Zoran Dragic will receive $1.5MM in base salary this season and next, but he’ll count for more than $1.706MM against the Suns‘ cap each year because of his nearly $413K signing bonus, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The bonus went toward the part of Dragic’s buyout from Spain’s Unicaja Malaga that wasn’t covered under the $600K that teams are allowed to keep off their books when they buy players out of their overseas contracts. Here’s more from the western half:
- The Grizzlies have re-assigned Jordan Adams to the Iowa Energy, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Adams’ second trip to the D-League this season. During his first assignment, Adams appeared in one contest, contributing 20 points, seven rebounds and one assist in 31 minutes. The 20-year-old is averaging 1.5 points, 1.3 assists and 0.75 steals in 10.1 minutes per contest in four appearances for Memphis this season.
- Eric Moreland has been recalled from the Reno Bighorns of the D-League, the Kings have announced. This was Moreland’s second stint in the D-League this season, and he’s averaging 13.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 1.7 APG in three appearances for Reno this season. Moreland has yet to appear in a regular season contest for Sacramento.
- The Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League have claimed Nolan Smith off of waivers, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reports (Twitter link). Smith had cut ties with Turkey’s Galatasaray back in October and intends to use the D-League to showcase his talents for NBA teams. Smith’s last taste of the NBA came during the 2012/13 season when he appeared in 40 games for the Blazers and averaged 2.8 points and 0.9 assists.
- Mavs big man Tyson Chandler said that he felt like a scapegoat for the Knicks’ failures last season, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com writes. When asked whether his leadership attempts were unappreciated in New York, Chandler said, “At times, at times, at times. But I feel like New York made me a lot stronger, a lot stronger of a person going through trials and tribulations there. But that’s life. It also depends on where your mind is. If everybody is locked in and they want to win and they know I’m in it 100% and they’re in it 100%, nobody’s sensitive. But if there’s other agendas, it’s going to make things sensitive.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Lakers are in contact with the NBA about “roster possibilities” in the wake of Xavier Henry‘s season-ending torn Achilles, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. The team will probably apply for a Disabled Player Exception for Henry, according to fellow Times scribe Eric Pincus (Twitter link). That’s even though the $541K exception would only be useful to acquire a player making a prorated salary. Here’s more on the Lakers and a few of their Western Conference foes:
- There’s a strong possibility that the Lakers will cut Ronnie Price to bolster their injury-hit roster, as David Pick of Eurobasket.com hears (Twitter links). Price’s minimum salary is partially guaranteed for about $329K, and that guarantee jumps to more than $658K if he remains under contract through December 15th.
- The Timberwolves confirmed today that Kevin Martin had surgery to repair his fractured right wrist that they expect will keep him out about six to eight weeks (Twitter link), echoing an earlier report of that timeframe. The Wolves have considered applying for a 16th roster spot, and if the league grants it, the team would most likely add a post player, as Flip Saunders said Monday to reporters, including Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
- Dahntay Jones is set to sign with the D-League, reports Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. The 10-year NBA veteran spent the preseason with the Jazz, who cut him before opening night. No D-League team holds the rights to Jones, so the D-League waiver system will determine the identity of his new team, Pilato notes.
- Tyler Ennis is in a tough position in a deep Suns backcourt, but this year’s 18th overall pick doesn’t mind the stigma of his recent four-day D-League assignment, as he told reporters, including Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. “A lot of people look at it as a bad thing, D-League, and think it’s something horrible, but it’s not like we’re stuck down there for the year,” Ennis said. “They let us know they want to see us play and see us stay in shape and we thought it was a good thing as far as us going down and playing well. I think I was able to show that I should be on this [NBA] level.”
Kevin Martin will undergo surgery tomorrow after breaking his wrist during a 37-point performance against the Knicks last week, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (on Twitter). The operation will knock the sharp shooting guard out for six to eight weeks, according to Wolfson, further depleting a Wolves‘ team that’s struggled to stay healthy this season. While Minnesota plans for Martin’s forthcoming absence, we’ll round up the latest from around the NBA..
