Chris Chiozza

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.”

Nets Notes: LeVert, Crawford, Beasley, Chiozza

The absence of so many key players means Caris LeVert will have to take on a larger role for the Nets in Orlando, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. The 25-year-old guard has always been a reliable scorer, but he will need to serve as a play-maker and team leader with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Nicolas Claxton all unavailable.

“I think for me it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group,” LeVert said. “Going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience. I feel like I relish these types of opportunities and situations. Everything aside, I’m looking forward to going down there and seeing what we can do.”

The restart will give LeVert a chance to prove he can be a third star in Brooklyn and show management it doesn’t have to pursue someone else to team with Irving and Durant. A strong performance could also raise his trade value if the Nets decide to go that route. He agreed to a three-year, $52.5MM extension last summer.

“I feel good right now,” said LeVert, who missed 24 games earlier this season after thumb surgery. “I haven’t played in games since March so that’s the question I really don’t know. I feel good in my workouts though. And if I didn’t, I honestly wouldn’t be going down there to play. So I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Adding Jamal Crawford and Michael Beasley shows that Brooklyn intends to be competitive in Orlando despite its depleted roster, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Schiffer looks at what the veteran duo can provide the Nets along with scoring punch.
  • Even with the additions, Brooklyn will need increased contributions from players such as Chris Chiozza and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, according to a NetsDaily article. Both could be competing for a chance to be on the roster next season. “I feel like it’s a big opportunity for me,” Chiozza said recently. “It’s something I’m looking forward to. I hope Spencer feels better, but if not, I’ll be ready to take on those extra minutes.”
  • The Nets’ misfortune could wind up costing the Timberwolves a first-round pick this fall, writes Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune. Minnesota will receive Brooklyn’s first-rounder as long as the Nets reach the playoffs, which no longer seems certain with the number of players sitting out.

Atlantic Notes: Calipari, Knicks, Brown, Nets

Kentucky’s John Calipari doesn’t seem like a realistic option to be the next coach of the Knicks because of the money it would take to land him, Ian Begley of SNY.tv writes. Calipari has a strong relationship with team president Leon Rose, so nothing can be ruled out. However, many other names, such as coach Tom Thibodeau and Kenny Atkinson, appear to be more realistic fits.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes the Sixers should give Brett Brown at least one more year. Ford argues that Brown has held this team together and is not the problem in Philadelphia.
  • Chris Chiozza, who is on a two-way contract, joined the Nets earlier in the season and the franchise is impressed with the point guard. Yet, if he is going to join the team for a playoff run, Brooklyn will need to waive somebody — Theo Pinson could be the odd man out, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post explains.
  • The Nets haven’t fully realized Taurean Prince‘s potential, Lewis contends in a separate piece. Brooklyn acquired and extended Prince last offseason and he has spent most of his time playing the four, which is not his natural position.

Nets, Chris Chiozza May Have Found Long-Term Fit

Chris Chiozza, who joined the Nets in January on a two-way deal, has made a good impression in Brooklyn, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Some have compared Chiozza’s progress with the Nets to that of Fred VanVleet with the Raptors. Lewis adds that those comparisons are likely premature, though the point guard could certainly earn a standard deal once the NBA returns to action.

Being on a two-way contract, Chiozza, who spent time with the G League’s Capital City Go-Go earlier this season, isn’t eligible to play for the Nets in the postseason. However, if the NBA returns this season, the franchise could waive a player to give Chiozza a spot on the postseason roster.

In his 11 games with Brooklyn, the former University of Florida point guard was averaging 16.3 points and 5.7 assists per 36 minutes. He knocked down 44.0% of his shots from downtown.

Atlantic Notes: DSJ, Raptors, Allen, Nets

Dennis Smith Jr., who will miss his 13th consecutive game on Monday night due to an oblique strain, is due to be re-evaluated on Tuesday, at which point the Knicks may have a clearer idea of when he might be able to return, says Greg Joyce of The New York Post.

“He is progressing well,” Knicks head coach Mike Miller said of Smith. “He has been practicing some. With games every day, we haven’t practiced anything steady. So he’s been able to get some practices in, but not a lot of contact and not much full court.”

It has been a disappointing first full season in New York for Smith, who is averaging just 5.2 PPG on .325/.293/.500 shooting in 21 games (16.1 MPG). The former lottery pick will also have to compete with fellow Knicks point guards Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for minutes when he’s ready to return.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic:

  • The Raptors will approach the trade deadline viewing themselves as buyers, but a significant deal is unlikely, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.
  • As Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily details, Jarrett Allen isn’t holding any sort of grudge toward Kyrie Irving after the Nets‘ point guard failed to mention the big man when he listed several of the team’s core players. “What do I expect him to do, name the whole team? That’s really the only comment I have on that,” Allen said. “… We talked about it. He ended up saying everything is fine, so no bad blood.”
  • In a pair of stories for NetsDaily, Chris Milholen checks in on Nets youngsters Chris Chiozza and Jeremiah Martin. The two point guards are aiming to earn a longer look from the NBA club after recently replacing Henry Ellenson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot as Brooklyn’s two-way players.

Nets Sign Chris Chiozza To Two-Way Contract

JANUARY 4: Chiozza has been signed to a two-way contract, the Nets announced in a press release.

JANUARY 3: After being waived by the Wizards in December, point guard Chris Chiozza is expected to sign with the Nets, reports Ben Standig of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Brooklyn is shaking up the back of its roster this week, having already released injured swingman David Nwaba, with two-way player Henry Ellenson expected to follow him to waivers. Those moves opened up one spot on the 15-man roster and one two-way contract slot. With Justin Anderson reportedly set to sign a 10-day contract, the Nets and Chiozza may be on track for a two-way deal, though that remains unclear.

Chiozza, 24, has appeared in a total of 17 NBA games for Houston and Washington since going undrafted in 2018, having spent most of the last season-and-a-half in the G League. The former Florida Gator has struggled with his efficiency this season in 10 games (31.1 MPG) for the Capital City Go-Go, averaging 10.8 PPG on .333/.328/1.000 shooting. However, he has contributed in other ways, recording 6.4 APG and 2.7 SPG.

The Nets’ backcourt depth has been hit hard by injuries this season. Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert have been sidelined since mid-November and Garrett Temple currently day-to-day with a knee issue. The club is on track to get LeVert back on Saturday though, and Chiozza and Anderson should provide added depth.

Wizards Notes: Bertans, Smith, Payton, Chiozza

General manager Tommy Sheppard said this week that the Wizards plan to re-sign Davis Bertans, but Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington believes they may rethink their position before the trade deadline. Bertans has emerged as one of the league’s top 3-point shooters, hitting a career-best 44.7% through the season’s first 27 games. But his eventual price tag could be a concern to a franchise that has already made expensive long-term commitments to Bradley Beal and John Wall.

A league executive predicts Bertans will command a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $51MM over three seasons. Hughes states that the Wizards can easily afford to give Bertans around $15MM per season, especially with Ian Mahinmi‘s $15.5MM salary coming off the books after this season. However, if the price gets closer to $20MM annually, Washington might have to reconsider to avoid a repeat of the salary cap crunch it escaped at last year’s deadline.

Hughes hears that the Sixers, Hawks and Lakers would be the most interested teams if the Wizards opt to shop Bertans. Washington will want at least a first-round pick in return, but any contender would be offering a choice very late in the draft. Unless someone comes through with a sweeter offer, Washington may opt to keep Bertans and take its chances in free agency.

There’s more from D.C.:

  • Ish Smith is excelling off the bench and making a strong case for a full-time starting job, observes Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington. Last night in Toronto, Smith became the first reserve in franchise history with a perfect shooting night on at least nine shot attempts since the stat started being kept in 1971.
  • Gary Payton II, who is reportedly close to re-signing with the Wizards, got a strong endorsement from his coach this week at the G League Showcase, relays Sam Gordon of The Las Vegas Review-Journal“It’s dependent on fit and timing. He has the skills. He has the talent. He has the mentality,” said Coby Karl of the South Bay Lakers. “He’s an elite athlete at the NBA level. He can do so many different things on the court.”
  • Chris Chiozza, who was released earlier this week, has joined Washington’s G League affiliate in Capital City after clearing waivers, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Wizards Sign Anzejs Pasecniks, Cut Chris Chiozza

The Wizards have signed former first-round pick Anzejs Pasecniks to a two-way contract, waiving two-way player Chris Chiozza to make room for Pasecniks, the team announced today in a press release.

Pasecniks, who will turn 24 this Friday, was drafted 25th overall by the Sixers in 2017 but never suited up for Philadelphia, having spent the next two seasons overseas. After the 76ers renounced his rights earlier this year, the 7’1″ center joined the Wizards’ Summer League team, then reported to Washington’s G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, this fall.

In 12 NBAGL games, Pasecniks has averaged 10.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG with a .604 FG%.

As Fred Katz of The Athletic explains (via Twitter), the Wizards “really like” Chiozza, but felt they had to add another center to the mix with Thomas Bryant and Moritz Wagner both injured. Ian Mahinmi is currently the club’s only healthy player at the five.

Chiozza, who appeared in 10 games for Washington this season, will become a free agent if he clears waivers on Thursday. The point guard is expected to return to the Go-Go if he goes unclaimed, tweets Katz.

Wizards Notes: Centers, Miles, Schofield, Ratings

The Wizards are trying to survive with no healthy centers on their roster, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The foot injury that sidelined Thomas Bryant for at least three weeks was terrible news for a team that is already missing Ian Mahinmi because of an Achilles injury and Moritz Wagner with a sprained left ankle.

Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans both started in the frontcourt in Tuesday’s loss to the Magic, while 6’5″ Admiral Schofield was called up from the G League for reinforcement. Katz notes that Wagner should return soon, but he’s averaging more than seven fouls per 36 minutes, so he may have a problem staying on the court.

The Wizards aren’t likely to make a roster move to address the predicament, Katz adds. Jordan McRae and Justin Robinson have partially guaranteed contracts, but management likes both players and isn’t likely to cut them for short-term help. The same holds true for two-way players Chris Chiozza and Garrison Mathews. After a 6-13 start, the focus of this season will remain on player development rather than wins and losses.

There’s more from Washington, D.C.:

  • C.J. Miles had successful surgery today to fix damaged ligaments in his left wrist, the Wizards announced on Twitter. No timeline has been set for Miles’ return, and there were concerns that surgery might keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
  • Before Schofield joined the Wizards last night, he played 38 minutes in a G League game for the Capital City Go-Go, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. He became the first player in franchise history and one of only a handful throughout the league who have appeared in two games in one day. “This is one of those days where you get to fall in love with the game again because it’s so much basketball,” said Schofield, who played 7:19 against Orlando. Robinson was also called up after playing in the early game, but wasn’t used.
  • The Wizards have suffered the largest decline in local television ratings of any NBA team, tweets John Ourand of Sports Business Journal. Washington’s games are drawing a 57% smaller audience than they did last season.