Omari Spellman

In-Market Bubble Updates: Pistons, Wolves, Cavs

As the NBA’s bottom eight teams gear up to conduct group workouts starting next week, the Pistons have 15 players in attendance for the first phase of their in-market bubble. However, that 15-man group includes five G Leaguers, with a number of notable names from the NBA roster absent.

As Eric Woodyard of ESPN details, head coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday that Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, and Langston Galloway aren’t participating.

“All of our young guys are here. Derrick Rose and Blake are not here, which is totally understandable,” Casey said. “Both are working out, and it’s nothing physical. They’re both 100 percent. Blake’s working out in LA, and Derrick is in and out of town.”

As for Wood and Galloway, both players are set to reach unrestricted free agency this fall, so Casey said he understood why they’d be reluctant to participate in workouts with the club over the next few weeks.

“We’re not reading anything into that either way,” Casey said, per Woodyard. “So it’s just something I totally get because if I’m a free agent, I wouldn’t attend anyway to the team you’re not under contract with.”

Here’s more on those mini-camps taking part in “bubbles” across the country:

  • The majority of the Timberwolves‘ key players, including Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and restricted free agent Malik Beasley, are participating in their in-market bubble, as are G Leaguers Canyon Barry and Lindell Wigginton (Twitter link via Woodyard). Free-agent-to-be Evan Turner, Omari Spellman, and Juan Hernangomez won’t be in attendance. Hernangomez is an RFA and is currently overseas, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), while Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that Spellman’s camp is hoping to find the big man a new home.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com provides details on the Cavaliers‘ in-market bubble plans for the next two-and-a-half weeks, with group practices set to begin next Wednesday. Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova, both eligible for free agency, won’t attend, but G Leaguers Levi Randolph, Marques Bolden and Vince Edwards have been invited to participate.
  • A personal matter will also prevent center Andre Drummond from attending the Cavaliers‘ mini-camp, though he wanted to be there, sources tell Fedor. “He’s been pretty engaged in everything,” one source said of Drummond. “It’s not like he’s gone dark. He wanted to be there. It’s nothing malicious. It’s not a sign or anything like that. It’s not going to cause a rift.”
  • The NBA sent a memo to the league’s bottom eight teams warning them that if they “require or coerce” players to participate in the optional workouts, they’ll be subject to league punishment, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/19/20

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Also on the transactions log:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/11/20

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the league:

  • The Pacers assigned rookie center Goga Bitadze to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, according to the team’s transactions log. The first-round pick has appeared in 42 games with Indiana this season, averaging 3.0 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 8.6 MPG.
  • The Timberwolves assigned power forward Omari Spellman to their Iowa affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Spellman, a 2018 first-round pick by Atlanta, was acquired from Golden State last week.

Timberwolves Notes: Spellman, Russell, Johnson

The Timberwolves are not planning to waive big man Omari Spellman, though it’s a possibility, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. After discussions between his reps and the front office, Spellman is headed to G League affiliate Iowa to get some playing time and will likely finish the season with the organization (Twitter links).

Spellman was included in the deal that sent D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota. He was averaging 7.6 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 49 games with Golden State this season. His contract for next season is guaranteed but the club holds an option on the 2021/22 season.

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Russell doesn’t foresee a long transition before he develops chemistry with the team’s franchise player, Karl-Anthony Towns, John Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. “We know what we bring to the table,” Russell said. “It’s just about dissecting the film and bringing it together and seeing how we can take the weight off each other’s shoulders down the stretch, whenever we need him to make a play and vice versa.”
  • Forward James Johnson has embraced an elder statesman role with the team, according to Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Johnson, who turns 33 this month, had 15 points and five assists in his Minnesota debut. He was surrounded by a group of young players and provided a lot of instruction for them. “I loved the confidence he was instilling in those guys,” coach Ryan Saunders said. Johnson, who holds a $16MM option on his contract for next season, was acquired from Miami in a three-team trade last week.
  • Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner are the Timberwolves’ candidates to receive a buyout. Check out the latest on the buyout market here.

Warriors Trade D’Angelo Russell To Timberwolves

The Warriors have officially traded star guard D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves, the teams announced in a pair of press releases. Minnesota has also acquired big man Omari Spellman and guard Jacob Evans along with Russell.

