Marvin Williams

Central Notes: M. Williams, Carter, Drummond, Giannis

Marvin Williams looked at three Eastern Conference contenders when he started considering a buyout with the Hornets, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Williams thought about playing for the Bucks, Raptors or Celtics, and Milwaukee was the first team to express interest. The move has worked out well as he is playing 17 minutes per night as the primary backup at power forward.

“The easiest thing is actually the basketball aspect,” Williams said about changing teams in midseason for the first time in his 15-year career. “I’m in a new city meeting new people. All new teammates. Once I get out there on the court, it’s still all basketball.”

As the Hornets adopted a youth movement, Williams dropped out of the starting lineup and saw his playing time cut significantly. He will return to Charlotte today for the first time since the buyout and said he is comfortable with his legacy in the city.

“You hear people say you always want to leave something in better shape than when you got it,” Williams said. “I think (the Hornets were) in bad shape when I got there. I want people to remember I tried to do the right things when I was there.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Wendell Carter Jr. plans to talk to Bulls officials about a position change at his postseason exit interview, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago has been using Carter at center, but he played power forward in high school and college and believes he can be more effective in that role in the NBA.
  • Andre Drummond is still adjusting to his new home in Cleveland and hasn’t decided if he wants to make a long-term commitment to the city, notes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Acquired at the trade deadline, the Cavaliers center has a player option for next season and could decide to become a free agent this summer. “I thought coming here I would just figure it out right away, but it’s definitely a culture shock and definitely a change for me,” he said. “Just going to a whole new team and feeling like being drafted again kind of. For me, it’s starting over and trying to learn everything from the ground up again.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo has responded in his back-and-forth with Rockets star James Harden, relays Eric Woodyard of ESPN. After the Bucks star took a couple of verbal swipes at Harden during All-Star Weekend, Harden said in an ESPN interview Friday, “I wish I could be seven feet, run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all.” Antetokounmpo insists he brings much more to the court. “My game is not just power for sure,” he said. “I came in when I was 18, I was 180 pounds, so to power through big guys was kind of tough.”

Eastern Notes: Williams, Kyrie, Raptors

Marvin Williams is making his debut for the Bucks on Wednesday night and ESPN’s Eric Woodyard (Twitter link) passes along the team’s initial plan for the veteran’s first appearance.

“We’re going to play him a little bit and see how it goes,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I’m excited about having him be a part of our group and how he can help us.”

Williams agreed to a buyout with Charlotte last week and inked a deal with Milwaukee over the weekend. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Williams gives the Bucks another viable rotation option, making them an even deeper team, Alex Boeder of NBA.com writes. The former No. 2 overall pick’s shooting from outside should be particularly helpful for Milwaukee.
  • Coach Nick Nurse went on ESPN’s PTI today and was asked about one player behind the Raptors‘ success. Kyle Lowry,” the coach said. “I’ve never seen a guy play harder on the court.”
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link) asked Nets coach Kenny Atkinson if Kyrie Irving will return after the All-Star break and he got an interesting response. “There’s a lot of days and I don’t want to go out and say something that I’d regret later,” Atkinson said. “When we get back, those first couple practices will determine where he is.”

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, B. Brown, Sixers, Kyrie

Celtics guard Kemba Walker, who was teammates with Marvin Williams for five seasons in Charlotte, said he spent several weeks trying to convince the veteran forward to join him in Boston when he was eventually bought out by the Hornets, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. After Williams joined the rival Bucks instead, Walker called up his longtime teammate to congratulate him on his new deal.

He said that he wished he could have gotten to Boston with me, but I’m just happy for him,” the Celtics’ All-Star point guard said, per Himmelsbach. “That’s my guy, man. That’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever been around. That’s my vet. I was upset that we didn’t get the chance to get him, but I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He’s been in the league for a very long time. He works hard. He deserves to be on a winning team.”

The Celtics figure to keep a close eye on the buyout market in the coming weeks, though they’ll have to waive a player from their 15-man roster if they want to bring anyone in.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following last week’s trade deadline, Sixers general manager Elton Brand said he believes in Brett Brown‘s ability to lead the team. However, as Malika Andrews of ESPN writes, the 76ers’ GM stopped short of guaranteeing Brown would keep his job for the rest of the 2019/20 season. “I’m not going to play what-ifs,” Brand said. For what it’s worth, the team was mired in a four-game losing streak at the time of Brand’s comments and is 2-0 since then.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer explores what sort of roles newly-acquired bench pieces Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III will play for the Sixers, suggesting that Robinson may end up with a more defined role.
  • Kyrie Irving‘s right knee sprain will sideline him through the All-Star break, according to Malika Andrew (Twitter link), who says the Nets have ruled out the star point guard for Wednesday’s game vs. Toronto.

Bucks Officially Sign Marvin Williams

The Bucks have made it official with Marvin Williams, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed the veteran forward. Terms of the deal weren’t revealed, but it figures to be a one-year contract worth the prorated veteran’s minimum.

After remaining in Charlotte through the trade deadline, Williams quickly negotiated a buyout with the Hornets, clearing the way for him to join a contending team. Before that buyout with Charlotte was even official, Williams’ camp had lined up a deal with the NBA-leading Bucks, who released little-used big man Dragan Bender in order to create an opening on their 15-man roster.

Williams is unlikely to play major minutes in Milwaukee, but he’ll provide veteran leadership in the locker room and is still capable of playing a three-and-D role off the bench.

The 33-year-old has averaged a career-low 19.7 minutes per game in 41 contests for the Hornets in 2019/20, but has made 37.6% of his three-point attempts, slightly better than his career rate of 36.2%. He also contributed 6.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG in Charlotte this season.

Williams, who is in his 15th NBA season, suggested last month that he may consider retirement at season’s end. Before he seriously weighs that decision, he should get a legit chance to compete for a championship for the first time in his career — he has never made it beyond the second round in any previous postseason.

Williams’ new minimum-salary deal with the Bucks will pay him $956,348 for the final 66 days of the regular season — that’s the exact amount he gave up in his buyout with the Hornets, per Jeff Siegel of the Early Bird Rights (Twitter link). Milwaukee will carry a $604,278 cap hit for Williams.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer noted that Williams will be listed as active for tonight’s game against the Kings but will probably not play, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Matt Velazquez (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Waive Dragan Bender

FEBRUARY 10: The Bucks issued a press release confirming they’ve officially waived Bender. They now have the roster spot necessary to finalize the signing of Williams.

FEBRUARY 8: The Bucks will waive big man Dragan Bender, clearing the way to sign forward Marvin Williams once he completes a buyout with the Hornets, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bender, 22, has appeared in just seven games for Milwaukee this season while bouncing between the G League and the NBA squad. He has seemingly been a candidate to be waived all season since the two-year deal he signed over the summer was initially only partially guaranteed for 2019/20 and non-guaranteed for next season. Because this year’s salary became fully guaranteed last month, Milwaukee will be on the hook for the full $1,678,854 unless he’s claimed on waivers.

The Croatian big man has struggled in the NBA since being drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. After appearing in all 82 games for the Suns during his sophomore campaign, he has struggled to maintain any sort of stable role.

Williams, 33, averaged career-lows in PPG (6.7) and RPG (2.7) while playing a reduced role in Charlotte. He has scored a mere 10 points in his last four games but the veteran remains a capable three-point shooter and perimeter defender. Williams figures to help the Bucks down the stretch as the team pursues the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Heat Notes: Iguodala, Williams, Winslow, Olynyk

As Andre Iguodala remained in limbo for months in Memphis, rumors swirled about where he’d eventually land. When he spoke to Iguodala following his trade to Miami, Sam Amick of The Athletic pointed out that teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets were mentioned more often than the Heat as possible destinations. However, the veteran forward told Amick he was impressed by what he’d seen from the Heat this season.

“I watched them on TV a few times, and they’d been doing so well that they’re on everybody’s radar,” Iguodala said. “Like, ‘Man, these boys can play.’ They’re disciplined, they’re playing the right way, the DNA that’s in the organization, and how they drive the DNA and all the players who come through their system, from seasoned guys to young guys to undrafted guys and all the picks. They’re doing a good job with developing their players.”

A report leading up to the trade deadline suggested that Iguodala may decide to sit out the rest of the season if he wasn’t sent to one of his preferred landing spots, and it wasn’t clear that Miami was on that list. The 36-year-old didn’t confirm one way or the other whether he had to be talked into joining the Heat, but did say that a conversation with team president Pat Riley made him enthusiastic about the move.

“It’s just really getting you excited to play basketball, and getting you excited about what you’re going to do and what you’re bringing to the table,” Iguodala told Amick. “And when someone tells you that this is what you do, and this is what we’ve seen you do historically, and this is what we want you to do for us, it’s like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to do that.’ So that’s always good.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • What can Iguodala bring to the Heat? Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald passes along thoughts from Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Kelly Olynyk, Udonis Haslem, and Jimmy Butler on that subject.
  • The Heat were among several teams to inquire on forward Marvin Williams when he was bought out by Charlotte on Friday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Although Miami missed out on Williams, the team still could be active on the buyout market. Riley said on Friday that the team wouldn’t mind adding a frontcourt player to help with rim protection, if possible.
  • One Heat official told Jackson that Justise Winslow had hoped to have a more prominent role and be one of the faces of the franchise in Miami. Winslow may have more of an opportunity to get that kind of role in Memphis, once he gets healthy.
  • After trading Dion Waiters and James Johnson last week, the Heat can get up to about $27MM in cap room this summer. That number would increase even further if Olynyk declines his $13.2MM player option, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Olynyk hasn’t made that decision yet, suggesting he’ll have to weigh a handful of factors this spring. “I think it’s an accumulation of everything,” he said. “I mean, obviously you want to play. You want to win. You want to get paid. So, yeah, it’s like an accumulation of everything.”

Marvin Williams Finalizes Buyout With Hornets; Plans To Join Bucks

FEBRUARY 8: Williams has finalized his buyout agreement with the Hornets, according to a team press release. As noted below, he’s on track to join the Bucks once he clears waivers on Monday. Bender will be the player released by Milwaukee to make room, as we relayed in a separate story.

FEBRUARY 7: Veteran forward Marvin Williams is nearing a buyout agreement with the Hornets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Williams is planning to sign with the Bucks once he completes the buyout and clears waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Milwaukee has a full roster and would have to waive a player to add Williams. Dragan Bender appears to be the team’s likeliest release candidate.

Williams is making just over $15MM this season in the final year of a four-year, $54.5MM contract. Williams would become a target for several contenders, according to Wojnarowski.

Williams, 33, indicated last month he might retire after the season rather than seek another contract.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve certainly thought about being done,” Williams said at the time. “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 6.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG due to reduced playing time at 19.7 MPG. He’s a capable 3-point shooter (36.2% for his career) as well as a solid perimeter defender. He had an 18-point game last month against Milwaukee but has scored just 10 points in his last four appearances.

Lowe’s Latest: Redick, Bertans, Collins, Drummond, OKC, More

A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.

For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.

The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.

As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.

As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:

  • Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
  • The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
  • The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
  • The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
  • Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
  • A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.

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.”