Patty Mills

Nets Notes: Mills, Warren, Claxton, Simmons

As the Nets try to move past a season of distractions and a summer filled with chaos, Patty Mills already senses a “night and day different feeling,” according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. The 14-year veteran won a title with the Spurs early in his career and understands the importance of a strong team culture.

“Look, I believe in all of that stuff,” Mills said. “I think that it’s always been a part of who I am and just enjoying being around teammates and getting to know them a lot more. Maybe that comes from my Australian background on the Australian teams, but then to see it at a professional, elite level in San Antonio kind of took that to a whole other level. But trying to get to be the last team standing or just trying to do everything possible to do that, it starts with those relationships.”

Mills was a free agent over the summer and could have moved on, but he opted to re-sign with Brooklyn for two more years. In addition to his role in shaping the culture, Mills is an accomplished shooter off the bench who can play either guard position.

“He’s a successful piece, he knows what it takes to be in an organization, he knows what it’s like to build trust and also do it at the highest level,” Kyrie Irving said. “You need a guy like Patty Mills just simply to have the locker room synergized, but he also can give you minutes and quality play and can think out there for the young guys, as well as give us some veteran leadership.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • T.J. Warren is slowly making progress as he attempts to return from foot issues that caused him to miss almost two full seasons, Botte adds. The Nets don’t expect him to start playing before November. Coach Steve Nash said Warren is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior.”
  • The departure of veteran big men has given Nic Claxton a chance to move into a starting role, Botte writes in a separate story. Claxton tried to learn something from each of his former All-Star teammates, a list that includes Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap. “I just took bits and pieces from everybody’s game,” Claxton said. “Especially the veterans, I listened to them, and now I’m ready to just show my own self and do my own thing. I feel a lot better, just mentally and physically. I feel a lot more confident now going into the preseason and just ready to get everything started.”
  • Ben Simmons‘ treatments for his back problems included cryotherapy sessions last season, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Cryogenic therapy exposes the body to extreme cold for a short time to relieve pain and inflammation.

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.

Free Agency Rumors: Monk, Oladipo, McGee, Mills, Hartenstein

On a Spotify Live appearance with Marc Stein, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said he has heard there’s mutual interest between the Kings and Malik Monk in free agency (hat tip to Talkin’ NBA). Monk played college ball at Kentucky with De’Aaron Fox, so there’s obviously a connection between the two athletic guards.

Monk had a career-year in his first season with the Lakers last season, averaging 13.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 2.9 APG on .473/.391/.795 shooting in 76 games (37 starts, 28.1 MPG). He’s reportedly looking for a role where he can receive significant minutes and “be himself,” as he told Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

The Kings could offer Monk the mid-level exception, projected to be worth about $10.5MM next season, which is significantly more than the Lakers can offer (taxpayer MLE — $6.5MM).

Here are more rumors ahead of free agency, which kicks off in less than 17 hours:

  • Fischer also reports (hat tip to Talkin’ NBA) that in addition to Denver, Detroit and Washington, the Bulls are in the mix for Victor Oladipo. Fischer previously wrote that Oladipo was unlikely to remain with Miami.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix hears (via Twitter) that Suns backup center JaVale McGee is looking for a multiyear deal, with the Bucks, Mavericks and Nets interested in his services. Gambadoro adds that he’s unsure if Phoenix would go for a two-year deal to re-sign McGee, who was highly productive (9.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.1 BPG) in a reserve role with the Suns last season (74 games, 15.8 MPG).
  • Patty Mills is expected to draw “significant interest” on the free agent market after declining his player option, but he hasn’t ruled out a return to the Nets, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Brian Lewis of The New York Post hears Mills and his wife enjoyed their time in Brooklyn, but it’s possible he could get a more lucrative offer elsewhere.
  • Sources tell Marc Stein (via Twitter) that Isaiah Hartenstein hasn’t ruled out a return to the Clippers, stating that it’s “well-known among rival teams” with interest in the center that he might re-sign with Los Angeles. Lewis hears similarly, with sources close to the 24-year-old telling The Post that “he loves” playing for the Clips. The main issue is the Clippers are reportedly using their taxpayer MLE to sign John Wall, so they’ll be extremely limited in what they can offer Hartenstein. Stein previously reported that the Magic are the “leading suitor” for Hartenstein, who has also been linked to the Bulls, Raptors and Rockets.

Patty Mills Declines Player Option, Becomes Free Agent

Nets guard Patty Mills has declined his $6.2MM player option for next season in order to become a free agent, league sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).

Mills, 33, had a solid season in his first season with Brooklyn in 2021/22, 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.

