Jarred Vanderbilt

Northwest Notes: Horford, Muscala, Towns, Vanderbilt, Nuggets

The rebuilding Thunder shut down big men Al Horford and Mike Muscala in the second half of the 2020/21 season, with neither veteran playing a single minute after the March trade deadline. Muscala is now facing unrestricted free agency, while Horford has two years left on his contract, including a partial guarantee in the second year.

Asked today about their respective futures, neither player sounded certain he’d be back in Oklahoma City in ’21/22, but Muscala said he’d “love to be here” going forward, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets. Meanwhile, an offseason trade to a team closer to contention seems like a realistic next step for Horford, and he didn’t rule out that possibility.

I’m sure that I’ll be talking with the team and we’ll figure out what’s best,” Horford said, per Mussatto (Twitter link).

Here are a few more notes from around the Northwest:

  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns told reporters today that he won’t require offseason surgery on the wrist he dislocated at the start of the season, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
  • In a story for The Athletic, Krawczynski takes a deep dive into the long, winding path that Jarred Vanderbilt took to become an NBA regular for the first time this season. The Timberwolves forward, who had logged 120 total minutes in two NBA seasons entering 2020/21, started 30 of the 64 games he played this year, averaging 5.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG on 60.6% shooting in 17.8 minutes per contest.
  • The Nuggets are increasing the capacity of Ball Arena for the playoffs from 4,050 fans (22.1% capacity) to a maximum attendance of 7,750 (42.3%), according to The Denver Post. Denver is one of a handful of teams expecting more fans at postseason games, as coronavirus-related gathering limits begin to loosen in states across the nations.

Northwest Notes: Diallo, Ingles, Vanderbilt, Towns

Hamidou Diallo is best known as the winner of the 2019 Slam Dunk Contest, but he has become the Thunder‘s most productive bench player in his third NBA season, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Diallo is the leading scorer among Oklahoma City’s reserves at 10.5 PPG, including a 23-point outburst in Friday’s win at New York.

“He’s had a lot of ups and downs, he’s had injuries, he’s had a lot of nights where he’s probably staring at the ceiling, and it’s just a reminder that development’s not linear,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “He’s somebody that’s weathered storms. To his credit he’s been professional and he’s just stayed consistent. He has a night like tonight because of the cumulative effect of all those experiences and the way that he’s handled them.”

Going to Madison Square Garden is a homecoming for Diallo, who hails from Queens, but he said it’s a different experience with no fans in the stands and no ability to see the city because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Now we’re quarantined,” he said, “and we just pretty much stay in the hotel and stay out the way.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz forward Joe Ingles missed Friday’s game in Milwaukee because of right Achilles soreness, ending a streak that began in December of 2015, according to a story on the team’s website. Ingles had played in 384 straight regular season games and 418 total, counting the playoffs. “It makes you pause for a second and reflect on what a streak of consecutive games like that means and what it says about Joe, his toughness, his commitment and the type of teammate he is,” coach Quin Snyder said.
  • Foul trouble allowed Timberwolves power forward Jarred Vanderbilt to play extended minutes Tuesday, and he responded with with 11 points, five rebounds, two blocks and three steals, notes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Vanderbilt has been waiting for a chance since Minnesota acquired him at last year’s trade deadline. “I feel like you’re always going to get an opportunity. No matter how it comes … so my mindset was to just stay ready, stay locked in and continue to stay positive,” he said. “Especially in this league, once you go down that path of being negative, it’s hard to turn it around and get back on the right track.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the Timberwolves‘ lineup tonight for the first time since dislocating his left wrist two weeks ago, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Towns tested the wrist in warm-ups before a final decision was made (Twitter link).

