Elliot Williams Rumors
April 18 at 5:53pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Joe Freeman of the Oregonian was among the reporters addressed by Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey about the team's priorities for the upcoming offseason, among them finding a starting center and adding depth to the bench in spots six through ten. Although it isn't likely that Portland will tender a qualifying offer to Eric Maynor this summer, Olshey spoke as though the team still hopes to keep him as part of their future. Also, he said that the Trail Blazers would consider retaining Elliot Williams, whose team option for 2013-14 had been declined earlier this season (All Twitter links here).
Though the team finished with nearly a two percent drop in winning percentage compared to 2011-12, this season marked Olshey's first as well as head coach Terry Stott's tenure with the franchise. With the viewpoint that the current roster isn't talented enough, all signs point to another busy offseason, especially with a bevy of cap space at their disposal to continue building around Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard. Olshey relayed that he spoke with team owner Paul Allen yesterday and promised that the franchise would be more competitive next year.
March 29 at 8:56am CST By Luke Adams
The Lakers announced yesterday that Metta World Peace underwent successful surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus, and will miss six weeks. Whether or not the Lakers make the playoffs, World Peace's season could be over, and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wondered yesterday if the veteran forward has played his last game as a Laker.
World Peace isn't necessarily in the final year of his contract, since he has a player option for next season. However, if he exercises that option, he becomes a prime candidate to be amnestied. If he declines the option, he'll hit unrestricted free agency. Either way, the man formerly known as Ron Artest may sign a new contract before he plays in his next NBA game.
A number of players are in the same situation as World Peace, with potential free agency looming and an injury keeping them off the court. Here are a few guys who we may not see play for their current teams again, and whose free agent stocks could be affected by their current injuries:
- Leandro Barbosa (Wizards): If you'd forgotten Barbosa was on the Wizards' roster, you're probably not alone. Acquired for salary purposes in the deal that sent Jordan Crawford to Boston, Barbosa is on an expiring minimum-salary contract, and his ACL/MCL injury may hurt his chances of signing another deal this offseason. Having suffered the season-ending injury in February, he probably won't be healthy in time for fall camps.
- Rodrigue Beaubois (Mavericks): Eligible for restricted free agency this summer, Beaubois underwent surgery on his hand last week, and is unlikely to return this season. I doubt the Mavs will make him a qualifying offer, and there's a good chance he doesn't return to Dallas.
- Andrew Bynum (76ers): As well-documented as any non-Derrick Rose injury this season, Bynum's ongoing knee troubles will certainly hurt his earning potential in free agency this summer, and may also ensure he never plays a game with the Sixers.
- Richard Hamilton (Bulls): While Hamilton remains optimistic that he'll play again this season, his ongoing health problems will likely lead the Bulls to part ways with him this summer. Hamilton's $5MM salary for 2013/14 is partially guaranteed, so he figures to receive a $1MM buyout and hit the free agent market.
- Sasha Pavlovic (Trail Blazers): Pavlovic's quad injury has kept him out of action for more than a month, but even if he were healthy, he doesn't appear to be part of the Trail Blazers' plans. Although he's under contract for two more seasons, both years are non-guaranteed, so he may find himself seeking a new deal this July.
- A.J. Price (Wizards): Price earned 22 starts this season for the Wizards, so perhaps the team will have interest in bringing him back next year. He's eager to return to the court to try to improve his free agent stock, but for now, groin issues are keeping him out indefinitely.
- Brandon Roy (Timberwolves): All the time Roy has missed this season with knee problems ensured that the second year of his contract with the Timberwolves became non-guaranteed, and there's virtually no chance the Wolves will retain him and his $5.33MM salary. If Roy is forced to call it a career at season's end, it would be an unfortunate way for him to go out, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where we're headed.
- Brandon Rush (Warriors): After going down during the season's first week, Rush underwent knee surgery in January that ended his year. Fortunately for him, he's got a $4MM player option for 2013/14, so he figures to be returning to the Warriors rather than looking for work next year.
- Jason Smith (Hornets): Out for the season with a torn labrum, Smith, like Hamilton, has a partially guaranteed contract for 2013/14. The price to keep him wouldn't be exorbitant - $1MM of his $2.5MM salary is guaranteed - so we'll have to wait and see what the Hornets decide.
- Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace (Knicks): A pair of aging Knicks bigs on expiring contracts, it would be a little surprising to see both Thomas and Wallace playing in the NBA next year, even if they return in the playoffs. Even if Thomas and Wallace wanted to extend their playing careers, their latest foot issues would raise red flags for any interested teams.
- Elliot Williams (Trail Blazers): Unlike some other players on this list, Williams is no lock to receive an NBA contract, especially if he can't show that he's healthy before the fall. That's probably why, even after surgery on his achilles, he talked about wanting to return to the court in '12/13 and auditioning in the Summer League.
March 13 at 10:34pm CST By Alex Lee
Miami's win streak has reached 20 after they survived a spirited effort from the 76ers in Philly. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant is out "indefinitely" after he suffered a severe left ankle sprain late in the Lakers loss in Atlanta. With Carmelo Anthony's return to Denver nearing halftime, let's round up the final links from around the league on Wednesday night here:
- The Blazers, who have a top-12 protected first round pick, are in a conflicting position at 3.5 games out of a playoff spot, writes Jason Quick of the Oregonian. If the season ended today they would retain their selection, and Blazers scouts are spread across the country accordingly, taking in the NCAA conference tournaments. Portland GM Neil Olshey implemented a new draft strategy in Portland, which consists of each scout watching a targeted group of 15 to 18 college players at least three times. The Blazers would currently pick 12th.
- Blazers guard Elliot Williams plans on using the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas as an audition this summer to prove his health, writes Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest. Williams tore his left Achilles in September in a voluntary team workout, but claims to be nearing a full recovery. Portland declined the fourth-year option on Williams in October, making him an unrestricted free agent come summer.
- St. John's freshman Jakarr Sampson, who is considering entering June's NBA draft, had a tough night against Villanova in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, going 5-of-18 from the field. The performance prompted Jonathan Givony of Draft Express to hope, via Twitter, that Sampson stays in school, opining that there is no guarantee that the 6-foot-8 swingman would even be drafted. Maurice Harkless left St. John's after his freshman season just under a year ago, before being drafted 15th by the Sixers and moved to the Magic in the Andrew Bynum deal.
February 27 at 8:43am CST By Luke Adams
When the Trail Blazers acquired Eric Maynor from the Thunder at last Thursday's trade deadline, the club needed to waive a player to make room on the roster for the new addition. Elliot Williams, who underwent surgery on his left Achilles last fall and was expected to miss the entire season, was the obvious candidate to be released, since the team didn't pick up his 2013/14 option, but Portland cut Ronnie Price instead.
While the move may have suggested that Williams remains part of the Blazers' long-term plan, that's not a decision that GM Neil Olshey has made yet, as he tells Joe Freeman of the Oregonian.
"Right now we just don’t have a big enough sample size to make a decision on whether Elliot is a part of the future or he isn’t," Olshey said. "We’ve been able to evaluate everybody else on the roster. But with him, there’s still some uncertainty there and we wanted to keep him in the fold going forward."
For his part, Williams is recovering well and hasn't given up hope that he could return to the court before the Blazers' season is over. While he acknowledges that it may not make sense for him to play this season and that he doesn't want to rush anything, the 23-year-old guard is still working to get to 100% before he becomes a free agent. As Freeman writes, the sooner Williams gets healthy, the sooner the team will be able to evaluate whether he'll be ready to contribute next season, and whether he'll be worth further investment.
January 23 at 12:01am CST By Chuck Myron
Just as we crossed into the final month before the trade deadline, the first deal of the new year went down today, and the action will no doubt pick up going forward. Here are a few more notes from a busy evening.
- J.J. Redick, an unrestricted free agent at season's end, wants a raise on his $6.19MM salary, but the Magic want him to take a hometown discount, reports USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt. If the team doesn't believe it can re-sign him when the trade deadline rolls around, Zillgitt won't be surprised to see the Magic trade Redick, since they don't want to lose him without any return.
- The Wizards are looking to make moves, and Jordan Crawford is drawing the most interest of any of the players they'd make available, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler reveals, noting rookie Bradley Beal isn't among the players they're dangling, Kyler adds.
- Damion James is heading back to the D-League's Bakersfield Jam, as the Nets have opted not to renew his 10-day contract, which expires tonight, tweets NetsDaily.com.
