Lester Quinones

Scotto’s Latest: Markkanen, Achiuwa, Knicks, Kessler, Vucevic, Sixers

The expectation around the NBA, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, is that the Jazz will only seriously consider trading Lauri Markkanen if they receive a huge offer similar in value to the one Brooklyn got for Mikal Bridges, which included four unprotected first-round picks, an unprotected first-round swap, and one more lightly protected first-rounder.

The decision on Markkanen is viewed as an inflection point for the Jazz, who could accelerate their timeline by trying to find another star to join him in Utah or extend their timeline by moving the star forward and continuing to stockpile assets ahead of a loaded 2025 draft.

In addition to confirming the four teams previously reported to have interest in Markkanen (the Warriors, Spurs, Kings, and Timberwolves), Scotto adds the Pelicans to the list of potential suitors for the star forward. However, he says New Orleans has been reluctant to discuss valuable young role players like Trey Murphy and Herbert Jones.

Brandon Ingram, the most obvious trade candidate on the Pelicans’ roster, wouldn’t be a logical target for Utah in a Markkanen trade. New Orleans is including a pair of first-round picks in its deal for Dejounte Murray but could still offer as many as four first-rounders (2025, 2027, 2029, and 2031) in a package for a player like Markkanen.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • Unrestricted free agent Precious Achiuwa – who is drawing interest from multiple contenders, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv – liked playing in New York and remains open to re-signing with the Knicks, Scotto writes. The Knicks’ search for help at center has also involved making trade calls to the Jazz about Walker Kessler and the Hornets about Nick Richards, according to Scotto, who says rival executives think the Jazz are more willing to listen to inquiries on Kessler than they would’ve been a year ago.
  • With DeMar DeRozan seemingly on the verge of leaving Chicago, there’s a belief around the league that the Bulls may look to trade Nikola Vucevic and make the roster even younger, league sources tell Scotto.
  • Providing several Sixers-related updates, Scotto says Philadelphia is expected to either trade or waive Paul Reed and his $7.7MM non-guaranteed contract, has exploratory trade interest in Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith, and wants to add more shooting and guard depth, with Lester Quinones and Kyle Lowry among the players on its radar. Additionally, second-round pick Adem Bona is expected to get a standard contract and a place on the 76ers’ 15-man roster, Scotto reports.

QO Updates: Heat, Magic, Quinones, Lundy, Williams, Nuggets

The Heat have issued qualifying offers to two of their three two-way players, announcing in a press release that they’ve made forward Cole Swider and guard Alondes Williams restricted free agents. Miami’s other two-way player, forward Jamal Cain, isn’t mentioned in the announcement, with Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald tweeting that Cain isn’t expected to receive a qualifying offer.

Because Cain has finished each of the past two seasons on a two-way contract with the Heat, his qualifying offer would have been a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a small partial guarantee, whereas the QOs for Swider and Williams will be for one-year, two-way deals.

According to Chiang, the expectation is that Cain won’t be back with the Heat next season. Not getting a QO means he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

We have more qualifying offer news from around the NBA:

  • It appears that guard Trevelin Queen will be the only Magic two-way player to receive a qualifying offer this offseason. Orlando put out a press release (via Twitter) confirming that Queen has been given a QO, making him a restricted free agent. However, swingman Kevon Harris won’t get a QO and Admiral Schofield – who also wasn’t mentioned in the Magic’s announcement – has signed to play in France next season. Harris and Schofield both would’ve been eligible for minimum-salary qualifying offers, while Queen’s QO is for another two-way contract.
  • The Warriors aren’t tendering a qualifying offer to guard Lester Quinones, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Quinones will become an unrestricted free agent after averaging 4.4 points per game on .397/.364/.690 shooting in 37 appearances off the bench for Golden State.
  • The Hawks have made a qualifying offer to guard Seth Lundy, tweets Scotto. Lundy, who was on a two-way contract this past season, had a strong year in the G League, averaging 20.4 points per game and making 40.0% of his three-point attempts in 25 regular season and Showcase Cup contests for the College Park Skyhawks. His qualifying offer is the equivalent of another two-way deal.
  • The Rockets are issuing a two-way qualifying offer to shooting guard Jeenathan Williams, according to Scotto (Twitter link). Williams appeared in 22 games for Houston and 10 for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League in 2023/24.
  • Nuggets two-way players Collin Gillespie and Braxton Key aren’t expected to get qualifying offers from the team, so they’ll become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins, sources tell Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette (Twitter link).

