Mavs Expected To Sign Quinn Cook

The Mavericks are expected to sign Quinn Cook to a 10-day contract, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports. The development was foreshadowed by Eddie Sefko of Dallas News, who reported that Cook was on a list of possible 10-day contract candidates.

Cook, 23, has yet to make his NBA debut but excelled with the Canton Charge this season- averaging 26.1 points on 47.7% shooting through 35 games. The former Blue Devil signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Pelicans entering training camp, and was waived in October despite an impressive preseason.

It remains to be seen when Dallas will formally announce the signing.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Rose, Porzingis, Jackson

Carmelo Anthony is unsure of the Knicks‘ direction after standing pat at the trade deadline. “I think they were kind of planning on the trade deadline, whether they were trying to make moves,” Anthony said. “I think that was one plan. Now they’ve got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan about the future of this team.”

Anthony’s frustration is understandable. Team president Phil Jackson extensively discussed the prospect of shopping Anthony, despite ‘Melo’s no-trade clause. While Anthony wasn’t mentioned in trade rumors throughout the deadline, the team was apparently rebuffed by Minnesota on a Ricky Rubio-for-Derrick Rose swap. Anthony claimed he “kind of knew” he wouldn’t be dealt in the days leading up to the deadline, and spoke for his teammates in criticizing the front office’s lack of transparency.

“Yeah, I mean, nobody likes to be in limbo,” Anthony said. “We all want to know kind of what’s going on, especially when it’s involving you. I think there’s other players who feel the same way, that they want to be involved — not involved, but at least up to date with what’s going on.”

More from the Mecca…

  • Kristaps Porzingis will be out several days with an ankle injury, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (Twitter link). Porzingis made an early exit from Thursday’s loss to the Cavs, and appears likely to miss match-ups against the Sixers and Raptors.
  • Frank Isola of the Daily News relayed a troubling report that Phil Jackson was difficult to contact leading up to the deadline. Isola commended Jackson for not dealing a first round pick, but chastised his inactivity on the trade market. Through three seasons as team president, Isola notes, Jackson’s only deadline acquisition has been Alexey Shved.
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post echoes Isola’s sentiments, claiming Jackson “overplayed his hand” throughout negotiations for Rubio. According to Berman, the Knicks insisted Minnesota include either a draft pick of Nemanja Bjelica along with Rubio in a trade for Rose. Now 12 games under .500, the Knicks’ “win-now-with-Rose experiment” has been doomed, Berman writes.
  • By the conclusion of the trade deadline Thursday, coach Jeff Hornacek received a text stating “we’re sticking with what we have,” from Jackson. The team’s deadline inactivity is the latest development in a “disappointing and chaotic season,” David Waldstein of the New York Times writes. While Rose is on an expiring contract, there appears to be “little momentum” for the Knicks to re-sign him, Walstein notes.

Clippers Exploring Inglewood As New Arena Site

The Clippers appear to be in the preliminary stages of moving into an arena of their own. According to a report from Nathan Fenno and Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, representatives of Clippers and Los Angeles Rams ownership have had discussions about the Clippers re-locating to Inglewood. The Clippers would join the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers in the “sports and entertainment district” being targeted for a 2019 release date.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer “hasn’t hidden his desire for an arena of his own,” Fenno and Farmer write, as the Clippers currently share the Staples Center with the Lakers and Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. The Clippers’ lease at Staples Center runs through 2024.

These aren’t the first rumblings we’ve heard about a change of scenery for the Clippers. According to a July 2016 report from Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, the Clippers had started to explore the possibility of a move, perhaps to Los Angeles’ west side — at the time, Arnovitz said the club had identified six potential locations in southern California, suggesting that the franchise didn’t love being the Staples Center’s “third tenant.”

Although representatives for Ballmer and Rams owner Stan Kroenke have reportedly had multiple discussions, Fenno and Farmer give no indications that those talks have moved beyond the exploratory stages. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. was unaware of discussions regarding a new arena, and it remains to be seen whether Ballmer would own- rather than lease- the arena land. What’s more, the Times’ report cites the potential conflict of competing head-to-head with the Lakers in selling suites, club seats, and other products.

An anonymous source explained the motives of the prospective move to the L.A. Times:

“It’s too soon to say it would be L.A. Live lite, but if an arena were to bring 200 nights a year, that’s a tremendous amount of foot traffic that would benefit all the ancillary properties.”

Southwest Notes: Noel, Grizzlies, Rockets, Pelicans

After acquiring Nerlens Noel from the Sixers on Thursday, Donnie Nelson repeatedly compared the young center to a former Dallas big man, suggesting that Noel has a lot in common with Tyson Chandler. Acknowledging that Andrew Bogut never really meshed well with the Mavericks‘ system and roster, Nelson expressed optimism about how Noel will fit, referring to the former Sixer as a “Tyson starter kit,” as Adam Grosbard of The Dallas Morning News writes.

