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NBA Players Who Still Aren’t Trade-Eligible

Most of 2016’s offseason signees became eligible to be traded on December 15, and 21 more had their trade restrictions lifted on Sunday. Now that we’ve passed January 15, nearly all of the players in the NBA are trade-eligible, but there are still a handful of guys who can’t be moved.

Generally speaking, a player who signs a new contract becomes eligible to be dealt after three months or on December 15, whichever comes later. That’s why players who sign deals in July are eligible to be traded after December 15. For those free agents who didn’t sign until later in the year though, there are different deadlines.

Here are the players who signed recently enough that they aren’t yet trade-eligible:

By the time those players have been under contract for three months, it will be after this season’s February 23 trade deadline, meaning they can’t be traded at all during the season. Dinwiddie, who has a multiyear pact with Brooklyn, could be moved in the summer, but Brown and Motiejunas have one-year deals, meaning Houston and New Orleans won’t get a chance to trade them.

Players who recently signed contract extensions also face certain restrictions. These restrictions don’t apply to the group of players that signed rookie-scale extensions prior to October 31, but they do apply to guys like James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who had their deals renegotiated and extended during the offseason. Harden and Westbrook can’t be traded for six months after signing those extensions.

Since Harden signed his new deal on July 9, he became trade-eligible last Monday, though of course he’s not going anywhere. Westbrook, who is also untouchable at this point, signed his extension on August 4, meaning his trade restriction will lift on February 4.

In addition to those four players, there are four more who are currently on NBA rosters, but can’t be traded. Those four guys are on 10-day contracts, which can’t be moved to another team. Here’s the current list of players on 10-day deals, via our tracker:

In total, by our count, there are eight players currently on NBA rosters (out of 443) who are ineligible to be traded. That doesn’t include players who can veto trades, but even after taking those guys into account, NBA teams should still have plenty of flexibility to make moves in the coming weeks.

Capela Probable To Return This Week; Gordon Thrives In Offense

After two long months, Clint Capela is set to make his return for the Rockets. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Capela could return as early as Tuesday, depending on how he feels after Monday’s practice.

On December 17, Capela fractured his left tibula and has been sidelined ever since. Though the Rockets have continued to win ball games in his absence, they’ll welcome the 22-year-old center back with open arms. Before going down with the injury, Capela had been averaging 11.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

  • Halfway through the 2016/17 campaign, it appears as though the Rockets found themselves a bargain in Eric Gordon. Scott Cacciola of the New York Times writes that the shooting guard has thrived in head coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system. “I think he knew, more or less, the type of basketball we’d be playing, with the free rein on 3-pointers and all that,” D’Antoni said. “But I don’t think I could even articulate in the summertime exactly what we’d be doing, because I didn’t know we’d be doing this.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/14/17

Here are the D-League transactions for the day:

10:32pm:

  • The Spurs recalled guard Bryn Forbes from their D-League affiliate in Austin before today’s game with the Suns.
  • The Lakers sent center Ivica Zubac to the D-Fenders following their afternoon game, giving him a chance to play for both teams in the same day, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News.

2:56pm:

  • The Warriors recalled Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw from their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team has announced in a press release. Both were assigned on Friday. In a victory over Salt Lake City, Looney dropped 18 points and 20 rebounds.
  • The Rockets have assigned rookie center Chinanu Onuaku to their D-League affiliate, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Onuaku has averaged 11.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in 19 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers so far this season.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned point guard Kay Felder to the D-League, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The rookie expected to be back with the big league club as soon as Sunday.
  • After clearing waivers last week, former Hawks forward Ryan Kelly has rejoined the Maine Red Claws, tweets Chris Reichert of The Step Back. Kelly was called up by the Hawks before suiting up for Maine, but they still held his returning rights.

Rockets Plan Bid For 2020 All-Star Game

The Rockets will make a bid to host the All-Star Game writes Jonathan Feigen on the Houston Chronicle and are preparing to make their case for either the 2020 or 2021 festivities.

Just recently, Feigen writes, the league sent the Rockets and other select teams information related to the bidding process. The team ultimately granted the privilege to host the week-long celebration will set out to make the most out of an excellent economic opportunity.

In 2013, the last time the Rockets hosted the event, the game generated roughly $60MM in direct spending and a near $100MM economic impact. The city of Houston also hosted All-Star Weekend in 2006 and 1989.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/13/17

Here are the D-League moves from throughout the NBA today:

Stein’s Latest: Rockets, Cavaliers, Blazers, Pistons

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein takes a swing at picking the All-Star starters from each conference and passes along some trade rumors in his latest column. He lists four teams that could be active with the deadline less than six weeks away:

  • The Rockets‘ hopes of acquiring Mike Dunleavy Jr. fell through this week when the Hawks committed to keeping him, but Houston is still looking for another shooter. GM Daryl Morey tried to get involved when Atlanta was searching for a third team in its deal with Cleveland, and he had interest in acquiring Dunleavy when it looked like he might not report to the Hawks. Sources tell Stein that K.J. McDaniels has surpassed Corey Brewer as the Rocket most likely to be traded. McDaniels has one season left on his current deal at more than $3.3MM, while Brewer is signed for one more more season at $7.6MM.
  • The Cavaliers have $4.4MM left from their Anderson Varejao trade exception, which will expire February 20th. That means a trade for a backup point guard may be just as likely as a veteran free agent signing such as Mario ChalmersJarrett Jack or Norris Cole.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has moved ahead of Reggie Jackson on the list of untouchable Pistons in possible trades. Caldwell-Pope is now atop that list alongside Andre Drummond. Detroit is well below .500 since Jackson returned from tendinitis in his left knee in early December. Jackson, whose 5.5 assists per game are the lowest during his time in Detroit, still has three seasons and more than $51MM left on his current deal.
  • Three Trail Blazers who signed huge offseason deals will become eligible to be traded on Sunday. Keep an eye on whether Portland tries to unload some of the salary it committed to Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard.

Rockets Not Currently Active On Trade Market

  • The Rockets aren’t active in trade talks, and even though GM Daryl Morey never sits still, the team is more likely to do something minor than major, if it makes a move at all, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Kyler also weighed in on the Pelicans, tweeting that Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, who are eligible for free agency this summer, are worth keeping an eye on as the trade deadline nears.
  • Rockets big man Clint Capela, sidelined with a fractured left fibula, has made significant progress and remains on track to return within a four-to-six week window, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Capela is scheduled to be examined again next week.

Motiejunas Discusses Free Agency, Rockets, Pelicans

Few NBA players experienced the sort of roller coaster ride that Donatas Motiejunas did in 2016. Coming off a promising 2014/15 season, the big man battled injuries in 2015/16, and was included in a deadline deal that would have sent him from the Rockets to the Pistons in February. However, that trade was vetoed due to health concerns about Motiejunas’ back.

Still a Rocket, Motiejunas finished out the season in Houston and became a restricted free agent in the summer. D-Mo subsequently spent more than five months on the free agent market, ultimately landing a four-year offer sheet with the Nets that was matched by the Rockets.

However, a dispute over the incentives included in the offer sheet prompted Motiejunas not to report to Houston, which resulted in the two sides redoing his deal, then scrapping it entirely. The 26-year-old became an unrestricted free agent, signing a one-year, minimum salary contract with the Pelicans, a far cry from the $37MM offer sheet he had received from Brooklyn.

In the wake of a tumultuous 2016, Motiejunas is ready to turn the page. Speaking to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, the new Pelicans big man admitted that his NBA career has been a “big mess” so far, Still, Motiejunas remains confident in his ability to contribute on the court, and is optimistic about doing better on the free agent market next summer. Here are some more of the highlights of D-Mo’s conversation with Scotto:

On his restricted free agency with the Rockets:

“Honestly, you can say it was business stuff, but, from my side, I’m a basketball player, I just want to play. Being involved in that business situation, it was one of the worst experiences of my life that I’ve had. I would say, from any basketball player, we work every day, we put our sweat, we put our tears, we put our blood on the floor, try to help and make teams better, so when someone acts with you like this, it’s just wrong.”

