Northwest Notes: Lofton, Thunder, Porter, Holiday, Billups

The Jazz used a portion of their room exception to sign Kenneth Lofton Jr. to a three-year contract that includes a $500K rest-of-season salary, Hoops Rumors has learned. Lofton’s deal is worth approximately $4.9MM in total, with minimum salaries in the second and third seasons.

However, the agreement doesn’t currently include any guaranteed money beyond this season. If Lofton remains under contract through July 25, he’d be assured of a $400K partial guarantee for 2024/25, and that partial guarantee would increase to $600K on the first day of the regular season, but if he’s waived on or before July 25, the Jazz won’t be on the hook for any ’24/25 salary.

If Lofton plays out the first two years of the contract, the Jazz would face a team option decision for the 2025/26 season.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The fact that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a legitimate MVP candidate while Chet Holmgren is in the running for Rookie of the Year is emblematic of how unique the young, contending Thunder are, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who notes that an NBA club hasn’t had a top-two finish in both MVP and Rookie of the Year voting since the 2001/02 Nets. Before that, the last time it happened was in 1979/80, when Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won MVP while Magic Johnson finished second in ROY voting.
  • Monday’s game between the Nuggets and Raptors marked the first time that brothers Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter shared an NBA court for meaningful minutes, writes Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. In honor of the occasion, Benedetto looks back at the role that Michael played in convincing Jontay not to give up on his NBA dream despite recurring injury issues.
  • Jrue Holiday was only a member of the Trail Blazers for a few days last fall between stints in Milwaukee and Boston, but he tells Jay King of The Athletic that a discussion he had with Chauncey Billups during that time “meant a lot” to him. Billups gave Holiday advice on how to handle the transition period and assured the veteran guard that the team wanted him to end up in a favorable landing spot.“I love Jrue, man. I love Jrue,” Billups said. “And we got him very briefly obviously. And I had a conversation — a long, good conversation with him — just about I know it was a little tough spot for him, being traded, kind of being blindsided by that. I’ve been there before. So just being able to rap with him like that because I know him. And it was important for me that a good person like him, who’s been great on every team and every community that he’s lived in, for him to be treated properly and be put in a great position and a great spot.”
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