Delon Wright

Southwest Notes: Capela, Noah, Wright, Doncic

The Rockets are optimistic that injured center Clint Capela will be ready to return after the All-Star break, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Capela, who missed his 15th straight game tonight, hasn’t played since Jan. 13 when he injured ligaments in his right thumb.

He has been working out for several weeks and will start practicing with the team after the break concludes. Capela is the Rockets’ top rebounder at 12.6 per game and ranks third in the league in field goal percentage at 63.1%.

“He’s doing everything without contact,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I guess those two practices will determine whether he will play the first game (after the break) or not.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Joakim Noah calls the opportunity to resume his career with the Grizzlies “a blessing” after a disastrous experience with the Knicks, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Noah wasn’t always sure that he wanted to keep playing after becoming an outcast in New York, but he has been rejuvenated by a second chance in Memphis. “I didn’t want to leave the game like that,” he said. “I’ve worked too hard my whole life. I’ve always been somebody who loves basketball, loves to compete. I wanted to find that again.” (Twitter link)
  • The Grizzlies traded offense for defense at the backup point guard position in a pair of deals last week, writes David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis sent Shelvin Mack to the Hawks and replaced him by picking up Delon Wright in a trade with the Raptors. Wright can’t match Mack’s outside shooting prowess, but he made the Pac 12 All-Defensive Team twice in college and has the size to guard several positions. The Grizzlies can make Wright a restricted free agent this summer by extending a a $3.64MM qualifying offer.
  • An online gambling site has stopped taking wagers on the Rookie of the Year race, figuring Mavericks guard Luka Doncic already has the award wrapped up, relays Joey Hayden of The Dallas Morning News. David Strauss of MyBookie said the site is ready to pay out more than $150K to bettors who put money on Doncic.

Grizzlies Trade Marc Gasol To Raptors

9:05pm: The Raptors have officially acquired Gasol from the Grizzlies, sending Valanciunas, Wright, Miles and a 2024 second-round pick to Memphis in return, the teams announced on Thursday.

“Marc [Gasol] brings significant playoff experience to our team, which along with his savviness and leadership skills really helps position us for our ultimate post-season goal,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “We look forward to welcoming Marc to our city and team.”

12:55pm: The Raptors and Grizzlies are finalizing a trade agreement that would send Marc Gasol to Toronto, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Memphis is expected to receive Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, and a 2024 second-round pick in exchange for Gasol, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

It’s the latest major development in what has turned into an arms race among the Eastern Conference’s top contenders. The Sixers acquired Tobias Harris on Wednesday morning, and the Bucks reached a deal to acquire Nikola Mirotic earlier today.

The Raptors will surrender some depth in the trade by giving up three rotation players, but none of Valanciunas, Wright, and Miles were starters. In acquiring Gasol, Toronto will add more firepower to its frontcourt, acquiring a veteran center who has been linked to the club for years.

A former Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol has slowed down a step or two at age 34, but he’s still a productive scorer (15.7 PPG), rebounder (8.6 RPG), and rim protector (1.2 BPG). He has also added an outside shot to his game in recent years, making 35.7% of his attempts and 1.4 threes per game over the last three seasons. It will be interesting to see how the Raptors manage his minutes in a frontcourt that also features Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam, both of whom are having excellent seasons.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, will move on from a three-time All-Star who has been in Memphis since 2008. Despite Gasol’s long tenure with the franchise, it appeared this week as if he was ready to move on, having cleared out his locker when it looked as if a trade to the Hornets was a possibility. That deal with Charlotte never got too close to being finalized, notes Sean Deveney of Sporting News (Twitter link).

In exchange for Gasol, Memphis gets a productive center in Valanciunas, who is set to return from a hand injury, a promising young point guard in Wright, who will be a restricted free agent season’s end, and Miles, a sharpshooter who has had a down year. The Grizzlies will also acquire a future second-round pick, though it’s hard to determine how much value that selection will have by 2024.

Valanciunas has a $17.62MM player option for next season, while Miles has a $8.73MM player option. Both players look like solid bets to opt in. It’s not clear yet what Gasol will do with his own $25.6MM player option for 2019/20. The Raptors would have his Bird Rights if he opts out.

Gasol also has a 15% trade kicker, which will be applied to his 2018/19 cap hit, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.com. That bonus would increase Gasol’s cap figure by close to $1.3MM if he doesn’t waive it.

