Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs Interested In Trading For Joe Johnson

4:55pm: The Johnson trade talks are preliminary and not likely to be productive, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily.com tweets.

3:33pm: The Cavaliers are interested in using Brendan Haywood‘s bloated non-guaranteed salary as ballast in a trade that would bring in Joe Johnson, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Cleveland would have to send additional salaries to Brooklyn to make the salary matching work, but Windhorst suggests that Anderson Varejao is a possibility to go to the Nets.

The Nets have been actively shopping Johnson in recent days and they’ve had talks with the Grizzlies about the veteran.  The Pistons and Hornets, also spoke with Brooklyn about him this past season, despite his severely bloated contract.  Johnson, who averaged 14.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.7 APG in 34.9 minutes per contest last season, is the second-highest paid player in the league at $24.8MM for 2015/16.  He’s not a great value, but he is still a strong scorer and would give Cleveland some additional outside shooting.  While moving his salary would lift a great luxury tax burden off of Mikhail Prokhorov’s shoulders, it would have the inverse affect on the Cavs’ finances.

Haywood has a $10.5MM non-guaranteed deal that has huge financial implications for a team if waived prior to August 1st.  Trading for and waiving Haywood could save the Nets tens of millions in tax payments.  Still, there would need to be more, such as Varejao, coming from Cleveland to Brooklyn in order to make a swap work.

The Cavs are poised to go over the tax threshold by quite a bit if they re-sign most of their free agents, as GM David Griffin has indicated he wants to do, but for now, they’re below the tax line, which is projected to come in at around $82MM when the league sets the figure at the end of the July Moratorium. So, they can take in as much as $15,522,500 via trade using the Haywood contract, which calls for a non-guaranteed salary of $5MM less than that amount, as long as that trade doesn’t take them into tax territory. If they do a trade involving Haywood at a point when it would either cause them to cross the tax line or when they already have crossed the tax line, they could only take in $13,253,125 using Haywood’s salary. The Nets are already well into tax territory, so they can’t bring in more than 125% plus $100K than they send out.

If the Cavs send both Haywood and Varejao to the Nets, it won’t matter whether Cleveland is above or below the tax line, since the salary-matching rules would be the same: The Cavs would be limited to taking in 125% plus $100K. Johnson’s deal would fit within those parameters.

Varejao, when healthy, is a capable rebounder and scorer, but health issues have dogged him in recent years.  Over the last five seasons, Varejao has missed 50+ contests in four of those campaigns.  In his “healthiest” of those five seasons, Varejao played in 65 regular season games.  For his career, the big man has averaged 7.9 PPG and 7.8 RPG in 25. 8 minutes per night.

The possibility of moving Varejao could be behind the Cavs’ interest in free-agent forward David West over the last several days, Windhorst writes. West has indicated he wants to play for a Finals contender, and the Cavs have been attempting to recruit him, sources told Windhorst.

Central Notes: James, Jackson, Bucks

LeBron James won’t begin contract talks with the Cavaliers until negotiations with Tristan Thompson are completed, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Cleveland is trying to reach a new deal with the 24-year-old, but talks are currently stalled. Thompson and the Cavaliers discussed a deal this week worth more than $80MM.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Free agent guard Reggie Jackson was part of the crowd for the Pistons‘ summer league opener today in Orlando, writes Terry Foster of The Detroit News. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said there is no indication Jackson is negotiating with other teams and the team hopes to meet with him soon to work out a new contract. He took Jackson’s presence today as a positive step. “It is a sign he wants to be here,” Van Gundy said.
  • After they agreed to terms with Greg Monroe earlier this week, Zach Lowe of Grantland believes the Bucks will look to trade away one of their frontcourt players.
  • The agreement between Khris Middleton and the Bucks came together so fast that other teams didn’t even get a real chance to speak with the 23-year-old, Lowe writes in a separate piece.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post

Latest On David West

SATURDAY, 12:38pm: The Cavs and the Spurs are both aggressively pursuing West, with Cleveland having a slight edge at the moment, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports relays (via Twitter).

FRIDAY, 9:56am: The Wizards are making a hard push for West, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Spurs are still very much in the picture for him, but the Warriors have become “highly unlikely,” Stein adds in a second tweet. The ESPN scribe said Wednesday that the Spurs and Wizards were his most likely destinations. Washington has only the $5.464MM mid-level exception to spend unless it can work a sign-and-trade.

THURSDAY, 9:35am: David West is seriously interested in playing for either the Spurs or the Warriors, a source with knowledge of his situation told USA Today’s Sam Amick. Playing for one of the last two NBA champions would jibe with the reason he turned down his $12.6MM player option with the Pacers, as he explained Wednesday to Bob Kravitz of WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, telling him that he wants a legitimate chance at a title that he feels the Pacers can’t provide. He also said to Kravitz that while the team’s open criticism of Roy Hibbert wasn’t the deciding factor, it also played a role in his choice to leave Indiana.

“That’s one thing where I wish they would have handled better was the situation with Roy,” West said. “I’ll be honest with you, that bothered me a little bit, and I told Roy that. I’m the type of guy who feels like we’re all in this fight together and I’m not designed in that way to put it all on one guy. That did rub me the wrong way. That threw me off. I started reading some of that stuff, I started thinking, ‘Whoaa.’ I just didn’t feel good about that. I told Roy that it bothered me, that he’s still my teammate.”

West was open-minded at the end of the regular season about returning to Indiana, but as he watched the Finals on TV, he decided winning was a greater priority, as Kravitz detailed. The Pacers still have West’s Bird rights, but he doesn’t sound keen on re-signing, and it doesn’t sound like he’s Knicks-bound, either. He called the rumor that he was likely to sign with the Knicks ridiculous, citing his desire to play with a contender, Kravitz tweets.

The Spurs have maximum-level cap flexibility as they seek LaMarcus Aldridge after agreeing to trade Tiago Splitter to the Hawks, and while West probably wouldn’t command the max, he may well be a fallback option for San Antonio should it miss on Aldridge or Marc Gasol. The Warriors have only the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception to offer. It’s not clear if either team has interest in the Lance Young client.

And-Ones: Seraphin, Stuckey, Antic

The Wizards expect Kevin Seraphin will test the free agent market, and they’ll attempt to find a sign-and-trade partner for the big man, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com (Twitter link). Such a sign-and-trade would be structured so that Washington could gain a trade exception, Michael adds (on Twitter).

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Hawks have rescinded their qualifying offer to Pero Antic, making him an unrestricted free agent, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The move was made to maximize the team’s available cap space, Pincus adds. Antic has already signed a two-year deal with Fenerbahce, a Turkish club.
  • Free agent point guard Rodney Stuckey is receiving interest from the Cavaliers, and while talks thus far have been exploratory, the interest is mutual, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group tweets.
  • The Hornets have expressed a willingness to work out a sign-and-trade involving Mo Williams, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports relays (on Twitter).
  • The Lakers have expressed interest in Jason Smith, league sources tell Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
  • The Grizzlies would be amenable to working out a sign-and-trade deal for center Kosta Koufos, Wojnarowski tweets. The Yahoo! scribe mentions the Clippers as a team who should consider trying to work out a deal with Memphis.
  • With the Magic missing out on free agent target Paul Millsap, who re-signed with the Hawks, the team may pass on adding another power forward this summer, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “We’ll continue to look at the free agents that are available,” Orlando GM Rob Hennigan said. “We’ll continue to look at trade opportunities. We still have quite a bit of cap space. Our tune has not changed. We’ll continue to look for opportunities. And if we feel like the opportunities make really good sense, then we’ll be as aggressive as anyone to try to complete a deal.”
  • When asked specifically about adding a power forward, Hennigan said, “I’m not sure. I think we have enough on the roster as is. It just goes back to those opportunities again. Like I said a few weeks ago, we have to be careful of spending just to spend,” Robbins relays.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Kings, Rivers, West

The Kings blundered when they agreed to a cap-clearing trade with the Sixers before they had a commitment from someone on which they could use that cap flexibility, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller opines. Besides, the Kings aren’t exactly inspiring confidence with primary targets such as Monta Ellis, who’s since agreed to sign with the Pacers, Rajon Rondo and Wesley Matthews, Ziller adds. It’s the latest in a string of puzzling decisions in Sacramento, as SportsBusiness Daily rounds up.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Though he didn’t rule out a return to the Clippers, free agent guard Austin Rivers says that he intends to explore his options before making a decision, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays (Twitter link).
  • Draymond Green‘s representatives used Tristan Thompson‘s proposed deal with the Cavaliers as a baseline for their negotiations with the Warriors, Sam Amick of USA Today notes (on Twitter). Thompson is reportedly close to landing a deal in the $80MM-$82MM range, Amick adds.
  • The Warriors promoted Larry Harris to director of player personnel and hired Lachlan Penfold as head of physical performance/sports medicine, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com tweets.
  • Free agent forward David West is most likely to end up with either the Wizards or the Spurs, Stein tweets.
  • The Nuggets and unrestricted free agent Darrell Arthur have been engaged in productive talks about a new contract, but no deal appears to be imminent, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. Arthur has drawn interest from several teams across the league, including the Pistons and Wizards, Dempsey notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Johnson, Watson, Dellavedova

The Nets have been actively shopping veteran forward Joe Johnson over the past few days, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays (on Twitter). Brooklyn hasn’t had much luck in finding a taker, as teams are leery of taking on Johnson’s $24,894,863 salary for the 2015/16 campaign, which is the final year of his deal, as well as gutting their rosters to acquire the 34-year-old, Mazzeo adds.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Wizards refused to compromise their salary cap space for the summer of 2016, when Kevin Durant is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, in order to re-sign veteran Paul Pierce, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com writes. This was the same stance the franchise took regarding Trevor Ariza, who ended up signing with the Rockets last summer, Michael notes. Pierce agreed to a three-year, approximately $10MM deal with the Clippers this week.
  • The Cavaliers and free agent point guard Matthew Dellavedova are making progress in their discussions to bring the Australian back to Cleveland next season, Shams Charania of RealGM tweets. Dellavedova is seeking a multiyear deal in the $3MM-$5MM range annually, Charania adds.
  • The Wizards have expressed interest in free agent guard C.J. Watson, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post notes (Twitter link). Watson is intent on signing for the mid-level exception, which is not necessarily what Washington is currently offering, Michael tweets.
  • Greg Monroe chose to sign with the Bucks because they were the most playoff ready team of all his suitors, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • The Wizards could be a potential landing spot for free agent forward Chris Copeland, tweets Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report. Washington is also reportedly in discussions with the Bucks regarding a trade for Jared Dudley.
  • Prior to reaching an agreement on his five-year, $90MM deal with the Heat, Goran Dragic asked team president Pat Riley how he could be flexible to aid the franchise in retaining Dwyane Wade, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com writes (on Twitter). Wade and Miami agreed to a one-year, $20MM arrangement earlier today.

Free Agent Rumors: Stoudemire, Hill, Butler

The free agent signing period is now in its second day, and here are the latest rumblings from around the league:

  • The Clippers, Rockets, Mavericks, Lakers, and Suns all have expressed interest in signing Amar’e Stoudemire as a backup big man, Chris Broussard of ESPN.com relays (Twitter link). Stoudemire is only interested in signing with the Clippers if DeAndre Jordan departs and he could become the starter, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • The Mavs will shift focus to pursuing unrestricted free agent Jordan Hill if the team misses out on signing Jordan, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Having missed out on Greg Monroe, one of their prime free agent targets, the Knicks have been in contact with Hill’s representatives, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes.
  • Caron Butler, who was waived by the Bucks shortly after they had acquired him from the Pistons, is on the Knicks‘ radar thanks to his shooting ability and potential fit in the triangle offense, Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets. The Cavaliers have also been in constant contact with Butler, though no signing appears imminent, notes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Unrestricted free agent Quincy Acy is garnering interest from the Magic, Kings, Pelicans, Hawks, and Spurs, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter).
  • Free agent Gigi Datome is split on whether to return to the NBA next season or to play in Europe, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The forward’s primary concern is playing time, not money, adds Himmelsbach.
  • The Mavs are back in play for J.J. Barea after he was leaning toward signing with the Heat Wednesday, TNT’s David Aldridge relays in a series of tweets. The point guard is seeking a three-year deal, Aldridge adds. Dallas is optimistic it can land Barea but is waiting for other free agents to make their decisions first, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com (on Twitter).
  • Unrestricted free agent Joel Freeland said that he will sign with a European team if he doesn’t agree to an NBA contract by July 10th, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (via Twitter).
  • Center Kosta Koufos has received interest from the Mavs, Lakers and Kings, Kennedy tweets. The Bucks had shown interest as well, prior to signing Greg Monroe, Kennedy adds.
  • Free agent forward Derrick Williams is scheduled to meet with the Knicks and Mavericks today in Los Angeles, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
  • The Pistons and Suns both made hard pushes to sign DeMarre Carroll, who instead inked a deal with the Raptors, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com relays (Twitter link). Carroll was blown away by Toronto’s offer, its environment, and is a big fan of coach Dwane Casey, Arnovitz adds.

Cavs, Tristan Thompson Close To Deal

1:10pm: The gap isn’t vast, and there’s no animosity between the sides, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group hears (Twitter link).

THURSDAY, 12:05pm: A gap remains between the sides in spite of the progress they made Wednesday, Windhorst tweets.

WEDNESDAY, 2:09pm: The Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson are close to an agreement on a deal that would pay him north of $80MM, report Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It appears that would be about the maximum that he could receive in a five-year arrangement. LeBron James made it clear this spring that he wanted his fellow Rich Paul client back with the Cavs, months after Thompson and Cleveland didn’t come to terms on an extension this past fall.

A deal for Thompson would be yet another significant commitment for Cleveland, which will retain Kevin Love, reportedly for the max, and almost certainly will do the same with LeBron. The team has already had internal discussions about a payroll of $100-110MM next season with a tax payment of some $75MM, as Windhorst previously reported.

Thompson turned down a four-year, $52MM extension offer this past fall, betting that he could do better this summer, even though the Cavs had brought in Kevin Love at his position. Thompson came off the bench most of the time, but he excelled as a starter in the playoffs when Love was injured. Still, a max deal is quite a high price to pay for the 24-year-old who averaged only 8.5 points per game this past season, particularly with Love coming back, too.

Kevin Love To Re-Sign With Cavs

9:35pm: Love’s deal includes a player option for the fifth year, Zach Lowe of Grantland reports (Twitter link).

1:32pm: Kevin Love will re-sign with the Cavaliers, as he says in a self-authored piece on The Players’ Tribune. Love has long insisted that he would remain with Cleveland, in spite of plenty of stories indicating that he would look elsewhere, and a meeting he apparently had planned with the Lakers. It’ll be a five-year deal for about $110MM, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, in what appears to be a long-term commitment at the max.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

“Yeah, of course I’ve heard the free agency rumors,” Love wrote. “But at the end of the day, and after meeting with my teammates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and with the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me. We’re all on the same page and we’re all in. We have unfinished business and now it’s time to get back to work.”

Love’s revelation brings to a close months of back-and-forth as rumors that Love would leave Cleveland continually surfaced and Love consistently denied them. The power forward did change his mind about declining his player option, as he said in January that he planned to opt in, but opting out was always the more financially sensible proposition, since the max will almost certainly entail more money for this coming season than he would have made on the option, worth only about $16.744MM.

The Lakers and Celtics were most often connected to him, but the Rockets and Blazers were also identified as teams with interest in recent days, and indeed, he seemingly remains a sought-after commodity around the league even in the wake of a down season that ended with a shoulder injury in the first round of the playoffs. He struggled to mesh with LeBron James both on and off the court, but James apparently still wanted him to stay.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Shumpert, Brewer, Hill

The Clippers are set to ink Paul Pierce to a three year, $10MM deal, which will eliminate a major roster weakness of a season ago. Los Angeles is also looking at Wesley Johnson, Jeremy Lin, Corey Brewer, and Willie Green, Sam Amick of USA Today notes (on Twitter). Though it’s not clear if the addition of Pierce will end the Clippers’ potential pursuit of Brewer and Johnson, both of whom can man the three spot.

Here’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers were one of the first teams to reach out to restricted free agent Iman Shumpert, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. Shumpert is set to ink a four-year, $40MM deal to return to the Cavaliers.
  • Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers has reached out to representatives of free agent Glen Davis, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Davis appeared in 74 games for Los Angeles in 2014/15, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per contest. Rivers also has been in contact with Caron Butler‘s representatives, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times adds (via Twitter).
  • If the Kings are unable to land Rajon Rondo, the team could look to sign Brewer, Chris Mannix of SI.com relays (Twitter link). There is some measure of support to ink Brewer within Sacramento’s front office, Mannix adds. Two other teams have contacted Rondo, Mannix adds, though Sacramento still is the frontrunner.
  • The Clippers’ hope was that re-signing center DeAndre Jordan would aid the team in landing Pierce, notes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). It’s unclear if the team promised Pierce that Jordan would return, prompting him to sign, or if the veteran decided to join L.A. regardless of whether or not the big man will be his teammate next season.
  • The Lakers have expressed interest in re-signing center Jordan Hill, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. Hill’s representatives also fielded several calls from other interested teams, Medina adds. Los Angeles declined its $9MM team option on Hill for 2015/16.
  • The Clippers had checked with Brewer’s representatives if the mini-mid level amount would be enough to sign him, and were told they had no shot at that amount, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • The Kings, Clippers, and the Knicks have all expressed interest in free agent forward Dahntay Jones, Kennedy tweets.
  • In addition to the Lakers, teams showing interest in free agent Ed Davis are the Knicks, Pistons, Trail Blazers, and Celtics, Medina relays (Twitter link).
  • Free agent Leandro Barbosa said that he and the Warriors have mutual interest, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group tweets, translating a story from from Folha da Região in Barbosa’s native Brazil.