Wendell Moore

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Wright, Hayes, Grizzlies, Okoro, More

He may not be a splashy name, but veteran point guard Tyus Jones is drawing interest from a variety of teams on the trade market, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

The Lakers and Timberwolves have previously been linked to Jones, which Scotto confirms. However, he also adds three new possible suitors to the list: the Magic, Spurs and Nets.

As Scotto previously reported, the Wizards want a first-round pick back for Jones, preferably one beyond the 2024 draft, with a chance at being a top-20 selection. However, rival executives are reportedly confident that Washington will ultimately accept multiple second-rounders for the 27-year-old, who likely wouldn’t be a starter in certain situations and is on an expiring $14MM contract.

Jones has been the NBA’s assist-to-turnover leader for several years running and is posting career highs in several categories as a full-time starter for the first time in his NBA career, averaging 12.2 PPG, 6.3 APG (against 0.9 TOV), 2.8 RPG and 1.2 SPG on .491/.392/.758 shooting in 49 games (28.5 MPG). He has limitations too of course, namely size (he’s listed at 6’1″, 196 lbs.), which limits his defensive versatility.

It’s worth noting that San Antonio currently deploys Jones’ younger brother, Tre Jones, as its starting point guard, though the Spurs are reportedly on the lookout for a long-term fixture at the position, viewing Tre as more of a strong backup.

The Magic seem like an odd fit for Jones, since they have Markelle Fultz (another impending free agent), Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Anthony Black as backcourt players who can initiate offense, though those duties are frequently handled by Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Jones would obviously help on the turnovers front, but he’s small as opposed to rangy and athletic, which is the mold of the rest of Orlando’s roster, and he isn’t a high-volume long-range shooter (3.7 three-point attempts per game), which is a team weakness.

Here’s more from Scotto’s latest rumor round-up:

  • The Celtics, Kings and Timberwolves are among the teams with interest in Wizards guard Delon Wright, sources tell Scotto. Washington is looking for second-round picks for the veteran guard, who had a previous stint with Sacramento back in 2020/21. Known for his excellent defense, Wright is on an expiring $8.2MM contract.
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required) reported on Sunday that Killian Hayes‘ camp preferred a change of scenery, and sources tell Scotto the Grizzlies are among the teams to show interest in the fourth-year Pistons guard. Hayes has fallen out of Detroit’s rotation of late and could be a restricted free agent if given a qualifying offer this summer. As for players rivals teams are monitoring from Memphis’ side, Scotto hears Xavier Tillman, Ziaire Williams and Jake LaRavia are all considered potential trade candidates. Tillman will be an unrestricted free agent, while former first-rounders Williams (third year) and LaRavia (second) are still on rookie scale deals.
  • Forward Danilo Gallinari is another Pistons trade candidate, Scotto adds, with the Lakers checking in on the asking price for the Italian veteran.
  • Cavaliers wing Isaac Okoro is considered a trade candidate by rival teams, Scotto writes. One GM who spoke to HoopsHype speculated that Okoro could get $14MM annually in free agency this summer — right around the projected mid-level exception for 2024/25. As with Hayes, Okoro will be a restricted free agent if he’s tendered a qualifying offer, otherwise he’d be unrestricted and free to sign with any team. According to Scotto, the Knicks, Hawks, Pacers, Suns and Bucks are all worth watching, as they all have an interest in two-way wings.
  • In addition to Tyus Jones, Monte Morris, Bones Hyland and Wright, the Timberwolves also have interest in Pistons guard Alec Burks, Scotto reports. As Sankofa reported, the Pistons value Burks and “aren’t eager” to part with him. Sankofa suggested it would take a “strong offer” for Detroit to trade the 32-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. As for players Minnesota might move, rival executives are eyeing Wendell Moore, Shake Milton and Troy Brown, according to Scotto.
  • The Timberwolves are “hopeful” about their chances of re-signing veteran point guard Mike Conley this summer, Scotto adds. Conley, 36, has started all 45 of his games this year for Minnesota, averaging 10.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.8 RPG and 1.0 SPG while shooting 43.6% from long distance. He’s making $24.4MM in the final year of his deal.
  • The Celtics continue to look for bench upgrades, with minimum-salary players and draft picks the likely outgoing pieces in a deal, according to Scotto.

Wolves Exercise 2024/25 Team Option On Wendell Moore Jr.

The Timberwolves have picked up their third-year team option on second-year wing Wendell Moore Jr., the team announced in a press release.

Moore, the 26th overall pick in the 2022 draft out of Duke, will now have a guaranteed $2,537,040 salary in 2024/25. The Wolves will have until the end of October 2024 to decide if they want to pick up their fourth-year team option on Moore’s rookie scale contract for ’25/26.

