Andrew Wiggins

Warriors Notes: Collison, Roster Spots, Wiggins, Offseason Moves

Darren Collison is scrimmaging with some Warriors players as he auditions for a spot on the team, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The free agent guard visited the team facility Wednesday and today for workouts, which have included Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole.

If Golden State does give the 34-year-old guard an opportunity, it will likely come as a non-guaranteed training camp deal, Slater adds. Collison retired after averaging 11.2 points and 6.0 assists for the Pacers in 2018/19, and he’s been an effective three-point shooter and a reliable ballhandler throughout his career.

The Warriors are planning to head into camp with their 15th roster spot and second two-way slot both up for grabs, according to Slater. Gary Payton II and Mychal Mulder will also be trying to make the team on non-guaranteed deals. Mulder is still eligible for a two-way contract, but Payton isn’t. The team could decide to start the season with just 14 players to reduce its luxury tax bill.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • In the wake of a report that players in San Francisco won’t be allowed to attend home practices or games unless they’re vaccinated, Golden State’s main concern is Andrew Wiggins, Slater adds. Wiggins told reporters last season that he hadn’t received the vaccine and didn’t plan to unless he was forced.
  • The Warriors received an A-minus from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton for their offseason moves. Golden State was able to upgrade its bench without using its mid-level exception, adding Nemanja Bjelica, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. on veteran’s minimum deals. Pelton also likes the addition of draft picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, saying both should provide good value for where they were selected.
  • Golden State needs more scoring from Draymond Green and a stronger commitment to team defense from Wiggins, per Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. She identifies Poole and James Wiseman as two other players who need to improve to help the Warriors become a title contender again.

Warriors Reject Sixers’ Offer Of Simmons For Wiseman, Wiggins, Picks

The Warriors rejected a trade proposal from the Sixers that would’ve sent Ben Simmons to Golden State for Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the draft, plus two future first-round picks, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Golden State, who Pompey notes “basically assumed the Sixers’ offer as a joke,” is known to be open to discussing trades ahead of Thursday’s draft, but likely not for the price detailed above.

Pompey also confirmed a report from The Ringer that mentioned Philadelphia asked for four first-round picks, three first-round pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs in exchange for Simmons. A league executive was cited in Pompey’s report calling the Sixers’ offers “totally outlandish” to this point.

Simmons, 25, is known for being one of the league’s top defenders and passers, but his shooting and half-court creation inconsistencies are well-documented. As of now, he and his camp remain “in step” with a potential trade during the offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Latest On Bradley Beal

Despite a pair of weekend reports suggesting that Wizards guard Bradley Beal is contemplating his future with the franchise, he has not yet requested a trade, according to multiple reports.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (video link) said on the Woj & Lowe special on ESPN on Sunday that Beal hasn’t asked the Wizards to be dealt; Fred Katz of The Athletic says there hasn’t been a demand, a request, or even a “timid suggestion” for a trade; and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes that the All-NBA guard has remained in contact with the Wizards’ front office and has given the team no signs that he’s unhappy.

Previous reports from Bleacher Report and The Athletic suggested that Beal might make a decision on whether he wants to remain in D.C. before Thursday’s draft. A trade would be easier to put together before that draft, since it would allow potential suitors to offer 2021 picks and give the Wizards the opportunity to select the players they want with those picks.

However, Hughes cites one source who pushed back on the idea that Washington needs to decide its course within the next four days, pointing out that Beal is under contract next season and not every trade offer would center around 2021 draft picks.

One team whose offer would be heavy on 2021 picks is Golden State, and Wojnarowski (video link) views Beal as the primary target for the Warriors, who don’t seem inclined to get too involved in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes. If Beal isn’t made available via trade, Wojnarowski expects the Warriors to use their picks at No. 7 and No. 14 this Thursday.

Of course, even if Beal is available, there will be other teams in the mix besides Golden State, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe observes (video link). Lowe believes the Wizards would seek more than Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, and the Nos. 7 and 14 picks from Golden State in any Beal deal, suggesting that Washington would likely also ask for the Warriors’ 2026 first-rounder and a pick swap or two.

Here’s more on Beal:

  • Beal has always looked for reasons to stay in D.C. rather than to leave, according to Wojnarowski. “He loves that organization,” Woj said. “He loves that city.”
  • While the Wizards said Beal would have a say in the team’s head coaching search this offseason, the star guard was a little frustrated that his top pick for the job – Sixers assistant Sam Cassell – didn’t get a second interview, sources tell Katz. It’s unclear, however, if that will be a major factor in Beal’s decision on his future.
  • If Beal does request a trade, the Sixers, Heat, and Hawks are among the teams that could join the Warriors in the bidding, sources tell Katz. Hughes, meanwhile, suggests that the Warriors, Heat, Celtics, Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Mavericks are some of the clubs that would likely intrigue Beal.
  • The Thunder have made it known around the NBA that they’d be interested in participating in a Beal trade as a third team, according to Hughes.
  • The Wizards haven’t received any indication that their other star guard – Russell Westbrook – wants out of Washington, a team source tells Hughes.

Warriors’ Stars Pushing For Beal Trade

The Warriors’ star players are pushing management to acquire a top-level talent in pursuit of another championship, with Bradley Beal as the top target, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reports.

The Warriors have the No. 7 and 14 picks in next week’s draft to dangle and would likely have to add more picks along with Andrew Wiggins‘ salary to make the salaries match. Golden State would prefer to keep last year’s No. 2 overall pick, James Wiseman, but it’s speculated that Washington would also want the young center as part of any package.

Of course, Beal has never indicated he wants to be traded and the Wizards have repeatedly said they’re not interested in dealing their high-scoring All-Star. In fact, Washington is hoping to sign Beal to another extension. His current one begins in 2021/22 — it’s a two-year deal worth $71.8MM with a player option in the second year.

Beal and the Wizards would need to have a change of heart quickly with the draft just a week away.

Golden State’s trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green has made it clear to the team’s front office it wants a player who can help the franchise make another serious run at a title.

Beal, who was chosen for Team USA but didn’t travel to Tokyo after entering health and safety protocols, is viewed as the ideal player for Golden State’s offense due to his scoring and play-making ability. That would ease the load on Curry, who edged Beal for the league scoring title this season.

Damian Lillard could also fit that mold, but multiple sources told Thompson it’s unlikely the Trail Blazers’ perennial All-Star would want to join the Warriors. Beal is preferred over Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam, another player rumored to be a potential trade target for the Warriors.

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Kings, Lakers, Wiggins

During an episode of the Halfway Decent Pod, Kings forward/center Marvin Bagley III expressed no regrets about causing a stir on Twitter by liking a tweet that read “we gotta get @MB3FIVE outta Sac” and removing mentions of the Kings from his social media profiles, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

“First of all, it’s my Twitter, bro,” Bagley said. “It’s my Twitter. It has my name on it. I can like whatever I choose and please, and whatever I feel like liking.”

According to Anderson, Bagley explained that he liked the aforementioned tweet out of frustration after watching Trae Young – who was selected three spots after Bagley in the 2018 draft – score 48 points against Milwaukee in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

“As a competitor, that just makes me want to get to that and I need to be there. I want to be there bad,” Bagley said. “… For me, my personal goals and where I’m trying to get to in my career, I’ve got to make it happen. I’ve got to do everything I’ve got to do to make it happen.

“I think liking that tweet, that’s where that came from and it is what it is. People (are) going to take it and run with it. It is what it is. I did it. It’s my Twitter. I can like and do whatever I want on my account. I’m not hurting nobody. I’m not harming nobody, but you already know how the fans take stuff and want to run with something.”

Bagley, who is extension-eligible this offseason, has one year left on his rookie contract with Sacramento.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

14 NBA Players On Canada’s Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Roster

Team Canada has yet to secure a place in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, but the club should have a loaded roster as it looks to lock up a spot in a qualifying tournament next month.

Canada Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 21-player preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifier, and the group includes 14 players who finished the season on NBA contracts. Here’s the full list:

Of the seven players who didn’t play in the NBA this season, one (Bennett) is a former first overall pick, another (Nicholson) was also a first-round selection, and a third (Alexander) has NBA experience. Bell-Haynes has played in the G League, while Doornekamp, Ejim, and Nembhard all have extensive experience representing Canada in past international competitions.

Still, a few noteworthy names are missing from the list. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is recovering from a torn ACL and won’t be able to participate. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also dealing with an injury, announcing on Instagram that rehabbing the plantar fasciitis in his right foot will prevent him from representing Team Canada.

Raptors big man Chris Boucher is a third notable omission. According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), Boucher is focused on rehabbing a knee sprain and wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy heading into 2021/22. He also has a somewhat uncertain contract situation — his $7MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed, though I’d be shocked if he’s not retained.

Even without Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Boucher, Canada Basketball is in position to run out a roster stacked with NBA talent and led by former NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse.

While the final roster will depend in part on which players are available, none of the 21 players on the preliminary are on teams expected to still be alive for the conference finals. However, a club like Powell’s Mavericks or Barrett’s Knicks could surprise.

Team Canada will compete against Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic in a qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia between June 29 and July 4. If the club wins that six-team qualifier, it will be part of the 12-team field in Tokyo and would be a legit contender for a medal.

And-Ones: Wiggins, Canada, Overtime Elite, Yabusele, More

It has been several years since Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins represented Team Canada in an international competition, but it appears that’s about to change. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets, Wiggins posted a message on Instagram strongly suggesting that he’ll suit up for Canada when the team competes in the Olympic qualifiers this summer.

Eight of the 12 teams that will compete in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics have clinched their spots, including Team USA. Twenty-four countries will compete in four separate tournaments from June 29 to July 4 for the final four Olympic berths. In order to qualify for the Tokyo games, Canada will have to top Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic.

While it certainly won’t be a cakewalk, Canada will benefit from home-court advantage – the tournament will take place in Victoria, British Columbia – and could deploy a roster featuring far more NBA players than their opponents. Wiggins, who averaged 18.6 points per game in 71 contests for Golden State this season, would be a key addition.

“I don’t think there’s any question about what he can bring,” Canada Basketball general manager Rowan Barrett said, per Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. “The versatility he has at 6’8″ with a tremendous wingspan and with the focus he has on defense now will help us. And as an offensive player, it’s clear. He’s got a career average of 20 points a game in the NBA. Clearly he can score the ball.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Overtime Elite league has secured two more commitments from top high school prospects, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Florida twins Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson are signing two-year contracts with OTE. The Thompson twins rank 22nd and 23rd in ESPN’s list of top class-of-2022 recruits. Overtime’s first two commits were twin brothers Matt Bewley and Ryan Bewley.
  • Speaking of high school basketball, Jeff Borzello and Paul Biancardi of ESPN report that several of the nation’s biggest high school powerhouses are forming an elite national league called the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference in advance of the 2021/22 season. Six programs – including Oak Hill, Montverde, and IMG Academy – have committed so far to the eight-team league that will feature a 10-game regular season and a postseason tournament, per ESPN’s duo.
  • Former Celtics first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele is in advanced talks with Real Madrid, reports Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas (via Twitter). If Yabusele doesn’t feel he has an NBA opportunity lined up, he’ll likely sign with Real Madrid, Urbonas adds.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Wiggins, Thunder, Nuggets

Damian Lillard has long been commended for his loyalty to the Trail Blazers, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports questions where that loyalty has gotten Lillard during what has been his most frustrating season. The veteran guard, who has repeatedly stated his desire to win a title in Portland, hasn’t played with an All-Star since 2015 and the team doesn’t appear to be moving any closer to contention — the Blazers’ recent 4-9 slide has them in play-in territory at No. 7 in the Western Conference.

