Utah Jazz Rumors

Western Notes: Bledsoe, Jazz, Barton, Scott

July 26 at 4:31pm CDT By Charlie Adams

Eric Bledsoe made his first public comments regarding his free agency status to Fox TV Birmingham, saying he feels the Suns are “using rules against me” (hat tip to Jude LaCava of Fox 10 Phoenix, Twitter link), Bledsoe’s remark further indicates a seemingly sour feeling between the two camps. Here’s a look at the latest from all three of the Western Conference’s divisions:

  • The Jazz are set to hire Patrick Beilein to work as an assistant coach on Quin Snyder‘s staff, reveals Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Beilein is the son of University of Michigan head coach John Beilein.
  • Will Barton‘s $900K deal with the Blazers is now fully guaranteed, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Portland had until July 25th to waive Barton without being on the hook for his entire salary but chose to keep the combo guard on their roster.
  • Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders recaps the path that the Lakers took en route to negotiating terms with Byron Scott on a head coaching gig. Davis also examines how Scott’s coaching style might mesh with the current state of Los Angeles’ roster.
  • While former Mavs forward Shawn Marion would like to secure a deal with a team for the upcoming season, he doesn’t want to force the issue and land in an undesirable situation, passes along Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “If I see something really comfortable, then I’ll do it,” Marion told Sefko. “Right now, I’m just staying with my [newborn] son and relaxing. It’s only July, man. We got two more months. We’ll just wait and see how it works out.”

How The Cavs/Jazz Trade Worked Financially

July 24 at 12:20pm CDT By Chuck Myron

It seemed from the moment that news of Tuesday’s trade between the Cavs and Jazz surfaced, the deal was somehow more significant than a swap involving four backups normally would be. The Cavs reportedly see some value in John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy as players rather than simply as non-guaranteed contracts, but an earlier report indicated the team had been looking for non-guaranteed deals specifically to strengthen its bid for Kevin Love. The trio doesn’t represent an overwhelming step toward Love, but the move gives the Cavs more options they can present to the Wolves, which might make the difference as Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders sorts through several competing packages.

A key part of the trade involves a separate transaction. The Cavs struck a deal that same evening with No. 33 overall pick Joe Harris worth precisely $2,710,369 for three years, including a guaranteed $884,879, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. That it runs three years indicates that the Cavs need to use cap space to complete the transaction, since neither the minimum-salary exception nor the room exception, the two vehicles other than cap space the Cavs have for signing free agents, allows for contracts longer than two seasons.

The Cavs have yet to officially announce their deal with Harris, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t officially signed him. Sometimes teams never make official announcements when they sign draft picks, for any number of possible reasons. The Bulls never announced having signed 2008 No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose to his rookie scale contract, as Deeks pointed out earlier this month (on Twitter). The RealGM transactions log shows the Harris signing as having taken place, and the presence of his salary figures on Deeks’ database is further indication that the Harris signing is official. That means the signing had to have taken place prior to the trade, which the Cavs did officially announce, since Cleveland wouldn’t have had the cap room necessary to sign Harris to his deal had they executed the trade first.

The Cavs entered Tuesday evening with $56,030,677 in salary and a cap hold of $4,592,200 for Andrew Wiggins, who remains unsigned. That left them with $2,442,123 worth of space beneath the $63.065MM cap. The Harris signing brought that room down to $1,557,244. The Cavs, as the NBA allows them to do, then appeared to split the Jazz trade into two parts. The first involves taking on Lucas’ $1.6MM salary and Murphy’s $816,482 salary in exchange for Felix’s $816,482 salary. Murphy and Felix essentially cancel each other out, so it amounts to an absorption of the $1.6MM Lucas salary, putting the Cavs over the cap by $42,756. The NBA lets teams complete trades that take them as much as $100K above the salary cap without conforming to salary-matching rules, so the Lucas salary just barely squeezes in under this requirement.

That move puts Cleveland over the cap, leaving the Cavs to execute the rest of the trade, a simple acquisition of Malcolm Thomas, using the salary-matching rules required of a capped-out team. The incoming $948,163 salary of Thomas is obviously greater than nothing, which is what Utah is getting in this side of the deal, but fortunately for Cleveland, players on minimum-salary contracts don’t count as incoming salary in the NBA’s matching game. Thomas makes the minimum, so the trade is kosher.

