Month: February 2024

Raptors Sign Mickael Pietrus, Cut Dominic McGuire

After searching for a deal for nearly five months, Mickael Pietrus has finally found his new team. The Raptors officially announced today that the team has signed Pietrus. The deal will be a one-year, minimum-salary contract, with Toronto waiving Dominic McGuire to clear a roster spot.

Pietrus last played for the Celtics during the 2011-12 season, averaging 6.9 PPG and shooting 38.5% from the field in 21.9 MPG. The French swingman has career averages of 8.4 PPG, 42.7% FG shooting, and 35.7% shooting from beyond the arc.

The Raptors only had the veteran's minimum at their disposal to add a free agent, so it's a little surprising that they were able to land Pietrus, whose agent Bill McCandless asserted earlier in the offseason that his client "is not a veteran’s minimum player. There’s no chance he’ll ever sign for that." It seems that, despite talks with Rockets, Timberwolves, Bulls, and Hawks over the course of the offseason, no club was ever willing to commit more than the minimum to Pietrus.

McGuire, whose 2012/13 salary was believed to be fully guaranteed, is owed about $992K for this season and had a non-guaranteed year for 2013/14 worth $1.11MM. While that second year won't be a factor anymore, he should still receive his salary for this season, with the Raptors taking the cap hit for it.

Sam Amick of USA Today first reported that the Raptors and Pietrus had reached an agreement, with Chris Haynes of CSNNW and Shams Charania of RealGM.com (Twitter links) adding details. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Celtics Recall Kris Joseph From D-League

The Celtics have recalled Kris Joseph from their D-League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. The move adds a little depth to the C's roster with Rajon Rondo suspended and Jeff Green questionable to play tonight.

Joseph, 23, was the 51st overall pick in June's draft. He appeared in one game for the Celtics early in the month before being sent to the Maine Red Claws along with Fab Melo. In two games for Maine, Joseph averaged 25.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG, though he shot just 35.6% from the field.

Be sure to check out our complete list of D-League assignments and recalls to keep track of the latest moves.

Rockets Assign Jones, Machado To D-League

Terrence Jones and Scott Machado are heading to the Rockets' D-League affiliate, the team announced today. Machado will join the Rio Grande Valley Vipers for the second time this season, while for Jones it's his first D-League assignment.

Jones, 20, has appeared in seven contests for the Rockets so far in his rookie season, averaging 3.6 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 10.4 MPG. The 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft is one of a handful of mid-first-rounders to be assigned to the D-League this week — No. 12 pick Jeremy Lamb and No. 13 pick Kendall Marshall have also been sent to their teams' respective D-League affiliates in the last couple days.

Machado, meanwhile, finally made his NBA regular-season debut on Wednesday night against the Thunder. He was recalled from the Valley Vipers earlier this week, along with Donatas Motiejunas.

Warriors Rumors: McGuire, Bazemore, Bogut

Of the two games on the NBA's schedule last night, the Spurs/Heat contest drew most of the headlines for Gregg Popovich's decision to send his stars home. But the evening's late contest in Golden State was arguably the more thrilling game of the two. Andre Iguodala's potential game-winning buzzer-beater left his hand a split second too late, allowing the Warriors to hang on for a one-point victory, 106-105. As the team comes off a big win against the Nuggets, here are a few Friday morning Warriors updates:

  • With ex-Warrior Dominic McGuire being released by the Raptors, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group (Sulia link) says not to bank on Golden State having interest in McGuire. Sources tell Thompson that the Warriors don't want to waive Kent Bazemore, the player most likely to be cut if the team adds another player.
  • Bazemore will, however, be leaving the NBA team for now, as Thompson tweets that the rookie will be assigned to the D-League's Santa Cruz Warriors today.
  • The Warriors have yet to apply for a disabled player exception following Brandon Rush's season-ending injury, according to Thompson (via Twitter). Such an exception would allow the team to add a player for this season for a salary up to $2MM. With the Warriors already over the tax line, approaching a hard cap, and still holding their $1.96MM bi-annual exception, perhaps the club figures there's no point in asking for an exception that won't be used.
  • Appearing on Chronicle Live, Warriors GM Bob Myers apologized for deceiving fans in regard to Andrew Bogut's injury situation, as Thompson transcribes. The team did not reveal that Bogut had undergone microfracture surgery earlier this year, news that surfaced this week. "If there was blame to be laid on how this was communicated," Myers said. "That blame ultimately rides with me as the general manager of this organization."

Eastern Notes: Varejao, Pietrus, Celtics

Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao received as good a vote of confidence as one can get from head coach Byron Scott, who called the Brazilian big man "the best center in the NBA right now." Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that Varejao's statistical production makes Scott's statement a difficult one to disagree with, also mentioning that some fans have wondered if Cleveland should take advantage of his value and trade him. With that being said, Amico asserts that Cavaliers brass currently has no intention of dealing their most tenured veteran. For the rest of tonight's tidbits from the Eastern Conference, you can find them below: 

  • Bill McCandless, the agent of Mickael Pietrus, told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com about the other teams that that had been under consideration while they had waited for the right opportunity in free agency. Whereas the Rockets and Timberwolves were potential destinations in the West, McCandless listed the Bulls and Hawks as the other Eastern Conference teams which had been in the hunt along with Toronto.
  • Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a poignant comment about Rajon Rondo and the current state of his team, telling reporters: “I don’t know if I want to rally around my 6-foot guard being the enforcer. That’s nice but at the end of the day, if that’s the threat you’re sending, the other team has to feel [good]" (Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com reports). Although we heard Rivers say earlier that the team is in no rush to make any changes to the roster, Petraglia hypothetically mentioned Kenyon Martin as a possible target if Boston decided to look into free agency for help. 
  • Aside from wanting rookie guard Maalik Wayns to become a more accomplished defender, 76ers coach Doug Collins likes the direction of his development, writes Mark Narducci of Philly.com
  • Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer points out that Zydrunas Ilgauskas was at the Cavaliers' practice facility on Thursday to help Byron Scott teach forward Tristan Thompson about making quicker decisions and moves offensively to counter shotblockers. 
  • Mary Schmitt Boyer (also of the Plain Dealer) discusses the challenge that Danny Ferry faces in building the Hawks into a playoff contender, just as he had done in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010.  
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap has taken notice of Jeff Taylor's development as the rookie has stepped in to fill the void left by Gerald Henderson's injury. In another article, Bonnell mentions that the continued lobbying of New Orleans Hornets owners to rebrand their franchise could mean an opportunity for Charlotte to re-acquire the Hornets nickname. 
  • Nate Taylor of The New York Times discusses Tyson Chandler's offensive efficiency as of late, noting that the 7'1 Knicks center is averaging a career best in points (12.0 PPG) and leading the league in field goal percentage at 71.8%. 

Western Notes: Spurs, Fisher, Gasol, Crawford

You can count NBA commissioner David Stern among those who are none-too-pleased about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's decision to rest his stars against the Heat tonight. Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida relayed a statement by Stern which indicated that "substantial sanctions will be forthcoming" as a consequence for San Antonio (Sulia link). Earlier, Popovich told reporters: "It has nothing to do with the Miami Heat, or TV, or anything…You deal with the schedule as best you can and do the wisest thing for your particular team” (Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation reports). On another note, here's what we're hearing out of the Western Conference tonight: 

  • Later in his column, Ken Berger of CBS Sports credits a source that says Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni would like to have Nate McMillan as his top assistant for the 2013-14 season if he isn't given a head coaching job by then.  
  • Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets writes that if injury-riddled Houston isn't able to get well anytime soon, then "different remedies will be in order." While it may not explicitly imply a roster move, Feigen acknowledges that without Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino, the team is short-handed on the wings. 
  • With Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger out, as well as Andrei Kirilenko dealing with back spasms, Timberwolves forward Josh Howard finds himself thrust into the starting lineup yesterday against the Clippers. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes that Howard still considers himself in training camp but remains confident about handling the opportunty for more playing time. 
  • With the Thunder going 6-1 over their last seven games, Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK recognizes Russell Westbrook's passing ability as a major component of the team's recent success.  
  • While head coach Rick Carlisle doesn't see the Derek Fisher signing as a "cure-all" to the Mavericks' challenges, he welcomes the 38-year-old veteran's experience and leadership abilities at the point guard position, writes Earl K. Sneed of NBA.com. 
  • Mike Trudell of Lakers.com writes about the adjustments that Pau Gasol has had to make on both ends of the floor, particularly on defense, where the power forward position in the NBA can provide significantly different types of matchups for the Lakers depending on their opposition.  
  • Clippers guard Jamal Crawford talks to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld about having a career year for a team expected to be a playoff contender.
  • Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com briefly sheds light on rookie Quincy Miller and his opportunity with the Iowa Energy of the NBDL

Odds & Ends: Celtics, Raptors, Trail Blazers

Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston heard from head coach Doc Rivers that the Celtics could decide to recall Kris Joseph and possibly Fab Melo up from the D-League while Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox are out of action. More notably, after Danny Ainge told WEEI radio that Rajon Rondo would be given a two game suspension (Twitter link), Rivers gave the impression that the team won't necessarily try to make any subsequent roster moves anytime soon. You can find more of tonight's miscellaneous links from the Association here: 

  • HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy says (via Twitter) that the Raptors are weighing their free agent options at the small forward position.
  • Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey told Joe Freeman of The Oregonian of his plans to use D-League assignments accordingly for Victor ClaverJoel FreelandWill Barton, and Nolan Smith. While Olshey thinks that his young players are currently benefitting through their NBA experience, he believes the best time to send them to the Idaho Stampede (their D-League affiliate) would be after they have built a good enough foundation with the coaching staff and need significant minutes to continue developing.   
  • According to Anthony Slater of NewsOK, Thunder GM Sam Presti was spotted at Oklahoma State University's basketball practice to supposedly begin scouting Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash, two college prospects who are currently touted as potential first round picks. 
  • The Nets announced that the right foot sprain which Brook Lopez suffered during last night's game is unrelated to the foot injury he sustained last season, and added that he is only expected to miss the next two games (Howard Beck of the New York Times reports). 

Cavaliers Waive Harangody, Sign Kevin Jones

5:11pm: It appears that Cleveland's main intention was to secure rights over Jones, as Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio tweets that the team has sent Jones back to Canton after calling him up. 

4:56pm: Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that the Cavaliers have waived Luke Harangody and signed 6'8 forward Kevin Jones. Although Harangody had earned a roster spot over Jones before the start of the regular season, the former Celtic had not appeared in an NBA game this year. His contract for this season was fully guaranteed and worth $1.05MM.

Jones has been on a tear in the D-League recently, averaging 27.0 PPG, 13.7 RPG,  54.0% shooting from the field, and a 92.3% clip from the charity stripe in 41.3 MPG through the first three games for the Canton Charge

Hoops Rumors Chat Transcript

Click below for this week's chat transcript:

Offseason In Review: Phoenix Suns

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team's offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Trades and Claims

  • Acquired 2013 and 2015 first-round picks and 2013 and 2014 second-round picks from the Lakers in exchange for Steve Nash. Nash was signed-and-traded.
  • Acquired Wesley Johnson and a 2013 first-round pick from the Timberwolves, along with Brad Miller and Jerome Dyson from the Hornets, in exchange for Robin Lopez (sent to Hornets), Hakim Warrick (sent to Hornets), cash (sent to Hornets), and a 2014 second-round pick (sent to Timberwolves). Lopez was signed-and-traded.
  • Claimed Luis Scola off amnesty waivers from the Rockets. Bid $13.53MM over three years.

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

For some teams, clearing cap space means creating the opportunity to make a run at the offseason's prized free agents. When the Heat, Knicks, and a handful of other teams cleared their books in anticipation of the 2010 offseason, the goal was to land members of one of the most impressive free agent classes of all-time. When the Mavs elected not to re-sign Tyson Chandler in December 2011, it gave them to chance to pursue Deron Williams in free agency in the summer of 2012.

Not all teams are lucky enough to be destinations that those top free agents would consider, however. Heading into this summer, the Suns were poised to clear a huge chunk of cap space, but the club was never seriously in the running for Williams, the top unrestricted player on the market. Phoenix used its cap space to make a play for Eric Gordon, but the club could only watch as the Hornets matched the Suns' offer sheet and brought Gordon back to New Orleans.

Cap space doesn't always have to be used to lure top free agents though. The Suns did use that room to bring in a few outside FAs this offseason, including Goran Dragic, who will give the team a younger, cheaper alternative to Steve Nash, and may end up being the more productive player of the two over the course of their new contracts. But the Suns also took advantage of their cap space to great effect with a couple of the summer's other major moves.

When players are released via the amnesty clause, only clubs under the cap are eligible to bid on them. Often, those amnesty victims aren't worth pursuing — no teams were lining up to participate in the amnesty auction for Josh Childress, for instance. But occasionally an amnestied player will simply be the victim of a cap reshuffle, as Luis Scola was in Houston. Arguably the best player to be amnestied this offseason or last, Scola was snapped up by the Suns for only about $4.5MM annually over the next three years, a terrific price for a productive frontcourt piece.

Another benefit of having cap space is the ability to take other teams' unwanted contracts and receiving a little something for your troubles. In the Suns' case, that meant facilitating a three-way deal that involved acquiring Wesley Johnson from the Timberwolves. With Minnesota looking to make room for Andrei Kirilenko and the rest of the team's offseason additions, Johnson's $4.29MM salary was an albatross the T-Wolves needed to move. In return for helping out, the Suns landed the Wolves' 2013 first-round pick.

Minnesota's first-rounder is top-13 protected for the next two seasons and top-12 protected for the following two years, so it's unlikely to turn into a lottery pick, but considering the relatively small price the Suns paid to acquire it, it's a worthwhile asset. Throw in the future picks, including two first-rounders, that the Lakers sent over in the Nash sign-and-trade, and the Suns ultimately landed four picks (three first-rounders) in exchange for absorbing a little salary and giving up players they weren't re-signing anyway.

Having said that, I didn't like all the ways the Suns used their cap room this summer. The three-year deal handed out to Michael Beasley was a little eyebrow-raising, even if the third season isn't guaranteed. Still, in Beasley and Johnson, the Suns added a pair of players who were former top-five picks. With elite free agents unlikely to come to Phoenix, the team resorted to acquiring players who were viewed as elite talents in the past. If guys like Beasley and Johnson can recapture some of the promise that made them top picks, they'll be strong investments — if not, at least the cost to take a look at them wasn't exorbitant.

This Suns squad doesn't look like a playoff contender in the Western Conference, but that doesn't come as a huge surprise. Even with Nash still on the roster, the team fell short of the postseason a year ago, and with their franchise player gone, the Suns are entering a retooling period, if not a total rebuild. While I didn't love all their free agent signings, the team traded for a number of future draft picks, locked up a valuable asset in Scola at a bargain price, and retained enough cap space going forward that additional moves are still possible.