Sources identified a long list of potential NBA GM candidates to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Doug Collins, Mavs director of player personnel Tony Ronzone, Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan, Bucks assistant GM David Morway, Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks, Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes, Wizards director of player personnel Frank Ross, Pacers director of scouting Ryan Carr, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik, and Rockets executive VP of basketball ops Gersson Rosas all earned mentions. Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..
- The Kings have recalled Willie Reed from the Reno Bighorns, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (on Twitter). The Bighorns were eliminated from the D-League playoffs on Sunday.
- Some people familiar with Pistons exec Joe Dumars expect him to take some time off before pursuing another top executive role, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
- Jordan Farmar reiterated his interest in re-signing with the Lakers following the club’s 102-90 loss yesterday to the Grizzlies, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. ”Of course, I’d be a Laker,” Farmar said. “And if I was [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak], I would sign me.” The guard averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 assists despite playing in only 39 games this season due to injury.
- The Bulls tried to lure Kurt Thomas to Chicago, but Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears that the big man considers himself retired.
- The T’Wolves never had interest in putting in a waiver claim for Greg Smith, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Smith landed with the Bulls earlier today.
- Who will be the biggest name traded this offseason? The Basketball Insiders staff held a mini-debate and the names of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Rajon Rondo all came up in conversation.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Knicks reportedly have a pitch for Carmelo Anthony that includes finishing in the bottom of the 2014/15 standings. The full plan: lose big next season, watch the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, and Tyson Chandler come off the books, and make a big free agent splash next summer. Here’s the latest from MSG..
- Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News doesn’t see Carmelo Anthony leaving New York this summer. While there are potential suitors out there including the Bulls, Lakers, and Rockets, there are roadblocks in each of those destinations. The only thing that can prevent No. 7 from coming back to MSG, in Lawrence’s view, is if Phil Jackson has a better plan.
- The Bulls have a lot to offer Carmelo, if he’s interested, writes Harvey Araton of the New York Times. Coach Tom Thibodeau was very complimentary in discussing the Knicks star over the weekend. Reading between the lines, Araton thinks that Thibs is saying that he can enhance his virtues and camouflage his weaknesses if he comes to the Windy City.
- Coach Mike Woodson, Stoudemire, and Anthony all took a share of the responsibility for the Knicks’ disappointing season, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Mea culpas are great and all, but it seems likely that Woodson will be the one who gets the ax in New York.
12:50pm: Smith’s contract is fully guaranteed for next season, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. It’s for the minimum salary both this year and next, since the capped-out Bulls are out of exceptions.
12:30pm: The Bulls have signed former Rockets center Greg Smith, the team announced. The move comes just a half hour after the team waived Tornike Shengelia, presumably to make room. Smith is likely out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right knee in January, and that motivated Houston to cut ties. He’s ineligible to play in the postseason for Chicago since the Rockets waived him last week, long after the March 1st deadline for him to retain the ability to take part in the playoffs with another team. Given his unavailability for this season, Chicago’s contract with Smith probably extends into next season.
Chicago strongly pursued the retired Kurt Thomas, but wound up inking Smith and, last week, Lou Amundson instead, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. That might have accounted for the lag between the team’s announcements today.
Smith appeared in only 11 games for the Rockets this year, in part because of injuries and in part because of a crowded frontcourt that includes Dwight Howard and Omer Asik. He was in the team’s rotation last season, averaging 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per game across 70 appearances, 10 of which were starts.
The Bulls have waived Tornike Shengelia, the team announced via press release. The team hasn’t announced a corresponding move, making Shengelia’s dismissal a bit curious even though he hasn’t been a part of Chicago’s rotation since coming over from the Nets in a January trade. Shengelia is on an expiring contract that pays him the one-year veteran’s minimum salary of $788,872, but unless a team claims him off waivers, that money will remain on Chicago’s books. It seems less likely that Shengelia, on an expiring deal, would warrant a waiver claim like former Bull Erik Murphy did, as Murphy’s contract includes a non-guaranteed 2014/15.
Shengelia saw a total of just 17 minutes for the Bulls, who acquired him in a cost-cutting move for Marquis Teague, who makes $1,074,720 this season. The difference was not insignificant to Chicago, which has struggled to create room beneath the luxury tax threshold in case Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah trigger bonuses that force the team into the tax for the second year in a row. That would set the team up for the league’s steep repeat offender tax rates if the team made it three straight taxpaying seasons in 2014/15.
The 22-year-old saw slightly more playing time while with the Nets, who acquired him shortly after the Sixers drafted him 54th overall in 2012. He averaged 1.5 points in 8.1 minutes per game in 17 appearances for Brooklyn this season, and 1.6 PPG in 4.9 MPG in 19 contests for the Nets as a rookie.
More information surrounding the potential sale of the Bucks continues to emerge. Mike Dunleavy is part of an newly reported investment group that was interested in purchasing a share of ownership, but a separate, local group is finalizing a deal with Herb Kohl, per Mitch Lawrence of New York Daily News. Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel counters that report, saying that there is activity but that there is no definitive partnership yet. It is still unknown whether the rumored purchases are for minority or majority ownership of the team. Here’s more from the East:
- It’s well known in league circles that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would love to acquire Carmelo Anthony, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Johnson believes Chicago will make exhaustive attempts to complete a sign-and-trade for Anthony, but deems their chances a long shot.
