Kenyon Martin Jr.

L.A. Notes: D-Lo, Reddish, J. White, K. Martin, Morris

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell sees himself in teammate Cam Reddish, explaining to reporters on Saturday that he felt like he was “judged” early in his career because he didn’t really know “how to be a professional.” Reddish, who is on his fourth team in five seasons, faced similar questions during his early years in the league, so Russell has tried to take him under his wing in Los Angeles, as Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times details.

“Forget the past and just change your approach and try to work on your professionalism and how you carry yourself,” Russell said in explaining what he has told Reddish. “Understand the perception of you and what they say, what it looks like. Just understanding that as a young player. As a young player, it takes you to bump your head a few times to realize your perception.”

Reddish wasn’t necessarily projected to be a regular part of the Lakers’ rotation entering the season, but an injury to Jarred Vanderbilt has helped open up a spot for him. The former lottery pick has logged 29 minutes in his first two games as a Laker, though he says he’s not taking that playing time for granted.

“Like, your role could change every day in the NBA,” Reddish said. “Injuries, a lot of things that can go into it. I just try to stay ready in all aspects, prepare for anything, prepare for the worst. Whatever my role is that night, that’s what it is and I do it to the best of my ability.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • The Lakers‘ G League affiliate – the South Bay Lakers – traded for the rights to forward Jack White, the No. 1 pick in Saturday’s NBAGL draft. According to the team (Twitter link), the cost to acquire White was the rights to Teafale Lenard Jr. (Saturday’s No. 2 overall pick) and first- and second-round picks in the 2024 G League draft. White played for Denver last season and was in camp with Oklahoma City this fall.
  • As Law Murray of The Athletic observes, the Clippers went to a nine-man rotation in their second game of the season on Friday after using 10 players in Wednesday’s opener. The odd man out was offseason acquisition Kenyon Martin Jr., who played 14 minutes on Wednesday but was a DNP-CD on Friday. That doesn’t necessarily mean Martin won’t see regular playing time going forward, but there will be even fewer minutes to go around once Terance Mann (ankle) returns.
  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris didn’t accompany the team on its trip to Utah on Friday, according to Murray. Morris has been a healthy scratch in each of L.A.’s first two games, and a source tells The Athletic that his status on the road will be determined “one trip at a time.”

L.A. Notes: Clippers, Harden, Martin, LeBron, Reaves

The Clippers have offered the Sixers a package consisting of a first-round pick, a pick swap, and expiring contracts for James Harden, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown (YouTube video link).

While Los Angeles isn’t inclined to increase that offer and bid against itself, the team is open to exploring the market to see if it can acquire a different piece for that first-rounder that might appeal more to Philadelphia, per Wojnarowski.

Daryl Morey‘s looking at the Clippers and saying, ‘Steve Ballmer‘s never been under .500. They will figure out a way to have a competitive team. That may not be a great pick,'” Woj explained. “And so I think for the Clippers right now, it’s, ‘We’re not trying to offer you more. We’re not giving you that 2030 first-round pick. But let’s see what we can turn that 2028 pick (into), see if we can flip it,’ and then see if there’s something that more interests Daryl Morey.

“That being said, there’s no traction, they’re not close to anything.”

As we wait to see if the Clippers can pull off a trade for Harden, here are a few more notes on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • New Clippers wing Kenyon Martin Jr. is bringing athleticism and versatility to a veteran roster, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Head coach Tyronn Lue, who praised Martin’s passing and his ability to push the ball up the floor, suggested the team will find different ways to get its offseason acquisition on the court. “I see him as a basketball player at the three, four, five, wherever we can use him,” Lue said. “Just his athleticism, being able to switch, being able to guard different positions, being able to roll to the basket, run the floor.”
  • Asked by Arash Markazi of The Messenger (Twitter video link) why he has focused on eventually owing an NBA franchise in Las Vegas rather than anywhere else, Lakers star LeBron James said it “just makes sense” to have a team in the city. “You have the Raiders here, you have the (Golden) Knights here, you have the Aces here, you’ve got F1 coming very soon, All-Star Weekend has been here a few times, you’ve got the NBA Summer League that’s very popular,” James said. “… I think adding an NBA franchise here would just add to the momentum that’s going on in this town. … I think it’s only a matter of time. And I hope I’m part of that time.”
  • Steve Kerr was very impressed with Austin Reaves after coaching the Lakers guard this summer with Team USA, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Way better to coach him than coach against him,” Kerr said. “I loved coaching him. … He’s really emerging as one of the better young guys in the league.”

