The Cavs are still looking to add a big man to their roster, as we passed along earlier tonight. Ronny Turiaf might be an appealing trade target for Cleveland, observes Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune (on Twitter). The center is a favorite of new Cavs power forward Kevin Love, according to Zgoda. We’ll round up more on Cleveland and the Central below:
- David Blatt‘s first season coaching the Cavs will be less stressful with talent like Love and LeBron James on the roster, as Blatt tells Chris Fedor of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “Things get a lot easier when LeBron James and Kevin Love come walking into your door,” Blatt said. “It makes my job easier, maybe my responsibility greater but the job easier in terms of having to teach (James) what to do and not to do.”
- There’s optimism within Milwaukee that the city has the political pieces in place to satisfy the Bucks‘ quest for a new arena, as David Aldridge of NBA.com passes along in his Morning Tip column. Acquiring a top flight talent like Eric Bledsoe would only aid the Bucks in their mission, opines Aldridge,
- NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum was in Milwaukee last week to meet with the Mayor and the Bucks’ new owners, according to Aldridge, who adds that the group spent time identifying potential locations in the city for a new arena.
- Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy was pleasantly surprised that his club was able to afford D.J. Augustin this summer, reports Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Detroit inked the guard to a two-year, $6MM contract in July.
The Cavs’ roster reached the training camp maximum size of 20 players when they came to terms on deal with A.J. Price this weekend, but the club’s front office is still holding out hope that it can find a way to land the heavily targeted Ray Allen, reports Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal. Allen is contemplating retirement, but Lloyd hears the Cavs still privately believe he’ll return to action and sign with Cleveland.
“I don’t think we’d ever give up on (Allen),” said Cleveland GM David Griffin on Monday. “Until he signs, that’s going to be a target for everybody.”
Allen, 39, is coming off his worst year statistically, but he still shot an impressive 37.5% from beyond the arc. He’s received interest from a variety of teams this summer, including the Spurs, Wizards, and Bulls. While he isn’t likely to put up numbers close to those from the prime of his career, he could still be a valuable bench piece for a Cavs team with title aspirations.
In addition to their continued pursuit of Allen, Lloyd hears Cleveland wants to bring aboard a big man to supplement their frontcourt. The team recently inked Lou Amundson to a minimum-salary deal, and Lloyd hears the the UNLV product is likely to make the opening night roster. Although Griffin said he’s optimistic about center Brendan Haywood‘s progress coming off of injury, Lloyd writes that the Cavs are still “aggressively” seeking to add another rim protector to their squad.
Just 12 of the 20 contracts on Cleveland’s books are fully guaranteed, meaning the Cavs can easily make a move to accommodate Allen or a free agent big man if they’ can strike a deal that both sides see fit. The Cavs are limited to paying any free agent no more than the minimum.
The Cavs have agreed to a training camp deal with A.J. Price, as Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes at the bottom of his weekend column. It’s not clear if there’s any guaranteed money involved or if the contract will cover more than one season, but it’s almost certainly for the minimum salary, since that’s all the Cavs can give.
Price made the Wolves out of camp last season on a non-guaranteed deal, though the team waived him in April, long after his minimum salary had become guaranteed for the season and about a month after he underwent an appendectomy. The point guard didn’t play following the surgery, and he saw just 99 minutes all season across 28 appearances for Minnesota. Price, who turns 28 next month, was a part of the rotation in his previous stops with the Pacers and Wizards after Indiana made him the 52nd overall pick in 2009.
The Excel Sports Management client likely rounds out the Cavs preseason roster, since the team had been carrying deals with 19 other players. Price is likely competing for one of two spots up in the air for the opening night roster, since Cleveland has 12 fully guaranteed pacts, while Anderson Varejao is one of the Cavs on a partially guaranteed contract.
SUNDAY, 1:30pm: The Suns have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Dragic, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The guard is likely to land a two year deal, notes Stein.
