Kavell Bigby-Williams

Wizards Notes: Brown, Workouts, GM Search

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington sat down with Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr. to discuss his first year in the NBA, which began with an overwhelming welcome at the combine and finished with Brown becoming a calmer, wiser, 19-year-old man.

“I wouldn’t say I was lost (in regard to the 2018 NBA Combine), but I didn’t know what to expect,” Brown said. “I was just kind of going about things, trying to do everything the best I could. …I knew I was going to get drafted, but it was more about the work that I put in. Is it going to happen? I want to go this number (in the draft). There’s a lot of stuff running through your brain.”

Immediate expectations for Brown’s rookie season were not very high, as Washington came into the season with playoff aspirations and more. But after a disappointing 2018/19 campaign, Brown may be the most important player on the roster long term after All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

“It’s definitely weird not knowing who is going to be back and knowing our whole roster (might) be different… (but) (a)t the same time, you know it’s a business… I’m kind of use to it now. I had 24 teammates in one year.”

There’s more out of D.C. tonight:

Western Notes: Cousins, Cook, Valanciunas, OKC

While Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson have been the most-discussed free-agents-to-be on the Warriors‘ roster all season long, a handful of the club’s other players who are headed for the open market are seeing their stocks impacted by what they’re showing in the postseason.

As Marc Berman of The New York Post writes, DeMarcus Cousins is one of those players. When he tore his quad in the first round of the playoffs, he seemed unlikely to return into the fall, raising uncertainty about what sort of offers he could expect in free agency. However, Cousins helped key the Warriors’ Game 2 win on Sunday, and is now in position to take on an even more crucial role with Kevon Looney sidelined for the rest of the NBA Finals. Cousins could be earning himself some extra money with each game he plays this series.

Meanwhile, one of the Warriors’ most reliable contributors off the bench in Game 2 was Quinn Cook, who played 21 minutes and knocked down three big 3-pointers to help hold off the Raptors. After the game, Draymond Green referred to Cook as “our Patty Mills,” adding that the young guard “should be here for a long time” (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated).

The Warriors will have to decide in a few weeks how strongly they agree with Green, as Cook will be up for restricted free agency. Even if Golden State issues a qualifying offer to gain the right of first refusal on Cook, a rival suitor could swoop in with an offer sheet that the Warriors may be reluctant to match, given the luxury-tax implications.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Jonas Valanciunas once again stated this week that the Grizzlies‘ head coaching decision will play a part in his decision on his $17.6MM player option for 2019/20, as Lithuanian reporter Donatas Urbonas relays (via Twitter). “Deeper into the summer, we’ll have a better picture [of] who’s staying and what are the team’s plans,” Valanciunas said. “First, I want to see who’s the head coach. It’s gonna be a huge factor.”
  • With Darko Rajakovic prepared to head to Phoenix, the Thunder will have three openings to fill on Billy Donovan‘s staff, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Mark Bryant and Bob Beyer also accepted jobs with new teams.
  • Brett Dawson of The Athletic explores Patrick Patterson‘s outlook as the Thunder forward prepares to enter a contract year. Despite two up-and-down years in Oklahoma City and the possibility that he’ll be on the trade block, Patterson could be a rotation player if he returns, Dawson writes.
  • The Nuggets worked out six prospects at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday, bringing in Javon Bess (Saint Louis), Kavell Bigby-Williams (LSU), Jordan Davis (Northern Colorado), Justin James (Wyoming), Tanor Ngom (Ryerson), and Josh Reaves (Penn State), per a team release.

Pacific Notes: Barnes, Suns, Rajakovic, Kings

Harrison Barnes can hit the open market if he turns down his $25.1MM player option and the Kings would like to have him on the roster next season one way or another. If Barnes stays with Sacramento, it could be an indicator that the organization is on the upswing after years of perceived dysfunction, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes.

Kings’ management envisioned Barnes playing the small forward position when they traded for him at last season’s deadline. Dave Joerger had different plans, playing Barnes heavy minutes at the four spot next to Bogdan Bogdanovic at the three. Barnes at power forward also took time away from Marvin Bagley and made it more difficult for the rookie to rise to the starting lineup. Joerger has since been fired.

The Kings are hoping that their switch to Luke Walton as well as a renewed alignment between the coaching staff and front office will be viewed favorably around the league, particularly with agents. Here’s more from around the Kings and the Pacific Division:

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Hornets

There have been no recent updates on the Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, leading to speculation that Washington is waiting to make a run at current Nuggets president of basketball ops Tim Connelly.

While Connelly’s Nuggets are still alive in the playoffs, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that if Connelly is the Wizards’ man, they should go after him now. As Aldridge points out, active postseason runs didn’t stop the Timberwolves from hiring Gersson Rosas, or the Suns from naming Monty Williams their new head coach.

It’s not entirely clear if the Wizards are still targeting Connelly, but Aldridge hears from several sources that Denver’s head of basketball ops would be “delighted” to run the Wizards. A previous report referred to the Wizards’ open position as Connelly’s “dream job.” Connelly is still under contract with the Nuggets, but if the Wizards make an offer that significantly exceeds his current salary – which Aldridge says is “just north” of $2MM per year – then he could go to Denver’s ownership in good faith and ask for the opportunity to run his hometown team.

So far, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, and Rosas for the front office vacancy, Aldridge confirms.

As we wait to see what the Wizards do to replace Ernie Grunfeld, here’s more from around the Southeast…