Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Hornets Notes: Hernangomez, MKG, Point Guard

Willy Hernangomez played just 72 total minutes in the Hornets‘ first 40 games, but he has seen fairly regular playing time off the bench for the team over the last month. As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, head coach James Borrego attributes Hernangomez’s increased role in large part to his improved effort on the defensive end.

“The video and the numbers demonstrate to me that he’s making a bigger impact at that end of the floor than he has in the past,” Borrego said. “(He’s) challenging more shots at the rim.”

Hernangomez will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and while his modest overall role may suggest he’s not in the Hornets’ future plans, he still has an opportunity to make a good final impression on the team over the last 20 games or so this season. Charlotte will also have plenty of cap flexibility moving forward if the club wants to re-sign him. For his part, the 25-year-old big man says he’s just happy to be getting the opportunity to show what he can do.

“You always want to play a lot of minutes, you always want to play in all the games, you want to help your team win,” Hernangomez said. “So in the beginning, it was a very disappointing season because we were losing and I could not help the team. But I think after the trade deadline, I got a new, fresh start.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who spent seven-and-a-half seasons in Charlotte before being bought out last month, wrote a farewell letter to the city and Hornets fans at The Players’ Tribune. Kidd-Gilchrist, who said that “a true love affair developed between me and the city of Charlotte” after he was drafted second overall by the team in 2012, wrote that he’ll “always remember how good you all were to me” despite the Hornets’ lack of playoff success.
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer argues that the Hornets should seriously consider signing a veteran point guard to help ease the workload on Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier down the stretch. Joe Chealey, on a 10-day contract, is currently filling a backup role, but Bonnell makes the case that Charlotte could use a more experienced option — Chealey has appeared in just four career games.
  • In case you missed it, Bismack Biyombo said earlier this week that he could have gotten a buyout from the Hornets after the deadline, but opted not to. Here’s our full story on that.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Bryant, Kidd-Gilchrist, Sonju

Luka Doncic is a little bit starstruck as prepares for his first experience in the All-Star Game, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic will start for Team LeBron in tonight’s game, but first came a weekend that included the Rising Stars Challenge, practice sessions with a more experienced group of All-Stars and a chance to interact with legends of the game, including a Jordan Brand party Friday night where he met Michael Jordan for the first time.

“It was something amazing,” Doncic said. “I was too nervous. I forgot to ask him for a picture.”

A few days shy of his 21st birthday, Doncic will become the youngest European to ever play in the All-Star Game, Townsend notes. He’s the sixth-youngest starter in the game’s history and the youngest since LeBron James was a starter 15 years ago. His coaches will include former Mavericks guard and current Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who will help run Team LeBron as part of Frank Vogel’s staff.

“I told [Doncic] we’re going to play him 40 of the 48 minutes,” Kidd joked. “When you’re young, you can play all the minutes in the world. So there won’t be any load management.”

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • One of the most memorable moments of Doncic’s second NBA season was the night in Staples Center when Kobe Bryant trash talked him in Slovenian. The encounter took on added significance with Bryant’s death a few weeks later. Marc Stein of The New York Times says Bryant picked up the off-color phrases from former teammate Sasha Vujacic. “It’s going to be one moment that I remember for the rest of my life,” Doncic said. “Obviously I was hoping there would be more times with him, maybe even practice with him some day, but a terrible thing happened.”
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is grateful for the opportunity to restart his career in Dallas after reaching a buyout with the Hornets, relays Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News, and the Mavs believe he can be a valuable contributor as the games become more important. “The guy has a reputation for being a gamer and a hell of a competitor,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
  • Mavericks co-founder Norm Sonju received the Jerry Colangelo Award at Saturday’s All-Star breakfast, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com. The award recognizes someone in management who lives an exemplary life on and off the court and while expressing high character, leadership and faith. Sonju served as team president and general manager before retiring in 1996.

Mavericks Sign Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Waive Ryan Broekhoff

FEBRUARY 11: The Mavericks have officially signed Kidd-Gilchrist and waived Broekhoff, the team announced today (via Twitter).

FEBRUARY 10: Former Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will sign with the Mavericks, who will waive shooting guard Ryan Broekhoff to carve out roster space for their new addition.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon (Twitter link) first reported Kidd-Gilchrist’s contract agreement, while Marc Stein of the New York Times first reported that the two sides were nearing a deal and that Dallas would cut Broekhoff (Twitter links).

After Kidd-Gilchrist fell out of favor in Charlotte’s rotation and the team opted not to move his expiring contract, he agreed to a buyout in the final season of his four-year, $52MM contract. The former No. 2 overall pick appeared in only 12 games for the Hornets this year, after being a defensive staple in prior seasons. The Mavericks hope he can help flesh out their roster depth as they grapple with a wave of injuries.

