The 76ers announced that they have acquired center Byron Mullensand a 2018 second-round pick in exchange for a protected second-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Philadelphia was discussingChris Kaman with the Lakers shortly before the deadline, but it appears the Sixers opted to instead acquire a big man with skills similar to Spencer Hawes, whom they agreed to send to the Cavs earlier today.
The Clippers have successfully pulled off two deals at the buzzer with Mullens and Jamison changing uniforms. Mullens, who was once regarded as the top talent in the 2009 draft class, is headed to his to his fourth team in five years. The big man has averaged just 2.5 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 6.2 minutes per game this season. Even when he was seeing significant playing time with the Bobcats, Mullens never had a PER above 13.0.
Zach Links contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) first reported that Mullens was on his way to the 76ers. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times added details (via Twitter).
The Clippers are dangling Jared Dudley, Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens in search of a frontcourt upgrade, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Matt Barnes may also be on the block as well, Berger says. Marc Stein of ESPN.com first reported the Clippers were shopping Dudley a couple of weeks ago. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports last night tweeted overnight that the Clips were seeking backup bigs.
Jamison and Mullens were two players the team signed this past summer to serve as frontcourt reserves, but neither is having much impact. Both are on minimum-salary deals, though Jamison’s pact covers just this season while Mullens has a player option for next year.
Dudley is signed through 2015/16, making $4.25MM each year. His production is down after coming over from the Suns last summer via trade, and Doc Rivers recently yanked him from the starting lineup. Barnes is posting a career-worst 38.5% field goal percentage after inking a three-year deal for nearly $10.2MM in the offseason.
The spotlight in the Pacific Division will surely be on former Clipper reserve Eric Bledsoe, who will now headline Phoenix's backcourt next to another young talent in Goran Dragic. Bledsoe's numbers last season (8.5 PPG/3.1 APG/20.4 MPG) wouldn't seem very comparable to what will be expected of him in 2013/14, especially considering some of his standout performances when given more than 30 minutes of playing time: 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists in 38 minutes against the Celtics, 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in 37 minutes against the Rockets, 10 points, 10 assists, and six steals in 39 minutes against the Timberwolves, and a 27-point, 6 rebound, 6 steal, and 3-block performance in 41 minutes against the Magic to name a few. Now equipped with starter's minutes, it will be fascinating to see how the 6'1 guard will utilize his significantly increased role and responsibilities as a leader of a young team.
Keeping all this in mind, Bledsoe should undoubtedly be among the favorites within the whole league to have a breakout season. With that aside, it was unquestionably a summer of shakeups for the rest of the Pacific Division, as each of the other four teams will feature new key rotation players in 2013/14. Let's take a look at some of the other new faces looking to make a lasting impact on their respective clubs:
Marreese Speights, Warriors – The 6'10 power forward is entering his sixth year in the league and will be playing for his fourth NBA team after signing with Golden State this past July. Following a trade from Memphis to Cleveland halfway through last season, Speights averaged 10.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 18.5 MPG in 39 games and one start for the Cavaliers. Although Sean Deveney of the Sporting News and NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper have reported that the team is currently expecting Andrew Bogut and David Lee to be healthyenough to play without limitation, head coach Mark Jackson could possibly rely on Speights for extended minutes on some nights in order to preserve some of his older frontcourt veterans.
Considering his production in a limited amount of minutes last season, the former Florida standout could prove to be one of the most important reserves on a playoff contender this year and may open some more eyes in the process.
Byron Mullens, Clippers – Fresh off of career highs in points, rebounds, and minutes last season with the Bobcats (10.8/6.4/26.9), it remains to be seen just how Mullens' minutes and role will be handled in Los Angeles. The 7'0 big man put together a flurry of attention-grabbing performances last season, averaging 12.9 PPG/8.2 RPG/33.0 MPG in November and 10.0/7.3/28.6 in December before being sidelined with an ankle injury. Following a 19-game absence, Mullens picked up where he left off, posting 14.6/7.9/32.1 in February.
