He was waived by the Rockets during training camp in December.
  • Small forward Greg Whittington, who played four games with the Nuggets this season, has signed with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia, according to LokoBasket.com. Whittington, who underwent knee surgery in January, was cut loose by Denver in April after spending most of the season with the Nuggets on a two-way contract.
  • There have been no positive tests for the COVID-19 virus among players in the postseason since June 23, NBA Communications tweets. There were 94 players tested since that day. Chris Paul is the only player known to have tested positive since the playoffs began.

Pacers Notes: Fizdale, Collins, Pritchard, Turner, Sabonis, Workouts

David Fizdale turned down more money from the Pacers to be one of Rick Carlisle’s lead assistants in order to take a similar job with the Lakers, according to Marc Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Indiana’s interest in Fizdale was previously reportedFormer Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins is being considered for an assistant coaching position with the Pacers, Spears adds.

We have more on the Pacers;

  • President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said the hiring of Carlisle is a signal that the franchise is intent on winning a title, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press“We’re in a win-now mode, we’re trying to win and so we identified some traits or characteristics we wanted in a coach,” Pritchard said. “Those characteristics were first of all multiyear experience, we really wanted to have someone who had a championship pedigree and that can be challenging to find all of them in one person. What happened in this year’s search is Rick became available.”
  • Myles Turner‘s name has often been tossed into trade rumors but Carlisle believes he can get more out of the frontcourt duo of Domantas Sabonis and Turner, Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com writes. “When my teams have played them over the last few years, we’ve always felt like it was a physical beating that we were taking with them, both defensively and offensively,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of making it work.”
  • The team is bringing in Brandon Boston Jr. (Kentucky), Matt Coleman III (Texas), EJ Onu (Shawnee State), Austin Reaves (Oklahoma), Jaden Springer (Tennessee) and Moses Wright (Georgia Tech) for pre-draft workouts on Thursday, according to a team press release. Springer, a point guard, is ranked No. 27 on ESPN’s Best Available list. Shooting guards Boston (No. 41) and Reaves (No. 44) are also ranked in the Top 50.

Leonard, Zubac Won’t Play In Game 6

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and center Ivica Zubac will sit out Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals tonight, Marc Stein tweets.

Leonard hasn’t played in the series against the Suns due to a right knee injury that he suffered June 14 against Utah. Zubac is also sidelined by a right knee injury, officially described as an MCL sprain. The 24-year-old center played regularly during the first four games of the series, averaging 12.8 PPG and 11.0 RPG.

Marcus Morris is also dealing with a knee injury but he’ll play, according to coach Tyronn Lue, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

With Zubac sidelined in Game 5, Lue went with a smaller lineup and his team staved off elimination with a 116-102 win. Guards Terance Mann and Patrick Beverley were inserted into the lineup with Morris and Paul George as the only natural forwards.

Central Notes: Mobley, Rose, Bulls’ Draft, McDermott, McConnell, Carlisle

Drafting Evan Mobley with the No. 3 pick wouldn’t necessarily mean the Cavaliers would let restricted free agent Jarrett Allen walk, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The USC big man is widely considered one of the top four prospects in the draft, and sources tell Fedor the Cavs believe he could thrive at the four or the five, so he should be able to share the frontcourt with a center like Allen. Mobley could also slide over to the middle in some lineups, and his versatility would provide head coach J.B. Bickerstaff with more flexibility.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls ought to consider re-signing unrestricted free agent Derrick Rose, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Rose is coming off a strong season and if he’d be willing to accept some or all of their mid-level exception, it would energize the fan base.
  • The Bulls don’t have a first-round pick but they’re approaching the draft with the idea that they could seize an opportunity to move into the first round, Johnson adds. They were also a presence at the combine, searching for a diamond in the rough with the No. 38 overall pick.
  • Re-signing unrestricted free agents Doug McDermott and T.J. McConnell is a major focus for the Pacers this offseason, coach Rick Carlisle said on Tuesday, per Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles.com (Twitter link). “The priority is to get the new staff in here, work towards good health as much as we can, try to get McConnell and McDermott re-signed if we can do that,” Carlisle said.
  • Carlisle has yet to officially sign his contract but he plans to do so when he arrives in Indiana on July 5. He’s eager to work with the roster and find ways to make the current group better, according to Agness (Twitter links). “Whatever players are presented to me by management or ownership, I really take a great deal in pride and love the challenge of molding that group into the right kind of system,” he said.

Hawks’ Young, Capela Listed As Questionable For Game 5

Hawks guard Trae Young and center Clint Capela are listed as questionable for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

Young missed Game 4 on Tuesday with a right foot bone bruise, so the questionable tag should give Hawks fans some hope he’ll return to action in the pivotal game of the series. Atlanta’s 110-88 victory in Game 4 knotted the series at 2-2.

Capela is dealing with right eye inflammation. He caught an elbow from Bucks guard Sam Merrill in the late going, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. He contributed 15 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes during Game 4.

Additionally, Bogdan Bogdanovic is listed as probable despite right knee soreness, Spencer adds.

The Bucks are likely to be without their star. Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful after suffering a hyperextension of his left knee in Game 4. An MRI revealed no structural damage.

Giannis Has No Structural Damage In Knee, Doubtful For Game 5

4:02pm: Antetokounmpo has been listed as doubtful for Game 5, according to the Bucks (Twitter link). The team added in a press release that today’s MRI on Giannis’ knee confirmed the original diagnosis of a hyperextension.


3:24pm: Further testing on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s injured left knee revealed no structural damage, according to Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). His ligaments are sound, sources tell ESPN’s duo.

That’s great news for the Bucks and Antetokounmpo, who was diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee after falling awkwardly during Game 4 on Tuesday. However, the two-time MVP’s timetable to return remains unclear, per Lowe and Wojnarowski.

Both Antetokounmpo and Hawks star Trae Young are dealing with injuries and haven’t yet been cleared to play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday. We should learn more about their respective statuses either later today or early tomorrow.

The Bucks, who are already down one starter (Donte DiVincenzo), will have to lean more heavily on stars Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday if Giannis is unable to play on Thursday in Milwaukee. Brook Lopez and/or Bobby Portis could also be asked to play a larger role in the frontcourt.

2021 NBA Offseason Preview: San Antonio Spurs

After missing the postseason for the first time in 23 years in 2019/20, the Spurs didn’t exactly bounce back with a vengeance in ’20/21. Their 33-39 record was just a half-game improvement over the year before, and while San Antonio earned a spot in the play-in tournament, the team was quickly eliminated by Memphis, missing the playoffs two years in a row for the first time in franchise history.

San Antonio’s struggles can be traced back to an inability to maximize the return for All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard in 2018. That wasn’t entirely the team’s fault – Leonard’s injury situation and his discontent with the organization hurt his value – but it was a problem.

The Spurs haven’t been bad enough in recent years to land high in the lottery and potentially draft a new franchise player. As a result, the club that went from David Robinson to Tim Duncan to Leonard now lacks a cornerstone for its next phase.

Still, given where the Spurs have drafted in recent years, there’s plenty of promising young talent on the roster, including Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker, and Devin Vassell, so it’s not as if the cupboards are totally bare going forward. San Antonio still has one of the league’s better developmental programs, and as long as those youngsters continue to improve, it shouldn’t be much longer until the team is back in the postseason.


The Spurs’ Offseason Plan:

With the exception of the occasional major move – such as the Leonard trade in 2018 or the signing of LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015 – the Spurs can rarely be counted on for action-packed offseasons that feature a bunch of roster turnover. Their general preference is to identify guys they like and then to keep re-signing them, favoring continuity and development over constantly seeking out potential upgrades.

Having said that, if the Spurs do want to significantly turn over their roster, this would be the time to do it. Aldridge departed earlier this year, highly-paid veterans DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills are among the team’s five unrestricted free agents, and the club currently has less than $57MM in guaranteed salary on its books for 2021/22.

While the opportunity is there, I wouldn’t expect the Spurs to renounce all their vets to create the cap room necessary to make a run for a top restricted free agent such as John Collins. They could surprise me, but it just doesn’t feel like their M.O.

There are rumors that DeRozan may look to sign elsewhere, however. In that case, perhaps the Spurs focus on re-signing Mills and Gay. If the team can bring back that duo for a combined 2021/22 cap hit of about $25-30MM, it would still leave enough room to make a play at a second- or third-tier free agent or two.

Lauri Markkanen would be an intriguing target as a reclamation project, since the former lottery pick has seen his value dip a little in Chicago. Josh Hart and Bruce Brown also strike me as Spurs-type players.

However, all of those guys are restricted free agents, so San Antonio would either have to be aggressive with an offer sheet, work out a sign-and-trade, or hope that the player’s current team is only lukewarm on bringing him back. That may be the case with Markkanen and the Bulls, but I imagine the Pelicans and Nets will prioritize Hart and Brown, respectively.

Kelly Olynyk, Otto Porter, JaMychal Green, and Kelly Oubre are among the unrestricted free agents I could envision as fits for the Spurs. Justise Winslow might also be an intriguing target if the Grizzlies don’t pick up his $13MM option.

Of course, the big question looming over the Spurs is how much longer Gregg Popovich will patrol the team’s sidelines. A year or two ago, there was speculation that the NBA’s longest-tenured head coach would retire after coaching Team USA at the 2020 Olympics. The Tokyo games have since been pushed back a year and there’s still no indication that Popovich plans to call it career once they conclude. But he’s 72 years old, so it’s hard to imagine his run as the Spurs’ coach will last too much longer.


Salary Cap Situation

Note: Our salary cap projections are based on a presumed 3% increase, which would result in a $112.4MM cap for 2021/22.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Two-Way Free Agents

Draft Picks

  • No. 12 overall pick ($3,946,800)
  • No. 41 overall pick (no cap hold)
  • Total: $3,946,800

Extension-Eligible Players

  • Lonnie Walker (rookie scale)

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

Taking into account the cap hold for their lottery pick, the Spurs have about $61MM committed to nine roster spots, putting them in position to open up a serious chunk of cap room. However, they also have nearly double that amount in options, non-guaranteed salary, and free agent cap holds, meaning they could very well operate as an over-the-cap team to start the offseason.

The Spurs’ decision on DeRozan may dictate whether or not they dip below the cap. If he re-signs at a salary close to this season’s $27.7MM figure, staying over the cap probably makes sense, but if he walks for nothing, the club might as well take advantage of its financial flexibility.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,910,000 7

Footnotes

  1. Eubanks’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after August 20.
  2. Jeffries will be eligible for restricted free agency if his option is declined.
  3. Because he has been on a two-way contract with the Spurs for two seasons, Weatherspoon is eligible for a standard minimum-salary qualifying offer.
  4. This is a projected value. DeRozan’s cap hit will be either the maximum salary for a player with 10+ years of NBA service or $41,609,963 (whichever is lesser).
  5. The cap holds for these players remain on the Spurs’ books from prior seasons because they haven’t been renounced. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  6. The 26th overall pick in 2015, Milutinov has yet to sign his rookie scale contract. His cap hold will remain on the Spurs’ books unless the team receives permission to remove it, which would ensure Milutinov won’t be signed in 2021/22.
  7. This is a projected value. If the Spurs operate over the cap, they’d have the mid-level exception ($9.5MM) and the bi-annual exception ($3.7MM) available.

Salary and cap information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Coaching Notes: W. Green, Vaughn, Team USA, L. Brown

A new name has surfaced in the Pelicans‘ head coaching search, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who says (via Twitter) that Suns assistant Willie Green is a candidate for the top job in New Orleans. While Fischer doesn’t specify whether the Pelicans have already talked to Green or have a meeting lined up with him, he reports that the former NBA wing has interviewed with both the Magic and Wizards, and made strong impression on both clubs.

Here are a few more coaching-related updates:

  • Although Jacque Vaughn decided to withdraw from consideration for all current head coaching openings, the Nets assistant does have interest in becoming a head coach again at some point, a source tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. If the right opportunity present itself a year from now, Vaughn would be more inclined to take it, Scotto says.
  • USA Basketball officially announced that Erik Spoelstra, who is coaching the U.S. Select Team in July, will be joined by a pair of notable assistants: Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, and Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley. The Select Team will primarily consist of younger players and will practice and scrimmage with Team USA’s Olympic squad in advance of the Tokyo games.
  • Penny Hardaway, who announced on Tuesday that he’ll remain at the University of Memphis, will be adding a Hall-of-Fame coach to his staff, as Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link) reports that Larry Brown is joining the Tigers’ staff as an assistant. Brown’s 1,098 NBA regular-season wins are the eighth-most in league history.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along items earlier today on the Wizards’ head coaching search and David Fizdale joining the Lakers’ coaching staff.

Draft Notes: Early Entrant Decisions, Grimes, Henry, Pacers, More

Justin Bean (Utah State), Eric Ayala (Maryland), Jeenathan Williams (Buffalo), Latrell Jones (Portland), Quentin Scott (Texas State), and De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma) are all withdrawing from the 2021 NBA draft after testing the waters as early entrants, according to a series of reports from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all six links go to Twitter).

Of those six players, three will transfer, with Jones heading to Nicholls State, Scott making the move to Tulane, and Harmon going to Oregon.

Meanwhile, Texas big man Jericho Sims, who boosted his stock with a strong showing at last week’s combine, will remain in the draft. Klutch Sports published a tweet today welcoming Sims to the agency. UCLA’s Chris Smith is also expected to go pro, per Goodman (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the draft:

Latest On Wizards’ Head Coaching Search

1:10pm: Bulls assistant Chris Fleming has also interviewed for the Wizards’ head coaching position, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).


12:28pm: The Wizards are continuing through their first round of head coaching interviews this week, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who hears that the team could move onto the next stage of the process by the end of the week.

An earlier report indicated that Washington’s search for Scott Brooks‘ replacement will be “lengthy and thorough.” Only a handful of candidates have been reported so far, but Scotto adds a couple more names to that list.

According to Scotto, Hornets assistant Ronald Nored and Heat assistant Chris Quinn are receiving consideration from the Wizards and were in the mix for the team’s first round of interviews.

Nored, who played for Butler from 2008-12 and coached the Long Island Nets from 2016-18, is also drawing interest from the Pacers as a possible assistant on Rick Carlisle‘s staff, Scotto adds. Quinn, meanwhile, has been a member of Erik Spoelstra‘s staff in Miami since 2014 and reportedly interviewed for Indiana’s head coaching job in 2020.

Nored and Quinn join a group of candidates that includes Wes Unseld Jr., Scott Morrison, Jamahl Mosley, and Sam Cassell. As we relayed earlier today, Cassell interviewed with the Wizards on Tuesday.