Robert Williams

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Smith, Williams, Brand

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard showed flashes of brilliance in his debut with the team on Saturday, finishing with 12 points, three assists and one steal in 19 minutes of action.

“I think everybody saw Kawhi, he was shaking off some rust, right?” coach Nick Nurse asked postgame, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “But you can obviously see the level that he has and I think he looks like we’re all running around really fast and he gets it and everything goes into slow motion. It’s kind of a gift for guys that are as good as him and it’s neat to watch, too.”

Leonard was traded to the Raptors in July after a tumultuous end to his stint with the Spurs. He missed most of last season due to injury, with Saturday’s preseason game marking his first contest since January.

“I think it’s just going to take on-court minutes, getting the experience together, going out there and playing and getting a feel for the overall team, the overall game that he likes to play,” Kyle Lowry said of Leonard. “And the pace. We played at a really good pace tonight. It was a fun game, just good to get out there and compete against another team.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:


Atlantic Rumors: Green, LeVert, Marks, Williams

Danny Green believes Kawhi Leonard will have a tough time leaving the city of Toronto once he settles in during his first season with the Raptors, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Green, who was included in the blockbuster deal that sent Leonard to Toronto, made the comment during an Inside the Green Room Podcast. “The city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there. I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.” Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • LeVert played a total of 30 games at the point last season when D’Angelo Russell was injured, Milholen notes, and posted averages of 13.2 PPG and 4.8 APG in 27.2 MPG. Russell will start for Brooklyn and the Nets also have free agent addition Shabazz Napier at that spot. LeVert can also be viewed as a long-term insurance policy since Russell could become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, Milholen adds.
  • The early returns on Sean Marks‘ first-round picks bode well for next June’s draft, Jason Max Rose of opines. The Nets GM found two valuable assets during the last two drafts in LeVert and starting center Jarrett Allen, even though those picks were in the bottom third of the first round, Rose notes. Thus, Marks and his staff have shown they can not only identify talent but develop players as well, Rose adds. The Nets could have two first-rounders in June, their own pick plus the Nuggets’ top-12 protected pick acquired this summer.
  • Dominating at the G League level would make for a successful rookie season for Celtics first-rounder Robert Williams, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. That’s where Williams will spend a good portion of the season, Blakely notes, and the big man must prove the left knee injury he’s dealing with won’t be a major issue. Williams also needs to show more maturity off the court, Blakely adds.

Celtics Notes: Williams, Irving, Tatum, Baynes

Rookie center Robert Williams is optimistic that his troublesome right knee will allow him to be ready when training camp opens September 25, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Williams hasn’t been cleared yet for five-on-five drills, but he says rehab work on the knee is going well.

“I’m still taking it day by day,” Williams said. “These people [Celtics] have a lot of time, a lot of money invested in you. They don’t want to mess up what they got going. I’m thankful for the trainers and coaches.”

Concerns about Williams’ health and work ethic caused him to slip in the draft, where the Celtics found him too tempting to pass up at No. 27. Williams acknowledges that he needs to rebuild his image, which wasn’t helped when he overslept for his introductory press conference or failed to make the first Summer League practice because of a missed flight. He said he has been inspired by the example set by his teammates.

“Every morning I’m going in at 8, 8:30 [to work out],” Williams said.Al [Horford] and [Aron] Baynes, they’re in at 6 a.m. Their workout day has ended. See that repetition every day … I learned a lot from them already.” 

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes another successful season is the best way to convince Kyrie Irving to stay in Boston when he hits free agency next summer, Blakely writes in a separate story. “At the end of the day, I think it’ll come down to winning,” Rivers said. “I really believe that. If you win enough, they usually want to stay.”
  • Jayson Tatum showed he has the talent to become a star during his rookie season, but the wealth of talent in Boston may keep him from reaching that level for a while, Blakely contends in another piece. With Marcus Morris set for free agency next summer and Irving, Horford and Baynes all with option years, Tatum’s role is likely to expand in the future.
  • The desire to play for a contender was enough to keep Baynes in Boston, notes Taylor C. Snow of The Australian center didn’t look around much in free agency before re-signing with the Celtics for $11MM over two seasons. “It’s one of those things where I enjoy and want to be in a place where they want me as well,” Baynes said. “And that’s definitely something that I’ve felt from the front office and everyone involved.”

Atlantic Notes: Milton, Halas, Knox, Williams

Sixers rookie guard Shake Milton was recently cleared to resume limited basketball activities, according to an update on the team’s website. Milton was held out of summer-league action due to a stress fracture in his back. Another update on his status will be provided in approximately four weeks. The former SMU standout signed a two-way contract in late July. Another first-year guard, Landry Shamet, has resumed light basketball activities. The 26th overall pick suffered a right ankle sprain during summer league action.

In other developments from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks have a strong interest in former Magic scouting coordinator John Halas, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. Halas worked with current GM Scott Perry in Orlando and would likely be added to the Knicks’ scouting department, Begley adds.
  • Kevin Knox doesn’t have his attention set on being Rookie of the Year, as he told Marc Berman of the New York Post. Knox was one of the most impressive rookies in Las Vegas but the Knicks’ first-round forward more concerned with team wins. “I’m pretty confident I can be one of the top rookies. But one of my goals this year is just to win in New York,” he said. “I’m not really worried about winning the rookie award. I just want to win as a team, take road games, play some of the top teams and beat them to make the playoffs.”
  • Robert Williams says his recovery from a knee injury is going well and the Celtics rookie big man expects to be 100% by training camp, Chris Forsberg of ESPN tweets. Williams’ summer league schedule was cut short by left knee soreness.

Celtics Notes: Thomas, Rivers, Williams, Henry

Isaiah Thomas is on his third team since being traded from the Celtics, but his role in Boston’s quick turnaround shouldn’t be overlooked, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Thomas, who agreed to sign with the Nuggets this week, helped the Celtics reach the playoffs after coming to the organization in February of 2015, then was part of 48- and 53-win seasons.

That success made Boston an attractive option for free agents Al Horford and Gordon Hayward and put the franchise in a position to trade for Kyrie Irving.

“Isaiah added credibility to our team by making us a legitimate basketball team,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “And on top of that he was very entertaining. But he was all-in. He was all-in for the team. He was recruiting Al Horford to come. He was recruiting Gordon Hayward to come to play with him. He’s earned a lot of respect in my eyes.”

There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

  • With the three stars of the Lob City era all gone from the Clippers, coach Doc Rivers plans to use the Celtics’ experience as a blueprint for rebuilding, Bulpett writes in a separate story. “They’ve done it as well as it’s ever been done,” Rivers said, “because all these other teams, including us now, everybody has a plan, but the plan has to work. And if it doesn’t work, then you have to start over again with another plan. And Danny and them have been able to run their plan.”
  • The Celtics haven’t given up on the possibility of first-round pick Robert Williams playing in the summer league, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Williams is getting constant treatment on his aching left knee and is considered questionable for today’s quarterfinal contest. “If Danny wants him to play, if Robert feels he can, if our training staff feels he’s not at risk of reinjuring it, we’d love to have him,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga. “… He just keeps getting better and better. Who knows when he’ll be able to play, but he does seem to be getting better.”
  • Pierria Henry has been the best point guard on the Celtics’ summer league team, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Washburn expects him to be considered for a spot with Boston’s G League affiliate if he doesn’t return to Turkey.

Atlantic Notes: Chandler, Williams, Russell, Nets

While he reportedly wasn’t always happy with role in Denver, Wilson Chandler sounds ready to take on whatever role he’s asked to play with his new team After being acquired by the Sixers, Chandler spoke to reporters – including Brian Seltzer of – about how he thinks he’ll fit in Philadelphia.

“Me personally, I don’t worry about coming off the bench or starting – I have had both of them in my career,” said the Sixers’ newest forward. “I have come off the bench before and I’ve started before. I’m not opposed to that at all. I just want to win. I’m just blessed to be back with a playoff team and looking forward to pushing it as far as we can.”

For his part, Sixers head coach Brett Brown is excited to have Chandler in his lineup, citing the veteran’s ability to make three-pointers and guard multiple positions. “The versatility in his game is extremely impressive,” Brown said of Chandler.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Atlantic…

  • Celtics rookie Robert Williams has an artery condition in both of his legs, multiple sources tell Fred Katz of According to Katz, the condition – known as popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES), is considered “not too serious” for now. NBA teams, including the Celtics, were aware of Williams’ condition heading into the draft, per Katz, who says the team will regular monitor the big man’s PAES.
  • The Nets and D’Angelo Russell‘s camp have yet to discuss a rookie scale extension, but Russell is using his friend Devin Booker‘s new $158MM deal as motivation, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • Nets Summer League swingman Yuta Watanabe is making a case for a training camp invite and a chance to become the NBA’s second-ever Japanese-born player, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details.
  • Raptors forward Malcolm Miller, who received a qualifying offer as a two-way player, suffered a dislocated shoulder and will miss the rest of Summer League play, according to the team (Twitter link). It’s not clear how the injury might impact Miller’s free agency.

Celtics Sign Robert Williams To Rookie Contract

The Celtics have officially signed first-round pick Robert Williams to his rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. It’ll be a four-year deal worth a total of approximately $9.28MM, with third- and fourth-year team options.

Williams, considered a potential lottery pick heading into the draft, slipped further than expected and landed in Boston at No. 27 overall. While one reason for that fall may have been a lack of medical information available to some teams, there were also reported character concerns about the big man coming out of Texas A&M.

Williams didn’t exactly quiet those whispers to start his NBA career. After sleeping through an introductory conference call on the day after the draft, the rookie missed his flight to Boston for the start of Summer League practices over the weekend. Upon eventually arriving, he called it a “real wake-up call” and took responsibility for the mistake.

With Williams under contract, 24 of 30 first-round picks have now formally signed their rookie contracts. No real negotiations are involved for those deals due to the rookie scale, and teams have no reason to wait on them, since they can be finalized during the July moratorium.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Howard, Knicks, Bolden

The Nets could have an extra $8MM in cap space to work with if the Dwight Howard buyout falls in the 30-40% range that many such agreements typically come to, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes.

That, coupled with the $6.6MM in room cap room the Nets had prior to the buyout, would give them close to $15MM in overall space to absorb another bad deal in return for assets or even go out and target their own player.

Lewis writes that Howard wasn’t interested in giving back more than $3-5MM and wasn’t incentivized to agree to the Nets’ buyout proposal until he knew that the Wizards were interested. It remains to be seen what the final numbers on that buyout agreement will look like.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • Incoming first-round pick Robert Williams hasn’t made a great impression on the Celtics but an Associated Press report suggests that the big man won’t face any discipline for missing several team commitments less than a week into his NBA career. Not formal discipline, at least. “They discipline you with words,” the 20-year-old said. “More than you may know.
  • While Knicks acquisitions Mario Hezonja and Kevin Knox are a far cry from the future Hall-of-Famers David Fizdale worked with as a member of the Heat‘s coaching staff, the head coach believes that those flexible wings can play similar roles to the ones Dwyane Wade and LeBron James filled in Miami. Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke with Fizdale about his desire to play more positionless basketball.
  • The Sixers expect 2017 draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden to participate in Summer League, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. International basketball reporter David Pick first tweeted that the Sixers had asked Maccabi Tel Aviv to clear Bolden to play in Las Vegas. The 22-year-old forward is a candidate to play in the NBA this season.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Lin, Sixers, Kanter, Celtics

The Nets had legitimate interest in Julius Randle before he agreed to sign with the Pelicans, sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post. With Randle off the board, however, Brooklyn may not look to make a major splash in free agency after reaching deals with Joe Harris and Ed Davis. If the team returns to the free agent market, it will likely be for “under-the-radar types,” according to Lewis, who identifies Davis Bertans as one possible target.

There’s a chance that the Nets could still be active on the trade market as well. While a Monday report suggested the club isn’t actively shopping anyone, including Jeremy Lin, league sources tell Lewis that they’ve heard Lin could be dealt during the offseason. Without a major free agent target in their sights though, the Nets likely won’t be eager to get out from under the point guard’s $12.5MM+ expiring contract to create more spending flexibility.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Sixers have removed the cap hold for 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks from their 2018/19 cap, according to RealGM’s official transactions log. Philadelphia still holds Pasecniks’ NBA rights, but the move ensure that he won’t sign with the club for the coming season.
  • After opting into the final year of his contract, Enes Kanter said in an interview with MSG Network that he wishes he could’ve signed for longer, but is happy to remain with the Knicks (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ian Begley). It sounds like Kanter wanted to opt out of his deal in order to secure a long-term contract with New York, but the club wasn’t interested in adding long-term money to its books this offseason, preferring to maximize its cap flexibility for 2019.
  • Introduced by the Celtics today after signing a minimum-salary deal with the team, Brad Wanamaker said he has been looking for an opportunity to come to the NBA for the last couple years. “It’s a dream come true to play in the NBA and with a team like Boston,” the EuroLeague standout said, per Chris Forsberg of (Twitter link).
  • Celtics rookie Robert Williams, who slipped to No. 27 in the draft in part due to reported character concerns, hasn’t exactly been making a great impression to start his NBA career. After sleeping through an introductory conference call on the day after the draft, Williams missed his flight to Boston for the start of Summer League practices over the weekend, tweets ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.

Draft Leftovers: Trade Details, R. Williams, More

When he was selected with the 45th overall pick in the draft on Thursday night, Hamidou Diallo technically became a member of the Nets. However, Brooklyn had already agreed to send that pick to the Hornets, who have subsequently agreed to flip it to the Thunder.

Neither of those trade can become official until after the July moratorium ends on July 6, but we now know what the Hornets will receive from the Thunder in exchange for Diallo. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer reports (via Twitter) that Oklahoma City will send its 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations to Charlotte as part of the swap.

Here are a few more leftovers from draft night, including more details on trades:

  • In exchange for sending Gary Trent Jr.‘s draft rights to the Trail Blazers, the Kings will receive either the Timberwolves’ or Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable), the Heat’s 2021 second-round pick, and cash, according to Sactown Royalty (Twitter link).
  • RealGM’s log of traded draft picks provides specific details on a couple more draft-night trades, indicating that the Sixers received 2021 and 2023 second-round picks in their deal with the Pistons, while the Magic will receive the less favorable of the Nuggets’ and Wizards’ 2019 second-round picks as a result of their swap with the Nuggets.
  • Kevin Pelton of explores how the results of this year’s draft could set up free agency and future trades, touching on the Mavericks‘ need for a center, the Sixers‘ and Lakers‘ quests to clear cap room, and the availability of Dennis Schroder.
  • Robert Williams, who went 27th overall to the Celtics, was one of the big fallers of the night. According to Jeff Goodman (Twitter links), many teams didn’t have Williams’ medical info and there was some concern about a potential knee injury, which may have been one reason why he slipped.