Derrick Rose was held scoreless in Team USA’s 86-63 victory over Mexico, but Bulls head coach and Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau wasn’t the least bit concerned, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Of Rose’s progress, Thibodeau said, “There’s nothing negative about this. This is all positive. As I said, the more he practices, the more he plays, the better he’ll get. He’ll be fine. Just take it day by day, keep doing the things that he’s doing and get ready for training camp when we get there. The important thing is to concentrate on what he’s doing right now, which is here, and do the things that we’re asking him to do here.”
Here’s more from around the east:
The Celtics‘ signing of Evan Turner hasn’t been made official yet, but Jared Sullinger is excited that Turner will be playing for Boston next season, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes. “Everybody is down on (Turner) because of how the ‘trade’ happened and what happened in the trade and how Indiana played,” Sullinger said. “People misunderstand Evan. He’s a great basketball player, a great teammate. I’ve known him for years. He’s all about winning. That’s his main goal.”
Sullinger has lost weight and is primed for a big season, writes Blakely in a separate article. Sullinger is free of the post-surgical limitations he faced heading into last season, and he said, “I couldn’t play until September, full-go with contact playing one-on-one, things like that. I was kind of behind the eight-ball and stayed behind the eight-ball. My biggest thing was health last year. I think I was a little afraid at the beginning of training camp due to my back, contact and all that good stuff. I was afraid of what was going to happen…but now I know what I can do. I know how my back is going to hold up. The beautiful thing about it is I have another year to show who Jared Sullinger can be.”
The crew over at Basketball Insiders preview the upcoming season for the Bucks, and the consensus is that Milwaukee will finish fifth in the Central Division, and miss the playoffs yet again.
With all the rumblings that he is going to be traded to the Wolves for Kevin Love as soon as the required 30 days from when he inked his contract pass, Andrew Wiggins’ days in Cleveland appear numbered, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. For his part, Wiggins is remaining upbeat, saying, “I just want to play for a team that wants me, so whichever team wants me I’ll play for.” When asked if he expected to be a teammate of LeBron James this season, Wiggins said, “I don’t really know what to say. When I’m in Cleveland I’m going to play as hard as I can, give it my all and I’ll play for whoever.”
Here’s more from the east:
The Celtics are working to clear roster space over the next few weeks in order to make room for Evan Turnerin their rotation, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Washburn notes that Boston isn’t expected to officially announce the signing until those moves are made, although the sides have reached an agreement. The Celtics currently have 18 players on their roster, including the non-guaranteed deals of Keith Bogans, Chris Babb, and Chris Johnson, notes Washburn.
With the loss of Paul George for what is likely the entire 2014/15 season, the Pacers are unlikely to make the playoffs, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Winderman also opines that Indiana could have benefited from Danny Granger‘s presence and production in the wake of George’s loss.
Heat guard Norris Cole has changed agents and is now being represented by Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Cole was previously represented by Joel Bell of Bell Management.
Last season, D.J. Augustin, Glen Davis, Danny Granger, and Caron Butler were just a handful of rotation-worthy players who were able to land on playoff-bound teams after being waived during the regular season. Keeping this in mind, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said on the “Fitzsimmons and Friedo Show” on 103.3 ESPN in Dallas that his team could hold off on using its $2.732MM exception this summer, waiting to see who could become available if notable players are released from their respective teams during the regular season (hat tip to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com).
Here are more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
While there has been mutual interest between Dallas and free agent guard Mo Williams, the 31-year-old guard has fielded offers that are more lucrative than the Mavs’ $2.732MM exception, says MacMahon. A source also tells MacMahon that Williams hasn’t even been Dallas’ top target with that exception.
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger is in advanced talks to hire former Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik to be an assistant on his coaching staff, hears Marc Stein of ESPN (Twitter link). Bzdelik is expected to sign a contract tomorrow, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Free agent swingman Dahntay Jones will audition for 15-20 teams in Las Vegas next week, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
Hornets big man Al Jefferson told Kennedy that he’s thrilled with his team’s offseason moves. “I told (management) how I felt when the season went over well. They did everything they said they were going to do [this summer]. I think (we’ve gotten) better.”
