Utah Jazz Rumors

Jazz To Explore Extensions With Kanter, Burks

April 18 at 9:22am CDT By Chuck Myron

Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey acknowledged Thursday that the team needs stability after last summer’s whirlwind of changes, and he told reporters, including Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune, that the team will consider rookie scale extensions for Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. Both will be eligible to receive the extensions between July and the end of October.

“It’s definitely something we’ll explore,” Lindsey said. “Whether we get a deal done, I don’t know. But we’ll sit down and talk to both of their representatives when the time comes.”

The team signed Derrick Favors to a four-year, $48MM extension this past offseason, but it didn’t come to terms on an extension with Gordon Hayward, who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. Kanter, a Max Ergul client, and Burks, who’s represented by ASM Sports, would hit restricted free agency in 2015 if the Jazz don’t extend their contracts this year. Both saw about twice as many minutes this season than in 2012/13 as they established themselves as integral members of the team’s rotation.

Kanter nonetheless said Wednesday that he wanted to see the Jazz use more lineups that put him together with the team’s younger players. Hayward, 24, is the oldest of a group that includes Kanter, Burks, Favors and rookie Trey Burke, all of whom were lottery picks. The groundwork for long-term stability appears to be there if the Jazz want to keep them together.

The Jazz’s only commitment beyond next season is to Favors, leaving the team with plenty of cap flexibility. Neither Kanter nor Burks is likely to approach the kind of deal that Favors got, and while rookie scale extensions are mostly the purview of potential stars in the making, role players occasionally wind up with rookie scale extensions, too. Quincy Pondexter, who scored a four-year, $14MM extension with the Grizzlies this past fall, but Kanter and Burks can probably command more than that, given their youth and upside as lottery picks.

Western Notes: Lakers, Faried, Corbin, Wolves

April 17 at 9:43pm CDT By Alex Lee

It is certainly no surprise that, after we rounded up the Lakers’ exit interviews earlier tonight, there is already more buzz coming out of Los Angeles. This is the Lakers, after all. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Pau Gasol would consider reuniting with former coach Phil Jackson, now running things with the Knicks. Citing a source, Spears hears that the interest is mutual.

Meanwhile, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report mentions both Van Gundys, Stan and Jeff, as names that stand out to him should the Lakers part ways with Mike D’Antoni. Within the same story, Ding breaks down the team’s draft lottery odds as well as maps out the complicated status of their draft picks beyond this season. Here is what else is going on in the Western Conference:

  • Earlier this month it was Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly that had some kind words to say about Kenneth Faried. On Thursday, it was Brian Shaw’s turn. As Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post writes, the head coach wants and expects to have Faried in a Nuggets uniform next season. Faried was frequently mentioned in trade rumors this season.
  • The fate of Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin will hang in the balance just a little longer, according to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, who writes that the team will take a “decompression period” before making a decision on whether or not to bring the coach back. Luhm reports that a decision could come down as soon as this weekend.
  • With Rick Adelman’s departure imminent, the Wolves head coaching wish list includes Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Stan Van Gundy, reports Spears in his final power rankings column.
  • It’s a small silver lining in an otherwise ugly season in Minnesota, but ESPN’s Marc Stein tweets that the Wolves can take solace in the fact that they refused to deal rookie Gorgui Dieng at the trade deadline before they knew what they had (Twitter links). The Louisville product was a bright spot in Minnesota down the stretch and figures to be a key contributor in his second season.

Northwest Rumors: Adelman, Corbin, Karl, Stotts

April 16 at 10:43pm CDT By Charlie Adams

In wake of the speculation that Rick Adelman will step away from coaching next season, Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press looks at how the longtime coach’s legacy and examines the influence he’s had on the likes of Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, and Tom Thibodeau. Here is tonight’s rundown on the rumors out of the Northwest Division:

  • Adelman will meet with Wolves president Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor within the next 24 hours and make a decision about next season “fast,” tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Greder adds that the decision might surface as soon as this week (Twitter link).
  • Former Nuggets coach George Karl wouldn’t be interested in taking on a coaching role for a rebuilding team like the Wolves, reveals Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
  • Jazz players, including Trey Burke and Derrick Favors, have advocated for Tyrone Corbin‘s return next year, but Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune doesn’t think it’s a certainty that the first-year coach will remain in Utah beyond this season. The Jazz concluded their season with a double overtime victory over Minnesota tonight.
  • John Canzano of the Oregonian thinks the Blazers would be wise to lock up Terry Stotts to a long-term extension in Portland. Waiting too long to show that the team has faith in Stotts might have a negative impact on the franchise, Canzano argues.

