Tre Jones

Southwest Notes: H. Jones, Kemba, Mavs, Spurs

Pelicans forward Herb Jones is a bargain on his current contract, which pays him $1.79MM this season. But he’ll be looking at an eight-figure annual salary worth “at the very least” the mid-level exception and “almost certainly above it” on his next deal if he continues on his current path, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst predicted in his most recent Hoop Collective podcast.

Windhorst’s comments stemmed from a discussion of a feature by Marc J. Spears of Andscape on the second-year Pelicans forward. As Spears details in his story, Jones prefers to live modestly and think “long-term” for his family — he still drives his car from college and wears Pelicans gear rather than spending extravagantly on a new wardrobe.

“If he wants to drive a Dodge Charger and keep wearing the team-issued gear, that’s fine, but he will have tens of millions in the bank doing so,” Windhorst said with a laugh.

Jones, who told Spears that he aspires to be named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team, is under contract for one more season after this one, with a minimum-salary team option for 2023/24. He’ll become extension-eligible during the 2023 offseason and would be a restricted free agent in 2024 if he hasn’t signed a new deal by then.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • New Mavericks point guard Kemba Walker said during Tuesday’s TNT broadcast that he aims to bring ball-handling skills and leadership to the franchise, describing himself as a “good locker room guy” (Twitter link via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News). On Wednesday, Walker told reporters, including Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News, that he hopes to play for the Mavs “sooner rather than later,” adding that he feels “really good” physically. “I feel as good as I’ve felt in a very long time,” Walker said. “I really took my time and made sure I felt better before I really started ramping myself up as well. Yeah, I know I can just say that, but I guess we’ll just have to see for real.”
  • Head coach Jason Kidd said that using the team’s 15th roster spot on players with non-guaranteed salaries will give the Mavericks the flexibility to keep auditioning free agents until they find one they want to commit to. “Some could say we didn’t give (Facundo) Campazzo a fair shot,” Kidd said, per Eddie Sefko of “He didn’t play a lot of minutes. But this is the way we want to use this 15th spot – look at different situations or different guys. Hopefully, Kemba is the guy if Luka (Doncic) or Spencer (Dinwiddie) are out that he can play that role as a backup.”
  • Point guard Tre Jones and several of his young Spurs teammates aren’t accustomed to losing as much as they have so far this season and don’t want to get used to it, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “A lot of us come from the background of winning — that’s why we are here,” Jones said. “We talk about it in the locker room. We talk about it every single day, trying to figure out how we can turn this thing around and start stacking some wins again.”

Spurs Rumors: Poeltl, Richardson, McDermott, Jones, Wright

The Spurs haven’t been discussing trades with teams around the NBA since around the time Joshua Primo was waived and word of his alleged misconduct first broke, according to LJ Ellis of

Ellis speculates that management may have its handful dealing with the fallout of the Primo situation, and wonders if an unexpectedly strong start in San Antonio may have the team feeling more inclined to stand pat and see how the current group performs.

Before they shut down trade talks, the Spurs had been seeking two lightly protected first-round picks in exchange for center Jakob Poeltl, a first-round pick for swingman Josh Richardson, and “positive value” for sharpshooting forward Doug McDermott, Ellis reports.

A source tells Ellis that the Lakers and Spurs discussed a possible swap involving Richardson, McDermott, and Russell Westbrook, but Los Angeles had only been willing to attach a pair of second-round picks to Westbrook, so those talks didn’t gain any momentum. Westbrook would have been waived or bought out if the Spurs acquired him, Ellis adds.

Here’s more on the Spurs from Ellis:

  • A Western Conference scout who spoke to Ellis believes the Spurs will remain quiet on the trade market this season and wait until next summer to consider any more major moves. “With that (Primo) mess, the Spurs are going to try to stay competitive,” the scout said. “There’s no way they risk looking even more dysfunctional than they already look over there.”
  • According to Ellis, the Spurs have zero interest in trading Tre Jones, who has taken over as the team’s starting point guard after Dejounte Murray was dealt to Atlanta. Spurs insiders say Jones is a “natural leader and an effective communicator,” Ellis writes.
  • Spurs general manager Brian Wright has come under fire after a lawsuit filed by one of Primo’s accusers painted him as slow to respond to her allegations when they were reported to him. However, a source close to the Spurs tells Ellis that Wright isn’t in danger of being fired and insisted that the Primo situation was “handled with great care and concern.”

Spurs Notes: Bassey, Jones, Langford

Charles Bassey‘s representatives spoke to 22 teams after the big man was waived by Philadelphia on October 13, including the Pistons, Cavaliers, Suns, and Raptors, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, according to Pompey, most of the teams that reached out to Pompey wanted to sign him to an Exhibit 10 contract and have him play on their G League affiliate this season.

Some of those G League offers might’ve resulted in a promotion to the NBA later this season or in 2023/24, but Bassey didn’t want to settle — he ultimately signed a two-way contract with the Spurs earlier today.

“I didn’t want to wait for the next year for a roster spot,” Bassey said, per Pompey. “That’s too long. The Spurs came hard … Some of the teams wanted to give me a roster spot, but they couldn’t give me one right now. I just didn’t want to go through that (Exhibit 10/G League) route. San Antonio said, ‘We can give you a two-way this year and we’ll see where it goes from there.'”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Bassey, who lived in San Antonio when he first moved to America from Nigeria in 2015 and still has some family in the city. He also believes the franchise is an ideal fit for him.

“It’s a young organization,” Bassey said. “They are rebuilding. I feel like I’m going to have a great chance to play in a pretty good organization. And it’s a character organization. Everybody does stuff the same. … I feel like I’m going to fit right in.”

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • In an in-depth story for The San Antonio Express-News, Tom Orsborn takes a look at how Tre Jones is embracing what he calls a “big opportunity” to start at point guard for the Spurs this season. Jones is averaging 16.3 PPG on 53.1% shooting in his first three games this season, a significant step up from last season’s 6.0 PPG on 49.0% shooting. “When we find guys we think have that potential (to be leaders), we try to help it grow,” head coach Gregg Popovich. “Tre has just got it. Some people don’t, some people do. I remember Coach K (former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski) telling me about what I would like about Tre, and that was one of the major things. He is just a born leader.”
  • The battle for the Spurs’ 15th regular season spot entering the season was believed to come down to Romeo Langford vs. Joe Wieskamp, with Langford ultimately making the team. Asked what he wants to see from Langford this season, Popovich said he believes the former Indiana standout has the potential to be a “hell of a defender,” per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).
  • Here’s more from Popovich on Langford: “He’s got quick feet, he’s really long, he anticipates well, and he’s got a real bounce to him. Offensively, I think confidence is what he needs right now. I think he an become a two-way player. He can score at one end and really shake it up at the defensive end. That’s what I’ve seen from him in the short time I’ve been around him and that’s why we kept him.”

Several Players Set To Receive Salary Guarantees

Most players who are still on non-guaranteed contracts as the NBA’s regular season begins won’t have their salaries for 2022/23 fully guaranteed until January. The league-wide salary guarantee date is January 10, and teams must waive players on non-guaranteed contracts on or before January 7 in order to avoid being on the hook for the full-season salaries.

However, a number of players on non-guaranteed deals have language in their contracts that calls for them to receive full or partial guarantees if they’re not waived before their team’s first game of the regular season. Those players are as follows:

Full guarantees:

  • Dalano Banton (Raptors): Partial guarantee ($300,000) increases to full guarantee ($1,563,518).
  • Keita Bates-Diop (Spurs): Non-guaranteed salary ($1,878,720) becomes fully guaranteed.
  • Justin Champagnie (Raptors): Partial guarantee ($325,000) increases to full guarantee ($1,637,966).
  • Tre Jones (Spurs): Partial guarantee ($500,000) increases to full guarantee ($1,782,621).

As our full list of early salary guarantee dates shows, Isaiah Joe (Sixers), Josh Jackson (Raptors), and D.J. Wilson (Raptors) also would’ve had their salaries become fully guaranteed if they had remained under contract through their teams’ first regular season games. However, they were all waived within the last week. Joe has since signed with the Thunder on a deal that includes a guaranteed first-year salary.

Partial guarantees:

  • Matthew Dellavedova (Kings): Non-guaranteed salary ($2,628,597) becomes partially guaranteed ($250,000).
  • Haywood Highsmith (Heat): Partial guarantee ($50,000) increases to $400,000.
  • Luke Kornet (Celtics): Partial guarantee ($300,000) increases to $1,066,639.
  • Chima Moneke (Kings): Partial guarantee ($250,000) increases to $500,000.
  • Markieff Morris (Nets): Non-guaranteed salary ($2,905,581) becomes partially guaranteed ($500,000).
  • KZ Okpala (Kings): Partial guarantee ($250,000) increases to $500,000.
  • Edmond Sumner (Nets): Partial guarantee ($250,000) increases to $500,000.

Guarantee dates are a matter of negotiation between a team and a player, so there’s nothing stopping a club from approaching a player and asking him to agree to push that date back. If a player feels as if he’ll be waived if he says no, he may agree.

This happened last season, for instance, when Isaac Bonga‘s and Sam Dekker‘s contracts with the Raptors called for their salaries to be fully guaranteed as of opening night. Both players assented to moving their guarantee dates back to November 6. When that new deadline arrived, Toronto opted to retain Bonga and guarantee his full salary while waiving Dekker.

In other words, it’s not yet a sure thing that all the players mentioned above will get the guarantees described here, even if they remain under contract through Wednesday (or Tuesday, in Kornet’s case). We may get word in a day or two that a couple of them agreed to postpone their salary guarantee dates.

For the most part though, we should count on this group of players receiving some added security, with a handful of names coming off our list of players who still have non-guaranteed salaries.

Spurs Notes: Point Guard, B. Brown, C. Brown, Bill

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t know who the team’s starting point guard will be yet after trading All-Star Dejounte Murray to Atlanta this offseason, but he knows that making up for Murray’s production will be very difficult, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

We have to find somebody who is going to score those points and make those assists,” Popovich said. “He was also a heck of a rebounder at his position. So there is a lot we have to fill in with him not being here.”

According to McDonald, third-year guard Tre Jones, a more traditional point guard, could be one option. Jones’ $1.8MM contract is only partially guaranteed for $500K at the moment, but becomes fully guaranteed on October 18. He realizes there’s a “big opportunity,” but he’s focused on doing what he does best — leading and distributing.

We’ll just have to see how camp goes,” said Jones. “I am going to try to take on that role of being a leader for this group, continue to do everything I was doing – set up our team, set up guys in the right spot and let the rest take care of itself.”

Another option could be Joshua Primo, last year’s lottery pick. Primo doesn’t think he’s set in any one position, per McDonald.

Honestly, I still feel like a position-less player,” Primo said. “I have always been a position-less player … I don’t think I am ever going to stop that, but whatever Pop needs me to do out there, I am going to do.”

Here’s more from San Antonio:

  • The Spurs are excited to have Brett Brown back on the coaching staff, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Brown won four championships with the organization in various roles prior to becoming Philadelphia’s head coach for seven years. “Since ’99, we have shared basketball thoughts,” Popovich said of his close friendship with Brown. “To have that back is very meaningful for me. It comes at the right time. As a friend, his personality, his sense of humor, he is just a fantastic human being. And so, when you can combine those personal traits with the basketball skills and knowledge he has, it’s wonderful to have him back.”
  • San Antonio’s G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, have acquired the returning player rights of Chaundee Brown from the South Bay Lakers (Twitter link). Austin gave up its 2023 NBAGL first-rounder and the returning rights to Galen Robinson Jr. in the deal. Brown was briefly signed to two-way deals with the Lakers and Hawks as a rookie last season, and inked a 10-day hardship deal with Atlanta last winter. He was waived by the Hawks a few weeks ago.
  • Congressman Tony Gonzales has introduced a bill to prevent the Spurs from moving amid future relocation concerns, per Benjamin Wermund of The Express-News. The Spurs are playing a couple of games in Austin this season and Austin-based billionaire Michael Dell bought a 10 percent stake in the franchise last year, notes Wermund. “No one would ever imagine the Spurs would leave San Antonio, but what if they do?” Gonzales said. “Sometimes when we say it takes an act of Congress, sometimes we have to take that seriously.”

Texas Notes: Wood, Mavericks, Martin, T. Jones

Christian Wood told WFAA TV that he’s “counting my blessings” about the trade that sent him from the Rockets to the Mavericks in June. Wood, who spoke during a break at a youth basketball camp, said he’s focused on helping Dallas get even further than last season’s trip to the Western Conference Finals.

“It’s a great opportunity for me and for this organization to try and take that next step,” he said. “I just want to win games. My main objective is to try and get to the (NBA) Finals.”

Wood, who’s entering the final year of his contract, will add plenty of scoring and rebounding to the Mavs’ front line. He averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season, but he wasn’t in the Rockets’ long-term plans, so they shipped him to the Mavericks in exchange for four players and a first-round pick.

Wood said he’s happy to be in Dallas — both on and off the court.

“I love the city — it’s a little bit calmer than Houston, thank God,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve tried a few food spots out here, and the food is great. But I’m still trying to find my way around.”

There’s more NBA news from Texas:

  • The Mavericks are hiring Nets scouting director Matt Riccardi to a senior front office position, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Riccardi, who grew up in the Dallas area, has been with Brooklyn for the past 13 years.
  • Several teams are monitoring Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr., who requested a trade in June, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. After the Rockets re-signed Jae’Sean Tate and drafted Jabari Smith and Tari Eason in the first round, it doesn’t appear there’s a future for Martin in Houston.
  • Tre Jones‘ contract for the upcoming season became guaranteed for $500K when he remained on the Spurs‘ roster past August 1, tweets Spotrac contributor Keith Smith. Jones, who would make $1.78MM if he gets a full guarantee, could challenge for the starting point guard spot now that Dejounte Murray has been traded to Atlanta. Jones made 11 starts last season while averaging 6.0 points and 3.4 assists in 69 games.

COVID-19 Updates: Grant, Batum, Herro, McConnell, Smart, T. Jones, Jenkins

Sidelined since December 10 after surgery on his right thumb, Pistons forward Jerami Grant has now entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Grant has been making progress toward playing again and began a rehab assignment with the G League’s Motor City Cruise this week.

Grant is considered the “grand prize” by some observers heading into the trade deadline and has been the subject of rumors involving at least nine teams. His time in the protocols could further limit the number of games he can play before Detroit has to make a decision on a deal.

He and rookie center Luka Garza are the only players currently in the protocols for the Pistons, who recently were among the hardest-hit teams in the league by COVID-19.

Here are some more protocol-related updates:

  • Clippers forward Nicolas Batum has been placed in the protocols, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Batum also spent time in the protocols in November.
  • Heat guard Tyler Herro has entered the protocols, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Herro is the only Miami player currently in the protocols.
  • Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, who may miss the rest of the season after having hand surgery, has been placed in the protocols, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has exited the protocols, the team announced in its injury report. However, he’s not playing tonight due to “return to competition reconditioning.”
  • Spurs guard Tre Jones has cleared the protocols, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. He missed seven games while he was out of action.
  • Taylor Jenkins is out of protocols and is coaching the Grizzlies tonight, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link). Jenkins missed six games.

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).

Spurs Notes: T. Jones, Walker, Popovich, Young

Spurs guard Tre Jones is eager to bounce back from a sprained left ankle that slowed his progress after an outstanding Summer League performance, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Jones had to miss the entire preseason after suffering the injury in training camp, but there’s optimism that he will be ready for Wednesday’s season opener.

A second-round pick in 2020, Jones averaged just 7.3 minutes and 2.5 PPG in the 37 games he played as a rookie. He took a big step forward in Las Vegas, putting up 22.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game, and he hopes to carry that over to the new season.

“It’s only been two weeks, so it’s not that much time in the big scheme of things. but it feels like it’s been forever,” Jones said. “I’m itching to get back out there.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • The Spurs are counting on Lonnie Walker to provide an offensive spark off the bench, Orsborn notes in a separate story. Walker has focused on improving his outside shooting after connecting at a 35.5% clip last season. “(Shooting coach) Chip Engelland has worked with him really well in trying to improve and get confidence in the 3-point shot,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “The last part we want to keep working on is him finding other people. He’s one of the guys on our team that can beat somebody, get into the paint and create, so it gives him an added responsibility finding teammates. That will be his next step.”
  • Rumors have emerged recently that Popovich is contemplating retirement, but he sounds energized by the challenge of coaching a young team, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. With his veteran core gone, the 72-year-old is in a rebuilding role after missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. “A lot of these guys, they had one or two years in college and haven’t had a lot of time to get grounded in the fundamentals and that sort of thing,” Popovich said. “It’s made it a lot of fun to come to work every day and watch these guys wanting to improve, get to know each other and figure out how you have to play to win.”
  • Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News offers predictions for the upcoming season, including a trade of Thaddeus Young and more games in the NBA than the G League for first-round pick Joshua Primo.

NBA G League Announces 2020/21 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year on Monday, Delaware Blue Coats forward Paul Reed – who is on a two-way contract with the Sixers – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Reed was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by MVP runner-up Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, as well as Oklahoma City Blue big man Moses Brown, Lakeland Magic forward Mamadi Diakite, and Westchester Knicks guard Jared Harper. All of those players are currently on either standard NBA contracts or two-way deals.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently under contract with NBA teams or have past NBA experience.

The complete list of the 2020/21 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Jared Harper (Westchester Knicks) ^

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Malachi Flynn (Raptors 905) *
  • Brodric Thomas (Canton Charge) ^
  • KJ Martin (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Tahjere McCall (Lakeland Magic)
  • Gary Payton II (Raptors 905)

Of the 18 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Brissett, Uthoff, McCall, and Payton – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’20/21 season began. All four of them have previous NBA experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.