Patty Mills

International Notes: Olympic Qualifiers, Robinson, Australia, Canada, Hayes-Davis

A pair of NBA superstars will match up this weekend in Greece as they look to keep their home countries’ Olympic hopes alive. The Greek national team, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, will take on Luka Doncic and the Slovenians in the semifinals of one of four ongoing Olympic qualifying tournaments (link via ESPN). The winner of Greece vs. Slovenia will go on to face the winner of Croatia vs. Dominican Republic for a spot in the men’s basketball Olympic tournament in Paris.

In total, four Olympic berths still remain up for grabs. The other semifinal matchups in Olympic qualifying tournaments around the globe are as follows:

  • Riga, Latvia:
    • Latvia vs. Cameroon
    • Brazil vs. Philippines
  • Valencia, Spain:
    • Spain vs. Finland
    • Bahamas vs. Lebanon
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico:
    • Puerto Rico vs. Mexico
    • Lithuania vs. Italy

While none of the other teams fighting for a spot in the Olympics has a perennial MVP candidate like Antetokounmpo or Doncic on its roster, there are many NBA players competing in the qualifying tournaments, including All-NBA center Domantas Sabonis for Lithuania and Deandre Ayton, Buddy Hield, and Eric Gordon representing the Bahamas.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Former NBA lottery pick Jerome Robinson has signed with Saint-Quentin in France, the team officially announced (via Twitter). Robinson, who was drafted 13th overall in 2018, has appeared in a total of 135 NBA regular season games, including 22 with Golden State last season while on a two-way contract with the Warriors.
  • The Australian national team has set its 12-man roster for the Olympics, according to Olgun Uluc of ESPN, who notes that eight active NBA players – Josh Giddey, Josh Green, Dante Exum, Jock Landale, Duop Reath, Dyson Daniels, Patty Mills, and Joe Ingles – made the cut, along with former NBA guard Matthew Dellavedova. Trail Blazers forward Matisse Thybulle is the most surprising omission, Uluc adds.
  • Team Canada hasn’t set its Olympic roster yet, but pared it down a little on Wednesday, with Oshae Brissett among the cuts. According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter links), Brissett – who is coming off a championship season as a Celtics reserve – asked to withdraw to focus on his NBA free agency. It looks like there are 10 NBA players who are safe bets to be on the Canadian squad, with two roster spots still up for grabs, as Lewenberg outlines in another tweet.
  • Nigel Hayes-Davis, the former NBA forward who is part of the U.S. Select Team and was rumored this spring to be drawing NBA interest, has re-upped with Fenerbahce, signing a three-year contract with the Turkish team, according to a press release.

Southeast Notes: Mills, Spoelstra, Gueye, Bufkin, Windler, Wagners

Patty Mills only appeared in 32 games with the Hawks and Heat this season but the 35-year-old guard isn’t ready to retire. Mills will head into free agency looking for a new deal, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I take really good care of myself and my body and the plan is to continue to play until the wheels fall off is how I see it,” he said. Mills, who added he’d prefer to stay with the Heat, will play for Australia in the Paris Olympics.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat‘s early postseason exit has allowed coach Erik Spoelstra to spend more time evaluating draft prospects, though he’s offering opinions rather than getting too involved in the process. “I figured I had three days to get up to speed on the draft last year,” he told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “The eight weeks leading up to [this year’s draft], I think I’ll just be probably overconfused by overanalysis. I’ll stay out of the way. Now that I have more time, I’m probably dangerous. I’ll stay out of the way of our scouting department. They do an exceptional job — Adam Simon and his staff — preparing for that draft.”
  • Mouhamed Gueye, Kobe Bufkin and Dylan Windler are expected to play on the Hawks’ Summer League squad next month, Brad Rowland of the LockedOnHawks podcast tweets. General manager Landry Fields made that revelation during his press conference on Monday. Gueye and Bufkin were on Atlanta’s 15-man roster to finish the season, while Windler was a two-way player.
  • Germany won the FIBA World Cup last summer, defeating Team USA along the way. The Magic‘s Franz Wagner and Moritz Wagner will now try to lead their home country to a gold medal at the Olympics. “It’s a dream come true for me as a player,” Franz told Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic hold an $8MM option on Moritz’s contract for next season, so he could wind up as a free agent next month.

Heat Notes: Bryant, O. Robinson, Wright, Mills, Butler, Highsmith

A pair of decisions — only one of which is in their control — will determine what the Heat’s big man rotation looks like next season, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Backup center Thomas Bryant, who appeared in just 38 games after signing as a free agent last summer, has a $2.8MM player option that must be picked up by June 29. The 26-year-old center may decide to test free agency again after falling out of Erik Spoelstra‘s rotation and missing 41 games due to coach’s decision.

“I haven’t given too much thought about it right now,” Bryant said during exit interviews last month. “Really it’s just trying to deal with the end of the season. But for me, I love this Heat organization. I love the Heat culture, I love what these guys represent and what they bring to the table and how everybody here has to work.”

The Heat have a July 15 deadline to guarantee Orlando Robinson‘s $2.1MM salary for 2024/25, and that decision could be influenced by what Bryant opts to do. Chiang notes that the 23-year-old Robinson’s best moments during his two years with the organization have come outside the NBA as he was named to the All-Summer League First Team last year and scored 41 points in a G League game.

Robinson, who was limited to 36 games this season, cited defensive improvement as his priority for the summer.

“I feel like just honing in on that side of the floor,” he said. “The Miami offense, I feel like I can impact it without really having to focus on it. I’ve tried to study it to a point where I understand how we move the ball, play off of each other. … But defensively, I feel like the more I can do with my body will allow me to impact the defensive end.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Heat also have to decide whether to re-sign unrestricted free agents Delon Wright and Patty Mills, who joined the team in the middle of the season following buyouts with other organizations, Chiang adds in a separate story. Both veteran guards saw playing time because of a rash of injuries, but there may not be a long-term role for either of them.
  • With at least three teams reportedly expressing interest in trading for Jimmy Butler, the Heat will have to determine if there’s a way to get better next season without one of their stars, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Winderman believes it’s beneficial to the organization to have some time pass after team president Pat Riley’s pointed comments about the need for Butler to appear in more games.
  • There’s a market around the league for unrestricted free agent Haywood Highsmith, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (video link). The 27-year-old forward has expressed a desire to stay in Miami, but the Heat’s offer could be limited because of luxury tax concerns.

Olympic Notes: France, Australia, Germany, Brazil

Ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the host nation has announced its preliminary 19-man roster (Twitter link). As Eurohoops relays, the headliners on France’s squad are big men Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert, the top two finishers in this year’s Defensive Player of the Year vote.

However, there are several more notable NBA names on the list, including Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Bilal Coulibaly, and Ousmane Dieng. Other recent NBAers who didn’t finish the 2023/24 season on a roster include Killian Hayes, Frank Ntilikina, and Theo Maledon.

One player not on France’s roster is veteran guard Mike James. The 2023/24 EuroLeague MVP is an American, but according to a report from L’Equipe (hat tip to BasketNews.com), the French Basketball Federation explored the possibility of getting a French passport for James, who has played for AS Monaco in France’s LNB Pro A since 2021. That effort didn’t make any real headway, however.

“We do not have the culture of other nations which use naturalized players in a systematic way,” an unnamed executive told L’Equipe. “But we have a duty to explore all possibilities. In this case, we were asked, we looked at it and quickly established that it was not a question.”

The French national team will have to make seven cuts and set a 12-man roster for this July’s event.

Here are a few more updates related to the 2024 Olympics:

  • The Australian national team has trimmed its preliminary Olympic roster from 22 players to 17, the Boomers announced in a press release. None of the NBA players on the roster – including Josh Giddey, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Dante Exum, Matisse Thybulle, and Dyson Daniels, among others – were among the cuts, but potential 2024 first-round pick Johnny Furphy was. The plan is for those 17 Australian players to attend training camp this summer before setting the final 12-man roster.
  • The German national team announced this week that head coach Gordon Herbert won’t continue on in that role after the conclusion of the Paris Olympics (hat tip to Sportando). The two sides are going their separate ways after a fruitful partnership that included a gold medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
  • The Brazilian national team has announced its preliminary roster for this summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Latvia. The notable names include veteran point guard Raul Neto, former first-round pick Bruno Caboclo, Warriors rookie Gui Santos, and former NBA guard Didi Louzada. The Brazilians will need to win the six-team qualifier to earn a spot in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Young, Murray, Wright, Mills, Ingram

So now that the Hawks won the lottery, who might they select — if they keep the pick? Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution examines five prospects who could go No. 1, including Alexandre Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Nikola Topic, Zaccharie Risacher, and Reed Sheppard.

Getting the top pick provides more unexpected options for the direction of the Hawks’ franchise, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes. They could pursue a rebuild with the first pick by trading both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray to separate teams for two major hauls, or they could keep one of them and revamp the roster around the other, O’Connor notes. They could also look to trade down or move out of the draft altogether in an even bigger deal.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Young will have talks with the Hawks‘ front office prior to the draft regarding the direction of the team, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link). Charania notes the pairing of Young and Murray hasn’t worked and the Hawks will have to seriously consider moving at least one of them.
  • Delon Wright is headed to unrestricted free agency and the veteran guard would like to re-sign with the Heat, he told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Hopefully, wherever I go to will be good for me,” Wright said. “But I definitely would like to come back. I feel like I just got a snippet of what could be. Like I said, with a full summer, full training camp, I think it’ll help me have a better season, a better understanding of what (Erik Spoelstra) wants out of me.” Another veteran guard and unrestricted free agent, Patty Mills, expressed similar feelings. “Very quickly I inherited everything that this organization is about and felt every part of that,” Mills said. “So as far as the adjustment and making a run, I enjoyed every part of it.”
  • Add the Magic to the list of potential trade suitors for Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, according to Marc Stein in a Substack post. It’s been reported that New Orleans won’t pursue a max extension with Ingram, fueling speculation that he could be traded this offseason. The Sixers, Hawks and Cavaliers have been previously named as teams likely to be interested in the high-scoring forward.

Heat Notes: Wright, Offseason Decisions, Butler, Draft

The Heat’s season ended in an appropriate way Wednesday night — with another new starting lineup. Injuries have forced coach Erik Spoelstra to juggle his rotations since training camp, and he unveiled his 37th starting unit in Game 5 at Boston, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez was unavailable because of a hip injury he suffered in Game 4 and Spoelstra didn’t want to start Duncan Robinson, who has been limited by a back condition since late in the regular season, so veteran guard Delon Wright made the first playoff start of his career. Wright provided eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes, but he had to leave the game briefly to get stitches in his lower lip and chin after being hit by an elbow.

In addition to Jaquez, Miami was without Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson, who all missed the entire series due to injuries. However, Spoelstra refused to use that as an excuse, Chiang tweets.

“We’re not going to put this on the fact that we had some injuries,” Spoelstra said. “Let’s not take anything away from Boston. They’ve been the best team in basketball all season long.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • The early playoff exit leaves the franchise with a long offseason and a lot of financial decisions ahead, Chiang adds. Part of the future will be determined by player options held by Caleb Martin ($7.1MM), Kevin Love ($4MM), Richardson ($3.1MM) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8MM). Orlando Robinson has a non-guaranteed $2.1MM contract for next season, while Wright, Haywood Highsmith and Patty Mills are all headed for unrestricted free agency.
  • Miami faces a difficult decision on Jimmy Butler, who will become extension-eligible this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes in his offseason preview for the Heat. Butler will make $48.8MM next season and holds a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26. Beginning July 7, he can sign a one-year extension worth $58.6MM, which would retain his ’25/26 salary, or a two-year, $112.9MM extension that would void the player option. Marks points out that Butler will turn 35 during the offseason and hasn’t topped 65 games in any of the last four years.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines the Heat’s options in this year’s draft. Players who could still be on the board when Miami picks at No. 15 include Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke power forward/center Kyle Filipowski, Providence guard Devin Carter, Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Duke point guard Jared McCain, Baylor center Yves Missi, Kansas small forward Kevin McCullar Jr., Baylor swingman Ja’Kobe Walter, USC point guard Isaiah Collier and Illinois shooting guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

And-Ones: Australia, McLemore, York, Jerebko, Calipari, Klutch

The Australian national team has revealed its preliminary roster for the 2024 Olympics, announcing a list of 22 players that are in the mix to play in Paris. That group will have to be cut down to 12 players ahead of this summer’s tournament.

Australia’s preliminary roster includes several NBAers, including Thunder guard Josh Giddey, Mavericks guard Dante Exum, Trail Blazers forward Matisse Thybulle and big man Duop Reath, Mavericks wing Josh Green, Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels, Magic forward Joe Ingles, Heat guard Patty Mills, Rockets center Jock Landale, and Grizzlies forward Jack White.

