Josh Giddey

Northwest Notes: Nance Jr., Newton, Krejci, Giddey

Larry Nance Jr.,who was shipped to the Trail Blazers as part of the three-team blockbuster deal that landed Lauri Markkanen in Cleveland, believes he’s a piece that could change Portland’s postseason fortunes, as he told Blazers’ website writer Casey Holdahl.

“It’s a team I’ve been rooting for in the playoffs for a while now, just feel like it’s impossible to root against a guy like Dame and CJ (Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum), seems like they have great guys on the roster,” Nance said. “I felt it was an opportunity where I really have a chance to step in and make a difference.

“This is a team that’s been on the edge of something special for a while now and the higher ups in the organization deemed me as someone that could help them get higher. I’m thrilled at the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to taking it. Getting a chance to play with players of this caliber doesn’t come around too often.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves have hired Jeff Newton as their G League coach, according to a team press release. Prior to taking the helm of the Iowa Wolves, Newton spent the last two seasons as an offensive associate/player development coach for the Timberwolves. “Jeff has proven throughout the last couple years that he is dedicated to the Timberwolves overall mission, including developing our young players which makes him a natural choice as the Wolves head coach,” Timberwolves assistant GM Gianluca Pascucci said.
  • The contract that Vit Krejci signed with the Thunder is a four-year deal, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Krejci’s first-year salary of $925,258 is guaranteed. The second year salary of $1,563,518 includes a partial guarantee of $781,759, while his $1,836,096 third-season salary is non-guaranteed. The final year of the deal is a team option at $1,988,598. The draft-and-stash wing was selected in the second round of the 2020 draft and acquired in a draft-night deal with Washington.
  • Thunder first-round pick Josh Giddey is already a big star in his native Australia, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. In Melbourne, Australia, his fans snapped up Thunder merchandise after he was drafted, his mother Kim Giddey said. “As soon as the draft ended they all went out to buy Oklahoma merchandise,” she said. “It sold out.”

Western Notes: Porzingis, Terry, Giddey, Grizzlies

New Mavericks coach Jason Kidd believes Kristaps Porzingis is in a good place both mentally and physically, as relayed by Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

Kidd recently visited Porzingis in Latvia for three days. The 26-year-old Porzingis, who is Dallas’ second option on offense behind superstar Luka Doncic, averaged 20.1 points and 8.9 rebounds in 30.9 minutes per game in 2020/21.

“I wanted to see where he lived, that is home for him,” Kidd explained. “Beautiful place. We always talk about family. Sometimes we need to show our care factor. I care. I wanted to let him know that I care.

“I know that he’s healthy. I know he’s excited. And then I just wanted to talk to him about things basketball-wise as well as off the court. We always talk about basketball, but I wanted to see where he was off the court. He’s in a great place.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference tonight:

  • Various members of the Nuggets front office expressed confidence that Jason Terry could have a serious coaching future, Townsend tweets. Denver recently hired Terry to coach its G League affiliate for the 2021/22 season. “Sitting down with [vice president] Calvin Booth and [president] Tim Connelly and [player personnel manager] Scott Howard, they firmly believe that being a bench coach or a head coach is in my near future,” Terry said. “You need that type of support and belief. The sky’s the limit for me. I’m ready for the opportunity.”
  • Thunder rookie Josh Giddey is representing a newfound hope and legitimacy for the NBA’s global academy, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman examines. Giddey was drafted by Oklahoma City with the No. 6 pick in July.
  • Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian takes a closer look at some of the Grizzlies‘ newcomers, exploring which are likely to stick around. Memphis recently acquired Rajon Rondo and Daniel Oturu as part of the trade involving Eric Bledsoe, with both players facing uncertain futures in the present day. The team also acquired Patrick Beverley in the deal, but has reportedly agreed to move Beverley to Minnesota in exchange for Jarrett Culver and Juan Hernangomez.

Thunder Sign Josh Giddey, Tre Mann To Rookie Contracts

The Thunder have signed first-round picks Josh Giddey and Tre Mann to their rookie scale contracts, the team announced today in a press release.

Having entered draft night with the sixth, 16th, and 18th overall picks in the first round, Oklahoma City traded the No. 16 selection to Houston, but used No. 6 to pick Giddey and No. 18 to nab Mann. The two rookies are projected to earn first-year salaries of $5.99MM and $2.9MM, respectively.

Giddey, a member of the Adelaide 36ers in 2020/21, averaged 10.9 PPG, 7.5 APG, and 7.4 RPG in 28 games, earning NBL Rookie of the Year honors. The 18-year-old Australian was a surprise pick at No. 6 over the likes of Jonathan Kuminga and James Bouknight, but his size (6’8″) and play-making ability make him an intriguing fit for the rebuilding Thunder.

As for Mann, he spent two seasons in college, emerging as a full-time starter in the Florida Gators’ backcourt in 2020/21. The 6’5″ guard put up 16.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 3.5 APG with a shooting line of .459/.402/.831 in 24 games as a sophomore before entering the draft.

As our tracker shows, No. 32 pick Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is now the Thunder’s lone unsigned 2021 draftee.

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Duarte, Thunder, Pacers, Kings, Giddey, Nuggets

With the draft just over 24 hours away, here’s some of the latest rumors:

  • The Knicks hold the Nos. 19 and 21 picks on Thursday but they’re aggressively trying to move into the lottery with the hope of landing Oregon guard Chris Duarte, draft expert Chad Ford tweets. The Hornets (No. 11) and Pacers (No. 13) are among the teams that appear willing to trade down. The Knicks are trying to leapfrog the Warriors (No. 14) and Wizards (No. 15), the teams most likely to pick Duarte ahead of them. However, a package of their two first-rounders alone won’t get it done, Ford adds. The Thunder have also held discussions with Charlotte regarding the No. 11 pick, Ford reports in another tweet.
  • Duarte may not last beyond the Pacers, either, unless they deal the pick. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), Indiana’s selection is expeccted to come down to Duarte and Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, assuming both are still available.
  • If the Knicks can’t move up, West Virginia point guard Miles McBride and VCU point guard Nah’Shon Hyland are potential targets at No. 21, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • The Kings (No. 9) are taking a long look at Australia’s Josh Giddey, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The Kings not only interviewed Giddey, they made a trip to Las Vegas to see the 6’8” guard work out with the Australian national team.
  • The Nuggets (No. 26) have fielded some calls from teams in the 20-25 range looking to trade down, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. One of those teams is apparently the Lakers (No. 22).

O’Connor’s Latest: Nuggets, Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, Hornets

Within his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer confirms a few items we’ve heard elsewhere in recent days. According to O’Connor, Jalen Green‘s workout with the Pistons last week was “outstanding,” the Jazz are willing to attach the No. 30 pick to Derrick Favors in a potential trade, and league sources widely expect Scottie Barnes to be the Magic‘s pick at No. 5.

O’Connor also reiterates that the Rockets continue to explore moving up to No. 1 and says the Thunder have made efforts to trade up, with Green, Cade Cunningham, and Evan Mobley among their presumed targets.

Here are a few more notes of interest from O’Connor’s latest article:

  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Nuggets are trying to move up from No. 26 into the top 20, dangling young bench players or future draft assets in those talks.
  • Although O’Connor confirms that the Grizzlies are interested in Josh Giddey after trading up to No. 10, he says Memphis could try to move up even further, with an eye on Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight.
  • Giddey, Kuminga, and Bouknight could also be in the mix for the Warriors at No. 7, according to O’Connor, who says Giddey is thought to be one of Golden State’s “main targets.” O’Connor adds that Keon Johnson‘s ceiling may be the Warriors’ pick at No. 7.
  • The Kings continue to be active in shopping the No. 9 pick, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley III in separate trade scenarios, per O’Connor.
  • League sources continue to connect the Hornets, who will be seeking a center this summer, to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, and Nerlens Noel, according to O’Connor.

More On Grizzlies/Pelicans Trade

The Grizzlies and Pelicans made a significant splash today, agreeing to the first trade of NBA draft week. As we previously relayed, Memphis will ship center Jonas Valanciunas and the Nos. 17 and 51 selections in the 2021 draft to New Orleans for center Steven Adams, guard Eric Bledsoe, the Nos. 10 and 40 picks, plus the Lakers’ top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick.

The top-10 protected 2022 Lakers pick will become two second-rounders if it doesn’t convey in next year’s draft, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The protection was previously reported, but the two second-rounders element was not.

It appears that the Grizzlies may not be done dealing, as they look to continue to build their roster around promising point guard Ja Morant and intriguing big man Jaren Jackson Jr. Morant led the Grizzlies to their first playoff appearance since the 2016/17 season this year. Memphis fell 4-1 in the first round to the Jazz.

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (Twitter link), the Grizzlies may be looking to move up even higher in the lottery ahead of Thursday’s draft. Memphis could be trying to add NBA G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga or Connecticut guard James Bouknight, per O’Connor.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the Grizzlies also auditioned Arkansas guard Moses Moody during a private Los Angeles work out last week, apparently expecting to move into the lottery even at the time. Givony adds (Twitter link) that Michigan forward Franz Wagner, projected to be selected as high as the No. 7 pick, could be a potential Grizzlies target. Adelaide point guard Josh Giddey is another apparent prospect for Memphis, as previously noted.

