Jevon Carter

Suns Notes: Playoff Race, Booker, Carter, Warren

The NBA’s best team since the season restarted seemed lucky to be invited to the Disney World complex at all. The Suns were 26-39 when the hiatus began and stuck in 13th place in the Western Conference. With five straight wins, they are the only unbeaten team in Orlando and are now in serious contention for a playoff spot.

“I could give you some coach-speak, but I don’t know,” coach Monty Williams said to Nick Friedell of ESPN after Saturday’s win over Miami. “I just think we have a group that wanted to come here and prove to the world that they were worthy of being here. They heard a lot of the stuff being said. I think when people say stuff about you, you want to prove them wrong. … We’ve been competitive all year; we’ve been a scrappy team. We play teams hard, we share the ball, we try to make the right plays. We’ve tried to stick to our DNA and not get outside of that.”

The Suns are a half-game behind the Trail Blazers for ninth place and a spot in the play-in series next weekend, and two games back of the eighth-place Grizzlies. It’s the first five-game winning streak for Phoenix since 2014, but with tough games left against the Thunder, Sixers and Mavericks, the players know they might have to stay perfect to break their postseason drought.

“A lot of guys grew up in these three or four months,” Ricky Rubio said. “It seems like a second season with all of them with the same coach, and it helps to see the growth with this team. We have more room to improve … but we have eight games, and we know we have to go 8-0.”

There’s more Suns news to pass along:

  • After Saturday’s game, Devin Booker reacted to Draymond Green‘s comments that he should force his way out of Phoenix to play for a winning organization, Friedell writes in the same story. “Since I’ve been in Phoenix, we haven’t had the win success that we had, but the support’s been there,” Booker said. “And this is what we owe to the fans, we owe to the organization. It’s been a long time for us and I think this bubble opportunity was big for us, and we’re taking advantage of it.”
  • One of the surprises has been the emergence of second-year guard Jevon Carter, who hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points last night, Friedell adds. Carter was acquired from the Grizzlies in a minor trade last summer.
  • The Suns could have had the leading scorer in Orlando, but opted to ship T.J. Warren to the Pacers last offseason for cash and draft picks in a three-team deal. During a recent appearance on TNT, Warren called the trade “disrespectful,” saying, “No one wants to get traded for cash.” (hat tip to Adam Stratton of Valley of the Suns).

Suns Notes: Saric, Williams, Draft, Jerome

Dario Saric‘s fate will be among the most important decisions facing the Suns this offseason, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Saric started 50 of the 58 games he played in his first season in Phoenix, but averaged a career-low 10.1 PPG. Rankin notes that the team would like to find a more athletic power forward, but Saric has proven his value by playing hard, moving the ball and being a good locker-room influence.

Saric, who turned 26 this week, is already on his third team in four NBA seasons. The Suns can make him a restricted free agent in the offseason by extending a $5MM qualifying offer.

There’s more today from Phoenix:

  • Monty Williams has made a difference in his first year as Suns coach, just as league general managers predicted in a preseason survey, Rankin adds in a separate story. Williams was the choice of 43% of GMs among “new or relocated” head coaches expected to have a positive impact on their new team. Phoenix has more wins than in any of the past four years, even though the season has been put on hold with 17 games remaining and center Deandre Ayton was suspended for 25 games. With Williams at the helm, Devin Booker became an all-star for the first time, Kelly Oubre posted his best season and the team rose from 29th to 19th in defensive rating.
  • Point guard could be an emphasis for Phoenix in the draft, writes Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports, who agrees with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that the team would have interest in Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes. In his latest mock draft, Givony has Haliburton being selected with the ninth pick, one ahead of the Suns, assuming they remain in the 10th slot. Zimmerman believes either would be a productive backup to Ricky Rubio, and at 6’5″ they both have the size to handle either backcourt position. Among point guards already on the roster, Elie Okobo‘s contract isn’t fully guaranteed for next season, while Jevon Carter will be a restricted free agent.
  • Ty Jerome talks to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports about an eventful rookie year that included two trades shortly after the draft, an early-season ankle injury that sidelined him for six weeks and now a coronavirus lockdown.

Suns, Pistons Discussing Luke Kennard Trade

The Suns and Pistons are discussing a possible trade that would send Luke Kennard to Phoenix, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that a Suns first-round pick is in play.

Kennard, 23, is a career 40.2% three-point shooter and had taken on an increased role in Detroit this season, averaging a career-best 15.8 PPG and 4.1 APG in 32.9 minutes per contest. The 23-year-old has been limited to 28 games, having been sidelined since December 21 with a knee injury.

A third-year guard who will be extension-eligible during the 2020 offseason, Kennard could be a nice fit on a Suns team that has lacked reliable outside shooting. Phoenix ranks among the NBA’s bottom 10 teams in terms of both three-point attempts and three-point percentage this season, and the club’s most consistent long-distance threat has been a rookie, Cameron Johnson.

It wouldn’t be difficult for Phoenix to match Kennard’s $3.8MM salary — Wojnarowski suggests (via Twitter) that a potential package gaining some traction would feature Jevon Carter, Elie Okobo, and a first-round pick.. If the Suns are willing to part with their 2020 first-rounder, I expect they’d want to add some form of protection, since it currently projects to land at No. 11.

As Gina Mizell of The Athletic tweets, the Suns’ current VP of basketball operations, Jeff Bower, was the Pistons’ general manager when Detroit selected Kennard with the No. 12 pick in the 2017 draft, so he’s very familiar with the former Duke standout. Phoenix envisions Kennard as a floor-spacer who could complement scorers and play-makers like Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre, and Ricky Rubio, per Wojnarowski.

Pacific Notes: Thibodeau, Poole, LBJ, Carter

Tom Thibodeau has been attending Clippers‘ practices, Mark Medina of USA Today passes along (Twitter link). The former Timberwolves coach, who has a strong relationship with head coach Doc Rivers from their time together in Boston, has even attended a couple of the team’s load management meetings and “loved it,” according to Rivers.

Here’s more the Pacific Division:

  • Jordan Poole is going through a rough stretch with the Warriors, as Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes. Golden State is being patient with the shooting guard because…well, the team has to be. “There is no somebody else right now,” coach Steve Kerr recently said. “That’s the issue. We’re throwing guys into the fire.”
  • Lakers star LeBron James is passing to Anthony Davis more than he ever has to any teammate, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. Entering the day (per NBA.com), 23.4% of LBJ’s passes have gone to AD.
  • Jevon Carter was a bright spot for the Suns early in the season, but now the point guard is playing a reduced role, Gina Mizell of The Athletic explains. Carter saw just eight minutes of action during the three games leading up to Monday’s loss to Boston where Ricky Rubio sat out.

Grizzlies, Suns Swap Kyle Korver, Josh Jackson In Multi-Player Trade

JULY 7: The trade is official, the Suns announced in a press release.

JULY 3: The Grizzlies and Suns have agreed to a trade that will send newly-acquired Memphis sharpshooter Kyle Korver to Phoenix along with Jevon Carter, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies will receive Josh Jackson, De’Anthony Melton, a 2020 second-round pick, and a conditional 2021 second-round pick in the deal.

That 2021 Suns second-rounder will only change hands if it falls between 31-35, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. Brooklyn will receive it if it lands between 36-60.

Because Korver is part of the Mike Conley trade with Utah that hasn’t yet been completed, this deal can’t be made official until after the one is finalized. Once both deals are done, the Grizzlies will pick up a former No. 4 overall pick (Jackson), as well as a second-rounder from last year’s draft (Melton), along with at least one future second-round pick.

In two NBA seasons, Jackson has been inconsistent for the Suns, averaging 12.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG but shooting just .415/.294/.650 in 156 total contests (25.3 MPG). He has also faced questions about his maturity and off-court behavior.

However, he’s still just 22 years old, so the Grizzlies will get the opportunity to see if they can continue to develop him and help him reach his ceiling. They’ll also have to decide by the end of October whether to pick up $8.9MM option for 2020/21 — at this point, I’d be surprised if they do.

Melton, the 46th overall pick in 2018’s draft, is another intriguing roll of the dice for Memphis, one the team has long had its eye on, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The former USC Trojan is considered a strong defender, and started 31 games for the Suns in his rookie season, averaging 5.0 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 50 total contests.

As for the Suns’ side, the move looks like it’s primarily designed to clear the cap room necessary to complete their other reported moves this week, including Ricky Rubio‘s three-year, $51MM deal. They’ll also be able to retain Kelly Oubre‘s cap hold, and will presumably see if Carter can earn some minutes in their backcourt rotation.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Korver is expected to be bought out by Phoenix before his $7.5MM salary for 2019/20 becomes fully guaranteed. Korver’s deal is only partially guaranteed for $3.44MM as long as he doesn’t remain under contract through July 7.

If and when Korver clears waivers, the Lakers, Bucks, and Sixers will be the frontrunners to sign him, says Wojnarowski.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter), the Grizzlies will be able to use trade exceptions to absorb Jackson’s and Melton’s contracts, generating two new trade exceptions worth $3.44MM (Korver’s partial guarantee) and $1.42MM (Carter’s salary).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/30/19

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

  • The Rockets recalled forward Gary Clark and center Isaiah Hartenstein from Rio Grande Valley after Friday’s G League playoff victory, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. They will likely rejoin the Vipers Tuesday for the start of the conference finals.
  • The Grizzlies recalled rookie guard Jevon Carter from the Memphis Hustle, according to a tweet from the team. Memphis lost its playoff game last night, so Carter’s G League season is over.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/29/19

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

  • The Rockets assigned forward Gary Clark to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Clark will play for the Vipers in the Western Conference playoffs on Friday. Clark has appeared in seven G League games this season, averaging 12.0 PPG and 6.9 RPG. The rookie big man has appeared in 47 games with Houston this season, including two starts.
  • The Grizzlies assigned rookie guard Jevon Carter to the Memphis Hustle, the team’s PR department tweets. Carter will play against the Vipers in the Western Conference playoffs. He’s averaging 18.4 PPG, 6.5 APG and 2.7 SPG in 22 G League games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/20/19

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

  • The Pistons assigned Khyri Thomas and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to the Detroit Drive as the G League team tries to wrap up a playoff spot, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.
  • The Spurs recalled  Chimezie Metu and Lonnie Walker from their Austin affiliate, the team announced on its website. Metu is averaging 14.2/7.5/2.2 in 24 G League games, while Walker is posting a 16.4/3.0/1.8 line in 27 games.
  • The Grizzlies recalled Jevon Carter and Tyler Dorsey from the Memphis Hustle, according to a tweet from the team. Both players played key roles in helping the team clinch a playoff berth last night.
  • The Jazz recalled Grayson Allen from the Salt Lake City Stars (Twitter link). The first-round pick is averaging 17.5/2.8/2.4 in 11 games with the Stars.
  • Hamidou Diallo has been recalled from Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder announced in an email. He scored 26 points last night in a win over Sioux Falls.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/11/19

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

  • The Pacers assigned forward Alize Johnson and guard Edmond Sumner to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to the team’s transactions log. Johnson has averaged 19.2 PPG and 13.6 RPG in 36.9 MPG over 25 appearances with the Mad Ants. Sumner has averaged 23.8 PPG and 3.7 APG in 31.2 MPG over 20 games at the G League level.
  • The Grizzlies assigned rookie guard Jevon Carter and second-year guard Tyler Dorsey to the Memphis Hustle prior to their game against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team’s PR department tweets. Carter has averaged 18.7 PPG, 6.1 APG and 2.8 SPG in 34.0 MPG through 18 G League contests.  Dorsey will be making just his third G League appearance this season after seeing action in 34 NBA games with Atlanta and the Grizzlies.
  • The Clippers assigned rookie guard Jerome Robinson to the Agua Caliente Clippers, the team’s PR department tweets. Robinson, the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft, has seen action in 25 NBA games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/5/19

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