T.J. Warren

Wolves Sign T.J. Warren For Rest Of Season

MARCH 27: The Timberwolves have officially signed Warren for the rest of the season, the team announced today in a press release.

MARCH 26: The Timberwolves have agreed to sign forward T.J. Warren to a contract for the rest of the 2023/24 season, according to a report from Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Warren’s second 10-day deal with Minnesota expired on Monday night, so he can be re-signed at any time. The new agreement will presumably be formally finalized at some point before the Wolves face Detroit on Wednesday.

A free agent for most of the 2023/24 season, Warren initially signed with the Timberwolves on March 6. During his first 20 days with the club, he appeared in seven of nine possible games, averaging 4.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .382/.182/.500.

Those numbers obviously don’t jump off the page, especially for an accomplished player who had a career scoring average of 14.6 PPG on .506/.354/.780 shooting entering this year. However, the Wolves trusted Warren enough to thrust him immediately into a rotation role, and the club had a pair of open spots on its 15-man roster, so it makes sense to fill one of them with a veteran who has postseason experience.

Assuming Warren officially signs his new contract on Tuesday, it will cover the final 20 days of the season, meaning it will likely be worth $334,007, the same prorated minimum salary that he earned during his first 20 days with the Wolves. Signing on Wednesday would result in a rest-of-season salary worth $317,307.

Warren will be eligible to participate in the playoffs, since he hasn’t been waived since March 1.

After re-adding Warren, Minnesota will have one open spot remaining on its roster. The club must fill that opening by the final day of the regular season in order to carry a 15th man on its playoff roster.

Wolves Sign T.J. Warren To Second 10-Day Deal

1:47pm: Warren’s second 10-day contract with the Timberwolves is official, the club confirmed in a press release. It’ll run through March 25, covering Minnesota’s next five games.

1:02pm: The Timberwolves are bringing back forward T.J. Warren on a second 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Warren’s first 10-day deal with the club came to an end on Friday night.

Warren, who had been out of the NBA for the entire 2023/24 season before signing with Minnesota earlier this month, was thrust into an immediate rotation role for the team due to Karl-Anthony Towns‘ injury absence.

In four games, Warren averaged 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 16.0 minutes per game during his first 10 days from the team. He made just 1-of-7 three-pointers (14.3%), but was 8-of-12 (66.7%) from inside the arc.

Warren, who is now 30 years old, isn’t quite as effective a scorer as he was earlier in his career since a left foot injury cost him nearly two full seasons from 2020-22. However, he still has a scoring average of 14.5 PPG on .506/.352/.780 shooting in 378 career regular season contests.

Given that Warren played regular minutes on his first 10-day contract and Minnesota only has 13 players on standard, full-season contracts, a second 10-day deal doesn’t come as a real surprise. Once this second contract expires, the Wolves will have to decide whether or not to sign him for the rest of the season.

Warren will earn $167,004 on his 10-day deal, while Minnesota carries a cap hit of $116,075. The club will still have an open spot on its 15-man standard roster with Warren back under contract.

Northwest Notes: George, Jokic, Gobert, Warren

The Jazz have fallen out of the play-in race and are headed for another lottery finish, but rookie guard Keyonte George continues to impress. He scored at least 25 points for a third straight game in Friday’s win over Atlanta, earning high praise for head coach Will Hardy, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Keyonte (has) the opportunity to become a real star in this league,” Hardy said. “… There’s a lot of pressure when you’re the No. 1 guy. Like, you’re driving to the gym and you’re thinking, ‘If I don’t play well, we won’t win.’ Role players don’t always necessarily have that burden in their brain before a game and so these opportunities for Keyonte to be the quote-unquote No. 1 guy for us are imperative for his development.”

George was one of three players drafted by the Jazz in the first round last June, but he’s the only one of the three to have earned a significant role as a rookie.

While fellow first-rounders Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh have played a combined 624 minutes, George has logged more than 1,500 across 59 games. The first-year guard has averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .403/.359/.828.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nikola Jokic played in his 65th game of the season on Friday night, ensuring that the Nuggets star will be eligible for end-of-season awards, including Most Valuable Player, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Jokic is currently the betting favorite to win this season’s MVP award, which would be his third.
  • Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert underwent X-rays after sustaining a rib injury in Tuesday’s game, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says those X-rays came back negative. Gobert is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game in Utah due to what the team is calling a left rib sprain, so it doesn’t appear it’s a significant injury for the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner.
  • With Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined, T.J. Warren got the opportunity to play real rotation minutes in his NBA comeback with the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Warren’s 10-day contract expired last night, so Minnesota will have to decide whether or not to sign him to a second one.

Timberwolves Sign T.J. Warren To 10-Day Contract

MARCH 6: Warren has officially signed his 10-day deal with the Timberwolves, according to a press release from the team. It will run through next Friday, March 15, covering Minnesota’s next four games.

