Phoenix Suns Rumors

And-Ones: Wade, Warren, Smith, Woodbury

July 27 at 6:41pm CDT By Zach Links

Dwyane Wade has a new favorite opponent to square off against in LeBron James, write Brandon Di Perno and Surya Fernandez of SB Nation. Wade said, “Well, it used to be Kobe Bryant…the second best all-time…now, I have a new favorite player to play against…my former teammate, LeBron.” The 2014/15 NBA schedule won’t be released until next month, but one of the highlights is sure to be the first contest between the Cavaliers and James’ former team, the Heat.  Here’s more from around the league..

  • Rookie T.J. Warren‘s game is well-suited for the Suns, writes Jesse Biancarte of Basketball Insiders.   Warren played in five games in summer league for Phoenix and averaged 17.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 24.8 minutes.  His only noticeable weakness during this stretch was his outside shooting, something he’ll have to work on.
  • Former Duke guard Nolan Smith is working towards a two-year deal with Turkish club Galatasaray, according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter).  Smith was reportedly entertaining partially guaranteed offers from the Bulls and Thunder in late April.
  • Former Georgia and D-League swingman Terrance Woodbury worked out for the Nets, but he’ll instead be heading to Nicaragua to join up with Raptors de Matagalpa, a source tells Enea Trapani of Sportando (on Twitter).  In his senior year at Georgia (2008/09), Woodbury averaged 14.0 PPG and 4.6 RPG while shooting 43.1% from downtown, but he went undrafted the following summer.

Western Notes: Bledsoe, Jazz, Barton, Scott

July 26 at 4:31pm CDT By Charlie Adams

Eric Bledsoe made his first public comments regarding his free agency status to Fox TV Birmingham, saying he feels the Suns are “using rules against me” (hat tip to Jude LaCava of Fox 10 Phoenix, Twitter link), Bledsoe’s remark further indicates a seemingly sour feeling between the two camps. Here’s a look at the latest from all three of the Western Conference’s divisions:

  • The Jazz are set to hire Patrick Beilein to work as an assistant coach on Quin Snyder‘s staff, reveals Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Beilein is the son of University of Michigan head coach John Beilein.
  • Will Barton‘s $900K deal with the Blazers is now fully guaranteed, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Portland had until July 25th to waive Barton without being on the hook for his entire salary but chose to keep the combo guard on their roster.
  • Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders recaps the path that the Lakers took en route to negotiating terms with Byron Scott on a head coaching gig. Davis also examines how Scott’s coaching style might mesh with the current state of Los Angeles’ roster.
  • While former Mavs forward Shawn Marion would like to secure a deal with a team for the upcoming season, he doesn’t want to force the issue and land in an undesirable situation, passes along Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “If I see something really comfortable, then I’ll do it,” Marion told Sefko. “Right now, I’m just staying with my [newborn] son and relaxing. It’s only July, man. We got two more months. We’ll just wait and see how it works out.”

Contract Details: Nelson, Tucker, Roberts

July 24 at 9:24pm CDT By Charlie Adams

Wednesday was the last day that teams with outstanding qualifying offers out to restricted free agents could unilaterally withdraw them. Clubs can still withdraw qualifying offers, but doing so would require the player’s consent, and it would require the team to renounce any form of Bird rights on the player. No team withdrew a qualifying offer before the deadline, though that’s not entirely surprising, since there are only five unsigned restricted free agents left. We ran down the latest news on each of them earlier this week, and not much has changed since then.

As we wait for the last of the restricted free agents to make their decisions on where to sign, let’s have a look at the latest contract details that have leaked out from around the NBA..

  • As expected, Jameer Nelson is slated to make $2,732,000 for the Mavs next season, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Nelson’s deal features a $2,854,940 player option for the 2015/16 campaign, adds Stein.
  • The three-year contract P.J. Tucker signed with the Suns will pay him $5.7MM in 2014/15, passes along Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, who goes on to reveal that the deal is worth $5.5MM and $5.3MM during the following two seasons, with only $1.5MM guaranteed in year three (Twitter link).
  • Brian Roberts‘ two-year, $5.6MM contract with the Hornets will be fully guaranteed without any player or team option, reports Pincus (via Twitter).
  • James Ennis signed a three-year deal with the Heat that’s mostly non-guaranteed, save for a $200K partial guarantee for this season, according to Mark Deeks of Sham Sports. The first year will become fully guaranteed if he sticks through opening night.
  • The Knicks gave Cole Aldrich one year at the minimum salary when they signed him earlier this month, Deeks reveals.
  • Grant Jerrett‘s contract with the Thunder runs four years at the minimum salary, with full guarantees on the first two seasons and no guarantees for the last two, Deeks notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Suns Waive Dionte Christmas

July 24 at 3:48pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Suns have waived guard Dionte Christmas, the team announced (on Twitter). His non-guaranteed minimum salary was to have become fully guaranteed if Phoenix hadn’t waived him by the end of the month.

Christmas was a favorite of Suns GM Ryan McDonough, who’d worked with the 27-year-old when they were together with the Celtics. Phoenix signed to a deal that included a partial guarantee for last season even though the team had an abundance of other guaranteed deals, and the unbalanced Marcin Gortat trade helped create an opportunity for him to stick around for the regular season.

The former Temple Owl saw limited playing time this past season, the first in which he saw any regular season NBA action. He averaged 2.3 points in 6.4 minutes per game across 31 appearances.

Teams With Hard Caps For 2014/15

July 24 at 2:29pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The NBA’s salary cap is really a misnomer of sorts, since it doesn’t truly cap salaries. Look no further than last year’s Nets for confirmation of that. They doled out nearly $103MM in salaries, incurring more than $90.57MM in luxury taxes and smashing the record for the greatest expenditure on a single roster in NBA history.

The NBA’s salary cap is commonly referred to as a “soft cap,” but there are still ways that teams can impose a “hard cap” upon themselves and set a finite limit to their spending. If a team’s salary exceeds the luxury tax threshold ($76,829,000) by more than $4MM, that team is not permitted to acquire a player via sign-and-trade, or to use the non-taxpayer’s mid-level or biannual exceptions. The only exceptions available to such a team are the taxpayer’s mid-level of $3,278,000, the minimum-salary exception, and whatever form of Bird rights they have on their own free agents. As soon as a team completes a sign-and-trade deal, uses its BAE, or uses more than $3,278,000 of its MLE to sign a player, that club becomes hard-capped at $80,829,000 for the 2014/15 season. In other words, team salary can’t exceed that amount at any point between now and June 30th, 2015.

For some clubs, that hard cap isn’t a major concern. For instance, the Suns still have about $18MM in breathing room below the hard cap, so they have plenty of flexibility to re-sign restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe to a max contract if need be. On the other hand, the Clippers are only about $1MM below the hard cap, so any trades or signings they make for the rest of the season will have to be constructed to ensure their team salary doesn’t surpass that $80.829MM cutoff.

More clubs may trigger hard caps as the offseason wears on, but here are the teams that are now locked into a hard cap for the 2014/15 season, along with an estimation (via Basketball Insiders) of their current team salaries and the reason(s) why the hard cap was created:

Hawks
Hard cap created: Acquired Thabo Sefolosha via sign-and-trade
Estimated team salary: $60,975,564

Rockets
Hard cap created: Acquired Trevor Ariza via sign-and-trade
Estimated team salary: $68,125,942

Wizards
Hard cap created: Acquired Kris Humphries via sign-and-trade; acquired DeJuan Blair via sign-and-trade; signed Paul Pierce via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $76,646,603

Suns
Hard cap created: Acquired Isaiah Thomas via sign-and-trade
Estimated team salary: $51,805,537

Warriors
Hard cap created: Signed Shaun Livingston via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $72,232,245

Pacers
Hard cap created: Signed C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $74,798,942

Clippers
Hard cap created: Signed Spencer Hawes via non-taxpayer MLE; signed Jordan Farmar via biannual exception
Estimated team salary: $79,679,772

Grizzlies
Hard cap created: Signed Vince Carter via non-taxpayer MLE; signed Beno Udrih via biannual exception
Estimated team salary: $75,529,943

Trail Blazers
Hard cap created: Signed Chris Kaman via non-taxpayer MLE; signed Steve Blake via biannual exception
Estimated team salary: $69,322,824

Kings
Hard cap created: Signed Darren Collison via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $75,852,705

Suns Re-Sign P.J. Tucker

July 23 at 7:35pm CDT By Alex Lee

JULY 23RD: The deal is official, the team announced. The Suns used cap space to complete the transaction.

7:22pm: The third year of Tucker’s deal includes about $3.8MM of non-guaranteed money, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Coro also indicates that Tucker has yet to sign the contract.

JULY 10TH, 6:35pm: The Suns will re-sign restricted free agent P.J. Tucker to a three year deal worth $16.5MM, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Tucker met with Suns owner Robert Sarver and head coach Jeff Hornacek yesterday and it was believed that talks would spill over to today. The terms of the deal would allow Phoenix to utilize Tucker’s Early Bird Rights, their Mid-level exception or their available cap room to bring back the forward, though there have yet to be reports of which option they’ll choose.

The 29-year-old Texas product has carved out a nice role the past two seasons in Phoenix as a solid defender and a positive influence in the locker room. Tucker, who is represented by the Arete Sports Agency, averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game last season for a Suns team that nearly made the playoffs. While Phoenix has been mentioned as suitors for some of the NBA’s top free agents, it has mostly been on the periphery. However, they’ve had a busy Thursday after reportedly hosting restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas and now locking up Tucker.

There was talk last week that several teams had inquired about the possibility of acquiring Tucker from Phoenix via sign and trade but they came away convinced that the Suns were determined to keep him. The Wizards and Raptors were specifically reported to have had interest.

Western Notes: Clips, Jazz, Withey, Buycks, Mavs

July 23 at 5:33pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid for the Clippers equals more than 12 times the total revenue projections for the team from 2013/14, but no major pro sports team has ever sold for more than five times of its total revenue, according to Bank of America. Ramona Shelburne and Darren Rovell of ESPN.com have the details, which back up the contention of Clippers CEO Dick Parsons that it would be tough to envision another bidder coming in so high.

  • The Jazz received $1.3MM in cash Tuesday as part of their three-for-one trade with the Cavs, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). That’s slightly more than the $1MM that was originally reported.
  • Jeff Withey‘s minimum salary became fully guaranteed for this coming season after the Pelicans declined to waive him before the end of Tuesday, the final day they could do so without owing him any money, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Teammate Luke Babbitt also earned a $100K partial guarantee when the Pelicans kept him past Tuesday, which was also the final day his contract had been fully non-guaranteed.
  • Dwight Buycks is drawing the eye of the Clippers and Suns, and multiple teams from overseas are interested in him as well, Sportando’s Enea Trapani reports. The Raptors waived Buycks on Saturday, before his contract would have become fully guaranteed.
  • The Mavs are nearing a deal with Jameer Nelson, but owner Mark Cuban insisted to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that the team isn’t trying to unload Raymond Felton. “We like him and think he will have a great year,” Cuban said. 
  • Cuban also made an appearance on Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas this week, during which he explained that the Mavericks strategically used the ultra-logical approach of the Rockets‘ front office to put together an offer for Chandler Parsons that was unlikely to be matched (link via The Dallas Morning News).

Pacific Rumors: Bledsoe, Thomas, Clippers

July 23 at 1:01pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Suns have little interest in sending restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe away in a sign-and-trade, and Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby is confident in the team’s two-point guard look, writes Bob Young of the Arizona Republic. The four-year, $48MM offer the Suns reportedly have out to Bledsoe is for significantly more than what the team and agent Rich Paul spoke about last fall in extension talks, Young adds. There’s more from Young’s piece amid the latest on the Suns and the rest of the Pacific Division:

  • New Suns acquisition Isaiah Thomas told Young that he felt as though the Kings were looking to replace him at every turn. “I felt very disrespected,” Thomas said. “Every year it was somebody new. I felt I did a good enough job to show them I was a starting point guard or a guy who could play a big role with their team. But they thought differently.
  • Differing opinions on the relative values of David Lee and Kevin Love, a reluctance to take on Kevin Martin, and a reticence to give up Harrison Barnes on top of it all have the Warriors holding out in talks with Minnesota, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group explains. That’s in addition to Golden State’s decision to keep Klay Thompson‘s name out of the discussion.
  • Attorneys for Donald Sterling made it clear Tuesday that he wants the NBA to vote to terminate his ownership of the Clippers so he can move forward with his antitrust suit against the league, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The judge in the probate trial between Sterling and his wife can rule that Shelly Sterling’s sale of the team to Steve Ballmer would go forward even if Donald Sterling appeals, but such a ruling would be difficult to come by, Shelburne adds (on Twitter).
  • The Kings are among several teams that Dan Fegan, the agent for Omri Casspi, has spoken to, as Casspi tells Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Casspi, whom the Pelicans are likely to waive this month, added that he has interest in returning to Sacramento, where he played his first two NBA seasons.

Suns Sign Anthony Tolliver

July 21 at 11:16am CDT By Chuck Myron

JULY 21ST: The deal is official, the team announced on its website.

“Anthony is a great fit for our style of play,” GM Ryan McDonough said. “His shooting, professionalism and leadership will help us as we try to continue to build a strong foundation going forward.”

JULY 16TH: 10:03am: Each season is worth $3MM, but only $400K of Tolliver’s salary is guaranteed in the second season, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. In any case, a full $3MM salary for 2014/15 means the club will have to use cap space on him, rather than the room exception.

8:34am: The Suns and forward Anthony Tolliver have agreed on a two-year, $6MM deal, agent Larry Fox confirmed to Shams Charania of RealGM. Phoenix beats the Clippers, Cavs, Pistons, Spurs, Wizards and the incumbent Hornets, all of whom apparently had serious discussions with the 29-year-old who was coming off career-high 41.3% accuracy from three-point range last season.

Tolliver averaged 6.1 points in 20.3 minutes per game for Charlotte in 2013/14, though he wasn’t much of a factor in the team’s four-game ouster in the first-round of the playoffs, totaling just 21 minutes for the entire series. The Hornets renounced his Bird rights last week, but they still had the means to re-sign him using cap space, at least until they came to their deal with Lance Stephenson.

Phoenix is likely using cap space on Tolliver, though it’s possible that the Suns could squeeze him into the $2.732MM room exception, depending on the timing of the official signing, if the precise figures in his contract add up to slighly less than $6MM. In any case, Tolliver, who went undrafted in 2007, is in line for the highest salary of his career, per Basketball-Reference.

Bucks Claim Kendall Marshall

July 20 at 6:17pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

SUNDAY, 6:17pm: Marshall to the Bucks is now official, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).

SATURDAY, 6:03pm: The Bucks intend to put in a waiver claim for Kendall Marshall, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twittter link). Milwaukee is looking to add passers and backcourt upgrades, tweets Stein, and Marshall will join newly acquired Jerryd Bayless in filling those needs.

Marshall was waived by the Lakers on Friday as the team attempted to clear cap space. Los Angeles had hoped to re-sign the 22 year-old point guard out of North Carolina, but it appears that Milwaukee will put a damper on those plans if they do in fact place a waiver claim on Marshall during the two-day waiver period.

After being considered a bust by the Suns, Marshall revived his career last season when he averaged 8.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 8.8 APG while playing 29 minutes per game. His slash line was .396/.372/.540.