New Grizzlies guard Bledsoe, who had a down season during his lone year with the Pelicans, is not anticipated to remain in Memphis next season, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

It is not at present clear if Bledsoe, a two-time All-Defensive Team selection, will be traded or will be waived (and possibly stretched). The Grizzlies would most likely need to attach assets in any trade of Bledsoe.

Luke Adams contributed to this report.

Grizzlies, Pelicans Finalizing Deal To Swap Valanciunas, Adams, Bledsoe, Picks

The Grizzlies and Pelicans are finalizing a trade that will involve several players and draft picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski reports, the deal will send Jonas Valanciunas and the Nos. 17 and 51 picks to New Orleans in exchange for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, the Nos. 10 and 40 picks, and the Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick. The Pelicans will add top-10 protection to that ’22 first-rounder, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

The trade, our second of the offseason and the first of draft week, is a fascinating move for two Southwest teams looking to make the playoffs in 2022.

The Pelicans had been considered highly likely to trade at least one of Adams or Bledsoe, both of whom are on pricey contracts and weren’t viewed as part of the team’s long-term future. Rather than just moving one of the two, they’ll send both to Memphis, creating significant cap flexibility for this year’s free agent period.

Bledsoe ($18.13MM) and Adams ($17.07MM) will earn a combined $35MM+ in 2021/22, while Valanciunas is on the books for just $14MM. Valanciunas is also entering a contract year, whereas Adams has one more guaranteed season left in ’22/23 and Bledsoe has a partial guarantee, so the Pelicans won’t just be opening up cap room this summer — they’ll create future flexibility as well.

Swapping out Adams for Valanciunas should allow the Pelicans to improve their frontcourt spacing. Valanciunas isn’t exactly a long-distance marksman, but has a solid mid-range game and will shoot the occasional three-pointer, which should create more room for Zion Williamson to operate. The former No. 5 overall pick averaged an impressive 17.1 PPG and 12.5 RPG with a .592/.368/.773 shooting line in 62 games (28.3 MPG) this past season.

Moving Bledsoe’s contract also puts the Pelicans in position to either bring back restricted free agent Lonzo Ball or pursue another point guard in free agency. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, New Orleans could create up to about $36MM in cap space by letting Ball and Josh Hart walk, or approximately $25MM in space by retaining Hart’s cap hold and letting go of Ball. Kyle Lowry is rumored to be among the Pelicans’ potential free agent targets.

As for the Grizzlies, they’ll presumably decline Justise Winslow‘s $13MM team option in order to create the cap room necessary to take on Adams and Bledsoe once the new league year begins in August, Marks notes (via Twitter).

While Adams and Bledsoe didn’t have great seasons in New Orleans, they’ve both been productive in the past and are bounce-back candidates in Memphis if the fit is better. Adams posted 7.6 PPG and 8.9 RPG in 58 games (27.7 MPG) in 2020/21, while Bledsoe put up 12.2 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 3.4 RPG on .421/.341/.687 shooting in 71 games (29.7 MPG).

The Grizzlies also significantly improve their draft assets in the swap, moving up seven spots in the first round and 11 spots in the second while also adding an extra first-round pick for next year. They’re now in position to have three first-rounders in next year’s draft, since they also hold Utah’s top-six protected first-rounder.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links) have both heard that Australian guard Josh Giddey is the player the Grizzlies are targeting with the No. 10 pick.

Warriors Notes: Myers, Simmons, Giddey, Kuminga

Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers is running low on time to put together a difference-making trade before Thursday’s draft, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. The team’s stars are urging Myers to swap his lottery picks at Nos. 7 and 14 to add another veteran, but Letourneau points out that the chances of a deal getting done will drop significantly if the framework isn’t in place by the time the Warriors are on the clock.

