And-Ones: Shaw, Caboclo, Pietrus

March 4 at 10:09pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Brian Shaw was Phil Jackson‘s second choice after Steve Kerr to become the Knicks‘ new head coach last summer, but Jackson was leery of the compensation it would take to pry Shaw away from Denver, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. While it’s doubtful that New York’s team president would part ways with Derek Fisher after inking him to a five-year deal this past offseason, adding Shaw as a veteran assistant on the Knicks’ coaching staff next season is entirely possible, Berman adds. A friend of the coach relayed that Shaw would have considered it an ideal opportunity to become the Knicks’ head man under Jackson had the Nuggets fired him after last season, the Post scribe relays.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Raptors rookie Bruno Caboclo is now being represented by Relativity Sports, having parted ways with agent Eduardo Resende, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun reports (Twitter link).
  • Clippers executive and coach Doc Rivers said that the team would “most likely” sign Jordan Hamilton to a second 10-day contract when his initial 10-day pact ends this Thursday, Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • It wasn’t surprising that Ray Allen announced that he wouldn’t play this season, Chris Mannix of SI.com tweets. Allen is reportedly content with living the life of a retiree, Mannix adds.
  • Former NBA player Mickael Pietrus has inked a deal in Puerto Rico with Mets de Guaynabo, Three Eye Sports reports (Twitter link). The swingman’s last NBA appearance was during the 2012/13 campaign when he appeared in 19 contests for the Raptors. In 557 career NBA games Pietrus has averaged 8.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.8 assists. His career slash line is .425/.355/.665.
  • NBA teams are still trying to evaluate Emmanuel Mudiay, and decide if he is worth selecting with the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA draft, Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes in his profile of the 18-year-old guard. “The two guys with the biggest upsides in the draft are Mudiay and Karl-Anthony Towns,” one NBA GM told Ford. “Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell are more sure things, but neither of those guys have the ceiling of Mudiay and Towns. And of those four, Mudiay is the best athlete. I can understand a team taking any of those four guys No. 1. But if you’re asking me who has the chance to be a game-changer in the NBA, I think it’s Mudiay. Big risk, big reward.

Western Notes: Shaw, Thunder, Hunt

March 4 at 8:39pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Former Nuggets coach Brian Shaw released a statement through his agent, Jerome Stanley, regarding his recent firing by Denver, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. Having been a part of five NBA Championship teams, I know how difficult it is to make the commitment necessary to achieve that goal,” said Shaw. “It takes sacrifice for the greater good … and time, for a club to get to the championship level. Players, coaches, management and ownership all must share that commitment and build toward that goal. It is not an easy task. I am very proud of the effort that my staff and I put in while coaching the team. I also appreciate the support that I received from the KSE group. Finally, I believe that the Nuggets will grow to be a championship level club and give the fans in Denver a much deserved Championship. In time.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • The Thunder are attempting the difficult feat of remaining in contention while undergoing a significant overhaul of their roster, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes. Seven out of the 15 players on OKC’s roster weren’t with the team at the end of last season, and since the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign, five players have been acquired via trade, Slater notes.
  • Oklahoma City intends to retain both Kyle Singler and Enes Kanter, who become restricted free agents after the season, Slater adds. The Thunder are operating with the idea that a massive luxury tax bill next season will be softened in 2016/17 when the NBA’s new television deal kicks in and the salary cap increases as a result, Slater notes.
  • Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt inherits the difficult task of piloting a team that has underperformed all season, and had reportedly quit on former coach Shaw, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post writes. It’s bittersweet,” Hunt said. “This is not the way you want it to happen, because there are a lot of people involved that are impacted by this. At the same time, in the pit of my stomach, there is a feeling of excitement because I love to compete and I’m ready for the challenges.

Atlantic Notes: Olynyk, West, Robinson

March 4 at 7:10pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Thomas Robinson is now playing for his fifth NBA team since being selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Though the Sixers claimed him off of waivers as much for his contract as for his talent, the big man hopes to use his opportunity in Philadelphia to silence critics that have labeled him a draft bust, Chris Mannix of SI.com writes. When asked what he was hoping for in Philly, Robinson said, “A chance, man. I know what I can do. I’m just keeping it simple here; rebound, defend, get to the open spots. Energy and toughness is my game. That’s who I am as a player right now.

Here’s the latest out of the Atlantic Division:

  • ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford (subscription required) believes that the Sixers would be the team most likely to use the No. 1 overall pick to select Emmanuel Mudiay instead of Jahlil Okafor, who is the consensus top pick amongst scouts. Ford also thinks that the Magic would select Karl-Anthony Towns over Okafor if given the opportunity, since Towns would slot in better alongside Nikola Vucevic, Orlando’s starting center.
  • The Raptors were interested in acquiring David West from the Pacers prior to the February trade deadline, but the impending return of Paul George from injury and the wide open Eastern Conference negated any chance of a deal, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Center Kelly Olynyk is expected to make his return to the Celtics‘ lineup tonight after missing over a month with a sprained right ankle, Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com relays. “I don’t know what to expect,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said of Olynyk. “I watched him play 3 on 3 yesterday and he looked good to me. So hopefully he can give us what he gives us and that is a skilled offensive guy and a guy defensively with some savvy.”

Eastern Notes: Marble, Dragic, Brooks

March 4 at 5:40pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Devyn Marble has suffered a detached retina in his left eye and is expected to miss four to six weeks of action, the Magic announced in a press release. The rookie has appeared in 16 games for Orlando, averaging 2.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 13.0 minutes per contest. Marble has also appeared in six games for the Erie BayHawks, the Magic’s D-League affiliate, logging 13.0 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 30.3 minutes per night.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat have assigned Zoran Dragic to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Dragic’s first trek of the season to the D-League.
  • The play of offseason signee Aaron Brooks will be vital for the Bulls with all of the backcourt injuries the team has endured this season, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com writes. “I shouldn’t overlook him,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. “He had a tough matchup and I thought he hit big shots for us. He’s a big shot maker in the fourth quarter. We’re asking him to do a lot and I think he’s more than capable.”
  • Khris Middleton is providing the Bucks with a level of stability at shooting guard that the team has lacked for some time, Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Middleton has become an important part of the team’s future and Milwaukee would like to re-sign him this summer when he will become a restricted free agent, Gardner notes.

Northwest Notes: Shaw, Neal, Billups

March 4 at 4:11pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders continues to assert that Gary Neal is a part of the franchise’s future, Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune writes. “We traded for him and everybody — all the experts — thought we were going to buy him out,” Saunders said. “And I said we weren’t. We traded for him. We thought he was a good player and we thought he might have a future. We thought we’d bring him in, let him play with our guys and see how he would blend in.”  Neal will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Now that the deadline has passed for players to reach buyout arrangements and still be eligible to appear in the playoffs for a new team, Neal is staying positive about his situation in Minnesota, Youngblood adds. “I’m a basketball player and Flip has given me an opportunity to come in here and play,” said Neal. “I don’t have any complaints. The way the team is set up, with K-Mart [Kevin Martin] being out tonight, your role can change from day to day. All you ask for is an opportunity to come in and play, and Flip has been fair with me on that.
  • Brian Shaw is better off no longer coaching a petulant group of Nuggets, opines Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. The problem extends to the front office, as Kiszla argues in a separate column, suggesting it would be difficult for any coach to succeed in Denver.
  • The Nuggets should consider hiring former NBA player Chauncey Billups as their next coach, Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post opines. Billups, who has expressed some level of interest in a front office position now that his playing career has ended, is not as old school a personality as Shaw was, which would be a more ideal fit with Denver’s current group of players, Hochman adds.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Ray Allen Says He Won’t Play This Season

March 4 at 1:46pm CST By Chuck Myron

Ray Allen will not play this season, as he says in a statement released through agent Jim Tanner and the Tandem Sports and Entertainment agency. He’s not ruling out a return for 2015/16 but adds that he’ll take rest of this season and the offseason ahead to decide about that, suggesting that it’ll again be a long wait before we know if, much less where, Allen will play again. The 39-year-old has languished as the most sought-after free agent since the start of training camp, though the Cavs, long the front-runner for the friend and former teammate of LeBron James, recently appeared to drop out of the running. They were one of of 14 teams who expressed serious interest, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

“Over the past several months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what is best for me,” Allen said in the statement. “I’ve ultimately decided that I will not play this NBA season. I’m going to take the remainder of this season, as well as the upcoming off-season, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I will play in the 2015/16 season.”

The Grizzlies, too, appeared no longer to be in the Allen sweepstakes as of this weekend, not long after executives around the league reportedly began losing faith that he’d sign. The Warriors, Wizards, Spurs, Heat and Hawks were keeping in touch with Allen’s camp as of early February, and Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers said at about that time that he’d recently spoken to him.

Just about every playoff-bound team reportedly reached out to Allen at some point this season. The Wizards were apparently the most aggressive suitor as of January, though LeBron visited Allen’s home in Miami to woo the sharpshooter while the four-time MVP was in town for rehabilitation.

The Bulls were another suitor, though a trip he made to Chicago earlier this season wasn’t basketball-related, Tanner said. Tanner batted down reports that indicated his intentions regarding one team or another all throughout the process that began when he became a free agent in July. Allen said over the summer that it would take a “perfect storm scenario” for him to play this season, and he pointed to a desire for a veteran coach and more than the minimum salary.

Allen was seemingly leaning toward retirement in late December, though he indicated during the middle of last season that he wasn’t planning to retire so soon. If he doesn’t return, he’ll walk away as the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made and career earnings in excess of $184.356MM, according to Basketball-Reference.

Latest On Nets, Hawks Sales

March 4 at 1:20pm CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 1:20pm: Investor and Lionsgate Entertainment chairman Mark Rachesky is joining the Frankel-Itzler-Starker bid, league sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. At least one of the groups with interest in the Hawks is willing to pay more than $900MM, a source tells Stein, though it’s unclear if that total would include bonds tied to the arena that aren’t part of the franchise value, as Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com recently suggested. Stein also adds the names of Indonesian sports and media moguls Erick Thohir and Handy Poernomo Soetedjo to the group fronted by baseball legend Hank Aaron. Wilkins, the Hawks icon and current front office executive for the team, is expected to be a “prominent” member of a bidding group, Stein also hears.

12:23pm: Geffen tells Peter Newcomb of Bloomberg News that he’s not interested in buying the Nets, as Newcomb’s Bloomberg colleague Scott Soshnick tweets.

MONDAY, 8:54am: The Chinese investment conglomerate Fosun is bidding for the Hawks and has interest in the Nets, report Josh Kosman and Claire Atkinson of the New York Post, who hear from a sports banker who believes the Hawks will strike a deal with a new owner in six weeks. The investment fund for the government of the nation of Qatar and former interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons are also among those interested in the Nets, a franchise that multiple sports bankers believe would sell for as much as $2 billion, according to Kosman and Atkinson. Impresario David Geffen is also considering a run at the Nets, Kosman and Atkinson write, renewing apparent interest from the past. The Post scribes also identify “two wealthy U.S. families” as parties eyeing the Nets.

One of the bankers to whom Kosman and Atkinson spoke disputed an earlier report that the NBA is mandating that current Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov attach his 45% stake in the Barclays Center to his 80% share of the team, saying that the league hasn’t made a decision. The league is promising a verdict on the matter soon, but the confusion over just what’s a part of the sale is causing complication, Kosman and Atkinson hear. Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises has confirmed it’s shopping its 20% stake in the team, though Prokhorov’s camp has been reluctant to make the same pronouncement regarding its interest in a sale.

The Qatari investment fund seems an unusual bidder, though it has existing connections to the sports world. It owns a French soccer team, as Robert Windrem of NetsDaily points out. It also has ties to the NBA through beIN, a French sports television channel, the NetsDaily scribe tweets. Others linked to the Nets include former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, investor David Bonderman and hedge fund manager David Einhorn, as well as Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The same banker who suggested the Hawks sale will be complete in six weeks tells Kosman and Atkinson that he believes the NBA would like to see the Hawks sold before the Nets are. A deadline for preliminary bids for the Atlanta franchise passed last week, and a long list of potential buyers exists. Tampa Bay Rays part-owner Randy Frankel is teaming with rapper-turned-entrepreneur Jesse Itzler and brokerage firm founder Steven Starker in one bid. Former NBA players Grant Hill and Junior Bridgeman, former Suns and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, and neuropsychologist Richard Chaifetz are partnering for another.  The owners of Atlanta’s WNBA team, Kelly Loeffler and Mary Brock, along with their husbands, Jeffrey Sprecher and John Brock, are also reportedly interested in bidding for the Hawks. Former players Dominique Wilkins, Dikembe Mutombo and Chris Webber, former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien, attorney Doug Davis and Seattle-focused investors Chris Hansen and Thomas Tull have been linked to the club, too.

Southeast Notes: Beasley, Webster, Mo Williams

March 4 at 12:29pm CST By Chuck Myron

Michael Beasley has promised to reform in the past, but he knows there’s a decent chance his 10-day contract with the Heat represents his final opportunity in the NBA, observes Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel. The former No. 2 overall pick’s deal expires at the end of Saturday.

“I’m still the same guy, but it’s desperation for me,” Beasley said. “This is my last chance, my last shot. It’s either play or sit down and I’m not ready to play at `The Y’, not ready for open gyms. I’m playing to eat right now, and I got kids. It adds that much more.”

While we wait to see if Beasley’s third career contract with the Heat will lead to a fourth, here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Nets would have had to take Martell Webster if they’d traded Jarrett Jack to the Wizards at the deadline, and the deal would have involved the teams swapping future first-round picks, Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweets. Those Jack proposals appeared to be contingent on Brooklyn’s failed Reggie Jackson-for-Brook Lopez talks, as Lowe points out (on Twitter).
  • Mo Williams says he took his time on successful Cavs teams earlier in his career for granted and is grateful for last month’s trade that sent him from Minnesota to the Hornets and gave him a chance to compete for a playoff berth again, as he tells Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders. The soon-to-be free agent signed with the Wolves knowing they wouldn’t be contenders, but it seems his focus has changed. “I just want to win. It’s as simple as that — just win,” Williams said. “I’m at the point at my career where I’ve made a lot of money, been an All-Star, and one thing I haven’t experienced is playing at the highest level and that’s winning a championship. That’s everybody’s goal.”
  • Re-signing Trevor Ariza would have helped the Wizards better overcome their recent struggles, but that was a sacrifice the franchise was willing to make to save cap flexibility for a shot at Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016, as Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com examines.

Multiple Teams Interested In JaVale McGee

March 4 at 11:48am CST By Chuck Myron

11:48am: There’s “no way” the Raptors would cross the $76.829MM tax line to sign McGee in spite of GM Masai Ujiri‘s affection for him, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. The Raptors have a team salary for tax purposes of $76.096MM, as I pointed out earlier. A prorated minimum-salary contract until season’s end for McGee would only cost the team $231,503 if he signed today, after he clears waivers at 4pm Central time, so presumably the club can still bring him in and avoid the tax. So it follows that the Raptors won’t engage in a bidding war, Wolstat adds (on Twitter). However, the Raptors may be closer to the tax line than it appears based on incentive clauses in player contracts, which aren’t always fully reported.

WEDNESDAY, 10:10am: The Raptors are thinking about pursuing McGee, Stein tweets.

5:27pm: The Warriors have expressed major interest in McGee, and view him as an insurance policy for Andrew Bogut, Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 3:59pm: The Mavericks are “seriously interested” in JaVale McGee, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com, but the sense is he won’t rush to choose a team should he clear waivers as expected on Wednesday, Stein adds (Twitter links). Plenty of other teams are interested, Stein notes, echoing a Monday report from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports indicating that no less than 10 teams are in the mix. It’s nonetheless somewhat surprising to see Dallas emerge as one of them, since the Mavs earlier today committed their final open roster spot to a contract through season’s end Bernard James.

The teams that are in the mix for McGee reportedly envision him as a third-string center and won’t offer the big man more than the league minimum to sign. The Heat are among those interested in the oft-injured veteran, Stein tweets. While the remainder of the teams considering making a run at McGee are not yet known, the Wizards are not one of them, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post notes.

The 27-year-old appeared in just seven contests for the Sixers after being acquired from Denver, averaging 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per contest. In 382 career games McGee has averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. His career slash line is .540/.200/.587.