Landry Fields

And-Ones: Sotto, Drew League, Hampton, Fields

After a report earlier this week indicated that Kai Sotto, a 7’2″ center from the Philippines, would be joining the G League’s new Select Team, Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed (via Twitter) that Sotto has officially signed his contract with the NBAGL.

Sources tell Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com (Twitter link) that Sotto, who was ranked 51st in 247Sports’ rankings of 2020 recruits, will earn at least $200K on his G League deal. According to the details that have been reported so far, Sotto’s deal won’t as lucrative as the ones for his teammates like Jalen Green and Daishen Nix, but he’ll still be earning far more than the average G League veteran does ($35K).

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

  • The Drew League, a popular pro-am basketball summer league basketball in Los Angeles, has been forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin details. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Chris Paul, and the late Kobe Bryant are among the NBA stars who have taken part in Drew League games in past years.
  • As part of his preparation for the 2020 NBA draft, probable lottery pick RJ Hampton is working with former NBA guard Penny Hardaway, according to John Martin of The Athletic. Hardaway is now the coach of the Memphis Tigers team that Hampton passed on last year to play in Australia’s National Basketball League.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Blake Murphy spoke to former NBA forward Landry Fields about his disappointing stint with the Raptors and the health issues that derailed his NBA career, as well as the opportunity he has received in the Spurs‘ front office. Fields was named the general manager of San Antonio’s G League affiliate last September.

Spurs Name Landry Fields GM Of NBAGL Affiliate

The Spurs have announced a series of changes to their coaching staff and basketball operations staff, issuing a press release to confirm the moves. Most notably, former NBA swingman Landry Fields, who joined the franchise as a scout in 2016, has been promoted to general manager of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate.

Fields, a member of the NBA’s 2010/11 All-Rookie squad, is still just 31 years old, having played his last game in the NBA as a 26-year-old in 2014/15. The former Knick and Raptor has spent the last three years as a college scout for San Antonio and will now have the opportunity to take on a greater role within the organization. He’ll be joined by Tyler Self, Austin’s new assistant GM.

Dave Telep (director of player personnel), Phil Cullen (director of basketball operations and innovation), and Adam Glessner (senior director of basketball intelligence) are among the Spurs’ other basketball operations executives who have earned new titles.

On the coaching side, Mitch Johnson has been promoted to an assistant coach role, while former NBA big man Darius Songaila has been named a player development assistant. They’ll join Gregg Popovich‘s new-look staff, which no longer features veteran assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina.

Spurs Hire Monty Williams, Landry Fields

The Spurs have added former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams to their basketball operations staff, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, Williams will take on the role of vice president of basketball operations.

Within today’s announcement, the Spurs also confirmed several other hires and promotions, and one of the most notable names is a player who has only been away from the NBA for one year. San Antonio has hired former Knicks and Raptors swingman Landry Fields as a college scout, per the team’s press release.

In addition to hiring Williams and Fields, the Spurs also named Brian Wright the club’s assistant general manager, Andy Birdsong as the director of pro player personnel and the GM of the D-League’s Austin Spurs, Pat Sund as a pro personnel scount and Austin’s assistant GM, and Will Hardy as an assistant coach.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported back in July that Williams had a standing job offer from the Spurs, though it wasn’t known at the time what sort of role the team envisioned for him. Williams was an assistant with the Thunder last season, but took a leave of absence in February when his wife, Ingrid, was killed in a car crash. Before joining Oklahoma City’s staff, he spent five seasons as head coach in New Orleans, compiling a 173-221 record. He also spent time as a Spurs player under Gregg Popovich from 1996 to 1998, and was a coaching intern with the team in 2004/05.

When Stein first reported the Spurs’ offer to Williams, he noted that the longtime coach had received similar offers from other organizations, including the Thunder, and that he “absolutely” wants to become an NBA head coach again. However, as Stein pointed out, Williams’ in-laws live in San Antonio and have been helping to care for his five children, making that an ideal landing spot for now.

As for Fields, we heard last September that he would be sidelined for most of the 2015/16 campaign with a hip injury. His on-court production had also declined significantly, so it’s no surprise he didn’t land with a team at all last season. It’s not clear whether he has decided to transition into the next stage of his career, or if he’d still consider a comeback at some point.

A recent report indicated that many people within the Spurs organization expect Tim Duncan to take on a full-time role with the team at some point, but if that’s going to happen, it will likely happen down the road — Duncan wasn’t mentioned at all in today’s announcement.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Landry Fields Out Five Months With Hip Injury

12:oopm: Wojnarowski’s full story says Landry “will miss five months of the season.” That would suggest that he’ll be out longer than simply five months from now. If the timetable is five months from the start of the regular season, he’d be on track to return in late March.

11:45am: Landry Fields will miss five months after having labrum surgery on his hip, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). It’s unclear which hip is the trouble spot. The injury might explain why the swingman has remained in free agency seemingly with few nibbles from NBA teams. The Knicks, who were the original team for the 27-year-old out of Stanford, reportedly reached out to him on the first day of free agency, but rumors about him have since been lacking.

