Harrison Barnes

Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey Wins 2023/24 Sportsmanship Award

After being named the league’s Most Improved Player last month, Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has added another 2023/24 award to his trophy case, having been voted the Sportsmanship Award winner for this season as well, the NBA announced in a press release (Twitter links).

The Sportsmanship Award has been presented annually since ’95/96 and “honors a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.”

According to the NBA, each team nominated one of its players. The 30-player list was then trimmed down to six — one player from each division — by a panel of league executives. Finally, current players voted on the six finalists.

As the full voting results show, Maxey received the most first-place votes and most total points, making him the winner. Heat big man Kevin Love was the runner-up, followed by (in order) Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, and Spurs point guard Tre Jones.

The 21st overall pick of the 2020 draft, Maxey will be eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. After his excellent performances this season, there’s no doubt that the 23-year-old will return to the 76ers.

Wolves’ Mike Conley Named 2023/24 Teammate Of The Year

Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley has been named the NBA’s Teammate of the Year for the 2023/24 season, the league announced today (via Twitter).

The Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award “recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and a role model to other players, and commitment and dedication to team,” per the NBA.

The award isn’t voted on by media members. A panel of league executives select the 12 finalists (six from each conference) for the award, while current players vote on the winner. Players receive 10 points for a first place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth, and one point for fifth place.

Here are this season’s full voting results, according to the NBA, with the player’s point total noted in parentheses:

It’s the second Teammate of the Year award for Conley, won also won it in 2018/19 when he was a member of the Grizzlies.

The award, which was introduced in ’12/13, had gone to Jrue Holiday in each of the past two seasons (and three of the past four), with Damian Lillard taking it home in 2021.

NBA Announces Finalists For Sportsmanship, Teammate Of The Year Awards

The NBA announced the 2023/24 finalists for a pair of awards on Tuesday, naming the six players who are eligible to win the Sportsmanship Award for this season, as well as the 12 players who are in the running for Teammate of the Year honors.

The Sportsmanship Award honors the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” per the NBA. Each of the league’s 30 teams nominated one of its players for the award, then a panel of league executives narrows that group to six finalists (one from each division) and current players voted for the winner.

The trophy for the Sportsmanship Award is named after Joe Dumars, the Hall-of-Fame guard who won the inaugural award back in ’95/96. This season’s finalists are as follows (via Twitter):

None of this year’s finalists for the Sportsmanship Award have earned the honor in the past, so the 2023/24 winner will be a first-timer. Mike Conley won the award last year for a record fourth time.

Meanwhile, the NBA also announced its finalists for the Teammate of the Year award for 2023/24. According to the league, the player selected for the honor is “deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.”

The voting process is similar to the Sportsmanship Award — a panel of league executives selects 12 finalists (six from each conference) for the award, then current players vote on the winner.

Like Conley with the Sportsmanship Award, last season’s Teammate of the Year – Jrue Holiday – has the record for most times winning the award (three), but isn’t among the finalists for 2023/24. Of this season’s 12 finalists, the only one to take home the award in the past is Conley, who claimed it in 2019.

The Teammate of the Year finalists finalists are as follows (via Twitter):

And-Ones: 2024 Olympics, NBPA Leadership, G. Hill, Driesell

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Lakers center Anthony Davis are willing to be part of the U.S. Olympic team in Paris if they receive invitations, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Reynolds talked to both players at today’s All-Star media event, and they’re excited about participating.

“My goal is to play for USA until the wheels fall off,” Haliburton said. “If I get that call to go, I’ll be there.”

Haliburton was one of the top players for Team USA at last summer’s FIBA World Cup, leading the team with 5.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game across eight contests. He also played for the U.S. in the Under-19 World Cup in 2019.

