Omer Asik

Pelicans Notes: Cole, Asik, Ajinca, Cunningham

Pelicans GM Dell Demps said this week that the versatility of his roster from this past season factored into his decision to bring back much of the same cast, as John Reid of The Times Picayune chronicles. New Orleans has signed four of its seven free agents, and Reid hears the Pelicans remain interested in re-signing restricted free agent Norris Cole.

”We believe our team can play big, we can play small and we can play fast,” Demps said. ”We feel like we can play a number of different ways. The guys like each other, they like playing with each other and their skills complement each other.”

Demps said the limited number of games that involved the entire core of the team, which again was without Jrue Holiday for nearly half the season, was another reason why he wanted to keep the roster largely intact, Reid notes, and that echoes similar statements Demps made last year. Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • The full value of Omer Asik‘s deal is $58MM, but only the first four years, at $44MM, are guaranteed, Reid writes. “In our division, you are playing a number of teams with very good post players,” Demps said. ”Omer gives us the opportunity to match up against certain teams. Omer is an elite rebounder and has been throughout his NBA career.”
  • The precise value of the cap hits across the four seasons in Alexis Ajinca‘s new contract with the Pelicans comes to $19,500,002, though incentive clauses are liable to change that figure over the course of the pact, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).
  • Dante Cunningham will make exactly $8,934,750 on his new deal with the Pelicans, according to Pincus (Twitter link).

Southwest Notes: Parsons, Asik, Aldridge

In a candid Q&A session with Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, Mavs forward Chandler Parsons detailed the team’s recruitment of DeAndre Jordan, and expressed his disappointment with the center re-signing with the Clippers. When asked about his reaction to Jordan spurning Dallas, Parsons told MacMahon, “I’m shocked, very disappointed, frustrated, disrespected. This is something that I’ve never seen in my career, and I know that it doesn’t happen very often. When a man gives you his word and an organization his word, especially when that organization put in so much effort and I walked him through this process and was very, very open and willing to work with him, it’s just very unethical and disrespectful.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • It’s the Spurs‘ own 2016 second-rounder headed to Sacramento in the Ray McCallum trade, according to RealGM.
  • The protection on the 2017 second-round pick headed from the Hawks to the Spurs in the Tiago Splitter trade is for the top 55 picks, as RealGM details.
  • The four-year max deal that Wesley Matthews signed with the Mavs includes a player option after year three, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter link).
  • The final season in Omer Asik‘s five-year deal with the Pelicans is an early termination option. That season is partially guaranteed for $3MM, though he can end up with a larger partial guarantee if he triggers incentives, Pincus notes (Twitter links).
  • The Grizzlies used the mid-level exception for their deal with Brandan Wright. Pincus pegs its value at $17.1MM, though he’s probably rounding down from $17,129,640, the full value of the mid-level over three years. Wright also has a 15% trade kicker.
  • Alexis Ajinca‘s four-year deal with the Pelicans is worth $19.2MM, tweets Pincus.
  • The starting salary in Patrick Beverley‘s deal with the Rockets is $6,486,486, but that’s a function of front-loading. It’s worth a total of $23MM over four years, Pincus relays (on Twitter).
  • LaMarcus Aldridge has a 15% trade kicker in his max deal with the Spurs, notes Pincus (via Twitter).
  • The Mavs considered trying to swing a trade for Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson before Deron Williams reached a buyout arrangement with the Nets, MacMahon tweets. Williams is expected to sign with Dallas if he clears waivers, which is highly likely given the point guard’s player-friendly contract.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pelicans Re-Sign Omer Asik

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

JULY 9TH, 9:31am: The deal is official, the team announced.

9:07am: The guaranteed portion is worth almost $45MM, and it’s incentives and non-guaranteed money that could make it worth $60MM, sources told Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

JULY 2ND, 8:59am: The agreement is finalized, tweets John Reid of The Times-Picayune, though the contract itself can’t become official for another week, when the July Moratorium ends.

11:32pm: The final year of the deal is not guaranteed, Stein adds (Twitter link).

11:18pm: Asik’s proposed deal would be for five years, $60MM, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.