The Pistons are not currently considering the possibility of moving from the Palace of Auburn Hills, reports Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. Mark Barnhill, senior partner at Platinum Equity, made a statement reflecting the views of Pistons owner Tom Gores in light of the Ilitch family’s plans to build a $650MM entertainment district in downtown, which will in part house the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. “We have a beautiful arena, and we have invested tens of millions of dollars over the past three years to modernize and improve that facility…At the same time, we would never close the door on alternatives if they made good sense for our fans, for our team, for our business and for Michigan.”
Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro told Grantland’s Zach Lowe that the two keys to his rebuilding strategy are to surrender nothing of lasting value in exchange for capable veterans like Rudy Gay and to be willing to take quality players on inflated contracts.
“There are players that are being paid more than the league thinks they should be paid,” D’Alessandro said. “We see those contracts as an opportunity. Our first question is, ‘Do we like the player?’ If we do, then can we use a contract the league doesn’t look favorably on as an opportunity to make our team better?”
We passed along more on the Kings from Lowe this morning, and we’ve got plenty from around the rest of the league here:
Emmanuel Mudiay isn’t the first well-regarded high school player to turn pro overseas rather than play in college, but his $1.2MM pact with Guangdong of China makes him the most highly compensated ever to have done so, notes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Three candidates remain for the players association’s vacant executive director position, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. The job has been open since the union ousted Billy Hunter at the All-Star break in 2013 and installed Ron Klempner in an interim capacity. It’s unclear whether Klempner is one of the finalists.
Cameron Bairstow‘s deal with the Bulls is for three years, starting at the minimum salary, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. That means the team used all but a sliver of its remaining cap space to sign the rookie out of New Mexico, whom the Bulls picked 49th overall in last month’s draft. The first season of Bairstow’s contract is the only one that’s fully guaranteed, Johnson adds.
Chris Andersen‘s two-year deal with the Heat is for a total of $10.4MM, all of which is fully guaranteed, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
Earlier today, the Celtics reached agreement on a deal for a portion of the mid-level exception with Evan Turner. Of course, the former No. 2 overall pick was shipped from the Sixers to the Pacers mid-season in a trade of NBA notables. Danny Granger, who went to Philly, signed with the Heat earlier this month in hopes of joining up with LeBron James. While that part of the plan didn’t quite pan out, Granger will nonetheless look to get his career back on track in a reserve role for Miami.
In 54 games for Philly last season, Turner averaged 17.4 PPG and 6.0 RPG with a career-high (but still below league average) 13.2 PER. Things wound up dropping off when Turner was sent to the Pacers as he averaged 7.1 PPG and 3.2 RPG with a 9.7 PER – a total lower than any he’s had in any full season.
Granger, meanwhile, came to the Clippers (after his release from the 76ers) with hopes of boosting his stock before hitting the open market in the summer. That didn’t quite pan out. Granger averaged 8.3 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 22.5 minutes per night for the Pacers after returning from injury and his numbers only saw a slight uptick when he headed to L.A. Of course, on a two-year, $4.2MM deal, he’s a very worthwhile risk for the Heat if he can get back to being half the player he once was.
Between Granger and Turner, who do you see having the more successful 2014/15 campaign?
The Knicks are bringing back Carmelo Anthony on a near-max deal, but Knicks president Phil Jackson signaled that austerity is ahead for the club as it looks to preserve cap flexibility for next summer. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details, including Jackson’s comments about his desire for the Knicks to get out of the tax, a goal that the team will be unable to accomplish for the coming season without significant salary-clearing trades.
