Pierria Henry

Eastern Notes: Banchero, Portis, Wizards, Knicks

With the Las Vegas Summer League underway, top pick Paolo Banchero isn’t shying away from the spotlight, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes. The Magic forward is eager to show the fans why Orlando considered him the draft’s top prospect.

“I love when big crowds are out, when all the cameras are out, that’s when I play my best,” he said. “So, I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to be fun.”

Orlando begins Summer League play tonight.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bobby Portis has inked his four-year, $48.58MM contract with the Bucks but he’s not in a celebratory mood, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Portis says it just motivates him to keep working. “I’m glad that the Bucks chose to bring me back and we met at terms and this and that, but I’ll always feel like I’ve got something to prove,” he said. “Obviously I’m happy that I got a chance to build generational wealth for my family, but still a lot of work left to do and there’s not time or need to celebrate. I work hard, I work on my game.”
  • The Wizards still have some holes to fill at point guard and center, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. However, guards Kris Dunn and Pierria Henry and big man Jaime Echenique, who are Summer League team members, could force their way into the mix. There’s a good chance the roster they currently have is essentially the one they will go with when the season opens, Hughes adds.
  • There are a number of under-the-radar players on the Knicks’ Summer League roster who could catch someone’s attention, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. Braziller provides details on seven of those players, including guard Jean Montero and forward Feron Hunt.

Free Agent Rumors: Ayton, Batum, Hartenstein, Clippers, Wizards

There has been no progress between the Suns and Deandre Ayton on a new contract, and a sign-and-trade appears to be the most likely outcome, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Sports Center (video link).

Ayton is a restricted free agent, giving Phoenix the opportunity to match any offer he receives, but that’s unlikely to happen, according to Woj. He explains that the Suns don’t value Ayton as a max contract player, but other teams do, which means that’s what he’ll likely receive when free agency begins Thursday afternoon.

Although he doesn’t mention any specific teams, Wojnarowski cites “several” potential destinations for Ayton on a max deal, with the Suns receiving some combination of players, draft picks and cap flexibility in return.

There’s more on the free agent market:

  • With Ivica Zubac‘s extension and an expected deal with John Wall out of the way, re-signing Nicolas Batum will be a priority for the Clippers, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Greif notes that Batum is very loyal to the organization and has turned down offers from other teams over the past two years to stay in L.A.
  • Jay Scrubb and Xavier Moon will likely compete for a two-way contract if the Clippers decide to re-sign them, Greif adds in the same piece. The team plans to give one of its two-way slots to second-round pick Moussa Diabate.
  • The Rockets have interest in bringing back free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko notes that Hartenstein, who started his career in Houston in 2018, is only 24 and fits well with the team’s current roster.
  • Kris Dunn and Pierriá Henry attended a Wizards mini-camp this week in hopes of winning a roster spot on a team searching for point guards, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Henry is an accomplished player in the EuroLeague, while Dunn, a lottery pick in 2016, is hoping to prove that he’s healthy after missing most of the past two seasons with injuries. “I feel like over the last two years, I didn’t have a leg, almost,” Dunn said. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been doing a lot of rehab, and everything’s starting to work out perfectly.”

Wizards Notes: Dunn, Davis, Beal, Henry

Former lottery pick and free agent guard Kris Dunn will participate in a Wizards mini-camp this weekend, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Dunn was the fifth pick of the 2017 draft

Dunn spent one season with the Timberwolves and three with the Bulls before joining the Hawks during the 2020/21 season, where he only saw action for four games due to an ankle injury. He struggled to get another NBA job last season until March, when he received a 10-day contract with Portland. He finished last season with the Trail Blazers, averaging 7.6 PPG and 5.6 APG in 24 MPG over 14 games.

We have more on the Wizards:

  • President of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard said lottery pick Johnny Davis not only fills a need in the backcourt, he’s also a high-character individual, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes. “Out on the floor, he understands the game very well. He’s a quick learner — we couldn’t find a coach who could compliment him enough about his basketball IQ, his character, his athleticism,” Sheppard said. “I think he’s an underrated passer — I’m going to continue to say he’s a great passer. He didn’t pass a whole lot in college, so I’m trying to encourage him subliminally to pass a little bit more.”
  • Sheppard said he’ll meet with franchise player Bradley Beal when free agency begins June 30, Robbins tweets. Beal is reportedly declining his $36.4MM option in order to enter the free agent but he’s widely expected to re-sign with Washington. He is eligible for a new five-year contract with the Wizards worth a projected $247MM+. The most a rival team could offer him in free agency would be a projected $183.6MM over four years.
  • Pierriá Henry will also attend the team’s mini-camp this week, according to Robbins (Twitter links). The 29-year-old Henry, a 6-foot-4 point guard who led Fenerbahçe to the 2021/22 Turkish Super League title, finished fourth in the EuroLeague Best Defender voting. Devon Dotson and Tahjere McCall will be among the other participants. Dotson played 22 games with the Bulls over the past two seasons.

Timberwolves Notes: Lottery Pick, Henry, Russell

The 2021 first-round pick the Timberwolves traded to the Warriors has top-three protection, so you could make a case that it’s in the team’s best interest to lose as much as possible down the stretch, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. However, the Wolves’ actions at the trade deadline and on the court suggest the team is prioritizing building some late-season momentum that could carry over to next season.

Karl-Anthony Towns has dealt with a nagging wrist issue this season and D’Angelo Russell is coming off knee surgery, but the Wolves have shown no interest in resting those players down the stretch, Krawczynski observes. While Minnesota has hardly been dominant lately, the club has won five of its last seven games after starting the season 14-42.

As our reverse standings show, the Wolves still have the NBA’s second-worst record, but a few more wins in the season’s final 18 days could move them anywhere from fourth to sixth in those reverse standings, reducing their odds of securing a top-three pick. Although the franchise could certainly use another impact player, it appears Gersson Rosas‘ group is content to keep its foot on the gas and to let the lottery balls fall where they may, writes Krawczynski.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • If Minnesota wins a few more games, it could end up hurting the Warriors more than the Timberwolves, contends Michael Rand of The Star Tribune. If the Wolves finish with the NBA’s worst record, Golden State would have a 60% chance of landing either the No. 4 or No. 5 overall pick. But if Minnesota finishes the season fourth in the lottery standings, that pick could slide as far as No. 8. From an optics perspective, giving up a pick in that range would be far better for the Wolves than sending the Warriors a top-five selection, says Rand.
  • Following up on a report that Baskonia guard Pierria Henry is considering an offer from the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News notes (via Twitter) that a buyout with Henry’s Spanish club would need to be worked out. According to Wolfson, who suggests Rosas and the Wolves have long been interested in Henry, there should be resolution one way or the other by the end of the week.
  • He still hasn’t been inserted back into the starting lineup following his return from knee surgery, but D’Angelo Russell is showing now why the Timberwolves were willing to give up a lightly-protected first-round pick to acquire him at the 2020 trade deadline, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. The newly-healthy point guard is averaging 19.6 points and 5.5 assists per game on .468/.419/.870 shooting in 13 games (25.9 MPG) this month. “My body feeling the way it feels has a lot to do with my individual success,” Russell said.

And-Ones: Henry, Acquisitions, Fines, Clarke

Baskonia star Pierria Henry is mulling an NBA offer and could leave the team in the near future, according to a report from Encestando (hat tip Sportando). Chema de Lucas of mibaloncesto.com added (via Twitter) that the team in play for Henry is the Timberwolves.

Henry, 28, is also a strong target for Real Madrid next season, according to Encestando. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 assists in the EuroLeague this season, making an impact on both ends.

“His game may be better suited for NBA than Europe,” an NBA scout told Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). “Has developed into one of the best backcourt defenders in Europe, will translate well to NBA. Led Euroleague in steals.”

Minnesota has one available roster spot to use with just under a month left in the 2020/21 season.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • ESPN examines which new acquisitions have surprised the most with their respective teams. The panel of writers discuss players such as Clippers guard Rajon Rondo, Lakers center Andre Drummond and Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic explores the NBA’s fine and suspension system, along with where the money from each eventually goes. “We’ve never heard a single thing about it,” Draymond Green said, mentioning that he and many NBA players don’t know what happens to the money they forfeit. “For years we’ve all been told, ‘Yeah, the fine money goes to charity,’ but we don’t hear anything about these charities, we don’t have any say so about these charities. Nor do you ever hear, ‘Oh your fine money went to said charity.’” As Vardon details, it’s difficult to track where the money from any one specific fine goes, but there are a number of foundations that have benefited from the program.
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic remembers Terrence Clarke, a projected second-round draft pick from Kentucky who tragically passed away in a car accident last week at just 19 years old.

Pacific Notes: Henry, Suns, Landry, Buss

Pierria Henry, the most recent EuroCup regular season MVP winner, worked out for the Suns today, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports (Twitter link). Henry has plans to work out for at least two additional teams over the weekend.

The 6’5″ combo guard spent four years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, becoming the school’s all-time leader in assist and steals. Henry didn’t hear his name called in the 2015 Draft and ended up carving out a career overseas. Henry has had stops in Georgia, Germany, Israel, Turkey, and Russia.

Henry is now a candidate for an NBA roster spot next season. As the West Virginia native attempts to make it in the league, let’s take a look at some notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Coach Monty Williams has finalized his staff, as he announced on the Suns‘ podcastWillie Green, Darko Rajakovic, Mark Bryant, Randy Ayers, Larry Greer, and Steve Blake will all serve as assistant coaches in Phoenix.
  • Landry Shamet has been invited to participate with the Select Team at Team USA’s National camp, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. The Clippers guard will join Zion Williamson in the younger group come August.
  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss admits that Magic Johnson’s resignation caught her off-guard, as Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register relays. Buss added that once the executive stepped down, she needed time to “figure out what the process was going to be.” Los Angeles decided that Rob Pelinka leading the front office would be best for the franchise.

Celtics Notes: Thomas, Rivers, Williams, Henry

Isaiah Thomas is on his third team since being traded from the Celtics, but his role in Boston’s quick turnaround shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Thomas, who agreed to sign with the Nuggets this week, helped the Celtics reach the playoffs after coming to the organization in February of 2015, then was part of 48- and 53-win seasons.

That success made Boston an attractive option for free agents Al Horford and Gordon Hayward and put the franchise in a position to trade for Kyrie Irving.

“Isaiah added credibility to our team by making us a legitimate basketball team,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “And on top of that he was very entertaining. But he was all-in. He was all-in for the team. He was recruiting Al Horford to come. He was recruiting Gordon Hayward to come to play with him. He’s earned a lot of respect in my eyes.”

There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

  • With the three stars of the Lob City era all gone from the Clippers, coach Doc Rivers plans to use the Celtics’ experience as a blueprint for rebuilding, Bulpett writes in a separate story. “They’ve done it as well as it’s ever been done,” Rivers said, “because all these other teams, including us now, everybody has a plan, but the plan has to work. And if it doesn’t work, then you have to start over again with another plan. And Danny and them have been able to run their plan.”
  • The Celtics haven’t given up on the possibility of first-round pick Robert Williams playing in the summer league, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Williams is getting constant treatment on his aching left knee and is considered questionable for today’s quarterfinal contest. “If Danny wants him to play, if Robert feels he can, if our training staff feels he’s not at risk of reinjuring it, we’d love to have him,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga. “… He just keeps getting better and better. Who knows when he’ll be able to play, but he does seem to be getting better.”
  • Pierria Henry has been the best point guard on the Celtics’ summer league team, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Washburn expects him to be considered for a spot with Boston’s G League affiliate if he doesn’t return to Turkey.

Southeast Notes: Wade, Bynum, Borrego

Heat teammates are in the dark about Dwyane Wade‘s contract situation, and even Mario Chalmers, who’s spoken to Wade, doesn’t know what will happen, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel details. Wade would reportedly like to opt out and is open to leaving the Heat, who would apparently prefer that he opt in, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported. I looked at the dynamics between Wade and the Heat in depth earlier today as I examined the offseason ahead for Miami. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Guangdong Southern Tigers have given Will Bynum a standing offer to return to China on a three-year deal, as Bynum tells Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The point guard, whose contract with the Wizards expires at month’s end, said to Castillo that he’s “definitely considering” the Chinese offer but will seek a comparable NBA pact before committing to it.
  • Speaking of standing offers, former interim coach James Borrego has one from the Magic to return to the team as an assistant coach, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com amid a full piece that advances his earlier report on interest in the coach from the Thunder and Pelicans. Borrego is expected to make his decision this week about whether to stay with the Magic, Stein adds.
  • The Hornets are holding a predraft workout today for Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell, UNC Charlotte’s Pierria Henry, UTEP’s Vince Hunter, Davidson’s Tyler Kalinoski, Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton, the team announced (on Twitter).

Central Notes: Prigioni, Bucks Arena, Draft

The Cavaliers made an aggressive play at trading for Pablo Prigioni at the deadline, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. Instead, the Knicks sent him to the Rockets instead, leaving Cleveland’s backup point guard duties to Matthew Dellavedova. That worked out just fine for the Cavs on Sunday, when Dellavedova, set for restricted free agency this summer, started in place of the injured Kyrie Irving and hit the game-winning free throws. There’s more on the Cavs, who’ll look to take the lead in the Finals on Tuesday, amid the latest from the Central Division:

  • The deal that state, county and city leaders struck last week for a new Bucks arena must still meet Wisconsin Legislature and Milwaukee Common Council approval, so construction remains far from assured, as Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out. Still, the Bucks have promised to pay for operating and maintenance costs by selling naming rights, as Daykin examines. The NBA is pressuring the sides to ensure a new building, lest the league exercise its right to buy the team and move it to another city.
  • UNLV power forward Christian Wood will be among those working out for the Cavs today, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link).
  • Scotto also hears that Syracuse big man Rakeem Christmas will show off for the Pistons today (Twitter link). North Carolina shooting guard J.P. Tokoto, Virginia power forward Darion Atkins, Georgetown small forward Greg Whittington, and point guards Marcus Thornton from William & Mary and Pierria Henry of Charlotte will be in Detroit’s workout, too, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter links).

Northwest Notes: Aldridge, Jazz, Nuggets

Earlier today, a report surfaced indicating that Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge had put his Portland area home up for sale.  Apparently, that is not the case.  Yes, the house is up for sale, but the 29-year-old free agent isn’t the owner.  It turns out that the West Linn, Oregon home is actually owned by former Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire and Aldridge was simply renting it, as John Canzano of The Oregonian writes.  Stoudamire later confirmed as much on Twitter [sic]:

eating lunch and my house in West Linn comes across the screen. Don’t know if LA is leaving PO but, thx for the pub! #4sale,” Stoudamire wrote.

While Blazers fans calm down a bit, let’s take a look at more news out of the Northwest Division..

  • The Jazz have a greater chance at bringing over Tibor Pleiss next year than Ante Tomic, ESPN700’s Andy Larsen tweets.  However, it’s also possible that both players make the jump or that neither player does.  Larsen notes that what Utah does with both players is very much dependent on who they draft (link).  There won’t be much room for both players if they draft a big man at No. 12 later this month.
  • The Jazz formally announced on Twitter that they will work out six prospects on Friday.  That group includes SMU center Yanick Moreira, UNC Asheville center Jaleel Roberts, Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison, Maryland guard/forward Dez Wells, N.C. State guard Trevor Lacey, and St. John’s guard Phil Greene.  Hoops Rumors spoke with Greene and his former coach Steve Lavin recently about the guard’s NBA prospects.  Greene is represented by veteran NBA agent Keith Kreiter.
  • In a press release, the Nuggets announced that they will audition seven players on Friday.  The morning group will feature forward Darion Atkins (Virginia), guard Devin Booker (Kentucky), forward Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), guard Jerian Grant (Notre Dame),  guard Pierria Henry (Charlotte), and guard/forward SirDominic Pointer (St. John’s).
  • The Blazers‘ second pre-draft workout includes Henry, George de Paula, Chris Walker, Joshua Smith, and Seth Tuttle, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (on Twitter).  As previously reported, Jarell Martin will also be a participant.