Fields is coming off a season of career lows with the Raptors, with whom he never carved out the consistent sort of role he enjoyed in New York, where he was a starter for all but five games during his two seasons there. The former 39th overall pick signed with Toronto in 2012 on a three-year, $18.75MM offer sheet that the Knicks declined to match. The Raptors renounced their rights to Fields in July, so they couldn’t re-sign him for more than the minimum if they want him back.

A five-month timetable would have the Chris Emens client on track to return in February, shortly before the All-Star break and the trade deadline. Teams often shy away from making free agent additions as those events draw near, but the market grows fertile again toward the end of February once the deadline, set for February 18th this year, has passed.

Do you think Fields will find an NBA deal this season once he’s healthy? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Atlantic Notes: Love, Fields, Lin, Bass

The Celtics would have been bigger contenders to land Kevin Love if the team’s roster wasn’t stocked with still developing players, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “Look, Kevin’s first choice is to stay with Cleveland, and I have no doubt that’s going to get worked out,” a source close to Love said. “But I think Kevin’s liked Boston for a while as a place to play. If their roster was more ready to win right now, maybe there’s a chance we’re having a different conversation. And maybe he’d be going back to Cleveland no matter what. All I know is that a lot of teams wanted in on him, and Boston was one of the only ones he spoke to.” Love announced his intention to return to the Cavaliers earlier today.

With the free agent signing period now officially underway, here’s the latest rumblings out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks have reached out to swingman Landry Fields, who is an unrestricted free agent, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays (Twitter link).
  • New York has also expressed interest in 2014/15 Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, who is an unrestricted free agent, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
  • Free agent point guard Jeremy Lin was contacted by the Knicks, who need to add backcourt depth this summer, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Lakers, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Pacers, Bulls and Clippers have also shown interest in Lin’s services.
  • The Celtics still aren’t sure if they will re-sign Brandon Bass, but did contact the forward today to let him know the team hasn’t forgotten him, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe writes (Twitter link).
  • The Knicks have been in contact with forward Lance Thomas regarding a return to the team, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays (via Twitter). The Spurs and Nets have also expressed interest in the 27-year-old, Begley adds.
  • There is mutual interest between free agent forward Thomas Robinson and the Nets, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily tweets.
  • The Knicks have expressed interest in K.J. McDaniels, who is a restricted free agent, so the Rockets would have an opportunity to match any offer sheet the forward were to sign, Begley relays (on Twitter).
  • Members of New York’s front office will meet with free agent center Robin Lopez in Los Angeles this week, Begley tweets.
  • The Knicks are among the teams interested in guard Wayne Ellington, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News notes (Twitter link). Also interested in the 27-year-old are the the Cavaliers, Warriors, Wizards, Spurs and Hawks.
  • The Knicks were prepared to offer DeMarre Carroll a similar deal to the four-year, $60MM arrangement he reached with the Raptors, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports (Twitter link). Carroll felt that Toronto’s long-term outlook was better than New York’s, Zillgitt adds.

Atlantic Notes: Casey, Knicks, Lopez

Dwane Casey will probably return as Raptors head coach next season even though the team got swept by the underdog Wizards in the playoffs, Eric Koreen of The National Post opines. Casey has one guaranteed year remaining on his contract and Koreen anticipates the team’s management will give him another chance unless a proven coach that GM Masai Ujiri likes, such as the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, becomes available. The Raptors will likely cut ties with all of their unrestricted free agents, a list that includes Landry Fields, Amir Johnson, Greg Stiemsma, Tyler Hansbrough, Chuck Hayes and Lou Williams, according to Koreen. The Raptors need to upgrade at the forward spots and improve defensively to become a serious contender, which is why no one on the roster is a lock to return next season, Koreen concludes.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks need more veteran leaders in their locker room even if Carmelo Anthony becomes more of a vocal leader next season, according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York. The Knicks had several of those players, including Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, in 2013/14 when they won 54 games, Begley points out. David West might fit that description if the Pacers forward declines his $12.6MM player option for next season, Begley adds.
  • Brook Lopez‘s strong finish makes his decision on whether to exercise his $16.7MM player option for next season a difficult one, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com reports. It might be wise for the Nets center to opt out and seek long-term security this summer, given his rising stock and injury history, Scotto continues. On the flip side, Lopez might be competing for offers with a number of other high-profile centers who will enter the market this summer, including Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler and Omer Asik, Scotto adds. One GM who thinks Lopez would put himself at too much risk for injury if he opts in tells Scotto that he believes the center would merit salaries around $16MM on the open market, essentially mirroring the value of his option.
  • Luigi Datome made a point of praising the Celtics on his Facebook page Monday, Braden Campbell of Boston.com reports, a strong indicator he hopes Boston will re-sign him. Datome, who will be unrestricted free agent this summer, was dealt to the Celtics by the Pistons at the trade deadline. Datome, who praised everyone from the team’s management to arena workers, added in the Facebook post that he would value every proposal that comes his way this summer. He probably won’t get one from Boston, since Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has already expressed doubt that the team would have a roster spot available for Datome next season.

