Kyle Korver

Southeast Notes: Wizards, M. Williams, Fultz, Krejci, Korver

Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes a look at the Wizards‘ projected depth chart and rotation, predicting that former Nuggets Monte Morris and Will Barton will join Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Kristaps Porzingis in the starting five to open the season.

Assuming Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. decides to roll with a 10-man rotation to open the season, Robbins projects Delon Wright, Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura, and Daniel Gafford to be part of the second unit, with either Corey Kispert or Johnny Davis slotting into the second backcourt spot.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Longtime Hornets forward Marvin Williams has rejoined the franchise in a basketball operations role, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. In his new position, Williams will assist with player programs and with player development off the court, according to Boone.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel spoke to Dr. David Lee, a local orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, to get a sense of how long it might take Magic point guard Markelle Fultz to return from a fractured toe. Lee estimated that Fultz could potentially return to Orlando’s lineup in about four to eight weeks, which would be anywhere from mid-October to mid-November. However, the team hasn’t provided a specific recovery timeline.
  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan liked what he saw from newly added guard Vit Krejci in the 22-year-old’s first practice with the team on Thursday. “He knows how to play,” McMillan said, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). “I think he has a high basketball IQ. We put him right out there. It was good to see him be available to play and practice with our guys today. So that was exciting.”
  • Although Kyle Korver is technically part of the Hawksfront office and not the coaching staff, he has been working with players – including Clint Capela and Jalen Johnson – on their shooting during training camp, as Williams writes in a full story for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). “I’ve worked with him quite a few times actually,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “Kyle has helped me make a few adjustments in my shot. You know, having him around has helped a lot. He’s been helping a lot of these guys, giving them pointers and things they can work on, so it’s good.”

Kyle Korver Joins Hawks’ Front Office

JULY 20: The hiring of Korver is official, the Hawks confirmed today in a press release. He’ll be involved in creating and overseeing a development plan for each Hawks player, the team explained in its announcement.

“We are excited to bring Kyle back to the Hawks,” Hawks GM Landry Fields said in a statement. “He is a tremendous person and someone whose presence will benefit all of our players, both on and off the court, drawing from his unique experiences over his 17-year playing career, as a late-second round pick who later became an All-Star in Atlanta and one of the league’s all-time best shooters.”


JULY 19: The Hawks are hiring Kyle Korver to a front office position, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Korver will have the title of Director of Player Affairs and Development, per Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

Korver served as a Nets player development coach last season after a lengthy playing career that began in 2003 and ended after the 2019/20 season. He played for six organizations, including the Hawks from 2012-17. He made the All-Star team while playing for Atlanta in 2015.

He’ll work under president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk.

The 51st overall pick in the 2003 draft, Korver appeared in a total of 1,232 regular season games – and another 145 postseason contests – for the Sixers, Jazz, Bulls, Hawks, Cavaliers, and Bucks. He averaged 9.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 25.3 minutes per game and was one of the top long-distance shooters of his era, knocking down 42.9% of his three-pointers during his career.

New York Notes: Harden, Irving, Korver, Knicks, Bullock

Speaking to Malika Andrews of ESPN (video link), Nets guard James Harden reiterated a stance he expressed on Media Day, indicating that he’s willing to be patient in his contract extension talks with the team. Even though he has said he has no desire to go anywhere else, Harden hinted that he may end up waiting another year before locking in a long-term deal with Brooklyn.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve never been a free agent before. I’ve always just been loyal, just signing contract extensions, just being there, being there, being there,” Harden said. “I just want to take my time with it. It’d be a very, very difficult thing to leave here, or to leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But I think this season I just want to focus on winning a championship and everything else will work itself out.”

Based on the structure of his contract and the rules surrounding veteran extensions, Harden is eligible to sign a three-year contract extension up until October 18. Once the season begins, he wouldn’t become eligible to sign a new deal until next offseason, when he could either pick up his 2022/23 player option and sign a four-year extension or turn down the option and sign a five-year contract as a free agent. The opportunity to receive a more lucrative deal a year from now will be a factor Harden considers as he weighs his options.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Some team executives around the NBA have wondered if Kyrie Irving might be placed on the trade block if he refuses to be vaccinated and becomes ineligible to play in the Nets‘ home games this season, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. However, Fischer says several sources with knowledge of the situation “strongly” disputed the idea that either the Nets or Irving will seek a trade. “I’m sure (general manager) Sean Marks and (head coach) Steve Nash aren’t thrilled with the situation, but despite all the s–t that goes on, they still treat him really well there,” one source said to Fischer. “They hear him out. They make the effort to try and communicate with him. That’s why Brooklyn is a special place.”
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic takes a look at the role Kyle Korver will play as a player development coach for the Nets this season.
  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau “lobbied hard” for the team to re-sign Reggie Bullock, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Bullock and Elfrid Payton were big parts of New York’s top-five defense last season, so Thibodeau will be hoping to avoid a significant drop-off with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier taking their spots.
  • Following a second consecutive shortened offseason, the Knicks may benefit from their increased depth, especially if their rookies are ready to contribute right away, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Kyle Korver Joining Nets As Player Development Coach

Kyle Korver, a 17-year NBA veteran, has lined up a deal to join the Nets as a player development coach on Steve Nash‘s staff, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Korver, 40, has yet to announce his retirement, but this move is a pretty clear signal that his playing days are probably over. After spending the 2019/20 season with the Bucks, Korver didn’t play in the NBA in 2020/21, and suggested in February about whether or not he would play in the league again.

The 51st overall pick in the 2003 draft, Korver appeared in a total of 1,232 regular season games – and another 145 postseason contests – for the Sixers, Jazz, Bulls, Hawks, Cavaliers, and Bucks. He averaged 9.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 25.3 minutes per game and was one of the best long-distance shooters of his era, knocking down 42.9% of his three-pointers over the course of his career.

Korver currently ranks fourth on the NBA’s all-time list with 2,450 made three-pointers, though Nets star James Harden (2,445) figures to pass his new coach for that spot early in 2021/22.

Nash’s coaching staff took a hit this offseason when Ime Udoka was hired as Boston’s head coach and Mike D’Antoni stepped down from his assistant role. However, the team has made some noteworthy hires, adding David Vanterpool as an assistant and agreeing to bring aboard Steve Clifford as a coaching consultant.

And-Ones: Korver, Executive Of The Year, Olympics, Bone

Veteran shooting guard Kyle Korver is pondering his playing future after spending 17 straight seasons in the NBA, as relayed by Mark Medina of USA Today.

“I’m not sure. I’ve talked to a few teams about it,” Korver said of a potential return. “Coming out of the bubble, I believe in honoring the game. I believe you honor the season with a good offseason. Coming out of the bubble with the quick turnaround, I didn’t feel I really did that. So I don’t want to cheat the game.

“If I want to go play, I want to go play well. I haven’t signed any paperwork. My wife asks me this question every day. It’s one I have a hard time finding my exact words for. So I haven’t signed paperwork yet. I’ve enjoyed being with my family, and it’s been a challenging season across the board for the league and for the players. But we’ll see. I don’t know.”

Korver also discussed multiple other subjects with Medina, including the Bucks’ walkout in the bubble, the Jacob Blake shooting, and the racial justice movement.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Ariel Pacheco of Basketball Insiders examines the Executive of the Year watch, taking a detailed look into which executives could be under consideration for the award this season. Naturally, Pacheco mentions Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who constructed a championship team last season and is coming off a respectable offseason.
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic explores whether NBA players will be able to represent Team USA at the Summer Olympics. The NBA Finals are set to extend into late July, with a potential Game 7 falling on July 22. Team USA is scheduled to open against France on July 25. “We’d like it if players on the roster could be replaced, even after [the tournament] starts,” managing director Jerry Colangelo said, recognizing the Olympic rules must be changed to allow this. As of right now, it’s unclear who will head to Tokyo on behalf of Team USA.
  • The Delaware Blue Coats (the Sixers‘ G League affiliate) have acquired Jordan Bone and a 2021/22 third-round pick from the Lakeland Magic (Orlando’s G League affiliate), the team announced in a press release. In return, the club sent the returning player rights to J.P. Macura, the returning player rights to Doral Moore and a 2021-22 second-round pick. Bone was most recently on a two-way contract with the Magic.

Jrue Holiday Wins Teammate Of The Year Award

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has been named the winner of the NBA’s 2019/20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the league announced today in a press release.

The award, which was voted on by more than 250 NBA players, recognizes the player deemed to be the best teammate based on “selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.” Mike Conley, Jamal Crawford, Dirk Nowitzki, and Vince Carter have each won the award during the past few years.

One of 12 players nominated by a panel of league executives for this year’s award, Holiday was the leading vote-getter among those dozen players, receiving 53 of 267 possible first-place votes. He beat out runners-up Tobias Harris and Kyle Korver for the honor. The full voting results can be found right here.

Holiday averaged 19.1 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.6 SPG with a .455/.353/.709 shooting line in 61 games (34.7 MPG) for the Pelicans in 2019/20. He announced in July that he would be putting his game checks from the summer restart toward the Jrue and Lauren Social Justice Impact Fund, a fund dedicated to helping communities in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles area.

New Orleans’ front office will face a decision on Holiday’s future within the next year or so. He holds a player option for the 2021/22 season, meaning he may be entering a contract year in ’20/21. The Pelicans will have to determine whether it makes sense to consider trading the veteran guard in advance of his free agency or whether they’re committed to trying to keep him long-term.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Budenholzer, Offseason, Korver

Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo badly wanted to play in Game 5 on Tuesday night despite his right ankle sprain, expressing a willingness to play on one leg. However, as Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, the Bucks prioritized Antetokounmpo’s health over any potential short-term gain, and the reigning MVP appreciates the decision to protect him.

“We have people in the team sometimes that have a bigger say than you and they have to protect you,” Antetokounmpo said. “They have to protect your health no matter what and it’s good. There’s a lot of cases, previous cases in the past that put the team over the player’s health and I love my organization for that, I appreciate that they protected me.

“… I wanted to play. Everybody – you know I wanted to play, I know I wanted to play, my coach knows I wanted to play, but at the end of the day, our organization put my health over Game 5 and that’s big for me.”

With the Bucks’ season now over, all eyes will be on Antetokounmpo’s future. As we detailed late on Tuesday night, Giannis has already said he won’t ask to be traded, but we still don’t know whether or not he’ll sign a super-max extension when the club offers it this fall.

Passing on that extension would result in all sorts of Giannis-related trade speculation, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. However, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) outlines, it’s possible Antetokounmpo may prefer to wait on finalizing an extension even if he wants to remain with the Bucks. The same deal – a five-year max with the Bucks worth 35% of the cap and beginning in 2021/22 – would be available for Giannis during the 2021 offseason.

For now, teams are projecting no salary cap increase for the next couple years, per Marks. But by the ’21 offseason, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks would have a better idea of the cap outlook going forward. It’s possible at that time that the Defensive Player of the Year would want to sign a shorter-term contract to maintain flexibility and to potentially capitalize on a cap increase down the road by waiting to lock in a longer-term contract.

Here’s more on Giannis and the Bucks:

  • Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to a pair of GMs, two team executives, and a scout about the Bucks’ outlook, including Giannis’ future, Mike Budenholzer‘s status, and the rest of the club’s roster. The consensus among Scotto’s sources is that it’s hard to read too much into bubble results and that Milwaukee shouldn’t be in a rush to make major changes. “I think they’re good enough to win,” an Eastern Conference GM said. “We definitely overreact to certain things. They’re a contending championship team. It’s like OKC back in the day. Play it out. If Giannis leaves, he leaves. His brother is on the team, for crying out loud.”
  • Another Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Scotto offered the following assessment: “If it were my decision, I think you run it back next year with the same squad. I think over the summer, Giannis will learn to extend past the 3-point line consistently. Then, if things aren’t looking good at the deadline next year, you see what you can get for (Khris) Middleton, (Eric) Bledsoe, (Donte) DiVincenzo.”
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic isn’t convinced that Budenholzer’s coaching style is destined to fail in the postseason. Hollinger concedes that the Bucks head coach made some mistakes against Miami, but contends that a bad matchup and some bad luck largely contributed to the club’s early playoff exit.
  • Veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, whose contract with the Bucks is expiring, told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he’ll talk to his family before making a decision on his NBA future. His teammate Marvin Williams announced on Tuesday night that he has decided to retire, but it’s not clear if the 39-year-old Korver will follow suit.

Restart Notes: Howard, Lillard, Ranadive, Korver

In a statement sent to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Lakers center Dwight Howard said that the players’ coalition expressing concerns with the NBA’s Orlando restart plan isn’t looking to derail the resumption of the season.

“Our main objective is to raise awareness and gain transparency on the things that concern us collectively,” Howard said. “Many of our fellow players are afraid to voice their concerns and are continuing to follow along with what they believe they have to.

“… In a time like this where we are fighting for equal rights, it would be contradictory if we told our own players to not play and do as we say,” Howard continued. “We are not here to dictate, nor do we have the power to do so. We want to make sure communication is taking place openly without fear. … If any one of us chooses to sit, it has nothing to do with another player’s right to play. Not once has any of us told one of our fellow brethren not to go to the Orlando Bubble Experiment and we stressed that in our meetings.”

A report earlier this week indicated that Kyrie Irving, who has been one of the leaders of the coalition voicing concerns about the NBA’s restart, has encouraged his Nets teammates not to go to Orlando. Howard’s statement suggests that’s not the case. The veteran big man added that he and other members of the players’ coalition are “in full support of our brothers whether we decide to enter or not enter the Orlando bubble.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s resumption:

  • Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said earlier this week that Irving and Howard “have a point” and that he doesn’t feel “100 percent comfortable” about resuming the season this summer, but that he’s willing to take the risk because of the impact that players’ salvaged salaries can have on their communities. “I can only speak for myself — but I think it goes for other guys as well — we are the financial support for our families and for a lot of our community,” Lillard said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We bring a lot of that financial responsibility to support black businesses in black communities. So it makes a lot of sense for us (to return), from that standpoint.”
  • Even as the positive test rate and total number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to increase, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said this week during a CNBC appearance that he’s confident in the NBA’s return-to-play plan, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. “Statistically, it’s actually going to be safer to be in a bubble in Orlando than to stay home and go to a grocery store, so this has been very well thought through and I feel very confident that we will be in Orlando in a few weeks,” Ranadive said.
  • Bucks forward Kyle Korver said this week during a conversation with Richard Jefferson (video link) that he’d be willing to sit out the restart if his black teammates and friends felt it was the best way to bring about change, as Joe Coles of The Deseret News details.
  • The NBPA issued a press release on Wednesday that discussed a series of social-justice issues and initiatives and noted that the union is considering ideas for how players “can effectively continue their advocacy on the national stage occasioned by the games” in Orlando this summer.

Giannis Played Role In Recruiting Matthews, Korver

Entering the 2019 offseason, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo hadn’t gotten involved much in free agent recruitment, preferring to leave roster moves up to the front office. However, when he found out that Milwaukee was signing-and-trading Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana last summer, he felt as if it was time for him to get involved, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

“I don’t like doing that stuff,” Antetokounmpo said. “I don’t get an extra paycheck for doing (GM) Jon (Horst)’s job or Coach (Mike Budenholzer)’s job or whoever’s job it is. … If you asked me one year ago, two years ago, I’d say, ‘Coach, just take care of it.’ … (But) it comes to a point that I’m like, ‘OK. Malcolm’s about to leave.’ And at the time, Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver were the guys I felt like could help us win.”

Antetokounmpo, who is represented by the same agency as Matthews (Octagon), reached out to the veteran swingman first, pitching him on the idea of competing for a championship in Milwaukee. Matthews had received interest from other teams, but the call from the reigning MVP helped convince him to join the Bucks, as Nehm details.

“It meant a lot,” Matthews said. “Not even just as an athlete, but just as anyone who is working, the admiration of your peers is what holds the most weight. Not writers, not blogs, not media and all that kind of stuff. It’s the guys you’re going to compete with and against to have the respect for you that means the world.”

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo touched base with Korver at a training facility in Santa Barbara. The 38-year-old sharpshooter invited Giannis to work out with him at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the Bucks’ star made another recruitment pitch.

“We start the workout and I’m like, ‘OK. Kyle, look, this is how I can get you open shots,'” Antetokounmpo said. “‘We can run this. We can do this. I know Al Horford is your best friend. I know you’d love playing with Al Horford in Philly, but look, I can (get you shots). I can find you easier.’ He loved it.”

Both Matthews and Korver ultimately signed with the Bucks and they’ve been great fits so far. Matthews has been a regular starter in Milwaukee, averaging 7.5 PPG with a .370 3PT% in 58 games (24.6 MPG), while Korver has recorded 6.4 PPG with a .407 3PT% off the bench in 47 contests (16.6 MPG). They’ve helped push the Bucks to an NBA-best 52-9 record this season and Giannis is thrilled to have them both aboard, as Nehm writes.

“I love my teammates. … I’d die for them,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s who I am and I hope they know that and I think they know that. This is the group that I want to (win a championship) with, and hopefully, we can get it done.”

Western Notes: Russell, D. Green, Korver, Zion

Winter weather played a factor in D’Angelo Russell‘s decision to choose the Warriors over the Timberwolves in free agency this summer, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

The Timberwolves initially appeared to have the upper hand, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, one of Russell’s best friends, and Pablo Prigioni, one of his favorite assistant coaches with the Nets. However, the Warriors swooped in on June 30 with a maximum-salary offer as part of a sign-and-trade involving Kevin Durant.

“I thought the opportunity here was amazing … ” Russell said of the Timberwolves on Friday. “But then when this (Warriors) opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me. … I did my first winter in New York and that was tough. So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors are still months away from getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back, but it appears Draymond Green is ready to return to the lineup. Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets that Green is “trending toward” returning on Monday vs. Utah after missing five games due to a torn ligament and small bone chip in his left index finger.
  • It was an eventful offseason for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was traded from the Jazz to the Grizzlies to the Suns, then was released by Phoenix before signing with Milwaukee. As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune writes, Korver admitted he was surprised by the initial trade out of Utah. “Yeah, definitely caught me off-guard. Like I said, I’ve been traded a few times before — very rarely do you see it coming,” Korver said. “You know, the NBA is a beautiful job for a lot of reasons; living stability is not one of them.”
  • Pelicans fans anxiously awaiting Zion Williamson‘s debut will almost certainly have to wait until at least December, as head coach Alvin Gentry recently confirmed that a November return date would be “ambitious” (Twitter link via Andrew Lopez of ESPN). Williamson, who is recovering from meniscus surgery, said last week that his knee is “getting stronger day by day” and is confident he’ll still have plenty of opportunities to contribute over the course of the 82-game season, writes Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.

Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this post.