Santi Aldama

And-Ones: West, Finals Predictions, Spain, Hezonja

Former NBA guard Delonte West was arrested in Virginia on Thursday morning on misdemeanor charges of violating the conditions of his release and resisting arrest, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reports. West is being held on a $2,000 bond at the Fairfax County Detention Center. An arraignment is scheduled for Friday morning.

Local police say they spotted West around 1 a.m. ET and attempted to serve a warrant. West allegedly fled and was found unresponsive after police lost track of him during the pursuit, per Holmes.

According to the Faifax County police, West was administered Narcan — which is used to treat overdoses — but it didn’t have the desired effect. Narcan was administered a second time after West was transported to a hospital, and the second dose was effective.

The former St. Joseph’s guard discussed his struggles with bipolar disorder while he was playing and he has battled substance abuse in recent years, Holmes notes.

West, 40, played eight NBA seasons from 2004-12. In 432 career regular season games, he averaged 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 27.4 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • While the Celtics are the betting favorites to win the NBA Finals in 2023/24, ESPN’s panel of experts believes the Mavericks will emerge victorious and claim their second championship. Nine voters selected Dallas, with eight going for Boston, so it was a very slim margin.
  • The Spanish basketball federation announced its preliminary 22-player roster ahead of the country’s Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, per Eurohoops. While the team features several former NBA players, Santi Aldama (Grizzlies) and Usman Garuba (Warriors) are the only two who finished the 2023/24 season on 15-man rosters. Former NBA guards Ricky Rubio and Sergio Rodriguez are among the noteworthy players who are not on Spain’s 22-man roster.
  • Former NBA wing Mario Hezonja, who is on Croatia’s preliminary roster for its qualifying tournament in Greece, is nearing a contract extension with Real Madrid, per Ramón Álvarez de Mon of La Galerna (Twitter link). The fifth pick of the 2015 draft, Hezojna last played in the NBA in 2019/20. A report in March said the 29-year-old was “aggressively exploring” the viability of a return to the league.

Southwest Notes: D. Jones, Rockets, Spurs, Grizzlies

At 9-4, the Mavericks are among the top teams in the Western Conference, and forward Derrick Jones Jr. has become the surprise player of the year so far, writes The Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend.

Known more for his athleticism and defense than his scoring or shooting, Jones is currently averaging a career-high 8.9 points through his first 13 games, which have all been starts. He’s also taking a career-high 3.9 three-point attempts and connecting at a 35.3% clip.

I really don’t care [about outside opinions],” Jones said. “If you want to label me as a dunker and leave me open, then please, by all means, leave me open. I’m gonna keep shooting the shots that I take and I promise you, they’re gonna fall.

According to Townsend, the Mavericks have had their eye on Jones since at least 2019, when they tried to acquire him and Kelly Olynyk in a package deal. Jones wound up joining the Mavericks this offseason on a minimum-salary contract after Portland matched the $33MM offer sheet that Matisse Thybulle signed with Dallas.

While Jones is ultimately making less money this year than he would have on the player option he declined from the Bulls ($2.7MM compared to about $3.3MM), he’s capitalizing on his expanded opportunity with the Mavs. Townsend writes that he may very well hold onto his starting spot if his play keeps up.

I have put in a lot of work behind the scenes,” Jones said. “I feel that thus far in my career, I haven’t gotten the recognition that I think I deserve. And I feel like this year is just going to be the year.

We have more Southwest Division notes:

  • The Rockets suffered a close loss to the Clippers on Friday, showing room for improvement on the defensive end, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko writes. Still, Houston is one of the surprise teams in the Western Conference behind a young core and some former Rockets are impressed. James Harden said Houston has “a good thing going on.” Current Clips forward P.J. Tucker said the young team plays similar to some of his old Rockets teams. “Switching slows down offenses and makes guys have to play iso,” Tucker told The Athletic. “You have guys that can guard multiple positions, obviously a lot of similarities in that. That’s something that if you got weapons at the four and five that can switch, it makes it tough on guys.
  • The Spurs have now lost eight games in a row after allowing a 19-point comeback to Memphis on Saturday. While Cedi Osman said everyone is upset after going through a stretch where they’re 1-6 in games they’ve led by 10 or more points, rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama isn’t worried about it impacting the locker room, according to Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News.We have very healthy locker room, healthy relations between each other and, no, this is not an issue at all,” Wembanyama said. “We are losing. We’re losing together. If someone puts their head down, we go help him. Someone falls on the court, all of us rush to help him up.
  • While dealing with a plethora of injuries, the Grizzlies opted for a new, super-sized starting lineup on Sunday against the Celtics, putting Santi Aldama in over Jacob Gilyard, playing him alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. and Bismack Biyombo in the frontcourt (Twitter link via Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal). Aldama responded with career highs of 28 points and six assists in a two-point loss to the Celtics. Second-year two-way wing Vince Williams got some rotation run and looked impressive on defense, according to Cole (Twitter link). Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian tweets that Williams should get some extended run in subsequent games.

Southwest Notes: Biyombo, Osman, Sengun, Grizzlies

The Grizzlies signed Bismack Biyombo to a one-year, $5MM deal with a $1MM guarantee on Wednesday rather than the $3MM prorated veteran’s minimum. Bobby Marks of ESPN points out (Twitter link) that if the Grizzlies had signed him to a minimum deal, he would have earned around $920K from now until late December, when Ja Morant‘s suspension is lifted, which is roughly the same guarantee he’ll make on the current contract.

Memphis was able to sign Biyombo because Morant is suspended for 25 games and was transferred to the suspended list. When Morant’s suspension is lifted on December 19, the Grizzlies will have to waive a player on their roster, which could be Biyombo. By signing the big man to these terms, the Grizzlies are creating extra roster flexibility moving forward.

Marks also points out Biyombo has a $5MM cap hit (rather than $1.9MM) and the Grizzlies can use his $5MM contract as a trade asset if he remains on the roster after Morant’s suspension is lifted. Biyombo would become trade-eligible on Feb. 2.

As we noted Thursday, if Biyombo were to prove too valuable to waive, Memphis would have to let go of another player on a guaranteed deal to keep him on the roster after Morant returns from suspension.

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian adds (Twitter link) that if the Grizzlies were to use Biyombo’s $5MM salary for trading purposes, they’d be able to bring in up to $10MM in returning salaries.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Spurs forward Cedi Osman is off to a strong start to the season, averaging 11.8 points per game and helping San Antonio grab a couple early wins. Osman is one of the older players on a young Spurs team and is becoming a go-to guy for the club, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes (Subscriber link). “He is like our seasoned pro on this team,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He understands how to play, plays with emotion and aggressiveness, works hard at both ends of the court. He has really been a good example for all the younger players.” Osman is shooting 56.3% on his catch-and-shoot looks this season, The Athletic’s Kelly Iko points out in a separate piece.
  • In that same story, Iko explores how Rockets center Alperen Sengun is becoming the “heartbeat” of the Rockets offense. Sengun ranks in the 100th percentile in usage-to-assist rate and popped in the Rockets’ pass-heavy game plan against the Hornets on Nov. 1. “Team play is always better,” Sengun said. “[Wednesday], we had 35 assists or something. That’s the key. Every game should be like that, I think. When we share the ball, everyone is happy. I’m happy we’re playing better.
  • The Grizzlies are currently the only winless team in the NBA, having lost their first five games, but they’re trying to remain unfazed by their slow start, according to Michael Wallace of Grind City Media. “You can’t get too high; can’t get too low because it’s a long season,Marcus Smart said. “We’ve got to lock in a bit more down the stretch on the defensive end. It’s part of the learning process, part of coming into something new for everybody. For us, it’s just to keep going. Eventually, the tide is going to turn. Things are going to click. It’s just taking some time right now.Luke Kennard and Santi Aldama, who are both out with injury, are expected back soon, according to Wallace.

Grizzlies Exercise 2024/25 Team Options On Four Players

The Grizzlies have exercised their 2024/25 rookie scale team options on Ziaire Williams, Santi Aldama, Jake LaRavia and David Roddy, the team announced on Monday (via Twitter).

After having their fourth-year options picked up, Williams (10th overall pick in 2021) and Aldama (30th in ’21) will now be eligible for rookie scale extensions in 2024. Williams will earn $6,133,005 next season, while Aldama will make $3,960,531.

LaRavia (19th pick in ’22) and Roddy (23rd pick in ’22), on the other hand, had their third-year options exercised. They’ll make $3,352,680 and $2,847,240 in ’24/25, respectively.

After a solid rookie campaign in 2021/22, Williams struggled with injuries and inconsistency last season. However, he started at small forward in a couple of preseason games, including the team’s finale on Friday (Twitter link via Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal), and is looking to bounce back with a strong season in ’23/24.

A 6’10” big man with a versatile skill set, Aldama didn’t play much as a rookie but had a productive sophomore campaign in ’22/23, averaging 9.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .470/.353/.750 shooting in 77 games (21.8 MPG). He should be in line for a larger role in year three with Brandon Clarke and Steven Adams unfortunately sidelined with major injuries.

Roddy was selected a few picks after LaRavia, but he saw the court much more frequently as a rookie last season for the Grizzlies, appearing in 70 games for an average of 18.0 MPG). LaRavia appeared in 35 games while averaging 11.8 MPG in ’22/23.

The full list of ’24/25 rookie scale team option decisions can be found right here.

Grizzlies Notes: Harrison, Aldama, Jackson Jr., Jenkins

The Grizzlies signed guard Shaquille Harrison to a one-year contract and he could be a factor in the early going with Ja Morant serving his suspension, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. Under the terms of the CBA, any player suspended more than six games will be put on the team’s suspended list after five. That will open a roster spot, and that’s where Harrison could add more depth. He can play either guard spot and has plenty of experience after passing through six other NBA organizations.

We have more from the Grizzlies:

  • Santi Aldama had a big game for Spain when his national team was eliminated in the FIBA World Cup by Canada, Cole writes. The big man poured in 20 points, though he only grabbed two rebounds in Canada’s three-point win. Jaren Jackson Jr. was plagued by foul trouble trying to check former Grizzlies teammate and Lithuanian national team center Jonas Valanciunas in Team USA’s six-point loss on Sunday.
  • In a subscriber-only story, Cole opines that coach Taylor Jenkins’ future with the organization hinges on its performance in the postseason. The Grizzlies were bounced in the first round by the Lakers this past season after losing to the Warriors in the conference semifinals the previous year.
  • As we previously noted, the Grizzlies already have a full roster going into training camp. Even if Harrison’s contract isn’t guaranteed, the Grizzlies will have to trim two players with guaranteed deals by opening night.

World Cup Notes: France, Latvia, Aldama, Blatt

Team France general manager Boris Diaw said the two losses that eliminated the team from World Cup contention were troubling in different ways, according to Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net.

“The two games were very different. First game against Canada, a team that plays very tough,” he said. “I think the concern there was that we gave up at the end of the game. On the way to losing the game. You don’t want to lose by 30 by giving up in the last minutes. That was one concern. Latvia was different. This is a game where we could’ve really played together. But we didn’t play all the way until the end and didn’t play smart enough to win.”

We have more updates from the FIBA World Cup international competition:

  • Speaking of Team Latvia, former NBA forward Rodions Kurucs called the win over France “amazing” and cited his team’s toughness and togetherness for the upset win, according to Stroggylakis. “I played the whole game fighting on defense,” he said. “We were sharing the ball really well. Every 50-50 ball, every rebound, we fought for it.”
  • Following Spain’s win over Brazil, Grizzlies big man Santi Aldama spoke to Stroggylakis about his national team’s winning culture. “I think the winning part is secondary,” Aldama said. “Meaning, the culture here that’s really good. And I think that’s what makes this team a winning team. That’s what we have to built on. We work very hard every day, we have to continue doing that and let it talk through our game.”
  • Canada is 2-0 heading into its game against Latvia on Tuesday. Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt is a general consultant for the Canadian team and spoke of its aims to Stroggylakis. “I’m a part of a great organization and I’m happy to be a part of what we’re trying to accomplish here with Canada basketball. And that’s becoming a team of the highest level in the FIBA scene and performing well in all competitions we’re part in,” he said.

Grizzlies Notes: Aldama, Kennard, Former Owners

Grizzlies forward Santi Aldama is playing for the Spanish national team this summer as it looks to defend its gold medal from the 2019 World Cup. In an exhibition match against Luka Doncic and Slovenia on Friday, Aldama led Spain to a 99-79 victory, recording a game-high 18 points along with seven assists and six rebounds, according to Eurohoops.net.

The 30th overall pick of the 2021 draft, Aldama improved across the board during his second season with Memphis in 2022/23, averaging 9.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .470/.353/.750 shooting in 77 games (20 starts, 21.8 MPG). The 22-year-old could be in line for a bigger role next season, as Brandon Clarke will likely be sidelined for most — if not all — of ’23/24 after tearing his Achilles tendon in March, though general manager Zach Kleiman did express optimism in June regarding Clarke’s recovery timeline.

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Sharpshooter Luke Kennard, a trade deadline addition who led the NBA in three-point percentage each of the past two seasons, praised Memphis’ offseason moves and is bullish on the team’s outlook for ’23/24, as Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes (subscriber link). “We got some really good additions this summer, and I think they’re going to help our team out a lot,” Kennard said. “We’re really excited. I know we have a really good team this year. With our coaches and everybody just buying in to what we want to do, we have a really good chance of being a really special team this year.” The Grizzlies signed veteran guard Derrick Rose — Kennard’s former teammate with Detroit — in free agency, and added Marcus Smart in a three-team trade that sent Tyus Jones to the Wizards, among other transactions.
  • The former owners of the Grizzlies have lost a court case involving a $10.7MM tax deduction for deferred compensation dating back to 2012. Michael McMann of Sportico has the details.
  • In case you missed it, Jayson Tatum recently discussed what Smart will bring to the Grizzlies, and Jaren Jackson Jr. was voted by his peers as the most impressive player of Team USA’s training camp.

Southwest Notes: Spurs Arena, Mavs’ WNBA Investment, Jackson Jr., Aldama

It’s no coincidence that the Spurs found a sponsor for their arena after winning the lottery and selecting Victor Wembanyama, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News writes. The arena, previously named the AT&T Center, has been renamed Frost Bank Center. The agreement is expected to last for the duration of the team’s lease, which runs through the 2031/32 season.

The Spurs received about 4,000 new season-ticket deposits between the lottery and draft due to Wembanyama mania. That helped to convince Front Bank to become the new sponsor.

The AT&T Center’s marquee became available in 2021, when the telecommunications company decided not to renew its naming rights deal. The Spurs were unable to find a new partner at that time, so they extended their agreement with AT&T through last season.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks and the WNBA’s Dallas Wings have forged a business and philanthropic partnership, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. The Wings, who are independently owned, are now wearing a Mavericks-sponsored jersey patch featuring the logos of the Mavericks and GEM: Girls Empowered by Mavericks. The Mavericks have made a seven-figure investment in the WNBA club. “I’m unaware of any partnership to this extent, breadth and depth between NBA and WNBA teams that are not a shared ownership situation,” Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb said.
  • In a subscriber-only article, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal details how the Grizzlies front office has been in contact with Team USA and Spain with regard to the minutes Jaren Jackson Jr. and Santi Aldama will play in the FIBA World Cup and is pleased with the communication from both national teams.
  • Aldama is looking forward to playing against top competition in the World Cup, the Grizzlies forward told Michael Wallace of the team’s website. “This is all just in general for my growth,” he said. “It’s just a learning opportunity. I need to put on some pounds, get bigger, quicker and stronger overall. I’ve got to get to the best version of myself and help my teammates in as many ways as possible, play multiple positions.”
  • The Rockets recently added two players to their training camp roster. Get the details here.

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, Jackson, Bane, Adams

Adam Silver will wait until after the NBA Finals to announce Ja Morant‘s punishment for his latest gun-related incident, but the commissioner dropped some hints about the length of a potential suspension during his press conference last week, writes Mark Giannatto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Giannatto examines five statements from Silver to get an idea of what Morant’s suspension might look like. He suggests that the commissioner seemed more disappointed than angry about Morant’s behavior when he talked about creating “better circumstances going forward” for the Grizzlies star.

Silver mentioned the involvement of the players’ union in the process, which Giannatto believes may be encouraging for Morant. He points out that no player has ever been suspended for more than 30 games without being charged with a crime and theorizes that the NBPA won’t let that happen to Morant without putting up a fight.

There’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Appearing on Paul George‘s podcast, Jaren Jackson Jr. expressed support for Morant and said he’s holding up well amid the likelihood of suspension, relays Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. “He’s good,” Jackson said. “That’s my brother, though. No matter what, I stand by my brother, and I think that’s the lesson everybody should take away from this. … Everybody is going to say whatever, but they’re everybody. It never matters at the end of the day. This is your family. This is your brother.”
  • The absence of Morant will make this an especially important season for Desmond Bane, Cole adds in a separate story. Bane, who will be on the final year of his rookie contract, will have to assume a larger leadership role on the team and Cole states that he might have All-Star potential. Cole also points to Santi Aldama, Ziaire Williams, Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Tyus Jones as players to watch heading into next season.
  • The Grizzlies never fully recovered after losing Steven Adams to a right knee injury in January, Cole states in another Commercial Appeal piece. The team’s starting center appeared in a career-low 42 games this season and was especially missed in the playoffs when Memphis was outmuscled in a first-round loss to the Lakers. Cole adds that in addition to his rebounding, the Grizzlies also missed Adams’ screen setting and his leadership as the oldest player on the team.

Brandon Ingram, Jaren Jackson Jr. Commit To Team USA

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram and Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. are the latest players to commit to play for Team USA this summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

That brings the total of players who have reportedly committed to Team USA to eight. USA Basketball plans to finalize the 12-man roster later this month.

Team USA will compete for the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines.

A quartet of guards — the Timberwolves‘ Anthony Edwards, the Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton , the Lakers’ Austin Reaves, and Knicks’ Jalen Brunsonhave already pledged to play along with Nets forward Mikal Bridges and Bucks forward Bobby Portis.

Ingram averaged 24.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in an injury-marred season in which he played just 45 games. Jackson averaged 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 63 regular-season contests en route to being named Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson will provide a much-needed shot blocking presence for the squad, which begins training camp Aug. 3 in Las Vegas.

Another Grizzlies big man, Santi Aldama, is expected to play for Spain in the World Cup.

Team USA will play its first exhibition game Aug. 7 against Puerto Rico and will also make stops in Spain and the United Arab Emirates before its World Cup opener Aug. 26 against New Zealand.