Month: February 2017

Sixers Ready To Explore Free Agent Market

It's been more than a month since the Sixers shipped Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson to New Orleans in exchange for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 top-five protected first round pick.  But outside of trading for the enigmatic Royce White, the team hasn't done anything to fill out its roster and is the only NBA team remaining without a head coach

One of those things is about to change, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who writes that the Sixers are finally ready to shop in free agency.  According to Pompey, on the team's wish list is a point guard to backup and mentor rookie Michael Carter-Williams as well as a perimeter shooter.

"We have needs all around," said Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie. "We are going to look for guys who can be a part of our future and have a chance, some guys who can grow with our team."

"We have needs all around," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. "We are going to look for guys who can be a part of our future and have a chance, some guys who can grow with our team."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20130801_Sixers_finally_ready_to_shop_for_free_agents.html#AmvLHMYrYrPI64PB.99
"We have needs all around," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. "We are going to look for guys who can be a part of our future and have a chance, some guys who can grow with our team."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20130801_Sixers_finally_ready_to_shop_for_free_agents.html#AmvLHMYrYrPI64PB.99
"We have needs all around," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. "We are going to look for guys who can be a part of our future and have a chance, some guys who can grow with our team."
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20130801_Sixers_finally_ready_to_shop_for_free_agents.html#AmvLHMYrYrPI64PB.99

At this point the Sixers intentions for next season are pretty obvious, making the addition of even mid-level free agents unlikely despite having the most available cap room in the league.  Pompey suggests that the team could bring back free agents Royal Ivey and/or Damien Wilkins, and also lists Ronnie Brewer, Luke Babbitt, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich as younger options that could pique the team's interest.

We heard yesterday that Hinkie believes the Sixers cap room enables them to be active trade participants if they choose to be and Pompey reiterates that in this story, specifically mentioning Evan Turner as a player who could be on the block and leaving the door open for the team to move any player on their roster. 

"It's a little early now," Hinkie added. "There's a lot of work to do for the team to be filled out. You could see all sorts of things happening."

Odds & Ends: Wall, James, OKC, Haddadi

With John Wall's long-awaited max contract finally on the books for the Wizards, NBA writers around the league have already begun to weigh in.  Sean Highkin of USA Today writes that Wall is definitely worth the risk for the Wiz, while J. Michael of CSN Washington crunches the numbers to show why the team values Wall like they do.  There is sure to be more where that came from.  Until then, let's take a look at what else is going on in the Association on Wednesday night:

  • Free agent point guard Mike James, who spent last season with the Mavericks, will not retire at age 38 and is determined to play his 12th NBA season next year, tweets Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest.  James emerged as a viable backup, starting 23 of the 45 games he appeared in last season for Dallas and averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 assists per contest.
  • The Thunder have named Robert Pack and Mike Terpstra as assistant coaches, the team announced today in a press release.  Pack spent the past three years on the Clippers staff after a year in New Orleans.  This will be Terpstra's NBA coaching debut, but he has experience working in the D-League. “We’re excited to add Robert and Mike to our coaching staff for the upcoming season,” said head coach Scott Brooks in the release. “These additions bring diverse backgrounds to our group that will help the further development of our players.”
  • The Knicks have shown interest in center Hamed Haddadi, tweets Al Iannazzone of Newsday, adding that nothing is imminent.  Only able to offer minimum salary contracts, we heard today the Knicks were hoping to land Beno Udrih and yesterday that they had some interest in Delonte West.  Haddadi finished last season in Phoenix after more than four years with the Grizzlies. 
  • Alan Anderson, who signed with the Nets yesterday, says he took less money to join a winner, writes Iannazzone.  At 30 years old, it sounds like the veteran guard was more concerned with contention than playing time and therefore agreed to a contract in Brooklyn for the league minimum.  He was a double-digit scorer in Toronto last season for the first time in his career, but the Raptors missed the playoffs.  In his four NBA seasons, Anderson has yet to see the postseason. 

Lakers Expected To Sign Marcus Landry

Marcus Landry is expected to sign a deal with the Lakers to attend training camp that contains a "small guarantee," tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.  While she adds that it's more of a camp invite than a contract, Shelburne says the team has legitimate interest in the former Wisconsin Badger.

Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times, who predicted the signing last week, tweets the deal is not yet official but he fully expects Landry to be in Lakers camp and to have a realistic shot at a roster spot.  With Elias Harris in the fold and the not-yet-signed Ryan Kelly a near lock to make the roster, Pincus opines that Landry could make the team as the 14th man if the Lakers don't add a veteran forward (Twitter links here). 

Marcus, the younger brother of Carl Landry, appeared in 18 games in the 2009/10 season with the Knicks and Celtics.  He has since bounced between the D-League and Europe, and played with the Reno Bighorns of the D-League last season.

LeBron James Eyeing NBPA Presidency?

LeBron James is mulling over a bid to become the President of the NBA players association, writes Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports, citing a source close to James.  The Thunder's Derek Fisher served as the union's president until his term expired this summer.  Whitlock opines that the veteran point guard, nearing the end of his career and still under fire from the union's former executive director, is unlikely to retain the position. 

With Adam Silver set to step into the commissioner's office and the players union in search of a new executive director, Whitlock's source claims that James recognizes this as an opportunity for the union to implement much-needed change.  However, the source also cautions that while it's possible, James' pursuit of the presidency is unlikely considering the time commitment the job requires, adding that he's more likely to influence the union in more of an informal role. 

Jerry Stackhouse, the union's vice president, is currently leading the search for a new executive director and would presumably be involved in the process of naming a president, which could happen as early as late August according to Whitlock.  Whitlock writes that, with James as president, the union could more effectively get star players to participate in league matters, in turn leading to additional clout in talks with owners.  The union has not had a star player as president since Patrick Ewing, who held the position from 1997 to 2001, and has not had an "in-his-prime" president since Isiah Thomas

Eastern Notes: Carmelo, Daye, Heat, Pistons

In his latest column for ESPN.com (Insider-only link), Chad Ford assigns grades to all 15 Eastern Conference teams for the moves they've made this summer. While I disagree with a few of Ford's grades, and think it may be a little early to assume each team's offseason work is done, his explanations are worth reading. It may come as no surprise that Ford, a draft expert, gives top marks to the Sixers, who snagged a pair of top-10 prospects in last month's draft and figure to have two lottery picks next year as well. Here's more from around the East:

  • ESPN.com's 5-on-5 crew also breaks down a few questions relating to which Eastern teams made the best and worst offseason moves.
  • While there's no real indication that Carmelo Anthony wants to explore the free agent market next summer, he also isn't saying he plans to be a long-term Knick, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Carmelo will have the chance to opt out of his contract in search of a new deal next summer.
  • Before Austin Daye agreed to sign with the Raptors, the Heat were one team with interest, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, who also cites the Lakers as a suitor for Daye.
  • The Pistons have two roster spots open after trading three players for Brandon Jennings, leaving room to sign second-round pick Peyton Siva. However, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, the more pressing need for the team may be a big man to provide frontcourt depth.

Mavericks Sign Devin Harris

4:11pm: Harris' new deal with the Mavs is a one-year pact worth the veteran's minimum, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.

2:57pm: The Mavericks have officially signed Devin Harris to a contract, the team announced today in a press release. Harris had previously reached an agreement on a three-year, $9MM deal with Dallas, but the team nixed it after news broke that the veteran guard required toe surgery.

A new deal between Dallas and the Excel Sports Management client comes as no surprise, since the team still had interest in bringing him aboard even as the two sides mutually agreed to call off the initial arrangement. Owner Mark Cuban essentially confirmed a couple weeks ago that the Mavs and Harris both still expected to finalize a deal, albeit a restructured one.

The financial terms of the latest agreement are unclear, but it looks as if the Mavs only have the flexibility to offer minimum-salary contracts after using all of their cap space and most of their room exception. I speculated after the first agreement fell through that a two-year minimum salary contract with a player option for the second season might work for both sides.

Harris, who spent the first three and a half seasons with the Mavs, appeared in 58 games for the Hawks last year, averaging 9.9 PPG and 3.4 APG while spending time at both guard positions. Since Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis look like the probable starters in the Mavs' backcourt, Harris figures to be called on to play both the one and two again next season.

Wizards Sign John Wall To Five-Year Extension

4:03pm: The Wizards have officially signed Wall to an extension, the team announced in a press release. According to Lee (via Twitter), a press conference is planned for tomorrow.

"[Wall] is the cornerstone of our team, and we have clearly expressed our desire to build around him well before making it official by re-signing him today," owner Ted Leonsis said in a statement. "We are extremely confident in his leadership abilities and are excited to see the continued improvement of the team."

3:04pm: The Wizards and John Wall have officially reached agreement on a five-year maximum contract extension, reports Michael Lee of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The deal is expected to worth in the neighborhood of $80MM.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported last week that the Wizards and Wall were closing in on an agreement for a max extension, while other reporters, including Lee, added that the deal would likely be finalized this week. ESPN.com's Marc Stein noted yesterday that the Wizards hoped to hold a press conference on August 1st, and that timetable still appears to be on track, with J. Michael of CSNWashington.com tweeting that the team will make the official announcement tomorrow.

Agreeing to a five-year contract, rather than a four-year pact, will make Wall the Wizards' designated player, meaning the team can't sign any of their current players, such as Bradley Beal or Otto Porter, to a five-year extension when their rookie contracts expire. It will also make Wall the only NBA player under team control through 2019. The exact amount the Dan Fegan client will earn won't be known until next summer, but James Harden's similar max deal is worth about $78.78MM. So assuming the maximum salary increases a little again next July, $80MM is a reasonable estimate for Wall.

Wall, 2010's first overall pick, hasn't yet developed into the superstar many were expecting, but had his best run as a pro during the second half of 2012/13. In his final 26 games of the season, the 22-year-old averaged 22.7 PPG, 7.8 APG, and 4.8 RPG to go along with shooting percentages of .465/.344/.796. While the deal certainly isn't without risk, it's a risk the Wizards believe they have to take, as Lee wrote earlier today.

With Emeka Okafor's and Trevor Ariza's contracts set to expire next summer, the team will still maintain some cap flexibility even as Wall's new deal takes effect. If Wall earns a salary in the ballpark of $14MM in the first year of his extension, the Wizards should still only have a little over $50MM on their books for 2014/15.

Although Wall is set to become the first player from the 2010 draft class to ink a long-term extension, there are still plenty of eligible candidates. DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Eric Bledsoe, Derrick Favors, and Larry Sanders are among the other players expected to engage in extension talks this offseason, if they haven't already.

Steve Nash Talks Retirement, Lakers, Howard

In addition to participating in a "tryout" for Italian soccer powerhouse Inter Milan this week, Steve Nash has spoken to a couple reporters about his future, the Lakers' offseason, and the pitch the team made to Dwight Howard at the start of free agency. Here are the highlights from Nash, courtesy of Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com and Grantland's Zach Lowe….

On the possibility of retirement:

"I don't really want to think about it…. I want to concentrate on this season and have a great season and then next year I'll worry about next year. After that there's a chance I could keep playing, but I'm totally open to not playing or playing again and I don't really want to predict. I just want to concentrate on the now and worry about the future when it arrives."

On the Lakers' offseason moves:

"There wasn't a lot of stuff we could do with our salary cap situation, so, to bring in the guys that we did — Jordan [Farmar], [Nick] Young, [Wesley] Johnson, and [Chris] Kaman — I think were great additions. I also think Kurt Rambis is a great addition and [Mark] Madsen, so on and so forth. So, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to getting back to work."

On the Lakers' presentation to Howard:

"We had a plan. First, Dwight met with the business side — Time Warner, the Lakers’ foundation. I don’t know if I’m allowed to give all these details, but it was kind of a pitch for all his off-the-court potential. The second part was Mike [D'Antoni], Kobe [Bryant], myself, Mitch [Kupchak], Jim [Buss], and Tim Harris, the president, and we gave him more of the basketball pitch."

