Josh Okogie

Suns Notes: Ishbia, S. Lee, Johnson, Okogie

Mat Ishbia isn’t officially the new owner of the Suns yet, but his presence at courtside for Thursday’s game reinforced the idea that a new era is starting in Phoenix, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. It was the first time the billionaire mortgage lender has attended a game since reaching an agreement to purchase the team last month, and the players were happy to have him there.

“He’s a cool guy,” Ish Wainright said. “I look forward to meeting him, picking his brain about not just basketball, but about business. I want to get to know him.”

Ishbia is still awaiting league approval on his $4 billion purchase, a process that Rankin notes typically takes about two months. Once the sale is official, the franchise can move on from current owner Robert Sarver, who was pressured to sell the team after being suspended for a year and fined $10MM for creating a toxic work environment. Coach Monty Williams believes Sarver shouldn’t be judged too harshly for his actions.

“Robert did a lot for this team, he did a lot for this city, he did a lot behind the scenes that people will never know about,” Williams said. “It was an unfortunate ending … but now as we turn the page, you start to look forward to what can be with the team with new ownership.”

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • Saben Lee is thrilled to get a second 10-day contract, Rankin tweets. Although Lee saw consistent playing time in his first four games with the Suns, averaging 11.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per night, he didn’t take a second deal for granted. “When you expect things in this league, it usually doesn’t go the way you want it to,” Lee said.
  • Cameron Johnson, who played 22 minutes Thursday in his return to action following meniscus surgery on his right knee, will sit out Saturday’s game due to injury management, tweets Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.
  • Josh Okogie, who suffered a broken nose Monday when Deandre Ayton accidentally elbowed him in the face, will be able to play Saturday night after clearing his final concussion evaluation, according to Bourguet (Twitter link).

Injury Notes: Ball, Kleber, Wade, Okeke, Okogie

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball suffered his third left ankle sprain this season in yesterday’s victory over Houston. Ball and teammate P.J. Washington were contesting a layup by Jabari Smith Jr. when Washington landed on Ball’s ankle (YouTube link via ESPN).

While the injury certainly looked painful, the 21-year-old sounds fairly confident he won’t miss as much time as he did with his previous sprains, which sidelined him for 13 and 11 games, respectively.

It feels a little bit better,” Ball said, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “It doesn’t feel like those other ones. … I can walk, so take it day-by-day and see what it is.”

Boone writes that the young All-Star didn’t require an X-Ray or other tests to determine the severity of the injury.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Maxi Kleber, who underwent surgery on December 20 to repair a torn hamstring, says he’s targeting a return to the Mavericks‘ lineup next month, though he isn’t committed to that timeline (Twitter video link via Bally Sports Southwest). “I’m not out for the season,” the German big man said. “I can’t give an exact date, but I hope I’m gonna be back… preferably before All-Star break, but I don’t want to jinx anything or say anything or make promises. … But that’s the goal.”
  • Cavaliers forward Dean Wade, who has been sidelined since December 2 due to a shoulder ailment, suffered a setback in his rehab process earlier this month, injuring his ankle when he stepped on a player’s foot during practice, a source tells Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “He’s not (doing) five-on-five yet,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said on Tuesday. “Again, because of where he was before, it won’t need as much to get him back to going because it wasn’t as big of a setback.”
  • The return of Magic forward Chuma Okeke isn’t imminent, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link). Okeke has yet to resume contact work after undergoing a procedure on his left knee in December. Price adds within the same story that forward Jonathan Isaac is expected to play in a third G League game for the Lakeland Magic on Thursday as he makes his way back from an ACL injury.
  • Suns wing Josh Okogie broke his nose in Monday’s game in Memphis when he took an inadvertent elbow from teammate Deandre Ayton, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Okogie is listed as out for Thursday — it’s unclear how much additional time he might miss.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Suns Notes: Crowder, Booker, Okogie, Ishbia

A rival general manager who spoke to Steve Bulpett of 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 “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.”

Pacific Notes: Okogie, JTA, Lakers, Fox

The Suns‘ last three games have represented reserve swingman Josh Okogie‘s three highest minutes totals of the season, and his doing his darnedest to capitalize on the extended run time, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

Okogie has gotten a bigger minutes load as a result to a variety of injuries up and down Phoenix’s roster. With Cameron Johnson and Torrey Craig both absent, Okogie has averaged 16.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, and a +14.7 plus-minus rating, in 25.7 MPG.

