JaKarr Sampson

Central Notes: Hayes, Bucks, Sampson, Jrue Holiday

Pistons rookie guard Killian Hayes has appreciated the opportunity to log some time as a combo guard alongside fellow rookie ball handler Saben Lee as Detroit’s season wraps up, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News.

“I love it,” the 6’5″ Hayes said of his minutes alongside Lee in the Pistons’ backcourt. “That’s the second game I played at the same time with Saben and I love being able to play and be off the ball… So, with me being off of it and Saben doing his thing, creating, I just like playing the combo guard.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks will be boosting their home court crowd capacity to 50% (approximately 9K fans) for the playoffs, per an official team announcement. Milwaukee is currently hosting roughly 3,300 fans (18% of the Fiserv Forum’s capacity).
  • Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson cleared the NBA’s concussion protocols and was able to return to the floor tonight for the first time since April 29, tweets J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. The reserve appeared played 4 minutes in Indiana’s 103-94 win over the Sixers.
  • Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday has clinched a $255K minutes-played bonus after logging 1,823 minutes during the 2020/21 season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The 30-year-old has been a key contributor for a stellar Bucks season. Led by All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee is presently the No. 3 seed in the East with a 43-25 record.

Pacers’ Sampson Suspended One Game; Spurs’ Mills, Gay Fined

Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson has been suspended for one game for an incident that occurred during Monday’s game against the Spurs, according to a press release.

Sampson got into an on-court altercation with Spurs guard Patty Mills, shoving him and then head-butting him (video link). He received a Flagrant 2 foul and an automatic ejection at the time.

Mills and Spurs teammate Rudy Gay, who each received technical fouls as a result of the incident, have been fined by the NBA, according to today’s announcement. Mills was docked $25K and Gay, who shoved Sampson, was hit with a $20K fine.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the financial impact on Sampson won’t be quite as significant as the fines the Spurs’ veterans received. He’ll lose just $12,985 during his one-game suspension — that’s 1/145th of his $1,882,867 salary for this season.

Sampson will serve his suspension on Wednesday night as the Pacers face the Thunder in Indiana. Myles Turner (toe) and Domantas Sabonis (back) will also be unavailable for that game, with Goga Bitadze (ankle) listed as questionable, so the Pacers will be quite shorthanded in the frontcourt.

Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, T. Harris, Markkanen, Sampson

The Nets are “shopping” injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated said during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday (video link via Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily).

Dinwiddie, who suffered a partially torn ACL near the start of the season, has been pushing to make it back before the end of the playoffs, but is considered likely to be sidelined for the rest of 2020/21. Since he has the ability to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, his appeal on the trade market would be limited, but the opportunity to acquire his Bird rights may intrigue certain clubs, and his $11.45MM cap hit could be useful for salary-matching.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) observes, one downside of moving Dinwiddie for the Nets would be that the team would lose its $5.7MM disabled player exception, assuming that exception hasn’t already been utilized. The club has until April 19 to use that DPE, but it would forfeit it if Dinwiddie is traded.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris left Thursday’s game early after hurting his left knee, but he appears to have avoided a serious injury. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, an MRI showed no structural damage, confirming that Harris suffered a knee contusion. He’ll miss Saturday’s game vs. Cleveland will be re-evaluated in a couple days, per the team.
  • The Bulls have played some of their best basketball this season with Lauri Markkanen unavailable, going 5-9 with the power forward in the lineup and 10-7 without him. However, head coach Billy Donovan still believes that the injured Markkanen is an “important piece to our team,” as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. Markkanen will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end.
  • JaKarr Sampson has been ruled out for Friday’s game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, making him the first Pacers player to miss a game due to the COVID-19 protocols this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Sampson hasn’t been a regular part of Indiana’s rotation this season, averaging just 6.0 minutes per game in 13 contests.

Pacers Sign Guards Cassius Stanley, Naz Mitrou-Long

The Pacers have finalized agreements with two guards, signing rookie Cassius Stanley to a two-way contract and Naz Mitrou-Long to an Exhibit 10 deal, according to a press release on the team’s official site.
Indiana selected Stanley with the No. 54 pick in the 2020 draft out of Duke. The 6’6″ guard started all of his 29 games during his lone season with Duke in 2019/20, averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG, while converting on 36% of his 3.0 long-range attempts a night. After two seasons with the Jazz, Mitrou-Long appeared in five games for the Pacers last season, averaging 9.4 MPG.
The announcement also confirmed several other previously-reported signings. Forward JaKarr Sampson will return for his second season with Indiana on a fully-guaranteed veteran’s minimum deal. Wing Kelan Martin, formerly with the Timberwolves, will join the Pacers on a two-year deal, though the speculation is that it will not be fully-guaranteed.
Forward Brian Bowen II, who suited up for six games with the Pacers last season, will occupy the club’s second two-way player contract slot alongside Stanley.
Mitrou-Long joins center Amida Brimah and forward Rayshaun Hammonds as the Pacers with Exhibit 10 contracts. All three will join the team for training camp, with an opportunity to make the club’s opening night roster. These are one-year, minimum salary deals that can carry an optional player bonus ranging from $5K to $50K.

Pacers To Re-Sign JaKarr Sampson

JaKarr Sampson has agreed to re-sign with the Pacers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. It will be a fully guaranteed minimum deal for one year, according to his agent, Aaron Turner.

The sixth-year forward came to Indiana in the summer of 2019 on a one-year contract. He appeared in 34 games, starting 12, and averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per night.

Sampson, 27, has been with five teams since signing with the Sixers in 2014. He also had short stays with the Nuggets, Kings and Bulls.

McMillan Expects Oladipo To Play In Pacers’ Scrimmages

The Pacers will participate in their first inter-squad scrimmage this Thursday, and head coach Nate McMillan told reporters today that he expects star guard Victor Oladipo to play in that game — and in the rest of Indiana’s scrimmages.

“I do,” McMillan said. “He’s going through the practices and he’s looking good. Our first scrimmage is Thursday and we’ll see how our guys feel and get them minutes accordingly.”

Oladipo has wavered in recent weeks on whether or not he’ll participate in the NBA’s restart this summer. After initially ruling himself out for the summer in early July, Oladipo changed course, telling reporters last week that there’s a “strong possibility” he’ll play if his body continues to respond well to workouts.

McMillan’s comments today don’t mean that anything is set in stone regarding Oladipo’s availability for the team’s upcoming scrimmages, seeding games, or playoff contests. However, for now, it still seems as if we’re trending in the direction of seeing the two-time All-Star play this summer.

In other Pacers news, McMillan said today that Domantas Sabonis, Goga Bitadze, and JaKarr Sampson are dealing with what he referred to as soft-tissue injuries, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Sabonis has had a plantar fasciitis flare-up and is unlikely to play in Thursday’s scrimmage, tweets J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

Eastern Notes: Raptors Draft, Galloway, McConnell, Bulls

With the potential loss of Fred VanVleet in free agency and Kyle Lowry turning 34 this year, the Raptors could be in the market for a point guard in this year’s draft. With that in mind, Blake Murphy of The Athletic takes a look at floor leaders that the club could target with its late first-round pick. Duke’s Tre Jones, Stanford’s Tyrell Terry and Arizona’s Nico Mannion are some of the prospects that Murphy examines.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons guard Langston Galloway, who is headed into unrestricted free agency, has “no regrets” about this season regardless of whether his team gets to play again, he told Rod Beard of the Detroit News. Galloway was the only player on the team to appear in every game and established himself as a solid second-unit shooter. “If we didn’t get to finish, I would say I had a great season and move on to the summer workouts,” he said. “I played in every single game, so I put my work on display every single game and the work I continue to put on display. I have no regrets going into the summer.”
  • Free agents T.J. McConnell, Justin Holiday and Alize Johnson are likely to remain with the Pacers next season, Scott Agness of The Athletic opines. McConnell and Holiday are solid reserves, while Johnson still has some upside. JaKarr Sampson is the only free agent that Indiana probably won’t re-sign, Agness adds.
  • The Bulls’ lottery chances could be jeopardized if they’re included in plans to resume the season, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Chicago is currently seventh in the draft lottery standings, giving the team a 32% chance at a top-four pick and a 7.5% chance at the No. 1 pick, Johnson notes. If the Bulls got hot during the resumption of play and even advanced in a revised playoff format, those odds would drop.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. 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 Central Division:

Christian Wood, Pistons, 24, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $3.16MM deal in 2018
There aren’t many waiver claims in the NBA but Detroit got itself a bargain when it snared Wood after the Pelicans made him available. Wood won a training camp battle with veteran forward Joe Johnson for Detroit’s final roster spot and has turned into a valuable rotation member. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 17.4 MPG, including a 20-point, eight-rebound outing against the Nets on Wednesday. A lack of maturity and focus were the reasons Wood bounced around the league for a few years but he’ll get a much bigger contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Shaquille Harrison, Bulls, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.62MM deal in 2019
Harrison won a battle for Chicago’s final roster spot and eventually had his salary guaranteed. Harrison, who worked his way through the G League ranks before making his NBA debut two seasons ago with Phoenix, has only seen spot duty this season. In his last 16 appearances, Harrison has not played more than 11 minutes. He was a much bigger factor last season when the Bulls were banged up, appearing in 73 games, including 11 starts. The Bulls can make Harrison a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer of $2MM but he doesn’t appear to be in their long-range plans.

Brandon Knight, Cavaliers, 28, PG (Down) – Signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in 2015
Knight’s career has been sidetracked by injuries and once again he’s out of action due to left knee soreness. Knight’s $15.6MM expiring contract could still be used in a major deal but even when he’s able to suit up, he rarely receives playing time. The addition of Dante Exum pushed him further down the bench. In his last two appearances in mid-January, Knight totaled one point in 38 minutes. The former lottery pick, who averaged 19.6 PPG for Phoenix during the 2015/16 season, will likely have to settle for a veteran’s minimum deal this summer.

JaKarr Sampson, Pacers, 26, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.7MM deal in 2019
Sampson got a chance to start on Wednesday with Myles Turner sidelined by the flu. Otherwise, playing time has been scarce for the journeyman forward, who has also played for Philadelphia, Denver, Sacramento and Chicago during his NBA journey. He spent a good chunk of time last season in China and the G League. Sampson has appeared in 17 games this season, including 10 starts. Signed to a veteran’s minimum contract in August, Sampson will be an unrestricted free agent once again this summer. He’ll probably be looking at similar offers this July.

Dragan Bender, Bucks, 22, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.5MM deal in 2019
The former top five pick made a minimal impact in his three seasons with the Suns. He’s been even less of a factor with the Eastern Conference’s top team, appearing in seven games. He’s played four games this month as an injury fill-in but contributed just 11 points with four turnovers in 62 minutes. Bender has spent quite a bit of time in the G League and perhaps his biggest accomplishment this season was staying on the roster and getting his salary guaranteed. His $1.82MM salary for next season is not guaranteed and it’s likely Bender will return to the free agent market for the second straight offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Sampson, Turner, Giannis, Beilein

The Pacers have been able to weather a series of injuries because of surprising contributions from players such as JaKarr Sampson, writes J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Now with his fifth NBA team, Sampson didn’t create much fanfare when he signed with Indiana in August. He’s averaging just 4.9 points per game, but his other contributions have helped make up for the loss of Thaddeus Young in free agency.

“You can’t look at a stat sheet for guys like him,” teammate Myles Turner said of Sampson. “He brings so much more to the game. Intensity. We feed off his energy.”

Sampson is suddenly getting an opportunity after missing 22 games with a back injury. He played 20 minutes Friday night after finding out 10 minutes before the game that he was starting because Domantas Sabonis had to sit out with a sore knee.

“I know I’m able to play this game at the highest level,” Sampson said. “I knew what I was walking into when I came to this team. They have two great players at the 4 and 5 (Sabonis and Turner).”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers are turning down trade requests for Turner, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. Indiana has a lot of money invested in Turner and Sabonis, but wants to see how the team responds once Victor Oladipo returns from injury before considering a move.
  • The Bucks don’t seemed bothered by continued speculation about Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s future, tweets Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “I think the team’s been incredibly focused, he’s been incredibly focused just on each day, getting better, competing with his group and being respectful of what we’re doing now,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.
  • Cavaliers players are eager to move past the latest John Beilein controversy, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. In comments that he later apologized for, the coach caused a stir this week when he said his team was “no longer playing like a bunch of thugs” when he meant to say “slugs.” “He says it all the time, so it’s all good,” Collin Sexton said. “He calls us slugs, because we slow. But it’s good. We knew what he meant, just blown out of proportion.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/17/19

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers have assigned Victor Oladipo to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as the former All-Star continues his rehabs, the team announced on Twitter. Indiana also recalled Edmond Sumner, Alize Johnson, and JaKarr Sampson.
  • The Knicks have assigned Ignas Brazdeikis to the Westchester Knicks, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Brazdeikis was available for the G League contest tonight.
  • The Wizards assigned Justin Robinson to the Capital City Go-Go, per the team’s Twitter feed. The guard has appeared in six games for Washington this season.
  • The Rockets have assigned Isaiah Hartenstein to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston tweets. The center has appeared in nine games for Houston this year.
  • The Clippers have assigned Mfiondu Kabengele and guard Terance Mann to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, per the team.
  • Jalen McDaniels is making another trip to the Greensboro Swarm, the Hornets announced on their website. The second-round pick has appeared in 13 games in the G League this season.