Dalano Banton

Atlantic Notes: Grimes, Holiday, Porzingis, Sixers

Knicks starting shooting guard Quentin Grimes is downplaying a sore wrist that seems to be impacting his play, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post.

After missing two games with the ailment, Grimes didn’t look quite like himself in a loss to the Timberwolves on Monday. He went scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting from the floor, while logging a -18 plus-minus, the worst such mark on the team.

“I feel good,” Grimes said. “Everybody didn’t shoot the ball and make shots, and we’re kind of [on the] last game of a road trip, so everybody was a little fatigued like that, but overall it feels good… It’s a little sore and everything. But I got four, five days to kind of just calm back down.”

Grimes struggled again on Friday, compiling as many fouls as points (3) and recording a minus-20 mark in a two-point win over Miami.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics star guard Jrue Holiday has sat out Boston’s last two contests with a right ankle sprain, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Head coach Joe Mazzulla opted to promote guard Dalano Banton into the club’s starting lineup. During his first season with Boston, Holiday is averaging 12.3 PPG on a .420/.338/.792 slash line, plus 7.4 RPG, 4.9 APG and 1.0 BPG.
  • Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis sat out Boston’s 113-103 win over the Hawks on Sunday with a calf injury. Joe Mazzulla revealed that the 7’2″ big man will be reassessed in “a week or so,” though there is not currently a set timeline for his return, per ESPN News Services. This season, the 28-year-old is averaging 18.9 PPG on .547/.324/.800 shooting splits for Boston, along with 6.7 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.7 BPG. Al Horford started in his stead against Atlanta.
  • The 11-5 Sixers have gotten off to a stellar start in 2023/24, and are currently missing a surprising key scorer in starting small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. In a new column, Keith Pompey of The Inquirer considers whether a fully healthy Philadelphia club would be a serious title contender this year. No Joel Embiid-era Sixers team has ever advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs.

Celtics Notes: Hauser, Banton, Pritchard, Porzingis

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown sat out Wednesday’s game, but the Celtics scored 112 points in a win over Philadelphia because of the performance of several complementary players, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Jrue Holiday made his first start, and he and Derrick White kept the offense humming, but Weiss points to Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard as the stars of the night.

Hauser finished with 15 points and three assists and showed an improved ability to switch effectively on defense, Weiss states. He also observes that the third-year small forward appears crisper in releasing his jumper and is moving with more purpose on offense. Weiss believes free agent addition Svi Mykhailiuk is on his way to earning a rotation spot, so Hauser will have to keep producing in the preseason to have a chance at regular minutes.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Dalano Banton is trying to earn a roster spot, but he didn’t help his cause with Wednesday’s performance, Weiss adds. Banton started the second half, but was pulled from the game after 34 seconds after failing to dive for a rebound that landed at his feet. “Listen, there’s nothing more important than holding people to a high standard, especially when you believe in them and know they can be really, really good,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “… Everybody on the roster competes at a high level and understands that taking pride in defense is number one.” 
  • Pritchard is making his new four-year, $30MM extension look like a bargain, Weiss notes. He had 17 points and three assists in 24 minutes Wednesday and looks like he’ll be an important component in Boston’s offense. Bobby Marks of ESPN breaks down Pritchard’s new contract, which will pay him $6.7MM in 2024/25, followed by $7.2MM, $7.8MM and $8.3MM the following seasons (Twitter link). His salary will range from 4.7% to 5.1% of the cap.
  • The Celtics are using the preseason to experiment with the different possibilities that Kristaps Porzingis brings to the offense, Weiss writes in a separate story. Porzingis displayed his versatility in Sunday’s opener, Weiss observes, successfully executing rim rolls, pick-and-pops and spot-up three-point shots. “I thought we passed up some open shots, but he gives us a different dynamic,” Mazzulla said. “(He) makes the game easier for all the guys, and it’s gonna continue to get better.”

