Grayson Allen

Western Notes: Wolves, Towns, Lakers, Redick, Ingram, G. Allen

Discussing the Timberwolves‘ ownership situation during the latest episode of the Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said there’s a perception around the league that if Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore assume majority control of the franchise, “payroll’s getting slashed.” However, his colleague Brian Windhorst disagrees with that notion.

“Let me just say this: I don’t believe it’s going to get slashed,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “I believe if (A-Rod and Lore) get the team by the fall, which I am skeptical of for various reasons, but if they get the team by the fall, I don’t think they’re cracking this team in pieces to save money. I think because one thing about the team, they have instantaneous equity, they can borrow it against it like that.”

While Windhorst doesn’t expect payroll to decline drastically if Rodriguez and Lore take over majority control from longtime owner Glen Taylor, he does think the new owners may not be attached to Karl-Anthony Towns as Taylor has been to this point.

“I do not think they would tear the team apart. However, I do think that there’s a possibility if the ownership change took place that Karl Towns’ role would be reevaluated,” Windhorst said.

After MacMahon stated more frankly that Towns would likely find himself “on the trade block” in that scenario, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps pointed out that exploring trade scenarios involving the big man doesn’t necessarily mean he’d be moved, since his super-max contract, which includes a $49MM+ cap hit for 2024/25, will make it difficult for Minnesota to find a suitable deal.

“(That’s) why I believe he’s not going anywhere,” Windhorst said. “Because trading him and getting equal return is going to be next to impossible.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • In another segment of the Hoop Collective podcast, Windhorst suggested that the Lakers have been sending the message that they’re still early in the process of their head coaching search, but that the noise surrounding J.J. Redick‘s candidacy has been loud. “I have some people saying, ‘This is J.J. Redick’s job’ that I trust,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “I have some people saying this is a process that is not complete. I suspect I know something, but I am just going to tell you that there’s multiple streams of information. James Borrego has had multiple meetings with the Lakers. I do think that he is a viable candidate for sure, but I think J.J. Redick is a very strong candidate. And he also is calling the (NBA) Finals for our network on ABC and ESPN. So it is what it is.”
  • While there’s a widespread belief that the Pelicans will gauge the trade market for Brandon Ingram this summer, William Guillory of The Athletic makes the case that keeping the former All-Star forward is the right move for New Orleans, arguing that it would be hard to find a deal involving Ingram that makes the team better than the 49-win version from this past season.
  • Having signed a contract extension in April, veteran wing Grayson Allen won’t become trade-eligible until October. But what sort of deal could the Suns make if they were willing to part with Allen in the fall or at next year’s trade deadline? Gerald Bouguet of PHNX Sports attempts to answer that question, generating 15 potential trade scenarios involving Allen.

Suns Notes: Narratives, Future, Olympics, Jones

After getting swept out of the first round of this year’s playoffs by the Timberwolves, the Suns face a potentially very expensive future, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

The Suns have limited options for improving the team around their current starting lineup of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, plus former All-Star Bradley Beal, center Jusuf Nurkic, and swingman Grayson Allen. Pincus notes that the Suns may look to offload one of their three priciest players in Durant, Beal or even Booker to add higher-quality role player help.

The Suns’ payroll could head north of $213MM next year, far above the league’s second tax apron of $189.5MM. That will greatly impede some of the team-building options previously open to tax-paying teams.

Pincus believes Phoenix will strive to hold onto combo forward Royce O’Neale this summer and thinks the Suns should at least explore offloading Nassir Little‘s $6.8MM contract.

There’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Though things do look dire for the Suns now, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports takes pains to push back on five “annoying” Phoenix-relative narratives heading into a long offseason, suggesting that the team has a bit more opportunity and higher upside than it might appear. For instance, though the Suns don’t control their own draft picks in the immediate future, the team will still have at least some picks, including first-rounders. Bourguet also believes the club’s current core might just need more time playing together to truly become successful in the playoffs.
  • The 2024 Olympics in Paris could have an impact on the fates of the Suns’ stars, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN (YouTube video link) details. “Kevin Durant has reached a point in his career where his future is basically determined by him, and so where he’s at is going to be very important,” Windhorst said. “One variable… is that this summer is an Olympic summer. Team USA is gathering, and this is the biggest gathering of star players on Team USA since the Beijing Olympics in 2008. We have never seen this collection of stars who have committed over basically the last decade-and-a-half. On that team will be Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, they have committed to play in it… Let’s see where everybody’s mood is after the Olympics experience is, because you know that Team USA always opens up doors for big things to happen with star players.”
  • Following pressers from both Suns owner Mat Ishbia and general manager James Jones on Wednesday, Doug Haller of The Athletic seems convinced the team will not look to move on from its starting five. The club’s three stars — Durant, Booker, and Beal — only suited up for 41 regular season contests together, and key Phoenix decision-makers believe they have room to grow together. The club will at least talk about acquiring a true starting-caliber point guard, Haller notes. “We’ll go through every channel,” Jones said. “We’ll explore every scenario to add and build our team. It’s important to remember that we’re starting with six, seven, eight, really good core players. And when you’re talking about building on the margins, I think we have more than enough to do that effectively.”

