Gary Harris

Central Notes: Bucks, Pistons’ FA Targets, Williams, Donovan III

An expensive core of players will limit the Bucks‘ ability to add talent this summer, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Although there’s a need to upgrade after a chaotic season that ended with a first-round playoff exit, the front office will likely be sorting through minimum-salary options to fill out the roster.

Milwaukee’s salary situation starts with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, who are each owed $48.8MM next season, which combines for about 69% of the projected $141MM salary cap. Adding $31.7MM for Khris Middleton and $23MM for Brook Lopez puts the Bucks above $152MM, exceeding the cap with just four players.

Beyond that, Milwaukee will pay $12.6MM to Bobby Portis and $9.4MM to Pat Connaughton, plus minimum contracts for MarJon Beauchamp ($2.7MM) and Chris Livingston ($1.9MM). Andre Jackson Jr. only has a $946K guarantee on his $1.9MM salary until January, and A.J. Green‘s $2.1MM contract is non-guaranteed until July 8.

Keeping all those players would cost the Bucks about $180.85MM, Nehm adds, which puts them over the projected first tax apron of $178.655MM with at least four more slots that have to be filled. If Milwaukee holds on to its 23rd ($2.95MM) and 33rd ($1.16MM) picks in the draft and signs two minimum-salary veterans, the team will exceed the $189.485MM second apron without including $2.3MM in unlikely incentives for Middleton.

Nehm notes that the Bucks need to add point-of-attack defenders, help on the wing, and a backup center, but it will tough to find any of those things while operating under the apron restrictions.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Kings guard Malik Monk, Nets center Nic Claxton and Magic guard Gary Harris should be targets for the Pistons in free agency, James L. Edwards of The Athletic states in a mailbag column. Monk would provide much-needed three-point shooting and can attack off the dribble, Edwards notes, while Claxton would be a proven rim protector and Harris fills a need as a three-and-D wing. Edwards also expects Detroit to re-sign free agent forward Simone Fontecchio.
  • In the same piece, Edwards suggests the odds are about 50-50 on head coach Monty Williams remaining with the Pistons. Edwards states that it works in Williams’ favor that he still has five years remaining on his six-year, $78MM contract and he didn’t have a good roster to work with. However, he got 62 games out of Cade Cunningham and still produced fewer wins than Dwane Casey did before the last coaching change.
  • Billy Donovan III, the son of the Bulls‘ head coach, will be the next coach of the team’s G League affiliate, according to Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago. He’ll replace former Windy City Bulls head coach Henry Domercant, who could wind up on Chicago’s coaching staff, Taylor adds.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers

If Kentavious Caldwell-Pope picks up his $15.4MM player option or declines it and signs a new, more lucrative deal with Denver, the Nuggets will be over the second tax apron in 2024/25. That means they would be limited to offering free agents minimum-salary contracts.

With that in mind, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports lists 10 ring-chasing veterans who might be able to help the Nuggets next season (the players have to be at least 30 years old in ’24/25 and potentially available for the minimum). Some players on Wind’s list include Gary Harris (a former Nugget), Gordon Hayward and Jae Crowder.

According to both Wind and Bennett Durando of The Denver Post (subscriber link), several people within the organization are fans of Hayward’s game, though it’s unclear if he’d actually accept a minimum deal after making $33.3MM last season. The 34-year-old was largely a non-factor with Oklahoma City and has a lengthy injury history, however, so his market is tricky to gauge.

Durando answers a handful of offseason questions related to the Nuggets, writing that the team will likely make small tweaks to the edges of the rotation instead of doing anything drastic.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune (subscription required) argues the Timberwolves should pay the luxury tax to keep the core of the current roster together for next season no matter which ownership group ultimately prevails in their ongoing dispute for majority control. As Souhan writes, the Wolves just made the Western Conference finals for the second time in franchise history, and this team is much better positioned for continued success than the group from 2004.
  • The Timberwolves‘ roster should look similar in ’24/25, assuming ownership is willing to spend, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (subscriber link). “They’ve been nothing but supportive with us,” head coach Chris Finch said of the team’s owners. “In many ways, this run that we’ve been on has pushed all of that to the background, and they’ve been 100 percent committed to the team, the team’s efforts and enjoying the success. That stuff will be what it will be. They’ve all pledged that no matter how it shakes out, that they’re going to give us every opportunity to be successful and continue to build, build a winner and a champion and all the things that we’re all trying to do together.”
  • The Trail Blazers held a pre-draft workout with six prospects on Thursday, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Those players were French wing Melvin Ajinca (No. 48 on ESPN’s big board), Minnesota guard Cam Christie (No. 34), G League Ignite guard Thierry Darlan (No. 85), Michigan State forward Malik Hall (unranked), North Carolina forward Harrison Ingram (No. 42) and Arizona forward Keshad Johnson (No. 49). Portland controls four picks in the 2024 draft, including a pair of second-rounders (No. 34 and No. 40).

Eastern Notes: Atkinson, Bryant, Highsmith, Jovic, Harris

Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is the leading candidate for the Cavaliers head coaching job but Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant has a legitimate chance, too, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic tweets.

Bryant has ties to Donovan Mitchell, Lloyd notes, since he was an assistant there before the Jazz dealt Mitchell to the Cavaliers. Owner Dan Gilbert is heavily involved in the process of selecting J.B. Bickerstaff‘s replacement., Lloyd adds.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported last week that Atkinson had emerged as the favorite to land the Cavaliers’ job.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Haywood Highsmith would like to stay with the Heat but that may not be feasible due to salary cap restrictions, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes. Highsmith will undoubtedly get a significant raise from his $1.9MM salary this season but if the Heat try to meet his market value, estimated in the $8-10MM annual range, they’ll be pushed up against the punitive second tax apron. Highsmith appeared in 66 regular season games and averaged career highs in points (6.1 per game), assists (1.1), steals (0.8), blocks (0.5) and minutes (20.7) while shooting career-bests from the field (46.5%) and three-point range (39.6%).
  • The Heat don’t have to worry about Nikola Jovic going anywhere. He’s still got two years left on his rookie scale contract and emerged as the starting power forward late in the season. Jovic might be the team’s most intriguing player as well as the Heat’s best bargaining chip, Chiang writes. “He’s 20. So I always do need to remind myself of that,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I hold him to an incredibly high standard because our standards are not going to change. Our expectations are always going to be championship-level expectations. Yes, I’m expecting him to rise to that.”
  • Gary Harris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel examines what the future might hold for the veteran shooting guard. Harris has been the Magic‘s top 3-point threat at times, Beede notes, but he’s also missed chunks of time with injuries and the team may look for an upgrade at that spot.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Harris, Wizards, Adebayo, Butler

The playoff experience that the young Magic players were excited to get now includes the intense pressure of a Game 7, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando faces Cleveland this afternoon with the season on the line for both squads, and Wendell Carter Jr. believes he and his teammates are in the right frame of mind for a victory.

“We didn’t come all this way to just lose a Game 7,” Carter said.

Beede notes that for the Magic to win, they’ll have to find a reliable source of offense. Orlando has lost all three games at Cleveland so far and has the second-worst offensive rating on the road in the playoffs, slightly ahead of the Cavaliers.

“We kind of look at it as another game,” Carter said. “There’s a little bit more urgency, of course, but we never want to get too high or too low for games like this. That’s what the great players do. As a unit, we’re super excited to be in this position.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic will have Gary Harris available for Game 7, Beede tweets. The veteran swingman had been listed as questionable after missing Game 6 with a strained right hamstring. Coach Jamahl Mosley declined to tell reporters whether Harris will start or come off the bench.
  • This offseason marks the next step in the Wizards‘ rebuilding process that team president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins began last summer, observes Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. After they were hired, the focus was on ridding the team of high-priced vets such as Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis. Now they’ll try to build up the roster, starting with another high lottery pick in this year’s draft. “It won’t be an easier an offseason, it will be a [different offseason]. We did a lot of heavy lifting last offseason and we moved humongous features of the organization,” Winger said. “We don’t necessarily have to do that this offseason. So, this offseason is probably a lot of incremental moves whereas last offseason was a few significant moves.”
  • Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel looks at important dates for the Heat‘s offseason. Two of the most significant are July 6, when Bam Adebayo will become eligible for a three-year, $165MM extension (which could be much larger if he wins Defensive Player of the Year or is named to an All-NBA team) and July 7, when Jimmy Butler will be eligible for a two-year, $112.9MM extension.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Anthony, Harris, Hornets, Wizards

The Magic worked their way back from a fourth-quarter deficit to weather a Donovan Mitchell 50-point performance and force a Game 7. Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes that everyone in the rotation made an impact, including Cole Anthony, who had a major bounce-back game after scoring five combined points in the past two games.

