Here’s the latest coming out of Lakerland tonight:
- After acknowledging that he won’t be making his season debut against the Kings tomorrow night in Sacramento, Kobe Bryant is tentatively targeting Sunday’s game against the Raptors, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA: “We (have) to see how it feels tonight. I’m going to try to get another hard session in and then [Friday] morning try to push it again and the same thing tomorrow evening. Continue to just keep on measuring it.”
- More from Kobe, who added that he was “pleased” with how he’s feeling after three straight days of practice: “I’m not jumping through the gym by any means, but I don’t need to be able to do that in order to be a great player…It just takes awhile, no matter how much running and conditioning you do, to get out there and play is different. So, I’m sure I’ll be limited in some capacity.”
- Hoopsworld’s Eric Pincus reports that the Lakers have re-assigned Ryan Kelly to their D-League affilate, the D-Fenders (Twitter link).
- While Elias Harris had been signed to a partially-guaranteed rookie minimum of $490K, Pincus – in a piece for the L.A. Times – explains how waiving Harris saved the Lakers a total of nearly $1.1MM.
- Mike D’Antoni may not be the most ideal man for the Lakers’ head coaching job for some, but Kevin Ding of the Bleacher Report argues that at least he’s no Mike Brown. Citing Cleveland’s slow start as well as Brown’s indecisiveness with his rotation, Ding characterizes it as the “same tortoise pace of progress” that the former Lakers coach tried to sell in Los Angeles before getting the boot last season.
Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee characterizes the Kings’ move for Derrick Williams as “playing a hunch” – a hope that a new situation will help the former second-overall pick tap into his potential. With the franchise in rebuilding mode, Voisin writes that outside of DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore, and Isaiah Thomas, pretty much everyone else is up for grabs on the trading block. Here’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:
- Mark Deeks of the Score evaluates the Williams-Luc Mbah a Moute swap for both Sacramento and Minnesota. Keeping Williams’ potential in mind, Deeks writes that the Kings took a gamble that was nearly “impossible to pass up,” whereas the Timberwolves appeared to have created a logjam at the wing with Dante Cunningham‘s minutes to account for as well as the eventual return of Chase Budinger.
- According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni ”hated” that Elias Harris had to be cut today. Both Bresnahan and Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News report that the team isn’t expected to fill in their 15th roster spot anytime soon (Twitter links).
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel says the Lakers dropped the ball in sacrificing future financial flexibility in order to reward Kobe Bryant with a generous extension. The Los Angeles Times relayed a handful of fan reactions this afternoon regarding the deal, and most didn’t seem to be enthused either.
4:45pm: Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles confirms (via Twitter) that the Lakers’ decision to release Harris was financially motivated, and not a signal that another player will be added to the roster.
4:10pm: The Lakers have officially released Elias Harris, the team announced today (Twitter link). The move reduces L.A.’s roster count to 14 players, one below the regular-season maximum.
Harris, 24, went undrafted out of Gonzaga in June before joining the Lakers’ summer league squad and eventually signing a partially guaranteed deal with the team. The 6’8″ forward appeared briefly in a pair of games with the Lakers this season, and also recorded 18 points in his only D-League game for the Los Angeles D-Fenders. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent, assuming he clears waivers.
As for the Lakers, while the move opens up a roster spot, it’s not immediately clear if the team plans to add a replacement for Harris. 10-day contracts can’t be inked until the new year, but the club could sign a player to a non-guaranteed contract, which wouldn’t become guaranteed until January 10th.
If the Lakers don’t intend to fill that 15th spot, Harris’ release likely represents a money-saving move. The team was already on the hook for Harris’ partial guarantee worth $100K, but that amount would have begun to increase next week, had he remained on the roster.
Let’s round up today’s D-League updates, including a pair of assignments and a pair of recalls out of the Pacific….
- Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris have been re-assigned to the D-League by the Lakers, according to the Los Angeles D-Fenders (Twitter link). It’s already the third assignment of the season for both players, so it looks like they’ll be shuttled back and forth throughout the year.
- The Warriors have recalled Dewayne Dedmon and Nemanja Nedovic from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. The duo helped lead the Santa Cruz Warriors to a victory last night, combining for 54 points.
- Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group checks in on Seth Curry‘s development with the Warriors‘ D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz.
As we heard yesterday, Steve Nash denied having considered the possibility of retirement, telling reporters that he still has “18 months” of basketball left, referring to the last two years on his contract. Nash also told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles that he’s “inching forward” in his physical therapy and rehab, and Mike D’Antoni suggests that the veteran point guard could return to practice during the first week of December. Here’s more on the 39-year-old and his Lakers teammates:
- Nash recognizes that speculation about his retirement is inevitable at this point of his career, as he tells McMenamin: “I’m 40 in a couple of months. I think people look at the success I’ve had in my career and they wonder if I still have the motivation just to get on the court. But I do. The perspective is that I’ve only got a short window of basketball left in my life. I want to try to get in as much hoops as I can before it’s time to do something else.”
- The Lakers have assigned Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris to their D-League affiliate, as Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv notes via Twitter. The team had just recalled the rookies on Thursday after initially sending them down last week. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times expects the Lakers will bring them back to the big club in advance of Sunday’s game.
- The Lakers signed Nick Young this summer to a minimum-salary contract, and he’s proved a bargain so far, having entered Friday with the fourth-highest scoring average among reserves this season, as McMenamin examines.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The D-League’s regular season is underway, and the D-League website features a list of young prospects to follow during the 2013/14 season. Some of the young players on the list currently have their rights held by NBA squads, but many are training camp invitees that didn’t make an opening night roster. There’s no telling when the next Jeremy Lin might unexpectedly emerge so it’s definitely worth monitoring the young talent found in the NBA’s official minor league organization.
