Louis King

Lakers Sign Quinndary Weatherspoon, Waive Louis King

7:35pm: The Lakers have officially signed Weatherspoon. In a related move, they have waived forward Louis King, the team’s PR department tweets.

5:03pm: The Lakers are signing free agent guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, agent Daniel Hazan tells Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it seems likely that Weatherspoon will be signed to an Exhibit 10 contract, which would entitle to him a bonus worth up to $75K if he’s waived and spends at least 60 days with the South Bay Lakers, L.A.’s G League affiliate.

A former second-round pick (No. 49 overall in 2019), Weatherspoon played 42 NBA games with the Spurs and Warriors from 2019-22, with a modest average of 6.5 minutes per night. He was out of the league last season, having played professionally in China.

Weatherspoon most recently played for Israeli club Maccabi Ra’anana during the preseason, suiting up for a couple games while averaging 15.5 points and shooting 40% from three, Haynes notes.

The Lakers will have 18 players under contract once the signing is official, with 14 players on guaranteed standard deals and all three two-way slots filled.

Lakers Sign Louis King

8:39pm: The signing is official, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

6:18pm: Free agent Louis King is signing with the Lakers, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The deal was confirmed by King’s agent, George Langberg of GSL Sports Group.

The 24-year-old combo forward made a brief NBA appearance last season, getting into one game with the Sixers after signing a two-way contract in late December. King spent most of the season in the G League, where he averaged 16.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 32 regular season games with the Delaware Blue Coats.

King became an unrestricted free agent in July when Philadelphia decided not to make a qualifying offer. He had a tryout with the Celtics in August, but remained unsigned.

King will likely head to the G League again once his contract with the Lakers is finalized. Assuming it’s an Exhibit 10 deal, he will be eligible for a bonus of up to $75K if he spends at least 60 days with L.A.’s South Bay affiliate.

The signing will bring the Lakers’ offseason roster to 18 players. L.A. has 14 fully guaranteed contracts, and all three of its two-way slots filled.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Wing Options, Pritchard, Frontcourt

Jaylen Brown‘s first game since signing a record contract with the Celtics came in an unlikely setting — the Big3 All-Star contest, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Brown, who became the first active NBA player to participate in a Big3 game, agreed to play because the event, which was held in England, helps to support the London Youth charity.

The decision is also part of Brown’s effort to promote Black-owned businesses, Jones adds. League co-founder Ice Cube told a CBS interviewer that he was “blown away” to have an NBA All-Star on hand.

“I asked him if he was sure he wanted to make this move,” Cube said. “And he was like ‘I want to do this for the game, for the players and it’s a big move for the league’ … This guy is my hero right now.”

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Of the four wings the team is working out this month, Lamar Stevens and T.J. Warren are probably looking for guaranteed money, while Louis King and Glenn Robinson III are more likely to agree to non-guaranteed camp deals, Brian Robb of Mass Live states in a mailbag column. Robb is skeptical about Warren because the Suns opted to let him leave in free agency rather than try to keep him on a minimum-salary deal. He sees Stevens as the best option because he would bring a defensive presence at the wing that rookie Jordan Walsh may not be ready to provide.
  • President of basketball operations Brad Stevens may have erred last year by trading for Malcolm Brogdon when the team had more pressing needs in its frontcourt, Robb adds. Payton Pritchard appeared ready for rotation minutes, but he was frequently kept on the bench because of the logjam in the backcourt. That should be less of a concern this season with Marcus Smart sent to Memphis in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, but Robb still doesn’t foresee Pritchard playing more than 25 minutes per game unless Brogdon gets injured. Pritchard is eligible for an extension until the start of the season, so the Celtics will have to figure out how he fits into their future.
  • Robb also believes Boston should focus on finding another big man before camp rather than relying on Luke Kornet or bringing back Blake Griffin. Oshae Brissett could fill some minutes in the frontcourt, but Robb sees a need for more depth considering the age and injury history of Porzingis, Robert Williams and Al Horford.

Celtics To Work Out T.J. Warren, Lamar Stevens

The Celtics will work out free agent forwards T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens this week in Boston, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link).

Boston has 11 players with guaranteed contracts and two others with partial guarantees, so it has the roster space to make an addition or two if Warren and/or Stevens make a favorable impression.

The Celtics will also take a look at free agent wing Louis King, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

Warren, 29, appeared in a combined 42 games with Brooklyn and Phoenix last season, all as a reserve. He also came off the bench for the Suns in six postseason contests. He appeared in just four games the previous two seasons due to foot injuries.

Warren, who signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Nets last summer, was a consistent scorer for Phoenix and Indiana earlier in his career. He has averaged 14.6 points in 27.4 minutes per game in 374 career regular season contests.

Stevens was waived last month by the Spurs. The 26-year-old’s contract for 2023/24 was partially guaranteed at $400K and San Antonio cut him loose before his full $1.93MM salary becomes guaranteed. He had been sent to the Spurs by Cleveland as part of the Max Strus sign-and-trade.

The combo forward went undrafted in 2020 after four college seasons at Penn State, later signing a two-way deal with the Cavaliers. He was promoted to a multiyear standard contract in April 2021, the end of his rookie season.

Overall, Stevens averaged 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in three seasons with the Cavs (165 games, 16.0 MPG).

King, 24, was on a two-way contract with the Sixers for most of last season but appeared in only one NBA game. He became an unrestricted free agent when Philadelphia didn’t give him a qualifying offer.

Free Agency Rumors: Brown, Temple, Green, Suns

The Lakers are strongly interested in signing versatile Nuggets free agent Bruce Brown, multiple sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Brown, who is in line for a substantial raise after playing an important role in Denver’s first NBA championship, turned down his $6.8MM player option last week.

The Nuggets only hold Non-Bird rights on Brown, which limits them to an offer around $7.8MM — a 20% raise on what he made last season. L.A. may have access to its full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which will be approximately $12.4MM.

Brown was an ideal addition when Denver picked him up as a free agent last summer. He averaged a career-high 11.5 points per game during the regular season and logged the most minutes of any Nuggets bench player in the postseason.

There are more free agency rumors to pass along:

  • The Pelicans have reached an agreement with Garrett Temple to extend the deadline for guaranteeing his $5.4MM contract for next season, moving it from Thursday to July 7, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). New Orleans is currently $2.8MM below the luxury tax, and pushing back Temple’s guarantee date provides time for other cost-cutting moves, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Temple only appeared in 25 games last season, averaging 6.5 minutes per night. The Pelicans still face several decisions by Thursday, Lopez notes, as they have to determine whether to pick up team options for Herbert Jones ($1.8MM), Naji Marshall ($1.9MM) and Willy Hernangomez ($2.6MM), along with whether to make a qualifying offer to Jaxson Hayes.
  • Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian (Twitter link) is dismissing an internet rumor that Draymond Green traveled to Portland to meet with Damian Lillard about signing with the Trail Blazers. Fentress’ sources say Green is still considered very likely to re-sign with the Warriors.
  • Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop and Nets forward Yuta Watanabe are free agents who might be interested in joining the Suns on minimum deals, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7FM.
  • The Sixers aren’t expected to give Louis King a qualifying offer, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The 24-year-old forward, who played in just one NBA game last season, will become an unrestricted free agent.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Harden, Melton, Maxey, Tucker, King

Dominant performances from Joel Embiid (35 points) and James Harden (29 points and 13 assists) were the difference in the Sixers‘ comeback win over the Knicks on Christmas Day and served as a reminder that the team’s star power can make up for some shortcomings, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Before Embiid and Harden really got rolling and helped the Sixers pull away, De’Anthony Melton played a key role in keeping the club in the game, according to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who notes that the guard began the afternoon by making his first five 3-point attempts.

The performance bumped Melton’s season-long 3-point percentage to an impressive 39.2% and contributed to ongoing speculation about whether he might keep his spot in the starting lineup even when Tyrese Maxey returns from his foot injury.

