Jalen Wilson

New York Notes: Robinson, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Clowney, Wilson

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson returned on Wednesday from an ankle injury that robbed him of nearly four months of action. Robinson contributed eight points, two rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes during a 44-point romp past Toronto. Even in limited minutes, he looked like a defensive force, Fred Katz and Eric Koreen of The Athletic write.

“I believe my defense is kind of there,” Robinson said. “I think I still got a little bit to work on for that, but the shot blocking is still there, so that’s pretty good.”

Toronto coach Darko Rajakovic noticed how Robinson, now backing up Isaiah Hartenstein, impacted the Knicks’ rotation.

“Mitchell Robinson, when he checked in, looked like a giant out there,” Rajakovic said.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The four-year, $46.9MM contract that Donte DiVincenzo signed as a free agent last summer is turning into a huge bargain, Katz writes. DiVincenzo, who set a franchise record with 11 three-pointers against the Pistons on Monday, has emerged as a starter. He’s just another example of mid-sized contracts the Knicks have given out where the player has exceeded their cap hit in terms of production. “Donte has been amazing for us this season,” Josh Hart said.
  • Knicks forward OG Anunoby, trying to work his way back from elbow soreness, did some conditioning work in Toronto, but head coach Tom Thibodeau said Anunoby’s status hadn’t changed, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. “No, just allowing it to calm down and each day it’s a little better, but be patient, get through it,” Thibodeau said.
  • Rookies Noah Clowney and Jalen Wilson made significant contributions during the Nets’ win over Toronto on Monday, combining for 19 points and 11 rebounds, Bridget Reilly of the New York Post writes. “They come in, they do solid things. They do simple better,” interim coach Kevin Ollie said of Clowney and Wilson. While the Nets haven’t been officially eliminated from the play-in tournament, Brian Lewis of the Post argues that Clowney, Wilson and the team’s other young players should get extended minutes the rest of the way.

Contract Details: Omoruyi, Wilson, Freeman-Liberty, Bolden

Eugene Omoruyi‘s new two-year standard contract with the Wizards will pay him $900K for the rest of this season, Hoops Rumors has learned. Washington dipped into its mid-level exception in order to give Omoruyi that $900K, since using the minimum salary exception would have resulted in a rest-of-season salary worth approximately $522K.

Omoryui’s 2024/25 salary is worth the minimum and is non-guaranteed for the time being. If he remains under contract until the start of the ’24/25 regular season in the fall, he’ll earn a partial guarantee of $1MM. He’d receive his full guarantee for next season if he’s not cut on or before January 7, 2025.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Jalen Wilson‘s three-year contract with the Nets is worth approximately $4.96MM in total, with a $850K rest-of-season salary for 2023/24 and minimum salaries for the following two years. Brooklyn used its mid-level exception to give him a contract that covers three seasons and a starting salary well above the prorated rookie minimum. Wilson is also assured of a $75K partial guarantee next season, which will increase to $325K if he makes the opening-night roster.
  • The standard contract that Javon Freeman-Liberty received from the Raptors is a two-year, minimum-salary deal that includes a $100K partial guarantee for next season and multiple trigger dates for his 2024/25 salary. Freeman-Liberty’s partial guarantee would increase to $150K if he’s not waived by July 23 and to $800K if he’s still under contract at the start of the ’24/25 regular season.
  • Marques Bolden‘s two-way contract with the Hornets is a two-year agreement, so it will cover next season in addition to the rest of 2023/24.

Nets, Jalen Wilson Finalize Three-Year Contract

5:45pm: Wilson’s deal is now official, according to a press release from the Nets.

2:50pm: Wilson’s deal will include a partial guarantee for 2024/25 and a team option on the ’25/26 season, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

2:16pm: The Nets are promoting Jalen Wilson from his two-way contract and will give him a spot on their standard 15-man roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the rookie forward will sign a new three-year deal.

After winning a national championship with Kansas in 2022, Wilson led the Jayhawks in scoring (20.1 PPG) and rebounding (8.3 RPG) as a redshirt junior in 2022/23. He was named a first-team All-American and the Big 12 Player of the Year before entering the 2023 draft, where he was selected with the No. 51 overall pick by the Nets.

Wilson didn’t play much at the NBA level earlier this season but impressed in the G League with the Long Island Nets, averaging 19.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 33.0 minutes per game across 22 appearances in the Showcase Cup and NBAGL regular season. He posted a shooting line of .471/.380/.745 in those contests.

Wilson’s strong play with Long Island has helped earn him a spot in Brooklyn’s rotation in recent weeks. Since February 6, he has played in all 10 of the Nets’ games, averaging 5.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 1.5 APG on .444/.500/.667 shooting in 18.9 MPG.

The Nets have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to make room for Wilson. Once his promotion is official, the club will have an open two-way slot and will face a March 4 deadline to fill it.

Brooklyn will use a portion of its mid-level exception in order to sign Wilson to a contract exceeding two seasons. Additional details on the deal aren’t yet known.

Several Two-Way Players Nearing Active Game Limit

A player who signs a two-way contract with an NBA team is permitted to be active for up to 50 regular season games. That limit is prorated if the player signed his two-way deal after the regular season got underway — for instance, a player who finalized a two-way contract halfway through the season would be permitted to be active for up to 25 contests at the NBA level.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Two-Way Contract]

Several two-way players have been promoted to standard contracts recently, eliminating those games-played limits. GG Jackson (Grizzlies), Keon Ellis (Kings), Lindy Waters III (Thunder), Craig Porter Jr. (Cavaliers), Duop Reath (Trail Blazers), and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Pelicans) have all signed new deals since the trade deadline.

However, there are still a number of players on two-way contracts around the league who are at or near their active-game limit for the season. Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) identifies Celtics big man Neemias Queta, Mavericks guard Brandon Williams, Grizzlies guard Jacob Gilyard, and Hornets teammates Leaky Black and Nathan Mensah as two-way players who have 10 or fewer active games left, while Hawks guard Trent Forrest has already reached his 50-game limit.

In some cases, promotions to the standard roster may be forthcoming. Queta, for instance, has been a semi-regular contributor off the bench for the Celtics, who have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so if Boston wants to make him playoff-eligible and ensure he’s able to be active for the rest of the regular season, a contract conversion would be pretty straightforward.

Other cases could be trickier. While the Hawks would presumably like to have Forrest available for the rest of the season, they have a full 15-man roster, so they’d have to waive someone to make room to promote him.

Atlanta at least has some viable release candidates on its roster — for instance, veterans Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews haven’t played much and aren’t owed guaranteed money beyond this season. But that’s not the case in Memphis, where Gilyard has made a strong case for a promotion from his two-way deal by averaging 4.7 points and 3.5 assists in 37 games (17.7 MPG), with a .425 3PT%.

The Grizzlies have already promoted Jackson and Vince Williams from two-way contracts and may not have any expendable players left on their 15-man roster who could be cut to make room for Gilyard. Luke Kennard ($14.8MM team option for 2024/25) and Lamar Stevens (unrestricted free agent this summer) are the only Grizzlies not owed any guaranteed money after this season, and both are playing rotation roles for the banged-up club.

“We’ll see what happens when the time comes,” Gilyard said of his uncertain situation, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “As a basketball player, it’s definitely on your mind. I try not to let it affect me. I think that’s probably the worst part about being a point guard is you start to understand things and start to grasp things like that.”

“It’s kind of a juggling act,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said of working within those active-game limits for his two-way players, including Gilyard and Scotty Pippen Jr. “It’s hard to make those decisions, trying to preserve those dates. (Pippen’s) understood it. I was very upfront with him when he came in, (general manager) Zach (Kleiman) and myself. I think when he came in, we were maybe on the 40-game mark, but he didn’t have 40 games available, so it’s very unfortunate.

