Cam Whitmore

Southwest Notes: Luka, Brooks, Mavs, Whitmore, Branham

Speaking to reporters after Slovenia’s loss to Canada on Wednesday, Mavericks star Luka Doncic claimed that the FIBA officials said they weren’t inclined to give him foul calls due to the way he was arguing with them all night, as Aris Barkas of Eurohoops relays.

“The refs told one of the guys, ‘We’re not going to call a foul on him because he’s coming at us,'” Doncic said. “I know I complain a lot, but I don’t think this is fair. They were playing physically against me, but that’s not fair, to say something like this.”

Both Doncic and Rockets forward Dillon Brooks were ejected from the game with technical fouls in the fourth quarter — Doncic for objecting to a non-call and Brooks for taunting. Brooks was the primary defender on Doncic and guarded him aggressively for much of the game. However, Doncic said his anger wasn’t aimed at Brooks.

“I respect Dillon, he is very physical,” Doncic said. “People may not like him, but I respect him for what he does. And he does that really good.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Mavericks will benefit a little financially from JaVale McGee‘s contract with Sacramento, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Dallas will receive $697,340 in “set-off” based on McGee’s new deal, and that amount will spread across the five years he remains on the team’s books, reducing his annual cap hits by $139,468.
  • Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore, the MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League in July, spoke to Kelly Iko of The Athletic about his experience in Vegas and his expectations for his first NBA season. According to Whitmore, his focus when he reports to the team this fall will be on learning his role. “Whatever the coaching staff wants me to do, I’ll do it,” Whitmore said. “If they mention something to me, I’ll make sure it’s taken care of. I’m all ears in training camp.”
  • As he prepares for his second NBA season, Spurs wing Malaki Branham has spent the offseason in gyms in San Antonio, Washington, D.C., and even in Madrid during his first ever trip overseas, part of an NBPA retreat. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes in a subscriber-only story, Branham is optimistic that the work he has put into improving his game this summer will be readily apparent in the fall. “Even the guys I’ve seen since I’ve been back are like, ‘I see you’ve been in the gym a lot this summer,'” Branham said.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, World Cup, Ingram, Whitmore

The early end to the Mavericks‘ season after failing to reach the play-in tournament had nothing to do with Luka Doncic‘s decision to participate in the World Cup, writes Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. Speaking to reporters after dropping 37 points in a victory over Venezuela, Doncic said he wants to represent Slovenia whenever possible.

“There is no difference,” he said. “Every time I can play for the national team, I will play. Representing your country, you are always motivated, no matter what happens in the season. Obviously, it was disappointing that we could not make the playoffs, but playing for your country is special. It is from the heart. And representing your country, it is amazing.”

One of the benefits of being in the tournament for Doncic is a chance to play against Edy Tavares of Cape Verde, whom Slovenia will face on Wednesday. They were teammates with Real Madrid, and the 31-year-old center captured MVP honors at the EuroLeague Final Four in May.

“It is going to be special to play against him,” Doncic said. “I never played against him. It is going to be very tough.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Doncic recently signed a contract extension with Jordan Brand, Marc Stein reveals in his latest Substack article. Sources tell Stein that the deal will continue Doncic’s relationship with the company through 2029. The Mavericks star debuted his second signature shoe, the Luka 2 Matador, in a recent exhibition game. Doncic will continue to have significant input into how the shoes are designed and marketed, according to Stein.
  • Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram is the newest Jordan Brand client, per Christian Clark of NOLA. The company announced Saturday that it has signed Ingram to a multi-year footwear and apparel contract. “Signing with Jordan Brand is a game-changer,” Ingram said. “A life-changer, and now that it is a reality, I can’t wait to do special things together on and off the court.” Clark notes that Ingram was previously affiliated with Adidas, but he didn’t have a shoe contract the past two seasons.
  • Cam Whitmore narrates a behind-the-scenes video about the Rockets‘ Summer League team, according to Ben DuBose of Rockets Wire. The rookie forward surprisingly slipped to 20th in the NBA draft, but he bounced back by earning MVP honors in Las Vegas. “It felt like that it was meant to be,” Whitmore said in the video. “There was a reason I dropped to 20. Now I’m the Summer League MVP. I knew it wasn’t for nothing. All the work is paying off.”

Western Notes: Sears, Sullivan, Weems, Whitmore, Nuggets

The Mavericks have named Jordan Sears as the head coach of the G League’s Texas Legends, according to a team press release (hat tip to the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend. Terry Sullivan will serve as the team’s general manager while also continuing in his duties as the Mavericks’ director of player personnel.

Sears has been on the Mavericks’ staff for the past two seasons as head video coordinator. He was previously on the staff of the 2021 Bucks’ championship team. Sullivan has been in the Dallas organization for 13 years.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors are promoting Kris Weems from a player development position to bench assistant, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Weems has been in the Golden State organization for nine years. He will replace Jama Mahlalela, who joined Darko Rajakovic‘s staff in Toronto.
  • Cam Whitmore was named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP and the Rockets’ summer coach, Ben Sullivan, said the raw talent of the No. 20 pick in the draft “jumps off the page.” Sullivan spoke to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko about the Rockets’ Summer League experience. “He’s finishing around the rim, able to cut and score, shooting 3s and pull-ups and getting to the basket,” Sullivan said. “He displayed a lot of different stuff. And I really, I really like it, and he’s just so young, like he’s 19 years old. He’s going to have to grow in all areas of his game — his defense, his offense, understanding of concepts, what we’re trying to execute as a team, spacing.”
  • The Nuggets are planning to rely on young players to replace Bruce Brown and Jeff Green in the rotation. The way those first- and second-year players mesh with the veteran core group will determine whether Denver can pull off a championship repeat, according to The Athletic’s Tony Jones.

Sixers Notes: Longabardi, Karl, Reed, Harden, Whitmore

The Sixers are hiring Mike Longabardi as head coach of their G League affiliate in Delaware, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Longabardi has been an NBA assistant since 2003. He spent last season with the Hawks.

Longabardi will replace Coby Karl, who is expected to join Nick Nurse‘s staff in Philadelphia, Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice tweets.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Center Paul Reed weighed in on James Harden‘ trade request, saying he hopes the disgruntled guard remains with the Sixers, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “James Harden, that’s like my big brother, one of the coolest vets I know,” he said. “I hope he comes back. But I understand business is business. And sometimes you got to do what you got to do. But like I said, that’s like my big brother. I hope he comes back.” Reed stayed with Philadelphia this summer when the Sixers matched Utah’s three-year offer sheet.
  • President of basketball operations Daryl Morey hinted on a radio appearance that he tried to swing a trade on draft night for Cam Whitmore, Sean Barnard of Philly Sports Network relays (Twitter link). “There was another prominent player who fell in this year’s draft that we were trying to move up for,” Morey said in a wide-ranging interview on The Anthony Gargano Show. “I couldn’t understand why they were falling because I’ve seen him play live multiple times here in town.” Whitmore, a Villanova product who was selected by the Rockets at No. 20, was named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League.
  • In case you missed it, Harden weighed in on Damian Lillard‘s trade request. Get the details here.

Rockets Notes: Brooks, Whitmore, Smith, Samuels

The Rockets were facing competition for Dillon Brooks on the free agent market, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Houston raised its offer beyond what was originally projected, eventually signing the defensive-minded swingman to a four-year contract that could pay him up to $90MM if he meets incentives.

The Mavericks were “seriously in the mix” for Brooks, sources tell Iko, and the Bucks were watching him closely in case they weren’t able to re-sign Khris Middleton. Brooks had a meeting with the Lakers, Iko adds, but L.A. didn’t have enough cap space to give him the kind of offer he wanted and wasn’t willing to arrange a complex sign-and-trade like Houston did.

Iko understands that many Rockets fans are surprised by the money they gave to Brooks, who landed a yearly salary close to what Bruce Brown did in free agency and now has a contract similar to Jordan Clarkson, Terry Rozier and Malcolm Brogdon. However, Iko points out that Houston had to overpay to get any significant free agent considering its dismal record over the past three years, and there’s hope that Brooks can transform his approach, especially on offense, while playing for a demanding coach like Ime Udoka.

There’s more from Houston:

  • Summer League MVP Cam Whitmore played mostly at small forward, which Iko expects to be his primary position during the upcoming season. Iko has the 20th overall pick listed behind Tari Eason as the backup small forward on his projected depth chart and says it’s hard to predict how much he’ll play as a rookie. Iko states that Whitmore has the talent to create a steady role for himself right away, but the Rockets don’t have to rush him with their revamped roster so he may be sent to the G League to get consistent minutes.
  • In a separate story, Iko talked to some of the league’s best defenders throughout the season about what Jabari Smith has to do to become elite in that area of the game. The Rockets were happy to land Smith with the third pick in the 2022 draft because of his defensive potential, combining the size of a center with the quickness to stay in front of smaller players. “Watch a lot of film,” advised Nets forward Royce O’Neale. “Try to study guys as much as you can. This league has a lot of great scorers and different guys like doing different things. Learn and watch other guys. Don’t be afraid to ask guys who are defenders how they guard certain people and little tips like that.”
  • Jermaine Samuels appears to be the most likely unsigned member of the Rockets’ Summer League team to get a training camp invitation, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston has two roster slots and a two-way spot open, and Feigen lists Nate Hinton, Matthew Mayer and current two-way player Trevor Hudgins as others who helped themselves in Las Vegas.

Rockets’ Cam Whitmore Named Summer League MVP

Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been named the Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced (via Twitter).

The NBA also announced its All-Summer League First and Second Teams, which are as follows (Twitter links):

First Team

Second Team

According to the NBA (Twitter link), Christie and Moon received the same amount of votes, which is why there is an additional backcourt player on the second team.

Whitmore, a projected lottery pick in last month’s draft who fell to Houston at No. 20, averaged 20.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG and 3.0 SPG on .465/.293/.625 shooting in his five Vegas Summer League games, per

Houston faces Cleveland at 8 p.m. CT tonight in the Summer League championship game. Both teams are undefeated, holding identical 5-0 records.

Rockets Sign Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore

Former Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson and Villanova forward Cam Whitmore have officially signed their rookie scale contracts with the Rockets, per’s official transactions log.

Known as a top-tier athlete, Thompson averaged 16.4 points, 5.9 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals on .566/.250/.656 shooting last season for the City Reapers, who won the Overtime Elite championship. He was the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, one spot ahead of his twin brother Ausar Thompson.

Whitmore was viewed as a potential top-five pick early in the pre-draft process, but his stock was said to be falling in the days leading up to June 22, as rumors of medical concerns and poor workouts circulated. He ultimately slipped all the way to Houston at No. 20 after a freshman year in which he averaged 12.5 PPG and 5.3 RPG and earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors.

As our chart of rookie scale salaries for 2023 first-rounders shows, Thompson should have a cap hit around $8.8MM this season, while Whitmore’s figures to be $3.2MM. They’ll earn up to $40MM and $15.6MM, respectively, over the course of their four-year rookie deals.

We’re tracking all of this year’s draft pick signings right here.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Rockets Notes: Free Agency, Green, Lopez, Whitmore, Tate

The Rockets were the most active team on the free agent market this weekend — signing four players and jettisoning a significant amount of their young talent — but their future will still be built around the core they put together in the last three drafts, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

The big-money additions of Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, along with smaller deals for Jock Landale and Jeff Green, are designed to complement Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith and Amen Thompson, according to Feigen. Kevin Porter Jr. should also be considered part of that group, Feigen adds, as he remains in the team’s long-term plans along with Tari Eason and Cam Whitmore.

All the new additions will have clear roles alongside those players, Feigen notes. VanVleet will run the offense for a team that often seemed disorganized during its three years of rebuilding. He also improves the defense with his ability to get steals and deflections and has shown that he can be effective while playing off the ball. Brooks will be the team’s best perimeter defender, while Landale and Green will back up Sengun and Smith.

There’s more from Houston:

  • Green’s new $6MM contract is small enough to be absorbed with the team’s $7.7MM room exception before the Brooks trade is completed, Feigen adds. However, he says the more likely scenario is that the team will keep the exception open and use it, along with roughly $4.5MM in remaining cap space, to see if it can sign anyone else.
  • The Rockets are surveying the market to find guard depth with the money they have left, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko states that a veteran who can handle either backcourt position would be ideal for the current roster.
  • Iko cites “genuine internal disappointment” among Rockets officials when center Brook Lopez opted to remain in Milwaukee instead of taking their offer, which was reported to be around $40MM for two years. Having Landale and Green on the roster instead of Lopez makes Sengun the clear starting center and should help with his development, Iko notes.
  • The roster additions mean the Rockets can afford to be patient with rookie Cam Whitmore, with Iko suggesting that the 20th overall pick could see some time in the G League.
  • Teams have asked about swingman Jae’Sean Tate during the offseason, but the Rockets still appear to view him as an important part of their future, Iko tweets.

Central Notes: Pacers, King, LaVine, DeRozan, Livingston, Bucks

The Pacers were active on and before draft night, making a pair of trades that involved their 2023 draft picks. They also discussed several more potential deals that they couldn’t get across the finish line, as Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star relays.

General manager Chad Buchanan told reporters that Indiana tried to use a future first-round pick to move up from both No. 7 and No. 26, but didn’t have any luck. According to Buchanan, the Pacers wanted to get into the top 20 from No. 26 — he added that “the player we were chasing was who everybody else was chasing,” which may have been a reference to Cam Whitmore, who slid to No. 20.

