2:32pm: Sixers coach Brett Brown is “thrilled” with Varnado and would like to keep him around, notes Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com, suggesting that it’s no certainty that anyone set to work out for the team will receive a contract. Brown has had a say in each of the moves the team has made since the start of the season, according to Lynam.
8:08am: The Sixers will bring in Scott Suggs and Darius Johnson-Odom on Tuesday to audition for the team, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. They also have workouts lined up for James Nunnally and Kevin Murphy, as we passed along Sunday night. Philadelphia has 14 guaranteed contracts and Jarvis Varnado on a 10-day deal, so their pursuit of another signee indicates that Varnado’s time in Philadelphia will be short. His deal expires at the end of the day today.
Suggs is a 6’6″ shooting guard who went undrafted out of Washington this past June. He’s been playing for the D-League affiliate of the Knicks, averaging 17.6 points and 41.4% three-point shooting in 36.0 minutes per game. He saw summer league action with the Bucks, but the 24-year-old wasn’t in camp with any NBA team. Johnson-Odom is a more familiar name, having seen four games of NBA action with the Lakers last season. He joined the Lakers again for camp in the fall and split the season between China and the Nets D-League affiliate. Jorge Gutierrez recently edged out Johnson-Odom for a 10-day contract with Brooklyn.
Sixers coach Brett Brown suggested late last month that the team would be cycling through several players at the end of the season, and it appears they’re indeed planning on giving at least a handful of guys a look. Varnado has scored 2.5 points and 3.8 rebounds on 12.5 minutes per game in his time with Philadelphia. If no one impresses during the workouts, it seems reasonable to think that the team would consider signing Varnado to a second 10-day contract.
With the D-League trade deadline in the rear view mirror, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest looks back at the biggest transactions of the year. The L.A. D-Fenders’ acquisition of Manny Harris tops the list. The Lakers‘ affiliate got Harris from the Canton Charge in exchange for a 2014 second round draft pick and the guard currently leads the NBA D-League in scoring average and even earned a call-up after a month in L.A. Here’s more from around the Association..
- The 76ers plan to workout D-League guard Kevin Murphy, an audition that could lead to 10-day deal, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Murphy is averaging ~26 PPG for the Idaho Stampede.
- James Nunnally will also get a workout with the 76ers, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Nunnally had two 10-day contracts earlier this season with the Hawks.
- Seton Hall standout Fuquan Edwin hasn’t seen a whole lot of Ws during his collegiate career but he’s still happy with his time in South Orange, New Jersey. “It’s definitely been a pleasure playing at the university with the great coaching staff that we have,” Edwin told Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders. “I think coach helped me tremendously in developing my game. We haven’t really won games or got far in my career, but it has definitely been a blast overall playing these last four years.” Barring a surprise run in the Big East tournament, Edwin’s collegiate career is on the verge of coming to an end. The small forward is currently projected to be taken late in the second round by DraftExpress.
- Stars who stick with one franchise are getting increasingly rare, but Mavericks
big man Dirk Nowitzki is an exception, writes Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer. ”I basically grew up in Dallas,” Dirk said. “I came over here at 19 or 20 and now I’m 35. I’ve spent half of my life here. It is important for me to be a Maverick because I have deep connections with this franchise. The fans supported me through disappointing playoff losses. They were always by my side as I grew as a player. I can’t see myself playing for another franchise.”
- Suns coach Jeff Hornacek is targeting Wednesday’s game versus Washington for a return of injured guard Eric Bledsoe, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Bledsoe will initially be coming off of the bench.
- Earl “The Pearl” Monroe threw his support behind former teammate Phil Jackson who could be taking over the Knicks front office, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Darrell Arthur isn’t completely sold on exercising his player option for next season, worth more than $3.457MM, but he’s strongly leaning toward picking it up and remaining with the Nuggets, as Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post observes.
“I’m just going to wait until the season is over with and talk to (Nuggets GM) Tim (Connelly) and see what’s up and go from there,” Arthur said. “But I’m looking forward to coming back here. I like it here. I feel like when we’re healthy, we have a great team to build with, and I want to be a part of it.”
Here’s more from around the NBA:
- Former Jazz swingman Kevin Murphy received multiple NBA training camp invitations this past offseason, but he didn’t think any of them gave him a fighting chance to make an opening night roster, as he tells Cameron Schott of RealGM. Murphy has instead split the season between a French team and the D-League, where he’s putting up impressive numbers for the Idaho Stampede.
- The Mavericks have sent Gal Mekel to the D-League, the team announced. It’s a rehab assignment, notes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The rookie point guard has missed the past 21 games for Dallas after having surgery on his right knee.
- Bucks 10-day signee Tony Mitchell admits he has a “strange game,” but coach Larry Drew explains how it fits what the team was looking for. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the details.
- Even if Canisius point guard Billy Baron goes undrafted, several NBA teams say they’d invite him to training camp for next season, as Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher writes.
If the Heat fall to the Pacers because of the Andrew Bynum signing, then the Heat weren’t going to win the title anyway, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Bynum doesn’t figure to rise any higher in the Pacers rotation than the ninth or tenth man, and if that is the determining factor, then Miami has deeper issues with their roster than one player can change. Winderman believes the Heat tandem of Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen versus Roy Hibbert and Bynum should still be fine, as Andersen is a match for Bynum defensively. The Heat also tend to favor playing with smaller lineups, which won’t change their strategy against the Pacers.
More from around the league:
- LeBron James doesn’t have any insight on where Carmelo Anthony will play next season, writes Mitch Abramson of The New York Daily News. James said, “I don’t know (what he’s thinking). I’m a good friend of his but I don’t know what his mind is saying or what’s going through his mind. He loves to play basketball and just like the rest of us — we want to win. That’s the number one thing. When you do something your whole life you want to win at it and you want to work at it. You don’t want it to be easy but you want to give yourself an opportunity to win. But I don’t know what’s going through his mind.“
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post is the latest to weigh in on the possibility of Kevin Durant joining the Wizards in 2016. When Durant was asked about the possibility, he stated, “I don’t even want to think about that. I haven’t given it any thought, playing up here. I love Oklahoma City. I love coming here and visiting.” Whether or not he wants to give it any thought, it will be difficult not to if it’s a topic of conversation over the next two seasons.
- Gino Pilato of D-League Digest.com examines if Kevin Murphy is worthy of an NBA call-up. Murphy is currently with the Idaho Stampede, and is averaging 23.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 1.4 APG in 32.2 minutes. Before joining the Idaho Stampede this season, Murphy played in 11 games with the Reno Bighorns on a D-League assignment from the Jazz last year, where he averaged 13.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.6 APG. He didn’t make much of an impact during his time with the Jazz, playing in only 17 games, and averaging 0.9 PPG in 2012/2013.
- The Nuggets are at a crossroads this season. Do they tank for a better draft pick, or try to trade their way into a playoff berth? There is a third choice, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The team could try and follow the Pacers model of building a contender according to Dempsey. That team parlayed shrewd drafting and smart role-player signings into being a championship caliber team. The Pacers avoided pursing big-name free agents, and Dempsey believes this is the most realistic path for the Nuggets to take. The Nuggets currently sit at 22-23, and are 3 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot. A number of injuries to key players will make it difficult for the current roster to make the playoffs. Denver has two first-rounders this year, but will have to ship the lower of the two to the Magic, either their own, or the Knicks‘ pick they obtained from the Carmelo Anthony deal.
It’s been an active past couple of days in the Association, and there are plenty of rumblings on other circuits, too. Here’s the latest on players with NBA ties:
- Knicks training camp invitee Ike Diogu will join the D-League, a source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. Diogu, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, last appeared in an NBA regular season game with the Spurs in 2011/12, though the Knicks reportedly considered bringing him back last month after Tyson Chandler‘s injury.
- Lucas Nogueira has exercised a provision in his contract with Spanish club Estudiantes to suspend the deal while he seeks outside medical opinion on his ailing knees, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The Hawks retain the NBA rights to Nogueira, the 16th pick in the draft this June.
- D.J. Kennedy has left Gravelines of France and is on the radar of Italy’s Reggio Emilia, reports Prima Pagina (translation via Carchia). The Italian team may view him as a replacement for Coby Karl, who appears to be on the outs with the club. Kennedy was in camp with the Mavs this fall.
- Kevin Murphy and French team SIG Strasbourg are in negotiations about a split, according to a L’Équipe report passed along by Catch-and-Shoot (translation via Carchia). Murphy signed with the club in August, shortly after the Warriors let him go.
So far today, the international rumor mill is a little busier than the NBA version, so let's round up a few of the latest reports on various teams overseas….
- Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports that unrestricted free agent Kevin Murphy will sign with France's SIG Strasbourg. Murphy was selected by the Jazz in the second round of last year's draft, and spent time in both Utah and Reno, with the D-League's Bighorns. The 23-year-old guard was included as the only outgoing piece from Utah to Golden State in the trade that landed the Jazz several expiring contracts and future draft picks, and was later waived by the Warriors.
- 6'9" forward Gani Lawal has signed with VEF Riga of Latvia, according to the team (hat tip to Sportando). After being selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Suns, Lawal appeared in just one regular-season game for Phoenix, but had reportedly been drawing NBA interest again this offseason.
