Miles Bridges

Southeast Notes: Li. Ball, Bridges, Huerter, Heat

Although the Hornets signed and subsequently waived LiAngelo Ball before the regular season began, procedural issues will prevent the team from making Ball an “affiliate player” for the Greensboro Swarm, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link).

NBA teams can secure the G League rights of up to four affiliate players by signing and waiving them before the season begins, then having those players sign NBAGL contracts. In Ball’s case, he signed his G League contract before the Hornets signed him, explains Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. That’s why Charlotte can’t make him an affiliate player.

Ball will now be eligible to be selected by an team in Saturday’s draft, and he could actually be one of the more intriguing targets in a somewhat thin draft pool. Greensboro currently holds the 14th, 23rd, and 26th picks in the first round and could use one of those to select Ball — if he falls that far.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said this week that he believes a playoff spot is a realistic goal for the team this season, and added that the lack of a rookie scale contract extension for Miles Bridges by no means suggests the club doesn’t want to retain him long-term. “We love Miles Bridges,” Kupchak said, per Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. “… We did have conversations with his representative — up until the last minute. And the decision was made to let’s just wait and see how the season plays out. And we’ll approach it again in the spring when we’re able to talk.”
  • Hawks swingman Kevin Huerter, who signed a four-year, $65MM contract extension earlier this week, is excited about the fact that the team locked up several members of its core – including Trae Young, John Collins, and Clint Capela – to long-term deals this offseason, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution details. “We signed a lot of people to a lot of money this offseason. … As players, it speaks a lot,” Huerter said. “They kind of put their money where their mouth was. … There’s a lot of guys locked in for a couple years now as we try to make some noise.”
  • The Heat are starting the season without a 15th man on their roster because carrying another player would push them over the luxury tax line. However, team president Pat Riley said ownership would be willing to go into the tax this season if the Heat show they’re a legit contender and it makes sense to do so. “(Not) paying the tax, it’s never been a mandate, but it’s always been on my mind,” Riley said, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I’m not just going to say, ‘Every year we’re going into the tax,’ and then we don’t win and (team owner) Micky (Arison)‘s writing these big checks. I don’t think that’s fair. But, when we have a real contender, which I think we have, then we’ll entertain that. I think we’ll entertain it this year, too.”

Details On Starter Criteria For 2022 RFAs

The NBA’s rookie scale, which determines the salaries first-round picks earn during their first four seasons, also dictates how much the qualifying offers will be worth for those players when they reach restricted free agency after year four. However, the value of those qualifying offers can fluctuate depending on whether or not a player has met the “starter criteria.”

Here’s how the starter criteria works in a typical year:

  1. A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency.
  2. A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency. For instance, if a player started 50 games one year and 32 the next, he’d meet the starter criteria, since his average number of starts over the last two seasons is 41.

The first method of meeting the starter criteria will remain unchanged this season, but that second method will look a little different due to the truncated nature of the 2020/21 season.

For starter criteria purposes, the number of starts and minutes a player logged last season will be prorated upward by 82/72 to account for the 72-game schedule, Hoops Rumors has learned.

For example, Suns center Deandre Ayton started 69 games last season. Typically, Ayton would require 13 more starts this season to meet the starter criteria, since 82 total starts would get him to the required average of 41 over the last two seasons.

However, Ayton’s 69 starts last season came in just 72 regular season games. Prorated across a typical 82-game schedule, he would’ve made 78 starts. That means he’ll only need four starts this season to meet the starter criteria. In other words, he should get there next Wednesday, barring an injury.

Hornets forward Miles Bridges, meanwhile, only started 19 games last season, but he played 1,932 total minutes in Charlotte’s 72 games. That works out to 2,200 minutes when prorated across an 82-game schedule, meaning he’d require just 1,800 more this season in order to meet the starter criteria. Since he’s part of the Hornets’ starting five now, Bridges could also meet the criteria by simply getting to 41 starts in 2021/22.

A player’s ability or inability to meet the starter criteria can affect the value of the qualifying offer he receives as a restricted free agent, as follows:

  • A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A player picked between 10th and 30th who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.
  • For all other RFAs, the standard criteria determine the amounts of their qualifying offers.

In most cases, a qualifying offer is a mere placeholder that allows a team to retain its right of first refusal on a restricted free agent — very few players actually accept the one-year offer. Still, a player who fails to meet the starter criteria could have his free agency reshaped by an adjusted qualifying offer.

For instance, Kings big man Marvin Bagley III would be in line for a qualifying offer worth $14,762,309 if he meets the starter criteria or just $7,228,448 if he doesn’t.

Bagley would need to start 35 games this season in order to meet the starter criteria, which might be a long shot, given that he’s out of the rotation for now. Still, a $7.2MM qualifying offer could be more palatable to the Kings – or whichever team has him on its roster by the end of the 2021/22 season – than a $14.8MM one would be. Somewhat paradoxically, Bagley may have a better chance of actually receiving his QO if he starts fewer games this season.

Collin Sexton (Cavaliers), Lonnie Walker (Spurs), Donte DiVincenzo (Bucks), and Josh Okogie (Timberwolves) are some of the other top candidates to meet the starter criteria this season. We’ll be keeping an eye on them and the rest of 2022’s RFAs-to-be over the next several months.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Gafford, Hachimura, Collins, Bridges

The Magic are being realistic about their expectations as they prepare for a season that will likely end with another trip to the draft lottery, writes Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel. With the league’s third-youngest roster at an average age of 24.7 years, Orlando will focus on developing its young talent rather than wins and losses.

“I don’t really set benchmark goals. I always believe that if you play the right way and play together, then the results will kind if speak for themselves,” said president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman. “Obviously, we’ve recalibrated what we’re doing right now, so with this group I do expect us to play hard. This is about growth. This is about the development of our players. It’s about a lot of young guys learning what it takes to win in the NBA.”

Weltman has upended the Magic’s roster since the March trade deadline, shipping out most of the team’s veterans in exchange for young players and draft assets. Mohamed Bamba, who is about to start his fourth season, is now second on the team in most games played for Orlando, and admitted surprise at becoming a veteran leader so quickly.

“I just try to do my part,” he said. “I don’t try to do too much, I don’t over-extend myself and when the younger guys come to me for anything, I try do the best I can to help.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Daniel Gafford‘s three-year extension shows the value the Wizards place on their young center, observes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team also has Thomas Bryant, the starting center before being injured last year, along with Montrezl Harrell, who was acquired in an offseason trade, but management decided to make a long-term commitment to Gafford, who is now the team’s only player signed through the 2025/26 season.
  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols and has returned to the team, Hughes tweets. However, he won’t travel with his teammates to Toronto for Wednesday’s season opener, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). Hachimura will remain in Washington and will continue individual workouts with assistant coaches.
  • Hawks big man John Collins is relieved not to have to think about his contract situation this season after signing a five-year, $125MM deal with the team over the summer, he tells Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “It’s like getting a full, restful night of sleep. That’s what it felt like to sign the paper,” Collins said. “That relief of stress and pressure just felt like I was fully awake now. It put me in a better mood. It took me a while to understand the stress but in the moment, it’s just pure bliss.”
  • Miles Bridges didn’t work out a contract extension with the Hornets by Monday’s deadline, but he tells Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer that he loves playing in the city. “I’m just going to continue to get better,” he said, “and hopefully I can stay with the Hornets my whole career.”

Ayton, Sexton Among Players Who Don’t Agree To Extensions

While 11 players received rookie scale extensions this offseason, many notable players didn’t reach an agreement with their respective teams prior to Monday’s deadline.

As we detailed earlier, the Suns couldn’t come to terms with the No. 1 pick of the 2018 draft, Deandre Ayton. Phoenix was unwilling to offer Ayton a full max contract, which short-circuited any hopes of an agreement.

The Suns raised the concept of a shorter maximum contract — presumably for three or four years instead of the full five years — but never formally made the offer or broached the idea again with Ayton’s reps, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst report. Ayton is unhappy with the franchise’s consistent stance that it simply doesn’t view him as a max player, the ESPN duo adds.

That adds an intriguing subplot to Phoenix’s drive to make the Finals again. Ayton will be headed toward restricted free agent next summer. Will he be motivated toward proving the front office wrong or will his unhappiness create a major distraction? Ayton could be the most attractive free agent on next year’s market and receive a giant offer sheet, which would force the Suns to decide to match it or let their franchise center walk away.

Ayton has some company among his peers. The Cavaliers and guard Collin Sexton were unable to reach an agreement and he’s headed toward restricted free agency, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Even though Sexton posted impressive offensive stats last season (24.3 PPG, 4.4 APG), his name was frequently mentioned in trade rumors this summer, a signal that the Cavs aren’t sold on the eighth pick of the 2018 draft as their long-term floor leader.

Sexton was hoping for a $100MM+, multi-year deal that aligned with his production over the first three years, Fedor reports. At one point this offseason, Sexton used De’Aaron Fox‘s five-year, $163MM extension in 2020 as a baseline. The Cavs were unwilling to go anywhere near that number and optimism waned in recent days about reaching an agreement.

The Hornets and swingman Miles Bridges also couldn’t come to terms, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets, nor could the Spurs and Lonnie Walker, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. Bridges averaged 12.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG last season, while Walker contributed 11.2 PPG in his third year.

Donte DiVincenzo, a key member of the Bucks’ rotation last season until he suffered a torn ligament in his ankle in July, is also headed to restricted free agency. DiVincenzo averaged 10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 3.1 APG last season. Some of the other notables who didn’t sign an extension or were not offered one include the Kings’ Marvin Bagley III and the Magic’s Mohamed Bamba.

The list of players who did and did not receive rookie scale extensions can be found here.

Extension Rumors: Bridges, Huerter, Shamet, A. Holiday

The Hornets have engaged in discussions about a possible rookie scale contract extension for forward Miles Bridges, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Bridges is one of 18 players who remains eligible for a rookie extension up until the October 18 deadline.

Scotto says that some people around the NBA believe $20MM per year would be the floor for Bridges on a new deal. That’s the same price that has been frequently projected for another Bridges with a similar skill set: Mikal Bridges of the Suns.

Here are a few updates from Scotto on possible rookie scale extensions:

  • The Suns and sharpshooter Landry Shamet have been having ongoing conversations about a possible extension, with one source suggesting that the odds of the two sides reaching a deal are about 50-50, says Scotto. Shamet has yet to appear in a regular season game for his new team, but Phoenix had reportedly coveted him for a while.
  • Scotto suggests that Hawks wing Kevin Huerter could get “Joe Harris type of money,” adding that some people around the league think Huerter’s value is in the neighborhood of $18MM annually. Harris signed a four-year, $72MM contract with Brooklyn during the 2020 offseason.
  • The Wizards and Aaron Holiday aren’t discussing an extension, but Washington likes the 25-year-old and will likely evaluate him over the course of the 2021/22 season, according to Scotto.
  • Extensions for Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons and Bulls swingman Troy Brown appear unlikely, per Scotto.

Southeast Notes: Avdija, Dinwiddie, Ball, Heat, Magic

Wizards forward Deni Avdija, who fractured his right ankle in April, participated in 5-on-5 scrimmages on Monday for the first time during his recovery process, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team is hoping Avdija will be able to return to the court during the preseason, perhaps as soon as Saturday.

Meanwhile, another player coming off a major injury – Spencer Dinwiddie – is making a strong early impression with his new club. Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Tuesday that he has been “pleasantly surprised” with how Dinwiddie looks this fall, suggesting that the veteran point guard appears “he’s back to normal” following his partial ACL tear last December (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • LaMelo Ball looks fully healthy after dealing with a wrist injury at the end of last season, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, who notes that the Hornets have inserted Miles Bridges into their starting lineup this season at least in part to take advantage of the chemistry between him and Ball.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic was surprised that the win-now Heat weren’t more willing to cross the luxury tax line this offseason, pointing out that they could’ve given free agent guard Kendrick Nunn the same deal he got from the Lakers and remained below the hard cap. As Hollinger outlines, Miami could avoid the tax this season and next, but project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24 if Tyler Herro is extended.
  • The Magic started rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner alongside veterans Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, and Wendell Carter in their first preseason game on Monday, but head coach Jamahl Mosley said that won’t necessarily be the same group that opens the regular season as the team’s starting five. “The way I try to look at it in this instance was, because it’s an extension of training camp, I’m just going to try looking at different lineups,” Mosley said, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “So it was treating it similar to a practice: We’d have different lineups going against one another, different combinations.”

Hornets Notes: Rozier, Noel, Bridges, Graham

Terry Rozier sees big things ahead for the Hornets after signing his $96MM contract extension, writes Jonathan M. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer.

Last year we were right there, had our foot in the door, but things got taken away from us due to injury,” Rozier said on Wednesday. “But I think we’re heading in the right direction and I’m just glad to be a part of this.”

Rozier, a career point guard, was moved to shooting guard after coming to Charlotte and responded with the best season of his career. He’s excited for the team’s future, especially going into year two playing alongside LaMelo Ball.

I think it’s going to be real scary,” Rozier said. “I think it’s great that we’re friends off the court. That’s a plus for us. Real cool friends, like my brother. He just had to get his feet wet last year, and I think he’s ready to show people what that name is about.

Rozier and team president Mitch Kupchak are also in agreement that the goal for this season is a playoff berth, and even potentially a series win.

We have more news from the Hornets:

  • Rozier has reasons to be pushing for the team to start experiencing playoff success beyond just on-court ambitions. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter), if the Hornets reach the second round of the playoffs in any of the 2022/23, 2023/24 or 2024/25 seasons, and Rozier plays at least 70 games that year, the fourth year of his extension becomes fully guaranteed.
  • According to Michael A. Scotto of HoopsHype, center Nerlens Noel had interest in the Hornets before ultimately re-signing with the Knicks, Scotto said on Wednesday’s episode of the HoopsHype podcast. Scotto says that playing alongside Ball as a pick and roll partner was a primary point of interest for the athletic big man.
  • In the same episode, Scotto adds that given the potentially dry 2022 free agent market, it could behoove Miles Bridges to try to lock down an extension with the Hornets this offseason. He’ll have until October 18 to get something done with Charlotte.
  • The Pelicans sent $2MM to the Hornets as part of the Devonte’ Graham sign-and-trade, reports Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. The Hornets also received a lottery-protected 2022 pick from the Pelicans in the deal.

Olympic Notes: Bridges, Washington, Quickley, Stewart, Hernangomez

Hornets forward Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington and Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley are no longer with the U.S. Select Team scrimmaging against Team USA’s Olympic roster in Las Vegas, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The three players have been removed from the mix due to the coronavirus protocols.

A person with knowledge of the situation told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press that one of those three players tested positive for COVID-19, while the other two were deemed close contacts and are being held out for precautionary reasons. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (via Twitter), Quickley entered the protocols for contact tracing purposes rather than a positive test, which suggests that one of the Hornets forwards was the player who tested positive.

Here’s more on the Olympics:

  • The U.S. Select Team is down another player, according to Windhorst, who tweets that Pistons center Isaiah Stewart suffered an ankle injury during a scrimmage and left the game to receive treatment. There’s no indication at this point that Stewart’s injury is a significant one.
  • Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, who had been preparing to represent Spain in the Olympics, dislocated his left shoulder during an exhibition game and will miss the Tokyo games, Reynolds writes for The Associated Press. The Wolves put out a statement indicating they’re aware of Hernangomez’s injury, but there’s no timeline yet for his recovery and return to the court.
  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry said it was a “hard decision” not to play for Team USA at the Olympics this summer, but he has “no regrets at all” about opting to skip the event, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN. “You take everything into account,” said Curry, who has won a pair of FIBA World Cup gold medals but hasn’t played in the Olympics. “I take how I’m feeling physically, mentally, what’s happening around the league, all those things. It’s not one specific reason or a part of it, but just knowing at the end of the day do I want to play or not? And the answer was no at the end of the day. And getting ready for next season (with a) relatively quick turnaround is important to me and I have a plan of how to do that and get ready for when training camp starts.”

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are:

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Bridges, Heat, Hall

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard won’t be afraid to take “big swings” to improve his roster this offseason if the opportunities present themselves, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes.

The Wizards dealt with several COVID-19 and injury-related issues this season, finishing with just a 34-38 record. The team was eliminated by the Sixers in a five-game series after making it out of the play-in tournament.

“We’ve gotta continue to add talent everywhere we can, and I think we’ve shown that I’m not afraid to take big swings,” Sheppard said. “We’re not afraid to go out and acquire players in trades, to do whatever it takes.”

Prior to the season, Washington dealt John Wall and a future first-round pick to the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook, a prime example of a big-swing move.

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Hornets forward Miles Bridges emerged as a well-rounded threat for the team this season, Sam Perley of NBA.com writes. Bridges averaged 12.7 points and a career-high six rebounds per game, serving as a key cog in the club’s rotation. “I feel like I can always get better at everything,” Bridges said during his exit interview, as relayed by Perley. “For this team, I play a lot of positions, a lot of different roles. I want to get better at everything – my IQ mainly. Learn how to finish games better, creating shots for myself and my teammates. I can always get better at defense, so for me, it’s just the full package.” Bridges will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • The Heat‘s early playoff exit will allow the team to spend more time reflecting on the season and planning for the summer, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Team president Pat Riley — much like Tommy Sheppard — has never been afraid to take big swings to improve his team, something worth monitoring this offseason.
  • While Donta Hall provided relentless energy as a depth piece during his time with the Magic, he’s not under contract for 2021/22 and it remains to be seen whether he’ll have a place in the team’s future, notes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel.