Utah Jazz Rumors

Nets, Kings Discuss Deron Williams Deal

December 20 at 8:24pm CST By Chuck Myron

8:24pm: Talks aren’t ongoing for now, according to Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal (Twitter link). The Kings made the initial inquiry, according to Raskin and Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game (Twitter link). Still, the discussion is liable to pick back up, since the Nets are listening to all offers, Raskin tweets, adding that Brooklyn considers none of its players untradeable, an assertion that would seem to conflict with the other reports indicating that Plumlee is off-limits. Sources “emphatically” told Tim Bontemps of the New York Post that Plumlee isn’t going anywhere, however.

5:49pm: The Nets and Kings are in trade talks about Deron Williams, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who cautions that no deal is imminent. A source confirms the talks to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, who nonetheless hears that the sides aren’t at all close to a deal that this point (Twitter link). The discussion involves Darren Collison, Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson from Sacramento’s side, according to Wojnarowski. The Kings would like for Mason Plumlee to be a part of any transaction, and that’s a stumbling block from the Nets’ perspective, Wojnarowski adds. Plumlee is virtually untouchable as far as Brooklyn is concerned, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck tweets, and the same is true of Sergey Karasev and Bojan Bogdanovic, as NetsDaily’s Robert Windrem hears (Twitter link). The Kings are high on Collison and hesitant to give him up, but the Nets want to have a point guard to replace Williams should they give him up, as the Yahoo scribe details.

The relationship between Deron Williams and the Nets has chilled over the past two years, and there’s mutual appeal to parting ways, sources tell Wojnarowski. Conversely, Williams and Kings coach Tyrone Corbin have a relationship that’s persisted since their years together in Utah, where Corbin was an assistant coach while Williams played with the Jazz. The Kings are thrilled with Collison so far this season, Wojnarowski writes. Still, they’ve poked around for an upgrade at point guard since signing Collison over the summer, having asked the Timberwolves about Ricky Rubio before Rubio signed his extension with Minnesota in October, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). The Kings maintained interest in Rajon Rondo, though the Celtics’ demands for him were reportedly too high for Sacramento’s liking.

The Nets have had talks about moving Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson of late as they appear ready to make major changes. They also looked into the idea of trading for Lance Stephenson and spoke to Boston about Rondo before he went to the Mavs, according to earlier reports.

Deron Williams’ salary of more than $19.754MM for this season and the two additional years that remain on his contract make him tough to move, especially considering the decline in his performance since he signed the maximum-salary deal as the marquee free agent in the 2012 market. He averaged 20.1 points and 8.7 assists the season before he signed the max contract and is putting up 15.6 PPG and 6.8 APG this season. Those numbers are similar to the 15.6 PPG and 6.1 APG that Collison is putting up for the Kings this year, as Windrem notes (on Twitter). Collison makes about $4.798MM this season, less than Derrick Williams and his salary of more than $6.331MM and Thompson, who’s getting almost $6.038MM.

Western Notes: Suns, Wolves, Bryant, Kanter

December 14 at 9:15pm CST By Chris Crouse

The Suns can blame their lackluster defense for their current four game losing streak, opines Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. New addition Isaiah Thomas feels the team’s mentality is reason for the current slide. “We’re just not bringing it every night, plain and simple,” said Thomas. “I don’t know what it is but we’re not bringing it. We’re not playing with that attitude like,’We need this win.’ That’s got to change or we’re going to dig ourselves a hole.” Even with Phoenix’s current struggles, the team resides in eighth place in the Western Conference with a record of 12-12.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Kings assigned Eric Moreland to the Reno Bighorns of the D-League, according to the RealGM transactions log.  Moreland, who has been yo-yoed a bit this season, was with the Kings for just one day on this latest stint.
  • Although Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders doesn’t agree with Magic Johnson’s plea for the Lakers to lose in order to secure a high draft pick, he understands the benefit to the strategy, writes Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. “I’m never a proponent to just say tank games or lose games. You’re letting players off the hook. Depending on who you have out there, you might not have to worry about it. … I know what Magic is saying, and I’m sure it’s how most people look at it: If you’re not going to be a playoff team, you’re better off getting as high a (draft) pick as you can,” said Saunders during an interview with Rand.  Minnesota currently sits in last place in the Western Conference with a record of 5-17.
  • Kobe Bryant may be on the verge of a huge milestone, being only eight points behind Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer, yet he had bigger plans for the season when he signed his two year $48.5MM extension, writes Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Daily News. Heisler opines that Bryant’s quest for another title is a lost cause due to the team’s current roster and Bryant’s expected retirement at the end of the 2015/16 season. The team certainly thinks this contract will be the last for one of the greatest Lakers of all time. “All indications are to me, from him, that this is going to be it,” GM Mitch Kupchak said. “If somebody’s thinking of buying a ticket three years from now to see Kobe play, I would not do that.”
  • Center Enes Kanter is making huge strides this season for the Jazz, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Kanter, who is set to become a restricted free agent after the season, enjoys playing under first year head coach Quin Snyder.

