The Hawks intend to decline their fourth-year team option on the rookie scale contract of John Jenkins, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). If Atlanta had exercised the option they would have been on the hook for Jenkins’ 2015/16 salary of $2,228,025, but now he’s set up for unrestricted free agency next summer. The Hawks can still try to re-sign Jenkins, but they won’t be able to offer him more than the amount of his option, and this also would go for any team that acquired him by trade during the 2014/15 season.
Atlanta has approximately $41,215,385 in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2015/16 season, including the $1,763,400 third-year team option for Dennis Schröder which the team had picked up earlier this evening. Jenkins isn’t a big part of the Hawks’ rotation, and the team may feel better served in keeping as much cap space free as possible heading into next summer’s free agency period, when they also will have to make a decision regarding Paul Millsap, whose team-friendly $9.5MM deal expires at season’s end.
In 74 career games since being selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Jenkins’ numbers are 5.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, and 0.96 APG. His career slash line is .438/.365/.851.
The Hawks have picked up their third-year team option for Dennis Schröder, according to the RealGM transactions log. Schröder is scheduled to make $1,763,400 during the 2015/16 campaign, and Atlanta now has approximately $41,215,385 in guaranteed salary on the books for that season, including Schröder’s money.
It’s not a surprise that the Hawks would pick up Schröder’s option, despite him not living up to having been the 17th overall selection in the 2013 NBA draft, at least to this point. With Jeff Teague entrenched as the starter, and under contract through 2016/17, Atlanta still hopes that Schröder can develop into a serviceable backup, and potential successor to Teague.
In 50 career games Schröder has averaged 3.7 PPG, 1.2 RPG, and 1.9 APG. His slash line is .383/.238/.667.
Former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien is looking to form a group of investors to purchase the Hawks, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter link). He joins former players Dominique Wilkins, Dikembe Mutombo and Chris Webber and attorney Doug Davis among those with apparent interest in owning the franchise. Controlling owner Bruce Levenson is seeking to unload his stake following the discovery of an email with racial overtones that he sent in 2012.
Levien parted ways with the Grizzlies this spring, reportedly after tension had built for months between him and owner Robert Pera. The Grizzlies had entrusted Levien with running their basketball operations when Pera bought the team two years ago, and he’d pushed for an analytics-driven movement that led to a split with then-coach Lionel Hollins. Levien had worked in the Kings front office and was a minority shareholder of the Sixers prior to joining the Grizzlies, and he currently owns the D.C. United of Major League Soccer.
Much is still undetermined surrounding the fate of the Hawks franchise, as the team’s ownership group has yet to decide just how much of the club will go up for sale. Levenson and his partners own 50.1% of it and can force the sale of up to 60%, but the NBA seems to be pressuring all of the Hawks owners to give up their stakes, as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote last week. A report from Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal this week indicated that the full franchise would sell for between $750MM and $1 billion.
The NBA has struck a deal to partner with Brazil’s Liga Nacional de Basquete, the top domestic league in that country, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. The arrangement will likely give the NBA an ownership stake in the league and will allow for the exchange of ideas on marketing, player development and other best practices, according to Lowe. Many NBA league office types would like to see the pro game played with one universal set of rules around the globe, a sentiment that some others around international basketball share, Lowe notes, so the Brazilian deal could be a step in that direction. There’s more from Lowe amid our look at the latest around the league:
- There’s “nearly unanimous” opposition to the idea of reducing the length of games to 44 minutes, as Lowe writes in the same piece, laying out a handful of reasons why many around the league are against the idea that the NBA experimented with earlier this month. Still, Lowe believes there’s a decent chance the idea resurfaces at some point.
- Sources tell Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal that they expect the Hawks to sell for at least $750MM and perhaps close to $1 billion. Presumably, those figures pertain to 100% of the franchise, and it’s still uncertain just how much of the Hawks will end up on the block.
- Evercore Partners, with Bruce Ratner at the controls, is once more shopping its 20% share of the Nets after tabling that pursuit earlier, Kaplan adds.
- Warriors camp invitee Aaron Craft will play for the team’s D-League affiliate, his agent tells Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch (Twitter link). That signals that Golden State made him one of the four preseason cuts it can reserve for its affiliate, since Craft would otherwise have to go through the D-League draft.
- Kim English, whom the Bulls waived earlier this month, has a deal with SLUC Nancy, a French team, sources tell Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia.
FRIDAY, 11:23am: Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has confirmed the move, according to the team’s official Twitter account.
