Golden State Warriors Rumors
May 25 at 6:59pm CST By Spencer Lund
Despite the Grizzlies place in the thick of their Western Conference Finals series against the Spurs, their perimeter defensive specialist, Tony Allen, will be an unrestricted free agent this July.
Allen spoke with Ramona Shelburne at ESPN.com yesterday about the blue collar "Grit and Grind" Grizzlies, their blue collar Memphis fans, and--towards the end of the piece--his impending free agency. Said Allen:
"I don't even understand the business side. When July hits, somebody is going to have to sit me down and explain it. All I know is I'm a Grizzly and I believe I'm going to be a Grizzly when it's over with.
"I bleed blue. I think they going to keep me. But if they don't, I understand.
"I don't even think about it now. I just play. I love being in Memphis. I love the city. Hopefully I stay here. It feels like home."
Speaking of Allen's Grizzlies, here are some more notes from around the Western Conference:
- Grizzlies coach, Lionel Hollins, tells ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz "Flopping isn't a part of the game and it shouldn't be a part of the game," in response to the controversy surrounding the flagrant 1 called on Manu Ginobili after his foul on Allen knocked him out of the air.
- According to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link), Austin Daye will go on the Grizzlies' inactive list for game 3 tonight in favor of Donte Greene. Marc J. Spears of Y! Sports, confirms (Twitter link).
- ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon brings us the highlights from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's interview on 103.3 FM's ESPN Dallas Game Day.
- MacMahon also tells us after hearing from Cuban, that the Mavericks owner has a two year plan to turn the Mavericks into title contenders.
- The new owner of the Kings, Viveck Ranadive, is looking at Warriors assistant, Mike Malone, to coach the team. But Matt Steinmetz at CSNY Bay Area says he'd be surprised if the Kings hire a coach before finding a general manger (Twitter link).
May 25 at 8:49am CST By Zach Links
Let's take a trip out to the West Coast for the latest out of the Pacific Division..
- The Warriors have a dilemma on their hands when it comes to whether they should pursue Dwight Howard this summer, writes Marcus Thompson II of the Los Angeles Daily News. While Howard reportedly likes Golden State, they'd have to move mountains to make that acquisition happen. For starters, the Warriors don't have the cap room to sign DH and would have to drastically weaken their supporting cast in a sign-and-trade. Because Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak would be holding the cards, he would demand either David Lee or Andrew Bogut from Golden State.
- Vivek Ranadive, former Warriors minority owner and the next owner of the Kings, has put Golden State assistant Mike Malone on his list head coaching candidates, a source told Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (via Sulia).
- Clippers guard Chris Paul had a good experience with his coaching staff in New Orleans, where Malone was the lead assistant, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Hornets head coach Monty Williams is happy to see his former assistant talked about as a top candidate for multiple teams and says it's about time. "You don't know what it takes to get a job. It's not just about basketball all the time. But I just hope, I hope that he gets a job soon," Williams said. "I know he really wants to do it, and I know he'll be a really good head coach. The tough part is knowing I gotta coach against him because I know he really knows his stuff."
May 24 at 11:01pm CST By Chuck Myron
In the NFL, teams are frequently better off drafting for positional need rather than going for the best player, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, who argues that the opposite is true in the NBA. Thus, he implores the Magic to ignore fans who have football on the mind and draft the most talented player available with the No. 2 pick. He also notes that the Orlando summer league will add a title game this year, similar to the Las Vegas summer league, and sees Kevin Love's frequent chats with Flip Saunders as encouraging news for the Timberwolves. Here's more from around the Association as a long weekend commences:
- Dwight Howard's camp has "never given the slightest indication" that he wants to join the Warriors, tweets Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter link), echoing an earlier report from Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game. Kawakami thinks the W's shouldn't pursue Howard as a result.
- Grantland's Bill Simmons points to evidence that suggests Howard is in decline, leading him to advise the Lakers to pass on him. Simmons encourages Howard to sign with the Rockets instead.
- DeAndre Jordan was surprised to see the Clippers and Vinny Del Negro part ways, as the center tells Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link).
- As for Del Negro's replacement, HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram makes the case that Nate McMillan and Brian Shaw should top the list of coaching candidates for the Clippers.
- Point guard Pierre Jackson will work out on June 17th for the Trail Blazers, Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports, adding that strong workouts in New Jersey this past week have turned the Baylor senior into a potential first-round pick.
