Kris Murray

Northwest Notes: Trail Blazers, Henderson, Gobert, George

The Trail Blazers started five rookies in tonight’s game against Denver, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. The lineup consisted of Scoot Henderson, Kris Murray, Rayan Rupert, Toumani Camara and Duop Reath, marking only the second time that a team has started five first-year players since the NBA began tracking starters in 1970/71. The 2012 Warriors were the first, according to a tweet from the Blazers.

The move was necessitated by the team’s lengthy injury list, which grew even longer when guard Anfernee Simons had to leave Friday’s game in the third quarter after hurting his left knee. Coach Chauncey Billups told reporters that Simons will undergo an MRI on Sunday.

Deandre Ayton missed Friday’s game with tendinitis in his left elbow, which is also keeping him out tonight. Jerami Grant is already sidelined with a hamstring issue, and Malcolm Brogdon has been out of action since early February with elbow tendinitis. Billups expressed hope that Grant and Brogdon can return before the end of the season.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Friday marked Henderson’s best performance since suffering a groin injury during the Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend, observes Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (subscription required). The No. 3 pick in last year’s draft, who posted 24 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and two steals in the Trail Blazers‘ loss to the Clippers, talked about his experience with the “rookie wall.” “It’s a longer season now, so you kind of get that wall a little later,” Henderson said. “After 50 games in the G League, you’re like, ‘OK, let’s play another one.’ But when you hit 50 or 60 [in the NBA], it’s a little tougher now.”
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is determined to not let the pain from a sprained rib keep him out of the lineup, per Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops“You got to embrace the pain sometimes. Sometimes the pain of watching hurts more than the pain of the injury itself,” Gobert said. “It is all about playing through that. As long as I can move, able to impact the game, I am going to be out there.”
  • The Timberwolves fired a team employee this week for stealing thousands of files, some of which contained “strategic NBA information,” according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Somak Sarkar was charged with felony third-degree burglary.
  • Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune examines the high turnover rate for Jazz rookie guard Keyonte George and how it might impact his NBA future.

Northwest Notes: Smith, Conley, Blazers, Hendricks

Journeyman guard Ish Smith nearly remained with the defending champion Nuggets before he signed with the Hornets but not as a player, Bennett Durando of the Denver Post reports. He was offered a front office role that he described as an apprenticeship. He would have been based out of Charlotte while making trips to Denver to learn the ropes of being a front office exec from various people in basketball operations.

“I was gonna do some consulting, and start learning the business a little bit more,” said Smith, who appeared in 43 regular season and four postseason games with the Nuggets last season. “Start transitioning to some front office. Some coaching.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves guard Mike Conley will enter unrestricted free agency following this season. Conley has been a key figure in Minnesota’s blazing start, averaging 11.5 points and 6.2 assists, and there’s early optimism among league figures that he’ll re-sign with Minnesota, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Conley, who entered the league in 2007, will turn 37 prior to next season.
  • The Trail Blazers were late to the party but they finally have their own G League team in the Rip City Remix. Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report details how two-way player Ibou Badji and 2023 draft picks Kris Murray and Rayan Rupert have benefited from the experience they’ve gained with the G League club. “It’s so much easier to have them in the same building and have them around,” Remix coach Jim Moran said.
  • Jazz lottery pick Taylor Hendricks is also getting additional experience in the G League after appearing in 11 NBA games. Coach Will Hardy believes that will beneficial to his development, Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. “He’s gonna get way more minutes than he was when he was with us and continue to improve,” Hardy said. “The road is long for Taylor. I’m not overreacting to anything that goes on with him right now.”

Players Who Signed July 1 Are Now Eligible To Be Traded

The peak of the NBA’s transactions season has calmed down after an active start to July, but a few more players have become eligible to be traded on the final day of the month, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

The 30-day trade restriction window has expired for draft picks who signed their contracts on July 1, along with six players who inked two-way contracts on that date.

The designation won’t matter for those at the very top of the draft, as the Spurs and Trail Blazers obviously won’t consider trading Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, respectively. However, it could come into play for a few others, especially if more big-name players are on the move as the summer winds down.

