Thomas Robinson Rumors
April 7 at 9:45am CST By Chuck Myron
The Kings have the league's seventh-worst record, but they've been one of the most newsworthy teams all year, thanks to the uncertainty surrounding where they'll play next season. They also participated in perhaps the most significant trade at the deadline, sending 2012 fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson to the Rockets. There's more news on both fronts, as we detail here:
- Robinson says the trade shocked him, but added that he doesn't hold it against the Kings, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee documents. "I don't have any regrets," he said. "I'm glad the Kings gave me a chance and drafted me. They put me in the league." That's in contrast to what he told Maurice Bobb of SLAM shortly after the deal, when he said he felt "somewhere between" happy and disrespected. Robinson could be on the move again, as he's rumored as potential trade fodder if the Rockets want to clear space for Dwight Howard.
- Sacramento County officials deny they've agreed to kick in $600K annually to help fund a new $448MM arena for the Kings, according to Tony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of The Bee. A report circulated by the city of Sacramento stated that the county had agreed to the funding, but representatives from both the city and county say the matter isn't a significant hurdle to the arena plan.
- David Stern's trip to India this weekend had been scheduled long in advance and isn't related to India native Vivek Ranadive's recent emergence as the lead investor of Sacramento's bid to keep the Kings. Still, the connection can't hurt the city's chances in its duel with Seattle, The Bee's Ailene Voisin opines.
- Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe believes the most significant takeaway from this week's owners meeting on the future of the Kings was that Sacramento proved its bidders have the financial wherewithal to match Seattle's effort.
April 6 at 1:53pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Rockets aren't currently in line to have the cap space necessary to offer Dwight Howard a maximum-salary contract this summer, but the team is confident it can swing trades to clear room for his max deal if he's willing to sign with Houston this summer, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Sources tell Stein an "obvious option" would be to trade Thomas Robinson for a future draft pick.
Salary Cap FAQ author Larry Coon this week broke down the Rockets' ability to make a run at Howard, pegging their available space for this summer at between $16.7MM to $18.2MM, depending on how high the league sets the salary cap in July. Opening up that much room without making a trade would require the team to decline its option on Francisco Garcia and waive seven others whose contracts aren't fully guaranteed for next season, including starting small forward Chandler Parsons, whose deal is partially guaranteed for $600K.
Dwight Howard's maximum first-year salary would check in at $20,513,178, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors detailed. Howard's max is larger than any other free agent this summer because the collective bargaining agreement ensures a player can always sign for 105% of his previous salary, and Howard's $19,536,360 salary this season is the largest of anyone hitting the open market.
In order to give Howard the max, the Rockets would have to make a trade. Giving up on Robinson, the 2012 No. 5 overall pick whom the team acquired at the trade deadline from the Kings, and Parsons, perhaps the NBA's best bargain, would be difficult to stomach, but I don't think the Rockets would hesitate to do so if they knew they were getting Howard.
Stein also writes that, even as the play of James Harden is making Houston an increasingly attractive destination, the Mavericks have long been considered the greater threat to sign Howard. Coon looked at the Mavs' ability to land D12 as well, noting that they're set to have less cap space than the Rockets this summer. That means Dallas, too, would have to swing a trade to fit a max contract for Howard under the cap. Both the Mavs and Rockets could also try to work out a sign-and-trade with the Lakers for Howard, Coon adds, noting that while the CBA bars taxpaying teams like the Lakers from receiving a player via sign-and-trade, it doesn't preclude them from sending players out in such a deal.
March 9 at 12:21am CST By Chuck Myron
As rumors fly long past the NBA's trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN.com checks in with a Weekend Dime that's heavy on items about Josh Smith, as well as plenty of news about the Rockets. There's even a link between Smith and Houston, so let's dig in.
- The Bucks came closest to acquiring Smith at the deadline, as a source tells Stein that Atlanta's talks with the Sixers were never as serious as they were with Milwaukee.
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier today that the Hawks nearly sent Smith to the Celtics, but Stein hears Atlanta's brass shared the concerns of many NBA teams that C's basketball president Danny Ainge would get cold feet about dealing one of his stars. Paul Pierce would have been sent to the Mavs in the rumored Smith-to-Boston trade.
- The Hawks preferred to send Smith to the Western Conference, but were rebuffed by the Mavs, who refused to add a draft pick to a package that already included Vince Carter, Chris Kaman, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones. Many of those Mavericks were also part of the proposed three-way trade with the Celtics.
- If the Rockets don't land top target Dwight Howard this summer, they'll turn their attention to Smith and Andrew Bynum next, sources tell Stein.
- Aaron Brooks forfeited just under $3.4MM in his buyout from the Kings, Stein hears. Brooks was set to make $3.396MM next season on a player option, so presumably the buyout simply entailed him declining that option.
- I took a look in January at all the former Rockets the team still has on the payroll, a list that's since grown even longer, as Stein notes. Houston has waived or bought out 10 players this season, all of whom are still on the team's cap.
- Stein catches up with Thomas Robinson, who was surprised when the Kings drafted him last year and "shocked" when they traded him to the Rockets at the deadline.
- There's a schism in thought around the league about whether Monta Ellis is leaning toward staying with the Bucks next season or exercising his early-termination option to hit free agency this summer.
- Samuel Dalembert is hitting free agency no matter what, but echoing his report before the trade deadline that Milwaukee was no longer trying to move Dalembert, Stein says the Bucks have some interest in re-signing the Haitian center.
March 7 at 5:46pm CST By Luke Adams
Tonight's NBA schedule only features two games, but they should be good ones. Three of the Western Conference's top five teams will be in action, including the Clippers and Nuggets squaring off in Denver. As we wait for the evening's games to tip off, here are a few updates on Western teams and players:
- The Timberwolves don't intend to put in a waiver claim for Jeremy Tyler, who was released yesterday by the Hawks, but the team is still "kicking around" the idea of signing a big man to a 10-day contract, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. The Wolves have 15 players under contract, so they'd have to waive someone or get an injury exception from the NBA allowing them to add a 16th man.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban values the input of Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle, and other members of the organization, but as he tells Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, there will never be any confusion about who has the final say on basketball decisions. "Me, because I have to write the check," Cuban said. "So it’s my ultimate judgment, not so much on
which guy, but does he fit economically into the big picture?"
- In an interview with Maurice Bobb of SLAM, Thomas Robinson says he felt disrespected being traded so early in his career by the Kings. However, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link) hears that some people around the league believe Sacramento was wise to move Robinson, who one scout says is a player with no position.
- ESPN.com's Joe Kaiser doesn't see a future for Chris Kaman with the Mavericks, so he takes a shot at naming five potential offseason suitors for the free-agent-to-be, including the Trail Blazers.
March 2 at 12:47pm CST By Sean Highkin
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column that surveys several topics from around the NBA, including info on several buyout candidates. Here are the highlights:
- Brigham writes that Aaron Brooks was frustrated with his minutes with the Kings, leading to Sacramento's decision to buy him out. Brooks is expected to sign with the Rockets when he clears waivers.
- The only team that showed interest in Omri Casspi was the Rockets, meaning a buyout did not make sense for Casspi and the Cavaliers.
- Brigham disputes rumors that the Lakers were interested in Raja Bell, writing that although Bell has a relationship with Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash, the front office was hesitant to add yet more salary to the team's payroll.
- Brigham writes that Andrew Bynum will command a max contract this summer, and it may be best for the Sixers to cut their losses rather than re-up with the oft-injured big man.
February 27 at 10:10am CST By Luke Adams
Tempers flared near the end of the Pacers' 108-97 win against the Warriors last night, as Roy Hibbert, David Lee, Stephen Curry, and others exchanged shoves and came close to spilling into the stands. While Hibbert figures to be the prime candidate for a suspension, the Warriors are also awaiting word from the league to hear whether they'll lose any of their players for a game or two. In the meantime, here are a few more notes from around the Pacific Division:
- According to Thomas Robinson's former teammate Tyreke Evans, 2012's fifth overall pick was frustrated with his role with the Kings and will benefit from a change of scenery. "[Robinson] is going to be pretty good,"
Evans told Lang Greene of HoopsWorld. "He’s young and got a lot of talent. He was a little frustrated here, but
the same thing [happened] with Derrick Favors. He was in New Jersey
frustrated, went to Utah and now he’s playing good."
- Robinson wasn't the only player frustrated in Sacramento. John Salmons tells Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida that he's not pleased with his reduced role with the Kings, but that he's "not going to be a distraction or complain about it."
- Appearing on CBS Radio, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak admitted that management has been impatient with some of its decisions in recent years, in hopes of making one more championship run before Jerry Buss passed away (link via Royce Young of CBSSports.com). The firing of coach Mike Brown five games into the season may have been one of those decisions, Kupchak acknowledged.
- Jamal Crawford's tweet yesterday, in which he expressed a desire to remain with the Clippers for the rest of his career, is another sign of the team's changing culture led by Chris Paul, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
February 23 at 11:54am CST By Sean Highkin
Reactions continue to pour in following the trades made at Thursday's deadline, especially now that players are beginning to make their debuts with their new teams. Here is the latest post-deadline buzz:
February 23 at 10:13am CST By Sean Highkin
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column examining which teams have a chance to be title contenders five seasons from now, taking into account possible moves in free agency and the ages of the teams' core players.
- Brigham believes the Thunder still have the brightest future, given that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be under 30 in five seasons.
- LeBron James' free agency will play a major role in determining the next title contender, Brigham writes. The health and effectiveness of Dwyane Wade will determine whether James stays with the Heat, but the Cavaliers and Lakers are also possible destinations.
- On that note, Brigham writes that, although Kyrie Irving is blossoming into a superstar, the Cavs will not be a contender unless James signs in Cleveland.
- The Bulls will still be contenders if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah stay healthy, Brigham writes. He also notes that Nikola Mirotic will have come over to the NBA by then.
- The trade for Thomas Robinson added another young piece to the James Harden/Jeremy Lin core the Rockets have built, Brigham writes. Additionally, the team is still well under the cap and can add another high-level player via free agency.
- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers a solid core to build around, writes Brigham.
- Brigham writes that there will be uncertainty every year for the next five as to whether Chris Paul will still be with the Clippers.
- Even if Stephen Curry's ankles don't hold up, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors a good young core, Brigham says.
- Brigham writes that the Pacers have excellent cornerstone players in Roy Hibbert and Paul George.
February 22 at 11:01am CST By Luke Adams
While the Los Angeles clubs stood pat and the Suns and Warriors only made small moves at the deadline, it was the Kings that were the Pacific Division's most active team, completing a six-player trade with the Rockets on Wednesday night. We have a couple links related to Sacramento's deal, as well as the rest of the latest items out of the Pacific:
February 21 at 8:17pm CST By Sean Highkin
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld posted a new column examining the reasoning why many teams opted to stand pat at the trade deadline rather than make any major deals. He also wrote that, although the trade deadline was relatively uneventful, it could set up an exciting summer of trades and free-agent signings.
Kennedy also ran down the teams he thought improved with deadline deals:
- Kennedy thinks J.J. Redick will be valuable to the Bucks as they push for a playoff spot.
- The Thunder added Ronnie Brewer at little cost, and Kennedy believes he will form a formidable perimeter defense tandem with Thabo Sefolosha.
- Kennedy praises Rockets GM Daryl Morey for acquiring the fifth pick in the 2012 draft, and believes Thomas Robinson will flourish in a better situation than the one he was in with the Kings.
- The Raptors picked up Sebastian Telfair, giving them a serviceable backup for Kyle Lowry at little cost, Kennedy writes, also noting that Telfair has strong relationships with several players already on the team.
- Kennedy praises the Blazers for acquiring much-needed bench help in Eric Maynor.