Warriors Notes: Paul, Wiggins, Moody, Rotation, Curry, Kerr

Playing on Tuesday for the first time since January 5 after recovering from a left hand fracture, Chris Paul helped lead the Warriors to a victory in Washington, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. In 22 minutes off the bench, Paul contributed nine points, six assists, four rebounds, and four steals. The Warriors, who won the game by 11 points, outscored the Wizards by 17 during Paul’s time on the floor.

“All season long, he’s been such a high performer,” head coach Steve Kerr said after the win. “All of our best lineups, he’s in.”

As Slater notes, the Warriors initially expected to finally have their full rotation available on Tuesday, but Andrew Wiggins missed the game for personal reasons. Kerr, who didn’t offer any specifics on when Wiggins might rejoin the team, inserted Moses Moody into the starting lineup in his place. Although Moody had been out of the rotation, Kerr didn’t want to alter his new second unit, which now features Paul playing alongside Klay Thompson.

When Wiggins returns, Golden State will have no shortage of rotation options, with Moody and Lester Quinones likely among those on the outside looking in. Slater suggests that Stephen Curry, Brandin Podziemski, Jonathan Kuminga, Draymond Green, Gary Payton II, Wiggins, Paul, and Thompson will all be candidates for closing lineups, with Dario Saric, Kevon Looney, and Trayce Jackson-Davis vying for minutes too.

“Steve said he’ll try to figure it out,” Paul said of potentially playing a reduced role in a crowded rotation. “Said sometimes he might mess it up. But we got a really good group of guys on this team, and we’ll need different things every night. But one thing about me, though, is I know who I am and what I’m capable of. Ain’t no question about that. I’ll always be ready. I think he knows that.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • While Paul figures to spend a little time playing alongside Curry, the plan is to have him on the court for all of the non-Curry minutes, according to Slater. The two-time MVP has shot just 31.5% from the field over the past three games, including 21.6% on three-pointers, so CP3’s return should allow the team to reduce his workload and have him play off the ball a bit more. “Steph has looked tired to me the last couple games,” Kerr said after Sunday’s loss to Denver, per Slater. “It makes sense. He did the All-Star Game stuff, not getting much of a break — three games in four nights. He looks a little tired. These stretches happen.”
  • Kerr said on Tuesday after officially finalizing his two-year contract extension that he felt “very comfortable” signing a relatively short-term deal, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN.com. “We’re in a really unique situation where we have an era that’s winding down and another that’s coming,” Kerr said. “We’re trying to make them merge and make the most of that this year and next year … let’s keep it rolling for another couple of years and then reassess it.”
  • Asked during an appearance on the Club 520 podcast which of the Warriors’ four championship teams was his favorite, Green cited the 2021/22 squad, since it wasn’t viewed as a title favorite entering that postseason. “2022 wasn’t really a championship team (compared to) the championship teams I’ve been on,” Green said (hat tip to BasketNews.com). “After every series, me and Steph would be walking to do an interview after we won a series, and we’d walk and laugh like, ‘Yo, how are we winning these series right now?'”

Warriors Notes: Kuminga, Thompson, Jackson-Davis, Quinones

In an in-depth story for ESPN.com, Baxter Holmes looks back at the Warriors‘ efforts to keep their dynasty window open for the past several years, exploring the team’s hits and misses during that time and revisiting the oft-discussed “two timeline” plan.

As Holmes details, Golden State’s philosophy in the draft appeared to shift during those years. The Warriors took home-run swings in 2020 and 2021, drafting relatively raw talents like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody in the hopes that those prospects would develop into the kinds of stars who could help the team continue to contend for championships after Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green exited their primes.

However, that approach had changed by 2023, when the Warriors drafted Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis, two more seasoned college players who were better positioned to complement the current core and contribute right away.

“You can’t hit on everybody,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said. “We’ve got Kuminga, who’s exploding, and a bunch of other young guys who, I don’t know if they’re going to be stars, but they’re pretty good. “I think we should be able to avoid that total rebuild.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kuminga’s breakout couldn’t have come at a better time for the Warriors, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who hears from sources that the team considered trade scenarios involving Pascal Siakam and Dejounte Murray earlier this season. Golden State ended up not making any major in-season deals, but appears to have found its newest impact player internally, with Kuminga averaging 21.1 points per game on .571/.432/.769 shooting over his past 17 games.
  • The Lakers and Warriors currently rank ninth and 10th in the Western Conference and haven’t played much better than .500 basketball since their most recent championships, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. While the two Pacific rivals still have title aspirations this season, Windhorst interprets Golden State’s pre-deadline inquiry about a LeBron James trade as a signal that the Warriors aren’t confident they have enough for another championship run — and as a sign they suspect LeBron may have the same apprehensions about the Lakers’ title potential.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic explores how the growing chemistry between Thompson and Jackson-Davis in the second unit helped fuel a victory over the Lakers on Thursday. Thompson went just 1-of-9 from the field in his second game off the bench, but he had five assists, including four on baskets by Jackson-Davis.
  • Lester Quinones‘ new deal with the Warriors is simply a rest-of-season, minimum-salary contract, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Unlike most other teams that have been promoting two-way players to their standard rosters, Golden State wasn’t in position to offer Quinones multiple years or a salary above the minimum due to its cap situation. Quinones will be eligible for restricted free agency this offseason.

Warriors Promote Lester Quinones To 15-Man Roster

February 22: Quinones has officially been converted to a standard contract, the Warriors announced (via Twitter).

February 20: The Warriors plan to convert two-way guard Lester Quinones to a standard NBA contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). The contract is expected to be signed Thursday, Wojnarowski adds.

Quinones has been with Golden State for the last two seasons. He has appeared in 19 NBA contests this season, averaging 4.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 12.9 minutes per game.

Quinones has played regularly off the bench this month, averaging 7.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19.6 minutes per night. He hasn’t been inactive or registered a DNP-CD since January 27.

The Warriors had only 13 players on the 15-man roster entering the All-Star break and needed to add at least one more by Thursday. Golden State got down to 13 by trading Cory Joseph. After officially promoting Quinones, Golden State will have another two-way slot available.

Quinones was signed to a two-way deal late last season and re-signed in July. He was the named the 2023 Most Improved Player in the NBA G League when he averaged 21.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists for Santa Cruz.

Several Two-Way Players Nearing Active Game Limit

A player who signs a two-way contract with an NBA team is permitted to be active for up to 50 regular season games. That limit is prorated if the player signed his two-way deal after the regular season got underway — for instance, a player who finalized a two-way contract halfway through the season would be permitted to be active for up to 25 contests at the NBA level.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Two-Way Contract]

Several two-way players have been promoted to standard contracts recently, eliminating those games-played limits. GG Jackson (Grizzlies), Keon Ellis (Kings), Lindy Waters III (Thunder), Craig Porter Jr. (Cavaliers), Duop Reath (Trail Blazers), and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Pelicans) have all signed new deals since the trade deadline.

However, there are still a number of players on two-way contracts around the league who are at or near their active-game limit for the season. Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) identifies Celtics big man Neemias Queta, Mavericks guard Brandon Williams, Grizzlies guard Jacob Gilyard, and Hornets teammates Leaky Black and Nathan Mensah as two-way players who have 10 or fewer active games left, while Hawks guard Trent Forrest has already reached his 50-game limit.

In some cases, promotions to the standard roster may be forthcoming. Queta, for instance, has been a semi-regular contributor off the bench for the Celtics, who have an open spot on their 15-man roster, so if Boston wants to make him playoff-eligible and ensure he’s able to be active for the rest of the regular season, a contract conversion would be pretty straightforward.

Other cases could be trickier. While the Hawks would presumably like to have Forrest available for the rest of the season, they have a full 15-man roster, so they’d have to waive someone to make room to promote him.

Atlanta at least has some viable release candidates on its roster — for instance, veterans Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews haven’t played much and aren’t owed guaranteed money beyond this season. But that’s not the case in Memphis, where Gilyard has made a strong case for a promotion from his two-way deal by averaging 4.7 points and 3.5 assists in 37 games (17.7 MPG), with a .425 3PT%.

The Grizzlies have already promoted Jackson and Vince Williams from two-way contracts and may not have any expendable players left on their 15-man roster who could be cut to make room for Gilyard. Luke Kennard ($14.8MM team option for 2024/25) and Lamar Stevens (unrestricted free agent this summer) are the only Grizzlies not owed any guaranteed money after this season, and both are playing rotation roles for the banged-up club.

“We’ll see what happens when the time comes,” Gilyard said of his uncertain situation, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “As a basketball player, it’s definitely on your mind. I try not to let it affect me. I think that’s probably the worst part about being a point guard is you start to understand things and start to grasp things like that.”

“It’s kind of a juggling act,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said of working within those active-game limits for his two-way players, including Gilyard and Scotty Pippen Jr. “It’s hard to make those decisions, trying to preserve those dates. (Pippen’s) understood it. I was very upfront with him when he came in, (general manager) Zach (Kleiman) and myself. I think when he came in, we were maybe on the 40-game mark, but he didn’t have 40 games available, so it’s very unfortunate.

“Maybe it’s something that we look into as a league because I think he’s earned the opportunity to play every single night. We just have to balance the games he actually has available to him.”

Besides those players who are approaching their games-played limits, there are a few others on two-way contracts around the league who look like candidates to be promoted to standard rosters before the end of the regular season. Nets forward Jalen Wilson and Warriors guard Lester Quinones are among those who were playing regularly for their respective clubs leading up to the All-Star break.

Promoting a player to a standard contract would open up a two-way slot for his team, allowing that club to reset its active-game counter for that slot — at least to some extent. Due to the prorated nature of those game limits, a player who signs a two-way contract today could only be active for up to 16 games the rest of the way, but that’s 16 more games than, say, Forrest is eligible to play for the Hawks as long as he remains on his current two-way deal.

Teams have until March 4 to sign players to two-way contracts, so I expect to see a good deal of roster activity related to two-way slots within the next couple weeks.

Warriors Notes: Wiggins, Quinones, Kuminga, Thompson, Green, Paul, Payton

Andrew Wiggins got his wish to stay with the Warriors past the trade deadline, so now he has to prove the team made the correct choice, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Golden State delayed its toughest roster decisions until the summer, Thompson notes, and one of them will surely involve Wiggins, who was spectacular during the run to the 2022 title, but has played a significant role in the team’s failure to meet expectations this season.

The Warriors were barely active at the deadline, with their only move being a trade of Cory Joseph and cash to Indiana for a second-round pick. Thompson points out that they didn’t acquire another wing, a rim protector or a reliable scorer to take some of the burden off Stephen Curry, which means Wiggins will be counted on to contribute in all those areas.

Wiggins was the subject of trade chatter heading into the deadline, and he understood there was a significant possibility that he might be moved. After a disastrous start to the season, he gave the front office a reason to hold onto him with improved play of late, Thompson adds, noting that Wiggins is back in the starting lineup and the unit that coach Steve Kerr uses to close out games.

“At one point,” Wiggins said, “I told myself, ‘It can’t get no worse than this. Keep swinging and you’re gonna get out of it. Sometimes in the NBA, in basketball itself, it can be a roller coaster. Roller coaster of emotions, doubt, uncertainty. But it can also be great things, success. It’s a roller coaster. I’m glad I’m feeling better. On the court, I’m in a greater rhythm.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Two-way player Lester Quinones looks like a strong candidate to have his contract converted and fill the roster opening left by Joseph, according to Andrew Slater of The Athletic. Quinones played regular minutes during the team’s five-game road trip, and Kerr cited the energy and ball pressure he brings to the defense.
  • The Warriors reportedly refused to part with Jonathan Kuminga in trade talks with the Bulls regarding Alex Caruso, and Slater asked general manager Mike Dunleavy if Kuminga is considered untouchable. “Virtually,” Dunleavy said. “I mean, as untouchable as guys can be in this league. He’s certainly at that level. I didn’t see a scenario where Jonathan wouldn’t be on our team after this deadline.”
  • Dunleavy also didn’t rule out the possibility of eventually trading Klay Thompson or Draymond Green despite their role in winning four NBA titles, Slater states in the same piece. “You know, for me personally in this situation, I’m always going to do what’s best for the organization moving forward,” Dunleavy said. “Based on that, that’s how we’re going to operate — whether it’s this deadline, this summer, in the future.”
  • Chris Paul‘s $30MM non-guaranteed contract for next season will give the front office plenty of flexibility this summer, Slater adds. The Warriors can either let Paul go, try to re-sign him at a lower price or work out a trade in which they would guarantee the amount of salary they’re taking back.
  • Gary Payton II, who has been sidelined since January 2 with a strained left hamstring, will return on Saturday, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Kerr told reporters that Payton won’t be on a set minutes restriction.

