Terry Rozier

Eastern Notes: Pistons, Bulls, Rozier, Knox

The Pistons began their in-market training camp on Wednesday with several players from their G League affiliate participating, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News (Twitter link). Tre’Shawn Thurman, Tra-Deon Hollins, Adam Woodbury, Khalil Iverson, and Craig Sword all played with the Grand Rapids Drive this season.

Beard also reports (via Twitter) that Pistons center Justin Patton had surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right pinky finger. Additionally, Tony Snell returned home for personal reasons, and Jordan McRae will not be participating in the team portion of the in-market camp.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls have reportedly hired Vanja Cernivec as an international scout, per Daniel Greenberg (Twitter link; h/t Real GM). Cernivec spent the last five years working in the NBA’s office in Spain as manager of basketball operations. He also played professional basketball in Slovenia.
  • After wrapping up his first season with the Hornets, Terry Rozier is ready to take on a larger role, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “I’ve had a lot of time over six months to figure out how I can be a better leader: Get to the guys, talk to them how they like it,” Rozier said. The combo guard averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 4.1 APG this season, after inking a three-year free-agent deal last summer with Charlotte. Rozier also spoke about how hard its been not being able to play in an organized game in six months. “I’m not going to sugar-coat and say, ‘Ah, six months is nothing.’ It’s been tough on all of us.”
  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is hoping that assistant coach Kenny Payne can help unlock Kevin Knox‘s potential, writes Marc Berman of the New Post. Knox has struggled to find his footing since being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. This season, he averaged a modest 6.4 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 17.9 MPG, but Thibodeau has been impressed with the 21-year-old in the team’s in-market training camp. “Kevin’s come in and he’s done quite a bit of work,’’ Thibodeau said. “I’m getting to know him and he’s getting to know me and it will take some time. But I like what he’s done so far.”

First World Problems: Knicks’ Point Guard Situation

The Knicks‘ point guard situation appears to be an evergreen problem. New team president Leon Rose inherits a stable of underwhelming options just as Steve Mills and Phil Jackson did entering their respective regimes. Like his predecessors, Rose is expected to look for upgrades at the position this offseason.

What are some potential options? Prior to the Rose hire, the team had interest in trading for Terry Rozier, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv details. According to Begley, there was some support internally to send a package of Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr., and a future first-rounder to the Hornets in exchange for a return that included Rozier and Malik Monk.

While Rozier isn’t the All-Star point guard that New York’s fan base hopes for, he’s an upgrade on the current options. Elfrid Payton and Smith have had up-and-down results in the Big Apple. Frank Ntilikina, who has one more year left on his rookie deal, finally showed some progress but his long-term future with the club is uncertain.

Fred VanVleet will likely be the top point guard available on the free-agent market, though it’s hard to envision Toronto not doing all it can to retain the 2019 Finals hero. Chris Paul could be an option, but his contract gave teams pause last summer and that was before factoring in any sort of coronavirus-related basketball income woes that could suppress the league’s salary cap.

The franchise selecting a point guard atop the 2020 NBA draft might the best option for a brighter future at the position. The Knicks entered the NBA’s hiatus with the sixth-worst record in the league, which would give the team a 9% chance at the No. 1 overall selection, as we detailed earlier this month.

Hornets Notes: Rozier, McDaniels, Martin

Terry Rozier, who joined the Hornets this past offseason, doesn’t have to fill Kemba Walker‘s shoes, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. The offensive doesn’t necessarily revolve around Rozier and the point guard is alright with that role.

“When you come to a new team, there are a lot of expectations when you get signed [to a big contract],” teammate Bismack Biyombo said. “He’s trusted the coaches and adapted to the system, which isn’t easy right away. And he has excelled.”

Here’s more from Charlotte:
  • Jalen McDaniels has been a pleasant surprise for the Hornets this season and lately, he’s been the first player off the bench for the squad, as Bonnell relays in a separate piece“We’ve said, ‘Here’s your role, here’s what we need from you. Go execute it’. And he’s doing that right now,” James Borrego said.
  • The buyouts of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams paved the way for McDaniels to see more playing time. with the Hornets. Bonnell notes in the same piece. MKG went to Dallas after his buyout agreement while Williams landed in Milwaukee.
  • The Hornets are impressed with undrafted free agent Caleb Martin, who has split his time between the NBA club and its G League affiliate. “For him to make it in this league, he’s going to have to make that 3-ball,” Borrego said (via Bonnell in a separate piece).  “He was really good offensively — attacked the rim, played with great pace, moved the ball. And he competes defensively. I’ve got Cody a little bit ahead of him defensively right now — that’s why we drafted him — but Caleb’s got the same length and size and tenacity.”

Hornets Notes: Jordan, Cap Room, Roster, Rozier

The Hornets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and haven’t won a postseason series since returning to the NBA in 2004 as the Bobcats. However, as the team goes through another rebuild, general manager Mitch Kupchak says team owner Michael Jordan is “100 percent on board with what we’re doing,” according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

“We made a decision to take a certain approach for this summer and we knew what that would lead to (losing) this year. There are no surprises,” Kupchak said. “With our plan, it just takes time. You draft a kid who is 19 years old and it’s going to take two or three years for him to help us win. Also, we wanted to slowly dig our way out of some of the contracts we had. That takes a year or two.”

Some of those pricey veteran contracts Kupchak referred to are coming off the books this summer, and the Hornets project to have $28MM+ in cap room, as Bonnell details. As he has said in the past, Kupchak reiterated today that Charlotte doesn’t expect to be in the market for major free agents this offseason, but suggested the club will have several options for how to use that cap space.

“You can (trade for) a player from another team straight into cap room,” Kupchak said. “Or maybe (take on) a player who makes decent money (on an unwanted contract) and you get a draft pick.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Asked about the Hornets’ biggest needs going forward, Kupchak mentioned rim protection, rebounding, and “a wing that can score,” according to Bonnell. However, the Hornets’ GM said the team plans to take the best player available in the draft and figure out the fit.
  • The Hornets have until Saturday to add at least one player to get back to the NBA-mandated roster minimum of 14. As Bonnell relays, Kupchak said today that Charlotte will likely go the 10-day contract route, and could call up a G League player from the Greensboro Swarm. The Hornets want to “look for someone we can develop,” Kupchak added.
  • Rookies Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels will probably stick with the Hornets for the rest of the season rather than being sent to the G League, according to Kupchak (via Bonnell).
  • The Hornets have never been a taxpaying team during Michael Jordan‘s tenure as owner, but Kupchak insisted that increasing payroll won’t be an issue once the team is ready to contend. Even the tax won’t be an issue for him,” Kupchak said, per Rod Boone of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s breakout season has meant that Terry Rozier‘s role isn’t exactly what he was expecting when he signed with the Hornets last summer. But that’s okay with Rozier, as Bonnell writes in a separate Observer article. “If I sit here and complain that, ‘Oh, I should be the point guard!’ or ‘I should always have the ball in my hand!’ nobody really cares,” Rozier said. “(Graham) has put himself on the radar. You can’t take any of that away from him or this team. I just try to adjust.”

Knicks Make Marcus Morris Available

In the wake of Steve Millsouster, the Knicks may reconsider potential paths at this week’s trade deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who notes that Mills was just on the phone on Monday exploring deals, including a possible pursuit of D’Angelo Russell.

Most notably, Wojnarowski suggests that ownership pushed the front office to change course on its plans for Marcus Morris. The Knicks, who were said to be “hell-bent” on retaining and trying to re-sign Morris, have now made him available in trade talks, says Woj.

Marc Berman of The New York Post reported earlier this afternoon that the debate over whether to retain or shop Morris was one issue Mills and GM Scott Perry were divided on. Based on Wojnarowski’s report, it sounds as if Perry was in favor of exploring the trade market for the veteran forward.

Morris, who is on an expiring $15MM contract, is enjoying a career year, with 19.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG with a .442/.439/.823 shooting line in 43 games (32.3 MPG). He has reportedly drawn some league-wide interest, including from the Clippers, and could potentially net the Knicks a first-round pick.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Although it appears Perry is making the decisions in the Knicks’ front office for now, the franchise has begun its search for a new president. According to Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne (via Twitter), New York has given some thought to hiring a player agent for that role, like the Warriors (Bob Myers) and Lakers (Rob Pelinka) have done.
  • Sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link) that CAA’s Austin Brown is among the candidates being internally considered by the Knicks. One of CAA’s top agents, Brown represents players like Zion Williamson, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Russell, per Begley (Twitter link).
  • Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports classifies the Knicks’ trade discussions with the Hornets involving Julius Randle and Terry Rozier on Monday as serious. However, he hears that Charlotte balked at taking Dennis Smith Jr. in a deal.
  • League sources tell Goodwill that Knicks owner James Dolan has had intermediaries get in touch with top executives around the NBA to ask, “What would it take to get you to take over this franchise?”

Knicks Rumors: Ujiri, Rozier, Monk, DSJ, Morris

After becoming the first team to fire a head coach during the 2019/20 season, the Knicks are now the first team to part ways with a head of basketball operations this year as well, having announced this afternoon that Steve Mills has been removed from his position as club president.

As general manager Scott Perry takes over the front office on an interim basis, the Knicks will have just over 48 hours to consider how significantly they want to shake up their roster at this winter’s trade deadline.

