Tyler Johnson

Southeast Notes: Young, Johnson, Wizards, Lamb

Hawks guard Trae Young firmly believes he’ll be a better player than fellow rookie Luka Doncic, explaining his reasoning to Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated this week. The two players have been compared for months after the Hawks and Mavericks agreed to a draft-night trade in June.

“The thing with Luka,” Young says, “he’s a great player. I don’t understand why it can’t work out for both situations. I hear [Atlanta made a mistake] all the time. Luka’s a great dude, and I think he’s going to be a really good player. But at the same time, I’m going to be a better player. Just because of my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved, I think I’ll be better.”

The Hawks traded their No. 3 pick — used on Doncic — to Dallas in exchange for the No. 5 selection and a first-round pick in the 2019 Draft. Atlanta then made the decision to draft Young fifth overall and solidify him as the franchise centerpiece.

Young has averaged 17.5 points and 8.2 assists in 14 games this season, shooting 41% from the floor and 27% from downtown. To compare, Doncic has averaged 19.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest, connecting on 47% from the field and 39% from 3-point territory.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Heat guard Tyler Johnson labeled the importance of the team staying hungry for success, despite several players cashing in on new contracts in recent seasons. “I think what’s crazy is before any of us got any money, we were just some dogs,” Johnson said, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “I think that’s what the beautiful thing is. We had to just come together.”
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports details how Wizards coach Scott Brooks has consistently altered his rotation this season, keeping his players on edge. Brooks’ changes are in response to the team’s poor start to the 2018/19 season.
  • Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb will likely receive interest from multiple teams in free agency, putting his potential return after the season in question, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. Lamb is averaging 12.9 points in 14 games, tied for his career-best.


Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Kidd-Gilchrist, Wall

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will have a difficult time coming up with a rotation after team president Pat Riley failed to address the logjam at several positions, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. With Hassan WhitesideKelly OlynykBam Adebayo and James Johnson on the roster, there aren’t enough frontcourt minutes to go around and keep everyone happy, Winderman continues. There’s also an excess of shooting guards options (Rodney McGruderDion WaitersTyler JohnsonWayne Ellington and Josh Richardson) even if Dwyane Wade isn’t re-signed, Winderman adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets are thinking seriously about going with smaller lineups more often, featuring Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at power forward and Frank Kaminsky at center, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Charlotte has plenty of rotation-worthy options at small forward and shooting guard to allow those position changes to take place, Bonnell continues. If Kidd-Gilchrist logs significant playing time at power forward, Kaminsky could join an unsettled rotation at center and his perimeter defensive shortcomings wouldn’t be as much of an issue, Bonnell adds.
  • This is a pivotal season for Wizards point guard John Wall, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington points out. Following the upcoming season, Wall’s four-year, $170MM-plus extension kicks in and it’s time for him to show he can lead a major contender, Hughes continues. He must improve his field-goal efficiency and mesh well with incoming center Dwight Howard, Hughes adds.
  • Heat summer-league star Derrick Jones will struggle to find playing time, Winderman wrote in another mailbag piece. Get that info, plus other Miami notes, right here.

Heat Notes: Jones, Richardson, Waiters, Deng

Derrick Jones looked like a star in Summer League, but it won’t be easy for him to get playing time, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel in a mailbag column. Jones was the Heat’s top scorer in the Sacramento league, averaging 21.3 points in three games, along with 7.3 rebounds. A two-way player last season, he appeared in 14 games for Miami and started eight.

Jones, a small forward who signed a two-year deal in July, faces heavy competition for minutes. Josh Richardson will start at that position, and using Jones as a backup means moving Justise Winslow to either power forward or the backcourt and the Heat are already overloaded in both areas. It may take a roster move or two for Jones to get an opportunity.

