Utah Jazz

Jazz Sign Trey Lyles

6:50pm: The Jazz have officially signed Lyles, the team announced.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

4:06pm: Trey Lyles, this year’s No. 12 overall pick, has agreed to sign his rookie scale contract with the Jazz, reports TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). That a first-round pick would do so is not usually news, as the existence of the rookie scale usually resolves all meaningful negotiation, but the sides had been struggling to hash out details, as GM Dennis Lindsey acknowledged. The Jazz still haven’t made any formal announcement. The Jazz are giving him four years at $10.4MM, according to Aldridge, who appears to be rounding up from $10,386,049, which is 120% of his scale amount and the most Utah can pay.

Utah could have paid the Rich Paul client as little as 80% of rookie scale, but that would be highly unusual for a lottery pick. Lindsey suggested that the hangup had to do with cap holds, and indeed, many teams with the flexibility to open cap room wait to sign their first-round picks. The Jazz entered July with about $49MM in guaranteed salary and have since reportedly struck a two-year, $4.5MM deal with Joe Ingles, and apparently are poised to sign draft-and-stash point guard Raul Neto, too. The cap hold for Lyles will jump from $1,866,500 to $2,239,800 when he signs for 120% of the rookie scale, so the Jazz would retain a touch of financial flexibility if they wait.

Lyles hasn’t participated in any summer league games or practices for the Jazz so far, likely a matter of consternation as Utah revives its in-house summer league this year. It’s not uncommon for draftees to appear in summer league games even before they sign.

Just how the combo forward’s game will translate to the NBA remains a mystery, as Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors wrote in his prospect profile of one of the many University of Kentucky players in this year’s draft. Still, he has an intriguing mid-range game and was the ninth-best prospect this year, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked him 18th. Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors had him going 13th in his last mock draft.

Jazz, Tibor Pleiss In Contract Talks

JULY 7TH, 3:50pm: The discussion appears to be moving in a positive direction, according to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune, who’d be surprised if the sides don’t reach a deal (Twitter link).

JULY 1ST, 12:37am: The Jazz are engaged in contract talks with German draft-and-stash center Tibor Pleiss, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News reports (Twitter link). The two sides are discussing contract structure, and Utah’s intent is for the big man to play in the NBA during the 2015/16 campaign. Utah acquired the rights to the 25-year-old from the Thunder in the trade for Enes Kanter.

Pleiss wasn’t satisfied with his role for Barcelona this past season, as David Pick of Eurobasket.com relayed, and his discontent there appeared to be a factor when Pleiss and the Jazz were reportedly in talks about a deal this past season. Utah is in need of frontcourt depth behind Rudy Gobert, and Pleiss could fit the bill on that front.

The 7’2″ center appeared in 58 contests split between the Euroleague and Liga ACB this past season. Pleiss notched averages of 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks in 13.8 minutes per game. His career stats are 7.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 0.8 BPG, with a slash line of .574/.381/.811.

Jazz Likely To Sign Raul Neto

Jazz draft-and-stash prospect Raul Neto isn’t expected to return to Murcia of Spain and will instead sign with Utah, his coach told David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link). It’s unclear if the Jazz and the 23-year-old have agreed to terms, but Neto traveled to Utah this weekend and he and the team were to discuss their future, as Jody Genessy of the Deseret News details, and he was already wearing team gear as of last night, Genessy tweets.

The 6’1″ Neto is speedy, with a high basketball IQ, but his outside shooting is poor, according to Pick (Twitter link). The native of Brazil nailed just 20.5% of his three-pointers this past season in Spain, and he averaged 8.9 points, 3.9 assists and 2.7 turnovers in 22.4 minutes per game.

The Jazz originally acquired his rights via trade in 2013, the day after the Hawks drafted him 47th overall. His contract with Murcia was to run though 2017, but it would appear as though the deal includes NBA out clauses. It’s unclear how much cost, if any, would be involved in a buyout from the Spanish team.

Utah has plenty of cap flexibility, even if the wake of its two-year, $4.5MM deal with Joe Ingles. The Jazz entered July with only about $49MM in guaranteed salary. They’ve also reportedly been in talks with draft-and-stash center Tibor Pleiss.

Western Notes: Gasol, Durant, Kings

Marc Gasol‘s commitment means the Grizzlies can stay relevant and contend for titles for another four or five seasons, Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal opines. Gasol did not seriously consider signing with another team before reaching an agreement on a five-year deal worth more than $100MM on Monday. Gasol showed unusual faith in the franchise and took the high road by accepting a long-term deal, Calkins continues. He could have signed a shorter-term contract and taken advantage of the major salary cap increase next season, or put the onus on the front office to keep making moves to stay competitive, but instead chose to stay long term with a team that is not in a major market, Calkins adds.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors would like to get in on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes as a potential sign-and-trade option next summer, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. If they could somehow land Durant, it would not hinder the club’s desire to lock up Stephen Curry when his contract expires in 2017, Kawakami adds.
  • The Jazz were interested in re-signing Jeremy Evans but he couldn’t pass up the offer he received from the Mavericks, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News tweets. Evans, who spent his first five seasons with Utah and appeared in 38 games last season, agreed to a two-year contract with Dallas for the league minimum.
  • The Kings were prepared to give Tobias Harris a max offer sheet before the restricted free agent opted to stay with the Magic, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. Harris agreed to a four-year, $64MM contract on Friday. Considering that Florida does not have a state income tax, Harris didn’t take less to remain in Orlando, Berman adds.

Jazz To Re-Sign Joe Ingles

The Jazz are finalizing a deal with Joe Ingles, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). The sides have reached agreement on a pact worth $4.5MM over two years, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link), a raise on the minimum salary he made this past season as a rookie. The move can’t become official until Thursday at the earliest, since the July Moratorium still holds.

It’s no surprise to see the sides agree to terms, since they had mutual interest in a continued partnership as the regular season ended, according to Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah made a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent and reached out to him as soon as the free agent negotiating period began July 1st.

Ingles will see more than his Non-Bird rights would have provided him, so Utah will either have to use cap space or the $2.814MM room exception to accommodate his deal. The two-year length of the contract means he’ll again be eligible for restricted free agency in 2017.

The Jazz nabbed the Bradley Ames client off waivers from the Clippers at the start of this past season. Clippers president Doc Rivers said he’d wanted to re-sign Ingles after he cleared waivers, but he never got a chance to do so. Instead, the 27-year-old Australian, who’ll turn 28 in October, spent his first NBA season in Utah after several years playing in Europe.

Northwest Notes: Butler, Lillard, Durant, Exum

7:05pm: Butler told Jabari Young of CSNNW.com (Twitter link) that he would “love to be in Portland with the Blazers.”

1:21pm: Butler is no longer in the mix for Portland, a source tells Quick (Twitter link). The Blazers are prioritizing young players or guys with favorable contracts who have upside, Quick writes in the same tweet.

12:59pm: With their new-found cap space, the Blazers are interested in veteran forward Rasual Butler, reports Jason Quick of The Oregonian. The 36-year-old has been offered a contract, according to an unidentified source, but is not rushing to sign. He reportedly has interest from other teams, including the Spurs and Warriors. Butler, a 13-year NBA veteran, averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds with the Wizards last season. Portland, which is $26MM under the cap, has not reached out to free agent Gerald Green, Quick adds.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The BlazersDamian Lillard made several unsuccessful attempts to set up a meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge last week, reports Sam Amick of USA Today. Lillard tried to schedule something before leaving on a promotional trip to Paris, but Aldridge’s schedule was already filled with team meetings. They exchanged text messages, but Lillard knew by Friday night that Aldridge was leaving Portland.
  • The Thunder’s Kevin Durant will be the focus of next year’s free agent frenzy, but he tells Andy Vasquez of The Record that he has more immediate concerns. Multiple foot surgeries limited Durant to 27 games last year, and his goal is to be ready for next season. “I hear it all the time,” Durant said of free agency, “but I’m really just focusing on rehab and I can’t get there unless I take care of today.”
  • Durant is entering “Phase 3″ of rehab and expects to be fully cleared for game action by August, writes Royce Young of ESPN.com. “We’re doing X-rays every two weeks, and it’s looking good,” he said. “So I’m excited to get back, man. There’s no pain, and looking forward to getting back.”
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder has turned down several suggested trades involving Dante Exum, according to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. “I believe in him,” Snyder told Utah GM Dennis Lindsey. “I believe in his makeup.” Exum struggled through his rookie season, especially with his shot, but team officials are seeing improvements in his game since he returned from his native Australia.

Western Notes: Lyles, Cole, Suns

Trey Lyles has yet to sign his rookie contract with the Jazz and Jody Genessy of the Deseret News (on Twitter) hears that he expected to hit some road bumps on that front after being drafted No. 12 overall.  Lyles is still on target to get 120% of the rookie scale, but Genessy (Twitter links) believes that the minor details/complications to be hammered out are probably bonus-related.  GM Dennis Lindsey previously indicated that there some details would have to be ironed out in relation to cap holds.

  • Guard Norris Cole is the top remaining free agent the Pelicans are making a push to re-sign, sources tell John Reid of The Times-Picayune.  New Orleans can match any offer the restricted free agent receives, but Reid also hears that they’re only willing to go so far.
  • Now that LaMarcus Aldridge has chosen the Spurs over the Suns (and his other suitors), Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic looked at what might be next for Phoenix.  The Suns, he writes, are looking to add shooting, experience, frontline help, and a third point guard in free agency.  Coro surmises that targets could include a free agent power forward like Brandon Bass, Jordan Hill, Darrell Arthur or Andrea Bargnani and even sentimental free agency options, like a return for Amar’e Stoudemire.
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone has hired well-regarded Ed Pinckney as his top assistant, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  Pinckney was previously with the Bulls.
  • Heat D-League head coach Phil Weber is finalizing a deal to join Alvin Gentry‘s staff with the Pelicans, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweets.  The two worked together with the Suns.

Northwest Notes: Aldridge, Hughes, Kanter, Durant

The Blazers will miss LaMarcus Aldridge‘s production but not his ego, writes Jason Quick of The Oregonian. Quick contends there was a “general exhaustion” with Aldridge in Portland, citing frequent attempts to sit out games with minor aliments and a failure to get over long-ago incidents. The columnist notes a growing rift between Aldridge and Damian Lillard caused by Aldridge’s insecurity. He also believes the Blazers are in good hands with Lillard as the new team leader.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Kim Hughes, the assistant coach who said Aldridge would leave Portland, was fired today, Quick writes in a separate story. “We can confirm Mr. Hughes is no longer with the team,” said Neil Olshey, Portland’s president of basketball operations. Team officials were reportedly “enraged” by the comments from Hughes, who has served as the Blazers’ big man coach for the past three seasons.
  • Aldridge admired the Spurs for years before today’s decision to join the organization, according to Ben Golliver of SI.com. Aldridge accumulated a slew of individual honors during his nine years in Portland, but only advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs once. That one trip to the second round ended with a sweep by San Antonio. “They never stop playing,” Aldridge said at the time. “If you guard their first option, they’ve got a second option. If you guard their second option, they’ve got a third option. They’re persistent. They’re not going to change. They’re going to run their stuff over and over and over. Once you mess up, they’re going to make you pay.”
  • The Aldridge decision could have far-reaching draft implications for the Blazers, according to Mike Tokito of The Oregonian (Twitter link). Portland owes a first-round pick to the Nuggets, but the Blazers will keep that over the next two seasons if they miss the playoffs. After that, the obligation will become two second-rounders.
  • Thunder free agent center Enes Kanter could become a target for the Blazers, tweets Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. He notes that Portland needs a center and has the cap space to throw a big offer at Kanter.
  • The Thunder’s Kevin Durant is reporting progress on the foot injury that cost him most of last season, according to Andy Vasquez of The Record (Twitter link). “Going well,” Durant said of his rehab. “I’m jumping when I’m shooting. Not quite running and cutting yet but I’m almost there … I’m excited.”
  • The Jazz are delaying the signing of first-round pick Trey Lyles to give themselves more cap room for possible transactions, tweets Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. There are also some minor details the sides are working out (Twitter link).

Paul Millsap Deciding Between Magic, Hawks

1:18pm: Millsap is leaning toward re-signing with the Hawks, according to Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops and Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links).

11:11am: The Hawks are confident they can retain Millsap, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

8:48am: Paul Millsap met with the Magic overnight, reports Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter), and at this point he’s deciding between those two teams, as Jones and TNT’s David Aldridge report (Twitter links), even though the Pacers and Mavericks also have interest, according to Jones (Twitter link). Orlando offered the power forward a four-year, $80MM deal, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN (on Twitter). The Knicks are interested, too, but Millsap won’t meet with them, nor will he do so with Indiana or Dallas, Broussard adds (Twitter link).

Atlanta has made the same offer the Magic have, Broussard writes in a full story. Their offers appear to be for the max, as the estimated starting salary for a player with Millsap’s experience is roughly $19MM, though that figure doesn’t factor in any rise in the cap projection that would lift the max by about $600K. If the cap winds up as much as $2MM over the previously projected $67.1MM figure, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported was a distinct possibility, it would ostensibly help the Hawks retain both Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, though Orlando’s aggressive entry into the Millsap sweepstakes keeps the pressure on. Atlanta, armed with only Early Bird rights on the two of them, had been losing faith in the idea of re-signing them both.

The Jazz reportedly planned an active pursuit, but as free agency drew near, and especially after the selection of Trey Lyles at pick No. 12 last week, Utah increasingly appeared to be a long shot, tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Orlando’s play for Millsap is a significant development for the club that’s been in a rebuilding phase since trading Dwight Howard nearly three years ago, and if the Magic land Millsap and turn away from fellow forward Tobias Harris as a result, it could well have implications for the restricted free agency market, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Magic have long coveted Millsap, having attempted to trade for him before the 2012/13 season, notes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).

Western Notes: Davis, Prince, Matthews

The Lakers have contacted free agent Ed Davis, and would like for him to return to Los Angeles next season, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. There will be some competition for Davis’ services, as four undisclosed teams have also expressed interest in the big man, Medina notes. Davis is seeking a two or three-year deal worth $7MM-$8MM, or a one-year arrangement worth $9MM-$10MM, the Daily News scribe adds. In 79 games for the Lakers last season, Davis notched averages of 8.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 23.3 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Clippers are not optimistic about the idea of Paul Pierce taking less money to come their way, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports tweets.
  • The Lakers have expressed interest in restricted free agents Jimmy Butler of the Bulls, and Iman Shumpert of the Cavaliers, Medina relays (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs were among the teams to contact unrestricted free agent Tayshaun Prince, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweets.
  • The Mavericks and Wesley Matthews are still engaged in contract talks, but remain approximately $3MM apart in annual value for the agreement, Amick tweets. Matthews is seeking an annual salary of $15MM per year, while Dallas is offering $12MM, Amick notes.
  • The Jazz contacted free agent Joe Ingles to express their interest in re-signing the forward, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News tweets. Utah tendered Ingles a qualifying offer worth $1.045MM on Monday, making him a restricted free agent. The 27-year-old appeared in 79 games for the Jazz in 2014/15, including 32 starts, and averaged 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 21.2 minutes per contest.
  • The Mavs have reached out to point guard Nick Calathes, who is a restricted free agent, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.