The Grizzlies aren’t releasing a timetable for the return of Marc Gasol, who’s out indefinitely with a sprained MCL in his left knee, as the team announced today. That hasn’t stopped reporters from speculating about how long Memphis will be without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and the consensus seems to suggest he’ll miss at least six weeks. The injury is a blow to the Grizzlies, though there’s no talk of the team looking for reinforcements yet. This summer’s trade for Kosta Koufos, who started at center for the 57-win Nuggets last year, could be about to pay dividends. Here’s more from the West:
- Derrick Rose‘s diagnosis is the big injury news of the day, but Western stars, including Gasol, are being plagued with their share of physical ailments as well. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that James Harden of the Rockets is expected to miss at least the next two games with a foot injury, while the Warriors announced that Andre Iguodala is out indefinitely with a strained hamstring. I doubt either injury will result in a roster move.
- Jeff Caplan of NBA.com doesn’t put much stock in Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s revelation that Rockets GM Daryl Morey asked him this summer if he’d trade Dirk Nowitzki. The scribe notes that Cuban has vowed he’ll never trade the former MVP and that Nowitzki has said he plans to re-sign with Dallas next summer. About 70% of Hoops Rumors readers agree that the Mavs shouldn’t even think about trading their star.
- According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link), the Santa Cruz Warriors announced that they’ve re-added former NBA veteran Hilton Armstrong to their roster. The big man played for Golden State’s D-League affiliate last season, so Santa Cruz still held his rights.
- We looked back at the offseasons for a pair of Western Conference teams today, covering the Kings and the Jazz. You can find all the Offseason in Review pieces we’ve done so far on this page.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
The Pacers have waived center Hilton Armstrong, the team announced via press release. That leaves Rasual Butler‘s deal as the only non-guaranteed contract on a roster that’s down to 14 players. Butler hasn’t necessarily made the team, since coach Frank Vogel has indicated the Pacers are likely to go with just 13 players to start the regular season.
Armstrong played sparingly in the preseason, appearing in seven games and averaging 1.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 6.1 minutes per contest. The 28-year-old has five years of NBA experience, but he hasn’t seen regular season action since 2010/11 with the Hawks.
The Pacers have about $69MM on their books for this season, roughly $2.7MM beneath the luxury tax threshold. The team has been adamant about avoiding the tax, so keeping fewer than the 15-player roster max as the regular season gets underway will allow them some flexibility to sign players later this year.
The Pacers have added one more player to their training camp roster, officially signing Hilton Armstrong, according to Scott Agness of Pacers.com (Twitter link). The move increases the club's camp roster to 17 players.
Armstrong, 28, hasn't appeared in an NBA game since prior to the lockout, when he finished the 2010/11 season with the Hawks. Since then, the former UConn big man has played in France and Greece, and joined the D-League's Santa Cruz Warriors last season. In 29 games with the team, Armstrong averaged 13.4 PPG and 6.8 RPG.
Along with the 13 players the Pacers have on guaranteed contracts, the team is also bringing Armstrong, Ron Howard, Darnell Jackson, and Rasual Butler to camp. It's not clear whether the Pacers will carry a full 15-man roster into the season, but if they do, Armstrong should get a chance to try to earn a spot on the bench behind Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi.
As teams clear cap space to finalize signings and trades, it may mean renouncing Early Bird or Bird rights to their own free agents, in order to remove cap holds from the books. Once a player is renounced, his previous team has no more claim to him that any other team — he could still be re-signed, but it would have to be done using cap space or an exception. Some of those decisions are more notable than others, but for completion's sake, we'll track the latest of these cap-clearing moves right here:
- Mo Williams is the most prominent name among the several whose rights the Jazz renounced today, according to the RealGM transaction log. Al Jefferson, DeMarre Carroll and Earl Watson, who already have deals to join other teams, are also on the list, as are the long-retired Brevin Knight and Greg Ostertag.
- Bobcats are set to re-sign Josh McRoberts, but they won't be using their Early Bird rights to do so, as they've renounced his rights, RealGM shows. The team also renounced their rights to Reggie Williams, who's heading to the Rockets, and it cut ties with DeSagana Diop, Byron Mullens and Jannero Pargo, too.
- Golden State will sign Jermaine O'Neal, so the Suns have renounced his rights, as well as their rights to Wesley Johnson and Diante Garrett, as RealGM notes.
- The Hawks have cleared out unwanted cap holds from their books, renouncing their rights to Hilton Armstrong, Erick Dampier, Devin Harris, Dahntay Jones, Randolph Morris, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro, Josh Smith, and Etan Thomas, according to RealGM.com's transactions log.
- RealGM.com also has the Trail Blazers renouncing multiple players, including Luke Babbitt, J.J. Hickson, Eric Maynor, and Nolan Smith.
- Most interestingly, according to RealGM.com, the Bucks have renounced their rights to Monta Ellis. That doesn't necessarily preclude a sign-and-trade, but it would mean the team would have to use cap space rather than Ellis' Bird rights to accommodate a deal.
- The Pelicans have renounced their rights to Louis Amundson, Xavier Henry, and Roger Mason Jr., the team announced today in a press release.
- In order to clear cap room for their signings, the Pistons renounced Will Bynum, Jose Calderon, Vernon Macklin, Corey Maggette, Jason Maxiell, and Ben Wallace, according to RealGM's transactions log. The Pistons plan to re-sign Bynum, but removing his $6MM+ cap hold and signing him to a smaller figure using cap space makes the most sense.
- After renouncing their rights to Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom, the Clippers have also renounced Bobby Simmons, according to RealGM.com's transactions log.
Three more former NBA players are headed to the D-League as they attempt to work their way back into the NBA, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Stein reports (via Twitter) that Hilton Armstrong will join the Santa Cruz Warriors, Rasual Butler will join the Tulsa 66ers, and Josh Boone will join the Iowa Energy.
Armstrong, 28, was drafted 12th overall in 2006 and played in parts of five NBA seasons for the Hornets, Kings, Rockets, Wizards, and Hawks. The big man averaged 3.1 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 277 career contests, last playing in the NBA during the 2010/11 season. He'll join a Santa Cruz team that's fully owned and operated by Golden State.
Butler, who began his NBA career with the Heat in 2002/03, has averaged double-digit points three times and played in 638 NBA games, but was waived by the Raptors last season after appearing in 34 games for Toronto. The 33-year-old is headed for a 66ers squad that's owned and operated by the Thunder.
Boone, the Nets' 23rd overall pick in 2006, played four seasons with New Jersey, but hasn't played in an NBA game since his rookie scale contract expired in 2010. The former UConn big man averaged 5.2 PPG and 4.9 RPG in his career, and will join an Iowa Energy team that's shared as an affiliate by four NBA teams.
All three veterans will remain NBA free agents, free to sign with any team if they impress in the D-League.
FRIDAY, 7:56am: Armstrong has officially signed with Panathinaikos for the upcoming season, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
THURSDAY, 8:42am: Despite working out for the Nets yesterday, it doesn't appear Hilton Armstrong will be returning to the NBA for the 2012/13 season. The 27-year-old big man announced this morning on his Twitter account that he'll be signing with Greek team Panathinaikos for the upcoming year (hat tip to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).
Armstrong, the 12th overall pick in the 2006 draft, played 277 NBA games from 2006 to 2011, seeing regular-season action with the Hornets, Kings, Rockets, Wizards, and Hawks. However, he didn't catch on with an NBA team after the lockout, having signed in France last summer.
We heard just yesterday that Panathinaikos had interest in signing Armstrong. The Greek squad was also said to be eyeing Louis Amundson, but the former Pacer appeared confident that he'd receive a satisfactory offer from an NBA team, so it's no surprise Panathinaikos shifted its interest to Armstrong.