- The Mavs have been impressed with the recent work put in by Ricky Ledo, tweets Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. Ledo, a second-year guard, was recalled from his two game D-League assignment earlier today after averaging 12.5 points per night for the Texas Legends.
- Tyler Ennis is working to find out how he fits on the Suns’ guard-heavy roster, as Lori Ewing of the Candian Press examines. Despite struggling to find consistent minutes in Phoenix, the coaches have been high on the court vision and play-making abilities demonstrated by the rookie guard, Ewing notes.
- Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders provides a rundown of trade candidates in the Eastern Conference. Taylor opines that the Hornets’ slow start to the season might mean they try to acquire a veteran talent by shipping out a young piece like Noah Vonleh or P.J. Hairston.
Goran Dragic may have a lot of influence in Phoenix, but he tells Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders that he didn’t use that power to get the Suns to sign his brother. Zoran Dragic inked a two-year guaranteed deal in September.
“To be honest I never mentioned my brother (to GM Ryan McDonough),” Goran said. “This summer when we played the World Cup, Ryan was in Barcelona and he called me. He wanted to take me to dinner and asked if I could bring my brother, so I didn’t know anything. I thought he was being polite. When we went to the restaurant he started asking questions to Zoran and I was like, what is going on? Then I heard all the rumors coming out on the Internet, and I started thinking maybe this could happen.”
There’s more news from the Western Conference:
- Commissioner Adam Silver discussed his decision-making regarding former Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s ouster and identified a harder salary cap as the first change he would make happen if he could do so unilaterally as he spoke with Chuck Klosterman for GQ.com. “I still think it’s unhealthy for the league when a team like Brooklyn goes out and pays an exorbitant luxury tax in order to give themselves a better chance to win,” Silver said. “From a league-office standpoint, the ideal league would be for all thirty teams to compete based on the skill of their management and players, as opposed to one team paying more to get better talent. So creating a more even system would be at the top of my list.”
- Steve Nash may be out for the season, but the Lakers are hoping he can help them in another way, writes Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. He says L.A. is hoping future free agents — specifically the Thunder’s Kevin Durant — notice the loyalty the Lakers displayed by not stretching Nash’s contract or trying to get him to accept a reduced buyout.
- The Rockets recalled Nick Johnson from Rio Grand Valley of the D-League, the team announced. Johnson, the 42nd pick in this year’s NBA draft, has seen little action for Houston, with just two points and one rebound in 11 minutes of court time.
Carmelo Anthony admits the warm weather and the lack of a state income tax in Texas were factors he considered as he thought about signing with the Rockets this summer, but he has no regrets about his decision to return to the Knicks, as he told reporters today. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details, including Anthony’s acknowledgment of a conversation with Dwight Howard.
“We had some great dialogue back and forth,’’ Anthony said. “I talked to him. We talked about some things. Ultimately it came down to what I really felt and really wanted at that moment. We had some contact and conversations. He tried. He tried extremely hard. It didn’t have anything to do with Dwight or James [Harden]. It came down to my own personal decision.’’
The Rockets appear none the worse for losing out on ‘Melo, having started 10-3, while the Knicks are but 4-10. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Jeff Green stressed to reporters Sunday that he didn’t mean to imply that he wanted the Celtics to trade him when he expressed his frustration with the team’s losing, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. “I want to stay here,” said Green, who can opt out of his contract this coming summer “I love this team. I love being here.”
- The Raptors rejected a draft-night offer from the Suns that would have given Toronto the draft rights to Tyler Ennis, whom the Raptors coveted, in return for 2014’s 20th overall pick and the 2016 first-rounder that the Knicks owe Toronto, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.
- The Celtics have recalled James Young from the D-League, the team announced. It was a one-day excursion for this year’s 17th overall pick, who put up 22 points and eight rebounds Sunday for Boston’s affiliate.
- Rookie JaKarr Sampson is back from his three-day D-League assignment, the Sixers announced. The undrafted small forward averaged 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in two D-League games.
Anthony Davis is way out in front in the MVP race, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News sees it. There’s certainly a compelling argument to be made, as Davis is averaging 26.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and a league-high 3.5 blocks so far this season. The Brow will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the summer to come, and surely the Pelicans will jump at the chance to secure him for the long term. Here’s more from around the Southwest Division.
- Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal takes a Grizzlies-centric look at the market for small forwards who can become free agents in 2015. Memphis passed on a deal that would have sent Jerryd Bayless to the Suns for Gerald Green, one of those 2015 free agents, and the Grizzlies have had interest in the past in Dorell Wright, another player on an expiring deal, Herrington writes. The Grizzlies have had internal discussions about whether Thaddeus Young is more of a small forward or a power forward, though coach Dave Joerger told Herrington recently that Young is probably best suited as a four, as Herrington adds in his subscription-only piece.
- The Spurs have recalled Kyle Anderson from the D-League, the team announced. Anderson, the 30th overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, put up 18 points and 11 rebounds on Sunday, the same day that San Antonio sent him down.
- Mavs guard Ricky Ledo is back from his D-League assignment, tweets Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. Ledo averaged 12.5 points and shot 42.9% from three-point range during his two-game D-League stint.
- The Grizzlies have hired Glynn Cyprien as a basketball operations assistant and a scout, the team announced. Cyprien has spent much of his career as a high-level college assistant coach, most recently at Texas A&M.
The Lakers appear to be holding off on making any moves after setting up workouts with a flurry of players last week. None of the prospective Lakers seemed to offer the club much hope of major improvement to its 3-11 record, one that would be the worst mark in the Western Conference were it not for the injury-hit Thunder. Here’s more on the struggling purple-and-gold:
- The Lakers reportedly reached out to Kyle Lowry this summer, but they told the point guard and agent Andy Miller that they wouldn’t make him an offer until they heard from LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony first, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. Lowry agreed on the second day of free agency to re-sign with the Raptors, well ahead of the time that James and Anthony made their respective decisions.
- Isaiah Thomas told Lowe last month that they were interested in him over the summer, but Lowe writes in his latest piece that the Lakers didn’t have any interest. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has a general policy against signing restricted free agents from other teams to offer sheets because he doesn’t like to tie up his team’s cap room during the three-day period in which the other club can match, sources tell Lowe.
- The application for a nearly $4.851MM Disabled Player Exception for Steve Nash that the Lakers submitted to the league is still pending, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). An NBA-designated physician must determine that Nash is significantly more likely to miss the rest of the season than not before the league grants the exception, as Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ makes clear.
Eric Bledsoe says he never worried about the Suns‘ acquisition of yet more high-level point guards in the offseason, but staying healthy was a concern as his contract negotiations dragged on, as he tells Chris Mannix of SI.com, who writes in his Open Floor column.
“I stayed in the gym working out. I just had to make sure I didn’t get hurt,” Bledsoe said. “My agent was calling me, telling me not to go play with everybody. I pretty much wrapped my body in bubble wrap.”
Bledsoe’s numbers are off a bit this year after the summer hiatus, so while we wait to see if he can regain his form once he shakes off the rust, here’s more from around the league:
- Union executive director Michele Roberts has made an effort to forge a relationship with several top agents, in contrast to predecessor Billy Hunter, who kept agents at arm’s length, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News examines. Still, some agents are miffed about her choice of of Roger Mason, who supported her candidacy for the executive director job, to conduct a review of agent regulations, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote earlier this week.
- Rajon Rondo doesn’t see this season as a rebuilding year for the Celtics, notes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
- The Mavs have been paying greater attention to scouting talent for their D-League club as the connection between Dallas and its affiliate grows, as Eduardo Najera, the coach of the Mavs D-League affiliate, tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Sixers have a plan to return to contention eventually, but they are taking a risk that their players will learn to accept losing in the meantime, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News believes.
Steve Nash has finally touched base with Lakers coach Byron Scott, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. Last week it was reported that Nash wasn’t returning his coach’s phone calls while he was away from the team nursing his injured back. Nash is expected to have a presence around the team and hopefully serve as a mentor for some of the franchise’s younger players, notes Medina.
Nash didn’t speak with Scott, but instead left a voicemail, Medina adds. “He [Nash] did say on his message that he’s definitely going to come back and see everybody,” Scott said. “He just needed some time, which we all understood. But he didn’t give me a set time. It was a very simple message: ‘I heard that you called me. I don’t check my voicemail, but I’m calling you back. Hope everything is well. Hang in there. See you guys soon.’ ”
Here’s more from the west:
- With the Nuggets off to a 3-7 start to begin the season there has been some speculation about head coach Brian Shaw‘s job being in jeopardy. In his weekly mailbag Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post asserted that Shaw is unlikely to be fired during the season, though he also believes that Shaw needs to settle on a regular rotation as soon as possible.
- Rudy Gay‘s contract extension with the Kings will pay him $12,403,101 for the 2015/16 season, $13,333,333 for 2016/17, and it includes a player option for 2017/18 worth $14,263,566, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).
- Alex Len‘s improved play this season could serve as redemption for Suns GM Ryan McDonough‘s decision to draft Len over Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore in 2013, Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic writes. “I really felt bad for Alex a year ago,” McDonough said. “As people tend to do in our society, there was a rush to judgment way too quickly on who he was as a player and what he could become. He’s very mobile for his size, and now that he’s healthy, he has his agility back. And he’s gotten a lot stronger.”
- Nuggets GM Tim Connelly is shouldering a healthy share of the blame for the team’s woes, but it is former GM Masai Ujiri who is actually responsible for most of Denver’s problematic contracts, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes. Ziller cites the deals given to JaVale McGee, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari as examples of burdensome holdovers from Ujiri’s tenure.
Goran Dragic plans to explore his options in free agency next summer and isn’t sure he’ll re-sign with the Suns, sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Dragic said this past offseason that he plans to turn down his $7.5MM player option for 2015/16. A report at the time indicated that he would do so with the idea of signing a new contract with Phoenix, but he doesn’t necessarily want to commit to the team at this point, Deveney hears, suggesting that the club’s crowded backcourt is playing a role in Dragic’s thinking. The Sporting News scribe seconds a September dispatch from Marc Stein of ESPN.com indicating that the Rockets plan to pursue The Dragon and that the Lakers figure to do so as well.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough said shortly after re-signing Eric Bledsoe that he and his staff “fully anticipate taking care of” Dragic, who’s coming off of a career year in 2013/14. The 6’4″ former second-round pick averaged 20.3 points on 40.8% three-point shooting last season, when he played part of the time alongside Bledsoe, a fellow point guard, and the rest as the team’s lone elite playmaker with Bledsoe hurt. Dragic’s numbers and minutes are down in the early going this year as the Suns have tried to shoehorn him along with Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas, yet another high-level point guard, into their attack. The Suns also possess Tyler Ennis, this year’s 18th overall pick, as a fourth point man, while shooting guard Gerald Green, averaging 20.8 minutes per game this season, eats up playing time in the backcourt. Dragic’s brother Zoran Dragic, a shooting guard whom the Suns signed to a guaranteed two-year deal seemingly in an effort to keep Goran around, has played just two minutes this season.
Goran Dragic, a BDA Sports Management client, plans to give the Suns the first pitch meeting this summer, Deveney writes. Still, it appears that he intends to listen to others, too, and at No. 8 on the initial Hoops Rumors 2015 Free Agent Power Rankings, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more teams join Houston and the Lakers in the mix for the seventh-year veteran who turns 29 in May.