Bruno Fernando

Western Notes: George, Holmes, Fernando, Dinwiddie, Kleber, Popovich

Clippers star forward Paul George missed Monday’s game against Utah due to a right hamstring tendon strain, according to Law Murray of The Athletic.

It’s a different injury than the one the team cited when George sat out the second half of Saturday’s game against San Antonio. The reason given that night was right knee soreness.

George will be reevaluated in the next couple of days.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Richaun Holmes has fallen out of the Kings’ rotation and it may be difficult to move his contract, James Ham of The Kings Beat notes. Holmes is owed $11.2MM this season, $12MM next season and has a player option for $12.9MM in 2024/25.
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas is optimistic Bruno Fernando can return to action later this week, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Fernando has only appeared in two games this season due to left knee soreness.
  • Mavericks coach Jason Kidd expressed hope that Spencer Dinwiddie and Maxi Kleber will be available during the team’s upcoming road trip, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. Dinwiddie dislocated his left shoulder against Denver on Sunday, while Kleber hasn’t played since Tuesday due to a lower back contusion.
  • Gregg Popovich didn’t coach the Spurs on Sunday after meeting with the press prior to the game. Brett Brown filled in after Popovich felt ill, but doctors who examined him in the locker room pronounced him OK, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Southwest Notes: J. Smith, Fernando, Bassey, Jackson Jr.

The RocketsJabari Smith and the Magic’s Paolo Banchero had their first regular season matchup Monday since Orlando’s last-minute decision to bypass Smith and make Banchero the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Banchero has gotten off to a sizzling start and is the early favorite for Rookie of the Year, while Smith is still adjusting to the NBA.

“He just needs to feel comfortable on the floor so we’re figuring that out as we go along,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “Having him on the elbow not just as a scorer but as a passer, we’re going to explore that. He has shown the ability to shoot the pull-up in transition as well as give it up and trail in transition. His 3-point shooting really sets up the rest of his game. People are hugged up to him and they close out to him. So, he can get to his drives or his pull-ups or whatever off that.”

Smith, who is shooting just 30.3% from the field and 30% from three-point range, said he hasn’t been discouraged by the slow start. He admits the transition from college is difficult, but he’s focused on learning to play at the NBA level.

“I feel like it’s just confidence, just trusting my work, being aggressive, being real precise with what I’m doing, not hesitating, and just playing my game,” Smith said. “I feel like it’s going to come. I’m not worried at all.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Bruno Fernando, who was the Rockets‘ starting center for the first two games of the season, is working to return from left patellar tendinosis, Feigen adds in a separate story. The team estimates he may need two more weeks to get medically cleared. “Bruno is … moving around pretty well but he has to see the doctor when we get back (from the road trip),” Silas said. “We’re making sure that he’s OK to continue ramping up. He’s ramping up. Hopefully, he’ll be back sooner than later. Conditioning definitely is a part of it.” Silas couldn’t offer a timetable for Jae’Sean Tate, who has been limited to three games because of a sore ankle.
  • The injury to Zach Collins will create an opportunity for Charles Bassey, who signed a two-way deal with the Spurs last month, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich has been impressed with what he’s seen from Bassey so far. “He kind of looks the part, doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights or anything like that,” Popovich said (Twitter link). “He is out there playing. He is aggressive, a good defender, moved the ball well.”
  • Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. recently played five-on-five for the first time since offseason foot surgery, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “It’s kind of baby steps right now,” coach Taylor Jenkins said.

Southwest Notes: Campazzo, Morant, Durant, Sengun, Rockets

Facundo Campazzo‘s visa issues have been resolved and he’ll be in uniform Tuesday and ready to play in the Mavericks’ game in New Orleans, coach Jason Kidd told Dwain Price of the team’s website (Twitter link) and other media members.

Campazzo was signed to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract last week to add depth for the Mavericks at point guard. Campazzo spent the last two seasons with the Nuggets after establishing himself as one of the top point guards in the EuroLeague.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies star Ja Morant poured in 49 points against Houston during the opening week of the season and Nets perennial All-Star Kevin Durant is dazzled by Morant’s talent, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes. “He’s a unique player. A lot of athleticism and creativity out there,” Durant said. “Body type reminds you of somebody like — well he’s taller than A.I. [Allen Iverson], but a wiry, strong player … but he’s an incredible player, man.”
  • The Rockets’ rotation, particularly at center, remains a fluid situation, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle notes. Alperen Sengun didn’t start on Saturday even with Bruno Fernando out with a sore left knee. While there are some matchups where Sengun will be suited for the starting lineup, there are others where it’s wise for him to be on the second unit with Fernando or Usman Garuba in the starting five. Sengun missed Monday’s game with an illness, Feigen tweets.
  • Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. are the main building blocks in the Rockets’ rebuild and Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the state of the franchise and its plans to develop those young players.

Texas Notes: Langford, Sengun, Doncic, Campazzo

Romeo Langford beat out Joe Wieskamp for the last spot on the Spurs’ roster and Langford is looking to establish a career foothold, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News writes.

“I feel like I have a new start with an organization that believes in me and wants to see me succeed and will do everything they can to help me be better off and on the court,” Langford said.

Langford appeared in just four games for San Antonio last season after being included in the Derrick White deal with Boston. He has a $5,634,257 salary this season and could be a restricted free agent next summer if San Antonio extends a qualifying offer.

We have more on the Texas teams:

  • Rockets second-year center Alperen Sengun might be more effective coming off the bench, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explains. Sengun could showcase more of his offensive moves if he’s on the second unit, while Bruno Fernando is more suited for the rebounding and pick-and-roll responsibilities with the starting unit. “It’s always important for (Sengun) to touch the ball when he’s on the floor because that’s his strength,” coach Stephen Silas said. “I’m intentional about making sure that he gets the ball when it’s necessary and sometimes when he hasn’t had a touch.”
  • Mavericks coach Jason Kidd believes Luka Doncic could turn another corner during the fifth season of his career, Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com writes. “He will understand the league better,” Kidd said. “With his talent, he’s always going to make his teammates better. He’s (one of) if not the best player in the world. It could be where things are a little clearer where he can see things a lot better and understand what teams are trying to do.”
  • Facundo Campazzo was officially added to the Mavericks roster on Tuesday via a one-year contract and the former Nuggets guard is grateful to get another NBA job, as he told Sefko. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity,” he said. “I was training hard, as much as I could in Argentina. I just tried to be ready for any chance in the NBA. The opportunity came now and I love it.”

Western Notes: Hart, Alvarado, Rockets, Jazz

The Trail Blazers have made a decision on their starting small forward job, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, who hears from a source that Josh Hart has won the training camp competition.

Hart had been competing with Nassir Little and Justise Winslow for the right to start at the three for Portland this season, alongside a backcourt of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons and a frontcourt of Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic.

Hart, whom the Blazers acquired in last season’s CJ McCollum blockbuster, has earned praise from head coach Chauncey Billups for his effort on defense and his basketball IQ, as Fentress notes. The veteran swingman is entering a potential contract year — his 2023/24 salary is currently non-guaranteed and he also has the ability to opt out of his deal after the season.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Second-year Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado has long admired Tony Parker‘s game and got the chance to work with the former Spurs star this offseason, meeting Parker at the Las Vegas Summer League and then traveling to San Antonio to train with him. “Actually, I (direct messaged) him and said, ‘I’m a big fan of you,'” Alvarado said, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “‘Is there any chance me and you can get in the gym this summer? I would love that.’ He replied right away.”
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes a look at where things stand with the Rockets‘ rotation, noting that Tari Eason is making a strong case for regular playing time, while Bruno Fernando appears to have passed Usman Garuba on the depth chart at center. Iko also isn’t sure that any of the players acquired in last week’s trade with Oklahoma City (Derrick Favors, Theo Maledon, and Maurice Harkless) will make the regular season roster.
  • Given how significantly they overhauled their roster this offseason, the Jazz will likely need more than just a few preseason games to develop a real sense of chemistry, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “It’s going to take us a while to get used to everyone and learn everyone,” Jordan Clarkson said. “We’re still just getting the basics down. We’re not even at the point of knowing guys’ spots and individual games.”

Texas Notes: Roby, Bates-Diop, Fernando, Silas

Forward Isaiah Roby has been a fan of the Spurs‘ organization since childhood, reports Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. After the fourth-year power forward was waived by the Thunder over the summer, San Antonio claimed him off waivers.

“[The Spurs] were the team my grandpa really liked watching,” the Dixon, Illinois native said. “… Ever since then, I’ve had an interest in the Spurs and the way they play basketball.”

Roby was initially drafted with the No. 45 pick out of Nebraska by the Pistons. The Mavericks traded for his draft rights later that summer. He suited up for the team’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends, before being flipped to the Thunder in January 2020. He averaged 10.1 PPG on .514/.444/.672 shooting splits in 45 games during his 2021/22 season with Oklahoma City. The 6’8″ forward also contributed 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.8 BPG.

According to McDonald, Roby was apparently surprised to be waived by the Thunder during the offseason. In San Antonio, he joins another rebuilding effort that features plenty of intriguing young prospects, with presumably more to come in the next few seasons. The Spurs have liked what they’ve seen from Roby so far.

“He is really more skilled than I was expecting, and he’s a little bigger than I expected,” head coach Gregg Popovich observed. “He handles himself really well.”

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop is in the running for the last open spot on San Antonio’s standard 15-man roster, having turned in solid performances in two preseason games as a starter, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDonald notes that Bates-Diop may start tonight against the Pelicans in the team’s third preseason contest after averaging 9.5 PPG in the first two. “His game improves with every increase in his confidence,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s why he’s still here.” Though Bates-Diop may not ultimately start for the Spurs, McDonald predicts he’ll remain in San Antonio through opening night, thus guaranteeing he gets paid his full $1.9MM salary. “Whether you just signed a new deal or you’re on a one-year or whatever it is, you should always feel like you’re battling for it,” Bates-Diop said. “You don’t want to get too comfortable.”
  • The Rockets front office is excited about the fit of 6’9″ fourth-year center Bruno Fernando as a rim-runner, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Iko notes that Fernando becoming a lob threat will open up the downhill offensive games of starting guards Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.
  • Rockets head coach Stephen Silas has yet to clear the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, reports Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link). Berman adds (Twitter link) that assistant coach John Lucas, acting as the team’s head coach while Silas remains ill, has expressed optimism that Silas will clear protocols and be able to travel later to join the team in Miami for its next preseason game.

Contract Details: Fernando, Herro, Nance, Adams

The Rockets used a portion of their mid-level exception to give Bruno Fernando a four-year deal and a guaranteed salary of $2,717,391 for the 2022/23 season, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Fernando’s salary will dip to $2,581,522 for 2023/24 before rising back up to $2,717,391 for ’24/25 and increasing to $2,853,260 for ’25/26. As Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets, the second and third years of Fernando’s deal are non-guaranteed, while the fourth year is a team option.

Here are some details on a few more new contracts from around the NBA:

  • Tyler Herro‘s four-year extension with the Heat will pay him annual salaries of $27MM, $29MM, $31MM, and $33MM beginning in 2023/24, for a base value of exactly $120MM, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The deal also includes $2.5MM in annual incentives that are currently considered unlikely.
  • Larry Nance Jr.‘s two-year extension with the Pelicans will pay him $10,375,000 in 2023/24 and $11,205,000 in ’24/25, tweets Anil Gogna of NoTradeClause.com. Because Nance’s second-year raise exceeds 5%, he’ll be ineligible to be traded during the 2022/23 season.
  • Steven Adams‘ two-year extension with the Grizzlies features a flat base salary of $12.6MM in both 2023/24 and ’24/25, with no options or incentives, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Adams’ new deal doesn’t exceed the extend-and-trade limits, so he’ll remain trade-eligible this season.
  • As expected, the recent contracts signed by Kaiser Gates (Nets), Brandon Rachal (Nets), and Sacha Killeya-Jones (Thunder) all included Exhibit 10 language.

Rockets Sign Bruno Fernando To Four-Year Deal

8:00pm: The deal is official, per NBA.com’s transaction log.


4:58pm: The Rockets have agreed to a four-year, $10.9MM deal with center Bruno Fernando, his agents informed ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Fernando was recently converted from an Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way contract, but he’ll be converted again to this multiyear deal. The team wouldn’t have been able to convert him directly from his Exhibit 10 deal to a multiyear contract, but the intermediate step of the two-way made it possible.

Houston acquired Fernando, 24, in a deal with the Celtics earlier this year. The team sent away center Daniel Theis, also receiving Dennis Schröder and Enes Freedom. Fernando averaged 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 10 games with Houston to finish the season.

At 6’9″ and 240 pounds, Fernando is an athletic big man who lives around the rim. He has played in 119 NBA games with Atlanta, Boston and Houston during his career. He was also the No. 34 pick in 2019 after spending two collegiate seasons at Maryland.

With the move, Houston will reopen a two-way spot. The team finished with the worst record in the league last season at 20-62.

Rockets Convert Bruno Fernando To Two-Way Contract

The Rockets have converted Bruno Fernando‘s Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal, our JD Shaw reports (via Twitter).

The 34th overall pick of the 2018 draft after a couple of college seasons at Maryland, Fernando spent his first two pro season with Atlanta before being traded to Boston last year. The Celtics later sent him to Houston as part of a multiplayer deal.

The big man played some of the best basketball of his NBA career down the stretch with the Rockets in 2021/22, albeit in a limited role. Fernando averaged 6.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 0.8 BPG on 70.7% shooting in 10 appearances (9.4 MPG) for Houston. In 119 career games (9.2 MPG), the 24-year-old holds averages of 3.2 PPG and 2.8 RPG.

The Rockets are facing a roster crunch to start the ’22/23 regular season, as they currently have 18 players on standard contracts. That number needs to be reduced to 15 before the season starts.

After the conversion of Fernando’s contract, both of the team’s two-way spots are currently occupied; rookie Trevor Hudgins holds the other.

Western Notes: Marjanovic, Cauley-Stein, Lakers Arena, Warriors

What is the status of the ever popular Boban Marjanovic? According to Marc Stein in a Substack post, Marjanovic has a place on the Rockets’ opening night roster despite an excess of big men.

Marjanovic was dealt by Dallas as part of its package for Christian Wood. He has one season left on the two-year, $7MM contract he signed last offseason.

Alperen Şengün is projected as Houston’s starting center, with Bruno Fernando and Willie Cauley-Stein also vying for spots on the regular season roster.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The addition of Cauley-Stein isn’t official yet, as Houston must clear a roster space to sign him. He’s a low-risk, potentially solid-reward addition, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. Over the past five seasons, Cauley-Stein’s teams defended nearly five points better with him on the floor, Iko notes. He’s still athletic enough to play in Houston’s up-tempo system and should help the team defensively.
  • The home arena for the Lakers and Clippers in undergoing major renovations over the next three summers, according to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times. Upgrades are being made at every level of Crypto.com Arena, formerly known as the Staples Center. The upgrades include new jumbo screens, updated concession stands, a better sound system and an enhanced “fan experience.” The Clippers are scheduled to leave for their new arena in 2024.
  • Which member of the Warriors’ big three will leave? In a mailbag post, Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett speculates that Draymond Green is the only one who might depart in the near future. Stephen Curry has four years left on his deal and is the face of the franchise, while Klay Thompson has two years left on his contract and will likely sign another with Golden State. Green can opt out of his contract after next season and the heavily taxed Warriors may pin their hopes on one of their young frontcourt players emerging at a lower cost, Bulpett writes.