Warriors Expected To Release Briante Weber, Sign Jose Calderon

The Warriors are expected to sign Jose Calderon following Briante Weber‘s release, Anthony Slater of San Jose Mercury News reports (Twitter link). Coach Steve Kerr discussed the prospect of signing Calderon at Saturday’s postgame press conference.

“It’ll be a point guard,” Kerr told San Jose Mercury News. “We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized. Got to wait until it’s official.”

Earlier today, Marc Stein of ESPN reported the Lakers’ intent to buy out Calderon’s contract. While the Rockets and Warriors emerged as early favorites to sign the 12th-year veteran, Golden State created a roster vacancy by releasing Weber. Calderon is in the final season of a four-year, $29MM contract.

Weber received two minutes of playing time in Saturday’s match-up with Brooklyn. The 24-year-old played sparingly with Golden State, scoring eight points over six games. Per Slater, the Hornets are a likely landing spot for Weber (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Jones, Thornton, Suns, Raptors

The Pelicans waived Terrence Jones on Thursday after being unable to find a trade partner for him and the Nets waived Marcus Thornton after acquiring him in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade. Both players have cleared waivers and are free to sign with any team, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Jones should have no problem finding a new home. He’s a productive 25-year-old big man who was averaging 11.5 points per game in New Orleans while sporting a 16.2 player efficient rating.

Thornton may have to wait slightly longer to find a new club, but he should be able to help a team fill out the back end of its rotation.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Hawks sent $500K to the Suns as part of the Mike Scott trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). In addition to the cash considerations, Phoenix received the draft rights to Cenk Akyol for taking on Scott’s contract, while Atlanta received a protected second-round pick.
  • As part of the P.J. Tucker deal, the Raptors sent the Suns cash considerations of $1MM, Pincus tweets. Phoenix also received Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks in the deal. The Suns waived Sullinger on Friday.
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, has traded Cameron Jones to the Canton Charge, leagues sources tell Adam Johnson of D-League Digest (Twitter link).

Lakers Notes: Ball, George, Brewer

LaVar Ball, the father of top draft prospect Lonzo Ball, said today that his son will only play for the Lakers, Michael Luke of the Arizona Wildcats Sports Radio relays (Twitter link). Ball has regularly spoken to the media about his sons and multiple NBA executives have told Evan Daniels of Scouts.com (Twitter link) that it’s a cause for concern.

He recently hyped up his son by saying Lonzo was better than Stephen Curry“Steph is 6-2, 6-3. My boy is 6-7. ’Zo is faster than Steph and he jumps higher,” LaVar said via The New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro. “If Steph had to guard Lonzo one-on-one, he couldn’t hold Lonzo. I can’t wait for the first game they play together in the NBA. Then, when my son beats him, then what?’’

Chad Ford of ESPN.com has the Suns selecting Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in his latest mock draft. The Lakers currently own the third spot in our Reverse Standings, meaning if the season ended today, they would have a 31.3% chance at a top-2 draft pick.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers didn’t want to trade parts of its young core for Paul George or another star player without having an infrastructure around him, a source tells Mark Medina of the Orange County Register. Medina also hears that George has interest in joining the Lakers as a free agent, which confirms an earlier report.
  • New addition Corey Brewer is excited to join the Lakers and take on a role as a mentor, Medina passes along in the same piece. “The young guys are going to be good. I was happy to come,” said Brewer. “I’ll talk to them, try to help them out anyway I can. I’m going to push them and kick their butt in practice and play every day.”
  • Johnson presence at the Lakers‘ facilities has changed the way some of the team’s younger players conduct themselves, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. “Everybody has to look over their shoulders once again,” D’Angelo Russell said. “It’s like coming to a new team. You try to impress the GMs and the guys in the front office with your play and off the court, the way you handle yourself. It’s just all different.”

 

Community Shootaround: Nerlens Noel Trade

Many expected the Sixers to trade a big man at the deadline and Jahlil Okafor was the top candidate to be moved. Nothing materialized with Okafor and opposing teams, but Philadelphia was able to move toward having a balanced roster by trading Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks.

The team will get Justin AndersonAndrew Bogut (who is a buyout candidate) and a 2017 protected first-round pick in exchange for the former No. 6 overall pick. The first-rounder is top-18 protected and if not conveyed this year, the Sixers will instead receive two second-round picks. As our Reverse Standings indicate, Dallas would have to put together an incredible stretch of wins in order for to end up as a team with a top-12 record, so it’s unlikely that the pick conveys this offseason.

The Sixers could have held onto Noel, but it would have meant paying him a lucrative contract in restricted free agency or losing him for nothing. Philadelphia has no cap issues now, but GM Bryan Colangelo doesn’t want to start accumulating expensive assets, especially when he understands how much the market for centers has tanked. Everyone knew the Sixers had to make a trade. It hurt their centers’ trade values and having Noel on a long-term, more expensive contract wouldn’t have helped to increase the demand.

Dallas gets a center who complements Dirk Nowitzki and will make a nice long-term on-court partner for Harrison Barnes. The Mavs will have to hand him a pricey contract in the offseason and I speculate that it will be a deal in the $16-$18 per year range. That’s overpaying for what Noel is right now, but it may be an appropriate value for what he can become during the length of a four-year deal. He has the quickness and the defensive prowess to become one of the top rim protectors in the league and the Mavs should be taking chances on players who are just entering their primes.

From the Sixer perspective, it’s easy to get frustrated. More future second-round picks? Another project player? Why did the team oust Sam Hinkie if it was going to continue to use his strategy? Valid concerns, but the team isn’t ready to compete and there wasn’t a reasonable Noel deal that was going to put them in that position, especially with the latest Ben Simmons news.

So our question to readers is how do you feel about the trade from either side? Do you believe Dallas got the better end of the deal or do you think both sides improved? Please take to the comments section to give us your input on this subject. We look forward to hearing your opinion.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Durant, Kings

The Warriors don’t anticipate adding a big man via the buyout market, Anthony Slater of the Bay Area News Group passes along via Twitter. Coach Steve Kerr said he likes how the current roster is constructed and doesn’t want to end up having too many frontcourt players on the team.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kevin Durant wants to be a GM or an owner of an NBA team once his playing career is over, Slater relays in a full-length piece“ [I] Want to be a GM, want to own a team, hopefully own a team and run it,” Durant said. “So I look to see what rumors are getting out there, what deals are being presented to these teams. Try to figure that stuff out. It’s fun, especially for a guy who knows that part of the business.” Durant added that he regularly talks front office strategy with Kerr and Warriors GM Bob Myers.
  • Garrett Temple injured his hamstring earlier in the month, but he’s progressing and he hopes to be back on the floor for the Kings in a week or two, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 tweets.
  • The Kings have a history of trading away their All-Star players, Jon Schultz of the Sacramento Bee writes. The team has had six All-Stars since moving to Sacramento in 1985 and with the exception of Vlade Divac, all of the players were sent elsewhere via trade.

Latest On Derrick Rose And The Knicks

B.J. Armstrong, the agent for Derrick Rose, said that his client “wants to be in New York,” Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes. Rose was the subject of trade rumors leading up the trade deadline, but his representatives believe the Knicks had his best interests in mind when negotiating with other teams. Rose told the local media on Friday that he holds “no grudges and no hard feelings” about the trade chatter.

“It was an opportunity to see what his value truly was throughout the league,” Armstrong said. “So as you can see, through all the reports, there were teams that were interested in him and what he does and what he brings to the court.” 

Begley notes that several teams contacted the Knicks regarding a Rose trade. The Knicks had discussions with the Wolves regarding a Ricky Rubio-Rose swap, but those talks stalled when New York demanded additional assets. Shortly before the deadline passed, the Knicks backed off those demands, but Minnesota backed out of talks because it feared Rose wouldn’t be open to re-signing with the club.

“I wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t traded,” Armstrong said of Rose. “Derrick is putting together, game by game, coming back and really beginning to play at a consistent level to where he’s at and what he’s going to be at this stage of his career. So I think there was a lot of rumors, his name was out there. But in the end, I think the Knicks did what they thought was in their best interests.”

Rose would like to remain in town, but it’s unclear whether or not the Knicks would like to continue the relationship past this season, according to Begley.

Rose is averaging 17.6 points while shooting 46.2% from the field this season. However, the raw numbers don’t tell the whole story, as Dan Favale of NBAMath details. Rose prioritizes scoring when he’s on the court and his decision making has hurt the team this season. New York’s assist percentage drops significantly when Rose is in the lineup and Favale believes Rose has taken opportunities away from other players, especially Kristaps Porzingis.

Earlier in the year, it was reported that Rose would seek a max deal when he hits free agency this summer. It’s unlikely that he receives the max offer, but with a plethora of teams in need of a point guard, he’ll have plenty of suitors. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him land a deal in the $12-15MM/year range, though that is simply my speculation.

Cavs To Sign Deron Williams

Deron Williams has cleared waivers and he will sign with the Cavaliers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets that the signing is expected to be completed on Monday.

The agreement is for the remainder of the season and it will cost Cleveland $908,431 this season with $259,526 of that figure being Williams’ salary and remaining cost being luxury tax payments, Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets. The move will bring the Cavs payroll to slightly over $126.9MM, which is the highest is league history.

Dallas was looking to trade Williams at the deadline, but no deal materialized. Shortly after the deadline, it was reported that the Mavs were working on a buyout agreement with Williams and his preferred destination was Cleveland.

LeBron James has been adamant about the team adding a playmaker to help take the burden off of him and the addition of Williams should help with that issue. The 32-year-old can play the traditional point guard role for the Cavs when Kyrie Irving and James sit, but he’s also comfortable playing off the ball, so he should see regular minutes alongside Irving and James as well.

