Frank Kaminsky

Suns Re-Sign Frank Kaminsky

AUGUST 9: The Suns have officially announced the return of reserve center/power forward Frank Kaminsky.

AUGUST 5: Free agent big man Frank Kaminsky has agreed to return to the Suns on a one-year deal, his agents Mark Bartelstein and Andy Shiffman tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Kaminsky’s one-year deal will be worth the veteran’s minimum, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

Kaminsky, 28, first joined the Suns for the 2019/20 season after four years in Charlotte. He signed with Sacramento during the 2020 offseason, but was released by the Kings at the end of the preseason and was claimed off waivers by the Suns, resulting in him spending another season in Phoenix.

Kaminsky appeared in 47 regular season games for the Suns in 2020/21, averaging 6.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.7 APG with a shooting line of .471/.365/.617. He wasn’t in the club’s regular playoff rotation, making 10 appearances and logging just 6.8 minutes per contest.

With Dario Saric in danger of missing the entire 2021/22 season due to a torn ACL, there’s a viable path to play regular minutes for Kaminsky. Newcomer JaVale McGee and second-year big man Jalen Smith will be among the other reserves vying for playing time in the frontcourt, but Kaminsky’s ability to space the floor will make him a better fit in certain lineups.

Suns Notes: Paul, Booker, Ayton, Kaminsky, Game 3

The backcourt pairing of Chris Paul and Devin Booker has reached historic levels this season, particularly during the first two games of the NBA Finals, Gina Mizell of writes.

Paul and Booker have caused problems for the Bucks’ defense, combining to score a total of 59 points in Game 1 and 54 points in Game 2. The two stars are now just two wins away from securing an NBA championship for the first time in their respective careers.

“I’m having a hard enough time trying to figure out how to guard those two,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who’s thrown a variety of defensive schemes at Phoenix thus far. “I can’t come up with a good comparison for you.”

There’s more out of Phoenix tonight:

  • Mark Medina of USA TODAY examines the special bond between Deandre Ayton and former NBA player Mychal Thompson as native Bahamians. “I tell him how proud I am of him and to keep going,” Thompson said of Ayton. “He’s the greatest player we’ve ever had from the Bahamas.” Ayton has welcomed the advice with open arms, averaging 16.2 points and 12.1 rebounds in 36.5 minutes per game in 18 playoff contests.
  • The Suns could benefit from Frank Kaminsky serving as a frontcourt X-factor the rest of the series, Dana Scott of the Arizona Republic writes. Phoenix is already playing without Dario Saric due to a torn ACL, making it imperative that Kaminsky is prepared to step into the rotation. “For me, my mentality this whole playoffs is just, ‘Stay ready,'” Kaminsky said before Game 2. “You never know what can happen. I’ve been ready, I’ve been putting the work in.”
  • The team is treating Sunday’s Game 3 as a must-win contest, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. With a win, Phoenix would take a commanding 3-0 lead heading into Game 4 on Wednesday. “For us, the biggest game of the year is tomorrow,” Paul said on Saturday. “Tomorrow. It’s a must-win game for us. We’ve got to come out with that mindset. Know that they’re home, they’re more comfortable, they will be in front of their fans, but we got to be us. We got to be us and we got to be the hungrier team, and so that’s what we’ll do.”

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Craig, Nader, Bridges, Crowder, Ayton

Torrey Craig, Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader could all pick up minutes during the remainder of the Finals in the aftermath of Dario Saric‘s knee injury, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Saric suffered a torn ACL during the opening quarter of Game 1. Kaminsky played four minutes in Game 1 while Craig received 16 minutes of floor time. “Frank gives us quality size and playmaking ability,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s smart.”

We have more on the Western Conference champions:

  • Mikal Bridges has developed into one of the league’s top 3-and-D wings, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Bridges makes the team’s pick-and-roll offense lethal due to his cutting, screening and spot-up shooting. His ability to guard multiple positions is another underrated aspect of the team’s success, Buha adds. Bridges is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Jae Crowder is another one of those top-level role players and ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the forward, who is appearing in his second straight Finals. Crowder has played an average of 31.7 MPG in the postseason despite modest offensive numbers. He scored just one point in Game 1 but was on the floor for 33 minutes. “You don’t even know what position Jae is,” Williams said. “But you know this: It becomes really hard to take him off the floor.”
  • Williams isn’t sure what Deandre Ayton‘s ceiling is but the coach wants his young center to focus on the present, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “It’s important to embrace where he is and embrace the work that he has to do today,” Williams said.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Nicolas Batum, Clippers, 32, PF/SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2020

Batum had several teams interested in him last fall when Charlotte waived him and stretched out the $27.1MM remaining on his contract. He’s proven to be a bargain for the Clippers after signing for the veteran’s minimum.

Batum has been a regular presence in the rotation (28.4 MPG), serving as a “glue guy,” content to play defense and grab some rebounds without getting a lot of shot opportunities. His shooting percentage has dropped lately, but he’s still averaging a career-best 41.4% on 3-point attempts. It’s been a bounce-back season after he languished on the Hornets’ bench a year ago. He’ll get offers commensurate for a veteran role player.

Andre Drummond, Lakers, 27, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $794K deal in 2021

Cleveland couldn’t find a way to trade Drummond due to the $28.75MM in the final year of his contract. Once he cleared waivers, he had a choice of contenders and landed with the defending champions. It’s a tricky situation with Marc Gasol still on the roster and not thrilled about losing his starting role, but Drummond finds himself pursuing a championship for the first time in his career. If he can blend well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis once they return from injuries, the league’s most prolific rebounder can enhance his resume as he heads into unrestricted free agency this summer.

Damion Lee, Warriors, 28, SG/PG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.5MM deal in 2019

Lee started 36 games for Golden State last season after the team went into tank mode. He earned his way from a two-way contract to a standard three-year deal. However, his 2021/22 salary – albeit a modest $1.9MM by NBA standards – isn’t guaranteed. It includes a partial guarantee of $500K if he’s still on the roster in mid-summer.

Lee has gotten steady minutes as a second-unit player, but really hasn’t contributed much offensively – he’s averaging 4.4 PPG over his last seven games. As a tax team, Golden State needs to fill its bench with low-cost options, so Lee could stick but the club could also seek a better scoring threat at that spot.

Frank Kaminsky, Suns, 28, PF, (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.88MM deal in 2020

It’s been a rough stretch for Kaminsky, who was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols at the beginning of the month. Prior to being sidelined, Kaminsky saw his playing time diminish – he averaged 3.5 PPG in 13.3 MPG during six appearances in March. Kaminsky was on Phoenix’s roster last season, had a $5MM option declined, then returned to the Suns after the Kings placed him on waivers. The ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft will find it difficult to regain his second-unit role once he returns. Kaminsky will likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum to stick around in the league next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Health Updates: Harden, Durant, Drummond, More

The Nets announced today that James Harden, who left Wednesday’s game with hamstring tightness, has also been ruled out for Thursday’s contest vs. Charlotte. However, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link), the injury isn’t considered to be serious, and Harden will be day-to-day going forward.

Harden’s teammate, Kevin Durant, has been dealing with a more serious hamstring issue, having not played at all since February 13. But Charania says Durant is “closing in” on a return to action, adding that if this were the postseason, the star forward would already be playing. Durant still isn’t expected back until possibly sometime next week.

Meanwhile, Blake Griffin will rest on the second night of a back-to-back for injury management purposes, but the Nets will have their other buyout-market addition, LaMarcus Aldridge, available on Thursday for the first time, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Here are a few more health updates from around the NBA:

  • Andre Drummond‘s debut with the Lakers didn’t exactly go as planned. The veteran center left the game with a right toe bruise, a diagnosis that understated how painful the injury was, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. “I didn’t really think anything of it,” Drummond said, referring to a play where Brook Lopez stepped on his foot. “I came back in the second quarter and it was hurting a little bit more. And then after halftime, I finally took my sock off to look and my whole toenail was gone. So, it was just all bad from there. I couldn’t walk or run. So I just told Coach (Frank Vogel) to take me out.” Drummond is considered day-to-day.
  • Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova has yet to appear in a game this season due to a concussion and an appendectomy, but that may change on Thursday. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said on Wednesday that Dellavedova is close to being ready, and that he’s hopeful of a “Delly sighting” against Philadelphia, tweets Chris Fedor of
  • Suns big man Frank Kaminsky isn’t injured, but he’s on the shelf for now after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • As we relayed earlier today, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will remain sidelined through at least mid-April.

Pacific Notes: Caruso, Smith, Morris, Kaminsky

Lakers guard Alex Caruso said he never tested positive for COVID-19, but someone he had seen around Christmas-time tested positive and he was placed under the league’s healthy and safety protocols because of contact tracing, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.

Caruso understands why the NBA set up those protocols but it was still a frustrating situation for him, Goon adds. The guard missed five games but returned to action for the Lakers on Thursday, playing 20 minutes and scoring eight points against San Antonio.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns rookie Jalen Smith didn’t make the team’s three-game road trip that began Friday in Detroit due to health and safety protocols, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Smith, the 10th overall pick, hadn’t played since Phoenix’s second game against Sacramento because of an ankle injury.
  • Marcus Morris has no issue with Clippers coach Tyronn Lue concerning his second-unit role, Goon writes. Morris, who re-signed with the franchise for four years and $64MM this offseason, made his season debut on Wednesday. Morris had been sidelined by knee soreness. “In hindsight, I was fine with either, but I have seen how well those guys are jelling with the first unit and I thought I could help the second unit with scoring, with leadership, things like that,” Morris said. “I just told him, ‘Hey, if that is what you want to do, I’ll go along with you.’”
  • Forward Frank Kaminsky made his feelings apparent about the Suns before he re-joined them, Gina Mizell of the team’s website writes. Phoenix declined a $5MM option on his contract but claimed him after the Kings waived him late in training camp. “For some reason, people tell you, ‘Don’t let it be known where you want to go or where you want to play,’” Kaminsky said. “But I don’t care. I wanted to play here. I wanted to be with this team and with this group of people.”

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Kaminsky, Lakers, Green

Rookie Warriors center James Wiseman has quickly emerged as a big contributor for Golden State and an early top Rookie of the Year contender, as Tim Kawakami of The Athletic details.

Though Golden State has had an up-and-down 2-2 start, Kawakami argues that the 19-year-old No. 2 draft pick out of Memphis clearly has established himself as the most intriguing prospect among the Warriors’ young guys. “I told y’all after Day 1 that I think he’s going to be really special,” power forward Draymond Green said of Wiseman. “I had never seen James play much and so to see his skill set is, ‘Wow, it’s nice.’”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • New Suns center Frank Kaminsky was excited to play well against the Kings, the team that had just cut him, Suns writer Gina Mizell tweets. “I gotta be honest, that felt good,” Kaminsky said. He scored 11 points in 19 minutes off the bench for Phoenix on Sunday.
  • After the Lakers had their first All-Star player absence, their deep roster showed its mettle in a 127-91 Anthony Davis-free route of the Timberwolves Sunday, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. “The expectation and the norm for us, for most of the league, is that there will be guys out,” head coach Frank Vogel noted. “We just have to make sure we understand that’s the norm and don’t let it slow us down at all.” Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker all scored in double digits, along with Los Angeles’s remaining healthy All-Star, LeBron James.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has said that he is optimistic that power forward Draymond Green will appear in his first 2020/21 season game in the club’s first home game on Friday, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Suns Claim Frank Kaminsky Off Waivers

The Suns have reunited with veteran forward/center Frank Kaminsky, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Phoenix claimed Kaminsky off waivers.

Kaminsky, 27, averaged 9.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG on .450/.331/.678 shooting in 39 games (19.9 MPG) for Phoenix in 2019/20. A patella stress fracture shortened his season, however, and he played a very limited role during the Suns’ 8-0 run in the bubble at Walt Disney World. The team declined his $5MM option for 2020/21 last month.

After being let go by the Suns, Kaminsky signed a non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract with the Kings, but was beaten out by Glenn Robinson III for the 15th spot on Sacramento’s roster and was cut on Saturday.

As a result of tonight’s waiver claim, Kaminsky is back in Phoenix on a much more team-friendly deal than the $5MM option the Suns turned down in November. Because the club had an open roster spot, no corresponding roster move was required to claim Kaminsky.

Turkish Team Interested In Frank Kaminsky

Now that Frank Kaminsky has been officially waived by the Kings, he may be headed to Turkey. Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays a report from Turkish reporter Ugur Ozan Sulak that Fenerbahce will attempt to sign Kaminsky.

Fenerbahce is coached by Igor Kokoskov, who is familiar with Kaminsky from his time in the NBA, though Kokoskov had been let go by the Suns by the time Kaminsky joined the team. Skerletic adds that Fenerbahce negotiated with Kaminsky the last time he was a free agent.

The 27-year-old big man played for the Suns last season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 39 games. He signed a non-guaranteed deal with Sacramento last month.

Kings Waive Frank Kaminsky

DECEMBER 20: The move is official, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports.

DECEMBER 19: The Kings will release center/power forward Frank Kaminsky, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Kaminsky signed a one-year deal with the team earlier this month that carries a $50K guarantee.

Kaminsky, 27, got into 39 games with the Suns last season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in about 20 minutes per night. He was the ninth pick in the 2015 draft and spent the previous four years in Charlotte.

The Kings are now down to 17 players on their camp roster and will need to make at least one more move before Monday’s deadline. They have 14 fully guaranteed contracts, along with Glenn Robinson IIIChimezie Metu and one player on a two-way deal.

Robinson will make the final roster, according to James Ham of NBC Sports (Twitter link), so Sacramento may decide to waive Metu and re-sign him to fill the other two-way slot. Metu’s contract isn’t an Exhibit 10 deal, so it can’t be directly converted into a two-way contract.