Kirk Goldsberry

And-Ones: Lingering Questions, Ref Vaccinations, Noel, Jenkins, Mathias

The NBA’s summer of player movement may be winding down, but there are still some questions looming over teams. An ESPN panel of insiders looked at some of them on Thursday (before the Lauri MarkkanenLarry NanceDerrick Jones Jr. three team deal broke).

Among the predictions that were made: Nick Friedell believes Damian Lillard will eventually end up with the Knicks, just not in the immediate future; Kirk Goldsberry thinks that J.J. Redick will end up with the Nets; Andrew Lopez predicts Paul Millsap will start the season not on a roster, but will be picked up mid-season.

The crew also looks at which new coaches have the hardest road ahead: Chauncey Billups with the Blazers and Willie Green with the Pelicans each received two votes, while Jason Kidd with the Mavericks received one.

And, of course, the much-discussed Ben SimmonsSixers impasse was the first topic of debate.

We have more news from around the world of hoops:

  • The NBA will require its referees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, barring medical or religious exemptions, the league announced today. A report from ESPN laid out the scope of the policy, including that referees will receive booster shots once those become recommended, and that refs without an approved exemption who aren’t vaccinated will not be eligible to work games.
  • Knicks center Nerlens Noel‘s lawsuit has the potential to change the NBA-agent landscape, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Fischer writes that as opposed to the league’s tampering rules between teams and players, there are no such prohibitions on agents trying to poach clients, and that this unprecedented peek behind the curtain could give the league incentive to put some protections in place.
  • John Jenkins has signed with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque in France, reports Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw (via Twitter). Jenkins played eight seasons in the NBA, averaging 5.0 PPG while shooting 36.7% from three on 319 career attempts. Jenkins recently participated with the Team USA select team as Team USA prepared for their eventual gold medal run.
  • Dakota Mathias has signed with the G League Ignite, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The 26-year-old played eight games for the Sixers as one of their two-way contracts last season, and Scotto reports that several teams have interest in him as a two-way player again this year. Mathias averaged six PPG and 1.6 APG in 15.4 minutes a night for Philadelphia.

Southwest Notes: Dwight, Holiday, Gentry, Spurs

The Rockets have one of the most analytically minded front offices, which has guided them to a perimeter-oriented approach, but Dwight Howard insists the inside-out game isn’t dead, as he tells Sam Amick of USA Today“I feel like that’s a very successful way of playing. I know [the Rockets] have their opinions or whatever,” Howard said. “[But] for the rest of the season, I’m going to make it an effort just to do what they need me to do offensively and defensively, and not focus on what happened back in Orlando [and] what happened in L.A. [with the Lakers] and just put my mind to finishing this season on a real high note.”

Howard, who plans to opt out and become a free agent this summer, is unlikely to remain with the Rockets unless he doesn’t find a max offer or a promise of an increased role in the offense from another team, Amick believes, though Howard is cognizant of his reputation as someone who walks out on franchises and insisted to Amick that he’s worked to become a part of every NBA community he’s been in.

See more:

  • Zach Lowe of ESPN.com suggests the Pelicans and Jazz held at least cursory trade talks involving Jrue Holiday, though the conversation went nowhere, Lowe writes, with New Orleans setting too high a price for the discussion to advance. Lowe suggests the same about Jeff Teague talks between the Jazz and Hawks, though previous reports indicated that Atlanta and Utah didn’t have contact on the Teague front. The ESPN scribe speculated about Holiday and the Jazz before last month’s trade deadline.
  • It’s been a rough season for Alvin Gentry, but players around the league like him, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, who counts it as a plus for the Pelicans‘ recruitment of free agents. The key will be matching free agents with Gentry’s system and vice-versa, contends Deveney, who wonders about the job security of GM Dell Demps.
  • NBA executives flocked to the wisdom of Kirk Goldsberry, who turned an expertise in mapping into a career as a journalist covering NBA advanced metrics, but now the Spurs have his information to themselves, as Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News details. The team hired him earlier this month as its new vice president of strategic research.