Tony Snell

Blazers Notes: Lillard, Free Agency, Roster, McCollum

Asked on Friday in Tokyo about the Trail Blazers‘ moves in free agency, star point guard Damian Lillard suggested that the team missed out on some of its top targets, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays.

“You never know where guys are going to end up and why they go there. You just try to have conversations and convince guys to be a part of our team,” Lillard said. “And obviously, this go around, we weren’t able to go out there and just get some of the guys that we would have liked.

“(So) you go down the list and you go through the guys that are out there that you like who haven’t committed to a team or were a part of your plans in free agency and you get the ones that want to be a part of what you’re doing. And I think that’s what we did.”

The Trail Blazers’ free agent additions include Cody Zeller, Tony Snell, and Ben McLemore. According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, the team also had interest in Nicolas Batum, and made an effort to lure Kelly Oubre to Portland with the taxpayer mid-level exception. Oubre ended up elsewhere even though Damian Lillard made a pitch to him at the end of the regular season.

“It wasn’t anything deep other than ‘Would he be open to it?’ and he said he was,” Lillard told Quick. “I liked Oubre as a complement to other guys I thought we would be able to get. We didn’t get them.”

As Quick outlines, the Blazers’ “real” offseason will begin when Lillard finishes his Olympics run and returns to Portland to evaluate the roster and assess his options. There are three roads the rest of the Blazers’ summer could take, in Quick’s view: Portland convinces Lillard that running it back and being patient is the right approach; the team makes a major trade that changes Lillard’s view of the Blazers’ trajectory; or the All-NBA guard asks to be traded.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Quick confirms that the deals Zeller, McLemore, and Snell are signing are all worth the veteran’s minimum. The Blazers still have the taxpayer mid-level exception available, but aren’t aggressively pursuing any players left on the market and will likely hang onto that exception for now, Quick adds.
  • The Blazers have 13 players projected for the regular season roster for now. They plan to enter the season with 14, but they’re keeping that 14th spot open for now to maintain flexibility, according to Quick, who notes that the spot may be useful for a trade in which Portland takes back more players than it sends out.
  • While CJ McCollum is perhaps the most obvious trade candidate on the Blazers’ roster, it doesn’t sound like he’s being actively shopped, says Quick. Quick isn’t sure whether other teams simply don’t value McCollum like the Blazers do, but says the club won’t move him just to shake up the roster — a deal would have to improve the roster. So far, no opportunities fit that bill.

Blazers Sign Tony Snell To One-Year Deal

AUGUST 10: The Blazers have officially signed Snell, the team announced today in a press release. Portland is now carrying 12 players on standard contracts, with Trendon Watford on a two-way deal and second-round pick Greg Brown still unsigned.


AUGUST 3: The Trail Blazers and free agent wing Tony Snell have agreed to a one-year contract, agent Austin Brown tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Snell, 29, will provide additional shooting on the wing for a Portland team that also reached deals with Norman Powell and Ben McLemore early in free agency.

Snell shot an otherworldly 56.9% on three-point attempts in 47 games (21.1 MPG) for Atlanta in 2020/21, albeit not on a particularly high volume (2.3 attempts per game). He has now knocked down at least 40% of his three-point attempts in four of the last five seasons, and narrowly fell short of that mark in 2018/19 (39.7%).

Terms of Snell’s new deal aren’t yet known, but I’d be a little surprised if it’s worth more than the veteran’s minimum.

Southeast Notes: Gafford, Collins, Hawks Injuries, Olynyk

Daniel Gafford thought there was a “50-50” chance he could be dealt by the Bulls before the Wizards traded for him, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

“I was in and out (of the lineup). I wasn’t really playing as much,” Gafford said. “So, there was a lot of stuff going on in my head, just really trying to stay as positive as I could.”

He’s thriving thus far since joining the Wizards, averaging 11.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.0 BPG in 17.1 MPG through his first eight games.

The Wizards were not only interested in adding an athletic body in Gafford. They also liked his affordable contract — he has a non-guaranteed $1.78MM salary next season, a guarantee Washington will almost certainly pick up given his production.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks big man John Collins admits that trade rumors affected him mentally before the deadline, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (video link). “It’s not an easy thing to deal with,” he said. Collins will be a highly-coveted restricted free agent this summer, since he was unable to reach an extension agreement with the club last fall. “Very disappointing to not have something done,” he said. “I wanted to stay here, I want to be here. Now the situation being as it is, just (have to) weigh all my options.”
  • De’Andre Hunter, Tony Snell and Kris Dunn missed the Hawks’ game against Orlando on Tuesday and there’s no timetable for their return. Coach Nate McMillan provided updates on the trio on Monday and noted that Hunter (knee) was unable to participate in practice, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Snell did some light running and shooting, while Dunn did some live work. They’re both sidelined by ankle injuries.
  • While Heat guard Victor Oladipo is sidelined by an knee injury, one of the players traded to Houston, Kelly Olynyk, has thrived in his new NBA home, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “It’s different for me coming from Boston and then Miami, just a different role,” Olynyk said. “But it’s been a great opportunity for me to go out there and play and help these young guys and help this team in a different way than my role was in Miami.” He had 10 points and eight rebounds against his former team on Monday.

Southeast Notes: Dedmon, Porter Jr., Snell, Gafford

Heat center Dewayne Dedmon is ready to help his new team in any way he can as Miami looks to establish playoff positioning in the coming weeks, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes.

Dedmon, 31, signed a rest-of-season contract with the Heat earlier this month and is available to make his season debut on Sunday against Portland. He’s expected to provide depth for a Miami team that also has Trevor Ariza, Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica and Precious Achiuwa in the frontcourt.

“I feel like I fit on the defensive end, helping with the rim protection, helping rebound, getting more opportunities for these shooters we’ve got here,” Dedmon said of his fit with the club.

“So I come in, block a couple of shots, get a couple more offensive boards, provide a little more offense for the guards. I feel like that will help a lot. … I’m not Bam. I’m not looking to come in here and do what Bam does. I come in here and try to fill a defensive void that I feel like they need.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • The Magic and forward Otto Porter Jr. didn’t hold any buyout discussions prior to Friday’s playoff eligibility waiver deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports (via Twitter). Orlando acquired Porter in a deal with Chicago featuring Nikola Vucevic last month. The 27-year-old – who also didn’t have any buyout talks with the Bulls, per Stein – has appeared in three games with the team so far and is set to become a free agent this summer.
  • Hawks guard Tony Snell has suffered a right ankle sprain and bone bruise, the team announced (Twitter link). In addition to Sunday’s game against Charlotte, Snell will also miss Tuesday’s game against Toronto and will be re-evaluated when the club returns to Atlanta.
  • The Wizards were encouraged with the return of center Daniel Gafford against the Suns on Saturday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Gafford had missed the last six games with a sprained ankle. He finished with nine points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes against Phoenix, playing off the bench. “It felt great,” Gafford said. “With the limited time that I was out there, it felt natural and it felt good to be out there after this six-game stretch where I’ve been missing. It was kind of sore at the end, but other than that I just felt good being able to get up and down the floor.”

Southeast Notes: Haslem, Brooks, Carter-Williams, Snell

Udonis Haslem – who is in his 18th NBA season, all with the Heat – has not played a single minute this season. And while the 41-year-old would welcome the chance to see some action, he has embraced his increasingly off-court role within the organization, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I’m always ready,” Haslem said. “And that’s my job, is to stay ready so I don’t got to get ready. And I’m always ready if Spo (head coach Erik Spoelstra) needs to put me out there and contribute to winning basketball games. But I understand that the bigger impact that I have is off the basketball court, before the clock starts.”

Last season, Haslem only played in four regular-season games, but he helped the Heat make their sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2005. The role on the team he plays is deeper than actually going out there to set screens and rebound the basketball, according to Spoelstra, who says the big man is “moving mountains with his leadership.” However, the Heat coach said the team would have no qualms about using Haslem on the court if needed.

“I always have the ultimate confidence in UD,” Spoelstra said. “And he and I have been through so many pressure-packed moments that I feel I can throw him in at any time, even in the fourth quarter if he hadn’t played before that.”

More from the Southeast Division:

  • After some uncertainty, presumably related to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks received clearance to coach Thursday’s game against the Grizzlies, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (Twitter link). Brooks and the Wizards got off to a slow start but are creeping up in the standings (two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference). 
  • Magic point guard Michael Carter-Williams spoke to Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com about feeling as if his NBA career was in jeopardy during the 2018/19 season, just a few years removed from winning Rookie of the Year. “I didn’t know where my future was gonna go,” said Carter-Williams, who has rejuvenated his career in Orlando. “I kept thinking, ‘Am I gonna go the G League route? Am I gonna go overseas? Do I even want to play at all anymore?’ There was a lot of things that went through my head at the time.”
  • Veteran wing Tony Snell looked like a salary throw-in when the Hawks acquired him from Detroit in the offseason, but he has played a meaningful role for the team, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details. The 29-year-old, a free agent at season’s end, is knocking down a scorching 56.9% of his three-point attempts, including a last-second, game-winning buzzer beater on Thursday. Atlanta has now won its first three games since Nate McMillan took over as head coach for Lloyd Pierce.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Southeast Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. 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 Southeast Division:

Malik Monk, Hornets, 23, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $15.7MM deal in 2017

Monk has forced his way back into Charlotte’s rotation — 36-point explosions will do that for you. Monk’s scoring outburst led the Hornets to an overtime victory against Miami on Monday. That was sandwiched by an 18-point game against Milwaukee and a 13-point output against Philadelphia. A 2017 lottery pick, Monk has never shot better than 34.2% from deep in his first three seasons and bottomed out at 28.4% last season. He’s made 52.5% of his long-range shots this season. Charlotte would have to extend Monk a $7MM+ qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer. The Hornets might opt to deal him this winter but Monk will continue to pump up his value if he keeps shooting like this.

Tony Snell, Hawks, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $46MM deal in 2017

Snell had a player option that was much too lucrative to turn down last offseason. When he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’ll be looking at substantially smaller offers that the one he received from Milwaukee in 2017. Snell started regularly for Detroit last season but he hasn’t gotten much floor time with Atlanta despite several injuries to wing players. He played a season-high 24 minutes against Utah on Thursday but once De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic return to action, Snell will reside at the end of the bench once again.

Kendrick Nunn, Heat, 25, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.1MM deal in 2018

Nunn was one of the league’s feel-good stories last season, an undrafted rookie who graduated from the G League to become a starter with the Heat, then finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 15.3 PPG and 3.3 APG in 67 regular-season games. However, he lost his starting job in the Orlando bubble following a bout with COVID-19 and hasn’t regained it this season. Nunn was playing regularly when Jimmy Butler battled the virus last month but he has fallen completely out of the rotation the last three games. Avery Bradley‘s latest injury should allow him to regain his spot. Nunn’s qualifying offer is a meager $2.1MM if he doesn’t meet the starter criteria, so he’ll likely become a restricted free agent. Still, it’ll be harder to land a big offer sheet from another club if his playing time continues to wildly fluctuate.

Ish Smith, Wizards, 32, PG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2019

Smith has carved out a nice career as a second-unit sparkplug. He’s always been capable of tossing in a 20-point night with his quickness and driving ability. Those outings haven’t occurred this season. He’s only reached double digits once despite averaging a steady 20.7 MPG. He’s still making a positive contributor with his passing – he’s averaged 7.0 assists the last five games – but he’s 1-for-12 from the field in his last two games despite playing 54 minutes. At 32, Smith will find it increasingly difficult to get offers ahead of younger players. That reality could strike as early as this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury/Coronavirus Updates: Craig, Butler, Okongwu, Snell, Caruso, Anthony

Bucks swingman Torrey Craig suffered a nasal fracture on Sunday against the Knicks and won’t play against the Heat on Tuesday, the team’s PR department tweets. Craig signed with Milwaukee last month after the Nuggets failed to extend a qualifying offer.

We have more injury and COVID-19 news:

  • Heat star Jimmy Butler is doubtful to play against the Bucks on Tuesday, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets. Butler sprained an ankle during the team’s game on Friday.
  • Hawks rookie big man Onyeka Okongwu (left foot inflammation) and guard Tony Snell (right foot inflammation) have been cleared to progress to live contact workouts, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets.
  • Alex Caruso became the first Lakers player to miss a game due to COVID-19 protocols. Caruso sat out against Portland on Monday. Coach Frank Vogel said no other players or staff members were held out due to contact tracing, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony wasn’t with his team due to the same reason, as Casey Holdahl tweets.

Eastern Notes: Harden, Cavs, Embiid, Burke, Snell

James Harden has reportedly added the Bucks to the teams he’d be willing to play for but acquiring the perennial All-Star guard would be very complicated even if Milwaukee wants him, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic points out.

Milwaukee can’t move nearly half of its players on guaranteed contracts since the club added six players via trades or free agent signings. Most of those players aren’t eligible to be dealt until late February. The Bucks’ proximity to the hard cap also makes it nearly impossible to trade multiple players for Harden unless a third party is involved or Houston tosses in some minimum salary players.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • While the league has trended toward smaller lineups in recent seasons, the Cavaliers could go with a jumbo lineup at times, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Coach J. B. Bickerstaff plans to utilize Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and Andre Drummond in certain situations. “We expect there are going to be times where we throw that big lineup out there,” Bickerstaff said.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid has bonded with assistant coach Dan Burke, who ripped him as a Pacers assistant last season. Burke claimed then that Embiid “gets away with a bunch of (stuff).” Embiid doesn’t harbor any grudges, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I think he’s a great guy,” Embiid said. “We’ve actually been very close since we got here. I think him and the whole coaching staff is going to kind of look at me to kind of be the driving force of the defense.”
  • Tony Snell is currently not with the Hawks, since he’s self-isolating, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. He hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19 but was deemed a close contact to someone who did. Snell was acquired from the Pistons this offseason.

Kings Notes: Bogdanovic, Hield, GRIII, Kaminsky, Whiteside

After reporting earlier today that the Kings passed on a Hawks sign-and-trade offer for Bogdan Bogdanovic that would have allowed Sacramento to acquire either a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick or two future second-rounders in exchange for the restricted free agent, Sam Amick of The Athletic has updated his story with some new intel.

As Amick explains, that Hawks offer came with caveats. Atlanta wanted Sacramento to accept Tony Snell‘s expiring $12MM+ salary and asked for an answer within an hour. Additionally, the Kings didn’t know at that point what sort of contract the Hawks were offering Bogdanovic, so they were reluctant to agree to a sign-and-trade if Atlanta’s offer was one they were comfortable matching.

The Kings asked for some of the Hawks’ young talent in a deal, but didn’t have any luck, and Atlanta ultimately took its chances by signing Bogdanovic to an offer sheet. Sacramento didn’t match it.

While The Athletic’s new information lets the Kings off the hook to some extent, Amick says there’s “strong reason” to believe that Atlanta would have done a sign-and-trade for Bogdanovic that included a draft pick even if the Kings hadn’t been willing to take on Snell’s contract. However, sources tell Amick that scenario wasn’t discussed.

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • In talks with teams about a possible Buddy Hield trade this offseason, the Kings were asking for draft compensation, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. There’s nothing imminent on the Hield front though, Begley adds. At this point, it would be a surprise if Sacramento doesn’t open the season with Hield on its roster.
  • Glenn Robinson III and Frank Kaminsky each received modest guarantees on their new one-year contracts with the Kings. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets that Robinson got a $100K partial guarantee, while James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets that Kaminsky’s partial guarantee is worth $50K.
  • Hassan Whiteside‘s first stint with the Kings a decade ago saw him play just 19 games in two seasons for the team before he spent two years out of the NBA. He’s counting on having more success this time around, as Ham writes for NBC Sports California. “My first (time) around, I had a couple of injuries that kept me from being the player that I wanted to be,” Whiteside said. “But I think this is a great opportunity to come back and revamp that.”
  • The Kings confirmed today that they won’t have any fans in attendance at Golden 1 Center to start the 2020/21 season (Twitter link via Ham). Given the COVID-19 restrictions in place in California, that was a given.

Southeast Notes: Aminu, Bamba, Collins, Hawks, Hornets

Magic head coach Steve Clifford told reporters today that Jonathan Isaac, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Mohamed Bamba haven’t been cleared for contact work when training camp begins, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Isaac is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to miss the entire 2020/21 season, so his absence is unsurprising. Aminu and Bamba were unavailable for the Magic at the end of last season due to knee surgery recovery and coronavirus complications, respectively. It’s not clear if those same issues are keeping them sidelined this fall, but Clifford said today that both players are still “a ways away” from being 100%, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Hawks big man John Collins is still hoping to sign a rookie scale extension before the regular season begins, admitting today that his contract situation is at the forefront of his mind (Twitter links via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
  • The Hawks issued a press release announcing injury updates on Kris Dunn (cartilage disruption in right knee), Onyeka Okongwu (inflammation of sesamoid bone in left foot), and Tony Snell (inflammation of cuboid bone in right foot). Dunn is participating in “modified” individual workouts, while Okongwu and Snell are currently limited to shooting and conditioning. Atlanta will provide another update on all three players on December 11.
  • The Hornets will open the 2020/21 season without any fans in attendance at Spectrum Center, the team announced this week in a press release. The Hornets indicated they’ll continue to work with state and local health officials – and the NBA – to develop a plan to get fans back in the building, ideally before the end of the season.
  • In the wake of the Hornets‘ acquisition of Gordon Hayward and release of Nicolas Batum, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer examines the salary cap impact of the two transactions. As Bonnell writes, despite the significant cap charges for Hayward and Batum, the club could still open up a sizeable chunk of cap room in 2021.