T.J. Warren

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Mason, Warren

The Clippers will rely more heavily on DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin than usual this season, the long-tenured frontcourt pairing will assume extra leadership duties in the wake of the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Rockets, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

The roles absolutely changed out of necessity,” Griffin, who has already logged eight seasons with the Clippers, said. “Anytime you lose somebody like CP, everybody has to step up. I know DJ and I have talked about it all summer and we’re excited about that challenge.

The forthcoming 2017/18 campaign will be a particularly important one for Jordan. This season, the center will become the longest tenured players in Clippers franchise history, having suited up in blue and red for 10 seasons. Jordan slides past former Clips guard Eric Piatkowski who played for the team from 1994-2003.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • He may not be the most talked about Kings rookie at the point guard position but Frank Mason is ready to produce in his first season in the NBA, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. The 23-year-old played four seasons at Kansas and is ready to bring his fast, aggressive style of play to the next level.
  • According to Basketball Insiders, the base value of T.J. Warren‘s four-year contract extension with the Suns is worth $47MM (as opposed to the $50MM that was initially reported). The difference could be comprised of contract incentives, although that’s merely our speculation.
  • The Warriors‘ new arena in San Francisco is schedule to open in time for the 2019/20 season. The franchise has recently submitted a bid to hold an All-Star Game there, Chris Haynes and Marc Spears of ESPN write. Sources tell them that the earliest the bid could be for is the 2021 All-Star Game.

Suns Sign T.J. Warren To Four-Year Extension

SEPTEMBER 26: The Suns have officially signed Warren to a rookie scale extension, the team announced today in a press release.T.J. Warren vertical

“We are excited about extending T.J.’s contract,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough said in a statement. “T.J. has improved every year and we think he has the potential to continue to grow as he just begins to approach his prime. We view T.J. as an important part of our young core going forward and we are glad that we were able to reach an agreement on this extension.”

SEPTEMBER 25: The Suns and forward T.J. Warren have come to terms on a four-year, $50MM extension, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Warren will make $3.15MM this season and was eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer. The deadline for the extension was October 16.

Warren became a starter last season, averaging 14.4 PPG and 5.1 RPG in 31.0 MPG. He appeared in 66 games, 59 as a starter, and missed 13 games in November and December due to a head injury.  The 6’8” Warren, who is expected to be Suns’ starting small forward again this season, has made 50.2% of his shots during his three-year career but needs work on his 3-point game (31.2%).

Phoenix can afford to extend a young player on the rise, as it has just $62.7MM on guaranteed commitments for the 2018/19 season, not including Warren’s new deal.

The Suns only lose $2MM on cap space because Warren had a $9.5MM free agent cap hold next offseason, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes.

With Warren in the fold, the Suns should have a stable roster in the next couple of years. The only significant player headed to unrestricted free agency next summer is center Alex Len, who recently signed his qualifying offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to be in Cleveland as long as LeBron James is around, though that doesn’t mean he’s willing to commit long-term to another franchise should the Cavs trade him. According to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com, Irving, who has two years before he can become a free agent, wants to keep his options open for the summer of 2019. Pluto adds that the former No. 1 overall pick isn’t ready to commit to any team at this point.

While an extension with a new team was never a likely outcome for Irving, the latest news could potentially suppress his trade value. Any team giving up a haul to acquire the point guard would want him around long-term and without that assurance, teams may think twice about mortgaging their futures to bring in the Duke product.

Here’s more from Pluto’s piece on Irving:

  • The Suns would be willing to deal Eric Bledsoe to the Cavaliers for Irving even if Irving makes no commitment to stay in Phoenix past his current deal. However, they would not want to include Josh Jackson in that scenario.
  • The Cavs would love to take back Devin Booker in an Irving-to-the-Suns deal, but Phoenix is unlikely to trade Booker since it already told the shooting guard that he wasn’t going anywhere. Phoenix would like to send a package of Bledsoe, T.J. Warren, and Brandon Knight to the Cavs for Irving and additional salary (Iman Shumpert or Channing Frye). That proposal is underwhelming to Cleveland’s front office.
  • The Nuggets remain a threat to trade for Irving, but Pluto hears that Denver will not give up both Jamal Murray and Gary Harris in a deal. Pluto adds that there are players on Denver’s roster who are attractive to Cleveland and because of that, the Nuggets could be involved in an Irving trade as a third team even if they don’t land the point guard themselves.
  • If Andrew Wiggins signs an extension with the Wolves, it’s unlikely that he gets dealt to Cleveland, a source tells Pluto.