Here’s some D-League news and notes from Thursday night:
- Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweets that the Lakers have recalled Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris from their D-League affiliate, the D-Fenders. Neither have seen much NBA action yet this year, and Eric Pincus of the LA Times tweets that their recall is probably just a formality.
- Ira Winderman points out (via Twitter) that the D-League affiliate for the Heat is sporting a particularly impressive roster. Although the Heat do not own their rights, it’s worth noting that Miami’s developmental squad houses three former NBA players: Bill Walker, DeAndre Liggins, and Quincy Douby.
- Dan Reed, president of the D-League, envisions his circuit expanding into a 30 team organization where each NBA club has it’s own minor league affiliate. Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports sat down with Reed, who appears confident that his vision will one day become a reality: ”If you had asked me this three or four years ago, I would have said it will be a very long time horizon. If you ask me now, that time frame has shortened substantially.” Reed has been the president of the D-League since 2007.
- To keep up with all the D-League assignments and recalls throughout the year, be sure to check out Hoops Rumors 2013/14 D-League Assignments page.
Lakers second round pick Ryan Kelly made a strong enough impression on the club to secure a roster spot despite being sidelined for the latter part of the offseason, but there isn’t enough playing time for him on the varsity squad. Earlier today, the Lakers announced that Kelly and forward Elias Harris have been sent down to the Los Angeles D-Fenders. To keep up with all of this year’s D-League assignments, check out Hoops Rumors’ running list for 2013/14. Here’s more from around the Association..
- This season Jameer Nelson is one of seven veterans with playoff experience on a Magic roster that includes eight players who are in their third NBA season or fewer, writes jessica Camerato of HoopsWorld.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel contends that Glen Davis‘ latest off-court incident “killed” his trade value, and Schmitz wonders whether the Magic will hold Davis out of games for the entire season.
- A prominent online betting site has Wizards coach Randy Wittman at 2/1 odds for being the first NBA coach to get fired, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is handicapped at 12/1 odds for being the first to get the heave-ho.
- Zach Lowe of Grantland took an in-depth look at Lance Stephenson and the impact that he has had on the Pacers. There’s strong mutual interest in hammering out a new deal in Indiana and that could spell the end of Danny Granger‘s tenure there.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Let's round up the latest from the always-busy rumor mill in Los Angeles:
- Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register tweets that he expects the Lakers to sign Marcus Landry, younger brother of Carl Landry, in the near future. Ding also adds that Landry, if signed, would have a good shot to make the team. This sounds very similar to several reports we heard in late July regarding Landry and the Lakers, but no official deal was reached. Landry last appeared in 18 games in the 2009/10 season with the Knicks and Celtics. He has since bounced between the D-League and Europe, and played with the Reno Bighorns of the D-League last season.
- With second-rounder Ryan Kelly not expected to be ready for camp, Ding tweets that three of Landry, Xavier Henry, Shawne Williams and Elias Harris could make the Lakers' roster. A chunk of Harris' deal is guaranteed, making him a good bet for a roster spot, but there’s been no confirmation of any guarantee for Henry, Williams or Landry, assuming he is signed.
- It is hard to consider Kobe Bryant's looming presence on the Lakers as anything but a negative recruiting tool when it comes to near-future premiere free agents, writes Andy Kamenetzky of Land O'Lakers, who agrees with the notion that LeBron James, or any of the league's other elite players, would be hesitant to join Bryant in Los Angeles.
- Jim Buss and his father, the late Jerry Buss, knew that the Lakers couldn't keep the expensive team they showcased last year together past the 2012/13 season, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who says this sentiment made it difficult for the team to secure Phil Jackson as coach. Ownership knew they had to rebuild soon, Shelburne says, largely due to the extreme luxury tax situation they would face this season. Because of this, the Lakers didn't feel right giving Jackson a two-year pact knowing the second year would be a transition year, she adds (Twitter links here).
Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com is back with another round of salary details for several of the new contracts signed in recent weeks. Here's a round-up:
- Larry Sanders' new four-year contract extension with the Bucks will pay him an even $11MM in each season. Those figures will increase slightly if Sanders reaches contract incentives currently considered unlikely.
- The Timberwolves' five-year deal with Nikola Pekovic will pay the big center $12.1MM in each of the next four seasons, before dipping to $11.6MM in year five. His potential incentives are also listed as unlikely, meaning they don't count against the cap for now.
- Elias Harris' deal with the Lakers is a two-year, minimum-salary pact. It's guaranteed for $100K in year one, and fully non-guaranteed in year two.
- The Cavaliers inked Matthew Dellavedova to a two-year contract that looks virtually identical to Harris' — his minimum salary is partially guaranteed for $100K in 2013/14.
- Like Harris and Dellavedova, Dee Bost also signed a two-year minimum contract, but his deal with the Trail Blazers is only guaranteed for $25K this season.
AUGUST 14TH: The Lakers have officially signed Harris, the team announced today.
JULY 26TH: The Lakers and power forward Elias Harris have agreed to a two-year deal, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Agent Brad Ames tells Wojnarowski that the agreement includes a "significant" guarantee for this coming season.
The 24-year-old Harris was a member of the Lakers summer league squad this month in Las Vegas, and he averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 26.9 minutes per contest. He went undrafted last month out of Gonzaga, where he shared the front line with 13th overall pick Kelly Olynyk, now with the Celtics.
Harris' contract will have to be for the minimum, though it's not clear just how "significant" his guarantee is. The word "substantial" was used to describe the guarantee for Robert Covington's deal with the Rockets earlier this summer, and it appears $150K of Covington's $490,180 salary this year is guaranteed.
Mark Madsen, one of the coaches on the Lakers summer league team, was particularly struck by Harris' defensive versatility, as he told Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.