Ish Smith

Wizards Notes: Anderson, Schofield, Smith

Justin Anderson is hoping to make the Wizards‘ roster and knows the role he has to play to get there, as I wrote on SLAM Newswire.

“I’m not a guy that’s going to iso and score buckets. That’s not my game. My game is to play a role, fill a void, play defense, play hard, play passionately,” Anderson said.

Washington has 13 players under guaranteed deals, but Anderson is not one of them, meaning he’ll likely compete with a handful of players for the last two spots on the roster, as our own Luke Adams detailed earlier today. Anderson, who is from Virginia and played his collegiate ball at the University of Virginia, would love the opportunity to play for the Wizards, with his family close by.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. “We see Kawhi and Paul George, they get to go back home. You see it happen on all levels. Everyone is excited to go back home.

Here’s more from training camp in Washington:

  • Second-round pick Admiral Schofield was forced out of a scrimmage today with what appeared to be a leg injury. There’s no word yet on the severity of the injury.
  • Earlier in the week, Ish Smith compared playing alongside Bradley Beal to his time playing alongside Blake Griffin. “Shooting the basketball when I’m open, cutting sometimes, mixing it up and playing it off the catch,” Smith said of the style he expects to play while on the court next to Beal. With Isaiah Thomas and John Wall sidelined, Smith is the favorite to open the season as the team’s starting point guard.
  • The two starting forward positions are also up for grabs during camp. Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans could end up with those spots, though that would leave one of the two players playing out of his best position. Thomas Bryant and Beal are the only two starters that are essentially set in stone.
  • As we passed along earlier today, Ian Mahinmi will miss at least six weeks with a strained Achilles. Of the Wizards’ 13 players with guaranteed deals, five are currently injured.

Kemba Walker Signs Four-Year Deal With Celtics

JULY 6: Walker’s new deal with the Celtics is official, according to a tweet from the team. Walker was among the first free agents to commit to his new team when free agency began last Sunday.

JUNE 30, 5:24pm: Walker and the Celtics are formally in agreement on a four-year max deal, tweets Wojnarowski. As we detailed in our story of the Hornets’ agreement with Rozier, Boston is working on adding Kemba via sign-and-trade.

JUNE 30, 2:14pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that while talks remain exploratory in nature, the Celtics have shown interest in a three-team sign-and-trade with Irving, Walker, and Rozier (to the Hornets). Per Woj, the Celtics are interested in having the MLE at their disposal as opposed to the room exception. Woj also adds that the Nets would likely command a first-round pick from Boston for agreeing to a S&T.

JUNE 29, 3:39pm: Free agent point guard Kemba Walker has conveyed to the Hornets that he intends to sign with the Celtics when the NBA’s new league year begins, multiple sources tell Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

Boston has been viewed as Walker’s likely landing spot in recent days, having emerged as the frontrunner for the All-NBA point guard earlier in the week.

Kemba intends to sign a four-year, maximum-salary contract (worth a projected $141MM), tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He’ll be in Boston on Sunday night to finalize an agreement with the C’s, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A three-time All-Star, Walker had perhaps the best year of his NBA carer in 2018/19, establishing a new career-high in PPG (25.6) while also contributing 5.9 APG and 4.4 RPG with a shooting line of .434/.356/.844.

Despite receiving little offensive help in Charlotte, Walker managed to keep the team in the playoff hunt for most of the season, though the Hornets ultimately fell short and finished in the lottery. If Walker had returned to Charlotte, the team would have been up against the luxury tax and would have had a hard time improving its roster around him, so the former UConn star will move on to a potential contender despite the fact that the Hornets could have offered him more money over more years.

Walker will join a Celtics roster that is set to feature Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart, so it will be fascinating to see what he can do in Boston without receiving quite as much attention from opposing defenses. The opportunity to play alongside those Celtics veterans and potentially go deep in the playoffs was a key factor in Walker’s decision, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).

The C’s are expecting to lose Al Horford and, of course, Kyrie Irving, who has been rumored to be focused on Brooklyn. With Walker heading to Boston to replace Irving, the Hornets are scouring the free agent market for possible point guard targets of their own, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that Elfrid Payton, T.J. McConnell, Ish Smith, and Emmanuel Mudiay are among the options being considered by Charlotte.

Terry Rozier‘s name has also been linked to the Hornets, though it’s unlikely that he’d be a viable option unless Charlotte and Boston can work out some sort of sign-and-trade arrangement, which is a long shot. By withdrawing Rozier’s qualifying offer and renouncing his cap hold, the Celtics will have enough room to sign Walker outright to a max deal, even with Daniel Theis‘ QO still on their books.

In addition to Boston and Charlotte, the Mavericks and Knicks had also been considered potential contenders for Walker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Sign Ish Smith To Two-Year Deal

JULY 9: The Wizards have officially signed Smith, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

JULY 1: The Wizards have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with free agent point guard Ish Smith, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the deal will be worth $12MM.

[RELATED: Wizards to re-sign Thomas Bryant]

Smith, who will turn 31 on Friday, will join the 11th team of his NBA career. He spent the last three seasons in Detroit, having averaged 8.9 PPG and 3.6 APG on .419/.326/.758 shooting in 2018/19 for the Pistons.

With Detroit turning to Derrick Rose early in free agency to fill its point guard hole, Smith was destined for a new NBA home, and the Wizards had long been interested, tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic.

With John Wall expected to miss most of the 2019/20 season due to his torn Achilles and Tomas Satoransky facing restricted free agency, the Wizards needed to address the point guard position this summer.

Satoransky will be headed to Chicago in a sign-and-trade deal, so the Wizards will likely need to add at least one more point guard to join Smith while Wall recovers.

According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (via Twitter), Smith will receive a fully guaranteed deal and will be signed using the Wizards’ mid-level exception. Assuming the team plans on staying out tax territory and retaining its full, non-taxpayer’s MLE, it should still have more than $3MM available on that exception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, I. Smith, Diallo, Mavs, More

While rumors of Kevin Durant‘s possible departure continue to persist, the Warriors have recently expressed some private optimism about their chances of re-signing the former MVP, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Amick explains, that hope stems from the fact that Golden State is the only team with the ability to make Durant a five-year, $221MM offer. That extra year and money could be a more significant factor with KD recovering from an Achilles tear.

Earlier this week, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers indicated that the team has formal plans to talk to both Durant and Klay Thompson about new deals, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). Myers also said that Thompson is expected to undergo his ACL surgery later this week.

Here’s more from around the NBA on free agency:

  • Ish Smith is among the free agent point guards who are on the Timberwolves‘ radar, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. Wolfson previously identified T.J. McConnell as a target of interest to Minnesota.
  • Cheick Diallo, who shares an agent with Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Mavs free agent target Patrick Beverley, is a potential fit for Dallas, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Diallo reportedly won’t receive a qualifying offer from New Orleans, so he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Speaking of the Mavericks, team owner Mark Cuban downplayed the importance of face-to-face meetings for free agents, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. “There’s some players that want a presentation and they want the dog-and-pony show,” Cuban said. “And there’s some players, they don’t care. They have a feel and they just want to ask some questions and you don’t really have to have a meeting to do that. … It really depends on the players. I can give you a long list of players we didn’t have meetings with that we signed, and a lot of teams that didn’t have meetings and they signed people. There’s not a lot of secrets. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re going to say something they didn’t know.”
  • Although Willie Cauley-Stein‘s agent doesn’t want the Kings to give his client a qualifying offer, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to forgo that QO, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Sixers Notes: Horford, Brogdon, Butler

It’s not a given that the Sixers bring back their five starters this offseason.

Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris will each have rival teams looking to offer them a max deal. J.J. Redick will likely see heavy interest on the market as well, with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer hearing that shooting guard will yield offers in the range of $12MM annually.

“They have tough decisions to make and so do we,” GM Elton Brand said.

Bringing back those three players will put the Sixers over the salary cap and out of contention for a number of free agents. Should the team decide to make major changes, there’s a wide range of talent on the market.

“We definitely need hard-nose players, shooting,” Brand said. “We want to add shooting. If you watch the playoffs, these are playoff-tested players … I don’t want to say names … but [the Sixers want] veteran-tested players, playoff-tested players that can take us over the edge with our talent.”

Al Horford, Malcolm Brogdon, and Danny Green are players the team could have interest in Pompey adds.

Here’s more on Philadelphia and the team’s pending free agents:

  • Don’t be surprised if the Clippers make a play to sign Harris, Pompey notes. The combo forward, who came to the Sixers via a midseason trade with the club, will be taking meetings on June 30 and July 1.
  • The Sixers may have to offer a five-year deal in order to keep Jimmy Butler, Pompey writes. Butler and his camp are meeting this week to go over free agent objectives.
  • Marcus Morris, Ed Davis, Ish Smith, Cory Joseph, and Patrick Beverley are among the free agents whom the Sixers could pursue, Pompey adds in the same piece. The team has confidence in its ability to lure one or two impactful free agents should it lose one of its max free agents.
  • Derek Bodner of the Athletic details how the Sixers are devaluing second-round picks. The team will have three more second-rounders next year after wheeling and dealing picks last week, as I recently detailed.
  • Furkan Korkmaz may join Turkish team Fenerbahce next season, according to Sportando. The former No. 26 overall pick is all but certain not to be back in Philadelphia next year.

Central Notes: Garland, Bulls, GRIII, Cavs

The Bulls‘ reported interest in Darius Garland may be a smokescreen, one source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. That source believes Chicago is more focused on forwards like De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, or Sekou Doumbouya.

Garland is expected to be selected with the No. 4 overall pick in tonight’s draft, so the Bulls would need to put together a package that entices the Pelicans in order to land him, assuming their interest is real. Even if Chicago managed to add Garland, the team would look to bring in a veteran point guard, a source tells Cowley.

Patrick Beverley could be an addition this offseason, as there are reports of mutual interest between him and the Bulls. Chicago wants to add depth, so the club could sign multiple players in free agency. Cowley names Ish Smith and Cory Joseph as potential targets in addition to Beverley.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will likely decline Glenn Robinson III‘s team option for the 2019/20 season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free press tweets. A source also told James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link) that the option is unlikely to be picked up. The Michigan product would have earned slightly below $4.3MM next season if the option was exercised.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is out of the hospital and will undergo “intensive” rehab, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays on Twitter. Gilbert suffered a stroke late last month.
  • The Cavaliers have hired Jazz assistant Antonio Lang as an assistant coach on John Beilein‘s new staff, per the team’s website. Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link) first reported that Cleveland was prying Lang from Utah.

Reggie Bullock, Pistons Mutually Interested In Reunion

Reggie Bullock, who was traded to the Lakers prior to the trade deadline, is willing to return to the Pistons if “the money was right,” a source tells James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. He doesn’t hold being dealt against the franchise.

The Baltimore native enjoyed his role in the Pistons’ offense, orbiting around Blake Griffin, and the swingman is “fond of the Michigan lifestyle,” per Edwards.

Detroit will strongly consider bringing Bullock back. Re-signing Ish Smith is also high on the team’s list of priorities. However, the Pistons may only have the financial capability to sign one of the two.

The 0rganization enters the offseason with roughly $112MM in guaranteed salaries for next season. The salary cap is projected to come in at $109MM. The non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception (approximately $9.25M) and the bi-annual exception ($3.6MM) are the team’s greatest financial weapons.

Bullock has never made more than $2.5MM in a season, a figure he earned in each of the past two seasons. A raise likely awaits him in free agency.

“I think he’ll get somewhere between $7 (million) and $9 million (annually),” an agent tells Edwards. “He’s one of those guys that might be Plan C or D for some organizations, even though he’s proven himself in recent years.”

Pistons To Consider Derrick Rose In Free Agency?

Point guard will be an area of focus for the Pistons in free agency this summer, as backups Ish Smith and Jose Calderon are set to hit the open market. And a source with first-hand knowledge of the team’s thinking tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that Derrick Rose is one potential target who will be “a subject of debate” within the front office.

Rose is unlikely to have to settle for the minimum salary again after enjoying an impressive bounce-back season in Minnesota, averaging 18.0 PPG and 4.3 APG on .482/.370/.856 shooting. However, he was limited to just 51 games due to more injuries, an ongoing issue which will likely keep his price tag in check. That means he could be an option for a team like the Pistons, who won’t have any cap room available this offseason.

Seth Curry is another free-agent-to-be who figures to be of interest to Detroit, according to Ellis, though he notes that there’s a belief head coach Dwane Casey will push for a true point guard. In that case, players like Ricky Rubio and Patrick Beverley may be on the club’s radar. The likes of T.J. McConnell or Isaiah Thomas could also be targets if the club pursues a lower-cost option, Ellis adds.

Of course, re-signing Smith will also be a scenario the Pistons could consider, but there was an “air of finality” to his end-of-season media session, according to Ellis, who writes that the team will explore upgrades at the position.

The 2019/20 mid-level exception is projected to be worth approximately $9.2MM, based on a $109MM cap, while the bi-annual exception would be worth about $3.6MM. Unless the Pistons shed significant salary, those will be the only two exceptions – besides the minimum – available to the team in free agency. Both exceptions can be used on a single player or split up among multiple free agents.

Central Notes: Bickerstaff, Smith, Griffin, Connaughton

Former Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff is “definitely interested” in the Cavaliers’ head coaching opening, he said in a SiruisXM interview with Mitch Lawrence, Zach Harper and Sarah Kustok (Twitter link). “It would be an honor to have an opportunity to work with that group,” said Bickerstaff, who was fired by Memphis two weeks ago. Bickerstaff is reportedly on Cleveland’s radar screen, though there has been no indication if he’ll be interviewed for the job.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Backup point guard Ish Smith is willing to return to the Pistons but it’s uncertain if there’s mutual interest, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Smith will enter unrestricted free agency this summer. “Obviously, if they call, I’m for sure going to pick up,” Smith said. “This has been home the last three years.” The cap-strapped Pistons could look to re-sign Smith at a lower cost than the $6MM he made this season. Otherwise, they might go with an in-house alternative, such as Luke Kennard or Bruce Brown.
  • Pistons All-Star forward Blake Griffin said he won’t get involved in personnel decisions this offseason unless his opinion is requested, Beard writes in a separate story. “I’m not here to make decisions; it’s the front office. (Senior adviser) Ed (Stefanski) and all those guys do a really good job, in the short time I’ve known them,” Griffin said. “They have plans and an idea and a direction. It might not happen overnight because of the (financial) situation. They have a great grasp on that. If they ask my opinion, I’ll, of course, give my honest opinion. I’ve never been the type of player to go in and make demands, just because sometimes as players and coaches, we’re all about winning right now, which is very important but not at the expense of the next year or however that may be.”
  • Bucks reserve guard Pat Connaughton hasn’t given up his dream to play major league baseball, as he explained to NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner in a Q&A session. Connaughton was a minor-league pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles system five years ago before choosing to pursue his basketball dreams. “Obviously I’ve wanted to be as successful at both sports as possible. You have to shoot for being an All-Star to have a chance to even make it in either, right? But I did think, “If I really went into baseball right now, if I dropped basketball when I was coming out of high school, I fully believe I’d have had the chance to be an All-Star, to be one of the top two pitchers on a championship team.” But something drew me to basketball, something drew me to having success in two sports,” Connaughton said. The Bucks have until July 1 to guarantee his $1.723MM salary for next season.

Bulls Rumors: Ball, Ellington, I. Smith, Point Guards

The Bulls figure to cast a wide net as they seek out point guard help this summer, as it’s the position most in need of an upgrade on their roster. In fact, Chicago has already had at least one interesting discussion involving a point guard this year.

An NBA executive tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls and Lakers had “initial conversations” about Lonzo Ball after Ball’s camp leaked that Chicago would be on the point guard’s list of preferred destinations if he were traded.

It’s not clear whether those in-season discussions went anywhere or if either team plans on revisiting them this summer, but it’s a signal that the Bulls figure to explore plenty of options as they consider how to fortify their point guard position.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

  • According to one scout, the Bulls have “taken interest” in the Pistons’ roster, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, adding that the club likes Wayne Ellington‘s shooting and Ish Smith‘s ability to run a team. Both veterans will be free agents this offseason.
  • While he recognizes that the Bulls aren’t likely to be major players for top free agents this year, executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson believes Chicago is on the right track to eventually become an attractive destination again, as Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I do think that when you establish yourself, which we’re trying to do right now as a relevant team again, and as we get better positioning ourselves to have money when guys come up in the future, I think this will be a destination place,” Paxson said last week. “But we have to get better. That’s the thing. We have to get to a point where we are playing for important things. But our young guys have to develop into the type of players that other guys want to play with. And I think we have a couple guys right now on the roster and hopefully we’ll have more in the future.”
  • Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago takes a closer look at the Bulls’ roster by position, identifying which players are likely – or unlikely – to return, and reiterating that point guard tops the club’s list of offseason needs.