- Jae Crowder's contract with the Mavs is fully guaranteed through next season, but he doesn't want that to be the end of his tenure in Dallas, where he wants to play his entire career, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reveals.
- Elliot Williams, who tore his left Achilles tendon in September, isn't ruling out the possibility he could return at some point this season, as he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The league, believing he was done for the year, has already granted the Blazers a disabled player exception, but the team will get to keep it even if he makes it back.
- Ben Baroff of SheridanHoops.com believes there will be more deals similar to today's Cavs-Grizzlies trade in the years to come, as luxury tax penalties become more severe.
- Amid another round of Dwight Howard rumors, Nets brass has assured Brook Lopez he won't be traded, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
October 30 at 3:46pm CST By Luke Adams
OCTOBER 30TH: Olshey confirmed today that the Blazers have obtained a disabled player exception for Williams, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The GM says it's a financial tool, rather than a roster tool, which presumably means it'll only be kept on the books for cap purposes, rather than actually used to acquire a player.
OCTOBER 1ST: With Elliot Williams expected to miss the entire 2012/13 season after undergoing surgery on his ruptured achilles tendon, the Trail Blazers will not waive him, GM Neil Olshey told the media today. However, as Joe Freeman of the Oregonian tweets, the team will apply for a disabled player exception worth half Williams' salary.
Freeman adds within the same tweet that Olshey says the Trail Blazers still have about $2MM in cap space, but the GM is likely referring to the room exception, rather than actual cap space. Despite only spending about $56MM on team salary, Portland has a traded player exception worth about $2.25MM from this summer's Raymond Felton trade that the club would have to renounce to claim that cap room. Also, disabled player exceptions are only available to over-the-cap teams, so the Blazers wouldn't receive a DPE if they still had cap space.
Even if the league approves the disabled player exception for Williams, it likely won't be of much use for the Blazers. By rule, the team would receive an exception worth 50% of Williams' $1.443MM salary, which would be about $721K, less than the veteran's minimum.
Olshey also told the media today that the Blazers will make option decisions on Williams, Nolan Smith, and Luke Babbitt later this month (Twitter link via Freeman).
October 30 at 3:29pm CST By Luke Adams
3:29pm: According to GM Neil Olshey, the Blazers have declined their options on Babbitt, Williams, and Smith, tweets Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. As I noted below, this will free up about $6.7MM of potential cap space for the Blazers next summer.
8:21am: The Trail Blazers will not exercise Luke Babbitt's fourth-year option for 2013/14, meaning he'll become an unrestricted free agent next summer, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Babbitt had been in line for a $2.9MM salary, but the Blazers will elect to gain that amount in cap flexibility instead.
Portland also holds 2013/14 options on Elliot Williams and Nolan Smith, worth $2.37MM and $1.42MM respectively. While the team still could decide to exercise one or both of those options, Haynes says they'll likely be declined as well. Turning down all three options would allow the Blazers to gain about $6.7MM in extra cap room next summer.
As we heard yesterday, the Blazers are hoping to add an accomplished veteran player in free agency next summer, and declining their three rookie-contract options will give the club the flexibility to offer a significant, eight-digit annual salary. Depending on how free agency plays out, the Blazers could still decide to bring back Babbitt, Williams, and/or Smith for the 2013/14 season.
October 23 at 4:36pm CST By Luke Adams
Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey has been on the job in Portland for four and a half months, having gone through his first draft and free agency period with the team this summer. While the Blazers may not be a contender this season, Olshey is enthusiastic about the direction the roster is taking, and spoke to Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune about the club's outlook. Here are a few of the highlights from Olshey:
On the trade market and whether the Blazers will get involved in deals:
"Everybody wants to feel things out for a little bit before making
changes. We’re not going to make any moves that will take
away long-term flexibility, unless it’s absolutely a player to add to
our core. We’re not going to make incremental moves that don’t move the
needle.... We took a lot of discipline to put ourselves in
position where we could have a max (salary) cap slot next summer. We
could be aggressive in free agency. We want to have that flexibility. We
want to make big moves. We don’t want to make marginal moves."
On how next year's cap situation will influence the team's option decisions (on Luke Babbitt, Nolan Smith, and Elliot Williams) this month:
"We have to look at whether or not we even need that cap room [next summer]. We’re trying to judge which players are going to be in the
free-agent market. That will impact our decision as much or more than
whether or not we like the three guys who have options. We like all of
them. The question is, is there an opportunity cost by taking
ourselves out of free agency to a certain degree if we pick up the
On whether owner Paul Allen will be patient throughout Olshey's rebuilding process:
"I’m going to accelerate this as quickly as possible without sacrificing
the big picture. We want to win at a high level and for it to be
sustainable. We don’t want quick fixes, where we’re back to the drawing
board every offseason, trying to hold on to something that’s slipping
through our fingers. Paul is buying into it right now. My promise to him
is we’re going to move this as fast as humanly possible with
October 17 at 10:32pm CST By Alex Lee
In a lengthy insider piece at ESPN.com, Chad Ford explains why the Jazz placed fourth in ESPN's recent Future Power Rankings, a position that surprised even team GM Dennis Lindsey. "We are a long way from No. 4 right now," Lindsey said. "I can understand on the future ratings why there's reason to be optimistic -- with the cap flexibility Kevin has created and the young players that we do have -- but cap room doesn't win you games. Young players, almost by definition, don't win you games."
of whether ESPN's optimistic ranking is justified, Jazz fans certainly have
reason to be excited about the future of the team. In fact, most
of the teams in the Northwest have solid young cores. Let's take a look
at some other links from the division:
- Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman gives us his two cents on the Thunder's 15th roster spot, saying that DeAndre Liggins has been the surprise of training camp and has the inside track on the final job. Marberry says Liggins' toughness has made him stand out.
- Blazers general manager Neil Olshey says that will not make a decision on whether he will the exercise options on Luke Babbitt, Nolan Smith and Elliot Williams until much closer to the October 31 deadline, tweets Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest.
- Scott Brooks says that whoever plays the best will secure the Thunder's 15th roster spot, writes Royce Young of DailyThunder.com. It sounds like Brooks is comfortable enough with his top 14 to take the "best available" player that is left over. Young handicaps the potential candidates, from most to least likely: Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins, Andy Rautins, Hollis Thompson and longshot Walker Russell.
- Janni Carlson of the Oklahoman opines that while signing James Harden will certainly help the Thunder now, it may hinder the team's long-term future. If the Thunder choose to sign Harden and pay the luxury tax, Carlson says, they may get burned in the same fashion as other small markets have in Minnesota, Cleveland and Sacramento.
- In a lengthy feature, Candace Buckner of the Columbian highlights the relationship between George Karl and Portland head coach Terry Stotts, and how that long friendship landed Coby Karl in training camp with the Blazers.
September 28 at 3:24pm CST By Luke Adams
Here are a few Friday odds and ends from around the Association, with opening night just over a month away:
- After we rounded up a few highlights from the Celtics' media day earlier this afternoon, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com adds a few more, courtesy of Kevin Garnett's podium appearance. KG discussed Ray Allen, the Heat, and his decision to re-sign with the Celtics, among other topics.
- Justin Dentmon has signed with Fujian Quanzhou in China, agent Bill Neff tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. Last year's D-League MVP had brief stints with the Spurs and Raptors in 2011/12.
- Asked once again about his contract situation in a Q&A with Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports, Stephen Curry reiterated that he hopes to remain with the Warriors long-term, adding: "I’m an NBA junkie and I know all of the latest news and contract
situations. But I won’t base my decision on 'Oh, this guy makes a
certain amount, I need to make more' or that kind of thing. It’s about
timing in the NBA and the right situation, and winning more than money.
But yeah, I know everybody’s contract, that’s common knowledge, but it
doesn’t impact my situation."
- The Trail Blazers must decide by October 31st whether to pick up Elliot Williams' $2.37MM option for 2013/14, and with Williams' season over due to a ruptured achilles tendon, he's not sure what the team will do. Either way, as he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, Williams intends to be ready and healthy for the '13/14 season.
- Gino Pilato of Ridiculous Upside wonders which former D-Leaguers on camp invites have the best odds to earn regular-season NBA roster spots.
- We heard earlier this week that Julian Wright was closing in on a deal with Israel's Maccabi Rishon, but David Pick of Sportando says (via Twitter) Wright may be having second thoughts after agreeing to terms with the club.
- In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Dan Feldman of PistonPowered says Joe Dumars' willingness to look overseas to acquire a player like Slava Kravtsov is a good sign for the Pistons.