Will Barton

Atlantic Notes: Barton, Simmons, Dinwiddie, Tatum

What was the deciding factor for Will Barton as he considered his next NBA home? After getting bought out by the Wizards, Barton chose the Raptors for the opportunity to play and re-establish his value, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Concurrently, the Raptors had been searching for another rotation-caliber guard to help them in their playoff push. Barton officially signed on Tuesday afternoon.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Ben Simmons hasn’t played since Feb. 15 due to a sore knee but there has been “zero” discussion about shutting him down for the season, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn told Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link) and other media members. However, Vaughn wouldn’t elaborate on how Simmons is doing or what his next step is.
  • One of the offshoots of trading Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is that the Nets no longer get “superstar calls” from the officials, Spencer Dinwiddie claims. “I have a lot of last-second shots or game-winners, but it’s the lead up that’s the tough part without superstars. That’s what people miss,” Dinwiddie said, according to Lewis. “If [someone] tries to climb KD’s back, they’re going to call it. If KD says and-one, they’re not giving him a tech. All these things change the flow of the game. [Stars] can cuss them out, they can do whatever, and they’ll let all that (stuff) slide.”
  • Celtics star forward Jayson Tatum got his first career ejection in a loss to the Knicks on Monday but he playfully put a positive spin on it, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps writes. “All the great players get thrown out a few times in their career,” he said. “So, it’s good for my rep.”

Raptors Sign Will Barton, Waive Juancho Hernangomez

3:56pm: The Raptors have officially signed Barton and waived Hernangomez, the team announced in a press release.

2:35pm: The Raptors are making a change to their 15-man roster, having reached an agreement to sign veteran swingman Will Barton, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the team is waiving Juancho Hernangomez to create an opening for Barton.

Barton became a free agent last week after he reached a buyout agreement with the Wizards. Having been packaged with Monte Morris in an offseason trade that sent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to Denver, Barton had a disappointing season for his hometown team in D.C., averaging just 7.7 points per game on 38.7% shooting in 40 appearances (19.6 MPG).

Still, Barton’s three-point shooting remained strong (38.0%) in 2022/23 and he had several solid years with the Nuggets before last summer’s trade. The 32-year-old will add some depth to a Raptors team that has lacked consistent bench production this season. Toronto also ranks just 27th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage (33.5%), so signing Barton will give the team another outside threat.

Hernangomez, who starred as Bo Cruz in the Netflix film Hustle, was seeing regular minutes for the Raptors earlier this season, but struggled to produce consistently and had fallen out of the rotation in recent weeks. Although the 6’9″ forward has been effective as a stretch four in past years, he made a career-low 25.4% of his three-point attempts in Toronto, averaging just 2.9 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 42 appearances (14.6 MPG).

Because he’ll be waived by March 1, Hernangomez will retain his playoff eligibility in the event that he signs with another NBA team before the end of the regular season.

As Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca notes (via Twitter), because his deal will only cover the last few weeks of the season, the Raptors are in position to stay narrowly below the luxury tax line after signing Barton.

Haynes’ Latest: Suns, Rose, Curry, Lonzo, Kleber, More

Sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that the Knicks will not be picking up Derrick Rose‘s $15.6MM team option for 2023/24. While that news is hardly surprising considering the 34-year-old former MVP is out of New York’s rotation, Haynes has also heard that the Suns would be interested in Rose if he reaches a buyout agreement.

There have been mixed reports regarding Rose potentially going for a buyout with the Knicks. While it still seems “unlikely,” sources tell Haynes not to rule it out entirely.

Haynes’ report came before the Suns filled their last remaining standard roster spot with Ish Wainright, who was promoted from a two-way deal. It’s unclear who the team would consider waiving if Rose became available, as there aren’t any obvious candidates.

Here’s more from Haynes:

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry is set to be reevaluated on Wednesday in his recovery from a left knee injury. Curry was optimistic about the injury but said it was frustrating with so few games remaining and the team in a precarious position. “I can’t give a target date because this isn’t an injury I’ve dealt with before. So, I just have to be careful and patient,” Curry told Haynes. “It’s a frustrating process because unlike the other injuries I’ve been through, this is one where games are running out and we need to climb up the standings fast to make these playoffs. That’s the hard part, but I’m going to do what’s right and try to help my team make this push when I return.”
  • Injured Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is planning to receive a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to help combat the left knee soreness he’s been dealing with following two knee surgeries last year, sources tell Haynes. Chicago recently ruled Ball out for the season; he last played in January 2022.
  • The Mavericks are optimistic about Maxi Kleber returning from his torn hamstring within the next five games, per Haynes, though Kleber already said he’d be out Sunday versus the Lakers. One of the team’s best defenders, the versatile Kleber last played on December 12, having missed the past 34 games with the injury.
  • Serge Ibaka and Will Barton, a couple of veteran free agents, are “waiting for the right opportunities to present themselves,” Haynes writes. Ibaka was released by Indiana after being traded by Milwaukee, while Barton reached a buyout agreement with Washington.

Sixers Notes: Barton, Dedmon, Embiid, McClung

The Sixers have inquired about veteran guard Will Barton, a source tells Jason Dumas of KRON4 News (Twitter link). Barton, who is now a free agent after clearing waivers on Thursday, continues to weigh his options after being bought out by the Wizards, Dumas adds.

The 76ers currently have a full 15-man roster, so if the team wants to sign Barton or another free agent, someone would have to be waived to open up a spot.

Furkan Korkmaz, who requested a trade prior to this month’s deadline and remains out of Philadelphia’s rotation, would theoretically be a candidate to be cut, but his contract includes a $5.37MM guaranteed salary for next season. The only Sixers whose contracts don’t feature a guarantee or a player option for 2023/24 are Georges Niang, Shake Milton, Jalen McDaniels, Paul Reed, and recently signed big man Dewayne Dedmon.

Here’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Dedmon’s debut with the Sixers was pushed back by at least one game, as he was ruled out of Thursday’s matchup vs. Memphis due to left hip tightness, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. It’s unclear whether or not the veteran center will be good to go on Saturday vs. Boston.
  • Joel Embiid wasn’t on the Sixers’ injury report on Thursday for the first time in several weeks, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, who notes that the Sixers star was being listed as questionable due to left foot soreness for a while. After racking up 27 points, 19 rebounds, and six blocks in a dramatic win over Memphis, Embiid said he benefited from some time off over the All-Star break. “Like I said before the (break), whatever it is is all about rest, and I’ve had a couple (days off),” he said. “There’s a reason why I wasn’t part of (All-Star) Saturday, because I wanted to make sure I could get more rest.”
  • One Sixer who was a big part of All-Star Saturday was Mac McClung, who remains in the G League with the Delaware Blue Coats on his two-way deal. According to Jaylon Thompson of USA Today, Delaware’s ticket revenue has been five times higher than its usual rate since McClung won the dunk contest in Salt Lake City. “It means a lot to this community to have somebody that they can say, ‘Hey, he’s our guy’ and they can take pride in that,” said Blue Coats president of business operations Larry Meli.

Celtics Notes: Open Roster Spot, Brown, Griffin, Mazzulla

Most of the best options on the buyout market have gone to other teams, but the Celtics plan to find someone to fill their open roster spot, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. Whoever gets signed probably won’t play much, but owner Wyc Grousbeck confirms that Boston will have a full roster before the postseason begins.

“We’re looking at buyout candidates and free agents,” he said. “I’d be very surprised if we went into the playoffs with an open roster spot, don’t think that’s going to happen. … All those things are in process, but no, we’re not saving roster spots for a rainy day. We just gotta find the right fit.”

One potential candidate, according to Terada, is veteran swingman Will Barton, who reached a buyout agreement with the Wizards this week. The Celtics may be Barton’s best option to win a ring, although he could seek out a larger role with another team. Terada points to Stanley Johnson and John Wall as other possibilities, along with Juan Toscano-Anderson if he agrees to a buyout with the Jazz.

There’s more from Boston:

  • The Celtics have been dealing with injuries to their rotation players all season, but they’re fully healthy coming out of the All-Star break, Terada adds in another MassLive story. Jaylen Brown missed the previous four games with a facial fracture, but he’s not on the injury report after playing 25 minutes in the All-Star Game.
  • Blake Griffin‘s NBA experiences over 12 years enable him to relate to both the stars and role players on the Celtics’ roster, observes Jay King of The Athletic. Griffin is only playing sporadically in his first season in Boston, but he has become a popular leader in the locker room. “As you get older, you have to be somewhat self-aware,” Griffin said. “I don’t even know if self-aware is the right word. Just in touch with reality. Some guys just want to go make as much money as they possibly can. And I don’t fault anybody for any decision that they make, guys have to take care of what they want to take care of. I’ve been fortunate enough to be on some good teams and be in the position I am to be able to make these decisions based on trying to win a championship. So you have to let go of your ego and just be self-aware about your game. But the biggest driving point to me is just winning.”
  • Having the word “interim” removed from his job title isn’t a big deal for head coach Joe Mazzulla, who tells Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, “The interim tag was never a thing because we’re all interims.”

Wizards, Will Barton Complete Buyout

3:39pm: Barton has officially been placed on waivers, per a press release from the Wizards. As we relayed in a separate story, the plan is for Goodwin to fill the newly opened roster spot.

12:49pm: Wizards guard Will Barton has completed a buyout agreement with the team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski first reported just after the trade deadline passed that Washington and Barton were working out a buyout.

While there has been no official announcement from the Wizards yet, it sounds like Barton will be placed on waivers today and would be on track to reach free agency on Thursday. He had been earning $14.375MM in the final year of his contract.

After being packaged with Monte Morris in the offseason trade that sent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to Denver, Barton has had a disappointing season for his hometown team in D.C., averaging just 7.7 points per game on 38.7% shooting in 40 appearances (19.6 MPG).

Barton’s three-point shooting remained solid (38.0%) this season and he had several good years with the Nuggets before last summer’s trade, so the 32-year-old should garner some interest from playoff contenders as a low-cost free agent addition.

If and when Barton becomes a free agent, Denver would be the only team besides Washington ineligible to sign him — NBA rules prohibit a team from re-signing a player it traded during the offseason if he’s waived by his new team during the subsequent season.

The Wizards, meanwhile, will have an open roster spot after waiving Barton and are widely believed to be planning a promotion for two-way player Jordan Goodwin. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Washington still has an unused portion of its mid-level exception left and is about $2.1MM below the luxury tax line, so Goodwin could be signed to a multiyear deal without team salary going into the tax.

Nuggets Eyeing Reggie Jackson As Buyout Target

Although the Nuggets didn’t make a major splash at the trade deadline, they did add some frontcourt depth by sending out Bones Hyland in a deal for veteran center Thomas Bryant. As a result of that move, Denver is in the market for a backout player to fill out their 15-man roster, and according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post, veteran guard Reggie Jackson is near the top of the team’s wish list.

Jackson was on the move on deadline day, having been included for salary-matching purposes in the swap that sent center Mason Plumlee from the Hornets to the Clippers. Charlotte is considered likely to buy out the veteran guard.

Jackson, 32, was the Clippers’ full-time starter at point guard last season, but fell out of the team’s starting five in 2022/23. For the season, he has averaged 10.9 PPG and 3.5 APG on .418/.350/.924 shooting in 52 games (38 minutes; 25.7 MPG).

According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter video link), the Suns, another Western Conference contender, are also viewed as a probable suitor for Jackson, who played high school basketball in Colorado.

The Nuggets have an open spot on their 15-man roster and are seeking a reliable insurance policy in their backcourt or on the wing. Jamal Murray, the team’s primary backcourt ball-handler, has missed a few games recently due to right knee inflammation, Bruce Brown isn’t a natural point guard, and veteran Ish Smith is more of an emergency option, Singer writes.

Although Jackson is at or near the top of Denver’s list of targets, there are plenty of other buyout candidates the team could consider. Russell Westbrook, John Wall, and Patrick Beverley are among the veteran point guards likely to reach free agency. Singer also points to Danny Green as a wing who might be a nice fit for the Nuggets, though there’s no indication yet that Houston will buy out Green after acquiring him from the Grizzlies.

A reunion with Will Barton, who is reportedly working on a buyout with the Wizards, won’t be possible, since NBA rules prohibit a team from re-signing a player it traded during the offseason if he’s waived by his new team during the subsequent season.

Wizards Working On Buyout For Will Barton

The Wizards are in the process of negotiating a contract buyout for veteran swingman Will Barton, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Barton was identified last month as a potential buyout candidate if he remained in Washington through the trade deadline, so it’s not a surprise to see this news emerge just hours after the deadline passed.

After being packaged with Monte Morris in the offseason trade that sent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to Denver, Barton had a disappointing season for his hometown team in D.C., averaging just 7.7 points per game on 38.7% shooting in 40 appearances (19.6 MPG).

Barton’s three-point shooting remained solid (38.0%) this season and he had several good years with the Nuggets before last summer’s trade, so he should garner some interest as a low-cost free agent addition if he and the Wizards officially complete a buyout agreement.

Haynes’ Latest: Hyland, Hornets, Anunoby, Reddish, Barton

The Hornets are among the teams to register some interest in Nuggets guard Bones Hyland, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report stated during the latest episode of his #thisleague UNCUT podcast with Marc Stein.

Haynes, following up on his TNT report on Hyland from Tuesday, reiterated that the second-year guard would be open to a trade that sets him up for a larger role elsewhere. There has been “friction” between Hyland and Denver’s coaching staff, Haynes notes, adding that the Nuggets have confidence in rookie Christian Braun to take on some of Hyland’s minutes if a trade happens.

Echoing previous reports, Haynes also confirms that the Timberwolves are among the teams with interest in Hyland, but expresses some skepticism that the Nuggets would want to send the former first-round pick to Minnesota, since there’s still some resentment from Denver’s ownership group about how Tim Connelly‘s move to the Wolves played out.

Here are a few more items of interest from the podcast:

  • Based on rumblings he has heard, Haynes believes that Raptors forward OG Anunoby would “embrace a change of scenery,” even if he hasn’t explicitly asked to be traded. Haynes also suggests that neither the Grizzlies nor the Pelicans want their Southwest rival to land Anunoby, which is a factor to keep in mind if Toronto seriously considers moving him.
  • The Cavaliers, who have been in the market for help at the small forward position, are among the potential trade suitors to watch for Knicks forward Cam Reddish, according to Haynes. Dylan Windler‘s expiring $4MM contract would be a logical salary-matching piece in a Reddish trade if the Knicks are simply seeking a second-round pick, though that’s just my speculation.
  • Things haven’t worked out well for Will Barton with the Wizards so far, Haynes notes, reporting that the veteran guard would be open to a change of scenery. Haynes identifies the Nets and Bucks as two teams worth keeping an eye on. It’s unclear whether Washington will find a trade for Barton or if he might emerge as a buyout candidate after the February 9 deadline.

Wizards Rumors: Kuzma, Porzingis, Carey, Barton, Hachimura

The Wizards‘ willingness to trade Rui Hachimura reflects their increased confidence that they’ll be able to re-sign Kyle Kuzma as a free agent in the summer, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack story.

According to Stein, Washington has been telling rival teams that it plans to re-sign both Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, who also has a player option for 2023/24 that he may decline. Porzingis likes his situation in D.C., Stein adds, so if he does turn down his option, it sounds like he’d be open to a new deal with the Wizards.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports has heard similar rumblings on Kuzma, reporting that the Wizards have told inquiring teams like the Suns and Hawks that the veteran forward isn’t available for trade.

Still, even if Kuzma isn’t going anywhere, Washington seems likely to make at least one more trade before the February 9 deadline, Fischer writes. The team wants to open up a spot on its 15-man roster to promote Jordan Goodwin from his two-way contract, and center Vernon Carey Jr. is considered a trade candidate, according to Fischer, who adds that rival executives are also keeping an eye on Will Barton as a possible buyout candidate if he remains in D.C. through the deadline.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • One source tells Stein that Hachimura requested a trade before he was dealt to Los Angeles, which the 24-year-old didn’t deny over the weekend.
  • Three-team discussions involving the Suns, Bucks, and Wizards helped set the price for the Lakers to acquire Hachimura, according to Fischer (Twitter link), who reports that those three clubs discussed a concept that would have sent Hachimura to Phoenix, Jae Crowder to Milwaukee, and three second-round picks and matching salaries to Washington. The Wizards ultimately decided they preferred the deal with L.A.
  • In columns reacting to the Hachimura trade, Candace Buckner of The Washington Post questioned the Wizards’ plan and direction following their latest move, while David Aldridge of The Athletic referred to the deal as a “salvage operation” rather than a win for president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard. “Not impactful, but better than letting your No. 9 pick walk for nothing,” a league executive said in a text message to Aldridge. “Not a championship move. Not a playoff move. Maybe a play-in move.”
  • As Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes in a column on the trade, the Wizards generated a $6.26MM traded player exception in the swap for Hachimura’s outgoing salary, since they were able to take Nunn’s $5.25MM salary into an existing trade exception created at last season’s deadline. Washington will have until January 23, 2024 to use the newly created TPE.