Mary Stevens of Basketball Insiders looked at three under-the-radar rookies to watch, including Doug McDermott of the Bulls. The former Creighton standout will have to adjust to pace of the NBA quickly as Chicago has high hopes for this season, but he is widely regarded as one of the most NBA-ready players out of the 2014 class. More from the Central Division..
- Bucks coach Jason Kidd told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com he now believes the rumors that the Nets wanted to fire him as their coach last December. Later, the offseason trade that sent him to Milwaukee in exchange for two second-round draft picks convinced him of that, though many would say that it was Kidd who forced that situation. Kidd also questioned the Nets’ decision not to retain free agent forward Paul Pierce, who signed a two-year, $11MM deal with the Wizards. “I believe it,” Kidd said regarding Pierce’s claim about not being offered a contract. “I mean, if they don’t offer [Pierce] a contract worth what a first-round pick is, then why did we do the deal [last year for Pierce and Kevin Garnett]?”
- After dropping Stephen Holt and Chris Crawford today, the Cavs need to make at least one more cut before the regular season begins. However, it’s more likely that they will make two cuts to leave a roster spot open for a free agent, writes Chris Haynes of The Plain Dealer.
- Spencer Dinwiddie sees an opportunity for increased playing time with the Pistons, between his improving knee and this week’s trade that sent Will Bynum to the Celtics. The point guard, who suffered a torn ACL last winter, told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com that his knee is feeling better and that he is ready to compete for minutes. Detroit traded Bynum away within days of Dinwiddie taking part in his first simulated game action, which may or may not be coincidental.
Arthur Hill contributed to this post.
The Cavs announced that they have waived guards Chris Crawford and Stephen Holt. The Cavs’ roster now stands at 16.
Crawford appeared in five preseason games for the Cavs, averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 assists in 7.6 minutes per game. Cleveland signed Crawford late last month to a one-year, non-guaranteed pact. The Memphis product, who was with the Rockets in summer league, averaged just 8.7 PPG as a senior after putting up 10.4 PPG in his junior season.
Holt’s release was expected as David Pick of Eurobasket.com reported yesterday that he was headed to the Cavs’ D-League affiliate. Holt, also signed in late September, played in two preseason games and averaged 3.0 points in 2.3 minutes per game. The 23-year-old went undrafted out of Saint Mary’s back in 2012 after averaging 10.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 2.4 APG for his collegiate career.
This marks the second time in the past few weeks that the Cavs have waived Crawford. The guard was waived to make room for the club’s acquisition of Keith Bogans and collected on his $20K partial guarantee. When Bogans was traded to the Sixers, he was then re-signed to the non-guaranteed deal that was terminated today.
Stephen Holt is heading to the Cavs‘ D-League affiliate, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. This would presumably mean that Cleveland will waive Holt and exercise their rights to him in the D-League. With Holt’s non-guaranteed contract out of the way, Cleveland’s remaining five camp invites on non- or partially guaranteed contracts would have a better shot at one of the team’s three open roster spots–outside of Anderson Varejao‘s lock to make the team on his partially guaranteed deal–for the regular season. Here’s more from around the league:
- Rockets coach Kevin McHale indicated to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that Houston’s first- and second-round draft picks, Clint Capela and Nick Johnson, respectively, will both spend significant time with the team’s D-League squad.
- While the Mavericks have high expectations for this season, coach Rick Carlisle will have the challenge of meshing multiple new pieces for the second consecutive year. Carlisle tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that high turnover for veteran players is a league-wide trend. “I view it as one of the realities of our business right now. Teams are going to try to keep their young core players together,” Carlisle said. “There are going to be some financial and basketball decisions that are going to be unavoidable.”
- Keegan LaBlance has entered his name into the 2014 NBA D-League Draft, according to Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside. The point guard will hope to be selected on the November 1 draft and begin a journey toward an NBA career.
- Chadrack Lufile is also hoping to be selected in the D-League draft, telling Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com that he turned down offers to play overseas this summer. “A large reason why I wanted to stay here is actually because my mom got really sick. I want to stay nearby,” said Lufile. “My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA, and it doesn’t matter how I get there, but I feel like the D-League is a great way for me to do so.”
Before the Cavs preseason loss last night, LeBron James told reporters including Joe Vardon of the Plain Dealer that his return to Cleveland had little to do with his new teammates. “It was more about these fans and the city and the people here,” James said. “So, the team didn’t mean much. I felt like me coming, we could hopefully add some pieces, [but] obviously it happened quicker than I thought.” Here’s more from around the Central Division:
- Pau Gasol tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post that it was tough to leave the Lakers and Kobe Bryant this summer, when he signed with the Bulls as a free agent. “[Bryant] wanted to pretty much retire together,” said Gasol, who feels he made the right choice for his career. “That was an attractive option. One part of me wanted to stick with him and try to turn it around. But deep inside of me, I felt it was time after everything that I’d been through that I wanted to put myself in a position where I was highly stimulated…I feel energized. I feel rejuvenated.”
- Gasol confirmed to Lee that he weighed cultural factors when choosing a team, in addition to the on-court outlook. “To me, it was important on a personal level because I’m not just a basketball player,” said Gasol, who was reportedly concerned about Oklahoma City’s lack of diversity when the Thunder chased him this summer. “I have other interests, other desires than basketball, and Chicago had a lot to offer from that aspect.”
- In a session with reporters (video link at Basketball Insiders), Stan Van Gundy said he traded for Joel Anthony to bring a more “defensive-oriented culture” to the Pistons, citing Anthony’s experience as a rotation player in multiple postseason runs with the Heat.
- Van Gundy praised Detroit’s new director of strategic planning Pat Garrity, saying he was an obvious hire. Garrity originally sought a coaching job with the Pistons before Van Gundy steered him to the team’s front office.
- Will Bynum tweeted a thankful goodbye to Pistons fans (H/T Vincent Ellis of Detroit Free Press). “It has been a great run in Detroit,” said Bynum, who was traded to the Celtics on Friday afternoon. “You have all been so supportive for me throughout my time with the Pistons. Goodbyes are painful but are signs of great memories.”
The jury is still out on whether or not Rajon Rondo will be in a Celtics uniform beyond this season. One thing that won’t factor negatively against Boston in Rondo’s eyes is the team’s head coach, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald writes. Rondo has nothing but good things to say about second-year coach Brad Stevens, notes Murphy. “He’s very positive — the most positive coach I’ve been around in my career, and it’s hard not to play for a guy like that,” Rondo said of Stevens. “That’s every day — not just in the locker room. He’s that way off the court, with his family. He’s a role model. He has all of the characteristics of a great leader. He’s great at what he does. He’s all about the team.”
Here’s more from the east:
- The Cavs view veteran center Brendan Haywood as a part-time player who can help out when Cleveland faces teams with taller centers, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes. Haywood is well ahead of schedule in returning from injury, and the Cavs didn’t expect him to return to the court until January, notes Pluto.
- After Brook Lopez‘s latest injury scare involving his troubled feet, the Nets are ready to move on, with or without the seven-footer, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “I think you have to look at it from the standpoint that the glass is always half-full. I never looked at anything when he did have other injuries that the sky was falling,” GM Billy King said. “That’s why you have a team sport. If it was golf and I was his caddie, I’d be a little more upset because you don’t have a chance to make money. But it’s a team sport.”
- In his season preview for the Pacers, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that it will be a trying season in Indiana without Paul George and Lance Stephenson. If the Pacers are to have any shot at the playoffs, this is the season that Roy Hibbert will need to elevate his game to an elite level, Amico opines.
The Suns are giving Earl Barron legitimate consideration for a spot on the regular season roster, and while that would force the team to rid itself of a fully guaranteed contract, coach Jeff Hornacek says that’s a move the team would be willing to make. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic has the details.
“The one guy that sticks out and is really fighting for the team is Earl Barron,” Hornacek said. “He’s still on the roster for a reason. I know our guys are saying, ‘If he’s going to help us and we have to eat a contract somewhere, I think [owner] Robert [Sarver] is willing to do that.’ If it’s going to help us win games and he’s better than another guy, Robert is all for it.”
Hornacek’s comments sound familiar to the ones that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle made recently in which he insisted that owner Mark Cuban would be willing to sacrifice guaranteed salary to keep the non-guaranteed Charlie Villanueva. However, the Mavs are reportedly eager to open up an opening-night roster spot, which would appear to cut Villanueva out of the mix, and Sarver has never been particularly generous in his spending on the Suns. While we wait to see how it plays out in both Dallas and Phoenix, here’s more from around the league:
- Potential changes to the league’s revenue sharing system join the draft lottery among the major topics on the agenda for the NBA’s Board of Governors next week, tweets Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The board appears poised to implement a new lottery system for the 2015 draft.
- Erik Spoeltra this week called Heat signee signee Shawne Williams “one of the great surprises of the offseason” and raved about his shooting, notes Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. Williams has a fully guaranteed deal with Miami.
- Shawn Marion admits the Mavs reached out to him the instant he became a free agent this summer, as Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes (Twitter link). Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki and other Mavs figures retain a soft spot for the versatile Cavs addition who’ll be a free agent again at season’s end, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com details.
The deadline for teams to sign rookie scale extensions with their eligible players is two weeks from today, and while only six players came to deals last time around, that number has the potential to be much larger this year, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein has more on many of those extension hopefuls that adds to the storylines we’ve been following throughout the offseason:
- Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, and Norris Cole are among the players who are in active negotiations with their respective teams about rookie scale extensions, Stein reports. Klay Thompson, Ricky Rubio, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Reggie Jackson, Brandon Knight, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks are also in active extension talks, according to Stein, who advances earlier reports that all of them had engaged in talks.
- Iman Shumpert and the Knicks are also discussing an extension, Stein writes, countering a report from a few weeks ago that indicated that the sides hadn’t engaged in talks and that New York was content to let the swingman hit restricted free agency next summer.
- Klay Thompson’s camp is considering the idea of going after an offer sheet similar to the one the Mavs gave Chandler Parsons if Thompson and the Warriors don’t come to an extension this month, Stein hears. Parsons’ near-max deal runs three years and includes a player option and a 15% trade kicker. Rival GMs have expressed admiration for its structure and Rockets GM Daryl Morey pointed to the difficulty that trading such a contract would entail shortly after he decided against matching it. The player option would allow Thompson to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2017, which is when Stephen Curry‘s deal is set to end, as Stein points out.
- The Lakers have attempted to trade for Thompson in the past, Stein notes, though he doesn’t make any suggestion that they’re planning an aggressive push for the shooting guard if he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
Dallas GM Donnie Nelson admits 5’7” point guard Yuki Togashi’s immediate future isn’t likely with the Mavs but rather with the team’s D-League affiliate, writes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Nelson explains, “I’d say it’s a long shot at best for him to make [an NBA regular season] roster right now. But it’s an opportunity for him to make his dream come true in reality to play for the Legends and, like so many guys before him, to use this as a springboard to get in the league.”
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Golden State’s decision to not include Klay Thompson in a Kevin Love trade will determine the fate of the Warriors, Cavs and Wolves, opines Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. Golden State never wavered from its original stance of not breaking up its talented backcourt despite the appeal of bringing Love to the Bay Area, notes Bontemps.
- Mavs big man Brandan Wright faces a pivotal year in his NBA career, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Wright, who is in the final season of a two year, $10MM contract, has carved out a nice niche as a role-player in Dallas.
- Reggie Jackson is the biggest “winner” from Kevin Durant‘s injury, writes Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. Jackson, who the Thunder have until October 31st to offer an extension, will have an opportunity to showcase himself on the offensive end in Durant’s absence.
- Durant underwent successful surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, the Thunder announced in a press release. According to the release, Durant will be re-evaluated in six weeks to determine his next step toward returning to action
- The Wolves currently have a logjam at the small forward position and the team is rumored to be fielding offers for Chase Budinger to help pare down the roster to 15. One player who is looking likely to make the regular season roster is Glenn Robinson III, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities notes (Twitter link). According to Wolfson, Robinson, who is signed to a partially guaranteed deal, has impressed the team during training camp.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.
One of the major storylines in New York this season will be how well the Knicks adapt to the triangle offense. Shaquille O’Neal, who played in the triangle during his time with the Lakers, told Mitch Lawrence of NBCNewYork.com, “For the triangle to work, you need to have two superstars. It’s been proven over time. Look at what Phil [Jackson] needed to win his championships in Chicago. Then look what he had in L.A., with me and Kobe. You have to have two superstars playing in the triangle to win championships.’’ Jackson hopes to add that second superstar during next summer’s free agent signing period when Andrea Bargnani‘s and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s contracts come off the books.
Here’s more from the east:
- With the Celtics carrying 16 fully guaranteed contracts on their preseason roster, at least one of those players will need to be traded or waived prior to the beginning of the regular season. Brian Robb of Boston.com looks at the reasons why Boston shouldn’t waive Vitor Faverani despite his injury concerns.
- Ben Rohrbach of WEEI 93.7 FM breaks down the numbers on Evan Turner and what the swingman brings to the Celtics franchise.
- When asked what led him to sign with the Cavs, Shawn Marion said that LeBron James wasn’t enough to sway him, but LeBron and Kevin Love combined were, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. “LeBron coming here wasn’t enough. It was more so finalizing the deal with Love. That sold it,” Marion said. “That made it more realistic, like we do have a shot to win the championship this year.”
The Raptors, like many teams, have their sights set on chasing star free agents in the summer of 2016, but such plans will make it tough for the team to find room to grant extensions to both Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross when they’re eligible a year from now, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. GM Masai Ujiri did the perfunctory duty of exercising Toronto’s 2015/16 rookie scale team options on Valanciunas and Ross on Tuesday, but the team’s decisions regarding the pair won’t be so easy next fall, as Wolstat points out. Here’s more from around the league:
- Danny Ainge on Tuesday dismissed the notion that the Celtics will waive injured center Vitor Faverani and his fully guaranteed contract, meaning the team is exploring other ways to alleviate its logjam of 16 fully guaranteed deals and 15 opening-night roster spots. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has the details. “We have things we can do before we waive someone,” Ainge said.
- Kobe Bryant predicted the NBA will move for another lockout in 2017 and had some harsh words for owners around the league when he spoke to reporters Tuesday, including Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Still, Bryant showered praise on the Lakers, who’ll again be paying him the league’s highest salary this season. “I think it speaks volumes,” he said. “Not only to me or this city but to other players around the league, as well. You look around at some of the other owners that try to milk their players or get rid of them or discard them, this organization doesn’t do that.”
- The Lakers appeared to have the inside track for Kevin Love at times last season, but Love stressed to reporters Tuesday that playing on a contending team like the Cavs means more to him than playing in a large market, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com.