Although his overall shooting percentages were less than desirable last season (.385/.317/.636), one thing to consider is the possible improvement in the quality of shot attempts as a by-product of playing with a superstar playmaker in Chris Pauland his solid distributing backup, Darren Collison. Byron's confidence in attempting perimeter shots is far from lacking, as nearly four of his 10.6 shot attempts per game last year were taken from beyond the arc. With that being said, Mullens may very well be a viable threat who can stretch the floor provided he can improve his shooting efficiency and have better opportunities created for him. If given the minutes, he's shown that he can definitely put up some numbers.
Wesley Johnson, Lakers – Despite his lack of floor time for the first four months of 2012/13, the 6'7 swingman made the most of his situation after being given consistent starter's minutes in the final two months of the season, averaging 13.2 PPG/1.2 SPG/30.3 MPG in March along with 12.9 PPG and 27.3 MPG in April respectively. He did well enough that despite the Suns opting not to exercise his fourth year option, there was still mutual interest in a return to Phoenix this summer. Ultimately, the former lottery pick out of Syracuse wound up with the Lakers, where he should have his fair share of opportunities as an athletic player in Mike D'Antoni's system. With Johnson playing on a one-year contract, it'd certainly be in his best interest to continue his momentum from last season and perform well enough to earn a lucrative contract next summer, whether it'd be in L.A. or somewhere else.
Greivis Vasquez, Kings – It's more than reasonable to deem 2012/13 as a breakout year for Vasquez. The 6'6 point guard rose to the occasion in New Orleans, producing an impressive 13.9 PPG and 9.0 APG stat line in 34.4 MPG and 78 games played/started. It's important to note that he'll be entering a contract year, and one significant question is how Vasquez's numbers will fare with an entirely different cast of teammates, especially with the surplus of guards on the roster – namely Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Marcus Thornton, and Jimmer Fredette. Although the former Maryland star displayed his capabilities as a distributor and a tertiary scoring option last season, it appears that another major improvement within reach would be to raise his shooting percentages (.433/.342) as well as the amount of times he gets to the line (2.0). Following his career-best season to date, Vasquez will surely have to deliver in his most important one yet.
After Bledsoe, who would you expect to be the most improved player in the Pacific Division?
The Clippers reached an agreement to sign Antawn Jamison earlier this week, but most of you don't expect him to make a significant impact for the team this season. When Alex Lee of Hoops Rumors asked last night how many points per game Jamison would score in the 2013/14 season, over 62% of you predicted a single-digit average for the veteran forward.
After adding Jamison, the Clippers are no longer interested in re-signing Lamar Odom, a source tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. However, Medina adds that the team would "welcome Odom to training camp," so it may just be a matter of not wanting to guarantee him any money. Odom's alleged drug problems almost certainly played a part in that stance.
With 14 contracts on their books, the Clippers plan to fill the last roster spot in training camp, according to Medina. It's worth noting that once Jamison's deal becomes official, L.A. will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts. Maalik Wayns also has a non-guaranteed pact, and Brandon Daviesreportedly agreed to a partially guaranteed deal earlier in the summer, though the team has yet to announce it. In any case, it seems that there could conceivably be two spots up for grabs in camp.
Byron Mullens knows that some fans and observers are wondering why the Clippers would sign him, but he tells Eric Patten of Clippers.com that he intends to prove his doubters wrong. Mullens inked a two-year, minimum-salary contract last month.
The Mullens signing would have to take place for the minimum salary, since the Clippers are over the cap and split their mid-level exception between Matt Barnes and Darren Collison. The Clips don't have their bi-annual exception, having used it to sign Grant Hill last summer. Bringing Mullens aboard may take the team out of the running for Antawn Jamison and Lamar Odom, two other big men who had been Clippers free agent targets.
Mullens is a 7'0" three-point gunner who could give the Clippers some floor spacing on offense if he continues to improve his touch. He's a career 30.1% shooter from behind the arc, and made 31.7% of his 3.9 three-point attempts per game this past season.
As teams clear cap space to finalize signings and trades, it may mean renouncing Early Bird or Bird rights to their own free agents, in order to remove cap holds from the books. Once a player is renounced, his previous team has no more claim to him that any other team — he could still be re-signed, but it would have to be done using cap space or an exception. Some of those decisions are more notable than others, but for completion's sake, we'll track the latest of these cap-clearing moves right here:
Most interestingly, according to RealGM.com, the Bucks have renounced their rights to Monta Ellis. That doesn't necessarily preclude a sign-and-trade, but it would mean the team would have to use cap space rather than Ellis' Bird rights to accommodate a deal.
Dallas would like to retain Brandan Wright, but the Hawks, Magic, Pistons, Raptors, and Knicks all expressed interest in the Jim Tanner client after free agency began last night, McMahon reports. Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link) also adds the Lakers to the list of potential suitors for Wright.
The Heat, Spurs, Cavs, Celtics, Mavericks, Kings, Pacers, and Grizzlies all have interest in Greg Oden, but the former No. 1 overall pick is in no rush to make his decision on where to sign, writes Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. He's hoping to be physically ready to play by training camp.
According to Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (via Twitter), it's unlikely that Oden lands with the Cavs.
The Lakers have inquired on Byron Mullens, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Mullens became an unrestricted free agent when the Bobcats didn't tender him a qualifying offer.
The Heat are in contact with Chris Andersen's camp in the hopes of working out a deal, tweets Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida.
5:46pm: The Bobcats have confirmed via press release that they're tendering a qualifying offer to Henderson.
12:31pm: The Bobcats will extend a qualifying offer to Gerald Henderson, making him a restricted free agent, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter). However, according to Bonnell, Byron Mullens won't receive a QO of his own from the Bobcats.
Both Henderson and Mullens met the starter criteria in Charlotte, meaning that their qualifying offers would have been worth $4,531,459 each. For Henderson, that's a modest increase on what would have been a $4,267,426 offer, but it represents a significant increase for Mullens, who otherwise would've been in line for a $3,293,976 QO. Perhaps that played a part in the Bobcats' decision, though Mullens' unproductive second half (7.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG in 20 games after the All-Star break) likely didn't help his case either.
When free agency opens next week, both Henderson and Mullens will be free to negotiate with any team, but only Mullens will be able to sign outright with a rival club. If Henderson signs a rival offer sheet, the Bobcats will have three days to match it.
As we explained a year ago when the 2011/12 regular season ended, new details of the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement have slightly modified the usual process for restricted free agency. The qualifying offers teams extend to potential restricted free agents are now based, in some instances, on a newly-defined "starter criteria."
The CBA describes a "starter" as either starting 41 games or playing 2,000 minutes in a season, and rewards players for meeting those criteria. If a player achieved one of those benchmarks in the season prior to his free agency, or averaged one of those benchmarks in the two seasons leading up to his free agency, his qualifying offer will be affected as follows:
A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter critera will receive a same qualifying offer equal to 120% of the amount applicable to the 15th overall pick.
A played picked between 10th and 30th who meets the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to 120% of the amount applicable to the ninth overall pick.
A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to 100% of the amount applicable to the 21st overall pick.
Because the 2009 class of first-round picks will be hitting restricted free agency this season, the 2009/10 rookie scale will dictate the qualifying offers received. Using RealGM's rookie scale chart for 2009, we can calculate the qualifying offers as follows:
120% of the amount applicable to the ninth overall pick is $4,531,459.
120% of the amount applicable to the 15th overall pick is $4,135,391.
100% of the amount applicable to the 21st overall pick is $2,785,146.
So which players will be affected by this new rule this summer? Using our list of free agents (restricted FAs are marked with R), the above calculations, and the starter criteria, this offseason's modified qualifying offers are listed below. Teams will have to offer these free agents a one-year contract worth the listed amount to make them restricted — otherwise they'll become unrestricted and can freely sign with any club.
Top-14 picks who failed to meet the starter criteria and will now be eligible for a QO of $4,135,391 (previously anticipated QO in parentheses):
Other free agents with three years or less in the NBA who met the starter criteria and will be eligible for a QO of $2,785,146:
None. Although restricted free agents like Nikola Pekovic (Timberwolves) and Tiago Splitter (Spurs) also met the starter criteria, both players are already in line for higher QOs because they were signed to larger deals using cap space (Pekovic) or the mid-level exception (Splitter).