Will Barton

And-Ones: MVP Race, Awards Announcements, Barton, Betting, Barkley

Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award. ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Tim Bontemps take a closer look at the contenders and reveal the results of a straw poll. Jokic is the clear favorite to win the award for the third time, while Lowe gives Doncic the edge for second place due to his superior play-making.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Speaking of the MVP race, the league will announce the winner on Wednesday night, according to NBA Communications (Twitter link). The Rookie of the Year award will be announced on Monday and the Defensive Player of the Year will be revealed on Tuesday. Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert, respectively, are the favorites for those two awards.
  • Former NBA forward Will Barton has joined Cangrejeros de Santurce, a Puerto Rican team, according to Sportando. Bardon also had short stints wih CSKA Moscow and Granada this season. Barton played a total of 56 games for Washington and Toronto last season.
  • In the aftermath of Jontay Porter getting banned from the NBA for gambling-related offenses related to prop bets, the NBA and its partner sportsbooks are discussing changes to combat similar occurrences in the future, David Purdum of ESPN reports. Among the changes that have been discussed is prohibiting betting on players with two-way contracts. There have also been discussions on not allowing bets on the “under” on a player prop, though there are concerns that restricting wagers could push bettors into the unregulated betting market.
  • Charles Barkley stated on the Dan Patrick Show (Twitter link) that if TNT loses its NBA broadcasting rights, he’ll become a free agent. He’s unsure about “Inside the NBA” moving to another network because host Ernie Johnson said he wouldn’t leave Turner Sports. The NBA is in serious negotiations with NBC, Amazon and ESPN/ABC to split up the broadcasting rights, which could leave TNT out of the picture.

And-Ones: Team USA, Tiebreakers, W. Bynum, J. Parker, Barton

The Olympics are still three months away, but Grant Hill – USA Basketball’s managing director for the men’s team – didn’t see any reason to wait until the summer to announce the team, given that the program already knew which 12 players it wanted to take to Paris, Hill said on a conference call on Wednesday, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“We knew,” Hill said. “We didn’t necessarily plan it that way, but we knew this was the team that we wanted and we also know that there’ll be a lot of interest and a lot of people who will want to be along for this incredible journey we’re about to be on. So if we know, why wait?”

Of course, with two months of NBA playoff basketball on tap, it’s possible that one or more of the players Team USA selected for its roster will suffer an injury that prevents him from suiting up in France. Hill said USA Basketball is prepared for that possibility, pointing out that there will be plenty of time to name any necessary replacements.

“We have shown in years past that we’ve had to make changes, and we do have time in the event that something unforeseen were to happen, that we have a contingency plan and we have that at every position,” Hill said. “We hope that that doesn’t happen. But you think back to [the Tokyo Olympics in] 2021, that was the case. And I think, going through this process, you have to learn to expect at times the unexpected, be able to adapt and adjust.”

Hill said that naming the 12-man roster early will allow Team USA to begin the chemistry-building process sooner rather than later. As Bontemps writes, Hill suggested that if schedules allow for it, he’d like to have the U.S. players and coaches “jump on a Zoom” in the not-too-distant future.

We have more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA intends to tweak its end-of-season seeding tiebreaker rules to include the results of that year’s in-season tournament, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Charania, the league’s general managers will vote on whether to make advancement in the NBA Cup the first tiebreaker or whether to make it the second tiebreaker after head-to-head results.
  • Will Bynum, the former NBA guard who appeared in 360 regular season games for the Warriors, Pistons, and Wizards from 2005-15, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan, according to an Associated Press report. Bynum joins Keyon Dooling (30 months) and alleged ringleader Terrence Williams (10 years) as former NBA players who have been sentenced to prison time so far as a result of the fraud case.
  • Former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker, who signed with FC Barcelona, has agreed to extend his stay in Spain, signing a new contract with Barca Basquet that runs through 2026, the team announced in a press release.
  • Will Barton‘s stint with CB Granada in Spain is over after just three games, according to a press release. Barton signed with the Spanish team just over a month ago, but has since returned stateside. Granada said in its statement that it “appreciates the attitude and professionalism” the veteran wing showed in his brief time with the club.

Will Barton Signs With Spain’s CB Granada

Free agent wing Will Barton has signed a contract with Spain’s CB Granada that covers the final 10 games of the Liga ACB season, the team announced in a press release. The news was first reported by Jose Manuel Puertas of Ideal.es.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Barton spent most of his career with Denver, where he had his most productive seasons. The 33-year-old was traded to Washington in the 2022 offseason and split last season with the Wizards and Raptors, but was unable to find another NBA opportunity in 2023/24.

Barton signed a contract with CSKA Moscow in January, but he never actually played for the Russian team, as the deal was voided via an early exit clause. A subsequent report indicated that Barton’s departure was due to failed medical tests.

According to the announcement from Granada, Barton will undergo a medical exam over the weekend and then join the team for practice on Monday. Granada is currently 7-17 this season in Spain’s top basketball league. The team’s roster also features former Bulls big man Cristiano Felicio.

In 679 regular season games, including 286 starts, Barton holds career averages of 11.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 2.7 APG on .430/.355/.787 shooting in 25.2 MPG. The veteran guard/forward averaged 6.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 2.0 APG on .379/.367/.787 shooting in 56 games (17.7 MPG) with Washington and Toronto last season.

And-Ones: Barton, All-Star Game, Buyout Market, More

Will Barton, who reportedly reached an agreement with CSKA Moscow last month, will return stateside without having played for the Russian club, per an announcement from CSKA (Twitter link). Barton’s contract was terminated via an early exit clause.

An 11-year NBA veteran who appeared in 56 games last season for Washington and Toronto, Barton could be a candidate to return to the league down the stretch. However, Alessando Maggi of Sportando hears from sources that the wing’s departure from CSKA Moscow was related to failed medical tests. If that’s accurate, any NBA teams with interest in Barton will be sure to do its due diligence on his health situation.

CSKA Moscow indicated in its announcement that it remains on the lookout for a player who can help out at shooting guard and small forward.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Ten basketball writers for The Athletic shared their thoughts on how the NBA could improve its All-Star Game. Some of their ideas? Combining All-Star weekend and the in-season tournament final four into one event; turning the All-Star game into a two-on-two or three-on-three tournament; or simply naming All-Stars and not playing the game.
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN, Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton take a closer look at what sort of impact the NBA’s rule tweaks have had on the buyout market and consider which player will be the most impactful buyout-market addition this season. Of the veterans who have already found new homes, Pelton views Lakers guard Spencer Dinwiddie as the player capable of making the greatest impact.
  • Joe Vardon, Sam Amick, and David Aldridge of The Athletic polled several players at All-Star weekend on a variety of topics, including the best player and team in the NBA, whether the league has become too offense-heavy, and what rule changes they’d implement if they had Adam Silver‘s job for a day. The Celtics earned the most votes (five) for the NBA’s best team, with the Clippers (four) coming in second.

Will Barton Signing With CSKA Moscow

Former NBA guard Will Barton will sign with CSKA Moscow for the rest of the season, according to Eurohoops.

The 33-year-old has been a free agent since finishing last season in Toronto. He averaged 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 56 total games with the Wizards and Raptors. Barton auditioned for the Warriors and Pelicans in September, but didn’t land a job with either team.

Barton will become the most prominent player to sign in Russia since the beginning of the war with Ukraine in February of 2022, the Eurohoops report notes. He will be limited to VTB League competition because Russian teams are currently sanctioned from the EuroLeague.

“First of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for this team,” Barton wrote on the CSKA Moscow website. “I’ve only heard good things about the club and the fans. I’m very glad to have the chance to meet my teammates, coaches, fans, organization and wonderful people from Moscow. I am willing to invest the time and effort to compete and win at a high level. I can’t wait to come and start working.”

The 40th pick in the 2012 draft, Barton played for four teams in 11 NBA seasons, spending most of his time in Denver. He averaged 11.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 679 games.

Warriors Auditioning Veteran Players

The Warriors are continuing to hold workouts with veteran NBA players as they look to fill out their roster, writes Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

In addition to Kent Bazemore and Juan Toscano-Anderson, who were previously identified as working out for the team, Scotto names Dewayne Dedmon, Will BartonJaylen NowellStanley Johnson and Derrick Favors as others who have been given tryouts.

Scotto notes that three of those players have previous experience with the organization. Bazemore signed with Golden State for the 2020/21 season, Toscano-Anderson was part of the 2021/22 title team, and Dedmon played four games for the Warriors during his rookie season.

Barton also has an upcoming workout with the Pelicans, sources tell Scotto. He was a starter with the Nuggets for several seasons, but saw his role diminish last year after being traded to the Wizards and then joining the Raptors as a free agent.

Favors recently worked out for the Trail Blazers, Scotto adds. The 32-year-old big man didn’t appear in any games last season, although he signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks in January.

Nowell averaged a career-high 10.8 PPG for the Timberwolves last season, but he hasn’t found a new team, even though Minnesota was believed to be open to a sign-and-trade deal. A report this summer indicated that the Mavericks had interest in Nowell, but nothing came of it.

Johnson, who has been with five teams over the past four years, averaged 5.8 PPG while shooting 45% from three-point range in 30 games with the Spurs last season.

Golden State has 13 players with guaranteed contracts and is expected to fill one of its two roster openings before the start of the season. The Warriors also have one two-way slot filled and commitments for three Exhibit 10 deals, so they can sign four more players before training camp opens.

Raptors Notes: Dowtin, Barnes, Trent, Barton

Point guard Jeff Dowtin, who is on a two-way contract with the Raptors, has seen regular playing time as Fred VanVleet‘s backup in the team’s last three games, logging 20.4 minutes per night during that stretch. Dowtin’s numbers (4.7 PPG, 3.0 APG, .417/.400/.667 shooting) are relatively modest, but Toronto has played better this season when he sees at least 10 minutes of action, notes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

“I think he’s played for us well just about every time he’s gone out there,” head coach Nick Nurse said. “We’re always talking about solid play, which is guarding your position as well as you can and executing at both ends of the floor. He’s got us running stuff and is capable of scoring a little bit as well on his own but doesn’t overdo it. He just fits in nicely there on both ends.”

Unfortunately for Toronto, Dowtin only has three games of eligibility left on his two-way deal. If the Raptors want to make him eligible to play in the rest of their regular season games and potential play-in and playoff contests, they’ll have to promote him to their 15-man roster by converting him to a standard contract.

The team doesn’t currently have an open spot on its 15-man squad, but Grange believes that Joe Wieskamp and Thaddeus Young are candidates to be cut in the event of a Dowtin promotion. Toronto is very close to the luxury tax line, but should be able to stay out of tax territory even after converting Dowtin’s contract, since a prorated minimum-salary cap hit this late in the season is minuscule.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • With several key players headed for free agency this summer, Eric Koreen of The Athletic observes that the Raptors could use some low-cost contributors off the bench and suggests that Dowtin may be a fit on the roster beyond this season.
  • In a separate article for The Athletic, Koreen says that the ongoing development of Scottie Barnes needs to remain a top priority for the Raptors, since Barnes’ ceiling may go a long way to determining the club’s ceiling in the next few years.
  • Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. has missed the last four games due to what the team is referring to as right elbow stiffness. Nurse said on Tuesday that Trent, who was originally listed as doubtful for yesterday’s game vs. Miami, is “getting closer,” according to Grange (Twitter link).
  • Another wing, Will Barton, also missed Tuesday’s game due to a sprained left ankle, but Nurse doesn’t believe that injury is serious or will keep him out long, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

Raptors Notes: Siakam, Bench, Barton, Achiuwa, Koloko, Schedule

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam acknowledges he hasn’t been playing up to his usual standards, Josh Lewenberg of TSN writes. Siakam averaged just 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 42% shooting during the team’s 1-4 road trip, well below his All-Star caliber production.

“I think I’ve just gotta figure out the flow of the offense, how we play and things like that,” Siakam said. “Some things are different but I’ve just got to continue to find my spots, continue to find a way into the offense and find my spots without doing too much or overplaying. But I think the main thing is just having fun with the game. I love the process of getting better and the process of struggling and finding a way out of it.”

We have more on the Raptors:

  • The reserves were outscored 150-82 in the team’s last four defeats and coach Nick Nurse has lowered the proverbial bar on their performance level, according to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star. “If they are average, that’s probably good enough. If they are a little bit below, that’s still probably good enough,” Nurse said. “They just can’t be so far below average where all the hard work we did for 12 minutes, 15 minutes, 22 minutes, 28 minutes just disappears in three.”
  • Speaking of the reserves, Nurse is contemplating some tweaks to the second unit, Lewenberg tweets. Nurse referred to recently signed Will Barton as the backup point guard. Nurse also wants to spark Precious Achiuwa by playing him more often at the wing than at center. That could open up a rotation spot for Christian Koloko in the middle.
  • Toronto plays seven of its next eight games at home and that will likely determine whether the club qualifies for the play-in tournament, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star notes. “The main thing for us is to continue to focus on getting better, playing better, getting some wins and get in the tournament and then we’ll see what happens,” Nurse said.

Northwest Notes: Murray, Barton, Conley, Gobert, Kessler, Simons

Jamal Murray‘s ex-teammate believes he’ll be in top form during the postseason, Michael Grange of Sportnet writes.

Will Barton, who recently signed with the Raptors, says the regular season is just a “tune up” for the Nuggets guard, who didn’t play last season due to a knee injury.

“I know he’s anxious to get back to the playoffs,” Barton said. “The regular season is just a tune up for him to get his confidence back, and I know once he gets to the playoffs he’ll make that leap. He’s so competitive – that’s what I love about him, he competes at such a high level, and he loves the bright lights. That’s one guy they won’t have to worry about, because he’s going to perform.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Having former Jazz teammate Mike Conley on his side again has helped Rudy Gobert settle into a groove with the Timberwolves, coach Chris Finch told Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link). Gobert is averaging 17.7 points over the last six games. “I think you see it. The chemistry is obvious,” Finch said. “We could’ve played another 40 games (without Conley) and just begin to develop that. … I think Rudy has got a pep in his step.”
  • Walker Kessler still faces an uphill climb for the Rookie of the Year award despite being named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News notes. The Jazz rookie averaged 10.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in February but the Magic’s Paolo Banchero remains the top candidate for the yearly award.
  • Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons missed his third consecutive game during the team’s six-game road trip on Monday due to an right ankle sprain, the team’s PR department tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, G. Williams, Sixers, Barton, VanVleet

Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris entered this season having started almost every game he had played since 2018/19 and having averaged 30 or more minutes per night in four consecutive seasons. However, he finds himself coming off the bench in Brooklyn and is logging just 23.0 minutes per night on the season — that number has dipped to 13.6 MPG since the trade deadline.

Harris, who missed most of last season due to ankle issues, isn’t pushing back against his role reduction, as Andrew Crane of The New York Post writes. In fact, the 31-year-old is exhibiting an admirable level of self-awareness about his own limitations, suggesting he’s evolving into more of a “second-unit sort of player” and admitting that he’s not recovering as quickly from minor injuries as he did when he was younger.

“I just am not the same player that I was two, three years ago. It’s not to say that I’m less of a player,” Harris said, adding that he believes he can still be a contributor on a good team. “But I just have to kind of evolve and figure it out.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Celtics forward Grant Williams received his first DNP-CD of the season on Wednesday in a four-point win over Cleveland. Asked after the game why Williams didn’t play at all, head coach Joe Mazzulla simply replied, “Matchups” (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). Williams is in a contract year and will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer.
  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers confirmed on Wednesday that Philadelphia had interest in Kevin Love before the veteran forward signed with the Heat. “We tried to get him too. I know it was us and Miami, probably one other team,” Rivers said (Twitter link via Rich Hofmann of The Athletic). “He’s just a solid player. More importantly, if it hadn’t worked here, if he hadn’t played well, you still want him in the locker room.”
  • Raptors assistant coach Earl Watson, who played with Will Barton in Portland in 2013/14, was a factor in Barton’s decision to sign with Toronto, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. “Me and Earl have a very strong relationship,” Barton said on Wednesday. “So, I trust him a lot.”
  • Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet made just 1-of-11 shots in his return to the lineup on Tuesday. However, he didn’t turn the ball over and helped jump-start the team’s outside shooting with his knack for making the right pass, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who argues that VanVleet’s impact even on an off night shows why Toronto needs to prioritize re-signing him this offseason.