Rodions Kurucs

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/17/19

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • For the second time this week, the Pacers have assigned All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo to the team’s G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, per a team press release. Like he did in his first assignment, Oladipo will practice with the Mad Ants this afternoon in Fort Wayne before being recalled to Indianapolis after practice.
  • One day after recalling him, the Spurs have again assigned rookie Keldon Johnson to their Austin affiliate, tweets Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. Orsborn adds that the Spurs have also assigned Chimezie Metu, and that both Johnson and Metu will play for Austin in this afternoon’s game against the Stockton Kings.
  • The Nets have assigned Rodions Kurucs to the Long Island Nets for today’s G League contest against the Windy City Bulls, tweets Brian Lewis of the New York Post. It’s Kurucs’ first assignment of the 2019/20 season.
  • After assigning both to the G League just yesterday, the Magic have recalled Melvin Frazier Jr. and Amile Jefferson from Lakeland, tweets the team’s official Twitter account (link).
  • Nearly three weeks after assignment, the Timberwolves have recalled rookie big man Naz Reid from the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G League affiliate, according to a press release from the team. Reid is averaging 18.0 points, 8.6 boards, and 1.4 blocks for Iowa so far this season.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Mills, Shumpert, Claxton

A starter in seven straight games, Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina is finally trending in the right direction, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv, largely because of his newfound mental approach to the game that began last season and continued this summer.

“I think the work I put in all summer and even last season while I was injured, allows me to be more comfortable and everything else in life be more comfortable here in this country, this situation as an NBA player, said Ntilikina. “And everything is set now, so my mind is all the way into basketball and do what it takes to get to the next level.

There’s more from the Big Apple this afternoon:

  • Lesser-used players like Theo Pinson and Dzanan Musa rewarded Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson with his trust in them during the team’s recent win over Chicago, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “That’s what we’re about,” Atkinson said. “We’ve got to trust these guys. They put in the work, they’ve been in our program a while so they understand what we’re doing. We can’t burn out our other guys, our top eight. We can’t play them 45 minutes. So, those guys’ contributions were huge.”
  • Stefan Bondy of the Daily News opines that allowing president Steve Mills to choose the Knicks’ next head coach (should David Fizdale be fired) is a silly proposition, as Mills has already failed time and time again to find the right candidate to lead the team moving forward.
  • Atkinson says the Nets are looking for new addition, veteran swingman Iman Shumpert, to fill a need with his perimeter defense, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “He fits a need right now. Perimeter defense, that’s always been his calling card. I … know him well, know the personality. He gets after it defensively. That will be his role for us.”
  • According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, at least one former Knicks player did not like how MSG fans booed his former teammate, Mavs’ forward Kristaps Porzingis. “I think everybody can think what they want but I feel bad for KP,” said Hornets’ big man Willy Hernangomez. “He’s my brother. We spent too many nights in this amazing arena. I understand what people [do]. The people always treated me good when I was here and appreciated. But I was sad when I saw that.”
  • SB Nation’s Nets Daily takes a look at how Nets rookie power forward Nicolas Claxton is set to earn additional minutes at the NBA level as a result of the recent poor play of teammate Rodions Kurucs. “We’ve got to get our best talent on the floor,” Atkinson said Friday. “I think (Claxton’s) a talented guy. We need to find a way to play him.”

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Raptors, Nets, Jordan

Knicks forward Marcus Morris recently expressed some disappointment that he didn’t get an opportunity to remain with the Celtics when he became a free agent this summer. Responding to those comments in an appearance today on Toucher and Rich in Boston, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acknowledged that the C’s didn’t make Morris an offer once the team locked in on Kemba Walker. However, Ainge did say the team put a three-year extension offer on the table for Morris before the 2018/19 season began (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

Because Morris was earning a fairly modest salary last season, the Celtics’ ability to give him a significant raise would have been limited. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), Boston would have been able to offer up to about $34.36MM for three years, the same deal Spencer Dinwiddie got from Brooklyn.

Whether or not the Celtics went as high as $34MM+, Morris did better as a free agent in terms of 2019/20 salary — but his $15MM deal with New York only covers one season. If he had known what awaited him in free agency, it’s possible he would have more open to that three-year extension offer last year. And if he had accepted it, it likely would have had a ripple effect on the Celtics’ future plans, including perhaps their ability to land Walker.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With Patrick McCaw out at least a month after undergoing knee surgery, head coach Nick Nurse said before Wednesday’s game that undrafted rookie Terence Davis will get the first shot at becoming the eighth man in the Raptors‘ rotation (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca). Davis committed five fouls in just seven minutes on Wednesday, but still looks like the frontrunner for those minutes, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic, who views Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher as other candidates.
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot could have made more money by returning overseas, but he decided to accept a two-way contract with the Nets, as he explains to Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. “I wanted to still keep a foot in the NBA,” said Luwawu-Cabarrot, who played with Long Island Nets head coach Shaun Fein several years ago in France. “The Nets always gave their two-ways an opportunity to play and that was the goal. I am just trying to get better with everything I work on. In the G League, be a leader of the team, try to do something good with the team.”
  • In other Nets news, Brian Lewis of The New York Post explores Rodions Kurucs‘ struggles to adjust to a new role this season, while Peter Botte of The New York Post says DeAndre Jordan‘s ankle injury isn’t as bad as initially feared. Jordan is being listed as day-to-day.

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Miller, Brown, Tatum, Kurucs

The Knicks still haven’t settled on a starting point guard but Frank Ntilikina is “motivated” by the franchise’s decision to pick up his contract option for next season, as he told Marc Berman of the New York Post and other reporters. The Knicks took a cap hit of $6,176,578 to retain Ntilikina through the 2020/21 season. “It’s great here in New York to be part of this situation,” he said. “It’s motivation and a big excitement. It makes me willing to give even more on the court on a daily basis.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Malcolm Miller has made an NBA roster at the start of a season for the first time and he’s breathing a sigh of relief, Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays. The 26-year-old forward won a training camp battle for a spot on the Raptors’ roster. “Like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Like a huge exhale,” Miller said. “Two years of back and forth, but now it’s finally official. I feel like I’ve laid two years of groundwork, so I’m more than ready to attack it at full speed.”
  • Miller’s G League rights were traded to the Northern Arizona Suns along with the 21st pick in the G League draft for guard Jawun Evans, Murphy tweets. However, this won’t affect Miller’s status with the Raptors. They can still assign him to Raptors 905 despite not holding his G League rights because he’s on the 15-man roster.
  • The incentives on Jaylen Brown’s four-year extension include $8MM if he wins the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year award or makes one of three All-NBA teams, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Celtics and Brown reached an extension agreement on Monday. Another $4MM in more reachable incentives includes playing 65 or more games, the team winning 49 or more games and reaching the second round of the playoffs. As previously noted, the total guaranteed money in the deal is $103MM, but it could be worth up to $115MM.
  • The Celtics’ decision to give Brown a huge extension sends a clear signal that they’ll do the same for Jayson Tatum next year, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. That will give Boston a dynamic duo who will both be 23 years old or younger and have ample playoff experience, Blakely notes.
  • Nets forward Rodions Kurucs made a brief court appearance on Monday regarding a domestic assault charge, Andrew Denney of the New York Post reports. Kurucs was arrested in September over the June 27 incident in which he allegedly choked his ex-girlfriend. He was ordered back to court Nov. 19.

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Chandler, Kurucs, Prince

The NBA has nixed Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie‘s plan to turn his contract into an investment tool, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Dinwiddie wanted to enable investors to essentially buy shares of his three-year, $34.4MM contract. He would have allowed investors, who would have paid a minimum of $150K, to bet on whether he would secure an even more lucrative contract after the second year of his deal. The NBA ruled that such an arrangement is prohibited by the CBA, since ‘no player shall assign or otherwise transfer to any third party his right to receive compensation from the team under his uniform player contract.'”

Dinwiddie plans to meet with league officials to further describe the concept and try to convince them to reverse the ruling.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Forward Wilson Chandler is apologetic over his performance-enhancing drug-related suspension, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Chandler was suspended 25 games by the league in August after he signed a veteran’s minimum deal with the Nets. “This has definitely affected me in a negative way, disheartening,” Chandler said. “Definitely wish I could take it back, but I can’t now, so I just try to move forward.”
  • Forward Rodions Kurucs refused to answer questions regarding allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend under the advice of legal counsel but he said the team has supported him during his legal battle, Lewis writes in the same story. “Yeah for sure, guys reached out. They were just so supportive. I know they have family [atmosphere] here,” he said. “So I always know that they’ve got my back and they are always here for me to talk or I can trust them 100 percent.”
  • Forward Taurean Prince wants to be the team’s defensive stopper, according to Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily. Prince, a restricted free agent next summer, was acquired from the Hawks in the Allen Crabbe deal. Prince was slowed by ankle injury last season. “I think my first two years I was definitely on my way to being a great defender,” Prince said. “There was an injury situation halfway through the season – came back a little too early. I played pretty much hurt the last 25-30 games. I never made an excuse, but now I’m 100% healthy. I’m going to demand guarding every All-Star we play, every best player on the floor at every time, no matter the position.”

Nets Notes: Offseason, FAs, Kurucs, Riccardi

The Nets were among the summer’s big winners two months ago, having secured free agent commitments from stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving while adding complementary roster pieces like DeAndre Jordan and Garrett Temple.

However, as Frank Isola of The Athletic details, that “once-in-a-lifetime” offseason has hit a bit of a rough patch in recent weeks. Wilson Chandler was hit with a 25-game PED suspension and Rodions Kurucs was arrested for an alleged domestic incident.

Throw in the fact that Durant is expected to miss most of the season and the knowledge that Irving contributed to disharmony in the Celtics’ locker room last year and there are plenty of uncertainties and question marks in Brooklyn heading into ’19/20.

As the Nets look to minimize the drama in Brooklyn, here are a few more notes related to the franchise:

  • Isola suggests the Nets will “likely” make a roster move at some point with Durant out and Chandler suspended for the season’s first 25 games. As NetsDaily observes, there has been plenty of chatter lately linking Brooklyn to veteran free agents Carmelo Anthony and Joe Johnson.
  • Kurucs’ attorney Alex Spiro tells legal expert Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated that the allegations against his client are “bogus” and claims they’re the result of a bad breakup. Still, as McCann outlines, Kurucs may face a suspension from the NBA depending on how the case plays out. Because he’s facing misdemeanor – rather than felony – charges, the Latvian forward shouldn’t have any issues related to his immigration status or work visa.
  • The Long Island Nets – Brooklyn’s G League affiliate – announced on Thursday that they’ve named Matt Riccardi as their general manager and Shaun Fein as their head coach. Riccardi drew interest from Memphis earlier this offseason, but opted to stick with the Nets.

Nets’ Rodions Kurucs Arrested In Brooklyn

Nets forward Rodions Kurucs was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly choking his now ex-girlfriend, sources tell Trevor Boyer and Graham Rayman of the New York Daily News.

Police sources told the Daily News that a verbal argument back on June 27 spiraled out of control and the 6’9″ forward allegedly choked and pushed his then-girlfriend among other actions that included slapping her, biting her, and tossing her onto a bed hard enough to cause injuries. Boyer and Rayman relay that the woman suffered bruising to her ribs and face, though at this time there’s no photographic evidence of those injuries, Kurucs’ lawyer notes.

The couple’s relationship lasted nine months. According to prosecutor Wilfredo Cotto, Kurucs and his then-girlfriend went on a scheduled trip to Las Vegas the following day (June 28). The Latvian native played for Brooklyn’s Summer League team in Vegas in early July.

Kurucs, who will make slightly under $1.7MM this upcoming season, was released with no bail. He was charged with obstructing the woman’s breathing and Judge Gina Abadi issued an order of protection for his ex-girlfriend while giving Rodions orders to stay away from her.

The NBA has a domestic violence policy, which was integrated into the league’s latest CBA. It’s likely that Kurucs, who appeared in 63 games for the Nets last season, will face a suspension.

The Nets have issued a statement confirming that they’re investigating the allegations, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays (via Twitter).

Nets Notes: Kurucs, Prince, LeVert, Luxury Tax

Finding a power forward who can score from the perimeter won’t be a concern for the Nets during the 2020/21 season, but they’ll need someone to contribute until Kevin Durant recovers from an Achilles injury. Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily examines Brooklyn’s options, with the focus on Rodions Kurucs and Taurean Prince.

Kurucs, 21, is a holdover at the position after starting 46 games last year. He averaged 8.5 PPG and put up shooting numbers of 45/31/78 in what was essentially his first full professional season. He excels at passing and cutting, Rose observes, and works hard on defense. The biggest concern about his game has been rebounding, but reporters who saw him at Summer League said he has added weight and looks stronger.

Acquired in a July trade with the Hawks, Prince’s rebounding numbers last season were even worse than Kurucs, but he makes up for it with a better offensive game. He shot a career-best 39% from 3-point range and should get more opportunities to score from long distance under Nets coach Kenny Atkinson.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • This week’s rookie scale extension for Caris LeVert is more evidence that the Nets are willing to spend big to build a winner, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ownership gave LeVert $52.5MM over the next three years and pushed its summer spending past $400MM after landing Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in free agency.
  • LeVert’s extension almost guarantees that the Nets will be a taxpaying team in 2020/21, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad writes for SNY.tv. Brooklyn already has $122MM in salary committed to nine players for that season, and Nahmad estimates the team will be about $15MM below the tax line when deciding whether to re-sign Prince and Joe Harris. He adds that Nets are unlikely to pay the tax this season, meaning a repeater tax won’t be a concern until 2023/24. They will probably exceed the apron in 2021/22 when an expected extension for Jarrett Allen would take effect.
  • Stefan Weissenboeck, who serves as Brooklyn’s unofficial shooting coach, will be back for another season, according to Yanir A. Rubenstein of NetsDaily. Weissenboeck is an assistant coach in the German league, but provides tips to the Nets through videos and occasional trips to the United States. “I’m happy about the trust they put in me, and I love the job,” he said.

