Not everyone on the Dream Team can be a Hall of Famer, and Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders goes back through history to isolate the worst-ever Team USA members. Among those earning the dubious distinction are Kirk Hinrich (2006), Raef LaFrentz (2002), and the 1998 roster, which was made up of college players thanks to the NBA lockout. Speaking of international competition, here’s today’s look around the globe…
- NBA teams continue to eye Zoran Dragic, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who writes in a full story that the younger brother of Goran Dragic “badly wants” to play in the Association. Still, Zoran signed a two-year extension last month with Unicaja Malaga of Spain, which Stein says offers the 25-year-old greater financial security. The Rockets appeared to be at the front of the line for the younger Dragic as of May.
- Australian center David Andersen is eyeing a return to the NBA and has kept his dance card open beyond the World Cup, writes Roy Ward of the Sydney Morning Herald. The 34-year-old, who has been traded three times within the NBA, last appeared in the Association with New Orleans in 2010/11. Across 103 career games, Andersen averaged 4.9 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 12.3 minutes per contest.
- Despite lots of interest from teams overseas, Celtics summer camp standout Mike Moser will be in an NBA training camp next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Now that the Wolves have officially traded Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo seemingly looms as the next most likely superstar trade candidate. Still, the Celtics aren’t anxious to deal the point guard in part because they’re eager to see how he plays at the beginning of this season, when he’ll be more than a year and a half removed from tearing his right ACL, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Rondo can become a free agent next summer.
The 28-year-old Rondo, like most star veterans in their primes, is unlikely to sign an extension, as Washburn notes, adding that Rondo would be especially reluctant to do so with the Kings. Sacramento was reportedly one of the teams most active in pursuing him at the deadline this past season and the Kings had talks with the Pistons earlier this summer about acquiring Josh Smith, a close friend of Rondo’s. Still, it’s unclear if the point guard would be more inclined to consider a long-term future with the Kings were they to trade for his former Oak Hill Academy teammate.
The Celtics hold Eric Bledsoe in high regard, Washburn also writes, speculating that Bledsoe might end up as Rondo’s replacement in Boston. Bledsoe’s camp and the Suns, who employ former Celtics executive Ryan McDonough as GM, appear to have stalemated in talks about a new deal, and Phoenix has begun to examine sign-and-trade possibilities involving the restricted free agent. Bledsoe has the chance to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, but only if he takes take the unusual step of signing his qualifying offer, worth about $3.7MM, for this season.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has time and again batted down persistent Rondo trade rumors that date back to shortly after the Celtics traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to begin a rebuilding project. Three GMs told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald earlier this summer that Rondo’s trade value wouldn’t be all that high, anyway, perhaps suggesting that other teams share Boston’s desire to gauge his health. Bulpett also heard from rival execs who had reservations about Rondo’s consistency and personality. In any case, Rondo’s scoring and assists per game were down last season in the 30 games he played after returning from injury, and his 40.3% shooting was the worst of his career.
The Cavaliers‘ roster overhaul this offseason is reminiscent of what the Celtics did back in 2007, including obtaining a star player from the Wolves, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Here’s more from the east:
- Former Knicks second-round pick Andy Rautins has signed with Pallacanestro Varese of the Italian League, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Rautins only appeared in a total of five games for New York, averaging 1.6 PPG. His last NBA action came for the Bulls‘ Summer League team back in 2013.
- If Dwyane Wade can stay healthy, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes that the Heat‘s roster this season is better than the one they had prior to LeBron James‘ arrival.
- Former NBA player Terrel Harris has signed with Maccabi Ashdod SCE of the Israeli League, the team announced via their Facebook page (hat tip to Basketball Insiders). Harris has played for the Heat and the Pelicans, with a career average of 2.3 PPG. He spent last year in the NBA D-League, most recently with the Bakersfield Jam.
Hoops Rumors readers so far believe the Wizards are the best team outside of the Cavs and the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, but the Raptors aren’t far behind in the voting. Still, there’s change afoot in Toronto, where Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment company that’s in charge of the franchise, is set to step down within the next several months. Here’s more on Canada’s team and the rest of the Atlantic Division:
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo has reportedly agreed to join the Knicks D-League affiliate in Westchester, but before that can happen, the team would have to acquire his D-League rights from the Sixers affiliate in Delaware, as Gino Pilato of the D-League Digest points out. Delaware still possesses Antetokounmpo’s D-League rights because he played there last season, and that holds even though new rules allow NBA teams to otherwise possess the D-League rights of their draft picks.
- The Sixers apparently reached out to Avery Bradley within the first hour of free agency this summer, but it seems the Celtics still beat them to the punch, as the guard indicates to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link). “They were the first team that called and — we had other calls — but Boston, I knew I was coming back here,” said Bradley, who re-signed with the C’s to a four-year, $32MM deal.
- Leiweke’s upcoming departure is a blow to the Raptors, given the team’s progress during his brief time in charge of the team, opines Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter links). Wolstat credits Leiweke for doggedly pursuing Masai Ujiri to serve as GM and staying out of Ujiri’s way once he hired him.
The Celtics have signed Rodney McGruder and Christian Watford to one-year deals, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports. The team hasn’t announced the signings, but they are reflected on RealGM’s transaction log. The two players were added along with Tim Frazier, who is a training camp invite. It’s very likely that both McGruder and Watford are joining Boston on non-guaranteed summer contracts to compete for a roster spot.
Both McGruder and Watford went undrafted in 2013, and both spent last year playing overseas. McGruder spent time with the Thunder for training camp last summer, but was cut from the roster prior to the season. Boston has 14 guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014/15, and this will bring their total roster count, including non-guaranteed deals, up to the summer maximum of 20. However, the team also has a deal with Evan Turner that’s yet to become official, meaning they will have to waive or trade one of the 20 players under contract before formally signing him.
McGruder is a shooting guard who averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.8 RPG at Kansas State. Watford, a power forward, averaged 12.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG in four years at Indiana. Deeks places their odds of making the team as “not remotely likely” in a separate tweet.
WEDNESDAY, 8:46pm: Although the team has yet to announce it, Frazier signed a contract with Boston today according to the RealGM transaction log. Frazier signed along with Rodney McGruder and Christian Watford, who reportedly accepted one-year contracts that are also likely to be of the non-guaranteed variety.
TUESDAY, 8:36am: Undrafted point guard Tim Frazier has a deal with the Celtics for training camp, according to the official Twitter account of Penn State basketball (hat tip to ESPNBoston.com). The precise terms aren’t immediately clear, but it’s likely a non-guaranteed summer contract that will give the former Nittany Lion at least an outside shot of making the opening-night roster.
Frazier was a lightly regarded prospect heading into the draft, as neither Chad Ford of ESPN.com nor Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him within their top 100 prospects. Still, he worked out for the Celtics and Wolves, and he showed a flair for rebounding that belied his 6’1″ height last month during summer league, when he averaged 4.0 boards in 18.0 minutes per game for the Sixers.
It’ll be tough for Frazier to make the Celtics out of training camp even if he plays well, since Boston is already carrying 18 other players, as our roster counts show. That includes 14 guys on guaranteed deals as well as Evan Turner, whose contract is also likely to be fully guaranteed. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Celtics envision hanging on to Frazier’s D-League rights, giving him the chance to spend his first season in pro ball with Boston’s affiliate.
6:27pm: Stokes can become a restricted free agent at the end of the deal, reports Tillery in a separate article, since the third year of the deal is a team option.
5:49pm: Jarnell Stokes has signed his rookie contract with the Grizzlies, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter links). The team has confirmed the deal via a press release. The agreement is for three years, and approximately $2.5MM, notes Tillery. Stokes had reportedly been waiting to finalize his contract to give Memphis more flexibility in pursing free agents this summer.
The 6’9″ power forward was selected by the Jazz with the No. 35 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, then was traded to the Grizzlies for a 2016 second-rounder that same night. Stokes was seen as a possible late first round selection leading up to the draft, and the Grizzlies may have gotten a steal by picking him up for a future second round pick. The 2016 pick that Memphis is sending to Utah is the more favorable of the second-round picks that the Raptors and Celtics sent to the Grizzlies in previous trades.
Stokes averaged 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game for the Volunteers this past season. His career numbers were 13.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 1.1 BPG. His career slash line was .530/.000/.628. Stokes had talked with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors for our Prospect Profile Series prior to the draft about his career goals and skills.
Carmelo Anthony‘s new, slimmer look was spurred by his desire to lead by example for the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Amazing people have been hired [in the Knicks organization] and he wants to come in as the leader and a top-three player in the world,’’ trainer Idan Ravin said. “If [he’s] being meticulous, you should not just follow [his] word, but follow [his] actions.’’ More out of the Eastern Conference..
- If Greg Monroe signs for the qualifying offer with the Pistons, it would be in their best interest to trade him between now and the February trade deadline, writes Percy A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press. Of course, Monroe would have the right to veto any trade after signing the QO, but Detroit would surely prefer to get something in return for the big man rather than just let him walk after the 2014/15 season.
- The Pistons could move Monroe after he signs the QO, but that’s not likely to happen, writes David Mayo of MLive.com. Monroe would lose his Bird rights if he signed off on a deal and he’s reportedly angling for a maximum contract, so any team trading for him would probably have to commit to a monster deal.
- In today’s mailbag, a reader expresses concern to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel over some of the new contracts the Heat have dished out this offseason, including Chris Andersen‘s two-year, ~$10MM pact. Winderman says that the real contract to look out for is Chris Bosh‘s as he might not be able to play well enough to attract free agents in 2016. Instead, his salary could potentially weigh down Miami in the fourth and fifth years of his deal.
- Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com polled some of the web’s foremost Celtics bloggers to ask whether Rajon Rondo will have a career year amidst the trade speculation surrounding him. The panel wound up split, with some suggesting that he can’t top what he did alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce while others believe that he’ll use the trade talk as motivation to excel.
- Jordan Hamilton‘s odds of making the Raptors are slim due to the team’s full roster and glut at the wing, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Toronto agreed to sign Hamilton to a partially-guaranteed deal yesterday.
A longer All-Star break just might put the fun back in All-Star weekend, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Each team will have a minimum of seven days between games with the new format, with the majority of the league not resuming play until the Friday after the All-Star Game. However, there is one catch for players. Since the season doesn’t begin any sooner or end any later than usual, there are more back-to-backs in this year’s schedule. Here’s more from around the league..
- With some help from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll writes that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce tried to convince the Celtics to sign him in 2011 after a strong summer. “The Celtics got with my agent, Mark Bartelstein, but that didn’t work out. To this day, [Pierce] always tells Danny, ‘I told you DeMarre was going to be good,’” said Carroll.
- In today’s mailbag, a reader asks Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel if the Heat could conceivably put together a package for Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Winderman explains that the only players the Heat can put into a trade are Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, and Shabazz Napier since since every veteran free agent signed this offseason cannot be dealt until December 15th. Of course, there’s no guarantee the two sides could be a match for a deal beyond that date.
- Big man Kris Humphries has become a more efficient player and he’s excited to bring his new game to the Wizards, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Hump’s 8.6 PPG and 5.9 RPG aren’t the double-double figures he was posting for the Nets during his best season, but he got those points and boards more efficiently with the C’s as he played just 19.9 minutes per game.
- Real Madrid announced that they have extended guard Rudy Fernandez through the 2018 season, according to the ACB League’s official Twitter (translation via Sportando). A report in February indicated that Fernandez had attention from the Thunder and other NBA teams, but Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman recently said that there was nothing between the 29-year-old and OKC.
- Former NBA forward Derrick Byars has signed a two-year deal with ACB Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Byars played in two games for the Spurs in 2011/12 and was in training camp with the Grizzlies last season.
The idea that Greg Monroe would take a max offer from the Pistons isn’t necessarily true, as Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said last month, according to Vincent Goodwill (Twitter link). A resolution to Monroe’s restricted free agency still seems a ways off, as we passed along earlier today. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Al Harrington hopes to sign with the Wizards after he returns from China, as he J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. He’ll make much more on his deal with China’s Fujian Sturgeons than he would have on an NBA minimum-salary contract, the forward also said in his conversation with Michael. The Wizards were unwilling to commit to re-signing Harrington before he inked the Chinese deal, Michael hears, though Washington was open to having him return as an assistant coach. Other NBA teams were interested in him as a player, Harrington said, but none of them were title contenders.
- Pacers executive Larry Bird isn’t ruling out a return to action for Paul George at some point this season, even though the team is “sort of expecting him [to be] out all year,” as Bird said today to reporters, including Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). We rounded up more of Bird’s remarks right here.
- Celtics draft-and-stash prospect Colton Iverson has signed with Laboral Kuxta of Spain, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). David Pick of Eurobasket.com first reported the agreement (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the 53rd overall pick from 2013, his agent tells Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com (Twitter link).
- Celtics summer leaguer Dairis Bertans received invitations to training camp from NBA teams, but he’ll continue to play in Spain instead, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
- Ray Allen has expressed a wish in past years that he could wait until September to decide whether to play the following season, so his unwillingness to commit to a team for 2014/15 is no surprise, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his mailbag column.