- President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey never balked at matching the monstrous four-year, $75MM offer sheet the Nets handed to Allen Crabbe, he told Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. The 24-year-old shooting guard averaged 10.3 points as the team’s sixth man last season and cashed in on a free agent bonanza. “It was never a question. We don’t draft guys here to let them walk away or we don’t take it for granted,” Olshey said. “I think you’ve seen the commitment we’ve made to the guys we’ve drafted.”
- In the same story, Olshey indicated he accomplished his offseason goals by retaining Leonard and Crabbe while adding two outside free agents, swingman Evan Turner and center Festus Ezeli. “I think we maximized our cap room,” Olshey said. “We had some holes, maybe not positionally, but in terms of skill-set, that we identified. We were able to do, I think, a pretty admirable job in free agency.”
- The Blazers have their deepest roster since Olshey joined the franchise in 2012, Mike Richman of The Oregonian opines. Ezeli and Leonard will join Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis and Al-Farouq Aminu in the frontcourt rotation while backcourt starters Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have solid backups in Crabbe and Turner, who will also see playing time at small forward, Richman points out. They could be even deeper if they retain restricted free agent forward Moe Harkless, Richman adds.
In an interesting interview with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Evan Turner explained how he ended up reaching an agreement with the Trail Blazers earlier today, expressing confidence that he’ll be a great fit in Portland. Turner suggested that he’d “play in Boston every single day of the week” if all other factors were equal, but the Celtics would have only have offered him about half what the Blazers did, and the C’s likely would’ve reduced his role as well.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Hassan Whiteside‘s max salary isn’t set in stone yet, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald, who tweets that the young center would be willing to take a little less if Kevin Durant wants to sign with the Heat.
- Chandler Parsons called his decision to sign with the Grizzlies the toughest of his life, calling Portland “incredible” and citing Memphis’ coaching staff as a major factor in his choice. Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com has the quotes from Parsons.
- Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press is skeptical that the Timberwolves will trade Ricky Rubio this summer, tweeting that head coach Tom Thibodeau wants to work with the point guard. Krawczynski expects Rubio to be on Minnesota’s roster when training camp rolls around.
- Dubbed last week as the favorites to reach a deal with Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez, the Nets are are still trying to get a deal done with Rodriguez, but sources tell Mike Mazzeo and Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that an agreement looks “unlikely.”
- The Thunder issued a press release today confirming the hiring of Adrian Griffin as an assistant on Billy Donovan‘s staff, as was reported last month. Vin Bhavnani and former NBA guard Royal Ivey also received promotions and are now assistant coaches, per the team.
The Celtics will meet with Al Horford later tonight in Atlanta and the team intends to put a max offer on the table, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder will be among the attendees present at the meeting, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders and Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe (Twitter links).
Danny Ainge seems confident about his chances of signing Horford, as Evan Turner told Himmelsbach (full-length piece). Ainge told Turner that he was interested in having Turner re-sign with the team, but Boston was going to go after Horford and Kevin Durant before making an offer to the versatile wing. Turner worked out with Kyle Korver on Thursday and Korver told him that Horford would be re-signing with Atlanta. However, earlier today, Turner received a text message from Korver, asking him to call, and Turner had a sense that something had changed, Himmelsback writes. The Hawks signed Dwight Howard to a three-year, $70MM deal today, so perhaps the franchise was under the same impression.
Horford reportedly met with the Rockets earlier today and it’s unclear if any other teams have sat down with the former Florida Gator. Horford reportedly would like to stay in Atlanta and the team would like to bring the big man back. However, the team’s reluctance to offer a fifth year may drive Horford to sign elsewhere, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com previously reported.
The Celtics have a meeting lined up with Durant on Saturday and if they can sign Horford, that would make Boston a more desirable destination for the 2013/14 MVP either this summer or next, Bulpett adds. Boston has relatively easy path to opening up enough cap space to sign both Horford and Durant to max contracts. The team would simply need to decline Jonas Jerebko‘s and Amir Johnson‘s respective team options and renounce the rights to both Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller.
