Search Results for:

California Notes: Kawhi, Matthews, Batum, Wiggins

Clippers All-Star wing Kawhi Leonard is making a concerted effort to be a more vocal leader this season, as Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register details. His new teammate Serge Ibaka, who won a title with Leonard in 2019 when both were with the Raptors, encouraged Leonard to do this when he arrived to LA this season.

“Leaders need not only to come on the court and score 30 points. You have to show the team, your teammates, like you’re willing to give everything for them,” Ibaka said of the All-NBA Clippers forward. “And so far, he’s been doing a great job of that. He’s been communicating with everybody… this is something really new I see from Kawhi.”

There’s more out of California:

  • New Lakers wing Wesley Matthews, a longtime starter in the NBA, is adjusting to his new role coming off the bench, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. “We don’t worry about Wes,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a knockdown shooter and a great defender. Just excited that he’s in a Lakers uniform and what kind of things he’s gonna give us throughout the year.”
  • With newly-extended Clippers forward Marcus Morris out of commission due to a sore right knee, veteran offseason addition Nicolas Batum has comfortably slid into his starting power forward role, per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. Batum is averaging 27.5 MPG, 6.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 3.5 APG for Los Angeles.
  • Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins has vastly improved his pick-and-roll output this season, writes Zach Harper of The Athletic. He is producing 116.7 points per 100 possessions as a pick-and-roll scorer thus far in 2020/21.

Pacific Notes: Batum, Kerr, Wiseman, LeBron

Nicolas Batum wasn’t around for the Clippers‘ meltdown in last season’s playoffs, but he can tell there’s something different about this year’s version of the team, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. has been able to battle through adversity after building big leads in a pair of early-season wins.

Friday night in Denver, the Clippers saw a 21-point lead cut to 11 midway through the fourth quarter when Kawhi Leonard left the game after taking an elbow to the face. Batum drew a charge on the next play and L.A. kept its composure to secure the win.

“This is where in those moments, you breathe in (as) a team, you guys can get to know who you are as a team,” Batum said. “… We make stops, we didn’t panic, we didn’t do crazy stuff, we didn’t rush. We did a little bit sometimes. That’s what guys corrected because we made bad turnovers and took quick shots, but overall, that was better.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors may not have the roster to succeed with coach Steve Kerr‘s regular offense, observes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Stephen Curry leads Golden State in assists through two games with 16, but reserve guard Brad Wanamaker is the only other Warrior with at least five. Slater notes that the team doesn’t have the collection of instinctive passers and cutters that it did in recent years. “I’ve got to stay on them and continue to work, find ways to get better organized and look like a five-man unit,” Kerr said after Friday’s blowout loss in Milwaukee. “We’re just scattered right now. It just looks like we’re a series of moving parts.”
  • One bright spot for the Warriors in the early season has been the play of James Wiseman, Slater tweets. The 19-year-old center is averaging 18.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and looks worthy of being selected with the second overall pick. “He’s clearly the focal point of the future of how we’re building this team with Steph, Klay (Thompson), Draymond (Green),” Kerr said. “I can now throw James in there.”
  • Lakers star LeBron James has been chosen as Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the fourth time, writes Tim Reynolds of the AP. James was selected for helping his team win the NBA title and being a leader in the social justice movement.

Clippers Notes: Kennard, Batum, Zubac, Ibaka

Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum, two important offseason additions for the Clippers, haven’t played a regular season NBA game in nearly a year, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Both players are trying to use the shortened preseason to get ready for opening night, which is just six days away.

The Pistons shut down Kennard last December 21 because of knee tendinitis. He had been hoping to return March 14, but the hiatus kept that from happening. Batum appeared in just 22 games last season, limited by injuries and the Hornets’ preference to give minutes to their younger players.

“The first (preseason) game was kind of weird,” Batum said. “I just wanted to go out there and just be back on the court and just play basketball and do some stuff and be sure I don’t do some crazy mistake. That’s really my goal the first two games, to be back on the court and get through the motion and get my rhythm and the feel for the court.”