JULY 1ST, 9:56pm: The Pelicans and free agent Omer Asik are finalizing a deal that would bring the center back to New Orleans next season, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The contract details are still being hammered out, but the two sides are expected to reach a verbal agreement by the end of the night, Stein adds.

Asik appeared in 76 contests for the Pelicans last season, averaging 7.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in 26.1 minutes per night. His career numbers through 354 games are 5.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 0.9 BPG, with a slash line of .531/.000/.553.

Western Notes: Wright, Asik, Crowder, Lin

In the wake of losing free agent big man Tyson Chandler to the Suns, the Mavericks reached out to center Brandan Wright, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com tweets. Wright, whom the team dealt as part of the package to acquire Rajon Rondo from the Celtics last season, agreed to a three year, $18MM deal with the Grizzlies earlier this evening. Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans are in discussions with free agent Omer Asik about the center re-signing with the team, John Reid of The Times Picayune tweets. Blazers‘ free agent big man Robin Lopez doesn’t appear to be an option for New Orleans at this point, Reid adds.
  • The Mavericks are intent on adding depth at point guard this offseason, and were one of the first teams to reach out to free agent Jeremy Lin, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays (on Twitter). Dallas has also touched base with Patrick Beverley, J.J. Barea, and Nick Calathes, Tim MacMahon tweets.
  • The Clippers and Mavericks are among the teams that have expressed interest in free agent point guard C.J. Watson, Kennedy relays (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks and the Celtics are the frontrunners to sign free agent swingman Jae Crowder, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (via Twitter).
  • The Pelicans and Mavs have both been in contact with free agent forward Richard Jefferson, Chris Mannix of SI.com relays (on Twitter).
  • The Rockets are intent on re-signing Corey Brewer, and Houston was the first team to contact the swingman when the free agent signing period commenced, Kennedy tweets.
  • The Pelicans, Rockets, and Knicks have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent center Kendrick Perkins, Royce Young of ESPN.com relays (Twitter link).
  • Denver’s top priorities in free agency are to re-sign Jameer Nelson and Will Barton, according to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. The Nuggets are strong contenders for Nelson, and the general expectation is that they’ll keep Barton, as Dempsey details. The team would also like to re-sign Darrell Arthur but expects the Pistons, among others, to make a run at him, Dempsey writes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Stephenson, Oubre, Asik

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers didn’t acquire Lance Stephenson from the Hornets for the swingman to step into a starting role, Arash Markazi of ESPN.com writes. Instead, Rivers envisions Stephenson as a role-player who can be utilized off the bench, and the team will look elsewhere to add a starting small forward this offseason, Markazi adds. “I like that [Stephenson] can play multiple positions — really 2, 3 and 1 — because he’s a terrific passer,” Rivers told The Beast 980. “I don’t know if I made the trade for him to be a starter, per se; I look at him really more to be a utility player that can come in and play literally three different positions for us. When you look at us, we needed toughness and more athleticism and we get that.

Rivers believes that Stephenson’s defense will be a valuable asset to the team, Markazi adds. “I like what he can bring for us on the defensive end first,” Rivers said. “I like his body type. I think he’s a tough kid and a very competitive kid. And that has gotten him in trouble at times, but the one thing he has shown in major playoff games is that he can be a top-tier defender, so that’s where we start with him is on the defensive end.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre has turned down an invitation from the Bucks to work out for the team, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times relays. Oubre is convinced that he’ll be off the board by the time the Bucks pick at No. 17, Woelfel notes.
  • The Lakers are expected to bring back Nebraska guard Terran Petteway for a second workout, Woelfel adds. Petteway could be in play for Los Angeles with the No. 27 overall selection.
  • Unless he is willing to accept a significant pay cut, the Pelicans would be best served to let center Omer Asik leave as a free agent this summer, Jimmy Smith of The Times Picayune opines. Smith cites Asik’s offensive limitations, spotty defense, and occasional lack of hustle on the break as reasons why New Orleans shouldn’t consider paying the big man a salary north of $10MM, which Asik will likely be seeking as an unrestricted free agent.

Western Notes: Kerr, D-League, Asik

Steve Kerr dished to Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group about the dynamics of the coaching staff he assembled after he took over as head coach of the Warriors last year. The group includes Alvin Gentry, in whom the Bulls reportedly have interest for their head coaching job should Tom Thibodeau no longer be there. The Nuggets and Magic are also reportedly eyeing Gentry.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Sacramento picked up its team option on D-League coach David Arseneault Jr., the Kings announced.
  • Despite his ineffectiveness during the Pelicans‘ playoff series against the Warriors, Omer Asik remains in the organization’s plans, and the team still wishes to re-sign the unrestricted free agent, John Reid of The Times Picayune writes. ”It’s not the time to talk about it right now,” Asik said about heading into free agency this summer. “But I think there is good stuff going on here. It’s a young team and the future is good.”
  • If the Clippers advance to the conference finals it would be the first time in the history of the franchise, Robert Morales of the Long Beach Press Telegram writes. But coach/executive Doc Rivers refuses to look ahead, and is instead focused on notching one more victory over the Rockets to close out the series, Morales adds. “No, no, I think that’s a silly thought,” Rivers said. “We haven’t done it, so for us, we’ve gotta stay focused. We’ve gotta win the series, and that hasn’t happened yet. Honestly, they can say nine more wins and one more win. At the end of the day, that’s fine. But once you get to the individual game, to me that’s where you have to have your focus.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Celtics Likely To Seek DeMarcus Cousins

2:21pm: The Celtics have been enamored with Cousins for years, but Ranadive almost certainly wouldn’t approve a trade that sends him out, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

8:23am: The “early word” indicates that the Celtics will try to trade for DeMarcus Cousins this summer, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Indeed, the Celtics will likely be in the hunt for just about every marquee player who might become available in the months ahead, Stein writes, echoing comments that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made Thursday. LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, Paul Millsap and Omer Asik are among the many free agents whom Boston is expected to make a run at, as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com details. Reports conflicted about whether Boston made a run at trading for Cousins before the deadline.

A person familiar with Kings coach George Karl‘s thinking told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in February that the Kings didn’t rule out trading their All-Star center at the deadline, and Karl said last month that there were no untouchables on the roster. However, Vlade Divac, whom the Kings installed in March as the head of their basketball operations, is enamored with Cousins and wants the 24-year-old’s time in Sacramento to continue, and owner Vivek Ranadive has bristled at the assertion that Cousins is a trade candidate.

The Celtics have about $40MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM cap, but opening cap space would force the team to renounce its unmatched reserve of trade exceptions. None of them, even the one worth nearly $13MM left over from the Rajon Rondo trade, would be large enough to acquire Cousins and his max deal, though the exceptions could help the Celtics structure a larger-scale multiplayer deal involving Cousins or another star. Boston’s store of draft picks loom as significant trade assets, too, as Stein points out, and those won’t disappear if the Celtics decide to use cap space in July, unlike the trade exceptions.

The Celtics don’t have any player who’s truly off-limits for a trade either, according to Stein, though among the C’s under contract, Ainge has a particular soft spot for Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, the ESPN scribe points out. Sources told Blakely that Smart and Tyler Zeller are the least likely players to leave Boston via trade, as we noted earlier. Ainge is also high on soon-to-be free agents Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko, Stein writes, as previous reports have indicated.

Western Notes: Suns, Rondo, Asik

The Lakers are reportedly the favorites to land unrestricted free agent Rajon Rondo this summer, but the franchise isn’t as enamored with the mercurial point guard as it once was, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report writes. According to team sources, co-owner Jim Buss is not the believer he was earlier in the season when it comes to Rondo, and GM Mitch Kupchak now sees the player as a worthwhile value only at a lower salary, Ding adds. Despite Kobe Bryant‘s apparent desire to play alongside Rondo, the team has no intention to sign the guard just because the Mamba wants the team to, Ding notes.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • The Suns haven’t been successful drafting near the middle of the first round the last few seasons, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic notes. Only two players out of the six taken by the team in the first round since 2008 are still with the franchise, which is not a great track record, Coro adds. Phoenix is projected to have the No. 13 pick in June’s draft according to our reverse standings.
  • Pelicans coach Monty Williams values center Omer Asik, and considers him a player that the franchise intends to make a strong push to re-sign this summer despite his inconsistent play, John Reid of The Times Picayune relays. ”As far as Omer, he’s a huge part of what we do,” Williams said. ”If you look at our defensive numbers from last year to this year, we improved in a number of categories and Omer was a huge part of that. So he’s highly valued by this organization and that he’s an asset to this city.” Asik, 28, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. In addition to Asik, Williams indicated that he wanted all of his core players to return next season, Reid tweets.
  • If the Trail Blazers were to lose unrestricted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge to another team this summer, the franchise would be just fine from a leadership standpoint thanks to the continued presence of Damian Lillard, Jason Quick of The Oregonian opines.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Franklin, Chandler

Despite their early-season success, the Pelicans‘ core isn’t likely to become a championship-contending one, Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders opines. One of the main issues with the current roster is the lack of talent on the perimeter, and with Eric Gordon likely to exercise his $15.5MM player option for next season, it will be difficult to upgrade the roster until the summer of 2016, notes Duncan. One option Duncan suggests for the Pelicans to rid themselves of Gordon’s deal earlier is for New Orleans to package its 2016 first-rounder in a trade along with Gordon in order to encourage a team to take on his expiring contract, though the Pelicans owe a protected 2015 first-round pick to Houston, so they would have trouble sending out a 2016 first-rounder, thanks to the Stepien Rule.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Duncan also added that re-signing Omer Asik this offseason will be an organizational priority because of that protected first-round pick that the Pelicans surrendered to the Rockets in order to acquire him.
  • Jamaal Franklin recently agreed to a one month extension to his contract with the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Franklin’s original agreement with the team was for two months, and this extension will still allow him to return to the NBA in January when teams are able to sign players to 10-day contracts, Wojnarowski adds. The 23-year-old shooting guard appeared in 21 contests for the Grizzlies last season and he averaged 1.9 points in 7.7 minutes per game.
  • It’s possible that if Tyson Chandler had not broken his leg last season, New York’s 2013/14 campaign wouldn’t have been such a disaster and the Knicks wouldn’t have traded the big man to the Mavericks, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com writes. Chandler is happy to be back in Dallas and while he stops short of being thankful for the injury, he is pleased with how things turned out for him this offseason, MacMahon adds. “I look at life as like everything happens for a reason,” Chandler said. “There’s no mistakes made. At the time, [the injury] was devastating clearly, but I feel like everything happens for a reason.”
  • The Iowa Energy have acquired former first round pick Jordan Hamilton via waivers, the team has announced. Hamilton reportedly worked out for the Lakers last week after a brief stint with the Jazz earlier this month. Though he’ll play for the Grizzlies‘ D-League affiliate, Hamilton is free to sign with any NBA team that would desire his services.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Mavs, Pelicans, Cotton

The Rockets were the busiest Southwest team on roster cut-down day, waiving a total of five players to get down to 15. However, the Mavericks had an interesting day as well, deciding to waive reserve point guard Gal Mekel in hopes of reuniting with recently released J.J. Barea. Let’s see what else is going on in the Southwest tonight:

  • As Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes, any team that wants to claim Mavericks-target Barea off waivers would need more than about $4.5MM in cap space, or a trade exception or disabled player exception of at least that size. Sefko mentions the rival Rockets as a team that might want to claim Barea but likely wouldn’t based on its lack of flexibility.
  • The Mavericks tried to acquire Barea from the Wolves last season but the teams couldn’t come to an agreement, according to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press (via Twitter).
  • The Pelicans‘ desire to re-sign Omer Asik is a factor in the team declining to pick up the 2015/16 option on Austin Rivers, writes John Reid of the Times Picayune. Reid adds that with Eric Gordon likely to opt in to his $15.5MM salary for next season, New Orleans preferred the additional financial flexibility.
  • Bryce Cotton, who was released by the Spurs last week, plans to sign with San Antonio’s D-League affiliate in the next few days, sources tell Jabari Young of Comcast Sports Northwest (via Twitter).

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