Tyus Jones

Northwest Notes: Ingles, Towns, Nuggets, Jones, Conley

Jazz forward Joe Ingles has sought advice from San Antonio’s Patty Miles and New Orleans’ J.J. Redick as he adjusts to a sixth-man role, Aaron Falk of the team’s website reports. “It’s been a few years since I’ve come off the bench,” Ingles said. “I’m just figuring out different ways, what they do, their routines. If there’s anything I can steal or use to help our team win games, I’m going to do it.” Ingles is off to a slow start in his new role, averaging 7.6 PPG and 3.4 APG with a .400 FG%.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns has no regrets about his scrap with Joel Embiid that resulted in a two-game suspension, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets“Listen I’m going to defend myself. I ain’t going to take nothing,” he said. “That’s a very … talented player. I just had to defend myself in that situation.”
  • The Nuggets are getting an average of 36.7 points from their bench, putting them in the middle of the pack in the league, but forward Will Barton says they’re way better than that, Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post relays. “We’ve got the best bench in the league when we’re clicking on all cylinders,” Barton said.
  • Tyus Jones was grateful he had the chance to play for his hometown team, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune relays. Jones grew up in Minnesota and played four seasons for the Timberwolves. He signed a three-year offer sheet with the Grizzlies this offseason and Minnesota declined to match it. “Last year it was like, ‘Man, I might not get this chance again to play for my hometown team.’ … It was just a cool experience, something I’m grateful for because not everyone gets to do something like that. It’s pretty unique and pretty cool,” the point guard said.
  • Mike Conley is going through a bigger adjustment than anticipated, as the Jazz guard told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “It’s kind of a little bit out of my routine because I’ve had to watch more film on us than I can on the other teams because I’m still learning. … I’ve got a big guy now (in Rudy Gobert) who can go get it. I can throw pocket passes, but it’s a little different. We’ve got lob threats and shooters around. You’re just trying to figure out where guys like to come off screens, and which hand, and then just remembering the terminology,” he said. Conley, who was traded by the Grizzlies over the summer, is making a combined $67MM this season and next season.

Southwest Notes: T. Jones, Rockets, Nowitzki, Ingram

After carving out a role as a valuable reserve during his four years in Minnesota, Tyus Jones tells David Cobb of The Commercial Appeal that he’s looking forward to a fresh start with the Grizzlies. The Timberwolves elected not to match Jones’ three-year, $24MM offer sheet, sending him to a new organization for the first time in his NBA career.

“The thing that impresses me is everyone knows the goal, and that’s we’re one team trying to improve and trying to win a lot of games this year,” Jones said. “Everyone has the best interest of the guy next to them and everyone is looking out for the guy next to them. That’s what it takes to be a great team.”

Part of the point guard’s duties will be to serve as a mentor to rookie Ja Morant, the second selection in this year’s draft. It may seem like an unusual responsibility for a 23-year-old, but Jones virtually qualifies as an elder statesman on the rebuilding Grizzlies.

“It’s weird when you look at it in the grand picture, in the grand scheme of things,” Jones said. “I’m 23, but I’m one of the older guys on the team. We have at lot of younger guys just in terms of the NBA years. But that’s what you get when you come into the league at 19.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets‘ addition of Thabo Sefolosha could come at the cost of Ben McLemore or Michael Frazier, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. Even though GM Daryl Morey has said he has the freedom to pay the luxury tax, Nahmad cautions that he won’t do it to keep an average player. Nahmad expects Houston to either start the season with the minimum of 14 players on its roster or possibly keep 15 with the intention to make a salary-cutting trade by the February deadline (Twitter link).
  • Mark Cuban plans to talk with recently retired star Dirk Nowitzki about joining the Mavericks‘ ownership group, relays Dalton Trigg of DallasBasketball. “I’ll have the convo with Dirk in the future,” Cuban said. “There is a lot of things involved to make it all work. But it would be awesome.”
  • The Pelicans should take a cautious approach toward an extension for Brandon Ingram, contends Bryan Toporek of Forbes. Although Ingram has been a full participant in offseason workouts, Toporek believes his health concerns make him too much of a risk unless he agrees to a discount somewhere in the neighborhood of the three-year, $52MM deal that Caris LeVert accepted with the Nets.

Contract Bonus Notes: Nene, KCP, Randle, Jones

Veteran big man Nene officially signed his new contract with the Rockets back on September 6, but the NBA has yet to formally approve the deal, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). Sources tell Marks that the league has been discussing internally whether it should disapprove of the incentives in the agreement, which create a $10MM trade chip despite the fact that Nene will likely only be paid about $2.56MM.

The NBA has the right to challenge deals that it believes violate the spirit of rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, even if those deals are technically legal based on what’s written in the CBA. While it seems unlikely that Nene’s deal would be nixed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the league looked to adjust the rules related to bonuses and incentives in the future to prevent teams from manipulating a player’s cap hit to such a significant extent.

In the meantime, Nene’s deal is hardly the only one signed this offseason heavy on bonus money. We’ve gone into detail on the incentives included in a handful of other contracts, such as the ones signed by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but Marks has even more details on bonuses available to players around the NBA this year.

We won’t pass along every single note included in Marks’ article, but here are a few of the noteworthy new bonuses worth watching in 2019/20:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can earn three separate $350K bonuses if he averages 1.85 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game this season with the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope’s new deal also includes a $163K bonus for being named to either All-Defensive team and a $50K bonus if the Lakers reach the Western Finals.
  • Julius Randle‘s contract with the Knicks includes three separate $900K unlikely bonuses that he could earn if he makes the All-Star team, is named to an All-Defensive team, or makes the playoffs (and appears in at least 65 games).
  • Tyus Jones‘ $9.258MM cap hit with the Grizzlies in 2019/20 includes an $858K bonus that has been deemed likely. Jones will earn the bonus if Memphis wins 33 games. If the rebuilding Grizzlies fall short of that mark, Jones’ cap hit for the season will dip to $8.4MM.
  • Maxi Kleber‘s new contract with the Mavericks features a set of four unlikely bonuses that could be worth up to $475K in total. To earn them all, Kleber must make an All-Defensive team ($150K), make at least 80% of his free throws ($75K), make at least 40% of his three-pointers ($150K), and average more than nine rebounds per 36 minutes ($100K).
  • Again, if you’re an ESPN Insider, be sure to check out Marks’ full story for more details on some of the more unusual incentives around the league.

Timberwolves Notes: Jones, Point Guards, Layman

Point guard Tyus Jones became the first – and likely only – restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet this offseason when he inked a three-year deal with the Grizzlies last weekend. However, entering the summer, Jones hadn’t been planning to move on to a new team after spending the first four years of his NBA career with the Timberwolves, as he tells Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“I think it’s just natural to look at it and see all the stars were aligning and assume that I’ve been here for four years and carved out a nice role in this team and you just kind of assume we’re going to figure it out here,” Jones said. “You don’t go into it thinking you’re going to be moving on to another team. Things happen. It’s a business and it’s always going to be a business. I’m just thankful and glad to have a team that’s so excited about me joining their family.”

According to Krawczynski, the Timberwolves did make an offer to Jones during the first week of free agency, but it was a four-year deal that started at just $4.2MM, with the final year non-guaranteed. Jones balked at that offer, and there was some “disenchantment” within his camp, says Krawczynski.

After what he called “the longest week or 10 days of my life,” Jones received an offer from the Grizzlies that was more in the ballpark of what the former first-round pick was seeking. The three-year deal will be worth about $8-9MM annually.

Here’s more on the Timberwolves:

  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was a fan of Jones, and some people that expected Taylor to lobby to keep him, but sources tell Krawczynski that the team owner was ultimately on board with Minnesota’s decision not to match his offer sheet.
  • In a breakdown of the Timberwolves’ point guard outlook, Krawczynski reports that the Timberwolves didn’t plan on making a push for Russell Westbrook while Oklahoma City was shopping him. The same thinking applies to Chris Paul, since the Wolves are looking to surround Karl-Anthony Towns with core players who are closer to his age, per Krawczynski.
  • New Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said this week that he’s excited to be able to take low-cost “bets” on players like Noah Vonleh and Tyrone Wallace, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune relays. Rosas also explained why the team pursued – and acquired – restricted free agent Jake Layman: “We really like his versatility, his feel, his IQ, ability to play on the ball, off the ball. To play a couple of positions offensively, defensively. We see a lot of upside with him. He’s got a tough identity that translates on both ends.”
  • I took a closer look earlier today at the salary cap machinations surrounding the Wolves’ sign-and-trade for Layman.

Tyus Jones Officially Joins Grizzlies After Wolves Decline To Match Offer Sheet

JULY 11: Jones’ contract with the Grizzlies is now official, per a press release from the team.

JULY 9: The Timberwolves have opted not to match Tyus Jones‘ three-year offer sheet with the Grizzlies, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The decision, which was due by midnight eastern time, will pave the way for the restricted free agent to finalize his deal with Memphis and become the newest member of the Grizzlies’ backcourt.

Gersson Rosas, the Wolves’ new president of basketball operations, has issued a statement confirming that the Wolves will let Jones join the Grizzlies, as Darren Wolfson of SKOR North relays (via Twitter).

“We sincerely thank Tyus for his contributions on the court and Tyus and the entire Jones family for their genuine impact on the Twin Cities community,” Rosas said. “We wish them nothing but the best in Memphis.”

Jones became the first restricted free agent of the 2019 offseason to sign an offer sheet on Sunday. It’s the second consecutive year that the Grizzlies have used their mid-level exception to poach an RFA from a Western Conference rival — they did so with Spurs forward Kyle Anderson a year ago.

Jones, 23, averaged 6.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG last year in 68 games (22.9 MPG) for Minnesota. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, he’s a solid defender who grades out well analytically. He’ll join a Grizzlies point guard rotation that figures to feature a heavy dose of No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant, along with newly-acquired youngster De’Anthony Melton. Memphis sent longtime point guard Mike Conley to Utah and signed-and-traded Delon Wright to Dallas earlier this offseason.

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Jones’ three-year deal has a first-year base value of $8.4MM with $850K in likely bonuses. It has a descending structure but can be worth close to $27MM in total. The former Duke Blue Devil told Sean Deveney this week that he’s “excited” to join the Grizzlies, and hopes to help establish a winning culture in Memphis (Twitter link).

As Marks notes, the Timberwolves – having just claimed Tyrone Wallace on waivers – would have been slightly over the tax line if they had matched Jones’ offer sheet. Additionally, the Wolves are pursuing maximum-salary cap room in 2020 and adding Jones’ multiyear deal to their books would’ve complicated that goal, tweets Wojnarowski.

With Jones and departed free agent Derrick Rose out of the picture, Minnesota has Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier, and Wallace in the mix at point guard. The team may continue to explore its options to fortify the position.

Now that Jones is off the board, only one restricted free agent – Kelly Oubre of the Suns – remains on the market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies Sign Tyus Jones To Offer Sheet

11:59pm: Jones officially signed the offer sheet on Sunday, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Minnesota will have two days to match it.

10:51pm: The Grizzlies have agreed to terms on an offer sheet with restricted free agent point guard Tyus Jones, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Once Jones formally signs the Grizzlies’ offer sheet and it’s presented to the Timberwolves, Minnesota will have two days to match it.

According to Charnia (via Twitter), the 23-year-old’s offer sheet is worth $24MM over three years. Malika Andrews of ESPN (via Twitter) pegs the value at $28MM, with agent Kevin Bradbury confirming to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link) that $28MM is the deal’s maximum value via incentives. Bradbury also tells Krawczynski that he and Jones looked elsewhere on the free agent market after they couldn’t find common ground with the Wolves.

“We negotiated in good faith with Minnesota, but did not receive an offer I felt was fair so we had to look elsewhere,” Bradbury said.

The Grizzlies lost a restricted free agent point guard of their own today, having reached an agreement with the Mavericks to send Delon Wright to Dallas in a sign-and-trade in exchange for a pair of second-round picks. That deal left Memphis with little point guard depth beyond Ja Morant and De’Anthony Melton, so it looks like the team will try to add a replacement for Wright on a similar contract after acquiring a couple draft picks in the process.

The Grizzlies will use their mid-level exception to sign Jones, who averaged 6.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG last year in 68 games (22.9 MPG) for Minnesota. The club used a similar tactic a year ago, using its full mid-level exception to sign Spurs RFA Kyle Anderson to an offer sheet.

It remains to be seen whether the Timberwolves will match Memphis’ offer. The Wolves entered the offseason reportedly in the market for a point guard, but selected Jarrett Culver in the draft, then missed out on top target D’Angelo Russell. As a result, Shabazz Napier is currently the only point guard on the depth chart behind Jeff Teague, and it’s not clear if Minnesota even plans to keep Napier for the regular season.

The Wolves’ lack of depth would seemingly make them inclined to match Jones’ offer sheet, but as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (via Twitter), doing so would only leave them about $1MM below the luxury tax line, reducing their flexibility for the rest of the offseason (and regular season).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Kawhi, Bender, Cousins, Mejri

Despite some buzz on social media that Kawhi Leonard is leaning toward the Lakers, the reigning Finals MVP hasn’t reached a decision, tweets Cris Carter of Fox Sports 1. Carter – who has been an unexpectedly plugged-in source on Leonard since the forward’s days in San Antonio – adds that anyone thinking the Lakers have an edge on the Clippers or Raptors would be “wrong.”

Leonard is the last big star available in free agency, and his decision will have a long-lasting impact on all three franchises. Whichever club lands him will be a contender for the NBA title, while the other two teams will be scrambling to fill out their rosters. Leonard still hasn’t given any indication of when he plans to announce his choice.

