D'Angelo Russell

Nets Notes: Harris, Lin, Marks, Cap Room

The Nets are committed to re-signing free agent Joe Harris this summer, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The fourth-year swingman is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting .419 from 3-point range. He emerged as a rotation player in Brooklyn last season after two years of trying to earn a role in Cleveland, and said “I don’t really envision myself being anywhere else” during a media session last week.

Scotto talked to eight NBA executives who estimate Harris will get offers between $4MM and $7MM per season. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Nets, who will have up to $20MM in available cap space. Harris just wrapped up a two-year veterans’ minimum deal he signed with Brooklyn in 2016.

“I think Joe made it pretty clear in some of the statements he made that he’d love to be back here,” GM Sean Marks said. “That’s how the organization feels about him, too. As [coach] Kenny [Atkinson] alluded to before, we’ve got some decisions to make on several, but definitely, Joe is a guy we see in a Nets uniform.”

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeremy Lin‘s season was wiped out by a ruptured patella tendon on opening night, but the front office believes he will be an impact player next season, Scotto relays in the same story. Injuries limited Lin to 36 games during 2016/17 in his first season with Brooklyn, so he feels like he has something to prove heading into the final year of his contract. “I would say I wouldn’t bet against Jeremy,” Marks cautioned. “The way he’s attacked his rehab over the course of the last six to eight months is really impressive. He’s come back with a little bit of a new lease on life, which is great.”
  • The Nets plan to remain patient in the rebuilding process, Scotto adds. The team raised its victory total from 20 to 28 this season and is aiming for modest improvements over the summer. Brooklyn’s cap room will be reduced by about $8.5MM if it makes a qualifying offer to Nik Stauskas and picks up non-guaranteed salaries for Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead. Lin’s contract expires next summer and Allen Crabbe can opt out, giving the Nets much more flexibility in the 2019 free agent market.
  • Atkinson is happy with the progress that Crabbe, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen all made during their first year with the franchise, but he wants them to improve on defense, especially with forcing turnovers, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Nets Notes: Lin, Russell, Vaughn, Okafor

Jeremy Lin went down with a season-ending injury on opening night, adding another chapter to what has been an injury-riddled first two seasons in Brooklyn. However, the veteran point guard is on track to return to full health for next season and he expects to start for the Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Lin appeared in just 36 games last season and just 25 minutes this season before a ruptured patella tendon shut him down. Despite his limited playing time for the Nets, the 29-year-old —  focused on improving his health — envisions himself on the court as a starter.

“I came here having the same role. I don’t expect it to change,” Lin said. “if it does, it’;l be something we communicate over. But I’m not even thinking that far in advance. I’m thinking about my health, about moving properly. And I have full confidence if I’m doing that, everything will be [OK]. Everything will make up for lost time, and we’ll see what I’d envisioned my time in Brooklyn being.”

With Lin healthy, the Nets face a crowded backcourt with D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert on the roster.
Check out more Nets news below:
  • D’Angelo Russell played well for stretches in his first season with the Nets and the organization is excited for what he can produce if he can be consistent, Lewis writes in a separate story. Still 22 years old, Russell has All-Star potential for a team that hasn’t had an All-Star since Joe Johnson in 2013/14.
  • Nets assistant coach Jacque Vaughn has received interest from collegiate programs at Connecticut and Memphis about becoming a head coach, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Vaughn has been credited for working diligently with Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson this season.
  • As we relayed this week, impending free agent Jahlil Okafor has a mixed perception around the NBA as a talented but generally flawed player.

New York Notes: Kanter, Lee, Russell, Allen

Despite starting the season with four centers, that could become a position of need for the Knicks this summer, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Enes Kanter has signed with Mark Bartelstein, one of the NBA’s most powerful agents, as he ponders whether to opt out of an $18.6MM salary for next season, adds Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Backup center Kyle O’Quinn has a $4.3MM opt out that he is expected to exercise, as he recently expressed a desire to join a playoff contender. Joakim Noah is on an extended leave of absence from the team, and Willy Hernangomez has already been traded to the Hornets. Berman expects the Knicks to use the stretch provision on Noah once September 1 arrives to open up future cap space.

