Stanley Johnson

Scotto’s Latest: Portis, Johnson, Graham, Nets, Batum, More

Within his latest round-up of NBA rumors, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms a number of items that have been previously reported or speculated. According to Scotto, Bucks forward Bobby Portis is widely expected to decline his $4.56MM player option to become a free agent, the Lakers are considered a strong bet to pick up Stanley Johnson‘s $2.35MM team option, and Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham is available in trade talks.

Scotto’s article includes several other intriguing tidbits related to the draft, free agency, and the trade market. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Nets have fielded trade inquiries on Joe Harris and Cam Thomas, according to Scotto, who says rival executives believe Brooklyn could potentially get a first-round pick in exchange for Thomas. While there’s a sense that Harris might be more available than in previous years due to the Nets’ February acquisition of Seth Curry, the team still believes Harris would be a useful piece on next year’s roster due to his ability to help on the boards and space the floor around Ben Simmons, Scotto writes.
  • The Timberwolves, Grizzlies, and Bucks are among the teams that have inquired about the No. 14 overall pick, currently held by the Cavaliers, league sources tell HoopsHype. Scotto previously reported that Cleveland would be open to the idea of moving down in the draft if it meant acquiring a future first-round pick.
  • Rival executives who spoke to Scotto believe veteran forward Nicolas Batum could be in line for a deal worth $10MM per year after turning down his player option. The Clippers would have the ability to go that high to re-sign Batum using his Early Bird rights.
  • Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia has visited Milwaukee and worked out for the Bucks twice during the pre-draft process, Scotto reports. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who previously identified LaRavia as a player on Milwaukee’s radar, has him ranked 28th on ESPN’s big board of 2022 prospects. The Bucks hold the 24th overall pick.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Klutch, Carmelo, Offseason

The Lakers‘ front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group for last summer’s acquisition of Russell Westbrook, multiple sources tell Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As has been reported by several outlets since last August, Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a part in recruiting Westbrook, helping convince the Lakers to go after the former MVP instead of trying to sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan or acquire Buddy Hield from Sacramento.

Still, while James, Davis, and their agency may have had a hand in the Westbrook trade, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office ultimately had the final say. Pincus, who suggests that assigning the blame to Klutch Sports “may be an epic level of passing the buck,” writes that NBA front offices should consider their stars’ input but that the top basketball executives are responsible for making the decisions they feel are best for the team.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

Pacific Notes: Poole, Thompson, S. Johnson, Kawhi, Kaminsky

Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala recently compared two third-year players, former teammate Tyler Herro and current teammate Jordan Poole, and thinks both players could be in for big paydays on their next contracts.

It’s funny. I’m hearing Tyler is looking at a max contract. I’m laughing at Jordan, like, it’s the same thing,” Iguodala said (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

As third-year former first-round pick, Poole is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, though Golden State might opt to wait until after the 2022/23 season to offer him a new deal in order to maintain financial flexibility. He’d be a restricted free agent at that point.

Poole is having a breakout season for the Warriors, averaging 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists on .454/.368/.920 shooting (.602 true) through 74 games (30 minutes per night). He’s been outstanding since the beginning of March, averaging 25.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists on .492/.437/.910 shooting in the past 19 games.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson will miss Saturday’s game at San Antonio for precautionary reasons, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Thompson has typically been held out of the second game of back-to-backs, but coach Steve Kerr decided to switch things up and rest him on the first night this time instead. Thompson has been red-hot lately, scoring a combined 69 points over his past two games.
  • After Friday’s win over the Thunder, forward Stanley Johnson said he hopes the Lakers exercise their team option to retain him for next season, according to team beat reporter Mike Trudell (Twitter link). “Hopefully I’ve played well enough that they would take me back,” Johnson said.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said on Friday that Kawhi Leonard hasn’t advanced past individual workouts yet, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter). Leonard has missed the entire season after suffering a torn ACL last June.
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams said “it was tough decision for us” to part with Frank Kaminsky, who was released on Thursday. “He meant a lot to us, and me personally, I’m grateful for everything he did for us. I just wish he could’ve gone on with us, but these are tough decisions that we have to make. The cool part was, he totally understood and it just says a lot about who he is as a person,” Williams said (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).

California Notes: Lakers, Holmes, Draymond, Clippers

The struggling 29-39 Lakers, winners of just two of their last ten games, are looking to the future, encouraged by the development of some of their youngsters, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register.

Though the Los Angeles front office mostly opted to build its new-look roster around older veterans this summer, a handful of younger role players have emerged around 37-year-old All-Star forward LeBron James this season.

24-year-old guard Malik Monk and 23-year-old rookie wing Austin Reaves, alongside 25-year-old forward Stanley Johnson, have emerged as three of the Lakers’ more reliable players who may have yet to hit their ceilings. 21-year-old swingman Talen Horton-Tucker remains an intriguing option as well, though he has underperformed relative to his new three-year, $32MM contract this season.

“They’ve continued to improve and get better and more comfortable in our system, in our environment,” head coach Frank Vogel said of the Lakers’ youth movement. “Malik, Austin and Talen. That trio is another reason amongst others why I believe we have a chance.”

There’s more out of California:

  • The NBA has fined Kings big man Richaun Holmes to the tune of $25K after he threw a basketball into the crowd during a 134-125 loss to the Jazz on March 12, per a league press release (Twitter link). Holmes was ejected from the game at the time of the incident. It shouldn’t make too big of a dent in his wallet — the 28-year-old is in the first season of a lucrative new four-year, $46.5MM contract he signed with Sacramento during the 2021 offseason.
  • Despite being inactive for the last 30 Warriors contests this season due to a nagging back injury, All-Star power forward Draymond Green remains convinced he can still win his second Defensive Player of the Year Award this season, per Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area“Yeah, I’ve seen guys win with not many more games than I’m gonna play,” Green said. “I don’t know what league everybody else has been watching, but I have not seen anyone solidify themselves as Defensive Player of the Year.” Johnson notes that, should Green be available for all 13 remaining Warriors games during the 2021/22 regular season, he will only have suited up for 48 total this year.
  • With a 36-35 record, the eighth-seeded Clippers are six games behind the sixth-seeded Nuggets in the Western Conference. L.A. has just 11 games left on its regular season slate. The team has little to no chance of avoiding the play-in tournament at this point of the year, barring a collapse from both the Nuggets and the 40-30 seventh seed, the Timberwolves. The team is also a whopping 5.5 games ahead of the ninth-seeded Lakers. Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register examines how the Clippers intend to operate down the home stretch of the season given the reality of their seeding. “We’ll get a chance to experiment with our small lineup, which we gotta get better at once we get everyone healthy and get everyone back and then kinda see how that plays out, head coach Tyronn Lue said. Lue also intends to work through after-timeout plays, with an emphasis on helping shooting guard Luke Kennard improve his timing off screens.

Players Who Have Spent The Most Time This Season On 10-Day Deals

It has been a record-setting season for the 10-day contract, which got more use than ever this winter as teams missing players due to COVID-19 scrambled to add multiple replacements at a time using the league’s newly-updated hardship provision.

By our count, an unprecedented 118 players have signed at least a single 10-day deal this season, and many of those players received more than one. Because hardship deals didn’t count toward the usual limit of two 10-day contracts per season with a single team, a handful of players even inked three or four 10-day pacts with the same team.

While no players were able to match or exceed the NBA’s rookie minimum salary on 10-day deals alone, a handful of players signed so many 10-day contracts that they earned a salary comparable to a two-way player.

[RELATED: Salaries For 10-Day Contracts In 2021/22]

With the help of our 10-day contract tracker, here’s a look at some of the players that have spent the most time this season on 10-day deals:

Chris Silva

  • Total 10-day contracts: 5
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 50
  • Teams: Heat (x4), Timberwolves
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $479,650

One of two players who has signed four 10-day contracts with the same team this season, Silva might not be done yet — all four of his 10-day deals with the Heat were completed using the hardship provision, which means he could still sign one or two more standard 10-days with the team before the end of the season. Miami has an open roster spot, so it’s not out of the question.

Even if he doesn’t sign another 10-day contract this season, Silva’s earnings have already exceeded the base salary for a player on a two-way deal ($462,629).

Lance Stephenson

  • Total 10-day contracts: 5
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 43
  • Teams: Pacers (x4), Hawks
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $690,095

One of Stephenson’s 10-day hardship deals with the Pacers was terminated after just three days so that he could sign a standard 10-day contract in order to remain on the active roster. As a result, he didn’t spend quite as many days as Silva as a 10-day player this season.

Still, Stephenson is one of just two players to have signed five 10-day contracts this year, and no player has earned more money via 10-day deals than he has this season. Stephenson also parlayed those four short-term commitments from Indiana into a rest-of-season deal.

Stanley Johnson

  • Total 10-day contracts: 4
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 40
  • Teams: Lakers (x3), Bulls
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $480,332

Danuel House

  • Total 10-day contracts: 4
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 40
  • Teams: Jazz (x3), Knicks
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $445,828

Wenyen Gabriel

  • Total 10-day contracts: 4
  • Days spent on 10-day contracts: 40
  • Teams: Clippers (x2), Nets, Pelicans
  • Total earnings on 10-day contracts: $383,720

There are five NBA players who have signed at least four 10-day contracts so far this season, with Johnson, House, and Gabriel joining Silva and Stephenson.

Johnson and House took very similar paths. Both players signed a single hardship 10-day contract with one team in December (the Bulls for Johnson and the Knicks for House), but didn’t get a chance to make a real impression for that team — Johnson was almost immediately placed in the COVID-19 protocols himself, while House logged just three total minutes for New York. Both players subsequently caught on with new clubs, signing a hardship 10-day contract and then a pair of standard 10-days before finalizing a full-season agreement.

Gabriel, meanwhile, has bounced around the NBA a little more this season, signing a total of four 10-day hardship deals with three separate teams. He didn’t earn a rest-of-season commitment from any of them, but eventually landed with the Lakers on a two-way contract.

Players who have signed three 10-day contracts this season:

* Chriss, Cousins, Diakite, and Jackson each had one of their 10-day contracts terminated early, so they’ve technically spent fewer than 30 days on 10-day deals this season.

^ The third 10-day contracts for Frazier, Thomas, and Wilson are still active.

# Highsmith’s third 10-day contract is still active. Additionally, his second deal was technically an 11-day contract since it ran through the All-Star break and needed to cover a minimum of three games.

Pacific Notes: Moon, Barnes, AD, LeBron, Johnson

Xavier Moon, who recently completed three 10-day hardship contracts with the Clippers, is determined to make it back to the NBA, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Moon’s last game was in New York City against the Knicks, and he said it was a surreal experience.

Watching these games on TV, Madison Square Garden, everybody doing what they do and getting a chance to take the court?” Moon said. “Man, surreal.”

The 27-year-old NBA rookie has plenty of international experience, having made stops in France, England, Israel and Canada. Upon hearing that some G League teams were interested in his services late last summer, Moon decided to buy out his contract with an Italian club and give things a shot closer to home, Greif writes.

I was like, I think I’ll hold off from going overseas this year,” Moon said. “And I think that was probably one of the better decisions that I made.”

Moon appeared in six games with the Clippers, averaging 5.5 PPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.5 RPG in 13.8 MPG. In 17 games with Agua Caliente, the team’s G League affiliate, he has averaged 13.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.6 APG, and 1.4 SPG on .489/.386/.864 shooting.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings are in a tailspin, losing 12 of their last 14 games to fall to 18-32 on the season, 13th in the West, and Harrison Barnes is understandably frustrated with the team’s performance, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “It’s a range of emotions: frustration, anger, embarrassment, disappointment. You can go down the list,” Barnes said after posting 28 points and nine rebounds in the loss to the Hawks on Wednesday. “No one prepares and wants to lose, wants to go through losing the way we’ve been going about it. There’s a lot of frustration, but it’s on us to get out of this.”
  • Anthony Davis said X-rays on his right wrist came back negative after injuring it on a dunk over Joel Embiid in the Lakers‘ loss to Philadelphia on Thursday, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets. Davis will miss Friday’s game against Charlotte with wrist soreness, McMenamin relays in a separate tweet.
  • LeBron James is also inactive Friday night for the Lakers and is considered day-to-day with left knee soreness, as Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group details. In a follow-up tweet, Goon notes that James’ knee is swollen on top of being sore, so the team is being cautious with the 37-year-old star.
  • Within the same article from Goon, Stanley Johnson says he’s thrilled he was able to turn his 10-day deals with the Lakers into a standard contract that will cover the remainder of the season, with a team option for next year. “I couldn’t have dreamed of something like this in wildest my dreams,” Johnson said. “Obviously, I wanted it. … Seeing a 10-day guy with a fit like this, it’s happened before. And it will happen again. But it doesn’t happen a lot.”

Lakers Sign Stanley Johnson To Two-Year Deal

JANUARY 27: The Lakers have officially signed Johnson, per a team press release.

JANUARY 26: The Lakers and forward Stanley Johnson have agreed to a two-year deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The second year will be a team option, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who says (via Twitter) the contract is expected to be signed on Thursday.

Johnson has been with Los Angeles for the last month, having initially signed a hardship 10-day contract with the team on December 24. That was followed by two standard 10-day deals, the second of which will expire on Wednesday night.

Because a team can’t sign a player to more than two standard 10-day contracts in a season, the Lakers would’ve had to let Johnson walk if they weren’t prepared to give him a rest-of-season commitment.

However, Johnson has become a key part of Los Angeles’ rotation since his arrival, playing strong defense and averaging 6.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG on .516/.344/.789 shooting in 14 games (21.2 MPG). Letting him go wasn’t something L.A. wanted to do, even if it would’ve allowed the team to keep a 15-man roster spot open for added flexibility leading up to the February 10 trade deadline.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Johnson’s willingness to accept a team option for 2022/23 was a factor in the Lakers’ decision to commit its 15th roster spot to him, since that option will give the club some roster flexibility in the offseason.

Prior to signing with the Lakers last month, Johnson had been playing with the team’s G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. The 25-year-old signed a 10-day hardship deal with the Bulls earlier in December, but entered the health and safety protocols before appearing in a game with the team, then joined L.A. after that deal expired and he was cleared from the protocols. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Johnson has also played for the Pistons, Pelicans, and Raptors since entering the NBA.

Assuming Johnson signs his contract on Thursday and it’s worth the veteran’s minimum, he’ll earn $888,616 for the rest of the season. The agreement will ultimately cost the Lakers more than that, since they’re well above the luxury tax line.

A minimum-salary team option for Johnson for 2022/23 would be worth $2,351,521.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Westbrook, Vogel, Johnson

Lakers big man Anthony Davis will be a game-time decision Sunday in Miami, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Davis, who has missed the last 16 games with a sprained left knee, is listed as questionable in the team’s latest injury report.

Davis suffered the injury in a December 17 game when an opposing player fell to the court and collided with his knee. He was cleared for full-contact workouts earlier this week, and there has been optimism that he might be able to resume playing during the current road trip.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Russell Westbrook and coach Frank Vogel both want to move beyond the issue of Westbrook being benched for the closing minutes of Wednesday’s game, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Westbrook and Vogel acknowledged that they discussed the situation leading up to Friday’s contest in Orlando, which saw the former MVP back in his regular role. “I’ve been doing my job since Day 1 and doing everything that’s been asked of me since I got here,” said Westbrook, who admitted being angry over the situation. “And I’ll continue to do that for the betterment of the team and doing what’s best for us and finding ways to implement how I can make an impact on this team.”
  • There were reports that Vogel received permission from the front office to handle Westbrook as he saw fit, but Vogel said Friday that he didn’t talk to anyone in management before opting to keep Westbrook on the bench, believing the decision was his alone to make, Goon adds in the same piece. “I’ve got full autonomy to make any coaching decisions necessary to win games. That is something that has always been persistent there,” said Vogel, who has faced speculation that his job might be in danger. “I do communicate with the front office on everything I’m considering and there’s a strong alignment there. What it ultimately comes down to … we talk about a lot of different things and I have autonomy to make the final decisions.”
  • Stanley Johnson, who signed his third 10-day contract on Monday, was in the starting lineup for the beginning of the second half Friday, notes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Vogel attributed the move to matchups, and it worked as L.A. went on a 19-2 run to take control of the game.

Lakers Notes: Vogel, Westbrook, Trade Targets, Johnson

Prior to the Lakers‘ game against Indiana on Wednesday night, head coach Frank Vogel addressed recent rumors about his tenuous job security, suggesting he’s unfazed by reports that state he’s on the hot seat and is being evaluated on a game-to-game basis.

“I don’t feel like I’m under siege,” Vogel said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s not hard to do my job; I’m very focused on the task at hand. I’ve always been that way.”

Although Vogel downplayed concerns about his status, his decisions down the stretch in the Lakers’ loss to the Pacers seemed to reflect some added urgency. As McMenamin writes in a separate story, Vogel removed nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook from the lineup during crunch time after Westbrook continued to struggle with his shot and failed to execute on defense. Vogel said after the game he was “playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game.”

According to McMenamin, the Lakers’ coaching staff has been debating for weeks whether to remove Westbrook during late-game situations, but had hesitated due to concerns about how it would affect the guard’s psyche. The staff finally pulled Westbrook in the fourth quarter on Wednesday after receiving assurances from management that it supported the hard-line stance, sources tell ESPN.

Westbrook left the arena after the game without speaking to reporters, but it’s probably safe to assume he wasn’t thrilled to be on the bench for the final 3:52 of the loss. “Would you think that would bother Russ not being in a late game?” teammate LeBron James asked rhetorically when reporters pressed him on the subject.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • James expressed no desire to see Vogel replaced when asked on Wednesday about the coaching situation. “Coaching staff has been great,” LeBron said, per McMenamin. “They put us in position to succeed, and it’s up to us to handle the business, so there’s always things that we all can do better, but there’s no blame.” Veteran forward Carmelo Anthony took a similar stance: “Frank’s not out there. It’s up to us to go out there and execute and play basketball and win some games.”
  • The decision to bench Westbrook adds even more intrigue to the ongoing Vogel saga, Bill Oram of The Athletic writes. Both Oram and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Vogel’s job isn’t in immediate jeopardy and that the head coach is traveling with the team to Orlando for Friday’s game. The Magic have an NBA-worst 8-38 record, so it seems safe to assume a loss tomorrow wouldn’t bode well for Vogel.
  • In an article for Bleacher Report, Eric Pincus examines the Vogel situation and considers possible roster moves for the Lakers. Sources tell Pincus that Ben Simmons, Jerami Grant, Harrison Barnes, and Myles Turner are among the potential targets L.A. has looked at, but it’s hard to imagine the team having the ammunition to outbid rival suitors for any of those players.
  • Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Lakers forward Stanley Johnson said he isn’t sure whether the Lakers will keep him beyond his second 10-day contract, but he’s trying to “give (his) best effort” to show he deserves a full-season commitment. Spears’ piece includes a few other interesting quotes from Johnson, including his account of how an “honest conversation” with Raptors president Masai Ujiri last year helped inspire him.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Nunn, Johnson, Vogel

The Lakers have cleared Anthony Davis to begin on-court, full-contact workouts, according to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Davis, who hasn’t played since December 17 due to a sprained left knee, underwent a reevaluation on Monday and team doctors determined that recent testing showed no damage to the knee.

Although Los Angeles hasn’t provided a specific timeline for Davis’ return, people with knowledge of the situation tell Woike and Turner that the big man could be back during the club’s upcoming six-game road trip. That trip will begin on Friday in Orlando and runs through Sunday, January 30.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • While the update on Davis was relatively positive, the same can’t be said of point guard Kendrick Nunn. As Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group relays, head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday that Nunn’s right knee “didn’t respond well” during his ramp-up process, and his Lakers debut isn’t imminent. “Bone bruises are tricky, and his timeline is delayed,” Vogel said. “Still have no firm timeline on it, but he’s pulled back from workload until it calms down.”
  • Stanley Johnson, back under contract on his third 10-day deal, scored 10 fourth-quarter points on Monday vs. Utah and played a key role in helping the Lakers snap their three-game losing streak. As Turner writes for The Los Angeles Times, Johnson’s impact and role keep growing and he’s making a strong case for a rest-of-season commitment.
  • In case you missed it, Vogel is firmly on the hot seat, with the team said to be evaluating him on a game-to-game basis. In his latest Substack column, Marc Stein argues that, while Vogel isn’t blameless in Los Angeles’ up-and-down performance this season, holding him culpable for the team’s struggles is “outright laughable.”