Knicks Sign Nigel Hayes

AUGUST 21: Hayes has officially signed with the Knicks, according to the team. It’s a one-year, partially guaranteed deal.

AUGUST 17: The Knicks have reached an agreement with Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes on a partially guaranteed contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowki of ESPN.

The senior averaged 14.0 points and 6.6 rebounds last season for the Badgers. He was invited to New York’s mini-camp in July and played for the Knicks’ summer league team, averaging 5.2 points, and 5.0 rebounds in five games in Orlando.

New York has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, so Hayes will have the opportunity to win a roster spot in training camp.

Hayes’ deal with the Knicks was first reported in June by ESPN’s Ian Begley.

Knicks Sign Jamel Artis To Partially Guaranteed Deal

AUGUST 21: The Knicks have officially signed Artis, the team announced in a press release. It’ll be a one-year deal, and will likely end up with Artis joining the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate.

JUNE 24: The Knicks have agreed to a partially guaranteed contract with undrafted free agent Jamel Artis out of Pitt, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now.

The 6’7″ senior swingman will be part of the Knicks’ summer league team and will be given a chance to earn a place on the roster in training camp. He averaged 18.2 points per game with the Panthers this year and had a season-high 43 against Louisville.

New York has already promised training camp deals to Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes and Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet, so the competition for the final roster spots will be intense. In addition, Florida’s Canyon Barry will be auditioned during summer league for a possible training camp invitation.

O.J. Mayo Has Interest In Playing Overseas

Former third overall pick O.J. Mayo has now been out of the NBA for a full season, having been banned for two years for violating the terms of the league’s anti-drug program. However, as Ben Golliver of SI.com details in an in-depth look at Mayo’s current situation, the veteran shooting guard received FIBA clearance last November and has interest in playing for a team in China, Spain, or Israel.

Despite that interest, Mayo has not yet fielded offers from teams in those countries and leagues. In the meantime, the 29-year-old has been working with skills and development coach Chris Johnson and strength and fitness trainer Travelle Gaines in the hopes of getting back into game shape. If no international opportunities materialize, Mayo is expected to continue his training program with Johnson and Gaines in Minnesota, where the duo will work with Jimmy Butler.

Mayo, who acknowledged that abuse of a prescription pain medication triggered his two-year ban from the NBA, said that not being able to play basketball last season was “probably the closest thing to jail that I’ll get to,” adding that it was the low point of his life.

“The shellshock of not being in the NBA,” Mayo said. “All my peers are playing and I’m not because of boneheaded mistakes. Take the ball away, what is there to do?”

Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the NBA on July 1, 2018, and his return must be approved by both the league and the players’ union. As Golliver notes, a number of factors will go into that decision, and Mayo will have to show that he hasn’t failed any marijuana or drug tests for a year prior to his reinstatement. If he does get the chance to play in the NBA again, the former Buck suggests he might like another chance to prove his worth in Milwaukee.

“I want to go back to what I left [in Milwaukee],” Mayo told Golliver when asked about his dream destination. “I was real close with [head coach] Jason Kidd. That was the best relationship I had with a coach besides [AAU coach Dwaine Barnes]. I had great relationships with Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and Khris Middleton. I was comfortable there. I felt like I let them down, cheated them for two years. They paid me $8 million to be, in my eyes, a subpar player. They invested millions of dollars for me to be on top of my s–t, and when you’re not on top of your s–t, it shows. I’ll be 30 next summer. If they just give me the chance, I can make it up. I owe them.”

Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options

Under the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the deadline for teams to sign fourth-year players to rookie scale extensions has been moved up from October 31 to the last day before the regular season begins, but Halloween remains an important date on the NBA’s calendar. It’s the last day that clubs can exercise team options on the rookie scale contracts of former first-round picks.

All the players whose options will be exercised or declined by October 31 are already under contract for the 2017/18 season. Their teams will have to make a decision on whether they want to lock in those players’ contracts beyond the coming season, picking up or turning down team options for the 2018/19 campaign.

For players who signed their rookie scale contracts in 2015 and have been in the NBA for two years, teams must decide on fourth-year options for 2018/19. For players who just signed their rookie deals last year and only have one season of NBA experience under their belts, teams will already be faced with a decision on third-year options for ’18/19.

In many cases, these decisions aren’t hard ones. Rookie scale salaries are so affordable – particularly with the salary cap poised to surpass $100MM next summer – that it usually makes sense to exercise most of these team options, even if a player isn’t a key cog on the roster. And for those players who do have a significant role on a team’s roster, the decision is even easier — it’s not as if the Knicks would even consider declining their option on Kristaps Porzingis. In fact, they’ve already picked it up.

Still, we’ll wait for a trusted reporter, the NBA, a player (or his agent), or a team itself to confirm that an option is indeed being exercised or declined, and we’ll track that news in this space.

Listed below are all the rookie scale decisions for 2018/19 team options that clubs must make by October 31. This list will be updated throughout the rest of the offseason, as teams’ decisions are reported and announced. The salary figures listed here reflect the cap hits for each team — players’ actual salaries will be a little higher, since recent first-round picks received pay bumps as a result of the new CBA.

Here are the NBA’s rookie scale team option decisions for 2018/19 salaries:

Read more

Clippers To Hire Trent Redden As Assistant GM

Former Cavaliers executive Trent Redden is poised to join the Clippers’ front office, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, who reports (via Twitter) that Los Angeles will hire Redden as an assistant general manager.

The addition of Redden represents the latest move in a series of front office changes for the Clippers. Earlier this summer, the team removed decision-making authority from Doc Rivers, who had been the club’s president of basketball operations. Although Rivers remains the team’s head coach and will still have a voice in personnel matters, Lawrence Frank has assumed control over L.A.’s basketball operations.

[RELATED: NBA’s Longest-Tenured GMs/Presidents]

With Rivers focusing on coaching, the Clippers have been filling out their front office with other seasoned executives, having reportedly offered the general manager job to Thunder assistant GM Michael Winger. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN observes (via Twitter), Winger and Redden previously worked together in Cleveland, and are now set to work alongside one another under Frank.

Redden previously worked for the Cavaliers as their senior VP of basketball operations, giving him a significant role in the club’s front office under David Griffin. However, when Griffin’s contract as general manager wasn’t extended by the Cavs, Redden also parted ways with the franchise.

Nerlens Noel Considering Agent Change As He Seeks New Deal

AUGUST 21, 9:11am: According to Mike Fisher of Scout.com (Twitter link), Noel is considering an agent change from Walters, despite hiring him just a few months ago. However, Fegan is not involved in this process — if Noel makes a change, he’s expected to look elsewhere.

AUGUST 20, 8:41pm: Scruggs’ report appears to be operating off of dated information, as Noel’s agency change occurred during the 2016/17 season. Initially reported to be leaning toward Fegan, Noel went in another direction, as Fegan was fired by his agency and became embroiled in legal drama. Noel – previously with Andy Miller at ASM – is currently represented by Happy Walters, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks confirms to Hoops Rumors.

AUGUST 20, 4:57pm: Nerlens Noel, who remains a restricted free agent, is still searching for a max contract on the market. In an effort to find that deal, he has switched agents, leaving ASM Sports and hiring Dan Fegan, according to Newy Scruggs of NBC.com.

Noel hasn’t received an offer from any rival suitor, Scruggs adds, which prompted the change. Should he still not find a long-term deal to his liking, he has the option to play for Dallas under his qualifying offer, which is worth $4,187,598.

Scruggs pegs Noel’s market value in the $12-13MM range, though it’s merely speculation. The scribe cites Noel’s injury history as a major reason why the big man will likely have to settle for less than the max.

The center has played 193 games since being selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft. He’s scored 10.0 rebounds and brought in 7.5 rebounds per game over his career while making 51.1% of his shots from the field.

Magic Sign Troy Caupain

The Magic have added an undrafted free agent to their offseason roster, formally inking former Cincinnati point guard Troy Caupain to an NBA contract. According to RealGM’s official transactions log, the deal was finalized last week. Caupain posted an Instagram message over the weekend thanking the Magic for the opportunity.

Caupain, 21, worked out for a number of NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the draft this spring, but wasn’t one of the 60 players selected in June. The former Bearcat played for the Raptors in the Las Vegas Summer League in July, appearing in five games for the club and averaging 4.8 PPG in 16.0 minutes per contest.

A 6’4″ guard, Caupain is coming off a senior year at Cincinnati in which he averaged 10.5 PPG with 4.6 RPG and 4.4 APG. His shooting line was also fairly modest, at .453/.325/.687.

Orlando doesn’t yet have 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, but I’d still be surprised if Caupain ended up on the team’s regular season roster. He appears to be a good candidate to end up with the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s G League squad, as an affiliate player.

With Caupain officially locked up, the Magic now have 16 players on their roster, and will have 17 if and when they finalize a deal with veteran free agent Adreian Payne. Orlando has yet to sign a player to a two-way contract.

And-Ones: Antetokounmpo, Teodosic, Sources, 2018 Standings

Bucks‘ All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out of Eurobasket earlier this week, which was met with disdain from the Greek basketball federation. The group accused the Bucks and NBA orchestrating an “organized and well-staged plan” to keep Antetokounmpo out of the event. However, a statement from the NBA reported by the Associated Press (via ESPN) explicitly denied the allegation.

“The NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks have followed all appropriate protocol under the NBA-FIBA agreement,” the NBA’s statement reads. “Giannis has an injury that has been confirmed through multiple examinations and any suggestion to the contrary is false.”

The Bucks explained that Antetokounmpo reported knee pain while training in Greece. The saga does not end there as, after a series of communications between the Bucks and the Greek team, Antetokounmpo was ultimately pulled from the tournament after the knee ailment did not improve. This subsequently led to the allegations that both the NBA and Bucks purposely sabotaged Antetokounmpo’s stint.

After a tremendous season with Milwaukee last season and major expectations for 2017/18, Antetokounmpo’s NBA future will be his most important.

Read up on more news around the basketball universe below:

  • Antetokounmpo will not be the only major name to be pulled from Eurobasket this week as the Clippers‘ major international signee, Milos Teodosic, will also not compete in the event, per Eurohoops (via Twitter).
  • As part of an in-depth look at the reporting side of the NBA, Steven Kyler of Basketball Insiders breaks down how “sources” work. Kyler explains how information is gathered from agents, front office personnel, the players, and other people inside the industry that leads to the stories that are reported across the internet.
  • As part of its Summer Forecast series, ESPN has released its predictions for standings in both the Western and Eastern conferences.

Cavaliers Notes: Griffin, LeBron, Merchandise

Blake Griffin is no stranger to rumors swirling at an impending free agency as the Clippers‘ longtime forward hit the open market this offseason but ultimately re-signed with Los Angeles on a lucrative five-year deal. Next offseason, LeBron James is set to hit the open market and has been rumored to be interested in L.A. (Clippers or Lakers), a place he has referred to as “home” this offseason and owns a home.

In a recent podcast appearance on View from the Cheap Seats with the Sklar Brothers, Griffin gave his thoughts on James possibly heading out west. While Griffin claimed to have no direct knowledge, he said he doubts that the three-time NBA champion will not go to Los Angeles and feels New York would be a more viable destination (via Complex).

“Honestly, I don’t see him coming to L.A. period. Listen, again, I have no idea. I think something is brewing with him and his group of guys. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think something’s brewing and they’re going to try to make that work,” he said. “I could see him going to New York before L.A. I still think, when you go to the Garden, it’s a completely different feeling. The energy, there seems like there’s just a consistent buzz the entire game … even last year when you go play them, it’s still there.”

James’ future will be a hot topic in the next 12 months and players around the league will be among those to weigh in with their thoughts.

Below you can read up on several tidbits of Cavaliers news:

  • Charles Curtis of USA Today breaks down why the Cavaliers will not trade James before his hits free agency despite the uncertainty of his future. Curtis notes that James has a no-trade clause, teams’ skepticism of trading for a player departing in one year, fielding a competitive team even without Kyrie Irving, and the reputation of the NBA’s best player.
  • In a separate USA Today, Alysha Tsuji writes that a store in James’ native Akron, Ohio, is selling merchandise asking James to “Stay Home” to stay past the 2017/18 season.
  • Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes that unless the team begins its transformation project of Quicken Loans Arena by September 15, the Cavaliers will not be considered for an NBA All-Star game in 2020 or 2021.

James Harden Talks Chris Paul, Rockets, Summer 17

Chris Paulwho had the ability to become a free agent this offseason, informed the Clippers in June that he would not be returning to the club. Instead, he intended to go to the Rockets, which prompted Los Angeles to trade him to Houston prior to him activating his Early Termination Option.

James Harden played a key role in bringing Paul to Houston. The 2016/17 MVP runner up discussed the acquisition with Sam Amick of USA Today, telling the scribe that he spoke with Paul about forming a dynamic backcourt.

“I just knew that in the summertime obviously [Paul] was a free agent, and I wanted to see where his head was,” Harden said of Paul. “He didn’t seem happy, so after that we just took it from there.”

Harden continued, telling Amick that he feels the move puts the team in a position to match up with Golden State, the conference’s 3-time reigning champ.

“Obviously Golden State has been in the Finals and won two out of three, so that’s what everybody is trying to build-up against. But we’re right there. We’re right there. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but it definitely puts us in a better chance,” the 27-year-old added.

Harden understands that playing alongside someone as great as Paul is a huge opportunity. Paul can become a free agent at the end of next season, so there’s no telling whether the 2017/18 campaign will be the only one where the two share a backcourt. Harden, who has made several changes to his offseason routine, including the addition of yoga and pilates, isn’t going to take the opportunity for granted.

“Every summer, it’s about getting better and putting yourself in a position to last an entire season,” Harden said.“I know how exciting this season is [going to be, and] I know how important it is, so I’m going to take full advantage of it. I have a lot of charity [events], a lot of things going on, but when I’m in that gym that’s kind of my getaway. That’s kind of when I’m locked in.”

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