Nets Rumors

Northwest Rumors: Butler, Porter, Thunder, Aminu

The Nets, Knicks, Nuggets, Sixers and Lakers are potential landing spots for Jimmy Butler if the Timberwolves decide to trade him before he hits free agency next summer, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. Butler is reportedly meeting with Minnesota’s brass on Monday to discuss his future with the organization. The Nets could offer a package featuring the Nuggets’ top-12 protected 2019 first-round pick, as well as defensive-minded wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, while Denver could make either Jamal MurrayGary Harris and Michael Porter Jr. the centerpiece in a deal for the All-Star wing, Urbina adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Porter is trying to return to full strength after two back surgeries and there’s no guarantee he’ll play this season, Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website writes in a player profile. The Nuggets will keep him on the sidelines until they’re convinced the rookie forward won’t have any setbacks. There’s no timetable on when he will be ready to make his debut, Dempsey adds.
  • Defense will be the Thunder’s biggest strengths this season, according to Basketball Insiders’ season preview of the team. The return of Andre Roberson from his knee injury and the subtraction of Carmelo Anthony give the Thunder five above-average-to-elite defenders in their lineup. Oklahoma City’s biggest issue is closing out games but without the chemistry issues caused by trying to fit Anthony in with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, its performances in the clutch should also improve this season.
  • Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu and center Jusuf Nurkic have returned to Portland after competing in regional FIBA World Cup qualifiers last week, according to Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. Aminu helped Nigeria go 3-0 during the tournament but Bosnia and Herzegovina went winless in two games despite the efforts of Nurkic.
  • Shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom has remained in Minnesota to work out following his recent tryout with the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. He could still be added to the training camp roster, Wolfson adds.

Dzanan Musa Reportedly Escapes Serious Injury

The Nets may have dodged a bullet regarding an injury to first-round pick Dzanan Musa, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Musa was carried off the court Sunday while playing for Bosnia in a FIBA world cup qualifying game. There were fears that Musa damaged his Achilles, but it appears to be a less serious injury to his right ankle.

“Thank God, It looked bad, but I will be back for my Brooklyn, for the beginning of the training camp!!!” Musa tweeted.

The Nets aren’t commenting on the situation until they have a chance to examine Musa, but a source close to the player confirmed that only the ankle is affected. Musa made the flight from Sarajevo to New York overnight.

Musa was injured late in an 85-80 loss to the Czech Republic in which he scored 14 points and dished out four assists. Nets assistant coach Pablo Prigioni and a member of Brooklyn’s performance team were with him for the game.

Nets Tackle Rebounding Woes

Alan Williams Rates As Low-Risk Flier

  • Bringing in Alan Williams is a low-risk flier for the Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. The team has been stockpiling big men and rebounders and the 6’8” Williams fits both those categories, Lewis continues. It’s rare to land a fourth-year pro on a two-way contract who has averaged 15 rebounds per 36 minutes over his career, Lewis points out. Williams reached an agreement with Brooklyn on Friday.

Alan Williams Agrees To Two-Way Deal With Nets

The Nets will sign free agent center Alan Williams to a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Williams spent his first three seasons with the Suns before being waived in July. He played just five games at the NBA level last year, spending most of his time in the G League. Williams appeared in 62 games during his time in Phoenix, averaging 6.4 PPG and 5.7 RPG.

Williams, who worked out for the Cavaliers last week, will be limited to 45 days in the NBA under the two-way deal. He will join an organization that has been looking for big men at the G League level.

The Nets still have their other two-way slot open, along with one more roster vacancy heading into camp.

Marks Gets High Marks For Recent Picks

  • LeVert played a total of 30 games at the point last season when D’Angelo Russell was injured, Milholen notes, and posted averages of 13.2 PPG and 4.8 APG in 27.2 MPG. Russell will start for Brooklyn and the Nets also have free agent addition Shabazz Napier at that spot. LeVert can also be viewed as a long-term insurance policy since Russell could become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, Milholen adds.
  • The early returns on Sean Marks‘ first-round picks bode well for next June’s draft, Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily.com opines. The Nets GM found two valuable assets during the last two drafts in LeVert and starting center Jarrett Allen, even though those picks were in the bottom third of the first round, Rose notes. Thus, Marks and his staff have shown they can not only identify talent but develop players as well, Rose adds. The Nets could have two first-rounders in June, their own pick plus the Nuggets’ top-12 protected pick acquired this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Musa, Dudley, Knicks, Bird

Nets first-rounder Dzanan Musa has been bulking up since the draft in hopes of being physically prepared for the NBA, relays NetsDaily. In a weekend interview with with Radiosarajevo in Bosnia, Musa said he has been focused on “physical progress” and has gained 15 pounds this summer.

“As far as my physical predisposition is concerned, no one has to worry,” he said. “I have put on seven kilograms in a 25-day period, so I do not have to have any disadvantages by the start of the season, and I will try to give my team immediate input.”

The 29th overall selection has spent most of the summer at the Nets’ training facility, but recently returned home to Bosnia to participate in a pair of FIBA World Cup qualifying games.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Trade restrictions on the NetsJared Dudley will expire September 20, according to a separate story on NetsDaily outlining important upcoming dates for the team. That date will mark the two-month anniversary of the trade that sent Dudley from Phoenix to Brooklyn, and it will lift the restriction that he can only be dealt in one-for-one trades.
  • The Knicks picked up a pair of promising young players on one-year deals while preserving their cap space for next summer, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders in the season preview for New York. The Knicks signed Mario Hezonja for $6.5MM and Noah Vonleh for a non-guaranteed $1.6MM, giving them a year to see how much they can contribute before making long-term decisions. Blancarte also believes David Fizdale was the right choice to take over as coach.
  • Jabari Bird is under guarded watch at a Boston-area hospital following his arrest Friday on a “domestic incident,” tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Bird is expected to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow and will be officially charged for his role in the incident.
  • The Raptors have scheduled a press conference for September 21 to introduce Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). Both were acquired from the Spurs in a mid-July trade.

Suns Considering Beverley, Joseph, Dinwiddie

Some more names have emerged in the Suns’ search for a point guard, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, who reports that the team has targeted the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Pacers’ Cory Joseph and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie.

Beverley may be expendable in L.A. after the Clippers matched an offer sheet this week for Tyrone Wallace. That move gives the team 17 players with guaranteed contracts and adds to a crowded backcourt that also includes Avery Bradley, Jawun Evans, Milos Teodosic, Sindarius Thornwell, Lou Williams and first-round picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson.

Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him a little more than $5MM for the upcoming season. The 30-year-old received full medical clearance in June after having microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He started all 11 games he appeared in before the injury, posting a 12.2/4.1/2.9 line, and is considered among the NBA’s best defensive point guards.

Joseph, 27, has a $7.9MM expiring contract. One of the league’s best sixth men, he averaged 7.9/3.2/3.2 while playing all 82 games in his first year with the Pacers. However, Indiana has Darren Collison entrenched as its starter and selected Aaron Holiday in the first round of this year’s draft.

Dinwiddie, 25, would come much cheaper at $1.6MM and is also on an expiring contract. He played 80 games for the Nets last season with a 12.6/3.2/6.6 line.

The Suns have been in the market for point guard help since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo are the only options on the current roster.

Nets Did Well With Maximizing Resources

  • The Nets may have maximized their resources better than anyone this summer, writes Jesse Blancarte in Basketball Insiders’ season preview for Brooklyn. Highlights include unloading Timofey Mozgov‘s hefty contract, re-signing Joe Harris and landing free agents Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier on affordable contracts. The consensus among the writers in the preview is that Brooklyn may be ready to challenge for a playoff spot.

Kurucs Expects To Spend Some Time In G League

  • Nets second-round pick Rodions Kurucs said during an interview with LTV Sport Studio in Latvia that he expects to spend some time with the Long Island Nets in the G League during his rookie season, as relayed by NetsDaily. Kurucs, the 40th overall pick in the draft, signed a four-year deal with Brooklyn, so the club figures to be patient with his development.