James Wiseman

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Ayton, G. Payton, Wiseman

When the Kings decided to remove Marvin Bagley III from their rotation to open the season, agent Jeff Schwartz took the unusual step of issuing a statement to call out the team for its handling of his client. However, head coach Luke Walton doesn’t expect the public nature of the dispute between the team and agent to be a distraction for his players.

“Nope, not with our group,” Walton said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “We’ve got a tight group. We’ve talked about it, whether it’s trades from last year or anything else, we don’t concern ourselves with outside issues. We’re a tight group. You can ask any of the players. They believe in what we’re doing and they’re working hard and we’re in a good place.”

The Kings used just nine players in their opening-night win over Portland on Wednesday, with Richaun Holmes and Tristan Thompson sharing the minutes at center, while Harrison Barnes and Maurice Harkless handled power forward duties.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Fourth-year center Deandre Ayton admitted he was “obviously” disappointed not to reach a rookie scale extension agreement with the Suns by Monday’s deadline, but said on Wednesday that playing on an expiring contract won’t bother him, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. “I’m still trying to get us back to the Finals. I’ve still got to represent the team and myself as well. I’m just a competitor, man,” Ayton said. “Just like to compete to the best and every time I’m in between those lines, that’s what you’re going to see out of me. Nothing else.”
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic loved the Suns‘ four-year, $90MM deal with Mikal Bridges, but was baffled by the decision not to extend Ayton. While general manager James Jones said Phoenix would have done a three- or four-year max, three high-ranking executives in other organizations told Vecenie they would’ve been willing to offer the big man a fifth year.
  • Gary Payton II‘s new minimum-salary contract with the Warriors includes a $350K partial guarantee, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Payton, who was waived and re-signed within the last week, would have received a $659K partial guarantee if he had made the opening-night roster on his previous deal. By cutting him and then bringing him back, Golden State saved some money while still rewarding Payton for making the team.
  • Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle explores how the Warriors are adjusting their approach to James Wiseman‘s development in the center’s second NBA season.

Warriors’ Wiseman To Miss Several More Weeks

James Wiseman will likely be out until at least December as he rehabs from the meniscus injury that sidelined him at the end of last season.

The Warriors’ second-year center was cleared Friday to increase individual on-court workouts, according to the press release relayed by Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated at the beginning of next month but will likely need 4-6 weeks of conditioning once his recovery advances to full-contact practices.

Given that the Warriors play a combined 21 regular-season games in October and November, Wiseman will likely miss at least one-quarter of the season. That’s a setback for a team aiming to become a true contender again with the aid of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Their top pick in the this year’s draft, forward Jonathan Kuminga, will be reevaluated in a week as he recovers from a strained patella, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Kuminga appeared in two preseason games before he was sidelined.

Warriors Notes: Bradley, Payton, Lee, Green, Myers, Wiseman

With just one preseason game left on the Warriors‘ schedule, they may be down to three choices for their 15th roster spot, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic: Avery Bradley, Gary Payton II, or luxury tax savings.

As Slater outlines, Bradley looked like the frontrunner early in the fall, but he hasn’t wowed the team during the preseason, leaving the door open for Payton to push for a roster spot following his return from hernia surgery. Payton had a strong debut in Tuesday’s contest vs. the Lakers, scoring 12 points and providing energy and solid defense off the bench. He’ll have another opportunity in Friday’s preseason finale vs. Portland to make a case to stick around.

The Warriors have just 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, since swingman Damion Lee only has a partial guarantee, so technically two roster spots could be up for grabs. But Lee showed on Tuesday why he has been penciled into that 14th spot, as he put up 16 points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes of action as a starter.

“He’s had a great camp, and he’s a guy on our team who we kind of take for granted,” Kerr said of Lee, per Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle. “He’s such a pro. He’s such a rock-solid player. He’s ready every night, whether I play him 20 minutes or whether I don’t play him at all. He’s always prepared.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio (video link), Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers explained why he didn’t feel the need to talk to Draymond Green about comments Green made on a podcast over the summer. Green said in the podcast that the front office mishandled its response to his on-court confrontation with Kevin Durant during KD’s last season in Golden State. “He’s allowed to feel how he feels about that and so is Kevin,” Myers said. “I’ve been through too much with him. I’ve watched that guy win three championships with us. I can’t get upset about (his comments) — I just won’t. … Him and Kevin, the good they’ve done for me and our franchise way outweighs anything like that.”
  • Once James Wiseman gets healthy, the Warriors don’t intend to shuffle him back and forth between the NBA and G League, Slater writes for The Athletic. The team might send Wiseman to Santa Cruz as he gets back up to speed, but once he gets recalled to the NBA, the plan is for him to stay there, according to Slater, whose article takes an in-depth look at assistant coach Dejan Milojević‘s developmental plan for the young center.
  • The 20-year-old Wiseman is only the third-youngest player on a roster that includes a pair of teenagers, Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga. Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer explores the challenge Golden State will face as it tries to focus on winning games while also developing its young lottery picks.
  • Shaun Livingston and Zaza Pachulia, who both have roles in the Warriors’ basketball operations department, spoke to team broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald about how their experiences as players in Golden State made it an easy decision to rejoin the franchise once their playing careers ended.
  • In case you missed it, we published our recap of the Warriors’ offseason on Wednesday night.

Pacific Notes: Green, Ariza, Ellington, Booker, Kings Guards

Draymond Green is skeptical that the current Warriors roster can produce championship results, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He doesn’t see how incorporating second-year centers James Wiseman and two first-round rookies into the mix with veterans who have won won multiple championship can deliver another title.

“Historically, we have not seen that work, where you have a mix of old … well, I wouldn’t say any of us are old. … But a mixture of experience and hardly any experience, historically, in just being a fan of the NBA,” he said. “I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen someone have success with that.”

Green, who also spoke of his relationships with coach Steve Kerr and GM Bob Myers, said he won’t urge teammate Andrew Wiggins to get vaccinated, feeling that it’s “none of my business” and “it’s not my place to tell what he should or shouldn’t do” in regard to medical decisions.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Who will start for the Lakers along with the Big Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook? It’s up for grabs and the speculation entering camp was that the two leading candidates would be Trevor Ariza and Kent Bazemore. Ariza still remains the favorite to claim the small forward spot but 3-point shooter Wayne Ellington is the current favorite to be Westbrook’s backcourt partner, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • Suns star guard Devin Booker recently tested positive for COVID-19, but returned to practice on Friday. He confirmed he’s been fully vaccinated and has passed the league protocols, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Coach Monty Williams said it’s unlikely Booker will play in Monday’s preseason opener at Sacramento.
  • The Kings are expected to show a lot of three-guard lineups this season. De’Aaron Fox said it’s up to those players to make it work, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. “We’ve talked about playing three guards and, at the end of the day, what you give up is size, so that comes from rebounding and defense, but we have to buckle down and do that,” Fox said. “If we can’t, then obviously the three of us won’t be able to play together and coach (Luke Walton) is going to have to figure something else out, but we all want to play together.”

Warriors Notes: Green, Centers, Front Office, Mulder

Draymond Green missed the Warriors‘ Media Day on Monday and the first two days of the club’s training camp for personal reasons, but he returned on Thursday from his excused absence, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

As Slater details in an Athletic story, it’ll be Kevon Looney who starts at center for the Warriors this season, but the expectation is that Green will play plenty of minutes at the five. Golden State didn’t prioritize adding more traditional big men this offseason and doesn’t play to use them regularly, according to Slater, who predicts we’ll see a ton of small lineups from the club in 2021/22.

“The league feels different to me than five, six years ago,” Kerr said. “There are more and more small lineups out there. Every team has more shooting, so you have to cover more ground, which is something Draymond is really good at. Then when we’re on offense, we want to have more shooting, so putting him at five, having him run pick-and-roll with Steph and shooters around them, that’s tough to guard.”

As Slater points out, the equation will change a little for the Warriors when James Wiseman gets healthy and is ready to return to the lineup, but the club is planning to be cautious and patient with the youngster’s recovery process. Wiseman could get some rehab work in at the G League level before he plays in the NBA and is unlikely to have a huge role when he returns to action, Slater adds.

Here’s more on the Dubs:

  • The Warriors announced a wide range of front office promotions and additions today, including naming Mike Dunleavy Jr. as their vice president, basketball operations and Zaza Pachulia as a liaison, basketball and business. The full list of updates to the basketball operations department can be found in the team’s press release.
  • Battling against several other players for the 15th spot on the Warriors’ roster, Mychal Mulder faces an uphill climb to make the team after appearing in 60 games for Golden State last season, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic believes Golden State is confident that Andrew Wiggins will ultimately get vaccinated, noting that the Warriors aren’t acting with the sort of urgency you’d expect if they were preparing to be without a starting forward for 41 games.

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.”

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Player Development, Lacob

James Wiseman‘s inability to participate fully in training camp will hurt the Warriors more than any games he might miss at the start of the season, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Wiseman’s development is crucial to making the team relevant again, due to his physical gifts that can add an explosive dimension it currently lacks on the interior. Wiseman is expected to participate in individual shooting and other individual on-court activities during camp. His return to full practices will be determined after October 15, when he’s expected to begin full jumping on the surgically repaired knee.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • The team has invested heavily this offseason in player development, as Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area details. The additions of former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson along with Dejan Milojević and Jama Mahlalela were made due their reputations for developing young talent. All three have been on the job since June, Poole adds.
  • Owner Joe Lacob has been fined $50K for comments regarding Ben Simmons, the NBA announced today (via Twitter). The league deemed the comments as a violation of its anti-tampering rules. Lacob said it’s unlikely the team will trade for disgruntled Sixers star.
  • Lacob believes the franchise is on track for another championship, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Hopefully, this year, we’ll compete for a championship,” he said. “I think we should. Over the next 4-5 years, I think we should continue that and have a second great decade in a row.”

Klay Thompson, James Wiseman Making “Good Progress”

Injured Warriors Klay Thompson and James Wiseman have made “good progress” and are “on pace to return for the 2021/22 season,” the team’s PR department tweets.

Thompson, who underwent surgery on his torn right Achilles on November 25, is expected to participate in various controlled drills during training camp. His return to full practices will be determined at a later date.

There has been speculation that Thompson will return to action around Christmas if all goes well.

Wiseman, who underwent surgery for a right meniscal tear in mid-April, is expected to participate in individual shooting and other individual on-court activities during camp. His return to full practices will be determined after October 15, when he’s expected to begin full jumping on the surgically repaired knee.

Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, has seen his name thrown into trade rumors this offseason, particularly involving disgruntled Sixers star Ben Simmons.

Pacific Notes: Gasol, Drummond, Thompson, Wiseman, Johnson

The Lakers’ signing of Andre Drummond after the trade deadline soured the franchise’s relationship with Marc Gasol, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link). Gasol lost his starting job and that created a rift that could not be resolved, Oram adds. Gasol was traded to the Grizzlies on Friday, though he’ll be waived and will remain in Spain with his family.

Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register runs with the same theme, noting that Gasol called his season with the Lakers “chaotic.” The Lakers signaled this week that Gasol wouldn’t return when they signed DeAndre Jordan.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are sending their own 2024 pick with no protections in the Gasol deal with the Grizzlies, Bobby Marks of ESPN confirms (via Twitter). The Grizzlies are also receiving $250K in the deal, Marks adds.
  • There will be plenty of pressure on Klay Thompson and James Wiseman to produce for the Warriors during the upcoming season, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. It’s unlikely that the Warriors’ floor-spacing will improve until Thompson’s return, and they need Wiseman to develop into a frontcourt force in order to become a contender again.
  • Suns wing Cameron Johnson has changed representation, hiring agents Ty Sullivan, Steve Heumann, Melvin Booker and Simone Capers of CAA Basketball, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Johnson, who is entering his third season in the league, averaged 8.2 PPG in 21 game during Phoenix’s postseason run to the Finals. Johnson, a 2019 lottery pick, is extension-eligible next offseason. Melvin Booker is Devin Booker‘s father.

Warriors Reject Sixers’ Offer Of Simmons For Wiseman, Wiggins, Picks

The Warriors rejected a trade proposal from the Sixers that would’ve sent Ben Simmons to Golden State for Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in the draft, plus two future first-round picks, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Golden State, who Pompey notes “basically assumed the Sixers’ offer as a joke,” is known to be open to discussing trades ahead of Thursday’s draft, but likely not for the price detailed above.

Pompey also confirmed a report from The Ringer that mentioned Philadelphia asked for four first-round picks, three first-round pick swaps, and a young player from the Spurs in exchange for Simmons. A league executive was cited in Pompey’s report calling the Sixers’ offers “totally outlandish” to this point.

Simmons, 25, is known for being one of the league’s top defenders and passers, but his shooting and half-court creation inconsistencies are well-documented. As of now, he and his camp remain “in step” with a potential trade during the offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).