Hornets Rumors

Hornets To Sign Isaiah Wilkins To Camp Deal

The Hornets have agreed to a training camp deal with Isaiah Wilkins, the stepson of NBA legend Dominique Wilkins, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

Wilkins averaged 6.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals as a senior last season at Virginia before being named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He managed to shoot 48.5% from the field but only a disappointing 17.6% from three.

While it’s unlikely that Wilkins ends up on the Hornets’ 15-man regular season roster, he’s probably a good bet to end up playing for the team’s G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm.

Julyan Stone Signs Deal With Reyer Venezia

After being traded from the Hornets to the Bulls and then waived in order to make room for the Jabari Parker signing, Julyan Stone is heading back to Italy, having signed a contract with his former club, Reyer Venezia, per Sportando (Twitter link).

Stone, 29, went undrafted in 2011 before signing a two-year deal with the Nuggets. He signed a one-year contract with the Raptors for the 2013/14 season and then spent several seasons overseas before coming back to the NBA in 2017, signing a two-year contract with the Hornets.

During his four-season NBA career, Stone has only averaged 1.1 points in 7.2 minutes per game, but has appeared in 70 total contests. He will look to help Reyer reclaim the Lega Basket Serie A title after helping them win the championship in 2017.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Raptors’ Tax, Trier, Scariolo

Guard Marcus Smart seriously considered signing his $6.1MM qualifying offer from the Celtics and becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets“I went back and forth internally, but it’s a problem a lot of people would like to have.” Smart said. “I definitely thought about taking the qualifying offer, but all my options were open.”

Smart wound up staying in Boston on a four-year, $52MM deal. “To be honest, I didn’t know where I was gonna end up. I was just enjoying this whole process,” he told The Associated Press. “It is a business, so things aren’t perfect. That’s why it’s called negotiations. You guys come together and you finally agree on something. We both agreed. Boston loves me and I love Boston.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors continue to explore moves to shed salary and get under the luxury-tax line, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. The Raptors still have over $137MM in salary commitments following the Kawhi Leonard deal and are nearly $14MM over the tax threshold.
  • Allonzo Trier has an outside chance to gain a spot on the 15-man Knicks roster after a solid showing in summer-league action, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Trier, an undrafted guard out of Arizona, has a two-way contract but if he makes a strong impression in training camp, it could be converted to a standard contract. The Knicks waived forward Troy Williams this week, trimming their 15-man roster to the league limit, and could open up another spot if they waive Joakim Noah and utilize the stretch provision for the remaining money on his bloated deal.
  • Italian head coach Sergio Scariolo is close to joining Nick Nurse‘s Raptors staff, according to a Sportando report. Scariolo, who is also the Spanish national team coach, has been offered a position but needs to work out a settlement with the Spanish federation, since he has a contract with it until 2020. The situation is expected to be resolved, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun relays. The Hornets were also interested in hiring Scariolo, Wolstat adds.

Treveon Graham Agrees To Two-Year Deal With Nets

The Nets have reached a two-year agreement with swingman Treveon Graham, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. The first year of the contract will be fully guaranteed, Charania adds.

The 6’5” Graham had drawn interest from the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, among other teams, during free agency. Graham, 24, appeared in 90 games with the Hornets over the past two seasons.

He was a rotation player last season, seeing action in 63 games, while averaging 4.3 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 16.7 MPG. Graham hasn’t shot many 3-pointers during his short career but he’s made 43.8% from long range.

Graham will try to break into a wing rotation that includes Joe Harris, Caris LeVertDeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe.

Kemba Walker Doubts He’ll End Up With Knicks

Kemba Walker wants to stay long-term with the Hornets and doubts he’ll wind up with the Knicks, he told Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

The Charlotte point guard and New York native is heading into his walk year and has a very movable $12MM contract. Cleveland has been oft-mentioned as a potential landing spot if he gets traded.

The Knicks have several point guard options, including Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina, but Walker would generally be considered an upgrade.

“As far as seeing me in New York, I doubt it,” Walker told Scotto. “I’m a Hornet, and I’m planning on being a Hornet for a long time, so, yeah, I’m not sure about that (New York).”

Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has said he’d like to retain Walker but a contract extension isn’t feasible due to salary-cap restraints. Thus, Walker is headed to free agency next summer if he doesn’t get traded.

The Hornets have a stopgap option in Tony Parker, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract in free agency. Walker welcomes Parker’s presence and hopes to learn a few new tricks from the wily 36-year-old.

“Having Tony Parker is huge,” Walker told Scotto. “He’s a guy who’s been through it all. He knows a lot. He’s won championships. He knows what it takes to win in this league. I don’t think there’s any better point guard to learn from than Tony Parker.”

Malik Monk Injures Thumb

JULY 10: Per an official announcement from the team, a further evaluation of Monk’s medical imaging by Hornets’ team physicians has uncovered that Monk’s right thumb is not fractured. Accordingly, Monk’s status will now be listed as day-to-day.

JULY 7: Hornets guard Malik Monk fractured his right thumb in Friday’s summer league game and will be sidelined six to eight weeks, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Monk suffered the injury late in a victory over the Thunder and was in street clothes at today’s practice (Twitter link).

It’s a frustrating end to summer league action for Monk, who put on a show with 15 points in the first quarter of Friday’s game. He had to sit out the 2017 summer league because of an ankle injury that bothered him for most of the offseason and may have contributed to his slow start in the NBA. The 11th pick in the 2017 draft, Monk appeared in 63 games during his first season, averaging 6.7 points per night and shooting just 36% from the field.

Even if his recovery takes the full eight weeks, Monk should be ready for the start of training camp in late September.

Hornets Notes: Trades, Howard, Biyombo, Parker

In exchange for taking on an extra year of salary when they traded Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov, the Hornets acquired a pair of second-round picks. However, the Nets also sent cash to Charlotte in that deal, and now we know just how much. According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the Hornets received $5MM for their troubles.

During the 2018/19 league year, an NBA team can only acquire up to $5.243MM in cash in trades, so the Hornets nearly reached their limit in that transactions with the Nets. Charlotte did reach its limit shortly thereafter, when the team flipped one of the second-rounders it acquired from Brooklyn to the Thunder. In that swap, which sent Hamidou Diallo to Oklahoma City, the Hornets received $243K in cash along with a 2019 second-round pick, tweets Pincus.

The Hornets now won’t be able to acquire any more cash in a trade until the 2019/20 league year begins, though they can still send out up to $5.243MM in deals this season.

Here’s more out of Charlotte:

  • Explaining the decision to trade Howard, Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said the team considered waiving and stretching the veteran center like the Nets ultimately did, but decided the trade with Brooklyn was the best way to go. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer has the details, along with the quotes from Kupchak.
  • According to Kupchak, Bismack Biyombo‘s rebounding and rim-protecting abilities are a key reason why the Hornets flipped Mozgov to Orlando for him (link via Rick Bonnell). Kupchak also spoke about the increasing value of second-round picks around the NBA — Charlotte has made five trades so far this offseason, and all five have included at least one incoming or outgoing second-rounder.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com doesn’t believe the Hornets will receive great value from the two-year, $10MM deal they gave Tony Parker. Pelton cites Parker’s .498 true shooting percentage, which ranked 252 out of the 275 players who played at least 1000 minutes last season, as one reason for pessimism, adding that Charlotte failed to take advantage of a buyer’s market for point guards.
  • Even if Parker’s on-court numbers for the Hornets are lacking, new head coach James Borrego values the veteran leadership the longtime Spurs point guard will bring to the franchise, as Rick Bonnell writes. “We were trying to find a player in free agency that had experience, had wisdom, had winning DNA,” Borrego said. “He is such a valuable piece and has been to that San Antonio organization. We’re very fortunate right now.”

Contract Details For Devonte' Graham

  • Devonte’ Graham‘s three-year deal with the Hornets is worth approximately $4.07MM (Twitter link). The first two years are guaranteed for the 34th overall pick, who was signed using part of Charlotte’s mid-level exception.