There’s more this morning out of Miami:

  • In the same column, Winderman tabs Richardson as the Heat player most likely to raise his game to an All-Star level in the future. Richardson became a full-time starter last year in his third NBA season and responded with a 12.9/3.5/2.9 line. The four-year, $42MM extension that Richardson agreed to last year will kick in this season, raising his salary to $9.367MM.
  • Fans shouldn’t expect too much from Dion Waiters in his return from injury, Winderman cautions in a separate piece. Waiters played just 30 games last year before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery in January. He should improve the team, Winderman notes, but will be competing for minutes with Richardson, Tyler Johnson and possibly Dwyane Wade.
  • The Heat still have little hope of finding a taker for Johnson’s contract, Winderman adds in the same story. The Nets’ offer sheet that Miami matched in 2016 starts to balloon this year, paying Johnson $19,245,370 in each of the next two seasons and giving him the second-highest salary on the team. Winderman notes that the Rockets moved Ryan Anderson‘s similar deal this week, but Anderson agreed to a substantial giveback in the final year of his contract, which Johnson doesn’t have incentive to do.
  • After agreeing to a buyout with the Lakers, Luol Deng is unlikely to return to Miami, tweets Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Deng would find minutes hard to come by in an already-crowded Heat rotation and wouldn’t want to risk being stuck on the bench like he was in Los Angeles. Deng spent two seasons in Miami before signing with the Lakers in 2016.

Southeast Notes: Anderson, Young, Go-Go, Magic Big Men

The Heat aren’t particularly interested in acquiring Rockets forward Ryan Anderson, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. A rumored trade that would involve the Houston power forward and a draft pick in exchange for either Tyler Johnson or James Johnson doesn’t appeal to Miami’s front office, Jackson continues. Anderson has a higher salary than both of those players, so bringing him in would worsen the team’s luxury-tax issues. Additionally, even though James Johnson has three years left on his deal compared to Anderson’s two remaining seasons, Miami values his versatility, Jackson adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • Rookie Trae Young realizes the commitment the Hawks made to him by trading starting point guard Dennis Schroder to the Thunder, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. While Young was non-committal about whether he or Jeremy Lin should start, Young knows he’ll get ample playing time. “Obviously when they move the point guard they’ve had for a while, their starting point guard, it definitely opened my eyes,” Young told Vivlamore. “It shows how much they are committed to me. Bringing Jeremy in as well is a good fit for us. I know there is a lot on my plate.”
  • The Wizards’ new G League team, the Capital City Go-Go, will share the same practice facility as the NBA team. The G League team’s GM, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, sees that as an incentive for his players, as he explained to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington“I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level.”
  • The Magic are bucking the league trend by building around big men, as Nick Zappulla of RealGM details. The trio of rookie Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon provide versatility and game-changing ability on both ends of the floor, Zappulla adds.

Eastern Rumors: Embiid, Wade, Kander, Magic

Joel Embiid‘s ability to work out this summer without restrictions may turn out to be the Sixers’ biggest offseason improvement, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic details. Embiid has always been in rehab mode from foot or knee injuries during his previous offseasons, Bodner notes. This summer, Embiid has been working with renown skills coach Drew Hanlen to refine his offensive game, which could vault Embiid into a greater level of dominance and consistency, Bodner continues. Hanlen has put a great emphasis on making Embiid virtually unstoppable in the low post while also creating more open looks for his teammates and committing fewer turnovers, Bodner adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • If Dwyane Wade returns to the Heat, he’ll be part of the rotation, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Adding Wade to the backcourt would create a logjam that would likely cut dramatically into Tyler Johnson‘s minutes, Winderman adds. Wade has indicated if he plays next season, it will be with the Heat.
  • Former Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander has turned down a position with the franchise but will remain in a consultant’s role, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Kander, who worked with the team for 23 seasons, has given the front office input on its search for a new medical director and has also been involved in Reggie Jackson‘s offseason training, Ellis continues. Last season’s director of sports medicine and head trainer, Jon Ishop, is no longer with the organization, Ellis adds.
  • The Magic will not host the All-Star Game until at least 2024, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports. The franchise put in a bid to host the 2023 All-Star Weekend and were informed by league officials that another location will be selected, Robbins continues. The sites for the next three All-Star Games have already been set, starting with Charlotte next season, and Orlando can’t host in 2022 because of a major convention in the city, Robbins adds.

Trade Rumors: Rockets, Bazemore, Hawks, Heat, Bucks

The Rockets reportedly remain in the market for at least one more wing player, even after reaching a deal with Carmelo Anthony, but Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) hears that the team isn’t actively pursuing Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore.

According to Amick, Bazemore isn’t a major part of the Rockets’ discussions at this point. Amick suggests (via Twitter) that the Houston front office would have more interest in sending Ryan Anderson to the Heat in a deal that brings back a player like James Johnson or Tyler Johnson.

Of course, any Rockets offer would need to include additional compensation, such as a draft pick and/or a young player, to entice the Heat. Even then, it’s not clear if Miami would be interested in such a trade.

One team with apparent interest in dealing with the Rockets is Atlanta, according to Kelly Iko of RocketsWire (Twitter link). While Houston’s interest in Bazemore seems limited, Iko reports that the Hawks would be open to a trade if they could get a draft pick and a young player such as De’Anthony Melton in addition to Anderson. That asking price may be one reason why the Rockets’ interest in a Bazemore trade appears to have dissipated.

According to Iko (via Twitter), the Bucks have also contacted the Hawks about the possibility of acquiring Bazemore. New Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer was in Atlanta with Bazemore, and Iko indicates the young wing would be open to reuniting with his former coach on a contender. Initial trade discussions between the Bucks and Hawks didn’t get far though, Iko notes.

Analyzing A Potential Rockets-Heat Trade

The Rockets have reportedly talked to Miami as they seek another perimeter defender, and salary cap expert Albert Nahmad believes James Johnson would be a better fit in Houston than Tyler Johnson (Twitter link).

James Johnson’s .308 shooting percentage from 3-point range prevents him from being a perfect replacement for Trevor Ariza, but his physical brand of defense and his ability to guard several positions could be just what the Rockets need, Nahmad suggests. He also describes James Johnson, who averaged a career-best 12.8 and 10.8 PPG during his two seasons with Miami, as “a sneaky good offense creator in short bursts.”

ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently reported that the Rockets have reached out to several teams about adding a wing player and are willing to offer Ryan Anderson and their 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks in exchange for Kent Bazemore. He also said there have been conversations between Houston and Miami, suggesting that the same package could be available for Tyler Johnson.

Nahmad doesn’t see that as a deal the Heat would accept because they would be taking on money by adding Anderson and Houston’s draft pick isn’t likely to be high enough to make it worthwhile (Twitter link). The offer sheet that the Heat matched in 2016 for the fourth-year guard begins to balloon in the upcoming season, with a salary of $19,245,370 in each of the next two years. That’s still a little cheaper than Anderson, who has two seasons and nearly $41.7MM left on his current deal.

Houston’s offer wouldn’t be enough to get Miami to part with James Johnson either, Nahmad tweets, and the Heat would have to include something else in the deal to make salaries match because his salary is only $14.65MM. Miami would like to get rid of Dion Waiters‘ contract, which will pay him more than $36MM over the next three seasons, but the Rockets are already into luxury tax territory and aren’t likely to take on that much extra money.

Nahmad notes that the expected signings of free agent Carmelo Anthony and second-round pick De’Anthony Melton will give Houston 14 players under contract with a base salary around $135MM and another $19MM in tax payments. Clint Capela‘s new contract has $2MM in potential bonuses that could push that figure even higher (Twitter link).

Heat Notes: Wade, Winslow, T. Johnson, R. Anderson

Dwyane Wade‘s decision on whether to return for a 16th season remains on hold as he concentrates on his duties as official ambassador to the Jr. NBA World Championships this week, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The inaugural event for 13- and 14-year-olds is being held at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Wade didn’t offer any clues to his future, but he said it was gratifying to return to Miami in a February trade after a frustrating half season with the Cavaliers.

“I enjoyed being around the guys,” he said. “Obviously, I didn’t like the fact we lost 4-1 [to the Philadelphia 76ers] in the playoffs. But for me to get back to my comfort zone and show that being in the right situation with the right opportunities that I could still play this game — maybe not above the rim but play the game at a level that can help the team be successful — all those things for me were great.”

While contemplating his future, Wade has spent much of the summer watching his son, Zaire, play in AAU events. Much like LeBron James did in opting to join the Lakers, Wade said family concerns will play a big role in determining his future.

“Every decision at this point,” he said, “especially in a professional athlete’s career, at 36 years old, a lot of it surrounds their families and what’s best for them and their families.”

There’s more this morning from Miami:

  • Justise Winslow tells Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated there was some “animosity” when Wade left Miami two years ago to sign with the Bulls. Wade felt disrespected by the offers he was getting from the Heat and opted to maximize his earning potential in Chicago. Winslow, who considered Wade a mentor, said they had some heated exchanges in their first game after the move, but have since worked things out.
  • Winslow, who is eligible for an extension this summer, doesn’t care if a long-term deal is worked out right away or in free agency next year, Nadkarni adds in the same piece. After injuries limited to 18 games in 2016/17, Winslow bounced back strong last season, showing the versatility the Heat were hoping for when they drafted him 10th overall in 2015.
  • A rumored trade that would send Tyler Johnson to the Rockets for Ryan Anderson may not make sense for Miami, Winderman writes in a mailbag column. Anderson has a slightly larger contract, making $20.4MM and $21.3MM over the next two seasons compared to $19.2MM each for Johnson. Winderman doesn’t see a trade happening unless the Heat can unload more salary.

Heat Notes: Waiters, Johnson, Newman, McGruder

The Heat may use Dion Waiters as the primary backup to starting point guard Goran Dragic if Waiters’ ankle issues are behind him, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Coach Erik Spoelstra was using Waiters in a playmaking role before he was sidelined last season. Tyler Johnson isn’t suited for that role, Winderman continues, because he expends too much effort and takes too time advancing the ball. Spoelstra tends to use a variety of players who take turns handling the ball, which is why there is uncertainty about that role aside from Dragic.

In other news regarding the team:

  • Miami has made Johnson, Hassan Whiteside and Waiters available in trade talks this summer but hasn’t found much of a market for the trio, two unnamed league GMs told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Heat’s best chance of falling under the luxury-tax threshold would be moving Johnson for a player making less money, Jackson adds.
  • The Heat agreed to a contract with former Kansas guard Malik Newman with the intent of making him a G League affiliate player, Winderman writes in a separate story. Those deals are limited to a $50K guarantee. The team has already filled both of its two-contract slots with Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten, while the regular roster already has five rotation options at the guard spots with the possibility of Dwyane Wade making that situation even more muddled if he’s re-signed.
  • Finding a steady role for Rodney McGruder will be a challenge for Spoelstra next season, Winderman writes in another mailbag. McGruder was a starter when Miami made its second-half run in 2016/17, Winderman notes, but a leg injury sidetracked him last season. With Josh Richardson and Waiters starting at the wing spots and Justise Winslow, Johnson and Wayne Ellington as options behind them, it’s tough to see where McGruder fits in, Winderman adds.

Rockets Remain In Market For Wing Player

The Rockets are poised to finalize a deal with Carmelo Anthony after he clears waivers later today, but signing Anthony won’t necessarily complete Houston’s offseason. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe details in a recent podcast conversation with Chris Herring of FiveThirtyEight, the Rockets remain in the market for at least one more wing player.

“They are going to get another wing,” Lowe said of the Rockets. “It’s going to happen.”

The Rockets lost two key forwards last month when Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute signed with new teams in free agency. Despite re-signing Gerald Green, adding James Ennis, and lining up a deal with Anthony, Houston could use another player with the ability to make threes on offense and guard talented perimeter players on defense.

Earlier this week, we heard that Houston has interest in Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore — Lowe and Herring discuss that possibility, with the ESPN analyst suggesting that the Rockets would likely offer Atlanta a package of Ryan Anderson and their 2019 first-round pick. However, the Hawks aren’t the only team the Rockets are keeping an eye on.

According to Lowe, the Rockets have also talked to the Heat. While Lowe doesn’t identify any specific Miami players that Houston is targeting, he speculates that perhaps the Rockets would be willing to offer that same package of Anderson and a pick for someone like Tyler Johnson.

The Rockets have also “kicked the tires” on Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, per Lowe. At $14.72MM, Smith has a smaller 2018/19 salary than players like Bazemore and Johnson, so the Cavaliers wouldn’t be able to trade him straight up for Anderson ($20.42MM) and a pick. Smith also only has a modest partial guarantee on his 2019/20 salary, making his contract much more palatable than Anderson’s. That could complicate any trade discussions between the two teams.

Although Lowe doesn’t go into more details on any other trade talks the Rockets might be having, there are a handful of other players around the NBA who would be logical targets as Houston dangles Anderson and a draft pick. Nicolas Batum, DeMarre Carroll, Marvin Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Courtney Lee are other wings who make between $12-24MM in 2018/19 and are under contract for multiple seasons, though some players in that group are more realistic trade candidates than others.