Daniel Theis

Celtics Notes: Theis, Porzingis, Holiday, Mazzulla

Daniel Theis considered rejoining the Celtics after reaching a buyout agreement with Indiana in November, according to Brian Robb and Souichi Terada of MassLive. After the Clippers played Saturday at Boston, Theis said he discussed the move with some of the Celtics’ stars before deciding on L.A.

“Obviously, I had a couple of conversations (with Boston),” Theis said. “I talked to Jayson (Tatum) a little bit there with Jaylen (Brown). But like I said, the Clippers were pretty fast, gave me the right chance at the right time. So, for me, it was just all about getting back on the court. Indiana just wasn’t right for me, it wasn’t a fit. For me, it was just getting back on the court as quick as I can and just compete out there and enjoy basketball.”

Theis was looking for an immediate opportunity to play after being stuck on the Pacers’ bench, and the Clippers were able to offer that with backup center Mason Plumlee sidelined at the time with a knee injury. Robb and Terada note that Boston may be looking to add another big man before the trade deadline, and Theis would have been perfect for that role.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Saturday’s loss displayed how shorthanded the team can be in the frontcourt without Kristaps Porzingis, who sat out the game after spraining his ankle Thursday night, Robb notes in a separate story. However, the injury is considered minor, and coach Joe Mazzulla doesn’t expect Porzingis to miss much time, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
  • After Jrue Holiday expressed a desire to sign an extension in Boston, Chris Forsberg speculated Saturday on Celtics Pregame Live that the veteran guard might be open to a new deal that starts at around $35MM and declines slightly each season, relays Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston. Forsberg notes that Al Horford accepted a similar structure (at a much lower price point), and it would provide security for Holiday while preserving some financial flexibility for the team.
  • Mazzulla doesn’t have a strong opinion on whether the recent trend of players reaching the 70-point mark is beneficial for the league, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “I don’t really care,” he said. “Either way I don’t really care if it’s good or not. What’s good is that our teams play defense. If you look around the league one of the things that separates us — and there’s a few other teams — is the best players play defense.”

Pacific Notes: Klay, Plumlee, Theis, N. Powell, Bol

It has been a disappointing first half of the season for Warriors wing Klay Thompson, whose average of 16.7 points per game is well below his career mark. His 42.0% shooting percentage on field goal attempts and 37.7% rate from beyond the three-point line would be career lows.

While Thompson’s slow start has affected his demeanor on and off the court, he said on Tuesday that a recent conversation with head coach Steve Kerr has helped him “relax a lot” and adjust his mindset, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Sometimes I forget just how successful and how lucky I’ve been to be part of a championship team, All-Star games, gold medals,” Thompson said. “You want to get back to that level so badly you can kind of get in your own way. Rather than forcing it, we had a conversation about enjoying the last chapter of my career, how lucky I truly am to still be playing this game, doing it at a high level, being a better mentor for these young guys, leading by example, having my energy right every game.

“He helped me realize if I do have negative energy how that affects the team in a poor manner. So we had a great conversation that helped me change my whole mindset and forget about shooting splits or points per game or All-Star games and just to enjoy being in this Warriors uniform and appreciate what we’ve built. Because it’s such a rare opportunity for a professional athlete to be a part of so much success and to pass that torch to the young guys and keep this thing going.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers center Mason Plumlee was active on Monday for the first time since going down with an MCL sprain on November 6, but he didn’t see any action, as Janis Carr of The Orange County Register writes. “He is available, but we still want to make sure we are doing the right thing and making sure that we’re taking the slow (road) and ease him back in,” head coach Tyronn Lue explained. Fellow reserve center Daniel Theis said he hasn’t been told by the coaching staff how his role will be affected by Plumlee’s return.
  • With the Clippers healthier this year than in recent seasons, Norman Powell is averaging just 25.6 minutes per game off the bench, his lowest mark since 2018/19. However, the veteran wing says he’s willing to sacrifice some playing time and accept a reduced role if it’s the right move for the team as a whole, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “This year with the way the team is constructed and the moves that we made, I’ve been taking a step back and not being so upset that my role isn’t going to be where I would like it to be, or where I want it to be or how I view myself, and accepting how the team is built, what the team is looking for and what we have to do to win,” Powell said.
  • Bol Bol made just eight appearances and logged only 19 total minutes in his first 32 games with the Suns, but he finally got an extended opportunity in Monday’s win over Portland and took advantage of it, putting up 11 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes. “I haven’t been able to show it, but I still have all the same confidence,” Bol said before the game, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I know what I’m capable of doing when given a chance.” Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the victory that the team was “really happy” with Bol’s performance and hinted that his opportunities to play non-garbage-time minutes may be more frequent going forward.