Horford would be a perfect fit in Boston, as one anonymous coach told Bulpett. “Look at what they were trying to do with [Jared] Sullinger, and now put a guy in that spot who can make the shots. That would change their offense big-time,” the coach told Bulpett.
In addition to the Celtics, Hawks, and Rockets, Horford is receiving interest from the Thunder, Lakers, Magic, Pistons, Wizards, and Nets. The Heat were reportedly interested, but they are likely out of the running after agreeing to re-sign Hassan Whiteside.
JULY 7th, 12:22am: The deal is official, the team announced.
JULY 1st, 2:30pm: With Chandler Parsons no longer in play, the Trail Blazers have landed another one of their top perimeter free agents, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports that Portland has reached an agreement with Evan Turner on a four-year deal worth about $70MM. As ESPN’s Kevin Pelton tweets, that’s about the most the Blazers could have offered a player without renouncing any of their own key free agents.
A former second overall pick, Turner has never developed into a star player, but the 27-year-old has been a solid role player for the Celtics over the last couple years. In 2015/16, he averaged 10.5 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and a .456 field-goal percentage.
The Knicks, Bulls, Pelicans, Mavericks, Lakers, Grizzlies, and Celtics had been mentioned as potential suitors for Turner, with Portland’s interest having been kept relatively under wraps. As noted above, Turner appeared to be a fallback option for the Blazers after Parsons turned down a max offer from the team.
Even after reaching a big-money agreement with Turner, the Blazers aren’t done free agent shopping. According to Wojnarowski, Portland has also made an “aggressive” offer to big man Pau Gasol. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com first reported that the Blazers had interest in Gasol.
If Portland lands Gasol, it seems likely that at least a couple of the club’s restricted free agents will end up elsewhere. The Blazers currently have qualifying offers out to Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard, and Maurice Harkless.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Knicks, Bulls, Pelicans, Mavericks, Lakers, and Grizzlies are in the mix for Evan Turner, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. No meetings have been finalized yet for Turner, but it sounds like he’ll meet with at least a few of those suitors. According to Deveney, there’s also still a possibility that the Celtics will re-enter the picture for Turner.
Here are more free agent updates from around the NBA:
- Unsurprisingly, Nicolas Batum, who has generated interest from Dallas, New York, Charlotte, and a few other teams, is seeking a max contract, tweets Deveney.
- According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, Trail Blazers and the Timberwolves are expected to be among the suitors for Pau Gasol, who has also been linked to Golden State, New York, and San Antonio.
- Jeremy Lin‘s price tag is expected to be in the neighborhood of $12-14MM per year, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter).
- The Kings have expressed interest in Dion Waiters and Allen Crabbe, per Wojnarowski (link via RealGM.com). Sacramento has also reached out to Courtney Lee, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com.
- Jazz free agent Trevor Booker is drawing interest from multiple teams and is expected to have a starting salary around $10MM, sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).
With Chandler Parsons reportedly seeking a max contract and the Mavs unwilling to pony up that amount, there is virtually “no chance” that the forward will return to Dallas next season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays. Parsons has added meetings with the Lakers and the Grizzlies to his agenda, the scribe writes. A max contract for Parsons with the Mavs, who own his early Bird rights, would be worth $98.8MM over four years. Other teams can offer him a maximum of $94.8MM over the same span, MacMahon notes.
With NBA free agency set to get underway with a vengeance at midnight, here are the latest news, notes and rumblings from around the league:
- Unrestricted free agent swingman Nicolas Batum has scheduled face-to-face meetings with the Hornets and Mavericks in Dallas and will talk to the Knicks, Lakers and Wizards via phone, MacMahon tweets.
- The Knicks are one of the teams scheduled to meet with Evan Turner once free agency kicks off, Ian Begley of ESPN.com relays (Twitter links). The scribe also notes that the Pelicans have strong interest in signing Turner, but Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops tweets that no meeting between the swingman and New Orleans has been set at this time.
- The Timberwolves are interested in signing Knicks unrestricted free agent forward Lance Thomas for a bench role, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN relays (on Twitter). Minnesota will have some competition for Thomas’ services, with New York reportedly interested in re-signing the player and the Thunder, Nets and Mavericks all expected to make a play for the 28-year-old.
- The Sixers are interested in bringing back Ish Smith as a reserve for next season, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
- Unrestricted free agent power forward Jon Leuer has received interest from the Knicks, Lakers and Suns, Wolfson tweets. The 27-year-old made 67 appearances for Phoenix this past season and averaged 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per outing.
- The Nets have a glaring hole at power forward after trading Thaddeus Young and may make a run at unrestricted free agent Ryan Anderson, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops relays (via Twitter). The Rockets are trying to schedule a meeting with Anderson for this weekend, adds Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
- Point guard Rajon Rondo has a meeting scheduled with the Nets, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
- The Trail Blazers have a face-to-face meeting scheduled in Los Angeles on Friday with Parsons and Portland guard Damian Lillard is expected to be in attendance, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group relays (via Twitter).
- The Heat‘s free agent pitches will include the optimism of a return to action next season for big man Chris Bosh and the organizational stability provided by coach Erik Spoelstra, writes Michael Wallace of ESPN.com.
With July less than 10 hours away, free agent rumors around the NBA are heating up. Let’s dive right in and round up the latest…
- With a Chandler Parsons departure appearing increasingly likely, the Mavericks are expected to meet with Nicolas Batum once free agency begins, according to Tim MacMahon and Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com. Dallas’ ideal outcome in free agency would be to land Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside, which wouldn’t leave cap room for Batum. But the team is doing its homework and is prepared to quickly move on to Plan B if Conley and/or Whiteside decide not to sign with Dallas.
- The Rockets, Heat, Warriors, and Spurs are among the teams with interest in Timofey Mozgov, joining the Cavaliers and Knicks, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports adds (via Twitter) that the Lakers also could be in play for Mozgov, depending on how free agency plays out.
- We can add the Magic to the list of teams that will express interest in Eric Gordon, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, who clarifies that Orlando still remains very invested in re-signing Evan Fournier (Twitter links). Earlier today, a report indicated that Houston, Memphis, New York, and New Orleans are eyeing Gordon.
- There are increasing indications that coveted free agent wing Kent Bazemore won’t begin holding meetings for interested teams until after July 4th, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein (via Twitter).
- The Knicks have some level of interest in pending free agent Courtney Lee, according to Stein and Ian Begley of ESPN.com. New York appears to be focusing its efforts on adding a big man – possibly Joakim Noah – and a wing in free agency.
- According to Mark Medina of InsideSoCal.com, Evan Turner has expressed interest in about six NBA teams, including the Lakers and Celtics. It’s not clear whether Turner’s interest is reciprocated in each of those instances.
Chandler Parsons is heading for free agency after turning down his player option for 2016/17 with the Mavericks, and while Dallas has interest in bringing back the veteran forward, the team has made it clear to Parsons that it doesn’t intend to offer him a max contract, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. Parsons’ camp, meanwhile, remains confident that he’ll command a max deal on the open market.
A report earlier this week indicated that the Mavericks’ top targets in free agency will be Hassan Whiteside and Mike Conley, and that the team would be willing to part ways with Parsons if it can acquire those two players. Dallas is willing to take the risk of Parsons reaching a deal with another team while the Mavs pursue their top targets, since Whiteside and Conley are believed to have interest in Dallas, says MacMahon.
