The Lakers, Knicks, Sixers and Hawks have been linked to soon-to-be restricted free agent Tobias Harris, but the belief is that the Magic would match just about any offer of less than $13MM a year, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who looks at Harris and other top free agents. It’s unclear whether those four non-Orlando teams are interested, Harris is interested in them, or both, though the Knicks are reportedly planning a pursuit amid conflicting reports about whether he’s eager to play for them. Kyler wrote earlier this month that there’s a sense that the Sixers will make a play for Harris, too. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
- It’s likely that Al Jefferson will turn down his $13.5MM player option for next season, Kyler writes in the same piece, adding that while the belief is that he’d like to remain with the Hornets, there’s also a sense that the 30-year-old will go to the highest bidder in free agency.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wonders whether the Heat will sign a big man to help a thin frontcourt rotation in the wake of Hassan Whiteside‘s injury. Whiteside is out at least a few more days with a hand laceration that will probably take two weeks to heal completely, as Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post relays. The Heat were reportedly among the teams with interest in signing JaVale McGee earlier this month.
- Coaches rarely last in the NBA, but SB Nation’s Tom Ziller argues that the Wizards have been too patient with Randy Wittman.
WEDNESDAY, 9:01am: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.
12:27pm: The team will indeed sign Daye to another 10-day contract, Vivlamore reports (Twitter link).
TUESDAY, 10:19am: The Hawks haven’t made a final decision about whether to sign Austin Daye to a second 10-day contract, but “indications are” that the former 15th overall pick will be back for at least another short-term stint, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s in spite of a better-than-expected prognosis for Mike Scott, whose toe injury prompted the team to sign Daye to his first 10-day deal, which expires overnight tonight.
Daye has played just nine minutes across two games for Atlanta, draining a three-pointer for his only make in four shot attempts. Still, he spent nearly a calendar year in a similar system with San Antonio, and he averaged 4.0 points in 10.3 minutes per game during 26 appearances for the Spurs this season before the team waived him in January to sign JaMychal Green instead. It was nonetheless inefficient play, at least as his 7.3 PER with the Spurs this season would indicate, and he and San Antonio didn’t circle back to each other after the Spurs failed to re-sign Green upon the expiration of his 10-day deal. Daye instead spent a brief time with the Magic’s D-League team.
Atlanta has 14 players signed through at least the end of the season, so Daye occupies the team’s lone flexible roster spot. Jarell Eddie was in that spot on a 10-day contract that expired just before Daye joined the team.
Thomas Robinson is making a strong case that he should be a part of the Sixers‘ future plans, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News writes. “I’ve never played this much before and never played this consistently, so this is my first time getting an opportunity,” Robinson said. “You always want that momentum. This time of the year, it’s hard mentally when you know you’re not playing for anything. Us, in this locker room, we want to go out with momentum and know that we’re getting better, and we’ll go into the summer where we’ll know that we have a platform to start on. That’s all that really matters right now.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Celtics have assigned James Young to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Young’s eleventh trek of the season to Maine. The swingman has appeared in 11 contests for the Red Claws this season and is averaging 22.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.2 minutes per game.
- Thabo Sefolosha is expected to make his return to the Hawks‘ lineup on Wednesday night against the Magic, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Sefolosha has been sidelined since January 30th with a calf injury.
- Hornets assistant coach Mark Price has been offered the head coaching position at UNC Charlotte, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports. Sources told Goodman that Price has been offered a five-year deal and is mulling whether or not to accept it.
Ramon Sessions is growing more comfortable with the Wizards, especially offensively, after a deadline-day trade that brought him to Washington ended a brief and unusual tenure with the Kings, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post details.
“I’ve been around for a while and I’ve been around with a few different teams and it was probably one of the strangest things, to have three coaches by the All-Star break,” Sessions said. “A lot different things you’re hearing from different people and it didn’t really correlate with what was going on on the court. So it was tough. It definitely was tough. Me being an older guy, it was a little easier, but I know for some of the young guys it had to be real tough.”
Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
- The Suns reportedly had interest in Luol Deng at last year’s trade deadline and during this past offseason‘s free agency, but they didn’t ask about him as they negotiated the Goran Dragic deal with the Heat last month, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports.
- The Heat have been planning a free agency push for 2016, but that’ll be difficult unless team president Pat Riley wants to break up the core he has now, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines.
- Ohio State coach Thad Matta has suggested that Greg Oden will make another NBA comeback attempt, but the former No. 1 overall pick had limited passion for the game last season with the Heat, Winderman writes in the same piece.
- The toe injury that’s sidelined Hawks power forward Mike Scott doesn’t involve a broken bone as previously reported, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Scott was reportedly expected to miss four to six weeks as of a week ago, but now it’s likely he’ll be back at full strength for the playoffs, according to Newberry. The postseason begins three weeks from Saturday. The team’s 10-day contract with Austin Daye, whom the Hawks signed to offset the loss of Scott, expires overnight tonight.
Kent Bazemore admits that Danny Ferry‘s name gets brought up in the Hawks‘ locker room quite a bit and the guard believes Ferry deserves credit for putting a championship contender together, as he tells Charles Bethea in an interview for Grantland.com.
“[Ferry is] definitely a huge part of this year’s success. It was unfortunate what happened, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about Mr. Ferry. I flew into Atlanta this summer and had lunch with him. And he’s a great guy,” Bazemore said. “We sat there, we laughed, we joked. He has a huge group of friends, believe it or not, in the NBA. So I look at it as a business. He’s trying to do his best for his organization, and he’s done a great job of getting the right guys in and creating a team that’s number one in the East and almost the best team in the NBA right now, recordwise. He could win the GM award.”
In our latest poll, about 30% of Hoops Rumors readers believe Ferry should win the Executive of the Year award. As we wait to see whether or not the summer controversy surrounding the Hawks prevents Ferry from taking home the trophy, we’ll round up more from the Southeast:
- Bazemore, before signing his two year, $4MM deal with the Hawks, played last season with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Some have suggested that free agents would be disinterested in signing with Los Angeles because of Bryant. Bazemore tells Bethea that that’s simply not the case and that it wasn’t difficult to play with the 17-time All-Star.
- Chris Bosh isn’t letting his season-ending injury prevent him from contributing to the Heat, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel observes (subscription only link). Bosh has been playing the role of an assistant coach, and Dwyane Wade is supportive of what the big man brings to the bench. “If he sees something, he’ll come to you and he’ll tell you,” said Wade. “He’s been exciting. He’s been into it. I think he’s just enjoying being around the game again. We feel his excitement. It’s just good just to look over there and see him.”
- Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has the talent to become the best perimeter defender in this generation of NBA players, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Kidd-Gilchrist becomes extension-eligible this summer, and such strong words likely indicate the Hornets would prefer to keep the Kentucky product around going forward.
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.
The Hornets and Heat are two of the five clubs competing for the final pair of playoff spots in the East, and Charlotte will have a chance to move into a tie with Miami for the eighth seed if they can find a way to steal a win from the Clippers tonight in Los Angeles. While there’s still over a month left in the regular season, it wouldn’t be shocking to see four of the Southeast’s five teams end up with postseason berths. We’ve got the latest from around that division below..
- Erik Spoelstra pointed to Michael Beasley’s familiarity with the Heat’s system as a major reason why the club went after him once his season ended in China, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (subscription required). The 26-year-old called the roster movement he’s been a part of throughout his career “humbling” and admitted he’ll need to continue to work hard every night if he wants to stick in Miami.
- It wasn’t exactly a splashy signing when Kent Bazemore inked a two-year, $4MM deal with the Hawks last summer, but Jeff Teague and others from Atlanta’s locker room contend that the third-year guard’s presence has been a boon to the club’s chemistry and overall success, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
- Shaun Powell of NBA.com breaks down James Borrego’s coaching credentials and wonders if his popularity among the Magic players and relative success so far as interim head coach could lead Orlando’s front office to keep him at the helm of the club going forward.
Reports last season that made claims of a rift between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters and alleged that Irving wanted to leave the Cavaliers put a strain on the point guard, as he tells Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Irving silenced much of the chatter when he agreed to a five-year extension with Cleveland on the first day he could this past July.
“It really got to me,” Irving said of the rumors. “I’m not a big Twitter person and I don’t tweet a lot of my emotions, but last year I was clarifying because there were so many sources. I’m dealing with people coming at my character. Saying I’m detrimental to my teammates and I’m like, ‘Man, that’s not even close to who I am at all.’ It started to get to me because once people start to question the things that you’re doing, and you know you’re not doing them, then it starts to get to you.”
There’s more on the Cavs amid the latest from around the Eastern Conference:
- Dwyane Wade believes Goran Dragic is a fit for the Heat, but even if he re-signs and Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts return healthy for next season, Wade thinks the team would still need to add more to return to contention, as he told Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post.