And-Ones: Buford, Popovich, Chandler

April 15 at 11:42pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Spurs GM R.C. Buford is “incredibly happy” in San Antonio and has no intention of leaving even as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili near retirement age, as Buford tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe (audio link; transcription via Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News). McCarney, in the intro to his transcription, notes that Gregg Popovich has backed away from his assertion a year ago that he’ll retire when Duncan does, referring to Popovich’s remark as merely a joke.

Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes:

  • On the idea that the Knicks might be focusing on the summer 2015 rather than be competitive next season, Tyson Chandler hopes that it isn’t the case: “I definitely don’t want to waste another season….I’m not into wasting seasons. Your time is too short in this league and I want to win a championship, another one” (Marc Berman of the New York Post reports). Berman adds that with his expiring contract and ability to still play at a high level, Chandler could be Phil Jackson‘s number one trading chip this summer. 
  • It appears that soon-to-be restricted free agent Gordon Hayward would like to stay with the Jazz, but he acknowledges that nothing’s certain at this point, notes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune.
  • Currently without a contract after July, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin isn’t ready to field questions about his impending future just yet, writes Falk in a separate piece. Corbin elaborated: “I don’t know if that’s a good question to ask right nowI have a lot of evaluating to do that I want to do for myself and figure out what’s my next step.” 
  • The Rockets have recalled Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan from the D-League, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Melvin Ely‘s contract with the Pelicans runs through next season with non-guaranteed salary, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports, writing for the Score. The ninth-year veteran’s minimum salary he’d get makes him a trade chip in the same manner that Scotty Hopson is for the Cavs, but Ely comes much more cheaply, as Deeks points out.
  • Deeks also reports that the Bulls’ deal with Louis Amundsonlike teammates Ronnie Brewer and Mike James, covers next season with non-guaranteed salary.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

Western Notes: D’Antoni, Jazz, Lakers

April 12 at 6:35pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Lakers don’t want to bring back Mike D’Antoni for another season, and are looking for a “peaceful way” in which to part ways with their coach, writes Mitch Lawrence of The New York Daily News. D’Antoni has one season left on his contract at $4MM, with a team option for 2015/16. The team would prefer to not have to fire him, and instead are hoping for what Lawrence writes, is a “best case scenario.” This scenario would have another team asking permission to hire D’Antoni. Lawrence also notes that despite the rumors that the Lakers want to hire John Calipari as coach, his sources say the team has no interest in bringing the Kentucky head man aboard.

More from out west:

  • Greg Smith, who was released this week by the Rockets has officially cleared waivers and can sign with any team, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • The Jazz need to pick up a superstar in order for the team to contend, writes Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune. He opines that the most likely way the team will do that is in this year’s lottery.
  • Nick Young said there is no benefit in the Lakers tanking during their last few games of the season, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Young said, “I know some teams believe they should tank. I know a lot of teams out there are probably doing it, because they believe this draft is going to be one of the biggest drafts that’s happened in a long time. But for me, I haven’t really paid attention to it. I think we’re not going out there just to lose for the draft because I think we still want to be in the league. These guys are coming in to take our spots, so, I’m not about to give up for somebody else to come in and take my spot.

And-Ones: Mavericks, Corbin, Moore

April 10 at 7:18pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson guested on the SVP and Russillo Show on ESPN Radio (audio link) earlier today, praising Rick Carlisle‘s performance this season and acknowledging that the franchise will have the flexibility to be active in the free agent market this offseason. It’s definitely worth mentioning that Dallas’ first priority, according to Nelson, is to re-sign Dirk Nowitzki and allow him to finish his career with the Mavs. He also said that the team will be looking to add another superstar with the intent of having Dirk eventually become their second-best player.

Though he didn’t specifically mention any other names, Nelson stated that the team has a few of its own free agents that are priorities as well. He’s gone on record before saying that there is mutual interest with Vince Carter in negotiating a new deal and that he plans on keeping Samuel Dalembert this summer.

Here are some more miscellaneous news and notes out of the Association tonight:

  • A few days ago, we noted that Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin, along with his staff, will know by the end of this month if they’ll be returning for the 2014/15 season. Corbin’s contract is set to expire this summer, although Jody Genessy of the Deseret News found it interesting that the 51-year-old coach spoke today about working with the players this summer and getting them ready for next year (Twitter link).
  • Magic shooting guard and soon-to-be free agent E’Twaun Moore tells Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel that his preference is to stay put: “Most definitely…Orlando has been good to me. It’s great here. We got a lot of young guys and I feel like we’ve grown up together.”
  • 6’11 center prospect Nikola Jokic will most likely declare for the 2014 NBA Draft and is expected to make his final decision after the Nike Hoops Summit, per Misko Raznatovic of BeoBasket Sports agency (Twitter link).
  • Former Marquette standout Jamil Wilson has signed with Relativity Sports and is currently projected as a second-round pick, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Gordon Hayward

April 10 at 4:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Gordon Hayward has had no choice but to step into a leading role for the Jazz this season. Utah cleaned house this past summer, allowing Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams and others to leave via free agency, and the team used the cap space to absorb Golden State’s toxic contracts in exchange for two first-round picks and three second-rounders. It was a clear indication that the Jazz are looking down the road, particularly since only one of those picks comes Utah’s way anytime before 2016. The Jazz ensured Derrick Favors would be a part of their future, inking him to a four-year, $48MM extension before the deadline to do so in October. Utah didn’t do the same with Hayward, a fellow 2010 draftee, setting him up for restricted free agency this summer, when he’ll be one of the top 10 players available.

Just how available the 24-year-old will be remains to be seen, since the Jazz have the power to match any other team’s offer and Hayward has said that signing a new deal to stay in Utah is his preference. The comments coming from Hayward, agent Mark Bartelstein and Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey in the wake of their failure to reach an extension deal were universally rosy. Lindsey expressed his admiration for Hayward and Bartelstein, who heaped similar praise on the Jazz. All of the three will surely look out for themselves this summer, but without any reports of private resentment behind their public statements, it seems as though the working relationship between the three is fully functional, at the very least.

The Jazz aren’t the only ones signing Hayward’s praises. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who doubles as the team’s primary front office decision-maker, said this past autumn that he has a “man-crush” on the former Butler star. The Celtics employ Hayward’s college coach, Brad Stevens, and they showed interest in trading for the versatile swingman before the trade deadline. Many in the league have seen Boston as a strong candidate to pursue Hayward this summer. One NBA GM told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher before the October extension deadline that “the Jazz had better lock up Hayward,” a signal that there would be leaguewide interest this summer. League executives told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News in February that they generally feel as though the Jazz plan on re-signing him unless they wind up drafting a marquee small forward, in which case they believe that Utah will consider sign-and-trade possibilities.

It’s no secret that the Jazz covet combo forward Jabari Parker, a Mormon who would have inherent popular appeal in Utah, and small forward Andrew Wiggins looms as a possible draft pick for the Jazz, too. Still, Utah has started three small forwards for much of the season, grouping Hayward, Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson together. Parker could slide in at power forward, and Wiggins, a strong defender, could cover the opposing team’s most potent offensive wing player, allowing the team to hide Hayward. The Jazz give up fewer points per possession when Hayward isn’t playing this season, per NBA.com, and that’s been true three out of the four years he’s been in the league.

Hayward nonetheless contributes in a multitude of other ways. He’s one of only five players in the league to average more than 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game this season, as Basketball-Reference shows. The others are Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Michael Carter-Williams, putting Hayward in heady company. The opportunity to play outsized roles on teams with poor records surely has to do with the inclusion of Hayward and Carter-Williams on this list, but it nonetheless suggests Hayward’s wide-ranging value to the Jazz.

Hayward and Bartelstein apparently never asked for a maximum-salary extension from Utah, though they and the team were reportedly in talks for a deal worth more than what Favors received. Assuming the team was and remains willing to exceed $12MM salaries, and that Hayward and Bartelstein are still willing to accept less than the max, it would make for a small window of negotiation between $12MM and roughly $14MM. I’d be surprised if they couldn’t get a deal done, though there are a lot of “ifs” in that scenario.

The Jazz have no shortage of cap flexibility in the years ahead, with about $27MM in commitments for next season and only Favors under contract after that. Enes Kanter and Alec Burks will be extension-eligible this summer, but neither is likely to command the same sort of money that Hayward and Favors are about to make, and Utah should be able to keep all four if it wishes. Retaining Trey Burke and this year’s first-rounders might become an issue down the line, but Burke’s second contract would only overlap with the last season of Favors’ deal, so it shouldn’t be that much of a concern at this point.

Hayward is clearly a hot commodity around the league, but it would be a surprising about-face if he doesn’t wind up back with the Jazz, who hold most of the leverage with their right to match offers. Even if they didn’t, Hayward seems to feel comfortable in Salt Lake City and is giving every indication he intends to stay there for years to come.

Northwest Rumors: Wolves, Love, Corbin

April 7 at 10:34am CDT By Chuck Myron

Blazers GM Neil Olshey would deserve the NBA’s Executive of the Year award based on his acquisition of Robin Lopez alone, opines Jason Quick of The Oregonian, who believes Olshey scored with upgrades to the team’s bench, too. Coach Terry Stotts is similarly pleased, as Quick notes.

“I’ve said it many times: Getting Robin Lopez was the perfect fit for our team,’’ Stotts said. “Getting Mo Williams was the perfect fit for our team. Dorell Wright gives us the ability to play [him at either forward position]. And the young guys have improved. But those three guys in particular, for what we needed coming into the season … Neil did a terrific job of addressing those needs.’’

I think there are several other deserving candidates for the award, but after recording their 50th win of the season on Sunday, it’s clear that the Blazers have taken a significant step forward after last season’s 33-win campaign. Here’s the latest from elsewhere in the Northwest Division:

  • Finding the proper successor to coach Rick Adelman will be critical for the Wolves, and some in the organization believe having the right coach in place will help convince Kevin Love to stay in Minnesota, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece.
  • Kyler also suggests that it’s far from certain that Love would sign with the Lakers if he decides to opt out of his deal in 2015, and that other teams would be on his radar (Twitter link).
  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin and his staff will know by the end of the month if they’ll return to the team for 2014/15, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who includes the news in his latest NBA power rankings.

Amico’s Latest: Allen, Battier, Rivers, Kerr

April 7 at 9:30am CDT By Chuck Myron

Ray Allen appears unlikely to return to the Heat next season, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. League insiders nonetheless believe that if the Heat’s trio of stars return, there’s a strong chance the team will try to re-sign Allen, too, so it seems his future is contingent on what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to do. Indeed, those three will have much to say about what happens in free agency leaguewide, and Amico has more on the summer ahead and another member of the Heat as we highlight here:

  • Several teams are expected to court Heat forward Shane Battier for an executive job or a gig related to player development, Amico hears. Battier recently reiterated his plans to retire at season’s end.
  • The emergence of Brian Roberts has strengthened the belief around the league that the Pelicans will trade former lottery pick Austin Rivers this summer, according to Amico. Roberts is set to become a restricted free agent.
  • Sources tell Amico they wouldn’t be surprised if several teams aside from the Knicks try to convince Steve Kerr to run their basketball operations. Kerr has expressed a desire to coach, but it looks like the leaguewide interest in him is as an executive, the role he held with the Suns from 2007 to 2010.
  • Boris Diaw, Luol Deng, C.J. Miles, Marvin Williams, Luke Ridnour, Kris Humphries, Devin Harris and Jimmer Fredette are other free agents who appear unlikely to be back with their respective teams, Amico writes.

Western Notes: Adelman, Barnes, Rockets

April 5 at 7:40pm CDT By Cray Allred

Wolves coach Rick Adelman spoke to reporters including Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune on Minnesota’s future, but didn’t include himself as part of the ongoing decision-making (Twitter link). “For the most part we’re still a pretty young team and the success of this franchise going forward is who else can they add,” said Adelman, who many believe will not be back to coach next year. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer and Zgoda tweeted back and forth, speculating that Adelman’s quote was a tacit admission that he wouldn’t be a part of the Wolves future (Twitter links). Here’s more from out West:

  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald says there is growing sentiment that the Warriors will look to trade away Harrison Barnes this offseason.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com says that the Rockets reached out to point guard Malcolm Delaney to see if bringing him in from overseas this late in the season was feasible. Stein first reported that the Rockets had interest in Delaney, but the news that Patrick Beverley should return for the playoffs has Houston brass leaning against a play for Delaney.
  • Stein says the Rockets believe in Sergio Llull as an NBA rotation piece, but that there are major barriers to bringing him in from overseas anytime soon, including Llull’s apparent disinterest in joining the NBA, where the Rockets own his rights.
  • Erik Murphy‘s former Bulls teammates are very happy he was claimed by the Jazz, per a tweet from K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune“He works too hard,” said Taj Gibson, who had positive things to say about Murphy at the time of his release as well.
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey shared what he saw in Murphy to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). “Big guys who can step out and shoot can be complementary to our group. And Erik is a super shooter,” said Lindsey.