SATURDAY, 9:21 pm: Zoran Dragic is in advanced discussions with Unicaja Malaga to leave the team and come to the NBA, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. The Slovenian point guard has a buyout clause of $1.1MM to leave the Euroleague team, so presumably he has an agreement in place with an NBA squad. It’s possible that the team could have relinquished its buyout requirement, or that Dragic is paying for it himself, but it is much more likely that an NBA team is set to foot the bill.
The Suns, Pacers, and Kings have been named as the most aggressive suitors for the younger brother of Goran Dragic, although the Cavs, Heat, Magic, Spurs, Mavs, and Rockets have also registered interest. If Phoenix has struck a deal with the 25-year-old, it could have massive ripple effects around the league. The Suns are at a negotiating standoff with restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe, and adding another Dragic to the already-stacked Phoenix backcourt could signal their willingness to move on from Bledsoe, who Minnesota would bring on with a max contract if they had the room to do so.
Momentum has been building all summer for the younger Dragic, who has until October 5th to exercise the escape clause before becoming locked into another season overseas. At one point, it seemed like a long shot that the point guard would be coming stateside before next season, but he repeatedly stated his desire to find his way to the NBA amid a strong performance in the FIBA tournament spotlight. The hefty buyout payment, which exceeds the $600K max to not count against the cap, could mean that at least one team believes in him as a player who can contribute immediately. If Dragic fetches more than the minimum from a team willing to invest in his services, the Cavs, Heat, and Mavs are unlikely candidates to have snagged him.
The Blazers made it to the second round of the playoffs last season, which was the first time in the last 14 years that the franchise has accomplished that feat. In their season preview, the crew over at Basketball Insiders predicts that Portland will finish second in the Northwest Division, and the Blazers stronger bench may help them advance deeper in the playoffs this season.
Here’s more from around the league:
- Gary Payton is joining the Bucks coaching staff as a special advisor with the express purpose of helping Giannis Antetokounmpo make the transition to point guard, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. Antetokounmpo played the point during the Las Vegas Summer League, and the intent is for him and Milwaukee to continue with the experiment during the regular season, notes Kenendy.
- The Cavs impending signing of Lou Amundson brings to Cleveland a player who isn’t interested in scoring, and who understands the value of a rebound, taking a charge and overall defense, all things the suddenly talent-laden Cavs need, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes.
- Recent Knicks camp invitee Orlando Sanchez could play a big role for the team this season, Keith Schlosser of SB Nation writes in his profile of the player. With the injury history of New York’s current big men, Sanchez could prove valuable as a mid-season D-League call up, notes Schlosser.
Scouts and executives admit that front office talk can be brutal, but they say Hawks GM Danny Ferry crossed the line with comments that are far from the usual chatter, writes Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “I’ve never seen anything like what was in that report, just in terms of the language,” said a former team executive with nearly two decades of front-office experience. “I think most people would tell you that would be surprising. More out of the East..
- Privately, Bulls forward Taj Gibson isn’t too thrilled with the prospect of continuing to be a reserve, multiple people familiar with the situation tell Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com. Still, Gibson is an upbeat, team-first kind of player, Sam writes, and he values winning and chemistry too much to make it a distraction. It sounds like we shouldn’t expect any trade demands to come from Gibson anytime soon, though it might be a situation to monitor.
- The Heat took some heat for having too many older players on their roster and the Cavs are getting similar criticism this offseason. That’s not really fair, Zach Lowe of Grantland argues. LeBron’s two supporting stars are 26-year-old Kevin Love and 22-year-old Kyrie Irving, Cleveland has an extra first-rounder eventually coming from the Grizzlies, and there are valuable young guys including Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and Matthew Dellavedova.
- A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com looks at three Celtics players who are on the bubble heading into training camp. Shooting guard Marcus Thornton, forward/center Brandon Bass, and forward Gerald Wallace are all in jeopardy as the season draws near.
Big man Louis Amundson will be in training camp with the Cavs, agent Mark Bartelstein has confirmed to HoopsHype (via Twitter). The Mark Bartelstein client worked out for Cleveland earlier this week.
Amundson, 31, was released from his non-guaranteed deal with the Bulls in July. The veteran has bounced around quite a bit, having played for five teams in the last four seasons after a successful run in Phoenix’s rotation. He’s been exclusively on minimum-salary contracts the past two seasons and if he sticks with LeBron James & Co. it’ll be for that same figure.
