Before even playing a regular season game for the Nets, Taurean Prince has been locked up for an additional two years by the club.
Prince’s agent, Steve Heumann of CAA Sports, tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that the forward has agreed to a two-year, $29MM extension with Brooklyn. The Nets have put out a press release confirming that the move is official.
The acquisition of Prince was somewhat overlooked during a busy Nets offseason — he was part of the return in a trade that sent Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks to Atlanta. In addition to clearing the cap space necessary to land both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, that deal netted Prince, who’s coming off a couple solid seasons with the Hawks.
Since the start of the 2017/18 campaign, Prince has averaged 13.9 PPG and 4.3 RPG with a .431/.387/.834 shooting line in 137 regular season games (29.3 MPG). The 25-year-old was Brooklyn’s leading scorer in the preseason, knocking down 16-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc. While he won’t match that 69.6% rate in the regular season, the Nets will count on him to space the floor on offense.
Although he hasn’t been with the franchise for long, Prince already appears to be sold on Brooklyn. He told Brian Lewis of The New York Post last week that he was hoping to sign a rookie scale extension.
“I want to be here as long as I can. And whatever happens, happens, but I’m just happy to play good basketball,” Prince said. “One hundred percent, yeah. For sure. This is the best organization I’ve been in.”
With Prince on the books for 2020/21, the Nets now project to have at least $135MM in team salary next year, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN.com. That doesn’t take into account team options for Garrett Temple and others, or cap holds for possible first-round picks and free agents like Joe Harris, so Brooklyn’s roster could get quite expensive if the team wants to keep it together.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Celtics‘ backcourt has undergone some major changes in recent years, from Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley to Kyrie Irving to Kemba Walker. Through it all, Marcus Smart has been the one constant, having averaged 27 or more minutes per game for Boston for each of the last five seasons.
According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Smart said he sometimes thinks about the possibility of spending his entire career with the Celtics, which is something he’d love to do. As Himmelsbach relays, Smart recognizes that player movement is a big part of today’s NBA, but would like to “be a part of something special” in Boston.
“I’m six years in now, and it feels like yesterday I was drafted,” the Celtics’ guard said. “It is funny to see all the faces I’ve seen come through the organization. But it’s a blessing and I’m blessed to be here still, and that’s rare. Usually guys are gone by now. I’m blessed to still be here.”
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- While the loss of Kawhi Leonard represented the Raptors‘ most significant roster shakeup this summer, the departure of starting shooting guard Danny Green shouldn’t be overlooked, as Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun writes. “He’s not flashy, his game isn’t very sexy, but I don’t know what he shot, 45% from three? Something crazy like that, at a high clip, played 80 games, played every night, guarded the best players on the other teams and he’s just solid every night,” Fred VanVleet said of Green. “… He didn’t do a lot of preaching and teaching, he just was here and (led) by example and we’ll miss that.”
- Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has another meeting scheduled with the NBA today to discuss his plan to “tokenize” his contract, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The league previously said Dinwiddie’s plan violates the CBA but he views the new meeting as a “good faith” gesture and is hopeful an agreement can be reached, as he tweeted this morning. Meanwhile, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com offers an interesting look at the specifics of Dinwiddie’s proposal.
- Kyrie Irving wasn’t thrilled that details of the Nets‘ and Lakers‘ Shanghai meeting with commissioner Adam Silver earlier this month leaked to the press, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “You want to keep those meetings private,” Irving said. “I don’t know how it necessarily materialized into a big story. I don’t know whose notes or who was in there that we can’t depend on to keep a conversation like that in-house.”
- Speaking of Irving, his former teammate Marcus Morris believes the Knicks‘ locker room will be healthier this season than the Celtics‘ was last season in part because New York doesn’t have a superstar player to cater to. “No knock on Ky, but obviously he’s a superstar, he’s first,” Morris said, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Sometimes his emotions were put in front of the team.”
The preseason didn’t bring any clarity to the Knicks‘ search for a starting point guard, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Frank Ntilikina was supposed to have rediscovered his game after a strong summer of international competition, creating an intriguing battle with holdover Dennis Smith Jr. and free agent addition Elfrid Payton. However, nobody has stepped forward to claim the job. Ntilikina appears to be an “afterthought” again, according to Popper, as he sat out Friday’s preseason finale while Smith went 2-of-12 from the field and Payton had five turnovers.
“I don’t want to think about it,” coach David Fizdale said of the point guard competition. “I’ll tell you guys the next time I see you. No, they competed. They really competed hard. They’re making it tough on me. They’re making a tough decision for me.”
Popper suggests rookie RJ Barrett might be the best choice, even though he’s not a traditional point guard. Barrett was a standout throughout the preseason, even though he spent time at three positions.
There’s more this morning from New York:
- The Knicks have until the end of the month to pick up Ntilikina’s fourth-year option at $6.3MM, but Marc Berman of the New York Post hears that a decision could be made before Wednesday’s season opener to avoid having it become a distraction.
- In the same piece, Fizdale laments not having enough preseason games to adequately work out some important lineup decisions. The Knicks could have played up to six games, but management opted for four. In addition to the point guard battle, Fizdale has to determine whether Mitchell Robinson or Bobby Portis will be the starting center and he has to work out minutes at shooting guard with Wayne Ellington, Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson all in the mix, along with Barrett. “We understand where we are with a lot of new faces, but still are going out to compete to win,’’ Fizdale promised. “I don’t make any excuses. We’ll keep working through the chemistry and try to get wins.”
