- Lauren Rosen of NBA.com crafts a preseason profile on Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz, who spent most of last season sidelined due to injury. “I think next year is going to be the most important year of my career,” Korkmaz said of the upcoming season. Korkmaz holds per-game averages of 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 12.2 minutes in 62 contests with Philadelphia through two seasons.
- Former Sixers star Charles Barkley praised the team’s top-two young stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, in a recent interview with Michael Lee of The Athletic. “I’m a big Ben Simmons fan,” Barkley said. “And I want him to do like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Keep working on his game, become a very good shooter, because if he keeps working on his jump shot, he’s going to be one of the best to ever do it. Joel, I expect him to be in the MVP conversation. I think he got mad at me because I suggested his conditioning wasn’t up to par, which it wasn’t. I know they try to be careful with him, because he is injury-prone, and that is why I think swimming would be great for him.”
With NBA training camps right around the corner, several more teams filled their 20-man offseason rosters this week. The Hornets did so on Monday, with the Mavericks, Pistons, Raptors, and Hawks following suit over the next few days. Those clubs join a list of 16 total teams that don’t have any openings on their offseason rosters.
Of course, every NBA team with a full 20-man roster is carrying multiple players who have non-guaranteed contracts, so it’s not as if any of them would be hamstrung if they really want to sign another player. But for now at least, it appears as if those 16 teams have their 20-man squads set for when camps get underway at the end of the month.
That leaves 14 clubs that still have open roster spots, as our tracker shows. Here’s a breakdown of those teams, along with my speculation on whether we can expect them to make moves within the next week or two:
19 players under contract:
- Golden State Warriors
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Sacramento Kings
- Washington Wizards
None of these teams are carrying 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, so it’s possible they’ll still add a veteran player who could earn a regular season roster spot. But it’s more likely that they’ll each sign another young player who could end up in the G League, since all four teams have their own NBAGL affiliates. The Wizards, who need to add some point guard depth, are said to be eyeing Chris Chiozza for their final spot.
18 players under contract:
- Boston Celtics
- Denver Nuggets
- Houston Rockets
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Orlando Magic
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland Trail Blazers
While it’s not official yet, the Celtics essentially have a full roster. Kaiser Gates and Yante Maten have both reportedly agreed to Exhibit 10 contracts with the Celtics, but have yet to finalize them. Once they’re under contract, Boston’s 20-man roster will be full.
The Magic could also have a full 20-man roster if and when they complete their reported agreement with Isaac Humphries and sign first-round pick Chuma Okeke. The Pelicans, meanwhile, reportedly reached deals with undrafted rookies Jalen Adams, Javon Bess, and Aubrey Dawkins, but there’s only room for two of them on the roster, so unless New Orleans plans to waive a player, the team won’t be signing all three.
The Rockets are signing Thabo Sefolosha and would have room for one more camp invitee, while I’d expect the Suns to invite two more young players to camp with them.
The Nuggets and Trail Blazers don’t have their own G League affiliates, so they may not fill out their rosters unless they just need healthy bodies for camp.
17 players under contract:
- Brooklyn Nets
- Chicago Bulls
- Oklahoma City Thunder
All three of these teams have their own G League affiliates and should fill out their camp rosters with young players who can play for the Long Island Nets, Windy City Bulls, or OKC Blue. Of course, rumors continue to swirl that the Nets are eyeing Carmelo Anthony, but I wouldn’t expect the Bulls or Thunder to be seeking any veteran help.
There is still no timetable for when Victor Oladipo will return to the court. Oladipo, who ruptured his quad tendon back in January, continues to make progress and the Pacers are encouraged by his rehab.
“He’s not playing live, but he’s moving. He’s in a good position mentally,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “He feels that everything is going well. I like what I see with him. … He’s doing great. He’s not doing any live contact, still in that rehab stage of working with the trainers.
“I just know [opening night on October 23] he probably won’t be there. The time frame, we have no idea of when he will return.”
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Romeo Langford has been medically cleared to play, Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops hears (Twitter link). The Celtics rookie had thumb surgery in April.
- Xavier Silas has joined the Delaware Blue Coats’ coaching staff, Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice reports (Twitter link). Silas briefly played for the Sixers back in 2011.
- Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports examines the Celtics‘ most intriguing storylines heading into training camp. Gordon Hayward has worked hard all offseason and Forsberg wonders if the veteran wing will look much better than he did last season.
The NBA has informed its teams of a new salary cap projection for the 2020/21 season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Charania details, the updated projection calls for a $116MM cap and a $141MM luxury tax line for the ’20/21 campaign.
Previously, the NBA projected a $117MM cap with a $142MM tax line for 2020/21, so the new figures come in slightly below those marks. However, they’d still represent a substantial jump up from the cap figures for 2019/20, which are $109.14MM (cap) and $132.627MM (tax).
According to Charania, the league’s projections for 2021/22 remain unchanged, with the NBA still estimating a $125MM cap and a $151MM tax line for that season.
The updated figures won’t have a massive impact on teams’ plans for next summer, but every dollar counts when it comes to creating cap flexibility. Players who have signed maximum-salary contract extensions that take effect during the 2020/21 season will also take note of the league’s new cap estimates, since it will have a small impact on their projected earnings.
Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, for instance, signed maximum-salary extensions that will start at 25% of the cap next season, assuming neither player earns an All-NBA spot in 2019/20.
Under the previous $117MM projection, Simmons’ and Murray’s deals were expected to be worth $169.65MM over five years. A $116MM cap would reduce the projected value of those five-year contracts to $168.2MM.
Several other figures, including the rookie scale, mid-level exceptions, minimum salaries, and cash available in trades, are also linked to the percentage the salary cap increases from year to year and would be affected by the adjusted 2020/21 projection.
Mike Scott got into a scuffle with fans of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend with TMZ Sports obtaining video of the incident. Scott won’t face discipline for the altercation, as the Sixers tell Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice. As is the case when Sixers players attend sporting events in the city, Scott was accompanied by a member of team security at the tailgate.
While the video is obviously just part of the story, Scott, who was wearing a jersey of the late Sean Taylor on Sunday, was seen throwing several punches as Philadelphia fans surrounded him. Neubeck reports that some of the fans’ insults quickly escalated from standard unfriendly team hostility – such as obnoxious anti-Redskins chants – to racial slurs.
Scott was on his way to a popular “4th and Jawn” tailgate event, having planned for weeks to make an appearance. He stopped at a nearby tailgate at which the patrons had a coffin, which prominently displayed a “Party Like It’s 1991” shirt on it in reference to the last time the Redskins won the Super Bowl. Per Neubeck, the crowd did not recognize Scott as a member of the Sixers and greeted him with hostility.
Scott, who is a Virginia native, re-signed with the Sixers this offseason on a two-year, $9.8MM contract.
The Sixers are investigating an altercation between forward Mike Scott and an Eagles fan outside of Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Enrico Campitelli of NBC Sports relays. Scott, who re-signed with the Sixers in July on a two-year contract, is a Washington Redskins fan and posted pictures of himself wearing a Redskins jersey on social media. The altercation was captured on video from at least two angles.
During a recent appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast (h/t to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard, who recently signed a super-max extension to stay in Portland through 2025, explains his thoughts as to why more players don’t do the same.
“I think people walk away from it because of the media… the outside influence, people talking about their legacy… so (the players) say, ‘It’s not about the money. I want to win the championship. And I want to do this.”
“But I don’t think just because you decide to stay and not pass up on that money, that don’t mean you ain’t trying to win it. When you’re 42 years old and your career [is] over, and you ain’t won it, anyway, and you walked away from 60 million dollars more than what you got, they ain’t even going to be talking about you then. The joke is going to be on you.”
Lillard’s point is an interesting one, and it begs the question as to how many players eligible for a super-max turned it down for this reason. Even though he won a championship in Toronto, Kawhi Leonard almost certainly did not. But, it’s conceivable Anthony Davis felt pressure to leave the Pelicans because outside influences convinced him he couldn’t win a title in New Orleans and that outcome would be bad for his legacy.
We have more content from around the basketball world, below:
- Quinn Davis of Basketball Insiders takes a look at three role players who could make an impact on a team with championship aspirations next season: Sixers forward James Ennis, Clippers forward Maurice Harkless, and Jazz big man Ed Davis.
- Newly inducted Hall-of-Famer, big man Jack Sikma, said during his induction speech last night that it’s time for the NBA to return to Seattle, writes Anthony Olivieri of ESPN. “Speaking for all Sonics fans, it’s our great hope that the NBA will soon find a pathway to bring a franchise back to Seattle. It’s time.”
- The Xinjang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are considering the signing of former NBA guard Ty Lawson because Ian Clark cannot report to the team yet due to an injury, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
The majority of the NBA players who are currently on non-guaranteed contracts won’t have their salaries for 2019/20 become fully guaranteed until January 10. That’s the league-wide salary guarantee date and the default deadline that applies to players who haven’t negotiated an earlier salary guarantee date.
Still, some players did negotiate an earlier trigger date, and the majority of those deadlines will arrive in October. At least a dozen players around the NBA are believed to have partial or full guarantees that will go into effect in October.
Now, it’s worth noting that salary guarantee dates are somewhat malleable. If the player’s camp agrees, a team can quietly move that deadline back, giving the club more time to make a decision on whether or not to fully invest in its player for the 2019/20 season. The player doesn’t necessarily have to agree, but he may be on board with postponing that deadline if the alternative is being waived and receiving none of his salary.
Most of our information related to salary guarantee dates is coming from the salary database at Basketball Insiders, and BI hasn’t published all the details on the latest signings from around the NBA yet. In other words, there could be a few more recently-signed players who have October salary guarantee dates.
For now though, these are the 12 players believed to have salary guarantee dates coming up next month:
- Ivan Rabb (Grizzlies): Partial guarantee of $371,758 increases to full guarantee of $1,618,520 salary if not waived by October 19.
- Chris Boucher (Raptors): Partial guarantee of $125,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
- Malcolm Miller (Raptors): Partial guarantee of $150,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
- Duncan Robinson (Heat): Partial guarantee of $1,000,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,416,852 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
- Kenrich Williams (Pelicans): Partial guarantee of $200,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,416,852 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
- Christian Wood (Pistons): $1,645,357 salary becomes partially guaranteed ($822,679) if not waived before first day of regular season.
- Trey Burke (Sixers): Partial guarantee of $405,000 increases to $810,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $2,028,594).
- Jordan McRae (Wizards): Partial guarantee of $400,000 increases to $600,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,645,357).
- Dragan Bender (Bucks): Partial guarantee of $300,000 increases to $600,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,678,854).
- Ben McLemore (Rockets): Partial guarantee of $50,000 increases to $500,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $2,028,594).
- Kendrick Nunn (Heat): Partial guarantee of $150,000 increases to $450,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,416,852).
- William Howard (Jazz): Partial guarantee of $50,000 increases to $250,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $898,310).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Frank Ntilikina, who is playing for the French National Team in the FIBA World Cup, is beginning to showcase his potential, Marc Berman of the New York Post contends. The 6’6″ guard has risen up during international play, earning the starting point guard role for his country. He’s also caught the eye of his teammates.
“He’s a very, very talented player and an excellent defender, and I see a bright future ahead for him,” said Rudy Gobert, who is also playing for France in the tournament.
The Knicks selected Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick back in 2017 draft and he’s rumored to be on the trade market. Perhaps the FIBA World Cup can elevate his trade stock.
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- With Isaiah Thomas landing in Washington, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports examines the Wizards‘ recent history of reclamation projects. Markieff Morris, Brandon Jennings, and Dwight Howard are among the former Wizards players who have joined the franchise with the hope of revitalizing their career.
- The Raptors are hiring Fabulous Flournoy as an assistant coach, Simon Rushworth of NewCastle-Eagles.com relays. Flournoy is a well-respected coach from the British Basketball League.
- The Sixers‘ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, has acquired Julian Washburn from the Austin Spurs in exchange for Matt Farrell, according to the team’s website. Washburn has appeared in 18 NBA contests, all of which came last season while he was on a two-way deal with Memphis. If he signs a G League contract for 2019/20, he’d play for Delaware.