Nicolas Claxton

Nets Notes: Irving, Simmons, Durant, Sumner, Claxton, Gray

Nets wing Cam Thomas isn’t letting the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving affect his outlook for the 2022/23 season and said this weekend that he won’t think any less of his star teammate if Kyrie pushes to be traded elsewhere, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Irving has been spotted at multiple Las Vegas Summer League games, but didn’t attend the Nets’ contests on Friday or Sunday.

“Kyrie’s my guy. Whatever’s his choices, that’s a choice,” Thomas said. “So I still keep in contact with him. That’s my guy. So whatever he does, that’ll still be my guy, my brother. So, it is what it is; it’s part of the business.”

While Thomas said he wasn’t bothered by Irving not showing up to the Nets’ Summer League games, he did praise three-time All-Star Ben Simmons for coming out to watch some of his young teammates on Sunday vs. Philadelphia.

“Yeah that’s big to have somebody of that stature come out and support us as the young guys. That makes us feel good. It makes us happy to play,” Thomas said. “So kudos to Ben for coming out here and watching us play.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Nets general manager Sean Marks and Heat GM Andy Elisburg were seen talking in Las Vegas on Monday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter links), who says the two GMs are “going beyond cursory conversation” by dining together. Miami is, of course, considered one of Kevin Durant‘s preferred landing spots, so any discussions between the two front offices are worth keeping an eye on.
  • The new contract Edmond Sumner signed with the Nets is a two-year, minimum-salary contract, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who tweets that the second year is non-guaranteed.
  • Nic Claxton‘s new two-year contract with Brooklyn, initially reported to be worth $20MM, actually has a base value of $17.25MM, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. The deal includes $2,587,500 in total unlikely incentives, so if Claxton earns all those bonuses, he could end up making nearly $20MM across the two seasons.
  • A second-round pick in 2021, forward RaiQuan Gray signed a G League contract and spent his rookie season with the Long Island Nets in the G League, so Brooklyn still controls his NBA rights. As Lewis writes for The New York Post, Gray has worked hard to get into better shape and show the Nets that he deserves a shot at an NBA roster spot this fall.

Nets Re-Sign Nic Claxton, Patty Mills

JULY 10: The Nets have announced in a press release that they have officially re-signed Mills.

JULY 7: The Nets have officially re-signed Claxton, the team announced in a press release.

JUNE 30: The Nets are re-signing a pair of key rotation players from their 2021/22 squad, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links), who reports that center Nic Claxton is receiving a two-year, $20MM contract, while guard Patty Mills gets a two-year, $14.5MM deal.

Brooklyn had Claxton’s Bird Rights and won’t need to use another cap exception to sign him. Mills’ deal appears to be the maximum amount he can receive on a Non-Bird deal, as Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets.

Claxton, 23, was 31st pick of the 2019 draft after two collegiate seasons at Georgia. Injuries have played him throughout his three NBA seasons, but he’s shown to be a switchable, versatile defender when healthy. Brooklyn issued him a qualifying offer a couple of days ago, making him a restricted free agent.

In 47 games last season, including 19 starts (20.7 MPG), Claxton averaged 8.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.1 BPG while shooting 67.4% from the floor and 58.1% from the free-throw line. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer previously reported that Claxton was likely to return to Brooklyn.

Mills, 33, had a solid first season with Brooklyn in ’21/22, averaging 11.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG and 2.3 APG on .408/.400/.814 shooting in 81 regular season games (48 starts, 29 MPG). He averaged career-highs in three-point makes and attempts, with 2.8 and 7.0, respectively.

Mills has played 13 seasons in the league, spending his first couple of seasons with Portland before a 10-year run with the Spurs that included an NBA Championship in 2014. The veteran guard also led the Australian national team to a Bronze Medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Wojnarowski and Brian Lewis of The New York Post said last night that Mills hadn’t ruled out a return to the Nets after declining his player option to become a free agent. Mills isn’t quite as quick as he once was and is limited defensively despite giving solid effort, but he holds a career three-point percentage of 38.9%, which is always valuable.

