Torrey Craig

Torrey Craig, Pacers Agree To Two-Year Contract

The Pacers are set to ink veteran free agent swingman Torrey Craig, most recently of the Bucks and Suns, to a two-year, $10MM contract, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (Twitter link) that the Pacers will use a portion of their mid-level exception to sign the 6’7″ Craig. The deal is fully guaranteed, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).

The only player to have logged significant time playing for both NBA Finals teams during the 2020/21 season, Craig unfortunately found himself on the losing side with Phoenix, though he carved out a role for himself as a versatile, defense-first wing contributor.

After going undrafted out of USC Upstate in 2014, Craig first logged NBA action as a 26-year-old with the Nuggets in 2017. He signed a one-year deal with the Bucks as a free agent in 2020.

He struggled to carve out much of a role with Milwaukee during the first portion of the year, averaging just 2.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 0.9 APG in 11.2 MPG over 18 games.

Craig, 30, was ultimately traded to the Suns. In 18.8 MPG across 32 regular season contests, he averaged 7.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.0 APG. He posted a slash line of .503/.369/.800 while with Phoenix.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Caruso, Cavs, Trent, Batum, Bradley

The Pelicans are viewed as the most likely of Kyle Lowry‘s prospective suitors to guarantee a third year in their offer to the veteran point guard, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. However, it’s the Heat that are considered the current frontrunners to land Lowry.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms as much in his latest report, suggesting that the Heat are ready and willing to attach assets to Goran Dragic to entice the Raptors to accept a sign-and-trade offer, with Precious Achiuwa and draft picks among the pieces that could be in play. According to Wojnarowski, the Pelicans and Mavericks – rumored to be two of Lowry’s most aggressive suitors – are beginning to consider other options as they look for a starting point guard.

Here are a few more updates on free agents, with the start of the 2021 free agent period less than 24 hours away:

Torrey Craig Probable For Game 3

Suns reserve swingman Torrey Craig, who exited Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Bucks with a right knee contusion, has been listed as probable for Game 3 tonight, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Sources inform Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter) that Craig intends to play in this evening’s contest.

An MRI taken of Craig’s knee earlier this week indicated no structural damage to the ligament. He had been considered day-to-day ahead of this latest health status update.

Craig, a 30-year-old pro basketball journeyman who was traded from the Bucks to the Suns for cash considerations in March, has proven to be a helpful and versatile defensive-oriented wing at the end of Phoenix’s rotation during the end of the regular season and throughout the Suns’ run to the Finals.

In the playoffs, Craig is averaging 4.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG across 12.5 MPG, with a solid shooting line of .446/.452/.667.

MRI On Torrey Craig’s Knee Reveals No Structural Damage

Suns forward Torrey Craig exited Game 2 of the NBA Finals in the third quarter on Thursday due to a right knee contusion and didn’t return, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

While the Suns didn’t provide an official update on Craig’s status after Thursday’s game, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the 30-year-old underwent an MRI on his right knee today. According to Wojnarowski, that MRI revealed no structural damage to the knee, so Craig is being considered day-to-day for now.

That diagnosis is good news for the Suns, who had already been leaning on Craig as a part of their rotation throughout the playoffs and may have wanted him to play a slightly larger role with Dario Saric unavailable. Phoenix acquired Craig from Milwaukee in exchange for cash in a midseason trade.

Game 3 isn’t schedule to take place until Sunday, so Craig will have an extra day off to recover. If he’s not cleared to play in Game 3, Phoenix could turn to Frank Kaminsky or Abdel Nader for a few minutes off the bench or could slightly increase the workload of wings like Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson.

Suns Notes: Kaminsky, Craig, Nader, Bridges, Crowder, Ayton

Torrey Craig, Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader could all pick up minutes during the remainder of the Finals in the aftermath of Dario Saric‘s knee injury, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Saric suffered a torn ACL during the opening quarter of Game 1. Kaminsky played four minutes in Game 1 while Craig received 16 minutes of floor time. “Frank gives us quality size and playmaking ability,” coach Monty Williams said. “He’s smart.”

We have more on the Western Conference champions:

  • Mikal Bridges has developed into one of the league’s top 3-and-D wings, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Bridges makes the team’s pick-and-roll offense lethal due to his cutting, screening and spot-up shooting. His ability to guard multiple positions is another underrated aspect of the team’s success, Buha adds. Bridges is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • Jae Crowder is another one of those top-level role players and ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the forward, who is appearing in his second straight Finals. Crowder has played an average of 31.7 MPG in the postseason despite modest offensive numbers. He scored just one point in Game 1 but was on the floor for 33 minutes. “You don’t even know what position Jae is,” Williams said. “But you know this: It becomes really hard to take him off the floor.”
  • Williams isn’t sure what Deandre Ayton‘s ceiling is but the coach wants his young center to focus on the present, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. “It’s important to embrace where he is and embrace the work that he has to do today,” Williams said.

Suns Notes: Galloway, Crowder, Saric, Craig

With Game 1 of the NBA Finals set to tip off in a matter of hours, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington examines Suns guard Langston Galloway‘s path from going undrafted in 2014 to being four wins away from an NBA championship.

Oftentimes when I’m in the locker room, I’m the only undrafted guy in the locker room,” Galloway said. “I look at it like this, it’s like if I can beat out the next guy to me, I can worry about myself going forward and the opportunity I’ve provided in front of me.”

Galloway discussed the ever-vigilant edge that being an undrafted player causes you to play with: “You have to always be paranoid. It’s knowing that I can’t rest on my laurels, I can’t rest on my career. I have to always get better knowing that the next opportunity is my best opportunity.”

Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News also takes a look at Galloway’s impending free agency, as well as his potential fit with the first team that gave him a shot, the Knicks.

We have more news from the Suns:

  • Jay King of The Athletic has a piece on Jae Crowder and why every team in the league, especially the Celtics, need a guy like him. “I’m not saying Boston don’t have toughness,” Crowder’s father said on a podcast with former player Etan Thomas, “but they could have used a Jae Crowder. Miami got to the Finals last year. Jae Crowder’s gone, now where they at?” Celtics president Brad Stevens seems to agree: “Everywhere Jae Crowder goes, they win, which is great credit to him,” Stevens said.
  • Between injuries, a positive COVID test, and inconsistent minutes, it wasn’t the easiest year for forward Dario Saric, tweets Suns reporter Gina Mizell. “But to be, right now, here, with my teammates, it’s a dream come true, you know what I mean,” Saric said.
  • In a video from The Arizona Republic, Torrey Craig speaks on the experience of going up against his former team in the Finals: “… To compete against guys you played with, not only just compete against them but with the NBA Finals competing against them, that definitely sets the bar for whatever narrative you want to set for it,” Craig said, a smile on his face. “I’m definitely excited.”

Suns Notes: Craig, Crowder, CP3-Williams, Defense

Athletic Suns reserve swingman Torrey Craig is finding his form in the playoffs with his new club, writes Gina Mizell of Suns.com. Mizell notes that Craig as a defender has proven his value by guarding multiple positions. With Phoenix, Craig has also been able to showcase his game as a shooter and rim roller.

“We would be in a different place if we didn’t have Torrey Craig on our team,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “It was the right spot for Torrey. We needed him, and he needed us.”

“To me, it’s mental,” Craig said of his active brand of play with the Suns. “Even if I’m looking tired, I’m breathing hard, I’m still gonna go after the ball and do the extra dirty work. … If I’m gonna play 15 minutes this game, I’m gonna make sure I empty the tank in 15 minutes.”

Craig inked a veteran’s minimum one-year contract with the Bucks as a 2020 free agent. Craig found himself out of the rotation after being waylaid by a broken nose early in the 2020/21 season. He was relieved when he learned he was being traded to the Suns in March.

There’s more out of Phoenix:

  • In comments to reporters Sunday, veteran Suns starting power forward Jae Crowder said that many associates questioned his decision to join the Suns during the 2020 offseason after a Finals run with the Heat, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Before this season, the Suns had not earned a playoff berth since 2010. Now they are headed to the Western Conference Finals, having swept the Nuggets in a second-round series. “I know I look like a genius a little bit with my decision,” Crowder said. “I felt like (the Suns) were hungry. They want to do some special things, and I just want to be a part of it.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams and All-Star point guard Chris Paul are cherishing their shared journey to the Western Conference Finals after a decade-long friendship, per Royce Young of ESPN. Williams served as Paul’s head coach with the then-New Orleans Hornets during the 2010/11 season. “One of the highlights of my career, (Chris is) right there,” Williams said.
  • The Suns have excelled on both sides of the ball to return to their first Western Conference Finals in 11 years, but their intense defense will prove crucial throughout the rest of their playoff run, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The club’s 104.7 defensive rating is a significant improvement over their already-impressive 110.4 regular season defensive rating. “Shout-out to our coaches,” Paul said. “We’re prepared every game. Win or lose, one thing we won’t be is underprepared. And just attention to detail — we have slip-ups here and there, but the signs of a good team is when you can lock in defensively. And that’s where we try to hang our hat.”

Pacific Notes: T. Davis, Kings, Thompson, Craig

Terence Davis hopes last week’s trade to the Kings will give him a fresh start and help him leave off-the-court issues behind, writes James Ham of NBC Sports. After scoring 27 points Saturday in a narrow loss to the Bucks, Davis addressed the legal matters that arose in October when he was still with the Raptors.

Davis was originally charged with seven counts of domestic violence, but all charges relating to an alleged assault were eventually dropped by the New York District Attorney’s office. He still faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief, but those will reportedly dissolve in a year if he avoids further legal trouble.

“When you’re going through something like that, it defines you as a person, as a man, for me, as a father,” Davis said. “I’m just excited to be here, excited to be a part of the Kings. I’m happy man, I’m ready to get to work and continue to work. This is a fresh start for me, man, I just want to take advantage of it.

“As an individual, I’m a tough dude. You know, just having to deal with so much. I haven’t really seen my son in a while. I’m getting kinda teary right now, man, just talking about this situation. I’ve been through a lot. I’m just happy to be here and happy that the Kings welcomed me with open arms.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings‘ new additions were noticeable for the energy they brought to Saturday’s game, while the holdovers didn’t seem to provide as much toughness and competitiveness, observes James Jones of The Athletic. The Kings have lost some of their veteran leaders in recent years and they’re hoping to get those qualities from Davis, Maurice Harkless and Delon Wright, who were all acquired at the deadline. “I’m excited about these guys our front office brought in,” coach Luke Walton said. “I think that will, with some more time, will continue to get us there faster. But when they come in, there’s an intensity level they’re playing with. And that’s how it has to be at the start of games, middle of games.”
  • Klay Thompson delivered a message to his Warriors teammates after a 53-point loss Friday night, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. The injured guard talked about the need to uphold the tradition that the franchise has built. “He was just kind of going off about how he missed the game and how it’s just not acceptable to lose this way,” Kent Bazemore said. “He’s fired up, man. It’s hard watching, regardless if you’re playing or not playing.”
  • The Suns acquired Torrey Craig at the deadline, but they were hoping to add him last offseason, coach Monty Williams tells Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Craig said he wanted to sign with Phoenix at the time, but “pretty crazy and pretty wild and unpredictable” things happened and he chose the Bucks instead.

Pacific Notes: Dinwiddie, Oubre, Craig, George, Rondo

The Warriors turned down pre-deadline overtures from the Nets for Kelly Oubre with Spencer Dinwiddie as the bait, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports in his latest newsletter. Dinwiddie, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a partially torn ACL, holds a $12.3MM player option on his contract next season. There’s been speculation he’ll opt out, which made him an attractive trade option.

However, the Warriors’ declined the Nets’ offers because they still want to make the playoffs this season. Golden State wouldn’t give up Oubre and his expiring contract unless the team got a healthy, productive player in return.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns were interested in small forward Torrey Craig last offseason, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. Phoenix acquired Craig on March 18 from the Bucks for cash considerations. After spending his first three NBA seasons with the Nuggets, Craig spurned Phoenix’s overtures and signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Bucks during the 2020 offseason.
  • Paul George has been in the NBA since 2010 but he believes he can learn a thing or two from trade deadline acquisition Rajon Rondo, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets“I’m looking forward to learning from him,” the Clippers forward said. “He has one of the most beautiful basketball minds. It is going to help me down the road and evolve my game and open my game up to see the floor and read teammates better.”
  • Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank hated to give up Lou Williams but felt Rondo filled a crying need, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Frank said the team required an “orchestrator” and “someone who can really help elevate everyone’s game.”

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Ranadive, Craig, Hill

In previewing trade possibilities facing the Warriors during the final week before the March 25 deadline, Anthony Slater of The Athletic explains the appeal wing Kelly Oubre Jr. could hold for other teams around the league.

Slater notes that Oubre, a young, athletic wing with upside left at age 25, is currently earning $14MM in the last year of his contract, and could be used in a trade to acquire an interesting player along the lines of shooting guards Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier (both also on expiring deals), small forward Aaron Gordon, or restricted free agent point guard Lonzo Ball.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive apparently is averse to surrendering to a full-on tank this season, and hopes to remain semi-competitive by retaining two of the team’s most trade-friendly players, Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield, Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated asserted on the podcast Locked On Kings. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports Bay Area contends that “staying competitive” is not really much of an option as, with a 16-24 record, Sacramento is currently well below the threshold to compete for even a top-10 record in the Western Conference, and thus an appearance in a play-in game.
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams expressed his excitement about the potential on-court fit of new reserve guard Torrey Craig, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “He’s a big, strong wing defender who can guard ones and twos and power forwards and can switch onto a bigger guy,” Williams raved. “We liked him when he was in Denver. Hated competing against him because he was such a good defender and a tough guy for sure.”
  • The Clippers appear in need of a point guard upgrade. Brian Windhorst of ESPN (video link) thinks that Thunder veteran George Hill could be a fit, but that a player at the level of Lou Williams may need to be sent back in a deal. “He’s a guy who played for [LA head coach Tyronn] Lue in Cleveland and could fit there, but it would probably take a trade of Lou Williams to get that to happen,” Windhorst said.