- Mike Scott is expected to miss four to six weeks with his broken left big toe, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Hawks signed Austin Daye on Saturday to a 10-day contract to help offset the loss. The regular season ends four weeks from this coming Wednesday.
- Kendrick Perkins is enthusiastic about the way he’s fit in with the Cavs and the warm reception his new teammates have given him, as he tells Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). Perkins, who nonetheless added that he misses his former Thunder teammates, will once more hit free agency in the summer.
- Public funding for pro sports facilities is coming under fire from President Obama, who’s proposed eliminating the ability for states and cities to use bonds that are exempt from federal taxes to raise money for construction, reports Elaine S. Povich of Stateline (USA Today link). It’s unclear whether that would affect the Bucks‘ plan, which is based on a “jock tax” that draws from players.
SUNDAY, 12:07pm: The signing is official, according to the team’s Twitter feed.
SATURDAY, 12:31pm: Austin Daye will sign a 10-day contract with the Hawks, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports. The Hawks needed depth at the forward position after Mike Scott broke the big toe on his left foot this week. Daye was playing for the team’s D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, where he averaged 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in 10 games.
Daye was waived in January by the Spurs after appearing in 26 games this season, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in those contests. Daye, a first-round pick by the Pistons in 2009, has also played for the Grizzlies and Raptors over the past three seasons. Daye can play either forward spot and gives the Hawks another 3-point threat. He’s a 35.2% shooter from long range over his career.
Scott, who was averaging 7.5 points and 2.7 rebounds, is out indefinitely, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The club decided not to re-sign guard Jarell Eddie to a second 10-day contract on Saturday because of Scott’s injury.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there is no disconnect between him and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge as the team fights for a playoff berth, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes. Stevens has not been asked by Ainge to use younger players at the expense of winning, according to Bulpett, who points out that rookie James Young has lost his spot in the rotation. Ainge made several trades this season with an eye to the future, including deals that shipped out veterans Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince. “To me, there doesn’t need to be any separation. This is the focus we have,” Stevens said to the team’s beat reporters. “Obviously [Ainge] has got to look at everything from a roster standpoint and the development standpoint and everything else, but I think our progress as a team and the way we’re progressing, all that stuff goes hand in hand.”
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
- Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is unhappy about his team playing 22 back-to-backs this season, tying his team with the Hornets for the most in the league, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Van Gundy believes the problem is due to the league’s contract with TNT which prevents teams from scheduling games on most Thursday nights, Langlois adds. “If you looked at the schedule and said, they’ve got 45 home games and they’ve only got 37, everybody would go crazy,” Van Gundy said to Langlois. “But on the back to backs, we don’t say anything. I think that is something to be addressed.”
- Jarell Eddie will not receive a second 10-day contract from the Hawks, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals. Eddie, whose first 10-day contract expires on Saturday, did not appear in any games after he was signed away from the D-League’s Austin Spurs. He will likely return to Austin, Vivlamore continues.
Hawks executive and prospective owner Dominique Wilkins hasn’t exactly been enamored with Danny Ferry after he tried to block the building of a statue in honor of the Hawks legend, as Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes in a subscription-only piece. Schultz examines the uncertain future of the GM who’s been on indefinite leave of absence since September and the opposition he faces from Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr., who reportedly sought Ferry’s ouster and, according to Schultz, fears the GM’s return. There’s more on the Hawks amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:
- Elton Brand says he’ll wait until season’s end to decide whether he’ll retire, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Brand also considered retirement after last season before he re-signed with the Hawks on a one-year, $2MM deal.
- It appears that Andrei Kirilenko‘s departure from the Sixers constituted a buyout deal, as his salary was reduced from $3,326,235 to $2,328,365, according to Eric Pincus, who reports via Twitter and shows more detail on his Sixers salary page at Basketball Insiders. Presumably, that $997,870 difference is on top of the money Kirilenko lost during his unpaid suspension.
- Having Hassan Whiteside blossom as he has is “almost like getting a lottery pick” to make up for the first-rounders the team dealt away when it signed-and-traded for LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010, Heat president Pat Riley tells Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick (Twitter link). Riley added that he feels as though Michael Beasley and perhaps Tyler Johnson also have the ability to offset the loss of those picks.
- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is much more pleased with his club now than he was two months ago, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com observes.