Matt Bonner

Southwest Notes: Davis, Motiejunas, Bertans, Bonner

Anthony Davis won’t be leaving New Orleans until at least 2020, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The Celtics may dream of packaging their draft picks and young talent for an elite player, but Davis is apprently not an option. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry made that clear when asked about the possibility before the two teams met Saturday night. “Let me tell you, I learned a long time ago — and this is my 28th year in the league — that you don’t trade great for good, no matter how many you get,” Gentry said. “Having one great player really makes your team better than having three good players. And they’ve proven that. … So we love what we have in him, and it’s just a matter of time. I think if we were healthy, you would see us be a better team anyway, and we’re getting to the point where we are healthy, and we’re playing better basketball.” Davis is in the first season of a five-year, $145MM extension he signed in 2015.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • After signing contracts with the Nets and Rockets last month, Donatas Motiejunas made his season debut Saturday with the Pelicans. He played 20 minutes in a reserve role and contributed 11 points and five rebounds. “He gave us some huge minutes,” Davis told Jim Eichenhofer of “He’s going to continue to get better and find his role in our system.” (Twitter link).
  • With David Lee sidelined by knee problems, Spurs rookie Davis Bertans stepped in with a season-high 21 points in Saturday’s win over the Hornets, relays Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. The Latvian power forward saw 18 minutes of playing time, which was his highest total in more than a month. “It’s basketball,” he said afterward. “I played for many years already. It’s just a regular basketball game.”
  • Coach Gregg Popovich said he was moved by the retirement video posted by longtime Spur Matt Bonner, relays Jeff McDonald of The News-Express. The 12-year veteran spent the past 10 years of his career in San Antonio. “He was a special teammate for everybody,” Popovich said. “He always gave everything that he had every night, every practice. He was a consummate pro. And on top of that, obviously his personality and humor were very much appreciated by all of us. He was super and that’s why it’s great to keep him in the family.” Bonner will begin work as a pregame and postgame analyst on Spurs broadcasts.

And-Ones: Big Men, San Francisco, Designated Veterans

The NBA has changed dramatically over the years, especially within the last five seasons as teams have moved away from banging in the paint in order to field lineups that do more damage than ever beyond the three-point line. Zach Lowe of ESPN wonders if the style shift could endanger traditional big men.

Post-up bigs who can’t shoot threes or defend smaller players — Greg Monroe, Jahlil Okafor, Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter, Nikola Vucevic — have already been relegated to bench roles,” he writes.

In addition to that, other prominent traditional bigs have had to bolster their games with new, modern weapons. Both Brook Lopez and Marc Gasol have significantly increased the amount of threes they shoot, lest they fall behind the times.

The shifting tide is of particular significance to Brett Brown and the Sixers as Joel Embiid comes into his own during his rookie campaign with Philadelphia. Bob Ford of The Inquirer wrote about questions facing the organization as they double down on a young man whose physical makeup conjures memories of a bygone era:

Fortunately for the Philly faithful who’ve trusted the process, Brown has had years to plan for exactly that.

Our sport is a pick-and-roll sport,” Brown tells Ford. “And, at the end of the day, it’s a 1-5 pick-and-roll. So, let’s load up. When it’s nut-cutting time with two minutes left, that’s what matters most. You might say, ‘Joel can’t play with speed.’ Yes, he can. He can play with speed enough.”

Only time will tell how this modern style will evolve over the years, for now it’s a trend worth monitoring as teams across the league scramble to keep up.

Other stories from throughout the NBA:

  • The Warriors may not go through with the rebranding campaign that would have the franchise formally change their name to the San Francisco Warriors, writes Comcast SportsNet’s Monte Poole. Team president Rick Welts recently spoke about the plan. “The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” said Welts.
  • In a chat with readers earlier today, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton stressed how significant he thinks the the new designated veteran player rule will be heading forward. The new rule in the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement will give team’s an unprecedented ability to retain organizational talent. “I would caution that because of the designated veteran player rule, it’s going to be harder to get [great talent] via free agency. The days of signing stars in their prime are close to over,” he said.
  • Though he had previously voiced an interest in playing one more year, Matt Bonner has officially retired from the NBA. Bonner released a satirical video on The Players’ Tribune announcing his decision. Bonner played for the Spurs for the past nine seasons.

Matt Bonner Will “Fight To Play One More Year”

Nearly a month and a half ago, Matt Bonner expressed a desire to continue his NBA playing career, despite the fact that it didn’t look like the Spurs had interest in bringing him back. With training camps right around the corner, Bonner still hasn’t given up on the idea of playing another NBA season, as he tells Ray Duckler of The Concord Monitor.

“I’m going to fight to get into the league,” Bonner said. “I’m going to fight to play one more year. … There’s been interest, but nothing concrete. A lot of teams are like, ‘We like Matt, we just don’t have a roster space right now, but if anything changes, he’s in the mix.’ There’s a long way to go until opening night, so I’m remaining optimistic.”

Bonner, 36, has been a Spur for the last decade, appearing in 726 total regular-season and playoff games with the team during those 10 years. While his PPG average has been mostly on the decline since 2008/09, he’s still extremely accurate from long range — he made 44.1% of his three-point attempts last season, to improve his career mark to 41.4%.

Still, the Spurs don’t appear to have interest in bringing back Bonner, and the veteran big man tells Duckler that the local Celtics aren’t interested either. Bonner is determined to play for as long as he possibly can before calling it a career, but he isn’t sure whether he’d consider playing in a league besides the NBA for the 2016/17 season.

“Wow, you’re asking tough questions,” Bonner said, when Duckler asked if he’d consider playing in Europe. “That’s one of those where I would cross that bridge when I came to it.”

Western Notes: Collison, Williams, Bonner

Kings point guard Darren Collison‘s court date regarding allegations of domestic violence has been pushed back to August 18th, James Ham of relays (via Twitter). Collison was arrested in May after local deputies responded to a report from a woman who said she was being assaulted inside a Northern California home. It remains to be seen if the guard will face discipline from the league for the reported incident. The previous precedent established for what Collison and Sacramento could be facing was when Jeff Taylor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic assault charge back in 2014 and received a 24-game suspension from the NBA as a result.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Being back on the bench coaching during the Olympics has reminded former Thunder assistant Monty Williams how much he loves the game, but he’s still working his way back from the tragedy of losing his wife this past season and he isn’t sure when he’ll return to the NBA sidelines, Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press writes. “I’ll just take it one day at a time. I’m not concerned with where I am in my career, just because the Lord’s always taken care of all that,” Williams said. “My kids right now are the priority and I just want to get back home and make sure they’re in a good spot. Obviously working in the NBA is really important to me, but at the same time there’s a few other things that need to happen for me to get back to that point.”
  • While “nothing is ever 100%,” Matt Bonner acknowledges his time with the Spurs is likely over, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes. San Antonio currently has 14 players with guaranteed contracts and the unrestricted free agent forward has yet to hear from the team regarding next season, McDonald notes. “There’s no hard feelings,” Bonner said. “I’m beyond appreciative of everything the Spurs, the city and the fans have done for me.
  • Wolves rookie point guard Kris Dunn says he’s fully recovered from the concussion he suffered during summer league play and will be ready to go when training camp kicks off, Michael Rand of the Star Tribune relays. “I feel great. I’m back on court. I’m just working to get better for training camp, but I’m definitely back,” Dunn said.

Free Agent Notes: Bonner, O’Bryant, Warriors

After spending the first two seasons of his NBA career in Toronto, sharpshooting big man Matt Bonner has played for the Spurs for the last decade. However, Bonner is not currently under the contract with the team and doesn’t sound overly optimistic about returning to San Antonio for the 2016/17 season (hat tip to Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone).

“Currently they haven’t signed me,” Bonner said of San Antonio, during a segment on Concord News Radio (SoundCloud link). “Unless something changes going into the season, I would probably not be with the Spurs.”

While Bonner may not re-sign with the Spurs, he continues to work out and is hopeful for another opportunity with an NBA team, intending to exhaust every option before moving on to the next stage of his life: “If nothing happens and I know for sure it’s over that I’m not going to be playing again, then I can walk away at peace.”

Here’s more on a few free agents around the league:

  • A second-round pick in the 2014 draft, Johnny O’Bryant was recently waived by the Bucks and finds himself out of work. However, O’Bryant and agent Gerald Collier are optimistic that they’ll find a new home for the young forward as Collier tells Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. “We’re still exploring our options,” Collier said. “There are four or five teams that are showing interest. We want to get a roster spot, a guaranteed deal… Our goal is stay in the league. Johnny has improved in each season he’s been in the NBA and he’s still young; he just turned 23 (on June 1). We have received a lot of positive feedback, so we’re staying patient. We’ll see what happens.”
  • Former Kings big man Donte Greene, a 2008 first-rounder who last played in 2012, is still hoping to get one more shot at an NBA roster, writes Brian Rzeppa of D-League Digest. Greene describes himself as “hungry as ever” as he attempts to get back on the radar of NBA teams. “I’m just older, more mature and smarter,” Greene said. “I was young in Sacramento and I was kind of in college mode with partying and it hurt me, it hurt my reputation in the NBA and I haven’t had the chance to show that I’m older now and more focused and know what it takes to succeed not only in basketball but in life.”
  • In an Insider-only piece, Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi outline their picks for the eight best free agent signings of the NBA offseason. Three of those signings were completed by the Warriors, with Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia, and David West all making the cut. The Suns‘ addition of Jared Dudley and the Raptors‘ signing of Jared Sullinger are among their other picks.

Southwest Rumors: Rockets, Gentile, Gee, Dirk

Italian wing Alessandro Gentile, whose NBA rights are held by the Rockets, is very interested in making the leap to the NBA this year now that Mike D’Antoni is the new head coach in Houston, as he tells Adrian Wojnarwoski of The Vertical. “My goal is to play in the NBA next year,” Gentile told The Vertical. “I really hope this can happen. For me, Mike D’Antoni is like a legend in Italian basketball, an example for everyone. For him to coach me would be very, very nice.”

While the Rockets have “significant interest” in signing Gentile, according to Wojnarowski, the team may wait to see what happens at the start of July’s free agent period before negotiating a deal with the 23-year-old. It’s also possible that Houston could trade his rights, if the team “becomes hesitant or financially unwilling” to lock him up — in that scenario, Gentile would still want to come stateside. “My dream is that I want to play in Houston with Mike D’Antoni,” Gentile said. “If that’s not possible, my goal is to still play in the NBA next year.”

Here’s more from out of the Southwest:

  • The Rockets don’t have a first-round draft pick this year, but general manager Daryl Morey thinks they should be able to get back into the first round if they want to. “I think it will be pretty easy to trade (our) picks into the first this year,” Morey tells Calvin Watkins of “There are four teams that have almost half the draft in the first round, and none of them wants to use their pick to trade. Trading in will be easy.” On Monday, we looked at the five teams that control 14 of this year’s 30 first-round picks.
  • The deadline for Alonzo Gee to make his decision on his player option for 2016/17 had previously been reported as June 21st, but Brett Dawson of The Advocate tweets that the Pelicans forward will actually have until June 27th to pick up or decline that option.
  • The Pelicans haven’t been shy about dealing first-round picks for veteran players in the past, and general manager Dell Demps hasn’t ruled out the possibility of doing it again with the No. 6 overall selection this year. ESPN’s Justin Verrier examines the pros and cons of trading the pick for New Orleans.
  • In the wake of a report indicating that the Warriors may attempt to court Dirk Nowitzki in free agency, Mavericks guard Devin Harris tells Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, “I don’t think the big German is going anywhere.” Nowitzki has opted out of his contract, but is still considered likely to re-sign with Dallas.
  • Matt Bonner is eligible for free agency this summer, but the 36-year-old veteran hopes to play another year with the Spurs, as Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News details.

Spurs Waive Rasual Butler

The Spurs are have waived Rasual Butler in a move that accomodates their deal with Kevin Martin, as league sources told Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), shortly before the team officially announced Butler’s waiver, via press release. San Antonio was carrying 15 players, so it had to offload someone to sign Martin. Butler has a minimum-salary contract that bears a cap hit of $947,276, but it costs San Antonio $1,420,914 in additional projected tax penalties.

That’ll stick on San Antonio’s books if he clears waivers, though an outside chance exists that the Blazers would have interest in claiming him to reach the salary floor. It would be cheaper for Portland to grab Butler than it would be for them to claim Gary Neal, who’s also reportedly hitting waivers. However, neither Neal nor Butler is eligible to take part in the postseason for any new team they might join this season, since March 1st was the last day for players to hit waivers and retain playoff-eligibility.

Butler, 36, played 9.4 minutes per game in 46 appearances for the Spurs this season despite having signed only a non-guaranteed deal in the offseason. It’s the third year in a row that Butler made a regular season roster with a team he joined on a non-guaranteed contract for the minimum salary. He scored a season-high 12 points in 26 minutes against the Suns on February 21st, though his average of 2.7 points per game ties a career low, and he shot just 30.6% from 3-point territory, well beneath his career 36.2% mark. The Spurs agonized over whether to drop Butler or Matt Bonner, as Charania writes in his full story.

Western Notes: Bonner, Lakers, Gasol

Longtime Spurs power forward Matt Bonner has no plans to retire after this season as long as there is still interest in him, Jabari Young of the San Antonio News-Express relays. Bonner is 35 and re-signed with the Spurs in July for one year at the veteran’s minimum. Bonner was reportedly thinking about retirement last spring, though he said last year that he wanted to play for several more seasons. Bonner told Young that he would like to retire as a member of the Spurs, however.

“The Spurs are my first option every summer, which is terrible business on my end to put that out there,” Bonner said. “I’m not negotiating for max deals. I’m basically a vet minimum guy, unless someone out there wants to pay me a lot more money.”

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Ed Davis, who signed a three-year, $20MM deal with the Blazers in July after spending last season with the Lakers, told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that the biggest difference between the two franchises is Portland operates with more stability and with more of a long-term plan (Twitter link).
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott believes the development and performance of some of the Lakers’ core young players such as D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson will help lure free agents to the team in the future, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register relays. “They’ll see that we have three young guys that, from day one to game 82, have shown big-time improvement,” Scott said. “And if they can continue to improve that way, then the future’s pretty bright.”
  • Marc Gasol told Zach Lowe of in a wide-ranging and entertaining Q&A that he didn’t know he would ink the new five-year max deal with the Grizzlies that he signed in July until last season was completed. “Just because I didn’t put that much time into it,” Gasol said. “You have to look at things from afar and get perspective on things. That’s when you know. So that’s what we did. We flew back, we went away from basketball for a little bit, and it just kind of happened.”

Southwest Rumors: Matthews, Bonner, Rockets

The Mavericks have tempered their expectations of Wesley Matthews for the upcoming season because they don’t want to jeopardize his future, according to Earl K. Sneed of Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said that the club won’t take any shortcuts as Matthews recovers from a torn Achilles tendon, Sneed continues. “I think the most important thing is that he makes a full recovery, because we’re signing him to a four-year deal,” Carlisle said. “The first year is more about making sure that he’s right and getting him out there on the right terms, and from there we want him to make a full recovery and continue to get better.” Matthews said in the same story that the Mavs will get their money’s worth, even though they have been criticized for giving him a $70MM deal. “It’s just going to make me hungrier to prove that I’m worth the money,” he said. “I’m not concerned with that. I just know that I can play this game, and I know that I can play it at a high level.”

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • Maurice Ndour will see $1 more the minimum on his three-year contract with the Mavericks, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It’s fully guaranteed for this season, but the guarantees beyond that are still unknown, Pincus indicates. Brandon Ashley, Jarrid Famous and Jamil Wilson are also receiving the minimum from the Mavs this year, Pincus shows on the same page.
  • Matt Bonner received a $795,000 guarantee from the Spurs on his $1.5MM deal, Pincus reports in a separate tweet. Bonner gets the full amount if he’s still on the roster on January 10th.
  • Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has been named International Player Personnel Scout for USA Basketball, the team announced Monday. Entering his fourth season with the Rockets in that capacity, Rosas was previously the Mavericks’ GM.

Spurs Re-Sign Matt Bonner

The Spurs have re-signed veteran forward Matt Bonner, the team announced in a press release. The deal is for one year at the veteran’s minimum, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News reports. The longtime Spur was reportedly thinking about retirement this spring, though he said last year that he wished to play for several more seasons.

The 35-year-old appeared in 72 games for San Antonio this past season, averaging 3.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 0.7 assists with a slash line of .409/.365/.811. His career numbers through 11 NBA campaigns are 6.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 0.7 APG.

Bonner had also reportedly drawn interest from the Kings, who have been seeking a stretch four in the free agent marketplace.