“We tried very hard from 10 until about 20,” said Buchanan. “Using the future pick that we’d gotten. Using 26. Using the other picks that we’d received. We had a player we were trying to get and just couldn’t get anybody to budge. Everybody liked where they were at. They wanted to hang on to their pick and their price was just too exorbitant for us. We tried in that range from 10 to 20.”

In the days leading up to the draft, the Pacers were connected in trade rumors to a handful of NBA wings, including OG Anunoby, De’Andre Hunter, Jonathan Kuminga, and Tobias Harris. Buchanan didn’t confirm specifically that those players were targets, but did say the team explored adding a veteran, ultimately deciding that the short-term gain might not outweigh the long-term implications of such a move.

“(We considered) opportunities that were veteran wings out there that were potentials for us that probably gave us four to five more wins next year, but probably limited us in the long run, limited our ceiling. We had to weigh that, is that really worth sacrificing keeping our powder dry?” Buchanan said, per Dopirak.

“Some of the opportunities we had were guys that had one year left on their contract. Does it make sense to give up the seventh pick in the draft for a guy who may walk after one year? That’s very, very risky in our business. (No. 8 pick) Jarace (Walker) was a guy we had targeted. He was a guy that we wanted. You weigh all that, and this is the guy that we’ll have for a long, long time and we’ll build him and develop him into the piece that the players that were offered to us are now today.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Pacers don’t intend to sign No. 47 pick Mojave King right away. The plan is for King to become a draft-and-stash prospect, as reported by and confirmed by Dopirak (Twitter links). King, a member of the G League Ignite in 2022/23, is a new New Zealand native who previously spent several seasons in Australia’s National Basketball League.
  • Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times hears that the Bulls discussed Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan with “multiple” teams leading up to the draft, but he describes those talks as mere due diligence rather than anything substantial.
  • Kentucky’s Chris Livingston likely had no problem being the final player picked in the 2023 draft — it sounds like his camp intentionally steered him to the Bucks at No. 58. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Livingston’s agent Rich Paul was calling teams picking earlier in the second round during the draft to ask them not to draft his client.
  • The Bucks view Livingston and Andre Jackson Jr. as players with length, energy, and defensive versatility who will fit the style of new head coach Adrian Griffin, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re not trying to build a roster like we have in the past — he’s a different coach, we’re going to have a different system,” general manager Jon Horst said on Friday. “There are core, non-negotiable things we’re always going to care about and he’s very aligned in those things. But we also weigh on his opinions, use his opinions in trying to build this out.

And-Ones: Whitmore, Mavs, Blazers, Summer League, CBA

In conversations with sources around the NBA, John Hollinger of The Athletic noticed two reasons being frequently cited to explain Cam Whitmore‘s draft-night slide from possible top-five pick to being selected at No. 20 by the Rockets.

According to Hollinger, some teams red-flagged Whitmore’s medicals due to concerns about his knees. Clubs were also underwhelmed by his pre-draft workouts and interviews, with one source who spoke to Hollinger using the descriptor “comatose.”

Within his post-draft wrap-up, Hollinger also praised the Mavericks for the modest price they paid to move off Davis Bertans‘ contract in one salary-dump trade (moving down from No. 10 to 12) relative to the nice return they got for accepting Richaun Holmes‘ contract in a second salary-dump deal (the No. 24 pick, which became Olivier-Maxence Prosper).

Additionally, Hollinger believes the Trail Blazers no longer need to “cower in fear” about the possibility of Damian Lillard requesting a trade, since the duo of Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe looks like the team’s backcourt of the future and is a strong foundation to build around. Whatever happens with Lillard going forward figures to have a ripple effect on Anfernee Simons, according to Hollinger, who notes that it’s probably untenable to have Simons making $20MM per year in Portland as a fourth guard.

Here are more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Assuming they suit up in Las Vegas, the top two picks in the draft will go head-to-head on the first day of the Vegas Summer League. As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, the Spurs (Victor Wembanyama) and Hornets (Brandon Miller) are scheduled to face one another on July 7. Reynolds also provides details on some of the other most notable matchups on the newly announced Summer League schedule.
  • Breaking down the restrictions that teams above the NBA’s new second tax apron will face beginning next offseason, cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets that those clubs won’t be permitted to trade for a player who was previously acquired via sign-and-trade.
  • While details on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement keep trickling out publicly and teams have seen the term sheet, the NBA has yet to distribute the full CBA to clubs, tweets Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. The CBA set to take effect when the new league year begins next Saturday (July 1), so the league is taking it down to the wire. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), the NBA had hoped to have the CBA completed in full by Monday of this week.