Month: November 2022

Raptors Sign Thaddeus Young To Two-Year Extension

11:22pm: The Raptors’ new deal with Young is already official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. That signals that the team technically signed Young to a veteran extension on June 30, rather than waiting for him to reach the open market and signing him to a free agent contract.

For practical purposes, the outcome is the same — the Raptors have locked up Young to a deal reported to worth $16MM over two years. One notable difference is that he’ll become trade-eligible immediately instead of on December 15 like a free agent signee.


5:47pm: The Raptors are re-signing forward Thaddeus Young, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), who hears from agents Jim Tanner and Max Wiepking that Young will get a two-year, $16MM deal that includes incentives.

Toronto held Young’s Bird rights after acquiring him from San Antonio at February’s trade deadline, giving the Raptors the ability to exceed the salary cap to retain him.

Young, who turned 34 on June 21, averaged modest totals of 6.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.0 SPG on .518/.354/.469 shooting in 52 regular season games between the two teams last season (16.3 MPG). Still, he was productive on a per-minute basis, and is a smart player on both ends of the court who provides veteran leadership to a fairly young Raptors team.

The 15th pick of the 2007 draft, 2021/22 was Young’s 15th NBA season. He played for Philadelphia during his first seven seasons before bouncing around a little bit, making stops in Minnesota, Brooklyn, Indiana and Chicago prior to last season.

Young holds career averages of 12.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.4 SPG on .502/.332/.663 shooting in 1085 games (29.3 MPG). He’s unlikely to find a large role with Toronto over the next couple of seasons, but the Raptors traded their first-round pick in the draft (and got back an early second-rounder) to acquire him, so obviously they made re-signing him a priority.

Trail Blazers Eyeing Gary Payton II, Bruce Brown

The Trail Blazers are pursuing free agent guard Gary Payton II with an offer in the range of $8MM, but there’s still mutual interested in a return to the Warriors, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer adds that the Blazers are also eyeing Bruce Brown, another free agent guard, who has been with the Nets the last couple of seasons.

After bouncing between the G League and the NBA in his first five seasons and never finding a consistent home or role, Payton had a terrific season for the Warriors in 2021/22, appearing in 71 regular season games (16 starts) while averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals on .616/.358/.603 shooting. Though he averaged only 17.6 minutes per night, his impact was clear when he had opportunities, showcasing jaw-dropping athleticism, a knack for the ball, hustle, and excellent defense.

The 29-year-old played a key role during Golden State’s championship run, averaging 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals in five Finals contests (18.5 minutes per night) after returning from a fractured left elbow. In his first six playoff games (18 minutes) prior to the injury, he averaged 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1 steal on .727/.750/.667 shooting.

Like Payton, Brown is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league, and the Nets trading for Royce O’Neale was viewed as an indication that Brown was unlikely to return to Brooklyn. In 71 regular season games (24.6 minutes) last season, Brown averaged 9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals on .506/.404/.758 shooting.

Despite being swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, Brown was arguably Brooklyn’s most consistent postseason performer, averaging 14 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals on .568/.429/.800 shooting.

Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic report that both Kevon Looney and Payton are searching for more money than the Warriors are willing to offer, thus increasing the chances that Payton, in particular, bolts in free agency. Both players want to return to Golden State, but at the right price, which is where the separation currently exists, according to The Athletic’s duo.

The chance of a reunion between Otto Porter and the Warriors is still possible, per Slater and Amick, who say that Porter is contemplating whether to return on a minimum deal or take a larger offer elsewhere.

Mike Muscala To Return To Thunder

Veteran center Mike Muscala will return to the Thunder on a one-year veteran’s minimum contract, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter).

The club declined its $3.5MM team option on Muscala prior to the start of free agency. The veteran’s minimum for a player with nine years of NBA service is projected to be $2,641,682.

Initially drafted by the Hawks with the No. 44 pick in 2013 out of Bucknell, Muscala eventually evolved into a modern floor-spacing power forward/center. He split the 2018/19 season between the Sixers and Lakers. Muscala first signed with the Thunder in 2019.

The longtime vet, who turns 31 tomorrow, has spent his last three seasons with Oklahoma City. In 43 games last year for a rebuilding Thunder club, Muscala averaged 8.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG during 13.8 MPG. On offense, the 6’10” big man has carved out a niche as a bench shooting threat, boasting a career three-point conversion rate of 37.7% on 2.5 tries a game. Last season, he connected on 42.9% of his 3.8 looks a night.

Muscala joins fellow re-signed OKC veteran Luguentz Dort in returning to a rebuilding Thunder club loaded with present and future young assets.

Oklahoma City enjoyed one of the most active drafts among any NBA team this year, selecting Gonzaga power forward/center Chet Holmgren, NZ Breakers wing Ousmane Dieng, and Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams in the lottery. Ever the completist, team president Sam Presti also grabbed Arkansas power forward Jaylin Williams with the No. 34 pick in the second round. They join a team loaded with other exciting young players in Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, and Darius Bazley.

Latest On Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant‘s trade request increases the chances of a Kyrie Irving trade to the Lakers, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

A straight Irving for Russell Westbrook swap would not work financially, so the Nets would either have to add another contract or include a third — and perhaps fourth team — for salary-matching purposes. Irving would be a better fit for LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook, providing better spacing offensively.

A potential deal could also lead the Lakers to part with first-rounders in 2027 or later.

If the Nets don’t want Westbrook’s salary, a third team could take that contract, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved.

A source told the Athletic that the chances of the Lakers landing Durant in a deal involving Davis is “zero.” Their focus, apparently, is on Irving.

We have more on the Durant/Irving situation:

  • The Nets don’t appear to be interested in Deandre Ayton, sources told John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Thus, a potential trade with the Suns may not include the restricted free agent or it would have to involve a third team.
  • Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to RealGM). Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract.
  • Ben Simmons would be the major impediment to the Nuggets getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. League rules stipulate that teams can’t have two players on a rookie scale max extension that have been acquired via trade. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. would both fit that description.
  • In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton raised the possibility of an Ayton-Mikal Bridges deal with the Nets, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. It was unclear at that time whether or not Durant was going to ask for a trade.
  • In the same piece, Alex Schiffer says he’s heard the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant.

Warriors, Nets, Clippers Top Taxpaying Teams For 2021/22

The 2021/22 NBA season was a record-setting one for luxury tax payments.

According to data from Albert Nahmad of HeatHoops.com and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype, the league’s previous single-year record for total luxury tax payments was $173.3MM, back in 2002/03.

This season, the Warriors‘ tax penalties alone nearly matched that league-wide record. And they were joined by six other taxpayers whose combined end-of-season bills shattered the previous record even without Golden State’s help.

Here’s the complete breakdown of the seven taxpaying teams, courtesy of Eric Pincus of SportsBusinessClassroom.com:

  1. Golden State Warriors: $170,331,194
  2. Brooklyn Nets: $97,711,261
  3. Los Angeles Clippers: $83,114,692
  4. Milwaukee Bucks: $52,037,160
  5. Los Angeles Lakers: $45,117,195
  6. Utah Jazz: $18,833,260
  7. Philadelphia 76ers: $13,876,624

All told, the seven teams paid a staggering combined total of $481,021,386.

Half of that total will be dispersed to the league’s non-taxpayers, which means that 23 teams will receive $10,456,987 each. The league will get the remaining $240,510,693 to help fund its revenue sharing program, says Pincus.

These numbers make it more obvious why a team like the Celtics made a concerted effort to get out of luxury tax territory at the trade deadline. A tax bill of $2MM or so wouldn’t break the bank for Boston’s ownership group, but the C’s generated more than just $2MM in savings by ducking below the tax line — they’re now one of the 23 teams that will receive a $10MM+ windfall.

Having said that, the Celtics gladly would have paid the tax penalty had they won the championship — Jaylen Brown would have received a bonus in that scenario, which would have pushed them over the line.

It’s worth noting that the Warriors are the only one of these seven taxpayers who were subject to “repeater” penalties this season, so it’s not as if those more punitive repeater penalties fueled this year’s record-setting totals. Even without the repeater penalties, the Dubs would have owed approximately $131MM in taxes.

The majority of these teams project to be taxpayers again in 2022/23.

Bulls Sign Andre Drummond

JULY 6: The Bulls have made it official with Drummond, announcing the deal on Twitter.


JUNE 30: The Bulls will add veteran center Andre Drummond to bolster their frontcourt, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (Twitter link) that Chicago will ink Drummond to a two-year, $6.6MM contract, with a player option for 2023/24. A two-year deal at the veteran’s minimum would be worth $5.95MM, so presumably the Bulls – who don’t have the bi-annual exception available this season – are dipping into their mid-level to complete the signing.

The Drummond deal is the first reported free agent addition for Chicago during the 2022 offseason. The team is still hoping to re-sign two-time All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine, an unrestricted free agent. Unsigned veteran free agent forward Danilo Gallinari has also been mentioned as a possibility for Chicago.

Additionally, the Bulls have a $5MM trade exception left over from a Daniel Theis sign-and-trade during the 2021 offseason it must use (or lose) by July 7.

Drummond, 28, is coming off an impressive bounce-back season split between the Sixers and Nets, and Chicago no doubt hopes he can help shore up the team’s frontcourt depth.

Selected by the Pistons with the ninth pick out of Connecticut in 2012, the 6’10” Drummond blossomed into a two-time All-Star for Detroit. Drummond agreed to a five-year maximum-salary contract with Detroit in 2016. He was eventually traded to the Cavaliers, before signing a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Lakers ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Playing as a reserve behind Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid to start the 2021/22 season on another minimum deal, Drummond saw limited touches on offense, but was still able to feast on the glass in limited minutes. Across 18.4 MPG, he averaged 6.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.9 BPG in 49 contests with Philadelphia.

The Sixers included Drummond to the Nets as part of the team’s trade package for All-Star guard James Harden. With Brooklyn, Drummond enjoyed an expanded offensive role. He started in all 24 of his games with the Nets, averaging 11.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.0 BPG and 0.9 SPG during 22.3 MPG.

Nuggets Sign Davon Reed To Two-Year Contract

JULY 9: The Nuggets have officially re-signed Reed, per NBA.com’s transactions log.


JUNE 30: The Nuggets are re-signing Davon Reed to a standard two-year deal, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets.

Reed appeared in 48 regular season games with Denver last season, including five starts. He averaged 4.4 PPG in 13.9 MPG.

He was on a two-way contract and received a qualifying offer this week, making him a restricted free agent. The terms of his new contract aren’t yet known.

Reed couldn’t play in the postseason because of the two-way deal. However, he earned high praise from coach Michael Malone.

“Every time Davon Reed has gotten a chance to play this year, he’s found a way to help this team,” Malone said late in the regular season.

The 6’5” guard has made 39.1% of his 3-pointers in his 79-game NBA career.

Magic To Guarantee Moritz Wagner’s 2022/23 Salary

Reserve Magic center Moritz Wagner will have his $1.9MM non-guaranteed salary for the 2022/23 NBA season become fully guaranteed, per Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).

Wagner was drafted by the Lakers out of Michigan with the No. 25 pick in 2018. He spent one season with Los Angeles as a little-used reserve, averaging just 10.4 MPG. The 6’11” center spent the next few years on the move, being flipped first to the Wizards in 2019, then the Celtics and Magic during the 2020/21 season.

The team drafted his younger brother, 2022 All-Rookie small forward Franz Wagner, with the eight overall pick in 2021. The Magic brought Wagner back on his current two-year, $3.6MM deal during the same offseason. Across 63 games with Orlando in 2021/22, the 25-year-old backup big man averaged 9.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 1.4 APG in 15.2 MPG, playing behind the Magic’s jumbo-sized frontcourt of Wendell Carter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba.

With the advent of top 2022 draft pick Paolo Banchero out of Duke and the expected return of Jonathan Isaac near the start of the 2022/23 season, Wagner may struggle to make Orlando’s big man rotation on a night-to-night basis.

Pistons, Kevin Knox Agree To Two-Year Contract

Unrestricted free agent forward Kevin Knox will sign a two-year, $6MM deal with the Pistons, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

After being selected by the Knicks with the ninth pick in the 2018 draft out of Kentucky, Knox enjoyed a productive rookie season for a rebuilding 17-65 New York club. The 6’7″ forward averaged a career-best 12.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 APG and 0.6 SPG in a career-most 28.8 MPG, starting in 57 of his 75 healthy games.

Knox has never scaled those heights again in his successive three NBA seasons of action. The 22-year-old has yet to average better than half of that scoring mark across three unproductive seasons with New York and the Hawks, to whom he was traded in January.

After head coach Tom Thibodeau took over in 2020, Knox found himself a fringe rotation player, averaging 11.0 MPG in just 42 games during the team’s playoff-bound 2020/21 season.

Last year, Knox cameoed in just 13 games with the Knicks before being dealt to Atlanta. In 17 games with the Hawks, Knox averaged just 6.5 MPG. The Hawks did not tender a qualifying offer to Knox this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Considering the Pistons’ youth movement, it makes sense for the team to take flyers on young lottery selections like Knox and Marvin Bagley III, as Detroit builds around star point guard Cade Cunningham and 2022 lottery picks Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.

Free Agent Rumors: LaVine, Harden, Gallinari, Haslem

Just before free agency officially began on Thursday evening, Shams Charania said on Stadium’s free agency show (video link) that he expects Zach LaVine to take a little time to finalize his decision as an unrestricted free agent.

“He’s going to speak with the Bulls tonight and they’re going to make an offer,” Charania said. “Both sides will talk in the lead-up to free agency, later tonight, tomorrow. I do not expect Zach LaVine’s decision to be a night-one decision. He’s going to take some time to deliberate. He’s going to have max offers potentially in the marketplace as well.”

A report earlier today indicated that LaVine is expected to return to the Bulls on a five-year contract expected to be worth the maximum. However, it seems the 27-year-old wants to at least gauge his options before officially committing to Chicago.

Here are a few more free agency rumors:

  • James Harden and the Sixers intend to meet this weekend to negotiate his new deal, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Harden declined his $47MM+ player option for 2022/23 this week and reportedly intends to sign a new contract at a lower starting salary to help accommodate the team’s reported deals with P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
  • Danilo Gallinari‘s free agent decision could come down to the Bulls and Celtics as he considers his next team, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer suggests Chicago is willing to offer most of its non-taxpayer mid-level exception (about $8MM) while Boston will likely be limited to the taxpayer MLE ($6.5MM), but Gallinari still may prefer the C’s. The veteran forward is reportedly being waived by San Antonio.
  • The Heat sent a delegation of employees to Udonis Haslem‘s vacation home in Orlando to pitch him on returning to the team for a 20th season, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press and Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter links). Obviously, the Heat don’t expect to face significant competition for Haslem, but they want to show his “continued importance and value” to the organization, says Reynolds. Haslem is reportedly still mulling whether or not to continue his playing career.