In exchange, Golden State receives swingman Andrew Wiggins, a protected 2021 first-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick. The 2021 first-rounder headed to Golden State will be Minnesota’s own top-three protected pick. It would become unprotected in 2022 if it doesn’t convey next year.

The Wolves’ acquisition of Russell represents the culmination of a pursuit that dates back at least to the 2019 free agent period, when the team made D-Lo its top target and offered him a lucrative four-year contract. Minnesota had hoped to pair the All-Star guard with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns, but were passed over when the Warriors swooped in with a four-year, max-salary offer. Seven months later, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas got his man.

The blockbuster deal comes at a good time for the Wolves, who have struggled mightily since their 10-8 start, and for Towns, who – after Wednesday’s game – publicly expressed his frustration with all that losing. Towns was also believed to be disappointed by the departure of Robert Covington, who was one of his best friends on the team, so Minnesota will hope that the arrival of Russell can help rejuvenate the big man’s enthusiasm — and get the Wolves a few more wins down the stretch.

The Timberwolves will now enter the summer with a pair of 24-year-old cornerstones on long-term contracts, as Russell is locked up through 2023 and Towns through 2024. They also still have their own 2020 first-round pick, as well as Brooklyn’s lottery-protected first-rounder. So they’ll have the opportunity to bring in a pair of promising prospects or use those picks in trades to further upgrade the roster.

The deal does put the Wolves slightly into tax territory, ESPN’s Bobby Marks reports (via Twitter), so another move could be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, it’s a fascinating pivot for the Warriors, who were said to be seeking a first-round selection in 2021 rather than 2020, since next year’s draft class is expected to be stronger than this year’s. The Wolves reportedly put their own 2020 protected pick and Brooklyn’s lottery-protected pick on the table in a previous offer, but it appears Golden State was willing to accept just a single first-rounder now that it’s a lightly-protected 2021 pick.

Besides the first-round pick and accompanying second-rounder, the Warriors get two things out of the deal: The first is Wiggins, whose max-salary contract had been widely considered a negative. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), however, there’s a contingent within the Warriors who believe that Wiggins is a “salvageable project.” Slater believes the deal will ultimately be judged on whether Golden State can turn Wiggins into the team’s long-term starting small forward or eventually flip him for positive value.

The second perk for the Warriors is that the deal should allow them to sneak out of the tax for this season, which will help them avoid current and future repeater penalties. Marks tweets that the team will be $3.1MM below the tax threshold and should be able to stay below that line even after filling out its roster. Golden State will have six open roster spots, necessitating at least five eventual additions, but the club will be able to stagger those signings to some extent.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news and reported the terms of the trade (all Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: GRIII, Warriors, Kings, Hield

The 2019/20 Warriors haven’t been the contender that Glenn Robinson III may have thought he was joining when he signed with the franchise last summer. However, the injuries that have derailed the team’s season have cleared a path to a major role for Robinson, who has started 44 games and averaged 31.8 minutes per game this season — both are easily career highs. The veteran tells Scott Agness of The Athletic that he’s appreciative of the opportunity he has received in Golden State.

“That 25- to 30-minute range a night, to be able to show what I can do and to showcase my skills and to do it with an organization as great as the Warriors, I think it’s everything I wanted in free agency,” Robinson said.

Robinson, whose 12.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, .470 FG%, and 1.3 3PG are also career bests, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Warriors during the 2019 offseason. That modest deal makes him a candidate to be moved at the trade deadline, but even if he remains in Golden State this season, he’ll have the opportunity to consider offers from other teams this July. As he tells Agness, he wouldn’t mind sticking around beyond this season.