Davis won gold medals in the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Harrison Barnes and Garrett Temple have been reelected to their positions as secretary-treasurer and vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, the union announced in a press release. Their new terms will last for three years. “I’m thrilled to have Harrison and Garrett return as members of the NBPA Executive Committee,” NBPA president CJ McCollum said. “Harrison and Garrett have a wealth of knowledge and insight on our players’ experiences, and their leadership has been an invaluable resource during critical periods in our union’s history. I am excited to continue working with them in their respective roles to shape the direction of the NBPA and better serve the collective group of players.”
  • George Hill talks to Marc J. Spears of Andscape about finding peace at his Texas ranch as he waits for another NBA opportunity. Hill, who spent time with the Bucks and Pacers last season, is away from the NBA for the first time after a 15-year career. “I just had a baby boy, so it’s good being here,” he said. “But at the same time, you miss basketball and going to camp every year. So, to not finally do it this year, it’s a big crack on the head. But I’m going to just keep control of what I can control. Stay positive and have fun. You know this journey. There are opportunities to get back there. If it doesn’t, I’m OK with myself. I never beat myself up. … I don’t think I’m ever going to stop working out. I hope to get back in, God willing. And I’ll be ready when opportunity comes for sure.”
  • Long-time Maryland basketball coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell died this morning at age 92, the university announced. He ranks 15th among NCAA Division I coaches with 786 career victories and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. Our deepest condolences go out to Driesell’s family and friends.

Western Trade Rumors: Wolves, Kings, Mavs, Vincent, Suns, Tillman

The Timberwolves are exploring the point guard market and considering making a trade for a player who could back up Mike Conley, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

While Fischer suggests that a reunion with Tyus Jones may be an option for Minnesota, he hears from league sources that the team is also eyeing a pair of guards who have connections to president of basketball operations Tim Connelly: Monte Morris of the Pistons and Bones Hyland of the Clippers.

Both Morris and Hyland played for Connelly’s teams in Denver before he left for the Wolves, and both players are considered potential trade candidates. Morris is on an expiring contract on a lottery-bound team, while Hyland has fallen out of the regular rotation in Los Angeles.

Here are a few more Western Conference rumors from Fischer:

  • Fischer, like Marc Stein, hears that the Kings have interest in Kyle Kuzma. However, outside of the Wizards forward, Sacramento hasn’t really been actively pursuing other targets that would require the team to part with Harrison Barnes, so Barnes could remain with the Kings through the trade deadline, Fischer says. Conversely, the Mavericks – who have also been connected to Kuzma – are known to have interest in several other forwards, including Dorian Finney-Smith and Andrew Wiggins.
  • Although D’Angelo Russell has been cited more frequently as a trade candidate, the Lakers are also including Gabe Vincent in various trade talks, sources tell Fischer. Vincent hasn’t been healthy this season and is under contract for one more year than Russell is, so his value will be limited, but his lower cap hit ($10.5MM) may make him a better fit in certain scenarios than D-Lo ($17.3MM).
  • The Suns continue to be the team linked most frequently by league personnel to Hornets forward Miles Bridges, Fischer writes, noting that both Bridges and Suns owner Mat Ishbia are former Michigan State Spartans.
  • Grizzlies big man Xavier Tillman has generated “a wealth of interest” from playoff contenders, according to Fischer. Tillman will reach unrestricted free agency this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.

Pacific Notes: Warriors’ Lineup, Kerr, Bridges, Barnes

The Warriors dropped a little further in the Western Conference playoff race on Saturday, but coach Steve Kerr might have a lineup that’s capable of saving the season, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Slater notes that Draymond Green has been outstanding since returning from his suspension and is no longer on a minutes restriction. He logged 46 minutes in last night’s double-overtime game, and the team was plus-31 when he was on the court and minus-32 without him.

Green has taken over as the starting center, with Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins as the forwards. The Kuminga-Wiggins tandem was terrible earlier in the season, but Green’s defensive presence and ball-handling skills are making the combination work. Slater notes that the three of them are plus-41 in their minutes together since Green’s return.

“We’re trying to maximize the number of possessions that those guys play together,” Kerr said. “We’re in a position now with Wiggs playing at a high level and JK having come around, Klay (Thompson), (Stephen Curry), Draymond back after the suspension. We’re in a position where we can put those guys together and it’s probably our best five.”

Their success together likely minimizes any chance that Wiggins or Kuminga will be traded before the February 8 deadline.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kerr found a quasi-diplomatic way to express his displeasure with the officiating after the Warriors fell to the Lakers Saturday night, Slater adds. “My Mom is here and I want to be on my best behavior,” Kerr said. “So I’m not going to comment on the 43 free throws to our 16. I’m not going to comment on Steph shooting three free throws in 43 minutes.” Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic was fined $25K for complaining about the free-throw discrepancy in a loss to L.A. earlier this month.
  • Amid rumors that the Suns are confident about their chances of acquiring Miles Bridges from the Hornets, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports argues against the move, saying the organization shouldn’t be considering someone with Bridges’ history of domestic violence. Bourguet also speculates that Phoenix hasn’t moved on Bridges already because it fears a backlash from fans.
  • With Kings forward Harrison Barnes frequently mentioned in trade speculation, James Ham of Kings Beat (subscription required) looks at how Barnes’ recent scoring outbursts might affect his future with the team.

Pacific Notes: Suns Rumors, Caruso, Clippers, Powell, Barnes

Within a look at some of the potential trade targets who have recently been linked to the Suns, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports reports that a source close to the situation has described Phoenix as “very confident” about its ability to make a competitive offer for Hornets forward Miles Bridges. Bourguet adds that Charlotte center Nick Richards is also a target, but that the team would likely only be able to acquire one Hornet or the other due to salary-matching considerations.

Bourguet also confirms that Nets forward Royce O’Neale is a legitimate target for the Suns, observing that O’Neale is more attainable than Dorian Finney-Smith due to his expiring contract and smaller cap hit.

The Suns would almost certainly need to use Nassir Little ($6.25MM) as their primary outgoing salary piece in any trade and would need to get to within 10% of the incoming salary, so acquiring a player who is earning much more than O’Neale ($9.5MM) would be tricky. Phoenix would presumably need to add one or two minimum-salary players and multiple second-round picks to its package for either Bridges or O’Neale.

The buyout market could also prove fruitful for the Suns, Bourguet writes, even though they’ll be prohibited from signing a player whose pre-waiver salary exceeds $12.4MM. P.J. Tucker would have interest in Phoenix if he’s bought out, according to Bourguet, who says the team has also been in touch with center Bismack Biyombo, a current free agent.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Veteran guard Alex Caruso, who left the Lakers for the Bulls as a free agent in 2021, tells Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports that he still sometimes thinks about how things would have played out if he had remained in Los Angeles. “Yeah, definitely,” Caruso said. “Just because of how well I played with them when I was here. I know how I supported them. And I’ve gotten better. I was expecting myself to get better. It’s actually what had to move me on. I kept getting better and eventually I was at a point where I couldn’t stay here. I definitely have always thought about it because those guys (LeBron James and Anthony Davis) are my brothers. We’ve been through a lot together. Always good seeing them. Every now and then you think about what could’ve been.”
  • Rival coaches and executives are praising Clippers head of basketball operations Lawrence Frank for the way his gamble on James Harden has paid off so far, according to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “I didn’t think it would work out,” one exec said. “A lot of people didn’t think it would work out. But he had it right. Russell (Westbrook) is playing within himself. Harden is sharing the ball. They have great chemistry right now.”
  • In a conversation with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, Clippers wing Norman Powell spoke about his impressions of Harden and Westbrook as teammates, the role that coach Tyronn Lue has played in the team’s success, and how these Clippers compare to the 2019 champion Raptors, among other topics.
  • Viewed as a probable outgoing piece if the Kings make a major deadline trade, Harrison Barnes has been on a heater this week, scoring 32 points on Monday and a career-high 39 on Thursday, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes.

Stein’s Latest: Rockets, Barnes, O’Neale, Hunter, Bogdanovic, Jazz, Murray

The Rockets are pursuing frontcourt options to give Most Improved Player Award candidate Alperen Şengün some help, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack post. They’re danging Victor Oladipo‘s expiring $9.5MM deal and Jock Landale‘s contract, which isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, as enticements. Houston is also seeking another shooter and has shown interest in the Kings’ Harrison Barnes, according to Stein.

Here are more tidbits from Stein’s story:

  • Barnes could be on the move, despite signing a three-year, $54MM extension last offseason. However, the Kings would prefer to get an impact player using Barnes as part of the package. They’ve had discussions with the Raptors regarding a potential Pascal Siakam deal. The Kings have also made Kevin Huerter and Davion Mitchell available but have no interest in dealing second-year forward Keegan Murray.
  • Stein suggested a couple of days ago that the Cavaliers might pursue Royce O’Neale to fill their 3-and-D need. He now hears that the Nets forward is indeed on Cleveland’s list of targets. The Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter could also be a target to watch for Cleveland, but his contract — he’s in the first year of a four-year, $90MM extension — would make the Cavs’ future cap issues more challenging. O’Neale will be a free agent after the season.
  • The Pistons had some exploratory discussions with a number of teams regarding swingman Bojan Bogdanović. However, it’s not a certainty they’ll deal him, says Stein. They may want to keep him around to help avoid setting the NBA record for the worst all-time season record, currently held by Sixers (9-73).
  • The Jazz’s surge up the Western Conference standings has made it tougher to predict what their front office will do in the coming weeks. Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Clarkson are the veterans most frequently mentioned as potential trade pieces but the chatter regarding John Collins has died down since he became the team’s starting center, according to Stein. Top exec Danny Ainge will still likely listen to trade pitches for virtually any player on the roster.
  • Dejounte Murray‘s list of potential suitors includes the Spurs, Lakers, Nets, Knicks and Pistons, Stein reports. The Hawks, as previously noted, are looking to replenish their draft assets after they gave up three first-round picks (two of their own) and a pick swap to acquire him from San Antonio in 2022.

Kings Rumors: Siakam, LaVine, Kuzma, Monk, Murray, Ellis

When the Kings and Raptors discussed a possible Pascal Siakam trade, the two teams are believed to have talked about a package that would have included Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, and a first-round pick, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

Shams Charania reported earlier in the week that Sacramento wanted to get a deal done quickly and pulled out of those talks when Toronto didn’t immediately accept the Kings’ initial offer. However, James Ham of The Kings Beat and ESPN 1320, appearing with Scotto on the HoopsHype podcast, said he thinks the Kings would still be in on Siakam if they felt more confident about their chances of re-signing him.

While Ham hasn’t been able to independently confirm the reporting of his ESPN 1320 colleague Damien Barling, he told Scotto that Barling has heard from his sources that Siakam made it clear he wouldn’t re-sign with Sacramento if the team were to acquire him.

Reports dating back to June have suggested that Siakam would be unwilling to re-sign with a team that trades for him — or at least would maintain that stance. The two-time All-Star would be eligible for a super-max contract during the 2024 offseason if he makes an All-NBA team this season, but only if he’s still a Raptor, as a trade would make him ineligible. With those financial considerations in mind, it makes some sense that Siakam might want to dissuade teams from trading for him.

It’s also worth noting that Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca reported over the weekend that the Kings aren’t interested in giving Siakam a standard (non super-max) maximum-salary contract. If that’s accurate and that was conveyed to the 29-year-old, it could also explain why he’d be hesitant to commit to Sacramento.

