Nets Rumors

New York Notes: LeVert, Porzingis, Dinwiddie, Fizdale

Caris LeVert wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the Nets’ rotation heading into training camp, notes Michael Scotto of The Athletic, but through two games he looks like the early favorite for Most Improved Player. LeVert torched the Knicks for a career-high 28 points Friday night, including the game-winning shot. That followed a 27-point outburst against the Pistons in the season opener.

A month ago, LeVert was part of a large group in Brooklyn battling for playing time. He was competing with DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe at the wings and D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Shabazz Napier in the backcourt. LeVert’s transformation may be shocking to outsiders, but teammate Jarrett Allen said it has been building for a while.

“We saw it during the summer,” he said. “We knew it was coming, but coming out and playing like this not even we expected him scoring almost 30 points every night, but he’s coming out and showing all the work he’s done this summer is paying off.”
There’s more from New York City:
  • The rivalry between the Knicks and Nets may be more intense next summer than it is during the season, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Both teams should be in the running for lottery picks and both will have plenty of cap room to make a splash on the free agent market. Berman suggests that Brooklyn, which may be in position to offer two max contracts, could really heat things up by pursuing Kristaps Porzingis, who will be a restricted free agent after the deadline for an extension passed without a deal. The Nets can offer him a chance to play alongside fellow Latvian Rodions Kurucs.
  • If the Knicks can’t get a star to take a max offer, they could spend some of their money on Dinwiddie, Berman adds in the same piece. He notes that New York tried to work out a deal for the Nets guard in February, but decided the price was too high and opted for Emmanuel Mudiay instead.
  • David Fizdale’s relaxed exchanges with the media are a sign that a transformation has taken place among Knicks management, contends Harvey Araton of The New York Times. Owner James Dolan has produced a smothering environment among previous coaches, but Fizdale feels free to be open and honest in his assessment of players.

Richard Jefferson Officially Joins YES Network

As expected, after announcing his retirement as a player over the weekend, Richard Jefferson has quickly secured a new job. The longtime NBA forward has officially joined the YES Network and will work as a Nets game and studio analyst this season, according to a press release.

DeMarre Carroll Undergoing Procedure On Ankle

  • DeMarre Carroll will undergo a surgical procedure on his injured ankle, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters today (Twitter link via Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily). Atkinson downplayed the seriousness of that procedure, but didn’t offer a timetable for Carroll’s return (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post).

Extension Roundup: Rozier, Portis, Jones, Russell

 Celtics point guard Terry Rozier turned down a rookie scale extension offer prior to Monday’s deadline and will become a restricted free agent next summer, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports. Boston offered Rozier approximately $12MM annually, according to Blakely, but chose to take his chances in free agency. Talks were cordial and the two parties will revisit each other when Rozier hits the market, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.
“I’m in a great situation,” Rozier told Blakely. “My team (representatives) felt it wasn’t good for me to sign an extension right now. It opens my options a little bit, but I’m focused on what’s happening right now.”
Rozier is expected to have multiple suitors even as a restricted free agent, since Kyrie Irving recently announced that he plans to re-sign with the Celtics next summer, Blakely notes. Rozier broke out last season, particularly after Irving went down with a knee injury. He was especially potent in the playoffs, averaging 16.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 5.7 APG.
We have more extension decisions:
  • The Timberwolves and point guard Tyus Jones did not reach a rookie scale extension agreement. Jones will be a restricted free agent, and that’s been the expectation all along, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Minnesota would have to make a $3,573,205 qualifying offer before free agency next summer, otherwise Jones would be unrestricted. Jones saw action in all 82 regular-season games last season, including 11 starts, and averaged 5.1 PPG and 2.8 APG in 17.9 MPG.
  • The Bulls and forward Bobby Portis couldn’t come to an extension agreement before Monday’s deadline, Wojnarowski tweets. Agent Mark Bartelstein and Chicago GM Gar Forman had lengthy negotiations as the deadline approached, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets, but couldn’t close the financial gap. “We had very positive talks,” Bartelstein told Johnson. “These are hard extensions to get done.” (Twitter link). Portis will be a restricted free agent if Chicago gives him a $3,611,813 qualifying offer. He averaged 13.2 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 73 regular season games after returning from his eight-game team suspension following his well-publicized dust-up with former teammate Nikola Mirotic.
  • Nets guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson did not receive extensions, Michael Scotto of The Athetic tweets. Neither player was aware of Monday’s deadline, according to Scotto, suggesting that the Nets never made a serious pitch to lock them up before free agency. The Nets would have extend a $9,160,706 qualifying offer to Russell to make him a restricted free agent. Hollis-Jefferson’s qualifying offer would be $3,594,369.

Nets Exercise 2019/20 Options On LeVert, Allen

The Nets have exercised their 2019/20 team options on the rookie contracts of Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, the team announced today in a press release. The moves were mere formalities that come well in advance of the October 31 deadline.

Picking up LeVert’s fourth-year option will lock him in for 2019/20 with a very modest cap charge of $2,625,718. That’s a bargain for the 24-year-old, who is coming off a promising sophomore season in which he averaged 12.1 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.7 RPG with a .435/.347/.711 shooting line. He’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2019 offseason.

As for Allen, his ’19/20 option, worth $2,376,840, is for his third NBA season — Brooklyn will have one more option decision to make on him next fall, for his fourth year (2020/21). The 20-year-old center averaged 8.2 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 72 games (31 starts) for the Nets as a rookie after being selected with the No. 22 pick in the 2017 draft.

Be sure to check out our tracker for a breakdown of all the decisions on 2019/20 rookie scale options that NBA teams must make by October 31.

Nets Notes: Trades, Hollis-Jefferson, Kurucs

  • Although the Nets didn’t gain traction in Jimmy Butler talks with Minnesota, they’ve already been “active in their pursuits of trades” this fall, as Shams Charania of Stadium details (link via NetsDaily).
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson‘s status for the Nets‘ first game of the season on Wednesday has been up in the air, but the forward is “trending in the right direction,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said on Sunday, per Greg Joyce of The New York Post. “I’ll definitely listen to the medical team and the performance team,” Atkinson said. “We can’t play him 40 minutes that first night, obviously.”
  • In a separate piece for The New York Post, Joyce takes a closer look at Nets second-rounder Rodions Kurucs, who is making a case for regular minutes to start his rookie season.

Dinwiddie Believes He Should Have Won MIP; Graham Making Case For More PT

Nets Waive Gordon, McCall, Scott

The Nets got down to the roster limit by waiving forward Drew Gordon and guards Tahjere McCall and Shannon Scott, the team announced today in a press release.

Gordon will join Brooklyn’s G League affiliate in Long Island and is expected to be called up during the season after turning down offers to play overseas. The older brother of Aaron Gordon, most of his professional experience has come in Europe. He has played nine NBA games, all for the Sixers in 2014/15.

McCall and Scott both signed Exhibit 10 contracts yesterday and appear headed back to the G League. Both played for Brooklyn’s affiliate in Long Island last season.

Nets Sign Gordon, Waive Creek

The Nets have signed forward Drew Gordon and waived forward Mitch Creek, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets.

The older brother of Magic star Aaron Gordon, Drew Gordon went undrafted out of New Mexico in 2012. He has bounced around various professional leagues since that point, primarily playing overseas. In addition to a brief stint with the Sixers during the 2014/15 season, the 6’9″ power forward has also spent time with clubs in Serbia, Italy, Turkey, France, Lithuania, and Russia.

Gordon will be making up for lost time. He was expected to sign with Brooklyn prior to camp but that deal didn’t come to fruition.

Most recently, Gordon played for Zenit St. Petersburg during the 2017/18 season. The 28-year-old recorded 11.1 PPG and 6.7 RPG in 21 VTB League games, along with 12.4 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 17 EuroCup contests.

Creek has spent most of his professional career with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia before signing with the Nets in August. In 31 games in Australia last season, Creek averaged 14.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He was named to the All-NBL Second Team. He also played for the Mavericks’ summer league team, recording 6.8 PPG and 5.2 RPG in five games in Las Vegas.

Nets Sign Tahjere McCall, Shannon Scott

The Nets have signed a pair of guards, Tahjere McCall and Shannon Scott, the team announced today in a press release. Both players received Exhibit 10 contracts, per Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link).

McCall, 24, spent last season with the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, averaging 9.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.8 SPG in 37 games. Scott, a strong defender out of Ohio State, was also a regular starter for Long Island last season, recording 7.9 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.1 RPG, and 2.2 SPG in 49 games.

Both players figure to be waived within the next couple days, but will likely return to Long Island for the 2018/19 season. Having signed Exhibit 10 deals, they’ll now be in line for bonuses worth up to $50K, which won’t count against Brooklyn’s cap and should exceed the full-year salaries they’d earn on standard G League contracts.

The Nets’ roster is back up to 20 players for now. The team will make three cuts by Monday.