Lionel Hollins denies that his sometimes stormy relationship with Deron Williams led to the Nets waiving the veteran guard in a buyout deal, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. Though sources confirmed to Bontemps that the head coach and Williams had a heated meeting in Memphis earlier this year, Hollins said the Nets didn’t part ways with Williams because of their disagreements. “Everything is not peaches and cream, but there’s not one shred of evidence that our relationship is the reason that he had to go,” Hollins told the team’s beat writers. “I would have coached Deron this upcoming year just like I coached him last year, and we would have went forward just like everybody else on the team.” The Nets saved more than $50MM this season in payroll and luxury-tax payments by agreeing to give Williams $27.5MM of the $43.5MM he was owed over the next two years, Bontemps adds. The Nets used the stretch provision on the buyout.
- Carmelo Anthony‘s decision to take slightly less than the max last summer helped the Knicks to re-sign Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas to more than the league minimum this month, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Anthony’s deal opened up $1.4MM in cap space this summer and that, combined with the NBA’s cap increase to $70MM, allowed the Knicks to secure Amundson for $1.65MM and Thomas for $1.63MM instead of the roughly $1MM minimum, Berman continues. If Anthony didn’t take less, the Knicks could have re-signed only one of them above the league minimum, Berman adds.
- Goran Dragic‘s deal with the Heat is only worth a total of $85MM and has a starting salary of $14.783MM, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter). Earlier reports estimated the deal at $90MM.
- Paul George is pleased with the backcourt moves the Pacers have made this offseason, he told Scott Agness of the VigilantSports.com in a Q&A session. The pending addition of Monta Ellis and re-signing of Rodney Stuckey gives the team numerous playmakers, George told Agness. “One of the biggest things we needed to get better at was pushing the tempo and playing a little faster,” George said. “I didn’t know it was going to be a drastic roster change but I knew that was the direction this team needed to go to give ourselves a better chance of winning.”