Dario Saric

Northwest Notes: Watson, NAW, Saric, Blazers

Nuggets rookie Peyton Watson didn’t play more than 10 minutes in an NBA game until March 31, but he averaged 22.4 MPG in Denver’s last six contests and his teammates were impressed by what they saw, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscriber link). More importantly, Watson quickly earned the confidence of head coach Michael Malone.

“If I have to use Peyton Watson in a playoff series, I will, if the situation calls upon it,” Malone said. “He’s shown me he can go out there against some really good players and teams and impact the game in a positive light.”

The 30th overall pick last June, Watson scored double-digit points in two of the Nuggets’ last six games and blocked three shots in two separate games. As Singer writes, the 20-year-old presumably won’t be part of Malone’s regular playoff rotation, but could be a fit in certain switchable, defensive-oriented lineups.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker was something of an afterthought in February’s three-team Mike Conley/D’Angelo Russell/Russell Westbrook blockbuster, but the Timberwolves made his development a priority, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. As Krawczynski notes, that work paid off in Friday’s play-in game, when Alexander-Walker filled up the box score (12 points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals, two blocks) and helped limit his cousin Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a 5-of-19 night. Alexander-Walker will be eligible for restricted free agency this July.
  • Asked on Saturday about his impending free agency, Thunder forward Dario Saric said he really enjoyed his time in Oklahoma City and would like to return, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter links). Saric went on to use an unorthodox metaphor to praise the organization. You know, sometimes you can feel it,” he said of the Thunder. “Same like laptops. Some laptops are better than other ones. You know what I mean? Sometimes they have the same controls … but some of them are better, and that’s what I would say.”
  • This summer appears likely to be the Trail Blazers‘ last chance to make the right roster moves around Damian Lillard to steer the team toward contention, according to Bill Oram of The Oregonian. If that doesn’t happen, Oram writes, a breakup between Lillard and the Blazers could be around the corner.

Trade Breakdown: Dario Saric To The Thunder

This is the sixth entry in our series breaking down the significant trades of the 2022/23 season. As opposed to giving out grades, this series explores why the teams were motivated to make the moves. Let’s dive into a deal between the Suns and Thunder

On February 9, the Thunder traded forward/center Darius Bazley to the Suns in exchange for forward/center Dario Saric, Phoenix’s 2029 second-round pick and $1MM in cash.

The Thunder’s perspective:

On the surface, this seems like a pretty minor trade that got lost in the shuffle a bit due to all the blockbusters leading up to the deadline. That said, I thought it was interesting for a number of different reasons.

As our Luke Adams explains in our glossary entry on traded player exceptions, even though this seems like a straightforward one-for-one swap, this was actually a non-simultaneous deal for both the Thunder and the Suns, making it mutually beneficial.

A non-simultaneous deal means a team can trade away a single player without immediately taking salary back in return, allowing it to create an outstanding trade exception.

This deal showed the value of having a large ($10,183,800) outstanding traded player exception, which permitted the Thunder to take on Saric’s $9,240,000 contract for “nothing.” That also allowed them to generate a new TPE, worth $4,264,629, which is what Bazley is making this season.

The Suns created their own TPE because they only traded one player and took back less salary than they sent out. It’s worth $4,975,371, which is the difference between Saric’s salary and Bazley’s. Both teams will have until next February to use their new TPEs.

There are plenty of examples of large TPEs not being used at all. Often that has to do with the team’s proximity to the luxury tax and its willingness (or lack thereof) to pay a huge chunk of cash for what could amount to a rental player (many players involved in deadline deals are on expiring or pseudo-expiring contracts — both Saric and Bazley could hit free agency this summer, for example).

The Thunder were in the sweet spot of being over the cap but far enough below the luxury tax line that they could use their large TPE to create an additional asset of sorts to possibly create future value. It also netted them a second-round pick and a little cash, since the Suns were motivated to move off Saric’s contract.

Cap aspects aside, when it was first announced, my first thought was to wonder if Saric might reach a buyout agreement or get waived, even though the Thunder were (and still are) in the play-in race. A handful of days after the deadline, it definitely sounded like he wasn’t going to pursue a buyout, praising the organization and saying he was “open-minded” about his potential role.

However, a report late last month indicated that he nearly was waived as Oklahoma City sought flexibility with its last roster spot, instead choosing to release Eugene Omoruyi.

My second thought was, wait, did the Thunder just make an on-court upgrade and get draft capital back? That very rarely happens.

That’s not to say the Thunder made a win-now move, far from it. The primary objective was landing the second-round pick and creating a new TPE. Saric is on an expiring contract and I’m sure the Thunder’s front office wouldn’t mind if they missed the postseason, though they haven’t shown any signs of blatantly tanking to this point.

He may not be a household name, but Saric is an accomplished player, providing solid value with all three of his previous clubs (he started with Philadelphia and was traded to Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler deal back in ‘18/19). He holds career averages of 11.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.9 APG on .443/.360/.838 shooting in 402 games (217 starts, 24.0 MPG).

Saric missed all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. He had a second surgery last May to repair a torn meniscus, making it an open question what his form would look like upon his return from two major knee surgeries.

He (understandably) had a very slow start to 2022/23, only appearing in 22 of Phoenix’s first 41 games with averages of 3.8 PPG and 2.8 RPG on .358/.351/.857 shooting in 11.6 MPG. That’s why I said his free agent stock was trending down when I wrote about him in January.

However, he was a rotation fixture in the 15 games (seven starts, 18.5 MPG) leading up to the deadline, averaging 8.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.3 APG on .485/.438/.800 shooting. Saric’s solid play has continued post-trade, as he’s averaging 10.1 PPG and 3.7 RPG on a scorching hot .627/.458/.889 shooting line through nine games with the Thunder (14.9 MPG).

The 28-year-old has an excellent feel for the game, using his high basketball IQ to overcome his relative lack of athleticism. He is a below-the-rim finisher, but has good touch and lots of tricks around the basket – he’s shooting 67.1% at the rim this season, which ranks in the 71st percentile, per DunksAndThrees.com.

The Thunder run a five-out offense where every player on the court is capable of dribbling, passing, screening and shooting. All of those are strengths of Saric’s.

He isn’t a great defensive player at either frontcourt position, and he’s undersized against some centers (he’s listed at 6’10” and 225 pounds). That said, he’s generally in the right spots, he just lacks the foot speed to stick on the perimeter and the length to protect the paint.

Oklahoma City has had a ton of draft picks over the past few years, and still has loads more in the future. Bazley was one that didn’t work out.

The No. 23 overall pick of the 2019 draft, Bazley entered the NBA as an excellent athlete with raw skills. He turned into a solid defensive player, but struggled mightily offensively.

I gained a newfound respect for Bazley as a person after I saw a video of him talking about his diminished playing time this season (he only appeared in 36 of 54 games for an average of 15.4 MPG). His team-first attitude and self-awareness were admirable.

While Bazley is certainly young and talented enough that he could develop elsewhere, he was viewed as unlikely to be in the Thunder’s long-term plans even if they had kept him through the deadline. The harsh reality is trades are part of the business.

The Suns’ perspective:

Phoenix’s primary, secondary and tertiary reasons for making this deal were financial. As Luke Adams details in our glossary entry, the NBA’s luxury tax is set up so that the penalties become increasingly punitive the further teams go beyond the tax line.

Trading Saric for Bazley saved the Suns approximately $20MM toward their estimated luxury tax payment. According to Eric Pincus of Sports Business Classroom, the Suns are currently $22,249,841 over the tax with an estimated luxury tax bill of $53,436,904. And that’s after this trade was made.

Saric started to pick up steam prior to the deadline, was a key contributor to the team’s culture, and played a role in its run to the Finals a couple years ago. Would he have provided $20MM worth of value for the remainder of this season? In the most optimistic scenarios, maybe? But probably not.

Trading for Kevin Durant means there won’t be many minutes at power forward in the playoffs. Ditto at center behind Deandre Ayton. The Suns still have several options to explore backing up those frontcourt spots, including Torrey Craig, T.J. Warren, Ish Wainright, Jock Landale, Bismack Biyombo and Bazley.

Maybe the Suns like Bazley as a defender and believe he has untapped upside on offense. He’s still just 22 years old. But he had also only appeared in one of a possible seven games (for seven minutes) entering Wednesday’s matchup with his former team.

