Wizards Rumors

Nets’ Jalen Wilson Named Summer League MVP

Nets forward Jalen Wilson has been named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, the league’s communications department tweets.

Wilson averaged 21.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.6 steals while shooting 47.3% from the field and 55.0% from 3-point range in five games in Vegas.

His performances should solidify his spot on the team’s roster this upcoming season. The 23-year-old has a $1.89MM minimum-salary contract for 2024/25 that is currently just partially guaranteed for $75K. It increases to a partial guarantee of $325K if he makes the opening night roster.

Oddly, Wilson was only named to the All-Summer League Second Team. The First Team included the GrizzliesGG Jackson II and Scotty Pippen Jr,, the ClippersJordan Miller, the RocketsReed Sheppard and the Heat‘s Kel’el Ware.

The Grizzlies and Heat reached the Summer League championship game. Sheppard, the No. 3 pick in last month’s draft, averaged 20.0 points, 5.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals in four Las Vegas outings.

Along with Wilson, the Second Team included the WizardsCarlton Carrington, the Trail Blazers Donovan Clingan, the Heat‘s Jaime Jaquez Jr. and the PacersJarace Walker (Twitter links).

And-Ones: Flopping, Tiebreakers, Gill, Aprons, Team USA, Durant

The NBA’s Board of Governors voted this week to make the in-game flopping penalty a permanent part of the league rules, according to a press release. The rule, which charges the offending player with a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul and gives the opposing team a free throw attempt, was adopted ahead of the 2023/24 season on a one-year trial basis and will remain in place going forward.

The Board of Governors also approved a tweak to the tiebreaker rules for the NBA Cup (in-season tournament), removing overtime scoring for the purposes of the point differential and total points scored tiebreakers.

There were scenarios last season in which it would have benefited the winning team to play for overtime – where it could build a bigger margin of victory – rather than trying to win in regulation by a smaller margin. That won’t be the case under the new rules, as an NBA Cup group-stage game that goes to overtime will result in a point differential of zero for both teams, regardless of how the extra period plays out.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Anthony Gill is drawing interest from a pair of EuroLeague teams, according to Alessandro Maggi of Sportando, who says that Barcelona and Anadolu Efes are eyeing the veteran free agent forward. Gill has spent the past four seasons with the Wizards, appearing in 179 regular season games during that time, almost exclusively as a reserve.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports takes a closer look at how the NBA’s new tax apron rules are impacting teams’ decisions this offseason, suggesting that players whose contracts are heavy on unlikely incentives may become harder to trade going forward. Wizards guard Jordan Poole, Heat guard Tyler Herro, and Nets forward Cameron Johnson are a few of those players, Fischer writes — their deals each include between $2.5MM and $4.25MM in annual incentives. Whether or not they’re earned, those incentives are counted when determining where a team is operating relative to the aprons.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recaps Team USA’s Wednesday win over Serbia, while Joe Vardon of The Athletic provides a handful of takeaways from the squad’s time in Abu Dhabi, which also included an exhibition victory over Australia. Kevin Durant (calf strain) didn’t practice with the club in Abu Dhabi, but is hoping to get on the court in London during Team USA’s final stop before heading to Paris, Vardon writes. The U.S. will face South Sudan on Saturday and Germany on Monday in its last pre-Olympic tune-up games.
  • The Clippers sent $4.3MM to the Jazz in the Russell Westbrook/Kris Dunn trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), more than covering Westbrook’s $4.03MM salary for the 2024/25 season.

Southeast Notes: Smith, Ware, Sarr, Black

Dru Smith has been waived four times by the Heat during his NBA career. However, they keep coming back to him, the latest example being this summer, when they signed the guard to a two-way contract.

“The way this organization has treated me, it’s unbelievable,” Smith said, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “I’m very appreciative of it. At the same time, I’m going to go out there and do everything I can for them, as well. I think the love is reciprocated both ways, which I really appreciate. I just want to continue to get back healthy and then be able to get back out there for this team.”

Smith underwent ACL reconstruction surgery in his right knee, an injury he suffered in November. He’s hopeful that he can return by training camp.

“I think it’s very feasible,” he said. “But you never know, these things are day by day. So as long as everything goes smoothly, I think that’s kind of the plan. But like I said, it’s always up in the air. We just got to make sure everything is going right.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat first-rounder Kel’el Ware continues to excel in Summer League action. The former Indiana University center had 24 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday, his third double-double this summer. He also contributed two fourth-quarter blocks. “We continue to challenge him defensively,” Summer League coach Dan Bisaccio told Chiang. “He took that challenge. Everything at the rim was contested. We want to continue to see that. Obviously, this is never enough. But we’re really, really happy with him anchoring our defense.”
  • Wizards big man Alex Sarr, the second pick in the draft, missed all 15 of his shot attempts in Wednesday’s Summer League game against Portland, ESPN notes. That included seven 3-point tries and he also missed two free throws. He did have nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in just under 30 minutes. Sarr has shot below 35% in all three of his games in Las Vegas and is shooting 19.5% from the field overall. Sarr spoke to Sportskeeda’s Mark Medina about his goals for his rookie season, including his desire to make an impact at both ends of the floor.
  • Magic guard Anthony Black didn’t play in Wednesday’s Summer League contest due to a mild ankle sprain, Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. He’s averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals in two games this month.

Groups Revealed For 2024 NBA Cup

The NBA has announced the five-team groups for this year’s in-season tournament, now renamed the Emirates NBA Cup, the league announced in a release on Friday (Twitter link).

Like last year, there are six groups — three each from the Western Conference and Eastern Conference — and each conference was split into five groups based on last year’s standings. One team was selected at random from each group to determine the group round matchups.

The results are:

  • West Group A: Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, Rockets and Trail Blazers
  • West Group B: Thunder, Suns, Lakers, Jazz and Spurs
  • West Group C: Nuggets, Mavericks, Pelicans, Warriors and Grizzlies
  • East Group A: Knicks, Magic, Sixers, Nets and Hornets
  • East Group B: Bucks, Pacers, Heat, Raptors and Pistons
  • East Group C: Celtics, Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Wizards

The NBA Cup begins with group play, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3. Each team plays one game against each of the four opponents in its group. The NBA released a matchup matrix to help fans follow along (Twitter link).

Just like last season, the winner of each group advances to a knockout round alongside the team with the best record in each conference that didn’t win a group. The semifinals and finals will again be played in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Last year, the Lakers won the inaugural in-season tournament over the Pacers. LeBron James was named the tournament MVP after dropping 24 points in the title game.

The full game and broadcast schedule for group play will be announced next month.

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Kennard, Martin, Okogie, Knicks, Shamet, Klintman

The Clippers are showing interest in free agent guard Tyus Jones in sign-and-trade scenarios, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest around-the-league notebook.

While this is just speculation on Scotto’s part, the Clippers could look to use some combination of the expiring contracts of P.J. Tucker and Russell Westbrook or draft compensation and Bones Hyland in sign-and-trade scenarios for the Wizards guard.

Jones, our No. 15-ranked free agent, averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 assists per game last season while shooting 48.9% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc.

We have more from Scotto:

  • The leaguewide expectation is that Luke Kennard will return to the Grizzlies after the organization declined his team option before free agency, Scotto writes. Kennard averaged 11.0 PPG on 45.0% shooting from deep last season.
  • As we noted earlier Friday, it’s likely the Sixers look to use newly signed KJ Martin‘s contract as a trade chip when he becomes eligible to be moved on Jan. 15. The Sixers could trade for a player making $14MM if they packaged Martin alongside three minimum-salary players in a trade.
  • The Suns gave Josh Okogie a similar deal to what Martin got and could also look to utilize his salary as a trade chip, Scotto reports. However, unlike Martin, Okogie’s deal can’t be aggregated with other players on Phoenix’s roster due to the team’s position relative to the second tax apron.
  • The Knicks are trying to add both size and shooting to their roster this offseason, Scotto writes. Davis Bertans has previously been mentioned as an option for the Knicks, and they’re also expressing interest in free agent guard Landry Shamet. As reported, New York has shown interest in Walker Kessler but Utah’s asking price remains high. Meanwhile, Precious Achiuwa remains open to a return to New York.
  • Outside of the Knicks, Scotto reports that Shamet has drawn “exploratory interest” from the Bucks, Heat and Timberwolves. A return to the Wizards isn’t out of the question either.
  • The Pistons are attempting to finalize a contract with their No. 37 overall pick Bobi Klintman. Klintman is expected to end up on the 15-man roster on a multiyear contract, according to Scotto. The Pistons were intrigued by his size and shooting ability and are hoping to have him on a standard deal.

Eastern Notes: Bickerstaff, Allen, Travers, Bey, Sixers

It didn’t take long for J.B. Bickerstaff to find a new job after being fired by Cleveland, having been hired by the Pistons as their new head coach. At his introductory press conference on Wednesday, Bickerstaff discussed why he found Detroit’s vacancy appealing, per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic.

It was my conversations with (president of basketball operations) Trajan (Langdon), to begin with,” Bickerstaff said. “I had a great feeling that this organization was heading in the right direction and was being led by the right people. For me, going through some of the things that I’ve gone through in the past, the people that you work with … being of a shared vision and willingness to commit to one another and partner with one another, I thought this group, as a whole, had a great vision. (team owner) Tom (Gores) has given every resource to go out and execute that vision.

Then, obviously, you study the team. I took a deep dive as soon as I could. Obviously, I have experience of playing against them four times a year for so many years, but I knew the players well. I believed in their ability and talent. There is a steps process that we have to take, and we’re really aware of that and Trajan and I are united in that. It just doesn’t happen for everyone overnight.”

Bickerstaff pointed to his success with Cleveland as proof that he can turn the Pistons around, writes Larry Lage of The Associated Press. Detroit finished with the worst record in the NBA last season. Langdon said he was looking for a veteran coach to lead a young team, as Lage relays.

You want somebody who can come in here and hit the ground running, and who’s done this before,” Langdon said. “Especially with a young team coming off a difficult season, positivity was important. We felt experience was important. The players needed to feel like the person coming in here knew what he was talking about.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Cavaliers have been receiving trade inquiries on former All-Star center Jarrett Allen, but they continue to rebuff those overtures, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link). Allen, who averaged 16.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.1 BPG in 77 games last season (31.7 MPG), will earn $40MM over the next two seasons.
  • Australian wing Luke Travers, a second-round pick (No. 56) by the Cavaliers in 2022, is dealing with a sore hamstring that sidelined him for the team’s Summer League opener in Las Vegas on Friday, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Travers has expressed a strong desire to come stateside in 2024/25, though it’s unclear if he’ll be able to earn a roster spot.
  • New Wizards forward Saddiq Bey will earn $6,440,678 in 2024/25, $6,118,644 in ’25/26, and $6,440,678 again in ’26/27, a source tells cap expert Yossi Gozlan (Twitter link). Bey will likely miss most — if not all — of his first season with Washington after tearing his ACL in March. The 25-year-old’s new three-year deal also includes $1MM in incentives.
  • Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer argues that free agent signee Caleb Martin will bring a much-need infusion of “Heat Culture” to the Sixers, pointing to the 28-year-old’s success with Miami as evidence. According to Sielski, the 76ers have had plenty of talent in recent years, but the team has often lacked an identity, which Martin should help fortify with his willingness to make winning energy plays.
  • Former NBA forward Demetris Nichols has joined the Sixers as a player development coach, per Mike Waters of Syracuse.com (subscriber link). The No. 53 pick of the 2007 draft, Nichols appeared in 18 NBA games with Cleveland, Chicago and New York before spending several years overseas. The 39-year-old was an assistant with Wake Forest last season, Waters notes.