Here’s more from the east:
The Hawks will not waive Pero Antic and his $1.25MM contract for next season will be fully guaranteed tomorrow, reports Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
The Celtics are interested in free agent Evan Turner, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, echoing last week’s report from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities on Minnesota’s pursuit of the former No. 2 overall pick. Turner apparently remains the top priority for the Wolves, Wolfson adds (Twitter link).
Phil Jackson might be expectingCarmelo Anthony to rejoin the Knicks, but ‘Melo hasn’t ruled out the Bulls just quite yet, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Meanwhile, the Heat expected to have had an answer from LeBron James by this point, according to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick. James was frustrated with some of coach Erik Spoelstra‘s strategy during the Finals this year and wasn’t impressed with team president Pat Riley‘s end-of-season press conference last month, Skolnick adds.
While the NBA world waits on the decisions of superstars like Anthony and James, let’s round up the latest from free agents all around the league..
Anthony Morrow has received interest from several teams, but it appears he’s deciding between joining the Clippers, Heat, Wizards, Raptors and Suns, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com, who adds that each of the teams Morrow is considering would be willing to use some or all of their mid-level exception to sign him (Twitterlinks). Given that the Clippers and Heat have both used up the full amount of their mid-level exceptions, signing Morrow would likely require a sign-and-trade to complete.
The Warriors took “another” look at DJ White today, notes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group (on Twitter), thereby implying it’s at least the second time Golden State has looked at the big man. White had his rights renounced by Charlotte earlier today.
Other teams submitted much stronger bids for Steve Blake but he “desperately” wanted to play for the Blazers, as he agreed to do today, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (Twitter link). The Lakers weren’t among the teams making an aggressive play for the point guard, as they offered only the minimum salary, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times hears.
The Wolves are making an effort to sign Evan Turner to one-year deal, a source tells tells Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Turner played poorly last season after being shipped to Indiana at the trade deadline.
The matter of whether Mike Miller will re-sign with the Grizzlies will likely come down to contract length rather than salary, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, who writes in subscription-only piece. Memphis wants him back on a two-year deal, but Miller is pushing for three or four seasons.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been in contact with Paul Pierce‘s representatives at Excel Sports Management, but it’s unlikely the veteran forward ends up in Houston, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Alex Lee and Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Teams must decide today whether to tender qualifying offers to their players eligible for restricted free agency or lose the right to match offers from other teams. We’ll round up all of today’s qualifying offer decisions here:
The Pacers declined to tender a qualifying offer to Lavoy Allen, according to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Still, there’s mutual interest in a new deal, Buckner adds (on Twitter).
The Hawks extended a qualifying offer to Mike Scott, notes Mark Deeks of ShamSports (on Twitter).
Kevin Seraphin officially got his qualifying offer from the Wizards, tweets Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com.
As expected, the Warriors won’t extend a QO to Jordan Crawford, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
The Hawks have extended a qualifying offer to Shelvin Mack, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
The Bucks have told forward-center Ekpe Udoh he will not be tendered an offer thus making him an unrestricted free agent, a source told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo (on Twitter).
The Grizzlies have passed on making a qualifying offer to Ed Davis, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Davis was reportedly a favorite of former CEO Jason Levien, but with Zach Randolph having agreed to an extension, it appears that Davis isn’t quite as highly valued in Memphis as he once was. His qualifying offer would have been worth $4,268,609, a slightly smaller amount than he was originally in line for, as I explained.
No shock here, but the Pistons extended a qualifying offer to Greg Monroe, tweets Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, preserving their right to match offers for the fifth-rated player in the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings. The qualifying offer is worth nearly $5.5MM, but he’ll command much more than that.
The Spurs have tendered a qualifying offer to Aron Baynes, notes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News (on Twitter). It’s worth more than $1.115MM, the same amount as Miller’s would have been.
The Knicks have elected not to make a qualifying offer to Toure’ Murry, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). They’d like to re-sign him nonetheless, Stein adds in a second tweet, but other teams have interest, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt says (on Twitter). The offer would have been worth more than $1.016MM.
