Trendon Watford

Atlantic Notes: Barrett, Sharpe, Giles, Watford, Morris

RJ Barrett has provided the scoring punch the Raptors were seeking when they decided to trade for him last week, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Barrett had his best game since the deal Sunday night, posting 37 points in a lopsided win at Golden State.

“I’m just trying to help,” he said. “That’s all I’m trying to do, just trying to help. (Immanuel Quickley) and I, I think we’re adjusting great, but it’s a work in progress.”

Toronto is 3-1 with Barrett in the lineup, and he’s averaging 21.0 PPG while shooting 53.8% from the field and 52.6% from three-point range. Coach Darko Rajakovic noted that Barrett has been keeping the ball moving, handing out six assists on Sunday, and Barrett is enjoying the open shots he’s been getting in Toronto’s offense.

“Being here with the system we have, you get a lot of wide-open looks,” Barrett said. “We’re playing in a flow, in a rhythm, getting good shots that I work on every day … you know the ball is coming, you just have to be ready to shoot it.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets backup center Day’Ron Sharpe will undergo an MRI today after spraining his left knee late in Sunday’s game, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Sharpe had to be helped off the floor after a collision, and coach Jacque Vaughn said he won’t accompany the team on its flight to France for Thursday’s international game. “He’ll stay back, won’t travel with us to Paris right now,” Vaughn said. “We’ll see if he’s going to join us in Paris.”
  • Harry Giles and Trendon Watford were thrilled to remain with the Nets as they learned over the weekend their contracts will be guaranteed for the rest of the season, Lewis adds. “I’m officially official,” said Giles, who has battled injuries throughout his NBA career. “(General manager) Sean (Marks) texted me in the morning, told me, ‘Glad you’re a Net, you’re here to say, well deserved.’… When I came in this morning, I saw Sean again. He gave me a hug, told me congrats and I’m glad you’re here to stay.”
  • Marcus Morris talked to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer about how much it means to him to be playing for his hometown Sixers and hearing “from North Philly” as part of his pregame introduction. “If you would have asked me this, in a million years, I would have said I didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Morris, who was acquired from the Clippers earlier this season. “… My boys being able to see it. My family being able to see it. It was big for me. Just grateful for the opportunity.”

Atlantic Notes: Batum, Morris, Barnes, Celtics’ Reserves, Nets

It’s a mixed bag in terms of the availability of the players the Sixers acquired in the James Harden deal, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Nicolas Batum remains away from the team for personal reasons and coach Nick Nurse is unsure when he’ll return, while Marcus Morris is still ramping up after being out of the Clippers’ rotation. However, Robert Covington and KJ Martin have a chance to be in the Sixers’ rotation for the team’s game against Phoenix on Saturday.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Coming off a disappointing second NBA season, Raptors forward Scottie Barnes appears to be making major strides, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Barnes has been a steady force thus far while averaging 21.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists and shooting 52.6% from the field. While at times he’s tried to do too much, Barnes has also been a factor defensively, Koreen notes.
  • Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla organized a film session for his struggling bench on Tuesday and it paid off on Wednesday, as the backups lifted the team in a 155-point explosion against Indiana. The bench contributed 63 points. “I just thought we played with more of a sense of purpose, and they managed the game in that way,” Mazzulla said to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach (subscription required). “And there’s certain things that you can do to put yourself in a better situation in those. It’s defend without fouling, it’s limiting them to one shot, it’s not giving up transition. Those are the three things that they didn’t do in the Washington game and those are the three things that they did a great job of taking away [against the Pacers].”
  • Speaking of reserves, the Nets got similar performances from their bench in a victory over Miami on Wednesday. That group included  Armoni Brooks and Trendon Watford, making their first appearances with the Nets, and rookie second-rounder Jalen Wilson, Dan Martin of the New York Post notes. “This is a night when you see the depth and versatility of our group,’’ coach Jacque Vaughn said. “You also saw the fight and competitiveness of our group. Our pace didn’t change with subbing in guys.”

Nets Waive Darius Bazley

2:00pm: Bazley has been released, according to the Nets (Twitter link).

12:56pm: The Nets intend to waive big man Darius Bazley, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

A former first-round pick (23rd overall in 2019), Bazley signed a one-year deal with Brooklyn this summer as an unrestricted free agent after he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from Phoenix. However, his contract was non-guaranteed, and he was trying to make the Nets’ opening night roster.

With Bazley set to hit the waiver wire, it seems as though Harry Giles and Trendon Watford might have secured roster spots. The three players — all of whom are on non-guaranteed deals — appeared to be competing for the final two spots on the 15-man roster, with Brooklyn having 13 players on guaranteed standard contracts.

A 6’8″ forward/center, Bazley holds career averages of 9.1 PPG and 5.3 RPG on .411/.310/.673 shooting in 228 regular season games (118 starts, 23.6 MPG) with the Thunder and Suns. He averaged 5.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 1.0 SPG while shooting 42.9% from deep in three preseason contests with the Nets and is expected to draw interest as a free agent, according to Charania.

