The Spurs have reduced their preseason roster by three players, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, Corey Maggette, Myck Kabongo, and Marcus Cousin have been waived.
Maggette’s release is particularly notable, since the veteran scorer suggested over the weekend that he’d be headed for retirement if he didn’t earn an NBA roster spot this season. There has been no official announcement from Maggette yet, but assuming he does retire, he’ll finish his 14-year NBA playing career with 13,198 points in 827 total contests, having played for the Magic, Clippers, Warriors, Bucks, Bobcats, and Pistons. The longtime Clipper is expected to transition into a front office role at some point.
Having waived three camp invitees, the Spurs are now carrying 16 players — 14 guaranteed contracts, plus Courtney Fells and Daniel Nwaelele. Fells and Nwaelele may both be cut before opening night, as at least one report has indicated San Antonio is likely to start the season with a 14-man roster.
As for Kabongo and Cousin, one or both of them could end up with the Spurs’ D-League affiliate in Austin. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported when San Antonio first added Kabongo to its camp roster that the undrafted rookie would likely land in the D-League with the Toros, and reiterated that point today (Twitter link).
Trey Burke is set to have surgery on his broken right finger tomorrow, and Jody Genessy of the Deseret News hears from the rookie’s agent that the injury could sideline Burke for more than eight weeks. It’s bad news for the Jazz, who don’t have a ton of point guard depth, but the team isn’t rushing to find a replacement, and is still in info-gathering mode, according to Genessy (via Twitter).
One option that doesn’t appear to be on the table for Utah is bringing over second-round pick Raul Neto. According to GM Dennis Lindsey, via Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, Neto’s team in Spain (Lagun Aro) is in a similar building process to the Jazz, so Utah wouldn’t try to lure away one of its best players (Twitter links).
Here’s more on the Jazz and a few other Western teams:
- Luhm adds in another tweet that Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said today there are a couple of free agents who are looking for more than what the club is willing to pay.
- Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic spoke to Marcin Gortat about entering a contract year and the possibility of remaining with the Suns long-term.
- Andrew Bogut reiterated to Sam Amick of USA Today that he likes playing for the Warriors and wants to stay in Golden State beyond this season, but noted that Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry probably felt the same way before they signed elsewhere. In other words, Bogut hopes to remain with the Warriors, but recognizes anything could happen next summer in free agency.
- On the heels of a report indicating Corey Maggette figures to retire if he’s waived by the Spurs, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld notes (via Twitter) that the veteran has long been interested in an executive job. Maggette participated in the NBPA’s Leadership Development Program, which prepares players for front office roles.
- The NBA announced today that Devin Ebanks has been suspended two games for pleading nolo contendere to driving under the influence of alcohol. Ebanks is currently trying to earn a spot on the Mavericks‘ regular-season roster — he was already a long shot, but his suspension certainly doesn’t help his chances.
Corey Maggette is with the Spurs on a non-guaranteed camp deal, trying for what appears to be one open roster spot. If he doesn’t make it, his NBA career will end with this preseason, as he says he will retire if the Spurs cut him, tweets Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News.
“If I could get an opportunity here, it would be great. If not, this game has been good to me,” Maggette said, according to McDonald (on Twitter).
Maggette says the Spurs were the only club to offer him a deal, and he acknowledged that his chances of making the opening night roster are slim, McDonald tweets. San Antonio has 19 players in camp and 14 of them are on fully guaranteed deals, leaving Maggette to battle Marcus Cousin, Courtney Fells, Myck Kabongo, and Daniel Nwaelele for the final spot, providing the Spurs elect to carry a full complement of 15 players.
Maggette has made more than $89MM in his career, according to Basketball-Reference, and even if he makes the Spurs, he wouldn’t add much to that on his minimum salary deal this season. The 33-year-old had considered retiring after last season to pursue a front office job, but he decided to make one more attempt at continuing his playing career. It appeared last spring that the Pistons, the team with which he spent 2012/13, had interest in bringing him back, but no deal with Detroit ever materialized.
Let’s round up a few Friday odds and ends from around the Association….
- Steve Nash, who is heading into the second year of a three-year deal with the Lakers, may be rested frequently this season due to health concerns, head coach Mike D’Antoni tells Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. With the Lakers planning to clear as much cap space as possible next summer, Nash’s performance and health this season will likely dictate whether he’s still with the club a year from now.
- In a Spurs notebook for the San Antonio Express-News, Jeff McDonald refers to the release of Sam Young as a “borderline bombshell,” and says Corey Maggette is unlikely to stick with the team into the regular season.
- As he continues to recover from a torn ACL in Brazil, free agent guard Leandro Barbosa still hopes to return to the NBA, as Michael Lee of the Washington Post details.
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wonders if NBA teams’ increasing willingness to rest their veterans will open the door for players who would typically be assigned to the D-League to receive more NBA minutes.
- With 20 players still on the roster, the Hawks will have to make cuts soon, but it won’t happen today, tweets Chris Vivalmore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Scott Cacciola of the New York Times takes an in-depth look at new Knicks general manager Steve Mills.
Of all the free agents still on the market, none made a higher salary last season than Corey Maggette's $10.92MM. Maggette won't earn anywhere near that amount this year, but it appears he'll at least be given a chance to earn an NBA roster spot. According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report (via Twitter), the veteran swingman will join the Spurs for training camp.
Maggette, 33, was sent to the Pistons by the Bobcats last summer, and didn't see much playing time in Detroit during the last year of his contract. Still, at least one report indicated there was mutual interest in a new deal, and we heard as recently as last month that Maggette was still open to re-signing with the Pistons. Instead, he'll join a Spurs team that has 14 players on guaranteed contracts, leaving one open roster spot.
Shams Charania of RealGM.com reported yesterday that the Spurs had reached an agreement to bring Sam Young to camp as well, so it appears Maggette and Young will compete for that last opening on the club's roster. It's not clear yet whether more players will be invited to Spurs camp before October.
Late last month, there was talk that free agent forward Corey Maggette preferred to play for a contender and could likely be had for the veteran's minimum. Today, the 33-year-old forward told ESPN.com that he wouldn't mind playing for the Pistons again, according to a staff report by the Detroit Free Press. The 14-year-veteran played sparingly for then-head coach Lawrence Frank last season, appearing in 18 contests and averaging 14.3 MPG.
“Overall, I’m just waiting and being patient and see what opportunity comes…You always got to explore your options, but if the Pistons want me back, it’s great, man. I would love to come back.”
Interestingly enough, we heard back in March of the mutual interest between Maggette and the Pistons about a return for 2012/13, but with the team now carrying 15 players under contract, a reunion doesn't seem all that likely at this point.
Restricted free agents like Nikola Pekovic, Brandon Jennings, and Gerald Henderson represent the most intriguing names left on the free agent market, but in his latest piece for HoopsWorld, Alex Kennedy takes a look at a few unrestricted free agents who have flown more under the radar. Here are some highlights from Kennedy:
- Corey Maggette considered retiring to pursue a front office job, but it looks like he'll postpone that plan for at least a year. Maggette would like to play for a contender, and could likely be had for a one-year, minimum-salary deal.
- Although more than a dozen teams, including the Bulls and Clippers, have expressed some level of interest in DeJuan Blair, the big man still hasn't been able to secure the sort of multiyear offer he's seeking.
- There continues to be mutual interest between the Knicks and Sebastian Telfair, who has also attracted some interest from contenders like the Heat and Thunder.
- The Nets nearly signed Jamaal Tinsley earlier in the offseason, but opted for Shaun Livingston instead. Tinsley is now considering teams like the Mavericks, Rockets, Bobcats, and Suns.
- Keyon Dooling still appears likely to make a decision on a team within the next week, and he figures to land a one-year contract worth the veteran's minimum.
- After turning down the Bobcats last summer to join an apparent contender (the Lakers), Antawn Jamison could end up returning home to Charlotte this time around, according to Kennedy.
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:
- Mo Williams is the most prominent name among the several whose rights the Jazz renounced today, according to the RealGM transaction log. Al Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll and Earl Watson, who already have deals to join other teams, are also on the list, as are the long-retired Brevin Knight and Greg Ostertag.
- Bobcats are set to re-sign Josh McRoberts, but they won't be using their Early Bird rights to do so, as they've renounced his rights, RealGM shows. The team also renounced their rights to Reggie Williams, who's heading to the Rockets, and it cut ties with DeSagana Diop, Byron Mullens and Jannero Pargo, too.
- Golden State will sign Jermaine O'Neal, so the Suns have renounced his rights, as well as their rights to Wesley Johnson and Diante Garrett, as RealGM notes.
- The Hawks have cleared out unwanted cap holds from their books, renouncing their rights to Hilton Armstrong, Erick Dampier, Devin Harris, Dahntay Jones, Randolph Morris, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro, Josh Smith, and Etan Thomas, according to RealGM.com's transactions log.
- RealGM.com also has the Trail Blazers renouncing multiple players, including Luke Babbitt, J.J. Hickson, Eric Maynor, and Nolan Smith.
- 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.
- The Pelicans have renounced their rights to Louis Amundson, Xavier Henry, and Roger Mason Jr., the team announced today in a press release.
- In order to clear cap room for their signings, the Pistons renounced Will Bynum, Jose Calderon, Vernon Macklin, Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell, and Ben Wallace, according to RealGM's transactions log. The Pistons plan to re-sign Bynum, but removing his $6MM+ cap hold and signing him to a smaller figure using cap space makes the most sense.
- After renouncing their rights to Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom, the Clippers have also renounced Bobby Simmons, according to RealGM.com's transactions log.
Five or six teams are expected to go after Hawks free agent forward Josh Smith, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, and one of them will be the Pistons, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Detroit will have plenty of cap room for the maximum-salary offer Smith and agent Wallace Prather are likely to seek.
The Celtics are also reportedly high on Smith, and teams that miss out on Dwight Howard could be in the mix as well. It's unclear how much of a priority retaining Smith will be for the Hawks, but Atlanta can give him the best financial offer. The maximum starting salary for Smith, a nine-year veteran, will be 30% of the salary cap, or approximately $19.5MM, but the Hawks can give him a five-year deal instead of the four years other teams can offer. They can also give him 7.5% raises each season, as opposed to the 4.5% raises he'd get from the Pistons and everyone else.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said he's targeting help at point guard and the wing, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press notes, so the team would seem to envision Smith as a small forward rather than a power forward.
The Pistons made one decision affecting their cap space Saturday, keeping Viacheslav Kravtsov for $1.5MM for next season rather than waiving him while his $500K partial guarantee was still in effect. Rodney Stuckey's contract is only guaranteed for $4MM if he's waived today, but the Pistons plan to keep him, according to MLive's David Mayo. Detroit also plans to renounce its cap holds on all of its free agents, including Jose Calderon, whom the team is unlikely to pay more than $7MM annually to re-sign, Mayo writes.
The Pistons and Corey Maggette had mutual interest in his return a few months ago, but he won't be back, and neither will Jason Maxiell, according to Mayo.
With the Bucks currently holding a seven-game lead on the ninth-seeded Sixers for the Eastern Conference's final postseason spot, there won't be a race for the playoffs over the season's final few weeks. But if we flip the standings upside-down, there is a race developing for the best chance at June's first overall pick. A pair of Bobcats wins last week pulled them within two games of the Magic, and the two teams are set to square off in Charlotte this Wednesday. As we, uh, look forward to that contest, let's round up a few Monday items from around the conference:
- Following up on the latest report linking John Calipari to the Nets, Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game suggests (via Sulia) that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is too discerning to simply be interested in Calipari because the Kentucky coach is a "big name." According to Bucher, Prokhorov had genuine interest in Phil Jackson, but Bucher thinks the idea of Calipari being a worthwhile fallback option is "absurd," despite the improvements he has made since his last NBA stint.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun looks ahead to the summer and predicts which Raptors will be back with the team next season.
- Corey Maggette isn't entirely sure why he hasn't played in over three months, but he isn't going to complain about his situation, as David Mayo of MLive.com writes. Earlier this month, a report suggested that Maggette and the Pistons were both open to the veteran returning to the team next year via free agency. I have to think he'll at least explore the market in search of an opportunity for more minutes though.
- Responding to a reader's question in his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel agrees that Shane Battier has been the Heat's best non-Big-Three signing of this era.
- Last summer, the Celtics participated in both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues. However, since the C's aren't expecting to add as many young prospects to the roster this summer, they'll only participate in the Orlando league, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.