Marc Gasol Changes Agents

Marc Gasol has made a change to his representation, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, who reports that Octagon Sports has signed the Grizzlies big man. Gasol, who will be represented by agent Alex Saratsis at Octagon, was previously repped by Arn Tellem and Wasserman.

The timing of the move is interesting, since Gasol won’t be signing a new contract anytime soon. Wasserman negotiated a five-year, maximum-salary contract for Gasol less than a year ago, and that deal isn’t set to expire until at least 2019, at which point the former second-round pick will have to exercise or decline a $25.6MM player option.

It’s hard to imagine Gasol being too upset with the max contract negotiated by Wasserman last summer, but perhaps he’s regretting not signing a shorter-term deal that would have allowed him to cash in once the cap increased more significantly. It’s also entirely possible that Gasol just thought it was time for a change.

Gasol, 31, is coming off an injury-shortened season, one in which he was ruled out for the year with a broken foot back in February. He also set or matched career-lows with just 7.0 rebounds per game and a .464 shooting percentage, though most of his other numbers were right in line with what we’ve come to expect from the Memphis center.

Gasol is expected to be ready to go for the 2016/17 season, coming off his foot injury.

Raptors GM Talks DeRozan, Casey, Offseason

Speaking to the media today at his season-ending press conference, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri admitted that he’s not sure “how possible it is” to bring back all of the team’s free agents, including both DeMar DeRozan and Bismack Biyombo (Twitter links via Raptors reporter Eric Koreen). Ujiri stressed that the team wants to bring back both of its top free agents, but cautioned that “sometimes those things are difficult or challenging.”

Asked specifically about the possibility of offering DeRozan a max contract this summer, Ujiri deflected the inquiry, suggesting that it’s a question to answer at a later time. The GM did say that DeRozan will be the Toronto’s top priority this offseason, however (Twitter links via Koreen).

Here’s more from Ujiri’s session with local reporters:

  • In the wake of the Raptors’ Game 6 loss to the Cavaliers, a report surfaced indicating that Toronto is expected to offer head coach Dwane Casey a new contract. Ujiri confirmed that today, suggesting that he has been in touch with Casey’s agent and expects a deal to get done sooner rather than later (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN).
  • Last week, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote that Casey likely would have lost his job if the Raptors had lost to Indiana in the first round of the postseason. Today, Ujiri deflected that subject, telling reporters that he can’t say what would have happened in that scenario, since the team ultimately didn’t lose the series (Twitter link via Koreen).
  • Ujiri acknowledged that power forward is a position the Raptors need to improve, indicating that the team will get creative there (Twitter link via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). Getting a solid backup at the three is another priority for Toronto, per Ujiri (Twitter link via Sportsnet’s Michael Grange).
  • Raptors coaches may not want to add two first-round rookies to the roster, according to Ujiri, who said today that he’s open to any moves involving the ninth and 27th overall draft picks (Twitter link via Koreen).
  • Per Ujiri, Raptors ownership has always given him the freedom to enter tax territory with the team’s payroll — the GM is waiting until it makes sense to do so (Twitter link via Wolstat).

P.J. Carlesimo Won’t Join 76ers

Identified by the 76ers as the team’s top candidate to replace Mike D’Antoni as associate head coach on Brett Brown‘s staff, P.J. Carlesimo won’t be joining the Sixers after all, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. According to Stein, Carlesimo has decided to remain in broadcasting in order to stay close to his family.

A report last week indicated that the Sixers intended to hire Carlesimo in the wake of D’Antoni’s departure, and Stein confirms that there was strong mutual interest between the two sides. As Stein notes, Carlesimo worked with Brown in San Antonio and with new Philadelphia GM Bryan Colangelo in Toronto, so it would have been a reunion of sorts for the former Spurs and Raptors assistant, who has also held several head coaching posts.

Carlesimo’s most recent coaching job came in Brooklyn, when he took over for Avery Johnson, who was fired by the Nets during the 2012/13 campaign. However, Carlesimo was let go after the team was eliminated by Chicago in the first round of the playoffs that season. As a head coach, he has a career regular season record of 239-315 and a postseason mark of 6-13.

With Carlesimo apparently out of the mix, the 76ers will continue searching for a lead assistant for Brown to replace D’Antoni, who is set to become the new head coach of the Rockets.

Offseason Outlook: Los Angeles Lakers

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead to offseason moves for all 30 teams. We’ll examine free agency, the draft, trades and other key storylines for each franchise as the summer approaches.

State Of The Franchise

David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images

David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images

The Kobe Bryant era has ended in Los Angeles, and it’s hard to say whose name might be attached to the next era.

Bryant wrapped up his 20-year career in April and took with him the only bit of star power on the Lakers’ roster. Unless this is the year L.A. lands a top-level free agent, the franchise will rely on a youth movement built around recent lottery picks D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, along with Larry Nance Jr. and possibly Jordan Clarkson if he re-signs. Los Angeles also has the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, although the front office may decide to trade it for veteran help.

The Lakers are coming off a 17-65 season, the worst in their 68-year history. After being one of the league’s elite teams for decades, L.A. has strung together three consecutive last-place finishes. With a fan base and a front office that is used to winning, there is a lot of pressure throughout the organization for an immediate turnaround.

Coaching Change

Former coach Byron Scott was criticized for relying too much on veterans and being too harsh toward younger players. That might have been OK if he were winning, but the steady stream of losses turned the fans — and eventually management — against him. Scott was fired in April and will be replaced by Golden State lead assistant Luke Walton when the Warriors are finished in the playoffs.

Walton became the hottest name on the coaching market when he led Golden State to a 39-4 record while head coach Steve Kerr was sidelined by a back ailment. Walton is expected to bring many of the Warriors’ concepts with him to Los Angeles.

Roster Decisions

The loss of Bryant’s $25MM salary and the expiration of Roy Hibbert‘s $15.5MM contract give the Lakers a massive amount of cap room heading into free agency. With Brandon Bass planning to turn down his $3.135MM player option, Los Angeles will have a little more than $23MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at $92MM. Lou Williams, who signed a three-year deal in free agency last summer, is currently the highest-paid Laker at $7M per season.

The most important decision regarding the current roster will involve Clarkson, who will be a restricted free agent after making a league minimum $845,059 this season. Under the Gilbert Arenas Provision, the Lakers must tender a $3.2MM qualifying offer to have the right to match whatever deal Clarkson receives in free agency. The second-year guard has expressed a desire to stay in L.A. and play for Walton.

Another intriguing decision involves Nick Young, who still has two more seasons and more than $11MM left on his contract, but who got into a highly publicized spat with Russell over a failed prank involving a video. The Lakers may attempt to trade Young or buy him out to eliminate any friction with their young point guard.

Free Agent Targets

The Lakers always swing for the fences in free agency, but they have a recent record of whiffing on elite names. With tons of cap room and the glamour of Los Angeles to offer, the Lakers will chase all the best free agents on the market. They’ll certainly try to get a meeting with Kevin Durant and are rumored to be planning a strong push for L.A. native DeMar DeRozan. Some other names to watch are Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Harrison BarnesNicolas Batum and Ryan Anderson.

Draft Outlook

The Lakers secured the No. 2 pick on lottery night, guaranteeing them Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, who are considered the best two players in the draft. Simmons is a 6’10 combo forward out of LSU who is celebrated for his scoring, passing and rebounding. Ingram is a 6’9″ small forward out of Duke who may be more ready for the NBA next season than Simmons is. Either has a good shot to be a starter with the Lakers and make an impact right away. However, Los Angeles is expected to listen to offers for the pick, and many should be coming, considering how highly Simmons and Ingram are viewed. L.A. will also have the second pick in the second round — No. 32 overall.

Final Take

The clock is running on the famous guarantee from 2014 by Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, who said he will resign if he can’t turn the Lakers into contenders within three or four years. The team regressed on the court this season, and Bryant’s retirement tour seemed to carry more importance than actually winning games. Turmoil in the locker room and among the coaching staff combined with an awful on-court product to produce a nightmare season for Lakers fans.

Hope comes in the form of Walton and his Golden State pedigree, the addition of Simmons or Ingram and a promising young foursome already in place. The Lakers have the foundation for a nice, slow build back toward contention, but that’s not the way things are typically done in L.A. — not with pressure from celebrities in high-priced seats and the cross-town Clippers grabbing all the headlines.

The current group of youngsters probably can’t make good on Buss’ guarantee, so the organization will again pin its hopes on free agency and possibly a blockbuster deal involving the No. 2 pick. It remains to be seen if the Lakers can land their next star and start their next era, but the offseason in L.A. should be much more exciting than the regular season.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • None

Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offers/Cap Holds)

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Other Cap Holds

  • No. 2 pick ($4,401,400)

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

Footnotes:

  1. The cap hold for Bryant will be the maximum salary for a veteran of 10 or more seasons. The number shown here is an estimate based on the projected cap figure.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Atlantic Notes: Kerr, Bender, Sixers, Biyombo

As the Warriors prepare for Monday’s Game 7 with the Thunder, Marc Berman of The New York Post offers a reminder that the results of Golden State’s last Game 7 prevented Steve Kerr from coaching the Knicks. After the Warriors lost to the Clippers in 2014, owner Joe Lacob decided to fire coach Mark Jackson. The team contacted the agent for Kerr, who had a verbal agreement with New York but nothing on paper. Kerr met with the Warriors and decided that was a better opportunity for him. With the expected hiring of Jeff Hornacek, the Knicks are now on their third coach since Kerr’s change of heart.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Danny Ainge, the Celtics‘ president of basketball operations, is in Israel this weekend to scout Dragan Bender, according to Mike Petraglia of WEEI. Ainge was accompanied by his son, Austin, who serves as director of player personnel. They planned to watch Bender practice Saturday and today, but will not see him in a game. The 18-year-old is considered a possibility with Boston’s No. 3 pick in next month’s draft.
  • The Sixers will hold a workout Monday for six players, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Potential second-rounders Joel Bolomboy of Weber State and James Webb III of Boise State will be the top players at the session, according to Pompey. They will be joined by Brannen Greene of Kansas, Daniel House of Texas A&M, Tim Quarterman of LSU and Isaiah Taylor of Texas.
  • Bismack Biyombo’s playoff performance virtually assures his future won’t be in Toronto, claims Scott Stinson of the National Post. Biyombo put up dazzling numbers after Jonas Valanciunas was sidelined by a sprained ankle and may have earned a maximum contract. Valanciunas has a four-year, $64MM extension that begins next season, and Stinson doesn’t think the Raptors want to give huge money to two centers.

Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 5/23/16-5/29/16

In addition to our weekly chat every Wednesday, we have a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com. Here are this week’s inquiries:

Do you know if there is movement on Seattle getting a team via expansion or team relocation? Marques Garrett

HR: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed this topic in March during a speech at the South by Southwest festival. He said owners are focused on making the 30-team league as strong as possible and expressed reservations that there is enough NBA-level talent to justify adding franchises. Without specifying a time frame, he suggested expansion may come in the future. A deal is on the table among Seattle, King County and entrepreneur Chris Hansen that would trigger $200MM in funding for a new arena if the NBA approves a team for the city. However, the deal expires in November 2017, and it seems very unlikely the NBA will expand before then. As far as relocation, there are no franchises thatare in danger of moving soon, but when the NBA does pick its next city, either through expansion or relocation, Seattle will be at the front of the line.

What can the Pelicans do to improve? Would there be any takers for Omer Asik if Tyreke Evans is attached to the deal? Then could they maybe look at Kent Bazemore and Nicolas Batum in free agency? — Brandon Givens

HR: Asik’s contract will make him very hard to trade for at least another season or two, no matter who else is part of the deal. He will make $11MM for each of the next three seasons, with a non-guaranteed $14MM for 2019/20. Evans and Jrue Holiday both have expiring contracts next summer, so there may be interest in them, and the Pelicans will have some cap room to play with if Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson don’t re-sign. But what New Orleans really needs is good health, especially from Anthony Davis, who was limited to 61 games this year. A full season from him might put the Pelicans back in the playoffs.

Who do you think ends up coaching the Rockets? — Christian Cueto

Obviously, this was sent before Houston announced the hiring of Mike D’Antoni this week. There are two schools of thought on D’Antoni. One is that his teams are undisciplined and don’t play defense and that he will bring out all of James Harden‘s worst instincts. The other is that D’Antoni is an offensive genius who paved the way for the modern attack that many teams use and that his teams can be very good, especially with a defensive specialist next to him on the bench. If there were a perfect test case for whether D’Antoni’s theories still work, it should be next season’s Rockets.

Hoops Links: Iguodala, Harden, Clarkson

Every Sunday, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Then you should send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown …

Please send submissions for Hoops Links to Zach at HoopsLinks@gmail.com.

Bosh, Heat Clashed Over Blood Thinners

Chris Bosh suggested a way that he could play this year while taking blood thinners, but the Heat rejected it, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Bosh, who was sidelined from the All-Star break through the end of the season after doctors discovered blood clots in his calf, wanted to take the medication early in the day so it would be out of his bloodstream by game time.

A source told Jackson that the substance left Bosh’s body 8 to 12 hours after he took it, but Heat doctors weren’t convinced the plan was safe and the team turned down the idea. Blood thinners are considered dangerous for athletes because they can lead to excessive bleeding if a player gets cut or can cause internal bleeding if he’s involved in a hard fall or collision.

U-Health cardiologist Robert Myerburg said some newly introduced blood thinners can exit the body in 12 hours or less, but he told Jackson he doesn’t believe it would have been safe for Bosh to play. “I would not use that strategy,” Myerburg said. “There’s too much at risk. The drug being out of the system is not what worries me as much as the unprotected time,” especially if an area with past clotting is subjected to trauma. None of the doctors involved with Bosh or the Heat has commented publicly.

Bosh has three years and close to $76MM left on the maximum deal he signed in 2014. There have been reports that the Heat fear Bosh will never be medically cleared to play again, but Jackson writes that both he and the team are optimistic about a return next season.

Southwest Notes: Bickerstaff, Fizdale, Pachulia, Mavs

Former Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff is being considered for a job on the Grizzlies‘ staff, tweets John Martin of ESPN929.com. A source told Martin that Bickerstaff traveled to Memphis Friday to meet with new coach David Fizdale. Bickerstaff had a 37-34 record with Houston after taking over for Kevin McHale in November. He pulled his name out of consideration in the Rockets’ coaching search before they hired Mike D’Antoni.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Fizdale has a reputation as a players’ coach, but that’s because he’s a communicator, not a pushover, writes Tom Schad of The Commercial Appeal. Fizdale spent the past two seasons as an assistant in Miami, where he became known for his directness. “That doesn’t mean you’re always nice. That means you’re true with your players,” former Heat point guard Beno Udrih said in an interview with ESPN 92.9. “I think players appreciate more if coaches, when he needs to be tough, he’s tough to them. And he can communicate in a different way that — picking up his voice — he does that. He has that very good balance to do that.”
  • The Mavericks hope to improve at center, so it’s likely that free agent Zaza Pachulia will wind up with another team, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Pachulia was a pleasant surprise after Dallas acquired him from the Bucks last summer in exchange for a second-round draft pick. He started 69 games and averaged close to a double-double with 8.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per night. The Mavs made a strong play for DeAndre Jordan last summer and are expected to chase free agent centers again. If they get one, they may not be able to afford to keep Pachulia as a backup.
  • Veteran Charlie Villanueva may also be leaving Dallas after a down shooting season, Sefko writes in a separate piece. Normally an effective stretch four, Villanueva connected on just 27% of his 172 3-point attempts this season. He is only 32, so there’s still a chance he’ll bounce back, but Sefko expects it to be with another organization.
  • The players the Mavericks target in free agency will provide a clue on the direction the franchise is taking, Sefko writes in a question-and-answer column. The writer says the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson would be a nice pickup at point guard, but Dallas may not want to live with his mistakes while giving him time to develop. Sefko thinks the Mavericks will pursue veteran free agents who can help them win right away.

Grizzlies Hire David Fizdale As Head Coach

SUNDAY, 2:06pm: The hiring is official, the Grizzlies announced today.

THURSDAY, 12:06pm: The Grizzlies and David Fizdale have reached an agreement on a contract that will make the Heat assistant the new head coach in Memphis, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, it will be a four-year deal for Fizdale. Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal adds (via Twitter) that the fourth year will be a team option.

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

Fizdale, who turns 42 next month, has been a part of the Heat’s coaching staff since 2008, with the club earning two NBA Championship teams during his tenure. Fizdale previously served as an assistant coach for the Warriors (2003/04) and the Hawks (2004-2008).

The Grizzlies had been seeking a replacement for former coach Dave Joerger, who was fired after requesting permission to interview for other coaching jobs. The Kings hired him last week, giving him a four-year deal worth $16MM, leaving Memphis to scour the market for a new head coach.

In addition to Fizdale, the Grizzlies considered several other candidates for their head coaching vacancy, including Spurs assistants James Borrego and Ettore Messina, Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing, Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik and Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts.

The club also conducted at least one interview with Frank Vogel, who spoke to team owner Robert Pera, before he accepted the head coaching job in Orlando. Outside of Vogel, Fizdale is believed to be the only candidate who had an interview with Pera in attendance.

Wojnarowski first reported on Wednesday that Memphis had offered its head coaching position to Fizdale.

The Rockets are now the NBA’s only head team whose head coaching search is ongoing.

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