Kenrich Williams

Thunder Notes: Top Trio, Bertans, K. Williams, Holmgren

The Thunder trio of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren have excelled during their first 10 games together. Oklahoma City should be a perennial threat going forward, but coach Mark Daigneault cautions that there are many lessons to be learned before the team reaches a championship level, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Wisdom is not something you can shortcut,” Daigneault said. “We have to have a level of patience. It’s something you can’t fast forward.”

We have more on the Thunder:

  • Forward Davis Bertans, who was traded by the Spurs in 2019, believes San Antonio will soon become a free agent destination thanks to Victor Wembanyama. The Spurs rookie and Holmgren will face each other in a much-anticipated matchup on Tuesday. “I think once everyone sees they have the potential to win, then yes. Especially when they don’t have any max or super max players at the moment,” Bertans told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “There is plenty of money available. So they can make something happen, maybe.”
  • Bertans is now OKC’s oldest player at 31 and he has tried to impart his knowledge to his teammates. “I definitely have some experience. I can help with that,” he said. “Most of the guys on the team, I’ve been in the same type of position they’ve been in before. I try to help any way I can.” Bertans is signed through next season, though he holds an early termination option on his $16MM salary for 2024/25, which is only partially guaranteed for $5MM.
  • Kenrich Williams is available to play for the first time this season. Williams, who was sidelined by a back injury, can’t wait to suit up, Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman tweets. “Felt like the night before Christmas,” he said on Tuesday morning.
  • Holmgren has become the focus of the national media but he doesn’t want to be the focal point of the team. He’s trying to blend his skills to his teammates in his first year, he told Lorenzi. “I just tried to come in and find the balance between being aggressive and not making it the Chet show,” Holmgren said. “It’s not that, it’ll never be that.” Thus far, Holmgren is averaging 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 blocks per game.

Celtics Notes: Porzingis, Tournament, TPE, Queta

The Celtics are the NBA’s only unbeaten team and Kristaps Porzingis believes they’re just scratching the surface of how good they can become, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Boston underwent major roster changes during the offseason, but the adjustment has gone smoothly with several dominant performances on the way to a 4-0 start.

Himmelsbach notes that the new Big Three of Porzingis, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have outscored opponents by 33.2 points per 100 possessions in the 86 minutes they’ve been on the court together. They’ve also shown a willingness to be unselfish and let whoever has the hot hand on a given night take the most shots.

“We’re still building chemistry,” Porzingis said. “Even though we have some glimpses of really good plays and passes, we’re still building chemistry. I’m still catching up on the little nuances and little things that JT likes to do, that JB likes to do, and just still, like, figuring each other out, you know? It might look like it’s already really good because we’re just beating these teams easily, but it’s going to get much, much better.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Porzingis had plenty of experience with tournaments while growing up in Europe, and he believes the NBA’s new in-season tourney will eventually catch on with fans and players, Himmelsbach adds. “Although I know a lot of people are a little bit skeptical, I think it’s going to be a huge success and I look forward to hopefully winning it,” Porzingis said. Tournament play began throughout the league last night, but the Celtics won’t play their first round robin game until Friday at Brooklyn.
  • Grizzlies center Xavier Tillman could be a name to watch if the Celtics decide to use the $6.2MM traded player exception they generated in the Grant Williams deal, Brian Robb of MassLive suggests in a mailbag column. Tillman has a $1.93MM expiring contract and Memphis may decide to move him if the team can’t overcome its 0-6 start. Robb mentions Thunder forward Kenrich Williams, Pacers center Jalen Smith and Raptors center Precious Achiuwa as other possibilities who would fit into that TPE.
  • Neemias Queta will miss his third straight game tonight due to injury management for his right foot, per Souichi Terada of MassLive, but coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters it’s mostly a precautionary measure. Terada points out that Boston’s schedule has been light so far, and there will be a greater need for the two-way center once games start to stack up.

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.