According to Mizell, it’s hard to imagine Maxey not eventually regaining his starting job, but if he has a minutes limit when he returns, the team could bring him along slowly by initially having him come off the bench. Melton also could find himself playing crunch-time minutes in certain situations where a defensive specialist is required, Mizell notes, since neither Harden nor Maxey is a lock-down defender.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • The Sixers’ recent hot streak seems to be renewing enthusiasm about the upside of this year’s squad. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote after Friday’s win over the Clippers that the 76ers are starting to live up to their preseason billing as a title contender, while Rich Hofmann of The Athletic said after Sunday’s victory over New York that the club is finally showing off its offensive firepower. Philadelphia had the NBA’s 17th-best offensive rating (111.2) through its first 24 games, but has posted the league’s third-best mark (118.1) during its current eight-game winning streak.
  • Sixers forward P.J. Tucker revealed on Friday that he has been battling a pinched nerve, which he referred to as a “dead hand,” for the last few weeks, tweets Mizell. Tucker has been playing through the injury, but intends to keep working on it with the team’s trainers and physical therapists, Mizell adds.
  • In the wake of the Sixers signing Louis King to a two-way contract to replace Saben Lee, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com considers what King could bring to the team, suggesting that the former five-star recruit might be a “more intriguing lottery ticket” than Lee was.

Sixers Waive Saben Lee, Sign Louis King To Two-Way Deal

4:30pm: King’s two-way deal and Lee’s release are now official, the Sixers announced in an email.

3:28pm: The Sixers are signing forward Louis King to a two-way contract, his agent George Langberg tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Both of Philadelphia’s two-way spots are currently occupied, so the team will be waiving guard Saben Lee to make room for King, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (via Twitter).

King spent one college season at Oregon before going undrafted in 2019. He has three years of NBA experience with the Pistons and Kings, all on two-way contracts. Sacramento waived him in February, making him a free agent.

In 26 career games (9.7 MPG), King holds averages of 4.2 PPG and 1.5 RPG on .392/.327/.684 shooting. Houston’s G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, acquired hiss returning player rights at the end of September and he’s been playing for them in 2022/23. In 18 games with the Vipers, the 23-year-old averaged 19.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG and 0.9 BPG on .451/.314/.778 shooting.

The 38th pick of the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt, Lee spent his first two seasons with the Pistons, averaging 5.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.3 APG and 0.8 SPG on .434/.265/.731 shooting in 85 games (16.3 MPG). He was sent to Utah as part of the Bojan Bogdanovic trade in the offseason and was subsequently waived by the Jazz, despite having a guaranteed $1.84MM salary.

The 23-year-old signed contracts with Phoenix and Toronto in the preseason, but he was cut shortly after each deal was completed. Lee signed a two-way deal with the Sixers on November 23, though he hasn’t made an impact at the NBA level, appearing in just two games for 10 total minutes. However, he has put up big numbers in the G League this season, averaging a combined 23.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.4 APG and 1.5 SPG on .531/.308/.753 shooting splits with the Raptors 905 and the Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia’s affiliate).

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Hearn, Vassell, King, Rockets

Fans and people around the league didn’t think very highly of the Pelicans when Brandon Ingram signed a five-year extension with the team back in 2020, but that perception is changing, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscription required). Clark notes that Jonas Valanciunas, Zion Williamson and most recently CJ McCollum have all signed extensions with the franchise after Ingram inked his deal a couple years ago.

It’s a good place to be,” Ingram said about New Orleans. “They see what’s going on. They see how we bond with each other. How we play on the floor. It’s kind of unheard of in the league, having 14 or 15 guys care about each other and believe in each other and actually want to know about each other. It’s pretty different here.”

The Pelicans have historically struggled in the postseason, having failed to advance past the second round in their 20-year existence. Ingram says the team has its sights set on loftier goals.

The expectation is to win, especially for our team,” Ingram said. “We just have some added fans. We always believed in what we were doing. The expectation is still the same. I don’t know what the outside expectation is. But for us, it’s to bring a championship to New Orleans.”

Ingram had a great playoff run with New Orleans last season. Despite falling to Phoenix in the first round, the Pelicans and Ingram put up a good fight, with the star forward averaging 27.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 6.2 APG on .475/.407/.830 shooting in six games (39.3 MPG).

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Guard Reggie Hearn has decided to retire after nine professional seasons, having agreed to join the Spurs as a scout, sources tell our JD Shaw (Twitter link). As Shaw notes, Hearn spent the majority of his career in the G League, holding career averages of 11.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .431/.392/.799 shooting in 317 games (218 starts, 27.7 MPG). Hearn also made a brief appearance with the Pistons in 2018, playing three games while on a two-way contract.
  • After increasing his averages across the board in year two, former lottery pick Devin Vassell is hoping to have a breakout third season with the Spurs in 2022/23, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I don’t think I can put into words how excited I am,” Vassell said. “I think it’s going to be a big year, not only for me but for this organization to grow and build. I can’t wait to get this thing going.”
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, have acquired the returning player rights to Louis King from the Westchester Knicks, Shaw tweets. Rio Grande sent Westchester its first-round pick and a second-rounder (via the Maine Celtics) in the NBAGL draft to complete the deal. King holds three years of NBA experience with the Pistons and Kings on two-way contracts. He was waived by Sacramento in February.
  • In the recently completed eight-player trade that saw Derrick Favors head to Houston, the Rockets received a staggering $6,363,000 in cash from Oklahoma City, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). That’s the maximum amount of cash a team can send in a trade in 2022/23. The Thunder, meanwhile, generated two traded player exceptions worth $10.18MM (Favors) and $4.22MM (Ty Jerome), Pincus adds.

Summer League Commitments: Lakers, Suns, Magic, Warriors

Undrafted UConn guard R.J. Cole has committed to play summer league with the Lakers, a league source told Hoops Rumors. Cole, 22, is coming off an impressive season with the Huskies, averaging 15.8 points and 4.1 assists per game. He also recorded 1.1 steals per contest and shot 41.5% from the floor.

The Las Vegas Summer League will be held from July 7-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cole will reportedly join a number of other undrafted players on the Lakers’ roster, including Shareef O’Neal and Fabian White Jr.

Here are some other summer league-related notes:

  • Free agent forward Louis King — MVP of the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League — has accepted a summer league invite from the Suns, sources said. King most recently played for the Knicks’ G League affiliate. He holds past NBA experience with Sacramento.
  • Undrafted Saint Mary’s guard Tommy Kuhse has agreed to play summer league with the Magic, a league source told Hoops Rumors. Kushe is expected to see significant minutes with the team. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists per game this past season.
  • Kalob Ledoux has committed to play summer league with the Warriors, his agents BJ Bass and Cam Brennick of RBA Sports told Hoops Rumors. Ledoux played 14 games with Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, this past season.

Warriors Notes: Green, Game 6, Kerr, Evans

Draymond Green admits the Celtics present certain challenges, but it’s not the same as facing LeBron James in the NBA Finals, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. One victory away from picking up his fourth ring with the Warriors, Green reflected Wednesday on the four Finals matchups with James when he was in Cleveland.

“It doesn’t compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game,” Green said. “Not one of, he is arguably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say that it compares to that, it’s disrespectful to LeBron, and it’s a lie to you.”

Green noted that the Celtics provide matchup problems because they’re “super athletic,” but said he has been able to outthink them so far. He singled out point guard Marcus Smart and coach Ime Udoka as being especially cerebral, but again mentioned James and his ability to diagnose the game.

“Like that’s just a skill that not many people possess,” Green said. “Not many people can come and sit here and find a random stretch from seven minutes to four minutes in the second quarter and give you every play like to the T and not miss a beat. There’s not many people that can do that.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Golden State will lean on its experience as it tries to wrap up the series in Boston tonight, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. The Warriors have been in this situation plenty of times before and realize the clinching game can be the hardest to win. “You just understand what the nerves are like,” Stephen Curry said. “We understand the specifics of how we need to approach the game from a physicality perspective, our game plan adjustments from Game 5 to Game 6, understanding what the building is going to feel like, that energy, being prepared for it.”
  • Steve Kerr has a chance to add another championship to his legacy of success, per Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. Kerr is already the first person to win at least at least three titles as both a player and a coach. “Just hanging around the right people,” he said as an explanation. “You hang around superstars long enough, you’re going to get some residual success falling your way.”
  • Former NBA guard Tyreke Evans was among the players at a Warriors mini-camp held Wednesday, tweets JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors, who adds that Evans worked out for the team in March. Justin Tillman and Louis King also attended.