Williams is averaging 13.1 points and 6.9 assists per game this season. He has a 53.2 true shooting percentage and he’s sporting a 15.3 player efficiency rating.

Week In Review: 2/18/17 – 2/25/17

A wild week in the NBA has just drawn to a close. We started with the All-Star Break in New Orleans and finished with the dawn of buyout season. In between? A particularly active trade deadline day and an exciting few days leading up to it. We all know by now that the DeMarcus Cousins/Anthony Davis is underway in New Orleans but what comes next? Here’s everything you need to know about the week that was.

Traded


Signed


Waived


Injured


News


Rumors

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/25/17

Here are the D-League transactions for today:

  • The Thunder have assigned forward Josh Huestis to their D-League affiliate, the team announced via press release. In 23 starts with the Oklahoma City Blue, Huestis has averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
  • The Cavaliers have recalled rookie point guard Kay Felder from their D-League affiliate, the team revealed on their official website. Felder has averaged 30.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game in his only three stints with the Canton Charge.

NBA Teams Below Salary Cap For 2016/17

At this point in the season, most teams aren’t going to do much with any leftover cap room. Teams are no longer able to make trades, and most free agents still on the market won’t demand more than the minimum.

Still, there’s reason to consider which teams remain below the cap after this week’s trade activity. With useful veteran players potentially hitting the free agent market as a result of contract buyouts, a team with some extra cap room might have a leg up on teams without any spending flexibility.

For instance, if the Rockets and Warriors were to pursue the same free agent – perhaps Andrew Bogut, if he’s bought out by the Sixers – Houston could offer a deal worth up to about $3.5MM with cap room, while Golden State would be limited to offering a prorated minimum salary worth closer to $400K. That’s a significant difference.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on teams that remain below the minimum salary floor, since those clubs could enter the bidding for a bought-out player or could claim a player off waivers. The Jazz, for instance, probably don’t need a big man like Bogut, but if they wanted him and he became available, Utah has enough cap room to claim his entire $11MM+ contract. That would keep him off the open market and allow the Jazz to surpass the salary floor.

Using our Salary Cap Snapshots, let’s take a closer look at the teams below the cap, starting with teams still below the salary floor:

Teams below the salary floor:

  1. Utah Jazz: $13.64MM below cap ($4.23MM below floor)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.66MM below cap ($3.24MM below floor)
  3. Denver Nuggets: $11.56MM below cap ($2.15MM below floor)
  4. Brooklyn Nets: $10.21MM below cap ($793K below floor)

Less than a month ago, there were six teams below the salary floor. Since then, the Nets and Nuggets have taken major steps toward the floor, while the Suns and Sixers have gotten above it entirely. That leaves the Jazz and Timberwolves as the clubs furthest below the salary floor.

As we’ve noted in the past, there’s no real penalty if a team remains below the floor — the team simply has to make up the difference by paying their current players a little more money. However, the Jazz and Wolves figure to be mulling other opportunities to reach the floor. That could mean placing a waiver claim or – in Utah’s case – renegotiating a contract.

We haven’t heard any rumors lately about the Jazz discussing a new deal with an extension-eligible veteran like George Hill or Derrick Favors, so that seems like a long shot. But the team does have until the end of February to renegotiate and extend either player’s contract, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Teams below the cap, but above the floor:

  1. Phoenix Suns: $9.226MM below cap
  2. Philadelphia 76ers: $8.62MM below cap
  3. Indiana Pacers: $4.14MM below cap
  4. Boston Celtics: $1.11MM below cap

Although the Suns and Sixers have inched above the salary floor, they’re not necessarily out of the woods quite yet. Phoenix needs the contracts of Jared Sullinger and Mike Scott to pass through waivers unclaimed, while the Sixers will require the same for Bogut if they eventually cut him. If any of those deals are claimed, they’ll move to another team’s cap, pushing Phoenix or Philadelphia back below the floor.

Teams that could clear cap room by renouncing exceptions:

  1. Houston Rockets: $3.54MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $3.33MM)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder: $3.05MM below cap if lone TPE ($4.94MM) is renounced
  3. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.75MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $5MM)
  4. Chicago Bulls: $1.59MM below cap if lone TPE ($5.46MM) is renounced

These teams are technically over the cap, but could go under if they chose to renounce their trade exceptions. In some cases, that might not make much sense. For instance, the Bucks and Bulls would have less than $2MM in cap room if they renounced their exceptions. Both teams have trade exceptions worth at least $5MM, so it probably makes sense to stay over the cap for now and see if those exceptions come in handy around the draft.

On the other hand, the amount of cap room the Rockets would have if they renounced their trade exceptions would be greater than the amount of their largest TPE, so it makes sense for Houston to dip below the cap, expunging those TPEs from their books. That would also allow the Rockets to use cap room to sign a free agent, something they couldn’t do using a trade exception.

The rest of the NBA’s 18 teams don’t currently have cap room. That includes the Lakers, whose moves this week took them over the cap by just $316K.

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