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Arron Afflalo

Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Noah, Stauskas, Whitehead

Arron Afflalo knew it was time to leave New York after being benched by interim coach Kurt Rambis and learning that the team was pursuing Courtney Lee, relays Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Afflalo spent just one year with the Knicks, opting out of an $8MM deal for this season and reaching a two-year, $25MM agreement with the Kings. His season in New York was marked by a coaching change, the demotion and other turmoil. “It’s hard to get a genuine experience with anything when you haven’t had longevity or there are a lot of changes taking place, whether it’s changes with my individual role or with the coaching staff or the environment as a whole,” Afflalo said. “Six months is a short season when you’re not a playoff team and you’re going through a lot of changes, but they seem to be doing better now. I think as the core group, with Melo [Carmelo Anthony] and KP [Kristaps Porzingis], and the guys that they bring in continuing to get better, New York will be okay.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Thunder coach Billy Donovan is still a believer in Joakim Noah despite a difficult first month with the Knicks, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Donovan, who coached Noah on two national championship teams at the University of Florida, says the center’s competitive spirit will help him overcome a slow start. Noah is averaging 4.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game after signing a four-year, $72MM contract this summer. “He’s going to continue to improve and get better as a player, he’s going to put his work in,” Donovan said. “But he’s one of the guys in my opinion that’s truly all about sacrifice, team and winning. I think he’ll bring that to the Knicks throughout the entire season.”
  • Nik Stauskas looks like a long-term fit with the Sixers after a rocky start to his NBA career, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. After being picked eighth in the 2014 NBA draft, Stauskas had an unproductive rookie season in Sacramento before being traded to Philadelphia. It took Stauskas time to find his way with the Sixers, but he has developed into a valuable bench player, averaging 10.2 points per game and shooting 44.6% from 3-point range. “I’m just having fun out there again, enjoying myself and kind of figured that when I’m having fun, that’s when I’m playing my best basketball and just been trying to tune out any negativity or any self doubt or anything like that,” Stauskas said.
  • Rookie point guard Isaiah Whitehead is becoming more of a vocal leader for the Nets, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Brooklyn has needed Whitehead to develop quickly after an injury to Jeremy Lin, and coach Kenny Atkinson is encouraged by how he has responded. “There’s on-court technical development and physical development,” Atkinson said. “But leadership development, all the players are commenting, he’s changing, he’s talking to us, he’s opening up, he’s asking us questions. It’s big.”

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Afflalo, Lakers, Chriss

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins frequently talks to his former Kentucky teammates about reuniting in the NBA, tweets Ben Standig of Locked on Wizards. Speaking to reporters before tonight’s game at Washington, Cousins addressed the possibility of someday joining forces with Wizards point guard John Wall“He wants me here,” Cousins said. Eric [Bledsoe] wants us in Phoenix.” Cousins will be a free agent after the 2017/18 season, and although he has been the subject of trade rumors, his public stance is that he wants to remain with the Kings. Wall won’t be a free agent until 2019. “Do we ever talk about playing with one another? Is that your question? It’s come up,” said Cousins. “They’re going to all come to Sac. Come to Sac.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Arron Afflalo is willing to be flexible as Kings coach Dave Joerger searches for the best lineup, relays Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Afflalo, who signed with Sacramento in July for $25MM over two years, was used as both a starter and a reserve last week. “You can’t fault a coach for trying to win and trying to find guys that work together,” he said. “But for me personally, I take pride in being a versatile basketball player, so sometimes coaches can see the benefit of me coming off the bench, and sometimes I’m a necessary stability piece in the starting lineup. It just depends.” Joerger has used a different starting lineup in each of the team’s last five games.
  • Offseason additions have made the Lakers better able to handle injuries than they have been in recent years, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Veteran point guard Jose Calderon, who was picked up in a July trade with the Bulls, has stepped into the starting lineup with D’Angelo Russell sidelined, and well-traveled power forward Thomas Robinson, who signed a non-guaranteed deal in September, started a game in place of Julius Randle. That has enabled coach Luke Walton to keep his bench rotation intact.
  • The Suns are willing to be patient through rookie power forward Marquese Chriss‘ growing pains, including Sunday’s bench technical, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Chriss had one of his worst game as a pro with just two points and five fouls in 10 minutes. “Bench Ts put you on the bench in the second half,” said coach Earl Watson. “So it’s an accountable moment. But he’ll learn. He knows I love him. He’ll learn. He’ll move forward.”

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Curry, Suns, Warriors

The Kings are losing leverage the longer they hold onto DeMarcus Cousins, contends Shaun Powell of The All-Star center has two seasons left on his current deal, making nearly $17MM for the upcoming season and more than $18MM in 2017/18. Powell believes teams will be less likely to trade for Cousins as his free agency date nears, and Sacramento will have a hard time keeping him if he stays until the end of his contract. The writer isn’t a fan of the Kings’ offseason moves, as they made little effort to re-sign league assist leader Rajon Rondo, drafted two unproven big men, put Rudy Gay on the trading block and signed 30-year-old Arron Afflalo.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings made a mistake by letting Seth Curry get away, writes A.J. Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today. Even though Curry has only appeared in 48 NBA games, he showed promise at the end of last season, averaging 16.4 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 three-pointers per night over his final seven games. Curry signed a two-year, $6MM deal with the Mavericks in July.
  • Devin Booker‘s great rookie season has created a logjam in the Suns‘ backcourt, according to Dan Feldman of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight both see themselves as lead guards, and Booker has earned starters’ minutes with his performance in 2015/16. Bledsoe and Knight are signed for the next three seasons and Booker is under team control for the next four years, so Phoenix has time to work out the situation if all three players are willing to share minutes. Otherwise, Feldman suggests it’s a good situation for a trade.
  • Things aren’t perfect for the Warriors, even after winning 73 games and signing former MVP Kevin Durant, cautions Monte Poole of CSNBayArea. Coach Steve Kerr is concerned about the defensive dropoff after losing centers Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. Golden State added Zaza Pachulia in free agency to help compensate for their departure. “The thing that’s different will be a lack of rim protection,” Kerr said. “We had great rim protection from Bogut and Ezeli, and both those guys are gone. Zaza’s a very good defender, but he’s more of a positional guy than a shot blocker.”

Contract Details: Henderson, Biyombo, Kings

We’re nearly three weeks removed from the start of 2016’s free agent period, and more and more of the deals agreed to in the first half of July are now official. In some instances, the full details of those contract agreements weren’t reported initially, but Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders continue to fill in those details for the Basketball Insiders’ salary database. Here are a few noteworthy updates, courtesy of Pincus:

  • Gerald Henderson‘s two-year, $18MM contract with the Sixers is non-guaranteed for the second season. If Philadelphia waives Henderson by June 30, 2017, it will essentially just be a one-year, $9MM deal and the team won’t be on the hook for any second-year salary.
  • Bismack Biyombo‘s four-year, $72MM contract with the Magic actually has annual $17MM cap hits, rather than $18MM. Biyombo’s pact features $1MM in annual unlikely incentives.
  • The Magic signed second-round pick Stephen Zimmerman using cap room, which means the team was able to lock him up to a three-year deal. The first year is guaranteed for $950K, while the next two years are currently non-guaranteed.
  • Two of the veteran free agents signed by the Kings will have small partial guarantees on the second year of their two-year contracts. Anthony Tolliver makes $8MM in each of his two seasons, while Arron Afflalo gets $12.5MM annually, but Tolliver only has $2MM guaranteed for his second year, while Afflalo has just a $1.5MM guarantee in year two.

Kings To Sign Arron Afflalo

Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images

5:12pm: The second year is only partially guaranteed for $1.5MM, Sam Amick of USA Today reports (Twitter link).

2:02pm: The Kings and unrestricted free agent shooting guard Arron Afflalo have agreed to a deal that will land him in Sacramento, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (Twitter link). It’s going to be a two-year, $25MM pact for Afflalo, Wojnarowski adds.

There wasn’t much chatter attached to Afflalo prior to this deal coming together. The veteran opted out of his contract with the Knicks and the $8MM he was slated to earn in 2016/17, and the move has paid off with Afflalo increasing his annual salary to $12.5MM courtesy of Sacramento. One would assume he is joining the Kings as a starter, given his reported disdain for the reserve role the Knicks placed him in last season. Though, a $4.5MM per season raise may make coming off the bench more palatable, if that is to be his role.

Afflalo appeared in 71 games for the Knicks in 2015/16 and averaged 12.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 33.4 minutes per outing. He shot .443/.382/.840 from the field on the campaign.

Eastern Rumors: Magic, Wizards, Noah, Knicks

The Magic were prepared to make Chauncey Billups one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the NBA, offering him a spot as the lead assistant on Frank Vogel‘s new staff in Orlando, but Billups has turned down the team’s offer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, the former NBA Finals MVP gave serious consideration to joining the Magic before deciding to remain in his current role as a television analyst. However, Billups does have interest in transitioning into a front-office role in the future.

Meanwhile, the Magic are in advanced talks with Timberwolves assistant David Adelman for a post on Vogel’s staff in Orlando, sources tell Wojnarowski.

Here’s more from across the Eastern Conference:

  • Add the Wizards to the list of teams with interest in Joakim Noah, says Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Noah, who may leave the Bulls and has said he’s looking forward to free agency, is also expected to receive interest from the Timberwolves.
  • Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams are opting out of their contracts with the Knicks, and while Afflalo is likely a goner, Phil Jackson is fond of Williams, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.
  • Stan Van Gundy is confident that the Pistons will get a solid long-term piece at No. 18, but he isn’t counting on that player to contribute immediately, as Keith Langlois of details. In other words, if Detroit drafts a point guard with that first-round pick, that won’t stop the team from potentially pursuing a point guard in free agency. Van Gundy added that if the Pistons get trade inquiries on their pick, they have a good idea of “what would make us listen and what wouldn’t.”
  • If the right opportunities don’t arise this summer, the Celtics shouldn’t be in any rush to burn all their assets and cap room, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, making the case that “wait until next year” might not be a bad Plan B for Boston. Bulpett adds (in a tweet) that the C’s are “trying very hard” to make major deals, and are well prepared with quick counters when different scenarios are raised in trade talks.

Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams To Opt Out

Arron Afflalo will turn down his player option with the Knicks for the 2016/17 season, opting to explore the free agent market in July, reports Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops and The Associated Press (Twitter link). Afflalo’s decision on his player option had been due this Wednesday.

[RELATED: Player option decisions for 2016/17]

By opting out, Afflalo will forfeit an $8MM salary for the coming season, under the assumption that he’ll be able to land a bigger deal on the open market. While there’s a possibility he’ll return to New York, plenty of teams around the NBA will have cap room and could target the veteran shooting guard as a more affordable alternative to the players who will earn max deals.

Afflalo, 30, signed with the Knicks last summer as a free agent, and averaged 33.4 minutes in 71 regular season contests for the team. Most of his averages for the 2016/17 season, including 12.8 PPG, a .443 FG%, and a .382 3PT%, were very similar to his career marks.

Even before Afflalo made his decision, the Knicks had been prioritizing backcourt additions this offseason. The club had been preparing for Afflalo to test the market, with new head coach Jeff Hornacek suggesting earlier this month that he expected the former UCLA standout to “see what’s out there.”

Meanwhile, Derrick Williams, who has a $4.598MM player option for 2016/17 and whose decision was also due by tomorrow, will also opt out of his contract, per Ian Begley of (via Twitter). The former second overall pick had arguably his best NBA season in 2015/16, setting career highs in points per 36 minutes (18.7), field goal percentage (.450), and a few other categories, as a part-time contributor for the Knicks.

With Afflalo and Williams no longer on the books for next season, the Knicks now have $56MM+ committed to seven players, not taking into account qualifying offers or cap holds for pending free agents. The salary cap is projected to land in the $94MM range.

Atlantic Rumors: Ingram, Sixers, Knicks, Raptors

The 76ers, according to multiple reports, are strongly leaning toward using the No. 1 pick in this year’s on Ben Simmons. However, that doesn’t mean the club isn’t doing its due diligence on other options. According to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter), former Duke forward Brandon Ingram is scheduled to meet with and work out for the Sixers on Monday. Barring a significant turn of events, Philadelphia probably isn’t using its first overall pick on Ingram, but with the club rumored to be exploring trade possibilities that could involve another lottery pick, it makes sense for the team to do its homework.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • The Sixers also have a pair of first-round picks in the mid-20s, and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if the team could be eyeing former FSU guard Malik Beasley with one of those selections. According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links), Beasley, who is recovering from stress fracture surgery, has been cleared to play but is believed to have shut down workouts due to a promise. Kennedy hints that such a promise may have come from a team in the middle of the first round.
  • Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek was asked about Arron Afflalo‘s player option decision during an appearance on WFAN, and while Hornacek said the team hasn’t been informed yet of Afflalo’s decision, he expects the veteran guard to opt out “to see what’s out there” (link via Ian Begley of
  • Asked during the same interview about the chances of the Knicks signing a max player in free agency, Hornacek said that’s “absolutely” in play (Twitter link via Adam Zagoria of
  • Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri is in the midst of a European scouting trip, making stops in Serbia, Istanbul, and Italy to check out draft prospects, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Raptors scouting director Dan Tolzman tells Smith that the trip will also provide the team with an opportunity to start thinking big picture about how the 2017 draft will compare to 2016, and which year’s picks will be more valuable. Toronto has two first-rounders this year, and could have two more in ’17.

Knicks Rumors: Afflalo, Clarkson, Hernangomez

On Wednesday, we learned that the Knicks are in negotiations to retain Kurt Rambis as an assistant on new head coach Jeff Hornacek‘s staff, and we passed along the names of several free agent targets viewed as “realistic” for the team, including a handful of veterans who are working out at a Knicks mini-camp. We’ve got a few more items out of New York to round up today, all courtesy of Ian Begley of, whose latest piece is chock-full of interesting tidbits. Let’s dive right in…

  • Asked which position the Knicks will prioritize this offseason, general manager Steve Mills provided an unsurprising reply. “It’s clear we need a lead guard, someone that can really carry the load, day in and day out,” Mills said during an MSG Network program. “That’s something that I think is one of our biggest needs.”
  • According to Begley, Arron Afflalo has yet to make a decision on his $8MM player option for 2016/17, but the expectation is that the veteran guard will opt out, potentially leaving the Knicks even more short-handed in the backcourt.
  • Begley hears that Jordan Clarkson has fans within the Knicks organization, but Clarkson will be a restricted free agent this summer, and appears likely to stay with the Lakers.
  • Mills indicated that New York hopes to sign 2015 second-round pick Willy Hernangomez this offseason. “We won’t be able to do anything until July 1 but we’re in conversations about that,” the GM said.
  • We’ve heard previously that the Knicks plan to acquire a draft pick, and Begley notes that the team has been working out prospects, emphasizing the triangle offense in those sessions.
  • Mills, on the possibility of getting involved in the draft: “Teams have multiple picks, so some of those teams are going to be interested in moving their picks. A lot is going to depend on who is there in the draft that we really like. We have a feel for if there are any players that we really like that we think can impact this team and then we’ll go out and aggressively get a pick if we think something’s there. But we also have to balance the number of young guys on the roster versus veterans that we may be able to bring in through free agency or trade. So that’s a balance that we’re constantly looking at.”
  • Mills added the Knicks expect to have “a pool of 30 or 40 players” that they’ll look at in free agency, with the intention of adding at least a couple free agents from that group. “The most important thing is to understand who the guys are that you have a really good chance of getting so that you’re not chasing the guys that you really don’t have a chance,” Mills said.

Grizzlies Notes: Coaching Search, Joerger, Conley

Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be part of a long list of candidates to replace Dave Joerger, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Tillery expects the Grizzlies to reach out to veteran coaches David Blatt, Brian Shaw, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. GM Chris Wallace promised a “thoughtful and comprehensive” process, adding that there is no rush to find a replacement. He plans to consider college coaches as well as NBA assistants. “We don’t have a guy,” Wallace said. “We’ll talk to people and see how it goes. It’s not about dealing from a pre-existing category. It’s about finding the right guy. We’re very much in the preliminary stages.” Tillery writes that “reshaping” the team, which the front office didn’t believe Joerger was willing to do, will be among the responsibilities for the next coach.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • Wallace’s call for stability in the organization is laughable, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal, pointing out that in the past four years, the Grizzlies have been through an ownership change, two GM changes and two coaching changes. Joerger had been expressing his unhappiness in subtle ways throughout the season, Calkins notes, and felt betrayed when Jeff Green and Courtney Lee were dealt away at the trade deadline. Joerger also said the roster was “old and slow” and repeatedly praised Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, whom the Grizzlies passed over in the draft. Calkins questions whether free agent point guard Mike Conley will want to re-sign with an organization that has seen so much turnover.
  • The Grizzlies may not have enough to offer on the free agent market, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Memphis must decide by June 29th whether to pick up a $9.4MM option for next season on Lance Stephenson. If the Grizzlies keep him and all their other contracts while renouncing Matt Barnes and Chris Andersen, they will have about $60MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at more than $90MM. However, Conley carries a $14MM cap hold, which means money must be cut in other areas for the team to offer a max contract. Vince Carter and JaMychal Green are possibilities, as they both have contracts that won’t be guaranteed until January. Brandan Wright and his $5.7MM deal could be traded to clear more room. Dowsett speculates about Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Gerald Henderson and Leandro Barbosa as possible free agent targets.

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