Suns, Kings Discussed DeMarcus Cousins

FEBRUARY 1, 8:18am: There’s “nothing to” the reported talks between the Suns and Kings, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who tweets that the Kings don’t have interest in moving Cousins, especially without getting a high-level player in return.

Considering the original report came from a Phoenix outlet, with a Sacramento outlet throwing cold water on it, I would guess that any Cousins talks were initiated by the Suns. The Kings may have listened to Phoenix’s pitch, but there’s still no indication that they’re looking to move their star big man.

It’s also worth noting that members of rival teams have said that Sacramento’s front office structure is confusing to navigate, as Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com wrote last week. It’s possible that the Suns discussed Cousins with one Kings executive even if Sacramento – as an organization – ultimately wouldn’t have signed off on a trade.

JANUARY 31, 4:52pm: The Suns have had discussions with the Kings about big man DeMarcus Cousins, says John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports, although there’s no indication that the trade talks ever developed into anything serious.

The deal, Gambadoro reports, was said to center around a package involving at least T.J. Warren, Alex Len and the Suns’ first-round pick in 2017.

Worth noting is that both Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker were specifically exempt from the alleged proposal. Not only are Bledsoe and Booker two of the more intriguing assets on Phoenix’s roster, they’re Kentucky alumni like Cousins.

This isn’t the first time that Cousins’ name has been involved in trade speculation and it’s not likely to be the last. The center looked to be a likely trade target prior to Sacramento’s emergence as a contender in the Western Conference but then the team started to win more games. Now that Rudy Gay is expected to miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury, they’ve fallen into a three-way tie for 10th in the West.

Earlier this month news broke that the Kings and Cousins were on track for a $200MM contract extension this summer but that may not deter Sacramento’s front office from moving their young superstar should it net them a suitable return from Phoenix or elsewhere.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Suns Notes: Williams, Ulis, Bender, Warren

After spending last Thanksgiving in China, Phoenix native Alan Williams has landed his “dream job” with the Suns, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The 23-year-old big man’s quest to play in the NBA started with a 10-day contract with Phoenix in March. He chose the Suns over the Rockets, who were willing to sign him for the remainder of the season. Williams’ gamble paid off when Phoenix gave him a multi-year contract, and his $875K salary for this season became guaranteed in September. He is averaging 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and posted two double-doubles last week. Suns coach Earl Watson believes Williams has a 10-year career ahead.

There’s more news out of Phoenix:

  • After seeing almost no action in his first 12 games, Tyler Ulis is becoming a reliable backup point guard, Coro writes in a separate story. The 5’10” rookie has averaged 6.8 points, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals over the last four games and is making a case to be part of the regular rotation. “I just come in and try to make the most of my minutes,” Ulis said. “Do what coach and the players want me to do. Get guys involved, get paint touches and get into my man defensively.”
  • Watson says rookie Dragan Bender has a bright NBA future, but that won’t guarantee playing time right now, Coro adds in the same piece. The Croatian power forward is seeing just 10 minutes per night through the first month of his career. “I think Dragan is going to have amazing opportunities moving forward,” Watson explained. “We understand he’s a big part of our future as a cornerstone. But the NBA is not just as easy as playing guys you like. There’s a lot of things that go into it.”
  • Small forward T.J. Warren is out indefinitely with a minor head injury, the Suns announced on their website. Warren left a game on Friday after just nine minutes of action and hasn’t played since. Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough said the organization has a policy of being extra cautious with injuries to the head and estimated Warren will be sidelined “a matter of weeks.” Warren has appeared in 13 games, all starts, and is averaging 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per night.

