Patty Mills

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Irving, Mills, Carter, Williams, Robinson

Ben Simmons is expected to address the media Tuesday before the Sixers leave for New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Wednesday, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. It’s uncertain whether Simmons will suit up for the opener.

“We’ve been together for three weeks, so we’ve established a good rhythm,” coach Doc Rivers said. “So the more he’s been in, the more he does, especially when we’re working on our offensive stuff earlier, because we’ve built from last year but we tweaked a lot of stuff. But it’s easy to pick up — especially for him.”

A source recently told The Athletic’s Sam Amick that Simmons plans to play in games, rather than sitting out while awaiting a trade.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Commissioner Adam Silver said the Nets’ decision to sit Kyrie Irving and the city ordinance that led to that decision is not a league issue, Bontemps writes in a separate story. The Players Association never agreed to a vaccine mandate and Irving is prohibited from playing in Brooklyn unless he’s vaccinated. “This is between Irving and New York City right now,” Silver said. “This is not a league issue … but I think it would have been best for everyone if every player were vaccinated.”
  • With Irving out indefinitely, the Nets will need more out of Patty Mills and Jevon Carter, Zach Brazilier of the New York Post writes. Mills signed with Brooklyn on a two-year contract in free agency, while Carter was acquired in the Landry Shamet deal.
  • The Celtics have an open roster spot after waiving Jabari Parker but they’re not planning to fill it immediately, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. Head coach Ime Udoka said they plan to see who else becomes available around the league but with Boston projected as a taxpaying team, the roster could remain at 14 for the time being.
  • The Celtics rewarded Robert Williams with a four-year extension in August. The goal now is to keep the young center healthy, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes. “He’s a young guy we do want to build his role and minutes overall, and a big part of that is staying healthy, so we’re on him about lifting the weights, getting his treatment, take care of himself off the court as well as what we ask him to do on the court,” Udoka said.
  • Mitchell Robinson is still working his way back from a foot injury, though the young Knicks center plans to play in the team’s opener, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Robinson played in the Knicks’ preseason finale on Friday. “Once I get my conditioning back — that’s the main thing — so I can play all day, I’ll be all right,” he said.

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Hachimura, Nets, Hawks, Magic

Although Ben Simmons has reported to the Sixers and head coach Doc Rivers has said he assumes the three-time All-Star plans to suit up and play for the team, we still don’t know when that will happen or what version of Simmons the club will get, writes Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

One source who spoke to Neubeck described Simmons as “going through the motions” during his individual workouts this week, though that source said things have improved each day since the 25-year-old’s return. The expectation is that Simmons will clear the health and safety protocols soon, but he’s considered “doubtful” to play in Friday’s preseason finale.

Within Neubeck’s report, he notes that the Sixers have shown little interest in a Pacers trade package that includes Malcolm Brogdon and/or Caris LeVert. The 76ers have been focused on acquiring a star, since trading Simmons for multiple “good” players isn’t something they believe will improve their title odds or increase their chances of acquiring another impact player down the road, Neubeck explains.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura remains in the health and safety protocols after recently reporting to the team, and he may miss some time at the beginning of the regular season as he gets back up to speed and adjusts to a new playbook and coaching staff, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I don’t think (him catching up) is way down the line,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We already have some edits that we’ll send to him. Obviously, when he’s ready we’ll spend some time away from the court to try to help him get back up to speed. That in itself is going to take some time.”
  • Nets forward Kevin Durant admitted to reporters on Thursday that Kyrie Irving‘s absence is not an “ideal” situation and said he’d rather be playing alongside his friend this season. However, Durant added that he’s confident “things will work out the best for both parties” and said he’s not upset about the situation. “What is being mad going to do?” Durant said, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We are not going to change his mind, know what I’m saying? We’ll let him figure out what he needs to do and the team figure out what they need to do.”
  • Nets head coach Steve Nash plans to lean on the team’s depth to replace Kyrie Irving, rather than putting that responsibility on one player, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. Bruce Brown and Patty Mills are among the obvious candidates for increased roles.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic liked the Hawks‘ offseason moves and is optimistic about the club’s chances of avoiding regression in 2021/22, projecting them to win 50 games and a playoff series. Predictably, Hollinger is far less bullish on the Magic, forecasting a 21-win season and a last-place finish in the East for Orlando.

NBA GMs Like Heat’s Offseason Moves, Nets’ Title Chances

Nearly half of the NBA’s general managers voted for the Heat as the team that had the best 2021 offseason, John Schuhmann of NBA.com writes in his annual survey of the league’s GMs. Miami got 14 of 30 possible votes, while the Lakers picked up five votes. The Nets, Rockets, and Wizards were the other teams picked by multiple GMs as having the best offseason.

The Heat’s acquisition of Kyle Lowry via sign-and-trade helped tip the scales in their favor. Asked which offseason player acquisition will make the biggest impact for his new team this season, GMs overwhelmingly chose Lowry — he received 23 of 30 votes. New Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook was the only other player to get multiple votes (five).

Although the Heat and Lakers received high marks from rival GMs for their work over the summer, neither club is considered the title favorite entering the 2021/22 season. That honor belongs to the Nets, who earned 22 votes from GMs for the team that will win the 2022 Finals. The Lakers (five) and Bucks (three) were the only other teams to receive any votes.

Here are a few more of the most interesting responses from Schuhmann’s GM survey, which is worth checking out in full:

  • The Trail Blazers‘ trade for Larry Nance Jr. received the most votes (28%) for the most underrated acquisition of the offseason, with the Nets‘ signing of Patty Mills (17%) and the Wizards‘ addition of Spencer Dinwiddie (14%) also receiving support in that category.
  • The NBA’s GMs view Rockets guard Jalen Green (47%) and Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (40%) as the best bets to win Rookie of the Year, but voted Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley as the rookie who will be the best player in five years. Mobley (33%) narrowly edged out Cunningham (30%) and Green (23%) in that category.
  • The GMs voted the Magic‘s selection of Jalen Suggs at No. 5 (23%) and the Rockets‘ pick of Alperen Sengun at No. 16 (20%) as the biggest steals of the 2021 draft.
  • The Bulls (27%) are considered the best bet to be the most improved team in 2021/22, while Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (17%) received the most support as the top breakout candidate.
  • Following their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks (50%) were overwhelmingly voted as the team with the best young core. The Rockets received three votes, while no other team got more than two.
  • Only two players received multiple votes when GMs were asked which player they’d want to start a franchise with: Mavericks star Luka Doncic (43%) barely beat out Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (40%).

Eastern Notes: Martin, Mills, Bucks, Heat

New Heat two-way forward Caleb Martin cited the team’s reputation, culture, and successful development history as key reasons why he joined the franchise, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald details. Martin, who spent the last two seasons with the Hornets, will join undrafted guard Marcus Garrett as Miami’s two-way players entering the season.

“The culture and the reputation were the big things that caught my eye,” Martin explained. “Obviously, the coaching staff and just everybody that’s involved over here. One of the things they said was they’re big on development. They’re going to work with me and do the best they can to make me the best player I can be. They think this is a great spot for me in terms of my playing style and I agree with that.”

Miami has a well-documented history of developing players — Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson being two of the most recent examples — something that Martin simply couldn’t ignore as a free agent.

“You hear a lot of great things about the organization in Miami,” he said. “It’s clear that they bring in winning players and a winning culture, and they do a great job of molding guys and developing guys through their program. Obviously, those were all key points for me when it’s time to choose somewhere to go.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference today:

Nets Notes: Mills, Jordan, Millsap, Aldridge, Duke

Longtime Spurs guard Patty Mills was attracted to the Nets because of a couple of familiar faces there, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Mills, who agreed to a two-year, $12MM contract to come to Brooklyn, joins general manager Sean Marks and lead assistant Jacque Vaughn, who both spent time in San Antonio while Mills was there and have adopted some of the Spurs’ philosophies.

“To know free agency was going to be right in the middle of (the Olympics) definitely did make it quite tough,” Mills said. “The thing for me was not being able to have the conversations I wish I would’ve had leading into such a big decision. But turning to a new chapter and going to a new place, it was definitely something that knowing that we know people throughout the organization and in the city as well, it was comforting to know there are people there that look after us and look after my family.”

Another influence was a long talk that Mills had in Tokyo with Nets star Kevin Durant. Brooklyn made a strong effort to recruit Mills when free agency began, and he said the chance to exchange ideas with Durant influenced his decision.

“The conversation I had with Kevin was so pure and so genuine, being able to understand that he’s such a true pure hooper, and to go back-and-forth about basketball specifics,” Mills said. “It’s exciting for me to know there’s an opportunity there for me to try to be who I am. After a good Tokyo Olympics campaign, being able to ride the wave of that momentum and take it into Brooklyn is something I’m looking forward to … share the court with guys like that, I’m really going to continue to learn about the game and continue to get better myself and find little ways that I can do that.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • DeAndre Jordan isn’t likely to be on the Nets’ roster when training camp begins next month, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. The 33-year-old center, who is owed close to $20MM over the next two seasons, has been on the trade market all summer, according to Schiffer, but Brooklyn hasn’t found any takers.
  • The Nets would like to add another veteran big man, Schiffer states in the same piece, and while Paul Millsap may be out of their price range, a reunion with LaMarcus Aldridge seems more realistic. Millsap is reportedly looking at teams that still have their mid-level exception, and Brooklyn is limited to a minimum-salary contract. Schiffer notes that Aldridge played well in his five games with the team last season and enjoyed the experience, but isn’t certain to get medical clearance after being forced into retirement by an irregular heartbeat.
  • David Duke Jr. appears to be the favorite for the Nets’ open two-way spot, but a final decision probably won’t be made before training camp, Schiffer adds.

Warriors Notes: Offseason Overview, MLE, Trades, Team Needs

The Warriors’ offseason, outside of drafting Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody in the lottery, may not have been what fans have imagined as the team attempts to regain championship contender status, but it’s not for lack of trying, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

After trying and failing to attract veterans like Nicolas Batum and Patty Mills, the Warriors chose to be judicious with their use of their taxpayer mid-level exception. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, using the exception would end up costing the team an extra $41MM, given its tax situation. In that scenario, Golden State’s payroll and tax bill combined would come out to over $400MM. Instead, the team will rely on jumps in responsibility from players like Jordan Poole and Juan Toscano-Anderson.

Kawakami also writes that the team is unlikely to package Moody and Kuminga in a trade at this point in time.

We have more news from the Warriors:

  • Golden State isn’t actively engaged on any trades at the moment, team president Bob Myers said (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). According to Myers, trade talks are “dormant at this moment in time,” and the league seems to be “on pause” on the trade front.
  • When asked about if the team is done adding veteran free agents, Myers replied, “I think we still need some kind of ballhandling guard. We’re a little thin there” (Twitter link via Slater). While the list of guards left on the market is thin, there are still some interesting options to chose from.
  • Despite being turned down by several targets while trying to use their taxpayer MLE, the Warriors still may utilize it, with the buyout market being a likely target for such a deal, Myers said (Twitter link via Nick Friedell of ESPN).

New York Notes: Knight, Durant, Vildoza, Walker

Former lottery pick Brandon Knight is trying to work his way back into the NBA with the Nets‘ Summer League team, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Knight’s career was derailed by knee injuries, and he hasn’t played in the NBA since splitting 25 games with the Cavaliers and Pistons in 2019/20.

Knight worked out for the Bucks in March, but Milwaukee decided against signing him. The 29-year-old says his knees are no longer an issue and he’s eager to show that he still has an NBA future.

“The narrative of my knees, that I’m not healthy, that’s not right,” Knight said. “So for me, the narrative is just to show that I’m healthy. I’m ready to play. And I’m here. Most importantly, I’m here to serve these young guys. Summer league is not about me. … My goal is to serve to serve these young guys, give them wisdom, and try to help them and be a servant in any place that I can be.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Nets star Kevin Durant was named MVP of the Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament, FIBA announced in a press release. He capped off a brilliant performance with 29 points in the gold medal game against France. Australia’s Patty Mills, who agreed to a two-year deal with Brooklyn in free agency, was named to the all-tournament team.
  • The Knicks will get their first look at Luca Vildoza when Summer League play starts today, notes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Argentinian point guard signed a four-year, non-guaranteed contract in May, but he wasn’t used in any games. Vildoza’s future with New York seems less certain after the team drafted point guards Miles McBride and Rokas Jokubaitis, Berman adds. “I’m trying to work hard. I’m trying to show myself,” said Vildoza, who just returned from the Olympics. “I just want to show who I am. If after that, I can’t get onto the team, that’s OK. At least I gave everything.’’
  • The Knicks‘ offseason appears successful, but there are some risks involved, states Steve Popper of Newsday. The most significant one involves whether Kemba Walker‘s knee can hold up for an entire season.

Pacific Notes: DeRozan, Clippers, Curry, Vogel

About an hour before word broke on Tuesday that DeMar DeRozan had agreed to join the Bulls via sign-and-trade, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that DeRozan intended to meet with the Clippers. So did that meeting actually happen before DeRozan reached a deal with Chicago? Haynes shared some details in the latest episode of his Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast.

“The Clippers’ brass were on their way to DeMar’s house,” Haynes said. “Things got a little bit more interesting with the Bulls, it looked like a deal was going to get done with Chicago, and DeMar DeRozan’s agent Aaron Goodwin called the Clippers out of courtesy and was like, ‘You know what, let’s not waste anybody’s time. Out of respect to you guys, let’s cancel this meeting. (DeRozan)’s going to go elsewhere.'”

Haynes added that the Clippers were going to have to do “a ton of work” on their roster to be able to make DeRozan a competitive offer, suggesting that the veteran wing – who received an $85MM commitment from Chicago – wouldn’t have been willing to settle for the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.9MM), which was all L.A. realistically had at its disposal.

“DeMar DeRozan was not going to any team and taking the mid-level. He wasn’t,” Haynes said. “Not the full mid-level, not the taxpayer mid-level. He wasn’t having it.”

Here are a few more updates from around the Pacific:

  • Speaking to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic after news of his new $215MM extension with the Warriors broke, Stephen Curry said he loves the players Golden State drafted last Thursday and was happy to hear the team was pursuing veteran free agents this week, even if top targets like Patty Mills and Nicolas Batum are headed elsewhere. “I would be disappointed if there was ever a vibe that you’re complacent or that you’re not proactive and looking to always get better,” Curry said. “So if you’re telling me we’re trying to go after Batum, we’re trying to go after Patty, and things didn’t line up like that, then that’s just how the league works. But if there’s ever a situation where you don’t feel that commitment from upstairs, then we have issues. I haven’t felt that this summer.”
  • Thompson adds in the same story that the fourth year on Curry’s extension was a “minor sticking point,” given its unprecedented cap hit, but the Warriors ultimately relented. Curry, who will turn 38 during the 2025/26 season, will earn a staggering $59.6MM that year.
  • Now that the Lakers have nearly finished filling out their roster with a handful of free agent commitments, the next big question for the franchise to answer is Frank Vogel‘s status, writes Bill Oram of The Athletic. Vogel is a candidate for an extension, since he’s entering the final year of his contract as the team’s head coach.

Nets Sign Patty Mills To Two-Year Deal

AUGUST 10: Mills’ contract with the Nets is now official, the team announced today in a press release.


AUGUST 3: The Nets have agreed to sign free agent guard Patty Mills to a two-year, $12MM contract, agent Steven Heumann tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will feature a second-year player option, according to Wojnarowski. Given Brooklyn’s cap situation, the team will complete the signing using the taxpayer version of the mid-level exception. As we outlined earlier today, a two-year deal worth the full taxpayer’s MLE is worth about $12.07MM.

Mills, who will turn 33 next Wednesday, had been one of the few players in the NBA who had spent the last decade with the same team, having made his Spurs debut way back in 2011.

He has been a reliable and consistent bench contributor for San Antonio during that stretch, knocking down 38.9% of his three-point attempts and never making fewer than 34.1% in a single season. In 2020/21, Mills averaged 10.8 PPG and 2.4 APG on .412/.375/.910 shooting in 68 games (24.8 MPG).

Nets general manager Sean Marks played alongside Mills in Portland during the 2010/11 season and then was in San Antonio’s front office and on the Spurs’ coaching staff during Mills’ first few years with the team, so he’s very familiar with the veteran guard.

The Spurs have been shifting more into rebuilding mode within the last couple years, so it made sense for Mills to seek out a contract with a contender. He had been a popular target on the free agent market, with the Lakers and Warriors among the other teams believed to be pursuing him.

The Nets’ willingness to use their full taxpayer mid-level on the veteran guard reflects how much they like him, as the deal will cost the team exponentially more in cap penalties than the $5.89MM Mills will earn in 2021/22. Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets that the signing will increase Brooklyn’s projected tax bill from $92.6MM to $121.8MM.

Trade Rumors: Dinwiddie, Hornets, Ingles, T. Young

Spencer Dinwiddie is close to a deal with the Wizards, but it may take some complex maneuvering to get him there, Fred Katz writes in The Athletic’s free agency recap. The two sides are reportedly hammering out a three-year contract worth $60MM, but Washington is over the cap, so a sign-and-trade will have to be arranged involving the Nets and maybe more teams.

Katz points out that Brooklyn is already over the luxury tax threshold for next season and isn’t interested in adding salary. He suggests the teams may try to tie this deal to the trade sending Russell Westbrook to the Lakers. Katz is confident that Dinwiddie will eventually join the Wizards, but it won’t be easy to work through the details.

In the same piece, Alex Schiffer notes that Brooklyn has been trying to unload DeAndre Jordan‘s contract, which is worth nearly $20MM over the next two years. John Hollinger says the Lakers could send Kyle Kuzma directly to the Nets instead of the Wizards, which would enable Brooklyn to include Jordan and avoid a huge rise in its tax bill.

There’s more on potential trades to watch for:

  • The Hornets are one of the few teams that still has flexibility after an active first night of free agency, Hollinger adds. A sign-and-trade of Devonte’ Graham allows Charlotte to have $15MM in cap room or to expand the deal and bring another player, possibly Lauri Markkanen. Hollinger states that the Hornets still need one more guard and another big man.
  • The Warriors would be interested in trading for Joe Ingles if the Jazz make him available, sources tell Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Ingles will turn 34 soon, but his passing and shooting would be valuable in Golden State’s system, though Thompson cautions that actually acquiring him would be tricky from a cap perspective. The Warriors still have hope of signing longtime Spurs guard Patty Mills, Thompson adds.
  • Several contending teams and younger teams are interested in getting Thaddeus Young from the Bulls, tweets Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago is hoping to resolve the situation with Markkanen before making a decision on Young.
  • There’s still a chance the Raptors could keep Goran Dragic– who is being acquired from the Heat in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade – rather than flipping him to another team, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet (Twitter link).