Kessler Edwards

Pacific Notes: Lakers’ Surge, Davis, Edwards, Curry

The Lakers have a chance to reach the .500 mark with a win over the Knicks on Sunday night and excitement within the organization is building, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes.

The Lakers have won seven of their last nine games despite the absence of LeBron James. They beat Toronto on Friday even though Anthony Davis was held to eight points.

“It’s a good thing to see, man,” Davis said. “You sit back and, as I’m watching it, these guys are getting very comfortable. They were playing at a high level last night. And for me, seven shots, five shots, no shots, 20 shots – like, as long as we win, I’m fine, I’m happy.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Davis averaged 33 points in his previous five games but when the Raptors overloaded to him, the upgraded Lakers roster took advantage, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times notes.  That’s the sign of a “smart basketball player,” according to coach Darvin Ham. “He understands what’s working, what’s not working, what’s being given and what’s being taken away. And the way he’s been playing, teams are perked up,” Ham said. “They’re on high, extra alert towards him and his capabilities and what he’s been doing. So, they’re going to put one, two, three guys around him at all times. …  And the way he’s able to navigate all of that and accept what the defense is doing and look for other options… And now, we have a plethora of other options we can go to.”
  • In a subscriber-only story, The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson describes how little-used Kessler Edwards boosted the Kings to the 40th win this season. Edwards had 12 points and seven rebounds against Phoenix on Saturday as Sacramento reached the 40-win mark for the first time since the 2005/06 season. The club holds a $1.9MM option on Edwards’ contract for next season.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo was out with a hand injury but Warriors coach Steve Kerr was still impressed by his team’s overtime win over Milwaukee on Saturday, particularly the performance of his biggest star, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Stephen Curry scored a game-high 36 points, 29 after halftime. “Steph was incredible, and he did against one of the great defenders in the league in Jrue Holiday,” Kerr said. “Jrue is an amazing player, so strong and quick and just never quits on any possession. It’s amazing watching those two guys battle. But Steph is fearless. It doesn’t matter if there’s a slow start or if he hasn’t had much going. He can ignite at any time.”

Trade Rumors: E. Gordon, Tate, Suns, Hyland, Vanderbilt, More

The list of teams interested in Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon has narrowed to a handful of contenders, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, who reports that the Suns and Clippers are among the clubs still in the mix.

Gordon has made his preference for a trade known to the Rockets, but Houston doesn’t plan to deal him just for the sake of it, says Iko. A source close to Gordon tells The Athletic that the veteran isn’t expected to push for a buyout if he’s still a Rocket after the deadline, so the club would be OK hanging onto him. However, if the Rockets get an offer that includes a first-round pick, a promising young player, or a “defensive-minded veteran on team-friendly money,” they’ll likely pull the trigger, Iko writes.

According to Iko, forward Jae’Sean Tate is among the other Rockets players drawing trade interest ahead of Thursday’s deadline. The Suns, Nuggets, Celtics, and Wizards are among the teams eyeing Tate, sources tell The Athletic. However, Houston still values the 27-year-old due in part to his selfless playing style and his attention to detail, per Iko, and would require a strong offer to part with him.

A few teams also inquired on second-year wing Josh Christopher, but those discussions didn’t go far, according to Iko, and the former first-round pick has been playing well as of late, averaging 12.4 PPG on 61.5% shooting in his last five games (18.5 MPG). He sounds likely to stay put in Houston.

Here are more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Multiple league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscriber link) that the Raptors – along with the Pelicans and Timberwolves – have registered interest in Nuggets guard Bones Hyland. Singer has heard from sources that Denver believes it has traction on acquiring a first-round pick for Hyland, though the team would prefer to acquire a win-now player who could immediately step into the rotation. The Nuggets are prioritizing a defensive-minded wing, Singer reiterates.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required) continues to hear from multiple sources that Jazz forward Jarred Vanderbilt is a leading trade target for the Sixers. Jake Fischer reported over the weekend that Philadelphia was interested in Vanderbilt.
  • The Nets sent $2.58MM in cash to the Kings in the Kessler Edwards trade that was completed on Tuesday, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). That money is enough to cover Edwards’ remaining salary for 2022/23 as well as his $1.93MM team option for ’23/24 if Sacramento chooses to pick it up.

