Dwayne Bacon

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Collins, Wizards

The Hornets have officially published the list of 17 players who will participate in their in-market bubble mini-camp this week and next, including 13 players on the NBA roster and four from their G League affiliate.

Among the most interesting inclusions on the Hornets’ list are Dwayne Bacon and Willy Hernangomez, both of whom are eligible for free agency this offseason. A number of veteran free agents have opted out of these voluntary mini-camps so as not to risk injury, but Bacon and Hernangomez are young players who are unlikely to generate major interest on the open market, so they’re not jeopardizing massive paydays by participating.

The two Hornets players who aren’t taking part in the team’s group activities are Nicolas Batum and Bismack Biyombo. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, Biyombo’s absence doesn’t come as a major surprise, since he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Batum, meanwhile, has one year left on his contract, but he has been in France for much of the summer and his wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child, per Bonnell.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • While he acknowledged that the 2020 NBA draft class may not be as star-studded as some past groups, Hornets head coach James Borrego is confident that the team will be able to use the No. 3 pick on a player who will “really add value to our program,” as he tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Mitch (Kupchak) and I have dialogue every day,” Borrego said. “I’m excited about the third pick and the 32nd pick, as well. That’s a really good pick for us. The more I dig in, the more I like.”
  • Speaking today to reporters, Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk confirmed that the club anticipates having contract extension discussions with John Collins‘ reps once they’re able to do so (Twitter link via Brad Rowland of Uproxx). Collins will become eligible for a rookie scale extension once the 2020/21 league year begins.
  • Michael Lee and Ben Standig of The Athletic explore the missteps the Wizards have made since 2015 that led them to their current position — capped-out and in the lottery for a second consecutive year.

Southeast Notes: Bryant, Hornets, Heat, Jones

Wizards big man Thomas Bryant, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, has reported to the NBA’s campus at Walt Disney World, the club announced today (via Twitter).

Bryant was part of a small group of Wizards players who didn’t initially travel with the team to Orlando last week. Gary Payton II also contracted the coronavirus, while Garrison Mathews‘ arrival was delayed due to a personal matter.

Now that he has reported to the Disney campus, Bryant will have to go through a brief quarantine period and undergo COVID-19 and physical testing before being cleared to practice with the Wizards.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The eight teams not involved in the NBA’s summer restart still aren’t permitted to conduct group workouts, but that didn’t stop Hornets players Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, and Dwayne Bacon from playing 5-on-5 ball at a non-Hornets gym, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. There’s no expectation that the league will fine those players, but it’s the latest indication that those bottom eight teams are anxious for some form of league-sanctioned offseason activities, writes Bonnell.
  • Heat forward Derrick Jones contracted COVID-19 in June, but was fortunate not to significantly affected by the virus, he told reporters on Tuesday. “I never felt a symptom at all,” Jones said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Jones also spoke about his desire to remain with Miami in free agency this fall. “I wouldn’t want to be on any other team,” he said. “I love it here.”
  • The Heat have shown interest in meeting with TCU prospect Desmond Bane, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Bane, the No. 42 player on ESPN’s big board, is one of the top shooters in the 2020 draft class, having knocked down 43.3% of his three-point attempts in four college seasons.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington explores what the Wizards‘ starting lineup and rotation might look like with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans not playing this summer.

Hornets Notes: Free Agency, Draft, Bacon

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak made it clear earlier in the 2019/20 league year that he doesn’t expect his team to be a major player in free agency during the 2020 offseason, despite projecting to be one of the few clubs with real cap room. However, that doesn’t mean that Charlotte will ignore the free agent market entirely.

We’ll look to acquire talent via trades and depending on the circumstances, we will look at the potential of a strategic free-agent signing,” the Hornets’ executive said, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

As Bonnell notes in a separate tweet, a “strategic” signing for the Hornets could be a smaller deal that focuses on a specific area of need, such as rim protection or more offensive versatility on the wing.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Appearing on WFNZ in Charlotte, Kupchak admitted that the Hornets aren’t in position to focus on positional need in the draft rather than opting for the best player available (Twitter links via Bonnell). We’re just not good enough to do that right now — to bypass maybe a more talented player because we think we need help at a certain position,” Kupchak said.
  • Speaking of the draft, Kupchak recently said that the Hornets have interviewed approximately 25 players who could be picked in the late first or early second round (Twitter link via Bonnell). Charlotte doesn’t have its own second-round pick, but has Cleveland’s, which will be No. 32. The Hornets are focusing on meeting with candidates for that pick rather than their lottery selection because top prospects generally haven’t been participating in many video calls yet (Twitter link via Bonnell).
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason and appears unlikely to return to Charlotte. Bacon said last week that his best option would be to “go somewhere else” as a free agent, according to Bonnell (Twitter link).
  • In a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell discussed Nicolas Batum‘s future, how a lower-than-expected salary cap would affect the Hornets in 2020/21, and a handful of other topics.

