Chris Chiozza

Nets Notes: Durant, Harden, Pelle, G League

The NBA has only seen a glimpse of what Kevin Durant and James Harden are capable of, Nets coach Steve Nash tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Durant ranks second in the league in scoring at 30.5 PPG, while Harden is first in assists at 11.1 per game, and Nash expects them to improve as they develop chemistry together. He notes that Durant is still finding his game after missing 18 months with a ruptured Achilles.

“Obviously he’s playing great offensively, he’s still trying to get comfortable though,” Nash said. “That’s how good he is. He’s just a walking bucket. He’s out there on the floor, and he can fall into baskets just with his talent, skill, length, athleticism. So he looks great, he’s moving great, he’s scoring the ball well. I think he still has layers to go as he continues to feel more comfortable defensively, rebounding, rounding out his game, all the things that he’s been able to do outside of scoring.”

Harden is still working his way back into shape after missing the start of training camp and going through a disruptive situation in Houston. He’s also getting to know his new teammates after being in Brooklyn a little more than two weeks.

“He’s getting comfortable with his surroundings, but he’s definitely getting in better shape,” Nash said. “That’s important. He’s just going to get better the more comfortable he gets and the better shape he gets.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have been successful since forming their Big Three, but there are concerns that the stars are playing too many minutes, Lewis adds in a separate story. Harden leads the NBA at 38.5 minutes per game, with Durant third at 36.8 and Kyrie Irving close behind at 35.7. “Long term, I don’t like it. I would err on the side of saying it’s not sustainable,” Nash said. “But at the same time, we are where we are right now with a little bit of a depth or a second-unit synchronicity (issue). We’re kind of caught in between. But that’s a problem that we are trying to solve and thinking of different ways to solve it.”
  • Brooklyn’s new deal with Norvel Pelle is non-guaranteed, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN, who notes that the league-wide guarantee date is February 24. Players waived after that date will have their salaries locked in for the rest of the season.
  • The Nets’ G League affiliate announced its roster this week for the bubble in Orlando. It will include two-way players Reggie Perry and Chris Chiozza.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Dinwiddie, Chiozza, Bullock

A rash of backcourt injuries have allowed 6’5″ combo guard Frank Ntilikina to become the primary option at backup point guard for the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Rookie Immanuel Quickley bruised his hip in the Knicks’ season opener, Dennis Smith Jr. will be missing all of the club’s current four-game road trip due to a bruised quadriceps muscle, and veteran off-guard Austin Rivers has yet to suit up for New York as he deals with a pulled groin.

Ntilikina has been striving to improve his jump shooting during this young season. “Working [on it] is the key,” he said. “The answer to probably everything in this game is probably work and just treat it with confidence.”

There’s more out of the Empire State:

  • With guard Spencer Dinwiddie likely out for the season due to a partially torn ACL, some league executives weighed in on whether or not he will pick up his $12.3MM player option with the Nets for the 2021/22 NBA season, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Dinwiddie released a statement on his Instagram page, expressing his hope to beat the odds as he works to recover from this latest knee issue.
  • Two-way Nets guard Chris Chiozza is currently the biggest rotational beneficiary of Dinwiddie’s absence, according to Mollie Walker of the New York Post. “You never want to see your teammate get hurt and praying for Spencer, we’re here for him, hopefully he makes a speedy return,” Chiozza said. “He’s a big part of this team. While he’s out, we take it, everybody takes it, to do a little bit more than we’ve been doing, collectively.”
  • After battling health issues for much of his 2019/20 season with the Knicks, veteran swingman Reggie Bullock has managed to contribute on both sides of the court to the injury-depleted club this year, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. “Well, his defense has been terrific,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So just watching him move on the court he’s obviously not laboring like he did last year. I think health is the big thing and he’s been a good pro wherever he’s been.” Bullock just poured in 17 points in almost 41 minutes to help the Knicks beat the Cavaliers tonight, 95-86. He connected on five of his nine three-point attempts.

Nets Re-Sign Chiozza To Two-Way Contract, Waive Martin

The Nets have made a change to one of their two-way contract slots, announcing today in a press release that they’ve waived Jeremiah Martin and re-signed Chris Chiozza to a two-way deal to replace him.

Chiozza, 25, signed a two-way contract with Brooklyn in January and emerged as a reliable rotation player for the team, averaging 6.4 PPG and 3.1 APG on .425/.357/1.000 shooting in 18 games (15.4 MPG).

The Nets issued Chiozza a qualifying offer in November, making him a restricted free agent. He ended up signing a one-year, minimum-salary contract with Brooklyn, but it was non-guaranteed, which made him expendable on Saturday when the club made its roster cuts.

Although he didn’t make the 15-man squad, Chiozza cleared waivers and is now back on another two-way contract, which will allow him to be active in up to 50 of the Nets’ 72 regular season games this season. He’ll earn $449,155 on the deal, alongside fellow two-way player Reggie Perry.

Martin, meanwhile, will become a free agent on Thursday if he goes unclaimed on waivers. The former University of Memphis point guard, who signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Nets in January appeared in nine games as a rookie in 2019/20, averaging 7.1 PPG and 2.0 APG in 11.0 MPG. He also averaged 17.7 PPG and 4.5 APG in 37 G League games (30.4 MPG) for Long Island and Sioux Falls.

Nets Waive Three Players, Convert Perry To Two-Way Contract

The Nets have waived guards Chris Chiozza and Elie Okobo, along with forward Paul Eboua, the team announced in an email. The team will keep rookie forward Reggie Perry, converting his Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal.

Chiozza came to Brooklyn on a two-way contract in January and re-signed with the team in December. He got into 18 games and averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 assists in about 15 minutes per night. He also played 10 games for the Wizards last season.

Okobo and Eboua both joined the Nets this week, so they may be headed to the G League. Okobo was the 31st pick in the 2018 draft and spent the past two seasons with the Suns. Eboua was claimed Friday after being waived by the Heat.

Perry was taken with the 57th pick in this year’s draft. The Nets acquired him in a three-way trade that involved the Clippers and Pistons.

With the moves, Brooklyn’s roster is now complete with all 15 spots filled, along with a pair of two-way players.

New York Notes: Smith Jr., Perry, Irving, Chiozza

This could be a make-or-break season for Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and he has impressed coach Tom Thibodeau in the early days of camp, according to Greg Joyce of the New York Post. Smith could be a restricted or unrestricted free agent next offseason, depending upon the Knicks’ desire to extend him a qualifying offer. He’s also been subjected to trade rumors.

“I think he’s come into camp and he’s been very aggressive,” Thibodeau said. “I think each day, he’s gotten better and better. That’s what we’re asking him to do — to run his team, keep us organized, take advantage of what your strengths are, your ability to get downhill to force people to collapse, and then make the right play.”

We have more on the New York City teams:

  • Nets veterans have been impressed with the work ethic of rookie big man Reggie Perry, Tom Dowd of the team’s website writes. Last season’s SEC’s Co-Player of the Year at Mississippi State is on a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract, which could be converted to a two-way deal. “He’s a young kid who works very, very hard, who knows the game of basketball,” forward Jeff Green said.
  • Kyrie Irving and the Nets have been fined $25K apiece for failure to comply with media access rules, ESPN’s Malika Andrews relays. A defiant Irving called the media “pawns” unworthy of his attention on an Instagram post on Friday, according to NetsDaily.com. Irving has declined numerous requests to speak to reporters since the beginning of training camp on December 1.
  • Nets guard Chris Chiozza declared that he had some two-way offers from other teams, but preferred to stay with Brooklyn, seeking an opportunity to win a championship, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Chiozza played on a two-way contract with Brooklyn last season but rolled the dice prior to camp this month, signing a one-year non-guaranteed deal.

New York Notes: Rivers, Burks, Chiozza, Allen, Johnson

New Knicks guard Austin Rivers drew interest from multiple suitors in free agency, including many who are closer to championship contention than New York. However, Rivers said this week that he jumped at the opportunity to play in the “mecca of basketball” and to try to build “something special” with his new club.

“It’s easy to go somewhere where everything already is set up and they’ve been to the playoffs four, five years in a row,” Rivers said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I’ve been on those teams. Those are great experiences. But I want to take those experiences and lessons and help this team and this organization as many ways as possible. That era of people not wanting to come here, our job is to change that. We have to make that attractive. And we will.”

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

  • The presence of former Jazz executive Walt Perrin and former Jazz assistant Johnnie Bryant in New York helped convince Alec Burks to sign with the Knicks in free agency, as Berman details in a separate New York Post story.
  • Chris Chiozza‘s new one-year contract with the Nets is a non-guaranteed training camp contract, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn has 14 players on guaranteed contracts and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot on a partially guaranteed deal, so Chiozza will have an uphill battle to earn a regular season roster spot.
  • Jarrett Allen is entering a contract year and has been mentioned in trade rumors throughout the year, creating some uncertainty about his future with the Nets. The fourth-year center is trying to shut out that speculation and focus on what he can control, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “At the end of the day, I just try to put it aside,” Allen said. “I know it’s big decisions, deciding where I’m playing or deciding whatever happens at the end of the day. It’s all basketball at the end of the day, whether I’m happy about what happens or not happy. It’s all basketball and I’m here to play it.”
  • Newly re-signed Nets guard Tyler Johnson said there were “definitely other teams and other opportunities” for him in free agency, but that he has appreciated GM Sean Marks‘ transparency and wants to compete for a title in Brooklyn. Chris Milholen of NetsDaily has the story.

Nets Re-Sign Chris Chiozza

The Nets have officially re-signed free agent point guard Chris Chiozza, the team announced today in a press release.

Chiozza, 25, signed a two-way contract with Brooklyn in January and emerged as a reliable rotation player for the team, averaging 6.4 PPG and 3.1 APG on .425/.357/1.000 shooting in 18 games (15.4 MPG).

The Nets issued him a qualifying offer in November, making him a restricted free agent. That QO was equivalent to another two-way contract, but today’s press release doesn’t mention anything about Chiozza’s new contract being a two-way deal, so we’ll have to wait for clarification on the exact terms.

While Chiozza played well for the Nets in 2019/20, it’s unclear whether there will be a place for him on the regular season roster this season, with Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Tyler Johnson all ahead of him on the point guard depth chart. Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet are options at the position too.

Brooklyn is currently carrying 14 players on guaranteed contracts, with Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot considered the favorite for the 15th spot. Another point guard, Jeremiah Martin, occupies one of the two-way contract slots, with second-round pick Reggie Perry a candidate to have his Exhibit 10 deal converted into a two-way contract to fill the other opening.

QO Updates: Wanamaker, Hernangomez, Fall, Chiozza, More

The Celtics won’t be making a qualifying offer to guard Brad Wanamaker, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The decision will ensure that Wanamaker becomes an unrestricted free agent on Friday, rather than an RFA.

The decision is a little surprising, as Wanamaker’s QO would only have been worth about $1.82MM. And he was a fairly reliable bench contributor in Boston in 2019/20, averaging 6.9 PPG and 2.5 APG on .448/.363/.926 shooting in 71 games (19.3 MPG). However, with Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard entering the mix, the Celtics don’t have a ton of roster spots to go around.

There’s still a chance that Wanamaker could return to the Celtics, particularly if Gordon Hayward ends up elsewhere, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Here are several more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves, as expected, tendered a qualifying offer to power forward Juan Hernangomez, making him a restricted free agent, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). That QO is worth about $4.6MM. Hernangomez could accept it, but is more likely to try to negotiate a new, longer-term deal with Minnesota.
  • The Celtics extended qualifying offers to both of their two-way players, Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, the team announced in a press release. Those QOs are for new two-way deals with $50K guarantees.
  • The Pacers won’t extend qualifying offers to big man Alize Johnson or two-way players Brian Bowen and Naz Mitrou-Long, tweets Scotto. All three players will become unrestricted free agents.
  • Among other two-way players, Nets guard Chris Chiozza will receive a qualifying offer, but Pelicans guard Josh Gray won’t, according to Scotto (Twitter links). The Heat also won’t send a QO to two-way player Kyle Alexander, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

New York Notes: Nets Guards, KD, DSJ, K. Payne

Both Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza will be free agents at the end of the 2019/20 season, as Johnson signed a one-year contract in June and Chiozza’s two-way deal is expiring as well. However, the two guards are making a strong case to be considered for next season’s Nets roster, as Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com writes.

The Nets’ rotation has been in a state of flux this summer due to injuries, opt-outs, COVID-19 cases, and some lineup experimentation. However, Johnson and Chiozza have often shared the backcourt as part of the club’s second unit, and the pairing has worked. Entering today’s game, Chiozza is averaging 9.2 PPG and 5.0 APG in six games during the restart, while Johnson has contributed 11.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.8 APG.

“I think it’s a great combination; two guards that can pass and shoot pretty well,” Chiozza said, per Dowd. “He’s a smart player so it’s easy to play with him. He knows how to move when I’ve got the ball and I feel like we get each other a lot if open shots.”

Meanwhile, veteran guard Jamal Crawford was supposed to be a backcourt contributor for the Nets this summer after signing as a substitute player, but has been limited to just six minutes due to a hamstring injury.

Despite not playing much, Crawford has provided great leadership for the Nets, including Caris LeVert, head coach Jacque Vaughn said this week (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). According to Vaughn, Crawford may not return before the seeding schedule ends, but the team remains confident he can contribute this summer.

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

  • When the Nets clinched a playoff spot, it assured injured star Kevin Durant of a $1MM bonus, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter). Because the bonus had been considered “likely” rather than “unlikely,” earning it this season won’t impact Durant’s cap hit for 2020/21.
  • Former lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. finds himself at a crossroads as he enters a contract year under new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. One scout who spoke to Berman is curious to see how the team handles Smith in ’20/21. “He’s certainly not a Thibs kind of player, but let’s see how committed they are to getting him right,” the scout said. “You don’t want to force it because they traded (Kristaps) Porzingis for him. Knowing when to cut bait is important. There may be too many things to fix with him.”
  • New Knicks assistant coach Kenny Payne is primarily known for three things, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News: recruiting, relationships, and developing frontcourt players. As Bondy writes, the Knicks will hope that Payne can assist in their efforts to attract stars to New York.

New York Notes: Walker, Fine, Durant, Fizdale

Kemba Walker‘s interest in signing with the Knicks as a free agent last summer was “very serious,” the Celtics guard said in a Ringer podcast (Twitter link). The New York native revealed that “before Boston actually came along, the Knicks were one of my top priorities. I was thinking they were going to get another player (top free agent) but it didn’t work out.” Walker wound up agreeing to a four-year, $141MM max contract with Boston.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The Nets were fined $25K for failing to comply with league policies regarding the reporting of injuries, according to an NBA.com post. The fine was not related to public injury reports distributed to the media, but rather something related to its own internal database, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets.
  • If Kevin Durant has his way, he’ll be playing next season with Caris LeVert, Chris Chiozza and Jamal Crawford. Durant praised the trio on the Play for Keeps podcast, Lewis relays. That could influence the way the Nets approach roster changes in the offseason. LeVert is considered to be the Nets’ best asset to acquire a third star but Durant may feel differently. “[LeVert] is definitely better than I thought,” Durant said. Chiozza is on a two-way deal, while the veteran Crawford was signed as a substitute player for the restart.
  • Ex-Knicks coach David Fizdale endorses his former team’s selection of Tom Thibodeau as its new head coach, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Fizdale made his comments during a Sirius XM Radio interview. “I think (Thibs) is a great hire. I think Thibs is a hell of a coach,” Fizdale said. “He demands hard work and toughness out of his guys.”