Marks also observes that this deal will leave the Raptors with just 11 players under contract after they also sent Malachi Richardson to Philadelphia. The club will have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players, so it could be an active month in Toronto.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors Made Offer For Mike Conley, Marc Gasol?

3:44pm: The Grizzlies would be looking for more than Lowry and Valanciunas in return for Conley and Gasol, according to Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News, who hears that Memphis asked for Pascal Siakam (Twitter link). The Raptors aren’t trading Siakam, but would be willing to include Delon Wright and a future first-round pick, says Lawrence.

Toronto’s 2019 first-round pick is committed to San Antonio, so the 2021 first-rounder would be the next one available.

2:18pm: While the Grizzlies have reportedly been primarily engaged in talks with the Jazz and Pistons for Mike Conley, another potential suitor has entered the mix, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com. League sources tell Fischer that the Raptors have contacted Memphis and offered Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas in a deal for both Conley and Marc Gasol.

It’s a fascinating offer from Toronto’s perspective, as the second-best team in the East appears willing to give up an All-Star guard and an important rotation piece in a proposal that would reshape its roster. Lowry has been made aware of the Raptors’ trade talks involving him, per Fischer.

On the other hand though, it’s hard to see why the Grizzlies would jump at Toronto’s offer, unless the franchise isn’t totally committed to rebuilding. Lowry has a cap number similar to Conley’s, albeit with a contract that expires a year earlier. Valanciunas has a $17.62MM player option for next season.

By comparison, Utah’s offer for Conley reportedly includes a sizable expiring contract (Ricky Rubio‘s) and a first-round pick. It could also feature a prospect like Dante Exum or Grayson Allen, according to Fischer. Detroit’s offer for Conley is said to include Reggie Jackson and a first-rounder. The Grizzlies are believed to be seriously considering both teams’ offers, per Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Fischer, the Grizzlies turned down the Raptors’ initial offer and would prefer to receive younger players – such as OG Anunoby – and/or draft assets from Toronto.

Meanwhile, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca provides a different perspective, tweeting that he’s heard the talks between the Grizzlies and Raptors were initiated by Memphis and didn’t progress very far.

While Grange’s and Fischer’s accounts on which team initiated the talks seem contradictory, it’s possible both are accurate — perhaps Memphis made the first call and the Raptors, in turn, returned the Grizzlies’ call to let them know what they’d be willing to offer. If the Grizzlies didn’t like what they heard, discussions may not have advanced from there.

Raptors Notes: Leonard, Siakam, Wright

Raptors fans have reasons to be both optimistic and pessimistic about the upcoming season, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star explains. The addition of Kawhi Leonard lands on both of Armstrong’s lists.

The former NBA Finals MVP is a premier talent, who has the ability to lead Toronto to the NBA Finals (something multiple members of our staff predict will happen). However, Leonard is also a reason for pessimism since he could walk after the season when he hits free agency.

Here’s more from Toronto:

  • Kyle Lowry was upset when the Raptors traded away his friend, DeMar DeRozan, and Armstrong (same piece) wonders how the point guard will react if the team faces adversity. The scribe argues that any anger Lowry still has could fuel his play but it could also lead to trouble within the team.
  • Pascal Siakam could be a breakout star for the Raptors this season, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. “His handle has kind of been there,” coach Nick Nurse said of Siakam. “It’s just giving him the freedom to do it and that comes with everybody realizing he can do it.”
  • The Raptors and Delon Wright didn’t come to an agreement on an extension by this year’s deadline. GM Bobby Webster said it was a “mutual thing,” as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Star tweets. Webster added that he expects Wright to improve on his impressive 2017/18 season and the team will talk deals with the guard after the season when he’s eligible for restricted free agency.

Roster, Contract Deadlines Loom For NBA Teams

Monday, October 15 is the last day of the 2018 NBA offseason and serves as the deadline for a number of roster- and contract-related decisions. Here are the deadlines that teams around the NBA are facing on Monday:

  • Roster limits decrease from 20 players to 15 (plus two two-way players).
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a rookie scale extension. [RELATED: Players eligible for rookie scale extensions]
  • Last day for teams to sign a player to a veteran extension in certain scenarios. Extension-eligible veteran contracts with more than one season remaining can’t be extended after October 15; designated veteran extensions can’t be signed after October 15.
  • Last day for teams to complete sign-and-trade deals.
  • Last day for teams to convert an Exhibit 10 contract into a two-way contract.

While Monday is technically the roster cutdown deadline, many clubs will make their final moves today. That’s because players on non-guaranteed contracts must clear waivers before the first day of the regular season to avoid having their salaries begin to count against a team’s cap.

For instance, if the Suns were to keep non-guaranteed vets Isaiah Canaan and Richaun Holmes on their roster until Monday, then cut them, the team would be on the hook for a couple days’ worth of salary for each player, since the duo wouldn’t clear waivers until Wednesday. That’s not a huge chunk of money, but if clubs have already made their roster decisions, they’re more likely to just make their cuts today.

Teams who plan on releasing players with full or partial guarantees are more likely to wait until Sunday or Monday, since those salaries will count against their cap either way.

Outside of roster cuts, it will be interesting to see how many more teams reach rookie scale extension agreements with their fourth-year players by Monday night. Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Justise Winslow have signed new deals already, but 20 players remain eligible.

Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers), Bobby Portis (Bulls), Myles Turner (Pacers), and Delon Wright (Raptors) are among the strongest candidates for rookie scale extensions in the coming days, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe details. Lowe views Nance and Portis as the best bets in that group, though he also hears from sources that Wright’s agent – Greg Lawrence – will be in Toronto this weekend for some “last-minute meetings.” If those players and the rest who are eligible for rookie scale extensions don’t sign new contracts by Monday, they’ll be on track for restricted free agency in 2019.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider-only link), there are also 30 extension-eligible players on veteran contracts who won’t be able to get an in-season extension after Monday’s deadline passes. If an extension-eligible veteran has just one year remaining on his contract, he remains extension-eligible through Monday. But for players with multiple years left, Monday is the 2018/19 deadline. Draymond Green (Warriors), Eric Gordon (Rockets), Jae Crowder (Jazz), and E’Twaun Moore (Pelicans) are among the players in that group, per Marks, who says not to expect a new deal for Green.

Finally, while I don’t think we’ll see any sign-and-trade deals within the next couple days, Monday’s deadline is worth noting for a player like restricted free agent Patrick McCaw. Talks between McCaw and the Warriors still appear to be at a stalemate, so a sign-and-trade arrangement could be a viable option for both sides. However, that can’t happen after Monday.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers Culture, Rozier, Wright

Love or hate The Process, it produced a Sixers team that is every bit an Eastern Conference contender. Beyond the roster loaded with talent, however, is a strong culture, one that ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz points out is far more developed and nuanced than we all assumed while they were losing historically.

All of that was a time of learning, a time of progression, a time of really seeing the type of person you can become when you endure hard time,” said Sixers forward Robert Covington. “That journey made us who we are. The 18-win season, the 10-win season. All that, it built us up for this moment.

A mainstay for the team during those lean years is a tradition of having players give presentations about topics that resonate with them on a monthly basis. The result? A series of PowerPoint speeches over which Sixers staffers and stars have been connecting.

Arnovitz breaks down the motivation behind the Sixers’ discussions, which range from Covington’s lecture on snakes to Dario Saric‘s lesson on the Balkan conflict that shaped his childhood. If you dive into one #LongRead today, make it this one.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Consider David Lee a supporter of the notion that the Knicks should hire Mark Jackson. Lee played in New York and later for Jackson in Golden State. “Mark understands the difference in New York basketball. He’s from there,” Lee told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He understands the politics, the fans, things involved unique to the Knicks. That’s an advantage he has.
  • A pair of Atlantic Division point guards have developed slowly over time. Now, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer wonders if Delon Wright and Terry Rozier could eventually leave the Raptors and Celtics for a chance to play a bigger role on another squad. Both players will be eligible for extensions this offseason, and Toronto and Boston may not have the cap flexibility to invest in them for the long term.
  • The Nets have seen a trend of development in players that they’ve had for two or more seasons. Tom Dowd of the team’s official website writes that all eyes will be on D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe and Jarrett Allen to see if they’ll show similar improvements when they reach their second year under the tutelage of head coach Kenny Atkinson.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Russell, Hardaway Jr.

The Nets roster boasts two of the top-three 2015 draft picks but neither are currently in the lineup, nor are they expected to be in the near future. Brian Lewis of the New York Post confirms that while D’Angelo Russell is five weeks into his recovery from arthroscopic surgery last month, he’s still a couple of weeks away.

Jahlil Okafor, on the other hand, is out for a different reason. Prior to his acquisition on December 7, Okafor was seldom used by the Sixers, seeing action in just two games for Philly. The big man played for the Nets last week but has been held out since.

I’d hate to put an exact date on [when Okafor will play again]. Depending on how he feels, we’re going day-to-day,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said. “I’d assume he’s still probably a week-and-a-half or two weeks away from where he feels comfortable out there and be able to play at the pace in which coach Kenny Atkinson and his staff want to play at.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • While they still haven’t released a timetable for his return, Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has made progress in his recovery from a leg injury, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The swingman can push off of his leg a little bit and will be re-evaluated again next week.
  • The versatile contributions of Delon Wright have served the Raptors well, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. The 25-year-old is long and athletic, capable of both running with the squad and being patient when they need him to be. Wright has averaged 7.7 points and 2.4 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season.
  • The Celtics have been said to be interested in acquiring Anthony Davis. One C’s writer, however, doesn’t want the club to go all in on the Pelicans‘ superstar. D.J. Bean of NBC Sports Boston writes that giving up Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum may be too much, especially considering that the Warriors are going to be a formidable contender to seriously compete with over the next few seasons.

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Okafor, Whitehead

Nearly a month after dislocating his shoulder injury, Delon Wright will make his return to the Raptors lineup, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Wright last saw action on November 16.

Prior to the injury, Wright had been enjoying a solid season serving as a vital part of a Raptors second-unit that has yielded plenty of credit this season. While his absence was noticeable, third-string guard Fred VanVleet filled in admirably as the primary backup.

Wright, who had averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season, is expected to be on somewhat of a minute restriction, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tonight is the night that recent Nets acquisitions Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas make their debut, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. The pair, he adds, are expected to get a “healthy dose of playing time” in their first Brooklyn appearance.
  • The Celtics will be without Marcus Morris for at least a week. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that the forward who has missed four of the past five games with a lingering knee injury isn’t expected to be back until, perhaps, December 23 or Christmas Day.
  • Second-year Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead has changed his representation, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The point guard and former Andy Miller client will now be represented by Sam Permut of Roc Nation.
  • The Knicks have thrived without Carmelo Anthony on board but veteran guard Courtney Lee doesn’t think that his absence is why the team is winning. “If Melo was here, we would’ve made that adjustment with him,” he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “So you can’t just pinpoint it at him and say, ‘Well he left and we made these adjustments.’ The style of play was going to be different from last year regardless.

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Booker

The Raptors will have a welcomed dilemma on their hands when Delon Wright returns from a shoulder injury. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that initial third-string point guard Fred VanVleet has made a strong case for regular minutes.

VanVleet has become an integral part of the lineup the Raptors have been closing games with during their current five-game streak. The gritty, undrafted guard has been providing skills that Dwane Casey loves while shooting an impressive 8-17 from beyond the arc.

I think we have the opportunity with Delon, Fred, Norman Powell,” starting Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said of the fluctuating lineups. “We’ve got guys who can play basketball and guys who are very talented and play extremely hard. You never know, whoever has it going is going to finish the game.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets opted to take a flyer on Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas this week but the aspect of the trade that they’re most excited for could very well be the second round pick, Zach Lowe of ESPN says (via Nets Daily). General manager Sean Marks has been busy the last few years, acquiring second-rounders to replenish those that his predecessor traded away.
  • The latest addition to the Sixers considers himself to be a bigger version of a current fan favorite. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently caught up with Trevor Booker and asked him what he thinks he’ll be able to contribute to his new team. “I’ll bring a lot of passion; I’m a passionate player. I’m a guy that’s going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense. I’m pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell.

Raptors’ Delon Wright Expected To Miss One Month

Raptors point guard Delon Wright is expected to miss the next month with a dislocated shoulder, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That timeline would put Wright on track to return just before Christmas.

Although the Raptors will be without Kyle Lowry‘s primary backup for the next several weeks, the news could have been much worse for the club. The team announced today in a press release that, after Wright visited with a specialist in New York, it was determined that the third-year guard wouldn’t require surgery on his injured shoulder. As Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050 observes (via Twitter), Wright was sidelined for six months last year when he underwent surgery after dislocating the same shoulder.

Wright, the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, assumed backup point guard duties for the Raptors this season after the team traded Cory Joseph in July. The 25-year-old had been effective off the bench in his first 14 games this season, averaging 7.6 PPG and 2.6 APG with a .523 FG%.

With Wright on the shelf, the Raptors will lean on Fred VanVleet for a larger role off the bench. Norman Powell may also handle some ball-handling duties when he returns from a hip injury.