Devonte’ Graham

Southwest Notes: Kidd, Washington, Rockets’ Loss, Graham

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd likes his team’s spirit with the postseason nearing, Eddie Sefko of relays. Dallas pulled out an OT win over the Rockets on Sunday and strengthened its grip on the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

“We have each other’s backs. We’re playing for something bigger than just the back of the jersey,” the Mavericks’ coach said. “We’re playing for one another. You can see the chemistry, the celebration at the end. It takes a long time to build that. That just doesn’t happen overnight. But the beauty of (Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic) hugging there at the end . . . those two trusting in their teammates that were out on the floor was huge.”

The Mavs’ backcourt duo combined for 85 points.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • In their previous game, which Doncic sat out, the Mavericks got a big game out of midseason acquisition P.J. Washington. He erupted for 32 points, five rebounds, five steals and two blocks and also made the game-winning shot against the Warriors on Friday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Washington grabbed 13 rebounds on Sunday.
  • The Rockets were seemingly in control on Sunday but Dante Exum sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer. Houston was officially eliminated from the postseason picture with the loss. “Right now, probably not a whole lot of good (to take from the tough loss),” Rockets guard Fred VanVleet told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “High-level game. Big shots. Big games. But ultimately, we found a way to lose down the stretch. Usually, you try to find ways to win. We gifted that one to them. That stings.”
  • The Spurs’ Devonte’ Graham tried to keep an even-keeled approach this season despite limited playing time, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Graham has only appeared in 18 games off the bench. “I get to play basketball for a living and life isn’t really that bad….If not playing basketball is the worst thing going on in my life, I think I am doing pretty well,” he said. “I just don’t look at the negatives.” Graham’s $12.65MM salary for next season is partially guaranteed at $2.85MM.

Texas Notes: Spurs, Luka, VanVleet, Thompson

Mavericks All-Star guard Luka Doncic appears to be growing as a leader in Dallas, opines Eddie Sefko of After Dallas survived a poor shooting night from its best player to beat the Spurs 113-107 this past Tuesday, Doncic expressed his gratitude to his teammates.

“One of the biggest things after the game is he thanked his teammates in the locker room for picking him up,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “When a leader says that, those are big words. You come into the locker room and you don’t shoot the ball extremely well, but you rely on being the quarterback and other guys picked him up.”

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Standout Spurs rookie center Victor Wembanyama is relishing his tenure under five-time title-winning head coach Gregg Popovich, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “It’s pretty precious and one of the reasons that make this place the best place,” Wembanyama said.
  • Veteran Spurs point guard Devonte’ Graham has emerged as a locker room leader with the club this season, despite not seeing much time on the hardwood, Orsborn adds. “Obviously, we are not going to be playing much basketball in late April, but Devonte’ Graham on our team has held us together,” Popovich said. “He comes out every day whether at shootaround or practice or whatever we might be doing and is in the middle of everything, upbeat.” 
  • The league has rescinded a technical foul assessed to Rockets point guard Fred VanVleet during the team’s 127-117 victory over the Bulls on Thursday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Rockets rookie forward Amen Thompson has been frequently tasked with covering opposing centers defensively, with starting Houston five Alperen Sengun now out for the season, writes Feigen in another piece. Head coach Ime Udoka has been able to mitigate the 6’7″ Thompson’s lack of a jumper by exploiting his athleticism in matchups against bigger, less mobile centers. “Him in the roll, him in the pocket with his passing ability is an asset to have,” Udoka said. “We’ve mentioned guys like Ben Simmons, guys like Giannis (Antetokounmpo) who have done similar things at times in their career. He can learn to implement those things.” Across his last five contests, Thompson has averaged 16.4 PPG on 64.2% shooting from the floor, along with 9.4 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.2 SPG. “You’ve seen him improve just with the playing time alone, let alone the role we’re asking him to do,” Udoka continued. “A guy that’s had the ball in his hands his whole career, you put him out there with Fred and Jalen (Green) in the starting lineup now, you kind of have to divide those opportunities, the ball-handling duties. He does impact it in other ways.”

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Vassell, Barlow, Graham, Wesley

Ticket holders for the Spurs’ game against the Warriors on Monday got some good news on Sunday. Victor Wembanyama is not on the injury report, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Wembanyama has missed the last two games due to a gimpy ankle. Second-leading scorer Devin Vassell, who is dealing with a left hip contusion, is listed as probable.

We have more on the Spurs:

  • Dominick Barlow, who had his two-way contract upgraded to a standard deal earlier this month, delivered a big performance at Golden State on Saturday with the star rookie sidelined, supplying 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes. “Props to him,” Jeremy Sochan told Jeff McDonald of the Express-News. “He just got an NBA contract so we’re all very proud of him. He helped us a lot, just scoring, playing good defense and just in general playing well.”
  • Devonte’ Graham got a rare opportunity to play meaningful minutes on Saturday and contributed eight points in 12 minutes to the victory, McDonald notes. “Devonte’ hasn’t played much,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He came in and gave us a real boost.” Graham’s $12.65MM contract for next season is partially guaranteed for $2.85MM, so he appears likely to be traded or waived this summer.
  • The Spurs used one of the picks they acquired from Boston in the Derrick White trade to draft Blake Wesley. Wesley, who turns 21 on Saturday, has received steady playing time off the bench and San Antonio still has high hopes for him, according to Mike Finger of the Express-News. “He’s definitely got the explosiveness of a (Russell) Westbrook,” big man Zach Collins said.

Southwest Notes: Spurs, McDermott, Oladipo, Pelicans, Mavs

Although they were linked earlier in the season to Atlanta guard Dejounte Murray, the Spurs are much more likely to be sellers than buyers at Thursday’s trade deadline, says Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). According to head coach Gregg Popovich, San Antonio’s goal in any deal would be to improve its prospects beyond this season.

“Our focus is not immediate other than individual development and team concepts,” Popovich said. “But if there’s a trade that would make sense both now and for the long-term, of course we look at it.”

According to McDonald, veterans Doug McDermott, Cedi Osman, and Devonte’ Graham appear to be the Spurs’ most likely trade candidates. McDermott, who is on an expiring contract, said it’s “always good to be wanted,” but admitted he feels fortunate to be coached by Popovich and wouldn’t mind sticking around through the deadline — and even beyond that.

“Shooting is at premium in this league, and I know I can do it with the best of them,” McDermott said. “At the same time, I love being here, I love being with this young team. I think there is a lot of potential for the future here and it is awesome to be a part of. … It’s a special place to be. I would love to be here forever.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Victor Oladipo, whom the Grizzlies acquired as a salary-matching piece in last week’s Steven Adams trade, will be waived after the deadline if he’s not flipped to a new team today, confirms Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).
  • Both Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (link via Marc Stein) and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via the Woj Pod) stated that the Pelicans have talked to the Hawks about Dejounte Murray, corroborating similar reporting from Jake Fischer. However, Stein says those discussions don’t appear to have gained much traction.
  • Following an impressive victory over the Clippers on Wednesday, the Pelicans have now won four straight at hold a top-six seed in the West at 30-21. After dealing with injury issues in recent seasons, New Orleans has been thriving this year in large part due to the availability of its “big three” of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum, as Christian Clark of outlines.
  • The Mavericks have played sub-.500 basketball since Christmas and could really benefit from a trade or two, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News. As Sherrington details, offseason addition Grant Williams has faded after a strong start and Maxi Kleber isn’t available enough to be relied upon, so a wing and a big man figure to be atop Dallas’ wish list.

Western Notes: Wolves, Graham, Suns, VanVleet, Rockets

The Timberwolves‘ front office has been scouring the trade market in the hopes of addressing a couple areas of concern on the bench and better positioning the team for a deep postseason run, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. According to Krawczynski, Minnesota would like to bolster its second unit by adding another ball-handler and/or a scorer or shooter.

Krawczynski confirms a number of previously reported point guard targets for the Wolves, including Tyus Jones and Monte Morris, while also naming Dennis Schröder and Kyle Lowry as a couple more players of interest. Lowry would have to be a buyout target, since Minnesota isn’t in position to match his $29.7MM salary on the trade market.

If the Wolves focus on a scorer rather than a point guard, Alec Burks and Bones Hyland are among the players who could be fits, Krawczynski writes.

Krawczynski doesn’t expect Minnesota to move Kyle Anderson, referring to him as a key part of the team’s defense and an important voice in the locker room. That’s notable, since hanging onto Anderson and their other five highest-paid players (Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards, and Naz Reid) would leave the Wolves with no trade chips earning more than $5MM, limiting their ability to salary-match for players earning much beyond the mid-level.

Here are a few more notes and rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Veteran point guard Devonte’ Graham hasn’t griped about not having a role with the Spurs this season and has enjoyed being in San Antonio, but he acknowledged that he wouldn’t be opposed to a trade if it gives him an opportunity to play more, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I mean, yeah,” Graham said. “Everybody wants to play.”
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic previews the trade deadline for the Suns, noting that a potential package of Nassir Little and second-round picks hasn’t generated a ton of interest among prospective trade partners.
  • The Rockets will be without starting point guard Fred VanVleet on Tuesday in Indiana, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, who says VanVleet has been ruled out due to a left adductor strain. That injury often requires a multi-game absence, but Houston hasn’t issued an update on the guard’s status beyond Tuesday.
  • Rockets center Jock Landale and forward Jae’Sean Tate are trying to tune out the trade rumors surrounding them as Thursday’s deadline nears, Feigen writes in another story for The Chronicle. “Whether they choose to trade me or keep me is completely up to them. I signed here to play for (head coach) Ime (Udoka),” Landale said. “I signed here to help the Rockets to get back to their winning ways. It’s not a decision that’s in my power or my control. We’ll see what happens.”

Fischer’s Latest: Point Guard Rumors, Sixers, Rockets, More

After Charlotte was able to secure a first-round pick from Miami in this week’s deal for Terry Rozier, teams with quality guards available are expected to use that return as a benchmark, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who suggests that the Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Raptors want “at least a first-round pick” for Tyus Jones, Malcolm Brogdon, and Bruce Brown, respectively.

It will presumably be more difficult to extract a first-round pick for a player headed for free agency in 2024 and 2025 than it was for Rozier, who has two more years left on his contract beyond this one. Still, as Fischer notes, there will be no shortage of teams in the market for backcourt help at this season’s deadline.

Sources tell Yahoo Sports that the Lakers are “chief among backcourt buyers” as they seek a point guard upgrade on D’Angelo Russell. The Knicks, Bucks, and Sixers are among the other potential buyers at that position, while the Nets have “poked around” the market too, per Fischer.

Fischer names the Cavaliers and Timberwolves as two other clubs expected to peruse the market in search of backcourt depth and notes that the Spurs will always be a team to watch for point guards until they find a long-term answer at the position to pair with Victor Wembanyama.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Veteran point guard T.J. McConnell was viewed as a possible target for teams looking for backcourt help, but the Pacers have indicated to potential trade partners that they don’t want to move him, Fischer reports. Some of the backup point guards who are available around the NBA, per Fischer, are Davion Mitchell (Kings), Cameron Payne (Bucks), Cory Joseph (Warriors), and Devonte’ Graham (Spurs).
  • Kyle Lowry isn’t expected to join the Hornets prior to the trade deadline as Charlotte looks to flip him to a new team. If he’s still a Hornet once the deadline passes, Lowry will be a strong candidate for a buyout, and the Sixers appear to be a “real possibility” for the Philadelphia native, says Fischer.
  • The Sixers are prioritizing fit alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey as they consider their trade options. They don’t appear to have significant interest in Bruce Brown and will have to seriously consider whether Dejounte Murray is the right piece next to Maxey, given the Hawks‘ high asking price for Murray, Fischer writes. Atlanta is reportedly seeking two first-round picks and a starting-caliber player for the guard.
  • The Rockets have their eye on a pair of Trail Blazers, according to Fischer, who says Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams have both drawn interest from Houston. The Lakers and Knicks are among the other teams that have been connected to Brogdon.
  • The Pelicans and Magic are two teams that rival executives expect to be in the market for a point guard in the summer, though New Orleans is focused more on the center spot for now, per Fischer.

Fischer’s Latest: Tucker, Suns, Warriors, Mavs, Blazers, Graham

After being traded from Philadelphia to the Clippers earlier this season, veteran forward P.J. Tucker is a “strong” candidate to be moved again ahead of the February 8 deadline, says Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

According to Fischer, Washington is viewed as a potential trade destination for Tucker, who would likely be bought out if he’s sent to the Wizards. In that scenario, the Suns and Bucks would be among the teams expected to pursue the 38-year-old on the buyout market, Fischer adds.

Tucker is earning $11MM this season, with an $11.5MM player option for 2024/25, so unless he gives up a significant portion of his remaining money in a buyout agreement, he’d still have a real impact on his team’s salary cap for next season. With that in mind, the Wizards (or another trade partner) would presumably want a solid asset or two as a sweetener to take on his contract, especially if they’re also giving up a rotation-caliber player in the process.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Suns are one of the more active teams on the trade market and have explored what a package that includes Grayson Allen and Nassir Little could bring back, Fischer reports. Those efforts are complicated by the fact that Phoenix’s draft assets consist of just four second-round picks, according to Fischer, who points out too that Allen has been arguably the team’s most important players outside of its three stars.
  • Although the Warriors and Mavericks have displayed interest in Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, Golden State has shown little desire to part with either Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody, Fischer writes. As for the Mavs, they’ve been linked to many forwards, per Fischer, including Andrew Wiggins, P.J. Washington of the Hornets, and former Mav Dorian Finney-Smith, now a member of the Nets.
  • Jerami Grant is the sort of player who would appeal to teams like the Mavericks and Kings, but the Trail Blazers aren’t expected to seriously consider offers for the veteran forward, according to Fischer. Portland guard Malcolm Brogdon, on the other hand, is viewed as a more viable trade candidate.
  • In addition to veterans like Doug McDermott and Cedi Osman, who were previously identified as trade candidates, guard Devonte’ Graham is another Spurs player who is available via trade, sources tell Fischer. Graham has been out of San Antonio’s rotation all season and has a $12.1MM cap hit for this season, with a $2.85MM partial guarantee for 2024/25, so he presumably won’t have positive value.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Lively, Graham, Ivey

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic surpassed the 10,000-point mark for his career on Monday night, doing so in the fewest games of any NBA player since Michael Jordan, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Doncic reached the milestone in style, putting up an eye-popping 50 points, 15 assists, six rebounds, four steals, and three blocks in a victory over Phoenix.

“Always, when this kind [of] award comes with a win, it’s even more fun,” Doncic said. “It was a tough road game, and we won. So, outside of the 10K and 50 points, we won the game. So, I’m really happy.”

As MacMahon details, Doncic’s 358 games to score 10,000 points are tied with Bob McAdoo for the seventh-fewest in league history. The only players who reached five digits in career scoring faster were Jordan, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, and George Gervin.

“I have never been on a team where someone is scoring the ball like this at such a high rate and also getting his teammates involved and making sure that everybody feels comfortable on the floor,” said Doncic’s teammate Derrick Jones, who is in his eighth NBA season. “It’s incredible. It’s amazing. I have never seen this before.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Following Monday’s win, the Mavericks are now 17-7 with rookie center Dereck Lively active and 1-5 when he doesn’t play. Head coach Jason Kidd said on Monday that the team had missed Lively during his recent injury absence, while Doncic admitted that he didn’t expect the rookie to play such an important role so soon, per Eddie Sefko of “Obviously, I knew he was going to be great, but the way he’s performed since the first game has been amazing,” Doncic said. “I didn’t expect this impact of him. He’s been playing like he’s been in the league 10 years already. I’m really proud of this guy. He works on his game and he listens to me.”
  • Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham has barely played at all this season, logging just 60 total minutes in six appearances. However, head coach Gregg Popovich praised the way Graham has handled being out of the rotation, referring to him as “one of the most respected guys on the team,” according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who takes a look at how the guard’s upbringing helped him deal with adversity.
  • Former NBA guard Royal Ivey, a New York native, played his college ball for the Texas Longhorns, but was never on a Southwest team during his 10 seasons as an NBA player. Now back in Texas as an assistant coach with the Rockets, Ivey spoke to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle about returning to the state he refers to as a “second home” and explained how he got into coaching after his playing days ended.

Devonte’ Graham Suspended Two Games By NBA

Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham has been suspended without pay for two games by the NBA, the league announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

The suspension stems from a 2022 misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. Graham pleaded guilty to the charge in June and was subsequently sentenced to 12 months of probation, per TMZ Sports.

As TMZ details, Graham was initially charged in July 2022 after police alleged that he was driving 63 miles per hour in a 40 MPH zone while intoxicated in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. The incident occurred at around 3:00 am.

Graham was a member of the Pelicans at the time of his arrest but was traded from New Orleans to San Antonio at the 2023 deadline in a deal involving Josh Richardson. He appeared in a total of 73 games for the two teams last season, averaging 7.4 points and 2.7 assists in 18.3 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .374/.352/.748.

Graham remains under contract with the Spurs on a guaranteed $12.1MM cap hit for 2023/24; his contract also covers ’24/25, but only $2.85MM of his $12.65MM salary for that year is guaranteed.

The two-game suspension, which Graham will serve during the first two games of the 2023/24 regular season as long as he’s healthy and remains under contract, will cost him $166,897. That figure represents 2/145ths of his $12.1MM salary.

If the Spurs, who are facing a potential roster crunch this fall, waive Graham prior to the season and he doesn’t sign a new contract right away, he’ll be considered to have served his suspension following San Antonio’s third game of the season.

Western Notes: Beal, Graham, Blazers, Clarkson

New Suns guard Bradley Beal spoke with gathered journalists for an extended introductory press conference, flanked by head coach Frank Vogel and general manager James Jones, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“I don’t look at the NBA like, ‘Oh, it’s my team,’ ‘Oh, it’s your team,'” Beal said when asked about how the Suns will determinine a hierarchy on offense. “It’s everybody. We all got to compete. We all got to do this thing together and make it happen.”

“But understand that this is ‘Book Nation,'” Beal continued, a reference to All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker. “I understand that this is his stomping grounds, this is his arena, and I’m excited for that. I’m excited to be able to play with two Hall of Famers. I’ve never done that. They’ll push me in ways I’ve never been pushed. Hopefully, I can do the same.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • After cutting a deal with prosecutors, Spurs guard Devonte’ Graham has pleaded guilty to his 2022 misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired, reports TMZ Sports. Graham, whose sentencing is scheduled for July, may face a suspension from the NBA following the resolution of his legal case.
  • The Trail Blazers, still hoping to thread the needle between their present and future, are hoping incumbent All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard will be satisfied with a solid roster-building summer and will not ask for a trade out of town, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer likens Portland’s plan to the approach Brooklyn took with Kevin Durant last summer, though Durant had requested a trade at that time, while Lillard hasn’t done so. The Blazers added rookie point guard Scoot Henderson with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and are hoping that some tactical personnel moves will convince Lillard to stick around.
  • With Jazz  guard Jordan Clarkson having now picked up his $14MM player option, there are still a variety of routes forward for Utah and the 2021 Sixth Man of the Year, per Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones notes, Clarkson could now either sign a longer-term extension, play out the final year of his deal as the Jazz’s probable starting shooting guard, or the team could coordinate a trade to offload him and free up more minutes and touches for his potential long-term successor, Collin Sexton.