Atlantic Notes: Nets, Knicks, Celtics

Nets coach Lionel Hollins, in a Q&A with Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com, likes that Brooklyn was able to get younger and more versatile this offseason. The coach also believes Deron Williams did not play as well as the franchise would have liked him to. Hollins said he also thinks Williams, who signed with the Mavs, will bounce back, though. Without Williams in the fold, Hollins is confident Jarrett Jack can handle the duties of starting point guard for the Nets. In addition, Joe Johnson, who was the subject of trade rumors earlier this summer, will likely start at shooting guard, according to Hollins.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The search for the Knicks‘ new D-League coach is down to Mike Miller, a former associate head coach at Kansas State, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter links). Miller also worked for the Spurs’ D-League team, Isola notes.
  • Thomas Robinson, who the Nets signed to a two-year deal,  wants a “long-term relationship” with Brooklyn after the forward has bounced around in the league, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily writes.
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes that Boston coach Brad Stevens will be viewed as one of the all-time coaching greats in the future. “I wouldn’t have brought him in and given him a six-year contract if I didn’t think he was really good and special,” Ainge said during an on-camera interview with Comcast SportsNet (relayed by Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com).

Week In Review 7/26/15-8/1/15

The public funding plan for a new Bucks arena in Milwaukee received approval from the Wisconsin State Assembly by a 52-34 vote this past Tuesday. The measure passed the state senate two weeks ago and now heads to Governor Scott Walker for his signature. Walker has consistently supported the idea of a new building that would keep the team from leaving town. State, county and city leaders have been under pressure from the league to make sure an arena is ready by the start of the 2017/18 season, with the NBA having threatened to take the team away from owners Marc Lasry, Wesley Edens and Jamie Dinan and sell it to others who would move the team. The public is on the hook for half of the arena’s expected $500MM cost. Here’s more from the week that was…


Trades

  • The Cavs dealt Brendan Haywood and Mike Miller to the Blazers and Cleveland created two trade exceptions as a result of the transaction — one for $10.5MM and another for $2.85MM — and also received cash from Portland.
  • The Magic acquired Shabazz Napier from the Heat in exchange for a protected 2016 second-round pick.
  • The Celtics acquired Zoran Dragic from the Heat in return for a protected 2019 second-round selection.
  • The Warriors acquired Jason Thompson from the Sixers in exchange for Gerald Wallace. Philly also obtains the right to swap the lesser of the 2016 first-round picks coming their way from the Heat and the Thunder for Golden State’s 2016 first-round pick.

You can keep up with all of the offseason trades here.


Free Agent Signings

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

You can stay up to date on all of the signings with Hoops Rumors’ free agent tracker.


2015 NBA Draft Pick Signings

You can stay up to date on all of the 2015 NBA Draft signings here.


Waivers


International Signings


Coaching News

  • The Kings hired Nancy Lieberman to head coach George Karl‘s staff.
  • Golden State promoted Luke Walton to lead assistant to replace Alvin Gentry.
  • The Suns officially added Earl Watson, Nate Bjorkgren and Jason Fraser to their coaching staff.
  • The Raptors hired Jerry Stackhouse, Rex Kalamian, and Andy Greer as assistant coaches.

Latest On Luc Mbah a Moute

The National Basketball Players Association plans to file a grievance early next week against the Kings questioning how valid it was for the franchise to void free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute’s contract over an alleged failed medical physical, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports writes.

Mbah a Moute’s representatives at Wasserman Media Group and NBPA officials, using independent medical examinations that say Mbah a Moute is cleared to play, are disputing the legitimacy of the Kings’ procedure and conclusion, Wojnarowski adds, citing league sources. As Wojnarowski also points out, Mbah a Moute has been medically cleared to play for Team Africa against Team World in the first NBA exhibition game in Africa.

The forward had previously agreed to a one-year, $1.55MM deal with Sacramento, but it was voided when Mbah a Moute failed his physical. The forward has an undisclosed shoulder issue, according to team executive Vlade Divac, which is what caused Mbah a Moute to fail that exam. Mbah a Moute played in 67 games for the Sixers last season, and averaged a career-best 9.9 points per game. Before the report of the planned grievance, the Kings still had some level of interest in signing Mbah a Moute. It is not yet clear if the Kings remain interested.

And-Ones: Faried, Deng, DeRozan

The growing sense around the Nuggets is that the team wants to see if Michael Malone can mentor Kenneth Faried the way he reached DeMarcus Cousins with the Kings, and it seems highly unlikely that Denver will trade the power forward before the start of the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Heat want to hold on to Luol Deng and see how well the team can play, sources close to the organization tell Kyler, but if Miami underwhelms, Kyler believes Miami would put Deng on the block.
  • The Raptors are not entertaining trades for DeMar DeRozan, sources close to the team informed Kyler.
  • The additions that the Clippers made this offseason to bolster their bench have made them the NBA’s most improved team heading into the 2015/16 campaign, opines Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Doolittle also calls out the Hornets and Mavericks as teams that have made positive strides this Summer, while listing the Nets, Sixers, and Suns as franchises that have taken a step back this offseason.
  • With the NBA’s salary cap expected to increase dramatically next Summer there are a number of pending free agents who stand to benefit from the windfall, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes. Some under-the-radar players who can expect significant pay increases on their next contracts include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Hornets), Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Langston Galloway (Knicks), and Jordan Clarkson (Lakers), Pelton opines.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: McDonough, Kings, Brown

The month of August will see GM Ryan McDonough transition to a new role with the Suns, with him taking over the responsibilities of departing president of basketball operations Lon Babby, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “It’s good for everybody to make the change that we made,” Babby said. “In any good leader’s job, the most important thing you can do is plan for the next leader, the next succession. I think we’ve done that. This next year will give us a chance to transition, not only with Ryan but also with Trevor [Bukstein, assistant GM] and Pat [Connelly, assistant GM] and our entire basketball-operations staff. I would not have proposed this to Robert [Sarver, Suns managing partner] unless I had complete confidence in the leadership we had. Ryan is constantly going into the role and extraordinarily impressively.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Divsion:

  • The Kings have officially announced the hiring of Chad Iske as associate head coach and John Welch, Anthony Carter, and Nancy Lieberman as assistant coaches on George Karl‘s staff.
  • It would take a “massive breakdown” in Phoenix for the Suns to trade Eric Bledsoe, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Conflicting reports had painted a confused picture of whether the Suns were talking about trading Bledsoe around draft time, but Kyler hears there’s nothing to his trade candidacy.
  • Alec Brown, who was the No. 50 overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Suns, has officially signed with the Spanish team Obradoiro, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Brown made 17 appearances during the 2014/15 campaign with Phoenix’s D-League affiliate in Bakersfield, averaging 6.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per contest.

Central Notes: Hill, Bulls, Whittington

Pacers signee Jordan Hill has been arrested after allegedly driving 107 mph near Atlanta, reports Mike Petchenik of WSB-TV (Twitter link). “We have been informed Jordan was arrested for allegedly reckless driving in Atlanta, Georgia. It is obvious we don’t condone this. We will address this with Jordan. This is a major concern of safety, not just for Jordan, but for others,” president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a statement the team issued via Twitter. Hill is scheduled to make a guaranteed $4MM on his one-year contract this season, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • While Pau Gasol understands the Bulls‘ reasons for firing former coach Tom Thibodeau, he doesn’t believe that simply revamping the team’s offense is enough to take the next step toward an NBA title, Mike McGraw of The Daily Herald relays. “Offense wasn’t too much of an issue last year,” Gasol said. “We can work on our offense all we want, but defense is going to make a difference in how we’re going to beat other teams.
  • The Bulls also face the challenge of fielding a roster loaded with big men in a league trending toward more scoring and smaller lineups, McGraw adds, but Gasol believes the team can benefit from its roster continuity. “We have a great opportunity,” Gasol said. “We have a very strong team. There were very few changes made as far as our roster and our players. We can build on what we had last year, so we have all the tools to be a much stronger team than we were and learn from our mistakes from last year. I think we have to understand we have talent offensively and we have to play with a better flow offensively. I think we’re going to have more freedom to play in transition and exploit our abilities as individuals. As long as we understand that defense is what wins championships and makes the difference … we should be fine.
  • Shayne Whittington is part of the Pacers‘ current frontcourt logjam, but he believes his ability to guard multiple positions will set him apart, Scott Agness of VigilantSports.com writes. “Honestly, I think the one thing that really will set me apart from anybody at the four and five is if I can start guarding guards on a consistent basis,” Whittington said. “If I start doing that, then, then you never know, I’ll be at the four quite a bit. We’ll switch a lot; I can actually guard those guards; [Coach Frank Vogel will] feel comfortable with me out there guarding people. If your President of Basketball Operations feels comfortable with you guarding guards out there, you’re going to be on the court, especially if you’re 6’11”. Playing defense, rebounding the ball — that’ll get me on the court.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Bernard James To Play In China

Former Mavericks center Bernard James has signed a deal with the Shanghai Sharks of China, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops reports (Twitter link). The length and terms of the arrangement are unknown, likewise if the pact contains an NBA out clause. Dallas had renounced its rights to James earlier this week.

The center had also signed with the Sharks last November after the Mavs waived him just before the season started. “You know, I’ve been talking to my agent a lot, and there’s a few teams interested,” James said at the time. “But, hopefully, I’d like to be back here with the Mavericks. We’ll see what happens in the draft, what’s their needs and whoever [Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle] find for next year. Whatever players they sign, hopefully there’s a spot for me and there’s a niche I can carve out. We’ll see what happens, man, but I’m expecting it not to be quite as crazy as the last two summers.”

James re-signed with the Mavs back in March for the remainder of the season after completing two 10-day pacts with the team. He made 16 appearances for Dallas, including two starts, and averaged 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 9.9 minutes per contest.

Pelicans Waive Toney Douglas

The Pelicans have waived guard Toney Douglas, the team announced. The release of Douglas reduces the Pelicans’ current roster count to 12 players.

The player’s 2015/16 salary of $1,185,784 would have become fully guaranteed if he remained on New Orleans’ roster through Saturday, as is shown by our schedule of guarantee dates. Douglas was originally signed by the Pelicans on February 4th, then was released on February 19th before subsequently re-signing with the team for the remainder of the season back on March 24th.

Douglas, 29, appeared in 12 games for New Orleans during the 2014/15 season, averaging 4.3 points and 2.0 assists in 14.8 minutes per game. His career numbers through six NBA seasons are 7.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 2.2 APG.

Sixers Likely To Move Carl Landry

The Sixers are looking to move veteran forward Carl Landry, who apparently doesn’t factor into the franchise’s plans for next season, Jake Fischer of SI Now reports (Twitter link). Philadelphia intends to try and trade Landry, and falling short of that, will look to reach a buyout arrangement with the player or waive him outright, Fischer notes.

Landry, 31, is set to earn $6.5MM for each of the next two campaigns, and was acquired by the Sixers as part of the trade that garnered the franchise shooting guard Nik Stauskas. The other veteran big man obtained in that deal, Jason Thompson, was dealt today to the Warriors in exchange for Gerald Wallace.

The veteran forward appeared in 70 contests for the Kings during the 2014/15 season, averaging 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.4 assists in 17.0 minutes per game. Landry’s career numbers through eight NBA seasons are 10.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 0.7 APG, and he owns a slash line of .534/.176/.788.

Warriors, Sixers Swap Thompson, Wallace

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

4:36pm: Philadelphia receives the right to swap the lesser of the 2016 first-round picks coming their way from the Heat and the Thunder for Golden State’s 2016 first-round pick, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

4:05pm: The Warriors have acquired Jason Thompson from the Sixers in exchange for Gerald Wallace, both teams announced via press release. Cash and draft considerations are also going to Philadelphia in the move. It’s a money-saving deal for Golden State, which sends Wallace’s $10,105,855 salary into Philadelphia’s cap space, with Thompson’s $6,908,685 salary going back in return, and with the Warriors poised to pay the luxury tax this season, the move saves the Warriors from tax penalties of as much as two and a half times the difference between their salaries. It also creates a trade exception worth $3,197,170 for Golden State.

“We’re very happy to add Jason to our roster,” Warriors GM Bob Myers said. “He has a proven track record in this league and adds considerably to our team’s depth, which was a big key to our success last season and will be moving forward.”

Thompson will ostensibly fill the reserve power forward role that David Lee played last year for the champs, who sent Lee to the Celtics in the deal that brought in Wallace. The 29-year-old Thompson has chiefly been a starter during his seven years in the NBA, all of which came with Sacramento before the trade earlier this month that sent him to Philly, but he probably won’t mind a reduced role on a team with a legitimate shot to win another title. Thompson has never appeared in a playoff game.

It was somewhat surprising when reports emerged following Golden State’s agreement on the Lee trade that the Warriors intended to keep Wallace rather than release him and use the stretch provision to spread his salary and lower their tax bill. Thus, it makes sense to see them make another deal that sends Wallace away and takes a chunk out of their team salary. The Warriors were scheduled to pay Lee $15,493,680 this coming season, so they’ve reduced their obligation by more than 50% with the pair of trades. The estimated tax bill for the Warriors drops from $24MM to $16MM with today’s trade, according to former Nets executive Bobby Marks (Twitter link). It had been $38.1MM before the Lee trade, Marks adds. Lee signed his deal prior to the adoption of the current collective bargaining agreement, so he’s ineligible for the stretch provision.

Thompson’s contract runs through 2016/17 with $2.6MM partially guaranteed on a salary of $7,010,378 that season, Marks points out (Twitter link). That salary becomes fully guaranteed if he doesn’t hit waivers by June 26th, 2016, as Marks also notes.

The Sixers receive yet more draft assets and draw closer to the $63MM salary floor. They held more than $20MM in cap flexibility prior to the trade, and they still have about $17.5MM they can spend, not counting their non-guaranteed deals, giving them flexibility to absorb other contracts via trade. They could also float a bloated offer sheet to Norris Cole, in whom they reportedly have interest, or to Tristan Thompson. Philadelphia clears salary from its 2016/17 books, since Wallace is on an expiring contract.

Who do you think got the better end of this trade? Leave a comment to weigh in.

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