A few random notes from around the league:
- Hoopsworld.com's Yannis Koutroupis has a piece on Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, who enters next season with a crowded front court and serious questions about his team's direction.
- SheridanHoops.com's Chris Bernucca wonders if the days of one player making over $30MM in a single season are over.
- Hoopsworld.com's Steve Kyler speaks with several young NBA players, including Arron Afflalo, Derrick Favors, and Jerryd Bayless about their expectations for next season, how they deal with trade rumors, and more.
- Xavier Henry, a former lottery pick and three-year veteran, has been impressive in Los Angeles pick up games this summer, but still hasn't latched on with a team. That could change shortly, tweets ESPNNY.com's Jared Zwerling.
- Free agent forward Brian Cook has switched agents. He's now represented by Herb Rudoy, according to HoopsHype.com. Rudoy counts Manu Ginobili and Luol Deng as two of his other clients.
Jerryd Bayless has decided to exercise his player option for 2013/14, keeping him under contract with the Grizzlies for another season, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. The option will guarantee Bayless a $3.135MM salary for next year.
As Stein tweets, the decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since Bayless would have had a good chance to at least match that $3.135MM amount in free agency, if not exceed it. Instead, he'll be off the market, and will return to a Grizzlies backcourt that is facing the possibility of losing unrestricted free agent Tony Allen.
Bayless' now-guaranteed contract increases the Grizzlies' total team salary to about $61MM for 2013/14, which means that re-signing Allen at a fair rate will limit the Grizzlies' flexibility to make many additional moves. As we saw this past season, Memphis' new ownership group seems reluctant to go into the tax, and the tax line is expected to be at about $71.6MM for next year.
In an article he released yesterday, Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram cited that two point guards who interest the Mavericks include Jarrett Jack and the Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless. The source also said that after the Clippers released Vinny Del Negro, the feeling in Mavs camp is that Chris Paul would likely stay in Los Angeles considering he'd be given significant control over the next coaching hire. With that being said, Dwight Howard continues to be the team's top priority. Here are few more miscellaneous notes from around the league:
- Though the future of Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins still remains uncertain, the impending free agent coach says that he's not worried about an extension or heading elsewhere and is currently focused on the playoffs, "I have a job…I'm happy with where we are and excited about what we're doing. That's my only concern. Everything else is irrelevant" (Teresa M. Walker of NBA.com).
- Erik Spoelstra was pleased about James Jones' decision to not opt out at the end of this year and thus return to the Heat next season, says Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida (Sulia link). Spoelstra: "It's great news…J.J. is a Miami Heat guy. (He and Udonis Haslem), they're special. All of our guys are special in this organization, but they're Miami-bred guys. They're Miami true and blue."
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweeted that Jeff Hornacek interviewed with the Bobcats today and that Steve Clifford is headed for his next interview with the Suns, respectively.
- If there's any coach that isn't confident about his team making significant improvements next season, it's definitely not Wizards head coach Randy Wittman, who told CSN Washington: "It doesn't matter with the No. 3 pick. If we could stay healthy and come together as we did last year, have a full season right from the start, we should put ourselves in that (playoff) position…It doesn't matter if we pick eighth, third or 30th" (J. Michael of CSN Washington).
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside sheds some light on Mike Singletary (not to be confused with the current NFL assistant coach), who has been making waves for his standout play overseas. The 6'6 swingman, who recently won the NBDL title with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, has been playing for Barako Bull Energy Cola – a PBA team currently participating in a tournament in Dubai. With his solid production in the D-League (10.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG along with 41% shooting from long range in 49 games) and his experience with competitive international play, Schlosser thinks that the next step would involve an NBA summer league invite and is curious to see what kind of opportunities Singletary could find heading up to the start of NBA training camp in the fall.
In his latest NBA AM piece for HoopsWorld, Steve Kyler focuses on the playoff point guards that may be heading for free agency once their respective seasons end. Kyler has tidbits on those players, as well as notes on Eric Bledsoe and Phil Jackson, so let's check out the highlights:
- Chris Paul is essentially a lock to re-sign with the Clippers and he'll have a "tremendous amount of input" in the team's roster moves and overall direction.
- The Hawks will extend a qualifying offer to Jeff Teague, and while the club plans to keep its options open, it's unlikely that Teague will end up leaving Atlanta.
- Jerryd Bayless is expected to decline his player option in search of a longer-term contract.
- There's mutual interest in a new deal between Jarrett Jack and the Warriors, and the team will have Jack's Bird Rights, but the Warriors figure to be well into the tax unless they can make a cost-cutting move or two, which could complicate negotiations.
- If Chauncey Billups doesn't return to the Clippers, retirement is more likely for him than signing with another club.
- The Bucks will definitely match almost any offer sheet signed by Brandon Jennings, though if he receives the max from a rival suitor, Milwaukee will "have to seriously look at that."
- While Bledsoe is expected to be an offseason trade candidate, Clippers sources are adamant that they don't need to make a decision on Bledsoe until the summer of 2014, or at least next year's trade deadline.
- With a handful of head coaching jobs already opened up, Jackson's name will pop up frequently in the next several weeks, but Kyler hears that the odds of the 11-time champion accepting a coaching job aren't great.
Although the Lakers are receiving all the headlines and attention for their slow start this season, another team expected to be a contender in the West has had its own struggles so far, without the injuries or coaching turnover that the Lakers have. The Nuggets pulled their record to .500 last night, however, with a solid win in Detroit, while the Lakers continued to slide, losing to Kyrie Irving and the Cavs in Cleveland. As the Nuggets prepare to play in Minnesota tonight and the Lakers head to New York for a Thursday night TNT showdown with the Knicks, let's round up a few other updates out of the Western Conference:
- "Your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are better" than the odds of O.J. Mayo exercising his $4.2MM player option with the Mavericks next season, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. However, that doesn't mean Mayo won't be a core piece in Dallas going forward.
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle looks at how offseason acquisitions James Harden and Jeremy Lin are fitting together with the Rockets.
- Although the Nuggets are off to a slow start this season, the front office continues to express complete confidence in the current roster, Danilo Gallinari tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld. Gallinari singled out the Nuggets' extension for Ty Lawson as a confidence-booster for the entire team: "Especially with a player like Ty who is going to play with the Nuggets for a long time. For all of his career. It was very important for us because he’s a great guy and I thought our front office did a very good move in giving him a long contract."
- Within Greene's piece, the HoopsWorld scribe also details how Jerryd Bayless has been making a strong impression with the Grizzlies after signing a two-year deal this summer. Bayless will have the opportunity to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent again at season's end.
- While Virginia Beach City Council voted to continue pursuing a new arena, council members seem to recognize that the current proposal includes too much public money, writes Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee.
The Wizards finally broke through tonight, winning their first game in 13 tries with a victory over the Blazers. With a tough stretch ahead, however, it doesn't seem like they'll be catching anyone in the Eastern Conference standings soon. Here's the latest from around the East.
- Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com hears Amare Stoudemire would accept a bench role when he returns from injury, and that the Knicks are indeed considering making Stoudemire, on a nearly $100MM contract, their sixth man.
- Offseason sign-and-trade acquisition Reggie Evans could earn Sixth Man of the Year consideration if he keeps up his mastery of the boards for the Nets, opines A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
- The Raptors were high on the idea of re-signing Jerryd Bayless, according to coach Dwane Casey, but the point guard decided to go to the Grizzlies instead, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
- The pressure has been on Magic GM Rob Hennigan as soon as he took the job, and after trading Dwight Howard, he must be right about his next big move, argues Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.
- Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News rates Kyle Singler among the top five rookies, identifying him as a steal for the Pistons on his three-year, $3.135MM deal (Twitter link).
- The Pistons had no idea Brandon Knight would fall to them at pick No. 8 in the 2011 draft, and had been targeting Tristan Thompson and Markieff Morris instead, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reveals via Twitter.
- Nets newcomer Mirza Teletovic said he isn't concerned by his lack of playing time as he spoke about his adjustment to the NBA with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Sulia link).
- Omri Casspi, in the last year of his rookie deal with the Cavs, is among the league leaders in three-point shooting after working on his shot in the offseason, notes Bob Finnan of The News-Herald.
FRIDAY, 12:15pm: The Grizzlies have officially signed Bayless, the team announced today (Twitter link via Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal).
WEDNESDAY, 8:05am: Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal confirms (via Twitter) that Bayless' contract will start at $3MM, meaning he'll receive the Grizzlies' mini mid-level exception. The deal is for two years, with a player option for the second year, and is expected to be the last of the team's summer transactions, tweets Tillery.
TUESDAY, 11:21pm: The Grizzlies and Jerryd Bayless have agreed to terms on a contract, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The deal is expected to be finalized later on Wednesday, now that the moratorium has ended, according to Stein.
This morning, we heard Memphis was free-agent shopping with its mid-level exception. However, that exception figured to max out at $3.09MM rather than $5MM, with the team approaching the luxury tax apron. I would guess Bayless will be signing for that full taxpayer mid-level exception.
The Raptors withdrew their $4MM+ qualifying offer to Bayless last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. If the 23-year-old has agreed to sign for the Grizzlies' mini mid-level, it looks like a great deal for Memphis. Bayless was an extremely efficient reserve in 31 games for the Raptors in 2011/12, averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.8 APG, and 17.7 PER in 22.7 MPG while playing both guard positions. For the Grizz, he has the potential to back up Mike Conley at point guard and also replace some of O.J. Mayo's scoring off the bench.
If Memphis does sign Bayless for the full $3.09MM taxpayer MLE, it will mean the team will be limited to filling out its roster with minimum-salary players, unless it can work out a trade.
At the start of this year's free agent period, the Grizzlies were pursuing relatively big-name free agents such as Ray Allen, willing to offer the full mid-level exception. At the time, I expressed some skepticism that Memphis could offer the full $5MM mid-level if the team hoped to re-sign Darrell Arthur and Marreese Speights.
Sure enough, since agreeing to terms with both Arthur and Speights, the Grizzlies have turned their focus to the $3MM taxpayer MLE, says Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. According to Tillery, Memphis is eyeing players like Jodie Meeks, Willie Green, and Jordan Farmar.
Green and Farmar are asking for the full mini mid-level, while Meeks and rumored target Sonny Weems could probably be signed for a little less than $3MM, says Tillery. The Grizzlies are also said to be eyeing Jerryd Bayless, who is now an unrestricted free agent, though I'd guess he'll receive offers worth a little more than the mini mid-level.
For his part, GM Chris Wallace remains confident that the Grizzlies will add a shooter and a backup point guard, despite not landing their initial targets.
"All the people we're talking to [now] have a track record," Wallace said. "Have they made All-Star teams? No. But how many free agents out there have? We were involved with Ray [Allen]. We offered him more money [than the Heat]. We were right there with Jason Terry. We've talked to a ton of people since this started."
Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago reported
earlier that the Bucks
presented Kirk Hinrich
with an offer of about $4 MM per year, while the Bulls
have made an offer somewhere between the veteran's minimum and around $2 MM per year. The proposed length of either deal is still unknown. Although the Bulls have been relatively quiet at this point during the offseason, Sam thinks that Chicago could eventually become financially viable for free agent point guards such as Ramon Sessions
, Raymond Felton
, Jerryd Bayless
, and Delonte West
, who could be available if they are not acquired during the first wave of free agent signings. Derek Fisher
and Jonny Flynn
were also mentioned as potential additions.
We are currently less than four days away from the end of the NBA's moratorium period, and here is the rest of what we've heard around the league this evening…
- Ersan Ilyasova plans to meet with Bucks owner Herb Kohl on Tuesday, which is seen as an important opportunity in the team's effort to retain the 6'10'' forward (Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times reports). Earlier this week, we reported that Milwaukee offered a deal worth around $40MM over five years.
- Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio tweeted that the Lakers are scheduled to meet with unrestricted free agent Jodie Meeks early next week. In another tweet, Amico says that the Celtics have reportedly stepped up their interest in O.J. Mayo, but thinks Boston would likely have to add him via a sign-and-trade.
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune tweeted that although the Timberwolves express interest in Anthony Tolliver, the team has not made any promises. Zgoda also added via Tolliver's agent that there are five other teams that have shown interest.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer answered some questions from Cleveland fans about the Cavaliers' offseason. While the team appears committed to keeping Anderson Varejao, Boyer thinks that his name will be brought up by other teams during trade discussions. With regards to free agency, she believes that Anthony Tolliver, Sonny Weems, Jonny Flynn, and Royal Ivey could be targets.
- Ben Golliver of the BlazersEdge wonders if there are more front office changes coming after the resignation of Larry Miller, considering that the Trail Blazers still have executives held over from two prior regimes (Twitter link).
- Carmelo Anthony publicly endorsed the Knicks' efforts to recruit Marcus Camby, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday.
- Bulls forward Taj Gibson told Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago that he'd like the team to keep Omer Asik and would be ecstatic if the team somehow found a way to bring unrestricted free agent Kirk Hinrich back to Chicago. The two had been teammates during Gibson's rookie season.
- Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes about Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva as two players who will look to stake their claim as the stretch-four in Lawrence Frank's rotation. Both are in Orlando participating in summer league practices, but only Daye will compete on the Pistons' summer league team.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel talked about Jameer Nelson's return to the Magic and what it means for his leadership role moving forward.
The Raptors have withdrawn their qualifying offer for free agent guard Jerryd Bayless, making him unrestricted, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Bayless is now free to agree to sign with any team, without the Raptors having the opportunity to match.
The move doesn't necessarily mean Bayless won't be back in Toronto or that the team has given up his Bird Rights. However, it appeared that to fit the reported deals for Landry Fields and Kyle Lowry under the cap, the Raptors would need to either move Jose Calderon (by trade or amnesty) or renounce Bayless. If the Raps decide to renounce Bayless, they would give up his Bird Rights, greatly reducing their chances of re-signing him.
In 31 games for the Raptors in 2011/12, Bayless averaged 11.4 points and 3.8 assists in 22.7 minutes per game.