Jock Landale

Suns Notes: Crowder, Booker, Okogie, Ishbia

A rival general manager who spoke to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com doesn’t think that Suns forward Jae Crowder has helped himself by sitting out the season as he waits to be traded.

“He just didn’t show up,” the GM said. “He said he’s not playing unless he gets a contract extension that he wants. I think a lot of teams are turned off by that in and of itself. Like, ‘What? You don’t want to play for one of the best teams in the NBA and prove that you’re worth it so you can get a contract next year? Like, you’re not that good, bro. What are you doing?’ It’s a weird dynamic. It’s one thing if Kevin Durant‘s holding out because he’s not getting paid enough, but Jae Crowder? Seriously?

“I just don’t understand this, and I’m not alone. … He just had to play the year and show that he’s a great leader and has a great attitude.”

Crowder has been on the trade block for at least the last three months and the Suns have yet to find a deal they like. That doesn’t surprise Bulpett’s source — the GM suggested that the trade market for the 32-year-old forward hasn’t been particularly hot.

“Phoenix is leaking all sorts of things out there periodically, but I think it’s mostly just to try to stir up some interest,” he said.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • The Grizzlies may be getting some reinforcements when they visit Phoenix on Friday night, but the Suns will once again be without their leading scorer. Devin Booker has been ruled out for a third consecutive game due to groin soreness, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • Cameron Payne (right foot strain) will also be unavailable on Friday, but one or both of Jock Landale (concussion protocol) and Josh Okogie (right hip soreness) could return. They’re both listed as questionable. Okogie told reporters today that he feels good, but will wait until closer to tip-off to make a final decision (Twitter link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports).
  • Jeremy Cluff of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what fans should know about Mat Ishbia, who is poised to assume control of the Suns and become the NBA’s youngest team owner at age 42. Meanwhile, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic observes that simply not being Robert Sarver will work in Ishbia’s favor as he makes a first impression on Suns fans. Even before the investigation into his workplace misconduct and his subsequent suspension, Sarver wasn’t especially popular among fans in Phoenix due in part to his reputation for thriftiness.

Suns Notes: Booker, Ayton, Landale, Payne, Okogie, Bridges, Johnson

Suns guard Devin Booker erupted for 58 points against New Orleans on Saturday but it’s no slam dunk that he’ll play Monday against the Lakers, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.

Booker is listed as questionable to play due to groin soreness. He recently missed two games due to hamstring tightness.

Several other prominent players are on the injury report. Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain), who has missed the last two games, is also listed as questionable. Jock Landale (concussion protocol) and Cameron Payne (right foot strain) won’t play.

We have more on the Suns:

  • Josh Okogie has continued to impress his teammates and coach with his energy and effort, Dana Scott of the Arizona Republic writes. Okogie didn’t hit a single field goal, but made seven free throws and grabbed six rebounds (four offensive) against the Pelicans on Saturday. “I thought the offensive rebounds he got were just about as impressive as any play that happened (Saturday),” coach Monty Williams said. “He just kept going, and you could see him spring off the ground. Go above everybody to get it, like I said, I have to figure out ways to get him on the floor because he helps us on both ends.” Okogie is on a veteran’s minimum deal and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
  • Mikal Bridges, who is in the first season of a four-year, $90MM extension, is disappointed with his defense this season, he told Mark Medina of NBA.com. “It’s early, but I have to continue to get better and not have any lapses,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of lapses with getting beat on (backdoor) cuts. I have to stay with it. They want me scoring more, but I still have to stay locked in on the defensive end. I have to be more aggressive and physical.”
  • Cameron Johnson, rehabbing from meniscus surgery performed early last month, did some shooting during Saturday’s shootaround without a knee brace, Rankin notes. “He’s looked good,” forward Torrey Craig said. “I’ve been checking him out in the weight room, watching him do things in there, and then coming out shooting with us. Obviously, a huge step.”

Suns Notes: Ayton, Paul, Payne, Landale

Deandre Ayton was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. The Suns have seen stretches of dominance from Ayton during his career but he hasn’t been able to sustain it.

The former No. 1 overall pick believes that putting up big numbers should be the “norm” at this stage of his career. Phoenix is certainly paying for that kind of production after matching Indiana’s four-year, $133MM offer sheet this summer.

“I want to be a great player, and you’ve got to be willing to put up numbers and win games night in, night out,” he told Gerald Bourguet of GoPhnx.com. “So I think I’m to that point where this should be a norm. This is how I’m supposed to play.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Chris Paul missed his 10th straight game on Monday due to right heel soreness, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. The Suns have gone 6-3 entering the game with Sacramento since Paul has been sidelined. Cameron Payne is averaging 17.7 points and 6.8 assists since he became a starter in place of Paul.
  • Backup big man Jock Landale has played sparingly but he provided a spark in a one-point win over Utah on Sunday, Rankin notes. Landale had four points, an offensive rebound and an assist in a five-minute cameo. “I think that’s the benefit of being on this team is we have three guys pretty much at every position that can hold it down,” Landale said. “They call on me to come in and help out and I just went in there and played hard and that’s the stuff I can control is going in and playing hard and helping the team out.”
  • In case you missed it, general manager James Jones was promoted to president of basketball operations. Get the details here.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Conley, CP3, Suns

Even though they lost their first five games of the season, the Lakers were playing fairly solid defense during that slump, but their defensive numbers have dropped off substantially during their recent three-game losing streak. Head coach Darvin Ham is convinced that those struggles won’t last, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I would say this, man. And write it, quote it, however,” Ham told reporters on Monday. “This may be happening now at the outset of what we’re trying to force to be a culture change in terms of getting us back to being highly competitive on a highly consistent basis, but it’s not going to always be like this.

“We’re going to turn the corner. I didn’t come here to lose. They didn’t bring me here to lose.”

As McMenamin writes, Ham believes that significant roster turnover from last season to this season is a factor in the Lakers’ 2-8 start, as are injury issues — three starters, LeBron James, Patrick Beverley, and Lonnie Walker, sat out Monday’s loss to Utah.

“There is a process involved where we have to go through tough times,” Ham said. “Like, I want to bottle this up. I want to embrace it. I want to have it and store it so when things are turned around and we get too comfortable and we start complaining about some problems that are not even necessarily problems — problems that winning teams go through — I want to be able to reflect on these times.”

Anthony Davis told reporters on Monday that a 2-8 start is “a hard pill to swallow,” but noted that there’s still plenty of time to turn things around.

“I think New Orleans was 1-12 or something last year, come back and go on a run,” Davis said. “We’ve got to put it together. Offense has found its rhythm. It seems like we’ve lost all our defensive intensity. And that’s what’s killing us.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Jazz point guard Mike Conley believed at one point during the offseason that he was headed to Los Angeles, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones reports, Conley received a message from someone he trusted saying that he could be traded to the Clippers, but the team ultimately signed John Wall instead to fortify the point guard spot.
  • Already missing one starter, the Suns lost another in Monday’s game, as point guard Chris Paul exited in the second quarter due to right heel soreness and didn’t return. However, Paul doesn’t believe the injury will be a long-term concern, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Asked if not returning to Monday’s game was mostly about he and the team taking a cautious approach to the injury, Paul replied, “Yeah.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Monday that the team may take a committee approach to replacing Cameron Johnson‘s minutes at power forward, Bontemps writes. Torrey Craig has gotten the first chance to take Johnson’s spot in the starting five, but Damion Lee, Dario Saric, and Jock Landale are also candidates for an eventual promotion, according to Williams.

And-Ones: Wembanyama, 2023 Draft, Tanking, More

The NBA will give fans an opportunity to take a closer look at 2023’s projected No. 1 pick over the next several months, announcing on Thursday that all of this season’s Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 games will be available to watch for free on the NBA app. The Metropolitans 92 are, of course, Victor Wembanyama‘s team in France.

The Metropolotians 92 compete in the LNB Betclic ELITE, France’s top basketball league. According to the NBA’s announcement, the French games included on the NBA App will include the All-Star Game on December 29 and the Leaders Cup (playoff) games from February 17-19. The league has a preliminary broadcast schedule right here, though it only includes October and November games for the time being.

The buzz around Wembanyama reached a new level when his French team faced off against the G League Ignite for a pair of exhibition games earlier this month. The NBA is clearly hoping to capitalize off of the increasing level of interest in the 7’3″ super-prospect as he prepares to enter the league in 2023.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • While Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson remains locks to be the first and second players off the board in the 2023 NBA draft, there are plenty of questions behind them in the lottery, according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Vecenie has published an updated version of his ’23 mock draft, projecting Amen Thompson of Overtime Elite to be the No. 3 overall pick, followed by Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr., Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, Baylor’s Keyonte George, and Duke’s Dariq Whitehead.
  • Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports suggests that the NBA should attempt to curb tanking by prohibiting teams from getting a top-three pick in back-to-back years. He hears that a version of that rule was proposed by the NBA in talks with teams and was resisted by a “small handful” of general managers, despite being favored by commissioner Adam Silver.
  • Suns center Jock Landale and Hornets big man Nick Richards are among the under-the-radar players who are worth getting to know based on their performances in the first 10 days of this NBA season, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. As Hollinger notes, both Landale and Richards will be restricted free agents in 2023.

