Report: Spurs extend required tender to Deshaun Thomas


Deshaun Thomas – the No. 58 pick in the 2013 NBA draft – has played overseas since the Spurs picked him. He has rejected their required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum – the last two years to allow San Antonio to keep his rights.

That was going to change if the Spurs offered him the tender again this season.

Well, they apparently did.

David Pick:

Thomas will face a difficult time making the Spurs’ regular-season roster. They have 13 players with guaranteed salaries plus Matt Bonner ($749,594 guaranteed), Jimmer Fredette ($507,711 guaranteed) and Reggie Williams (unguaranteed).

But if Thomas accepts the tender and gets waived, he’ll become an NBA free agent. No longer stuck bargaining exclusively with San Antonio, he’d be better off.

If the Spurs waive him, they could assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, the Austin Spurs. Thomas could join Austin on a D-League salary or return overseas, presumably for more money. Either way, he’d be free to sign with any NBA team (though the D-League would allow him out of his contract to do so; a foreign team probably wouldn’t).

Of course, Thomas could make the Spurs’ regular-season roster. That’s obviously the best outcome for him. But he’ll face an uphill battle in training camp to do that – if he follows through on his initial plan of accepting the tender.

C.J. McCollum inks two-year, $64 million extension with Pelicans

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans
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After helping New Orleans return to the playoffs for the first time since Anthony Davis was traded to the Lakers, C.J. McCollum earned a two-year, $64 million extension with the Pelicans. He will remain under contract with the team through the 2025-26 season, and there isn’t a player or team option in the deal. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news Saturday afternoon.

New Orleans traded Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, a 2022 protected first-round pick (turns into 2025 first-round pick that is top-4 protected), and two future second-round picks for McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., and Tony Snell.

New Orleans now has their core of McCollum, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram under contract for the next three seasons.

The expectations will be high for the Pelicans for the next few years. After starting last season 1-12, first-year head coach Willie Green helped turn the team around, and they finished 36-46 before beating the Spurs and Clippers in the play-in tournament. Their season ended after losing to the Suns 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.

McCollum averaged 24.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.7 triples per game after the trade to New Orleans.

The return of Zion this season, along with the success of last year’s team, has the team expecting a return to the playoffs. Locking up their star guard in McCollum emphasizes that their rebuild is over. After missing the playoffs during their first three seasons in the post-AD era, they don’t expect to return to the lottery for a long time. The big question surrounding their potential success will be Zion’s health.

Reports: Suns push for Jarred Vanderbilt derailed Bojan Bogdanovic trade

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors
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Utah traded Bojan Bogdanovic not to one of the contenders pushing for him — Phoenix, Miami, even the Lakers — but to rebuilding Detroit. It’s a move that caught the NBA off guard.

News has come out now that part of what hung up the Suns’ effort to land Bogdanovic was their push to make promising young forward Jarred Vanderbilt — who the Jazz got from the Timberwolves in the Rudy Gobert trade — as part of the deal. The well-connected John Gambardoro first had the report.

If the Suns had not pushed for Vanderbilt it doesn’t mean they would have landed Bogdanovic using a Jae Crowder-based package ( with another player, maybe Landry Shamet, and some picks). Reports have also suggested the draft package that was part of the Suns offer was not impressing the Jazz, so Utah moved on to a cost-cutting move rather than one where they took back more salary than they preferred.

The Pistons may decide to trade Bogdanovic again closer to the February deadline and maybe the Suns can get in the mix then. But for now, the Phoenix target is in the Motor City to start the season.



Knicks’ Leon Rose plays it safe with media, Mitchell trade: ‘We’re thrilled with where we are’

2022 NBA Summer League - Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks
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Leon Rose continues to play it safe.

He’s played it safe with the New York media since he arrived — he doesn’t meet with them. Instead, he again turned this week to the MSG Network — owned by Knicks governor James Dolan — so he doesn’t have to face hard questions or defend decisions.

He also played it safe in the Donovan Mitchell trade talks, not going all-in to get the All-Star out of Utah. Mitchell is now in Cleveland and we will see over the course f the next 12-24 months if playing it safe was the right call. Here’s Rose’s explanation of the situation in that MSG interview (hat tip Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News).

“We went through that process and at the end of the day we made a decision to stay put. And we’re thrilled with where we are. Taking a look at the summer, we feel great about what transpired.”

As every GM does this time of year, Rose said he likes his team and its chances this season.

“One of our main goals has been to create internal stability. Signed RJ Barrett, first extension of a player since Charlie Ward. We retained Mitchell Robinson. He’s a player who has developed the last few years and we feel very fortunate that we were able to keep him. We got the No.1 point guard in free agency this summer in Jalen Brunson. So we feel really good about the summer.”

In the interview, Rose also defended Tom Thibodeau and his decisions as coach, despite rumors of him being on the hot seat. Rose said Thibs is not under pressure.

The Knicks should be better this season with Brunson, plus Barrett should take another step forward. New York’s problem is much of the East got better — Cleveland, Atlanta, Washington and others — and this roster likely still leaves the Knicks fighting to make the play-in.

Rose deserves credit for being patient, trying to build culture and foundation, and not just throwing Dolan’s money at an aging superstar. He hasn’t done anything stupid, which is a step forward in New York. But he also hasn’t done anything bold yet, he’s just played it safe.

At some point, Rose and the Knicks will have to push their chips in and make a bold, all-in move. But for now, they are playing it safe.

Celtics’ center Robert Williams out 8-12 weeks following knee surgery


Robert Williams had knee surgery last March that was supposed to sideline him for 6-8 weeks, but he pushed and beat that timeline and get on the court for the Celtics playoff run that went all the way to the NBA Finals. Williams played through pain — and he played well — “Taking it day by day, step by step, getting all the treatment I can, throwing everything I can at my knee to make sure I’m running.” The Celtics medical staff told him it would not make things worse.

Williams underwent a second surgery on the knee this week and will be out 2-3 months, the team announced.

That timeline would have Williams returning in December, just before Christmas.

Williams’ absence, combined with coach Ime Udoka being suspended for the season, could lead to a rocky start for a Celtics team that is a title favorite

Williams can put a few points on the board (10 points and 9.6 rebounds a game last season), but he was a game changer for the team on the defensive end. Boston’s league-best defense was 3.7 points per 100 possessions better with Williams on the court, and in the playoffs that jumped to 6.4 points per 100 better. And that was with him playing through a sore knee.

Look for the Celtics to try and add a center. Their current centers are Luke Kornet and, when they go small, Grant Williams.