Phoenix Suns

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/21/18

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

  • The Celtics have recalled Guerschon Yabusele and Abdel Nader from the G League, the team announced today (via Twitter). Yabusele and Nader were sent down yesterday for the Maine Red Claw’s tilt against the Westchester Knicks.
  • The Hawks have recalled DeAndre’ BembryTyler Cavanaugh and Isaiah Taylor to their G League affiliate in Erie, the team announced in a press release. Additionally, Josh Magettewho has appeared in nine games with Atlanta, was sent down to Erie.
  • The Thunder have assigned Dakari Johnson to the team’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in a press release. Johnson has appeared in one game for the Blue, posting a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. He has played in 21 games for OKC.
  • The Suns have recalled guard Davon Reed to their Northern Arizona affiliate, per Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports (via Twitter).

Injury To Chriss May Be Worse Than Thought

  • An injury to Suns forward Marquese Chriss appears worse than the team originally thought, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Chriss has missed four games with a right hip flexor strain and may need a second MRI. “I don’t really know what’s going on with it,” he said. “Some days it feels good, some days it doesn’t. I’ve been able to get on the floor to shoot. Running is the hardest thing to do right now. It’s frustrating that I’m not able to play.”

Suns Assign Davon Reed To G League

  • The Suns have assigned guard Davon Reed to their Northern Arizona affiliate, the team announced (via Twitter).

Latest On Kemba Walker Rumors

Kemba Walker was the subject of a Woj Bomb on Friday morning, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the Hornets are open to the idea of moving their standout point guard. While there had been some speculation about Walker becoming a trade candidate with Charlotte struggling, Woj’s report represented the first time the 27-year-old’s availability had been confirmed.

Asked today about that report, Walker acknowledged that he’d seen it, but admitted to reporters that he’d be “pretty upset” if the Hornets dealt him, as AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today Sports relays. The former UConn star has spent his first six and a half NBA seasons in Charlotte and said today that he plans to continue putting his “heart and soul” into the team and the city.

“This is where I got my opportunity,” Walker said (video link via The Charlotte Observer). “Seven years in now, I’ve been here for seven years. I do a lot with the community, of course. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the fans. A lot of the fans have a lot of love for me, as well as I’ve got love for them. Of course I’m going to be tied to this place. This is kind of where I’ve grown up. This is definitely home.”

Here’s more on the Walker rumors:

  • Head coach Steve Clifford was also asked today about the report on Walker, and he sounded skeptical that the Hornets will move their best player within the next three weeks. “I’ll tell you the same thing I tell the players: Nobody has said anything about it here,” Clifford said of a Walker trade (video link via The Charlotte Observer). “It’s a rumor. … He’s our best player, he’s the face of the franchise, and I think it’d be very difficult to find a scenario where he’d get traded.”
  • The Pistons figure to have interest in Walker, with a source telling Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that Detroit will “certainly look at” the possibility of a deal. However, that same source cautioned that it will ultimately come down to the Hornets‘ asking price.
  • Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic examines Walker’s potential fit in Phoenix, exploring whether it would be worthwhile for the Suns to give up major assets for the point guard.
  • Scott Fowler is strongly against the idea of the Hornets trading Walker, making his case in a column for The Charlotte Observer.

Five Trade Candidates Who Can Veto Deals

Only two NBA players – LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony – technically have no-trade clauses included in their current contracts. However, there are several players around the league with the ability to block trades that would involve them.

A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who accepts his qualifying offer after his rookie deal expire. If one of those players is dealt, he’d lose his Bird or Early Bird rights, which is a key reason he must approve a move.

A player who signed an offer sheet and had that offer matched by his previous team can also veto trades, and can’t be sent to the team that attempted to sign him during that same league year. That means, for instance, that the Wizards can’t trade Otto Porter to the Nets this season.

There are 17 players around the NBA that meet one of those criteria, bringing the number of players with a no-trade clause – either official or unofficial – to 19. While most of those players probably aren’t going anywhere at the trade deadline anyway, there are a handful of trade candidates who would have to consent to a move, creating an added wrinkle as those players’ teams consider their trade options.

Here are some notable players whose consent is required in order to trade them:

