DeAndre Jordan

Atlantic Notes: Kanter, Celtics, Jordan, Raptors

After signing with the Celtics in the offseason, Enes Kanter was the team’s starting center on opening night, but hasn’t suited up since then, having been on the shelf since the regular season opener due to a left knee contusion. Having missed seven games, Kanter has now been cleared to return, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

While it’s not clear what role he’ll play in his first game back, Kanter should be active for the Celtics on Monday night vs. Dallas. Boston won all seven contests he missed and will look to keep up that streak now that the big man is reentering the rotation.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Tony Parker set to have his jersey retired in San Antonio, Mike Monroe of The Athletic revisits the 2001 draft, when the French point guard was nearly selected at No. 21 by the Celtics. As Monroe tells it, new Boston GM Chris Wallace was prepared to select Parker, but was overruled by C’s legend and team president Red Auerbach, who wanted Joseph Forte instead. Forte only ended up playing in eight games for the Celtics, while Parker – selected by the Spurs at No. 28 – became a six-time All-Star and future Hall-of-Famer.
  • In his Friday column for ESPN.com, Zach Lowe noted that DeAndre Jordan has gotten off to a poor start in the first season of a lucrative four-year contract with the Nets, failing to deter opponents from scoring at the rim. Brooklyn will need more from the veteran center going forward to justify its investment, Lowe argued. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, Jordan was one of the few bright spots during a blowout loss to Phoenix on Sunday, scoring 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds.
  • In the wake of the Raptors‘ impressive shorthanded win over the Lakers, Mark Medina of USA Today explores how Toronto has set itself up in both the short-term and long-term to stay competitive despite the loss of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Raptors, Nets, Jordan

Knicks forward Marcus Morris recently expressed some disappointment that he didn’t get an opportunity to remain with the Celtics when he became a free agent this summer. Responding to those comments in an appearance today on Toucher and Rich in Boston, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acknowledged that the C’s didn’t make Morris an offer once the team locked in on Kemba Walker. However, Ainge did say the team put a three-year extension offer on the table for Morris before the 2018/19 season began (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

Because Morris was earning a fairly modest salary last season, the Celtics’ ability to give him a significant raise would have been limited. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), Boston would have been able to offer up to about $34.36MM for three years, the same deal Spencer Dinwiddie got from Brooklyn.

Whether or not the Celtics went as high as $34MM+, Morris did better as a free agent in terms of 2019/20 salary — but his $15MM deal with New York only covers one season. If he had known what awaited him in free agency, it’s possible he would have more open to that three-year extension offer last year. And if he had accepted it, it likely would have had a ripple effect on the Celtics’ future plans, including perhaps their ability to land Walker.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Patrick McCaw out at least a month after undergoing knee surgery, head coach Nick Nurse said before Wednesday’s game that undrafted rookie Terence Davis will get the first shot at becoming the eighth man in the Raptors‘ rotation (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca). Davis committed five fouls in just seven minutes on Wednesday, but still looks like the frontrunner for those minutes, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, who views Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher as other candidates.
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot could have made more money by returning overseas, but he decided to accept a two-way contract with the Nets, as he explains to Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. “I wanted to still keep a foot in the NBA,” said Luwawu-Cabarrot, who played with Long Island Nets head coach Shaun Fein several years ago in France. “The Nets always gave their two-ways an opportunity to play and that was the goal. I am just trying to get better with everything I work on. In the G League, be a leader of the team, try to do something good with the team.”
  • In other Nets news, Brian Lewis of The New York Post explores Rodions Kurucs‘ struggles to adjust to a new role this season, while Peter Botte of The New York Post says DeAndre Jordan‘s ankle injury isn’t as bad as initially feared. Jordan is being listed as day-to-day.

Nets Notes: Irving, Durant, Jordan

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan first began talking about the possibility of playing on the same NBA team during the 2016 Rio Olympics, according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. The USA Basketball teammates didn’t get the chance to become NBA teammates until the 2019 offseason, but agreed when they all hit free agency this offseason that now was the time to make that plan a reality.

As MacMullan details, Irving told Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge during his exit interview this spring that he planned to move on, and he had already decided at that point that he’d head to Brooklyn. Durant spent hours researching Nets general manager Sean Marks, while Jordan talked to veterans like Jared Dudley about their experiences in Brooklyn. Ultimately, all three players decided it was the right landing spot for them.

Here’s more on the Nets, including several more tidbits from MacMullan’s deep dive:

  • Durant recognizes that the Nets aren’t the immediate championship favorite that the Warriors were during his years in Golden State, but he wants to help lead his new team to a title. “Obviously leaving Golden State, I’m not expecting anything better than that,” he said, per MacMullan. “I see this situation as, ‘All right, I’m coming to a young organization that has championship aspirations but doesn’t quite know what that feels like.'”
  • As Marks tells McMullan, there’s plenty of excitement within the organization about eventually being able to add Durant to Nets’ lineup. “He goes out and takes a couple of set shots — not jumpers — and the whole gym stops,” Marks said. “You can hear a pin drop. That’s great for our guys, because they sense this guy is waiting in the wings. We’re not waiting for him, but man, it’s kind of a cool feeling to know he’s coming.”
  • Irving, who has spent nine years working with his own performance specialist, has been somewhat resistant to the Nets’ player-performance program, according to MacMullan. However, Marks insists that Irving’s pushback on that issue has been “neither unexpected nor disruptive.”
  • There’s some concern among Nets officials about Irving’s mood swings — MacMullan suggests that he can become unwilling to communicate with coaches and even teammates in down moments. Sources tell ESPN that one such funk happened during Brooklyn’s trip to China, but the team is hopeful that having a good friend like Durant around will help.
  • As Bleacher Report relays (video link), Durant said in an appearance on Serge Ibaka‘s YouTube cooking show that the idea of finishing his playing career by spending a season on a EuroLeague team like Barcelona appeals to him.

Atlantic Notes: J. Brown, Siakam, VanVleet, Jordan

Appearing this week on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s ‘Toucher and Rich,’ Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge explained that he and the C’s felt comfortable investing more than $25MM per year in Jaylen Brown because of his “very bright future” and the league’s rising salary cap, as Jacob Camenker of NBC Sports Boston relays.

“Yeah, it’s a bet on his future,” Ainge said. “It’s also the way the league is going. There’s big increases in the salary cap. I’ve been through this 17 years, and I remember when we signed [Rajon] Rondo there was lots of questions, like, ‘What are you doing paying him so much money?’ Same thing with Avery Bradley. Even Marcus Smart, there was a lot of criticism. I just think in two years those contracts turn out to be good contracts, not bad ones.”

A report a few days before Monday’s rookie scale extension deadline indicated that the Celtics had offered Brown $80MM over four years. Ainge denied that report, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on Zach Lowe’s podcast that he heard Boston “improved its offer significantly” right before the deadline (link via RealGM).

“One of the reasons why I think they did that was because…they saw where things were going,” Windhorst said. “If Buddy Hield gets this, then our guys (get this).”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • After officially signing his new contract extension with the Raptors earlier this week, Pascal Siakam spoke to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated about still feeling as if he’s capable of further improvement now that he’s a maximum-salary player. Siakam also discussed the challenges he and the rest of the team will face this season without Kawhi Leonard leading the way.
  • Unlike Siakam, Fred VanVleet won’t be eligible for a contract extension before his current contract expires in 2020. In an appearance on Sportsnet’s ‘Tim and Sid,’ VanVleet said he doesn’t plan to speak about his upcoming free agency much this season, but made it clear his preference would be to re-sign with the Raptors. “I’ve been on record about how I feel about this place,” he said, per Thomas Ketko of Sportsnet.ca. “This organization knows how I feel about this place. So in a perfect world, we know what would happen.”
  • New Nets center DeAndre Jordan was “largely an afterthought” in his debut in Brooklyn, recording just two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. Jordan, who admitted he was “a little surprised” to be coming off the bench, is confident he’ll find a rhythm in his new role. “We’re basketball players,” he told Kussoy. “We have to learn how to adjust.”

New York Notes: Knicks, Allen, Jordan, LeVert

After a spending spree in free agency that saw them invest in four veteran power forwards, the Knicks aren’t opposed to the idea of using some bigger lineups this season, head coach David Fizdale said on the first day of training camp, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

“When you start talking about Kevin Knox and Marcus Morris at the small forward, right there that makes you pretty big,” Fizdale said. “You can see the pecking order down the line. I can put a lot of different guys on the floor. I can play Bobby [Portis] and Mitchell [Robinson] together with Marcus Morris, that’s a really big lineup. And R.J. Barrett is no small guy at the two or three either.”

In addition to using a bigger forward like Morris at the three, Fizdale is also open to making sure his power forwards get minutes by using some of them at the five. According to Begley, the Knicks’ head coach pointed specifically to Julius Randle as one strong candidate for a role at center: I can put him out there with Marcus Morris at the four and put a lot of pressure on a defense that way.”

As we wait to see how Fizdale balances his roster, let’s round up a few more notes on New York’s two teams:

  • After the Knicks struck out on star players in free agency this offseason, Frank Isola of The Athletic wonders if the most logical future free agent target for the franchise might be an executive – Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri – rather than a player.
  • There’s no animosity between Jarrett Allen and newly-added big man DeAndre Jordan, who are embracing their battle for the Nets‘ starting center job, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. “It’s going great. Jarrett’s a great young player. He’s proven to be a great rim protector and he’s getting better each year,” Jordan said. “We’re definitely challenging him every day in practice. For us, being able to battle against each other every day is going to be good not only for us individually but great for our team.”
  • After signing a new long-term extension with the Nets this summer, Caris LeVert is looking to take his game to another level in 2019/20, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. “I think [his ceiling’s] really high,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of LeVert, pointing to the guard’s strong start to the 2018/19 season. “He was really dominating, and in the playoffs, he was starting to hit his stride. You could argue he was our best player in the playoffs. … There’s guys that want to be great and guys who are desperate to be great, and he’s in that desperate category. There’s only a few guys like that.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Durant, Jordan, Allen

Speaking today to reporters at the Nets‘ Media Day, Kyrie Irving said he felt as if he let down his teammates in Boston last season and wants to be a better leader for his new team in Brooklyn.

As Malika Andrews of ESPN.com details, Irving opened up about how the death of his grandfather last fall impacted him and why he had a change of heart following his preseason vow to re-sign with the Celtics and ultimately decided to play closer to home.

“A lot of the joy I had from basketball was sucked away from me,” Irving said of the time following his grandfather’s death. “There was a facial expression I carried around with me throughout the year and I didn’t allow anyone to get close to me. It really bothered me. I didn’t take the necessary steps to get counseling or therapy. I had to acknowledge that fact.”

Irving received much of the blame for the Celtics’ disappointing 2018/19 showing, which included chemistry issues and a leadership void in the locker room. In his comments today, he seemed to acknowledge that the criticism was fair.

“A lot of those battles I thought I could battle through (in Boston’s) team environment, I wasn’t ready for,” Irving said, according to Andrews. “And I failed those guys. I didn’t give them everything I could have during that season. In terms of me being a leader and bringing everyone together, I’ve failed.”

Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston provides a more extensive transcript of Irving’s comments, while Rob Perez passes along a video link. The All-Star point guard said he is arriving in Brooklyn with a “fresh mindset” and hopes to avoid the same mistakes he made with the Celtics.

Here’s more from the Nets’ Media Day:

  • Asked about why he chose the Nets in free agency and whether he considered teams like the Warriors, Knicks, and Clippers, Kevin Durant said he thought about those other possibilities for “a couple seconds,” but wanted to be in Brooklyn (Twitter links via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic). It was really easy to see what these guys brought to the table,” Durant said of the Nets. “It’s not like I had to do any deep analysis of any player here.”
  • Durant also offered the following quote on his decision to leave the Warriors (Twitter link via Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog): I felt like it was time for a change and I wanted to play for a new team and simply put I just did it. I didn’t really think about what I was leaving behind. I thought it’s time to think about me.”
  • According to Irving, he and Durant would like to finish their careers together with the Nets (video link via Yahoo Sports).
  • Irving told reporters about talking to Durant and DeAndre Jordan at “4:16 in the morning” on the day of free agency and deciding they wanted to play together in Brooklyn (video link via Perez).
  • Jordan said that he and Jarrett Allen will compete and bring out the best in one another, and that both players will be fine no matter who ends up winning the starting center job (Twitter link via James Herbert of CBS Sports).

New York Notes: Jordan, Durant, Nets, Bullock

After spending the latter part of last season with the Knicks, veteran center DeAndre Jordan was expected to be a potentially key part of New York’s plan to pursue Kevin Durant in free agency. Instead, Jordan ended up joining the crosstown rival Nets, along with Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Jordan, 31, is joining his fourth team in two seasons. For him, the decision to go with the Nets over the Knicks had a lot to do with the team’s oft-mentioned culture and commitment to player development.

“Not to knock the culture the Knicks are creating, but we like what Kenny [Atkinson]’s doing and Sean [Marks] has been awesome and the organization, from top to bottom, has been great,” Jordan said to The Gothamist (via New York Post). “So you want to be a part of something like that, especially when you have a chance to play with other great players and build something.”

Check out more New York notes below:

  • As for Durant, Jordan commented on his new Nets teammate in the same story. While it’s unlikely that Durant, coming off a torn Achilles, plays next season, Jordan is excited at what Brooklyn can accomplish when he does suit up. “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” Jordan said. “You know obviously Kevin had a tough injury, he’s going to be out for a while, but he’s progressing great, he’s recovering fast, we’ll be even better when we get him back and healthy.”
  • With the Nets‘ free agency success has come an increased interest in the team, Kavitha Davidson of The Athletic writes. After luring Durant and Irving to Brooklyn, Nets’ CEO Brett Yormark said ticket demands, social media activity and much more has skyrocketed. “This is an outbound business, not an inbound business, so when a thousand calls are starting to come in, you get pretty excited. You realize momentum is shifting,” Yormark said.
  • Knicks free agency signee Reggie Bullock may not return to the court until sometime in the new year, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. A serious back injury forced the Knicks to rework their original deal with the 3-and-D specialist and his cervical disk herniation surgery could sideline him for upwards of six months, according to one leading orthopedic surgeon who spoke to Berman.

Atlantic Contract Notes: Durant, Jordan, Claxton, Milton, Brazdeikis

Kevin Durant‘s max contract with the Nets includes $4.3MM in likely bonuses, according to Jeff Siegel of EarlyBirdRights.com. It’s not clear how those bonuses can be earned but if they’re based on individual statistics, he can’t reach them next season due to his Achilles injury. His deal also includes a full 15% trade kicker. DeAndre Jordan‘s salary with Brooklyn starts at 9.9MM, rises 5% in the second year, dips back down to 9.9MM, then drops slightly in the fourth year for a total of 40MM, Siegel adds (Twitter links).

We have more contractual news from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The timeline of the Nets’ moves in free agency – signing Kyrie Irving and Jordan to free agent deals using salary-cap room and then acting like a team over the cap to pull off the Durant sign-and-trade with Golden State — also allowed them to give Nicolas Claxton a three-year contract, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Without room, Claxton’s fully guaranteed deal would have been limited to two years. The University of Georgia big man was the first pick of the second round.
  • Shake Milton‘s four-year minimum contract with the Sixers includes a team option in the final year and is otherwise fully guaranteed, Siegel tweets. The shooting guard played last season on a two-way contract, splitting his time between the Sixers and their G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.
  • Knicks rookie forward Ignas Brazdeikis received a three-year minimum deal, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Brazdeikis will make approximately $900K as a rookie, $1.5MM in his second year and $1.8MM in his third season (team option).
  • The Celtics have been exploring a variety of contract terms with second-round pick Carsen Edwards, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The negotiations with the Purdue guard include guaranteed amounts.

Atlantic Notes: Payton, Raptors, Robinson, Jordan

Elfrid Payton will be given every opportunity to become the Knicks’ starting point guard next season, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports. Payton agreed to a two-year, $16MM deal with a team option for the second season. Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina are the other candidates for the starting role, though the team has shopped Ntilikina, Begley continues. It’s unclear whether the Knicks would consider a backcourt pairing of Payton and Smith, who started at the point after being acquired from the Mavericks last season.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors have to make more roster moves, regardless of whether Kawhi Leonard stays or goes, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes. They currently have 10 players under standard NBA contracts, one on a two-way and another on an Exhibit 10 deal. With the Raptors’ needs in mind, Murphy takes a deep dive into the options still on the free agent market at each position.
  • Knicks second-year center Mitchell Robinson has been invited to join the Select Team at USA Basketball’s training camp, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps tweets. Robinson averaged 7.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 2.4 BPG in his rookie campaign.
  • The competition between centers Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan will be the biggest preseason battle in Nets’ camp, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Allen, 21, is seemingly a core piece for the franchise but the presence of Jordan, a close friend of Kevin Durant who agreed to a four-year, $40MM contract, creates a potential dilemma. Jordan may have lost a step, Lewis notes, but he’s been a starter throughout his career.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Bucks, Sumner, Nets, De Colo

The first-round draft pick the Pacers will send the Bucks in their sign-and-trade deal for Malcolm Brogdon is lottery-protected in 2020, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe. And if it doesn’t convey in 2020, it’s lottery-protected for five more drafts after that before becoming unprotected in 2026, Lowe adds. In other words, barring a catastrophe in Indiana, Milwaukee will be getting a pick in the back half of the first round, likely next year.

Meanwhile, Edmond Sumner‘s new three-year deal with the Pacers will be worth $6.5MM, a league source tells Grant Afseth of The Kokomo Tribune (Twitter link). It’s not clear whether all three years will be fully guaranteed, but it sounds like Sumner will be getting more than the minimum.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • A source tells Marc Stein of The New York Times that Spencer Dinwiddie was “at the forefront” of a months-long push to convince Kyrie Irving to choose the Nets over the Knicks — and to push Kevin Durant in the same direction. While DeAndre Jordan spent the last two months of the season with the Knicks, he also came to view Brooklyn as a more favorable destination to team up with Irving and Durant, according to Stein, who says the veteran center “joined the chorus promoting the Nets” in recent days.
  • EuroLeague powerhouse Fenerbahce is in serious pursuit of Raptors RFA guard Nando De Colo, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, De Colo – who last wore an NBA uniform in 2014 – remains focused on getting back into the NBA. But if he doesn’t get an offer he likes within the next couple weeks, it’s possible he’ll sign with the Turkish club, says Carchia.
  • Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype caught up with veteran center Nikola Vucevic to talk to him about his new $100MM contract agreement with the Magic. “I feel rewarded for what I’ve done – not just last season, but what I’ve done throughout all of my years in Orlando,” Vucevic said of his new deal. “It means a lot for the team to reward me with this nice contract. It was important for me to be able to continue [my career] there and I’m glad we were able to agree on a deal that keeps me in Orlando for four more years.”