Evan Turner

Atlantic Notes: Turner, Raptors Picks, Holmes

A strong case can be made that soon-to-be free agent Evan Turner was the most valuable player on the Celtics last season, and his raw numbers don’t show his value the way advanced metrics do, particularly regarding his defense, contends Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Turner, whom the Nets are reportedly fond of as a potential free agent target, has a habit of making eye-catching statements, as Forsberg details. Still, he appeared genuine when he spoke Thursday of his affection for coach Brad Stevens, who’s away from the Celtics to tend to a player he coached at Butler University who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, notes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

“That guy’s lucky to be able to have coach; guys that played for him are lucky to be able to have a coach like that,” Turner said, referring to Stevens’ willingness to leave the Celtics to be with his ex-player in a moment of need. “It just speaks volumes, and I’m blown away by it. I’m lucky to play for him. That says a lot about his character, and obviously it puts him in a higher stature than I already have him.”

See more on the Celtics amid our look around the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge understands the frustration that some of the team’s players are going through as they deal with a lack of playing time on a deep roster, as he explained to Bulpett for a separate piece. David Lee spoke up this week about his dissatisfaction with his removal from the rotation.
  • The Raptors have one extra first-round pick in each of the next two drafts, and a source who spoke with Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun indicated that the Raptors don’t plan to add four rookies to the roster in the next two years, a signal that the club will trade one or more of those picks. However, the Raptors aren’t willing to make those selections available for cheap, and multiple other sources told Wolstat that the team would be unlikely to swap one of the picks for a stopgap player on a short-term deal. The team strongly prefers to keep its picks through the end of the season because of the rising value of rookie deals around the league, Wolstat adds.
  • Richaun Holmes looks like a find for the Sixers, as his athleticism, his performance in the pick-and-roll, and his shot-blocking have been impressive despite his shortcomings as a defensive rebounder, observes Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine. Philadelphia has Holmes, the 37th pick in last year’s draft, on a four-year deal worth about $4.2MM. Holmes, whose stock surged during the lead-up to the draft, spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors in April.

Nets Interested In Nicolas Batum, Evan Turner

The Nets are fond of soon-to-be free agents Nicolas Batum and Evan Turner, NetsDaily tweets, also confirming earlier reports of the team’s interest in Mike Conley and DeMar DeRozan. Brooklyn only has about $45MM in guaranteed salary committed for next season against a projected $89MM cap, and without a 2016 first-round pick thanks to the 2013 Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce deal, making improvements via free agency will be that much more important to the Nets. Still, questions remain about Brooklyn’s ability to attract marquee talent to a franchise that’s experienced declines in winning percentage three years in a row.

Batum is in the midst of a career year, having taken to Charlotte in his first season there after the Trail Blazers dealt him to the Hornets over the summer. It’s no surprise to see the Nets have interest in the 27-year-old who’s averaging 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 34.8 minutes per game, especially since Bojan Bogdanovic and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are the team’s only wing players with fully guaranteed contracts for next season. Still, re-signing Batum will no doubt be a high priority for Charlotte, and the Bouna Ndiaye client has said that his fondness for Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who signed an extension this fall, “could be a big factor” in his decision.

Turner is a more surprising object of Brooklyn’s interest. He started most of the season for the Celtics last year, but he’s made only four starts this season, including the past three games as he’s filled in for an injured Avery Bradley. The former No. 2 overall pick has failed to live up to his draft position since joining the NBA in 2010, and he signed with Boston in 2013 for just $6.704MM over two years. The rising salary cap and a better performance with the Celtics than he gave the Pacers before signing his last contract should push the David Falk client’s price tag higher this summer, but compared to Batum, he’ll likely be much more obtainable.

Complicating matters is the unsettled situation in the Nets front office, where GM Billy King is on a contract that expires at season’s end. NetsDaily has countered a European report indicating that owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants CSKA Moscow team president Andrey Vatutin to succeed King. Nets CEO Brett Yormark, who’s apparently a major proponent of recruiting John Calipari back to the organization in a role that would likely include player personnel power, has begun to speak more often about the team’s basketball operations, as NetsDaily has also pointed out.

