Jarrett Allen

Atlantic Notes: Payton, Raptors, Robinson, Jordan

Elfrid Payton will be given every opportunity to become the Knicks’ starting point guard next season, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports. Payton agreed to a two-year, $16MM deal with a team option for the second season. Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina are the other candidates for the starting role, though the team has shopped Ntilikina, Begley continues. It’s unclear whether the Knicks would consider a backcourt pairing of Payton and Smith, who started at the point after being acquired from the Mavericks last season.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors have to make more roster moves, regardless of whether Kawhi Leonard stays or goes, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes. They currently have 10 players under standard NBA contracts, one on a two-way and another on an Exhibit 10 deal. With the Raptors’ needs in mind, Murphy takes a deep dive into the options still on the free agent market at each position.
  • Knicks second-year center Mitchell Robinson has been invited to join the Select Team at USA Basketball’s training camp, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps tweets. Robinson averaged 7.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 2.4 BPG in his rookie campaign.
  • The competition between centers Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan will be the biggest preseason battle in Nets’ camp, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Allen, 21, is seemingly a core piece for the franchise but the presence of Jordan, a close friend of Kevin Durant who agreed to a four-year, $40MM contract, creates a potential dilemma. Jordan may have lost a step, Lewis notes, but he’s been a starter throughout his career.

And-Ones: Trades, Antetokounmpo, World Cup

Jae Crowder would be a nice contingency plan for the Warriors should they lose Kevin Durant in free agency, Kevin Pelton contends in a piece for ESPN+. Pelton argues a deal that sends Crowder, who has one year left on his contract, to Golden State for Shaun Livingston and a future first-rounder makes sense for both sides.

Other ESPN insiders write about the trade they’d like to see this summer, with Bobby Marks breaking down a Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade that sends Eric Gordon to Philadelphia and Clint Capela to Sacramento. The whole piece is worth checking out.

As we brace for an offseason of change, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo will play for Greece in the Basketball World Cup, according to Demetris Nellas of the Associated Press“Whether I play the 1 [point guard] or the 5 [center], I don’t care,” the NBA MVP said. “I’m a basketball player. I want to help the team any way I can.”
  • The NBA has announced that the Academy Games will be in the United States for the first time in history. Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com provides a detailed look at the games in Atlanta, relaying that the camp will feature eight teams and approximately 90 players from around the world.
  • Isaiah Whitehead will play for the Trail Blazers‘ Summer League team, The Athletic’s Michael Scotto relays (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks have announced their Summer League roster and former first-rounder Cameron Payne is among the notable players. Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of Giannis, is also playing for the team in Las Vegas.
  • Semaj Christon will play for the Kings‘ Summer League team, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia tweets.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has been invited to join Team USA’s Select Team, which will hold training camp in Las Vegas this summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports passes along (Twitter links). Nets center Jarrett Allen has also been invited.

[In case you missed it: Team USA Announces 20-Player Roster For World Cup]

Jarrett Allen Discusses Nets’ Season, Playoffs, Russell, More

Nets center Jarrett Allen is coming off an impressive season with the team, one that saw him significantly improve on both ends of the floor, emphatically block the shots of superstars like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and help lead the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Allen, who was drafted by Brooklyn with the No. 22 pick back in 2017, averaged 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 26.2 minutes in 80 total games this year. He credits the Nets’ strong camaraderie and willingness to sacrifice as two major reasons for the late-season surge that helped the club claim the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. Based on most preseason projections and predictions in October, the Nets easily outperformed expectations.

“What was so special about this season was the team. Not just the team itself, but the people we had on it,” Allen told Hoops Rumors. “I mean, other than D’Angelo [Russell], we didn’t have any All-Star players. We all had to find our place and our role on the team, and everybody did it acceptingly.”

Allen discussed the Nets’ roller-coaster season, how the team made a sudden playoff surge, his offseason priorities, Russell’s upcoming restricted free agency, and much more in a wide-ranging conversation with Hoops Rumors.


What’s it like to play for fans of a true basketball city, a loyal, energetic and supportive fanbase like Brooklyn? They stuck with you guys through the good and bad all season long.

“It feels good. They’re always there to support you. Last year when we didn’t have the best season, everybody we saw at the arena or even out on the streets were just telling us, ‘You’ll get them next year, you’ll get them next year.’ They kept having that support all throughout and we ended up making the playoffs [this year] and gave back on that promise.”

So how did this team turn it around? You guys had eight straight losses in November and immediately followed it up with seven straight wins. What started the turnaround into a successful second half of the season? 

“Well I think the turnaround started when [head coach] Kenny [Atkinson] and the vets all sat us down and told us basically that the season’s not over. We had a team meeting, a players-only meeting, just to go over that if we don’t start winning then the season’s going to be over. You know, the vets told us that it was still possible to turn it around. I think all of us just rallied behind what they were saying. We all just kept our heads up and put in the work that we needed to.”

So I’m willing to bet money that one of those guys who stepped up in the meeting was Jared Dudley. Am I correct?

“Yep, he was the one.”

How important was Jared for the team? A lot of fans look at the on-court product and base their final opinion on that, but what they don’t see is what happens behind the scenes and in the locker room.

“He’s just so important. He helped coach on the floor, basically like a player-coach. In the locker room he always brought us positive energy. He’s just a good guy to be around. But then just him showing the fight and telling us how basketball needs to be played, because he has a lot of experience, how basketball needs to be played to become a better team. It was easy to trust the vets, and we did it.”

How was playing in the postseason for you? I’d imagine a lot different from playing in the regular season, yeah? 

“Oh, it’s a lot different. The amount of preparation that goes into every game, and then just being out on the court for the first time during the postseason, you can just feel the atmosphere was different between the players. It was just a new experience for me, just different.”

Do you think there’s a rivalry today between the Knicks and Nets, or at the very least could there be a rivalry going into next season?

“I think there’s a little bit of a rivalry. We’re an across-town team and everybody wants to be the best team in the city [of New York]. But, you know, it’s hard to be a rivalry because Brooklyn’s a new team. We don’t have a lot of history behind the Brooklyn name, so it’s hard to make a rivalry when we haven’t really showed anything.”

So, looking into free agency, obviously D’Angelo Russell is set to become a restricted free agent. Have you spoken with him about it, or do you plan on speaking with him about it? 

“No, not really. I know he’s out doing his own thing right now. He has to figure out his own path right now, and I know him and his group are going to make the best decision for themselves.”

And obviously you want him back, considering how important of a piece he was to your puzzle this season?

“We would take him back in a heartbeat. He’s a leader. He led the team throughout everything that happened last year, with Spencer [Dinwiddie] and Caris [LeVert] going down to injury. He’s helped me tremendously grow as a player, so I would have him back in heartbeat.”

What do you know about Taurean Prince? Obviously the agreed-upon trade with Atlanta won’t become official until the first week of July — have you gotten the chance to meet or speak with him yet? 

“No, I haven’t gotten the chance yet. I know him from his Baylor days. But I think he’ll fit right into the type of system Brooklyn’s making: grit, and just knowing our role and accepting it.”

Do you plan on having a recruiting role for your team this offseason, or do you prefer to sit back and just let the dominoes fall?

“I’m letting those dominoes fall — I’ll deal with it when it happens.”

What’s your ceiling as a player? In other words, where do you see yourself and your game in the next three to five years?

“Honestly — I have no idea. I know a lot of people say I have a high ceiling and the potential to be something great, and all I know is that I’m going out and giving my best effort every night.”

Do you have any primary goals for improving during the offseason? A lot of people have pushed for you to add more weight for next season, as you know.

“I would say that basically the whole world knows I need to put on some weight. You know, just dealing with big guys like that, it showed in the playoffs that I kind of struggled with the strength aspect. That’s obviously going to come with age, it’s just coming with working out, so I’m not too worried about it. Something I want to work on skill-wise is decision-making with the ball, and expanding my range to the three.”

Have you spoken with Kenny Atkinson about either of those two things? 

“Oh yeah, he’s in the gym quite a bit. You know, walking around just checking on us. He said the exact same thing.”

In your mind, what truly allowed this team to prove so many people wrong this season? 

“We knew we could do it. Like you said, at the beginning of the season there was a lot of doubt, people thinking we wouldn’t be in the playoffs. But coming into training camp, coming into practices we all practiced with the thought of the playoffs in our heads. So I think that was the one thing — speaking about the playoffs and playing for it.”


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Targeting Big Men In Draft?

There’s no guarantee that the Nets will use all three of their picks (Nos. 17, 27, and 31) in the 2019 NBA draft, as those selections could become trade assets next month. But assuming they keep at least one or two, they’ll be using those picks to target a certain type of player, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

According to Begley, Brooklyn is hoping to draft a big man that can either complement or back up starting center Jarrett Allen.

As Begley observes, there’s not necessarily a consensus among draft evaluators this season about which players will come off the board in the middle or back end of the first round, so it’s hard to say which bigs will be available to the Nets. However, Begley identifies Bol Bol (Oregon), Goga Bitadze (Republic of Georgia), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State), Naz Reid (LSU), and Nicolas Claxton (Georgia) as possible options.

Allen had a promising sophomore season for Brooklyn in 2018/19, averaging 10.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG with a .590 FG%. Despite Allen’s strides, the Nets’ front line, with Allen and Ed Davis handling most of the center minutes, was undersized on many nights, Begley notes. That was on display during the team’s first-round loss to Joel Embiid and the Sixers.

With Davis facing unrestricted free agency and a desire to add more size to their frontcourt, the Nets will see if they can address that hole at all in the draft.

Nets Notes: Russell, Kurucs, Musa, Marks

As Brian Lewis points out for The New York Post, Nets GM Sean Marks didn’t offer D’Angelo Russell a contract extension in October mainly because he wanted to see if the young point guard could prove himself to be a go-to option and leader. So far, so good on that end as Russell has stayed healthy this season and is averaging career highs of 20.3 points and 6.6 assists per game going into his first All-Star game appearance.

Russell has been the leading force on a Nets team that is surpassing expectations, having already won more games (30) than they did all of last season (28). Russell’s improvements have coincided with steady improvement from Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, and Spencer Dinwiddie, with veterans and rookies contributing in other spots as well.

The Nets will now look to build on their strong record and claim their first playoff spot since 2015, as Russell will look to lead the way and play his way into a big contract this summer.

There’s more on the Nets:

Nets Notes: Allen, Russell, Trades

There aren’t many “untouchables” in the NBA when it comes to trade talks, though most teams have a few players that it would take a king’s ransom to part with. Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and D’Angelo Russell have earned their place in the Nets‘ long-term outlook and barring an overwhelming return, Michael Scotto of The Athletic doesn’t envision any of the three going anywhere anytime soon.

Before the season, Russell’s inclusion on the list may have seemed silly, but the former No. 2 overall pick is having his best season as a pro and he’s become a key part of the team’s success.

“Everything that we do offensively, he is sort of the lifeblood of us,”  Joe Harris said after a recent Nets win. “Everything flows through him. He does a really good job of dictating the pace, getting guys in rhythm, and just doing a really good job on every level. He does a really good job facilitating for others and for himself. Obviously, we’re really lucky to have a player of his caliber on our team.”

Russell will be a restricted free agent after the season. GM Sean Marks has a history of going after other team’s RFAs and this offseason, he’ll likely get a taste of his own medicine with rival teams looking at Russell.

Scotto offers more in his piece for The Athletic. Here are the highlights:

  • Ed Davis, who signed a one-year deal last summer, hopes to remain with the Nets long-term, as he tells Scotto. “I’m at a point in my career where I don’t want to keep bouncing around,” Davis said. “This is my fifth team. I’ve got a wife and kids. They like it here. It’s close to home, so hopefully, when the season is over, we can figure something out and make something work.
  • The Nets love Allen’s ability to pick up schemes quickly and his coachability, Scotto adds in the same piece. Allen has made highlight reels with his ability to make monstrous blocks but he’s actively working on his offense, including a corner 3-point shot.
  • Harris and Rodions Kurucs are unlikely to be traded but if either player was put on the trade block, the Nets would likely garner a first-round pick in return, Scotto speculates. The scribe adds that if there were a re-draft of this year’s rookie class, Kurucs, who was selected with the No. 40 overall pick, would be a first-rounder.

Nets Rumors: Butler, LeVert, Allen, Russell, RHJ

Although the Nets internally view Jimmy Butler as a top-10 or top-15 player in the NBA, the team resolved not to give up any of its prime assets for him once he became available, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. When Brooklyn briefly discussed the possibility of acquiring Butler in a trade, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and the team’s first-round pick were off-limits.

As Scotto details, general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson have talked throughout their tenures about not “skipping steps” in the Nets’ rebuilding process. Sacrificing one or two of the club’s top young players or draft picks would have meant going for a quick fix, with no assurances that Butler would have stuck around beyond 2019.

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets did kick the tires on Butler before the Timberwolves sent him to Philadelphia, having discussed a deal involving D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and salary filler, league sources tell Scotto. However, those talks didn’t gain any traction.
  • Scotto identifies Nikola Mirotic and Tobias Harris as two veteran forwards who may receive interest from the Nets during the summer of 2019. Brooklyn has long coveted a reliable stretch four, and Mirotic and Harris, who will both be unrestricted free agents next year, are capable of playing that role.
  • As he approaches restricted free agency, D’Angelo Russell is showing a little more consistency, particularly on the defensive end, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “His maturity, his consistency, that’s what we’re starting to see,” Kenny Atkinson said. “That’s the challenge for him. It’s not on-again, off-again. We need more on from him, and I think he’s starting to get over that hurdle. He looked really good physically, too, against Denver (on Friday). He really got after it.”

Nets Exercise 2019/20 Options On LeVert, Allen

The Nets have exercised their 2019/20 team options on the rookie contracts of Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, the team announced today in a press release. The moves were mere formalities that come well in advance of the October 31 deadline.

Picking up LeVert’s fourth-year option will lock him in for 2019/20 with a very modest cap charge of $2,625,718. That’s a bargain for the 24-year-old, who is coming off a promising sophomore season in which he averaged 12.1 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.7 RPG with a .435/.347/.711 shooting line. He’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2019 offseason.

As for Allen, his ’19/20 option, worth $2,376,840, is for his third NBA season — Brooklyn will have one more option decision to make on him next fall, for his fourth year (2020/21). The 20-year-old center averaged 8.2 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 72 games (31 starts) for the Nets as a rookie after being selected with the No. 22 pick in the 2017 draft.

Be sure to check out our tracker for a breakdown of all the decisions on 2019/20 rookie scale options that NBA teams must make by October 31.

Nets Notes: Graham, Carroll, Davis, Allen

After two years with the Hornets, Treveon Graham signed with the Nets during the offseason because he wanted a chance to compete for serious playing time, relays Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily. Graham appeared in just 27 games as a rookie, but worked his way into Charlotte’s rotation last year, averaging 16.7 minutes in 63 games. He accepted a one-year deal with a team option to come to Brooklyn in hopes of showing that he’s worthy of a larger role.

“What I told them as they were recruiting me was I wanted to go somewhere that I can compete for a job,” Graham said. “I understand nothing is going to be guaranteed to me. I’m going to fight for my minutes. That’s something they liked about me; how I am and how hard I work.”

Getting minutes won’t be easy to get as the Nets are stocked at the wing with DeMarre CarrollAllen Crabbe, Joe HarrisCaris LeVertDzanan MusaJared Dudley and Theo Pinson. However, Graham is eager for the competition.

“I feel like it’s up to me,” he said. “If I play and how much I play is up to me. It’s up to me to get in the gym and work. It’s up to me to show that I deserve to be on the court. I don’t want anything handed to me and that’s why I came here.”

There’s more today out of Brooklyn:

  • Entering his second year with the Nets, Carroll is grateful that the team brought in more veterans this summer to help with leadership roles, Fonseca writes in a separate story. In addition to Davis, Brooklyn signed 30-year old free agent Ed Davis and traded for the 33-year-old Dudley. “It’s just great to have another person who’s been through the fire and understands what it takes to win,” Carroll said.
  • Davis has become a valuable teacher for 20-year-old center Jarrett Allen, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Davis, who has been in the league for eight years, has been sharing his knowledge of the finer points of post play and challenging Allen in practice. “It’s been helpful,” Allen said. “Ed Davis is amazing at rebounding. It’s helping me get ready for the season. … If he gets an offensive rebound, Coach is going to be yelling, and you don’t want Coach yelling. It’s my job to keep him off the glass.”
  • This year’s draft picks, Musa and Rodions Kurucs, won’t object if they are asked to spend some time in the G League, relays Net Income on NetsDaily

Atlantic Rumors: Green, LeVert, Marks, Williams

Danny Green believes Kawhi Leonard will have a tough time leaving the city of Toronto once he settles in during his first season with the Raptors, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Green, who was included in the blockbuster deal that sent Leonard to Toronto, made the comment during an Inside the Green Room Podcast. “The city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there. I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.” Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • LeVert played a total of 30 games at the point last season when D’Angelo Russell was injured, Milholen notes, and posted averages of 13.2 PPG and 4.8 APG in 27.2 MPG. Russell will start for Brooklyn and the Nets also have free agent addition Shabazz Napier at that spot. LeVert can also be viewed as a long-term insurance policy since Russell could become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, Milholen adds.
  • The early returns on Sean Marks‘ first-round picks bode well for next June’s draft, Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily.com opines. The Nets GM found two valuable assets during the last two drafts in LeVert and starting center Jarrett Allen, even though those picks were in the bottom third of the first round, Rose notes. Thus, Marks and his staff have shown they can not only identify talent but develop players as well, Rose adds. The Nets could have two first-rounders in June, their own pick plus the Nuggets’ top-12 protected pick acquired this summer.
  • Dominating at the G League level would make for a successful rookie season for Celtics first-rounder Robert Williams, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. That’s where Williams will spend a good portion of the season, Blakely notes, and the big man must prove the left knee injury he’s dealing with won’t be a major issue. Williams also needs to show more maturity off the court, Blakely adds.