“Hopefully, it can be another great free agency for me and I would love to be back here,” the Warriors’ swingman said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After trading Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas, the Warriors have a chance to take an extended look at Omari Spellman and Marquese Chriss up front, writes Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area. Neither player is really a natural center, but they’re embracing the challenge of handling minutes at the five. “I’ve tried making a role off playing hard and doing the dirty work,” Chriss said. “I’m not the guy who is going to shoot 20 shots and get you 40 points. I’m gonna try and be that guy that is down low and banging, getting rebounds and setting screens.”
  • For the first time since the 2017/18 season, the Kings removed Buddy Hield from their starting lineup over the last two games, starting Bogdan Bogdanovic in his place. It seems safe to assume that experiment will continue for the time being, as Hield scored 63 points and made 14-of-23 three-point attempts in those two games, both Sacramento wins. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic explores how grief from Kobe Bryant‘s death fueled a historic night for Hield on Monday.
  • Replacing Hield with Bogdanovic in the starting lineup gives the Kings‘ first unit stronger ball-handling, play-making, and defense, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. As Anderson points out, head coach Luke Walton said that Hield’s move to the bench isn’t necessarily permanent, but it’s working for now.
  • In case you missed it on Monday evening, the NBA announced that Tuesday’s Lakers/Clippers game has been postponed in the wake of Kobe Bryant‘s death.

Warriors Willing To Trade Alec Burks, Other Veterans

Shooting guard Alec Burks is among several players the Warriors are willing to part with before the February 6 trade deadline, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole suggests Golden State could be one of the most active teams on the trade market after virtually ignoring it during the past five years.

He identifies Burks as the most coveted of the Warriors’ assets because he can stretch defenses and has an affordable contract at $2.3MM. Burks is averaging 15.5 PPG through 30 games and shooting 34.9% from 3-point range.

Poole names the Lakers, Mavericks, Clippers, Pacers and Raptors as teams that could use another wing player who can shoot from the outside. He states that the Warriors will be looking for future assets such as draft picks and young players.

Although Golden State’s front office likes Burks, they need to open up roster spots soon to keep two-way players Damion Lee and Ky Bowman, who are both nearing their 45-day NBA limit. Lee has 12 days remaining and Bowman has 11. After that, they will have to have their contracts converted to NBA deals or remain in the G League until that season is over.

“It’s an awkward situation for us, because Ky and Damion are coming up on their limit,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters after Friday’s game. “And they’re two of our top seven players in our rotation. And yet the rules are that we only have them for another nine or 10 days each. Everybody is aware of that. We don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

Several league sources told Poole that the Warriors are ready to move into serious trade discussions. They added several veterans over the summer on contracts that they believed would be easy to move when the time came.

Those include Glenn Robinson III at $1.9MM, Marquese Chriss at a non-guaranteed $1.7MM and Willie Cauley-Stein at $2.2MM with a $2.3MM player option for next season. They also traded for Omari Spellman, who makes $1.9MM this year, and picked up his option for 2020/21 at nearly $2MM.

Omari Spellman Revisits Failed Stint With Hawks

After being selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Omari Spellman lasted just a single season in Atlanta, having been sent to Golden State in a trade this past offseason. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic details, Spellman dealt with depression and weight issues during his failed stint with the Hawks, getting up to 315 pounds by the end of his stint with the team.

Having received a second chance with the Warriors, Spellman has enjoyed a more promising 2019/20 campaign so far, slimming down to about 260 pounds and earning a regular role for an injury-plagued Dubs squad.

Speaking to Slater, Spellman took a clear-eyed look back on his time with Atlanta, insisting that his problems as a rookie were more about self-sabotage rather than anything the Hawks did wrong.

If you have an Athletic subscription, the entire conversation is worth checking out, but here are a few highlights from the unusually forthcoming 22-year-old:

On how he missed the NCAA structure during his first season in the NBA:

“When you’re in college, they kind of — you got class, which blocks out parts of your day, practice, hot yoga, all these things I was doing. Team dinner. Then on the night of home games, we’re in a hotel anyway. … Then you get on your own and I equate it to what a normal teenager, when they first get to college, what that’s like. They have all this freedom, no structure and they kind of f–k up.

“I was f–king up, but the difference is, this time, when I f–ked up, no one was helping me. No one was saying nothing to me. It was just, I was living by myself, so can’t nobody really tell me nothing, at that time.”

On when he realized things were heading in the wrong direction with the Hawks:

“To be honest, man, I knew for a pretty long time. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I knew for a fact that, at some point, the relationship had gotten so toxic in Atlanta — organizational to player. They had tried a lot of stuff, they really did and I could never say they didn’t. They tried a lot of stuff to help me and I was just not in a place to accept that help yet.