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune thinks the Wolves will shy away from guards with the No. 9 pick, as long as they don't trade the selection (Twitter link).
May 24 at 5:30pm CST By Chuck Myron
It's not often that a player who makes the fewest starts since his rookie season and sees his scoring average decline nearly three points from the year before emerges as a hot commodity. Yet that's the spot Jarrett Jack finds himself in as he hits free agency. Jack was a superb sixth man this season for a Warriors team that won a playoff series, giving the eight-year veteran his first glimpse of the postseason beyond the opening round. He was frequently the No. 1 option on offense down the stretch, while the "greatest shooting backcourt in the history of the game," as Mark Jackson proclaimed Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, deferred to Jack's ability to create off the dribble.
Jack's scored 12.9 points per game this year, off from his career high of 15.6 in 2011/12 with New Orleans. Perhaps picking up some tips from the shooters around him, or benefitting from the same conditions that allowed them to thrive, Jack displayed some of his best touch from beyond the three-point arc, knocking in 40.4% of his attempts. He exceled as a distributor as well, averaging 5.6 assists against 2.0 turnovers per game. The Warriors gave up slightly more points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, according to NBA.com, but his net effect was positive. The Warriors outscored opponents by 1.7 points per 100 possessions as a whole this season, and by 2.2 points with Jack in the game.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2005 draft, Jack made $5.4MM this season, the last of a four-year, $20MM contract. He reportedly had a chance to extend that deal with the W's this season, but shut down talks with the team in the middle of the season. With the exception of players on rookie-scale contracts, an extension usually isn't in a player's best interest. Jack would have been limited to a 7.5% raise on his salary from this season and three additional years. That would have been a total package worth $18.63MM, a sum of guaranteed money that most bench players don't see. It's not clear whether the Warriors were prepared to go that high in the extension. If they did so, Jack's $5.805MM salary for next season would likely put them in danger of going over the tax apron.
Without Jack, and assuming Carl Landry opts out of his deal while Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush all opt into theirs, the Warriors would be committed to $69,020,402 for 10 players next season. It's not certain exactly where the tax threshold, at $70.307MM this year, will be set for 2013/14, but in any case, the Warriors seem destined become a taxpayer unless they make a major move. Crossing the tax apron, which will be $4MM above wherever the tax line is set, would limit the team's flexbility, chopping about $2MM from its mid-level exception and placing a restriction on Golden State's ability to acquire players via sign-and-trade.
That likely makes Jack and Landry an either-or proposition for Golden State, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group wrote last week. Kawakami figures the Warriors will choose Jack, and while that seems logical, I'm not sure they'll be able to afford him unless they either dump other salaries or are prepared to cross the tax apron. Even if he re-signed for his $5.4MM salary from last season, Jack would be tough to squeeze back onto the payroll. The 29-year-old was adamant last month that he'll prioritize a return to the Warriors next season, even if it means giving up the opportunity to start elsewhere.
Jack had an expanded role in the playoffs, becoming his team's second leading scorer, at 17.2 points per game, and drawing four starts in place of an injured David Lee. Even if he doesn't sign with a team that wants to make him a starter, he should at least be in line for a slight bump up in pay. He was one of the top sixth men in the league this year, and teams with cap space probably wouldn't hesitate to pay him $6MM a year. That may be too much for Jack to pass up, as much as he enjoyed his year as a Warrior.
May 24 at 12:12pm CST By Luke Adams
As we head into the offseason, the Clippers and Lakers are looking to retain elite free-agents-to-be, the Warriors are looking for ways to upgrade a roster that's dangerously close to tax territory, the Clippers and Suns are in the market for a new head coach, and the Kings are in the process of changing ownership groups. The Pacific Division certainly isn't lacking for storylines, so let's round up the latest on a few of them:
- Alvin Gentry has a standing invitation to join Mike D'Antoni's staff with the Lakers as an assistant, but is more interested in the Clippers' open head coaching spot, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. Gentry is expected to be among the candidates receiving consideration once the process gets more serious, says Shelburne.
- Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link) downplays the significance of a recent report listing Golden State among Dwight Howard's potential destinations. According to Bucher's source, since making a wish list last year that included the Nets, Mavericks, and Lakers, Howard has become more open to the Rockets, but there's been no indication his position on the Hawks or Warriors has changed.
