- In the same Q&A with Rosen, Jackson spelled out his reasons for trading J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers. “J.R. was more interested in hunting for his own shots than in buying into the triangle. Plus, he has a player’s option for next season that would limit our flexibility. As for Shumpert, mainly because of injuries, he’d take one step forward and two steps backward. And because of a salary ‘hold’ on his rookie contract, a CBA format that limits available money in free agency.” Jackson was presumably referring to Shumpert’s cap hold, which would have taken up more than $6.542MM on New York’s cap this summer.
- David Lee nearly signed with the Celtics the last time he was a free agent, Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com tweets. Lee signed a six-year contract with the Knicks and then was shipped to the Warriors in a sign-and-trade in 2010. The Celtics completed a long-rumored trade for Lee on Monday. Lee was immediately interested in joining the Celtics when they showed interest in acquiring him, according to Jay King of MassLive.com (Twitter link).
- The Nets used their $2,339,131 Kevin Garnett trade exception to acquire Steve Blake from the Trail Blazers last month, as NetsDaily indicates. It was one of three exceptions Brooklyn could have used to accommodate the deal. Blake’s salary, since moved to the Pistons in the Quincy Miller trade, left a virtually unusable $262,131 remaining on the Garnett exception.
Six teams offered a first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Iman Shumpert at the trade deadline this past February, and three of them had max-level cap flexibility this summer, reports Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. That made Cleveland’s front office “incredibly nervous” as it sought to re-sign the swingman in restricted free agency, despite its ability to match competing offers for him. The Kings were one of the teams that thought about an offer before Shumpert, who’d made it a priority to remain with the Cavs, did just that and signed a new deal.
“We were thinking about it,” Kings Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac told Haynes, “but we had some other options that came up better for us.”
Haynes wonders just what those better options could have been, but the upshot is that Shumpert is staying put. Here’s more from around the Central Division:
- The Cavaliers certainly aren’t trading LeBron James, but if they did, they’d have to pay a 15% trade kicker as part of his new contract, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The bonus would only take effect if he were to opt in for next season.
- The precise value of Mo Williams‘ two-year deal with the Cavs is $4,294,500, with $2.1MM coming this season and the rest set aside for the player option year in 2016/17, as Pincus shows on Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
- The Bucks had been trying to trade Zaza Pachulia in the days after they struck a deal with Greg Monroe, sources told Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Milwaukee swapped Pachulia to the Mavs last week.
- Monroe told Scoop Jackson of ESPN.com that if the Pistons had put on the same sort of hard push that the Clippers made to convince DeAndre Jordan to renege on his deal with the Mavs, he might have stuck with Detroit. “I can’t lie, it probably would have made me think, maybe affected my decision a bit,” said Monroe, whose deal with the Bucks is official, so there’s no going back now. “I mean, I was there for five years, my whole NBA career to this point. I knew the people in the organization, I loved my teammates, so I mean, I can’t lie. I’m not saying if that had happened, I would have changed my mind, but I know that would have affected me, and I probably would have had to ponder a little bit more.”
JULY 9TH, 1:04pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
“Iman is a versatile, two-way player who embodies much of the grit, determination and defense-first mentality our group became identified by,” GM David Griffin said. “He is evolving as a playmaker on both ends and his impact on our group was enormous throughout our Finals run.”
JULY 1ST, 6:34pm: The Cavaliers and restricted free agent Iman Shumpert have agreed to a new contract, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The deal will be for four years and $40MM, and the final season will include a player option, Kennedy relays. The Lakers, Raptors, Bucks, and Mavericks were all interested in the defensive specialist’s services.
Shumpert was acquired at midseason by the Cavaliers along with J.R. Smith, who opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. It’s unclear if Shumpert’s deal will mean that Smith is destined to play elsewhere in 2015/16, though LeBron James reportedly wants the Cavs to re-sign the guard, so one has to wonder if that could outweigh the team’s reservations about Smith.
The 25-year-old played well for the Cavaliers last season, appearing in 38 games, though only one as a starter. Shumpert notched averages of 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, along with a slash line of .410/.338/.667.
The Clippers are set to ink Paul Pierce to a three year, $10MM deal, which will eliminate a major roster weakness of a season ago. Los Angeles is also looking at Wesley Johnson, Jeremy Lin, Corey Brewer, and Willie Green, Sam Amick of USA Today notes (on Twitter). Though it’s not clear if the addition of Pierce will end the Clippers’ potential pursuit of Brewer and Johnson, both of whom can man the three spot.
Here’s more out of the Pacific Division:
- The Lakers were one of the first teams to reach out to restricted free agent Iman Shumpert, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. Shumpert is set to ink a four-year, $40MM deal to return to the Cavaliers.
- Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers has reached out to representatives of free agent Glen Davis, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Davis appeared in 74 games for Los Angeles in 2014/15, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per contest. Rivers also has been in contact with Caron Butler‘s representatives, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times adds (via Twitter).
- If the Kings are unable to land Rajon Rondo, the team could look to sign Brewer, Chris Mannix of SI.com relays (Twitter link). There is some measure of support to ink Brewer within Sacramento’s front office, Mannix adds. Two other teams have contacted Rondo, Mannix adds, though Sacramento still is the frontrunner.
- The Clippers’ hope was that re-signing center DeAndre Jordan would aid the team in landing Pierce, notes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). It’s unclear if the team promised Pierce that Jordan would return, prompting him to sign, or if the veteran decided to join L.A. regardless of whether or not the big man will be his teammate next season.
- The Lakers have expressed interest in re-signing center Jordan Hill, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. Hill’s representatives also fielded several calls from other interested teams, Medina adds. Los Angeles declined its $9MM team option on Hill for 2015/16.
- The Clippers had checked with Brewer’s representatives if the mini-mid level amount would be enough to sign him, and were told they had no shot at that amount, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times tweets.
- The Kings, Clippers, and the Knicks have all expressed interest in free agent forward Dahntay Jones, Kennedy tweets.
- In addition to the Lakers, teams showing interest in free agent Ed Davis are the Knicks, Pistons, Trail Blazers, and Celtics, Medina relays (Twitter link).
- Free agent Leandro Barbosa said that he and the Warriors have mutual interest, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group tweets, translating a story from from Folha da Região in Barbosa’s native Brazil.
The Lakers have contacted free agent Ed Davis, and would like for him to return to Los Angeles next season, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. There will be some competition for Davis’ services, as four undisclosed teams have also expressed interest in the big man, Medina notes. Davis is seeking a two or three-year deal worth $7MM-$8MM, or a one-year arrangement worth $9MM-$10MM, the Daily News scribe adds. In 79 games for the Lakers last season, Davis notched averages of 8.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 23.3 minutes per contest.
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- The Clippers are not optimistic about the idea of Paul Pierce taking less money to come their way, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports tweets.
- The Lakers have expressed interest in restricted free agents Jimmy Butler of the Bulls, and Iman Shumpert of the Cavaliers, Medina relays (Twitter link).
- The Spurs were among the teams to contact unrestricted free agent Tayshaun Prince, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweets.
- The Mavericks and Wesley Matthews are still engaged in contract talks, but remain approximately $3MM apart in annual value for the agreement, Amick tweets. Matthews is seeking an annual salary of $15MM per year, while Dallas is offering $12MM, Amick notes.
- The Jazz contacted free agent Joe Ingles to express their interest in re-signing the forward, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News tweets. Utah tendered Ingles a qualifying offer worth $1.045MM on Monday, making him a restricted free agent. The 27-year-old appeared in 79 games for the Jazz in 2014/15, including 32 starts, and averaged 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 21.2 minutes per contest.
- The Mavs have reached out to point guard Nick Calathes, who is a restricted free agent, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com tweets.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
1:03am: The Suns have liked Shumpert for a while and might get in the mix for him, too, Kennedy adds on Twitter.
12:05pm: The Raptors also have interest, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
11:35am: The Lakers, Mavericks and Bucks are interested in Iman Shumpert, sources tell Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The shooting guard will become a restricted free agent Wednesday after the Cavaliers tendered a qualifying offer to him on Monday. Six teams have already expressed interest in Shumpert and league executives believe he’ll command a deal that will pay him better than $8MM a year, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported, and as we passed along in our Offseason Outlook for the Cavs.
Cleveland GM David Griffin has expressed interest in keeping his team together, and LeBron James would reportedly like the team to re-sign Shumpert. Inking him to a new deal or matching an offer sheet from another team would add to the projected tax bill for the Cavs, who’ve already had internal discussions about a $100-110MM payroll, with tax payments perhaps exceeding $75MM, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported.
A league source told Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group that the Cavs “do not value” pending free agent J.R. Smith. LeBron James reportedly wants the Cavs to re-sign the guard, so one has to wonder if that could outweigh the team’s reservations about him. Vardon adds that it is not known if the Cavs will immediately submit offers to James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson when the clock moves past midnight. Here’s more as we get set for the start of free agency..
- There’s a growing belief that Thompson’s postseason performance coupled with his ties to LeBron could earn him a max contract or something close to it, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal writes. Lloyd also writes that the Cavs were aware that Iman Shumpert would be seeking a ~$10MM per year deal this summer when the acquired him.
- Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is on track for five-year, ~$90MM max deal after San Antonio takes care of other free agency business, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News tweets. It was previously believed that Leonard was in line for a lucrative four-year deal rather than five.
- Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will join the team’s recruiting contingent in Wednesday’s meetings with DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com tweets.
- James Harden will join coach Kevin McHale, GM Daryl Morey and executive VP Gersson Rosas in the Rockets‘ meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge Tuesday night in Los Angeles, a source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
- The Knicks‘ selection of Kristaps Porzingis may scare free agents away, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “They took a Latvian guy who may or may not be good,’’ an individual connected to a free agent said. “It’s very strange. They should’ve taken more of a tried-and-true guy, even a Justise Winslow. Top free agents are looking at winning now. It’s fun to go the playoffs and have a chance to compete for the Finals. They’re not going to win this year.’’
The Warriors formally made a qualifying offer of $2.725MM to Draymond Green, ensuring the versatile forward will be a restricted free agent, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Golden State is expected to match any offer sheet to Green, one of the key players en route to its first championship in 40 seasons. The Pistons, Hawks and Rockets are among the teams expected to pursue Green. The Warriors also extended a qualifying offer of $1.147MM to Ognjen Kuzmic but declined the same amount on Justin Holiday, allowing the shooting guard to become an unrestricted free agent, according to a tweet from Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.
In other news regarding qualifying offers around the league:
- The Cavaliers made qualifying offers to three of their rotation players, allowing Cleveland to match any offer sheet, Pincus reports in a separate tweet. Tristan Thompson ($6.778MM), Matthew Dellavedova ($1.147MM) and Iman Shumpert ($4.334MM) were the players who received them.
- The Thunder made a qualifying offer of approximately $7.47MM to Enes Kanter, according to Pincus (Twitter link).
- The Jazz gave a qualifying offer of $1.045MM to Joe Ingles and the Timberwolves did the same for about $1.147MM to make Robbie Hummel a restricted free agent, according to Pincus (Twitter links). However, Minnesota declined the same price tag on Justin Hamilton‘s qualifying offer, Darren Wolfson of KSTP.com tweets, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
- The Suns made the qualifying offer of $4.79MM to Brandon Knight while his former backcourt partner, the Bucks’ Khris Middleton, got a qualifying offer of $2.275MM, according to Pincus (Twitter links).
- The Raptors extended a qualifying offer of $1.829MM to a player who was overseas last season, Nando De Colo, Pincus tweets. De Colo played for CSKA Moscow last season.
LeBron James will turn down his player option worth more than $21.573MM, and he doesn’t plan to immediately re-sign with the Cavs, preferring to wait and see how the team goes about its other business in July, reports Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Chances are “slim” that James leaves Cleveland again, Haynes writes, but waiting to re-sign gives him a chance to go into a deal with full knowledge of what will surround him, and it keeps pressure on the organization, Haynes writes. The Rich Paul client plans to be “the last domino to fall,” league sources tell Haynes.
GM David Griffin said James is “very much engaged” with the team as he speaks with management on almost a daily basis about the roster, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Still, it’s widely known that James won’t meddle in front office affairs or with coach David Blatt and his staff, according to Haynes. The four-time MVP believes other coaches would be better equipped to lead the Cavs to a title, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson among them, but he nonetheless has no intention to push for a coaching change, as Chris Broussard of ESPN.com said this week (video link).
That James would opt out is not at all surprising, since opting in would entail a financial sacrifice. James will be able to make a salary of at least $21,676,620 next season on a new deal, slightly more than his option would give him, and that figure could grow higher, depending on where the league sets the maximum for a player with 10 or more years of experience. James is likely to re-sign with Cleveland on a max deal for two years with a player option on year two, as Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group wrote months ago.
James wants the Cavs to re-sign Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, though he won’t actively recruit any of them, Haynes writes. Griffin has said that he’d like to keep the team together, though he expressed guarded interest in Smith as he confirmed Smith has opted out, saying the Cavs want him back “if it’s the right situation for us,” as Haynes notes.
JUNE 25TH, 11:53pm: The deadline for Smith to opt in lapsed, so he has officially opted out, GM David Griffin said, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
JUNE 24TH, 3:30pm: Smith is indeed opting out, reports Shams Charania of RealGM, who notes that there’s mutual interest in a return to Cleveland (Twitter link)
JUNE 17TH, 8:59am: J.R. Smith told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com that he’ll probably turn down his player option worth nearly $6.4MM for next season, but Smith said to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group that he “absolutely” plans to be back with the Cavaliers (Twitter links). The Leon Rose client is no doubt seeking to capitalize on a revitalization that’s taken place since the January trade that took him from the Knicks to Cleveland, though it appears he wants to remain in surroundings in which he’s thrived.
A raise for Smith would further inflate the cost to the Cavs of keeping this year’s roster intact. The team has had internal discussions about lifting the payroll to $100-110MM next season, which, if it ends up on the high end of that range, would entail a tax bill of some $75MM or more, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Cleveland’s only guaranteed contracts are with Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao, both of whom have extensions kicking in for next season, and Joe Harris. The Cavs also have a $4.95MM team option on Timofey Mozgov and the trade asset of Brendan Haywood‘s non-guaranteed salary of more than $10.5MM. Aside from that, every other player can elect free agency.
LeBron James and Kevin Love are also expected to decline their player options, Windhorst writes, which wouldn’t be a shock as far as James is concerned, but would run counter to what Love told Haynes in January that he planned to do. The Cavs are expected to extend qualifying offers to Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova to retain the right to match competing bids for them in free agency this year, Windhorst adds.
The mercurial Smith seemed like a much better fit this season as a supporting piece in the Cavs starting lineup than in the Sixth Man role he played in New York, one in which he’d grown stale after winning the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2012/13. The 29-year-old, who turns 30 in September, took 7.3 three-pointers per game in the regular season with the Cavs, which would be a career high if extrapolated over an entire season. He made 39.0% of them, better than the 35.6% he made on only 3.8 three-point attempts per game for the Knicks this year, who appeared eager to make the trade out of the fear that Smith would opt in and take up some of their cap flexibility for next season.