Andrew Wiggins

Spurs Shopping Mills, Aldridge, DeRozan?

As we detailed on Wednesday, there has been increasing chatter as of late about the possibility that the Spurs will have an active offseason. Addressing that possibility within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports that San Antonio is shopping point guard Patty Mills and is also “looking to unload” veterans LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.

All three players are entering contract years in 2020/21, with Mills set to earn $13.3MM, Aldridge to make $24MM, and DeRozan on the books for $27.7MM.

According to O’Connor, the Bucks and Sixers are among the teams that have expressed interest in Mills. If the Spurs were to make a deal with Philadelphia, Josh Richardson would likely head to San Antonio in the swap, O’Connor notes.

As for Aldridge and DeRozan, O’Connor confirms that there is buzz – first reported by ESPN’s Zach Lowe – about the possibility of the Warriors pursuing Aldridge in a deal that would involve the No. 2 pick in the draft. It’s not clear exactly what such a trade would look like, but Andrew Wiggins would presumably have to be included for salary-matching purposes.

Meanwhile, O’Connor has also heard that the Lakers have some interest in acquiring DeRozan, suggesting that Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma would be part of a hypothetical deal. In order to match DeRozan’s $27.7MM cap hit, the Lakers would have to add a few million more dollars to that package.

The Spurs typically don’t make major splashes on the trade market unless their hand is forced, as in the case of 2018’s Kawhi Leonard blockbuster. However, with virtually all of their veteran players – including Rudy Gay – expected to be on expiring contracts next season, the team could have some interesting options available as it looks to pivot to building around its younger generation of players.

Warriors Rumors: No. 2 Pick, Wiseman, Tax, Aldridge

The Warriors‘ No. 2 pick is “turning into a circus,” according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who suggests that the team has put out multiple smokescreens while simultaneously engaging in some seemingly genuine internal debate about the choice.

Just days after The San Francisco Chronicle suggested Golden State would likely draft Anthony Edwards if he’s on the board at No. 2 (and if the Dubs keep the pick), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) provides a conflicting perspective. Appearing on The Jump on Monday, Windhorst said he keeps hearing that James Wiseman will be the Warriors’ guy if they keep their pick and he’s still available.

It has been virtually impossible to tell which way the Warriors are leaning, given all the rumors out there, but Hollinger suspects the club will ultimately keep the pick and select Wiseman with it. As the former Grizzlies executive argues, Wiseman helps Golden State most in the short term and would have the most trade value later.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • The Warriors will benefit from the tweak the NBA has made to luxury tax penalties for the 2020/21 season, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. The penalties for taxpaying teams will be reduced by the same percentage as a basketball related income (BRI) decrease, which means that if the league falls 25% short of its BRI projection, Golden State’s tax bill would be trimmed by 25%.
  • Some rival teams are already annoyed by the Warriors benefiting from another luxury tax anomaly, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The club, of course, was able to sign Kevin Durant in 2016 due to an unprecedented cap increase that summer.
  • Now that the Warriors are in position to receive a bit of a break on their 2021 tax bill, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area argues that the team should be more inclined to make use its $17MM trade exception to upgrade its roster around Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
  • On a recent episode of his Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said he heard from someone within the league that there’s been buzz about a potential trade involving the Warriors’ No. 2 pick, LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Spurs‘ No. 11 pick (hat tip to HoopsHype). Lowe sounded skeptical about that possibility, and I share that skepticism. But if there’s anything to it, Andrew Wiggins would presumably have to be involved for salary-matching purposes, since Aldridge’s 2020/21 salary ($24MM) won’t fit in Golden State’s trade exception.

Latest On Jrue Holiday

A Wednesday morning report indicated that the Pelicans are “openly discussing” Jrue Holiday in trade talks, and while it doesn’t appear there’s any momentum toward a deal at this point, a few Holiday-related items have surfaced in the last 24 hours that are worth passing along.

For instance, Mike Singer of The Denver Post and Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter links) have each confirmed that New Orleans is listening to offers for Holiday. However, according to Guillory, the veteran guard hasn’t asked the Pelicans to trade him. Holiday remains optimistic about the Pelicans’ young talent and is open to the idea of making it work in New Orleans, Guillory writes.

