The judge in the trial to determine whether Shelly Sterling has the right to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer put the proceedings on hold until later this month at the request of Donald Sterling’s lawyers, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com details. Still, it’s likely that Ballmer will move back a July 15th deadline to finalize the sale, Markazi adds. Shelly Sterling said in testimony Thursday that her husband asked her to sell the team when it became apparent the league would seize control of it otherwise. Donald Sterling has said he has no intention of selling the team and has vowed a lifelong legal fight against the NBA.
More from the west:
- Chauncey Billups engaged in a “wide-ranging” discussion with Nuggets president Josh Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly recently in Denver, though it’s not clear whether they talked about a playing role or a front office job, as Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post reports.
- Blazers GM Neil Olshey said Thursday that he doesn’t anticipate making another offseason move, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman observes. Freeman doesn’t mention the fate of Mo Williams, who remains unsigned, though agent Mark Bartelstein told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com this week that there was still a chance that Williams would re-sign with Portland.
- Pau Gasol‘s interest in returning to the Lakers was contingent upon Carmelo Anthony coming to Los Angeles, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News . Now that the Lakers have used up their available cap space, it’s likely that Gasol’s days with the team are at an end.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
JULY 10TH: The deal is official, the team announced.
JULY 3RD, 10:54pm: Sam Amick of USA Today (on Twitter) has the full breakdown. Kaman gets $4.8MM in year one and $5MM in year two with only $1MM guaranteed. That gives him a total of $9.8MM if he completes the contract.
10:32pm: The Blazers have reached agreement on a two-year, $10MM deal with Chris Kaman, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The second year of the deal is partially guaranteed (link).
Kaman, 32, played in just 39 games last season for the Lakers thanks to a calf injury and averaged 10.4 PPG and 5.9 RPG. The big man has missed quite a bit of time over the course of his career due to various injuries but has still provided a big presence and double digit scoring in most of his NBA campaigns. For his career, Kaman has averaged 11.7 PPG with 7.9 RPG. Kaman’s career PER is a so-so 14.7 but he has comfortably topped that number in each of his last five seasons.
Kaman’s deal might indicate an inflated market for free agent bigs. Surely, a deal of this size for Kaman bodes well for higher-caliber frontcourt players like Channing Frye and Spencer Hawes.
Phil Jackson might be expecting Carmelo Anthony to rejoin the Knicks, but ‘Melo hasn’t ruled out the Bulls just quite yet, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Meanwhile, the Heat expected to have had an answer from LeBron James by this point, according to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick. James was frustrated with some of coach Erik Spoelstra‘s strategy during the Finals this year and wasn’t impressed with team president Pat Riley‘s end-of-season press conference last month, Skolnick adds.
While the NBA world waits on the decisions of superstars like Anthony and James, let’s round up the latest from free agents all around the league..
- Anthony Morrow has received interest from several teams, but it appears he’s deciding between joining the Clippers, Heat, Wizards, Raptors and Suns, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com, who adds that each of the teams Morrow is considering would be willing to use some or all of their mid-level exception to sign him (Twitter links). Given that the Clippers and Heat have both used up the full amount of their mid-level exceptions, signing Morrow would likely require a sign-and-trade to complete.
- The Warriors took “another” look at DJ White today, notes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group (on Twitter), thereby implying it’s at least the second time Golden State has looked at the big man. White had his rights renounced by Charlotte earlier today.
- Other teams submitted much stronger bids for Steve Blake but he “desperately” wanted to play for the Blazers, as he agreed to do today, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (Twitter link). The Lakers weren’t among the teams making an aggressive play for the point guard, as they offered only the minimum salary, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times hears.
- The Jazz, Pelicans, Rockets, and Nets are interested in Francisco Garcia, a source tells Haynes (Twitter link).
- The Wolves are making an effort to sign Evan Turner to one-year deal, a source tells tells Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Turner played poorly last season after being shipped to Indiana at the trade deadline.
- The matter of whether Mike Miller will re-sign with the Grizzlies will likely come down to contract length rather than salary, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, who writes in subscription-only piece. Memphis wants him back on a two-year deal, but Miller is pushing for three or four seasons.
- Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been in contact with Paul Pierce‘s representatives at Excel Sports Management, but it’s unlikely the veteran forward ends up in Houston, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Alex Lee and Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
5:38pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
11:39am: The Blazers have struck a deal with Steve Blake, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). It’ll be a two-year deal for the biannual exception with a player option for the second season, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (on Twitter). The contract will be worth $4.2MM, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, so assuming that’s an estimate, it appears the point guard is getting the full $4,247,465 value of the biannual.
Blake, a client of Joel Bell, was reportedly enamored with the idea of returning to play in Portland, where he spent parts of four seasons with the Blazers over two separate stints. The Lakers, Heat, Wolves and Knicks have all shown interest in the 34-year-old over the course of the offseason, though Minnesota wasn’t as high on him by the time free agency started, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. While Blake spoke of his affection for the Lakers and Warriors, the two teams with which he spent last season, he’s headed back to Portland instead.
The Blazers appear to be using most of their mid-level to sign Chris Kaman, so that’s likely the extent of their free agent spending beyond the minimum salary, unless they can convince Mo Williams to sign for a salary of just 20% more than the roughly $2.77MM he earned last season. That’s the most they can give Williams, with whom the Blazers have only Non-Bird rights.
There’s strong mutual interest between the Mavs and Mo Williams, with Mavs GM Donnie Nelson having called him “the perfect fit in many respects,” reports Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Presuming the Rockets don’t match the Mavs’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, Dallas would like to re-sign Vince Carter for the $2.732MM room exception, but if Carter doesn’t bite, the Mavs would strongly consider using it on Williams, MacMahon writes. There’s more on Williams amid the latest from Dallas:
- If Carter does take that room exception, the Mavs are holding out hope that they can convince Williams to sign for the minimum salary, since he lives in the area and wants to be near his family, MacMahon tweets. Portland’s deal today with Steve Blake indeed gives the Blazers less of a shot to re-sign Williams, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, but Bartelstein cautioned that there’s still a chance the combo guard stays in Portland.
- The Mavs are also targeting DeJuan Blair for the minimum, and that would be the only price they’d be willing to pay for him, MacMahon also tweets.
- Teams have been checking in with Shawn Marion, but there’s been no movement of any substance toward a deal, and the Mavs will remain in play if they miss out on Parsons, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link).
- Ivan Johnson is a part of the Mavs’ summer league team, but there’s mutual optimism that his relationship with the team will continue into the fall, MacMahon writes in a separate piece. “He’s more than just a summer league guy for us,” Mavs GM Donnie Nelson said. “We’re definitely taking a peak, and we like what we see.”
Dahntay Jones has met with the Clippers, and has received interest from the Knicks, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Here’s more from around the league:
- Zoran Dragic has signed a two-year contract extension with his Spanish League team, the Euroleague announced (H/T Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). NBA teams including the Rockets had shown interest in the brother of Goran Dragic. The original deal had a $500K NBA buyout clause for the upcoming season, although it is unclear if the extra years will feature the same flexibility.
- Free agent Anthony Tolliver has been in serious discussions with six teams, including the Clippers, Cavs, Pistons, Spurs, Wizards, and Hornets, reports Shams Charania of RealGM.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic and the Suns signed a declaration that the 2014 draft pick will not play in the NBA this season, a formality that clears his rookie scale cap hold from the team’s books, tweets Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Bogdanovic is signed overseas and can’t opt out until at least 2016.
- LaMarcus Aldridge‘s choice to seek a new deal with the Blazers as a free agent next summer was one of two options presented him by Portland owner Paul Allen and GM Neil Olshey last month, reports Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. The Blazers brass suggested the All-Star consider a three-year, $55MM extension he could sign immediately, or wait to become eligible for a five-year, $108MM max deal as an unrestricted free agent. “I don’t want it to be perceived that I’m not happy or I’m not staying on because I’m not signing a three-year deal,” Aldridge said. “It’s just financially smarter to wait … and I’m looking forward to signing the five-year deal when the chance comes.”
- Considering the recent max offers extended to Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons, it seems certain that Klay Thompson will also merit a max deal when he becomes a free agent. Tim Kawakami of Bay Area News Group hears that the Warriors have budgeted measures to find room for the shooting guard, should he not be traded away in a deal for Kevin Love.
Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge told Joe Freeman of The Oregonian that he won’t sign a contract extension in Portland this offseason but hopes to sign a new deal with them next summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The 28-year-old big man also implied that testing free agency a year from now would be more advantageous because he could then re-sign with the Blazers for more seasons and more money at that point (Twitter links).
Aldridge specified that financial security is his top priority before making it clear that Portland is where he wants to spend the rest of his NBA career: “I’m happy to stay (in Portland), happy to be here, happy with the direction the team has gone the last year or (two)…But I just want to get a 5-year deal. I feel like that’s the best decision on my part…I want to be the (best Blazer Ever)” (All Twitter links via Freeman).
The three-time NBA All-Star has been mentioned among the marquee free agents expected to headline the summer of 2015. Aldridge’s ultimate goal of landing a five-year contract – one that only the Trail Blazers would be able to offer – presumably puts the kibosh on other teams’ hopes of either trying to recruit him or pursue an extend-and-trade for now; however, it’s more than likely that those clubs will make p once Aldridge officially hits the free agent market.
The Lakers aggressively pitched to Carmelo Anthony the idea that he can be the star of the team once Kobe Bryant‘s contract expires in 2016, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com hears (Twitter link). ‘Melo was to have taken the weekend to make his free agent choice, but it appears he still hasn’t made up his mind. Here’s more from a wild Monday of free agency:
- The Cavs, Lakers, Heat and Mavs are all pursuing Trevor Ariza, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The Wizards are presumably still in the hunt, as well. The swingman is seeking salaries of $9-11MM, Berger adds.
- The Mavs have indeed shown interest in Lance Stephenson, reversing their previous stance against signing him, reports Chris Broussard of ESPNDallas.com, but it’s still very unlikely the shooting guard will end up in Dallas, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. The Pacers‘ recent five-year, $45MM offer disappointed the Alberto Ebanks client, who’s begun shopping for other teams, Broussard writes.
- The Celtics are also interested in Stephenson, Broussard adds (via Twitter).
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) continues to hear that the Thunder are ahead of the Heat in the Anthony Morrow chase. Along with Pau Gasol, Morrow has been a prime OKC target in free agency.
- A Chinese team offered Sebastian Telfair a two-year, $7MM deal as word of an impending deal with the Thunder leaked, agent Joel Bell tells Shams Charania of RealGM. Telfair passed that up to strike a one-year, minimum-salary agreement with the Thunder.
- Paul Pierce‘s representatives are telling teams that he’s looking for a two-year deal worth $9-10MM per season, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com (on Twitter). The Jeff Schwartz client is waiting to see if teams are willing to offer more money once the first-tier free agents come off the board, Mannix adds (Twitter link).
- The Nets, Trail Blazers and Spurs have worked out free agent Ivan Johnson, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The Hornets are among the teams set to meet with unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
- Free agent Matt Bonner has remained in contact with the Spurs on a possible reunion and is waiting for the roster to unfold, sources tell RealGM’s Shams Charania (on Twitter). No other clubs are in the mix for him yet.
The Pacers are shopping big man Roy Hibbert, sources tell Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. “I would say they’ve been doing that, but quietly,” one front-office source said.
Of course, with two years and $30MM left on Hibbert’s contract, he’s not a great match for every team out there. The center was erratic in March and April as well as the postseason too, so it’s unclear what kind of return Indiana could expect from a Hibbert deal. Meanwhile, there’s still uncertainty around Lance Stephenson after the club saw their five-year, $44MM offer rejected. Dumping Hibbert’s contract could help facilitate a return for their unrestricted free agent.
“They’re open to making major changes, if they’re there,” one general manager told Sporting News. “I think they’d be disappointed to see that same core group back intact, so it is a matter of, how drastic can the changes they make be? Moving Hibbert for multiple pieces would be a pretty drastic change, but they’re asking.”
One source added that star small forward Paul George is untouchable in any deal with the Pacers while power forward David West is all but off the table. Also, in a Hibbert deal, the source says that they would prefer to send him to the Western Conference. The Blazers have been linked to Hibbert in the past but a source labeled a Portland deal as “unlikely.”
Mike Miller is scheduled to meet with the Nuggets today, reports John Martin of ESPN929.com. The article also notes that the Grizzlies made an initial offer of two-years and an annual salary between $2.4MM and $2.9MM. The Thunder, Rockets, and Trail Blazers are all reportedly interested in Miller’s services, notes Martin.
More from the west:
- The Kings are looking to clear up their overstock of power forwards through the trade market, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter links). The team is seeking a defender and a shot blocker to shore up their interior, and also want to free up some of the cap space tied to that position, notes Jones.
- The Suns and Eric Bledsoe‘s agent Rich Paul are in early stages of contract talks, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Spears also notes that many of Bledsoe’s other suitors are in a holding pattern until Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James make their decisions.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic signed a four-year deal with Fenerbahce that contains an NBA out clause in 2016, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Bogdanovic was the 27th overall pick of the Suns in this year’s NBA Draft.
- The Pelicans lack of action on the free agent front is disconcerting, writes Jimmy Smith of the Times Picayune. One stopping block is the team’s need to clear enough cap space to complete the trade of Omer Asik, notes Smith.
- Jeff Withey’s minimum salary for this coming season became partially guaranteed for $100K when he remained on the Pelicans‘ roster through Saturday. It’ll become fully guaranteed if the Pelicans decline to waive him before the end of July 22nd, as our Schedule of Contract Guarantee Dates shows.
- The Thunder has named Darko Rajakovic as an assistant coach, the team announced via a press release. Rajakovic led Tulsa to a combined 51-49 record over two seasons, including a 27-23 record and NBA D-League Semifinals appearance in 2012/13. Coach Scott Brooks had this to say, “Darko’s diverse basketball background, knowledge of the game and ability to develop players at a high level were clearly apparent during his time in Tulsa, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to add him to our staff. His understanding of the core tenants of what we do, thanks to his time in Tulsa, will maintain a level of consistency that we value and his various head coaching experiences internationally will provide another layer to our coaches.”