Malachi Flynn

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Smart, Simmons, Flynn

James Harden, who is expected to discuss a contract extension with the Nets before the season begins, is changing representation, according to Jordan Schultz of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Schultz reports, Harden is parting ways with agents Jason Ranne and Chafie Fields of Wasserman, who had a hand in facilitating the trade that sent the All-Star guard to the Nets. Harden’s new agent will be his friend and business manager Lorenzo McCloud, according to Schultz, who says the NBPA will have a hand in Harden’s representation as well.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The trade kicker in Marcus Smart‘s new extension with the Celtics will be worth either $1MM or 15% of his remaining contract, whichever is lesser, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Based on the terms of Smart’s deal, $1MM should always be the lesser amount, so that’s the amount of the bonus he’d receive if he’s traded.
  • Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer takes a look at where things stand with Ben Simmons, suggesting that if the Sixers are willing to hang onto the All-Star guard through the offseason rather than trading him, it signals a belief in their culture and development program.
  • After spending his rookie season learning from veteran point guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, Raptors guard Malachi Flynn is prepared to take on a more significant role behind VanVleet in 2021/22, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Flynn would be in line for an even bigger bump in minutes if Toronto ends up trading Goran Dragic.

Raptors Notes: Birch, Trent, Anunoby, Harris, More

Fourth-year center Khem Birch will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, giving him the freedom to sign with any team, but his comments following Sunday’s regular season finale made it sound as if he’d like to stick with the Raptors, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who tweets that Birch said fit is as important as money in free agency.

“I got lucky,” Birch said of his late-season move from the Magic to the Raptors. “If I would’ve stayed in Orlando people probably would’ve thought I’m just a regular bench big who can’t score. I’m fortunate these guys believed in me.”

After averaging 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 188 total games in Orlando (16.5 MPG), Birch put up 11.6 PPG and 7.2 RPG in 18 games (29.8 MPG) with Toronto and didn’t sacrifice efficiency — his field-goal percentage increased to 55.8% despite the fact that he was attempting a career-high 1.6 threes per game as a Raptor.

Here’s more on the Raptors, who missed the postseason for the first time since 2013:

  • As a restricted free agent who was a key trade-deadline acquisition for the Raptors, Gary Trent Jr. is a good bet to remain with the team, though he indicated today that he’s prepared for any scenario. According to Lewenberg (Twitter link), Trent said he understands that the NBA is a business and that – as an RFA – his future isn’t fully in his hands, but said he’d “definitely” be open to being a Raptor going forward.
  • OG Anunoby said that his injured calf is getting better and that he’s looking forward to carrying over his work this season into the summer, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Anunoby missed the final eight games of the season due to that calf issue.
  • With so many regular contributors injured or resting near the end of the season, many of the Raptors’ bench players have had a chance to shine. As Holly MacKenzie writes for the team’s official site, Stanley Johnson and Jalen Harris each established a new career-high for points in a game in the season’s final week (Harris did it twice).
  • Harris and Malachi Flynn didn’t receive a ton of attention this season compared to other members of the 2020/21 rookie class, but both players look like good fits in the Raptors’ culture and could stick around for a while, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

Atlantic Notes: Knox-Ntilikina, Gillespie, Flynn, Thybulle

Recent Knicks lottery picks Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina appear to be fully out of New York’s rotation when it comes to logging meaningful minutes, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The downside of head coach Tom Thibodeau barely using either player, even in light of swingman Alec Burks‘s recent coronavirus-mandated absence, is that neither man has been able to showcase much on-court value to garner much trade traction this offseason.

Despite the players’ limited in-game exposure, teammates have applauded their preparedness. “One thing about those guys is they’re coming in every day, they’re one of the first guys in the gym,’’ Knicks bench big man Taj Gibson said of the two former lottery picks. “At night, when I come back in at night, they’re one of the first faces I see in the gym at night. They’re always ready. They do whatever the team needs.”

“They work extremely hard,” applauded Knicks forward RJ Barrett. “I just saw Kevin out there on the court dripping in sweat getting the work in. When they’ve gotten their opportunity they’ve done extremely well.’’

