Latest On Celtics Extension Negotiations

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge confirmed an earlier report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that they’ve had talks about an extension with Tyler Zeller, and he said they’re engaged in discussions with Jared Sullinger, too, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The negotiations are preliminary, according to Himmelsbach.

“Obviously, those are two guys that we like moving forward,” Ainge said to Himmelsbach. “So, yeah, there will be more discussions with both of them, probably during the month of October.”

They, along with offseason trade acquisition Perry Jones III, are eligible for rookie scale extensions between now and November 2nd, but Jones doesn’t appear to be a lock to so much as make the opening night roster, Himmelsbach writes.

Zeller is the most likely of the three to receive an extension, Himmelsbach opines. That’s the same sentiment expressed by CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely in an earlier report. Grantland’s Zach Lowe speculated recently that the Celtics would extend Zeller as long as the annual salaries are worth less than $12MM.

The 7-foot center averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds last season and shot a team-high 54.9% from the field. Zeller and Kelly Olynyk are the only true centers on the current roster, though Sullinger and David Lee can slide to that spot in smaller lineups.

Sullinger averaged 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 58 games last year but has undergone back and foot surgeries, Himmelsbach notes. There are also lingering questions about his conditioning, Himmelsbach adds, though an apparently slimmer Sullinger has been training in Houston with former NBA player and coach John Lucas for much of the summer.

Boston’s front office challenged Sullinger after last season to get in better shape. Ainge told ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan in March that he would have “great interest” in giving Sullinger an extension, but a weight clause would likely be part of any deal. The Celtics can afford to be more cautious with Sullinger compared to Zeller because they have four other power forwards on the roster.

Lakers, Marcelo Huertas Agree To Deal

The Lakers and Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas have come to terms on a one-year deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Ismail Senol of the Turkish outlet NTV SPOR had reported earlier today that Huertas would sign with a Western Conference team (Twitter link; translation via Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi). Huertas had reportedly agreed to a deal with Galatasaray of Turkey, but he asked for more time to scan NBA interest, as Cauchi relays via Senol.

Wojnarowski first reported four months ago that Huertas was planning to sign with an NBA team this year and that he was expected to draw aggressive pursuit from teams seeking a backup. The 6’3″ Huertas, who turned 32 in May, seemed to change his mind shortly thereafter, but agent Gerard Darnes said a month ago that Huertas was still focused on landing an NBA deal and that Octagon colleague Alex Saratsis continued to negotiate toward that end on his behalf.

Huertas went undrafted back in 2005 and has played each season since in Spain, save for a year in Italy. He’s been a mainstay for FC Barcelona the past four seasons, and he averaged 7.7 points, 4.3 assists and 1.8 turnovers in 21.1 minutes per game in 2014/15.

It’s unclear whether the Lakers are exceeding the rookie minimum of $525,093 for Huertas, though that’s often required to convince European players to sign stateside. If that’s the case, the Lakers have their $2.814MM to dip into. They only have 12 fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster count shows, so there’s plenty of roster flexibility and a decent chance for Huertas to stick for opening night if he isn’t the 13th Laker with a guaranteed deal.

The Lakers are taking some risks this offseason. What do you think of their approach? Leave a comment to tell us.

DeAndre Jordan Drops Relativity Sports Agents

DeAndre Jordan told Relativity Sports agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana last week that he’ll no longer be using them as representatives, a source said to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Fegan has close ties to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who helped convince Jordan to agree to a deal with Dallas before the center did a 180 and re-signed with the Clippers instead. It’s unclear whom Jordan will hire as his next agent, though he’ll have to wait 15 days to officially make his choice, Turner notes (Twitter link).

Fegan and Akana will still receive the 4% commission on the four-year, maximum salary deal worth $87,616,050 that Jordan wound up signing with the Clippers, as Turner points out (Twitter link), but they lose a high-profile client who can hit free agency again in 2018, a few weeks shy of his 30th birthday. They’re not the first agents with whom Jordan has parted ways. The center began with Joel Bell and moved on to the Wasserman Media Group before joining Relativity, Turner recounts via Twitter.

Today’s news means Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge, perhaps the two most talked-about free agents this summer, both changed agents after signing their new deals, as former Nets executive Bobby Marks observes (Twitter link). Aldridge went from Wasserman Media Group to Excel Sports Management, as international journalist David Pick reported earlier this month.

Jordan’s move isn’t altogether surprising, given the trappings of the way his commitment to the Mavericks turned into a new deal with the Clippers. Cuban said he was with Fegan while Jordan was apparently in the process of changing his mind, and when Jordan signed his Clippers contract shortly thereafter, it was reportedly Akana, not Fegan, who was present. Austin Rivers, the son of Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, also left Relativity this summer, shortly after the agents represented him in negotiations for his new two-year deal worth nearly $6.455MM.

Bucks To Sign Charlie Westbrook

The Bucks have reached an agreement with unrestricted free agent guard Charlie Westbrook, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). The length and terms of the pact are not yet known, but it is likely a minimum salary training camp deal with little or no guaranteed money included, though that is merely my speculation.

Westbrook, 26, went undrafted back in 2012 out of South Dakota where he averaged 18.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists as a Senior. His slash line was .464/.389/.766. Westbrook was signed to a training camp deal by the Heat back in 2013, but was waived prior to the commencement of the regular season. He has since played overseas for both the Italian club Tezenis Verona and Hyères-Toulon of France, as well as stateside in the NBA D-League.

The addition of Westbrook will give the Bucks a roster count of 18, including 15 players possessing fully guaranteed deals. It’s highly unlikely that the 6’4″ shooting guard makes Milwaukee’s regular season roster given the team’s current depth chart, and the Bucks don’t have a one to one D-League affiliation currently, so stashing Westbrook there for a season isn’t an option.

Latest On Tristan Thompson

Restricted free agent Tristan Thompson, who has reportedly rejected a five-year, $80MM contract offer from the Cavaliers, will not put pen to paper on a new pact unless it is a maximum salary deal, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report (video link) relays (hat tip to Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk). Thompson’s agent, Rich Paul, has already made it clear to the Cavs’ front office that his client is prepared to sign his one-year qualifying offer worth $6,777,589 if a deal can’t be worked out between the two sides, Bucher notes.

By signing the qualifying offer, Thompson would set himself up to become an unrestricted free agent next Summer, just in time for the salary cap to increase significantly. One reason that Thompson would be willing to roll the dice and play out the 2015/16 campaign without the comfort and security of a long-term pact is that Paul believes he can wrangle a max deal out of the Raptors next offseason, Bucher adds. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops had previously broached the possibility of Thompson, a Canadian native, joining the Raptors in 2016/17. One Eastern Conference GM had told Scotto that he thought Thompson would end up in Toronto this summer. Thompson is friends with Raptors signee Cory Joseph, who’s also from Toronto.

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has stated that he considers it a priority to add Canadian born players to the team, which makes Thompson a natural target for the franchise. “We are studying it. I even considered last year hiring somebody to concentrate just on Canadian players and I think I’m going to go through with it because the growth of the game here is so big,” Ujiri said. “It’s the fit. We can maybe take our time and study it a little bit so it is the right fit and not do it just to do it. It’s going to come, there is no doubt in my mind. It’s an obligation that I think we have to fulfil. We are a Canadian team and I think to have Canadian players, I think will be phenomenal.”

Cleveland is in a difficult position regarding its negotiations with the forward, since LeBron James, also a client of Paul’s, has publicly stated that he wants Thompson to remain with the Cavs, and James is able to opt out of his contract next Summer. Thompson and the Cavs were reportedly close to an agreement on the first day of free agency, but talks stalled when Thompson reportedly asked for $85MM over five years, after it was reported that Draymond Green received that much from Golden State. Green’s actual deal was for $82MM, contrary to those initial leaked figures.

Thompson had also turned down a four-year, $52MM extension offer this past fall, betting on the odds that he could do better this summer, despite the Cavs adding Kevin Love to the roster prior to the start of the 2014/15 season. The Cavs do hold Thompson’s Bird rights, meaning that they could outbid other teams for the 24-year-old’s services next offseason.

Poll: 2003 NBA Draft Take Two (Pick No. 8)

Drafting players is far from an exact science, and many a GM has been second-guessed for his draft night decisions. I’m willing to bet that every team executive has at least one pick that he would like a mulligan for. While life, and the NBA, doesn’t allow for such opportunities, we at Hoops Rumors decided it would be fun to give our readers a second take at picking players, complete with the benefit of hindsight.

We are in the process of taking you on a journey back to June of 2003, and revisiting a draft that saw the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh available to potentially change the fortunes of a few struggling franchises. Wade was the first of that group to win an NBA championship, though James and Bosh would later join him in Miami and go on to win multiple titles together years later, while Melo is still seeking his first trip to the NBA Finals. Detroit, which owned the No. 2 overall pick that season, chose to go with Darko Milicic, who didn’t work out so well for the Pistons. Not all picks pan out, but that one is especially painful given the talent that the Pistons passed over to select the big man, who owns career averages of 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds, and has been out of the NBA since making a single appearance for the Celtics back in 2012/13.

We continue our revisionist history with the Bucks, who used the No. 8 overall pick it had acquired from the Hawks to select T.J. Ford. Readers, you are now on the clock! Cast your vote for Milwaukee’s pick and check back Tuesday night for the results, as well as to cast your vote for who the Knicks will select with the No. 9 overall pick. But don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the No. 8 overall pick and why you voted the way that you did.

Previous Picks

  1. Cavaliers: LeBron James
  2. Pistons: Dwyane Wade
  3. Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony
  4. Raptors: Chris Bosh
  5. Heat: David West
  6. Clippers: Kyle Korver
  7. Bulls: Mo Williams

If you’re a Trade Rumors app user, click here.

2015/16 Salary Cap: Oklahoma City Thunder

The NBA’s salary cap for 2015/16 has been set at $70MM, which is an 11% increase from this past season, and the luxury tax line will be $84.74MM. The last cap projection from the league had been $67.1MM, and the projection for the tax line had been $81.6MM. We at Hoops Rumors are in the process of breaking down the cap commitments for each NBA franchise for the coming season. Next up on the list is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who currently have a roster count totaling 16 players:

  • 2015/16 Salary Cap= $70,000,000
  • 2015/16 Luxury Tax Line= $84,740,000
  • Fully Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $97,157,411
  • Partially Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $0
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $0*
  • Total Salary Cap Commitments= $97,157,411*
  • Remaining Cap Room= -$27,157,411
  • Amount Above Luxury Tax Line= $12,417,411

*Note: These figures do not include the amount of Talib Zanna‘s non-guaranteed deal, which has yet to be reported.

Cap Exceptions Available:

  • Non-Taxpayer’s Mid-Level Exception= $3,376,000

Cash Available to Send Out In Trades= $1,900,000

Cash Available to Receive Via Trade= $3,400,000

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

Sir’Dominic Pointer To Join Canton Charge

Sir’Dominic Pointer, the No. 53 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, will join the Canton Charge for the 2015/16 season, Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports. Canton is Cleveland’s one-to-one D-League affiliate. The 23-year-old will not attend training camp with the Cavs and instead will report to Canton once its training camp commences, Haynes’ source informs him.

It’s a wise move for the young guard, with the Cavs already possessing 13 players with fully guaranteed deals. It would be a long shot for Pointer to make the final cut and stick on the NBA roster for the regular season. Cleveland is reportedly intrigued with Pointer’s size (6’5″) and defensive skills, and the franchise sees him potentially developing into a lockdown defender who can guard multiple positions, according to Haynes. Bypassing the NBA for the D-League next season is viewed as the most logical path for both the player and the team given the Cavs’ perimeter depth and Pointer’s need to improve his shooting, the Northeast Ohio Media Group scribe adds.

Pointer averaged 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.4 blocks as a senior for the Red Storm during the 2014/15 campaign. His career NCAA numbers are 8.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.3 BPG to accompany his shooting numbers of .477/.193/.681. In five summer league games for Cleveland’s squad he averaged 5.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steal in 18.4 minutes per game.

Sixers Interested In Kendall Marshall

The Sixers have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent Kendall Marshall, league sources have informed Michael Kaskey-Blomain of ESPN’s TrueHoop Network (on Twitter). The Timberwolves are reportedly eyeing the point guard as well.

Philadelphia currently has a roster count of 16 players, though only 11 possess fully guaranteed deals, which means that Marshall would have an excellent shot to make the club’s regular season roster. Also working in Marshall’s favor would be the Sixers’ distinct lack of depth at the one spot. The team currently has Tony Wroten penciled in atop the depth chart, with Isaiah Canaan, Scottie Wilbekin, and Pierre Jackson in the mix as well.

Marshall’s 2014/15 campaign was cut short when he tore his right ACL in January while playing for the Bucks, who had made the unusual move of guaranteeing his non-guaranteed salary before the season, more than two months before they needed to make a decision on the matter. The 24-year-old made 28 appearances for Milwaukee prior to his injury, and he averaged 4.2 points, 1.0 rebound, and 3.1 assists in 14.9 minutes per contest. His career numbers through parts of three NBA seasons are 5.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and 5.4 APG to go along with a slash line of .405/.377/.593.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 8/30/15

As we learned earlier today, the RocketsDwight Howard is generating little buzz with his potential 2016 free agency. Howard signed a four-year deal with Houston worth more than $87MM, but has a player option for 2016/17. With the salary cap expected to soar next summer, he will likely test the market once again. While there may not be much buzz now, there is intrigue when the variables in play are brought up. There’s Howard’s age (he’ll soon be 30) and injury history, for starters.

Thus, the question of the day: What type of deal will Howard land if he becomes a 2016 free agent?

Personally, I see Howard — if he stays healthy and produces this season — getting a long-term deal from the Rockets worth at least $100MM.

Being mindful of our commenting policy, let us know in the comments section below what you think is the most underrated signing of the summer so far.

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