Keldon Johnson

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Mills, McLemore, Johnson

Pelicans All-Star forward Brandon Ingram said on Monday that New Orleans will number among his “top choices” in free agency during the 2020 offseason, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Ingram, 22, will be a restricted free agent this summer. Considering his growth with the team, whatever offer is tendered to Ingram by another club would almost certainly be matched by the Pelicans. Ingram hailed his current NBA home as a “special place with a lot of really, really good people.”

A 2-4 showing thus far in the NBA’s Orlando campus has doomed the 30-40 Pelicans to miss the playoffs this season, but with Ingram and promising rookie Zion Williamson established as the team’s two cornerstones, they look to be an attractive destination for free agent players.

Here’s more out of the NBA’s Southwest Division:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has addressed the fact that point guard Patty Mills has not played much during the NBA’s season restart in Orlando, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).  “Might as well stay whole and take a rest,” Popovich said of Mills. “(He’s) kind of like a humming bird. He plays at such a high level of competitiveness, I’d rather have him whole for next season.”
  • Rockets guard Ben McLemore, who has had a stellar showing for Houston during the team’s Orlando tenure, has just rejoined Klutch Sports for representation, per Ben DuBose of USA Today. McLemore’s previous agent was Jarinn Akana of Dynasty Sports Management. McLemore is currently signed to a two-year veteran’s minimum contract with a team option for the 2020/21 season. Given his recent play, it seems probable that Houston will retain him.
  • Spurs rookie forward Keldon Johnson has started to come into his own during the NBA’s Orlando seeding games, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Johnson, drafted with the No. 29 pick in 2019 out of Kentucky, has emerged as a rotation player for San Antonio during the season restart. He notched career highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds in a crucial victory over the Rockets today. “He’s a high energy guy,” Popovich said of the rookie. “Very physical. Very competitive. Very coachable.”

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Popovich, Doncic, Zion

Brandon Ingram had planned to be a Lakers star for a long time, but that changed when Anthony Davis became available last summer. Ingram was part of a package of young talent that was sent to the Pelicans for the star big man, but he has fond memories of his three seasons in Los Angeles, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register.

“I think it’s love from each end, because if it was a bad remark or a negative remark, maybe go back, re-tune something and get better at it,” he said of his relationship with Lakers fans. “If it was a good remark, then I thank them for knowing the game of basketball and the person that I am, and that I was gonna get better. So it’s all love from each side. I still got love for the Laker fans, I still got love for the Duke fans.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Gregg Popovich continues to stress player development even though his Spurs are in the middle of the battle for the eighth and ninth seeds in the Western Conference, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Veteran guard Patty Mills sat out Friday’s win over the Jazz to give time to Keldon Johnson, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Drew Eubanks, none of whom have playoff experience. “This is all about development, I’ve said that from the beginning,” Popovich said. “The young guys, they get evaluated, we see them playing together and we get to determine how valuable they are in terms of the guys we want to move forward with.”
  • The Grizzlies used a lineup change Friday to pick up their first win since arriving in Orlando, Vardon adds in the same story. Brandon Clarke had been replacing injured big man Jaren Jackson Jr., but coach Taylor Jenkins opted to go with Anthony Tolliver. Memphis outscored Oklahoma City by 21 points while Tolliver was on the court.
  • Three ESPN writers look at what to expect from Mavericks guard Luka Doncic as he gets ready for his first NBA playoff series.
  • Zion Williamson is expected to be ready to face the Spurs tomorrow in a crucial game in the playoff race, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Williamson missed Friday’s game, but the Pelicans didn’t list anyone on today’s injury report.

Southwest Notes: Kidd-Gilchrist, Grizzlies, Curry, Johnson

Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finally joined the Mavericks at the Orlando campus on Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend, and explained that his late arrival was due to personal reasons, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “I had some personal things I had to handle in my family,” he said. “I’m just happy to be here.” Guard Trey Burke still hasn’t joined the team but he should arrive soon, Townsend adds.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The extended layoff will result in a new look for the Grizzlies’ rotation, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen are healthy again and the first three will play major roles in Memphis’ aim to make the playoffs.
    [UPDATE: Grizzlies’ Winslow Out For Season With Hip Injury]
  • Seth Curry said his success with the Mavericks is due in large part to coach Rick Carlisle’s faith in him, he told Dwain Price of the team’s website. Curry, who signed a four-year, $32MM deal last summer, is averaging 12.6 PPG in 24.5 MPG while making 45.3% of his 3-pointers this season. “He allows me to play on and off the ball, and he just gives me a lot of opportunities and a lot of minutes,” Curry said. “He’s given me the most minutes of my career so far and it allows me to get better as the season goes along, so it’s been a great fit for both of us.”
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has stated he’s more interested in player development than securing a playoff spot in Orlando. That will benefit a player like 20-year-old rookie swingman Keldon Johnson, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News writes. “I just love the chance to get out there and show what I can do,” he said. The late first-round pick in the June 2019 draft averaged 7.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.3 SPG in the last four games before the hiatus.

Southwest Notes: Johnson, Winslow, Rockets, Mavs

A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Spurs forward Keldon Johnson spent most of his rookie season in the G League, having appeared in just nine games at the NBA level so far. As Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News details, Johnson was likely in line for more minutes – and a more regular role – down the stretch if the season hadn’t been suspended and was disappointed not to get that opportunity. Still, he didn’t mind the team taking it slow with him over the course of the year.

“You’ve got to earn your stripes here,” Johnson said, per Orsborn. “You’ve got to put in the time, put in the work. It’s a long process, a grind. But for me, it’s always been about looking at the bigger picture. I knew as long as I stayed focused and stayed level-headed and continued to work hard, the Spurs had a plan for me.”

In addition to attempting to stay ready for a potential resumption of the season, Johnson has been staying busy by reaching out to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Orsborn details. The Spurs’ rookie launched his “Keldon Kares” campaign last week to raise money for food banks in San Antonio and his hometown of South Hill, Virginia.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Justise Winslow has yet to make his debut for the Grizzlies after being acquired by Memphis at the trade deadline, but he tells Michael Wallace of Grind City Media in a Q&A that he hopes the NBA is able to finish its season so he can help his new team clinch a playoff spot and compete in the postseason.
  • Kelly Iko and Danny Leroux of The Athletic explore some free agent options for the Rockets, assessing whether there are will be any available forwards or big men capable of playing the P.J. Tucker role in Houston — making outside shots, guarding bigs, and providing switchability on defense. Unsurprisingly, there likely won’t be many – or any – of those players available at a discount in free agency.
  • Although the Mavericks reentered the playoff picture this season, they’re not yet a legit title contender. Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News examines how the club might try to ascend to that level during the 2020 and 2021 free agency periods.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/26/20

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/24/20

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Pistons recalled guard Khyri Thomas from the Grand Rapids Drive, according to a team press release. In two games with the Drive, Thomas averaged 17.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.5 APG in 22.0 MPG. Thomas, a second-round pick in 2018, played two early-season games with the Pistons before undergoing foot surgery.
  • The Warriors assigned big man Alen Smailagic to their Santa Cruz affiliate, the team’s PR department tweets. He has averaged 15.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG in 18 games with the G League club. The rookie has also seen action in 14 Golden State games.
  • The Timberwolves recalled swingman Jacob Evans III and forward Jarred Vanderbilt from their Iowa affiliate, according to a team press release. Evans was acquired from Golden State and Vanderbilt was acquired from Denver earlier this month.
  • The Pacers assigned forward Alize Johnson to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team’s PR department tweets. The 2018 second-round pick has appeared in 12 games with the NBA club this season.
  • The Spurs assigned Keldon Johnson and  Chimezie Metu to their Austin affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Johnson, the team’s first-round pick last June, has played five NBA games. Metu, a second-year forward, has appeared in 16 games for San Antonio this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/7/20

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

  • The Wizards assigned forward Admiral Schofield to the Capital City Go-Go for a practice and then recalled him and center Anzejs Pasecniks, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter links). Both were available for the team’s home game against Dallas on Friday.
  • The Kings assigned center Eric Mika to their affiliate in Stockton, according to the G League transactions log. The former BYU standout has appeared in just one NBA game this season.
  • The Spurs assigned big man Chimezie Metu and swingman Keldon Johnson to their Austin affiliate, according to G League log. Metu, a second-year power forward, has appeared in 15 games with San Antonio this season while Johnson’s, a first-round pick last June, has appeared in four NBA games.
  • The Celtics assigned rookie guard Carsen Edwards to the Maine Red Claws, according to the G League log. The point guard has played 31 games with Boston this season.
  • The Suns assigned Jalen Lecque to their North Arizona affiliate, according to the G League log. The rookie point man has seen action in three NBA games.
  • The Warriors recalled forward Alen Smailagić from their Santa Cruz affiliate, according to a team press release. The rookie forward has appeared in nine games for Golden State, averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 10.3 MPG.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/28/20

Here are Tuesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Wizards have recalled Admiral Schofield from the Capital City Go-Go, per the team’s Twitter feed. Schofield was a second-round pick in the 2019 draft.
  • The Celtics are bringing Romeo Langford back from the G League. They’ve recalled him, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs have recalled Keldon Johnson from the Austin Spurs, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Johnson was the No. 29 overall pick in the 2019 draft.
  • The Clippers have assigned Derrick Walton Jr. and Terance Mann to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, per the team. Los Angeles hasn’t practiced in several days but is expected to hold practice tomorrow.
  • The Jazz have assigned Nigel Williams-Goss, Juwan Morgan, and Miye Oni to the G League, according to the league’s transaction log. All three are were just with the Salt Lake City Stars over the weekend.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/23/20

Here are today’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors have assigned Jacob Evans to the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team announced on Twitter. Evans has appeared in 22 NBA contests this season.
  • The Jazz have recalled Juwan Morgan from the Salt Lake City Stars, per the G League’s assignment log. Morgan signed with Utah in late November and is not eligible to be traded before the deadline, as I mentioned in the franchise’s Trade Deadline Primer for SLAM Magazine Newswire.
  • Keldon Johnson has been recalled by the Spurs. Johnson was selected with the No. 29 overall pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Heat have sent Chris Silva to the G League, the team announced on its website. He’s expected to be back with the NBA club before Miami’s contest against Orlando on January 27.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/22/20

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

  • The Pacers recalled guard Victor Oladipo from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team’s PR department tweets. Oladipo practiced with the Mad Ants as part of his rehab. He’s expected to make his season debut with Indiana next week.
  • The Spurs recalled rookie swingman Keldon Johnson and forward Chimezie Metu from their Austin affiliate, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Johnson has made two cameos with the NBA club this season while Metu, a 2018 second-round pick, has played in 11 games.
  • The Jazz assigned rookie guard Miye Oni to the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the G League transactions log. Oni has appeared in three games with Utah.