Celtics’ Stevens: Brogdon, Porzingis Healthy For Camp

Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens expects his entire roster to be healthy for training camp, including guard Malcolm Brogdon and big man Kristaps Porzingis, he tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

Brogdon reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow in the Eastern Conference Finals, while Porzingis dealt this summer with plantar fasciitis that forced him to miss the 2023 World Cup.

“Everybody’s in Boston, everybody’s healthy, knock on wood,” Stevens said. “If everybody gets through the rest of the week, we should be full next Tuesday when we start practice. We’re excited about that.”

Despite not being able to play, Porzingis remained with the Latvian team during the World Cup and completed most of his rehab work while with the club. He recently arrived in Boston and, as Washburn notes, the Celtics have posted social media video this week of the big man working out at the team’s facility.

“Kristaps has been running up and down the court the last few days,” Stevens told Washburn. “I thought the progression that his trainers there (in Latvia), our trainers here, and everybody came up with to get him back so that he could avoid anything lingering was a key. He feels great. I just literally talked to him on the phone on my way here. He said he feels good.”

Here’s more from Stevens on the Celtics:

  • Before they sent Marcus Smart to Memphis in their three-team deal for Porzingis, the Celtics nearly moved Brogdon to the Clippers in a different iteration of the trade. Stevens acknowledged that Brogdon was upset about his near-inclusion in that deal, but said he has spoken to the veteran guard to resolve his displeasure. “I would say he had every right to feel (upset),” Stevens said, per Washburn. “We said that this summer. But he’s a real pro and so we’ve had several discussions. He’s looking forward to getting started. We’re looking forward to getting started and here we go.”
  • The Celtics haven’t drafted a player in the first round since 2020, but Stevens said the team made an effort this offseason to devote some of its back-end roster spots to young players, pointing to free agent addition Dalano Banton as one example. “We haven’t had a first-round draft pick in three years, so can you find a young guy that you can invest in and really work with,” Stevens said. “And he’s excited to be here. Those guys are important. We’re trying to win it but we’re also trying to make sure we are using our other roster spots to make sure we’re investing in younger players.”
  • Stevens admitted that he feels a “sense of urgency” to compete for a title and suggested he feels good about the championship potential of the current group. “Our goal is to win and so ultimately we always have to keep our ears to the ground and our eyes open but we do like our team heading into the season,” he told Washburn. “I’m interested to see how it all plays out. To be there standing at the end, a lot’s got to go your way but we know the path. We know how to get knocking on that door and there’s nothing we want more than to knock it down.”

Celtics Notes: Lillard, Tatum, Porzingis, Griffin, Banton

Jayson Tatum has reached out to Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in an attempt to sell him on the benefits of playing for the Celtics, Marc J. Spears of Andscape said on a recent podcast with Bill Oram of The Oregonian (hat tip to HoopsHype).

Lillard, whose future has been in limbo since making his trade request nearly two months ago, remains determined to get to Miami and join a perennially successful organization that is coming off an NBA Finals appearance. Lillard would love to team up with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler and go to a warm-weather city with no state income tax, Spears says, but mostly he wants a chance to compete for a title. Although his preference for the Heat hasn’t changed, it appears players from other teams are making an effort to recruit him, including Tatum.

“I know that Boston, I know Jayson Tatum has called him, try to get in his ear, but his focus is definitely on Miami,” Spears said.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • President of basketball operations Brad Stevens isn’t worried about the health of Kristaps Porzingis despite a plantar fasciitis issue that prevented him from playing in the World Cup, relays Conor Ryan of The Boston Globe. Appearing on WEEI’s “Jones and Mego” show, Stevens said team officials weren’t aware of Porzingis’ condition when they acquired him from the Wizards in a three-team trade, but there’s no reason to think it will prevent him from playing. “He’s at the FIBA Tournament with the (Latvian) team so he’s doing his rehab there,” Stevens said. “We were with him in the 10 days, our training staff was with him (before the tournament) as he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. He went through all the progressions and he really tried to ramp up and play. He just determined he didn’t want to deal with lingering effects down the road. This is something that we should be able to navigate and manage in the next few weeks and be ready for training camp. We’re planning on having him for Day 1 of training camp.”
  • Blake Griffin remains unsigned and it’s uncertain if the Celtics will reach out to him again, but Stevens appreciated his performance last season, per Brian Robb of MassLive. In the same radio interview, Stevens complimented all the back-up big men for helping the team stay in contention after Robert Williams‘ early-season injury, saying, “Blake was as good as it gets both on and off the court.”
  • Growing up, new Celtic Dalano Banton patterned his game after former Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, according to Taylor Snow of NBA.com.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Brissett, Banton, Madar, Begarin