“Maybe it’s something that we look into as a league because I think he’s earned the opportunity to play every single night. We just have to balance the games he actually has available to him.”

Besides those players who are approaching their games-played limits, there are a few others on two-way contracts around the league who look like candidates to be promoted to standard rosters before the end of the regular season. Nets forward Jalen Wilson and Warriors guard Lester Quinones are among those who were playing regularly for their respective clubs leading up to the All-Star break.

Promoting a player to a standard contract would open up a two-way slot for his team, allowing that club to reset its active-game counter for that slot — at least to some extent. Due to the prorated nature of those game limits, a player who signs a two-way contract today could only be active for up to 16 games the rest of the way, but that’s 16 more games than, say, Forrest is eligible to play for the Hawks as long as he remains on his current two-way deal.

Teams have until March 4 to sign players to two-way contracts, so I expect to see a good deal of roster activity related to two-way slots within the next couple weeks.

Nets Notes: Vaughn, Bridges, Wilson, Schröder

The Nets fired Jacque Vaughn this morning, a quick turnaround for a coach who signed a four-year contract at around $5MM per year last year, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, as Fischer writes, Vaughn wasn’t initially the team’s preferred candidate — that was now-Rockets coach Ime Udoka. Players losing confidence in Vaughn and the Nets losing 18 of their previous 24 games spelled the end of his tenure in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn plans to pursue stars to pair with two-way wing Mikal Bridges, for whom the franchise has repeatedly turned down trade packages of first-round picks. Fischer notes that Damian Lillard had interest in teaming with Bridges last offseason, which is as an indication that other star players could follow suit in the future. With current players upset by the structure of the offense, per Fischer, the Nets felt it was best to stay as appealing as possible to outside free agents.

According to both Fischer and SNY’s Ian Begley (Twitter video link), there’s rising speculation that general manager Sean Marks could soon be out the door. While Fischer acknowledges Marks’ high standing with Nets governors Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, both note Vaughn is the third coach hired and fired by Marks.

Even though he wasn’t their first option last year, the Nets gave Vaughn the luxury of filling out most of his staff, something that is becoming less common. Kevin Ollie will be given the chance to make an impression as the interim head coach, though Fischer names Mike Budenholzer and James Borrego as potential options for the permanent job after this season.

We have more from the Nets:

  • Vaughn issued a statement to ESPN after he was dismissed this morning, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). “To Joe Tsai, Clara Wu-Tsai, Ollie Weisberg, Sam Zussman, Sean Marks and front office, Nets coaches, staff, players, BSE family and the entire Brooklyn borough: It was a pleasure being your Head Coach,” Vaughn’s statement reads. “I hope each individual I interacted with felt respected and valued. Just know I gave you everything I had every single day. Onto the next chapter. Amor Fati.
  • Jalen Wilson, on a two-way contract with Brooklyn, made his first big in-game impression on the Nets when he recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds while getting to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo in a Dec. 27 loss to Milwaukee, The New York Post’s Andrew Crane writes. Wilson’s role has been steadily increasing as of late, and he’s played the final six minutes of the fourth quarter in each of the Nets’ past four games. Moving Royce O’Neale at the deadline opened up some minutes for the 6’8″ power forward, and he’s averaging 7.8 points in 25.8 minutes over his past five games while shooting 69.2% on his threes.
  • The Nets acquired veteran point guard Dennis Schröder at the deadline from the Raptors and he’s immediately taking on a big role for his new team. Though his scoring average is down, Schröder is playing 25.3 minutes in his first three games with the team, including one start. In a subscriber-only story, Brian Lewis of the New York Post breaks down what Brooklyn is hoping to get from the vet and what the club can do for him.

