- With the playoffs slipping out of reach, the Lakers will spend the rest of this season deciding which free agents they want to keep, states Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. With only five players under contract for 2018/19, Brook Lopez, Isaiah Thomas and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be among those auditioning for jobs, as will Channing Frye if he returns after an appendectomy.
- Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari will have his right hand examined next week to determine if he needs surgery, tweets Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points. Gallinari added that swelling and discoloration in the hand have subsided since he suffered a non-displaced fracture late last month. Gallinari is averaging 15.9 points per night, but has been limited to 19 games by a variety of injuries.
- Rookie Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell made his first start in nearly three months Friday and responded with a career-high 14 points in a win over the Cavaliers, notes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Thornwell’s playing time had slipped as the team tried out two-way guards C.J. Williams and Tyrone Wallace, but he was ready when coach Doc Rivers called on him to match up with James. “I guess it’s just Doc’s way of seeing if I’m ready to play,” Thornwell said. “He just wants to see if I’m focused and locked in. But my starts are always on somebody tough.”
Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.
- The Grizzlies recalled forward Brice Johnson from the Memphis Hustle, the team’s NBA G League affiliate. Johnson, who was acquired in a trade from Detroit on Feb. 8, has seen action in nine NBA games this season, but has yet to appear in a contest for the Grizzlies.
- The Jazz have recalled center Tony Bradley and guard Naz Mitrou-Long from its G League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. Bradley has appeared in eight games for the Jazz so far this season, recording a career-high four points and three rebounds at Oklahoma City on Dec. 20. Mitrou-Long, who was just signed to a 10-day contract less than a week ago, has appeared in 33 games for the Stars this season, averaging 16.8 points per game.
Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA.
- The Warriors have assigned Patrick McCaw to their affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team announced (Twitter link).
- The Grizzlies have assigned forward Brice Johnson to their G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, the team announced in a press release. Johnson was acquired by the Grizzlies prior to the trade deadline on Thursday. In 24 G League games this season, Johnson has averaged 13.4 PPG and 9.5 RPG.
- The Thunder have recalled guard Terrance Ferguson and center Dakari Johnson from their G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in a press release. Ferguson has appeared in 41 games with the Thunder this season while Johnson has racked up 24 appearances.
- The Pacers recalled center Ike Anigbogu from their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, the team announced on its website. While the rookie has played sparingly with the big league club, he’s averaged 6.3 PPG, 6.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 12 games with the Mad Ants this season.
8:05pm: The Pistons have officially acquired Ennis, the team announced tonight in a press release.
11:44am: The pick included in the deal is for 2022, according to Chris Herrington of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link), who adds that the Pistons will use their Disabled Player Exception to accommodate Ennis.
11:29am: The Pistons have acquired James Ennis from the Grizzlies in exchange for Brice Johnson and a second-round pick, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. It’s the same package that Detroit had been rumored to send to New Orleans in exchange for Dante Cunningham.
After a couple of years as a journeyman, Ennis found a home in Memphis over the past two seasons, developing into a regular part of the rotation. The 27-year-old is averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds through 45 games this season. He has an expiring contract worth a little more than $3MM.
Johnson, 23, was acquired from the Clippers last week in the deal that brought Blake Griffin to Detroit. A first-round pick in 2016, Johnson had yet to suit up for the Pistons and played just nine games in L.A. this season. He is still on his rookie contract and is making a little more than $1.33MM.
Because of the salary discrepancy, the Pistons will have to use either the Disabled Player Exception of $5.2MM they were awarded earlier this week or a $7MM trade exception to take on Ennis’s contract.
The Pelicans and Pistons are engaged in discussions on a deal that would send Dante Cunningham to Detroit in exchange for Brice Johnson and a second-round pick, reports Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) classifies those talks as “serious.”
As I noted earlier today when Scott Kushner of The Advocate described Cunningham as a trade candidate for the Pelicans, the veteran forward has the ability to veto a deal that involves him. However, league sources tell Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link) that Cunningham has requested a trade, so he seems unlikely to take advantage of his ability to block a move.
The Pistons have already reportedly struck a deal with the Bulls to acquire point guard Jameer Nelson in exchange for Willie Reed. Johnson, like Reed, arrived in Detroit as a result of last week’s Blake Griffin trade. If the Pistons can complete a deal with the Pelicans, they’ll end up flipping both of those non-Griffin pieces from the Clippers to new teams in order to fortify their rotation with some additional veteran help.
Cunningham, 30, has spent the last three and a half seasons in New Orleans, appearing in 263 total games for the club during that time and starting almost exactly half (132) of them. Although he has been a reliable rotation piece for most of that time, Cunningham’s 2017/18 marks of 5.0 PPG and .440 FG% are his lowest since he joined the Pelicans, and he was benched for the entirety of the club’s most recent game.
For the Pelicans, Johnson – who has appeared in just 12 NBA games – would offer little upside, but a trade would allow the team to pick up an extra second-rounder and move a little further away from the luxury tax threshold. If the two teams can complete a deal, New Orleans could also absorb Johnson using one of their existing trade exceptions, creating a new trade exception worth Cunningham’s $2,300,000 salary.
If the Pistons and Pelicans don’t get anything done, the Timberwolves would be another team to watch for a Cunningham trade, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.
Here are the G League moves from around the Association today:
- The Pistons sent recently acquired forward Brice Johnson to their G League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. Johnson had previously played 23 games of action with Agua Caliente, the Clippers’ affiliate.
- The Lakers have recalled center Ivica Zubac from South Bay, the team announced in a press release. He has averaged 21.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his stints with the affiliate.
- The Cavaliers have brought Ante Zizic back up from a stint with the club’s G League affiliate in Canton, the team announced in a press release. Zizic has seen action in just 12 games with the big league club this year.
- The Bulls assigned Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen to their G League affiliate today, with the intention of recalling them after practice, the team announced in a pair of tweets.
Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- After assigning him to the G League for today’s Raptors 905 game, as detailed below, Toronto has recalled Alfonzo McKinnie to the NBA, according to the team (Twitter link).
- The Raptors assigned Alfonzo McKinnie to the G League this morning, per the team (Twitter link). Toronto’s G League affiliate, the Raptors 905, played a day game today, and McKinnie was excellent, racking up 23 points and 16 rebounds (nine offensive).
- The Jazz have recalled rookie big man Tony Bradley from their G League squad, the team announced today (via Twitter). Bradley had a double-double (24 points, 10 rebounds) in a win for the Salt Lake City Stars on Monday.
- After practicing with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario on Monday, Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, and Brice Johnson were recalled by the Clippers, as Robert Flom of Clips Nation details. Gallinari and Teodosic are close to returning from their respective injuries, with Gallinari hoping to play on Wednesday.
- The Bulls have sent second-year guard Kay Felder back to the G League, according to the team (Twitter link). Felder will soon be joined by Zach LaVine, who will continue rehabbing his ACL injury with the Windy City Bulls.
- Rookie center Ike Anigbogu has been recalled from the G League by the Pacers, the club announced in a press release. The 19-year-old struggled in his most recent game for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, recording just two points and two rebounds in 22 minutes on Monday.
- The Sixers have recalled Furkan Korkmaz from the Delaware 87ers, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Korkmaz has yo-yo’d back and forth between Philadelphia and Delaware all season — his most recent G League assignment was his seventh.
- The Kings have made a pair of G League moves, assigning Skal Labissiere to the Reno Bighorns and recalling Georgios Papagiannis, according to the team. Of the two 2016 first-rounders, Labissiere has been the more regular fixture in Sacramento’s rotation this season, averaging 17.1 MPG in 23 contests.
Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- The Grizzlies have sent rookie forward Ivan Rabb back to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. In eight games for the Memphis Hustle this season, Rabb has posted 17.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 1.8 BPG.
- The Clippers have assigned Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, and Brice Johnson to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. While Johnson’s assignment is likely just meant to get him some extra reps, Gallinari and Teodosic are rehabbing injuries and will practice with the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario as they near their respective returns.
- Rookie big man Thomas Bryant has been assigned to the G League by the Lakers, according to the club (Twitter link). Bryant has yet to appear in a regular season NBA game, but has played well for the South Bay Lakers, averaging 21.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG with a blistering .604/.462/.737 shooting line in seven contests.
The Clippers are in a precarious position, now teetering on the ledge of an existential crisis following Blake Griffin‘s latest significant injury. Suddenly, the team that seemed so valiantly intent on forging ahead without Chris Paul (and then Milos Teodosic and then Patrick Beverley) has been dramatically deflated, dealt a seemingly insurmountable blow that could very well change the franchise’s short-term plans.
Needless to say, the next few months will be of particular interest to various representatives of the team’s pending free agents, several of whom could stand to benefit from increased playing time in Griffin’s absence and/or a significantly expanded role if the team decides to lean into a full-fledged rebuild and trade away veterans.
On paper, the Clippers could end up with substantial cap space, but that’s far from guaranteed considering how many players have options heading into the summer.
Montrezl Harrell, C, 24 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $4MM deal in 2015
One of the biggest potential beneficiaries of the Clippers’ bad luck is Harrell, a 2015 second-round pick who showed glimpses of productivity throughout his first two seasons in the league with Houston. Harrell hasn’t done much to this point in the 2017/18 season but it seems inevitable that he’ll see his playing time and opportunities in general increase over the next two months.
Brice Johnson, PF, 24 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3MM deal in 2016
While the absence of Griffin could open up opportunities for Johnson to see more of a role at the big league level, the team would have to fully accept a rebuild in order for the sparsely-used North Carolina product to start seeing consistent action. I’m not sure if the Clips are there yet. Simply put, Johnson hasn’t show much in Los Angeles and the team forfeited the chance to lock him up on the cheap last month when it turned down his rookie option.
Wesley Johnson, SF, 30 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $18MM deal in 2016
After eight underwhelming seasons in the NBA, it’s hard to imagine Johnson landing big money in a crowded free agent market next summer. However, the 30-year-old – who has career averages of 7.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game – has a player option worth over $6MM that he’ll presumably accept.
DeAndre Jordan, C, 29 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $88MM deal in 2015
Jordan is the closest thing to a marquee name among Los Angeles’ pending free agents. The 29-year-old will be coming off of seven straight seasons as a rain-or-shine starter (10 in total), with off-the-charts rebounding numbers and an All-Star Game under his belt. That being said, Jordan – who holds a $24MM player option for next season – will need to be careful heading into the summer, considering the market for big men has changed since he signed his last contract. On top of that, any long-term deal would put a club at risk of having that contract turn into an albatross during its back half. Finally, it’s not inconceivable to suggest that the Jordan you could temporarily (kinda, maybe, possibly) justify maxing out was simply a product of CP3’s playmaking abilities. Jordan may very well end up turning down his player option, but there won’t likely be strong market pressure for L.A. or anybody else to offer a huge long-term deal.
Willie Reed, C, 28 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
Now with his third team in three NBA season, Reed will need to show that he’s more than just a journeyman spot starter with legal baggage. While Reed has been used less with the Clippers than he was in Miami last season, his opportunities could increase substantially with Griffin sidelined. I suspect, given the big man’s per-36 numbers, he’ll be able to procure more than the minimum and stick with that team for longer than a single season.
Austin Rivers, G, 25 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $35MM deal in 2016
The Clippers took a gamble on Rivers in 2016, offering the largely unproven combo guard a major contract without much of a track record to show for it. Fast forward two seasons and Rivers remains more or less equally underwhelming. Rivers does little across the board and isn’t a particularly effective shooter. It wouldn’t make much sense for Rivers’ camp to turn down his $13MM player option for next season.
Milos Teodosic, PG, 31 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2017
It’s hard to gauge Teodosic’s NBA value, considering he only played two games before falling to a foot injury. As things stand, the romantic notion that Teodosic would drop in from overseas to fill the playmaking hole left by Paul is on the back burner. If the plan was for Teodosic to prove himself in his rookie season, turn down his player option for 2018/19 and then sign a larger contract, it’ll come down to how he fares during the second half of the season, since nobody has yet seen enough to warrant a big investment. It seems likely that the Serbian 31-year-old will be back in the lineup before the end of December, so there’s plenty of time for him to prove himself at the NBA level.
Lou Williams, SG, 32 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2015
Over course of the last half decade, Williams has fully embraced an identity as a wildly prolific scorer off the bench. Over the course of the last two seasons alone he’s thrived in systems that have had no reason but to let him loose on their second unit and the volume shooter has shown no signs of slowing down north of 30. It may be a bit much to expect Williams to yield anything in the realm of former Clipper J.J. Redick‘s offseason haul ($23MM for a one-year deal with Philly) but there should be plenty of suitors willing to give 2015’s Sixth Man of the Year a sizable raise over his current $7MM salary.
Player ages as of July 1, 2018. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Here are the G League moves from around the Association today:
- The Clippers have assigned C.J. Williams and Brice Johnson to their G League affiliate, Robert Flom of Clips Nation tweets. They’ve also recalled two-way player Jamil Wilson, who has played five games for the Agua Caliente Clippers so far this season.
- The Bucks have assigned Sterling Brown to their G League affiliate, the team’s official site writes. The guard will suit up alongside his older brother and former NBA guard Shannon Brown, who signed a contract with the Wisconsin Herd earlier in the day.
- The Kings have assigned big man Georgios Papagiannis to their G League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Papagiannis has seen limited action in four games with the Kings this season.