Brooklyn Nets Rumors
June 18 at 6:30pm CST By Michael Pina
A few notes about the upcoming NBA draft, which, remarkably enough, is only nine days away.
- The Nuggets are scheduled to evaluate six more players in a pre-draft workout on Wednesday, June 19, according to Aaron J. Lopez from Nuggets.com. It will be their fourth workout before the draft on June 27.
- The Nets are hosting two pre-draft workouts later this week, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday, according to the team's official site. A total of 12 players will be worked out by the team.
- According to their official site, the Wizards will be conducting a workout on Wednesday, with six players expected to be in attendance.
- In search of a point guard, the Jazz worked out Syracuse prospect Michael Carter-Williams, but do not expect Trey Burke to be available with the 14th pick, and thus won't be working him out, according to The Salt Lake Tribune's Steve Luhm.
June 16 at 12:59pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Magic appear to have heavy interest in acquiring Eric Bledsoe in return for Arron Afflalo, according to Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com, who delivers his latest mock draft. That jibes with the notion that the Clippers are holding out for an additional asset in the rumored trade proposal, which would also send Caron Butler to Orlando. Kotoch adds that Cavs executive Zydrunas Ilgauskas is pushing Cleveland to take Alex Len first overall. Here's more from around the NBA:
- The Nuggets plan for most of their interviews for a new GM to occur once the team hires a coach, reports Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. Wednesday's scheduled meeting with Lionel Hollins will be the first formal interview the team will conduct for the coaching job, and it's unclear when any other candidates will be interviewed, Dempsey notes.
- Nuggets president Josh Kroenke tells Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post that he wouldn't have allowed a team other than the Raptors to have permission to speak with former GM Masai Ujiri. Kroenke admits he put himself in a difficult position because of his friendship with Ujiri, who had a soft spot for the Raptors organization for which he worked once before.
- The Rockets have paid the luxury tax just once in the 15 seasons its been in existence, but owner Leslie Alexander tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he'd be "thrilled to pay a tax if we have a championship-caliber team."
- Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News glances at the personnel decisions facing the Spurs this summer once the Finals are over.
- Tyson Chandler tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that he tried all season long to convince former teammate and new Nets head coach Jason Kidd not to end his playing career. Chandler doesn't believe Kidd's 10-game scoreless streak in the postseason influenced his decision.
- Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com checks in with free agent center Jerome Jordan, who'll be playing in summer leagues for both the Knicks and Pacers and will also take part in mini-camps with the Spurs and Mavericks.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun figures the Raptors may carry only 13 players next season, given their proximity to tax territory (Twitter links).
June 15 at 10:04am CST By Zach Links
While the basketball world is zeroed in on the Heat and Spurs, the Nets managed to steal some of the spotlight this week by naming Jason Kidd as their new head coach. Here's a look at the latest out of Brooklyn and Manhattan..
- Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is happy with his new head coach, writes David M. Herszenhorn of the New York Times. The billionare reportedly hasn't talked to Kidd directly, but he made it clear at a press conference in Moscow this week that he approved of the move. “The point is that there are people who are born coaches,” Prokhorov said. “It is known that Jason Kidd was, in fact, a player-coach on many teams, and he has been training for a long time. He has played under many coaches, and he has always wanted to be a coach.”
- When asked about the potential departure of C.J. Watson, Billy King said that he has already discussed possible replacements for players who may leave with Kidd, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. If Watson does wind up leaving, the question will be who the Nets bring in to provide competition to Tyshawn Taylor for the backup point guard job. They could either draft a point guard with the No. 22 pick or pursue a veteran free agent.
- In the wake of Kidd going from player to head coach in a matter of weeks, Patrick Ewing is disappointed that his time has yet to come, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.
June 14 at 9:48pm CST By Chuck Myron
Earlier today, we learned Nets backup point guard C.J. Watson will decline his player option for next season, and our Atlantic Division roundup was heavy with news on Brooklyn's team. The Nets continue to make headlines, as we detail:
- Nets GM Billy King attempted to throw some cold water on the idea that his team is still in the mix for Dwight Howard, telling Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that, "The (team's) core is going to stay intact." King also said that he'll prioritize adding shooting off the bench and more athleticism as he tweaks the roster this summer (Sulia link).
- Though a report prior to Jason Kidd's hiring as Nets coach indicated "the Russians are on board" with the move, Kidd has yet to speak with owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Bondy tweets.
- Most NBA head coaches don't coach in the summer league, but Kidd will do just that next month as he prepares to take over the Nets bench, according to Newsday's Roderick Boone.
- Andray Blatche is hitting free agency after succeeding on his one-year, minimum-salary deal, and it will be hard for the Nets, who only have his Non-Bird rights, to give him much of a raise. Still, teammate Reggie Evans is holding out hope. "In my heart, I'm expecting him to be back," Evans said to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
June 14 at 4:52pm CST By Luke Adams
With the 2013 draft less than two weeks away, the majority of the NBA's teams are continuing to bring in prospects to get a closer look at them. Here are the latest updates on draft workouts:
- In addition to Michael Carter-Williams, who we heard about yesterday, Trey Burke and Alex Len also participated in the Pelicans' first draft workout today, tweets Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.
- The Pistons won't start working out players for the No. 8 pick until next week, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, who tweets that Mason Plumlee will work out for the club next Friday.
- The six players scheduled to work out for the Nets on Monday include C.J. Leslie and Tony Mitchell, according to a team release.
- Ray McCallum, Brandon Paul, Tony Snell, Nate Wolters, Jack Cooley, and Zeke Marshall worked out for the Trail Blazers today, according to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian (Twitter link).
- The Timberwolves will work out six players on Sunday, according to the team's PR Twitter account: Shabazz Muhammad, Archie Goodwin, Rodney Williams, James Ennis, Kyle Barone, and Jamelle Hagins (Twitter links).
- Brandon Davies, Mike Muscala, Elijah Johnson, B.J. Young, Grant Jerrett, and Colton Iverson worked out for the Clippers today, tweets Clips reporter Madelyn Burke.
- Jerrett and Davies are also among the players who will work out for the Jazz tomorrow, along with Snell, Gorgui Dieng, Jamaal Franklin, Isaiah Canaan, and Kelly Olynyk, among others (link via Utah's official site).
June 14 at 4:20pm CST By Luke Adams
C.J. Watson will turn down his 2013/14 option and become a free agent this summer, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Kennedy reports (via Twitter) that Watson's camp has already informed the Nets of his decision.
Watson, 29, signed a two-year minimum-salary contract with the Nets last summer, with a player option for the second season. After earning $992,680 in 2012/13, Watson would have been in line for a $1,106,942 salary next year, but will instead look to do better on the open market. He's coming off a season in which he averaged 6.8 PPG, 2.0 APG, and a 13.9 PER in 80 games (19.0 MPG) for Brooklyn.
Appearing on WFAN this morning, GM Billy King said and new head coach Jason Kidd were expecting Watson to opt out of his deal, and that the Nets would likely be on the lookout for a new backup point guard this offseason.
June 14 at 12:05pm CST By Luke Adams
A source that spoke to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald expects Doc Rivers to return to the Celtics, if for no other reason than the fact that no other team will offer him the $7MM annual salary he's earning in Boston. However, if Rivers does decide to part ways with the team, Vinny Del Negro would receive serious consideration as his replacement, multiple sources tell Murphy.
"As a stopgap for that situation, sure," one source said. "Vinny would be the perfect person for what they need. All of the All-Star coaches, or whatever you want to call them, are going, and knowing how Danny [Ainge] feels about him, [Del Negro] would be a good fit."
Here's more from around the Atlantic Division on a Friday morning:
- Appearing on WFAN this morning, Nets GM Billy King said he expects C.J. Watson to opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent (link via Josh Newman of SNY.tv).
- Jason Kidd confirmed on ESPN Radio this morning that he has extended an offer to former Nets head coach Lawrence Frank to join his staff in Brooklyn (link via Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com). "The invitation is out there, so it's up to him," Kidd said.
- Even after hiring Kidd, the Nets are still a move or two away from becoming a legit contender, says Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News.
- Pacers president Donnie Walsh tells Fred Kerber and Mark Hale of the New York Post that he was "disappointed" the Nets didn't decide to hire Indiana assistant Brian Shaw.
- Yesterday, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press named the Knicks as a team with interest in Will Bynum, and today he adds another Atlantic team to Bynum's potential list of suitors: The Sixers (Twitter link). The Pacers and Lakers may also be interested, according to Ellis.
June 13 at 9:38pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau appeared to be excited as he described the progress that Derrick Rose has made, saying that the superstar point guard's speed and explosiveness have come back to the point to where he's comfortable and confident (Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago):
"I worked him out about a week ago...Watching the way he's moving now, there's a confidence.(Reporters) may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he's there now. He feels great, and that's the most important thing."
