DeAndre’ Bembry

Nets Notes: Bembry, Aldridge, Griffin, Harris

DeAndre’ Bembry‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nets is only partially guaranteed for $750K, but based on his performance as of late, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the team will be comfortable fully guaranteeing that deal, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Bembry has taken on a larger role with Joe Harris and Bruce Brown out of action and has responded as well as Brooklyn could’ve hoped.

“He gives us some speed and athleticism; he gives us a defender out there who can guard No. 1 options on the other team, and he also is a cutter offensively for us. So he’s been great,” head coach Steve Nash said. “We’ve been working with him to really understand his role, and I think he’s been fantastic with his willingness to compete and to grow as a player. So, really proud of his effort and he’s getting better.”

Bembry scored 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go along with nine rebounds in 35 minutes during Saturday’s loss to Phoenix. Bembry won’t play that much – or that well – every night, but he looks like a good bet to continue getting regular minutes going forward, having impressed his star teammates with his recent play.

“He played incredible [on Saturday] — playing defense on the ball, cutting to the rim, making himself available, rebounding,” Kevin Durant said, per Lewis. “We’re going to need that from him. He was a spark for us and he was one of the bright spots out there. So hopefully he can continue to build on this and keep getting better.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at how LaMarcus Aldridge went from retiring in the spring to becoming a crucial part of the Nets’ lineup in the fall. Aldridge, who inked a minimum-salary contract with the club in the offseason, has been one of this season’s best bargains so far.
  • Having been displaced by Aldridge in the starting lineup, Blake Griffin has been out of Brooklyn’s rotation entirely over the last couple games, which he admits he didn’t see coming, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. Griffin said he talked to former teammate DeAndre Jordan, who was removed from the rotation last season, about how to handle the demotion. “He did a really great job with it,” Griffin said. “I told him that. That is how I am going to try to do it as well.”
  • Joe Harris‘ contract includes a $500K bonus that he can earn if the Nets win the championship, but he only qualifies for it if he plays at least 65 regular season games, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Harris’ absence due to ankle surgery appears likely to take that bonus off the table for this season, even if Brooklyn makes a title run.

Eastern Notes: Griffin, Bembry, Fultz, Capela, Bogdanovic

Nets big man Blake Griffin has seen his role shrink with the impressive play of LaMarcus Aldridge, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Griffin started last season and in Brooklyn’s first 18 games this year, but he was replaced by Aldridge against the Celtics on Wednesday.

In addition to losing his starting spot, Griffin also didn’t receive minutes off the bench. Head coach Steve Nash opted to play James Johnson and Paul Millsap instead, and the duo helped the Nets secure a 123-104 road victory.

“We just need to look at different things,” Nash said. “I think it picked up our pace. [Aldridge is] not the fastest guy on the floor, but we played with pace. We played with ideas. We weren’t stagnant. We moved the ball. I thought we defended well. 

“Overall, the spirit was really good. That’s what we’ve been asking from this group is to have a great spirit and pick each other up and push for more, get better.” 

There’s more from the Eastern Conference today:

  • Nets swingman DeAndre’ Bembry is showing the team he deserves more minutes, Mark Sanchez of the New York Post opines. In 18 games this season, Bembry is averaging 5.1 points in 18.6 minutes per contest, shooting 41% from three-point range. He has failed to exceed 30% from deep in each of his last three seasons.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz discussed a variety of topics with former NBA player Etan Thomas on’s The Rematch (podcast link), including his injuries, love of the game and facing adversity. Fultz has yet to play this season as he rehabs from a torn ACL.
  • Chris Kirschner of The Athletic examines the close connection between Hawks players Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela. Bogdanovic and Capela have been teammates for two seasons, but, as Kirschner details, their relationship extends past basketball.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Brown, Bembry, Drummond, Milton

Nets head coach Steve Nash knows he needs to be careful not to overburden star Kevin Durant, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Durant, who leads the NBA in scoring with 29.5 points per game, is shooting a career-high 58.5% from the field. Nash says the team is intent on finding Durant more shots within the flow of the offense, instead of relying on him to bail them out with his great one-on-one play.

That’s the luxury of All-Star players, that they can do that. Kevin’s obviously elite at scoring and isolating, and there are times when we lean on him. But it’s important for our team that we don’t overburden (him),” said Nash.

You want to give him as many great opportunities to score out of the flow and out of teamwork, rather than have to face a loaded defense all night. So while that is a luxury — that he can make plays against anyone — we definitely don’t want to rely on that. That’s the antithesis to our vision. But that is a luxury, when he can just rise up and score over people.”

The Nets have just seven players back from last season, and Nash says all the new faces are still trying to figure out how to play together.

It’s a new group, and we’re asking them to play a lot of basketball where they’re reading situations, playing early, and with a randomness, but with principles,” Nash said. “That takes time to develop that feel for one another. But I think that’s where our group needs to go. … It still takes time and there are only stretches of the game where we execute that vision.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Matthew Brooks of provides a video breakdown of how the NetsBruce Brown and DeAndre’ Bembry have played key roles in shaping the team’s newfound defensive identity. Brown re-signed with Brooklyn in the offseason, while Bembry was added in free agency.
  • With Sixers star Joel Embiid sidelined with COVID-19, it’s Andre Drummond‘s time to shine, opines Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey believes that Drummond, a free agent signing on a one-year, minimum-salary contract, has already proven to be a clear upgrade over Dwight Howard, Embiid’s replacement last season. Drummond is averaging 15 points, 20 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game in three starts this season.
  • Sixers guard Shake Milton has given the team a boost since returning from a sprained ankle, according to Gina Mizell of the Inquirer. Milton has shown a willingness to play multiple roles and is competing harder on defense. “However it comes, I think I’m going to be prepared,” Milton said. “My mentality every game is to come in and bring the team energy, pick up full court, play-make on offense, guard my guy on defense and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Millsap, Aldridge, Luxury Tax

Nets guard Kyrie Irving wasn’t present at the team’s first practice in Brooklyn on Tuesday, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

In order to enter public indoor venues in New York City, individuals must have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Irving, who deflected questions about the subject last week, is reportedly unvaccinated. He was able to take part in the Nets’ training camp, which took place last week in San Diego, but as long as he remains unvaccinated, he’ll be unable to play or practice in New York.

Head coach Steve Nash didn’t provide any additional details on Irving’s status, as Youngmisuk notes.

“No further update,” Nash told reporters when asked about Irving, adding that he’s “not really worried” about the point guard’s absence. “We support him. We are here for him. Things change. When there’s a resolution, we’re here for him.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • With Nicolas Claxton expected to get regular minutes at center for the Nets, it’s unclear if veterans Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge will both be a consistent part of the rotation to start the season. However, the two big men have made strong cases for themselves so far and even showed on Sunday vs. the Lakers that they might even be capable of playing alongside each other, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “They both had a really good camp,” Nash said. “Both moved well, played well, showed their intellect and skill set. I thought they played quite well together even though it’s not something that we’ve necessarily done traditionally, played the two bigger guys.”
  • Even if they don’t end up playing big minutes, Millsap and Aldridge are looking forward to passing their knowledge onto the team’s younger players, per Lewis. “Me and LaMarcus are veteran guys, two of the oldest in the locker room,” Millsap said. “So we’re going to help try to guide some of these younger guys into knowing what the NBA’s all about.”
  • Within his preview of the team’s 2021/22 season, John Hollinger of The Athletic speculates that the Nets could explore trades that reduce their projected luxury-tax payment. Hollinger identifies Sekou Doumbouya and DeAndre’ Bembry as two possible trade candidates in that scenario. For what it’s worth, Brooklyn can’t include cash in any more deals this season, having used the maximum $5.785MM in last month’s DeAndre Jordan trade. The Nets do still have some future second-round picks they could use as sweeteners.

Contract Details: Clippers, THT, Ball, Nwaba, Bembry, Raptors

After reporting over the weekend that the Clippers used about $3.9MM of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Justise Winslow, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video) confirmed today that the team used the leftover portion of that MLE to sign second-round picks Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to three-year deals, with Preston getting a little more than the rookie minimum.

Keith Smith of Spotrac shares those salary figures down to the dollar, tweeting that Winslow’s first-year salary is $3,902,439 while Preston’s is $1,062,303. Combined with Boston’s rookie minimum of $925,258, those three salaries add up to exactly $5.89MM, the amount of the taxpayer mid-level exception.

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

  • While Talen Horton-Tucker‘s three-year deal with the Lakers was initially said to be worth $32MM, the year-by-year breakdown provided by Smith works out to a total of $30.78MM (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball‘s four-year deal with the Bulls also came in slightly lower than expected, according to Smith, who says it has a base value of $80MM, with $1MM in annual unlikely incentives (Twitter link).
  • David Nwaba‘s three-year, $15MM contract with the Rockets has two fully guaranteed seasons followed by a third-year team option, according to Marks (Instagram video).
  • DeAndre’ Bembry‘s minimum-salary deal with the Nets has a partial guarantee of $750K for now, tweets Smith. That number will increase to $1.25MM on December 15 before becoming fully guaranteed in January.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter links) shares some Raptors contract details, reporting that Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal has a base value of $51.84MM, with $250K in annual unlikely incentives. Murphy adds that Ishmail Wainright got a $250K guarantee in 2021/22 – plus a $125K guarantee in ’22/23 – on his minimum-salary contract, while Yuta Watanabe‘s minimum-salary deal is now partially guaranteed for $375K. Watanabe would get his full guarantee if he makes the regular season roster.

Nets Sign DeAndre’ Bembry

AUGUST 8: The Nets have officially signed Bembry, the club announced today in a press release.

AUGUST 6: The Nets have reached a one-year agreement with free agent swingman DeAndre’ Bembry, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). While terms of the deal weren’t reported, Brooklyn is currently limited to minimum-salary commitments.

Bembry, who joins Patty Mills and James Johnson as veteran free agents to commit to Brooklyn this offseason, spent the 2020/21 season with the Raptors. He appeared in 51 games, averaging 5.7 points on 51% shooting from the floor and 26% shooting from deep, providing defensive versatility and athleticism off the bench. He was waived on Tuesday before his 2021/22 salary became guaranteed.

The 6’5″ Bembry was also the No. 21 pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. He spent the first four years of his career with Atlanta, mostly playing off the bench.

In addition to Bembry, Mills and Johnson, the Nets also reached new deals with two of their own free agents this summer: Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown. The team has built a formidable roster around the likes of Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant as it seeks its first-ever NBA championship.

Lowe’s Latest: K. Williams, Payne, Monk, Burks, Hartenstein

For the 10th year in a row, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has named his end-of-season “Luke Walton All-Stars,” honoring overlooked rotation players and NBA journeymen who have impressed him most over the course of the year.

Nets guard Bruce Brown, Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Raptors teammates Yuta Watanabe and DeAndre’ Bembry are among the players who made Lowe’s list, which also includes a handful of interesting tidbits on some of his choices. Here are a few highlights:

  • Thunder forward Kenrich Williams, who resisted signing a two-way contract multiple times earlier in his career, has enjoyed a breakout year in Oklahoma City. Sources tell Lowe that several playoff teams expressed trade interest in Williams prior to March’s deadline, but he wanted to remain in OKC, where he’s under contract for two more years (both non-guaranteed).
  • Suns guard Cameron Payne told Lowe that he thought his NBA career might be over in 2020, when the Mavericks opted to sign Trey Burke over him for the summer restart after he had played well for Dallas’ G League affiliate. However, he got an opportunity shortly thereafter with Phoenix, in large part because head coach Monty Williams had gotten to know him during their time with the Thunder.
  • Another former first-round pick, Hornets guard Malik Monk, was concerned about his NBA career last year as well, following his suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, his brother Marcus Monk told Lowe. The former Kentucky standout has enjoyed a career year while trying to let go of tension about his role, Lowe writes. “Guys who have success in college think the NBA is going to go a certain way,” Marcus said. “You think you’re invincible. Malik fell victim to that. I’m proud of how he matured.”
  • Before he signed a one-year, $6MM contract with the Knicks last fall, Alec Burks discussed a deal with the Bulls, according to Lowe. Burks’ familiarity with Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant from their time in Utah was a factor in his decision to choose New York.
  • After an underwhelming stint in Denver, Isaiah Hartenstein has played well for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 16 games (17.9 MPG). Lowe says he wouldn’t be surprised if Hartenstein turns down his minimum-salary player option for 2021/22 to seek a new deal.

Raptors Notes: Lowry, Ujiri, Bembry, Watson

During the hours leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, Michael Grange of tweeted that the Sixers and Raptors appeared to be “at the one-yard line” in their discussions on a Kyle Lowry trade. Obviously, those talks didn’t make it into the end zone and Lowry ended up staying put. But Sam Amick of The Athletic hears that Toronto did feel at one point as if a deal with Philadelphia was close.

According to Amick, the deal would have included Danny Green, who would’ve been re-routed to a third team. It’s a safe bet that at least one of Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle would have been part of the package too. However, the draft compensation involved in the proposed trade was the obstacle that held things up, a source tells Amick.

Following up today on the Lowry discussions, Grange says (via Twitter) that the Sixers knew Miami was Lowry’s preferred landing spot, so they had to view him as a possible rental. That limited what they were willing to offer beyond Maxey, Grange adds. The Lakers were in a similar boat with Talen Horton-Tucker, writes Josh Lewenberg of, while the Heat were unwilling to offer Tyler Herro for a player they could theoretically sign in free agency this summer.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While the Raptors didn’t trade Lowry at the deadline, it’s hard to shake the sense that more drastic changes could be coming as soon as this offseason, Grange writes for While Lowry could sign a new contract with Toronto, it seems just as likely that he could head elsewhere, possibly in a sign-and-trade deal.
  • Like Lowry, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is also on an expiring contract, and while he spoke glowingly about the franchise on Thursday, he gave no indication that an in-season extension is around the corner. “We’ll visit this at the end of the season at some point,” Ujiri said of his contract with Toronto, per Grange.
  • During his media session on Thursday, Ujiri addressed the idea that the Raptors’ asking price for Lowry was too high: “I was surprised (the offers) weren’t better because, to be honest, I’ve viewed him as somebody that can go out and put a stamp on what you can do this year. … I’ve lived it, I’ve seen it… I know what the guy does. I know who he is. And that’s the truth. So, yeah, we’re going to (be) skewed in some kind of way and I’m biased in many ways with the players we have and I hope I’m pardoned that if I valued him too much, but that’s what I believe in today.”
  • Raptors reserves DeAndre’ Bembry and Paul Watson have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t play on Friday night, tweets Josh Lewenberg of

Raptors Notes: Anunoby, Lowry, Arena Plans, Bembry

Now that Giannis Antetokounmpo is no longer on track to reach free agency in 2021 and preserving as much cap room as possible for next summer may no longer been as high a priority for the Raptors, a rookie scale extension for three-and-D wing OG Anunoby before Monday’s deadline looks like a more realistic possibility.

According to Josh Lewenberg of, Anunoby’s camp is thought to be seeking a deal similar to the one Fred VanVleet just signed (four years, $85MM), while the Raptors will likely counter with an annual salary closer to $15MM per year. Lewenberg wonders if the two sides might ultimately agree to something in the $17-18MM range.

Although the Raptors view Anunoby as a big part of its future, there’s no guarantee that will find common ground in the coming days. If the 23-year-old doesn’t sign a new contract on or before Monday, he’ll become a restricted free agent during the 2021 offseason.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Kyle Lowry is also entering a contract year, but he said today that he hasn’t spoken to the front office about his future beyond this season (Twitter link via Lewenberg).My goal is to stay focused on trying to win a championship for the Raptors,” Lowry said. “I’ll let the other stuff play itself out.” Unlike Anunoby, Lowry isn’t currently eligible to sign an extension.
  • Despite not playing in their home city to start the 2020/21 regular season, the Raptors will be one of a handful of NBA teams hosting fans in their arena. The club issued a press release earlier this week announcing plans to host 3,800 fans for regular season games in Tampa. According to the Raptors, no seats within 30 feet of the court will be available, and a number of other safety measures will be in place, including fans being required to wear masks and practice physical distancing while in the building. Fans will also be screened when they enter the arena and will be prohibited from bringing in bags.
  • DeAndre’ Bembry is making a strong impression on Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who said that it’s “hard to keep (him) off the floor,” per Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter link). The newly-signed swingman sounds like a good bet to be one of the first players off the bench for the club.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Knicks, Bembry, T. Davis

In his first public comments this week after leaving Boston for Charlotte, veteran forward Gordon Hayward said he holds no “ill will” toward the Celtics, as Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.

Addressing Hayward’s departure during an appearance on Boston radio show Toucher & Rich on Tuesday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the team wanted to bring back Hayward, but that the forward preferred the Hornets due to an opportunity to take on more of a featured role — the fact that Charlotte made the largest contract offer probably didn’t hurt either.

Hayward’s exit did allow the Celtics to create a massive $28.5MM traded player exception that can be used during the season or in the 2021 offseason. As Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston relays, Ainge said on Tuesday that he doesn’t expect to utilize that exception right away.

“We could use it to get three players or four players to strengthen our bench at different times,” Ainge said. “We’re not going to go do anything right now, just because it’s that time of year where people love their teams. Everybody has gotten better in the offseason.

“We’ll see how this season goes and see where we are. We’ll have the ability to improve our team at the trade deadline, and improve our team next offseason if not. It just gives us another vehicle to acquire players that we would not have had.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Within a recap of the Knicks‘ offseason moves, Marc Berman of The New York Post suggests that Leon Rose‘s Plan A involved trading for Chris Paul and then signing Carmelo Anthony. When Paul, who reportedly wasn’t interested in joining the Knicks, was instead sent to Phoenix, Rose pivoted and completed a handful of minor signings and trades to fill out the roster.
  • In a separate story for The New York Post, Berman examines how new head coach Tom Thibodeau plans to balance the Knicks‘ player development goals with a desire to be competitive in 2020/21.
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told reporters today that Toronto’s front office has liked DeAndre’ Bembry for a while and was happy to have the chance to sign him this offseason (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of Nurse praised Bembry’s toughness, defense, and play-making, referring to him as a “high-IQ guy.”
  • Having guaranteed Terence Davis‘ salary for 2020/21, the Raptors continue to wait for the NBA to complete its investigation into the allegations of domestic violence against the second-year guard, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “I think sometimes that may feel a bit unsatisfying but I think that we need to be respectful of that process as well,” general manager Bobby Webster said on Tuesday.