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Utah Jazz

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/9/16

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

10:30pm:

  • The Nuggets assigned guard Malik Beasley to the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA D-League, the team announced via press release. The rookie has appeared in in nine games this season for Denver, averaging 2.9 points in 6.0 minutes per outing.
  • The Hawks confirmed via press release that Scott was recalled from Delaware. The forward was there on a rehab assignment as he continues to make his way back from a knee injury.

1:26pm:

  • The Nets have assigned Chris McCullough to their D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, according to a team press release. McCullough is averaging 19.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for Long Island this season.
  • The Bulls have assigned Jerian Grant, R.J. Hunter and Paul Zipser to the Windy City Bulls, according to a team press release.
  • The Hawks have recalled Mike Scott from the D-League, Chris Vivlamore of Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Atlanta doesn’t have its own affiliate, so Scott played his two games for the Delaware 87ers, the affiliate of the Sixers.
  • The Jazz have assigned Joel Bolomboy to their D-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the team’s website. This will be Bolomboy’s third assignment of the season.
  • The Lakers have recalled Ivica Zubac from the Los Angeles D-Fenders, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link).

Community Shootaround: Jazz Extension Candidates

Most NBA teams don’t even have one viable candidate for an in-season veteran extension on their rosters, but the Jazz, armed with the cap space necessary to renegotiate a deal and provide an immediate raise, have two realistic candidates for a new deal. George Hill and Derrick Favors were two of the five players we identified last month when we listed some veteran extension candidates worth watching.

The Jazz have until the end of February to work out an extension with Hill or Favors that gives them a raise for the 2016/17 season, and a few months later, the team’s extension window for two more key players will open. Starting on July 1, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum will be able to negotiate new contracts with the Jazz, as they enter the final year of their respective rookie deals.

The Jazz are currently sitting below the salary floor for 2016/17 and have more than $13MM in cap room at their disposal, but their favorable cap situation won’t last forever. Rudy Gobert‘s lucrative new extension takes effect in 2017/18, as his salary will jump by more than $19MM. Gordon Hayward is also on track to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and if Utah hopes to re-sign him, it will likely take a max deal, or something close to it.

With the salary cap projected to easily exceed $100MM for the first time in 2017/18, the Jazz will still have some flexibility to accommodate a couple more big-money deals, but the team may have to be selective about which of its extension candidates it locks up. Kincade Upstill of The Deseret News explored this subject earlier in the week, suggesting that an extension next year for Hood should be a “no-brainer.”

Upstill also likes the idea of keeping Hill in the fold, but writes that patience may be required for Favors and Exum. Both players are under contract through 2018, so it may make sense for the Jazz to wait for Favors and Exum to reach free agency rather than trying to extend them early. That’s especially true for Exum, who was selected fifth overall in 2014, but missed all of last season with an ACL injury and has yet to take a major step forward in his development.

What do you think? Which of Utah’s extension candidates should the team prioritize? Does it make sense to extend Hill or Favors during the 2016/17 season? Should Hood or Exum be locked up next offseason? Should the Jazz be willing to let some of those players walk? Jump into the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

Hill Finds A New Home In Utah

  • The Pacers thought they needed to unload George Hill to switch to an up-tempo style, and the Jazz were happy to take him, writes Nate Taylor of The USA Today Network. Hill has brought stability to the point guard position in Utah, while providing the Jazz with an upgrade in ballhandling and defense. “I knew he was a good defensive player, a team player, an unselfish guy,” said teammate Rudy Gobert. “I thought that was great for our team. A guy that’s tough and unselfish and can shoot the ball and create. He can do a lot of things. I knew he was a very good player.”

Hayward/Hill Combo Has Been Effective For Jazz

  • As Jody Genessy of The Deseret News details, the Jazz have been a much better team this season when George Hill and Gordon Hayward are playing together than when at least one of the two players are out of action. Utah will have to try to figure out a way to keep the duo together long-term, since both players are eligible to reach free agency in 2017.

Injuries Slowing Down Jazz

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/22/16

Here are Tuesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Sixers have recalled Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot from the D-League, according to a press release issued by the club. The first-round rookie helped the Delaware 87ers get past the Greensboro Swarm on Monday, contributing 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals.
  • After sending him to the Salt Lake City Stars on Monday, the Jazz have recalled forward Joel Bolomboy from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Bolomboy scored nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Oklahoma City Blue on Monday.
  • The Nets have sent Chris McCullough back to the D-League, the team announced today. McCullough will get a chance to play for the Long Island Nets on Wednesday afternoon, then should be recalled to Brooklyn for the team’s Wednesday night game.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/21/16

Here are Monday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

6:00pm

  • The Celtics assigned guard Demetrius Jackson to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. The 22-year-old has made just three appearances for Boston this season and is averaging 3.3 points and 1.0 rebound in 5.0 minutes per outing.
  • The Sixers announced that they have assigned swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Delaware 87ers, their D-League affiliate.
  • Forward Danuel House was recalled by the Wizards from Delaware, where he was sent via the league’s flexible assignment rule, the team announced.

12:27pm

  • The Rockets have recalled rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team announced today (via Twitter). As Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets, the duo likely won’t see any game action for Houston, but the Rockets’ D-League affiliate doesn’t play until Saturday, so it made sense to have them rejoin the NBA club.
  • Rakeem Christmas has been recalled from the D-League, the Pacers announced today in a press release. Myles Turner and Kevin Seraphin are battling injuries, so Christmas could see some minutes for Indiana tonight against Golden State.
  • The Jazz have assigned rookie forward Joel Bolomboy to the D-League, according to a team release. Bolomboy will suit up for the Salt Lake City Stars tonight in their game against the Oklahoma City Blue.
  • Damian Jones has been assigned to Santa Cruz by the Warriors, according to Anthony Slater of The Bay Area News Group, who writes that the rookie center will continue his injury rehab in the D-League as he works toward his NBA debut.
  • The Kings have sent first-round rookie Georgios Papagiannis back to the Reno Bighorns, tweets James Ham of CSNBayArea.com. Papagiannis has averaged 10.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.3 BPG in three D-League contests so far this year.

NBA 2016/17 Dead Money: Northwest Division

The concept of “dead money” on a salary cap isn’t as common in the NBA as it is in the NFL, but it essentially functions the same way in both leagues. Dead money refers to the salary remaining on a team’s cap for players that are no longer on the roster.

For NFL teams, taking on a certain amount of dead money is a common practice, since signing bonuses affect cap hits differently, and big-money players are more likely to be released before playing out their entire contracts. That practice is less common in the NBA.

Still, with the NBA’s salary cap on the rise, teams may be a little more willing to part ways with players on guaranteed salaries, since that increased cap gives clubs more flexibility than they used to have. Within the last month, we’ve seen players like Ronnie Price and Greivis Vasquez, who each had $4-5MM in guaranteed money left on their contracts, waived in order to clear room for newcomers.

We’ve examined each of the NBA’s 30 teams, breaking them down by division, determining which teams are carrying the most dead money on the cap for 2016/17, and assessing what that might tell us about those teams. We’ve already examined the Central, Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific divisions. Today, we’ll turn our attention to the Northwest division to wrap things up.

Here are the 2016/17 dead money figures for the Northwest teams:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Total dead money: $9,360,305
Full salary cap breakdown

Only two NBA teams – the Sixers and Nets – are currently carrying more dead money on their 2016/17 salary cap than the Timberwolves. And like those other clubs, Minnesota remains below the salary floor, so those dead-money charges aren’t hurting the team too much. Kevin Garnett ($8MM) is responsible for most of the Wolves’ dead money, and if he had made his retirement decision earlier, the club could have stretched his cap hit across three years. Still, Minnesota may have chosen to apply the entire amount to this season’s cap anyway, since the club has excess cap room at the moment and won’t have to worry about KG’s charges after June. The rest of the Wolves’ 2016/17 dead money comes from Kevin Martin ($1.36MM).

2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Total dead money: $4,358,585
Full salary cap breakdown

The Thunder’s management of their cap has been interesting, as the team has been willing to waive players with guaranteed salaries, like Ronnie Price ($2.558MM) and Mitch McGary ($1.526MM). Oklahoma City was also fairly generous with its partial guarantees for camp invitees, such as Chris Wright ($100K), Kaleb Tarczewski ($75K), Alex Caruso ($50K), and Reggie Williams ($50K).

So it was a little surprising when the Thunder essentially dumped Ersan Ilyasova‘s $8.4MM salary in a trade with the Sixers earlier this month, opening up cap room and reducing their year-end salary bill, at the cost of a future conditional first-round pick. Perhaps Philadelphia simply coveted Ilyasova, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the Thunder the rest of the way to see if they do anything with that newfound cap room.

3. Portland Trail Blazers
Total dead money: $1,984,005
Full salary cap breakdown

Anderson Varejao‘s $1.984MM cap hit is the only dead money on the Trail Blazers’ books, and that contract was one worth taking on, since it landed Portland a future first-round pick. Still, the Blazers will likely do everything they can to avoid eating more salary this season. As it stands, the club is less than $500K from the tax line, so even replacing one minimum salary player with another could have major financial implications for the team.

4. Denver Nuggets
Total dead money: $1,380,431
Full salary cap breakdown

The Nuggets have several players contributing dead-money charges to their cap, ranging from Nick Johnson ($980K) to camp invitees like D.J. Kennedy ($50K) and Nate Wolters ($50K). Most recently, Denver waived Jarnell Stokes, who had a $150K guarantee, and the team likely won’t hesitate to continue rolling over its roster and eating salary if necessary — with only about $75MM in total salary on their books for 2016/17, the Nuggets currently sit well below the salary floor.

5. Utah Jazz
Total dead money: $275,000
Full salary cap breakdown

The Jazz have kept a very clean cap sheet for 2016/17, with their only dead-money charges coming in the form of partial guarantees for camp invitees — Marcus Paige ($125K), Quincy Ford ($75K), and Henry Sims ($75K). As a result, the team is more than $13MM under the cap, which come in handy, since George Hill and Derrick Favors are both eligible for extensions. With the ability to give either player a significant raise for ’16/17, the Jazz have a great opportunity to lock up one of those two players and keep them off the market, if they so choose.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Jazz Prioritizing Extension For Hill Over Favors?

Veteran contract extensions are rare, but when a team has cap room available to renegotiate a contract and give a player an immediate raise, they become much more viable. The Jazz are one team with the flexibility necessary to give an extension-eligible veteran a significant raise for 2016/17, and Utah has two candidates: Derrick Favors and George Hill. While Favors has been viewed as the more likely candidate to be extended this season, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Hill is believed to have emerged as the Jazz’s priority.

[RELATED: Five veteran extension candidates to watch]

Hill, acquired by the Jazz in a three-way trade with the Pacers and Hawks during the offseason, has only appeared in seven regular-season games for Utah so far, having been slowed by a right thumb injury. However, he has looked excellent in those seven games, averaging career highs in PPG (20.4), FG% (.541), 3PT% (.432), and several other categories.

According to Stein, the Jazz like Hill’s leadership qualities — the former Pacers point guard has more playoff experience than most of the other players on the team’s roster. The ESPN scribe also observes that, after locking up Rudy Gobert to a four-year extension last month, the Jazz may be focused on securing a key backcourt piece, rather than extending another big man like Favors. Additionally, Hill is in the final year of his deal, while Favors is under contract through 2017/18.

As our salary cap breakdown for the Jazz shows, Utah has in excess of $13MM in cap space available for 2016/17. The team could use that cap room to bump Hill’s $8MM salary up over $20MM, while tacking on additional years to his contract. While that may seem like an exorbitant price for the 30-year-old, he’s poised to be one of the best available point guards on the market next summer, particularly if Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, and Kyle Lowry all stay with their current teams, as is currently expected. A big year for Hill in 2016/17 would put him in line for a huge payday if the Jazz don’t extend him before then.

Teams can renegotiate veteran contracts up until February 28, so the Jazz have plenty of time to mull their decision. With Hill and Favors both dealing with injuries early in the season, it would be a surprise if the team rushed into a new agreement with either player. Of course, Utah could ultimately retain both players, but probably doesn’t have the cap flexibility to do more than one in-season extension.

Favors To Miss Time With Knee Injury

  • Jazz power forward Derrick Favors will be sidelined “for a while,” coach Quin Snyder told Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). Favors was diagnosed with a bone contusion in his left knee on Wednesday. Trey Lyles will likely take Favors’ starting spot while he mends.

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