The Jazz needn’t worry about splitting the transaction or dealing with any salary-matching requirements, since they were well under the cap before the trade and are even further beneath it in the aftermath of the deal. The Cavs must continue to deal with the ripple effects of having landed over the cap. By all appearances, that bars them from aggregating Thomas in a subsequent trade for two months. While the Cavs can trade Thomas by himself, no trade limitation applies to either Lucas or Murphy, since Cleveland acquired them while under the cap. Cleveland nonetheless appears ready to sign Wiggins, triggering a 30-day waiting period before he can be traded, and since the Wolves are insistent that Wiggins be a part of any deal for Love, it doesn’t appear as though Cleveland is in any position to rush to make a Love trade official.

All of this hinges on the Harris signing truly having already taken place, as all indications suggest. If it weren’t official, it’s possible the Cavs could have structured the trade differently with the intent of later opening up the cap room necessary to formalize the Harris signing. Still, it appears as though deft management of timing gave Cleveland the opportunity to sign its second-rounder to a three-year deal, which is significantly more valuable to the team than a two-year contract would be, as I explained last year. The Cavs did so while still acquiring non-guaranteed contracts that they can flip, sooner or later. Utah receives some more cap space, as well as Felix, ostensibly the player with the most upside in this transaction, having been picked 33rd overall just a year ago. Time will tell if it was indeed a trade that helped both teams, but the deal has the makings of being just that.

And-Ones: Salary Cap, Huestis, Allen, Hornets

July 23 at 7:31pm CDT By Alex Lee

Executives from teams around the league believe the NBA will attempt to prevent any sharp jump in the salary cap from one year to the next when heightened TV revenues come in by gradually increasing the cap, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. The union would have to consent to any such effort, Lowe tweets. Some teams project that the cap will be as much as 30% higher two years from now, as Lowe adds in his full piece.

Let’s take a look at what else is brewing around the league on Wednesday night:

  • Josh Huestis should accept the required tender the Thunder are obligated to make to retain his draft rights rather than follow through on a promise to sign instead in the D-League, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports argues in a piece for Hoop365.com.
  • Ray Allen, currently vacationing in China, told a Chinese news outlet that he will return home on Thursday to get MRIs on both of his legs before making a decision about the 2014/15 season, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, who adds that multiple teams are interested.
  • Hornets head coach Steve Clifford indicated that he’d like to add some depth at center behind Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Bonnell adds that such an addition would likely be a veteran on a minimum salary deal (Twitter links).
  • After a number of years in the lottery, the Jazz have assembled the type of young and promising core that should make them a threat in the near future, opines Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

Chuck Myron contributed to the post.

Western Notes: Clips, Jazz, Withey, Buycks, Mavs

July 23 at 5:33pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid for the Clippers equals more than 12 times the total revenue projections for the team from 2013/14, but no major pro sports team has ever sold for more than five times of its total revenue, according to Bank of America. Ramona Shelburne and Darren Rovell of ESPN.com have the details, which back up the contention of Clippers CEO Dick Parsons that it would be tough to envision another bidder coming in so high.

  • The Jazz received $1.3MM in cash Tuesday as part of their three-for-one trade with the Cavs, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). That’s slightly more than the $1MM that was originally reported.
  • Jeff Withey‘s minimum salary became fully guaranteed for this coming season after the Pelicans declined to waive him before the end of Tuesday, the final day they could do so without owing him any money, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Teammate Luke Babbitt also earned a $100K partial guarantee when the Pelicans kept him past Tuesday, which was also the final day his contract had been fully non-guaranteed.
  • Dwight Buycks is drawing the eye of the Clippers and Suns, and multiple teams from overseas are interested in him as well, Sportando’s Enea Trapani reports. The Raptors waived Buycks on Saturday, before his contract would have become fully guaranteed.
  • The Mavs are nearing a deal with Jameer Nelson, but owner Mark Cuban insisted to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that the team isn’t trying to unload Raymond Felton. “We like him and think he will have a great year,” Cuban said. 
  • Cuban also made an appearance on Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas this week, during which he explained that the Mavericks strategically used the ultra-logical approach of the Rockets‘ front office to put together an offer for Chandler Parsons that was unlikely to be matched (link via The Dallas Morning News).

Cavs Acquire Three In Swap With Jazz

July 22 at 7:21pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

7:21pm: The Cavaliers have officially announced the deal, per a team press release.