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • Ivica Zubac is adjusting to his new role as backup center, notes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Zubac is expected to play similar minutes as in the past, but he will be on the court with a different set of teammates. “Zu specifically, he just has to get better with his hands,” said Lou Williams, the leader of the team’s second unit. “That was a conversation we spoke to. I’m a willing passer and he knows that. And so for him to be successful and get a lot of easy looks, we’re gonna have to get better and get on the same page with that. Other than that, I look forward to growing with him.”
  • Kennard and Serge Ibaka are both better fits for the Clippers than the players they replaced, contends John Hollinger of The Athletic. He sees Kennard, who can help run the offense, as a more complete player than Landry Shamet and notes that Ibaka’s ability to space the floor makes him more versatile than Montrezl Harrell. Hollinger opines that Paul George won’t be able to live up to his new four-year, $176MM contract, but thinks it still makes sense for the team, since the focus is on competing for a title in the next two seasons.
  • Reggie Jackson and assistant coach Chauncey Billups both returned to the team after being excused from Sunday’s game due to health and safety protocols, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Nicolas Batum Signs With Clippers

10:08pm: The team officially announced the Batum signing in a press release and the Tucker signing in a separate release.


9:43pm: After clearing waivers following his release by the Hornets, veteran free agent forward Nicolas Batum will sign with the Clippers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Batum’s intention to sign with Los Angeles was initially reported by Charania after he was officially waived by Charlotte. The 31-year-old wing was a solid three-and-D contributor in his prime with the Trail Blazers and Hornets, but his production noticeably declined after he signed a five-year, $120MM extension with the Hornets in 2016.

Across his 12 NBA seasons, the 6’9″ swingman holds career averages of 11.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.9 APG, and 0.6 APG in 31.3 MPG. He is a career 35.7% shooter on 4.4 attempts a night from three-point land, and is shooting 84.1% from the charity stripe. Batum was a part-time player for the first time in his career in 2019/20, suiting up for just 22 games with the Hornets.

The Clippers are no doubt hoping Batum can conjure a semblance of this output in a fraction of the minutes for a championship contender led by star swingmen Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Batum is set to compete with fellow free agent wing Rayjon Tucker for reserve minutes, as Charania adds in a separate tweet that the Clippers will also sign Tucker. It’s an Exhibit 10 contract for Tucker, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

The 23-year-old shooting guard, who split his college eligibility between Florida Gulf Coast and Little Rock, went undrafted in 2019. He played for the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, to start the 2019/20 NBA season. He then signed on with the Jazz for the remainder of the season. Between stints with the Herd and Utah’s G League club, the Salt Lake City Stars, Tucker played 19 G League games.

Tucker averaged 23.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 0.9 SPG in the G League. He posted a slash line of .472/.361/.713. The 6’5″ wing was awarded December 2019’s G League Player of the Month honors, and netted an Eastern Conference Midseason All-NBA G League selection.

A defensive specialist at the next level, Tucker played 20 regular season games for the Jazz, averaging 8.1 MPG. Earlier this offseason, the Jazz traded Tucker to the Cavaliers, who subsequently waived him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hornets Notes: Hayward, Batum, Carey

Hornets head of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak had talked for the better part of the year about not planning to make a splash in free agency. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Charlotte completed the biggest unrestricted free agent contract of the 2020 offseason, signing Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120MM contract.

Addressing that disconnect during his Tuesday session with reporters, Kupchak explained that he simply wasn’t expecting a player like Hayward to be available this fall.

“I did not think that we would be in a position to pursue a free agent of Gordon’s caliber,” Kupchak said, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

As for whether Hayward’s injury history made the Hornets nervous about making such a significant investment in the 30-year-old forward, Kupchak downplayed any concerns the team might have had, as Bonnell writes.

“He passed our physical with flying colors,” he said. “He’s a good age for an NBA player and keeps himself in great shape … There’s no reason to believe, knock on wood, that he won’t be healthy here the next four years.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Speaking today to reporters about his decision to join the Hornets, Hayward said the team’s interest in him back in 2014 was a factor in choosing Charlotte, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. He also sounded excited about taking on a bigger role than he had in Boston, as the leader of a young Hornets roster. “The think I like to do most is play-make and create for others,” he said. “Obviously in my career, I’ve done the scoring thing as well. I’m versatile. I can just help us try to impact our time with winning as much as possible. The pieces are there in place. Sometimes with a young team you just need to get over that initial hump to get to that next level. I’m excited about that opportunity and that challenge.”
  • Asked today about waiving and stretching Nicolas Batum and his $27MM+ expiring contract, Kupchak explained that it would have cost the Hornets multiple draft picks to dump Batum’s salary in a trade. The team may also have had to take back another (smaller) veteran contract in the deal, Kupchak added (Twitter link via Bonnell).
  • The four-year contract that No. 32 overall pick Vernon Carey Jr. signed with the Hornets will have a first-year salary of $1.35MM, followed by minimum salaries in years two through four, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The final year will be a team option, but it sounds like the first three will be guaranteed.

