- The Warriors have been using some small-ball lineups featuring four guards and Draymond Green at center in recent games, and that is having an impact on the rest of the team’s big men, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. For example, James Wiseman has been active the past two games after recovering from a left ankle sprain, but he’s fourth on the current center depth chart behind Green, Kevon Looney and JaMychal Green, so he hasn’t played in either contest. “Do the math,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s hard to get four centers into a game, especially in 2023.”
Curry, the reigning Finals MVP, was given a technical foul and ejected for tossing his mouthpiece with 1:14 remaining in Wednesday’s two-point victory over Memphis. As Kendra Andrews of ESPN writes, Curry was frustrated by an “ill-advised” three-point attempt by teammate Jordan Poole.
According to Andrews, the mouthpiece “ricocheted off the court and landed near the courtside seats” and Curry received his third career ejection (second in the regular season). The NBA’s press release states that he was fined for “throwing his mouthpiece into the spectator stands” (video link).
“It was a crucial time in the game, and the way that our season has gone, questions about a heightened sense of urgency … when you want something really bad … I reacted in a way that put myself out of the game and put the team in a tough place,” said Curry, who disagreed with the immediate ejection because his mouthpiece didn’t come in contact with anyone.
Embiid, meanwhile, was fined for “making an obscene gesture on the playing court” in the third quarter of Wednesday’s victory over Brooklyn. He was not penalized during the game for his D-Generation X-inspired celebration.
Multiple teams have contacted the Bulls to inquire about guard Alex Caruso, sources tell K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. It remains to be seen whether Chicago will seriously consider moving its top perimeter defender, but Johnson reiterates that the Knicks and Warriors – previously cited as as teams with interest – are still viewed as potential suitors for the 28-year-old.
On the latest episode of his Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports suggested that the Bulls would seek a substantial return if they were to make Caruso available.
“Someone told me last week that the Chicago Bulls think they could get two first-round picks for Alex Caruso,” Fischer said.
Caruso is an All-Defensive candidate on a team-friendly contract — he’s owed $9.5MM in 2023/24 and a partially guaranteed $9.9MM in ’24/25. Still, it’s hard to imagine a team giving up multiple first-rounders for him unless those picks include relatively heavy protections.
Here’s more on the Bulls:
- It would surprise rival executives if the Bulls do anything too drastic, such as trading DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine, at this year’s trade deadline, Johnson writes in both his aforementioned mailbag and a separate NBC Sports Chicago story. Of the team’s “big three,” Nikola Vucevic is the player to watch, according to Johnson, who notes that losing the big man for nothing this offseason would be a disaster for a front office that gave up several valuable assets to acquire him.
- DeRozan said this week that he isn’t thinking about which players the Bulls could trade for at the deadline or when injured teammates might make it back in the second half, preferring to focus on what the team has available right now. “That’s exactly been my mindset my entire career, before I was in the NBA, everything,” DeRozan said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “… Whatever cards you’re dealt with, let’s figure it out. … That’s just my mindset when it comes to everything, so I don’t really get caught up in waiting on Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) to walk through that door to help us. I don’t even think like that. You can be waiting forever for something like that.”
- The Bulls “took a blowtorch to any belief lingering in even their most optimistic fans” with losses in Indiana and Charlotte this week, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who argues that the team as constructed is “unequivocally unfit for playoff basketball” and is in need of a trade deadline shake-up.
Lakers forward LeBron James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Thursday with his 19th NBA All-Star selection. James, who currently shares the record with Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star Games played with 18, was chosen as a starter, according to a league press release.
All of the starters were revealed on Thursday night.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic were the other starters chosen out of the Western Conference. James will serve as a team captain for the sixth straight year, since he received the most votes.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, named a team captain for the third time, heads the list of starters out of the Eastern Conference. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Nets forward Kevin Durant, Nets guard Kyrie Irving, and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell will join him, but the league’s second-leading scorer, Sixers center Joel Embiid (33.4 PPG), didn’t garner enough votes.
The starters are selected by a weighted voting process with the fan vote accounting for half of the final outcome. The player and media portions of the vote each counted for 25 percent. Three frontcourt players and two guards were selected from each conference.
Embiid finished third in the player and media voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players but fourth in the fan voting. All voting results can be found here.
The game will be played Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. James and Antetokounmpo will choose their teams shortly before the game begins. James will set the league record for most All-Star appearances if he plays, since Abdul-Jabbar did not play in the 1973 game after being chosen.
The reserves, which are chosen by the league’s coaches, will be announced Feb. 2.
Still just 20 years old, the second-year wing has struggled to land a regular spot in head coach Steve Kerr‘s rotation this season. He did not play at all in three of the last four games, so obviously the Warriors want him to get more reps in.
Through 39 games (14.8 MPG), Moody is averaging 5.2 PPG and 1.7 RPG on .452/.367/.703 shooting. The former lottery pick made 10 total appearances (Showcase Cup, regular season and postseason) with Santa Cruz as a rookie, but this is his first G League stint during the 2022/23 season.
After defeating Memphis on Wednesday night, the defending champions are now 24-24, the No. 8 seed in the West.
With Bob Myers‘ contract as the Warriors‘ president of basketball operations set to expire later this year, people around Myers are wondering whether – or even predicting that – his time in Golden State could be coming to an end, according to Anthony Slater, Marcus Thompson II, and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The Athletic’s trio cites team and league sources who say that Myers believes he should be among the NBA’s highest-paid front office executives, if not the highest, after having built a roster that has won four titles since 2015.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who previously stated that the team has made two contract extension offers to Myers, has referred to the executive’s last deal as one that made him one of the NBA’s top three highest-paid general managers, but Slater, Thompson, and Amick suggest that’s not the case.
According to The Athletic, Myers is among the top six or top eight highest-paid basketball executives, but Daryl Morey (Sixers), Masai Ujiri (Raptors), Pat Riley (Heat), Tim Connelly (Timberwolves), R.C. Buford (Spurs), and Leon Rose (Knicks) are believed by industry experts to be paid more.
Myers is well-liked by the Warriors’ stars, including Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and Lacob and the team’s ownership group have shown a propensity over the years to spend to retain talent wherever possible, so the two sides could certainly still work out a new deal that keeps Myers atop Golden State’s front office for years to come.
If that doesn’t happen, the Wizards, Suns, and Knicks are worth watching as possible suitors for Myers, according to The Athletic’s trio, who also name the Clippers as a possibility being discussed in front office circles. A source with knowledge of the Clippers’ situation pushed back on that idea, however.
Slater, Thompson, and Amick have heard that Lacob has become more involved than ever in the Warriors’ personnel moves in recent years, including scouting draft prospects and creating big boards.
The Athletic’s report doesn’t indicate that Myers has chafed at Lacob’s involvement, but suggests Myers has essentially had to play the role of mediator between the Warriors’ ownership group – which has encouraged the development of young prospects and pushed a “two-timeline” plan – and his veteran stars and head coach Steve Kerr, who may favor more experience on the club’s bench.
Sources close to Myers who spoke to The Athletic wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the veteran executive leaving the NBA altogether and pursuing other opportunities, especially if burnout is a factor.
With several months left until Myers’ contract expires, it’s too early to say how the situation will play out. Two years ago, Ujiri and the Raptors didn’t agree to a new deal until well into the summer, just as his contract was about to expire — it’s possible the Myers situation in Golden State could follow a similar trajectory. For now, it’s worth monitoring as an under-the-radar storyline that could be resolved without further drama or could result in a major shake-up for the defending champs.
The desire around the league for more shooting, combined with a shortage of sellers, could produce an “overheated” market for Beasley, an Eastern Conference executive tells Deveney. The 26-year-old is averaging 13.7 PPG for Utah while connecting at 39.9% from the field and 35.8% from three-point range. His contract is relatively affordable, with a $16.5MM team option for 2023/24.
“It is a thin market,” the executive said. “You are going to have to overpay because there are not a ton of guys you can go out and get. … A lot of playoff teams are trying to figure out what it is going to take to get him.”
The Jazz are asking for a first-round pick in return for Beasley, along with a young player and whatever it takes to match salaries, according to Deveney, who hears that Utah is willing to take on salary beyond this season if it believes the players if acquires can eventually be moved for another first-rounder.
Deveney cites the Heat as among the top contenders for Beasley, possibly as part of a larger deal that would also bring Kelly Olynyk back to Miami for a package that includes Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin along with picks and other young players. Miami prefers to hold onto 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic, according to Deveney, who believes that stance could change as the deadline nears.
Deveney also mentions the Cavaliers in a rumor first floated last week by Marc Stein. The proposed three-team deal would send Beasley to Cleveland, Caris LeVert‘s expiring contract to the Hawks and John Collins to Utah.
The Bucks and Nets are also interested in Beasley, Deveney adds, but both teams are limited in the draft assets they can offer. Milwaukee doesn’t have a first-round pick to trade until 2029, while Brooklyn would like to deal Seth Curry or Joe Harris for Beasley, but can’t trade a first-rounder until 2028.
The Celtics, who nearly traded for Beasley last season before acquiring Derrick White, probably won’t be involved in the pursuit this year, Deveney states. He expects them to seek a less expensive wing if they’re active in the market at all, possibly offering Danilo Gallinari and Payton Pritchard in return.
Deveney identifies the Pelicans and Warriors as “dark horses” in the Beasley chase, with New Orleans having the combination of draft capital, young players and salary fillers that Utah is seeking, and Golden State able to get involved if management decides to part with either James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody.
