Tonight’s 11:00pm Central deadline for rookie scale extensions is fast closing in. Here’s the latest on talks around the league, with any additional updates that come in throughout the evening added to the top:
- Final-hour talks are taking place between the Cavs and representatives for Tristan Thompson, reports Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). The team has offered more than $40MM, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (on Twitter). A deal was a 50-50 proposition as of this afternoon, as Amico heard (Twitter link).
- Butler struck a somewhat different tone before the Bulls‘ game against the Cavs tonight than his agent did when he indicated that talks were through (below), as Sam Smith of Bulls.com relays. “We still want a deal,” Butler said. “I still want to be here. I still want to have nothing to worry about. So we have until 11:59 [Eastern time] to figure it out. I’m not a personal guy. I don’t take everything to heart. I understand it’s a business. I just have to be a great basketball player. I think this team is really good, championship caliber. I am a part of this team; I am going to produce. I’m going to guard. I will take care of myself. I think there’s not too much I can do right now. I’m done talking about it.”
- Still, Bulls GM Gar Forman said that both sides had agreed to end discussions for now and pick back up again in restricted free agency next summer, Smith notes.
- Butler also said that he believes he’ll remain with the Bulls whether it entails signing an extension or a new deal next summer, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
- Butler has rejected the Bulls‘ “final offer” and plans to enter restricted free agency next summer, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Butler’s agent, Happy Walters, said, “All the [rookie extension] deals done so far have shown that teams are building around their stars of the future, and they’re compensating those players as such. I was under the impression Jimmy was also viewed as one of those future building blocks with the Bulls. We tried like heck to get something done, but ultimately, the Bulls wanted a ‘hometown’ discount. While understandable, I doubt their GM or coaches give Mr. Reinsdorf a discount when negotiating their own deals.”
- Butler had told his teammates that he was willing to play out the season unless the team upped their “final” offer, K.C. Johnson tweets.
- The Wolves and Rubio are making progress on a four-year extension, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski’s sources, there’s optimism, but no deal in place yet.
- The Wolves are now willing to go higher than $52MM in four-year offers to Ricky Rubio and the team is on board with a deal as long as Rubio is, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune believes that a deal would have to be for at least $55MM over four seasons (Twitter link).
- The Bucks and Brandon Knight weren’t too far apart in extension talks before ending them today, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
- Conversely, the gap appears wide between the Bulls and Jimmy Butler, and the chances of a compromise don’t appear to be high, as Goodman also hears (Twitter link). Chicago has been willing to consider a player option in his deal, something the franchise doesn’t ordinarily do, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter), but talks aren’t progressing, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link).
The Bucks and Brandon Knight have ended negotiations about an extension, setting up the fourth-year point guard for restricted free agency in the summer, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). An extension had reportedly been unlikely even though the team and agent Arn Tellem planned to keep talking until the deadline. They took discussions close to tonight’s 11:00pm Central cutoff, but it appears there’ll be no deal.
Milwaukee’s brass appeared enthusiastic early this month about reaching an agreement as the sides opened talks, and coach Jason Kidd spoke of his desire to keep the player taken eighth overall in the 2011 draft. Knight nonetheless had seemed an odd candidate for an extension based on his inability to establish himself as a front-line point guard during his first three seasons in the league. He scored 17.9 points per game last season, but they came for a Bucks team that finished with the league’s worst record.
I suggested that Tellem would attempt to capitalize on Milwaukee’s desire to reach an extension with proposals involving eight-figure salaries, though it’s unclear just what sort of numbers were on the table from either side. The Bucks made an unusual commitment this week to Knight’s backup, Kendall Marshall, when they guaranteed what had been a non-guaranteed contract for the former 13th overall pick. Perhaps that’s a sign that Milwaukee decided at some point that it prefers to evaluate his performance against Knight’s, with both poised to hit free agency in the summer, though that’s just my speculation.
The 11:00pm Central deadline for rookie-scale extensions is only about half a day away, and there’s sure to be action in the hours ahead as decisions loom for the remaining eligible players. Here’s the latest as of this morning:
- The Bulls and Butler were apart by $2.5MM in average annual value as they talked Thursday, Johnson reports. Butler’s camp doesn’t see a deal happening before the deadline, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick (on Twitter), which isn’t surprising considering the gap.
- The Wolves are willing to sign Rubio to a four-year extension worth $52MM, and the team would perhaps be on board with going up to $54MM, according to Wolfson (Twitter link). Agent Dan Fegan has reportedly been seeking the maximum salary for his client, which would likely entail at least $66MM over four years, but Rubio would take $58MM, Wolfson says.
- There’s “plenty of pessimism” surrounding the talks between Tristan Thompson and the Cavs as a gap remains in their proposals, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Ricky Rubio is more likely than not to sign an extension with the Wolves as advanced negotiations have taken place between the sides over the past few weeks, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. That echoes an earlier report from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, who heard from people outside the organization who believed Rubio and the team would ultimately settle on a four-year, $52MM deal.
- Agent Brian Elfus has been in San Antonio negotiating with the Spurs this week, as Stein writes in the same piece, but Kawhi Leonard is nonetheless unlikely to sign an extension, Stein says, seconding a report from ESPN colleague Chris Broussard. Stein hears the Spurs prefer to take Leonard to restricted free agency next summer to maintain maximum financial flexibility. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote earlier this week that the Spurs were reluctant to give Leonard the maximum salary he’s seeking.
- Talks are continuing between the Warriors and Klay Thompson and the Cavs and Tristan Thompson, Stein reports.
- Brandon Knight and Norris Cole appear unlikely to receive extensions, according to Stein, though talks are still going on between the Bucks and Knight’s agent, Arn Tellem, a source tells Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Stein seconds earlier reports indicating that Jimmy Butler, Reggie Jackson and Iman Shumpert also seem unlikely to sign extensions.
- The Bulls are going to have to increase their offer to Butler to entice him to sign, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. It’s unclear what the Bulls have on the table, but as of a week ago the sides were “millions apart,” as Johnson wrote then.
In response to commissioner Adam Silver’s statement that a third of the teams in the league are still losing money, new NBPA head Michele Roberts said, “The NBA’s cries of poverty will not work this time,” Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes.”I can say that I was more than surprised,” Roberts told Yahoo Sports. “I am not suggesting that Adam is telling a lie. I am sure that the owners told him that. But it’s difficult for me to believe that, especially after looking at the 2011 CBA negotiations and seeing all the money the players don’t have now. There’s $1.1 billion that the players would’ve been otherwise entitled.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Mavs owner Mark Cuban left open the possibility that Dallas could add either Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis later on in the season, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reports. “We haven’t talked to him, but I think he’s doing it the right way,” Cuban said of Allen. “He’s waiting to see who’s doing well. If it comes down to it, we’d always consider it. We’re always open to improving the team. But you don’t want to mess up a good thing, either. That’s when Caron Butler got hurt and Roddy [Beaubois] got hurt. But Peja Stojakovic is a good example of us adding a veteran in season.” In regards to Lewis, Cuban added, “Rashard Lewis is working out here. We’ve stayed in touch with him and worked with him.”
- Hasheem Thabeet has passed on playing in Europe and instead will play for Grand Rapids in the NBA D-League this season, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). It appears that the Pistons, who had waived Thabeet, will retain his D-League rights as franchises can retain the rights of up to four players that they have waived.
- The NBA D-League Draft is scheduled to be held this Saturday and the crew over at DraftExpress ran down the complete list of eligible players.
- The Bucks will keep working toward an extension with Brandon Knight up until Friday’s deadline, David Alarcón of HoopsHype tweets. It’s unclear how far apart the two sides are in their discussions, but in his look at Knight in our extension candidate series, Chuck Myron opined that the two sides could compromise on a four-year, $41MM arrangement similar to what the Sixers gave Jrue Holiday two years ago.
A year after the blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Paul Pierce to the Nets, the deal doesn’t look so good for Brooklyn, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. Bontemps points out many of the key players in that deal are no longer on the team. Pierce left the team this offseason to sign with Wizards, while Terry was traded during the middle of last season for Marcus Thornton. More from around basketball..
- If he’ll sign one, Wolves guard Ricky Rubio will top the four-year, $48MM extension that Kemba Walker agreed to earlier today, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.
- Jason Kidd admits it’s a completely different situation coaching the young, inexperienced Bucks this season compared to the veteran driven Nets, writes Andrew Wagner of the Star Tribune. “Here, we can show them but we also have to teach them and show them again exactly the different options because it’s all new to them,” Kidd said. “It takes time, but it’s been fun to see their growth.”
- The decision to waive Aaron Gray was both clear-cut and wrenching for the Pistons, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Gray’s medical situation coupled with the presence of Joel Anthony made him an obvious choice to go, but he was in the best shape of his career this offseason and Stan Van Gundy was excited to see what he could do.
- Ryan Gomes has decided to leave Spanish club Baskonia, also known as Laboral Kuxta, over a lack of playing time, according to David Pick of Basketball Insiders. Gomes, 32, made the Thunder’s opening night roster last season. Former Pacers guard Orlando Johnson could be the next to bolt and DJ White‘s one-month contract with the club will expire next week.
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.
The Bucks had until January to make the call, but the Bucks have decided to guarantee the contract of guard Kendall Marshall, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Marshall’s contract was a non-guaranteed pact, but he’s now guaranteed to earn $915K for the season.
Marshall has impressed in training camp and figures to be the first point guard off of the bench this year. New head coach Jason Kidd knows a thing or two about the point guard position and the organization is clearly high on the 23-year-old.
The Bucks claimed Marshall over the summer shortly after he was waived by the Lakers in a cap clearing move. The UNC product never hit his stride with the Suns, but he revived his career last season when he averaged 8.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 8.8 APG while playing 29 minutes per game for the Lakers.
8:36pm: The release of Eric is official, the team announced.
4:32pm: The Bucks are waiving their non-guaranteed contract with Micheal Eric, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The team had been carrying 16 players, one over the regular season roster limit, so someone had to go. Milwaukee tried to find a way to accommodate the 26-year-old big man, but was simply unable to, according to Charania. He nonetheless seemed the likeliest cut, since he’s on a non-guaranteed contract, and the only other player without a fully guaranteed salary on the team is Kendall Marshall, who’ll likely play a large role this season.
Eric averaged 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game across four preseason appearances this month, the second time in three years he spent training camp with an NBA team. The first time was with the Cavs in 2012, but he saw significantly less playing time for Cleveland that October before hitting waivers. The former Temple Owl has spent much of his pro career in the D-League after going undrafted in 2012.
The native of Nigeria was one of only two camp invitees for the Bucks this year. Eric beat out Elijah Millsap and 2013/14 holdover Chris Wright to become the final contender for a spot on the regular season roster.
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony wasn’t surprised to learn that his squad would be opening the season against the Bulls, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Meanwhile, he says that his offseason flirtation with Chicago has given him insight into their team. “I have a lot of insight [into that team],’’ Anthony said. “I can’t express that right now. I have a better understanding what they’re about. The organization, the players, Coach Thibs, the front-office ownership. [Thibodeau’s] knowledge of the game and what he brings to the game, his excitement and enthusiasm. It doesn’t get better than that. … I give them a lot of credit. They were very impressive.” More from the Central Division..
- Lou Amundson is likely to secure a regular season roster spot, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. The center position could be the one spot in the Cavs lineup to have minutes available due to Anderson Varejao‘s injury history and a lack of proven options behind him.
- Turning the Pistons into a playoff caliber team starts with coach and GM Stan Van Gundy, opines David Mayo of MLive.com. Van Gundy understands the process of building a successful team having turned franchises around in Miami and Orlando. “There are habits to change,” he said. “When you’ve lost for a long time, you get into losing habits. Nobody wants to lose and a lot of times guys don’t even realize the habits they’ve fallen into because they’re still NBA players and they’re playing well. I think they want to change. It just has to be more consistent.”
- Former Bucks forward Chris Wright has joined PGE Turow Zgorzelec of Poland, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (on Twitter, h/t to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).
Chris Crouse contributed to this post.
The Bulls and Jimmy Butler are “millions apart” in extension talks, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, and while the precise gap is unclear, it’s not uncommon for sides to be as far apart as the Bulls and Butler are even a week before the extension deadline, Johnson writes. The team and Butler’s representatives at Relativity Sports this week had their first extensive talks in awhile, Johnson adds. Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- The Wizards recently tried to pry Julyan Stone out of his contract with Reyer Venezia of Italy, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter). The point guard has an escape clause in the pact, according to Charania, who suggests that Stone would be disinclined to leave the team since he’s seeing heavy playing time. It’s unclear if the Wizards maintain interest after signing John Lucas III earlier this week.
- Jason Maxiell will remain with the Hornets on opening night in spite of his non-guaranteed contract, coach Steve Clifford confirmed today to reporters, including Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
- Bucks rookie Damien Inglis will miss at least another six weeks because the right foot he broke during a predraft workout for the Thunder has not healed, tweets Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Bucks drafted Inglis 31st overall in June. His deal is guaranteed for this season.
The Heat front office wasn’t deflated when they learned that LeBron James and his talents were returning to the Cavs, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Miami’s brass looked at the departure as a new opportunity and a fresh chapter, notes Zillgitt. The team wasn’t interested in a long rebuilding process, and Zillgitt points to the team bringing back Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as signing Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng as proof that the team still intends to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s more from the east:
- The Hawks have hired Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to help facilitate the sale of the franchise, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link).
- With 16 players remaining on their preseason roster the Celtics have at least one more personnel move to make prior to the regular season commencing. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com hands out his preseason grades for the players and notes where each currently fits in Boston’s plans.
- New Bucks team owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry face their first major franchise decision, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times writes. The two have to decide the contract future of Brandon Knight, whom they have until October 31st to work out an extension with or else he is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer, notes Woelfel. Knight’s numbers and age compare favorably with Eric Bledsoe‘s, but many around the league feel that the Suns overpaid when the re-signed Bledsoe to a five year, $70MM deal, so Knight may be hard pressed to duplicate Bledsoe’s near $14MM per season average, the Journal Times scribe relays.
- The Sixers still have 20 players on their preseason roster and a number of decisions to make before Saturday’s deadline to waive players so that they’re off the team by the time opening-night rosters are set on Monday. Casper Ware is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, but has a very real shot to stick with the team, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I feel good about it,” Ware said. “I don’t know what they have planned, I just control what I can control and play hard.”