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/29/20

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

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/24/20

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

  • The Pistons recalled guard Khyri Thomas from the Grand Rapids Drive, according to a team press release. In two games with the Drive, Thomas averaged 17.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.5 APG in 22.0 MPG. Thomas, a second-round pick in 2018, played two early-season games with the Pistons before undergoing foot surgery.
  • The Warriors assigned big man Alen Smailagic to their Santa Cruz affiliate, the team’s PR department tweets. He has averaged 15.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG in 18 games with the G League club. The rookie has also seen action in 14 Golden State games.
  • The Timberwolves recalled swingman Jacob Evans III and forward Jarred Vanderbilt from their Iowa affiliate, according to a team press release. Evans was acquired from Golden State and Vanderbilt was acquired from Denver earlier this month.
  • The Pacers assigned forward Alize Johnson to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team’s PR department tweets. The 2018 second-round pick has appeared in 12 games with the NBA club this season.
  • The Spurs assigned Keldon Johnson and  Chimezie Metu to their Austin affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Johnson, the team’s first-round pick last June, has played five NBA games. Metu, a second-year forward, has appeared in 16 games for San Antonio this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/19/20

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

Also on the transactions log:

Wolves, Hawks, Rockets, Nuggets Complete Four-Team Trade

FEBRUARY 5: The trade is now official, with Twitter announcements from the RocketsTimberwolves and Nuggets confirming the deal. Atlanta also formally waived Chandler Parsons to accommodate the trade, as detailed earlier.

FEBRUARY 4: The Timberwolves, Hawks, Rockets, and Nuggets are in agreement on a massive four-team trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the four clubs were close to reaching a deal, while Woj says (via Twitter) the players involved are now being informed.

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), Charania (Twitter links), Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), and Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link), the trade looks like this:

There have been rumors for the last several days suggesting that a trade like this one could be in play. An earlier variation had the Warriors in Denver’s place, with the Wolves pursuing D’Angelo Russell, but Golden State backed off those talks earlier on Tuesday, leaving Minnesota, Houston, and Atlanta to work out a new agreement.

Let’s break down how the deal will impact each team…

Houston Rockets:

Daryl Morey‘s group has long been on the lookout for an upgrade on the wing, and they’ll get their man in Covington, a three-and-D specialist who is on a team-friendly contract that’s worth $11.3MM this season and runs through 2021/22.

The Rockets gave up two valuable assets in Capela and their 2020 first-round pick to bring in Covington, Bell, and a second-round pick. By moving Nene and Green in the deal, the team will also move well below the luxury-tax line, which would be a favorable outcome for ownership — while Tilman Fertitta has claimed to have signed off on the club being a taxpayer, it looks like this could be the second straight season that the Rockets sneak out of the tax at the deadline.

On the other hand, as Wojnarowski points out (via Twitter), the structure of the deal would allow Houston to take back up to another $12MM in salary. So until the trade is made official, there’s a window for the Rockets to potentially expand it even further to include another team and player, assuming they find a suitable target, agree on compensation, and are willing to go back into the tax. That won’t be easy, however.

While Bell could play some minutes at the five, the Rockets will remain on the lookout for a more reliable replacement for Capela, either via a trade or on the buyout market, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston’s go-to lineup will feature P.J. Tucker at center, but the team still wants a more traditional big to match up with star bigs in the playoffs, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPN (via Twitter).

MacMahon also adds (via Twitter) that Green, who is likely out for the season with a broken foot, had the ability to veto his inclusion in this trade, but won’t do so.

The move will reduce the Rockets’ roster count to 13 players on standard contracts, so the team will have two weeks to get back up to the NBA’s required minimum of 14 players.

Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets were said to be seeking a first-round pick for Beasley and a second-round pick for Hernangomez, their two restricted-free-agents-to-be. They won’t quite meet that asking price, but they’ll at least get the first-rounder they were looking for, acquiring Houston’s 2020 pick in the deal.

In addition to sending out Beasley and Hernangomez, Denver also moved Vanderbilt and will bring back four players: Green, Bates-Diop, Napier, and Vonleh. The team had an open spot on its 15-man roster, so no one will have to be waived, though MacMahon reports (via Twitter) that Green is expected to be cut after the trade is official, once again opening up that last roster spot.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski observes (via Twitter), Napier and Vonleh are capable of playing rotation minutes and providing depth off the bench for the Nuggets. Bates-Diop will probably be further down on the depth chart. Napier and Vonleh will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, while KBD has a non-guaranteed minimum salary for 2020/21.

Having previously traded away their own 2020 first-round selection for Jerami Grant, the Nuggets can get back into this year’s draft with Houston’s first-rounder. Of course, with Wojnarowski suggesting Denver will continue to be active before Thursday’s deadline, that pick could theoretically be flipped in another move.

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks have been linked to several centers over the course of the season, reportedly expressing interest in Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Dewayne Dedmon, among others. In recent days, the club appeared to be zeroing in on Capela, a big man whose rim-running ability will complement Trae Young on offense and whose rim-protecting ability could help bail out Young on defense.

Atlanta will surrender Turner’s expiring contract, Brooklyn’s lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick, and an extra future second-round pick in order to lock up Capela. The move will give the Hawks some cost certainty in the middle — Capela, who has a $14.9MM cap hit in 2019/20, has three more years and about $51.3MM left on his contract after this season. He won’t be eligible for free agency until the summer of 2023.

Acquiring a center now rather than waiting until the summer and trying to land one in free agency will give the Hawks the opportunity to evaluate how Capela looks next to big man John Collins. A heel injury is currently nagging Capela, but it’s not believed to be an issue that jeopardizes the rest of his season.

A 2017 first-round pick, Collins will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2020 offseason. If he meshes with Capela down the stretch, Atlanta would likely be more willing to invest heavily long-term in Collins, who is expected to seek the max or something close to it.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the Hawks are currently carrying 15 players, so they’ll have to waive or trade someone in order to take back both Capela and Nene for Turner, even if they intend to eventually release Nene.

Minnesota Timberwolves:

Although the Timberwolves probably would have preferred to get the Warriors involved in this deal to acquire Russell, they’ll get a handful of intriguing assets in exchange for Covington and several low-cost role players (Bell, Bates-Diop, Napier, and Vonleh).

Beasley and Hernangomez will both be eligible for restricted free agency this summer, which will give the Wolves the chance to match any offer sheet they sign. Neither player had been great this season in Denver, as a crowded depth chart pushed them out of the rotation at times, but they both had solid seasons in 2018/19.

Beasley averaged 11.3 PPG with a .474/.402/.848 shooting line in 81 games (23.2 MPG) a year ago, while Hernangomez averaged 5.8 PPG and 3.8 RPG on .439/.365/.767 shooting in 70 games (19.4 MPG). The Nuggets explored contract extensions last fall with both players, reportedly offering Beasley $30MM over three years, but they didn’t reach a deal with either one. Now the Wolves will have the opportunity to evaluate them during the season’s final two months and decide whether they’re part of the franchise’s long-term plans.

In addition to acquiring those two Denver players – and a little-used project in Vanderbilt – the Timberwolves take on Turner’s $18.6MM expiring contract, generating some extra cap flexibility for the 2020 offseason by moving off Covington’s guaranteed money. They also secured Brooklyn’s lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick, which could end up at No. 15 or 16 if the Nets hang onto a playoff spot this spring.

This move doesn’t necessarily affect the Wolves’ plans to revisit a Russell trade with the Warriors, though like Allen Crabbe, Turner can’t be aggregated with another player in a deadline deal to match D-Lo’s salary. That Brooklyn first-round pick figures to be one of the assets Minnesota dangles in any offer for Russell.

Like Houston, Minnesota will have two openings on its 15-man roster once this trade is finalized, and will have up to two weeks to get back up to 14 players, the league’s required minimum.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Vanderbilt, Burks, Drummond, Howard

Nuggets reserve forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and Vlatko Cancar could be the beneficiaries of Mason Plumlee‘s misfortune, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Plumlee will be out 2-4 weeks with a foot injury. Vanderbilt, a 2018 second-round pick, had played in 13 G League games and four with the NBA club this season. Cancar had appeared in seven Nuggets games entering Wednesday’s action.

“Just find ways, that’s our biggest challenge right now,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of Plumlee’s injury. “Don’t waste an ounce of energy on the guys that can’t play, let’s figure out who can play and go out there, fight and give ourselves a chance.”

We have more Western Conference news:

  • Alec Burks is the Warriors’ most valuable trade chip and the team is likely to make at least one deal before February’s deadline, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. The versatile wing, who scored 33 points on Monday, is making just $2.32MM this season. Several teams in recent weeks have expressed interest in Burks, according to Poole.
  • Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Sacramento’s Nemanja Bjelica, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love and San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl are potential trade targets for the Mavericks, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Mavs are seeking help in the wake of Dwight Powell‘s season-ending injury.
  • In an unusual decision for a player of his age, Dwight Howard has decided to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend, according to a league press release. Howard, who has turned into a valuable member of the Lakers’ bench, participated in three previous dunk contests early in his career but hasn’t been in one since 2009.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/17/20

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

  • The Pacers assigned Alize Johnson and Edmond Sumner to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team’s PR department tweets. Sumner did not play in the last two Indiana games, while Johnson has appeared in just one NBA game this month.
  • The Spurs recalled forwards Chimezie Metu, Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson from the Austin Spurs, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. With Rudy Gay sidelined on Friday, the NBA team was looking for added depth. Metu,  second-round pick in 2018, has appeared in 11 NBA games this season.
  • The Nuggets recalled forward Jarred Vanderbilt from the Windy City Bulls, the team’s PR department tweets. Vanderbilt, a 2018 second-rounder, has appeared in four NBA contests this season.
  • The Clippers assigned Derrick Walton Jr. and Terance Mann to the Agua Caliente Clippers, according to the team’s PR department. Both guards received garbage-time minutes against Orlando on Thursday and did not score.
  • The Warriors assigned rookie forward Alen Smailagic to their Santa Cruz affiliate, the team’s PR department tweets. The second round pick has appeared in nine Warriors games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/5/20

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

  • The Clippers have recalled guard Terance Mann and center Mfiondu Kabengele from their G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to the team’s public relations department. Los Angeles hosted New York at Staples Center on Sunday night.
  • The Wizards assigned forward Admiral Schofield to the Capital City Go-Go, announcing the news on social media. The Go-Go hosted the Oklahoma City Blue earlier today, with Schofield recording 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win.
  • The Nuggets assigned Jarred Vanderbilt to the Windy City Bulls, the team announced on social media. Vanderbilt was drafted with the No. 41 overall pick back in 2018.
  • The Thunder have recalled center Justin Patton from the Oklahoma City Blue, general manager Sam Presti announced today. Patton is averaging 10.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 21 games with the Blue this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/23/19

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

  • The Warriors recalled forward Alen Smailagić from Santa Cruz, according to a team press release. In 11 games with Santa Cruz, Smailagić has posted averages of 16.8 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 25.3 MPG. The rookie has yet to appear in a game for Golden State.
  • The Wizards recalled guard Justin Robinson from the Capital City Go-Go, the team’s PR department tweets. He had three points and an assist in 16 minutes against New York on Monday.
  • The Nuggets recalled Jarred Vanderbilt from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team’s PR department tweets. The second-year forward has appeared in three games with Denver this season.
  • The Sixers recalled forward Jonah Bolden and guard Shake Milton from the Delaware Blue Coats, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Milton made a cameo appearance in the Sixers’ win at Detroit on Monday.
  • The Timberwolves recalled rookie center Naz Reid from the Iowa Wolves, according to a team press release. Reid is averaging 19.1 PPG and a team-high 10.2 RPG in 14 games for the Iowa Wolves.
  • The Clippers recalled rookie guard Terance Mann from the Agua Caliente Clippers. Mann has appeared in 22 games, including five starts, for the NBA Clippers.