Rudy Gobert

Northwest Notes: George, Patterson, Gobert

Make no mistake, Oklahoma City’s one mission this season is to convince Paul George to remain with the Thunder once he hits free agency next summer. But what, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman asks, does the All-Star forward want?

George and his representation have been nothing if not forthright about the 27-year-old’s desire to sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2018 but he still has a season under contract and a fresh, new change of scenery to enjoy with the Thunder until that time comes.

If George truly wants to play for a winner, the Thunder have a legitimate chance of positioning themselves as the better option than the Lakers, Horne writes. Oklahoma City has, after all, been competitive for the past five years while the Lakers have toiled in mediocrity.

The question is whether playing for a winner will ever actually trump George’s desire to return to his home state.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The move to sign Patrick Patterson will help the Thunder on the defensive end, the forward’s former coach Kevin McHale told The Oklahoman. He says Patterson is the type of player that excels at all the little parts of the game.
  • With Gordon Hayward on his way to the Celtics, it’s become clear that Rudy Gobert may have been the leader of the Jazz all along, Brad Rock of The Deseret News writes. The big man has long been more charismatic and vocal than his Beantown-bound counterpart.
  • The move that sent Avery Bradley from the Celtics to the Pistons has all but extinguished any hopes the Jazz had of pulling off a sign-and-trade connected to Gordon Hayward’s move to Boston, Jody Genessey of The Deseret News writes.
  • The Timberwolves saw an opportunity and seized it this offseason, bringing Jeff Teague into the fold at the expense of long-time point guard Ricky Rubio. “Ricky did a good job here; we’re happy for him,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau told the media, including Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. “We wish him well. He made a number of contributions to our team, our organization and community and we certainly appreciate that. For us where we are now, we have to get out of this hole and we felt we had an opportunity to improve our team, and that’s why we did what we did.”
  • An additional benefit the Timberwolves will enjoy after bringing Jimmy Butler aboard will be his contributions as a recruiter, Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago writes.
  • No team in the NBA shot worse when wide open beyond the arc than the Thunder did last season, that should change after the club welcomes Paul George and Patrick Patterson to its lineup, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes.

Green Named Defensive Player of Year

Warriors forward Draymond Green was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, as was announced during the TNT awards show Monday night.

Green led the league in steals at 2.03 per game and was 12th in blocks at 1.4 per game. He topped the other two finalists, Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi LeonardLeonard won the award the past two seasons.

Antetokounmpo Wins Most Improved Player Award

Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, as was announced on the TNT awards show Monday night.

The Bucks point forward posted averages of 22.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 5.4 APG and 1.9 BPG last season. The previous season, he averaged a slash line of 16.9/7.7/4.3/1.4.

Antetokounmpo topped the two other finalists, Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the voting. In the Hoops Rumors staff picks, Antetokounmpo received two of the five votes.

Green, Gobert Headline 2016/17 NBA All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2016/17 season, and Defensive Player of the Year finalists Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, and Kawhi Leonard all earned a place on the First Team. Green led the way with 99 First Team votes, while Gobert received 97 votes for a spot on the First Team.

Here are the full rosters for the NBA’s All-Defensive teams:

First Team:

Second Team:

Avery Bradley (Celtics), Klay Thompson (Warriors), and John Wall (Wizards) were among the other players receiving votes who just missed out on an All-Defensive spot.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical observes (via Twitter), Gobert’s cap hit for the 2017/18 season will now increase by $500K to $21.9MM based on his spot on the All-Defensive First Team.

NBA Reveals Award Finalists

The NBA is in the process of revealing its finalists for each of the major year-end awards on TNT, the winners of which will be announced at the official award show on June 26.

Below is an ongoing list that we’ll update as the NBA on TNT crew reveals more.

Most Improved Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rudy Gobert
Nikola Jokic

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP


Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon
Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man


Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
Joel Embiid
Dario Saric

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY


Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni
Gregg Popovich
Erik Spoelstra

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COTY


Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert
Draymond Green
Kawhi Leonard

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY


Most Valuable Player of the Year
James Harden
Kawhi Leonard
Russell Westbrook

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

No Paul George, Gordon Hayward On All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.

Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).

Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.

The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).

Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.

As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.

Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.

Northwest Notes: Thomas, Rabb, Gobert

Isaiah Thomas has gone from last selection in the 2011 NBA Draft to one of the league’s top budding superstars with the Celtics. As he prepares for a Game 7 showdown against the Wizards, stories about Thomas’ unlikely path to stardom continue to circulate and the Timberwolves are the latest team to be connected with the 5’9″ point guard.

As Sam Vecenie of Vice Sports details, Minnesota had interest in selecting Thomas with the 57th pick in the draft (Thomas selected 60th by the Kings) but elected to go with Tanguy Ngombo, a Congolese forward playing in Qatar. Few projected Ngombo to be drafted, leaving a lot of mystery surrounding not just his skills, but his identity. Chaos ensued when it was discovered that Ngombo may not be 21 years old as the team believed.

After speaking to Ngombo, the team realized he was not sure of his age due to restricted access to his passport and no official birth certificate. Eventually, the team rescinded its rights to Ngombo and he continued his career in Qatar while Thomas — after a subpar stints in Sacramento and Phoenix — is a two-time All-Star in Boston.

Here are additional news tidbits in the Northwest:

  • The Trail Blazers are expected to hold a private workout with University of California product Ivan Rabb after the combine, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes (via Twitter). Rabb, 20, has spent the last two seasons with the Golden Bears; the 6’11” center averaged 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG this past season.
  • Speaking of Portland, the team’s president of basketball operations Neil Olshey spoke to Scott Howard-Cooper on NBA TV to discuss the team’s future and possible strategy from the combine. “We’ve been rebuilding the organization based of of Damian Lillard’s timeline, we’ve been lucky enough to be a playoff team in both of those years,” said Olshey (via NBA.com). “It’s whatever the best decision long-term for the franchise is. If that’s three rookies, it’s three rookies. If that’s an aggregation of picks to get an impact player, then that’s what it’ll be.
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert told L’Equipe he will not suit up for Team France for the Eurobasket 2017. After suffering an injury during the playoffs, and playing through a full regular season plus the postseason, he would rather prepare for rigors of the 2017/18 campaign.“It was a tough decision for me,” he said. “But my knee injury during the playoffs, the long season in the NBA, the talks with the Jazz: I need to work on my body this summer. I am not leaving the project Team France.”

Jazz Notes: Hayward, Hill, Diaw, Ingles

After being swept by the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, the Jazz enter the offseason with one major question: Will Gordon Hayward be in Utah next season and beyond? Speaking to the media at the Jazz’s end-of-season media press conference, the former first-round pick from 2010 had nothing but the highest of praises for the team, Ryan McDonald of Deseret News Sports writes.

“It’s been so much fun for me here in Utah and growing up here, starting a family, growing from a basketball standpoint, growing from just a man standpoint,” Hayward said. “I have nothing but love for everybody in Utah.”

At 27 years old, coming off a season in which he set career-highs in PPG (21.9) and RPG (4.7), and made his first All-Star team, the Butler University product will have no shortage of potential suitors. Teammates like budding star Rudy Gobert expressed kind sentiments, telling the media that he “don’t want to see him leave because he’s a big part of what we’ve been building.” Per Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, Jazz guard George Hill expressed the belief that Hayward’s “heart is here in Utah.”

From enduring a 25-win season in 2013 to eliminating the Clippers in the playoffs this season, Hayward was a major part of making Utah a contending team. However, the 6’8″, 225-pound forward says he hasn’t given much thought to his future.

Here is additional news surrounding the Jazz:

  • Hill, who is a free agent himself this offseason, expressed his desire to remain in Utah. The 31-year-old averaged 16.9 PPG and 4.1 APG in 49 regular season contests for a Jazz team that went 51-31, good for fifth place in the West. Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune noted that Hill’s family will play a role in his free agency decision but the veteran feels the Jazz have “more than enough” to compete with the team’s current core (Twitter links).
  • Boris Diaw, the seasoned veteran who provided a spark off the bench, is also uncertain about a return next season. The Jazz hold an option on the 35-year-old France native, who he indicated his desire to return next season, per Genessy (via Twitter). “I’d like to be back here, but I’d definitely understand any choice that they make,” he said.
  • Joe Ingles, a restricted free agent this offseason, may have the upper-hand on his teammates in regards to a return. The Jazz can match any offer he receives — and both parties have a mutual interest in a reunion, Jones reports (via Twitter). Andy Larsen of Salt City Hoops quoted Ingles, who said all of Utah’s impending free agents want to return (via Twitter).

Rudy Gobert To Return For Game 4

After being upgraded to questionable earlier in the day, it now appears as though Rudy Gobert is healthy enough to return to action tonight, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets.

Gobert had been sidelined since banging his knee on the first play of Game 1. Shortly after the injury was sustained, the big man underwent X-rays and an MRI which both revealed that there was no structural damage.

With Gobert in the lineup, the Jazz will get the opportunity to exact revenge on a Clippers team that has hopped out to a 2-1 lead over their shorthanded opponents. In Game 3, of course, Clips forward Blake Griffin went down with a toe injury that will cost him the remainder of the postseason.

In 81 games for the Jazz this season, Gobert emerged as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate with an improved offensive game. His 14.0 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, coupled with the sheer length that he possesses around the rim, will serve the visiting Utah squad well.

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Gobert, Garnett

After playing sparingly in Game 3, Jusuf Nurkic and the Trail Blazers have decided to shelve the big man once again. Per Mike Richman of the Oregonian, the Bosnian Beast will not play at all in Game 4.

He didn’t do any further damage,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Nurkic playing through a fractured leg. “There was soreness, tenderness and it just wouldn’t be wise to have him play through that.

Limited to shifts of 3-5 minutes, Nurkic didn’t catch much of a rhythm on offense. Though he pulled down 11 rebounds, he only scored two points in his 17 minutes on the court.

There’s more from the Northwest:

  • When the Jazz tip off for Game 4 of their first-round series later tonight there’s a 50% chance that they’ll see Rudy Gobert return to action, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. The big man was formally updated to questionable earlier today.
  • The Jazz failed to capitalize when Clippers forward Blake Griffin left Game 3 injured but the fact that fans can ruminate on the team’s inability to slow Chris Paul simply means that they’re playing meaningful games again, Brad Rock of the Deseret News writes, and that’s something that they can be excited for.
  • For the second time in a week, former Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett spoke about his relationship with franchise owner Glen Taylor. A report on ESPN details the conversation KG had with the Associated Press, including how he felt Flip Saunders‘ passing was handled.
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