Delon Wright

Southeast Notes: G. Williams, D. Wright, Cain, Wizards

New Hornets forward Grant Williams has “quickly woven himself into the team’s fabric” since being traded from Dallas to Charlotte 15 days ago, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

The Hornets have won all four games Williams has played, and he has scored at least 15 points in each of those victories, averaging 18.8 PPG on .490/.429/.929 shooting. Charlotte also has an impressive +16.7 net rating in Williams’ 118 minutes on the court.

“In these four games, when he’s been on the floor we’ve been really good,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “He plays well at both ends of the floor. And that’s what you need — two-way players. Creates a lot of offense for his teammates with his space shooting and the way he plays on offense. And then he’s very much, he’s like the middle linebacker back there that organizes your defense, and he also plays with great physicality.”

A report after the trade deadline claimed that Williams quickly wore out his welcome in Dallas by rubbing people the wrong way, but his new teammates have been impressed by what he has brought to the Hornets so far.

“Just everything,” Miles Bridges said. “Leadership, toughness, greater IQ, talk, all that. Everything that we needed. He’s been great for us. Hopefully, he can keep it going.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Practicing with his new team on Thursday for the first time, veteran guard Delon Wright called it a “no-brainer” to sign with the Heat, adding that his brother Dorell Wright helped push him in that direction and might be even “more excited than I am” about it, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Dorell was Miami’s first-round pick in 2004 and won a title with the team in 2006. “This was probably the best opportunity for me to play and help a team reach the Finals again,” Delon said. “And obviously the culture here. And how long I’ve known everybody here (factored in). If I want to transition in the middle of a season, Miami was probably the best place to do that for obvious reasons.”
  • Wright’s addition to the Heat‘s roster clears the way for two-way player Jamal Cain to be active for up to 50 games (teams without full 15-man rosters are limited to 90 combined games for their three two-way players). However, it also means the door is closed for now on the possibility of a promotion to the 15-man roster. While he’d love to sign a standard contract, Cain says he’s not disappointed by the development, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscription required). “I see all the contract spots are filled. It’s not a burden on me. I just don’t want to take the wrong mentality,” Cain said. “I’m still here with the team. They still like me; I’m still here. So that’s all that really matters.”
  • Wright gave up $947,205 as part of his buyout agreement with the Wizards, reducing his dead money on Washington’s books to $7,247,917, Hoops Rumors has learned. That figure of $947,205 is the same amount he’ll earn on his minimum-salary contract with the Heat.
  • Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network takes a look at five Wizards storylines to follow down the stretch, including how the team divvies up the point guard minutes and the ongoing development of Deni Avdija and Bilal Coulibaly.

Heat Sign Guard Delon Wright

The Heat have officially signed guard Delon Wright, according to a team press release.

Wright, a nine-year NBA veteran, has appeared in 494 career NBA games (84 starts) and averaged 7.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.22 steals and 20.8 minutes.

The Wizards bought out Wright on Friday and waived him. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on the same day that the guard intended to sign with Miami.

Wright received the prorated veteran’s minimum, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets.

Wright had been with the Wizards since signing a two-year, $16MM contract with the club as a free agent in 2022. The 31-year-old appeared in 83 total games for Washington across those two seasons, averaging 6.1 points, 3.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 20.2 minutes per game, with a shooting line of .450/.350/.854.

Wright had an expiring $8.2MM deal prior to the buyout. After averaging 15.1 minutes per contest in his first 29 games this season, Wright logged just 18 total minutes in the Wizards’ first four games after the trade deadline, signaling that he was no longer part of their plans, so his buyout agreement didn’t come as a huge surprise.

The Heat were looking for point guard depth following Dru Smith‘s season-ending injury and the January trade sending Kyle Lowry to Charlotte, as well as injuries to Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson.

The Heat had an open spot on their 15-man roster, which is now full. Miami was permitted to sign Wright despite being over the first tax apron because his pre-waiver salary was less than this season’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4MM).

Pacific Notes: Suns’ Buyout Options, Durant, Booker, Harden, LeBron, Curry

The Suns have numerous options on the buyout market, but their preferred targets may not be available, writes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Phoenix had two roster spots open after an active trade deadline, and one of those will be filled by Thaddeus Young, who is expected to finalize his reported deal with the team early this week, according to Bourguet.

The Suns are looking for help in several areas, and one of their top priorities was reportedly Delon Wright, who is expected to sign with Miami. Sources tell Bourguet that Phoenix also considered Danilo Gallinari, but he was crossed off the list after the agreement with Young and wound up signing with Milwaukee. Bourguet also cites mutual interest in a reunion with Bismack Biyombo before he reached a deal with Oklahoma City.

Bourguet identifies ideal targets as Spurs forward Cedi Osman and Jazz forward Otto Porter, who hasn’t played since being acquired from Toronto at the deadline. However, there hasn’t been a strong indication that either player will reach a buyout before the March 1 deadline to be eligible for the postseason with a new team. If they aren’t available, Bourguet looks at Danuel House as a potential signing, along with the possibility that Saben Lee could be promoted from his two-way contract.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker both talked Saturday about the connection they’ve formed after a full year as teammates, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “We have the same likes in life,” Booker said. “We’re hoops junkies and that’s where it started. Now we spend a lot more time together, man. We like to kick it, chill. Talk basketball and play video games.”
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue believes the early-season trade for James Harden relaxed the burden on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, enabling both stars to stay healthier, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.“(Having Harden) makes it a lot easier on Kawhi and PG not to have to handle and make every play for themselves and for our team,” Lue said. “So, James has been great, just keeps everybody happy … takes a lot of grind off of PG and Kawhi.”
  • In the wake of a report that the Warriors contacted the Lakers about LeBron James before the deadline, Bruce Jenkins of The San Francisco Chronicle looks at what would have to happen if James and Stephen Curry decide they want to join forces with Golden State.

Heat Notes: Love, Williams, Wright, Jaquez

There were reasons to believe Kevin Love‘s career might be nearing the end when he agreed to a buyout with the Cavaliers during last year’s All-Star break, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Instead, the past 12 months have included a trip to the NBA Finals and a new contract with the Heat, as well as the birth of his first child, all of which have combined to make Love very content in Miami.

“I think the thing that’s most gratifying to me is that going to a new location or a new team or a new organization, new city, especially at this stage in your career, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “And after that run last year, I got so much fun out of it, as well as guys I’ll have relationships for life, bigger than basketball. My daughter was born on June 10th, right after Game 4 (of the NBA Finals). We bought a new house in Miami. It’s almost like we got to start our life in a place where we have a lot of friends and a lot of great teammates and people in the organization who have become family in a pretty quick time, so it has been a very happy year.”

Love was stuck on the bench in Cleveland, but a big forward who could shoot and rebound and had previous Finals experience was just what the Heat needed. He started 17 of the 21 regular season games he played after signing with Miami and maintained a rotation role throughout the team’s playoff run.

In addition to his on-court contributions, Love has become a veteran leader in the locker room, especially after the retirement of Udonis Haslem, Winderman notes. Love believes he can play for at least another year or two and then may transition into a mentorship role.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Alondes Williams was impressive in Friday’s Rising Stars competition, and he might get a shot at more playing time after the break, Winderman states in a mailbag column. Winderman speculates that the two-way player may be in line for a standard contract if the Heat decide to waive Dru Smith, who’s out for the rest of the season after undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery.
  • Delon Wright was likely promised regular minutes to get him to commit to the Heat, Winderman adds in the same piece. However, the extent of Wright’s rotation role won’t be clear until Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson return from their current injuries.
  • Jaime Jaquez, who jumped over Shaquille O’Neal for his first entry in Saturday’s Dunk Contest, said clearing the Hall of Fame center was a difficult thing to prepare for, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “Listen, I ain’t gonna lie. I didn’t practice jumping over Shaq,” Jaquez said. “I used Bam [Adebayo] as practice. But there’s a big height difference. So I was really nervous when I saw Shaq out there. I’ve seen him a bunch of times. But when he’s standing there, I was definitely feeling nervous.”

Southeast Notes: Adebayo, Wright, C. Martin, Magic Rookies

Bam Adebayo will become the first Heat player to start in an All-Star Game since Dwyane Wade did it in 2016, having been named to the Eastern Conference starting lineup by head coach Doc Rivers as an injury replacement for Joel Embiid, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

As Rivers observed on Saturday, with the East’s All-Star roster relatively heavy on guards and wings, Adebayo was the most obvious choice to replace Embiid in the middle.

“My lineup decision was easy,” Rivers said. “I looked at Big Joel out, what other (center) do we have on the team, and Bam got the honor. It’s good for him, too. It’s funny, I told him in locker room. He didn’t know. I thought he knew because I told the league yesterday that he did know. You could tell he was very happy about it.”

As Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes, Adebayo had already joined an exclusive group by becoming the sixth player in franchise history to earn three All-Star nods as a member of the Heat, joining Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. However, Sunday will be his first All-Star start.

“It’s going to be a dope experience,” Adebayo said. “Just going to really cherish that moment and thankful to God and all the people who support me through all the ups and downs. We’ve added something new to our list.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In a separate story for The Miami Herald, Chiang examines how Delon Wright will help the Heat once the veteran guard clears waivers and officially signs with the team. Wright may not play a significant role when Miami’s roster is fully healthy, Chiang acknowledges, but he’s a talented defender who takes care of the ball on offense (82 assists to 11 turnovers this season) and will upgrade the club’s depth.
  • Cody Martin has been beset by injuries since finalizing a four-year, $31MM deal with the Hornets in 2022, but he’s finally healthy and is producing like Charlotte hoped he would when he signed that contract, notes ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link). Lowe refers to Martin as a tough and selfless player who would have real trade value if he finishes this season strong, given his team-friendly contract ($8.12MM guaranteed in 2024/25; $8.68MM non-guaranteed in ’25/26).
  • Anthony Black has played a far more significant role this season than fellow Magic lottery pick Jett Howard, but the team’s front office remains “really excited” about both players, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman tells Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. “Jett’s done really well in Osceola,” Weltman said, referring to the Magic’s G League affiliate. “Those guys are on different paths right now but we’re very high on Jett as well. He’s got a lot of gifts.”

Delon Wright Bought Out By Wizards, Plans To Sign With Heat

4:02pm: The Wizards have officially waived Wright, the team confirmed today in a press release.

2:08pm: Veteran guard Delon Wright has reached an agreement on a contract buyout with the Wizards, agent Greg Lawrence tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Wright intends to sign with the Heat after he clears waivers.

Wright, 31, has been with the Wizards since signing a two-year, $16MM contract with the club as a free agent in 2022. He appeared in 83 total games for Washington across those two seasons, averaging 6.1 points, 3.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 20.2 minutes per game, with a shooting line of .450/.350/.854.

Viewed as an obvious trade candidate this season due to his expiring $8.2MM deal and the Wizards’ place near the bottom of the NBA standings, Wright was mentioned in several rumors leading up to last Thursday’s deadline.

However, he stayed put, with Josh Robbins of The Athletic subsequently reporting that the offers Washington received for the 31-year-old were “underwhelming” and would’ve required the Wizards to take on salary beyond this season.

After averaging 15.1 minutes per contest in his first 29 games this season, Wright logged just 18 total minutes in the Wizards’ first four games after the trade deadline, signaling that he was no longer part of their plans, so his buyout agreement doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Wright has a somewhat limited offensive game, but is a solid passer who takes care of the ball and can make an open three-point shot. Much of his value stems from his play on the other end of the court, where he’s an active, versatile perimeter defender.

He’ll join a Heat team that lacks depth at the point guard position following Dru Smith‘s season-ending injury and the January trade sending Kyle Lowry to Charlotte. Players like Terry Rozier, Tyler Herro, and Josh Richardson have played the position for Miami this season, but none are prototypical point guards, and Rozier and Richardson are both currently injured. Wright will give the club another ball-handling option in that role.

The Heat have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to make room for Wright. Miami is permitted to sign Wright despite being over the first tax apron because his pre-waiver salary was less than this season’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4MM).

Filling their 15th roster spot will allow the Heat to use their two-way players in up to 50 games apiece, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald notes (via Twitter). As long as Miami had an open roster spot, those three players will limited to a combined total of 90 games played.

The Wizards will have just 13 players on standard contracts once they officially waive Wright. They’ll have up to two weeks to re-add a 14th man.

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.

Southeast Notes: Highsmith, Rozier, Jones, Wright, Magic, Forrest

Heat swingman Haywood Highsmith has been cited for careless driving after being involved in a car accident that left a man hospitalized, reports Angie DiMichele of The Sun Sentinel. The citation is not considered criminal, but Highsmith was described in a police report as driving in a “careless or negligent manner,” per DiMichele.

Highsmith’s agent Jerry Dianis issued a statement describing the circumstances of the accident.

“At approximately 11:20 pm, Haywood struck a pedestrian pushing an unlit disabled car down the middle of a dark road,” Dianis said. “Haywood immediately rushed to help the person pushing the car who had been injured. Haywood assisted a bystander who applied a tourniquet to the injury and stayed on the scene talking to the injured man offering words of comfort until an ambulance took him to the hospital.

“Mr. Highsmith had not consumed alcohol or drugs and was not speeding. This was an unfortunate accident. We have been notified that the person sustained significant injuries but is in stable condition. Haywood and his family are praying for him. Haywood is of course shaken by this and appreciates the support and prayers he has received from the Miami Heat and fans.”

Highsmith returned to Heat practice on Friday after missing Wednesday’s game in the wake of the incident.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Terry Rozier was acquired by the Heat on January 23, but due to the nature of the team’s in-season schedule, he didn’t take part in a full practice with his new club until Friday, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “It feels good just to get up and down with these guys and put a lot more things in that we can get better at in the game,” Rozier said after the session.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes a look at why the Wizards‘ trade deadline was quieter than anticipated, with guards Tyus Jones and Delon Wright among the trade candidates who stayed put. Teams were only willing to offer second-round picks for Jones, Robbins reports, so Washington decided to hang onto him and will strongly consider re-signing him in free agency this summer. Robbins adds that the offers for Wright were “underwhelming” and would’ve required the Wizards to take on salary beyond this season.
  • Franz Wagner has no problem with the Magic opting to stand pat at the trade deadline, telling Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link) that he views it as a sign of trust from the front office.
  • The Hawks will have to make a decision soon on guard Trent Forrest, tweets Brad Rowland of Locked on Hawks. As Rowland explains, despite only appearing in 19 games so far, Forrest has been active for 49 — players on two-way contracts are limited to a maximum of 50. Atlanta would have to promote Forrest to its standard roster, which is currently full, to allow him to exceed that limit.

No Deadline Deals Involving Lakers, Cavs, Hawks, Bulls, Others

While we certainly saw a flurry of activity prior to today’s trade deadline, seven teams didn’t make any moves at all over the past week, observes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). That group features the Lakers, Cavaliers, Hawks, Bulls, Magic, Heat, and Pelicans.

Miami and New Orleans made previous trades this season, but the other five teams did not.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links), the Lakers were actively involved in trade talks, but decided any deal would have been a “marginal upgrade” with a prohibitive cost. L.A. plans to be “aggressive” in the buyout market, however, and will have up to three first-round picks to trade this summer, versus the one it had available during the season.

As Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times writes, Dejounte Murray and Alex Caruso were among the players the Lakers were interested in, but they decided the Hawks’ and Bulls’ asking prices were too steep.

The Cavs — the league’s hottest team — “believe strongly” in the roster they’ve constructed, and they also have a pair of standard roster spots open to peruse the buyout market, per Chris Fedor of (Twitter link).

The Hawks were reportedly aggressive in proposing trade concepts, yet decided to keep the roster they have, despite their mediocre 22-29 record. Murray was the player most prominently featured in rumors from Atlanta’s roster.

The 24-27 Bulls also decided to stand pat, with center Andre Drummond among the players they retained, confirms Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (via Twitter).

According to Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel, the Magic’s front office “did its due diligence” in evaluating the market, but it likes the current roster and wanted to maintain continuity ahead of a potential postseason push. Orlando is currently 27-24.

The Raptors made a handful of trades this season, including two on Thursday, yet one player who many expected to be on the move remains on the roster. Toronto decided to hang onto Bruce Brown past the deadline, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The rebuilding Wizards were viewed as sellers ahead of the deadline, and they did trade Daniel Gafford to Dallas. But they also decided to keep veteran guards Tyus Jones and Delon Wright, two players featured in plenty of trade rumors, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Stein’s Latest: Wiggins, Mavs, Finney-Smith, Bucks, Wizards

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Mavericks and Warriors weren’t engaged in any active discussions about an Andrew Wiggins trade, Marc Stein reports within his latest Substack article.

Dallas has repeatedly been cited as a team with interest in Wiggins, but sources tell Stein that interest has been overstated. As Stein previously reported, the Mavericks have been prioritizing power forwards over small forwards. Wiggins has played at the four, but is more of a small-ball option there and is a more traditional three.

That stance may explain why one recent report suggested that Dallas also hasn’t shown serious interest in Dorian Finney-Smith, another player who would be a smaller four. According to Stein, P.J. Washington of the Hornets and Kyle Kuzma of the Wizards are two of the players who remain on the Mavs’ radar.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Speaking of Finney-Smith, Stein and Ian Begley of each confirm that the Bucks have shown interest in the Nets forward. However, Brooklyn has sought at least one first-round pick in return for Finney-Smith and Milwaukee doesn’t have one to trade, so it’s unclear whether the two sides would be able to find common ground. The Nets have been signaling that they’re willing to hang onto Finney-Smith beyond the deadline if their asking price isn’t met, Stein writes.
  • After reporting that the Bucks and Mavericks had exploratory talks about Bobby Portis and Grant Williams, Stein says those discussions didn’t advance any further because Milwaukee isn’t interested in a one-for-one swap and would want additional compensation from Dallas to make a move. Stein doesn’t specify what sort of additional compensation the Bucks sought, but given that they’re in win-now mode, presumably they wanted another rotation player or the sort of draft assets that could be flipped for one.
  • Among potential Wizards trade candidates, Tyus Jones and Delon Wright are “increasingly” viewed as more likely to be moved than Kuzma, says Stein.
  • Like Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Stein has heard that Kuzma, Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon, and Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic could all stay put this week, though he acknowledges there’s a chance one or more of those teams is posturing to gain leverage.