7:16pm: Out of the three players heading to Cleveland, Minnesota actually had some interest in Murphy after he was waived by the Bulls last season, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

7:03pm: The pick that Utah will receive in the deal will be a 2015 second rounder from Cleveland, tweets Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune.

6:21pm: According to one Cavs source, Cleveland likes Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy and doesn’t necessarily view them as stepping stones to a bigger deal, tweets Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

6:00pm: The Jazz are expected to trade the non-guaranteed contracts of John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas, and Erik Murphy to the Cavaliers for Carrick Felix, a future second rounder, and $1MM, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Felix’s contract is guaranteed for $816K in 2014/15, whereas Lucas III, Thomas, and Murphy combined for roughly $3.3MM in non-guaranteed deals for the upcoming season. Wojnarowski adds that Cleveland had been looking to make this type of deal recently in order to help facilitate a trade for Timberwolves star Kevin Love (Twitter links).

Minnesota has been determined to unload Kevin Martin and J.J. Barea in a deal involving Love, says Wojnarowski, who also notes that the Cavs would have to find a third team in order to make it work. Nonetheless, whether Lucas, Thomas, and Murphy’s contracts are used to bring the former UCLA big man to Ohio or are included in a separate trade, this deal at the very least has given Cleveland some “buying power” (Twitter links).

Contract Details: Collison, Young, Hinrich

July 21 at 8:19pm CDT By Zach Links

The difference between Darren Collison‘s first year salary and the $5.305MM mid-level exception is precisely equivalent to the rookie minimum salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out (on Twitter). That allows the Kings to use that remaining portion of their mid-level to sign a rookie for three or four years rather than just the two that the minimum-salary exception would allow. Here’s a round up of the latest contract details to come to light this evening..

  • Nick Young will make $4,994,420 this season and $21.3MM over the course of his four-year contract with Lakers, according to Pincus (on Twitter).  Swaggy P’s new deal with the Lakers became official earlier today.
  • Kirk Hinrich‘s new deal with the Bulls includes a 15% trade kicker, Pincus tweets.  In 73 games (61 starts) last season for the Bulls, Hinrich averaged 9.1 PPG and 3.9 APG in 29 minutes per contest. Hinrich has put up a 10.8 PER over the last two seasons, a far cry from the 17.0 PER he put up in his best season for the Bulls (2006-07).
  • The third and final year of Kris Humphries‘ contract with the Wizards is non-guaranteed, tweets Pincus.  It was previously unclear whether that third year was non-guaranteed or simply a team option.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) has the goods on Ryan Kelly‘s two-year deal with the Lakers.  Kelly will earn $1.65MM in 2014/15 and ~$1.72MM in 2015/16.
  • Trevor Booker‘s deal with the Jazz has just $250K guaranteed in year two, Pincus tweets.  It was previously reported that the second season on Booker’s deal was not fully guaranteed.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Jazz Sign Trevor Booker

July 21 at 3:23pm CDT By Chuck Myron

JULY 21ST: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.

JULY 16TH, 11:18am: The second year of Booker’s contract won’t be fully guaranteed, tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.

TUESDAY, 12:28pm: The Jazz will sign power forward Trevor Booker, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Booker had been eligible for restricted free agency, but the Wizards elected not to tender a qualifying offer, making him unrestricted, so there’s no chance for Washington to match Utah’s deal and snatch him back. Booker’s contract will be worth $10MM over two years, Wojnarowski adds in a second tweet.

The Heat, Wolves, Nets, Knicks and Magic joined the Jazz and Wizards in pursuit of Booker this month. He’s coming off a season in which he started a career-high 45 games as Nene battled injuries, and that volume of starts triggered a higher value for his qualifying offer, as I explained, perhaps dissuading the Wizards from making him a restricted free agent.

The move will likely exhaust Utah’s cap space once it becomes final, leaving the team’s $2.732MM room exception as its only tool other than the minimum salary to sign free agents. Booker’s presence figures to apply pressure on fellow big manEnes Kanter as he enters the final season of his rookie deal, observes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter).

And-Ones: Bledsoe, Love, Hinkie, Murry

July 20 at 12:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Eric Bledsoe is the top remaining player still unsigned, though as a restricted free agent the Suns have the right to match any offer sheet that Bledsoe agrees to. Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic looks at why Bledsoe hasn’t received any offers, and examines the player’s options going forward. Bickley also opines that Bledsoe is risking alienating the fans in Phoenix by turning down the Suns’ four-year, $48MM deal.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • George Karl told Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune that the Wolves can’t afford to pass on trading Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, if the Cavs are truly offering that package (via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer’s tweet). Karl coached through a tumultuous season with the Nuggets when Carmelo Anthony eventually received his desired trade to the Knicks.
  • Every year when the dust settles and the free agent signings begin to wind down there are winners and losers. Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today weigh in on this year’s successes and disappointments.
  • The Thunder‘s Josh Huestis might become the NBA’s first domestic “draft-and-stash” player, writes Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. If Huestis does skip signing with the Thunder and heads directly to the NBA D-League, it could signal a major shift in the future of the D-League and how it’s utilized, notes Mayberry.
  • Sixers GM Sam Hinkie‘s rebuilding plan might not be popular in Philadelphia as the losses keep piling up. Jason Wolf of USA Today profiles the GM, as well as takes a look at the moves he’s made so far in his efforts to retool the franchise.
  • The Jazz are interested in signing free agent Toure’ Murry, tweets Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. Falk notes that Murry might be waiting for an offer from the Heat. The Knicks had also expressed interest in bringing Murry back, but currently have a logjam in the backcourt.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

Western Rumors: Smith, Lakers, Ballmer, Thunder

July 18 at 10:47pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Kings don’t believe any of their power forwards is a solution at the position, and they’ve tried to move one this summer in a quest for an upgrade that’s sparked revitalized talks with the Pistons involving Josh Smith, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details. Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Lakers have renounced the rights to Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, and Kent Bazemore, Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times reveals (all on Twitter). The maneuvers will accommodate the re-signings of Nick Young, Henry, and Johnson, all of whom have agreed to new deals. Pincus expects Young to be renounced before re-signing as well.
  • The Times scribe suspects that the Lakers are using part or all of the room exception to sign Ryan Kelly, considering the cap room that will be eaten up by Young’s contract, and a “reasonable” market of suitors for the power forward (all via Twitter).
  • Steve Ballmer agreed to extend his deal to purchase the Clippers until August 15th, but Linda Deutsch of The Associated Press reports that Ballmer’s lawyer told a judge in the Donald and Shelly Sterling legal proceedings that the agreement will be off if there is no ruling prior to that date. Ballmer’s potential withdrawal would further cloud the team’s status, as commissioner Adam Silver recently cautioned that Sterling could still own the Clippers at the beginning of next season.
  • The Thunder have announced that their D-League affiliate will move from Bixby, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City next season, as first reported by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. The change will make shuffling players between the Thunder and 66ers more convenient.
  • The Jazz still have free agency moves to make in filling out their roster, reports Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (all Twitter links). Francisco Garcia is a possibility for Utah, who seek a shooting wing along with a third point guard brought in to sit behind the team’s developing backcourt.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Raptors Sign James Johnson

July 17 at 11:30am CDT By Chuck Myron

JULY 17TH: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.

JULY 10TH: 10:10am: The deal is fully guaranteed, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link).

8:40am: The Raptors and James Johnson have reached agreement on a two-year deal, reports Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. The value of the contract will be $5MM, according to Smith, though Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun believes it might be for slightly more (Twitter link). The Raptors are using part of their mid-level exception on the Mark Bartelstein client, Wolstat adds in the same tweet.

Johnson revived his NBA career after signing with the Grizzlies in December, proving a useful reserve as he averaged 7.4 points in 18.4 minutes per game. The five-year NBA veteran previously spent parts of two seasons with the Raptors, though that was during the regime of former GM Bryan Colangelo. The 27-year-old spurns the Rockets, who were reportedly set to meet with him earlier this month, as well as the Jazz, who also had interest, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. The Grizzlies had apparently been split on whether to bring him back.

The move largely brings a close to Toronto’s major free agent expenditures, as Smith writes, after previous agreements with Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez. The Raptors wouldn’t mind trying to find a trade partner willing to take on Chuck Hayes or Landry Fields if they could net younger versions of those players in return, but the club probably won’t make any trades until the leaguewide free agency rush passes, Smith writes. The move also likely squeezes out Dwight Buycks, who’s on a non-guaranteed contract, and probably ends any chance that the Raptors would sign Andray Blatche or Ed Davis, according to Smith.