Month: April 2024

Pistons Sign Bojan Bogdanovic To Two-Year Extension

6:00pm: The deal is now official, according to NBA.com’s transaction log.


3:45pm: Veteran Pistons power forward Bojan Bogdanovic is signing a two-year, $39.1MM contract extension to remain in Detroit, his agency Wasserman informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As Wojnarowski notes, Bogdanovic is earning $19.5MM in 2022/23, the last year of his current deal. This new agreement, which has virtually the same annual average value, will keep him under team control through 2024/25.

According to Wojnarowski, when Pistons GM Troy Weaver traded for Bogdanovic, he had his sights set on extending the sharpshooting ace long-term.

The 6’7″ power forward, a nine-year NBA veteran, has started all of his first six games with Detroit since being traded from the Jazz during the offseason. He is averaging 23.0 PPG on .517/.511/.923 shooting, while chipping in 3.5 RPG and 2.0 APG.

Though the Nets traded for his draft rights as the No. 31 pick in the 2011 draft, Bogdanovic did not make his NBA debut until the 2014/15 season. Prior to Utah and Detroit, the 33-year-old has enjoyed stints on solid playoff clubs in Brooklyn, Washington, and Indiana.

Bogdanovic has thus far served as a helpful stretch-four veteran presence for the rebuilding Pistons. Though Detroit is just 1-5, the team’s longer-term outlook is fairly rosy, given the development of exciting young lottery additions Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.

With the advent of this new agreement, Bogdanovic, a knockdown long-range shooter (he has made 39.4% of 5.4 three-pointers per game for his career), could remain in Detroit well into the team’s return to the postseason.

Because Bogdanovic’s extension doesn’t lock him up for more than three total seasons and his first-year raise won’t exceed 5%, he’ll remain trade-eligible going forward.

Southeast Notes: Wright, Carter, Hampton, Bogdanovic, Clifford

With veteran guard Delon Wright sidelined indefinitely due to a strained right hamstring, the Wizards missed his perimeter defense in a 127-117 loss to the Pacers Friday night, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

Though the 6’5″ combo guard is averaging a modest 6.5 PPG, 3.3 APG and 2.5 RPG in his four games with Washington, he gives the team size as a reserve guard and wing toughness that it had lacked last season, Hughes opines.

“It’s tough,” shooting guard Bradley Beal said of life without Wright. “You could see it tonight because he’s a pest on defense, he gets us those deflections. He’s just everywhere. He’s a pest. He gets in on the bigs, he gets those reach-ins, a lot of those things. He gets into the ball. Really good defender.”

The 30-year-old out of Utah signed a two-year, $16MM deal with Washington during the offseason. He suffered a grade two hamstring strain, and is expected to be unavailable for six-to-eight weeks. Hughes thinks that Beal, Monte Morris, and Will Barton will need to step up on the defensive side of the ball in the absence of Wright, as will small forward Deni Avdija, who has emerged as a versatile defender thus far, capable of defending smaller backcourt players.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Magic starting center Wendell Carter Jr. has made a representation change. Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel tweets that the 6’10” big man has inked a new deal with LIFT Sports Management. Meanwhile, Price reports in a separate piece that Carter’s Orlando teammate R.J. Hampton is departing LIFT after the Magic opted not to exercise its team option on his fourth season.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic is gradually moving through his recovery process from a May knee surgery. Atlanta is excited about the progress Bogdanovic has managed to make through his rehabilitation thus far, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m back to the court activities, and I feel good, just a little out of basketball shape,” Bogdanovic told Williams. “You know, I need a rhythm back, you know, change of direction, explosive moves. But now I’m focusing on that.” Retired Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, now the team’s director of player affairs and development, has made himself available to Bogdanovic so that the current Atlanta wing can tweak the mechanics of his shooting form post-surgery. “He helped me a lot, you know, especially through the challenging times, where I couldn’t, like, figure it out, how to make that transition, from use, to what I’m doing in the weightlifting room with the strength coaches, and everybody else, (physical therapy), how to translate it on the court,” Bogdanovic said.
  • Hornets head coach Steve Clifford can be credited at least in part with the club’s solid 3-3 start to the 2022/23 season, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “I think Steve is one of the most underrated coaches in the league,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “His defensive schemes are really sharp. He always does some interesting things against us to make us think, to make us work for baskets. His teams tend to execute really well on the offensive side.” Clifford’s players appreciate the organization he is bringing to bear for the club during his second go-around running the show. “He communicates very well on what he wants from us, and if we don’t do that he holds us accountable,” Kelly Oubre said. “That’s everything in this league because obviously we have a young team, but at the end of the day we are trying to grow and learn and be the best in our profession.”

Zion Williamson Back For Pelicans On Sunday

Pelicans star power forward Zion Williamson will make his return to the floor for New Orleans on Sunday, the team has announced (via Twitter). New Orleans is facing off against the mighty Clippers on the road in an afternoon matinee today.

The Pelicans also revealed that standout second-year forward Herb Jones will remain sidelined with a hyperextended right knee. Forward Brandon Ingram is still in the league’s concussion protocols.

Across three healthy games this season, Williamson has averaged 22.0 PPG while connecting on 49.1% of his field goals and 71.4% of his free throws. He is also chipping in 6.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.0 SPG and 0.7 BPG for New Orleans.

The 6’6″ Duke alum was sidelined for the Pelicans’ prior two contests. He missed all of the 2021/22 NBA season due to a right foot fracture.

Timberwolves Notes: Beverley, Nowell, Reid, Edwards

Patrick Beverley‘s appearance in Minnesota Friday as a member of the Lakers was a reminder that the Timberwolves miss their vocal leader from last season, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Wolves coach Chris Finch called Beverley a “tone setter” who held teammates accountable and brought a winning attitude to a franchise with little history of playoff success.

Beverley, who was traded to Utah and then L.A. during the offseason, hasn’t been able to transfer those qualities to his new team, which already has a hierarchy in place. The Lakers remain winless and Beverley is averaging 5.4 PPG while shooting a miserable 26.1% from the field and 17.6% from three-point range.

“We had a blast this past year,” Beverley said of his time in Minnesota. “A lot of good memories. Coming in from a halfway empty house at the beginning of the season and full crowd every time we step on the floor. The fans have been great. It’s a second home for me, for sure.”

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • The Wolves’ trade for Rudy Gobert created an opportunity for Jaylen Nowell, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Nowell has taken over the backup shooting guard role formerly occupied by Malik Beasley and is averaging 14.5 PPG through the team’s first six games. “[There was] doubt, frustration, irritation,” Nowell said of his first three NBA seasons. “All type of things. But when you stick with it, and you just continue to work, good things will happen to those who work and continue to stay positive-minded.”
  • The Wolves aren’t close to signing Nowell to an extension, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News confirmed on his latest podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype). A report this week indicated that the team had extension talks with Nowell and Naz Reid, but Wolfson believes Reid is more likely to receive an extension at this point. Both players will be extension-eligible through the end of June.
  • Anthony Edwards should concentrate more on driving to the basket in late-game situations than firing up three-pointers, contends Patrick Reusse of The Star Tribune. Edwards is shooting 35.3% from long distance, but Reusse notes that his success rate with the game on the line hasn’t been good.

Heat Notes: Spoelstra, Trade Restrictions, Haslem, Cain

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is frustrated by what he has seen from his players during their 2-5 start, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. After finishing with the best record in the East last season, Miami has been plagued by lax defense and poor shot selection, both of which were on display as the team was outscored 71-49 in the first half Saturday by the previously winless Kings.

“Right now, this is about the collective group, how are we going to impact this thing together to impact winning,” Spoelstra said. “If we try to do it any other way, it’s going to lead to an incredible amount of frustration. Anybody that is trying to do it on their own or anybody that is trying to self will it or anybody trying to work any individual goals with this, it ain’t going to work, it ain’t going to work on either end.”

One of the few Heat players who had a good game in Sacramento was Tyler Herro, who scored 34 points, although Spoelstra dismissed it as “not in a winning effort.” Herro, who is adapting to a new role as a starter this season, said the team needs to upgrade its defense, which currently ranks 18th in the league.

“After taking five losses, especially after the first half tonight, it’s time we… lock in and decide what type of team we want to be,” Herro said. “If we’re going to just get in shootouts like in the first half, then that’s the kind of team we want to be. I know we hang our hat on defense, so we’ve got to cover for each other.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami has limited options for roster moves because Dewayne Dedmon and injured guard Victor Oladipo are both under trade restrictions that prevent them from being moved until January 15, Jackson adds in a separate story. He states that outside of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the rest of the team has little trade value.
  • Udonis Haslem saw rare first-quarter minutes Saturday, which shows the Heat’s lack of depth in the frontcourt, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 42-year-old power forward was actually the first player off the bench, replacing Adebayo after he picked up his second foul. Miami was missing Dedmon, who is suffering from an upper-respiratory infection and a foot issue, and Omer Yurtseven, who is rehabbing an injured ankle, but it appears Haslem might have a larger role than originally expected.
  • Jamal Cain, who earned a two-way contract with a strong preseason performance, will be sent to the team’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, Winderman adds. First-round pick Nikola Jovic, who has seen limited playing time in three games, may be headed there as well once Dedmon and Yurtseven are able to play.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Irving, Maxey, Grimes

Nets coach Steve Nash called for a better effort from his players after their season reached a new low with a loss to the Pacers Saturday night, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn is close to a fully healthy roster with Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Markieff Morris all returning, but the team’s defense looked as bad as ever, allowing 125 points while sinking to 1-5.

“It was a disaster. How else do you say it? I didn’t see the will, didn’t see the desire or the connectivity necessary to get stops and get rebounds,” Nash said. “We’ve just got to make a bigger commitment. It’s got to mean more. We’ve got to care more.”

The performance raises questions about the team’s focus following a chaotic summer that saw Kevin Durant submit a trade request and then appeal to owner Joe Tsai to fire Nash and general manager Sean Marks. Durant said Saturday that Nash shouldn’t be blamed for the slow start.

“That’s on the individuals. We got to take pride individually,” Durant said. “Coaching matters, chemistry, all that stuff matters. But at the end of the day we’re individuals. So we got to be better as individuals. … Each guy’s just got to dig down deeper and be better.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving had a combative exchange with reporters after the game, defending his promotion of a film considered to be antisemitic and his support of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Lewis adds in a separate story. “I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in,” Irving said. “I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”
  • The Sixers need Tyrese Maxey to take over a larger role in the offense, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. With Joel Embiid sitting out Friday’s game, Maxey made nine three-pointers and scored a career-high 44 points. “That’s why I’ve been on him,” Embiid said. “He’s one of the best shooters and he has the potential to be up there. You know, a great stroke. He can really shoot the ball, great form and he makes them. There’s a reason I’m always on him to just let it fly. He’s got to get up 10 to 15 threes a game. That’s how good of a shooter he is.”
  • Knicks guard Quentin Grimes will miss his sixth straight game today with soreness in his left foot, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Grimes, who has been listed as day-to-day since the preseason, has been working out before every game, but hasn’t been able to participate in a full practice.

Jazz To Decline Rookie Scale Options For Azubuike, Bolmaro

The Jazz won’t pick up the fourth-year option for Udoka Azubuike or the third-year option for Leandro Bolmaro, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. Both players will become unrestricted free agents next July.

Azuibuike would have earned $3,923,484 during the 2023/24 season and Bolmaro would have received $2,588,400. The deadline for rookie scale option decisions is Monday, and those are the only two that Utah faces.

Azubuike, a 23-year-old center, was selected by the Jazz with the 27th pick in the 2020 draft. He has dealt with injuries during his brief NBA career and has played a total of 33 games, including one this season. The former Kansas standout is averaging 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per game.

Bolmaro, a 22-year-old swingman, was acquired from the Timberwolves this summer in the Rudy Gobert trade. He appeared in 35 games for Minnesota last season and two so far with Utah, averaging 1.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per night. He was the 23rd pick in 2020, but didn’t come to the NBA until 2021.

Clippers Notes: Lue, Leonard, George, Covington

The Clippers are under .500 after three straight losses, but coach Tyronn Lue won’t entertain any thoughts of panic, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “Sky is not falling, or nothing like that,” Lue told reporters before today’s practice.

L.A. has one of the most talented rosters in the league and is considered among the favorites to win the Western Conference. Injuries have factored into the slow start, but Lue’s emphasis is on doing basic things correctly, regardless of who’s on the court.

“My message is just play the right way, create good habits,” he said. “You are not going to win every game, but we got to play better and we understand that. But my biggest thing is just creating good habits. If we do it on both sides of the basketball, we will be fine.”

The Clippers are coming off consecutive losses to the rebuilding Thunder, which is concerning in what could be a tight race for the top spot in the West. However, the players understand there are a lot of games left to turn things around.

“Obviously, we want to win and every game is important for us,” Luke Kennard said. “We want to be a high seed in the West at the end of the regular season. So, I think if we have that sense of urgency right now, taking it one game at a time, it’s going to help us with that. But at the same time, like I said, with guys kind of being in and out, you still have to be patient and just trust in what we’re doing and what we’re kind of building here.”

There’s more on the Clippers:

  • Kawhi Leonard will sit out his third straight game Sunday as part of injury management for his surgically repaired right knee, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Leonard felt stiffness in the knee during the morning shootaround before Tuesday’s game at Oklahoma City. He returned to L.A. for treatment and didn’t play on Thursday. Sunday’s game will be the first of a back-to-back, and Leonard has said he probably won’t play both games in those situations.
  • Paul George admits his “window is shrinking” to be an NBA champion, so he’s determined to make the most of this opportunity, Youngmisuk adds in a separate story. “I’m more focused than I ever been,” said George, who’s in his 13th NBA season. “You talk about locked in, I am locked into this year. I mean that’s what you’re going to get, a leader and just whatever it takes. That’s always been my attitude and the spirit I carry. I’m prepared and understand what the assignment is this year. Winning it all.”
  • Robert Covington has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will miss Sunday’s game, Turner tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Mitchell, Barrett, VanVleet, Brogdon

The Knicks are about to get their first look at Donovan Mitchell since spending much of the summer trying to trade for him, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Buoyed by Mitchell’s addition, the Cavaliers are tied for second in the East at 4-1 and they’ll try to improve that record when they host New York on Sunday.

The Jazz and Knicks held protracted trade talks through the offseason, but they weren’t able to finalize a deal, allowing Cleveland to swoop in with an offer for the three-time All-Star. Mitchell has been everything the Cavs thought he would be, averaging career highs in points (31.0), rebounds (4.8) and assists (6.4) through the first five games of the season.

“The one thing he does extremely well is he stops on a dime. When he drives hard to the basket and he stops, with the speed and agility he has, he always creates separation,” said Evan Fournier, who was rumored to be in several versions of the Mitchell trade. “He’s really hard to guard. He’s very streaky. He can be not efficient at times. But when he gets it going, it feels like he can’t miss.” 

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The KnicksRJ Barrett has struggled with his shot this season, but he’s making up for it with defense, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. Barrett, who was also rumored to be part of proposed packages for Mitchell, will likely get the first chance at slowing him down on Sunday. “Ever since (coach Tom Thibodeau) got here, the whole defensive intensity kind of picked up, and just me being that guy on certain players every night,” Barrett said. “It’s been a fun challenge. Watching the film, trying to get better every day. Really, that’s it. … Just a commitment. Coming in locked in and focused every day. I think it’s more mental than physical.”
  • The Raptors risk burning out Fred VanVleet if they can’t find some backcourt help, warns Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star. VanVleet is averaging a team-high 38 minutes per game, and Toronto doesn’t have a reliable point guard replacement off the bench.
  • Malcolm Brogdon is playing fewer minutes with the Celtics than he did with the Pacers, but his new teammates appreciate everything he does when he’s on the court, per Jay King of The Athletic. “To be able to come in and accept a role that he’s not used to — and I know from experience that’s not easy to do,” Marcus Smart said. “But he’s done it, he’s been professional. And then to come in and be able to not miss a step when he does come in, it’s like he’s been with us ever since day one.”

Spurs Notes: Wesley, Collins, Vassell, Primo

The Spurs‘ decision to waive Joshua Primo has created an opportunity for rookie guard Blake Wesley, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Wesley made his NBA debut Friday night and posted 10 points and four assists in 15 minutes in a victory over the Bulls. He showed none of the shooting problems that plagued him in Summer League, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from three-point range.

“You got to stay ready,” said Wesley, who was taken with the 25th pick in this year’s draft. “I was just ready today.”

Wesley may be joining lottery pick Jeremy Sochan in San Antonio’s rotation, but McDonald notes that Malaki Branham, who was taken 20th overall, is still waiting to play in his first game.

There’s more on the Spurs:

  • With injury problems behind him, Zach Collins is off to a strong start, McDonald adds. The backup center had his best game of the season Friday, putting up 16 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. He has reached double figures in scoring in three of the past five games. “Defense, passing and honestly shooting has been good all season,” Collins said. “(Friday) I took more shots and they went in. Hopefully, I keep this rolling.”
  • Devin Vassell will miss his third straight game Sunday against the Timberwolves because of pain in his right knee, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Friday that there’s no timetable for Vassell to return. Josh Richardson is questionable for Sunday’s game because of lower back tightness.
  • Noting that Primo referred to a mental health issue in his statement on Friday night, Orsborn (Twitter link) points out that the Spurs hired a performance psychologist in September 2021. The psychologist was required under the NBA’s newly adopted mental health policy, and teams are also required to enlist a licensed psychiatrist when necessary, according to Orsborn.