Bones Hyland

Northwest Notes: Hyland, Diakite, Beasley, Bogdanovic

Rookie guard Bones Hyland may be a fixture in the Nuggets‘ rotation when the regular season starts next week, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The 26th pick in this year’s draft has been impressing teammates throughout camp and the early part of the preseason with his offensive explosiveness and his attitude toward the game.

“Youngin’s fearless, and I love it,” Aaron Gordon said. “His game is nice.”

Hyland filled the stat sheet Friday in a loss to the Timberwolves with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. However, he also had six turnovers and made a costly defensive mistake that allowed Minnesota to send the game to overtime, which coach Michael Malone recognizes as part of the learning process. Hyland staked his case for regular playing time with an impressive shooting night.

“That’s what I do, honestly,” Hyland said. “I was like 2-for-10 on the first two preseason games. I was like, ‘That’s not me at all, that’s not how I shoot the ball.’ … I make it rain from the three.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mamadi Diakite was part of championship teams last season in both the G League and the NBA, and now he’s trying to trying to earn a roster spot with the Thunder, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City claimed Diakite on waivers after the Bucks released him two weeks ago, giving them 16 players with standard NBA contracts. He is due to earn $1.5MM this season and $1.8MM next season, although both years are non-guaranteed. “I’m gonna keep fighting,” Diakite said. “I’ve been fighting since I was little. I know I have some disadvantages, but I’m an underdog. I’ll keep fighting, and I’ll keep proving everyone wrong.” 
  • Timberwolves coach Chris Finch didn’t get much of a chance to work with Malik Beasley after being hired in February, but they know each other from their time in Denver when Beasley was a rookie, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Beasley was suspended by the league for 12 games shortly after Finch arrived in Minnesota, then suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in early April. The coach believes Beasley has matured during his five NBA seasons. “You can tell he’s comfortable with who he is as a player,” Finch said, “what his role and impact on the floor is and just his maturity and overall approach is that of a young vet.”
  • Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic was a full participant in practice Friday and Saturday after dealing with a sore shoulder, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News.

Nuggets Notes: Porter Jr., Vaccine, Green, Hyland

After news broke Monday of a max extension for Michael Porter Jr., he thought of the difficult journey it took to reach this point, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. There were serious questions about Porter’s long-term health heading into the 2018 draft after he injured his back in college. After being in consideration for the top pick when the season began, Porter slipped all the way to No. 14, where the Nuggets nabbed him as a long-term investment.

“I think it’s a lot more gratifying,” Porter said. “I’m one of those dudes, that even growing up, I didn’t think of it like, ‘Dang, I’m going to be making millions of dollars when I go to the NBA.’ I thought of it as, ‘Dang, I’m going to get to play against LeBron (James), (Kevin Durant).’ It was never about the money for me. … The road that I took made it so much more gratifying.”

After sitting out his first NBA season, Porter showed signs of stardom in 2019/20 and followed that with a breakthrough year, averaging 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season. He said that after learning of his extension, he called Jamal Murray and texted Nikola Jokic. They are the core that Nuggets management hopes will bring the franchise its first NBA title.

“We’re good to go,” Porter said. “Us three right there, when you’ve got (Aaron Gordon), you’ve got Will (Barton), Monte (Morris), we’re locked in. We know we’re going to be good. We know we’re going to be nice for years to come. … They didn’t pay us all this money to not win a championship.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • Porter, one of a handful of high-profile NBA players who haven’t been vaccinated, talked about his decision with Singer in a separate story“For me, I had COVID twice, I saw how my body reacted, and although the chances are slim, with the vaccine, there’s a chance you could have a bad reaction to it,” Porter said. “For me, I don’t feel comfortable.”
  • Jeff Green, who signed with Denver in the offseason, is already making an impact at training camp, according to Eric Spyropoulos of NBA.com. The veteran big man brings a new element to the Nuggets’ offense and can guard a variety of players on the other end of the court. “His feel for the game, his versatility, even at his age his athleticism, it really felt like a seamless fit in that regard,” coach Michael Malone said. “So, I’ve been really impressed with Jeff.”
  • First-round pick Bones Hyland has found there’s quite a bit to learn in his first training camp, Spyropoulos adds in the same story. “It’s a lot (to adjust to), you know, and that’s not lost on me,” Malone said. “It’s not lost on any of the coaches, because here’s a guy that just finished up his sophomore season at VCU, and he’s out here with 17 other NBA players, (learning) terminology, drills, (and a) new system.”

And-Ones: Rule Change, Rookies, Ignite, J. Franklin

The NBA’s Board of Governors will vote later this month to approve a rule change to the way late-game out-of-bounds reviews are handled, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).

In past seasons, close out-of-bounds calls have been automatically reviewed in the last two minutes of games, resulting in prolonged stoppages that have halted the momentum of close contests and dragged out the final moments of those games. If the Board of Governors approves the rule change, a head coach’s challenge will be required to trigger those reviews, says Charania.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic points out, it’s possible some close calls would be missed as a result of this change. However, some of the calls being overturned by those automatic reviews were plays where a defender clearly knocked a ball out of bounds, but it grazed the ball-handler’s fingertips last, which was a change “nobody wanted.”

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

  • Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) identifies several 2021 rookies who are strong candidates to outperform their post-lottery draft positions, including Rockets big man Alperen Sengun (No. 16), Pelicans wing Trey Murphy III (No. 17), and Nuggets guard Bones Hyland (No. 26).
  • BIG3 director of basketball operations Thomas Scott, a former Lakers assistant, has joined the G League Ignite as an assistant coach on Jason Hart‘s staff, per an announcement from the BIG3 (Twitter link). Scott will also be the Ignite’s head of player development, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
  • The Chinese Basketball Association has lifted its restrictions on teams signing foreign players now that it has decided to conduct its 2021/22 season in a bubble, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando writes. Sources tell Sportando that former Grizzlies and Nuggets wing Jamaal Franklin – a second-round pick in 2013 – is one of the first players to take advantage, having signed a lucrative new deal with the Shanghai Sharks.

Western Notes: Hyland, Porter Jr., Towns, Russell, Toliver

Rookie Bones Hyland averaged 19.7 PPG across four games in Las Vegas and his Nuggets summer league coach believes he can play right away for the NBA club, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. “His skill set is undeniable,” Charles Klask said. “… I think there’s always room for players like him that have great feel for the game. They find a way to get on the floor because they can do so many different things, and as long as he can bring it on both ends, night in and night out, I think he can be part of our rotation, for sure.” Hyland was drafted with the No. 26 pick.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • There shouldn’t be any serious concern about the Nuggets’ ability to reach a rookie scale extension agreement with Michael Porter Jr., Singer opines in a mailbag piece. Singer’s sources say there shouldn’t be too much read into the lack of news regarding negotiations, since the club has until the start of the season to extend Porter. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, had a number of other clients to focus on during free agency, Singer adds.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are determined to do what it takes this offseason to turn the Timberwolves’ fortunes around, coach Chris Finch told The Athletic’s Britt Robson. “There is a deep and genuine motivation by Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell to have their best offseason ever. And that’s really where it begins and ends, because if your best players aren’t all-in and ready, then you are not going to go very far,” Finch said. “They’ve seen their contemporaries having success. Devin Booker’s in the Finals. Nikola Jokic wins MVP. These are guys who they feel they are every bit as good as, if not better than — or at one point have been better than — in the league.”
  • The Mavericks are hiring Kristi Toliver as an assistant coach, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Dallas had been seeking a female assistant for Jason Kidd‘s staff. Toliver, who remains an active player in the WNBA, spent two seasons in the Wizards’ organization.

Northwest Notes: Billups, Hyland, Rosas, Jazz

New Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups wants to bring a commitment to defense to Portland, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. As an assistant with the Clippers last season, Billups was aware of the Blazers’ poor defensive reputation, and L.A. averaged 124.7 PPG against them in three games. A former defensive standout as a player, Billups envisions a team more in his image.

“To go to the next level, and be more competitive, and be more consistent, we got to be so much better defensively,” he said. “I know that. It’s not going to be optional to play hard defensively.”

Portland will continue to use a three-guard lineup, Fentress adds, as 6’3″ Norman Powell will keep the starting role he was given after being acquired from the Raptors at the trade deadline. After the deal, the Blazers’ starting lineup ranked fourth in the league in net rating at plus 13.3.

