Wesley Matthews

Eastern Notes: Okoro, Horford, Matthews, P. Williams, Raptors

The Cavaliers and Isaac Okoro‘s representatives had “productive” talks ahead of Monday’s rookie scale extension deadline, but the two sides decided it was best to wait until next summer to address the forward’s contract situation, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Sources tell Fedor that the conversations about a new deal for Okoro were in the neighborhood of the deal signed by Mavericks wing Josh Green (three years, $41MM). However, the Cavaliers want to wait and see how the former lottery pick fits with this year’s roster following the offseason additions of Max Strus and Georges Niang, since he no longer projects to be a starter.

Speaking to Fedor on Wednesday, Okoro said he felt like he “should have gotten an extension” but that playing out his contract year won’t affect the way he approaches the season.

“Of course, I wanted an extension, but it happened the way it happened,” he said. “I love Cleveland. I love being here. I love being around the players, coaches, front office staff, trainers. Built great relationships. I don’t take it as a big deal.”

Here are a few more items from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics big man Al Horford told reporters on Wednesday that he won’t be in the starting lineup when the team’s season tips off in New York tonight, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). That suggests Derrick White and Jrue Holiday will both start alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis. For what it’s worth, head coach Joe Mazzulla said over the weekend that the Celtics will use multiple starting lineups this season, while Tatum said today that the team essentially has “six starters” (Twitter links via Jared Weiss of The Athletic and Bontemps).
  • Hawks swingman Wesley Matthews underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a mild right calf strain, the team announced today (Twitter link). According to the Hawks, Matthews will be reevaluated in two weeks, so he’ll miss at least Atlanta’s first seven games of the regular season.
  • While Bulls forward Patrick Williams admitted on Monday that he would “obviously” like to have “a big contract,” he vowed that his lack of rookie scale extension won’t be a distraction at all this season, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “Anything personal in my life that I’ve been going through, any time I step between those four lines, it’s gone,” Williams said.
  • Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca takes an in-depth look at the Raptors‘ roster, exploring the team’s cap and tax situation as well as potential next steps for Jeff Dowtin, who didn’t make the regular season cut.

Contract Details: Noel, Dowtin, White, Jordan, Matthews, More

The one-year, minimum-salary contract that Nerlens Noel signed with the Kings is currently only partially guaranteed for $300K, Hoops Rumors has learned. Noel would see his partial guarantee increase to $600K if he hasn’t been waived by the first game of the regular season this fall. In order to receive his full salary, he’d need to remain under contract through at least January 7.

Here are more details on a few recently signed NBA contracts:

  • Jeff Dowtin‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Raptors is fully non-guaranteed for the time being. However, the guard would receive a partial guarantee worth $900K if he’s not waived on or before October 21, reports Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link).
  • The Thunder signed Jack White to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that includes a $600K partial guarantee in year one and a team option for 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • The one-year, minimum-salary deals signed by DeAndre Jordan (Nuggets) and Wesley Matthews (Hawks) are fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • The two-way contracts signed by Omari Moore (Bucks) and Leaky Black (Hornets) cover two years rather than just one, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • Sixers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson waived their right to veto trades during their 2023/24 season, Hoops Rumors has learned. As we detailed earlier today, players who re-sign with their previous teams on one-year deals (or two-year deals with a second-year option) get trade veto rights by default, but can choose to give up those rights.

Hawks Sign Wesley Matthews

JULY 22: Matthews’ deal with the Hawks is official, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

JULY 21: Free agent wing Wesley Matthews has agreed to a one-year deal with the Hawks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowki of ESPN.

Matthews, 36, is joining the Hawks after spending the last two seasons – and three of the last four – with the Bucks. In three seasons in Milwaukee, Matthews averaged 5.5 points and shot 34.6% from beyond the arc. Matthews joins Patty Mills as the second veteran shooter the Hawks have added this offseason.

The Hawks now have 17 players on standard contracts. Guard Tyrese Martin‘s $1.7MM contract is on track to become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived today (unless he agrees to push that guarantee date back) while guard Vit Krejci‘s $1.8MM contract is non-guaranteed with a Jan. 7 guarantee date.

Just because Martin and Krejci are on non-guaranteed contracts doesn’t mean they are necessarily on the chopping block. Atlanta has reportedly been exploring deals involving both Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter after shipping out John Collins earlier this offseason, so the team could theoretically create more roster spots via trades of Capela, Hunter or other players on the roster, like Garrison Mathews or Bruno Fernando, who each played sparingly after arriving in Atlanta at the trade deadline.

Further, we don’t yet know the nature of Matthews’ contract with Atlanta. While Wojnarowski reports that Matthews is signing a one-year deal, it will likely be worth the veteran’s minimum, and it’s unclear whether or not it’ll be fully guaranteed.

Bucks Notes: Haslam, Lopez, Depth, Giannis, Matthews

Before buying a stake in the franchise, Jimmy Haslam first spoke to Bucks co-owner Wes Edens when he was mulling the possibility of bidding for the Timberwolves, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“We actually took a look at the Minnesota Timberwolves and a friend of mine said, ‘You should call Wes Edens, he operates a team in the upper Midwest, they’ve had great success,'” Haslam said. “‘Cause you’re concerned, can you attract players, can you win in a small market? So we had about an hour-and-a-half conversation and Wes was hugely helpful.”

While Haslam didn’t end up investing in the Timberwolves, his conversation with Edens made him more comfortable jumping at the chance to purchase a stake in the Bucks when the opportunity arose. Asked for his thoughts about the future of the team in Milwaukee, Haslam expressed confidence in the Bucks’ long-term outlook.

“The first time Wes and I ever talked was (asking) could an NBA team not just reside here, but could it be successful? And they’ve obviously proved they can,” Haslam said. “They’ve punched way over their weight in almost everything in the NBA, starting first of all on the court, which is what counts. I anticipate the team being here for a long time. Listen, this isn’t a turnaround situation. These guys have done a hell of a job, so we’re gonna be quiet and listen and learn, and if we can help down the road, that’s great.”

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Brook Lopez made an All-Star team back in 2013 but has never played in the Olympics and fell just short of earning his first Defensive Player of the Year award this spring. Although he’d like to earn more accolades before he calls it a career, Lopez says he’s motivated by missing out, per Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I use all that stuff,” he said. “I’d like to be a part of an Olympic team. I still feel like I have a long career left. Hopefully playing the way I play, maybe a couple of all-stars? I have my personal goals, but the way things roll out, it’s definitely motivation for me.”
  • Without Giannis Antetokounmpo available in Game 2 due to his lower back contusion, the Bucks showed off their depth and proved that they’re capable of holding down the fort until the MVP finalist returns, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN.com. Pat Connaughton was one of the role players who provided a critical spark for the team, Owczarski writes for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Will Antetokounmpo be able to return for Game 3 in Miami? That’s still to be determined, as the star forward has been listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest. Giannis did some individual work on Friday, but didn’t take part in practice with his teammates, per Owczarski.
  • Wesley Matthews, who played nearly 18 minutes in Game 1 of the series and then missed Game 2 with a right calf strain, has been ruled out for Game 3 as well. A source with knowledge of the situation tells Owczarski that the Bucks are hopeful Matthews’ strain isn’t as severe as the one that sidelined him for nine games in February and March.

Bucks Notes: Matthews, Middleton, Holiday, Lopez

The Bucks have been limiting Wesley Matthews‘ playing time to keep him fresh for the postseason, and the 36-year-old swingman showed Wednesday what his playoff impact might be, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Amid injuries to several teammates, Matthews played 30 minutes against the Bulls, contributing seven points and eight rebounds while frustrating DeMar DeRozan on defense.

Matthews has appeared in just 50 games this season and has logged 15.8 minutes per night, the lowest figure of his career. He hasn’t necessarily endorsed the reduced role, but he’s willing to do whatever coach Mike Budenholzer believes is best for the team.

“It’s tough to manage, but within that, it’s understanding that you can still impact the game and that goes back to what my mom told me, I think probably when I was like four or five years old is that there’s so many ways that you can impact the basketball game,” Matthews said. “Other than my high school time, my high school career, I’ve never been the leading scorer on my team. Could I have done it? Probably. But that wasn’t what was asked of me. It was to win. Help the team win, and by any means necessary.”

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Khris Middleton left Wednesday’s game in the first quarter with soreness in his right knee after appearing to hurt it on a jump shot (video link), Nehm adds. Budenholzer wasn’t able to offer much information on Middleton’s condition, but he called it a “re-aggravation of kind of something that we’ve been working with him on all year.” Middleton has dealt with a variety of ailments that have limited him to 33 games. He missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery and experienced persistent knee pain around the All-Star break.
  • Jrue Holiday is close to wrapping up another bonus, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Holiday will receive a bonus if he averages 7.3 assists per game, and he’s at 7.4 after picking up 15 assists against Chicago.
  • With 26 points on Wednesday, Brook Lopez reached the 20-point mark for the 26th time this season, tweets Kane Pittman of ESPN Australia. That matches his total during his first four years with the Bucks as he’s enjoying his best scoring season since 2016/17. Lopez is also among the top contenders for Defensive Player of the Year honors and is in position to land another significant contract at age 35.

Central Notes: Allen, Antetokounmpo, Matthews, Bagley

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen didn’t suffer any structural damage to his right eye after getting hit in the face by Miami’s Bam Adebayo on Friday, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Allen’s eye is bloodshot and puffy but he shouldn’t miss significant time.

“We’re extremely fortunate and he’s extremely fortunate,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Any time you take a shot to the eye like that, there are so many different things that can happen. There’s the other guy’s fingernail and the placement of the hit and all those things that come to mind that it could have been. … It’s something we believe he will recover from pretty quickly.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The right hand soreness that caused Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss Saturday’s game against Golden State is a byproduct of an earlier ailment, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Antetokounmpo’s current injury stems from the right wrist injury he suffered against the Bulls before the All-Star Game, coach Mike Budenholzer told the media.
  • Bucks guard Wesley Matthews appears close to returning from a calf strain, according to Budenholzer, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Matthews hasn’t played since Feb. 16.
  • Add Marvin Bagley III to the list of sidelined Pistons players. He’ll miss the rematch with the Pacers on Monday after departing early in Detroit’s loss to Indiana on Saturday due to right ankle soreness, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Jaden Ivey will miss the game due to health and safety protocols, while Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks are nursing injuries. Isaiah Stewart, Hamidou Diallo and Cade Cunningham are not expected to play the remainder of the season.

Health Updates: Lakers, Horford, Matthews, Payton

The Lakers will be shorthanded on Wednesday night in Toronto, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group, who tweets that star forwards Anthony Davis and LeBron James have both been ruled out by the team.

Davis is still battling the non-COVID illness that forced him to leave Tuesday’s contest in Cleveland early, while James is getting the second night of a back-to-back set off due to left ankle soreness. The Lakers have also listed guard Patrick Beverley as doubtful to play due to right knee soreness.

Here are a few more health-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Celtics big man Al Horford has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Phoenix after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (via Twitter). If Horford has tested positive for COVID-19, it will likely be at least a few days before he’s cleared to return, so his availability for the rest of Boston’s West Coast trip is up in the air.
  • Bucks wing Wesley Matthews has also been placed in the health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for Wednesday’s contest vs. Sacramento, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Like Horford, Matthews could miss more games beyond tonight’s.
  • Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II is inching closer to his season debut following offseason abdominal surgery. Teammate Damian Lillard told reporters on Wednesday that Payton practiced in full today, tweets Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

Central Notes: Osman, LaVine, Middleton, Matthews, Pistons

Cedi Osman has received sporadic playing time and has been the subject of trade rumors but the Cavaliers forward has usually taken advantage of his opportunities, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes.

After playing just seven minutes against Charlotte on Friday, Osman got 37 minutes of court action the next night against Miami and put up 20 points and 12 rebounds. He’s likely to receive plenty of playing time on Monday with Caris LeVert out due to an ankle sprain.

“He’s one of those guys where there’s a spirit and an energy that we depend on, and we know the lift he gives us,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think Friday night he didn’t play as much, and I think he wanted to show he was going to take advantage of his minutes.”

Osman’s future beyond 2022/23 is uncertain, as his salary for next season isn’t guaranteed.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Zach LaVine said there’s no ill feelings between him and Bulls coach Billy Donovan, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. LaVine was upset when he was benched during a loss to Orlando on Friday. “Me and Billy talk all the time,” LaVine said. “It’s a tough decision. Obviously, I’m a competitive guy. I want to play. I just told him I feel like I’ve earned the right to go out there and try to play through a bad game. His decision was to try to do the best thing for the team, which I respect. If we won, obviously I would’ve been ecstatic. We lost, I wasn’t. I had a terrible game.”
  • The Bucks assigned Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews to the G League’s Wisconsin Herd, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. That allowed the rehabbing players to get some practice time. The Bucks didn’t practice since they’re playing against Portland on Monday.
  • The Pistons played without three injured starters — Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart — at Sacramento on Sunday and lost despite scoring a season-high 129 points. Coach Dwane Casey said the team needs to push through adversity, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “It’s not ‘Woe is me’ right now in the locker room,” Casey said. “We’ve got to stay together, stay connected.”

Central Notes: White, P. Williams, Mobley, Bucks, More

Bulls guard Coby White, the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft, was eligible for a rookie scale extension up until Monday’s deadline, but he never really thought he’d sign a new deal this year, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

“No, no. I didn’t,” White said on Tuesday. “I wasn’t really focused on that. Just play this year out. I put in a lot of work this summer, so let my work show, and take it from there.”

White also dismissed the idea that entering a contract year and playing for his next contract will provide any extra motivation this season: “Nah, I love playing basketball. That’s all the motivation I need. I love playing, I love hooping. I’ve had motivation my whole life. I ain’t gonna change nothing now.”

In other Bulls news, the team’s 2020 lottery pick, Patrick Williams, will open the season as the starting power forward, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed today (Twitter link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic). Williams came off the bench in multiple preseason games as Javonte Green shone, but Green will be part of the second unit to open the season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers feel as if Evan Mobley has Hall of Fame potential and believe his development is the key to whether the team can become a legitimate championship contender, Chris Fedor writes in an excellent article for Cleveland.com. “Evan needs to be in a position where people look at us and say, ‘Evan is their best player,'” assistant coach Greg Buckner said. “It can’t be, ‘Donovan (Mitchell) is their best player, Darius (Garland) is their best player or J.A. (Jarrett Allen) is their best player.’ It has to be Evan.” That view is shared by head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, according to assistant coach Luke Walton. “J.B. talks about it all the time with us: We need Evan to be one of the best players in this league, if not the best player in this league, if we’re gonna win championships,” Walton said. “That’s our mission coming from J.B. — help him get to that level.”
  • Hoops Rumors has confirmed that Didi Louzada is eligible to become an affiliate player for the Cleveland Charge after signing a two-way contract (rather than an Exhibit 10 deal) with the Cavaliers on Monday and being waived shortly thereafter. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype first reported the Cavs’ plan to secure Louzada’s G League rights.
  • With Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles already ruled out for the start of the season, the Bucks will also be without Pat Connaughton for a few weeks, prompting Eric Nehm of The Athletic to explore how the team will deal with all its injury absences. As Nehm details, George Hill, Jevon Carter, and Wesley Matthews all figure to play increased roles, with young wings Jordan Nwora and MarJon Beauchamp potentially seeing action too.
  • Pacers forward James Johnson was happy to earn the team’s final roster spot, beating out Langston Galloway and Deividas Sirvydis. However, as Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files relays, Johnson knows that he can’t get comfortable yet, since his contract still isn’t fully guaranteed for the season. “It’s an honor for this spot, but at the end of the day I’m still vulnerable,” he said.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Giannis, Lopez, Injuries

Khris Middleton wants to be on the court when the Bucks open their season Thursday at Philadelphia, but the decision will likely be made for him by the team’s medical staff, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Middleton was knocked out of the playoffs by a sprained MCL in his left knee, but it was a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist that he suffered late in the season that forced him to have surgery.

Middleton said his legs feel rested after his first full offseason since 2019, but he’s not sure if he’ll get medical clearance to play in the opener.

“I would like to, but I’ve learned in the past to trust my training staff and doctors,” he said. “They know what they’re doing. This is my first time going through this and they’ve been through it many a times and they’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. So I’ve learned just listen to ‘em. I mean, you can push yourself, but don’t really.”

Middleton is starting his 10th season in Milwaukee, and his future with the organization is going to become an important topic at some point. He hasn’t decided what to do with his $40.4MM player option for next season, although he admits that staying with the Bucks is his first choice.

“I think everybody knows that,” he said. “Even though I know you’re really not supposed to say it for all the reasons out there, but I think everybody knows deep down that I want to stay. But also, you know it’s a business. Things change, things happen. You just never know. For sure I would love to stay. If everything works out … Of course if they give me whatever I want I’m there! I’m there.”

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Coach Mike Budenholzer dismissed any concerns about the team’s 0-5 preseason, but Giannis Antetokounmpo said it shows there are areas that need improvement, Owczarski adds in a separate story“Right now, I feel like we’re not vocal enough,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’re not urgent enough. We’re not hungry enough. But at the end of the day, it’s the preseason. We have the whole regular season to find ourselves.”
  • The preseason struggles might be a result of a new defensive scheme that Budenholzer is implementing, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The Bucks are placing a greater emphasis on trying to prevent opponents from taking three-point shots. “I think it’s about finding that balance,” Brook Lopez said. “I don’t think it’s for lack of trying or anything like that. We’re figuring things out, and that’s what these preseason games are for, and I think we’re confident of the team we’re capable of being.”
  • The Bucks have some health concerns heading into the regular season, Nehm tweetsPat Connaughton is “going to be a little bit” due to a calf injury, Budenholzer said. Thanasis Antetokounmpo has been sidelined with a non-COVID illness, and the team hopes Wesley Matthews will be cleared to return Monday.