Nets Notes: Schröder, Bridges, Marks, Wilson

Being traded is nothing new for Dennis Schröder, and the veteran guard tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post that his approach to the game doesn’t change no matter where he plays. When the Raptors shipped Schröder to the Nets on Thursday, it marked his fifth team in the last three seasons. Brooklyn is in the same situation as Toronto, battling for a spot in the play-in tournament, and Schröder said he’ll do everything he can to help.

“It don’t matter what the circumstances are. I just want to win, and having that mentality of doing it as a team,” he said. “Having a leader out there and just talking to teammates, even if it’s a bad situation. I’m always trying to be straightforward with guys and I want people to be the same way with me. If they see anything, what I can do better, just call it out, and then we go from there. That’s how I’ve been my whole career, and it’s just for great intentions, just for winning basketball, and that’s what I try to bring in.” 

Landing Schröder (along with Thaddeus Young, who has since been waived) in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie is a surprisingly good return for the Nets, Lewis adds, considering that Dinwiddie had been unhappy in Brooklyn and could have been considered a distressed asset. The Nets were able to add an experienced lead guard who can help with this year’s postseason push and is under contract for $13MM next season.

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets took a “half-measure” approach to the trade deadline, opting for smaller deals instead of seeking to maximize the return for Mikal Bridges or Nic Claxton, observes Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. The moves indicate that the organization values a chance to reach the playoffs this season and is committed to building around Bridges in the future, Sanchez adds.
  • General manager Sean Marks explained that Thursday’s deals were made with a focus on what else the team may be able to do this summer and beyond, per Collin Helwig of Nets Daily. “I think we go into these days always thinking about future flexibility, try to maintain some level of sustainability when we’re looking at how does the team look this year,” Marks said. “How’s it gonna look in six months’ time from now? How’s it gonna look in three, four years? We’re looking way down the road and at what’s fitting with our timetable, fitting with the group that we’re envisioning that we will come back with this next offseason, and we’ll bring back as Nets in a year or two from here. I think we feel pretty good about it by adding the players that we obviously added and bringing those guys in, but at the same time you’re keeping some those draft assets as well. And again, that future flexibility.”
  • With the Nets left shorthanded after the deadline deals, rookie Jalen Wilson made his first career start on Thursday and played nearly 40 minutes, Helwig adds in a separate story. “I give him an extreme amount of credit for using his minutes wisely and putting it in my mind that somehow, some way, I got to put him on the floor,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do as a player, to put that in the coach’s mind.” Helwig views Wilson as a strong candidate to have his two-way contract converted to a standard deal before the end of the season.

Atlantic Notes: Batum, Morris, Barnes, Celtics’ Reserves, Nets

It’s a mixed bag in terms of the availability of the players the Sixers acquired in the James Harden deal, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Nicolas Batum remains away from the team for personal reasons and coach Nick Nurse is unsure when he’ll return, while Marcus Morris is still ramping up after being out of the Clippers’ rotation. However, Robert Covington and KJ Martin have a chance to be in the Sixers’ rotation for the team’s game against Phoenix on Saturday.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Coming off a disappointing second NBA season, Raptors forward Scottie Barnes appears to be making major strides, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Barnes has been a steady force thus far while averaging 21.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists and shooting 52.6% from the field. While at times he’s tried to do too much, Barnes has also been a factor defensively, Koreen notes.
  • Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla organized a film session for his struggling bench on Tuesday and it paid off on Wednesday, as the backups lifted the team in a 155-point explosion against Indiana. The bench contributed 63 points. “I just thought we played with more of a sense of purpose, and they managed the game in that way,” Mazzulla said to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach (subscription required). “And there’s certain things that you can do to put yourself in a better situation in those. It’s defend without fouling, it’s limiting them to one shot, it’s not giving up transition. Those are the three things that they didn’t do in the Washington game and those are the three things that they did a great job of taking away [against the Pacers].”
  • Speaking of reserves, the Nets got similar performances from their bench in a victory over Miami on Wednesday. That group included  Armoni Brooks and Trendon Watford, making their first appearances with the Nets, and rookie second-rounder Jalen Wilson, Dan Martin of the New York Post notes. “This is a night when you see the depth and versatility of our group,’’ coach Jacque Vaughn said. “You also saw the fight and competitiveness of our group. Our pace didn’t change with subbing in guys.”

Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie Talks Offseason, Nic Claxton, More

In a podcast appearance with Dylan Burris of NetsPress, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie admitted there is a level of uncertainty surrounding Brooklyn and the league as a whole until the Damian Lillard and James Harden situations are resolved. The Nets have been cited as a possible Tyler Herro suitor in three-team scenarios with Portland and Miami.

Obviously, the offseason isn’t over,” said Dinwiddie. “I know the entire league is in a holding pattern for Dame and James. It could affect what we have going on.”

When asked if he knew anything about the Nets’ interest in possible trades, Dinwiddie said that information was “certainly above my pay grade.”

Assuming the roster remains intact, the 30-year-old expects 2023/24 to be a “building” year, as NetsDaily.com relays.

If we do have this team, which it looks like we will, it’s going to another year of coalescing, building,” Dinwiddie told Burris. “Mikal (Bridges) will try to establish himself as possibly an All-Star, a first time All-Star. I think Nic (Claxton) is going to try to establish himself as one of the premier big men in the league especially being in a contract year and heading into free agency next year.

Cam (Johnson), I think, has more ball skills than people kind of expected. So I think you’ll see him play extremely well. I think him being comfortable signing his deal, being comfortable and stuff, you’ll see a little bit of a leap there. For Cam, Mikal and Dorian (Finney-Smith), I don’t think any of them had been in another system.

We’re going to be a group that gets up and down and hopefully, we have a healthy Ben (Simmons) and if he’s in All-Star form, you might have two All-Stars. If he’s there, we have a real puncher’s chance against anybody.”

According to NetsDaily, Dinwiddie praised Simmons as a teammate and said he was encouraged by his recovery from back and knee injuries, though he didn’t know the specifics.

As Dinwiddie noted, starting center Claxton is on an expiring $9.6MM contract, and the former No. 31 overall pick is coming off a breakout fourth season, having averaged 12.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.5 blocks in 76 games (29.9 minutes) in ’22/23. Dinwiddie said his teammate has made strides in multiple areas this offseason, including his touch around the rim, strength, balance and conditioning.

I think Nic is going to make the biggest jump,” said Dinwiddie, who is also entering the final year of his deal. “I think he’s going to be supremely motivated. I think we’re going to see a big-time year from him.”

Dinwiddie also said he was a “fan” of the team’s offseason moves to this point, per NetsDaily, specifically mentioning free agent additions Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonnie Walker and second-round pick Jalen Wilson, who is on a two-way contract.

Nets Notes: Whitehead, Claxton, Wilson, Schedule

Dariq Whitehead‘s appearance at the Nets’ Plaza Party on Sunday provided another reason for optimism that he’ll be ready when training camp opens, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The first-round pick out of Duke underwent a second surgery on his right foot this summer, but Lewis states that he was able to walk without a limp or a boot. While Whitehead didn’t provide any specifics about the operation or his projected return, he indicated that he’s making progress.

“Rehab is going great. Foot feeling good. Definitely not trying to give it a definite timetable right now, just trying to take it day by day,” Whitehead said. “But everything’s feeling good, and just looking forward to approaching the season, getting back to 100 percent.” 

Whitehead was the second-ranked high school player in the nation and was hoping to be a top-five pick in the draft. But issues with his foot disrupted his college career and caused him to slip to No. 22. The surgery prevented Whitehead from playing in Summer League, so he’s eager to get started with preparations for his rookie season.

“When you’re injured, you always have that urge to want to get out there and be out there on the court with the guys,” Whitehead said. “But that’s something coach Jacque (Vaughn) has preached to me since the first day I stepped in the door, about it’s a marathon not a (sprint) race.  So just knowing that I’ve got to be patient and take my time with it, and hearing that come from him, makes it a little more assuring that, all right, just take my time, get back to where I need to be, and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.” 

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets need Nic Claxton to expand his game this season, even though it could raise his asking price when he becomes a free agent next summer, Lewis adds in another Post story. Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype told Lewis that Claxton is already in position to land a contract similar to Jakob Poeltl, who got $78MM over four years from the Raptors.
  • Second-round pick Jalen Wilson tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv that spending four years in college made him more ready for the NBA than he would have been if he had left early. “I know I’m a rookie but being 22, about to be 23 years old, I feel like I’m mature enough to be able to share my experiences and understand that when you have a culture, you have a foundation that you can do anything (from),” Wilson said. “Me being able to present that and being able to execute it on and off the floor, I feel like that’s an advantage I have.”
  • With the Big Three era over, the Nets only have 11 nationally televised games this season, with six of those on NBA TV, Lewis observes in an overview of the schedule. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both asked to be traded in February, will return to the Barclays Center in the same week, with the Suns visiting on January 31 and the Mavericks following on February 6.

Atlantic Notes: Siakam, Porzingis, Wilson, Knicks

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week that the Raptors and All-Star forward Pascal Siakam have yet to seriously engage in negotiations on a possible contract extension.

Should Toronto offer him a max extension, which would start at 30% of the 2024/25 salary cap? Eric Koreen of The Athletic weighs the pros and cons of a new deal for Siakam, who is entering the final year of his contract.

While he believes Siakam is worthy of a max deal and that extending him makes more sense than losing him for nothing, Koreen wonders if a lengthy extension would leave the Raptors stuck in the middle again in the short term. However, if Siakam continues to play well, an extension could boost his trade value down the line, since he would be on a long-term contract instead of an expiring deal, Koreen adds.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Jay King and Josh Robbins of The Athletic examine how Kristaps Porzingis will fit with the Celtics. Robbins points out that the Wizards had a good deal of success with a two-big lineup featuring Porzingis and Daniel Gafford, which could be beneficial for Boston’s frontcourt, since Al Horford and Robert Williams are more well-rounded players than Gafford is. Having Porzingis as another weapon alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown could make the Celtics’ second-ranked offense even more potent in ’23/24, according to King. Both writers state that the biggest question mark surrounding the acquisition is Porzingis’ health — in case you missed it, the Latvian big man recently revealed he’s dealing with plantar fasciitis, though the Celtics expect him to be ready for training camp.
  • Nets second-rounder Jalen Wilson was a star in college last season for Kansas, but he knows he won’t have the ball in his hands very often entering his rookie season, he tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (subscriber link). “College for sure, was different,” said Wilson. “I had the ball in my hands a lot. I had to do a lot of things for my team. Take a lot of tough shots. Now, I think as I showed in Summer League and moving forward in the NBA, I won’t have to take those tough shots at the buzzer. I won’t have to take contested shots over double teams. This isn’t Kansas. This is the Brooklyn Nets. So I feel like the load being less, my numbers (efficiency) will increase. And I feel like I showed that in Summer League. And I’m excited to continue to show it.” The young forward, who is on a two-way deal, was named to the All-Summer League Second Team last month, Bondy notes.
  • Fred Katz of The Athletic covers a number of Knicks-related topics in his latest mailbag, including where they might finish in the East during the regular season, their most likely trade candidates, and the team’s power forward depth. As far as trade candidates go, Katz believes Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley are the top three options. Fournier is an obvious one since he doesn’t want to return after being benched most of last season, and his expiring deal could be useful for salary-matching purposes. Barrett is mostly included for financial reasons, particularly if the Knicks want to trade for a star. League sources tell The Athletic that Quickley’s name has popped up in trade discussions this summer, though the Knicks have placed a high value on the Sixth Man of the Year runner-up. Quickley is eligible for a rookie scale extension, Katz notes, but there doesn’t appear to be any rush to get a deal done.