Kelly Olynyk

Western Notes: Wolves, Olynyk, Gordon, Nuggets, Rockets

The Timberwolves are planning to be versatile with their play styles this season, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes. To start, head coach Chris Finch mentioned it would be ideal to have at least one of Karl-Anthony Towns or Rudy Gobert on the floor at all times, but that’s not a guarantee.

Minnesota will likely sport a starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Towns, and Gobert this season. Off the bench, the team would have Jordan McLaughlin, Bryn Forbes, Jaylen NowellTaurean Prince, Kyle Anderson, and Naz Reid, among others. The team’s style of play will largely depend on who’s in the game.

By acquiring Gobert, Minnesota also created additional lineup flexibility. The team can play Towns and Gobert together and go bigger, or it could replace one player with a wing depending on the in-game circumstances. Towns and Gobert figure to be the most formidable 4-5 combo in the league this season, having averaged a combined 40.0 points, 24.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game last year.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

Jazz Notes: Olynyk, Conley, Veterans, Fontecchio

New Jazz center Kelly Olynyk admitted that the trade sending him from Detroit to Utah caught him off guard, telling reporters this week that it felt as if it “came out of nowhere,” according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. However, Olynyk expressed excitement about his new NBA home and suggested the deal reminded him of the last time Danny Ainge traded for him, on draft night in 2013.

“It’s crazy because when I got drafted by Boston, we were almost in the exact same situation with Danny that they’re in here right now,” Olynyk said. “You have some older guys with experience, you have some young guys, you got a bunch of draft picks coming in for the next few years, and you’re just trying to get better every single day, whatever that is.

“And in Boston, we had a young first-year coach in Brad (Stevens), and now we have a first-time, young head coach in Will (Hardy). And I think it’s going to be great for us — everybody’s going to be pulling the rope in the same direction. And that’s how you move things.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Mike Conley and the other veterans who are still on the Jazz roster are preparing as if they’re going to be in Utah to open the season, but Conley pointed to the Donovan Mitchell trade in particular as a sign that no one is safe. “When Rudy (Gobert) got traded and Royce (O’Neale), you thought maybe that would be it,” Conley said, per Sarah Todd The Deseret News. “And then once Don got traded, the floodgates kind of opened up and now all of us are up in the air and didn’t really know what was going on.”
  • The Jazz will face a tricky balancing act this season as they attempt to find regular minutes for both their young players and their veterans, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones observes, developing the young core is the top priority in Utah, but the team also wants its veterans to boost their trade value and to show the youngsters the ropes.
  • Simone Fontecchio, who will be playing in the NBA for the first time after a decade in Europe, said during a media session this week that it felt like a “dream come true” to sign his first NBA contract with the Jazz. “It has been a long journey,” Fontecchio said, according to Johnny Askounis of “Now I am 26, almost 27. Sometimes, this dream felt a little bit far, but right now I am so happy and excited to be here.” Fontecchio added that he believes he can bring shooting, defense, and athleticism to the Jazz.

Jazz Trade Bojan Bogdanovic To Pistons

SEPTEMBER 26, 9:00pm: The Jazz and Pistons both issued press releases on Monday evening confirming the trade, which signals that all the required physicals have been completed.

As previously reported, Utah received $1,752,638 in cash along with Olynyk and Lee, which is the exact amount of Lee’s 2022/23 salary.

SEPTEMBER 22, 5:00pm: The trade is official, according to’s transaction log. In addition to Olynyk and Lee, the Jazz acquired cash in the deal, per RealGM’s transaction log.

SEPTEMBER 22, 8:39am: The Pistons and Jazz are finalizing a trade that will send forward Bojan Bogdanovic to Detroit, sources tell Shams Charania and James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Charania and Edwards, Utah will receive big man Kelly Olynyk and guard Saben Lee in the deal.

Bogdanovic is set to earn $19.55MM in the final year of his contract after averaging 18.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game in 69 appearances (30.9 MPG) for the Jazz in 2021/22. A strong frontcourt scorer and shooter, Bogdanovic has made his 39.2% of his career three-point attempts, including 40.3% over the last five seasons.

With the Jazz in the process of tearing down their roster, Bogdanovic was widely viewed as a strong candidate to be moved before the start of the season. On Wednesday, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune cited a source close to Bogdanovic who said the forward expected to be traded soon.

Still, while a trade had been anticipated, Bogdanovic’s destination comes as a surprise. Teams like the Suns, Lakers, Mavericks, and Knicks had been cited as possible suitors for the 33-year-old, but it will be the retooling Pistons who land him. Bogdanovic’s ability to stretch the floor and hit outside shots should help create more room in the paint and play-making opportunities for Detroit’s dynamic young guards, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

The Pistons will take advantage of their leftover cap room in acquiring Bogdanovic, sending out only Olynyk ($12.8MM) and Lee ($1.75MM) in the deal. The move will also help clear a roster logjam in Detroit — the club had 17 players on fully guaranteed salaries, but will have just 16 after completing the trade for Bogdanovic. Buyout candidate Kemba Walker is expected to be the odd man out.

