Nets Opt In For 2015/16 With Plumlee, Karasev

October 24 at 10:28am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Nets have exercised their team options to keep Mason Plumlee and Sergey Karasev on their rookie scale contracts through 2015/16, the team announced. The moves were expected for both, and particularly for Plumlee, who was a part of Team USA’s gold medal-winning squad in the FIBA World Cup this summer after a strong rookie season last year. Plumlee will make nearly $1.416MM in 2015/16, while Karasev is in line for almost $1.6MM that year, as our Rookie Scale Team Option Tracker shows.

Plumlee, the 22nd overall pick in 2013, was efficient in his time on the floor last season, racking up a 19.0 PER, and he began to see more significant run after Brook Lopez went down to injury, averaging 9.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game after the All-Star break. Karasev came to Brooklyn via trade from the Cavs, who drafted him last year three picks before the Nets selected Plumlee. The small forward from Russia made it into just 22 NBA games for an average of 7.1 minutes per contest as a rookie, but Brooklyn, owned by fellow Russian Mikhail Prokhorov, insisted on receiving Karasev in the deal instead of a pair of second-round picks.

The moves give the Nets about $58.7MM in commitments against a projected $66.5MM salary cap for 2015/16, though that figure doesn’t include a player option worth more than $16.7MM for Lopez. It also doesn’t take into account a rookie scale team option worth more than $2MM for Marquis Teague, but the Nets are reportedly close to trading Teague to the Sixers.

Hornets Waive Justin Cobbs

October 24 at 10:26am CDT By Chuck Myron

10:26am: The move is official, the team announced via press release.

8:48am: The Hornets are waiving Justin Cobbs, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia reports. Carchia indicates that the move has already taken place, and while the team has yet to make an official announcement, Hornets assistant GM Chad Buchanan spoke of the 6’3″ point guard in the past tense in his remarks to the Sportando reporter. Dropping the non-guaranteed contract for Cobbs will reduce the Hornets roster to 17 players.

“Justin was really good for us,” Buchanan said. “He plays hard and is a very mature kid with a good work ethic. He makes shots, isn’t selfish and plays defense. He has a bright future.”

Cobbs played sparingly in two preseason games this month, scoring just two points in about nine total minutes of action. The 23-year-old joined Charlotte after going undrafted out of California and playing for the Grizzlies in summer league. He also attended preseason camp with Laboral Kuxta in Spain before joining Hornets camp, and while the Spanish team’s coach praised Cobbs in comments to Carchia, the coach also indicated that he’s still a year or two away from becoming ready for Euroleague action.

The move leaves the Hornets with 14 fully guaranteed contracts plus non-guaranteed pacts for Jason Maxiell, Dallas Lauderdale and Brian Qvale. Maxiell is the leading contender for the 15th spot on the regular season roster, should the team keep that many for opening night, and Hornets coach Steve Clifford appears to favor holding on to the former longtime Pistons big man, as reports indicated earlier this week.

Knicks Waive D.J. Mbenga, Orlando Sanchez

October 24 at 10:00am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Knicks are have waived center Didier Ilunga-Mbenga and power forward Orlando Sanchez, the team announced (Twitter link). Peter Botte of the New York Daily News and Newsday’s Al Iannazzone reported the team would make the moves minutes before the announcement (Twitter link). The news is no surprise, even though Sanchez has a partially guaranteed deal. Sanchez’s partial guarantee is only $15K, and that amount will stick on New York’s cap figure for the rest of the season unless another team claims him off waivers. Mbenga’s deal is non-guaranteed.

Mbenga was making his first foray back into the NBA since the 2010/11 season, save for a brief preseason stint with the Mavs in 2012. The 33-year-old reunited with Knicks team president Phil Jackson, who coached him on back-to-back Lakers championship teams in 2009 and 2010. The seven-year NBA veteran scored two points in less than five minutes of action in his lone preseason appearance this month. Sanchez saw just a single minute in his only preseason game. The 26-year-old went undrafted out of St. John’s this summer before competing for the Dominican Republican in FIBA World Cup action. Sanchez will sign to play for the Knicks D-League affiliate, agent B.J. Bass tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).

The Knicks still have 18 players on their roster, though they probably won’t have much trouble deciding whom to cut to winnow down to 15 players in time for Monday’s opening-night roster deadline. They have 14 guaranteed contracts plus a partial guarantee for Samuel Dalembert, who’s expected to play a significant role. Langston Galloway and Travis Wear are long shots to make the club in spite of their nominal partial guarantees, as is new signee Jordan Vandenberg.

Sixers, Nets Close To Marquis Teague Trade

October 24 at 8:23am CDT By Eddie Scarito

FRIDAY, 8:23am: The teams are close to finalizing the trade, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. A future second-round pick would accompany Teague to Philadelphia, Bondy adds, though he doesn’t specify whether another second-round pick would go back to the Nets.

THURSDAY, 6:53pm: Teague landing in Philadelphia is “most likely” to happen, tweets Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com.

5:14pm: No cash will be changing hands, a source tells Robert Windrem of Nets Daily, who adds that the Sixers will likely send a future second-round pick Brooklyn’s way (Twitter links).

4:29pm: The Sixers are in discussions to acquire Marquis Teague from the Nets, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting. The Nets wouldn’t receive anything of significance in return for the third-year guard out of Kentucky, notes Wojnarowski. Teague is set to make $1,120,920 this coming season, and his deal includes a team option for 2015/16 that would pay Teague $2,023,261.

Teague was the No. 29 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and spent parts of two seasons with the Bulls before being dealt to the Nets last season for Tornike Shengelia. Teague’s career numbers over 88 career appearances are 2.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG, and 1.4 APG. His career slash line is .349/.220/.686.

The 6’2″ point guard has seen limited action in the preseason and doesn’t figure to see much playing time behind Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack in Brooklyn’s rotation. If the Nets only take back a draft pick in return this deal would get their preseason roster count down to 15. The Sixers still have a number of decisions to make with their roster currently sitting at 20. If they didn’t send a player Brooklyn’s way in the trade, then someone would need to be waived prior to the trade being finalized.

And-Ones: Thunder, Raptors, D-League

October 23 at 10:21pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Although the Thunder have sustained a rash of injuries, the team will only keep 14 players on the roster, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Slater also notes that Michael JenkinsRichard SolomonTalib Zanna and Lance Thomas have all played vital roles in the preseason, yet it is unlikely any of them force the team to consider filling their 15th and final regular season roster spot before opening night.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Raptors still have 17 players on their preseason roster, and haven’t decided on who will make the final cut. Head coach Dwayne Casey said the final roster decisions would come down to the wire, Jay Satur of NBA.com reports.
  • The Wizards signing of Paul Pierce was a short-term fix with the franchise hoping that Otto Porter can develop into a valuable contributor in the coming season, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. With the injury to Bradley Beal, and with Trevor Ariza departing as a free agent to Houston, Porter may be called upon to log heavy minutes early in the season.
  • Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is against maximum individual salaries for NBA players, writes David Mayo of MLive. “If it were more of a free-market system, I think things would change,” Van Gundy said. “I think you’d see greater parity in the league — especially having the (salary) cap and no individual max.”
  • Teams are finding ways to get around the D-League’s individual maximum salary restrictions to entice players to sign with their affiliates, writes Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). This preseason, many NBA teams have signed players to their active roster only to release or waive the player shortly thereafter. By doing this, the team obtains the player’s D-League rights and the player can sign a partially guaranteed contract that trumps the D-League maximum salary which is slightly less than $26K per year. Elhassan points out this loophole would motivate fringe NBA talent to play in the D-League rather than take international offers.
  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter links) disputes the notion that the Kings had interest in Jordan Crawford prior to him heading over to China to play. The two sides never had serious discussions, and if Sacramento was interested in signing a veteran shooting guard they would have preferred MarShon Brooks, who played well for them in Summer League, Jones notes.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Celtics Claim Jarell Eddie Off Waivers

October 23 at 9:37pm CDT By Chuck Myron

9:37pm: Boston has indeed claimed Eddie off of waivers, as is reflected in the RealGM transactions log. No announcement from the Celtics has been made yet.

5:34pm: The Celtics have claimed small forward Jarell Eddie off waivers from the Hawks, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Boston takes over Eddie’s one-year, non-guaranteed contract for the minimum salary, and the move ups Boston’s roster to 18 players, though that figure includes Tim Frazier, whom the Celtics are poised to release.

Boston has guaranteed contracts with 16 of its players, so it seems that the team will probably turn around and waive Eddie before opening night, though that’s just my speculation. The C’s have the ability to retain his D-League rights, an asset the Hawks lose as a result of the waiver claim, so I’ll also speculate that Boston is making the move with the D-League chiefly in mind.

The 6’7″ Eddie averaged 2.7 points in 13.1 minutes per game across three preseason appearances with Atlanta after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech in June. He posted 13.3 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 32.6 MPG as a senior with the Hokies last season.

Rockets Waive Josh Powell

October 23 at 8:55pm CDT By Chuck Myron

8:55pm: The team has waived Powell, as is indicated by the RealGM transactions log. The Rockets have made no formal announcement as yet.

10:54am: The Rockets are waiving Josh Powell, a source tells Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Charania indicates the move has already taken place, though the team has yet to make an announcement. The eight-year veteran was on a non-guaranteed deal that he signed with the team shortly before the end of the 2013/14 season.

Powell appeared in just one regular season game with Houston and put up four points in more than 19 minutes of work, but he didn’t make it into any of the Rockets’ playoff games. Houston didn’t give the 31-year-old any run in the preseason, either, so it appeared he was around chiefly so his contract could serve as ballast for a potential trade, though that’s just my speculation. He hadn’t appeared in an NBA regular season game since 2010/11 before the Rockets picked him up.

The move will drop the Rockets to 19 players, leaving much work to do before opening night. Patrick Beverley‘s contract is the only one that’s known to be without any guaranteed money remaining on Houston’s books. The Rockets added Geron Johnson and cut Akil Mitchell earlier today.

Heat Cut Drew, Johnson, Jones

October 23 at 8:47pm CDT By Chuck Myron

8:47pm: All three players have been waived, according to the RealGM transactions log. No announcement from the team has been made yet.

11:58am: The Heat are waiving Larry Drew II, Tyler Johnson and Shawn Jones, as coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters today, including Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). The team has yet to make a formal announcement, but Miami hopes that all three will sign with its D-League affiliate, tweets Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. The Heat has a $75K partial guarantee with Johnson and $25K with Drew, so the team will be on the hook for those amounts assuming they clear waivers. Jones has been on a non-guaranteed pact.

The athletic Johnson appeared in only one preseason game, but he performed well, scoring 17 points and coming up with four steals in more than 36 minutes of action. Jones averaged 3.0 points in 16.5 minutes per game in four preseason contests, while Drew, who signed on Monday, hasn’t played in any of the team’s exhibitions. Johnson and Jones went undrafted this summer, while Drew spent much of last season with the Heat’s D-League affiliate after joining Miami for camp last year.

The moves will leave Miami with 16 players, including 11 with fully guaranteed contracts. Three others have partial guarantees, while Shannon Brown and Andre Dawkins are on non-guaranteed deals.

Western Notes: Blazers, Covington, Jackson

October 23 at 8:28pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Thunder GM Sam Presti said the team wants Reggie Jackson to remain a piece of the franchise’s puzzle, Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press writes. “I think we’ve been really clear about his importance to the team, that we see him as a core member of the team, as a core member of the organization,” Presti said. “We’re going to put our best put forward, and I believe he will as well. We’ll see if we can figure something out.” If he and the Thunder don’t sign an extension by the end of next week, Jackson can become a restricted free agent next summer and could command big money on the open market. It remains to be seen if Oklahoma City would match any offer sheets that Jackson inks with other teams. The Thunder’s cap commitment for the 2015/16 campaign is already approximately $63.6MM.

Here’s more from out west:

  • The Rockets still haven’t waived Robert Covington, despite the player not being with the team for the last two weeks, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Covington is currently weighing some guaranteed offers to play in Europe, Feigen notes.
  • The remaining players on the Grizzlies‘ preseason roster all fit the team’s system rather well, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes in a subscription-only piece. This includes Patrick Christopher and Kalin Lucas, the team’s lone remaining players in camp whose deals aren’t fully guaranteed, notes Tillery. Both players are likely headed to the team’s D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, according to Tillery.
  • The Blazers still have decisions to make regarding their 2015/16 team options for C.J. McCollum, Thomas Robinson, and Meyers Leonard. Portland has until the October 31st deadline to exercise those options or the trio will become unrestricted free agents next summer. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian examines what the Blazers might do regarding each player’s contract.
  • Donald Sterling’s lawyers have begun talks with the NBA about dismissing Sterling’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the league, as Sterling attorney Maxwell Blecher revealed in a declaration filed in U.S. District Court today, reports Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. The former Clippers owner has sought more than $1 billion in damages in the suit, which became the primary thrust of his legal efforts against the league when he recently withdrew a different suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the NBA, his wife and Adam Silver.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Steve Nash To Miss Entire Season

October 23 at 7:21pm CDT By Chuck Myron

7:21pm: The Lakers have confirmed that Nash will miss the season, the team announced. He still hasn’t decided whether he’ll retire in the wake of the news, USA Today’s Sam Amick tweets.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers6:58pm: Nerve issues will keep Steve Nash from playing this season, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Sources tell Ding that the Lakers are expected to rule the 40-year-old point guard out for all of 2014/15 because of recurring nerve damage in his back. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times confirms that Nash will not play this year (Twitter link). The Lakers can apply for a Disabled Player Exception worth nearly $4.851MM, or half of his $9.701MM salary for this season, but they can’t take Nash’s contract, which expires at season’s end, off the books.

If the Lakers waive Nash, they could apply for a salary exclusion if he’s deemed to have suffered a career-ending injury. However, they’d have to wait to apply for that on the one-year anniversary of his last game, which took place on April 8th last season. That would give the NBA only about a week before the end of the regular season to grant the exclusion, which would wipe Nash’s salary from the team’s cap figure, though the Lakers would still have to pay the former MVP his salary. Still, that’s unlikely to change the equation much for the Lakers, as few, if any, free agents of impact are available at that point in the season, and it wouldn’t affect the team’s cap room for next summer, since Nash’s contract expires at season’s end one way or another.

The league has an insurance policy that covers teams for a portion of the salary for around 150 players in case they are injured, but the insurance company may choose as many as 14 players to exempt from that policy each year. It’s not clear whether Nash is one of those exempt players, but if the insurance covered Nash when he first signed his deal in 2012, at which point he was still fully healthy, he’d still be covered now. The insurance nonetheless has no bearing on Nash’s cap figure.

In any case, the prospect of Nash returning to the court for 2015/16 or beyond seems remote, so there’s a strong chance his career is at an end. The 15th overall pick in the 1996 draft didn’t show his true potential until a trade sent him to the Mavs after his second NBA season. He blossomed into an All-Star alongside Dirk Nowitzki, and when Nash left as a free agent in 2004 for Phoenix, where he teamed with coach Mike D’Antoni, he reached new levels, winning back-to-back MVP awards his first two seasons with the Suns. He remained productive for many years, averaging 10.7 assists during the 2011/12 season, when he turned 38, prompting the Lakers to sign-and-trade for him in the summer of 2012. He joined Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to form a star-studded Lakers team that was a chic pick to win the championship, which would have been a first for Nash, but the team fell well short of expectations and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

A broken leg that Nash suffered in just his second regular season game with the Lakers helped limit him to 50 games in 2012/13 and touched off the nerve trouble that was largely responsible for him appearing in just 15 games last season. He never lived up to his contract, worth more than $27.9MM over three years, and he admitted this spring that he wasn’t going to retire because he wanted to collect his salary for this season. Still, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has said he doesn’t regret doing the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.