Frank Kaminsky

Hornets Notes: Monk, Lamb, Batum, Howard

The Hornets’ choices for backup point guards were influenced by the drafting of Malik Monk in the first round, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. In a mailbag column, Bonnell states that because Monk is an undersized shooting guard with defensive limitations, the team needed larger point guards to pair with him who are better at stopping opponents. That’s why they signed Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone, both 6’6″, when other options were available.

Another factor was cost, as Charlotte was concerned about staying under the luxury tax threshold of about $119MM and was financially limited after trading for Dwight Howard‘s $23.5MM salary. Carter-Williams agreed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal in July, while Stone accepted a minimum-salary contract in August after negotiating a release from his team in Italy.

Bonnell offers more insight into the Hornets:

  • Monk should be fully recovered from a sprained left ankle that caused him to miss the Orlando Summer League. The 11th overall pick suffered the injury during a draft workout and was sidelined for several weeks, which coach Steve Clifford said affected his conditioning. Monk probably won’t see a lot of playing time early in the season, Bonnell writes, but he should be fully healthy for the team’s October 18 opener.
  • Jeremy Lamb has impressed the coaching staff with his work this offseason, but he’s not a threat to take Nicolas Batum‘s starting job. Lamb has been a valuable reserve during his two seasons in Charlotte, and Bonnell says the team needs Batum’s playmaking skills and overall versatility in the starting lineup.
  • The roles of the big men haven’t been firmly established heading into camp. Howard is expected to start at center with Marvin Williams at power forward, but Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky could both make a push for more playing time. Howard’s reputation as a poor free throw shooter could limit his fourth quarter minutes, just as it did in Atlanta, with Zeller getting more use late in games.

Hornets Exercise Option On Frank Kaminsky

The Hornets have exercised their third-year option on Frank Kaminsky, tweets Adi Joseph of The Sporting News. After Saturday’s game, Charlotte GM Rich Cho delivered the news to Kaminsky in the locker room in the form of a letter.

A 23-year-old center out of Wisconsin, Kaminsky appeared in 81 games for the Hornets during his rookie season. He averaged 7.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per night and shot 34% from 3-point range.

Kaminsky, who is making $2.73MM this season, will see his salary increased to $2,847,600 for 2017/18. The Hornets have now taken care of all their rookie-scale option decisions for this season.

Eastern Notes: Bayless, Kelly, Young

Jerryd Bayless was penciled in as the Sixers‘ opening night starter at point guard, but he’ll be in street clothes for at least the first month of the season while he recovers from a torn ligament in his left wrist, team sources told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. The team announced last week that Bayless would not have surgery on his wrist, but did not put a timetable on his return to action, Goodman notes. Bayless signed a three-year deal with Philly this summer after averaging 10.4 points and 3.1 assists with Milwaukee in 2015/16.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky is out of the walking boot he was required to wear after straining his right foot during Charlotte’s final preseason contest on Friday, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. His status for the team’s regular season opener is still undetermined, Bonnell adds. “He said he felt a lot better,” coach Steve Clifford said of Kaminsky. “He did a ton [of rehabilitation] Sunday and then he was back in here this morning. I guess you’d call him questionable [for the season-opener], but he’s making lots of progress.
  • Celtics executive Danny Ainge confirmed that Ryan Kelly, who was waived by the team on Saturday, will be joining the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate, Goodman tweets.
  • Ainge also weighed in on James Young, who barely made the Celtics‘ regular season roster this season by edging out R.J. Hunter for the 15th and final spot. The executive told Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com, “I told him [Young] this morning that I think this is the first time he’s earned anything in his life. He earned this by his play, day in and day out, and he just has to keep earning it. He was given a lot as a young kid, with a lot of promise and a lot of potential and … he had to come out and win a spot with some good competition, and he did. So he just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing.
  • Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is eligible to sign an extension prior to this season’s deadline, but all signs point to him playing out the season and hitting restricted free agency next summer, as Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press explains.
  • Entering his third season in New York, this may be team president Phil Jackson‘s last chance to turn around the team, which is no lock, given the multiple roster and health questions surrounding the Knicks, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.
  • The Hawks enter the season with just two point guards on the roster, a move the team made because of injuries suffered in the frontcourt, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “With the injuries, the few nagging things on the front line, at the end of the day you are probably going to be a little short on the bigs or a little short on the point guard,” coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said. “We are going with an extra big, more cover on the bigs.”

And-Ones: Bachynski, Rubio, Kaminsky

Despite the speculation that the Wolves‘ addition of rookie point guard Kris Dunn will ultimately lead to Ricky Rubio being dealt, Rubio is looking forward to mentoring his younger teammate, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press notes. “Really it’s a challenge. When a young guy like him who has a lot of potential comes, I think we can really play together,” Rubio told the scribe. “But if we don’t [share the floor often], I can really help him.

Rubio also noted that he’s thrilled about the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as coach/executive and believes the addition will help Minnesota’s young roster, Krawczynski adds. “I think we’ve got all the pieces together to make something happen,” Rubio said. “I’m really excited about the new coach and the new staff. They have a lot of years in their backpack and really can teach us how to reach the next level. I think we have the tools. We just have to put all them together.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Center Jordan Bachynski, who played for the Knicks‘ D-League affiliate last season, has signed with the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins in Japan, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor reports (on Twitter). In 49 games for Westchester in 2015/16, the 26-year-old averaged 13.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.
  • Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky acknowledges that he needs to improve on the defense end if he hopes to advance as an NBA player, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer relays. “I’ve got to be a better overall defender. I was overwhelmed at times,” Kaminsky said. “My preparation, obviously, needs to get better. I so want to be a more consistent player. I’d have a good game and then disappear in the next.”
  • Pistons assistant coach Tim Hardaway is contesting drunken driving charges stemming from an April arrest in Oakland County, The Detroit News relays. Hardaway was stopped by authorities in Michigan back in April and he had a blood alcohol level of .17 percent, according to court records. That blood alcohol level more than twice the state’s legal limit of .08 percent.

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Winslow, Thibodeau

The Heat have a track record of luring free agents to Miami on below-market contracts, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald notes. Center Udonis Haslem offered an explanation for the trend, saying, “It’s a first-class organization, winning organization, and you see how [team president] Pat [Riley] and [owner] Micky [Arison] work together, how the players are treated, how we love being here. And [players] see other people make sacrifices and they start to wonder, ‘Why is everybody sacrificing to be there? Why is everybody sacrificing to stay there?’ When they get a chance to be a part of it, then they buy in.

Combo guard Goran Dragic, who signed a five-year, $90MM deal this past offseason, left millions on the table from other suitors in order to remain part of the Heat’s winning culture, Jackson relays. “When the time came and we negotiated, [agent Rade Filopovich] said we can get more somewhere else,” Dragic said. “But the most important thing for me was to be in the right place to try to win a championship. I didn’t even want to question that. Because it’s a winning culture here. Everybody wants to win, at least the players that are here. You want to put yourself in a good situation that you can develop your game, that you can get better and get the highest prize. I’m happy here. I went through some struggles but I’m really happy I’m part of this team. Everything looks good now.

Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets surprised a number of draft experts when they selected Frank Kaminsky over Justise Winslow in the first round of the 2015 NBA draft. Coach Steve Clifford indicated that it was a matter of redundancy that led Charlotte to pass on Winslow, Jackson relays in a separate piece. “[The decision] was difficult, because Justise is a good player. But so much of it is need. Justise’s position, that versatile three/four, is what we have in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist [who missed most of the season with injury]. But we were really high on Frank anyway,” Clifford said.
  • The Wizards may not be a good fit for Tom Thibodeau, since the team isn’t offering organizational control to head coaching candidates, and that’s something the former Bulls coach reportedly prefers, Ben Standig of CSN Mid-Atlantic notes. Scott Brooks is the reported front-runner for Washington’s coaching vacancy, though Thibodeau has also drawn consideration from the Wizards as well.
  • The Hawks have recalled swingman Lamar Patterson from the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, the team announced via press release.

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Green, Antic, Sefolosha

Heat rookie Justise Winslow may not have entered last year’s draft if Duke hadn’t won the national championship, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The 6’7″ small forward, who is averaging 6.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 72 games, was selected 10th overall after leaving school as a freshman. “It depended how we would have done in the tournament — losing early, how I was playing,” Winslow said. “But I wasn’t guaranteed or I didn’t go into college saying I’m going to be one and done without a doubt.” Without Winslow in the draft, Winderman speculates that Miami may have used its pick on Kentucky sharpshooter Devin Booker or Texas big man Myles Turner.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • Gerald Green had plenty of motivation for breaking out of a long slump with 30 points Friday in Miami’s win over the Kings, Winderman writes in a separate story. The 30-year-old Green, who will be entering free agency this summer, has seen his playing time cut dramatically since the Heat signed Joe Johnson in late February. “Every day, I go to the gym at night, I run, I read y’all comments, and go back to the gym, read y’all comments, go right back to the gym,” Green said. “So I’m just motivated. My teammates motivate me. So I’m just doing whatever I can to just keep myself together.”
  • Former Hawks center Pero Antic has filed a civil rights suit against the New York Police Department in connection with an incident from April 2015 outside a New York nightclub, tweets Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com. He adds that Thabo Sefolosha, who is still with Atlanta, plans to formally file his lawsuit this week. Sefolosha suffered a broken fibula and ankle ligament damage in the scuffle and had to miss last year’s playoffs. He was cleared in October of charges of resisting arrest and obstructing the administration of government. Antic is now playing for Fenerbahce in Turkey.
  • The Hornets‘ effort to fix their shooting problems through offseason moves has been successful, writes Mike Prada of SB Nation. Charlotte was last in 3-point percentage a year ago, but has improved with the additions of Spencer Hawes, Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lin and Nicolas Batum.

Eastern Notes: Morris, Frye, Varejao

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said he had no clue that Markieff Morris‘ situation in Phoenix would take the turn that it did when he acquired his twin Marcus Morris this past offseason, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com. “I didn’t have any idea,” Van Gundy said. “We just knew that we liked Marcus. He was a good player, a professional guy, hard worker. We never had any problems from our end with it. I mean, Marcus was upset when it happened, upset at Phoenix, but it never had any effect on what we were doing in Detroit. He was a real professional.

Markieff intends to approach his new situation with the Wizards the same way, Standing adds. He already has the support of Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley, both of whom relayed positive things about Morris, the scribe notes. “You know, it’s just guys that actually know me, and not on the outside looking in,” Morris said. “Guys that I’ve actually played with and been in the locker room with. Things happen. It’s in my past. All I can do is move forward and learn from it. I’m happy to do it. And getting compliments from those guys means a lot. We’re good friends, we keep in touch. They know me as a person.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Cavaliers were able to land Channing Frye on Thursday despite having less in the way of assets to offer Orlando than the Clippers, who were also interested in the stretch-four, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal notes. Los Angeles backed away from Frye because of the two years and approximately $15MM remaining on his deal, a contract that Cleveland instead views as an asset with the cap set to jump this offseason, Lloyd adds.
  • The Hawks would be wise to consider signing center Anderson Varejao, whom Portland waived after acquiring him from the Cavaliers, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders opines. Atlanta needs a backup center with Tiago Splitter lost for the remainder of the season, and inking Varejao would carry little risk and wouldn’t impact the franchise’s cap flexibility heading into the offseason, Greene notes.
  • Despite a somewhat slow start to his NBA career, Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes Frank Kaminsky will become a solid starter in the league thanks to how hard he works off the court, Gary D’Amato of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays. “He has an NBA game right now,” said Clifford. “His biggest issue is he’s physically not strong enough to play every night against the starters. He’s worked hard in the weight room. I think in another year you’ll see him take off because of his work ethic.” The 2015 No. 9 overall pick has appeared in 53 games this season and is averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per night.

And-Ones: Kaminsky, Draft, Warriors

Hornets owner Michael Jordan liked the experience Frank Kaminsky received as a four-year player at Wisconsin and the team has been satisfied with the rookie’s progress so far, Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel relays.

“After summer league, you could see what he could become,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Particularly on the defensive end, he’s made such great strides. I think Michael’s big point about him is that so much of the draft now are guys that are freshmen. Frankly, when you’re watching a lot of the college tape, the difficult challenge of the draft is they’re good players, but even on their college teams they’re the third or fourth-best guy.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • LSU freshman Ben Simmons, a point forward, who is listed at 6’10″ and 225 pounds, is already gaining traction as a favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. Simmons, who is projected to play small forward in the NBA, is averaging 16.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks through his first five games this season, as Kennedy notes.
  • Harrison Barnes will be out at least one week after spraining his left ankle, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group details. The Warriors determined Barnes did not suffer a fracture, Leung adds.
  • Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whom the Pistons exercised their team option on  for the 2016/17 season last month, continues to earn major minutes because of his defensive ability, David Mayo of MLive.com writes.

Southeast Notes: Batum, Kaminsky, Wizards, Heat

Hornets coach Steve Clifford wants to have more players involved in the offense this season, and he envisions trade acquisition Nicolas Batum as a facilitator for much of that in a manner similar to how the Magic used to run offense through Hedo Turkoglu, observes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

“He’s in a similar place to where Turkoglu was in Orlando as far as size and exceptional feel for the game,” Clifford said. “If he’s open, he shoots it. If he’s not, he’ll drive. He’s as instinctual as you can ask of a player, and you can’t coach that.” 

Clifford was an assistant coach during Turkoglu’s time in Orlando. See more on the Hornets and the rest of the Southeast Division:

  • Frank Kaminsky has more experience than most lottery picks, having gone to college for four years, but he’s having a rough adjustment to NBA competition during informal scrimmages so far, Clifford said, as Bonnell relays in the same piece“The kid has a chance to be really something as a player, [but] right now he’s a kid and they’re beating up on him [in scrimmages],” Clifford said. “They’re 28 or 29 and he’s 22.” Charlotte reportedly turned down an offer of four first-round picks to hold on to the ninth selection and draft Kaminsky this year.
  • The start of construction is set for next year on a new practice facility for the Wizards that is to open in the fall of 2018, the team announced. The Wizards hope it will help them attract free agents, including Kevin Durant when he’s on the market next summer, as Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post wrote earlier this week. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said the franchise wants to house a D-League team there, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com notes.
  • The Heat should sign a veteran whom they could bank on rather than relying on a young player at the end of their bench, given their questionable depth, opines Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Hornets Rumors: Batum, Zeller, Cho, Clifford

The Celtics offered the Hornets a package that included four first-round picks to entice Charlotte to give up the No. 9 pick last month, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Boston was willing to give up its own pick at No. 16, the No. 15 pick that they would tentatively have acquired from the Hawks, an unprotected future first-round pick from the Nets (presumably the 2018 pick Brooklyn owes Boston) and a future first-rounder from either the Grizzlies or the Timberwolves (presumably the ones those teams already owe Boston), as Lowe details. Some front office members in Charlotte liked the idea, but owner Michael Jordan preferred to roll with Frank Kaminsky, whom the Hornets took at No. 9, several sources said to Lowe. The Grantland scribe delves into the implications of that choice, and he touches on more, too, as we highlight amid the latest from the Queen City:

  • Nicolas Batum‘s camp has been talking about how much he’d like to play with the Raptors, given the international appeal of Toronto, several league sources tell Lowe. The native of France, whom the Hornets traded for last month, is set to become a free agent after this coming season.
  • The Hornets have been willing to talk about Cody Zeller when they discuss trades with other teams, sources tell Lowe. That jibes with a report from shortly before the draft that Charlotte was aggressively shopping the big man.
  • GM Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford have had a chilly relationship since last year’s departure of president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, sources familiar with the situation tell Lowe, yet Cho, Clifford and Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk all downplay the notion. “I would say it’s a good relationship now,” Cho says. “I value his input. We’re not always going to agree, but I wouldn’t expect to.”
  • Polk, Jordan, Cho, assistant GM Chad Buchanan and director of player personnel Larry Jordan, Michael’s brother, are the primary decision-makers for the team, according to Lowe.
  • Charlotte shopped Noah Vonleh and the No. 9 pick in a package to try to move up in the draft before abandoning that pursuit and trading Vonleh in the Batum deal, as Lowe details.
  • The Hornets had interest in Rodney Hood going into last year’s draft, Lowe hears. Hood wound up going at No. 23 to Utah, and Charlotte had an opportunity to move down into a spot where it might have nabbed him instead of Vonleh, as Lowe explains.
  • Hornets brass likes Elliot Williams, whom the Hornets have reportedly agreed to sign to a camp deal, but they see him as an insurance policy and don’t view him as a replacement for backup point guard Brian Roberts, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).
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