Klay Thompson Discusses Latest Fourth Quarter Benching

Longtime Warriors star Klay Thompson sat out the final 7:19 of Golden State’s victory over Brooklyn on Monday, marking the second time in the past three games that he has been on the bench down the stretch in non-garbage-time minutes.

Thompson was part of the Warriors’ closing lineup on Saturday in Atlanta, but didn’t play the final 7:40 of Friday’s win over Memphis and was benched on Monday in favor of rookie Gui Santos, who had his best game as a pro in logging a career-high 18 minutes.

Asked after Monday’s win about his changing role and the fact that he’s no longer on a lock to be part of Golden State’s crunch-time lineup, Thompson said that winning is the most important thing, but admitted the adjustment hasn’t been easy, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Yeah, you kidding me?” Thompson said. “To go from, you know, one of the best players … it’s hard for anybody. I’ll be honest with you. It’s very hard.”

A five-time All-Star who led the NBA in three-pointers last season, Thompson is making 37.1% of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2023/24. That’s a solid rate for many players, but for Thompson, it represents a career low. Additionally, his 17.1 points per game are the fewest he has averaged since 2012/13.

“He’s fine,” head coach Steve Kerr said on Monday, according to Bontemps. “This is a season where he’s had a lot of ups and downs. It’s not easy for a guy who’s been so good and a Hall of Fame player to deal with the injuries and … it’s never easy for any player, getting older. (But) he’s mentally tough.”

Kerr added that, while there’s a “spotlight” on Thompson because of his career résumé, the story on Monday should be about how well role players like Santos, Moses Moody, and Lester Quinones performed off the bench to help the Warriors secure a road win. Thompson highlighted those performances by his teammates in explaining why he’s trying not to let his late-game benching bother him.

“I’ve accepted it,” Thompson said. “You can be mad. But I’m not going to be mad. I’m happy for these young guys. Yeah, we won. It’s hard to get wins in this league. … It’s all good. These guys played great. Gui played great. BP (Brandin Podziemski). Jonathan (Kuminga). At the end of the day, winning trumps all.”

Thompson is on an expiring contract and his name has popped up occasionally in the rumor mill leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently reported the Warriors have no interest in moving the veteran sharpshooter.

Slater expressed a belief last month that Golden State will ultimately work out a new contract with Thompson, who reportedly turned down a two-year extension offer from the team prior to the season.

Three Candidates To Be Promoted From Two-Way Contracts

While there is still a bit of time before NBA training camps open, we have a good idea of what most team rosters will look like to begin the season. As we recently detailed, 70 of the league’s 90 available two-way contracts are currently filled. Since those players only have $75K in guaranteed money, however, teams have plenty of flexibility to make changes, whether those come in the form of cuts or promotions to standard deals.

Since the inception of the two-way contract in 2017, dozens of players have been called up from two-way deals to standard contracts. Players like Paul Reed, Chris Boucher and Alex Caruso are among the players to cash in their two-way deals into big standard contracts with their impressive play and development over time. The Heat made waves in the 2023 NBA Finals when several rotation players on their team made big contributions, many of whom spent time on two-way deals, including Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin.

While the Heat are an extreme case of two-way players becoming highly paid standard contract players, more and more teams seem to be recognizing the value of these developmental spots. Almost every team currently has a G League affiliate and those who don’t have committed to adding one. And this year, the NBA increased two-way contract spots from two per team to three, creating 30 new roster spots.

As noted above, teams are still figuring out what to do with those spots, but there are currently players signed to two-way deals who seem poised to continue the trend of promotions making an impact. With that said, here are three prime candidates to be elevated from their two-way deals to standard contracts sometime during the ’23/24 season, whether or not it happens during the preseason process.

Lester Quinones

Quinones wasn’t on many public top 100 big boards ahead of the 2022 NBA draft, so it was a mild surprise to see him signed to a two-way contract right after the draft. Though he was signed, Quinones was an example of a two-way player getting shuffled around in the preseason, and he ended up getting cut before the season began.

More roster shuffling occurred in March and Quinones penned a 10-day deal before being signed to a two-way deal to close out the year. During the time in between, the Memphis product put up terrific numbers for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League, averaging 20.2 points in the regular season and showcase and he shot 37.5% from deep on 7.7 attempts. Quinones continued dominating in the summer during Las Vegas Summer League where he averaged 21.2 points and 5.2 assists. The Warriors re-signed Quinones to another two-way deal in late July.

The Warriors have a ton of roster flexibility moving forward. They have just 13 players signed to standard deals and only Quinones occupies a two-way deal. Preseason and training camp seems like an ample opportunity for the 6’5″ guard to reverse his fortunes from a year ago and get promoted to the main roster.

Lindell Wigginton

Like Quinones, Wigginton is a guy who has been lost in Milwaukee’s back-end roster shuffling. Wigginton has been in Milwaukee’s system for two seasons, playing for the Bucks on a two-way deal in 2021/22, not being re-signed, then later being added to another two-way deal at the end of the ’22/23 season.

Wigginton averaged 19.2 points and 5.9 assists last season in the G League across 38 regular season and Showcase Cup games. The 6’2″ lead guard also has 26 games of NBA experience (one start), holding averages of 5.0 points and 1.4 assists.

The Bucks don’t have a logical way to add Wigginton to their main roster before the ’23/24 season begins. Their 15-man roster is set and a trade or cut prior to the season doesn’t seem likely. If the Bucks make a move at the trade deadline, Wigginton could be a logical option to call up if Milwaukee sends out more than they take in. If not, it’s entirely possible the Bucks sign the Iowa State alum to a standard deal in the offseason, much like they did with A.J. Green this year.

Jamal Cain

As we mentioned, Heat players have historically been elevated from two-way contracts. In fact, they’ve promoted a two-way player to a standard deal in every year (or following offseason) since their inception in 2017 (Derrick Jones in ’17/18; Robinson in ’18/19; Chris Silva in ’19/20; Vincent and Strus in ’20/21; Martin in ’21/22; and Orlando Robinson in ’22/23). Cain is the next logical candidate for a promotion.

Cain was reportedly waiting for a standard contract offer before ultimately re-signing with the Heat on a two-way deal earlier this month. The Oakland product impressed last season, averaging 5.4 points in 18 NBA games and 20.5 points in 25 G League games last year.

The Heat are still waiting on the Damian Lillard situation to shake out, but they still only have 13 players signed to standard deals. Miami needs to sign a 14th player prior to the season and Cain would be a logical option if a Lillard trade doesn’t materialize before then. If not, it seems likely they’ll bring him up at some point during the season.

International Notes: Towns, Hollis-Jefferson, Cleveland, Holland

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns announced on Instagram that he will compete for the Dominican Republic in next month’s FIBA World Cup, Chris Hine of The Star Tribune relays.

As Hine notes, Towns’ late mother was from the Caribbean country. The national team’s preliminary roster, which includes Towns, features a handful of other players with varying levels of NBA experience, including Al Horford, Chris Duarte, Lester Quinones and Justin Minaya.

Towns last competed for the senior national team in 2013 during the AmeriCup tournament, according to FIBA. The president of the Dominican basketball federation previously expressed optimism that Towns would suit up for the World Cup, which begins August 25.

Here are some more international notes:

  • Former NBA forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is in the process of obtaining Jordanian citizenship in order to play for Jordan’s national team at the World Cup, according to Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops.net. Hollis-Jefferson, 28, played for the Nets, Raptors and Trail Blazers over the course of his six NBA seasons, holding career averages of 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game.
  • Antonius Cleveland has inked a two-year deal with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, per a team press release (hat tip to Sportando). Cleveland split last season playing for teams in Australia and Israel. The 29-year-old holds 28 games of NBA experience over two seasons with the Mavericks and Hawks.
  • John Holland, who spent 14 months and played 25 games with the Cavaliers from 2017-18, has signed with Israel’s Hapoel Tel Aviv, the team announced in a press release. The 34-year-old swingman is a well-traveled veteran, having played for teams in France, Spain, Turkey, Russia and most recently Serbia (Crvena Zvedza) over the course of his career.