Jaylen Nowell

Kings Sign Jaylen Nowell, Jeremy Lamb

OCTOBER 2: Lamb’s deal is now official as well, according to RealGM.

SEPTEMBER 30: The signing of Nowell is now official, per RealGM’s transaction log. Sacramento’s deal with Lamb hasn’t yet been formally completed.

SEPTEMBER 29: The Kings are expected to add free agent wings Jaylen Nowell and Jeremy Lamb to their roster for training camp, a source tells James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter link).

Nowell, 24, spent his first four NBA seasons with the Timberwolves after being selected with the No. 43 overall pick out of Washington in 2019. He set a new career high with 10.8 points per game in 65 games (19.3 MPG) last season, though his three-point percentage dipped to 28.9% in 2022/23 after he made 34.5% of his outside attempts in his first three seasons.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Thursday that Sacramento recently brought Nowell in for a workout.

Lamb, 31, is a former lottery pick who has appeared in 573 career regular season games since 2012 for four teams, including – most recently – the Kings. However, the veteran swingman wasn’t in the league last season following a down year in 2021/22. He averaged 7.3 PPG on .383/.324/.840 shooting in 56 games (16.7 MPG) for Indiana and Sacramento in ’21/22.

The Kings currently have two open spots on their 21-man preseason roster, so they wouldn’t have to waive anyone to make room for Nowell and Lamb.

Of Sacramento’s 19 current players, 14 have fully guaranteed standard contracts. The Kings’ 15th and final regular season spot appears to be up for grabs after Nerlens Noel and Neemias Queta were waived earlier this month. Nowell and Lamb could end up competing for that spot, though the team also isn’t obligated to carry more than 14 players on standard deals to open the season.

Scotto’s Latest: Grant, Nurkic, Payne, Nowell

Following the trade of Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers are expected to immediately begin listening to trade inquires on newly acquired guard Jrue Holiday. However, he may not be the only notable veteran on the roster who is on the trade block in advance of this February’s deadline.

Rival league executives who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype anticipate that Jerami Grant will also be available via trade in the not-too-distant future. Due to the terms of the new contract he signed with Portland in July, Grant won’t become trade-eligible until January 15, so if he’s going to be moved this season, it would have to happen between Jan. 15 and Feb. 8, this year’s trade deadline.

Grant’s five-year, $160MM contract would represent a significant cap commitment for any team interested in acquiring him, but his two-way contributions would make him an on-court fit for virtually any contender.

“Grant could be the missing piece for a contending team the way Denver got Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon,” one NBA scout told Scotto. “Maybe a team like Miami could take a swing if they’re still a player away.”

Here are a few more highlights from Scotto’s latest rumor round-up:

  • Moving Jusuf Nurkic, who has three years and $54MM+ left on his contract, was a goal for the Trail Blazers in any Lillard trade, but there’s a belief that a fresh start in Phoenix, where he’ll anchor Frank Vogel‘s defensive scheme for the Suns, could help rejuvenate him, writes Scotto. “Before Nurkic got injured, he was a good defensive center and was Portland’s second-best player ahead of CJ McCollum for a short time,” a scout told HoopsHype. “I think it might be asking too much of him to return to his pre-injury form, but he can help them if he’s properly motivated and healthy with dribble handoffs and as a positional defender.”
  • League sources tell Scotto that the Bucks and Heat are among the teams to watch for free agent point guard Cameron Payne. Milwaukee, with no clear backup point guard, was previously identified as a clear fit for Payne after the Lillard trade opened up a roster spot. Miami also doesn’t have much depth at the point after losing Gabe Vincent this summer.
  • Free agent wing Jaylen Nowell recently worked out for the Kings, sources tell Scotto. Nowell is one of the most noteworthy members of this year’s free agent class who remains unsigned, while Sacramento has just 14 players on guaranteed contracts, leaving one open spot on the team’s projected regular season roster.

Warriors Auditioning Veteran Players

The Warriors are continuing to hold workouts with veteran NBA players as they look to fill out their roster, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

In addition to Kent Bazemore and Juan Toscano-Anderson, who were previously identified as working out for the team, Scotto names Dewayne Dedmon, Will BartonJaylen NowellStanley Johnson and Derrick Favors as others who have been given tryouts.

Scotto notes that three of those players have previous experience with the organization. Bazemore signed with Golden State for the 2020/21 season, Toscano-Anderson was part of the 2021/22 title team, and Dedmon played four games for the Warriors during his rookie season.

Barton also has an upcoming workout with the Pelicans, sources tell Scotto. He was a starter with the Nuggets for several seasons, but saw his role diminish last year after being traded to the Wizards and then joining the Raptors as a free agent.

Favors recently worked out for the Trail Blazers, Scotto adds. The 32-year-old big man didn’t appear in any games last season, although he signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks in January.

Nowell averaged a career-high 10.8 PPG for the Timberwolves last season, but he hasn’t found a new team, even though Minnesota was believed to be open to a sign-and-trade deal. A report this summer indicated that the Mavericks had interest in Nowell, but nothing came of it.

Johnson, who has been with five teams over the past four years, averaged 5.8 PPG while shooting 45% from three-point range in 30 games with the Spurs last season.

Golden State has 13 players with guaranteed contracts and is expected to fill one of its two roster openings before the start of the season. The Warriors also have one two-way slot filled and commitments for three Exhibit 10 deals, so they can sign four more players before training camp opens.

Mavericks Not Pursuing Jaylen Nowell?

A recent report indicated that the Mavericks are considering an offer for Timberwolves shooting guard Jaylen Nowell, but Marc Stein hears that may not be true. In a podcast Saturday, the veteran NBA reporter said Dallas’ interest is exaggerated (hat tip to RealGM).

“I know there were some recent reports that Jaylen Nowell from Minnesota is a potential target. I was actually told the Mavericks are not really in that race at this point,” Stein said. “So, to this point, I would scratch Nowell as a target for the Mavericks, at least that was that’s what I was told yesterday.”

Nowell, 24, is an unrestricted free agent after spending the last four years in Minnesota. He is coming off his best NBA season, appearing in 65 games and averaging 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 19.3 minutes per night.

Nowell has developed into a reliable bench player for the Wolves since being selected with the 43rd pick in the 2019 draft. He’s seeking his second NBA contract after signing a four-year deal at the time and is hoping for a raise after making $1.93MM last season.

With 14 players holding standard contracts, the Timberwolves have one open roster spot, but committing money to Nowell may not be in the team’s plans. They recently gave a three-year, $42MM extension to Naz Reid and signed Shake Milton and Troy Brown Jr. as free agents. An extension is also expected for Jaden McDaniels at some point this summer.

Southwest Notes: Nowell, Mavs, Christopher, Rockets

The Mavericks are reportedly eyeing former Timberwolves shooting Jaylen Nowell, Darren Wolfson of SKOR North suggests on a new episode of his podcast The Scoop.

“No, he’s not coming back to the Wolves,” Wolfson said. “There’s a mutual understanding that, ‘Hey, time for Jaylen to move on.’ But here’s a new team in on Jaylen Nowell: the Dallas Mavericks. They need to create some roster flexibility, they are looking into doing some stuff is the word and it may not come to fruition. But Jaylen Nowell is on Dallas’ radar. The Nowell camp is still also awaiting finality on the Damian Lillard situation.”

The 6’4″ Nowell, now an unrestricted free agent, had been with Minnesota since being selected in the second round of the 2019 draft out of Washington. He enjoyed his most prolific season yet in 2022/23, averaging 10.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 APG and 0.6 SPG in 65 contests.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks made some major offseason moves to reconfigure their roster following a disappointing end to the 2022/23 season, but will they be enough in a talented West? In a new reader mailbag, Tim Cato of The Athletic asserts that, while Dallas may not be quite a legitimate contender yet, the team made some solid new veteran and rookie additions while replenishing some future draft equity.
  • New Grizzlies shooting guard Josh Christopher could yet emerge as a helpful rotation piece for Memphis, in part due to a minor shortage at the position, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis acquired the 6’5″ swingman as part of the five-team sign-and-trade that shipped Dillon Brooks to the Rockets — the team still has 17 players on standard guaranteed contracts, so it’s unclear whether or not Christopher will be on the regular season roster.
  • In case you missed it, we took stock of the offseasons of two lowly 2022/23 Southwest clubs, the Rockets and Spurs, and asked you which club they thought would have a better record in 2023/24.

Trade Rumors: Harden, Lewis, Morris, Wright, Capela, Nowell

Although he’s said to be “very positive” about the Sixers‘ direction, James Harden‘s preference is that Philadelphia trade him, according to Mark Medina of Sportsnaut (Twitter links). For their part, the 76ers are listening to offers, but will only move forward on a trade if it’s “really good” and keeps them in title contention, Medina says, adding that the club is comfortable hanging onto Harden if such a deal doesn’t materialize.

[RELATED: James Harden picks up option, working with Sixers on trade]

The Clippers and Knicks were the first two potential trade partners reported to be eyeing Harden, but Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link) hears that New York’s interest is “far from uniform throughout the organization.”

Begley believes the Clippers’ interest is stronger than the Knicks’, and it sounds like Steve Popper of Newsday agrees — he suggests (via Twitter) that New York’s preference may be to get involved as a third team alongside L.A. in the hopes of landing Paul George. I’m skeptical the Clippers would be enthusiastic about moving PG13 as part of a deal for Harden, but George’s name has come up in a few trade rumors so far this offseason.

During a television appearance (Twitter video link via Evan Sidery), Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN referred to the Clippers as Harden’s “most prominent” suitor, though he stressed that Los Angeles won’t want to give up any of its “good young players” in a deal for the Sixers guard and would prefer to build a package out of expiring contracts and perhaps a draft pick.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans are exploring the trade market for a potential deal involving Kira Lewis, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who tweets that a trade could provide the former 13th overall pick with an opportunity to play more for a new team. Lewis has appeared in just 103 games for the Pelicans across three seasons, including 25 in 2022/23. An ACL tear in December 2021 limited his availability over the last two seasons, but he hasn’t been a major part of New Orleans’ rotation even when healthy. The club also reportedly made him available in trade discussions at February’s deadline.
  • With the Wizards believed to be seeking draft assets for guards Monte Morris and Delon Wright, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype spoke to rival executives who believe Washington could get at least one second-round pick – and maybe two – for each player.
  • Although Hawks star Trae Young likes playing with big man Clint Capela, the team has been open to discussing Capela in trade talks this offseason in part because it wants to open up more playing time for Onyeka Okongwu, says Scotto.
  • The Timberwolves are open to sign-and-trade scenarios involving guard Jaylen Nowell, league sources tell HoopsHype. Scotto doesn’t say anything about the Wolves working to re-sign Nowell, so it sounds like he won’t be a top priority for the team.

Timberwolves Notes: Gobert, Towns, Edwards, McDaniels, Free Agents

The Timberwolves‘ experiment of playing two big men together has been questioned ever since Rudy Gobert was acquired from Utah last summer to team with Karl-Anthony Towns. Even though Minnesota was eliminated from the playoffs in five games, coach Chris Finch‘s comments show that the organization is committed to making the pairing successful, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“They’re both really incredibly good basketball players,” Finch said after Tuesday’s Game 5 loss. “With the skill level that KAT has, for sure, there’s no reason basketball-wise that it shouldn’t work. There’s a lot of things we can talk about about why the learning curve was so steep for it. But the most important thing is we have a big enough body of work, I think we can properly evaluate it. I still remain extremely confident we’re able to maximize those guys.”

Finch indicated that he’ll consider changes to the offense this summer, and Krawczynski notes that Towns and Gobert will have an opportunity to work together during the offseason. Towns had an illness at the start of training camp and missed 52 games during the season with a calf injury, so their acclimation process was interrupted.

Krawczynski observes that the Wolves took a step backward in rebounding despite having two natural centers in their starting lineup. He states that being outrebounded in last year’s playoffs prompted the deal for Gobert, but Minnesota fell to 27th in rebounding percentage this season after finishing 21st last year.

“It’s going to take a lot better habits from our perimeter players boxing out, to be quite honest with you,” Finch said of the rebounding issue. “It has to be a big point of emphasis.”

There’s more on the Timberwolves:

  • An extension for Anthony Edwards will be among the team’s offseason priorities, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link). The All-Star guard is eligible for a five-year deal worth a projected $207MM, but that could rise to $249MM if he makes an All-NBA team. Marks points out that a maximum-salary extension for Edwards would make Minnesota the only team with three max players when it kicks in during the 2024/25 season. The Wolves will also consider a rookie scale extension for forward Jaden McDaniels, who is considered a candidate to make an All-Defensive team, Marks adds.
  • Trade speculation surrounding Towns, whose four-year, $224MM super-max extension takes effect in 2024/25, could get much louder over the next year, per Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. Towns will become trade-eligible in July, and Gozlan points out that he’s a logical trade option if the Wolves want to keep Edwards and McDaniels and there’s no market for Gobert.
  • The Timberwolves may find it too expensive to keep both Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell in free agency, Gozlan adds. He expects Reid to get offers for the full mid-level exception, which is projected to be $52.5MM over four years.

Injury Notes: Wolves, Murray, Middleton, George

The Timberwolves will have both of their three-time All-Star big men active for Friday’s final play-in game against the Thunder, Minnesota announced (via Twitter). Rudy Gobert (back spasms) and Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain) were upgraded from questionable to available and will start, per the team.

Wolves guard Jaylen Nowell, who was previously questionable with left knee tendinopathy, will also be active. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News was first to report (via Twitter) that Nowell would be ready to go.

In an interesting rotational change, the Wolves are inserting Nickeil Alexander-Walker into the starting lineup for the first time to defend his cousin, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

They’re cousins, so there should be familiarity there but we like Nickeil’s ability to go get him full court and his size on him,” head coach Chris Finch said before the game (Twitter link via Alan Horton of Wolves Radio).

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray continues to be hampered by a nagging right thumb sprain on his shooting hand, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscriber link). “I’m still thinking about it,” Murray said. “I’m full participating (in practice). It’s just sore. Every catch, every shot, I’m always fiddling with it trying to make it feel better, but it’ll be OK.” Denver’s second-leading scorer has been dealing with the injury for a few weeks, Singer adds, but he’s otherwise healthy and feeling ready for the playoffs.
  • Khris Middleton, a three-time All-Star for the Bucks, was a full practice participant on Thursday, according to an Associated Press report (link via ESPN). Middleton experienced discomfort in his right knee on April 5 against Chicago, causing him to leave the game early. Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton were partial practice participants, per The AP — both players are dealing with right ankle sprains, causing them to miss the final few games of the regular season (four for Allen, three for Connaughton). The Bucks will face the Heat in their first-round playoff series after Miami defeated Chicago and advanced as the No. 8 seed in the East.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Law Murray of The Athletic, that star wing Paul George, who has been out since March 21 after suffering a right knee sprain, is making progress in his recovery. However, the team won’t rush him back for its first-round series against Phoenix, with Lue saying the Clippers need George to be “close to 100 percent” in order to prevent a possible re-injury. While there’s no official timeline for George’s return, a source tells Murray the veteran forward is targeting a potential second-round return, assuming the Clippers advance (Twitter link).

Timberwolves Notes: Gobert, Back, Anderson, Offseason

Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert rejoined the team on Thursday after being suspended for Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Lakers, writes Dave Campbell of The Associated Press.

However, Gobert remains hampered by the back spams that he was experiencing on Sunday when he got into an altercation with Kyle Anderson that led to his suspension. He said he probably wouldn’t have been able to suit up on Tuesday either way, and his status for Friday’s matchup against the Thunder is up in the air.

“‘Still pretty sore, still not moving like I would like to be able to move, but small progress every day,” Gobert said.

Gobert, Jaylen Nowell (left knee tendinopathy) and Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain) are all questionable for Friday’s game, the team announced (via Twitter).

As for his relationship with Anderson, Gobert says they’ve moved past the incident, according to Campbell.

