Sterling Brown

Thunder Waive Sterling Brown

The Thunder have waived Sterling Brown, who was acquired from the Rockets Friday in an eight-player trade, the team announced (via Twitter).

The 27-year-old shooting guard spent last season with the Mavericks, averaging 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 49 games while playing 12.8 minutes per night. He was dealt to Houston in June as part 0f the package for Christian Wood.

A second-round pick in 2017, Brown spent his first three NBA seasons in Milwaukee and then one with the Rockets before signing with Dallas last summer. His $3MM contract for the upcoming season is fully guaranteed, so Oklahoma City will be on the hook for that if no one claims him off waivers.

The move brings the Thunder’s roster down to 19 players, so they will have room to add someone else before the cutdown date. The team now has 17 players on guaranteed standard contracts, a number which will need to be reduced to 15 before opening night.

Thunder, Rockets Complete Eight-Player Trade

SEPTEMBER 30: Both teams have announced that the trade is now official. However, the terms of the deal are slightly different than was previously reported.

Instead of Atlanta’s protected 2025 second-round pick, the Rockets will receive a 2026 second-rounder from Oklahoma City. That pick will be the second-most favorable of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ 2026 second-round picks. Houston is also receiving cash considerations in the deal.


SEPTEMBER 29, 9:15pm: The Rockets intend to waive Jerome, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Feigen adds that Favors and Maledon are considered the most likely among Houston’s new additions to claim spots on the 15-man regular season roster.


SEPTEMBER 29, 8:13pm: The Thunder have agreed to send center/power forward Derrick Favors, shooting guard Ty Jerome, forward Maurice Harkless, point guard Theo Maledon and the Hawks’ 2025 second-round draft pick (top-40 protected) to the Rockets in exchange for athletic swingman David Nwaba, wing Sterling Brown, point guard Trey Burke and power forward Marquese Chriss, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As Wojnarowski observes, Oklahoma City will create two trade exceptions in the deal. In pure salary terms, the exchange will help the Thunder get $10MM under the league’s punitive luxury tax cap threshold. Wojnarowski notes that Favors in particular is tradable among the returning players arriving in Houston, as a solid backup big man on an expiring $10.2MM salary.

The 6’9″ Favors, 31, spent most of the last decade as a key role player with several good playoff-bound Jazz teams. Last year with the Thunder, he appeared in just 39 games, averaging 5.3 PPG on 51.6% shooting, plus 4.7 RPG, across 16.7 MPG.

Jerome and Maledon are both young players on modest contracts with remaining potential upside. Harkless, like Favors, is a veteran on an expiring deal.

On the Rockets’ side of the transaction, Houston is acquiring a future second-round draft pick in exchange for taking on some added salary, as Woj details.

According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (via Twitter) if that Hawks 2025 second-rounder lands in the top 40 and is protected, Houston will instead receive the second-best of the Thunder’s, Mavericks’, and Sixers’ 2026 second-round picks.

Given that No. 2 draft pick Chet Holmgren has been ruled out for the year with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot, and with the best player in this new trade being sent away from the team, it appears the Thunder are once again prioritizing a year of youthful development, as they look to the 2023 draft lottery to build out their impressive young roster.

Oklahoma City added four rookies in the 2022 draft, including two additional lottery picks beyond Holmgren. The Thunder have been in full-on rebuild mode since the end of the 2019/20 season, winning a total of 46 games over the last two years.

Houston has also been in the asset-collection and draft lottery-targeting phase of its journey since 2020. The team went 37-127 from 2020-22. This year, the Rockets drafted intriguing rookie power forward Jabari Smith with the third pick out of Auburn. They also made two other selections in the first round.

It appears unlikely that every player in this deal will be with their new clubs when the regular season opens. Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter) notes that both teams will still have 18 guaranteed contracts on their books following this deal. Per league rules, they’ll each need to get down to 15 players by October 17.

Rockets Trade Christian Wood To Mavericks

JUNE 24: The trade is now official, the Mavericks announced in the early hours of Friday morning. Wood has officially landed in Dallas in exchange for Marjanovic, Brown, Burke, Chriss, and the draft rights to No. 26 overall pick Wendell Moore. Houston is flipping Moore to Minnesota in a separate deal.


JUNE 15: The Rockets are trading Christian Wood to the Mavericks in exchange for the No. 26 overall pick of the 2022 draft, Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

All five players are on expiring contracts in 2022/23, with the four Mavs players being sent out for salary-matching purposes. Wood will earn $14.3MM next season.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, the trade can’t be officially completed until draft night, which is June 23, because the Mavs owe a protected first-round pick to the Knicks in 2023. Six months after the trade is completed, Wood will be eligible to sign a contract extension worth up to $77MM over four years, says Marks.

Burke holds a $3.3MM player option for ’22/23 and will need to exercise the option in order for the trade to work, Marks notes (via Twitter), adding that rosters expanding to 20 in the offseason will allow the Rockets to take back four players in exchange for one. Burke will receive a trade bonus of $247,500 from Dallas as part of the deal, Marks relays in another tweet.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicated on Tuesday that the Mavericks were looking to trade their only draft pick, and they found a match in the rebuilding Rockets, who now control three first-round picks: Nos. 3, 17 and 26. The Rockets have multiple options to explore ahead of the draft. If they want to package Nos. 17 and 26 to move up a bit, they likely could.

The 26-year-old Wood is a very solid return for Dallas, even if he comes with some character concerns. The talented big man averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 block in 109 games for Houston the past two seasons, posting a shooting line of .507/.384/.626.

The move definitely comes with risks for the Mavs, because Wood is a subpar defensive player and can be quite inconsistent, especially from an effort standpoint, from game-to-game. However, he’s on an expiring contract, which limits the risk, and is theoretically in a good situation with star Luka Doncic.

Mavs GM Nico Harrison said the team would be looking to acquire a quality big man who could provide rebounding and rim protection after the team lost in the Western Conference Finals. Wood fulfills the first criteria — he’s a good rebounder — but falls a bit short on the second, as he isn’t much of a deterrent at the basket.

According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link), the Rockets wanted to move Wood in order to create more playing time for Alperen Sengun, who was a rookie this past season, and the No. 3 pick, who will likely be another big man. They’ll get a look at some veterans on expiring deals, but obviously the main appeal was the No. 26 pick and no long-term salary.

Chriss, who will make $2.19MM next season, underwent knee surgery on Wednesday and will be sidelined while rehabbing for the next couple months, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Injury Updates: LeBron, LaVine, Murray, Powell, Knicks, More

Facing a must-win game in Phoenix on Tuesday and looking to keep their play-in hopes alive, the Lakers will once again be without star forward LeBron James, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James, who continues to deal with a left ankle sprain, has been ruled out for a second consecutive game and will now have missed three of the last four.

If the Lakers lose to the Suns and the Spurs win in Denver, L.A. would be officially eliminated from play-in contention by the end of the night.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine (knee) will likely miss Tuesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). LaVine’s left knee has been an issue for much of the season, though he has been able to play through the discomfort for the most part — this would only be the second game he has missed since the All-Star break.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (ACL) has “really ramped up” his activity in the last week, Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on Sunday (video link). While Wojnarowski describes Murray as “aggressive” in his efforts to get back on the court, he cautions that the guard is still experiencing some soreness at times in his surgically-repaired left knee.
  • Norman Powell (foot) will be a full participant in Tuesday’s practice for the Clippers, according to head coach Tyronn Lue, who noted that the team isn’t playing five-on-five today. Lue is hopeful that Powell will be able to return within the next several days, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group.
  • Asked today about whether Julius Randle (quad) or Derrick Rose (ankle) will play again this season, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau responded, “I don’t see it happening” (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).
  • Mavericks guards Sterling Brown and Trey Burke are out of the COVID-19 protocols and will be available on Wednesday vs. Detroit, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News).
  • Out since March 14 due to a high ankle sprain, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels has been upgraded to questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington (Twitter link). I think he’s had a really good week, good evaluation,” head coach Chris Finch said (Twitter link via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic). “Just not sure if he’s ready to play in the game tonight, but try to push him today in our ‘stay in shape league‘ and see how everything goes.”

Trey Burke Second Mavs Player To Enter Protocols

4:53pm: Burke did not make the window for his daily COVID-19 test, per head coach Jason Kidd (Twitter link via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News). All unvaccinated NBA players are still being tested every day. This marks the third such instance this year that Burke has entered league protocols due to a missed test.


1:29pm: Veteran guard Trey Burke has become the second Mavericks player to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols in recent days, joining fellow reserve Sterling Brown, the team’s PR department tweets.

As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News observes (via Twitter), this is the fourth time Burke has entered the protocols this season — he had two stints in the fall for not participating in the daily testing requirement for unvaccinated players, and a third in December when he contracted COVID-19.

Coach Jason Kidd stated after Brown tested positive that the team was hoping to avoid another outbreak before the playoffs.

That’s just part of the league. That’s just part of the world is COVID now, right? So it happens. We move forward. Next guy up,” said Kidd, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “We just hope that it doesn’t spread throughout the team here late in the season. But we have to be prepared that something like this could happen going forward.”

The NBA was decimated by players entering the COVID-19 protocols back in December, with a record-breaking number of 10-day contracts handed out via the updated hardship exception to keep the season afloat and mostly remain on-schedule — there were a total of 11 postponed games, and all but one (Cavs at Hawks on March 31) have since been played.

Things have been much smoother since mid-February, with Devin Booker and CJ McCollum the being the only two players to enter the health and safety protocols prior to Brown and now Burke.

Through 39 games this season in a limited role (10.7 MPG), Burke is averaging 5.3 PPG and 1.3 APG on .395/.313/.870 shooting. He holds a player option next season for $3.3MM. After beating Utah on Sunday, the Mavs (46-39) have overtaken the Jazz (45-30) for the No. 4 seed in the West.

Mavericks Notes: Dinwiddie, Brown, THJ, Luka

Spencer Dinwiddie is making a major difference for the Mavericks and boosting their playoff prospects in the process, writes Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated.

Dinwiddie, who was acquired last month in the deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Washington, hit back-to-back game-winning threes at Boston and at Brooklyn earlier this month. The Mavs are 8-1 in clutch situations with Dinwiddie, and were just 12-15 in such situations prior to acquiring him, Herring writes.

Herring thinks there’s a case to be made that Dinwiddie might single-handedly offer Dallas its best opportunity to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since Luka Doncic was drafted. Dinwiddie’s aggressive downhill drives force defenses to scramble, creating easier looks for teammates.

He’s also adept at getting to the free throw line (5.3 attempts per game with the Mavs), and does so at a higher rate per shot attempt than anyone on the team — including Doncic. Perhaps most importantly, Dallas has thrived with Dinwiddie on the court and Doncic off, outscoring opponents by 15.5 points per 100 possessions in 191 such minutes (prior to Friday’s loss to Minnesota).

As Herring details, the Mavs struggled mightily in the playoffs last season while Doncic was resting, but outscored the Clippers while he was on the court — Dinwiddie might be able to buoy those minutes if he can continue his strong play.

Here’s more on the Mavs:

  • Sterling Brown has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the team’s PR department tweets. Brown tested positive for COVID-19, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), and coach Jason Kidd said the team hopes there won’t be an outbreak. “That’s just part of the league. That’s just part of the world is COVID now, right? So it happens. We move forward. Next guy up,” said Kidd. “We just hope that it doesn’t spread throughout the team here late in the season. But we have to be prepared that something like this could happen going forward.”
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., who underwent foot surgery on February 1, has shed his walking boot and has been getting shots up prior to games, Townsend relays (via Twitter). Kidd said earlier this week that he doesn’t expect Hardaway to return for the playoffs, but the swingman previously stated that he hasn’t given up hope on a return this season. “I’ll say this: The further we go [in the playoffs], the better chance I have,” Hardaway told Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “That’s the answer I’ll give.”
  • Doncic was whistled for his 15th technical foul in Friday’s 116-95 loss at Minnesota, as Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets. If he gets another technical, Doncic will receive an automatic one-game suspension. However, that total will reset to zero when the playoffs roll around in a few weeks. At 45-29, the Mavs are currently the No. 5 seed in the West.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Toliver, Kleiman, Rockets

With several key Mavericks players exceeding their season-long minutes per game averages since the All-Star break, head coach Jason Kidd wants to make a concerted effort to ease those players’ workloads going forward, per Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.

“We’d like to get more guys involved here, Sterling (Brown) and Trey (Burke),” Kidd said. “We’ve been running the minutes for those eight to nine guys that we have been playing. So we want to get everybody involved and get some of the minutes down for Luka (Doncic) and Reggie (Bullock). We’re playing Reggie over 40 minutes a night. So those are the things I’m looking at.”

As Sefko outlines, Doncic (37.5 MPG) and Bullock (37.0 MPG) have been the Mavericks’ most-used players since the All-Star break, but the team is also leaning heavily on Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith. Expanding the rotation should help the club avoid overusing those players without having to rest them for full games.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Mavericks assistant – and WNBA star – Kristi Toliver spoke to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic about how she ended up on Dallas’ coaching staff, what it’s like to remain active as a WNBA player while holding an NBA job, and her future coaching aspirations.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Vorkunov examines Zach Kleiman‘s rapid ascension through the Grizzlies‘ front office and the admirable job he has done since becoming Memphis’ top basketball decision-maker. Kleiman has helped turn the team into a legit contender since being named executive VP of basketball operations at age 30 in 2019. “I wouldn’t be in this position without (Grizzlies owner) Robert Pera’s vision and emphasis on organizational culture,” Kleiman said. “He entrusted me to lead basketball operations despite me being a relative unknown in NBA circles, and has challenged us to be intentional about establishing and sticking to our core tenets.”
  • The Rockets are in position to finish with the NBA’s worst record for a second consecutive year, but all is going according to plan, according to Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle, who argues that team owner Tilman Fertitta deserves credit for signing off on a full-fledged rebuild rather than trying to stay competitive as a borderline playoff contender following last year’s James Harden trade.

Mavs Notes: Doncic Extension, Dragic, Hardaway, Brown

The Mavericks recently traveled to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana to present star Luka Doncic with his five-year, $207MM extension, the most expensive rookie contract in NBA history, writes ESPN’s Royce Young.

According to team owner Mark Cuban, having the signing take place in Doncic’s home country was meant to send a message to the 22-year-old, two-time All-NBA guard:

Just to confirm to Luka how important he is to us and how this is just the beginning,” Cuban said. “We want him to know we’re there for him, whether that’s here in Slovenia, in Dallas, or anywhere in the world. Part of this process is not only getting to know him but getting to know what’s important to him. How he looks at things.”

Doncic, for his part, claims that his signing the Mavs’ offer was “never in doubt.”

We have more news from the Mavericks:

  • Tim Cato and Blake Murphy of The Athletic discuss why Goran Dragic remains a Raptor, rather than having being re-routed to Dallas. Murphy writes that the Raptors have no incentive to buy out Dragic, who could still return value in a trade. Cato adds that the Mavs would be more likely to include Dwight Powell in trade talks than Maxi Kleber, but Josh Green could be a candidate to be moved if he remains in a limited role and the team continues to struggle in its non-Doncic minutes.
  • Details have emerged on Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s $75MM contract with the Mavs. Tim MacMahon of ESPN breaks down the descending structure of Hardaway’s deal, which will start at $21.3MM and end in the 2024/25 season at $16.19MM.
  • Recently-signed Sterling Brown‘s contract is fully guaranteed at $6MM over two years, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The contract will come out of the Mavs’ bi-annual exception. Given Dallas’ lack of wing depth and his defensive ability at 6’5 and career 37.4% shooting from three, Brown will likely be counted on as an important bench contributor this season.

Mavs Add Sterling Brown, Re-Sign Boban Marjanović

AUGUST 9: The signings of both Brown and Marjanović are now official, per NBA.com’s transactions log. Marjanović’s new contract with Dallas is worth $7MM over two years, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).


AUGUST 2: The Mavericks are set to make a pair of bench signings as free agency begins in earnest.

As had been rumored, the Mavericks are opting to bring back center Boban Marjanović this summer. Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that Dallas will be re-signing the reserve big man.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that the 7’4″ Marjanović will be signed to a one-year deal with the Mavericks, his third full season with the team. Dallas initially signed the big man to a two-year, $7MM deal in the 2019 offseason. The club will thus have the 32-year-old’s full Bird rights next summer, following three full seasons of service.

Marjanović made a big impact in limited this season, averaging 4.7 PPG and 3.9 RPG in just 8.2 MPG across 33 contests.

Charania also reports (via Twitter) that the Mavericks will also be signing a new addition, free agent guard Sterling Brown. Brown, 26, was most recently a reserve contributor for another Texas club, the Rockets, for the duration of the 2020/21 season.

Brown averaged 8.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.4 APG in 51 games for the rebuilding Rockets, with a solid shooting line of .448/.423/.806.

Brown’s agent Mark Bartelstein has indicated that the 6’5″ vet will sign a two-year, $6.2MM contract with the club, per Marc Stein of Substack (via Twitter). There is no word as to whether both seasons will be guaranteed in the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Western Rumors: Lakers, Pelicans, McDermott, Ja. Green, Holmes, More

After agreeing to acquire Russell Westbrook from Washington, the Lakers won’t have a ton of cap flexibility to add outside free agents this offseason. Los Angeles will likely be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum-salary contracts, since acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would create a hard cap that the team wouldn’t be able to stay under.

However, even with limited resources, that doesn’t mean the Lakers will have to wait until the second or third wave of free agency to go bargain hunting. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, people around the NBA believe that several veterans in search of a championship ring could be willing to pass on more lucrative offers elsewhere to join the Lakers. Fischer identifies DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Carmelo Anthony as some players who may fit that bill.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans, Suns, and Nuggets are believed to be among the teams interested in pursuing Pacers sharpshooter Doug McDermott in free agency, according to Fischer. A recent report from The Indianapolis Star suggested Indiana may lose McDermott this summer.
  • A return to the Nuggets is a possibility for JaMychal Green, but the power forward is also expected to draw interest from the Pelicans and Timberwolves, says Fischer.
  • Following up on a Marc Stein report linking Daniel Theis to the Rockets, Fischer confirms Houston is eyeing the veteran big man and suggests the team’s $8.2MM trade exception could be used to land Theis in a sign-and-trade.
  • According to Fischer, sources expect Richaun Holmes to remain with the Kings. That’s a bit of a surprise — Sacramento only has Holmes’ Early Bird rights and has been linked to several other centers, having agreed on Friday to acquire Tristan Thompson. But the Hornets, one of Holmes’ presumed suitors, are no longer expected to go big for a free agent center after drafting Kai Jones and agreeing to trade for Mason Plumlee, per Fischer. The Raptors, Mavericks, and Knicks may still be possibilities for Holmes, Fischer adds.
  • The Mavericks are viewed as the favorites to sign Sterling Brown in free agency, league sources tell Fischer.