Eastern Free Agent Rumors: Sexton, Bagley, Claxton, Hartenstein, Bridges

The Cavaliers are trying to re-sign Collin Sexton, but their first offer was short of what he’s hoping for, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The free agent guard wants a new deal that averages about $20MM per year, sources tell Fischer, but Cleveland’s early offer in extension talks was below that number. Fischer says it was similar to Jordan Clarkson‘s “three-year, $51MM” deal, but Clarkson’s contract is actually worth $52MM over four years, so it’s unclear which of those figures was closer to Cleveland’s initial offer.

Sexton missed most of last season with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was recently cleared for full basketball activities and should be ready for training camp.

There’s more on Eastern Conference free agents, all from Fischer:

  • Marvin Bagley III, who was acquired at the trade deadline, is expected to re-sign with the Pistons for more than $10MM per year. Fischer compares the expected deal to what the Hornets gave Kelly Oubre, which was two seasons at $24.6MM with a partial guarantee on the second year.
  • Fischer confirms a report that Nic Claxton will likely remain with the Nets, probably for an amount in the neighborhood of the full MLE.
  • The Bulls and Magic could be among the suitors for center Isaiah Hartenstein now that the Clippers are expected to give their full taxpayer MLE to John Wall. Chicago has been linked to several centers, but Fischer hears that the team would prefer not to use its entire non-taxpayer MLE of $10.1MM, so Hartenstein may be a lower-cost option. Rumors have emerged that Orlando may have interest in Hartenstein, but Fischer adds that he could also decide to remain in L.A. on a cheaper deal and hope to cash in later.
  • The Pacers are considering an offer for Hornets forward Miles Bridges, but Fischer says it’s not clear if Indiana is ready to hand out such a large contract. Fischer adds that the Grizzlies have been considered a “sleeper candidate” due to the presence of Jaren Jackson Jr., his former college teammate, but sources tell Fischer that Memphis isn’t expected to pursue Bridges.

Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III Among Players Receiving QOs

The Suns have issued a qualifying offer to center Deandre Ayton, making him a restricted free agent, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Ayton’s qualifying offer is worth $16,422,835.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Qualifying Offers]

Although there have been consistent whispers about the possibility of Ayton leaving Phoenix in free agency this summer, there was never any doubt that he’d receive a qualifying offer. That QO ensures that he doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent and gives the Suns the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signs with a rival team. Ayton also has the option of signing the one-year, $16.4MM deal if he wants to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023, though that’s considered very unlikely.

Here are a few more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • The Pistons have tendered a qualifying offer worth $7,228,448 to big man Marvin Bagley III, making him a restricted free agent, tweets Smith. Multiple reports in recent weeks and months have indicated that re-signing Bagley will be a priority for Detroit this offseason. His cap hold will exceed $28MM, but if the two sides agree to terms quickly once free agency opens, the Pistons will be able to maximize their cap room by reducing that $28MM cap hold to a first-year salary that will come in much lower.
  • The Nets have issued qualifying offers to center Nic Claxton and two-way guard David Duke, per Smith (Twitter link). Claxton’s QO is worth $2,228,276 while Duke’s is for another two-way contract. Both players are now restricted free agents.
  • The Nuggets have extended qualifying offers to forward Vlatko Cancar and two-way swingman Davon Reed, according to Smith (Twitter link). Like Claxton, Cancar has a $2,228,276 qualifying offer. Reed’s is for another two-way contract, though it’s possible he could generate interest from teams interested in giving him a standard roster spot.
  • Wizards forward Anthony Gill received a qualifying offer making him a restricted free agent, according to Smith (Twitter link). Gill’s QO projects to be worth $2,011,516, though that could increase or decrease slightly depending on where the salary cap for 2022/23 ends up.
  • The Warriors have made swingman Quinndary Weatherspoon a restricted free agent by giving him a two-way qualifying offer, reports Smith (Twitter link). Golden State reportedly agreed to a deal with Lester Quinones to fill the team’s other two-way slot.

New York Rumors: Knicks, Brunson, Burks, Nets, Claxton, Kyrie

The Knicks have “legitimate optimism” about their chances of signing free agent point guard Jalen Brunson, Ian Begley of reports, citing people in touch with the organization since the draft.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report conveyed a similar sentiment during his latest podcast, suggesting that the Knicks may have moved ahead of the Mavericks as the favorites to lock up Brunson long-term this offseason (hat tip to HoopsHype).

As Begley observes, the Knicks still have some work to do if they want to create the cap room necessary to make Brunson a strong offer — trading either Alec Burks or Nerlens Noel may be the most likely path to opening up that space.

Burks underwent foot surgery this spring after the Knicks’ season ended, and while that procedure has reportedly hurt his trade value, Begley says there are still multiple teams with some interest in the veteran guard, including the Celtics.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Fred Katz of The Athletic spoke to 16 officials in NBA front offices to get a sense of how much they’d be willing to offer RJ Barrett in extension talks this offseason if they were running the Knicks. According to Katz, the responses ranged from $15-30MM per year, with no one saying they would go up to the max. A four-year, $100MM offer was the most-cited suggestion, Katz adds.
  • In the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that restricted free agent center Nic Claxton appears likely to remain with the Nets (audio link via Jac Manuell of Nets Republic). “The word is amongst executives, I’ve talked to a couple of executives today who believe that Nic Claxton will be back with the Nets, that that’s been worked out,” Windhorst said. “I shouldn’t say it’s been worked out. There’s an understanding.”
  • In the same podcast, Windhorst wondered whether or not the standoff between the Nets and Kyrie Irving has truly been put to bed after Irving announced he’ll pick up his player option for 2022/23. “I was told that the option pick-up came as a total surprise to the Nets, that they found out when everybody else did,” Windhorst said, per NetsDaily. “… The people that I talk to in the league are skeptical that Kyrie is going to be ‘all for one and one for all’ on this. … The people who are in the business to earn the business are telling me, ‘No, Kyrie actually has leverage here,’ because now he’s making the $36 million, he’s got his money and he can make life hell.”
  • In an Insider-only story for, Kevin Pelton considers what’s next for the Nets now that Irving has decided to opt in.

Rockets Notes: Free Agent Targets, Burke, Gordon, Draft

The Rockets will target a backup center when free agency opens at the end of the month, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The team is short on reliable big men after agreeing to trade Christian Wood to the Mavericks, and although Houston will receive Boban Marjanovic in the deal, the front office plans to explore other options on the free agent market.

Feigen identifies Nic Claxton as one possibility, saying the Nets likely wouldn’t match a full mid-level exception offer (starting at $10MM+) because of luxury tax concerns. Claxton was a part-time starter this season and put up career-best numbers with 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per night.

Other free agents that Feigen mentions include former Rocket Isaiah Hartenstein, Andre Drummond, Mason Plumlee, Mo Bamba, Hassan Whiteside, JaVale McGee and Dewayne Dedmon. After a promising rookie year, Alperen Sengun is expected to be Houston’s starting center next season.

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • As expected, Mavericks guard Trey Burke has officially exercised his $3.3MM player option for next season, which is necessary for the Wood trade to be finalized, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. The deal still can’t be announced until after Dallas picks at No. 26 on Thursday because the Mavs owe a protected 2023 first-round pick to New York.
  • In his latest piece for Substack, Marc Stein confirms that the Rockets are shopping veteran guard Eric Gordon in hopes of getting a first-round pick in return. Houston also tried to move Gordon at the trade deadline, but couldn’t find an acceptable offer. The 33-year-old will make $19.57MM next season and a non-guaranteed $20.92MM in 2023/24.
  • In a separate story, Feigen examines the information the Rockets use when evaluating draft prospects. The team was among the first to embrace analytics under former general manager Daryl Morey, but current GM Rafael Stone admits there are many times when the numbers don’t match what talent evaluators believe they’re seeing. “There are so many different tools you can look at,” he said. “If you like a particular stat a majority of the time it can easily lie to you in individual instances. You don’t just go back to work with video. You can back to work with the whole thing. It gives you hints about what you need to study more with a particular player.”

Nets Notes: Claxton, Brown, Van Gundy, Dinwiddie

The Nets are prepared to match any offer to keep restricted free agent Nic Claxton, according to a report from A second-round pick in 2019, the 23-year-old center will be on the market this summer after spending three years in Brooklyn. He averaged 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds this season, mostly in a backup role, and his numbers have improved each year.

An Eastern Conference general manager told Sean Deveney that there’s interest in Claxton on the open market, speculating that the Hornets or Bulls might give him an offer above the mid-level exception, possibly around $35MM over three years.

“(The Nets) are not sold on him as the big guy of the future but at that number, they’d keep him around, and know they can move him in a deal next summer if they have something better in mind,” the GM said. “Trouble is, they’ve got a short window here so they can’t wait for him too long. But (Brooklyn GM Sean Marks) is a believer in development and they are not going to give up on him that fast.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • The Celtics could be Brooklyn’s main competition for free agent Bruce Brown, Deveney adds in a separate story. Brown will be unrestricted after accepting the Nets’ qualifying offer last summer, and Boston coach Ime Udoka got to know him while serving as an assistant coach for Brooklyn last season. “He might be out of their price range in the end and maybe he goes back to Brooklyn,” a rival executive told Deveney, “but Ime was an assistant there and we’ve seen that carries some weight with who they bring in. He was good in that Celtics series. If he can’t get a big offer, they could sneak in with him on a one-and-one (one year, with a player option) deal and put him to good use.”
  • Former NBA coach and current TNT broadcaster Stan Van Gundy believes the Nets have to overcome trust issues to be successful next season, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn has a talented roster, but Van Gundy hasn’t seen the cohesion necessary to win in the playoffs. “Over time … are guys going to look around and really have trust for other guys? Or will they be looking around saying, ‘You know what, that dude is going to let us down. I know he is. We can’t count on him,’” Van Gundy said. “And so they’ve got a lot to overcome in that way, which I think may even be more important than the talent they put out on the floor.”
  • In another story, Lewis retraces the fall of the Nets’ Big Three and suggests that things may have gone differently if Spencer Dinwiddie hadn’t been injured. Dinwiddie underwent knee surgery on January 4, 2021, and Brooklyn traded for James Harden nine days later.

Atlantic Notes: Drummond, Embiid, Tatum, Brown, R. Williams

Andre Drummond has been a valuable addition for the Nets since being acquired in the James Harden trade, but he understands the arrangement may be short-term, writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. Drummond has taken over as Brooklyn’s starting center, averaging 12.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in 17 games. However, he’s playing on a veteran’s minimum contract that he signed with the Sixers and will be seeking a raise in free agency this summer.

That offer is unlikely to come from the Nets, who are already facing a salary cap crunch with the league’s second-highest payroll, Winfield adds. Considering the situation, Drummond acknowledged that Brooklyn was wise to hold onto young center Nic Claxton at the trade deadline.

“And if we’re all being honest, I’m only here til the rest of the season,” Drummond said. “So who knows what’s gonna happen in the offseason? So they need a guy like (Nic).”

Drummond clarified his comments at this morning’s shootaround, saying he wants to stay with the Nets but the situation is unpredictable, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Sixers center Joel Embiid said it was “draining” to have to deal with the Ben Simmons situation, but it forced him to become a better leader. Embiid was often vocal in the media about Simmons’ absence, saying in October that “our job is not to babysit somebody.” “It was a tough situation to navigate and go through (with Simmons),” Embiid told Amick. “Even to this day, I don’t have any hard feelings towards everything that happened. But being in my position, having to answer questions about that whole thing every single day, it was kind of draining. And I’m sure it was draining for my teammates.”
  • The Celtics never seriously considered breaking up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown before last month’s trade deadline, but there was talk around the league and among sources close to both players that Boston might pursue that path over the summer, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. There’s no chance of a split following the Celtics’ recent surge to the top of the Eastern Conference, but Fischer states that a few teams had their eyes on Brown in early February. The Sixers would have pursued him if they hadn’t found a taker for Simmons, and Fischer identifies the Hawks and Heat as other potential suitors.
  • Celtics coach Ime Udoka said some surgical options could enable injured center Robert Williams to return for the second or third round of the playoffs, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

