Month: July 2024

Pacific Notes: Hield, Knecht, Hyland, Eubanks, Suns

New Warriors sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who ranks 22nd all-time among NBA players in career three-pointers, will be the de facto replacement for the player who ranks sixth on that all-time list (Klay Thompson). Asked this week if he feels pressure to replicate the production and the outside shooting that Thompson provided for years in Golden State, Hield downplayed that idea.

“There’s no pressure,” Hield said, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Just come and do my job. What Klay has done for this organization has been tremendous. I love Klay a lot. I’ve watched him over the years. He’s special. The way he can get hot and the way he can just change the game and be the two-way player that he is, and the champion that he is. So, I don’t look at it as pressure. I think it’s fun just being in that role and seeing if I can get the same looks he got.”

Hield has never been as effective an all-around player as Thompson was in his prime years, and he certainly can’t match the former Warriors’ postseason accomplishments, having appeared in a playoff game for the first time this spring. However, the two players’ career shooting numbers are quite similar — Thompson has made 3.1 of 7.6 three-pointers per game (41.3%) in 793 contests, while Hield has knocked down 3.0 of 7.6 per game (40.0%) in 632 outings.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Dalton Knecht has been the best player on the Lakers‘ Summer League roster and already looks like a potential steal as the No. 17 pick in this year’s draft, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says the rookie forward projects to be in the top nine of L.A.’s rotation in the regular season. Entering Thursday’s contest, Knecht has averaged 22.0 PPG with a .412 3PT% in his first two games in Vegas.
  • Bones Hyland saw more playing time for the Clippers during the final month-and-a-half of the 2023/24 season and won’t have Russell Westbrook ahead of him on the depth chart in ’24/25. However, with Kris Dunn and Kevin Porter Jr. now in the mix in a Los Angeles backcourt that also features James Harden, Norman Powell, and Terance Mann, there’s still no clear path to regular playing time for Hyland, who remains on the trade block, according to Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Although Drew Eubanks decided well ahead of his player option deadline to opt out of his deal and become a free agent, he wasn’t necessarily set on leaving the Suns, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. “The interest was always there for me to return (to Phoenix),” said Eubanks, who ultimately agreed to a deal with Utah. “The notion of it being a ‘mutual split’ is just factually false. There were a lot of conversations about me coming back this next year from the moment the season ended and into free agency. At the end of the day, there were other opportunities and I had to make the best decision for myself and my family. Loved my year in Phoenix.”
  • The Suns will hire John Little as the head coach of their new NBA G League affiliate, the Valley Suns, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Little was previously part of G League coaching staffs with Maine and Wisconsin.

Clippers, Jazz Complete Trade Involving Westbrook, Dunn

8:04pm: The trade is official, according to an announcement from the Jazz, who also acquired the draft rights to Balsa Koprivica (the No. 57 pick in 2021) in the deal.

1:33pm: The Clippers are sending Russell Westbrook, a second-round pick swap, and cash to the Jazz in order to acquire free agent guard Kris Dunn via sign-and-trade, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). The second-round swap will be for 2030, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Westbrook is expected to reach a buyout agreement with Utah and eventually sign with the Nuggets once he clears waivers, according to Wojnarowski.

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that Dunn will sign a three-year, $17MM contract. The final season of Dunn’s deal with Los Angeles will be a team option, per Woj (Twitter link).

Strangely, this will be the second time that Westbrook will be traded to — and then waived by — Utah in 17 months, with the first instance coming in February 2023. In this case, the Jazz are acquiring a second-round swap and some cash in exchange for using a small chunk of their cap room to take Westbrook’s salary off L.A.’s books.

The 35-year-old will earn a little over $4MM this season, while the minimum salary for a player with his amount of experience will earn about $3.3MM. We’ll have to wait and see how much he gives up in the buyout, but it’s safe to assume he’ll be on a minimum-salary deal with the Nuggets — it’s all they can offer due to their financial situation.

Westbrook exercised his player option this summer but reports came out almost immediately saying the Clips were working with him on a trade. He has essentially only been linked to Denver, which has an opening at backup point guard after salary dumping Reggie Jackson to Charlotte.

Three-time MVP Nikola Jokic is reportedly a fan of Westbrook, who also received an endorsement from veteran center DeAndre Jordan. The nine-time All-Star and former MVP averaged 11.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals on .454/.273/.688 shooting in 68 games with the Clips last season (22.5 minutes per contest).

Haynes reported on July 1 that Dunn would sign with the Clippers, with Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports later stating that the two sides were working on sign-and-trade scenarios to open a wider salary range for the 30-year-old guard. It took a few weeks, but a deal has finally come to fruition.

The fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft, Dunn didn’t live up to his draft billing in Minnesota or Chicago during the early years of his career, but has evolved into a solid rotation piece in recent years. Dunn spent the past two seasons in Utah, where he provided solid, versatile defense in the Jazz’s backcourt and earned praise from head coach Will Hardy for his voice in the locker room.

In 88 total appearances (35 starts) across two seasons in Utah, Dunn averaged 7.4 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game, with a shooting line of .497/.395/.741.

Southwest Notes: Kennard, Pelicans, Murphy, Whitmore

Checking in on where things stand between the Grizzlies and Luke Kennard, Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that the sharpshooter’s return to Memphis “still feels inevitable” even though it’s taking longer than expected.

The Grizzlies declined Kennard’s $14.8MM team option at the end of June, but the expectation has always been that he would return on a more team-friendly cap number. He hasn’t been linked to any other suitors since free agency began.

Sources tell Cole that the Grizzlies would like to keep their 15th roster spot for the sake of flexibility entering the regular season. Since the team currently has 14 players on guaranteed standard contracts, re-signing Kennard may mean trading someone else — Ziaire Williams is rumored to be on the block.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While head of basketball operations David Griffin said on an ESPN broadcast this week that the Pelicans are “really excited” about what they have at center and are looking forward to playing “small and fast,” it’s fair to wonder if one more move is coming to shore up the position, writes Christian Clark of Veteran Daniel Theis currently sits atop New Orleans’ depth chart at the five, with rookies Yves Missi and Karlo Matkovic behind him and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl potentially in the mix as well.
  • Within the same story, Clark reports that the Pelicans and fourth-year wing Trey Murphy have opened discussions about a rookie scale extension. The two sides have “differing viewpoints” on Murphy’s value for now, but there’s optimism they’ll find a middle ground and make a deal before the October 21 deadline, Clark writes.
  • Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been shut down for the rest of Summer League, but rookie guard Reed Sheppard will continue playing in Las Vegas, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Last year’s Summer League MVP, Whitmore has struggled with his shooting efficiency this time around, making just 38.3% of his shot attempts, including 1-of-14 three-pointers, but Houston knows what he’s capable of offensively and he impressed in other areas (7.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3.3 SPG).

Hoops Rumors Glossary: Rookie Scale

When a player like Zaccharie Risacher enters the NBA, his new team – in this case, the Hawks – can rest assured that there’s essentially no chance of him holding out for a larger contract. That’s because a first-round NBA draft pick is only eligible to sign a rookie scale contract, which limits his leverage and ensures that his draft slot will dictate how much he gets paid.

A rookie scale contract for first-rounders is always for two guaranteed seasons, with team options for the third and fourth seasons of the deal. The scale amount is strictly set by draft position for the first three years of the contract, with the amount of the fourth year determined by a percentage raise on the third-year salary, as RealGM’s rookie scale chart for 2024 picks shows.

Players are eligible to sign for as little as 80% or as much as 120% of the scale amount, though almost every player signs for the full 120%. Earlier this month, Knicks first-round pick Pacome Dadiet became the first player since 2019 to sign for just 80% of his rookie scale amount, and even that rate only applies to his rookie season — he’ll get the full 120% in years two through four.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2024 First-Round Picks]

Under the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the rookie scale increases annually at the same rate as the salary cap. In other words, a 5% salary cap increase would mean a 5% increase to rookie scale salaries.

For the 2024/25 season, the first-year rookie scale amount for the first overall pick is $10,474,200. That number increases to $10,998,100 in year two and $11,521,700 in year three, with a 26.1% raise for year four and a 40% increase for a fifth-year qualifying offer. Risacher signed with the Hawks for 120% of that amount, meaning his contract looks like this:

Season Salary
2024/25 $12,569,040
2025/26 $13,197,720
2026/27 $13,826,040
2027/28 $17,434,636
2028/29 $24,408,490
  • Team option in italics
  • Qualifying offer in bold

The scale amounts and fourth- and fifth-year raises vary depending on draft position. Top picks earn the highest salaries, while late first-round picks get the most substantial bumps at the end of their contracts. For instance, the 30th overall pick gets an 80.5% raise between years three and four, with a qualifying offer increase of 60%.

Here are several more details relating to rookie scale contracts:

  • Only first-round picks are eligible for rookie scale contracts. Second-rounders can be signed using the second-round pick exception (or cap room or other exceptions).
  • A team doesn’t have to be under the cap to sign rookie scale contracts. Any team can give a first-rounder a full 120% rookie contract, regardless of its cap status.
  • Because 120% contracts are so common, the cap hold for a first-round pick is also 120% of the player’s rookie scale amount.
  • Bonuses can be included in rookie scale contracts as long as they don’t exceed 120% of the player’s rookie scale amount. It’s relatively common for teams to include likely incentives a player can earn for his participation in Summer League and offseason workout programs.
  • If a player hasn’t signed by January 10, his rookie scale amount begins to prorate downward each day for the remainder of the season until he signs. If there are 174 days in the regular season, the rookie scale amount would prorate downward by 1/174th per day.
  • Teams have until October 31 each year to make decisions on the team-option seasons in rookie scale contracts (or the next business day, if October 31 falls on a weekend). By October 31, 2024, teams will have to decide on the options for the 2025/26 season.
  • Players coming off rookie-scale contracts may be eligible for larger or smaller qualifying offers in their fifth year, based on whether or not they meet the “starter criteria.” We explain the starter criteria in greater detail here.
  • If a team signs a first-round pick within three years of drafting him, the rookie scale for the year in which he signs is used. For instance, Leandro Bolmaro was selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2020 draft but didn’t sign an NBA contract with the Timberwolves until the 2021 offseason. As a result, Bolmaro’s rookie scale contract was equivalent to what the No. 23 pick in the 2021 draft received.
  • If a first-round pick signs four or more years after being drafted and his team has cap room, he is eligible to receive a salary greater than 120% of his rookie scale amount. In practice, however, this essentially never happens.

Note: This is a Hoops Rumors Glossary entry. Our glossary posts will explain specific rules relating to trades, free agency, or other aspects of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.

Earlier versions of this post were published in 2012 and 2019.

Hawks Notes: Young, Capela, Gueye, Djurisic, Risacher

As expected, the Hawks moved one of their two starting guards this offseason, sending Dejounte Murray to New Orleans while hanging onto Trae Young. Veteran center Clint Capela also remains on the trade block, sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link).

If the Hawks end up trading Capela, the 25-year-old Young could become the oldest member of a starting lineup that also features Dyson Daniels, Jalen Johnson, No. 1 overall pick Zaccharie Risacher, and Onyeka Okongwu, Lowe suggests, noting that Daniels’ secondary play-making and elite defense could pair well with Young’s skill set, allowing Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter to lead the second unit. In that scenario, the three-time All-Star could “lead a fun, up-tempo team that might be ready to peak by the middle of his prime,” Lowe writes.

Still, Lowe wonders if that path to eventual contention might progress too slowly for Young’s liking, especially since the team doesn’t control its own first-round picks for the next three years, hindering its ability to continue adding young talent. On the other hand, going all-in by trading their 2029 and 2031 first-round picks for veteran help would probably be too aggressive an approach for the Hawks.

If Atlanta remains stuck in the middle of the Eastern Conference, it could lead to an “inevitable decision point” with Young, Lowe says. The star guard is under contract for at least the next two seasons, with a player option for 2026/27, and trade interest from teams like the Spurs and Lakers has “cooled” in recent months, sources tell ESPN, so it’s a safe bet he’ll open the 2024/25 season with the Hawks. But depending on how the coming year plays out, it may just be a matter of time before Young is once again the subject of trade speculation.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Atlanta is optimistic about Mouhamed Gueye‘s chances of earning a rotation spot as early as this fall, sources tell Lowe. The 2023 second-round pick was limited to just six games as a rookie, largely due to a lower back stress fracture and a UCL sprain, but the team remains high on his potential.
  • Agent Misko Raznatovic has provided an update on his client Nikola Djurisic, who sustained a left foot fracture in Summer League play. According to Raznatovic (Twitter link), Djurisic is undergoing surgery this week and the plan is for him to get back on the court by the end of September. That timeline suggests the 2024 second-rounder could be ready for training camp in the fall if he signs an NBA contract, though I’d expect the Hawks to take a patient, cautious approach with his recovery.
  • Marc J. Spears of Andscape spoke to Zaccharie Risacher and his father Stéphane about the elder Risacher’s long, successful career as a basketball player in Europe and the impact it had on his son. “That was the first player I ever watched,” Zaccharie said. “When I started to grow and I got my first iPad and iPhone, I would go to watch my father’s highlights on YouTube.”

Pacific Notes: T. Jones, Clippers, Podziemski, Gillespie

A report last week from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype indicated that the Clippers had sign-and-trade interest in free agent point guard Tyus Jones.

However, Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links here) has heard differently, stating the team was “never” focused on the 28-year-old, and with Kris Dunn coming aboard, L.A. is no longer viewed as even a long-shot destination for Jones. According to Murray, the Clips are not interested in Jones “in any capacity.”

As Murray explains, the Clippers always planned to acquire Dunn, it just took a few weeks to come together. Murray suggests the rumor may have come from Jones’ camp, as he’s still seeking a new contract nearly three weeks into free agency.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • In part due to his strong play as a rookie and in part due to his team-friendly contract, which will pay him $3.5MM, $3.7MM and $5.7MM over the next three seasons, Brandin Podziemski holds more value to the Warriors than he would to most other teams, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “I think I can get (to an All-Star level),” Podziemski has said. “I’m never gonna just settle for being a role player.” Shams Charania of The Athletic recently reported that Podziemski’s potential inclusion in a deal for Lauri Markkanen has been a sticking point in negotiations between Golden State and Utah. According to Slater, Podziemski isn’t off limits in trade talks, but the Warriors place a high value on what he brings to the table, both in the short and long term.
  • Former Nuggets guard Collin Gillespie landed with the Suns on a two-way deal this summer. He views Phoenix as a “really good opportunity” to earn minutes at point guard, he told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I feel like I’m an elite shooter,” Gillespie said. “I can run the point guard position really well, get guys shots, especially the guys who I’ll be playing with (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal). They’re elite scorers. Just find them in spots for them to score and have the best opportunity to help us win.”
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports takes an in-depth look at Gillespie’s game, exploring the 25-year-old’s strengths and weaknesses and discussing whether it’s reasonable to expect the former Villanova standout to play rotation minutes in 2024/25.

New York Notes: Thomas, K. Johnson, Kolek, Thibodeau, Knicks

In an interview with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Nets guard Cam Thomas said he’s been impressed with new head coach Jordi Fernandez so far. Fernandez is currently with the Canadian national team as it prepares for the Olympics in Paris later this month.

It’s been good,” Thomas said of adjusting to Fernandez. “He’s very smart. He’s very detailed. I think he’ll be good for our young team. I think we’re going the young route, so that’ll be good for us because he’s all about the details and pushes us to be great. I can’t wait to actually get to work with him.”

Thomas also discussed a number of other topics, including his contract situation. The 22-year-old, who led the team in scoring in 2023/24, is eligible for a rookie scale extension until the day before the 2024/25 regular season begins. He would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2025 if a deal isn’t reached.

You definitely think about it, but it’s not something I’m pushing for,” Thomas told Scotto. “Whatever happens with the organization happens. I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is going out there and playing the best basketball I can play. Whatever happens will happen. I’m not really pressed on it. … I want to keep improving my game to get ready for next season.”

On a related note, Thomas recently switched agents and is now represented by Alex Saratsis, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Saratsis’ agency, Octagon, announced the addition of Thomas to its client list earlier this month.

Here’s more from the NBA’s two New York-based teams:

  • Lewis’ story is primarily focused on former first-round pick Keon Johnson, who finished last season on a two-way deal with the Nets. An unrestricted free agent who is still just 22 years old, Johnson has impressed with his defense, improved shot and decision-making in Summer League action, per Lewis. The Nets have one standard roster spot and a pair of two-way openings available, and Johnson thinks his play can translate to real NBA minutes. “I mean, I feel like everything that I’m doing out there is completely translated to what I would be doing on the main court, as far as playing defense, spacing the court and making open shots,” Johnson said. “And then whenever I do have the ball in my hands, just making simple reads. I feel like every day in Summer League I’ve kind of been showing that, and hopefully after Summer League, I’ll be able to do the same thing.”
  • Knicks rookie guard Tyler Kolek isn’t lacking for confidence, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscription required). The former Marquette star, who was a second-round pick last month (34th overall), has impressed during Summer League action. “I wouldn’t say I’m surprised [how well I’m playing],” Kolek said. “All the work that I’ve put in has gotten me to this point. I’ve been in a lot of games in college. I’m not some first-year rookie that’s just come in playing 10, 12, 15 games in college, maybe only averaged 20 minutes a game. I’ve played a lot of games and I’m really comfortable on the basketball court.”
  • In the same story, Bondy says there’s still an expectation that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau will sign a contract extension. Bondy is surprised a deal has yet to be reached, though he acknowledges New York has had a very busy offseason so far.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic takes a look at the Knicks‘ roster following the signing of Cameron Payne, writing that the team now has one of the deepest pool of guards in the league. According to Katz, the Knicks view Miles McBride as more of a two than a one, which is why they added Kolek and Payne. Like Bondy, Katz has also heard from sources that Thibodeau is “more likely to extend than not.” Katz also examines Precious Achiuwa‘s free agency, suggesting that a reunion is still possible, but it may behoove both sides to wait and see if any sign-and-trade opportunities arise.

Offseason Observations: Apron Impact, Rockets, Spurs, Okogie

The NBA's offseason is far from over. As we saw last summer, when Damian Lillard was traded to Milwaukee in late September and Jrue Holiday was flipped from Portland to Boston on October 1, the trade market stays open into the fall.

We also could still see impactful moves on the free agent market occurring much later in the offseason, as was the case a year ago when Derrick Jones and P.J. Washington - two key members of the Mavericks' team that made the NBA Finals - signed their respective contracts during the second half of August (Washington signed with the Hornets before being traded to Dallas later in the season).

Still, the pace of the offseason action has certainly slowed down since the start of July, giving us an opportunity to look back and reflect on all that's gone down in the last few weeks.

From one of the biggest storylines of the summer (the impact of the new tax apron rules) to some under-the-radar developments (like the structure of Josh Okogie's new deal with the Suns), we're taking a closer look today at some of the more curious offseason subplots.

Let's dive in...

Has the impact of the new apron restrictions been overstated?

The concept of the tax apron has existed in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement for years, and a second apron was implemented in 2023, but the 2024 offseason is the first time all the new apron-related restrictions introduced in the current CBA have been in place. Those new restrictions affect the trade market most significantly, with teams operating over the first tax apron not permitted to take back more salary than they send out and teams over the second apron prohibited from aggregating player salaries.

While it's true that these rules have made it challenging for teams with high payrolls to make moves as easily as they used to, I think they've also become a convenient scapegoat for teams to justify certain roster decisions.

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Southeast Notes: Smith, Ware, Sarr, Black

Dru Smith has been waived four times by the Heat during his NBA career. However, they keep coming back to him, the latest example being this summer, when they signed the guard to a two-way contract.

“The way this organization has treated me, it’s unbelievable,” Smith said, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “I’m very appreciative of it. At the same time, I’m going to go out there and do everything I can for them, as well. I think the love is reciprocated both ways, which I really appreciate. I just want to continue to get back healthy and then be able to get back out there for this team.”

Smith underwent ACL reconstruction surgery in his right knee, an injury he suffered in November. He’s hopeful that he can return by training camp.

“I think it’s very feasible,” he said. “But you never know, these things are day by day. So as long as everything goes smoothly, I think that’s kind of the plan. But like I said, it’s always up in the air. We just got to make sure everything is going right.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat first-rounder Kel’el Ware continues to excel in Summer League action. The former Indiana University center had 24 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday, his third double-double this summer. He also contributed two fourth-quarter blocks. “We continue to challenge him defensively,” Summer League coach Dan Bisaccio told Chiang. “He took that challenge. Everything at the rim was contested. We want to continue to see that. Obviously, this is never enough. But we’re really, really happy with him anchoring our defense.”
  • Wizards big man Alex Sarr, the second pick in the draft, missed all 15 of his shot attempts in Wednesday’s Summer League game against Portland, ESPN notes. That included seven 3-point tries and he also missed two free throws. He did have nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in just under 30 minutes. Sarr has shot below 35% in all three of his games in Las Vegas and is shooting 19.5% from the field overall. Sarr spoke to Sportskeeda’s Mark Medina about his goals for his rookie season, including his desire to make an impact at both ends of the floor.
  • Magic guard Anthony Black didn’t play in Wednesday’s Summer League contest due to a mild ankle sprain, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. He’s averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals in two games this month.

Pacific Notes: Plowden, Bronny, Stotts, Stackhouse, Ishbia

When the Warriors were reviewing videos of players to decide who to invite to their free agent mini-camp, Daeqwon Plowden stood out right away, writes Sam Gordon of The San Francisco Chronicle. The 25-year-old shooting guard, who signed a two-way contract with the team on Tuesday, was going full speed and giving maximum effort in all of his film clips.

He won a spot on Golden State’s Summer League team, where he’s continuing to impress the organization, averaging 16.6 points per game while shooting 48.1% from three-point range and playing physical defense. Plowden wants to prove he’s “a winner,” and he sounds ready to use his opportunity with the Warriors as a learning experience.

“Throughout the year, I really just want to learn how to be a better pro,” he said. “This is one of the premier organizations. They’ve got some high-level guys. Some high-level characters. I want to learn how to be a better pro, whether that be for here … or wherever I end up winding up.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Bronny James had his best outing in the Summer League on Wednesday as the Lakers pulled out a one-point win over Atlanta. He had 12 points and made two 3-pointers after going 0-for-15 from the beyond the arc in his first four games. “I feel like I know the right way to play. So if I go out there and play my game every game, results like that will come,” he told Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr wanted to tweak his offense, which is a major reason why he decided to hire Terry Stotts as his lead assistant. “He fits what we want to do and get a little bit more patterned,” Kerr told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “He loves movement. Portland, you know, they always had a lot of motion and movement, but it was probably more patterned than what we’ve done. Terry can really help us put in some new things that may be easier to run but maintain the motion.” Jerry Stackhouse, who has also been added to the staff, will bring a former player’s perspective. “Just feel like we needed Jerry,” Kerr said. “We have a lot of young players. … There’s something about a former player where those guys can tell our players, ‘I’ve been there, I’ve done this. I know exactly what you’re going through.’ Jerry did it on a really high level, but he’s also coached at a high level. That meant a lot to me.” Golden State has yet to officially announce those coaching hires.
  • Suns owner Mat Ishbia said during an NBA TV interview that he believes his team is primed for a deep playoff run, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic relays. “First year, we didn’t get to where we wanted to be,” Ishbia said. “Second year, we’re going to see and we’re going to go out there and compete. I love those guys. I love the pieces, (Jusuf) Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neale. We’ve got a lot of pieces. Bol Bol is back. We’ve got a lot of great pieces, but you’ve got to win. If you don’t win in the playoffs, people are going to talk about you. That’s an honor that they talk about us ’cause it’s high expectations. We’ve got to get there. We’re going to try this year again.”

Dana Gauruder contributed to this report.