Omer Asik

Pelicans, Greg Smith Deal Nixed

11:59pm: The sides had a signed contract, and the Pelicans voided it, according to the RealGM transactions log.

9:30pm: Smith has failed his physical, which means the pending agreement between the two sides has been canceled, John Reid of The Times-Picayune reports.

2:29pm: The Pelicans are bringing aboard four-year NBA veteran Greg Smith, sources tell Scott Kushner for The New Orleans Advocate, who indicates that the big man has already put pen to paper on a non-guaranteed contract. The team has yet to make an official announcement, but the Pelicans yesterday revealed that starting center Omer Asik is set to miss three weeks with a right calf strain, and they’re also without backup center Alexis Ajinca for about four to six weeks as he deals with a strained right hamstring. The move will give New Orleans 19 players, 13 of whom have full guarantees, as our roster count shows.

Smith, 24, didn’t appear to generate much interest in free agency this summer after he saw little playing time for the Mavs, who didn’t re-sign him in spite of their need at center. He failed to impress in a workout last month for China’s Guangdong Southern Tigers, as international journalist David Pick reported. He’s spent most of his time in the NBA with the Rockets, who gave him 15.9 minutes per game in 70 contests, including 10 starts, during the 2012/13 season, but they waived him shortly before the 2014 playoffs. The Bulls snapped him up just days later and signed him to a deal that included a fully guaranteed 2014/15 season, but he never made it into a game for Chicago before a trade sent him to the Mavs.

The Pelicans focused on the backcourt with their camp invitees, as power forward Jeff Adrien had been the only frontcourt player without a full guarantee on the New Orleans roster. Shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is the sole Pelican with a partial guarantee, as he’s assured of $50K, so Smith would appear to have a decent chance to hang around into the regular season.

Do you think the Pelicans should keep Smith into the regular season even if Asik is back for opening night? Leave a comment to tell us.

Southwest Notes: Butler, Ajinca, Green

The Spurs weren’t the only NBA team interested in Rasual Butler when he signed with San Antonio last month, as a Western Conference suitor lurked, but the 36-year-old finds there’s “no place better to be than here,” reports Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News. Butler’s contract is non-guaranteed, but he has a line on a regular season roster spot, according to coach/executive Gregg Popovich, as Young notes.

“He’s a seasoned pro in a sense that he knows himself, he knows what role he can play,” Popovich said. “He’s at a stage in his career where he just wants to be a part of something that’s just positive and good. He obviously can shoot the basketball. If he couldn’t shoot, we wouldn’t be talking to him. You got to have a skill to play. For all those reasons, he’s somebody that’s got a great shot to make our team.”

The Spurs have 13 fully guaranteed contracts, seemingly leaving two available spots on the opening night roster. See more on the Spurs amid the latest from the Southwest Division:

  • Pelicans backup center Alexis Ajinca will miss the next four to six weeks because of a right hamstring strain, the team announced. New Orleans committed a four-year, $19.5MM deal to Ajinca this past summer, and the team is without any other natural center to play behind Omer Asik, with the possible exception of Anthony Davis. The injury could bode well for power forward Jeff Adrien, the only big man without a fully guaranteed salary on the Pelicans.
  • Jeff Green says he was frustrated with the lack of a consistent role with the Grizzlies following the midseason trade that took him to Memphis, but he’s optimistic about this year, and coach Dave Joerger is expecting a breakout season, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal details. Green is set for free agency this coming summer after picking up his $9.2MM player option this past June. “It was tough to not be in one role. One day I’d start, one day I’d come off the bench. I was playing the 3 and the 4. It was tough,” Green said. “It’s hard to do. There’s only a few players that can really do that. I’m thankful to be in that position to be able to do that. But when you come onto a team halfway through the year, having to do that is tough because you never get a grasp of what you really need to do for the team. This year, I have an open mind. It doesn’t matter what position I play, I’m going to give it my all.”
  • Cory Joseph started for the Spurs most of December last year and wound up seeing only 22 total minutes during the postseason. A similarly occasional place in Sacramento’s rotation has trade acquisition Ray McCallum willing to embrace the same stop-and-start playing time with the Spurs, as Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News chronicles. Joseph snagged a four-year, $30MM deal with the Raptors this past summer, and McCallum is due for restricted free agency at season’s end.

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, 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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