Dwayne Bacon

Magic Notes: Anthony, Bacon, Bamba, Weltman

The offensive play of Magic rookie point guard Cole Anthony during the 2020/21 season proved he could be a valuable long-term addition for Orlando, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.

Anthony, who stepped into the role of starting point guard after Markelle Fultz tore his ACL early in the season, averaged 12.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 0.6 SPG across 27.1 MPG for the year. Anthony was an inefficient shooter, with a first-season slash line of .397/.337/.832, but that’s generally par for the course with rookie guards.

Depending on where the Magic land in the upcoming draft, there is a chance that Anthony could get extended run as a starter for at least part of the 2021/22 season while Fultz recovers. He will enjoy his first true offseason with the club this season, as COVID-19 precautions precluded a Summer League and limited offseason activies last year.

There’s more out of Orlando:

  • Do-everything Magic swingman Dwayne Bacon helped stabilize the Magic amid injuries and roster churn during his first season with the club, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Bacon was the sole Magic player to suit up for all 72 games for the team. Parry wonders if, thanks to the addition of rookie guard R.J. Hampton at the trade deadline and the possibility that the Magic could draft a high-upside young wing this summer, Orlando’s front office will opt to guarantee the second year of Bacon’s deal. Bacon’s limitations as an off-ball shooter could factor into this decision.
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba finished the season on a high note, following the trade of Nikola Vucevic and the release of Khem Birch, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Operating as the primary backup behind new Orlando starting center Wendell Carter Jr., Bamba exhibited intriguing flashes of his offensive upside, plus some defensive promise as a rim protector.
  • Magic team president Jeff Weltman is reluctant to speculate about how long it will take his youth-heavy rebuilding club to develop, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. “I don’t apply timelines,” Weltman said. “I don’t know what one person’s development is going to look like juxtaposed next to another, but I just believe that we have a lot of talent on this team, and a lot of character and a lot of guys that want to win and we have a lot of ways to add more of those guys.” Weltman will get to add some exciting new additions this offseason, with the Magic expected to net two lottery picks (their own and the Bulls’ selection, provided it does not move into the top four in the draft lottery).

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Richards, Bacon, Hornets

An exact recovery timeline for new Hawks guard Kris Dunn is unclear following a PRP injection to treat right knee discomfort this week, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dunn is also still recovering from a December right ankle scope.

Breakout swingman De’Andre Hunter is still on track to return in seven-to-10 weeks following a February 8 right meniscus surgery. The Hawks noted that Hunter has started to partake in “weight-bearing lower limb strength activities, form shooting and ball handling.”

The Hawks also revealed that reserve point guard Rajon Rondo participated in shooting and running drills this week, his latest injury this season being a left ankle sprain incurred last month.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have sent rookie center Nick Richards back to their G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, according to Quinton Wash of Hornets.com. Richards, the No. 42 selection out of Kentucky in the 2020 draft, has played limited minutes across eight games with the club so far this season.
  • In his first season for the injury-ravaged Magic, swingman Dwayne Bacon has proven his worth both as a starter and a sparkplug off the bench, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel“When you’re in a game at such a high level, you’re not going to make every shot, so you’ve just got to stick with it,” Bacon said. “The same intensity, same, just everything, the total ingredients to be a good shooter, you’ve got to do the same thing, each and every time.”
  • After missing out on All-Star inclusion altogether during the 2019/20 season, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal finds himself an All-Star starter for the first time this year. Fred Katz of The Athletic details Beal’s journey to starter status this season. “I definitely think the snub [last year] has a little bit to do with it,” Beal said. “I wouldn’t say all the way to the point to where I would start, but I think it was just gaining the recognition of last year and then it just carried over to this year and me just constantly working on my game and playing the way I’ve been playing.”

Magic Notes: Bamba, Gordon, MCW, Bacon

The Magic announced earlier this week that Mohamed Bamba hasn’t been cleared for contact drills, with head coach Steve Clifford suggesting that the big man was still “a ways away” from being 100%. However, in a conversation with Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Bamba said he’s feeling healthy after a bout with COVID-19 earlier in the year.

“I haven’t felt any symptoms since the summer — in fact, June,” Bamba said. “But we all know that it takes a toll on conditioning, and I just want everybody to know that I’m working my ass off to get back in peak shape. I think I’m getting pretty close. Literally every day is valuable towards this. But definitely, I’ve been working.”

Bamba went on to say that he can’t predict exactly when he’ll be back on the court, since the Magic “don’t necessarily do timelines.” However, he added that he’s working to return as soon as possible and appreciates that the organization is being cautious with his health.

Here’s more on the Magic:

  • Several teams – as many as 10, and maybe even more than that – called the Magic during the offseason to show interest in trading for Aaron Gordon, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. While we don’t know the full list of potential suitors for Gordon, Lowe confirms that the Timberwolves were among the teams to inquire, as was previously reported. Orlando ultimately decided to hang onto the veteran forward, whom Lowe still believes in as a potential breakout candidate.
  • Michael Carter-Williams, who played for six teams in his first six NBA seasons, drew interest from other clubs this offseason, but wanted to return to the Magic since he feels like he’s found a home in Orlando, writes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. “It is great to have some stability for myself, not only for myself but my family as well,” Carter-Williams said. “We can start to build a little routine and get comfortable.”
  • Dwayne Bacon called it “a blessing” to join the Magic and is looking forward to being reunited with Steve Clifford, Steve Hetzel, and Bruce Kreutzer, who coached him during his rookie season in Charlotte. “I know as long as I’m here they’re going to push me, and they’re going to do and tell me whatever it takes to get to where I want to be and to where they want me to be,” Bacon said, per Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com.

Contract Details: Adams, Hernangomez, Bol, Bacon, McDermott

After receiving a trade bonus worth $2MM as part of the deal that sent him from Oklahoma City to New Orleans, Pelicans center Steven Adams will have a new 7.5% trade kicker on his two-year extension with his new team, tweets Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. That kicker will give Adams a rare opportunity to potentially cash in on two trade bonuses between free agencies.

Meanwhile, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that another new Pelicans center, Willy Hernangomez, will only have a partial guarantee on his new deal with the team. Hernangomez is assured of receiving at least $700K of his $1.74MM minimum salary for 2020/21, Smith notes.

Here are a few more notes on recently-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Both years on Bol Bol‘s two-year contract with the Nuggets are fully guaranteed, tweets Eric Pincus. Denver used a portion of its mid-level exception to complete the $4.2MM deal.
  • Dwayne Bacon‘s new two-year contract with the Magic is for the veteran’s minimum and will be non-guaranteed for 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith. If Bacon remains under contract for more than three days after 2021’s free agency moratorium ends, he’ll get that full guarantee on year two, Smith adds.
  • While most of the two-way contracts that have been signed by players in the last week are only for one year, Sean McDermott’s deal with the Grizzlies will cover two years, tweets Smith.

Magic Sign Dwayne Bacon To Two-Year Deal

NOVEMBER 24: The Magic have made it official with Bacon, issuing a press release to formally announce his deal.

NOVEMBER 20: The Magic are signing free agent guard Dwayne Bacon to a two-year deal, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

The agreement includes a team option in the second season, with all indications being that Bacon will sign for the minimum salary exception, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets.

Bacon spent last season with the Hornets, who declined to extend him a qualifying offer this week. He averaged 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 17.6 in 39 games, shooting just 35% from the floor.

Bacon, 25, was the No. 40 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s spent the past three seasons with Charlotte, appearing in a total of 135 games. The move to Orlando will reunite him with former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford.

Orlando finished with the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference last season at 33-40. The team sports a young nucleus that includes Aaron Gordon, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba, along with veterans such as Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross.

Hornets Decline Qualifying Offer For Dwayne Bacon

The Hornets will not give a qualifying offer to shooting guard Dwayne Bacon ahead of his fourth NBA season, making him an unrestricted free agent, per an official team press release tweet.

In June, Bacon spoke about hoping for an opportunity with another team ahead of the offseason, which appeared to indicate that a separation could be on the horizon.

The 6’6″ 25-year-old out of Florida State remained a bench player during his tenure with the Hornets. During the 2019/20 season, Bacon averaged 5.7 PPG, and 2.6 PG across 39 games, while shooting just 34.8% from the field.

Bacon joins Hornets centers Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez in free agency. Earlier this week, another potential Charlotte free agent, forward Nicolas Batumopted in to his lucrative $27.13MM player option for the season.

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.