As for the Jazz, they’re trading yet another productive veteran after having already found takers this offseason for Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Royce O’Neale. It appears they won’t continue to add to their collection of future draft assets in the Bogdanovic swap, but they’ll add a much-needed center in Olynyk to their roster, will take a shot on the 23-year-old Lee, and will create some additional breathing room below the luxury tax line.

As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype observes (via Twitter), the trade should move Utah from about $2MM below the luxury tax threshold to $7MM below the tax line. The team also should create a trade exception worth about $6.75MM in the deal.

While they’ll reduce this year’s team salary, the Jazz will now be on the hook for Olynyk’s $3MM partial guarantee in 2023/24. They’d owe the big man that $3MM, instead of his full $12.2MM salary, if they waive him before next year’s free agent period. Lee, meanwhile, has a $1.9MM team option for ’23/24.

The Jazz will now have 18 players on guaranteed contracts, so they’ll have to trade or release three players before opening night to get their roster down to 15.

Central Notes: Pistons, Turner, Bitadze

There are many ways Pistons coach Dwane Casey could go with his rotation next season, Keith Langlois of writes. In Langlois’ view, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Jaden Ivey are the only rotation locks, with Kelly Olynyk, Marvin Bagley III, Killian Hayes and Alec Burks “good bets” to join them. Beyond that, Casey has numerous choices between youth and experience.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons fans are brimming with optimism, though they’re realistic about next season’s prospects, The Athletic’s James Edwards III revealed in a fan poll. With nearly 2,000 subscribers weighing in, 98 percent professed confidence in the team’s direction and 64 percent said they were very confident in the front office. However, 72.5 percent voted that the team would only win between 26-35 games next season. Second-year forward Isaiah Livers received the most votes for “breakout” player.
  • Myles Turner‘s season could play out similar to the way Victor Oladipo departed from the Pacers organization in 2020, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files opines. Turner could get off to a good start and pump up his trade value. In the same mailbag piece, Agness speculates that Goga Bitadze won’t have a long-term role in the organization due to the team’s current playing style, along with the presence of Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith.
  • Earlier on Monday, Giannis Antetokounmpo stated he wouldn’t mind playing for the Bulls later in his career. Get the details here.

And-Ones: BIG3, Canada, Hezonja, Coaches

Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, Jordan Crawford, Jonathon Simmons, Norris Cole, Festus Ezeli, and Jordan Hill are among the many former NBA players whose names are in the BIG3 draft pool for the 2022 season, per the league’s official website.

The BIG3 will hold its draft on Wednesday evening in Los Angeles as it gears up for the coming season. As we previously relayed, the first games of 2022 are scheduled for June 18 and this will be the first year in which the BIG3 holds an All-Star Game.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Injury Notes: Randle, Bucks, Pistons, Jazz, Simmons

Knicks forward Julius Randle, still dealing with a quad injury, has been ruled out for Saturday’s game against Cleveland, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who tweets that the team is considering Randle day-to-day. For the time being, there are no plans to shut down Randle for the rest of the season, Katz adds. He missed three games with the same injury last week.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • The Bucks will be without several key players on Friday vs. the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back set. According to the team (via Twitter), Giannis Antetokounmpo (right knee soreness), Jrue Holiday (left ankle sprain), Khris Middleton (left wrist soreness), and Brook Lopez (return to competition reconditioning) are among the players who will be inactive.
  • Cory Joseph (left lumbar spine strain), Marvin Bagley III (left hip strain), and Kelly Olynyk (rest) won’t play for the Pistons on Friday against Oklahoma City, tweets James Edwards III of The Athletic. The two teams are neck-and-neck in the lottery standings, so neither front office will be particularly motivated to win the game.
  • The Jazz got some reinforcements on Thursday when Bojan Bogdanovic returned from a nine-game absence and Danuel House played after missing eight consecutive games, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Both forwards had positive plus-minus ratings in a win over the Lakers that snapped Utah’s five-game losing streak.
  • Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (video link) provided another minor update on Ben Simmons, reporting that the Nets guard has resumed “light” on-court workouts and still hopes to return in time for the playoffs. Charania’s colleague at The Athletic, Joe Vardon, reported earlier today that Simmons is unlikely to be ready for the start of the playoffs.

Central Notes: Brogdon, Bembry, Pistons, Olynyk

The Pacers will enter the All-Star break without any clarity about starting guard Malcolm Brogdon, who is dealing with a right Achilles injury, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Brogdon hasn’t returned since being shut down January 22 for a 10-day rehab program, and he has appeared in just two games since December 21. He had been listed as questionable in the team’s recent injury reports, but was downgraded to out for tonight’s game with the Wizards.

“Obviously it’ll be after the break before he plays,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s continuing to make good progress. The hope is that after the break he can be ready. But nothing’s for sure, so we’ll just hope for the best.”

Brogdon has missed 15 straight games and 32 of the first 60 games of the season. He has been productive when he has played, averaging 18.5 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per night, but his absence has been in a factor in Indiana falling out of the playoff race.

“Right now, this where we are, but with an additional seven or eight days for the break, and I know he’s gonna be continuing to do work through the break, the hope is that coming out of it he could possibly be ready to go,” Carlisle said. “But I’m not saying that that’s gonna happen. We’re just hoping that it could go that way.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

Trade Rumors: Mavs, R. Lopez, Hawks, Wizards, Pistons, More

The Mavericks have made Dwight Powell available, but they remain uninterested in moving Jalen Brunson or Dorian Finney-Smith, reports Matt Moore of If those two players are off the table, Dallas may have a hard time finding a deal that significantly upgrades its roster.

According to Moore, Tim Hardaway Jr., who is out indefinitely due to a foot injury, is the player the Mavericks have shopped most aggressively. Hardaway was having a down year prior to his injury and is on a sizable long-term contract ($53.7MM for three years after this season), so his value will be limited.

Still, Moore notes that Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is a big fan of Hardaway, whom he coached in Dallas. Moore has also heard that the Wizards and Mavericks discussed a deal involving Hardaway and Spencer Dinwiddie, though a source tells Moore that the two sides didn’t make much progress.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Magic have been willing to discuss center Robin Lopez, but are apparently asking for a first-round pick, according to Moore. I’d be surprised if a team is willing to meet that price.
  • The Hawks may have a quiet deadline, with John Collins appearing increasingly unlikely to be dealt, but they remain on the lookout for a backup point guard, Moore reports.
  • Within his trade-rumor roundup, Moore also says the Wizards have been willing to discuss anyone besides Bradley Beal or Kyle Kuzma, and adds that Pistons guard Cory Joseph is “gettable.” Moore has received mixed intel on whether Detroit is interested in moving Kelly Olynyk.
  • Pacers center Myles Turner appears less likely to be dealt now that the team has moved Domantas Sabonis, but the Knicks continue to pursue Turner, a league source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. The big man is dealing with a foot injury that may sideline him until at least March.
  • With Harrison Barnes looking like a good bet to stay with the Kings through the deadline, Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III are the Sacramento players most often identified by rival teams as candidates to be moved in the next few hours, says Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Eastern Notes: Dragic, Olynyk, Rose, Grimes

The Raptors are receiving a great deal of interest in veteran point guard Goran Dragic ahead of the February 10 trade deadline, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. Smith reports that Dragic will most likely be traded — not bought out — in the near future.

Dragic, 35, is set to make $19.4MM this season. He’s spent the past six-and-a-half seasons with Miami, who sent him to Toronto last offseason as part of a sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry. Since then, he has only played five games with the franchise, the last of which was on November 13.

Dragic has been away from the Raptors due to personal reasons. In August, he suggested that he didn’t want to stay in Toronto, a comment that he later apologized for making. He started for Miami just over a year ago on its run to the NBA Finals, averaging 19.1 points in 17 playoff games.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons big man Kelly Olynyk has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press tweets. Olynyk recently returned from a knee injury, but he only played in two games before entering protocols. He’ll miss Sunday’s game against Cleveland (return to play conditioning).
  • Knicks guard Derrick Rose revealed that his December ankle surgery was a regular scope and removed a bone spur from his deltoid ligament, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Rose is hopeful to return shortly after the All-Star break. “I felt relief right away after the surgery,” Rose said. “I felt the relief. I’m just being very, very appreciative of where I am at and how much I did just to get to where I am right now.”
  • Steve Popper of Newsday examines why starting Quentin Grimes could help change the Knicks‘ fortunes. Grimes has shown potential at just 21 years old, connecting on 40% of his attempts from deep this season. He was drafted No. 25 overall last year.

COVID-19 Updates: Olynyk, Whiteside, D. Johnson, Thunder

Pistons big man Kelly Olynyk, who returned this week after missing more than two months with a knee injury, has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets James Edwards III of The Athletic.

Olynyk, who signed as a free agent over the summer, played in two games before being sidelined again, bringing his season total to 12. He’s averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per night.

Olynyk joins teammates Jerami Grant and Luka Garza in the protocols, as the Pistons and Grizzlies are the only teams with three players currently affected by COVID-19.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates:

  • Jazz backup center Hassan Whiteside has exited the protocols, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). However, he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with the Warriors because of conditioning. Whiteside was the sixth Utah player in the protocols when he entered 10 days ago, but all of them have now been cleared.
  • Raptors rookie forward David Johnson has been placed in the protocols, tweets Blake Murphy of The two-way player has only logged two minutes in two games at the NBA level, but has played four games for the Raptors 905 in the G League.
  • Thunder assistant coaches Mike Wilks and David Akinyooye have entered the protocols, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Head coach Mark Daigneault was in the protocols earlier this month.