DeJuan Blair

Southeast Notes: Winslow, Hawks, Wizards

The Heat would be wise to move up in the draft and select Duke’s Justise Winslow, Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post opines. Winslow has the total package the Heat need at small forward if Luol Deng declines his player option and becomes an unrestricted free agent, Lieser continues. Winslow is expected to be off the board by the time Miami’s lottery pick comes up at No. 10 since many of the teams drafting 5-9 need a small forward, in Lieser’s estimation. Winslow could also play shooting guard and that’s the other position where the club needs an upgrade, Lieser adds.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat would not have traded two potential lottery picks to the Suns for Goran Dragic unless Miami got a guarantee of re-signing the unrestricted free agent, as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel surmises. If the Heat fail to re-sign Dragic, they would be limited to using one of their exceptions to find a replacement since they would not have the cap space to chase a higher-level free agent, Winderman continues. Even a player such as Suns’ reserve and unrestricted free agent Gerald Green, who made $3.5MM last season, would be out of Miami’s reach if he wanted a raise unless a sign-and-trade was arranged, Winderman adds.
  • The individual brilliance of LeBron James has the Cavaliers in full control of the Eastern Conference Finals, but Hawks coach/acting GM Mike Budenholzer is among those with the team who aren’t about to give up on an egalitarian philosophy, observes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution“Every team has different ways to build and different ways to give themselves what they feel is their best chance,” Budenholzer said. “There is no doubt the way we’ve built the team with a lot of really good players, a lot of high-character guys. We feel like we can compete and play with anybody in the league. They’ve done it a different way. It’s a great battle. Obviously someone is going to win and lose. This is the way we are built. We believe in it. We think we can win at a high level. We’ll continue to do that.”
  • CSNWashington’s J. Michael gives his input on four key offseason decisions for the Wizards, who’ll seek a stretch four and have decisions to make regarding Nene Hilario, Martell Webster and soon-to-be free agent DeJuan Blair.

And-Ones: Clippers, Smith, Blair

TNT’s David Aldridge had relayed on Monday that the Clippers‘ players weren’t getting along with each other, but Spencer Hawes disagrees with that report, Rowan Kavner of NBA.com writes. “Any team over the course of any season, there’s going to be stuff like that,” Hawes said. “But as far as I’m concerned, this team, off the court, on the court, gets along with each other as well as any that I’ve been a part of. I think there’s a lot of competitive guys, a lot of guys that just want to win. Sometimes you see that side of it, but you don’t see the everyday of how we get along with one another.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Rockets‘ newest addition, Josh Smith, is ecstatic to get the opportunity to play for coach Kevin McHale, Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle writes. “Being able to play for a guy who is a Hall of Fame player, who was a dominant player at his position is great,” Smith said. “I love being able to get bits and pieces off of him. Always great for an NBA player’s game.”
  • DeJuan Blair expected to see more playing time than the 4.6 minutes per game that he is currently receiving from the Wizards when he agreed to a sign-and-trade deal this summer, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post writes. “I don’t know what’s going on,” Blair said. “I don’t know. I just show up and wait for my name to be called.” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said that Blair is handling the situation as well as can be expected, Castillo notes. “He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing,” Wittman said. “He’s doing a good job. Stays ready. Practices hard. Understands, I think, the situation. That’s what you have to do. That’s what any player that doesn’t play — the opportunity’s going to come. It’s going to happen. We all know that. We’ve seen it throughout and when that opportunity comes be ready.”
  • Carmelo Anthony said that he still remains in contact with former Knicks coach Mike Woodson, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. “It was a tough season [2013/14], it was a tough situation to be in at that point in time,” Anthony said. “I know how much work he put in as a coach and with all the guys with the team. I know how much he meant to a lot of guys on the team, especially me. So to see him go out the way he went out, for me as a person it was sad to see that.”

And-Ones: Cousins, Durant, Blair

Here are some miscellaneous news and notes to pass along this evening:

  • Earlier today, ESPN reported that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins injured his right knee during Team USA practice today. Fortunately, an MRI reveled no structural damage, and Cousins is now listed as day-to-day, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
  • USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo described Kevin Durant‘s decision to drop out of Team USA as a “contractual situation” in which “he had no choice,” notes Erik Horne of NewsOK, who doesn’t think that those comments are consistent with Durant’s official statement for withdrawing. Last week, the Thunder star mentioned an inability to fulfill his responsibilities from a “time and energy standpoint” as a reason for his departure.
  • Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski was among many who were caught off-guard by Durant’s decision to leave the national team, notes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.
  • DeJuan Blair is eager to build on a productive playoff series against the Spurs this past May as he suits up for the Wizards in 2014/15, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. “I was very excited when I (learned I was traded from Dallas to Washington). It was like a dream come true…Last year, I saw what type of team they had. The youth, the big men coming up, the ingredients around the team. And I think I’ll be a great addition.”
  • Based on what he’s seen from Andre Drummond so far, Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau spoke glowingly about how Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will be an ideal coach to help the 21-year-old big man reach his potential (piece from Keith Langlois of Pistons.com).

And-Ones: Boozer, Blair, Williams, Mavs

With the Bulls using their amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer on Tuesday, only seven NBA players remain amnesty-eligible as noted in our 2014 Amnesty Primer. But the five teams that haven’t used the provision will have to wait until next summer, as Wednesday marked the deadline for this offseason.

Boozer was snatched up by the Lakers earlier today for a manageable price of $3.25MM, though as ESPN’s Marc Stein reports (via Twitter), the Duke product had strong interest in the Rockets had he gone unclaimed and cleared waivers. Meanwhile, Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times speculates that Boozer’s presence might signal a more complimentary role for rookie Julius Randle unless the playoff-hungry Lakers consider June’s No. 7 pick a small forward (Twitter links are here).

Here’s more from around the league on Thursday night:

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Draft, Jackson, J.R. Smith, Blair

The league office proposed a new lottery system for as soon as next season that would more evenly distribute the odds that non-playoff teams would have of ending up with the No. 1 overall pick, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. The proposal to the competition committee, which would cut the worst team’s chance from 25% to 11%, was the dominant subject of talk about lottery reform at league meetings this week, but it’s nonetheless one of many the NBA has considered, Lowe cautions. There’s more draft-related fodder among the latest from around the league:

  • Chad Ford of ESPN.com unveiled his top 100 top prospects list and mock draft for 2015 in a pair of subscription-only pieces. His top three players are Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Karl Towns, Jr. Mudiay’s recent decision to withdraw from college basketball and play overseas shouldn’t much affect his draft stock, according to Ford.
  • Phil Jackson doubts that Jerry Buss, as has been reported, made the final decision to pass Jackson over to hire Mike D’Antoni as Lakers coach in 2012, as the Zen Master writes in an update to his latest book with Hugh Delehanty, as excerpted in the New York Daily News. Jackson also says that he spoke to the Nets, Raptors and Suns about jobs in the wake of Lakers’ choice.
  • J.R. Smith appeared on ESPN’s First Take Thursday, telling the hosts that he wouldn’t blame the Knicks if they traded him (transcription via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com). No. Absolutely not,” Smith said. “The way I was playing, I was playing like a person who didn’t want to be there. Not looking as focused as a person should be in that situation that we were, in the trenches. I wouldn’t blame them at all.” 
  • DeJuan Blair went into Washington’s $2,016,000 trade exception left over from when the team traded Eric Maynor at the deadline, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Previous reports had indicated that the Wizards would absorb Blair into their new $8,579,089 trade exception created through Trevor Ariza‘s sign-and-trade to Houston, but it appears the team will instead preserve that exception. Just how much of the Maynor exception Blair will take up remains to be seen, since the precise amount of Blair first-year salary has yet to be reported.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

Wizards Acquire DeJuan Blair Via Sign-And-Trade

9:23pm: The deal has been completed, the Wizards announced. Washington will receive Blair from the Mavs in exchange for the rights to Emir Preldzic, a 2009 second-round pick.

5:55pm: Blair’s contract will be for three years and $6MM, with a team option on the final year, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

WEDNESDAY, 12:51pm: The teams are on track to finalize the deal today, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It remains unclear what Dallas would receive in the transaction, but presumably it wouldn’t involve any guaranteed salary.

SUNDAY, 10:25pm: The Wizards and Mavs are in advanced discussions on a potential sign-and-trade that would send DeJuan Blair to Washington, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  The Wizards have strong interest in the big man and are in talks to see if a sign-and-trade is possible before the Mavs are forced to renounce him (link).

Blair, who was used inconsistently by the Spurs and hardly at all in the postseason, signed with the Mavericks last summer on a one-year deal.  In 15.6 minutes per contest, Blair averaged 6.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG for Dallas last season.  For his career, Blair has averaged 7.5 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 18.2 minutes per night.

Eastern Rumors: Boozer, Blair, Durant

Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report details how the Heat’s maneuvers to accommodate the Big Three back in 2010 are now proving costly with the departure of LeBron James. The Heat’s 2015 first round pick–given to the Cavs as part of James’ sign-and-trade to Miami–is still owed to Cleveland, and Miami is still paying Mike Miller‘s amnestied contract while the sharpshooter is on the verge of re-teaming with LeBron in another city. Here’s more from the East:

  • The Hawks, reportedly one of the favorites to place a bid on Carlos Boozer, took a step in that direction, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders confirms the team has officially slipped beneath the cap (Twitter link).
  • The Mavs promised DeJuan Blair that they would try to sign-and-trade him to give him a financial boost, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, and indeed it appears Dallas is close to sending him to the Wizards via sign-and-trade,
  • The Wizards will bring University of Maryland women’s assistant coach David Atkins as an assistant coach for player development, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. A handful of rival executives see it as a sign that Washington has begun to position itself to make a run at Durant, a D.C. native, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt (Twitter link), since Atkins was one of Kevin Durant‘s high school coaches, fellow ESPN scribe Mark Stein notes (on Twitter).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Free Agency Notes: Deng, Augustin, Mavs

The Pacers organization is presenting a united in front in their attempts to convince Lance Stephenson to re-sign with Indiana, reports Michael Marot of The Associated Press. Indy brass, coaches, and players are hopeful they can challenge again in the East with Stephenson back aboard now that LeBron James has fled Miami. Here are more of the night’s free agency rumblings:

Mavs Rumors: Williams, Carter, Blair, Marion

There’s strong mutual interest between the Mavs and Mo Williams, with Mavs GM Donnie Nelson having called him “the perfect fit in many respects,” reports Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Presuming the Rockets don’t match the Mavs’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, Dallas would like to re-sign Vince Carter for the $2.732MM room exception, but if Carter doesn’t bite, the Mavs would strongly consider using it on Williams, MacMahon writes. There’s more on Williams amid the latest from Dallas:

  • If Carter does take that room exception, the Mavs are holding out hope that they can convince Williams to sign for the minimum salary, since he lives in the area and wants to be near his family, MacMahon tweets. Portland’s deal today with Steve Blake indeed gives the Blazers less of a shot to re-sign Williams, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, but Bartelstein cautioned that there’s still a chance the combo guard stays in Portland.
  • The Mavs are also targeting DeJuan Blair for the minimum, and that would be the only price they’d be willing to pay for him, MacMahon also tweets.
  • Teams have been checking in with Shawn Marion, but there’s been no movement of any substance toward a deal, and the Mavs will remain in play if they miss out on Parsons, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link).
  • Ivan Johnson is a part of the Mavs’ summer league team, but there’s mutual optimism that his relationship with the team will continue into the fall, MacMahon writes in a separate piece. “He’s more than just a summer league guy for us,” Mavs GM Donnie Nelson said. “We’re definitely taking a peak, and we like what we see.” 

Mavs Rumors: Bledsoe, Stephenson, ‘Melo, Dirk

Mavs GM Donnie Nelson promises an “action-packed summer,” but he indicated today that he’s pleased with the roster as is, notes Bryan Gutierrez of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter links).

“I think if we had the same cast or crew come and lace ’em up next year, I’d feel real good about our chances,” he said.

Fellow ESPNDallas.com scribe Tim McMahon doesn’t buy it, writing that the Mavs front office knows it needs significant improvement to contend. There’s more from McMahon’s piece amid the latest on the Mavs:

  • McMahon throws Eric Bledsoe‘s name into the mix of likely targets that already included Marcin Gortat and Luol Deng, though he acknowledges that it’ll be “extremely difficult” to pry Bledsoe, or even Gortat, away from their respective teams. The Mavs are unlikely to make a run at Lance Stephenson, according to McMahon.
  • The Mavs would like to get involved in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, but not if he demands a max contract, McMahon writes.
  • Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs have made it clear that they fully intend to strike a new deal this summer. Nowitzki acknowledged today that he doesn’t think it will resemble Kobe Bryant‘s massive two-year, $48.5MM extension, but he does want the team to respect his continued on-court prowess in negotiations, as Gutierrez observes (Twitter links). McMahon, in his piece, suggests Nowitzki is likely to sign a three-year, $30MM deal.
  • Shawn Marion, who turns 36 on Wednesday, plans to play two more seasons, tweets Tim McMahon of ESPNDallas.com, noting that while there’s strong mutual interest in a return to the Mavs, the forward will also think about signing elsewhere. Still, he intends to retire as a Mav one way or another, Gutierrez notes (Twitter link).
  • Soon-to-be free agent DeJuan Blair is hopeful that he’ll re-sign with the Mavs this summer, as Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram chronicles.
  • We passed along news of the Mavs’ mutual interest in Devin Harris earlier today.

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