Mike James

Nets Notes: Harden, Green, Dinwiddie, James

As we relayed on Sunday, All-Star guard James Harden will be unavailable on Monday night for Game 2 of Brooklyn’s series vs. Milwaukee. However, the Nets proved in Game 1 that they’re capable of beating the Bucks even without Harden, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Head coach Steve Nash believes all the injuries Brooklyn dealt with during the season helped prepare the team for such a scenario in the playoffs.

“We’ve had a lot thrown at us this year, so we were in a sense well-trained for this event,” Nash said. “But you never want to see someone like James who is such an important player, such an incredible player and cares so much. I’m heartbroken for him.”

As the Nets wait to see whether Harden might be able to return for Game 3, here are a few more notes from out of Brooklyn:

  • Jeff Green (left plantar fascia strain) has also been ruled out for Game 2, but Nash said that the injured forward is “progressing nicely” and may not be out much longer, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “I think we’ll see him in the series, and hopefully, it’s Game 3,” Nash said. “But who knows?”
  • According to Lewis, Nash also suggested this weekend that it still looks unlikely that Spencer Dinwiddie, who is recovering from ACL surgery, will be able to return during the playoffs. “He’s not with the team. I believe he’s rehabbing in L.A. and is doing very well,” Nash said of Dinwiddie. “(But) I’ve had no conversations about him returning to the team or even returning to play at this point.”
  • Mike James, who didn’t expect to play more than about five minutes in Game 1, came up big in the absence of Harden, as we detailed on Sunday. The Nets will need to continue leaning on the reserve guard until Harden is ready to return, as Paul Schwartz of The New York Post writes. “Obviously James has something going on,” James said. “So I’m basically the other point guard besides Kyrie (Irving), so I’ve got to be ready to play at least a little bit. Who knows if it’s gonna be 30 minutes again, but I’ve got to be ready to go out there and lead the team in some capacity, and be ready to contribute.”

Atlantic Notes: James, Knicks, Harden, Celtics

Nets guard Mike James stepped up in the absence of James Harden (hamstring) during the team’s Game 1 victory oevr Milwaukee, Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post writes.

James pitched in 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists off the bench in the win, shooting 5-of-11 from the floor in 30 minutes. The team will continue to rely on his production as it plays without Harden, who has already been ruled out for Game 2 on Monday.

“It’s happened to us all year where something’s happened, some sort of adversity, someone goes down and the next man’s up,” head coach Steve Nash said. “Mike, who would have thought before the game he’d play 30 minutes?

“Scored the ball, rebounded, made a few plays and hustled. It was great to see guys who haven’t been in the rotation get an opportunity, step up and play well.”

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic tonight:

  • Despite making good progress this season, the playoffs showed that the Knicks must continue making upgrades for the future, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. New York finished with the fourth-best record in the East at 41-31, though the team lost its first-round series against Atlanta in just five games.
  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic examines whether the Nets could continue to win without James Harden available. In addition to Mike James‘ strong play, Brooklyn also received solid production from Kevin Durant (29 points and 10 rebounds), Kyrie Irving (25 points and eight assists), and Blake Griffin (18 points and 14 rebounds), winning the contest 115-107.
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe explores where new Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens could turn to fill the team’s head coaching job. Boston will consider multiple candidates for the position — both internally and externally — as Stevens looks to find someone for his old role.

Nets Notes: Free Agency, James, Fans, Tsai

Nets GM Sean Marks said the team’s success or failure in the playoffs will impact how he handles free agent decisions, Joe Makar of Nets Republic tweets.

“We need to be focused on the task at hand,” Marks said. “If the team lives up to expectations, we might have some easy decisions. If not, we might have to refocus elsewhere.”

Bruce Brown can be a restricted free agent this offseason, while Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are among the group of players who will be unrestricted free agents.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Mike James can also become a restricted free agent, though he’d have to work out an agreement with CSKA Moscow to remain in the NBA. Brooklyn would like to hold onto the point guard, who averaged 7.7 PPG and 4.2 APG in 13 games after he was added on two 10-day contracts, then a rest-of-the-season deal, NetsDaily.com relays. “I will tell you that I really like Mike and I would like to have him with us in the years to come,” director of player personnel J.R. Holden said to Greece’s Gazzetta.
  • More fans will be allowed into Barclays Center for the postseason and there will be vaccinated and unvaccinated sections, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweets. Fans will have to pay more for tickets in the unvaccinated sections, according to team CEO John Abbamondi. “We are not neutral, we want people to get vaccinated,” he said.
  • Owner Joe Tsai was pleasantly surprised how the team transformed from an also-ran to an up-and-coming team to the Eastern Conference favorites in a short period of time, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “In hindsight this ‘process’ was brilliant, but I certainly didn’t see it coming at the time,” he said.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, M. James, Embiid, Knicks, Nets

Asked today about his upcoming free agency, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry mentioned a number of factors that he’ll consider as he makes his decision, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Lowry cited family considerations as one important factor, along with “money” and “years,” as well as his desire to win more championships (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca).

Perhaps most interestingly, Lowry suggested his future may be tied in part to that of president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, who is the Raptors’ other key free agent this summer: “I told him this, the only reason I’m still here is because of him. Part of the reason I re-signed here twice is because of him. That is a large part of why I am able to be who I am and gotten to this point.”

Based on Lowry’s comments about prioritizing family and competing for titles, Eric Koreen of The Athletic believes the six-time All-Star is probably more likely to join a new team than to return to the Raptors. However, Lowry also hinted that he may have unfinished business with his current club after a disappointing 2020/21 season spent away from Toronto.

“It does play a factor in it because I enjoy the challenge of people counting me out, counting the team out,” Lowry said. “I enjoy that competitive nature, and I wanna challenge myself and see what I can continue to help do and build. But a lot of things will be factored into this summer and this free agency. The unfinished business thing is part of it, a little bit.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • There has been an expectation that Mike James‘ stint with the Nets will be temporary, since he remains under contract with EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow through 2022/23. However, international reporter Chema de Lucas tweets that James may try to stay in the NBA beyond this season, and Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.com suggests CSKA Moscow would be open to that idea if they can save some money and keep James away from their European rivals.
  • When Joel Embiid suffered a knee injury on March 12 that was later diagnosed as a bone bruise, he initially feared that it would be a season-ender, he tells ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who published an in-depth feature on the Sixers center. “As soon as I fell, the first thing that I’m thinking is: ‘My season is over,'” Embiid said. Having avoided a major injury such as an ACL tear, the big man returned to action just three weeks later, on April 3.
  • Loosened restrictions on gathering in New York mean that the Knicks and Nets are in position to significantly increase their arena capacities for the postseason, as Steve Popper of Newsday details.

Nets Notes: Big Three, Durant, Harris, James

The Nets had their Big Three together in the starting lineup for the first time in three months as they defeated the Bulls this afternoon, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving have all been dealing with injuries since the combination was formed, but they appear to be healthy and focused heading into the playoffs.

This was the first chance for the crowd at the Barclays Center to enjoy watching the superstar trio, as fans weren’t allowed in the building the last time they all started together on February 13. Despite the long break from playing together, Durant said they were able to adapt quickly.

“We’ve all been playing the game for a while, so I feel like we can adjust and adapt as time goes on,” he said. “Injuries kept us away from playing with each other, but mentally, we were always locked in and trying to find different ways to play. Our voices were loud on the bench when we were injured. Guys always talking in the film room. Guys are just actually playing minutes now. But we always been in constant communication with each other and trying to figure out the best way to play.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Durant expects to play in the Nets’ regular season finale on Sunday, but that could change if there’s nothing at stake, Andrews adds in the same piece. If the Bucks lose to the Heat tonight, Brooklyn will clinch the second seed in the East. “We want to finish the season off, so I’m sure we’re all looking at that game and seeing what happens,” Durant said. “Just for rhythm and just to get back on the court again, I want to play. But we’ll see what happens tonight.”
  • Joe Harris sat out today’s game and won’t play tomorrow due to a left gluteal strain, according to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. However, coach Steve Nash said it’s a slight strain and Harris is expected to be ready for the playoffs.
  • The Nuggets made a strong effort to sign Mike James after he was suspended by CSKA Moscow in March, writes Dionysis Aravantinos of Eurohoops. James didn’t have an American agent, so he was represented by his friend, Mo Smith, who put him in touch with the Nets. Durant’s brother, Tony, is Smith’s business partner and a friend of James, so he wanted to steer him toward Brooklyn.

Nets Sign Mike James For Rest Of Season

MAY 13: The Nets have officially re-signed James to a rest-of-season contract, the team announced today in a press release.

MAY 12: Mike James, whose second 10-day contract is set to expire on Wednesday night, will sign with the Nets for the remainder of the season, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Dionysis Aravantinos of Eurohoops.com first reported last week that James was expected to receive a rest-of-season deal once his second 10-day contract expired.

James has been productive since coming to Brooklyn, getting into 10 games and averaging 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 16.6 minutes per night. The move leaves the Nets with a full roster, which probably won’t change between now and the playoffs.

“We’ve been really happy with Mike and what he’s brought to the team,” coach Steve Nash told reporters, including Brian Lewis of The New York Post, before tonight’s game.

The 30-year-old guard isn’t eligible for a multiyear contract because his rights for the next two seasons belong to CSKA Moscow. He left the Russian team in March after an altercation with coach Dimitris Itoudis.

Nets Expected To Sign Mike James To Rest-Of-Season Deal

Mike James‘ second 10-day contract with Brooklyn will run through next Wednesday, but there’s already an expectation that the Nets intend to sign him for the rest of the season when that deal expires, according to a report from Dionysis Aravantinos of Eurohoops.com.

James, 30, has appeared in seven games for the Nets so far, averaging 6.7 points and 3.6 assists in 16.1 minutes per contest. He had 11 points and eight assists in a win over Toronto last Tuesday, and put up 15 points in a loss to Portland on Friday.

Since there’s still nearly a full week before James will be eligible to sign a rest-of-season contract, it’s possible the Nets’ plans could change between now and next Thursday. However, the veteran guard has produced as expected so far, providing backcourt depth and knocking down 35.7% of his three-point attempts.

As Aravantinos notes, James is only in the NBA temporarily, as his rights will belong to CSKA Moscow in Europe for the next two seasons after 2020/21. So if and when Brooklyn re-signs him, he won’t be able to get a multiyear deal.

Nets Sign Mike James To Second 10-Day Contract

MAY 3: The Nets have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve signed James to his second 10-day contract.

MAY 2: The Nets plan to sign guard Mike James to a second 10-day contract, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

James’ initial 10-day deal with Brooklyn will expire on Sunday night, so he’ll be able to sign his new deal on Monday. The 30-year-old’s second 10-day would expire during the last week of the regular season, at which point he’d be eligible to sign a standard contract if the Nets want to keep him around for the playoffs.

James averaged 7.4 points, 4.2 assists and 19.6 minutes per game during his first 10-day deal, appearing in a total of five contests. He shot 36% from the floor and 27% from deep in those outings.

Brooklyn signed James to a 10-day deal last month after releasing veteran LaMarcus Aldridge, who retired after dealing with health concerns. The team owns the second-best record in the East at 43-22 and plays Milwaukee for a second straight game on Tuesday.

Nets Notes: Irving, Johnson, James

Nets guard Kyrie Irving has been ruled out for Thursday’s game vs. Indiana due to right groin soreness, the team announced today (via Twitter).