Suns Notes: Bridges, C. Johnson, Landale, Okogie, Shaq

Mikal Bridges will be running the Suns‘ offense more often and Cameron Johnson will see time in that role as well, writes Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic. Coach Monty Williams believes Chris Paul was worn down by the end of last season and sees this as a way to save wear and tear on his 37-year-old point guard.

“Those guys have the ability to facilitate, and I just haven’t given them the chance,” Williams said. “We’ve talked about being comfortable with uncomfortable change. There’s gonna be times where it doesn’t look great, but I think that’s where they’re gonna grow. … They both have the capability to expand the offense that way and that part is exciting when you think about those opportunities.”

Bridges, who finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting last season, welcomes the opportunity to add another dimension to his game. He hasn’t missed a single contest in his first four NBA seasons, and Johnson said they worked out together every day during the summer at the Suns’ practice facility.

“I think he’s just improved all around,” Johnson said. “I mean ball-handling, shooting, being able to create, getting stronger in the weight room. It wasn’t that we’re going to get better at one specific thing. I thought we got better as basketball players, and he’s playing really well right now.”

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • After being traded twice this offseason, Jock Landale is confident that he’s found a home with the Suns, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix acquired the 26-year-old center from the Hawks in July for cash considerations. “It’s a hell of an organization,” Landale said. “The people in here are high character people and as far as finding enjoyment, I always go home and talk with my fiancée and my parents and mates about the level of passion and commitment and joy I’m getting out of the game right now is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
  • Josh Okogie will likely miss the entire preseason with a strained left hamstring, Rankin adds. Okogie, who signed as a free agent after spending the past four years in Minnesota, will be reevaluated in two weeks.
  • Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal tells TMZ Sports that he would be interested in partnering with Jeff Bezos if the Amazon founder decides to make a bid for the Suns.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Williams, Crowder, Johnson, Landale

It’s up to head coach Monty Williams to ease the apparent tension between Deandre Ayton and the Suns, argues Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. In addition to being involved in trade rumors for Kevin Durant, Ayton was forced to find a maximimum-salary deal from a rival team — he signed an offer sheet with the Pacers, which the Suns quickly matched.

Ayton said he hadn’t spoken to Williams since Phoenix’s Game 7 blowout loss to Dallas in the second round of last season’s playoffs, when he had a disagreement with Williams after being pulled early. Williams downplayed the severity of not speaking to Ayton over the offseason, but it was an awkward way to spend Media Day, Bourguet writes.

That’s not to say everything is on Williams, since the speculation and business side of things were out of his control, but there’s still no excuse for him to not speak to his young starting center who clearly hasn’t gotten over the incident, according to Bourguet, who calls Williams’ lack of one-on-one communication with Ayton “cruelly intentional at worst and a miscalculation that needs to be promptly amended at best.”

There’s still time for Williams to resolve the situation with Ayton before it impacts the season, says Bourguet.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Williams would prefer the Suns to move Jae Crowder before their regular season tips off on October 19, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “We’ve done a decent job of acclimating guys into the program and that’s a credit to the coaches, but also the players that help guys along once we get new people in here,” Williams said. “I’m not so much worried about the timeline. Ideally, you’d like to get someone in here before opening night, but I like the group we have.”
  • Cameron Johnson will be Phoenix’s new starting power forward, Williams confirmed to reporters (Twitter link via Rankin). The coach spoke glowingly about Johnson’s game, but mentioned he needs to “draw the line in the sand” when it comes to defense. For his part, Johnson says he needs to “rebound a lot better than I have my first couple years” and defend at a higher level (Twitter links courtesy of Bourguet).
  • Chris Paul says Jock Landale is making a strong impression in training camp both on and off the court, Bourguet tweets. “Jock’s been a great, not only basketball player, but a good guy to be around,” Paul said. Joe Ingles put Paul in contact with Landale over the summer. The Australian big man’s contract is only guaranteed for $46K in 2022/23.

Pacific Notes: Landale, Westbrook, LeBron, Iguodala

Jock Landale concentrated on the basics of the game during his rookie season in San Antonio and he expects to fill the same role now that he’s with the Suns, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The Australian center focused on rebounding, running the floor and knocking down open shots in the 54 games he played with the Spurs. He got traded twice this offseason — first to Atlanta, then to Phoenix — and has been adjusting to his new situation with one of the NBA’s best teams.

“That was kind of my first wake-up call that this is a business and there isn’t a whole lot of loyalty involved in the sport,” Landale said. “That’s just the way it is and just came to terms to that pretty quickly I suppose, but obviously, I’m super pumped to be with the Suns now because they’re always an organization I looked at and watched play from afar. Just love the way that they operate. Now just being here and actually experiencing the level of care and the level of winning mentality and attitudes around the locker room and the organization as a whole, you realize they’re putting so much into this year as I’m sure they have the last two years.”

Landale said he talked to several members of San Antonio’s front office during the Las Vegas Summer League, and they all spoke positively about Phoenix coach Monty Williams. Landale also got a glowing recommendation on the Suns from fellow Australian Aron Baynes, who was in Las Vegas in hopes of an NBA comeback.

“Baynes, he spoke really highly of the guys, the organization, Monty, all of that,” Landale said. “I think it’s getting to that point that Monty’s reputation kind of speaks for itself. Everybody has great things to say about him and that’s kind of the testament to the body of work he’s put in with his players as a coach. Now being on such a highly regarded winning team, nothing I say will be out of the ordinary because his reputation speaks for itself. He’s a fantastic man and coach.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers will have to give up a first-round pick to unload Russell Westbrook and two first-rounders if they’re hoping to land more than one rotation player, sources tell Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Depending on the deal, that price could increase to include pick swaps or it could decrease if L.A. is willing to take on unwanted contracts.
  • Lakers star LeBron James is a bargain even at his new two-year, $97.1MM extension, according to Sopan Deb of The New York Times. In addition to his on-court value, James brings in a lot of revenue from the attention he attracts to the franchise.
  • Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala defended teammate Jonathan Kuminga after ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith raised questions about the young forward’s attitude, relays Nathan Dougherty of Heavy“My young fella, I’m on his head,” Iguodala said Friday on his “Point Forward” podcast. “He took some licks from Stephen A. I don’t know how warranted they were because from what I heard he been doing what he supposed to do this summer.”

Suns Trade For Jock Landale

JULY 6: The Hawks have officially traded Landale to the Suns in exchange for cash considerations, Atlanta confirmed in a press release. As we noted earlier this week, Landale’s minimum-salary contract has a small partial guarantee ($46,120).


JULY 2: The Suns will acquire Australian center Jock Landale from the Hawks, tweets Shams Charania of the Athletic. Atlanta will receive cash in return, according to Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

Landale, 26, was a rookie with the Spurs last season, averaging 4.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 54 games. He was shipped to the Hawks this week as part of the Dejounte Murray trade.

Landale signed with San Antonio in 2021 after going undrafted out of St. Mary’s. He also plays internationally for Australia and won a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics.

The addition of Landale will help fill a vacancy for Phoenix, which lost back-up center JaVale McGee to the Mavericks in free agency and is exploring trade offers regarding starting center Deandre Ayton.

Contract Notes: Konchar, Roby, Landale

John Konchar‘s contract with the Grizzlies called for his $2.3MM salary for 2022/23 to become guaranteed if he remained on the roster through Sunday, and there has been no reporting indicating that he and the team agreed to move that date back. As such, we’re assuming Konchar’s salary for ’22/23 is now locked in.

If that’s the case, it doesn’t come as a surprise. Konchar was a solid role player for the Grizzlies in 2021/22, averaging 4.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.5 APG with a .413 3PT in 72 games (17.9 MPG). His salary is relatively modest and he had already been owed a partial guarantee of $840K.

Konchar is one of many players on non-guaranteed contracts for 2022/23 whose salaries will become guaranteed this summer if they’re retained through certain dates. We’re tracking all of those players and decisions right here.

Here are a few more contract notes from around the NBA:

  • Although Isaiah Roby was earning a minimum salary ($1,930,681) when he was waived by the Thunder on Sunday, he had been on a four-year contract that was worth more than the minimum in year one, which means any team interested in claiming him off waivers can’t use the minimum salary exception to do so, as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report tweets. A club that wants to put a claim in on Roby would need the cap space to absorb his salary or a trade exception worth at least $1,830,681. Waivers claims are rare for non-minimum players, but Roby showed promise in Oklahoma City last season and could draw some interest.
  • Jock Landale‘s non-guaranteed minimum salary became partially guaranteed for $46,120 when he was traded from San Antonio to Atlanta last week, Hoops Rumors has learned. That was the exact amount that needed to be guaranteed for salary-matching purposes, as Landale’s $46,120 was added to Dejounte Murray‘s 2021/22 cap hit ($15,428,880) to get to within $5MM of Danilo Gallinari‘s incoming $20,475,000 figure (it was also partially guaranteed, but San Antonio needed to be able to match the whole incoming amount). The Hawks have since agreed to flip Landale to the Suns, and it doesn’t appear his partial guarantee will increase any further in that trade, since no salary-matching is involved.
  • In case you missed it, we relayed earlier today that Otto Porter‘s new deal with the Raptors is worth $12.4MM over two years. We’ll get more info on the specific details of contracts like Porter’s and many others beginning later this week, when the July moratorium lifts and those signings start becoming official.