Here are some more notes on the third day of free agency:

  • Now that the Suns have added Frank Kaminsky, they will part ways with Dragan Bender, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Bender had a disappointing three years in Phoenix after being selected with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft. He is an unrestricted free agent because the Suns declined his fourth-year option before the start of the season.
  • The Warriors can’t make an offer similar to the $6.4MM MLE that landed DeMarcus Cousins last summer, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Golden State is so close to the hard cap that it cannot go much above minimum deals to complete its roster.
  • Salah Mejri was working out today with the Mavericks‘ Summer League players and remains a possibility to re-sign, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • As cap space dries up, restricted free agents such as Kelly Oubre, Delon Wright and Tyus Jones may benefit by accepting their teams’ qualifying offers and becoming unrestricted next summer in a weaker free agent class, suggests Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Free Agency Rumors: Mavs, Rockets, Bulls, Wolves, C’s

It was a quiet first day of free agency for the Mavericks, but the team still has some irons in the fire and plenty of cap flexibility to work with.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News tweets that he believes the Mavericks are “in the driver’s seat” with Danny Green, though he cautions that could change if Kawhi Leonard decides to stay in Toronto — Green could join him in that scenario.

Besides Green, Townsend identifies Kevon Looney, DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Seth Curry, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as some potential free agent targets to watch for the Mavericks.

Let’s round up a few more notes and rumors related to free agency…

  • The Rockets will be among the teams with interest in Andre Iguodala if the Grizzlies elect to buy out the veteran swingman, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Iguodala is being sent to Memphis from Golden State in a cap-clearing move.
  • Having used their cap room to land Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, the Bulls will be in the market for a shooter or another big man with some or all of their room exception ($4.8MM), tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Timberwolves missed out on top free agent target D’Angelo Russell, but did speak to their own RFA point guard Tyus Jones on Sunday, sources tell Jon Krawcznyski of The Athletic, who speculates that a Jones reunion may be more likely with D-Lo off the table.
  • In the wake of their sign-and-trade agreement for Kemba Walker, the Celtics are still working to determine which mid-level exception they’ll have at their disposal, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

Free Agent Rumors: Randle, Gibson, Bullock, Bulls

The Kings will be among the teams in pursuit of Pelicans forward Julius Randle, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN. He cites the Nets, Knicks and Bulls as other expected suitors.

Randle, 24, had a career-best season after signing a one-year deal with New Orleans last summer. He averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 73 games while shooting 52% from the field. He also improved as a long-distance shooter, hitting 34% of his shots from 3-point range.

Here are more rumors as we move to within 24 hours of the start of free agency:

  • The Timberwolves will have plenty of competition for Taj Gibson, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who lists the Clippers, Nets, Bucks, Bulls, Warriors, Raptors, Trail Blazers, Hornets and Lakers as having interest in the veteran forward (Twitter link). Gibson has averaged 11.5 PPG and 6.9 RPG during his two years in Minnesota.
  • There’s mutual interest between the Knicks and shooting specialist Reggie Bullock, according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Bullock averaged 11.3 points per game while splitting last season between the Pistons and Lakers.
  • The Bulls are looking for a point guard, but want to limit the contract to two years, reports K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. That may take them out of the running for Malcolm Brogdon or Patrick Beverley, Johnson notes, but he cites other options such as Cory Joseph, Tyus Jones and George Hill who might be willing to accept a shorter contract. The Bulls are counting on first-round pick Coby White to take over the position within two years and want the free agent’s contract to expire in the summer of 2021 at the same time as Otto Porter‘s and Cristiano Felicio‘s.

Tyus Jones, Danuel House To Become RFAs

The Timberwolves have issued a qualifying offer to point guard Tyus Jones, ensuring that he’ll be a restricted free agent when the new league year begins on Sunday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Jones’ qualifying offer is worth $3,573,205.

Jones, 23, played an increased role for the Wolves in 2018/19, averaging 6.9 PPG and 4.8 APG in 68 games (22.9 MPG). While his qualifying offer will make him a restricted free agent, it’s not clear whether he’s in Minnesota’s long-term plans under new head of basketball operations Gersson Rosas. The club’s point guard position is in flux this offseason, with Jeff Teague entering the final year of his contract and Jones and Derrick Rose both hitting the open market.

Meanwhile, Danuel House has yet to receive his own qualifying offer from the Rockets, but Houston will make that official in the coming days, making him an RFA, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. House’s QO is worth a projected $1,876,700.

House emerged as a reliable rotation piece for the Rockets last season, averaging 9.4 PPG and 3.6 RPG with a .468/.416/.789 shooting line in 39 games (25.1 MPG). After the 26-year-old initially joined the team on a two-way deal, Houston attempted to sign him to a longer-term deal, but he resisted, forcing a one-year agreement.

House and his camp didn’t want to be locked into a multiyear minimum-salary contract, preferring to try their luck in restricted free agency this summer. Now they’ll get that opportunity.