Jarrett Allen

Nets Notes: Irving, Temple, Shumpert, Allen

Kyrie Irving is developing into the team leader in Brooklyn that the Celtics hoped he would be last year, according to Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Irving frequently strategizes with Nets coach Kenny Atkinson during games and has taken a proactive approach in helping his teammates improve. Although he has missed the last eight games with a shoulder impingement, Irving has made a difference on the court as well. He’s averaging a career best 28.5 points and 7.2 assists per game and is leading all NBA players in “clutch” points.

Veteran Garrett Temple knew Irving was special, which is why he chose to sign with Brooklyn when he had numerous other offers. Sources tell Scotto that the Nuggets, Wizards, Cavaliers and Pelicans all expressed interest in Temple.

“Any time you go to a different team, and you don’t get traded there and choose to go to a different team when you’re a star, you have a chance to not right wrongs but become the person that you want to be,” Temple said. “It’s kind of a clean slate. The league is kind of a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of league anyway. Kyrie comes here, and if he’s the person I’ve seen the last four weeks, then all of those pundits are going to change their tune because he’s been here since Labor Day, we’ve been working out, and he’s been a great leader. He hasn’t tried to show up any young guys. He’s been a hard worker doing his thing, and when you win, it cures a lot of ills too. He said he failed as a leader. He’s going to try to change that, and he recognizes that.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Atkinson said Irving has been able to begin “on-court work,” tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Although Irving has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game, Atkinson calls it a positive step toward his eventual return.
  • Brooklyn will face a difficult roster decision when Wilson Chandler returns on December 15, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Nets signed Iman Shumpert when they were permitted to temporarily add a 16th player after Chandler served the first five games of his 25-game ban. Shumpert has played well, which means Brooklyn may decide to unload someone else to make room for Chandler.
  • Jarrett Allen has improved nearly every part of his game in his third NBA season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Allen is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds and leading the league in field goal percentage, but free throws remain a problem. Lewis suggests that Allen can learn from free agent addition DeAndre Jordan, who has steadily improved after starting his career as a poor shooter from the line.

Atlantic Notes: Gibson, Allen, Walker, Davis

Many of the Knicks free agent signees this summer can be dealt after December 15th but those players still believe New York can get into the playoff picture, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “You got to look at the circumstances we’re in,’’ said big man Taj Gibson, one of those free agent additions. “We’re in the East. Nobody’s running away. Maybe the top four teams. We’re still optimistic. If we get three wins in a row, you’re right back in the hunt.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have already exercised their team option on center Jarrett Allen for next season and he’ll probably command major dollars once he’s eligible for free agency, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. Allen had a 20-20 game against Cleveland on Monday.
  • Kemba Walker‘s upbeat personality has made the Celtics’ locker room a happier place, Tim Bontemps of ESPN notes. Walker returned to action on Wednesday after recovering from a neck sprain. “I’m really just being myself,” he says. “I’m really just genuinely happy for guys and my teammates. I love when guys have success. I’ve had a lot of success in my career, and I want guys to have great success.”
  • Undrafted rookie guard Terence Davis signed a two-year contract with the Raptors in July and he’s quickly paying dividends, Arten Zwelling of SportsNet Canada reports. He’s averaging 13.0 PPG and 3.5 APG over the last four games. “I really focus on the task at hand,” he said. “Coming here and just getting better every single day. Even on off days. If it’s getting treatment, getting shots up, just doing something, just staying ahead.”

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Defense, Allen, Carroll

Spencer Dinwiddie has been playing so well in Kyrie Irving‘s absence that he might remain in the starting lineup once Irving returns, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Dinwiddie poured in 30 points in Sunday’s win over the Knicks and has averaged 25.0 points and 6.2 assists per game since becoming a starter. Irving is sidelined until at least Friday with a shoulder impingement, and coach Kenny Atkinson said he will consider using them together as the starting backcourt.

“Kyrie is still learning exactly what we want to do. Spencer’s got a little more corporate knowledge,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to take time for Kyrie to completely understand what we’re doing on both sides of the ball. That being said, for not understanding he’s been pretty darn good. So it just gives us a lot of different options. I think about Spencer playing so well right now, when Kyrie comes back what does that look like? Is Spencer coming to start? You have [Garrett Temple] with the defense. There’s a lot [of options] … which is a good problem to have.”

Dinwiddie started 58 games during the 2017/18 season, then excelled as a sixth man last year, so he’s comfortable with either role. He understands that his place on the team will continue to evolve as Caris LeVert returns from injury later this season and especially when Kevin Durant is healthy enough to play in 2020/21.

“The role just changes, like an amoeba. Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s going to be scoring,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously usage rate is probably through the roof right now because Kyrie is out, Caris and obviously the monster is going to be back probably next season. For now my job is to do this, and then it’ll shift when they get back.”

There’s more this morning from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have been successful without Irving because of improvements on defense, Lewis notes in a separate story. Brooklyn has won four of its last five games and is posting a 102.4 Defensive Rating in that span, which ranks fifth in the league. The changes came about after Temple replaced LeVert and Iman Shumpert entered the rotation after being signed last week.
  • Improved play from Jarrett Allen has also lifted the Nets, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Allen got off to a slow start while adjusting to the addition of DeAndre Jordan, but through 16 games his averages of 10.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG are in line with last season’s.
  • DeMarre Carroll respects the Nets for letting him know he wasn’t in their future plans before free agency began, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Carroll signed with the Spurs after spending two years in Brooklyn. “They just let me know they weren’t going to be able to pay me what somebody else would pay me. All they really had the minimum because they wanted to go out and pursue other guys,” Carroll said. “They went out and got Kevin Durant and Kyrie and DeAndre. They already kind of laid it out before I went into free agency.”

Nets Exercise 2020/21 Options On Allen, Musa

The Nets have exercised their fourth-year option on center Jarrett Allen and their third-year option on swingman Dzanan Musa, the team announced today in a press release. Allen and Musa already had guaranteed salaries for the 2019/20 season, but today’s moves lock them in for 2020/21 as well.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2020/21 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Allen, the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, emerged as the Nets’ starting center last season, averaging 10.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 80 games (26.2 MPG). The 21-year-old will face competition this season after Brooklyn signed veteran big man DeAndre Jordan to a lucrative four-year deal in July. However, the Nets still view Allen as a building block for their future.

Allen’s option for 2020/21 will only add $3,909,902 to the Nets’ team salary. By picking up that option, Brooklyn puts the big man on track to become extension-eligible during the 2020 offseason. If he doesn’t sign a new deal at that point, he’d become eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2021.

As for Musa, the 20-year-old wing only played nine NBA games during his rookie season in 2018/19, spending much of the year with the Long Island Nets in the G League. He recorded 19.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 3.6 APG on .439/.357/.792 shooting in 36 games (31.6 MPG) for Brooklyn’s NBAGL affiliate.

Musa’s third-year option comes in at $2,002,800. Now that it’s exercised, the Nets’ next decision on Musa will be his fourth-year option for 2021/22. The team will have until October 31, 2020 to pick up or decline that option, worth $3,615,054.

Brooklyn was already projected to be an over-the-cap team for the 2020/21 season, but guaranteeing Allen’s and Musa’s salaries push the club’s commitments further above that threshold. The Nets now have over $120MM in guaranteed salaries on their books for next season. That total doesn’t include Garrett Temple‘s $5MM team option or cap holds for free-agents-to-be like Joe Harris and Taurean Prince.

New York Notes: Knicks, Allen, Jordan, LeVert

After a spending spree in free agency that saw them invest in four veteran power forwards, the Knicks aren’t opposed to the idea of using some bigger lineups this season, head coach David Fizdale said on the first day of training camp, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

“When you start talking about Kevin Knox and Marcus Morris at the small forward, right there that makes you pretty big,” Fizdale said. “You can see the pecking order down the line. I can put a lot of different guys on the floor. I can play Bobby [Portis] and Mitchell [Robinson] together with Marcus Morris, that’s a really big lineup. And R.J. Barrett is no small guy at the two or three either.”

In addition to using a bigger forward like Morris at the three, Fizdale is also open to making sure his power forwards get minutes by using some of them at the five. According to Begley, the Knicks’ head coach pointed specifically to Julius Randle as one strong candidate for a role at center: I can put him out there with Marcus Morris at the four and put a lot of pressure on a defense that way.”

As we wait to see how Fizdale balances his roster, let’s round up a few more notes on New York’s two teams:

  • After the Knicks struck out on star players in free agency this offseason, Frank Isola of The Athletic wonders if the most logical future free agent target for the franchise might be an executive – Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri – rather than a player.
  • There’s no animosity between Jarrett Allen and newly-added big man DeAndre Jordan, who are embracing their battle for the Nets‘ starting center job, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. “It’s going great. Jarrett’s a great young player. He’s proven to be a great rim protector and he’s getting better each year,” Jordan said. “We’re definitely challenging him every day in practice. For us, being able to battle against each other every day is going to be good not only for us individually but great for our team.”
  • After signing a new long-term extension with the Nets this summer, Caris LeVert is looking to take his game to another level in 2019/20, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. “I think [his ceiling’s] really high,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said of LeVert, pointing to the guard’s strong start to the 2018/19 season. “He was really dominating, and in the playoffs, he was starting to hit his stride. You could argue he was our best player in the playoffs. … There’s guys that want to be great and guys who are desperate to be great, and he’s in that desperate category. There’s only a few guys like that.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Durant, Jordan, Allen

Speaking today to reporters at the Nets‘ Media Day, Kyrie Irving said he felt as if he let down his teammates in Boston last season and wants to be a better leader for his new team in Brooklyn.

As Malika Andrews of ESPN.com details, Irving opened up about how the death of his grandfather last fall impacted him and why he had a change of heart following his preseason vow to re-sign with the Celtics and ultimately decided to play closer to home.

“A lot of the joy I had from basketball was sucked away from me,” Irving said of the time following his grandfather’s death. “There was a facial expression I carried around with me throughout the year and I didn’t allow anyone to get close to me. It really bothered me. I didn’t take the necessary steps to get counseling or therapy. I had to acknowledge that fact.”

Irving received much of the blame for the Celtics’ disappointing 2018/19 showing, which included chemistry issues and a leadership void in the locker room. In his comments today, he seemed to acknowledge that the criticism was fair.

“A lot of those battles I thought I could battle through (in Boston’s) team environment, I wasn’t ready for,” Irving said, according to Andrews. “And I failed those guys. I didn’t give them everything I could have during that season. In terms of me being a leader and bringing everyone together, I’ve failed.”

Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston provides a more extensive transcript of Irving’s comments, while Rob Perez passes along a video link. The All-Star point guard said he is arriving in Brooklyn with a “fresh mindset” and hopes to avoid the same mistakes he made with the Celtics.

Here’s more from the Nets’ Media Day:

  • Asked about why he chose the Nets in free agency and whether he considered teams like the Warriors, Knicks, and Clippers, Kevin Durant said he thought about those other possibilities for “a couple seconds,” but wanted to be in Brooklyn (Twitter links via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic). It was really easy to see what these guys brought to the table,” Durant said of the Nets. “It’s not like I had to do any deep analysis of any player here.”
  • Durant also offered the following quote on his decision to leave the Warriors (Twitter link via Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog): I felt like it was time for a change and I wanted to play for a new team and simply put I just did it. I didn’t really think about what I was leaving behind. I thought it’s time to think about me.”
  • According to Irving, he and Durant would like to finish their careers together with the Nets (video link via Yahoo Sports).
  • Irving told reporters about talking to Durant and DeAndre Jordan at “4:16 in the morning” on the day of free agency and deciding they wanted to play together in Brooklyn (video link via Perez).
  • Jordan said that he and Jarrett Allen will compete and bring out the best in one another, and that both players will be fine no matter who ends up winning the starting center job (Twitter link via James Herbert of CBS Sports).

Team USA Updates: Millsap, Plumlee, Harrell, Select Team

USA Basketball has issued a press release announcing a series of updates relating to the team it’s putting together for the 2019 World Cup in China, as well as the training camp that will take place in August before that event. Here are the highlights of that announcement:

More withdrawals:

Nuggets big man Paul Millsap has joined the ever-growing list of players from Team USA’s initial 20-man roster who have decided not to participate in this year’s World Cup. As expected, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has also withdrawn from Team USA’s 2019 roster.

Millsap and Love join Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum among the original invitees who have removed their names from World Cup consideration.

New invitees:

Team USA confirmed that Thaddeus Young, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and Jaylen Brown will join the training camp roster for next month, as previous reports indicated.

In addition to those four players, two big men will join the roster as well, with Clippers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets center Mason Plumlee have received invitations from USA Basketball. Assuming the remaining 11 players from the original 20-man roster remain committed, that would bring the roster back up to 17.

[UPDATE: Harrell may turn down his invitation]

Those 11 other players are Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, and Kemba Walker.

Select Team:

For the first time, USA Basketball confirmed the players who will make up the Select Team at next month’s training camp in Las Vegas. The members of the 13-man Select Team will practice and scrimmage with Team USA’s training camp invitees, and will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy.

It’s possible that a player could be elevated from the Select Team to the primary roster and eventually find his way onto the 12-man squad that will play in China, but that’s probably a long shot.

The 13 players who will play for the Select Team are as follows:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Nets)
  2. Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
  3. Mikal Bridges (Suns)
  4. Jalen Brunson (Mavericks)
  5. John Collins (Hawks)
  6. Pat Connaughton (Bucks)
  7. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  8. Joe Harris (Nets)
  9. Jonathan Isaac (Magic)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Landry Shamet (Clippers)
  12. Derrick White (Spurs)
  13. Trae Young (Hawks)

Team USA’s training camp will take place during the week of August 5, while the World Cup itself is scheduled to run from August 31 to September 15.

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.