Thunder Rumors

Warriors Rumors: Thompson, Ham, Ingram, Butler, Paul, Ighodaro

With Klay Thompson about to enter the final month of his current contract with the Warriors, there has been “no notable movement from either side” toward a resolution, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Most teams have to wait until after the NBA Finals to discuss new contracts with their pending free agents, but the Warriors and Thompson are allowed to talk now because the veteran sharpshooter is extension-eligible up until June 30. However, Slater suggests that even though Golden State has interest in retaining Thompson, the team hasn’t exactly been “beating down his door” to get a new deal done.

Thompson appears prepared to test the free agent market in July, but he still wants to win, so he’s unlikely to join a retooling team like the Pistons or Hornets, Slater writes. The cap-room teams who are closer to contention – including the Sixers, Thunder, and Magic – are the bigger threats to the Warriors, in Slater’s view, since those clubs are in position to potentially outbid Golden State for the next year or two without tying up their long-term cap space by offering Thompson a lucrative shorter-term contract (similar to the ones signed by Fred VanVleet and Bruce Brown last summer).

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Whether or not Kenny Atkinson ends up leaving the Warriors for a head coaching job (he’s reportedly a leading candidate in Cleveland’s search), the club is expected to seriously consider adding at least one new assistant to Steve Kerr‘s staff this offseason. League sources tell Slater that Golden State has talked to Darvin Ham since his dismissal from the Lakers. While Ham isn’t considered likely to join Kerr’s staff, that conversation signals the Warriors’ interest in adding a “big-name” assistant, according to Slater, who says it appears the team is seeking a former head coach or a former player to fill that role.
  • Slater doesn’t expect the Warriors to have any real interest in Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram if he’s on the trade block this summer, but views the club as more likely to “enter the conversation to at least some degree” on Heat forward Jimmy Butler if he becomes available.
  • Chris Paul has been “extremely flexible” and seems willing to work with the Warriors through all the possible scenarios involving his $30MM non-guaranteed contract for 2024/25, Slater writes. It’s very unlikely that Golden State will simply guarantee that $30MM and bring Paul back, but there are multiple viable paths the team could take, including guaranteeing a portion of that cap hit for trade purposes. Resolution is due by June 28 if the two sides don’t agree to push back Paul’s salary guarantee date.
  • It doesn’t look like the Warriors will be formally announcing the prospects who visit them for pre-draft workouts, but Ben Steele of The Journal Sentinel tweets that Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro was among the players who auditioned for the club on Thursday. Golden State controls the No. 52 pick in next month’s draft, while Ighodaro is the No. 54 player on ESPN’s big board.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Blazers, Nuggets, Thunder

Seventeen-year NBA veteran and Timberwolves guard Mike Conley is the closest he’s ever been to the NBA Finals after winning Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Andscape’s Marc J. Spears writes. The Wolves went down 3-0 to Dallas but held off elimination on Tuesday night with a 105-100 victory.

This is the biggest game I’ve had in my career,” Conley said after Game 4. “The next game is the biggest game I’ve had in my career. It’s the biggest win. Honestly, it is. If you look at the board and see the seven up there, that is how many games we have left to win. That is how many we are away from a ring.

On a roster with an average age under 27 years old and with a franchise star (Anthony Edwards) who was six years old when Conley entered the league, the point guard is the veteran presence who has played a key role in getting this team this deep into the postseason. Conley, whom head coach Chris Finch says “means everything” to the club, is averaging 11.9 points and 6.0 assists through 14 playoff games this season.

Conley also made the Western Conference Finals in 2013 with Memphis, but he and his team were swept by San Antonio. Tuesday’s win was his first career conference finals win. While Dallas holds a commanding 3-1 lead, Minnesota’s players and coaches continue exude confidence, Spears writes.

It’s one game. Game 5 is Game 7,” Conley said. “This is all we got. Keep our mentality like that. Don’t look at the circus that surrounds us and all the stuff you been hearing. Keep the faith more than anything. The testament with the guys tonight is that we truly didn’t believe this was our last game … This doesn’t come around very often. So, when you get this chance, give everything you got. Don’t be afraid to fail.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers hosted Louisiana Tech’s Isaiah Crawford, UConn’s Alex Karaban, Arizona’s Caleb Love, Boston College’s Quinten Post, Indiana’s Kel’el Ware and Tyler Smith of the G League Ignite for a pre-draft workout on Tuesday, according to Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (Twitter link). Portland holds picks Nos. 7, 14, 34 and 40. Since the time of the workout, Karaban withdrew from the draft and CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reports Love is doing the same (Twitter link). Of the players listed, Ware is the highest ranked on ESPN’s best available list (No. 25).
  • Speculating how the Trail Blazers will manage having four picks in this year’s class, Highkin observes in a mailbag (Substack link) that Portland has 14 players on guaranteed contracts next season. If the Blazers do use most or all of their picks, that would likely mean some combination of Malcolm Brogdon, Jerami Grant, Robert Williams III, Matisse Thybulle and Anfernee Simons are out the door, or at the very least, being shopped, Highkin writes. Highkin explains that recent Blazers second-rounders (Rayan Rupert, Jabari Walker) have earned standard contracts, complicating matters at picks 34 and 40. As for likely targets at No. 7, Cody Williams and Tidjane Salaun could be in play, according to Highkin. In the second part of his mailbag (Substack link), he further breaks down what the Blazers will do with their veterans this offseason.
  • The Nuggets don’t have much money to spend on outside free agents this offseason and may be limited to minimum-salary players. Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports analyzes 10 potential low-cost free agents who could make sense in Denver, including Utah’s Kris Dunn, Los Angeles’s Mason Plumlee and Philadelphia’s Kyle Lowry.
  • Thunder general manager Sam Presti emphasized during his end-of-season press conference that he’s focused on building around what he already has. This season showed Oklahoma City’s roster needs additional time to continue to grow more than it needs outside moves, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. Presti also said he doesn’t regret not being more aggressive at the deadline and is pleased with where the roster stands. “I know this is not going to go over well for people,” Presti said “But what we have is an appearance … We have shown up to the postseason. We’ll arrive if we can replicate that. Because there’s a lot of teams that have gotten to the playoffs for one year and then they, for whatever reasons, may not be able to get back there. So the way I would look at that is you can either pick the lock or you can crack the code. Picking the lock, you’re stealing it. Cracking the code, you own it.

Thunder GM Presti: I “Missed” On Hayward Trade

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he made a mistake by trading for Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, according to ESPN.

Hayward was supposed to provide a veteran presence to the rotation but barely played in the postseason. Oklahoma City gave up three players and two second-round picks for Hayward.

“I missed on that,” Presti said Tuesday during his end-of-season press conference. “That’s on me. But I’m learning, I’m trying to learn this team, I’m trying to learn the pace of the team a little bit. And trying to be a great observer of the team as it’s going through its paces, knowing that it’s really going to change on its own in and of itself.”

Hayward, who is headed to free agency, expressed frustration over his role after the team was eliminated.

“Obviously disappointing with kind of how it all worked out. This is not what I thought it would be. Certainly frustrating. … We have a great team here with great young players, a great coach. So the future is bright,” Hayward said, adding, “I feel like as a player I have a lot to offer. I just wasn’t given much of an opportunity to do that.”

As Presti pointed out, the move at least created some cap flexibility going forward for the Thunder, since all three of the players they sent to Charlotte in the deal are owed guaranteed money for 2024/25, whereas Hayward’s $33MM+ salary will come off OKC’s books this summer.

Here’s more from Presti’s press conference, per Justin Martinez of The Oklahoman:

  • Presti is happy with the team and coaching staff in place. “It’s not a matter of knowing what you need,” he said. “It’s a matter of knowing what you have. … I think one of the things that we learned is we have a really good base to work with.” As usual, Presti is armed with plenty of draft capital and approximately $35MM in cap space. And once again, he doesn’t feel the need to get a star player to complement what he already has on the roster. “I think we learned that we do have some guys in (Chet Holmgren) and (Jalen Williams) who are certainly not there yet, but I wouldn’t bet against them,” Presti said. “We didn’t mortgage our future to get that result. We didn’t do anything performative to accelerate that process. … But I’m glad we took the path that we did. Ultimately, we trusted the team.”
  • Presti wouldn’t tip his hand regarding Josh Giddey, who is extension-eligible this offseason but was removed from the starting lineup in the second round of the playoffs. “He is tough, and he is clutch,” Presti said. “He has been asked to change some things and adjust to different things, and he hasn’t flinched one time. He’s trying to figure out how to best help the team. … We’ll sit down and have those conversations relative to his contract when those are appropriate. But we also don’t have to do anything right now either because he has another year. I’m super open-minded about all of our players and where I think they can get to.”
  • With the No. 12 pick in the draft, Presti is wide open about the type of player he’ll pick. “We’re not looking for something specific, like an on-court need,” he said.

Scotto’s Latest: Wizards, DeRozan, Hunter, Jazz, Magic, Thunder, More

After using a lottery pick last year to add Bilal Coulibaly, the Wizards may draft another Frenchman early in the 2024 event, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who hears from league sources that the team expects to choose between big man Alexandre Sarr and forward Zaccharie Risacher.

Those prospects sit atop most 2024 big boards and mock drafts, so Washington may not actually get to “choose between” the two, given that one of them will likely be selected at No. 1. Still, Scotto’s report suggests the front office would be happy to add either Sarr or Risacher to its young core.

The Wizards’ long-term goal is to build its roster through the draft, Scotto writes, which is one reason why Brian Keefe – who has a reputation for being a strong player development coach – is considered the “heavy favorite” to be promoted from interim to permanent head coach in D.C.

According to Scotto, Washington would also like to retain free agent point guard Tyus Jones, who started 66 games in 2023/24 and could provide a stabilizing veteran presence for the Wizards youngsters. However, the expectation is that the Wizards will face competition for Jones if and when he reaches the open market.

Here are several more items of interest from Scotto’s latest aggregate mock draft at HoopsHype:

  • If the Clippers end up losing Paul George, they’re a team to watch as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, Scotto reports. A team must remain below the first tax apron if it acquires a player via sign-and-trade — that would be a more viable option for Los Angeles with George’s maximum-salary contract off the books.
  • Rival executives anticipate that Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who has been mentioned in trade rumors in the past, will become available again this offseason, Scotto writes. Hunter, who set new career highs in 2023/24 with 15.6 points per game and a .385 3PT%, is owed approximately $70MM over the next three seasons.
  • The Jazz are expected to be open to trading their picks in this year’s draft, including No. 10 overall, and some people around the league believe team owner Ryan Smith is ready to add more high-level talent to the roster, Scotto writes, adding that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge has “aggressively monitored” the trade market.
  • The Magic will focus on adding shooting in the draft and free agency, according to Scotto, who notes that rival executives are keeping an eye on the Thunder as a team that could be active in the free agent market for centers. Orlando ranked dead-last in the NBA this season in three-pointers made (11.0 per game), while Oklahoma City placed 28th in rebounding rate (48.4%).
  • The Raptors will likely exercise their $23MM team option on swingman Bruce Brown, league sources tell HoopsHype. A previous report from The Toronto Star suggested the team was a good bet to pick up that option with an eye toward trading Brown.
  • Former Weber State wing Dillon Jones has pre-draft workouts lined up with the Pacers, Hornets, Bucks, Celtics, Raptors, and Spurs, per Scotto.

And-Ones: Fan Favorites, Media Deal, Bacon, Shooting Guards

The votes have been tallied for league appreciators’ “Fan Favorites” for the 2023/24 season, per Fans voted for various categories via the NBA App, and the @NBA handle on social media.

All-Star Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards won Block, Dunk and Photo of the Year honors, while Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan won Assist of the Year, All-NBA Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was honored with the Style of the Year accolade, and Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving was praised for possessing the Handle of the Year.

There’s more from around the wider basketball world:

  • NBA players stand to reap major financial benefits from the league’s lucrative impending batch of media rights deals, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. As Vorkunov notes, based on the terms reported, the agreement is set to pay the league $6.9 billion annually, which is about two-and-a-half times what the league is earning under its present TV deal. Suddenly, a $100MM maximum annual player salary is in play, and could possibly happen as soon as 2032/33.
  • Following a prolific season with Shanghai Dongfang in Chinese Basketball Association, former journeyman NBA guard Dwayne Bacon  has agreed to a deal with Puerto Rican team Leones de Ponce, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Bacon spent four years in the NBA, last playing for the Magic in 2020/21.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac unpacks the top free agent shooting guards set to hit the market this summer in a new tiered ranking system. He lists seven starting-caliber wings, 17 rotation-level players, and 25 other players with upside at the position.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Irving, Olympics, Lively Trade

Numerous media members were calling Anthony Edwards “the new face of the NBA” after Minnesota upset Denver, but that honor actually belongs to Mavericks star Luka Doncic, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic strengthened his case as the league’s best player and top clutch performer with a game-winning three-pointer Friday night that gave Dallas a 2-0 series lead. Sherrington notes that after sinking the shot over Rudy Gobert, Doncic displayed his fearlessness by shouting “you can’t guard me” and some stronger comments at the Defensive Player of the Year.

The argument for Doncic as the league’s No. 1 star starts with five first-team All-NBA appearances, including this season. He finished third in the MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but Sherrington points out that they were both eliminated in the second round while Doncic has a chance to add to his reputation with the longest postseason run of his career.

“There are moments where he shows his brilliance and can score so easily,” Kyrie Irving said, “and then he comes back and he looks like he’s laboring a little bit, but that guy’s a warrior.”

There’s more on the Mavericks:

  • Irving was able to keep his composure after missing two free throws with 1:44 remaining, Sherrington states in a separate story. The misses provided free fried chicken for all the fans in attendance, but more importantly they cost the Mavs a chance to slice the lead to one point. Irving made up for it a few seconds later with a clutch three-pointer from the corner that set the stage for Doncic’s heroics. “I think I was as surprised as a lot of people in the arena,” Irving, a 90% free throw shooter during the regular season, said of his misses from the line. “In those moments, I’ve got to stay focused and be aware of how much it means to our team to make those. But when you miss, you’ve also got to take that accountability and be better. The next-play mentality was the only thing I could carry forth. I got into that corner and knocked it down.”
  • Irving could be in line for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team this summer if Tyrese Haliburton opts out because of his hamstring issues, speculates Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Haliburton, who was held out of tonight’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, also missed 10 games with a hamstring strain in January.  Irving was disappointed about not making the team last month after being one of the finalists.
  • Dallas and Oklahoma City both benefited from last year’s draft-day trade, Rylan Stiles writes for Inside the Thunder. Dereck Lively II has been an interior force for the Mavericks throughout the playoffs, while Cason Wallace became a three-and-D specialist in the Thunder backcourt.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Gobert, Turner, Thunder, Blazers

It was a “rough” film session for the Timberwolves on Thursday following their Game 1 loss to Dallas, head coach Chris Finch told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Finch, who spoke post-game about the team’s lack of composure and disappointing performance in clutch moments, was even harsher when he revisited the Game 1 loss a day later.

“I told the guys, ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been this disappointed in your effort. Your performance, your attitude, your application and attention to detail just wasn’t there,'” Finch said. “The Western Conference finals started. Not sure if they got the memo. But they got it this afternoon.”

According to McMenamin, one team source said Thursday’s session was “about as fired up as he’s ever seen Finch.” The coach’s goal, the source explained, was to encourage his team to recognize what a rare opportunity it is to play in the conference finals and to urge them to increase their urgency and capitalize on that opportunity.

Finch also pointed out that the team’s three home losses in the postseason – Games 3 and 4 vs. Denver and Game 1 vs. Dallas – came after longer-than-usual layoffs, and with the Wolves coming off of big wins.

“I said to our guys, ‘We’re 3-3 at home, and we’ve had two kind of similar performances coming off stints of success,'” Finch said. “There’s a lot of ways immaturity kind of rears its head, and this might be one of them. But they’ve got our attention now, so there’s no reason for us to be feeling ourselves.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • While four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert gets much of the credit for leading the Timberwolves‘ top-ranked defense, assistant coach Elston Turner is a key under-the-radar contributor as the coordinator of that unit, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Describing the dynamic between Gobert and Turner, Finch took a moment to come up with an appropriate analogy. “Like divorced parents trying to co-parent,” the head coach said with a laugh. “A healthy co-parent. My only caveat to that is they’re not divorced. They’re on the same team.”
  • While there are still holes on the roster, Rylan Stiles of contends that the Thunder can afford to use the No. 12 overall pick in next month’s draft to take a shot on a higher-upside prospect who may be a year or two away from contributing rather than trying to find a win-now player who addresses a current need on the roster.
  • In a separate story for, Stiles wonders if the Thunder should take advantage of their window before paying Chet Holmgren and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander big raises by taking a swing on a veteran star who is owed significant money for the next couple seasons but who may not stay on the books beyond that.
  • Raequan Battle (West Virginia), Adem Bona (UCLA), Arthur Kaluma (Kansas State), Ugonna Onyenso (Kentucky), Will Richard (Florida), and Jaylon Tyson (California) participated in a pre-draft workout for the Trail Blazers on Thursday, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. None of those prospects is likely to receive consideration with Portland’s lottery picks (No. 7 and No. 14), but some could end up as second-round or undrafted free agent targets.

NBA Closes Investigation Into Josh Giddey

In January, the Newport Beach Police Department closed its investigation into Thunder guard/forward Josh Giddey. He was not charged with a crime after no corroborating evidence was found.

Sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the NBA has closed its own investigation into Giddey after reaching a similar conclusion (Twitter link).

In November, a series of posts on social media accused Giddey of having an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl who is a student at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach. That prompted both the NBA and the Newport Beach Police Department to open investigations into the claims.

However, TMZ reported at the time that the alleged minor and her family were unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement officials. Both investigations are now closed.

In addition to the off-court allegations, Giddey had an up-and-down season on the court as well, culminating in being benched in the Western Conference semifinals against Dallas. The Thunder lost the playoff series in six games.

There’s been days where you don’t feel like getting out of bed for a number of reasons,” Giddey said during his exit interview, per Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman. “As I said, I’m just lucky to have people around me that care, that were there for me. Coming in the gym every day, seeing my teammates, that helps.”

The sixth overall pick of the 2021 draft, Giddey will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. The 21-year-old made it clear he’d be thrilled to stay with the team long-term and he’s determined to improve his shooting and defense going forward, according to Lorenzi.

I can’t wait to get back next season and show that I’m a different player,” Giddey said, “and to never let what happened this series happen again.”

Edwards, Haliburton Earn Salary Increases With All-NBA Nods

The maximum-salary rookie scale extensions that Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton signed last offseason will have starting salaries worth 30% of the 2024/25 salary cap instead of 25% after both players made All-NBA teams. Edwards earned a spot on the Second Team, while Haliburton made the Third Team.

As our maximum-salary projections for ’24/25 show, based on a $141MM cap, the five-year deals signed by Edwards and Haliburton will now be worth $245,340,000 instead of $204,450,000. Those numbers could change if the cap comes in above or below $141MM.

Edwards and Haliburton agreed to Rose Rule language in their respective extensions. The Rose Rule allow players coming off their rookie scale contracts to receive salaries worth more than 25% of the cap in year five if they make an All-NBA team during the season (or two of the three seasons) before their extension goes into effect. Players can also qualify by being named Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year.

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball had similar language in his maximum-salary extension, but injuries prevented him from having any shot at All-NBA team in 2023/24, so his contract will be worth $204.45MM over five years.

Here are more of the financial implications of today’s All-NBA selections:

  • Because Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey didn’t make an All-NBA team, his maximum salary as a restricted free agent this offseason will be worth 25% of the cap instead of 30%. He’ll be eligible for a five-year deal up to a projected $204.45MM.
  • Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander met the super-max performance criteria by earning All-NBA nods for a second straight year, but neither player has enough years of service yet to sign a designated veteran extension this summer. Both Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander will be eligible to sign super-max extensions, starting at 35% of the cap instead of 30%, during the 2025 offseason. As Bobby Marks of ESPN outlines (Twitter links), Doncic would be eligible for a five-year extension projected to be worth over $346MM that begins in 2026/27, while SGA could sign a four-year extension worth a projected $294MM+ that would begin in 2027/28.
  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is one year ahead of Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander — he met the super-max performance criteria by making a second straight All-NBA team in 2023, but was still one year away from having the required years of service at that time. He’ll be eligible this July to sign a five-year super-max extension that will start at 35% of the ’25/26 cap and be worth a projected $314.85MM.
  • Players who would have been eligible for super-max extensions if they had made an All-NBA team include Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Heat big man Bam Adebayo, Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. All of those players could still qualify if they remain with their current teams and earn All-NBA honors next season, though it’s worth noting that Ingram is considered a trade candidate this summer and is highly unlikely to get a super-max offer even if he qualifies.
  • Kings center Domantas Sabonis earned a $1.3MM contract bonus as a result of being named to the All-NBA Third Team, tweets James Ham of The Kings Beat.