The Cavs have been looking for rim protection of late, and Amundson, who has posted 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes over the course of his career, fits the bill. Cleveland already has deals with 18 players, but only 12 of them have fully guaranteed pacts. Anderson Varejao, who’s set to play a prominent role in the team’s frontcourt rotation as usual, is one of four Cavs with partially guaranteed deals.
Shawn Marion said it was difficult to decide where to sign this summer and cited his continued longtime friendship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, but he also told KRLD-FM in Dallas that the presence of his newborn son, who lives in Chicago, influenced his choice. “It wasn’t about the money,” Marion said, as the Dallas Morning News transcribes. “I got offered more money from different teams. It’s with just a matter of what I’m comfortable with. And also, from Cleveland to Chicago is not that far. It’s driveable and a quick flight.”
Here’s more from the Southwest:
- Alessandro Gentile isn’t interested in playing in the NBA for now, and he’s uncertain that he’ll ever do so, as he told the Italian newspaper Leggo, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The Rockets acquired the NBA rights to the Italian-born small forward, this year’s 53rd overall pick, in a draft-night swap, but he signed a new deal with Italy’s Olimpia Milano in July.
- The pact between the Grizzlies and Earl Clark is non-guaranteed, as Eric Pincus writes for the Los Angeles Times.
- A member of the Spurs staff will be shadowing Livio Jean-Charles, last year’s 28th overall pick, throughout the season as he plays for ASVEL Villeurbanne in France, as Jean-Charles tells Frédéric Dussidour of BeBasket (translation via Jesus Gomez of Pounding the Rock). It continues San Antonio’s practice of keeping close tabs on its draft-and-stash prospects, as Gomez examines.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders is always diligent in keeping us informed of the nitty gritty details for all of the contracts around the league, and after his latest round of updates, he figures there are 493 contracts in place, 400 of which are guaranteed, and at least 43 of which will have to be cut before the regular season begins (Twitter links). We’ll link to his team salary sheets, noting specific player revelations where they apply:
- Leandro Barbosa‘s one-year pact for the minimum with the Warriors is partially guaranteed at $150K.
- Hedo Turkoglu‘s one-year minimum deal with the Clippers is fully guaranteed.
- Ronald Roberts Jr.‘s deal with the Sixers is for four years at the minimum salary, including a team option for the final year. This season is partially guaranteed at $35K.
- Chris Crawford‘s two-year contract with the Cavs is indeed for the minimum, with a partial guarantee of $20K this year, and a fully non-guaranteed 2015/16.
- Jerome Jordan‘s camp deal with the Nets is for the minimum, as expected. The one-year agreement will become partially guaranteed at $150K if he remains with Brooklyn through October 25.
- Dionte Christmas, Vernon Macklin, and Kevin Jones have identical one-year deals with the Pelicans, each of which are non-guaranteed.
The Cavs worked out Lou Amundson last week, a source tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (Twitter link). They’re among the teams that the Mark Bartelstein client is considering with training camps set to open in two weeks, Sierra adds.
Amundson has been a free agent since the middle of July, shortly after the Bulls released his non-guaranteed deal. That was no surprise, since the Bulls signed him late last season chiefly so he could serve as a trade chip, and it never appeared as though Chicago had any intention of keeping him into this coming season. The 31-year-old has bounced around quite a bit, having played for five teams in the last four seasons after a successful run in Phoenix’s rotation. He’s been exclusively on minimum-salary contracts the past two seasons, and it’d be surprising to see him land more than that for this year. Cleveland is limited to giving out no more than the minimum.
The Cavs have been looking for rim protection of late, and though he’s listed at just 6’9″, Amundson has recorded 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes over the course of his eight years in the NBA. Cleveland already has deals with 18 players, but only 12 of them have fully guaranteed pacts. Anderson Varejao, who’s set to play a prominent role in the team’s frontcourt rotation as usual, is one of four Cavs with partially guaranteed deals.