We had a pair of trades go down in the D-League today with several notable players changing teams. Let's take a look..
Let's round up a few more Thanksgiving Day notes from around the Association....
Here are a few of the latest non-NBA links, from the D-League and overseas:
The NBA D-League held its annual draft on Friday. Former Celtics forward JaJuan Johnson, traded to the Rockets this summer and waived during training camp, was drafted first overall by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Be sure to check out the official D-League site for the complete draft recap.
With the D-League draft two days away and several training camp invitees out on the open market after cuts this week, there's plenty of player movement going on outside the NBA. We'll round up the latest here.
We're a few days removed from the Rockets' acquisition of James Harden, but that doesn't mean that reaction pieces or additional details have stopped rolling in. Today, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wonders if the Thunder got as much for Harden as the Magic did for Dwight Howard, and DeMar DeRozan talks to Eric Koreen of the National Post about how he, Harden, and other members of the 2009 draft class approach their contract situations. Meanwhile, Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game hears from one GM that Sam Presti didn't canvass the entire league for the best deal for Harden, presumably since Presti didn't want to create an avalanche of rumors (Twitter link). And finally, Bill Simmons of Grantland adds that Harden and his agent were seeking a 15% trade kicker as part of extension talks with the Thunder.
Now that we've rounded up today's Harden-related links, let's turn to the afternoon's non-Harden notes:
MONDAY, 2:27pm: The Rockets have waived Forbes and Brockman as well, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (via Twitter).
SUNDAY, 12:11pm: The team has waived Johnson, according to his agent, Kevin Bradbury, Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (Twitter link).
11:20am: The Rockets are expected to waive Gary Forbes, Jon Brockman and JaJuan Johnson on Monday, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). All three have fully guaranteed salaries, with two more cuts necessary to get down to the regular-season roster limit of 15 by Monday's 4:00pm Central time deadline.
Forbes is set to make $1.5MM, Johnson $1.089MM, and Brockman $1MM this season, all of which the Rockets would have to pay regardless of whether they're waived. Houston has three players with partially guaranteed contracts, but no one on a non-guaranteed deal.
Perhaps the most surprising training camp cut was Quentin Richardson, whom the Magic waived despite $5.438MM worth of guaranteed money on his contract for the next two seasons. The surprising play of DeQuan Jones, who appears to have made the team on a non-guaranteed deal, pushed Richardson out the door, writes John Denton of Magic.com. There's plenty of other news about players coming and going today, in advance of the 4:00pm Central time deadline for teams to let go of camp invitees so that they clear waivers before rosters must be down to 15 players.
5:49pm: The second-round picks the Blazers will get are both for 2013, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. They'll receive the Celtics' own selection, along with the Timberwolves' pick that the C's acquired in an earlier deal. Freeman also passes along word from Blazers GM Neil Olshey, who says he is hopeful Pavlovic will make the team out of camp (Twitter link). Freeman confirms, via Twitter, that the Celtics will send the Blazers cash to cover Pavlovic's salary, which will likely be the veteran's minimum. Pavlovic's 2012/13 contract is non-guaranteed, so he could be waived without the Blazers taking a cap hit, Freeman confirms in an email to Hoops Rumors.
4:05pm: In making their own official announcement about the trade, the Trail Blazers noted that they'll acquire two future second-rounders from the Celtics, rather than just one (Twitter link).
2:12pm: The Rockets have officially announced the Lee sign-and-trade agreement in a press release. Based on the team's announcement and a tweet from Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, the deal looks like this:
According to ESPN.com's John Hollinger (via Twitter), Lee will earn exactly $5MM in his first year, making his total contract worth the same as the maximum mid-level exception (four years, $21.35MM). The Rockets, meanwhile, are expected to waive Moore and Williams in the very near future. Diebler, the player whose rights Houston receives from Portland, was selected by the Blazers 51st overall in 2011 and spent last season overseas.12:01pm: Lee will receive a fully guaranteed four-year, $21.5MM contract in the sign-and-trade, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. That's a little more than he could have earned with the mid-level exception, so his starting salary figures to be slightly over $5MM.
11:30am: Lee figures to earn a first-year salary of about $4.6MM, while the Celtics will pay Pavlovic's salary for Portland and will also send the Blazers a second-round pick, tweets John Hollinger of ESPN.com. It's unclear what exactly the Blazers are giving up in this deal, but it doesn't seem like it'll be anything of significance.
FRIDAY, 12:17am: The Trail Blazers are expected to step in as a third team to facilitate the Lee sign-and-trade, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). It sounds as if Portland will receive Sasha Pavlovic from the Celtics.
THURSDAY, 9:50pm: Even though the deal has yet to be completed, Lee will join the Celtics and the Rockets' end of the sign-and-trade will not change, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The Rockets will receive JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, and Sean Williams, but do not plan on keeping the latter two. Houston will also get the Bobcats' 2013 second-round pick in the deal.
9:30pm: The Suns and Hornets are the teams that were, and still may be, involved in the trade talks, tweets Bulpett.
6:19pm: If the trade goes down, it will involve at least three teams, Bulpett tweets.
5:42pm: The trade for Lee still expected to go through, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Blakely adds that the Rockets will waive Moore upon acquiring him.
5:05pm: The trade appears to be in trouble but both sides are working to keep it alive, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald tweets.
3:41pm: The Celtics have agreed to acquire Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Details are still being worked out, but JaJuan Johnson will be heading to Houston, says Spears.
As John Hollinger of ESPN.com points out (via Twitter), for salary-matching purposes, it's "inconceivable" that the Celtics could acquire Lee for Johnson alone. It's likely that the non-guaranteed contract of E'Twaun Moore will be involved as well, along with at least one other player, and perhaps cash or draft picks. The deal figures to require some maneuvering from the Rockets, who are already shuffling their roster around to create a spot for Omer Asik's offer sheet.
The Timberwolves, Bulls, and Suns were also believed to be in the running for Lee, and the Rockets could have re-signed him as well, since they'd yet to renounce his rights. The 26-year-old averaged 11.4 points per game for the Rockets in 2011/12, on 43.3% shooting (.401 3PT%).
The Celtics agreed to terms with Jason Terry last week, but they'd "love" to turn the deal into a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks in order to free their mid-level exception to pursue Courtney Lee, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Mavericks and Celtics discussed a sign-and-trade for Terry earlier in the process, but the Mavs are no longer open to such a move (Twitter link). Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com hears the only way a sign-and-trade happens is if a third team gets involved.
To facilitate a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks, Washburn says the Celtics would likely have to give up a combination of young players, like E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, or perhaps veterans Mickael Pietrus or Keyon Dooling. Since Pietrus and Dooling are free agents, they'd have to consent to be signed-and-traded. Nonetheless, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge remains optimistic he can work something out to land Lee, tweets Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com, suggesting a sign-and-trade with the Rockets as a possibility, however difficult.
While the Celtics formally announced contracts for Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox earlier today, the Celtics haven't finalized deals with Terry and Jeff Green in order to retain flexibility, as Forsberg writes. The Celtics have also been linked to O.J. Mayo in a possible sign-and-trade deal.
Earlier this week a report by Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune said Lee could become the top target of the Wolves if their pursuit of Nicolas Batum comes up empty. Lee, an unrestricted free agent, identified the Celtics as one of eight teams with interest in him.