Wizards Sign Saddiq Bey To Three-Year Deal

JULY 12: The Wizards have officially signed Bey, according to the NBA’s transaction log.

The three-year deal includes $19MM in guaranteed money, with another $1MM in incentives, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

JULY 10: The Wizards and free agent forward Saddiq Bey have reached an agreement on a three-year, $20MM deal, agents James Dunleavy and Jordan Gertler tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Bey, who began his NBA career with the Pistons, was traded to Atlanta at the 2023 deadline and spent the past season-and-a-half with the Hawks. In 2023/24, he appeared in 63 games for the club, starting 51. He averaged 13.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 32.7 minutes per game on .416/.316/.837 shooting before a torn ACL ended his season in March.

That ACL tear complicated Bey’s free agency this summer. Despite his up-and-down season prior to the injury, a healthy version of the 25-year-old would almost certainly have received his $8.49MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent.

However, because Bey could spend most – or all – of the 2024/25 season recovering from ACL surgery, it would have been a risk for Atlanta to put that qualifying offer on the table. The 6’7″ forward could have accepted it, earned $8.49MM while recovering for most of the year, then signed elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent next summer. As a result, the team opted not to issue that QO, making him a UFA this offseason.

While the Hawks and Bey reportedly continued talking after they passed on his qualifying offer, the team is facing a bit of a roster crunch, leaving the former Villanova standout as an odd man out.

Washington, Bey’s hometown team, is going through a significant rebuilding process and won’t need contributions from him right away, making it an ideal fit. If Bey is healthy and productive in the second and third years of the contract, it’ll be a worthwhile investment for the Wizards, who project to be among the NBA’s worst teams in 2024/25 with or without him.

According to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link), the Wizards view the former first-round pick as a “tough, hard-nosed culture guy” who will be a good addition to the locker room next season and will help on the court once he gets healthy. Bey’s contract won’t include a team or player option, Robbins adds (via Twitter).

The Wizards still have their entire mid-level exception available after using a trade exception to add Jonas Valanciunas on a three-year, $30MM+ contract via sign-and-trade, so it looks like they’ll use a portion of that MLE to sign Bey. Once the deal is complete, Washington will have 14 players on guaranteed contracts, with two more (Eugene Omoruyi and Jared Butler) on non-guaranteed salaries.

Stein’s Latest: Ingram, Lakers, Fournier, Hawks

Pelicans star forward Brandon Ingram has been one of the most frequently-floated names in trade discussions this summer.

According to Marc Stein at Substack, Ingram’s performance in the 2024 playoffs against the Thunder is among the factors that have given New Orleans’ potential trade partners pause. Stein also indicates that Ingram is seeking a four-year, $208MM contract extension on his current expiring deal.

League sources tell Stein that Ingram’s management is striving to help the Pelicans find a willing trade partner. As Stein writes, having the former All-Star play out his current expiring contract with the Pelicans and become an unrestricted free agent next summer likely isn’t the preferred outcome for either the player or team.

Here are more rumors from Stein:

  • The Lakers are looking to create some additional cap flexibility in order to make use of their $5.2MM taxpayer mid-level exception. The team is currently right at the second tax apron, prohibiting L.A. from signing an outside free agent for more than the minimum. If the Lakers can shed some salary, free agent sharpshooter Gary Trent Jr. could be among the targets that make sense, Stein notes. The club currently has a full 15-man roster, so any cost-cutting move intended to make room for a free agent would also need to open up a roster spot.
  • Sources inform Stein that the rebuilding Wizards have registered interest in free agent wing Evan Fournier, who could be a mentor to recent lottery picks and fellow Frenchmen Alex Sarr and Bilal Coulibaly.
  • While starting center Clint Capela has been on the trade block for more than a year, new Hawks big man Larry Nance Jr. – added via the Dejounte Murray trade earlier this summer – is drawing more trade interest from rival teams, Stein writes. According to Stein, multiple clubs in need of more size have expressed interest in Nance.

