Jonas Nader

Jakob Poeltl unlikely to sign contract extension

Spurs center Jakob Poeltl
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On the Hoop Collective Podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said it was unlikely that Jakob Poeltl would sign a contract extension with the Spurs because he could make more money in free agency.

“Jakob Poeltl is in the final year of his contract,” Windhorst said. “From what I’m told, the Spurs discussed a contract extension with him, but he’s limited by how much he can sign for. It’s the same reason they traded Dejounte Murray. They did such a good job on the contract that it almost works against you because when you want to sign a player, the player wants more than you can give him because you’re limited on how much of a raise you can give in an extension.”

Poeltl is eligible to sign an extension for roughly $14M a season, but the big man wants to bet on himself and that’s probably the right decision. The 26-year-old center is off to a strong start to the season in San Antonio, averaging 14.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 0.9 blocks. One thing to watch is whether or not this decision by Poeltl will send him elsewhere, as it’s no secret that he has a lot of admirers around the league. If the Spurs can get some serious draft capital in return, they could add to their stockpile of picks and continue in their race to the bottom for Victor Wembanyama.

Russell Westbrook to come off bench in preseason finale


According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Russell Westbrook is expected to come off the Lakers’ bench in Friday’s preseason finale against the Kings.

It’s worth mentioning that the Lakers have used different lineups with a variety of rotation tweaks in every single game so far, and while typically you don’t want to read too much into the preseason, there’s reason to believe that this move could become permanent. It sounds like both Westbrook and coach Darvin Ham are onboard with the idea. At least for now.

A change could be just what the doctor ordered, as Westbrook’s struggles from last season have carried over into the preseason. Through four games, Westbrook has been practically invisible, both in huddles and on the court. He’s averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2.7 turnovers through three games, hitting a dismal 38.9% from the field.

Let’s see if he can get anything going Friday evening in their final tune-up.


An extension for Celtics’ Grant Williams considered likely

2022 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics
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According to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston, a contract extension for Grant Williams is considered “likely.”

Williams is heading into his fourth NBA season and is set to earn $4.3 million in 2022-23. If a contract extension is not reached, the Celtics could extend a qualifying offer of $6.2 million to make Williams a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023. The deadline for an extension is the start of the NBA season, but it sounds like both sides are motivated to get something done.

Forsberg believes that recent deals for Larry Nance Jr. and Maxi Kleber could help set the market price — Nance got $21.6 million over two years with the Pelicans and Kleber received $33 million over three years with Dallas. He adds that he thinks Grant should get something around $11 or 12 million, although I think he’s being pretty conservative.

Williams’ ability to play multiple positions is extremely valuable, and while we know what he brings on the defensive end, the fact that he has added a reliable 3-point shot will be huge for Boston. After shooting 25% from deep as a rookie, Williams improved to 37% and 41% over the last two seasons.

Blake Griffin agrees to join Boston Celtics on one-year deal


According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Blake Griffin has agreed to join the Boston Celtics on a one-year contract which will be fully guaranteed.

The Celtics were desperate for frontcourt depth following injuries to Danilo Gallinari and Robert Williams, as Luke Kornet was even getting some run with the starting group at training camp.

You do have to wonder just how much the 33-year-old Griffin has left in the tank though. Last season with the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin only managed to play 17.1 minutes per game and his 3-point percentage dropped like a stone to 26%. He was also a major liability on defense, and the Celtics surely know that after Jaylen Brown drove by him with ease time and time again during the postseason.

Griffin was still an effective playmaker and that may make him a good fit with the second unit alongside the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White and Grant Williams with all of these capable of handling the ball. Injuries and Father Time have zapped Griffin’s athleticism, but if anyone can squeeze the last bit of value out of him, I’d bet on Brad Stevens and the Celtics.

Billy Donovan to choose Bulls’ starting PG during training camp

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Chicago Bulls v Minnesota Timberwolves
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Speaking at Chicago’s media day, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he will choose his starting point guard over the course of training camp. Lonzo Ball was expected to reprise his role as the starter, but he recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome knee and raised some eyebrows at media day when he said he couldn’t run or jump. Simply put, there is no guarantee we even see him at all this season.

Donovan is fortunate that he has a plethora of options though, as Goran Dragic, Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White will all battle it out. “We’ll have to see how these guys gel and mesh once training camp starts and we start practicing,” Donovan said. “But I think we have enough back there that we can get the job done from that standpoint.”

Dragic is the most “seasoned option” to use Donovan’s own words and would be the safe pick, but at 36 years old, he doesn’t exactly raise Chicago’s ceiling. Plus, Donovan already hinted at managing his minutes throughout the season.

Alex Caruso is Chicago’s best defender and is going to play a massive role whether he starts or comes off the bench, although the latter seems more likely since he’s not a natural point guard.

Coby White showed improvement as a shooter last season, hitting 38% of his triples. However, it’s no secret that his name has been in the rumor mill and the Bulls hardly mentioned him at media day.

With that said, I think Ayo is the dark horse to start after showing some serious promise during his rookie season. In 40 starts, Ayo put up 10.9 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 triples and 1.1 steals and was one of the best perimeter defenders on the team. Zach LaVine went out of his way to hype up Dosunmu at media day as well, so you have to love his chances of running away with the job.