- Former Celtics big man JaJuan Johnson has signed with Italy's Giorgio Tesi Pistoia, the team announced (translation via Sportando). Johnson was drafted 27th overall in 2011 and spent the 2011/12 season in Boston before being included last summer in the three-way trade that sent Courtney Lee to the C's. After being cut by the Rockets, Johnson played for three D-League teams in '12/13.
The Warriors have waived Dwayne Jones, Scott Machado and Kevin Murphy, the team announced today. Jones and Machado were late-season signings from this past spring, while Murphy joined the team as part of a three-team trade two weeks ago.
All three were on non-guaranteed minimum-salary contracts, but they all would have received at least a partial guarantee if Golden State hadn't waived them on or before August 1st. The contracts for Jones and Machado would have become fully guaranteed if they had stayed on the roster past that date, while Murphy's would have been guaranteed for $75K.
The team's roster is at 13 players, which gives Golden State plenty of flexibility heading into training camp. Teams can have as many as 20 players on their camp rosters, a limit that shrinks to 15 for the regular season. The Warriors have a hard cap this season, but the subtraction of a few minimum-salary players won't make too much of a difference considering they were more than $7MM shy of the hard cap before today's moves.
None of the three saw significant playing time last season. Jones and Machado didn't make it into any regular season games with the Warriors, instead appearing only briefly during the playoffs. Machado did play in six regular season contests during his stint with the Rockets in 2012/13. Murphy spent 2012/13 with the Jazz, who made him the 47th pick of the 2012 draft.
JULY 10TH, 4:40pm: Utah's agreement with the Warriors has been finalized and has been rolled into a separate deal, both teams confirmed. The breakdown:
JULY 5TH, 4:36pm: Both first-rounders the Jazz are acquiring in the deal will be unprotected, tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.
4:01pm: The Warriors will send their 2014 and 2017 first-round picks to the Jazz, tweets Wojnarowski. Multiple second-rounders will also go to Utah in the deal, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).
3:27pm: Murphy will be sent to the Warriors in the trade, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Meanwhile, Wojnarowski tweets that multiple draft picks are headed to the Jazz, including a 2014 first-rounder.
3:23pm: Brandon Rush is also headed to Utah in the deal, according to Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. Shedding Rush's salary as well will give Golden State room under the cap to sign Iguodala.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com adds (via Twitter) that the Warriors will receive a non-guaranteed contract from Utah in the trade. That player will be either Kevin Murphy or Jerel McNeal.
2:57pm: The Warriors have reached an agreement on a salary-dump trade with the Jazz, according to Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson will be heading to Utah in the deal, reports TNT's David Aldridge (via Twitter).
Rumors relating to the Warriors' trade talks with the Jazz had been swirling all day, as Golden State looked for a way to clear cap space to make a run at Dwight Howard and/or Andre Iguodala. The team ended up reaching an agreement to bring Iguodala aboard, and hasn't been entirely ruled out of the race for Howard.
The Jazz are recalling Kevin Murphy from their D-League affiliate, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Murphy had been playing for the Reno Bighorns since being assigned by Utah on November 26th.
When Murphy was assigned to the D-League by the Jazz, GM Dennis Lindsey noted that he wanted to see the second-round pick operate as a team player, rather than dominating the ball and trying to rack up points. In 14 games, including 12 starts, for the Bighorns, Murphy averaged 13.2 PPG on .446/.350/.775 shooting.
Here's a look at some items out of the Western Conference..
- Stephen Curry says that the Warriors' trade of Monta Ellis to the Bucks has significantly changed his approach to the game, writes Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld. Now more of a playmaker, Curry has embraced his adjusted role in Golden State. “The backcourt that we have, we mesh well together, especially with Jarrett [Jack] coming off the bench, so it’s been a different look, but we are getting used to each other and we are playing well," Curry explained. The club's acquisition in that trade, Andrew Bogut, figures to give them a major defensive boost upon his return.
- John Canzano of The Oregonian opines that the Blazers need to ease the burden placed on star big man LaMarcus Aldridge in order to help guard against his potential departure. Aldridge is under contract for $60MM through three more seasons and has yet to win a playoff series in Portland.
- For guard Kevin Murphy to return to the Jazz, General Manager Dennis Lindsey says that he hopes to see the rookie operate as a team player rather than a "pig scorer", write Brian T. Smith, Steve Luhm, and Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune. Murphy was demoted to the D-League earlier today and will be in Reno for a minimum of five games.
- One of the Blazers' biggest problems is that they have been unable to develop their recent draft picks into true contributors, tweets Mike Tokito of The Oregonian. The new CBA places extra emphasis on teams being able to get strong production out of their reasonably-priced younger players, which is obviously essential for a smaller-market team.