Hornets Notes: Biyombo, Batum, Hayward, Offense

The Hornets used some of their available cap space to re-sign reserve center Bismack Biyombo to a one-year contract worth $3.5MM, and also gave first-year salaries of $1.5MM to center Vernon Carey Jr. and $1MM to forward Nick Richards, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Marks goes on to note that the Hornets, who still have about $4MM in available cap space, will also be able to use their $4.8M room exception to add an additional player if they so choose.

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • After forward Nicolas Batum signed a veteran’s minimum deal with the Clippers when the Hornets waived him, Charlotte stands to save $559,528 spread out over the three-year duration of his stretched contract, per ESPN’ s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).
  • The robust $120MM, four-year contract of new Hornets forward Gordon Hayward has a 15% trade kicker baked into it, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets. This would make the end of his deal, already thought to be exorbitant for a player with his injury history and age, even more expensive if he’s moved.
  • Following a breakout scoring season with the Hornets in 2019/20, guard Devonte’ Graham is in favor of a more balanced offensive attack incorporating new additions Hayward and LaMelo Ball, even though that means Graham’s looks could decrease, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Hornets To Waive-And-Stretch Nicolas Batum

The Hornets will waive and stretch the final year of Nicolas Batum‘s contract in order to create the cap room necessary to sign Gordon Hayward, reports Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

[RELATED: Hornets, Gordon Hayward Agree To Four-Year Deal]

Batum, who will turn 32 next month, is entering the final season of the five-year, $120MM contract he signed back in 2016. His cap hit for 2020/21 is approximately $27.13MM, but the Hornets can stretch that amount across three seasons at $9.04MM annually, opening up more than $18MM in cap room for 2020/21.

That newly-opened amount will be more than enough to complete the Hayward signing, as Charlotte entered the day with about $19MM in space. The team should have some room left over for an additional move or two, though it will now have to deal with $9MM+ in dead money on the cap for 2021/22 and ’22/23 as well.

Batum was excised from the Hornets’ rotation this past season, appearing in just 22 games (23.0 MPG) and playing poorly in his limited time, with 3.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.0 APG on .346/.286/.900 shooting.

Although he’s coming off a down year and has long been viewed as an unfavorable asset as a result of his oversized contract, Batum might be an interesting minimum-salary target in free agency once he clears waivers.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Batum, Hield, Suns, Warriors

In a fascinating, in-depth article for The Athletic, Jovan Buha takes a deep dive into the chemistry issues that plagued the Clippers during the 2019/20 season, exploring the club’s leadership void and various players’ grievances with the preferential treatment that star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George received.

While Buha and others have reported about the Clippers’ locker room issues throughout the year, the latest Athletic story includes more specific details, including many of the perks provided to Leonard and George that irked teammates and compromised the positive culture that players bought into during the previous two seasons.

According to Buha, the two stars had power over the Clippers’ practice and travel schedule. Additionally, teammates believed Leonard and George were allowed to pick and choose when they played (not just sitting out games, but manipulating their playing time within games).

There are too many specific stories and details in Buha’s report to pass along all of them, but the upshot is that the Clippers are hoping new head coach Tyronn Lue – with the help of new roster additions like Serge Ibaka – will be able to address many of those issues, putting a greater emphasis on accountability. Sources tell The Athletic that players are excited to play for Lue and that Leonard and George are aware they must “establish a healthier locker room dynamic” in 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Nicolas Batum Waived By Hornets, Plans To Sign With Clippers

As expected, the Hornets have waived veteran forward Nicolas Batum, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has officially confirmed the move in a press release.

Batum was excised from the Hornets’ rotation this past season, appearing in just 22 games (23.0 MPG) and playing poorly in his limited time, with 3.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.0 APG on .346/.286/.900 shooting. However, he’s only entering his age-32 season and should look more appealing on a minimum-salary deal than he did on his five-year, $120MM contract.

