Pacific Notes: Clark, Chandler, Cousins, Walton

Ian Clark has shot well during camp and shown improving skill as a point guard, as well as the ability to defend multiple positions, all of which bodes well for his chances to stick with the Warriors on his non-guaranteed deal, as Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle examines. He’s also lingering after the end of most practices so he can play one-on-one with Stephen Curry, Simmons notes.

“He’s played well,” Curry said. “He’s not just a shooter. He’s shown that he can put the ball on the floor and make plays. He’s been around a couple of different teams and our summer-league program. I think he understands how we play, and he’s fitting right in. It’s fun to watch those five or six guys fighting for a roster spot, but Ian has definitely shown that he’s confident, and he’s making the most of an opportunity right now.”

Golden State has 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts and James Michael McAdoo on a partially guaranteed deal, as our roster count shows, leaving Clark among six likely fighting for a single regular season spot. See more from the Warriors amid the latest on the Pacific Division:

  • The free agent signing of Tyson Chandler has displaced Alex Len from the Suns starting lineup, but the 2013 No. 5 overall pick sees it as an opportunity to learn from an experienced mentor, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Suns senior adviser Lon Babby also arranged for Len to work with Tim Duncan for a few days this summer, Coro notes. “I learn something new every day,” Len said. “Like I talk to Tyson and he tells me something and I can apply it in the game right away. Like positioning and little things he helps with. I feel the game has slowed down a little bit from last year to this year. Now, when I dive and catch the ball, I see other guys more and read the game better.” 
  • Luke Walton‘s career trajectory has seen him go from a first-time assistant, to winning an NBA title, and now to Warriors interim head coach in the span of 14 months, Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle writes.
  • Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is pleased with the team’s veteran offseason additions, who all fit with Sacramento’s intent to try to contend this season, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. “You’ve got guys who know how to play the game, guys that know the game,” Cousins said. “Coming out and building chemistry is even easier. Trying to do that with younger guys? They’re trying to figure out their game and learn how to play.

Travis Wear To Play In Spain

Former Knicks small forward Travis Wear will sign with Gipuzkoa Basket of Spain, reports Juanjo Lusa of the Spanish outlets Onda Vasca and Mundo Deportivo (Twitter links; translation via Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). The 25-year-old didn’t appear to generate much interest from NBA teams this offseason, as his rumors page indicates, even though he stuck on the Knicks roster for the entire season last year after making the team out of training camp.

New York had the chance to make him a restricted free agent, but the team elected not to make a qualifying offer that would have been worth $1,045,059, so he became an unrestricted free agent instead. It had seemed at the end of last season as though the Knicks would likely invite him back to camp, but he struggled on New York’s summer league team, notching just 2.0 points in 16.7 minutes per game with 26.7% shooting over four appearances. That small sample size represented a regression from this past season, when he posted 3.9 PPG in 13.2 MPG with 40.2% shooting.

Wear is set to join his twin brother in Spain, as David Wear signed with Fuenlabrada this summer after spending time with the Kings on a 10-day contract last year. Both went undrafted out of UCLA in 2014.

Do you think we’ll see Travis Wear in the NBA again? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Likely To Miss Season

TUESDAY, 3:03pm: Kidd-Gilchrist will have surgery, the team announced. The Hornets didn’t confirm the timetable, but this news signals that he’ll indeed miss the season.

5:08pm: It’s more likely than not that Kidd-Gilchrist will undergo season-ending surgery, but a non-surgical alternative exists that would allow him to miss only six to eight weeks, a source tells Bonnell. However, going without surgery would leave Kidd-Gilchrist more vulnerable to tearing the labrum again, Bonnell adds. Kidd-Gilchrist will meet Tuesday with a team doctor to discuss his options, as the Hornets said in their press release.

4:26pm: An MRI reveals Kidd-Gilchrist has a torn labrum in that right shoulder, the Hornets announced via press release. The team didn’t provide a timetable. That’s a different injury to the shoulder than previous reports indicated.

2:09pm: The injury is a season-ender, Wojnarowski writes in a full story, which represents only a slight adjustment of the six-month timetable, as I pointed out below. Wojnarowski also refers to the injury as a shoulder separation, not a dislocation.

MONDAY, 1:44pm: Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will have surgery on his dislocated right shoulder and miss six months, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The news is a devastating blow for Charlotte’s playoff hopes just weeks after the team signed the former No. 2 overall pick to a four-year, $52MM extension. Kidd-Gilchrist appeared to suffer the injury when he took a hard fall to the floor in Saturday’s preseason game.

Most shoulder dislocations force players out for only between three and 12 weeks, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer pointed out, so the timetable that Wojnarowski reports is surprising. It’s unclear if Kidd-Gilchrist suffered additional injury.

The Hornets reportedly plan to sign nine-year veteran swingman Damien Wilkins, a move that appears directly tied to the Kidd-Gilchrist injury, though Wilkins, who’s 35 and has been out of the NBA for two years, is unlikely to give Charlotte the production it will miss from Kidd-Gilchrist, a top-flight defender.

A return in six months would bring Kidd-Gilchrist back in time only for the last week or two of the regular season. If the league determines that Kidd-Gilchrist is likely to miss the entire season, the Hornets could apply for a disabled player exception. However, it would only be worth 50% of his $6,331,404 salary this season, which would come to $3,165,702, and not the $5.464MM it would be worth if Kidd-Gilchrist was already playing under the terms of his extension, which doesn’t kick in until next season. The Hornets already have their full non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception worth $5.464MM that they’ve yet to touch, so it remains to be seen if the team will bother applying for the disabled player exception. The mid-level gives Charlotte more cap flexibility than every team in the league except the Trail Blazers, Sixers and Jazz.

The only other cap-related compensation that might become available for the Hornets this season is a hardship provision for an extra regular season roster spot, but that would only come into play if three other players are expected to miss an extended period of time, and that’s not the case for now.

Charlotte traded for Nicolas Batum in the offseason, though he was already likely to start along side Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets offloaded Gerald Henderson in that trade and Lance Stephenson in another, so Jeremy Lamb, who came to Charlotte via yet another trade, seems like a strong candidate to inherit a starting spot.

What additional move, if any, should the Hornets try to make to offset the loss of Kidd-Gilchrist? Leave a comment to tell us.

Grizzlies Sign Sampson Carter

The Grizzlies have signed former UMass combo forward Sampson Carter, the team announced via press release. Carter, 25, went undrafted in 2014 and split last season between teams in Slovakia, Portugal and the Dominican Republic. He replaces shooting guard Dan Nwaelele, whom Memphis waived Monday. Today’s move gives the Grizzlies a full 20-man preseason roster again.

Carter put up 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game with 35.0% three-point shooting for the Minutemen as a senior in 2013/14. He initially signed with BC Prievidza in Slovakia before moving on to CAB Madeira in Portugal and finally to Club Virgilio Castillo, also known as Chola, of the Dominican Republic.

He’s a long shot to make the Grizzlies, who have 14 fully guaranteed contracts plus a partial guarantee for JaMychal Green, as our roster count shows. Still, he seems like a candidate to end up on the D-League affiliate of the Grizzlies. Memphis can retain the D-League rights to as many as four of the players it waives, and fellow Grizzlies camp invitees Ryan Hollins and Yakhouba Diawara are veterans unlikely to end up in the D-League.

Volume Of Five-Year Deals Surged In 2015

The drastic increases in the salary cap are still a year away, but the understanding that the changes are on the horizon seemed have a significant effect on this offseason. Perhaps one of the most demonstrable changes came in the amount of new five-year contracts. Free agents signed more five-year contracts this summer than in the previous three years put together, as I briefly noted during the initial July rush. It’s an indication that teams won a key power struggle with players.

The lure of better money a year from now made short-term deals ostensibly more attractive than ever for this year’s free agents. Conversely, teams had motivation to tie up valuable players for as long as possible now, lest they be able to command more money in a year or two, or three or four.

Few players, if any, have as much leverage as those whom teams deem worthy of maximum-salary deals, but even among that group, the number of five-year contracts was higher this year. Pen hit paper on only one five-year max deal per summer each of the previous three years, including last season, when Carmelo Anthony took slightly less than his max to re-sign with the Knicks. This year, a trio of players signed five-year max deals, including Kawhi Leonard, who indicated that the length of his deal intrigued him even more than the money. Leonard may be an outlier who wouldn’t necessarily have sought the most lucrative arrangement for himself no matter the cap dynamics, and Marc Gasol, at age 30, may have been wise to grab a max deal while he still can. It’s nonetheless worth wondering if the Cavs, and not Love, were the party that insisted upon five years in Kevin Love‘s deal.

The proliferation of five-year deals also indicates a willingness from players to stay put, and from teams to retain their existing talent, since only incumbent teams may offer five-year contracts.

Whatever the reasons, here’s a list of every five-year free agent contract signed the past four offseasons. Note that the list doesn’t include extensions, like the five-year pacts that Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard signed this summer, since those players weren’t free agents. Salaries are rounded to the nearest $1K.


  1. Marc Gasol, Grizzlies ($113.212MM — max)
  2. Kevin Love, Cavaliers ($113.212MM — max)
  3. Kawhi Leonard, Spurs ($94.343MM — max)
  4. Jimmy Butler, Bulls ($92.34MM)
  5. Goran Dragic, Heat ($85.002MM)
  6. Draymond Green, Warriors ($82MM)
  7. Reggie Jackson, Pistons ($80MM)
  8. Brandon Knight, Suns ($70MM)
  9. Khris Middleton, Bucks ($70MM)
  10. Omer Asik, Pelicans ($52.978MM)
  11. Jae Crowder, Celtics ($35MM)
  12. Kyle Singler, Thunder ($24.3MM)


  1. Carmelo Anthony, Knicks ($124.065MM)
  2. Chris Bosh, Heat ($118.705MM — max)
  3. Eric Bledsoe, Suns ($70MM)
  4. Marcin Gortat, Wizards ($60MM)


  1. Chris Paul, Clippers ($107.343MM — max)
  2. Nikola Pekovic, Timberwolves ($60MM)


  1. Deron Williams, Nets ($98.772MM — max)
  2. George Hill, Pacers ($40MM)
  3. Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks ($40MM)
  4. Jason Thompson, Kings ($30.188MM)

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Do you think teams and players will continue to sign a larger number of five-year deals each summer, or is this just a one-year phenomenon? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Southwest Notes: Terry, Grizzlies, Leonard, Gentry

The Pelicans offered Jason Terry more than the guaranteed one-year deal for the minimum salary that the Rockets gave him, but he preferred a better chance to make the Finals with Houston, even though his role on the Rockets will likely shrink, reports Calvin Watkins of

“I don’t have to play a lot of minutes to be effective,” Terry said. “With the minutes, I know my role and what’s expected out of me, and that goes a long way.”

Terry saw 21.3 minutes per game for Houston in the regular season last year but 28.6 in the playoffs as he filled in for the injured Patrick Beverley, a duty that would now fall to trade acquisition Ty Lawson. See more from the Southwest Division:

Early Preseason Cuts Not Uncommon

The vast majority of the more than 120 players who’ll hit waivers this month will do so in the final few days before the start of the regular season. Some of them are competing for spots on the regular season roster. Others are around so that their teams can evaluate them during training camp and preseason practices in an effort to gain greatest amount of knowledge possible about intriguing prospects should a need arise later on. Still more fall into that latter category as players bound for the D-League, since signing a player to the NBA roster for the preseason is one way to secure his D-League rights.

Those reasons generally dictate that teams will hold on to those players as long as possible, but sometimes, cuts come with weeks to go before opening night. That was the case for Nikoloz Tskitishvili this weekend, when the Clippers released the former fifth overall pick, and Dan Nwaelele, whom the Grizzlies waived Monday night. It’s not quite clear exactly why the teams parted ways with either so quickly, though Nwaelele suffered a minor injury that had kept him out of practice. I’d speculate that Nwaelele’s contract, a one-year, non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary, was an Exhibit 9 that limited the team’s liability in case of an injury. If so, the Grizzlies needed only to pay him $6K when they waived him. Of course, Memphis might have saved that $6K if he’d healed by the end of the preseason, so it’s still tough to tell exactly what went on. In any case, he’ll return to the Warriors D-League affiliate, as international journalist David Pick reported, since the Santa Cruz Warriors held his D-League rights from his time with them in 2013/14. Where Tskitishvili will end up remains a mystery.

Sometimes, players request their early release. That was the case last year with Michael Beasley, who asked off the Grizzlies so he could take a deal to play in China. Beasley had reportedly been suffering from an illness that would have made it difficult for him to stick for opening night on his non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary, while China’s Shanghai Sharks were offering a lucrative contract, so the former No. 2 overall pick had financial motivation to make his move.

On other occasions, the financial motivation is the team’s. Exhibit 9’s aren’t allowed unless a team already has 14 players under contract, and so occasionally, teams will sign a player to a standard contract just so they can sign others to Exhibit 9’s and then release the player on the conventional deal. Players who aren’t on Exhibit 9’s and who sustain injuries while playing for the team receive their salary until they’re ready to play again, regardless of whether the team waives them. Thus, any player signed to a standard contract whom the team doesn’t believe is worthy of a regular season roster spot is a quick waiver candidate, lest he sustain injury in practice or a preseason game. Michael Dunigan of the Cavaliers appeared to be in that position, but he’s still on the Cavs roster. He’s one of 20 players with Cleveland, so he or another would have to go if the team finally signs Tristan Thompson, and that demonstrates another reason why camp invitees might hit waivers early. Sometimes, teams simply need the roster room.

Here’s a list of each of the players who hit waivers more than two weeks before opening night last year, one that suggests Tskitishvili and Nwaelele will have plenty of company shortly.

Southeast Notes: Ferry, Budenholzer, Dragic

Mike Budenholzer and former Hawks GM Danny Ferry are close, but Budenholzer encouraged Ferry to resign in September 2014 so that the Hawks could more easily put their racism scandal behind them before the opening of training camp last season, report Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of Their piece goes deep into the downfall of Ferry, who instead went on a leave of absence that extended until he took a buyout this past summer, and the team’s previous ownership group, one that had lost money each year since it purchased the franchise in 2004, Arnovitz and Windhorst reveal. Former controlling owner Bruce Levenson had nonetheless structured a long-term deal for Ferry when he hired the executive, one that other GMs called the “Golden Ticket” for its favorability to the former Spurs and Cavs executive, Arnovitz and Windhorst write. Prominent co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. opposed that deal and never saw eye-to-eye with Ferry, who upset him on several occasions, such as when Ferry had harsh words for former coach Larry Drew, according to Arnovitz and Windhorst.

See more on the Hawks amid the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Gearon didn’t initially take issue with the tenor of Levenson’s racially charged 2012 email — the one that ultimately led to his decision to sell the team, as Arnovitz and Windhorst detail in the same piece. Gearon instead put pressure on Levenson when the email again came up amid an internal investigation that Ferry’s racial comments touched off, and when a reporter was coming close to breaking the story of the scandal, Levenson decided to take a proactive step and announce his intention to sell, the ESPN scribes recount. Levenson remained a fan of Ferry and nearly brought him back before the sale took place, but the team’s renaissance worked against that, as Levenson decided too much was going right to risk disruption.
  • Goran Dragic is wistful about no longer playing with his brother, but he re-signed with the Heat without assurances they would keep Zoran Dragic and was on board when the team traded him, as he explains to Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post“I was sad, of course,” Goran said of the trade. “I know how much he wants to be part of a team in the NBA, but I understand this is a business. That’s a better situation for him right now. He’s gonna get playing time. He signed a good deal in Russia. He’s happy. That’s a good thing. Sometimes, for me, when you play with your brother, sometimes it’s a little bit stressful because if he’s not getting playing time, it affects you too. But everything’s good now.”
  • Jaleel Roberts didn’t think he would end up in training camp with the Wizards after he failed to wow them with his summer league performance, but he’s grateful for the opportunity after an overseas offer didn’t pan out as he expected it to, writes J. Michael of

And-Ones: Clippers, Paul, Union, Gentile, Bender

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers acknowledges that if the team doesn’t break through this season, it would be reasonable to conclude that this core of players never will and that major changes are necessary, as he tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe.

“We’re all on that edge together,” Rivers said. “I believe we’re gonna be really good. But if we’re not, it depends on how we play, and what the reason is. That’s what would make you make a big decision.”

See more Clippers-related news amid our look around the league:

  • Clippers point guard Chris Paul is taking a determined stance in his role as president of the National Basketball Players Association as labor talks with the league approach, writes Kurt Streeter of ESPN the Magazine. Paul’s serious, no-nonsense demeanor helped lead the union to the hiring executive director Michele Roberts, as Anthony Tolliver, one of the union’s vice presidents, explains to Streeter. “At first there was a little bit of, um, hesitancy to elect a woman,” Tolliver said. “Not because we’re sexist, but we just weren’t quite sure how our guys were going to react to that. But Chris was adamant. He thought she’d be the best leader. By the end of the process, every single guy on our committee thought she was the best candidate. Chris said that from the beginning. We ended up following his lead.”
  • Roberts earned $1.2MM in her first year on the job, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, who writes in a subscription-only piece.
  • The Rockets will try to sign draft-and-stash swingman Alessandro Gentile next summer, and a decent chance exists that they’ll make it happen, reports Marc Stein of amid a piece on draft prospect Dragan Bender, who dominated Gentile last week in an exhibition between their European teams. Bender wouldn’t be selected lower than third overall if he enters the 2016 draft, Stein believes. Gentile was the 53rd overall pick in 2014 and is under contract with Italy’s EA7 Milano through 2018, as Mark Porcaro shows in our Draft Rights Held Players database.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 10/5/15

It’s unusual for a prominent player to suffer a season-ending injury during the first week of training camp. That’s why the news on Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is so stunning and unexpected. Gilchrist has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski calls it a season-ending injury. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell reports that a non-surgical alternative exists that would allow him to miss only six to eight weeks, though that would increase the possibility of tearing the labrum again.

Assuming that Kidd-Gilchrist will miss most, if not all, of the season, the Hornets suddenly have a major hole to fill. They are fortunate to have another quality small forward on the roster, as they traded for Nicolas Batum during the offseason. But the Hornets were planning to pair them together, giving them a dynamic defensive duo on the perimeter.

Jeremy Lamb is the leading candidate to start at shooting guard and Marvin Williams could wind up playing more at small forward than anticipated. P.J. Hairston and Troy Daniels could also see their minutes increase at the wing spots.

The other alternatives would be to make a trade or sign a free agent. The Hornets still have their mid-level exception to offer, though the market is pretty thin at this point.

Whichever road they choose, it will be nearly impossible to adequately replace Kidd-Gilchrist. He sets the tone for the Hornets’ defense with his ability to guard four positions. It’s no secret that the Hornets’ late-season slide during the spring coincided with Kidd-Gilchrist missing the last 11 games due to an ankle injury.

Thus, our question of the day is this: Can the Hornets still make the playoffs if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist misses the season?

Take to the comments below to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

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