- Once the new ownership group is able to officially take control of the Kings, Vivek Ranadive and Co. intend to begin sorting out the team's basketball operations "very quickly," as Ranadive tells Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
- Jones adds within the same piece that Tyreke Evans' free agency figures to be the biggest roster decision facing the Kings this summer. For his part, Evans plans on waiting until the ownership situation stabilizes, and says agent Arn Tellem will meet with management once things are settled.
May 24 at 8:46am CST By Luke Adams
As expected, Andris Biedrins will opt in to the final year of his contract, waiving his early termination option, agent Bill Duffy confirmed to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The option will pay Biedrins a $9MM salary in the last season of his six-year, $54MM deal with the Warriors.
With Biedrins on the books for next season and Richard Jefferson expected to pick up his $11MM+ player option, the Warriors won't have much flexibility when it comes to re-signing Jarrett Jack or pursuing outside reinforcements. Last fall, we heard that the team was attempting to trade or buy out Biedrins, so perhaps those efforts will be revisited once the big man's contract becomes an expiring one.
Biedrins, 27, is coming off the worst season of his NBA career, having averaged 0.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and a 7.7 PER in 53 contests (9.3 MPG). There was some speculation that perhaps the Latvian center would exercise his ETO and opt out if it meant securing a multiyear deal at a lower annual salary (but a higher overall total). Based on his play in recent years, I would have been surprised if the Warriors were interested in locking him up for an extra season, even if it meant gaining some wiggle room in '13/14.
May 23 at 10:41pm CST By Ryan Raroque
We've rounded up a few links on Dwight Howard tonight. Peter May of Sheridan Hoops explains why it wouldn't make sense for him to choose a return to the Lakers over a chance to join the Rockets. Marcus Thompson II of Mercury News - going off of the speculation linking Dwight to the Warriors - lists some of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of Golden State being able to acquire him. Tim Cowlishaw of SportsDayDFW thinks that the Mavericks will finish fourth behind the Hawks, Houston, and Los Angeles in the sweepstakes for Howard, adding that Dallas has little else to offer aside from no state income tax. Here are a few more links to share out of the Western Conference:
- On an appearance with Fitzsimmons and Durrett on KESN-FM, ESPN's Chad Ford explained why the Mavericks could have some issues in trying to deal their 13th overall pick. With a draft pick owed to Oklahoma City next year, Dallas can't technically deal their pick until draft night and would have to select a player for a team that they've made a prearranged deal with. Only until after they've drafted a player would they be able to trade his rights in order to get around the NBA rule that prohibits teams from trading a first-round pick in consecutive seasons (hat tip goes to SportsDayDFW). Though it is a strategy that Ford disagrees with, he admits that the pick will likely be moved.
- Later in the interview, Ford spoke about Dallas' chances of adding Dwight, saying that he's more available to them than Chris Paul at this point. He also said that their pitch could also depend on whether or not they can make the team attractive enough to make Howard believe it will contend, and that Houston looks further along in the process in that respect.
- Completely focusing on the situation between Howard and the Lakers heading into the summer, Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld says that the big man just wants to enjoy the game again and that it will be up to the team to convince him that he can do so in Los Angeles. Kyler reiterates that Brooklyn had been Howard's initial choice and that L.A. had been someone else's preference (Twitter links).
- As for Pau Gasol, Kyler predicted that the Lakers will keep him, let his deal expire, and then re-sign him to a cheaper deal, also mentioning that he doesn't think they'd trade him without knowing what happens with Dwight first.
- Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee hears that the NBA Board of Governors will take a formal vote on the Kings sale between the Maloofs and the Ranadive-led group on Tuesday next week (Twitter link).
- Though there appeared to be some disagreements on the Grizzlies' practice court with regards to making adjustments against the Spurs, Matt Moore of CBS Sports says that there weren't any indications that the players were upset or angry with each other or coach Lionel Hollins and chalks it up to any normal frustration from a team being down 2-0 in the playoffs. Though I wouldn't think that Hollins' future in Memphis is exclusively determined by whether or not he gets the team past the conference finals, it will be intriguing to see if the way they finish the postseason factors into the team's decision on potentially offering him an extension.
- Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK gave Kevin Durant his season report card, listing that while he had his best season to date, his good-but-not-great playmaking, the instances where he lacked poise, and his propensity to turn the ball over were reasons why the Thunder superstar didn't earn straight A's this year. To Durant's credit, Mayberry explains why his playoff struggles in recent years may make the 6'9 wingman more determined than ever next season. Lastly, a few of The Oklahoman's staff writers provide their take on Durant's season.
May 23 at 12:58pm CST By Luke Adams
In his latest piece, Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times lays out a few reasons why Carl Landry is a near-lock to turn down his $4MM player option in search of a bigger payday. But Landry tells Thompson that he hasn't made a decision yet, pointing out that he took a lesser deal to initially sign with the Warriors and adding that his decision won't simply be about money -- he'll also consider his potential coach, teammates, and the odds of playing in the postseason.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the Association:
- Yesterday, our own Zach Links chatted with Todd Brommelkamp and Tyler Ryder of KGYM ESPN Radio and talked about the NBA Draft, what the Cavs might do with the No. 1 pick, and the courtship of Dwight Howard. You can listen to Zach live on KGYM Radio every other Wednesday at 4:30 central.
- Speaking to Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Stan Van Gundy acknowledged that there's a chance he could never coach an NBA team again.
- Eric Koreen of the National Post identifies a handful of candidates who could be considered - or are being considered - to replace Bryan Colangelo as the Raptors' head of basketball operations.
- The Raptors have indicated they're willing to exceed the luxury tax threshold by "a significant margin" if it helps Colangelo's successor build a winning team, reports Zach Lowe of Grantland.
- Lang Greene of HoopsWorld takes a look at the searches being conducted by the six Eastern Conference teams in the market for a new head coach.
- According to a report from Gigantes.com (translation via Sportando), longtime NBA forward Andres Nocioni intends to play another season in Spain in 2013/14.
May 20 at 5:38pm CST By Zach Links
Earlier today, we learned that the Clippers aren't going to make a run at Dwight Howard this summer. That doesn't come as a tremendous surprise when looking at the Clips' cap situation and the maneuvering they'd have to do in order to retain both Chris Paul and lure DH over from L.A.'s other team. Speaking of which, do the Lakers have the right plan to keep Howard in purple and gold next season? More on that and other notes out of the Pacific Division..
- Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com wonders if Howard truly understands the Lakers' legacy and fears that the club isn't making the right pitch to him. Shelburne feels that the Lakers need to impress upon him just how much he is wanted there, despite the vocal criticisms he has heard from fans.
- Warriors General Manager Bob Myers confirmed to Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News (via Twitter) that the team has not yet made a decision on coach Mark Jackson's option for 2014/15. However, Myers will talk with Jackson's agent soon. Kawakami recently predicted that Jackson would get a new deal in the next few weeks.
- Myers sounds as though he is willing to stand pat this summer, tweets Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News. The GM indicated that the Warriors are no longer desperate for a big move.
May 19 at 4:03pm CST By Chuck Myron
For a third consecutive year, there aren't any Pacific Division teams in the Western Conference Finals, a dry spell that's never happened before. The Lakers are mostly responsible for that history of success, but the Suns have had their moments, too. For most of the city's time with an NBA team, Seattle was a part of the Pacific Division, and the SuperSonics were no stranger to playing for a berth in the Finals. With the league reportedly having approved the sale of the Kings to a Sacramento-based group, it looks like Seattle won't be an NBA destination for at least a while longer.
Here's a check on each of the five current Pacific Division teams as they try to climb their way back into contention:
- Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who's attending today's opener of the Western Conference Finals, has yet to meet with Vinny Del Negro as planned this weekend, but resolution on the coach's future should come within the week, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group points out the similarities between the construction of the Warriors roster and the way the Grizzlies were built.
- Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee profile new Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive, who plans to take a hands-on approach.
- Of all the people involved in keeping the Kings in Sacramento, none were as influential as David Stern, who demonstrated that he still has control of the league even as his tenure as commissioner comes to a close, The Bee's Ailene Voisin writes.
- Suns scouts have been high on Maryland center Alex Len since before this past season began, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, who runs down some of the players the team will likely target with its lottery pick.
- Greg Somogyi impressed Mike Brown when the two were together in Lakers camp last fall, and Brown has invited the 7'3" center to a Cavaliers mini-camp this summer, reports Sportando contributor David Pick (Twitter link).