Spurs Notes: Parker, White, Anderson, Leonard

Tony Parker wanted to stay in San Antonio, but the Spurs wouldn’t offer a multi-year deal or guarantee significant playing time, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Parker hasn’t given up on his goal of playing 20 NBA seasons, but he’ll need three more to get there and it became increasingly clear that wouldn’t happen in San Antonio.

“The Spurs will always be home,” said Parker, who agreed to a two-year, $10MM contract with Charlotte. “San Antonio will always be a big part of my life. At the end, I just felt like the Hornets wanted me more.”

Parker will have a defined role in Charlotte as the primary backup to point guard Kemba Walker. Playing time wouldn’t have been guaranteed with the Spurs, who wanted him to serve primarily in a mentorship role. Parker, who spent 17 years in San Antonio and won four NBA titles, met with longtime teammate Tim Duncan two weeks ago to discuss the decision to leave.

“I never took for granted that what we did was hard,” Parker said. “Me, Manu [Ginobili] and Tim took less money in free agency every time. It’s not easy to have a dynasty. I think some people maybe took it for granted. I don’t think what we did will ever happen again.”

There’s more today from San Antonio:

  • The loss of Parker should create more playing time for Derrick White, McDonald writes in a separate story. The former first-round pick can handle either backcourt position, but is being used primarily at point guard during summer league play.
  • The Spurs haven’t decided whether to match the Grizzlies’ offer sheet for Kyle Anderson and will probably go right to today’s deadline before making an announcement, McDonald notes in a another piece. Memphis extended a four-year, $37.2MM offer to Anderson on Friday that includes a 15% trade kicker. Anderson, 24, had a career-best season in 2017/18, starting 67 of the 74 games he played and averaging 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per night. The Spurs are already near the tax line, and matching Anderson’s deal would move them about $3MM closer on top of his $6.45MM cap hold.
  • The decision on Anderson could provide a clue on what the Spurs plan to do with Kawhi Leonard, McDonald tweets. If they plan to keep Leonard and try to fix their strained relationship, the Spurs won’t have significant minutes to offer Anderson. If they expect to trade Leonard before the season starts, there’s no one else on the roster who can fill Anderson’s role on defense.
  • The Spurs made a front office move over the weekend, adding former Pistons director of player personnel Adam Glessner, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Lue, James, Zizic

Kevin Love has a chance to raise his trade value by the February deadline, which may explain why the Cavaliers aren’t putting him on the market now, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. GM Koby Altman said this week that the organization “doesn’t get better” by moving Love, and a rival executive that Pluto talked to agrees.

With LeBron James gone, Love will become the new focus of the offense in Cleveland and he has a good chance to raise the numbers of 17.6PPG and 9.0 RPG that earned him an All-Star berth this season. He also stretches opposing defense, which will give Jordan Clarkson and rookie point guard Collin Sexton easier paths to the rim.

Love will make $24MM in the upcoming season, then has a $25.6MM salary for 2019/20 that he is expected to opt out of, so the Cavaliers will likely decide to trade him at some point. The unidentified executive says he could be very popular around the deadline, especially in the Eastern Conference, where teams will see a wide open field with James now a Laker.

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:

  • The Heat, Hornets, Trail Blazers and Raptors stand out as potential trade destinations for Love, according to Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype.
  • Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue will meet with Lakers coach Luke Walton and associate head coach Brian Shaw to discuss the experience of coaching James, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” Lue said. “People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope. … So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it.” Lue adds that he spoke to James a number of times while he was making his free agency decision, but never pressed him to stay in Cleveland.
  • Pluto examines James’ legacy with the Cavaliers in a separate story. Through all he has accomplished, the enduring memory for James may be bringing an NBA championship to Cleveland. “Only people who are from there understand what that title meant,” said former Cavs coach Mike Brown. “To LeBron, I bet it’s worth more than all his MVP awards [four] and his other titles [in Miami] combined.”
  • Ante Zizic, an overlooked part of the Kyrie Irving trade, has been putting up huge numbers in the Las Vegas Summer League, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He posted 25 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s loss to the Bulls.