Nick Young

Lakers Notes: Pelinka, Johnson, Demps, Russell

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said Magic Johnson‘s blistering comments about him were “surprising” and “disheartening,” Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Johnson, who resigned as president of basketball operations shortly before the season ended, accused Pelinka on ESPN’s First Take of “backstabbing” him for telling people around the league he wasn’t working hard enough. Pelinka responded to the accusation during coach Frank Vogel‘s introductory press conference.

“They’re just simply not true,” Pelinka said. “I stand beside him. I stand with him as a colleague and a partner. I’ve always supported everything he’s done and will continue to.”

According to an ESPN report, Pelinka spoke to Johnson two days ago regarding the team landing the fourth pick in the draft lottery.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Pelinka confirmed that the organization will not hire a president of basketball operations to replace Johnson, according to a post from ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. Pelinka revealed that, in terms of decision-making, he consults with the basketball staff as well as senior adviser Kurt Rambis and then makes suggestions to owner Jeanie Buss.
  • Pelinka vows that the turmoil surrounding the organization won’t prevent it from building a championship team as soon as next season, ESPN’s Dave McMenanim writes. “I think if people take a look at where this franchise is right now, again we have a great coach, we have a high draft pick. We have a great young core, maybe one of the best in the league. We have a superstar on our team, and an open slot,” he said. “So I think people can look at this as an opportunity to win a championship possibly next year.”
  • Johnson blamed former Pelicans GM Dell Demps in the ESPN interview for leaking trade offers involving Anthony Davis prior to the trade deadline, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. “I told Dell Demps, ‘Let’s just do it in private. What we offer, let’s keep it between us.’ Well, Dell didn’t do that. So, that’s how it got out,” Johnson said.
  • Johnson also said during the First Take interview that his decision to trade D’Angelo Russell to the Nets was directly related to the issues he had with former Lakers guard Nick Young, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. Russell pranked Young by goading his teammate into admitting that he cheated on his former fiancé, recording star Iggy Azalea. Russell posted the recording on his private Snapchat account but it became public.

Nuggets Waive Nick Young

The Nuggets have parted ways with veteran guard Nick Young, the team announced in a tweet.

Young signed in Denver 20 days ago shortly after the team was granted a hardship exception. He appeared in four games, averaging 2.3 PPG in 9.3 minutes per night.

The hardship exception expires when a sufficient number of players return from injury, and the Nuggets are starting to get healthy, notes Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports (Twitter link). Paul Millsap came back last night, and Gary Harris and Will Barton are expected to return soon.

Denver has a full roster with 15 players plus both two-way slots filled. Young, who had a non-guaranteed contract, understood the situation and was professional during his time with the team, Dempsey adds (Twitter link). The Nuggets will incur a $311,070 cap hit for Young, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Hoiberg, Blazers, Young

While Fred Hoiberg would prefer to continue coaching at the NBA level, Marc Stein of The New York Times believes league-wide interest in the former Chicago head coach will be limited. Stein suggests that the Timberwolves – and owner Glen Taylor – are fond of Hoiberg, but they’re “the only known team to rate Hoiberg so highly.” It’s possible that Minnesota could move on from Tom Thibodeau at season’s end and consider Hoiberg at that point, but speculation about Thibodeau’s job security has quieted down since the Jimmy Butler trade.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

  • After getting off to a 10-3 start this season, the Trail Blazers have dropped 10 of their last 15 games and are currently the ninth seed in the West, on the outside of the playoff picture. Jason Quick of The Athletic takes a look at whether Portland can turn things around with the current roster, or whether it might be time for president of basketball operations Neil Olshey to go out and make a move.
  • Newest Nuggets swingman Nick Young has yet to appear in a game for his new team, but spoke earlier this week about getting another shot to contribute in the NBA, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post relays. “(Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly) called me, he said, ‘Are you 240 (pounds) right now, 250?’ I was like, ‘I’m close. No, just kidding.'” Young joked. “I told him I’m ready whenever.”
  • The Thunder‘s offseason upgrades went beyond simply swapping Carmelo Anthony for Dennis Schroder, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, who explores all the ways this season’s OKC squad is better than last season’s.
  • David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders explores which teams in the Northwest are likely to be buyers at the trade deadline and which will end up being sellers.

Nuggets Sign Nick Young

The Nuggets have added some scoring punch to their roster, announcing today (via Twitter) that they’ve signed veteran swingman Nick Young to a contract. Brandon Goodwin has been waived in a corresponding move, according to the full press release from the club.

Having previously been granted a hardship exception to sign a 16th player due to their injury woes, the Nuggets used that exception on Goodwin, but will now slot Young in as their 16th man. The NBA can give a team a hardship exception, which allows for an extra roster spot, when that team has at least four players who have missed three or more games and are expected to miss at least two more weeks.

In Denver’s case, Will Barton, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter, and Jarred Vanderbilt have all been on the shelf for most or all of the season, but the club’s injury issues don’t stop there. Gary Harris is now expected to miss multiple weeks, while Paul Millsap suffered a broken toe and will likely sidelined for the foreseeable future as well.