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Irving’s games-played total will be worth keeping an eye on down the stretch, since a couple of his contract bonuses hinge on him playing in at least 53 games — he’d have to appear in seven of Brooklyn’s nine contests after tonight in order to meet that threshold.

Irving’s contract includes eight separate bonuses, each worth $131,250. Some are out of reach, including playing 62 games and recording a defensive rating below 106 (he’s at 113.9). However, Kyrie is on track to reach some of his incentive benchmarks, including an offensive rating of 114+ (he’s at 119.9) and shooting at least 88.5% from the free throw line (he’s at 92.3%).

As Marks tweets, Irving would also receive three separate $131,250 bonuses for making at least 2.8 three-pointers per game, committing fewer than 2.4 turnovers per game (in 53+ games), and attempting at least 4.6 free throws per game (in 53+ games). His per-game averages in those categories so far are 2.7 threes, 2.5 turnovers, and 4.3 free throw attempts.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Nets forward Alize Johnson is available to play against Indiana on Thursday night, according to the team (Twitter link). Johnson missed the team’s last three games after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
  • Mike James is making a strong initial impression in Brooklyn, racking up 11 points and eight assists in Tuesday’s win over Toronto and making a case to stick around beyond his current 10-day contract, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “He’s an athletic and skilled player. As long as he plays simple and makes good basketball plays — like he has with us those first few games — he can play a role for us,” head coach Steve Nash said. “He has a burst of pace, he can get into paint, play draw-and-kick.”
  • While James’ new coach has been impressed by him so far, it doesn’t sound like two of his old coaches miss him much. As Lewis relays in a separate New York Post story, CSKA Moscow’s Dimitris Itoidis and Olimpia Milano’s Ettore Messina both offered less-than-glowing reviews of James’ locker room presence.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along word on Wednesday that Nets star James Harden still isn’t close to returning from his hamstring injury.

Nets Notes: James, Durant, Aldridge

Mike James, the latest addition to the Nets‘ backcourt, would still be playing for CSKA Moscow if not for an altercation last month with coach Dimitris Itoudis. After posting eight points and two steals in his debut with Brooklyn Friday night, James talked about the incident in Russia, as Peter Botte of The New York Post details.

“Some things happened in my personal life and I felt like stuff didn’t go how I thought somebody should handle my situations,” said James, who was also suspended in January. “We had a little clash there. Not really as a basketball player did I have a clash with Itoudis, more as an individual. As two men we had clashes, not really on the basketball court.”

The 30-year-old guard, who signed a 10-day contract on Friday, should get plenty of opportunity in Brooklyn with James Harden, Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza all injured. James is looking forward to playing a complementary role, rather than having to carry the offense like he did in Moscow.

“I liked playing a lot and having a star role. Just as you get older, I just don’t want to have that much responsibility on my shoulders every night,” he said. “Playing 21 minutes a night is better for me and just not being as much of a focal point and just trying to help out. I feel like I can shine in that if I got the opportunity.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Kevin Durant expects to play this afternoon against the Suns, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Durant sat out the past three games after suffering a left leg contusion last Sunday.
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post looks at Durant’s success off the court, which includes a possible Oscar win tonight for the live action short film “Two Distant Strangers.” Durant’s ultimate goal is to someday become an NBA owner. “We definitely have always been interested clearly in being involved in team sports, and learning the ownership business and being able to at one point have Kevin, and this organization, own and operate an NBA team,” said his business manager, Rich Kleiman. “The thought is so far down the line, not only because Kevin’s still playing, but the amount of money to get into it is a different level of money.”
  • The Nets are paying a price for chasing a star when LaMarcus Aldridge became available rather than addressing more significant needs, writes Kristian Winfield of Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn could have opted for Jeff Teague to provide backcourt depth or Khem Birch to help with rim protection, but chose to go after the bigger name. Aldridge was recently forced to retire because of an irregular heartbeat.