Kevin Love today indicated his intention to stay with the Cavs beyond this season, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com observes, and Cavs GM David Griffin is confident that Love and LeBron James will stick together for years to come, notes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Love and James can become free agents next summer, and Love said today that he hasn’t spoken about an extension with Cleveland, though that only stands to reason, since he can re-sign for more money if he waits until free agency.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- There was confusion earlier this month about whether Anthony Bennett would go to the Sixers as part of the Kevin Love trade, but Sixers GM Sam Hinkie told reporters today that he never had any talks about acquiring the former No. 1 overall pick. Tom Moore of Calkins Media passes along the tidbit via Twitter. Bennett wound up with the Wolves instead.
- Arnett Moultrie‘s future with the Sixers is cloudy, but Hinkie indicated today that Philadelphia still wants to give him a chance even though the power forward has to prove his worth, as Moore observes (Twitter link). “Arnett was working really hard last week,” Hinkie said. “It’s been going fine. It’s a big summer for him. He’s got to show what he can do.” Last week, Chuck Myron cast the chances as remote that Philly will up his 2015/16 rookie scale contract option by the October 31st deadline.
- The two-year $550K offer that agent Tim Lotsos said Thanasis Antetokounmpo turned down from Cimberio Varese to instead join the Knicks D-League affiliate wasn’t quite so lucrative, as Guido Guida of La Gazzetta dello Sport hears (Twitter link). The gross amount wasn’t quite that much, and the net after taxes was only slightly more than $100K per year, Guida says. A source seconds Guida’s report to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Former Bucks coach Larry Drew was blindsided by his ouster from Milwaukee, telling Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was taken aback by the process. New owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens were already in discussions with Jason Kidd, who supplanted Drew on the bench, while he was participating in rookie Jabari Parker‘s introductory press conference.
“The whole Jabari thing, putting me in that position, I don’t think it was very professional. I wish it wouldn’t have happened that way, but it did,” said Drew, who is now an assistant with the Cavs. “It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo‘s agent tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that the forward turned down a two-year, $550K offer to play in Italy in order to accept the $25K salary he will receive with the Knicks‘ D-League affiliate. Agent Tim Lotsos says the sacrifice was made because his client is eager to prove himself as NBA-ready. “To my surprise, he passed on it,” said Lotsos. “He’s very ambitious and determined to make the NBA. I didn’t try to force him. I wanted him to make his own decision.”
- A D-League expansion draft for returning player rights will take place on September 1, reports Gino Pilato of DLeagueDigest.com. The draft will supply the Knicks‘ new affiliate with a starting roster, and each existing team will protect up to 12 current D-League players that the Westchester Knicks can’t obtain.
- In the same piece, Pilato does a mock selection draft, projecting which players he sees each D-League team protecting and which players wind up in Westchester.
- Plenty of people believe rookie Cavs coach David Blatt will become one of the best coaches in the league, writes Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders in his look at rising coaching names. Brigham views Mike Budenholzer, Steve Clifford, Dave Joerger, and Jeff Hornacek as fellow up-and-comers in the NBA ranks.
- In a LeBron James-centric mailbag column, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel asserts that it was James’ contract preferences that led to the Cavs receiving draft picks from Miami in 2010 through a sign-and-trade, and that it was also his contract desires that prevented the Heat from receiving any picks when he returned to Cleveland this summer.
The Cavaliers‘ roster overhaul this offseason is reminiscent of what the Celtics did back in 2007, including obtaining a star player from the Wolves, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Here’s more from the east:
- Former Knicks second-round pick Andy Rautins has signed with Pallacanestro Varese of the Italian League, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Rautins only appeared in a total of five games for New York, averaging 1.6 PPG. His last NBA action came for the Bulls‘ Summer League team back in 2013.
- If Dwyane Wade can stay healthy, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes that the Heat‘s roster this season is better than the one they had prior to LeBron James‘ arrival.
- Former NBA player Terrel Harris has signed with Maccabi Ashdod SCE of the Israeli League, the team announced via their Facebook page (hat tip to Basketball Insiders). Harris has played for the Heat and the Pelicans, with a career average of 2.3 PPG. He spent last year in the NBA D-League, most recently with the Bakersfield Jam.
The United States defeated Puerto Rico by a score of 112-86 in their final home exhibition game prior to the FIBA World Cup. Stephen Curry was the high scorer with 20 points, and James Harden added 13 for Team USA.
Here’s the latest from the Eastern Conference:
- The Knicks already have the D-League rights to Thanasis Antetokounmpo, as Gino Pilato of D-League Digest clarifies in an update to an earlier report. Pilato had originally indicated that the Sixers retained his D-League rights because he played for their affiliate last season, but this year’s D-League rule changes give the Knicks his D-League rights because they selected him in the NBA draft this summer, as Pilato explains. Antetokounmpo, the 51st overall selection, has reportedly agreed to sign with the D-League and play for New York’s affiliate.
- C.J. Miles will be asked to do a lot more than the Pacers anticipated when they signed him as a free agent back in July, writes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. In the wake of the potential season-ending injury to Paul George, and the departure of Lance Stephenson to the Hornets, Miles will need to pick up a sizable portion of the scoring load, opines Montieth.
- The Knicks have a logjam at the shooting guard position with J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Iman Shumpert, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. In the article, Begley examines the pros and cons of each player starting versus coming off of the bench. Smith weighed in on the situation, saying, “That’s for the coach to decide. All we’ve got to do is play. Whatever they decide, we’ve got to just live with it. Hopefully everybody could put their egos aside and come together for one common goal.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Celtics are the only Atlantic Division team to make it to the NBA Finals in the past decade, and that will probably continue to be the case for at least another year. All five of the clubs in the division are taking divergent approaches to changing that, from New York’s commitment to building around superstar Carmelo Anthony to Philadelphia’s scorched-earth rebuilding plan. Here’s more on a few of the Atlantic teams trying to climb the ladder:
- The Sixers attempted to find a way to end up with Anthony Bennett, but the Wolves were set on keeping him as part of the Kevin Love deal, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. There was never any agreement that would have sent Bennett to Philadelphia, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, in spite of reports from a few weeks ago that indicated the 2013 No. 1 overall pick was on his way to the Sixers.
- Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was effusive Thursday in his praise of Tim Leiweke, the departing CEO of the company that controls the team, as the GM spoke to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Leiweke is set to leave his post no later than June 30th, 2015, though Smith presumes the CEO’s exit will happen long before that date.
- J.R. Smith‘s disappointing 2013/14 season led to trade rumors that persisted into this summer, but Smith is confident that his improved health will lead to a bounceback performance this year, as he tells Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Smith spoke of a desire to take on more of a leadership role and seems to fully expect that he’ll continue to be a part of the Knicks roster.
Speaking at a charity event on Thursday night at the Barclays Center, Carmelo Anthony indicated he’s that he was close to leaving the Knicks this offseason, writes Ian Begley of ESPN New York. Melo did add that he’s optimistic about the new-look roster built under Phil Jackson‘s direction, though he acknowledged that the Eastern Conference improved this summer.
Here are some other notes from around the league:
- Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report cites a source close to Klay Thompson that says the Warriors‘ guard is angry that he was dangled as trade bait for Kevin Love over the summer. In his piece, Bucher examines the idea that Golden State alienated Thompson and David Lee, though he was unable reach Lee or sources close to him.
- Looking towards the 2014/15 version of the Raptors, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders likens Kyle Lowry to Rajon Rondo, comparing the the four-year, $48MM deal that Lowry signed with Toronto this summer to the five-year, $55MM deal that Rondo inked in 2009. The common thread, Hamilton writes, is that both lucrative pacts, while based off small samples, were awarded to point guards that had the potential to justify them.
Knicks second-round pick Louis Labeyrie will remain with Paris-Levallois of France rather than sign with New York for the coming season, as Shams Charania of RealGM writes in an update to his story about fellow Knicks second-rounder Thanasis Antetokounmpo. The news on Labeyrie means New York will stash two of its three second-rounders from this past June, with Antetokounmpo apparently headed to the D-League. The Knicks signed 34th overall pick Cleanthony Early to a minimum-salary deal a few weeks ago.
The Pacers took Labeyrie 57th overall and promptly traded his rights to the Knicks on draft night. The 6’10″ forward/center was a surprise selection, having been ranked 115th in Chad Ford’s ESPN.com draft prospect listings, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress also left him out of his top 100. The 22-year-old is coming off a season in which averaged just 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.6 minutes a game for his French team.
Charania suggests that the Knicks will revisit the idea of bringing Labeyrie stateside next summer. It would have been a tough squeeze if New York had tried to bring him onto the roster for this season, since the team is already carrying 15 players. The only Knick known not to have a full guarantee on his deal is Samuel Dalembert, who figures to play a prominent role after coming over in the Tyson Chandler trade.
Hoops Rumors readers so far believe the Wizards are the best team outside of the Cavs and the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, but the Raptors aren’t far behind in the voting. Still, there’s change afoot in Toronto, where Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment company that’s in charge of the franchise, is set to step down within the next several months. Here’s more on Canada’s team and the rest of the Atlantic Division:
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo has reportedly agreed to join the Knicks D-League affiliate in Westchester, but before that can happen, the team would have to acquire his D-League rights from the Sixers affiliate in Delaware, as Gino Pilato of the D-League Digest points out. Delaware still possesses Antetokounmpo’s D-League rights because he played there last season, and that holds even though new rules allow NBA teams to otherwise possess the D-League rights of their draft picks.
- The Sixers apparently reached out to Avery Bradley within the first hour of free agency this summer, but it seems the Celtics still beat them to the punch, as the guard indicates to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link). “They were the first team that called and — we had other calls — but Boston, I knew I was coming back here,” said Bradley, who re-signed with the C’s to a four-year, $32MM deal.
- Leiweke’s upcoming departure is a blow to the Raptors, given the team’s progress during his brief time in charge of the team, opines Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter links). Wolstat credits Leiweke for doggedly pursuing Masai Ujiri to serve as GM and staying out of Ujiri’s way once he hired him.
AUGUST 20TH: Antetokounmpo has agreed to play in the D-League for the Knicks affiliate this season, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
AUGUST 15TH: Antetokounmpo has decided to turn down all the offers he has received from European teams, and intends to attend training camp with the Knicks, reports Enea Trapani of Sportando.
AUGUST 13TH: Italy’s Sidigas Avellino is one of four European teams to make offers to Antetokounmpo, but he’s put them all on hold until he has more clarity on his chances to make the Knicks this season, sources tell Sportando’s Enea Trapani.
AUGUST 7TH: Knicks 2014 second-round pick Thanasis Antetokounmpo is deciding between opportunities in Spain and Italy or heading to New York’s D-League affiliate in Westchester, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The Knicks reportedly drafted Antetokounmpo with the 51st overall pick with the intention of stashing him overseas rather than signing him for this season, though a D-League arrangement would probably fit the bill, too.
The Knicks have agreements with 15 players, as our roster counts show, and when they keep the newly acquired Quincy Acy as planned past August 15th, the date his non-guaranteed deal becomes fully guaranteed, at least 14 of their players will have some kind of guarantee. It’s not clear whether their deal with 34th overall pick Cleanthony Early contains a guarantee, but he probably has the edge for a roster spot over Antetokounmpo, simply judging by their respective draft positions. French big man Louis Labeyrie is the third 2014 second-round pick under Knicks control, but he also seems destined to remain outside the NBA for next season.
New D-League rules this year allow teams to keep the D-League rights to their draft picks, even if they don’t sign them to NBA contracts. Previously, Antetokounmpo would have been subject to the D-League draft, in which any NBA team’s affiliate could have picked him.
New Clippers owner Steve Ballmer won fans over in his introduction earlier today, writes Eric Kelsey of Reuters. “I think it’s going to be a great change, a positive change,” said Clippers fan Teri Renty. “It’s something we desperately needed, and it will really be great for the team in giving them the energy and the momentum to look forward to good things.” More from around the NBA..
- Greg Monroe is maximizing the limited leverage he has in his contract situation with the Pistons, writes Michael Lee of The Washington Post. The only leverage that Monroe possesses is to sign the team’s qualifying offer prior to the October 1st deadline, and then take control of his own destiny next year without the restrictions he faces now, notes Lee.
- Carmelo Anthony, who re-signed with the Knicks on a lucrative deal this summer, is “sure” his team is headed to the playoffs, writes Fred Kerber of the New York Post. Anthony went on to say that he’s happy with the moves the Knicks have made this offseason, though he declined to “get into details about that.” He added that he hasn’t talked much with team president Phil Jackson since inking his new contract.
- The Lakers are expected to add Jim Eyen as an assistant coach to Byron Scott‘s staff, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Eyen was most recently an assistant with the Kings.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.