Down six players, the Nuggets will add some veteran help by signing Young, who had yet to find an NBA home for the 2018/19 season after winning a title with the Warriors in the spring. An 11-year veteran, Young has averaged 11.4 PPG on .418/.376/.836 shooting in 716 career regular season games. In Golden State last season, the 33-year-old posted 7.3 PPG in 80 games (17.4 MPG).

Young will receive a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary contract, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes (via Twitter) that it will count against the cap for about $1.04MM. Once the Nuggets starts getting healthier, they will lose access to their exception and will have to either trade or release Young or another player to get back down to 15 players.

As for Goodwin, he’ll count for $66,319 against Denver’s cap for his 14 days of service.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Community Shootaround: Early Lakers Impressions

We got our first glimpse of the new-look Lakers on Thursday night, as LeBron James appeared in his first regular season game for the franchise in Portland against the Trail Blazers. While the Lakers stuck with the Blazers for three quarters, Portland ultimately pulled away in the fourth, securing a 128-119 win.

There were plenty of positive takeaways for the Lakers. Second-year guard guard Josh Hart had a great game off the bench and already looks to be pushing for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s starting job; the team played at a breakneck pace that allowed for plenty of transition opportunities; and, of course, LeBron looked like LeBron.

Still, two potential flaws with the Lakers’ roster that we heard about throughout the offseason were on display in the club’s first game. L.A. struggled from beyond the arc, missing its first 15 three-pointers and making just seven of 30 attempts for the game. No one besides Hart made more than a single three, prompting veteran free agent Nick Young to seemingly tweet his case for roster consideration after the game, as Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype relays (via Twitter).

In the view of Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (via Twitter), the Lakers will be fine without elite three-point shooting, but could badly use a “serviceable” big man for 10-12 minutes per game. JaVale McGee played 22 minutes for the Lakers on Thursday, but the team didn’t use another traditional center, leaving forward like Kyle Kuzma or James as the de facto fives in certain lineups. Pincus suggests (via Twitter) that perhaps Moritz Wagner could help out when he gets healthy, but until then, the Lakers may have to lean too heavily on small-ball lineups that should only be used in moderation.

Of course, it was only one game, and given the time it took LeBron to adjust to new teams in Miami in 2010 and Cleveland in 2014, it only makes sense that we should give the Lakers some leeway to figure things out as well. James made that point after the game, as Ohm Youngmisuk of relays.

“I always kind of compare it to like instant oatmeal — it is not that fast,” James said of developing chemistry. “It takes a while to get to where you can close your eyes and know exactly where your guys are.

“We’re literally less than a month in,” LeBron added, referring to the Lakers having opened training camp in late September. “So, it’s still early. You still got to go through some things. You’re going to go through some adversity. See how guys react to it. See what guys get going.”

What do you think? Will this Lakers team be fine once it gets another 15 or 20 games under its belt, or does this roster have flaws that will need to be addressed sooner or later in order to seriously compete with the best of the West? Join the discussion in the comment section below!

Timberwolves To Work Out Several Veterans

Minnesota appears to be looking to bring in a veteran on the wing, with Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 reporting (Twitter link) that the team will host several free agents for workouts this week. Nick Young, Arron Afflalo, and Corey Brewer are among the players expected to meet with the Timberwolves.

The franchise has only 12 players on guaranteed salaries in addition to James Nunnally‘s partially guaranteed pact, so the organization has the ability to open up as many as two or three roster spots with ease. The Wolves could be an option for Luol Deng now that the wing is a free agent and they reportedly would have interest in Joakim Noah should the center hit the open market. Both Deng and Noah previously played under coach Tom Thibodeau when he was coaching in Chicago.

Brewer was drafted by the Timberwolves with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 draft before being dealt to the Knicks in the Carmelo Anthony trade. He came back to the Wolves in the summer of 2013 and they traded him again, this time to the Rockets in another three-team deal. Both stints in Minnesota predated Thibodeau’s arrival.

Minnesota had interest in Young early in free agency, though no deal materialized. He’s coming off a one-year, $5.19MM contract with the Warriors, one that he’s unlikely to surpass in annual value this offseason. The shooting guard scored just 7.3 points per contest during his lone season in Golden State and he was recently arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly failing to cooperate during a routine traffic stop.

Afflalo has played for six NBA franchises during his 11-year career. He shot 38.6% from behind the arc last season in Orlando, a figure that exactly matches his career average.

Nick Young Reportedly Arrested In Los Angeles

Nick Young was arrested in Los Angeles on Friday evening after he was detained during a routine traffic stop, according to TMZ.

Per the TMZ report, police detained Young just before midnight, but after he failed to cooperate, he was arrested for obstruction of justice. Young was taken to a nearby station and booked while his car was impounded, the TMZ report adds.

Young, 33, last played for the Warriors this past season, helping the team win its third NBA championship in four seasons. “Swaggy P,” as Young is known to NBA fans, averaged 7.3 PPG and 1.6 RPG for Golden State.

He is currently a free agent, as his contract with the Warriors was a one-year pact.

The sharpshooter has also suited up for the Wizards, Clippers, Sixers and Lakers during his 11-year NBA career.

Free Agent Rumors: Sixers, N. Young, Celtics, More

It didn’t take long once free agency began for LeBron James to announce that he would become a Laker — his agency issued a press release confirming his decision on the evening of July 1, less than 24 hours after the new league year officially got underway. Still, the Sixers felt as if James gave them serious consideration before he opted to head to L.A., as Ohm Youngmisuk of writes.

“I think they considered us very strongly,” Sixers principal owner Josh Harris said of James and his camp. “I think he – I would be speculating on how he makes his decisions, and I don’t want to do that – but I think that they were really serious [about Philadelphia]. The fact that they took the meeting with us was something that they didn’t view lightly, so I think that they were very serious about it.”

Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who said before free agency began that the team would be “star hunting,” isn’t walking back those comments and sounds committed to taking the same approach going forward, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Even if the 76ers can’t pull off a trade for Kawhi Leonard or another star, they should have plenty of cap flexibility in 2019, when many more All-Stars will reach the open market.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors:

  • About six teams, including the Rockets, continue to express interest in free agent swingman Nick Young, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. A report earlier this week specifically identified Houston, Minnesota, Utah, Cleveland, Memphis, and Sacramento as teams with interest in Young, though it’s not clear if those are the same six that remain in the mix.
  • While Marcus Smart‘s free agent outlook remains up in the air, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge calls the RFA guard Boston’s “highest priority” (Twitter link via Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal).
  • Asked today about the Celtics‘ plans for two-way restricted free agent Jabari Bird, Ainge replied, “We don’t know yet” (Twitter link via Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald). Bird has been Boston’s best player in Summer League action so far, averaging 18.0 PPG on 57.9% shooting, but it remains to be seen if the C’s will find room for him on their 15-man roster.
  • After pouring in 19 points in his NBA debut as a 32-year-old in April, Andre Ingram isn’t satisfied with his brief NBA cameo. As Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated relays, even after being renounced by the Lakers, Ingram is seeking another NBA opportunity, and has received some interest – but no offers – from the league’s 30 clubs.
  • Zach Lowe breaks down the winners and losers of free agency in an entertaining piece for

Free Agent Rumors: Mbah A Moute, Hood, N. Young

While Clint Capela may be the Rockets‘ most important free agent remaining, he’s not the only one the team has to worry about. A person close to the situation and with knowledge of negotiations tells Kelly Iko of RocketsWire that Houston also hasn’t progressed toward a deal in talks with UFA forward Luc Mbah a Moute.

According to Iko, Mbah a Moute is seeking more money and long-term security than he received from the Rockets in 2017/18, but the club is offering him another minimum-salary deal. Iko’s source suggests that the Spurs, Lakers, Clippers, Wizards, and Sixers have all expressed some level of interest in Mbah a Moute as well.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors:

  • Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) describes the Rodney Hood sweepstakes as a three-team race involving the Cavaliers, Kings, and Bulls. Sacramento and Chicago are two of the only teams with the cap room necessary to make a viable offer to Hood — we wrote about the Kings’ interest in the RFA swingman earlier today.
  • Free agent swingman Nick Young has received some interest from the Kings, Grizzlies, Rockets, Cavaliers, Jazz, and Timberwolves, among others, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. According to Wolfson, Young views Minnesota as as “good opportunity” but the club’s interest hasn’t been as aggressive as it was a year ago.
  • The Cavaliers had a group in Las Vegas this morning to see free agent wing Treveon Graham work out, league sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). The Cavs have “strong interest” in Graham, who is drawing interest from the Timberwolves too, says Aldridge.

Timberwolves Eyeing Nick Young, Other Free Agents

4:06pm: Wolfson adds Jeff Green, Malcolm Delaney, and Treveon Graham to the list of free agents that the Timberwolves have inquired on so far (Twitter link).

12:15pm: The Timberwolves have interest in Nick Young among several other free agents, according to ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link).

Young is coming off a down year in Golden State where he sported just a 10.0 player efficiency rating and scored just 7.3 points per game. It’s hard to envision the shooting guard surpassing the $5.19MM salary he received with the Warriors last season after floundering alongside the best supporting cast he’s ever played with.

Minnesota has the non-tax mid-level ($8.6MM) and the bi-annual ($3.4MM) at its disposal. However, with approximately $115MM already on the books, the team must be careful when handing out deals if it intends to stay below the luxury tax line. If a team uses its bi-annual exception or more than the taxpayer portion of its MLE, it becomes hard-capped for the season.

Dante Cunningham and James Ennis are among other free agents the Wolves are keeping an eye on, Wolfson adds. Lance Stephenson remains a possibility for one of the team’s five open roster spots. Minnesota is among the teams expected to have interest in the mercurial shooting guard once the first wave of free agents sign.

Other candidates for the team’s openings include Trevor Booker, Amir Johnson, Jabari Bird and Anthony Tolliver. Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau reportedly has spoken with Tolliver and team values the power forward’s lockerroom presence.