In addition to those top-three picks, first-rounders who signed on July 1 are the Magic’s Anthony Black and Jett Howard, the PacersJarace Walker and Ben Sheppard, the Trail BlazersKris Murray and the Heat’s Jaime Jaquez. The No. 18 pick out of UCLA, Jaquez has been mentioned as a potential asset in a trade to bring Damian Lillard to Miami.

Two-way players who signed on July 1, according to’s transactions log, are the SixersTerquavion Smith and Ricky Council, the Heat‘s Dru Smith and Jamaree Bouyea, the Trail Blazers Ibou Badji and the RocketsTrevor Hudgins.

Most veteran free agents who signed this summer won’t become eligible to be traded by their teams until December 15 or January 15, depending on their circumstances. Those signings didn’t become official until July 6 or later because of the NBA’s summer moratorium.

Trail Blazers Officially Sign Kris Murray To Rookie Contract

The Trail Blazers have officially inked new power forward Kris Murray to his rookie scale deal, per a team press release.

Terms of the agreement have not been released, but the deal will most likely pay him $2.8MM to start of his four-year deal.

Portland selected the 6’8″ forward with the No. 23 pick out of Iowa in this year’s draft. Though he wasn’t as starry a prospect as his Trail Blazers first round selection, third overall pick Scoot Henderson of the G League Ignite, the 22-year-old Murray is still an intriguing, decorated young player. Henderson also officially agreed to terms on his rookie scale deal with Portland recently.

A consensus All-America Third Teamer during his third and final season with the Hawkeyes in 2022/23, Murray averaged 20.2 PPG on .476/.335/.729 shooting splits, along with 7.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 BPG and 1.0 SPG. He was also named to the All-Big Ten First Team for his efforts.

As is the case for all first-round draft picks, Portland will have team options on the third and fourth seasons of Murray’s rookie contract. Though most signings and trades cannot be completed during the league’s July moratorium as the 2023/24 season officially gets underway, rookie contracts are an exception to that rule.

Draft Notes: K. Murray, Rankings, Prosper, Wolves, W. Green

Iowa forward Kris Murray, the twin brother of Keegan Murray, received an invite to the NBA draft’s Green Room next Thursday, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). However, Murray has decided to turn down the invite, opting to watch the draft at home with his family rather than attending the event in person, per Givony.

Here’s more on the 2023 NBA draft:

  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic published his final pre-draft rankings this week, listing the top 100 players in the 2023 class and providing full scouting reports for the top 75. Vecenie’s 179-page PDF draft guide is incredibly in depth and is worth checking out for anyone with a subscription to The Athletic. The most notable deviation from the norm at the top of Vecenie’s draft board is his decision to rank Cam Whitmore at No. 3, one spot ahead of Brandon Miller.
  • Marquette forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the No. 29 player on ESPN’s big board and the No. 24 prospect in Vecenie’s rankings, tells Givony (Twitter link) that there’s “no reason” he shouldn’t be a first-round pick. “My game translates really well to the NBA,” Prosper said. “It’s a positionless league, and wings like me who can guard multiple positions, finish in transition and make threes find ways to make winning plays and impact games.”
  • The Timberwolves hosted a pre-draft workout on Friday that featured Damion Baugh (TCU) Marcellus Earlington (San Diego) Caleb McConnell (Rutgers) Mike Miles Jr. (TCU) Justyn Mutts (Virginia Tech), and Race Thompson (Indiana), according to the team (Twitter link). The Nets are among the other teams to have worked out Thompson, adds Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Former Auburn guard Wendell Green worked out for the Rockets this week, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Poole, Kuminga, Draft, DiVincenzo

Steve Kerr’s praise for the Heat‘s role players during an appearance on Draymond Green‘s podcast could be interpreted as a message to some of the Warriors, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes in a mailbag column. Golden State’s head coach talked about how Miami’s players were able to embrace their roles and adapt from game to game without complaining about playing time.

There were rumors throughout the season that several Warriors — Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga in particular — were unhappy about not having steady minutes. Kawakami notes that Kerr’s comments to Green were similar to what he has been saying all season and an echo of a speech that Stephen Curry delivered to the team before Game 7 of its first-round series against the Kings.

Kawakami adds that Green is in full agreement with Kerr’s stance and wouldn’t be concerned about offending anyone by pointing it out publicly. The message they hoped to deliver is that the team needs more commitment from its young players, similar to what the Heat have been displaying.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Management doesn’t appear inclined to overhaul the roster before next season, Kawakami adds. He states that the front office might listen to offers if they get calls about Poole, but the core of the team will probably remain together for at least another year, with Curry and Klay Thompson under contract and Green considered likely to re-sign.
  • According to Kawakami, Kerr’s future as head coach shouldn’t be affected by the hiring of a new general manager, and it seems to be more connected with Curry’s playing career. Kawakami believes Kerr can continue coaching the team for as long as he wants if Curry remains productive.
  • Golden State may consider Iowa forward Kris Murray with the 19th pick in the draft, former Warrior Festus Ezeli of NBC Sports Bay Area said on the “Dubs Talk” podcast. “There is an importance to the NBA draft,” Ezeli said. “… I’ve seen some rumblings about (Kings forward) Keegan Murray‘s brother, who’s also a shooter. Different pieces like that.”
  • Knicks guard Josh Hart has talked to fellow Villanova alum Donte DiVincenzo about coming to New York in free agency (Twitter link from New York Basketball). DiVincenzo has a $4.725MM player option on the two-year deal he signed with the Warriors last summer.

Kings Notes: Sabonis, Mitchell, Vezenkov, Draft

Kings star Domantas Sabonis told Sean Cunningham of FOX 40 Sacramento (Twitter video link) on Thursday that he was about to get another scan on his right thumb to assess how his avulsion fracture has healed following treatment. While there’s hope that Sabonis will be able to avoid undergoing surgery on the thumb this offseason, that possibility hasn’t yet been ruled out, according to the big man.

Asked about whether or not he’ll be able to play for Lithuania in this year’s World Cup, Sabonis said it will depend on the results of his latest scan and the treatment plan for his thumb going forward.

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Kings guard Davion Mitchell has new representation, having made the move from CAA to Octagon Basketball — Octagon posted a tweet welcoming Mitchell to the agency. The former lottery pick will be extension-eligible during the 2024 offseason and would become a restricted free agent in 2025 if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.
  • Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee takes a closer look at the Kings’ potential next steps with EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov, whose NBA rights are controlled by Sacramento. According to Anderson, the team’s offer for the 27-year-old will likely start in the neighborhood of $3-4MM. That would be roughly equivalent to the first-year salary for a player drafted between Nos. 15-21 in 2023.
  • In a separate story for The Sacramento Bee, Anderson examines a few prospects who could be targets for the Kings at No. 24 in this month’s draft. As Anderson notes, general manager Monte McNair has a track record of selecting older college players with Sacramento’s first-round picks, so forwards like Trayce Jackson-Davis and Kris Murray (Keegan Murray‘s twin brother) could be on the team’s radar.
  • In case you missed it, Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez is believed to be one of the finalists in the Raptors’ head coaching search. Toronto is expected to make a decision is relatively soon.

Draft Notes: Bates, Ongenda, Pacers, Hawks

Wing Emoni Bates has upcoming workouts lined up with the Jazz, Kings and Pistons, a league source tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link). Bates has already reportedly worked out for eight other teams, so he is certainly getting accustomed to the extensive travel of NBA life.

According to Zagoria, Bates will have more workouts as the 2023 NBA draft — which takes place on June 22 — draws nearer. A former top high school recruit, the 19-year-old has seen his stock fall over two inconsistent college seasons at Memphis and Eastern Michigan. He’s currently ranked No. 51 on ESPN’s big board, making him a projected late second-round pick.