The 22-year-old only appeared in 153 regular season minutes over 29 NBA games (5.3 MPG) as a rookie in ’22/23. He was not in Minnesota’s rotation for the team’s season opener on Wednesday.

Moore did receive some run in the G League for the Iowa Wolves last season, appearing in 13 total games (31.1 MPG) during the Showcase Cup and regular season. He averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.7 APG and 4.6 RPG on .451/.370/.793 shooting in those appearances.

Many teams have already made decisions on 2024/25 rookie scale team options this fall, with the deadline set for next Tuesday, October 31. However, some decisions are still outstanding. The full list can be found right here.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Wolves, Thunder Roster, OKC Arena

A month after Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Trail Blazers, specifically to the Heat, there’s little movement on a deal with Miami or any other team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (video link).

Lillard’s huge contract, not his desired destination, is the biggest impediment. His contract runs through the 2026/27 season and he’ll make an estimated $58.5MM the previous season before a $63.2MM option in the final year.

“It has simply been – for a lot of teams – his age and the idea of playing him over 60 million dollars at 35 and 36 years old, the last two years of his deal,” Wojnarowski said. “Right not, there’s just not been a lot of engagement among teams on a Lillard trade.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder might be in a position this upcoming season where they start trading assets rather than hoarding them, The Ringer’s Michael Pina writes.  The team may be good enough to warrant some moves that increase its chances of winning in the short term, not just the long term. The Thunder could begin attaching salary to draft capital for more established players, rather than doing the reverse.
  • The Timberwolves’ best chance at improvement is to develop young players like Josh Minott, Wendell Moore, Luka Garza and Leonard Miller, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. The article details Minnesota’s efforts to coach up those reserves. “When you have the roster that we have, we’ve got to be able to develop some of these young guys and turn them into real players,” assistant coach Max Lefevre said. “It’s just huge.”
  • Oklahoma City mayor David Holt is more concerned about square footage than a seating capacity exceeding 20,000 in the Thunder’s proposed new arena, Steve Lackmeyer of The Oklahoman relays. Holt addressed a number of questions about the arena and other Thunder-related topics while answering readers’ questions. “Seating capacity is actually not that big of an issue in modern arena planning. The real issue for teams is square footage because the real revenue drivers for users are happening outside of the bowl,” Holt wrote. “That’s why it is so damaging for sports and concerts that our arena is dead-last of all NBA arenas in square footage. Some arenas are literally twice our size and most are 40-50 percent larger. I can’t tell you what the seating capacity of a new arena will be, but the current capacity is not really an issue and hasn’t really come up.”

Western Notes: Lakers, Z. Williams, Grant, Moore

The Lakers have internally discussed the possibility of packaging Russell Westbrook and draft picks in a trade offer to the Bulls for DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast.

“The trade I saw (speculated by Bill Simmons of The Ringer) was Russ and both (2027 and 2029 first-round) picks – one with light protection on it, I think – for DeRozan and Vucevic,” Lowe said (hat tip to RealGM). “I can tell you 100% for sure the Lakers have had internal discussions about that very possibility, (about) if it would ever come up.”

Lowe quickly added a caveat, clarifying that the Lakers wouldn’t necessarily pull the trigger on that deal even if the Bulls were interested in it. I’ll add my own caveat: “internal” trade talks should be taken with a grain of salt, since all 30 teams will internally discuss many, many trade scenarios that will never come to fruition or even be broached to potential trade partners.

Still, as Lowe went on to explain, it makes sense for the Lakers to keep an eye on would-be playoff contenders who might struggle this season and decide to pivot to becoming sellers. The Bulls are off to a disappointing 9-13 start.

“You look around the league, like any responsible team would, and say, ‘OK, we know the Pacers option is there, the Utah option was there, the Spurs option doesn’t excite us much,'” Lowe said of the Lakers’ approach to Westbrook’s trade market. “… Both picks for the Bulls guys is certainly something their brain trust has thought about. Otherwise they’d be irresponsible.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Grizzlies forward Ziaire Williams, who has yet to play this season due to a right knee injury, is getting close to returning, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter links). Williams has been doing 5-on-5 work as he enters the final stage of his rehab process.
  • Responding to Michael Scotto’s interview with Jerami Grant, which addressed Grant’s upcoming free agency, Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden Report (Twitter link) says he doesn’t expect the Trail Blazers forward to even reach free agency next summer. Highkin believes the Blazers and Grant will reach an extension after he becomes eligible for a longer-term deal in January. For what it’s worth, Portland would be limited during the season to offering a four-year, $112.65MM extension, so if Grant – who is having a career year so far – wants to try to get more than that, he’d have to wait for his current contract to expire and become a free agent.
  • In their first game without Karl-Anthony Towns available on Wednesday, the Timberwolves turned to rookie Wendell Moore to fill out their starting lineup. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes, Moore – who had played just 11 total minutes in four NBA appearances prior to Wednesday – was as surprised as anyone by the decision. “I came here and it was just another day,” this year’s No. 26 overall pick said after playing 20 minutes in a win over Memphis. “Came to get my work in. I was going to cheer my teammates on and just get this win. Once I got the news, I knew I had to shift my mind-set into gear and be ready to go.”

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Moore, Minott, Mitchell, Porter Jr.

Damian Lillard hasn’t joined many of his peers by demanding a trade or signing with another team as a free agent during his career. The Trail Blazers star just signed a two-year max extension and says there’s power in loyalty, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes.

“Something that’s missing in our league is the character and the fight and the passion and pride about not just the name on the back, but the name on the front and how you impact the people you come into contact with,” Lillard said. “I think because of how much I’ve embraced that, and haven’t pretended to embrace it, this just shows the power in that.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves rookie draft picks Wendell Moore and Josh Minott have shown promise but also growing pains during Summer League play, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Moore has a shot to be the team’s No. 3 point guard and Minott, a frontcourt player, has intriguing potential as well. “I guess my playbook is going to open up a little bit for him, I’ll tell you that,” assistant coach Kevin Burleson said of Minott. “Some of the stuff he did, I didn’t know he could do. I didn’t see that in practice or the camp.”
  • While the Jazz reportedly are building their roster around Donovan Mitchell, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on Brian Windhorst’s podcast that there are whispers around the league that “(top executive) Danny Ainge is not convinced Mitchell can be the face of a contending franchise,” as HoopsHype relays.
  • Michael Porter Jr. offered another encouraging update on his health, Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports tweets. The Nuggets forward says he has fully recovered from his latest back surgery. “I’m doing really well. I’m feeling good,” he said. “I just continue to give all the glory to God. I’m feeling great. I’m able to workout as much as I want. No pain or anything. I’m in a really good spot. I’m excited to get back with the team.”

Timberwolves Sign Wendell Moore To Rookie Deal

The Timberwolves have signed Wendell Moore to his rookie scale contract, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

Moore was selected with the No. 26 pick. The Mavericks held the pick and agreed to trade it to Houston as part of the Christian Wood deal. Houston then re-routed the pick to Minnesota for the rights to TyTy Washington and two future second-rounders.

The former Duke wing’s four-year deal is worth $11,839,563, assuming the usual 120% rate above the rookie scale. His first-year salary would come out to $2,306,520.

Northwest Notes: Green, Hart, Timberwolves Draft, Jazz Targets

JaMychal Green was officially traded to the Thunder by the Nuggets on Thursday, but it’s unlikely the forward will ever suit up for Oklahoma City. General manager Sam Presti says they’ll look to trade Green, Brandon Rahbar of the Daily Thunder tweets. Green, 32, is at the stage of his career where he provides greater value to a contender than a rebuilding team. He’s on an $8.2MM expiring contract for 2022/23.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Josh Hart had his $12.96MM contract guaranteed by the Trail Blazers over the weekend. However, it shouldn’t have major implications on Portland’s offseason moves, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The Blazers now have $105MM in guaranteed contracts but they’re over the cap because of the free agent holds on Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic. They still could have the flexibility to re-sign those two free agents and use the full $10.5MM mid-level exception to pursue outside targets.
  • The Timberwolves prioritized rebounding in the draft and addressed that by making moves to select Auburn’s Walker Kessler, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes. Kessler was the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year. They also wound up with Duke wing Wendell Moore late in the first round and Memphis wing Josh Minott and Italian guard Matteo Spagnolo in the second round. President of basketball operations Tim Connelly isn’t expecting too much out of those rookies. “We don’t want to put too much expectations on their ability to contribute right away,” he told The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “When you have a team that had as much success as we did, it’s hard to put that on your shoulders.”
  • What might the Jazz do with their taxpayer mid-level exception in free agency? Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune lists 25 potential free agent targets — breaking them down into wings, guards and bigs.

Wolves Acquire Wendell Moore From Rockets

JUNE 24: The two future picks the Rockets are receiving in the trade are the Timberwolves’ own 2025 and 2027 second-rounders, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The deal is now official, according to a press release from the Wolves.

JUNE 23: The Rockets are rerouting the first-round pick they’re acquiring from the Mavericks in the Christian Wood deal to the Timberwolves, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Duke guard Wendell Moore, who was chosen at No. 26, is thus headed to Minnesota.

Houston is receiving the No. 29 pick in this year’s draft, plus two future second-rounders, Wojnarowski reports in another tweet. The Rockets used that first-rounder to select Kentucky guard TyTy Washington.