The trade kicker on Jaylen Brown‘s new super-max extension with the Celtics is worth either 7% of his remaining salary or $7MM, whichever is lesser, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Brown’s trade kicker won’t be relevant until at least the 2025/26 season, since a player is ineligible to receive a full trade bonus if it would push his salary beyond his maximum. He’ll be earning the max (35% of the cap) in ’24/25, but not necessarily in seasons beyond that, since the cap could increase at a greater rate than his contract does.

Brown will receive 8% annual raises, so if the cap rises by 10% per year, he’d be earning below the max in later years of the extension. His trade kicker would ensure he earns as much as $7MM in extra money if he’s dealt at that point.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • After signing the richest contract in NBA history, Brown is feeling more pressure to use his wealth to make a “tangible impact” off the court rather than to win a championship on it, as Weiss details within the same Athletic story. “The first thing that came to mind is like ‘Dang, look what all you can do with it now,'” Brown said. “Like how much you can invest into your community, what you can build with it, what you can change, how many lives you can touch, and what you can do in real-time.”
  • As long as the Celtics are at full strength, Brian Robb of MassLive doesn’t expect there to be too many minutes available for newcomers like Oshae Brissett, Dalano Banton, and Jordan Walsh. Of the three, Brissett probably has the best chance to earn a rotation role, according to Robb, who believes Banton will be more of a defensive specialist and developmental project.
  • Within the same mailbag, Robb writes that the Celtics remain high on draft-and-stash players Yam Madar (the No. 47 overall pick in 2020) and Juhann Begarin (No. 45 in 2021) despite not feeling that either is NBA-ready yet. Robb speculates that those former second-rounders could be logical additions to fill back-end roster spots on the cheap in future seasons as super-max deals for Brown and Jayson Tatum hit the team’s books.
  • Longtime voice of the Celtics Mike Gorman will retire after the 2023/24 season, per NBC Sports Boston. The veteran play-by-play man has been calling Celtics games since 1981. “Celtics Nation… you are the best and there is no other group of dedicated fans I would have chosen to take this ride with,” Gorman said as part of a larger statement. “I very much look forward to my final season with all of you — and thank you again for allowing me to be a part of your lives.”

Contract Details: Yurtseven, Micic, Jones, Craig, Banton, Bazley, Petrusev

The Jazz‘s deal with Omer Yurtseven is a two-year contract that features a partial guarantee for 2023/24 and is non-guaranteed in ’24/25, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

As previously reported, Yurtseven’s first-year salary is $2.8MM. His partial guarantee for the coming season is worth half that amount ($1.4MM), tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. The big man’s deal has a descending structure, Hoops Rumors has learned, so assuming he remains under contract through the first year, his cap hit for ’24/25 will dip to $2.66MM.

Here are more details on a few recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Vasilije Micic‘s three-year, $23.5MM contract with the Thunder includes a team option in the third year, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs signed Tre Jones to a two-year contract with a descending structure, Hoops Rumors has learned. The guaranteed base salaries are worth approximately $9.9MM and $9.1MM, for a total of $19MM. Jones can earn an extra $1MM in unlikely incentives to increase the total value of the deal to $20MM.
  • Torrey Craig‘s two-year deal with the Bulls, which includes a second-year player option, is for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Dalano Banton‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Celtics is partially guaranteed for $200K in 2023/24. His guarantee will increase to a little over $1MM (50% of his salary) if he remains on the roster beyond the first day of the regular season. His second year is a team option.
  • Darius Bazley‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Nets is non-guaranteed. He’ll receive a $200K partial guarantee if he makes the opening-night roster. That partial guarantee would increase to $700K if he’s still under contract beyond December 15.
  • The Sixers signed Filip Petrusev to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that is non-guaranteed in the second season. The first year is partially guaranteed for $559,782, which is half of the rookie minimum (and the equivalent of the full-season salary for a player on a two-way contract).

Dalano Banton Joins Celtics On Two-Year Deal

JULY 16: The Celtics have officially signed Banton, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 3: The Celtics will sign free agent point guard Dalano Banton to a two-year contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. It’s likely a minimum deal, and Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports that the second season will be a team option (Twitter link).

Banton became an unrestricted free agent last week when the Raptors decided not to tender a qualifying offer.

Toronto selected Banton with the 46th pick in the 2021 draft and signed him for two years. He appeared in 64 games as a rookie, but saw his role decrease in his second NBA season. Banton averaged 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 31 games last season and spent part of the year in the G League.

Banton met with Celtics officials shortly after free agency began on Friday. The 23-year-old will provide some backcourt depth for the team, with Marcus Smart heading to Memphis.

Celtics Notes: J. Brown, Jefferson, G. Williams, Banton, Madar

A fifth-year player option and a trade kicker could be among the contract details being haggled over as the Celtics and Jaylen Brown continue to negotiate a potential super-max extension, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe and Brian Robb of MassLive.com.

Given that Brown has been the subject of frequent trade speculation in recent years and might be the odd man out down the road if the Celtics want to shake up their roster and/or reduce their payroll, the possible inclusion of a trade kicker could be a key point of contention for both sides, Robb speculates.

According to Himmelsbach, the Celtics and Brown’s camp continued to talk over the weekend and into this week, and league sources remain confident that an extension will be completed sooner or later, but one source told The Globe that “there is work to be done” still.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • In a separate story for The Boston Globe, Himmelsbach looks at the friendship between former Duke teammates Jayson Tatum and Amile Jefferson, who is joining the Celtics’ coaching staff as an assistant for the 2023/24 season.
  • Grant Williams, whose sign-and-trade to Dallas was finalized on Wednesday, spoke to Steve Bulpett of Heavy Sports about leaving the Celtics, referring to it as a situation where “both sides just did what’s best for each.”
  • Dalano Banton, who said he’s excited to be joining a “championship organization,” wasn’t able to play in the Celtics’ first two Summer League games in Las Vegas due to a minor injury, according to Souchi Terada of MassLive.com. However, Banton apparently plans to play in Wednesday’s game. His two-year deal with Boston isn’t yet official but will presumably be finalized shortly.
  • Celtics draft-and-stash prospect Yam Madar, a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, has signed with Turkish club Fenerbahce, per a press release from the team. It’s a two-year deal with a third-year option, though it may include NBA outs.
  • In case you missed it, the Celtics officially signed Kristaps Porzingis to his two-year extension on Wednesday.

Celtics Rumors: G. Williams, Brogdon, Brown, Banton, Lillard

When the Celtics struck a deal to acquire Kristaps Porzingis last month, Grant Williams recognized that there might not be as significant a role for him in Boston’s frontcourt if he were to re-sign with the team as a restricted free agent. However, he liked the trade for the Celtics, as he told Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

“With the (Porzingis) news, I was excited about it ’cause even if they did end up matching me, I would probably be playing less but my whole thing is about winning,” he said.

Still, Williams recognized that the addition of Porzingis’ salary made it less likely that the Celtics would be willing to spend to keep him when he reached restricted free agency. According to Weiss, the forward had a more competitive market when free agency opened last week, but the Celtics were asking for a first-round pick in sign-and-trade talks, which caused some potential suitors to move on.

“I had an understanding of that most of the way. I know how the numbers work out and yeah, they could have afforded to keep me,” Williams said of the Celtics. “But it’s one of those things where you’re really committing and after the prior year, I didn’t think it was realistic. Hey, Boston was trying to maintain their leverage. It’s one of those where you can’t be mad at them for it because it just shows they want you to be there in a way.”