Bourguet notes that Okogie has especially shined defensively, a reality he himself has noticed and acknowledged.

“For me, it was just more so, like, ‘I’m not gonna get on the court scoring,’ you know what I’m saying?” Okogie said. “’Cause we had so many people who could do that on the team. So he needed me to be on the court to play some defense and lock somebody up.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Lakers backup small forward Juan Toscano-Anderson exited the team’s 126-113 loss to the Raptors last night with a sprained right ankle. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link), the team announced that Toscano-Anderson is expected to miss at least the next two weeks due to the injury, and will be reevaluated at that two-week mark.
  • Following an exciting 8-2 run that seemed to salvage the Lakers‘ 2022/23 season, the team more recently has dropped two straight contests thanks to the injury absences of Anthony Davis (who played just eight minutes in the first loss), LeBron James (who only missed last night’s loss) and Wenyen Gabriel (who missed both games). Buha writes in a story for The Athletic that it has become evident the team needs additional help up front.
  • Kings star point guard De’Aaron Fox has been hampered by pain in his right foot for over a month, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Fox’s shooting has taken a hit of late: across his past seven contests, the vet has made just 38.2% of his field goals and just 28.6% of his triples. According to Fox, there’s no risk of making the injury worse by playing, so he’s hoping to get used to tolerating it. “I’ve played well while it was hurting, so I’ll be fine,” he said.

Pacific Notes: Leonard, Fox, M. Williams, Okogie

Kawhi Leonard has a reputation for being sparse with words, but he has been much more vocal at Clippers practices since training camp began, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Coach Tyronn Lue believes it’s because Leonard is excited to be back on the court after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

“Just having a voice and showing these guys, like in the scrimmage the other day at USC [on Thursday], [guys] started out messing around and he pulled the guys in and said, ‘Let’s play for real and let’s tighten it up,’ and guys started playing more serious,” Lue said. “I don’t think he would have done that two or three years ago. I think with him and PG [Paul George] just having the biggest voices on the team and knowing that this is their team, he’s definitely taken huge steps in that regard.”

The Clippers don’t want to be overly cautious with Leonard as they prepare him for the regular season. He played 16 minutes in Monday’s game, and Lue plans to use him again Sunday night against the Timberwolves.

“I know he wants to get a lot of reps in because he hasn’t played in 15 months,” Lue said. “So, he wants to get a lot of reps in, play as much as he can. So that’s why every day in practice, we’ve been scrimmaging a lot, just playing. Just trying to let him get his rhythm.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • In an interview with Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, De’Aaron Fox expressed confidence that the Kings have made the necessary changes to break their long playoff drought. After adding Domantas Sabonis at last season’s trade deadline, Sacramento brought in Mike Brown as head coach, signed Malik Monk and traded for Kevin Huerter over the offseason. “We’re going to be a team that can score the ball,” Fox said. “I don’t think that will be a problem. Even if we’re not shooting well, we have guys that can touch the paint, get open shots, get offensive rebounds. We have guys who are athletic enough to do those things, but at the end of the day we have to be able to stop people. I think we have the personnel that can do it, and we also have a coach who’s going to demand it, so I think that’s great for us.”
  • Suns coach Monty Williams underwent lens replacement surgery after it was strongly suggested by Chris Paul‘s mother, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic“I was talking to my brother the other day, he was watching the game and said it was actually weird to see Monty not squinting,” Paul said. “It is crazy to see him not squinting, but we’ve been talking to him about that for years.”
  • Suns guard Josh Okogie is dealing with a strained left hamstring, but he hasn’t given up hope of playing before the preseason ends, Rankin tweets.

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.

Josh Okogie Signs One-Year Deal With Suns

10:51pm: Okogie’s deal is official, according to’s transactions log. That signals that it’s a minimum-salary contract, which can be signed during the July moratorium.

7:11pm: The Suns will add free agent Josh Okogie on a one-year contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 23-year-old shooting guard became unrestricted this week when the Timberwolves declined to give him a qualifying offer. He spent his first four NBA seasons in Minnesota after being selected with the 20th pick in the 2018 draft.

Okogie has seen his playing time reduced over the past two seasons and averaged just 10.5 minutes in 49 games this year. A fresh start in Phoenix may help revitalize his career.

The Suns also added former Warriors shooting guard Damion Lee in free agency. They lost Aaron Holiday to the Hawks, while Elfrid Payton remains unsigned.

Josh Okogie Won’t Receive QO, Will Become UFA

The Timberwolves don’t intend to issue a qualifying offer to former first-round pick Josh Okogie, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).

Having completed his four-year rookie scale contract, Okogie would become a restricted free agent this offseason if Minnesota extends a qualifying offer worth $5,857,966. In that scenario, the Wolves would have the ability to match rival offer the veteran wing receives, and he’d have the option of simply accepting the one-year offer worth nearly $6MM before reaching unrestricted free agency in 2023.

Given Okogie’s so-so NBA résumé and limited role, he seems unlikely to generate interest at more than the minimum salary this offseason, so the Wolves’ decision to pass on a QO and make him an unrestricted free agent isn’t surprising. It doesn’t mean Minnesota can’t bring him back — he’ll just be free to sign elsewhere without the Wolves having the ability to match.

Okogie, 23, was the 20th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He started 52 games as a rookie for the Wolves and averaged 24.3 MPG in his first two NBA seasons, but has seen his playing time cut back since then. In 2021/22, he averaged 2.7 PPG and 1.4 RPG in just 10.5 minutes per contest (49 games).

Okogie is viewed as a solid defender but has never shown much of an offensive game, putting up a career average of 6.4 PPG with a .403/.275/.758 shooting line.

The Timberwolves also appear unlikely to retain two-way free agent McKinley Wright IV, according to Wolfson, who says Wright will probably join a new team for next month’s summer league.

Wolves Rumors: KAT, Russell, Edwards, Beasley, Draft, More

In the latest HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic said he fully believes that Karl-Anthony Towns will be offered — and will sign — a super-max extension with the Timberwolves summer. Towns became eligible for the super-max after being selected to the All-NBA Third Team.

Krawczynski acknowledges that Towns has his share of flaws, but he points out that Minnesota isn’t a free agent destination, the team has undergone lots of front office and coaching changes in his seven seasons, and he hasn’t played with a whole lot of talent around him. Once the deal is signed, if Towns plateaus, the Wolves still have the option of trading him in the future due to his “age, production and efficiency,” says Krawcyznski.

Here’s more from Scotto and Krawczynski:

  • Scotto wonders if trading away D’Angelo Russell might affect Towns’ decision to sign an extension, and points out that the last time Russell was in a contract year he wound up making the All-Star team with the Nets. Krawczynski thinks Towns will sign the super-max either way, but determining what to do with Russell will be a challenge for new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. Krawczynski notes that Russell is eligible for an extension this summer, but he’s doubtful his next deal will be worth the max. If the price is right for both sides, Krawczynski thinks an extension might be viable. Russell helped lead the team to a 46-36 regular season and had a huge game in the play-in win over the Clippers, but then struggled against the Grizzlies, so gauging his market value will be tricky for Connelly, says Krawczynski.
  • A couple of scouts told HoopsHype that they think Anthony Edwards, not Towns, will eventually be the best player on the Timberwolves, but Krawczynski says there’s no jealousy between the two players — they enjoy playing together and believe their games complement each other.
  • Malik Beasley, who was drafted by Connelly in Denver, could benefit from the reunion, says Scotto, who believes Beasley is primed for a bounce-back year after seeing his name in trade rumors. Krawczynski agrees that Connelly’s presence should help, and reports that Beasley was out of shape entering training camp last fall due to his legal trouble. While noting that it was Beasley’s fault and he only has himself to blame, Krawczynski also says that he’s the hardest worker on the team.
  • The Timberwolves currently control the Nos. 19, 40, 48, and 50 picks in the upcoming draft, but don’t expect them to have four rookies on the roster next season. According to Krawczynski, a more likely outcome is that they either draft-and-stash some European prospects in the second round or package some picks to move up or acquire veteran help. Attaching the No. 19 pick with a veteran to improve the roster is also a possibility, he says.
  • A reunion with Taurean Prince, who’s an unrestricted free agent, could be in the cards. Krawczynski says there’s mutual interest between the two parties, noting that “players and coaches love him,” and Prince has stated that he was happy in Minnesota. Neither Scotto nor Krawczynski expect Jake Layman to be back, and Josh Okogie‘s return seems unlikely, but could still occur if he doesn’t draw much interest in free agency. The team likes him, but he didn’t receive much playing time, so he’ll probably look for another opportunity, per Krawczynski.