Cameron Thomas

Nets Notes: Griffin, Aldridge, Two-Way Slot, Harden, Irving, Thomas

The Nets are likely to move away from their approach of spreading the court and could field one of the tallest rotations in the league, writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. That decision was forced partially by the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving, but Brooklyn focused heavily on the frontcourt in its offseason moves, re-signing Blake Griffin and adding veteran big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap.

Griffin played alongside center Nicolas Claxton with the first unit in Saturday’s practice, Winfield notes, but he frequently started at center after joining the team last season and can be effective at either position. Millsap and Aldridge have spent most of their careers as power forwards, but they will also see time in the middle.

“It’s not a traditional big lineup. Blake can switch a lot. I can switch at times. (Kevin Durant) can do it all,” Aldridge said. “I think it’s a big lineup, but it’s not traditional. You’re going to need that. I think teams can play big and play small, and I think having the ability to do both is nice for us.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets’ decision to give David Duke Jr. their final two-way spot and waive Devontae Cacok was based on their philosophy related to two-way deals, Winfield adds. “I think it’s more development at this point,” coach Steve Nash said. “I think when you look at a team like this, it’s hard for those guys fighting for two-way spots to be guys that are playing in the rotation. So it’s not impossible, but it’s more of a development spot, someone that we can groom and help grow into a piece of this organization’s future.”
  • The Nets were determined to trade for James Harden last season because they already had doubts about whether they could trust Irving, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Woj added that Brooklyn and Philadelphia haven’t discussed a trade involving Irving and Ben Simmons, and he doesn’t believe the Sixers would have any interest in such a deal. He also said the Nets are preparing to play the entire season without Irving.
  • Cameron Thomas put together a strong preseason after being named co-MVP of the Summer League, but he’s still not likely to have a spot in the Nets’ rotation, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Brooklyn has an experienced backcourt after the offseason additions of Patty Mills and Jevon Carter, and there may not be many minutes available for the rookie guard. “I think there’s some ground for him to make up, but we love him as a player and think he’s got a bright future, but it might take some time,” Nash said. “He’s joined a pretty tough team to crack into.”

New York Notes: Nets, Thomas, Irving, Knicks

The 2025 second-round pick the Nets acquired from the Pacers in the Edmond Sumner trade completed on Wednesday includes some light protection, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

According to Marks, the 2025 second-rounder – which is actually Miami’s pick, not Indiana’s – will be top-37 protected. If it lands between 38-60, the Nets will get it, but if it ends up between 31-37, the Pacers will hang onto it.

The terms make sense, given that Sumner’s $2.3MM salary is a relatively small number for a salary dump. The Nets had to surrender an unprotected 2024 second-round pick when they sent Sekou Doumbouya and his larger cap hit ($3.6MM) to Houston in a separate trade earlier on Wednesday.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • In a story for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor takes an in-depth look at how the Nets constructed their roster and the role that talented scorer Cameron Thomas could play for the team in his rookie year. O’Connor also notes that the Nets players with whom he spoke seem “unmoved” by Kyrie Irving‘s vaccination status, suggesting the issue hasn’t become a distraction in the locker room.
  • In his recap of the Knicks‘ offseason moves and preview of their upcoming season, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes that 2022 will be the first time in a few years that New York won’t have any cap room, but points out that the team projects to be well below the tax line this season and going forward. That flexibility – along with the team’s stash of draft picks – could put the front office in position to take a big swing on the trade market at some point.
  • The Knicks‘ bench was one of their strengths last season and the team is hoping that bringing back many of the same pieces for 2021/22 will allow that success to carry over to the new season, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “I feel like our second unit, because we’re kind of the same as last year, I feel like we’re comfortable playing with each other and it’s just a matter of getting on the court, doing what we have to do to either keep the lead, improve the lead or (get) it back if we’re down a couple of points,” forward Obi Toppin said. “We know when we get onto the court our job is to bring the energy and just fight as much as we can, so when the first unit comes back in, they know they just got to continue off of what we did.”

Pelicans Notes: Hart, Offseason Moves, Murphy, Summer League

Josh Hart‘s new three-year deal with the Pelicans includes some unique terms, according to ESPN’s Will Guillory and Bobby Marks (Twitter links). In an Instagram video, Marks provides a more in-depth breakdown of the agreement.

After earning a guaranteed $12MM salary in year one, Hart will have a $12.96MM non-guaranteed salary in year two, says Guillory. If the Pelicans want to avoid paying Hart that salary, they’ll have to waive him by June 25, meaning he’d get a head-start on finding a new team in free agency.

If Hart plays out the first two years of his deal, his $12.96MM salary for 2023/24 would be non-guaranteed as well, but he also has a player option for that third year. It would essentially be a mutual option for Hart and the Pelicans. He’d have until June 24 to decide whether to exercise or decline his player option, then – if he opts in – New Orleans would have until June 25 to decide whether to guarantee his salary.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Scouts and executives polled by Tim Bontemps of ESPN were critical of the Pelicans’ offseason, questioning the team’s decision to replace Lonzo Ball with Devonte’ Graham. “They’re a sinking ship and reaching for a life preserver that just isn’t going to help,” one Western Conference executive said. “I don’t understand how (Jonas Valanciunas) is going to fit. I don’t understand how Devonte’ is worth what they paid. It’s just weird.”
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic loved what he saw from the Pelicans and Trey Murphy at Las Vegas Summer League, noting that he talked to two separate scouts who thought Murphy was the best rookie in Vegas. Vecenie referred to New Orleans’ Summer League team as “juggernaut” on the defensive end, singling out Murphy, Naji Marshall, Herb Jones, and Kira Lewis for their performances.
  • Murphy was one of seven players named to the All-Summer League First Team, per the NBA, as he joined co-MVPs Davion Mitchell and Cameron Thomas, among others.

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Randle, Walker, Sixers

Nets rookie Cameron Thomas has shined during the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Thomas entered Sunday as the highest-scoring rookie in the event, proving his value as the No. 27 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

“People always want to doubt me and doubt my ability to score the ball,” Thomas said. “My progress has been great. I’ve been getting better game-to-game, getting a better feel for the game, feel for the pace…I think I’m doing real well.”

Thomas and the Nets will play the Spurs on Sunday night before finishing summer league on Tuesday.

Here are some other notes out of New York today:

  • Julius Randle‘s extension with the Knicks will likely be a win-win situation for both him and the team, says Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Randle is coming off a career-best season, averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists per game. The Knicks finished with an impressive 41-31 record and made the playoffs for the first time since 2013 in 2020/21.
  • New Knicks guard Kemba Walker is set to return to New York after spending the last decade away from the state, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Walker signed with the Knicks after reaching a buyout agreement with the Thunder, joining a backcourt that already includes Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and others. As Bondy notes, the Bronx native will now have the chance to show what he’s learned on the road over the past 10 years.
  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines what various Sixers players have learned during summer league this month, specifically those entering their second seasons. Among those players is Paul Reed, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes of work on Saturday.

New York Notes: Perry, Thomas, Jokubaitis, Grimes

The Nets rescinded their qualifying offer to Reggie Perry just before Friday’s deadline, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be back for another season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The second-year power forward can no longer accept the offer, which was limited to one year with a $50K guarantee because he was a two-way player last season, and Brooklyn can’t match any offer he might receive in free agency because he’s now unrestricted.

Perry remains with the Nets’ Summer League team and took part in practice today. He wasn’t made available to the media afterward, and coach Jordan Ott said questions about Perry’s future should go to his bosses.

“We just want to leave that to (general manager) Sean (Marks) and (head coach) Steve (Nash),” Ott said. “I’ll say this: He is here, he’s practicing. He’s a Brooklyn Net. He’s part of our summer league team. We coached him just like any other person on our team. We came here to get better. He got better (Saturday). We all got better. We’re going to continue to coach him every day. That’s what we’re all signed up to do. He’s a Brooklyn Net right now, and we’ll continue to coach him.”

There’s more on the two New York teams:

  • The Nets drafted Cameron Thomas well outside of the lottery, but he has been among the most productive rookies so far during Summer League, Lewis writes in a separate story. Going into Friday’s games, Thomas was the top-scoring first-year player in Las Vegas. “Cam, I mean, I don’t even know where to start,” Ott said. “Ultimate gamer, young guy, finds a way often. … Even just getting to the free-throw line when nothing is there, the ability to get to the free-throw line. For a young guy, it’s pretty incredible.”
  • Second-round pick Rokas Jokubaitis won’t finish Summer League play with the Knicks, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The 34th overall pick has left Las Vegas to join his Barcelona team, and Berman states that the plan was to have him play in three games. He notes that Jokubaitis saw limited action, but displayed speed, outside shooting and energy on defense.
  • Rookie guard Quentin Grimes had his best offensive showing Friday night, scoring 10 of his 15 points in the second half, Berman writes in another piece. Grimes credits the performance to becoming more aggressive. “I’m starting to get real comfortable,’’ he said. “The first two games, I didn’t shoot it the way I can. But I hung my hat on defense and rebounding and making plays. Allan Houston told me keep shooting, they’re going to fall. Penny (Hardaway) texted me and said you’re a shooter, keep shooting. That’s what you do. That’s what I did today, being aggressive at all times.’’

Cameron Thomas Signs Rookie Contract With Nets

Cameron Thomas, the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft, has signed his rookie contract with the Nets, the team announced today in a press release.

While terms weren’t officially disclosed, we can project what Thomas will earn based on the NBA’s rookie scale. If he signed for the maximum allowable amount – as most first-rounders do – the 6’4″ guard will earn a first-year salary of $2.04MM and a four-year total of $10.46MM. The third and fourth years of the deal will be team options.

Thomas, who declared for the draft following his freshman season at LSU, was one of college basketball’s top scorers in 2020/21, averaging 23.0 points per contest in 29 games (34.0 MPG). Although the 19-year-old struggled a little with his shot from the floor (40.6%) and from beyond the three-point line (32.5%), his ability to get to the free throw line (7.6 attempts per game) and make his foul shots (88.2%) was a big plus.

Brooklyn entered draft night last Thursday with four picks and – somewhat surprisingly – kept all of them and agreed to acquire another, drafting five players in total. We should hear more in the coming days about the Nets finalizing deals with some of their other draftees.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Duarte, Thomas, Şengün

Baylor point guard Davion Mitchell worked out for about seven or eight NBA clubs in the lead-up to Thursday’s draft, including the Thunder, Warriors, and Spurs, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).

Mitchell, whose team won the NCAA championship this season, is currently slated as a mid-lottery pick on ESPN’s latest big board. The 6’2″ guard averaged 14.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.9 SPG across 30 games, all starts, during the 2020/21 season. During his final collegiate season, Mitchell posted a shooting line of .511/.447/.643.

Mitchell was honored as the 2020/21 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as being a two-time All-Big 12 and two-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection.

Here are some other draft-related notes to pass along:

  • Oregon guard Chris Duarte is not anticipated to fall beyond the No. 15 pick in Thursday’s upcoming NBA draft, per J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star (subscription required). For the 2020/21 season, the 6’6″ Duarte was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and the All-Defensive Team.
  • 6’4″ LSU shooting guard Cameron Thomas, expected to be a first-round selection in the upcoming draft, has thus far worked out for the Pacers, Warriors, Hornets, Grizzlies, Hawks, Knicks and Lakers, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (via Twitter). Hughes adds (Twitter link) that Thomas is also set to work out for the Wizards on July 27. Thomas was a 2020/21 All-SEC selection.
  • Beşiktaş center Alperen Şengün, the 2021 Turkish League MVP, has worked out for the Warriors, Kings, Spurs, Hornets, Magic and Thunder, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. The big man is projected as a mid-first-round selection on the current ESPN big board.

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Sixers, Cavaliers, Hornets

Tennessee guard Jaden Springer and Oregon guard Chris Duarte are expected to work out for the Hawks shortly before the draft, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Duarte is ranked No. 23 on ESPN’s Best Available list, though he’s expected by some outlets to go higher, and Springer is rated No. 27. Atlanta holds the No. 20 pick.

We have more draft news involving Eastern Conference teams:

Draft Notes: Garza, Cooper, Pacers, Mock Drafts

The Sixers, who are in the market for a reserve center, worked out a pair of big men today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Iowa’s Luka Garza, the two-time national player of the year, was in Philadelphia, along with Utah State’s Neemias Queta.

Garza, who is projected to be taken anywhere from the end of the first round to the middle of the second round, has dropped weight since the college season ended in an effort to become more mobile on defense. Queta was named Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference and was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.

With Dwight Howard entering free agency, Pompey notes that the Sixers don’t have a reliable backup to Joel Embiid. Philadelphia holds the 28th and 50th selections in next week’s draft.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Draft Notes: Green Room Invites, Makur, Taylor, Draft Intel

The NBA has finalized the list of 20 prospects who will be invited to the Green Room on draft night, writes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. While 15 of the names had already been reported, the final five players were identified over the last two days: Chris Duarte, Cameron Thomas, Isaiah Jackson, Alperen Sengun and Ziaire Williams will round out the group.

While an invitation to the Green Room is no guarantee of being drafted in the top 20, the decision is considered to be an indication of teams’ thinking, as the invitations are determined through a series of conversations with general managers and a voting process where teams vote on the 25 prospects most likely to have their name called first, Givony writes.

We have more news from around the draft world:

  • Howard University’s Makur Maker has withdrawn from the draft, tweets draft analyst Chad Ford. The 6’11 forward flashed versatility at the NBA Combine, but his draft stock was still hazy. Because he missed the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline, Maker will likely pursue professional options, whether in the G League, Australia’s NBL, or elsewhere.
  • Terry Taylor worked out with the Bucks yesterday and the Nuggets today, tweets Adam Zagoria of Forbes. Taylor has workouts lined up with the Nets, Cavaliers and Mavericks this week, and already worked out for the Knicks, Warriors, Kings, Pacers, Grizzlies, Bulls, Spurs and Pelicans. The 6’5″ wing led the country in double-doubles, Zagoria notes.
  • Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo released his latest mock draft today, sharing some pieces of intel gathered from sources. Within his mock, Woo confirms that the prevailing notion is that the Rockets prefer Jalen Green to Evan Mobley, that the Thunder are being increasingly linked to James Bouknight, that the Magic covet Scottie Barnes, and that Jonathan Kuminga‘s range seems to be settling around six-to-eight, rather than being a top-five pick.