LeBron James paid a visit to Ray Allen recently to try to recruit the free agent sharpshooter to the Cavs, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Fellow Cavs James Jones and Mike Miller, as well as Cavs assistant coach Tyronn Lue, have also remained in contact with Allen, who this week hinted that he’ll play this season. The Cavs have plenty of competition for the NBA’s all-time leading three-point shot maker, though the Warriors are no longer mulling a run at him amid the emergence of Justin Holiday, tweets Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. While we wait to see if Cleveland winds up with yet another of its targets, here’s more from the Central Division:
- Timofey Mozgov has had a tangible positive effect on the Cavs, and LeBron is quite pleased with the big man, as USA Today’s Sam Amick and Chris Fedor of the Northeast Ohio Media Group detail. “When we made the trade, everything that he brings us is what we needed and wanted,” James said about Mozgov. “He’s going to be huge for our team. Very, very skilled offensively and understands defensively. Just a smart basketball player and great playing with him.”
- Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird and coach Frank Vogel have spoken about giving more playing time to rookie Shayne Whittington, notes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Whittington is set for restricted free agency at season’s end.
- Pistons owner Tom Gores insists he never second-guessed his decision to hire Stan Van Gundy, even as the team stumbled to a 5-23 start before its recent turnaround, MLive’s Brendan Savage observes. “Never,” Gores said. “Never. You got that on the record? Never. We have an amazing guy. I’m so, so proud that we got him here to Detroit.”
LeBron James wasn’t the only player to reach a career scoring milestone last night as Tim Duncan passed the 25,000 point mark for his career, becoming the 19th player ever to do so. Duncan is also only the second player ever to reach 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds and 2,500 blocks, with the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being the other. So congratulations go out to the “Big Fundamental” on this amazing achievement.
Here are more doings from around the league:
- Justin Holiday and Ognjen Kuzmic have been recalled from the D-League, the Warriors have announced. The pair helped lead Santa Cruz to a 122-95 season-opening victory over the Los Angeles D-Fenders last night. Holiday scored a team-high 26 points and also added six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal in 36 minutes. Kuzmic totaled six points, a team-high 14 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal in 29 minutes of action.
- The Thunder have assigned Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA D-League, the team has announced. Jerrett appeared in 27 games last season for the Blue, averaging 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game. He hasn’t seen any NBA action thus far this season.
- The NBA D-League season began last night and the crew over at SB Nation previewed 10 of the league’s teams including the Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat), Grand Rapids Drive (Pistons), Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors), Canton Charge (Cavs), and Reno Bighorns (Kings).
Golden State has an open roster spot, but it doesn’t appear as though the Warriors are in a rush to fill it. They avoided what would have been a three-game losing streak with Thursday’s win over the Nets, yet six of their next eight games are on the road, including four in the Eastern Time Zone. While we wait to see if the team calls for reinforcements during that stretch, here more from by the Bay:
- The Warriors waived Nemanja Nedovic this week in part because they wanted to reap savings on his roughly $1.104MM guaranteed salary for this season, according to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group, which suggests Golden State had set-off rights in mind. Those rights would allow the Warriors to avoid paying one half the difference between Nedovic’s new salary with Valencia of Spain and $816,482, which is the NBA minimum salary for a one-year veteran. It’s still unclear how much Nedovic will make on his Spanish deal.
- Mark Jackson‘s tenure as Warriors coach ended acrimoniously this spring, but co-owner Joe Lacob doesn’t regret having hired him in 2011, as Lacob tells Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson. “Mark Jackson was a great hire,” Lacob said. “I know it’s hard for people to understand how we can change coaches when a coach won 51 games. But you have to look at it from our perspective: he did his job. I’m proud of the fact that we had Mark Jackson as a coach. And I like Mark Jackson, as a person and as a coach. It’s just that I felt, we felt, we needed to go to the next stage, and we felt if we do it in a different way, it would be better.”
- Justin Holiday and Ognjen Kuzmic are headed on D-League assignment, the Warriors announced. Golden State frequently sent Kuzmic to the Santa Cruz Warriors last year, when he appeared in 28 D-League games and only 20 NBA contests.
Klay Thompson tells J.A. Adande of ESPN.com that he’s more interested in securing an extension with the Warriors now than signing a single year contract next summer to prepare for the 2016/17 free agent market, when the league’s new TV deal will kick in and boost player salaries. “It really is tempting to do all that,” said Thompson, who admitted that seeing Paul George‘s shocking injury with Team USA has affected his outlook. “But I’d rather have the security right now, you know?” Adande gets the sense from both Thompson and the Warriors that a deal will get done before the October 31 deadline. Here’s more from Golden State and the rest of the West:
- 25-year-old Justin Holiday has faced a tough road to crack an NBA roster, but tells Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle that his experience in international and D-League play has been formative. “I don’t need to go out here and do the jobs of Steph [Curry] and Klay. I understand that,” said Holiday, who hopes to earn one of the two open regular season roster spots with the Warriors. “That’s what a team is about: playing together and using each guy’s strengths in order to win… I want to help and lead on defense. You can’t control your jump shot every night, but you can control your effort on defense all the time.”
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke highly of Holiday’s ability, telling Simmons, “He’s an unbelievable guy. He’s a great worker, he’s smart and he’s a team guy. Justin belongs in this league.” Kerr has expressed similar non-committal praise for fellow Golden State camp invite Jason Kapono.
- Veteran Jazz newcomers Trevor Booker and Dahntay Jones tell Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune that Utah’s roster is at an advanced stage for a rebuilding team, having witnessed successful rebuilds in their time with the Wizards and Pacers, respectively.
- Though the Jazz have waived Dee Bost and Kevin Murphy, they still have interest in adding the pair to their D-League team, Falk notes.
Kenneth Faried‘s stellar play with Team USA is going to raise his asking price during his upcoming extension talks with the Nuggets, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. A few months ago a GM told Deveney that Faried was going to be paid in the Paul Millsap ($9.5MM) or Taj Gibson ($8MM) range, but now he’ll most likely command a salary more comparable to Al Jefferson‘s ($13.7MM), the GM opines.
Here’s more from the west:
- Such a deal for Faried would carry a risk for Denver, according to what one Western Conference assistant coach told Deveney. The assistant said, “I guess you don’t know what kind of production he would give you over a long period of time. What happens if they get Danilo Gallinari back and healthy? Now they have Arron Afflalo back. Ty Lawson and JaVale McGee were not healthy last year. How much will having those guys affect his numbers?”
- The Warriors gave partial guarantees of $35K apiece to Aaron Craft, James Michael McAdoo, Mitchell Watt and Justin Holiday, all of whom are on one-year deals for the minimum salary, as Pincus reports in a pair of tweets and on the Basketball Insiders Warriors salary page.
- David Andersen has signed with ASVEL Villeurbanne of the French League, the team announced via Twitter (translation by Enea Trapani of Sportando). Earlier this summer he was eying a possible return to the NBA. Andersen played two seasons in the league, and made his last appearance in the association during the 2010/11 campaign with the Pelicans. His NBA career averages are 4.9 PPG and 2.8 RPG. His career slash line is .440/.347/.674.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Warriors have added Las Vegas standout Justin Holiday to their training camp roster, the team announced. He’ll join 17 others, including 16 who are known to have at least a partial guarantee on their deals, as our roster counts show.
The Warriors D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, traded Scott Machado to the Blazers’ affiliate in exchange for the rights to Holiday back in February. Golden State then got a closer look at Holiday in summer league action where he averaged 14.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG across five games. That performance was enough to make the team want to see even more of the Tony Dutt client this offseason.
Holiday’s lone NBA experience came on a 10-day deal with the 76ers back in 2012/13 where he averaged 4.7 PPG, 1.7 APG, 1.6 RPG, and 15.8 minutes per contest across nine games. After spending time in the D-League, the Adriatic League, and playing for multiple summer league teams in recent years, Holiday will now look to carve out an NBA home for 2014/15.
The Knicks are planning to create their own D-League affiliate in White Plains next year, replacing the hybrid arrangement they currently have with the Erie BayHawks, according to Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside. If approved by the league, the five-year proposal would give the Knicks complete control over both basketball and business operations with the new affiliate. They only control basketball development with the BayHawks. Here’s more from the D-League:
- The Magic are in talks with a current D-League team to establish a one-to-one hybrid relationship as early as next season, Orlando CEO Alex Martins tells Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando currently shares an affiliation with five other NBA teams. Martins wouldn’t name which team is the potential affiliate, but the Erie BayHawks are a possibility, since the Knicks appear to be moving on.
- D-League president Dan Reed tells Robbins the D-League is looking at expanding soon, likely prioritizing the Northeast region of the country: “We will expand relatively soon, but it will be a measured expansion. We’re not going to grow by 13 teams in a year or two. Our mantra is ‘steady, sustainable growth.’ But we are at the point where it’s time to grow the league based on the stability of the league and the interest that we’re seeing out in the markets.”
- The Wizards have assigned rookie Glen Rice, Jr. to the D-League for a second time this season, the team announced.
- The Warriors D-League affiliate traded Scott Machado to the Blazers affiliate in exchange for the rights to Justin Holiday, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Holiday’s only NBA action to this point was in nine games with the Sixers last year alongside his brother Jrue. Machado also has limited time in the NBA so far in his career, averaging just 3.5 minutes over six games with the Rockets last year.
- Gino Pilato of D-League Digest takes a look at some players who have received NBA contracts this season after playing with the Rockets D-League affiliate Rio Grand Valley Vipers. The team uses an extreme run-and-gun system that outpaces the already fast-paced D-League, and some have wondered whether the system is beneficial to the developing players beyond inflating their possessions and stats. James Johnson, Troy Daniels, and Chris Johnson have all inked NBA deals after spending time with the Vipers in 2013/14.
The Jazz are struggling quite a bit to start the season, but George Karl seems to think the Bucks will finish in the cellar and have the best odds at the top pick, writes Bob Wolfey of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “Milwaukee keeps coming to me. They just don’t have enough talent right now. Injuries have taken their best players off the court. They could get into a position that they dig the hole so deep that, philosophically, it might be in their best interests for a poor season,” said the one-time Milwaukee coach. Here’s more out of the Northwest Division..
- In today’s mailbag, a reader asks Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post why the Nuggets would consider trading Kenneth Faried given the production that he has given Denver. Dempsey says that Faried isn’t going anywhere, though it won’t stop other teams from calling.
- Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, who has been sidelined for quite some time, gets homesick occasionally, but he told Italian outlet Il Corriere della Sera that he wants to play in the NBA for as long as possible, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- Justin Holiday signed to play with Hungary’s Szolnoki Olajbanyasz, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Holiday, who was in training camp with the Jazz this summer, spent last season with Idaho Stampede and averaged 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
While there have been conflicting reports on how close the Clippers and Lamar Odom are to reuniting, it sounds like Clippers players are expecting the two sides to get something done. Asked by Sam Amick of USA Today whether he foresees Odom joining the Clips, Jared Dudley replied, “Oh, 100%.”
While Odom continues to work his way back into playing shape and the Clippers prepare for tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota, let’s check out a few odds and ends from around the Association….
- The Nets are still trying to get healthy and to get all their offseason additions working together, but one offseason addition – coach Jason Kidd – hasn’t been impressive so far, a veteran scout tells Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “He doesn’t do anything,” said the scout. “John Welch does all the offense. Lawrence [Frank] does all the defense…. I don’t know what Kidd does. I don’t think you can grade him and say he’s bad. You can give him an incomplete.”
- In free agency, players typically like to secure longer-term deals, but that’s not beneficial when later seasons are non-guaranteed, writes Mark Deeks at The Score. As Deeks observes, a player like Omri Casspi could be stuck in no-man’s land next summer, since the Rockets will have until August to decide whether or not to guarantee the second year of his contract.
- Deeks also reports (via Twitter) that free agent forward Hakim Warrick is in China, working out for the Sichuan Blue Whales. If the audition goes well, Warrick is expected to replace former Rutgers big man Herve Lamizana, according to Deeks.
- Emiliano Carchia of Sportando passes along an Italian report suggesting that Justin Holiday, Jrue Holiday‘s brother, has turned down an offer from Italy’s VL Pesaro. Holiday was in camp with the Jazz after spending last season with the Sixers, and still appears to be searching for an NBA deal.
The Sixers slipped below .500 with last night’s loss to the Pelicans, but somehow Philadelphia still leads a woeful Atlantic Division. The team’s 5-6 record is the sixth best in the Eastern Conference, so as we ponder whether the mediocrity of their opponents could allow the Sixers to remain in the playoff hunt all season, here’s the latest from Philly:
- Jrue Holiday doesn’t have hard feelings for his old Sixers teammates, but he told reporters Saturday that it took only a “couple minutes” for him to get over his trade to the Pelicans once he realized who his new teammates would be. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the details.
- Holiday’s older brother is drawing interest from an Italian team. Vuelle Pesaro is eyeing Justin Holiday, though no deal is imminent, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. Justin Holiday played for the Sixers last season and was in camp with the Jazz last month.
- Another shooting guard who had a cup of coffee with the Sixers is also in the mix overseas. Xavier Silas has signed with Maccabi Ashdod in Israel, tweets Sportando contributor David Pick. Silas played a pair of games for Philly at the end of the 2011/12 season and was in camp this fall with the Wizards.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown has brought the player development chops he honed as a Spurs assistant to Philadelphia, observes Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times.