As Olgun Uluc of ESPN notes, the newest addition to the Boomers’ roster is 19-year-old Johnny Furphy, who played for the Kansas Jayhawks in 2023/24 and is projected by ESPN to be a potential first-round pick in this year’s draft.

The most notable absence is Ben Simmons, as the Nets guard underwent back surgery last month that will sideline him for the Olympics. Simmons doesn’t have much history with the Australian national team, so it’s unclear if he would’ve been part of the Boomers’ roster in Paris even if he’d been healthy.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Ben McLemore was arrested and jailed this week in Oregon and faces multiple felony sexual assault charges, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN. The charges, which include first-degree rape, stem from an alleged incident in 2021, when McLemore was a member of the Trail Blazers.
  • Former NBA guard Gabe York, who appeared in five games for the Pacers across two seasons from 2021-23, has signed with Basquet Girona, the Spanish team announced this week in a press release. York played for the G League Ignite earlier this season.
  • Following a two-year hiatus from basketball, Swedish forward Jonas Jerebko is making a comeback, having signed with Puerto Rican team Santeros de Aguada, according to Eurohoops. Jerebko, who turned 37 last month, appeared in 635 NBA regular season games for four teams from 2009-19. He last played professionally for CSKA Moscow in 2022.
  • Shams Charania and Kyle Tucker of The Athletic take an in-depth look at John Calipari‘s decision to leave Kentucky for Arkansas after 15 years with the Wildcats, detailing how Calipari’s deal with the Razorbacks came about.
  • One Legacy Sports Management, led by veteran agent Mike George, is becoming part of Klutch Sports, CEO Rich Paul tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Jamal Murray, Dillon Brooks, and Shaedon Sharpe are among George’s clients, per RealGM.

Heat Notes: Play-In, Rotation, Jaquez, Butler, Martin

The Heat are facing a “make-or-break” week if they want to avoid the play-in tournament, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Chiang writes, the Heat have gone just 17-24 this season against teams with winning records, and they face four such opponents this week: New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Indiana.

It will be the best to simulate how the playoffs are going to be,” guard Terry Rozier said. “This is a great four-game stretch, but we got to take it one game at a time. The Knicks we play next, we got to worry about that one and get that one at home and protect home court.”

How Miami fares this week will have a direct impact on competitive playoff races in both conferences, Chiang observes. The No. 7 Heat are currently sandwiched between the No. 6 Pacers and No. 8 Sixers in the East’s standings. If the Heat win those two games, they’ll also clinch the head-to-head tiebreakers over both clubs, but Indiana would hold the tiebreaker if it beats Miami on Sunday (if Philadelphia defeats Miami, the tiebreaker would likely be determined by conference record, Chiang notes).

Here are a few more notes out of Miami:

  • With Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love back from injuries, head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat’s rotation will likely be fluid as the postseason nears, Chiang adds in another story for The Miami Herald. “Here’s what the rotation is: whatever it takes,” Spoelstra said. “That’s where we are. We made this bed, where we are right now. Because of all the moving parts, everybody right now, it’s easy. You just be ready for your minutes, contribute in a positive way and help impact winning. That’s all it’s about right now. Everybody has signed up for that, everybody is bought into that.”
  • The “biggest challenge” of Jaime Jaquez‘s rookie campaign has been the NBA’s 82-game schedule, he told Chiang. While he’s having a very strong season overall, Jaquez’s production has dipped over the past few months, in part because he has been double-teamed at times when he catches the ball in the mid-post, according to Chiang. “I take it as a sign of respect,” said Jaquez, who was taken by the Heat with the 18th overall pick in last year’s draft following a four-year college career at UCLA. “Guys got to worry about me now. That’s what you want as a player. Now my next step is how do I adjust to the new coverages that I see and how I can make the right play.”
  • The Heat will need a more aggressive version of Jimmy Butler in order to have a shot at another deep playoff run, says Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Over his past four games, Buter is averaging just 8.3 shot attempts and 14.3 points per game, far below his season averages of 13.4 and 21.0, respectively. Still, each of those four games was lopsided, and Butler missed a game last week with an illness, Winderman notes.
  • In a mailbag column, Winderman wonders if Caleb Martin will be given the team’s most challenging defensive assignments in the postseason. Winderman also takes stock of which players might be pushed out of the rotation as the team gets healthier, with Patty Mills and Delon Wright likely to be on the outside looking in.

