Jabari Parker knows the history of second-overall pick busts in the NBA, and is determined not to be the next, writes Brett Pollakoff of NBC Sports.com. The Bucks rookie said, “There’s been a lot of second pick busts. I’m just trying not to be that bust. Everyday that I step on the court, I just remind myself that I have a long ways to go. If I want to be one of those guys in the first tier of the NBA, like a LeBron [James], like a Kobe [Bryant] , like a [Blake Griffin], then I have to have that mentality starting off from the ground, and work my way up.”
Here’s more from around the league:
The Cavs are optimistic about their chances to sign Ray Allen prior to the start of training camp, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
With the NBA reportedly considering a change in the lottery system, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel explains why such a move would be an overreaction from Adam Silver and company.
The Heat’s win total this season could be affected if any changes are made to the NBA Draft lottery system, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. If there is less of a reason for franchises to tank, then Miami couldn’t necessarily count on padding their record against the Sixers, Magic, and Bucks, opines Winderman.
The selection of Michele Roberts as NBPA head was a historic one, with Roberts becoming the first female to lead a professional sports union. In an interview with Andrew Keh of The New York Times, Roberts said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the NBA; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; and she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men. To this, Roberts said, “My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.”
Kentucky freshman Karl-Anthony Towns will be a strong possibility to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NBA Draft, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. DraftExpress currently has Towns ranked fourth behind Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Emmanuel Mudiay.
While many teams were spurned by their players for greener pastures despite their best efforts this offseason (the Heat by LeBron James, the Lakers by Pau Gasol, the Nets by Shaun Livingston) some teams decided not to up the ante when they could have, allowing key contributors to sign elsewhere. We’ll run down a few of the latter, and explore whether these teams will regret their decision:
Lance Stephenson – from Indiana to Charlotte.Had Paul George‘s injury occurred before free agency, the Pacers might have been more willing to meet Stephenson’s demands. Instead, they let arguably their most versatile offensive piece walk, refusing to improve their five-year, $44MM offer before the combo guard signed with the Hornets for three years and $27.4MM. Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles are the incoming guards Indiana hopes can lessen the combined loss of Stephenson and now George. The Pacers also seeking Shawn Marion‘s services, but aren’t expected to win out over the Cavs in that pursuit.
Chandler Parsons – from Houston to Dallas. The Rockets declined an option to retain Parsons for another season on one of the most team-friendly contracts in the league. The team decided to take their chances with the forward’s restricted free agency this summer rather than letting him hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, but ultimately decided against matching the Mavs’ three-year, $46.1MM offer sheet. The Rockets let Parsons go in part because they had already locked up Ariza, who is next on the list.
Trevor Ariza – from Washington to Houston. Ariza bolted from the Wizards after turning in a career year for a team that advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Wizards were unwilling to increase their offer, which equaled Houston’s four-year, $32MM arrangement, but practically amounted to $3MM less due to differences in state taxes. Washington quickly signed Paul Pierce in the wake of Ariza’s departure, and received an exception by signing-and-trading Ariza that was partially spent on Kris Humphries.
Channing Frye – from Phoenix to Orlando. In a surprise signing, the Magic snatched the sharp-shooting Frye away from the Suns, who wanted to bring him back to their surprise-playoff roster. Frye is one of a few bigs that stretch the floor at an elite level, and the team signed another shooter in Anthony Tolliver to make up for Frye’s loss. Orlando’s deal with the 31-year-old was for four years and $32MM.
Isaiah Thomas – from Sacramento to Phoenix. The Kings didn’t see the scoring machine of a point guard in their future, signing Darren Collison while Thomas was still a restricted free agent. Thomas was one of only five players to average 20 PPG and 6 APG last season. Sacramento hasn’t recouped much scoring punch in free agency, but did acquire a $7.2MM trade exception, as well as the rights to Alex Oriakhi, by executing a sign-and-trade sending Thomas to Phoenix.
As with any transaction, these front offices weighed the immediate future against their long-term plans, and tried to make the wisest choice. It might be painful to lose some of these players in year one, but fans might breathe a sigh of relief if the same players are underperforming for their new teams in the future. Then again, a player could blossom into an even stronger producer, compounding any misgivings about the teams’ non-action. What do you think?
The Pistons are in advanced talks with Otis Smith to coach their NBA D-League team, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Smith was the GM of the Magic during Stan Van Gundy‘s coaching tenure with Orlando, and had stepped down from his position in May of 2012, on the same day Van Gundy was fired as head coach of the team, notes Stein. This continues Van Gundy’s trend of hiring his former associates and players. Tim Hardaway was already brought in as an assistant coach, and Quentin Richardson was hired as director of player development.
Here’s more from around the league:
Chaz Williams has signed with Oline Edirne Basketball of the Turkish League, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 5’9″ point guard went undrafted this year out of Massachusetts, after averaging 15.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 6.9 APG as a senior. Williams had worked out most recently for the Wizards, with hopes of securing a training camp invite from the team.
During an interview with Zip FM radio, Donatas Motiejunas was asked where he’d like to play if he were to leave the Rockets, and his preference was the Lakers, the Basketball Insiders article notes (hat tip to Talkbasket.net). Motiejunas said, “Most likely in Los Angeles because there are no serious bigs and I would likely get chances to play. I mean the Lakers, not the Clippers.“
Former Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross has signed with Consultinvest Pesaro of the Italian League, the team reported via their Facebook page (translation by Carchia). Ross went undrafted after averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds as a junior. Ross had been projected as a possible second-round draft pick this year, but showed up 15 lbs. overweight to the scouting combine, and didn’t perform especially well. He played for the Lakers in the NBA Summer League, but only appeared in three games, and totaled just nine points, six rebounds and four turnovers in 31 minutes.
We are well acclimated to claims of “rebuilding” being met with charges of “tanking” when teams aggressively clear veteran salary and acquire assets while plummeting to the bottom of the standings. However you view teams that go into win-later mode, the reality is that many franchises are convinced that the method is the best bet to build a long-term winner.
I’ve summarized the moves for each team that won 25 games or fewer last season. This excludes the Lakers and Kings, teams in the Western Conference with recent records and expectations that typify a rebuild, but front offices using the free agent and trade markets to gain older, more expensive talent in ways that defy a standard rebuild.
Orlando: The Magic began the offseason by trading away their best veteran piece in Arron Afflalo, the kind of move typical for a team doubling down on rebuilding efforts. However, they have since added veteran free agents Channing Frye, Ben Gordon, and Luke Ridnour, all of whom could be more productive as starters then their younger positional counterparts in Orlando. The Magic also added lottery picks in point guard Elfrid Payton and power forward Aaron Gordon to their young core of Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, and Tobias Harris. Orlando owns all of its future first-round draft picks, and is owed many second rounders in the next few years. Head coach Jacque Vaughn is the longest tenured among these teams, entering just his third season on the bench.
Milwaukee:The new Bucks owners are resigned to a rebuild that will take years to complete, but the team didn’t arrive in this position by design. Milwaukee followed up a playoff berth in 2013 with moves meant to maintain competitiveness, but injuries and poor performance sunk them last season. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo, selected outside of the lottery by the Bucks last year, has proven to be a talent more in line with the top tier of the draft. They added phenom Jabari Parker with this year’s No. 2 pick, as well as head coach Jason Kidd after his unceremonious departure from Brooklyn. The first year of Larry Sanders‘ four-year, $44MM contract kicks in this season, and the team is also locked into pricey contracts with Ersan Ilyasova, O.J. Mayo, and Zaza Pachulia for at least the next two seasons. The Bucks have made modest backcourt additions in Jerryd Bayless and Kendall Marshall this offseason. Milwaukee owns all of its future first-round draft picks, and is owed many second rounders in the next few years.
Philadelphia: Largely viewed as the most calculated tanker in the league, the Sixers haven’t done much to sway that notion this summer, including putting up resistance to a proposed rules change that would decrease the odds that the very worst teams land the No. 1 draft pick. Philadelphia is still below the salary floor for 2014/15, and has yet to sign a free agent despite having a roster that many view as heavy on D-League talent and light on true NBA-caliber players. A year after acquiring Nerlens Noel in a draft-night trade, GM Sam Hinkie drafted two players that the team doesn’t count on seeing on the court this season in Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. The team made a shrewd deal in acquiring Saric, regaining control of its first-round pick in the 2017 draft from the Magic, who received Payton, the Sixers original No. 10 pick. Michael Carter-Williams just won rookie of the year, but Thaddeus Young could still be moved to facilitate a Kevin Love trade and gain Philadelphia even more assets. Brett Brown had little to smile about in his first year as a head coach outside of the team’s surprise 3-0 start, but is a believer in the team’s intentional process. The Sixers will owe their 2015 first-round pick to the Celtics if it falls outside the top 14–a seeming impossibility–but otherwise will convey two second-round picks to Boston, of which they have an abundance.
Boston:Celtics GM Danny Ainge has preached patience, but there have been plenty of rumblings about his eagerness to jumpstart Boston’s rebuilding efforts with a blockbuster deal, the loudest of which surround Kevin Love. So far, Ainge has been forced to stay the course, with a modest free agency period (Bayless and Kris Humpries leaving, Evan Turner arriving, Avery Bradley remaining) bolstered by the additions of No. 6 pick Marcus Smart and No. 17 selection James Young. The team also took on more salary burdens in deals for Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller that netted them more future assets. The team is on track to free up cap room in 2015 and 2016, and Rajon Rondo‘s free agency next summer will play a crucial part in where the team is headed, and how fast. Brad Stevens is another sophomore coach that signed up expecting a long-term process requiring patience. The Celtics own all of their first-round picks, and will receive up to six extra first rounders from other teams through 2018.
Utah: The Jazz retained Gordon Hayward this summer, and the 24-year-old projects to be the team’s oldest starter. Utah drafted point guard Dante Exum to play alongside Trey Burke and Alec Burks in a young, developing backcourt. The team let Marvin Williams leave as a free agent, and brought in veteran forwards in Steve Novak and Trevor Booker via the trade and free agent market, respectively. The Jazz let former twin towers Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson walk as free agents prior to the 2013/14 season to make way for their young frontcourt pieces in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, who have showed promise but have yet to excel as a post tandem. The team hired new coach Quin Snyder from the Spurs coaching tree, and will hope the rookie coach can bring some of the San Antonio magic to Salt Lake City. The Jazz own all of their picks moving forward, and are owed one first rounder and seven second rounders through 2018.
Which team do you think is closest to seeing the fruits of their rebuild? A team like the Magic would appear to be moving forward more aggressively than the ultra-methodical Sixers, but an impatient shortcut to team improvement could end up stalling a team’s ultimate resurgence. Meanwhile, a team like Boston appears more likely to turn their assets into star players, but until they do, there is less to be excited about from their developing roster than some of the other clubs.
Weigh in with your vote, and state your case in the comments.
Free agent point guard Peyton Siva has agreed to a deal with the Magic, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The 23-year-old guard recently participated in NBA summer league competition for the Pistons before being waived two weeks ago. According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, it appears that Siva will be brought to training camp on a partially-guaranteed contract before eventually being waived and sent to Orlando’s D-League affiliate in Erie. The money from the partial guarantee will be used to supplement his D-League salary (Twitterlinks).
With the ability of Victor Oladipo to play point guard and the addition of playmaker Elfrid Payton via the draft, there doesn’t appear to be much room left for another young point guard on Orlando’s roster. The team also added veterans Luke Ridnour and Ben Gordon via free agency and traded for shooting guard Evan Fournier, which more or less has the team set in their backcourt rotation. It seems likely that the Magic would look to keep Siva’s rights in the D-League, which would keep him away from the D-League draft if the former Louisville star indeed decided to sign an NBDL contract. The partial guarantee could be an incentive to entice Siva to play for the Bayhawks rather than head to Europe for a more lucrative salary.
After being drafted 56th overall in 2013, the Andy Miller client played out the 2013/14 season for Detroit on a partially guaranteed deal, appearing in a total of 24 games. Siva averaged 2.3 PPG and 1.4 APG in 9.3 MPG, shooting just 31.6% from the field and 28.0% from long range.
JULY 25TH: The deal is official, the team announced.
JULY 16TH: 7:16pm: Ridnour’s deal will amount to $5.5MM over the two years, tweets David Aldridge of NBA.com.
6:28pm: The agreement is for a two-year contract, with the second year being non-guaranteed, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Haynes adds that minor details are still being worked out, and it is still unknown what Ridnour’s annual salary will be.
1:13pm: The Magic will sign guard Luke Ridnour, reports Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (on Twitter). It’ll be the latest deal with a veteran for Orlando, which already has agreements with Channing Frye and Ben Gordon so far this month. The terms are unclear, but given the team’s willingness to overpay for Frye and Gordon, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s an above-market arrangement for the 33-year-old Jim Tanner client.
Ridnour split last season between the Bucks and Bobcats, averaging a career-low 5.0 points per game. The Wizards and Kings were among the teams that reportedly called the Bucks in the lead-up to the trade deadline, but Charlotte wound up nabbing him instead. He played 15.1 minutes per game down the stretch for the then-Bobcats, a rate that dropped to 9.0 in the team’s four-game loss to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Charlotte renounced his Bird rights to clear cap space last week.
Orlando largely emphasized young players during the first two seasons of its post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project, but this summer appears to be a departure from that. The team still has ample cap space, so it appears that Ridnour will be receiving a chunk of that.
The market for Kevin Love is likely less active than reports have been indicating, observes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who suggests that Flip Saunders probablyisn’t deciding between a multitude of remarkable offers, but is instead patiently waiting, hoping for an exciting proposal to come in soon. Here’s tonight’s look around the NBA..
One league source told Amico that the flux of rumors based around a potential Love/Wiggins swap is “textbook Flip,” implying that Saunders is leaking information that he thinks could benefit the Wolves’ return on a Love deal. Amico wouldn’t confirm or deny the source’s speculation, however.
Joe Harris‘ deal with the Cavs and Devyn Marble‘s with the Magic are structured almost exactly the same way, reveals Mark Deeks of ShamSports (on Twitter). Each rookie will make $884,879 in the first season, $845,059 in the following campaign, and $980,431 during the third and final year of the deal. However, unlike Harris’ agreement, Marble’s contract becomes non-guaranteed past the first season, according to Deeks.
Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders looks at the options on the table for restricted free agent Greg Monroe. Greene thinks that like all of the game’s best big men, Monroe will get a hefty pay day eventually; it’s just a question of when it’ll be. Should Monroe decide to sign his qualifying offer this summer, he’ll be forfeiting potential earnings for the upcoming season but opening up the door to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
11:12am: The deal is official, the Magic announced via press release.
10:59pm: The sides have an agreement in principle on a three-year deal that’s fully guaranteed for the first season, Robbins writes in his full story. Since it’s for three years, that means the Magic are indeed using cap space.
10:52am: The Magic are on track to sign No. 56 overall pick Devyn Marble as soon as later today, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). The rights to the former Iowa shooting guard went from Denver to Orlando as part of last month’s Arron Afflalotrade.
Marble, the son of former NBA player Roy Marble, showed steady improvement over his final three seasons with the Hawkeyes, averaging 17.0 points in 30.2 minutes per game with 34.9% three-point shooting as a senior. He aligned himself with another former NBA player when he chose B.J. Armstrong as his agent.
Orlando will likely use some of its ample cap space on what’s probably a deal for the minimum salary. It would be somewhat surprising if it were fully guaranteed, as such deals aren’t too common for late second-round picks. The Magic appear to be coming to a much quicker resolution with their second-rounder this year than they did last summer, when they didn’t officially have a contract with No. 51 overall pick Romero Osby until September 27th.
While members of June’s coveted draft class have yet to wow executives in the NBA summer leagues, it hasn’t curbed the chatter among the league’s decision-makers in Las Vegas, writes ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. Arnovitz provides a plethora of big-picture issues being regularly discussed in the desert. Let’s round them up here:
Between the hefty prices that NBA franchises have fetched this offseason and a new television deal for the league on the horizon, insiders have been “downright giddy” in Vegas this week. Soaring revenues have resulted in teams investing in technology and analytics, though there is a growing fear that the NBA could be headed for another lockout in 2017.
Speaking of lockouts, the CBA negotiated during the last one has successfully limited the lengths of contracts in the NBA while simultaneously making it more difficult to plan for the long term, according to some executives. By limiting risk, shorter contracts have flooded the marketplace with bidders, in turn driving up the prices on free agents.
The reactions to the Rockets‘ offseason have been mixed, according to Arnovitz. On one hand, GM Daryl Morey has essentially traded Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and first and second round draft picks for Trevor Ariza, a first round pick and a trade exception. On the other hand, Morey has landed two max players in two years while maintaining the cap space to add another. However, there is sentiment that Morey’s analytics-based approach might eventually discourage future targets from coming to Houston.
The Spurs are still undoubtedly the model franchise of the NBA, though there is a buzz about what the Suns are building in Phoenix. Citing several insiders, Arnovitz writes that the Suns are adding assets while simultaneously producing an exciting product for their fans.
LeBron James‘ return to Cleveland hasn’t evoked nearly as much gossip among league insiders as his departure did, but one general manager expressed appreciation for the Cavaliers‘ star “carrying” the NBA right now from a business standpoint.
Some Pacers players attempted to persuade the team to sweeten its offers to Lance Stephenson, but the front office resisted, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. Stephenson agreed early this morning to bolt for the Hornets, and as his new three-year, $27.5MM deal quickly came together, the Pacers never received the opportunity to match Charlotte’s offer, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star writes. There’s more on his deal amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:
The Mavs made a three-year $20MM offer to Stephenson, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The new Hornets two-guard would have joined the Mavs instead if the Rockets hadn’t passed on matching the Mavs’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
The Pacers made two different five-year offers to Stephenson, but he rejected them both, favoring a shorter arrangement, agent Alberto Ebanks tells Buckner (Twitter link). Indiana wasn’t willing to go shorter than five years, Broussard writes in his piece.
The Hawks held on to Pero Antic through Tuesday, meaning his non-guaranteed salary for 2014/15 has become fully guaranteed for $1.25MM. The same is true for Kyle O’Quinn, whose minimum salary with the Magic went from non-guaranteed to fully guaranteed when Orlando kept him Tuesday.