Trendon Watford

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Knicks, Pritchard, Porzingis, Giles

Teams are getting closer to training camp, which means lingering questions facing NBA clubs will be answered sooner than later. The Knicks, like every team, have several issues to sort out either before training camp or shortly before the season begins writes Zach Braziller of the New York Post in a mailbag.

The biggest question the Knicks must answer is whether or not Immanuel Quickley will get a rookie scale extension before the regular season tips off. In his own mailbag, SNY’s Ian Begley writes that New York and Quickley are expected to negotiate a contract sometime this month. However, if the Knicks decide to make him available via trade, they’ll have plenty of suitors, per Begley.

Begley hears that the Knicks had several trade talks with teams surrounding Quickley at the beginning of the 2022/23 season, prior to his breakout that saw him finish as the Sixth Man of the Year runner-up. However, Begley ultimately expects Quickley to extend with New York, and believes the team will begin extending other core players – Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and Quentin Grimes – down the road.

Braziller concurs with Begley, and sees the two sides agreeing to a deal that winds up in the four-year, $90-95MM range. Other topics included in Braziller’s mailbag include the future of Evan Fournier and what a matchup between Team USA and Canada in the 2023 FIBA World Cup would look like, with Brunson and Josh Hart potentially squaring off against RJ Barrett.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics guard Payton Pritchard has never averaged more than 19.2 minutes per game in his first three seasons in the league, with his playing time declining in each subsequent season. Jared Weiss of The Athletic explores what Pritchard’s role may look like in 2023/24, which will be instrumental in determining his future with the organization. Pritchard, who wished to be moved at last year’s deadline, could be in line for more minutes with Marcus Smart‘s departure, but will need to improve. Weiss does a full video breakdown of the guard’s game to determine how he can take the next jump.
  • Battling plantar fasciitis, Kristaps Porzingis was forced to be a spectator as Latvia made the final eight of the World Cup and fell to Germany in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes that Porzingis choosing to preserve his body in such a crucial moment for his national team is a key indicator that he’s all in on the Celtics this year. Porzingis, whom Boston traded Smart for, is expected to be ready to go by the time the NBA’s training camps begin.
  • While Harry Giles has an uphill climb to make Brooklyn’s roster out of training camp, the Nets have one of the more interesting roster battles on deck, Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily writes. Giles, Trendon Watford and Darius Bazley appear to be in direct competition for two roster spots on the Nets. Giles, who hasn’t appeared in a game since 2020/21, only has 142 games of NBA experience and is just 25 years old, indicating he may have plenty left in the tank.

Contract Details: Watford, Ntilikina, Boum

Trendon Watford‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nets is non-guaranteed for the time being, but the third-year forward could earn partial guarantees if he makes the opening night roster and holds his spot on the team for at least a couple months.

Watford will receive a partial guarantee of $200K if he isn’t waived on or before the first day of the regular season in October, Hoops Rumors has learned. That partial guarantee would increase to $700K if he remains under contract through December 19.

Watford’s full $2.02MM salary would become guaranteed if he isn’t cut on or before January 7. That’s the date that all players on non-guaranteed contracts must be waived by if their teams want to avoid paying their full salaries.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts:

  • The one-year, minimum-salary deal that Frank Ntilikina signed with the Hornets is partially guaranteed for $200K, Hoops Rumors has learned. Ntilikina would have to remain under contract through the league-wide salary guarantee deadline of January 7 in order to earn his full $2.53MM salary.
  • Souley Boum‘s non-guaranteed training camp contract with the Nuggets includes Exhibit 10 language, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Boum would receive a bonus worth $75K if he’s waived before the regular season begins and then spends at least 60 days with the Grand Rapids Gold, Denver’s G League affiliate.
  • In case you missed it, Anthony Davis‘ three-year, maximum-salary contract with the Lakers includes a third-year player option for the 2027/28 season, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Sunday when the deal was officially finalized.

Atlantic Notes: White, Watford, Giles, Nets, Sixers

Speaking to Malika Andrews of ESPN on NBA Today (YouTube link), Celtics guard Derrick White discussed his changing role, the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, and being open to a contract extension, among other topics.

You’re eligible for an extension at the end of September,” Andrews said. “You’re gonna have a what, three week window to negotiate that. Do you want to get a deal done before the season starts? Is that a goal of yours?

I love being here in Boston, it would be cool to get an extension,” White replied. “We’ll see what happens during that window. But I’ve loved my time in Boston so far and my focus right now is just on the season.”

The 29-year-old has two years remaining on his current contract, which will pay him $36.4MM+ through 2024/25. White’s deal has incentives — some likely, some unlikely — that could increase the total value.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • The signing of big man Trendon Watford is yet another indication that the Nets are embracing a youth movement this offseason, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. Brooklyn selected a pair of teenagers in the first round of the draft (Noah Clowney and Dariq Whitehead), a 22-year-old (Jalen Wilson) in the second round, and has signed free agents Dennis Smith Jr., Lonnie Walker, Darius Bazley and now Watford, all of whom are 25 years old or younger.
  • Free agent big man Harry Giles is holding a workout on Saturday in Miami and the Nets will be in attendance, agent Daniel Hazan tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). As Bondy notes, Giles is eligible for a two-way deal after a clause in the new CBA was named after the former first-round pick, who missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury. Brooklyn holds one open two-way slot, as our tracker shows. Giles also held a workout in Las Vegas last month, with at least five teams in attendance.
  • In a subscriber-only story for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gina Mizell explains how the Sixers will have the financial flexibility to reshape their roster next summer, despite James Harden‘s trade request hanging over the organization. Both Harden and Tobias Harris are on expiring contracts, Mizell writes, and the 76ers prioritized signing free agents to short-term contracts this offseason. Technically, only Joel Embiid is currently on a guaranteed contract in 2024/25, though P.J. Tucker is essentially a lock to pick up his $11.5MM player option.

Nets Sign Trendon Watford

3:25pm: Watford’s contract is non-guaranteed, per NetsDaily (Twitter link).

2:27pm: The Nets have signed free agent forward/center Trendon Watford, the team announced (via Twitter).

According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, Watford received a standard contract (Twitter link). It’s unclear if the deal is guaranteed.

Watford was surprisingly waived by the Trail Blazers at the end of June before his minimum-salary contract for 2023/24 became guaranteed. He went unclaimed and became an unrestricted free agent a couple days later.

The 22-year-old averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists with a shooting line of .560/.391/.720 in 62 appearances (19.1 MPG) in 2022/23.

Watford, who played two seasons of college ball at LSU, went undrafted in 2021 and caught on with the Blazers, initially signing a two-way deal. His contract was converted to a standard deal in February 2022 during his solid rookie season.

After officially signing Watford, the Nets are now carrying 17 players on their roster — 15 on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals.

Trail Blazers Waiving Trendon Watford

The Trail Blazers are waiving forward Trendon Watford, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Watford’s non-guaranteed minimum salary ($1,836,096) for 2023/24 would have become fully guaranteed if he had remained under contract beyond Friday. By cutting him, Portland won’t be on the hook for that money and will create a little extra roster flexibility entering free agency.

[RELATED: Early NBA Salary Guarantee Dates For 2023/24]

It’s a somewhat surprising move, given that Watford is just 22 years old and is coming off a pretty good season in Portland. He averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists with a shooting line of .560/.391/.720 in 62 appearances (19.1 MPG) in 2022/23.

Watford will become an unrestricted free agent if he passes through waivers, but given his age, his modest salary, and his solid track record, he’s a candidate to be claimed.

Although he’s on a minimum-salary contract, Watford’s deal initially covered four years, which means it can’t be claimed using the minimum salary exception. A team with interest in claiming the former LSU standout would need to have the cap room or a trade exception necessary to cover his $1.84MM salary.

If Watford is claimed, his 2023/24 salary would become guaranteed and his new club would hold a minimum-salary team option for ’24/25.

Injury Updates: Randle, Clippers, Sixers, Wolves, Blazers

The Knicks received both good and bad news on Wednesday night versus Miami. The good news is point guard Jalen Brunson was able to play after missing the past two games with a sprained right hand, and the Knicks came away with an important victory (Twitter link via the team).

The bad news is power forward Julius Randle sprained his left ankle after landing on Bam Adebayo‘s foot following an offensive rebound (YouTube link), with Randle remaining on the floor for a while in pain. He stayed in the game to shoot free throws, but headed back to the locker room with a trainer.

Randle was able to limp off the floor on his own, but as soon as he was back in the team’s tunnel he was bent over in discomfort. The Knicks later ruled him out for the remainder of the contest (via Twitter).

Hopefully the injury isn’t severe, particularly so late in the season. Randle has appeared in all 77 games for the Knicks and was named to his second All-Star team last month.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out of Wednesday’s game in Memphis due to personal reasons, per Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links). Head coach Tyronn Lue said the team is hopeful Leonard will only be out one game. On a positive note, Norman Powell was able to return to action after missing the past 11 games with a shoulder injury — he was previously listed as questionable.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid (calf soreness) and James Harden (Achilles soreness) were active for Wednesday’s game vs. Dallas, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to report the news (via Twitter). Embiid missed Monday’s loss in Denver with the injury, while Harden had missed four straight games.
  • The Timberwolves had several late additions to their injury report (Twitter link) ahead of tonight’s game in Phoenix. Kyle Anderson, Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince, Austin Rivers and Matt Ryan are all dealing with an illness that head coach Chris Finch described as an “intestinal flu,” according to Chis Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). Edwards and Anderson were able to suit up, but the Wolves later ruled out (via Twitter) the other three players as well as Jaylen Nowell, who continues to battle left knee tendinopathy.
  • In addition to four starters being held out with various injuries and surgeries sidelining a couple other players, the Trail Blazers added three young players to Wednesday’s injury report ahead of their matchup with Sacramento (Twitter link). Second-year guard Keon Johnson is out with a fractured right finger, while second-year big man Trendon Watford will miss his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Fourth-year wing Cam Reddish is doubtful due to lumbar soreness.

Northwest Notes: Watford, Walker, K. Johnson, KCP, Bolmaro

Strong showings by Trendon Watford and Jabari Walker in the Las Vegas Summer League may have eased any concerns the Trail Blazers have about front court depth, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

Watford, who signed a two-way contract with Portland last summer and was converted to a standard deal in February, was outstanding late in the season when injuries to teammates pushed him into a more prominent role. He remained productive in Las Vegas, averaging 13.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game as the Blazers captured the Summer League title.

Walker didn’t have flashy statistics in Vegas, but he showed he can be a valuable role player, Fentress states. Walker rebounded, played defense, set screens and did other things that will be necessary for him to earn consistent minutes in the NBA.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers shooting guard Keon Johnson also stood out during Summer League, Fentress adds. Johnson, who was acquired from the Clippers in February, looked like a former first-round pick, leading Portland’s squad in scoring at 14.2 PPG. Fentress doesn’t expect Johnson to be part of the rotation this season, barring injuries, but said he could see spot duty.
  • Although Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has found a new home with the Nuggets, who gave him a two-year extension last week, he didn’t expect to be traded by the Wizards, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. It marked the second straight offseason that Caldwell-Pope has been part of a significant trade. “My initial reaction was surprise because what me and my team and the Washington Wizards was talking about and communicating was different,” he said. “It was a surprise.”
  • Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune examines what the Jazz can expect from Leandro Bolmaro, who was part of the return in the Rudy Gobert trade. Bolmero, a 21-year-old swingman, is a 2020 first-round pick who made his NBA debut last season with the Timberwolves. Larsen notes that Bolmaro is an outstanding defender and a capable rebounder and playmaker, but there are questions about his ability to score.

Keegan Murray Named Las Vegas Summer League MVP

Kings forward Keegan Murray has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League, according to an announcement from the NBA (Twitter link).

Murray, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals in his four Summer League games. He also made 50% of his shots from the field and knocked down 40% of his 8.8 three-point attempts per contest.

It was a terrific start for a rookie who figures to play a major role for a Kings team that badly wants to end its 16-year playoff drought. The first player selected after the consensus top three prospects were off the board, Murray was rated behind No. 5 pick Jaden Ivey on some experts’ draft boards, so the two youngsters will likely be measured against one another for at least the first year or two of their professional careers.

Murray looks like he’ll be an excellent fit on a Kings roster led by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, two talented scorers who aren’t elite defenders or reliable outside shooters. The former Iowa standout is capable of stretching the floor and handling a variety of defensive assignments, so he’ll presumably see plenty of action alongside Sacramento’s two stars.

Tari Eason (Rockets), Quentin Grimes (Knicks), Sandro Mamukelashvili (Bucks), and Cam Thomas (Nets) joined Murray on the All-Summer League First Team, according to the league (Twitter links). Thomas and another King, Davion Mitchell, shared the Summer League MVP award in 2021.

This year’s All-Summer League Second Team is made up of Santi Aldama (Grizzlies), Bennedict Mathurin (Pacers), Marko Simonovic (Bulls), Trendon Watford (Trail Blazers), and Lindell Wigginton (Bucks).

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Watford, Hardy, Jokic, Russell, Finch

The Trail Blazers defeated the Knicks on Sunday to win the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League championship, winning the contest 85-77. Portland was led by Trendon Watford, who finished with 19 points and was named the championship game MVP.

In addition to his 19 points, Watford also recorded seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block, shooting 7-of-15 from the floor. The Blazers finished 4-1 during summer league play and also received a strong performance from two-way player Brandon Williams (22 points) in the final game.

There’s more from the Northwest Division this evening:

  • Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe interviewed new Jazz coach Will Hardy, who recently joined Utah after serving as an assistant with the Celtics. Hardy reflected on his experience with Boston, which included a successful trip to the NBA Finals. “It’s not lost on me that what our guys in Boston did on the floor is a huge reason why I had an opportunity to get this job,” Hardy said. “I think sometimes we can get a little bit full of ourselves as coaches thinking we’re the reason, and I think we’re a part of it. We have a role in the team, and the success of last year, I think the coaching staff had a part of that. But the players and what they did in between the lines and their winning … that’s a huge reason I got this job. So I feel very fortunate for the year in Boston for a variety of reasons.”
  • Mike Singer of the Denver Post examines how Nikola Jokic‘s super-max extension become a family reunion this summer. Jokic was joined by Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth and other staff members in his home country of Serbia before signing the extension.
  • The Timberwolves are hoping Rudy Gobert can help unlock the best version of D’Angelo Russell next season, head coach Chris Finch said, as relayed by Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. Hine and Finch also discussed a variety of other topics, including what the offense will look like, how Finch wants to see Jaden McDaniels grow, and more.

Trendon Watford Out At Least A Week With Leg Injuries

Trail Blazers forward Trendon Watford suffered a pair of leg injuries Saturday night that could result in an early end to his rookie season, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

The team announced that Watford has a hyperextended left knee and a bone bruise in his left leg, and his condition will be re-evaluated in a week. With just two weeks left in the regular season and little chance to reach the play-in tournament, Portland may decide to play it safe with Watford.

The injury occurred late in Saturday’s game against Houston when Watford stepped on Dennis Schröder‘s foot while driving to the basket. He collapsed to the court, and teammates and coaches had to help him to the locker room.

Watford, who led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds, has been a pleasant surprise in a lost season in Portland. He signed a two-way contract with the Blazers in August after going undrafted out of LSU and had that converted to a standard deal in February. He has appeared in 48 games, starting 10, and is averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per night.