Myers has been searching for a major acquisition since Golden State was knocked out of the play-in tournament, but many of the names that have been linked to the Warriors, such as Myles TurnerPascal Siakam, Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard, would require a huge return that may include James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins along with the picks. Letourneau notes that any team trading with Myers would want a say in who gets taken with the two lottery selections, so there’s an urgency to get a deal worked out before the draft begins.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Simmons can probably be crossed off Golden State’s list, Letourneau adds. The Sixers want an All-Star player in return for the 25-year-old, and a source says the Warriors aren’t willing to meet Philadelphia’s price.
  • Being drafted by Golden State would be an ideal situation, Australian guard Josh Giddey tells Jason Dumas of KRON4 (video link). “Playing with guys like (Stephen Curry) and Klay (Thompson) who are so good without the ball and moving without it, for a passer like myself I think it’s a dream world,” Giddey said. “To be around those guys — the veterans — and to learn from two of the best guards of all time would be such a bonus, and obviously Draymond (Green) is known for being a high-level leader and then under Steve Kerr’s coaching system there is just so many good things about the Warriors.”
  • The Warriors hosted Jonathan Kuminga Friday in Miami for a private workout and dinner, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The G League Ignite forward has met with every team holding the third through eighth picks. Golden State officials also watched Alperen Sengun work out in Miami, a source tells Givony (Twitter link). The Turkish center is considered a possible candidate to be taken at No. 14.

Draft Notes: Giddey, I. Jackson, Jokubaitis, Barnes, Kuminga

Due in large part to his obligations with the Australian national team, Josh Giddey hasn’t worked out for any NBA clubs leading up to the draft, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California. Giddey has been limited to interviews during the pre-draft process. The 6’8″ guard is still viewed as a potential lottery pick, however, ranking 11th on ESPN’s big board.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Kentucky center Isaiah Jackson told reporters today that he has worked out for the Hawks, Nets, Kings, Thunder, Rockets, and Spurs, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link). He also confirmed that he auditioned for New York, Indiana, and Charlotte, as was previously reported.
  • Rokas Jokubaitis, one of eight international early entrants who kept his name in the 2021 NBA draft, signed a four-year contract with Barcelona this week, as Alessandro Maggi of Sportando relays. As a BasketNews.com report explains, an NBA team could still draft Jokubaitis and bring him stateside immediately, but would have to pay a $750K buyout to his old team, Zalgiris Kaunas. If he remains in Europe, Barcelona would pay Zalgiris Kaunas a more modest buyout.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes a look at each team’s biggest need, then considers which prospects each club should target with its first draft pick to address that need.
  • Several coaches and executives at various levels (NBA, G League, and college) shared their thoughts on a handful of draft prospects with David Aldridge of The Athletic. Among the topics Aldridge explored: The Scottie Barnes vs. Jonathan Kuminga debate — the two forwards are the best bets to be drafted fifth and sixth overall in some order, and both have fans among NBA executives.

Draft Notes: Top Picks, Barnes, Mitchell, Green Room

With the draft less than two weeks away, more clarity is emerging about the top of the lottery, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Pistons are reportedly listening to offers involving the No. 1 selection, but league sources tell O’Connor the most likely scenario is that they will keep the pick and take Cade Cunningham. Even if a trade does happen, teams around the league expect Cunningham to be taken first.

The Rockets are leaning toward Jalen Green with the second pick, sources tell O’Connor. Green’s elite athleticism and ability to create his own shot could eventually make him the best player in the draft, O’Connor adds, and rival teams are preparing for him to go to Houston.

Evan Mobley, who ranks higher than Green on many teams’ draft boards, appears to be a good fit for the Cavaliers at No. 3. They may consider a guard if Collin Sexton is traded by draft night, but Mobley makes sense with the current roster. Jalen Suggs appears headed to the Raptors with the fourth pick and would be a young replacement for Kyle Lowry if he leaves in free agency.

O’Connor cites league sources who believe the Magic like Scottie Barnes with the fifth pick, while the Thunder at No. 6 will decide between James Bouknight and Barnes if he’s still on the board. Jonathan Kuminga, who was considered a top five selection early on, isn’t getting much interest from either Orlando or Oklahoma City, O’Connor adds.

There’s more on the draft:

  • Many scouts and executives believe Barnes will be a top five pick, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Sources tell Wassmerman that the Magic are a good bet to take Barnes, but the Thunder will nab him if Orlando passes. Rival teams also believe the Raptors will consider him with the fourth pick if they’re determined to keep Lowry.
  • Baylor point guard Davion Mitchell held an individual workout for the Warriors on Thursday, according to Anthony Slater of The AthleticMoses Moody, Jalen Johnson and Kai Jones also worked out for the team, but they were in a group session that was held after Mitchell’s workout and interview. Slater examines the arguments for and against drafting Mitchell, who is a strong defender and improved greatly as a three-point shooter last season.
  • Kuminga is among the prospects who have received a Green Room invitation for draft night, Wasserman tweets. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Jones (Twitter link) and Australian guard Josh Giddey (Twitter link) have also been invited to join the Green Room, which is reserved for prospects who are expected to be chosen early.