  1. Nikola Mirotic verticalNikola Mirotic, PF (Bulls): We’ve covered Mirotic’s unofficial no-trade clause many times over the last few weeks, but it’s worth noting that his situation is a little different than anyone else’s on this list. Mirotic’s contract is actually a two-year pact, with a team option for the second year. So while he has veto power for now, that would disappear if the Bulls were to pick up his $12.5MM option for 2018/19. If the Bulls find a trade they like for Mirotic, he could use his veto power as leverage, pushing the club to exercise that option. And he might get his wish — any team willing to give up something of value for the veteran forward might not mind locking him in for an extra year as part of the deal.
  2. Nerlens Noel, C (Mavericks): As we noted on Thursday when we identified Noel as a trade candidate in the Southwest, the young center’s value is complicated by the fact that he’s currently sidelined with a thumb injury. Noel may be back in early February though, in which case potential suitors would have a chance to see if he’s healthy before pursuing a deal. The union between Noel and the Mavericks has been a rocky one, and it seems unlikely to turn into a long-term relationship, so if Dallas finds a taker for the 23-year-old, I expect he’d sign off, even if it means losing his Bird rights — those Bird rights probably won’t matter much this offseason if the Mavs don’t plan to retain him.
  3. Alex Len, C (Suns): Like Noel, Len had trouble finding an offer sheet on the restricted free agent market last summer and ultimately signed his qualifying offer. Unlike Noel though, Len has had a regular role and a solid year, averaging 8.5 PPG with career highs in RPG (8.3) and FG% (.552). The Suns have a bit of a logjam in the middle, and Len might have more trade value than Greg Monroe or Tyson Chandler, but Monroe is on an expiring contract and Chandler is 35 years old, making them more expendable for the rebuilding Suns. In other words, even though he’ll be a free agent again in July, Len remains the center most likely to stick in Phoenix for the next several years. I don’t expect the team will ask him to approve a trade.
  4. Ersan Ilyasova, PF (Hawks): The Hawks are reportedly seeking a high second-round pick in exchange for Ilyasova, and that price doesn’t seem unreasonable for a productive stretch four on an affordable contract, even if that contract will expire this summer. While Ilyasova may hesitate to surrender his Bird rights by approving a trade, those Bird rights aren’t as valuable to him as they would be to a star player, since Ilyasova is unlikely to earn more than the mid-level in free agency. The veteran sharpshooter has also led a nomadic NBA existence in recent years, playing for five different teams since the start of the 2015/16 season, so he’s accustomed to bouncing around and may not mind leaving the 13-31 Hawks to join a contender.
  5. Shabazz Muhammad, SF (Timberwolves): Muhammad hasn’t been mentioned in any trade rumors yet, but he can’t be thrilled with the way this season has played out for him in Minnesota. After failing to find a lucrative deal on the free agent market in the offseason, the 25-year-old accepted a one-year, prove-it deal from the Timberwolves, and has fallen out of the rotation over the course of the season — he has played just 17 minutes since the start of December. Muhammad isn’t a great defender or distributor, and he has been ineffective as a scorer this season (.376/.211/.750 shooting), so he’ll have little to no trade value. Still, he’s only earning the minimum, so there may be a team willing to roll the dice. It’s also worth mentioning that Muhammad’s deal includes a player option for 2018/19, which may be a minor motivating factor for the Wolves to explore a deal rather than keeping him around for depth purposes — the team’s roster will get more expensive next season, so removing even a modest amount of potential guaranteed money for a non-essential player could help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelton: Len A Sell-High Trade Candidate

Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic has been the subject of more trade rumors than virtually any other NBA player over the last several weeks, but he’s not the only “sell-high” trade candidate around the league, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. In an Insider-only piece, Pelton identifies several players whose trade value may not get higher than it is right now, including Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, Suns center Alex Len, and Nets teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.

Pelicans Sign Mike James To Two-Way Deal

JANUARY 14, 9:17am: The signing is official, according to the Real GM transactions log.

JANUARY 13, 1:34pm: The Pelicans will fill their remaining two-way slot by signing former Suns‘ point guard Mike James, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. James will move into the opening created by the Pelicans earlier this week when they waived two-way player Jalen Jones.

James, the 27-year-old rookie who went undrafted in 2012, and was the first player in league history to have his two-way contract converted into a regular season contract, was waived by the Suns last month to make room on the roster for Isaiah Canaan.

Before being waived, James put up respectable numbers for the Suns, averaging 10.4 points and 3.8 assists in 20.9 minutes per game. He will likely get a shot at showing fans in New Orleans that his stint in Phoenix was not a fluke, as the Pelicans currently have four players sidelined with long-term injuries.

Josh Jackson Sees Improvement After Committing To Game Film

A difficult string of games in which the Suns were noticeably better without Josh Jackson than with him precipitated a change in his relationship with head coach Jay Triano. Now, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes, the first-year forward has started to regain the coaching staff’s trust.

When Triano told Jackson that he was losing his confidence in him, he asked the player what he might suggest to repair the situation. Since then, the two have watched film of Suns games.

[Jackson suggested they watch film of Suns games] just to see what [Triano] sees,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, two people look at the same play and see two totally different things. He has a basketball mind and he’s really smart, so just trying to see what he sees and trying to pick his brain a little bit.

In the three games since, Jackson has averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Suns, shooting an impressive .486 from the field and .556 from three.

Suns' G League Team Acquires Archie Goodwin

  • Former first-round pick Archie Goodwin is back in the Suns‘ system, having been traded to Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, earlier this week. Northern Arizona sent out a first-round pick and a second-round pick for the 2018 G League draft in the three-team deal.

Suns Re-Assign Davon Reed To G League

  • Rookie guard Davon Reed has been re-assigned to the G League by the Suns, according to an announcement from the team. Reed, who recently made his G League debut after recovering from a torn meniscus, has yet to appear in an NBA game.
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