ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter) points out that the Lakers, Bulls, and 76ers are the three teams that still need to sign players in order to reach the league minimum of 13 players by opening night, although it's worth noting that L.A. is still yet to sign second round pick Ryan Kelly and Philadelphia is in the same boat with Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. Also, as we pointed out a few days ago, Dexter Pittman accepted a training camp invite with Chicago and could fill that 13th roster spot if they end up offering him a guaranteed contract.
Here are more of tonight's news and notes from around the league:
- Jeff Haubner of ESPN.com offers a two part preview of the upcoming FIBA Americas tournament.
- Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel notes that the Bucks/Suns deal keeps Milwaukee about $1.9MM under the salary cap and saves Phoenix around $5.6MM in cap space. Gardner also has more comments from Caron Butler regarding his happiness with the trade.
- Former 76ers star Charles Barkley isn't happy with the way his former team handled their assistant coaching situation, saying that those who were released upon the Brett Brown hiring had worked for the team the entire summer and therefore didn't have the opportunity to look for another job (Michael Kaskey-Blomain of The Philadelphia Inquirer).
- Keith Schlosser of RidiculousUpside.com takes a look at Kyle Hunt, who while eligible for the D-League draft in the fall is also looking to earn an NBA training camp invite.
- Tim Cowlishaw of SportsDayDFW suggests Mavericks fans should be happy with 45 wins and a 7th seed in the Western Conference next season.
- Ben Couch of BrooklynNets.com provides a brief breakdown of the Nets' depth at the center position, profiling Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, and Mason Plumlee.
- Former Knick and now a member of the Canadian men's national basketball team, Andy Rautins tells Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun about how prepared he and his teammates feel heading into the FIBA Americas tournament.
- NBA.com posted an article from Atlanta-based freelance writer Jon Cooper about Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer. Though he stressed the importance of forming good relationships with each player up to the 15th man, Budenholzer specifically mentioned Al Horford and Jeff Teague as two players that he's very much looking forward to working with.
- Suns.com passes along an article from the archives which delves into the mind of the late former Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons.
JULY 11TH, 11:32am: The Nets have officially re-signed Blatche, the team announced today in a press release.
JULY 2ND, 8:20pm: Blatche's deal includes a player option for 2014/15 worth $1.43MM, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
JULY 1ST, 8:51pm: Andray Blatche has agreed to re-sign with the Nets, according to the New York Times' Howard Beck. The deal is only for one-year at $1.4MM, a relative surprise given Blatche's consistent bench contribution with the team last season.
The timing and price are both curious, especially when factoring in Blatche had other suitors. As reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Warriors and Clippers both had their eye on his services.
Money may not have been a factor, though, as Blatche is still being compensated by the Wizards after they used their amnesty clause on him last year. He averaged 10.3 PPG in just 19 MPG, appearing in all 82 of Brooklyn's regular season games last season.
WEDNESDAY, 2:00pm: Davide Chinellato of Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport (Twitter link) hears from a source that the Nets are no longer pursuing Belinelli, who is now talking to the Pacers.
MONDAY, 4:28pm: The Nets have reached out to free agent guard Marco Belinelli and discussed a multi-year deal for the taxpayer mid-level exception of $3.2MM, sources tell Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld. Sources say that the Nets are debating whether to go with a guard like Belinelli or another big man to bolster the the frontcourt.
While it has been reported that the Nets and Kyle Korver have more-or-less agreed to a deal for the taxpayer MLE, Pincus reports that he could fall outside of the Nets' price range. The sharpshooter has lots of suitors this offseason and could land a deal with a higher average annual value. It's possible that Korver is high enough on Brooklyn to give them a discount and the 32-year-old has done quite well for himself over the years, earning more than $38MM over the course of his career according to Basketball Reference.
The Nets would also like to re-sign Andray Blatche, but the most they can offer is ~$1.4MM without using a portion of their MLE. If he does return at that figure, that would enable Brooklyn to sign Belinelli.
Belinelli spent last season with Chicago and averaged 13.4 PPG, but his 35.7% percentage from downtown was the lowest of his career. The Italian is represented by Excel Sports Management, according to the Hoops Rumors Agency Database.