Atlantic Notes: Johnson, Turner, Williams

Raptors power forward James Johnson took to Twitter earlier this week to express displeasure with how he was being utilized, not a wise move for a player whose NBA career may depend on how he adjusts to a limited role with the team, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. Johnson, who is earning $2.5MM this season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, and appearing to be disruptive, especially after a team win, won’t help his value on the open market, Smith opines. The 28-year-old is averaging 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers have been attempting to rebuild through the draft by bottoming out as a franchise, but the risk the team runs is that the process may become toxic prior to paying dividends, Nate Scott of USA Today writes. The franchise runs the risk of conditioning its players to lose, as well as potentially souring any free agent targets on coming to Philadelphia, Scott notes.
  • Derrick Williams has apparently fallen out of Knicks coach Derek Fisher‘s rotation, which doesn’t please the veteran, but he is trying to make the best of the situation, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “We got to sacrifice a little bit. We went on a little win streak. So you don’t want to complain when you’re winning. It just makes you look like a bad individual,” Williams said. “I’ve always been a team guy. I’m happy when we’re winning. [Wednesday], when I know I can play and I think I can help, it does get frustrating. But we have more games. So hopefully Friday [at home against Miami], things turn around a little bit.
  • With Philadelphia on the verge of setting the NBA record for futility to begin a campaign, swingman Evan Turner feels bad for his former franchise, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “I know Brett [Brown] is a great coach, and those players over there grind hard,” said Turner. “It’s not like they are sitting around doing nothing. Those kids grind, man. I know for sure they stay over the summer and work out together. So you feel bad in that sense, [because] it is a team working to be successful. It’s not like they are a bunch of high-paid players that have a crazy attitude about it.
  • The Raptors have recalled Delon Wright from their D-League affiliate, the team announced.

Atlantic Notes: Ross, Nets, Turner, Sixers

2014/15 Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams departed via free agency to the Lakers this offseason, and the Raptors will look to Terrence Ross to help replace his production off the bench, writes Eric Koreen of the National Post. “The first guy that comes to mind is Terrence Ross,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said of the swingman. “Not only just a scorer, but he’s got to come in and defend. He had an off year last year defending. He knows it. We know it.”

Casey was pleasantly surprised by how vocal a player Bismack Biyombo is on the court, Koreen adds. “I knew [he was a good communicator] just talking to the coaches from Charlotte. I knew that about him,” Casey said. “I didn’t know before they told me. I wouldn’t have guessed it. Great communicator. He’s probably going to be the captain of our defense as far as a guy who can go vertical, block shots, communicate. … Now we’ve got to get everybody else, even the guards to join in on the party, especially in transition.” Biyombo signed a two year, $6MM deal with Charlotte during the summer.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Mikhail Prokhorov once again stated that he has no intention of selling controlling interest in the Nets franchise, Rod Boone of Newsday tweets. The Russian is reportedly working toward a deal that would give him 100% ownership of both the team and the Barclays Center.
  • The Nets are currently under the luxury tax threshold, but Prokhorov said he would have no problem going “far above the line once again, but it would have to be for the right opportunity”, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post tweets.
  • The Raptors are hoping that their offseason additions will make for a more cohesive roster and usher in a new on-court identity for the franchise, Koreen writes in a separate piece.
  • Celtics swingman Evan Turner has an extremely tradeable contract, with him set to earn $3,425,510 in 2015/16, the final year of his deal, but he would prefer to remain in Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com relays. “I like Boston, I like the town and the city; the restaurants are pretty good too,” Turner said. “I like Boston; I genuinely would like to stay here. I’ve been places where I hated it.” Turner didn’t specify which city’s charms it was that he didn’t appreciate, but for reference, he has previously played in Philadelphia and Indiana.
  • Italian coach Andrea Mazzon is joining the Sixers‘ D-League affiliate in an unspecified, but important role, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports.
  • Sixers GM Sam Hinkie said that the team tried to make a bigger splash in free agency this summer than it did, but many of the better players didn’t change teams, Tom Moore of Calkins Media relays (Twitter links). However, the GM is happy with the organization’s progress, saying that it feels like “night and day” from when training camp began two seasons ago, Moore adds.

Atlantic Notes: Turner, Prigioni, Draft

Evan Turner said this year, his first with the Celtics on a two-year deal, has been his most satisfying in the NBA so far, as he tells Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, and he’s sold on Boston as an attractive place for free agents to go. “Regardless, Boston is always a destination team,” Turner said. “Somebody will always come, whether we make the playoffs or not. It’s the energy and emotion. I’ve talked to some friends who have come here and played: They see that the crowd is crazy, the fan base is crazy, even when we weren’t in the playoff race at the time. People still show up. It’s about basketball, not other gimmicks. There’s certain organizations. The people who work here are classy people. The city is like that. There aren’t many people walking around parading other sports teams. It’s all Boston, compared to some of the places I’ve played in. It’s been fun.”

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Pablo Prigioni admitted that he had requested that the Knicks trade him prior to February’s deadline, and he is grateful to have ended up in Houston, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “When I saw how things were going, it was so clear they were looking more to next season, the summer,’’ Prigioni said. “I felt myself at 38, I have no future on the team. I talked to Derek [Fisher] and told him my desire to send me somewhere so I can enjoy probably my last year in the league. At the deadline it was good for me and the team because they’re looking for young guys to build for the next five years.’’
  • The veteran point guard indicated that he may play professionally for one more season, though it would most likely be in Europe if he does, Berman notes. Prigioni also said that he wants to try his hand at coaching once his playing career ends, the Post scribe adds.
  • According to ESPN’s Chad Ford (hat tip to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com), if the Knicks end up with the No. 1 overall pick this June, the franchise would use it to select Karl-Anthony Towns. Following Towns, New York’s top five ranked players in descending order are Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, D’Angelo Russell, and Justise Winslow, Ford notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Calipari, Turner, Knicks

Brook Lopez says he’s undecided about his player option worth more than $16.744MM for next season, but Lionel Hollins made it clear today that he wants Lopez back one way or another, as the Nets coach told reporters, including Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal (Twitter link). There were conflicting reports earlier this season about which way the big man was leaning, and the Nets appeared close to trading him to the Thunder in January and again at the deadline, but he’s having a resurgent March, averaging 20.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this month. There’s more on the Nets amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • There are still some advocates for John Calipari within the Nets organization, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said last week in an appearance on WFAN-AM with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts (audio link), as Robert Windrem of NetsDaily transcribes. It still appears unlikely that either the Nets would pursue him or Calipari would want to leave Kentucky, Wojnarowski believes.
  • Evan Turner isn’t a perfect match for any particular role, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens sees him as versatile rather than a misfit, as USA Today’s Howard Megdal examines. “I’ve been a fan of Evan Turner since his high school days,” Stevens said. “He played for my first boss [Ohio State coach Thad Matta], so I’ve known him, inside and out, for a while. I felt really good about the opportunity to sign him this summer, and was an advocate of that.” The C’s signed Turner for two years and more than $6.7MM this past offseason.
  • The Knicks fired D-League coach Kevin Whitted and named assistant Craig Hodges his replacement on an interim basis, the team announced, confirming an earlier report from Marc Berman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The move was the result of tension between Whitted, whom Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston hired, and Hodges, a former player under Jackson, as Berman details in a full story. Hodges spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors at the start of the season.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Young, Pressey, Turner

Nerlens Noel hopes to be a part of the Sixers‘ long-term plans, according to Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Noel, technically still a rookie after sitting out last season with an injury, has seen a lot of change during his brief time in Philadelphia. But he hopes the Sixers’ core group will stay together, even if the team brings in someone like Duke’s Jahlil Okafor with a high draft pick. “I really hope nothing happens,” Noel said. “I like this team. I like what we’re building. I hope we can stick together and continue to grow.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Former Sixer Thaddeus Young, now with the Nets, told Moore he hasn’t made up his mind about free agency this summer (Twitter link). “I’m not a free agent [yet],” Young said. “I have to [decline] my option” to become a free agent. Young will make more than $9.7MM next season if he doesn’t opt out.
  • An occasional great game helps the CelticsPhil Pressey deal with the frustration of being stuck on the bench, writes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The second-year guard may not be in Boston’s regular rotation, but he made his presence known with a 10-point, 10-assist performance Friday against Orlando. Coach Brad Stevens has noticed Pressey’s effort. “He works the right way,” Stevens said. “If he doesn’t play he’s the loudest guy on the bench, and if he does play he’s an energizer. And he’s not going to play perfect, but nobody is, and if you can sustain that and not get down and be confident there’s always a role for him. And that’s a great compliment.”
  • Pacers coach Frank Vogel admits current Celtics guard Evan Turner was a bad fit in Indiana last season, tweets Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. “If I needed a guy and wanted to put the ball in his hands 30-40 times,” Vogel said, “he would’ve been the guy.” (Twitter link). But the coach added that wasn’t what the Pacers needed last season. (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Rondo, Karl, Allen, Turner

George Karl still wants to return to coaching in the NBA, and he had thought that the opportunity to do so presented itself when the Kings fired Michael Malone, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. But Sacramento promoted assistant coach Tyrone Corbin for the remainder of the season instead. “There’s obviously been communication,” Karl said. “But have they ever talked to me about being the head coach? We’ve talked around it, but we’ve probably never talked about that situation. Do I feel I’m on their list? Yes, but I think they made it very clear when they made the decision to give Corbin the opportunity to coach that that was what they were going to do.” Karl is indeed likely to be among the candidates for the Kings head coaching position, unless the team performs unexpectedly well under Corbin, according to Amick, who also notes that Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry is also expected to be a candidate. Sacramento has discussed Mark Jackson‘s potential candidacy internally, but he appears to have a minimal shot at landing the job, Amick writes

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Though the Mavs are said to be the favorites to re-sign Rajon Rondo when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kobe Bryant hasn’t given up on recruiting Rondo to come and join the Lakers, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “No way,” Bryant said. “I’m not done. I’m not stopping until he signs an extension.”
  • With the Celtics now fully in rebuilding mode, veteran swingman Evan Turner said that Boston’s situation is markedly different from what he experienced as a member of the Sixers last season, Bulpett adds in the same article. “This isn’t anything like it was with the Sixers,” Turner said. “They traded everybody, and on top of that they’d just go and get new players every 10 days. So this is sweet compared to that. When we make trades this year and get new players, I’ve actually heard of them. In Philly, they’d bring somebody in, and you just never heard of the person in your life. They’d introduce me to them, and I’d just go about my business. This is kind of typical. I can deal with these type of trades. The other stuff was crazy. I guess this is new to a lot of guys here, but this is small compared to what I was going through last year.
  • Ray Allen has been leaning toward retiring instead of returning to action this season, but the veteran sharpshooter is hinting that he may have changed his thinking regarding suiting up to play, Dave Brousseau of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

Eastern Notes: Rondo, Kidd, Butler, Sixers

Executives from around the league tell Howard Beck of Bleacher Report that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has remained resolute with them that he won’t trade Rajon Rondo at this point. Still, many of those execs think the Celtics are in a position in which they simply must trade the point guard to avoid seeing him walk in free agency this coming summer. Ainge nonetheless continues to look for upgrades around Rondo, as he tells Beck. “Philosophically, we know who the players are, we know who the guys are that we would love to get,” Ainge said. “But we also know that certain players don’t make as much of a difference. We can’t sell our stockpile of assets just to appease one player. We’ve got to be smart in rebuilding. And we do have to remain patient. And yet at the same time, be ready to jump into the fray and pay a high price for special players, transcendent players.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bucks’ roster features two starters who are 19 years old, a stark contrast to head coach Jason Kidd‘s Nets team of a year ago, which featured seven players 32 or older, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. Kidd says it’s still just basketball to him, adding, “It’s just the age difference. They’re basketball players. This is a younger team, the team I had last year was vets. They knew how to play, a couple of them won championships so they knew what it took to win. We won a Game 7 on the road, so experience, time and minutes are probably the only thing that’s different.” The other difference for Kidd in Milwaukee is that he’s now coaching a team on the upswing rather than one constructed to contend for a single year like Brooklyn was last season, notes Deveney.
  • Jimmy Butler‘s decision to bypass a contract extension from the Bulls that would have netted him roughly $11MM per season could pay off handsomely if he continues his excellent play, Michael Lee of The Washington Post opines.
  • Former Sixer Evan Turner believes he can speak for those players unfortunate enough to be stuck in the middle of GM Sam Hinkie‘s rebuilding plan, writes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Turner said of Hinkie’s approach, “It’s different. It goes the right way, or not. That kind of trend can make or break certain situations. Hopefully they don’t get penalized for what they’re doing, but if they do put the right guys on the team they can be really successful thanks to the leadership of coach [BrettBrown. The biggest thing is having the unity. That’s all you have and you have to stay focused on going to battle with who you have.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Celtics, Cavs

One of the major storylines in New York this season will be how well the Knicks adapt to the triangle offense. Shaquille O’Neal, who played in the triangle during his time with the Lakers, told Mitch Lawrence of NBCNewYork.com, “For the triangle to work, you need to have two superstars. It’s been proven over time. Look at what Phil [Jackson] needed to win his championships in Chicago. Then look what he had in L.A., with me and Kobe. You have to have two superstars playing in the triangle to win championships.’’ Jackson hopes to add that second superstar during next summer’s free agent signing period when Andrea Bargnani‘s and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s contracts come off the books.

Here’s more from the east:

  • With the Celtics carrying 16 fully guaranteed contracts on their preseason roster, at least one of those players will need to be traded or waived prior to the beginning of the regular season. Brian Robb of Boston.com looks at the reasons why Boston shouldn’t waive Vitor Faverani despite his injury concerns.
  • Ben Rohrbach of WEEI 93.7 FM breaks down the numbers on Evan Turner and what the swingman brings to the Celtics franchise.
  • When asked what led him to sign with the Cavs, Shawn Marion said that LeBron James wasn’t enough to sway him, but LeBron and Kevin Love combined were, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. “LeBron coming here wasn’t enough. It was more so finalizing the deal with Love. That sold it,” Marion said. “That made it more realistic, like we do have a shot to win the championship this year.”

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