Let’s round up a few Friday items out of the Western Conference….
- The Timberwolves have internally discussed the possibility of signing Hedo Turkoglu if he’s waived or bought out by the Magic, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (via Twitter). However, Wolfson adds that it sounds more like due diligence than anything serious.
- Andrew Bogut exited the Warriors‘ game today in China early with back spasms, but head coach Mark Jackson said he’s not concerned, and that Bogut wanted to check back in (Twitter link via LetsGoWarriors.com). While it doesn’t sound like an issue that should significantly impact extension negotiations between the two sides, it may give the team some pause.
- After shoring up their bench this offseason, this incarnation of the Trail Blazers is “officially on the clock,” writes Kevin Arnovitz in an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com. As GM Neil Olshey acknowledges, whether or not the Blazers have a successful season will dictate whether the club stays its current course or aggressively attempts to retool the roster.
- Dwight Howard spoke to Sam Amick of USA Today at length about his decision to sign with the Rockets this summer, and a Dark Knight Rises scene that inspired him.
While most updates this time of year are about non-rostered players who will be with teams for camp, there's one player currently on a roster who won't be with his team in October. The Magic and Hedo Turkoglu have agreed to have the veteran small forward sit out of camp while both sides work toward a buyout agreement, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The arrangement effectively ends Turkoglu's tenure with the Magic, though he technically remains on the roster, as Robbins clarifies via Twitter.
"Our organization has a great deal of respect for Hedo and the contributions he’s made to the team over the years," Magic GM Rob Hennigan said. "We’ve made an organizational decision to move in a different direction. During the pendency of our buyout negotiations, we’ve mutually agreed to have Hedo remain with his family while we work toward an agreement."
Turkoglu's contract calls for him to earn $12MM this season, but a few years ago he agreed to reduce the guaranteed amount on this season to just $6MM. The Jim Tanner client may wind up accepting even less than that to get out of the contract early and take an offer reportedly worth about $3.4MM from Fenerbahce Ulker in his native Turkey.
The Magic have made it clear for a while that they don't see Turkoglu as part of their future, and Turkoglu said in the spring that he'd be surprised if he played for the team in 2013/14. The Magic have yet to waive Turkoglu in part because they hope to find a team willing to trade for him, Robbins writes.
Turkoglu, 35, has spent seven and a half seasons with the Magic over two separate stints. He played in only 11 games last season because of injury and a 10-game suspension that stemmed from a positive test for methenolone.
It's the time of year when the choice for some players is a spot at the end of an NBA bench or an overseas excursion. Three players appear to be teetering on the edge of playing with a Southeast Division team or seeking employment with another circuit. Here's the latest:
- Undrafted point guard Larry Drew II will audition for the Heat this week, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Drew was supposed to join the Heat in summer league, but a quad injury derailed that plan. He's the son of Bucks coach Larry Drew.
- A report in July said undrafted point guard Scoop Jardine would likely wind up in Bobcats camp, but the former Syracuse mainstay has signed with KK Zadar of Croatia, tweets Mark Porcaro of Secret Rival.
- Hedo Turkoglu remains under contract with the Magic, but his camp is continuing talks with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey, Fenerbahce manager Mirsad Turkcan tells Niki Bakouli of Eurohoops.net. The overseas club reportedly extended a $3.4MM offer to the veteran forward.
In many cases, players on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts are slated to earn minimum salaries if they remain on NBA rosters. That's especially true at this time of year, when most players who had been on non-guaranteed contracts worth more than the minimum have already seen their deals become fully guaranteed — Kyle Lowry, for instance, was only owed $1MM of his $6.21MM salary for 2013/14, but that full $6.21MM became guaranteed when he wasn't waived on or before July 15th.
There are still a handful of players though who are on non-guaranteed deals worth more than the minimum, and still aren't entirely safe. Last night, we passed along our complete list of non-guaranteed contracts for '13/14, but this morning we'll highlight a few specific cases, weighing the likelihood of these guys earning their full salaries.
Listed below are the players believed to still be on non-guaranteed contracts worth more than the minimum salary for the coming season. These deals will become fully guaranteed if the players aren't released on or before January 7th.
- Andrew Bynum, Cavaliers ($6MM of $12.25MM currently guaranteed). Bynum's health figures to play a role in determining whether or not he earns the additional $6.25MM on his contract this year. Still, I think the Cavs will probably keep Bynum around barring anything short of a season-ending injury. Even if he has only appeared in a handful of games by the time decision day rolls around in January, it's hard to imagine Cleveland releasing Bynum if the team believes he could be healthy in the second half, considering the potential upside.
- C.J. Miles, Cavaliers (none of $2.225MM currently guaranteed). If the Cavaliers were going to cut Miles, I think they would have done it by now, to maximize their summer cap space. At $2.225MM, the eight-year veteran, who averaged 11.2 PPG and a .384 3PT% in his first year as a Cav, is a relative bargain, and figures to remain in Cleveland beyond January 7th.
- Hasheem Thabeet, Thunder ($500K of $1.2MM currently guaranteed). Thabeet may never live up to the expectations placed on him when he was drafted second overall in 2009, but if you're looking for a big man capable of playing 10-15 minutes per game off the bench, you could do worse. Oklahoma City is flirting with the luxury tax line, and has a few non-guaranteed deals on the books, so at least one or two of those guys will likely be waived. Still, I'd be a little surprised if Thabeet was one of those cuts, particularly since OKC holds a cheap 2014/15 option on him.
- Hedo Turkoglu, Magic ($6MM of $12MM currently guaranteed). The Magic continue to work on a buyout for Turkoglu, and it sounds like he'll probably be off the roster well before January. One report suggested that Turkoglu's big expiring contract could become a decent trade chip at the February deadline, but that would mean guaranteeing him another $6MM, which seems like bad business.
Jameer Nelson hasn't had to worry about his starting job in a long, long time, but that changed this summer when the Magic decided to see what Victor Oladipo could offer at the point guard position. It was a move that raised a few eyebrows around the league since the Indiana University product wasn't know for having exceptional ball handling as a two-guard. However, Oladipo impressed during summer league and there could be a position battle brewing in Orlando. Here's more on the Magic, courtesy of Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel..
- The Magic are working on a buyout with Hedo Turkoglu and it sounds as though he'll have a nice opportunity waiting for him if it goes through. According to reports out of Turkey, Fenerbahce Ulker has made an offer to the veteran worth roughly $3.4MM. The Magic are on the hook for $6MM of Hedo's $12MM 2014/15 salary and the full amount becomes guaranteed if he's still on the roster by January 7th. The 34-year-old is coming off of a down season in which he was suspended 20 games for anabolic steroid use.
- Orlando plans to give second-round pick Romero Osby an invite to camp with an opportunity to make the roster this year. The combo forward out of Oklahoma showed promise while playing in games during the Orlando Summer League.
- With Nik Vucevic as the team's only legitimate center, the Magic plan to invite two big men to camp, along with a guard and a wing.
After J.R. Smith called out Paul Pierce for being bitter after being traded from the Celtics in a piece by ESPN New York's Ian Begley, Begley offered up some additional material from his conversation with Smith.
Begley asked J.R, about Carmelo Anthony's impending decision next summer whether to opt-out of his contract with the Knicks. 'Melo's current deal will pay him $23.333MM for the 2014/15 season. If he does terminate the contract early, as many expect, he'll be eligible to re-sign with the Knicks for a five-year, $129MM deal. Another team could only sign him for $95MM over four years.
Said Smith, via Begley's tweet, "I don't see him leaving, but I said the same thing in Denver so it's up to him." Here's more around the Eastern Conference during a Saturday night when many are watching the opening day of college football…
- In reaction to the same Begley piece from earlier today, CBS Sports' Zach Harper debates whether the NBA could possibly issue a fine after misconstruing Smith's comments as a more deliberate "threat."
- The fine would come on the heels of the news earlier this week that David Stern called a meeting to clear the air last season between Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Knicks owner James Dolan.
- Orlando Sentinel columnist Brian K. Schmitz tweets that the Magic are negotiating with Hedo Turkoglu for a buy-out. The Magic are on the hook for $6MM of Hedo's $12MM 2014/15 salary, and the full amount if he's still on the roster by January 7th.
- But that's highly unlikely since Turkoglu could well be playing in his native Turkey by that time. Can Pelister of TrendBasket.net reported earlier this week that Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker is prepared to make Hedo a substantial offer.
- Schmitz also adds that the Magic are inviting 2nd rounder Romero Osby to training camp as well as four free agents.
For now, Hedo Turkoglu remains under contract with the Magic, with the team currently on the hook for $6MM of his $12MM salary. Turkoglu's full salary will become guaranteed if he's still on the roster beyond January 7th, but there's virtually no chance that happens, and it appears the veteran forward may not even be in the NBA by that point. According to reports out of Turkey, confirmed by Can Pelister of TrendBasket.net (via Twitter), Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker is pursuing Turkolgu, and is prepared to make him a substantial offer (hat tip to Sportando).
The Magic would need to grant Turkoglu his release before he could finalize a deal overseas, but it may just be a matter of time until that happens. Here's more from around the NBA:
As we noted yesterday, the Magic lost an asset this weekend, when the team let the $17.8MM trade exception created by last August's Dwight Howard deal expire unused. As Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld explains in his latest piece, Orlando explored a few possible uses for the exception. Ultimately though, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to take on additional salary when the club is already paying substantial amounts to players no longer on the roster. Here's more from Kyler:
- The Magic are still talking to Hedo Turkoglu about a buyout, but there's a belief that he may have some value at the trade deadline as a big expiring contract. As such, he may remain on the roster beyond opening night, says Kyler.
- Orlando remains undecided on what to do with second-round pick Romero Osby, who the team has said could earn a spot on the roster. If the Magic extend a training camp invitation to Osby, they'd have to either sign or waive him.
- According to Kyler, the Bucks offered Monta Ellis a four-year, $46MM contract in free agency last month. If those numbers are accurate, they signal how uninterested Ellis was in remaining in Milwaukee, since he eventually settled for a three-year deal from the Mavericks worth about $20MM less.
- The Bucks continue to discuss an extension with Larry Sanders, and Kyler says it sounds like Sanders could get the sort of deal Ellis didn't — something that could be worth up to $46-50MM for four years, depending on incentives.
Could James White be taking off for a trip to China? Yesterday, we learned that the well-traveled 30-year-old could be headed back overseas as he mulls over all of his options. The small forward has career averages of 2.7 PPG and 1.0 RPG, but his real hoops legacy comes in the form of highlight reel dunks. Let’s take a trip around the globe for today’s international news..
- Hedo Turkoglu wants to record 1,000 games played before his NBA career ends, and then he intends to play for either Fenerbahce Ulker or Anadolu Efes in his native Turkey, as he tells Ajansspor.com (translation via HoopsHype). Turkoglu is entering the final season of his contract with the Magic. He’s played 895 regular season games, which would mean he’ll need to play beyond 2013/14 if he wants to hit 1,000, unless he’s counting the 93 playoff games in which he’s taken part.
- Bojan Bogdanovic tells Gol.hr that even though his deal with the Nets fell apart this summer, he still intends to play for Brooklyn at some point. His contract with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey is set to expire next summer (translation via NetsDaily).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Ronnie Price's minimum-salary contract with the Magic was originally reported as a one-year deal, but in his latest update of the team's books at ShamSports.com, Mark Deeks notes that Price will actually be locked up for two years. The second season will be non-guaranteed, with Orlando having the chance to avoid Price's cap hit if he's released on or before July 10th, 2014. Here are more Magic notes, more contract details from Deeks, and more items from around the Eastern Conference:
- While it's been a fairly quiet offseason for the Magic, the team still needs to resolve a few outstanding issues, says Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Among Robbins' tidbits: The team is making sure there are no possible trades involving Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington before getting serious about buyouts; the club's $17.8MM Dwight Howard trade exception will likely go unused; and the Magic were never as interested in Eric Bledsoe as various reports suggested.
- Pero Antic's contract with the Hawks is worth a guaranteed $1.2MM for 2013/14 and a non-guaranteed $1.25MM in '14/15, notes Deeks.
- In his latest update of the Raptors' salaries, Deeks points out that the second and third years of Quentin Richardson's new contract with Toronto will become guaranteed if he's not waived by January 1st, 2014. In other words, there's no chance that Richardson sticks on the team's roster all season. The Raps will likely release the veteran prior to opening night.
- J. Michael of CSNWashington.com explores a few possible options for the Wizards' 15th roster spot.
- New Celtics head coach Brad Stevens appeared on WEEI's Green Street podcast, and provided plenty of interesting quotes on a variety of Celtics-related topics. Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com passes along the highlights.