Lakers Work Out Michael Beasley

July 30 at 2:19pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Lakers conducted a workout with free agent Michael Beasley today, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). The team is limited to paying the minimum salary, but that would probably be enough for the former No. 2 overall pick who’s slowly rebuilding a once-wayward career.

Beasley has reportedly been receiving interest from clubs around the league as the Heat have taken a lukewarm stance toward re-signing him. The interested teams apparently found him a mature and efficient addition for the Heat last season, though he wasn’t a part of Miami’s rotation in the postseason. He averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game across 55 regular season appearances. His 16.8 PER was the second best of his six-year career, demonstrating the efficiency that has him an object of desire.

The Jared Karnes client took a completely non-guaranteed deal to join the Heat last season, but he’s probably in line for a guaranteed contract this time around. Still, he’s unlikely to approach the three-year, $18MM contract he signed with Phoenix two years ago. Beasley and the Suns agreed to a buyout last summer.

Kings Sign Eric Moreland

July 30 at 1:53pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

WEDNESDAY, 1:53pm: The deal is official, the team announced.

TUESDAY, 9:34pm: League sources tell Charania that the deal will be for three seasons (Twitter link), which would require the capped-out Kings to use their mid-level exception. Sacramento committed most its MLE to Darren Collison earlier this month, leaving an amount precisely equivalent to the rookie minimum salary.

7:32pm: The Kings have reached an agreement with free agent forward Eric Moreland, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The rookie forward out of Oregon State played six games for Sacramento in the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month. The terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed yet.

Moreland was a model of consistency over his sophomore and junior seasons in college, posting 9.4 PPG and 10.6 PPG in 30.7 minutes during the 2012/13 season and 8.9/10.3/29.4 in 2013/14. He was also an active rim protector, averaging almost two blocks per game each year since his freshman season. Upon deciding to forego his senior year and declare for this year’s draft, there was some belief that the 6’10 forward could be taken in the second round; however, Moreland would ultimately go undrafted.

The Chris Patrick client put on the same display of rebounding and defensive prowess in Vegas as he did at Oregon State, posting 8.8 RPG and 2.7 BPG in just 19.2 MPG.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

And-Ones: Union, Douglas, Nets, Moreland

July 30 at 1:15pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The contracts for six NBA players will become fully guaranteed if their teams don’t waive them by the end of Friday, and two more players will earn partial guarantees if they avoid getting cut. Draymond Green and Khris Middleton almost certainly won’t be cast aside between now and that deadline, but for the rest, the summer temperatures won’t be the only reason to sweat out the next few days. Here’s more from the NBA:

  • Players association VP Roger Mason Jr. insists that union leadership addressed concerns from membership regarding the hiring process for a new executive director and the departure of search committee leader Kevin Johnson, as Mason tells Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling. Discord had marked the union’s Monday meeting in which Michele Roberts handily won a vote to fill the executive director vacancy.
  • The Bulls had been targeting free agent Toney Douglas, but they’ve abandoned their pursuit after signing Aaron Brooks, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Former NBA head coach Paul Westphal highlights the assistant coaching hires that the Nets officially announced today. Brooklyn also brought on Joe Wolf, Jay Humphries and Mavs assistant Tony Brown. John Welch and Jim Sann are the only holdovers from last season.
  • The Warriors and Knicks were interested in undrafted forward/center Eric Moreland, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Charania reported Tuesday that Moreland had agreed to join the Kings instead.
  • The Hawks invited summer league guard Stephen Holt to fall training camp, but he instead signed a deal with a German team, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Shawn Marion

July 30 at 11:45am CDT By Chuck Myron

The snail’s pace of negotiations for Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe are somewhat explainable, given that both are restricted free agents. It’s a little harder to believe that unrestricted free agent Shawn Marion still remains unsigned. He started 76 games for the Mavs last season and all seven contests during the team’s first-round challenge of the eventual-champion Spurs. The 36-year-old is nearing the end of his career, but he still appears to have a lot left to give.

The Heat had been expected to make a push for Marion when free agency began, apparently viewing him as the sort of player whose addition could help convince LeBron James to stick around. Of course, LeBron ended up elsewhere, and Miami committed its available cash to Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger and its own free agents, leaving only the minimum salary left to chase anyone else. The Mavs can’t offer Marion more than the minimum, either, having renounced their Bird Rights on the versatile forward, exhausted their cap space, and spent the room exception on Jameer Nelson.

The Dan Fegan client probably would have signed by now if he had been willing to accept the minimum salary, and it appears he continues to hold out for more. That’s in spite of a growing number of teams limited to paying only the minimum. There were 11 such clubs when I ran them down this past Friday, and the Lakers have since joined that group. Similarly, Marion probably would have signed by now if teams with the $5.305MM mid-level exception or better thought he was worthy of that sort of cash, so it seems there’s a disconnect at play. Marion doesn’t appear too worried, recently telling Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that, “It’s only July, man. We got two more months. We’ll just wait and see how it works out.”

Yet teams rarely dole out more than the minimum salary once September rolls around, and if they do, it’s not much more than that. So while there’s no need for Marion to sign now if he intends to play in the NBA next season, there’s urgency if he wants to play on a salary befitting his production.

Marion remains valuable, but there’s no doubt that he’s slowing down. The Mavs outscored opponents by 7.8 points per 100 possessions whenever Marion sat this past season, but they only broke even when he was on the floor, according to NBA.com. He put up a career-worst 13.7 PER this past season, a rather steep decline from his 18.0 mark in 2012/13. His 10.4 points per game in 2013/14 were his fewest since his rookie season, though that was a product of his shot attempts per contest nearing a career low as he played on a Mavs team that could draw its offense from an array of other capable sources.

More encouraging was his three-point stroke, as he nearly doubled his attempts from that distance over the previous season and improved his accuracy to 35.8%, his best mark in 11 years. That percentage is just about average in today’s NBA, but it nonetheless represents growing proficiency in a sought-after skill that’s extended many careers. It’s more difficult to gauge just how strong a defender Marion remains, but suffice it to say that the Mavs entrusted him with holding together their defense in a lineup largely devoid of stoppers.

The Bulls and the Rockets are the teams other than the Heat and the Mavs to have been linked to Marion this month. Chicago, like Dallas and Miami, has only the minimum to offer, but Houston would be an intriguing suitor if its efforts intensify. The Rockets have most of their non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception to spend, as well as their $2.077MM biannual exception. It would surely please Rockets GM Daryl Morey to poach the Mavs’ starting small forward after Dallas had done the same to Morey’s team with a near-max offer sheet to Chandler Parsons. It’s worth wondering if Fegan, who represents Marion as well as Parsons, harbors ill feelings toward Morey and company, given the acrimony surrounding Parsons’ cross-Texas move. Still, that probably wouldn’t forestall a deal in the end, especially since the Rockets employ star Fegan client Dwight Howard.

There are other seemingly attractive teams with either the cap space or the exceptions to give Marion a fair deal, including the Spurs, Hawks and Nuggets. Still, none have appeared to show interest. It’s conceivable that the market for Marion will soften once the fates of Bledsoe and Monroe are resolved. He’ll have opportunities, and it would be surprising if he doesn’t field multiple offers for better than the minimum. The questions are whether those offers will be for substantially more, just how long the deals would run, and just which teams will come to his doorstep. It seems as though Marion has ideals in mind for each, and, as he indicated, he doesn’t feel the need to compromise now, regardless of whether he’d ultimately be better served by doing so.

Northwest Notes: Durant, Westbrook, Williams

July 30 at 10:30am CDT By Chuck Myron

Kevin Love has been the hottest name in rumors of late, but Tuesday, another Northwest Division star began to generate some buzz. Kevin Durant spoke openly of the possibility that he’ll sign with his hometown Wizards when he becomes a free agent in 2016. He also chalked up his decision not to negotiate an opt-out clause into his current five-year deal to a mixture of naivete and his love for Oklahoma City, as The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry notes. Durant said it would “definitely be tough” to leave if the Thunder were to win a pair of championships in the two years remaining before he can hit free agency, as USA Today’s Sam Amick observes. With the onus on GM Sam Presti to put his team over the top, there’s more on the Thunder and their stars amid the latest from the Northwest:

  • The general assumption is that Russell Westbrook will look to leave the Thunder when he becomes a free agent in 2017, but that’s no certainty, as Durant impressed upon reporters Tuesday, including Amick, who shares the tidbit in the same piece.
  • John Wall is already expressing support for the idea of Durant joining the Wizards in two years, calling him “like an older brother” and saying, “It’d be great to have him back home,” as Amick notes.
  • Had the Trail Blazers wanted to re-sign Mo Williams this summer, “in all retrospect, they could have,” Williams said in a pair of tweets. The guard has instead agreed to a deal with the Timberwolves.

Sixers Fighting Changes To Draft Lottery

July 30 at 9:14am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Sixers are resisting proposed changes to the draft lottery system, but their lengthy rebuilding process and willingness to build non-competitive rosters has curbed revenues and angered other teams, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The league has put forth a proposal to even out the odds for the top pick by as soon as next year, giving the team with the worst record in the NBA significantly longer odds of winning the lottery.

The league’s proposal would grant the top four teams in the lottery the same 11% odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe explained a few weeks ago. All of those teams would have better odds under the current system. The Sixers finished with the second-worst record in the league last year, and there’s seemingly a strong chance they’re even worse this coming season, especially if they deal away Thaddeus Young, who’s been in multiple trade rumors of late, for little or no immediate return. Philadelphia is hoping to delay any change in the lottery until at least 2016, Windhorst writes.

GM Sam Hinkie‘s team will also be without Joel Embiid, who has a broken foot, and Dario Saric, who’s playing overseas, to start next season, meaning the Sixers will be without both of the players they netted with their pair of lottery picks from last month. The Sixers took a similar long-range approach last summer when they drafted injured center Nerlens Noel, who missed his entire first season.

The Sixers had the second-worst attendance in the league last season despite their presence in large-market Philadelphia. Smaller-market teams typically stand to benefit from the NBA’s revenue sharing plan that redistributes cash from franchises in urban hubs. The NBA has remediation plans in place to address teams that fall short of expectations based on market size, but it appears as though the Sixers aren’t carrying the weight that many other franchises expect them to.

Maalik Wayns To Play In Lithuania

July 30 at 8:22am CDT By Chuck Myron

Former Sixers and Clippers point guard Maalik Wayns has signed to play with Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The terms aren’t immediately clear, and it’s uncertain whether the deal includes an NBA escape clause.

A preseason knee injury helped Wayns make the Clippers opening-night roster last season, as I explained last week when I looked at a special form of non-guaranteed contracts. The Clippers waived him shortly before his contract would have become guaranteed for the season, and they re-signed him to a 10-day deal, but they terminated that 10-day contract before it ran to term so they could sign Hedo Turkoglu instead. He spent most of the rest of the season in the D-League with the Rockets affiliate.

The Andy Miller client will be making his first foray overseas, having remained stateside for two years after going undrafted out of Villanova. He’s averaged 2.7 points and 1.0 assists in 7.3 minutes per game for his NBA career, which has so far encompassed only 29 appearances.

Mavericks Notes: Marion, Aminu, Lewis

July 29 at 10:59pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Mavericks president Donnie Nelson is still open to signing Shawn Mariontweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. This isn’t any different from what Nelson said in a radio interview roughly two weeks ago, when he said that the team wouldn’t close the door on attempting to bring the 6’7 forward back to Dallas. It’s worth noting that the Mavs still had their $2.7MM room exception at that point; however, Nelson said that Marion’s value in the free agent market was much more than the team could afford. Now that the team used the room exception to sign Jameer Nelson, it seems even less likely that a reunion with “The Matrix” would materialize.

Here’s more out of Dallas tonight:

  • Donnie Nelson admitted that the team had originally considered signing Al-Farouq Aminu with their room exception, according to Price (Twitter link). The Mavs were fortunate to land the young forward on a veteran’s minimum deal instead.
  • Price also heard Donnie Nelson say that the Mavs may consider signing Rashard Lewis after he undergoes knee surgery (Twitter link). The team recently voided their one-year, $1.4MM offer after learning that Lewis needed an operation on his right knee.
  • Price (via Twitter) passes along that Donnie and the rest of the team expect Raymond Felton to have a bounce-back year this season.
  • Ivan Johnson‘s contract with the Mavs is a two-year arrangement, a source tells Sportando’s Enea Trapani (Twitter link), and both years are partially guaranteed, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. It’s almost certainly a minimum-salary deal, as Chuck Myron explained earlier.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Love, Mudiay, Byron Scott

July 29 at 10:22pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Here are a few miscellaneous news and notes to pass along out of the Association tonight:

  • It’s a safe bet that Kevin Love will be traded from the Timberwolves before opening night this upcoming season, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • The NCAA had cleared top 2015 draft prospect Emmanuel Mudiay to play academically, but there were still issues about his status as an amateur when he decided earlier this month to instead play in China, multiple sources tell Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak insisted in a press conference today that the team saw Byron Scott as its preferred candidate from the beginning of its coaching search, as Mike Trudell of Lakers.com notes via Twitter. Kupchak also said that Scott’s appeal to Lakers fans and experience as a former Lakers player played a role in the team’s decision, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson has changed agents, dropping Arn Tellem in favor of Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron JamesTNT’s David Aldridge reports amid his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Jackson denied a report before the Cavs hired David Blatt that he was interested in Cleveland’s head coaching job.
  • Hawks swingman Kyle Korver has gone from being the 51st pick in the 2003 draft to arguably becoming one of the league’s most valuable role players, and Grantland’s Zach Lowe takes a comprehensive look at the evolution of the sharpshooter’s game over the years. In another piece, Lowe briefly touches on the effect that Jeff Hornacek had on Korver’s development when Hornaceck was an assistant on the Jazz.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

Metta World Peace To Play In China?

July 29 at 9:07pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Free agent forward Metta World Peace is close to signing a contract to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).

The 34-year-old forward last played for the Knicks in 2013/14 but was waived in late February. In March, World Peace sought a return to New York not too long after the team hired Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations; the latest we heard was that the Knicks were only mulling a training camp invite on a non-guaranteed deal. We also passed along that the Queensbridge native also had interest in returning to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers or Lakers, although talks about re-joining the purple-and-gold weren’t considered to be serious.

The Marc Cornstein client statistically had his worst season to date last year in a handful of categories, averaging a career low in points (4.8), rebounds (2.0), steals (0.8), and minutes (13.4) through 29 games. It’s interesting to wonder just how much World Peace has left in the tank after not playing much last season, especially considering his productive stat line when he was a mainstay in the Lakers’ rotation under Mike D’Antoni in 2012/13 (12.4/5.0/1.6/33.7).