Leonard Miller

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Wolves, Thunder Roster, OKC Arena

A month after Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Trail Blazers, specifically to the Heat, there’s little movement on a deal with Miami or any other team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (video link).

Lillard’s huge contract, not his desired destination, is the biggest impediment. His contract runs through the 2026/27 season and he’ll make an estimated $58.5MM the previous season before a $63.2MM option in the final year.

“It has simply been – for a lot of teams – his age and the idea of playing him over 60 million dollars at 35 and 36 years old, the last two years of his deal,” Wojnarowski said. “Right not, there’s just not been a lot of engagement among teams on a Lillard trade.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder might be in a position this upcoming season where they start trading assets rather than hoarding them, The Ringer’s Michael Pina writes.  The team may be good enough to warrant some moves that increase its chances of winning in the short term, not just the long term. The Thunder could begin attaching salary to draft capital for more established players, rather than doing the reverse.
  • The Timberwolves’ best chance at improvement is to develop young players like Josh Minott, Wendell Moore, Luka Garza and Leonard Miller, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The article details Minnesota’s efforts to coach up those reserves. “When you have the roster that we have, we’ve got to be able to develop some of these young guys and turn them into real players,” assistant coach Max Lefevre said. “It’s just huge.”
  • Oklahoma City mayor David Holt is more concerned about square footage than a seating capacity exceeding 20,000 in the Thunder’s proposed new arena, Steve Lackmeyer of The Oklahoman relays. Holt addressed a number of questions about the arena and other Thunder-related topics while answering readers’ questions. “Seating capacity is actually not that big of an issue in modern arena planning. The real issue for teams is square footage because the real revenue drivers for users are happening outside of the bowl,” Holt wrote. “That’s why it is so damaging for sports and concerts that our arena is dead-last of all NBA arenas in square footage. Some arenas are literally twice our size and most are 40-50 percent larger. I can’t tell you what the seating capacity of a new arena will be, but the current capacity is not really an issue and hasn’t really come up.”

Contract Details: Sabonis, Middleton, VanVleet, Russell, Clark

The Kings’ renegotiation and extension of Domantas Sabonis‘ contract includes $203.6MM in guaranteed money, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype tweets. The five-year deal also includes $13MM in incentives, raising its potential value to $216.6MM.

Sacramento used $8.6MM in cap room to give Sabonis a raise on next season’s salary – from $22MM to $30.6MM — then added four more years via the extension.

We have more contract-related notes:

  • Khris Middleton has a player option in the final season of his new three-year deal with the Bucks, Scotto tweets. As previously reported, his contract includes $93MM in guaranteed money and another $9MM in bonus incentives.
  • Fred VanVleet‘s huge three-year contract with the Rockets includes a 15% trade kicker, according to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link). The previously reported team option for the third year is valued at $44.89MM.
  • D’Angelo Russell‘s two-year contract with the Lakers is guaranteed for $36MM, Spotrac contributor Keith Smith tweets. The second season is a player option and Russell has $700K in incentives for both seasons. Additionally, Russell has waived his implied no-trade clause.
  • Jaylen Clark‘s two-way contract with the Timberwolves is a two-year deal, Smith tweets.
  • Leonard Miller‘s four-year, $8.3MM contract with the Timberwolves is guaranteed for the first two years, Scotto tweets. The third year is 50% guaranteed, and the fourth year is a team option.

Second-Round Pick Leonard Miller Signs With Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have reached a four-year deal with second-round pick Leonard Miller that contains a full guarantee on the first two seasons and a partial guarantee beyond that, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Wolfson doesn’t provide dollar amounts for the contract, but the signing is also confirmed by NBA.com’s transactions page.

Miller was selected by the Spurs with the 33rd pick in last month’s draft before being traded to Minnesota for future draft assets. He was considered a potential first-round selection after a strong performance with G League Ignite.

The Wolves’ signings of Shake Milton and Troy Brown are also official, according to the transactions log. Minnesota used portions of its mid-level exception to add both players.

Milton, who spent his first five NBA seasons with the Sixers, reportedly received a two-year, $10MM contract, while Brown, a part-time starter with the Lakers last season, will get $8MM over two years with a team option on the final year.

The re-signing of shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who is being paid $9MM for two years, still isn’t official.

Wolves Notes: Prince, Free Agency, Reid, Miller, Edwards

The Timberwolves waived Taurean Prince on Wednesday to avoid guaranteeing his $7,455,000 salary for the upcoming season, but there’s a chance he could be re-signed, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

The decision was purely financial, Krawczynski adds, with president of basketball operations Tim Connelly needing to create some flexibility ahead of looming extensions for Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. Minnesota may be interested in bringing back Prince at a lower cost, depending on what happens early in free agency, sources tell Krawczynski.

The 29-year-old power forward has been a dependable part of the Wolves’ rotation during his two seasons with the team. He averaged 9.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per night last season, and Krawczynski notes that Minnesota was 7-13 during a 20-game stretch he missed due to an injured shoulder.

The Wolves attempted to trade Prince’s contract before the salary guarantee date, Krawczynski adds. They talked to the Wizards about veteran point guards Monte Morris and Delon Wright, but weren’t able to make any progress toward a deal, sources tell Krawczynski.

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • With Prince’s salary off the books, the Wolves are now about $15.5MM under the tax line with four open roster spots. They’ll be able to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception when free agency begins Friday, and Krawczynski identifies a few names they might target. Among them are Eric Gordon, Bruce Brown, Dennis Schröder, Jevon Carter, Max Strus and Donte DiVincenzo, although all will have numerous suitors with similar financial resources.
  • In a separate story, Krawczynski discusses the implications of Naz Reid‘s new contract with Danny Leroux of The Athletic. The Wolves gave Reid a three-year extension at $42MM to keep him off the free agent market, but it will lead to some difficult decisions moving forward. Leroux points out that the new deals with Edwards and McDaniels, combined with the existing contracts for Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, will be enough to push Minnesota close to the tax line starting in 2024/25.
  • It appears Connelly is willing to give the Gobert experiment another year or two to succeed while stocking the roster with inexpensive young talent, writes Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. One of those pieces is second-round pick Leonard Miller, who was acquired from the Spurs in a draft night trade. “I don’t really know what position Leonard is,” Connelly said. “He grew up as a forward, so I think he can — I know he can — guard three positions. Then, offensively, I’ll let coach (Chris) Finch determine where he can best be deployed. What’s neat about the flexibility of our bigs is that while Rudy is a pure (center), we have some other guys who can play both (forward and center). Offensively, we have a bunch of guys that their skill set allows them to do things all over the court than, generally, most bigs can.”
  • Edwards has signed with WME Sports ahead of his extension talks, the agency announced (via Twitter).
  • In case you missed it, we took a deep dive into McDaniels’ case for a rookie scale extension.

Spurs Trade No. 33 Pick Leonard Miller To Timberwolves

JUNE 23: The trade is official, the Timberwolves confirmed in a press release.

JUNE 22: The Timberwolves are acquiring the No. 33 pick from the Spurs, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. San Antonio will receive two future second-round picks in return, a source tells Woj (Twitter link).

Minnesota will part with its own 2028 second-round selection and Utah’s second-rounder in 2026, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Wolves used their newly acquired pick to select the G League Ignite’s Leonard Miller.

Miller improved his draft stock in 2022/23 with a strong performance in the G League regular season. He averaged a double-double (18.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG) in 24 games (30.5 MPG), shooting 55.6% from the field.

Eastern Notes: Hornets, Hawks, Nets, Knicks, Embiid

Adama Sanogo, the starting center on UConn’s national championship team, and Julian Strawther of Gonzaga were among the six draft prospects who worked out for the Hornets on Sunday, the team’s PR department tweets. Memphis’ Kendric Davis, Kent State’s Sincere Carry, Butler’s Manny Bates and Marquette Olivier-Maxence Prosper joined that duo. The latter is currently ranked No. 29 on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Alabama center Charles Bediako and Gonzaga big man Drew Timme are among the six draft prospects who will visit the Hawks on Monday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. They’ll be joined by Miami’s Jordan Miller, Virginia’s Kihei Clark, DePaul’s Javan Johnson and Washington State’s Justin Powell.
  • Nets GM Sean Marks has a history of making aggressive moves either leading up to the draft or on draft night, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. Brooklyn has back-to-back picks in the first round at No. 21 and 22. If Marks decides to keep them, South Carolina freshman G.G. Jackson, G League Ignite’s Leonard Miller and Frenchman Bilal Coulibaly could be among the players who will get serious consideration.
  • The Knicks are crossing their fingers that the Sixers will eventually implode and Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid will look to be dealt, Tim MacMahon of ESPN said on The Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to the New York Post’s Bridget Reilly). “They’re not hoping for patience, they’re hoping for The Process. I don’t know if that’s coming, but they’ve looked at that situation in Philly and there’s been a hope in New York that stuff in Philly will go haywire to the point where Embiid will ask out,” MacMahon said. “I don’t know the percentage odds on that, I would say they are slim, but that’s been the hope.”

Pre-Draft Workouts: Whitmore, Pacers, Hornets, Lakers, More

The Pacers will host Cam Whitmore for an individual workout on Thursday, according to Wheat Hotchkiss of NBA.com. The Villanova forward is part of a group of prospects that are expected to come off the board shortly after the top three of Victor Wembanyama, Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson. Indiana holds the No. 7 pick in this year’s draft.

The Pacers welcomed Johnell Davis of Florida Atlantic, Adam Flagler of Baylor, Armaan Franklin of Virginia, Nate Laszewski of Notre Dame, Leonard Miller of G League Ignite and Isaiah Wong of Miami to a pre-draft workout on Wednesday, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Davis has since decided to pull out of the draft and return to school.

We have a few more updates on draft workouts:

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Offseason, Kyrie, Prospects

All-NBA Lakers small forward LeBron James surprised the basketball world at large on Monday when he suggested he would be contemplating retirement this offseason.

Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV (Twitter video link) that he believes the 19-time All-Star will stick around at least a while longer.

“My sense is LeBron could have two years left remaining in his his career,” Charania said. “… There’s certainly an expectation that he’s gonna continue playing, he’s got two years left on his Lakers deal. … It would be a true surprise if he really did actually retire.”

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers only have three guaranteed contracts on their books for 2023/24. Multiple league executives spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com about what Los Angeles might decide to do this offseason in terms of roster construction. The team has a player option on swingman Malik Beasley, which one executive expects the club to pick up. “He can be a contributor, really on any team,” they said. “The expectation is they’ll keep him. He can be a good trade piece if you need one. It’s just, if the tax is a big worry, he’d be the easy piece to move off of.” Following some big playoff games essentially in Beasley’s stead, unrestricted free agent Lonnie Walker IV may get more money elsewhere, another executive speculates. “I can’t see how they can pay him, he is probably a goner,” the exec said.
  • James’ former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, now an unrestricted free agent, has long been seen as a potential fit for Los Angeles. Jason Lloyd and Jon Greenberg of The Athletic weigh the pros and cons of adding an erratic, controversial talent of Irving’s caliber and price tag.
  • The Lakers, possessors of the Nos. 17 and 47 picks in this year’s draft, will work out six young prospects on Friday, headlined by G League Ignite small forward Leonard Miller, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Virginia guard Kihei Clark, Kentucky forward Chris Livingston, Pepperdine forward Maxwell Lewis, Dayton forward DaRon Holmes II, and Baylor guard Adam Flagler round out the invitees.

Draft Notes: Henderson, Miller, Combine, Mock Drafts

Victor Wembanyama is considered a lock to be taken with the No. 1 pick, but Scoot Henderson doesn’t want to give up without a fight, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NBA Draft Combine, Henderson said he believes he’s just as valuable as the French big man and he’s willing to meet with the Spurs to make his case.

“I think I have the ability to go No. 1,” he said. “I believe in myself as any competitor should.”

Henderson added that he hasn’t met with any teams at the combine yet, but he expects to hold several meetings and workouts over the next few weeks. Even if San Antonio doesn’t take him up on his offer, the Hornets and Trail Blazers, who hold picks No. 2 and 3, should be very interested. Those teams already have established lead guards in LaMelo Ball and Damian Lillard, but Henderson believes he could be successful in either situation.

“I don’t have to be ball dominant,” he added. “When my time comes, I’ll kill.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Brandon Miller, who’s projected as a top-three pick, is willing to hold meetings with teams outside of that range, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Miller has already met with the Bulls, who lost their first-round pick to Orlando when they failed to move up in Tuesday’s lottery.
  • Five-on-five scrimmages are among the highlights of the combine, but the highest-rated players typically choose not to participate. Thirty-seven prospects are skipping this year’s scrimmages, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. That list includes Leonard Miller of G League Ignite, who was a last-minute decision, according to Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Tuesday’s lottery resulted in a slew of new mock drafts from ESPN, The Ringer, The Athletic and Bleacher Report. Outside of Wembanyama at No. 1, there’s a lot of disagreement among the mocks, which reflects the uncertainty over many of the top prospects.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic offers his ranking of the top 20 players in this year’s draft class, along with a pair of sleepers from Creighton and Santa Clara.
  • Jordan Walsh of Arkansas appears to be leaning toward keeping his name in the draft after a strong first day at the combine, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Walsh has already worked out for the Nets and Celtics and is currently considered to be an early second-round pick.
  • Tyrece Radford will withdraw from the draft and return for his final year of eligibility at Texas A&M, according to The Dallas Morning News. Rob Perry will also leave the draft and return to Murray State next season, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Combine, Bates, Flagler

Andre Jackson Jr., one of the key players in UConn’s national championship run, has worked out for the Celtics and Nets, Tony East of SI.com tweets. Those workouts came prior to the combo guard’s workout with the Pacers on Friday. Currently at the NBA Combine, Jackson is ranked as the 30th-best prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list

We have more draft-related news:

  • Santa Clara guard Brandin Podziemski, Texas forward Dillon Mitchell and G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller are some of the players with the most at stake at this week’s draft combine, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo. The ESPN duo examines a number of storylines that will play out in Chicago this week.
  • Eastern Michigan forward Emoni Bates had an impressive shooting performance in the first day of the combine, according to Mike Curtis of the Detroit News. Bates tied for first in the shooting-off-the-dribble drill and was second in the 3-point star drill, making 19-of-25 (76%) attempts from beyond the arc. The Memphis transfer and former five-star recruit is ranked No. 56 by ESPN.
  • Another fringe second-round prospect, Baylor’s Adam Flagler, sat down with Draft Digest’s Bryce Simon and says he has the leadership skills to be an NBA point guard. “The point guard role was easier than expected because of who I am as a person, caring, compassionate,” Flagler said. “My voice is something I used to get my point across and doing what I can to help you. As a point guard you spend time off the court to know who they [teammates] are and how to push their buttons so you can demand those things on the court.” Flagler is ranked No. 68 by ESPN.