Kenrich Williams

Northwest Notes: Blazers, K. Williams, Anderson, Jazz

While Charlotte’s pick at No. 2 represents the first pivot point of the 2023 NBA draft, the Trail Blazers‘ decision at No. 3 is arguably even more interesting. That pick is a valuable one in a draft considered to have a consensus top three prospects, but Portland is eager to build a contender around Damian Lillard in the short term and may be more inclined to trade the choice.

In the view of Jason Quick of The Athletic, the Trail Blazers’ only real option – if they’re serious about keeping Lillard and building a winner around him – is to trade the pick. But ESPN’s Jonathan Givony isn’t sure Portland will take that route, suggesting during an appearance on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast that he believes the Blazers will hang onto the selection.

“I don’t see them trading it either, honestly,” Givony said, per RealGM. “I think they would be very happy with Brandon Miller or Scoot Henderson. “I also think they’re going to kick the tires on the Thompson twins and Cam Whitmore. I think this is going to be a process here where they’re looking at a lot of different options.”

If the Blazers do shop the pick, the expectation is that they’ll be targeting two-way impact players, a league source tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. As Johnson observes, Lillard has strong relationships with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, but neither of those offensive-minded Bulls wings really qualifies as a two-way dynamo.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Thunder wing Kenrich Williams underwent a follow-up procedure on Tuesday to remove hardware that was inserted during his March wrist surgery, the team announced. According to Thunder, Williams’ rehab process is still on the same timeline, and he remains on track to be ready for the start of the 2023/24 season.
  • Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson, who sustained an eye injury during the team’s first-round playoff series, underwent surgery on Wednesday to address the issue, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North. While there’s no official timeline for Anderson’s recovery, there’s no indication he won’t be ready for training camp.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic sketches out an offseason to-do list for the Jazz, including identifying a point guard, resolving Jordan Clarkson‘s free agency, and comprehensively investigating what trade opportunities might be out there for them.

Kenrich Williams Undergoes Wrist Surgery, Out For Season

MARCH 7: The Thunder formally confirmed that Williams underwent surgery on Tuesday morning in New York to repair the scapholunate ligament in his left wrist. He’ll miss the rest of this season and will be ready for the start of 2023/24, per the team.

MARCH 2: Kenrich Williams suffered a wrist injury in Tuesday’s game that will require surgery and he is expected to miss the rest of the 2022/23 season, the Thunder announced in a press release.

Williams has been diagnosed with a scapholunate ligament rupture in his left wrist. The injury was originally listed as a sprain, and he was inactive for Wednesday’s game.

The 28-year-old swingman is averaging 8.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists through 53 games while shooting 51.7% from the field. He also leads the NBA in charges drawn with 26.

Williams is expected to make a full recovery following surgery, according to the Thunder.

He is under contract through 2025/26 with a team option for the following season, having signed a four-year extension with Oklahoma City last summer. That contract will begin next season and will bump Williams’ salary from $2MM to $6.175MM.

Northwest Notes: SGA, Dort, K. Williams, Wolves, Edwards, Jazz

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who missed the team’s entire six-game preseason schedule due to Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee, is on track to be available for the regular season opener on Wednesday in Minnesota, head coach Mark Daigneault told reporters on Sunday (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman).

It’s good news for the Thunder and for Gilgeous-Alexander, who has missed significant time in each of the last two seasons because of injuries, including the last 10 games of 2021/22 due to a right ankle issue.

Luguentz Dort (left quad contusion) and Kenrich Williams (right groin strain) also should be available for the Thunder in the first game of the regular season, Daigneault said today (Twitter link via Mussatto).

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • With Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns sharing the court on the first time in Friday’s preseason finale, the Timberwolves looked very much like a group that had yet to play together, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who writes that “the lane was clogged, the ball movement was non-existent and shots were clanking.” However, as Krawczynski outlines, the Wolves know integrating Gobert and the other new players on the roster will take some time and weren’t discouraged by the early returns. “I thought it was good at times, bad at times,” Gobert said after the game. “But I think that’s the fun of it.”
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune takes an in-depth look at Anthony Edwards‘ intense offseason training regimen and explores how that work might translate to the court in the Timberwolves guard’s third NBA season. While much of the focus will be on Gobert’s impact, Edwards’ ability to continue taking his game to new levels may determine how high Minnesota’s ceiling rises.
  • The Jazz issued a press release on Friday announces several new hires and promotions within the team’s basketball operations department. Most notably, Bart Taylor was named Utah’s vice president of player personnel, while Marquis Newman‘s is now director of pro personnel for the Jazz and general manager of the Salt Lake City Stars, Utah’s G League affiliate.

Contract Details: K. Williams, J. Green, Nembhard, Minott, Rivers

Kenrich Williams‘ new four-year extension with the Thunder came in at a total value of $27,170,000, Hoops Rumors has learned. Williams will earn $6,175,000 in 2023/24 when the extension goes into effect, then $6,669,000 in ’24/25. His final two years are each worth $7,163,000, with a team option on the ’26/27 season.

In other Thunder cap news, JaMychal Green gave up $2,628,597 in his buyout agreement with the team. As our chart of minimum salaries shows, that’s the exact amount an eight-year veteran like Green would earn on a minimum contract, which is what he’ll reportedly sign with Golden State.

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

  • The Pacers took advantage of their cap room by giving second-round pick Andrew Nembhard a contract with a declining structure. His four-year deal begins at $2,244,111 this season, then dips to $2,131,905 in 2023/24 and $2,019,699 in ’24/25 before increasing to the ’25/26 minimum of $2,187,451. The first three years are guaranteed, while the fourth is a team option.
  • The Timberwolves used a portion of their mid-level exception to sign second-rounder Josh Minott to a four-year, minimum-salary contract. It’s fully guaranteed for the first two years and non-guaranteed for the last two. Minott’s third-year salary would become guaranteed if he’s not waived by June 28, 2024, and the fourth year is a team option. Minnesota now only has about $692K left on its mid-level exception, which could potentially be used very late in the season to sign a player to a three- or four-year minimum-salary deal.
  • The Timberwolves‘ minimum-salary contract with Austin Rivers is only partially guaranteed for $650K. It would become fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through the league-wide salary guarantee date in January.

Thunder Sign Kenrich Williams To Four-Year Extension

JULY 20: The Thunder have officially finalized Williams’ extension, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 18: The Thunder have reached an agreement with forward Kenrich Williams on a four-year contract extension worth $27.2MM, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Williams, who will earn $2MM this season, is in the final year of his current contract, so his new deal will begin a year from now and will run through the 2026/27 campaign. His $2MM salary for ’22/23 had been non-guaranteed, but it’ll become protected as part of the extension agreement, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

According to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link), the first three years of the extension will be guaranteed, while the fourth will be a team option.

Williams, 27, is an unlikely extension recipient. The veteran swingman, who began his college career at New Mexico Junior College and went undrafted in 2018, spent his first two professional seasons with the Pelicans before being signed-and-traded to Oklahoma City in the Steven Adams deal during the 2020 offseason as a throw-in piece for salary-matching purposes.

After shooting just .371/.304/.489 in 85 games with New Orleans, Williams developed a more reliable three-point shot in Oklahoma City, boosting his shooting percentages to .501/.391/.559 in 115 games over the last two seasons. He’s also a solid, versatile defender who has now averaged 21-plus minutes per game for four straight years.

Williams is the eight player to agree to a veteran contract extension so far during the 2022/23 league year, as our tracker shows.

Because his extension exceeds three total years (including the one left on his current deal), Williams will be ineligible to be traded for six months once he officially signs his deal.

Thunder’s Derrick Favors Done For Season

Speaking on Thursday to reporters, including Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link), Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said that veteran center Derrick Favors will miss the remainder of the season with lower back soreness. Favors hasn’t played since February 24.

Favors, 30, holds a player option for 2022/23 worth $10,183,800, which he’s almost certain to pick up after having the worst season of his 12-year career. Favors averaged career-lows of 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds this season in 39 games with the Thunder (16.7 minutes per night).

While Favors’ per-minute averages are still decent, he’s been trending downward the past few seasons.

Daigneault also said that Kenrich Williams is doubtful to return to action this year as he continues to deal with a sprained knee. He has been sidelined even longer than Favors, since February 14.

Williams, 27, has emerged as a valuable three-and-D role player over the past couple seasons with OKC, averaging a combined 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists on .501/.391/.559 shooting in 115 games (21.7 minutes). His $2MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed.

The tanking Thunder currently hold a 22-54 record, which is the fourth-worst mark in the league according to our reverse standings.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Set To Return For Thunder

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will return to action on Thursday after missing the team’s last 10 games due to a right ankle sprain, head coach Mark Daigneault said today (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Gilgeous-Alexander suffered the injury on January 28.

The 18-40 Thunder are 6.5 games back of the No. 10 seed and aren’t expected to prioritize making the playoffs this season, so it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t be bringing back Gilgeous-Alexander if he weren’t feeling 100% healthy.

The star point guard had been averaging 22.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 4.7 RPG shooting in 43 games (34.6 MPG) before going down with his ankle injury. He has struggled to score efficiently this season, however, posting career-low shooting percentages of 42.4% from the floor and 27.8% on threes.

Rookie guard Josh Giddey has been thriving with Gilgeous-Alexander out of the lineup, having recorded three consecutive triple-doubles in the games leading up to the All-Star break. He likely won’t have the ball in his hands as much with SGA on the court, so Daigneault may have to get creative with his lineups and his rotation to ensure Giddey doesn’t lose that momentum.

According to Daigneault, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (foot), Mike Muscala (ankle), Ty Jerome (hip), Luguentz Dort (shoulder), and Kenrich Williams (knee) are still sidelined. Daigneault didn’t offer any guarantees when asked if Muscala, who is considering offseason ankle surgery, will be back this season (Twitter links via Mussatto).

Western Trade Rumors: Kings, Pelicans, D. White, Mavs, More

The Kings are still expected to make some sort of major move ahead of this year’s trade deadline in an effort to strengthen their roster for a postseason push, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Sacramento has expressed interest in both Pacers centers, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but Fischer hears that Indiana’s asking price has been much higher than what teams are willing to give up for either player.