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • In opting to ink undrafted rookie power forward Freddie Gillespie to a two-year contract after his two 10-day deals with the Raptors expired, the team is clearly buying low on a promising backup prospect, writes Dave Feschuck of the Toronto Star.
  • The promising in-season development of rookie Raptors point guard Malachi Flynn could wind up being a factor in how the franchise evaluates the future of longtime Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. An unrestricted free agent in 2021, Lowry is expected to receive serious interest from contenders. Smith notes that if Flynn continues along his current growth pace heading into the 2021/22 season, the Raptors could be more comfortable moving on from Lowry. “He’s running the team better,” head coach Nick Nurse said of Flynn’s recent play. “He’s play-calling. He’s getting people organized. He’s getting off the ball. He’s getting in the paint. He’s getting to the rim. Those are all additions to the way he started out, I think.”
  • Second-year Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle has played himself into consideration for inclusion on one of the league’s All-Defensive Teams, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite averaging just 20.0 MPG, Thybulle ranks ninth in SPG (1.59), seventh in deflections per game (3.1), and 24th in BPG (1.1). “His length, No. 1, and his ability to close reminds me a lot of [NFL cornerback] Deion Sanders,” head coach Doc Rivers raved. “Deion always gave guys cushions, and [opposing] quarterbacks never threw it because they knew if they did, somehow he would get there.”

NBA G League Announces 2020/21 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year on Monday, Delaware Blue Coats forward Paul Reed – who is on a two-way contract with the Sixers – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Reed was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by MVP runner-up Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, as well as Oklahoma City Blue big man Moses Brown, Lakeland Magic forward Mamadi Diakite, and Westchester Knicks guard Jared Harper. All of those players are currently on either standard NBA contracts or two-way deals.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently under contract with NBA teams or have past NBA experience.

The complete list of the 2020/21 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).


All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Jared Harper (Westchester Knicks) ^

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:


NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Malachi Flynn (Raptors 905) *
  • Brodric Thomas (Canton Charge) ^
  • KJ Martin (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Tahjere McCall (Lakeland Magic)
  • Gary Payton II (Raptors 905)

Of the 18 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Brissett, Uthoff, McCall, and Payton – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’20/21 season began. All four of them have previous NBA experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors’ Starters Siakam, VanVleet Cleared To Practice

The Raptors, who have been decimated by the league’s health and safety protocols, are getting closer to having their team back at full strength.

Starters Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, as well as reserves Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw, have been cleared to practice on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. The Raptors play at Detroit on Wednesday.

That leaves only OG Anunoby remaining under the COVID-19 restrictions. He’s listed as out for Wednesday’s game by the team, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link). VanVleet is listed as doubtful to play, while Siakam, Flynn, McCaw are listed as questionable.

Toronto’s coaching staff, including Nick Nurse, were also placed under those protocols during the week leading up to the All-Star break.

The team’s fortunes have nosedived while playing shorthanded. The Raptors have lost five straight to fall five games below .500.

Injury/Protocol Notes: Reddish, Durant, Thompson, Raptors

Hawks forward Cam Reddish reportedly received a PRP injection earlier this month and was ruled out for at least two weeks at that time, per general manager Travis Schlenk. However, it sounds like Reddish’s absence will extend well beyond that window.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Reddish has an initial recovery timeline of four-to-six weeks following the non-surgical procedure to address his right Achilles soreness. Even if we assume one of those weeks has already passed, it still sounds like we won’t see Reddish back on the court until sometime in April.

Here are a few more updates from around the NBA on players who are injured or in the league’s health and safety protocols:

  • Nets star Kevin Durant is expected to miss another week or two as the team takes a cautious approach to his left hamstring strain, sources tell Charania. Durant has now been on the shelf for over a month, but it hasn’t slowed down Brooklyn at all — the team has won 10 of its last 11 games.
  • As we relayed on Sunday, Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson is aiming to return early next season from his Achilles tear. However, he admitted that he’s not expecting to look like his old self right away. I’ll be honest, I don’t expect to come back balls-to-the-wall, 38 minutes a night, guarding the best player, running around 100 screens,” Thompson said (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). “I’m going to get to that point. I guarantee that. But… it might be 20 minutes to start the season… We’ll see where I’m at. This is usually a 12-month process with the Achilles and that’ll take me to mid-November.”
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse expects his five players in the health and safety protocols – Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw, and Malachi Flynn – to all return at some point this week, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star, who says some of those players are out of quarantine and doing work in the team’s gym.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Barrett, Smart, Rose, Knicks

The Raptors were severely short-handed prior to the All-Star break due to the league’s health and safety protocols and those issues will carry over to this weekend. Starters Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, as well as Patrick McCaw and Malachi Flynn, won’t play against Charlotte on Saturday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. They’re also expected to miss Sunday’s game against Chicago.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks guard RJ Barrett plans to play for Team Canada in the Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets. Barrett is optimistic about Team Canada’s prospects. “We got an All-NBA team,” Barrett said.
  • Marcus Smart‘s return from a calf strain provides the Celtics with more offensive versatility, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. The Celtics can now put four scorers on the floor who can create plays off the dribble. Smart also solves many of the team’s spacing issues with his hard cuts to the basket, Weiss adds.
  • The Knicks, who acquired Derrick Rose last month, will continue to look for upgrades before the trade deadline, coach Tom Thibodeau told Vorkunov and other media members. “I have a strong bias towards good players,” he said. “I know (the front office is) looking at all the possibilities. If something makes sense for us, we’ll do it.” Rose will miss the team’s game against the Thunder on Saturday due to the league’s health and safety protocols, Vorkunov tweets.

And-Ones: Trade Market, Olympics, Draft

Executives and scouts around the NBA view Rockets forward P.J. Tucker as a logical trade target for the Bucks, whose typically stout defense has fallen off a little this season, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report. Tucker’s versatility and defensive ability make him a good fit in just about any system, which would make him an ideal option for a team looking to make a deep playoff run.

The execs and scouts who spoke to Blakely also think that the Nuggets will target a versatile frontcourt player and could see the Suns making a run at Andre Drummond if he reaches the buyout market.

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

Raptors Remain Short-Handed Due To COVID-19

A week off for the All-Star break didn’t resolve the Raptors‘ coronavirus situation, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Fred VanVleetPascal SiakamOG AnunobyMalachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw all remain in the league’s health and safety protocols and won’t be available for Thursday’s game with the Hawks.

Toronto’s issues with the virus began in late February when a member of the coaching staff reportedly tested positive, forcing head coach Nick Nurse and most of his assistants into contact tracing. Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo, who was in quarantine at the time after coaching the Spanish national team, has been filling in as head coach ever since. There’s no update on the status of the coaches, but Lewenberg suggests that more information may be available after practice later today (Twitter link).

Siakam, who returned an inconclusive rapid test at the same time, has been in the protocol for 12 days, Lewenburg adds (via Twitter). The other four players have been sidelined for eight days each.

The Raptors’ February 28 game against the Bulls was postponed because Toronto didn’t have enough eligible players, and a game against the Pistons was rescheduled from March 2 to March 3. Currently in eighth place in the East, the Raptors are 1-2 since their COVID-19 problems began.

Raptors Notes: COVID Absences, Depth, Lowry, Harris

After playing without several key rotation players on Wednesday night vs. Detroit due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Raptors will be missing those same players on Thursday in Boston. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets, the club officially announced that Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw remain in the protocols and have been ruled out for tonight’s game.

Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell, the only starters unaffected by the protocols, combined to score 57 points on 19-of-31 shooting on Wednesday, but the rest of the Raptors contributed just 48 total points on 15-of-46 shooting. Toronto will need more from its supporting cast on Thursday if the club hopes to knock off the Celtics.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While any team would struggle without three of its starters, the Raptors’ blowout loss to the lowly Pistons on Wednesday shone a light on the team’s lack of reliable depth, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. The absences of key players provided a chance for one or two role part-timers to step up and make a case for more minutes, but no one really seized that opportunity, Grange adds.
  • There are compelling reasons both for and against trading Kyle Lowry at the deadline, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who explores the dilemma facing the Raptors and notes that the team is under pressure to get the decision right.
  • The Raptors have reassigned rookie guard Jalen Harris to the Raptors 905 at Walt Disney World after recalling him for Wednesday’s game, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Harris now should have a chance to clear the G League bubble’s quarantine protocols in time to play for Toronto’s affiliate in the NBAGL postseason tournament next week.