I thought Cole won us the game today,Franz Wagner said. “He had huge minutes off the bench, making plays on both sides, and that’s what it takes to be successful in the playoffs.

Anthony played most of the fourth quarter with Gary Harris out, scoring nine points and connecting on a crucial put-back play.

I’ve lost a lot of trust with my lack of [quality] play this season,” Anthony said. “It’s been a tough year. But, look, at the end of the day, I’m just here to try and help this team win. That’s the cure-all for everything is a ‘dub.’ And we got a ‘dub’ tonight. Magical.

Orlando hasn’t been able to defeat the Cavaliers in Rocket Mortgage Arena in the playoffs this season. In three games, the Magic are shooting 38% from the field and 25% from beyond the arc in Cleveland. Even still, they’re embracing the challenge.

I can’t wait to go out there and play in Cleveland, a hostile environment, one where we haven’t won one yet, where all the odds are stacked against us,” Suggs said. “It’s just everybody here on this roster, everybody on our bench, a couple family behind the bench against an entire city. And I don’t think none of us want it any other way.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Individual play from Anthony and other players like Markelle Fultz and Moritz Wagner mattered as much as the 75 combined points from Paolo Banchero (27), Franz Wagner (26) and Jalen Suggs (22) did in Game 6, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel writes. The Magic need to continue their “by committee” approach when it comes to Game 7, Beede writes.
  • Even though Harris missed Game 6 with a hamstring strain, he wasn’t far off from returning. “Gary was close,Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley said (Twitter link via Beede). “He’ll come in [Saturday], get a little bit of treatment and we’ll re-evaluate him after that.
  • With a crucial offseason looming, Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer takes a look at which Hornets players might stay or go for the 2024/25 season. While Boone thinks newcomers Tre Mann and Grant Williams played themselves into a role for next year’s team, several projected reserves like Bryce McGowens, Vasilije Micic, Nick Richards and JT Thor could be on the move, either in free agency or via trade.
  • The Wizards had a franchise-worst win percentage this season, but no team has better odds for the top pick in the draft, and Washington’s roster features several intriguing young players. Ahead of a season in which major growth from these players is expected, Monumental Sports Network’s Chase Hughes evaluates what a few of them said they plan to work on this season. “This offseason I’m trying to improve on my shooting, getting my shot up a little bit quicker,” 2023 No. 7 overall pick Bilal Coulibaly said. “Creating my own shot, too, so being able to dribble the ball a little bit more and better. Handle the ball better. That would be a good part.

Cavs’ Jarrett Allen, Magic’s Gary Harris Out For Game 6

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will miss a second consecutive game on Friday due to his right rib contusion, having been ruled out for Game 6 in Orlando, writes Chris Fedor of According to Fedor, Allen participated in this morning’s shootaround and had hoped to play, but he’s still having trouble lifting his arm, with certain movements causing pain.

“It’s the same thing. It’s his safety, always,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff of Allen’s status during his pregame media session. “When you have an injury to your core, your ability to change directions, get out of the way, move freely and play in the trenches like he does. We will always look out for Jarrett.”

Allen dominated the first two games of the series, averaging 16.0 points and 19.0 rebounds in a pair of Cavaliers wins. He put up solid numbers (18.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG) in Games 3 and 4 as well, but Cleveland was outscored by 30 points during his time on the court after outscoring Orlando by 22 during his minutes in the first two games.

The Cavs managed to pull out a victory at home on Tuesday without Allen to take a 3-2 lead in the series, as fellow big man Evan Mobley stepped up to provide 14 points, 13 rebounds, and a game-saving block. He’ll man the middle again on Friday with Allen still on the shelf.

While Isaac Okoro took Allen’s spot in the starting unit in Game 5, it’ll be Marcus Morris who gets the start in Game 6 next to Mobley, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Max Strus, according to Fedor.

On the other side of the ball, veteran swingman Gary Harris, who has started the first five games of the first round, will be unavailable due to a right hamstring strain, the team announced (Twitter link).

Harris hasn’t produced big postseason numbers, but Orlando won his minutes in four consecutive contests from Games 2 through 5. He’ll be replaced in the starting lineup by Jonathan Isaac, creating a super-sized frontcourt alongside Wendell Carter, Paolo Banchero, and Franz Wagner to complement point guard Jalen Suggs.

