FRIDAY, 8:36pm:Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic adds the Cavs to the list of teams interested in Dragic, and reports that Dragic’s current salary is approximately $1.4MM. It would take upwards of $2MM in annual salary to pry the younger Dragic guard from his current club in Coro’s estimation, considering the earnings and covered living expenses provided by his current team. The Arizona Republic scribe pegs Dragic’s NBA escape clause at $1.1MM, which lines up with an earlier report that the buyout exceeds $971K.
WEDNESDAY, 7:49am: The Suns, Pacers and Kings are the teams most aggressively going after Dragic, Stein tweets, expanding on his report about Phoenix’s heavy pursuit from a few days ago. Talks are expected to intensity now that Dragic’s World Cup obligations are over, Stein adds (Twitterlinks). Phoenix, Indiana and Sacramento all have the capacity to exceed the minimum salary.
TUESDAY, 4:51pm: The Heat, Magic, Spurs and Mavs are maintaining dialogues with Spanish-league shooting guard Zoran Dragic, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote earlier this week that the Suns were one of the three teams with the most interest in signing the 25-year-old, but it’s not clear if they remain in the running. The Pacers, too, have appeared to be in pursuit of Dragic of late, while the Rockets were reportedly the leading contender for him in May.
Several NBA teams scouted Dragic in the World Cup the past couple of weeks, Charania writes, a run that ended when his Slovenian team lost this afternoon to Team USA. New teams are inquiring about him with each passing day, the RealGM scribe adds. Dragic is the younger brother of Goran Dragic, who appears poised to opt out his deal next summer and hit free agency, and teams are already lining up to try to poach Goran from the Suns.
Zoran Dragic averaged 10.6 points in 20.3 minutes per game for Unicaja Malaga this past season but he reportedly possesses a strong desire to come to the NBA. He’d have to sign with an NBA team by Oct. 5th, according to Charania, and cover a buyout greater than the equivalent of $971K to break free from Unicaja Malaga this year, as Stein wrote in his report this week. That would appear to give the Spurs and Magic an edge on the Heat and Mavs, since Miami and Dallas can’t exceed the minimum salary and thus can’t give him more than the Excluded International Player Payment Amount of $600K toward his buyout.
SEPTEMBER 9TH: The signing is finally official, the team announced.
“Shawn brings great versatility, talent and championship experience to the team,” Cavs GM David Griffin said in the club’s statement. “He will impact both ends of the floor and his ability to guard multiple positions will be particularly important for us. Shawn is an accomplished, high-caliber veteran that will help with leadership on and off the court and we’re very happy to welcome him to the Cavaliers family.”
AUGUST 17TH: Shawn Marion has decided to join the Cavaliers, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks). Cleveland can only offer Marion the veteran’s minimum salary, but the opportunity to play with LeBron James and to contend for an NBA Championship was the deciding factor, notes Stein. The Clippers, Pacers, and the Heat had also pursued the 15-year veteran.
Indiana could have offered Marion a larger role and more playing time, with Paul George most likely being lost for the season. The Pacers could have also offered a larger salary as well, with the league already approving the disabled player exception the franchise had applied for. But with James’ arrival, and Kevin Love set to be added as soon as Andrew Wiggins can be traded on August 23rd, the Cavs became too appealing an option for Marion.
Marion’s career averages are 15.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.6 SPG. His career slash line is .485/.332/.811. Last season with the Mavericks, he averaged 10.4 PPG and 6.5 RPG, while appearing in 76 contests.
Charlie Villanueva signing with the Mavericks can’t be a good sign for Rashard Lewis and his chances of getting something done with Dallas, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The team recently 86′d their one-year, $1.4MM offer after learning that Lewis needed an operation on his right knee.
The Rockets certainly wanted his expiring contract, but they also had their eye on adding a veteran guard when they traded for Jason Terry, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. With that in mind, Feigen wonders if the Rockets might want to add an experienced player at the center position. Trouble is, Houston has 19 players under contract and 16 with guaranteed deals. For now, it looks like Houston will hope to see some development out of Joey Dorsey, Donatas Motejunas, and Josh Powell.