According to Fischer, who says the Pelicans also have interest in Sabonis, Turner is still the more likely trade candidate of the two Indiana centers, but only if the Pacers are willing to drop their asking price a little, since teams are concerned about Turner’s injury recovery timeline and his ability to help a team this season. If the price remains high, Turner may stay in Indiana until the offseason.

One team to watch on the Turner front is the Trail Blazers, who gained some momentum in discussions with the Pacers prior to the big man’s injury, according to Fischer. If Portland is focused more on next season than this season, acquiring Turner would make some sense, but the Blazers still hold a play-in spot in the West, so they probably aren’t prepared to just throw in the towel.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the West:

  • Kings center Tristan Thompson is considered to be available in exchange for a second-round pick, says Fischer. I’m a little skeptical that Sacramento will be able to get positive value for Thompson by himself.
  • The Spurs received a call from the Hawks about guard Derrick White, Fischer reports. It doesn’t sound like those discussions gained any traction, but Fischer points out that San Antonio has been viewed since 2020 as a potential suitor for Atlanta big man John Collins.
  • As previously relayed, rival executives think the Mavericks may trade one of Jalen Brunson or Dorian Finney-Smith by February 10. Both players will be unrestricted free agents this summer, so there will be nothing stopping them from signing elsewhere, and if the Mavs do re-sign both, they’ll likely be taxpayers. However, Dallas has expressed confidence in its ability to re-sign both players, according to Fischer, who adds that there’s a belief Finney-Smith will seek $15MM annually on his next deal.
  • The Thunder‘s asking price in any trade for forward Kenrich Williams is believed to be a first-round pick, per Fischer.

Injury Notes: Sabonis, Ingram, Doncic, Williams

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said on Thursday that the team doesn’t have a “definitive” timeline for Domantas Sabonis‘ return from a left ankle sprain, but told reporters the All-Star big man will likely miss “at least a few games” (Twitter link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN).

As we observed on Thursday, it’s bad luck for the Pacers that two of their top trade candidates – centers Sabonis and Myles Turner – are battling injuries with the February 10 deadline around the corner. However, Sabonis’ injury in particular seems unlikely to be a long-term concern. There’s still a good chance Indiana hangs onto Sabonis, but any trade offers the team gets shouldn’t be negatively impacted by what appears to be a minor ailment.

Here are a few more health-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pelicans held Brandon Ingram out of the fourth quarter of their Thursday win over New York due to a sprained right ankle, says Andrew Lopez of ESPN. There are currently no plans to have the forward an undergo an MRI, but the team will evaluate the injury further before determining how much time – if any – he’ll have to miss. New Orleans doesn’t play again until Monday, so Ingram’s ankle will have a few days to heal.
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic landed on his back after a drive to the basket during Thursday’s game against Phoenix and admitted after the game that his neck was “pretty sore” following the hard fall, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. However, Doncic expressed optimism that he’d be “OK in a couple days” and won’t miss any time.
  • Thunder forward Kenrich Williams is no longer on the team’s injury report, an indication that he has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols. A regular rotation player for Oklahoma City, Williams could draw trade interest from playoff teams in the next few weeks as a lower-cost three-and-D option.

Scotto’s Latest: Bulls, Hawks, Finney-Smith, Thunder, Rockets

The Bulls figure to explore potential roster upgrades at the trade deadline, but they’re resistant to the idea of moving Patrick Williams, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.

If the Bulls want to make a major move at the deadline, it may have to involve Williams, 2020’s No. 4 overall pick, since the club has already traded away multiple future first-rounders. Williams’ ability to help the team this year may also be limited, since a wrist injury is expected to sideline him for most or all of the regular season.

Still, based on Scotto’s reporting, it sounds as if Chicago will likely hang onto Williams. One Bulls player who is available in the right deal is 2019 lottery pick Coby White, rival executives tell Scotto.

Here’s more from the HoopsHype Podcast:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari could be had for a first-round pick or as part of a larger package, rival executives tell Scotto. I’m very skeptical any team will be willing to give up a first-rounder for Gallinari unless they can dump an unwanted long-term contract on Atlanta. Scotto adds that execs believe Hawks forward Cam Reddish is more likely than not to be on the move at the deadline.
  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams are among the role players on modest contracts who are drawing trade interest from playoff teams, says Scotto. Oklahoma City is obviously more likely than Dallas to be a seller, but rival executives believe there may be an opportunity to poach Finney-Smith since he and Jalen Brunson are free agents in 2022 and re-signing both would likely make the Mavs a taxpayer.
  • Playoff-caliber teams are also monitoring Rockets veterans Eric Gordon and Daniel Theis, according to Scotto. They’ve been mentioned multiple times this season as potential trade candidates, since they probably don’t fit the timeline of a rebuilding Houston squad.
  • League sources tell Scotto that Thunder rookie Aaron Wiggins is a good candidate to have his two-way contract turned into a standard deal at some point this season.