Here's a look at the latest out of the Atlantic..
- The Nets received more calls at the trade deadline about Mirza Teletovic than any other player, as other teams found his three-year, $9.687MM contract a bargain given his track record in Europe, reports Fred Kerber of the New York Post. Teletovic has only averaged 9.1 minutes per game this season, but he's intent on making it in the NBA and has no plans to return to Europe.
- Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo defended Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni from the criticism he's taken over Kobe Bryant's injury, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. “When you’re playing for a playoff position, and in particular you’re playing a guy that would play 48 minutes if you’d let him, I think there’s been a lot of unfair commentary directed towards Mike. The only way you get Kobe off the floor is if you pull him off the floor," said the coach.
- Julius Erving told John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter) that he wouldn't mind being involved in the vetting process for free agents for the 76ers.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
With seven playoff spots clinched and the Bucks likely to lock their spot up as soon as this weekend, there won't be much late-season drama in the Eastern Conference. But seeding is still on the line, and a win for the Bulls tonight over the Nets would increase the likelihood of the two teams playing each other in the first round later this month. As we look forward to that game, let's check out a few notes from around the conference....
- Although he and the Bulls agreed to a contract extension way back in October, it took head coach Tom Thibodeau a while to actually sign his new contract, with multiple reports in February and March indicating that he had yet to do so. Thibodeau confirmed today, however, that he has signed the agreement, telling Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com that the delay was a non-issue.
- Jannero Pargo inked a deal yesterday to remain with the Bobcats for the rest of this season, but he'd like to stay in Charlotte beyond this year, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. It's not clear yet whether Pargo's deal with the Bobcats includes a non-guaranteed option for 2013/14, as many late-season agreements do.
- Despite spending the first few years of his career overseas before making the jump to the NBA, Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has no intention of returning to Europe, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes.
- One player who is heading overseas is Samardo Samuels, who was waived by the Cavaliers earlier this season. Despite reportedly drawing some interest from the Nets and others, Samuels didn't land with another NBA team, and is close to signing with Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- Celtics president Danny Ainge is also overseas this week, having traveled to Europe on a scouting trip, says Aris Barkas of EuroHoops.net. According to Barkas, Ainge was in Volos, Greece to watch 18-year-old prospect Giannis Adetokunbo, who is expected to enter this year's draft.
5:31pm: A source with ties to the Nets indicates to Alex Raskin of HoopsWorld the team is unlikely to acquire Pierce.
4:25pm: The Celtics and Nets have discussed a trade for Celtics star Paul Pierce, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. However, the Celtics want a better package than what Brooklyn is currently offering, according to the sources.
The Nets' offer centered on forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick. "The Celtics still highly value Pierce and it wouldn't make sense to trade him for that kind of a package if they're keeping Kevin Garnett," one league source said.
Boston has shown interest in forward Mirza Teletovic and securing another possible first-round pick, but the Nets don't seem willing to pay that kind of price for the 35-year-old guard. Boston had interest in guard C.J. Watson in a separate deal, but GM Billy King & Co. don't want to part with him, sources said.
The Nets and Celtics discussed a deal for Pierce at last year's deadline, but the C's decided to keep him for another playoff run. The veteran is averaging 18 PPG for the Celtics this season while shooting just 41% from the floor, his worst percentage in the past eight seasons.
Trade talk has come in fits and starts over the past few days, but the action should start to pick up soon. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is among many who expect discussion to intensify this weekend, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. As the clock ticks closer to the deadline, which is a week from Thursday, here are a few late-night nuggets:
- While we've heard the Nets will go after Paul Millsap if they don't land Josh Smith, Nets Daily reports that Brooklyn has more interest in Millsap anyway, adding that MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic are drawing consideration from other teams (Twitter links).
- The Lakers have an open roster spot, but coach Mike D'Antoni isn't anxious to add anyone, notes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. "We could bring somebody in and have them sit on the bench for a while but that doesn't make any sense either," the coach said. "You're playing games that you have to win. . . . Would I even play him?"
- Though he said this weekend that he couldn't assure Iman Shumpert he wouldn't be traded, Knicks coach Mike Woodson indicated to Stephen A. Smith on ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio that Shumpert is staying put. Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
- Center Nerlens Noel, one of the top contenders to become the No. 1 overall pick in June, suffered a knee injury in Kentucky's game tonight and, according to Andy Staples of SI.com, left the arena in a wheelchair en route to a hospital (Twitter links).
- Texas Legends co-owner Donnie Nelson, who doubles as president of basketball ops for the Mavs, maintains the "door is open" for Delonte West to join the D-League team, even though the guard has yet to report after the Legends acquired his rights last month, The Associated Press reports (link via ESPN.com).
- The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh wonders if agent B.J. Armstrong and the Wasserman Media Group, along with Adidas, are pushing the Bulls to delay Derrick Rose's return until next season.
- Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com catches up with Shelvin Mack, whom the Celtics are reportedly considering.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston delves further into what today's roster moves meant for the Celtic green, noting that the $275K the team saved by waiving Kris Joseph is nearly the amount it will cost the team to sign a veteran-minimum player late in the season. He also points out that Boston must wait for Joseph and Jarvis Varnado to clear waivers before being able to offer 10-day contracts. As for the now-former Celtics, Forsberg writes that both will have the option of returning to the D-League while awaiting their next opportunity. Here's the rest of what we've heard out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
- ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling describes how current Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga played a pivotal role in helping Knicks forward Chris Copeland earn a shot to play in the NBA.
- With P.J. Carlesimo, Nets rookie Mirza Teletovic has another chance to make a first impression (Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports).
- In a Q&A with readers that covered a variety of miscellaneous topics, Doug Smith of TheStar.com said that with a full roster, the Raptors aren't currently inclined to waive anyone in order to sign someone to a 10-day contract. With regards to their point guard situation, Smith thinks that Toronto should stand pat for now and seems confident that the team will eventually have discussions next summer to try and keep Jose Calderon.
The latest news and notes from around the Atlantic Division on Sunday afternoon:
- Despite rumors that Dwane Casey's job is in jeopardy, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star backs the Raptors coach and notes that perception around the league is generally optimistic about Casey and the team's future.
- Mirza Teletovic was used to being the focal point of his team in Europe, so it's been a challenge for him to adjust to being on the end of the Nets' bench this season, as Newsday's Roderick Boone chronicles.
- Mark Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Lakers guard Jodie Meeks, who reflects on the 76ers organization where he spent the first three seasons of his career as his new team prepares to play his former one.
- Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire are making progress toward returning to the Knicks.
The Nets will be playing their home games at the Barclays Center for the first time this season, but it doesn't seem as if many Nets will be sticking around Brooklyn for too long after the buzzer sounds. Howard Beck of the New York Times writes that the team will continue to practice in New Jersey and will live outside of Brooklyn for the coming season. Due to the location of the team's practice facility, a handful of players will live in New Jersey, while a few more, including Deron Williams, will live in Manhattan. Here are the rest of the Tuesday morning items out of the Atlantic Division:
JULY 16TH, 12:18pm: The Nets have officially signed Teletovic, the team announced today (Twitter link).
JULY 4TH, 4:13pm: Larry Coon of ESPN.com and HoopsWorld confirms via Twitter that the Nets were able to agree with Teletovic for the $3.09MM mid-level. Assuming the maximum 4.5% raise, this would put the total of Teletovic's three-year deal at $9,687,150. Besides saving a few million dollars on Teletovic, this gives the Nets significantly more financial flexibility this season, as they're now free to exceed the $74.31MM "tax apron."
3:57pm: A source close to the negotiations tells John Hollinger of ESPN.com (Insider link) that the Nets may sign Teletovic for the taxpayer mid-level exception, starting at $3.09MM, rather than the full mid-level. As I explained earlier today, giving Teletovic more than the mini mid-level would essentially hard-cap the Nets, making it more difficult to re-sign their own free agents and next to impossible to acquire Dwight Howard.
JULY 3, 11:07am: The Nets have agreed to a deal in principle with Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times (via Twitter). According to Beck (via Twitter), Brooklyn is using its mid-level exception to sign Teletovic for three years. Chad Ford of ESPN.com confirms the financial details, tweeting that the contract will be for three years and $15.675MM.
Because the Nets are using the full mid-level exception, rather than the taxpayer mid-level, they will be hard-capped at about $74MM for the coming season, since teams that use the full MLE can't surpass the luxury-tax apron. Not only will this make a Dwight Howard trade more of a long shot, but it means that the mid-level won't be available to sign another veteran, such as Jason Kidd.
For his part, Teletovic averaged 16.3 PPG and 6.9 RPG in 34 games in the Spanish ACB League this season, and 21.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 10 Euroleague contests. The 26-year-old is a strong three-point shooter despite playing the power forward position. He was rumored to be deciding between the Nets and Cavs for his first NBA contract.
The mid-level exception allows teams to sign players for contracts starting at $5MM, with 4.5% raises. So Teletovic's deal will be worth $5,000,000 for 2012/13, $5,225,000 for 2013/14, and $5,450,000 for 2014/15, totaling $15,675,000.
Earlier this afternoon we learned that the Raptors have offered Steve Nash a three-year, $36MM deal. The aging point guard is also being courted by the division rival Nets, Knicks, as well as the Mavericks. Here's the latest out of the Atlantic..
- The Nets and Celtics are among the teams looking at Nick Young, along with the Hornets, Pacers, and Lakers, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA.com (via Twitter).
- In an update to today's report on the Nets-Hawks trade talks, Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com write that sources say that the Nets have serious interest in Bosnian free-agent forward Mirza Teletovic. The 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward with shooting range averaged 21.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG in the Euroleague last season.
- Marc Berman of the New York Post (via Twitter) hears that close to a dozen teams called today on Steve Novak. Berman can't see Novak being worth a full $5M mid-level exception but he notes that all it takes is one team.
- Celtics coach Doc Rivers told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports that he wants to "bring the band back together." and that apparently includes Ray Allen. Allen has drawn interest from several teams, including the Grizzlies, Heat, Nets, Hawks, and Mavericks.
- The Nets have expressed interest in Eric Gordon, particularly as a replacement for star if Deron Williams he leaves for Dallas, sources told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- Nash is definitely the Knicks' top target, but they have also reached out to Raymond Felton's representatives, tweets Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday (via Twitter). The unrestricted free agent also had interest in the Suns, Nets, and a return to the Blazers as of last month, but that seems unlikely after Portland tabbed Damian Lillard in the draft.
- Greg Stiemsma visited with the Timberwolves and will talk to other clubs in the coming days, but the center's agent says that his preference is to return to the Celtics, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
It's past midnight on the East Coast, and that means teams may negotiate with free agents from other clubs, as the NBA's offseason gets under way in earnest. Players can't officially sign contracts until July 11, and trades can't be made official until that date either. That doesn't mean there won't be plenty of talk and agreements in principle between now and then, and if this evening is any indication, we're in for a busy couple of weeks ahead. There are several bits of news rolling in on free agents as July begins, so we'll round up what we're hearing around the late-night rumor mill here.
- The Mavericks are interested in Anthony Randolph, according to Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com.
- Jamal Crawford was contacted by six teams tonight, with Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld identifying the Celtics, Suns, 76ers, Timberwolves, and Clippers, while Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com says the Pacers were also in touch.
- Seven teams contacted Ian Mahinmi when free agency opened, but the Mavericks weren't one of them, says Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com.
- The Kings have reached out to Terrence Williams, tweets Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
- There are five or six teams ready to make Lou Williams a contract offer, tweets John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has already called Ramon Sessions to open dialogue about a new contract, says Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports clarifies an earlier item on Omer Asik (linked below), tweeting that a Blazers contingent met with Asik tonight, but that GM Neil Olshey was meeting with another player.
- After his meeting with the Rockets tonight, Omer Asik will sit down with Blazers GM Neil Olshey, who plans to make him an offer, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
- Rockets free agent Goran Dragic wants to be the starter no matter where he winds up, Wojnarowski also tweets.
- The Clippers will talk with Nick Young, Randy Foye and Jamal Crawford, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
- Lakers unrestricted free agent Jordan Hill will meet with the Wolves on Monday, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- The Nets are committed to reaching a deal with Mirza Teletovic but are waiting to find out what happens with Deron Williams first, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
- Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak contacted Devin Ebanks via text message about re-signing him, tweets Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times.
- Rockets GM Daryl Morey is meeting tonight with Bulls restricted free agent Omer Asik, and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune hears the Rockets are prepared to offer Asik a deal worth $8MM a year (Twitter link).
- The Mavs may have interest in Wolves unrestricted free agent Michael Beasley, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- The Clippers had contact tonight with Chauncey Billups' representatives, writes Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.