THURSDAY, 9:37pm: Boston has indeed claimed Eddie off of waivers, as is reflected in the RealGM transactions log. No announcement from the Celtics has been made yet.
5:34pm: The Celtics have claimed small forward Jarell Eddie off waivers from the Hawks, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Boston takes over Eddie’s one-year, non-guaranteed contract for the minimum salary, and the move ups Boston’s roster to 18 players, though that figure includes Tim Frazier, whom the Celtics are poised to release.
Boston has guaranteed contracts with 16 of its players, so it seems that the team will probably turn around and waive Eddie before opening night, though that’s just my speculation. The C’s have the ability to retain his D-League rights, an asset the Hawks lose as a result of the waiver claim, so I’ll also speculate that Boston is making the move with the D-League chiefly in mind.
The 6’7″ Eddie averaged 2.7 points in 13.1 minutes per game across three preseason appearances with Atlanta after going undrafted out of Virginia Tech in June. He posted 13.3 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 32.6 MPG as a senior with the Hokies last season.
The Heat front office wasn’t deflated when they learned that LeBron James and his talents were returning to the Cavs, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Miami’s brass looked at the departure as a new opportunity and a fresh chapter, notes Zillgitt. The team wasn’t interested in a long rebuilding process, and Zillgitt points to the team bringing back Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as signing Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng as proof that the team still intends to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s more from the east:
- The Hawks have hired Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to help facilitate the sale of the franchise, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link).
- With 16 players remaining on their preseason roster the Celtics have at least one more personnel move to make prior to the regular season commencing. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com hands out his preseason grades for the players and notes where each currently fits in Boston’s plans.
- New Bucks team owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry face their first major franchise decision, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times writes. The two have to decide the contract future of Brandon Knight, whom they have until October 31st to work out an extension with or else he is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer, notes Woelfel. Knight’s numbers and age compare favorably with Eric Bledsoe‘s, but many around the league feel that the Suns overpaid when the re-signed Bledsoe to a five year, $70MM deal, so Knight may be hard pressed to duplicate Bledsoe’s near $14MM per season average, the Journal Times scribe relays.
- The Sixers still have 20 players on their preseason roster and a number of decisions to make before Saturday’s deadline to waive players so that they’re off the team by the time opening-night rosters are set on Monday. Casper Ware is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, but has a very real shot to stick with the team, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I feel good about it,” Ware said. “I don’t know what they have planned, I just control what I can control and play hard.”
Outgoing Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson has the power to force as much as 60% of the team to be sold, even though he and his partners have only 50.1% of the team, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The NBA appears to be pressuring all of the other owners to sell so that the entire franchise can change hands, Vivlamore adds. All of the team’s owners still have yet to meet to discuss how much of the franchise they’re going to sell, and so far, their only action as a group has involved preparation for vetting prospective buyers, though vetting itself has yet to begin, as Vivlamore explains.
Here’s more from around the league:
- When Jordan Crawford signed with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association for $1.4MM it wasn’t because he didn’t receive any NBA offers. The Kings had tried to sign Crawford this summer, but he wasn’t comfortable with a backup role in Sacramento, David Pick of Eurobasket reports (Twitter links). Crawford also relayed that he felt “overlooked” by the league, and that’s what led him to China, Pick notes.
- Brock Motum‘s one year, minimum salary deal with the Jazz is non-guaranteed, as is reflected on the Basketball Insiders salary page for Utah.
- Many of the teams that joined the Sixers in a voting bloc that scuttled immediate lottery reform are nonetheless miffed about Philadelphia’s stripped-down roster, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. Teams voted down lottery changes in part because they feel too much is in flux, and that includes the unknown of just how or whether the league will phase in the substantial increase in the salary cap that the league’s enhanced TV revenues will bring about, Lowe adds. Some influential agents oppose the idea of any phase-in, preferring that the cap simply leap in the summer of 2016 based on the idea that teams might be uncertain of how to handle the changed landscape and hand out contracts they’ll later regret, according to Lowe.
- The surging salary cap projections have some small-market teams worried about how they’ll manage in a league where $100MM payrolls are the norm, in spite of the TV money that would make that sort of spending more palatable, as Lowe writes in the same piece. Small-market teams also fear that they’ll become slightly profitable and lose the benefit of tens of millions in income through the league’s revenue sharing program, the Grantland columnist explains. The Lakers handed out $50MM, the Knicks $27MM and the Bulls $17MM in revenue sharing last season, Lowe reports.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
12:16pm: The moves are official, the team announced via press release and on Twitter.
12:07pm: The Hawks are waiving Dexter Pittman and Jarell Eddie, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Vivlamore indicates the moves have already taken place, though the team has yet to make a public acknowledgement. Each has been on a non-guaranteed contract. Letting them go would leave Atlanta with 15 players, which means the team wouldn’t need to make any more cuts.
Pittman has been on his second stint with the Hawks after having joined the club on a 10-day contract in February. The center briefly spent time on the Rockets roster at the end of the 2013/14 season, but his only two appearances in regular season games last year came with Atlanta. The former 32nd overall pick has struggled with weight issues and has never averaged more than 8.6 minutes per game in any of his four NBA seasons.
Eddie went undrafted this summer out of Virginia Tech and joined the Wizards for summer league before hooking up with the Hawks this fall. He averaged 2.7 points in 13.1 minutes per game in the preseason, but nonetheless made a positive impression on Atlanta’s brass. That suggests the team envisions retaining the D-League rights to the 6’7″ small forward forward, though that’s just my speculation.
The moves leave the Hawks with 14 fully guaranteed contracts plus a partial guarantee of about $408K with Mike Muscala. In a twist of fate, the Hawks released Pittman from his 10-day contract before the 10 days were up last season to accommodate the signing of Muscala, who remains on the same deal.
More NBA players will hit waivers in the next week than at any other time of the year, but the Heat and Wizards are bucking the trend and bringing new players aboard. The Heat signed Larry Drew II on Monday and the Wizards are poised to do the same with John Lucas III. Still, both teams will have to make cuts, too, and it appears Washington already has three players destined for the waiver wire. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division.
- Pau Gasol admits that Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade recruited him heavily but says that the Heat‘s situation was too “unclear” at the time he made his decision to sign with the Bulls, notes Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report (on Twitter).
- Danny Ferry seems unlikely to return to the Hawks from his leave of absence, but Jeff Teague is the latest player to come out in support of the embattled GM after Ferry made racially derogatory remarks about Luol Deng, as Sekou Smith of NBA.com chronicles. “Me, knowing Danny, he’s a good dude,” Teague said. “He’s never said or done anything disrespectful like that to me. So when those things came out I didn’t overreact or think he was a racist or anything like that. It’s a mistake that anybody could make. And he’s dealing with it right now. And hopefully, he can come back from it.”
- P.J. Hairston is considering switching agents for the second time since becoming a pro, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). Former UNC-Greensboro player Rodney Blackstock is among those the Hornets‘ rookie is considering, Bonnell adds. Hairston switched to Jonathan Stahler of Upside Media Group after the discovery that his first agent, UMG’s Juan Morrow, wasn’t union-certified.
Charlie Adams contributed to this post.
Henry Abbott of ESPN The Magazine hears from agents and team sources who say Kobe Bryant‘s rough-edged personality is driving free agents away from the Lakers. The Buss family receives more income from the team’s local TV deal if ratings are better, and that helped persuade the team to sign Bryant to his lucrative two-year extension 12 months ago and to eschew an aggressive rebuilding project, Abbott hears. Bryant’s popularity with powerful front-row celebrities also played a role, and co-owner Jim Buss is just “waiting for [Bryant] to leave,” a source tells Abbott, fearful of engaging in a public spat with the superstar. Steve Nash nearly decided against approving his sign-and-trade to the Lakers and Paul George signed his extension with the Pacers in part because of Bryant, sources tell Abbott. Chris Bosh was one of the Lakers’ missed free agent targets this summer, and there’s more on him amid the latest from around the league:
- The Thunder will join the Sixers in voting against the changes to the lottery, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, but Wojnarowski seconds Lowe’s report (below) that the measure still has enough support to pass.
- Bosh spoke of a desire to be paid at his full market rate as he explained his decision to turn down a four-year max deal from the Rockets for five years at the max from the Heat to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “It’s always business,” Bosh said. “Nothing is ever personal. I think 100% of those dudes would have taken the deal I took.”
- Another NBA team has joined the Sixers in opposition to the league’s lottery reform proposal as the Board of Governors meet today, but the measure is still expected to receive approval, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports (Twitter links).
- Players union secretary-treasurer James Jones is an opponent of shortening games and believes, as teammate LeBron James does, that players would instead like to see fewer games on the schedule, as Jones tells Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
- Former Hawks All-Star Dikembe Mutombo has met with a group of investors about joining their effort to buy the team, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.