Othyus Jeffers and Robbie Hummel won’t receive qualifying offers from the Wolves, the team announced (on Twitter). The offers would have been for amounts slightly greater than $1.148MM and $1.016MM, respectively.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is open to hiring a “big-name team president” who would have authority over GM David Griffin, but the team has not been considering David Blatt for that role, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Cleveland will also explore trading Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson this summer, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. Neither are on the trading block, but Amico adds that the Cavs are listening and evaluating their options.
Here’s are some more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
One NBA team president said that Pat Riley appeared nervous when talking about keeping LeBron James during his media presser today, adding that more teams will now be in pursuit of the superstar forward (Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports via Twitter).
ESPN’s Chris Broussard says that the Cavs should have met with LeBron in free agency first before making a coaching hire, implying that David Blatt’slack of NBA coaching experience doesn’t help their case of luring the Akron native back home (Twitter link).
The Hawks, Pelicans, and Wizards are expected to be potential suitors for Monroe this summer, writes Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. While Stan Van Gundy maintains that keeping Monroe is a “high priority,” he also appears prepared for other scenarios. “We have ideas on who might offer (Monroe) what…You weigh what’s out there because once you give him a qualifying offer, he can sign it or get an offer sheet. What level of an offer would we match? We’re prepared for that and doing due diligence for people who want to sign-and-trade for him.”
Tom Moore of Calkins Media (via Twitter) hears that a Southeast Division team offered the 76ers more in a trade package than the Pacers did for Evan Turner; that team didn’t hear back from Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie before the trade deadline ended and Turner was eventually dealt to Indiana.
Le Mans of the Ligue Nationale de Basket has signed former NBA guard Rodrigue Beaubois, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 6’2″ guard’s deal reportedly includes an opt-out clause that will allow him to sign with an NBA team before July 25.
Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird today reiterated a stance he took early in the season, telling reporters, including Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, that he wants soon-to-be free agent Lance Stephenson back in a Pacers uniform (Twitter link). A report late last week indicated that some within the Pacers had begun to question whether re-signing the mercurial guard was the right idea.
“When it comes down to it, it’s up to him whether he wants to be here or not. … I always want him back,” Bird said, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes (Twitter link).
There’s much more from the team’s exit interviews today, much of it coming from Bird, via Buckner, who live-tweeted his remarks. Here are the highlights:
Coach Frank Vogel also offered his support for re-signing Stephenson, as Buckner passes along via Twitter.
Bird confirmed that Vogel will return and that his job was never in jeopardy, pinning rumors to the contrary on far-flung reporters, Buckner tweets.
There appears to be less certainty about the future of George Hill, in spite of three more seasons on his contract, Bird indicated. “Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about our point guard situation,” Bird said, according to Buckner (Twitter link). “I like George. But you never know what’s going to happen this summer.”
Bird also cast an eye toward Rajon Rondo, as Buckner notes in a pair of tweets. “He’s a very good player,” Bird said of Rondo, who’ll be a free agent next summer. “Been great for a long time. It’s always good to daydream and wish for these guys, but everything we do has to be through trades.”
The Pacers have only one pick, at No. 57, in this month’s draft, but Bird suggested there’s a decent chance the team will move up, either into the first round or the early part of the second, according to Buckner (Twitterlinks).
Bird also offered support for Evan Turner, Indiana’s major trade deadline acquisition and another soon-to-be free agent, saying that he loves the swingman’s game and predicting that he’ll average 17 points per game wherever he ends up, Buckner tweets.
Ex-Pacer Danny Granger helped in the locker room, but he “was never this leader that everybody thought he was,” Bird said, according to Buckner (on Twitter).
Bird refused to say whether anyone on the roster was an untouchable, and hedged about the idea of altering the team’s core, as Buckner passes along (Twitterlinks). “They’re young, I don’t want to make major changes … but we’re open, we’re going to listen and we’re going to see what’s out there,” Bird said.