Acquisitions like Robert Covington and Norman Powell looked like steps in the right direction, but Haynes advocates for the Trail Blazers’ front office to take a more aggressive, riskier approach, seeking a deal that would pair Lillard with a legitimate second star.

While Haynes’ piece for Yahoo Sports is an opinion column, it’s worth noting that the veteran reporter is on good terms with Lillard, having frequently interviewed him and reported on him. That doesn’t necessarily mean Lillard shares the views Haynes puts forth in the piece, but the Trail Blazers star will turn 31 this summer and will want to make the most of his remaining prime years.

Whether or not they’re getting a push from Lillard, it’s fair to say the pressure is increasing on the Blazers’ front office. That pressure applies to the coaching staff too. Echoing another recent report, Haynes suggests within his column that head coach Terry Stotts is very much on the hot seat.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Former Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who played in Minnesota on Thursday as a Warrior, said he has “nothing but love” for his old team and for his time in the city, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “Living here was great,” Wiggins said. “I got to meet a lot of people in the community. I made a lot of friends and people that I’ll talk to and be cool with the rest of my life. Just playing here with the organization it was cool. Helped me grow into the man I am today.”
  • Charlie Brown Jr. is looking to make the most of his 10-day audition with the Thunder, a team he worked out for prior to the 2019 draft, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. Meanwhile, in a separate story, Mussatto writes about Gabriel Deck‘s “welcome to the NBA” moment during his debut on Thursday — the Argentinian forward was matched up with Zion Williamson during his first few minutes in the NBA.
  • In his latest mailbag for The Denver Post, Mike Singer explores Michael Porter Jr.‘s contract situation, JaVale McGee‘s role, and whether any more roster moves are coming for the Nuggets. Singer expects the current 17-man group to be the one Denver takes into the postseason.

California Notes: Poole, LeBron, Kings, Wiggins

Anthony Slater of The Athletic wonders if second-year reserve point guard Jordan Poole should be given the keys to the Warriors‘ bench ahead of current main backup point guard Brad Wanamaker.

Poole has struggled to carve out consistent minutes in Golden State’s rotation this season, as he appears better-suited toward a play-maker role than an off-ball one, and yet he has frequently been slotted in the latter position to accommodate Wanamaker. Poole has flashed his bona fides in the NBAGL Orlando “bubble” thus far, averaging 22.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 3.8 APG in eight games for the Santa Cruz Warriors.

There’s more out of California:

  • Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James is happy with his heavy minutes load, even in his 18th NBA season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. In February alone, James has played more than 40 minutes in four games. “This is a fast turnaround from last season, and we all wish we could have more rest,” James acknowledged. “But I’m here to work, I’m here to punch my clock in and be available to my teammates.” With starters Dennis Schroder and Anthony Davis both recently sidelined, James has been needed more than usual to help Los Angeles. He is currently averaging 35.0 MPG.
  • Kings backup swingmen DaQuan Jeffries and Robert Woodard II represent the ideal athletic, big wing defenders Sacramento’s front office is targeting, writes Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.“Toughness on the defensive side of the ball is definitely something [Jeffries] brings,” center Richaun Holmes said. Kings head coach Luke Walton also expressed excitement for Woodard. “Woodard, obviously he’s a rookie and he needs a ton of experience himself, and he’s getting some good experience down in the [NBA G League] bubble right now.”
  • Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams lauded the defensive development of swingman Andrew Wiggins, according to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area. “His total defensive game is coming along,” Adams said. “He’s getting better on the help side.” Adams cited one area in which he would like to see Wiggins continue to grow. “Like any player he has a few things he can improve — we’d like to see him rebound [he’s averaging 4.7 per game] a little bit better.”