Jeremy Lin and the Rockets may have gotten the better of the Knicks last night, but George Willis of the New York Post contends that New York still made the right call by letting the guard go to Houston in the summer of 2012. Houston gave Lin a three-year, $25MM offer sheet that was backloaded to pay him $15MM in the final year. That number would have put the Knicks in luxury tax hell, making a return nearly impossible. “Lin is not a $15MM a year player and never will be,” an NBA insider said. “The Rockets don’t even see him as that.” Here’s more out of the Atlantic..
- New 76ers coach Brett Brown never expected his club to get out to a 5-4 start, writes Thomas Moore of the Bucks County Times. The rebuilding Sixers were widely predicted to finish with the worst record in the league this season, particularly after it was announced that Nerlens Noel would be lost for the season.
- The Nets are struggling early on under new head coach Jason Kidd, but star guard Deron Williams insists the wins will come if the team continues to believe in their system, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. A 2-5 start isn’t what the Nets had in mind after breaking the bank to acquire Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry this summer.
- New Knicks guard Beno Udrih is singing a similar tune, saying that he’s not ready to panic, though the club has to step up their game. “There’s panic going on because no one expected the season to start the way it has started,” Udrih told Lang Greene of HoopsWorld. “But the regular season has 82 games so there’s still  games remaining. We just have to worry about ourselves. Our goal is still to win the [Atlantic Division] and get in a good spot for the playoffs.“
- Former Celtics and Nets guard Terrence Williams split with Turk Telecom due to family reasons, according to a Turkish report passed along by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. To keep up with hoops from around the globe, check out Hoops Rumors’ International Player Tracker.
Talks between the Knicks and Nuggets on a potential Iman Shumpert/Kenneth Faried swap “were never alive,” a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post, who terms the conversations New York is having with other teams about Shumpert as merely preliminary. The Nuggets would have wanted a first-round pick from the Knicks, but the earliest first-rounder New York can convey is for 2018, Berman notes. Here’s more on Shumpert, the Knicks and their Atlantic Division rivals:
- The Knicks‘ ample depth at shooting guard and the team’s concern over how Shumpert would react to being benched are among the reasons the Knicks appear willing to trade the 23-year-old, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com details.
- A family matter has forced former Celtics swingman Terrence Williams to leave Turk Telekom Ankara after he played just two games with the Turkish team, agent Obrad Fimic tweets (hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).
- Jason Terry says the Nets are in “desperation” mode after a loss to the Kings last night dropped them to 2-5, observes Sam Amick of USA Today.
- The Spurs regarded James Anderson as a scorer when they drafted him 24th overall in 2010, former San Antonio assistant and current Sixers head coach Brett Brown says. Anderson’s career-high 36 points last night highlight why Brown thinks the Sixers picked up Anderson at the just the right time in the swingman’s career, as Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News examines.
NBA teams are in the process of finalizing their rosters in advance of the regular season, and many clubs in other leagues around the world find themselves in the same boat. As such, we’ve got a few notable international signings to pass along today….
- Since Terrence Williams was cut by the Celtics in June, the only report we’ve heard on him involved a change in representation. Several months later, Williams has changed agents yet again, and has also signed with a team in Turkey. Guido Guida of Gazzetta dello Sport tweets the details on Williams’ change in agencies, while Obrad Fimic of Alti Sport confirms (via Twitter) that his new client has signed with Turk Telekom.
- Emiliano Carchia of Sportando passes along a tweet from Evan Wang indicating that former NBA lottery pick Al Thornton has signed with China’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Thornton, who spent four NBA seasons with the Clippers, Wizards, and Warriors, also played briefly in China last season, averaging 27.4 PPG and 9.5 RPG for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
- J.R. Bremer, who appeared in 100 NBA games with the Celtics, Cavs, and Warriors, has signed with Gaziantep in Turkey, the team announced on Twitter (English translation via Sportando). As our international player movement tracker shows, Bremer finished last season with Italy’s EA7 Milano.
Knicks fans got some unfortunate news this evening when the club announced that J.R. Smith has undergone patellar tendon surgery and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee. He'll need three to four months to recover, putting him in line for a return between October 15th and November 15th, according to the club. The timing of the news is curious as the defending Sixth Man of the Year re-signed with the Knicks on a four-year, $24.7MM deal just last week. Here's more out of the Atlantic..
- A league source told Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com that the Knicks knew that Smith would likely require surgery on his knee when they signed him to his new deal. Zwerling adds that an orthopedist once told him that about 60% of NBA players undergo knee procedures over the summer, many of which the public doesn't hear about (link).
- At today's press conference introducing Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans to the Boston media, GM Danny Ainge admitted that there's still a lot of work ahead for him this summer. "I think everything is in flux for the next few months," Ainge said. "We have a little bit of a logjam at our big positions. We have a little bit of a logjam at the shooting guard position. So there’s some decisions and some choices that we’re going to have to make over the next few months."
- Ainge went on to say that the Nets wanted a Dream Team at any cost, writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com in his wrapup of the presser.
- Former Celtics guard Terrence Williams has left agent Aaron Goodwin and joined up with Herb Rudoy, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). You can keep track of everyone's representation with the Hoops Rumors Agency Database.
The Celtics have waived Terrence Williams, the team announced. Williams' salary was non-guaranteed, but would have become partially guaranteed for $200K if the Celtics had not waived him by the end of today. If he had spent all of 2013/14 on Boston's roster, he would have made $947,907, the minimum salary for a four-year veteran.
Williams spent the first part of last season in China, and earned a 10-day contract with the Celtics upon returning stateside. That turned into a deal for the rest of the season and beyond, but Williams finds himself back on the unrestricted free agent market. The team also signed D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph after their stints in China last season, though it appeared the Celtics were highest on Williams, who received his rest-of-the-season deal after only one 10-day contract instead of the pair of 10-day trials that White and Randolph had to pass. White and Randolph's contracts for 2013/14 are non-guaranteed until August 1st.
Williams, an Aaron Goodwin client and former 11th overall pick, notched 4.6 points in 13.3 minutes per game over 24 regular season contests for the Celtics this past year. Boston has made a host of changes since they were bumped in the first-round of the playoffs, allowing Doc Rivers to head to the Clippers while agreeing to a deal that will send Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Nets.
Amare Stoudemire will be working with Hakeem Olajuwon for a second consecutive summer, and despite his lack of contribution this past season, the Knicks still have high regard for their most lavishly paid player, as Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com passes along. GM Glen Grunwald called Stoudemire "a heck of a player."
"We hope he'll be able to play significant minutes for us next year," Grunwald said. "How much that will be, we don't know at this time. But when he came and played for us … he was, as (coach Mike Woodson) said, a big factor in those games."
While we wait to see how Stoudemire bounces back next year, here's the latest from around the Atlantic Division:
- Terrence Williams, whose contract for next season is non-guaranteed, addressed reporters today after working out at the Celtics facility. He said that, in spite of his recent legal troubles, Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers still view him as part of the team's future, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com notes.
- The Celtics have worked out a dozen players in the past two days, as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com and Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe round up (Twitter links). On Friday the team saw Colton Iverson, Erick Green, Jeff Withey, Peyton Siva, Vander Blue and Ricky Ledo, and today the C's looked at Pierre Jackson, Gregory Echenique, Myck Kabongo, Shane Larkin, Phil Pressey and Steven Adams.
- Masai Ujiri appears destined to become the next GM of the Raptors, and Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun hears Ujiri and Phil Jackson are the only two candidates the team has aggressively pursued so far (All Twitter links). The Raptors have been linked to Kevin Pritchard and Troy Weaver as well, but they seem to have a strong preference for Ujiri.
- Ben Goldberg-Morse of the Philadelphia Inquirer lays out how new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie's emphasis on analytics could improve the production of Jrue Holiday, who received a long-term extension last summer, and Evan Turner, who's up for one this offseason.
As we prepare for a busy 12-game evening slate, let's check out a few Friday afternoon odds and ends from around the Association:
- The Wizards have discussed adding a player from the D-League in the wake of Bradley Beal's season-ending injury, but head coach Randy Wittman tells J. Michael of CSNWashington.com that a signing is unlikely (Twitter link).
- If Kevin Martin wants to remain with the Thunder next season, he'll likely have to accept a significant pay cut, says John Rohde of the Oklahoman in a chat. Rohde estimates that Martin would get no more than $7MM annually from the Thunder, who will be aiming to avoid the luxury tax.
- The Pistons have a pair of solid building blocks in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, but the moves Joe Dumars makes this summer will have a significant impact on the direction of the club, writes Paul Flannery of SBNation.com.
- Donte Greene, who was set to sign with the Nets last summer before fracturing his ankle, will join Puerto Rico's Brujos de Guayama, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com has an interesting profile on Celtics guard Terrence Williams, who says he understands he still needs to display consistency in the NBA. Williams' deal with the C's includes a non-guaranteed team option for 2013/14.
- The final stretch of the Kings saga may come down to whether Sacramento or Seattle has the better arena plan, according to Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler, and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee.
A few notes from around the Eastern Conference.
The race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference continues to become less dramatic by the day, as the Bucks won again on Monday night. Milwaukee now has a seven-game cushion on the ninth-place Sixers, who are at home against the Celtics tonight. If there's any drama in the East, it relates to seeding — the Bucks and Celtics are two of five playoff teams currently separated by just three games in the Eastern standings.
Here are a few Tuesday morning items out of the East:
- Whether or not Chris Andersen returns to the Heat next season may depend on how much playing time he gets in the playoffs, says Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, noting that Ronny Turiaf left Miami last offseason after becoming an "afterthought" in the postseason.
- Terrence Williams' contract with the Celtics will become guaranteed for next season if he makes the team out of camp, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
- The Bobcats have told Tyrus Thomas to stay home during the team's four-game West Coast road trip for physical rehab and individual work, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Thomas, who has fallen out of Charlotte's rotation entirely lately, remains a strong candidate to be amnestied this July, as I noted last week.
- Kyle Lowry's first year with the Raptors hasn't been entirely smooth sailing, but after the team traded Jose Calderon, Chauncey Billups had dinner with Lowry and impressed upon the ex-Rocket that Toronto must have plenty of faith in him to hand him the point guard reins (Sulia link via Ric Bucher).
SUNDAY, 11:35am: The Celtics officially announced Williams' multi-year deal in a press release. The team didn't disclose financial specifics, but Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports the contract includes triggers that would guarantee the deal for next season in stages.
FRIDAY, 2:52pm: Wojnarowski confirms that the contract is for the minimum salary and that it isn't fully guaranteed for 2013/14.
2:01pm: Terrence Williams' 10-day contract with the Celtics is set to expire after tonight's game, but Boston will re-sign the former 11th overall pick for the rest of the season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, the Celtics will also sign Williams conditionally for 2013/14, which I assume means '13/14 won't be fully guaranteed.
Williams was one of three players signed to 10-day contracts by the Celtics after returning from China. D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph, who also spent the season in the CBA, are expected to be in uniform for the first time tonight. So far, Williams has appeared in three games for the Celtics, including playing nearly 25 minutes last Friday against the Suns, recording nine points, four boards, and four assists.
When Williams' contract becomes official, the Celtics will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts this season. For next year, Boston currently has 10 players on fully guaranteed deals. Paul Pierce also has a player option, while Williams will presumably have either a non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed deal.
As I detailed earlier this week, the Celtics are already projected to be taxpayers this season. So even though Williams' contract will almost certainly be for the minimum salary, it will cost Boston twice as much as usual, once the tax penalty is considered.