Lonnie Walker

Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie Talks Offseason, Nic Claxton, More

In a podcast appearance with Dylan Burris of NetsPress, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie admitted there is a level of uncertainty surrounding Brooklyn and the league as a whole until the Damian Lillard and James Harden situations are resolved. The Nets have been cited as a possible Tyler Herro suitor in three-team scenarios with Portland and Miami.

Obviously, the offseason isn’t over,” said Dinwiddie. “I know the entire league is in a holding pattern for Dame and James. It could affect what we have going on.”

When asked if he knew anything about the Nets’ interest in possible trades, Dinwiddie said that information was “certainly above my pay grade.”

Assuming the roster remains intact, the 30-year-old expects 2023/24 to be a “building” year, as NetsDaily.com relays.

If we do have this team, which it looks like we will, it’s going to another year of coalescing, building,” Dinwiddie told Burris. “Mikal (Bridges) will try to establish himself as possibly an All-Star, a first time All-Star. I think Nic (Claxton) is going to try to establish himself as one of the premier big men in the league especially being in a contract year and heading into free agency next year.

Cam (Johnson), I think, has more ball skills than people kind of expected. So I think you’ll see him play extremely well. I think him being comfortable signing his deal, being comfortable and stuff, you’ll see a little bit of a leap there. For Cam, Mikal and Dorian (Finney-Smith), I don’t think any of them had been in another system.

We’re going to be a group that gets up and down and hopefully, we have a healthy Ben (Simmons) and if he’s in All-Star form, you might have two All-Stars. If he’s there, we have a real puncher’s chance against anybody.”

According to NetsDaily, Dinwiddie praised Simmons as a teammate and said he was encouraged by his recovery from back and knee injuries, though he didn’t know the specifics.

As Dinwiddie noted, starting center Claxton is on an expiring $9.6MM contract, and the former No. 31 overall pick is coming off a breakout fourth season, having averaged 12.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.5 blocks in 76 games (29.9 minutes) in ’22/23. Dinwiddie said his teammate has made strides in multiple areas this offseason, including his touch around the rim, strength, balance and conditioning.

I think Nic is going to make the biggest jump,” said Dinwiddie, who is also entering the final year of his deal. “I think he’s going to be supremely motivated. I think we’re going to see a big-time year from him.”

Dinwiddie also said he was a “fan” of the team’s offseason moves to this point, per NetsDaily, specifically mentioning free agent additions Dennis Smith Jr. and Lonnie Walker and second-round pick Jalen Wilson, who is on a two-way contract.

Eastern Notes: Kuzma, Coulibaly, Walker, Schröder

With his new four-year, $90MM contract in hand, Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma achieved his rookie goal of earning more than $100MM in his NBA career, he tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Kuzma has earned about $34.5MM through six seasons to this point.

The 27-year-old says he’s ready to take on the responsibility he’ll be given after the team traded away Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, making Kuzma one of the faces of the franchise.

It’s dope. That’s all I wanted. I’m hyped,” Kuzma said. “It’s just a great feeling. How many people in their lifetime can say they’re the face of the franchise? Someone that can help steer the direction of franchise for years to come. Yeah. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So, I’m just extremely grateful for it.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • Wizards lottery pick Bilal Coulibaly appears to be uncommonly grounded for an 18-year-old who just became a multimillionaire, which could portend well for his development, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “He’s a great kid,” said Summer League coach Landon Tatum. “He listens to anything you say. He’s also a guy that can take the information we give him, especially if he’s wrong, and understand right away that he’s made the mistake. Being an NBA player, it’s all about how quickly you can correct yourself sometimes, not so much the coaches (correcting you), and he’s a guy that does it really well.”
  • Lonnie Walker spoke on Tuesday about why he chose to sign with the Nets in free agency, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “(I saw) opportunity, understanding this is a very young core group looking to build, looking to grow, and I fit perfectly with the fellas that’s amongst the team as far as Cam (Johnson) and Mikal Bridges,” Walker said. “Off the court we have similar outlooks on life, and on the court we play very well. Our chemistry as far as growth and becoming a very special team is going to be something really nice.” Walker received a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, according to Lewis.
  • Dennis Schröder‘s preexisting relationship with new head coach Darko Rajakovic factored into the veteran guard signing a two-year, $25.4MM deal with the Raptors, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Schröder also spoke about what he’ll bring to the club. “This year, I wanted a situation where I could handle the ball a little bit more … and I think with my teammates now, the length we have and how we can defend and the style we have is a great situation for me … being a veteran out there, making sure the young guys can be great,” Schröder said. “I have proven over the years I can be a starting point guard. (And) with those young guys who are really talented, Scottie Barnes, (OG) Anunoby and the other guys, I think we can be competitive and that’s what I’m about.”

