Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Lowry, Raptors, Portis, Knicks

Sixers power forward Al Horford shot down an ESPN report that his new team was guilty of tampering prior to free agency. He addressed the issue on the Dan Patrick Show (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg). Horford declined his team option with the Celtics and signed a four-year, $109MM contract with Philadelphia. “It’s ridiculous. … (Celtics GM) Danny [Ainge] was really good to me. I know he’s definitely frustrated that things didn’t work out with us,” Horford said.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Heading into unrestricted free agency next summer, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has hired Priority Sports — headed by longtime agent Mark Bartelstein — to represent him, according to a Priority Sports tweet. Lowry signed a three-year deal worth up to $100MM in 2017. His previous reps were Gerard Darnes Soms, Andrew Miller and Juan Aisa, according to Spotrac.
  • The Raptors used their $3.623MM bi-annual exception to sign forward Stanley Johnson, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The $9.26MM mid-level was split up among Patrick McCaw, Matt Thomas, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who received $2.5MM rather than the veteran’s minimum. McCaw signed a two-year, $8MM deal while Thomas and Hernandez received partially-guaranteed three-year contracts.
  • Power forward Bobby Portis believes the players the Knicks brought in are a hungry group ready to overachieve, as he told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Portis joined the team on a two-year, $31MM deal, though only the first year is guaranteed. “I love being underrated, man. I’m an underdog,” he said. “I say that every day. We’re the team that’s being counted out right now. People are looking past us. They’re talking about stars going to new teams and this and that, and that’s okay. Everybody on this team has a huge chip on their shoulder.”
  • After striking out on the big free agents this summer, the Knicks will have to exercise patience and come up with a better plan to lure top talent, Steve Popper of Newsday opines.

Raptors Sign Rondae Hollis-Jefferson To One-Year Deal

JULY 18: The Raptors have officially signed Hollis-Jefferson, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 8: Hollis-Jefferson’s deal with the Raptors will be worth the minimum, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic.

JULY 7: Free agent forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will join the Raptors on a one-year deal, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Hollis-Jefferson, 24, spent the first four years of his NBA career in Brooklyn after being selected with the 23rd overall pick in 2015. While he’s a strong defender and can make some plays on offense, his shooting percentages bottomed out in 2018/19, as he made just 41.1% of his attempts from the floor and 18.4% from beyond the arc in 59 games.

Hollis-Jefferson never appeared to be in the Nets’ long-term plan, as the franchise previously withdrew his qualifying offer and renounced his rights, making him an unrestricted free agent. RHJ will have an opportunity to rebuild his stock and hit the market again next summer.

Since losing Kawhi Leonard (and Danny Green), Toronto has focused on adding younger wings with potential upside on low-cost deals. In addition to Hollis-Jefferson, the team agreed to sign former top-10 pick Stanley Johnson.

The Raptors also agreed to a three-year deal with Matt Thomas, which will use part of the team’s mid-level exception. Depending on the value of Hollis-Jefferson’s new contract, he could also be signed using some of Toronto’s MLE.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Charania’s Latest: CP3, Klay, Harris, RHJ, Randle, More

League sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Chris Paul never demanded a trade from the Rockets, but suggested at season’s end that he’d understand if the club decided to go in a different direction. According to Charania, Houston told Paul it remained committed to him, and he has reciprocated that commitment.

While Paul and James Harden haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, Charania hears that the two Rockets guards have been communicating since the season ended and had a positive conversation on Father’s Day.

Even if the Rockets wanted to move Paul, there would likely be no market for him, as the Rockets discovered when they quietly gauged his value in recent weeks, Charania writes.

Charania’s latest round-up at The Athletic includes several other noteworthy tidbits on 2019’s upcoming free agent period, so let’s pass along some highlights…

  • The Warriors and Klay Thompson will meet in Los Angeles at the start of free agency, per Charania. While Charania – like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski – has heard that Thompson could speak to the Clippers if talks with Golden State break down, the Warriors and Thompson’s camp expect a quick agreement if the team puts a five-year, maximum-salary offer on the table.
  • After Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer named the Clippers as a possible suitor for Tobias Harris, Charania says the same thing, noting that the two sides still have a good relationship. Charania also adds the Pelicans – who now have significant cap room – to the list of teams expected to express interest in Harris.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who didn’t receive a qualifying offer from Brooklyn, is expected to draw interest from the Suns, Timberwolves, and Rockets as an unrestricted free agent, reports Charania.
  • The Bulls, Knicks, and Nets are viewed as potential suitors for Julius Randle, sources tell Charania.
  • Teams in need of some help at the point guard spot – including the Suns, Bulls, Wizards, and Kings – have shown interest in Cory Joseph, says Charania.
  • If the Knicks miss out on their top free agent targets, they’ll plan on trying to sign “high-level rotation players” to one- or two-year deals, according to Charania, who suggests that Celtics RFA-to-be Terry Rozier may be one target.

Nets Won’t Make Qualifying Offer To Hollis-Jefferson

The Nets will not make a qualifying offer to forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who will become an unrestricted free agent, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. By letting Hollis-Jefferson walk, the Nets will have approximately $46MM in cap space this summer, Wojnarowski adds.

Brooklyn would have needed to extend a $3,594,369 qualifying offer to Hollis-Jefferson to make him a restricted free agent. The Nets are looking to open up as much as cap space as possible to bring in two high-level free agents.

A 2015 first-round selection, Hollis-Jefferson has spent all four of his seasons with Brooklyn. He averaged 8.9 PPG and 5.3 RPG in 20.9 MPG last season after posting career bests of 13.9 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 28.3 MPG during the 2017/18 campaign. Adductor and groin injuries limited him to 59 games this past season.

In 234 career games, he’s averaged 9.9 PPG and 5.9 RPG.

The 24-year-old Hollis-Jefferson is well-regarded for his defensive versatility and should attract interest from multiple teams on the open market.

Poll: Nets’ Playoff Chances

Heading into the 2018/19 season, many expected the Nets to make another jump in the standings as a result of their players developing and the quality depth they added in the offseason. However, there were no expectations that at the halfway point of the season, the Nets would be sitting in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference despite not having their best player available for the past two months.

The Nets are 21-23, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that they were 8-18 in early December. Instead of focusing on getting the best draft pick possible, Kenny Atkinson continued to believe that his team could turn it around, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Since December 6, the Nets own the league’s 12th-ranked offense and 15th-best defense.

D’Angelo Russell has made strides as a playmaker and scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie is a top candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and Joe Harris has provided elite shooting and floor-spacing.

Keep in mind that a lot of this recent run by the Nets has come without Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, not to mention Caris LeVert. The Nets use their depth and bench to their advantage on a nightly basis, which allows them to stay afloat when injuries strike.

With that being said, many still expect teams like the Pistons and Hornets to improve moving forward, while the Wizards have found new life since John Wall went down for the season. Do the Nets have enough top-end talent to lead them to the playoffs? Or will their strong bench and depth be enough for them to sneak in? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!

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Atlantic Notes: Hollis-Jefferson, Embiid, Smart, Burke

Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson suffered another groin injury on Saturday, but the severity of the issue isn’t worse than his strained right adductor from this past summer, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Hollis-Jefferson sustained the injury as the team played Milwaukee, with the 23-year-old heading to the locker room for examination and being ruled out of the game early.

“Yeah,” he said, “I felt a little strange feeling on a crossover going baseline. It just felt weird to me so I just wanted to be cautious and talk to our training staff, see what was going on.”

Hollis-Jefferson missed the entire preseason following his adductor injury on Aug. 4, making his debut nearly 12 weeks after the injury on Oct. 24. News of his Saturday’s injury not being worse than the problem in August comes as a relief for Brooklyn, a team already playing without talented wing Caris LeVert.

Hollis-Jefferson has started in 19 of 34 games this season, averaging 9.9 points per contest while playing his usual stellar defense. He’ll undergo further examination on Sunday with hopes of making a return in the near future.

“You know where your groin is, so I knew it was my groin,” Hollis-Jefferson said, according to Lewis. “But I’m no doctor, so I didn’t know “Oh, it’s this severe” or whatever the case may be. I knew it was my groin. A little sore. But we’ll go see [Sunday], check and see how it feels, how everything is.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:

  • Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid is quietly building a case for Defensive Player of the Year this season, Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com writes. Philadelphia sports an impressive 101.9 defensive rating when Embiid is on the court, turning into a different team when he’s protecting the rim. “I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again, he is the Defensive Player of the Year,” coach Brett Brown said. “When I look at our metrics, his impact on this team is overwhelming.”
  • Before the Celtics‘ game against the Rockets last week, coaches from both teams praised Marcus Smart for the intensity he brings on defense. Smart notched 11 points, three assists and a steal in the game, defending players such as James Harden and Eric Gordon“Just his ability to stick his nose into everything and stamina, strength, and then being willing to do all the dirty work,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of Smart, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “He’s one of the better defenders in the league. He’s like P.J. [Tucker] for us. They do what’s needed. And some people have noses for the ball, situations they can think they’re way out of defensively. He does that.”
  • Knicks guard Trey Burke has regained his love for basketball while playing in New York, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. Burke started his career with the Jazz, a tumultuous time period he still reflects on today. “I’ve had to figure the league out,” Burke said. “I think individually it helped me kind of look myself in the mirror and re-evaluate what I needed to get better at and the areas I needed to grow in.”

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Butler, Embiid, Fultz

The Nets made news last week when they agreed to a contract extension with point guard Spencer Dinwiddie. The three-year deal totals $34MM+ and includes a player option on the final year, which would allow Dinwiddie to re-enter the free agency market at age 28 to secure another contract.

The decision to give Dinwiddie the extension might have appeared simple on the surface, but Michael Scotto of The Athletic analyzes how it may impact the decisions the Nets have to make on upcoming restricted free agents D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Russell will very likely be looking for more money on his next contract, while the Nets also have 2019 free agency aspirations as they look to make the next step and become a playoff team. For now, they have locked up a quality point guard for the foreseeable future on a very reasonable contract as they look to navigate the waters without Caris LeVert moving forward this season.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

  • In his running column on the Sixers for The Athletic, Derek Bodner explored the fit between Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid, especially in light of the comments Embiid made about the questionable fit and role he has had since the trade.
  • The Sixers have struggled recently as a result of Butler’s injury, which, as Tim Bontemps writes for ESPN, exposes the team’s lack of depth on a nightly basis. Bontemps also discusses the notion that subsequent roster moves that would help solve the 76ers’ depth issues moving forward.
  • According to Marc Spears of The Undefeated, Ben Uzoh, a former point guard that also dealt with thoracic outlet syndrome during his playing career, has reached out to Markelle Fultz to provide him with advice on how to navigate the diagnosis and properly recover as the Sixers‘ young point guard looks to get his career back on track.

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Davis, RHJ, Carroll

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie became eligible for an extension on Saturday but there doesn’t seem to be much progress between the two parties. Dinwiddie’s agent, Raymond Brothers, indicated that to the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “No news. Nothing to report,” Brothers said.

Dinwiddie can receive as much as $47.5MM on a four-year extension and has said he’d be willing to sign for that amount. Several NBA sources told Lewis that Dinwiddie could get more as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Dinwiddie is currently making just $1.65MM this season, a huge bargain for a productive rotation player. He scored a career-high 39 points on Wednesday.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Big man Ed Davis knows changes could be on the horizon if the team doesn’t start winning games in bunches soon, as he told Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “It’s not just a coaching job that can change, they start trading people. It gets crazy when you lose and how you’re losing,” Davis said. Dinwiddie is also aware that the pressure is building on the current roster to start producing. “I’d venture to guess that if we continued to lose trades would happen, as they should. That’s (GM) Sean (Marks’) job,” he said.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson‘s return to the lineup has helped the Nets crack down defensively, Lewis writes in a separate story. Wins over the Raptors and Knicks this past weekend were facilitated by Hollis-Jefferson’s versatility. He recently returned from an adductor injury. “He can guard a 2, a 3, a 4, a 1. Its just huge for us. And he wants that responsibility. He’s embracing it more now that he’s feeling better physically,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. Hollis-Jefferson will be a restricted free agent in the summer if the team extends a $3,594,369 qualifying offer.
  • DeMarre Carroll has struggled since returning from ankle surgery last month but Atkinson will remain patient with him, Lewis details in another story. The small forward becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. “It’s a little bit him, it’s a little bit me trying to get that confidence back in him that he’s fully healthy and can contribute,” Atkinson said. “He’s not near where he was last year, that’s my estimation. But DeMarre’s DeMarre: That guy’s the ultimate professional, great team guy. We have an understanding where he is.”

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Knicks, Hollis-Jefferson, Sixers

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will be eligible to sign a contract extension with the team on December 8, and the 25-year-old took time Thursday to address the situation with reporters. Dinwiddie, in his third season with the team, assured he would love to stay long-term.

“I would love to have an extension,” Dinwiddie said, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto. “I would love to be here for a long time. If I don’t get an extension, then I’ll be looking forward to unrestricted free agency and going through the season and trying to help the Nets win games as much as possible.”

Dinwiddie’s “official statement” came as part of a larger quote posted by Scotto, with Dinwiddie acknowledging that the decision is largely in general manager Sean Marks‘ hands.

“The ball is very much in Sean Marks’ and the Nets’ court,” Dinwiddie said. “Everybody knows my extension number is four (years) for $47.5 million.”

The Nets are projected to have $50-70MM in cap space next summer, and it remains to be seen whether the team is interested in keeping Dinwiddie long-term and cutting into the space. He’s averaged 16 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 22 games off the bench this season, shooting 48% from the floor and 38% from downtown.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • The Knicks have to make a roster cut in the next couple of weeks, with Allonzo Trier‘s 45-day limit on a two-way deal set to end around December 15, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Ron Baker and Luke Kornet are two possible candidates to be waived. Trier has averaged 11.8 points per contest in 23 games this season, shooting 49% from the field.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been given the starting nod at power forward this week, leaving some to wonder if the change will become permanent again, writes Tim Dowd of Nets.com. The Nets enjoy using Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive capabilities against players at each position, primarily at the four spot. “We can put him on a point guard, we can put him on a four, we can put him on a five,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It’s just a huge advantage, his defensive versatility.”
  • The Sixers‘ next moves are even more important now that they’ve acquired a third All-Star in Jimmy Butler, Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes. Philadelphia must convince Butler that this should be his long-term home before he reaches free agency in July, and the team could package Markelle Fultz in a trade for talent that can help the club compete now.

Nets Rumors: Butler, LeVert, Allen, Russell, RHJ

Although the Nets internally view Jimmy Butler as a top-10 or top-15 player in the NBA, the team resolved not to give up any of its prime assets for him once he became available, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. When Brooklyn briefly discussed the possibility of acquiring Butler in a trade, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and the team’s first-round pick were off-limits.

As Scotto details, general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson have talked throughout their tenures about not “skipping steps” in the Nets’ rebuilding process. Sacrificing one or two of the club’s top young players or draft picks would have meant going for a quick fix, with no assurances that Butler would have stuck around beyond 2019.

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets did kick the tires on Butler before the Timberwolves sent him to Philadelphia, having discussed a deal involving D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and salary filler, league sources tell Scotto. However, those talks didn’t gain any traction.
  • Scotto identifies Nikola Mirotic and Tobias Harris as two veteran forwards who may receive interest from the Nets during the summer of 2019. Brooklyn has long coveted a reliable stretch four, and Mirotic and Harris, who will both be unrestricted free agents next year, are capable of playing that role.
  • As he approaches restricted free agency, D’Angelo Russell is showing a little more consistency, particularly on the defensive end, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “His maturity, his consistency, that’s what we’re starting to see,” Kenny Atkinson said. “That’s the challenge for him. It’s not on-again, off-again. We need more on from him, and I think he’s starting to get over that hurdle. He looked really good physically, too, against Denver (on Friday). He really got after it.”