Cedi Osman

Pacific Notes: Suns’ Buyout Options, Durant, Booker, Harden, LeBron, Curry

The Suns have numerous options on the buyout market, but their preferred targets may not be available, writes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Phoenix had two roster spots open after an active trade deadline, and one of those will be filled by Thaddeus Young, who is expected to finalize his reported deal with the team early this week, according to Bourguet.

The Suns are looking for help in several areas, and one of their top priorities was reportedly Delon Wright, who is expected to sign with Miami. Sources tell Bourguet that Phoenix also considered Danilo Gallinari, but he was crossed off the list after the agreement with Young and wound up signing with Milwaukee. Bourguet also cites mutual interest in a reunion with Bismack Biyombo before he reached a deal with Oklahoma City.

Bourguet identifies ideal targets as Spurs forward Cedi Osman and Jazz forward Otto Porter, who hasn’t played since being acquired from Toronto at the deadline. However, there hasn’t been a strong indication that either player will reach a buyout before the March 1 deadline to be eligible for the postseason with a new team. If they aren’t available, Bourguet looks at Danuel House as a potential signing, along with the possibility that Saben Lee could be promoted from his two-way contract.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker both talked Saturday about the connection they’ve formed after a full year as teammates, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “We have the same likes in life,” Booker said. “We’re hoops junkies and that’s where it started. Now we spend a lot more time together, man. We like to kick it, chill. Talk basketball and play video games.”
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue believes the early-season trade for James Harden relaxed the burden on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, enabling both stars to stay healthier, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.“(Having Harden) makes it a lot easier on Kawhi and PG not to have to handle and make every play for themselves and for our team,” Lue said. “So, James has been great, just keeps everybody happy … takes a lot of grind off of PG and Kawhi.”
  • In the wake of a report that the Warriors contacted the Lakers about LeBron James before the deadline, Bruce Jenkins of The San Francisco Chronicle looks at what would have to happen if James and Stephen Curry decide they want to join forces with Golden State.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, McDermott, Oladipo, Pelicans, Mavs

Although they were linked earlier in the season to Atlanta guard Dejounte Murray, the Spurs are much more likely to be sellers than buyers at Thursday’s trade deadline, says Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). According to head coach Gregg Popovich, San Antonio’s goal in any deal would be to improve its prospects beyond this season.

“Our focus is not immediate other than individual development and team concepts,” Popovich said. “But if there’s a trade that would make sense both now and for the long-term, of course we look at it.”

According to McDonald, veterans Doug McDermott, Cedi Osman, and Devonte’ Graham appear to be the Spurs’ most likely trade candidates. McDermott, who is on an expiring contract, said it’s “always good to be wanted,” but admitted he feels fortunate to be coached by Popovich and wouldn’t mind sticking around through the deadline — and even beyond that.

“Shooting is at premium in this league, and I know I can do it with the best of them,” McDermott said. “At the same time, I love being here, I love being with this young team. I think there is a lot of potential for the future here and it is awesome to be a part of. … It’s a special place to be. I would love to be here forever.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Victor Oladipo, whom the Grizzlies acquired as a salary-matching piece in last week’s Steven Adams trade, will be waived after the deadline if he’s not flipped to a new team today, confirms Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).
  • Both Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (link via Marc Stein) and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via the Woj Pod) stated that the Pelicans have talked to the Hawks about Dejounte Murray, corroborating similar reporting from Jake Fischer. However, Stein says those discussions don’t appear to have gained much traction.
  • Following an impressive victory over the Clippers on Wednesday, the Pelicans have now won four straight at hold a top-six seed in the West at 30-21. After dealing with injury issues in recent seasons, New Orleans has been thriving this year in large part due to the availability of its “big three” of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum, as Christian Clark of NOLA.com outlines.
  • The Mavericks have played sub-.500 basketball since Christmas and could really benefit from a trade or two, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News. As Sherrington details, offseason addition Grant Williams has faded after a strong start and Maxi Kleber isn’t available enough to be relied upon, so a wing and a big man figure to be atop Dallas’ wish list.

