Sindarius Thornwell

And-Ones: Breakout Candidates, Wembanyama, Thornwell

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype polled 20 NBA executives on their top three breakout candidates for the 2022/23 season and found that Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey was the most popular pick. While I’d argue that last season represented a breakout year for Maxey, some executives have far higher expectations for him going forward.

“Maxey’s going to be better than James Harden,” one general manager said to Scotto. “He just keeps getting better and better and will be a huge reason why they have success this season.”

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Magic forward Franz Wagner, and Rockets guard Jalen Green were among the other popular breakout picks, based on the responses Scotto got from executives. Interestingly, Warriors big man James Wiseman and Pistons forward/center Marvin Bagley III were each picked as this year’s top breakout candidate by one GM.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In his latest look at the top prospects in the 2023 NBA draft class, David Aldridge of The Athletic passes along several entertaining quotes from NBA executives, including one Eastern Conference exec’s response to whether Scoot Henderson could surpass Victor Wembanyama as next year’s No. 1 pick: “Scoot’s good, but, no. Short of Wembanyama having murdered somebody, there’s just no way.”
  • Veteran guard Sindarius Thornwell has signed with Frutti Extra Bursasport, the Turkish team announced this week (via Twitter). Thornwell has appeared in 160 total NBA games and played for New Orleans and Atlanta in 2020/21, but wasn’t in the league last season.
  • Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown, who officiated over 1,100 games, including one in the 2020 NBA Finals, passed away on Thursday after a fight with pancreatic cancer, according to his family (story via ESPN.com).

Summer League Commitments: Bulls, Pistons, Spurs

Four-year NBA veteran Sindarius Thornwell has committed to play summer league with the Bulls, a league source told Hoops Rumors. Thornwell holds 160 games of experience, making past stops with the Clippers, Pelicans and Magic.

The 2022 Las Vegas Summer League will be held from July 7-17 this year. Thornwell, the No. 48 pick out of South Carolina in 2017, most recently played in Germany.

Here are some other commitments to pass along:

  • The Pistons are bringing swingman Anthony Tarke to summer league, his agent Billy Davis of Family of Athletes said. Tarke joined the Pistons for training camp last fall. He appeared in 10 games with the team’s G League affiliate this year.
  • The Spurs will add swingman Robert Woodard II to their summer league roster, a source told Hoops Rumors. Woodard signed a two-way contract with the team in March and will soon be a free agent.
  • Denzel Mahoney has also accepted a summer league invite from the Spurs, according to a source. Mahoney joined the team for training camp last fall and played for the team’s G League affiliate this year.

Lakers Notes: Irving, Draft, Mini-Camp

If the Lakers have a realistic chance to land Kyrie Irving, they should brush aside any concerns about his reliability and make the move, argues Bill Oram of The Athletic. L.A. has been mentioned as a potential destination for Irving if his contract talks with the Nets remain at an impasse. While that could be a negotiating ploy from Irving’s camp, there was a report Wednesday that he has spoken to LeBron James about teaming up again.

Oram believes head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka should jump at the chance to add Irving, who could spark a quick turnaround for an L.A. team that missed the playoffs this season. Oram admits there’s a “buyer beware” component to Irving, who has only played 93 total games in his three seasons with the Nets because of injuries, a commitment to social causes and his stand against vaccine mandates, but he says the Lakers can’t afford to pass on his talent.

There’s more on the Lakers:

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Workouts, Jokic, Wolves, Roddy

The Jazz hosted another free agent mini-camp this week, bringing in 20 players on Monday and Tuesday for a closer look, as our JD Shaw relays (Twitter links). While not all of the invitees have NBA experience, there are a handful of noteworthy names in the group, including former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Big man Reggie Perry, swingman Denzel Valentine, forward Bruno Caboclo, and guards Langston Galloway, Sindarius Thornwell, and Grant Riller were among the other players to audition for Utah.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Jazz are working out six more draft-eligible prospects on Wednesday, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, who tweets that Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Tommy Kuhse (Saint Mary’s), Josh Minott (Memphis), Darryl Morsell (Marquette), Henri Drell (G League), and Jermaine Samuels (Villanova) will be in town.
  • Nuggets star and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has committed to playing for the Serbian national team this offseason, the Serbian Basketball Federation announced on Wednesday (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). Jokic likely won’t participate in the qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup that will take place in a couple weeks, but he’s expected to be available later in the summer for the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy, who went to high school in Minnesota, is working out for his hometown Timberwolves on Wednesday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Roddy, the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s big board, could be an option for the Wolves in the first round at No. 19 or in the second round if he slips — Minnesota holds the 40th, 48th, and 50th overall picks.

Sindarius Thornwell Signs With German Team

Veteran free agent guard Sindarius Thornwell will resume his career overseas, having signed with Ratiopharm Ulm, the German team announced today in a press release. Thornwell is an injury replacement for Christoph Philipps, who hurt his shoulder.

A second-round pick in the 2017 draft, Thornwell has appeared in 160 total regular season games since entering the NBA, spending time with the Clippers, Pelicans, and Magic from 2017-21. He played in 21 games last season for New Orleans and Orlando.

Thornwell is considered a strong perimeter defender, but his offensive output in the NBA has been modest. The 6’4″ guard, who turns 27 next Monday, averaged 2.5 PPG on 40.7% shooting in his 160 NBA contests (10.8 MPG).

Thornwell finished last season on a two-way deal with the Magic, but had been a free agent since then. In Germany, he’ll join a Ratiopharm Ulm roster that includes a handful of other former NBA players, including Cristiano Felicio, Jaron Blossomgame, and Semaj Christon. The club competes in both Germany’s top league and the EuroCup.

Southeast Notes: Hunter, Young, Dragic, Thornwell, Adebayo

Hawks‘ second-year forward De’Andre Hunter underwent surgery today for a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, according to a team press release. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of preseason.

Hunter had a breakout start to his second year in the NBA, but his season was derailed by knee injuries after just 18 games and several attempts at an early return went poorly. He looked to be rounding back into shape during the Hawks’ first-round series against the Knicks, but started experiencing swelling that caused him to miss the first two games of the team’s series against the Sixers before the injury was announced.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks guard Trae Young is being listed as probable for Game Five due to right shoulder soreness, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Young said that he injured the shoulder in Game Three but kept it to himself due to a desire to play in Game Four, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I wasn’t gonna tell nobody anyways other than the training staff,” he said, which may explain why head coach Nate McMillan claimed to have not known about the injury prior to tip-off. Young finished the game with 25 points and 18 assists, tied for second-most in Hawks history, as he helped lead the team to a comeback victory to tie the series at two games apiece.
  • Heat guard Goran Dragiccoming off a magical Finals run, had a disappointing season by his own standards, much of which was due to a string of injuries that prevented him from getting any real rhythm. The Slovenian guard opened up about his struggles with injuries, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “I think I opened the season pretty well. I played well,” Dragic said. “Then just nagging injuries, a couple of injuries, COVID protocols, players in and out of the lineup. Sometimes you’re starting, sometimes not. It’s tough to catch a rhythm like that when you play two or three games and then you’re out for nine.” He’s hoping that this offseason will give him time to get his body right and be ready for next season. Dragic has a $19.4MM team option this summer, which the Heat will have to make a decision on.
  • Sindarius Thornwell may not have had a huge impact on the Magic in his seven games with the team, but he proved himself a capable defender and physical player, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. But Orlando is going into the offseason with a roster filled with promising guards, and Thornwell is likely the odd man out. Parry writes that Thornwell could parlay his play with the Magic into a deal with another team.
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines whether it could be worth it for the Heat to explore trading Bam Adebayo in a package for a star such as Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, and what the ramifications of such a move could look like.

Magic Sign Sindarius Thornwell To Two-Way Contract

The Magic have signed free agent guard Sindarius Thornwell to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release. Devin Cannady has been waived in a corresponding roster move.

Thornwell, 26, spent his first two NBA seasons with the Clippers after being selected 48th overall in the 2017 draft. He later caught on with the Pelicans for the 2020 summer restart and spent much of the 2020/21 season with New Orleans as well, first on a non-guaranteed contract, then on a pair of 10-day deals. The Pels didn’t re-sign him after that, largely due to luxury tax concerns.

In 153 career games, Thornwell has averaged just 2.5 PPG and 1.3 RPG in 10.3 minutes per contest. However, his shooting percentages (.414 FG%, .348 3PT%) haven’t been too bad, and he’s considered a solid perimeter defender.

Cannady recently underwent season-ending ankle surgery and was on an expiring deal, so there was no real incentive for the Magic to keep him under contract for the rest of the 2020/21 season. I’d expect Orlando to consider him for either a new two-way deal or a spot on the team’s G League affiliate once he fully recovers from his ankle injury.

Southwest Notes: Ball, Thornwell, Rockets, Spurs

As of Wednesday, Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball seemed more likely than not to be traded this week. But Thursday’s deadline came and went without a Ball deal, and the former No. 2 overall pick is now on track to reach restricted free agency with New Orleans later this year.

In the view of Will Guillory of The Athletic, the Pelicans made the right move by hanging onto Ball, who has noticeably improved since joining the team two years ago and complements New Orleans’ star forwards (Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram) well. Guillory suggests there were “legitimate” offers on the table, with the Hawks, Knicks, and and Bulls among the teams in the mix, but the Pels ultimately opted to take their chances with the point guard in restricted free agency.

Ball’s free agency will provide its own set of challenges, particularly since the Pelicans also want to retain RFA-to-be Josh Hart and may have to move off Steven Adams‘ or Eric Bledsoe‘s contract to re-sign both Ball and Hart and avoid the tax. An aggressive offer sheet for Ball from a rival suitor could also force New Orleans into a tough decision. But Guillory believes there would be a trade market for Ball down the road even if his next contract is worth a little more than the Pelicans would like.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • After signing Sindarius Thornwell to a pair of 10-day contracts, the Pelicans had been considering a rest-of-season deal for the veteran guard. If that happens though, it’ll have to be a little later this spring. As Andrew Lopez of ESPN notes (via Twitter), New Orleans moved so close to the tax line following its deadline-day trade that a rest-of-season signing at this point would push team salary over that threshold.
  • Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle explains the thinking behind the Rockets‘ decision to trade Victor Oladipo to Miami for a relatively modest return. As Feigen details, Oladipo’s days in Houston were likely numbered if the Rockets had hung onto him through the deadline, and the team wanted to open up more minutes for Kevin Porter alongside John Wall, so the front office opted to take the best offer available for Oladipo on Thursday.
  • With several veterans on expiring contracts, the Spurs were in position to shake up their roster at the trade deadline. However, as is typically the case in San Antonio during the season, the team opted to stand relatively pat instead, making just one small financially motivated move, acquiring Marquese Chriss and cash from Golden State. Noting that the Chriss trade was the Spurs’ first deadline deal since 2014, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News examines the club’s decision to once again remain quiet at the deadline.

Southwest Notes: Lonzo, Terry, Thornwell, Dieng

Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball may be on the move at the trade deadline, a possibility that could be predicated on the fact that Ball is hoping to make around $20MM annually on his next deal, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. The 6’6″ UCLA alum, 23, is currently earning $11MM in the final season of his rookie deal, and will enter restricted free agency this summer.

Ball is enjoying the best scoring season of his career, averaging a career-high 14.2 PPG. He is connecting on a career-high 42.5% of a career-most 12.1 field goal looks a night, including a career-best 38.5% from long range on a career-most 7.8 three-point looks a night. His 76.7% free throw percentage is also leagues beyond his previous high of 56.6%, though the volume remains modest (1.1 attempts a night).

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks point guard Tyrell Terry is not traveling with Dallas at present for personal reasons, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “I don’t have any timetable for him being back,” head coach Rick Carlisle said of Terry. The rookie, who has appeared in 11 games for Dallas, has been sidelined from the team for the past seven contests.
  • Though Pelicans swingman Sindarius Thornwell has run out of 10-day contracts with New Orleans, he may latch on with the club for the rest of the year as early as this Friday, depending on what trade deadline transactions transpire for the Pelicans by Thursday, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). The 6’4″ wing has appeared in 14 games for New Orleans this season.
  • Grizzlies reserve center Gorgui Dieng, who has been out of the lineup for almost a month, seems more likely to be bought out than be traded due to his hefty $17.3MM expiring deal, per Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Though Dieng has some appeal as a lengthy stretch big man, connecting on a career-best 47.9% from long range this season, his salary may preclude a deal. The Grizzlies have prioritized rookie big man Xavier Tillman Sr., the No. 35 pick in the 2020 draft out of Michigan State, over Dieng in their rotation.

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.