Last season was the 13th of Mills’ lengthy NBA career, 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.

While Mills isn’t quite as quick as he once was, he holds a career three-point percentage of 38.9% and figures to draw plenty of interest from contending teams. He should receive a contract similar in annual value to the one he declined (taxpayer mid-level exception), but he’ll likely be looking for a multiyear deal to maximize his earnings.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Mills, Kyrie, Knicks, Burks, Celtics

Asked on Tuesday about what the Raptors‘ offseason might look like, general manager Bobby Webster suggested it might be a fairly quiet summer in Toronto, but didn’t rule out the possibility of that changing if favorable trade opportunities arise.

“You look at it two ways: We have a couple free agents, we have a mid-level (exception). Maybe in that sense it’s just adding to the group,” Webster said, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. “Obviously if you have trade discussions, it’s different. There are kind of just two different paths you can go.”

OG Anunoby has been at the center of some trade rumors this offseason, with one report indicating the Raptors forward wants a bigger role on offense going forward. Asked about Anunoby, Webster dismissed the idea that there’s any real tension between the team and the 24-year-old, but he also didn’t exactly slam the door on the idea that Anunoby could be traded.

“We have great communication with OG,” Webster said. “He’s even up here (in Toronto) now. For one, it doesn’t make sense to comment on all the trade speculation. If we talked about every call we got or every player we discussed we’d be here for hours, so I don’t think it’s all that noteworthy.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Nets guard Patty Mills still hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll pick up his $6.2MM player option for 2022/23, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Insider link). In a story for NetsDaily, Collin Helwig looks at what Mills could bring to the table for Brooklyn next season if he returns and is slotted into the role the team envisioned for him last year, before Kyrie Irving‘s extended absence resulted in him being thrust into the starting lineup.
  • Speaking of Irving, both Fred Katz of The Athletic and Ian Begley of SNY.tv explored whether the idea of the Nets guard joining the cross-town Knicks this offseason is realistic. A Shams Charania report on Monday linked Irving to the Knicks, but New York is believed to be more focused on Jalen Brunson and Malcolm Brogdon, while there’s a belief that Kyrie and the Nets can still work out a deal.
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News provides a few more details on Alec Burksfoot surgery, reporting that the affected left foot had been bothering the Knicks guard for a while. Burks, who previously underwent procedures on his left ankle in 2015 and 2016, has seen his trade value negatively affected by the surgery, league sources tell Bondy.
  • The Celtics brought in Michigan State forward Gabe Brown on Wednesday, just a day before the draft, for a second workout, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Brown, the No. 78 prospect on ESPN’s big board, could be a target for Boston with the 53rd overall pick or as an undrafted free agent.

And-Ones: Mills, Presti, Cunningham, Jaquez

Nets guard Patty Mills has won this season’s Sportsmanship Award, according to a league press release. The annual award is designed to honor a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.

Each NBA team nominated one of its players for the award and current players selected the winner from the list of six finalists. Bam Adebayo, Mikal Bridges, Darius Garland, Jeff Green and Jaren Jackson Jr. were the other finalists.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Thunder general manager Sam Presti is a proponent of an in-season tournament, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes, saying it shows the league is “thinking big picture.” Presti called an in-season tournament “necessary to have a better business and a better game in the future.” He feels that it would appeal to a non-traditional or younger fan base as well as improve competitive parity.
  • Overtime Elite has landed the top recruit in ESPN’s Class of 2024. Naasir Cunningham told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony about his reasons for joining Overtime Elite, which was confirmed in a press release. “This is best place for me to develop as a player, while getting the right education to fall back on at the same time,” the 6’7” Cunningham said. “Overtime built a relationship with my family and I, which was a big factor in trusting them with my future.” Cunningham will be the first player to decline a salary by OTE, which should preserve his eligibility to play college basketball after graduating from high school.
  • While many players are testing the draft waters, some prominent prospects have chosen to return to college. Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Wood looks at five such players, including UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez and UConn’s Jordan Hawkins.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Mills, Durant, Curry, Nash

The Nets don’t know when Ben Simmons will be available, but Patty Mills expects him to make an immediate impact whenever he does come back, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Simmons hasn’t played yet this season due to a standoff with Sixers management, mental health issues and soreness in his back, but Mills believes he’ll be a difference maker.

“He’s going to be a threat either way,” Mills said. “On ball, off ball — whether he’s handling the ball, whether he’s off the ball as a screener, I think he’s such a threat that he’s going to draw a lot of attention. So I think given his IQ and the way he can pass the ball and handle the ball, that makes us better at his bare minimum. So, obviously, where he’s the biggest threat is in an open-court situation with people, especially shooters around him. But, like I said, a bare-minimum Ben Simmons makes this team a whole lot better as well.”

