Torrey Craig

Western Notes: Craig, Snyder, Kings, Pelicans

Torrey Craig missed the last two games of the Suns‘ series vs. Dallas due to a right elbow contusion, but said today that he’s ready to go for Game 5, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

Craig only played six total minutes in the first two games of the series and hasn’t logged more than 11 minutes in a single playoff contest to date, so his availability won’t have a major impact on the Suns’ rotation.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

Western Notes: Murray, Green, Craig, Towns

Nuggets star Jamal Murray isn’t close to returning from a torn ACL, head coach Michael Malone said on Sunday, as relayed by Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Murray suffered the injury 11 months ago and an ESPN report from last month suggested he could return before the playoffs.

Murray, who spent some time with the Grand Rapids Gold earlier this month, may rejoin the team’s G League affiliate for another block of practices, Malone added. No timetable was revealed for a possible return.

Murray averaged a career-high 21.2 points per game before sustaining the injury last season, shooting 48% from the floor and 41% from deep. The Nuggets own the seventh-best record in the West (42-30) despite his absence. The team has also dealt with other significant losses — including Michael Porter Jr. (back) — and should be viewed as a legitimate contender at full strength.

Here are some other notes from the West:

  • In a separate story for the Denver Post, Mike Singer examines how JaMychal Green‘s leadership has been valuable for the Nuggets. Green lit a fire in the team’s huddle against Philadelphia last Monday, helping motivate them en route to a 114-110 win, Singer shares.
  • Suns wing Torrey Craig stepped up in the absences of Jae Crowder (groin) and Cameron Johnson (quad) against the Bulls on Friday, as relayed by the Arizona Republic. Craig finished with 14 points and nine rebounds as a starter, shooting 5-of-5 from the floor in 31 minutes of action.
  • Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns expressed confidence in his squad after winning its fourth straight game, Dane Moore of Bring Me The News tweets. Minnesota defeated Milwaukee 138-119 on Saturday. The team is 9-1 in its last 10 games, leading Towns to make the following statement: “Any time we step on the court, we should win… We feel we can beat anybody.”

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Bazemore, Craig, Biyombo

Magic Johnson stepped down from his post as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations in 2019 but team owner Jeanie Buss still leans on the Hall-of-Famer for advice, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. “To me, he’s still working with us,” Buss said. “In terms of an official capacity, in the NBA, you have to be very clear as to who can negotiate on your behalf and who can’t. So he doesn’t have that official designation. But in terms of his support, his wisdom, his insight, I freely call on him as needed.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kent Bazemore hasn’t been part of the Lakers rotation since mid-November and hasn’t played since February 3. However, he’s not sulking over his lack of playing time, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Some nights, it gets hard having to hold back that competitive nature. Especially if a guy gets going, I know defensively, I made a living off of taking guys out of the game, shutting off the water, so to speak. That gets the best of me sometimes,” Bazemore said. “But that’s just the competitor in me. … I’m doing what I love. I don’t mind putting in the work for it, even though I’m out of the rotation.”
  • The Suns wanted to bring back Torrey Craig during the offseason but prioritized signing JaVale McGee with their mid-level exception, John Gambadoro of of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. Craig found a two-year deal with Indiana before the contract with McGee was finalized. Craig was traded back to Phoenix last week. The Suns still have a portion of the mid-level available to use on the buyout market, Gambadoro adds.
  • Craig said the trade back to the Suns was a deadline-day surprise to him, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “It just happened so fast,” Craig said. “I was literally practicing in Indiana and then I noticed it was an hour before the trade deadline. Came to my phone and I had a couple of missed calls from my agent. And then he called me and told me (the) situation and I was like, wow. It had just happened. It was a quick turnaround. I packed and I came here. I’m excited to be back.”  
  • Bismack Biyombo told his agent, former NBA player B.J. Armstrong, that he only wanted to sign with a title contender in free agency, Marc Spears of The Undefeated reports. “That was the hardest part,” Biyombo said. “I talked to my agent and I said, ‘Look, the only way I will do it is for a contender. Otherwise, I’m not doing it.’ Biyombo remained unsigned until a 10-day with Phoenix under the hardship exception. He later signed a rest-of-the-season deal with the Suns last month.

Pacers, Suns Swap Torrey Craig, Jalen Smith

7:33pm: The trade is official, according to an announcement from the Suns.

3:57pm: The Pacers will receive the Suns’ 2022 second-round pick in the deal, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).

1:03pm: The Pacers will send Torrey Craig to the Suns in exchange for Jalen Smith, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Indiana will also receive a future second-round pick in the deal.

Craig, 31, was part of the Phoenix team that reached the NBA Finals last season. He only got into 32 games with the Suns and left in free agency to find a team that would give him a larger role. He signed a two-year, $10MM deal with the Pacers and averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 51 games.

There has been speculation that Smith, a 21-year-old big man, would be moved ever since the Suns decided not to pick up his third-year option. The 10th pick in the 2020 draft, Smith got into 29 games this season, averaging 6.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per night. He may get a larger opportunity on an Indiana team that traded away Domantas Sabonis this week.

Because Smith’s option for next season has already been declined, the Pacers can’t offer him a new contract starting at more than $4,670,160, which was the amount of the option.

Pacers Rumors: Brogdon, Hield, Warren, Craig, Turner, Korkmaz

There are rival executives around the NBA who believe the Pacers will trade Malcolm Brogdon this offseason following their acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Brogdon isn’t eligible to be traded this season due to the contract extension he signed in the fall, but could be moved in the summer

The Pacers shouldn’t feel any urgency to deal Brogdon, since he and Haliburton are both solid ball-handlers, defenders, and shooters who could complement one another in the backcourt. But the presence of Haliburton certainly will give Indiana more options if the team wants to try to use Brogdon in a trade to address another area of the roster.

According to Scotto, the Pacers are also open to flipping newly-acquired shooting guard Buddy Hield prior to Thursday’s trade deadline. Hield’s $23MM cap hit and the $40MM he’s owed for the two seasons after this one will probably make it tricky for the club to get much of value for him, especially since he has had a down year — his .368 3PT% is the worst mark of his career.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Veteran forwards T.J. Warren and Torrey Craig are among the other players the Pacers have made available in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources tell Scotto. Warren, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, hasn’t played since December 2020 due to a foot injury, so teams may be reluctant to take a flier on him.
  • Myles Turner is expected to remain with the Pacers beyond the deadline, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking tells Chris Mannix of Mannix and Steve Bulpett of have both heard that the Pistons and Pacers discussed a swap centered around Turner and Jerami Grant, but Bulpett says Indiana rejected it. According to Bulpett, the Bucks have also shown some interest in Turner to fill the Brook Lopez role on their roster, with Lopez’s availability for the rest of the season up in the air.
  • The Pacers have some interest in Sixers wing Furkan Korkmaz, believing that he could benefit from a change of scenery, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. A career 37.7% three-point shooter entering this season, Korkmaz has made just 28.7% of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2021/22.

Fischer’s Latest: McCollum, Powell, Simmons, Turner, Hawks, Schroder

Anfernee Simons‘ breakout season is leading to speculation that the Trail Blazers may try to trade CJ McCollum or Norman Powell, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Portland entered the season with plans to be a contender, but injuries and some disappointing performances have left the team in a tight race for a play-in spot. With Damian Lillard sidelined after abdominal surgery, the Blazers may opt to unload some of their assets and take advantage of a high draft pick going into next season.

There have been whispers throughout the league that McCollum might be available, though Fischer wonders how much of a return he’ll provide considering that he’s 30 years old, is in the middle of a down season, and has been out of action for six weeks after suffering a collapsed lung. He also has two full years left on his contract at $33.3MM and $35.8MM.

Powell, who signed a five-year, $90MM extension during the offseason, seems like a more surprising name to be included in trade talks. However, about a dozen teams wanted to acquire him before he went to Portland at last season’s deadline and Fischer found that many league executives see his contract as valuable.

There’s a belief that Powell wouldn’t mind being traded again, as sources tell Fischer that there were “several snags” in his contract negotiations with the Blazers. One of the teams he considered in free agency was the Pelicans, according to Fischer, who notes that New Orleans is seeking to upgrade to improve its chances of reaching the play-in tournament.

Fischer shares a few more trade rumors from around the league:

  • Little has changed on the Ben Simmons trade front since the offseason, as Sixers ownership, the front office, coach Doc Rivers, and star center Joel Embiid are all united in the stance that the team needs to get an elite player in return. Fischer states that Philadelphia is willing to wait for someone along the lines of Lillard, Bradley Beal, James Harden or Jaylen Brown to become available. The Sixers have discussed three-team packages with the Kings, Pacers and Timberwolves, but none of those teams can offer a star that Philadelphia sees as equal value for Simmons.
  • The Pacers are seeking multiple first-round picks in exchange for center Myles Turner. The Mavericks, Timberwolves, Knicks, Kings, Hornets and Trail Blazers have all expressed interest, and several league executives told Fischer that the Raptors might be a team to watch. The Cavaliers and Knicks have asked about Caris LeVert, but Indiana also wants multiple first-rounders for him. The Pacers have gauged the trade value of Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and Torrey Craig too, Fischer adds.
  • The Hawks are willing to consider a major upheaval before the deadline, with a rival assistant GM telling Fischer that he believes everyone except Trae Young and Clint Capela are available. Atlanta appears willing to move De’Andre Hunter for veteran help, and there may be a market for Danilo Gallinari, who only has a $5MM guarantee next season on his $20MM contract.
  • The Celtics will try to trade Dennis Schröder, who is unlikely to be re-signed next season because of tax considerations. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Mavericks are all possible destinations. Boston has also targeted Suns center Jalen Smith, who will be a free agent after Phoenix declined his third-year option.

COVID-19 Updates: Powell, Kings, Pacers, Lopez, Springer, Pons

Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As our tracker shows, Powell is currently the only Portland player in the protocols. However, the Trail Blazers are also missing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum due to injuries, so Powell’s absence means the team is without its three top scorers. Lillard, McCollum, and Powell are averaging a combined 63.2 points per game so far this season.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Kings added one big man – center Damian Jones – to the protocols on Sunday as another – forward/center Chimezie Metu – exited, per reports from James Ham of ESPN 1320 and Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter links).
  • Pacers swingman Torrey Craig and center Isaiah Jackson were back at practice on Sunday, signaling they’ve cleared the protocols, tweets James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana still has four players in the protocols.
  • Robin Lopez remained sidelined for Sunday’s game vs. Washington, but the Magic center was no longer listed in the protocols, having progressed to return to competition reconditioning (Twitter link via Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel).
  • Sixers rookie Jaden Springer has exited the protocols, but has been ruled out for Monday’s game in Houston due to a non-COVID illness, as Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (via Twitter).
  • Grizzlies two-way player Yves Pons was placed in the health and safety protocols on Saturday, but was no longer listed in the protocols for Sunday’s game, suggesting he registered a false positive or inconclusive test (Twitter links).

COVID-19 Updates: Pacers, Kidd, Fultz, Tre Jones, Daigneault, A. Brooks

Justin Anderson and Torrey Craig have become the latest Pacers players to enter the league’s health and safety protocols, per James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star (via Twitter). The Pacers now have six players in protocols. Craig signed a two-year, $10MM deal with Indiana last summer, while Anderson just signed a 10-day hardship contract with the team last week.

On the bright side, Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce has cleared the protocols and has returned to the team, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.

Here are some more COVID-related updates:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has entered the protocols, with assistant coach Sean Sweeney set to take over his duties Friday night in Houston, sources tell Marc Stein of Substack (Twitter link). Kidd is the 13th head coach to enter the protocols.
  • Markelle Fultz isn’t ready to return from his torn ACL yet, but he has exited the protocols for the Magic, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).
  • The Spurs‘ outbreak continues, with Tre Jones being the sixth player currently in the protocols, tweets Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault has cleared the protocols and will resume his duties Friday vs. Minnesota, the team tweets.
  • Rockets guard Armoni Brooks has exited the protocols and is listed as available for Friday’s game against the Mavs, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 (KRIV) relays (Twitter link).

Eastern Notes: Craig, Bulls, Jones Jr., Noel, Randle

New Pacers forward Torrey Craig is aiming to bring defensive intensity to the team this season, David Woods of The Indianapolis Star writes.

Craig, who signed with the Pacers in free agency, spent the 2020/21 season with the Bucks and Suns. He averaged 5.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 16.1 minutes in 50 total games, shooting 48% from the floor and 37% from three-point range while playing strong perimeter defense.

“I don’t even like guys to score one basket. It doesn’t matter,” Craig said. “It’s just a pride thing. I think the more guys that have that mentality and catch on, that’s what makes you a hard team to beat.

“Offense, it’s the NBA. Guys are talented. Definitely some talented scorers on this roster. Offense is going to come. When you get teams that lock in offensively, and defensively, that’s when you become a championship team.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference today:

  • The Bulls, who agreed to acquire Derrick Jones Jr. in a three-team deal with the Blazers and Cavaliers on Friday, were was also considering acquiring Jones last April, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times tweets. Chicago added Jones to help address the team’s lack of wing depth. The 24-year-old averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 22.7 minutes per game with Portland last season.
  • Nerlens Noel‘s lawsuit against Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul may have stemmed from a grievance filed by Paul, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Paul claimed that Noel still owes him $200K as commission from the one-year, $5MM contract he signed with the Knicks last year. As we previously relayed, Noel is suing Paul for the loss of approximately $58MM regarding a past extension offer from the Mavericks.
  • Knicks All-Star Julius Randle preferred stability over more money, he said in explaining why he signed a four-year, $117MM extension with the team, Andrew Lopez of examines. Randle would’ve been eligible for a new contract worth up to roughly $200MM if he waited until next summer. “The money was one thing, but for me, it was more about the situation as far as my happiness, the basketball situation, my family, just being stable and being in New York and really just continuing to build this thing up,” Randle said. “When I signed here two years ago, this was my vision, to be able to lock in something long term and build something from the ground up. That’s what we’re doing. All hands on deck.”

Central Notes: Craig, Pacers, Pistons, Motor City Cruise

Further contract details have emerged for new Pacers swingman Torrey Craig, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). As expected, Craig’s fully-guaranteed two-year deal will come out of a portion of Indiana’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception. It will pay him $4,878,049 during the 2021/22 season and $5,121,951 during the 2022/23 season.

The reserve wing suited up for both of the teams that qualified for the 2021 NBA Finals, starting out the season with the Bucks before concluding it with the Suns. Craig could prove to be a valuable, defensive-oriented contributor for a revamped Pacers team hoping to return to the playoffs.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pacers would prefer to leave an open spot on their 15-man regular season roster, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports (via Twitter). This could enable the team to make further moves during the season.
  • Now that the Pistons are bringing back forward Hamidou Diallo on a two-year deal with a team option for the second season, Detroit’s offseason transactions appear to be wrapping up, writes Keith Langlois of Langlois notes that Detroit has addressed its need for long-range shooting in adding jump-shooting big man Kelly Olynyk as a free agent. Rookies Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Livers and Luka Garza were all above-average long-range snipers in college and could also fortify the team’s three-point shooting. Langlois adds that the Pistons appear to be prioritizing size and length on the wing under GM Troy Weaver.
  • The Pistons’ new NBA G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, are set to hold open tryouts for players next month, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit Free Press. Interested players will have to pony up a non-refundable $200 for the opportunity to audition for the club.