The Pistons have turned over a third of their roster this offseason, and new president and coach Stan Van Gundy has been the architect of that change. David Mayo of MLive examines the team’s moves and believes Detroit may have lost ground in the Eastern Conference with all the improvements made to the Cavs, Bulls, Hawks, and Hornets rosters.
Here’s more out of the Central Division:
- Van Gundy believes being the president and coach of the Pistons is an advantage when recruiting free agents, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Van Gundy said, “I can present the roster and talk about roles free agents could play. If you’re talking to them as a coach, it’s probably a little more realistic than just the front office — so a slight advantage, but not a whole lot.” Still, Van Gundy does admit that money is the biggest factor, saying “It’s not as much an advantage as money. My experience with the NBA is about 99.9% of the time the guy takes the best contract offer. Most guys aren’t going to make a big sacrifice, so money is No. 1, but then there are all kinds of things after that.”
- With all the buzz about a potential Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett trade being in the works, Kyrie Irving isn’t worried if the Cavs complete the deal or not, writes Cameron Moon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Irving claims he hasn’t seriously thought about the deal being made, and also said, “There are so many guys who have inside sources. Until it happens and I get the call from our GM, other than that I haven’t really considered anything.“
- The Cavaliers have had quite a busy and surprising offseason so far. The crew at Basketball Insiders (video link) break down all the moves the team made and what they mean for the franchise going forward.
With the Bulls using their amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer on Tuesday, only seven NBA players remain amnesty-eligible as noted in our 2014 Amnesty Primer. But the five teams that haven’t used the provision will have to wait until next summer, as Wednesday marked the deadline for this offseason.
Boozer was snatched up by the Lakers earlier today for a manageable price of $3.25MM, though as ESPN’s Marc Stein reports (via Twitter), the Duke product had strong interest in the Rockets had he gone unclaimed and cleared waivers. Meanwhile, Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times speculates that Boozer’s presence might signal a more complimentary role for rookie Julius Randle unless the playoff-hungry Lakers consider June’s No. 7 pick a small forward (Twitter links are here).
Here’s more from around the league on Thursday night:
- DeJuan Blair‘s starting salary in his new deal with the Wizards is $2MM, Hoops Rumors has learned, so that leaves just $16K on the Eric Maynor trade exception the team reportedly used to absorb him via sign-and-trade from the Wizards. That effectively exhausts the Maynor exception, which expires this coming February 20th, since the remaining $16K wouldn’t be enough to absorb another player.
- Louis Williams left his exit interview with Hawks officials expecting to be traded, as he told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who writes in a subscription-only piece. The instinct was correct, as the Hawks shipped Williams to the Raptors late last month, but Williams said he harbors no ill feelings toward the Atlanta brass.
- Multiple reports have linked Mo Williams to Dallas in recent days, but a source tells Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that the Mavericks are pursuing another free agent whom they would prefer to spend their room exception on.
- The Mavs‘ deal with Devin Harris, which became official earlier tonight, is for four years and $16.55MM, reports Dwain Harris of the Fort Worth Star Telegram (via Twitter). Meanwhile Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News has the yearly breakdown, reporting that Harris will make $3.878MM next season, followed by $4.053MM in 2015/16, $4.228MM in 2016/17 and $4.403MM in what is a partially guaranteed fourth year in 2017/18.
- Metta World Peace would love to play for the Lakers, Clippers or Knicks, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News hears, adding that it seems any conversation World Peace may have had about a return to the Lakers wasn’t too serious (Twitter link).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report details how the Heat’s maneuvers to accommodate the Big Three back in 2010 are now proving costly with the departure of LeBron James. The Heat’s 2015 first round pick–given to the Cavs as part of James’ sign-and-trade to Miami–is still owed to Cleveland, and Miami is still paying Mike Miller‘s amnestied contract while the sharpshooter is on the verge of re-teaming with LeBron in another city. Here’s more from the East:
- The Hawks, reportedly one of the favorites to place a bid on Carlos Boozer, took a step in that direction, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders confirms the team has officially slipped beneath the cap (Twitter link).
- The Mavs promised DeJuan Blair that they would try to sign-and-trade him to give him a financial boost, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, and indeed it appears Dallas is close to sending him to the Wizards via sign-and-trade,
- The Wizards will bring University of Maryland women’s assistant coach David Atkins as an assistant coach for player development, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. A handful of rival executives see it as a sign that Washington has begun to position itself to make a run at Durant, a D.C. native, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt (Twitter link), since Atkins was one of Kevin Durant‘s high school coaches, fellow ESPN scribe Mark Stein notes (on Twitter).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Some Pacers players attempted to persuade the team to sweeten its offers to Lance Stephenson, but the front office resisted, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. Stephenson agreed early this morning to bolt for the Hornets, and as his new three-year, $27.5MM deal quickly came together, the Pacers never received the opportunity to match Charlotte’s offer, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star writes. There’s more on his deal amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:
- The Mavs made a three-year $20MM offer to Stephenson, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The new Hornets two-guard would have joined the Mavs instead if the Rockets hadn’t passed on matching the Mavs’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
- The Pacers made two different five-year offers to Stephenson, but he rejected them both, favoring a shorter arrangement, agent Alberto Ebanks tells Buckner (Twitter link). Indiana wasn’t willing to go shorter than five years, Broussard writes in his piece.
- The Nuggets had a three-year, $12MM offer on the table for Mike Miller, but he passed it up for two years and $5.5MM with the Cavs thanks to persistent entreaties from LeBron James, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com details.
- Knicks president Phil Jackson thinks the team has too many guards, and he may end up waiving Wayne Ellington, whom New York acquired in the Tyson Chandler trade, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- The Jazz almost doubled the average annual value of the deal that the Wizards were willing to give Trevor Booker, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
- The Hawks held on to Pero Antic through Tuesday, meaning his non-guaranteed salary for 2014/15 has become fully guaranteed for $1.25MM. The same is true for Kyle O’Quinn, whose minimum salary with the Magic went from non-guaranteed to fully guaranteed when Orlando kept him Tuesday.
TUESDAY, 5:32pm: The Heat have officially announced the signing, according to a team press release.
“We were excited to draft James a year ago and have been impressed by the growth of his game in Summer League and Puerto Rico, as well as his terrific experience in Australia, leading Perth to a championship,” said team president Pat Riley in a statement. “We are looking forward to the infusion of energy he will bring to our roster.”
JUNE 13TH: With the Heat on the ropes to the Spurs in the NBA Finals, the need for the team to get younger and deeper is becoming apparent. The Heat are pleased enough with the development of 2013 second-round pick James Ennis that there is a “strong likelihood” the team will sign him this summer, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link).
After a strong season in Australia’s National Basketball League where he averaged 21.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 2.0 APG, Ennis spent the past week working out for the Heat front office in Miami, reports Charania (via RealGM). Ennis, 23, will headline the Heat’s Summer League rosters in Orlando and Las Vegas, according to the article.
The Heat acquired Ennis from the Hawks, who selected him with the 50th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The potential signing of Ennis would likely be a multi-year deal, sources told Charania.
The Hornets and the Hawks are early favorites to register a bid for Carlos Boozer while he’s on amnesty waivers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). The Bulls used the amnesty provision to waive Boozer this afternoon.
Teams are required to have cap space to submit a bid, unlike with regular waivers, which allow teams to use trade exceptions. It’ll take at least enough cap room to register a bid for Boozer’s $1,448,490 minimum salary, a GM confirms to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), though it’ll probably take significantly more than that, given the interest. Boozer will go to the team that makes the highest bid, if there are multiple bids, and if there are two or more bids for the same amount — a possibility, since it’s a blind bidding process — Boozer would go to the team with the worst record from last season. The team that makes the winning bid will pay that amount for Boozer next season, while the rest of his $16.8MM salary will be covered by the Bulls. The bidder’s portion will count against the salary cap, but Chicago’s won’t.
Charlotte has about $52.652MM in guaranteed salary for this coming season, giving it slightly less than $10MM in cap flexibility to make a bid. The Hawks are technically operating over the cap, but they could open about $12MM.
The Knicks are bringing back Carmelo Anthony on a near-max deal, but Knicks president Phil Jackson signaled that austerity is ahead for the club as it looks to preserve cap flexibility for next summer. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details, including Jackson’s comments about his desire for the Knicks to get out of the tax, a goal that the team will be unable to accomplish for the coming season without significant salary-clearing trades.
Here’s more from the east:
- The Hawks will not waive Pero Antic and his $1.25MM contract for next season will be fully guaranteed tomorrow, reports Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
- The Celtics are interested in free agent Evan Turner, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, echoing last week’s report from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities on Minnesota’s pursuit of the former No. 2 overall pick. Turner apparently remains the top priority for the Wolves, Wolfson adds (Twitter link).
- The Hornets haven’t improved their team since free agency began, writes Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer. The team has failed to make a big splash, and the signing of Marvin Williams won’t offset the loss of Josh McRoberts to the Heat in free agency, opines Fowler.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
8:40am: The Heat and Deng are still significantly apart on salary, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Deng has been turning down $10MM per season offers for months, notes Windhorst.
8:11am: In the wake of losing the talents of LeBron James to the Cavaliers, the Heat are scrambling to fill their void at small forward. Their primary target looks to be free agent Luol Deng, who James technically replaced in Cleveland. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Miami has emerged as the frontrunner to land the veteran’s services.
Heat president Pat Riley and Deng’s agent Ron Shade spent significant time negotiating on Saturday and plan to reconnect this morning to continue working towards an agreement, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The two sides are reportedly discussing a a two-year, $20MM contract, per the article. Miami is competing with several teams, including the Hawks, Suns and Mavericks, to sign Deng.
Deng’s career numbers are 16.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 2.5 APG over ten NBA seasons. His career slash lines are .457/.329/.773.
With Carmelo Anthony set to re-sign with the Knicks, New York can now focus on setting up a supporting cast to play alongside him. One name they’re interested in re-signing is Toure’ Murry, tweets Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal. Here’s more from around the East:
- Phil Jackson is said to be willing to include Iman Shumpert as part of a deal to dump the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, or J.R. Smith, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
- There is a gap between what the Cavs can offer and what Mike Miller is seeking, but not enough to end their talks, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
- In contrast to an earlier report of the Hornets interest in Lance Stephenson, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets that Charlotte has shown no such signs.
- The Heat are now open to bringing free agent Mario Chalmers back at the right price, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinal. Miami drafted point guard Shabazz Napier, and was reportedly looking to sign-and-trade Chalmers before LeBron James elected to take his talents away from South Beach.
- The Hawks have re-engaged talks with Luol Deng, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. We heard earlier that the two sides had reached an impasse on salary for the veteran small forward.
- Kent Bazemore was in contract discussions with the Lakers when he agreed to join the Hawks, but Atlanta’s urgency precluded Los Angeles from re-signing the guard on their time table, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
- Trevor Ariza received the same offer from the Wizards as he agreed to with the Rockets, but the difference in taxes between Washington and Houston will save him approximately $3MM, tweets Michael Lee of The Washington Post.
- Ariza asked for an annual salary of $10MM to stay with the Wizards, sources tell J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Michael says that Washington declined to meet Ariza’s demands in order to maintain cap space in 2016, when Kevin Durant will become a free agent.
Charlie Adams contributed to this post.
Lance Stephenson will be targeted by multiple teams in the coming days, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The Hornets had their offer sheet for Gordon Hayward matched by the Jazz, and a league source tells Deveney that Charlotte’s secondary plans of upgrading their roster will bring a Stephenson pursuit to the forefront of the free agency landscape. Here’s more out of the Southeast..
- The Heat are making progress in their pursuit of Luol Deng, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Deng doesn’t have an offer from Miami yet but expects to talk with the team today, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
- Meanwhile, the Hawks, who were rumored to have interest in Deng, likely won’t be making a deal with the small forward, since the two sides are a ways apart on the dollar amount of a potential contract, reveals Amick (on Twitter)
- Both Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem are negotiating the length and salary of deals to return to the Heat, tweets Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report. The pair are expected to remain in Miami on multi-year contracts after opting out to restructure around LeBron James, who left for Cleveland.
- The Hornets pursuit of Marvin Williams was put on hold while Charlotte waited for the Jazz to officially match their offer sheet for Hayward, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Presumably, those negotiations will resume now that Utah has matched the Hayward deal.
Cray Allred contributed to this post.