JT Thor

Southeast Notes: Butler, Thor, Magic, Dinwiddie

After finalizing his new four-year, maximum contract extension over the weekend, All-NBA Heat swingman Jimmy Butler spoke about why he wanted to commit to Miami long-term, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

“They allow me to be me here, love who I am as a person and player,” Butler said of the Heat organization. “Love the guys I have an opportunity to hoop with. I think we’ll be a really good team. We’re consistently getting better, adding the right amount of vets to get over the hump and win a championship. It means everything to me to represent this great organization.”

Butler, who turns 32 in September, said that he wants to finish his career in Miami.

“It’s a place for me,” Butler said. “Teammates allow me to be me. When I’m wrong, they’re going to tell me I’m wrong. When I’m right they still probably tell me I’m wrong. I love them for that. Blessing to play with these guys and [head coach Erik Spoelstra] and [team president] Pat Riley.”

A four-time All-NBA selection, five-time All-Star, and five-time All-Defensive Team member while with the Bulls, Timberwolves and Heat (he did not earn any of these honors with his other NBA team, the Sixers), Butler showed no signs of slowing down during the 2020/21 regular season. He averaged 21.5 PPG on 49.7% shooting from the field and 86.3% from the free-throw line, as well as career-best averages of 7.1 APG, 6.9 RPG, and 2.1 SPG.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets rookie power forward JT Thor was signed to a four-year deal, with the first two seasons guaranteed, using some of Charlotte’s cap space, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link). The 18-year-old big man was selected with the No. 37 pick out of Auburn in this year’s draft.
  • The young core of the rebuilding Magic – including rookie lottery picks Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, along with second-year point guard Cole Anthony – is exhibiting encouraging signs of development during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, writes Dan Savage of Magic.com. “It’s about them developing camaraderie, and their ability to just tie together and move forward growing together,” new head coach Jamahl Mosley said of the Summer League squad. “Just continuing to build off each other and for each other.”
  • After having waived shooting guard Dwayne Bacon this weekend, the Magic project to have an open 15th roster spot, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Robbins anticipates Orlando will probably leave this final roster spot available in case an opportunity arises for the team to take on an unwanted contract – along with a draft pick – into its sizable trade exception.
  • New Wizards starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has several intriguing incentives in his three-year, $62MM deal with Washington, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype details (Twitter link). Dinwiddie will be earn a $1.5MM bonus if he plays in 50+ games, $100K if the Wizards win a first-round playoff series, $571K should the Wizards make the Eastern Conference Finals, and $400K if the Wizards qualify for the NBA Finals. As Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link) first reported, Dinwiddie would net a scant $1 bonus for winning the NBA Finals. Marks added in the same video that the partial guarantee on Dinwiddie’s 2023/24 salary will become fully guaranteed if he plays in 50+ games during the 2022/23 season.

Rookie JT Thor Signs With Hornets

The Hornets have signed second-round draft pick JT Thor, according to a team press release.

Thor, a 6’9” forward, was officially acquired from the Pistons along with center Mason Plumlee on Friday in exchange for the draft rights of Balsa Koprivica.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Draft Pick Signings]

Terms of the contract are undisclosed, but the club is under the cap and has the ability to give him a starting salary worth more than the rookie minimum and/or a contract that covers more than two years.

Thor, the 37th overall pick, averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 1.4 BPG in his lone season with the Tigers. Thor projects to spend most of his rookie season in the G League.

Pistons Trade Mason Plumlee To Hornets

AUGUST 6: The trade is now official, according to press releases from both the Hornets and Pistons. Charlotte received Plumlee and the rights to No. 37 pick JT Thor in exchange for the rights to No. 57 pick Balsa Koprivica.


JULY 29: The Pistons and Hornets are finalizing a trade that would see Mason Plumlee sent to Charlotte along with the No. 37 pick in tonight’s draft in exchange for the No. 57 pick, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The Hornets had been expected to be one of the NBA’s most aggressive teams in pursuit of a center this offseason and will get an early start on addressing that position by acquiring Plumlee, who averaged 10.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 3.6 APG in 56 games (26.8 MPG) during his first and only season as a Piston.