Here’s more on the Pelicans’ guard:

  • A previous report indicated that the Nets and Pelicans discussed a possible Holiday deal at last season’s trade deadline. According to Guillory, the Heat and Nuggets also “heavily pursued” the 30-year-old prior to the 2020 deadline. That doesn’t mean that all those teams will once again be suitors this offseason, but it seems safe to assume that Brooklyn and Denver will be in the mix. The Heat’s enthusiasm for a Holiday deal may depend on whether they’d be comfortable with the possibility of him exercising his player option for 2021/22.
  • Zach Lowe of ESPN thinks the Holiday bidding will probably center on the Nuggets, Nets, and Warriors, along with possibly the Heat, Hawks, and Mavericks. Atlanta is interested in moving the No. 6 overall pick for a win-now veteran, but Lowe doesn’t think that pick would be enough to get it done on its own.
  • Lowe is also somewhat skeptical that the Warriors would give up the No. 2 pick for “a 30-year-old who has never made an All-NBA team,” though he acknowledges he might be wrong — especially if New Orleans is willing to send back the No. 13 pick or take on Andrew Wiggins‘ contract.
  • Responding to the Holiday trade rumors on Wednesday, Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin‘s comments were somewhat opaque (link via Oleh Kosel of The Bird Writes). However, Griffin did seem to confirm that the team is listening to inquires on Holiday.

Steve Kerr Offers Insight Into Warriors’ Mini-Camp

The Warriors reunited for their team mini-camp on September 23, and while veterans Stephen Curry and Draymond Green did not join the team for workouts, starters Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins did.

In speaking with media about the team’s progress in practices, head coach Steve Kerr noted that the team will not hold any more formal intra-squad scrimmages during its mini-camp, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports that Wiggins is slated to depart the mini-camp this weekend, ahead of its official end on Tuesday (Twitter link).

Although Thompson, who missed all of the 2019/20 season due to an ACL tear suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, did partake in some elements of the mini-camp, Kerr asserted that the veteran sharpshooter would most likely not participate in 5-on-5 team workouts, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link).

Friedell notes in a separate tweet that center Kevon Looney, who played in just 20 games during the 2019/20 season due to various ailments, has impressed Kerr during the mini-camp. Kerr said that if Looney looks the way he did in the 2018/19 season, he anticipates that the big man will be slotted back into the rotation at a regular 20-25 minutes per game.

This spring, Looney underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury which contributed to some of his absences during 2019/20. Looney will earn $4.8MM in 2020/21, with a $5.1MM player option for the ’21/22 season.

Meanwhile, free agent veteran swingman Jonathon Simmons was among the non-roster players who earned an invitation to the Warriors’ team mini-camp. Slater tweets that Kerr had high praise for Simmons’s performance in the mini-camp thus far, and alluded to the possibility that the free agent may have a future with Golden State.

“Possibly,” Kerr said. “We could use the length on the wing.”

Simmons most recently played for the club’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, in February and March.

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Wiggins, Trade Exception

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr plans to take a relatively relaxed approach to the team’s offseason mini-camp, scheduled to start next Wednesday. Anthony Slater of The Athletic spoke with Kerr about his approach to the workouts, as well as his thoughts on the recent additions of former team guards Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa to the team. Livingston will be joining the team in a front office role, while Barbosa will serve on the coaching staff.

“We need some young legs on our coaching staff and our players need mentors,” Kerr told Slater. “That’s one of the things I’m so excited about for both Leandro and Shaun joining us. The players need someone they can talk to, go to and ask what it’s like and get an answer from someone who has been in their shoes, literally, in the last couple years.

Here are more Warriors notes:

  • Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area makes the case for why the Warriors should retain, not trade, wing Andrew Wiggins during the 2020 offseason. Wiggins has three years left on the five-year, $148MM contract extension he signed in Minnesota circa 2017.
  • Assuming that the capped-out Rockets will look to make the bulk of their roster transformations through trades that could help the team and save money, Grant Lill of NBC Sports Bay Area thinks that the Warriors could use their $17MM trade exception on either Houston forward Robert Covington and guard Eric Gordon. Covington will collect $25MM over the next two years. Gordon inked a four-year, $75MM extension that will compensate him through the 2023/24 season.
  • In case you missed it, several front offices believe the Warriors would prefer to use their pick in the 2020 draft on a wing. Should Georgia swingman Anthony Edwards be selected with the top pick by the Timberwolves, the team may trade down rather than select point guard LaMelo Ball or center James Wiseman.

Western Notes: Wiggins, Nurkic, Daniels, Davis

Warriors coach Steve Kerr sought input from Tom Thibodeau after the team acquired Andrew Wiggins back in February, Marc Berman details in a story for the New York Post.

Thibodeau, who coached Wiggins in Minnesota from 2016-19, gave Kerr advice on how to maximize Wiggins’ game and playstyle. Golden State traded for Wiggins in a deal that shipped away D’Angelo Russell, acquiring a wing they hope can succeed alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“We had just traded for Andrew Wiggins and he was really helpful,’’ Kerr said. “I had a long conversation with [Thibodeau] about Andrew. He gave me some good advice on ways to connect with Andrew, how much he enjoyed coaching him and why. We’ve gotten to know each other over the years. [Thibodeau has] been very helpful to us.”

The Timberwolves fired Thibodeau in January of 2019 after he reportedly failed to connect with a number of his players. Wiggins didn’t appear to be one of these players, however, as Kerr explained. It’s a vital reason why Kerr was elated to hear Thibodeau’s advice, along with how he’s a proven, veteran NBA coach.

“He showed some X’s and O’s and went over some actions they ran for [Wiggins],” Kerr said. “Some of the things they were trying to do. The thing with Tom is he’s a workaholic, loves the X’s and O’s, loves breaking down film and takes great joy in it. Our staff values his opinion.’’

“What is apparent is he and Andrew had a great relationship and Andrew said that as well. I know Andrew told me he really enjoyed playing for him and appreciated his commitment. When a coach knows his stuff and gets along with his players, he’s got a great chance to succeed. I think Tom’s got a great shot.’

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • The Blazers are rallying around Jusuf Nurkic as his grandmother battles COVID-19, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Nurkic learned the news last week and immediately urged his grandmother to visit a hospital. “I think people don’t realize that s— is real out there, man,” Nurkic said. “We’ve been fortunate to be here and in a safe environment, being tested every day, but please … take care of yourself. Wear your damn mask … if you are outside, by yourself, do what you got to do. But if you are inside … protect people.”
  • Nuggets guard Troy Daniels discussed his time with the Lakers, his path to Denver and more in an interview with Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Daniels was waived by the Lakers on March 1 and signed with the Nuggets four days later. “Early in my years, my agent used to tell me, he said it’s always good to be wanted,” Daniels said. “It’s good to feel wanted, and I want to be where I’m wanted.”
  • The Lakers could benefit from keeping Anthony Davis active by ensuring that he gets plenty of shots, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Davis scored just 14 points in the team’s loss against Toronto on Saturday, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field. However, he believes he made the right decisions based on how the Raptors were guarding him. “We didn’t shoot the ball extremely well tonight at all from the field or from 3, which kind of let them continue with their game plan of doubling me,” Davis said. “I think if we had made a couple of shots, then they would’ve definitely changed a little bit.” 

Warriors Notes: Adams, Wiggins, Haliburton, More

Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams transitioned into a new role this year, traveling with the team less and stepping away from coaching on the bench as he assumed more player development responsibilities. As he tells Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Adams found that transition challenging at times.

“I think when you’re used to being in the fight and you’re not in the fight, that adjustment is a hard one,” Adams said. “But having said that, I enjoyed the year. … Change is difficult, especially when you’ve done the same thing for a number of years, as I have. But it was probably necessary. We have a lot of good young coaches; they need to develop. And hopefully, I can be a part of that process. But yes, not being in the fight was difficult.”

Adams, who signed a one-year contract with the Warriors last summer, expressed interest in returning to the team for the 2020/21 season, despite the fact that he’ll turn 73 years old later this year.

“I would like to come back, yeah,” he told Kawakami. “I have no reason not to. I want to be involved.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • During his conversation with Kawakami, Adams offered some interesting insights on a number of Warriors players, including newly-acquired forward Andrew Wiggins, whom Adams referred to as “a really, really outstanding all-around player,” specifically praising his defense. “I was elated to get him into our program,” Adams said of Wiggins. “I think he’s a star player. I think he’s gonna flourish with more shooting on the floor. But I was personally really happy with the all-around nature of his game and what he showed in that regard more so that his scoring, even.”
  • Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle has heard that the Warriors have Tyrese Haliburton ranked as the top point guard on their 2020 draft board, ahead of LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes, Cole Anthony, and others. Letourneau says he expects Golden State to “seriously consider” Haliburton if the team is drafting between No. 2 and 5.
  • Elsewhere in his mailbag, Letourneau discusses whether the Warriors would consider trading Draymond Green, why the team reopened its practice facility even though its season likely over, and whether Marc Gasol is a realistic target in free agency.

Pacific Notes: Hield, Wiggins, Harrell, Vassell

The Kings will likely give Buddy Hield the opportunity to bounce back next season rather than explore trades, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Hield’s four-year, $106MM extension kicks in next season and even though he lost his starting job this season, his shooting ability is not easily replaced. Sacramento has invested heavily in Hield’s development, though economic issues created by the pandemic could change the team’s approach.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors didn’t acquire Andrew Wiggins from the Timberwolves with the intention of flipping him for another star player, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. While they will aggressively pursue trades for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal and other All-Stars, they anticipate Wiggins being their starting small forward next season, Slater adds.
  • The Clippers would be better off trying to re-sign Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson rather than giving big money to unrestricted free agent Montrezl Harrell, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. Harrell’s role won’t expand in the future the way the current roster is constructed. The lack of other two-way wings in the 2020 free agent class makes Morris more valuable, while Jackson could get more playing time in Los Angeles going forward after an impressive stretch before the stoppage of play.
  • Wing Devin Vassell of Florida State would be an ideal building block for the Kings as a late lottery selection, Richard Ivanowski of the Sacramento Bee argues. Vassell is the best team defender in the draft class, an above-average perimeter shooter and has a high motor, Ivanowski adds. Vassell is currently ranked No. 16 overall by ESPN.

Joe Lacob Unsure How Hiatus Will Impact Warriors’ Future Spending

The Warriors, who wouldn’t have hosted any playoff games this spring if the NBA season had played out as scheduled, may not be the team hit hardest by the league’s indefinite suspension. However, owner Joe Lacob admitted that the lost revenue as a result of the hiatus and its potential impact on the salary cap going forward have created uncertainty about Golden State’s future spending ability.

Appearing on The TK Show with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Lacob was asked whether the Warriors still plan to go full-steam ahead next season, using their $17MM trade exception and full taxpayer mid-level exception to bolster their roster. As Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area relays, Lacob has adjusted his stance a little since declaring last February that the franchise can “do whatever we want” financially.

“We’re looking obviously at all of those questions and the possible answers,” Lacob said. “But I don’t really have a good sense yet because I really have no idea how this is gonna shake out. We don’t know what the salary cap is going to be, we don’t know what the luxury tax is going to be, so we don’t really know what we can plan on at this point. We just have to look at a lot of different scenarios, and that’s what we’re doing right now. (The NBA’s stoppage) could make a huge difference and it might make no difference.”

When Kawakami pointed out that the Warriors may have a limited window of opportunity to continue competing for championships, given that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are all now in their 30s, Lacob acknowledged that the team still wants to take advantage of that window as best it can.

“That was our plan and still – until further notice – is our plan for next year and the next few years,” he said. “However, a lot of things could change. And we’re going to have to adjust, just like every other team’s going to have to adjust, to whatever the new world order is, to whatever the new situation is in the NBA.”

During his half-hour conversation with Kawakami, Lacob addressed a few other topics of interest. Here are a few of the highlights from the discussion, which is worth checking out in full for Warriors fans:

On the Warriors’ draft plans:

“We’ve never spent more time as a group on the draft as we have this year. Obviously we have a lot more time to do it, we all do. I have watched videos of probably all the top players at this point. I’ve watched interviews, I’ve watched high school highlights, AAU highlights, like everybody else. … I think there’s enough information out there and enough work that’s being put in our side that we’ll be able to make a good decision and try to help our team.

“We’re going to look at all scenarios. … We’re going to look at drafting someone at our position, we’re going to look at maybe we trade down. I’m not saying that’s preferred or not preferred, I’m just saying it’s something we have to look at. We’re going to look at all options and we’re going to figure out a way to have our team be the best possible team that it could be for this year, but still with an eye toward building for the future.”