The 6’6″, 29-year-old Broekhoff has appeared in 59 games during his two seasons with the Mavericks, including one start this season. Though seldom used (he’s averaging 10.7 minutes per game), Broekhoff is a career 40.3% long-range shooter on 2.4 looks a night, and connects on 81.5% of his free-throw attempts.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets that Broekhoff is “universally loved” in Dallas’ locker room, but his expiring, minimum-salary contract made him the club’s most logical release candidate. He’ll clear waivers later this week if he goes unclaimed.

According to an earlier report, Kidd-Gilchrist surrendered $810,763 of his $13MM salary for 2019/20 in his buyout with Charlotte. He’ll make nearly that entire amount back on his new minimum-salary deal with Dallas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, MKG, Toliver, Brooks

Now that Hornets power forward Marvin Williams has officially been waived (Williams just signed with the Bucks), Charlotte’s pivot to a youth movement is complete, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.

“The goal right now is to get these young guys experience,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “And the more, the better.” 

Here’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Williams’ fellow Hornets vet Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returned the minimum salary he will make in his next landing spot (the Mavericks have been rumored to be in the mix for his services) in his buyout arrangement with Charlotte, per Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter link). Siegel also notes that, due to this, Kidd-Gilchrist’s buyout accounted for $810,763 of his $13MM salary.
  • All-Star WNBA guard Kristi Toliver, who moonlights as a Wizards assistant coach during her offseason, has decided to move on from the Washington Mystics and sign with the Los Angeles Sparks for the 2020 season. The Wizards expect Toliver to remain in her NBA role for at least the rest of the 2019/20 NBA season, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.
  • In other Wizards news, general manager Tommy Sheppard praised the work that head coach Scott Brooks has done while developing his team this season, per The Athletic’s Fred Katz. “His staff has done a great job,” Sheppard said. “We talk about Moe Wagner. I’ll throw (Isaac) Bonga in there, too. He does something new every night. (Anzejs Pasecniks) went from Exhibit 10 to now being under contract. That didn’t happen by itself.”
  • In case you missed it, Luke Adams compiled news from some other Southeast clubs, in his Heat Notes and Hawks Notes pieces, earlier today.

Hornets Waive Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

1:15pm: The Hornets have officially waived Kidd-Gilchrist, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

Charlotte now has two open roster spots and $5.2MM of its mid-level exception for the 2019/20 season left to spend, which the team could use to add G-League prospects, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

11:50pm: The Hornets are finalizing a buyout with forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). The Mavericks have emerged as a favorite to sign Kidd-Gilchrist once he clears waivers, Wojnarowski adds.

We relayed earlier this week with the trade deadline looming that Dallas had “kicked the tires” on Kidd-Gilchrist, among others. The veteran forward was once a reliable starter for the Hornets, with whom he has spent his entire career after being the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

This season, however, the 26-year-old has appeared in just 12 games and is averaging 4.0 PPG and 2.9 PPG. Kidd-Gilchrist opted in to his $13MM option over the summer and entered camp this past fall without a defined role.

As he heads for free agency this summer, Kidd-Gilchrist could set himself up for a decent payday by playing well with a contending team down the stretch.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Southeast 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 Southeast Division:

Davis Bertans, Wizards, 27, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $14.5MM deal in 2018
The fact that the Wizards set such a high price on the unrestricted free agent, reportedly asking for two first-rounders and possibly more, shows how much Bertans is valued by the organization and other clubs. He’s averaging 15 PPG, albeit for one of the league’s worst teams, but his 3-point shooting is craved around the league. Big guys who can shoot 42.9% from deep, as Bertans has the past two seasons, command a high price tag. Washington desperately wants to re-sign Bertans and hopes the loyalty it showed will have an impact this summer. But the Wizards will have plenty of competition for his services.

Treveon Graham, Hawks, 26, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.16MM deal in 2018
Graham was tossed into the deal that sent Allen Crabbe to the Timberwolves last month. Perhaps the only thing surprising about Graham is that he wasn’t thrown into another trade by the very active Atlanta front office. He received steady playing time with Minnesota (20.1 MPG), including 20 starts, but his impact on the Hawks has been minimal. He’s scored a total of 12 points in nine appearances. Graham just isn’t enough of an offensive threat and defenses don’t have to respect him on the perimeter. He becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and he’ll be looking at minimum deals at best.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets, 26, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $52MM deal in 2016
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.. Yes, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft is still in the league. In fact, he’s just 26 years old. Injuries sidetracked MKG’s career but a bigger issue is his lack of an offensive game. Ben Simmons can get a max contract without a 3-point shot because of his wondrous playmaking skills and defensive versatility. A 6’6” forward without an outside shot is a dinosaur into today’s NBA. MKG has appeared in just 12 games this season and hasn’t seen the floor since late December. Charlotte’s front office is just counting the days to get his contract off its books.

Jae Crowder, Heat, 29, SF (Up) – Signed to five-year, $35MM deal in 2015
Crowder was quietly enjoying one of his best seasons with the Grizzlies before getting dealt to Miami just before the deadline. He started regularly for Memphis despite modest offensive numbers (9.9 PPG on 36.8% shooting), finding other ways to contribute. He was averaging career highs in rebounding (6.2 RPG) and assists (2.8 APG) along with playing his usual solid defense. It will be interesting to see how coach Erik Spoelstra incorporates Crowder into the rotation but the impending unrestricted free agent will get an opportunity to show his value on a now serious Eastern Conference contender.

James Ennis, Magic, 29, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $4MM deal in 2019
Ennis’ playing time had diminished before the Sixers, who acquired perimeter shooters from the Warriors, found a new home for the journeyman forward. The Magic were willing to give up a second-round pick in order to secure Ennis’ services. Orlando president Jeff Weltman said Ennis will add “shooting, athleticism, and toughness” to the team, so from all indications he’ll jump right into the rotation. Ennis is an adequate perimeter shooter and a factor in the open floor. Ennis holds a $2.13MM player option on his contract next season and could choose to opt out with a strong finish.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mavericks Notes: MKG, RHJ, Porzingis, Broekhoff

The Mavericks are talking about trading for a combo forward by Thursday’s deadline and have “kicked tires” on both Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Hornets and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Raptors, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. He adds that discussions are still in the exploratory stage.

Both players have expiring contracts, but it would be much tougher to match salary for Kidd-Gilchrist, who is making $13MM this season. The second pick in the 2012 draft, he has spent his entire career in Charlotte, but his numbers have declined drastically in recent seasons. He has gotten into just 12 games this year and is averaging 4.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per night.

Hollis-Jefferson, who has a $2.5MM salary, has appeared in 38 games for Toronto, averaging 7.6 PPG and 5.0 RPG. He signed a one-year deal with the Raptors as a free agent in July.

There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:

  • Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the franchise-altering trade that brought Kristaps Porzingis from the Knicks, Townsend observes in a full story. Owner Mark Cuban was surprised by how quickly the deal came together, while coach Rick Carlisle says Porzingis has been doing a “great job” in a “transition year” after missing all of last season following a torn ACL in his left knee. After clashing with management in New York, Porzingis is much happier in Dallas. “This organization has treated me incredibly,” he said. “As family. Mark is unbelievable. And everybody who works here, it’s really high-level, high-class. It’s an honor to be part of this.”
  • The Mavericks are considering a stricter load management plan for Porzingis, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. He missed 10 straight games last month with soreness in his right knee.
  • Second-year shooting guard Ryan Broekhoff made the first start of his NBA career last night in Houston, Townsend relays in a separate story. Carlisle said parts of the starting lineup will be filled based on a “game-to-game situation,” but the decision was surprising because it was only Broekhoff’s second game back after being injured on December 29. “I was actually nervous,” he said. “I haven’t been nervous for a game in a long time, maybe since my first NBA game last year in Phoenix. There was a little nervous energy throughout the day. These things, you never know when they might come, so I just tried to put my best foot forward to help the team.”

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.”

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:

Hornets Notes: Graham, Monk, Hernangomez, Washington

Devonte’ Graham is outplaying free agent addition Terry Rozier through the first two games, but the Hornets‘ best option might be to use them together, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Graham, a second-year guard, is Charlotte’s leading scorer at 23.5 PPG while sinking 12-of-16 shots from beyond the arc. He’s also handing out three assists for every turnover.

The Hornets gave Rozier $58MM over three seasons this summer, so they don’t plan to take him out of the starting lineup. While Graham will likely remain a reserve, coach James Borrego expects to utilize them together in a smaller backcourt, especially while Nicolas Batum is sidelined with a broken finger. He took a similar approach last season, frequently closing games with Kemba Walker and Tony Parker on the floor.

“We can play them together,” Borrego said. “We can play Terry off the ball some with Te’ out there. We’ll look at that lineup.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Even though Malik Monk has been disappointing, the Hornets had to pick up his fourth-year option to preserve his trade value, Bonnell writes in a mailbag column. A lottery pick in 2017, Monk hasn’t developed  the way the Hornets had hoped. He’s shooting 37.6% from the field for his career and is averaging just 3.5 PPG so far this season. Still, a $5.3MM commitment for next season shouldn’t be significant, as general manager Mitch Kupchak has said the team won’t be aggressive in the 2020 free agent market.
  • Large salaries will make Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist difficult to trade this season, but there might be demand for Willy Hernangomez, Bonnell notes in the same piece. The fourth-year center has a minimal expiring salary of $1.68MM, and Bonnell believes the Hornets would part with him for a second-round pick. He adds that there may be more value in letting Biyombo’s $17MM contract and Kidd-Gilchrist’s $13MM deal expire to open cap room for the future.
  • PJ Washington is looking like the draft gem the Hornets needed to give them hope for the future, notes Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation.