Rudy Gay

Southwest Notes: Gay, Wood, Louzada, Burke

Spurs forward Rudy Gay has secured a $500K bonus after appearing in his 53rd game of the season on Wednesday night, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Gay’s contract with the Spurs includes a $500K annual incentive if he plays in at least 60 games. However, that 60-game threshold applies to a typical 82-game season. Prorated across just 72 games this season, that worked out to 52.7, meaning Gay had to play in 53 games to earn his bonus.

Because Gay received the bonus last season as well, it was deemed “likely” entering this year and was already baked into his $14.5MM cap hit for 2020/21, Marks notes. As such, the Spurs won’t have to account for a higher cap charge than expected at season’s end.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Christian Wood, who signed a three-year, $41MM deal with the Rockets just five months ago, is out to prove that he’s deserving of an even bigger payday when that contract expires. “I just want to show fans that by the time this contract’s up I think I’m gonna be a max (contract) player,” Wood said this week, per Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).
  • While Didi Louzada‘s offensive game remains a work in progress, there’s optimism that he can be a positive contributor on the defensive end soon, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The 22-year-old wing, a second-round pick in 2019, signed his first NBA contract with the Pelicans on Tuesday.
  • Mavericks guard Trey Burke, who signed a three-year contract last offseason, began the season as a regular contributor, but saw his role cut back starting in February, then fell out of the rotation when J.J. Redick arrived earlier this month. Over the last two games, he has once again been a factor, averaging nearly 30 minutes per game, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News details. “It could go from you being DNPs to you playing 15 to 20 minutes a night,” Burke said. “You just never know, always got to stay ready. For me, this year has been tough. It’s been something that I’ve kind of battled with myself.”

Pacers’ Sampson Suspended One Game; Spurs’ Mills, Gay Fined

Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson has been suspended for one game for an incident that occurred during Monday’s game against the Spurs, according to a press release.

Sampson got into an on-court altercation with Spurs guard Patty Mills, shoving him and then head-butting him (video link). He received a Flagrant 2 foul and an automatic ejection at the time.

Mills and Spurs teammate Rudy Gay, who each received technical fouls as a result of the incident, have been fined by the NBA, according to today’s announcement. Mills was docked $25K and Gay, who shoved Sampson, was hit with a $20K fine.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the financial impact on Sampson won’t be quite as significant as the fines the Spurs’ veterans received. He’ll lose just $12,985 during his one-game suspension — that’s 1/145th of his $1,882,867 salary for this season.

Sampson will serve his suspension on Wednesday night as the Pacers face the Thunder in Indiana. Myles Turner (toe) and Domantas Sabonis (back) will also be unavailable for that game, with Goga Bitadze (ankle) listed as questionable, so the Pacers will be quite shorthanded in the frontcourt.

Spurs Rumors: DeRozan, Lyles, Gay, Aldridge

In addition to putting LaMarcus Aldridge on the trade block, the Spurs have also made it clear that veteran guard DeMar DeRozan is available, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Sources tell Fischer that DeRozan, who is earning $27.7MM in the final season of his five-year contract, has interest in playing elsewhere next season, perhaps returning to the Eastern Conference.

While the Spurs don’t typically make big in-season deals, it sounds like they’re at least gauging what they could get for DeRozan on the trade market. Fischer reports that the Knicks have considered trying to acquire the veteran guard, though some people in their front office don’t want to give up assets for players who could be signed in free agency.

There are people in the Bulls‘ front office that believe adding a player like DeRozan could push the team into the playoffs, sources tell Fischer. Additionally, Fischer says the Magic have discussed the idea of trading Evan Fournier and a pick for DeRozan, with an eye toward re-signing him in the offseason. At least one more Orlando player would need to be included in such a deal for salary-matching purposes.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Trey Lyles and his representatives are interested in finding a new home for the veteran forward, multiple league sources tell Fischer. Lyles’ minutes have been inconsistent this season in a contract year — he was a starter for a short time just before and after the All-Star break, but has been a DNP-CD for the Spurs’ last five games.
  • The Spurs remain open to moving Rudy Gay, another veteran on an expiring contract, writes Fischer.
  • The Celtics and the Heat are the teams that have consistently been linked to Aldridge, though both teams appeared more focused on the possibility of landing him via buyout than trading for him, according to Fischer. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that the Heat are widely viewed as the leaders for Aldridge, as RealGM relays.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Gay, Anthony, Zeller, Wizards

The Heat made their deal for Trevor Ariza with over a week to go until the March 25 trade deadline. One reason for Miami’s willingness to act early was the team’s inability to find common ground with the Spurs or Rockets on trade compensation for Rudy Gay or P.J. Tucker, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Gay and Tucker had been previously mentioned as potential Heat targets, and Gay was the preferred choice for some of those within the organization, according to Jackson. However, the Spurs’ asking price was deemed too high for Miami’s liking — the two teams also made no progress in talks for LaMarcus Aldridge, Jackson adds.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Magic rookie Cole Anthony, who has been sidelined since February 9 due to shoulder and rib injuries, isn’t close to returning, head coach Steve Clifford said this week, per Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. “He was on the court yesterday for the first time just doing some light shooting,” Clifford said on Wednesday. “Let’s put it this way: It’s more than days, it’s weeks before –– and I shouldn’t even say –– I don’t know exactly, but it’s not that close is the feedback (from the training staff).”
  • After starting Thursday night’s game vs. the Lakers, Hornets center Cody Zeller didn’t play at all in the second half, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Zeller’s role is worth watching with the trade deadline around the corner — if Charlotte makes a move, it could involve the center position and Zeller’s $15.4MM expiring contract.
  • Fred Katz and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to break down some hypothetical trade deadline deals involving the Wizards, including swaps that would send players such as George Hill, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Wayne Ellington to D.C.

Heat Notes: Dinwiddie, Ariza, Gay, Bjelica, Winslow

The Heat are among the teams with interest in Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, who previously reported that Detroit is eyeing Dinwiddie as well.

Miami’s interest in Dinwiddie is curious — the Heat presumably want to make a push to get back to the NBA Finals, and the 27-year-old is considered likely to miss the rest of the season due to a partially torn ACL. It also may be tricky for Miami to make a deal with another Eastern Conference contender, lest they risk strengthening a potential playoff opponent.

On top of that, the Heat have the ability to open up some cap space this offseason, so Dinwiddie’s Bird rights wouldn’t be as valuable to them as they would be to teams without any projected room. So while it’s not impossible to imagine Brooklyn and Miami making a deal involving the veteran guard, it seems somewhat unlikely.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In the wake of Miami’s acquisition of Trevor Ariza, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald breaks down what the deal means for the team, while Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald gets some feedback from an NBA scout on the 35-year-old’s fit. Ariza has typically played the small forward position, but Jackson’s source expects him to be a de facto power forward in Miami. “In today’s day and age, Ariza can be a four,” the scout said. “There’s so little distinction between threes and fours when you look at who’s on the floor. I don’t think that’s a problem at all.”
  • Within the same story, Jackson suggests that it may no longer make sense for the Heat to pursue some veteran forwards who were previously believed to be targets, such as Rudy Gay and Nemanja Bjelica. And while LaMarcus Aldridge remains a possibility in a buyout scenario, Jackson is unsure the Spurs big man would get a ton of playing time in Miami if Kelly Olynyk continues to play well and Ariza establishes himself as a rotation player.
  • Before playing his old team for the first time on Wednesday, Grizzlies forward Justise Winslow expressed gratitude to the Heat, with whom he spent the first four-and-a-half years of his NBA career. “More than anything, I want to see those faces, just to tell them, ‘Thank you,'” Winslow said, per Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com. “Because I wouldn’t be here without their guidance and without their support. It’s no hard feelings, just a lot of gratitude from me.”

Southwest Notes: Hayes, Vaccine, Gay, Mavericks, Wood

Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes has regained his rotation spot and he’s determined to hold onto it, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. In his past five games, Hayes is averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 17.5 MPG. The 2019 lottery pick, who had his third-year rookie-scale option picked up by New Orleans in December, has displaced Willy Hernangomez as the second-unit backup center.

The main thing I took away was I never want to be in that position again,” Hayes said of his February benching. “It’s not like it was a bad thing. I just always want to be on the court.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Eligible members of the Pelicans organization received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. A majority of the players who were eligible received the shot did so, including Sindarius Thornwell, Lopez tweets. Italian Nicolo Melli also received the vaccine, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • The Spurs had four games prior to the All-Star break postponed due to coronavirus issues. Two of the affected players, Rudy Gay and Derrick White, expressed their gratitude to the team’s training and medical staffs for the high quality of care to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News“They’re just great people, the most helpful people I’ve been around, and they care about us,” Gay said.
  • While the Mavericks plan to give stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis periodic nights off, don’t expect coach Rick Carlisle to give the team’s four rookies extended playing time, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.
  • Rockets big man Christian Wood is hopeful of returning to action on Tuesday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Wood has been sidelined since February 4 due to an ankle injury. He’s listed by the team as doubtful.

Heat Notes: Leonard, Trade Targets, Robinson

The Heat are reviewing a video clip that shows center Meyers Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch live stream on Monday night while playing ‘Call of Duty: Warzone,’ writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The NBA is also reviewing the incident, issuing a statement that reads, “We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information. The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”

Leonard is out for the season with a shoulder injury and is a long shot to have his $10MM+ team option for 2021/22 exercised. If he was already in jeopardy of having played his last game for Miami, this video certainly didn’t help matters. So far, it’s unclear how the NBA and Heat will respond — a fine or a suspension seems like a possibility.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • A pair of veteran scouts who spoke to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald agreed that the Heat’s roster is in need of a stretch four and said Sacramento forward Harrison Barnes and San Antonio forward Rudy Gay would be among their targets if they worked for the team. The Spurs would be open to listening on Gay, according to Jackson. The two scouts also identified Rockets forward P.J. Tucker and Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica as logical targets — Miami has been linked to both.
  • With restricted free agency on tap this summer, Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson is putting in work to become a more complete player rather than just a three-point specialist. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel takes a closer look at Robinson’s development.
  • After a slow start to the season, the Heat won seven of their last eight games entering the All-Star break. Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald explores what the club needs to do to carry that success over into the second half, starting with keeping Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo healthy.

Charania’s Latest: Wolves, LeVert, Kings, Spurs, More

The Timberwolves continue to explore ways to address their power forward position and have shown interest in the likes of Hawks big man John Collins and Magic forward Aaron Gordon, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Multiple previous reports indicated that Minnesota inquired on Gordon during the offseason, but Charania’s report suggests the Timberwolves and Magic had “substantive discussions” on the power forward before he injured his ankle earlier this season. Those talks are expected to resume as Gordon nears a return to action, per Charania.

The Hawks’ and Magic’s asking prices for Collins and Gordon will be substantial, Charania adds. Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas hasn’t been shy about shaking up the roster since assuming control of the basketball operations department in 2019, but it remains to be seen how aggressive he’ll be at this year’s deadline with Minnesota holding the league’s worst record and at risk of losing its 2021 first-round pick (which is top-three protected).

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Pacers guard Caris LeVert, who underwent surgery for kidney cancer in January after being traded to Indiana, is expected to play at some point in the second half, sources tell Charania. LeVert’s exact return timeline remains up in the air, since the club will be cautious and patient with him.
  • Kings forwards Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica are both expected to receive interest from potential trade partners, with the Sixers, Heat, Warriors, Bucks, and Celtics among the clubs to display interest in Bjelica, per Charania.
  • The Spurs are receiving and listening to inquiries on their veterans on expiring contracts, including DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, and Trey Lyles, sources tell The Athletic. Still, San Antonio is firmly in the playoff picture in the West and typically doesn’t make big in-season deals, so a deadline blockbuster seems unlikely.
  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who will likely miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury, has drawn interest from multiple teams who value his Bird rights, according to Charania. We heard last week that Brooklyn has made Dinwiddie available in trade discussions.

Heat Interested In DeMarcus Cousins, Other Frontcourt Players

DeMarcus Cousins, who was released by the Rockets earlier this week, is one of several additions the Heat are considering for their frontcourt, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Cousins is expected to clear waivers at 5 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, making him a free agent.

Jackson’s source identifies four other players Miami is targeting if they become available. That group includes Spurs forward Rudy Gay, Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica and Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, The Heat are also monitoring Pistons forward Blake Griffin, but they wouldn’t take on his contract, which includes a $38.96MM player option for next season, and will only try to sign him if he is released.

Jackson adds that Miami’s front office is doing “due diligence” on all those players and it’s not clear who the preference is.

The most intriguing option may be Cousins, a six-time All-Star who tried to revive his career in Houston after back-to-back Achilles and ACL injuries. He averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25 games for the Rockets and was most effective as a backup. His lack of mobility became a more pronounced issue when he was moved into the starting lineup after an injury to Christian Wood.

Miami tried to sign Cousins in 2019, Jackson notes, but he opted for the Lakers. Cousins is also expected to consider the Raptors, Celtics and Warriors, according to Jackson.

Jackson believes Gay would be used in the same role as Jae Crowder, who left Miami to sign with the Suns in November. It’s not certain that San Antonio wants to part with Gay, who makes $14.5MM on an expiring contract, but Jackson notes that an offer of Kelly Olynyk would work under the cap, as would the combination of Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard, who is out for the season after shoulder surgery.

Spurs Have Five Players Under Protocols; DeRozan Also Out Wednesday

The NBA postponed the last four Spurs games due to coronavirus positives and contact tracing. There’s now more clarity on which players are in the league’s health and safety protocols, as well as hope that their next scheduled game against the Thunder on Wednesday will be played.

The Spurs announced on Monday that Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Derrick White remain under the league’s protocols and are not with the team. That group will not travel to Oklahoma City. Additionally, DeMar DeRozan will miss the game due to personal reasons.

However, LaMarcus Aldridge has been upgraded to active, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links). He hasn’t played since February 1st due to a hip injury.

As previously reported, the Spurs on Monday recalled guard Tre Jones and forward Luka Samanic from the Austin Spurs. That would give the team 10 available players, two more than the minimum required to play.

San Antonio practiced on Monday, Orsborn added.

Weatherspoon was the only San Antonio player prior to Monday to be named publicly as being under the league’s health and safety protocols. The games postponed were all on the road — Detroit, Cleveland, New York and Indiana — which means the Spurs will have a busy schedule in the second half of the season. They also have to make up a January 25th postponement, a road game against New Orleans.