Zach Collins

Southwest Notes: Z. Collins, Grizzlies, Doncic, Pelicans

Zach Collins‘ new three-year deal with the Spurs, reported to be worth $22MM, will technically come in at $22.05MM, but a significant chunk of the deal is non-guaranteed, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

According to Marks, Collins will earn a fully guaranteed $7MM salary in 2021/22, but only half of his $7.35MM salary in ’22/23 is guaranteed and his $7.7MM cap hit for ’23/24 is fully non-guaranteed.

Collins, who has undergone multiple foot surgeries during the last two seasons and has been limited to 11 total games during that time, is assured of receiving at least $10.675M on his new contract. However, if he continues to battle health problems, the Spurs could cut ties as early as next summer without a major financial hit.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • In a look at the Grizzlies‘ roster situation, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian notes that it remains unclear what the team’s plan is for Eric Bledsoe. When Memphis first agreed to its trade with New Orleans in July, a report indicated that Bledsoe likely wouldn’t play for the Grizzlies, but the veteran guard remains on the roster for the time being.
  • Appearing at Summer League in Las Vegas after returning from Slovenia, new Mavericks president of basketball operations Nico Harrison said the front office’s trip to Luka Doncic‘s home country was “bigger than just a big contract” and was about showing “respect” to the team’s franchise player. Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News has the story.
  • Exploring the NBA’s investigation into the Bulls’ and Heat’s sign-and-trade acquisitions of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein suggests the Pelicans and Raptors may not face any penalties if last year’s Bogdan Bogdanovic case is any indication — Milwaukee was fined and docked a draft pick, but Sacramento wasn’t disciplined. While Stein may be right, I think the Pelicans have reason to be concerned. If the league’s focus is on sign-and-trade acquisitions completed suspiciously quickly, it’s worth noting that New Orleans received Garrett Temple via sign-and-trade as part of the Ball deal.

Spurs Sign Zach Collins To Three-Year Contract

AUGUST 11: The signing is official, the team confirms in a press release.

AUGUST 2: The Spurs have decided to roll the dice on injury-plagued free agent forward Zach Collins

Collins is departing the Trail Blazers on a three-year, $22MM deal, agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). 

The 10th pick of the 2017 draft, Collins has seen his career sidetracked by injuries. The Trail Blazers decided not to extend him a $7MM qualifying offer, making Collins an unrestricted free agent.

Collins has only appeared in 11 games the past two seasons due to shoulder, foot and ankle injuries.

Collins had a major setback in late June when another fracture was discovered in his left foot. He underwent a second revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture and will require another 4-6 month recovery period.

“Obviously with me being a free agent, it makes it tough,” Collins said last month. “But I’m less concerned about what type of deal I’m going to get, or how many years it’s going to be, or who I’m going to play for … I’m more focused on this rehab and getting this ankle right.”

Bartelstein was confident he could land a multi-year contract for his client, even though Collins will miss at least a portion of next season.

San Antonio is adding at least one other free agent forward, as it also reached a three-year agreement with Doug McDermott.

Mannix’s Latest: Smart, Ball, Blazers, Simmons, Oladipo, Z. Collins

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is extension-eligible this offseason, but president of basketball operations Brad Stevens – who has coached Smart for the last several seasons – has been frustrated by his “unpredictable play,” sources tell Chris Mannix of

Two people familiar with the Celtics’ thinking tell Mannix that Smart appears more likely to be traded than extended before the start of the 2021/22 season. When Boston shopped Smart last season, the team sought multiple first-round picks, but one Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Mannix suggests the guard’s value is more along the lines of one first-rounder and possibly a rotational player.

Here’s more from Mannix:

  • Although re-signing Lonzo Ball doesn’t seem to be the Pelicans‘ top priority in free agency, several rival executives expect New Orleans to match any offer Ball receives if the club strikes out on its top free agent point guard targets, writes Mannix. That would allow the Pels to avoid losing Ball for nothing and would create the option of trading him down the road.
  • The Trail Blazers haven’t given any indications at this point that they intend to deal Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, according to Mannix, who says forward Nicolas Batum is among the free agents on Portland’s radar.
  • The Sixers‘ asking price for Ben Simmons remains high. “Forget a Harden haul,” one exec in contact with the 76ers said to Mannix. “They want what Boston got for KG and Pierce.”
  • Mannix adds the Mavericks to the list of teams that are expected to show interest in point guard Dennis Schröder.
  • Teams are “increasingly wary” of Victor Oladipo‘s long-term health and multiple executives believe the two-time All-Star may go unsigned for a few months while he gets healthy following his latest quad tendon surgery, says Mannix.
  • Mannix believes the Thunder could be in the mix for Zach Collins, observing that the big man is the kind of low-risk/high-reward player that Sam Presti loves.

Free Agent Rumors: J. Collins, Lowry, Z. Collins, Forbes, Celtics, More

In his latest rumor-packed article for Bleacher Report, Jake Fischer echoes a Marc Stein report from Friday, writing that John Collins is viewed as increasingly likely to return to the Hawks despite anticipated interest from the Mavericks and Spurs, among others.

Collins’ new deal may exceed $120MM in total value, Fischer notes, though it’s not clear if that’d be for four years or five. Collins’ projected maximum with Atlanta is about $126MM over four years (or $163MM over five), whereas his max with a new team would be approximately $121MM over four years.

Here are a few other rumors on 2021 free agents, including several more updates from Fischer:

  • With the Pelicans, Mavericks, and Heat all expected to make a strong push for Kyle Lowry, the point’s guard ultimate landing spot could come down to which team includes the most guaranteed money in the third year of its offer, says Fischer.
  • The Raptors, Pelicans, Thunder, and Spurs are among the teams known to have interest in big man Zach Collins, sources tell Fischer. Collins isn’t getting a qualifying offer from Portland, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Nets may be the leading candidates to sign free agent sharpshooter Bryn Forbes, according to Fischer, who also names the Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, and Pelicans as teams to watch.
  • Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) hears that the Celtics have a list of about seven or eight top free agent targets, including veteran Spurs guard Patty Mills.
  • Otto Porter‘s representatives have been targeting a mid-level type contract for their client, but that’s probably a long shot unless a front office bids against itself, says J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter links). The veteran forward is coming off a four-year, $106MM+ deal.
  • The Nuggets are expected to add a backup center in free agency, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post, who tweets that a new deal with JaVale McGee is one possibility to address that spot.

Blazers Won’t Give Zach Collins Qualifying Offer

The Trail Blazers will not extend a $7MM qualifying offer to forward Zach Collins, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports.

That will make Collins an unrestricted free agent next month. The 10th pick in the 2017 draft has only appeared in 11 games the past two seasons due to shoulder, foot and ankle injuries.

Collins learned late last month of a major setback when another fracture was discovered in his left foot. He underwent a second revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture and will require another 4-6 month recovery period.

“Obviously with me being a free agent, it makes it tough,” Collins said. “But I’m less concerned about what type of deal I’m going to get, or how many years it’s going to be, or who I’m going to play for … I’m more focused on this rehab and getting this ankle right.”

Projected to be over the cap, the Blazers couldn’t afford to tie up another chunk of money on a player who will likely miss significant time next season.

Agent Mark Bartelstein is still confident he can land a multi-year contract for his client.

“There’s no question he is going to get a deal; he’s an incredible talent,” Bartelstein said. “NBA teams are looking for guys who can protect the rim, switch everything on defense and make 3s. Zach is really a unicorn.”

Collins is still hopeful of remaining with Portland. Bartelstein will hold discussions with Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations.

“Neil and I talk all the time and we will do what we always do — sit and talk and see if something makes sense,” Bartelstein said. “But they are in a tough spot. They are up against the luxury tax, and there’s a sense of urgency to win now … so there’s a lot to balance. But I know Neil believes deeply in Zach. They know he is going to be good.”

Blazers Notes: Billups, Olshey, Lillard, Nurkic, Collins

At the introductory press conference for new Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups on Tuesday, president of basketball operations Neil Olshey confirmed that the team conducted an independent investigation into the 1997 sexual assault allegations against Billups, and came away confident that he hadn’t engaged in any wrongdoing, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

Billups, meanwhile, said the ’97 incident had a major impact on him and shaped his decision-making going forward, per Jason Quick of The Athletic.

However, a Blazers PR person shut down further questions to Billups on how exactly the incident shaped him, and Olshey declined to provide any details on the team’s investigation, calling that information “proprietary” and asking reporters and fans to “take us at our word” that the investigation was thorough. As a result, there was no real sense of transparency in the presser, according to John Canzano of The Oregonian.

As Quick notes, Olshey and the franchise are essentially asking for trust and forgiveness for the way the coaching search played out and the decision the team made. While Quick believes Olshey has earned that trust to some extent, he adds that the veteran executive hasn’t made “a bigger ask” during his tenure with the team than this one, and that the clumsy hiring process has “created unrest for Billups, for (Damian) Lillard, and the fanbase.”

Here’s more out of Portland:

  • During Billups’ introductory presser, Olshey downplayed the idea that Lillard’s frustration with how the 2020/21 season played out will lead to a trade request this offseason. “Dame and I talk all the time,” Olshey said, per Quick. “And Dame’s happiness revolves around winning, and having a chance to win at the highest level. Chauncey is going to inherit that now, but the ultimate responsibility for that falls on me and my staff to put a team together that we can walk into the beginning of the season and think it has a chance to compete for a championship. So the shorter answer is it’s on me to make Dame happy. And the way to make Dame happy is to put the pieces around him to where he feels like he can win a championship.”
  • Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic said in an interview with a Bosnian outlet that he’d want to leave the team if Lillard is traded. Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, using a translation tool, has the details on Nurkic’s comments. The big man previously cast some uncertainty on his future in Portland following the team’s postseason elimination.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype takes a look at which teams might be able to put together the strongest trade offers for Lillard should the All-NBA point guard decide he wants out of Portland.
  • Following a Tuesday report indicating Zach Collins has suffered another injury setback, the Blazers announced in a press release that the big man has undergone a second revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture and has been ruled out indefinitely. As we noted yesterday, Collins is eligible for restricted free agency, but seems increasingly unlikely to get a qualifying offer.

