Day’Ron Sharpe

Nets Notes: Finney-Smith, Simmons, Whitehead, Dinwiddie, DSJ

Dorian Finney-Smith is helping the undersized Nets survive while starting center Nic Claxton recovers from a sprained ankle, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. At 6’7″ and 220 pounds, Finney-Smith has been fearless while battling larger opponents in the middle.

“He’s just really stepped up to the challenge,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “What I’ve seen from him is his ability to compete. The majority of nights when he’s at the five, the dude that’s standing next to him is going to be taller than him, and a lot of the times bigger and stronger than him. And so his fight has been the first thing that needs to be acknowledged. His rebounding, his ability for us to use him to get a rebound and bust-out dribble … that’s an advantage for us.”

Lewis notes that Vaughn’s other option was to rely on backup center Day’Ron Sharpe, who’s more physically suited for the position. But Sharpe can’t space the floor on offense and he forces the defense to rely on drop coverage, which Vaughn wants to limit. Finney-Smith is a non-traditional answer until Claxton returns, but it’s working so far.

“I challenged our group,” Vaughn said. “I said that Doe is playing out of position, and I challenged them to come back and help this dude. He’s guarding bigger dudes every night. You cannot leave him by himself. So our group took that to heart.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Ben Simmons has looked more like his old self in the early part of the season, observes Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today. With injury issues reportedly behind him, Simmons has been more mobile and aggressive, and he’s putting up stat lines that are starting to resemble his All-Star past. “The past 24 months, not really having the ability to get on the court, it gave people a reason to pile on, and it gave them ammunition,” said his agent, Bernie Lee. “He wasn’t physically ready to play and was under so much pressure to make an attempt to do it, and buying into a narrative with his competitive nature, he wanted to get back on court and quiet detractors. Having the ability to take a step back and have more time to complete rehab for his back has been cathartic and he has invested in the work. He has taken perspective (of) his own place in life, his career and with this team.”
  • First-round pick Dariq Whitehead tells Jordan Greene of Nets Daily that he feels 75% to 80% in his recovery from offseason foot surgery. The 19-year-old forward is progressing toward his season debut with the team’s G League affiliate in Long Island. “Once I feel like I have complete control on how my legs feel, which should be another two weeks, I’ll be good to go,” Whitehead said.
  • The shorthanded Nets got some reinforcements on Friday when Spencer Dinwiddie and Dennis Smith Jr. both returned from injuries, Lewis adds in another story for the Post.

Nets Exercise 2024/25 Team Options On Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe

The Nets have exercised their 2024/25 team options on guard Cam Thomas and center Day’Ron Sharpe, the team announced on Thursday (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). Since their fourth-year options have been picked up, both players will now be eligible for rookie scale extensions next offseason.

Thomas, the 27th overall pick in the 2021 draft, will earn $4,041,249 in ’24/25. Sharpe, the 29th pick of the same draft, will make $3,989,122.

As Dan Martin of The New York Post writes, Thomas had an excellent offensive performance in Brooklyn’s season opener vs. Cleveland, getting the Nets back in the game by pouring in 36 points (on 13-of-21 shooting) in just 25 minutes off the bench. He missed his final attempt at the end of the game, however, and the Nets lost by one point.

It felt good, obviously,” Thomas said of his performance. “Obviously, you want to win, but it’s good to always reflect on what you do well.”

Sharpe, meanwhile, played 12 minutes in his 2023/24 debut, notching four points, two rebounds and two blocks. He appeared in 80 games for Brooklyn over the past two seasons, averaging 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per contest.

The full list of decisions on 2024/25 rookie scale team options can be found right here.

New York Notes: DiVincenzo, Myers, Sharpe, Dinwiddie, Barrett

Donte DiVincenzo feels less pressure this season despite signing a four-year, $47MM contract with the Knicks during free agency, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. DiVincenzo was rewarded after a solid season with the Warriors.

“I’m fortunate and thankful to have some stability, to be on a team now on a four-year deal. I can settle down and calm down,” DiVincenzo said. “Last year, I’m essentially on a one-year deal. Your anxiety, that’s more pressure. And you’re playing — when you’re playing with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Draymond [Green], what they’ve done, that’s pressure.”

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Former Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers believes the Knicks have become an attractive free agent destination and that they’re currently positioned to trade for a star, he told Ian Begley of SNY and other media members. “I think what has shifted (recently is) … there was a time where I felt like people may not have wanted to play in (New York City). And I think that’s changed,” Myers said. “I think now you’re looking at murmurings, hearing things – ‘Hey, what about the Knicks?’ And the draft capital they have – it’s a realistic thing. It’s not some lay person saying, ‘Well, the Knicks should go get this guy!’ Now it’s viable, it’s possible. And they have what it takes with first-round picks in their cabinet to go do it. They’ve got a lot of good young players on pretty affordable contracts. They’re just another team that you’re kind of waiting for the next big thing.”
  • Day’Ron Sharpe provided some good minutes for the Nets in their preseason game against Philadelphia on Monday with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds in 18 minutes. “He had a really good offseason, really good. And he’s had a really good preseason,” starting center Nic Claxton said to the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “He’s using his physicality without fouling. He’s a lot more comfortable out there.” It’s a pivotal season for Sharpe, as the Nets hold a $4MM option on his 2024/25 contract, which must be exercised by the end of this month.
  • Playing alongside Ben Simmons, Spencer Dinwiddie will have a different role this season with the Nets, Zach Braziller of the New York Post notes. He’ll be looked upon for more perimeter shooting — he shot 28.9% on 3s after being reacquired from Dallas, where he made 40% of his long-range attempts. “He has the ability to shoot it at a high level,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He also has the ability to get downhill into the paint. So we just don’t want him just shooting 3s. But the ability to do both for us [is there].”
  • In a subscriber-only story, Newsday’s Steve Popper details that RJ Barrett isn’t under the same load management restrictions that some of his Knicks teammates are facing.

Atlantic Notes: Nurse, Harden, Sharpe, Walker, Knicks

Head coach Nick Nurse is determined to prevent James Harden‘s standoff with Sixers management from becoming a distraction as he prepares the team for the start of the season, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harden went through all of training camp without incident, but was held out of Sunday’s preseason opener. With his trade request still looming, Nurse and the rest of his players aren’t sure if Harden will be on the roster when the season tips off in two weeks.

“I think that we knew (that) in the interview process, and the whole time James was a free agent,” Nurse said. “They talked to me, ‘How do you feel about if he’s here or if he isn’t?’ He certainly could have turned down his option and gone somewhere else. That was a possibility. But, like, you know my job is (to) work together with the front office. I believe in those guys. They got a track record of bringing in players, putting good teams together and my job is to coach the guys that are there. And that’s what I will do.”

Pompey notes that Nurse had other opportunities after his success in Toronto, as he interviewed with the Bucks and Suns and was considered the leading candidate for both jobs. Those teams are considered title contenders after major offseason acquisitions, but Nurse didn’t mind accepting the challenges in Philadelphia.

“I’ve got a job to do, and sometimes that job has a few things you’ve got to work through,” he said. “It’s not perfect on a lot of professional sports teams, right? You are paid to work through some things. That’s what we are trying to do.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets coach Jacque Vaughn plans to use more drop coverage this season, which could mean a larger role for backup center Day’Ron Sharpe, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The change in philosophy, plus having another big man on the court, could solve Brooklyn’s long-standing problems with rebounding. “When we switch 1-through-5 … it wasn’t so much Nic (Claxton) or I was getting cooked every play,” Sharpe said. “It was more so we’re out on the perimeter, they’re shooting the ball, the other guys (are) down there getting the rebounds. So, personally, I like to drop better. I like getting boards, I like being physical. And I don’t like when I feel like my matchup is killing me, either. So at the end of the day, I feel like it’s going to help us a lot.”
  • After spending last season with the Lakers, Lonnie Walker will face his former team Monday night as he tries to earn a spot in the Nets‘ rotation, Lewis adds in a separate story. Vaughn said he wants to see Walker attack the rim and stretch the floor with his outside shooting.
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau admits it will be a “tough call” to make the final roster cuts, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Bondy examines the candidates who will be fighting for spots throughout the preseason.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Point Guards, Whitehead, Sharpe, More

Nets guard Ben Simmons is taking part in 5-on-5 workouts without any restrictions and is expected to be a full participant in training camp, head coach Jacque Vaughn and general manager Sean Marks said on Tuesday, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“Pretty simple that way which is good for me to say, and I think that fits into an exciting time for me to have this group together,” Vaughn said. “No restrictions at the beginning of the year — get to form an identity together, get to form some relationships at the beginning of the year, a style of play, so really looking forward to the challenge and getting to training camp because of that.”

In addition to discussing Simmons’ health, Vaughn confirmed something the former No. 1 overall pick said last month, telling reporters that the relationship between the two men is in a better place now than it was last season. As Bontemps details, Vaughn also agreed with Simmons’ assessment that he’s a point guard, though the head coach did offer a caveat.

“I would use the word ‘agreement’ more so than ‘commitment,'” Vaughn said when he was asked if he’s committed to playing Simmons at the point this season. “The agreement is if he’s playing at a consistent and high level, then I think our pictures look exactly the same. I think you can kind of put it in that category.”

Asked if Simmons is competing with Spencer Dinwiddie for minutes at point guard, Vaughn said the two guards will share the floor at times, with Dennis Smith Jr. also in the mix for a regular backcourt role, tweets Ian Begley of

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • There’s no specific timeline for the return of first-round pick Dariq Whitehead, who underwent foot surgery in the spring, but the Nets certainly don’t expect him to miss his entire rookie season, per Adam Zagoria of “We’re definitely not going to rush him,” Marks said. “We love the grit and determination. I wouldn’t put a timeline on when he’ll be back but he will definitely be playing this year.”
  • While Vaughn still expects to use smaller lineups frequently in 2023/24, he wants to give Day’Ron Sharpe an opportunity to earn a role since he’s one of the team’s best rebounders, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links). The head coach also said that he expects Simmons and center Nic Claxton to share the floor quite a bit, despite the spacing issues it created last season.
  • For the first time since 2018, the Nets won’t have any superstar players on their roster entering training camp. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be open to pursuing a star in the next year or two if the right opportunity arises, but it also doesn’t sound like they feel compelled to do so. “(Team owner) Joe Tsai, myself and (Vaughn) have talked openly about how this team will look in the upcoming years and when’s the right time to go back in,” Marks said, according to Bontemps. “Whether it’s facilitating another deal, whether it’s acquiring more players, whether it’s seeing what these young guys on our team right now can develop, and that’s an exciting piece too that we’re forgetting to mention. We’re certainly not in any hurry, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do our due diligence like we always have over the course of the last six years.”
  • Over at his Substack, Steve Lichtenstein explores why forward Trendon Watford has the potential to be a solid developmental piece for Brooklyn. Watford is on a non-guaranteed contract with the Nets.

New York Notes: Nets Trade Talk, Simmons, Vaughn, Dolan, Robinson

The Nets are one of the more active teams on the trade market, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Joe Harris, Seth Curry and/or Patty Mills could potentially be on the move due to their short-term salaries and reduced roles, O’Connor notes. Beyond that, they could only dangle young players Day’Ron Sharpe and Cam Thomas, their 2028 or 2029 first-round pick, and a future first-rounder from Philadelphia in 2027 or 2028.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons says that coach Jacque Vaughn hasn’t really informed him why he’s often been on the bench in late-game situations, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. “I really had no message from him. I think it’s more just wherever team needs,” Simmons said. “When we’re winning I have no problem with it; if we’re losing then I got an issue.”
  • Speaking of Simmons, Vaughn says he expects him to be more consistent in the second half of the season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Simmons had a 10-point third quarter against Philadelphia on Wednesday and the coach wants to see that offensive aggression more often. “That’s the goal,” Vaughn said. “That’s where we’re going to get him to, where each possession he has to be dealt with on both ends of the floor. Where you feel him on both ends of the floor and he imposes his will and has an impact on every single possession, which he has the ability to do. That’s where we’re going to get to, that’s the challenge and we’re going to continue to expect it from him.”
  • Knicks owner James Dolan figures it’ll be another month or so before center Mitchell Robinson returns to action, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays (Twitter link). In a Fox5 interview, Dolan said the Knicks will have to “make it through the next four weeks” without Robinson. Robinson underwent thumb surgery last week and is expected to be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Sharpe, Randle, Brunson, Rose

Celtics forward Grant Williams has been fined $20K for hitting the game ball into the spectator stands, the league’s communications department tweets. The incident, for which Williams was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred late in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 123-107 loss to the Warriors on Saturday.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets forward Day’Ron Sharpe may have earned more playing time with his performance on Saturday with many of the team’s regulars out, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Sharpe had a career-high-tying 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks as the Nets defeated Indiana. “He’s a young young dude, he’s still learning the speed and where to be. For us to throw different things at him and for him not to get flustered and have poise was great to see,” coach Jacque Vaughn said of the 2021 first-round pick.
  • Knicks forward Julius Randle got tossed during the third quarter against Sacramento on Sunday for picking up two technical fouls. Coach Tom Thibodeau believes the coaching staff needs to calm Randle down in those situation to keep him on the court, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “When he got the first [technical foul], we have to do a better job of helping him walk away,” Thibodeau said. “As a team, staff, all of us.”
  • Derrick Rose, who was recently removed from the Knicks‘ rotation, could get some playing time restored if Jalen Brunson needs to miss some games, Braziller writes in a separate story. Brunson left Sunday’s game with what the team’s PR department described as a sore right foot (Twitter link). The Knicks don’t play again until Wednesday.

Nets Exercise 2023/24 Options On Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe

The Nets have picked up their team options on guard Cam Thomas and big man Day’Ron Sharpe for the 2023/24 season, the team announced today.

Thomas and Sharpe were the 27th and 29th overall picks, respectively, in the 2021 draft. Thomas’ rookie scale contract calls for a $2,240,160 third-year salary in 2023/24, while Sharpe will earn $2,210,040. Both of those salaries are now fully guaranteed.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2023/24 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Thomas, who was one of the top scorers in college basketball at LSU before going pro, averaged 8.5 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 67 games (17.6 MPG) for the Nets as a rookie. He showed off his scoring prowess at this year’s Summer League, averaging 27.4 PPG in just 30.3 MPG across five contests in Las Vegas.

Sharpe played a more limited role as a rookie, appearing in just 32 games and averaging 6.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 12.2 MPG. However, the 6’11” forward/center made a case for an increased role this year with a strong preseason, as we detailed on Sunday.

The Nets will have to decide on Thomas’ and Sharpe’s fourth-year options for the 2024/25 season next October. If those options are also exercised, the two players will become eligible for rookie scale extensions in July of 2024.

New York Notes: Robinson, Toppin, Grimes, Kokoskov, Sharpe

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, newly re-signed to a generous four-year, $60MM contract in free agency this summer, has been everything New York could have hoped for — at least, during his team’s preseason run, per Steve Popper of Newsday. Popper notes that, with Robinson on the hardwood, New York was a plus-64 across the club’s four preseason contests.

“I think all aspects of his game, he’s put a lot of work in,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s gotten better. The rebounding, the shot-blocking, he’s getting more comfortable with the ball. The finishing. The pressure on the rim. That set the tone from the start.”

“One thing about Mitch, he’s really special to work with,” Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson said. “He works hard. He’s a great guy off the court. We got to build a lot of chemistry over the past couple of weeks. I think how we’ve built the chemistry off the court, on the court we’re really in sync. So I look forward to kind of staying in that sync with him. He’s special. I just really enjoy his presence off the court, on the court obviously.”

There’s more out of the City That Never Sleeps:

  • In some encouraging Knicks health news, young reserves Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes should be available for New York in time for the team’s season opener on Wednesdayagainst the Grizzlies, writes . Toppin, dealing with a turned ankle, and Grimes, rehabbing a sore left foot, were held out of practice today, but head coach Tom Thibodeau remains confident they’ll be healthy in time for the first game that counts. “I think they’ll be fine,” Thibodeau said. “This is part of the program. Obi was more precautionary. It was just [that] he tweaked it.” 
  • New Nets assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has emerged as the team’s point man when it comes to game-planning its offense, according to Net Income of NetsDaily. Brooklyn’s fresh approach on that end of the floor is more open-ended and team-friendly, and is a credit to the input of Kokoskov, per Net Income.
  • 6’11” second-year Nets reserve center Day’Ron Sharpe has been making a case for frontcourt rotation minutes with a prolific preseason, reports Peter Botte of The New York Post. The big man out of North Carolina posted averages of 13.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG, in just 21.5 MPG, during Brooklyn’s final two games of its preseason. “I think he looks physically better,” head coach Steve Nash reflected. “I think I’ve told you before we’ve worked really hard with the young guys … and DayDay took a step.”

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Mandate, Nets, Raptors, Knicks

Nets superstar Kevin Durant voiced his displeasure over Kyrie Irving not being able to play in the team’s home game on Sunday, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Durant’s comments were made toward Eric Adams, mayor of New York City.

“Eric, you got to figure something out, man, because it’s looking crazy,” Durant said. “Especially on national TV, and he can come to the game, but not play, come on, man.”

Irving was at Sunday’s game as an unmasked spectator and even entered the team’s locker room, but he still can’t play at Barclays Center or Madison Sqaure Garden due to the city’s private sector vaccine mandate. The Nets wound up winning the game 110-107 behind Durant’s 53 points.

Here are some other notes out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets rookies Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe did their jobs while the team dealt with injuries, but both players have seen their minutes decrease their month, NetsDaily relays. The talented young duo gained valuable experience during their time on the court. Edwards is on a two-way contract, while Sharpe (the No. 29 pick) is on a standard deal.
  • The Raptors’ confidence is growing after wins over the Suns and Nuggets, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “We’re relentless,” said Pascal Siakam, “and we just want to continue to compete and get better as a team.” Winners of three straight games, Toronto now owns the seventh-best record in the East at 37-30, trailing Cleveland by one game for sixth place.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday explores the path going forward for the Knicks. New York’s chances of making the play-in tournament are starting to diminish, as the team currently trails the 10th place Hawks by five games. At 28-40, the Knicks only have 14 games left this season.