Pacific Notes: Wiggins, Kuminga, Green, Lakers Lineup, Theis

The Warriors have a specific lineup issue that’s impacting both this year’s outlook and the future prospects of the team, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Golden State has to determine whether Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga — the team’s two most athletic players, in Kawakami’s view — can share the court together, especially with the trade deadline looming.

Kawakami writes that if Wiggins and Kuminga figure out how to play with one another, it would unlock the Warriors’ offense due to the fact that the two forwards make Golden State faster and more athletic. So far, that pairing hasn’t had much success.

In 106 minutes together on the floor this year, the duo has a minus-21.4 net rating, the worst on the team (of lineups that play often) by a large margin. They also have the worst defensive rating and rebound percentage among those lineups.

It’s something we will try with maybe some new people around them,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Their numbers are not good together, frankly. They’re very redundant. So the tape and the numbers haven’t been great.

While this lineup wrinkle is just one question for a roster full of them, it has major implications. If the pair doesn’t figure things out, Kawakami writes the Warriors will likely have to choose between them, especially with Kuminga due for an extension on the horizon. If they do end up working well together, however, it could phase out minutes for Golden State’s other veteran pieces.

Kawakami also writes that while the Warriors previously may have been reluctant to move Wiggins in a trade after he signed a bargain contract specifically to stay with the team, he hears that may no longer be the case.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors are keeping quiet on the timetable for Draymond Green‘s return from his indefinite suspension, writes Jon Schultz of the San Francisco Chronicle.The Draymond stuff, everything is just private,” Kerr said. “That’s behind the scenes and I really don’t have anything to comment on that front.
  • The Lakers switched up their starting lineup on Saturday, replacing D’Angelo Russell with Jarred Vanderbilt in an effort to augment the defense. However, that hasn’t worked out just yet, with the new starting lineup posting a 125.0 defensive rating in their 18 minutes together, The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price writes. “We’ve just gotta buckle down defensively,Anthony Davis said. “We’re not really a switching team but now we’re getting to it because of our lineup. We’re able to do that. Miscommunication is kind of there. Offensively, we can be fine. But we have to do a better job on defense.
  • The Clippers acquired Daniel Theis to help address their frontcourt when Mason Plumlee went down with an MCL sprain in November. As Plumlee approaches his return to play, the Clippers haven’t yet determined how they’ll balance Theis and Plumlee when both are healthy, tweets Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.

Clippers Sign Daniel Theis

After clearing waivers on Friday, free agent center Daniel Theis has officially signed with the Clippers, the team announced (via Twitter).

According to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), Theis is expected to be available for Friday’s contest against Houston.

The move was expected. Theis reached a buyout agreement with the Pacers on Wednesday and was subsequently waived. The Clippers can only offer the prorated veteran’s minimum — worth about $2.2MM in Theis’ case — which is reportedly how much he gave up in his buyout.

Theis, 31, is a 6’8″ German big man who has spent most of his seven-year NBA career with Boston, but he has also played for Chicago, Houston and Indiana. He holds career averages of 7.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 0.9 BPG on .542/.325/.714 shooting in 314 games (148 starts, 19.4 MPG).

Theis was limited to just seven NBA appearances last season due to a knee injury, but had a strong summer in international competition. He started at center for the German national team that captured gold at the 2023 World Cup, averaging 10.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.9 APG in 21.8 MPG in the club’s eight FIBA contests.

Theis had hoped to carry over that success into the 2023/24 NBA season, but the Pacers have a crowded frontcourt behind starting center Myles Turner. Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith were both ahead of Theis on the depth chart through the first three weeks of the season.

As a result, Theis was limited to just one cameo appearance this season and admitted earlier this month that was “not happy” about his nonexistent role in Indiana.

The Clippers were looking for frontcourt depth after trading multiple power forwards in the James Harden trade and then losing backup center Mason Plumlee to a sprained MCL in his left knee. Plumlee is expected to miss multiple months.

The Clippers now have a full 18-man roster after signing Theis.

Central Notes: LaVine, Caruso, DeRozan, Theis, Lillard

A potential Zach LaVine trade for the Bulls may not look the way some might expect, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. According to Cowley, if LaVine is traded, it might not be as part of a larger package involving other Chicago players. Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has insisted numerous times that a rebuild is not on the table and, according to Cowley, the Bulls would instead be looking to retool rather than embark on a second rebuild since Karnisovas took over in 2020.

That means Alex Caruso‘s place in Chicago appears secure for now. Cowley reports that a trade involving Caruso appears unlikely due to the fact that he’s on the books for just $19.35MM across the next two seasons and Chicago views him as “the culture.”

Reports over the summer indicated the Bulls’ asking price for LaVine was called “unreasonable” by other teams, so the return the team would demand for a package of LaVine and Caruso would almost assuredly be enormous, further reducing the likelihood of them being traded together, according to Cowley. It’s always possible the Bulls could change their tune regarding the asking price for either player as the season progresses.

In any case, the trade rumors revolving LaVine are likely just beginning. As we’ve noted and as Cowley points out, we’re less than a month into the season and teams don’t usually pursue blockbuster trades this early in the year. The trade season really begins to pick up in December and January, when recently signed free agents are eligible to be moved. This season’s James Harden trade was an exception, but that deal was only made after Harden had been on the block for months.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • DeMar DeRozan missed the Bulls‘ Wednesday matchup against Orlando and is still away from the team as he deals with a personal matter, tweets NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. Head coach Billy Donovan said DeRozan’s status for Chicago’s next game is to be determined.
  • Former Pacers center Daniel Theis gave up about $2.2MM in his contract buyout with Indiana, tweets Spotrac’s Keith Smith. As Smith observes, that’s the same amount as the prorated minimum contract Theis will sign with the Clippers. The Pacers can now create up to $9.7MM in cap space this season.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard offered a unique explanation for why he wants to win the NBA’s in-season tournament. “As a leader and somebody who cares about your teammates, especially your younger teammates, you got guys on two-way contracts [and] who are trying to earn a stay and that prize in the end could change their family’s lives,” Lillard said (Twitter link via HoopsHype). The players on the winning team will receive $500K apiece.

Daniel Theis Agrees To Buyout With Pacers, Will Join Clippers

2:25pm: The Pacers have officially waived Theis, according to a team press release.

11:54am: Theis has agreed to a buyout with the Pacers and intends to sign with the Clippers upon clearing waivers, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

11:42am: The Pacers and center Daniel Theis are engaged in “serious” discussions about a potential contract buyout, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that an agreement between the two sides would clear a path for Theis to sign with the Clippers.

After previously reporting the Clippers’ interest in Theis, Charania doesn’t explicitly say that the big man has reached a deal to sign with Los Angeles. However, he suggests that the only obstacles standing in the way of a move to L.A. for the veteran big man are a finalized buyout with Indiana and a physical exam with the Clippers.

Theis, 31, was limited to just seven NBA appearances last season due to a knee injury, but had a strong summer in international competition. He started at center for the German national team that captured gold at the 2023 World Cup, averaging 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 21.8 minutes per game in the club’s eight FIBA contests.

Theis had hoped to carry over that success into the NBA season, but the Pacers have a crowded frontcourt behind starting center Myles Turner. Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith have both been ahead of Theis on the depth chart through the first three weeks of the season.

As a result, Theis has been limited to just one cameo appearance and admitted earlier this month that he’s “not happy” about his nonexistent role in Indiana. While the Pacers presumably explored trading the German, his pseudo-expiring $9.11MM contract (he has a $9.52MM team option for 2024/25) wouldn’t have positive or even neutral value, given his lack of NBA playing time in the last two seasons, so a buyout makes more sense.

For their part, the Clippers are in the market for help in the middle because reserve center Mason Plumlee is expected to miss a significant chunk of the season due to an MCL sprain. Since Plumlee went down, Los Angeles has had a tough time finding someone who can give the club reliable minutes at center behind Ivica Zubac.

The Clippers have been carrying just 13 players on standard contracts since making their trade for James Harden two weeks ago, so they’ll have an open spot for Theis even after completing their reported promotion of Joshua Primo from a two-way contract to the standard roster. That move was reported back on November 6, but hasn’t yet been made official — that will likely happen later today, since teams aren’t permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for more than two weeks at a time.

Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files first reported on Tuesday that there was a “growing belief” Theis would soon land with the Clippers.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Clippers, Theis, Barnes, Suns

Warriors star Stephen Curry has been ruled out of the team’s in-season tournament game on Tuesday vs. Minnesota due to right knee soreness, per ESPN’s Kendra Andrews.

In the last meeting between the two teams on Sunday, Curry took a hard fall following a drive to the net in the fourth quarter (Twitter video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Although he remained in the game, the veteran guard was seen rubbing his right knee after that play.

Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Curry is believed to have a sprain in the affected knee. He’s undergoing more testing to determine the severity of the injury, but the initial expectation is that he shouldn’t be out for long, per Charania.

As we detailed on Monday, the Warriors have been relying heavily on Curry on offense this season and will need some of their other players to step up with the two-time MVP unavailable. Dario Saric is the only other player on the roster who has scored at least 20 points in a game this season, according to Andrews.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • There’s a “growing belief” that the Clippers will add Daniel Theis to their roster soon, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files, citing a league source. As Agness acknowledges, Theis would likely need to reach a buyout agreement with the Pacers to get to Los Angeles, since the Clippers aren’t well positioned to trade for him. L.A.’s interest in the veteran center was previously reported.
  • The Kings got a boost on Monday when De’Aaron Fox returned from a five-game absence to lead the team to a 132-120 win over Cleveland. Fox was one of four starters to score at least 20 points, but the fifth starter – Harrison Barnes – continued to struggle, contributing just four points for a second straight game. Head coach Mike Brown isn’t worried about Barnes, praising the forward’s performance on defense, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I think he struggled at the beginning of the season, too, and so for me, as long as he continues to show consistency, especially defensively, I’m fine with it,” Brown said. “He’s taking the right shots and all that other stuff, so I kind of like where he is knowing — and I’m sure he feels the same — that he can play much better, especially offensively, and he will.”
  • While expecting Devin Booker‘s presence to heal all that ails the Suns may be unrealistic, the star guard can immediately help the team with his scoring, play-making, and defensive communication, says Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Booker is reportedly on track to return from his right calf strain on Wednesday.

Central Notes: Giannis, Lillard, Bulls, Theis

The Bucks have relied on defense to become one of the NBA’s best teams, but that part of their game has been lacking so far this season, writes Jim Owczarski of The Journal Sentinel. Facing an Orlando team that has been struggling to score, Milwaukee gave up 65 points in the first half Saturday on the way to a 15-point loss. The Magic came into the game 22nd in the league in scoring at 109.9 PPG.

The Bucks lost a major part of their defensive identity when Jrue Holiday was sent to Portland in the Damian Lillard trade. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez remain formidable obstacles around the basket, the rest of the team’s defense has been disorganized.

“This is not who we are. This is not the Milwaukee Bucks,” Antetokounmpo said. “We gotta guard people. Sixty-five points is too much. And it starts with me. It starts with the leader of the team. I gotta be better. But again, it’s not one person can do it alone. Defensively, we gotta show more. Make our paint look more crowded. Make the lanes look more crowded. Don’t allow guys to get comfortable and guys to be able to get downhill.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Lillard missed his second straight game Saturday with soreness in his right calf, and Owczarski notes that the team will have to provide more clarity on the injury if he remains sidelined. An offseason rule change prevents players from being held out for more than two consecutive games due to “soreness.” The Bucks will be required to offer a more specific diagnosis if Lillard doesn’t return for Wednesday’s contest at Toronto.
  • The Bulls have a chance to turn their season around after a rough start, and it’s an opportunity they need to take advantage of, observes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The team is in the midst of a stretch with seven of eight games at home over two weeks, and there are already rumblings that changes could be coming if things don’t improve. “Every game is tough, regardless of who you’re playing,” Zach LaVine said. “It can be the No. 1 seed in the East or the bottom seed. Every team can win. It’s us worrying about what we can do instead of worrying about the future.”
  • Daniel Theis could become a buyout candidate if the Pacers can’t find a trade they like for the veteran big man, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files states in his latest mailbag column (subscriber only). The Clippers had interest in Theis over the summer, and that rumor reemerged after an injury to Mason Plumlee. Theis has only appeared in one game this season.

Mason Plumlee To Miss “Multiple Months;” Clippers Interested In Daniel Theis

Mason Plumlee will be sidelined for “multiple months” with an MCL sprain in his left knee, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). The Clippers are optimistic that Plumlee will be able to return sometime before the end of the season, Charania adds.

The team is considering several veteran big men as potential replacements, Charania hears, including Pacers backup center Daniel Theis. He states that Indiana isn’t “rushed” to make a move with Theis, but is willing to listen to offers.

Plumlee suffered the injury Monday when Knicks forward Julius Randle hit his knee while diving for a ball. Plumlee couldn’t put any weight on the knee and had to be helped off the court by two members of the team’s training staff.

The 33-year-old center had appeared in all six of L.A.’s games before the injury and was averaging 5.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 minutes per night. The Clippers acquired him from Charlotte in a February trade, and he re-signed with the team this summer.

Theis, who hasn’t played yet this season, expressed unhappiness with his situation in Indiana last week. He is currently fourth among centers on the Pacers’ depth chart and doesn’t appear to have a future with the team.

After playing just seven games last season, Theis was hoping for an expanded role following his performance with Germany in the World Cup this summer, but it looks like a trade or buyout is the only way that will happen.

Theis makes $9.1MM this season, and his contract includes a $9.5MM team option for 2024/25.

Central Notes: Umude, Stewart, Theis, Giannis

Pistons two-way player Stanley Umude made the most of his opportunity to play on Monday, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. With Detroit missing seven players due to injuries and illness, Umude received extended minutes off the bench and supplied 15 points against Golden State.

Umude thanked coach Monty Williams afterward.

“It meant a lot to me because it showed that he was watching me and he cared about what I was doing, no matter what my contract situation is,” Umude said. “It meant a lot for me just going into the game with focus. It’s not even about making shots. It’s just about being ready to play, being ready to help the team in any way I can.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Isaiah Stewart put in plenty of work during the summer with the aim of becoming a stretch four, as James Edwards III of The Athletic details. The Pistons power forward even spent extensive hours in a YMCA in Rochester, N.Y. trying to refine his shooting stroke. Trainer Scott Finch tweaked his release and Stewart has made 46.4% of his 3-point attempts this season. “I feel like I can shoot with the best,” said Stewart, who signed a four-year extension this summer.
  • Daniel Theis, who expressed displeasure with his lack of minutes, hasn’t been able to crack the Pacers’ rotation and coach Rick Carlisle explained his reasoning, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star tweets.Jalen Smith has really won the (backup center) position. … Daniel is a very good player, no question about it, and he’s working really hard to stay ready. I know he doesn’t like sitting, but he’s being professional about it,” Carlisle said. Smith is averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. The club holds a $9,522,404 option on Theis’ contract for next season, which seems likely to be declined.
  • The Bucks have won their last two games, but Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t happy with the team’s defense. Milwaukee gave up 125 points to Brooklyn on Monday. “I hope we can be better defensively,” Antetokounmpo told Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I feel like our gaps wasn’t tight. Guys felt comfortable going one-on-one and getting to the rim, drawing fouls. Our help defense has got to be better.”