Omer Yurtseven

Northwest Notes: Yurtseven, Edwards, Thunder, Simons

Omer Yurtseven tells Semih Tuna of Eurohoops that he received interest from two Turkish teams before deciding to sign with the Jazz last month. The 25-year-old center, who spent his first two seasons with Miami, said he wants to try to establish himself in the NBA before giving consideration to playing in his native country.

Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes were interested,” Yurtseven said. “Fenerbahce is my home, and I also love Erdem Can, my former coach, but even if I wanted to come here towards the end of my career, now is not the time.”

Yurtseven, who is spending this summer with the Turkish national team, became an unrestricted free agent when the Heat opted not to give him a qualifying offer. He had a promising rookie year, but was limited to nine games last season after undergoing ankle surgery. He’s happy to get a chance to start over in Utah.

Having coach Will Hardy at Utah Jazz, playing with Europeans in significant positions, and being a young team, I couldn’t see any negatives, so it was an easy choice among my top three preferences,” Yurtseven said.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Anthony Edwards believes the Timberwolves would been much better if not for a calf injury that forced Karl-Anthony Towns to miss most of the season, per Sam Yip of HoopsHype. “I think if we get KAT for a whole season, we’ll be all right,” Edwards said. He added that the trade for Mike Conley in February brought a much-needed veteran presence to the team and expressed delight that Minnesota was able to reach an extension with Naz Reid.
  • In a mailbag column, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman projects the Thunder‘s 15-man roster for opening night. Mussatto expects Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Jack White, TyTy Washington and Victor Oladipo to all be waived at some point.
  • Anfernee Simons expressed support for Trail Blazers teammate Damian Lillard to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian (Twitter link). Asked what it would be like to lose his mentor in a potential trade, Simons responded, “A lot of people ask me that question all the time, obviously, like what’s going on with Dame. I say, ‘They say he asked for a trade, he asked for a trade.’ That was it. Obviously, me and Dame have a close relationship. I’m always going to support him no matter what.”

Northwest Notes: Anderson, Yurtseven, Williams, Waters

Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson is set to play for Team China at next month’s FIBA World Cup after becoming a naturalized Chinese citizen, per Reuters.

Anderson represents the first American basketball player to acquire Chinese citizenship via naturalization, though plenty of other athletes in other disciplines have obtained it that way recently. He would also be able to compete for China in next year’s Olympics.

“I’m so happy to announce that I will be representing China at the World Cup,” Anderson said through a Weibo video. “Really proud and honored to wear the Team China jersey.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • New reserve Jazz center Omer Yurtseven has yet to talk the team about his role for the 2023/24 season, he tells Alex Vejar of The Salt Lake Tribune. “Not yet,” Yurtseven said. “But I met with coach [Will] Hardy and talked with [CEO] Danny Ainge as well. We haven’t talked, but we have some time during the summer. We’ll stay in contact and kind of go from there where I’ll be able to understand exactly what they want from me and execute.”
  • Trail Blazers shooting guard Jeenathan Williams is likely to be released before his contract can become guaranteed on August 1, reports Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report (Twitter link). Williams, 24, went undrafted out of Buffalo last summer, and spent most of the 2022/23 season with the Jazz’s NBAGL affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars. The 6’6″ wing latched on with Portland in April. In his five contests with the Trail Blazers last year, he averaged 10.6 PPG on .615/.375/.667 shooting splits, along with 3.0 RPG, 2.0 APG and 0.6 SPG.
  • Lindy Waters III is a “strong candidate” to return to the Thunder on a two-way contract, opines Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Oklahoma City converted his 2022/23 two-way deal to a standard roster contract, but declined his $1.9MM team option for this season earlier this summer.

Northwest Notes: Wallace, Yurtseven, Kamagate, Jones

Thunder rookie shooting guard Cason Wallace learned a lot about basketball from his years playing football, as he told Sam Yip of HoopsHype.

“…I was like, playing safety, linebacker,” Wallace said. “You read the quarterback… you’re reading what the offense is going to do. So just being able to pick up on stuff like that and just see it before it happens.”

Wallace was selected with the No. 10 overall pick out of Kentucky by the Mavericks, and was subsequently dealt, on draft night, to Oklahoma City. The 6’4″ swingman also spoke about how he could fit in on his new club heading into the regular season.

“[If] I need to play on the wing, I’m capable,” Wallace said. “So just letting the ball flow, just playing basketball.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • New Jazz reserve center Omer Yurtseven feels that his years of seasoning with the Heat will benefit him in his new NBA home, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Yurtseven inked a new two-year deal with Utah earlier in the offseason, though it’s only partially guaranteed. “[The Heat] had a really competitive environment, which allowed competitive players to thrive and I really appreciated that,” Yurtseven said. “I kind of took that with me in terms of applying that to everything — every drill, every day, every game. But I think more so I’m looking forward to what I’ll be able to learn and grow more into here.”
  • Center Ismael Kamagate, whose draft rights the Nuggets acquired after he was selected with the No. 46 pick in 2022, has officially inked a new contract with Italian EuroLeague club Olimpia Milano, the team announced in a press release. The 6’11” big man remains under Denver control should he eventually attempt to play in the NBA.
  • After more than 30 years of NBA experience as a player and coach, Nuggets assistant Popeye Jones is reveling in his first-ever league championship, writes Steve Bulpett of Jones has worked as a coach for five different clubs across his 17 seasons on the bench. “Once it was over, I think you just reflect back on your whole career — not just your coaching career but your playing career, everything that you’ve been through, from a little kid all the way through middle school to high school to college,” Jones said. “It was just a great feeling.”

Contract Details: Yurtseven, Micic, Jones, Craig, Banton, Bazley, Petrusev

The Jazz‘s deal with Omer Yurtseven is a two-year contract that features a partial guarantee for 2023/24 and is non-guaranteed in ’24/25, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

As previously reported, Yurtseven’s first-year salary is $2.8MM. His partial guarantee for the coming season is worth half that amount ($1.4MM), tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. The big man’s deal has a descending structure, Hoops Rumors has learned, so assuming he remains under contract through the first year, his cap hit for ’24/25 will dip to $2.66MM.

Here are more details on a few recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Vasilije Micic‘s three-year, $23.5MM contract with the Thunder includes a team option in the third year, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs signed Tre Jones to a two-year contract with a descending structure, Hoops Rumors has learned. The guaranteed base salaries are worth approximately $9.9MM and $9.1MM, for a total of $19MM. Jones can earn an extra $1MM in unlikely incentives to increase the total value of the deal to $20MM.
  • Torrey Craig‘s two-year deal with the Bulls, which includes a second-year player option, is for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Dalano Banton‘s two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Celtics is partially guaranteed for $200K in 2023/24. His guarantee will increase to a little over $1MM (50% of his salary) if he remains on the roster beyond the first day of the regular season. His second year is a team option.
  • Darius Bazley‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Nets is non-guaranteed. He’ll receive a $200K partial guarantee if he makes the opening-night roster. That partial guarantee would increase to $700K if he’s still under contract beyond December 15.
  • The Sixers signed Filip Petrusev to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that is non-guaranteed in the second season. The first year is partially guaranteed for $559,782, which is half of the rookie minimum (and the equivalent of the full-season salary for a player on a two-way contract).

Jazz Sign Former Heat Center Omer Yurtseven

The Jazz have signed former Heat center Omer Yurtseven, according to a team press release.

It’s a two-year contract with a starting salary of $2.8MM, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

According to The Athletic’s John Hollinger, Utah had $2,841,448 cap space remaining and apparently used it to sign the Turkish big man (Twitter link).

The seven-foot Yurtseven is entering his third NBA season. He has averaged 5.2 points on 53.3% shooting and 4.9 rebounds in 65 career games (12 starts). He has also appeared in 17 postseason contests the past two seasons.

Yurtseven became an unrestricted free agent when Miami declined to extend him a qualifying offer. Yurtseven’s QO was only worth a projected $2.22MM but the Heat, burdened by luxury tax issues, chose to let him test the market.

Yurtseven projects as the third center behind Walker Kessler and Kelly Olynyk. Utah had been in the market to improve its frontcourt depth. The club made an offer sheet to restricted free agent Paul Reed but the Sixers matched it.

Free Agent Rumors: Brown, Mavs, Lakers, Gordon, Yurtseven, Kuzma, Barnes

Unrestricted free agent Nuggets forward Bruce Brown plans to meet with the Mavericks at the start of free agency on Friday, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link).

Many teams appear primed to pursue Brown, according to MacMahon (Twitter link), who anticipates his market to be around the $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, if not higher. The Lakers are one suitor said to be confident about their chances. MacMahon adds that Brown may be open to taking a discount to return to the champs, who only have his Non-Bird rights available, which would cap them at a $7.8MM offer for next season.

The 6’4″ vet proved invaluable as a versatile, defense-first sixth man during Denver’s 16-4 run to the title this spring. Across 20 playoff games off the bench, he averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.5 BPG.

Here are more of the latest free agent rumors from around the league:

  • After opting not to retain shooting guard Malik Beasley and center Mohamed Bamba, the Lakers now project to remain well below the $172MM tax apron for 2023/24, which will enable them to use the full $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN, suggesting that Brown and Brook Lopez will be among Los Angeles’ targets. According to McMenamin (via Twitter), the Lakers may also consider adding more than one player with its mid-level exception money. In that scenario, point guard Dennis Schröder and shooting guard Eric Gordon could be targets, sources tell McMemamin.
  • Gordon is looking to land with a contender that will have a defined rotation gig for his services, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Beyond the Lakers, sources tell The Athletic that the Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Bucks, Suns, and Trail Blazers have some interest.
  • After declining to tender a qualifying offer to center Omer Yurtseven, the Heat don’t appear to be focused on trying to re-sign him to a minimum-salary deal, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). “We’re grateful we got a chance to be there,” agent Keith Glass said, per Jackson. “We’ll try to find a place that values him and helps him reach his potential.”
  • Free agent power forward Kyle Kuzma appears more likely to end up with the Rockets than the Kings, but Sacramento shouldn’t be ruled out entirely as a Kuzma landing spot, per James Ham of Kings Beat. Sources inform Ham that the Kings’ own incumbent free agent starting power forward, Harrison Barnes, is hoping to earn a deal that pays him $20MM annually.

No QOs For Suns’ Bazley, Cavs’ Windler, Heat’s Yurtseven

The Suns opted not to issue a qualifying offer to forward Darius Bazley, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). As a result, Bazley will become an unrestricted free agent rather than restricted.

The decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise, since Bazley’s qualifying offer would have been worth approximately $6.2MM. While it’s not clear if Phoenix is interested in re-signing the former first-round pick, the team will hold his Bird rights and could probably re-sign him at a more team-friendly rate.

Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler also didn’t receive a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent, reports Scotto (Twitter link).

Windler was never considered likely to get a QO, which would’ve been worth just shy of $6MM. He has been limited by injuries in his first four NBA seasons and hasn’t become a rotation player in Cleveland, appearing in just 84 total games.

Heat center Omer Yurtseven is another player who was eligible for a qualifying offer but didn’t receive one, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

Yurtseven’s QO is only worth a projected $2.22MM ($200K more than his minimum salary), but the Heat will be cost-conscious about how they fill out their roster, given that their team salary projects to go well beyond the luxury tax line.

The following players did receive qualifying offers and will be restricted free agents:

Heat Notes: Offseason, Vincent, Strus, Herro, Lillard, Beal

After an improbable run to the NBA Finals, the Heat face an offseason filled with important financial decisions, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Miami has just seven players with guaranteed salaries for next season, but Victor Oladipo is almost certain to pick up his $9.5MM option after suffering a knee injury in the playoffs and the team is expected to guarantee Haywood Highsmith‘s $1.9MM salary. With an estimated cap hit of about $3MM for the No. 18 pick, the Heat will have roughly $176MM committed, putting them well over the projected $162MM luxury tax line and in sight of the new $179.5MM second apron.

Kevin Love, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Cody Zeller are all headed to unrestricted free agency, while Omer Yurtseven will be restricted if Miami makes a $2.26MM qualifying offer. In addition, Miami has already been linked to potential trades involving Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal.

“The goal is to win a championship, and this organization will do anything possible for that to happen,” Bam Adebayo said at Wednesday’s exit interviews. “I feel like everybody in here knows it’s a business. And that’s why you cherish the moments you go through with your teammates, with your brothers because you never know what can happen next year.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat hold Bird rights on Vincent and Strus, so they can go over the cap to re-sign them, although that would increase their tax bill, Chiang adds. Both players indicated that they plan to explore all their options. “Money plays a role, place plays a role, situation plays a role,” Vincent said. There’s a lot of things that factor in and I think it will all take care of itself throughout the summer.”
  • Tyler Herro didn’t address reporters on Wednesday, but coach Erik Spoelstra expanded on his decision to not use him in Game 5, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Herro received medical clearance Monday afternoon after missing nearly two months following hand surgery. “It’s also my job, as the head coach, to protect him, and do what we think was best for the team,” Spoelstra said. “… And there’s no knowing for sure, but I do know that that was just a totally unusual circumstance that you can’t compare to anything else. But the good news is he’ll have a great offseason and he’ll be fully ready to go next year.”
  • With trade rumors flying around the Heat, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald proposes a scenario in which the team could acquire both Lillard and Beal while keeping Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.

Heat Notes: Vincent, Strus, Lowry, Yurtseven, Highsmith, Robinson

Running it back with the group that got the Heat to the NBA Finals this offseason might be impossible unless the team is willing to pay a massive tax bill, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald details. Guards Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who earned minimum salaries in 2022/23, are each expected to command an eight-figure salary when they sign new contracts as unrestricted free agents this summer.

The Heat have always intended to become a taxpaying team in 2023/24, Jackson writes, but they project to be over the luxury tax threshold even before accounting for new deals for Vincent and/or Strus. Re-signing both players for starting salaries in the range of $10-12MM per year would push the projected team salary into the neighborhood of $200MM, which would result in a tax bill in excess of $120MM.

According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, rival executives are dubious that the Heat are willing to make that kind of tax payment. As such, it seems unlikely that both Vincent and Strus will be back unless the club can find a way to dump salary in a trade. Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson would be the best candidates to be involved in such a deal, and Pincus notes that Herro’s four-year contract probably makes him the best option if the club is seeking additional long-term flexibility.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Lowry restored his value to some extent with a strong playoff run, but his expiring deal (worth nearly $30MM) still has limited value, writes Sean Deveney of A source tells Deveney that if the Heat don’t end up using Lowry’s expiring contract in a trade, they should be comfortable bringing him back for the final year of that deal. “It’s not a bad option to have, the way he played,” the source said. “It’s not a desperate kind of thing.”
  • Omer Yurtseven, who is eligible for restricted free agency, was asked on Wednesday what his priorities in free agency will be, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I think my priority is to play,” said Yurtseven, who was limited to nine games in 2022/23 in large part due to ankle surgery in the fall. If the Heat opt not to issue a qualifying offer to Yurtseven, he’d be free to seek out the team willing to give him the biggest role.
  • Heat wing Haywood Highsmith told reporters on Wednesday that he expects the team to guarantee his $1.9MM salary for next season by hanging onto him beyond July 15, per Winderman (Twitter link). Highsmith added that his goal is to continue to work toward becoming a lock-down defender.
  • Orlando Robinson‘s two-way contract with the Heat will expire on June 30, but the big man has committed to playing for Miami’s Summer League team, he said today (Twitter link via Winderman). The Heat have the ability to make Robinson a restricted free agent by issuing him a qualifying offer equivalent to another one-year two-way deal.

Heat Notes: Herro, Butler, Vincent, Strus, Yurtseven, Haslem

Heat guard Tyler Herro declined to speak to reporters after Monday’s loss, but his body language suggested that he was disappointed not to get into Game 5 after receiving medical clearance following a two-month recovery process for a broken hand, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra explained after the loss that the physicality and intensity of the game made him hesitant to call on a player who hadn’t suited up since mid-April. However, he also didn’t sound certain that he made the right decision by not using one of Miami’s best scorers in a game in which the team finished with just 89 points.

“It’s just a really tough call and I’ll probably have to wrestle with that all summer,” Spoelstra said, adding that the intensity in the Finals was “totally different” from the first round of the playoffs, let alone the regular season. “… That’s the hardest-played, most physical competition you can have. And that would be a tough thing for a guy that’s been out for two months that hasn’t had any kind of ramp-up. But that won’t save me from thinking about that for the next few weeks.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jimmy Butler, who sprained his ankle earlier in the postseason, wasn’t willing to use that injury as an excuse after Monday’s loss, telling reporters that his ankle was “fine” and had “zero” to do with his 5-of-18 shooting night, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Butler also didn’t necessarily agree with the idea that the Heat need to make offseason moves to improve their offense. “No. We just missed shots,” he said. “That’s what this league is about. We make two, three more shots. … We did enough to win.”
  • In his preview of the Heat’s offseason, Bobby Marks of (Insider link) says that re-signing Gabe Vincent should be a top priority for the front office, which will have to decide whether bringing back Max Strus is a necessity or a luxury.
  • One under-the-radar decision the Heat will have to make before the end of June is whether or not to extend a $2.3MM qualifying offer to center Omer Yurtseven, Winderman writes for The Sun Sentinel. That QO would make Yurtseven a restricted free agent. He has shown some promise but was limited to just nine games this season due to ankle surgery, so it’s hardly a lock.
  • While winning a championship would’ve been a storybook ending for his 20-year NBA career, Udonis Haslem isn’t unhappy about how his final season ended, according to Winderman. “I tell the guys, I have no complaints, I have no regrets. I’m thankful,” Haslem said. “They gave me a final season that I will never, ever forget. That’s all I can ask for.”
  • Assistant general manager Adam Simon and the rest of the Heat’s draft staff had been trying to “stay out of the team’s way” while bringing in prospects to the Kaseya Center for workouts since last week, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. With the Heat’s season now over, the draft preparation can take center stage — the club owns the No. 18 pick in next Thursday’s event.