Suns Notes: Vogel, Jones, Offseason Priorities, Second Apron, Beal

The Suns will take “a hard look” at a coaching change after being swept out of the playoffs by Minnesota, sources tell Shams Charania and Doug Haller of The Athletic. If Frank Vogel is retained, management will consider making adjustments to his staff, according to the authors, who add that general manager James Jones will be kept in his current role.

Vogel still has four seasons remaining on the $31MM contract he received when he was hired last June. He was 49-33 in his first year with Phoenix and the team made a late charge to claim the sixth seed in the West, but there were concerns by the end of the season that his voice was no longer resonating with his players, Charania and Haller write.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported before Sunday’s game that Vogel’s future is in jeopardy. In a meeting with reporters before the contest, Vogel expressed confidence that he will remain the team’s coach (video link), telling reporters, “I’ve got full confidence from (owner) Mat Ishbia.”

But Charania and Haller wonder how patient Ishbia will be after spending heavily to add Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal to form a Big Three alongside Devin Booker. That approach was shaky throughout the regular season, and it fell apart completely in the playoffs against the less experienced Timberwolves.

The Suns already have to replace lead assistant Kevin Young, who was in charge of the team’s offensive game plans. Young accepted the head coaching job at BYU two weeks ago, but agreed to remain with Phoenix through the end of its playoff run.

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • The Suns plan to keep the core of the team together and build around Booker, Durant, Beal, Grayson Allen, Jusuf Nurkic and Royce O’Neale, according to Charania and Haller. Allen recently agreed to a four-year, $70MM extension, but O’Neale, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, will have to be re-signed. The team will also be on the lookout for available veterans to help build a more professional atmosphere in the locker room, sources tell the authors.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 expects a “cooling-off period” before Ishbia makes any decisions about his coaching staff (Twitter link). He also notes that finding a traditional point guard will be necessary this offseason as neither Booker or Beal appeared fully comfortable filling that role. Gambadoro also sees a need for a backup center and more size at the wing, pointing out that Phoenix was out-rebounded by a 185-130 margin during the four-game series.
  • The Suns’ offseason options will be limited because they’re now operating under full second-apron rules, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Among those restrictions, the team can’t aggregate players in trades or take back more money than is sent out in any deal. The Suns won’t have access to the mid-level exception and can only sign their draft picks and add players on minimum contracts.
  • Although Beal is widely considered to be untradeable with a contract that pays him $161MM over the next three seasons, Sam Vecenie of the Athletic believes the Suns could find a market if they decide to move him (Twitter link). He sees possible interest from the Kings if they lose Malik Monk in free agency, the Bulls if they trade DeMar DeRozan, or the Sixers if they can’t land a significant free agent with their available cap space. Beal still has a no-trade clause though and would have to approve any deal.

Injury Notes: Leonard, Gafford, Lillard, G. Allen, Jackson

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard was listed as questionable heading into Friday’s Game 3 against Dallas due to right knee inflammation, but he was later upgraded to available, notes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter).

Leonard returned to action on Tuesday after being sidelined for three-plus week with the knee injury. He played 35 minutes in Game 2 and it’s unclear if two-time Finals MVP will be ready for more than that tonight.

Not sure yet,” head coach Tyronn Lue said on Thursday, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “That’s something we got to talk about with medical. I’m not sure if the minutes will go up but he feels good.”

Leonard was understandable rusty in his first game back and needs to find his timing, Lue added, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.

I think mentally he felt OK (thinking) ‘I got over that hurdle. I feel good. I can do this,’” Lue said of Leonard. “I’m hoping he continues that at the start of (Game 3).

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • After previously being listed as questionable, Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (back spasms) went through his pregame routine unscathed and will be active on Friday, the team announced (via Twitter). Gafford made a big impact for Dallas in the second half of the season after being acquired from Washington at the trade deadline.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard appeared to suffer a left knee injury in the first quarter of Friday’s Game 3 vs. Indiana after his heel area was accidentally landed on by Pascal Siakam (Twitter video link via ESPN). Lillard was in significant pain and went back to the locker room to get checked out, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, the eight-time All-Star returned to action at the start of the second quarter and remained in through the conclusion of the overtime loss, so evidently the injury isn’t a serious one.
  • Suns wing Grayson Allen, who sustained a right ankle sprain in Game 1 in Minnesota and then re-injured the ankle in Game 2, said he felt “better than expected” on Thursday, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). Allen was a partial practice participant on Thursday and is questionable for Friday’s Game 3 in Phoenix. However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 expressed doubt about his status tonight, tweeting that Sunday’s Game 4 looks like a more “realistic” return date.
  • Nuggets reserve guard Reggie Jackson was in a walking boot and using crutches on Friday, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. Head coach Michael Malone said Jackson has a sprained ankle and he’ll be questionable for Saturday’s Game 4 vs. the Lakers, with the boot a “preventative” measure, according to Brendan Vogt of DNVR Sports (Twitter links).

Injury Notes: G. Allen, Giannis, Hardaway, Kawhi

Suns wing Grayson Allen re-injured his right ankle early in the third quarter of Game 2 vs. Minnesota on Tuesday, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Allen, who suffered a right ankle sprain in Game 1, turned that same ankle when he landed on Mike Conley‘s foot as he tried to block a shot attempt (Twitter video link).

Allen was unable to play the final 21 minutes for the Suns, who find themselves in a 2-0 hole after Tuesday’s loss. However, X-rays on the ankle were negative, per head coach Frank Vogel. Allen is considered day-to-day and isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning for Game 3.

“Forty-eight hours in between, two days,” Allen told reporters. “We’ll see how it goes after two days.”

Allen scored just three points in more than 17 minutes of action on Tuesday, but he’s an important connecting piece in Suns lineups featuring their three stars — he can defend on the perimeter and led the NBA with a .461 3PT% this season. Phoenix was a +3 in Allen’s time on the floor on Tuesday, but ultimately lost the game by 12 points.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Bucks head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) was taking shots and was “on the floor a bunch” on Tuesday, suggesting that he’s “getting closer” to a return (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). However, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that Antetokounmpo still has a number of benchmarks to clear. “Still not much cutting, no scrimmaging, no all-out running yet,” Charania said. “… I think the Bucks have to be prepared to keep playing on without Giannis (and) making sure he’s 100% when he does make it back.”
  • Mavericks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. sprained his right ankle in Tuesday’s win over the Clippers and didn’t play at all in the second half (Twitter link). Hardaway’s status for Game 3 on Friday is unclear at this point.
  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, who played 35 minutes on Tuesday in his first game since March 31, admitted that he has some rust to shake off, but said after the loss to Dallas that his right knee felt good, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Improving his conditioning and his rhythm will be a goal for Game 3. “This is my first game in 20-something days,” Leonard said. “We got to be better as a unit overall and it starts with me. And even if my wind is low, I got to find a way.”

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Powell, Fox, Ellis, Huerter, Allen

The Clippers found a way to hold the Mavericks to 30 points in the first half of Game 1. Coach Tyronn Lue knows that keeping Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving under control for Game 2 tonight will be even tougher, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

“It’s very challenging,” he said. “You got two of the best scorers in the league on the same team. So, when they’re both on the court at the same time, it’s kind of hard to double-team one guy and leave the other guy. So, you got to pick your poison. I thought for the most part our guys did a good job with executing the defensive plan.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Norman Powell is upset he wasn’t one of the finalists for the Sixth Man of the Year award, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. “I mean, I think it’s BS, to be honest, two years in a row,” he said. “I don’t know what else you’ve got to do to be a sixth man. Last year, you’re leading the league in bench points. Don’t get nominated. This year, the most efficient off the bench, given the fact I’m playing with four Hall of Famers, limited touches. … it’s just tough.” Powell averaged 13.9 points during the regular season on .486/.435/.831 shooting.
  • De’Aaron Fox said on Monday that it’s impossible to think of this Kings season as anything but a major disappointment, per Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Sacramento was bounced in the play-in tournament. “You want to continue to play for more,” Fox said. “I don’t think we were bad this year, but obviously the West got tougher and I don’t think we stepped up to that plate. … We took a step backward a little bit as a team. We still have things we can continue to get better at as a group.”
  • In the same story, Patterson notes that Keon Ellis and Kevin Huerter could have a spirited battle for the Kings’ starting shooting guard spot next season. Ellis impressed with his defense, while Huerter is a career 38.2% 3-point shooter. “It’s definitely the season where I’ve kind of made a name for myself a little bit,” Ellis said. “We didn’t finish the way we wanted to with the injuries and all of the things that go into that, but definitely for me it’s a season I’m going to look back at and be like, ‘This is where it started for me.’”
  • Suns wing Grayson Allen suffered a right ankle injury in Tuesday’s game against Minnesota and did not return. Allen came into the game with a sore ankle, per The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin (Twitter link), but was deemed healthy enough to play.

Injury Updates: Vanderbilt, Kawhi, Giannis, Suggs, Anderson, Allen

Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who hasn’t played since February 1 due to a right midfoot sprain, is targeting a Game 3 return, a source familiar with the situation tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

According to McMenamin’s source, Vanderbilt has been ramping up his workouts in the past couple weeks and had one of his most intense on-court sessions yet on Monday. His availability on Thursday will be determined based on how his body responds to that increased intensity.

As previously reported, Lakers big man Christian Wood (left knee surgery) is also aiming to make it back for Game 3 vs. Denver. It remains to be seen how much the team would use Vanderbilt and Wood – and how effective they’d be – following long layoffs. Still, given that they’re in a 2-0 hole against the Nuggets, head coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers will likely welcome all the help they can get as they look for a way to beat the defending champions.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (knee inflammation) is considered questionable to play in Game 2 vs. Dallas on Tuesday, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Leonard took part in Monday’s practice, though head coach Tyronne Lue described it as a walk-through session with no contact.
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) went through a “pretty good, brisk workout” on Sunday, then had a “maintenance day” on Monday, per head coach Doc Rivers (story via Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). While Antetokounmpo appears to be making some progress in his recovery, he’s listed as doubtful to play in Game 2 vs. Indiana on Tuesday.
  • Magic guard Jalen Suggs was carried off the court in the first quarter of Monday’s Game 2 with what appeared to be a significant left knee injury, but he was able to return and play for most of the second half, according to Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Suggs, whose injury was initially diagnosed as a left knee strain, expects to remain available going forward. “I’m good,” he said. “I was able to finish. It will be cool to get back home and get treatment for a couple of days. We play Thursday at 7 p.m. and I’ll be ready.”
  • Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson was able to practice on Monday, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, but he’s listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game due to a right hip pointer. Suns wing Grayson Allen is also considered questionable to suit up for that contest after spraining his right ankle in Game 1, tweets Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

Pacific Notes: Leonard, George, Allen, Warriors

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue has decided on his fifth starter if Kawhi Leonard isn’t available for Sunday’s series opener against Dallas, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Lue didn’t reveal the name, but Carr speculates it will be Amir Coffey, who started 13 games this season, often as Leonard’s replacement.

Leonard is still officially listed as questionable with inflammation in his right knee that has sidelined him since March 31. He was expected to take part in shooting drills at today’s practice with more movement than he did on Friday, but he still hasn’t participated in anything involving full contact since the knee began flaring up.

Lue said he’s not counting on any one player to slow down the high-powered Mavericks’ attack led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

“It’s on all of us. It’s not just one player or two players, it’s all of us collectively doing our jobs and doing it the best we can do,” Lue said. “It’s not on one or two guys, it’s on everybody to produce, as well as me and the coaching staff.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Paul George believes bad injury luck has prevented the Clippers from reaching their potential in the playoffs, Carr adds. George is making his return to the postseason after missing last season’s series with Phoenix due to a sprained knee. “Injuries happen. That’s part of the game (and there’s) no way of really avoiding it,” he said. “So, as much as chemistry and being on the floor together and playing the best basketball you could possibly play at this point of the season, a lot of it has to do with luck, too.”
  • X-rays were negative for Suns guard Grayson Allen, who left today’s game with an ankle injury, tweets Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Coach Frank Vogel told reporters that Allen has been diagnosed with a sprain. His availability for Tuesday’s Game 2 will depend on how he responds to treatment.
  • The Warriors will need to be aggressive on the trade market to have another chance at a title during the Stephen Curry era, writes Ron Kroichick of The San Francisco Chronicle. Kroichick suggests making a run at Karl-Anthony Towns if the Timberwolves are knocked out of the playoffs early or possibly Dejounte Murray if the Hawks decide to break up their backcourt. He lists Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant, Pacers forward Pascal Siakam and Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram as others who might be obtainable.

Suns Sign Grayson Allen To Four-Year, $70MM Extension

APRIL 16: Allen’s contract extension is official, the Suns announced today in a press release.

“Grayson embodies our values and we are committed to him being a key member of our core as we continue to build together into the future,” Suns president of basketball operations James Jones said in a statement. “He has been outstanding for us this season, leading the league in three-point shooting while providing a versatile skillset and competitive spirit on both ends of the floor. Phoenix has become a home for Grayson and his family, and we are thrilled that they want to be part of this community and our winning culture for years to come.”

“I love being in Phoenix and believe in what we can achieve here,” Allen added in a statement of his own. “Thank you to Mat Ishbia and the organization for embracing me. I’m excited to make a long-term commitment to remain in this community and continue building with this team.”

APRIL 15: Grayson Allen has agreed to a four-year, $70MM extension with the Suns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The deal, which includes a player option for the final season, was confirmed to Wojnarowski by Allen’s agents, Mitch Nathan, Aaron Mintz and Steven Heumann of CAA Basketball.

Allen has thrived in his first year in Phoenix, becoming the NBA’s leader in three-point shooting percentage this season at 46.1%. He also reached career highs by averaging 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 33.5 minutes per game while making 73 starts.

Wojnarowski notes that the new contract will continue to escalate the Suns’ tax bill, which has exploded since Mat Ishbia bought the team midway through last season. Allen will make $15.6MM next season, pushing the team’s projected payroll to $206MM. That will result in an estimated $104MM in luxury tax payments, which would be the highest figure in the league.

Phoenix is currently projected to exceed the second apron by $16MM in 2024/25, Woj adds, triggering the most severe restrictions under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Suns won’t be permitted to send out cash in trades, aggregate contracts or make use of a preexisting trade exception. They also won’t be able to trade their 2032 first-round pick if they finish next season above the second apron.

Allen had been headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, so the agreement locks up an important part of the Suns’ offense for at least three more seasons. With Phoenix already well above the salary cap, the team would have faced few options for replacing Allen if he had signed elsewhere.

The 28-year-old guard had bounced around the league since being selected by Utah with the 21st pick in the 2018 draft. The Suns were his fourth team in six years when they acquired him last summer as part of the three-team deal that sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee. Allen had been a starter for the Bucks the past two seasons, but he was able to fully unlock his game on a Phoenix team where he’s surrounded by elite scorers in Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Lee, Allen, Kawhi, Kings, Warriors

Anthony Davis missed the final six minutes of Sunday’s victory over New Orleans due to back spasms, but he’s confident he’ll be ready to go on Tuesday when the Lakers and Pelicans meet again in the play-in tournament, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“No doubt that I’m going to play,” Davis said after Sunday’s game.

Davis’ injury occurred with 5:52 remaining in the fourth quarter when he was attempting to grab a rebound and was pushed in the back by Pelicans big man Larry Nance Jr. (video link). According to McMenamin, Davis said the contract resulted in hyperextension when he landed and that his back “just locked up.”

“I was in the air,” Davis said. “Obviously it’s a dangerous play. I know he’s not a dirty player.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Suns wing Damion Lee admits that he went through some “dark days” during the lengthy recovery process from an October meniscus surgery that sidelined him for the entire regular season, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. However, Lee is in a better place now as he nears the end of that recovery process — he also hasn’t given up on the idea of returning this spring. “To be determined,” Lee said. “I’ll just leave it at this. I feel like the longer we go in the postseason, the more likely there is a chance. No timetable necessarily. It’s all feel based. You saw me out here shooting, jumping. Running.”
  • Grayson Allen gave up a little money to sign an extension with the Suns, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), who says the veteran swingman could have secured $80-85MM on the open market. Allen has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $70MM deal with Phoenix.
  • The Clippers continue to be evasive about Kawhi Leonard‘s outlook for the start of the playoffs, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Asked on Sunday whether Leonard has been doing workouts, head coach Tyronn Lue said he’s “been doing a little something,” but Lue declined to say whether or not he expects the star forward to be available in the postseason.
  • It won’t be an easy path to the playoffs for the Kings or Warriors, who will each have to win two play-in games just to claim the No. 8 seed in the West. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at the challenge facing the Kings, while Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic checks in on a Golden State team in “March Madness mode.”