Sterling Brown

Lowe’s Latest: Redick, Bertans, Collins, Drummond, OKC, More

A number of players who have been mentioned as trade candidates this season may not be moved – or may not be available at all – at Thursday’s deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an article jam-packed with trade-related rumors and speculation.

For instance, teams who have called the Pelicans asking about J.J. Redick have been “shooed away,” sources tell Lowe. The Wizards have taken a similar approach to clubs inquiring on Davis Bertans, though Lowe notes that could change if Washington is offered something concrete that moves the needle more than a future first-round pick.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week, teams have been monitoring John Collins in case the Hawks think about trading him, but there’s no indication Atlanta has interest in moving Collins “on any of the general terms being bandied about,” Lowe writes.

The Pistons‘ talks involving Andre Drummond aren’t entirely dormant, but it’s “far from a sure thing” that he’ll be moved, according to Lowe, who suggests that even if Detroit does make a deal, the return will likely be less than the team envisioned.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have been mentioned all season long as a potential seller, given their offseason moves and their veteran trade candidates. But the safest bet is that they stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, per Lowe.

As Lowe points out, the Thunder could still have leverage to make deals after the season, when Schroder and Adams will be entering contract years and Gallinari will be a prime sign-and-trade candidate. The Heat are among the teams to inquire on Gallinari this season, sources tell Lowe.

As noted above, Lowe’s latest ESPN piece is filled with many more trade rumors and notes. Here are several of the highlights:

  • Lowe confirms a previous report that the Nuggets and Heat are among the teams to express interest in Jrue Holiday. Lowe also names the Raptors as a club that would be an ideal fit for the Pelicans guard, but he has a hard time envisioning a deal involving any of those teams unless they’re willing to part with young players like Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, or OG Anunoby, which seems unlikely.
  • The Pacers could probably net a first-round pick for backup guard Aaron Holiday, but haven’t shown any real interest in moving him, says Lowe.
  • The chatter about the Trail Blazers making a major win-now move has died down, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Lakers have explored the Kyle Kuzma market and are eyeing several ball-handlers, including Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has also received interest from the Hornets.
  • The Sixers don’t intend to include Matisse Thybulle in any deal and seem most likely to “tinker” around the edges of their roster, per Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies have asked for a first-round pick from teams inquiring on Jae Crowder, according to Lowe. However, he’d “bet heavily” against any potential trade partner meeting that price.
  • Lowe provides updates on both Morris brothers, suggesting that the Knicks “seem hell-bent” on keeping and re-signing Marcus Morris, and citing sources who say the Pistons could probably get a second-round pick for Markieff Morris.
  • A lot of teams have asked the Bucks about Sterling Brown, while Pistons youngsters Christian Wood and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have also generated interest, according to Lowe, who thinks that Detroit is more likely to engage in talks on Wood than Mykhailiuk. Lowe also hears that a few clubs have “poked around” on Kings big man Harry Giles, and identifies Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Jakob Poeltl (Spurs), Marvin Williams (Hornets), and Malik Monk (Hornets) as other under-the-radar trade candidates to watch.

Central Notes: Sexton, Dunn, Brown, Holiday

Second-year Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton is keenly aware of his Twitter critics, who often attack his court vision and passing acumen. He is taking a promisingly levelheaded approach to fan appraisals, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

“If there was no criticism then what can you work on and what can you get better at? That’s just like any job,” Sexton noted. “So, whatever they say I can’t do I’m going to do it.” The No. 8 pick in 2018, voted a second-team All Rookie for the 2018/19 season, has averaged 17.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 2.4 APG this season for the Cavaliers.

Sexton has been adjusting to a new system in Cleveland under new Cavs head coach John Beilein. He has been moved from his pure point guard position last season to a universe of shared ball-handling duties, where he splits lead guard responsibilities with new backcourt mate Darius Garland.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago takes a look at Kris Dunn‘s development in his new role as the Bulls‘ lead perimeter defender. The 6’3″, long-limbed No. 5 pick in the 2016 NBA draft struggled as Chicago’s starting point guard last season. Injuries to Otto Porter and Chandler Hutchison compelled coach Jim Boylen to enlist Dunn’s services as spot starting small forward in their absence. Dunn, a 2020 restricted free agent, has been hyper-efficient, and is currently leading the league in total steals with 58.
  • During a recent roundtable conversation at Racine Correctional Institution, Bucks swingman Sterling Brown discussed his ongoing lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee. “They tried to get me to settle for it. I feel like it was just a slap in the face,” Brown told ESPN reporter Eric Woodyard. “The money is not the biggest concern. It’s not a priority for me.” Brown alleges that Milwaukee police officers were racially profiling him and employing excessive force by tasing him for a January 2018 parking violation.
  • Pacers wing Justin Holiday, signed to the team’s room exception with a one-year, $4.8MM contract this summer, has been enjoying a solid season thus far with his seventh NBA team, as the Indianapolis Star’s J. Michael observes. “I never understood why (I didn’t stick) because teams that have actually had me know what I can do,” Holiday said. He is shooting 37.7% from deep this season.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Central Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Central Division:

Andre Drummond, Pistons, 26, C (Up) – Signed to a five-year, $127.2MM deal in 2016
With Blake Griffin sidelined, Drummond has delivered a number of energetic and highly productive performances. He was averaging 21.9 points, an NBA-high 18.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.7 steals heading into Friday’s game against Indiana. He’s also displaying greater maturity and reducing the unnecessary fouls, allowing him to stay on the court for longer stretches. In a very weak free agent market, Drummond could be the top prize unless Anthony Davis opts out. Drummond is expected to opt out of the final $28.8MM on his deal.

Denzel Valentine, Bulls, 25, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $9.9MM deal in 2016
Valentine established himself as a rotation player during his second year in the league, appearing in 77 games (37 starts) while averaging 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists with an above-average 3-point percentage (38.6). A major ankle injury ended Valentine’s third season before it began. He has struggled thus far to reestablish himself and got sent to the G League this weekend to get some game action. The Bulls can make him a restricted free agent next summer by extending a $4.MM qualifying offer. He’s unlikely to get that unless he reemerges as a second unit fixture.

Justin Holiday, Pacers, 30, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $4.77MM deal in 2019
Holiday is one of those glue guys whose contributions go well beyond the stat sheet. He provides guidance to the team’s younger players and has been the team’s top wing defender in the early going. He can guard multiple positions, which has helped him earned steady minutes (22.1 per game). Holiday hasn’t shot it well (32.7) and he’ll likely lose playing time once Victor Oladipo finally returns from his quad injury. But Holiday might get another contract similar to the one Indiana handed him over the summer if he continues to be a steadying presence.

Sterling Brown, Bucks, 24, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
The 2017 second-round pick averaged 17.8 minutes in 58 games during his second season in the league. Brown has been buried on the bench for the most part this season, racking up several DNP-Coach’s Decisions. His only extended action was a 21-minute outing in a 32-point romp over Orlando at the beginning of the month. Brown’s qualifying offer is just $2MM, so it wouldn’t cost the Bucks much to make him a restricted free agent. However, there’s no real clear path to steady playing time this season unless injuries strike.

John Henson, Cavaliers, 28, PF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $48MM deal in 2016
Henson’s biggest problem is one that always makes buyers beware — he can’t stay on the court. Henson’s 2018-19 season was essentially a washout due to a wrist injury. The Cavs, who acquired him last December after Henson underwent surgery, were hoping he could earn a spot in John Beilein’s rotation this fall. Instead, he suffered groin and ankle injuries during the preseason. When he finally appeared in a regular-season game, he strained his right hamstring, which is expected to cost him 2-4 weeks. Henson will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and will have to settle for a major pay cut to stay in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Brown, Carter, Wood, Cavs, Bitadze

Attorneys for Bucks guard Sterling Brown have formally asked a federal judge to turn down the City of Milwaukee’s $400K settlement offer, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. As we relayed last month, Brown was always unlikely to accept the offer, which didn’t include an admission of liability by the city.

“Mr. Brown deserves more than a mere apology,” Brown’s lawyer Mark Thomsen told ESPN. “He, as any human being, citizen of the USA, is entitled to an express vindication that his constitutional rights have been violated. He is entitled to no less.”

Brown’s lawsuit against the city stems from an incident that took place in January 2018. The former SMU star alleged that police officers used excessive force when they tased him while citing him for a parking violation.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After being limited to 44 games due to injuries in his rookie season, Bulls big man Wendell Carter hasn’t been able to stay healthy in camp this fall either, having been slowed by ankle and tailbone ailments. Joe Cowley of The Chicago-Sun Times notes that those injuries are slowing Carter’s development, while Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago suggests that injuries to Carter and Luke Kornet are making it difficult for the club to evaluate its frontcourt during the preseason.
  • Christian Wood made a strong case for a regular season roster spot in his first preseason game with the Pistons, racking up 19 points and eight rebounds in just 19 minutes. Unless Detroit trades or waives a player with a guaranteed salary, Wood and Joe Johnson will be battling for the 15th spot on the roster. Head coach Dwane Casey said Wood helped boost his chances on Monday, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “He played hard,” Casey said. “Key thing is playing hard, play the right way. He’s got to continue to do that.”
  • In a pair of articles for Cleveland.com, Chris Fedor explores what the Cavaliers‘ regular season rotation might look like and digs into whether the team’s first preseason game provided any hints on the battle for the final roster spot(s).
  • Pacers first-rounder Goga Bitadze is getting off to a slow start in his rookie season. As J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star details, the big man – who missed Summer League due to visa issues – may not play at all in the preseason because of an ankle injury.

Sterling Brown Unlikely To Accept Settlement Offer

According to Alison Dirr of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the City of Milwaukee has authorized its city attorney to offer a $400K settlement to Bucks guard Sterling Brown regarding the lawsuit he filed against the city in response to police officers using a taser on him over a parking violation last year.

However, according to The Associated Press, it’s unlikely that Brown will accept the settlement, per one of his lawyers, because the settlement offer does not include an admission of liability by the city. Per the attorney, Brown will only consider settlement offers that include such an admission.

“I fully anticipate that any settlement that doesn’t include an admission that they violated Mr. Brown’s civil rights will go nowhere,” attorney Mark Thomsen said (via Dirr). “We can’t heal in this city without that.”

It’s commonplace as a condition in most if not all civil settlement agreements for neither party to admit liability. However, given the video evidence in this case, the fact that the police chief issued an apology for the incident, and Brown’s relatively lessened need for financial compensation, it’s no surprise that Brown is adamant that the city accept legal responsibility for the incident.

Bucks To Keep Pat Connaughton, Sterling Brown Past Guarantee Date

The Bucks plan on keeping Pat Connaughton and Sterling Brown on the roster through July 1 when each players’ contracts will become guaranteed, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter link).

Connaughton will make slightly over $1.72MM while Brown will receive just under $1.62MM next season. Neither player’s contract runs past this upcoming season.

Milwaukee could have waived either player today and given themselves some minor cap relief. However, the franchise had no need for the additional cap room after re-signing both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez earlier today.

Connaughton and Brown project to be low-cost rotation players next season before they reach the open market in 2020. Connaughton will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, while Brown can be restricted.

Central Notes: Love, Clarkson, Pacers, Brown

The Cavaliers continue to view Kevin Love as an important part of their rotation and are unlikely to make him available in trade talks this summer, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. In addition to his on-court production, Cavs management likes having the five-time All-Star around as a veteran leader as the team continues to rebuild after losing LeBron James.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Eastern Conference

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. With the playoffs in full swing, we turn our attention to the Eastern Conference:

Marcus Morris, Celtics, 29, SF/PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $20MM deal in 2015
Unlike his brother Markieff, who played sparingly for the Thunder during their annual first-round flame-out, Marcus remains a valued member of Boston’s rotation. Other than a goose egg in Game 2 against Indiana, Morris has delivered steady production. He’s shooting 49.1% overall and 40.7% from distance while ranking second on the team in rebounds (6.7). He posted a +11.1 net rating on NBA.com’s postseason advanced stats entering Game 3 against Milwaukee. He had 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks on Friday. Morris’ toughness and ability to play both forward positions will make him attractive in the free agent market.

Jimmy Butler, Sixers, 29, SF (Up) — Signed to a five-year, $92.3MM deal in 2017
Butler hurt his reputation by whining his way out of Minnesota. After forcing the Timberwolves’ hand, he got a chance to chase at least a conference title in Philadelphia. Following some ho-hum performances against Brooklyn, Butler has performed like a max-level player against Toronto the last two games. He’s averaged 26.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 7.0 APG and 2.0 SPG in those victories. You can put up with his abrasive style when he produces like that. He remains firmly entrenched as the third-best free agent wing — and perhaps overall player — behind Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.

Sterling Brown, Bucks, 24, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
Brown’s contract for next season becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster at the beginning of July, when free agency begins. That in itself seems to be a near guarantee. With Malcolm Brogdon sidelined, Brown has received rotation minutes for much of the postseason. His most noteworthy performance came in the series clincher against Detroit when posted nine points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Brown also plays with a little bit of an edge and can get under opponents’ skin. Brown sat in Game 3 of the series with Boston but he’s already done enough to stay on the roster, especially with Brogdon a restricted free agent and Khris Middleton unrestricted.

Danny Green, Raptors, 31, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Green’s contributions to the scoring column are predicated on knocking down threes. A whopping 69% of his field-goal attempts during the regular season came from beyond the arc and he made a career-high 45.5%. It’s been a lot rougher in the postseason. He shot 31.8% from deep in the Orlando series and has made 30.6% in the first three games against Philadelphia. Green should still find a starting job this summer, whether he re-signs with Toronto or a team seeking veteran help. But his lack of versatility will limit the size of those offers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/17/18

Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Bucks have assigned both guard Sterling Brown and big man Christian Wood to the Wisconsin Herd for tonight’s game against the Windy City Bulls, per the team’s official Twitter feed.
  • Nearly two weeks after being assigned to the G League, the Pacers have recalled center Ike Anigbogu back to the team, according to an official press release. Anigbogu has appeared in four games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana’s G League affiliate, averaging 10.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.
  • The Suns have recalled rookie point guard Elie Okobo from their G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, per a release from the team. In his first-career assignment, Okobo averaged 18.5 points, 9.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in two games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/15/18

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA: