Here are the latest news and notes coming out of the Western Conference on Tuesday night:
- There’s been no word of a deal between the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic, and his name isn’t among the 19 on the preseason roster that the Nuggets released today, so presumably the 41st overall pick from this year’s draft will remain under contract with Serbia’s KK Mega Vizura this season.
- On the heels of yesterday’s report that the Jazz have opened extension talks with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, GM Dennis Lindsey said the team anticipates the duo to be with the Jazz for a “long time,” writes Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune. “They’re both valued members and we’re really proud of where they’re at as people and as players,” Lindsey said. “We’ll see if we can get something done early … but we anticipate both of them being with the Jazz for a long time.”
- When asked about his impending free agency next summer, Marc Gasol reiterated his affinity for his teammates and the city of Memphis, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal in a subscription-only piece. Gasol also suggested that it would be hard to sign an extension prior to next summer knowing how quickly things can change in the NBA. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said in August he’s determined to keep Gasol in Memphis for the rest of his career.
- Also from Calkins’ story, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger had the following to say when asked what it would take for Michael Beasley to end up on the roster: “Just be as good as he can be on the court and off the court. He’s going to have to come in and take somebody’s spot, and he knows that.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Jazz have opened extension talks with both Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. GM Dennis Lindsey revealed the development to reporters at the team’s media day. Previously, Lindsey has been non-committal in addressing the future of the fourth-year players, and negotiations don’t necessarily mean the team is enthusiastically trying to retain either for big money.
Both Kanter and Burks were lottery picks in the 2011 draft, but haven’t progressed rapidly enough to be sure-fire extension candidates. In fact, our own Chuck Myron tabbed both as longshots to come to terms with Utah before the October 31 deadline in the Hoops Rumors Rookie Scale Extension Primer.
While Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward have both been cemented as long-term pieces for the Jazz to build around, Kanter and Burks reflect the team’s identity in many ways. At 22- and 23-years-old, respectively, both have shown flashes of promise and earned bigger roles, as the team has experienced growing pains and tumbled down the standings in recent years. It will be interesting to see how Utah envisions Burks, a shooting guard, fitting in with the young backcourt of Trey Burke and Dante Exum. Utah’s fronctourt is a bit less crowded, with Rudy Gobert, more raw at this stage than Kanter, the only other big apart from Favors with as high a ceiling.
THURSDAY, 2:33pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
TUESDAY, 8:29am: The contract is for the minimum salary and covers just one year, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
MONDAY, 9:02pm: Jones has signed with the team, according to the RealGM transactions log. This presumably means he’s passed his physical and that the team has yet to make a formal announcement.
4:51pm: It’s a non-guaranteed deal, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Dahntay Jones is taking his physical for the team today, the Tribune scribe adds, clarifying that the pact is not yet official. (Twitter links).
1:07pm: The Jazz have a deal with 10-year NBA veteran swingman Dahntay Jones, according to Jones’ representatives at Priority Sports (Twitter link). The tweet indicates that Jones has signed a contract with the club, but the Jazz have yet to make an official announcement. In any case, several NBA teams had reportedly been in pursuit of the 33-year-old this summer, and the Jazz had the flexibility necessary to give him more than the minimum if that’s what it took. The terms are nonetheless unclear.
The Knicks and Sixers were to have worked out Jones this summer, and the Clippers reportedly met with him. Observers from roughly half the league were apparently in attendance for a workout that the Mark Bartelstein client staged in Las Vegas. He spent this past season out of the NBA, the first time he went without a deal in the Association since he went 20th overall in the 2003 draft.
The Jazz had been carrying 13 fully guaranteed deals, while Dee Bost, Jack Cooley, Kevin Murphy and Toure’ Murry all have partially guaranteed arrangements. Just how much guaranteed money Jones has in his deal will likely dictate his chances of making the opening-night roster.
TUESDAY, 11:31pm: Stockton is also scheduled to work out for the Wizards, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Michael cites a hamstring injury to third-string point guard Garrett Temple as a development that has opened the door for Stockton. Washington has 14 of the maximum 15 regular season roster spots occupied with players on fully guaranteed salaries, a group that includes Temple.
MONDAY, 10:13am: The Thunder worked out David Stockton last week, and the undrafted rookie guard will try out for the Jazz this week, sources tell Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. It’ll be the second time the son of Hall-of-Famer John Stockton will work out for Utah, since the Jazz reportedly took a look at him before the draft.
David Stockton was a regular starter this past season for the first time in his four years at Gonzaga, averaging 7.4 points and 4.2 assists in 27.8 minutes per game. He saw sparing action in the summer league with the Suns in July, putting up six points, one assist and three steals in nearly 19 total minutes of action across two games.
It would seemingly be a surprise if Stockton made an opening-night roster, but Oklahoma looks like more fertile territory for him to do so than Utah does, in spite of his connections with the Jazz. The Thunder only have deals with 15 players, though all but Lance Thomas have fully guaranteed salaries. The Jazz have 13 fully guaranteed pacts and four partially guaranteed deals among the 18 they already possess, according to our roster counts.
Teams around the league are projecting that the salary cap will leap to as high as $80MM for 2016/17, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes, but next season’s salary cap is shrouded in uncertainty. Executives from around the league believed earlier this summer that the NBA would gradually phase in the increase in the salary cap with a larger than usual uptick next summer, but the league has told teams within the last two weeks to hold steady on their projections for 2015/16, according to Lowe. The uncertainty makes it more difficult for teams to make long-term commitments at this point as the October 31st deadline for rookie scale extensions looms. The focus of the Grantland scribe’s piece is on that rookie scale extension market, and his entire piece is worth a read to juxtapose his insight with our in-depth pieces on some of the same up-and-comers featured in our Extension Candidate Series. Lowe also has a few more newsy tidbits, as we’ll pass along here:
- There’s chatter around the league suggesting that the NBA will backload its new television deal, which is expected to be more than twice as lucrative as the current arrangement that runs out after the 2015/16 season, Lowe reports. The aim would be for the league to negotiate the ability to keep a larger percentage of that media rights revenue for itself in the next collective bargaining agreement with the players union.
- Executive around the league see Alec Burks as a sixth man rather than a starter, according to Lowe, who argues that there’s a case to be made to the contrary. Still, it bodes well for the Jazz‘s leverage in extension talks.
- Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris told teams before the 2011 draft that they would take less money to play together, sources tell Lowe. That didn’t end up happening right away, since Houston drafted Marcus and Phoenix took Markieff, but the Suns reunited the twins at the 2013 trade deadline, and if their desire to stick together still holds true, that gives the Suns the ability to exert some pressure, Lowe surmises. Both are extension-eligible.
Earlier today, we passed along word from coach Steve Clifford that the Hornets are seeking frontcourt help. Clifford’s interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer touched on some more of Charlotte’s roster, including how he’ll use newly signed Marvin Williams. “He’ll play both forward spots, but I see him primarily as a stretch [power forward],” said Clifford. “He’s a very smart player who makes smart, simple plays. And he’s very professional in his approach.” Here’s a rundown of league news and notes, including more from Clifford:
- Clifford revealed that Jeff Taylor‘s recovery from an Achilles injury has been interfered with by a personal matter. “Unfortunately, Jeff has a family situation in Sweden [keeping him away from Charlotte],” he told Bonnell. “Nothing can be done about that and you know he’s an exceptional worker, but he’s had to miss our five optional workouts. So it’s hard to get a feel for where he’s at. He did a couple of summer-league practices. Medically he’s fine. So it’s just a matter of having more continuity, so that when he plants and cuts and jumps he’s confident [in his recovery.]“
- Milos Teodosic is an NBA-caliber player lighting up the World Cup, but the Serbian star won’t consider a move stateside unless he’s offered upwards of $3MM in annual salary, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Grizzlies were the last team to make a serious run at the point guard, when he spurned them last summer.
- Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune profiles Derrick Favors, the big man whose four-year, $48MM extension will commence this season. The center tells Jones he’s comfortable taking the next step as a franchise cornerstone for the Jazz, a sentiment GM Dennis Lindsey seconds. “This is really the second stage for Derrick,” Lindsey said. “We’ve had patience with him and he’s had a natural progression. With Derrick, nobody can accuse the Jazz of skipping steps. We know that we’re making a significant investment in him by giving him the contract extension. Derrick has taken ownership of his development.”
- The Basketball Insiders team previewed the upcoming season for the Hawks.
- J.A. Adande of ESPN.com writes that the NBA’s slowness to identify and dismiss the source of the racial slur from the scouting report on Luol Deng that triggered the Hawks scandal indicates a willingness to harbor that sentiment in the league, contrary to the commissioner’s declaration to root out racism when he first banned Donald Sterling.
The Clippers scandal that revolved around former owner Donald Sterling may be eclipsed by the Hawks race-fueled turmoil when all is said and done. The latter situation is still developing, and has extended down from the ownership box into Atlanta’s GM and scouting departments. Here’s a rundown of Western news and notes for the night:
- On an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Shaun Livingston said that he hopes to be able to return to the court by the start of the Warriors‘ season, the channel tweeted (H/T Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group). The veteran guard underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right big toe last month.
- On his personal blog, Jazz forward Gordon Hayward recounts his summer. In addition to waxing about signing a max offer sheet, spending time with Team USA, and an offseason training regimen focusing on strength and shooting, Hayward says that he’s eager to start the new season and play for new coach Quin Snyder.
- The Basketball Insiders crew previewed the 2014/15 season for the Pelicans, Nuggets, Jazz, Lakers, and Kings.
2:34pm: Stephens’ agent tells Sportando that there’s no deal, but that his client will meet with the Jazz as planned this weekend (Twitter link).
2:00pm: D.J. Stephens and the Jazz have struck a non-guaranteed deal that will bring the former Bucks swingman to training camp, Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi reports. The 23-year-old had been set to work out for the club this weekend, as Boston Globe correspondent Jake Fischer reported earlier today, but either the workout has already taken place or Utah simply decided it already knew enough about Stephens to bring him aboard.
Stephens doesn’t have much of an NBA track record, having appeared in three games for a total of 15 minutes while on a 10-day pact with Milwaukee this past season. That was his only regular season NBA action after he went undrafted out of Memphis, and since he didn’t go to camp with an NBA team last autumn or participate in summer league this year, his only other brush with the league came during summer league in 2013. That year he averaged 4.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game over eight combined appearances with the summer league squads of the Heat and Mavs.
The APAA Sports Group client has unprecedented hops, as I noted earlier, and he made his mark as a defender in college, winning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior. He’ll join 18 others on the Jazz, and he’ll face long odds to last on the roster beyond the preseason, since 17 of his new teammates have at least some guaranteed money on their deals. Still, I had been somewhat dubious that his workout would lead to a camp invitation, so perhaps another surprise is in store.
Free agent swingman D.J. Stephens will work out for the Jazz this weekend, a source tells Boston Globe correspondent Jake Fischer (Twitter link). Stephens appeared in three games while on a 10-day contract with the Bucks this past season, though there’s been little chatter this summer about a return to the NBA for the 23-year-old who went undrafted out of Memphis in 2013.
Stephens spent most of last season playing in Greece and Turkey, averaging 8.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 23.8 minutes per contest over a combined 25 games overseas. His otherworldly jumping ability helped offset his relatively short 6’5″ stature as he went after those boards, and the 46-inch vertical leap he performed at the predraft combine in 2013 was the highest ever recorded at the showcase, as DraftExpress shows.
Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey has cast a wide net in his player evaluations during his tenure with the club, so the chance that Stephens’ workout is a precursor to a deal isn’t quite as strong as it might be if he were auditioning for another NBA team. The Jazz are carrying 18 players, and 17 of them are known to have partially guaranteed salary, as our roster counts show, so Stephens has no easy path to the opening-night roster in Utah.
Scouts are still evaluating Dante Exum, one of the bigger gambles taken in the NBA Draft lottery. The Jazz selected him without having seen him play against top-level competition and the jury is still out on Exum as a player as he shows his stuff in the World Cup, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. When asked what he’s learned about Exum so far, one Eastern Conference scouting director said, “Not much. He’s not ready for the NBA, that is for sure. But a lot of guys are not ready for the NBA and they have got to learn on the fly. He is no different. But he is not going to jump into the league and all of a sudden average 20 points a game. There’s just no way.” Here’s tonight’s look around the NBA..
- Chris Douglas-Roberts‘ deal with the Clippers is fully guaranteed, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). That doesn’t come as a huge surprise since Ekpe Udoh‘s minimum salary deal is also fully guaranteed for the 2014/15 season. CD-R averaged 6.9 points in 20.7 minutes per game and shot a career-high 38.6% from downtown last season.
- Even before the Donald Sterling situation erupted, there was some talk that Bruce Levenson would explore selling his controlling interest of the Hawks, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
- Whether Levenson’s fate is well-deserved or Orwellian is up for debate, but it’s clear this is a different world in the post-Sterling NBA, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- Supply and demand could keep Reggie Jackson with the Thunder, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. Only four teams – the Mavs, Lakers, Knicks, and Heat – currently have a clear need and the necessary cap space to make a run at him next summer. Jackson is after a sizable payday and a starting role, but that could be hard to find in the middle of an extremely talented free agent class.
- The Jazz have several players in the World Cup, including Exum and stashed Brazilian talent Raul Neto, and Dennis Lindsey admits that he is somewhat worried about injuries and fatigue, writes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. At the same time, he feels that his younger players are also gaining valuable experience in international play.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.