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Trade rumors have surrounded veteran Courtney Lee, but he hopes to remain with the Knicks, relays Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com. Lee doesn’t fit in with the youth movement in New York and may not have a future spot in a crowded backcourt. “All I can control is what I can control,” Lee said. “And that’s showing up here and being a professional and continuing to do the things I’ve been doing, encouraging and helping the young guys. And then when Coach calls my name, going out there and playing hard.”
  • Lee also came to the defense of embattled coach Jeff Hornacek, Iseman adds, blaming injuries for a disappointing season. The Knicks were 11-10 when Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a stress injury to his left leg in late November, and Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL shortly after Hardaway returned. “For what, injuries?” Lee responded when asked about Hornacek. “For Tim having a stress fracture? For KP going down? How do you blame coach for that?”
  • D’Angelo Russell understands the need to improve after mixed results in his first season with the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Russell averaged 15.4 points and 5.1 assists, but missed 32 games after knee surgery and did little to calm fears about his defense. “Yeah, it could be better. I think it’s just learning. I’m feeling it out,” said Russell, who will be eligible for an extension this summer. “Everything I’m doing is new, playing with new coaches, new teammates. Everything is new. So I think it’s a feeling-it-out type deal with me, so it could always be better.”
  • Rookie center Jarrett Allen has been a pleasant surprise for the Nets, but coach Kenny Atkinson wants him to improve as a rebounder, Lewis notes in a separate story. Allen averages 5.3 boards per night, which ranks 46th among centers.

Nets Rumors: Harris, Okafor, Russell

In his second season with the Nets, Joe Harris has enjoyed a career year, establishing new career bests in PPG (10.7), FG% (.486), 3PT% (.411), and several other categories. However, as Michael Scotto of The Athletic details, Harris isn’t necessarily eager to parlay his success into a big payday with a new team.

“In my short experience in the NBA, this has been a very ideal fit just overall in terms of having the opportunity to play and all the great people that are within the organization,” Harris said of the Nets. “It’s hard to say the grass is greener on the other side or somewhere else.”

While Harris sounds interested in staying in Brooklyn, and agent Mark Bartelstein calls the relationship between the Nets and his client a “great marriage,” the young wing will be in line for a raise. Scotto cites eight NBA executives who believe that Harris will command between $4-7MM annually on a new deal after earning the minimum in 2017/18.

“He shoots, plays hard, cuts, and moves well off the ball,” one Eastern Conference executive said of Harris. “He’s really improved.”

Given how well wings have done in free agency over the past couple years, a deal in the $4-7MM range sounds to me like a conservative estimate for Harris and a possible bargain for a team that ends up with him. If his price tag is in that neighborhood, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Harris back with the Nets next season.

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • A midseason trade from Philadelphia to Brooklyn initially seemed to be the opportunity Jahlil Okafor needed to earn some minutes, but the third-year center isn’t playing much more for the Nets than he did for the Sixers. With unrestricted free agency approaching, Jahlil Okafor said he’ll consider several factors when deciding on a team, but it sounds like an opportunity for more playing time will be at or near the top of his list. “At the end of the day, I want to play basketball,” Okafor said, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson indicated that Okafor would be in better positioned for a regular role if he’d spent a full offseason and training camp with the squad. However, the 22-year-old sounds unconvinced by that line of thinking, as Lewis details. “I don’t really know what that means. I’ve been here for three or four months,” Okafor said. “Saying a full offseason would help me, I’ve been with these guys for three or four months now, done everything they’ve asked of me. I’m not sure what they want. But everybody’s treated me really well.”
  • Although D’Angelo Russell is still considered an important part of the Nets’ long-term future, there have been some bumps in the road this season. The latest one came on Saturday, when Russell was benched for the final three quarters and overtime in Brooklyn’s win over Miami. NetsDaily has the story.
  • On Sunday, our Austin Kent took a closer look at the stocks of several Nets free-agents-to-be, including Harris and Okafor.

