Jalen Lecque

Pacers Waive Jalen Lecque

4:10pm: The move is now official, according to a press release from the team.


4:03pm: The Pacers are waiving guard Jalen Lecque, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Indiana didn’t make any deadline deals on Thursday but the move will open up a roster spot. Lecque appeared in five games with Phoenix and only made four cameo appearances with Indiana this season.

He was sidelined by an ankle sprain in early January, then was sent to the G League bubble later that month. He averaged 14.3 PPG and 3.3 APG in 14 G League games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in Orlando.

Indiana acquired him in an offseason trade with the Thunder.

The athletic 20-year-old guard will seek a greater opportunity elsewhere.

Central Notes: Prince, Cavaliers, Pacers, Bulls

Cavaliers forward Taurean Prince is proving to be more than a simple throw-in player in the multi-team trade featuring Jarrett Allen, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes.

Prince, 26, was acquired by Cleveland alongside Allen earlier this month. The five-year veteran has been effective in his five games with the team, averaging 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 41% from downtown.

“He fits the mold of what we’re looking for,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’re looking for guys who can play multiple positions, guys who have the ability to knock down shots, who have athleticism, who can run the floor. And then on the defensive end, guys who take 1-on-1 challenges and compete.

“It’s how he’s willing to work, the toughness that he plays with, the scrap that he has. We’ve seen that from him in the past. But I’ve been even more pleased having him every single day with how he makes his teammates better, how unselfish he is. We’re definitely glad to have him.”

There’s more from the Central Division today:

Injury Updates: Burks, Lecque, MCW, Haliburton

Veteran guard Alec Burks, who has missed the Knicks‘ last four games due to a sprained left ankle, underwent further testing on that ankle and is now in a walking boot, according to the team (Twitter link). He’ll be re-evaluated in about 7-10 days.

It’s an unfortunate setback for Burks, who scored 22 points in each of the Knicks’ first two games and had already racked up 18 points in 21 minutes when he was injured on December 27. However, the club has managed to win four of five games since he suffered that ankle injury (including the one he left early).

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Pacers guard Jalen Lecque has suffered a Grade 2 left ankle sprain and has been ruled out indefinitely, the team announced in a press release. Lecque, acquired by Indiana in an offseason trade, will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
  • Michael Carter-Williams has been diagnosed with a mild bone bruise and a sprained ligament in his left foot, according to the Magic (Twitter link). Carter-Williams has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Cleveland and may miss additional time — his return will depend on how he responds to treatment, per the team.
  • Kings rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton, who has missed the team’s last two games due to a bone bruise in his left wrist, has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s contest against Chicago, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Even if Haliburton isn’t able to play tonight, it sounds like he’s close to a return.

Thunder Trade Lecque To Pacers For Leaf, Second-Round Pick

NOVEMBER 25: The deal between the Pacers and the Thunder is now official, with the Thunder acquiring Leaf and a 2027 second-round pick in exchange for Lecque, the team announced in a press release.


NOVEMBER 22: The Thunder are acquiring yet another draft pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Oklahoma City will receive a future second-round pick and forward T.J. Leaf from the Pacers in a deal that sends guard Jalen Lecque to Indiana.

Lecque, a former Sun, was one of the players sent to the Thunder in this week’s Chris Paul trade. He signed a four-year contract with Phoenix as an undrafted free agent a year ago, but only saw action in five NBA games as a rookie. The 20-year-old has a guaranteed $1.52MM salary this season with no guarantees beyond for 2020/21.

It’s not clear whether the Pacers are intent on keeping and developing Lecque, since the move appears to be financially motivated too. As Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets, moving Leaf’s $4.33MM salary for ’20/21 will allow Indiana to slip back below the luxury tax line.

The Thunder will acquire yet another future draft pick as a sweetener for taking on that extra salary, adding another second-rounder to the long list of draft assets GM Sam Presti has picked up during the last couple offseasons.

It doesn’t seem safe to assume this offseason that any newly-acquired player will remain in Oklahoma City for long, but if the Thunder hang onto Leaf, they’ll be getting a player who hasn’t carved out a regular rotation role since being drafted 18th overall in 2017. He averaged just 3.0 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 28 games (7.9 MPG) for the Pacers in 2019/20.

