Marvin Williams

Marvin Williams Considering Retirement

Hornets forward Marvin Williams will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and while he might continue his playing career if he gets an NBA offer he likes, he has given some thought to the idea of retirement, as he tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (subscriber-only).

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve certainly thought about being done,” Williams said earlier this week. “I feel like that’s where I am right now: I could do it or I could not.”

Williams, 33, is averaging a career-low 19.6 minutes per game this season. His 6.9 PPG and 2.6 RPG also represent the worst marks of his 15-year career. Still, the underlying numbers suggest the former No. 2 overall pick can continue to be a capable rotation piece — his shooting line of .454/.377/.886 is strong and he’s a solid perimeter defender.

Whether or not Williams signs a new NBA contract in the summer, he has some ideas about what he’d like his next step to be when he eventually retires as a player.

According to Bonnell, Williams’ best friend is fellow UNC alum Deon Thompson, who has spent his entire professional career playing in overseas leagues, making stops in Greece, Germany, China, Israel, and Spain, among other countries. Thompson’s experience has helped fuel Williams’ interest in international basketball outreach.

“I like the Junior NBA (program) where you are basically a camp counselor all around the world,” Williams said. “Basketball Without Borders, I’ve done a couple of those: I went to Africa and I went to Indonesia. … Any opportunity I get to travel and work with kids? That’s what I would love to do.”

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Clark, Nunn, Fultz

Allowing the contracts of Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to expire, rather than trading those impending free agents, might be the best course of action for the Hornets, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer opines.

The Hornets would have to take back comparable salary unless the team they’re dealing with has a large trade exception. The player or players they take back might have contracts that extend beyond this season and unless they figure into Charlotte’s long term plans, it would not be worth it, Bonnell continues. The Hornets’ players on expiring contracts wouldn’t bring back much more in future assets than a second-round pick anyway, Bonnell adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic forward Gary Clark hopes his defensive skills and rebounding will allow him to stick with the club, as he told David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Clark signed a 10-day contract after getting waived by the Rockets. “Just bringing some energy and knocking down shots. Being versatile defensively, being able to switch on multiple guys if need be, and use my athleticism,” Clark said. “Knocking down shots is one thing, but my activity on the glass on both ends has been solid.”
  • Kendrick Nunn‘s value to the Heat goes beyond his on-court production, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. Nunn is only making $1.4MM this season and $1.6MM next season and the Heat can an extend a low-cost $2.1MM qualifying offer in the summer of 2021 to make him a restricted free agent. He can then be re-signed above the salary cap after luring a quality free agent. That makes his current contract a major bargain by providing the team plenty of cap flexibility.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is pleased that 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has revived his career with the Magic after his struggles in Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic tweets. “From a human standpoint, with complete sincerity, you’re happy for him,” Brown said. “It’s a journey that none of us could have imagined and good for him. Like he didn’t blink, he kept moving forward and I wish him well.”

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southeast Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

This is our third look this season at potential trade candidates in the Southeast, but it remains to be seen how the division’s five teams will approach the trade deadline.

The Heat are in position to buy, but can’t really take on any extra salary due to their hard cap. The Hawks and Wizards are lottery-bound, but might not have many valuable veteran trade chips to sell. The Magic and Hornets, meanwhile, are in a tight race for the No. 8 seed and could still go in either direction.

As we wait to see what the Southeast teams decide, here are three more possible trade candidates from out of the division:

Evan Fournier, G/F
Orlando Magic
$17.2MM cap hit; $17.2MM player option for 2020/21

Fournier has been a solid contributor in Orlando for years, but he has taken his game to the next level so far in 2019/20. His 19.5 PPG and .417 3PT% would be career highs, despite the fact that his MPG (30.9) are as low as they’ve been since 2014/15.

Fournier’s impressive production will create an interesting dilemma for the Magic. He’s the team’s most dynamic scorer, especially on the perimeter, and if he keeps playing this well, he’ll almost certainly opt out at season’s end for longer-term security. Will the Magic be willing to pay to keep him, like they did with Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross?

If the front office is at all uncertain about Fournier’s long-term future in Orlando – or is simply growing concerned about the team’s upside as currently constructed – it would make sense to see what sort of return he could bring back in a trade. While there’s no indication so far that the Magic are seriously considering that possibility yet, executives around the NBA reportedly believe there’s a chance Fournier will be moved this winter.

Justise Winslow, G/F
Miami Heat
$13MM cap hit; $13MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; $13MM team option for 2021/22

The Heat like Winslow and won’t simply attach him to a trade offer this winter as a sweetener. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that he has only played in 10 games this season and Miami hasn’t missed a beat, posting an 18-5 record in the games he has missed.

If the Heat do want to try to add an impact player in a trade before this year’s deadline, Winslow is their most logical trade chip. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are too valuable to move, and the team-friendly contracts for Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson make them keepers too. Miami wouldn’t hesitate to offer a first-round pick for the right player, but due to previous deals, none of the club’s next five first-rounders are trade-eligible.

Winslow, who is still just 23 years old, is a rare asset. His upside gives him the sort of positive trade value that other high-priced veterans like Dion Waiters and James Johnson don’t have, and his $13MM cap hit makes him the sort of useful salary-matching piece that many contending teams lack.

The Heat would probably prefer to keep Winslow if they can, but if they want to upgrade their roster this winter, he might represent the key to doing so.

Marvin Williams, F
Charlotte Hornets
$15MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

A three-and-D veteran like Williams would be an ideal fit for a number of playoff-bound clubs, and a report earlier this month indicated that multiple teams were indeed keeping an eye on the Hornets’ forward.

While Williams’ playing time is down this year, he’s shooting as well as ever, with a career-best 58.3% on two-pointers to go along with 39.8% on three-pointers. And his expiring contract makes him a logical target for teams that prefer to keep future cap sheets clear.

There are just two obstacles standing in the way of a potential deal. For one, Williams’ $15MM cap charge may complicate matters — a non-taxpaying team would need $10MM in outgoing salary to match it, while a taxpaying team would have to send out even more. The second roadblock? The fact that Charlotte remains very much in the playoff hunt.

Despite their unimpressive 13-22 record, the Hornets are just two games out of the No. 8 seed in the East, so it’s a bit early to throw in the towel. I think the front office would still be open to moving Williams for the right offer even if the eighth seed is within reach, but a deal seems more likely if Charlotte slides further down the standings.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fournier Could Be On The Move

Magic swingman Evan Fournier is the player most likely to be moved before the trade deadline, according to an ESPN Insider report from Bobby Marks.

While there’s no indication Fournier is being shopped, a straw poll of NBA executives believe that the Magic will need to start exploring their trade options on the veteran, who is likely to leave $17.2MM on the table and opt out this summer. Orlando is currently battling for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Fournier is enjoying a career year, averaging 19.6 PPG and shooting 42.3% from long range.

Here are more nuggets from the ESPN report:

O’Connor’s Latest: Thunder, Blazers, Love, Iguodala, More

As we relayed earlier this morning, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Rockets have “serious interest” in Timberwolves wing Robert Covington. That tidbit was just one of many in a longer article jam-packed with notes and observations on the NBA’s trade market, so let’s round up some of the other highlights from O’Connor’s piece…

  • As expected, Thunder veterans Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Danilo Gallinari are all available, league sources tell O’Connor. However, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday, Oklahoma City also seems willing to take on bad contracts and unwanted money, according to O’Connor, who hears that getting out of tax territory isn’t necessarily a priority for the club. The Thunder don’t anticipate a major tax bill this season and know they won’t be back over that line in future years, so they’re willing to live with a slightly bigger penalty this season if it means acquiring extra assets.
  • Speaking of Gallinari, the Trail Blazers are expected to pursue the Thunder forward, league sources tell The Ringer. O’Connor also hears that Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love would like to play for his hometown team in Portland.
  • O’Connor identifies the following teams as ones that appear most open to trading late first-round or early second-round draft picks: The Bucks, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Sixers, and Mavericks. Some of those clubs hold other teams’ picks and could dangle those in trade talks. For instance, Milwaukee owns Indiana’s lottery-protected first-rounder; Philadelphia has New York’s and Atlanta’s second-rounders; and Dallas controls Golden State’s second-rounder.
  • League sources tell O’Connor that Davis Bertans (Wizards), Marvin Williams (Hornets), J.J. Redick (Pelicans), and Marcus Morris (Knicks) are among the veterans who are candidates to be dealt before the deadline. Redick likely won’t be moved, but multiple execs believe New Orleans could strongly consider the idea if the right offer comes along.
  • O’Connor hears that there’s “no world” in which the Grizzlies buy out Andre Iguodala. Memphis will trade him — it’s just a matter of when and where, says O’Connor. A source tells The Ringer that the Grizzlies are open to any type of trade package, even if it means taking back a multiyear contract.

Multiple Teams Monitoring Marvin Williams’ Availability

Several teams are monitoring the potential trade availability of Hornets forward Marvin Williams, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Charlotte is carrying a handful of high-priced veterans on expiring contracts, but Williams appears to be the most appealing trade chip in that group. Williams’ cap hit ($15MM) isn’t quite as pricey as Bismack Biyombo‘s ($17MM), and he has been a more reliable contributor in recent years than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($13MM).