MARCH 2: The Timberwolves are going to sign forward T.J. Warren to a 10-day contract, pending a physical exam early this week, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter link). Warren hasn’t played in a game this season but according to Charania, the Wolves have monitored him throughout the year.

Minnesota has been targeting wing depth, per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski (Twitter link), which is why the team landed on Warren. Majority owner Glen Taylor told Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Skor North (Twitter video link) earlier this week that a small forward was the Wolves’ greatest area of need.

Warren has averaged 14.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for his career while shooting 50.6% from the floor and 35.4% from beyond the arc. He had a strong start to his career after being drafted with the 14th overall pick in 2014, averaging 15.5 points per night in his first seven seasons.

The N.C. State alum was a major part of the Pacers’ 2019/20 playoff squad, averaging 19.8 PPG. That year featured a memorable stretch for Warren, who averaged 31.0 points and shot 52.4% from three in the 2020 NBA bubble, including a 53-point outing.

However, a foot injury limited Warren to just four games over the following two seasons, derailing his career. He signed with the Nets ahead of ’22/23 before being traded to Phoenix at the deadline. In 42 games between Brooklyn and Phoenix last season, Warren averaged 7.5 points.

Justin Jackson‘s 10-day deal expires tomorrow, so the Wolves are presumably replacing Jackson with Warren. Minnesota will still have an open standard roster spot once Jackson’s deal expires and Warren’s deal is finalized, though the team doesn’t have a ton of breathing room below the luxury tax line and may prefer to delay signing anyone to a rest-of-season contract.

T.J. Warren Eyeing NBA Return, Says He’s Fully Healthy

Veteran forward T.J. Warren remains an unrestricted free agent after he was unable to find a new team during the 2023 offseason. Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Warren said he’s still focused on finding another NBA job and is fully healthy after playing just four games from 2020-22.

Here are a few highlights from Scotto’s interview with the nine-year veteran, who averaged 7.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 42 regular season games (16.4 minutes per contest) with Brooklyn and Phoenix in 2022/23.

On Warren’s preparation while he waits for another NBA opportunity:

“Every day, I’m working out, staying sharp, and staying ready. I’m continuing to do everything I can to prepare myself physically and mentally. All is well. I’m continuing to control what I can right now.”

On what type of role he envisions and for what types of teams:

“There are a lot of teams that can use bench scoring for sure. I watch the NBA every day, and I’m watching to see where I can see myself helping playoff teams get over the hump and be a presence on both ends of the floor. I take pride in being a two-way player. I know a lot of people doubt my defensive ability because I score easily. I take pride on both ends of the floor. There are definitely a lot of playoff teams I can contribute to and make an impact.”

On his health:

I’m 100 percent healthy now. The foot injuries were a part of my career during those two years. I feel like I was reaching a crazy pinnacle right around the bubble. It was a great situation. Unfortunately, I had the injuries, and it set me back a little bit. I want to go out there and prove myself like I always have my whole career, being kind of under the radar. I feel like my production speaks for itself. I understand the concerns because two years was a long time, especially when you don’t know the situation thoroughly, but I’m completely healthy now and looking forward to the opportunity to prove myself again.”

Warren, 30, holds career averages of 14.6 points and 4.0 rebounds in 374 regular season games (27.4 minutes). Scotto’s full conversation with Warren can be found right here.

Celtics Notes: Backup Center, Mykhailiuk, Brogdon, Free Agents

The Celtics completed their search for another wing by signing Svi Mykhailiuk this week, so the next priority should be finding a capable big man to provide depth in the frontcourt, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston now has 14 players with standard contracts, one short of the regular season roster limit. Only 11 of those are guaranteed, although Mykhailiuk could become the 12th once the details of his new deal are reported.

Robert Williams and Al Horford will handle most of the minutes at center, but Williams’ injury history and Horford’s age create a need for a quality backup at the position. Washburn suggests Kristaps Porzingis could see some time in the middle, but he’s more effective at power forward and is more comfortable playing away from the basket. Luke Kornet will be in camp, but his contract is non-guaranteed until the league-wide guarantee date of January 10.

Washburn identifies Bismack Biyombo and Dewayne Dedmon as available free agents, but states that neither is significantly better than Blake Griffin, who played for the Celtics last season and has expressed an interest in returning. Washburn also mentions former All-Stars Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins, but says the organization doesn’t want to risk team chemistry by bringing in someone who’s unhappy with his role.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Mykhailiuk’s success against Boston may have sparked the organization’s interest, even though he wasn’t among the players who held workouts last month. Playing for the Knicks and Hornets last season, the 26-year-old swingman hit 24 three-pointers against the Celtics, the most of any opponent, according to Luke Scotchie of The Boston Globe. Overall, Mykhailiuk enjoyed the best shooting season of his career from long distance, connecting at 42.4% and making 1.3 per game.
  • There has been little news about Malcolm Brogdon since he was nearly sent to the Clippers in June in a deal for Porzingis, Brian Robb of MassLive notes in a mailbag column. The team hasn’t provided any updates on Brogdon’s health after he reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow in the Eastern Conference Finals. Playing again should help resolve any bitterness Brogdon might have over the trade situation, Robb states, but he may be less willing to sacrifice for the organization after nearly being moved.
  • The Celtics still may have interest in T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens after bringing them in for tryouts, but they shouldn’t offer more than a partially guaranteed deal to either of them, Robb adds in the same piece.

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.

Atlantic Notes: Lawsuit, Knicks, Raptors, Warren, Stevens

While the Knicks made some bold claims in their lawsuit against the Raptors, people around the NBA aren’t convinced it’s as big of a scandal as it might seem on paper, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

I’m not being dismissive of this,” a league executive told Grange. “But people take stuff all the time (when they change jobs). Yes, it’s proprietary, but it’s usually their own product; work that they’ve done over time. So, without knowing the sensitivity level or what was taken or how egregious it was, it’s not something I’d care about that much.

“And timing matters, too. If it was mid-season and he was taking stuff for the current year, or the upcoming season, I might be more upset about it, but if it’s from the previous year, I don’t know if I’d be all that mad.”

As Grange writes, the NBA is a copycat league, so proving that the “confidential Knicks information” that was allegedly taken by former employee Ikechukwu Azotam was truly invaluable might be difficult. There’s a reason the Knicks left the damages they’re seeking as “TBD” — they probably don’t know what exactly was taken and if it will materially impact their business, a lawyer told Grange.

Ultimately, Grange thinks the lawsuit is unlikely to go to court and will probably be handled by the NBA. He suggests Toronto might face a six-figure fine and perhaps the loss of a second-round pick.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau will likely gripe about the Knicks‘ schedule for the 2023/24 season, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post (subscriber link). After being tied with the Hornets for the fewest games (five) with “rest advantage” last season, the Knicks have eight such games during the upcoming campaign — tied for fifth-fewest in the league, per Braziller. Rest advantage is exactly what it implies — games in which a team will be more rested than the opponent. The Celtics lead the league with 16 rest advantage games, Braziller notes.
  • The Celtics are working out — or have worked out — a number of veteran free agent wings, including T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens. Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston considers whether Warren and/or Stevens would be good fits for the back end of the roster.
  • In case you missed it, the NBA fined Sixers star James Harden $100K for recent comments he made, but the Players Association disagreed with Harden’s fine and is filing a grievance on his behalf.

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.

Cavaliers Notes: L. Nance Jr., P. Nance, Travers, Roster Opening

In an appearance on the Wine and Gold Talk podcastLarry Nance Jr. said he feels fortunate that his younger brother will get a chance to carry on the family tradition of playing for the Cavaliers. Pete Nance will reportedly be offered an Exhibit 10 contract after being part of the Cavs’ Summer League team. Nance Jr. played several seasons in Cleveland, and his father was a star with the Cavaliers in the 1980s and ’90s.

Nance Jr. was in Las Vegas to watch his Pelicans teammates in action as well as his younger brother, who is trying to earn a spot in the NBA as an undrafted prospect. He believes his brother can succeed at the professional level and offered him some advice on how to deal with his first Summer League.

“We talk all the time,” Nance Jr. said. “Going into Summer League, I think the biggest thing I told him was, he had such momentum, coming off obviously a rough college season, but then the momentum he built going into draft workouts and then being (at the draft combine) in Chicago training for it, just carrying that over into Summer League was great. Just go be aggressive, shoot your shots when you decide you want to shoot them and play your game.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Nance also talked about the circumstances that led to him being traded to Portland prior to the 2021/22 season. The team had just drafted Evan Mobley, whom Nance said was obviously headed for stardom, and gave a five-year extension to Jarrett Allen. With Kevin Love also on the roster, Nance didn’t believe he would get regular rotation minutes if he stayed in Cleveland. “It had gone from me really enjoying playing the Larry Nance Jr. thing, in my dad’s footsteps … and at a certain point it became a little redundant. I still loved being in Cleveland, still loved having my family around and loved playing for the Cavs, but I needed to step away from all this and go play on a playoff team and really go show what I’ve got.”
  • The Cavaliers and Luke Travers reached a mutual decision that he will continue to play in Australia, he told Australian media outlet Code Sports (hat tip to Mike Battaglino of Cavaliers Nation). A second-round pick in 2022, Travers was one of the Cavs’ top players in Las Vegas as they won the Summer League title. “The talk is just one more year (in the NBL) and hopefully it’s a good one,” he said. “To be able to come back, it’s what I wanted to do to continue to develop my game in Melbourne and I’m coming here to win. Coming over here, there’s a lot of clarity. They (Cleveland and Melbourne United) have been awesome about it, so getting that (uncertainty) out of the way makes everything else easier.”
  • In a subscriber-only story, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com looks at 10 possible free agent options for the Cavaliers with their open roster spot, including Kelly Oubre, Terrence Ross, Derrick Jones and T.J. Warren.