Cam Thomas

Atlantic Notes: Reddish, Simmons, Thomas, Rivers

Forward Cam Reddish is headed to free agency next summer and he’ll be restricted if the Knicks extend a qualifying offer. Reddish is getting a chance to enhance his value, as he’s been inserted into the starting lineup, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Reddish played 37 minutes against Boston on Saturday and 29 minutes against Minnesota on Monday.

“It’s been cool, man, it’s been fun. It’s obviously been a journey, and I’m just trying to continue to grind,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’ve done much of anything up to this point, but every single night is a new opportunity to prove myself at both ends of the floor. So I’m just trying to go out there and do that.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons missed four games due to a sore knee and didn’t have much of an impact upon his return, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. He finished with two points, two assists and three rebounds in 16 minutes against Dallas. “I’m my harshest critic, so I think terrible,” Simmons said of his performance. “There’s a place I want to get to. I’ve got to keep working. I’ve got to keep pushing myself.”
  • Cam Thomas has been one of the beneficiaries of Kyrie Irving‘s suspension, Lewis points out in another post. Thomas had previously expressed frustration over his limited role but he has played at least 29 minutes over the past three games. The Nets’ second-year guard has averaged 19 points and four assists in those outings. “It means a lot. It was a rough first two, three weeks of the season for me,” Thomas said. “So for Coach (Jacque Vaughn) to have trust in me to close the game out, and play me a good amount of minutes these last two games, I can’t thank him enough for that.”
  • Doc Rivers doesn’t deserve to be the fall guy for the Sixers’ slow start, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. James Harden is out with a foot injury and Joel Embiid has missed some games, Pompey notes, while free agent acquisition P.J. Tucker hasn’t been the defensive stalwart the team had hoped after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

Nets’ Cam Thomas Frustrated By Limited Role

Through the Nets‘ first five games of the season, including four losses, second-year guard Cam Thomas has logged just 14 total minutes. Thirteen of those minutes came in the season opener on October 19 — since then, he has been a DNP-CD three times and played the final minute of Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee when the score was out of reach.

Asked after Thursday’s game whether his lack of playing time is frustrating, Thomas replied, “Of course,” according to Ethan Sears of The New York Post.

The Nets have dealt with some injuries in the early going this season — Seth Curry still hasn’t suited up for a game as he returns from ankle surgery, and Joe Harris has been in and out of the lineup, coming off his own ankle injury. Still, Thomas finds himself behind Edmond Sumner and Patty Mills, among others, on the depth chart and isn’t part of Brooklyn’s regular rotation, Sears writes.

The former first-round pick, who appeared in 67 games and averaged 17.6 MPG as a rookie in 2021/22, said that he wasn’t given a sense in training camp that he wouldn’t play regular minutes to open the season, adding that his role – or lack thereof – has been “very” surprising.

“Ain’t had no conversations (with Nets head coach Steve Nash),” Thomas said. “Just not playing at the moment. … It is what it is.”

Thomas is a prolific scorer who led all freshman during his lone college season at LSU with 23.0 points per game and put up 27.4 PPG in the Las Vegas Summer League this July.

While the Nets’ middle-of-the-pack offense could perhaps benefit from Thomas’ scoring punch, putting the ball in the basket hasn’t been the team’s main problem so far this season. Brooklyn’s 120.2 defensive rating ranks dead last in the NBA, so if Nash and the Nets’ coaching staff aren’t confident that Thomas can help improve the team on that end of the floor, his limited role makes some sense.

Brooklyn picked up Thomas’ third-year rookie scale option earlier this month, so he’s locked up through at least the 2023/24 season. The Nets also hold a team option on him for ’24/25.

Nets Exercise 2023/24 Options On Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe

The Nets have picked up their team options on guard Cam Thomas and big man Day’Ron Sharpe for the 2023/24 season, the team announced today.

Thomas and Sharpe were the 27th and 29th overall picks, respectively, in the 2021 draft. Thomas’ rookie scale contract calls for a $2,240,160 third-year salary in 2023/24, while Sharpe will earn $2,210,040. Both of those salaries are now fully guaranteed.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2023/24 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Thomas, who was one of the top scorers in college basketball at LSU before going pro, averaged 8.5 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 67 games (17.6 MPG) for the Nets as a rookie. He showed off his scoring prowess at this year’s Summer League, averaging 27.4 PPG in just 30.3 MPG across five contests in Las Vegas.

Sharpe played a more limited role as a rookie, appearing in just 32 games and averaging 6.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 12.2 MPG. However, the 6’11” forward/center made a case for an increased role this year with a strong preseason, as we detailed on Sunday.

The Nets will have to decide on Thomas’ and Sharpe’s fourth-year options for the 2024/25 season next October. If those options are also exercised, the two players will become eligible for rookie scale extensions in July of 2024.

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Durant, Griffin, Horford, Tatum, Hartenstein

Cam Thomas‘ playing time dropped late last season and it doesn’t figure to spike upward with all of the Nets’ stars back in action this season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes.

“We’ll see how it goes after training camp. But he clearly is on a veteran team with a lot of guys who can play, have had a lot of success,” coach Steve Nash said. “We know Cam’s talented, and just trying to continue to develop him and see if he can keep pushing and getting better at certain things that’ll help him get minutes. I said whether he plays or he doesn’t play, he has to stay positive, he has to keep the belief that this process is going to help him.”

Thomas appeared in 67 games last season, averaging 8.5 PPG in 17.6 MPG.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After all the drama he created during the offseason, Nets superstar Kevin Durant doesn’t want to continue answering questions about it, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell“Can we move on past that at some point?” Durant said. “I know it’s an interesting story. I know that it took up most of the offseason and drama sells, I get that, but I didn’t miss any games, I didn’t miss any practices, I’m still here. So hopefully we can move past that.”
  • Blake Griffin‘s versatility convinced the Celtics to take a flier on him, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. He was used more as a floor spacer and roller rather than the post-up scorer last season with the Nets, and he’s an adept ball handler. That makes him a more natural fit in Boston’s scheme. Griffin, who agreed to a one-year guaranteed deal, could see minutes at either power forward or center despite his defensive limitations.
  • With Ime Udoka out of the picture and young assistant Joe Mazzulla serving as the Celtics’ interim coach, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum need to take on bigger leadership roles, Steve Bulpett of opines. Horford can be more vocal and even demonstrative, while Tatum can set a better example by not complaining as much to the referees and by being quicker in terms of ball movement.
  • Center Isaiah Hartenstein will bring a new dimension to the Knicks’ second unit, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. Hartenstein fits the blueprint of what coach Tom Thibodeau demands on the defensive end due to his rim protection, Popper notes, and he’ll be tasked at times as the orchestrator of the second-unit offense. Hartenstein signed a two-year, $16.7MM contract as a free agent in July.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Celtics, Moser, Nets, Thomas

After Raptors 905 head coach Patrick Mutombo was hired away by Phoenix, Eric Khoury will take the reins coaching Toronto’s G League team in 2022/23. As Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes, Khoury’s background in academia and analytics is a little out of the ordinary for an NBA coach, but the 33-year-old has been in the Raptors’ organization for nearly a decade and has proven his basketball bona fides.

“I think that shows that you can come from any sort of background, any diverse background and if you show interest in the game, passion for the game, some hard work … you don’t necessarily need to come from the most traditional, ‘Well, I’ve coached at this level, now at this level’ and slowly bring your way up the ranks,” Khoury said.

“If you show that you have a passion for the game and you bring a cool perspective or a different perspective and you’re willing to work hard at it that it’s possible to make it at the next level.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Mike Moser, who spent the 2021/22 season as an assistant for the Oregon women’s basketball team, has accepted a job on the Celtics‘ coaching staff, writes Jarrid Denney of Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves announced the news on Twitter.
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic takes a look at which Celtics Summer League players made the strongest cases for a shot at a regular season roster spot, evaluating Brodric Thomas, Matt Ryan, and Justin Jackson, among others.
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post shares his takeaways from the Nets‘ Summer League performance, including his impressions on Cam Thomas, David Duke, and Alondes Williams. While Thomas had another big Summer League showing as a scorer, he’ll have to continue improving as a play-maker and defender to earn an increased role in Brooklyn’s regular season rotation, Lewis says.
  • In addition to carrying a pair of Australians (Ben Simmons and Patty Mills) on their roster, the Nets now have one on their coaching staff. Alex Schiffer of The Athletic profiles Adam Caporn, the newly-promoted Nets assistant who coached Brooklyn’s Summer League team after spending last season in the G League coaching the Long Island Nets.

Keegan Murray Named Las Vegas Summer League MVP

Kings forward Keegan Murray has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League, according to an announcement from the NBA (Twitter link).

Murray, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals in his four Summer League games. He also made 50% of his shots from the field and knocked down 40% of his 8.8 three-point attempts per contest.

It was a terrific start for a rookie who figures to play a major role for a Kings team that badly wants to end its 16-year playoff drought. The first player selected after the consensus top three prospects were off the board, Murray was rated behind No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey on some experts’ draft boards, so the two youngsters will likely be measured against one another for at least the first year or two of their professional careers.

Murray looks like he’ll be an excellent fit on a Kings roster led by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, two talented scorers who aren’t elite defenders or reliable outside shooters. The former Iowa standout is capable of stretching the floor and handling a variety of defensive assignments, so he’ll presumably see plenty of action alongside Sacramento’s two stars.

Tari Eason (Rockets), Quentin Grimes (Knicks), Sandro Mamukelashvili (Bucks), and Cam Thomas (Nets) joined Murray on the All-Summer League First Team, according to the league (Twitter links). Thomas and another King, Davion Mitchell, shared the Summer League MVP award in 2021.

This year’s All-Summer League Second Team is made up of Santi Aldama (Grizzlies), Bennedict Mathurin (Pacers), Marko Simonovic (Bulls), Trendon Watford (Trail Blazers), and Lindell Wigginton (Bucks).

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Sixers, Thomas

Fresh off his first Finals appearance, Celtics guard Marcus Smart is excited for the on-court fit of the newly-acquired Malcolm Brogdon and recent free agency signing Danilo Gallinari, per Jay King of The Athletic.

“I love it,” Smart told Kang. “You’ve got two veteran guys who can feed off each other, who can rotate and help this team in multiple ways. I think it’s going to fit perfect. Not one of us will have all the pressure of running the team. We’re doing this together… Of course, we all know what Malcolm brings to the table, we know what Gallo brings. And it’s just exciting to add those guys.”

According to King, team president Brad Stevens, Smart’s head coach with Boston from 2014-21, talked to Smart about both new Celtics and about the team’s evolution during their shared tenures with the franchise.

Though Smart served as Boston’s starting point guard throughout the club’s 2022 playoff run, he’s not a traditional pass-first ball-handler. The scoring and passing touch of the 6’5″ Brogdon, who can play either guard spot and defend at a high level when healthy, could make him an excellent complement to Smart in Boston’s backcourt rotation.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • As the Jazz field conversations with rival front offices for All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, the Sixers may actually reap some ancillary rewards, writes Kyle Neubeck of Should the Jazz continue to offload their older players, Neubeck notes that proven veteran Utah guards like Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley and Jordan Clarkson could be solid fits for Philadelphia as the team continues to build out its depth.
  • Second-year Nets shooting guard Cam Thomas is prioritizing on his own Summer League development and not Brooklyn’s potential upcoming personnel turnover, specifically regarding the futures of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, writes Marc J. Spears of Andscape“Anybody can get traded,” Thomas, the No. 27 pick out of LSU in 2021, acknowledged. “So, I try to stay away from them as much as I can, and just keep working on what the coach wants me to work on, even though that might change depending on who we have. I just want to keep working on what I’ve been working on, honestly.” Through four games in Las Vegas thus far, Thomas’s hard work has been paying off. He’s averaging 28.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 RPG and 0.8 SPG.
  • In case you missed it, we previously relayed the contract details for new Knicks Jalen Brunson, Mitchell Robinson, and Isaiah Hartenstein.

Nets Notes: Irving, Simmons, Durant, Sumner, Claxton, Gray

Nets wing Cam Thomas isn’t letting the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving affect his outlook for the 2022/23 season and said this weekend that he won’t think any less of his star teammate if Kyrie pushes to be traded elsewhere, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Irving has been spotted at multiple Las Vegas Summer League games, but didn’t attend the Nets’ contests on Friday or Sunday.

“Kyrie’s my guy. Whatever’s his choices, that’s a choice,” Thomas said. “So I still keep in contact with him. That’s my guy. So whatever he does, that’ll still be my guy, my brother. So, it is what it is; it’s part of the business.”

While Thomas said he wasn’t bothered by Irving not showing up to the Nets’ Summer League games, he did praise three-time All-Star Ben Simmons for coming out to watch some of his young teammates on Sunday vs. Philadelphia.

“Yeah that’s big to have somebody of that stature come out and support us as the young guys. That makes us feel good. It makes us happy to play,” Thomas said. “So kudos to Ben for coming out here and watching us play.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Nets general manager Sean Marks and Heat GM Andy Elisburg were seen talking in Las Vegas on Monday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter links), who says the two GMs are “going beyond cursory conversation” by dining together. Miami is, of course, considered one of Kevin Durant‘s preferred landing spots, so any discussions between the two front offices are worth keeping an eye on.
  • The new contract Edmond Sumner signed with the Nets is a two-year, minimum-salary contract, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who tweets that the second year is non-guaranteed.
  • Nic Claxton‘s new two-year contract with Brooklyn, initially reported to be worth $20MM, actually has a base value of $17.25MM, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. The deal includes $2,587,500 in total unlikely incentives, so if Claxton earns all those bonuses, he could end up making nearly $20MM across the two seasons.
  • A second-round pick in 2021, forward RaiQuan Gray signed a G League contract and spent his rookie season with the Long Island Nets in the G League, so Brooklyn still controls his NBA rights. As Lewis writes for The New York Post, Gray has worked hard to get into better shape and show the Nets that he deserves a shot at an NBA roster spot this fall.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Thomas, Duke, Free Agency

Though his two All-Star Nets colleagues Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could very well be on the move this summer, a trade for injured All-Defensive Team Brooklyn guard Ben Simmons remains very unlikely, Brooklyn sources inform Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Simmons missed the entire 2021/22 season due to mental health issues and a back injury that required surgery. Sources tell Lewis, who notes that Simmons is on track to rejoin Brooklyn in time for the team’s training camp this fall, that the former No. 1 overall pick has little trade value at present. The three-time All-Star, still just 25, holds career averages of 15.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 7.7 APG.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • Several teams have contacted the Nets about potential deals for second-year player Cam Thomas, Lewis writes in another story for the New York Post. According to Lewis, a Thomas trade may fetch a first-round draft pick for Brooklyn, should the team want to move off the 20-year-old shooting guard. Across 67 games with the Nets, Thomas averaged 8.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 1.5 APG in just 17.6 MPG.
  • After going undrafted in 2021 out of Providence, point guard David Duke Jr. impressed the Nets on a two-way deal. This summer, he has thus far passed on an offer from Brooklyn for a second two-way contract (presumably the standard two-way QO that includes a $50K partial guarantee) in the hopes of instead being signed to a standard deal to join the team’s 15-man roster, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post“Well, you know, I’m always going to strive for the most that I can get, right?” Duke said of his reasoning. “So if there’s a roster spot to strive for that, then whatever happens from there, happens… But like I said, I’m just out here [in Summer League] trying to play the best that I can, show what I can bring to Brooklyn, to whoever.”
  • The Nets are thus far the biggest losers in free agency this year, opines Kevin Pelton of ESPN (YouTube link). That issue may have more to do with the team’s top stars potentially wanting to be traded off the team more so than its fairly minimal free agent signings. “No matter how this Durant situation plays out, even if they’re able to retain him… still you’re going to have Kyrie Irving’s situation hanging over their entire season,” Pelton said. “And it’s also kind of affected their ability to make moves so far this offseason,” Pelton added. While Pelton applauded their low-risk signing of T.J. Warren to a one-year contract, he was less enthused about another big Brooklyn transaction. “[I] wasn’t a big fan of their trade to send a first-round pick to Utah for Royce O’Neale. People are going to describe O’Neale as a 3-and-D player, but the defense part of that equation has been lacking the last couple of seasons.”

Scotto’s Latest: Portis, Johnson, Graham, Nets, Batum, More

Within his latest round-up of NBA rumors, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms a number of items that have been previously reported or speculated. According to Scotto, Bucks forward Bobby Portis is widely expected to decline his $4.56MM player option to become a free agent, the Lakers are considered a strong bet to pick up Stanley Johnson‘s $2.35MM team option, and Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham is available in trade talks.

Scotto’s article includes several other intriguing tidbits related to the draft, free agency, and the trade market. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Nets have fielded trade inquiries on Joe Harris and Cam Thomas, according to Scotto, who says rival executives believe Brooklyn could potentially get a first-round pick in exchange for Thomas. While there’s a sense that Harris might be more available than in previous years due to the Nets’ February acquisition of Seth Curry, the team still believes Harris would be a useful piece on next year’s roster due to his ability to help on the boards and space the floor around Ben Simmons, Scotto writes.
  • The Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and Bucks are among the teams that have inquired about the No. 14 overall pick, currently held by the Cavaliers, league sources tell HoopsHype. Scotto previously reported that Cleveland would be open to the idea of moving down in the draft if it meant acquiring a future first-round pick.
  • Rival executives who spoke to Scotto believe veteran forward Nicolas Batum could be in line for a deal worth $10MM per year after turning down his player option. The Clippers would have the ability to go that high to re-sign Batum using his Early Bird rights.
  • Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia has visited Milwaukee and worked out for the Bucks twice during the pre-draft process, Scotto reports. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who previously identified LaRavia as a player on Milwaukee’s radar, has him ranked 28th on ESPN’s big board of 2022 prospects. The Bucks hold the 24th overall pick.