Marquese Chriss

Pacific Notes: CP3, Suns, Clippers, Ibaka, Morris, Warriors

At age 35, Chris Paul is more than a decade older than Suns cornerstone players Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. However, the star point guard doesn’t plan to simply be the veteran mentor on a young Phoenix roster — he made it clear during his first media session this week that he also wants to help the team get back to the postseason, as Royce Young of ESPN writes.

“Everyone always talks about what I can teach (Booker) or teach some of these other guys, but they’re teaching me at the same time too,” Paul said. “I’m not James Naismith by no means. First things first, I’m not just coming in here trying to teach everybody. I’m his teammate. We’re here to hoop, we’re here to compete and that’s how I approach this.”

Meanwhile, Booker and Ayton are excited by the opportunity to team up with a 10-time All-Star like Paul, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, who says both players were shocked when they first heard about the trade bringing CP3 to Phoenix.

“I wanted to do a backflip,” Ayton said. “You ever seen a seven-footer do a backflip? OK. That’s how excited I was.”

Besides getting an opportunity to play with up-and-coming stars like Booker and Ayton, Paul is looking forward to reuniting with head coach Monty Williams, whom he played for in New Orleans for a single season 10 years ago. Williams said this week that he thinks both he and Paul have “grown a lot” in the last decade.

“I think we both were really headstrong, too, back then,” Williams said, according to Young. “I was walking around like a dictator ready to cut somebody’s head off, trying to implement my way and my program. I don’t think I was really good at allowing him to do what the great ones do. There were times I felt like I took the paintbrush out of (Paul’s) hand.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After chemistry issues helped sink the Clippers last season, head coach Tyronn Lue is confident he’ll be able to hold players accountable in his new role by always being blunt and honest, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “What I learned from Brian Shaw a long time ago was always tell the truth, whether they like it or not,” Lue said. “Even (back in his playing days) with Kobe and Shaq, just telling those guys the truth. They might not like it, but they respect it.”
  • Serge Ibaka‘s friendship with Kawhi Leonard was a factor in his decision to join the Clippers in free agency, he said on Thursday, as Swanson relays in a separate O.C. Register story. “One thing about me and Kawhi is like, there is no ego in our friendship,” Ibaka said. “… I know who he is and he knows as a teammate what I can do for him, for the team and it is make things smoother and easier.”
  • Lakers forward Markieff Morris said this week that rumors last month about him potentially teaming up with twin brother Marcus Morris for the Clippers were “just talk,” per Swanson. “They were just trying to scare Lakers fans,” Markieff said.
  • Warriors big man Marquese Chriss is confident that there will be plenty of minutes at center to go around around for him, Kevon Looney, and No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman, as Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area details.

Pacific Notes: Chriss, Bogdanovic, Kings Draft, Lue

Warriors big man Marquese Chriss could see his role expand offensively as a passer, Anthony Slater of The Athletic speculates. Chriss showed off his versatility and vision during a recent intrasquad scrimmage. Alen Smailagić doesn’t seem ready to break into the team’s rotation and he’s destined to spend another season in the G League, Slater adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Hawks, Bucks, Suns and Heat are among the teams that could be interested in Kings free agent swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, in the view of James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. All but Milwaukee have the cap space to hand Bodganovic an attractive offer sheet. With the recent changes in the front office, it’s more uncertain whether Sacramento will match an offer sheet or whether it would rather pursue a sign-and-trade.
  • While the Kings have a quality young point guard in De’Aaron Fox, it’s not out of the question they’ll draft another one with their lottery pick, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes. RJ Hampton, Kira Lewis and Cole Anthony are some of the point guard prospects Sacramento might consider with the No. 12 overall pick.
  • Tyronn Lue has the right track record for a championship contender like the Clippers, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register opines. After winning a title in Cleveland, the new Clippers head coach has already established a track record of cultivating chemistry by holding stars accountable, maximizing role players and making smart strategic moves, Swanson adds.

Warriors Notes: Magnay, Rest Of Season, Draft

Brisbane Bullets big man Will Magnay, who has played in Australia’s NBL since 2017, said this week on the Gibbo Goes One-On-One podcast that the Warriors had interest in him earlier this year, but never formally offered him a 10-day contract.

“The Golden State Warriors had asked the Bullets if they had offered me a 10-day contract, would the Bullets release me,” Magnay said (link via NBL.com.au). “That was the conversation that went down and somehow that news got out. There was never anything on paper, there was interest and whatnot but never anything on paper.”

Magnay, who played his college ball at Tulsa, was named the NBL’s Most Improved Player in 2020 this season. The 21-year-old averaged 8.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 27 games (21.9 MPG) for the Bullets.

Here’s more on Golden State:

  • The Warriors still don’t expect they’ll be part of a resumed NBA season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who notes that it’s unclear whether veteran stars like Stephen Curry and Draymond Green would even suit up if the team does have to play a few regular season games this summer. As Slater explains, Golden State’s focus is on next season and the club would view a resumed 2019/20 campaign as a de facto Summer League.
  • Within that Athletic article, Slater previews the offseason outlook for everyone on the Warriors’ roster, suggesting that Marquese Chriss and Damion Lee will almost certainly receive the rest of their partial guarantees, while Juan Toscano-Anderson, Ky Bowman, and Mychal Mulder (all on non-guaranteed contracts) might end up competing for one or two roster spots.
  • Many of the Warriors’ virtual draft interviews so far have been with non-first round prospects, according to Slater, who says the team is looking to “gain a wide view of the draft landscape.” The Dubs haven’t officially formed a draft board yet, sources tell Slater.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Chriss, Cook, Kings, Clippers

The Warriors are in position to secure a top-five pick in the 2020 NBA draft, and a big man looks like an obvious need for a team projected to start Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the backcourt and Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green in the frontcourt.

However, Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle suggests the Warriors aren’t as high on the likes of James Wiseman and Onyeka Okongwu as you might think. As Letourneau details, Golden State’s system doesn’t require a dynamic scorer or play-maker at the five — the team just wants someone who can reliably play his role.

Marquese Chriss is someone who may fit that bill, given the strides he made in 2019/20 as a rim-runner, passer, and defender. In fact, multiple sources tell Letourneau that the Warriors would be comfortable entering the ’20/21 campaign with Chriss as their starting center. For his part, the former lottery pick says he’s prepared to play whatever role the team asks.

“I’m just thankful to have an organization that believes in me,” Chriss said. “At the end of the day, if (the Warriors) do draft (Wiseman), I know they’re making the best decision that they can for this team and that they feel will be beneficial for us to win a championship. As a team player, I want to win and I want to be a part of the team. Whatever role I have to have to make that happen, I’ll take on.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Lakers guard Quinn Cook has new representation, having signed with Mark Bartelstein and Priority Sports, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal. Cook was previously repped by Tandem.
  • James Ham of NBC Sports California makes a case for why big man Serge Ibaka would be an ideal target for the Kings during the 2020 free agent period.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic identifies some frontcourt free agents the Clippers could target during the offseason if they lose some combination of Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris, and JaMychal Green.
  • In an interview this week with TNT’s Ernie Johnson, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers shared his side of a story J.J. Redick has told before, describing how the club’s deal with Redick in 2013 was nearly scuttled due to then-owner Donald Sterling‘s apparent aversion to white players. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports has the story, with Rivers’ comments.

Lowe’s Latest: McDermott, Finney-Smith, Wood, MCW

Each year, Zach Lowe of ESPN names his “Luke Walton All-Stars,” a group of players who appeared to be borderline NBA players until finding a role – and a team – that suits them. This year’s installment of Lowe’s Luke Walton All-Stars serves as a handful of mini-profiles on his choices and features a number of fascinating tidbits on those players.

For instance, according to Lowe, Doug McDermott – who has been traded four times since being drafted in 2014 – has gotten into the habit of donating clothes to Goodwill as the annual trade deadline approaches to make packing easier in case he gets moved again.

As Lowe details, McDermott was worried a trade to Dallas in February 2018 might be his “last chance” in the NBA, but the sharpshooter credits Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle for helping him play loose and urging him to not hesitate to launch three-pointers. The Mavs wanted to re-sign McDermott in 2018 but didn’t have the cap flexibility to do so, and Carlisle encouraged him to take the Pacers‘ three-year, $22MM offer, Lowe adds.

Lowe’s story is worth checking out in full, but here are a few of the highlights from the piece:

  • The Mavericks had to beat out the Heat and Pelicans to sign Dorian Finney-Smith as an undrafted free agent in 2016, per Lowe. The three-year deal with a $100K guarantee was “probably more than the Mavs wanted to offer,” since Finney-Smith seemed at the time like a long shot to make the regular season roster, but it turned into a great investment.
  • Despite a history of productivity, Pistons big man Christian Wood bounced around the NBA due to reputational concerns, including a perception that he was an unreliable communicator, according to Lowe, who says there was gossip around the NBA about Wood splurging on a Bentley after banking “very little” NBA money. “There is stuff in my background that affected my reputation,” Wood said. “It was never basketball-related.”
  • Earlier in his career, Marquese Chriss was insistent about his preference to play power forward, but the Warriors‘ big man now admits it’s not his ideal position, per Lowe. “I was naive,” Chriss said. “I realize now the skill set I have is better for (center).”
  • Former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams has now adjusted to a much more modest role with the Magic, in which he focuses on playing lockdown defense and “hitting singles” (rather than swinging for the fences) on offense, according to Lowe. “It wasn’t easy,” Carter-Williams said. “I still believe I can do more. But this is part of maturing. Maybe one day I’ll get a bigger role and do what I did in Philadelphia. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’m happy I’m playing.”

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Marquese Chriss, Warriors, 22, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.48MM deal in 2019
The eighth overall pick of the 2016 draft flamed out in Phoenix, Houston and Cleveland, but he’s taken advantage of his opportunity in Golden State. His playing time has gradually increased and so has his production. He averaged 13.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.8 BPG last month; In his first four games this month, he’s posted a stat line of 14.5/10.0/3.8/1.5 in those categories. Golden State has until mid-July to guarantee his $1.824MM salary for next season. That’s a dirt-cheap price for a young rotation big man.

Marcus Morris, Clippers, 30, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $15MM deal in 2019
Morris has jumped right into the Clippers’ rotation since the Knicks traded him. He’s started all 11 games since the deal became official, averaging 28.9 MPG. Unfortunately, Morris seemingly left his jump shot in the Big Apple. He’s made just 37.3% of his field-goal attempts and 26.3% of his 3-point tries with his new team. In the big showdown with the Lakers on Sunday, Morris clanked all nine of his shots. His defensive versatility will keep him in the rotation, but he needs to regain his perimeter touch to stay on the court in crunch time. Otherwise, he may have to drop his price tag this summer.

Quinn Cook, Lakers, 26, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $6MM deal in 2019
Cook was a steady presence with Golden State last season, as he appeared in 74 regular-season games and 17 more in the postseason. He’s gotten lost in the shuffle with the Lakers. He’s the de facto No. 4 point guard behind Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso, and has only played 22 minutes since the All-Star break. Cook is a solid 3-point shooter — 41.2% for his career — which would make him a valuable reserve on many rosters. The Lakers have until June 29 to guarantee Cook’s $3MM salary for next season. It seems likely he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, despite a $1MM partial guarantee.

Frank Kaminsky, Suns, 26, PF (Down) – Signed to two-year, $9.77MM deal in 2019
Kaminsky was in and out of Charlotte’s rotation last season, but he got a chance to reboot his career in Phoenix. The early returns were promising — he had four 20-point games in December. Shortly after Christmas, Kaminsky suffered a stress fracture in his right knee and he hasn’t seen the court again. The team holds a $5MM option on his contract next season. With Dario Saric and Aron Baynes headed to the open market, the Suns will have tough decision to make regarding Kaminsky, since that option must be exercised before free agency begins.