Heat Notes: Martin, Rozier, Herro, Adebayo, Robinson, Mills

Heat forward Caleb Martin understands that his high-energy approach to the game can be most effective in a sixth-man role, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. After a breakout performance in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, Martin has returned to a reserve spot this year, coming off the bench in 19 of the 52 games he has played. Amid numerous lineup changes due to injuries, coach Erik Spoelstra has tried to keep Martin’s role constant.

“I really don’t care. I really don’t,” Martin said. “Like I said, the biggest thing for me is getting minutes and finishing games. So it ultimately doesn’t matter if you come off the bench. If I’m playing 25, 30 minutes and I’m finishing games, I’m going to be able to produce.”

With a $7.1MM player option for next season, Martin is likely to test free agency this summer, Winderman adds. He’s also dealing with the distraction of a sprained left thumb that will probably need surgery after the season is over. He keeps it taped during games and wears a leather brace when he’s not playing.

“It’s something minor. It’s nothing crazy or I wouldn’t be able to still be playing on it,” Martin said. “So it would be different if it was a different kind of injury. So it’s one of those things that’s a pretty quick fix.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Spoelstra will likely stagger the minutes between Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro whenever Herro returns from his right foot injury, Winderman states in a separate story. They have similar skills as shot creators, and Winderman notes that it could be valuable to have them on the court together late in close games.
  • Bam Adebayo is looking forward to returning after sitting out Wednesday’s game with a lower back contusion, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adebayo is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest with New Orleans, and he expressed hope that he’ll be ready to play. “I sat down and had a conversation with coach,” Adebayo said. “We got guys back, so he told me it was time to take (a night off).”
  • A scan of Duncan Robinson‘s back didn’t reveal any significant issues, league sources tell Chiang. Robinson was diagnosed with left facet syndrome after returning home early from the road trip to see a back specialist, but he’s not believed to be facing a lengthy absence.
  • Patty Mills has made a smooth transition since signing with Miami on March 6, Chiang observes in another piece. Injuries have opened up a rotation role, and the veteran guard has logged double-digit minutes in seven straight games. “The surprising part is how comfortable and quickly that I’ve been able to pick up on some stuff,” Mills said. “Then after that, what can you do to impact the team in a positive way. I think that’s been probably the most surprising part, if anything.”

Heat Notes: Mills, D. Robinson, Jovic, Butler

The Heat used their 33rd different starting lineup in Wednesday night’s victory at Cleveland, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Veteran guard Patty Mills, who signed with the team two weeks ago, made his first start of the season and scored 10 points in 25 minutes. Chiang notes that Mills filled the floor-spacing role normally held by Duncan Robinson, who was sidelined by discomfort in his back.

Miami set a franchise record Sunday in Detroit with its 32nd different starting lineup, as coach Erik Spoelstra has been navigating a series of injuries since the season began. Center Thomas Bryant also started Wednesday, replacing Bam Adebayo, who is dealing with a lower back contusion.

Chiang points out that two-way players Cole Swider and Alondes Williams are the only members of the current roster who haven’t made at least one start this season.

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Robinson returned to Miami on Tuesday to visit a back specialist, Chiang states in a separate story. Spoelstra said Robinson is considered day-to-day, but Chiang notes that his status could change depending on the results of his exam. “He wasn’t going to be able to play today,” Spoelstra said. “So we might as well just get him checked out there and start that process with [Heat senior director of rehabilitation] Jeff Ruiz and try to get him back as quick as we can. “He’ll get a scan just to make sure we know what it is. He’ll work with Jeff, start that process right now and we’ll see where he is.” Robinson has been a constant for the injury-riddled Heat, appearing in 63 of the team’s first 68 games. Chiang suggests that Swider, who has only played 55 minutes all season, could see an expanded role with Robinson and some of the team’s other outside shooters injured.
  • Nikola Jovic was back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a strained right hamstring, Chiang adds. “I’m feeling a lot better,” Jovic said. “I went through a little practice yesterday and now the shootaround, and it feels a lot better.”
  • Jimmy Butler also returned after sitting out the past two games with a right foot contusion. It was just the 48th game of the season for Butler, but Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel says the Heat have proven they can be successful with that formula as long as he’s healthy for the playoffs.