Utah Jazz

Northwest Notes: Garnett, Towns, Waiters, Kanter

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge admits he was careful about the sort of young players he brought around Kevin Garnett, who “could be intimidating — and destructive — if the player didn’t respond in the right way,” he tells Jackie MacMullan of ESPN The Magazine. That’s evidence that Minnesota’s plan to use Garnett as a mentor for its host of young players isn’t foolproof, but the intense Garnett and No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns have taken to one another, and Garnett has accepted his purpose as a team leader, even giving Towns uncharacteristic advice to ease up at times, as MacMullan details. The edginess that Garnett brings to the Timberwolves has been a positive, GM Milt Newton tells MacMullan, and the late Flip Saunders cited Garnett’s ability to work well under Sam Mitchell when Saunders reacquired Garnett for Minnesota last season, MacMullan notes. See more on the Wolves and other Northwest Division teams:

  • Jahlil Okafor outplayed Towns this week in a matchup of two of the top three picks, but the Timberwolves still chose wisely when they went with the former Kentucky big man, opines Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune“It was an off-game for Karl,” Mitchell said, “but you look at the other 11, 12 games that Karl has played, he’s been unbelievable.”
  • Kevin Durant lifts the performances of many around him, but that’s especially so with Thunder teammate Dion Waiters, notes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Both are set to become free agents at season’s end, and Waiters has denied rumors that he wants to jump to the Sixers to play in his hometown of Philadelphia, a most unlikely destination for Durant.
  • Enes Kanter elicited questions about his maturity from some executives around the league in the wake of pithy comments he made about the Jazz after they fulfilled his request for a trade last season, but the Thunder big man is contrite these days, The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater observes. “I think that I was a little, you know, harsh,” Kanter said. “But I just want to clear, I have no problem with the players or the fans. I respect the guys and they helped me a lot with my career. They helped me a lot in my first three and a half years.”

2015/16 Salary Cap: Utah Jazz

The NBA’s salary cap for 2015/16 has been set at $70MM, which is an 11% increase from this past season, and the luxury tax line will be $84.74MM. The last cap projection from the league had been $67.1MM, and the projection for the tax line had been $81.6MM.

With the October 26th cutoff date to set regular season rosters now past, we at Hoops Rumors are in the process of running down the current salary cap commitments for each NBA franchise for the 2015/16 campaign. Here’s the cap breakdown for the Utah Jazz, whose regular season roster can be viewed here:

  • 2015/16 Salary Cap= $70,000,000
  • 2015/16 Luxury Tax Line= $84,740,000
  • Fully Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $59,745,410
  • Partially Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $417,322*
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $2,573,683
  • Total Salary Cap Commitments= $62,736,415
  • Remaining Cap Room= $7,263,585
  • Amount Below Luxury Tax Line= $21,901,368

*Note: This amount includes the $75,000 owed to J.J. O’Brien, the $947,276 owed Grant Jerrett, the $75,000 due Treveon Graham, the $50,000 owed to E.J. Singler, as well as the $11,144 paid to Phil Pressey and the $6,178 paid out to Eric Atkins, all of who were waived by the team.

Cap Exceptions Available:

  • Room Exception= $2,814,000

Cash Available to Send Out In Trades= $3,400,000

Cash Available to Receive Via Trade= $3,400,000

Last update: 11/24/15 @ 9:00pm

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Mavericks Rumors: Cuban, Ex-Jazz, Iguodala

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expects the soaring salary cap to bring significant changes to the league next season, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. In a wide-ranging interview, Cuban touched on the planning implications that come with an increased cap. “It’s going to change a lot,” Cuban said. “More from a strategy perspective, it makes the value of draft choices go through the roof because they’re pegged at a certain price. Minimum contracts will go through the roof. Anybody that signs for the mid-level, the value goes through the roof.” He added that it will be more difficult for teams to assemble multiple stars when they’re each making more than $30MM per season.

Cuban also addressed this week’s firing of Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who guided the team to the Western Conference Finals last season, but stumbled to a 4-7 start. “So I’ve said it before, the hardest thing for an NBA owner to do is hire a coach,” Cuban said. “The easiest thing to do is fire a coach. The reason it’s hard to hire a coach, coaches are great at date-face, they know exactly what your weaknesses are and they know exactly how to sell to those weaknesses, so it’s really difficult to pick it right and it’s 90% luck.”

There’s more news out of Dallas:

  • After adding Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and Jeremy Evans over the summer, the Mavericks are taking on the look of the old Jazz teams, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. Devin Harris is the fourth former Utah player on the roster, which Evans said helped to ease the transition when he signed with Dallas. “We always have something we can talk about — when we were in Utah, the times that we were together, the teammates there and what happened that year,” Evans said. “We know those guys and have fun here.”
  • Cuban insists the team was “20 minutes away” from acquiring Andre Iguodala from the Sixers in 2012, tweets Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Instead, Philadelphia traded Iguodala to the Nuggets.
  • The Mavericks have recalled Justin Anderson and Salah Mejri from the D-League, the team announced today. Anderson, a 6’6″ guard, is averaging 3.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10 games with Dallas, while Mejri, a 7’2″ center, hasn’t scored and has five rebounds in four games.

Northwest Notes: Durant, Westbrook, Burks, Towns

Kevin Durant describes his friendship with Russell Westbrook as “really tight,” and it came into focus Thursday, when Durant chose Westbrook to present him for induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater details. The bond between the Thunder teammates looms large, with Durant poised to hit free agency this summer and Westbrook to follow in 2017.

“There’s times where we go at it,” Durant said about Westbrook in a Q&A with Slater. “There’s times I don’t like what he’s doing out on the court, there’s times where he hates what I’m doing out on the court. There’s times where it’s Russ, you gotta control your attitude or KD, you gotta stop, you gotta speak up, whatever. There’s times we cuss each other out, but that’s a part of being brothers. Because I know if I need something, he’ll be there and if I need to talk to someone outside of basketball, he’ll be there. It’s a real brotherhood type relationship. We’re like family.”

Durant also makes note of the continued relationship that he and Westbrook have with former Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who’s on a one-year deal with the Pelicans, as Slater relays.

  • Alec Burks is playing at a more controlled pace and making better on-court judgments, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, and that’s helped him come back better from the shoulder injury that prematurely ended last season than he was before it, as Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune examines. Much of his improvement is in the details, the coach also asserts, according to Falk. “There are a lot of little things, habits that are hard. Literally, which foot do you want forward? … All those things that maybe you don’t see add up,” Snyder said.
  • Jazz draft-and-stash signee Raul Neto isn’t quite seeing starter’s minutes, but he’s in the starting lineup and impressing Snyder, as Falk details in a separate piece“I think he’s handled it great,” Snyder said. “If you look at a lot of international players, and particularly the guards, there’s an adjustment period. I think he’s way ahead of that.”
  • The Timberwolves have a long way to go, and the front office surely knows it, but the defensive play of their starting lineup has been top-notch and No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns is showing offensive versatility with his shooting and post-up game, observes Evans Clinchy of Hardwood Paroxysm.

The Beat: Tony Jones On The Jazz


Tony Jones

Nobody knows NBA teams better than beat writers, save for those who draw paychecks with an NBA owner’s signature on them. The reporters who are with the teams they cover every day gain an intimate knowledge of the players, coaches and executives they write about and develop sources who help them break news and stay on top of rumors.

We at Hoops Rumors will be chatting with beat writers from around the league and sharing their responses to give you a better perspective on how and why teams make some of their most significant moves. Last time, we spoke with Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times about the Clippers. Click here to see all the previous editions of this series.

Today, we gain insight on the Jazz from Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @Tjonessltrib, and check out his stories right here.

Hoops Rumors: Just how good is Rudy Gobert? How valuable is he to the Jazz?

Tony Jones: He’s quite valuable. You know, the Jazz are a team that, if they miss one of their top four players for an extended player of time, it’s going to affect them greatly. So, if [Rodney] Hood goes out, or if Gobert goes out, or if [Derrick] Favors goes out, or if [Gordon] Hayward goes out, they’re going to be adversely affected by it. With that being said, I mean Gobert is, he’s very, very good, and he’s very valuable. He’s a great rim protector, but he’s really a great team defender. He’s a lot more than a rim protector. He’s a deterrent in the lane, he plays pick-and-roll coverages really well. He’s communicative in the back of the defense. So, he really does a lot. He’s just a lot more than somebody who blocks shots. I think that he’s very good. I actually think that he has a chance to be a generational-type defender, somebody like [Dikembe] Mutombo. So, he’s going to get better, and he’s going to continue to get better. He’s really young, but he’s certainly on his way.

Hoops Rumors: Did the Jazz know what they had in Gobert before the Kanter trade, or did they find out along with the rest of the league down the stretch last season?
Tony Jones: During the predraft workouts, they worked Gobert out, and Jerry Sloan just absolutely was blown away by him, blown away by his competitiveness. And that’s why they made the trade for him. Especially because they were able to buy the pick, basically, from the Denver Nuggets for a couple of million [dollars, plus the rights to Erick Green]. That being said, even though they really, really liked him, nobody knew what he was going to be. The rest of the NBA didn’t know, nobody who analyzed the draft. There was no projection that had him a Defensive Player of the Year-type player by year three. Nobody. And anybody who said they had that is probably not being truthful about it. The competitiveness that the Jazz really loved about him, he’s really taken that to the next level, and he’s turned out to be a real worker. So, he works on his game, he works on his craft, and he cares about the stuff, and he really likes basketball. That the big thing for a big like him. He really likes to play. So, he’s been a self-made player. You also have to give a lot of credit to Utah’s player development staff for what they’ve done to him. His improvement from year one to year two, I don’t think anybody could have projected that.
Hoops Rumors: Alec Burks and Rodney Hood look much improved this season. They’re both shooting guards, so can they co-exist on the floor?
Tony Jones: They have co-existed. With Dante Exum out, one of the things that Quin Snyder has done is played all three of his wing guys together, which is Rodney Hood, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward. He’s played all those guys together, and they co-exist because they can all handle the ball and they all do different things. Hayward gives you a little bit of everything. Burks is really good at getting to the basket and playing pick-and-roll basketball, and Hood is a lot more cerebral than the first two. So, the short answer is yes, they can and they have been co-existing on the floor. And because Exum’s been out and that’s created the void at the point guard spot, that’s created room for Snyder to get all three of those guys minutes, because all three of those guys are starters in the NBA. It’s been good for Snyder to be able to get all those guys time and on the same floor.
Hoops Rumors: How well have the Jazz played during these stretches when they don’t have a point guard out there, and do you think they’re content to keep it this way rather than trade for an Exum replacement?
Tony Jones: The three-wing alignment plus Derrick Favors plus Rudy Gobert, statistically, has been by far their best five, and it’s not even close in terms of the net rating. All those guys are just long and athletic, and the one thing it allows Snyder to do is switch everything defensively, so that’s a big net gain for them. As long as the three wings can co-exist with each other, it’s going to allow the Jazz to tread water at the point guard spot waiting for Dante Exum to get back. The other thing that hasn’t really been talked about is how good Trey Burke has been this year. He’s been a guy that found his role. He’s not a starter at the NBA level, but he looks like he’s a guy that can be very effective as a backup who can come off the bench and just be a scorer for 20 or 25 minutes a night. I think that he’s having a career year in terms of his shooting splits, and he’s just looked really effective this year as opposed to his first two seasons. He’s looked more comfortable.
Hoops Rumors: With Favors already entrenched at power forward, where does Trey Lyles fit on this team for the long term?
Tony Jones: They ideally want him to be the stretch playmaking power forward that Snyder’s wanted in the offense. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Trevor Booker‘s ahead of him on the depth chart. Booker’s in his contract year, so it’ll be interesting to see if they bring Booker back next season. If they don’t, then Lyles becomes the third big man, and the thing about Lyles is, he can play a couple of positions. The Jazz have played him at power forward, and they’ve played him at center in small-ball alignments so far, but he needs some development. He needs some time. He needs time to adjust to the NBA game. I don’t think that he’s completely ready yet to be rotational, but he’s a guy that has an intriguing skill set, because he can face up, he can make plays, he can handle the ball, he can pass the ball, he can shoot the ball out to three. He can do a lot of things. He’s just got to get a lot stronger. The NBA is a man’s game, and you can see the strength disparity that he needs to make up, not only this year but in the offseason.
Hoops Rumors: The Jazz have three guys with non-guaranteed contracts: Chris Johnson, Elijah Millsap and Jeff Withey. Which of them has made the best case to stick around?
Tony Jones: I think all of them have had their moments. I wouldn’t say of any of them have made the best case, per se, to stick around. Nobody’s really blown anybody away or anything like that, but they’ve all had their moments. Johnson is a shooter, and Snyder likes that. Millsap is a guy that will really get after you defensively for 10 minutes a night, and Snyder likes that. Withey is a guy who’s a rim protector. I don’t think you can ever have too many bigs at the NBA level. One thing is that they give the Jazz some flexibility, their contracts, and they’re all really good locker room guys. You can be in the locker room and not hear their voices for two weeks, because they’re just quiet guys, businesslike guys that go about what they do professionally. So, they’re good guys to have in the locker room if you need specialty guys on the floor, and they’re definitely good guys off the court and in the locker room.

Timberwolves Rumors: LaVine, Rubio, Muhammad

It’s no coincidence that the Timberwolves are giving Zach LaVine minutes at point guard after going back on their decision to make him the starting shooting guard, since Ricky Rubio would become a trade chip if LaVine proves capable running the point, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Rubio and LaVine have played just 10 minutes together so far this season, with Lowe calling it “beyond dumb” that they haven’t shared the floor for more time and Rubio making it clear he’d like to play more often with LaVine. Both Rubio and GM Milt Newton expressed to Lowe that they hope Rubio is the long-term answer at the point, “but he has to stay healthy,” Newton said. Regardless, Newton isn’t in a hurry to make any deals.

“We are cognizant about not rushing it,” Newton said to Lowe. “We don’t want to be a flash in the pan. We don’t want to disrupt our young core. If we do something, it has to be the kind of deal where the majority of that young core is still here, but you get a veteran who is not that old — and can grow with the group.”

See more on the Timberwolves:

  • LaVine has shown flashes of brilliance and moments of struggle alike at point guard this season, but his play is making it increasingly apparent that he deserves time at one position or another, as Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune examines. “I love him,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said Sunday before Minnesota’s game against Memphis. “I’m a big LaVine fan. I think he can really score the basketball. He’s tough to guard. I think he’s still trying to figure out where he is in the league, learn his teammates, where he can go and when it’s not a good time to go. When he learns that? He’ll be a very potent scorer.”
  • Opposing front office personnel were initially dismissive of the late Flip Saunders‘ decision to sign so many veteran mentors this summer, but some of them have warmed to the notion that re-signing Kevin Garnett and adding Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince was shrewd, Lowe writes in the same piece.
  • The Timberwolves almost chose Giannis Antetokounmpo over Shabazz Muhammad in the 2013 draft, several sources tell Lowe. The Jazz officially drafted Muhammad, but they had already agreed to trade the pick to Minnesota by the time they went on the clock, so evidently the Timberwolves were telling the Jazz whom to take, as is often the case behind the scenes with draft-night deals.
  • If Steve Kaplan, the Grizzlies minority owner who’s reportedly in talks to buy a share of the Timberwolves, were to purchase a controlling interest in the Wolves at some point, he’d probably include Garnett in the ownership group, Lowe hears from sources.
  • Sean Kilpatrick, who was with the Timberwolves on a 10-day contract this past spring, has re-signed with the D-League affiliate of the Sixers, the team with which he ended last season, the D-League club announced.

Jack Cooley Signs With Jazz D-League Team

Former Jazz big man Jack Cooley has rejoined the team’s D-League affiliate, the farm club announced (hat tip to Adam Johnson of D-League Digest). The Jazz have held his D-League rights since last season, when they allocated him to their D-League team as an affiliate player. The 24-year-old from Notre Dame was last on an NBA roster with the Cavaliers, who picked him up during the preseason in part to offset the holdout of Tristan Thompson, but Thompson re-signed shortly before opening night, prompting Cleveland to waive Cooley.

The one-year NBA veteran is still eligible to sign with any NBA team. The Jazz originally brought him onto their NBA roster in the summer of 2014, a year after he’d gone undrafted out of Notre Dame. They cut him after camp, but after he averaged 16.8 points and 12.5 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game for the D-League Idaho Stampede, they brought him back after the All-Star break on a pair of 10-day contracts and ultimately a deal that covered the rest of 2014/15, with a non-guaranteed 2015/16 tacked on. Utah cut him during the preseason for a second straight autumn this year before he wound up with the Cavs.

The Jazz have a full NBA roster for now, and so does Cleveland, though both teams have players without fully guaranteed contracts, so they have flexibility if they decide to give Cooley another shot. Teams are allowed to start signing players to 10-day contracts again on January 5th.

Do you think we’ll see Cooley with an NBA team this year? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Northwest Notes: Durant, Barton, Ingles

Kevin Durant feels uncomfortable with the attention his upcoming free agency is generating, but the volume of the talk about it figures to go up a few notches in the next couple of days with the Thunder‘s annual visit to Washington for a game against the Wizards coming Tuesday, as USA Today’s Sam Amick examines. The former MVP wasn’t a fan of what the Wizards did in January the last time Oklahoma City went to Washington, when they showed a photo of Durant on scoreboard with a Wizards jersey edited onto his chest, among other homages to the D.C. native, as Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports relays:

“It was crazy. It was crazy,” Durant said. “It was kind of disrespectful in my opinion, because you’ve got a great team there already, that deserves your full, 100% support. And I wouldn’t like that if I was on that team. And I didn’t like that. But it comes with nowadays. It’s a part of it.

Durant said he’s learning to embrace the hoopla, as Amick notes, and that could be key as the season goes on and the noise grows louder. Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is a fan of Will Barton‘s versatility and motor, traits that are paying dividends for the team, observes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Barton re-signed with the Nuggets this summer on three-year, $10.6MM deal after originally having joined the team via the Arron Afflalo trade“I’m starting fresh,” Barton said, according to Dempsey. “And they embraced me when I came here in the trade. So it was like I wanted to come back and get a full year under my belt and show the fans really, really what I can do. I think I teased them last year and it’s just a great feeling, a great vibe from the front office to the players. Everybody wanted me back. So it was just like ‘Let’s get it done.'”
  • Versatility is also helping Joe Ingles impress Jazz coach Quin Snyder, notes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Snyder wants him to improve defensively, but he’s otherwise pleased with the 28-year-old who re-signed on a two-year, $4.5MM deal in the offseason.
  • The Thunder carried an underlying anxiety during their three-game losing streak, with a new coach, new players and Durant’s free agency in their thoughts, but a win Sunday that highlighted their deep bench showed what can happen if Billy Donovan continues to experiment, observes Royce Young of ESPN.com.

Atlantic Notes: Fredette, Saric, Prokhorov, Celtics

Jimmer Fredette is working with Knicks D-League GM Allan Houston on shooting and the triangle offense, but he said he hasn’t heard from Knicks team president Phil Jackson or coach Derek Fisher, observes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Fredette downplays the notion that he’s gunning for the team’s open NBA roster spot, though he acknowledges that roster construction plays into his decision-making, as Zagoria relays. It wasn’t a certainty that Fredette would join the Westchester Knicks when he signed with the D-League, but when the Jazz affiliate took Jeff Ayres No. 2 in Saturday’s D-League draft, Westchester was free to pounce on Fredette with pick No. 2, a move that was apparently designed chiefly to draw fans. See more from around the Atlantic Division:
  • Draft-and-stash prospect Dario Saric wished he could have joined the Sixers this past offseason and confirmed to the Croatian outlet Vecernji list that he intends to sign with Philadelphia when his overseas contract allows him to this coming summer (translation via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com). Saric, the 12th pick of the 2014 draft, added that he’s in constant communication with Sixers officials.
  • The NBA blocked Mikhail Prokhorov’s plan to borrow money against his share of the Nets to purchase the minority portion that Bruce Ratner owns because it would give the team more than $250MM in debt, sources told Josh Kosman and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. NBA teams can’t borrow more than that amount without a waiver. So, Prokhorov and Ratner are attempting to restructure the deal that would give Prokhorov 100% of the team, the Post scribes write, and it’s still on track to be complete by year’s end, a league source tells NetsDaily.
  • The Celtics recalled Jordan Mickey and James Young from the D-League, the team announced. They received some extra practice reps while with the farm team after the C’s assigned them Tuesday. Keep tabs on all this year’s D-League assignments and recalls with our tracker, which we’ll be updating throughout the season.

