Jock Landale

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.

Spurs Trade Dejounte Murray To Hawks

JUNE 30: The trade is official, the Hawks announced in a press release.

“The opportunity to acquire a player of Dejounte’s caliber, just entering his prime, doesn’t come along too often,” Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “He has developed into one of the elite two-way guards in the league and we’re thrilled to add him to our group.”

In addition to the pieces detailed below, Atlanta also acquired big man Jock Landale from San Antonio. As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets, in order to complete the trade before the new league year began, the Spurs needed to add a little more salary to match Gallinari’s $21.45MM incoming figure, even though it’s not fully guaranteed.

According to Kirschner (Twitter link), it’s not clear yet whether the Hawks plan to keep Landale, whose minimum-salary contract for 2022/23 isn’t fully guaranteed.

JUNE 29: The Spurs have reached an agreement to trade guard Dejounte Murray to the Hawks for a package that includes Danilo Gallinari and multiple first-round picks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). San Antonio will receive three first-rounders and a draft swap, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Wojnarowski and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter links), the three picks going to the Spurs will be Charlotte’s 2023 first-rounder (top-16 protected) and the Hawks’ own 2025 and 2027 first-rounders. San Antonio will also have the right to swap first-round selections with Atlanta in 2026.

Those 2025 and 2027 picks – along with the 2026 swap – will be unprotected, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic.

Marc Stein first reported (via Twitter) that momentum was building toward a Murray trade, noting that the Knicks and Timberwolves were also among the guard’s known suitors. Atlanta has been the team most frequently linked to Murray though, having reportedly explored deals for him dating back to February’s trade deadline.

The deal represents a major backcourt upgrade for the Hawks, who will add an All-Star – and one of the league’s best perimeter defenders – to complement All-NBA guard Trae Young without giving up any players from their projected 2022/23 roster.

It’s not clear if trade candidate John Collins will still be in Atlanta when the ’22/23 season begins, but he’s not part of this deal after having being included in earlier Murray-related rumors.

Murray enjoyed a breakout season in 2021/22, averaging 21.1 PPG, 9.2 APG, 8.3 RPG, and a league-leading 2.0 SPG with a shooting line of .462/.327/.794 in 68 games (34.8 MPG). The 25-year-old was the runner-up for the Most Improved Player award.

Murray’s ability and versatility on defense make him an ideal backcourt partner for Young, who is said to be “ecstatic” about the move, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Murray is under contract for the next two seasons and is owed just over $34MM during that time.

The Spurs’ motives for making the deal are a little less obvious than the Hawks’, since it’s not as if Murray was on an entirely different timeline than the team’s young core, but perhaps he wasn’t part of the club’s plans beyond his current contract. San Antonio’s decision to accept a package heavy on distant draft picks rather than current players signals that short-term contention probably isn’t in the cards as the front office looks toward the future.

The Hornets’ 2023 pick will be lottery-protected in 2024 and 2025 if it doesn’t convey next year, then would turn into two second-round picks if it hasn’t conveyed by that point. The Hawks’ own picks – and the 2026 swap – could be more significantly more valuable, especially if the team takes a downturn within the next few years.

Gallinari’s $21.45MM salary had only been partially guaranteed for $5MM and was set to become fully guaranteed if he remained under contract through today.

The veteran forward probably isn’t in the Spurs’ plans at that full $21.45MM figure, so the most likely outcome is that he’ll have his partial guarantee increased by another $6MM-ish in order to legally match Murray’s salary, then will be waived. Gallinari may agree to push back his salary guarantee date in order to give the teams time to complete the trade and ensure that he receives that extra money, though that’s just my speculation at this point.

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Collins, Landale, Knight, Alvarado

CJ McCollum sees tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers as the “final closure” on the trade that sent him to the Pelicans, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. McCollum’s family joined him in New Orleans recently, but this week marks his first time back at his Portland house since the February 8 deal.

“I had conversations and was able to talk to some of my teammates and obviously I still talk to them to this day,” said McCollum, who spent his first eight and a half NBA seasons with the Blazers. “I talked with the staff. It’ll be good to see (coach Chauncey Billups), talk about our teams. Talk about our football teams. Just kind of catch up and get back to business. Get the win and get outta here. This is the final step. You know this is going to happen at some point. But it’s good that it’s happy emotions opposed to the opposite. I like to call it a happy breakup. One where you’re not bitter at your ex.”

Although McCollum was a fan favorite in Portland and loved playing there, it was clear by the trade deadline that it was time to move on. He has quickly become a team leader with the Pelicans, averaging career-best numbers with 25.9 points, 6.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 19 games.

“It was a team I kind of zeroed in on and they obviously zeroed in on me,” McCollum said. “I knew what I signed up for and what I was going to be asked to do, and I’m doing it. They held up their end of the bargain as well. I’m happy to be in this situation.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Zach Collins‘ return from injury and Jock Landale‘s emergence late in his first NBA season have stabilized the Spurs‘ frontcourt rotation, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio is especially happy with Collins, who is delivering on the three-year, $22MM gamble the organization took on him after missing nearly two full seasons and undergoing three ankle surgeries. Landale is giving the team a reason to consider guaranteeing his $1.56MM contract for next season.
  • Brandon Knight was on the court tonight, one day after rejoining the Mavericks on a 10-day contract, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. Knight flew to Cleveland to meet the team, which needed backcourt help with Spencer Dinwiddie, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina all missing the game.
  • The four-year deal the Pelicans gave rookie guard Jose Alvarado when they converted his two-way contract carries a $1.1MM guarantee for next season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Years three and four are non-guaranteed, and the team holds an option on the final season.

Western Notes: Conley, McCollum, Landale, Primo, Martin

Mike Conley tried to carry the Jazz through adversity during the first half of the season. It took a toll on his body and he’s now trying to work his way through a rough patch, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes. Looking worn out, Conley has scored in single digits in seven of his last 10 outings.

“I was trying to do everything I could physically and mentally to keep the ship afloat,” said Conley, who re-signed with the Jazz on a three-year deal last summer. “I tried to be there for everybody. When doing that, sometimes you can forget about being there for yourself. We hit some true adversity. We were getting doubted by everyone. We had a bunch of outside distractions going on. And you saw it creeping into our games.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Pelicans coach Willie Green is hopeful CJ McCollum will clear the league’s health and safety protocols in time to play on Tuesday, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. McCollum was placed in protocols on Thursday. “We’re hopeful. We’ll see how it goes,” Green said. “He’s got to get a couple negative tests. He’s progressing.” The Pelicans have listed McCollum as questionable to play.
  • Jock Landale is hopeful he’ll still be wearing a Spurs uniform next season, as he told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News. He had a 26-point, 7-rebound game against Indiana on Saturday but his $1.56MM salary for next season isn’t guaranteed. “This is where I want to be long-term if I can,” Landale said. “I don’t want to go anywhere. Me and my fiancée love it here. I love the organization, love the boys I play with.”
  • In the same story, McDonald points out that Spurs lottery pick Joshua Primo has seen his offensive numbers go down while his playing time has gone up. Primo is averaging 24.8 MPG this month but he’s only averaging 6.0 PPG on 37.5% shooting in those games. Teammate Devin Vassell has an explanation. “It’s the rookie wall,” he said. “It’s real.”
  • The Rockets recently guaranteed Kenyon Martin Jr.‘s $1.78MM salary for next season and Basketball News’ Mark Schindler details why he believes Martin could turn into one of the top role players in the league.

Southwest Notes: Poeltl, Landale, Zion, Silas

Spurs center Jakob Poeltl returned to action last Thursday after missing six games due to COVID-19, but he’s still feeling the effects of the layoff, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Poeltl, who is fully vaccinated, was in the league’s health and safety protocols for 16 days and said the adjustment of returning to a full-time schedule has been difficult.

“I had to get my conditioning, but also sitting at home for a week and a half, you’re not shooting the basketball,” he said. “It’s tough to get back in game rhythm. But it’s feeling better with every minute I am out there.”

Poeltl, who moved into the starting lineup in the middle of last season, has been putting up career-best numbers this year with 12.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He said recovering from the virus has been different than coming back after being injured.

“It’s a little weird, because with getting COVID and stuff, it takes the wind away,” Poeltl said. “Everybody is cautious about running or whether you’re putting out too much energy. So even the build-up process was slower than it would be for a regular injury.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs rookie center Jock Landale has also cleared protocols, McDonald adds. Landale, who has only appeared in four games this season, is available tonight for the first time since November 10.
  • The Pelicans are waiting for a foot specialist to process the latest scans on Zion Williamson, tweets Christian Clark of Williamson has been playing 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 games, but hasn’t been cleared to participate in practice. The team expects the results to be available within a few days.
  • Amid rumors about his job security, Rockets coach Stephen Silas hasn’t lost track of his dual responsibilities of trying to get a few wins while developing his young players, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. “It’s yeah, we want to win a game,” Silas said in tonight’s pre-game session with the media. “We want to get off this (15-game losing) streak. We want to get off this slide and I want it so badly for the group, but I also understand it’s developing these guys and I got to do both.”

Spurs Notes: Players’ Meeting, Landale, COVID Concerns, Walker

The Spurs held a players-only meeting in the locker room after last Thursday’s 25-point loss to the Timberwolves, forward Thaddeus Young informed Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “We took that butt whooping and we went back into the locker room and we talked for 20, 30 minutes, the whole team,” Young said. “Everyone voiced their issues and their points.”

Second-year lottery pick Devin Vassell was among those who spoke most eloquently.

“He basically said, ‘Come on. Let’s try to figure this thing out. Let’s talk about it. Let’s put everything out there on the table,'” Young said.

Young viewed that as a positive sign for the team building around young players.

“That’s what you want from young guys. I could do it, but at the end of the day, you want these younger guys to start stepping up,” Young said (Twitter links here).

San Antonio had the weekend off and will face Phoenix on Monday.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Big man Jock Landale has entered the reconditioning phase after being cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols, Orsborn tweets. Landale entered protocols approximately two weeks ago and hasn’t played since November 1.
  • Though the team is fully vaccinated and some have received booster shots, players are wary of contracting the virus and are taking more precautions on the road, forward Doug McDermott told Orsborn. “That (being vaccinated) still doesn’t mean anything because you still see positive tests. I think a good example was in the NFL,” McDermott said. “You are seeing a lot of positive cases there and I think the same will be true of us (in the NBA) around Thanksgiving.”
  • Guard Lonnie Walker IV holds no hard feelings toward Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince, Orsborn writes. Prince was ejected after being issued a Flagrant 2 foul for striking Walker in the chest and face during the second half as Walker drove to the basket. “It was fine,” Walker said. “I’ve gotten hit a lot worse than that. I don’t think it was on purpose. I’m real cool with Prince.”

Western Notes: Blazers, Ainge, Lillard, Landale, Gay

It’s too early to say whether the Trail Blazersinvestigation into Neil Olshey‘s conduct will lead the franchise to make any major changes at the top of the front office. However, Howard Beck of said on the latest episode of The Crossover NBA Show that he wouldn’t be surprised if Danny Ainge‘s name is connected to the president of basketball operations role in Portland if the team looks to replace Olshey (hat tip to RealGM).

“I don’t know if Danny would take it, but I would expect Danny Ainge would be in the mix for a vacancy in Portland,” Beck said, admitting that he was putting the horse before the cart. “It’s one of the cities he’s been connected to over the years because of his history there.”

Ainge, who spent a couple seasons with the Blazers as a player, was also born and raised in Oregon, which is the “history” Beck is referring to. Ainge has shifted into a consultant role in Boston after stepping down as the Celtics’ head of basketball operations this summer.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Western Conference…

  • The NBA has acknowledged that its referees are still working to find the right balance between instituting the league’s new philosophy on foul calling and continuing to allow freedom of movement. Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believes there’s still plenty of work to do, as Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. “I feel like the way the game is being officiated is unacceptable,” Lillard said on Tuesday night. “I don’t want to go too deep into it so they make a big deal out of it, but the explanations, the s–t that’s getting missed, I mean, come on. I felt like coming in, the rule change wouldn’t affect me, because I don’t do the trick the referees, the trick plays… (but) it’s just unacceptable.”
  • Spurs big man Jock Landale has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who says it’s unclear whether or not Landale tested positive for COVID-19. The rookie is the second Spur to enter the protocols, joining fellow center Jakob Poeltl.
  • Rudy Gay, who signed with the Jazz in the offseason, is inching closer to making his debut for the team, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. The team said on Tuesday that Gay has been taking part in “controlled court work,” and Todd says he’s begun participating in 3-on-3 action. Utah will provide another update on the veteran forward on Monday.

Southwest Notes: Landale, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Bane

Big man Jock Landale, who signed with the Spurs last month after spending last season with Melbourne United, referred to Australia’s National Basketball League as “the best place to be” for players trying to make jump to the NBA. In an appearance on the NBL’s The Huddle podcast, Landale praised the league’s willingness to let players pursue NBA opportunities.

“I think the NBL does themselves such a service in having that leniency to let people go and pursue that dream, that people now look at it as a legitimate pathway,” Landale said.

Landale signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Spurs as a free agent this offseason. While the second year isn’t guaranteed, the first season is, so he’s in position to make San Antonio’s 15-man squad.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic was underwhelmed by the Pelicans‘ offseason, giving the team a grade of D-plus for its summer moves. While Harper liked the acquisition of Jonas Valanciunas and New Orleans’ deal with Josh Hart, he believes the club significantly downgraded its backcourt, calling the Devonte’ Graham signing a “pretty bad” deal.
  • While the city of New Orleans was hit hard by Hurricane Ida, the Pelicans‘ Smoothie King Center only sustained “minor exterior damage,” according to the team. The Pels will be able to play their home games there this fall without issue, as Christian Clark of details.
  • The Grizzlies plan to retire the jerseys for two key members of the team’s “Grit and Grind” era, announcing (via Twitter) that they’ll retire Zach Randolph‘s No. 50 on December 11 and Tony Allen‘s No. 9 on January 28.
  • Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane is changing agents, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, who tweets that Bane has left Seth Cohen of SAC Sports Family and is in the process of hiring new representation. Bane is still two years away from being extension-eligible for the first time.