Blazers To Sign Jeenathan Williams, Waive Ryan Arcidiacono

The Trail Blazers are making a change to their standard roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the team will waive veteran guard Ryan Arcidiacono and use the open roster spot to sign guard Jeenathan Williams to a two-year contract.

Williams, who went undrafted out of Buffalo in 2022, has spent his first professional season with the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate. In 32 regular season appearances for Salt Lake City, Williams averaged 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 29.8 minutes per game, posting an impressive .523/.417/.848 shooting line.

While the terms of Williams’ new deal aren’t yet known, it’s unlikely to include much, if any, guaranteed money beyond this season, essentially giving the Blazers a free look at the 24-year-old this summer before they decide whether they want to hang onto him for next season.

Arcidiacono began this season with the Knicks and was traded to Portland in the four-team trade deadline deal that sent Josh Hart to New York. The 29-year-old guard has actually played more in Portland than he did for the Knicks, averaging 2.6 PPG and 2.3 APG in nine games (16.2 MPG), though he’s currently sidelined due to lumbar soreness. He logged just 26 minutes in 11 contests for New York.

Arcidiacono won’t be playoff-eligible if he signs with a new team before the end of the regular season.

Due to a plethora of injuries, the Blazers have qualified for multiple hardship exceptions and signed Skylar Mays and Shaquille Harrison to fortify their standard roster. However, hardship signings can only be 10-day deals, so the team couldn’t give Williams a two-year contract without waiving someone on a rest-of-season deal.

Popovich, Nowitzki, Wade Headline 2023 Hall Of Fame Class

APRIL 1: Popovich, Wade, Nowitzki, Gasol, Parker, and Hammon have officially been announced as Hall of Famers. In addition to those previously reported names, the following inductees will join them:

  • Gene Bess: Longtime head coach at Three Rivers Community College who won two NJCAA national championships and won a record 1,300 games.
  • Gary Blair: Longtime women’s basketball head coach at Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Stephen F. Austin who won a national championship in 2011 and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
  • David Hixon: Longtime Amherst College head coach who won a pair of Division III national championships and was twice named the D-III Coach of the Year
  • Gene Keady: Longtime Purdue head coach who appeared in 17 NCAA tournaments and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year seven times.

The Hall of Fame is also recognizing Jim Valvano, the late NCAA broadcaster who created The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and the 1976 Olympic U.S. women’s basketball team (Twitter links).

This year’s class will formally be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on the weekend of August 11-12 in Springfield, Mass.

MARCH 28: Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Becky Hammon have been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

All six were finalists of the 2023 class, and a formal announcement of all the inductees will take place on Saturday morning at the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Popovich, the NBA’s all-time leader in wins for a head coach, has won five championships, all with San Antonio. The 74-year-old is in his 27th season as the lead coach of the Spurs, compiling a 1363-757 record to this point, good for a 64.3 winning percentage. In 284 postseason games, his teams have gone 170-114 — a 59.9 winning percentage.

A three-time Coach of the Year, Popovich is the longest tenured active coach in the league. He led Team USA to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Popovich was actually eligible to be inducted years ago but didn’t want to be considered until his longtime point guard Parker was eligible after Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were previously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career with the Mavericks, winning the team’s lone championship in 2011 en route to Finals MVP. He earned numerous accolades during his career, including being named the league’s 2006/07 MVP. The German big man was also 14-time All-Star and 12-time All-NBA member.

Wade, a shooting guard, was a 13-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA member, and three-time NBA champion with the Heat. He was named Finals MVP in 2006 and spent the bulk of his career with Miami. Wade is currently a part owner of the Jazz.

Parker, a point guard, spent his first 17 seasons with the Spurs before surprisingly signing one-year contract to finish his career with Charlotte. He was a six-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA member, four-time NBA champion and 2007 Finals MVP.

Gasol, a forward/center, was a six-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA member, two-time NBA champion with the Lakers and was the ’01/02 Rookie of the Year. He also had a storied international career with the Spanish national team, winning a couple of Olympic silver medals and several medals during World Cup and EuroBasket compeitions.

Hammon was a six-time WNBA All-Star and two-time first-team All-WNBA member. The former guard won an Olympic gold medal in 1998 with the U.S. national team.

Hammon was a Spurs assistant for parts of eight seasons, becoming the first female acting head coach in NBA history when Popovich was ejected from a game in December 2020. She departed San Antonio when she was named head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, becoming the first rookie head coach to win a championship last season.

Kentucky’s Cason Wallace Entering 2023 NBA Draft

Kentucky freshman guard Cason Wallace is entering the 2023 NBA draft and will forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Wallace is the latest projected lottery pick to announce that he’s declaring for the draft and going pro, joining Brandon Miller, Jarace Walker, and Keyonte George, among others. Wallace is currently the No. 10 overall prospect in the 2023 draft class on Givony’s big board at

Wallace’s numbers in 32 games as a freshman don’t necessarily jump off the page. He averaged 11.7 points, 4.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in 32.2 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .446/.346/.757.

However, he finished the year strong, enjoying perhaps his best game of the season in the Wildcats’ second-round loss in the NCAA Tournament (21 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting). He is also one of the best defenders in the draft, per Givony, and showed NBA evaluators a different aspect of his game when he assumed primary ball-handling duties following an injury to Kentucky point guard Sahvir Wheeler.

“Learning how to play the point guard position the whole game helped,” Wallace told ESPN. “It forced me to step up to another challenge in a new role.”

Wallace added that he’s intent on developing “each part” of his game further and intends to get “stronger, faster and quicker in the pre-draft process.”

Raptors’ Nurse Says He’ll Evaluate Future After Season

Nick Nurse‘s future in Toronto has been a subject of speculation as of late, with multiple reports this week suggesting there has been some league-wide chatter about Nurse’s status. Asked on Friday about those rumors, the Raptors head coach could have poured cold water on them, but his response only added more fuel, writes Josh Lewenberg of

“I think when this season gets done, we’ll evaluate everything,” Nurse told reporters. “Even personally, I’m going to take a few weeks to see where I’m at, where my head’s at, and just see how the relationship with the organization is and everything. It’s been 10 years for me now, which is a pretty good run.”

Nurse has been the head coach in Toronto since 2018 and was an assistant with the franchise under Dwane Casey for five years before that. It has been the Raptors’ most successful decade since entering the NBA in 1995, and Nurse has had a major hand in that success, leading the team to its first ever championship in 2019 and a 224-161 (.582) record across his five seasons.

However, the last three years have been more up and down than the first two. Toronto was just 27-45 in 2020/21 — that appeared at the time to be an aberration due to the fact that the team was forced to play its home games in Tampa due to COVID-19. Following a 48-win showing in 2021/22 though, this season has also been an underwhelming one. The Raptors currently sit under .500 (38-39) with just five games left to play, resulting in speculation about Nurse’s future.

Nurse’s contract expires after the 2023/24 season, and sources with knowledge of the situation tell Lewenberg that the 55-year-old doesn’t want to go into next season as a “lame-duck” coach. So, assuming he wants to continue coaching in Toronto, he’ll be seeking an extension this spring.

That means the Raptors will essentially have to make a decision this year, one way or the other, on Nurse’s future. Both directions – retaining Nurse or making a change – seem plausible at this time, Lewenberg writes, while Eric Koreen of The Athletic says a coaching change feels more likely than not.

Determining Nurse’s future will be just one part of a big offseason for the Raptors, who also have Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl, and Gary Trent Jr. facing potential free agency.

Ime Udoka has been linked to the Raptors as a possible target if they do move on from Nurse. As Koreen points out, Udoka interviewed for the team’s head coaching job in 2018 and has been associated with Basketball Without Borders, which works closely with Masai Ujiri‘s Giants of Africa initiative. Of course, the off-court incident that ended Udoka’s tenure in Boston would be a complicating factor for the Raptors or any other team interested in pursuing the former Celtics head coach.

Nurse, meanwhile, has been linked to Houston, where head coach Stephen Silas isn’t a lock to return next season. Nurse coached the Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, from 2011-13 before joining the Raptors.

NBA, NBPA Reach Tentative Deal On New CBA

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reached a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement early on Saturday morning, according to statements from the league and the players’ union.

The official announcements are light on specific details, simply stating that the new agreement is tentative and still needs to be ratified by the players and team owners. The NBA and NBPA said that they’ll announce more details once the new CBA is official.

However, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic, who initially broke word of the agreement, have already shared several of the most interesting changes in the new CBA.

According to Wojnarowski, the NBA and NBPA agreed at the last minute to push back the Friday, March 31 deadline for either side to opt out of the current CBA, since they felt they were closing in on an agreement. A few hours later, a tentative deal was in place.

The new CBA will begin in 2023/24 and will cover the next seven years, with a mutual opt-out after year six, Wojnarowski adds.

Here are some of the most notable ways the NBA will change in the new CBA, as reported by Wojnarowski and Charania:

The introduction of an in-season tournament

An in-season tournament could show up on the NBA schedule as soon as the 2023/24 season, if all the details are hammered out in time, according to ESPN. The first round of the tournament will be part of the regular season schedule, with the top eight teams advancing to a single-elimination event in December. The “Final Four” will be played at a neutral site — Las Vegas is among the cities receiving consideration.

It sounds like the plan is for NBA teams to have 80 regular season games scheduled as normal, with some of those games serving as the first round of the in-season tournament, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). The leftover games for the teams that don’t make the single-elimination portion of the tournament would be scheduled at a later date, while the two teams that make the final of the tournament would ultimately end up playing 83 games.

Prize money for the in-season tournament would be $500K per player, reports Charania (Twitter link).

The implementation of a second tax apron

The NBA’s current “tax apron” is set a few million dollars above the luxury tax line. For instance, in 2022/23, the tax line is $150,267,000 and the tax apron is $156,983,000. Teams above the tax apron aren’t permitted to acquire players via sign-and-trade, use more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, or use the bi-annual exception.

In the new CBA, the league will implement a second tax apron that’s $17.5MM over the tax line, per ESPN. Clubs whose team salary is above that second apron will no longer have access to the taxpayer mid-level exception in free agency.

As Wojnarowski points out, that means taxpayer MLE signings like Donte DiVincenzo (Warriors), Joe Ingles (Bucks), Danilo Gallinari (Celtics), and John Wall (Clippers) wouldn’t have been permitted last summer, given how far those teams were over the tax line.

This changes will be “eased into” the salary cap over the next few years, according to ESPN’s report. Wojnarowski adds that there are expected to be new spending opportunities in free agency and on the trade market for non-taxpaying teams, though there are no details yet on how those new opportunties will work.

A minimum games-played requirement for postseason awards

As expected, the NBA will set a minimum number of games played for players to qualify for postseason awards, including MVP, Rookie of the Year, and All-NBA. That minimum will be 65 games, though it will come with some “conditions,” says Wojnarowski.

The ostensible goal of this change is to reduce teams’ generous deployment of “load management.” It will have the added effect of helping to simplify the criteria for award voters.

Bigger first year-raises on veteran contract extensions

Under the current CBA, a veteran who signs a contract extension can receive up to 120% of his previous salary in the first year of a new deal — or 120% of the NBA’s average salary, if he’s earning less than the league average.

The new CBA will increase that limit to 140% of the player’s previous salary, per Wojnarowski and Charania. It’s unclear at this point whether players earning less than the minimum will also be able to make up to 140% of the average NBA salary in the first year of a veteran extension.

This rule change could benefit players like Jaylen Brown, OG Anunoby, and Domantas Sabonis, who will be eligible for extensions but who are earning well below their market value and likely wouldn’t have agreed to an extension that features a 20% first-year raise (40% may still not be enough in some cases, but it at least should increase the odds of a deal).

An extra two-way contract slot

Teams will be permitted to carry three players on two-way contracts in the new CBA rather than two, according to Wojnarowski and Charania. That will result in 90 league-wide two-way slots instead of just 60.

Drug testing

Players will no longer be tested for marijuana under the new CBA, tweets Charania. The process of phasing out marijuana testing has been ongoing for a few years. Random marijuana testing was a part of the current CBA, but the NBA and NBPA agreed not to resume those tests during the 2020 bubble in Orlando and has stuck with that policy ever since.

More details on the new CBA will likely be reported in the coming days and weeks as the league and the union work on formally ratifying the new agreement and getting it in place in time for the coming offseason.

Naz Reid To Undergo Surgery, Miss Six Weeks

Timberwolves center Naz Reid will undergo surgery on his fractured left wrist, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

He’ll be sidelined for six weeks, likely ending his season unless Minnesota makes a significant playoff run. It’s a huge blow for the Timberwolves, as Reid filled in admirably during Karl-Anthony Towns‘ extended absence and had just moved to a significant bench role.

The center suffered the injury during the second half of a 107-100 loss to the Suns on Wednesday, in a fall after a dunk attempt.

In 68 games this season, the 6’9″ big man had been averaging 11.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.8 BPG across 18.4 MPG for the Timberwolves.

He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer after earning the vet minimum this season.

Nathan Knight figures to play a more prominent role and it’s possible the Timberwolves might try to clear a roster spot for two-way big man Luka Garza.

Rudy Gobert, Chris Finch Fined For Criticizing Officiating

Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert and head coach Chris Finch were fined on Friday for the comments they made criticizing the officiating after Wednesday’s loss to Phoenix, the NBA announced in a press release (Twitter link).

Gobert’s fine was $25K, while Finch was docked $15K.

As we previously relayed, Gobert was upset in particular about the moving screens he was called for on Wednesday and throughout the season, and suggested that Minnesota doesn’t get a fair whistle because the Timberwolves aren’t a big-market team.

“I’ve been in this league for 10 years and I try to always give the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard for me to think they’re not trying to help (the Suns) win tonight,” Gobert said on Wednesday. “It’s hard for me to think they didn’t try to help the Warriors win the other night or Sacramento Kings the other night. It’s just so obvious. As a basketball player that’s been in this league for so long, it’s disrespectful.”

Finch wasn’t as direct in his criticism of the officiating, but he did take a page out of Monty Williamsbook by griping about the free throw disparity between the Wolves and Suns on Wednesday. Finch suggested that Williams’ recent remarks along the same lines must have had a positive effect.

“It works because tonight they went to the line 27 times and we went to the line 12 times. Sitting up here and talking about it or whatever, must have worked for them,” Finch said, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “Because this is a team that doesn’t historically draw fouls at the rate they did.”

Williams ($20K) and Fred VanVleet ($30K) are among those who have also been fined recently for their criticisms of the referees.

One-And-Done Rule Not Expected To Change In New CBA

Facing an opt-out deadline of midnight Eastern time on Friday night, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association continue to discuss a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If the two sides do reach an agreement today, the next CBA won’t change the “one-and-done” rule for draft prospects, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Discussions about that rule are no longer taking part of the CBA negotiations, Woj says.

The one-and-done rule, established in 2005, prohibits NBA hopefuls from entering the draft directly out of high school. Those players must wait a year before declaring for the NBA draft. As a result, many of the top prospects have become known as “one-and-done” players, since they spend just one year at college (or elsewhere) before making themselves draft-eligible.

Players used to be able to enter the draft directly out of high school – LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were among the stars who did so – and there was some speculation in recent years that the NBA and NBPA would once again allow that to happen as part of the new CBA.

However, ESPN has been reporting for quite some time that no changes to the one-and-done rule are imminent, despite rumors the contrary, and it appears that’s still the case.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links) observes, there’s not a lot of motivation among teams, team owners, or players to change the rule. Giving NBA teams the ability to draft even younger players would make scouting more challenging and would eliminate jobs for veteran players.

According to Givony, while some people in the industry have had moral concerns about “forcing” 18-year-olds to attend college instead of beginning their professional careers, the emergence of alternate professional pathways to the NBA (ie. the G League Ignite and Overtime Elite) and NIL deals for college players have helped allay many of those concerns.

The NBA and NBPA both hope that a tentative agreement on a new CBA can be reached before tonight’s deadline, Wojnarowski notes. If there’s no deal in place by the end of the day, the league is expected to exercise its opt-out clause, which would move the expiry date of the current CBA up by one year to June 30, 2023. The two sides would still have three months to agree to a new CBA to avoid a lockout on July 1.

LaMarcus Aldridge Announces Retirement

Longtime NBA big man LaMarcus Aldridge has retired as a player, announcing the news today on Twitter.

“In the words of TB12, you only get one big, emotional retirement,” Aldridge wrote, referencing NFL star Tom Brady. “… So, on that note…I’m thankful for all the memories, family and friends I made throughout my career. It was one hell of a ride and I enjoyed every min!”

The second overall pick in the 2006 draft out of Texas, Aldridge averaged 19.1 points and 8.1 rebounds in 1,076 career NBA regular season games for the Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Nets. He contributed 20.8 PPG and 8.5 RPG in another 72 postseason contests.

Aldridge, who is now 37 years old, was named to the NBA All-Star team seven times over the course of his 16-year career — four times with Portland and three with San Antonio. He also earned All-NBA Second Team honors twice and made the All-NBA Third Team three times.

This is technically the second retirement announcement Aldridge has made in the last two years. He initially said he was retiring in April 2021 after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during a game with the Nets. However, Aldridge became confident enough in his health to make a comeback in 2021/22, appearing in 47 games last season for Brooklyn.

Aldridge played his last NBA game on April 6, 2022. He reportedly worked out for Dallas last month, but didn’t catch on with the Mavericks or any other team this season.

Grizzlies’ Lofton Named G League Rookie Of The Year

First-year forward Kenneth Lofton Jr., who is on a two-way contract with the Grizzlies, has been named the G League Rookie of the Year for the 2022/23 season, according to the NBA (Twitter link).

Lofton has appeared in just 19 games and averaged only 5.5 MPG at the NBA level in his first professional season after signing with the Grizzlies as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech. However, he played a major role for the Memphis Hustle, the team’s G League affiliate.

In 17 regular season games for the Hustle, Lofton averaged a double-double (20.2 PPG, 10.5 RPG) despite logging a modest 28.6 minutes per night. He shot 53.9% from the floor and also chipped in 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. Lofton’s performance helped the Hustle secure the No. 2 seed in the NBAGL’s Western Conference with a 23-9 record.

Lofton will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer, since his two-way contract only covers the 2022/23 season.

According to the NBA (Twitter link), Warriors two-way guard Lester Quinones and Rockets two-way forward Darius Days finished second and third, respectively, in Rookie of the Year voting.

Quinones averaged 21.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 4.8 APG in 31 G League regular season games (32.0 MPG) for the Santa Cruz Warriors, while Days put up 24.4 PPG and 9.7 RPG on .486/.371/.857 shooting in 29 contests (35.6 MPG) for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.