Bryce McGowens

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Heat, Magic, Wizards, McGowens, Smith

Heat center Bam Adebayo went to the locker room in the second quarter of Miami’s Thursday victory over the Pacers after re-aggravating a hip injury, then was later ruled out for the rest of the game.

He came in those last four minutes of the second quarter and he was just getting some treatment at halftime with the intention to come back,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “I basically talked to him in my office and just said, ‘Look, you’re laboring like the fourth quarter of the New York game and it’s November right now. I’m not putting you back in in the second half. I’m taking this decision out of your hands.’ I didn’t even talk to the trainers at that point.

This lingering hip issue has caused Adebayo to miss three games this season already. While it hasn’t yet kept him out of action long-term, it’s still worth monitoring Miami’s leading scorer and rebounder.

It’s not, thankfully, something serious,” Spoelstra said. “It’s just you play competitive NBA basketball, you get hit, you’re jumping and you’re twisting, all that stuff. He heals fast, so we’ll continue to treat him and see where we are.

With Adebayo out of action, the Heat turned to Thomas Bryant, who had previously been out of the rotation, but he only logged six minutes to start the second half. Orlando Robinson also saw some action, but Kevin Love took on the brunt of the workload at the position.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Spoelstra made headlines this offseason when he said he felt the Heat were deeper this year than last. At the time, the Heat had just missed out on trading for Damian Lillard and lost Gabe Vincent and Max Strus to free agency. But Spoelstra appears to have been proven right, with Miami’s depth propelling the team in the early parts of the season, Chiang writes in a separate piece. Even with Tyler Herro unavailable, the Heat’s reserves outscored Indiana’s bench 66-23 on Thursday. Love, Josh Richardson, Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez are among the bench players currently flourishing. “That’s scary, man,” Martin said. “Shoot, Duncan is coming off a hand injury, you got Tyler who’s not even back in the mix. We got a lot of guys we can turn to and that’s the scary thing about it. … We just got a lot of talented dudes who are ready whenever their name is going to be called.
  • The Magic, whose 13-5 record is the second-best in the NBA, are one of the league’s top teams. Josh Robbins of The Athletic analyzes how Orlando set the standard for what a rebuild should look like, and compares it to how the Wizards have started theirs. As Robbins observes, the Magic sold high on their core at the right time, primarily by turning Nikola Vucevic into Franz Wagner, a baton handoff for franchise cornerstone, by way of trade. Robbins opines that for the Wizards, the best time to trade Bradley Beal, their centerpiece at the time, was from 2019-21. Then, when former decision-makers gave Beal a no-trade clause, it forced newly hired president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins to sell low on the three-time All-Star, failing to kick-start a rebuild in the way the Magic did when they traded Vucevic.
  • Hornets guards Bryce McGowens and Nick Smith are both getting increased opportunities in Charlotte, with each scoring season highs in Thursday’s win over the Nets. “Bryce is just putting a lot of work in and it’s showing,” Charlotte guard Terry Rozier said, per The Charlotte Observer’s Roderick Boone. “That’s all it is. We are all happy for him and hopefully he can keep it going.” Smith said he’s enjoying the chance to contribute as a young rookie.

Hornets Notes: Miller, Jordan, Smith, McGowens, Martin

Hornets forward Brandon Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 draft, has been named in a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Jamea Jonae Harris, per Chris Low of ESPN. Harris was shot and killed on January 15 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Miller attended the University of Alabama during his lone college season.

The others named in the lawsuit are former Alabama player Darius Miles and Michael Davis, both of whom are facing capital murder charges for Harris’ death.

Miller has faced scrutiny for his connection to the shooting. He brought former teammate Miles the gun that was used in the killing of Harris, but insisted that he didn’t know the weapon was in the car. He cooperated in the investigation and was not charged with a crime.

According to Low, the lawsuit alleges that Miles, Davis and Miller “knew or should have known that bringing a dangerous weapon to a dispute and discharging said weapon would likely result in harm.” The complaint also alleges that the “negligence or wantonness” of the three men led to Harris’ death.

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • In an interview with Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, Miller says his veteran teammates have been “welcoming” and he’s been working on building rapport with the Hornets since he was drafted. “Like I’ve said since day one when I came here, it’s really all about the bonds with everybody,” Miller said. “I feel like the stronger the bond, the better play on the court, just as far as knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But getting to know each other off the court is kind of more important too, just to see what kind of person everybody is.”
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic spoke to 12 current and former Hornets for an oral history of what it was like to play for Charlotte with Michael Jordan as the team’s majority owner. Jordan sold his majority stake over the summer, but remains a minority shareholder.
  • Veteran point guard Ish Smith, who was recently signed as a backup with Frank Ntilikina sidelined, says he was considering retirement before he received an unexpected call on Saturday, according to Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “I was driving up to a Wake Forest football game,” said Smith, a North Carolina native. “I got the phone call from (assistant general manager) Buzz (Peterson) and my agent was like, ‘Man, do you still want to play?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah. It’s home and it’s the perfect situation.’” As Boone writes, Smith worked out for Charlotte on Monday and was signed on Tuesday. The 35-year-old suggested this might be his last season. “I wasn’t going to any other state and I preferred to be here, and be home with family, friends … I was born and raised here and it will be a great story to close out here,” he said.
  • Wings Bryce McGowens (left ankle sprain) and Cody Martin (left knee soreness) will be sidelined for Wednesday’s season opener against Atlanta, the Hornets announced (via Twitter). It’s a discouraging start to 2023/24 for Martin, who only played seven games last season following knee surgery.

Hornets Notes: Jones, Ball, McGowens, Camp Questions

Hornets big man Kai Jones is away from the team indefinitely with no timetable for a return following a series of strange social media posts. Charlotte said he’s away for personal reasons.

However, one of his former teammates doesn’t think there’s anything amiss with Jones, according to Noah Weber of The Smoking Cuban (Twitter video link).

Kai has always been like that…People just have never seen the real Kai,” said forward Greg Brown, who played college ball with Jones at Texas. “Kai is really just showing the real Kai right now.”

Brown is currently on an Exhibit 10 training camp deal with the Mavericks. He said he reached out to Jones, who says “he’s doing great.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Point guard LaMelo Ball missed 46 games last season due to three left ankle sprains and a broken right ankle, which required surgery. At Monday’s Media Day, Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer asked the 22-year-old if he planned to wear ankle braces in 2023/24, and Ball said yes. An All-Star in ’21/22, Ball signed a rookie scale max extension with the Hornets this offseason which will begin in ’24/25.
  • According to Boone (Twitter link), second-year wing Bryce McGowens will be a limited participant in training camp, which starts Tuesday, after rolling his ankle last week during a workout. McGowens will earn a guaranteed $1.72MM this season after being promoted to a standard contract from a two-way deal in February. His salaries for ’24/25 and ’25/26 are non-guaranteed.
  • In an article for The Charlotte Observer, Boone poses five questions the Hornets need to answer entering training camp, including if Ball can stay healthy, how No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller fits into the equation, and the health status of wing Cody Martin, who only played seven games last season due to a knee injury.

Hornets Notes: Smith, McGowens, Hayward, Washington

The Hornets‘ offense was clicking before LaMelo Ball‘s ankle injury on Monday, but now coach Steve Clifford needs to find a new approach for the rest of the season, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The team scored just 91 points Wednesday as its five-game winning streak was snapped, marking just the fourth time since December that it failed to reach 100.

“It’s important that we understand that once you have a way to play, you’ve got to commit to that,” Clifford said after Wednesday’s loss. “From now to the end of the year, we’re not going to be scoring 135 a night anymore. We’ll play a lot better than this offensively, but we’re going to have to defend, rebound and be low turnover every night.”

Terry Rozier has taken over for Ball as the starting point guard in the two games since the injury, with Kelly Oubre sliding into the backcourt as his partner. The first guard off the bench has been Dennis Smith Jr., who has shown a notable improvement on defense since signing with the Hornets last offseason.

“I was out of the league because I got waived because (of injury and) I couldn’t play for the rest of the season, and going into the summer I didn’t have a deal or anything in place,” Smith said. “So everybody was like, ‘Oh, he can’t play, he’s not an NBA player.’ This, that and the third. It didn’t really mean much to me when they saying that because I know who I am. But to be able to come in and prove the people that believe in me right, I think that means a lot.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Rookie guard Bryce McGowens had his two-way contract converted to a standard deal this week, but his play of late hasn’t matched his promotion, Boone writes in another Observer article. McGowens opted for extra practice time after Friday’s game, in which he misfired badly on two of his three shot attempts. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the rookie wall,” McGowens said. “I would say it’s just getting back to the basics and the stretch that I had in midseason, just getting back to that, staying confident. I feel like these past couple of games it wasn’t there and I feel that.”
  • In a recent appearance on the Hornets Nest podcast, Gordon Hayward characterized his time with the franchise as “unlucky.” He notes that Charlotte has been plagued by numerous injuries since he was traded there in 2020.
  • P.J. Washington is listed as probable for Sunday after missing the last four games with a foot injury, Boone tweets.

Contract Details: Hampton, Dozier, Goodwin, McGowens, Wainright

The new minimum-salary contracts signed by R.J. Hampton with the Pistons and PJ Dozier with the Kings are both two-year deals that are fully guaranteed for the rest of this season but don’t include any guaranteed money in year two, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links).

The agreements will allow the Pistons and Kings to assess their new players’ fits for the rest of this season before making a decision in the summer on whether or not to retain them for another season.

Hampton’s 2023/24 salary with the Pistons (approximately $2MM) would become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract through July 6, Hoops Rumors has learned. As for Dozier, he’d have to be waived by July 10 if the Kings want to avoid his full $2.4MM salary for next season becoming guaranteed.

Here are a few more details on some of the contracts recently signed by NBA players:

  • Jordan Goodwin‘s new three-year deal with the Wizards includes a $900K rest-of-season salary for 2022/23, which the team gave him using a portion of its mid-level exception, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Goodwin’s second-year salary in 2023/24 is currently partially guaranteed for $300K. That guarantee would increase to $963,948 (50% of his total salary) if he remains under contract through September 1, Hoops Rumors has learned. The Wizards hold a minimum-salary team option on Goodwin for 2024/25.
  • The Hornets‘ mid-level exception allowed them to give four years to Bryce McGowens on his new standard contract. It also let the team pay him a salary higher than the minimum for the rest of this season — he’ll earn $1,075,000 on his new deal in 2022/23, according to Smith (Twitter link). McGowens’ remaining three years are worth the minimum, but his $1.72MM salary for ’23/24 is fully guaranteed. The final two years are non-guaranteed, including a ’25/26 team option.
  • The Suns used a portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception to give Ish Wainright a slightly larger salary than he would have received on a minimum-salary contract, tweets Smith. Wainright will earn $474,851 for the rest of this season instead of the $423,612 he would’ve gotten on a minimum deal. As previously reported, the second year of Wainright’s contract is a team option.

Hornets Sign Bryce McGowens To Four-Year Contract

3:09pm: McCowens’ new contract is official, the Hornets announced in a press release.

1:29pm: Bryce McGowens is receiving a promotion from the Hornets, as they plan to convert his two-way contract to a four-year, $7.4MM standard deal, his agents, Mark Bartelstein and Kyle McAlarney of Priority Sports, tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The fourth year of the deal, which would be for the 2025/26 season, is a team option, Wojnarowski adds.

McGowens was the 40th overall pick of last June’s draft after spending one college season at Nebraska. In 26 games (14.7 MPG) as a two-way rookie for Charlotte, he has averaged 4.1 PPG, 1.7 RPG and 1.0 APG on .379/.364/.786 shooting.

The Hornets still have their full mid-level exception available, and they’ll be using a portion of it to give the 20-year-old a four-year deal for more than the minimum in year one.

Charlotte has two openings on its 15-man roster at the moment, so the team won’t need to waive anyone to promote McGowens. Today was the deadline for the Hornets to fill the 14th spot on their standard roster, as we previously explained.

Once the signing is official, the Hornets will have one standard roster spot open as well as a two-way slot.

Southeast Notes: Martin, McGowens, Butler

Injured Hornets small forward Cody Martin has recently joined his teammates during Charlotte’s pregame warmups, and has been working on his lateral cutting, Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer notes (Twitter video link). Boone writes that this could be an indication that Martin is nearing his return.

Martin left the Hornets’ first game of the season after just one minute of play due to a quadriceps injury and has been sidelined ever since. Martin inked a four-year, $32MM deal over the summer after a career-best season in 2021/22 as a key backup. Across 71 contests that year, he averaged 7.7 PPG on .482/.384/.701 shooting splits, 4.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.2 SPG.

There’s more out of the Southeast:

  • The play of Hornets rookie Bryce McGowens has been one of the few positive storylines of an otherwise miserable season in Charlotte, Boone writes in another piece. “There’s a lot of positives going forward and he’s right at the top of that list to me,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “He’s got size, he has instincts, he has a feel for the game. But the biggest thing is he steps out there like he belongs. He’s poised, he’s smart.” Boone notes that McGowens has played big minutes in the team’s last six contests. In those games, the 20-year-old out of Nebraska is averaging 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 1.7 SPG in 21.5 MPG. Though he is making just 38.7% of his total field goal tries, he is nailing an excellent 45.5% of his triples and 85.7% of his free throws.
  • Heat All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler did not mince words following perhaps the team’s worst loss of a loss-heavy season, a 115-111 defeat to the tanking Spurs. Butler sought accountability up and town Miami’s roster, noting that “everybody has to be better,” per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We show flashes of what we can be and who we are. It’s just, damn, whenever we get away from that, it looks bad.” The Heat are currently 12-15 on the season. Butler has already missed 10 games, but when he has played he has been as good as ever, averaging 21.8 PPG with a .525/.378/.858 slash line, playing at an elite defensive level, and chipping in 6.7 RPG, 6.0 APG, and 1.7 SPG for good measure. The team has gone 8-9 when the six-time All-Star has been available.
  • In case you missed it, the Heat recently made a new addition, waiving two-way guard Dru Smith to make way for returning center Orlando Robinson on a two-way contract.

Hornets Sign Mark Williams, Bryce McGowens

The Hornets have signed center Mark Williams to his rookie contract, the team announced in a press release today. Williams was drafted No. 15 overall by the club in this year’s draft. Charlotte also announced the team’s second-round pick, Bryce McGowens, has officially signed his two-way deal.

Assuming the typical 120% of the rookie scale, Williams’ deal will be worth $18MM across four seasons. He’ll make $3.7MM in his first year with the team. The 7’0″ big man averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game at Duke last season.

McGowens, a 19-year-old guard, started in all 31 games he played with Nebraska last year. He averaged 16.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, shooting 40% from the floor and 27% from deep.

Both Williams and McGowens will play for Charlotte during the Las Vegas Summer League, which begins next week. The Hornets missed the playoffs last season and finished with a 43-39 record.

Hornets Notes: Williams, Coaching Search, McGowens

The Hornets were considering three centers heading into Thursday’s draft, but Duke’s Mark Williams was at the top of their list, writes Varun Shankar of The Charlotte Observer. Williams opened eyes with his measurements at the draft combine and will have the longest standing reach in the NBA at 9’9″. General manager Mitch Kupchak likes the idea of Williams catching lob passes from LaMelo Ball, but he said the 20-year-old big man needs to improve as a rebounder and add strength to get ready for the next level.

“He has a lot of work in getting stronger and I don’t have any doubt that he’ll work hard and get in the weight room,” Kupchak said. “He’s a good rebounder, I wouldn’t say that he’s gonna be our rebound monster right now, but I think if he gets stronger, I think he can become an excellent rebounder.”

The Hornets actually drafted Memphis center Jalen Duren first, but he was traded to the Knicks and ultimately to the Pistons. Charlotte received a protected first-round pick and four second-rounders in return, and Kupchak explained that the team wasn’t comfortable adding two more rookies after having three on the roster this season.

“We didn’t feel using both picks was prudent,” he said.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Kupchak also spoke about Kenny Atkinson‘s decision to reconsider his agreement to become the Hornets’ next head coach, per Steve Reed of The Associated Press. Kupchak has been discussing the situation with owner Michael Jordan and indicated the organization may consider some new possibilities. “We have spent a lot of time going over candidates, maybe some new candidates and making sure we cover our bases,” Kupchak said. “We have never felt the need to rush this process. We want to pick the right coach — and we thought we did.”
  • Former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford met with Kupchak and Jordan this week and is now considered to be a serious candidate for the position, sources tell Roderick Boone and Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. Jordan also met with Mike D’Antoni, who was considered the runner-up when the offer was made to Atkinson.
  • Nebraska’s Bryce McGowens, whom Charlotte traded up to draft at No. 40, is likely to be given a two-way contract, Boone tweets.

Timberwolves Send McGowens To Hornets For Minott, Future Pick

11:53pm: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Hornets.

10:42pm: The Timberwolves are set to send Nebraska shooting guard Bryce McGowens, selected with the No. 40 pick in the 2022 draft, to the Hornets, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Wolves will receive Memphis wing Josh Minott, the No. 45 pick in this year’s draft, as well as the 2023 second-rounder the Hornets acquired from the Knicks earlier in the draft, per Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).

The 6’7″ McGowens appeared in 31 games, all starts, for the Cornhuskers during his lone collegiate season. He averaged 16.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.4 APG and 0.7 SPG across 33.5 MPG. McGowens converted 40.3% of his 12.8 field goal attempts and 83.1% of his 6.3 free-throw looks during 2021/22.

A Big Ten All-Freshman Team honoree, McGowens was also named to the 2021/22 All-Big Ten Third Team in 2022.

The 6’8″ Minott played more sparingly with Memphis during the ’21/22 season, averaging 6.6 PPG and 3.8 RPG in just 14.6 MPG over the course of his 33 games with the Tigers.