It was an eventful weekend for the Nets, who fell to the Bulls in the first round's only Game Seven, then announced that interim coach P.J. Carlesimo wouldn't be retained as the team's permanent coach going forward. This year's offseason won't be as eventful as last year's for the Nets, but it still figures to be a crucial one. Here are a few updates out of Brooklyn as the club looks ahead to its coaching search and to free agency:
- If it's up to free-agent-to-be Andray Blatche, he'll be a Net again next year, as he told reporters, including Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. "I can’t tell you 100% yet. But that’s the plan for me," Blatche said. "I like it here, I got my second chance here and I’m loyal to being here. We just have to see what happens."
- Pacers president Donnie Walsh told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that Pacers assistant Brian Shaw will be permitted to speak to the Nets about their head coaching vacancy once Indiana's season is over. Based on Bondy's report, it's not entirely clear if the Nets have already asked to speak to Shaw or whether Walsh simply expects Brooklyn to reach out.
- The Nets are hoping to add 2011 second-round pick Bojan Bogdanovic to their roster for the 2013/14 season, according to GM Billy King (Twitter link via Bondy). Previous reports have indicated that Bogdanovic, who was drafted 31st overall two years ago, has an NBA out this summer on his contract in Europe.
- Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post thinks current Celtics coach Doc Rivers would be an ideal fit in Brooklyn, and suggests that King ought to at least explore the possibility of prying Rivers away from the Nets' division rival.
History was made this morning, as Jason Collins publicly came out as the first active male athlete to announce that he's gay. Collins, who hopes to continue his playing career, will be a free agent this summer, looking for a contract from a team in need of frontcourt help. In his latest piece for HoopsWorld, Steve Kyler looked at a few other big men facing free agency, exploring what their respective futures might hold. Let's check out the highlights….
- Andray Blatche is still being paid by the Wizards through next season, so he won't necessarily be seeking the highest salary offered this summer. However, if he can secure a multiyear deal, he may lean toward that opportunity, says Kyler.
- Although he's eligible for restricted free agency, Austin Daye is unlikely to receive a qualifying offer from the Grizzlies. Kyler doesn't expect the ex-Piston to be back in Memphis next season.
- Carl Landry remains likely to opt out of his last year with the Warriors in search of a longer-term contract.
- The Pacers won't hold full Bird rights on David West, but West's Early Bird rights will be more than enough to make him a competitive offer. Kyler thinks West and the Pacers are likely to work out a deal fairly quickly that will keep the power forward in Indiana.
- Kyler notes that trading Danny Granger would help give the Pacers the flexibility to bring back both West and Tyler Hansbrough, who is eligible for restricted free agency. Kyler expects the Pacers to issue a qualifying offer to Hansbrough and match any reasonable offer.
- Antawn Jamison is unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers, and if Earl Clark returns, it will have to be for not much more than the $1.24MM he made this year, says Kyler.
- Boris Diaw, who has a player option, and Matt Bonner, whose deal is only partially guaranteed, both figure to be back with the Spurs next season. However, Kyler says DeJuan Blair is "done in San Antonio," which echoes what we heard yesterday.
We passed along word of the Knicks' interest in Timofey Mozgov already today, and there's still more news out of the Atlantic Division. We've got it covered right here:
- Andray Blatche hinted earlier this week that he might be willing to re-sign the Nets this summer at a discount, and he followed up by clearly expressing his desire to return to Brooklyn in comments to Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. "Most definitely," Blatche said. "I love it here. We've got a great team here, a great staff. The fans are crazy. I mean, everything about this organization is great, so hopefully I can come back. I feel like this is my new home, now, really. I feel comfortable with everything that's going on."
- Kenyon Martin thought he deserved another shot with the Clippers after he served the team off the bench last season, but Mike Woodson is glad to have him around on the shorthanded Knicks, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Shavlik Randolph and D.J. White have no idea whether the Celtics will keep them for the rest of the season when their second 10-day contracts expire this week, but with their playing time limited, Randolph believes the team will judge them based mostly on what they did before arriving in Boston. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has the details.
- Randolph got a rare opportunity to contribute last night against the Bobcats, and his performance, which drew raves from coach Celtics coach Doc Rivers. That helped his case for remaining with the team for the rest of the season, opines Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
- John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News believes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will remain in Miami after 2014, when they have the opportunity to become free agents. That will keep the Heat on top for years to come, Smallwood writes, arguing that there's no use in re-signing Andrew Bynum for the Sixers, who won't realistically challenge for a title with or without him.
Without Bird or even Early Bird rights, The Nets could be in a tricky situation if they want to re-sign Andray Blatche, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors ranked among the best one-year contract signings this season. Blatche indicated to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that he might make it easy on Brooklyn, since he'll still be drawing paychecks from his amnestied contract with the Wizards. "I’m very aware (of my unique situation)," Blatche said. "That’s what I’m saying. Everybody is probably thinking I’m looking to get that big check. I’m not. Not at all. I’m looking at what’s best for me."
Here's more from around the league on the one-year anniversary of the 2012 trade deadline:
- Wesley Johnson is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer after the Suns turned down his fourth-year option, but he tells Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic that he still views Phoenix as a "longtime place" for him.
- The Timberwolves seem content to carry 15 players for now, rather than applying for a hardship exception and adding a 16th man. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports that the team isn't interested in free agents like Donte Greene, Tony Gaffney, and Raja Bell.
- The Cavs want to see how rookie Dion Waiters handles minutes at point guard, so the team hasn't discussed adding another player at the position while Kyrie Irving misses the next three to four weeks with a sprained left shoulder, notes Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer.
- Damian Lillard believes he's improved since he started playing alongside Eric Maynor, whom the Blazers acquired at the trade deadline, as Mike Tokito of The Oregonian observes.
- Thaddeus Young, who's on a deal that runs through 2016 with annual salaries under $10MM, is the Sixers player who'll draw the most trade inquiries from other teams, opines John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The threat of a referendum on public funding for a new arena in Sacramento will have no impact on the city's bid to retain the Kings, sources tell Aaron Bruski of NBCSports.com (Twitter link).
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL injury was expected to leave an opening for the ninth-seeded 76ers to make a move in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers have held up their end of the bargain so far, winning three of their last four games, but the Celtics have been playing well without their All-Star point guard, winning four in a row. With Boston off tonight, the Sixers will look to gain a half-game in the standings by handing the Magic their 10th straight loss. Here are a few other updates out of the Atlantic:
Water-cooler conversation this morning may be dominated by talk of Super Bowl XLVII, but at Hoops Rumors, we're still focused on the NBA, including the latest trade rumors from around the league. Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio has a few updates on players and teams that could be in the mix as the February 21st deadline approaches, so let's round up the highlights from his piece….
- Amico names the Mavericks, Bobcats, Rockets, Hornets, and Kings as potential suitors for Josh Smith. Many recent reports have suggested the Kings likely won't be too active at the deadline, but Amico notes that expiring contracts typically appeal to new ownership groups.
- Cavaliers GM Chris Grant wouldn't mind making another move before the deadline. Nothing concrete is in the works yet, but Grant is still working with some cap space and a few expiring contracts (Luke Walton, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi).
- Amico hears from multiple sources that the Nets have made Andray Blatche available in hopes of landing a draft pick. The Trail Blazers may have some interest, according to Amico.
- The Rockets are keeping a "keen eye" on Danny Granger, who has missed the entire season with a knee injury. The Pacers aren't actively shopping Granger, but could be more open to moving him given the emergence of Paul George.
- The Mavericks figure to be more active in trade talks as the deadline nears, as plenty of clubs are interested in Chris Kaman's expiring contract.
This afternoon's game vs. the Celtics was the equivalent of a lump of coal in the Nets' stocking, as Brooklyn suffered a 17-point defeat on its home court. The Knicks are hoping for a better result in Los Angeles, currently engaged in a tight game with the Lakers in the second half. As we wait to see if one of the two New York teams can pull out a Christmas Day victory, here are a few links out of the Big Apple:
- While some fans and pundits were skeptical when the Knicks signed Jason Kidd to a three-year contract this summer, the veteran point guard has been at the heart of the team's success, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Also at ESPNNewYork.com, Begley asks whether the Knicks should trade Amare Stoudemire. I think a better question would be whether the Knicks can trade Stoudemire.
- Andray Blatche tells NBA.com's Jeff Caplan that after being amnestied by the Wizards in July, it was a while before he received any interest from NBA teams: "During the summer, I didn’t get no phone calls." Blatche ended up working out in Houston with former coach John Lucas, and Caplan notes that if Nets coach Avery Johnson didn't live just outside of Houston, allowing him to work out Blatche at his home, the ex-Wizard may not be playing in the NBA right now.
- Earlier today, I examined Kris Humphries as a trade candidate.