- Knicks coach Mike Woodson took responsibility for New York’s failure to make the playoffs, Al Iannazzonne of Newsday reports. All reports point to Woodson being fired after coming up short in the pursuit of the eighth seed.
- Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News lists five potential candidates to replace Joe Dumars as the next Pistons GM.
- While most agree that Dumars’ looming resignation as the Pistons GM is appropriate, Chad Ford of ESPN.com says his personal opinion of Dumars is very high (via Twitter). Of all the GMs that Ford has interacted with, he places Dumars in his top five.
- Nikola Vucevic has been shut down for the season, mainly as a precautionary measure by the Magic, per Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.
The Knicks square off with the Bulls tonight at Madison Square Garden. With New York being eliminated from the playoffs the attention will be fully on Carmelo Anthony and if he re-signs with the Knicks or not. Chicago is one of the teams mentioned as a possible landing spots for ‘Melo if he leaves. Coach Tom Thibodeau had quite a few compliments for Anthony, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Thibodeau said, “He can score so many different ways. He can hurt you a lot of different ways. He can score the ball very easily. It doesn’t take him much to get going.” When asked about Anthony’s reputation as a “selfish ball-stopper,” Thibodeau said, “It’s interesting because with USA Basketball, they talk about him being a playmaker. He scores and if you a guy is open, he passes the ball. I think oftentimes it’s who he plays with. It’s interesting, a lot of the things that you hear about him, I heard about Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce before they came together and won it. That changes perception. Carmelo has been one of the elite scorers in the league for a long, long time.”
More from around the league:
- Incoming SMU freshman Emmanuel Mudiay will be a big factor in the 2015 NBA Draft according to coach Larry Brown, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Brown said, “He’s going to be a lottery pick if I don’t screw up.” Mudiay is projected as the fifth pick in the 2015 Draft by DraftExpress.com.
- The staff at Basketball Insiders debate the about the best sophomores from the 2013 draft class.
- Adam Zagoria weighs in with his thoughts on last night’s Nike Hoops Summit, and the potential 2015 lottery picks that were on display.
- Sam Amick of USA Today takes a look at what’s next for the Knicks, Celtics, and Lakers.
With the Knicks missing the playoffs for the first time in three years, the franchise is at a crucial point, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman weighs in on the most pressing issues facing the team this summer, and what he thinks needs to be done to improve the franchise.
More from the east:
Carmelo Anthony was very complimentary when discussing Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Anthony said, “Thibs [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] is a great coach. His system kind of reminds me of [Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich’s system. You put anybody in that system and it’s going to work. And that’s what they’ve been doing. They had guys who have been sitting out all season long, guys [have] been in and out the lineup, and they seem to get it done.” The Bulls are one of the teams mentioned as a possible destination for Anthony if he leaves the Knicks this summer.
More from around the league:
- The Knicks have missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. In a separate article, Begley looks at what this means for the franchise.
- There are three major contract situations the Timberwolves will have to deal with this offseason, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. The team will have to decide what to do with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and coach Rick Adleman.
- In a separate article, Zgoda looks at the state of the Wolves roster heading into next season.
- Adam Silver thinks the NBA playoffs could benefit from a fresh look, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. The call to make changes to the current format is in response to the superiority of the Western Conference.
The Pacers lost to the Heat last night, losing their grip on the one seed in the East. Here’s the latest from the Central Division:
- Charlie Villanueva‘s role as an impact player has evaporated in recent years with the Pistons, and he tells Vincent Good Will of The Detroit News that he hopes his abilities will keep him in the league as he approaches free agency. “People haven’t seen me play in a while, [so] of course it’ll be tough,” said the 29-year old. “If I have to work out [for teams] to show I still have a lot of basketball left, I’ll do it. Whatever it takes. For sure, though, a lot of teams haven’t seen me play.”
- Recent Bulls addition Mike James had to recover from a mid-season MCL sprain to find his way back onto an NBA roster, but the 39-year-old tells K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune his confidence never waned. “I just stayed motivated,” James said. “I kept believing in myself, knowing I still can play this game. When the opportunity comes, I know I can still stop someone and put the ball in the hole.”
- Tom Thibodeau told Johnson that James, Louis Amundson, and Ronnie Brewer were primarily brought in to boost Bulls practices. “It gives you more depth and energy in practice,” said Thibodeau, “and insurance if you take on an injury. That they’ve all been here before is a plus.”
- We rounded up the Cavs notes earlier today.
The Pacers, for all their second-half struggles, have a chance to put themselves firmly in control of the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a win on the road this evening against the Heat. The Bulls are in a tight race of their own against the Raptors for the No. 3 seed, and Chicago can help itself tonight with a home win against the Pistons. While we look forward to those games, here’s the latest from around the Central Division:
- The Cavs have a choice to make about Anderson Varejao this summer, since only $4MM of his more than $9.7MM salary for next season is guaranteed. The 31-year-old Varejao would be set up for free agency in 2015 even if Cleveland keeps him this summer, but he said he’d like to spend the rest of his career in Cleveland, observes Bob Finnan of The News-Herald.
- The Luol Deng trade turned out to be a significant offensive boost for the Bulls, as Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, noting that the team has made slight improvements defensively, too.
- MLive’s David Mayo answers reader questions in a Pistons-themed mailbag column, looking back on the death of former owner Bill Davidson as a key turning point in the tenure of Joe Dumars, who plans to resign from the team soon.