There has been some chatter that former GM Chris Grant could have been the key to bringing LeBron James back to the Cavs but that is nothing more than a tall tale, writes
Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. If Grant had a grand plan to bring LeBron back to Cleveland, Amico surmises, then he probably would have made that known to owner Dan Gilbert . Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..
- Top draft prospect Joel Embiid will miss the Big 12 Tournament thanks to a back injury and at least one GM believes that it’s now a three-horse race for the No. 1 pick, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
- Yakhouba Diawara officially parted ways with French team Gravelines-Dunkerque, writes Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The French forward was averaging 11.9 PPG and 3.5 RPG in Pro A and 12.9 PPG in Eurocup. The four-year NBA veteran last appeared in the league with the Heat in 2010.
- Undrafted forward Karron Johnson has signed a contract in the NBA D-League, a source tells Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter). Johnson, a product of Shaw University (Division II), left his Polish team last week.
- Thanks to the tremendous play of Al Jefferson, the extraordinary coaching of Steve Clifford, and the impressive development of Kemba Walker, the Bobcats have positioned themselves in the playoff hunt, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
Thunder guard Derek Fisher has said that he plans on calling it quits after this season, but Kevin Durant plans on speaking with his family this offseason about allowing him to delay his retirement, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter) adds that the last time she spoke to Fisher, he joked that retirement was still the plan but he’d “go to Montana for a week after the year, then decide.” More from the Western Conference..
- The Warriors announced that they have assigned guard Nemanja Nedovic to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League. Nedovic has appeared in seven games (five starts) for Santa Cruz this season, compiling averages of 15.6 points, 3.7 assists, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.14 steals in 26.6 minutes.
- Leandro Barbosa, who is recovering from a hand injury, doesn’t expect to return until the playoffs, the guard told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. The 31-year-old is averaging 7.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 18.4 minutes per game this season for the Suns.
- The Blazers announced that they have assigned rookie guard Allen Crabbe to the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede. The 21-year-old is averaging 2.0 points, 0.2 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 4.9 minutes in 12 games for the Trail Blazers this season. Acquired by Portland in a draft day trade with Cleveland, Crabbe was the 31st overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft out of California
The top story across the NBA as the week begins is Phil Jackson‘s job offer from the Knicks, which he’s reportedly leaning toward accepting. There’s plenty of chatter surrounding that decision, so let’s dive in:
- There’s no guarantee that Jackson will take the job and those in his circle do not believe that an agreement is close, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Meanwhile, one source claims that owner James Dolan will not give complete autonomy to anyone in the front office.
- Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) says that Steve Kerr could be a head coaching candidate if Jackson takes the job.
- Adam Zagoria of SNY (on Twitter) hears that Jackson would get a deal worth ~$10MM per season.
- In a full story, Broussard writes that Jackson will “definitely” not coach the Knicks, and says that owner James Dolan would retain a voice in the club’s decision-making even with Jackson around. Jackson’s hiring would also likely please the team’s non-CAA clients, one of whom complained to Broussard about the preferential treatment that the Knicks give to players affiliated with the agency.
- All indications are that Jackson will take the job, a source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. The title of the position remains unclear, but Jackson will not coach or become a consultant. The possibility of a last-minute change of heart remains, but the Knicks have the sense that he’ll accept their offer (Twitter links).
- Jackson is expected to let the Knicks know his choice today, notes Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. Although other reports suggest that he’s looking for the final word on basketball operations, as Pat Riley has with the Heat, a Jackson confidant claims he’d instead prefer to become more of a consultant, as Jerry West is with the Warriors.
- Carmelo Anthony said this weekend that the team hadn’t told him of any pursuit of Jackson, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I don’t even know what’s going on with that,’’ Anthony said late Saturday night. “Nobody came to me about that. Until that time comes, I’m not going to know what’s going on. It’s hard to say at this particular moment. If anything, it’s not going to be right now. I’m pretty sure they’d try to wait for the offseason and then we’ll deal with all that stuff.”
- It’s possible that Jackson wouldn’t start working for the Knicks until after the season, Berman notes, which would jibe with Anthony’s comment. Jackson is reportedly seeking assurance that Anthony will remain with the Knicks.
- A friend of Anthony who’s “intimately” involved in his decision regarding free agency said last month that he wasn’t sure that ‘Melo would re-sign, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, who examines how Jackson could affect Melo’s willingness to stay. Begley notes that Jackson, unlike Anthony and many in the Knicks organization, isn’t a client of the Creative Artists Agency.
All three Texas teams have the night off, but we’ve got plenty of news to keep those in the Lone Star state occupied..
- Monta Ellis described his first season with the Mavericks as escaping from “a deep hole,” saying he’s enjoying basketball as much as he has since his second season in the NBA, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. “I would have to say my last time feeling like this was 2007, when we made the playoffs,” Ellis said Monday, referring to the eighth-seeded Warriors, who upset the top-seeded Mavs in the first round. “This happy? 2007.“
- The Rockets have been focused on chemistry ever since their busy offseason and coach Kevin McHale believes that the team has made major strides, writes Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle. “They have much better collective chemistry,” McHale said. “I think that is one of the most underrated things in sports — how well does everybody play with everybody? How well do they know their strengths and weaknesses? And they have a common goal of being really good together and that common goal is overriding any of the little stuff that was happening earlier.”
- The Spurs boast the deepest roster in the NBA, but Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News wonders if that’s a good thing.
The Warriors are auditioning free agent D.J. White today, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The big man has spent time with the Celtics, Thunder, and Bobcats.
White spent time with the Bulls in camp over the summer but didn’t make the cut in the fall and wound up signing with China’s Sichuan Blue Whales. The 27-year-old appeared in 12 games last season for the Celtics and found himself in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce blockbuster but was promptly cut by the Nets. Although the former first-rounder didn’t see the court much in Boston, he has been reasonably productive in parts of five NBA seasons, recording a career PER of 14.6.
Click below to read this week’s chat transcript:
MONDAY, 3:50pm: The signing is official, the Knicks announced on Twitter.
SATURDAY, 1:32pm: The Knicks are expected to sign Earl Clark to a second 10-day contract after tonight’s game in Cleveland, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). Clark was signed by the team last week after the Knicks cleared roster space by waiving Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace. Clark can play either forward position for the team. It looks to be another prorated minimum-salary pact for the Kevin Bradbury client.
The 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft had some of the best performances of his career during the 2012/2013 season he spent with the Lakers. He then regressed after signing a two-year, $8.5MM deal with the Cavs during the summer. Cleveland then traded him to the Sixers at the deadline, who waived him less than 24 hours later.
In five games with the Knicks, Clark has averaged 2.63 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.4 BPG in 7.8 minutes per contest. There is still no word on the status of Shannon Brown, who also signed a 10-day contract with the team on the same day.
3:48pm: The Knicks officially announced the signing, via Twitter.
8:05am: The Knicks will sign Shannon Brown to another 10-day contract today, as Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. Berman reported earlier that Earl Clark will also be getting a second 10-day deal. Both were signed late last month to replace Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, with whom New York agreed to buyouts.
Brown averaged 2.0 points in 8.2 minutes per game in his first 10-day stint with the Knicks, which ended Saturday. He saw similarly limited playing time on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Spurs earlier this year. It’s his only NBA action in 2013/14, since he spent most of the season as a free agent after Washington released him shortly before the start of the season following his arrival via trade from Phoenix.
The Mark Bartelstein client had a contract guaranteed for $3.5MM this year when the Wizards placed him on waivers, so he continues to receive that salary. Washington recoups a tiny portion of that with each 10-day deal Brown signs this season via set-off rights, with a slightly larger chunk taken off the Wizards’ bill if the Knicks sign Brown for the balance of the season when his latest 10-day pact expires.
The Grizzlies, Hawks and Jazz are interested in point forward Joe Ingles, who is considering exercising an NBA escape clause in his deal with an Israeli team this summer, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (All Twitter links). The 6’8″ 26-year-old rejected a two-year offer from Memphis last summer, Pick tweets. The Pacers, Bucks and Clippers also reportedly had interest at that time.
“I’m definitely thinking about the NBA,” Ingles told Pick (Twitter link). “Every year I don’t go, it closes the door a little more.”
The native of Australia added that he’s not yet ready to shift his focus from helping Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague, as Pick also tweets. Despite all the intrigue from NBA clubs, his numbers in Israel aren’t eye-popping. He’s averaging 8.1 points, 3.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game this year, though he is shooting 39.1% from three-point range. He put up similar stats in his previous two seasons playing in the Spanish ACB league.
He went undrafted in 2009, so he’s free to sign with any NBA team once his escape clause kicks in at season’s end.
2:32pm: Sixers coach Brett Brown is “thrilled” with Varnado and would like to keep him around, notes Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com, suggesting that it’s no certainty that anyone set to work out for the team will receive a contract. Brown has had a say in each of the moves the team has made since the start of the season, according to Lynam.
8:08am: The Sixers will bring in Scott Suggs and Darius Johnson-Odom on Tuesday to audition for the team, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. They also have workouts lined up for James Nunnally and Kevin Murphy, as we passed along Sunday night. Philadelphia has 14 guaranteed contracts and Jarvis Varnado on a 10-day deal, so their pursuit of another signee indicates that Varnado’s time in Philadelphia will be short. His deal expires at the end of the day today.
Suggs is a 6’6″ shooting guard who went undrafted out of Washington this past June. He’s been playing for the D-League affiliate of the Knicks, averaging 17.6 points and 41.4% three-point shooting in 36.0 minutes per game. He saw summer league action with the Bucks, but the 24-year-old wasn’t in camp with any NBA team. Johnson-Odom is a more familiar name, having seen four games of NBA action with the Lakers last season. He joined the Lakers again for camp in the fall and split the season between China and the Nets D-League affiliate. Jorge Gutierrez recently edged out Johnson-Odom for a 10-day contract with Brooklyn.
Sixers coach Brett Brown suggested late last month that the team would be cycling through several players at the end of the season, and it appears they’re indeed planning on giving at least a handful of guys a look. Varnado has scored 2.5 points and 3.8 rebounds on 12.5 minutes per game in his time with Philadelphia. If no one impresses during the workouts, it seems reasonable to think that the team would consider signing Varnado to a second 10-day contract.