Thunder Rumors

Thunder, Davis Bertans Agree To Contract Revision

The Thunder and forward Davis Bertans have agreed to revise part of the sharpshooter’s contract, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

As Scotto details, if Bertans had appeared in 75% of Oklahoma City’s games this season, his partially guaranteed deal for 2024/25 would have become fully guaranteed at $16MM. However, that clause has been removed. Instead, Bertans will receive a slight increase to his partial guarantee for next season, from $5MM to $5.25MM.

Bertans has only played in five of the Thunder’s 17 games this fall, so it seems unlikely he would have hit the 75% trigger threshold. By agreeing to remove that clause, he’ll earn $250K.

The move won’t have an impact on Bertans or the Thunder in ’23/24, as his salary for this season is fully guaranteed at $17MM.

Bertans, who turns 32 in a couple weeks, is averaging career lows of 3.4 points and 9.2 minutes per night. Nicknamed the “Latvian Laser” for his shooting prowess, Bertans holds a career mark of 39.7% from three-point range. He has converted three of his 12 looks from beyond the arc in ’23/24.

Police In California Looking Into Allegations Against Josh Giddey

1:30pm: The Newport Beach Police Department has issued an update, announcing that its investigation into the allegations against Giddey remains “active” and putting out a call for more information.

“The Newport Beach Police Department is actively seeking additional information related to these allegations and pursuing all leads and evidence to obtain the facts of the case,” the statements reads (Twitter link via Tim MacMahon of ESPN).

10:58am: The Newport Beach Police Department has opened an inquiry into the allegations against Thunder guard Josh Giddey in an attempt to assess the validity of the claims and determine whether any laws were broken, according to reports from TMZ Sports and Salvador Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times.

As Nolan Clay and Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman detail, a series of posts on social media last week accused Giddey of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl who is a student at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach.

The NBA has confirmed that it’s investigating those claims, and now local police are looking into them as well.

According to The Oklahoman’s reporting, online court records put the Thunder guard in the Newport Beach area in July 2022, when he was ticketed for a pair of traffic violations. However, it’s not clear whether the allegations stem from that time – when Giddey would have been 19 – or if they’re based on a more recent incident.

The age of consent in California is 18. Giddey turned 21 last month.

Clay and Lorenzi explain that a violation of consent laws in California is considered a misdemeanor if the perpetrator and the minor are within three years of age. Otherwise, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The latest reporting from TMZ Sports indicates that the alleged minor and her family have thus far been unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement officials in Newport Beach.

Giddey has remained active while the NBA and California police investigate the accusations. Asked on Tuesday ahead of the Thunder’s game vs. Minnesota about the police inquiry, head coach Mark Daigneault cut the reporter short and said he wouldn’t discuss “anything as it relates to Josh off the court” before confirming that Giddey would play vs. the Timberwolves.

Giddey finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes on Tuesday. He was booed by the crowd in Minnesota every time he touched the ball.

Schedule For NBA Tournament Non-Qualifiers Set

The NBA in-season tournament will reach the quarterfinal stage next week and the eight qualifiers and their seeds were finalized on Tuesday. The 22 teams that failed to advance had two holes in their schedules that needed to be filled.

Those matchups were determined late Tuesday evening, with each team receiving a home and away contest, NBA Communications tweets. The newly-scheduled games will take place next Wednesday (December 6) and Friday (Dec. 8).

The Cavaliers and Magic, who missed the quarterfinals despite their 3-1 tournament records, will face each other in Cleveland on Wednesday. Cleveland will then visit the Heat (2-2 tournament) on Friday.

The Nets, who also had a 3-1 tournament record, wound up with a road game against the Hawks (1-3) and home game against the Wizards (0-4)

The Sixers, who finished 2-2 in the tournament, drew a road game against the Wizards and a home game against the Hawks.

In the West, the Timberwolves were the only 3-1 tournament team that didn’t reach the quarterfinals. They’ll host the Spurs (0-4) and visit the Grizzlies (0-4).

The defending champion Nuggets will visit Los Angeles to face the Clippers (1-3), then head home to take on the Rockets (2-2). The Warriors, who were knocked out of contention by Sacramento on Tuesday, drew a home game against the Trail Blazers (1-3) and a road contest against the Thunder (1-3).

Here’s the full schedule for next Wednesday and Friday:

Wednesday, Dec. 6

  • Orlando at Cleveland
  • Memphis at Detroit
  • Miami at Toronto
  • Philadelphia at Washington
  • Brooklyn at Atlanta
  • San Antonio at Minnesota
  • Charlotte at Chicago
  • Oklahoma City at Houston
  • Utah at Dallas
  • Portland at Golden State
  • Denver at LA Clippers

Friday, Dec. 8

  • Toronto at Charlotte
  • Detroit at Orlando
  • Atlanta at Philadelphia
  • Washington at Brooklyn
  • Cleveland at Miami
  • Minnesota at Memphis
  • Golden State at Oklahoma City
  • Chicago at San Antonio
  • Houston at Denver
  • LA Clippers at Utah
  • Dallas at Portland

Two more regular season games will be added to the NBA’s schedule after the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament are complete, since the four teams that lose those matchups will require an 82nd game on their respective schedules.

Injury Notes: McCollum, Markkanen, Luka, Nuggets, Williams

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has been ruled out of Monday’s contest in Utah, which will be his 12th consecutive missed game. However, the 32-year-old veteran is aiming to return to action later this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that McCollum could play either Wednesday against Philadelphia or Friday vs. San Antonio.

McCollum, who has been out since Nov. 4 with a collapsed lung, is averaging 21.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, 4.8 RPG and 1.5 SPG on .440/.380/.742 shooting through six games this season. He was a full practice participant last week.

Another marquee player will be also sidelined for the matchup between the Pelicans and Jazz. Lauri Markkanen has been ruled out for the second straight game, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

As Larsen observes (via Twitter), Markkanen was previously listed as having a sore left hamstring, but the injury is now classified as a strain — it’s possible the All-Star forward may have undergone some imaging to confirm the diagnosis. On a more positive note, Jordan Clarkson will return tonight after missing the previous game due to an illness.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Mavericks received good news on Monday, as the left thumb injury that Luka Doncic sustained on Saturday isn’t serious. After undergoing an MRI, Doncic was diagnosed with a low-grade sprain and he will be available for Tuesday’s matchup with Houston, though he did wear a wrap on his thumb during Monday’s practice, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscriber link). Rookie center Dereck Lively practiced as well, but he’s questionable with a lower back contusion, Townsend adds.
  • Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon will miss his second straight game on Monday due to a right heel strain, while reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic is questionable due to lower back pain, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. As we previously relayed, Jamal Murray is out tonight, but he could return later this week.
  • Thunder wing Jalen Williams is available for Tuesday’s matchup vs. the Wolves, according to Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder (Twitter link). Last season’s runner-up for Rookie of the Year has missed three consecutive games with a left hip strain.

And-Ones: Petrusev, 2024 Draft, Trade Candidates, More

After being cut by the Kings on Friday, big man Filip Petrusev should officially clear waivers later today. Nebojsa Covic, the president of Crvena Zvezda, Petrusev’s former team in Serbia, indicated on Saturday that he would be open to bringing back the 23-year-old.

“I heard about it and that Olympiacos made a very decent offer,” Covic said, per Mozzart (hat tip to Eurohoops). “The door of Red Star is open for Petrusev now, but it’s his and his agent’s decision. We’ll let them decide. There won’t be any hard feelings, regardless of this decision.”

Any interest the Serbian club may have in Petrusev appears to be moot. As Covic alluded to, reporting on Friday suggested the NBA rookie is set to join Greek team Olympiacos once he clears waivers, and that deal remains on track to be completed.

Aris Barkas of Eurohoops reports that Petrusev is expected to sign a three-year contract with Olympiacos that includes a third-year team option. The agreement will also include NBA outs in the event that Petrusev is offered another opportunity stateside, according to Barkas.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has updated his mock draft for 2024, making major changes to rounds one and two. Two of the biggest risers are Pittsburgh’s Carlton Carrington and Virginia’s Ryan Dunn, who weren’t on Wasserman’s previous board but are now projected as lottery picks at No. 10 and No. 14, respectively.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype takes a look at a few players who are currently injured or out of their team’s rotation, identifying them as possible in-season trade candidates. A pair of PistonsMonte Morris and James Wiseman – and Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski are among the players singled out by Gozlan.
  • Which players are the NBA’s biggest overachievers and underachievers through the first month of the regular season? Mark Medina names three for each category in a story for Bovada Sportsbook, with 10-time All-Star James Harden and five-time All-Star Klay Thompson showing up in his list of underachievers.

Northwest Notes: Giddey, Jazz, Hornacek, Wolves

The Thunder plan on having guard Josh Giddey available on Saturday – and going forward – while the NBA looks into allegations that he had an improper relationship with a minor, head coach Mark Daigneault told reporters this afternoon (Twitter video link via Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic)

“Just with the information we have at this point, that’s the decision that we’ve made,” Daigneault said when asked why the team feels comfortable keeping Giddey active. “It’s really not even a decision, to be honest with you.”

A Thunder spokesperson later clarified that Daigneault meant the decision on Giddey’s availability isn’t within his jurisdiction and is in the league’s hands, according to Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Of course, Oklahoma City could decide on its own to hold Giddey out, but it sounds like the team will continue playing him while the investigation is ongoing unless the NBA advises otherwise.

“It’s obviously a league matter at this point,” Daigneault said. “So the ball’s in their court on that.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • There’s good news and bad news for the Jazz on the injury report for Saturday’s game vs. New Orleans, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah will be without its top two scorers, as forward Lauri Markkanen has been ruled out due to left hamstring soreness while Jordan Clarkson will be unavailable due to an illness. However, the Jazz appear likely to have their starting center back in the lineup, as Walker Kessler, who has missed the last seven games due to a sprained left elbow, has been upgraded to probable.
  • Former Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek remains involved with the organization behind the scenes as a coaching consultant. In a story for The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required), Larsen explores what that role entails and the impact that Hornacek has had on head coach Will Hardy. “He’s been a really, really good friend and confidant and in some ways like a mentor for me in this role, because he also knows what it’s like to be a head coach and a first-time head coach,” Hardy said. “There are tough moments during the season where sometimes he just offers a ‘Hang in there, you’re doing what you should be doing.’ It’s just a tough stretch over 82 games and so he’s been a really calming influence for me.”
  • The Timberwolves had high hopes that their 2022 trade for Rudy Gobert would help create an elite defense. The results were mixed last season – Minnesota narrowly cracked the top 10 in defensive rating – but it has all come together for the team so far in 2023/24, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune, who takes a closer look at the parts Gobert, head coach Chris Finch, and top defensive assistant coach Elston Turner have played in building one of the league’s best Ds.

In-Season Tournament Updates: Pacers Clinch Top-Two Seed, Six Teams Eliminated

The Nuggets, Bulls, Raptors, Thunder, Clippers and Mavericks were all eliminated from the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament in the group stage following Friday’s game results, marking 12 total teams out of contention.

The Pacers and Lakers remain the only two teams to clinch spots in the quarterfinals so far, with six more spots up for grabs. The final day of group stage play is Tuesday, Nov. 28 and the quarterfinals will take place on Dec. 4 and 5.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps took a look at all the action from Friday, which featured numerous upsets that set the stage for some interesting scenarios to play out. By beating Detroit on Friday, Indiana won East Group A and guaranteed a top-two seed in the Eastern Conference. The BucksHeat game on Tuesday dictates who earns the top overall seed in the East. If the Bucks win, Milwaukee is the conference’s top seed, but if Miami wins, it will be the Pacers. A Miami loss eliminates the Heat.

If the Heat and Knicks win, there will be a three-way tiebreaker between Miami, Milwaukee and New York that is determined by point differential. In that scenario, the Heat would have to beat the Bucks by eight more points than the Knicks beat the Hornets on Tuesday in order to have a chance.

Orlando defeated Boston on Friday, meaning the Magic‘s chances of winning East Group C are bolstered. With the Raptors and Bulls eliminated, the Celtics, Magic and Nets are competing for that group.

The Suns‘ win over Memphis in their final group stage game helped them take steps toward securing a wild-card spot, finishing their games at 3-1 with a plus-34 point differential. The Lakers play in West Group A alongside the Suns and, given the wild card team plays the top seed, it’s likely they’ll face off against each other in the quarterfinals. The only way the Lakers don’t earn the West’s top seed is if the Kings beat the Warriors on Tuesday by 46 or more points.

West Group B got shaken up with the Rockets upsetting and eliminating the Nuggets on Friday, and the Pelicans are now the runaway favorite to win the group, according to Bontemps. The Pelicans beat the Clippers, eliminating them, and improving to 3-1. The Pelicans are not in front of the Suns for the wild card spot and will need the Rockets to lose in order to clinch the group.

The Kings are looking like a top contender for the tournament title, sitting at 3-0 and plus-29. If the Kings beat the Warriors on Tuesday, they advance. If both Sacramento and Minnesota lose, the Warriors win the group. If both Golden State and Minnesota win, it sets up a three-way tie to be decided by point differential. The Warriors are plus-5 and the Timberwolves are minus-3.

Any team that makes the quarterfinals clinches per-player bonuses worth at least $50K. The value of those bonuses would increase to $100K if they advance to the semifinals, $250K if they make the final, and $500K if they win the entire tournament.

The full in-season tournament standings can be found here.

Injury Notes: Hachimura, Porzingis, Jal. Williams, Simons

Forward Rui Hachimura underwent surgery on Friday to repair a nasal fracture he sustained during Wednesday’s loss to Dallas, the Lakers announced (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic). The 25-year-old will be reevaluated in about a week.

It’s an unfortunate setback for Hachimura, who missed four games earlier this season while in the NBA’s concussion protocol. If he returns in exactly one week, which seems optimistic, he would miss another four games — the Lakers begin a four-game road trip tomorrow in Cleveland that runs through next Thursday.

Hachimura, who re-signed with L.A. as a restricted free agent over the summer, is off to a solid start to the 2023/24 season, averaging 11.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 0.9 SPG on .505/.429/.786 shooting through 12 games (23.3 MPG).

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe that he’ll undergo an MRI on Saturday after tweaking his left calf during Friday’s loss to Orlando (Twitter link). Porzingis, who is averaging 19.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 1.8 BPG on .553/.329/.810 shooting through 14 games (30.8 MPG) with his new club, is optimistic that the injury isn’t serious. He also says he didn’t slip, which some players have mentioned as being an issue with the in-season tournament courts.
  • Thunder wing Jalen Williams was unable to practice on Friday and will miss his third straight game on Saturday due to a left hip strain, tweets Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder. A 2022 lottery pick (12th overall) who finished runner-up for Rookie of the Year in ’22/23, Williams is averaging 17.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.6 APG on .518/.368/.880 shooting in 13 games (33.2 MPG) for Oklahoma City, which holds the second-best record in the Western Conference at 11-4.
  • Speaking to the media on Friday, Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons said his surgically repaired thumb is improving, adding that he’s been doing ball-handling and “a little bit of shooting,” according to Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden Report (Twitter link). As Highkin notes, Simons has been out for approximately four weeks, and he was expected to miss about six weeks.

NBA Investigating Allegations Against Josh Giddey

The NBA is looking into allegations made against Thunder guard Josh Giddey, league spokesperson Mike Bass said today (Twitter links via Chris Mannix of and Shams Charania of The Athletic).

A series of videos and photos went viral on social media this week accusing Giddey, who turned 21 last month, of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a minor.

Giddey was asked during a media session on Friday about the allegations and declined to address them, telling reporters, “I understand the question, obviously, but there’s no further comment right now” (Twitter video link via Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder).

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault also rebuffed questions about the situation on Friday when he was asked about is being a possible distraction, referring to it as a “personal matter” and declining to comment (Twitter video link via Stiles).

There’s no indication to this point that Giddey won’t continue to be available for the Thunder while the NBA’s investigation is ongoing. He has started each of Oklahoma City’s 15 games so far, averaging 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 27.2 minutes per night for the 11-4 club.

Caruso Not Surprised By Daigneault's Success

  • Bulls guard/forward Alex Caruso isn’t surprised by Mark Daigneault‘s success with the Thunder, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Daigneault coached Caruso while the two were with the Oklahoma City Blue — the Thunder’s NBA G League affiliate — back in 2016/17. “He coaches and talks exactly the same as he did with the Blue,” Caruso said. “He was always keeping us in really good perspective of how to play and how we were going to be successful. I really enjoyed playing for him.”