Noah Vonleh

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Malik Beasley, Nuggets, 23, PG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $7.8MM deal in 2016
Beasley reportedly declined a three-year extension offer worth at least $30MM prior to the season. Oops. Beasley’s playing time has significantly dropped this season and so has his production. He’s averaging 6.9 PPG and just 1.0 APG in 16.0 MPG. Beasley has been a bigger factor on offense recently, reaching double figures in four of the last six appearances, but he never left the bench against Indiana on Thursday. The prime trade candidate probably needs a change of scenery to restore his value. Denver can make him a restricted free agent but that’s an increasingly unlikely scenario.

Noah Vonleh, Timberwolves, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2019
Vonleh entices NBA teams with his physique and potential but no one has been able to tap into it. At age 24, the 2014 lottery pick has already played for five teams. The way things are going in Minnesota, he’ll probably be looking for a sixth team to take a chance on him. He’ll get you some rebounds but defenses don’t have to respect him on the offensive end. He hasn’t developed a three-point shot, which is a no-no for a young ‘four man’ these days. Injuries led to increased playing time for Vonleh the past two weeks before he sat out Thursday’ game with a back injury. It’s unlikely he’ll remain in the rotation when the T-Wolves get healthier.

Nerlens Noel, Thunder, 25, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2019
Seems like Noel has been around for quite awhile but he’s still just 25. He’ll never live up to his draft status (No. 6 pick of 2013) but in shorter bursts, Noel can be quite effective. Noel has been a force off the bench at both ends of the floor, averaging 7.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.4 BPG and 1.1 SPG in 18.7 MPG. He’s even making his free throws this season (79.7%). Noel knows his strengths and finds ways to contribute. He can have a long career in the league as a backup big.

Hassan Whiteside, Trail Blazers, 30, C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $98.4MM deal in 2016
Going strictly by the numbers, Whiteside is having a bounce-back season after a couple of uneasy years with Miami. During 14 games in December, Whiteside posted a stat line of 16.2 PPG on 63.2% shooting, 15.1 RPG, 1.8 APG and 3.4 BPG in 31.6 MPG. The flip side is that the Blazers have nosedived in the standings with Whiteside as their starting center. As a traditional post man who doesn’t shoot threes, Whiteside will have to take a significant pay cut next season. But his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess can’t be totally ignored.

Jordan Clarkson, Jazz, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $50MM deal in 2016
The NBA went five-plus months without a trade until Utah, seeking more bench scoring, acquired Clarkson from Cleveland for Dante Exum and two second-round picks. Utah is thrilled with the early returns. In his first four games in a Jazz uniform, Clarkson has averaged 15.0 PPG in 23.8 MPG. That lifted Utah to victories over Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit. Represented by super agent Rich Paul, Clarkson should draw plenty of interest as teams look to fortify their benches in a weak market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: SGA, Vonleh, MPJ, Gallinari

New Thunder point guard Chris Paul has changed the way the team’s other new point guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, thinks about defense, Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman relays. “Everybody’s always talking about offense, offense, offense,” Paul said in November, “but the biggest thing I’m talking to him about is defense.”

Gilgeous-Alexander told Lee that before Paul, no one had “really sat me down and shown me how to read (an opposing team’s) offense the same way you read a defense on the opposite end.” Paul is a nine-time All-Defensive Team selection. The Thunder are currently 11-12, good for the No. 7 seed in a top-heavy Western Conference.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Wolves center Noah Vonleh has been relegated to the bench a lot lately, tallying eight healthy scratches in the last 10 games heading into tonight’s contest against the Jazz (he has yet to play tonight, too). Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune details Vonleh’s plight. The forward signed a one-year, $2MM contract with Minnesota expecting an opportunity to play, but thus far has seen sparse playing time.
  • In Denver, Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr. is struggling to carve out a bench role for himself, and seeking clarity on his usage in coach Mike Malone‘s system.. The No. 14 draft pick in 2018, Porter got some meaningful spot minutes during the first half of last night’s 97-92 loss to the Sixers. But he was passed over in the third quarter in favor of fellow small forwards Torrey Craig and Juan Hernangomez“Yeah, I need to talk to coach again,” Porter told The Denver Post’s Mike Singer. “When we’re more mentally prepared about when we’re coming in, what he’s thinking for certain games.”
  • With most summer contracts eligible to be traded come December 15th, Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari and his expiring $22.6MM contract have been the talk of the NBA town. One possible suitor, the Trail Blazers, could use Gallinari as their starting four in a 2020 playoff push. HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky details the versatile scorer’s potential fit in Portland.

Knicks Notes: Morris, Bullock, Vonleh

After officially announcing their deals with Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock today, the Knicks appear to be just about done with free agency. Damyean Dotson‘s salary for 2019/20 became fully guaranteed because he remained on the roster through Monday, so New York is now carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals. The team has also exhausted its cap room and appears to have used a portion of the room exception to sign Bullock.

Here are a few Knicks-related notes on Morris, Bullock, and more:

  • Morris’ agent Rich Paul wasn’t directly involved in his client breaking his verbal agreement with the Spurs, and preferred that Morris stick to that agreement, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Morris and the Knicks worked together to strike a deal. As for Morris and Paul, they’re reportedly parting ways after the forward’s tumultuous free agency.
  • A source tells Berman that Bullock is out “indefinitely” and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports that Bullock will likely miss at least a month of the season. The details on the veteran guard’s health issue remain a mystery, but that issue helped scuttle the initial two-year deal between the two sides — that $21MM agreement would have been worth more than double the value of their new contract.
  • The Knicks’ goal is to win – not tank – in 2019/20, according to Berman, who speculates that Morris and Julius Randle may end up being the team’s starting forward tandem, with 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox moving to the bench.
  • After leaving the Knicks for the Timberwolves in free agency, Noah Vonleh told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he had a “great” time in New York last season. “It was a great opportunity,” Vonleh said. “They gave me some playing time, let me be the 4-man, just grow as a player and change the narrative that was on me that was in the league and gave myself another a chance to give myself a new life in the league.”

Noah Vonleh Signs One-Year Deal With Timberwolves

JULY 8, 7:11pm: The signing is official, the team’s PR deparment tweets.

JULY 2, 8:23pm: Vonleh’s $2MM deal is worth slightly more than the league minimum, so the Wolves will have to use part of the mid-level or bi-annual exception to sign him, Krawczynski writes in his full story on the deal. According to Krawcznyski, the Wolves offered Vonleh a deal worth more money that would have had a team option in year two, but he wanted the opportunity to reach the open market again next year.

5:09pm: The Timberwolves and free agent forward Noah Vonleh have agreed to terms on a contract, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that it will be a one-year deal.

Krawczynski adds (via Twitter) that the agreement will be worth $2MM. Vonleh’s minimum salary for 2019/20 will be $1,882,867, so that figure may be rounded up. Otherwise, the capped-out Wolves would have to use part of another exception to sign him.

Vonleh, who was the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will be joining his fifth NBA team and hasn’t developed into the sort of impact player that his draft spot might suggest. However, he had a very solid year in New York in 2018/19, averaging 8.4 PPG and 7.8 RPG with a shooting line of .470/.336/.712 in 68 games (25.3 MPG) for the Knicks.

Vonleh will slot into a Timberwolves frontcourt rotation that is expected to feature another newcomer in Jordan Bell alongside incumbents like Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng. Vonleh will help shore up the power forward spot with Dario Saric and Taj Gibson not returning.

Atlantic Notes: Butler, Vonleh, VanVleet, Ntilikina

Jimmy Butler will return to Minnesota on Saturday when the Sixers visit the Timberwolves, marking his first game back in Target Center since shockingly requesting a trade from the team back in September.

Butler, who received mostly boos in the 10 games after his trade request last fall, is preparing to enter what’s sure to be a hostile environment during his return.

“They’re going to boo me,” Butler said of the Timberwolves fans, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. “I would boo me, too. I’m not going to lie to you.”

Butler, who’s known as one of the most outspoken players in the NBA, said he’ll even consider joining in with the fans’ boos. Butler spent just one full season on the Wolves, with the 29-year-old set to reach unrestricted free agency on July 1.

“Oh, I love it,” Butler continued about the fans’ reaction to the trade, as relayed by Stein. “I love it. I love it. Who wants to be loved all the time?

“It’s O.K. It’s fine. I don’t need everybody to like me. I know who I am. I can’t say that enough. I know what I’m about. I know where my heart is. People will say, ‘He’s this way, or he’s that way,’ but nobody knows except for the people around me every day. Ask them and they’ll tell you differently.”

Let’s check in on more items from out of the Atlantic…

  • Knicks forward Noah Vonleh underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed a right ankle sprain with a bone bruise in his right foot, the team announced. Vonleh is expected to be re-evaluated in one week, with the 23-year-old averaging a career-high 8.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 25.3 minutes per game this season.
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet turned to analytics in order to improve his game while injured, Blake Murphy of The Athletic writes. VanVleet missed 12 straight games after undergoing surgery to fix ligament damage in his left thumb, returning to the court two weeks ago. “I’ve found some spots where I think I can be good. I’ve looked at my numbers. I’ve been bored outta my mind so I studied some analytics a little bit, watched a lot of film, and just seeing where I can get better,” VanVleet said. “This feels like October again for me so I’m approaching this as a new season, the end of the season, and hopefully I can come back and take another jump of improvement towards the end of the season.”
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale couldn’t commit to Frank Ntilikina returning this season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Ntilikina re-injured his groin on Friday, an injury that cost him nearly two months of action earlier in the year. “We don’t know yet on the status of how far away he is from coming back,” Fizdale said when asked whether Ntilikina is out for the season. “I know it was a tough blow to the kid the other night. I just don’t know how severe it is. I just know that it got to a point during the game where it was really bothering him. It’s just been frustrating for the kid. It’s been frustrating for all of us, but for him it’s been tough.”

Knicks Notes: Porzingis, Davis, Trade Deadline, Allen

The Knicks were surprised to discover how much Kristaps Porzingis‘ trade value had dropped when they started shopping him, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Some of that was because of the ACL injury that has sidelined him for a year with still no clear date for a return. But some executives also expressed reservations about “where his mind was at and his actual skill set,’’ a source tells Berman.

The Knicks had three criteria in any trade for Porzingis: a good young prospect, which they got in Dennis Smith Jr.; enough expiring contracts to offer two max deals in free agency, which Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan provided; and future first-round picks. Of eight to 10 offers that were available, the Dallas deal was the best one that checked all three boxes.

But New York could have gotten much more if it had traded Porzingis prior to the 2017 draft, when former team president Phil Jackson first raised the idea. Berman reports that the Celtics offered a package of young assets, while the Suns were willing to part with Devin Booker along with a draft pick swap that could have brought Lauri Markkanen to the Knicks.

There’s more this morning from New York City:

  • Signing two elite free agents is just one way the Knicks can take advantage of their cap space, Berman notes in the same story. They could also use that money to absorb Anthony Davis‘ $27MM salary in a potential trade with the Pelicans. New York attempted to convince New Orleans GM Dell Demps to accept Porzingis as part of a package for Davis rather than wait for a trade this summer, a source close to Demps tells Berman, but the Pelicans didn’t believe Porzingis would be willing to re-sign in a smaller market. Berman states that the Knicks will become a serious contender for Davis if they land a top-two pick on lottery night.
  • A lack of interest in their available players led to the Knicks being quiet on deadline day, Berman adds. Virtually no one wanted to take on Enes Kanter‘s $18.6MM contract when a buyout was expected; offers for Frank Ntilikina “underwhelmed;” Damyean Dotson sparked some inquiries, but not enough for New York to act; and few teams made offers for Noah Vonleh.
  • G League callup Kadeem Allen continues to impress, Berman and Howie Kussoy write in a separate story. Allen, who signed a two-way contract with the Knicks last month, played in his seventh straight game last night and produced career highs with 14 points and six assists. “He’s a tough little runt. I love him. I really do. He fits my personality,” coach David Fizdale said. “He’s a grimy kid. He’s really worked his way to where he’s at. He keeps getting better and better.”

Trade/Buyout Rumors: Kaminsky, Vonleh, Kanter, More

The Hornets are still “pushing hard” for a taker for Frank Kaminsky and there are indications that teams are interested, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The fourth-year center will be a restricted free agent this summer and doesn’t appear to be in Charlotte’s long-range plans.

The ninth selection in the 2015 draft, Kaminsky has only appeared in 24 games under new coach James Borrego and is averaging 5.5/2.5/1.1 in about 11 minutes per night. He has fallen completely out of the rotation over the past two months, playing just 41 minutes in Charlotte’s last 23 games.

There’s more to pass along as the deadline gets closer:

  • The Nuggets have expressed interest in acquiring Noah Vonleh from the Knicks, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Vonleh has been productive in New York since signing a minimum contract, averaging 8.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per night, mostly as a starter. He will be a free agent this summer. Denver has a pair of trade exceptions that Vonleh would fit into and is about $7MM under the luxury tax.
  • While Enes Kanter probably won’t be traded today, he’s expected to reach the buyout market, and rival executives believe the Celtics will be among the teams with interest in him, sources tell Begley (Twitter link).
  • Elsewhere on the buyout market front, Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) adds the Pacers to the list of clubs that will have interest in Wesley Matthews if and when he’s bought out.
  • The Rockets, another team with potential interest in Matthews, still intend to be active on the buyout market after sneaking under the luxury tax threshold today, a source tells Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Trade Rumors: Wolves, A. Davis, Irving, Conley, More

After making a big splash earlier in the season by sending Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, the Timberwolves remain active on the trade market, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who reports that GM Scott Layden is “canvassing the league for available deals.” Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News relays a similar sentiment, tweeting that Layden has been “much more communicative” than in past years.

According to Wolfson, players on expiring contracts are available, as are Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng. However, as of Tuesday, there was “zero sense” that anything was close to getting done. Meanwhile, sources tell Krawczynski that multiple teams checked in last month on Andrew Wiggins to see if the Timberwolves might be willing to move him for “pennies on the dollar.” Those inquires qualified more as due diligence though, and didn’t really go anywhere, per Krawczynski.

Here are several more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans still have yet to respond to the Lakers‘ most recent trade offer for Anthony Davis, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). L.A. reportedly pulled out of talks on Tuesday after making a big offer on Monday night, though it appears the club would be ready to re-engage if New Orleans makes a counter-offer.
  • While Kyrie Irving‘s comments on his upcoming free agency last week had some league observers wondering if the Celtics would consider moving him at the trade deadline, the team – unsurprisingly – has no intention to do so, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “Boston’s not taking calls on Kyrie,” one general manager said. “That was made pretty clear.”
  • The Grizzlies are believed to be seeking multiple first-round picks in any package for Mike Conley, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz’s final offer to Memphis was a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and expiring contracts (likely Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors). The Grizzlies asked for Dante Exum, but were told no, per Jones (Twitter link via John Martin of 92.9 ESPN).
  • A source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that the Bulls have received “a handful” of calls about Jabari Parker within the last week. Parker is a candidate to be traded, or to be bought out if Chicago can’t find a suitable deal.
  • According to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the Hawks have started to receive more calls on veteran trade candidates Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, and Jeremy Lin. Smith adds (via Twitter) that Knicks forward Noah Vonleh is another trade candidate to watch, as he has generated multiple inquiries.

Knicks Notes: Burke, Kanter, Ntilikina, Trade Deadline

Trey Burke is back in the Knicks‘ rotation, but it looks like a temporary situation until he either gets traded or Emmanuel Mudiay returns from a strained shoulder, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Burke, who began the season as the starting point guard, poured in 25 points Friday, but doesn’t appear to have a long-term future in New York.

The Knicks have committed to a youth movement and are looking to trade veterans Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter as well. Burke has an expiring $1.795MM contract and likely won’t be around next season no matter what happens at the deadline. A source tells Berman that Burke prefers to be dealt, but he insists he’ll be fine either way.

“As a basketball player, you look at other scenarios,” Burke said. “How I’d fit in other scenarios, in that system, in that situation. But I think the direction of this organization, I want to be part of that. I know that there’s still a lot I have to prove. That’s fine with me.”

There’s more today out of New York:

  • Kanter continues to seethe about being about not being used, even after an injury to starting center Luke Kornet, Berman relays in a separate story. Kanter sat out back-to-back games after Fizdale promised him a return to the rotation, with the coach explaining that he’s trying a versatile, switching style of defense that doesn’t fit Kanter’s game. “I was talking to one of my teammates … and I said I could get 30 and 30 (points and rebounds) tonight,” Kanter said after Friday’s loss to the Nets. “But I guess they didn’t want me to get 30 and 30.”
  • Mudiay’s injury provides Frank Ntilikina with a new opportunity to impress Knicks management, but foul trouble is getting in his way, Berman notes in another story. Ntilikina made his seventh start of the year at point guard Friday, but played just 18 minutes before fouling out. “I have to be smarter to avoid these fouls and know what moment when the refs are going to call it,’’ he said. “Fouls are going to come by being aggressive, but I have to control it.’’
  • The Knicks are in a tear-down phase with almost everyone on the roster available for trades, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. However, an Eastern Conference executive told him that recent additions such as Burke, Mudiay, Noah Vonleh and Mario Hezonja don’t carry much trade value.

Sixers Notes: Patton, Z. Smith, Vonleh, Butler

The Sixers announced today in a press release that a pair of injured youngsters have been assigned to the G League to join the Delaware Blue Coats for rehab purposes. According to the team, Justin Patton will begin practicing with limited and controlled contact, while Zhaire Smith will participate in non-contact elements of Delaware’s practices.

Patton, who is coming off right foot surgery, has been plagued by foot issues throughout his two-year NBA career, appearing in just one regular season game to date. He was sent to Philadelphia in November’s Jimmy Butler blockbuster, but will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. It’s unlikely we see him play much of a role for the 76ers down the stretch even if he gets healthy.

Smith, on the other hand, was the Sixers’ first-round pick in 2018 and remains under team control for several seasons, so it’s notable that he’s taking the next step in his rehab process. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), while Smith is just doing non-contact work for now, he’ll ramp up his activities in the coming weeks. The rookie is coming off a Jones fracture in his left foot and a complication created by an allergy issue.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic takes an extensive look at the Sixers’ trade deadline options, writing that the team is in need of depth and perimeter defense. Bodner also explores whether the 76ers would move Markelle Fultz while his value is so low and whether the club would make a deal that cuts into its 2019 cap room.
  • Within the same story, Bodner reports that sources with the Sixers “vigorously” denied a recent report suggesting that the team had expressed interest in Knicks power forward Noah Vonleh.
  • Jimmy Butler missed Wednesday’s game with a wrist injury, but it’s not considered a major issue, according to head coach Brett Brown, who said that a Monday MRI on Butler’s wrist didn’t reveal anything concerning (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com).