The Nets will have 19 players under contract once Bazley is officially released. They have one two-way slot open.

Atlantic Notes: Watford, Nets, Barnes, Holiday, White

Nets forward Trendon Watford, who is battling for a regular season roster spot, strengthened his case on Monday by scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 16 minutes vs. Philadelphia, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. As Lewis notes, Watford also hit a pair of three-pointers and even operated as a secondary play-maker.

“(Nets coach Jacque Vaughn) is always just encouraging me, telling me little things to get better at and little things he sees. In the time I’ve been here, he’s put the ball in my hands a lot. So he likes how I play-make and stuff,” Watford told Lewis. “So yeah, that’s really it; he just wants me to keep doing that and keep getting better defensively. And I think I’ve took a step forward in that.”

The Nets have 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus Watford, Darius Bazley, and Harry Giles on non-guaranteed deals, so those three players may be vying for two regular season roster spots. As Net Income of NetsDaily observes, with one two-way slot still open, there’s a path to keeping all three of those non-guaranteed players into the regular season — giving one of them a two-way contract.

However, while Watford and Giles are both eligible to sign a two-way deal, they can’t be converted directly since their contracts don’t include an Exhibit 10 clause. That means they’d have to pass through waivers and re-sign with Brooklyn in order to receive a two-way contract from the team.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Atlantic…

  • The Raptors made former Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes “off limits” in trade talks for Kevin Durant last year and Damian Lillard this offseason, league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN. Reports that linked Toronto to Durant and Lillard when they were available strongly indicated the team wasn’t willing to include Barnes in its offers.
  • A report earlier this month suggested that USA Basketball is aggressively pursuing Jrue Holiday for its 2024 Olympic roster. The Celtics guard said on Monday that he hasn’t heard directly from Team USA yet, but expressed interest in playing in Paris, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “Why not?” Holiday said. “I want to see what we can do out there.”
  • After starting 70 of the 82 games he played for the Celtics last season, Derrick White isn’t necessarily guaranteed a spot in the starting five following the acquisitions of Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. White said this week that he’s fine with starting or coming off the bench and will go with the flow, tweets Weiss.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Point Guards, Whitehead, Sharpe, More

Nets guard Ben Simmons is taking part in 5-on-5 workouts without any restrictions and is expected to be a full participant in training camp, head coach Jacque Vaughn and general manager Sean Marks said on Tuesday, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“Pretty simple that way which is good for me to say, and I think that fits into an exciting time for me to have this group together,” Vaughn said. “No restrictions at the beginning of the year — get to form an identity together, get to form some relationships at the beginning of the year, a style of play, so really looking forward to the challenge and getting to training camp because of that.”

In addition to discussing Simmons’ health, Vaughn confirmed something the former No. 1 overall pick said last month, telling reporters that the relationship between the two men is in a better place now than it was last season. As Bontemps details, Vaughn also agreed with Simmons’ assessment that he’s a point guard, though the head coach did offer a caveat.

“I would use the word ‘agreement’ more so than ‘commitment,'” Vaughn said when he was asked if he’s committed to playing Simmons at the point this season. “The agreement is if he’s playing at a consistent and high level, then I think our pictures look exactly the same. I think you can kind of put it in that category.”

Asked if Simmons is competing with Spencer Dinwiddie for minutes at point guard, Vaughn said the two guards will share the floor at times, with Dennis Smith Jr. also in the mix for a regular backcourt role, tweets Ian Begley of

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • There’s no specific timeline for the return of first-round pick Dariq Whitehead, who underwent foot surgery in the spring, but the Nets certainly don’t expect him to miss his entire rookie season, per Adam Zagoria of “We’re definitely not going to rush him,” Marks said. “We love the grit and determination. I wouldn’t put a timeline on when he’ll be back but he will definitely be playing this year.”
  • While Vaughn still expects to use smaller lineups frequently in 2023/24, he wants to give Day’Ron Sharpe an opportunity to earn a role since he’s one of the team’s best rebounders, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links). The head coach also said that he expects Simmons and center Nic Claxton to share the floor quite a bit, despite the spacing issues it created last season.
  • For the first time since 2018, the Nets won’t have any superstar players on their roster entering training camp. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be open to pursuing a star in the next year or two if the right opportunity arises, but it also doesn’t sound like they feel compelled to do so. “(Team owner) Joe Tsai, myself and (Vaughn) have talked openly about how this team will look in the upcoming years and when’s the right time to go back in,” Marks said, according to Bontemps. “Whether it’s facilitating another deal, whether it’s acquiring more players, whether it’s seeing what these young guys on our team right now can develop, and that’s an exciting piece too that we’re forgetting to mention. We’re certainly not in any hurry, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do our due diligence like we always have over the course of the last six years.”
  • Over at his Substack, Steve Lichtenstein explores why forward Trendon Watford has the potential to be a solid developmental piece for Brooklyn. Watford is on a non-guaranteed contract with the Nets.

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.