Stein’s Latest: Hield, Wiggins, Finney-Smith, O’Neale, Fultz, McDermott, Osman

The Pistons and Wizards pulled off a trade involving four players and two draft picks on Sunday. Expect a lot more activity in the coming weeks, according to Marc Stein in his latest Substack post.

Stein offers a number of interesting tidbits from around the league:

  • Buddy Hield‘s name was prominently mentioned around the trade market after the veteran guard and the Pacers failed to reach an extension agreement during training camp. Sources tell Stein that Indiana continues to look for ways to move Hield. The Pacers are trying to package his expiring $18.6MM contract and a future first-rounder to get an impact player. Raptors forward Pascal Siakam continues to be talked about as a potential Pacers target. However, Indiana would be reluctant to give up second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin or rookie Jarace Walker in any trade.
  • Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins is looked upon as another potential Pacers target but it may be difficult for Golden State to create a market for him, Stein writes. Wiggins not only has three more years left on his contract, his production has nosedived.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale could be on the move. The Nets are listening to offers for both of those forwards and Stein suggests the Cavaliers should pursue O’Neale, considering they need a wing and he’s close friends with Donovan Mitchell. O’Neale has an expiring contract, while Finney-Smith is signed through 2025/26.
  • Speaking of expiring contracts, the Magic are “exploring the trade market” the top pick of the 2017 draft. They’ve made guard Markelle Fultz and his $17MM expiring deal available, along with center Wendell Carter Jr, per Stein.
  • Another team dangling expiring contracts is the Spurs. Forwards Doug McDermott and Cedi Osman are available for teams looking to clear cap room this summer or upgrade their second unit, according to Stein.

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Jones, Osman, Wesley

The Spurs fell just short on Thursday in a hard-fought battle with Milwaukee, dropping a 125-121 decision to the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, but it was another big night for Victor Wembanyama. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News details, the rookie big man racked up 27 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks in just 26 minutes of action, earning praise from two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for his performance — and his potential.

“Everything that he dreams of, it’s going to happen for him,” Antetokounmpo said, adding that he’s “never seen anything like” Wembanyama.

Antetokounmpo also suggested that Wembanyama, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Thursday, is ahead of where Giannis was at similar points in their respective careers, telling reporters that the Spurs youngster is having a “Rookie of the Year season.” However, it was Chet Holmgren who earned Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for a second consecutive time earlier this week, which Wembanyama says he’ll use as motivation.

“Of course, of course,” Wembanyama said (Twitter video link via Hector Ledesma of Clutch Points). “I’m dedicated and I know at the end of the day I’m going to get what I deserve, and every game is a statement from now on.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Wembanyama remains on a minutes restriction for now, which head coach Gregg Popovich has said won’t be lifted until the big man’s ankle gets reevaluated. According to Popovich, that exam is “coming soon,” per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “It’s within the next week or two, I believe,” Popovich said on Thursday. “But I don’t know the exact date.”
  • With Malaki Branham out on Thursday due to a right ankle sprain, the Spurs moved point guard Tre Jones into the starting lineup for the first time this season. The move worked well, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News, who notes that the ball flowed nicely on offense and San Antonio’s second unit held its own without Jones. Asked why San Antonio hasn’t been starting Jones all season, McDonald explained (via Twitter) that the team already knows what it has in the fourth-year veteran and has been more interested in learning what players like Branham and Jeremy Sochan can and can’t handle when tasked with the job.
  • Forward Cedi Osman, who has seen his role and his production fluctuate in his first season as a Spur, told Orsborn (Twitter link) on Thursday after scoring 19 total points in his previous seven appearances that he’s still working to understand “what the coaches are asking from me” from game to game. Osman expressed confidence that things “will be better” for him and followed up those comments with a nice showing on Thursday — he scored 13 points to go along with five assists and three steals vs. Milwaukee.
  • After not playing more than 12 minutes in any of the Spurs’ first 31 games, Blake Wesley has averaged 17.6 MPG in the past three and has earned praise from Popovich, tweets Orsborn. “He’s played freely,” Popovich said. “He doesn’t look like he is worried about making a mistake. He’s been excellent at the defensive end.”

Central Notes: Crowder, Pacers, J. Johnson, Osman

Bucks forward Jae Crowder is nearing his return after being sidelined since tearing his left adductor muscle in a November 11 game, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Crowder underwent surgery three days later and has been steadily increasing his activity level, with three five-on-five practice sessions upcoming this week.

“I did have a set target to get to this point,” Crowder said, “and I pushed myself to get to this point and took care of my body and tried to do the things I needed to do while I’m away from the medical staff, while I’m at home doing the little stuff that I needed to do to get myself back to where I need to be.”

Crowder had been dealing with an adductor issue since the first week of training camp, so the surgery eliminated the pain he was playing through in the early part of the season. He hopes to return soon to boost Milwaukee’s defense, which currently ranks 22nd in the league. He’ll spend some practice time with the G League Wisconsin Herd as he works his way back, and although a target date hasn’t been set, Crowder believes he’ll know when he’s ready.

“I just want to get back to feeling what I want, what I need to feel,” he said. “I think ultimately that I’ll be better. I think I’ll be better than I was before pre-injury, honestly. Just taking on the challenges of what we need to do, like helping these guys, taking on that matchup of stopping the best offensive player. I think I’ll be much better off than I was before and I felt like I was doing a decent job at it before.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers are interested in “just about every starting power forward possible,” Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports said in an interview with The Trade Deadline (video link), adding that Indiana was pursing OG Anunoby before Toronto traded him to the Knicks. Fischer confirms that Buddy Hield is available after he failed to reach an extension with the team last summer, but says the Pacers have “pretty much rebuffed any teams’ interest in T.J. McConnell.”
  • The Pacers were hoping to re-sign James Johnson after last season, but they didn’t have an open roster spot until they reached a buyout agreement with Daniel Theis in mid-November, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (subscription required). “We had talked about it really since the exit meetings last year,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “With the moves that were made early in July, we were gonna have 15 guaranteed contracts. Just weren’t sure about bringing him into camp and then having to cut him if it was going to be that kind of situation.”
  • After being traded to the Spurs last summer, Cedi Osman still has fond memories of Cleveland, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Osman will make his return to the city on Sunday as his new team takes on the Cavaliers. “They really do care about their sports teams, with the Guardians, the Browns, the Cavs,” Osman said. “I always felt their support during games, even during a bad stretch. In my second and third year when we were kind of rebuilding, they were supporting us no matter what.”

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Grizzlies, McCollum, Nance, THJ, Osman

Dillon Brooks, who has been lauded by Rockets coaches and teammates alike for the grit and toughness he has brought to his new team in Houston, believes his former club in Memphis has missed the edge he brought to the court, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required) writes. Ahead of his first meeting against Memphis on Wednesday, Brooks said the Grizzlies “have no swagger” this season without him.

“It’s like the girlfriend that you used to have,” Brooks said of his departure from the Grizzlies, who have a 3-10 record. “You don’t know how good she is until she’s gone.”

Asked about Brooks’ comments, Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane said he “hasn’t seen anything that he’s said,” while Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins took the high road, saying that he’s “really happy for (Brooks’) early-season success,” per Wynston Wilcox of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Although they weren’t willing to get dragged into a war of words with Brooks, it sounds like there are certainly some Grizzlies players who are looking forward to facing their former teammate.

“I want to play against him,” Jaren Jackson Jr. told Wilcox. “I’ve been talking trash to Dillon for five years, so it’s great.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While it remains unclear exactly when they’ll return to game action, injured Pelicans veterans CJ McCollum (collapsed lung) and Larry Nance Jr. (rib fracture) are trending in the right direction. Both players were full participants in practice on Tuesday, according to head coach Willie Green (Twitter link via Will Guillory of The Athletic). McCollum, who said he also fractured a rib, told reporters that he feels good and is awaiting medical clearance from his pulmonologist, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “I should be cleared here pretty soon,” he said.
  • Even without McCollum and Nance available, the Pelicans have been playing good basketball lately, winning three of their last four games, including a 36-point blowout over Sacramento on Monday. As Clark details for NOLA.com, star forward Zion Williamson said a team meeting helped spark the turnaround. “We weren’t on the same page before,” Williamson said. “Now we’re all on the same page. … We talked about what we wanted to do as a unit. That’s what we are going to live and die with. Since we are all on the same page, I think we have been gelling together a lot better.”
  • Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. had started more often than not in his previous four-plus seasons in Dallas, but he has embraced a sixth man role this season, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. Hardaway’s 18.2 points per game and .405 3PT% would be career highs. “I said before, first and foremost, in order for you to know that you’re going in that role, you have to embrace it and accept it,” Hardaway said. “That’s what (Jamal Crawford) did. That’s what (Lou Williams) did. That’s what J.R. Smith did. And that’s what I’m trying to do is have that same mentality.”
  • When the Spurs acquired Cedi Osman as part of the three-team sign-and-trade deal sending Max Strus to Cleveland, it wasn’t clear whether the veteran forward would even be in their plans. However, Osman is playing well in a regular role off the bench and has earned praise from head coach Gregg Popovich, who called him “a competitor of the highest order,” according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). “He’s been really good for us,” Popovich said of the 28-year-old, who is on an expiring contract.

Southwest Notes: Biyombo, Osman, Sengun, Grizzlies

The Grizzlies signed Bismack Biyombo to a one-year, $5MM deal with a $1MM guarantee on Wednesday rather than the $3MM prorated veteran’s minimum. Bobby Marks of ESPN points out (Twitter link) that if the Grizzlies had signed him to a minimum deal, he would have earned around $920K from now until late December, when Ja Morant‘s suspension is lifted, which is roughly the same guarantee he’ll make on the current contract.

Memphis was able to sign Biyombo because Morant is suspended for 25 games and was transferred to the suspended list. When Morant’s suspension is lifted on December 19, the Grizzlies will have to waive a player on their roster, which could be Biyombo. By signing the big man to these terms, the Grizzlies are creating extra roster flexibility moving forward.

Marks also points out Biyombo has a $5MM cap hit (rather than $1.9MM) and the Grizzlies can use his $5MM contract as a trade asset if he remains on the roster after Morant’s suspension is lifted. Biyombo would become trade-eligible on Feb. 2.

As we noted Thursday, if Biyombo were to prove too valuable to waive, Memphis would have to let go of another player on a guaranteed deal to keep him on the roster after Morant returns from suspension.

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian adds (Twitter link) that if the Grizzlies were to use Biyombo’s $5MM salary for trading purposes, they’d be able to bring in up to $10MM in returning salaries.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs forward Cedi Osman is off to a strong start to the season, averaging 11.8 points per game and helping San Antonio grab a couple early wins. Osman is one of the older players on a young Spurs team and is becoming a go-to guy for the club, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes (Subscriber link). “He is like our seasoned pro on this team,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He understands how to play, plays with emotion and aggressiveness, works hard at both ends of the court. He has really been a good example for all the younger players.” Osman is shooting 56.3% on his catch-and-shoot looks this season, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko points out in a separate piece.
  • In that same story, Iko explores how Rockets center Alperen Sengun is becoming the “heartbeat” of the Rockets offense. Sengun ranks in the 100th percentile in usage-to-assist rate and popped in the Rockets’ pass-heavy game plan against the Hornets on Nov. 1. “Team play is always better,” Sengun said. “[Wednesday], we had 35 assists or something. That’s the key. Every game should be like that, I think. When we share the ball, everyone is happy. I’m happy we’re playing better.
  • The Grizzlies are currently the only winless team in the NBA, having lost their first five games, but they’re trying to remain unfazed by their slow start, according to Michael Wallace of Grind City Media. “You can’t get too high; can’t get too low because it’s a long season,Marcus Smart said. “We’ve got to lock in a bit more down the stretch on the defensive end. It’s part of the learning process, part of coming into something new for everybody. For us, it’s just to keep going. Eventually, the tide is going to turn. Things are going to click. It’s just taking some time right now.Luke Kennard and Santi Aldama, who are both out with injury, are expected back soon, according to Wallace.

Southwest Notes: Osman, Doncic, Mavs, Eason, Pelicans

Veteran forward Cedi Osman had spent all six of his NBA seasons with the Cavaliers prior to the July trade that sent him to San Antonio. He says he’s thrilled he landed with the Spurs, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required).

I was happy and celebrating that I would be here in San Antonio with this franchise,” Osman said. “When you step on the court and you see all those (championship) banners, you feel great. It’s another reason to work harder and do anything for this team.”

The 28-year-old, who is on an expiring $6.7MM contract, has impressed his head coach and teammates during training camp and preseason, according to Orsborn.

He’s a pro,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s confident, a team player. He is just solid.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd told reporters on Friday that star guard Luka Doncic‘s recovery timeline remains to be determined, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). Kidd added that Doncic, who has a mild left calf strain, has resumed light on-court activities. Marc Stein previously reported that the Mavs were optimistic about Doncic’s availability for next week’s regular season opener.
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Tim Cato writes that he’s more concerned about Doncic’s mysterious thigh injury than his mild calf strain. Cato also touches on a handful of other Mavericks-related topics, including which players he expects to close games.
  • Second-year Rockets forward Tari Eason missed his third straight preseason game on Friday vs. Miami due to a bruised lower left leg. He’ll be examined this evening to determine if he’ll miss additional time with the injury, head coach Ime Udoka said (Twitter links via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscriber link) provides some takeaways from the Pelicans‘ 1-3 preseason, writing that the offense — which ranked last in the league over those four games — remains a work in progress. Turnovers and spacing have been particularly problematic, according to Clark, who says New Orleans will miss sharpshooter Trey Murphy, who is expected to be sidelined until at least November following meniscus surgery.

Spurs Buy Out Reggie Bullock

6:23pm: The Spurs announced that Bullock has been waived, McDonald tweets.

4:09pm: The Spurs and veteran swingman Reggie Bullock have reached an agreement on a contract buyout, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Several contending teams are expected to pursue Bullock once he clears waivers, Charania adds.

There’s no word on how much money Bullock gave up in the buyout, but he had one year remaining on his contract at $10.5MM.

There was speculation that Bullock might be competing for a roster spot with Cedi Osman, who was acquired from the Cavaliers during the offseason, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Bullock’s departure seems to increase Osman’s chances of staying with the team, McDonald adds.

San Antonio acquired Bullock in July as part of the three-team deal that sent Grant Williams from Boston to Dallas. The Spurs also received the option to swap first-round picks with the Mavericks in 2030. Because of the trade, Dallas is the only team that won’t be eligible to sign Bullock once he becomes a free agent.

Bullock, 32, spent the past two seasons with Dallas, serving as a part-time starter. His scoring average fell to 7.2 PPG last season, the lowest since 2018/19, but he still shot 38% from three-point range. It’s his ability to stretch defenses that will make him popular on the open market.

The Spurs were Bullock’s seventh team in his 10 NBA seasons. The Clippers made him the 25th overall pick in 2015, but the only place he stayed for more than two years was Detroit.

The move eases the roster crunch for San Antonio, which has 16 players remaining on guaranteed contracts. At least one of them will have to be waived or traded before opening night.

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of TheKingsBeat.com tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.