PJ Dozier

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Westbrook, Hendricks, Dozier

Asked on ESPN’s broadcast on Tuesday about what holes still need to be filled on the Nuggets‘ roster, head coach Michael Malone pointed to the backup point guard spot, saying that Denver could use “somebody to play behind Jamal Murray,” according to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Malone added that general manager Calvin Booth is “all over it.”

The point guard who has been linked most frequently to the Nuggets this offseason is former MVP Russell Westbrook — he and Denver reportedly have mutual interest, and the Clippers are looking to move the 35-year-old. However, it’s unclear if the Nuggets and Clippers will be able to work out a trade that makes sense for both sides, so Westbrook is considered more likely to join Denver as a free agent.

Westbrook would be a logical fit in Denver if the team can find a way to add him, says Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Jones outlines, Westbrook’s ability to put pressure on defenses off the dribble is something the Nuggets didn’t have enough of last season. The team could also benefit from his passing, his on-court “swagger,” and his ability to play significant rotation minutes, which would allow Malone to lean less heavily on his starters, Jones adds.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nikola Jokic shouldn’t be happy with the Nuggets‘ offseason so far, according to Sean Keeler of The Denver Post, who argues in an opinion column that the front office has made several missteps in the past year or two and that many of Denver’s conference rivals have improved their rosters while the Nuggets have arguably gotten worse.
  • Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune is concerned about Taylor Hendricks‘ underwhelming Summer League performance, including a three-point, five-rebound showing on Monday that saw the Jazz forward go 0-of-6 from the floor and fail to make a defensive impact. Hendricks is still just 20 years old, so there’s plenty of time for last year’s No. 9 overall pick to show improvement, but he’ll have to make major strides to warrant a rotation role next season, Larsen contends.
  • PJ Dozier‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Timberwolves is partially guaranteed for $1MM, reports Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North (Twitter link). Dozier will be assured of his full salary (approximately $2.6MM) if he remains under contract through the league-wide guarantee date of January 7.

PJ Dozier Signs With Timberwolves

JULY 15: The signing is official, according to a team press release. The minimum-salary contract is worth $2.6MM and is partially guaranteed, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets.

JULY 3: The Timberwolves have reached an agreement with free agent guard PJ Dozier, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reports (Twitter link). The contract will be for one year, per Krawczysnki, and figures to be worth the minimum, given Minnesota’s cap limitations.

Dozier is a six-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 5.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He has spent the majority of his career in Denver, playing 97 of his 121 career games for the team and overlapping with former Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who now runs the Wolves’ front office.

Dozier played well as a reserve for the Nuggets in 2020/21, averaging 7.7 PPG in 21.8 MPG across 50 games. However, he suffered a torn ACL the following season and was subsequently traded and waived. He last played for Sacramento in ’22/23, but only appeared in 16 games before heading to play with Partizan Belgrade, where he averaged 9.2 PPG last season.

Dozier was actually with the Wolves for training camp in 2022, but ultimately didn’t make the team. Before signing his 10-day contracts with Sacramento in ’22/23, he spent the majority of the year playing for the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate.

After tearing his ACL, Dozier’s camp kept in touch with Connelly, who remains high on the 27-year-old guard, Krawczynski reports (Twitter link).

According to The Star Tribune’s Chris Hine, Dozier’s deal is for a 15-man roster spot (Twitter link). After reportedly coming to an agreement with sharpshooter Joe Ingles earlier Wednesday, the Timberwolves are up to 14 standard contracts.

International Notes: EuroLeague, Exum, Reath, Cauley-Stein, Zizic

Kemba Walker is among several former NBA players struggling to make the adjustment to the EuroLeague, writes Dimitris Minaretzis of Eurohoops. After signing with AS Monaco this summer, the 33-year-old guard is averaging just 4.4 points and 1.1 assists per game as he fights for playing time in a crowded backcourt. Knee injuries plagued Walker throughout the end of his NBA career, and they appear to still be limiting his effectiveness in Europe.

Elsewhere, Minaretzis notes that FC Barcelona’s Jabari Parker is averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, while KK Partizan has PJ Dozier at 9.2 points and 3.2 assists per night and Frank Kaminsky at 8.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

The only players who are standing out after being on NBA rosters last season are Serge Ibaka, who’s averaging 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for Bayern Munich, and Kendrick Nunn, who is at 11.6 points and 2.5 assists per night with Panathinaikos. Ibaka has previous EuroLeague experience, having played in Spain before being drafted in 2008.

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • After making a surprising impact with their NBA clubs, Dante Exum and Duop Reath are in contention for starting spots with the Australian Olympic team, according to Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Exum, who recently moved into the Mavericks‘ starting lineup because of his strong play, is averaging 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists over his last 10 games, and Uluc notes that he’s given Dallas a secondary ball-handler while serving as a strong complement to Luka Doncic. Reath has become a productive weapon for the Trail Blazers after earning a two-way deal in camp. He provides an outside shooting threat and has reached double figures in scoring in seven of Portland’s last 10 games. Reath posted a career-high 25 points against Sacramento this week and may have surpassed Jock Landale as the Boomers’ best option at center.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein‘s first venture in Europe has ended after 20 games, per Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Pallacanestro Varese announced that it has parted ways with the 30-year-old center, who averaged 9.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks for the Italian team.
  • Croatian center Ante Zizic has signed with Virtus Bologna, the team announced in a press release. Zizic, 26, was a first-round pick in 2017 and played 113 total games with Cleveland from 2017 to 2020. He captured a Turkish championship and the President’s Cup last season with Anadolu Efes.

PJ Dozier Signing With Partizan In Serbia

Former Kings wing PJ Dozier is signing with KK Partizan in Serbia, according to Eurohoops. It’s a one-year deal for Dozier, who is heading out of the U.S. for the first time in his professional career.

Dozier spent part of last season with Sacramento, first inking a pair of 10-day deals with the team and then signing for the rest of the season. The 6’6″ wing played a modest role for the team, averaging 1.4 points in 4.9 minutes per game across 16 appearances. The Kings waived Dozier on July 8.

Before landing in Sacramento, Dozier had stops with the Thunder, Celtics and Nuggets. He went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft out of South Carolina. Dozier played on two-way contracts with the Thunder and Celtics, appearing in just eight games from 2017 to 2019, his first two seasons in the league. He broke onto the scene with the Nuggets, where he spent the majority of his career. Dozier signed with the Nuggets for the 2019/20 season and impressed enough to stick around onto the ’20/21 roster.

In ’20/21, Dozier averaged 7.7 points for the Nuggets in 50 appearances in six starts. He was on track for another productive season in ’21/22 but his campaign was cut short due to a torn ACL. Later in the season, the Nuggets traded Dozier to the Celtics, where he was re-routed to the Magic and then waived. Dozier caught on with the Timberwolves for training camp last season and his stint with their G League team, the Iowa Wolves, impressed the Kings into signing him.

Now, Dozier takes over for a Partizan club that lost Dante Exum, who signed with the Mavericks earlier this offseason.

This deal has seemingly been in the works for several days. Before being confirmed by Eurohoops today, a report from Sportal.rs suggested Dozier and Partizan were close to an agreement, and Eurohoops cited an earlier report from Mozzart Sport.

Kings Waive PJ Dozier

The Kings have waived guard PJ Dozier, the team announced today in a press release.

The move doesn’t come as a real surprise, given that Dozier played a limited role for Sacramento last season and would have had his $2.41MM salary for 2023/24 become guaranteed if he remained under contract beyond Monday, July 10. By cutting him today, the club won’t be on the hook for any of that money.

Dozier, 26, signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Kings in January before reaching a rest-of-season deal with the team in February. He appeared in 16 games, averaging 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds in just 4.9 minutes per night.

With Dozier off the roster, the Kings now have 13 players on standard contracts (once Sasha Vezenkov and Alex Len officially sign) and a pair on two-way deals, so they’re presumably not done making moves.

Contract Details: Hampton, Dozier, Goodwin, McGowens, Wainright

The new minimum-salary contracts signed by R.J. Hampton with the Pistons and PJ Dozier with the Kings are both two-year deals that are fully guaranteed for the rest of this season but don’t include any guaranteed money in year two, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter links).

The agreements will allow the Pistons and Kings to assess their new players’ fits for the rest of this season before making a decision in the summer on whether or not to retain them for another season.

Hampton’s 2023/24 salary with the Pistons (approximately $2MM) would become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract through July 6, Hoops Rumors has learned. As for Dozier, he’d have to be waived by July 10 if the Kings want to avoid his full $2.4MM salary for next season becoming guaranteed.

Here are a few more details on some of the contracts recently signed by NBA players:

  • Jordan Goodwin‘s new three-year deal with the Wizards includes a $900K rest-of-season salary for 2022/23, which the team gave him using a portion of its mid-level exception, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Goodwin’s second-year salary in 2023/24 is currently partially guaranteed for $300K. That guarantee would increase to $963,948 (50% of his total salary) if he remains under contract through September 1, Hoops Rumors has learned. The Wizards hold a minimum-salary team option on Goodwin for 2024/25.
  • The Hornets‘ mid-level exception allowed them to give four years to Bryce McGowens on his new standard contract. It also let the team pay him a salary higher than the minimum for the rest of this season — he’ll earn $1,075,000 on his new deal in 2022/23, according to Smith (Twitter link). McGowens’ remaining three years are worth the minimum, but his $1.72MM salary for ’23/24 is fully guaranteed. The final two years are non-guaranteed, including a ’25/26 team option.
  • The Suns used a portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception to give Ish Wainright a slightly larger salary than he would have received on a minimum-salary contract, tweets Smith. Wainright will earn $474,851 for the rest of this season instead of the $423,612 he would’ve gotten on a minimum deal. As previously reported, the second year of Wainright’s contract is a team option.