On what he said to Howard during the pitch:

"I just said, number one, that I’m really, really disappointed in the season, and I wanted another shot at it. And that we should come back and right the ship, so to speak. Hopefully I didn’t use so many clichés [Laughs.] And my second point to him was that, when you look back on the career, and you can say you played for the Lakers for eight or 10 years, that’s an incredible opportunity. If I were 27, in the prime of my career, there wouldn’t even be another consideration. It would be the number one place you could play."

Pistons Acquire Brandon Jennings From Bucks

WEDNESDAY, 1:08pm: The swap has officially been completed, the Bucks announced today (via Twitter). The Pistons also confirmed the move in a press release.

TUESDAY, 4:39pm: TNT's David Aldridge confirms (via Twitter) that the two sides have reached an agreement. According to Stein (via Twitter), the four players reported so far are expected to be the only pieces involved, so it sounds as if there may not be any picks or cash changing hands.

With the Pistons set to acquire one player in exchange for three, the deal should open up room on the roster to sign second-round pick Peyton Siva, though it's not clear yet if he's in the team's plans for 2013/14.

4:35pm: Viacheslav Kravtsov and Khris Middleton are also headed to the Bucks in the deal, tweets Wojnarowski. Using those two salaries, along with Knight's, the Pistons would be able to offer Jennings a starting salary of $7.72MM, which sounds about right, based on the reported terms. So there may not be any more players involved in the swap.

4:31pm: Knight will be part of the package that the Pistons send to Milwaukee, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

4:14pm: The Pistons have emerged as a serious candidate to acquire Brandon Jennings from the Bucks in a sign-and-trade, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter). According to Stein, the two sides are in "advanced talks" about a potential deal. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports confirms Stein's report, tweeting that the Pistons and Bucks are nearing an agreement.

According to Stein (via Twitter), if and when the two teams finalize a sign-and-trade, Jennings' contract with the Pistons will be in the three-year, $25MM+ range, similar to what his former backcourt partner Monta Ellis received from the Mavericks. Wojnarowski (via Twitter) pegs the value of the deal at three years and $24MM.

There had been rumblings earlier in the month that the Pistons had an eye on Jennings, but GM Joe Dumars adamantly denied that he'd had any trade talks with the Bucks. Either that changed in the last two weeks or Dumars was trying to throw rival suitors off the scent. Regardless, it's easy to see why Milwaukee and Detroit would be a match.

At least one report has suggested Jennings wasn't interested in remaining in Milwaukee, and there have been indications that he was considering accepting his one-year qualifying offer in order to hit unrestricted free agency next summer. A sign-and-trade would be a win-win for Jennings and the Bucks, allowing the young point guard to secure a long-term pact with another club, and allowing Milwaukee to pick up at least an asset or two in return.

It's not clear yet who the Pistons would be parting with in the deal, but Brandon Knight seems like a logical candidate. If Knight were to be included, Detroit would have to add more salary to make the deal work, making Charlie Villanueva or Rodney Stuckey potential fits as well.

Rockets Sign Jordan Henriquez

The Rockets officially signed undrafted rookie Jordan Henriquez to a contract earlier this month, according to RealGM.com. Although the Rockets never officially announced the move, Henriquez now shows up on both ShamSports' and HoopsWorld's Rockets salary pages. He also tweeted earlier in July that he's looking forward to playing with James Harden in training camp.

Henriquez, 23, averaged 5.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG during his senior year at Kansas State before earning a spot on Houston's Summer League roster. The 6'11" big man is on a three-year deal, but it's fully non-guaranteed. As such, it's unlikely that he'll earn a spot on the roster, particularly since the Rockets have already signed or reached agreements with 17 players, exceeding the regular-season roster limit. Teams can carry up to 20 players in the offseason.

NBA teams are also allowed to hold D-League rights to up to three players who are on the roster in training camp. So the Rockets could ultimately end up cutting Henriquez from the NBA team in the fall, but adding him to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers' roster.

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