Nets Notes: Simmons, KD, Irving, Claxton, Aldridge

Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show (Twitter link), Shams Charania of The Athletic said the Nets will be cautious with Ben Simmons, but there’s still an expectation that he’ll play this season.

Simmons received an epidural to treat the herniated disc in his back on March 15 and has been unable to do any basketball-related activities. However, he was able to travel with the team for the first time in a month during Brooklyn’s road trip this week and his back is starting to feel better, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Yeah he’s feeling a lot less pain,” coach Steve Nash said of Simmons, who still has to be cleared to practice 1-on-1, 3-on-3, and 5-on-5 before he can even be considered for playing. “I don’t have any major updates. His symptoms are improving and I think he’s progressing, but he’s not on the floor yet.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Kevin Durant is relieved to have Kyrie Irving back for home games, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes. Irving was recently exempted from New York City’s vaccine mandate. “It’s a long time coming,” Durant said. “It’s an exciting time for Brooklyn Nets fans and New York fans to see one of our own back on the floor at home. It means a lot to our team, happy to have him back, and look forward to finishing the season strong. I’m glad this is all behind us.”
  • Coach Steve Nash echoed a similar sentiment, Lewis writes in a separate article for The New York Post. “Yeah it’s great, we’re excited. Can’t wait to have him back for home games and for all our games,” Nash said. “We’ve missed him and it’s nice that we can not only have him back at home but also gain some reps and continuity together. We just are happy it’s over. We don’t have time to worry about anything other than we’ll have Kyrie at home now. … It’s positive in every sense of the word. We get to have him back, we don’t have to think about it, talk about it, worry about it. We’re moving forward, he’s able to play and it helps us in every way.”
  • In a Sports+ article for the Post, Lewis explores how not getting traded helped Nic Claxton regain his form. Through 38 games this season (19 starts, 20.3 MPG), Claxton is averaging 8.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.1 BPG. The 22-year-old center will be a restricted free agent this summer.
  • Coach Nash said LaMarcus Aldridge should be able to return to action next week, Lewis tweets. The veteran big man has missed Brooklyn’s last eight games with a right hip impingement.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Claxton, Aldridge, Durant

Nets guard Ben Simmons is dealing with a herniated disc in his back but he wants to make his season debut as soon as he can, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports. Simmons received an epidural injection last week to relieve the soreness. He has dealt with back issues since February 2020, when he missed time due to a nerve impingement, Charania notes.

Simmons is expected to continue to work toward a return and would make his debut whenever he is fully cleared to play. However, it’s not certain that will happen this season.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Nic Claxton has seen his playing time expand since LaMarcus Aldridge was sidelined earlier this month, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Aldridge will miss at least another week with the hip injury that has kept him out of action since March 6. Claxton has averaged 10.2 PPG,  7.4 RPG and 1.2 BPG over the last five games heading into Monday’s home game against the Jazz. Claxton will be a restricted free agent this summer if the team extends a qualifying offer.
  • Kevin Durant doesn’t think the window of opportunity will close if the Nets come up short in the playoffs this season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant, who signed a four-year, $198MM extension in August, says he expects Brooklyn to be serious contenders for years to come. “If you’re looking at it as if, like, this is our only chance to ever do something special with this group — and other people looking at it that way — then I can see why,” Durant said. “But to be honest, I signed here for five years to play. You know what I’m saying? Looking at, obviously this year’s important, but no matter what happens this year I still want to do it again. And again.”
  • Andre Drummond missed Monday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, Chris Milholen of Nets Daily tweets.