Kings Waive KZ Okpala, Bring Back PJ Dozier

7:55pm: The Kings have officially signed Dozier and waived Okpala, the team confirmed in a press release.

8:30am: The Kings will waive forward KZ Okpala and sign veteran wing PJ Dozier for the rest of the season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

Okpala, who has been dealing with bilateral knee soreness, plans to undergo surgery that will end his season. The 23-year-old power forward has appeared in 35 games, averaging 1.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 7.1 minutes per night, and hasn’t played since January 28.

After spending his first three seasons in Miami, Okpala signed a two-year deal with Sacramento last summer that carried a partial guarantee. His $1.9MM salary for this season became fully guaranteed when he remained on the roster through early January, and his $2MM salary for 2023/24 was non-guaranteed.

Dozier returns to the Kings after signing two 10-day contracts in January. He saw limited playing time in four games and wasn’t immediately re-signed when the second deal expired at the end of the month. The 26-year-old guard has also played for the Thunder, Celtics and Nuggets.

Kings Part With PJ Dozier, Give 10-Day Deal To Deonte Burton

JANUARY 30: Burton’s signing is official, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

JANUARY 28: The Kings won’t re-sign guard PJ Dozier, whose second 10-day contract expired on Saturday night, tweets Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee.

The open roster spot will go to Deonte Burton, who is currently with the team’s G League affiliate in Stockton. Burton will receive a 10-day contract that will begin Monday to make him eligible for that night’s game at Minnesota.

A 28-year-old swingman, Burton spent two seasons with the Thunder before becoming a free agent in 2020. The former Iowa State standout has been in the G League since then, playing last year with the Maine Celtics before joining Stockton prior to the start of this season. Burton appeared in 71 total games for Oklahoma City, averaging 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.4 minutes per night.

Dozier got into four games during his time with Sacramento and played 10 total minutes. Because players are limited to two 10-day contracts with one team, the Kings would have needed to sign him for the rest of the season to keep him on the roster.

Kings Sign PJ Dozier To Second 10-Day Contract

3:30pm: Dozier’s second 10-day deal is now official, the Kings announced in a press release.

6:49am: The Kings will sign guard PJ Dozier to a second 10-day contract, agent Kevin Bradbury tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Dozier’s first 10-day deal expired on Wednesday night following Sacramento’s win over the Lakers.

Dozier didn’t play much during his first 10 days with Sacramento. He logged just under seven total garbage-time minutes in three blowout victories last week, then didn’t play on Sunday or Wednesday. Still, the Kings – who had lost three of four games before signing Dozier – won all five games with him on the roster, so perhaps the team just doesn’t want to change what seems to be working.

Dozier, 26, appeared in 105 games across five seasons for the Thunder, Celtics, and Nuggets from 2017-21, recording averages of 6.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per night during that time. He’s just returning from an ACL tear that he suffered in December 2021.

The Kings will take on another $105,522 cap hit for Dozier’s second 10-day contract, while he’ll earn $122,602. Sacramento could officially complete the signing later today or wait until Friday — in either scenario, he’d be available for the team’s next five contests.

PJ Dozier Signs 10-Day Deal With Kings

JANUARY 9: Dozier’s 10-day contract with the Kings is now official, per Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 News (Twitter link).

JANUARY 8: Veteran shooting guard PJ Dozier is signing a 10-day deal with the Kings, Dozier’s agent Kevin Bradbury informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Dozier signed a training camp deal with the Timberwolves this summer, but did not make the team’s opening night standard roster. Most recently, the 6’6″ swingman had been playing with Minnesota’s NBAGL affiliate, the Iowa Wolves.

During Iowa’s Showcase Cup run this fall, Dozier averaged 14.4 PPG on .444/.353/.722 shooting splits. He also contributed 6.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.2 SPG and 0.8 BPG across 13 contests, including seven starts.

Across five NBA seasons with the Thunder, Celtics, and Nuggets, the 26-year-old out of South Carolina holds career averages of 6.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.8 APG and 0.6 SPG. He tore his ACL in December 2021 while with Denver, and indicated in June of 2022 that he had been cleared to resume all basketball activities.

James Ham of ESPN 1320 Sacramento tweets that Dozier has an ally on the Kings bench. Current Sacramento associate head coach Jordi Fernandez was previously an assistant coach with the Nuggets, with whom Dozier also spent the past three NBA seasons.

Ham adds that the Kings view Dozier as an intriguing two-way option. Sacramento could especially use Dozier’s help on the defensive side of the ball, where the team has been struggling.