In all likelihood, Bazley’s role will be minor going forward. As a championship hopeful, the Suns can’t really afford to play him when it counts, because opposing teams dare him to shoot and he’s only converting 50% at the rim, which is in the sixth percentile of all players, per DunksAndThrees.

Given Phoenix’s cap situation going forward, plus its window of contention and where Bazley is at in his development, the odds of him receiving a qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent seem slim. If that scenario plays out, he would instead become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

The $4,975,371 TPE the Suns created as part of the deal could be used to acquire a player who makes more than the minimum at some point in the future. Losing one second-round pick several years down the line isn’t a big deal, as a few are typically up for sale in every draft.

How far the Suns go in the postseason will ultimately be determined by their star players’ health. Obviously, Durant suffering an ankle sprain just three games after returning from a knee injury isn’t ideal, but they’ve still been on a roll lately, winning 16 of their past 21 games.

The Suns are betting they have enough depth behind Durant and Ayton that losing Saric won’t come back to bite them – a reasonable position, particularly considering how much money they saved by moving him.

Thunder Waive Eugene Omoruyi

The Thunder opened a roster spot by waiving second-year forward Eugene Omoruyi, the team announced in a press release.

Omoruyi, 26, signed a two-way contract with Oklahoma City last summer and was converted to a standard deal earlier this month. His new contract ran through 2023/24, but the second season was non-guaranteed.

The Thunder wanted roster flexibility and the decision came down to Omoruyi or Dario Saric, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The team opted to hold onto Saric, who was acquired from the Suns at the trade deadline.

Omoruyi appeared in 23 games for the Thunder, averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per night. He also spent part of the season with the team’s G League affiliate.

After going undrafted out of Oregon in 2021, Omoruyi broke into the NBA on a two-way contract with the Mavericks. He played four games for Dallas before being waived in December of that year.

Suns Notes: Payne, Durant, Sarver, Wainright, Saric

The Suns began to get some reinforcements back on the court on Friday, with Cameron Payne (right foot sprain) playing for the first time since January 4.

As Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets, Payne was on a minutes restriction. After averaging 24.0 MPG in his first 28 appearances, he played just 16 minutes on Friday, but he made the most of his limited time, scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Of course, the return Phoenix is really waiting for is Kevin Durant‘s — the star forward has been out since January 8 due to an MCL sprain, but is close to making his Suns debut, with a recent report suggesting that Wednesday is believed to be his target date. His new teammates can’t wait to see him take the floor for the Suns.

“It’s hard to put to words,” Booker said after going through a full practice with Durant on Thursday, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I can’t wait to do it against other teams.

“… It makes things a lot easier. We just had one scrimmage. It was obviously less attention on me, less attention on Chris (Paul) and the other guys. We all know how to play the game. Like I said before, I think our games complement each other well.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • After reporting earlier this week that Robert Sarver‘s year-long suspension remains in place even though he no longer owns the Suns, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic says that Sarver’s representatives believe that ban should have ended when the longtime Suns owner sold the franchise. As Rankin explains, Sarver’s reps supported their belief by pointing to specific legalese in the closing documents of the sale to Mat Ishbia, but an NBA spokesperson has reiterated that the suspension – which prohibits Sarver from attending NBA and WNBA games – will remain in place until September 13, 2023.
  • Ish Wainright, who received a promotion from his two-way deal to the 15-man roster on Friday, said that he was so happy about signing his new contract that he began vomiting, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. “I was so excited, I started throwing up,” Wainright said. “Ran to the restroom, let everything out. My brother came in, was freaking out, like, ‘Yo, are you all right?’ I was like, ‘I’m just excited.'”
  • Dario Saric‘s departure from Phoenix at this month’s trade deadline was overshadowed by the Durant blockbuster, but the veteran forward’s stint with the team was underrated and shouldn’t be overlooked, according to Bourguet of PHNX Sports, who says Saric played a key role in building the Suns’ culture over the last few years.

Thunder Notes: Saric, Deadline Deals, Omoruyi, Sarr

Although he’s still just 28 years old, Dario Saric suddenly finds himself in the position of being his team’s oldest player following a trade from Phoenix to Oklahoma City last Thursday. Saric, who referred to the Thunder as a “high-level organization,” doesn’t sound like someone who will pursue a buyout from his new club, suggesting on Monday that he’s looking forward to taking on the role of veteran mentor in OKC.

“You’re always surprised,” Saric said of the trade, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “That’s kind of how things go. At the end of the day, happy to be here. Happy to be part of this organization, a part of this group of young, talented guys who have a lot of years in front of them to play basketball.”

Asked about the role he anticipates playing with the Thunder, Saric said he doesn’t have any real expectations and is happy to play things by ear.

“I think I will go with the flow,” he said. “We’re gonna figure out everything, how the games go. I’m here open-minded, and coach (Mark Daigneault) says he’s open-minded.”

Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is looking forward to seeing what Saric brings to the Thunder, but admitted it was tough to say goodbye to Darius Bazley and Mike Muscala at the trade deadline. Gilgeous-Alexander referred to the club’s locker room as “close-knit” and added that Bazley is “like a brother” to him. Daigneault, meanwhile, said he hopes Bazley and Muscala thrive with their new teams, Mussatto writes for The Oklahoman. “We want those guys to move on and continue to have success and contribute to the teams that they’re on,” the head coach said. “I think that would be a good reflection on the program.”
  • Eugene Omoruyi‘s new contract with the Thunder is a two-year, minimum-salary deal that isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, Hoops Rumors has learned. Oklahoma City will hold a non-guaranteed $1,927,896 team option on Omoruyi for the 2023/24 season following his promotion from a two-way contract last week.
  • As for Olivier Sarr‘s two-way deal, it only covers the rest of this season, Hoops Rumors has learned. Players who sign two-way contracts during the second half often agree to add a second year, but that’s not the case for Sarr, who will be eligible this summer for restricted free agency.

More Details On Kevin Durant Trade Negotiations

Kevin Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman asked Nets management for a meeting earlier this week and submitted another trade request during that sitdown, according to Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Insider link).

Unlike last summer’s trade request, this one didn’t go public right away. Another key difference? This time around, Durant specifically asked to be sent to the Suns, per ESPN’s duo. He had no interest in kicking off another bidding war and being the subject of intense speculation all week, so he told the Nets that he’d play out the 2022/23 season in Brooklyn if the team couldn’t work out a deal with Phoenix.

Still, both the Nets and Durant recognized that the partnership was on its last legs, according to Shelburne and Windhorst, who say the only question was whether the star forward’s exit would happen now or after the season.

Here are a few more highlights from the excellent, in-depth ESPN story on how the final days of the Durant era in Brooklyn:

  • Before Durant injured his knee on January 15, it looked like both he and Kyrie Irving would both finish the season with the surging Nets. However, when Irving’s offensive numbers spiked during Durant’s absence, he determined it was the right moment to exact some leverage and pursue a contract extension. The Nets were willing to discuss an extension of up to three seasons, but wanted protections; Irving was seeking a four-year extension without conditions, according to ESPN’s report. The difference of opinions on his value resulted in Kyrie’s trade request, and while Durant wasn’t happy with the situation, he didn’t “immediately tie his future” to Irving’s, per Shelburne and Windhorst.
  • The Nets had zero interest in any Irving trade that saw them take back Russell Westbrook. As a result, the difficulty of working out a three-team trade with the Lakers made Brooklyn’s decision on Irving fairly straightforward, since dealing with the Mavericks was simpler and the Nets liked the players they were getting from Dallas.
  • After Irving’s situation was sorted out and the Nets received Durant’s trade request, they presented the Suns with the pieces they wanted in any deal involving KD: four unprotected first-round picks, an unprotected 2028 first-round pick swap, Cameron Johnson, and Mikal Bridges. Suns general manager James Jones wanted to negotiate those terms – perhaps subbing out for Bridges or adding protections to one or two of the picks – but the Nets were steadfast in their demands, according to ESPN’s reporting.
  • New team owner Mat Ishbia was quickly willing to sign off on the extra $40MM the deal would cost the Suns in salaries and tax penalties, representing a departure from the old ownership group. However, it took the team a while to come around on paying the Nets’ price in players and picks. The Suns recognized that if the Nets held onto Durant until the summer, they’d be up against several bidders, which gave Brooklyn some leverage in the process. Phoenix ultimately agreed to meet the Nets’ asking price.
  • However, according to Shelburne and Windhorst, the deal nearly hit a roadblock when the Nets also requested Jae Crowder, whom the Suns wanted to trade in another deal (while ESPN’s story doesn’t specify who would’ve been in the Durant offer in place of Crowder in the original framework for salary-matching purposes, a previous report suggested Dario Saric was involved). The Suns pivoted to other trade discussions, including a possible John Collins acquisition, but ultimately circled back to the Nets and agreed to include Crowder too.
  • The Nets viewed Durant as a “beacon of light” during several the last few dramatic years, according to Shelburne and Windhorst, who say the team was heartbroken to trade him but felt good about sending him to his preferred destination.

Suns Trade Saric, Second-Rounder To Thunder For Bazley

7:53pm: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Thunder. Phoenix sent its own 2029 second-round pick and cash to Oklahoma City in the deal.

1:00pm: The Suns are trading forward/center Dario Saric and a second-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for forward/center Darius Bazley, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

As John Hollinger of The Athletic tweets, the deal was possible because of a large traded player exception the Thunder created when they dealt Derrick Favors to Houston before the 2022/23 season started (Favors was subsequently waived).

Both players are impending free agents — Saric will be unrestricted and makes $9.24MM in the final year of his contract, while Bazley is earning $4.26MM and will be a restricted free agent if Phoenix gives him a qualifying offer.

Considering the Suns went all-in in their blockbuster trade to acquire superstar forward Kevin Durant, I’m a little surprised that they’re moving a second-round pick — and perhaps the better player — to save money in this deal. Saric missed all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL and he had a very slow start to ’22/23, but he has played his best basketball as of late, averaging 8.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.3 APG on .485/.438/.800 shooting over the past 15 games (seven starts, 18.5 MPG).

It’s definitely not certain that Saric is a better player than Bazley right now. Both players have been in-and-out of their teams’ rotations, but Bazley (22) is six years younger than Saric (28) and is a superior athlete and defender, while the Crotian veteran has been a better all-around offensive player to this point in their careers.

Perhaps the Suns didn’t want to bring back Saric in free agency, or they were worried about his fit with the new roster. Either way, they will save a significant amount of money toward the luxury tax and get a look at a versatile defensive player who might have some untapped upside in Bazley — his next contract should be relatively affordable, if they choose to re-sign him.

For the Thunder, they add a veteran in the frontcourt after agreeing to trade Mike Muscala to Boston, and add another second-round pick to their ever-growing draft cache. Stylistically, Saric fits well with what the Thunder like to do offensively, as he’s a good screener, passer and play-maker, while Bazley is more limited in that regard.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Collins, Saric, Warriors, Barnes

The Suns‘ initial offers for Kevin Durant on Monday and Tuesday fell well short of the Nets‘ asking price as Phoenix sought to keep Mikal Bridges out of its package, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

With the two sides at an apparent impasse, the Suns were in talks with the Hawks and Pistons about a possible three-team trade that would’ve sent John Collins to Phoenix, while the Nets discussed various deals involving Collins, Raptors forward OG Anunoby, and Cavaliers wing Caris LeVert, says Wojnarowski.

However, recognizing that Durant’s mood was “unsettled” and knowing that his preference was to end up in Phoenix, the Nets decided to push the Suns to improve their offer.

The two teams reengaged late on Thursday night, with new Suns owner Mat Ishbia and Nets owner Joe Tsai both getting involved to help put the finishing touches on an agreement, per Wojnarowski. Removing Dario Saric‘s contract from the framework of the deal helped push it across the finish line, Woj adds.

Here are a few more notes from around the Pacific:

  • Sam Garvin, who was the Suns‘ interim governor during Robert Sarver‘s suspension, will remain in his role as the team’s vice chairman and minority shareholder now that Ishbia has assumed control of the franchise, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • The Warriors have insisted that Stephen Curry‘s leg injury and ongoing absence won’t affect how they approach the trade deadline, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. According to Slater, there have been rumblings this week suggesting that Golden State has become more willing to discuss its younger players if a strong enough upgrade is offered. Slater adds that there’s a “greater whiff of aggressiveness” around the team.
  • There have been no reports suggesting Harrison Barnes is on the trade block this week, but there also haven’t been any indications that he and the Kings have discussed a contract extension that would keep him in Sacramento beyond this season. Speaking to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, neither Barnes nor his agent offered much clarity on the possibility of an extension. Barnes said it was “more of a Jeff Schwartz question,” while Schwartz said he had “nothing to report on my side other than Harrison enjoys playing for Sac.”

Trade Rumors: Reddish, Nuggets, Pistons, Bucks, Rose, Suns, More

The Nuggets are among the teams that have registered some interest in Knicks forward Cam Reddish, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who says the Pistons and Knicks have also spoken recently about Reddish.

In passing along Begley’s latest reporting, SNY’s story notes that Begley has previously identified the Knicks as a team with interest in Pistons forward Saddiq Bey and suggests that perhaps there could be a match between the two teams on a deal involving Bey and Reddish. Bey’s trade value is significantly higher at this point than Reddish’s, however, so New York would need to attach a sweetener or two to make Detroit seriously consider that framework.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Bucks have expressed trade interest in Knicks point guard Derrick Rose, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link). Milwaukee doesn’t have an obvious salary-matching piece for Rose, who has a $14.5MM salary and has been out of New York’s rotation for much of the season — it’s hard to imagine he’s near the top of the Bucks’ wish list. For what it’s worth, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he’d like to keep Rose around, explaining that the former MVP “contributes in a lot of different ways to our club” despite not seeing much playing time this season (link via Peter Botte of The New York Post).
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 shoots down a rumor suggesting that the Mavericks and Suns could make a deal centered around Deandre Ayton, Christian Wood, and Tim Hardaway Jr., tweeting that there’s “nothing” to that speculation. One recent report indicated that Dallas has interest in Ayton, but that report suggested he’d be more of a long-term trade target rather than a player the Suns would have interest in moving this week.
  • Suns veteran Dario Saric is among the power forwards on the Heat‘s radar, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), though Jackson acknowledges that Miami doesn’t have a clear salary-matching piece to send out for Saric ($9.2MM). Jackson adds (via Twitter) that the Suns, under new ownership, are “very active” in the trade market, but still haven’t been intrigued by the assets Miami has put on the table for Jae Crowder.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Saric, Wiseman, Moody, Jackson

Suns guard Devin Booker is scheduled for a second reevaluation Wednesday for a left groin strain he suffered on Christmas Day, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Booker missed his 18th consecutive game with the left groin strain Monday against Toronto but there’s optimism he’ll play this week. The Suns have a home game on Wednesday, then embark on a five-game road trip.

“Everybody is excited,” Suns forward Dario Saric said. “He’s our best player.”

However, Suns head coach Monty Williams said Booker still hasn’t participated in any 5-on-5 scrimmages, Gerald Bourguet of GoPHNX.com tweets.

We have more Pacific Division news:

  • Speaking of Saric, he’s thrilled to be getting steady minutes, Rankin tweets. “I’m feeling great being back in the rotation. Serious minutes,” he said. “Feeling great about that. I think I deserve that. I work hard for that. Played a couple of good games. I hope I’m going to continue like that.” Saric, who is averaging 7.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 18.3 minutes this month, needs to pump up his value since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr met with James Wiseman over the weekend to give the young center some encouraging words, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Wiseman has struggled to establish a rotation spot this season. “One of the things I told James is that in this league things change quickly,” Kerr said. “You just don’t know. … I would love to get him out there, but right now, JaMychal (Green) is playing really well. Obviously, we’ve gone to a smaller lineup, so that … creates a little bit of a logjam at that position. James just has to stay ready.”
  • The Warriors have recalled second-year guard Moses Moody from their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team’s PR department tweets. Moody played two games with the G League team after being assigned last week, averaging 23 points in those games. Moody has appeared in 39 games with Golden State this season but recently fell out of the rotation.
  • The G League’s Stockton Kings released former lottery pick Josh Jackson over the weekend, the team tweets. Jackson appeared in a combined 51 NBA games with Detroit and Sacramento last season. He joined the G League team last week, but appeared in one game.