Raptors Sign James Johnson

JULY 17TH: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.

JULY 10TH: 10:10am: The deal is fully guaranteed, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link).

8:40am: The Raptors and James Johnson have reached agreement on a two-year deal, reports Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. The value of the contract will be $5MM, according to Smith, though Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun believes it might be for slightly more (Twitter link). The Raptors are using part of their mid-level exception on the Mark Bartelstein client, Wolstat adds in the same tweet.

Johnson revived his NBA career after signing with the Grizzlies in December, proving a useful reserve as he averaged 7.4 points in 18.4 minutes per game. The five-year NBA veteran previously spent parts of two seasons with the Raptors, though that was during the regime of former GM Bryan Colangelo. The 27-year-old spurns the Rockets, who were reportedly set to meet with him earlier this month, as well as the Jazz, who also had interest, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. The Grizzlies had apparently been split on whether to bring him back.

The move largely brings a close to Toronto’s major free agent expenditures, as Smith writes, after previous agreements with Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez. The Raptors wouldn’t mind trying to find a trade partner willing to take on Chuck Hayes or Landry Fields if they could net younger versions of those players in return, but the club probably won’t make any trades until the leaguewide free agency rush passes, Smith writes. The move also likely squeezes out Dwight Buycks, who’s on a non-guaranteed contract, and probably ends any chance that the Raptors would sign Andray Blatche or Ed Davis, according to Smith.

Raptors Rumors: DeRozan, Lowry, Ross

Zach Lowe’s final Grantland piece of 2013 kicks off with an extended look at the rebuilding Raptors, who are a surprising 7-3 since sending Rudy Gay to Sacramento. The hot stretch, which has vaulted Toronto into first place in a weak Atlantic Division, has created a whole new set of questions about whether or not the team will continue to sell off pieces. Lowe spoke to GM Masai Ujiri, coach Dwane Casey, and DeMar DeRozan about that subject and more in his piece, which is worth reading in full. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • While there have been rumblings that the Raptors would at least gauge the trade market for DeRozan, Lowe writes that the team seems to be growing more comfortable with the idea of the 24-year-old as a long-term core piece.
  • The market for Kyle Lowry hasn’t been as robust as the club may have anticipated, and Lowe runs down several reasons why specific suitors haven’t gotten too involved. One potential fit, the Heat, would “love a shot” at Lowry, but has little to offer.
  • If the Raptors’ success continues and the team appears to have a real shot at a top-four seed in the East, Terrence Ross could become a trade chip, according to Lowe. Noting that Arron Afflalo played for Ujiri’s team in Denver, Lowe cites several league sources who say that the Magic value Ross highly.
  • Assuming the Raptors did decide to explore any “buy now”-type moves, it’ll be difficult for the team to unload either Landry Fields or Steve Novak in such a deal, says Lowe.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Carmelo, Fields

The New York Post’s Marc Berman (via Twitter) thinks it was a bad sign for C.J. Leslie’s chances of making the Knicks roster after the rookie forward didn’t receive any playing time during tonight’s pre-season game against the Wizards. On the other hand, Berman and Newsday’s Al Iannazzone both made note that Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was particularly pleased with training camp invites Toure Murry and Ike Diogu (Twitter links). It should be noted that Murry and Diogu are playing on non-guaranteed contracts, while Leslie has a partially-guaranteed deal.

Here are some more links to pass along out of the Atlantic Division:

  • ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor writes that unless the Knicks are clearly the best option for a chance to win a ring, Carmelo Anthony would be foolish to not test the waters in free agency next summer. O’Connor argues that opting out would put pressure on GM Steve Mills to come up with a viable championship vision and abandon the idea of relying on J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani as the next best options on offense.
  • Raptors head coach Dwane Casey tells Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that he wants the second unit to be able to increase leads or hold serve when they enter the game, and added that Landry Fields‘ ability to knock down shots – in addition to the other intangibles he brings to the table – would be a huge plus for the team.
  • Casey also had this to say about training camp hopeful Julyan Stone: “He reminds me of a younger Nate McMillan with that long, lanky body that can defend. He showed that he can play,” 
  • Though ESPN had originally reported that Allen Iverson plans to officially announce his retirement before the 76ers host the Heat in their home opener, a team spokesperson could not confirm the report (Tom Moore of Bucks County Courier Times).

Atlantic Notes: Bargnani, Pietrus, Celtics, Felton

Following blowout losses in Golden State and Denver, the Knicks' current five-game road trip managed to get even worse when Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler left last night's game against the Nuggets with knee injuries. While Chandler downplayed the severity of his left knee contusion and could play tonight, Anthony will head back to New York to get his troublesome right knee drained. Here's more out of the Atlantic Division: