Lou Williams has a renewed sense of purpose this season after being traded to the Raptors, Holly MacKenzie of NBA.com writes. On joining Toronto, Williams said, “I think one of the best benefits of it is being in a position where you feel wanted. When they traded for me and had the conversation, they want me here. It wasn’t a money thing. It wasn’t just something to do. They felt they had a void they needed to fill coming off the bench and I’m excited to help. I feel wanted. I feel like I have a responsibility with this basketball team and that’s the best way I can operate.”
Here’s more from around the east:
The Heatannounced that former head coach and longtime assistant coach Ron Rothstein has retired from coaching. Miami also announced that assistant coach Bob McAdoo will become a scout for the team as well as a community liaison. “Both Ron and Bob were instrumental in the success of the Heat and their contributions to our three championships cannot be overstated,” said team President Pat Riley. “They are Heat lifers and I’m happy that they will continue to be an important part of the organization as they evolve into their new roles within the Heat family.”
Howard Eisley will be joining coach Randy Wittman‘s staff with the Wizards, the team announced. Eisley has spent the last four seasons as an assistant for the Clippers.
The Wizards made contact with Ray Allen soon after free agency began, and they’re still interested in signing the sharpshooter, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. It’s nonetheless a long shot amid stiff competition from other NBA teams and Allen’s thoughts of retirement, though Allen and Wizards signee Paul Pierce are on good terms after Allen’s acrimonious departure from Boston in 2012, according to Michael.
Michael indicates that Allen likely would be willing to accept a minimum-salary deal, which is all the Wizards can offer, but the 39-year-old has publicly expressed reluctance to do so. The Cavs, the team most frequently linked to Allen this summer, can’t give him more than the minimum, either, but the Spurs have the full $5.305MM mid-level exception at their disposal, and San Antonio is among those in pursuit. The Clippers and Mavs are also reportedly in the mix, but the Jim Tanner client has repeatedly emphasized that he’s seriously considering retirement.
The Wizards don’t intend to carry a full 15-man roster come opening night, Michael writes, and that ostensibly would leave them greater flexibility to sign Allen at midseason if he were still available. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com recently suggested that it would make sense for Allen to sit out the start of the season and sign later, though there’s been no indication that the NBA’s all-time three-point shot maker is truly thinking about that option.
The Hawks have added Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan to Mike Budenholzer‘s staff as assistants, the team announced. The Hawks also announced that Jim Thomas will leave his assistant coaching role to become a scout in Atlanta’s front office. Here’s more from around the league:
Commisioner Adam Silver acknowledged to reporters including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com that international play is “a big risk without enormous financial reward” for NBA players, but still views it as a legitimate endeavor for willing stars. “Ultimately they have to make that very personal decision as to whether they want to play in the summer: whether it makes sense for their bodies, whether it makes sense for their families,” said Silver.
Silver does expect the issue of international play to be debated by the league soon. “I do anticipate it will be a hot topic at the competition meeting and the Board of Governors meeting just because it always has been,” Silver said. “We are always evaluating and re-evaluating everything we do; it is a part of running any business.”
Alessandro Gentile‘s father Nando Gentile says that his son wants to play two more years in Italy before joining the Rockets in the NBA, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (on Twitter). Gentile’s rights are owned by Houston, who acquired the No. 53 pick in this year’s draft to snatch him. The 21-year-old wing recently re-signed with his Italian club for three seasons.
Scott Rafferty of Ridiculous Upside looked at what Troy Daniels could bring to the Rockets next season. Daniels made a name for himself with a big shot in the first round of last year’s playoffs and he’ll now look to cement his role as a spark plug off of Houston’s bench. Daniels shattered the D-League’s record for threes made in a season and did it in just 27 games, so his future looks pretty bright.
Kennedy (on Twitter) opines that Xavier Silas would be a great fit in the 15th roster spot for the Wizards. Silas, who went to training camp with Washington in October, was an undrafted rookie out of Northern Illinois leading into the lockout and has since traveled the globe.
Forward DeShawn Sims has signed in South Korea, agent Daniel Moldovan tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter). Sims was in camp with the Celtics last October before taking a deal in Israel.
Carmelo Anthony has elected to take half of his $22.5MM salary this season up front, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Because his five-year, $124MM contract is structured similarly for future seasons, Anthony will receive a total of $62MM up front over the course of his deal, notes Berman. This won’t have any bearing on the Knicks‘ salary cap, but likely is among the largest immediate payouts in NBA history, Berman points out. League rules stipulate the maximum allowable advance is 50 percent of a player’s annual salary.
Here’s more from around the league:
Marcus Denmon has signed with Enel Brindisi of the Italian League, the team announced via their Facebook page (translation by Enea Trapani of Sportando). Denmon was a former second round pick of the Spurs. Enel Brindisi signed him after negotiations with Orlando Johnson fell through, notes Trapani.
Although other teams have made more noise this summer, one team that has quietly improved itself is the Wizards, writes Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders. In the article, Camerato looks at the additions the team has made, and the impact they could have on Washington’s season.
Here are some miscellaneous news and notes to pass along this evening:
Earlier today, ESPN reported that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins injured his right knee during Team USA practice today. Fortunately, an MRI reveled no structural damage, and Cousins is now listed as day-to-day, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo described Kevin Durant‘s decision to drop out of Team USA as a “contractual situation” in which “he had no choice,” notes Erik Horne of NewsOK, who doesn’t think that those comments are consistent with Durant’s official statement for withdrawing. Last week, the Thunder star mentioned an inability to fulfill his responsibilities from a “time and energy standpoint” as a reason for his departure.
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski was among many who were caught off-guard by Durant’s decision to leave the national team, notes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.
DeJuan Blair is eager to build on a productive playoff series against the Spurs this past May as he suits up for the Wizards in 2014/15, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. “I was very excited when I (learned I was traded from Dallas to Washington). It was like a dream come true…Last year, I saw what type of team they had. The youth, the big men coming up, the ingredients around the team. And I think I’ll be a great addition.”
Based on what he’s seen from Andre Drummond so far, Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau spoke glowingly about how Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will be an ideal coach to help the 21-year-old big man reach his potential (piece from Keith Langlois of Pistons.com).
A longer All-Star break just might put the fun back in All-Star weekend, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Each team will have a minimum of seven days between games with the new format, with the majority of the league not resuming play until the Friday after the All-Star Game. However, there is one catch for players. Since the season doesn’t begin any sooner or end any later than usual, there are more back-to-backs in this year’s schedule. Here’s more from around the league..
With some help from Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll writes that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce tried to convince the Celtics to sign him in 2011 after a strong summer. “The Celtics got with my agent, Mark Bartelstein, but that didn’t work out. To this day, [Pierce] always tells Danny, ‘I told you DeMarre was going to be good,’” said Carroll.
In today’s mailbag, a reader asks Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel if the Heat could conceivably put together a package for Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Winderman explains that the only players the Heat can put into a trade are Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, and Shabazz Napier since since every veteran free agent signed this offseason cannot be dealt until December 15th. Of course, there’s no guarantee the two sides could be a match for a deal beyond that date.
Big man Kris Humphries has become a more efficient player and he’s excited to bring his new game to the Wizards, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Hump’s 8.6 PPG and 5.9 RPG aren’t the double-double figures he was posting for the Nets during his best season, but he got those points and boards more efficiently with the C’s as he played just 19.9 minutes per game.
Former NBA forward Derrick Byars has signed a two-year deal with ACB Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Byars played in two games for the Spurs in 2011/12 and was in training camp with the Grizzlies last season.
The biggest remaining free agent name from an Eastern Conference team is Greg Monroe, and the big man is reportedly close to accepting a qualifying offer to remain with the Pistons for what would almost assuredly be his final year in Detroit. Here’s a rundown of other notes out of the East:
Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel suggests that, outside of financial limitations, the Heat haven’t signed some of the better remaining free agents because team cohesiveness is being prioritized over talent for end-of-the-bench spots. Winderman says an abundance of quality players vying for playing time in Miami has created tension in recent years.
Kris Humphries told reporters including Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post that his time in Boston made him a more efficient player, and that he’s excited to play for the up-and-coming Wizards this season. “I talked to Brad all the time and it’s just one of those things where, ‘Man, you got me a lot better,’” said Humphries. “Handling the ball, making plays, things like that. Shooting. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep playing in a lot of situations like the one I was in.”
While many teams were spurned by their players for greener pastures despite their best efforts this offseason (the Heat by LeBron James, the Lakers by Pau Gasol, the Nets by Shaun Livingston) some teams decided not to up the ante when they could have, allowing key contributors to sign elsewhere. We’ll run down a few of the latter, and explore whether these teams will regret their decision:
Lance Stephenson – from Indiana to Charlotte.Had Paul George‘s injury occurred before free agency, the Pacers might have been more willing to meet Stephenson’s demands. Instead, they let arguably their most versatile offensive piece walk, refusing to improve their five-year, $44MM offer before the combo guard signed with the Hornets for three years and $27.4MM. Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles are the incoming guards Indiana hopes can lessen the combined loss of Stephenson and now George. The Pacers also seeking Shawn Marion‘s services, but aren’t expected to win out over the Cavs in that pursuit.
Chandler Parsons – from Houston to Dallas. The Rockets declined an option to retain Parsons for another season on one of the most team-friendly contracts in the league. The team decided to take their chances with the forward’s restricted free agency this summer rather than letting him hit unrestricted free agency next offseason, but ultimately decided against matching the Mavs’ three-year, $46.1MM offer sheet. The Rockets let Parsons go in part because they had already locked up Ariza, who is next on the list.
Trevor Ariza – from Washington to Houston. Ariza bolted from the Wizards after turning in a career year for a team that advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Wizards were unwilling to increase their offer, which equaled Houston’s four-year, $32MM arrangement, but practically amounted to $3MM less due to differences in state taxes. Washington quickly signed Paul Pierce in the wake of Ariza’s departure, and received an exception by signing-and-trading Ariza that was partially spent on Kris Humphries.
Channing Frye – from Phoenix to Orlando. In a surprise signing, the Magic snatched the sharp-shooting Frye away from the Suns, who wanted to bring him back to their surprise-playoff roster. Frye is one of a few bigs that stretch the floor at an elite level, and the team signed another shooter in Anthony Tolliver to make up for Frye’s loss. Orlando’s deal with the 31-year-old was for four years and $32MM.
Isaiah Thomas – from Sacramento to Phoenix. The Kings didn’t see the scoring machine of a point guard in their future, signing Darren Collison while Thomas was still a restricted free agent. Thomas was one of only five players to average 20 PPG and 6 APG last season. Sacramento hasn’t recouped much scoring punch in free agency, but did acquire a $7.2MM trade exception, as well as the rights to Alex Oriakhi, by executing a sign-and-trade sending Thomas to Phoenix.
As with any transaction, these front offices weighed the immediate future against their long-term plans, and tried to make the wisest choice. It might be painful to lose some of these players in year one, but fans might breathe a sigh of relief if the same players are underperforming for their new teams in the future. Then again, a player could blossom into an even stronger producer, compounding any misgivings about the teams’ non-action. What do you think?
The idea that Greg Monroe would take a max offer from the Pistons isn’t necessarily true, as Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said last month, according to Vincent Goodwill (Twitter link). A resolution to Monroe’s restricted free agency still seems a ways off, as we passed along earlier today. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
Al Harrington hopes to sign with the Wizards after he returns from China, as he J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. He’ll make much more on his deal with China’s Fujian Sturgeons than he would have on an NBA minimum-salary contract, the forward also said in his conversation with Michael. The Wizards were unwilling to commit to re-signing Harrington before he inked the Chinese deal, Michael hears, though Washington was open to having him return as an assistant coach. Other NBA teams were interested in him as a player, Harrington said, but none of them were title contenders.
Pacers executive Larry Bird isn’t ruling out a return to action for Paul George at some point this season, even though the team is “sort of expecting him [to be] out all year,” as Bird said today to reporters, including Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). We rounded up more of Bird’s remarks right here.
Celtics draft-and-stash prospect Colton Iverson has signed with Laboral Kuxta of Spain, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). David Pick of Eurobasket.com first reported the agreement (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for the 53rd overall pick from 2013, his agent tells Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com (Twitter link).
Celtics summer leaguer Dairis Bertans received invitations to training camp from NBA teams, but he’ll continue to play in Spain instead, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
Ray Allen has expressed a wish in past years that he could wait until September to decide whether to play the following season, so his unwillingness to commit to a team for 2014/15 is no surprise, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his mailbag column.