Free agent forward Vernon Macklin, who signed a non-guaranteed training camp deal with the Pelicans, rejected overseas deals to hook on with New Orleans, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Kevin Jones, who also has a non-guaranteed deal with the Pelicans, had significant interest from the Pacers before Paul George‘s season-ending injury.
The summer is the season of optimism for NBA fans, with draft picks and signings set to fit perfectly and improve teams all over the league–hypothetically. Once the season begins, however, the goodwill can dry up fast. Last year, blockbuster acquisitions in Detroit and Brooklyn had set expectations high for newly hired coaches Maurice Cheeks and Jason Kidd, but both teams struggled out of the gate, placing both coaches on the hot seat. Kidd survived the season and guided the Nets to the playoffs, but the root of conflict survived as well, and Kidd bolted for Milwaukee in a bizarre power struggle. Cheeks was fired in-season, and remains without a coaching job.
Mike Woodson faced constant speculation about his own job, and lasted through the season only to be let go by incoming team president Phil Jackson. Larry Drew bore the brunt of the Kidd move, and Tyrone Corbin was let go by the Jazz, despite his baby-faced roster performing about as well as expected. Mark Jackson led the Warriors to improvement for a second consecutive season, but pushing the Clippers to a Game 7 in the opening round of the playoffs wasn’t enough to salvage his position in Golden State after some turbulence between Jackson, the rest of the coaching staff, and the front office.
In the NBA, very few jobs are ever truly “safe,” unless your last name is Popovich. Let’s look at some of the coaches who could encounter early traces of job insecurity.
1. Winning Enough? Scott Brooks, Kevin McHale, and Frank Vogel. In parts of 13 seasons combined with their current teams, these coaches have only two losing seasons between them. Brooks receives plenty of flack for his in-game strategy and roster management, despite having coached a young Thunder team to a surprise appearance in the 2012 Finals, and regularly orchestrating dominant regular season performances that have been undercut by postseason injuries to Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. After Oklahoma City’s disappointing series loss to the eventual champions in 2013/14, GM Sam Prestivoiced his support for the coach moving forward.
Vogel built a defensive juggernaut that gave the Heat one of its stiffest annual challenges in the playoffs, but Indiana struggled mightily for much of the second half of last season, and the team will suffer this year from the losses of Lance Stephenson and Paul George. The Pacers squelched rumors that the coach could be let go after the team lost in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive year, but Vogel will be coaching on an expiring contract unless the team grants him an extension in the coming months.
McHale has failed to take the Rockets beyond the first round in his tenure, and expectations are that the team is due to build on its success around James Harden and Dwight Howard. The front office in Houston didn’t do McHale any favors this offseason, allowing mainstays Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, and Omer Asik to depart while striking out on free agent Chris Bosh.
2. First-Year Coaches: David Blatt, Steve Kerr, Derek Fisher, and Quin Snyder. Blatt was signed to coach a team that failed to reach the playoffs last season, but Cleveland has since become a championship contender with the additions of LeBron James and Kevin Love. It’s rare for a first-time head coach to cut his teeth with such enormous expectations. Kerr takes over for a team that envisions a higher ceiling than they had attained with Jackson. Kerr’s involvement in the decision to withhold Klay Thompson from a potential Love trade could come back to haunt him, especially if the star power forward thrives in Cleveland while the shooting guard’s game doesn’t take off under Kerr’s tutelage.
Fisher and Snyder figure to operate with more patient front offices and fan bases, as both were hired to develop players within their systems with an eye toward the future. Of course, “low-pressure” isn’t typical of any coaching job in the New York market, and Fisher has insisted that his team should make the playoffs this season.
3. The Clock Is Ticking: Jacque Vaughn and Brian Shaw.Vaughn has been at the helm for a rebuilding Magic team the last two years, racking up an understandably poor .262 winning percentage. While Orlando is still far from contending, the team has shored up the rotation with veteran additions and has a number of young players on schedule to provide a bigger impact. A season spent at the very bottom of league standings might be unacceptable to Magic brass, especially if the young pieces fail to pop. Shaw took the reigns for one of the Western Conference’s best teams in 2012/13, but injuries and the departure of Andre Iguodala prevented them from reaching the postseason altogether this spring. The West should be no less fierce this season, but the Nuggets have high hopes that Shaw will be working to meet in just his second year on the sidelines.
4. Anything Can Happen: Jason Kidd and Dave Joerger. Both coaches are entering their sophomore seasons as NBA head coaches after having reached the playoffs on the first try. Aside from their teams’ performances, there are strange off-the-court similarities between the two. Kidd exited Brooklyn in the aforementioned stunner, and Joerger appeared destined to leave Memphis amid a series of puzzling revelations about his relationship with Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, before the two eventually hashed out their differences and agreed on a contract extension. Both would appear to have a long leash for the coming season, but the combustible personalities in play have undermined peaceful coaching situations before.
Who do you think will find himself on rocky footing soonest in 2014/15? As we have routinely seen, ongoing success is no guarantee that a coach is in the clear. If you think I’ve failed to mention the most likely name, vote “Other” and leave your choice in the comments.
SEPTEMBER 5TH: The Pacers have followed up with a formal announcement, so the deal is official.
SEPTEMBER 3RD: The signing has taken place, according to the RealGM transactions log, though the team has yet to make a formal announcement.
AUGUST 22ND, 8:32am: It’s indeed a non-guaranteed deal, a source tells Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link).
AUGUST 21ST, 9:32pm: Adonis Thomas will attend training camp with the Pacers this fall, the Memphis product tweeted on Thursday night. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders was the first reporter to pass along the news (via Twitter). We haven’t heard anything official from the team yet, though it appears that the sides have come to an agreement based on Thomas’ tweet.
After going undrafted last June, Thomas spent most of the 2013/14 season in the D-League with the now-defunct Springfield Armor. The 6-foot-7 guard averaged 16.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 34 games for Springfield, shooting an unconscious 46.6 percent from beyond the arc. His D-League play earned him two 10-daycontracts with the Magic and one with the Sixers, with whom he closed out the regular season.
In all Thomas appeared in only six NBA games as a rookie, averaging 2.3 points in 6.2 minutes per game. The 21-year-old spent two years at Memphis, where he played 27.5 minutes per game for the Tigers and was the second leading scorer on a team that earned a six seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
FRIDAY, 10:22am: The signing is official, the team announced.
MONDAY, 2:00pm: It’s a summer contract, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM, so that means it’s a completely non-guaranteed camp deal.
11:02am: The Pacers have reached an agreement to sign Chris Singleton, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports wrote several weeks ago of Indiana’s apparent interest in the 24-year-old combo forward, more recently following up with a dispatch indicating that Singleton would be working out in front of NBA team officials. The terms aren’t immediately clear, and while the Pacers have a $5.305MM disabled player exception from Paul George‘s injury to hand out, they can only spend about $2MM without going over the tax line, which they’ve long maintained they won’t do.
Spears identified the Heat as another team eyeing Singleton last month when he reported Indiana’s interest, though it seemed as though Miami had moved on to other targets. The 18th overall pick from 2011 fell out of favor rather quickly in Washington, and the Wizards declined their fourth-year option on him before last season, setting him up for unrestricted free agency this summer. It appeared about a month ago that Washington abandoned its pursuit of re-signing Singleton, though he had turned down an offer from overseas to continue his search for an NBA job. He also changed agents, going from Bill Duffy of BDA Sports to Todd Ramasar of Stealth Sports, as J. Michael of CSNWashington reported last month.
Indiana has been fairly active on the market in seeking a replacement for George, reportedly coming to terms on camp deals with small forwards C.J. Fair and Adonis Thomas, though Singleton appears to be the team’s most significant addition toward that end. The Pacers had been carrying 17 players, though only 13 are on fully guaranteed deals, so it appears Singleton has a decent shot to make the opening-night roster.
FRIDAY, 10:20am: The Pacers have confirmed the signing with a formal announcement.
THURSDAY, 1:01pm: It’s indeed a non-guaranteed deal, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
WEDNESDAY, 11:10pm: Arinze Onuaku has signed with the Pacers according to the RealGM.com Transactions log. The length or terms of the deal are unclear, but it’s most likely a non-guaranteed camp deal. After their recent agreement with Chris Singleton, the Pacers had been carrying 18 players on their preseason roster, with 13 of those deals guaranteed.
The 6’9″, 27 year-old appeared in a total of five games last season, split between the Pelicans and the Cavaliers. Onuaku averaged 0.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, and 0.6 APG. His slash line was .200/.000/.500.
SEPTEMBER 5TH: The deal is official, the team announced.
SEPTEMBER 3RD: The signing has taken place, as the RealGM transactions log shows, though the Pacers still haven’t announced the move.
AUGUST 25TH: The Pacers and C.J. Fair have agreed to a non-guaranteed deal that will bring him to camp, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The news is right on the heels of a report from Mike Waters of The Post-Standard that Fair was set to work out for the team next month, so apparently Indiana is willing to make a camp commitment to the undrafted forward even without the audition. It’s almost certainly a minimum-salary arrangement, though that’s not entirely clear just yet.
That Fair agreed to a non-guaranteed arrangement is surprising, since it appeared as though he was holding out for guaranteed money when he reportedly turned down camp invitations from the Mavs and other NBA teams earlier this summer. He played for the Mavs’ summer league team, making it curious that he didn’t wind up joining Dallas instead of Indiana for camp, though the Mavs have 14 fully guaranteed deals while Indiana is carrying only 13.
He was a fringe second-round prospect heading into the draft who displayed streaky shooting over the final two seasons of his four-year career at Syracuse, as I noted earlier. He’s a combo forward who would perhaps help make up for the loss of injured starting small forward Paul George.
The Bulls brought up the idea of a two-year deal for Carmelo Anthony that would allow him to cash in on projected growth in the league’s maximum salaries, but the Knicks star said today that it didn’t appeal to him, as Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal observes (Twitter link). Anthony, who re-signed with the Knicks on a five-year deal, cast his experience as a free agent this summer as stressful, explaining that he doesn’t want to go through it again, Herring tweets. Thanks to the raises he’s earned on his high-dollar contracts through the years, his salary for this season already exceeds the NBA’s maximum, so absent a truly dramatic increase to the max in the next few years, Anthony wouldn’t have stood to benefit from hitting free agency again in the near future. There’s more on Anthony amid the latest from around the league:
Anthony cited his New York-based business interests, his family, and the presence of Phil Jackson as reasons he chose to re-sign with the Knicks, Herring also notes (Twitter link).
The NBA buyout clause in Zoran Dragic‘s contract with Spain Unicaja Malaga isn’t prohibitive, and it would allow the shooting guard to come stateside for this season, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Previous reports have identified the Rockets and, more recently, the Pacers as suitors for Dragic, who apparently “badly wants” to play in the NBA.
Lorenzo Brown‘s deal with Reyer Venezia of Italy is on shaky ground, as Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia hears. Brown appeared in 26 games this past season for the Sixers, and it seems there’s a chance he’ll go back on the free agent market in advance of NBA training camps.
The Sixers director of player personnel, Courtney Witte, is leaving to take a scouting position with the Clippers, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com reports. According to Lynam’s source, Witte had been told by the Sixers that his contract wasn’t going to be renewed, and that the search for Witte’s replacement has been “ongoing for some time.”
In an interview with Michael Rand of the Star Tribune, Thaddeus Young was asked how the rebuilding process differs between the Wolves and the Sixers. Young said, “I think the situation in Philly is much different. It’s the same process, but this team is much more competitive and it’s a better roster. Philly, they were getting rid of everybody and getting worse. But I think [Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie] is doing a great job and has made some big moves.”
Zoran Dragic has re-negotiated his contract with Unicaja Malaga, reports La Opinion de Malaga (Translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Dragic’s contract has a buyout clause that he can exercise next June if he decides to leave for the NBA, Carchia notes. The Pacers are reportedly among the teams eyeing Dragic.