Dwight Howard

And-Ones: Lottery, D. Howard, G League, M. Wright, Team USA

The NBA announced this week (via Twitter) that the 2024 draft lottery will take place on Sunday, May 12. That’s a departure from the league’s usual schedule — the lottery has typically been held on a Tuesday in recent years.

The lottery will be one of three draft-related events held during that week in Chicago. The NBA’s annual draft combine will run from May 12-19, according to the league, while the G League Elite Camp will take place just before that, on the weekend of May 11-12. The Elite Camp features the top draft prospects who didn’t make the initial cut for the combine, with the top performers at that event typically invited to stick around for combine week.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Eight-time NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard will continue his playing career in Puerto Rico, having reached a deal with Mets de Guaynabo, according to a tweet from the Baoloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN). Howard, who last played in the NBA in 2021/22, spent the ’22/23 season in Taiwan. He was accused of sexual assault and battery in a lawsuit filed last July; that civil suit is ongoing, with a Georgia judge denying a motion to dismiss it last week.
  • Playing in the G League is becoming a more common path for rookies to develop and show they’re capable of a longer look at the NBA level, according to Zach Kram of The Ringer, who says 18 of this year’s 30 first-round picks – including six of 14 lottery selections – have spent time in the NBAGL. Both of those marks are new records, Kram writes within an in-depth look at what the future might hold for the NBA’s minor league.
  • Former Georgia Tech star Moses Wright appeared in just four NBA games in brief stints with the Clippers and Mavericks earlier in his career and now plays for Panathinaikos in Greece. However, Clippers player development assistant Wesley Johnson, who was on Tyronn Lue‘s staff when Wright signed a 10-day deal with the team in 2021, is confident that the 25-year-old will be back in the NBA at some point. “He’s a great player, talented, athletic, can shoot, put the ball on the floor. He was the player of the year in the ACC for a reason,” Johnson said, per Giorgos Efkarpidis of Eurohoops. “… He will find the time and the moment to join a team.”
  • Suns forward Kevin Durant is looking forward to playing for Team USA this summer and will be looking to claim his fourth Olympic gold medal, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, who takes a closer look at what the U.S. roster might look like. The Athletic identified several frontrunners for the 12-man squad earlier this week.

And-Ones: Cousins, Howard, Wolters, Doumbouya

While he hasn’t officially announced his retirement from the NBA, DeMarcus Cousins admitted during a conversation with Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype that he doesn’t really expect to be back in the league.

“Honestly, no,” Cousins said when asked if he’s hoping for a potential NBA return soon. “I know I’ve had my time there. You know, there was a point where I was trying to make that happen. But the place I’m in my life now, just with everything I’ve got going on, just outside of basketball, like I’m in a good place.

“So, like I said, I’m excited for what I have ahead and my future. You know, my 12 years in the league were a small chapter or chapters in my life. And, I’m ready to move on to the next and see what’s in store for me.”

A four-time All-Star, Cousins was a dominant interior force in his prime, averaging at least 24 points and 11 rebounds per game for four straight seasons from 2014-18 for Sacramento and New Orleans.

However, a series of leg injuries – including a torn Achilles, a torn quad, and a torn ACL – in 2018 and 2019 derailed his career. Since playing for the Nuggets in 2021/22, the 33-year-old has been out of the NBA, competing professionally in Puerto Rico and Taiwan.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • A Georgia judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Dwight Howard that accuses the former NBA star of sexual assault and battery, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN. The case remains in the discovery phase, with no trial scheduled yet, per Holmes. Stephen Harper, who filed the civil suit last July, alleges that Howard assaulted him during a July 2021 encounter, while Howard’s attorneys have repeatedly stated that it was consensual.
  • Nate Wolters, who appeared in 84 NBA regular season games after being selected 38th overall in the 2013 draft, recently announced his retirement as a player, according to Andy Rennecke of St. Cloud Live. The Summit League Player of the Year for South Dakota State in 2013 and later a member of the Bucks, Pelicans, and Jazz, Wolters hasn’t been in the NBA since the 2017/18 season. However, he played internationally for several seasons after that, with stops in France, Lithuania, Israel, Russia, Serbia, and Greece.
  • Former NBA first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya will continue his career in his home country of France. The 23-year-old forward has signed with Chorale Roanne Basket for the rest of the season, according to a press release from the team. The 15th overall pick in 2019, Doumbouya spent two seasons with the Pistons and last played in the NBA with the Lakers in 2021/22.

Dwight Howard Joining Filipino Team

Dwight Howard, an eight-time NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, is joining the Filipino team Super Group for 2024’s Dubai International Basketball Championship, reports Shams Charania of Stadium (Twitter video link).

The Dubai International Basketball Championship is a tournament that takes places each winter. This year’s event is scheduled for January 19-28, so Howard will get the opportunity to showcase his skills in a handful of games and then return to the free agent market as he continues to seek an NBA comeback.

Howard, 38, last played in the NBA in 2021/22, when he averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game for the Lakers across 60 appearances (27 starts). He was out of the league last season, instead suiting up for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan.

Howard met with the Warriors prior to the start of the 2023/24 campaign, but Golden State opted not to sign him. The former No. 1 overall pick was said in November to be considering the possibility of resuming his playing career with a team in Europe or Australia.

Once a dominant rim protector and rebounder, Howard has lost a step since his prime and would be one of the NBA’s oldest players if he returns to the league; he was also accused in a civil lawsuit of sexual assault and battery, which may further reduce his chances of finding a new NBA opportunity.

Former NBA guards Nick Young and Shabazz Muhammad were among the players who were part of the Super Group squad from the Philippines that competed in the Dubai International Basketball Championship last year. That team went 3-1 in group play but was eliminated in the first game of the knockout round.

And-Ones: Howard, Harkless, 2024 Draft, Buzelis

Former NBA star Dwight Howard is exploring potential opportunities in Europe and Australia in the hopes of playing his way back to the NBA, reports Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. As Urbonas explains, if Howard were to sign with a team in the EuroLeague or Australia’s National Basketball League, he’d look to include an NBA out clause in his contract.

Howard, who played in Taiwan last season, met with Golden State in September, but the Warriors opted not to sign him. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is facing sexual assault and battery allegations and is seeking to dismiss a civil lawsuit in Georgia related to those allegations.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran NBA forward Maurice Harkless signed a G League contract and has been acquired from the available player pool by the Rip City Remix, the Trail Blazers‘ affiliate (Twitter link). Harkless, a first-round pick in 2012, appeared in 621 NBA regular season games across 10 years, but wasn’t in the league last season. He’s just just 30 years old and will be looking to show with the Remix that he deserves a call-up.
  • In their latest dispatch on the 2024 draft class, Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN.com (Insider link) identify Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Iowa State’s Milan Momcilovic as the most surprising NCAA freshmen so far this season and single out several prospects who have boosted their stock in November, including Arizona’s Keshad Johnson, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, and Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro.
  • G League Ignite prospect Matas Buzelis, a contender for the No. 1 spot in the 2024 NBA draft, has yet to make his season debut in the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup due to an ankle injury. The Ignite have taken a cautious approach with Buzelis, according to Woo, who hears from a source that the 6’10” point forward is nearing a return and could play this weekend.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, China, Howard, RSNs

The 2024 All-Star Game, which will be held on February 18 in Indianapolis, will revert back to the old format of East vs. West, with no captain’s draft, the NBA announced on Wednesday (via Twitter).

According to the league, the All-Star Game will also go back to the normal game format — the fourth-quarter target score with no time limit will be removed, in place of the traditional 12-minute quarter.

The voting process for players to be selected will remain the same, with 12 players chosen from each conference, per the NBA.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former All-Star center Yao Ming, who is in the Hall of Fame and is currently president of the Chinese Basketball Association, says the NBA is still “first class” in his native country despite past conflicts, according to Amy Tennery of Reuters. “I have to say, the NBA is in the first class… (because) you know the players being exposed in China for so long,” Yao said. “The players, the teams (are) all still very well welcome in China and (we had) a couple of players with (in) China just this past summer.” As Tennery notes, former Rockets (and current Sixers) president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was criticized in China for tweeting support of protestors in Hong Kong, which strained relations between the country and the league.
  • Dwight Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year who has been out of the NBA since 2021/22, is seeking to have a civil lawsuit he’s facing in Georgia dismissed, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Howard is accused of sexual assault and battery by a man named Stephen Harper, with the incident taking place in July 2021. According to Holmes, Howard has denied the claims, saying the encounter was consensual and that he’s being blackmailed for money.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN takes an in-depth look at what’s happening between Regional Sports Networks and the NBA, primarily focusing on Diamond Sports Group, which filed for bankruptcy and airs games for 15 teams via Bally Sports.

And-Ones: Holiday, N. Young, J. Parker, 2024 Draft, More

The Heat and Clippers are believed to be the other teams that were seriously in the mix for Jrue Holiday before the Trail Blazers accepted the Celtics’ offer for the All-Defensive guard, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast.

“I’m not sure exactly where are the offers were at the end for the Blazers before they decided on the Celtics’ offer, but based on my conversations, my feel was there was at least three teams who were making significant bids.” Windhorst said, according to RealGM. “… The teams I really think were there in the end were the Celtics, Heat and the Clippers.

