Shaquille Harrison

Western Notes: Popovich, Rose, Jazz, Harrison

Gregg Popovich was asked Saturday about the importance of Patty Mills‘ leadership following the departures of Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, with the longtime Spurs coach delivering a straightforward answer on the matter.

“Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything,” Popovich said, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright. “Manu and Patty were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but that leadership wasn’t his deal at that time. That may come as he progresses, but Manu and Patty filled that role last year, and LaMarcus [Aldridge] came a long way in that regard also.”

The Spurs traded Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick this summer, ending a seven-year run for Leonard with the team. Leonard grew as a player and teammate in San Antonio, receiving two All-Star selections and a Finals MVP.

Popovich called him a “great teammate” this past offseason and appreciated his contributions, but it’s no secret who the leaders on the team were during their time together.

There’s more out of the Western Conference today:

  • Derrick Rose is happy with the Timberwolves‘ play since Jimmy Butler was traded, as relayed by the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think the ball movement, everyone being on the same page, and the new pieces that we have, like they’re for the team,” Rose said. “They’re professional, great dudes, and that’s what we needed.’’ Minnesota traded Butler and Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick in early November.
  • Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News examines what’s wrong with the Jazz, who have started the 2018/19 season with an 8-11 record. Utah was one of the NBA’s most surprising teams last season, finishing the campaign with a 48-34 record.
  • Shaquille Harrison holds no hard feelings toward the Suns after being cut by the team before the season, Gina Mizell of The Athletic writes. “I’ve always taken that with me,” Harrison said. “You just never know what’s gonna happen, how things are gonna shake out. I just looked at it as an opportunity for me. It ended up working out for me. I looked at things as everything happens for a reason, so it was purposeful.” Harrison, now with the Bulls, played 18 minutes against Phoenix on Wednesday.

Central Notes: A. Johnson, Portis, Harrison, Antetokounmpo

With the Cavaliers‘ coaching situation still uncertain, Alabama coach Avery Johnson could become a candidate, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Johnson has plenty of NBA coaching experience, spending seven seasons with the Mavericks and Nets and taking Dallas to the NBA Finals in 2006.

Johnson also has a strong connection with Cavs’ rookie point guard Collin Sexton, coaching him last year in his lone season of college basketball. Johnson attended Cleveland’s home opener last week as Sexton’s guest. Windhorst notes that owner Dan Gilbert has wanted to hire a college coach before, making offers to Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Kansas’ Bill Self and Kentucky’s John Calipari.

In the wake of Tyronn Lue‘s firing over the weekend, Larry Drew continues to act as interim head coach, but without the title. Drew said Tuesday that he’s “very disappointed” with the pace of negotiations to make his role more permanent.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls forward Bobby Portis is sidelined with a sprained right MCL, but it hasn’t changed his mind about his decision to pass on a contract extension, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Portis, who may be out of action until mid-December, opted to test the market as a restricted free agent next summer rather than accept a deal now. “Can’t second-guess yourself,” he said. “Basketball gods don’t bless people that way. It doesn’t work that way. In life, obviously you have a choice. I made mine, I’m happy with what I did, and I’m just living life one day at a time.”
  • Bulls point guard Shaquille Harrison didn’t have his confidence shaken after being waived by the Suns, notes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Injuries to Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine have given Harrison an opportunity, and he has responded with 10 and 13 points in the past two games. “The Bulls brought me here for a reason,” he said. “I don’t need to do more than what’s being displayed. Try to continue to play hard, be a leader and be a playmaker.”
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play tomorrow in Boston, according to Matt Velazquez of The Journal-Sentinel. Antetokounmpo has missed one game so far after being elbowed in the head Saturday. “It’s kind of scary because, you know, you get hit in the head and you feel pain for 10 seconds,” he said. “But it was lingering and I had a headache the next day and it was kind of bad, but at the time, I felt – I’m Giannis – I felt great. I wanted to play. … I think the NBA medical staff did a great job protecting me, keeping me out of the game.”

Bulls’ Kris Dunn Out 4-6 Weeks With MCL Sprain

Bulls starting point guard Kris Dunn will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks after suffering a sprained MCL, the team announced today (via Twitter). The injury occurred in the second quarter of Monday’s loss to Dallas, per head coach Fred Hoiberg (Twitter link via The Chicago Sun-Times).

Dunn, who missed the start of the season due to the birth of his child, was making his regular season debut on Monday. While he was able to stay in and finish the game after sustaining the injury, he’ll now be out of action until at least late November, according to the team.

