4:54pm: Appling suffered a shoulder subluxation while in camp with the Lakers and remains injured, so he’ll receive $6K from the Lakers under the stipulations of his Exhibit 9 contract, Pincus reports (Twitter links). He’d have drawn paychecks based on his entire minimum salary as long as he was hurt if the Lakers had signed him to a conventional contract.
4:48pm: The move is official, the team announced.
4:35pm: The Lakers are cutting Keith Appling, reports Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Pincus indicates that the team has already placed the point guard on waivers, though the team has yet to make an announcement. The 22-year-old’s contract is non-guaranteed, so it won’t cost the Lakers any dead money to part ways with him.
Appling went undrafted out of Michigan State this year and spent summer league with the Blazers before joining the purple-and-gold. He’s appeared in two preseason games for the Lakers but has totaled only two points and two assists in nearly 20 minutes. The 2010 McDonald’s All-American didn’t put up flashy numbers with the Spartans, either, but he was a mainstay of coach Tom Izzo‘s teams for four years.
The move would take the Lakers down to 17 players, 13 of whom have full guarantees. Ronnie Price appears a strong bet to make it to opening night on his non-guaranteed deal, leaving Jabari Brown, Wayne Ellington and Roscoe Smith to fight it out for the last spot, if the Lakers elect to carry the maximum 15 players to start the regular season.
MONDAY, 4:47pm: The move is official, the team announced.
SUNDAY, 6:26pm: The Lakers will waive Jeremy Tyler so that he can sign a deal in China, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Wojnarowski adds that the forward will not dress for tonight’s preseason game.
Tyler, 23, has spent time with the Warriors, Hawks and Knicks since being drafted by Charlotte in the second round of the 2011 Draft. Over 104 games, Tyler owns career averages of 3.6 points and 2.6 boards over 104 games in his NBA career.
With Tyler out of the picture, the Lakers now have an 18-man roster with 13 guaranteed deals. Keith Appling, Jabari Brown, Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price, and Roscoe Smith have non-guaranteed pacts and are vying for the last spots on the final roster.
Henry Abbott of ESPN The Magazine hears from agents and team sources who say Kobe Bryant‘s rough-edged personality is driving free agents away from the Lakers. The Buss family receives more income from the team’s local TV deal if ratings are better, and that helped persuade the team to sign Bryant to his lucrative two-year extension 12 months ago and to eschew an aggressive rebuilding project, Abbott hears. Bryant’s popularity with powerful front-row celebrities also played a role, and co-owner Jim Buss is just “waiting for [Bryant] to leave,” a source tells Abbott, fearful of engaging in a public spat with the superstar. Steve Nash nearly decided against approving his sign-and-trade to the Lakers and Paul George signed his extension with the Pacers in part because of Bryant, sources tell Abbott. Chris Bosh was one of the Lakers’ missed free agent targets this summer, and there’s more on him amid the latest from around the league:
- The Thunder will join the Sixers in voting against the changes to the lottery, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, but Wojnarowski seconds Lowe’s report (below) that the measure still has enough support to pass.
- Bosh spoke of a desire to be paid at his full market rate as he explained his decision to turn down a four-year max deal from the Rockets for five years at the max from the Heat to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “It’s always business,” Bosh said. “Nothing is ever personal. I think 100% of those dudes would have taken the deal I took.”
- Another NBA team has joined the Sixers in opposition to the league’s lottery reform proposal as the Board of Governors meet today, but the measure is still expected to receive approval, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports (Twitter links).
- Players union secretary-treasurer James Jones is an opponent of shortening games and believes, as teammate LeBron James does, that players would instead like to see fewer games on the schedule, as Jones tells Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
- Former Hawks All-Star Dikembe Mutombo has met with a group of investors about joining their effort to buy the team, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Various reports have painted conflicting pictures of Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s willingness to keep Charlie Villanueva‘s non-guaranteed contract into the regular season, but Cuban nonetheless has plenty of praise for the nine-year veteran. Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has the details.
“He’s the prototype of what we like,’’ Cuban said. “A guy who was in a difficult situation and got a bad rap, but when you do your homework he’s really a good guy. He’s great in the locker room, guys love him and he’s putting on a battle for that last spot.”
Villanueva will soon know his status one way or another, since teams have to pare down to no more than 15 players by 4pm Central on October 27th, one week from today. Here’s more from around the Western Conference as that deadline looms:
- Ronnie Price is looking like a shoo-in for the Lakers opening-night roster, observe Bill Oram of the Orange Country Register and Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Price racked up 10 assists Sunday against the Jazz.
- The Jazz organization remains high on Carlos Boozer, Oram notes (on Twitter). The Lakers can’t trade the former Utah power forward this year, but he hits free agency in the summer.
- Dahntay Jones appears to have the inside track for the 15th opening-night roster spot on the Jazz if the team elects to keep that many players, as Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune examines.
- The Warriors have opened the season with just 14 players two of the last three years, but they’re leaning toward keeping 15 men until at least the leaguewide guarantee date in January based on the impressive play of many in camp, writes Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. Golden State has 13 contracts with full guarantees, five with partial guarantees, and a non-guaranteed deal with Jason Kapono, as our roster counts show.
The Rockets have not settled on their opening night roster yet, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “That’s why we’re experimenting,” coach Kevin McHale said. “There are still a lot of unknowns. We have a lot of guys who haven’t just taken a spot where you say, ‘I’m really comfortable. This guy has really taken the backup spot.’ We have a lot of guys still fighting for spots.” Houston brought 20 players to camp and has not made any official cuts, although it would seem the team is down to 18 players for 15 roster spots with Robert Covington and Akil Mitchell not having been with the team for the last week.
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Jeremy Lin is humbled by the offseason trade that sent him to the Lakers, writes Mike Bresnahan of the The Los Angeles Times. Lin said, “When I first got there [Houston], I was supposed to be the guy and they were supposed to kind of hand the torch to me. And I ended up getting traded away basically for nothing. Actually, they had to give a draft pick to convince someone else to take me. Pretty much given away for nothing. Definitely not how I envisioned it.”
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich loves the play of JaMychal Green, tweets Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News. The unfortunate thing for Green is that the Spurs don’t currently have an opening-night roster spot for him, Monroe adds.
- Wolves head coach Flip Saunders is praised by local high school and college coaches for his open-door policy, writes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We are a very close fraternity as far as coaches, and what you want to do is make sure you’re open,” Saunders said.
- Jazz forward Enes Kanter has as much to gain this season as anyone on the team, opines Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune. Kanter will head into restricted free agency next summer if the Jazz do not reach a deal on an extension with him by the October 31st deadline.
- In a roundtable preview for the Kings, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller predicts that Sacramento will pull off a major trade this season, citing GM Pete D’Alessandro‘s aggressive track record and abundance of assets at his disposal.
Cray Allred contributed to this post.
Before the Cavs preseason loss last night, LeBron James told reporters including Joe Vardon of the Plain Dealer that his return to Cleveland had little to do with his new teammates. “It was more about these fans and the city and the people here,” James said. “So, the team didn’t mean much. I felt like me coming, we could hopefully add some pieces, [but] obviously it happened quicker than I thought.” Here’s more from around the Central Division:
- Pau Gasol tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post that it was tough to leave the Lakers and Kobe Bryant this summer, when he signed with the Bulls as a free agent. “[Bryant] wanted to pretty much retire together,” said Gasol, who feels he made the right choice for his career. “That was an attractive option. One part of me wanted to stick with him and try to turn it around. But deep inside of me, I felt it was time after everything that I’d been through that I wanted to put myself in a position where I was highly stimulated…I feel energized. I feel rejuvenated.”
- Gasol confirmed to Lee that he weighed cultural factors when choosing a team, in addition to the on-court outlook. “To me, it was important on a personal level because I’m not just a basketball player,” said Gasol, who was reportedly concerned about Oklahoma City’s lack of diversity when the Thunder chased him this summer. “I have other interests, other desires than basketball, and Chicago had a lot to offer from that aspect.”
- In a session with reporters (video link at Basketball Insiders), Stan Van Gundy said he traded for Joel Anthony to bring a more “defensive-oriented culture” to the Pistons, citing Anthony’s experience as a rotation player in multiple postseason runs with the Heat.
- Van Gundy praised Detroit’s new director of strategic planning Pat Garrity, saying he was an obvious hire. Garrity originally sought a coaching job with the Pistons before Van Gundy steered him to the team’s front office.
- Will Bynum tweeted a thankful goodbye to Pistons fans (H/T Vincent Ellis of Detroit Free Press). “It has been a great run in Detroit,” said Bynum, who was traded to the Celtics on Friday afternoon. “You have all been so supportive for me throughout my time with the Pistons. Goodbyes are painful but are signs of great memories.”
While the Pistons’ acquisition of Jodie Meeks raised some eyebrows early in the offseason, the Lakers’ dropoff in long distance shooting may prove his value. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times notes that Los Angeles hasn’t hit a three-point shot in three straight preseason games, as Jeremy Lin, Nick Young, and Ryan Kelly have all missed time. Here’s more from the purple and gold:
- Steve Nash tells Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com that he feels better physically this year, despite being sidelined this week with no timetable for a return to practice or game action. “I expected things to happen; it’s inevitable with everything I’ve gone through that there’s going to be issues adapting back to the game,” Nash said. “On the other hand, I did get through seven or eight hard days well, which I didn’t do last year. So there is some improvement, and if I can adapt continually once I heal up here, I’ll be back on course.” Nash missed most of last season with injuries, and the 40-year-old has acknowledged that the primary reason he didn’t retire was to keep the $9.7MM in earnings from the final year of his contract.
- Head coach Byron Scott discussed the potential for Nash to be shut down this season with Holmes. “I really don’t know what the future holds for Steve right now,” Scott said. “The one thing I do know, like I said, in talking to him, [is] he wants to play. He wants to play badly…I think we are all fearing it throughout the year, we didn’t know when this might take place, we didn’t know if it was going to be November or March.”
- Lakers rookie Julius Randle has struggled at times this preseason, and the forward tells Joe Ramirez of NBA.com that he’s okay with being pushed harder than other players by Scott. “He’s still a baby, so I’ve been a little hard on him at times. But it’s the NBA,” Scott said. “But every now and then I forget that he’s 19 years old and he has a lot to learn. It’s not that he’s not willing to learn. It’s just that he has to put forth the effort. It’s a lot harder here than it was at Kentucky. This is the big boys’ league. That’s the bottom line.”
The deadline for teams to sign rookie scale extensions with their eligible players is two weeks from today, and while only six players came to deals last time around, that number has the potential to be much larger this year, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein has more on many of those extension hopefuls that adds to the storylines we’ve been following throughout the offseason:
- Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, and Norris Cole are among the players who are in active negotiations with their respective teams about rookie scale extensions, Stein reports. Klay Thompson, Ricky Rubio, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Reggie Jackson, Brandon Knight, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks are also in active extension talks, according to Stein, who advances earlier reports that all of them had engaged in talks.
- Iman Shumpert and the Knicks are also discussing an extension, Stein writes, countering a report from a few weeks ago that indicated that the sides hadn’t engaged in talks and that New York was content to let the swingman hit restricted free agency next summer.
- Klay Thompson’s camp is considering the idea of going after an offer sheet similar to the one the Mavs gave Chandler Parsons if Thompson and the Warriors don’t come to an extension this month, Stein hears. Parsons’ near-max deal runs three years and includes a player option and a 15% trade kicker. Rival GMs have expressed admiration for its structure and Rockets GM Daryl Morey pointed to the difficulty that trading such a contract would entail shortly after he decided against matching it. The player option would allow Thompson to hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2017, which is when Stephen Curry‘s deal is set to end, as Stein points out.
- The Lakers have attempted to trade for Thompson in the past, Stein notes, though he doesn’t make any suggestion that they’re planning an aggressive push for the shooting guard if he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
The Raptors, like many teams, have their sights set on chasing star free agents in the summer of 2016, but such plans will make it tough for the team to find room to grant extensions to both Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross when they’re eligible a year from now, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. GM Masai Ujiri did the perfunctory duty of exercising Toronto’s 2015/16 rookie scale team options on Valanciunas and Ross on Tuesday, but the team’s decisions regarding the pair won’t be so easy next fall, as Wolstat points out. Here’s more from around the league:
- Danny Ainge on Tuesday dismissed the notion that the Celtics will waive injured center Vitor Faverani and his fully guaranteed contract, meaning the team is exploring other ways to alleviate its logjam of 16 fully guaranteed deals and 15 opening-night roster spots. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has the details. “We have things we can do before we waive someone,” Ainge said.
- Kobe Bryant predicted the NBA will move for another lockout in 2017 and had some harsh words for owners around the league when he spoke to reporters Tuesday, including Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Still, Bryant showered praise on the Lakers, who’ll again be paying him the league’s highest salary this season. “I think it speaks volumes,” he said. “Not only to me or this city but to other players around the league, as well. You look around at some of the other owners that try to milk their players or get rid of them or discard them, this organization doesn’t do that.”
- The Lakers appeared to have the inside track for Kevin Love at times last season, but Love stressed to reporters Tuesday that playing on a contending team like the Cavs means more to him than playing in a large market, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com.
The father of lottery pick Dario Saric is upset about his son’s lack of playing time for Turkey’s Anadolu Efes and is threatening to end his son’s deal with the Euroleague team, David Pick of Eurobasket.com tweets. Predrag Saric said he’ll look for someone who would finance a buyout if his son, whose NBA rights belong to the Sixers, doesn’t start to see the floor soon, as he told Hrvoje Slišković of Jutarnji.hr, a outlet in Saric’s native Croatia. Dario agreed to a long-term contract with Efes shortly before the draft, one that was to keep him out of the NBA for at least this season and likely until 2016, but it’s not clear if Predrag’s agitation is a precursor to an early NBA jump, particularly since he’s advocated in the past for his son to remain in Europe. There’s more on the Sixers in our look around the league:
- There have been conflicting reports about whether Klay Thompson is asking for the maximum salary in an extension with the Warriors, but Thompson’s father says it’s indeed the max that he’s after. Mychal Thompson made his comments Monday on his own ESPNLosAngeles radio show (audio link), as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group transcribes.
- Mychal, a former Lakers player, also signaled that he’d like to see his son play for the Lakers at some point, Leung observes in the same piece.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown clarified to reporters that the team never gave a recovery timetable for Michael Carter-Williams, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Carter-Williams said yesterday that he was told when his shoulder surgery took place in May that he would be out six to nine months. Indeed, Philly’s release at the time stated that there was no timetable. Pompey and other reporters gave a two-to-four month estimate shortly after the surgery based on the way others have come back from the injury.
- Shawn Marion, who left Dallas for the Cavs this summer, still has a bitter taste in his mouth from the Mavs‘ decision to let go of Tyson Chandler soon after the team won the championship in 2011, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to defend [our title],” Marion said.