“I could tell they were frustrated. I won’t say I knew I was going to get traded, but I knew something was going to happen. Either this year I was going to start in the G League or this season, I don’t touch the court. Or I knew I wasn’t going to be in Atlanta anymore.”

On why things have turned around with the Warriors:

“Well, one, getting traded as a first-round pick after your first season lets you know that you’re about to be out of the league. For certain people. Now, for Landry Shamet, totally different. But for me? The way it happened to me? Yo, bro, you’re on your way out. … So to me, it was like if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out putting my best foot forward. Because I know last year was not my best foot, at all.

On how his mentality has changed since last season:

“I was like: ‘I’m a slob. I’m f–king fat. I’m f–king useless in the league.’ Then you have to consciously decide that I’m going to shift that mentality. I’m none of those things. I work hard. I play hard. I leave it all out there. I’m a great teammate. You have to view yourself like that. It’s not a cocky thing. That’s who you are. To take that fight, take that challenge, I was proud of myself. Because I easily could’ve just gave up. Just said: ‘F–k it, man. It is what it is. I’m not supposed to be in the league.’ Some people stay in that mindset forever and it’s hard to escape it.”

Warriors Pick Up 2020/21 Options On Spellman, Evans

2:43pm: The Warriors have officially exercised their options on both Spellman and Evans, the team confirmed (via Twitter).

8:50am: The Warriors have exercised their 2020/21 rookie scale option on Omari Spellman, reports Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter). In addition to picking up Spellman’s third-year option, the team will do the same for Jacob Evans‘ third-year option, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Option Decisions For 2020/21]

Spellman, 22, had a promising rookie season for Atlanta in 2018/19, averaging 5.9 PPG and 4.2 RPG with a .344 3PT% in 46 games (17.5 MPG). However, the Hawks determined he wasn’t in their long-term plans and sent him to Golden State in an offseason trade for Damian Jones and a future second-round pick.

Because Spellman was the No. 30 overall pick in the 2018 draft, his option for 2020/21 will have a cap charge of just $1,988,280, the lowest of any 2018 first-rounder. Evans, who was the No. 28 pick in the same draft, will count for $2,017,320 against the cap in ’20/21 with his option exercised.

Evans struggled in his rookie year, averaging just 1.3 PPG on 34.0% shooting in 30 games (6.8 MPG). His option was hardly a lock to be picked up, but the 22-year-old looked a little better in the early going this season, scoring 18 points in 43 total minutes and making 4-of-8 three-pointers. He’s currently sidelined with a left adductor strain and isn’t due to be re-evaluated for about three more weeks, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Warriors Notes: Green, Russell, Spellman, Curry

Warriors forward Draymond Green is glad he didn’t have to deal with all the speculation regarding free agency in what would have been his walk year, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Green, who could have been one of the top free agents in a diluted market next summer, averted that issue by signing a four-year extension worth nearly $100MM in August. “I didn’t myself want to come into the season with all that,” he said. “Kind of becomes a headache.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • The D’Angelo RussellKevin Durant sign-and-trade was nerve-wracking and challenging due to time constraints, GM Bob Myers said in a radio interview with 95.7 The Game (hat tip to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area). “So for that to happen, obviously one thing, Kevin has to leave,” Myers said. “Two, you got to get Brooklyn to cooperate and Kevin to cooperate in a four-hour window of time. You need D’Angelo to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll come.” He had other offers. A lot of times that’s like a three-team trade, they just don’t happen.”
  • Forward Omari Spellman wasn’t immediately thrilled at the prospect of moving from the Hawks to the Warriors, Slater adds in another tweet. “That was extremely tough for me,” he said. “But on the flip side, an organization that has been, let’s be honest, the best team in the league for like the last four, five years decided to take a chance on me.” Golden State traded center Damian Jones and a second-round pick to acquire Spellman.
  • Stephen Curry isn’t interested in any load management plans, Logan Murdock of NBCS Authentic tweets. Concerning his workload, Curry quipped, “48 minutes a game for all 82.”