6:42pm: With Donte Greene's deal on hold because of his ankle injury, the Nets may intensity their search for another small forward, and Fred Kerber of the New York Post suggests Sam Young, Josh Childress and Damion James could be candidates. James was with the Nets the past two seasons, but the team did not pick up his option and renounced his rights, so Brooklyn would only be able to give him the minimum salary, just like Young, Childress or any other free agent.
12:14pm: The Nets are working out free agent big men Eddy Curry and Hilton Armstrong today, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). According to Spears, Nets GM Billy King is still seeking a center and a small forward, and is hoping to discover another "diamond in the rough," as the team did last season with Gerald Green.
We heard earlier today that Armstrong is interested in returning to the NBA, but the former lottery pick hasn't played in the Association since before the lockout. The 27-year-old big man, who participated in a minicamp for the Nets in May, appeared in 277 games for five teams in his five NBA seasons, most notably starting 29 contests for the Hornets in 2008/09.
Curry, meanwhile, saw limited minutes in 2011/12 with the Heat, but hasn't seen regular action for an NBA team in years — since the end of the 2007/08 campaign, the former fourth overall pick has played in just 24 games. The seven-footer has had some success in the past, averaging 19.5 PPG in 2006/07, but has been plagued by health and conditioning issues in recent years.
While Spears says the Nets are targeting both a center and a small forward, it appears a center is Brooklyn's more pressing concern at the moment. That's no surprise, considering the club agreed to sign Donte Greene last week, and still doesn't have a true backup behind Brook Lopez in the middle.
Many of the overseas leagues begin their seasons about a month earlier than the NBA does, meaning international training camps are getting under way. Some of the player movement involves guys with NBA ties, and we'll round up all today's international news here, with the latest on top:
- Darius Songaila has signed with BC Donetsk in the Ukraine, according to the team website (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Songaila, an eight-year NBA veteran, had expressed an interest in returning to the NBA after a strong performance with the Lithuanian Olympic team, but he apparently won't be coming back this year.
- Former first-round draft pick Qyntel Woods confirmed via Twitter that he's heading to Lagun Aro of Spain, Carchia reports. Woods was taken 21st overall by the Blazers in 2002, and spent parts of four seasons in the NBA with Portland, the Heat and the Knicks.
- Hilton Armstrong wants to return to the NBA, but is drawing interest from Panathinaikos of Greece, a source tells Carchia. The 12th overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Hornets, Armstrong hasn't played in the NBA since a 12-game stint with the Hawks in 2010/11.
- We heard last night that guard Sergio Llull is content to remain with Real Madrid in Spain, and the Spanish website Marca.com reports the team has offered him a six-year contract with an option for a seventh season (translation via Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). It's not clear whether the contract would include a clause that would allow him to sign at any point with the Rockets, who hold his NBA rights.
The Celtics took a 3-2 lead in their series with the Sixers tonight with a 101-85 victory in Game 5. There's plenty happening off the court for Atlantic Division teams as well, so let's dive in:
- The Knicks and interim coach Mike Woodson are nearing agreement on a long-term deal, writes Newsday's Al Iannazzone. The deal could become official in the next couple days.
- Sixers president Rod Thorn has no intention of retiring, as Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com writes, denying a report to the contrary Sunday by the Philadelphia Inquirer that said coach Doug Collins would take over for Thorn, with assistant coach Michael Curry replacing Collins.
- The Nets held a minicamp for free agents who didn't play in the NBA this past season, headlined by 2006 No. 3 overall pick Adam Morrison, as Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger and Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv note. Morrison and others at the camp, like Al Thornton, Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright could wind up on Brooklyn's summer league team and audition for an invitation to join the Nets in training camp.
- Deron Williams, who was at Nets facilities this weekend as the team worked out draft prospects, was present again during today's free agent minicamp, fueling speculation he'll re-sign with the team, as Zagoria chronicles.