On the resolution of his RFA saga:

“The team lost an asset. I lost $37-38MM, so both sides lost in this situation. No one won in this situation actually. … It was just a ridiculous situation, the resolution was taking too long, and it was affecting me as a player, and it was affecting me personally. Instead of being a business decision it was like more of a personal decision.

On how frustrating it was to be in free agent limbo:

“The hardest part, probably, was that unknown. Where am I going to go? Where am I going to be? What’s going to happen? I keep on talking with people. I was talking with the people in the [players’ union]. I was talking with people from the NBA. I was talking with people from the teams and they keep on telling me, ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.’ At one point I was like, ‘Tomorrow has already been two weeks. I want to play. I’m hungry.’ I’m sitting, watching these games, and I’m like, ‘I can help each of these teams to be better.’ It was a really tough moment for me, probably all of 2016.”

On his fit with the Pelicans:

“My goal is to help Anthony Davis to be better, my goal is to help the other players play the right way, help them to find a role. I’m the player who’s going to, if you’re wide open on the floor, I’m going to pass you the ball. That’s who I am. I’m unselfish. … We have a lot of great shooters here who can take open shots. I think they were missing the person who could deliver the ball to them and who can space when Anthony Davis is playing in the post or on the elbow. That’s who I am. That’s who I’m going to try to be.”

Gordon An Ideal Fit In Houston; Morey's Vision Becomes Reality

  • Eric Gordon‘s four-year, $53MM contract with the Rockets looked like a bit of a roll of the dice for the team when it was completed back in July, but Gordon’s tremendous fit in Houston has made him one of 2016’s best signings so far. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders spoke to Gordon about his new home and examines the shooting guard’s season to date.
  • The signing of Gordon was one of several offseason moves that have the Rockets looking as good as they have since Daryl Morey assumed the general manager role back in 2007. In a piece for NBA.com, TNT’s David Aldridge takes a closer look at how the system Morey envisioned for the franchise has become a reality this season, led by offseason acquisitions Gordon and Ryan Anderson, new head coach Mike D’Antoni, and MVP candidate James Harden.

Warriors, Rockets Keeping Eye On Mike Dunleavy

Although he was officially traded to the Hawks on Saturday, Mike Dunleavy Jr. currently has no plans to report to Atlanta, preferring to work out a buyout that would allow him to pick his new team. While there’s no indication yet that the two sides will work out a deal, some potential suitors for the veteran forward have emerged.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Warriors would consider Dunleavy as a potential free agent target if his contract is bought out by the Hawks. Golden State can’t offer more than the minimum salary to Dunleavy, but given the 36-year-old’s decline in production and his desire to join a contender, that would likely be enough to get something done.

Meanwhile, the Dubs would have some competition for Dunleavy’s services from the Rockets, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com (Twitter links). A source tells Watkins that Houston made an unsuccessful bid to trade for Dunleavy a few weeks ago, and while the ESPN scribe doesn’t expect the sharpshooter to ultimately land with the Rockets, there’s some interest there. Like Golden State, Houston could only offer the minimum salary.

If Dunleavy decides not to report to the Hawks, there are a number of different directions the team could go. Fining or suspending him is one option. Working out a buyout is also a possibility. Depending on how strong the interest from teams like the Warriors and Rockets is, it’s even possible Atlanta could work out a trade, though at his current cap hit of $4.8MM+, Dunleavy has less appeal than he would on a minimum salary deal.

The deadline for Dunleavy to report to the Hawks is 4:00pm CT today, though the team could push back that deadline or agree to waive it as the two sides continue to negotiate.

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