After starting 347 of 388 games during his previous five years in Charlotte, Williams is coming off the bench this season. Although his counting stats (7.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG) are modest, he has shot well in 24 games (20.3 MPG), with a career-best .496 FG%, plus a .400 3PT%.

No team is in position to absorb a $15MM salary outright using cap room or a trade exception, so Charlotte would have to take back some money in any trade involving Williams. The 33-year-old doesn’t have significant trade value, but the Hornets could probably acquire an asset for him if they’re willing to take on an unwanted contract or two.

Hornets Notes: Rotation, Williams, Friedman, Rozier

With Kemba Walker no longer on the roster, the Hornets are entering rebuilding mode, and head coach James Borrego has made it clear he’ll prioritize developing the team’s young prospects during the 2019/20 season. Still, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer details, that doesn’t mean that the Hornets’ veteran players won’t have opportunities to play regular roles.

“If I’m going to be a coach who says, ‘Competition is the No. 1 thing on my board,’ then I have to give (veterans) the ability to compete for minutes,” Borrego said. “I’m not strictly handing minutes to young guys. The young guys have to go earn this.”

Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bismack Biyombo are among the high-priced veterans on the Hornets’ roster who could be competing with younger players like Malik Monk, PJ Washington, Miles Bridges, Willy Hernangomez, and Dwayne Bacon for minutes during the 2019/20 season. It’s possible the situation could lead to some frustration over the course of the year, but for now Williams had nothing but praise for the way Borrego is handling things.

“J.B. has been amazing for us older guys. He’s been straightforward with us, he told us the direction he’s going in, and what he wants from us. That’s all you can ask,” Williams said. “We understand the situation. When we get our opportunities, we’ll make the most of it.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • The losses of Walker and veteran guard Tony Parker created something of a leadership void in the Hornets’ locker room, but Borrego believes that Williams is capable of setting an example for his younger teammates, per Bonnell. “One of the biggest things for our young guys is (to think), ‘Look at Marvin, he’s a true pro.’ Marvin checks those boxes every single day. He takes this as his job, as his profession, and there is a pride about his work every single day,” Borrego said. “I’m going to expect him to lead us in that area. He understands that.”
  • In a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer, Bonnell suggests that the Hornets probably shouldn’t expect to net more than a second-round pick if they try to trade a veteran on a pricey expiring contract this season. Biyombo, Williams, and Kidd-Gilchrist are all on expiring deals worth between $13-17MM.
  • The Hornets issued a press release today announcing a series of changes and additions to their basketball operations staff, including Nick Friedman being named a player development coach. Friedman will bounce back and forth between the Hornets and the Greensboro Swarm, accompanying players on G League assignments.
  • Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders explores whether a breakout season is around the corner for new Hornets starting point guard Terry Rozier.

Hornets Notes: Salary, Zeller, Bridges, Bacon

Several high-priced veterans appear destined to remain on the Hornets‘ roster, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte has been trying for some time to find a taker for Nicolas Batum ($25.565MM this year with a $27.13MM player option for 2020/21), Marvin Williams ($15MM expiring deal) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($13MM expiring), but other teams have been reluctant to take on any of those salaries.

Bonnell expects that to continue for another year as GM Mitch Kupchak said he doesn’t foresee any significant roster changes. The team tried to move Williams during the offseason, and Bonnell sees him as the most marketable of the three. He speculates that Kidd-Gilchrist might be open to a buyout if he can’t be traded before the February deadline.

There’s more tonight from Charlotte:

  • Cody Zeller, who is owed nearly a combined $30MM over the next two seasons, is a good bet to finish that contract in Charlotte, Bonnell states in the same story. Zeller has been the Hornets‘ best center when he is healthy, but injuries have limited him to 33 and 49 games over the last two years. Bonnell notes that Willy Hernangomez hasn’t done enough to convince the front office that he could handle the starter’s role if Zeller were to be traded.
  • Among the team’s young core, Miles Bridges and Dwayne Bacon are most likely to have long-term futures in Charlotte, Bonnell adds. He identifies PJ Washington and Devonte’ Graham as two other prospects the organization may decide to hold onto, while Hernangomez and Malik Monk both have something to prove.
  • The Hornets will hire an assistant coach with responsibilities in both the NBA and the G League, Bonnell tweets. The new addition will be in charge of player development and will split time between Charlotte and Greensboro.

Hornets Rumors: Kemba, Vets, Future Plans, McDaniels

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that the team was somewhat blindsided by Kemba Walker earning All-NBA honors and becoming eligible for a super-max contract earlier this year. Although Walker wasn’t demanding the full super-max (approximately $221MM over five years), the gap between what he sought and what Charlotte was willing to offer was too significant to bridge the gap.

“We had great years with him, and we didn’t get into the playoffs,” Kupchak said of the All-Star point guard. “What makes us think that next year (would) be different? I’ve got to step back and look at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Chart out a course that gives us the best chance to build something that is sustainable for more than a year or two.”

The Hornets have faced criticism for not getting what they could for Walker in a pre-deadline trade in February, but Kupchak tells Bonnell that the club was confident in its chances of re-signing Kemba at that point and wasn’t impressed with the offers it received on the trade market.

“Almost every offer revolved around draft picks. It was always lottery-protected,” Kupchak said. “When you do something like that, you’re saying you’re going to draft a player in the teens, we don’t know how good he’s going to be, and it’s going to take three or four years (to realize value). We wanted to keep Kemba — under the right conditions.”

We don’t know the specifics on what the Hornets were offered for Walker, so we’ll take Kupchak at his word that those offers didn’t provide enough value to be worthwhile.

Still, it’s fair to take the front office to task for the assertion that it didn’t see Walker’s All-NBA nod and super-max eligibility coming. The former UConn standout scored 41 points on opening night last fall and played at an elite level all season, singlehandedly keeping Charlotte in the playoff hunt. To claim the team was blindsided by Kemba’s super-max eligibility is either disingenuous or signals a worrisome lack of foresight.

Here’s more from Bonnell on the Hornets:

  • Head coach James Borrego is under no obligation to give significant minutes to Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who will earn a combined $85MM in 2019/20. “I’m not going to coach a team based on contracts, what you’re making, where you were drafted, if you were drafted,” Borrego said. “To me, that’s not my job. My job is to get the most out of them, whether they were drafted or not drafted.”
  • While those veterans will get a chance to compete for roles, Borrego wants to make sure the team’s young prospects play consistent minutes, either in Charlotte or in the G League. “We’re not going to have draft picks on our bench who are just sitting there,” the head coach told Bonnell. “If they’re not playing meaningful minutes for us in Charlotte, I promise you they will be playing minutes in Greensboro.”
  • The Hornets “didn’t even contemplate” using their mid-level exception this offseason, according to Kupchak, who explained to Bonnell that no one in that price range would have “changed the course of this organization.”
  • The Hornets also won’t rely on free agency going forward to reshape their roster, preferring instead to use any future cap flexibility to re-sign young players or to accommodate trades. “Free agent signings, for us, are not something we need to concentrate on going forward. We’re not going to get the ‘Big Fish,'” Kupchak said. “We have to create a culture where those kinds of players would want to come here. And, quite frankly, we’re not there yet. For us to hoard cap room (for that purpose) is not in the best interest of the organization.”
  • In a tweet, Bonnell adds a couple more Hornets-related items, reporting that there’s no indication the club is involved in ongoing trade talks that would jettison a veteran contract. Additionally, Charlotte would like to get unsigned second-rounder Jalen McDaniels locked up in a developmental role, per Bonnell. It sounds like the team’s preference may be for McDaniels to sign a G League contract.

And-Ones: Durant, Westbrook, Stoudemire

Many assume that Kevin Durant will miss the entire 2019/20 season, but it appears that’s not a given quite yet. GM Sean Marks said it’s “too early” to make a definitive timeline on Durant’s Nets debut.

 “A timeline will be given in due time, but as of now, we’re certainly not going to comment on when or if and make any sort of hypotheticals. It’s too early,” Marks said (via Nets Daily).

Durant is familiar with the medical staff in Brooklyn. Dr. Martin O’Malley, a foot and ankle specialist who is the team’s orthopaedic surgeon, performed the surgery to repair Durant’s Achilles. Despite the connection, the former MVP’s decision to join the Nets caught many in the basketball world by surprise, including some within Brooklyn’s front office.

“The Instagram post that he put up [announcing he’d sign with the Nets], we were all sitting in the office. We all got that in real time with you guys. We weren’t even sure if we were getting a meeting that night or if it was going to be a telephone conversation,” Marks said of finding out about Durant’s decision. The GM added that he hadn’t even spoken to Durant’s business partner Rich Kleiman yet.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Magic are unlikely to have interest in Russell Westbrook, Josh Robbins of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). The long-time Thunder point guard is reportedly open to a trade.
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer believes Marvin Williams is the veteran on the Hornets‘ roster most likely to be traded. Williams is making $15MM next season and Bonnell thinks the power forward’s game would mesh well with nearly every roster in the league.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire, who worked out in front of a number of teams this week, is serious about returning to the NBA. “I was never really done,’’ Stoudemire said, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. “I took kind of a sabbatical leave and I went to go learn over in Israel for two and a half years or so. So I went there and when I was still learning, I was able to also play basketball and keep myself in shape. I always stayed in top shape. I didn’t really remove myself too far from being in basketball shape.”