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Rodney Hood

Jazz Exercise 2017/18 Options On Hood, Exum, Lyles

The Jazz have exercised three team options for 2017/18 well in advance of next Monday’s deadline, announcing today in a press release that they’ve picked up fourth-year options for Rodney Hood and Dante Exum, as well as Trey Lyles‘ third-year option.

Hood, who turned 24 last week, took a nice step forward in his second year with the Jazz, averaging 14.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.0 3PG while starting 79 games for the team. He’s expected to continue playing a major role in the rotation, particularly with Gordon Hayward out to start the season. His fourth-year option is worth just $2.387MM.

Exum’s fourth-year option is more expensive, at $4.992MM, and he’s coming off a lost season, having missed the 2015/16 campaign due to a torn ACL. However, he’s still just 21 years old, and Utah has high hopes for his future. He’ll see time at point guard behind probable starter George Hill.

As for Lyles, he’s heading into his second year, so the Jazz will have one more team option decision to make on him next year, for the 2018/19 season. In his lone season with the Jazz, Lyles averaged 6.1 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 80 games. His third-year option for 2017/18 will pay him $2.441MM.

Check out the full list of team option decisions for 2017/18 right here.

Grizzlies Notes: Coaching Search, Joerger, Conley

Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel will be part of a long list of candidates to replace Dave Joerger, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Tillery expects the Grizzlies to reach out to veteran coaches David Blatt, Brian Shaw, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. GM Chris Wallace promised a “thoughtful and comprehensive” process, adding that there is no rush to find a replacement. He plans to consider college coaches as well as NBA assistants. “We don’t have a guy,” Wallace said. “We’ll talk to people and see how it goes. It’s not about dealing from a pre-existing category. It’s about finding the right guy. We’re very much in the preliminary stages.” Tillery writes that “reshaping” the team, which the front office didn’t believe Joerger was willing to do, will be among the responsibilities for the next coach.

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • Wallace’s call for stability in the organization is laughable, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal, pointing out that in the past four years, the Grizzlies have been through an ownership change, two GM changes and two coaching changes. Joerger had been expressing his unhappiness in subtle ways throughout the season, Calkins notes, and felt betrayed when Jeff Green and Courtney Lee were dealt away at the trade deadline. Joerger also said the roster was “old and slow” and repeatedly praised Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, whom the Grizzlies passed over in the draft. Calkins questions whether free agent point guard Mike Conley will want to re-sign with an organization that has seen so much turnover.
  • The Grizzlies may not have enough to offer on the free agent market, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Memphis must decide by June 29th whether to pick up a $9.4MM option for next season on Lance Stephenson. If the Grizzlies keep him and all their other contracts while renouncing Matt Barnes and Chris Andersen, they will have about $60MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at more than $90MM. However, Conley carries a $14MM cap hold, which means money must be cut in other areas for the team to offer a max contract. Vince Carter and JaMychal Green are possibilities, as they both have contracts that won’t be guaranteed until January. Brandan Wright and his $5.7MM deal could be traded to clear more room. Dowsett speculates about Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson, Arron Afflalo, Gerald Henderson and Leandro Barbosa as possible free agent targets.

Southwest Notes: Gasol, Joerger, Pachulia

Pau Gasol once more finds the idea of joining the Spurs intriguing, as he said to the Marca newspaper in his native Spain (translation via HoopsHype). Marc Gasol, who’s under contract with the Grizzlies for at least another three years, this week curiously advised his brother to sign with San Antonio. The Spurs were among the teams Pau Gasol reportedly considered when he was a free agent two years ago. The new Creative Artists Agency client has a player option with the Bulls for next season, but it’s worth less than $7.77MM and he’s long said he’ll likely turn it down, and chances of a new deal in Chicago appear to be waning.

See more from the Southwest Division:

  • The idea that the Timberwolves considered Dave Joerger for the coaching job that’s since gone to Tom Thibodeau simply wasn’t true, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Any would-be path to Minnesota for Joerger vanished when former coach/executive Flip Saunders died, Tillery writes. The Commercial Appeal scribe expects Joerger to seek an extension with the Grizzlies as he heads into next season, the last one that’s guaranteed on his existing deal.
  • Joerger pushed hard for the team to draft Rodney Hood two years ago, when the Grizzlies selected Jordan Adams instead, as Kevin Arnovitz of details amid a larger piece on the team. Despite the way Hood, a 36% 3-point shooter, has blossomed for the Jazz, Grizzlies executive Ed Stefanski rejects the notion that the front office hasn’t looked for shooting. “Of course we want shooters,” Stefanski said. “An ‘oh, [expletive]’ shooter would be a helluva weapon for us, but they’re not easily had. It makes me laugh when people act like we’re ignoring shooters. You think we’re not looking?”
  • Soon-to-be free agent Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia wishes he had a lifetime contract and doesn’t understand why more players don’t choose to play in Dallas, observes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News“It’s my first year for me being here so I don’t exactly know what happened previously,” Pachulia said. “But the one thing, whoever will come here and play for this team and this organization would love it. Very few percentage of the players — very few — wouldn’t like it. The city, the fans, the organization, the personality and the heart. This team is all about winning. So if you are a winner definitely this is the place to be.”

Northwest Notes: Sampson, Augustin, Hood

JaKarr Sampson is surprised about how easily he’s fit in with the Nuggets since joining the team last month, as Nicki Jhabvala and Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relay. Sampson signed a two-year deal following a snafu that caused the Sixers to lose him, and he’s filled in as a starter for the injured Danilo Gallinari. Sampson is dealing with a strained right shoulder himself, but he played through it Wednesday, and his time in Denver has been smooth thus far. “The transition has been easy,” Sampson said. “My teammates have made it easy for me and coach [Michael Malone] has made it easy for me. So, it hasn’t been hard, the transition — new sets, new teammates. I love my teammates. We’ve got a great staff here. Everything has been easy for me.”

See more from Denver amid news from the Northwest Division:

  • D.J. Augustin, who says he’d love to re-sign with the Nuggets this summer, has made a strong impression in his brief time with Denver since coming over via trade last month, observes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post“D.J.’s our security blanket,” Malone said. “He’s won games for us. Put the ball into his hands in the fourth quarter and he steps up, makes shots, hits free throws and always makes the right play.”
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey is excited about Rodney Hood‘s room for continued growth, notes Kareem Copeland of The Associated Press, and the team is proving wise for having selected him 23rd overall in 2014, Copeland argues. “What we saw was a guy that was somewhat sophisticated with the ball and with his reads,” Lindsey said. “It was relatively evident fairly quick that he’d be a nice fit for us. It’s to the kid’s credit that he’s gotten better since this time last year.”
  • The Thunder have focused too much on adding scoring punch around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and not enough on finding role players, argues Christopher Reina of RealGM. That plus their reliance on traditional big men threatens to leave the franchise in a compromising position, unable to win a title despite the presence of two elite players, Reina writes.

Jazz Have External Trade Talk About Trey Burke

The Jazz have held multiple discussions with other teams about trades involving Trey Burke, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Still, the Jazz aren’t in line to acquire fellow point guard Jeff Teague from the Hawks, Jones tweets, despite an earlier report that they were thinking about pursuing him. Utah rejected an offer from the Hawks of Teague for Rodney Hood and a draft pick, according to Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone radio in Salt Lake City (Twitter link).

Jazz coach Quin Snyder has praised Burke for his defense, Jones notes, and the No. 9 overall pick is shooting a career best 42.3% from the floor and 34.7% from 3-point range. Still, his minutes are at a career-low 23.6 per game, down significantly from the 30.1 he saw last season, even though he seemed to be first in line to start when Dante Exum went down with a torn ACL in the summer. The Jazz have gone with rookie Raul Neto as the starter instead and often employed lineups with three wing players instead of a point guard.

Burke, the No. 9 pick from the 2013 draft, is making more than $2.658MM this season in year three of his four-year rookie scale contract. He’ll be up for an extension this summer.

Jones speculates that George Hill, whom the Pacers have reportedly dangled in talks with Atlanta about Teague, would be a strong fit for the Jazz, and that he’d be obtainable if Utah has interest (Twitter links). The Tribune scribe believes that an offer of Burke and the unprotected 2017 first-round pick the Warriors owe the Jazz would be reasonable in exchange for Hill. Still, it’s unclear whether any connection exists between the Jazz and Pacers on that front.

Jazz Exercise Options On Four Players

The Jazz have exercised third-year options on Dante Exum and Rodney Hood and fourth-year options on Trey Burke and Rudy Gobert, the team announced today. All four options are for the 2016/17 season.

The 20-year-old Exum will receive slightly more than $3.94MM. He is expected to miss the upcoming season after damaging the ACL in his left knee while playing for the Australian National Team. He appeared in all 82 games during his rookie season in Utah, averaging 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Exum was part of the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.

Hood, 22, will earn a little over $1.4MM. He averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists during his rookie campaign and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month during the final month of last season.

The 22-year-old Burke will make nearly $3.39MM. He has started 111 games during his first two NBA seasons and has averages of 12.8 points 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He was an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2013/14 and has been part of the Rising Stars Challenge the past two seasons.

Gobert, 23, will make more than $2.1MM. He sparked the Jazz to a 22-15 record after moving into the starting lineup in the middle of last season. Gobert finished fifth in the Defensive Player of the Year voting and became the third player in Utah history to top 180 blocked shots in a season. He has career averages of 6.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Hornets Rumors: Batum, Zeller, Cho, Clifford

The Celtics offered the Hornets a package that included four first-round picks to entice Charlotte to give up the No. 9 pick last month, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Boston was willing to give up its own pick at No. 16, the No. 15 pick that they would tentatively have acquired from the Hawks, an unprotected future first-round pick from the Nets (presumably the 2018 pick Brooklyn owes Boston) and a future first-rounder from either the Grizzlies or the Timberwolves (presumably the ones those teams already owe Boston), as Lowe details. Some front office members in Charlotte liked the idea, but owner Michael Jordan preferred to roll with Frank Kaminsky, whom the Hornets took at No. 9, several sources said to Lowe. The Grantland scribe delves into the implications of that choice, and he touches on more, too, as we highlight amid the latest from the Queen City:

  • Nicolas Batum‘s camp has been talking about how much he’d like to play with the Raptors, given the international appeal of Toronto, several league sources tell Lowe. The native of France, whom the Hornets traded for last month, is set to become a free agent after this coming season.
  • The Hornets have been willing to talk about Cody Zeller when they discuss trades with other teams, sources tell Lowe. That jibes with a report from shortly before the draft that Charlotte was aggressively shopping the big man.
  • GM Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford have had a chilly relationship since last year’s departure of president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, sources familiar with the situation tell Lowe, yet Cho, Clifford and Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk all downplay the notion. “I would say it’s a good relationship now,” Cho says. “I value his input. We’re not always going to agree, but I wouldn’t expect to.”
  • Polk, Jordan, Cho, assistant GM Chad Buchanan and director of player personnel Larry Jordan, Michael’s brother, are the primary decision-makers for the team, according to Lowe.
  • Charlotte shopped Noah Vonleh and the No. 9 pick in a package to try to move up in the draft before abandoning that pursuit and trading Vonleh in the Batum deal, as Lowe details.
  • The Hornets had interest in Rodney Hood going into last year’s draft, Lowe hears. Hood wound up going at No. 23 to Utah, and Charlotte had an opportunity to move down into a spot where it might have nabbed him instead of Vonleh, as Lowe explains.
  • Hornets brass likes Elliot Williams, whom the Hornets have reportedly agreed to sign to a camp deal, but they see him as an insurance policy and don’t view him as a replacement for backup point guard Brian Roberts, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).

Western Notes: Jazz, Hood, Crawford, Spurs

The Jazz‘s willingness to commit to paying building blocks like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors has helped the team show signs that it will quickly rebound from its rebuilding project, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details. Critical, too, was the deadline-day trade that sent Enes Kanter out, at his request, as the Jazz weren’t interested in paying a premium to keep him in restricted free agency this summer, writes Chris Mannix of A greater focus on Favors and Rudy Gobert since then has paid dividends, as Mannix examines.

“[The trade] helped me work on my game a lot,” Favors said. “Enes was the first option in the post. Since the trade, it’s always been me. It’s helped me work on my game and made me better for it.”

Coach Quin Snyder downplays the connection between the Kanter trade and the team’s ascent in the standings, Mannix notes. Still, Utah was 19-34 at the deadline and has gone 12-3 since. There’s more on the Jazz amid the latest from the Western Conference:

  • Jazz higher-ups are “positively giddy” about the future of Rodney Hood, as Mannix reports in the same piece. Utah selected Hood 23rd overall in June after the swingman spoke to Zach Links of Hoops Rumors last spring.
  • The Clippers aren’t sure they’ll have Jamal Crawford back for the playoffs, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of Crawford has missed the last eight games because of a bruised right calf that Doc Rivers has deemed a “serious injury” and one that won’t have him back “anytime soon, that’s for sure,” Howard-Cooper notes. L.A. has an open roster spot and Nate Robinson on a 10-day contract.
  • The Spurs are keeping a close eye on draft-and-stash prospect Davis Bertans of late, as Lefteris Moutis of writes in a slideshow dedicated to the 10 European players who have the best chances of playing in the NBA next season. The power forward has a contract that runs through 2017 with Spain’s Laboral Kuxta (aka Saski Baskonia), as Mark Porcaro shows in our Draft Rights Held Players database, though it apparently contains NBA escape clauses for each year of the deal.

Western Notes: Lee, Durant, Jazz

Some around the Warriors think David Lee‘s return from injury in December disrupted the team’s rhythm, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group hears, and the team has essentially squeezed him out of the rotation for now. The Warriors were steadfast at the deadline that they didn’t want to simply shed Lee in a salary dump, Kawakami writes, nonetheless adding that he expects Golden State to make a push to trade him this summer.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • No one believes that Thunder GM Sam Presti would ever trade Kevin Durant, a league executive told Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Presti dismissed the idea he’d make such a move after ESPN analyst and former team exec Tom Penn suggested that he would.
  • Jay Yeomans of the Deseret News reviews how Jazz draft-and-stash picks Ante Tomic, Tibor Pleiss, and Raul Neto are faring overseas this season.
  • Jazz rookie Rodney Hood is providing some much needed scoring from the wing for the team, which was a big reason why Utah drafted him last June, Kareem Copeland of writes. “He makes shots and has the ability to space the floor. He’s also gets to the rim, too,” coach Quin Snyder said of Hood. “The plan, really in the beginning, Rodney was going to play. Whether he was going to start or how many minutes, you never know. He’s good enough and we need him.
  • Though Enes Kanter is receiving similar playing time with the Thunder as he did with the Jazz, the big man is more content thanks to being on a more successful team, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman relays. “Well, the thing is we are winning here,” Kanter said. “We are playing for something. We are playing for playoffs, we are playing for ring. There [in Utah], I still respect them and I don’t want to say nothing bad about them. But this is just way different than what I’ve been seeing. It’s a whole different level. This is like I realize what NBA is when I came to Oklahoma City.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Thomas, Spurs, Hood

The Suns‘ three point guard system was one of the factors that led Isaiah Thomas to agree to a sign-and-trade deal this past summer, the guard said during an interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (hat tip to Matt Petersen of “That’s what I signed here for, was to play with those other two guards and to cause havoc on both ends of the floor playing with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe,” Thomas said. “Everybody’s getting a consistent rotation. Guys know when they’re really going to come in and play, and who they’re going to play with. I think everybody’s just getting comfortable with everybody.”

Here’s more from the West:

  • The Spurs are finding their quest to repeat as NBA champions a rather difficult road to travel, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. Because of injuries and the age of his roster, coach Gregg Popovich has already had to use 23 starting lineups through 42 games so far this season, which is tied with Knicks for the most in the NBA, Lee notes. “You just deal with whatever you have and move on,” Popovich said. “I don’t think there are too many coaches who aren’t concerned about something.”
  • Rajon Rondo‘s true value to the Mavericks isn’t necessarily reflected in his stat line, but rather in his excellent play during clutch situations, Tim MacMahon of writes. “He’s a big-time player, and big-time players make big plays down the stretch,” Dallas big man Tyson Chandler said. “He’s not going to always put up the huge numbers that are going to wow you, but he’s one of those guys that you want with you in the trenches when you know the game is on the line. He’s just going to do something – something – to make an impact on the game.”
  • Jazz rookie Rodney Hood, who injured his left foot during Sunday’s contest against the Spurs, will be out of action through the All-Star break, at which point his status will be reevaluated, the team has announced. The 22-year-old has appeared in 24 games for Utah this season, averaging 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.3 minutes per contest.

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