Robert Covington Approaching 2023/24 Season With “Vendetta”

Robert Covington feels like he has a lot to prove to the Clippers after being kept out of the rotation for nearly all of last season, writes Law Murray of The Athletic.

The 32-year-old forward appeared in just 48 games and averaged 16.2 minutes per night, the lowest total since his rookie season. He doesn’t understand why he spent so much time on the bench, adding that he hasn’t talked to head coach Tyronn Lue since the playoffs ended.

L.A. was Covington’s fifth team in four years when the Clippers acquired him shortly before the 2022 trade deadline. He became the primary backup at power forward and believed the fit was so good that he didn’t test free agency, opting for a two-year extension with L.A. instead.

Covington had a regular role at the beginning of last season while starting center Ivica Zubac was injured. But after entering health and safety protocols at the end of October, Covington didn’t see consistent playing time again. He was expecting to be traded before the February deadline, Murray adds, but he remained on the roster, although he was stuck behind Marcus Morris and Nicolas Batum. Even when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were sidelined with late-season injuries, Lue didn’t insert Covington back into the rotation.

“I got a vendetta. It’s a bigger chip on my shoulder,” Covington said of his approach to the upcoming season. “Not playing that much last year really put me in a place — all right. I got to force them. So, come back, do what I got to do. They say this is the mentality of, you know, come back strong, get better. That way, it won’t be none of that. Won’t be no issues of, whatever the case. … It’s the way the year went. It wasn’t how I expected, but I said it’s come back, go to the drawing board, and get better.”

Covington addresses a few other topics in his interview with Murray. Here are some highlights:

On getting ready to enter another season with an expiring contract:

“It ain’t no difference. Only difference is that I didn’t play last year. I mean, that’s the only difference. I approach every chance, every opportunity like that —it’s no different. So my mentality don’t shift, I don’t get discouraged or anything. I got to do what I do. And I do what I do best. So I’m never going to stray away. Never going to stray away from anything of that nature. I am going to be who I am, and that’s just what it is.”

On whether there was anything to learn from spending so much time on the bench:

“I didn’t take nothing from last year. Last year didn’t go how I expected, so I didn’t take nothing from it. I just wash it away and start over, a new year. That’s just my mentality of it. … It’s nothing that could be talked about. I mean, I really haven’t had much feedback besides, you know, what I’ve been doing now. I haven’t talked about last year. I’ve put that behind me and focused on right now and moving forward. That’s what it’s all about. Can’t dwell on what happened last year, whatever the case may be. It happened. So I’m just gonna wash, move forward.”

On his early impressions of offseason additions Kenyon Martin Jr., Jordan Miller and Kobe Brown, along with other workout partners such as Bones Hyland and Brandon Boston Jr.:

“Those guys are going to be special. I like Jordan’s tenacity, his pressure on defense, I like his cutting off ball. I like the plays and reads he made. The other guys came up here and played really well. You know, BB is starting to get better. Bones is getting better. KJ is athletic as hell. He’s gotten so much better. It is great to sit up here and see them dudes sit up here and prosper.”

Southwest Notes: Cissoko, Spurs, Zion, Griffin, Rockets

No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama has understandably drawn much of the attention in San Antonio, but fellow Spurs rookie Sidy Cissoko has been impressive in Summer League as well, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link).

The young French forward was the 44th overall pick of last month’s draft and isn’t known as a top scorer, but he knows he can still impact the game.

I know I am a rookie and a second-round pick, so I know I won’t get 20 shots a game,” he said. “I am just trying to do my best with my defense and try to help the team in other ways. I know my role. I know what to do.”

At 6’7″ and 225 pounds, the 19-year-old can be a real deterrent defensively, according to Orsborn, and he’s also a creative play-maker. Cissoko averaged 12.8 points, 3.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 block on .457/.304/.645 shooting in 28 games last season with the G League Ignite (29.3 minutes).

I just try to help the team first with my defense,” Cissoko added. “You can get minutes playing defense. When you play defense, the offense will come along.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • The Spurs are contemplating building a new arena in downtown San Antonio in order to showcase Wembanyama, sources tell Greg Jefferson and Madison Iszler of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). As the two writers detail, the Spurs’ lease on their current arena, the AT&T Center, expires in 2032. However, it needs renovations and there’s belief that a downtown arena would generate revenue for the county, though it would also leave the current arena vacant. The Holt family owns the Spurs, and it also owns a stake in the San Antonio Missions, a Double-A baseball team. The idea would be to put a potential new stadium for the Missions next to the Spurs’, with bars surrounding both, according to The Express-News.
  • Top Pelicans executive David Griffin is hopeful Zion Williamson is on the right track this summer after being plagued with injuries over his first four seasons, according to Steve Bulpett of “I think first of all he’s trying to do the right things,” Griffin said. “I think when you start from that place, that’s good. He’s got incredible potential to be sort of game-changing for even the league as a whole. But at the same time the volatility around the injury situation has been really severe. So at this point it’s going to be a function of how can we get him in the best place to succeed, and what’s he willing to do to ensure that happens? And I think right now his head’s in the right place, and we’ll just have to hope for the best.” Griffin also discussed the team’s offseason moves, among other topics.
  • The Clippers recently acquired Kenyon Martin Jr. in a trade with the Rockets, and he had nothing but good things to say about his time in Houston in a thank you message on Twitter.

Warriors Notes: Open Roster Spots, Gay, Quinones, Centers, Martin

Although the Warriors aren’t closing the door on the possibility of filling all 15 slots on their standard roster to open the 2023/24 season, the team seems unlikely to carry more than 14, says Anthony Slater of The Athletic. That means that once the Dario Saric signing is official, Golden State will probably just have one standard roster spot left to fill.

There’s no rush to add a 14th man though, according to Slater, who explains that the club already addressed its top two offseason priorities by adding a steady veteran guard (Cory Joseph) and a frontcourt player who can shoot (Saric). Slater expects the Warriors to exercise patience from here on out rather than looking to sign another player right away.

As Slater observes, there are already a few buyout candidates on rosters around the NBA, and more could emerge if certain star trade candidates get moved and roster shake-ups occur. The Warriors may be reluctant to commit a guaranteed contract to a 14th player without knowing which other veterans will reach free agency.

Slater identifies veteran forward Rudy Gay as one player worth keeping an eye on, since the Warriors have had interest in him in the past. He’s being traded from Atlanta to Oklahoma City, and the Thunder seem unlikely to hang onto him due to his age (37 next month) and a roster crunch in OKC.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Slater hears from team sources that Golden State would also be OK with the idea of making the 14th roster spot available in a training camp competition. If the club puts that spot up for grabs, it might make Lester Quinones more inclined to accept his two-way qualifying offer, recognizing that he’d have an opportunity to earn a promotion to the standard roster before the season begins, Slater writes.
  • While the Warriors don’t appear to be in love with any of the free agent centers currently on the market, they’re certainly not opposed to adding another player at that spot. According to Slater, the team looked into veteran bigs like Mason Plumlee or Alex Len early in free agency before both players re-signed with their respective teams.
  • General manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. confirmed on Monday that the team is open to adding another center, either using a standard roster spot or a two-way slot. However, Dunleavy cautioned that it’s hard to find big men who fit the Warriors’ system and stressed that they don’t just want “somebody who’s tall” (Twitter video link via Slater). “We’ve got to be careful with the way we play, the way the league works,” Dunleavy said. “… You’ve gotta be skilled. You’ve gotta have feel. You’ve gotta know how to play.”
  • The Warriors looked into the idea of trading for Kenyon Martin Jr. before Houston sent him to the Clippers, league and team sources tell Slater. Golden State has a trade exception that would have fit Martin without any outgoing salary required, but those negotiations never reached the final stages.

Rockets Acquire Dillon Brooks In Five-Team Deal

JULY 8: The complex five-team trade that sends Brooks to Houston has been finalized, the Rockets announced in a press release The breakdown of the deal, which combined several separate trade agreements, is as follows:

  • Rockets acquire Brooks (via sign-and-trade), the Clippers’ 2026 second-round pick, the Grizzlies’ 2027 second-round pick (from Clippers), and the draft rights to Alpha Kaba (from Hawks).
  • Hawks acquire Usman Garuba, TyTy Washington, the Timberwolves’ 2025 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2028 second-round pick, and cash (from Thunder).
  • Grizzlies acquire Josh Christopher.
  • Thunder acquire Patty Mills, a 2024 second-round pick (from Rockets), the Rockets’ 2029 second-round pick, and the Rockets’ 2030 second-round pick.
  • Clippers acquire Kenyon Martin Jr.

In a separate deal, Oklahoma City will ship Mills to Atlanta in exchange for Garuba, Washington, Rudy Gay and a second-round pick.

6:04pm: The Rockets will acquire Brooks via sign-and-trade, generating a trade exception for the Grizzlies, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

Sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Houston is trading Josh Christopher to Memphis. Although Iko doesn’t specify it will be part of a Brooks sign-and-trade, that seems logical.

The Grizzlies’ trade exception for Brooks would be $11.4MM due to base year compensation rules, notes Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). If Christopher heads to Memphis in the deal, that TPE would shrink to $8.9MM, Gozlan adds.

5:20pm: The Rockets and Brooks have agreed to a four-year deal worth $80MM, agent Mike George tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal will have a descending structure, tweets Wojnarowski. It will be fully guaranteed, with no player or team option, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As with VanVleet, Houston’s offer in order to secure a commitment ended up being for more years and more money than initially anticipated.

JULY 1, 4:35pm: The Rockets are close to reaching a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent Dillon Brooks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Houston has the cap room necessary to sign Brooks outright, the team has been engaged in trade talks around the league, according to Charania, who says a sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies is a possibility if the Rockets reach a deal with the veteran forward.

Brooks was frequently linked to the Rockets in the days leading up to free agency. One report indicated that Houston was preparing to offer him a deal in the range of $14-16MM annually, while another stated the team had a meeting lined up for Friday or Saturday with the 27-year-old.

Brooks is a talented perimeter defender who earned All-Defensive Second Team honors this spring, but he has become an increasingly erratic shooter, making a career-worst 39.6% of his field goal attempts in 2022/23. His three-point percentage dipped to 32.1% on 5.6 attempts per game during the last two seasons after he converted 35.3% of 4.5 threes per game in his first four seasons, all with the Grizzlies.

On top of his offensive struggles, Brooks’ outsized personality and aggressive playing style have gotten him into trouble both on the court and in interviews off it. He received three one-game suspensions this season, once for an on-court altercation with Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell and twice for accumulating so many technical fouls.

Brooks ultimately wore out his welcome in Memphis, with a report after the season indicating that the Grizzlies didn’t plan to bring him back “under any circumstances.” His performance during the team’s first-round loss to the Lakers was reportedly considered to be a breaking point. Brooks referred to Lakers star LeBron James as “old” following Memphis’ Game 2 win, suggesting the NBA’s all-time leading scorer was well past his prime.

He was then ejected from Game 3 for hitting James in the groin, surrendered a pair of key baskets to LeBron in a Game 4 loss, and was eventually fined $25K for declining to speak to reporters after three games of the series (all losses). Offensively, Brooks shot just 31.2% from the field and 23.8% on three-pointers across six playoff games.

A change of scenery could benefit Brooks, and the Rockets have reportedly been prioritizing tough, defensive-minded veterans under new head coach Ime Udoka. Houston has reached an agreement with Fred VanVleet and was said to be aggressive in its pursuit of Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Brook Lopez, who ultimately decided to remain in Milwaukee.

Rockets Notes: Brooks Deal, Green, Harden, Martin

The Rockets‘ multi-team sign-and-trade deal for Dillon Brooks will expand further to include the trade agreement between Houston and the Clippers involving Kenyon Martin Jr., according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required).

Houston’s deal that sends TyTy Washington and Usman Garuba to the Hawks will also be part of the Brooks sign-and-trade with the Grizzlies. With the Clippers involved and the Thunder set to take on Patty Mills in the complex transaction, it will be at least a five-team trade.

The Rockets, who acquired a second-round pick from Brooklyn for Mills and are getting two more from the Clippers for Martin, will send out five second-rounders in the deal — two to Atlanta and three to Oklahoma City. Those three picks going to the Thunder haven’t been reported yet, so it’s possible they’ll just be the three selections that Houston is receiving from the Nets and Clippers.

As we wait for the Rockets to complete their offseason moves, here are a few more notes out of Houston:

  • Jeff Green‘s contract with the Rockets, originally reported to be worth $6MM for one year, will actually be for $16MM over two, with a non-guaranteed second year, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks adds that Green’s first-year cap hit will be $8MM. If that figure is precise, rather than rounded, it means the forward will have to be signed using cap room rather than the room exception, which maxes out at $7.7MM.
  • The hiring of Ime Udoka as head coach was a major factor in the Rockets’ decision to pivot away from James Harden and toward Fred VanVleet in free agency, a league source tells Steve Bulpett of “From everything we’ve gotten out of there, it was a matter that Ime didn’t want him,” the source said. “At the beginning, were they thinking about Harden? Yeah. But then they hired Ime, and Ime said, ‘It’s not going to work here.'”
  • Appearing on The IkoSystem podcast, Kenyon Martin Jr. spoke to Kelly Iko of The Athletic about the trade that will send him from the Rockets to the Clippers. Martin said that he appreciates the opportunity the Rockets gave him and added that Houston “will always have a place in my heart,” but admitted he’s looking forward to returning home to Los Angeles, where he was born and raised (Twitter audio clip).

Pacific Notes: Goodwin, Reaves, D-Lo, Vincent, Lakers, K. Martin

Two new but established Suns leaders, star guard Bradley Beal and head coach Frank Vogel, are looking forward to seeing the impact that another former Wizard, Jordan Goodwin, will have on the team, writes Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic.

The 6’3″ combo guard was part of the package Phoenix acquired in its blockbuster trade for Beal. Goodwin, still just 24, carved out a significant role off the bench in Washington in 2022/23. In 62 contests last season, he averaged 6.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG and 0.9 SPG.

“I think Jordan is going to surprise a lot of people,” Beal said. “A lot may not know who he is, but he is nasty tenacious defender who loves the game, who will compete at both ends of the floor.”

“He’s a very compelling talent,” Vogel said. “As we fill out the rest of our roster, we want to make sure we’re one of the most physical, toughest teams in the NBA. And Jordan at the guard position represents that, so I’m excited to watch him work.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are looking to maximize the skill set of returning guard Austin Reaves, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who hears that the team will explore the 6’5″ swingman’s play-making abilities by running the offense through him more often next season. After being moved into a full-time starting role for the Lakers during the season, the 25-year-old averaged 18.3 PPG on .571/.486/.898 shooting splits, 6.1 APG, and 3.3 RPG.
  • Although D’Angelo Russell is the early favorite to be the Lakers‘ starting point guard next season, Buha hears from sources that new addition Gabe Vincent could win the role if he outperforms Russell during L.A.’s training camp.
  • The Lakers are looking to add a center to fill its 14th roster spot, Buha adds. Sources tell Buha that Mohamed Bamba and Tristan Thompson are both candidates for the gig, but that the club could also wait out the market and see if more intriguing possibilities emerge.
  • Newly acquired Clippers small forward Kenyon Martin Jr. could help infuse an older L.A. roster with a healthy dose of athleticism, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. Martin, a Southern California native, brings an explosive vertical burst to the table, though he won’t score much outside of the post. His main contributions will be in and around that terrain on offense, while defensively he has some tools but still needs to develop.

Rockets To Trade Kenyon Martin Jr. To Clippers

The Clippers have agreed to trade for Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr., according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), who reports that Houston will receive two second-round picks in the deal.

The two second-rounders will be the Clippers’ own 2026 pick and the Grizzlies’ 2027 pick, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.

The Clippers have a $2,134,843 trade exception they can use to absorb Martin’s salary.

Martin spent three years in Houston after being acquired from the Kings, who selected him with the 52nd pick in the 2020 draft. He served as a valuable bench player for most of his time with the rebuilding Rockets, but became a full-time starter by the end of last season. He posted career highs with 12.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 56.9% from the field.

Martin is also an electrifying leaper who frequently posted highlight-worthy slams. He participated in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest, but didn’t get past the preliminary round.

The 22-year-old forward will get his first experience on a contender in L.A. He’ll provide additional depth behind Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who both have a long history of battling injuries.

On Thursday, the Rockets picked up Martin’s $1.93MM option for 2023/24, so he’s set to be unrestricted free agent next summer. He will become eligible to sign a four-year extension worth up to $75MM six months after the trade is finalized.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk points out that Clippers president Lawrence Frank has a connection to Martin after being his father’s coach with the Nets (Twitter link).

Rockets Rumors: Free Agents, Martin, Clarkson, Capela

Rockets officials hope to meet with several of their top targets in Los Angeles when free agency begins in a few hours, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Sources tell Iko that Houston has already set up meetings with Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez and will try to arrange sessions with Fred VanVleet, Kyrie Irving, Bruce Brown, Dwight PowellJakob Poeltl and possibly Kyle Kuzma.

Brown is of particular interest because the Rockets would be willing to go above the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign him, according to Iko’s sources. Head coach Ime Udoka was an assistant in Brooklyn when Brown played there and they have maintained a good relationship, Iko adds.

With more than $60MM in cap space, Houston officials are confident about signing their main targets, according to Iko, although some may prefer teams with more recent success. He confirms that the Rockets are hoping to avoid long-term contracts and will compensate by offering players more money up front than they’re likely to get elsewhere. Shooting, defense and rim protection will be the main focus, Iko states.

There’s more on the Rockets, all courtesy of Iko:

  • Houston is hoping to land a veteran point guard in free agency, but there’s a back-up plan if they can’t sign VanVleet, Irving or someone of that stature. Sources tell Iko that the Rockets would pursue someone like Brown, a strong perimeter defender who can handle the ball, and give Jalen Green and first-round pick Amen Thompson a greater share of the playmaking duties.
  • Iko hears that a Kenyon Martin Jr. trade is increasingly likely, as talks with other teams have increased throughout the week. Martin may not have a place on the revamped roster, and the team could add cap room by unloading his $1.93MM contract for next season.
  • Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson and Hawks center Clint Capela are two names to watch if the Rockets opt to use their cap space through trades rather than free agency. Iko notes that Utah executive Danny Ainge is reported to have interest in acquiring Martin and suggests that Houston might be willing to include second-year point guard TyTy Washington and maybe a second-round pick in a potential deal. Iko points out that Clarkson is eligible for an extension after picking up his $14.26MM option for next season and says the Rockets may offer something along the lines of $32MM over two years. Iko adds that Capela could be available straight up for Martin as Atlanta tries to shed salary.