Here’s the latest on the franchise, including an update on the front office situation:

  • While Masai Ujiri has long been considered New York’s “dream candidate,” the Knicks’ reluctance to give up draft compensation for the Raptors‘ president of basketball operations may complicate the their pursuit of him, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Ujiri’s contract in Toronto runs through 2020/21, so if he wants to leave before it expires, the Raptors would have leverage to request a sizable return.
  • Knicks owner James Dolan has already had conversations with one possible candidate to replace Mills, according to Wojnarowski, who suggests (via Twitter) that New York’s search for a new president may move too quickly to wait on a drawn-out courtship of Ujiri.
  • Following up on a report that the Hornets and Knicks have discussed Julius Randle, Ian Begley of SNY.tv suggests that Terry Rozier, Malik Monk, and Dennis Smith Jr. are among the names that have come up in talks between the two teams. New York pursued Rozier during 2019’s free agent period, but doesn’t have strong interest in him now, according to Begley (via Twitter). It’s worth noting that Begley’s report surfaced before the team parted ways with Mills.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post, who previously noted that Mills and Perry disagreed on some deadline-related issues, suggests that one debate in the front office was over whether to trade Marcus Morris or keep him and try to re-sign him in the summer. It’s not clear which side of the debate the two executives were on.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic makes a case for why the Knicks should seriously consider pushing for a D’Angelo Russell trade, assuming the price isn’t exorbitant.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Winslow, Carter, Herro

At the midpoint of the Hornets‘ 2019/20 NBA season, the team has shown growth under second-year head coach James Borrego, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.

Bonnell goes on to report that the Hornets are the only team with a losing record that is still among the top-10 in the league in net rating in clutch time, thanks mostly to the clutch play of promising youngsters Devonte’ Graham, PJ Washington and even the 25-year-old Terry Rozier. Bonnell cautions optimistic fans that just two of the team’s 15 victories came against teams with winning records, and notes that the 15-26 team is still firmly in rebuild mode.

Rozier, an expensive free-agent gamble inked this summer to a three-year, $57MM contract to be the team’s starting point guard, has become effective as the team’s starting shooting guard after the ascendant Graham emerged as the best option to run the point for the Hornets.

Bonnell wonders if the 6’1″ Rozier can be a long-term fit as the team’s shooting guard, and whether forwards PJ Washington and Miles Bridges, similarly built at 6’7″, can truly coexist starting alongside each other in the frontcourt long term. Bonnell feels that shooting guard and center should be the Hornets’ next big positional targets in the 2020 NBA draft.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Heat guard Justise Winslow, in the first season of a three-year, $39MM contract extension, has been saddled with several maladies this season. He has appeared in just 11 of a possible 38 games for Miami. Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun-Sentinel opines that Winslow has an incentive to return to the court quickly and be effective for the Heat, as the third season of his extension during 2021/22 is a team option.
  • Evergreen Hawks veteran swingman Vince Carter, the 42-year-old surefire Hall of Famer who will retire this spring after spending parts of four decades in the NBA, isn’t letting his age detract from his effort on defense. Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington observes that Carter tried to draw a charge call at half-court against a charging Ish Smith, 31. “Trust me, I’ve been run over by Shaq,” Carter said. “So as he long as he doesn’t hit me in my knees I’m good.”
  • Heat rookie wing Tyler Herro is confident of his standing among his fellow NBA freshmen, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. “I just know what me and [fellow Heat rookie] Kendrick Nunn got going on,” Herro said. “I think I’m one of the best rookies in this class for sure. Obviously there’s a lot of great rookies with Ja Morant and RJ [Barrett]… But I feel we have two of the best rookies.”

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Richardson, Rozier, Prokhorov

Al Horford hasn’t had a smooth transition to his new team after leaving the Celtics for the Sixers this summer, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Many expected Philadelphia to rise to the top of the East after adding the five-time All-Star, but Horford is still searching for his role in the offense alongside Joel Embiid.

Horford is averaging 12.6 PPG, his lowest scoring total in eight seasons, and his 46.0% field goal percentage and 6.6 rebounds are the lowest figures of his career. However, he averages 18.6 PPG in the six games Embiid has missed, suggesting his reduced numbers are tied to opportunity.

“I’m out (there) for the team and doing what I can to help us,” Horford said. “But offensively, I’m very limited with the things that I can do. So I can’t control that stuff. So all I have to do is make sure I’m there for the team, trying to do everything I can to help us win.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Josh Richardson discussed the need for more “accountability” after today’s blowout loss in Indiana, Pompey tweets. The Sixers trailed by more than 30 points in the second half. “I don’t think that there’s enough accountability in our locker room right now, honestly,” he said. “I think that we got some new guys, who don’t want to step on toes, including myself. I feel like we kind of go play, and don’t compete as much. There’s been games that we have and it’s been great. But when it’s not going good, we got to hold each other accountable. I think that’s where a lot of our problems start.” (Twitter link)
  • Former Celtics guard Terry Rozier notices the difference between this year’s 23-8 team and last year’s underachieving squad, relays Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Rozier admits there may have been more talent last season, but the players seem to be enjoying the game more now. “Talent, it can’t always get you to where you want to go,” he said. “You’ve got to have the guys that want to be good, want to play hard, want to learn — stuff like that. Obviously you can have all the talent in the world; if you don’t put it together and everybody don’t buy in, it’s not going to work out. And I think that’s what we got caught up in last year.”
  • Former Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was named Russian businessman of the year by Forbes Russia after netting a profit that may have reached $2 billion when he sold the team and Barclays Center, relays Net Income of NetsDaily.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Payton, Gordon, Rozier

Now that Bradley Beal‘s consecutive games streak has ended at 194, Fred Katz of the Athletic wonders if it’s time to consider load management for the Wizards star. Beal missed Saturday’s game with “right lower leg soreness,” which isn’t believed to be a long-term concern. In deference to the streak, coach Scott Brooks refused to keep Beal out of the lineup last season even after Washington dropped out of the playoff race, but he may consider a different approach now.

At 9-22 and with a host of injured players, the Wizards seem like a sure bet for another lottery appearance. Management has already said player development is the focus for this season, particularly with John Wall still recovering from a ruptured Achilles. Beal led the league in minutes played last year and ranks third this season. He is a strong opponent of load management, but it makes little sense to keep putting him on the court every night if it heightens his risk of injury.

“He’s as durable as anybody in the league,” Brooks said. “He’s played just about every game the last three and a half years and good minutes. He wants to play. He wants to practice. That’s great. That’s who he is. I’m sure this is gonna bother him, not being on the court with the guys knowing how banged up we are.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Gary Payton II, who signed with the Wizards this week under the hardship exception, is making a strong bid to stay on the roster, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. He is posting an 11.7/7.3/4.0 line through three games and has twice recorded six steals. Washington would have to release someone to make room for Payton, and a decision must be made by January 7 when players who aren’t waived will have their contracts guaranteed for the rest of the season.
  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon admitted last night that his left Achilles tendon has been bothering him for “a while,” tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “I feel like I might’ve been playing on it a little too long already,” Gordon said. “So now’s the time I’ve got to get it taken care of just so I get healthy and get back and help my team because it’s not something you want to play (around) with.” (Twitter link)
  • The NBA has fined Hornets guard Terry Rozier $25K for throwing the ball into the stands at the end of Friday’s loss to the Thunder.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Trade Market, Baynes, Rozier

The Suns will get suspended center Deandre Ayton back in less than two weeks, but coach Monty Williams believes it will take 10 games or so for the team to get used to playing with him again, writes Gina Mizell of The Athletic. The top pick in last year’s draft played just one game this season before being suspended by the league after testing positive for a diuretic.

“We’re really gonna see who we are in the next month,” Williams said. “Most teams know all your plays. Most guys are setting their rotations. I think we’ll find out what our team looks like with the addition of DA.”

Ayton raised a lot of expectations with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks on opening night. The Suns want to see if he can become the anchor of their defense and an effective pick-and-roll partner for Ricky Rubio or if he’ll slip back into some of the bad habits of his rookie season.

There’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Power forward could be a position of need if the Suns decide to become active on the trade market, Mizell adds in the same piece. Dario Saric has played well, but he’s the only Phoenix starter without a long-term contract and he stands to get a sizable offer as a restricted free agent. Mizell states that the Suns have to be intrigued by Arizona alum Aaron Gordon‘s 32-point performance against them last night, but the Magic may want to hold onto him as long as they’re in the playoff race. She lists Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge as veterans who might become available by the February trade deadline.
  • Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer examines whether the Suns and Kings are better off without Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, who are both slated to return soon. In Phoenix’s case, veteran center Aron Baynes stepped in for Ayton and helped the Suns to a surprising 7-4 start. They didn’t slip down the standings until he suffered injuries to his hip and calf. Baynes has always been a strong defender, but he has developed his offense since coming to Phoenix, averaging a career best 14.7 points and 2.9 assists per game.
  • Hornets guard Terry Rozier explained to reporters why he gave serious consideration to the Suns in free agency this summer (video link from The Arizona Republic). “Their identity is guys just play hard,” Rozier said. “Young, physical team, wanna win … obviously I’m not with them so I don’t really care about that no more.”