Zach Collins Suffers Another Injury Setback

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins has suffered another health setback, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who reports that Collins re-fractured his foot.

Collins missed the entire 2020/21 season after undergoing a pair of surgeries on his left ankle. He originally injured the ankle and went under the knife during the NBA’s bubble restart last summer, then underwent revision surgery in December to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture.

Although Charania’s report doesn’t specify which foot Collins injured, his use of “re-fracture” suggests it’s once again that left foot.

It’s a brutal turn of events for Collins, a former 10th overall pick who is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. Since entering Portland’s starting lineup on a full-time basis at the start of the ’19/20 season, the 23-year-old has only been able to play in 11 games, having missed most of last year due to shoulder surgery.

In 154 career regular season games (17.5 MPG), Collins has averaged 5.7 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .444/.324/.722 shooting.

Portland has always been high on the former Gonzaga standout, having traded the 15th and 20th overall picks in the 2017 draft to move up to No. 10 to get him. However, given his history of injuries, it now seems unlikely that the fourth-year forward/center will even receive a qualifying offer this summer. If he doesn’t get that QO (worth about $7MM), he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

Trail Blazers Notes: McCollum, Stotts, Lillard, Nurkic

Trail Blazers players won’t be thinking about saving coach Terry Stotts‘ job when they open their playoff series with the Nuggets tonight, CJ McCollum tells Jason Quick of The Athletic. Stotts is rumored to be among a handful of coaches who are in jeopardy if they suffer an early exit in the postseason. He has one year left on his current contract with a salary of more than $6MM.

McCollum made it clear that the players support Stotts, but there are other motivating factors.

“You have no control over those things,” he said. “I like Terry. Terry has been great for me, my career, my development, he’s given me a chance. I will forever be grateful for everything he has done for me. But your job as a player is to play. And his job as a coach is to coach. Like, you can’t worry about what could happen. That’s every year. Every year, I could be traded. Every year, a coach could lose his job. There is enough pressure to perform on its own.

“…  I don’t need any extra motivation to help Terry keep his job. I’m gonna go hoop and do what I do no matter what. And I think that’s Terry’s mentality. If something happens, Terry is OK. He’s gonna be all right, and he’s probably going to get another head coaching job.”

There’s more Trail Blazers news to pass along:

  • Damian Lillard discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic affected him and players in general in an in-depth interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic. He also addresses a recent column by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports calling for Portland to add more top-level talent during Lillard’s prime years. “People love to hear, ‘Oh, this guy might want out of here or out of there.’ I’ve constantly mentioned what my commitment to Portland is,” Lillard said. “I don’t think I need to keep going in on that. But over the course of a season, everybody gets frustrated, you know? And I’m not a person who fakes it for nobody. Not the media. Not my teammates. Not the fans. Not for nobody.”
  • The 2017 trade that sent Jusuf Nurkic from Denver to Portland helped the Nuggets and Blazers both improve, writes Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post. Portland needed an upgrade at center, and Nurkic had just lost his starting job to Nikola Jokic.
  • Zach Collins is the only player listed on the Trail Blazers’ injury report as the playoffs begin. Collins hasn’t played all season after undergoing surgery to fix a stress fracture in his ankle, but a recent story by Quick said the big man hasn’t given up hope of returning if Portland makes a long playoff run.

Northwest Notes: Millsap, Nuggets, Thunder, Blazers, Wolves

After being sidelined for 10 games by a left knee sprain, Nuggets big man Paul Millsap came off the bench in his first game back, but was reinserted into the starting lineup on Saturday when Monte Morris and Gary Harris were unavailable.

According to Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, Millsap approached him after that Saturday loss and reiterated that he’d be happy to continue coming off the bench or to accept another role to avoid impending the chemistry the new starting group had established (Twitter link via Mike Singer of The Denver Post). Millsap has started both of Denver’s games since then – both wins – but could return to the bench once Morris and Harris return.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

Zach Collins Out Indefinitely Following Second Ankle Surgery

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins underwent revision surgery today to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture, the team announced today in a press release. A specific timeline for his return hasn’t been set, with the team indicating he’ll be out indefinitely.

It’s the second procedure Collins has undergone on his left ankle, which he injured during the NBA’s summer restart. He first had surgery on that ankle on September 1.

It’s a tough setback for Collins, who had hoped to return to action at some point in January. Since entering Portland’s starting lineup on a full-time basis at the start of the ’19/20 season, the 23-year-old has only been able to play in 11 games, having missed most of last year due to shoulder surgery.

In 154 career regular season games (17.5 MPG), Collins has averaged 5.7 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .444/.324/.722 shooting.

Collins was eligible for a rookie scale extension prior to the start of this season, but he and the Trail Blazers opted to table contract negotiations until the summer of 2021. The thinking was that Collins would get a chance to prove his value after a lost 2019/20 campaign. Now it’s no longer clear exactly if or when he’ll get that opportunity.