“We both apologized to each other and you move on. That’s life,” Gobert said. “It’s different when you have millions of people all watching videos and have an opinion on things that happened, but that we can’t control. What we can control is the respect that we have for each other and our relationship.

“I still love Kyle. He’s still my brother. I tell people, ‘Sometimes you fight with your family. Sometimes you fight with people that you have a lot of love and respect for.’ It’s life. No one is perfect. Mistakes happen and then you grow and you move on.”

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Anderson told reporters prior to Tuesday’s game that he and Gobert had moved on by Sunday night, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “We definitely hashed it out,” Anderson said. “That happens all the time in sports. I feel like people are acting like they’ve never seen it before. We’re grown men. We’re able to put it behind us. We both want to win. We spoke about it that night and just seeing how everything is playing out is kind of lame, honestly. We’re teammates at the end of the day. I don’t want it to be a Kyle vs. Rudy thing. That’s never the case. I always got my teammates’ back, and we moved on.”
  • Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune downplays the significance of Friday’s play-in game against the Thunder, as he doesn’t think the Wolves stand a chance against the top-seeded Nuggets anyway even if they win and advance as the No. 8 seed. However, Souhan does believe it could be a critical moment in Gobert’s career, writing that the center’s “remarkable immaturity” on Sunday was just the latest in a string of questionable decisions the 30-year-old has made over the past few years.
  • The altercation between Gobert and Anderson wasn’t the only unfortunate incident on Sunday — Jaden McDaniels punched a wall out of frustration after picking up a couple early fouls and broke his hand. Did those events — combined with the team’s inconsistent play and a limited sample size of the Gobert/Towns pairing — make the Wolves’ offseason plans even more complicated? Michael Rand and Patrick Reusse of The Star Tribune explored that topic in a recent podcast.
  • Anderson’s on-court versatility and strong defense were key factors in the Wolves finishing with a winning record in 2022/23 despite missing Towns for most of the season. Anderson’s blunt yet effective communication style also played a role in the team’s success, as Hine writes for the Star Tribune.

Injury Updates: Randle, Clippers, Sixers, Wolves, Blazers

The Knicks received both good and bad news on Wednesday night versus Miami. The good news is point guard Jalen Brunson was able to play after missing the past two games with a sprained right hand, and the Knicks came away with an important victory (Twitter link via the team).

The bad news is power forward Julius Randle sprained his left ankle after landing on Bam Adebayo‘s foot following an offensive rebound (YouTube link), with Randle remaining on the floor for a while in pain. He stayed in the game to shoot free throws, but headed back to the locker room with a trainer.

Randle was able to limp off the floor on his own, but as soon as he was back in the team’s tunnel he was bent over in discomfort. The Knicks later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest (via Twitter).

Hopefully the injury isn’t severe, particularly so late in the season. Randle has appeared in all 77 games for the Knicks and was named to his second All-Star team last month.

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

  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis due to personal reasons, per Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links). Head coach Tyronn Lue said the team is hopeful Leonard will only be out one game. On a positive note, Norman Powell was able to return to action after missing the past 11 games with a shoulder injury — he was previously listed as questionable.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid (calf soreness) and James Harden (Achilles soreness) were active for Wednesday’s game vs. Dallas, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to report the news (via Twitter). Embiid missed Monday’s loss in Denver with the injury, while Harden had missed four straight games.
  • The Timberwolves had several late additions to their injury report (Twitter link) ahead of tonight’s game in Phoenix. Kyle Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince, Austin Rivers and Matt Ryan are all dealing with an illness that head coach Chris Finch described as an “intestinal flu,” according to Chis Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). Edwards and Anderson were able to suit up, but the Wolves later ruled out (via Twitter) the other three players as well as Jaylen Nowell, who continues to battle left knee tendinopathy.
  • In addition to four starters being held out with various injuries and surgeries sidelining a couple other players, the Trail Blazers added three young players to Wednesday’s injury report ahead of their matchup with Sacramento (Twitter link). Second-year guard Keon Johnson is out with a fractured right finger, while second-year big man Trendon Watford will miss his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Fourth-year wing Cam Reddish is doubtful due to lumbar soreness.