Isaiah Thomas

Warriors Notes: 15th Roster Spot, Thomas, Wiseman, Wiggins

The Warriors will hold an open competition in training camp for their 15th roster spot, according to Taylor Wirth of NBC Sports Bay Area. Appearing on Tim Kawakami’s “The TK Show,” coach Steve Kerr said the team hasn’t decided to definitely carry 15 players, but several candidates will be considered when camp opens next week.

“The way we’re looking at it is that it’s up in the air,” Kerr said. “We may or may not use it, but that’s what training camp is for. You get a really good look at some guys, there are some really interesting names, people who are really proven players in the league. You get a chance to get a good look at those guys and some young guys who are trying to make it in the league.”

Gary Payton II, who has a non-guaranteed contract, is among the players in contention for that final spot, along with Mychal Mulder. The team also reportedly reached deals today with Langston Galloway and Avery Bradley, who will both be in the running for a roster spot.

“We’re just kind of leaving everything open and figuring this is what camp is for, you get a really good look at somebody, you throw them out there in exhibition games and you figure out exactly how you’re going to put your roster together,” Kerr said.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Isaiah Thomas had a “strong” week of workouts with Golden State, but left town without a deal, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. As Slater explains, Thomas remains on the lookout for an opportunity where he’d have a clearer path to a regular season roster spot.
  • Also on The TK Show, Kerr lamented that James Wiseman‘s development will be slowed by not having a full training camp for the second straight season, relays Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. After sitting out camp with COVID-19 as a rookie, Wiseman will be limited this year as he continues to recover from meniscus surgery. “He will be involved in camp, he’s going to be doing some drill work and he’s going to be part of things,” Kerr said. “The rehab is actually going really well, he’s really coming along and feels good. But because of the nature of the rehab, he has to take his time with contact and the full range of things he’s going to need to be able to do.”
  • Andrew Wiggins, whose playing status is uncertain while he remains unvaccinated, is currently restricted to individual workouts at Chase Center, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. San Francisco requires people to show proof of vaccination before they can enter indoor venues, and Poole states that Wiggins won’t be permitted to continue his workouts if he doesn’t receive the vaccine in the next 20 days.
  • The Warriors didn’t make any splashy moves during the offseason, but president of basketball operations Bob Myers is satisfied with the additions of Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica on veteran’s minimum contracts, telling Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle“We added three minimum players, and that may not look like much, but it wasn’t easy. All three were in demand. We are excited. What they’ll become is to be determined, but we targeted those guys. We made a good effort to get them and convince them that we were the right place for them.”

Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook Working Out For Warriors

The Warriors continue to work out free agent guards, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, who reports (via Twitter) that Avery Bradley and Quinn Cook are among the veterans getting a look from the team this week.

Isaiah Thomas, whose workout with the team was reported last Thursday, will also be among the players auditioning for Golden State this week, and Spears says (via Twitter) the Warriors’ interest in Thomas is “sincere.” Spears adds that the sessions this week will include 5-on-5 games, with other free agents in attendance.

According to Spears, the Warriors – who currently have three openings on their 20-man roster – would ideally like to add one big man and two guards to their roster for training camp.

Golden State has 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, with Damion Lee also expected to make the regular season roster. Barring additional roster moves, that would leave just one opening on the 15-man squad, with Gary Payton II and Mychal Mulder among the players vying for that spot.

The Warriors are well over the luxury tax line and could theoretically keep the 15th spot open to save some money, but they aren’t particularly deep at point guard and aren’t acting like a team that plans to carrying just 14 players. Darren Collison and Ryan Arcidiacono are among the other guards who have worked out for the club.

Bradley, considered a three-and-D guard, appeared in a total of 27 games for the Heat and Rockets in 2020/21. His scoring average dipped to 6.4 PPG on .374/.327/.800 shooting, his worst numbers since his rookie season.

A two-time champion with the Warriors and Lakers, Cook appeared in 107 games for the Warriors from 2017-19. He played in 23 games last season for the Lakers and Cavs, and has career averages of 6.4 PPG and 1.6 APG on .461/.408/.795 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas To Work Out For Warriors

Free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas will work out for the Warriors next week, sources tell Jorge Sierra and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Thomas, who has only appeared in 55 total games over the last three NBA seasons with the Nuggets, Wizards, and Pelicans, has indicated he’s fully recovered from the hip problems that bothered him for years and is looking to get back into the league. He recently worked out for the Lakers and Mavericks in the hopes of securing an NBA deal.

Rumors surfaced this week linking Thomas to EuroLeague club CSKA Moscow, but those reports were either inaccurate or were the result of a misunderstanding — both Thomas and his agent Bernie Lee took to Twitter on Wednesday to shoot them down and to stress that the 32-year-old remains focused on playing in the NBA rather than going overseas.

The Warriors, meanwhile, have been working out some free agent guards as they consider possible candidates to come to training camp and compete with Mychal Mulder and Gary Payton II for the 15th spot on the team’s regular season roster. Darren Collison and Ryan Arcidiacono are among the players who have recently auditioned for Golden State.

Western Notes: Jones, Lakers, House, M. Brown, Mavs

The Lakers were interested earlier in the summer in big man Damian Jones before the Kings chose to guarantee his salary, according to Marc Stein of Substack. Jones had his $1.98MM salary guaranteed last month despite a glut of centers on Sacramento’s roster. Jones played eight games for the Lakers last season. Los Angeles is expected to sign DeAndre Jordan once he’s bought out by the Pistons and clears waivers.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Danuel House is likely to be dealt during the upcoming season, Rahat Huq of the Houston Chronicle opines. House has an expiring $3.98MM contract and doesn’t have a future on the rebuilding Rockets. He appeared in just 36 games last season but might bring back a late first-rounder from a contender seeking depth at the wing, Huq adds.
  • Moses Brown is working closely with longtime NBA center Tyson Chandler to improve his game, Dwain Price of writes. Brown was traded twice this offseason and was forwarded by Boston to the Mavericks in the Josh Richardson deal. “He’s been helping Moses a little bit in the gym just to kind of help him get a feel for things,” Al Whitley, GM of the G League Texas Legends, said of Chandler. “So to have a guy like Tyson Chandler as a mentor – someone who is a championship player, who brings what Tyson brought to the court, his intensity, toughness, all those types of things – that’s now being shared with Moses.”
  • Free agents Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Thomas left positive impressions during the workouts with the Mavericks, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. Dallas is seeking more backcourt depth and both veterans guards are looking to revive their NBA careers.

Mavs Work Out Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, Monta Ellis

A handful of veteran NBA guards worked out for the Mavericks on Thursday, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), who report that Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, and Monta Ellis all earned a look from the team.

Thomas, who previously worked out for the Lakers, is hoping to revive his career after dealing with hip problems for the last several seasons. He has appeared in 55 total games since the start of the 2018/19 season for the Nuggets, Wizards, and Pelicans, averaging 11.1 PPG and 3.2 APG on .393/.381/.771 shooting in 21.0 minutes per contest during that time. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they haven’t been enough to make up for his below-average defense and earn him a full-season rotation role.

Still, Thomas says he feels better now than he has in years, and Charania and Krawczynski confirm that sources say the 32-year-old guard appears to be in great shape. The Lakers are probably no longer an option for him after signing Rajon Rondo, but he could earn an opportunity with Dallas or another team.

While Thomas appeared in a handful of games for New Orleans in 2020/21, it has been quite some time since either Stephenson or Ellis suited up for an NBA team.

Stephenson, who has logged over 500 regular season NBA games and another 57 playoff contests across nine seasons, hasn’t played in the league since 2018/19, when he made 68 appearances for the Lakers. A report last month indicated he was holding a private workout in Las Vegas for NBA teams in the hopes of making a comeback. Stephenson will turn 31 this Sunday.

Ellis, meanwhile, has been out of the league even longer. His last NBA stint came in 2016/17, when he appeared in 74 games for the Pacers. Ellis was a talented scorer earlier in his NBA career, but was never a great three-point shooter (31.4% in his career) and will turn 36 years old this October.

The Mavs are currently carrying 14 players on guaranteed contracts, with Moses Brown on a partially guaranteed deal. While it doesn’t appear they have a ton of roster flexibility for now, that could change before the start of the season. For instance, if they were to trade two or three players to Toronto for Goran Dragic, they’d open up a roster spot or two.

Lakers Notes: Rondo, Thomas, Jordan, Handy

Rajon Rondo appears likely to join the Lakers after he clears waivers on Monday, even though the team can only offer a veteran’s minimum contract, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Rondo reached a buyout agreement on Saturday with the Grizzlies, who apparently never had any intention of keeping the veteran guard after acquiring him from the Clippers two weeks ago. Details on the buyout haven’t been made available, but he was set to make a base salary of $7.5MM in the final season of a two-year contract.

Rondo is reportedly eager to return to L.A. and rejoin the franchise where he won an NBA title in 2019/20. The Lakers are over the salary cap and already used their taxpayer mid-level exception to add former Heat guard Kendrick Nunn.

Rondo would be the fifth former Laker to return to the team this offseason, McMenamin notes, joining Dwight HowardTrevor ArizaWayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore.

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers were “strongly considering” adding Isaiah Thomas to their roster, but Rondo’s buyout has “clearly changed things,” tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Thomas worked out for the team earlier this month, along with Darren Collison and Mike James, and is hoping to find a way back to the NBA after playing just three games for the Pelicans last season.
  • Center DeAndre Jordan could be a candidate for the Lakers if he agrees to a buyout with the Nets, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne suggested on a recent appearance on the “Mason & Ireland” show (hat tip to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Shelburne speculates that any move won’t happen until midseason, although a report this week stated that Jordan may not be with Brooklyn when training camps open September 28. The veteran center, who played the first 10 seasons of his career with the cross-town Clippers, is owed nearly $20MM over the next two years.
  • Appearing on Sirius XM NBA Radio, assistant coach Phil Handy cautioned that there’s still a lot of work to do after the offseason talent upgrade (hat tip to Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation). “Paper doesn’t win championships for us,” Handy said. “Those names that are on that paper, are some phenomenal names. … We gotta do our work and make sure we gel. Do we fit? These guys, they gotta figure out ways to play with each other and sacrifice, and let their names take over.”

Lakers Rumors: Gasol, Frazier, Sampson, Thomas, LeBron

Veteran center Marc Gasol told reporters following his stint with the Spanish team at the Tokyo Olympics that he intends to play out the 2021/22 season with the Lakers, but NBA reporter Marc Stein (subscription required) has heard that Gasol isn’t a lock to return to the team.

Stein’s report is a little vague — it’s not clear, should the two sides part ways before the end of Gasol’s deal, whether that split would be initiated by the Lakers or by the 36-year-old big man. Stein suggests it’s also unclear whether Gasol would seek another NBA opportunity in that scenario or if he’d want to finish his playing career with a team in Spain like his brother Pau Gasol.

As we keep an eye on that situation, let’s round up a few more Lakers-related rumors and notes…

  • After a recent report identified free agent guards Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James as some players the Lakers have worked out and are considering signing, Stein adds a couple more names to that list, suggesting that the team also has guard Tim Frazier and forward JaKarr Sampson on its radar. Although Los Angeles doesn’t intend to carry a full 15-man roster to open the season, the team currently has just 12 players on guaranteed deals, so a couple more additions will be necessary.
  • Thomas’ workout with the Lakers happened a few weeks ago, before he scored 81 points in a pro-am game in Seattle, Stein says.
  • LeBron James took exception to the fact that 10 executives and scouts polled by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps all named either Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kevin Durant as the NBA’s best player entering 2021/22. As Bontemps details in a separate story, James tweeted that he intends to use the snub as fuel going forward.

Lakers Work Out Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Mike James

Free agent guards Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James all recently worked out for the Lakers, who are looking for veteran help to fill out their roster, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

None of the three veteran guards will definitely be signed, sources tell Haynes, and L.A. may decide to have a training camp battle for its final roster spots. The Lakers currently have 12 players with guaranteed contracts and plan to carry just 14 in the regular season for roster flexibility.

L.A.’s priority is finding a third point guard, according to Haynes’ sources, and the team may be in the market for another wing player as well.

Thomas, 32, is hoping to revive his career after dealing with injuries the past four years. He played just three games last season on a 10-day contract with the Pelicans, but says he’s fully healthy now and has been playing well in pro-am leagues. He joined LeBron James and Russell Westbrook for a workout Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to Haynes.

Collison, 33, made a surprise retirement announcement in the summer of 2019, citing family and religious reasons. There were rumors that he might return with the Lakers or Clippers during the 2019/20 season, but he later called them “overhyped.” He played 76 games for the Pacers in his final NBA season, averaging 11.2 PPG and shooting 40.7% from three-point range.

James, 30, finished last season with the Nets after leaving CSKA Moscow. He was part of the rotation in Brooklyn, playing 13 games and averaging 7.7 points and 4.2 assists in 18.2 minutes per night.

The Lakers are expected to move on from veteran shooter Jared Dudley, Haynes adds. Dudley is a free agent after playing 12 games last season.

Celtics Notes: Edwards, Langford, Hauser, Thomas

As he prepares for his third NBA season, Celtics guard Carsen Edwards hopes to move into a more defined role, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Edwards has played a combined 68 games in his first two years and saw just 276 minutes last season. An opportunity for additional playing time seemed to arise after Kemba Walker was traded, but that closed when Boston signed Dennis Schröder.

“I feel like, me just being a young player in the league and stuff, I feel like narrowing down on one thing is good,” Edwards said. “I want to improve on everything at the same time, but I’m mostly just working on my pace, shooting it consistently and just being comfortable with the ball.”

Edwards spent the start of the offseason working with a skills trainer, focusing on the sets the Celtics run and breaking down how to attack different defenses. He hopes to carve out a role as a bench scorer this season and give Boston an incentive to pick up his option for 2022/23.

“I think it’s just comfort, man,” Edwards said. “I feel like at times, just being able to slow down for me, just getting repetitions. I feel like just shooting and working out and stuff like that. Training is never the same as being in a game. So just whatever experience I can get just to be comfortable, just being at ease and be able to shoot it and not feel rushed, I think is a big, important part for me.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Romeo Langford, another young guard hoping to increase his playing time, is trying to make the most of his Summer League opportunity, notes Souichi Terada of MassLive. A lottery pick in 2019, Langford was limited to 18 games last season because of injuries. “He’s a very good player who plays the right way,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “There are times when he’s passive maybe, but regardless of whether it’s Summer League or a league game he’s going to be in the right spot and make the right read. He’s going to be a physical defender on and off the ball and it’s something he has to continue to work on.”
  • Sam Hauser said the Celtics only gave him 10 minutes to decide on their offer of a two-way contract after he wasn’t selected on draft night, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Hauser, who officially signed the deal on Friday, believes he made the right choice. “They said I had a really good workout,” he said of Celtics management. “They said they weren’t sure if I was in their range or not in the draft. But I ended up here so sort of a blessing in disguise, I guess. So. I’m happy with the fit. And I’m glad to be in Boston.”
  • Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas mentioned the Celtics this week as one of four NBA teams that have expressed interest in him, relays Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Isaiah Thomas On Lakers’ Radar

The Lakers still have multiple roster spots available after overhauling their roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this offseason, and according to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein, free agent guard Isaiah Thomas is among the players the team is considering to fill one of those openings.

As Stein explains, it’s far from a lock that the Lakers will sign Thomas, but he’s among the targets the team is keeping its eye on in the search for “additional backcourt punch.”

Thomas generated some buzz on social media over the weekend by racking up 81 points in a Pro-Am game in Seattle. However, he has struggled to make an impact at the NBA level in recent years.

Thomas has appeared in 55 total games since the start of the 2018/19 season for the Nuggets, Wizards, and Pelicans, averaging 11.1 PPG and 3.2 APG on .393/.381/.771 shooting in 21.0 minutes per contest during that time. While those numbers aren’t bad, they haven’t been enough to make up for his below-average defense and earn him a full-season rotation role.

Stein – who reported last week that the Celtics have also mulled the idea of a reunion with Thomas – says the Lakers don’t view Thomas’ failed stint alongside James with the 2017/18 Cavaliers as a deterrent, but will still have to decide how best to use their final roster spots.

Currently, Los Angeles has 12 players on guaranteed contracts, plus Joel Ayayi and Austin Reaves on two-way deals.