Mark Deeks has updated his salary databases at ShamSports, and, as usual, he’s revealed several nuances about the latest contracts signed around the NBA. We’ll pass along the details we hadn’t previously heard about here:
- Caron Butler gave up $1MM in his buyout deal with the Bucks. He signed for that same amount for the remainder of this season with the Thunder, who dipped into their mid-level exception to accommodate Butler’s $1MM salary.
- Metta World Peace gave up $305,166 of this season’s $1.59MM salary in his buyout deal with the Knicks. All contracts with player options include a clause indicating whether or not the player receives the money for his option year in the event that he’s waived before deciding on the option. It looks as if the clause in World Peace’s deal stated that he would not receive the option-year pay, since Deeks doesn’t list any of World Peace’s $1,931,550 salary for 2014/15 on New York’s books.
- Shavlik Randolph‘s contract with the Suns includes a non-guaranteed year for 2014/15, rather than a team option, as we suspected.
- If the Hawks exercise their team option on the fourth season of Mike Muscala‘s deal, the contract will nonetheless remain non-guaranteed until the leaguewide guarantee date. It’s similar to the structure of the contracts a handful of Sixers have, including recent signee Jarvis Varnado.
- Chris Johnson also has such a deal with the Celtics, although there are a pair of guarantee dates attached to the third and fourth seasons. The third year becomes fully guaranteed providing he’s not waived on or before September 1st, 2015, and the fourth year becomes fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before September 1st, 2016.
- The Celtics also arranged for a couple of guarantee dates on Phil Pressey‘s three-year contract. Next season is non-guaranteed if he’s waived on or before July 15th, but if the Celtics keep him beyond that date, it’s fully guaranteed. The same happens for the third year of the deal on July 15, 2015.
- The Rockets have a team option on Troy Daniels worth the minimum salary for next season.
- Luke Babbitt‘s two-year deal with the Pelicans is for the minimum salary. Next season isn’t guaranteed, but it becomes partially guaranteed for $100K if he isn’t waived on or before July 22nd.
- The Magic used cap room to sign Dewayne Dedmon to a three-year contract that gives him $300K for the rest of this season, slightly more than what he would have made on a prorated minimum-salary deal. Dedmon is set to make the minimum salary in the other two seasons covered in the pact. Next season is non-guaranteed if he’s waived on or before opening night, when it becomes partially guaranteed for $250K. The final season is non-guaranteed if he’s waived on or before August 1st, 2015, when it becomes fully guaranteed.
DeMar DeRozan tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe the Raptors trade that sent Rudy Gay to the Kings is working out for everyone involved. “The move was a good situation for both of us,” said DeRozan. “When he got traded, the first thing he told me was, ‘This is your time and it’s time to take advantage.’ That meant a lot, just coming from somebody like that.” Here’s more from the East:
- The Cavs have been surging, and even have a slim chance at making the playoffs. Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio says coach Mike Brown‘s message has finally broken through, and credits the top-down culture change to interim GM David Griffin, who took the reigns when Cleveland was underperforming and dealing with reported locker room issues.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown thanked Philadelphia fans for their patience, telling Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that the team’s transparency during their rebuild has been reciprocated with good will. ”You may not agree with it,” Brown said. “But this is our path. This is our plan. And I think that the city’s patience has been remarkable. We’re grateful.”
- Kate Fagan of ESPN.com doesn’t think the Sixers can become competitive in the near future, writing that fans shouldn’t expect a competitor in Philadelphia for a few more years.
- Bucks coach Larry Drew tells Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel that he has no interest in tanking games to keep Milwaukee’s odds the highest for securing the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft lottery. “I know people are looking at the future, as far as the draft is concerned. They’ve already got their eyes pinpointed on players of the future. And that’s normal,” said Drew. “But I just let it be known I don’t pay too much attention to that. I just go out and try to coach this team, and wherever we end up, that’s where we are.”
- Ramon Sessions has taken being traded to the worst NBA team in stride, and Drew tells Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel that Sessions’ professionalism has been welcome with the Bucks. “He’s been unbelievable,” Drew said. “He’s just been a real pro in his whole approach in coming into this situation. He really has reached out to our young guys and is helping them.”
Terry Stotts is on the last year of his contract, and management hasn’t said whether he’ll be back for a third season on the Blazers’ bench, writes Mitch Lawrence of The New York Daily News. Stotts’ staff is not feeling very good about their chances of returning after sliding down to fifth place in the West and in danger of finishing even lower, reports Lawrence. Since starting the season atop the West by winning 33 of their 44 games, the Blazers have been sub-.500, losing 16 of their last 29 games entering the weekend. In six seasons as a head coach with the Hawks, Bucks, and Blazers, Stotts has a record of 195-244.
More from the west:
- Robert Sacre is often overlooked when the Lakers future is discussed, even though he’s one of only four players under contract after June, but he might become an integral part of the team going forward, writes Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times.
- Pau Gasol told Marca.com (translation by Orazio Cauchi of Sportando) that he might stay with the Lakers after this season. His contract is set to expire after the season ends. Gasol said, “My priority is basketball. I want to be on a team with real chances of winning the championship next season. I don’t rule out staying in Los Angeles if the circumstances are appropriate.“
- Warriors veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal called any talk of firing coach Mark Jackson “ridiculous” and “unfair”, and said that if he plays another season it will be because of Jackson, writes Diamond Leung of The San Jose Mercury News. O’Neal said, “The No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.” He also mentioned that he would choose Golden State despite the distance from family because Jackson has shown just how much he cares about his players, writes Leung.
When Kentucky squares off against Michigan in Sunday’s Midwest Regional final, the Wildcats may be looking for their 16th Final Four appearance without a big part of their lineup, center Willie Cauley-Stein, who is doubtful to play because of a sprained ankle. Even if Cauley-Stein is done for the season, it is unlikely to affect his draft stock, writes Josh Newman of SNY.tv. He is currently slotted No. 12 in June’s NBA Draft by Draft Express. “An ankle sprain, it’s nothing. He will be a top-20 pick regardless of him playing another college game. He could be a Lottery pick if he stayed another year at Kentucky,” a former NBA executive told SNY.tv per the article.
More from around the league:
- The staff at Basketball Insiders takes a look at the three teams, the Bulls, Magic, and Bucks, they believe are poised to make a significant jump in the standings next season.
- Louisville’s Russ Smith is most likely going to be a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He could find a niche on a bench somewhere and maybe even land a starting job over time, if he continues to progress as a point guard, writes Adi Joseph of USA Today.
- Drew Sharp of The Detroit Free Press examines what factors in the college game might influence Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to consider a move to the NBA. Sharp cites the increasing frequency of one-and done players, which Izzo isn’t big on recruiting, the rise of rival Michigan, and several rule changes that are negating the Spartans defensive strategies as the main reasons.
- Tom Izzo has never stated he wouldn’t leave Michigan State, just that he wasn’t thinking about it, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Wolstat points to a lack of strong recruits coming in next year and to three top MSU players leaving this summer, as reasons Izzo might leave. He thinks Izzo has geared up for “one last run” and will strongly consider the Pistons head coaching position.
Chris Mannix of SI.com released a new mock draft, with Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Jabari Parker in the top three spots. Here are more rumors surrounding the draft:
- Several executives tell Mannix that the poor tournament performances of Wiggins and Parker won’t impact their draft stock, but that concerns over Embiid’s back injury could significantly affect his value.
- Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times discusses how Wiggins would fit with the Bucks in a video interview.
- Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com thinks Zach LaVine is over-hyped as a prospect, saying that the guard out of UCLA looks like a D-League player despite his first-round projections (Twitter link).
- Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com thinks that Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III needs to finish the tournament with a big performance, because his lack of assertiveness and spotty play has caused him to slip down draft boards from a potential lottery pick to a late first-rounder.
- Scouts tell Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison would go in the 25-30 range in the draft, and that he needs to stay for another year and improve his stock (Twitter link).
- Chris Mannix agrees with that take, tweeting that Harrison has the tools to become a lottery pick in the 2015 draft.
- An NBA scout tells Mannix that UConn’s Shabazz Napier already has better ball handling ability than a lot of NBA backup point guards (Twitter link).
- An NBA executive tells Mannix that Baylor’s Isaiah Austin is another player who should stay in school for another year, pegging the center as a late first rounder at best in the 2014 draft class (Twitter link).
- Louisville’s Russ Smith made the right choice to stay in college after last year’s national championship, writes Adi Joseph of USA Today. Smith will likely be selected in the second round of the draft, and Joseph envisions him as a bench player who could eventually earn a starting job in the NBA.
Jazz forward Marvin Williams hasn’t had any discussions with management about his future, writes Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune. However, Falk reminds that Utah rejected a deadline deal that would have sent Williams out in an exchange for a first round pick, hoping that the 6’9 forward would eventually re-sign this summer. Williams is finishing up the final year of a deal that will pay him $7.5MM this season, and based on glowing approbation from his teammates and coaches recently, it’d appear that Utah remains strongly interested in keeping him for the long-term.
Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes:
- Carmelo Anthony finally had his first conversation with Phil Jackson before the Knicks‘ loss to the Lakers on Tuesday, though the 29-year-old forward tells Newsday’s Al Iannazzone that it was nothing more than small talk: “He told me to get ready, go out there and play, try to finish the season off strong, that’s it…We didn’t really talk about too much. Talked about him being in New York, him coming back out to L.A., the weather. Just generic. We really didn’t talk about nothing.”
- There’s an argument to be made that Kawhi Leonard is the most valuable player on the league’s best team, writes Sam Amick of USA today, who also thinks it’s safe to assume that securing Leonard’s services will be a top priority for the Spurs this summer. The 6’7 forward will be eligible for a contract extension in July.
- Isiah Thomas neither confirmed nor denied an interest in taking a job with the Pistons in the near future, but he did intimate his strong loyalty to the franchise: “My heart has never left this organization…I don’t think you will find a person on this earth that loves the Pistons more than I do” (Eric Lacy of MLive.com reports).
- Bill Laimbeer was also asked about a potential role with the Pistons but declined comment.
- At the recommendation of a Los Angeles-based ankle specialist, Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova will sit out the remainder of the 2013/14 season (Twitter links via the team’s official Twitter account).
- Some may contend that Taj Gibson is a strong candidate to win the Sixth Man of the Year title, but Sam Smith of Bulls.com argues that the Bulls forward exemplifies the NBA’s Most Improved award.
- Former 76ers swingman Rodney Carney is headed to Lebanon to play for Al Riyadi Beirut, reports Enea Trapani of Sportando.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News that he has some interest in becoming a part of the Bucks ownership group. “The team very likely will change hands and there are a number of people that are interested, and I’ve had some people approach me. But there’s nothing yet,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “I talked with [Bucks owner] Mr. Kohl, but he’s talked to a lot of people. The team isn’t doing well and not making money.” More from around the league:
- While the Sixers are derided for approaching the worst losing streak in NBA history, Jeré Longman of The New York Times looks at how many members of the young and unproven roster are fighting more for a career than a record-halting win. “It’s an audition for the whole team,” said guard James Anderson. “A lot of people, all they see is the streak, but we’re out here fighting, trying to stick around in this league.”
- Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders believes that the current CBA has had unintended consequences that have hurt small market and mediocre teams. Duncan thinks the harsh repeater tax, meant to deter big market teams from exceeding the salary cap, only widened the gap in salary flexibility since the tax is an even greater deterrent for small market teams that otherwise might splurge during a window of title contention. Duncan also covers changes in contract extensions and trade regulations that have weakened mediocre teams and resulted in dull trade deadlines.
- Multiple league sources tell Chris Broussard of ESPN.com that they are concerned an over-reliance on advanced statistics is blocking NBA former players from getting as many front office jobs, since they aren’t as devoted to metrics as “stat guys” with a background in analytics or finance. “Generally speaking, neither the [newer generation of] owners nor the analytic guys have basketball in their background,” one longtime league executive told Broussard. “This fact makes it easy for both parties to dismiss the importance of having experience in and knowledge of the game.”
- Jim Boeheim tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv it could be a while before freshman Tyler Ennis and sophomore Jerami Grant make their decisions on whether to declare for the draft or return to Syracuse. “I don’t think there will be any word on them for a while,” said Boeheim. ”You never know in this business. They’ll figure it out somehow.”
Barring a remarkable turn of events, the Eastern Conference playoff field is set, and the only realistic uncertainty that remains is about how the teams will be seeded. Tonight’s Pacers-Heat clash will say much about which team ends up with the top seed, as Indiana will be either three games ahead or just one game up on Miami depending on the outcome. While we look forward to that, here’s what’s happening off the court around the East:
- Jerryd Bayless said a week after arriving in Boston via trade that he’d like to remain with the Celtics beyond this season, and he reiterated that this week to Gary Dzen of Boston.com. Bayless will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
- In a wide-ranging talk with season ticket holders earlier this week, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the team will target a rim protector in the draft, notes Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe.
- Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggests there’s a decent chance that either Tony Mitchell or Chris Wright will return to the Bucks soon, depending on the performance of the newly signed D.J. Stephens (Twitter link). All three have received 10-day contracts from the team this month, and Gardner says the team will probably sign one of them to a longer deal.
- The Bobcats are expected to receive a league-high $20MM in revenue sharing, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports, with several other small-market teams in line for about $15MM. The increase in revenue the Bobcats have drawn via sponsorships is one advantage of fielding a team that competes for one of the last playoff spots rather than bottoming out in pursuit of a high draft pick, as Lowe explains.
- Bobcats owner Michael Jordan doesn’t talk much about the team publicly, but he’s been heavily engaged behind the scenes in collective bargaining and revenue sharing discussions, as commissioner Adam Silver tells DeAntae Prince of The Sporting News.
MARCH 26TH: The Bucks have officially signed Stephens, the team announced (Twitter link).
MARCH 24TH: Milwaukee is circling back around to Stephens now that their 10-day deal with Chris Wright has lapsed, as the Bucks will sign Stephens to a 10-day contract on Wednesday, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
MARCH 14TH: The Bucks are set to sign former University of Memphis swingman D.J. Stephens to a 10-day deal, according to Greek site EBasket. Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype (on Twitter) has confirmed the news. Stephens had interest from several clubs heading into last year’s draft but was not selected.
In 18 games with Greek team Ilysiakos this season, Stephens has averaged 9.9 PPG and 8.8 RPG. The 23-year-old averaged less than eight points and seven rebounds in his senior season at Memphis, but his highlight reel of blocks and eye-popping dunks had scouts drooling. At the pre-draft combine, Stephens registered a 46″ vertical leap, the highest ever recorded by the NBA. For reference, LeBron James and Michael Jordan have never recorded more than a 44″ vertical.
Chris Wright‘s 10-day contract is set to expire and a source tells Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter) that he won’t be signed to a second 10-day deal by the Bucks.
Wright, a Dayton product, played for the Maine Red Claws this season. The 25-year-old was in training camp with the Raptors over the summer and was in a heated three-way battle for the final spot on the roster, but he and Carlos Morais ultimately lost out to Julyan Stone. Wright spent 24 games with the Warriors during the 2011/12 season and averaged 2.9 PPG and 1.9 RPG across 7.8 minutes per game.
Over the course of his ten day deal with Milwaukee, Wright had seen a grand total of two minutes on the floor until tonight’s game, in which he scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists in 26 minutes.