- Contrary to their public statements, the Knicks’ front office was “stunned and depressed” when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving announced their decisions to sign with the Nets, according to Frank Isola of The Athletic.
Knicks management was “stunned and depressed” that marquee free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant chose the Nets, a team source told Frank Isola of The Athletic. The Knicks have tried to convince outsiders they didn’t want meetings with them or another top free agent, Kawhi Leonard, but in actuality they desperately wanted those big-ticket free agents, Isola continues. However, it may work out for them in the long run considering Durant’s Achilles injury and Irving’s injury history, Isola adds.
We have more from around the Eastern Conference:
- It makes sense for the Pacers to move Domantas Sabonis if he doesn’t mesh well with Myles Turner in the Pacers’ starting lineup, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic opines. Indiana is reportedly shopping Sabonis because extension talks have gone nowhere. The team should see if they can play together but if it doesn’t work, there’s no need to tie up a chunk of the team’s cap space on two centers, Vecenie continues, especially since it drafted another center in June.
- Sabonis expressed his disappointment about the extension negotiations and subsequent trade rumors on Saturday, Forbes’ Tony East tweets. “Theres not really much to talk about. I know exactly how the Pacers feel about me now,” Sabonis said. “They know how I feel about that. There’s not much more to say. I’ll let my agents do the rest of it, we’ll see what happens.”
- Wizards first-round selection Rui Hachimura is likely to be in the starting lineup for the season opener, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. Coach Scott Brooks said he was “leaning the way.” Hachimura averaged 10.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 21.9 MPG during the preseason.
- Heat forward James Johnson believes he’ll suit up for the opener, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Johnson has returned for workouts after a team-imposed suspension when he failed to meet their conditioning standards. Johnson said he just needs to get his body fat percentage down a little more. “You know, body fat takes a long time to drop. So I’m just waiting for that to get down,” he said. “I know my numbers. My weight is good, my conditioning is good, I’m just waiting for my numbers to drop.”
- Center John Henson‘s injury woes have continually frustrated the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Henson has been sidelined most of the preseason with groin and ankle injuries. A wrist injury that required surgery made last season a virtual washout for the former Bucks big man. Coach John Beilein was hoping Henson could challenge for a rotation or even starting spot. ““I’ve seen him so limited this year because he’s basically been injured almost every day that I’ve known him,” Beilein said.
The Nets have released all four of their players on non-guaranteed salaries, announcing tonight in a press release that they’ve requested waivers on forward Lance Thomas and guards Devin Cannady, C.J. Massinburg and C.J. Williams.
All four moves were expected, since Brooklyn already has 15 players on guaranteed salaries. While Wilson Chandler is set to serve a 25-game PED suspension to start the season, he can’t be formally moved to the suspended list until after the fifth game of that ban. At that point, the Nets will be able to add a 16th man to their roster until Chandler’s suspension ends.
It seems safe to assume that Thomas will be a candidate to rejoin the club at that point, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The veteran forward has significantly more NBA experience than the other Nets players cut today, having logged 392 career regular season appearances with New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and New York.
Although the Nets’ 15-man roster is full, the team does still have an open two-way contract slot. It’s not clear if Brooklyn is still considering Cannady, Massinburg, or Williams to fill that opening after they clear waivers. Cannady and Massinburg seem more likely to become affiliate players for the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League squad.
- Forward Taurean Prince is hopeful that he can reached an extension agreement with the Nets prior to Monday’s deadline, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension. “I want to be here as long as I can. And whatever happens, happens, but I’m just happy to play good basketball,” Prince said. “One hundred percent, yeah. For sure. This is the best organization I’ve been in.”
The Nets‘ preseason roster is back to the 20-players maximum, with the team announcing today in a press release that it has signed undrafted rookie guards Devin Cannady and C.J. Massinburg. Brooklyn opened up a pair of spots on its roster on Monday when the team waived Deng Adel and John Egbunu.
Cannady played college ball at Princeton for four years, averaging 18.2 PPG and 5.8 RPG with a .416/.360/.869 shooting line in 16 games (36.8 MPG) as a senior in 2018/19. He joined the Thunder’s Summer League roster in Las Vegas in July.
Massinburg also finished up his four-year college career this spring, capping off his time at the University of Buffalo by recording 18.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, and a .399 3PT% in 35 games in his senior season. He played for the Nets’ Summer League team.
Neither Cannady nor Massinburg appears likely to make the Nets’ regular season roster, given the lack of available spots. But the duo could suit up for the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League squad. Today’s deals will give Brooklyn the opportunity to designate both Cannady and Massinburg as affiliate players.
- Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie still plans to use his contract as an investment tool despite league objections, but he’s pushed back the launch date, as he detailed on his Twitter account. His original launch date was Monday but he’ll wait until opening night since he still hopes to form a partnership with the league and the NBA is preoccupied with the China controversy. “Having been on the ground in China, we are sensitive to what the NBA has been dealing with,” he said. Dinwiddie wants to enable investors to essentially buy shares of his three-year, $34.4MM contract.