Kessler Edwards

Nets Decline Kessler Edwards’ Option, Issue QO

The Nets won’t exercise their team option on Kessler Edwards for 2022/23, worth $1,563,518, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. However, Brooklyn has issued a qualifying offer worth a projected $1.84MM, making Edwards a restricted free agent, Smith adds.

The 44th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Edwards showed some promise as a rookie this past season, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 48 appearances (20.6 MPG). He posted a .412/.353/.842 shooting line and even made 23 starts when the team’s depth was impacted by injuries and COVID-19.

It may seem unusual for the Nets to turn down Edwards’ option in order to tender him a more expensive qualifying offer, but doing so will give the team the opportunity to sign him to a contract that extends beyond 2022/23.

The Pelicans took this approach with Didi Louzada a year ago, declining his second-year option, issuing him a qualifying offer, then re-signing him to a four-year contract worth a little more than the minimum.

Brooklyn didn’t have the ability to offer Edwards more than a two-year contract last offseason because the team was over the cap and used its full mid-level exception on Patty Mills. Now, the Nets have Edwards’ Non-Bird rights, allowing them to go up to four years on a new deal. They’d also be able to match any offer the former Pepperdine standout signs with another team.

Edwards joins Nic Claxton and David Duke as Brooklyn’s restricted free agents.

Contract Details: Gabriel, K. Edwards, Cannady, More

During the final three days of the regular season, five NBA players who had been on two-way contracts were promoted to their respective teams’ 15-man rosters.

[RELATED: 2021/22 NBA Two-Way Contract Conversions]

Three of those five players – Jazz guard Trent Forrest, Suns forward Ish Wainright, and Cavaliers Moses Brown – received straight conversions, having their contracts turned into one-year, minimum-salary contracts, Hoops Rumors has learned. Forrest, Wainright, and Brown will be eligible to play in the postseason with their respective teams, but won’t be under contract beyond the 2021/22 season.

The other two – Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel and Nets forward Kessler Edwards – signed two-year, minimum-salary deals that include team options for the 2022/23 season. Their clubs will have the opportunity to bring them back for another year if they pick up those options before the June 29 deadline. Gabriel’s salary will remain non-guaranteed even if his option is exercised.

Here are a few more details on contracts signed in recent days:

  • The Magic used a portion of their mid-level exception to give Devin Cannady a three-year deal and a $100K rest-of-season salary on Sunday, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. A minimum-salary contract would’ve been limited to two years and would’ve resulted in a rest-of-season salary of just $8,558. Smith adds that Cannady’s second- and third-year salaries (worth the minimum) are non-guaranteed, with a team option on the 2023/24 season.
  • The Bucks dipped into their mid-level exception in order to give Rayjon Tucker a three-year, minimum-salary deal, according to Smith (Twitter link). The contract is non-guaranteed beyond this season.
  • Juwan Morgan‘s new two-year deal with the Celtics includes a minimum-salary team option for 2022/23, tweets Smith. Morgan’s salary will remain non-guaranteed even if the option is exercised.
  • Chaundee Brown‘s new two-way contract with the Hawks is a two-year deal, while the two-ways signed in recent days by Mac McClung (Lakers) and RJ Nembhard (Cavaliers) were just rest-of-season agreements, Hoops Rumors has learned. The majority of the players on two-way deals will be free agents this summer, but Brown is one of 13 who is also under contract for 2022/23, as our tracker shows.

Nets Waive James Johnson, Promote Kessler Edwards

APRIL 10: Edwards’ new contract is now official, the Nets announced (via Twitter). It includes a team option for next season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

APRIL 7: The Nets have waived forward James Johnson, our JD Shaw tweets, and plan to promote rookie Kessler Edwards to a standard deal so he’s eligible for the postseason, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Johnson, 35, is a 13-year NBA veteran who’s appeared in a total of 747 regular season games. In 62 games (10 starts) with the Nets this season, he averaged 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists on .469/.271/.527 shooting in 19.2 minutes per night.

Edwards, 21, was the 44th overall pick of the 2021 draft after three seasons with Pepperdine. He’s been on a two-way contract this season, and clearly the Nets like what they’ve seen from the young forward, because they want him to keep contributing for a potential playoff run.

Through 46 games (22 starts) this season, Edwards is averaging 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds on .412/.359/.824 shooting in 20.1 minutes. He took advantage of his opportunity over the winter months when the team was ravaged by players in the health and safety protocols, as he’d rarely seen action to that point.

Edwards is known as a strong, versatile defender and is a better spot-up shooter than Johnson, as evidenced by their respective three-point percentages. Because Johnson was waived so late in the season, he will not be eligible to play in the postseason with another team.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Brown, Dragic, Curry, Edwards

After Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on SportsCenter on Sunday that it was “not realistic” to expect Ben Simmons to be ready for the Nets‘ first play-in game next week (hat tip to NetsDaily), head coach Steve Nash confirmed as much when he spoke to reporters on Monday.

The Nets are ruling out Simmons for the rest of the regular season and the play-in tournament, Nash told reporters, including Laura Albanese of Newsday and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic (Twitter links). If he’s going to make it back this season, Simmons’ return would have to come in the playoffs.

Although Simmons was able to do a little more at practice on Monday, Nash said the team doesn’t plan on scrapping its requirement that he must take part in at least three high-intensity workouts before being cleared. The three-time All-Star isn’t at that stage yet and has only been doing light shooting work.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • After missing Saturday’s loss in Atlanta due to a non-COVID illness, Bruce Brown will be ready to play on Tuesday, tweets Schiffer.
  • Goran Dragic remains in Atlanta with COVID-19, tweets Schiffer. Nash is hopeful that the veteran guard will be back in time for one of the team’s final regular season games.
  • Seth Curry, who is battling ankle pain, didn’t do much at practice on Monday and Nash admitted that there has been some discussion about holding him out of the rest of the regular season to give him more time to rest the ankle (Twitter link via Nick Friedell of ESPN). The goal would be to make sure he’s as healthy as possible for the play-in tournament and playoffs.
  • Asked by Schiffer whether the Nets will give two-way player Kessler Edwards a standard contract this week in order to make him postseason-eligible, Nash didn’t rule out the possibility, but said he expects today’s roster to be the group he enters the play-in with (Twitter link).

Nets Notes: Curry, Brown, Drummond, Edwards

Nets guard Seth Curry offered a reminder of how valuable he can be when he returned Friday after missing three games with a sore left ankle, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Beyond his 27-point outburst, Curry provided a floor spacer who can make teams pay for throwing double- and triple-teams at Kevin Durant.

“It was huge … he had 27, 9-for-14, efficient from all angles on the floor,” Durant said. “We needed that, and it was good to see him back out there. Missed a few games with that ankle, but I’m glad it’s getting better and he’s able to come out here and play. And we needed all those points.”

Curry has the best career three-point shooting percentage among active players, so it’s easy to understand why the Nets targeted him in the trade that sent James Harden to Philadelphia. They lead the NBA in both offensive rating and effective field-goal percentage in the games that Curry has played, and he will be counted on to provide scoring with Kyrie Irving only able to play in three more games.

Curry, who will be eligible for an extension this summer, said the ankle pain began when he was still with the Sixers, but he believes he can play through it.

“I was dealing with it probably a month before the trade. It’s been a while. It’s something I’m just going to have to manage and deal with until the offseason,” he said. “It’s not something that’s going to go away. So as long as it’s not getting worse, I should be good.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets were able to keep Bruce Brown on a $4.7MM qualifying offer last offseason, but his price may be a lot higher this summer, Lewis suggests in a separate story. Brown has upped his game since the Harden trade, and while some of the improvement has come from more minutes and a revamped role, part of it is related to attitude. “Early in the season, it was all mental for me,” Brown said. “I was trying to fit in the role that I had last year, and it wasn’t working. So I got kind of frustrated, and that’s when I kind of got out of the rotation. Then I went to ‘Smoke’ [assistant coach Royal Ivey], and I was like, ‘Bruh, I want to get better.’ So we got to work on something different. I started working on a little bit of guard stuff, just getting back to my game, the way I played my whole life, and it started to work.”
  • Andre Drummond, another addition in the Sixers trade, has found the game comes a lot easier playing alongside Durant and Irving, Lewis states in the same piece. Drummond is putting up his best numbers of the season, averaging 14.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in his last six games. “For me, it’s a lot of fun for two reasons: One, I’m playing with two of the best players in the world,” he said, “and secondly, when they do miss, there’s nobody down there because everybody’s so worried about contesting their shots. So when they do miss, it’s a walk in the park for me to go get the rebounds.”
  • Kessler Edwards is hoping to bounce back after hitting the “rookie wall” at midseason, Lewis adds. Edwards fell out of the rotation following 18 straight starts in January and February, but he scored 26 total points in back-to-back games this week.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Mandate, Nets, Raptors, Knicks

Nets superstar Kevin Durant voiced his displeasure over Kyrie Irving not being able to play in the team’s home game on Sunday, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Durant’s comments were made toward Eric Adams, mayor of New York City.

“Eric, you got to figure something out, man, because it’s looking crazy,” Durant said. “Especially on national TV, and he can come to the game, but not play, come on, man.”

Irving was at Sunday’s game as an unmasked spectator and even entered the team’s locker room, but he still can’t play at Barclays Center or Madison Sqaure Garden due to the city’s private sector vaccine mandate. The Nets wound up winning the game 110-107 behind Durant’s 53 points.

Here are some other notes out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets rookies Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe did their jobs while the team dealt with injuries, but both players have seen their minutes decrease their month, NetsDaily relays. The talented young duo gained valuable experience during their time on the court. Edwards is on a two-way contract, while Sharpe (the No. 29 pick) is on a standard deal.
  • The Raptors’ confidence is growing after wins over the Suns and Nuggets, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “We’re relentless,” said Pascal Siakam, “and we just want to continue to compete and get better as a team.” Winners of three straight games, Toronto now owns the seventh-best record in the East at 37-30, trailing Cleveland by one game for sixth place.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday explores the path going forward for the Knicks. New York’s chances of making the play-in tournament are starting to diminish, as the team currently trails the 10th place Hawks by five games. At 28-40, the Knicks only have 14 games left this season.

Nets Notes: Harden, Irving, Aldridge, Edwards

The Nets are hoping that the right hand strain that made James Harden a late scratch for Saturday’s game won’t be a long-term issue, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harden wasn’t on the team’s injury list, but he underwent an MRI exam that showed the strain.

“James’ hand has been bothering him for a few days at least,” coach Steve Nash said. “He thought it was nothing and then it really flared up this morning when he woke up. Obviously irritated but what he was feeling (Friday) and (Saturday) morning he woke up with some irritation so he had a scan. (It was) clean of the bad stuff, but a strain for sure. There’s stuff on the MRI, so he’s feeling something and feeling the strain, and like I said it’s been bothering (him). But he was like, ‘It’s nothing.’ And now it’s a little more than nothing. He woke up with a marked difference in the hand.”

Nash added that Harden has fully recovered from a strained hamstring that forced him to miss Wednesday’s game. He said Harden has been dealing with pain in the hand for several days and may have aggravated it at Friday’s practice. Brooklyn’s next game is Tuesday at Phoenix, and Harden’s status is uncertain.

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Kyrie Irving had one of his best games of the season Saturday night at Golden State, but his vaccination status continues to be a source of controversy, Lewis adds. San Francisco board supervisor Matt Haney told reporters that Irving shouldn’t have been permitted to play at Chase Center without the vaccine. “Some people are gonna agree and some people are gonna disagree,” Irving said. “He’s entitled to his opinion and I respect it.”
  • LaMarcus Aldridge left the arena on crutches after rolling his ankle late in the game, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “It’s just an ankle sprain,” Aldridge said. “I will be all right. I just can’t walk on it right now.”
  • Rookie Kessler Edwards, who was a long shot to make the Nets’ roster after being drafted in the second round, has been pushed into the starting lineup because of injuries, Lewis adds in a separate story. There were questions about his shot coming out of college, but he has been working with player development coach Kyle Korver and is connecting at 39.3% from beyond the arc. “I thought I’d be good with the shot I had,” Edwards said. “But once they changed (it), once I started hearing different things, I saw that it was working, so I just stuck with it.”

Nets Rumors: Millsap, Brown, Carter, Harris, Claxton, Edwards

Although the Nets are trying to find a new home for veteran forward/center Paul Millsap, they don’t want to just give him away for free or attach an asset to move him, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.

According to Scotto, Brooklyn wants some sort of asset in exchange for Millsap, such as a veteran who can contribute right away or a future second-round pick. It remains to be seen whether any team will meet that asking price for a player who turns 37 on deadline day and has been ineffective in his limited minutes this season.