Atlantic Notes: Lin, Fultz, Mudiay

Sidelined Nets point guard Jeremy Lin has been making progress in his recovery from a knee injury suffered in the first game of the season. Head coach Kenny Atkinson recently told Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily that the 29-year-old is thrilled to be where he is at this point.

While Lin has been rehabbing his ruptured patella tendon in British Columbia, he’s been in touch with the Nets bench boss, a connection he’s had since his first taste of consistent NBA action with the Knicks back in 2011 (Atkinson was an assistant coach there from 2008-2012).

He’s so involved. He’s not just sitting there doing his own thing,” Atkinson said of Lin back in February. “He’s always hitting me with stuff after the game; ‘you could’ve done this, you could’ve done that’, it’s great. And I know [the Nets] medical team is all over him. He’s in a really good place, he’s happy with how he’s progressing.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers are happy that Markelle Fultz has regained his shooting form but another area where he could have an impact for the team is on defense, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “He’s better than I thought,” head coach Brett Brown said. “He’s got an amazing basketball body. His hips are somewhere near my shoulders. He uncoils and he’s 7-foot-6; he’s got size-15 feet. He just is long.
  • The Knicks opted to bring Emmanuel Mudiay off the bench in favor of Trey Burke this week and the move is already paying dividends, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.
  • After his exit from Los Angeles, D’Angelo Russell has fit right in as a member of the Nets. It doesn’t hurt that he’s appreciating the city as well, Tom Dowd of the team’s official site writes. “It’s cool,” said Russell of Brooklyn. “It’s different. The whole culture is different. I feel like there’s a lot of different crowds out here. You can fit in wherever you want to fit in. It’s great.

D’Angelo Russell Plans To Be Net ‘For Life’

D’Angelo Russell‘s first season in Brooklyn has been up and down, with injuries limiting him to just 40 games so far. However, Russell isn’t overly discouraged by those missed games, suggesting on Tuesday that he’ll be able to make up that time in the coming seasons, since he plans to be a Net “for life,” as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.

“I plan on being here for life, so I think that time will happen. I feel like it’ll catch up. I won’t [lose that time from injury],” Russell said. “Eighty-two games sounds like a lot, but that went by quick. I missed a lot, but it went by fast. Imagine what two or three healthy seasons, which relationships can be built, what creative strategies you and the coaches can create, timing.”

While Russell’s comments on his potential long-term future with the Nets don’t guarantee anything, the front office should still be happy to hear them. Nets management, led by GM Sean Marks, rolled the dice on the former second overall pick in last June’s blockbuster trade with the Lakers, counting on him to become a cornerstone piece for the franchise.

While they won’t be able to lock him up “for life” quite yet, the Nets will have the opportunity to sign Russell to an extension for the first time this offseason. Because the third-year guard will enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2018/19, he’ll become extension-eligible as of July 1. Russell and the Nets will then have until the start of the ’18/19 regular season to work out a new four- or five-year contract.

Even if the two sides don’t strike a deal this year, Russell would be a restricted free agent in 2019, giving Brooklyn the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signs. So while it’s too early to say whether the 22-year-old will be a Net for the rest of his career, it’s probable safe to assume he’ll remain in Brooklyn for at least the next five or six years unless things go south.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Carroll, Russell, Horford, Noah

In an opinion piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Murphy writes that the Sixers should play Markelle Fultz this season if and when he is healthy enough to return, even though there is an argument to be made for shutting Fultz down for the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign.

Murphy opines that the Sixers often struggle to find an offensive dimension that allows opportunities for guys to create their own shots, the need for which increases during playoff time as defenses more readily prepare for the opposition. As veteran Ersan Ilyasova put it, “In the playoffs, when you play a seven-game series, you have to execute and kind of always bring something unique, because everybody’s studied each other.”

The Sixers had scored just 251 points on isolation plays this season, the fewest in the NBA, and they also rate poorly in pick-and-roll efficiency, scoring on drives, and getting fouled on drives.

Enter Fultz, who could be the type of player to possibly add this needed dimension to the Sixers’ rotation. “He can make us better,” head coach Brett Brown said. “… Just what he does in open court, what he does with a live ball. I think he can be different from any player that we already have. What I see in practice sometimes, you understand completely why he was the first player chosen in the NBA draft.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In his first season with the Nets, veteran forward DeMarre Carroll has done everything asked of him and more, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Carroll has started at power forward and even played center, all while keeping an upbeat attitude through the team’s rebuilding. “I’m feeling good,” said Carroll. “This is the best I’ve felt in my career. I feel like playing with these young guys is rejuvenating me and making me feel even younger. I’ve just got to keep trying to show these guys by example, rather than doing the talking.”
  • In another article for the New York Post, Lewis reports that Nets guard D’Angelo Russell is finally learning to work on his defense. Always a gifted scorer, Russell will continue to improve defensively as he gets older, bigger, and stronger, per head coach Kenny Atkinson.
  • Current Thunder head coach Billy Donovan still speaks highly of his former player at Florida – Celtics big man Al Horford, reports Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “What I’ve always respected about (Al) is that it’s always about winning; he’ll do whatever he has to do to win and sacrifice whatever he has to to win.”
  • Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek doesn’t have much news to report on the Joakim Noah front, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Asked how the whole situation would resolve, Hornacek punted to general manager Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills.

Atlantic Notes: LeBron, Ilyasova, Raptors, Russell

LeBron James shot down a rumor that he spent part of the All-Star break in Philadelphia checking out possible schools for his children, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The report, which James called “disgusting,” started with Sixers TV analyst Alaa Abdelnaby, who said his brother told him a Philly-area superintendent relayed that James was looking at private schools in the region.

“Pennsylvania? Nah. What are you talking about?” James said. “Over the All-Star break, I was on vacation and then went to Los Angeles.”

There has been speculation that Philadelphia is one of the destinations James will consider in free agency this summer, with a company from the city buying billboards near Quicken Loans Arena urging him to join the Sixers.

There’s more today from the Atlantic Division:

  • Ersan Ilyasova held his first workout with the Sixers today since returning to Philadelphia following a buyout with the Hawks, and his ex-teammates were thrilled to see him again, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m happy that we got him back,” Joel Embiid said. “I thought we should have kept him last year and re-signed him this summer. But I’m glad that he’s back and I’m excited.” Ilyasova played 53 games for the Sixers last season before being dealt to Atlanta.
  • The Raptors don’t expect to pick up anybody on the buyout market, tweets Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet. He adds that the team doesn’t see any players who would be good fits for the limited roles it has available. Toronto saved about $1MM by trading Bruno Caboclo‘s expiring contract to the Kings last month for Malachi Richardson and was hoping to use that money on a buyout, adds Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun (via Twitter). The Raptors may wind up with a slightly larger tax bill for next season due to Richardson’s $1.57MM salary for 2018/19.
  • Fully recovered from knee surgery, D’Angelo Russell is showing why the Nets traded for him over the summer, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. It took a while for Russell to return to form following the operation, but he is averaging 14.5 points and 5.3 assists over the past 11 games. “Oh man, it was only a matter of time,” said teammate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. “That’s D’Angelo’s game. He can score, he can pass, play-make. There isn’t much he can’t do. “It just feels good to have him back.”

New York Notes: Russell, Atkinson, Cunningham, Thomas

The Nets started D’Angelo Russell for the first time since mid-November in their second-half opener against the Hornets. Russell played 32 minutes, his most since November, and his recent play indicates he’s slowly shaking off the rust.

Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily relays that starting Russell alongside Spencer Dinwiddie — an all-point-guard backcourt — was not so much planned as it was based on his instinct.

“I think it was a feel, kind of my feel,” Atkinson said. “Talking with the medical team and performance (team). I think it was mostly basketball, just him getting his rhythm, and I felt like that Indiana game he really showed me – I felt like he was getting there.”

Atkinson is unsure of when Russell will be back at full health, but feels the former second overall pick is trending in the right direction.

Check out more news and notes from New York’s basketball teams:

  • Under Atkinson’s watch, the Nets have been in rebuild mode and have stressed the future. While the team is improved from last year’s league-worst 20-62 record, Brooklyn has lost 12 of its last 13 and is trending downward, Fonseca writes in a separate piece. “I’ve said that, we’re better, that’s what’s frustrating,” Atkinson said. “We’re on pace for a 30-something win season and then we hit this skid and it’s like, man – I’m optimistic, I’m hungry to get back on track. Now, that being said, we’ve got a tough schedule coming up, we’re going to be on the road awhile, but it’s great.”
  • The longevity of Dante Cunningham‘s stint in Brooklyn is uncertain, but he’s enjoying his time with the Nets, Fonseca writes. The veteran was acquired by Brooklyn before the trade deadline and has played well thus far. “I’m old in here,” Cunningham said with a smile. “I look around the locker room and see a lot of young guys, but hungry guys and I love it. I love that I’m the older guy that they kind of look up to and kind of ask, ‘So what’s this like or what’s that like?’ So that’s kind of fun, it’s a different side.”
  • Lance Thomas‘ numbers in the box score will not merit much attention, but his visible defensive impact is a game-changer for the Knicks, Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes. “He’s kind of that guy, it doesn’t matter if he’s on the 1, 2, 3 or 4. When he’s at the 4 spot, then we also have the ability to switch some too because you’re not afraid of Lance switching off on a point guard,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “You saw him pick up guys full court. He knocked one away and ended up ending the game with a steal. Lance is the guy that, if you read a stat line, you’re not going see his value. … He does his role.”

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Rebuild, Russell, Dinwiddie

The Knicks kicked off the second half with a 120-113 win over the Magic in Orlando. As planned, the trio of Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke shared the backcourt duties with veteran Jarrett Jack taking a DNP. Burke contributed 26 points in 29 minutes while Ntilikina (29 minutes) and Mudiay (22 minutes) also tallied significant time.

While the acquisition of Mudiay at the deadline signaled the Knicks’ plan to acquire young talent, the 19-year-old Ntilikina should not worry about his standing with the team, Al Iannozzone of Newsday writes.

“You look at Frank right now and he’s a great defender for a 19-year-old kid,” Hornacek said. “The offense will come — his speed and strength, all that stuff. You can’t expect a lot more from a 19-year-old kid. So he’s been great.”

The Knicks have made it clear that the second half of the season will revolve around young players and essentially auditioning for the future. Ntilikina is as strong a part of that future as anybody on the roster.

Check out other NBA news out of New York:

  • A solid early start to the season fooled many into thinking the Knicks could make a run at the playoffs. With 22 games left, the postseason is all but ruled out and the team must now focus on the future, Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes. Sloppy play on the road and numerous injuries stalled what looked to be a promising season in the first two months. “You still go back to, ‘It’s kind of a long-term plan.’ We got off to a good start, maybe changed everyone’s thoughts. But they were home games, we knew we had a long way to go,” Hornacek said.
  • D’Angelo Russell made his first start for the Nets since mid-November on Thursday and the plan to have him and Spencer Dinwiddie share the backcourt is in full-swing, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. “We’ve started to do it more, get a sample size. It’s something similar to Jeremy [Lin] and D’Angelo in the beginning,” Atkinson said. “I do like that. I do like having two guards that can really handle the ball.”
  • Michael Scotto of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) takes a look at Sean Marks‘ reign as Nets general manager and the organization’s transformation in two years under Marks’ watch.