With Dunn set to return within six weeks or so, the Bulls are unlikely to make a roster move to acquire point guard depth, particularly since they already did so over the weekend — the club added Shaquille Harrison to a group that also includes Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono, and those three guards figure to handle the position in Dunn’s absence. Tyler Ulis may also see some action, but he’s on a two-way contract, so any day he plays or practices with the team will count toward his 45-day NBA limit.

Payne, who started Chicago’s first two games of the season, is the best bet to claim Dunn’s spot in the starting five. All three of the Bulls’ reserve point guards will be looking to make an impression on team management with Dunn on the shelf, as Payne is in a contract year and Harrison and Arcidiacono don’t have fully guaranteed salaries.

The Bulls will now be without Dunn, Lauri Markkanen, and Denzel Valentine for the time being as they look to rebound from an 0-3 start.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Harrison, Asik, Payne

While their 0-3 start hasn’t generated the sort of angst that the Thunder’s or Lakers’ has, the Bulls expressed some frustration after falling 115-109 to the Mavericks on Monday night. After head coach Fred Hoiberg suggested that “we lost our composure,” Zach LaVine initially disagreed with that idea, assigning the blame elsewhere.

We gotta run the right sets out there,” LaVine said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “That was the main thing. If we would have run the right plays, got the ball to the right people, I think we would have been all right.”

Later in his conversation with reporters, LaVine conceded that his head coach might be right about the club losing its composure, adding that he was “not putting [the loss] on Fred,” as K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune details. Still, the fifth-year guard said the Bulls “have to do better” at recognizing who has the hot hand on offense and running plays for those players.

Here’s more from out of Chicago:

  • Shaquille Harrison‘s new contract with the Bulls is a two-year, minimum salary deal with $250K guaranteed this season, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. According to Andrews, Harrison will get a $175K guarantee for 2019/20 if he’s not waived by August 15 next summer.
  • The Bulls are leaning toward using the stretch provision on Omer Asik, Andrews adds. Asik’s contract includes a $3MM partial guarantee for 2019/20, so stretching it across three years would reduce that cap hit to $1MM annually.
  • Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago explores what the newly-signed Harrison might bring to the Bulls, pointing to the former Sun’s ability as a perimeter defender as something that could help the team right away.
  • Cameron Payne, who is in a contract year, is healthy and looking to prove his worth, but with Harrison now on board and Kris Dunn back in the lineup, his opportunities may be limited, as K.C. Johnson writes for The Chicago Tribune.

Central Notes: Love, Harrison, Kennard, O’Quinn

The Kevin Love trade watch is already under way in Cleveland, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The Cavaliers were hoping to continue their streak of playoff appearances after losing LeBron James, but they haven’t looked like contenders in any way during an 0-3 start, especially in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Hawks.

Love has been among the few bright spots, averaging 20.7 PPG and 14.3 RPG, but at age 30 he seems out of place on a team that may have to get serious about rebuilding. The four-year, $120MM extension he signed this summer may make him more attractive on the trade market, Bontemps suggests, just as a similar deal did for Blake Griffin last summer. Love won’t become trade eligible until late January, and the Cavs could be well out of the postseason race by then

There’s more today from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls have an abundance of point guards after signing Shaquille Harrison over the weekend, notes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Kris Dunn is expected to take over the starting role when he returns from paternity leave tonight, with Harrison and former Suns teammate Tyler Ulis in reserve, along with Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono. Harrison hopes to use his defensive prowess to help him emerge from the pack. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “When I found out, I was extremely excited and ready to get down here and get to work. It was an unfortunate situation in Phoenix, but I’m going to take full advantage of it here in Chicago.”
  • Coach Dwane Casey’s lineup shuffling led to Luke Kennard not playing at all on Saturday after being in the starting lineup for the season opener, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The new Pistons coach is working his way through a crowded rotation and has used point guards Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith at the same time, cutting down on the available wing minutes.
  • Free agent addition Kyle O’Quinn paid early dividends for the Pacers in Saturday’s win over the Nets, states Scott Agness of The Athletic. With Domantas Sabonis ruled out shortly before game time, O’Quinn stepped in with 16 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks. “This is what we brought him here for,” coach Nate McMillan said. “… There are going to be nights where we’re going to need him. Domas was out, (Kyle) stepped in and he was ready to go, and played a really, really good game for us.”