However, Bates impressed during shooting drills at last month’s draft combine and reportedly interviewed well too, which has helped his standing. He has risen up six spots on ESPN’s list within the past few days.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • DePaul center Nick Ongenda decided to stay in the draft as the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline passed, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The Canadian big man missed most of the season with a wrist injury, according to Steve Newhouse of, who reports that Ongenda recently worked out for the Mavericks. He averaged 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and an eye-popping 4.4 blocks, but only played eight games as a senior in ’22/23.
  • The Pacers are hosting a pre-draft workout Friday featuring Toumani Camara (Dayton), Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton), Jaylen Martin (Overtime Elite), Landers Nolley (Cincinnati), Miles Norris (UCSB) and Julian Strawther (Gonzaga), tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana controls five draft picks in 2023, including No. 7 overall. Strawther (No. 49), Camara (No. 54) and Evbuomwan (No. 77) may have the best chances to get drafted, per ESPN’s board.
  • The Hawks, who control the Nos. 16 and 46 picks, are hosting six prospects for a workout Friday. They are Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine), Mike Miles Jr. (TCU), Kris Murray (Iowa), Pete Nance (North Carolina), Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Marquette) and Ben Sheppard (Belmont), as Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays (via Twitter). Murray (No. 25), Prosper (No. 29) and Sheppard (No. 36) are the highest rated by ESPN.

Nets Notes: Bridges, C. Jones, Kalkbrenner, Holmes, Bates

There has been speculation that Nets forward Mikal Bridges will be a target for the Trail Blazers if and when they shop the No. 3 overall pick, but John Hollinger of The Athletic is skeptical that a deal centered around that pick would appeal to Brooklyn.

As Hollinger points out, the Nets don’t control their own first-rounders in any of the next four drafts, so they have little incentive to take a step back in the short term. Plus, Bridges is signed to one of the NBA’s most team-friendly contracts through the 2025/26 season.

Alex Schiffer of The Athletic (Twitter link) says he has heard the same thing as Hollinger at the draft combine in Chicago. According to Schiffer, any rumors linking Bridges to Portland are “all talk,” since Brooklyn isn’t interested.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Many prospects in this year’s draft class have cited Bridges as a player they want to emulate at the NBA level, according to Schiffer. Iowa’s Kris Murray, Villanova’s Cam Whitmore, Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis, and Frenchman Rayan Rupert are among the prospects who likened themselves to Bridges. “I want to have the same trajectory and same process he did,” Rupert said. “Mikal Bridges is a big inspiration for me.”
  • Xavier guard Colby Jones told Schiffer that he’s scheduled to work out for the Nets in the coming weeks. Jones is the No. 28 prospect on ESPN’s big board, while Brooklyn owns the Nos. 21 and 22 picks in next month’s draft.
  • Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner and Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II are among the draft prospects who worked out for the Nets prior to the draft combine, Schiffer writes for The Athletic. Kalkbrenner, who has also auditioned for the Bulls, said that his session with Brooklyn went well, but Holmes wasn’t as positive about his workout in Brooklyn. “I didn’t do too well, I feel like, at the Nets,” Holmes said. “I feel like I could have stepped it up a bit, but it was good to learn. Great players there.”
  • Former five-star recruit Emoni Bates has been linked to the Nets and said he’ll work out for them at some point in the coming weeks, according to Schiffer. An Eastern Michigan forward, Bates added that he also has workouts lined up with the Thunder, Suns, Cavaliers, Blazers, and Pistons.
  • In case you missed it, Ben Simmons‘ agent said earlier this week that the former No. 1 overall pick is “progressing really well” in his injury rehab process. We have more details here.

NBA Reveals Players Expected At 2023 Draft Combine

The NBA has announced 78 players that are expected to attend this year’s draft combine, scheduled for May 15-21 at in Chicago, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets.

Additionally, a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp, which takes place May 13-14 in Chicago, will be invited to participate in the combine.

Players will have interviews with NBA teams and participate in five-on-five scrimmages, as well as shooting, strength and agility drills. Some top prospects opt out of the scrimmages.

Victor Wembanyama, the projected top pick, is not on the list. His French League season is still ongoing.

The list of invitees is as follows: