WEDNESDAY, 11:17am: The deal is official, the team announced.
TUESDAY, 2:04pm: The Jazz are setting up a 10-day contract for swingman Chris Johnson, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The former member of the Grizzlies, Celtics and Sixers is not to be confused with the three-year NBA veteran center by the same name who recently signed to play in Turkey. The Chris Johnson who’s apparently headed to Utah would fill the roster spot vacated when the team’s second 10-day deal with Elliot Williams expired Monday night, so there won’t be a need for a corresponding move. Utah isn’t planning another deal for Williams, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported late Monday (on Twitter).
Johnson has been playing with the D-League affiliate of the Rockets since December, not long after the Sixers waived him the previous month. He spent the preseason with the Celtics, who released him before opening night, but Philly claimed him off waivers and kept him for a little more than two weeks. The 24-year-old averaged 20.8 minutes per game during his brief time in Philly, so it was surprising to see the Sixers let him go. He put up 6.3 points per game in 19.7 MPG across a career-high 40 appearances for Boston last season.
The Jazz are in need of help on the wing, with Alec Burks expected to miss the rest of the season and Rodney Hood out until at least the All-Star break. Rookie Joe Ingles, who’s on a minimum-salary deal, has started the past 12 games.
SUNDAY: The Jazz have officially signed Millsap, the team announced.
SATURDAY: The Jazz and Elijah Millsap have agreed to a three-year deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter). While Charania doesn’t disclose financial details, he does add that the final two years of the deal are team options, although that might simply mean they’re non-guaranteed. Utah has about $4.8MM in cap space.
Millsap’s second 10-day contract with the Jazz was set to expire at day’s end tomorrow, and in order for Utah to keep the Hazan Sports Management client around, they needed to come to terms on a deal that covered at least the rest of this season since teams can only hand out two 10-day pacts per player each season. Clearly, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was impressed with Millsap’s performance this year, so much so that he’s extended him a multi-year offer.
Utah’s roster will stand at the league-maximum 15 players once Millsap signs his contract, but Elliot Williams is with the club on a 10-day contract set to expire January 27th. Millsap, the younger brother of Paul Millsap, spoke with Hoops Rumors’ Zach Links prior to the start of the 2014/15 season. The 27-year-old swingman went undrafted out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2010 and has spent the last four seasons prior to 2014/15 in the D-League.
SUNDAY, 12:35pm: The Pistons are among the teams to show exploratory interest in Prigioni, in wake of losing Brandon Jennings to injury, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
THURSDAY, 8:53am: The Clippers have held an interest in Prigioni, a source tells Zagoria, adding that the Clips don’t have the second-round pick New York is looking for. The earliest second-round pick that the Clippers can guarantee New York is for 2019. The point guard has drawn interest from three or four European clubs, agent Claudio Villanueva told Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype, though Villanueva cautioned that he and his client haven’t pursued those possibilities and that they’re not worried about his situation in New York.
WEDNESDAY, 1:17pm: The Knicks would like to trade Pablo Prigioni in exchange for a second-round pick, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The 37-year-old point guard doesn’t have much of a role at present, having fallen out of the team’s rotation the past three games, and he’s not a part of the club’s future, either, according to Zagoria. He’s making nearly $1.663MM this season, but his salary of almost $1.735MM for next season is only partially guaranteed for $290K.
New York reportedly considered attaching Prigioni to a deal that would unload Wayne Ellington this past summer. Knicks officials were apparently nonetheless fond of Prigioni, though it seems they continued to mull trading him even after they were able to keep him when they shipped Elliington to the Kings. The Knicks opened the season with playoff aspirations, but their need for an aging backup isn’t great with the team at 6-36. New York is reportedly shopping starter Jose Calderon, but Shane Larkin has moved ahead of Prigioni on the Knicks depth chart.
It appeared this past summer that the Jazz were in the mix for Prigioni as the Knicks and Kings looked for a third team to facilitate the Ellington trade. It’s unclear whether Utah still has any interest, even in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that shooting guard Rodney Hood will be out until at least the All-Star break. Prigioni had been seeing fairly consistent minutes before his recent downturn in playing time, and he’s averaged 4.8 points, a career high, in 19.1 minutes per game this season.
The Raptors, Bulls, Jazz and Pistons have reached out to one-time Cavs swingman D.J. Kennedy, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. The 25-year-old is under contract with Germany’s Riesen Ludwigsburg for the rest of the season, according to Charania, so it appears that he’s off-limits until the summer.
Kennedy has played well across eight games in Germany, averaging 21.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 35.3 minutes per contest. He put up similar numbers earlier this season with Russia’s Krasny Oktyabr, and he split last season in France and Israel, with less impressive production, after the Mavs had him in training camp. The former St. John’s mainstay was in camp with the Grizzlies the previous fall, not long after his two-game stint with the Cavs in the 2011/12 season.
It’s not uncommon for reports of interest to emerge about prospects playing in Europe months before they’re eligible to be signed, though it’s not necessarily a signal that teams are planning lucrative offers. It’d be surprising if Kennedy ends up with more than the minimum salary from an NBA team for next season, though there’s plenty of time for him to continue to boost his stock.
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 NBA.com). “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 ESPNDallas.com 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.
Nate Robinson and his agent pushed for the January 13th trade that sent him from from the Nuggets to the Celtics, reports Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Dempsey noted that Robinson wanted more minutes on a different team to help him earn a contract next season. Plus, he was a scorer on a team that needed a playmaker, which is why Denver exchanged him for Jameer Nelson. Robinson was waived by the Celtics Thursday in a buyout deal and is searching for a new team.
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Nelson and the Nuggets had some mutual interest last summer, Dempsey writes in a separate story. The free agent guard briefly considered coming to Denver before signing with the Mavericks. “Obviously the Nuggets had some guards, a lot of guards here,” Nelson said. “They didn’t know how many minutes I would play. So, I just felt like Dallas was the best spot for me.”
- Jazz guard Alec Burks managed to find a bright side to his season-ending shoulder injury, reports Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. For the first time since he was a teenager, Burks’ shoulder will be 100 percent healthy when he returns to basketball next season. Utah is hoping Burks will be ready for the start of training camp in the fall. He signed a four-year $42MM extension in October, with incentives that could push the value as high as $45MM.
- The Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins and Jeremy Lamb would have been the key pieces in a trade for Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, according to Anthony Slater of NewsOK.com. The Nets backed off from the deal, at least for now, but it’s an experience that many players will go through as the February 19th trade deadline draws closer. “They’re human beings, so it’s tough hearing your name in trade talks,” said Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. “But we also know it’s a business. You know what you’re getting into. We got a lot of veteran guys that can help guys get through that.”
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.
The Thunder were reportedly in the mix for Nets center Brook Lopez, both as part of a proposed three-way deal with Brooklyn and Charlotte and in two-way talks with Brooklyn. OKC star Kevin Durant doesn’t necessarily see the need to add Lopez’s offensive talents to the Thunder’s rotation, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman reports (Twitter link). “We put up a lot of points, that’s what we do,” Durant said. “No matter where it comes from, we score a lot. Adding a good player to your team always helps, but I like what we have here. We put up points. That’s not our problem.”
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Any trade for Lopez would almost certainly have to include Kendrick Perkins, a move that would weaken the team this season since he is the Thunder‘s best defender, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Oklahoma City would benefit more from this deal next season, when all of the players would begin the campaign healthy, and the team could aim higher than just sneaking into the seventh or eighth playoff spot, like it hopes to do this year, Tramel opines.
- The Jazz are still undecided as to whether or not they will sign Elliot Williams to a second 10-day contract, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). In three appearances for Utah, Williams has averaged 2.7 points in 8.7 minutes of action per game.
- The arrival of Dion Waiters has cut into the playing time of Reggie Jackson, and it has also increased the uncertainty of his future with the Thunder, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes. Durant, when asked if he felt the need to help Jackson adjust to his new role, said, “We’re all professionals here, man. We know the nature of this game. This is not day care. We’re not babying anybody here. We all know that Reggie is such a good professional he knows that. He knows how to come to work every single day. And he knows that him and Dion are going to have to play together. And Dion knows that. So we’re not spending any of our energy on that type of stuff because this is a professional game. It’s a business at that as well. So, nah, we’re not going to do that.”
The Jazz have signed Elijah Millsap to a second 10-day contract, the team announced. The first one expired Wednesday night. Utah will have to make a decision about whether to keep the 27-year-old for the rest of the season or let him go once his newest deal expires, since NBA teams can only ink any one player to two 10-day deals per season. Still, it would be quite a surprise if the Jazz don’t keep him for the balance of 2014/15, as Jody Genessy of the Deseret News believes (Twitter link).
The Daniel Hazan client saw plenty of action during his first 10 days with Utah, averaging 5.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 24.0 minutes per game across five contests. He’d been playing with the D-League affiliate of the Suns prior to joining the Jazz, and he was with the Bucks during the preseason. The younger brother of former Jazz forward Paul Millsap spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors in September as he embarked on his quest to make an NBA roster.
The signing brings Utah’s roster back to 15 players. Fellow Jazz 10-day signee Elliot Williams is under his contract until the end of Friday.
Jahlil Okafor‘s Duke team is faltering, but the center’s grip on the top spot in the 2015 draft isn’t any looser, as he tops the latest Big Board from Chris Mannix of SI.com and the updated top 100 prospect list from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell is up to No. 4 on Givony’s list, while Mannix has him at No. 8, still a leap from his No. 11 position in Mannix’s last rankings. Russell’s also in the top 10 in the latest Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Power Rankings. Here’s more from around the NBA:
- Kenyon Martin went unsigned this season before he joined the Bucks on a 10-day contract last week, but he admits that his recovery from ankle surgery wouldn’t have allowed him to be ready for training camp this past fall, Newsday’s Al Iannazzone tweets.
- Jazz draft-and-stash prospect Ante Tomic still has aspirations of making the NBA, as he tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter links). FC Barcelona Regal, his Spanish team, holds a team option for next season and “anything is possible,” Tomic said. The 27-year-old center was the 44th overall pick in the 2008 draft.
- Possible bidders for the Nets include former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, investor David Bonderman and hedge fund manager David Einhorn, as Josh Kosman and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post hear, though it’s unclear if any of them are indeed poised to bid. Entertainment mogul David Geffen has been interested in the team in the past, an insider told Robert Windrem of Nets Daily.
- Commissioner Adam Silver envisions four teams in Europe some day, but he admits the league has a long way to go to get there, notes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, who adds that the NBA seems to keep pushing the idea farther into the future.
- Magic coach Jacque Vaughn‘s job security appears to be in doubt, but Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel believes GM Rob Hennigan should be feeling the heat, too.
- Quincy Miller, whom the Clippers nearly signed a 10-day contract, Spurs camp cut JaMychal Green and one-year NBA veteran Seth Curry are among the potential NBA signees to watch at the D-League showcase, which begins today. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports look at those three and others who’ll be angling for NBA jobs.