Adreian Payne

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Adams, Payne

Jusuf Nurkics presence on the court has opened up the Blazers‘ offense and his energy has helped the team on the defensive end, Mike Richman of the Oregonian writes. Coach Terry Stotts praised the big man after Tuesday’s win over the Thunder.

“There’s no question he’s had an impact,” Stotts said of Nurkic. “I don’t want to undersell that. But I do think everybody is playing well off of him. But I think he has infused some energy and a different look. His style of play is obviously different than [Mason Plumlee]. The way he’s been able to integrate with our team on both ends of the court has made a huge difference.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The addition of Nurkic has helped the Blazers get back into the playoff picture and Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (podcast link)  wonders if the big man can be the team’s center long-term. Nurkic is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 54.9% from the field since coming to Portland.
  • Steven Adams, who signed a $100MM extension during the offseason, admits that he’s struggled on the defensive end lately, but added that the Thunder‘s issues go beyond his poor play, as Erik Horne of the Oklahoman relays. “Even though your defensive coverages aren’t perfect or everything, the backside’s still got to be there. It’s literally a five-man thing. It ain’t really on one guy on the team. It ain’t so much scouting. It ain’t scouting at all. It’s our discipline to the defensive system we have going on.” Oklahoma City has lost four straight games.
  • Adreian Payne, who missed the last 13 games for the Wolves while being treated for thrombocytopenia, has been cleared to practice and the big man is thrilled to be back on the court, as Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press passes along. “I’m feeling good,” Payne said. “Healthy. I’m just trying to get back in shape. I’m happy to be with the team.”

Adreian Payne Out Indefinitely

The Wolves announced that Adreian Payne will be out indefinitely with a blood disorder, as USA Today passes along. The team said that Payne has thrombocytopenia, a condition that results in a low platelet count. It can cause bleeding, bruising and slow blood clotting after an injury, according to the publication.

Minnesota said that Payne has a good prognosis for recovery and he should be able to play basketball again once that happens. He’s currently receiving care from team doctors.

Payne hasn’t played much this season, seeing action in just 12 games. He was drafted by the Hawks with the 15th pick in the 2014 draft and Atlanta traded him to the Wolves during the 2014/15 season.

Northwest Notes: Turner, Blazers, Lauvergne, Payne

Evan Turner says it’s nice to know he’s missed in Boston, even as he struggles to find a role in Portland, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Turner accepted a four-year, $70MM deal this summer to head to the Pacific Northwest. However, the Trail Blazers haven’t used him as a primary ballhandler the way the Celtics did, and he has found it hard to adjust to a backcourt rotation with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum“I was most definitely comfortable there [in Boston],” Turner said. “There were certain situations where there were coaches that didn’t really sort of comprehend my game, and sometimes I wasn’t always in position to be comfortable or successful. So when you finally find that mixture of great basketball and off the court and things like that, you definitely don’t take it for granted.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Blazers haven’t shown significant improvement so far despite raising their payroll from $62MM to $112MM, contends Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Portland will have a hard time shaking things up until at least December 15th when the trade restrictions expire for Turner and Festus Ezeli. Restrictions for Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless will remain in effect until January 15th. Crabbe cannot be traded without his approval for a year because the Blazers matched an offer sheet from Brooklyn.
  • Offseason addition Joffrey Lauvergne is taking away minutes from Enes Kanter in Oklahoma City, notes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Lauvergne, acquired in an August trade with the Nuggets, has impressed the Thunder with a combination of defense and long-range shooting. “A lot of it’s going to be based on matchups, how the game’s going, who’s alongside of him, do we have the speed and quickness in the frontcourt,” OKC coach Billy Donovan said when asked about Kanter’s playing time. “That’s not to say the last couple of games with Enes, with his minutes, he’s not going to play more because I do think he and Steven [Adams] together is a good combination for us.”
  • Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne‘s option wasn’t picked up last month, but his role with the team is growing, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Payne got a chance to show what he could do after Shabazz Muhammad was sidelined with a sore knee. “Being patient is part of the NBA, being ready,” Payne said. “You just have to continue to work. Just going through this has been tough. It can break a lot of people. You just have to stay positive and continue to work.”

