Monte Morris

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Butler, Morris, Sefolosha

The Timberwolves‘ roller coaster season took a new turn on Friday, with the team suffering a 30-point loss to the Bucks in front of their home crowd. Minnesota has been rocked by trade rumors centered around Jimmy Butler, who remains on the roster nearly six weeks after his trade request went public.

Despite the constant, sometimes nagging attention from media and fans, Wolves players have tried to keep their focus on handling business and business only.

“Me personally, I don’t care,” Gorgui Dieng said, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “If they trade Jimmy, then they’re trading him. If they keep him here, then they keep him here. It’s not my decision, it’s not something that I have a voice [in]. Most important is just what’s important for the team, and what I can do to help this basketball team.”

The Wolves have opened the 2018/19 season with a 2-4 record, and discussions to trade Butler are ongoing. Butler scored just four points on 2-11 shooting in Friday’s game.

“No team is ever going to go through a perfect season unscathed,” Taj Gibson said. “Everybody has a story at the end of the year sometimes of triumph and sometimes falling down. We’re in a crazy situation, kind of difficult, but we have to push through it. That’s why we’re professionals.

“We have to go into every practice, into every game with a smile on your face and push yourself.”

Here are some other notes from the Northwest Division:

  • Andrew Wiggins discussed his relationship with Jimmy Butler last week, stating that he and Butler “have always been cool,” according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). Wiggins also claims the infamous practice where Butler stormed the court and took on the Wolves’ starters was overblown (Twitter link).
  • The emergence of second-year player Monte Morris has greatly helped the Nuggets, who have jumped out to a 4-1 record this season, Mike Singer of The Denver Post contends. Morris is averaging 9.4 points in five games, providing depth in the backcourt with Isaiah Thomas still out to injury.
  • Jazz guard Thabo Sefolosha will be available to play Sunday against the Mavericks, according to Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. Sefolosha served a five-game suspension this season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy in April, and played just 38 games with the team last year.

Contract Details: Thomas, Harris, Len, Knicks

The three-year, minimum-salary deal that Khyri Thomas signed with the Pistons looks identical to the one fellow second-rounder Bruce Brown received from the club, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. Both contracts include two guaranteed seasons with a non-guaranteed third year.

In giving Thomas three years instead of two, the Pistons had to once again dip into the mid-level exception. The team has now used that exception to sign Thomas, Brown, and Glenn Robinson, pushing its total MLE commitments to about $5.75MM. That figure exceeds the amount of the taxpayer mid-level, meaning Detroit will now be hard-capped at $129.817MM for the rest of the 2018/19 league year.

Teams become hard-capped when they acquire a player via sign-and-trade, use their bi-annual exception, or use more than the taxpayer portion ($5.337MM) of the mid-level exception.

Here are several more contract- and salary-related updates from Pincus:

  • Joe Harris‘ fully guaranteed two-year deal with the Nets is worth exactly $16MM, but it’s worth more in the first year ($8.33MM) than the second ($7.67MM), per Pincus.
  • The Hawks used nearly their entire room exception ($4.449MM) on Alex Len‘s two-year contract, which starts at $4.35MM. Len will earn a little less in year two, for a total value of $8.51MM (link).
  • Noah Vonleh and Kadeem Allen both signed one-year, non-guaranteed contracts with the Knicks, according to Pincus. Vonleh will be owed a $100K guarantee if he remains under contract through September 25.
  • Monte Morris‘ three-year pact with the Nuggets was originally reported as a $4.8MM deal, but Pincus classifies it as a minimum-salary contract, worth about $4.6MM. Morris received two guaranteed years, with the third-year salary set to become guaranteed if he remains under contract through June 30, 2020.
  • The Rockets and Thunder dipped into their taxpayer mid-level exceptions for rookie deals for Isaiah Hartenstein and Hamidou Diallo, respectively. Both are three-year, minimum-salary contracts, but Hartenstein only has one guaranteed year (link) while Diallo has two (link).

Nuggets Sign Monte Morris To Three-Year Deal

JULY 25: The Nuggets have officially signed Morris, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 19: The Nuggets have reached an agreement with Monte Morris on a three-year contract worth $4.8MM, with the first two seasons guaranteed, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Morris had been on a two-way contract with Denver, but his new deal will be a standard contract that moves him to the team’s 15-man roster.

Morris, the 51st overall pick in the 2017 draft, only appeared in three NBA games during his rookie season. However, he had a strong season for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League, averaging 17.8 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.8 SPG in 37 contests.

The 6’2″ guard also played well for the Nuggets in Summer League action this month, posting a team-high 17.5 PPG on 50% shooting in four games in Las Vegas. He also chipped in 6.3 APG and 3.3 RPG.

Morris will fill out the roster for the Nuggets, who now have 15 players on NBA contracts. He figures to slot in as the team’s third point guard behind Jamal Murray and Isaiah Thomas. As long as both Murray and Thomas are healthy, Morris may not have much of a role in Denver’s rotation, so more G League stints are possible.

A three-year, minimum-salary contract would have been worth about $4.66MM for Morris. Based on Charania’s report, he’ll receive slightly more than that, so Denver will likely use Morris’ Non-Bird rights to complete the signing.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 10/23/17

NBA G League training camps open today, with the start of the 2017/18 season less than two weeks away. With camps getting underway, NBA teams have begun to assign players to their respective affiliates. However, as we detailed earlier this year, four teams are still lacking affiliates.

