Washington Wizards Rumors

Wizards Waive Melvin Ely

July 31 at 7:42am CDT By Chuck Myron

THURSDAY, 7:42am: There’s been no formal announcement from the team, but the move has indeed taken place, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter) and the RealGM transactions log.

WEDNESDAY, 4:26pm: The Wizards are waiving power forward Melvin Ely, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Ely came to Washington from the Pelicans as part of the three-team sign-and-trade that sent Trevor Ariza to the Rockets. His non-guaranteed minimum salary has been scheduled to become fully guaranteed at the end of Friday, but it appears the Wizards are releasing him before that happens.

New Orleans brought the 36-year-old back into the NBA after a three-year absence from the league with a contract signed with just two days to go in the season. The inclusion of the non-guaranteed 2014/15 salary made it plain that the Pelicans intended to use him as trade fodder, and his contract proved key in the team’s ability to acquire Omer Asik, as I explained earlier.

Washington has been less than $200K shy of the tax line, but dropping Ely will allow the team to open up more than $1.3MM of extra space beneath the threshold, room to add another minimum salary or two. The Wizards are also hard-capped, so even if they go over the tax line, they can’t go more than $4MM into the tax at any point this season.

Several NBA Teams Eyeing Dahntay Jones

July 30 at 2:58pm CDT By Chuck Myron

JULY 30TH: The Kings, Cavs, Spurs, Thunder and Wizards were all in attendance at a workout that Jones held today in Las Vegas, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Between 15 and 20 NBA clubs were set to take a look at him this week, as Kennedy reported earlier this month.

JULY 21ST: Ten-year NBA veteran Dahntay Jones is set to work out for the Knicks and Sixers this week, and in addition to a reported meeting with the Clippers earlier this month, he also worked out for that team, too, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports. The shooting guard and Mark Bartelstein client is close with former Nuggets teammate Carmelo Anthony, though New York’s addition of Jones would only add to a logjam at the two-guard that Knicks GM Steve Mills has already publicly acknowledged.

The Knicks are apparently discussing trades involving J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to clear up that position, as we noted Sunday. New York also worked out Jones this past February, seemingly the closest brush that the now 33-year-old had with the NBA last season after the Bulls waived him early in the preseason. Still, that was before the arrival of Knicks team president Phil Jackson, and what attracts the team to Jones now is his competitiveness and leadership, according to Isola.

The Knicks, now as they were in February, are limited to the minimum salary, and the Clippers are similarly hamstrung. The Sixers have ample cap room to use on Jones, but it’s nonetheless unlikely that he’ll warrant any better than a guaranteed minimum-salary contract. He’s averaged 5.6 points in 16.3 minutes per game over his career, and put up 3.4 PPG in 13.0 MPG in 2012/13, his last NBA season.

Northwest Notes: Durant, Westbrook, Williams

July 30 at 10:30am CDT By Chuck Myron

Kevin Love has been the hottest name in rumors of late, but Tuesday, another Northwest Division star began to generate some buzz. Kevin Durant spoke openly of the possibility that he’ll sign with his hometown Wizards when he becomes a free agent in 2016. He also chalked up his decision not to negotiate an opt-out clause into his current five-year deal to a mixture of naivete and his love for Oklahoma City, as The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry notes. Durant said it would “definitely be tough” to leave if the Thunder were to win a pair of championships in the two years remaining before he can hit free agency, as USA Today’s Sam Amick observes. With the onus on GM Sam Presti to put his team over the top, there’s more on the Thunder and their stars amid the latest from the Northwest:

  • The general assumption is that Russell Westbrook will look to leave the Thunder when he becomes a free agent in 2017, but that’s no certainty, as Durant impressed upon reporters Tuesday, including Amick, who shares the tidbit in the same piece.
  • John Wall is already expressing support for the idea of Durant joining the Wizards in two years, calling him “like an older brother” and saying, “It’d be great to have him back home,” as Amick notes.
  • Had the Trail Blazers wanted to re-sign Mo Williams this summer, “in all retrospect, they could have,” Williams said in a pair of tweets. The guard has instead agreed to a deal with the Timberwolves.

Durant On Gasol, LeBron, 2016 Free Agency

July 29 at 8:53pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

Following a Team USA training camp session earlier today, Kevin Durant answered a few notable questions from the media about the free agent movement this offseason as well as the summer of 2016, when he’ll be set to hit unrestricted free agency. The Thunder made a few ripples this summer after reeling in Sebastian Telfair and Anthony Morrow on the free agent market, but neither compare to the wave that would have resulted from netting Pau Gasol, who ultimately decided on joining the Bulls. When asked how close he thought Oklahoma City was to signing the two-time NBA champion, Durant told Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles that the chances were slim.“Obviously (it wasn’t) that close, (but) I did my work. That was my first time recruiting.” (Twitter link).

You can read more of Durant’s answers below, courtesy of a separate piece from Shelburne. 

On LeBron James‘ decision to return to Cleveland: 

“I thought it was well-thought-out. It was classy. It was a great move to do it as a letter…That was pretty cool. It’s funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that’s best for them instead of what’s best for everybody else.

On becoming a free agent in 2016 and possibly choosing to return to his hometown of Washington D.C. and play for the Wizards:  

“I’m going to do what’s best for me…It’s hard to talk about that right now when I’ve got two years left in Oklahoma City. I’m just going to focus on that. I’m not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does.

On his ties to Washington D.C. and people asking him about a potential homecoming: 

“I grew up watching the Bullets/Wizards. I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics. That whole city is a part of me. It’s in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City, too.”

“(The idea of me coming home has) been talked about. Everybody’s asked me about it every time I go on Instagram or Twitter. All my friends ask me about it…So I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m naïve to the fact that people think about that stuff. But I just tell everybody that I’m here in Oklahoma City, I love it here. Who knows what will happen. I never close the door on anything. But I like where I’m at right now. So I can’t answer that question.”

Wizards Sign Garrett Temple

July 29 at 10:17am CDT By Chuck Myron

JULY 29TH: The deal is official, according to the RealGM transactions log and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), though the team has yet to make an announcement.

JULY 18TH: The Wizards have struck a deal with Garrett Temple that will allow the free agent guard to return to Washington, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington (Twitter link). It’ll be a two-year contract for the minimum salary that includes a player option for the final season, Michael adds (on Twitter). The move had been expected, as Michael wrote earlier this week.

Still, there were other teams in the market for the 28-year-old client of John Hamilton, as the Heat, Magic and Bulls all appeared to show interest. One report indicated he was leaning toward signing with Miami, while another contended that the wasn’t considering any offer from the Heat. Temple said early this month that he’d look at other teams but that he’d “love” to sign a new deal with the Wizards.

Temple bounced around the fringes of the league at the beginning of his career, playing for three teams in each of the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons. He finally gained firm footing with the Wizards in 2012/13, starting 36 games, but Washington had less call for him this past season, and his 1.8 points and 8.5 minutes per game were the lowest of his career. The new deal nonetheless signals that the Wizards have trust that Temple would perform capably if pressed into more action this coming year.

Eastern Rumors: Harrington, Wiggins, Love

July 24 at 6:33pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Wizards would like to have Al Harrington back, and the matter of whether he plays for the team next year is essentially up to him, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. The 34-year-old has decided to play in the NBA next season after contemplating retirement. More from the Eastern Conference:

  • Andrew Wiggins‘ name has come up in trade talks with the Wolves, but the Cavs haven’t offered him as part of any proposal for a Kevin Love trade, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. That nuanced accounting of the discussions might illuminate some of the conflicting reports about Cleveland’s true willingness to part with the No. 1 pick.
  • Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer thinks the Cavs shouldn’t trade for Love unless they receive full assurance that he will commit for at least two years to the team, considering how difficult it would be to transition from a young, sub-.500 club to a championship contender in just one season. Love is reportedly agreeable to remaining with Cleveland alongside LeBron James, but hasn’t indicated a willingness to opt in for next season’s player option in order to delay his free agency for another year.
  • The Celtics haven’t completely given up hope of landing Love, but they’re prepared to move on, a source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. That’s why Boston is among the teams trying to function as the third team in a swap that sends Love elsewhere.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Teams With Hard Caps For 2014/15

July 24 at 2:29pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The NBA’s salary cap is really a misnomer of sorts, since it doesn’t truly cap salaries. Look no further than last year’s Nets for confirmation of that. They doled out nearly $103MM in salaries, incurring more than $90.57MM in luxury taxes and smashing the record for the greatest expenditure on a single roster in NBA history.

The NBA’s salary cap is commonly referred to as a “soft cap,” but there are still ways that teams can impose a “hard cap” upon themselves and set a finite limit to their spending. If a team’s salary exceeds the luxury tax threshold ($76,829,000) by more than $4MM, that team is not permitted to acquire a player via sign-and-trade, or to use the non-taxpayer’s mid-level or biannual exceptions. The only exceptions available to such a team are the taxpayer’s mid-level of $3,278,000, the minimum-salary exception, and whatever form of Bird rights they have on their own free agents. As soon as a team completes a sign-and-trade deal, uses its BAE, or uses more than $3,278,000 of its MLE to sign a player, that club becomes hard-capped at $80,829,000 for the 2014/15 season. In other words, team salary can’t exceed that amount at any point between now and June 30th, 2015.

For some clubs, that hard cap isn’t a major concern. For instance, the Suns still have about $18MM in breathing room below the hard cap, so they have plenty of flexibility to re-sign restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe to a max contract if need be. On the other hand, the Clippers are only about $1MM below the hard cap, so any trades or signings they make for the rest of the season will have to be constructed to ensure their team salary doesn’t surpass that $80.829MM cutoff.

More clubs may trigger hard caps as the offseason wears on, but here are the teams that are now locked into a hard cap for the 2014/15 season, along with an estimation (via Basketball Insiders) of their current team salaries and the reason(s) why the hard cap was created:

Hard cap created: Acquired Thabo Sefolosha via sign-and-trade
Estimated team salary: $60,975,564

Hard cap created: Acquired Trevor Ariza via sign-and-trade
Estimated team salary: $68,125,942

Hard cap created: Acquired Kris Humphries via sign-and-trade; acquired DeJuan Blair via sign-and-trade; signed Paul Pierce via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $76,646,603

Hard cap created: Acquired Isaiah Thomas via sign-and-trade
Estimated team salary: $51,805,537

Hard cap created: Signed Shaun Livingston via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $72,232,245

Hard cap created: Signed C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $74,798,942

Hard cap created: Signed Spencer Hawes via non-taxpayer MLE; signed Jordan Farmar via biannual exception
Estimated team salary: $79,679,772

Hard cap created: Signed Vince Carter via non-taxpayer MLE; signed Beno Udrih via biannual exception
Estimated team salary: $75,529,943

Trail Blazers
Hard cap created: Signed Chris Kaman via non-taxpayer MLE; signed Steve Blake via biannual exception
Estimated team salary: $69,322,824

Hard cap created: Signed Darren Collison via non-taxpayer MLE
Estimated team salary: $75,852,705

Players Who’ve Signed Qualifying Offers

July 22 at 10:02am CDT By Chuck Myron

Kevin Seraphin is by no means an exceptional NBA player, but Friday he did something that only 16 others have done since the implementation of rookie scale contracts in 1995: he signed his qualifying offer. Usually, the one-year qualifying offer is a mere placeholder for negotiation between a team and a restricted free agent, a vehicle for the club to retain its right to match offers from other teams. Still, a few players have gone ahead and taken the qualifying offer out of a desire to hit unrestricted free agency as soon as possible. A larger group among the 17 who have signed qualifying offers did so because there was no better offer on the market, and presumably Seraphin is among them.

Occasionally, a marquee restricted free agent will threaten to sign a qualifying offer to attempt to spook his team into a more player-friendly negotiating stance, lest the team lose the player to unrestricted free agency a year later. A report suggested that Greg Monroe might have done so this month, but rarely does this tactic come to fruition. The most sought-after restricted free agent to sign his qualifying offer was probably Ben Gordon in 2008, though it’s worth noting that the strategy seemed to work for him, as he fled for a lucrative deal with the Pistons the next summer.

Most players who sign qualifying offers don’t stick with their teams for long. Spencer Hawes is the only player to sign a contract with the same team with which he signed a qualifying offer the year before.

Not every player who receives a qualifying offer is coming off a rookie scale contract. Any player with three or fewer years of NBA experience is subject to restricted free agency if his team tenders a qualifying offer. In some cases, players have signed qualifying offers and have still been eligible for restricted free agency the next offseason. The Lakers carried two such players in 2012/13. Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris had signed qualifying offers in 2012 to remain with the team for that season, though the Lakers declined to tender qualifying offers to either of them in 2013.

With the help of RealGM.comShamSportsStorytellers ContractsPatricia Bender’s database and our own archives, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of players who’ve signed qualifying offers since 1995, including information on the next NBA deal each player signed. They’re listed in reverse chronological order below:

  • Kevin Seraphin signed a qualifying offer of $3,898,692 from the Wizards on 7/18/14.
  • Ivan Johnson signed a qualifying offer of $962,195 from the Hawks on 9/18/12. Has not signed another NBA contract.
  • Devin Ebanks signed a qualifying offer of $1,054,389 from the Lakers on 8/13/12. He signed a non-guaranteed training camp invitation from the Mavs on 9/13/13, but he didn’t make the opening-night roster.
  • Luke Harangody signed a qualifying offer of $1,054,389 from the Cavaliers on 7/3/12. Has not signed another NBA contract.
  • Darius Morris signed a qualifying offer of $962,195 from the Lakers on 7/2/12. He agreed to sign a non-guaranteed training camp invitation from the Sixers on 9/12/13, but he didn’t make the opening-night roster. He later surfaced on a 10-day contract with the Clippers, signed 1/6/14.
  • Nick Young signed a qualifying offer of $3,695,857 from the Wizards on 12/19/11. He was traded to the Clippers 3/15/12, and signed for one year, $5.6MM with the Sixers on 7/6/12.
  • Marco Belinelli signed a qualifying offer of $3,377,604 from the Pelicans on 12/13/11. He signed for one year, $1.957MM with the Bulls on 7/24/12.
  • Spencer Hawes signed a qualifying offer of $4,051,024 from the Sixers on 12/10/11. He re-signed with the Sixers for two years, $13.1MM on 7/12/12.
  • Raymond Felton signed a qualifying offer of $5,501,196 from the Hornets on 9/23/09. Signed with the Knicks for two years, $14.56MM on 7/12/10.
  • Ben Gordon signed a qualifying offer of $6,404,750 from the Bulls on 10/1/08. Signed with the Pistons for five years, $58MM on 7/8/09.
  • Robert Swift signed a qualifying offer of $3,579,131 from the Thunder on 9/11/08. Has not signed another NBA contract.
  • Mickael Pietrus signed a qualifying offer of $3,470,771 from the Warriors on 10/1/07. Signed with the Magic for four years, $21.2MM on 7/10/08.
  • Melvin Ely signed a qualifying offer of $3,303,813 from the Hornets on 10/2/06. He was traded to the Spurs on 2/13/07, and agreed to sign for two years, $1,893,739 (minimum salary) with the Pelicans on 9/13/07.
  • Vladimir Radmanovic signed a qualifying offer of $3,166,155 from the Thunder on 9/19/05. He was traded to the Clippers on 2/14/06, and agreed to sign for five years, $30.247MM with the Lakers on 7/12/06.
  • Stromile Swift signed a qualifying offer of $5,993,105 from the Grizzlies on 9/30/04. Signed with the Rockets for four years, $22.4MM on 8/2/05.
  • Michael Olowokandi signed a qualifying offer of $6,061,214 from the Clippers on 9/23/02. Signed with the Timberwolves for three years, $16,226,100 on 7/17/03.
  • Rasho Nesterovic signed a qualifying offer of $2,436,813 from the Timberwolves on 8/25/02. Signed with the Spurs for six years, $42MM on 7/16/03.

Note: Retired team names (Charlotte Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets, Seattle SuperSonics) have been updated to the current names to avoid confusion. 

Eastern Notes: Williams, LeBron, Love

July 21 at 9:21pm CDT By Zach Links

Nine years after leading the North Carolina men’s basketball team to a national championship, Marvin Williams is thrilled to return the Tar Heel state as a member of the Hornets, writes Steve Reed of The Associated Press.  Meanwhile, at the introductory presser, head coach Steve Clifford said that while he views the 6’9″ Williams as a combo forward, he believes his best position is at the four. Here’s more out of the East..

  • Maverick Carter, LeBron James‘ business partner, says he didn’t push James to return to the Cavaliers, nor did anyone else in his inner circle. “This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart,” Carter told ESPN.com’s Jason Whitlock. “We didn’t push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything. If he asks our opinion or what did we think about the pros and the cons, we help him think through it. We don’t push him.”
  • Should the Cavs trade for Kevin Love?  Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski sure thinks so.  “There’s absolutely not one second of hesitancy. I’d trade for Kevin Love,” Krzyzewski said on the John Feinstein Show, according to the Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press. “That’s not saying anything bad about any of the other (players reportedly involved in a trade). Love’s an all-star. He’s a double-double guy, but he’s a double-double guy that can spread the floor,” Coach K said.
  • The Wizards still have $4.3MM of their Trevor Ariza trade exception after using some of it on Kris Humphries, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.   Speaking of that sign-and-trade deal for Hump, the Wizards sent a 2015 second-rounder to the Celtics.  It’ll be top-49 protected, according to Pincus (link).
  • Sixers second-round picks K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant, and Jordan McRae are out to show they were draft steals, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I definitely feel like I can play in this league,” said McRae, who spoke with Hoops Rumors before the June draft. “Just getting a chance to play against guys like [Bulls rookies] Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, it was just playing hard against them and see where I stack up.”

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.