Heat, Grizzlies Talk Mario Chalmers Trade

9:58pm: Chalmers said that he was unaware of any trade rumors regarding himself until he arrived at the arena for tonight’s game against the Hawks, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel writes. “It definitely surprised me,” Chalmers said of the rumors. “But I also know it’s a business. I didn’t know anything until I got here today.

4:15pm: Some, presumably around the Grizzlies, have quietly expressed disappointment with what they see as Udrih’s lack of conditioning, athleticism and defense, according to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. The team’s general belief is that Smith isn’t yet ready to assume Udrih’s place in the rotation, Tillery adds.

2:44pm: Sources who spoke with Stein raised the possibility that Udrih could be included in a would-be deal, as Stein writes in a full story. The Grizzlies would have to give up another player to take in Chalmers, however, since Udrih only makes slighly more than $2.17MM this season, as Stein alludes to. The Grizzlies could only absorb 150% plus $100K of the salary they gave up.

2:00pm: The Jazz attempted to trade for Chalmers over the offseason, but the Heat didn’t take them up on it, a source recently told Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (Twitter link).

1:06pm: The Heat and Grizzlies have talked about a potential trade that wound send Mario Chalmers to Memphis, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who cautions that no deal is imminent (Twitter links). The Heat are in line to pay repeat-offender tax penalties if they finish the season above the $84.74MM tax line, and rumors have persistently surrounded Chalmers, who makes $4.3MM on an expiring contract and ceded his starting job to Goran Dragic last season. Miami had seemingly tabled the idea of a Chalmers trade as of late August but weren’t ruling out a deal as soon as October, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported this summer.

Heat officials offered Chalmers in trades earlier this offseason with the tax in mind, one GM told Jackson (Twitter link), which jibes with reports from throughout the summer. Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com first reported in June that the Heat were shopping Chalmers, as well as Chris Andersen, in an effort to clear the way for a new deal with Dwyane Wade, though team president Pat Riley denied it. Still, ESPN colleague Zach Lowe heard soon after that Chalmers and Andersen were available “for nothing” in return, an indication that the team was simply looking to shed salary.

The Grizzlies, fresh off a 50-point loss Monday to the Warriors, have Mike Conley firmly entrenched at the point, though he, like Chalmers, is on an expiring contract. Beno Udrih is Conley’s backup, with Russ Smith the third point guard. Nick Calathes departed in free agency this past summer. They’re roughly $5MM shy of the tax line, so they could take in Chalmers’ salary, but they don’t have a trade exception large enough that would allow them to absorb Chalmers without sending salary in return. Their only contract without a fully guaranteed salary for this season belongs to JaMychal Green, and it carries a partial guarantee of $150K.

The sides could seek a third team to facilitate a swap that would allow the Heat not to have to take salary in return for Chalmers, though it’s unclear if that idea has come up in the talks between Miami and Memphis. Shedding the $4.3MM owed to Chalmers would lower Miami’s tax bill, but it wouldn’t eliminate it. The Heat have about $91.9MM in guaranteed salary as it counts toward the tax, so the Heat would still need to eliminate about $3MM to duck under the tax threshold. Andersen is on an expiring contract worth $5MM this year, but his name isn’t involved in the latest report.

Chalmers is averaging 6.7 points, 3.0 assists and 1.7 turnovers in 18.0 minutes per game in three regular season contests so far, figures that would extrapolate to one of the worst lines of his NBA career if the numbers held for the entire season. Still, he has a wealth of playoff experience, unlike Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson, who are behind him on the depth chart, and offloading Chalmers without bringing in a comparable player would weaken the Heat as they seek to return to prominence this season, observes Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald.

The interest from Memphis would appear to indicate the Grizzlies want to upgrade their point guard depth, though Udrih has seemingly as well if not better than Chalmers has so far this season, averaging 6.5 points, 4.0 assists and 1.3 turnovers in 15.8 minutes per game. Chalmers could help their outside shooting, which Memphis has long lacked, but he shot just 29.4% from 3-point range last season, well beneath his 36.1% career accuracy from behind the arc.

Do you think the Grizzlies make sense as a trade destination for Chalmers? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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