Isaiah Joe

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Joe, Ingles, McDaniels

As Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (subscription required) writes, the Trail Blazers looked ready on Friday to pull the plug on the 2022/23 season.

Having slipped out of the play-in race during a recent six-game losing streak, Portland ruled out Damian Lillard (right calf tightness) and Jusuf Nurkic (right knee soreness) for Friday’s game vs. Chicago and ran out a starting lineup made up of Ryan Arcidiacono, Shaedon Sharpe, Matisse Thybulle, Trendon Watford, and Drew Eubanks. The outcome was predictable, with the Blazers losing to the Bulls by 28 points.

With the Trail Blazers now sitting at 32-41, three-and-a-half games back of the No. 10 seed in the West with nine games to go, there’s little reason to believe the team will resume its push for a play-in spot down the stretch — and it’s possible we won’t see a whole lot more of banged-up vets like Lillard and Nurkic this season. That would be good news for playoff hopefuls like the Thunder and Pelicans, who will visit Portland on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Given the team’s lack of impact moves on the free agent market since relocating to Oklahoma City, Isaiah Joe may be the most important free agent addition in Thunder history, declares Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link). While Joe won’t become a star and may never even be a starter in OKC, he has enjoyed a breakout season and looks like a potential rotation player for years to come, Lowe writes. Joe has knocked down 42.0% of his three-point attempts this season and the Thunder have a plus-6.6 net rating when he’s on the court, easily the best mark by any player who has spent the entire year with the club.
  • Bucks forward Joe Ingles admits that he took it hard when he was traded by the Jazz at the 2022 trade deadline, but he has since comes to terms with it and now appreciates the fact that he got to spend eight years with the franchise, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. The roster overhaul that the Jazz have undergone since Ingles’ departure made it easier for him to move on. “We had a hell of a run; at some point, they always come to an end,” he said. “Ours did — not by the players’ choice, but that’s how it works.”
  • In an interview with Shams Charania of Stadium (Twitter video link), Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels says he thinks he’s the best defender in the NBA.

Western Notes: Jazz, Markkanen, Joe, Westbrook

The Jazz will be adding at least two players in the coming days. Now that they’ve bought out and waived Russell Westbrook and Leandro Bolmaro, they’re down to 12 players on the 15-man roster. Teams are only permitted to dip below 14 players on standard contracts for up to two weeks at a time.

The Jazz have a multitude of financial options to expand the roster, including the use of $5.5MM of its midlevel exception available to split up and sign players to multiyear contracts, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • After his All-Star appearance, the Jazz want to see more growth from Lauri Markkanen, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes. Now that they’ve traded Mike Conley and Malik Beasley, they will put the ball in Markkanen’s hands more often during crunch time, seeing how he makes decisions for himself and others. The coaching staff also wants to see him in more isolations.
  • Isaiah Joe‘s perimeter shooting has been a critical factor for the Thunder‘s offense, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The reserve guard has knocked down 45.2% of his 3-point attempts. “Giving a guy like him the freedom to take some tough ones and show the other team that he’ll make some tough ones, it opens things up for the offense and I think we’ve benefited from that,” coach Mark Daigneault said.
  • The Clippers are making a foolish mistake by adding Westbrook, who plans to join them once he clears waivers, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines. The issues that Westbrook had with the Lakers — poor shooting, ball hogging, sullenness and selfishness — won’t go away when he joins Los Angeles’ other team, according to Plaschke. Adding him negates the Clippers’ strong trade deadline moves and the fact that their lineup was finally playing together, Plaschke adds.

Northwest Notes: Jokic, Mitchell, Joe, Mann

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic put up numbers reminiscent of Wilt Chamberlain on Sunday night, but it’s concerning that Denver needed that type of production to get by the Hornets, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Jokic had one of the best games of his career with 40 points, 27 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals, a line that hasn’t been seen since Chamberlain did it in 1968.

Singer notes that Jokic’s efforts were needed because of the continued struggles of the team’s bench. Denver’s reserves were outscored by Charlotte’s, 46-18, and Jokic had to cut short his rest in both halves.

“Our bench wasn’t giving us anything,” coach Michael Malone said. “… When you’re coming off the bench, you have an obligation. Guys get pissed off when they come out of a game. Well, if you’re playing better, you’re not coming out of a game. Simply stated.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Donovan Mitchell is ready to face the Jazz Monday night for the first time since his trade to the Cavaliers, notes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Although Mitchell’s recent comments about “having fun again” angered some Utah fans, his former teammates aren’t taking offense. “I don’t really interpret it in any bad way at all,” Mike Conley said. “I think when you’re winning and you’re successful, when you have a career year and you’re playing well, you’re having fun. And I’m sure he had that same fun when we were playing really well, like we all did. So, you know, we’re all having fun now. I think everybody who’s been moving around and in different locations or the same location, we’re all having a good time, we’re all enjoying basketball.”
  • The Thunder picked up a three-point specialist when they signed Isaiah Joe after the Sixers waived him in training camp, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Joe has claimed a rotation spot by shooting 46% from beyond the arc, and he was 5-of-8 in a career-high 23-point game Saturday night. “I’m definitely more than just a shooter,” Joe said, “and that’s gonna come out over time, but right now I just feel like this is what the team needs, and I’m going to aspire to be the best at it.”
  • Thunder point guard Tre Mann is taking a positive approach toward his G League assignment, Mussatto tweets. Mann plans to focus on his catch-and-shoot game while he’s with the Oklahoma City Blue. “My mindset is do whatever I’ve gotta do to be the best player I can be,” he said. “That’s what we feel is best for me — me and the coaches. I understand it. I’m gonna go down there and get better.”

Thunder Waive David Nwaba, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss

The Thunder have made three cuts ahead of Monday’s regular season roster deadline, announcing that they’ve waived swingman David Nwaba, guard Trey Burke, and forward/center Marquese Chriss.

All three players were sent from Houston to Oklahoma City last month, but that trade was more about cutting costs for the Thunder than it was about the players involved. Oklahoma City also received Sterling Brown in that deal and waived him too, so none of the four players acquired from the Rockets are still under contract with the Thunder (Houston has also waived the four players it acquired in the trade).

Three cuts were required for the Thunder because they had been carrying 18 players on guaranteed contracts after signing Isaiah Joe earlier today.

The team will be on the hook for the 2022/23 salaries for Nwaba ($5,022,000), Burke ($3,423,750), and Chriss ($2,193,920), assuming they go unclaimed on waivers. However, none of the three are owed any guaranteed money beyond this season. Nwaba, Burke, and Chriss have been solid rotation players in the past, but none were particularly effective for Houston in 2021/22.

Nwaba averaged 5.1 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 46 games (13.2 MPG), while making just 30.6% of his three-point attempts; Burke put up 5.1 PPG and 1.4 APG in 42 games (10.5 MPG) and shot a career-low 31.7% on threes; Chriss averaged 4.5 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 34 appearances (10.2 MPG) and underwent knee surgery in June.

The Thunder now have 15 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals, so their roster is set for the regular season.

As for Joe, his new deal with the Thunder is a three-year, minimum-salary contract that is fully guaranteed for the first season and non-guaranteed in year two, with a third-year team option, Hoops Rumors has learned. Oklahoma City used a portion of its mid-level exception to complete the signing, which head coach Mark Daigneault expressed enthusiasm about in a Monday media session.

“He’s a guy that our scouts and our people have liked for some time,” Daigneault said, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter video link).

Isaiah Joe Signs With Thunder

OCTOBER 16: The Thunder have officially signed Joe, the team announced in a press release. Oklahoma City won’t have to finalize its cuts until Monday and has a full 20-man roster for now.

OCTOBER 15: The Thunder are finalizing a multi-year contract with Isaiah Joe, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Swingman David Nwaba will be among the players waived to make room on the roster, sources tell Charania (Twitter link).

Joe cleared waivers earlier today after being released Thursday by the Sixers, who selected him with the 49th pick in the 2020 draft. The 23-year-old shooting guard spent the past two years in Philadelphia and averaged 3.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 55 games last season.

Nwaba was acquired from the Rockets in an eight-player trade in September after playing 46 games for Houston last season. Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss remain on Oklahoma City’s roster, but with more cuts remaining it’s possible that all eight players in that deal will end up on waivers.

Sixers Waive Charles Bassey, Isaiah Joe

5:37pm: The Sixers have officially announced in a press release that they’ve waived Bassey and Joe.

8:32am: The Sixers are also waiving Joe, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). With Joe’s non-guaranteed $1.78MM salary no longer on the books, the team will have more than $5.5MM in breathing room below its hard cap, tweets Bodner.

Joe appeared in 55 games for the 76ers last season, averaging 3.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG on .350/.333/.935 shooting in 11.1 MPG.

The two cuts will give the Sixers the option of opening the season with just 14 players on their standard roster or of adding a 15th man (including perhaps Joe) on a new non-guaranteed contract.

Joe’s previous deal called for his full 2022/23 salary to become guaranteed if he made the opening night roster, so Philadelphia theoretically could re-sign him on a more team-friendly contract if he passes through waivers, though it’s unclear if that’s in the plans. The team also may have interest in bringing him back on a two-way deal, says Kyle Neubeck of

8:18am: The Sixers have waived big man Charles Bassey, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

The 53rd overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Western Kentucky, Bassey signed a three-year, minimum-salary contract with Philadelphia last September, then appeared in 23 games as a rookie, averaging 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 7.3 minutes per contest. He played a starring role when assigned to the G League, averaging 18.9 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 17 regular season games (28.6 MPG) for the Delaware Blue Coats.

Although Bassey’s contract ran through 2024, it wasn’t fully guaranteed beyond his rookie season, making his grip on a roster spot tenuous this fall. Isaiah Joe‘s strong Summer League showing and the Sixers’ decision to sign Montrezl Harrell a month ago to fill out their frontcourt also didn’t work in his favor, making Bassey the odd man out.

Assuming Bassey clears waivers without being claimed, the 76ers will be on the hook for his partial guarantee of $74,742. Because that guarantee exceeds $50K, he’s ineligible to play for the Delaware Blue Coats – Philadelphia’s G League team – as an affiliate player or two-way player.

A team with interest in claiming Bassey off waivers would need a trade exception, disabled player exception, or cap room to absorb his $1,563,518 salary. Even though he’s earning the minimum, the fact that Bassey was on a three-year contract means he can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception.

With Bassey and Trevelin Queen out of the picture, Philadelphia looks poised to carry a 15-man roster that features 13 players on fully guaranteed salaries, plus Paul Reed and possibly Joe on non-guaranteed deals. The Sixers’ team salary is now approximately $3.76MM below the hard cap, tweets Derek Bodner of The Daily Six.

Eastern Notes: Suggs, P. Williams, Sixers, Bridges

After battling health issues as a rookie, Magic guard Jalen Suggs was frustrated to sustain another injury during the preseason, so it came as a relief when his diagnosis wasn’t as serious as it could have been. Suggs has a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise.

“Those things really can either go one of two ways — they can be the worst or be things that are really manageable,” Suggs said on Sunday, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Thankfully, it was one of those really manageable things.”

Speaking to Price in a separate Sentinel story, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tony Wanich said Suggs was fortunate to avoid an ACL injury and suggested that the second-year guard could be back on the court in November.

“A capsule injury usually heals in about two-to-four weeks,” Wanich said. “But the bone bruise usually takes a bit longer and closer to the six-week timeline depending on how extensive that bone bruise is.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan downplayed his decision to remove Patrick Williams from the starting lineup for the team’s two most recent preseason games, but the significance of that move is “clear for all to see,” argues Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Javonte Green, who earned the start in Williams’ place on Friday, has scored 50 points in 60 minutes this preseason and is playing like the Bulls want Williams to, Mayberry writes. “When you put Javonte out there, you know what you’re going to get,” Donovan said after Friday’s game.
  • Following the Sixersrelease of Trevelin Queen, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice believes Isaiah Joe looks like the “clear frontrunner” for the team’s final regular season roster spot, ahead of Charles Bassey.
  • The preliminary hearing for Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges was pushed back for a fifth time, to October 12, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (subscriber-only link). That hearing for Bridges, who has pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges, was initially scheduled for August 19.

Sixers Waive Trevelin Queen

10:19am: Queen has officially been waived, the Sixers announced in a press release.

9:59am: The Sixers are waiving Trevelin Queen, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The 25-year-old shooting guard had a two-year, minimum-salary contract with a $330K guarantee for the upcoming season. He was named G League MVP with Rio Grande Valley last season and appeared in 10 games with the Rockets after signing a two-way contract in December.

By waiving Queen before the season begins, Philadelphia was able to avoid a $198K tax variance charge, according to Sixers reporter Derek Bodner (Twitter link).

Queen’s departure leaves the team with 19 players and it means the battle for the final roster spot will likely be between shooting guard Isaiah Joe and center Charles Bassey, Bodner adds (via Twitter). Joe has a $1.78MM non-guaranteed contract that will become fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster on opening night, while Bassey has a $75K guarantee on his $1.563MM deal.

Sixers Notes: Expectations, Joe, Bassey, Harris, Reed

In his preview of the coming season in Philadelphia, John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders whether the NBA world is sleeping on the Sixers after last season’s fourth-place finish and second-round exit.

As Hollinger outlines, signing P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, and Montrezl Harrell while trading for De’Anthony Melton – whom Hollinger refers to as one of the NBA’s most underrated players – helped shore up virtually all of the roster’s glaring holes, and the time might be right for the 76ers to break through in the Eastern Conference.

Hollinger is expecting big things from this year’s team, predicting that Philadelphia will finish the 2022/23 season with the second-best record in the East and will win the title, with Joel Embiid earning MVP honors.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • The Sixers are relieved not to have this year’s training camp dominated by questions about Ben Simmons‘ holdout, like last year’s was, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that it’s “nice not having to deal with this stuff,” while Georges Niang suggested everyone on the roster is on the same page heading into this season. “We know who we have and you know who’s in your circle and you feel like you can build,” Niang said. “With all of us last year, it was kind of like we didn’t know who was going to get traded, who was going to come back. I think it’s good to just know who’s going to be here.”
  • Isaiah Joe, whose minimum-salary contract is non-guaranteed, isn’t a lock to make the Sixers’ regular season roster, but he says he’s not stressing about his future, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “My mindset through this is as long as I’m the best version of myself, I believe that I will be all right,” Joe said. “I believe that I will be all right, especially with the guys that we got.” Pompey suggests that the last spot on Philadelphia’s roster could come down to Joe, Trevelin Queen, and Charles Bassey, with Bassey perhaps the longest shot to make the team.
  • Originally cast as the Sixers’ third star, Tobias Harris now finds himself fourth in the pecking order behind Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey. In a separate story for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pompey explores how Harris will adjust to his new role.
  • The acquisition of Harrell seemed likely to make Paul Reed the third center on the 76ers’ depth chart, but he continues to serve as the primary backup center to Embiid so far in the preseason, Pompey writes for The Inquirer. Even Reed himself has been somewhat surprised by that decision. “I was a little shocked,” he said. “But at the same time, I still want to stay humble, you know? I don’t want to get too big-headed, you know? I want to keep doing what I’m supposed to be doing so I can keep earning more trust and keep getting more minutes.”

Sixers Notes: Harden, Morey, Melton, Queen, Joe

With James Harden‘s new contract complete, the Sixers will be able to get a long-term look at what he can do for the organization. Harden played just 21 regular season games after being acquired from Brooklyn at the trade deadline, and there were concerns about his conditioning during that time. He dealt with a hamstring injury that affected his workout schedule last summer, but now he has the benefit of a full, healthy offseason and some familiarity with his teammates heading into training camp.

President of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was determined to reacquire Harden after having him in Houston, expressed his delight about the new deal in a press release distributed by the Sixers.

“He is one of the best scorers and passers to ever play, and his knowledge of the game allows him to dissect defenses and make everyone around him better,” Morey said. “James’ commitment to winning continues to resonate throughout our organization, and I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible in his partnership with Joel (Embiid) and this talented roster. This is an exciting time for our franchise.”  

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice sets some goals for Harden for the upcoming season, which include helping the Sixers build a top-eight offense, playing at least 70 games, and leading the NBA in assists. Neubeck notes that Harden was second in assists last season and should benefit from the additional shooting provided by P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
  • De’Anthony Melton, who was acquired from the Grizzlies in a draft-night trade, could be a major bargain, Neubeck adds in a mailbag column. Melton’s ability to guard multiple types of players and his versatility on offense make it easy to fit him into numerous lineups. Neubeck notes that Melton was extremely effective in Memphis when he was paired with another ball-handler, and he figures to see a lot of minutes beside both Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
  • Isaiah Joe and Trevelin Queen are likely to battle for the final roster spot in training camp, Neubeck adds. Queen holds a $330K guarantee for the upcoming season, along with a non-guaranteed deal for 2023/24. Joe will have a fully guaranteed $1.78MM salary if he remains on the roster through October 23.