Eastern Notes: Kennard, Biyombo, Van Gundy, Tatum

Pistons swingman Luke Kennard has fully healed from the knee tendinitis that sidelined him for nearly three months before the season was suspended, Rod Beard of the Detroit News tweets. Kennard will have to wait until December to play again since the lottery-bound Pistons won’t be part of 22-team restart in Orlando. He’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension when this season ends.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hornets’ season is over and that means three of their players are now free agents, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes. Centers Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez and guard Dwayne Bacon will be on the market in October when free agency begins. Guard Malik Monk remains suspended indefinitely for violation of the NBA anti-drug policy, Bonnell adds. Monk was suspended in late February.
  • Tom Thibodeau is considered the front-runner for the Knicks head coaching job and Jeff Van Gundy says Thibodeau is misunderstood, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The longtime TV analyst and former Knicks coach made his comments during a Sirius XM Radio interview. “Unfortunately for him the perception of him on the sidelines as this gruff, nasty dude is not even close to who is he personally,” Van Gundy said. “Like, he is a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s enjoyable to be around, and he loves basketball.” 
  • NBC Sports’ A. Sherrod Blakely takes a close look on what Celtics fans should watch for when the season resumes, including whether Jayson Tatum can continue his breakout season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/9/20

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • Forward Donta Hall has been recalled by the Pistons, James Edwards of The Athletic tweets. Hall is nearing the end of his second 10-day contract with the club. He has appeared in three Pistons games since signing his first one.
  • The Grizzlies assigned and then recalled swingman Justise Winslow, the team’s PR department tweets. Winslow participated in a practice with the G League club as part of a rehab assignment for his back injury.
  • The Hornets recalled guard Dwayne Bacon from their Greensboro affiiliate, according a team press release. Bacon has appeared in 39 games with Charlotte, posting averages of 5.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 1.3 APG in 17.6 MPG.
  • The Knicks assigned rookie Ignas Brazdeikis to their Westchester affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Brazdeikis, a second-round pick out of Michigan, has appeared in nine Knicks games.
  • The Jazz assigned guard Miye Oni to the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the same log. The rookie out of Yale has played in five Utah games.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bacon, Adebayo, Robinson

The Hornets might be in the market for an experienced point guard, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Devonte’ Graham, who is dealing with left ankle soreness, is doubtful to play Tuesday against the Spurs. Terry Rozier can slide over as the starter but fill-in point guard Malik Monk is suspended indefinitely under the league’s anti-drug policy and the team didn’t renew Joe Chealey’s 10-day contract. Charlotte has two open roster spots and will need to fill one soon, Bonnell adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Dwayne Bacon‘s status with the Hornets is a fluid situation, Bonnell tweets. Bacon has been toiling with the G League’s Greensboro Swarm and it’s uncertain whether he’ll return to the NBA level, according to Borrego. Bacon has played in 39 games with Charlotte this season, including 11 starts, but hasn’t seen action since the All-Star break.
  • Bam Adebayo and Giannis Antetokounmpo share the same agent but Adebayo insists that won’t mean anything if the Bucks superstar hits the free agent market in 2021, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel relays. Both players are represented by Alex Saratsis. “At the end of the day, I can’t force a man to make that decision,” the Heat center said of potentially recruiting the reigning MVP. “That’s going to be his decision, his family’s decision. I can’t persuade him to do that.”
  • The Heat’s offense has been most efficient this season with Duncan Robinson on the court, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald points out. Robinson owns the team’s best plus/minus rating. Additionally, the team’s offensive rating is 114.3 when he’s on the floor, compared to 105.9 when he’s on the bench. That bodes well for his future with the club, although his $1,663,861 salary for next season doesn’t guarantee until after training camp.

Southeast Notes: Monk, Hornets, Capela, Heat

Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game, Hornets coach James Borrego pledged his support for Malik Monk, who has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Borrego said he hasn’t talked with Monk since the suspension was announced this morning.

“All of us face different things in life; it’s how you respond,” Borrego said. “It’s my belief, knowing Malik, that he’ll respond the right way. (The suspension) does put us in a bind. But in the end, this could be a very positive story. I look forward to talking to him.”

Bonnell points out that Monk has turned in some of the best performances of his career recently, averaging 17.8 PPG over the past 11 games while shooting 47% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc. Tuesday marked the first start of his three-season career.

While Monk is unavailable, Bonnell expects more playing time for rookies Cody Martin and Caleb Martin and possibly an early return from the G League for Dwayne Bacon.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • It appears Borrego will give opportunities to all three of the Hornets‘ centers for the rest of the season, Bonnell tweets. Cody Zeller, who has appeared in 53 of the team’s 58 games, was active for tonight’s game but didn’t play. Bismack Biyombo got the start with Willy Hernangomez as his backup.
  • Clint Capela has shown progress with running and movement, but there’s still not a definite plan for his Hawks debut, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal Consitution. Capela, who was acquired from the Rockets at the trade deadline, is dealing with plantar fasciitis and a right calcaneus contusion. He will be re-evaluated on March 4. “He felt he came back too soon, and re-injured it, now he’s being cautious,” coach Lloyd Pierce said. “He thought it was a setback when he re-injured it as opposed to just coming back and taking his time and letting it completely heal.” 
  • The Heat still may be active on the buyout market, suggests Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. He mentions Solomon Hill, who has barely played since being acquired from the Grizzlies earlier this month, as a possible buyout candidate if Miami wants to open a roster spot. Winderman adds that the Heat can offer a portion of their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions, giving them an edge over teams that can only offer minimum contracts.

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Johnson, TLC, Bacon

It remains unclear how long Ben Simmons‘ back injury will sideline him but it’s not a day-to-day thing, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Sixers star departed early in the team’s matchup with Milwaukee on Saturday when his back flared up.

Simmons is still undergoing treatment and evaluation and a course of action will be decided upon soon, Wojnarowski adds. Sixers head coach Brett Brown will use a committee approach at point guard in Simmons’ absence, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Cavaliers were interested in former NBA coach Avery Johnson prior to hiring John Beilein last spring, Chris Crouse of Heavy.com reports. Johnson, the former head coach of the Mavericks and Nets, most recently coached the University of Alabama. Cleveland’s interest in Johnson dated back to the 2018 offseason but the Cavs are now committed to J.B. Bickerstaff, who replaced Beilein after the All-Star break.
  • Swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot could be the Nets’ latest reclamation project, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris blossomed in the organization and Luwawu-Cabarrot could join that list. After signing him to a multi-year contract, they’re looking for him to be a sparkplug off the bench. “They gave me that role and I embrace it: I love it,” Luwawu-Cabarrot told Lewis. “I love. to go out there and compete and play super-hard.”
  • Dwayne Bacon may be shuttling between the Hornets and their Greensboro G League affiliate quite a bit, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. The club wants him to get more reps but will need him at times for depth at the NBA level, according to coach James Borrego. Bacon, a third-year guard, is averaging 5.7 PPG in 17.6 MPG over 39 games with Charlotte this season, including 11 starts.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/19/20

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Also on the transactions log:

Hornets Notes: Biyombo, Bacon, Kaminsky

Bismack Biyombo‘s four-year, $68MM contract has been viewed for years as an albatross, but as that deal nears its end, the Hornets aren’t simply waiting for it to expire. In a regular role off the bench this season, the veteran center has played some of the best ball of his career, averaging a career-best 7.8 PPG with 4.0 RPG in just 16.2 MPG.

While Biyombo won’t get another contract like the one he signed in 2016, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer doesn’t believe a new deal with the Hornets is out of the realm of possibility. On a more modest salary, the 27-year-old big man could be a fit as a rim-protecting center off the bench, and it sounds like he’s open to the idea of remaining in Charlotte beyond the 2019/20 season.

“I love it here. This is my home — I started here,” Biymobo said. “Seeing the organization move in the right direction, seeing guys succeed (matters).”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Dwayne Bacon has had an up-and-down season so far, having fallen out of the starting lineup – and the rotation – since the Hornets’ first 10 games. However, the young shooting guard, who can be a restricted free agent at season’s end, is staying positive as he looks to earn another opportunity, Bonnell writes for The Charlotte Observer. “I think I have the perfect mindset to play 15 years in the NBA, because I can accept every obstacle and I’m always going to be ready. I don’t come with ego,” Bacon said. “I’m the same guy every day: I smile like I just scored 30 points. When you have an ego in this sport, you won’t get far. If I came in here all mad, thinking ‘Oh, you guys are playing and I’m not,’ that’s just selfish of me. I know this is going to come around.”
  • In another article for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell explores what we’ve learned about the Hornets based on the first quarter of the club’s season.
  • After spending his first four NBA seasons with the Hornets, Frank Kaminsky is uncertain about how to feel playing against his old team as a member of the Suns tonight, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The former lottery pick said he would try to treat it like just “another game” but admitted it was a new experience for him.