With Williams’ market drying up, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe heard from a source as late as Wednesday afternoon that a return to the Celtics was still a possibility, but the Mavericks increased their push for the forward and Brad Stevens was amenable to sending the 24-year-old somewhere he’d get to play more. That led to a three-team sign-and-trade agreement that will send Williams to Dallas.

Here’s more on what’s next for the Celtics:

  • A league source tells Himmelsbach that the Celtics remain intent on bringing back Malcolm Brogdon after discussing him in trade talks earlier in the offseason. Himmelsbach’s source adds that Jaylen Brown‘s super-max extension should be finalized “in the coming days.”
  • Dalano Banton, who agreed to sign a two-year contract with Boston, is expected to join the team’s Las Vegas Summer League roster, tweets Himmelsbach.
  • Echoing an earlier report from Chris Haynes that said the Celtics were among the teams to reach out to the Trail Blazers to inquire about the price for Damian Lillard, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne stated on NBA Today (YouTube link) that Boston has “expressed some interest” in the star guard. Shelburne and ESPN colleague Zach Lowe stressed that the Celtics are not on Lillard’s wish list, but point out that a package of Brogdon, Robert Williams, and several first-round picks and swaps could be compelling. The C’s have given San Antonio first-round swap rights in 2028, but their future first-rounders are otherwise unencumbered.
  • A Celtics star forward would be in favor of a deal for Lillard, ESPN’s Marc J. Spears said during a TV appearance over the weekend. “I’m hearing Jayson Tatum is knocking on that door now too to figure out a way to get (Lillard) to come to Boston,” Spears said, according to Brian Robb of MassLive.com.

Central Notes: Bucks, Pistons, Parker, Pacers’ Coaches

The Bucks kept their core intact by re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, but it will be challenging to fill out the roster while remaining under the second tax apron, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The two new contracts bring Milwaukee’s projected spending for next season to nearly $170MM for eight players, leaving six more to be added without reaching the $182.79MM apron. Nehm points out that they can’t avoid the apron if they use their full $5MM taxpayer mid-level exception and will have to complete the roster mostly through veteran’s minimum contracts and re-signing their own players through Bird rights.

A new one-year deal with Jae Crowder will help, Nehm adds. The Bucks parted with five second-round picks to acquire the veteran forward in February, but he wasn’t a lock to return because he didn’t have the impact on defense that the team was expecting. Thanasis Antetokounmpo will likely be back, according to Nehm, but the Bucks are expected to wait until later this summer to officially sign him to retain their financial flexibility.

Nehm notes that finding a backup point guard will be a priority after losing Jevon Carter to the Bulls. He names Kendrick Nunn as a potential low-cost option, along with Cory Joseph, who is on the market after spending the last two seasons in Detroit.

Nehm suggests that Milwaukee could look for bargains with its other open roster spots. He mentions Kings shooting guard Terence Davis and Raptors point guard Dalano Banton as possibilities, as well the Lakers’ Malik Beasley and Lonnie Walker if they’re willing to accept minimum offers for one year to join a title contender.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Instead of signing free agents, the Pistons used their cap room to trade for two veterans, which sets them up for big moves at the deadline and next summer, observes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Joe Harris at $19.9MM and Monte Morris at $9.8MM use up virtually all of Detroit’s $30MM in cap space, but they both have expiring contracts that could be valuable at the deadline in February. Sankofa notes that the same is true for Alec Burks‘ $10.5MM deal, while Bojan Bogdanovic is virtually expiring because his 2024/25 contract only carries a $2MM guarantee.
  • A family matter will prevent Jabari Parker from joining the Bucks for the Las Vegas Summer League, Nehm tweets. The former No. 2 overall pick is hoping for another NBA opportunity after sitting out all of last season.
  • Pacers assistant Ronald Nored will join Quin Snyder‘s staff with the Hawks, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana will move Jenny Boucek to the front of the bench and make Jim Boylen an assistant after he served as a consultant last season.