Portland Trail Blazers

Raptors, Mavs Interested In Wesley Matthews

The Raptors and Mavs have interest in signing Wesley Matthews, who’s ahead of schedule as he rehabs his torn left Achilles tendon, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News first reported the interest from Dallas. The Jeff Austin client is seeking about $15MM on his next deal, as Sam Amick of USA Today reported earlier.

The Celtics and Knicks are also reportedly interested. All four teams, as well as the incumbent Blazers, have the cap flexibility necessary to pay the swingman what he’s seeking, though it would seem they all have higher priorities, including LaMarcus Aldridge, a teammate and close friend of Matthews. It would be a tight squeeze for the Mavs and Knicks to sign both to the sorts of deals that Aldridge, who can command the max, and Matthews are looking for, and it would be virtually impossible for the Raptors and Celtics to do so unless they clear salary via trade. The Blazers, who have Bird rights on both, have the greatest capacity to sign the pair, but Aldridge is reportedly almost certain to leave Portland.

Matthews, a career 39.3% three-point shooter and fifth in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus/Minus among shooting guards, would fit the three-and-D type the Mavs reportedly plan to seek if they sign Aldridge. Matthews would be a more difficult fit in Toronto, where DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross are under contract on the wings.

Latest On Danny Green

TUESDAY, 8:24pm: Green has the Knicks high on his list but his top choice would be to remain in San Antonio, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Knicks are trying to set up a meeting with the swingman, Berman adds.

3:54pm: The Blazers, at least for now, aren’t expected to meet with Green, reports Jabari Young of CSNNW.com.

MONDAY, 2:17pm: The Knicks would like to meet with Green, too, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post.

SUNDAY, 7:40pm: Danny Green, who will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, has attracted interest from the Blazers, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who cites a source. The Pistons and Mavs are also in the mix for Green’s services, Berger adds.

The Blazers do not have a small forward under contract for next season. Green has proven he can play as a shooting guard or a small forward. Of course, Portland’s biggest roster move concerns LaMarcus Aldridge and whether or not the unrestricted free agent will re-sign with the Blazers.

The Mavs are reportedly targeting Green, though he’d like to re-sign with the Spurs and San Antonio is apparently making that a priority. If there’s a fear among Spurs executives, it’s that they won’t have enough space left to retain Green, Berger writes.

The Pistons reportedly will make Green a higher priority in free agency this summer than fellow target Tobias Harris, because, as an unrestricted free agent, Green would be easier to sign than Harris, a restricted free agent.

Greg Monroe To Meet With Five Teams

TUESDAY, 8:05am: The Celtics are already out of the running for Monroe, a league source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post, though it’s unclear whether Monroe has canceled his meeting with them.

MONDAY, 1:56pm: The Knicks, unsurprisingly, are the favorites for Monroe, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

SUNDAY, 8:20pm: Greg Monroe, who will become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday, will meet with the Celtics, Knicks, Bucks, Lakers and Trail Blazers once free agent negotiations begin Wednesday and seemingly put an end to the idea that he will re-sign with the Pistons, reports Darrell Williams in a story for the Louisiana Advocate.

Though agent David Falk and Monroe have maintained that the Pistons have a shot to keep him, with Monroe going so far as to say at one point that they had the upper hand, he’s never appeared likely to re-sign after taking Detroit’s qualifying offer this past summer. When asked about the Pistons by Williams, Monroe suggested the team is going in a different direction.

“[Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy] had smaller teams in Orlando years ago,” Monroe said. “[Andre Drummond] is like Dwight Howard. So Stan wants to put good players around him. The team has different plans, and I respect that. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted.”

Monroe said he is looking for a two-year deal with an option, citing the expected rise of the salary cap as something that is affecting his decision. The big man also wants to play for a playoff-caliber team.

“I’m looking to be with a team that’s ready to win,” Monroe said. “Hopefully it will be a team where I’m the missing piece.”

Curiously, Monroe, while speaking with his hometown paper, said he would be interested in suiting up for the Pelicans, who have not shown interest.

“I’d love to play and represent this city,” he said. “Obviously, they have a guy like Anthony Davis who is a superstar already, and he’s only going to get better. I think I could really play well with him. Our games complement each other. I’m a low-post scorer. Obviously he’s a great midrange player.”

More likely choices include the teams Monroe said he will meet with. The Celtics have a need for a big man and possess the financial flexibility to make a deal happen, the Knicks need a cornerstone big man to build around and the Blazers need to plan for the possibility of life without unrestricted free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge To Meet With Lakers, Six Others

10:33pm: Aldridge is leaning toward signing with the Lakers, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

9:33pm: The Lakers will indeed be the first team to meet with Aldridge, followed by the Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Mavericks, Raptors and Knicks in that order, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets. He does not need to meet with the Trail Blazers since he already knows their offer, Aldridge adds.

9:10pm: Coach Gregg Popovich and veteran stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will attend the Spurs’ meeting with Aldridge, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets.

8:35pm: The Lakers’ meeting with Aldridge will occur immediately after the free agency period begins at 12:01 AM Eastern Time on Wednesday, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

2:57pm: Aldridge will meet with the Raptors, too, reports Shams Charania of RealGM, and he’ll think about a visit with the Rockets, Charania adds. Toronto has max-level cap room following its trade of Greivis Vasquez to Milwaukee, but Houston would have to clear salary.

1:54pm: LaMarcus Aldridge is almost certain to leave the Blazers and will meet with the Knicks, Spurs, Mavs and Lakers, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. ESPN colleague Tim MacMahon first reported that Dallas would sit down with the big man. The Knicks are a long shot for him, just as is the case with DeAndre Jordan, according to Broussard.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that the Spurs and Lakers were in the lead for Aldridge, a client of Arn Tellem and Thad Foucher, shortly after Blazers GM Neil Olshey denied a report that Aldridge has already told the Blazers he’s leaving. Portland can offer Aldridge a five-year deal with 7.5% raises, somewhat better than the four years and 4.5% raises he can end up with elsewhere, though apparently that advantage may not be enough.

The Knicks, Lakers and Mavs should have plenty of cap room to chase Aldridge with a max offer that will likely start around $19MM a year. The Spurs are apparently confident they can find the same amount of room even if they re-sign Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.

New York will also meet with Aldridge teammate and close friend Wesley Matthews, Broussard reports. Carmelo Anthony has reached out to Aldridge and Jordan as well as Greg Monroe and fellow Blazer free agent Arron Afflalo, sources tell Broussard.

Free Agent Rumors: Wright, Belinelli, Barea

Dorell Wright is unlikely to return to the Trail Blazers, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com reports. Wright, who was born in Los Angeles, would like to return home and play for either the Clippers or Lakers, Young continues. The Lakers are the more likely suitor for the unrestricted free agent, who made $3.135MM last season, unless the Clippers fail to secure the services of Paul Pierce, Young adds. The Raptors could also make a run at Wright but Young believes the Heat, who were previously thought to be interested in Wright, probably won’t pursue him since Luol Deng exercised his player option.

In other free agent news around the league:

  • Spurs swingman Marco Belinelli could be targeted by the Bulls if they fail to re-sign Mike Dunleavy,  K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The Bulls have made retaining Dunleavy a priority and he’s comfortable playing in Chicago, Johnson adds. Both players are unrestricted free agents.
  • The Clippers are interested in C.J. Watson, Lavoy Allen, Darrell Arthur and Gerald Green, among others, according to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (Twitter links). They’d like to find a true point guard to serve as a backup, a league source tells Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
  • The Raptors could be a landing spot for Bismack Biyombo, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Biyombo will be an unrestricted free agent because the Hornets decided not to make him a qualifying offer.
  • The Heat, Bulls, Lakers and Mavericks are among teams interested in signing J.J. Barea, a source told Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link). Barea is seeking a multi-year contract in the $3MM per year range, MacMahon adds.
  • The only incumbent free agents the Pelicans don’t appear to have at least some interest in re-signing are Jimmer Fredette and Toney Douglas, as John Reid of The Times-Picayune details.

Spurs Rumors: Aldridge, Splitter, Leonard, Duncan

Sources who spoke with Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News didn’t produce a consensus on the chances the Spurs have of landing LaMarcus Aldridge, with some deeming San Antonio the front-runner while others weren’t so sure. The Spurs and Lakers were the co-favorites, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported Friday, though the notoriously fickle power forward is tough to read. McDonald has a ton more on the weeks ahead for San Antonio, and while his entire piece is worth a read, especially for Spurs fans, we’ll round up the most relevant highlights here:

  • The Spurs are making Tiago Splitter available for a trade, multiple league sources tell McDonald, but while McDonald posits that the most direct path to landing Aldridge would be via sign-and-trade in a deal that sends Splitter to Portland, the Blazers are uninterested, McDonald writes. The Spurs turned away teams with interest in trading for Splitter before the draft, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote last week, but perhaps San Antonio’s position has changed.
  • Kawhi Leonard‘s preferred deal is four years at the max, according to McDonald, not five. Either way, the Spurs are still expected to re-sign him, McDonald notes.
  • Tim Duncan still hasn’t made up his mind about returning, a source familiar with his thinking told McDonald. The Spurs have reportedly been operating on the premise that he and Manu Ginobili will re-sign with them rather than retire.

Knicks Front-Runners For Arron Afflalo

The Knicks are the front-runners for Arron Afflalo, who opted out of his deal with the Blazers last week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). The same is true of the Knicks and Greg Monroe, though New York will take meetings with LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and others. Carmelo Anthony has put in a recruiting call to Afflalo and others, as ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported minutes earlier.

League sources who spoke with Wojnarowski estimate that Afflalo’s next deal will be for $36-38MM over three years. The Knicks have only about $31MM in guaranteed salaries for next season, not counting a $3,443,100 cap hold for Kristaps Porzingis and a $1,310,300 cap hold for Jerian Grant, the two players New York wound up with from the first round of Friday’s draft. That, combined with minimum-salary roster charges for open spots, would still likely leave about enough room against the cap, projected at $67.1MM, for a max deal for Monroe and a contract for Afflalo starting around $12MM a year.

Latest On Al-Farouq Aminu

Al-Farouq Aminu, who opted out of his minimum-salary player option with the Mavs for next season, is scheduled to visit the Knicks, Celtics, Blazers, Raptors and Pelicans, NBA.com’s David Aldridge tweets.

The Mavs remain in the mix for the forward’s services, Aldridge notes. Aminu previously expressed his affection for the city of Dallas and the Mavs, and he said he’d love to re-sign.

Aminu’s visit with the Blazers is not unexpected, Joe Freeman of the Oregonian writes. Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey drafted Aminu when he was with the Clippers and is quite familiar with the fifth-year player, Freeman adds.

Aminu averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game last season with the Mavs. Aminu, who was mostly used in a reserve role in the regular season was featured more prominently during the playoffs. He started two of five postseason games against the Rockets, averaging 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 64% from 3-point range.

Hornets Rumors: Batum, Lamb, Clifford

New Hornet Nicolas Batum can expect an expanded role in Charlotte, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Batum, who was acquired from the Blazers Wednesday in exchange for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh, was a third or fourth option in Portland. Charlotte coach Steve Clifford plans to start Batum at shooting guard and run the offense through him, similar to how Hedo Turkoglu once operated when Clifford was an assistant coach in Orlando. “I know my role is going to be different and I like that,” Batum said. “I know I can do a lot of things on the court; I’m a very versatile player. So me and Kemba [Walker] can do great things together.” Batum has one year left on his contract at nearly $11.9MM and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

There’s more news from Charlotte:

  • Jeremy Lamb is ready for a “fresh start” with the Hornets, writes Pat James of The Charlotte Observer. The Hornets acquired Lamb from Oklahoma City in a draft-day trade as part of an effort to improve their league-worst three-point shooting. The three-year veteran, who is now with his third team, says Charlotte is a good place for him to showcase his skills. “It gives me an opportunity to try to get a role and just play,” Lamb said. “I’m going to make the most of it. I’m just going to work hard and try my best to put myself in a position to play and have a role on this team.” Still on his rookie deal, Lamb is under the Hornets’ control through the 2016/17 season.
  • Clifford thinks the Hornets are much improved after a week that brought three trades and a lottery pick, according to Steve Reed of the Associated Press. In addition to the deals that added Batum and Lamb, Charlotte acquired Spencer Hawes from the Clippers and drafted Frank Kaminsky at No. 9. Clifford said the moves brought “more size, skill and versatility” to the Hornets.
  • The Hornets’ priorities in free agency will be finding a third point guard and possibly another shooter, Bonnell tweets. He adds that it’s not certain Bismack Biyombo will receive a qualifying offer. This week’s trades added $5MM to the Hornets payroll. (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Sullinger, Tokoto

Members of the Knicks’ front office were involved in trade discussions with the Magic, Suns, and Celtics in the hours leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. Boston discussed a package that included multiple draft picks and Jared Sullinger with New York, and Phoenix also spoke with members of the Knicks about a trade involving Eric Bledsoe in the hours leading up to the draft, Begley adds. Team president Phil Jackson said the Knicks had talked to teams about potential offers but all the offers were contingent on which players were selected ahead of them, the ESPN scribe notes. “Those things fell the way they did. We had what we wanted and we went with it,” Jackson said.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks coach Derek Fisher indicated that finding frontcourt help will be a priority once the free agent signing period begins, Begley also relays. “I don’t think it’s any secret we need to get some size up front, and I think that’ll be a big focus for us,” Fisher said. Potential targets include DeAndre Jordan, David West, Omer Asik, Greg Monroe, and Marc Gasol, Begley adds.
  • In addition to a pair of second round draft picks, the Nets also sent $880K to the Hornets as part of the deal to acquire the rights to Argentinian small forward Juan Vaulet, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily tweets. Brooklyn doesn’t intend for Vaulet to play in the NBA next season, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays (on Twitter).
  • According to multiple sources, the Sixers nabbed North Carolina swingman J.P. Tokoto with the No. 58 overall pick with the understanding that he would either play in the D-League or overseas next season, Jake Fischer of LibertyBallers reports (Twitter links). Tokoto will have the chance to compete for a roster spot, but told Philly he would be open to being stashed during the 2015/16 campaign, Fischer adds.
  • The Greivis Vasquez trade allowed the Raptors to generate a $6.4MM trade exception, since they gave him up without taking back any salary in return, notes Pincus (on Twitter), though with Toronto possessing only about $42.4MM in guaranteed salary for next season, it seems there’s a fair chance they’ll dip under the cap after the July Moratorium and renounce the exception.
  • The Nets could have created a $1,357,080 trade exception for Mason Plumlee if they decided to use their $2,339,131 Kevin Garnett trade exception to absorb Steve Blake, as Pincus presumes they’ve done (Twitter link). That would knock the Garnett exception down to $982,051. Alternatively, they could have taken Blake into the $3,326,235 Andrei Kirilenko exception and reduced its value to $1,969,155, a move the Nets might have preferred because the Kirilenko exception expires more than two months sooner than the Garnett exception does. The trade meanwhile allowed the Blazers to create an exception worth the $719,920 difference between the salaries of Blake and Plumlee, though that exception would vanish if they go under the cap, as they may well do if LaMarcus Aldridge ends up elsewhere.
  • The tiny $355,016 leftover portion of the trade exception that the Knicks generated in last year’s Tyson Chandler trade has expired. New York used the bulk of what was once a $3,637,073 exception to acquire Alexey Shved at the trade deadline. The  Tim Hardaway Jr. trade afforded the Knicks the chance to create a new $1,250,640 exception for his salary, as we noted, though that will disappear if the Knicks dip below the cap next month, as expected.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.