- JaMychal Green‘s 13-point performance off the bench Friday with four starters sitting out showed why the Warriors wanted to sign him so badly, observes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. The game marked Green’s return to the court after missing more than a month with health issues, which included spending a week with COVID in a hotel room in New York City and a staph infection in his leg, details Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
Players who signed two-way contracts before the NBA’s regular season got underway are eligible to be active for up to 50 of their teams’ 82 games, while players who filled two-way slots after the season began are eligible for even fewer games — the two-way games limit is prorated, so a player who signed halfway through the regular season could be active for up to 25 contests.
On top of that, players on two-way contracts aren’t eligible to play in the postseason, so once they reach their 50-game regular season limit, their seasons are essentially over at the NBA level.
However, there’s a way to get around those restrictions. If a two-way player has outperformed his contract and his team doesn’t want to lose his services once he’s active for his 50th game, that team can simply promote him to its standard 15-man roster.
Teams have the ability to unilaterally convert a two-way contract into a standard, rest-of-season deal worth the players’ minimum salary. If the player is open to it, he can also negotiate a multiyear contract with his team as part of his promotion to the 15-man roster.
Last season, 20 players were converted from two-way deals to standard contracts after the NBA regular season began. It hasn’t happened at all since opening night this season, but it’s just a matter of time until that changes.
Here are five prime candidates to receive promotions sooner or later:
Jordan Goodwin, G (Wizards)
Multiple reporters, including Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, and Ava Wallace of The Washington Post, have indicated that the Wizards would like to promote Goodwin. The second-year guard has been a solid rotation piece in D.C., averaging 6.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 2.7 APG with a .397 3PT%, but he’s rapidly approaching his 50-game limit.
According to Robbins (Twitter link), since he has already been active for 44 games, Goodwin is actually being assigned to the G League’s Capital City Go-Go on Saturday as the Wizards try to preserve his availability.
The Wizards don’t currently have an available 15-man roster spot, but it sounds like opening one up will be a priority at the trade deadline. Unfortunately for Goodwin, Washington has 10 games between now and February 9, so he may have to be inactive for some of them as the team attempts to make room for him.
Anthony Lamb, F (Warriors)
Unlike the Wizards, the Warriors do have a spot available on their 15-man roster for Lamb, but there’s no rush to promote him until he has exhausted his two-way games limit. Golden State may also want to keep that roster spot open through the trade deadline to maximize the team’s flexibility in trade talks and on the buyout market.
It should be just a matter of time until Lamb gets bumped to the main roster though. In 38 games for the defending champions, he has averaged 7.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 20.1 minutes per night, emerging as a trusted rotation player for head coach Steve Kerr, who has used Lamb more than a few reserves expected to have bigger roles.
Golden State’s other two-way player, Ty Jerome, is putting up a sparkling .503/.407/.963 shooting line this season through 28 appearances and is making his own case for a promotion.
Orlando Robinson, C (Heat)
Robinson, a rookie big man out of Fresno State, has surpassed Dewayne Dedmon in the Heat’s rotation in recent weeks as Bam Adebayo‘s primary backup at center. In his modest role, he has averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 15.1 MPG.
Because he signed his two-way deal with Miami in December, Robinson is limited to 35 active games, rather than 50, so his limit is fast approaching. But the Heat are right up against the luxury tax and won’t be able to sign a 15th man while staying below the tax line until March unless they shed a little salary in a trade deadline deal.
At this point, Robinson seems like the favorite to fill that 15th roster spot, but if the Heat’s cap situation remains unchanged, he’ll probably have to wait until later in the season.
Moses Brown, C (Clippers)
Given the Clippers’ lack of depth at center, Brown has often served as the de facto backup behind starter Ivica Zubac, appearing in 33 games so far.
The 23-year-old is only logging 7.9 minutes per night, but he’s making the most of his limited action, averaging 4.3 PPG and 3.7 RPG. L.A. has a +5.1 net rating when he’s on the court, the second-best mark on the team behind Kawhi Leonard.
Brown isn’t likely to be part of the Clippers’ playoff rotation, and may not see many minutes down the stretch at all if the club adds a veteran big man via trade or the buyout market. Still, there’s an open spot on the 15-man roster — if that spot remains open and Brown continues to play the role he has so far this season, he’s the logical candidate to fill it.
Duane Washington, G (Suns)
Washington didn’t see much action in Phoenix during the first month of the season, but with injuries taking a toll on the Suns’ roster, he has gotten the chance to play regular minutes in recent weeks.
While Washington’s performance has been up and down, the highs have been impressive. In three separate games within the last month, he has made at least five 3-pointers and scored at least 21 points. Since December 20, he’s knocking down 38.1% of his attempts from beyond the arc.
When the Suns are at full strength, it’s difficult to imagine Washington being part of the regular rotation, but the team only has 14 players on full-season contracts, so the door is open for him to claim the 15th spot. It may come down to what Phoenix does at the trade deadline and whether the team envisions a relationship with Saben Lee beyond his two 10-day contracts.