Timberwolves Exercise Options On Four Players

The Timberwolves have exercised third-year options on Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyus Jones and fourth-year options on Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, the team announced today.

Adreian Payne has been told his fourth-year option will not be picked up, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis (Twitter link).

Towns and Wiggins are the last two Rookies of the Year and Levine is part of the rotation, so all of those moves were expected. Minnesota has reportedly been in ongoing trade talks involving Jones, with the Sixers as the current front-runner.

Payne, a 6’10” power forward, appeared in 52 games for the Wolves last season, averaging 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per night. He was acquired from the Hawks in a 2015 trade.

Timberwolves Interested In Miles Plumlee

The Timberwolves are interested in acquiring center Miles Plumlee from the Bucks, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The club is trying to move shooting guard Kevin Martin and power forward Adreian Payne and is also willing to deal point guard Ricky Rubio, the source also told Broussard.

Plumlee was moved into Milwaukee’s starting lineup just before the All-Star break in an effort by coach Jason Kidd to shake things up on his disappointing club. Otherwise, Plumlee’s role has been limited most of the season. He’s averaging 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.5 minutes over 33 games. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported in December that the Bucks were shopping Plumlee.

It would be the second time in as many seasons Plumlee would be moved just before the trade deadline if the Timberwolves acquire him. Plumlee was part of a three-way deal involving the Bucks, Suns and Sixers last season that included Brandon Knight and Michael Carter-Williams. He made 107 starts in 134 games with Phoenix after playing 14 games during his rookie campaign in 2012/13 with the Pacers.

The Timberwolves have paired up Gorgui Dieng and rookie sensation Karl-Anthony Towns in their lineup but have lacked depth up front because of nagging foot issues plaguing former starting center Nikola Pekovic.

Previous reports have indicated that Martin, Payne and Rubio were available, with Martin also drawing buyout interest if he’s not dealt. The Bucks appeared to have at least passing interest in Martin as of about a month ago.

Spurs, Clippers, Thunder Eye Adreian Payne

The Spurs, Clippers and Thunder have “fringe” trade interest in Adreian Payne, as Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities says in his latest edition of “The Scoop” podcast. The No. 15 pick from the 2014 draft has seen spotty playing time this season but this week returned earlier than planned from a D-League assignment because of injuries to other Minnesota frontcourt players, Wolfson adds. Wolfson casts doubt on the notion of a trade involving Payne before the February 18th deadline, suggesting instead that the idea might resurface in the summer.

Payne, who turns 25 the day after the trade deadline, is making close to $1.939MM this year in the second season of his rookie scale contract. Minnesota picked up its team option of more than $2.022MM for next season. The former Michigan State stalwart enjoyed significant playing time down the stretch last season on a banged-up Timberwolves team, making 22 starts in 29 games and averaging 7.2 points and 5.4 boards in 24.8 minutes per contest. That came after a February 2015 trade in which Minnesota sent a conditional future first-round pick to Atlanta to free Payne from the Hawks, for whom he saw action in only three games.

The Clippers have a hole at power forward with Blake Griffin out, but they reportedly want a small forward, with Rudy Gay among their targets. The Thunder are also apparently focusing on the wing, lending credence to the notion that the interest in Payne is muted. It’s unclear what the Spurs are looking for, though losses to the Warriors and Cavaliers last week exposed San Antonio’s flaws after a sterling 38-6 beginning to the season.

D-League Notes: Dunleavy, Dinwiddie, Harrison

The Bulls have assigned veteran small forward Mike Dunleavy to the D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors as he continues to rehab from a back injury that has kept him out all season, the club announced on Monday. Dunleavy will practice there during the Bulls’ West Coast swing but will not appear in a game, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets. The most prominent player to appear in a D-League game this season was Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings, who played one game with the team’s affiliate in Grand Rapids in December while rehabbing from an Achilles tendon injury.

In more news involving the D-League:

  • Pistons point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has averaged 16.7 points and 6.1 assists in 10 games since he was assigned to Grand Rapids on January 7th. But coach Stan Van Gundy has no plans to bring him back to Detroit in the near future. “Right now, with three healthy point guards, there’s not much reason to bring him back here and sit in street clothes out there,” Van Gundy told the assembled media over the weekend, including Hoops Rumors. “I think it’s better for his development that he gets a chance to play and practice every day.”
  • The Hornets reassigned rookie point guard Aaron Harrison to the D-League’s Oklahoma City Blue on Monday, the NBA club announced on its website. Harrison, who played one game with the Blue in January, has appeared in 13 games for Charlotte. The Hornets do not have their own D-League affiliate.
  • Hawks center Edy Tavares has returned from his D-League stint with the Austin Spurs, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Tavares was assigned to Austin on January 27th.
  • The Spurs recalled point guard Ray McCallum from Austin, the team tweets. McCallum has appeared in 20 games with San Antonio this season and seven with its D-League affiliate.
  • The Timberwolves recalled power forward Adreian Payne from the D-League’s Erie BayHawks, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link).  The team’s PR department later confirmed the move. Payne has appeared in 30 games with the Timberwolves and three with the BayHawks this season.

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Gallinari, Onuaku

Andre Roberson will miss at least three weeks with a right knee sprain, The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater reports, and because of the timing of the All-Star break, it means he’s not expected to play again until February 19th at the earliest. The Thunder will seek to find ways to mitigate the loss of Roberson’s defensive prowess in the meantime, with Kyle Singler seemingly his most likely replacement in the starting lineup, Slater writes. The trade deadline is February 18th, one day before Roberson would return. See more from the Northwest Division:

Western Notes: Howard, Rondo, Kaman, Payne

Dwight Howard is “extremely unhappy” as a secondary option to James Harden on the Rockets, league sources tell Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops, but a source tells Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com that “everybody is unhappy” (Twitter link), with everybody presumably a reference to all of the Rockets. Houston has played better since last month’s coaching change, but the team is still just 12-13. Howard and Harden have never truly meshed, as Fran Blinebury of NBA.com wrote last month, adding that members of each other’s camp went into the 2014 offseason “whispering” about their desire to get rid of the other. Sheridan speculates about trade scenarios involving Howard, but no indication exists that the Rockets would indeed entertain any deals for the 30-year-old who has a player option worth more than $23.282MM for next season. Howard is No. 6 in our latest 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings. See more from the Western Conference:

  • Rajon Rondo apologized to referee Bill Kennedy today in the point guard’s second statement in response to the controversy surrounding the homophobic slur he used during a game earlier this month as an insult to Kennedy, who is gay. Some took issue with his first statement, which he issued Monday via two tweets, for its lack of a direct apology, and executives who spoke with Ken Berger of CBSSports.com offered split opinions on whether the matter would affect Rondo’s free agency this summer.
  • The Trail Blazers are making Chris Kaman available for trades, league sources told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. Kaman is pulling down $5.016MM this season, the last one on his contract. A sprained right ankle has helped limit him to just three appearances so far in 2015/16.
  • Timberwolves power forward Adreian Payne is also available, league sources said to Scotto for the same report. Payne, who’s earning almost $1.939MM in the second season of his rookie scale contract, was the 15th overall pick of the 2014 draft, but he’s played sparingly since. He’s averaging 3.5 points in 10.3 minutes per game across 15 appearances for Minnesota so far this season, though the team committed to him financially less than two months ago when it picked up his 2016/17 team option.

Wolves Exercise Options On Five Players

4:00pm: The Wolves have officially announced that they have picked up the options on the five players (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 3:20pm: The Wolves have indeed picked up the options, as Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports hears (Twitter link), though the team has yet to make an official announcement.

SUNDAY, 1:26pm: The Wolves plan to exercise options on Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Adreian Payne early this week, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reports (on Twitter).

The moves are largely expected and do not come as a surprise, as Krawczynski tweets. All the options are for the 2016/17 season and the deadline is November 2nd.

All five players are young and each have high ceilings. They each are also affordable. Wiggins’ option is for $6,006,600, LaVine’s is $$2,240,880, Muhammad’s is $3,046,299, Dieng’s is $2,348,783  and Payne’s is $2,022,240.

The options for Wiggins, LaVine and Payne are for the third years of their respective rookie scale contracts and the options for Muhammad and Dieng are for the fourth. We regarded Wiggins’ option as a slam dunk, Dieng’s option as highly likely and the other three as generally expected.

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