Pacific Notes: Price, Warren, Speights, Lakers

The Suns have offered veteran guard Ronnie Price an assistant coaching position, tweets Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Price was waived Monday by the Thunder even though he had a fully guaranteed two-year, $5MM contract. The 33-year-old played 62 games for Phoenix last season, starting 18 times. Suns coach Earl Watson confirmed the offer, but said Price isn’t ready to end his playing career.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • After two injury-filled half seasons, Suns small forward T.J. Warren is off to a strong start to 2016/17, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Warren scored 30 points Friday night in an overtime loss to the Thunder, going 8 for 8 on a variety of mid-range shots. “He gets buckets; ‘Tony Buckets’ is his name,” said teammate Eric Bledsoe. “He played not only great offense, but great defense too. He carried us.” The Suns exercised their 2017/18 option on Warren on Monday.
  • The Clippers are counting on big man Marreese Speights to boost their bench scoring and maybe even change the balance of power in the West, relays Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. The former Warrior signed a two-year, minimum-salary deal with L.A. over the summer. “(He’s) just another scorer,” said coach/executive Doc Rivers. “I don’t think anyone has a guy like that on their bench, for that matter. Golden State had one last year, and now he’s on our team. But there’s not a lot of fives that can do what Mo does as far as offensively shoot the three. There are some, but Mo also has a post game as well.” Speights has a player option on the second year of his new deal, so he could be in line for a raise if he has a productive season.
  • The Lakers hope to be more appealing to free agents by the time California natives Russell Westbrook and Paul George become available in two years, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Over the summer, L.A. was turned down for meetings by Kevin Durant, Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside.

Suns Exercise 2017/18 Options On Booker, Warren

The Suns have officially exercised their 2017/18 options for guard Devin Booker and forward T.J. Warren, the team announced. Booker will earn $2,319,36 in what will be the third year of his rookie scale contract, while Warren will make $3,152,931 in what will be the fourth year of his current deal.

Booker was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2015/16 after making 76 appearances, including 51 starts, averaging 13.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27.7 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .423/.343/.840. The 19-year-old ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring this preseason, averaging 19.6 points in five appearances, including a 34-point performance at Portland on October 7th.

Warren, 23, made 47 appearances for Phoenix a season ago, averaging 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists on 22.8 minutes. His slash line on the campaign was .501/.400/.703. The third-year player started all six of the Suns’ preseason games, averaging 12.5 points on 46.6 percent shooting and 4.2 rebounds.

Western Notes: Ingram, Motiejunas, Daniels, Warren

Friday’s injury to Ben Simmons has validated Brandon Ingram‘s decision to be careful about adding weight, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com. Earlier this week, Simmons told reporters that he put on 33 pounds since leaving LSU. Ingram knows he needs to bulk up his 190-pound frame to handle the rigorous NBA game, but he prefers to do it slowly to reduce the risk of injury. The Lakers rookie has abandoned a 5,000-calorie-per-day program that he was practicing before the NBA draft. “As I’m going through the process, it’s as much good weight I can put on during the year,” he said. “Of course in the summer, you can go a different route and try to gain as much weight as you can. During the season, [I’m] just trying to maintain a weight.” 

There’s more news out of the Western Conference:

  • The agent for Donatas Motiejunas took another shot at the Rockets on Twitter as today’s midnight deadline for his client’s $4.4MM qualifying offer approaches. “When analytics can measure human behavior, then and only then will I find them useful,” tweeted B.J. Armstrong. It was an apparent swipe at Houston GM Daryl Morey, who is known as one of the NBA’s top believers in using statistical analysis to rate players. A technicality gives the Rockets the option to extend the offer past the deadline, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, but he doubts that they will. Motiejunas is the last restricted free agent still without a contract.
  • Troy Daniels will have plenty of freedom to shoot from new Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, according to Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis picked up the sharpshooter in a sign-and-trade deal with the Hornets in July. The Grizzlies are Daniels’ fourth team as he enters his fourth NBA season, and Fizdale said the light for him to put up 3-point shots is “beyond green.” “I told him if you pass up a 3-pointer you’ll be sitting next to me,” Fizdale said. “I’d rather him shoot it and get it blocked or shoot an air ball before he passes up a 3.”
  • The SunsT.J. Warren is fully recovered from the broken foot that ended his season in January, writes Tyler Emerick of NBA.com. The third-year player could see increased minutes at the start of the season with P.J. Tucker recovering from a back injury. “T.J. has been great all training camp,” said teammate Eric Bledsoe. “I can’t stop talking about him. He looks great.”

And-Ones: Suns, Fisher, Satoransky, Bennett

Suns owner Robert Sarver said he’s committed to keeping GM Ryan McDonough for next season and optimistic about the team’s position for the future, in an extensive interview with Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Sarver referred to rookie Devin Booker as a potential face of the franchise and also expressed belief in fellow recent first-round picks Alex Len, T.J. Warren and Archie Goodwin. The owner maintains faith in disappointing offseason signee Tyson Chandler, believing that he’ll perform better next season, when he’ll be 34. Still, Sarver insisted that he’ll leave matters of player personnel to McDonough and company, even as he feels a responsibility to set the tone.

“My biggest regret is that, as a manager of people, I feel I let the organization down in terms of the culture,” Sarver said to Coro. “I didn’t put my hand print on that culture and maybe didn’t hold people as accountable as I should and really make sure we’re putting that together. But I’m starting to see some of that.”

Sarver also stumped for public funding of a new arena and pointed to a clause in the team’s lease at Talking Stick Resort Arena, its existing home, that would allow the Suns to leave in 2021, as Coro relays. See more from around the NBA, which has seen the last of referee Joey Crawford, as Steve Aschburner of NBA.com reports:

  • Derek Fisher insists he didn’t lose his job as Knicks coach over character or integrity issues, as he writes in an essay for The Cauldron blog on SI.com. Fisher addressed his preseason encounter with Matt Barnes at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife, writing that he didn’t retaliate against Barnes during the incident and that he never had issues or much of a relationship with Barnes before that. Still, Fisher failed to address why he was in California and away from the Knicks when the episode took place, notes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
  • It’s still possible for the Wizards to sign draft-and-stash prospect Tomas Satoransky this summer even in the wake of the four-year extension he signed with Barcelona of Spain, which doesn’t include an NBA out until 2017, a source tells Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The Wizards could buy out Satoransky’s contract before the extension kicks in, Castillo hears, adding that Washington would likely sign him to a two-year deal with a team option on the second season if the team brings him stateside.
  • Luis Scola‘s professionalism is well-known around the league, and Anthony Bennett, cognizant his NBA career was teetering on the brink, sought out his advice not long before the Raptors waived the former No. 1 overall pick last week, team sources tell Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. The release of Bennett was an eye-opener, rookie Delon Wright said, as Smith also notes in his look at the roles of nonstars in the NBA.

T.J. Warren To Miss Rest Of Season

WEDNESDAY, 7:58am: The Suns acknowledged the injury and confirmed Warren is out for the season via the team’s official Twitter account.

TUESDAY, 3:52pm: T.J. Warren will miss the rest of the season for the Suns because of a broken foot, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The loss of the 14th overall pick from the 2014 draft is the latest blow to a Suns team that’s suffered a disastrous season so far. The combo forward has been battling a right ankle impingement for the past week and missed Sunday’s game against the Mavericks.

The Suns are already missing Eric Bledsoe, who’s out for the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and Ronnie Price, who’s out for a few weeks with a toe injury. Brandon Knight has a groin injury that’s keeping him out an indefinite period of time. The Suns might qualify for a hardship provision of a 16th roster spot if doctors expect Price and Knight to miss the next two weeks or more, but they already have an spot open beneath the usual 15-man limit. It’s too late in the season for the team to apply for a disabled player exception.

Warren averaged 11.0 points in 22.8 minutes per game and shot 40% from 3-point range this season, part of a group of young Suns players that’s offered some sense of optimism in a lost season so far. Phoenix is 14-35 so far and fired Jeff Hornacek on Monday. Warren’s rookie scale contract runs through 2017/18 with a nearly $3.153MM team option on the final season. The Suns already picked up his option for next season, worth almost $2.129MM.

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