Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

And-Ones: Rivers, Howard, Green

January 29 at 10:15pm CST By Eddie Scarito

JaMychal Green is going to rejoin the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest tweets. Green recently completed a single 10-day contract with the Spurs, with whom he averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in five appearances. The 24-year-old has reportedly garnered interest as a possible 10-day signee from the Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls, Bucks and Blazers.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Austin Rivers is beginning to hit his stride with the Clippers, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. “He’s just getting comfortable and trying to figure out his spots,” Los Angeles president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re trying to get him to [be more aggressive]. He’s a guard, so he’s trying to facilitate, and we need his aggression. It was funny — C.P. [Chris Paul] grabbed him and said, ‘You can get to the basket, we need you to attack.’ He listened to him, which was good.”
  • The Clippers have missed the bench production of Darren Collison, who signed with the Kings as a free agent this past offseason, and are hoping that Rivers can fill that void, Markazi adds. “He doesn’t do the pick-up [like Collison], but where he’s better is once the ball crosses half court,” the elder Rivers said. “He’s 6’5″, so he gives us length and speed and that’s been good for us.”
  • Rockets big man Dwight Howard has been advised to obtain a second medical opinion regarding his injured right knee, and he could miss an extended period of playing time, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports.
  • Free agent guard Gal Mekel is thinking about returning overseas to play, David Pick of Eurobasket.com reports (Twitter link). Mekel had reportedly passed on numerous overseas offers after being released by the Pelicans, and he was hoping to land a spot with another NBA team.

Mavs Confident Of Edge For Jermaine O’Neal

January 28 at 8:01am CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 8:01am: The only reason a deal between O’Neal and the Mavs hasn’t happened yet is because of the Orthokine knee treatments O’Neal traveled to Germany to receive, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

SUNDAY, 11:31pm: The Mavericks are high on their chances to ink Jermaine O’Neal this season, and they believe they’re slowly moving closer to a deal, report Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Dallas hopes to sign the 36-year-old center by the All-Star break, MacMahon and Stein hear. O’Neal has made it clear to suitors that he won’t play until he’s in better shape, but he’s been going through intense workouts this month at his home near Dallas, according to the ESPN scribes. The 18-year veteran recently visited Germany to undergo a treatment on his knees, one that he believes helped him prepare to play for the Warriors last season, MacMahon and Stein note.

It’s unclear whether the Warriors remain interested in re-signing O’Neal, as they reportedly were last month, when Stein identified the Cavs and Clippers among the teams eyeing the Arn Tellem client. Stein left the Warriors off his list of teams when he identified the Blazers as one of the teams in the mix. In between, O’Neal seemed to drop hints that he wouldn’t return to Golden State.

This latest dispatch from MacMahon and Stein echoes the confidence that Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson expressed a month ago when he said he felt chances were “pretty good” that Dallas would sign either O’Neal or Josh Smith. That was shortly before Smith went to the Rockets instead. The Mavs only have the prorated minimum salary to spend on O’Neal, but none of the other teams that reports have linked to him can offer more at this point.

Five Teams Eye JaMychal Green

January 27 at 3:11pm CST By Chuck Myron

3:11pm: Knicks president Phil Jackson inquired about Green today, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. Green has offers from two other teams, Berman adds.

3:06pm: The Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls, Bucks and Blazers are expected to register interest in power forward JaMychal Green, whose 10-day contract expires tonight, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Green is parting ways with the Spurs after the sides failed to come to terms on a new deal, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter).

Chicago, New York and Memphis had interest when Green signed his 10-day deal with San Antonio earlier this month. The 24-year-old spent the preseason with the Spurs and was with San Antonio’s D-League affiliate in between stints with the big club. Green, who went undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, saw just 6.2 minutes per game in four appearances on his 10-day deal.

Memphis has a full 15-man roster, as our roster counts show, though Tyrus Thomas is on the fifth day of a 10-day contract. The Knicks have a pair of 10-day contracts coming off the books later this week. Bucks coach Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, whose 10-day pact with Milwaukee expires after Wednesday, raised doubts today about a report that Martin and the team had agreed to a deal for the rest of the season, so if they split, that would leave a roster vacancy. The Bulls already have an open roster spot.

The Blazers have 15 players on deals that are guaranteed for the rest of the season, but GM Neil Olshey said on SiriusXM NBA Radio today that the team is actively seeking a way to upgrade the roster, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick notes. However, Olshey downplayed the need for a big man, like Green, and suggested the team is looking for help on the wing instead.

Latest On LaMarcus Aldridge’s Injury

January 24 at 2:04pm CST By Chris Crouse

2:04pm: Aldridge tested his thumb out and made the determination on his own that he wanted to play, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

SATURDAY, 1:34pm: Aldridge is delaying having surgery and is expected to play this evening, the team has announced. (Twitter link). The forward has elected to wait until after the season to have the damage to his thumb repaired, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com tweets.

THURSDAY, 8:17pm: LaMarcus Aldridge has a radial collateral ligament tear in his left thumb and will miss six to eight weeks, according to the Blazers’ twitter feed. He will undergo surgery but it’s unclear when he will have the procedure.

The forward injured his thumb in Monday’s win over the Kings and the injury forced him to miss the game against the Suns on Wednesday. The Blazers are thin in the frontcourt, already missing Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland due to injuries.

The Blazers sit at 31-12 on the season but are only five and a half games up on the Suns, who reside in eighth place in the Western Conference. With such a competitive conference, the team may look to add depth via free agent signing or trade, although that is just my speculation. In any case, Portland can’t apply for a disabled player exception, since the deadline to do so passed a week ago. The team doesn’t have an open roster spot, and only three injuries isn’t enough for the team to warrant a hardship exception to sign a 16th man. If the Blazers manage to open a roster spot through a trade or release, they have a prorated sliver of the mid-level exception left that’s worth close to $437K, but that’s not much more valuable to them than the minimum-salary exception, which is always at their disposal.

Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 1/18/15-1/24/15

January 24 at 11:44am CST By Eddie Scarito

In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have added a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:

“If the Knicks win the lottery this year and have the No. 1 pick, who would they choose out of Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl-Anthony Towns, or Jahlil Okafor? Mathias

This will be an interesting draft for the Knicks, since it will be Phil Jackson‘s first after a full season as an executive, and he doesn’t have any track record to draw from for reference as to what he might do. Having stated that caveat, I don’t see how New York could pass on Okafor, who is by far the top talent in this draft class. The only way I can see Okafor slipping out of the top slot is if he suffers an injury between now and when his predraft workouts occur. The only other factor that could change Jackson’s focus, possibly to Mudiay, is if Jackson somehow gets the indication that Marc Gasol wants to come to New York via free agency. But that’s an extremely unlikely scenario.

“With all of the trade talk surrounding Michael Carter-Williams, wouldn’t the Sixers be more inclined to trade K.J. McDaniels first? After all, GM Sam Hinkie slipped up in the contract process with McDaniels following the draft. Why not move him and get a return before he can walk?” — Pete D.

I agree with you that Hinkie probably made an error in not signing McDaniels to more than a one-year deal. That kid is a keeper. But it’s for just that reason that I don’t see Philly dealing McDaniels unless the team is absolutely blown away by an offer. But Philadelphia isn’t likely to garner much for what could potentially be just a few months’ rental of McDaniels. Teams will likely be wary of what it might cost them to retain him when he hits restricted free agency this summer. This would likely knock down any potential return that Philadelphia might receive for McDaniels. So I think that Hinkie should, and will, hold onto him, and then do his best to sign McDaniels to a long-term contract this summer. So while he’ll end up costing the Sixers more than if they had simply offered him a guaranteed deal from the start, I think McDaniels is too strong of an asset to give up on this season. Plus, Philly will have ample cap space to match whatever offer sheets McDaniels would garner, within the bounds of the Gilbert Arenas provision and as long as a team doesn’t throw a Chandler Parsons-like contract offer at McDaniels (not very likely). If McDaniels does sign a bloated offer sheet, Philly will just have to swallow hard and let him go.

“Who is more likely to change teams as a free agent this summer — LaMarcus Aldridge or Marc Gasol?”  Steve-O

My honest answer would be neither, but that would be cheating! If I had to pick, I would choose Aldridge as the player more likely to change zip codes and uniforms. Gasol essentially grew up in Memphis, having attended high school there while Pau Gasol was playing for the Grizzlies. Memphis has a solid team that can offer him the most money, and the younger Gasol isn’t a headline chaser, so moving to a major market would likely hold little appeal. Sure, the Spurs may be an intriguing possibility, given how stellar that organization is. But San Antonio’s core won’t be around for too much longer. So why would Gasol risk heading into a potential rebuilding situation when Memphis will remain a contender over the next few seasons?

As for Aldridge, he’s also unlikely to leave his current team, since the Blazers are also a solid franchise and have a talented roster. Plus, Portland could offer Aldridge nearly $30MM more than any other competing team over the life of any deal. But Aldridge is from Texas, and all three teams in the Lone Star state would likely love to add Aldridge to their rosters. But to do so all three teams would need to clear cap space to add him, or in San Antonio’s case, have Tim Duncan and/or Manu Ginobili retire. I would be stunned if Gasol ended up leaving Memphis. Conversely, I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Aldridge changed teams, but it’s still a long shot.

“Is Langston Galloway for real, and is he a big part of the Knicks next season?” NYCKingpin

I assure you, Langston Galloway exists! But seriously now. Yes, I think he’s an intriguing prospect whom the Knicks should sign for the remainder of the season when his second 10-day deal expires. I also think he’s a keeper for next season as well. From what Galloway has shown thus far, he can be quite a useful rotation piece in the future. Is he a starting-level player on a playoff team? To that I would say probably not. But he can absolutely develop into a valuable bench player on winning team. But I would temper your expectations a bit. It’s too small a sample size to accurately judge his true worth just yet. Sure, he’s putting up decent numbers, but they’re on a dreadful Knicks squad. Competing teams don’t really bring their A-game when playing against New York this season, which is also something to keep in mind when looking at Galloway’s performances. But Galloway has been the best 10-day signee in the league thus far. So at least the Knicks have accomplished something this season!

“Who is the most intriguing free agent in your opinion this summer?” Kyle M.

For my money it’s the Warriors’ Draymond Green. The 24-year-old will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so Golden State will have the opportunity to match any offer sheets that Green receives. And Green should get a few lucrative offers thrown his way with how well he is performing this season. While Green won’t be the biggest name on the market, he is the one with the most potential to end up being overpaid, since an extremely player-friendly deal is what it will likely take to discourage Golden State from matching another team’s offer sheet. But Green also has as much upside as any player who will be hitting free agency this summer, which is a huge draw.

I simply love Green’s combination of athleticism, hustle, defensive ability, and raw talent. Green’s youth is also a tremendous asset to prospective bidders since his next contract will cover his prime production seasons. Green also has the ability to blossom into a star on a team where the ball isn’t dominated by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. My only concerns regarding Green is if his breakout season is simply a product of Golden State’s system, and how much his stats have benefited from playing alongside two All-Star caliber players in Curry and Thompson. But out of all of the second-tier free agent players that will be on the market this summer, Green is the one that I would say has the most potential to be a franchise changer.

That’s all the space that I have for this week. Thanks to all those who sent in their questions. I’ll be back next Saturday to answer a whole new batch. So fire away and keep filling up my inbox with your inquiries.

Western Notes: Bryant, Jerrett, Stokes

January 24 at 10:03am CST By Eddie Scarito

There has been speculation that Kobe Bryant‘s shoulder injury could mark the end of his career, something that Lakers coach Byron Scott doubts will be the case, Greg Beacham of The Associated Press writes. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around as far as dealing with injuries and things like that, and being able to come back,” Scott said. “Everybody said he was done after the Achilles, and he came back pretty strong. Knowing him the way I know him, I know he doesn’t want to go out this way. I think he will rehab it if that’s the case, and then we’ll wait and see.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Thunder have re-assigned Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced (Twitter link). This will be Jerrett’s eighth sojourn to the D-League this season. The 21-year-old has only made four NBA appearances thus far this season, and has averaged 1.8 points in 6.0 minutes per contest for the Thunder.
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey insisted that he won’t rush to make up for the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge, and that any deals the team makes at the trade deadline will be with the playoffs and not the regular season in mind, Grantland’s Zach Lowe notes.
  • Grizzlies rookie Jarnell Stokes is still trying to adjust to not seeing regular minutes after having been the star on every team that he played for prior to arriving in Memphis, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. “It was hard for me at first,” Stokes said of not playing. “The first couple games, even just in the preseason, I was like, ‘Man, I’m going to have to do this all year?’ It was tough. I was coming home just mad and I had to learn that this is the way it’s going to be and that I can learn from this and that God has me in this position for a reason. I’ll have my opportunity [eventually] and I feel like there are some things I can work on now, so I can get better. I’m just working on those things so I’m ready the next time my name is called.” Stokes spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors last August.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Knicks Plan Pursuit Of Tobias Harris

January 23 at 11:58am CST By Chuck Myron

The Knicks are planning to try to attract soon-to-be restricted free agent forward Tobias Harris, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The 22-year-old downplayed Berman’s November report indicating that he’s interested in signing with New York this coming summer, though a close friend of the Long Island native told Berman on Thursday that Harris wants to win a title with the Knicks. Many around the league believe the Knicks will target second-tier free agents this summer, Berman writes, naming Harris, Wesley Matthews and Draymond Green as examples.

Harris said earlier this season that the Magic will be his first choice in free agency, even though the sides failed to reach an extension before the October 31st deadline. The Magic have reportedly told the Henry Thomas client‘s camp that they’ll probably match any offer sheet he signs, though executives around the league are split on whether the Magic would match a high-dollar offer sheet, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote last week. Orlando GM Rob Hennigan said in October that he couldn’t envision not keeping Harris around. There was some conflicting dialogue about how the sides approached a possible extension, but Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported in early November that Orlando raised the idea of a deal with annual salaries around $9MM in talks with Harris around Labor Day. The sides didn’t negotiate further, Kyler added.

Thomas is an agent with the Creative Artists Agency, the same group that represents Carmelo Anthony and, at least until team president Phil Jackson took over last spring, held widespread influence in the Knicks organization. Harris worked out several times together with Anthony this past summer at Anthony’s gym in New York, as Berman noted in his November report. Harris can’t receive any direct financial incentive in his shoe deal for playing with any particular NBA team, as an October report had indicated, but the NBA does allow endorsement contracts to afford bonuses based on the number of national television appearances.

The NBA moved another Knicks game off national television today with New York still carrying the league’s worst record, though Harris expressed optimism about Jackson’s regime Thursday, as Berman notes. The Knicks have about $32.7MM in commitments for next season against a projected $66.5MM cap.

Harris was a starter for his first 37 appearances with the Magic this season, but he came off the bench for the first time Wednesday after missing five contests with a sprained ankle. He’s averaging a career-high 18.0 points per game fueled in part by an increase in shot attempts and also by 40.7% three-point shooting, a drastic improvement on last season’s 25.4% rate.

Western Notes: Holiday, Aldridge, Goodwin

January 21 at 8:20pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday is expected to miss two to four weeks of action after tests revealed that he has developed a stress reaction in his lower right leg, the team has announced. The injury is in the same leg that required surgery during the 2013/14 campaign. In 37 appearances this season, Holiday is averaging 15.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 33.7 minutes per game.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Josh Davis, who was in training camp this season with the Spurs, is leaving the D-League to sign a contract with the Meralco Bolts in the Philippines, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). Davis has appeared in 22 games for Austin, San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, averaging 13.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 34.0 minutes per contest.
  • The Suns have informed inquiring teams that Archie Goodwin is a big part of the franchise’s future, Charania writes in a separate article. Goodwin’s comments about being frustrated with his playing time were taken out of context, according to his agent, Charles Briscoe, Charania notes. “Archie doesn’t want out of Phoenix,” Briscoe said. “His words have been twisted in a recent article: We’re willing to wait for Archie’s opportunity. Any player in the NBA wants to play immediately, but we understand that Phoenix is in a playoff push. If we have to wait for next year, we’re OK with that. We know he will get his opportunity, and he’ll be ready.
  • A number of league executives have brought up the possibility that LaMarcus Aldridge could sign with the Spurs this summer, something that Dan McCarney of The San Antonio Express-News thinks is highly unlikely to occur. Either Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili would need to retire for San Antonio to free up enough cap space to sign Aldridge, and neither player is a safe bet to stop playing, McCarney notes.. Aldridge would also have to sacrifice roughly $30MM in salary to leave the Blazers, which is also improbable, McCarney adds.
  • The Clippers have recalled C.J. Wilcox from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League, the Mad Ants have announced. Wilcox has appeared in five games for Fort Wayne this season, averaging 13.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest.

Lowe’s Latest: Aldridge, Spurs, Sanders

January 21 at 9:28am CST By Chuck Myron

Grantland’s Zach Lowe spoke with a half-dozen executives from four different teams who brought up the possibility that LaMarcus Aldridge would sign with the Spurs this summer. It’s still unlikely that the All-Star power forward winds up with San Antonio, Lowe asserts, noting that Aldridge pledged this past summer to re-sign with the Blazers when he hits free agency after this season. The Spurs declined to give Kawhi Leonard a max extension this past fall, reportedly in part to preserve flexibility to sign a max-level free agent this summer in case Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili retire. The Blazers have nonetheless always been leery of teams from Aldridge’s native Texas above all other potential suitors for the 29-year-old who hits free agency this coming summer, according to Lowe. A November report indicated that the Mavs planned a run at him, though that was before Dallas acquired Rajon Rondo, and the Mavs would have to renounce their rights to some desirable free agents to chase Aldridge, as Lowe points out.

The Grantland scribe has more tidbits picked up from this past weekend’s D-League showcase in his must-read column, and we’ll focus on the news related to player movement here:

  • Larry Sanders will likely miss many more than 10 games on his latest drug-related suspension, according to Lowe, who hears from league sources who expect the Bucks and Sanders to eventually strike up buyout talks. Sanders is in the first year of a four-year, $44MM extension.
  • The Celtics have been calling teams in the past week and letting them know that they’re willing to take on cap-eating contracts, Lowe writes. Boston is over the cap but about $11.8MM shy of the luxury tax line this season, and the Celtics have only about $33.5MM in commitments for next season.
  • There’s “major skepticism” that the Suns will be able to acquire a first-round draft pick in exchange for Miles Plumlee, Lowe hears. That’s certainly no surprise, though Phoenix is looking for a first-rounder as they shop the big man, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Sunday.
  • Executives from teams around the NBA have tried to sell league brass on an earlier trade deadline, Lowe reports, suggesting that the teams are aiming to move the deadline up by at least a week or two. This year’s deadline is February 19th.

Jazz Sign Elliot Williams To Second 10-Day Deal

January 17 at 11:35am CST By Eddie Scarito

The Jazz have signed Elliot Williams to a second 10-day contract, the team has announced. Williams and the team agreed to his first 10-day pact on January 7th. Teams can ink players to a maximum of two 10-day deals per season before they either have to let them go or sign them for the remainder of the season.

Williams had appeared in three games for Utah during his first 10-day deal, averaging 2.7 points and 0.7 rebounds in 8.7 minutes per contest. His slash line is .375/.500/.000. Williams is a former first round draft pick of the Trail Blazers, and was selected No.22 overall back in 2010.

Prior to joining the Jazz this season, Williams had appeared in 16 contests for Santa Cruz, Golden State’s D-League affiliate. The 25-year-old had notched 21.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 7.7 APG in 37.2 minutes per game.