General manager Sean Marks said this week there’s “no real timetable” for Simmons to resume playing, although it will likely be two more weeks at minimum. Simmons hasn’t participated in a full practice since the February 10 trade that brought him from Philadelphia, but Mills said he has been able to learn from his new teammates while sidelined.

“We’re doing a lot of talking,” Mills said. “A lot of conversations, meaning the group, a lot of film, a lot of walk-through stuff. So he’s there for all of it; he’s there for the entire practice. And then he’s doing his part with his shooting coach and physio and whatever that looks like. But as far as every team thing goes, he’s at everything.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Even though the Nets lost Thursday in Kevin Durant‘s first game back after being injured, he offered some hope with a 31-point performance, per Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. Durant said a total team effort will be needed to turn around the season, adding, “I don’t look at myself as that — as a savior.” 
  • Nets guard Seth Curry shares his memories of playing for retiring Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in a lengthy interview with Steve Serby of The New York Post. Curry also touches on a few NBA topics, such as the difficulty he had breaking into the league, what it’s like to play alongside Durant and Kyrie Irving and Brooklyn’s playoff prospects after a second-half slide. “We put ourself in a tough situation with the play-in game, but we still like our chances against anybody in the league,” Curry said. “… Our sense of urgency is trying to fit together and figure out the way we’re gonna play when we do get in that play-in game and then hopefully into the playoffs.”
  • Steve Nash will be available to coach Sunday against the Celtics after clearing the health and safety protocols, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Poll: Who Will Win The 2022 Three-Point Contest?

The 2022 NBA Three-Point Contest takes place Saturday night and features eight participants (betting odds via Chad Smith of Basketball Insiders):

There are two rounds in the competition; the three highest scores from the first round advance to the championship round, and the highest scoring competitor in the championship round will become the victor. A first-time winner will be crowned this year, as only Young and LaVine have made prior appearances in the event, this being Young’s second attempt and LaVine’s third.

Each participant gets 70 seconds to attempt a total of 27 shots — five from each of the traditional racks located at the corners, wings, and top-of-the-key, and two “Dew Zone” locations six feet behind the arc. The deep racks feature just one ball each, but they’re worth three points apiece.

Young, VanVleet, Lavine and Towns are all pulling double-duty, as the four players were all selected to the All-Star game. Bane is as well, as he’s a member of Team Isiah for the Rising Stars event.

Going purely by three-point percentage this season, Kennard leads the group at 44.8%, followed by Mills and Bane (41.9%), Towns (40.9%), VanVleet (40.1%), LaVine (39.9%), McCollum (38.9%), and finally Young (38.3%).

However, VanVleet leads all competitors in makes (4.0) and attempts (10.0) per game by a considerable margin — McCollum is second with 3.1 makes and 8.0 attempts.

What do you think? Who will win this year’s Three-Point Contest? Will Towns defy the betting odds and take home the crown? Will LaVine triumph in his third attempt?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Nets Notes: Durant, Harris, Adams, Irving, Mills, Simmons

The Nets will face the Celtics next Thursday in their first game after the All-Star break. Don’t expect Kevin Durant to be in uniform for that game, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Coach Steve Nash said Durant will be eased back into action from his knee injury.

“I’m not like, ‘He’s going to play right when the break ends.’ There’s obviously a small chance, but we want to be really careful because a setback would be tough when there are 20 or so games left,” Nash said. “We don’t want to jeopardize there and have a setback where he misses another six to 12 games, so I think we’ll be cautious coming out of the break. There’s a chance he could play, but I think it’s more likely that we don’t get our hopes that he’s going to play the first game out of the break.”

Durant hasn’t played since January 15.

We have more on the Nets:

  • It’s been two weeks since reports revealed that Joe Harris was mulling a second ankle surgery. Nothing has changed in that regard, Lewis notes in the same story. “I think everything’s on the table at this point,” Nash said. “We hope that he comes back, but we have no idea where this is going to go at this point.”
  • New New York City mayor Eric Adams agrees with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that current city rules barring Kyrie Irving from playing home games, while opposing players don’t face the same sanctions, are unjust, Sam Raskin of the New York Post writes. “First of all, I think the rule’s unfair. I believe that we are saying to out-of-town athletes that they can come in and not be vaccinated, yet New York athletes do have to be vaccinated,” Adams said. However, Adams is concerned about “sending the wrong message” by lifting the sanctions altogether for fear of another outbreak.
  • Veteran point guard Patty Mills hasn’t been teammates with Ben Simmons for very long but senses that his fellow Australian is hungry to reestablish himself, Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. “His demeanor and his desire not only to get back on the floor but make a significant impact — he’s got a lot of, I believe, fire built up underneath him that has a desire to get back and be the player that he is, and even get better, and even grow and even develop,” Mills said. “And that’s one thing that I’m excited to be in the same room and locker room as him to do my part to help him develop and help him grow and help in any way possible there.”

Nets Notes: Marks, Harden, Simmons, Irving, Mills, Nash

Nets general manager Sean Marks said the decision to move on from James Harden was a difficult one, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Make no bones about it: We went all-in on getting James Harden and inviting him to the group,” Marks said during a video conference call discussing the trade deadline Friday afternoon. “And these decisions to move on from a player like that, of that caliber, are never easy ones. I just want to be clear that this is not something that you think, great, let’s just make a split decision and move on from that. I give James a lot of credit for having open dialogue, open discussions with me and with the group, [Nets coach Steve Nash] and [owner] Joe Tsai and everybody over the last 24, 48 hours.

Again, I said they’re not easy, but I think that’s something we pride ourselves on is being open and honest. James was honest with us and we were honest with him. I think it’s a move that enables him to have a fresh start, enables this team to have a fresh start, without trying to push things to make things work. If we realize this is not going to work, short-term or long-term, then it’s time to say for both parties involved, this is better off.”

Marks went on to say that trading Harden wasn’t about the team’s 10-game losing streak, it was based on his entire tenure in Brooklyn, and the newly-acquired players help the Nets in ways that Harden couldn’t.

It’s not just eight or nine games,” he said. “The things that we’ve had to deal with over the course of the last year since James has been here is, to be quite frank, the Big Three, quote unquote, haven’t had significant time to play together for a variety of different circumstances. So, I think the frustration is more in that than in eight or nine games. Obviously it was not, and it currently isn’t, trending in the right direction, but we’re not going to make a decision off of one, two, five games, whatever it may be. The sample size has to be bigger. And at that point, we’re sitting here saying, ‘Yeah. We’ve seen enough.’ On both sides.

We obviously thank James immensely for everything he’s done. Let’s be honest, he’s come in here and set all kinds of Brooklyn Nets records in such a short time. He’s a hell of a player, without a doubt. Again, these are not easy decisions, but we’re very grateful for what James has done over his short time here, but at the same time, adding these three players — Seth [Curry], Andre [Drummond] and Ben [Simmons] — help us in needs James doesn’t fulfill.”

When asked if the Sixers tampered by talking to Harden, Marks said that was for the league to decide.

Unfortunately, the world we live in right now, so much of this is being played out in the media,” Marks said, per Bontemps. “So much of this is, whether it’s scuttlebutt, hearsay, and so forth, it’s just the nature of the beast. It’s just the nature of the world we’re in. I’m not going to start making accusations at everybody else. Again, this particular set of circumstances was played out in the media far earlier than any conversations were ever had. I don’t know and again if this is where it ends up, that will be completely up to the league to look into these set of circumstances.”

There are several more interesting quotes from Marks in Bontemps’ article. I recommend checking it out.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Kyrie Irving said there were hints that Harden was unhappy in Brooklyn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays. “I can’t really say that you feel that [unhappiness] in the locker room, but we get hints,” Irving said. “So we just wish him well. We want him to be ultimately successful. Now we move forward with the guys that are coming in. We’re excited. I just want everyone to be happy and do things they love to do, and be a part of things they can see themselves being successful at. It probably wasn’t here with us and he made a choice and we respect him for it. No love lost.”
  • Nets guard Patty Mills said that his fellow Australian Simmons is in a good place at the moment, Lewis writes in a separate article for the Post. “He’s in a really good place right now, speaking to him a fair bit lately and seeing what he’s been up to in terms of staying ready and getting his body right and getting game ready,” Mills said. “So it was good and pleasing for me to see and feel where he’s at. From that standpoint, you get a really hungry person who’s looking forward to playing basketball again, and especially with our group.”
  • Nash was reflective on what could have been with the “Big Three” era, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “You’re up 2-0 against the NBA champs, and then to not have James in the first games and then Kyrie in the last games, James being on one leg, Jeff Green being out of the lineup, all sorts of things that hampered our opportunity to win,” Nash said. “To take them to overtime in Game 7, you definitely think there are some what-ifs, but that’s life. You can’t look back. You’ve got to look forward.”