Southeast Notes: Young, Hawks, Saleh, Magic, Wizards

There have been several rumors over the past few months that Atlanta will look to trade either Trae Young or Dejounte Murray this offseason. On his From the Point podcast (YouTube link), Young suggested he would be open to a change of scenery if the Hawks aren’t doing their best to win in 2024/25.

Everybody knows like obviously I want to be in Atlanta,” Young said, per Sonny Giuliano of ClutchPoints. “When I was drafted, that’s where I wanted to spend my whole career, but at the same time I want to win. So if we’re not on the same page and all, I want to win right now.

“I mean there’s times teams want to take their time and be slow with the winning process and it’s just like, I’m not there anymore. Like I want to win, and I’ve always been that way. I don’t feel like I have very much time to waste, and so I just want to continue to play at a high level and I feel like I can do that and play at a high level and win.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • In a press release, the Hawks officially announced that they have hired Onsi Saleh to be their new assistant GM. A former executive with the Spurs and Warriors, Saleh’s hiring was first reported a couple weeks ago. “Onsi has played significant roles with two of the most well-respected organizations in the NBA,” Hawks GM Landry Fields said. “In addition to his experience and expertise, we are thrilled to add someone with our shared values to our leadership team.”
  • The Magic are facing a 3-2 deficit in their first-round series with the Cavaliers, but they’re confident they can win two straight games to advance, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. “I’m riding with this team no matter who it is in front of us,” center Wendell Carter Jr. said. “I believe that we can beat any team in this league. I’m riding with my guys. I feel like we can win two in a row. It won’t be easy but we can do it.” Shooting guard Gary Harris (right hamstring strain) will be a game-time decision for Friday’s Game 6, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN.
  • Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network relays some exit interview comments from Wizards president Michael Winger and GM Will Dawkins. In addition to making “environmental” changes at Washington’s practice facility and arena, Winger said the team will likely make “incremental moves” this offseason as opposed to last year’s blockbuster trades of Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.

Magic Notes: Chippy Play, Fultz, Game 1 Flop, Lineup, Mosley

Game 1 between the Magic and Cavaliers had an edge to it and it could get even more chippier as the series goes along, The Athletic’s Josh Robbins opines. Orlando’s Markelle Fultz was assessed a Flagrant-1 foul and the Cavs’ Georges Niang received a technical foul for an altercation during the series opener.

“Either he was going to hit me first or I was going to hit him,” Fultz said. “So, I just took the initiative to body up, not trying to hurt nobody or anything like that but just deliver a hit, make it be known that we’re not soft.”

Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro received a technical foul for shoving Moritz Wagner during another incident.

“We love that stuff,” Magic guard Cole Anthony said. “Especially for us, we’re a hard-nosed team. We want the game to be physical. So, I think that for us that works in our favor.”

We have more on the Magic:

  • The Magic tried to quickly move on from their 97-83 loss in Game 1, in which they shot a woeful 32.6% from the field. “It’s the first game,” center Wendell Carter said. “We don’t want to overreact to anything. The first game on the road, we got to see what kind of game they want to play. I think we’re good. I thought we did really good defensively. I think offensively we struggled. Holding a team under 100 is always a good defensive outing.”
  • There will be no changes to the starting lineup for Game 2 tonight, Robbins tweets. Jalen Suggs, Gary Harris, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Jonathan Isaac will take the court for the opening tip.
  • In a subscriber-only piece, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel details how Jamahl Mosley‘s methods propelled his team to the postseason, comparing and contrasting him to other recent first time head coaches who flopped on rebuilding teams.

Southeast Notes: Poole, Banchero, Harris, Bridges

Wizards guard Jordan Poole has been a frequent target of criticism on social media for errors he makes, sometimes edited to make him look worse and sometimes not, but he understands that the platforms amplify outrage, and he doesn’t pay attention to it, writes Yaron Weitzman of Fox Sports.

I get what it’s for, but you can be overwhelmed with that stuff,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it, right? Just live with it. That’s our generation’s challenge.”

That doesn’t mean Poole is ignorant of what some people think about him. It has been a rough adjustment in his first season with Washington, which hasn’t gone as he or anyone else had hoped on the court. Yet Poole’s confidence remains unshaken, Weitzman notes.

Everything that I’ve done [in my career] has essentially worked,” Poole said of the outside criticism. “So there’s no need to change anything. Just find ways to get a little bit better, wherever I can.”

Martenzie Johnson of Andscape recently published an interesting profile of Poole as well, writing that the 24-year-old’s brash, flashy game stands in stark contrast to what he’s like off the court — an introspective, process-oriented person who’s a diligent worker and very private. Based on how he plays, you’d think Poole enjoys attention, but the opposite is true, according to Johnson.

Poole has been playing better since becoming the primary play-maker off the bench, both authors note, averaging 19.8 PPG, 4.2 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.1 SPG on .434/.374/.884 shooting over his past 16 games (29.0 MPG), though he’s recently been starting at point guard in place of the injured Tyus Jones, who will miss his fifth straight game on Saturday with a back injury. Poole is questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Toronto with a right hip contusion, the team announced (via Twitter).

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Magic forward Paolo Banchero had his second career triple-double in Thursday’s victory over New Orleans, and head coach Jamahl Mosley praised the former No. 1 overall pick after the performance, per Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter video link). “He reads what the defense is doing, he adjusts as the game is going on and then he finds his time to pick, time to attack,” Mosley said as part of larger quote. “That’s growth of a young man but it’s also what an All-Star does, it’s what great players do.”
  • Magic guard Gary Harris exited Thursday’s contest with right foot soreness and did not return, per the team (Twitter link). Harris had been questionable for Saturday’s game against Sacramento with a right plantar fascia strain, Beede tweets, but he was ruled out this afternoon, the Magic announced (via Twitter). Harris, who is on expiring $13MM contract, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 29-year-old veteran has been limited to 94 games over the past two seasons due to various injuries.
  • Forward Miles Bridges missed all of last season after pleading no contest to a felony domestic violence charge. He remains close with his college head coach, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, who believes Bridges has found a good home with the Hornets, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “I think it would be good for him,” Izzo said of Bridges potentially re-signing with the Hornets. “That’s what he is — he’s a pretty loyal guy and I don’t think he’s just chasing the money. He’s had a chance to leave already probably, you know? And I talk to him about it. It’s almost refreshing. He’s kind of an old school throwback, young school guy. And if he just gets everything else straightened out, which he will, I think it’s going to be special.” Bridges will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason after signing a one-year qualifying offer in 2023.

Magic Notes: Suggs, Banchero, Harris

Friday’s trip home to Minnesota inspired Magic guard Jalen Suggs to have one of his best games of the season, writes Gavin Dorsey of The Star Tribune. Suggs sparked a second-half comeback as he improved to 3-0 for his career at the Target Center. He played 36 minutes, which tied for the third-highest total of his career, and had 15 points, marking his best scoring game in two weeks.

“My muscles were tight, stomach was in knots,” Suggs said about playing in Minneapolis. “I kept seeing just faces in the crowd. I wanted to go talk to my people, share my love. This building is so special; I have a lot of memories here. But the unit, man, being able to share that with them and get the dub, which is all I wanted, all that with them, it made me happy. Smiles all around tonight.”

Suggs also contributed six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block as he filled up the stat sheet the way he used to in high school and college. He believes he’s moved past the difficulties of his first two seasons and is ready to be the player the Magic expected when they took him with the fifth pick in the 2021 draft.

“It’s funny, I was saying that before the game, this almost felt like the first time [playing at home] again,” Suggs said. “These past three years, not only was I a shell of myself, but I was kind of living a life of somebody I wasn’t. A lot of prayer, talking to family and work on myself, I feel like myself again.”

There’s more on the Magic:

  • Paolo Banchero, who received his first All-Star selection this week, is proving that he’s the type of player a franchise can build around, notes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Robbins states that coach Jamahl Mosley challenged Banchero to upgrade his defense during the offseason, and his improvement has helped Orlando reach the top five in team defensive rating. “Paolo’s playing great,” Franz Wagner said. “I think his poise, his confidence that he has — everybody else is picking up on that, and it has an impact on the whole group. That’s his way of leading the team.”
  • In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Banchero said he appreciates the individual honors, but team accomplishments are more important. He also talked about the benefits of playing in the FIBA World Cup last summer. “It helped me see the game through a different lens,” Banchero said. “It helped me just work on things that I’ve never really got to work on as a player, especially at this point in my life and career. And I just learned so much getting to be around those players, those coaches, that environment for 40 days.”
  • Veteran guard Gary Harris was able to return Friday after missing 14 games with a strained right calf, tweets Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel.