Paul Pierce Rumors
May 18 at 7:50pm CST By Spencer Lund
The Bulls' season is done, despite gritting out a tough run of injuries--not to mention their season-long absence of 2011 MVP, Derrick Rose--to defeat the Nets and advance to the second round. Even with Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and the aforementioned Rose out, and with Taj Gibson's knee bothering him, the Bulls pushed the Heat a lot more than many expected.
With the Bulls' season over, now is the time to plot for Rose's heralded return (a season later than expected), and decide whether to make a splash this offseason or hold firm and see what this year's tough group can do with a healthy and rested Rose.
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune provides a primer on the state of the Bulls' guaranteed contracts next season, and with $72,044,288 earmarked for just eight players, the Bulls are hoping to find someone like Nate Robinson who can inject some offense without making more than the league minimum.
- Paul Ladewski at SheridanHoops.com thinks the Bulls should go after Al Jefferson in a sign-and-trade deal with the Jazz and Joe Cowley at the Chicago Sun Times bids adieu to important backcourt producers, Robinson and Marco Belinelli, who will likely sign with other teams this offseason when they become unrestricted free agents. The Bulls are expected to buy out Richard Hamilton's contract this summer, so they'll have a paucity of guards under contract for next season, and Cowley notes that Tom Thibodeau is looking for more outside shooting at the lowest cost they can find.
- Indiana guard, Victor Oladipo, told Vincent Goodwell at the Detroit News he had his best team interview at the NBA pre draft combine on Friday with the Pistons. The Pistons love his defensive tenacity and motor, and Oladipo says he'd be a good fit for the "defensively oriented" team.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote in her mailbag the Cavs shouldn't look to acquire Paul Pierce this summer, but believes the team wants to win now and could be looking to add "significant veteran" to their younger squad using a collection of draft picks and money.
- In another in a series of pre-draft columns, Mary Schmitt Boyer also looks at the pro prospects of Michigan point guard and NCAA Tournament hero, Trey Burke.
May 17 at 9:06pm CST By Chuck Myron
A Northwest Division team has appeared in the Western Conference Finals four of the last six seasons, but with the top-seeded Thunder on early summer vacation after their loss to the Grizzlies, that trend has come to an end. The focus now shifts to offseason movement, and we've got the latest on a pair of Northwest teams here:
- New Timberwolves executive Flip Saunders served as an adviser to Celtics coach Doc Rivers last year, but even if Boston elects to waive Paul Pierce, a source downplays the notion that Pierce could join the Wolves, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
- Wolfson, in his roundup of Minnesota items, hears that former Wolves GM David Kahn told friends he thought he'd assume the same position with the Sixers, who instead hired Sam Hinkie as their new GM.
- The minimum salary contract of Chris Johnson, the backup big man the Wolves signed when they were short on bodies this season, is fully guaranteed for next season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link).
- Kevin Martin hesitated before issuing the standard player line about wanting back with his team next season, and Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman interprets that as a sign he's ready to move on. She thinks the Thunder would be hard-pressed to bring him back on even half of his $12.4MM salary from this season.
- Of course, the Thunder wouldn't have a decision to make on Martin if they hadn't pulled the trigger on the James Harden deal, a move Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com chalks up as a blunder.
May 16 at 10:13pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times heard from Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau that Joakim Noah might require surgery on his right foot this summer but will opt for rehab as his first option. Cowley also mentions that Chicago will likely have to find a way to re-tool their bench with several one-year deals again, as Thibodeau said that the market will dictate whether or not they'll be able to carry over several of their key role players - namely Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, and Nazr Mohammed - into next season. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
May 9 at 6:54pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Danny Ainge made his final weekly appearance on 93.7 WEEI's Salk and Holley Show to share his thoughts on the team heading into the offseason. Ben Rohrbach of WEEI passed along the highlights of the interview, notably mentioning that Ainge feels that Paul Pierce has "a lot of basketball left in him" and that he thinks Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers will be back next season. You can read more about Ainge's comments below:
- Determining the future of Pierce will be the first difficult decision Ainge will have to make this summer.
- He downplayed recent rumors which suggested that he and Rivers are questioning whether they can continue to coexist or not: "(Those rumors) are silly. Those are a waste of time to even acknowledge...I think I have the best coach in the NBA, and I'm not the least bit tired of hearing his voice...I think Doc'll be coaching the Celtics (next year)."
- Garnett will be given some time to himself before the team approaches him about next season: "I'll touch base w/him some time next week...He needs time to chill and contemplate his life. I do anticipate KG will play."
- On a side note, Leandro Barbosa has been rehabbing at the team's facility, leading Rohrbach to wonder if Boston will consider bringing him back to the team next season.
- Rajon Rondo has "looked good" as he continues to recover from his ACL injury and should be ready to go by training camp.
- Ainge thinks that the team is more than one player away from contending (unless it's a great player) and added that it would be tough to become a championship team with the way the Celtics are currently constructed.
May 4 at 11:25pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Despite ongoing criticism directed at Derrick Rose
for not returning to action yet after being medically cleared nearly two months ago, the Bulls superstar remains unfazed, primarily because he doesn't put himself in a position to hear about any of it, observes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times
. As for the theory that the "Rose camp" - whether it involves his brother Reggie, Adidas, or agent B.J. Armstrong
- has decided to keep him out of action, Rose dispelled the notion, telling Cowley, “Who said that? If anything, it’s up to me...My brother and them can’t tell me what to do with my body. They give me control. I’m in control of the whole process. It’s really all on me.’’
Rose also mentions that he's still trying to prepare himself mentally for a return and downplayed the idea that the Bulls have put pressure on him to make haste on a comeback. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
May 4 at 9:35am CST By Zach Links
Could the early conclusion to the Celtics' 2012/13 season spell the end of the Big Three era? Here's the latest out of Boston..
- Boston needs to retool again, and Kevin Garnett could make it easy for them with retirement, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The big man has two years and $23.5MM left on a deal that includes a no-trade clause. Meanwhile, around the NBA, there's belief that the hire of Flip Saunders as GM of the Timberwolves will open the door for the club eventually offering KG the opportunity to invest in the franchise.
- If the C's don't believe that they can win with their existing core, they'll have to consider trading Rajon Rondo as he is their best asset, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- Even if Garnett retires, the Celtics really aren’t left with a lot of options, writes Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld. Even if KG walks away and they amnesty Pierce, Boston still wouldn’t really have enough cap space to add a marquee free agent. With no other moves, the Celtics would basically be bringing back the same club sans Pierce and Garnett plus a player towards the bottom of free agency’s top tier.
- People close to Pierce are certain that he has played his final game as a Celtic, according to Greg Dickerson of CSNNE.com (on Twitter).
May 2 at 9:25pm CST By Michael Pina
The NBA has announced that Warriors head coach Mark Jackson has been fined $25K by for influencing officials with recent postgame comments, reports Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post.
Here are a few more notes from around the league.
- D-League guard Courtney Fortson will not be playing in the D-League next year, according to RidiculousUpside.com's Keith Schlosser. His options for next season, as he told the site, are the NBA, Europe, or China.
- Nola.com's Jimmy Smith takes a look at Pelicans forward Lance Thomas, who has a team option on his contract next season for less than $1MM. Smith focuses on what Thomas needs to do to make him worth keeping on the roster.
- Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says dealing with Paul Pierce's
contract this offseason will be difficult. Ainge and the C's have an
option to buy out Pierce for $5MM, which would save the team more than
$10MM, according to CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely.
- Philadelphia Inquirer reporter John Mitchell reports that the Sixers will look to interview Jeff Hornacek, Michael Curry, Mike Malone and Brian Shaw for their open head coaching position.
May 1 at 3:16pm CST By Luke Adams
With the Celtics trailing their first round series against the Knicks three games to one, it may just be a matter of hours until the team is officially eliminated from the postseason. Even so, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aren't thinking about whether or not tonight's game could be the last of their NBA playing careers. Both players told reporters that they haven't considered retiring after this season.
"I’m thinking about the game Wednesday, and pretty much I haven’t thought
about post-, after," Garnett said, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. "I’m focusing on what it’s going to
take to get to the next game."
While Garnett's comments didn't entirely rule out the possibility he could call it a career this summer, Pierce was more adamant that he'll be playing at least one more season. When his contract expires in 2014, Pierce's future is uncertain, but he reiterated a desire to retire as a Celtic, even if the team lets him go or trades him this offseason.
"I have a contract for next year, but it's not
guaranteed. So the decision is in their hands," Pierce said, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. "Whatever decisions they
make, maybe if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else, maybe
it can be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a
Like Pierce, Garnett has a partially-guaranteed season in the final year of his current contract, though that won't happen until 2014/15. Garnett is owed a guaranteed $12.44MM for '13/14, so I'd be pretty surprised if he retired after this season.
April 25 at 1:08pm CST By Luke Adams
According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, Hawks sources say the team would be open to working out a sign-and-trade involving Josh Smith this summer if it meant getting something of value in return for the unrestricted free agent. It appears there are still a number of possibilities though for Smith, who could end up returning to the Hawks or signing outright with another suitor. Here's more from Kyler:
- Since less than a third of Paul Pierce's $15.33MM salary for 2013/14 is guaranteed, the "basketball move" may involve trading him or buying him out, but Pierce's history with the Celtics complicates the team's decision, says Kyler.
- Andre Iguodala seems likely to decline his player option for next year in favor of re-signing a long-term contract with the Nuggets that reduces his cap hit for '13/14.
- There's also mutual interest between Corey Brewer and the Nuggets in a new deal for the veteran, though Denver's cap situation may make it tricky for the club to give him much of a raise.
- Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons both have deals with the Rockets that aren't fully guaranteed, but are good bets to be back in Houston unless the team needs to move them to make room for a star.
- Sources tell Kyler that the Clippers would like to re-sign Lamar Odom, albeit for a significantly lesser salary than he's making now. Considering Odom is unlikely to receive huge offers on the open market, a multiyear offer from the Clips could get it done, says Kyler.
- Mike Dunleavy's future in Milwaukee may depend on how much the Bucks spend to retain their bigger-name free agent guards.
- According to Kyler, league sources have "openly questioned" how much longer Robert Sarver intends to own the Suns, leading to speculation that after the Kings sale is finalized, the Suns could be the next NBA franchise on the market.
April 13 at 7:39pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun believes the Raptors will pursue a power forward this summer via trade in return for Andrea Bargnani, and he advocates that Toronto go after Carl Landry, as the team is reportedly considering (Twitter links). If Bargnani is successfully dealt, he joins Greg Oden, Andrew Bogut, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James on the list of #1 picks over the last ten seasons to either eventually leave or be traded from the team that drafted them. Here are a few more tidbits to relay from the Atlantic Division:
- Raptors guard Kyle Lowry tells Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun that he's hopeful about returning to Toronto next season and wants to be back, but acknowledged that the decision is out of his hands. Ganter, who argues that the 6'1 point guard must become a 'jack-of-all-trades' player to fit Toronto's needs, also mentions that Lowry has a $6.21MM team exception for next season.
- Celtics star Paul Pierce still finds it difficult to fathom that Ray Allen left for the Heat, saying that his former teammate could have gone anywhere else - citing the Lakers as another exception - and he wouldn't have felt betrayed, says Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.
- Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com wonders why Doug Collins would want to return next season, when the 76ers may still be mediocre.
- Although P.J. Carlesimo would like to rest his key players as much as he can before the playoffs, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson aren't ready to sit just yet, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday. Williams and Johnson briefly mentioned the possibility of catching the Pacers, who are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference.