Pacers Waive Shayne Whittington

The Pacers have waived big man Shayne Whittington, the team announced today in a press release. The move allows the team to avoid paying Whittington’s $980,431 salary for the 2016/17 season, which would have become fully guaranteed if he remained on the roster beyond August 1.

[RELATED: Upcoming deadlines for non-guaranteed contracts]

Whittington, 25, has spent parts of the last two seasons with the Pacers, going back forth between Indiana and Fort Wayne, where the team’s D-League affiliate plays. During that time, the Western Michigan alum has appeared in 27 total NBA games, averaging a modest 2.5 PPG and 1.5 RPG in 5.5 minutes per contest.

With Whittington no longer in the mix, the Pacers have reduced their roster to 15 players, the regular-season limit. Of those 15 players, 14 have guaranteed salaries, while Glenn Robinson III also has an August 1 guarantee deadline. Assuming Robinson sticks around past Monday, he and his 14 teammates look like they’ll make up Indiana’s opening-night roster, though teams can carry up to 20 players in the offseason, so the Pacers figure to add a few more players for training camp in the coming weeks.

As for Whittington, he still has a chance to earn his full salary on his current contract if he’s claimed off waivers. However, it’s more likely that he’ll hit the open market. A non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed contract with an NBA team – perhaps even Indiana – is one option, though he could also decide to explore overseas opportunities.

Community Shootaround: NBA’s Worst Team

Much of the offseason discussion over the last month has centered on the Warriors’ chances to make history now that they’ve added Kevin Durant to a team coming off a 73-win season. While most of us expect Golden State to be the NBA’s No. 1 team in 2016/17, it’s also worth taking a look at the clubs on the other end of the spectrum.

Very few NBA franchises head into training camp without playoff aspirations, but there are a handful of teams that will be facing a challenging uphill battle if they attempt to earn a trip to the postseason this season.

The Sixers, despite adding some veteran talent to go along with incoming rookies Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, are still in rebuilding mode, and the Nets are right there with them. The Suns and Lakers signed some veterans in free agency too, but it’s not clear whether either club has enough talent to even aim for a .500 record.

When ESPN released its Eastern and Western Conference forecasts for the 2016/17 season this week, those four clubs were the only ones projected to win less than 30 games. ESPN has the Suns down for 26 victories, with the Lakers (25), Sixers (20), and Nets (20) right behind them. Meanwhile, the Heat, Magic, Pelicans, Nuggets, and Kings are considered likely to compile win totals in the low-to-mid-30s, per ESPN.

What do you think? Which team will be the NBA’s worst in 2016/17? Will the Sixers earn that title for the second straight year, or will another club slip below them? Does ESPN’s projection model have it generally right, or is there a club heading for disaster that’s being overlooked?

Take to the comments section below to share your opinions on which team will be the worst in the NBA in 2016/17. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Pacific Notes: Gay, Durant, Stoudemire, Suns

Rudy Gay made some comments earlier this week that made NBA observers raise an eyebrow, as he complained about the lack of stability and consistency in Sacramento and admitted that he hadn’t even been following the Kings‘ offseason moves. Gay has since followed up on those comments, so let’s dive into a Friday morning round-up of Pacific notes for the latest on Gay and a couple other players…

  • According to Sean Cunningham of ABC10, Gay said that he spoke to Kings GM Vlade Divac this week. And while Gay acknowledged that things haven’t necessarily changed since Monday, he expressed some optimism about his situation going forward, whether that’s in Sacramento or somewhere else. “At this point in my career I just want to be happy,” Gay said. “I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”
  • Refuting a report that surfaced recently, Kevin Durant tells Shams Charania of The Vertical that he never promised Oklahoma City teammates Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison that he’d return to the Thunder before he signed with the Warriors. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth,” Durant said. “We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. … I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that.”
  • Speaking to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic, Amar’e Stoudemire confirmed a Tuesday report, admitting that he had interest in rejoining the Suns during the past couple offseasons, but that there wasn’t mutual interest in that scenario. “The last two years, we made phone calls to Phoenix but I wasn’t getting any positive response,” Stoudemire said. “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out. I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.” Stoudemire ultimately signed a ceremonial contract this week to retire as a Knick, rather than as a Sun.

Spurs To Sign David Lee

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Cleveland CavaliersThe Spurs have added some veteran help to their frontcourt, with the team reaching an agreement on a contract with unrestricted free agent David Lee, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (via Twitter). It will be a two-year pact that includes a player option for the 2017/18 campaign, Wojnarowski adds. The contract will pay Lee an estimated $3.2MM, Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Lee brings a solid work ethic, a versatile skill set and a high motor with him to San Antonio. If he can remain healthy, Lee should fit right in with the Spurs brand of basketball. He’ll add some depth to a frontcourt that will be without Tim Duncan, who announced his retirement earlier this offseason.

The 33-year-old finished the 2015/16 season with the Mavericks after he reached a buyout arrangement with the Celtics. In 25 games with Dallas, Lee averaged 8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17.3 minutes per outing. He shot .636/.000/.738 from the field during his time in Texas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: NBPA, Monroe, Murray

On Wednesday, the NBPA announced in an unprecedented move, that it will now fund health insurance for all retired players who accrued three or more years of service time in the NBA (h/t RealGM). This program will be the first of its kind among North American professional sports, the release noted. “The game has never been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Bucks are still looking to find a taker for Greg Monroe and it sounds like they’ve spoken to the Pelicans about him this offseason. “I think [the Bucks] got closer than maybe has been reported with New Orleans during either the draft or free agency,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said during today’s episode of The Lowe Post podcast (54:25 mark for the relevant portion). “Monroe’s a New Orleans native,” ESPN’s Marc Stein added. “I think that’s where he wants to end up.” Neither Lowe nor Stein suggested that a deal between the Pelicans and Bucks is currently in the works, but Stein expects the big man to eventually be moved, and those two clubs also discussed Monroe prior to this year’s trade deadline.
  • Richard Jefferson‘s contract with the Cavaliers is for three years, not for two as was previously reported, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The veteran will earn $2.5MM in each of the first two seasons, with the final season worth a non-guaranteed $2.6MM, Pincus adds.
  • Add former NBA player Flip Murray to the list of veterans considering making a return to the league, as he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “I would definitely bring a lot of veteran leadership because I know the game of basketball,” Murray said. “The way the game is now, I feel like I could fit perfectly in. I could be someone who comes off the bench and produces for the team. I’d also like to mentor the young guys and pass on some of the experiences and lessons I learned from playing against some of the guys I matched up against during my time. If I come in right now, I could bring a lot of veteran leadership and still be able to produce on the court.” The 36-year-old last appeared in the NBA during the regular season in 2009/10.

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Have a question regarding player movement, free agent rumors, the salary cap, the NBA draft, or the top storylines of the week? You can e-mail them here: [email protected]. Feel free to send emails throughout the week, but please be mindful that we may receive a sizable number of questions and might not get to all of them.

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Southwest Notes: Parker, Nowitzki, Dedmon

Despite the retirement of Tim Duncan this summer, point guard Tony Parker still believes the Spurs will be a factor in the championship hunt in 2016/17, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes. “Obviously, we are going to miss him a lot,” Parker said of Duncan. “You can’t replace a guy like Timmy. But we will try to do our best to keep the Spurs going and to keep winning. I’m just going to try to be a good leader and welcome all the new guys and try to help them as much as I can and just show them the Spurs culture and what we do here.”

Here’s more from out of the Southwest Division:

  • Former Providence point guard God Shammgod has joined the Mavericks‘ staff as an assistant coach in charge of player development, Jon Rothstein of tweets.
  • Dirk Nowitzki‘s contract with the Mavs calls for him to earn $25MM per season, includes a no-trade clause and the second year is a team option with no guaranteed money, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter links).
  • Center Dewayne Dedmon said his two best options this offseason were the Spurs and the Warriors, adding he chose San Antonio in order to have a shot a beating Golden State, Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News relays (Subscription required). The soon-to-be 27-year-old inked a two-year deal with the Spurs this offseason.

Salary Cap Snapshot: Charlotte Hornets

With the free agent signing period winding down and teams looking ahead to the preseason, we at Hoops Rumors will be tracking the Salary Cap figures for each team around the league.  These posts will be maintained throughout the season once financial data is reported. These posts will be located on the sidebar throughout the year, once all the teams’ cap figures have been relayed. The next franchise we’ll be looking at are the Charlotte Hornets, who currently are over the league’s salary cap of $94,143,000 for the 2016/17 season. You can always check for up-to-date rosters for each franchise, with the Hornets’ team page accessible here.

Here’s a breakdown of where the Hornets currently stand financially:

Guaranteed Salary

Total Guaranteed Salary= $98,291,666

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Aaron Harrison — $874,636 (Becomes fully guaranteed on January 10th, 2017)
  • Mike Tobey — $468,471 (Becomes fully guaranteed on January 10th, 2017)

Total Non-Guaranteed Salary= $1,343,107

Eligible for Rookie Scale Extensions: None

Cash Sent Out Via Trade: $0 [Amount Remaining $3.5MM]

Cash Received Via Trade: TBD. An Unknown amount was received from Memphis in the Troy Daniels trade. [Amount Remaining $3.5MM]

Payroll Exceptions Available

  • Room Exception: $2,898,000
  • Trade Exception: $1,666,470 (Expires on July 12th, 2017)

Total Projected Payroll: $99,634,773

Salary Cap: $94,143,000

Estimated Available Cap Space: $5,491,773

Luxury Tax Threshold: $113,287,000

Amount Below Luxury Tax: $13,652,227

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

Bulls Re-Sign Spencer Dinwiddie

The Bulls have circled back to guard Spencer Dinwiddie, with the team announcing via press release that he has been re-signed. The length and terms of the arrangement were not relayed in the release, but odds are that it is a minimum salary deal with little or no guaranteed money included. The addition of Dinwiddie gives the Bulls a roster count of 15, which is the regular season maximum.

Chicago had waived Dinwiddie back on July 7th in an effort to clear cap room for free agent pursuits. The Bulls had acquired the 23-year-old from Detroit in exchange for power forward Cameron Bairstow in June.

Dinwiddie completed the 2015/16 campaign, his second in the NBA, with averages of 4.8 points, 1.8 assists, 1.4 rebounds and 13.3 minutes over 12 contests.  He was drafted by the Pistons with the No. 38 overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. Dinwiddie owns career averages of 4.4 points, 2.7 assists, 1.4 rebounds and 13.3 minutes through 46 regular season games in the league.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Nets, Bentil

Like many around the NBA, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was taken by surprise that Dwyane Wade left the Heat to join the Bulls this offfseason, Nick Friedell of writes. “I was shocked,” Anthony said. “I was shocked more from a standpoint it was just hard to see. It’s hard to see some players in different uniforms and he’s one of those guys who I never thought I would see in a different uniform other than Miami. But it happened, and I got a chance to talk to him and sit down with him and really dig deep about his feelings and what happened. He’s at peace now. And when he’s at peace, I’m at peace with it.”

Melo also took the time to express his happiness at the Knicks’ new-look roster, Friedell adds. “We love them,” Anthony said. “We love those additions. And we’re looking forward to getting the season going. And I think everybody is excited, the excitement is back. Right now there’s an adjustment on paper, but of course we have some work to do putting it all together, making it work. But we’re going to ride the wave of this excitement right now.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics have a crowded roster with 18 players currently under contract, and as a result, will have some difficult decisions to make during the preseason. Logan Mullen of 93.7FM’s Green Street broke down who he thinks will make the regular season roster and who is ticketed for Boston’s D-League affiliate in Maine.
  • The Nets are stressing patience as the team rebuilds, which is a marked change from how the team has operated under owner Mikhail Prokhorov in the past, notes David Aldridge of “This goes from ownership all the way down,” GM Sean Marks said. “When Mikhail wrote his letter 9to season ticket holders), the lessons he learned, that sort of stood out. It stood out for me, that a guy of his stature realized, we’re going to go in a different direction this time. Now it’s up to us to put a product on the floor that’s going to be sustainable, and not just for a fleeting moment. I understand there could be some trying times here for the organization. We’re not going to win 50 games next year. We get that. But if we can put a product on the floor that we can be proud of, that fans can appreciate, if fans know that we’ll compete every night, that’ll speak volumes. Especially the Brooklyn-New York fan base will appreciate that.”
  • Ben Bentil‘s three-year contract with the Celtics includes a partial guarantee of $250K for the first season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Unrestricted free agent Shane Larkin, who appeared in 78 games for the Nets in 2015/16, has switched agents and is now represented by Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports, Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal tweets.
  • The Celtics have officially renounced their rights to Gigi Datome, Pincus relays (on Twitter). The 27-year-old last appeared in the league during the 2014/15 campaign.

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