Gabriel Deck

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Deck, Mitchell, SGA

Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard still hopes to eventually lead the team that drafted him to a title, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. In an interesting bit of trivia, Quick says that Lillard has gone above and beyond in researching what it takes to do this. He has spoken with championship-winning players (including his new teammate Norman Powell, who won with the Raptors in 2019) and coaches with the goal of integrating their wisdom into his title quest.

“I want that more than anything,” Lillard said of winning a title for the Trail Blazers. “Not just to say I won a championship. But I want to do it in this city. I want to have a parade on Broadway and ride past El Gaucho (steakhouse). That’s what I think of. Every time the playoffs [are] starting, I’m going into it like, ‘Is this going to be the year that we shock the world or that we come up big?’

“I mean, I see every year when we get to this point as pivotal,” Lillard told Quick. “Because at every point, it’s an evaluation: Where do we go from here? Like, can we get the job done as we are? And if not, where do we go from here? What is the change that needs to be made? And I don’t know where that change comes from, you know, maybe we … I don’t know if it’s moving players, I don’t know if it’s a coaching change … whatever it is that happens in the NBA, the changes that are made when you look at the postseason and what you consider success and failure, and things like that, and what changes you have to make to improve or give yourself a better chance.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Recently-added Thunder rookie power forward Gabriel Deck hopes to represent Team Argentina in this summer’s rescheduled Olympics, but will remain in Oklahoma City for the next few weeks, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.
  • The top-seeded Jazz will face the Western Conference’s yet-to-be-determined eighth seed when they begin their postseason this weekend, but the health of All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell remains in question, writes Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune. Mitchell has been unable to play through a full team practice since spraining his ankle in a 119-111 defeat of the Pacers on April 16. “Whenever he’s healthy, we’ll have him back,” Mitchell’s teammate Joe Ingles said, delivering an expert non-answer.
  • As Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to recover from a foot injury, he is holding out hope that he will be healthy enough to suit up for the Canadian national team in this summer’s Olympic qualifiers, tweets Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Wiggins, Thunder, Nuggets

Damian Lillard has long been commended for his loyalty to the Trail Blazers, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports questions where that loyalty has gotten Lillard during what has been his most frustrating season. The veteran guard, who has repeatedly stated his desire to win a title in Portland, hasn’t played with an All-Star since 2015 and the team doesn’t appear to be moving any closer to contention — the Blazers’ recent 4-9 slide has them in play-in territory at No. 7 in the Western Conference.

Acquisitions like Robert Covington and Norman Powell looked like steps in the right direction, but Haynes advocates for the Trail Blazers’ front office to take a more aggressive, riskier approach, seeking a deal that would pair Lillard with a legitimate second star.

While Haynes’ piece for Yahoo Sports is an opinion column, it’s worth noting that the veteran reporter is on good terms with Lillard, having frequently interviewed him and reported on him. That doesn’t necessarily mean Lillard shares the views Haynes puts forth in the piece, but the Trail Blazers star will turn 31 this summer and will want to make the most of his remaining prime years.

Whether or not they’re getting a push from Lillard, it’s fair to say the pressure is increasing on the Blazers’ front office. That pressure applies to the coaching staff too. Echoing another recent report, Haynes suggests within his column that head coach Terry Stotts is very much on the hot seat.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Former Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who played in Minnesota on Thursday as a Warrior, said he has “nothing but love” for his old team and for his time in the city, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “Living here was great,” Wiggins said. “I got to meet a lot of people in the community. I made a lot of friends and people that I’ll talk to and be cool with the rest of my life. Just playing here with the organization it was cool. Helped me grow into the man I am today.”
  • Charlie Brown Jr. is looking to make the most of his 10-day audition with the Thunder, a team he worked out for prior to the 2019 draft, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. Meanwhile, in a separate story, Mussatto writes about Gabriel Deck‘s “welcome to the NBA” moment during his debut on Thursday — the Argentinian forward was matched up with Zion Williamson during his first few minutes in the NBA.
  • In his latest mailbag for The Denver Post, Mike Singer explores Michael Porter Jr.‘s contract situation, JaVale McGee‘s role, and whether any more roster moves are coming for the Nuggets. Singer expects the current 17-man group to be the one Denver takes into the postseason.

Northwest Notes: Barton, Deck, Jones, Finch

Nuggets swingman Will Barton will undergo an MRI after suffering a right hamstring injury, ESPN’s Royce Young writes. Barton felt a pop less than a minute into the team’s game against Golden State on Friday. The Nuggets are already depleted in the backcourt and can ill afford to lose another rotation player. Jamal Murray is out for the season after undergoing ACL surgery and Monte Morris is also sidelined with a hamstring issue. Barton, who holds a $14.67MM option on his contract for next season, is averaging 12.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.3 APG in 55 games this season.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Gabriel Deck has arrived in Oklahoma City and is ready to begin his NBA career once he passes protocols, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The EuroLeague standout signed a four-year contract with the Thunder on April 12. Coach Mark Daigneault said he would “try to get him right in the mix as fast as possible.”
  • The Trail Blazers have hired former WNBA All-Star Asjha Jones, according to Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest.  Jones was an assistant coach for the Washington Mystics last season. She’ll be Portland’s director of basketball strategy and planning on Neil Olshey‘s basketball operations staff.
  • Chris Finch became the Timberwolves’ head coach a little over two months ago and The Athletic’s Britt Robson takes a deep dive into Finch’s rotations and strategies since he replace Ryan Saunders.

Northwest Notes: Rivers, Russell, Deck, Powell

Prior to Wednesday’s game against Portland, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters that the team didn’t bring in Austin Rivers just to “hang out” and that the plan was to incorporate him immediately, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Malone delivered on that promise by playing Rivers for 13 minutes in Wednesday’s win — the veteran guard scored five points and added three rebounds.

After the game, Rivers said he reflected on his situation a lot since being traded and waived in March, and arrived in Denver determined to be a professional teammate who brought a “positive energy” to the Nuggets (Twitter link via Singer).

In addition to that positive energy, Rivers should bring capable outside shooting, shot creation, and perimeter defense to a backcourt that has been hit recently by injuries, writes Eric Spyropoulos of

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • When D’Angelo Russell returned from his knee injury earlier this month, the Timberwolves had him coming off the bench on a minutes limit. Russell’s minutes should increase a little going forward, to about 30 per game, per head coach Chris Finch, but he’ll continue coming off the bench for the time being, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes. “It’s the plan eventually to get him into the starting lineup, but we’re all comfortable where he is,” Finch said.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said on Wednesday that there’s still no update on the arrival of recently-signed forward Gabriel Deck, who is being held up visa issues. “Still working through it. Trying to get him here, trying to get him locked in,” Daigneault said (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). “We’d like to certainly have him join us and see him play for as many games as possible.”
  • Asked about his upcoming free agency, Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell said he’s too wrapped up in the playoff race to think about much yet, per Jason Quick of The Athletic. “I’m looking at everything, evaluating everything,” Powell said. “It’s a little different for me now because I thought I would be in Toronto. It was like home, and you always want to stay home. But now, it’s like a different perspective, learning about a different organization and how they operate.”

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Deck, Wolves Sale, Jazz

The Trail Blazers are hoping to maximize the rest of 30-year-old All-Star point guard Damian Lillard‘s prime years, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Fischer notes that team president Neil Oshley consulted with Lillard during the offseason to discuss good wing fits. Aaron Gordon, recently traded to another West contender in the Nuggets, was considered, though the team ultimately opted to trade for the cheaper Robert Covington. New addition Norman Powell may become tough to retain in restricted free agency, notes Fischer, who wonders if keeping Powell means the club may be willing to move CJ McCollum.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Work visa issues may delay the arrival of new Thunder forward Gabriel Deck to Oklahoma City, head coach Mark Daigneault has indicated, as Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman tweets.
  • Michael Rand of the Star Tribune wonders if the impending sale of the Timberwolves to ex-MLB All-Star Alex Rodriguez and entrepreneur Marc Lore could put the pressure on president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas to expedite a winning culture. Minnesota has made just one playoff appearance since its Western Conference Finals berth in 2004.
  • The Jazz, current owners of the top seed in the Western Conference, are striving to balance resting their core players without losing their competitive edge, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “When we have guys out, we are going to have to have some other guys be really aggressive, and we are going to have to run as much as we can,” head coach Quin Snyder noted. The team has been more liberal in resting players with All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell absent due to a low-ankle sprain.

Contract Details: Deck, Stevens, Olynyk

The Thunder used the remainder of this year’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception — a little over $3.87MM — in Gabriel Deck‘s creatively constructed four-year contract, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The remainder of Deck’s contract includes a non-guaranteed salary of $3,676,852 next season; a non-guaranteed $3,483,334 in 2022/23, with the guarantee kicking in if he’s on the roster after September 20, 2022; and a non-guaranteed $3,483,334 in the final season, including a team option. Assuming he plays out the contract – with the Thunder or another team – he’d be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023 or unrestricted free agency in 2024.

We have more contract-related news:

  • Lamar Stevens received more than triple of the prorated minimum, $652,366 rather than $203,043, from the Cavaliers for the remainder of the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, the remainder of Stevens’ four-year contract offers no salary protections or guaranteed dates in any of the years.
  • Rockets big man Kelly Olynyk earned a $1MM incentive bonus after playing his 1,493rd minute this season, Marks tweets. Olynyk will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • ICYMI, we broke down all the dead money teams are carrying on their caps this season, with the Pistons leading the pack. Check out our story here.

Thunder Sign Gabriel Deck To Multiyear Contract

APRIL 12: The Thunder’s deal with Deck was officially completed on Saturday, per’s transactions log.

According to Schlecht (Twitter link), Deck’s new contract is actually a four-year deal worth a total of $14.5MM. However, the second and third years are non-guaranteed, and the fourth year is a team option. Only this year’s $3.87MM salary is guaranteed.

In addition to being a nice payday for Deck (he now has the third-highest ’20/21 salary among current Thunder players), that $3.87MM rest-of-season commitment helps the Thunder reach the salary floor.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic explains, it remains to be seen whether Deck will actually show enough to be a keeper beyond this season for the Thunder. But even if Oklahoma City decides to move on at season’s end, his 2021/22 salary could be partially or fully guaranteed to help accommodate a trade.

APRIL 8: Argentinian forward Gabriel Deck is expected to join the Thunder on a three-year contract, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Chema de Lucas first reported (via Twitter) that Deck was finalizing an agreement with Oklahoma City.

Deck, who went undrafted in 2017, would be departing top EuroLeague squad Real Madrid two weeks before the EuroLeague’s playoffs are scheduled to kick off. Oklahoma City would be his first NBA club.

Deck played for a string of Argentinian clubs before suiting up for Real Madrid in 2018. He was voted the Argentine League MVP and was named a two-time Argentine League Finals MVP.

He averaged 8.5 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.0 APG and 0.7 SPG in 30 games for the Real Madrid this season, with a shooting line of .481/.412/.846.

Deck could help shore up an injury-ravaged Oklahoma City club. Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderJosh HallLuguentz DortDarius MillerIsaiah RobyDarius Bazley, and Mike Muscala have all been listed as absent ahead of the team’s latest contest against the Hornets.

The Thunder don’t currently have an opening on their roster, but 15th man Justin Robinson is on a 10-day deal, and it’s possible one or two other players on the roster may be expendable.

Thunder Waive Darius Miller

APRIL 9: The move is official, according to the Thunder. Miller is on track to clear waivers on Sunday.

APRIL 8: The Thunder will release veteran wing Darius Miller to accommodate the previously-reported addition of former Real Madrid swingman Gabriel Deck on what is expected to be a three-year contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Miller, currently day-to-day with a groin injury, has appeared in just 18 games with Oklahoma City this season.

The Thunder took a chance on Miller after he missed a full season of action recovering from an Achilles tear while with the Pelicans. Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets that the small forward was a well-liked locker room present for a rebuilding OKC club.

This season, Miller averaged just 10.9 MPG, but carved out a respectable slash line of .458/.405/1.000. During 2019/20, his last mostly-healthy season with the Pelicans, Miller averaged a career-best 8.2 PPG and 2.1 APG, plus 1.9 RPG, in a career-most 25.5 MPG.

Tomorrow is the last day players can be waived by their teams and remain playoff-eligible for their next club, so it’s possible someone takes a flier on Miller’s shooting ability as a deep bench option with a 10-day or rest-of-season signing.

And-Ones: Buycks, Hannahs, Belinelli, Deck

Guard Dwight Buycks is seeking a two-way NBA contract after cutting ties with French team Nanterre 92 earlier this month, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweetsBuycks, who turned down multiple NBA offers last year, averaged 7.4 PPG in 29 games with the Pistons in 2017-18. Buycks, who went undrafted in 2011, played for EuroLeague Greek team Olympiacos last season.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Dusty Hannahs has signed with Kolossos Rodou in Greece, the team announced (hat tip to Sportando). Hannahs, 27, played two game with the Grizzlies last season on a pair of 10-day contracts. He spent most of the season in the G League.
  • Marco Belinelli‘s three-year contract with Virtus Bologna is worth $5MM Euros, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (hat tip to Sportando). Belinelli chose to return to Europe after failing to receive an attractive offer in free agency. The 18th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Belinelli spent 13 years in the NBA, playing for nine different teams during that stretch. The 34-year-old guard accepted a reduced role for the Spurs last season, averaging 6.3 PPG on .392/.376/.828 shooting in 57 games.
  • Gabriel Deck could leave Real Madrid for the NBA if the Spanish team doesn’t give him an extension, Sportando relays in a report by Marca. The Argentinian forward will be an unrestricted free agent next summer but would be willing to exercise an escape clause to play in the NBA this upcoming season. He’s averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG in nine games with Madrid this season.

And-Ones: James, Deck, Sefolosha

Despite recent rumors, veteran point guard Mike James is set to stay with CSKA Moscow for three more seasons, according to Varlas Nikos of Eurohoops (Twitter link).

James, 29, is a talented two-way point guard who originally signed a one-year contract with the club last summer. He averaged a scorching 21.1 points per game in the EuroLeague this season, also dishing out 4.3 assists while grabbing 3.3 rebounds per contest.

James holds NBA experience with the Suns and Pelicans, making stops with several teams overseas during his career. He played college basketball at Eastern Arizona (2008-10) and Lamar University (2010-12), later going undrafted in 2012.

Despite transactions being temporarily locked in the NBA and NBA G League, several overseas teams continue to add and lose players amid the coronavirus pandemic. There has been increased optimism about a potential NBA return in recent weeks — something that could happen as early as July.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • There is growing concern within Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid that the team may lose forward Gabriel Deck to the NBA, according to Spanish newspaper AS (as relayed by Sportando). Deck’s contract with the team is set to expire in 2021, with the 25-year-old going undrafted three years ago. Deck averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 20.1 minutes per game in the EuroLeague this past season.
  • Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press interviewed Thabo Sefolosha to get his thoughts on the death of George Floyd and the ongoing topic of police brutality. “I was just horrified by what I saw,” Sefolosha said. “That could have been me.” Sefolosha was involved in a well-documented incident with the New York Police Department in April of 2015 while playing for the Hawks, which resulted in a broken leg upon being arrested.