Here are more miscellaneous notes out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Heat forward Chris Bosh downplayed the idea that he's bothered by talk about him being the most expendable of Miami's "Big Three," also mentioning that he wouldn't want to be the lead player on a team with a lesser situation (Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports).
- Though Hall of Fame point guard Bob Cousy once doubled as a player-coach, don't expect Nets coach Jason Kidd to follow suit, as he told reporters that he has no intention of ever playing another minute (Marc Berman of the New York Post via Twitter).
- Patrick Ewing, recently hired as an associate head coach for the Bobcats, thinks that it'll be a tough challenge for Kidd to make the transition from being an NBA player directly into becoming a head coach (Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York).
- Former Knicks and Nets forward Shawne Williams looked good during a workout today and will audition for several NBA teams soon, tweets Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy.
- Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes that while the presence of Dion Waiters on the Cavaliers may compound the team's interest in drafting Ben McLemore, the former Syracuse standout could thrive in a reserve role as a primary ball handler in the second unit.
- Wheat Hotchkiss of NBA.com reviews today's draft workout hosted by the Pacers, which included Deshaun Thomas, Will Clyburn, Alex Oriakhi, James Southerland, and Troy Daniels. C.J. Leslie was present, but did not participate in the workout.
June 13 at 12:22pm CST By Luke Adams
Echoing what we've heard out of Indiana for weeks, team president Donnie Walsh told reporters, including Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, that re-signing David West this summer is "priority number one" for the Pacers.
"We want him back as much as you can want anyone back," Walsh said. "We think he’s one of the anchors of the team."
Here's more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald brings us a few more details on the decision facing Doc Rivers, writing that the Celtics coach is torn between wanting to carve out a long career with a single franchise and worrying about losing effectiveness if he remains too long in Boston. Multiple sources tell Bulpett the odds are still "overwhelmingly" in favor of Rivers returning to the C's.
- From GM Joe Dumars to advisor Phil Jackson to owner Tom Gores, there was no dissension when it came to the hiring of Maurice Cheeks as the Pistons' new head coach, Dumars told reporters today (Twitter links via the Detroit Free Press).
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein is hearing that Cheeks would like to add former Thunder colleague Rex Kalamian as the top assistant on his Pistons staff (Twitter link).
- Jason Kidd spoke to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News about entering the next phase of his career in the NBA, and coming "home" to the Nets.
- In addition to talking to Lawrence Frank and others about joining Kidd's staff in Brooklyn, the Nets have talked about pursuing longtime NBA assistant Dave Wohl, says Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
June 13 at 9:23am CST By Luke Adams
The field of potential suitors for Dwight Howard has "widened considerably," sources tell Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld (Twitter link). According to Kyler, the Lakers, Hawks, Rockets, Mavericks, Spurs, and Nets are all expected to pursue the All-Star center this offseason.
We've heard plenty about the interest that a handful of those teams have in Howard -- the Lakers remain optimistic about re-signing him, while the Hawks, Rockets, and Mavs are all seeking an impact player and have a good chance to create room for a maximum contract offer. The Spurs and Nets, on the other hand, haven't been mentioned in the Howard discussion with the same amount of frequency, though I think there are reasons for that.
In the Nets' case, while we've heard they still maintain interest in Howard, they also have $86MM+ in salary commitments for next season. Without the cap space to sign D12 outright, they'd need to complete a sign-and-trade, and ultimately end up below the tax apron, which figures to be in the neighborhood of $75.6MM. Given the amount of undesirable contracts on the roster, it's hard to envision a scenario in which the team is able to make something work, even if Kyler tweets that they're "willing to do whatever it takes."
As for the Spurs, they've been linked to Howard multiple times by Kyler's fellow writers at HoopsWorld. Their path to cap room is easier, but they still likely won't have quite enough space for a max offer. Clearing the necessary cap room would also figure to mean parting ways with Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, unless those players were inclined to agree to significant home discounts. On top of that, I'm skeptical that a team whose chemistry is arguably unmatched around the league would risk making such a big commitment to Howard, considering the circus that's followed him around the last two seasons.
Even if the Nets and Spurs are long shots for Howard, we've heard that he'll be willing to listen to pitches from just about any interested team, so plenty of clubs will have the chance to at least kick the tires this summer.