Justin Holiday

Southeast Notes: Dragic, Napier, Smith, Holiday

Goran Dragic has a new five-year deal worth more than $85MM with the Heat, and he also has more responsibility and a stronger roster around him than ever before, notes Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. Dragic only has played in one NBA postseason, but odds are that’ll change by this spring.

“There’s definitely more pressure now,” Dragic said to Lieser. “You need to show people that you’re worth that money. I know I have my spot, but you need to prove to everybody that you deserve it. There’s pressure, and you need to deal with it. I can do that.”

See more on an ex-Heat point guard amid the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Shabazz Napier likes his new surroundings with the Magic and wasn’t surprised when the Heat traded him in the offseason, observes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. “During the summer you hear lot of rumors. What actually happened, I wasn’t too surprised at all. If it hit me where I didn’t know about it, then I’d be surprised,” Napier said. “But I kind of had a feeling they kind of needed to get some trades off. I sensed it because I have a great agent [Rob Pelinka], not because I felt they wanted me to get out of there. It’s just sometimes it’s business. They needed extra money and they didn’t need the luxury tax and what not.”
  • The Sixers made Ish Smith an offer to return, and the Kings and Suns offered him deals, too, before he instead signed with the Wizards, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers seem like they could have used him, but Smith faces long odds to stick for opening night in Washington, since he has a non-guaranteed deal on a roster with 15 fully guaranteed contracts, Pompey writes.
  • Justin Holiday, one of the few members of the Warriors championship team to depart Golden State this summer, is hoping to follow in DeMarre Carroll‘s footsteps as an under-the-radar signee who blossoms with the Hawks, as Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders details. Holiday’s two-year deal with Atlanta is for the minimum salary, as Basketball Insiders scribe Eric Pincus shows. “The main thing that appealed to me was how the team played,” Holiday said. “Just how coach [Mike Budenholzer] goes about doing things here. I guess DeMarre leaving, obviously that made it available for me to come. So that has to be a big reason why I’m here, but I guess I didn’t focus as much on him not being here. I just think the way they do things here is the main reason why I felt like this was a good place for me to come.”

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Holiday, Magic

The Wizards are hoping that their $55MM Entertainment and Sports Arena which, when construction is completed, will serve as their practice facility, among other uses, will be a powerful lure for free agents, especially Kevin Durant, who is set to hit the open market next summer, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com writes. Team owner Ted Leonsis also plans to add a D-League affiliate in the near future that will play in the new facility, Youngmisuk adds. Washington is currently operating without its own D-League affiliate.

The Wizards would have a world-class practice facility and our fans would be able to watch practice,” Leonsis said. “And then we would attach to that facility a mini arena that would be really state of the art, maybe seat 3,000 to 5,000 people and we can do charity events there and have some preseason games there and maybe the Washington Mystics would play some games there. And we’d then also want to bring a D-League team there to the community and we would program it to put it in a part of the city that can really use hundreds of jobs,” he added. “Verizon Center is credited with helping turn around downtown D.C. and we think we can do it again in another community that needs a bear hug and some transformation.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks have officially named Michael Blackstone as assistant GM, John Treloar as Director of Player Personnel, Malik Rose as Manager of Basketball Operations, Dotun Akinwale as Manager of Scouting, Matt Elijah as Manager of Basketball Administration, Daniel Starkman as Coordinator of Basketball Operations and David Painter as Director of Basketball Facilities, the team announced (h/t to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who first reported the moves).
  • The Magic have an intriguing collection of talent on paper, though it remains to be seen how well the players will mesh together on the court, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post (Facebook link) writes in his season preview. Orlando has enough firepower to make the postseason, but it may take another season before the team gets there, Bontemps concludes.
  • Justin Holiday is itching to assume a larger role with the Hawks than he had on a stacked Warriors squad in 2014/15, KL Chouinard of NBA.com writes in a profile of the guard. The 26-year-old appeared in 59 contests for Golden State last season, but only averaged 11.1 minutes of action per night. Holiday inked a two year pact with Atlanta this offseason.

Hawks Sign Justin Holiday

THURSDAY, 6:18pm: The deal is official, the Hawks announced in a press release. “Justin’s abilities on both ends of the court excited us as we looked to add depth on the wing,” coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said. “His combination of length and versatility with a great work ethic give him a chance to be a solid contributor on the court, and his experience on a championship team this past season and his high-character will be great positives for our locker room.

6:14pm: Holiday’s deal is for two years, and is fully guaranteed, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets.

WEDNESDAY, 5:46pm: The Hawks have reached an agreement on a contract with unrestricted free agent Justin Holiday, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The exact length and amount of the deal has not been disclosed at this time.

The 26-year-old spent last season with the NBA champion Warriors, appearing in 59 games and averaging 4.3 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 11.1 minutes per contest. His shooting numbers were .387/.321/.822. His career averages are 4.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, and 0.9 APG.

Golden State had declined to extend Holiday a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent, and the team was considering re-signing him for less than the $1.147MM tender that would have counted against the team’s cap figure. The shooting guard will provide depth at the wing for the Hawks, who are set to lose unrestricted free agent DeMarre Carroll to the Raptors.

Pacific Notes: Williams, Lakers, Looney

The Kings have expressed interest in bringing forward Derrick Williams back next season, though the organization’s first priority is to upgrade the point guard position, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. Sacramento is reportedly interested in the SunsEric Bledsoe, and free agent Rodney Stuckey, as well has been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Rajon Rondo. Williams can become a restricted free agent this summer if the Kings tender him a qualifying offer worth $4,045,894. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Despite the reports that Kings coach George Karl wants center DeMarcus Cousins traded, Karl is excited to see what a pairing of Cousins and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein can do, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee relays (Twitter links). Karl believes the duo will mesh well together because each has a different skillset on defense, Jones adds.
  • The Lakers are expected to try and add a rim-protecting big man, a 3-and-D capable small forward, frontcourt depth, as well as a veteran point guard this summer, Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders writes. Davis lists LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, Robin Lopez, Jimmy Butler, and Wayne Ellington as potential free agent targets for the Lakers.
  • Steve Kerr doesn’t believe that the Warriors winning a championship his first season as coach will increase the pressure on him, but instead, it will allow him to continue to just be himself, Tim Kawakami of The Bay Area News Group writes. “It’s funny you say that because as an observer and an analyst for TNT and even as a player, I always felt that when a coach won a championship, it freed him up to be himself,” Kerr responded when asked if his approach would change next season. “Coaching in the NBA is such a fleeting thing; guys get fired left and right, and so a lot of guys coach out of fear. And they try to hang onto their jobs. I always felt like the ones who won titles were freed up to just do it their way and to not worry about anything.
  • Todd Ramasar, the agent for Warriors draftee Kevon Looney, denied the reports that his client underwent surgery on his hip last year, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group writes. Looney believes that he can continue to play without surgery but will undergo a medical evaluation to determine if a procedure is necessary, Leung adds. “I had suffered a hip injury when I first got to UCLA, and I played the whole season with it,” Looney said. “I went through the [draft] workouts with it. I still can play now. I can play just fine. I can walk good. I’m not hurting right now. I’m looking to the doctors to tell me what they really want to do, but this is an injury that I had, and I can actually play with, and I can actually do well with it.
  • Though the Warriors declined to extend Justin Holiday a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the team may look to re-sign him for less than the $1.147MM tender it would have required to make Holiday a restricted free agent, Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets.

And-Ones: Lopez, Crawford, Holiday

With the way Brook Lopez has played this season, he has plenty of reason to not exercise his $16.7MM player option for the 2015/16 season with the Nets, and instead test free agency, Tim Bontemps of the New York Post writes. Lopez signed a four-year, $60.8MM deal with the Nets in July 2012. The big man is averaging 16.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game since the All-Star break, so he would likely receive plenty of interest from several teams, Bontemps adds. Lopez played in only 17 games last season because of a foot injury.

“I haven’t thought about that,” Lopez said of the player option. “I want to keep going, keep continuing to get my legs under me, and back to confidently playing basketball and being the player I normally can be. That’s still way out. I always take it one game at a time, so it’s definitely a ways out.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers said “there’s a chance” that Jamal Crawford will not return this season and added that the veteran guard is nowhere near playing, Melissa Rohlin of The Los Angeles Times writes. The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year has a very deep bruise on his right calf, and he’s had to have it drained once in the last 10 days, the Clippers said before Sunday’s game. The Clippers have gone 6-4 since losing Crawford, who is averaging 16.4 PPG this season. J.J. Redick has stepped up without Crawford by scoring at least 20 points in each of his last four games. “Jamal told me he’s feeling better,” Rivers said. “It’s just that it doesn’t seem like it. Honestly, we don’t know. There’s no target date for Jamal, for sure.”
  • There’s a strong chance Justin Holiday‘s short run as the Warriors’ starting shooting guard ends Monday if Klay Thompson‘s sprained right ankle is healed, but the journeyman has made strides toward improving his game while playing in an enhanced role,  Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group writes.

Central Notes: Allen, Mozgov, Whittington

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.”

And-Ones: Holiday, D-League, Jerrett, Kuzmic

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).

Warriors Notes: Nedovic, Jackson, D-League

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.

Western Notes: Thompson, Holiday, Jazz

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.

Western Notes: Faried, Warriors, Andersen

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.

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