Kings Acquire Kessler Edwards From Nets

6:05pm: The trade is now official, the Nets announced in a press release. Brooklyn received the draft rights to David Michineau, who currently plays for Napoli Basket in Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A, to complete the deal.

3:39pm: The Kings and Nets have finalized an agreement, a league source tells James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter links). Ham confirms that Sacramento will end Burton’s 10-day contract a little early to open up a roster spot for Edwards.

2:54am: The Kings and Nets are close to reaching an agreement on a trade that would send forward Kessler Edwards to Sacramento, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), the deal will send Edwards and cash to Sacramento. It’s essentially a salary dump, since moving off Edwards’ minimum-salary contract will save the Nets approximately $8MM in salary and tax money in addition to opening up a roster spot, per Wojnarowski.

As Wojnarowski notes, Edwards must sign off on the trade, since the terms of his deal with Brooklyn give him the ability to veto a trade. He intends to approve it, according to Woj (Twitter link).

The 44th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Edwards signed a two-year contract with the Nets this past offseason after spending his rookie year on a two-way deal that includes a second-year team option. He showed promise in a limited role last season, averaging 5.9 PPG and 3.6 RPG on .412/.353/.842 shooting.

However, Edwards hasn’t seen regular playing time in 2022/23, logging 79 total minutes across 14 contests. He has scored just 15 points on 6-of-24 (25.0%) shooting for the season.

It’s unclear whether Edwards will finish the season with Sacramento. According to Wojnarowski, the club’s plan for now is to give him the opportunity to play for its G League team, the Stockton Kings, but Woj says his future remains “fluid” with two days to go until the trade deadline. It sounds like if Sacramento needs to open a roster spot at the deadline, Edwards would probably be the odd man out.

The Kings technically have a full 15-man roster for now, but one of those spots is occupied by Deonte Burton, who is on a 10-day contract that expires Wednesday night. His deal may be terminated a little early to accommodate the acquisition of Edwards.

As for the Nets, they’ll create a trade exception worth approximately $1.6MM (Edwards’ salary), but the financial savings and the newly opened roster spot will likely end up being more valuable than that exception.

Contract Details: Monk, Bucks, Edwards, Dort, Jones

Malik Monk‘s two-year deal with the Kings is worth approximately $19.42MM in total, with a first-year salary of $9.47MM, Hoops Rumors has learned. While Sacramento used most of the mid-level exception to bring Monk aboard, the team still has $1,017,781 left on the MLE, which is the exact value of the rookie minimum salary.

The Kings didn’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft, so that leftover mid-level money won’t go to a 2022 draftee. But the club may have it earmarked for a player like Sasha Vezenkov, a 2017 second-rounder whose draft rights were acquired from Cleveland last month. Using that leftover mid-level money, Sacramento could offer Vezenkov – or another player – a minimum-salary deal that exceeds two years.

Here are a few more details on recently-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • As expected, Joe Ingles got the full taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.48MM) from the Bucks, while Bobby Portis‘s four-year deal is worth the most he could receive using his Early Bird rights ($48.58MM), Hoops Rumors has learned. Portis’ contract includes a 15% trade kicker and a fourth-year player option.
  • Wesley Matthews‘ new deal with the Bucks is a one-year, minimum-salary contract, while the team used Jevon Carter‘s Non-Bird rights to give him a first-year salary ($2.1MM) worth a little more than his minimum ($1.97MM). Carter’s second-year player option is for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Kessler Edwards‘ two-year deal with the Nets, which features a second-year team option, is – as expected – worth the minimum.
  • Luguentz Dort‘s five-year contract with the Thunder includes a team option in year five and has a total base value of $82.5MM. It can be worth up to $87.5MM if Dort earns $5MM in total unlikely bonuses ($1MM annually), tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
  • Tyus Jones‘ two-year deal with the Grizzlies begins at $15MM and declines to $14MM in 2023/24, per Marks (Twitter link). The deal includes an additional $1MM in unlikely incentives related to the team’s performance, Marks adds.

Nets Re-Sign Kessler Edwards

The Nets have officially signed free agent wing Kessler Edwards to a new multiyear contract, the team announced today in a press release. Exact terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link) reports that it’s a two-year agreement with a second-year team option.

The 44th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Edwards spent most of his rookie year on a two-way contract, then was signed to a standard deal right before the end of the regular season in order to make him playoff-eligible.

Edwards showed promise in his first NBA season, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 48 appearances (20.6 MPG). The former Pepperdine standout posted a .412/.353/.842 shooting line and even made 23 starts when the team’s depth was impacted by injuries and COVID-19.

The Nets declined Edwards’ minimum-salary player option last week in order to give him a qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent. That QO was later rescinded, making him unrestricted, but it appears Brooklyn’s interest in bringing back the former second-round pick never wavered.

The Nets have now signed or agreed to terms with three free agents in the last two days, having also struck deals on Tuesday with forward T.J. Warren and guard Edmond Sumner. The club now projects to have 13 of its 15 standard roster spots filled, though obviously trades involving Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving could change that.

Nets Rumors: Durant, Trade Request, Edwards, Irving

Free agency has stalled as teams wait to see what will happen with Nets star Kevin Durant, but the situation could be resolved when general managers gather this week in Las Vegas for Summer League, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Owner Joe Tsai and GM Sean Marks are making their way through a flood of offers and are focused on getting the best package in return rather than making a quick decision.

The Heat and Suns are reportedly Durant’s preferred destinations, and while Lewis says the Nets are willing to work with Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman on finding the right deal, they won’t be “held hostage” by Durant’s wishes.

The Pelicans and Raptors may provide the best options to trade Durant without having to rely on a third or fourth team to make the deal work, Lewis adds. Both teams have full control of their future draft picks and they have young stars in Brandon Ingram and Scottie Barnes to build a trade package around.

There’s more news from Brooklyn:

  • Durant made his first public comment since his trade request, Lewis states in the same piece, with a tweet on Saturday that read, “The ones who were locked in that gym with me know what it is, they know what I’m about. If u haven’t been in there with me, ask around.” Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated responded with specific questions about Durant’s intentions, but Durant answered, “Keep dreaming robin lmao.”
  • The Nets pulled their qualifying offer to Kessler Edwards this week, but they still have interest in bringing him back, Lewis adds. Brooklyn holds Edwards’ Non-Bird rights and is talking to the 21-year-old forward about a new deal.
  • Other teams have little interest in trading for Kyrie Irving because they know he wants to end up with the Lakers, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Twitter link from Hoop Central). “In talking to league executives over the last couple of hours, the value of Kyrie Irving in a trade has absolutely plummeted,” Windhorst said. “They know he’s going to be a pure rental. If he doesn’t want to go to the situation he is [traded] to, it’s unclear what he’ll do.” 

Nets Rescind Kessler Edwards’ QO, Making Him UFA

The Nets have rescinded their qualifying offer to free agent wing Kessler Edwards, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The move makes Edwards an unrestricted free agent instead of a restricted FA.

The 44th overall pick in the 2021 draft, Edwards spent most of his rookie year on a two-way contract, then was signed to a standard deal right before the end of the regular season in order to make him playoff-eligible.

Edwards showed some promise in his first NBA season, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 48 appearances (20.6 MPG). The former Pepperdine standout posted a .412/.353/.842 shooting line and even made 23 starts when the team’s depth was impacted by injuries and COVID-19.

While the Nets will no longer have the ability to unilaterally match any offer Edwards receives, they still hold his Non-Bird rights and could re-sign him. The club previously declined his minimum-salary player option in order to make him a restricted free agent, signaling that there was interest in a longer-term deal.

Brooklyn’s motives for pulling Edwards’ QO now are unclear, but it’s possible that with Kevin Durant‘s and Kyrie Irving‘s situations still up in the air, the club wanted to maximize its roster flexibility and not risk Edwards accepting his $1,837,966 qualifying offer — doing so would have locked in his salary for 2022/23 and given him the ability to veto a trade through the 2023 deadline.

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.