Moore averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 4.6 APG for the Blue Devils. Washington averaged 12.5 PPG and 3.9 APG for the Wildcats.

Draft Notes: Mocks, Big Men, O’Neal, Jovic, Kessler

Both John Hollinger of The Athletic and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report recently released their final mock drafts ahead of tomorrow’s 2022 NBA draft. The divergence between the two starts at the top, with Hollinger projecting Chet Holmgren to go No. 1 overall to the Magic, while Wasserman takes the more common approach with Jabari Smith going to Orlando.

Hollinger notes that Orlando’s front office has shown an affinity for length in the past, and believes Holmgren’s tantalizing rim protection skills might be too enticing to pass up. Wasserman, on the other hand, says Holmgren’s thin frame and “slower delivery when creating” make some talent evaluators slightly nervous, and Smith’s age (he’s a year younger than Holmgren) and maturity make him a safer choice, plus Smith is considered to have as much upside as anyone in the draft.

There’s considerable overlap in several spots between the two mock drafts, but perhaps not in areas one might expect. For example, both mocks have Jaden Ivey going No. 4 to Sacramento, even though the guard hasn’t worked out for or been in contact Kings, and wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect of joining the team in a media session earlier this week.

As Wasserman observes, the Kings didn’t work out Davion Mitchell or Tyrese Haliburton prior to drafting them with their two most recent lottery picks, so if Ivey is the top prospect on their board, don’t be surprised if he’s selected (Haliburton was traded to Indiana in February for Domantas Sabonis).

Both Hollinger and Wasserman have Wendell Moore Jr. going No. 22 to Memphis, which is interesting because he’s ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board, so that’s a pretty sizeable jump up. Hollinger also hears the Grizzlies are fans of Dalen Terry, who is No. 24 on ESPN’s board. Memphis is reportedly interested in moving up in the draft, as it controls the Nos. 29 and 47 picks in addition to No. 22.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • David Aldridge of The Athletic queried college coaches, scouts and NBA executives to get their anonymous opinions on the top-rated big men in the draft, including Holmgren, whom one Western Conference executive described as a “mystery.” “You just don’t know how he and the body are going to react to the next level of stress,” the exec said. “… His skill level is awesome, but who does he guard at the next level? What does he play? Hardest-working freshman ever at Gonzaga. Work ethic and intangibles are way better than what showed up on the court.”
  • Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, said his father was against him leaving school early. “We kind of bump heads about this process,” Shareef said, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California Newsgroup. “He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this. He knows I’m working out with teams. But I’m not gonna lie, we ain’t talked about this.” Shareef isn’t ranked on ESPN’s board, so he’s considered likely to go undrafted.
  • Nikola Jovic and Walker Kessler have become the 23rd and 24th prospects to receive green room invitations, sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links). Jovic is ranked No. 27 on ESPN’s board, while Kessler is No. 23.

Southeast Notes: Beal, M. Williams, Ross, Atkinson, Hornets Workout

Bradley Beal didn’t provide any hints regarding free agency during a public appearance today, but he revealed that “a lot” of players have been encouraging him to join their teams, writes Noah Trister of The Associated Press. Beal is facing a decision on a $36.4MM player option for next season that will have a huge effect on the Wizards‘ future, but he didn’t give any indication on which way he’s leaning.

The star guard did provide an update on his injured left wrist, which required surgery in February that brought his season to an early end. He said the recovery process is going well and estimates that 80-90% of his range of motion has returned.

“The rest is going to be strengthening and stuff,” he said. “I’m cleared to do stuff on the court now, which is good.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • After working out for the Wizards today, Mark Williams said it’s the last one on his schedule before Thursday’s draft, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Duke center also had sessions with the Hornets, Knicks, Spurs and Bulls.
  • The Magic are still trying to find a taker for Terrence Ross, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Prior to February’s deadline, Orlando was asking for a first-round pick in exchange for the 31-year-old swingman, but Scotto says teams are hoping the price will fall to multiple second-rounders, just as it did when the Magic traded Evan Fournier. Ross has an expiring $11.5MM contract for next season.
  • Before changing his mind about becoming the Hornets‘ next head coach, Kenny Atkinson called all the team’s current assistants and had planned to meet with every staff member before the draft, tweets Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
  • The Hornets hosted six players in a pre-draft workout today, the team tweeted. On hand were Keve Aluma of Virginia Tech, Jamaree Bouyea of San Francisco, Yoan Makoundou of Cholet Basket in France, Wendell Moore of Duke, Scotty Pippen Jr. of Vanderbilt and Jaden Shackelford of Alabama. Charlotte owns the 13th, 15th and 45th picks in the draft.