Atlantic Notes: Howard, Celtics, Kurucs, Knicks

Former Lakers center Dwight Howard was asked this week about whether impending free agent Kawhi Leonard should consider the team in free agency, with Howard quickly shutting down the idea in favor of Leonard’s current situation in Toronto.

“I don’t know if [the Lakers] are the draw anymore,” Howard said Thursday on ‘First Things First’ on Fox Sports 1, as relayed by Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I think now guys understand that in the era that we live in, the social media age, you can play anywhere and get attention.”

Howard, who was traded to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, spent just one tumultuous season in Los Angeles and quickly became disliked by many fans of the organization. He believes that Leonard should prioritize re-signing with the Raptors when free agency opens on June 30.

“To me, I think he should stay in Toronto,” Howard said. “Because he took the team to the Finals. If he wins, why would he go anywhere else?”

Along with Leonard, the Raptors also have the situations of Danny Green (unrestricted) and Marc Gasol ($25.6MM player option) to address this summer. Leonard has long been linked to the Clippers as a free-agent target, but Toronto may have the slight advantage coming off their first NBA championship.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:

  • The Celtics’ plans have been altered in the wake of the Lakers-Pelicans trade for Anthony Davis, Jay King of The Athletic writes. Boston suddenly has an unclear future, dominated by the fact that star guard Kyrie Irving could leave the team in free agency and sign elsewhere. The team is also awaiting a decision from Al Horford, who must inform the franchise of whether he plans to exercise his $30.1MM player option for the 2019/20 season.
  • Nets forward Rodions Kurucs is planning on playing summer league with the team, he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “My focus this summer is just working on my game, my all-around game, my handle, my shot, defense, rebounding, physicality for sure,” Kurucs said. “Everything, basically, because I will need them next season.” Kurucs is coming off a rookie season where he averaged 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in 63 games.
  • Aside from the Warriors themselves, the Knicks are one of the biggest losers from Golden State’s strange NBA Finals run, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Major injuries to potential targets Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant have hurt the potential of the 2019 free agent class, leaving some to wonder what kind of contracts teams will offer the two All-Star players on the open market. New York still hasn’t backed away from the idea of signing Durant to a four-year, $141MM deal if he opts out from his final season in Golden State, according to Berman.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Embiid, Kurucs, Ntilikina

Higher expectations may put Sixers coach Brett Brown’s job in jeopardy if the team suffers an early playoff exit, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown has amassed a 168-308 record in his six years on Philadelphia’s bench, but much of that came as the franchise was trying to rebuild through the draft. With a pair of stars in place in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and two more acquired in trade in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, the pressure to win right away has become intense.

Brown refused to comment on the situation after Friday’s loss, which was the Sixers’ third in their last four games. However, the mini-slump is understandable, given the 76ers’ tough schedule and the absence of their top two centers, Embiid, who has tendinitis in his left knee, and Boban Marjanovic, who’s dealing with a right knee bone bruise and a mild sprain.

Still, Brown has to be feeling the heat, especially in light of a recent quote from co-managing partner Josh Harris, who indicated a first-round loss wouldn’t be acceptable. “We’re going to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Harris told ESPN. “We have enough talent on our roster that if we play the way we’re capable of playing, we can beat any team in the East.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • After missing eight games, Embiid is expected to return for this afternoon’s showdown with the Pacers, according to an ESPN report. Embiid, who hasn’t played since the All-Star break, approached the team about taking a few games off to make sure he’s rested and healthy for the playoffs.
  • Rodions Kurucs may have solved the Nets‘ search for a stretch four, suggests Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The rookie has started the past three games, helping Brooklyn to wins in all of them. He posted 16 points and six rebounds in Saturday’s victory at Atlanta. “I don’t know what neighborhood he grew up in in Latvia, but that’s a tough neighborhood. That’s a tough dude,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He might not look the part, looks like a good-looking choirboy; but him and [John] Collins were going at it the whole game, and he doesn’t back down from anybody. That’s Rodi from Day 1: No fear.”
  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina was re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff yesterday, but it still isn’t clear when he might return from a groin injury, relays Peter Botte of The New York Post. Ntilikina, who has missed 18 straight games, said he hopes to receive clearance “to do more” this week.