“The reason I think those three teams were there because I think those were the three teams Jrue Holiday was really focused on at some point being able to sign a longer-term contract (with). And that message kind of went out in recent days. Other teams made offers but it was sort of a three-team, aggressive race at the end. Only the Blazers know exactly what the offers were.”

The Clippers came close to acquiring Malcolm Brogdon back in June, so it will be interesting to see if they make any effort to re-engage the Trail Blazers in talks for Brogdon after missing out on Holiday.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Nick Young is resuming his playing career overseas, having signed with the Macau Black Bears of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), according to the team (Instagram link; hat tip to Sportando). A former first-round pick, Young has appeared in 720 regular season NBA games, but has been out of the league since being waived by Denver in 2018.
  • Speaking to Alex Molina of Eurohoops following his move to FC Barcelona, former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker said he believes the NBA is getting “watered down” because so many teams are trying to tank for draft picks each season, and expressed dismay that players like Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, and John Wall can’t find NBA homes.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has updated his mock draft for 2024, moving USC guard Isaiah Collier up to No. 2 and Perth Wildcats big man Alexandre Sarr up to No. 4. While Ron Holland of the G League Ignite is still considered the early favorite to be next year’s No. 1 pick, Givony says Sarr has done enough to join the small group of prospects with a legitimate case for the top spot in the 2024 draft.
  • With a series of holes in its programming schedule this winter due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes, ABC will air NBA games on every Wednesday night in January, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That slate of games will includes matchups between the Pelicans and Warriors, Mavericks and Lakers, and Suns and Nets, among others.
  • Kurt Helin of NBC Sports believes that Jason Kidd (Mavericks), Steve Clifford (Hornets), and Billy Donovan (Bulls) are three head coaches who will be on the hot seat this season.

Warriors Notes: Lineup, Howard, Roster Spots, Load Management, Kerr

The decision on the Warriors’ starting lineup will be made during training camp, coach Steve Kerr said in a video link provided by The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Chris Paul will all get significant minutes regardless but Kerr wants to look at various combinations before making a decision.

“We basically have six starters, the way I look at it,” he said. “Only five can go each night, so I haven’t decided yet what we’re going to do. I want to see in training camp. We’re going to try to different combinations. Obviously, all six guys are going to play a lot of minutes for us. But if this is going to work, everyone is going to have to embrace it, regardless of who is starting and who isn’t.”

Kerr will look at a smaller lineup with either Green or Looney in the middle. However, he likes the chemistry that Green and Looney have developed over the years.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • In regard to Dwight Howard meeting with the front office, general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. said the longtime center is just one of many candidates for the remaining roster spots. The Warriors have held open the 14th and 15th spots. “In general, we brought in maybe 40 or 50 guys this summer to get a further look at,” Dunleavy said, as relayed by Warriors on NBCS (video link). “Some of them, we’ll bring into camp.” Dunleavy added that he’s not targeting a specific position to fill one or both of those spots. “We’re kind of open,” he added.
  • Dunleavy said the team will follow the new league rules regarding load management, Warriors on NBCS relays in another video link. Kerr has sometimes rested multiple starters during back-to-backs in recent years. “The league makes the rules. We’ll play by them,” Dunleavy said. “That’s the best I can say.”
  • Kerr says he’ll run a tighter ship after the Warriors’ disappointing postseason performance, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “When you lose in the second round and you feel like you’ve had a disappointing year, it’s a lot easier to come in and be focused,” Kerr said. “It’s a lot easier for me to come in as a coach and be more demanding, and I think the players will expect that, too.”

Stein’s Latest: Lillard, Raptors, Hield, Lively, Howard

There’s a growing belief around the league that the Raptors have legitimate interest in trading for Damian Lillard, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column (subscription required).

There has been skepticism over Toronto’s desire to make a deal, Stein adds, considering that the front office hasn’t been active even though trade rumors have been swirling around the team since January, particularly regarding Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. He notes that any remaining uncertainty is related to Lillard’s strong preference for Miami over every other market.

Stein compares the Lillard situation to the Raptors’ pursuit of Kawhi Leonard five years ago. Unlike Leonard, who was entering the final year of his contract, Lillard is signed for four more years and is owed nearly $220MM. Toronto also doesn’t have the foundation in place to compete for a title with one more big move, the way it did when it traded for Leonard.

Stein believes the Trail Blazers would prefer to wrap up the summer-long Lillard saga before the team’s media day next Monday. However, negotiations with the Heat are on hold as they and many other teams around the league think about preserving their assets for a potential run at Giannis Antetokounmpo or any other star who might become available.

Portland doesn’t want to part with Lillard for less than his market value, Stein adds, but the alternative is to deal with the distractions that will come with keeping him for training camp and beyond.

Stein shares more inside information from around the league:

  • Several NBA executives disagree with Stein’s statement on his radio show that the Pacers can get a future first-round pick for Buddy Hield. Stein says he talked to several front office people who believe Hield’s expiring $19.3MM contract will limit his trade value because of the uncertainty about re-signing him. They see his ceiling as multiple second-rounders.
  • Appearing on Stein’s show, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said rookie center Dereck Lively II will get an opportunity to win a starting job in training camp. Stein notes that Dallas pursued the Hawks’ Clint Capela and the Suns’ Deandre Ayton during the offseason, but wasn’t able to work out a deal for a veteran big man. Christian Wood left in free agency and JaVale McGee was waived, leaving Dwight Powell as the only incumbent center on the roster. Richaun Holmes was acquired in a draft night trade, and Maxi Kleber may see time as a small-ball five.
  • Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and Grant Williams are the Mavericks‘ only definite starters heading into camp, added Kidd, who said first-round pick Olivier-Maxence Prosper will also compete for a starting job. “I look for those rookies to play a lot this season,” Kidd told Stein. “They’re going to be a part of our fabric.”
  • Dwight Howard‘s interview with the Warriors last week wasn’t the first time he has thought about joining the team. Stein recalls that Golden State wanted to sign Howard when he became a free agent in 2013, and he even worked out that summer with Stephen Curry, but he chose the Rockets instead.

Pacific Notes: Vanderbilt, Warriors, Howard, Morris

Lakers power forward Jarred Vanderbilt holds the unusual distinction of being traded away from two different teams by the same executive. When Tim Connelly ran the Nuggets, he sent Vanderbilt to Minnesota as part of a four-team trade at the 2020 deadline. He did the same thing last summer as the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations, shipping Vanderbilt to Utah in the Rudy Gobert deal.

“(Timberwolves) got a new president/GM. Same one that came from (the Nuggets),” Vanderbilt said on the Tidal League “Run Your Race” podcast (video link from ClutchPoints). “… He traded me to Minnesota, then he got to Minnesota, traded me again to (the Jazz). I’m like ‘damn.’”

Things worked out fine for Vanderbilt, who played an important role in the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals and was recently rewarded with a four-year, $48MM extension. On the same podcast, Vanderbilt addressed rumors that he has grown over the summer (hat tip to Fan Nation).

“They saying I’m 6’11” now. … I don’t know,” Vanderbilt said. “That’s what the streets saying, I’m just the messenger.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Minority investors who own a little more than 10% of the Warriors are looking to sell their shares in the team, according to Giles Turner and Randall Williams of Bloomberg. They are reportedly asking for $700MM, which would put the team’s valuation at an NBA record $7 billion. The Warriors refused to confirm the rumor, issuing a statement that reads, “Per our organization policy, we do not comment on the potential sale or non-sale of ownership among our investment group.”
  • Dwight Howard posted a cryptic tweet on Saturday after the Warriors reportedly decided not to sign him or any other big man before the start of training camp. The 37-year-old center had two days of interviews with the team and worked out with some of its veteran players this week. “Only as a WARRIOR can one withstand the path of knowledge,” Howard wrote. “A WARRIOR cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge. And challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”
  • Marcus Morris‘ situation with the Clippers appears unsettled, but he won’t consider staying away from the team the way that Jae Crowder did with the Suns, sources tell Law Murray of The Athletic. Morris started all 65 games he appeared in last season, but Murray called him “unplayable” after Paul George was lost with a knee injury. Murray notes that Morris was brought in to be the third scoring option for a team without a ball-dominant point guard, but there’s no longer a need for that since the acquisition of Russell Westbrook.

Warriors Not Expected To Add Veteran Center Before Camp

Despite having scoured the free agent market in recent weeks, the Warriors aren’t expected to add a veteran center to their roster before training camp gets underway, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter video link).

Dwight Howard met with the Warriors this week and was believed to be receiving legitimate consideration from the team, which has also reportedly taken a look at vets such as Dewayne Dedmon, Derrick Favors, and Tony Bradley. However, Charania says Golden State has decided to put off a frontcourt addition for now and will maintain the flexibility to sign a big man later in camp or during the regular season.

The Warriors are carrying just 13 players on standard contracts and will need to add at least one more to meet the opening-night minimum of 14. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), the club is prioritizing an extra wing for that 14th slot.

Golden State’s roster is short on traditional centers, but the club has several players it believes can capably handle the position. Besides Kevon Looney and Draymond Green, players like Dario Saric, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Usman Garuba may see time at the five. Jackson-Davis has impressed the team since he was drafted in June, per Slater, who adds that Garuba is viewed by the organization as a player with real upside.

With the Warriors not planning to sign another center in the short term, Howard is expected to consider other options and see if there’s another NBA team interested in bringing him in, says Charania.