Bulls Sign Shaquille Harrison, Waive Omer Asik

OCTOBER 21, 11:16am: Harrison has been signed and Asik has been waived, the Bulls announced on their website. Chicago has the option of stretching the remaining $3MM it owes Asik over the next three seasons, notes Bobby Marks on ESPN Now.

OCTOBER 20, 6:13pm: Sources tell Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic that Asik will be waived (Twitter link). Harrison will receive a standard contract rather than a two-way deal, according to Charania.

OCTOBER 20, 6:06pm: The Bulls may waive veteran center Omer Asik to make room for Harrison, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Asik’s $11,286,516 contract for this season is fully guaranteed, but he only has a $3MM guarantee on his $11,977,527 salary for 2019/20. Chicago was hoping he might be useful in trade talks, but may decide that opening his roster spot is more valuable. The 32-year-old has been away from the team with inflammatory arthritis and there’s no timetable for him to return. He played just four games after being acquired in a trade with the Pelicans in February. However, Johnson adds that a final decision hasn’t been made.

OCTOBER 20, 5:47pm: Shaquille Harrison, who was waived by the Suns earlier this week, will sign with the Bulls, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Harrison traveled to Chicago this weekend in anticipation of the move, Charania adds.

Harrison, who was part of the final cuts in Phoenix on Monday, played 23 games for the Suns during his rookie season, averaging 6.6 points and 2.4 assists per night. With no established point guards on the roster, he was given a shot at winning the starting job heading into camp, but Phoenix opted to go in a different direction.

The Bulls have all 15 roster spots filled, along with both two-way slots, so a move will have to be made before Harrison can be added. Rookie guard Ryan Arcidiacono is the only player without a fully guaranteed deal.

G League Notes: Moreland, Select Contracts, Harrison, Draft

Several NBA teams secured returning rights for players who were in camp with them but failed to make the 15-man roster. Raptors 905 acquired center Eric Moreland from the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s affiliate, for forward Kyle Wiltjer, according to a G League release. The Raptors waived Moreland a week ago. Raptors 905 pulled off a similar deal with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks’ affiliate, to acquire guard Kyle Collinsworth, who was waived at the same time as Moreland. Texas acquired the returning player rights to forwards C.J. Leslie and Kennedy Meeks, according to a G League release. The Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ affiliate, gained the returning player rights of forward Cory Jefferson in a three-team swap with the Agua Caliente Clippers and the Legends, according to another G League post. The Sixers waived Jefferson on October 13th.

We have more from the G League:

  • The league is putting together a “working group” that will determine which players are eligible for select contracts, G League president Malcolm Turner said in a Q&A session posting on the league’s website. “That group will be charged with identifying appropriate, eligible, elite talent, not only in terms of on-court performance and potential, but also in terms overall readiness for the G League. In addition to identification, that working group will really help us monitor the rollout and execution of this professional path … that working group will be charged with developing its own framework and lens for eligible players.” Beginning next year, the G League will offer “select contracts” worth $125K to top prospects who are at least 18 years old but aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft.
  • Numerous NBA and G league executives, coaches, agents and players feel the select contract concept is intriguing, but there is widespread skepticism how much appeal the program will have to top-level prospects and how it will be implemented. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the topic in a lengthy analysis piece.
  • The Arizona Suns traded away the returning player rights of Shaquille Harrison to the Memphis Hustle in a deal involving four players and a draft pick, according to another G League release. Harrison was the odd man out in the Suns’ point guard competition, as he was waived early this week. It was still somewhat surprising they traded away his rights. The Grizzlies gave themselves a little extra depth at the G League level as protection against another Mike Conley injury.
  • NBA veterans such as Willie Reed, Hakim Warrick, DeJuan Blair, and Arnett Moultrie could be among the higher selections in the annual G League draft, which takes place on Saturday, Adam Johnson of 2Ways10Days.com reports. The Salt Lake City Stars own the top pick.

Suns Waive Shaquille Harrison, Darrell Arthur

The Suns waived a pair of players on Monday to reach the regular season roster limit, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Shaquille Harrison and Darrell Arthur have been cut by the team.

Arthur’s release comes as no surprise, since he was never part of the Suns’ plans for this season. Still, by waiving him now, before receiving resolution on their disabled player exception request, the Suns are no longer eligible for that DPE, as Keith Smith of RealGM confirms (via Twitter). Given that there was little evidence that Arthur had recently sustained a season-ending injury, that DPE was unlikely to be approved anyway.

[RELATED: Suns apply for disabled player exception for Arthur]

Harrison’s release is a little more surprising, given the Suns’ lack of depth at point guard. However, he was one of three players – along with Richaun Holmes and Isaiah Canaan – who was on a non-guaranteed contract, making him somewhat expendable. The Suns will now retain Canaan, Elie Okobo, and De’Anthony Melton at the point, with combo guard Jamal Crawford set to enter the mix as well.

Speaking of Crawford, the Suns will need to make one additional roster move when he officially signs his contract, which hasn’t happened yet. Davon Reed is expected to be traded or waived to accommodate Crawford.

With today’s moves, the Suns will create $7.5MM+ in additional dead money on their cap for 2018/19 — Harrison had a modest $50K guarantee, which Phoenix will eat, along with Arthur’s $7,464,912 salary.

Suns Rumors: Nash, Morris, Connelly, Point Guards

Former Suns guard and Hall of Famer Steve Nash has no interest in replacing GM Ryan McDonough, who was abruptly dismissed on Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Though Nash is a favorite of owner Robert Sarver, Nash does not want the time-consuming responsibility of running a front office, Wojnarowski adds. Nash is currently a Warriors consultant. Vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant GM Trevor Bukstein have taken over GM duties in Phoenix on an interim basis.

We have more from Phoenix:

  • Former Suns Markieff Morris and Mike James voiced their distaste for McDonough on social media, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. McDonough infuriated Morris, currently with the Wizards, and his brother Marcus Morris by trading Marcus to the Pistons in the summer of 2015 after they signed team-friendly contracts with Phoenix. “Bout time lol,” Morris tweeted after learning of McDonough’s dismissal. James, who was waived last December after signing a contract two weeks earlier, tweeted, “I don’t think he was the right person for that job.”
  • Suns assistant GM Pat Connelly and director of scouting Courtney Witte were also fired on Monday, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. Connelly was the Wizards’ director of player personnel before he was hired by Phoenix in 2013. More front office changes could be on the horizon, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison and rookies De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo continue to compete for point guard duties and none has emerged, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. First-year coach Igor Kokoskov admits that he needs to see much more from all of them. “A lot of mistakes,” he told Rankin and other media members. “There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
  • The timing of McDonough’s firing is an example of how Sarver has made a mess of the franchise, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. The Suns will probably never reach their potential with Sarver heading the organization, Bontemps adds.

Pacific Notes: Ball, James, Canaan, Marjanovic

Lonzo Ball is expected to make his preseason debut Wednesday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, which will also mark his first time on the court with LeBron James as a teammate. The Lakers have been careful with Ball as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, even as they have raved about his progress. Ball and James were both held out of tonight’s contest against the Clippers, but coach Luke Walton plans to use them in the next game against the Warriors.

“That’s one of the things I still need to see that we haven’t had is what lineups look like when both of those guys are playing,” Walton said. “I’m excited and hopeful, but again, we’re going to take it day by day. If any setbacks or whatnot, then we won’t rush it, again. But I would expect Wednesday that happens.”

Ball has received medical clearance to play and participated in full-court, four-on-four matchups with contact this week. The Lakers have been resting James, playing him about 15 minutes in the first half of each of their first three games.

There’s more tonight from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns‘ inexperience at point guard has been on display through the preseason, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. With no established veterans at the position, coach Igor Kokoskov has been using a committee approach, giving playing time to  Shaquille Harrison, Isaiah Canaan and rookies Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton. The results have been ugly as Phoenix is averaging more than 20 turnovers per game and had power forward Ryan Anderson handling the ball for part of Friday’s contest.
  • Canaan was on the court Friday for the first time since fracturing his ankle in January, writes Cody Cunningham of NBA.com. Canaan, who had 11 points for the Suns in 32 minutes and drilled three 3-pointers, was grateful to be back in action. “I could barely sleep last night just knowing that I would have the chance to play again,” he said. “It just means a lot to me personally and I just give a lot of credit to this organization and to this training staff for doing an unbelievable job getting me, not only back on my feet, but also competing at a high level.”
  • It shouldn’t be hard for Boban Marjanovic to increase his playing time with the Clippers this season, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Marjanovic averaged 8.3 minutes in 20 games after coming to L.A. in a January trade, but coach Doc Rivers said all he has to do for more court time is “Just keep being big.”