Following blowout losses in Golden State and Denver, the Knicks' current five-game road trip managed to get even worse when Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler left last night's game against the Nuggets with knee injuries. While Chandler downplayed the severity of his left knee contusion and could play tonight, Anthony will head back to New York to get his troublesome right knee drained. Here's more out of the Atlantic Division:
While Billy Hunter's job status is the main focus for the NBPA right now, Jerry Stackhouse believes that it's not just Hunter who needs to go. Calling for "wholesale changes," Stackhouse tells Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News that he belives the union needs to have a new executive committee, president, and executive director in place by the time Adam Silver takes over as commissioner next February.
Here are a few more notes from around the NBA:
Today is January 15th, which means that a number of players who had been ineligible to be traded until this point are now free to be moved by their respective teams. As Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors outlined last month, Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Ersan Ilyasova, and Jeff Green are among the players who weren't eligible to be dealt until today.
However, in addition to rules that keeps players from being traded until December 15th or January 15th, the CBA also includes a stipulation that a team must have a player on its roster for three months before being able to trade him. That means guys who have signed contracts since October 15th are still ineligible to be dealt.
Here are the players who can't be traded quite yet, along with the dates they'll become trade-eligible:
Because the trade deadline arrives on February 21st, players signed after November 21st won't become trade-eligible until after the season. Here are the guys who fit that description:
In addition to recent signees, players who were claimed off amnesty waivers last July are also ineligible to be traded until July 2013. Some amnesty victims, like Andray Blatche, cleared waivers without being claimed and signed new contracts, so they're trade-eligible now, but the following players can't be moved this season:
Finally, players on 10-day contracts, such as Dominic McGuire, Maalik Wayns, and Josh Harrellson, also won't be trade-eligible at any point this season, even if they eventually receive rest-of-season contracts.
A few tidbits of news courtesy of HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler..
After searching for a deal for nearly five months, Mickael Pietrus has finally found his new team. The Raptors officially announced today that the team has signed Pietrus. The deal will be a one-year, minimum-salary contract, with Toronto waiving Dominic McGuire to clear a roster spot.
Pietrus last played for the Celtics during the 2011-12 season, averaging 6.9 PPG and shooting 38.5% from the field in 21.9 MPG. The French swingman has career averages of 8.4 PPG, 42.7% FG shooting, and 35.7% shooting from beyond the arc.
The Raptors only had the veteran's minimum at their disposal to add a free agent, so it's a little surprising that they were able to land Pietrus, whose agent Bill McCandless asserted earlier in the offseason that his client "is not a veteran’s minimum player. There’s no chance he’ll ever sign for that." It seems that, despite talks with Rockets, Timberwolves, Bulls, and Hawks over the course of the offseason, no club was ever willing to commit more than the minimum to Pietrus.
McGuire, whose 2012/13 salary was believed to be fully guaranteed, is owed about $992K for this season and had a non-guaranteed year for 2013/14 worth $1.11MM. While that second year won't be a factor anymore, he should still receive his salary for this season, with the Raptors taking the cap hit for it.
Sam Amick of USA Today first reported that the Raptors and Pietrus had reached an agreement, with Chris Haynes of CSNNW and Shams Charania of RealGM.com (Twitter links) adding details. Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao received as good a vote of confidence as one can get from head coach Byron Scott, who called the Brazilian big man "the best center in the NBA right now." Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that Varejao's statistical production makes Scott's statement a difficult one to disagree with, also mentioning that some fans have wondered if Cleveland should take advantage of his value and trade him. With that being said, Amico asserts that Cavaliers brass currently has no intention of dealing their most tenured veteran. For the rest of tonight's tidbits from the Eastern Conference, you can find them below:
8:16pm: Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets that if the Raptors sign Pietrus, the team would let go of either Dominic McGuire or Alan Anderson. Wolstat also notes the Raptors nearly signed Pietrus last year, but were turned off by the results of a physical, since he was recovering from an injury at the time (Twitter link).
5:55pm: The Raptors are "strongly considering" free agent swingman Mickael Pietrus as they look to fill holes created by injury, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The team is in the market for a small forward, with Landry Fields and Alan Anderson out up to a month, according to Stein (Twitter link). Any deal would have to be for the minimum salary, since the team used its room exception to sign Aaron Gray over the summer.
Pietrus' agent, Bill McCandless, said in July that his client wouldn't sign for the minimum, and it seems he's stuck to that assertion. It's unclear whether there's mutual interest between Pietrus and the Raptors. The team was reportedly considering him earlier this month as well, but nothing came to fruition. Pietrus also reportedly turned down an offer this month from the Spurs, though there was confusion about whether any offer was made. The Lakers have recently expressed interest in him, too.
Toronto has a full roster, with 15 players all on fully guaranteed deals, as Stein points out, so someone would have to go, with the team still on the hook for his salary. The team's three smallest salary commitments are to wing players Dominic McGuire, Quincy Acy and Anderson, so letting one of them go wouldn't do much to address their depth. The team is only paying Anderson the two-year veteran's minimum of $854,389 on a one-year deal, so he'd seemingly be the most likely of that group to go, since he's on the shelf. John Lucas III has the next lowest salary, making $1.5MM this year with a team option for next season.
If the Raptors don't sign Pietrus, the alternative free agent small forwards aren't quiet as enticing, with Damion James and Terrence Williams probably the most appealing options. Check out our complete list of remaining free agents here.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld took to Twitter today to field a variety of trade-related questions from his followers. Some of Kyler's tweets were particularly notable, so let's round up the highlights below (all links go to Twitter)....
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Los Angeles Lakers have shown interest in free agent guard Mickael Pietrus, in addition to their previously reported inquiries about Raja Bell.
Pietrus, who played for the Celtics in 2011/12, is an unrestricted free agent who has popped up in discussions among teams dealing with backcourt injury issues early in the season. The Timberwolves considered signing Pietrus before ultimately deciding on Josh Howard. The Raptors were also said to be interested, but nothing has developed on that front. The Spurs made Pietrus an offer after injuries to Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard left them wanting for wing help, but he declined due to lack of guaranteed money.
There's plenty of news coming out of the Lonestar State tonight, where the Spurs, Mavs and Rockets have begun to cool off, to varying degrees, after their hot starts. Here's the latest: