Papagiannis, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft, spent a season and a half in Sacramento but played sparingly for the Kings, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 38 games (12.4 MPG). The Kings cut their losses in February, releasing Papagiannis as part of a series of moves at the trade deadline.
The Greek center caught on with the Trail Blazers in March, but never carved out a role in Portland either. While his contract with the team covered the 2018/19 season, his $1,544,951 salary was non-guaranteed, and he always seemed likely to be waived, particularly once the Blazers decided to retain Wade Baldwin as their 15th player.
Papagiannis will become an unrestricted free agent later this week when he clears waivers, but he won’t remain on the open market for long. Wojnarowski indicates that the 21-year-old intends to sign a deal with a Greek team, and that club is expected to be Panathinaikos, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relayed earlier this week.
Baldwin’s $1,544,951 salary will be guaranteed once he remains on the roster through Thursday. Baldwin will claim the 15th spot on the roster and center Georgios Papagiannis is expected to be waived, Freeman adds. The team also had a Thursday deadline to guarantee Papagiannis’ salary.
Baldwin solidified his roster spot with a strong showing in the summer league. The former first-round pick by the Grizzlies joined Portland last season on a two-way contract after Memphis waived him, then received a standard contract in March. He played seven regular-season games with the Trail Blazers last season after playing in 33 games with the Grizzlies.
He then appeared in three of Portland’s four postseason games against the Pelicans. Baldwin earned spot duty in the rotation with his tenacious on-ball defense, Freeman notes.
Papagiannis appeared in just one game with Portland last season after seeing action in 38 games over two seasons with the Kings.
The Spurs‘ asking price for Kawhi Leonard remains high, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. In an article packed with Leonard-related tidbits, the ESPN duo suggests that – based on conversations with opposing teams – San Antonio appears to be seeking an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks in exchange for Kawhi.
It’s not clear if the Spurs will be able to land that sort of return, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, who note that a three-way bidding war involving the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers never really materialized. The Lakers are being patience and conveying confidence that Leonard will sign with them in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’ve held their top players out of trade discussions and have offered pick-heavy packages, which haven’t enticed the Spurs.
Given the Spurs’ reported demands, a Raptors offer built around one of their All-Star guards (likely DeMar DeRozan), one or two of their young players, and draft picks could be the most logical package for San Antonio.
In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, Brian Windhorst said he thinks the Raptors are in the “driver’s seat” in the Leonard sweepstakes, since the Lakers and Sixers haven’t been aggressive in their pursuit of the star forward. Lowe didn’t go so far as to call the Raptors the favorites, but he cautioned not to underestimate the club or to view the rumors linking Leonard to Toronto as mere speculation.
Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s most noteworthy trade candidate:
- In addition to the four teams noted above, the Clippers, Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Leonard, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. However, it’s unlikely that any of those teams has made a monster offer, given concerns that Kawhi would be a one-year rental. Portland hasn’t discussed Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum, for instance, per ESPN.
- Leonard is “seriously considering” participating in Team USA’s mini-camp next week, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. There’s a sense that the All-Star wants to show the Spurs‘ prospective trade partners that he’s healthy, but there may be a concern within Leonard’s camp that participating in the mini-camp would give San Antonio more leverage to push him to report to camp in the fall.
- While there have been whispers that Leonard has no intention of showing up at the Spurs‘ facility if he’s not traded, rival teams generally view that as an “empty threat,” since they’re skeptical he’s willing to risk forfeiting his $20MM salary for 2018/19, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne,
- The Spurs haven’t allowed potential trade partners to talk directly with Leonard or his camp, or to see his medical information, per ESPN’s report. It’s unlikely that stance would change unless the Spurs agree to a trade in principle with a team, Woj and Shelburne add.
- Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders addressed the Leonard situation in his latest article, suggesting that the start of training camp could be a key deadline to keep an eye on. One source close to Leonard also tells Kyler that the forward would ideally like to be the “focal point” of a team going forward. It’s not clear how that alleged desire to be a team’s focal point will impact Leonard’s preference to join the Lakers now that LeBron James is in L.A., Kyler writes.
Papagiannis is still under contract with the Trail Blazers, but his $1,544,951 salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until July 19. He appeared in just one game for Portland after signing with the team in March.
The 21-year-old center was the 13th pick by the Kings in the 2016 draft, but was never able to establish himself in Sacramento. Papagiannis spent most of his time in the G League before being released in February. He appeared in 38 total games for the Kings, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG per night.
If Papagiannis does return to Europe, his former team, Panathinaikos is among the front-runners to sign him, along with Olympiacos.
Okaro White has a chance to win a roster spot with the Cavaliers, but first he has to overcome the effects of a broken left foot he suffered in November, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. White’s foot has fully healed, but he is still struggling with the psychological aspects of the injury and admits he’s “babying” it.
“I just gotta get through,” said White, who is part of the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League. “I’m old enough, I’m not young anymore, so I gotta get over it [mentally] and try to find a way to showcase my ability.”
White started four games for the Heat before the injury, but it wound up ending his season. He was shipped to the Hawks at the trade deadline, then signed with the Cavs in March, but never took the court for either team. The 25-year-old forward has a non-guaranteed $1,544,951 contract for 2018/19.
There’s more news out of Cleveland:
- The Cavaliers passed on an opportunity to trade up on draft night and snag Luka Doncic, Vardon reports in a separate story. A source tells Vardon that Cleveland had an offer from Atlanta that included the No. 3 pick and Kent Bazemore, who will make more than $18MM next season with a $19.27MM option for 2019/20. However, the Cavs wanted Collin Sexton and were confident they could get him at No. 8.
- With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers should take a gamble on Jabari Parker, according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report. The second player taken in the 2014 draft, Parker could become a dynamic scorer and rebounder if he can fully bounce back from his second ACL surgery. Swartz suggests Cleveland should use its $8.6MM mid-level exception to offer Parker a two-year contract. That would give him $13.3MM more in guaranteed money than if he accepts his $4.3MM qualifying offer with the Bucks, and it would put him back on the open market in 2020 when he’ll only be 25. Swartz recommends a few other moves for the Cavs, including re-signing Rodney Hood, working out an extension with Larry Nance Jr., trying to trade veterans such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson and taking on unwanted contracts to stockpile draft picks.
- Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com suggests several trades involving Kevin Love, listing the Trail Blazers, Heat, Lakers, Suns and Jazz as possible destinations.
The Trail Blazers are looking to make trades to upgrade their roster, Sean Meagher of The Oregonian relays via an NBA-TV interview. Portland retained Jusuf Nurkic with a four-year deal and added guards Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas in free agency. They also used a slice of their mid-level exception to sign second-rounder Gary Trent Jr.
“There’s a great foundation there, we need to continue to add veterans,” Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey told Leigh Ellis of The Starters. “The draft was the draft, we didn’t have a lot of resources in free agency – we had the tax-payer mid-level, we broke that up – and now we’ll go into the rest of the offseason looking to make trades to bolster the top nine guys in our rotation.”
Devin Booker has already signed a maximum-salary extension with the Suns, and Karl-Anthony Towns is discussing a similar deal with the Timberwolves, but the Knicks appear to be in no rush to lock up Kristaps Porzingis to a long-term rookie scale extension of his own. As Ian Begley of ESPN.com notes, signing Porzingis now would mean giving up about $10MM in 2019 cap room, so the team may prefer to wait until next summer to get something done with the standout big man.
“We’ll continue to stay in touch with Kristaps,” Knicks GM Scott Perry said on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “He’s part of our long-term plan. But we’ll get all that figured out at the appropriate time in terms of when we get into that negotiation. We’re comfortable with were at with him and we’ll work together with he and his representation to figure something out.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- This year’s signing of Mario Hezonja may represent a hedge against striking out on top free agents in 2019, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. As Berman explains, the Knicks would probably have to renounce Hezonja next summer in order to clear cap room for a maximum-salary free agent, but if New York doesn’t need to maximize its space, Hezonja’s Non-Bird rights should give the team the ability to make a competitive offer to retain him for one more than one season.
- Knicks president Steve Mills sounds like he doesn’t want to put all his eggs into one basket when it comes to landing a star free agent in 2019, Berman adds. “We didn’t say our ultimate goal was to have cap room in 2019 — that’s just a byproduct of the situation of how our salaries line up,” Mills said. “There’s no reason to think if Mario does really well, he shouldn’t be part of what we’re doing. Our goal is to put together a Knick team that could be competitive in the long-term.”
- Speaking of Hezonja, he said he got offers from the Lakers, Trail Blazers, and Thunder before he accepted the Knicks’ proposal, Berman writes in a separate article.
- According to GM Scott Perry, all options are still in play for Joakim Noah, whether that means trading, stretching, or keeping him, per Ian Begley and Nick Friedell. “He’s still a member of the Knicks franchise right now,” Perry said of Noah. “He’s part of this team. Like we said to you earlier, all options are on the table for us concerning him, whether it’s coming back or some sort of trade or whatever the case may be.”
- During his introductory press conference as a Pacer, Kyle O’Quinn made a comment that could be interpreted as a dig at the Knicks. “I just felt like at this point, I owed it to myself to be a part of something bigger than next year’s draft,” O’Quinn said, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays.
In the wake of a few cryptic tweets sent from his Twitter account and another round of speculation that the Lakers may want to acquire him, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard set the record straight during a conversation with reporters on Sunday. As Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest writes, Lillard dismissed the idea that he’s dissatisfied in Portland or that he wants to play elsewhere.
“I’m straight up. I’m straight up with coach, I’m straight up with (president of basketball operations) Neil (Olshey), straight up with you all,” Lillard said. “I’m not unhappy. I love where I live. I love the organization. I love our coaching staff. I love where I am.”
The Lillard tweets that fueled speculation about his possible unhappiness were published after word broke that Ed Davis would sign with the Nets on a fairly modest one-year, $4.4MM deal. While the standout point guard admitted that he and the Blazers will miss Davis, along with other free agents like Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton, he said he’s eager to see who will step up with those players gone.
“Obviously, I loved Ed,” Lillard said, per Quick. “He was one of my best friends in the league; one of favorite teammates I’ve played with. We lose him – that’s a loss for our team. ‘Bazz played big minutes for us, Pat played big minutes for us – so we lose three rotation players that gave us a lot and contributed to our season last year. But I guess now we look forward to who can come in and replace those minutes and give us that type of quality.”
The Trail Blazers signed Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry in free agency in the hopes of adding more shooting. The team will also lean on second-year big man Zach Collins for a larger role. Lillard said on Sunday that he expects Collins to “make a huge leap” in his sophomore year, and added that rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. are “both impressive,” as Joe Freeman of The Oregonian details.
Lillard, who has been a Blazers since entering the league in 2012, remains under contract with the franchise through the 2020/21 season, so he’s unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.