The Clippers are willing to bet on a bounce-back season from Batum, with Charania reporting (via Twitter) that the forward intends to sign with L.A. once he clears waivers. The Clips only have 12 players on fully guaranteed salaries and could use some additional depth on the wing, so Batum should be a good fit on the roster.

According to Charania (via Twitter), the Clippers were one of multiple contending teams with interest in Batum once Charlotte made it clear he would be cut. Golden State, Toronto, Utah, and Milwaukee were previously cited as potential suitors.

A report back on November 21 first indicated that Charlotte planned to waive Batum and stretch his $27MM+ salary across three seasons, opening up the cap room necessary for the team to sign Gordon Hayward to his new four-year, $120MM contract.

Once the Celtics and Hornets began discussing the possibility of turning Charlotte’s Hayward acquisition into a sign-and-trade, there was some uncertainty about whether releasing Batum would be necessary. The Hornets were believed to be exploring the possibility of sending him to Boston or – more likely – another team as part of a Hayward deal.

Although that won’t happen, that doesn’t mean that Hayward can’t still be acquired via sign-and-trade. We continue to await word on that front, but a sign-and-trade agreement would benefit the Celtics, who could generate a massive traded player exception in such a deal.

Now that Batum has been waived, it will make little difference from the Hornets’ perspective whether they sign Hayward outright or acquire him via sign-and-trade. If they can extract a sweetener (ie. a second-round pick or two) from Boston, it would make sense for Charlotte to accommodate the C’s and turn it into a sign-and-trade. We should find out soon whether or not that’s in the cards.

[UPDATE: Hornets Add Gordon Hayward Via Sign-And-Trade With Celtics]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nicolas Batum Exercising Player Option

Hornets forward Nicolas Batum plans to exercise his $27.13MM player option for the 2020/21 season and return to Charlotte, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Batum appeared in just 22 games last season and holds career-averages of 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest. The 31-year-old has been with the Hornets since the 2015/16 season, having been acquired in a trade during the summer of 2015. He inked a five-year, $120MM deal with the team in 2016.

Batum’s option decision was one of the most obvious of 2020, as there was no chance of him matching or exceeding his $27MM salary on the open market. He’ll reach free agency in 2021.

Meanwhile, Charlotte has players such as Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez set to enter unrestricted free agency this fall. The team could extend a qualifying offer to guard Dwayne Bacon to make him a restricted free agent.

The Hornets finished with a 23-42 record this past season and last made the playoffs during the 2015/16 campaign.

Pacific Notes: Kawhi, Schröder, Gasol, D. Jones

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was forced to leave Friday night’s game early after an errant elbow from teammate Serge Ibaka connected with his face, sending him to the floor and causing him to bleed profusely from his mouth. While the injury looked bad initially, head coach Tyronn Lue said after the game that he thought Leonard would be “fine,” tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN.

The collision left Leonard requiring eight stitches to treat a mouth laceration, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. However, Nicolas Batum said he spoke to Kawhi after the game and agreed with Lue’s assessment that the two-time Finals MVP should ultimately be fine.

“You don’t want a player, any player, (to) go down like that with blood all over him and everywhere on the floor,” Batum said. “I think he’s good. I just saw him in the locker room; he was OK, and that was kind of scary in the moment.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Addressing rumors that he and the Lakers may attempt to work out an in-season extension, point guard Dennis Schröder said on Friday night that he’s “very comfortable” with his new team and is interested in negotiating a new deal in the coming months as long as it’s fair for both sides, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • After going scoreless in his Lakers debut, newly-signed center Marc Gasol expressed confidence that he’ll bounce back and find his fit going forward, as Buha writes for The Athletic. While Gasol only scored two points on Friday and has yet to make a field goal, he was more effective in the Lakers’ blowout win over Dallas, grabbing nine rebounds and avoiding the foul trouble that plagued him in the opener.
  • Damian Jones‘ 2020/21 salary was initially set to become fully guaranteed at the start of the regular season, but he and the Suns have agreed to push that deadline back to February 25, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Free Agent Rumors: Batum, Thomas, Mudiay, Ferrell, Briscoe

The Hornets plan to waive Nicolas Batum and use the stretch provision on his $27.1MM contract for the upcoming season in order to sign Gordon Hayward, unless they can figure out a sign-and-trade deal that would save them from stretching Batum.

Assuming he’s released, Batum shouldn’t have trouble finding a new home. His agent, Jeremy Medjana, told Basket Session that the Warriors, Jazz, Clippers, Bucks and Raptors are interested in signing him once he clears waivers (hat tip to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype). Batum, who has played for Charlotte the past five seasons, only appeared in 22 games last season.

Here are more free agency notes and rumors:

  • Former MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas said his latest hip procedure was a success and he’s eager to prove it, the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach reports. Thomas says he feels like his former self in workouts. “I was blowing by people,” he said. “I haven’t blown by anybody since I had a Celtics uniform on.” Thomas was waived after the Wizards traded him to the Clippers in February and remains unsigned.
  • Reserve point guards Emmanuel Mudiay and Yogi Ferrell are generating some interest on the free agent market, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Both players could likely be had for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Point guard Isaiah Briscoe hopes to return to the NBA, according to Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw (Twitter link). Briscoe went undrafted out of Kentucky in 2017, but made it onto the Magic’s roster for the 2018/19 season. He spent the 2019/20 season in Poland playing for King Szczecin. In 39 games with Orlando, Briscoe averaged 3.5 PPG, 2.2 APG, and 1.9 RPG, across 14.3 MPG.

Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this post.

Free Agent Rumors: Bogdanovic, Hawks, Batum, Lin, Hernangomez

Sources remain confident that the Hawks are in a strong position to sign Bogdan Bogdanovic, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Kirschner says he has heard that a deal for Bogdanovic could be in the four-year, $72MM range, which is the same ballpark identified by Brian Windhorst of ESPN earlier this week.

The Hawks are believed to still have about $20MM in cap room available, so they have the flexibility necessary to make a move for Bogdanovic. However, he remains a restricted free agent, so if they sign him to an offer sheet that would tie up their cap space for multiple days, they’ll want to be pretty confident that the Kings won’t match it.

Here are a few more free agency updates:

  • Veteran combo forward Nicolas Batum has already received interest from multiple teams, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Hornets chose to waive-and-stretch the final year of Batum’s contract in order to sign free agent forward Gordon Hayward.
  • Point guard Jeremy Lin wants to return to the NBA and several contenders are interested, Alex Kennedy of Basketball News tweets. Lin spent last season in China, averaging 22.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 5.6 APG. Lin was recently spotted working out with Nets players, according to Kennedy, though it’s not certain whether Brooklyn is one of the teams showing interest. He played for the Hawks and Raptors during the 2018/19 season.
  • While Malik Beasley got a deal with the Timberwolves done quickly, the team appears willing to be more patient with its other restricted free agent. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), Minnesota is letting the market play out for Juan Hernangomez to establish the parameters of his potential deal.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Hornets, Celtics Still Exploring Sign-And-Trade Structure For Hayward Deal

NOVEMBER 25: The Celtics and Hornets have continued to work on ways to turn the Hayward deal into a sign-and-trade, with Charlotte trying to find a team that might be able to take on Batum’s $27MM expiring deal so that he doesn’t have to be waived-and-stretched, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It sounds as if the Celtics don’t have any interest in taking on Batum or another player from the Hornets, preferring to generate a significant trade exception for signing-and-trade Hayward. The Thunder and Knicks may be the two teams best positioned to accommodate a salary dump, but there would be cap-related challenges in both cases.


NOVEMBER 21: The Celtics and Hornets are still discussing the possibility of turning Charlotte’s signing of Gordon Hayward into a sign-and-trade, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link).

Hayward reached an agreement earlier today to join the Hornets on a four-year, $120MM contract. Charlotte doesn’t have the cap room necessary to fit Hayward’s first-year salary in without making a corresponding roster move, so the team is reportedly planning to waive and stretch the final year of Nicolas Batum‘s contract, creating an extra $18MM in space.

Whether or not the Hornets intend to move forward with their plan to use the stretch provision on Batum, it makes sense to explore the possibility of a sign-and-trade.

Sending out enough salary to altogether avoid having to waive Batum would create future cap savings for Charlotte, though it’s not clear if acquiring a player like Terry Rozier or Cody Zeller would be of any interest to the Celtics after they reportedly reached deals with Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson tonight.

Even if the Celtics don’t get anything of substance back from Charlotte in exchange for Hayward, the ability to create a massive traded player exception worth the forward’s outgoing salary should appeal to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, as that exception could come in handy at some point over the next year. Boston may be willing to send the Hornets a small asset – such as a future second-round pick or cash – in order to create a sizeable TPE.

If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, Charlotte can simply move forward with its initial plan to waive and stretch Batum.

Southeast Notes: Aminu, Bamba, Collins, Hawks, Hornets

Magic head coach Steve Clifford told reporters today that Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Mohamed Bamba haven’t been cleared for contact work when training camp begins, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Isaac is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to miss the entire 2020/21 season, so his absence is unsurprising. Aminu and Bamba were unavailable for the Magic at the end of last season due to knee surgery recovery and coronavirus complications, respectively. It’s not clear if those same issues are keeping them sidelined this fall, but Clifford said today that both players are still “a ways away” from being 100%, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks big man John Collins is still hoping to sign a rookie scale extension before the regular season begins, admitting today that his contract situation is at the forefront of his mind (Twitter links via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
  • The Hawks issued a press release announcing injury updates on Kris Dunn (cartilage disruption in right knee), Onyeka Okongwu (inflammation of sesamoid bone in left foot), and Tony Snell (inflammation of cuboid bone in right foot). Dunn is participating in “modified” individual workouts, while Okongwu and Snell are currently limited to shooting and conditioning. Atlanta will provide another update on all three players on December 11.
  • The Hornets will open the 2020/21 season without any fans in attendance at Spectrum Center, the team announced this week in a press release. The Hornets indicated they’ll continue to work with state and local health officials – and the NBA – to develop a plan to get fans back in the building, ideally before the end of the season.
  • In the wake of the Hornets‘ acquisition of Gordon Hayward and release of Nicolas Batum, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer examines the salary cap impact of the two transactions. As Bonnell writes, despite the significant cap charges for Hayward and Batum, the club could still open up a sizeable chunk of cap room in 2021.

Nicolas Batum Apologizes To Hornets

Nicolas Batum isn’t hiding from the fact that he hasn’t lived up to his contract, writes Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer.

The five-year, $120MM deal Batum signed in the summer of 2016 remains the largest ever given out by the Hornets. After putting up decent numbers during the past three years, he lost his starting job this season and has been stuck on the end of the bench as Charlotte opted for a youth movement.

“I apologize to the people here,” he said, “because they put so much faith in me. And it didn’t go well… . It didn’t work out. But what do I have to do? Because I’m still here.”

Batum has appeared in 22 games this season, but head coach James Borrego didn’t use him at all in February. The last time he saw the court was in a January 24 game played in his native France.

Fowler points out that Batum remains a supportive member of the team and is serving as a mentor to a roster filled with first- and second-year players. As a veteran, he has interceded with officials on behalf of his teammates and estimates he has saved the Hornets from about a half-dozen technical fouls.

“I don’t want to be selfish,” Batum said. “… I don’t want to be that guy who’s like, ‘OK, let’s go out tonight. Coach sucks. Don’t show up. You shoot 25 times a game; don’t listen to him.’ No. I won’t do that. I don’t need that. They don’t need that.”

At age 31, Batum figures to remain in a teaching role through the end of next season. He has another year left on his contract, and his $27.13MM salary makes him nearly impossible to trade. Although the Hornets appear headed to their fourth straight year out of the playoffs, Batum believes the young core will get there soon.

“This franchise has got a bright future,” he said, “but I don’t think I’ll be part of it.”

Southeast Notes: Wall, Magic, Batum, Hornets

John Wall was feeling like his old self again before the NBA’s hiatus forced him to curtail his workouts, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The five-time All-Star, who has missed the entire season after a ruptured Achilles and surgery to remove a bone spur, was playing three-on-three games with teammates during the Wizards‘ last road trip before the shutdown.

“I was out there dunking, crossing over, getting to the rim, doing stuff I was doing before. And I was like, damn, I still got, like, 15 pounds to get off of before I start playing next season. And I’m like, OK, I got six or seven months to get better,” Wall said. “So, I was gonna do nothing but get stronger, get more rhythm, get more in sync with everything.”