Nets Sign Lonnie Walker To One-Year Deal

JULY 10: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

JULY 2: The Nets are signing free agent swingman Lonnie Walker on a one-year contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

The Lakers were interested in re-signing Walker but he could find more playing time in Brooklyn. Walker made $6,479,000 in his one season with the Lakers and he became an unrestricted free agent after the season.

The 24-year-old Walker, who played four seasons with San Antonio, appeared in 56 regular-season games (32 starts) with the Lakers. He averaged 11.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 23.2 minutes. He also appeared in 13 postseason contests, averaging 6.2 points in 13.8 minutes.

How exactly Walker slots into Brooklyn’s rotation remains to be seen. The Nets have a glut of wings, so the addition of Walker could signal some other moves.

The team has also parted ways with Patty Mills and Joe Harris this offseason, so there could be a path to minutes even without further roster shuffling, though fellow newcomer Dennis Smith Jr. also figures to have a role in the backcourt.

Central Notes: Bucks, Pistons, Parker, Pacers’ Coaches

The Bucks kept their core intact by re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, but it will be challenging to fill out the roster while remaining under the second tax apron, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The two new contracts bring Milwaukee’s projected spending for next season to nearly $170MM for eight players, leaving six more to be added without reaching the $182.79MM apron. Nehm points out that they can’t avoid the apron if they use their full $5MM taxpayer mid-level exception and will have to complete the roster mostly through veteran’s minimum contracts and re-signing their own players through Bird rights.

A new one-year deal with Jae Crowder will help, Nehm adds. The Bucks parted with five second-round picks to acquire the veteran forward in February, but he wasn’t a lock to return because he didn’t have the impact on defense that the team was expecting. Thanasis Antetokounmpo will likely be back, according to Nehm, but the Bucks are expected to wait until later this summer to officially sign him to retain their financial flexibility.

Nehm notes that finding a backup point guard will be a priority after losing Jevon Carter to the Bulls. He names Kendrick Nunn as a potential low-cost option, along with Cory Joseph, who is on the market after spending the last two seasons in Detroit.

Nehm suggests that Milwaukee could look for bargains with its other open roster spots. He mentions Kings shooting guard Terence Davis and Raptors point guard Dalano Banton as possibilities, as well the Lakers’ Malik Beasley and Lonnie Walker if they’re willing to accept minimum offers for one year to join a title contender.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Instead of signing free agents, the Pistons used their cap room to trade for two veterans, which sets them up for big moves at the deadline and next summer, observes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Joe Harris at $19.9MM and Monte Morris at $9.8MM use up virtually all of Detroit’s $30MM in cap space, but they both have expiring contracts that could be valuable at the deadline in February. Sankofa notes that the same is true for Alec Burks‘ $10.5MM deal, while Bojan Bogdanovic is virtually expiring because his 2024/25 contract only carries a $2MM guarantee.
  • A family matter will prevent Jabari Parker from joining the Bucks for the Las Vegas Summer League, Nehm tweets. The former No. 2 overall pick is hoping for another NBA opportunity after sitting out all of last season.
  • Pacers assistant Ronald Nored will join Quin Snyder‘s staff with the Hawks, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana will move Jenny Boucek to the front of the bench and make Jim Boylen an assistant after he served as a consultant last season.

Western FA Rumors: D-Lo, Lakers, H. Jones, Suns, Warriors

There are “strong” indications that the Lakers are trending toward a new two-year deal with free agent point guard D’Angelo Russell, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, that two-year contract could be worth in the neighborhood of $40MM in total, though the second season may be a team option or non-guaranteed.

While the Lakers have interest in re-signing both Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker, it’s unclear which one the club is prioritizing, Fischer writes. Schröder will likely require a raise that exceeds the Non-Bird exception, so if Los Angeles uses its mid-level exception on an outside free agent, the team may have to allot its bi-annual exception to him, Fischer explains. In that scenario, it’s unclear whether the team would have enough room to re-sign Walker to a market-value deal as well while remaining below a hard cap.

Another potential path would see L.A. splits its mid-level between Schröder and a frontcourt player such as Mason Plumlee, sources tell Yahoo Sports. If Schröder doesn’t end up back with the Lakers, a reunion with Bulls coach Billy Donovan in Chicago is possible, Fischer writes. Donovan previously coached the point guard in Oklahoma City.

Finally, Fischer is one of a handful of reporters who have linked free agent forward Cam Reddish to Los Angeles. The Lakers were said to have some trade interest in Reddish – a Klutch Sports client – during each of the past two seasons. He’d be a minimum-salary target, Fischer notes.

Here are a few more free agency rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Two forwards who had their team options declined by the Pelicans on Thursday figure to take very different paths this summer. According to Fischer, Herbert Jones will likely end up back in New Orleans on a four-year deal worth a little more than $50MM, which would presumably be his Early Bird maximum. Willy Hernangomez, on the other hand, is considered a good bet to accept a lucrative offer from a EuroLeague team rather than seeking another minimum-salary NBA deal, Fischer reports.
  • The Suns intend to bring back several of their own free agents, including Torrey Craig, Damion Lee, Jock Landale, and Josh Okogie, according to Fischer, who says agent big man Drew Eubanks is another strong candidate to end up in Phoenix. Fischer is also the latest reporter to link Yuta Watanabe and Mike James to the Suns.
  • The Lakers and Warriors are among the teams eyeing free agent guard Shake Milton, per Fischer. Free agent forward Dario Saric has also received “strong” interest from Golden State, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Pacific Notes: Paul, Warriors, LeBron, Schröder, Walker

Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are looking forward to teaming up with longtime rival Chris Paul, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Paul’s ball-dominant style will bring a new look to Golden State’s backcourt, but Curry believes the combination can be successful.

“Every team that CP has been on gets better,” he said. “That’s the most consistent thing about him, and who he is and what he brings to the team. Everybody’s going to talk about the age. It’s on us to put that all together and figure out how all the pieces work.”

Thompson called Paul one of the best players of his generation and speculated that having him on the court should lead to better shots for everyone. He admits it will be “a little weird” to have Paul on his team after battling him in the playoffs for nearly a decade.

“I think he’s just going to add such a calming presence and leadership component that we need,” Thompson added.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have been a popular destination for free agents throughout their run at the top of the league, but their reputation will be tested in this year’s free agency, observes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Golden State’s financial crunch, early playoff exit and the loss of general manager Bob Myers may make veteran players less likely to accept veteran’s minimum contracts to join the team.
  • LeBron James won’t pressure the Lakers to make any specific signings or trades during free agency, according to Mark Medina of Sportsnaut. Medina adds that despite his retirement talk after the Western Conference Finals, James is fully expected to play next season in the final year of his current contract.
  • Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is committed to keeping the roster that finished last season intact, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. L.A. has five free agents and must decide by today whether to guarantee contracts for Mohamed Bamba and Malik Beasley. “Teams are going to be aggressive,” Pelinka said. “There’s a lot of parity in the league right now, and everyone smells an opportunity to chase the championship, but we’re going to try our best to stay in that pack or at the head of that pack.”
  • The Lakers are hoping to re-sign Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker IV, even though they’re both unrestricted and the team doesn’t have full Bird rights on either player, states Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Lakers Notes: D-Lo, Kyrie, Walker, Reaves, Harrison, Beasley, Bamba, Draft

In a conversation on the HoopsHype podcast about the Lakers‘ free agency situation, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he still believes a new deal with Los Angeles is the most likely outcome for D’Angelo Russell, though if it’s far from a lock.

A previous report stated that Russell was hoping for a four-year, $100MM contract before being traded from Minnesota to L.A. Given that he had an up-and-down postseason and there aren’t a ton of obvious suitors for his services this offseason, Russell may be hard-pressed to get four years or $25MM annually, Buha observes, suggesting that a two- or three-year deal, perhaps around $20MM per year, might be more realistic.

While the Lakers may also explore the sign-and-trade market for Russell, neither Buha nor Scotto views Kyrie Irving as a serious option for the club, even though Scotto has heard there’s no truth to the idea that Irving and the Mavericks have a “handshake” deal in place. Buha suggests it’s hard to imagine the Lakers making a compelling offer for Irving that Dallas would accept.

Elsewhere on the free agency front, Buha and Scotto agree that Lonnie Walker could get offers in the $4-7MM range and might seek a larger role with a new team.

As for Austin Reaves, Buha continues to hear that the Lakers will match any offer sheet for the guard, but he names the Spurs as a possible “dark horse” suitor for Reaves, while Scotto identifies the Rockets and Magic as two other cap-room teams who could have interest in testing the Lakers’ limits.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Buha says that Shaquille Harrison is expected to be waived this offseason and adds there are doubts about whether Malik Beasley ($16.5MM team option) and Mohamed Bamba ($10.3MM) will be retained. Beasley and Bamba would be on expiring deals and might be useful salary-matching pieces in trades, but they’re not bargains on their current contracts and could be cut loose to help accommodate new deals for free agents like Reaves, Russell, and Rui Hachimura.
  • The Lakers are more likely than not to hang onto the No. 17 pick in this year’s draft, sources tell Buha within that same mailbag. That might change if the team is able to use the pick as part of a trade package to land a starting-caliber player, Buha notes.
  • None are likely to receive consideration as early as No. 17, but the Lakers hosted six prospects for a pre-draft workout on Friday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link): Nadir Hifi (France), Jalen Wilson (Kansas), Morris Udeze (New Mexico), Cameron Shelton (Loyola Marymount), Terquavion Smith (NC State), and Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky).

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.

Lakers Notes: James, Reaves, Injury Report, Walker

LeBron James isn’t concerned about the Lakers getting complacent after taking a 3-1 series lead against the Warriors, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes.

“I think we’ll be ready. One thing about when you play Golden State, you don’t have an opportunity to relax. You just don’t,” James said. “So I’m not worried about us going in there comfortable. You just can’t do it versus Golden State. It’s not possible.”

Game 5 will be played Wednesday night.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Austin Reaves broke out of a shooting slump to contribute 21 points in Game 4, six fewer than he had in the first three games combined against Warriors, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times notes. Reaves went 7-of-15 from the field and made half of his six 3-point tries. “He just has to stay fearless, stay aggressive and stay locked in like he always has been,” coach Darvin Ham said of Reaves, who will enter restricted free agency after the season. “He’ll make it through the rough patches of the game.”
  • The Lakers’ injury report for Game 5 hasn’t changed at all from Game 4. James and Anthony Davis, who have dealt with right foot ailments, are listed as probable by the team’s PR department (Twitter link) and it would be a big surprise if either missed the game. Mohamed Bamba is questionable again with left ankle soreness. Bamba hasn’t appeared in the series.
  • Lonnie Walker IV, a free agent after the season, is brimming with self satisfaction after scoring 15 fourth-quarter points in Game 4. Walker has given the club a huge boost in the last two games. “The greatest feeling you could ever imagine,” Walker told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and other media members. “As a kid, this is something I’ve been dreaming of doing. Not just being a part of the playoffs, but impacting it, let alone winning in the playoffs. I’m truly proud of myself. It really shows my capabilities. Just my mental fortitude. I think the hardest thing of being able to play a lot and then not playing at all is sticking with it.”

Lakers Notes: Walker, Davis, James, Defense, Free Throws

Lonnie Walker IV finally got some significant minutes on Game 3 of the Lakers’ second-round series against the Warriors and he gave the team a lift, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times notes.

Walker played 25 minutes in Game 3 after logging just 28 in the previous eight games combined. His 12 points were five fewer than he contributed in the previous five postseason contests. Walker, an unrestricted free agent after the season, stayed razor sharp despite those limited minutes.

“I’m in love with this game. I’m obsessed with this game and most importantly I’m only 24 so what’s yet to become always keeps me optimistic in life,” he told Turner. “So, day to day, giving it the best I can and understanding once my time is called, once my number is called, just being ready. Can’t make no excuses. At the end of the day, no one is going to feel bad for you. So, you got to go out there and play.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) and LeBron James (right foot soreness) are listed as probable for Game 4, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Mohamed Bamba (left ankle soreness) has the questionable tag.
  • The Lakers’ defense was dominant on Saturday, a major turnaround after Golden State’s Game 2 win. Jovan Buha of The Athletic breaks down the Lakers’ defensive strategy for the game, as coach Darvin Ham notes that the playoffs require continued focus. “I think once you get to a certain point within a series, then there’s no more fooling anyone,” Ham said. “It’s just who does what they do the best. … The more you get deeper into a playoff series headed towards seven games, it’s just the more disciplined you have to be with the little things, the intangibles.”
  • Free throw shooting has helped the Lakers neutralize the Warriors’ perimeter game, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. The Lakers outscored the Warriors 28-12 from the free throw line in Game 3 after the teams each made 10 free throws in Game 2. The Lakers won Game 1 in large part due to a 25-5 advantage in made free throws.