The Nuggets are one of those teams without an affiliate for 2017/18, which means their two-way players are headed to two different G League clubs. Denver announced today in a press release that Monte Morris will join the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets‘ affiliate, while Torrey Craig will play for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat‘s affiliate.

Here are today’s G League assignments:

8:00pm:

  • After spending the day in the G League, Isaiah Whitehead has been recalled to the Nets, the team announced this evening in a press release.

5:13pm:

  • The Nuggets have assigned first-round pick Tyler Lydon to the G League too, according to the team. Lydon will head to the Rockets‘ affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, along with Morris.
  • While the Rockets are adding a pair of Denver players to their G League squad, they’ll also send a couple players from their own NBA roster to the Vipers, announcing today (via Twitter) that Chinanu Onuaku and Troy Williams are G-League-bound.
  • Despite some minutes becoming available in the Nets‘ backcourt in the wake of Jeremy Lin‘s season-ending injury, second-year guard Isaiah Whitehead hasn’t cracked the rotation. Brooklyn is sending him to the Long Island Nets to get him some playing time, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • The Heat have assigned center A.J. Hammons to the G League, the club announced today in a press release. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Hammons is joining the Skyforce to work on his conditioning after he missed time with the flu, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Nuggets Sign Monte Morris To Two-Way Contract

The Nuggets have signed second-round pick Monte Morris to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release. It’s the second two-way deal for Denver — the club confirmed earlier this week that forward Torrey Craig received the other one.

[RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Morris, 22, played his college ball at Iowa State, averaging 16.4 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 4.8 RPG in his senior year. The young point guard was selected 51st overall in the 2017 NBA draft last month, so he’ll become the highest pick so far to agree to a two-way contract rather than an NBA deal.

Two-way contracts are a new addition to the NBA’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, so it has been interesting to see how teams have been using them for second-round picks in particular. So far, the four players drafted between Nos. 51 and 54 have all reportedly agreed to two-way deals.

For more information on how two-way contracts work, be sure to check out our FAQ.

Wizards Notes: Free Agency, Workouts, Beal, Brooks

As John Wall has suggested, fortifying the bench will be a priority for the Wizards this offseason, so J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com has examined the upcoming free agent market in an effort to identify some potential fits for Washington. Assuming they remain over the cap, which is a near certainty, the Wizards will have the mid-level, bi-annual, and minimum salary exceptions available to sign players, giving them a little flexibility.

In three separate pieces, Michael lists some potential point guard backups for Wall, a few possible backups for Beal at the two, and several veteran forwards who could be targets. While some of the players on Michael’s lists, such as J.J. Redick and Patty Mills, may end up being out of Washington’s price range, there are a handful of intriguing names noted, including Darren Collison, Kyle Korver, and Patrick Patterson.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • The Wizards are bringing in six prospects for a pre-draft workout on Tuesday, the team announced in a press release. Jamel Artis (Pittsburgh), James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana), Daniel Dixon (William & Mary), D.J. Fenner (Nevada), Monte Morris (Iowa State), and Melo Trimble (Maryland) will get a closer look from the club.
  • When the Wizards signed Bradley Beal to a maximum-salary, five-year contract last summer, there was skepticism among NBA observers that it was the right call. However, as Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes, Beal showed in the first year of the deal that he’s capable of living up to it and making good on Washington’s $127MM+ investment.
  • New head coach Scott Brooks turned out to be another solid investment for the Wizards, Hughes details in a separate piece for CSNMidAtlantic.com. “I think as a team we respect him,” Beal said of Brooks. “On the outside of coaching, he’s a really down-to-earth guy. He has a relationship with everyone on the team. I think everybody loves that. He holds everybody accountable. Me, I loved him. He granted everybody confidence and freedom on both ends of the floor, especially offense.”

Draft Notes: Aldridge, Robinson, McIntosh, Kuzma

The Celtics are likely to select one of the top two point guards, Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, rather than moving their pick, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. Boston has to protect itself with a tough decision coming on whether to re-sign Isaiah Thomas in the summer of 2018 and Fultz would make the most sense, Aldridge continues. Ball would be a natural fit with the Lakers, while the Sixers will probably go with small forward Josh Jackson, though Kentucky’s Malik Monk is an intriguing alternative, Aldridge adds. A trade in which the Suns move up a spot to snag Jackson to settle their small forward issues isn’t out of the question, according to Aldridge, who goes through each team’s need on a pick-by-pick basis.

In other news involving the draft:

  • Austin Peay’s Josh Robinson will hire an agent, meaning he won’t be able to return to the university, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The 6’2″ guard, who missed time this season after being suspended from the school’s basketball team, will look to play overseas.
  • MiKyle McIntosh is working out for the Raptors today, Goodman tweets. The Illinois State product has until Wednesday to make a final decision on entering the draft.
  • Iowa State point guard Monte Morris headed the list of prospects worked out by the Kings today, Sean Cunningham of KXTV tweets. Morris is considered second-round material by both DraftExpress and ESPN’s Chad Ford.
  • Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss and Indiana big man Thomas Bryant were among the prospects the Lakers worked out on Monday, Robert Morales of the Orange County Register reports. None of the players Los Angeles brought in are considered first-round prospects.
  • University of Utah forward Kyle Kuzma, who has already hired an agent, will work out for the Jazz on Tuesday, according to Aaron Falk and Tony Jones of the Salt Lake City Tribune. The 6’9” Kuzma, who is considered a second-round prospect, was one of the other hopefuls who worked for the Lakers on Monday.