“He gives us an element we haven’t had here since Tyson Chandler,” the Mavericks GM said. “Shot blocking, rebounding, energy, big steals guy as well. He’s able to get out in the court and guard the pick and roll, which is a big asset these days, to be able to keep the smaller guy in front of you. So it gives us a dimension that we haven’t had here in a long time so we’re really more than ecstatic and excited about him.”

Head coach Rick Carlisle was bullish on the acquisition as well, telling reporters that the Mavericks like Noel “a lot” and had been talking all season to the Sixers about a trade (Twitter link via Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com).

Here’s more from out of the Southwest division:

  • The Grizzlies had a quiet trade deadline, forgoing any trades in favor of re-signing Toney Douglas to a two-year deal. That’s fine with head coach David Fizdale, who told Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link) before the signing was official that locking up Douglas “is like a trade.”
  • The Rockets‘ trade of K.J. McDaniels was essentially a salary dump, so it comes as no surprise that the Nets gave the Rockets $75K just in the deal, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. That’s the least amount of cash a team can send in a trade.
  • It has been more than a year since Jarrett Jack appeared in an NBA game, so he’s excited about the “tremendous” opportunity he has in New Orleans, as William Guillory of The Times-Picayune details. Jack signed a 10-day contract today with the Pelicans.
  • After adding DeMarcus Cousins to their frontcourt, the Pelicans knew there wouldn’t be many minutes for Terrence Jones going forward, which is why they granted him his release on Thursday, per head coach Alvin Gentry (link via Guillory). “He wants to play,” Gentry said. “Obviously, he’s going to be a guy in a contract year and things like that, so we thought it was best to let him go.”

Hornets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To 10-Day Deal

3:14pm: The Hornets have officially signed O’Bryant to a 10-day contract, the team announced this afternoon in a press release.

7:32am: After playing on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Nuggets earlier this season, Johnny O’Bryant is poised to join a new team, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back, who reports (via Twitter) that the Hornets will sign the free agent forward to a 10-day contract.

The Hornets have been carrying 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, along with a pair of players – Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey – on 10-day contracts. The latest 10-day deals for both McCallum and Tobey expired overnight, so it seems the Hornets won’t retain both players.

Assuming the team finalizes a deal with O’Bryant, there would still be one opening on the roster to sign McCallum, Tobey, or someone else. Since McCallum and Tobey each signed two 10-day contracts with Charlotte, they would need to be signed for the season to stick with the Hornets.

O’Bryant, 23, was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Bucks. In 100 games for the club, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The LSU product signed as a free agent with the Wizards prior to training camp last fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with the team.

O’Bryant subsequently joined the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, averaging 18.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 24 games for Phoenix’s affiliate this season. He even added a three-point shot to his game during his time in the NBADL, making 38.0% of his attempts and averaging more than one three-pointer per game. That earned O’Bryant a couple 10-day contracts with the Nuggets, for whom he appeared in seven games, averaging 2.9 PPG and 1.6 RPG.

Celtics Rumors: Deadline Talks, Jones, Yabusele

Although the Celtics were frequently linked to Jimmy Butler and Paul George in the days and hours leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe hears that talks never got really “serious” with the Bulls, who didn’t seem overly motivated to trigger a rebuild by moving Butler. Meanwhile, appearing on CSNNE, Chris Mannix of The Vertical suggests that the Celtics probably weren’t close to getting George either, having drawn “a line in the sand that they weren’t going to cross.”

There were conflicting reports on whether the Celtics made one or both of their Nets picks available, but Mannix suggests that Danny Ainge was willing to discuss both the 2017 and 2018 selections, while sources tell Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the C’s made those picks available “separately” in trade offers. However, according to Bulpett, in their discussions with the Bulls, the Celtics wanted protections on that 2017 pick.

Mannix adds that Boston was also reluctant to package multiple players like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown with its picks. As Lowe explains, Ainge and the Celtics weren’t able to find a package that left them feeling comfortable about both their present and its future, so they decided to hang onto their assets for now and revisit trade scenarios down the road.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • In Bulpett’s piece (linked above), The Herald reporter notes multiple times that the ability to be a major player for a max free agent this summer seemed to be a high priority for Ainge and the Celtics as they considered potential trades.
  • If Boston had the chance to acquire an impact player in a favorable deal at the deadline, the team certainly would have been willing to give up that chance at max space, but Bulpett says the team has projected a “seemingly odd confidence” about its opportunities this summer, given the inherent uncertainty in free agency and the draft. “The fact (Ainge) was so comfortable waiting for the draft and summer scares the (expletive) out of me,” one rival league executive told Bulpett.
  • In a piece for The Vertical, Chris Mannix makes a case for why it was perfectly fine for the Celtics to stand pat at the deadline, while A. Sherrod Blakely lays out a similar argument in an article for CSNNE.com.
  • Terrence Jones, who will be an unrestricted free agent if he clears waivers, has some interest in the Celtics, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Ainge hinted during a radio appearance today that draft-and-stash prospect Guerschon Yabusele may join Boston’s D-League affiliate in Maine after the Chinese Basketball Association’s season ends.

Omri Casspi Breaks Thumb, Out 4-6 Weeks

FEBRUARY 24: The Pelicans have confirmed the diagnosis on Casspi, announcing today (via Twitter) that the veteran forward will be sidelined for four to six weeks as his thumb heals.

FEBRUARY 23: Omri Casspi broke his right thumb tonight in his first game with the Pelicans since Monday’s trade, tweets Justin Verrier of ESPN.com. Doctors are projecting that the injury will sideline him for four to six weeks (Twitter link).

Casspi was sent from Sacramento to New Orleans along with DeMarcus Cousins in a five-player deal. His injury capped an overall bad night for the Pelicans, who suffered a 30-point loss to Houston in front of a sold-out Smoothie King Center. Casspi played 23 minutes and scored 12 points before being hurt. New Orleans was counting on him to provide some wing depth after shipping Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway to the Kings.

Casspi is making $3MM this season in the final year of his contract, so he is a candidate to be waived or bought out if the Pelicans don’t want to wait for his return. New Orleans waived Lance Stephenson in a similar situation in November when the team felt like it needed a healthy player.

The Pelicans filled one final roster spot today when they signed Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract, but opened another when they waived Terrence Jones.

Post-Deadline Housekeeping: New TPEs, Open Roster Spots

There were no superstars on the move on Thursday, but NBA teams made eight trades, and there were many more signings and cuts completed once the deadline passed. In the wake of the deadline, we’ll take a look at a few roster- and cap-related notes, rounding up the new traded player exceptions that teams created on Thursday, as well as examining which teams still have space available on their rosters.

Let’s dive in…

New trade exceptions:

Several over-the-cap teams acquired new trade exceptions on Thursday. They’ll all expire on February 23, 2018, a year after they were created, or until they’re used or renounced by the teams below. If a club wants to use cap room, it must renounce its trade exceptions, but until then, these TPEs can be used in the summer or next season to acquire players.

Here’s the breakdown, in order of TPE value:

  • Dallas Mavericks: $6,642,537
  • Chicago Bulls: $5,462,000
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $5,000,000
  • Atlanta Hawks: $3,333,334
  • Houston Rockets: $3,333,333
  • Dallas Mavericks: $1,514,160
  • Houston Rockets: $612,172
  • Toronto Raptors: $328,000
  • Houston Rockets: $233,880

Some notes related to these TPEs:

  • Multiple teams on this list, including the Rockets and Bucks, could open up cap room by renouncing their trade exceptions. In Houston’s case, this is particularly notable, since the club would create more than $3.5MM in cap space by renouncing these TPEs. That cap room could come in handy very soon if the Rockets are trying to entice a free agent to sign with them instead of another contender that can only offer the minimum.
  • As is always the case with TPEs, some of these exceptions will be more useful than others. The Mavericks could end up doing something interesting with their $6.6MM+ TPE, but the Raptors will almost certainly never use theirs for $328K.
  • The Thunder also came out of Thursday’s action with a new TPE — sort of. Oklahoma City had created a trade exception worth $7.4MM on November 1 when the team sent Ersan Ilyasova to Philadelphia. The Thunder used a portion of that exception at the deadline to absorb Doug McDermott‘s salary, leaving approximately $4.94MM left on it. OKC will have until November 1 to use the rest of that TPE.
  • For the complete list of trade exceptions across the NBA, click here.

Teams with open roster spots:

A day after the trade deadline, the list of teams with open roster spots is incredibly fluid. Some teams that acquired players in trades don’t have any use for those players, and will waive them. Other clubs will fill roster holes with D-League call-ups, while other teams will be a little more patient and wait out the buyout market.

All of this is to say that this list is up to date at the time of publication, but could change quickly as teams make more moves this weekend. Here are the teams that currently have at least one open spot on their 15-man roster, with their player count noted in parentheses:

  • Charlotte Hornets (13): The 10-day contracts for Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey expired overnight, so Charlotte has two open spots. The team reportedly plans to use one on Johnny O’Bryant.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (14): The Cavs have 13 guaranteed contracts, plus Derrick Williams‘ 10-day deal. The team expects to sign Deron Williams as well, so if any other roster additions are coming after that, Cleveland would need to clear a roster spot.
  • Dallas Mavericks (13): The Mavs have two openings after completing a two-for-one trade with the Sixers, then waiving Deron Williams.
  • Houston Rockets (14): The Rockets opened up a roster spot by trading K.J. McDaniels, and may waive Marcelo Huertas as well. Houston is expected to be active on the buyout market.
  • Milwaukee Bucks (14): The Bucks created a roster opening by sending Roy Hibbert to Denver, and they’re expected to fill it by signing Axel Toupane to a 10-day contract.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (14): Unlike most of the teams on this list, the Wolves have carried an open roster spot for a while, and that didn’t change at the deadline.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (14): The Thunder traded three players to Chicago and received just two in return, creating an opening. They have their eye on free agents and buyout candidates.
  • Orlando Magic (14): Like Minnesota, the Magic were carrying an open roster spot prior to the deadline and didn’t make a move on Thursday.

The Suns will join this list as soon as they officially waive Mike Scott and Jared Sullinger, as is expected. They’ll fill one of those two newly-open spots with Ronnie Price. There are also three teams that have full 15-man rosters with at least one player on a 10-day contract. The Hawks, Warriors, and Pelicans fall into this category, with Briante Weber‘s second 10-day deal in Golden State set to expire soon.

For a full breakdown of NBA roster counts, check out our list.

Sixers Notes: Anderson, Okafor, Bogut, Splitter

When word broke that the 76ers would likely end up receiving a pair of second-round picks from the Mavericks in the Nerlens Noel trade, rather than a first-rounder, critics were quick to rule the deal a misstep for GM Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers. However, in the view of Mavs GM Donnie Nelson, the draft compensation isn’t even the most important part of the package heading to Philadelphia — Nelson thinks Justin Anderson is that centerpiece.

“Look, they had an extremely difficult situation,” Nelson said of the Sixers, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “They were overstocked at the center position. You’re looking at basically the possibility of a couple-month rental, and so I think they did the best that they could with the situation they had. It was really a need position for us, and it was taking the best possible deal they could get. They like Justin Anderson a lot. He is the critical piece, and it was hard for us to give them that piece.”

David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News agrees with Nelson’s sentiment, writing – even before the Mavs GM spoke to reporters – that the success of the deal from the Sixers’ perspective figures to hinge on the development of Anderson.

Here’s more on the Sixers, who announced earlier today that Ben Simmons will be out for the rest of the season:

  • The trade market for Jahlil Okafor leading up to the deadline was “much more broad” than the market for Noel, but the right deal didn’t present itself, per Colangelo (Twitter links via Jake Fischer of SI.com). The Sixers GM hinted that the team will probably revisit trade talks involving Okafor at a later date.
  • Andrew Bogut won’t be with the Sixers for at least a week while dealing with personal issues, but that doesn’t preclude the two sides from negotiating a buyout during that time, says Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). A buyout is considered likely, so Bogut may never end up reporting to Philadelphia.
  • Colangelo said today that Tiago Splitter is hoping to get back onto the court this season and the Sixers will help him rehab, but the big man – acquired from the Hawks this week – isn’t part of the club’s long term plans (Twitter links via Fischer and Pompey). Splitter will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Colangelo said today that Ersan Ilyasova will be seeking a long-term deal in free agency this summer, but wasn’t part of the Sixers’ long-term plans, which was why the club felt compelled to move him this week (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).
  • Joel Embiid wasn’t thrilled with the cagey way in which the Sixers handled updates on his knee injury, as Tom Moore of The Burlington County Times writes. “I was told I was going to kind of miss two or three weeks, so I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled,” said Embiid, who was announced as day-to-day when he first went down. “I thought keeping my name out there was going to literally have people think about me all the time instead of just saying when I was going to be back.”

Pelicans Sign Jarrett Jack To 10-Day Deal

12:33pm: The Pelicans have officially signed Jack to a 10-day contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).

9:56am: The Pelicans will add a veteran point guard to fill the final opening on their roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports that Jarrett Jack has agreed to sign a 10-day contract with the team.

Jack, 33, was one of a handful of free agent guards to audition for the Pelicans this week in the wake of the team’s DeMarcus Cousins acquisition, which sent three guards – Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway – to Sacramento. Hollis Thompson and Jack have earned 10-day contracts with New Orleans, while Mario Chalmers, Quinn Cook, and Reggie Williams also worked out for the club this week.

After averaging 12.8 PPG and 7.4 APG through 32 games with the Nets last season, Jack suffered a torn ACL in January, cutting his season short. As a free agent this past summer, the Georgia Tech alum signed with the Hawks, but he was waived when his knee injury lingered into the preseason. It appears he’s fully healthy now.

Jack’s signing will give the Pelicans a full 15-man roster for now, with 13 of those players on guaranteed full-season contracts.

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