Marquese Chriss

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.

Pacific Notes: GRIII, Warriors, Kings, Hield

The 2019/20 Warriors haven’t been the contender that Glenn Robinson III may have thought he was joining when he signed with the franchise last summer. However, the injuries that have derailed the team’s season have cleared a path to a major role for Robinson, who has started 44 games and averaged 31.8 minutes per game this season — both are easily career highs. The veteran tells Scott Agness of The Athletic that he’s appreciative of the opportunity he has received in Golden State.

“That 25- to 30-minute range a night, to be able to show what I can do and to showcase my skills and to do it with an organization as great as the Warriors, I think it’s everything I wanted in free agency,” Robinson said.

Robinson, whose 12.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, .470 FG%, and 1.3 3PG are also career bests, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Warriors during the 2019 offseason. That modest deal makes him a candidate to be moved at the trade deadline, but even if he remains in Golden State this season, he’ll have the opportunity to consider offers from other teams this July. As he tells Agness, he wouldn’t mind sticking around beyond this season.

“Hopefully, it can be another great free agency for me and I would love to be back here,” the Warriors’ swingman said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After trading Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas, the Warriors have a chance to take an extended look at Omari Spellman and Marquese Chriss up front, writes Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area. Neither player is really a natural center, but they’re embracing the challenge of handling minutes at the five. “I’ve tried making a role off playing hard and doing the dirty work,” Chriss said. “I’m not the guy who is going to shoot 20 shots and get you 40 points. I’m gonna try and be that guy that is down low and banging, getting rebounds and setting screens.”
  • For the first time since the 2017/18 season, the Kings removed Buddy Hield from their starting lineup over the last two games, starting Bogdan Bogdanovic in his place. It seems safe to assume that experiment will continue for the time being, as Hield scored 63 points and made 14-of-23 three-point attempts in those two games, both Sacramento wins. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic explores how grief from Kobe Bryant‘s death fueled a historic night for Hield on Monday.
  • Replacing Hield with Bogdanovic in the starting lineup gives the Kings‘ first unit stronger ball-handling, play-making, and defense, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. As Anderson points out, head coach Luke Walton said that Hield’s move to the bench isn’t necessarily permanent, but it’s working for now.
  • In case you missed it on Monday evening, the NBA announced that Tuesday’s Lakers/Clippers game has been postponed in the wake of Kobe Bryant‘s death.

Warriors Officially Sign Damion Lee To Three-Year Deal

Damion Lee‘s long-awaited promotion to the Warriors‘ 15-man roster is now official, with the team announcing the move today in a press release.

Lee, who was previously on a two-way contract, signed a new three-year deal with a partial guarantee for the 2020/21 season, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Next season’s partial guarantee will be worth $600K, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

The promotion had been expected since last Tuesday, when the team released Marquese Chriss in order to make room under its hard cap to sign Lee. For his part, Chriss has returned to the team on a two-way contract, essentially swapping places with Lee.

Lee, who is Stephen Curry‘s brother-in-law, has been a regular rotation player all season long for the injury-plagued Warriors, averaging 12.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.3 APG with a solid shooting line of .407/.360/.877 in 26 games (13 starts). The 27-year-old had exhausted the 45-day NBA limit on his two-way deal, but will no longer face those restrictions on his new standard contract.

Golden State has had little financial wiggle room all season long due to its hard cap and will now be approximately $394K below the threshold, according to Marks (Twitter link). Marks notes that the Warriors will be able to sign a 15th man to a rest-of-season contract as of March 4 if no trades or 10-day signings before then affect the club’s cap sheet.

The Warriors were able to sign Lee to a three-year, minimum-salary contract by using their mid-level exception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.