Month: February 2024

Rondo Trade Notes: Grades, Finances, More Details

The Cavaliers are set to acquire Rajon Rondo from the Lakers in exchange for Denzel Valentine, which will mark the first trade of the 2021/22 regular season. Valentine, who’s on a partially guaranteed contract, is expected to be waived by Los Angeles.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter), Rondo is enthusiastic about the opportunity to play more minutes with the young Cavs and was happy to learn of the trade after the Lakers informed him that it was a possibility.

Here are some more details on the transaction, which has yet to be officially completed:

  • In an Insider article for ESPN-plus, Kevin Pelton grades the trade for both teams. He likes the Lakers’ side of things more and isn’t optimistic about Rondo’s performance for the remainder of the regular season.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic, however, thinks it’s a deal that makes sense for both the Cavs and the Lakers. Hollinger notes that Cleveland is desperate for another ball-handler after season-ending injuries to Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton, and with Darius Garland and Cedi Osman still in the health and safety protocols. With Rondo as a short-term solution, the Cavs will buy themselves some time to remain in the playoff hunt, but Hollinger thinks they’ll still be active on the trade market in search for more backcourt help. The Lakers, meanwhile, save approximately $3.1MM in luxury tax payments and free up a roster spot, presumably to sign Stanley Johnson.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN provides a video breakdown of his thoughts on the trade. Like Hollinger, Marks thinks the deal is a win-win for both teams, with the Lakers saving money and opening a roster spot, and Rondo providing leadership and high basketball IQ to the Cavs. He views it as a no-risk deal for Cleveland.

Nuggets Sign Rayjon Tucker To 10-Day Deal

December 31: Tucker’s contract with the Nuggets is now official, the team announced.

December 30: The Nuggets plan to sign guard Rayjon Tucker to a 10-day deal via the hardship exception, a league source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). The 24-year-old Tucker spent the past 10 days on a deal with the Timberwolves, though he did not appear in a game with the team.

Tucker spent most of the 2019/20 season with the Jazz, then signed a two-way contract with the Sixers in January 2021. He appeared in a total of 34 regular season games in his first two NBA seasons, averaging a modest 2.8 PPG and 0.9 RPG in 6.7 minutes per contest.

He has averaged 17.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 3.1 APG in 32.2 MPG while appearing in 13 games this season for the NBA G League’s Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s affiliate.

The Nuggets had three players enter the league’s health and safety protocols on Thursday, so Tucker will be one of their replacements.

Seven Pistons Exit Protocols, Nuggets’ Monte Morris Enters

Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Cory Joseph, Saben Lee, Trey Lyles, and Rodney McGruder have all exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols for the Pistons, James Edwards III of The Athletic relays (via Twitter).

All seven players are listed as out for Saturday’s contest against San Antonio due to reconditioning. The Pistons’ next game after Saturday will be Monday against the Bucks, when several of the players could return to action. Second-year big man Isaiah Stewart is now the lone player still in the protocols for Detroit.

In other COVID-related news, Nuggets point guard Monte Morris has become the fourth Denver player to enter the protocols in the past two days, joining Jeff Green, Bones Hyland, and Zeke Nnaji, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Morris has started all 32 of his games this season (30 MPG), averaging 12.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 4.3 APG on a .479/.380/.783 shooting line.

The Nuggets signed Davon Reed to his third 10-day hardship contract Thursday, and reportedly plan to sign Rayjon Tucker to a deal as well.

Magic Re-Sign Freddie Gillespie, Tim Frazier

6:11pm: The Magic have re-signed both Gillespie and Frazier to their second 10-day contracts via a hardship exception, the team’s PR department tweets. Frazier has averaged 4.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 3.4 APG in five games with the club (20 MPG).

7:02am: The Magic intend to sign Freddie Gillespie to a second 10-day contract using a hardship exception, our JD Shaw reports (via Twitter). Gillespie’s first 10-day deal with the club expired overnight.

Playing a part-time role for an Orlando squad hit hard by COVID-19, Gillespie averaged 3.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG in five games (12.8 MPG) this month. It was the 24-year-old’s second stint in the NBA, as he appeared in 20 games with the Raptors as a rookie during the 2020/21 season.

The Magic’s COVID situation remains fluid — the team still has five players in the health and safety protocols, but one (Mychal Mulder) entered the protocols on December 22 and another (Mohamed Bamba) went in on Dec. 17, so hopefully they’ll be cleared soon.

There are currently two players – Hassani Gravett and Admiral Schofield – on active 10-day deals with the Magic. Gabe York reportedly reached an agreement to sign with the club, but it hasn’t been finalized yet. Tim Frazier‘s 10-day hardship contract, like Gillespie’s, expired overnight.

Spurs’ Becky Hammon Named Head Coach Of WNBA’s Aces

5:15pm: The Las Vegas Aces officially announced Hammon as their next head coach in a press release. “I am so excited to return to the WNBA and grateful for Mark Davis and Nikki Fargas having a vision for me to lead the Aces,” said Hammon. “This is where I come from, and I wouldn’t be me without the W. I’m thrilled to be able to give back and lead this next group of women.”

Becky has become an integral part of our program in every way, shape and form,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “This is a great opportunity for her to highlight her many skills. Her intuitive feel for the game and ability to teach will serve the Aces very well as she institutes her system and culture.”

I have so many incredible memories and proud moments in San Antonio from my time with both the Stars and the Spurs,” added Hammon. “From the fans and players to coaches and staff, everyone in the organization has treated me so well for so many years and the entire experience has been amazing.

“I’m especially thankful to Pop, who only cared about my potential, not my gender. He saw something special in me and was willing to invest the time and energy to help teach and develop a young coach.”

Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV (Twitter link) reported earlier today that Hammon would also get the title of general manager in Las Vegas. That wasn’t mentioned in the Aces’ press release.

8:41am: Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon is nearing a “landmark” deal with the Las Vegas Aces that will make her the WNBA’s highest-paid coach, sources tell Shams Charania and Chantel Jennings of The Athletic. Hammon, who was also pursued by the New York Liberty, will replace Bill Laimbeer in Vegas.

According to an ESPN report, Hammon will receive a five-year deal from the Aces. She plans to finish the 2021/22 season with the Spurs before officially transitioning to her new job.

A six-time All-Star as a WNBA player from 1999-2014, Hammon joined the Spurs following her retirement as a player, becoming the first woman to be hired as a full-time NBA assistant coach.

Hammon has since interviewed for a handful of head coaching openings, including the Trail Blazers’ job this past offseason, and has long been considered the best bet to become the NBA’s first female head coach — perhaps even as Gregg Popovich‘s successor in San Antonio. However, her new deal with the Aces will take her out of the mix for NBA positions in the short term.

Kyle Lowry, Jae’Sean Tate Exit Protocols

The Heat, who have signed six replacement players in the last two days, will have some additional reinforcements for Friday’s game in Houston. Point guard Kyle Lowry has exited the health and safety protocols and is listed as available to play vs. the Rockets, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

Lowry only entered the COVID-19 protocols on Christmas Day, so he may have benefited from the NBA’s new shortened minimum quarantine period. It’s also possible he tested out of the protocols by returning two consecutive negative results at least 24 hours apart.

The Heat still have seven players in the protocols for the time being, including Duncan Robinson and P.J. Tucker.

Miami’s opponent on Friday also got some good news today, as Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate has cleared the protocols, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Like Lowry, he’ll be available for tonight’s contest.

Tate’s stay in the protocols was even shorter than Lowry’s — he just entered them on Wednesday, so he likely got the two negative tests he needed. His teammates D.J. Augustin, Garrison Mathews, and DeJon Jarreau remain in the protocols.

Atlantic Notes: Jones, Celtics, Miles, Simmons, Raptors

Sam Jones, a former Celtics guard who won 10 championships with the team during his playing career, passed away on Thursday night at age 88, team spokesperson Jeff Twiss confirmed to ESPN. Jones had been hospitalized in Florida prior to his death due to failing health.

The eighth overall pick in the 1957 draft, Jones spent his entire 12-year career in Boston, earning five All-Star nods during that time and averaging 17.7 PPG in 871 career regular season games (27.9 MPG). He won more titles than any other player besides longtime teammate Bill Russell and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1984. Jones was also named to the NBA’s 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary teams and had his No. 24 retired by the Celtics.

“Sam Jones was one of the most talented, versatile, and clutch shooters for the most successful and dominant teams in NBA history,” the Celtics said in a statement. “His scoring ability was so prolific, and his form so pure, that he earned the simple nickname, ‘The Shooter.’ He was also known as ‘Mr. Clutch.’

“… The Jones family is in our thoughts as we mourn his loss and fondly remember the life and career of one of the greatest champions in American sports.”

Our condolences go out to Jones’ family and friends.

More from around the Atlantic:

  • The Celtics won’t be signing C.J. Miles to a second 10-day contract after his initial deal expired overnight on Thursday, head coach Ime Udoka confirmed today (Twitter link via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe).
  • Within his look at some of this season’s top trade candidates, John Hollinger of The Athletic says the “consensus opinion” around the NBA is that the Sixers will likely move Ben Simmons before the February 10 deadline, despite having insisted they’re comfortable with the standoff dragging into the offseason.
  • Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the Raptors‘ ownership group, announced on Thursday that the team won’t sell tickets for games at Scotiabank Arena for the next three weeks. Ontario has introduced a new temporary limit of 1,000 people in an indoor venue due to the effects of COVID-19 in the province, so the Raptors will play without fans in the short term rather than opening their doors to just a few hundred of them.

Knicks Re-Sign Damyean Dotson, Matt Mooney

After their initial 10-day hardship contracts expired overnight, Damyean Dotson and Matt Mooney have each signed a second 10-day deal with the Knicks, according to’s official transactions log.

Neither Dotson nor Mooney played much during their first 10 days with New York. Dotson got into two games and logged 21 total minutes, while Mooney only made a brief cameo on Christmas Day. However, the two shooting guards provided the Knicks with some depth while they dealt with a minor COVID-19 outbreak.

New York still has four players in the health and safety protocols and Danuel House is the only other player currently on a 10-day deal with the team, so Dotson and Mooney will stick around a little longer.

Dotson will earn $102,831 over the course of his 10-day contract, while Mooney will make $85,578. Neither figure will count toward team salary for cap or tax purposes.

Cavaliers Sign Brandon Goodwin To 10-Day Deal

2:32pm: In their press release confirming the Goodwin signing, the Cavaliers announced that they terminated Scott’s 10-day contract one day early.

11:12am: The Cavaliers have signed guard Brandon Goodwin to a 10-day contract, according to’s official transactions log. The deal will run through January 9, covering Cleveland’s next five games.

Goodwin, 26, has appeared in 97 NBA games since 2018 for Denver and Atlanta, averaging 4.7 PPG and 1.6 APG in 97 games (11.4 MPG). He had been playing for the Westchester Knicks in the G League this season, putting up 15.3 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.1 RPG, and 1.9 SPG in seven contests (35.1 MPG) for New York’s affiliate.

The Raptors reportedly reached a deal earlier in the month to sign Goodwin, but it was never formally completed. It appeared that Goodwin didn’t pass the COVID-19 screening process at the time. However, if he did test positive for the coronavirus, he has since been cleared.

As of Thursday, the Cavaliers only had two players left in the health and safety protocols: Darius Garland and Cedi Osman. Cleveland already has two hardship additions – Tre Scott and Malik Newman – on its roster, so the signing of Goodwin means the team either ended one of those deals early or has at least one more player entering the protocols today. Scott’s 10-day deal is set to expire after tonight’s game.

COVID-19 Updates: Vogel, Lue, Pelicans, Raptors, Pokusevski

One Los Angeles team is getting its head coach out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols today, while the other has placed their coach in the protocols.

The Lakers got the good news, as Frank Vogel has cleared the protocols and will be back on the sidelines for the team on Friday night vs. Portland, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). David Fizdale will return to his role as Vogel’s lead assistant after serving as the acting head coach for the last 12 days.

Meanwhile, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has entered the protocols, according to an announcement from the team. Lue, the 10th head coach to be affected by the protocols this month, will be replaced in the short term by assistant Brian Shaw.

Here are more protocol-related updates from across the NBA:

  • The Pelicans got Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Naji Marshall, and Jose Alvarado back at practice today following their respective stints in the COVID-19 protocols, tweets Christian Clark of New Orleans isn’t entirely out of the woods though — center Jonas Valanciunas has entered the protocols, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • According to Blake Murphy of (Twitter link), Raptors rookie Justin Champagnie has exited the protocols, leaving Isaac Bonga as the only player from the team’s standard roster still affected. However, one of Toronto’s replacement players – D.J. Wilson – has now entered the protocols, Murphy notes.
  • Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski is no longer in the protocols and will be available for Friday’s contest vs. the Knicks, says Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link).