Here’s more on the Nets from Scotto:

  • Scotto suggests that Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter are among the other Nets to keep an eye on as possible trade candidates. Brown’s role has fluctuated this season, while Carter has fallen out of the rotation in recent weeks and is believed to be available.
  • Although the Nets have received inquiries on players like Joe Harris and Nic Claxton, they’re unlikely to be moved unless Brooklyn can land an impact player in return, according to Scotto. As we relayed earlier, the Cavaliers are reportedly among the teams with interest in Harris.
  • If the Nets get through the trade deadline with an open roster spot or two, rookie Kessler Edwards will be a strong candidate for a promotion to the 15-man roster, per Scotto. Edwards has started Brooklyn’s last eight games and is averaging over 32 minutes during that stretch, but would be ineligible for the playoffs if he remains on his current two-way contract.

Nets Notes: Irving, Edwards, Trade Deadline

While the Nets would surely prefer to have Kevin Durant on the court, the timing of his knee injury may have been fortuitous for the team. Durant should be back in action well before the playoffs, and in the short term, the team is playing 11 of 14 games on the road, allowing Kyrie Irving to be available most of the time. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes, Irving is welcoming the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities until Durant returns.

“I like the pressure,” Irving said after Wednesday’s win over Washington. “I love pressure. It brings out the best in me personally. And then also I’m able to carry that energy with the team whether it be communicating with guys in short conversations on the floor or off the floor.

“Just trying to demand a responsibility from all of us, from myself first, but from all of us, that this isn’t going to be perfect. It’s not going to ever look perfect. This is just what we have, and we can’t replace anybody that’s out. But what we can do is fill up the stat sheet with the little things that may show up and things that may not show up. We’ll see where we are at the end of the game when we leave it all out there playing hard.”

The first two games on Brooklyn’s current road trip have been Irving’s best of the season so far. Without Durant available, the veteran point guard averaged 28.5 PPG, 8.0 APG, and 5.0 RPG in 37.8 MPG in Cleveland and Washington.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • After playing just 12 total minutes in the Nets’ first 27 games this season, rookie Kessler Edwards has become a regular part of the rotation recently, starting the last five games and averaging 32.7 MPG during that stretch. Brian Lewis of The New York Post explores how Edwards is making the most of his opportunity. Since he’s on a two-way contract, Edwards won’t be eligible to play for Brooklyn during the postseason unless he’s promoted to the 15-man roster at some point.
  • In a story for The Athletic, Alex Schiffer and John Hollinger weighed the Nets’ trade options, considered some potential targets on the buyout market, and took an early look at the team’s free agency situation. The Athletic’s duo believes it could be a pretty quiet deadline for Brooklyn, since the team doesn’t have many expendable trade chips that could be move without sacrificing depth.
  • In case you missed it, the NBA announced earlier today that Irving has been fined $25K for an incident that occurred during Monday’s game in Cleveland. We have the full story here.

COVID-19 Updates: Porzingis, SGA, Garland, Valanciunas, More

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. Denver, the team announced today (via Twitter).

The Mavericks got good news over the weekend, as Luka Doncic was cleared to play for the first time since December 10 and led the team to a win in Oklahoma City on Sunday. But now Porzingis is at risk of missing a few games due to the health and safety protocols, and he’s not the only Mav affected — the club still has four other players in the protocols too.

Here’s more COVID-related news from around the NBA:

  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is no longer in the health and safety protocols, acting head coach Mike Wilks said today (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Gilgeous-Alexander only entered the protocols on Saturday, so he may have registered a false positive test.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, who had been in the COVID-19 protocols since last Tuesday, was able to practice today, per head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (Twitter link via Kelsey Russo of The Athletic).
  • Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas has cleared the protocols and will be available for Monday’s game against Utah, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • Damion Lee and James Wiseman have exited the protocols for the Warriors, per the NBA’s injury report. Wiseman remains sidelined while he recovers from right knee surgery, but Lee is no longer on the injury report at all, and Golden State doesn’t have any players in the protocols.
  • After briefly clearing the protocols, Hornets forward P.J. Washington reentered them on Sunday, according to the team (Twitter link). He’ll miss Monday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball and Alfonzo McKinnie of the Bulls have both exited the health and safety protocols and will be available to play on Monday vs. Orlando, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • Nets rookie Kessler Edwards is no longer in the COVID-19 protocols, according to the NBA’s injury report. Brooklyn was hit hard by an outbreak in December but currently has no players affected.
  • Lakers assistant David Fizdale, who briefly served as the club’s acting head coach during Frank Vogel‘s stint in the protocols, has now entered the protocols himself, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.