“I think in today’s game, you can play that way,” Billups said. “But to me, if you’re going to win that way, all three of those guys have to be committed on the defensive end of the floor. That can be an issue. It’s already been an issue.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rookie guard Bones Hyland looks like he may be the Nuggets‘ latest draft steal, observes Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. Hyland showed off his full range of moves in a 28-point Summer League performance on Saturday. “When the bright lights come on, I never shy away from them,” Hyland said. “That’s been me my whole life. I make things happen when the lights are on. The bigger the stage, the bigger I play.”
  • President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said the Timberwolves are focused on “internal development” rather than trying to make a splash in free agency, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Minnesota hasn’t signed any free agents except for two-way deals, and Rosas suggests that any significant additions will come through trades. “You’re very strategic in addressing needs, but we don’t want to overpay for the sake of overpaying unless it makes sense for us,” he said. “We feel like the trade market is a little more efficient in that regard and we’ve invested a lot in our own players. We want to give those guys opportunities to take advantage of those roles.”
  • The Summer League emphasis is on developing young talent and finding players for the upcoming season, but the Jazz are also focused on winning a title after a 3-0 start, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News“I don’t think development and winning are mutually exclusive,” coach Bryan Bailey said. “They can go together. Part of the development is learning how to win. You want to see things, want guys to work on things. But it’s all together, it’s all intertwined.”

Nuggets Ink Bones Hyland To Rookie Deal

Bones Hyland, taken with the 26th pick in last week’s draft, has signed a rookie contract with the Nuggets, according to the NBA.com transactions page.

Hyland was a high-scoring guard who spent two years at Virginia Commonwealth. He earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors as a sophomore, averaging 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

Most first-year players receive 120% of the rookie salary scale, so Hyland will likely earn a little more than $2MM in 2021/22 and can get up to $10.76MM over the next four years. We track all of this season’s rookie scale salaries here.

Trade Rumors: Reddish, Pacers, Knicks, McDaniels, Kemba, Bulls

The Hawks and Pacers have had exploratory talks about a deal that would send Cam Reddish and the No. 20 pick to Indiana in exchange for the No. 13 selection, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer had previously reported that the Hawks and Pacers had discussed the No. 13 pick, and reported separately that Atlanta had offered Reddish and the No. 20 pick to teams in the late lottery, so it was safe to assume Reddish was on the table in those talks with Indiana. Scotto confirms as much, though it remains to be seen if the two sides will work out an agreement.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the league as the start of the 2021 NBA draft nears:

  • Scotto and Marc Berman of The New York Post each confirmed that the Knicks have talked to the Magic about a possible Terrence Ross trade, as was reported earlier. Berman hears that the Knicks are offering draft assets and that Orlando has made Ross available for the better part of a year.
  • According to Scotto, the Knicks have asked the Magic about the No. 8 pick, but didn’t gain any real traction. They’ve also talked to the Spurs about No. 12, per Scotto, who says the sense around the league is that New York is eyeing Chris Duarte.
  • Multiple lottery teams have expressed interest in trading for Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, according to Scotto. However, Minnesota remains reluctant to move McDaniels, whom the team views as part of its core going forward.
  • The Thunder are exploring possible trades for Kemba Walker, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. This had been expected, as Oklahoma City has made a habit in the last couple years of taking on unwanted contracts and then trying to flip them for positive value.
  • The Bulls are eyeing draft prospects Miles McBride and Nah’Shon Hyland and may be looking to trade into the back half of the first round, tweets Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago currently only has the No. 38 pick in the 2021 draft.

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Duarte, Thunder, Pacers, Kings, Giddey, Nuggets

With the draft just over 24 hours away, here’s some of the latest rumors:

  • The Knicks hold the Nos. 19 and 21 picks on Thursday but they’re aggressively trying to move into the lottery with the hope of landing Oregon guard Chris Duarte, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Hornets (No. 11) and Pacers (No. 13) are among the teams that appear willing to trade down. The Knicks are trying to leapfrog the Warriors (No. 14) and Wizards (No. 15), the teams most likely to pick Duarte ahead of them. However, a package of their two first-rounders alone won’t get it done, Ford adds. The Thunder have also held discussions with Charlotte regarding the No. 11 pick, Ford reports in another tweet.
  • Duarte may not last beyond the Pacers, either, unless they deal the pick. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), Indiana’s selection is expeccted to come down to Duarte and Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, assuming both are still available.
  • If the Knicks can’t move up, West Virginia point guard Miles McBride and VCU point guard Nah’Shon Hyland are potential targets at No. 21, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • The Kings (No. 9) are taking a long look at Australia’s Josh Giddey, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Kings not only interviewed Giddey, they made a trip to Las Vegas to see the 6’8” guard work out with the Australian national team.
  • The Nuggets (No. 26) have fielded some calls from teams in the 20-25 range looking to trade down, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. One of those teams is apparently the Lakers (No. 22).

Jazz Considered Likely To Re-Sign Mike Conley

Free agent point guard Mike Conley is likely to return to the Jazz, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, though Jones cautions that the price tag “won’t be cheap.”

The report comes on the heels of a pair of similar stories from Tuesday. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote that league executives believe Conley is most likely to remain in Utah, while Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said there’s a “strong belief” around the league that the Jazz will be able to shed some salary and make Conley a substantial offer.

The Mavericks have been cited repeatedly as one team expected to show interest in Conley, but their focus is said to be more on Kyle Lowry, which perhaps reflects their belief that Lowry will be more attainable.

As we outlined in our preview of Utah’s offseason, the team is already on the hook for nearly $130MM in guaranteed salary for nine players. Even if Conley is willing to take a pay cut after earning $34.5MM last season, a reasonable deal for him (perhaps in the neighborhood of $20MM+ per year) would push the Jazz way into luxury tax territory.

Virtually all of Utah’s biggest contracts belong to productive rotation players, so if the club wants to trim salary, it may come at the cost of a regular contributor. The Jazz have reportedly explored trades involving Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, and Derrick Favors.

Multiple reports have suggested the team could end up attaching this year’s No. 30 pick to Favors in a cost-cutting deal. Since Favors’ contract (two years, $20MM) isn’t especially unwieldy, it’s possible Utah could get a less expensive rotation player back in such a deal, though that’s just my speculation.

Here are a few more notes on the Jazz:

  • Sources tell Jones that the Jazz remain high on second-year shooting guard Elijah Hughes and believe he could play his way into the team’s 2021/22 rotation. The team likes what he brings to the table offensively and will be looking for him to show defensive improvement in Summer League play, per Jones.
  • Miles McBride, Ayo Dosunmu, and Nah’Shon Hyland are among the guards the Jazz like as possible targets if they keep the No. 30 pick, says Jones.
  • If Utah trades the No. 30 pick and remains in the draft, moving up is unlikely, but a move down is a possibility, according to Jones, who says there are multiple players the team likes in the second round. One potential second-round target would be Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp, Jones adds.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Grimes, OKC, Moody, Wolves, Nuggets

The Jazz are hosting a pre-draft workout on Thursday that will includes Houston’s Quentin Grimes, Providence’s David Duke, and San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell, sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Jones categorizes it as an important session for the Jazz, who like Grimes as a potential target at No. 30 and want to get a closer look at Mitchell, who has worked out for more than 10 teams and is considered a draft riser.

Sources tell Jones that other prospects the Jazz are eyeing as possibilities at No. 30 include Nah’Shon Hyland, Ayo Dosunmu, Miles McBride, Herb Jones, Joel Ayayi from Gonzaga, Joshua Primo, and Jared Butler.

  • Arkansas wing Moses Moody visited the Thunder in Oklahoma City earlier this week, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets. Moody is the 16th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board, so he could play be in play for OKC at No. 16 or 18 next Thursday.
  • Now that Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore have formally been approved as minority stakeholders in the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the challenges facing A-Rod and Lore, who will assume majority control of the franchise by 2023. As Krawczynski observes, there are similarities between the Wolves’ current situation and the one that Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan inherited in 2014 when they bought the Bucks, though it’s probably unrealistic to expect the next seven years in Minnesota to play out like the last seven in Milwaukee.
  • The Nuggets put forth a “full, all-hands-on-deck organizational effort” to ensure longtime assistant Wes Unseld Jr. got a head coaching job, Denver’s president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told Fred Katz of The Athletic. Connelly said he informed the Wizards that Unseld “is one of the brightest minds I’ve ever been around.”
  • South Carolina wing A.J. Lawson worked out today for the Nuggets, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link).