On signing D’Angelo Russell to a four-year contract and trading him seven months later:

“We thought (acquiring Russell in a sign-and-trade) was a great opportunity to be able to get a player in the wake of losing a Kevin Durant. To get anything of that quality was just an advantage, whether it worked out or not. We did not do it just for that reason, but we did it because we thought he could potentially be a part of what we were building for the future.

“That wasn’t without risk. We all understood that he was another guard, so we had to wait and see how it all worked out. I think as time went on we obviously began to take a little bit different look at the whole thing in terms of the fit, and even though he’s a good guy and really performed quite well for us, I think we all made the decision that perhaps there was a better fit out there than that. … Maybe it could have worked out, but we made the decision – right or wrong, we’ll find out – that (Andrew) Wiggins would be the better fit for us. And we think it’s a great fit, actually.”

On finding the silver lining in Durant’s decision to leave Golden State:

“He wouldn’t have played this last year, he was injured. We would have had a huge payroll as a team. So I think maybe this is the best thing. We’re able to start a rebuild a little bit earlier than we otherwise might have, and maybe it’ll prove to be the right thing in the long run that that occurred. I’m an optimist, I always look at things for what’s the positive in the situation. Yes, he left, that’s negative, but the positive is we got a chance to move forward quicker and to move into the next phase of what we’re doing.”

On NBA teams reducing certain employees’ salaries and/or furloughing staffers:

“There are no plans like that with us. … I think at this point in time, knowing what we know… our view is that we need and value all of our employees. We spent a lot of time hiring these people and training them and building up this organization to be a really good one, and I don’t want to tear it down unless for some reason we really had to, if there was economic calamity.”

Warriors Notes: Curry, Wiggins, Green, Looney

Stephen Curry returned to the Warriors‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing more than four months due to a broken left hand. And while they couldn’t pick up a home win vs. the Raptors, the Dubs gave the defending champions all they could handle and looked like they were having more fun with their superstar back on the court.

Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired by Golden State a month ago in a deadline trade with Minnesota, was on the court whenever Curry was on Thursday, with head coach Steve Kerr aiming to establish some chemistry between the new teammates. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays, Wiggins expressed enthusiasm after the game about playing alongside Curry for the first time.

“He makes everyone great,” Wiggins said of the two-time MVP. “He makes everyone play better. He finds open men. He’s like the most unselfish superstar. That’s a good way to put it. He attracts so much attention that he’s going to find the open man, and he makes the right play, so it was fun.”

The Warriors are still an NBA-worst 14-49, but Kerr believes Curry’s return represents a turning point for the team. The veteran head coach, who said that Curry felt good after playing 27 minutes and will get his minutes ramped up going forward (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic), added that he expects to feel a “sense of energy and enthusiasm” in Golden State for the rest of the season.

“To me, this is sort of the beginning of next season in a lot of ways; and I think we’re all starting to get some clarity as far as what our team’s gonna look like,” Kerr said, per Friedell. “And having Steph back is, obviously, a huge, huge part of that now. The next step will be getting Klay (Thompson) back, but that won’t be till next season. But I think these last 20 games are really going to be a springboard into next year, so I think that energy will be high and remain high.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green missed his fourth consecutive game with knee soreness on Thursday, but an MRI showed no structural damage, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I know he would’ve loved to have played tonight, but the training staff just doesn’t feel comfortable putting him out there yet,” Kerr said. “We’re hoping that in the next couple of days it’s something that clears up.”
  • While it sounds like Green should be back soon, that may not be the case for another injured big man, Kevon Looney. He has missed three straight games with hip soreness, an injury Kerr referred to as “a concern,” per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The Warriors expect to have a more concrete update on Looney later today.
  • After a month with the Warriors, Wiggins said on Thursday that he feels “right at home” with his new team, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “It’s all been positive here. Just learning how they do things and what it’s like to be a part of a winning culture,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it was time for a change and this is the best fit that could have happened for me, so I’m happy.”
  • Wiggins hasn’t confirmed one way or the other whether he intends to suit up for Team Canada during the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament this June. However, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse – who is coaching Canada’s national team – is optimistic that the Warriors forward will participate, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca relays (via Twitter).