T.J. Warren

Kris Dunn Meets Starter Criteria, Increases Value Of QO

Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been deemed to have met the starter criteria as a result of the shortened season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). As a result, Dunn will receive a qualifying offer of $7,091,457 instead of $4,642,800 this offseason if Chicago wants to make him a restricted free agent.

We broke down Dunn’s situation in greater depth earlier this month, but the abridged version is this: A player eligible for restricted free agency receives a more lucrative qualifying offer if he starts 41 games or plays 2,000 minutes in the season before he reaches free agency, or if he averages 41 starts or 2,000 minutes in the two seasons before his free agency.

Dunn, who started 32 games this season and 76 in total over the last two years, fell slightly short of the 41-game-per-season requirement, but the criteria became prorated due to the Bulls only playing 65 of their 82 games this season. As a result, the former No. 5 overall pick was considered to have met the starter criteria, increasing the value of his qualifying offer.

As we’ve previously pointed out, the $2.5MM difference could have a real impact on Dunn’s free agency. It’s possible the Bulls will be less inclined to tender a qualifying offer now that it’s worth $7.1MM instead of $4.6MM. If they do move ahead with the QO, it’s possible Dunn will be more inclined to accept it.

If Chicago doesn’t tender a qualifying offer to Dunn, he’d become an unrestricted free agent.

As Marks and ESPN have previously reported, the NBA and NBPA also agreed to prorate the criteria for bonuses and incentives available to players in 2019/20, based on the shortened season. As a result, the following players have now achieved bonuses, according to Marks (Twitter link):

  • Rudy Gobert (Jazz): $250K for a rate of one rebound per 2.52 minutes in 62 games played.
    • Original criteria: A rate of one rebound per <3.2 minutes in 67 games.
  • Solomon Hill (Heat): $532K for 992 minutes played.
    • Original criteria: 1,000 minutes.
  • Jrue Holiday (Pelicans): $255K for 1,922 minutes played; $255K for 55 games played; $255K for 4.9 RPG in 55 games.
    • Original criteria: 2,075 minutes played; 66 games played; 3.15 RPG in 67 games.
  • Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): $858K for 32 wins.
    • Original criteria: 33 wins.
  • Kyle Lowry (Raptors): $200K for All-Star berth and 52 games played.
    • Original criteria: All-Star berth and 65 games played.
  • Patty Mills (Spurs): $250K for 149 three-pointers made.
    • Original criteria: 185 3PM.
  • T.J. Warren (Pacers): $250K for 184 three-pointers made and .375 3PT%.
    • Original criteria: 185 3PM; .370 3PT%.

Pacers Notes: Brogdon, Sabonis, Oladipo, Warren

Malcolm Brogdon has taken on the closer’s role in his first season with the Pacers, at least until Victor Oladipo returns, writes Scott Agness of The Athletic. In training camp, it wasn’t clear who might get that designation with nine new players on the roster, but Brogdon, who was acquired from the Bucks in a sign-and-trade, feels comfortable making decisions that will win or lose games.

“It’s a privilege,” he said. “Being the closer, sometimes it’s about making the last shot, but sometimes it’s about making the right play, making the right pass. My teammates, this organization, my coach — they trust me with the ball, and I’m going to continue to make good decisions.”

Indiana is using Brogdon as a full-time point guard, Agness adds, instead of a floor spacer like he was in Milwaukee. As a result, he has eight double-doubles this season after just three in his first three years in the NBA.

“I was hoping for it,” he said of the point guard duties. “Especially with Vic being out, I was hoping I could be that guy, but I knew I had to prove myself. And now that I’ve proven myself, Coach and my teammates allow me to do that and empower me to do that.”

There’s more from Indiana:

  • Doctors don’t believe Domantas Sabonis is risking further injury by playing with a bone bruise in his left knee, Agness relays in a separate story. After he was checked by the team doctor, his representatives had two other specialists examine the knee before any decision was made. “There’s swelling in the bone that all doctors say can’t get worse unless you get hit in that same spot,” he said. “It’s the same thing if I get hit in my healthy knee. There’s the same chance. It’s not a muscle or anything, so by doing more stuff, you can’t technically get it worse.”
  • Oladipo remained in Indiana as the team left for a nine-day road trip, Agness adds in the same piece. He plans to practice with the team’s G League affiliate as he prepares for his season debut January 29.
  • Picking up T.J. Warren in an offseason trade with the Suns has provided a boost for the Pacers’ offense, observes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. Warren is averaging 18.1 PPG and his versatility has made the team more difficult to defend. “He can score any way possible,” Jeremy Lamb said. “Off the dribble. Catch and shoot. Floaters. Threes. Pull-ups. Post-ups. However you want it, he’ll give it to you.”

Pacers Notes: Holiday, McConnell, Turner, Warren

More than one rival executive believes the Pacers will be open to trading either Aaron Holiday or T.J. McConnell before this year’s deadline, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

For now, both Holiday and McConnell are regular parts of the club’s rotation, combining for a total of 42.8 minutes per game. However, once Victor Oladipo returns to the lineup later this month, that extra backcourt depth may be a luxury the Pacers can afford to give up if they get an offer they like, Pincus suggests.

Both Holiday and McConnell are on team-friendly contracts. Holiday is making $2.24MM in the second year of his rookie deal and won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until 2022, while McConnell is earning $3.5MM and has an identical non-guaranteed cap hit for next season. Holiday’s age (23) makes him a more valuable asset than the 27-year-old McConnell, so if the Pacers do consider moving one of those two guards, the price would be higher for Holiday.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • The Pacers have played well with both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner on the court this season, recording a +6.4 net rating, and sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe that Indiana continues to turn away teams that inquire on Turner.
  • Still, Lowe points out that Turner averages just nine shots per 36 minutes alongside Sabonis, compared to 16 per 36 minutes when Sabonis sits. Now that the team “belongs” to Malcolm Brogdon, Sabonis, and Oladipo, Lowe questions whether Turner will be content going forward with his part-time role, and suggests that every team in need of a big man should keep an eye on the situation in Indiana.
  • The NBA has fined Pacers wing T.J. Warren $25K and Heat swingman Jimmy Butler $35K for their altercation during Wednesday’s game, the league announced in a press release. Butler received the higher penalty in part for “escalating the incident on social media” after the game, the NBA said in its statement.

Central Notes: Griffin, Rose, Garland, Warren

Pistons forward Blake Griffin will make his season debut Monday against the Timberwolves, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Griffin missed the first 10 games while rehabilitating a sore knee and hamstring that have bothered him since the preseason. He had a surgical procedure on his left knee after last season ended.

Griffin has gone through several practices without experiencing pain, which convinced the team he is ready to starting playing. Markieff Morris, who had been starting in Griffin’s absence, will likely move to the bench. After several seasons shortened by injuries, Griffin played 75 games last year and earned third-team All-NBA honors with a 24.5/7.5/5.4 line.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Derrick Rose has missed four straight games with a hamstring issue, but he tells Ben Stinar of The Big Lead that Pistons fans don’t need to be concerned about his health. “I feel good,” Rose said after Friday’s game. “I feel like I could play, but the organization, trainers, feel like I’ll need a little bit more time.” He also said he’s happy with his decision to come to Detroit in free agency after reviving his career in Minnesota last season. Rose has averaged 20.8 points and 6.3 assists off the bench in the six games he has played since joining the Pistons. “I feel like it’s home,” he said. “The franchise, the organization, the staff. We’re transparent about everything, they communicate to me, I communicate to them. It’s open dialogue about anything.”
  • Darius Garland‘s NBA career has gotten off to a rough start, but the Cavaliers aren’t panicking about their top draft pick, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland was attracted to Garland because of his shooting, but through seven games he is averaging just 7.6 PPG while hitting 29.2% from the field and 25.9% from beyond the arc. “This is his 11th real game in the last 12 months,” an unidentified member of the organization told Fedor. “Of course, he’s going to struggle early on with NBA competition. We believe in this kid.”
  • The Pacers knew they were getting a scorer when they picked up T.J. Warren from the Suns, but he’s contributing on defense as well, observes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. “It’s hard to play defense when you’re 12-62 and the best player isn’t even trying to play defense or passing the ball,” said Trevor West, who serves as Warren’s trainer. “What people are seeing now is who T.J. actually is — a person who gets buckets on one end and locks people down at the other end. It’s personal for him. He doesn’t like getting scored on.”

Pacers Notes: Sabonis, Warren, Offense

Trade rumors swirled around Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis last Friday, when it seemed as if he and the team might not find common ground on a long-term rookie scale extension by Monday’s deadline. However, the two sides struck an 11th-hour deal on Monday.

That was always the preferred outcome for the Pacers, according to general manager Chad Buchanan, who said this week that the club was simply doing its due diligence to prepare for every scenario when it gauged the trade market for Sabonis.

“There’s talk going on between all 30 teams constantly, 12 months out of the league,” Buchanan said, per J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. “It was never our intention to trade Domas. It was an absolute last resort, something he didn’t want, we didn’t want. I know that came out as a possibility but that was never our intention. Never even a remote possibility for us. An absolute last case, worst-case scenario.”

As Scott Agness of The Athletic writes, the Pacers’ long-term commitment to Sabonis is just the latest signal of how much the team likes the 23-year-old. That fondness for Sabonis dates back to the 2016 draft, when the club tried to move up from No. 20 to select him, per Agness.

That attempt failed, and Indiana ultimately traded that No. 20 pick for Thaddeus Young, but the club later found a way to land Sabonis anyway in the Paul George blockbuster with Oklahoma City.

Here’s more on Sabonis and the Pacers:

  • J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star digs into what the Sabonis extension means for the Pacers and the big man, while Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link) provides some details on the incentives in the deal. Sabonis can earn $2.6MM in annual bonuses (up to $10.4MM over four years), according to Bontemps, who notes that there’s $1.3MM available each season for an All-Star berth and $1.3MM available for an All-NBA nod.
  • Mark Montieth of Pacers.com explains why T.J. Warren, acquired from the Suns in the summer, seems meant to be a Pacer — and why ex-Pacer David West believes the forward can be an All-Star.
  • With four newcomers in their starting lineup, the Pacers looked somewhat disjointed on offense in their opening-night loss to Detroit, writes Scott Agness of The Athletic. Of course, having Victor Oladipo back in the mix would help in terms of continuity and offensive firepower, but the star guard is confident in his team’s ability to figure things out even before he returns. “We could be a special team,” Oladipo said. “Like I’ve told them and like I’ve told our guys is we’ve just got to be patient. We are a new group. It might us take a little bit of time if it’s rough in the beginning to get our stride and get used to each other. That’s a part of the process. We just can’t get down on ourselves. We have to remain positive and continue to believe in one another.”
  • Speaking of the Pacers’ roster turnover, that was one of the points of emphasis in our review of their offseason.

Pacific Notes: Warren, Barnes, Saric, Caruso, GRIII

The trade that sent T.J. Warren from the Suns to the Pacers along with the No. 32 overall pick in exchange for a small amount of cash was one of the more surprising deals of the summer. After all, Warren had been a productive scorer in recent years in Phoenix and his three-year, $35MM contract wasn’t particularly unwieldy.

Speaking recently to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Warren said he isn’t upset or angry about the deal, but that he’s eager to prove the Suns made a mistake in giving him up for essentially nothing.

“When guys get moved, they want to show and prove the team that moved them wrong,” Warren said. “I’m not mad at the Phoenix Suns, but they made the deal and I’m just excited to move on. I’m ready to show the whole NBA — and not just the Suns for making the wrong decision — that the Pacers made the right decision. I’m worth more than cash considerations. It’s on me to prove it. But the Suns messed up.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Within that same Athletic article, Charania wrote that the Kings have expressed some remorse over Harrison Barnes‘ four-year, $85MM contract due to its impact on future deals, as we relayed on Friday. However, a Kings source denied that the team is experiencing any buyer’s remorse over Barnes’ contract, according to both Jason Jones of The Athletic and James Ham of NBC Sports California (Twitter links).
  • In a conversation with Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, forward Dario Saric spoke about being traded to the Suns, his role in Phoenix, and playing for Monty Williams, among other topics. Saric, who has now been moved twice in his three-year career, also discussed what it feels like to be a trade piece. “I wish I could stay with one team for five, six years. Three years. Ten years,” Saric said. “I’d love to have that, but in this kind of business, you need to be open-minded.”
  • Lakers guard Alex Caruso suffered a pelvic bone contusion during the team’s final preseason game on Friday, tweets Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet. X-rays were negative, but Caruso will undergo additional testing.
  • Offseason addition Glenn Robinson III won the competition for the Warriors‘ starting small forward job, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. While Robinson played well in the preseason, he essentially won the job by default, with Alfonzo McKinnie waived and Alec Burks sidelined due to an ankle injury.

Pacers Notes: Brogdon, Warren, Pritchard, Roster Moves

The 2019/20 season will only be his fourth NBA campaign and his first with the Pacers, but 26-year-old guard Malcolm Brogdon is Indiana’s bona fide team leader in his inaugural season in Indianapolis, writes Mark Montieth of Pacers.com.

At least one assistant coach has already gone as far as comparing Brogdon to perhaps the greatest player in Pacers’ history, five-time NBA All-Star Reggie Miller“I haven’t seen anybody like that in practice since Reggie,” said assistant coach Dan Burke, who has been with the Pacers for nearly 20 seasons.

Likewise, head coach Nate McMillan sees an extension of himself on the court with Brogdon, something every coach longs for in a point guard.

“He’s doing a good job of coming in and competing and getting the guys to compete,” McMillan said “He understands the position he’s in and what’s required of that. He’s communicating with all of our guys. He communicates with the guys he’s playing with and the guys he’s playing against (in practice)… it just comes natural for him.”

There’s more tonight out of Indianapolis:

  • A versatile player, offseason free agent acquisition T.J. Warren has the ability to line up as a power forward in a small-ball lineup, but the Pacers’ focus for him is to excel at small forward, reports J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.
  • Scott Agness of The Athletic writes that the Pacers have elevated their emphasis on the international game and its players since president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, who played professionally in Spain, Italy, and Germany, was promoted to run the front office back in 2017. “I like the way Europe does it,” Pritchard said. “They put the emphasis early on learning the game versus playing and winning immediately.”
  • As we relayed earlier today and yesterday, the Pacers have made several roster moves in the past 48 hours. In addition to exercising rookie scale options on both Aaron Holiday and T.J. Leaf, the club replaced forward Jakeenan Gant with guard Walt Lemon Jr. on its 20-man roster.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Anthony, Young, Blatt

Victor Oladipo is sure the Pacers will make the playoffs due to the additions of Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb, among others, as he told J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

“I feel like we got some great additions. We got a chance to be really special. I feel like the league is wide open,” the Pacers’ guard said. “I was excited for the opportunity to play with (Brogdon). I know what type of player he is, the level that he plays on and has been playing on the last couple of years from Milwaukee. To have him as an addition is pretty big for us.”

Oladipo is working his way back from a quad injury and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready by the time the Pacers open training camp. “I’m not sure yet,” he told Mark Monteith of the team’s website.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Adding free agent Carmelo Anthony to the mix never made any sense for the Pistons, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press explains in his latest mailbag. Anthony’s game is predicated on isolation plays and that doesn’t fit the Pistons’ system. He’s also spent most of his time at power forward in recent seasons and the Pistons already signed Markieff Morris, a better defender, to back up Blake Griffin. They also added another veteran forward, Michael Beasley, to compete for a roster spot, Ellis adds.
  • Thaddeus Young is a quality finisher and that will help boost the Bulls’ offense, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Young shot 67.9% from inside three feet for the Pacers last season, while Chicago ranked 28th in the NBA in field goal percentage inside five feet, making just 58% of its attempts, Strotman notes. Young jumped teams on a three-year, $41MM pact early in the free agent season.
  • Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt is battling multiple sclerosis but plans to continue coaching, according to an Associated Press report. He’s currently the coach of the Greek team Olympiacos Piraeus. “I am a coach and my job is to lead and teach and inspire a lot of people,” Blatt wrote in the statement. “Not being as agile or active doesn’t affect my ability to do those things.”

Suns Trade T.J. Warren To Pacers

JULY 6: The trade is official, according to an announcement from the Pacers. It became a three-team trade, with Indiana sending the rights to No. 32 pick KZ Okpala to Miami in exchange for three second-rounders.

JUNE 20: The Pacers and Suns have reached a trade agreement that will send T.J. Warren to Indiana, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski (Twitter links), the Pacers will also acquire the No. 32 overall pick from Phoenix and will take on Warren using cap room, sending cash to the Suns to complete the deal.

The trade looks like a straight salary dump for the Suns, who will move Warren with three years and $35.25MM left on his contract. Phoenix wanted to unload Warren – who will earn $10.81MM in 2019/20 — in order to open up more cap space, per Wojnarowski.

The Suns had a logjam at the small forward position and didn’t project to have much – if any – cap room this offseason, so the trade addresses both issues, though it will cost them a pretty good draft pick and a pretty good player with little return.

Injuries limited Warren to just 43 games in 2018/19, but he was a very effective scorer when he did play, averaging 18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.2 SPG with a .486/.428/.815 shooting line.

Assuming Phoenix keeps the cap hold for restricted free agent Kelly Oubre on its books, the team now projects to have about $21MM in cap room once the trade is finalized in July, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That space will give the club more flexibility to go after a starting-caliber point guard on the open market, but still won’t be enough for a maximum-salary offer.

As for the Pacers, many of their key rotation players are headed for free agency this summer, so they’ll have plenty of cap room to take on Warren. Acquiring him will also reduce some of the uncertainty surrounding those free agents — the team could have a little added leverage in negotiations with the likes of Bojan Bogdanovic or Thaddeus Young with Warren now under control.

According to Marks, the Pacers will still have nearly $31MM in cap room available once the acquisition of Warren is finalized, though that projection doesn’t account for Bogdanovic’s cap hold.

[RELATED: Pacers eyeing Ricky Rubio]

Indiana now controls three picks in tonight’s draft, adding the No. 32 selection to Nos. 18 and 50. The Suns are left with just the No. 6 overall pick.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com first reported earlier today that the Pacers were among the teams with interest in Warren.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mavericks, Pacers Interested In T.J. Warren?

2:33pm: A source confirms to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that the Mavs have interest in Warren and adds the Pacers to the list of interested teams. However, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) has his own source downplaying Dallas’ interest in the Suns wing.

12:58pm: The Mavericks have reached out to the Suns about a trade involving forward T.J. Warren, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Rival teams believe Phoenix is willing to deal both Warren and Josh Jackson, Begley adds.

Warren, 25, has developed into a reliable scorer for the Suns, averaging 18.0 points per game last season and shooting a career-best .428 from 3-point range. However, he missed 33 games due to issues with his right ankle. He has an affordable contract that stretches over the next three years at $10.81MM, $11.75MM and $12.69MM.

Dallas could use some more scoring punch to team with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis and is able to fit Warren into cap space if necessary.

Earlier this week, Suns officials told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that they aren’t trying to trade Warren, Jackson or the No. 6 pick in tonight’s draft.