Western Notes: Edwin, Bjelica, Christopher, Kerr

December 13 at 8:44am CST By Eddie Scarito

Through the first eight games of the D-League season Fuquan Edwin has averaged 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, and according to a representative for Edwin, these numbers are garnering him interest from the NBA, Chris Reichert of Ridiculous Upside writes. Edwin’s representative told Reichert, “Three teams proactively called in the last three days regarding Fuquan, and several others have inquired with preliminary interest.” Edwin was in training camp with the Spurs this year prior to being waived.

Here’s more from out west:

  • Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, whom the Wolves own the draft rights to, could be looking at making the jump to the NBA either next season, or in 2016/17, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune reports (Twitter link). The 2010 second-rounder had inked a deal with the Wasserman Media group back in September.
  • Patrick Christopher, who was recently signed by the Jazz, credits his time overseas for allowing him to pursue his dream of making it to the NBA via the D-League, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “I got some experience over there [Europe]. I was able to put a few coins away and give myself an opportunity,” Christopher said. “Because when you play in the D-League, it’s somewhat of a sacrifice. That’s why you do take that opportunity, and it’s paid off.”
  • Steve Kerr had a difficult task ahead of him in taking over as coach for Mark Jackson, who was very popular with the Warriors‘ players, Marcus Thompson II of The San Jose Mercury News writes. Kerr’s first move upon being hired was to reach out to the team’s star, Stephen Curry, who was one of Jackson’s most fervent supporters, Thompson notes. When asked how Kerr won him over, Curry said, “How he’s handled the whole situation. He understood the fragileness of that whole transition. He was never arrogant, never saying ‘I’m the best coach in the world, and I’ll take you guys to the promise land.'”
  • With Wilson Chandler off to a solid start to the season, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is finding playing time difficult to come by thus far, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. I think he’d [Gallinari] be the first one to say it’s tough for him because he’s used to playing the role that he’s always played,” coach Brian Shaw said. “The guy was out 19 months. He understands that if Wilson wasn’t playing as well as he is playing at that position, then maybe I’d let him out there and try to play through it a little bit more. But Wilson is playing well, and he’s not, so that’s why Wilson is out there.”

And-Ones: McGrady, Draft, Hamilton

December 11 at 4:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The league has been canvassing team executives about the idea of eliminating as much as half of the preseason to make the regular season about 10 days longer, thus building more off days into the schedule, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. Any reduction in the preseason wouldn’t take place until the 2016/17 season at the earliest, according to Lowe, and the league has also brought up the idea of allowing organized team activities during the offseason like
the National Football League does, Lowe writes.

Here’s more from around the NBA and abroad:

  • A recent report from Bleacher Report’s Les Carpenter left some ambiguity about whether Tracy McGrady wanted to return to the NBA, but McGrady confirmed via his verified Facebook account that he no longer wants to play.
  • There will be more than a dozen NBA scouts in Spain tonight to observe Barcelona taking on Fenerbahce, with their primary focus being on Mario Hezonja, a projected lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (Twitter link).
  • Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) has released his second mock draft of the year. Ford projects the top three picks in the 2015 draft to be Jahlil Okafor (Duke), Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky), and Emmanuel Mudiay (Guangdong).
  • The Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League traded for the rights to former NBA player Jordan Hamilton today, the team announced in a press release. In the deal, the Bighorns, the affiliate of the Kings, also acquired the Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ second round pick in the 2015 D-League draft. In return, Reno sent their 2015 first round pick in the D-League draft to the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate. Hamilton spent the 2014 preseason with the Raptors, before being acquired off of waivers by the Jazz, who later waived him themselves. The Lakers had expressed some interest in Hamilton, but declined to sign him after he worked out for the team last month.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Sixers Acquire Andrei Kirilenko

December 11 at 12:42pm CST By Eddie Scarito

NBA: Preseason-Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets

12:40pm: The Sixers also receive cash, as Philadelphia announced in its press release. The 2018 second-rounder that the Sixers would send to Brooklyn if the teams swapped second-round picks that year would be Cleveland’s pick, the Sixers also note.

THURSDAY, 12:28pm: The trade is official, the Nets announced via press release. The Sixers get Kirilenko, Gutierrez, Brooklyn’s 2020 second-round pick and the right to swap 2018 second-rounders. The Nets receive Davies, and Brooklyn’s statement also confirms the creation of a pair of trade exceptions. The statement values them at $3.4MM and $916K, respectively, but it would appear as though they’re actually worth precisely $3,326,235 and $816,482, the equivalents of the salaries for Kirilenko and Gutierrez, respectively. The Nets can use them to trade for players with salaries of up to $100K more than those amounts any time between now and a year from today.

WEDNESDAY, 8:18pm: The Sixers and Nets have agreed to a trade that would send Andrei Kirilenko to Philadelphia, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Also heading to the Sixers is the Nets’ 2020 second round pick, the right to swap second-rounders in 2018, and cash. In return the Nets will receive Brandon Davies. The deal is expected to be finalized on Thursday, and Brooklyn is also likely to send another minor player to the Sixers as well, Wojnarowski notes in a separate tweet. That player might be Jorge Gutierrez, Robert Windrem of NetsDaily reports (Twitter link).

Philadelphia is expected to waive Kirilenko and his guaranteed salary, worth more than $3.3MM. The Nets will save themselves nearly $12MM in salary and tax payments as a result of the deal, not counting Davies’ non-guaranteed salary of $816,482. Brooklyn isn’t planning on waiving him immediately, and will give Davies a look, reports Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter links). The Nets are also working on signing a free agent wing player in addition to this trade, Bondy adds.

The 33-year-old Russian’s future is unclear, since Kirilenko has been dealing with undisclosed family issues that kept him away from the Nets, as well as clouded the trade talk surrounding him since it was unclear if he would be willing and able to report to any team that acquired him. The Jazz have been mentioned as potential suitors, though today’s signing of Patrick Christopher increased Utah’s roster count to the league-maximum fifteen players, which means the team would need to make a roster move to accommodate Kirilenko if it was still interested in his services. Wojnarowski’s article also lists the Cavs and the Clippers as teams that may be interested in signing Kirilenko.

In 12 NBA seasons, Kirilenko has averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. His career slash line is .474/.310/.754. He appeared in just seven games for Brooklyn this season, logging just 0.4 points in 5.1 minutes per contest.

The 23-year-old Davies is in his second season in the NBA after going undrafted out of BYU in 2013. His career numbers are 3.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game. His shooting numbers are .417/.225/.640.

Western Notes: Christopher, D-League, Mavs

December 10 at 9:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

One area that the Jazz are always looking to improve upon is their outside shooting, which is the primary reason that Utah signed Patrick Christopher earlier today, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. “That’s an area we want to continually upgrade at the guards, wings, bigs,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “If you can shoot the ball, there’s a good chance we’re going to take a look at you. He’s [Christopher] someone that [coach Quin Snyder] knew from his overseas experience. There was some familiarity there. He made it to our open gym and mini camp so there was some corporate knowledge. And we notched that he’s been shooting the ball very consistently over the last three years.”

Here’s more from out west:

  • Christopher’s deal with the Jazz is a two-year, non-guaranteed minimum salary arrangement, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The player is scheduled to make $379,010 for this season, and $845,059 during the 2015/16 campaign, Pincus adds.
  • The Thunder have re-assigned Mitch McGary and Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Jerrett’s fourth trip of the season to the D-League, and McGary’s third.
  • Tuesday night’s loss to Memphis exposed the Mavs‘ most glaring weakness, which is a lack of interior depth behind Tyson Chandler, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. While no move to add another big man is imminent, Dallas is considering its options, notes Sefko.
  • If the Wolves change their focus this season from retooling to rebuilding, it would open up permanent playing time for the team’s younger players like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, which could benefit Minnesota’s outlook for next season, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes.

Jazz Sign Patrick Christopher

December 10 at 1:13pm CST By Chuck Myron

1:13pm: The deal is official, the team announced. Utah didn’t cut anyone, so the roster is now at 15 players.

8:52am: The Jazz are set to bring aboard Grizzlies camp cut Patrick Christopher, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Utah has an open roster spot, so no corresponding move is required. It’s unclear just what sort of terms the shooting guard will see on his deal, or whether any salary will be guaranteed, but it’s likely a prorated minimum-salary arrangement, even though the Jazz have the capacity to give more.

Christopher, 26, has been with the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate since shortly after Memphis waived his non-guaranteed NBA contract at the end of the preseason. It was the second straight year that Christopher had signed a deal for camp with an NBA team, though Chicago cut him on just the second day of camp in 2013 after having used his presence on the roster to facilitate the addition of others on Exhibit 9 contracts that limited the team’s liability in case of injury. He spent last season in the D-League, racking up 13.6 points in 33.5 minutes per game on sizzling 44.6% three-point shooting. Christopher has made only 39.0% of his attempts from behind the arc in a limited sample size of seven D-League games this year, but his scoring is up to 15.0 PPG in increased playing time of 36.4 MPG. He was a D-League All-Defensive Second Team selection last year, and before going undrafted in 2010, he was twice an All-Pac-10 First Team selection at the University of California.

The Jazz have only 12 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster. Toure’ Murry, who hasn’t played for Utah yet this season, has already earned more salary than his $250K partial guarantee, so he’s on a de facto non-guaranteed contract. It’s conceivable that the Jazz would let him go to sign Christopher and maintain an open roster spot, though there’s no indication that they’ll actually do so. Joe Ingles has a non-guaranteed pact, but he’s averaging 17.6 minutes per game as part of the Jazz’s rotation.

Nets, Sixers Revisit Andrei Kirilenko Talks

December 9 at 3:47pm CST By Chuck Myron

3:47pm: It could be months before Kirilenko will be prepared to sign a deal with another team should the Nets trade him and the Sixers waive him, Wojnarowski writes in a full story. The Nets would probably receive a player on a non-guaranteed contract if they and the Sixers were to agree to a trade, though that remains a matter of discussion, the Yahoo! Scribe adds. Wojnarowski implies that the Nets are the team that’s making the harder push to complete the deal, though that’s just my interpretation.

2:55pm: The Nets and Sixers are again trying to come to terms on a deal that would send Andrei Kirilenko to Philadelphia, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The Nets would give up a second-round pick as a sweetener, Wojnarowski says in a second tweet, though it’s unclear what Philly would relinquish. The Sixers would waive Kirilenko and his guaranteed salary, worth more than $3.3MM, if they were to acquire him, Wojnarowski adds, mirroring last month’s report from Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com, who originally reported the talks. Such an exchange would save Brooklyn nearly $12MM in salary and tax payments, assuming the Nets don’t take a guaranteed salary back in return, Wojnarowski notes (Twitter link).

A family matter involving Kirilenko’s wife was to have made any deal unlikely until the February trade deadline drew closer, as Wojnarowski reported a little more than a week ago. However, Wojnarowski’s latest dispatch and another recent rumor dredging up talk that the Jazz were in play for the 33-year-old seem to indicate that there’s momentum for a deal to happen soon. The discussions with Philadelphia, which Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com originally reported last month, represent Brooklyn’s only deal in the works at the moment, Wojnarowski adds. That’s in spite of the Jazz rumor and today’s report indicating that the Nets are willing to trade Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.

Talks between the club never truly appeared to cease, as Wojnarowski wrote earlier this month, though it appeared at that point that they no longer involved Sergey Karasev, who was involved in the discussions that Youngmisuk reported in November. Reports have indicated that the Cavs and Clippers also hold interest in Kirilenko. He received limited playing time early in the season and hasn’t appeared in a game since November 13th, though he’s returned to practice with the club after an absence of a few days, apparently to deal with the family issue. He doesn’t join the team for road trips, however. The Nets have reportedly been seeking a defensive-minded wing player for a while, so it’s somewhat odd that they would be anxious to unload Kirilenko, who’s made his mark primarily on the defensive end over the course of his career.

Northwest Notes: Burks, Aldridge, Shaw

December 6 at 4:45pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Jazz guard Alec Burks met with specialists on Friday to have his injured left shoulder examined and the results were positive, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski’s sources, Burks won’t require surgery and will undergo rehab that could allow him to return in as little as two weeks. Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link) has heard differently, and his sources inform him that Burks will definitely require surgery, either now or at the end of the season.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • LaMarcus Aldridge is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and has said that his comfort level with the Blazers organization, the city, and the media, will play a big factor in making his ultimate decision, Jason Quick of The Oregonian writes. “The relationship I’ve built here is invaluable,” Aldridge said. “I definitely value it a lot because it took work on both ends. I’m definitely comfortable here, but this is all I know. I can’t say I would be uncomfortable in those other environments you talk about, but I can say I’m comfortable here, because I’ve been here so long and I understand this market, this city, this organization. So there’s that extra level of comfort here.”
  • Aldridge’s teammates say that his legacy might be a factor in making his free agent decision as well, Quick adds. “We haven’t talked about this stuff, but I’m just speaking if I were him,” Wesley Matthews said. “If I were him, seeing  my name creeping up on the ranks in the all-time lists … that changes stuff. That’s big time. That’s legacy. I don’t know. I can’t speak for him. But that might be a factor, a role.”
  • Brian Shaw‘s 100th game as Nuggets head coach was Tuesday night, and the former player reflected on how the league has changed since he last put on a uniform, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. “Understanding that it’s a different day and age that we live in,” Shaw said. “Some of the things that we have to deal with that weren’t around. For instance, when I played, cell phones, social media, things of that nature that are just different.I tell the guys that when I first got in the league in 1988, we didn’t have cell phones; I don’t even know if we had computers.

Jazz Enter Andrei Kirilenko Trade Picture?

December 5 at 6:24pm CST By Chuck Myron

DECEMBER 5th, 6:24pm: Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link) reports that league sources have informed him that it is “very possible” the Jazz will acquire Kirilenko in exchange for Evans and Murry when the players are eligible to be dealt on December 15th. The Russian forward had returned to the Nets on December 1st after leaving the team to deal with an undisclosed family matter back in New York. This absence clouded the trade talk surrounding Kirilenko, since teams were unsure if he would be willing and able to report to them in the event of a deal.

4:22pm: A source tells the Nets Daily scribe that the Nets and the Jazz haven’t spoken about Kirilenko, and a second source also casts doubt on Stein’s report, Windrem also writes.

NOVEMBER 24th, 8:37am: One of the options in play for the Nets should they opt to trade Andrei Kirilenko would be swapping him to the Jazz for Toure’ Murry and Jeremy Evans, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Such a deal couldn’t take place until December 15th at the earliest, because Murry signed with Utah in the offseason. The Utah possibility advances the notion that the Sixers aren’t the only team in the mix for the 33-year-old Russian-born forward. Reports Friday indicated that preliminary talks had taken place between Brooklyn and Philadelphia, but little progress has taken place in those discussions, according to Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com.

Nets swingman Sergey Karasev was also a part of the conversation involving the Sixers, but Stein didn’t mention him with regard to the Jazz. The Russian ownership of the Nets is enamored with Karasev, who like Kirilenko hails from their country, writes Robert Windrem of Nets Daily. That’s a sentiment apparently shared by others around the league, as an NBA front office source suggested to Lynam that the Nets would probably be able receive a future first-round pick for Karasev, while another told her that Brooklyn was more likely to merit two future second-rounders for him. The Nets are on the lookout for draft picks and are unlikely to relinquish the ones they already have, particularly their first-round picks, according to Windrem, and teams are offering picks for Kirilenko, Windrem writes in a separate piece. The Cavs are reportedly sniffing around Kirilenko, but it’s not clear if they’re among those putting picks on the table.

Murry has been on D-League assignment since November 13th, averaging 14.5 points in 30.3 minutes per game for the Idaho Stampede. The second-year guard has yet to play in a game for Utah after spending last season with the Knicks and signing with the Jazz in the offseason for two years and $2MM, with only $250K of this year’s $1MM guaranteed. Evans, a combo forward, is in his fifth NBA season, all of which have been with the Jazz, and he has seen just 13 minutes of action across five appearances for Utah so far this year. He’s making nearly $1.795MM in fully guaranteed salary in the final season of a three-year contract.

Kirilenko makes more than $3.326MM in fully guaranteed salary this season on an expiring deal, so the structure of the possible Utah swap would be a money-saver for the Nets in raw salary as well as luxury tax. He makes about $531K more than Murry and Evans combined, and the Nets could save more if they cut Murry after they traded for him. Murry will have earned more than his $250K partial guarantee by December 15th, but the Nets could still save about $712K of his $1MM salary. Brooklyn would have to drop a player to accommodate such a deal with Utah, since they’re at the 15-man roster limit, as our roster counts show. It’s unclear if the Jazz, Kirilenko’s original team, would waive him after acquiring him as the Sixers would reportedly be likely to do.