Here’s more on the Kings from Scotto and Ham:

  • Scotto has heard that the Kings and Bulls at least briefly discussed Zach LaVine earlier in the season. Barnes and Huerter came up in those talks, according to Scotto, who adds that Chicago likes Huerter and has done some background research on him. However, Ham is unconvinced that LaVine is a top target for Sacramento, given Mike Brown‘s focus on defense and LaVine’s massive contract.
  • Ham views Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma as a player who might be a better fit for Sacramento, noting that he has a more modest contract and pointing out that the Kings nearly traded Buddy Hield to the Lakers during the 2021 offseason for a package that would’ve included Kuzma. The team also had interest in Kuzma this past offseason, per Ham, but ultimately decided to extend Barnes to address the power forward position.
  • The Kings will hold Early Bird rights on Malik Monk when he reaches free agency this offseason, giving them the ability to offer up to $78MM over four years. Ham isn’t sure if that will be enough to retain the sharpshooting guard, who is averaging a career-best 14.8 points per game and a 41.2% three-point percentage, noting that he expects Monk to “chase money” if he gets an offer well above what Sacramento could put on the table. For what it’s worth, I’d be a little surprised if there’s a team willing to offer Monk much more than $20MM per year, but we’ll see how his season – and the market – plays out.
  • Ham says he asked a team source last year whether the Kings would be willing to trade Keegan Murray in a deal for Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and was told, “No, we believe he’ll be better than Markkanen.”
  • While Ham doesn’t expect the Kings to fill their 15th roster spot with a rest-of-season signing prior to the trade deadline, he views two-way player Keon Ellis as a prime candidate to claim that spot if it’s still open after the deadline. “They have a lot of faith in who he is as a player and what he’s becoming,” Ham said of Ellis.

Pacific Rumors: Warriors, Wiggins, Ham, LeBron, Kings, Siakam

While there’s “zero indication” that the Warriors would consider trading a longtime franchise cornerstone such as Klay Thompson or Draymond Green at next month’s deadline, there’s a “rising belief” among rival front offices that the team is open to the idea of moving Andrew Wiggins, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack story.

The Warriors are believed to be averse to the idea of moving young forward Jonathan Kuminga, who is reportedly viewed as a potential star who can help them win both now and in the future. But, as has been well documented, the team hasn’t been effective when Kuminga and Wiggins have shared the floor together this season.

As Stein writes, it’s not clear what sort of value Wiggins would have on the trade market at this point. The former No. 1 overall pick was integral in helping Golden State win a title in 2022, and his four-year, $109MM contract was viewed as team-friendly when it was signed. But he’s having the worst year of his NBA career in 2023/24 — his 11.9 points per game would be a career low, as would his 29.7% three-point mark.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Based on what he has heard, Stein says things would likely have to get significantly worse for the Lakers for Darvin Ham‘s job to be in any serious danger. Ham said last week that he was “aligned” with team owner Jeanie Buss and president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, and Stein hears the same things from his sources, writing that the head coach has “very strong support” from those organizational leaders.
  • Despite the Lakers‘ struggles this season and some speculation from a few media members, there’s no indication that star forward LeBron James has “a shred of interest” in trying to force a trade out of Los Angeles, Stein says. One source tells Stein that the Lakers – who will play eight of their next nine games in L.A. – hope to “ride out this storm” and right the ship during a home-heavy stretch of the schedule.
  • Revisiting the Kingsrecent trade talks for Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run It Back (Twitter video link) that Sacramento had hoped to get a deal done “sooner rather than later” and that the Kings had a specific package they were willing to give up for Siakam. With Toronto unwilling to accept that offer at this point, the Kings ended those discussions, which will likely only resume if the Raptors come back to the table to reengage, says Charania.
  • Charania adds that the Kings‘ offer for Siakam “revolved around” Harrison Barnes. Presumably Charania means it centered around Barnes from a salary-matching perspective rather than a value perspective, since Barnes’ trade value compared to Siakam’s is extremely low.