DeAndre Jordan‘s continued emergence as one of the best defensive big men in the NBA could put him in line to command a max salary contract when he hits free agency next summer, which would also be the first significant financial test of the Clippers‘ new owner, Steve Ballmer, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times writes. A maximum five-year contract for Jordan projected at $103.5MM would probably nudge Los Angeles over the luxury tax threshold for a third consecutive season in 2015/16, which would trigger the repeater tax the following year, notes Bolch. Ballmer has stated that he would make whatever financial commitment was necessary to preserve the core of his team, but this dollar-for-dollar charge tacked onto the existing luxury tax fees will surely test the billionaire’s commitment to his stated goal, Bolch adds.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Despite all the hype leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, this season’s crop of rookies are off to the worst statistical first year start of any rookie class in the last 10 years, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes.
- The Hawks have recalled Adreian Payne from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and have assigned Mike Muscala to the D-League, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link).
- With his 21 points, 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks against Texas Friday night, Kentucky junior Willie Cauley-Stein, “Made himself some money,” according to one NBA scout, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv writes. Cauley-Stein is currently projected as the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by DraftExpress. The big man returned for his junior season specifically to improve his draft stock, notes Zagoria. “For sure,” Cauley-Stein said. “You know, that is one of the biggest reasons that I came back is to just develop myself more as a basketball player. I feel like I am just starting to do that. It’s only December. I still have three months left.”
- The Mavericks have recalled Ricky Ledo from the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, the team announced in a press release. In five games this season for the Legends, Ledo has averaged 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.2 steals in 34.0 minutes per contest.