If Parsons does leave Dallas, the Mavericks could pursue a replacement in free agency. MacMahon reports that Evan Fournier, Kent Bazemore, Evan Turner, and Marvin Williams are among the players the Mavs are looking at, assuming they have cap room to spend on a small forward. If they don’t have that spending flexibility, the Mavs wouldn’t mind having Justin Anderson taking on a larger role at the position.
As for Parsons, he will be “all ears” when potential suitors come calling in free agency, and looks forward to exploring his options, sources tell MacMahon. Despite undergoing multiple surgical procedures on his knee, Parsons has received clearance to resume basketball activities and multiple orthopedic specialists have expressed optimism that his knee trouble won’t derail or jeopardize his career.
With free agency around the corner, the Warriors are prepared to make a run at Kevin Durant, the top player on the market. However, the team has plenty of alternate targets lined up in the event that Durant isn’t interested in coming to Golden State.
Sources tell Marcus Thompson II of The Bay Area News Group that the Warriors are eyeing Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Hassan Whiteside as possible frontcourt additions. At small forward, Nicolas Batum and Evan Turner are among the potential targets Golden State is looking at, suggesting that Durant isn’t the only player that would make the club consider replacing pending free agent Harrison Barnes.
As I discussed when I previewed the Warriors’ offseason earlier this week, the team won’t be shy about upgrading the roster via free agency or trades, having vowed to be aggressive this summer. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green aren’t going anywhere, but anyone else on the roster may be expendable for the right incoming piece, and none of Golden State’s eight free agents – including Barnes and Festus Ezeli – are locks to return.
If the team does look to make a big splash, it will have to take into account Curry’s eventual raise. Even with the salary cap on the rise, the Warriors’ roster would start to get expensive if the team signs a max free agent this summer and inks Curry to a max extension a year from now. That scenario could mean paying more than $90MM combined to Curry, Thompson, Green, and a fourth player in 2017/18, with annual raises to follow.
Still, Warriors ownership has exhibited a willingness to spend into tax territory, so they aren’t about to suddenly start playing it safe now. Golden State will certainly be a team to watch when the free agent recruiting period officially gets underway a week from today.
When Kris Dunn got past the Celtics and landed with the Timberwolves at No. 5 in Thursday night’s draft, Minnesota and Chicago engaged in trade talks involving Dunn and Jimmy Butler, per several reports. While it seemed at times like those talks were gaining momentum, the two sides ultimately didn’t make a deal, and ESPN’s Marc Stein writes today that negotiations “fizzled” out, despite the Wolves’ aggressiveness.
As Stein writes, the Bulls are big fans of Dunn, prompting the Wolves to push hard to see if the two sides could reach an agreement involving the Providence point guard. However, Chicago decided not to trade its best player just a day after moving former MVP Derrick Rose, and GM Gar Forman downplayed the discussions late last night.
According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (via Twitter), the Wolves offered Dunn and Ricky Rubio for Butler. If Minnesota wasn’t willing to sweeten the offer any more than that, perhaps by adding Zach LaVine or another piece, it’s no surprise the Bulls weren’t convinced to move their All-Star forward.
Here’s more out of Chicago:
- While the Celtics would like to keep Evan Turner, and the Knicks are also expected to have interest in the free-agent-to-be, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News adds another team to the list of potential suitors for Turner, writing that the Bulls are eyeing the Chicago native.
- Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com reported last night that 48th overall pick Paul Zipser is expected to join the Bulls for the 2016/17 season, and today Givony tweets that Zipser’s buyout is worth just $600K. The small forward has one year remaining on his contract in Germany, but Chicago shouldn’t have any issues bringing him stateside, says Givony.
- Asked about free agency, Forman indicated that the team’s sale pitch to potential targets this summer will involve selling the city of Chicago, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. As Friedell points out, the city is always a selling point, but it will be even more important this offseason, with Rose no longer a Bull and Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol potentially leaving as well — there won’t be as much veteran talent on the roster that appeals to prospective signees.