Alex Len, Kings, 26, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $8.5MM deal in 2018
Len has generally been productive since being dealt to Sacramento. He had a double-double in 21 minutes against Oklahoma City, an 8-point, 13-rebound, 5-block performance against Detroit and a 15-point, 7-rebound outing in 15 minutes against Toronto. His playing time will continue to fluctuate in the Kings’ crowded frontcourt. Sacramento’s motivation to acquire him was his expiring contract, but he definitely hasn’t hurt his value since the deal. He’ll head into unrestricted free agency this summer and should be able to hook on with a team seeking another big body to fortify its bench.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Bender, Kings, Lakers, Ayton

After failing to become long-term building blocks in Phoenix, former Suns lottery picks Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender have reunited in Golden State. Bender is only on a 10-day contract for now, but Chriss thinks his former and current frontcourt mate is fitting in nicely with the Warriors, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details.

“I think it’s a good fit for him, especially being around people who believe in you and help you grow,” Chriss said. “I think that’s all he needs.”

Bender’s 10-day contract with the Warriors will expire on Tuesday night, at which time Golden State will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day deal before having to make a decision on a rest-of-season commitment. Bender, who is simply looking to prove he still belongs in the NBA, hopes he’s making a good impression.

“I take it day-by-day,” Bender recently said, per Rankin. “I think there’s always options, but with this team, take it day-by-day and see what happens. Obviously, a great place to be, like I said. Great organization. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, but like I said, take it day-by-day and see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Although the Kings have missed Richaun Holmes over the last two months, they could actually have a logjam at center soon, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. Holmes is reportedly nearing a return, but Harry Giles and Alex Len have played well up front for Sacramento as of late, so it’ll be interesting to see how the team divvies up playing time down the stretch.
  • Despite the fact that Anthony Tolliver was waived by the Kings over the weekend, he and Kent Bazemore helped get the team out of its lowest point of the season in January, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The two recently-acquired veterans told their new teammates in a team meeting that they were better than their record showed. “We were very vocal about the potential here,” Tolliver said. “Coming from Portland and seeing how we played there, and seeing how these guys played here, even though they were losing a lot of games at that point, we were like, ‘You guys are not that far away from winning.'” Sacramento is 11-5 since that motivational pep talk.
  • With a comfortable hold on the top seed in the West, the Lakers are using the final stretch of the season to experiment a little with lineups, says Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. That included starting Alex Caruso when Danny Green missed Saturday’s game with a minor hip injury.
  • Even though he’s not the All-Star and borderline MVP candidate that Luka Doncic is, Deandre Ayton is on an impressive run for the Suns, averaging 20.9 PPG and 12.4 RPG in his last 19 games. Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic makes the case that it wasn’t a mistake for Phoenix to select Ayton first overall in 2018, two spots ahead of Doncic.

Western Notes: Leonard, Beasley, Chriss, Tucker

The All-Star Game provided a glimpse of how dominant the Lakers would have been if Kawhi Leonard had signed with them instead of the Clippers, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times notes. The trio of Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 27 of Team LeBron’s first 30 points.

“I didn’t really go there mentally,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “It was an All-Star game. It’s an exhibition. I had fun with that aspect of it, but I love my Lakers team.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Guard Malik Beasley has been rejuvenated by getting traded to the Timberwolves, Mike Singer of the Denver Post points out. Beasley was a victim of the Nuggets’ depth but he’s now getting steady minutes with Minnesota, which will pump up his value entering restricted free agency. “It’s good to see him have the opportunity and take advantage of it,” former teammate Jamal Murray said.
  • Reclamation projects such as Marquese Chriss are the types of players the Warriors will need to improve their roster, according to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. Chriss can eventually complement the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green by running the floor, finishing at the rim and rebounding, Thompson continues. Chriss has been especially productive since signing a two-year, $2.5MM deal and that’s significant, since the Warriors won’t have salary-cap space to upgrade their roster by many other methods for at least two more seasons, Thompson adds.
  • Former Rockets guard Chris Paul says Houston should give P.J. Tucker a contract extension, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. Tucker, who will earn just under $8MM in the final year of his contract in 2020/21, will be extension-eligible during the offseason. He has been playing center in a very undersized lineup in recent games.

Warriors Notes: Wiggins, Curry, Chriss, Luxury Tax

Andrew Wiggins‘ first game with the Warriors may have eased the doubts from those who wonder if he will be a good fit for the organization, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Acquired Thursday in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, Wiggins posted 24 points and five steals Saturday night. Coming to Golden State gives him a chance to change the arc of his career after five-and-a-half seasons with the Timberwolves.

“We lost a lot in Minnesota,” Wiggins said. “So coming here, being part of a winning culture, it’s different. Losing’s never fun. Being here, you can tell by everyone’s attitude, everyone’s approach, everything that’s everywhere, they’re winners. That’s something I’ve wanted to be my whole career.”

Slater points out that one of the benefits of making the Russell deal now instead of hoping for a better return this summer is that Wiggins has 30 games to adjust to the Warriors’ style of play. Ideally, he will evolve into a new version of Harrison Barnes, who was able to play power forward in brief stretches next to Draymond Green at center.

“A huge part of this trade is we know Andrew is a better positional fit for us than D’Angelo was,” coach Steve Kerr said. “… To be able to get a valuable wing player is not easy. There’s very few of them in the draft according to scouts and very few of them available in free agency. Wings are hard to come by. Just by bringing in a positional fit, a guy who has a lot of talent, I think the move makes sense.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Stephen Curry confirmed on last night’s broadcast that he’s targeting the first week of March to return from his broken hand (video from NBA.com). Curry played just four games before suffering the injury in late October. He called his rehab “a work in progress.”
  • Marquese Chriss gave himself flexibility by signing for two years rather than three, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Chris will be just 24 years old when he becomes a free agent in 2021.
  • After reshaping the roster at the trade deadline, general manager Bob Myers talked about the importance of getting under the luxury tax line for this season (video link from Slater). “To see the numbers of being a repeater the level we would’ve been, the numbers got pretty high,” Myers said. “If we would’ve drafted in top five … the (taxpayer mid-level exception) … the traded player exception, all of a sudden you’re talking high 200 (millions).”

Warriors Sign Marquese Chriss To Two-Year Deal

2:49pm: Chriss’ new deal with the Warriors is now official, according to a press release from the club.

11:25am: The Warriors have reached an agreement to sign Marquese Chriss to a two-year deal, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

A promotion to the 15-man roster for Chriss, who had been on a two-way contract, had been widely expected after Golden State traded more than a third of its roster at the deadline. The Warriors’ deadline deals left them with just nine players on their standard roster. The team has since reached agreements with Ky Bowman (promotion from two-way deal), Juan Toscano-Anderson (standard contract), Zach Norvell (10-day contract), and now Chriss.

A former lottery pick, Chriss earned the Warriors’ final roster spot in the preseason and has averaged 7.9 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 47 contests (18.6 MPG) so far this season.

He briefly reached free agency last month when Golden State waived him before his 2019/20 salary could become fully guaranteed. He returned to the club on a two-way contract within a week and now will be moved back to the standard roster. Details of his new contract aren’t yet known, but it figures to be a minimum-salary deal and probably won’t be fully guaranteed for next season.

Even after completing all their reported signings, the Warriors will still have just 13 players under contract, so another move will be required to reach the NBA-mandated minimum of 14.

With Golden State moving both Bowman and Chriss to the standard roster, the team won’t have any two-way players for the rest of the season, since the deadline to sign players to two-way contracts was January 15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.