All-Star Guard Chris Paul Traded To Suns

8:07pm: The trade is official, per a Suns press release.


12:11pm:  The Suns and Thunder are finalizing an agreement on a trade that will send All-Star point guard Chris Paul from Oklahoma City to Phoenix, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Thunder will receive Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and draft compensation in the deal. Wojnarowski adds that the Suns will also get Abdel Nader in the blockbuster swap (Twitter link).

The draft pick being sent from Phoenix to Oklahoma City in the trade is the Suns’ 2022 first-rounder, per Wojnarowski. Charania reports (via Twitter) that the pick will be top-12 protected. If it doesn’t change hands in 2022, it’ll be top-10 protected in 2023, top-eight protected in 2024, and unprotected in 2025.

The Suns, whose interest in Paul was first reported last week, are hoping that the veteran guard can help the team build upon its 8-0 showing during the Orlando restart and make the postseason in 2020/21. Paul, who will reunite with his former Pelicans coach Monty Williams, will join an intriguing core that includes star guard Devin Booker, former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, and promising young wings Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges.

While bigger-market teams (like the Knicks) and stronger contenders (including the Bucks) were cited in recent weeks as potential suitors for CP3, the 35-year-old won’t object to joining the Suns. The Thunder worked with Paul and his reps at CAA to get him to a preferred destination, per Woj (Twitter link). A report last week suggested that Phoenix’s proximity to Los Angeles appealed to Paul, who has a home in the L.A. area.

Phoenix will complete the trade without using the No. 10 pick in this year’s draft, so the club will have the opportunity on Wednesday to add another young prospect to that group. The Suns also have a couple different directions they could go in free agency.

Remaining over the cap and attempting to bring back Dario Saric and Aron Baynes is one option for the organization — the other would be to let those free agents go to open up cap room, then using up that space before officially finalizing the deal for CP3. In that scenario, Phoenix would only have the $4.8MM room exception left over, whereas if the team remains over the cap, the mid-level ($9.3MM) and bi-annual ($3.6MM) could be in play.

Meanwhile, the Thunder appear to be shifting into full-fledged rebuilding mode after outperforming expectations in 2019/20. They’ve now reached deals to move both Paul and Dennis Schröder. Steven Adams remains a trade candidate, as are the veterans Oklahoma City will receive in the two agreed-upon trades (Rubio, Oubre, and Danny Green).

Having acquired a pair of first-round picks and two future pick swaps in last year’s Paul/Russell Westbrook trade, the Thunder were able to parlay CP3’s strong season (17.6 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.0 RPG) into yet another first-round selection. The franchise now owns three 2022 first-rounders and holds multiple first-round picks every year through 2026, as Tommy Beer of Forbes details (via Twitter).

By taking on Paul’s contract, the Suns will be on the hook for his $41.4MM salary in 2020/21 and his $44.2MM player option for ’21/22. Nader has a minimum salary for ’20/21 which will remain non-guaranteed even after his team option is exercised to complete this trade.

As for the Thunder, they’ll take on Oubre’s expiring $14.4MM salary and will be on the hook for $34.8MM over two years for Rubio. Jerome, who has a $2.3MM cap charge in 2020/21, is in the second year of a rookie scale contract, while Lecque has a guaranteed $1.5MM salary for ’20/21 and a non-guaranteed $1.8MM for ’21/22.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Baynes, Lecque, Clippers, Warriors

Suns free agent Aron Baynes is non-committal on a potential return with the team, but the 33-year-old admits he enjoyed his time in Phoenix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes.

Baynes, who averaged a career-high 11.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 22.2 minutes in 42 games this season, is set to reach the open market once the NBA finalizes a date for free agency to begin.

“I loved my time in Phoenix,” Baynes said. “I knew what it was coming in here and I was able to go out there and take advantage of the role that was given to me throughout a number of different situations. I enjoyed it. I loved playing with the guys here.”

Baynes is an eight-year NBA veteran and was part of the 2014 championship Spurs team. Before discussing his future any further, he understands the importance of the league coming to terms on a new salary cap for next season, one that could drastically impact what he receives in free agency.

“Trying to find out those numbers before anything can be thought of for the next season. It’s a waiting game,” Baynes said. “Our two biggest players in the sport right now, what are they going to come to an agreement with. Until that salary cap number is put out there for everyone to understand and work with, there’s really nothing that can be done. There’s no conversations that will be had.”

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns guard Jalen Lecque has signed with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports for representation, the agency announced on social media. Klutch also recently welcomed Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball and Raptors forward OG Anunoby to a mix that already includes players such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic examines three critical questions the Clippers must address this offseason. Los Angeles was eliminated from the playoffs after a seven-game duel with the Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals last month, a disappointing ending for a team with championship aspirations. The club is likely to shuffle its 10-man rotation ahead of next season as a result, Buha reports.
  • Monte Poole of NBC Sports examines a series of notes related to the Warriors, including Klay Thompson‘s rehab, Eric Paschall‘s conditioning, and more. Golden State coped with an injury-riddled 2019/20 season, accruing the worst record in the league at 15-50. “It helps to get a really good look at everybody,” coach Steve Kerr said of the team’s mini-camp, which did not include Stephen Curry or Draymond Green. “Seeing them play, seeing them on the court, you start to get a sense of who might fit where and who could play what role and what your strengths and weaknesses are. We know Steph and Draymond so well that it’s easy to envision the group with them. This week has given us a better idea of what we need to look for.”

Pacific Notes: Payne, Lecque, Kokoskov, Len

Cameron Payne recalls a brief conversation during his rookie year with Thunder assistant Monty Williams that led to his latest NBA opportunity, writes Gina Mizell in her Valley Tales Newsletter. Williams, now the head coach of the Suns, decided to take a chance on Payne when the team had a roster spot to fill prior to the restart.

“That (discussion) played into … my talks with (general manager James Jones about signing him),” Williams said. “I saw a young man who’s really talented, comes from a really good family and he takes coaching well.”

Payne’s career has featured a lot of disappointment after Oklahoma City made him a lottery pick in 2015. He battled through injuries and ineffective performance with the Thunder and Bulls, and had been out of the league since signing a pair of 10-day contracts with the Cavaliers last January. He had a brief stay in China this season, then joined the G League to help get his game back on track.

“I don’t want to see myself outside of this league again,” Payne said. “And the biggest way for me to do that is to be consistent, be on time and outwork the next guy. My whole thing is I want to leave on the court that I played my hardest. I gave my all. I never want to take no shortcuts anymore, because it’s not worth it. It’s not worth being on the outside looking in when you feel like you should be in there.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jalen Lecque participated in practice Saturday, giving the Suns a full roster for the first time since arriving in Orlando, Mizell tweets.
  • Assistant Igor Kokoskov left the Kings Saturday to begin his duties as head coach of Fenerbahce in the EuroLeague, the team announced in a press release. The former Suns head coach joined Luke Walton’s staff last summer. “I’d like to congratulate Igor on his promotion to head coach of Fenerbahce and thank him for his dedicated time with the Kings,” Walton said. “He has been a valuable member of my coaching staff and his natural ability to guide our players will continue to inspire the team as we move forward in Orlando. We wish him all the best.” 
  • Kings center Alex Len won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Magic because of conditioning issues, tweets Sean Cunningham of KXTV. Len was late reporting to the Walt Disney World campus after contracting COVID-19.

Suns Notes: Playoffs, Layoffs, Ayton, Baynes

The Suns are in the Orlando campus vying for a postseason push, but that possibility remains small. With just a handful of scrimmage games, a lack of key players due to the coronavirus, and a sizeable deficit, Phoenix does not figure to play into the postseason picture.

Duane Rankin of Arizona Central polled several prominent national NBA writers on what they have seen from the Suns and what they expect from their play in Orlando. Most writers agreed on one point: the Devin Booker/Deandre Ayton duo will shine, but the rest of the roster and their contributions remain unknown.

The most reasonable take may have come from The Athletic’s Michael Lee, who sees the Suns’ campus play as a strong build toward the 2020/21 season.

“I think this will bode well for the 2020/21 season more than anything,” Lee said. “They’ll add another draft pick, have a healthy and improving Kelly Oubre, and probably take a more serious approach to the regular season.”

Check out more Suns notes below:

  • Amid the sale of the G League Northern Arizona Suns, several employees have been laid off, Rankin writes in a separate piece. While the exact number is not known, nearly 30 employees were reportedly let go, Rankin adds. “We’ve been working on restructuring a number of departments since early this year,” Suns Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Dean Stoyer told the outlet. “We found that some of the roles were redundant, some roles were outdated and there were some roles impacted for performance reasons.”
  • Ayton has been developing a three-point shot throughout his young NBA career but is now feeling comfortable shooting from beyond the arc consistently, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez writes. “I’ve been working on this thing my whole life,” Ayton said. “I could’ve been shooting. It’s just that I’m more comfortable with a system surrounded me to make me shoot the shot.”
  • Suns guard Jalen Lecque arrived at the Orlando campus earlier this week but is quarantined while big man Aron Baynes practiced, Suns reporter Gina Mizell relays (Twitter link). Suns coach Monty Williams confirmed that Baynes, who is recovering from COVID-19, will need more time before he’s game-ready, Mizell adds (Twitter link).

Western Notes: Fox, Schröder, Suns, Cauley-Stein

On Wednesday, the Kings gave us an update on De’Aaron Fox, who suffered a left ankle sprain last week. The Kings said that the former first-round pick has returned to the court and is doing non-contact basketball activities.

That being said, Fox is not available for the team’s first scrimmage against the Heat. However, head coach Luke Walton told reporters that they are optimistic will be available for the team’s opener on Jul. 31 against the Spurs (Twitter link via James Ham of NBC Sports California).

This season, the former Kentucky Wildcat standout is averaging 20.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 6.8 APG, and 1.4 SPG in 31.7 MPG.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Thunder general manager Sam Presti explained why he believes Dennis Schröder is worthy of winning Sixth Man of the Year. “I think he’s playing the best basketball of his career,” Presti said (via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). “He’s all about trying to do what’s right for the team right now, and he’s just an elite competitor. I’m happy that he’s playing so well, and I hope he does get recognized for it.” This season, the veteran guard is averaging 19 PPG while shooting 38.1% from three-point range.
  • The Suns announced on Wednesday that point guards Elie Okobo and Jalen Lecque are not in Orlando due to personal reasons, per Gina Mizell (Twitter link). However, both players are expected to arrive at a later date. With Ricky Rubio clearing quarantine, both Okobo and Lecque will not see major minutes for Phoenix.
  • According to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, Willie Cauley-Stein signed with Young Money APAA Sports, an agency based in Dallas, Texas. The 26-year-old is not with the Mavericks in Orlando due to the birth of his daughter this month. Dallas acquired the young center in February from the Warriors.

Pacific Notes: Morris Twins, Barnes, Suns, Noah, More

There are a few players who showed up on the list of official rosters released on Monday by the NBA who still haven’t reported to the Walt Disney World campus. However, more players continue to arrive by the day.

According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), Clippers forward Marcus Morris is at the team’s Tuesday morning practice today, having reported to the campus and cleared his quarantine period. His twin brother Markieff Morris will be joining the Lakers soon, Marcus tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets that Markieff is expected to arrive at the campus today and will begin his initial quarantine.

Meanwhile, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, could depart for Orlando as soon as today if he returns one more negative coronavirus test, Spears reports (via Twitter).

Finally, Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Elie Okobo, and Jalen Lecque didn’t make the initial trip to Orlando two weeks ago with the Suns and still hadn’t practiced with the club as of Sunday, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. A pair of Suns players tested positive for the coronavirus nearly a month ago, but it’s not clear if any or all of the delayed arrivals are related to COVID-19.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Kings forward Jabari Parker and center Alex Len spoke to reporters on Monday about their experiences with COVID-19, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details. Len, who said he temporarily lost his sense of smell and taste while dealing with the virus, tested positive for 24 consecutive days before eventually returning multiple negative tests and being cleared.
  • Clippers big man Joakim Noah has benefited from the NBA’s hiatus, which gave him more time to get fully healthy after suffering an Achilles injury, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Noah’s new teammates are impressed by what they’ve seen so far from the veteran center. “He’s just bringing that energy every day,” guard Rodney McGruder said. “That’s something that I’m learning from him, and it’s just the intensity and just the persistence that he plays with on the defensive end, how you always hear his voice. He’s always yelling, he’s always talking.”
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic identifies the wings in this year’s draft class that he thinks would fit best with the Warriors, including Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, and Saddiq Bey.