Plumlee had been set to earn $8.1MM in 2021/22 and will receive a 10% trade bonus as a result of the deal, bumping up that cap hit by $830K, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Even at close to $9MM, Plumlee’s deal isn’t particularly onerous, especially since it’s only partially guaranteed in 2022/23. So it’s somewhat surprising that the Pistons were willing to drop down 20 spots in the draft to move off of it, especially since GM Troy Weaver just signed Plumlee to that deal last offseason.

Still, Detroit will gain cap flexibility as a result of the trade and could open up about $20MM in space rather than operating over the cap this summer, tweets Nate Duncan. The move will also create additional playing time for promising young big man Isaiah Stewart.

The deal will have to be completed once the new league year begins, when the Hornets can take Plumlee into their cap space. They’ll still have about $13MM in projected cap room, according to Marks, so they could pursue another center in free agency.

Western Notes: Culver, Mann, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Nuggets

It’s possible that Timberwolves third-year wing Jarrett Culver could be available this offseason for a second-round pick, according to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of SKOR North.

Not only has Culver had trouble carving out a role for himself with the Timberwolves, but between last year’s No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards and Malik Beasley, who was signed to a four-year deal last summer, there’s little room on the wing for the 22-year-old to get developmental reps.

The Wolves are only two years removed from trading Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick to Phoenix in order draft Culver with the sixth overall pick, so the idea that they may be willing to settle for a second-round pick is discouraging. But it doesn’t take long for a prospect’s value to decline if he isn’t taking positive strides forward — even if he was a lottery pick.

We have more news from around the Western Conference:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

New York Notes: Tucker, Thor, Duarte, Knicks Front Office, Martin

After winning a title with the Bucks this week, free agent forward P.J. Tucker seems unlikely to pursue another with the Nets, according to NetsDaily.com. The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer has indicated the Nets were interested in the veteran forward even before the James Harden trade and Tucker is also good friends with Harden and Kevin Durant. However, Brooklyn will likely be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception and Tucker is expected to command more in the open market. Milwaukee also holds Tucker’s Bird rights and wants to retain him despite luxury tax concerns.

We have more on the Nets and Knicks:

  • Count both New York clubs among the 11 teams that have brought in JT Thor for a workout, Mike Mazzeo tweets. The Auburn power forward is ranked No. 28 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list. Brooklyn owns the No. 27 pick and three second-rounders, the earliest at No. 44, while New York has picks No. 19, 21 and 32.
  • Chris Duarte worked out for the Knicks on Friday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets, and it was a solo workout, Ian Begley of SNY.TV tweets. The Oregon shooting guard is ranked No. 23 on ESPN’s list but others have Duarte going much higher, Begley points out. The Knicks are seeking to move up into the late lottery, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report said on the Knicks Film School podcast (Twitter link). Today’s workout could indicate Duarte is the target.
  • While the Knicks have agreed to a two-year extension with Scott Perry, multiple Western Conference teams have expressed interest in other members of the front office, according to Begley. The contracts of several of those executives expire at the end of the month, Begley adds.
  • Point guard Jeremiah Martin will join the Knicks’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets. Martin played with the Cavaliers in the closing weeks of the season on a two-way deal.

Eastern Notes: Sexton, Knicks, Heat, Hawks, Raptors

Following up on Shams Charania’s report that the Knicks have been the most aggressive trade suitor for Collin Sexton so far, Marc Berman of The New York Post confirms that the team has the Cavaliers guard on its trade radar.

According to Berman, the Knicks would’ve picked Sexton over Kevin Knox in the 2018 draft if he had slipped to No. 9 instead of being selected at No. 8. Berman adds that Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who played his college ball at Dayton, may be a player the Cavs would target in a trade.

A source tells Berman that the Knicks – who hold the 19th and 21st overall picks – are open to trading out of the first round entirely in order to acquire an “established player.” Sexton has certainly established himself as a talented scorer, having averaged 24.5 points per game in 2020/21, though it’s unclear if New York would be willing to offer both of its first-round picks in a package for him.

Here’s more from around the East:

Southeast Notes: Hornets’ Workouts, Westbrook, Beal, Mosley, McMillan

The Hornets worked out seven draft prospects on Friday, headlined by UConn guard James Bouknight, P.J. Morales of the Charlotte Observer writes. Bouknight is rated as the No. 8 overall prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list. Auburn guard Sharife Cooper (No. 18 on ESPN’s list), Tennessee guard Jaden Springer (No. 27), and Auburn forward JT Thor (No. 28) were some of the other potential first-rounders who visited. The group also included Iowa center Luka Garza, Howard center Makur Maker, and Croatian forward Roko Prkacin (No. 37).

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Not surprisingly, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are the players most likely to remain on the Wizards‘ roster heading into next season, Fred Katz of The Athletic anticipates. Katz takes a look at every player on the roster and projects the odds they’ll return with Washington for the 2021/22 campaign.
  • Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley was interviewed for the Magic’s head coaching job on Thursday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Orlando’s desire to interview Mosley was previously reported. Mosley is likely to leave Dallas after being passed over for the head coaching job that went to Jason Kidd.
  • Nate McMillan has far exceeded all expectations as the Hawks’ interim coach and Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes how the veteran coach has connected with his players in ways that previous coach Lloyd Pierce failed to do.

Draft Notes: Pelicans, Giddey, Murphy, Duarte, Thor

There’s a belief that the Pelicans won’t be especially eager to add another rookie to an already young roster, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link), who says the No. 10 pick in next month’s draft, currently held by New Orleans, is considered one of the most available in the lottery.

Within his latest mock draft, Givony also provides some intel on some other picks at the top of the draft, confirming that the Pistons are looking hard at Jalen Green and Evan Mobley, though most executives anticipate they’ll select Cade Cunningham. According to Givony, NBA teams don’t have a good feel for which direction the Rockets will go at No. 2, since the new front office doesn’t have an extensive track record. For now, Givony believes Green would be the pick for Houston over Mobley.

Here’s more on the 2021 NBA draft, which is exactly one month away:

  • In a separate Insider-only story for ESPN, Givony and Mike Schmitz break down the winners and losers of last week’s draft combine, noting that Australian prospect Josh Giddey was generating plenty of buzz despite not even attending the event in Chicago. James Bouknight, Sharife Cooper, and Trey Murphy were among the other projected first-round picks receiving positive feedback.
  • Speaking of Murphy, he has worked out for the Celtics and Spurs so far in the pre-draft process, as he told reporters. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington has the story on the Virginia forward whose draft stock is on the rise.
  • The “rumor in Chicago” was that Oregon’s Chris Duarte, who pulled out of the draft combine, has received a guarantee early in the second round, per Marc Berman of The New York Post.
  • Potential first-round pick JT Thor of Auburn is working out for the Pacers, Hornets, Hawks, and Pelicans between now and July 6, as Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report details (Twitter link).

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Draft Notes: Thor, C. Parker, Combine, T. Taylor

Auburn freshman forward JT Thor has decided to remain in the 2021 NBA draft and go pro, announcing on Instagram that he has signed with an agency (hat tip to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports).

Thor’s numbers were modest during his first and only college season. In 27 games (all starts) for the Tigers, he averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.4 BPG on .440/.297/.741 shooting in 23.0 minutes per contest. However, his stock is thought to be rising ahead of next month’s draft.

Thor, currently ranked No. 66 on ESPN’s big board, is generating a “ton of buzz” based on his workouts in Miami, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, who tweets that the 6’10” youngster is showing “flashes of untapped shot-making versatility.”

Here’s more on the 2021 draft:

  • Liberty guard Chris Parker, who declared for the draft following his senior season, tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that he has signed with an agent and plans to keep his name in the draft pool rather than using his extra year of NCAA eligibility. Parker, who began his college career at Henderson State, averaged 10.3 PPG and 3.4 APG on .455/.373/.826 shooting in 29 games (28.3 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Approximately 100 prospects will be invited to participate in either the 2021 draft combine or the college portion of the G League Elite Camp, says Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Givony expects a few more international prospects at this year’s combine since the pre-draft calendar has been pushed back by about a month.
  • Austin Peay wing Terry Taylor has workouts lined up with the Warriors, Grizzlies, and Kings this week, according to Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com (Twitter link).