Davis Bertans

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Kennard, Martin, Okogie, Knicks, Shamet, Klintman

The Clippers are showing interest in free agent guard Tyus Jones in sign-and-trade scenarios, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest around-the-league notebook.

While this is just speculation on Scotto’s part, the Clippers could look to use some combination of the expiring contracts of P.J. Tucker and Russell Westbrook or draft compensation and Bones Hyland in sign-and-trade scenarios for the Wizards guard.

Jones, our No. 15-ranked free agent, averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 assists per game last season while shooting 48.9% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc.

We have more from Scotto:

  • The leaguewide expectation is that Luke Kennard will return to the Grizzlies after the organization declined his team option before free agency, Scotto writes. Kennard averaged 11.0 PPG on 45.0% shooting from deep last season.
  • As we noted earlier Friday, it’s likely the Sixers look to use newly signed KJ Martin‘s contract as a trade chip when he becomes eligible to be moved on Jan. 15. The Sixers could trade for a player making $14MM if they packaged Martin alongside three minimum-salary players in a trade.
  • The Suns gave Josh Okogie a similar deal to what Martin got and could also look to utilize his salary as a trade chip, Scotto reports. However, unlike Martin, Okogie’s deal can’t be aggregated with other players on Phoenix’s roster due to the team’s position relative to the second tax apron.
  • The Knicks are trying to add both size and shooting to their roster this offseason, Scotto writes. Davis Bertans has previously been mentioned as an option for the Knicks, and they’re also expressing interest in free agent guard Landry Shamet. As reported, New York has shown interest in Walker Kessler but Utah’s asking price remains high. Meanwhile, Precious Achiuwa remains open to a return to New York.
  • Outside of the Knicks, Scotto reports that Shamet has drawn “exploratory interest” from the Bucks, Heat and Timberwolves. A return to the Wizards isn’t out of the question either.
  • The Pistons are attempting to finalize a contract with their No. 37 overall pick Bobi Klintman. Klintman is expected to end up on the 15-man roster on a multiyear contract, according to Scotto. The Pistons were intrigued by his size and shooting ability and are hoping to have him on a standard deal.

Atlantic Rumors: Trent, Quickley, Knicks, Kessler, Bertans, Celtics

Although the Raptors haven’t entirely closed the door on the possibility of bringing back free agent wing Gary Trent Jr., his return appears increasingly unlikely based on how the team’s offseason has played out, says Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

As Lewenberg observes, Toronto sacrificed much of its cap flexibility by taking on salary in a trade with the Kings and exercising Bruce Brown‘s team option. The club also added a wing in the first round of the draft, selecting Ja’Kobe Walter with the 19th overall pick. The 15-man roster is now full, with little breathing room below the luxury tax line.

When the Raptors’ negotiating window with Trent opened last month, they were willing to offer him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $15MM, a source tells Lewenberg, but the swingman’s camp was seeking a raise on last year’s $18.5MM salary, possibly up to $25MM or so.

Toronto wasn’t prepared to meet that price, and it doesn’t look like there are any rival suitors who will go that high either. One league insider tells TSN that Trent would be lucky at this point to receive the full mid-level exception (worth about $12.9MM). The Raptors no longer have on offer on the table for the 25-year-old, according to Lewenberg.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Jazz and Spurs, among other teams, had “real” interest in restricted free agent guard Immanuel Quickley before he agreed to sign a five-year, $175MM contract with the Raptors, Lewenberg writes, which is one reason why that deal came in higher than expected. Quickley’s new deal will be worth a flat $35MM across all five seasons, Lewenberg adds, so it’ll start at just under 25% of the salary cap in 2024/25 but that percentage will drop each year as the cap increases.
  • Echoing previous reporting, Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter video link) confirms that the Knicks have inquired on Walker Kessler, but says he’d be surprised if New York makes a deal for the third-year center, given the Jazz‘s asking price, which includes “at least” a first-round pick.
  • The Knicks are among the teams that have expressed some level of interest in free agent sharpshooter Davis Bertans, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • After the Celtics officially re-signed centers Xavier Tillman, Luke Kornet, and Neemias Queta, director of player personnel Austin Ainge said he’s “extremely grateful” to have all those players back and suggested that one or more of them could have landed more lucrative deals elsewhere. “We had some guys turn down more money other places to come back,” Ainge said, according to Brian Robb of MassLive.com. “It feels really good that guys we care about a lot to come back and go for another run.”

Hornets Waive Davis Bertans

3:33pm: The Hornets have cut Bertans, the team confirmed in a press release. He’s on track to clear waivers on Monday.

1:01pm: The Hornets will waive veteran power forward Davis Bertans, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Bertans has a $16MM salary for 2024/25, but only $5.25MM of that total is guaranteed. Charlotte will be on the hook for that partial guarantee, creating more than $10MM in cap room in the move.

Ahead of Charania’s report, cap expert Yossi Gozlan had speculated (via Twitter) that Charlotte might make this move to accommodate the incoming salary of veteran point guard Devonte’ Graham in its trade with the Spurs. The Hornets are acquiring their former guard in exchange for a second-round draft pick from San Antonio. Graham is slated to be waived as well.

Bertans, 31, was dealt to the Hornets from the Thunder midway through the 2023/24 season in the Gordon Hayward trade. He saw his role expand on a lottery-bound Charlotte squad, averaging 8.8 points on a .394/.375/.889 shooting line.

A career 39.6% percent shooter on 4.7 long-range attempts a night, the 6’10” vet could have a decent market for his services as a floor-spacing stretch four. Given that this is at this point his only true skill and he’s now over 30, Bertans will probably be on the hunt for a veteran’s minimum-level deal.

Option/QO Notes: Green, Watanabe, Bertans, Barlow, Kings, More

Saturday represented the deadline for teams and players to exercise 2024/25 contract options and for teams to issue qualifying offers to players eligible for free agency. While there was a flurry of news about those options and QO decisions yesterday, a few players still slipped through the cracks.

We’ll start with Rockets forward Jeff Green. Reporting last week indicated that Houston planned to exercise his $8MM team option for 2024/25 and the team did just that, per RealGM’s transaction log. Green’s salary technically remains non-guaranteed until July 11 even now that his option has been picked up, but the expectation is that he’ll be retained — his expiring deal could be a useful salary-matching piece in a trade, and he also played rotation minutes for Houston last season, averaging 16.8 MPG in 78 appearances.

While there was no official confirmation on Saturday (as far as we could tell), Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe had long been expected to decline his $2.65MM player option for the 2024/25 season, since he’s on track to return to his home country of Japan and play for the Chiba Jets. There’s no indication that those plans have changed or that he picked up his option, so we’re assuming it was declined and that he’ll be off the board for NBA teams this offseason.

Finally, Davis Bertans‘ option with the Hornets was technically an early termination option rather than a player option, meaning that instead of needing to actively exercise it if he wanted to opt in, he needed to do nothing to opt in. He did just that, and will remain under contract with Charlotte for the time being, rather than becoming a free agent. However, his $16MM option salary is only partially guaranteed for $5.25MM, so he’s not assured of having the rest of that salary guaranteed, especially if the Hornets are looking to maximize their cap flexibility this offseason.

Here are a few more updates left over from a busy Saturday:

  • Dominick Barlow, a 21-year-old forward who has spent the past two seasons with the Spurs, didn’t receive a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). San Antonio isn’t necessarily planning to part ways with Barlow, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who tweets that the Spurs still have interest in discussing a new deal. However, he’ll have interest from other teams as well, says Wojnarowski.
  • The Kings didn’t tender qualifying offers to their three players eligible for restricted free agency (Kessler Edwards, Jordan Ford, or Jalen Slawson), confirms Sean Cunningham of FOX 40 Sacramento (Twitter link). All three players will be unrestricted free agents.
  • According to RealGM, players who did receive qualifying offers that weren’t previously reported (that we saw) include no-brainers like Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey and Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley, as well as Mavericks two-way player Brandon Williams.
  • We’ve previously published trackers for this year’s team option decisions and player option decisions, which are now fully up to date. We’ll be posting a full qualifying offer recap later this morning.

And-Ones: Rubio, Williams, Porzingis, Bertans, Parity

After retiring from the NBA in January, Ricky Rubio signed with Barcelona in February on a one-year contract. The longtime NBA point guard is uncertain about his basketball future after his Spanish team lost to Real Madrid in the Liga ACB semifinals, Eurohoops.net relays. Rubio said he’ll need a few weeks to clear his head and decide what he wants to do next.

These months, I’ve felt strange; I’ve wanted to change some things,” Rubio said. “Coming in the middle of the season is not easy, my way of being, more reserved and not feeling 100%. I don’t think I’ve been everything I expected, but I didn’t have any expectations either, but it’s clear that the balance is not good.”

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Trevion Williams is reportedly in advanced talks with Barcelona, according to Sportando’s Alessandro Maggi. There is already a “pre-agreement” in place, pending the final decision on the hiring of the new coach. Williams, who played collegiately at Purdue, was waived by the Warriors during their 2022 training camp. He played for a German team this past season.
  • Latvia’s national team has unveiled its preliminary 24-man roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament, according to Eurohoops.net. Kristaps Porzingis heads the list of players, which also includes another NBA notable, Davis Bertans. Porzingis stated on social media last week that he was looking forward to playing with his national team this summer.
  • Parity has become the new norm for the NBA, The Athletic’s John Hollinger writes. The championship continues to change hands every year and lower seeds have a legitimate chance to make a deep run. Hollinger concludes that if a contender is good enough to get to the second round, anything can happen.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Sixers, Cavs, Hornets, Rozier

After previously being listed as questionable, reigning MVP Joel Embiid was subsequently ruled out by the Sixers ahead of Sunday’s season finale against Brooklyn, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports. Embiid’s official injury designation was left knee injury recovery, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

When asked if he expected Embiid to play as long as he didn’t have any issues pregame, head coach Nick Nurse shifted around a bit while saying, “Yeah, same on the (other) questionable guys” (Twitter video link via PHLY Sixers).

De’Anthony Melton (back injury recovery) and KJ Martin (left great toe contusion), the other two players with questionable tags, were later ruled out as well.

In his fifth game back following a torn left meniscus in January, which required surgery, Embiid appeared to tweak the same knee in Friday’s win over Orlando, calling to be subbed out a couple minutes before the first half ended. He returned for the second half and finished the game, but was noticeably grimacing at times.

Sunday’s game has major playoff implications for the 76ers, who currently have the same record as Orlando and Indiana at 46-35 but are the No. 7 seed due to tiebreakers. Still, Embiid’s health outlook is much more critical for the postseason and the future — Philadelphia went just 15-27 without the 30-year-old this season.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers, who have secured at least the No. 4 seed in the East and could move as high as No. 2, will be without some of their top players on Sunday, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Donovan Mitchell (knee), Darius Garland (lower back contusion), Caris LeVert (knee soreness), Sam Merrill (neck strain) and Dean Wade (knee sprain) are all out. “It’s not rest,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said prior to tipoff. “Those guys have things they are dealing with that we are trying to protect over the long term. Not guys who are just taking today off. That was the thinking going into it — if we can get them yesterday and today and get out throughout this week, hopefully by Saturday or Sunday, whenever we play, that’s an advantage for us. We will go out and compete our tails off to make sure whatever may happen. So much is out of our control. It’s not a situation where we are going in and saying, ‘We need to do this or do that.’ We don’t control the outcome. So many other teams that have their own plans and own minds that they are trying to make up. We’re going out and trying to compete our tails off and see what happens.”
  • The Cavs are facing the Hornets on Sunday, and Charlotte will also be very undermanned, the team announced (via Twitter). Miles Bridges (right wrist), Brandon Miller (right wrist), Davis Bertans (left Achilles), Nick Richards (right plantar fascia) and Grant Williams (right ankle) were all downgraded from questionable to out, joining four other players who are dealing with long-term injuries.
  • Heat guard Terry Rozier underwent additional testing on his neck injury in recent days, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscriber link). Head coach Erik Spoelstra continues to refer to Rozier as day-to-day, but he’ll miss his fourth straight game on Sunday, leaving his postseason status up in the air. Rozier has been taking anti-inflammatories to deal with the issue, Winderman adds.

Southeast Notes: Bertāns, Micić, Wizards, Wagner

Hornets forward Dāvis Bertāns joined the team alongside Tre Mann and Vasilije Micić at the February trade deadline, but wasn’t viewed as a centerpiece of the deal that sent Gordon Hayward out of Charlotte. However, as The Charlotte Observer’s Roderick Boone points out, Bertāns is performing well for the Hornets after working his way into the rotation, averaging his most points (8.8) and minutes (20.8) per game since he was with the Wizards in 2020/21.

Bertāns quickly became one of former head coach Steve Clifford‘s trusted reserves, with the team running set plays for the dangerous three-point scorer. In his 27 games with the Hornets so far, he’s shooting 37.3% from deep on 6.3 attempts per night. In fact, he has 18 games with multiple three-pointers made off the bench, marking the most in the NBA during that stretch.

He’s a terrific shooter, obviously, but he creates a lot of problems for the defense just with his movement,” Clifford said. “And he never holds the ball. He either shoots it or moves it, which is the play.

Bertāns’ play provides a glimpse into what could be next season when LaMelo Ball is healthy, with the 6’10” allowing the star guard more room to maneuver with his floor-stretching capabilities. However, Boone ponders whether Bertāns will remain with the team next season. Bertāns has an early termination option for next season worth $16MM and could get multiyear offers from contending teams if he hits the open market, Boone writes.

For what it’s worth, Bertans seems to have enjoyed his time in Charlotte so far this season.

I’ve always loved shooting in [Spectrum Center], so it’s good to have more games [there] than before,” Bertāns said. “And definitely the crowd. Even though the season hasn’t been great winning-wise, the fans have been great and it’s a lot more people in [that] arena than other teams that are not making the playoffs. So, I think a bright future is ahead for the organization.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Like Bertāns, Micić didn’t play much for the Thunder after coming over from Europe to begin his NBA career this season. However, he has turned a corner after earning playing time with the Hornets, averaging 11.3 points and 6.4 assists in his first 28 games (19 starts) with Charlotte. “I’m more comfortable every day,” Micić said this week, according to Eurohoops.net. “… I’m trying to play more relaxed, at my own rhythm, without chasing anything. It’s hard when you don’t have enough minutes, but at this moment, with these circumstances, I have these minutes, and I’m just hoping it looks good from the outside.” Micić is in the first year of the three-year, $23.6MM deal he signed last offseason. He’s under contract for about $7.7MM next year and has a team option worth $8.1MM in 2025/26.
  • At 15-65, the Wizards are wrapping up what will be the worst season in franchise history in regard to record. ESPN’s Dotun Akintoye explores Washington’s rebuild and how the Wizards have gotten to this point. Akintoye cautions against the ritual of losing and expecting to lose, along with the lack of cohesion that can follow.
  • Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley said Franz Wagner is “progressing slowly” from his right ankle sprain, according to Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Beede (Twitter link). “He’ll go through some work tomorrow as well and we’ll continue to see how he responds to those treatments,” Mosley said.

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Strus, Lillard, Haliburton

With an established rotation already in place, the chances of the Cavaliers adding help in the buyout market are “incredibly low,” according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscription required). The recent returns from injury by Darius Garland and Evan Mobley have given the team a healthy roster, leaving no obvious role for a buyout player to fill. Sources tell Fedor that the front office is being honest with prospective additions about the shortage of available playing time.

Many of the top names on the market — such as Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and Delon Wright — have already committed to other teams. Fedor hears that Cleveland had interest in Danilo Gallinari, but the veteran forward chose Milwaukee, where he’ll have a better shot at regular minutes. Marcus Morris appears unlikely to land with the Cavs since he’s reportedly leaning toward the Timberwolves if the Spurs buy him out, according to former teammate Patrick Beverley (Twitter link).

Fedor says Cleveland would like to add one more shooter off its bench, which makes former Net Joe Harris and ex-Sixer Furkan Korkmaz intriguing names to watch. The Cavaliers have liked Korkmaz for a long time and made an effort to sign him in free agency in 2021, according to Fedor. He also mentions Davis Bertans and Seth Curry as options if they agree to buyouts with the Hornets and considers the PistonsEvan Fournier as a more remote possibility.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are committed to Max Strus as a starter and are unlikely to shake up their starting five before the end of the season, Fedor adds in the same piece. The team pursued Strus last summer to provide improved shooting and floor spacing, and Fedor notes that he requires constant attention from opposing defenses, even though his shooting numbers have declined. Fedor also points out that coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants a longer look at his current starting lineup, which has been limited to 239 total minutes together because of injuries.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard doesn’t bring much strategy to the Three-Point Contest, which he won for the second straight year Saturday night, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I didn’t prepare at all,” Lillard said. “I think that’s the key to it. I kept telling (teammate Malik Beasley) my first two times I did it, I was practicing, I had racks, I was trying to get ready for it and I just went out there and I didn’t win. And then last year, I never practiced. I never shot off a rack. I just showed up and won.”
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton plans to keep trying for a three-point title after a close call on his home court, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton was in a four-way deadlock for the best score after the first round, but he lost in a tie-breaker and failed to reach the finals. “I think I’m going to just keep coming back until they don’t allow me to, and eventually I’m going to win one,” he said.

Buyout Market Rumors: Fournier, Wright, Bertans, Young, Gallinari

After spending the better part of the last two seasons on the bench in New York, Evan Fournier was traded from the Knicks to the Pistons as a salary-matching piece in the deadline-day deal that sent Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks out of Detroit. Given that Fournier isn’t owed any guaranteed money beyond this season and the Pistons have the NBA’s worst record, he has been viewed as a buyout candidate.

However, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Pistons have indicated that they plan to hang onto Fournier, so barring an unexpected development, he won’t reach the buyout market in the coming days or weeks.

Fournier, who appeared in just three games for the Knicks prior to last week’s trade, has logged over 25 minutes per night in his first two games as a Piston, averaging 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the buyout market from Scotto:

  • After averaging about 15 minutes per contest in his first 29 appearances in Washington this season, Delon Wright hasn’t played more than seven minutes in any of the four games since the trade deadline. A number of playoff contenders, including the Suns, are keeping on eye on the situation to see if the Wizards guard – who is on an expiring contact – will be bought out, Scotto writes.
  • Veteran sharpshooter Davis Bertans has played double-digit minutes off the bench in each of his first three games with the Hornets and appears unlikely to be let go in the immediate future, per Scotto. Bertans’ $16MM salary for 2024/25 is partially guaranteed for $5.25MM next season, which is one reason why Charlotte may wait until the summer to make any move involving him.
  • Thaddeus Young is expected to complete his deal with the Suns after the All-Star break next week, says Scotto, adding that the veteran forward also drew interest from the Sixers, Pelicans, and Celtics before agreeing to sign in Phoenix.
  • Although the Suns had interest in Danilo Gallinari, they were out of the mix for the forward after agreeing to sign Young, Scotto notes. Since the Cavaliers couldn’t guarantee Gallinari the kind of role he sought and the Bulls aren’t a legitimate title contender, Gallinari’s decision ultimately came down to the Clippers and Bucks. He chose Milwaukee after debating the two options for a few days, according to Scotto.

Thunder Acquire Gordon Hayward From Hornets

9:57pm: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Hornets. Charlotte received Bertans, Mann, Micic, and second-round picks in 2024 and 2025 in exchange for Hayward.

The Thunder announced in their own press release confirming the deal that the 2024 second-rounder is Houston’s and the 2025 second-rounder is Philadelphia’s. Oklahoma City also said it sent cash to Charlotte in the swap.

The Hornets waived guards Ish Smith and Frank Ntilikina to make room on their roster for the incoming players.

1:04pm: The Hornets will receive a pair of second-round picks from the Thunder in the deal, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

11:17am: Oklahoma City will include Vasilije Micic in the deal for salary-matching purposes, Charania tweets. The 30-year-old point guard makes $7.7MM this season and next year, with an $8.1 team option for 2025/26. Charlotte will also receive draft compensation, Charania adds.

The trade will leave the Thunder $6.9MM below the tax threshold with two open roster spots, Gozlan notes (Twitter link).

9:54am: The Thunder are nearing a deal for Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Tre Mann and Davis Bertans will be sent to Charlotte in return, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Hayward’s contract includes a 15% trade bonus that will adjust his salary from $31.5MM to about $33.3MM tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. That would move Oklahoma City into luxury tax territory unless Hayward opts to waive part of the bonus, but there’s been no indication yet that he will agree to that. Gozlan notes that Hayward is eligible for an extension of up to two seasons through the end of June.

The Thunder will have to take back more money for the deal to be finalized, points out Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Bertans is making $17MM this season and Mann is at $3.2MM, which isn’t enough to match Hayward’s salary.

The 33-year-old Hayward brings a veteran presence to a young OKC team that has exceeded expectations this year. Injuries have limited him to 25 games, but he has been productive when he’s been able to play, averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 46.8% from the field and 36.1% from three-point range.

Bertans, a 31-year-old power forward, is headed for his fourth team in the last three years. The veteran sharpshooter has been out of the Thunder’s rotation all season, with minimal playing time in 15 games. He holds a $5.25MM guarantee on his $16MM salary for 2024/25.

Mann, a third-year point guard, has seen limited action in 13 games this season. He was selected with the 18th pick in the 2021 draft and is under contract for one more season at $4.9MM.