Wall has a gym in his Miami home, but he has been limited to half-court workouts with no competition. He won’t take the court when Washington resumes the season in Orlando, but said the discomfort he used to feel every day is gone. The focus all year has been getting ready for next season.

“When I get back to getting on the court when things open up, I’m not rushing anything,” Wall said. “I’m easing my way into it, because I know I can’t just jump back out there. That’s how you end up getting yourself hurt. … It’s gonna take me time to be patient with it. It’s frustrating because you already got a rhythm. You already was like — I was having fun. I was in a rhythm, having fun. It was just dope to be hooping.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • A pair of games with the Nets will go a long way toward determining whether the Magic can overtake Brooklyn for the seventh seed and avoid a daunting first-round match-up with Milwaukee, observes Josh Robbins of The Athletic“I think what’s going to help us the most is just being in better shape than the guys we’re going to play against,” Evan Fournier said. “I think that’s what it’s going to come down to. How fast can you get in shape? And how fast can you get together as a team? That’s what’s going to make the difference.”
  • The Hornets will be one of the few teams with cap space this offseason, but GM Mitch Kupchak doesn’t plan to make a major move in free agency until next year, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. That means Nicolas Batum will likely finish out his contract in Charlotte unless Kupchak can find a way to trade him without taking back any future guaranteed money.
  • Even though Devonte’ Graham had a breakthrough season and Terry Rozier is under contract for two more years, the Hornets won’t hesitate to take another point guard in a draft that is loaded with them, Bonnell adds in the same piece.

Players Who Can’t Be Traded Until February 6

As teams explore the trade market for potential deals in the coming weeks, there are a handful of trade restrictions those clubs must take into account. Most notably, newly-signed free agents can’t be dealt until at least February 6.

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement states that – in a typical league year – a free agent who signs with an NBA team can’t be traded for three months or until December 15, whichever is later. That rule has had to be tweaked for 2020/21 to account for the league’s revamped calendar, so the new trade eligibility date for most offseason signees is February 6.

There are also some recently-signed players who meet a few specific criteria and can’t be traded until March 3. The list of those players can be found right here.

The players who aren’t eligible to be traded until February 6 are listed below. Players who have the ability to veto trades in 2020/21 are marked with an asterisk (*).


Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Read more

Hornets Notes: Drummond, Draft, Batum

The Pistons‘ asking price for Andre Drummond would have to be pretty low for the Hornets to trade for the center, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer contends. The scribe believes that Charlotte shouldn’t part with young players or serious draft capital to acquire Drummond in part, because of the risk that he would just leave next summer in free agency.

Here’s more from Charlotte:

  • In the same piece, Bonnell argues that the Hornets shouldn’t worry about tanking or making strategic moves to secure a better chance at a high pick in the lottery. Charlotte has several young pieces and it’s more important to develop them — if the team wins a few more games as a result, so be it.
  • Nicolas Batum has a massive contract ($25.5MM this season) and surely, it’s player-friendly but that doesn’t mean the wing doesn’t have value to the Hornets, Bonnell writes in a separate piece. Teammate Marvin Williams believes Batum is the most versatile player on the roster. “On both ends he has always brought a calm and a steadiness to our team, as long as he has been here,” Williams said. “He is so reliable at making plays other guys just can’t make.”
  • Batum’s deal has two seasons left on it and it’s unlikely that the Hornets trade him before the contract expires, Bonnell adds in that same piece. The wing will make $27.1MM next season, assuming he picks up his player option.

Hornets Decline Qualifying Offer For Dwayne Bacon

The Hornets will not give a qualifying offer to shooting guard Dwayne Bacon ahead of his fourth NBA season, making him an unrestricted free agent, per an official team press release tweet.

In June, Bacon spoke about hoping for an opportunity with another team ahead of the offseason, which appeared to indicate that a separation could be on the horizon.

The 6’6″ 25-year-old out of Florida State remained a bench player during his tenure with the Hornets. During the 2019/20 season, Bacon averaged 5.7 PPG, and 2.6 PG across 39 games, while shooting just 34.8% from the field.

Bacon joins Hornets centers Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez in free agency. Earlier this week, another potential Charlotte free agent, forward Nicolas Batumopted in to his lucrative $27.13MM player option for the season.

Page 1 of 2712345...1020...Last »