Wizards Announce Brian Keefe’s New Coaching Staff

While Brian Keefe isn’t technically among this offseason’s new head coaches – he took over Washington’s job midway through the 2023/24 campaign when Wes Unseld Jr. transitioned to a front office role – the Wizards have revamped his coaching staff heading into Keefe’s first full season at the helm.

According to a press release from the team, veteran assistant David Vanterpool is the only member of last season’s staff who is returning for 2024/25. The new additions, some of whom were previously reported, are as follows:

  • Adam Caporn, a former G League head coach for the Long Island Nets who spent the past three seasons as an assistant in Brooklyn.
  • J.J. Outlaw, an assistant coach with the Cavaliers for the past five seasons who also had stints with the Lakers and Grizzlies.
  • Brian Randle, who spent last season as a Pistons assistant and previously worked for the Suns (as an assistant) and Timberwolves (as a player development coach).
  • T.J. Sorrentine, a longtime assistant coach at Brown University.
  • Alexis Ajinca, a seven-year NBA veteran who also played professionally in France and transitioned into coaching in 2023 as an assistant for the Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G League affiliate.

Joseph Blair, James Posey, and Mike Miller (the former Knicks coach, not the former Heat champion) are among the notable assistants who were let go by the Wizards when the club cleaned house back in April.

Western Notes: Morant, Klay, Wiggins, Barnes, Avdija

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been cleared for all basketball activities, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Morant, who missed the first 25 games of the 2023/24 season due to a suspension, returned to action in December and immediately provided a spark for the Grizzlies, who won six of nine games with the star point guard in the lineup. However, a labral tear in Morant’s right shoulder ended his season after those nine games. He has been recovering from surgery in the months since then.

The Grizzlies were one of the NBA’s most injury-plagued teams in ’23/24, but head coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters back in April that only Morant projected to have a recovery timeline extending well into the offseason. With a fully healthy roster, there’s optimism in Memphis that the club can bounce back from a 27-55 year and look more like the club that went 107-57 over the previous two regular seasons.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Referring to his deal with the Mavericks as a “fresh start,” Klay Thompson told reporters on Tuesday that he’s optimistic about “kind of being rejuvenated” in Dallas, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details. “Feeling just wanted again, like I bring great value, it just gets me excited to go out there and even work out after this press conference and get shots up,” Thompson said. “Yeah, there was times last year where it was tough, where it wasn’t as joyful as it was in the past. It’s nice to kind of shed that and have a whole new fresh start, whole new group of guys to get to know, co-workers, whole new city. It’s really cool, and I’m going to embrace the heck out of this opportunity.” In a story for The Athletic, Tim Cato takes a look at how Thompson will fit in on the Mavs’ roster.
  • Aaron Wiggins‘ new five-year contract with the Thunder is worth $45MM, with $2MM in bonuses that could push it up to the initially reported total of $47MM, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The deal has a descending structure and includes a fifth-year team option, Scotto adds.
  • New Spurs forward Harrison Barnes confirmed on Tuesday that he waived his $3.7MM trade kicker to facilitate his move to San Antonio, calling it a “pretty easy decision” and adding that he’s excited about playing for head coach Gregg Popovich, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
  • New Trail Blazers forward Deni Avdija admitted on Monday that he was surprised to be traded by the Wizards, according to Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (Substack link). “I think they really love me,” Avdija said of his old team. “I’ve done a lot for that organization. It was just not the timeline, I guess.” Now that he has gotten past that initial surprise, the 23-year-old is “excited” about the new opportunity in front of him. “They’ve welcomed me very well, so it’s a good start,” he said. “I’m glad to be in a place where people embrace me and love me. I’m going to bring my competitiveness, and we’re going to have a lot of fun.”