Month: July 2017

Odds & Ends: Bennett, Ledo, Pistons, Heat

The Cavs drafted Anthony Bennett first overall with many in the organization envisioning him becoming a small forward at some point, notes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lloyd argues that the team should make the former UNLV big man the starter at that position now. Cleveland’s win tonight brings the team’s record to just 5-12, so Lloyd believes it’s an idea worth trying in a season when few of coach Mike Brown‘s gambits have worked. Here’s more from around the NBA:

Recent December Trades

Sunday could be the start of one of the most intriguing Decembers in recent memory, with Omer Asik, Luol Deng, Dion Waiters, Iman Shumpert among the names coming up in trade rumors. We’ve already seen one deal this season, with Derrick Williams heading to the Kings and Luc Mbah a Moute going to the Timberwolves, but there’s a strong chance that’s not the only one that happens before New Year’s Day. Most free agents who signed this summer become eligible to be traded on December 15th, and that will open the door for plenty of action.

There weren’t any December trades last season, and while there were many in December 2011, the lockout-shortened calendar fueled those moves. We’ll instead look back on the six December trades that happened in 2009 and 2010, when two dozen players changed hands.

December 18th, 2010: The Wizards traded Gilbert Arenas to the Magic for Rashard Lewis.

  • The Magic began dismantling the core of their 2009 Finals team with a pair of significant deals this day. They swapped one regrettable contract for another, acquiring Arenas, whom they later waived via amnesty clause. Arenas doesn’t count against the Magic’s cap anymore, even though they’ll still be paying off his $111MM contract through 2016. Lewis never made a significant contribution to the Wizards, who traded him to New Orleans last year for another pair of overpriced contracts.

December 18th, 2010: The Magic traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, cash and a 2011 first-round pick (Nikola Mirotic) to the Suns for Earl Clark, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu.

  • Orlando is still paying Arenas, but the team’s more egregious mistakes were in this deal. The Suns reaped a first-round pick for Gortat last month, while Carter is still a productive player for the Mavs, and Mirotic might be the best player outside the NBA. Clark and Richardson were valuable for the Magic only in the sense that they served as ballast in the Dwight Howard trade, and Orlando is trying without much luck to find a taker for Turkoglu’s bloated contract.

December 15th, 2010: In a three-team trade, the Lakers traded Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first-round pick (JaJuan Johnson) to the Nets; the Rockets traded the rights to Sergei Lishouk to the Lakers, the Rockets traded a 2013 first-round pick to the Nets (Shane Larkin); the Nets traded Terrence Williams to the Rockets; the Nets traded Joe Smith, a 2011 second-round pick (Darius Morris) and a 2012 second-round pick (Robert Sacre) to the Lakers.

  • The most significant part of this convoluted deal was the 2013 first-rounder that the Nets got from Houston. Brooklyn sent the pick that became Larkin to the Hawks last year in the Joe Johnson trade, and Atlanta sent it to Dallas on draft night this past June.

December 15th, 2010: The Rockets traded Jermaine Taylor and cash to the Kings for a protected 2011 second-round draft pick (the pick was never conveyed under the terms of the protection).

  • This was purely a financial move for the Rockets and GM Daryl Morey, who greased the skids for their involvement in the three-way deal that took place the same day. Taylor played out the season before the Kings waived him in June, and he hasn’t been back in the NBA since.

December 29th, 2009: The Timberwolves traded Jason Hart to the Suns for Alando Tucker, cash, and a 2010 second-round draft pick (Hamady N’Diaye).

  • This one didn’t move the needle much, though Minnesota traded the N’Diaye pick on draft night in 2010 for a package that included Lazar Hayward. The Wolves later traded Hayward to the Thunder, and Oklahoma City included Hayward in the James Harden deal. It’s the NBA’s version of the domino theory at work.

December 22nd, 2009: The Jazz traded Eric Maynor and Matt Harpring to the Thunder for the rights to Peter Fehse.

  • Harpring had already played his final NBA game by this point thanks to injuries, but he continued to have a major effect on the Jazz because of his $6.5MM contract. Utah had to throw in its first-round pick from the previous June to unload Harpring’s salary and reduce its luxury-tax bill. Oklahoma City wound up with a promising young bench piece who played a significant role on the Thunder’s first deep push into the playoffs.

Storytellers Contracts was used in the creation of this post.

Central Links: Cavs, Asik, George, Hinrich

The Pacers are the class of the NBA, but next they face a tough Western road trip that includes tough tests against the Clippers, Blazers, Spurs and Thunder. The only breather appears to be their matchup with the league-worst Jazz. There’s more from Indiana as we check the latest from the Central:

  • The Cavs have “kicked the tires” on Omer Asik in the past, writes Bob Finnan of The News-Herald. It’s not clear when Cleveland showed interest in the Rockets center, but it doesn’t appear from the report like the Cavs are in on him now.
  • In the same piece, Finnan asserts that the Cavs shouldn’t trade Dion Waiters because he might be the team’s best player, even with Kyrie Irving around. Irving is off to a slow start, but Waiters hasn’t been any better statistically, so I’m not sure that part of the argument holds any water.
  • Paul George spoke to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune this week about a variety of topics, including whether he gave thought to signing with a glamour team in free agency before he agreed to a long-term extension with the Pacers“Of course everyone does, but you have to look at the bigger picture and the bigger picture here is we’re all young, we did so well last year, we have a core group of guys who are going to be here for a while,” George said. “There’s no need to go to a big market when I have a market where I can win here.”
  • George also told Zgoda about his predraft workout with the Timberwolves in 2010, revealing that they didn’t show much interest in him because they were sold on Wesley Johnson. George, the 10th pick that year, still holds a grudge against the nine teams that passed him up, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star details.
  • The Bulls signed Kirk Hinrich last year with the thinking that they’d reduce his role this season, but the 32-year-old soon-to-be free agent is again a key player for the team after another Derrick Rose injury, observes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Holiday, Knicks, Nets

A recent piece from Keith Pompey at the Inquirer explores the upbringing of rookie Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Among the interesting details: Carter-Williams’ NBA salary is being deposited into a trust that he can’t touch for three years. The young Syracuse product is currently living off his endorsement deals with Nike and Panini trading cards. Here’s more from the Sixers and the Atlantic Division:

  • Evan Turner is having a career year for the Sixers, but Tom Moore of the Intelligencer reminds us that GM Sam Hinkie is willing to deal any of his players for the right price, as evidenced by the draft night deal that sent Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans.
  • Speaking of the Holiday deal, Christoper Vito from the Delaware County Daily Times reports that Holiday was surprised when he received the call to find out he had been traded (Twitter links).
  • Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News reports that Celtics Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries understand their roles on the team and don’t expect to see major minutes. Souza notes it’s a difficult situation for the trio of veterans since they can’t display their skills while riding the bench, and each of them figures to be a free agent come the end of the season.
  • We found out earlier today that most Hoops Rumors readers believe at least one New York team will make the playoffs, but Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson have yet to prove their 2013/14 squads can live up to preseason expectations. Tommy Beer and Alex Kennedy over at HoopsWorld named Kidd and Woodson, respectively, as the coaches that have disappointed them the most so far in the early going of the season.
  • One of the sole bright spots for the struggling Knicks has been the surprisingly effective play of offseason acquisition Andrea Bargnani. The former first overall pick is putting up much better numbers than he did last year in Toronto, but Keith Schlosser from the Knicks Journal suggests his presence might be having a negative impact on J.R. Smith‘s performance.

Top 5 Picks Traded While On Rookie Deals

The Timberwolves traded 2011 No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to the Kings this week, while Dion Waiters, the fourth overall selection in 2012, could be on the move as well. Teams are usually loath to trade away a recent top draft pick because it’s tantamount to admitting a mistake, as HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy notes via Twitter, but that doesn’t mean such deals don’t happen with regularity.

At least one top five pick from all but three drafts since 2000 has been traded while still under a rookie scale contract. One of those three drafts is the 2013 edition, so chances are one of this past June’s most sought-after draftees gets traded in the next few years. There could even be a player traded twice on his rookie scale contract, as happened with 2012 No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson and a few others in recent years.

Many of the draftees who wound up in trades were disappointments, but some of them were productive players, like Jeff Green and Devin Harris, while James Harden was a budding star. Financial motivation was at the heart of the Thunder’s decision to trade Harden, while the opportunity to obtain a veteran inside presence in Kendrick Perkins prompted Oklahoma City to part with Green.

Other top draftees wound up parting ways with their teams ahead of schedule for other reasons. Many teams failed to pick up either the third or fourth year options on their rookie scale contracts, while Jay Williams, the No. 2 overall pick from 2002, hit the waiver wire after his debilitating motorcycle accident. The Bulls let Marcus Fizer, the No. 4 pick from 2000, hit the Bobcats expansion draft just days before his rookie scale deal was up.

This compilation doesn’t include players acquired via trade on draft night, since they had yet to sign their rookie contracts or appear in a game, and such swaps are often pre-ordained in advance of the draft.

2012

  • No. 5 Thomas Robinson — Kings traded him to Rockets on February 20th, 2013; Rockets traded him to Trail Blazers on July 10, 2013

2011

  • No. 2 Derrick Williams — Timberwolves traded him to Kings on November 26th, 2013

2010

  • No. 3 Derrick Favors — Nets traded him to Jazz on February 23rd, 2011
  • No. 4 Wesley Johnson — Timberwolves traded him to Suns on July 27th, 2012

2009

  • No. 2 Hasheem Thabeet — Grizzlies traded him to Rockets on February 24th, 2011; Rockets traded him to Trail Blazers on March 15th, 2012
  • No. 3 James Harden — Thunder traded him to Rockets on October 27th, 2012

2008

  • No. 2 Michael Beasley — Heat traded him to Timberwolves on July 12th, 2010

2007

  • No. 5 Jeff Green — Thunder traded him to Celtics on February 24th, 2011

2006

  • No. 3 Adam Morrison — Bobcats traded him Lakers on February 7th, 2009
  • No. 4 Tyrus Thomas — Bulls traded him to Bobcats on February 18th, 2010
  • No. 5 Shelden Williams — Hawks traded him to Kings on February 16th, 2008; Kings traded him to Timberwolves on February 19th, 2009

2005

  • None

2004

  • No. 5 Devin Harris — Mavericks traded him to Nets on February 19th, 2008

2003

  • No. 2 Darko Milicic — Pistons traded him to Magic on February 15th, 2006

2002

  • No. 4 Drew Gooden — Grizzlies traded him to Magic on February 19th, 2003; Magic traded him to Cavaliers on July 23rd, 2004
  • No. 5 Nikoloz Tskitishvili — Nuggets traded him to Warriors on February 24, 2005

2001

  • None

2000

  • No. 3 Darius Miles — Clippers traded him to Cavaliers on July 29th, 2002; Cavaliers traded him to Trail Blazers on January 21st, 2004
  • No. 5 Mike Miller — Magic traded him to Grizzlies on February 19th, 2003

RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

Western Rumors: Lakers, Claver, Casspi

The majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted today think at least one New York team will make the playoffs this season, in spite of a combined 7-24 record for the Knicks and Nets. That might not be the case if those clubs were in the much tougher Western Conference. The Hawks are in third place in the East with a 9-8 record, while the Lakers have the same mark and sit in 10th place in the West. The imbalance figures to soften to some degree as the season wears on, but it’s still troubling for Western teams competing for a postseason berth. Here’s more from the West:

  • Wesley Johnson could have signed for more money and years to play with that Atlanta team and its much easier road to the playoffs, and the Bucks also offered a better deal than the Lakers, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system prompted Johnson to instead choose the L.A. and a one-year contract for the minimum salary.
  • César Nanclares of TuBasket.com hears that Victor Claver is strongly considering a return to Europe amid disappointment over a reduced role this season with the Blazers (translation via HoopsHype). Nanclares points out the Spanish native’s contract runs through this season and next and that Portland isn’t likely to let him engineer a buyout this season, though the scribe wonders if the Blazers might be willing to cut ties this summer.
  • Rockets forward Omri Casspi is leaving agent Steven Heumann of the Creative Artists Agency and will sign with Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports, as Fegan tells Sportando contributor David Pick.
  • Former second-round draft pick Chukwudiebere Maduabum has signed with Tin Kalev Tallin of Estonia, Sportando’s Enea Trapani reports. The Nuggets hold the rights to Maduabum, the 56th overall pick in 2011.

Clippers May Have Competition For Lamar Odom

The Clippers might not be the only team pursuing free agent forward Lamar Odomas Doc Rivers tells Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. An earlier report indicated Odom would only sign with the Clippers.

“I’m hoping if things work out, yeah,” Rivers said. “But I just don’t know. I know there’s other teams involved, I think. I honestly haven’t focused on it a lot.”

It’s not clear which other teams may be involved. Rivers, who coaches the Clippers and reportedly has the final say in front office matters, adds that he’s more comfortable with the idea of signing the troubled 14-year veteran after speaking with Phil Jackson and Vinny Del Negro, both of whom have coached Odom. Still, Rivers also says there’s no hurry to bring Odom or anyone else on board. This summer was a difficult one for Odom, who faced DUI charges and rumors of drug use, but Rivers was impressed with his attitude and physical condition when they met two weeks ago.

The Clippers and Odom have been talking for a while, but there remains no timeline for him to join the team. The Clippers would like to fill their vacant roster spot, and with no trades on the horizon, a free agent signing or waiver claim appears the best bet, Howard-Cooper writes. The team is also reportedly considering free agent big man Chris Wilcox as an alternative to Odom.

“We’re looking, but it’s not a desperate look right now,” Rivers said. “I do think we need one more player. It could be a big. It could be another point guard, just to have a third backup for the season. But I don’t tend to make moves that’ll make you stronger during the regular season, because then in the playoffs you shorten your rotation and that was a wasted move most of the time.”

Most Partial Guarantees Have Already Been Paid

The timing of the Lakers release of Elias Harris yesterday was financially motivated, and it had to do with the $100K partial guarantee on his contract. It’s the same calculus that would have forced the Cavaliers to release Matthew Dellavedova yesterday if they wanted to avoid paying him more than the $100K partial guarantee on his deal, which was identical to the one Harris signed. Dellavedova has played a key role for his team, unlike the little-used Harris, so Cleveland has seen fit to keep him beyond yesterday’s deadline to waive him so that he’d clear waivers before Tuesday, the day when his accrued salary will exceed $100K.

Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors explained earlier this month how the proration of salaries comes into play with partially guaranteed deals, pointing to Lance Thomas and his deal with the Pelicans as an example. Thomas had the league’s smallest partial guarantee to start the season, and even though he lasted only a couple weeks before New Orleans let him go, he had already earned more than his $15K guarantee, making the guarantee irrelevant in the team’s decision to waive him.

That’s the case for majority of players with partial guarantees at this point. Eleven of the 18 guys on partially guaranteed contracts have already earned more money than their guarantees cover, meaning they’re on de-facto non-guaranteed contracts. Their teams could waive them at any time and not owe them any extra money.

A handful of players still haven’t accrued as much as their partial guarantees, though the Bobcats and Jannero Pargo are scheduled to cross that threshold this weekend. Charlotte will have to waive Pargo by tomorrow so he’s off the roster by Wednesday, when his earnings will exceed $300K.

Three players have partial guarantees that they won’t exceed until after the leaguewide guarantee date of January 10th. That means the only date that matters to their teams is January 7th, the last day to place those guys on waivers without fully guaranteeing their contracts.

Here’s the complete list, broken down by category:

Already exceeded their partial guarantees

Will soon exceed their partial guarantees (player must be waived three days in advance of listed date)

Won’t exceed their partial guarantees until after the leaguewide guarantee date (January 10th)

ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Vucevic, Heat, Beasley

Worried about your team’s playoff hopes as we approach the quarter-mark of the season?  As Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel pointed out earlier this week, the 2010/11 Heat started out 9-8, leading some to wonder if the superstar packed club could succeed.  That Heat team found its way to the 2011 Finals and went on to win back-to-back titles.  Here’s a look at the Southeast Division..

  • As he plays out the third year of a four-year contract, the Magic are looking to determine Nikola Vucevic‘s value, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.  While the center was impressive in his first season with Orlando and has had strong flashes this season, he hasn’t taken a noticable step forward.  As it stands, the Magic are expected to retain Vucevic when he becomes a restricted free agent after the 2014/15 season.  A deal for Vucevic would probably fall in between the five-year, $60MM deal that Nikola Pekovic signed with the T’Wolves and Larry Sanders‘ four-year, $44MM contract with the Bucks.
  • In today’s mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that offseason pickup Michael Beasley looks to have taken a huge leap in his first month in Miami.  The Heat are more than comfortable turning to the forward for offense, which isn’t something that most observers expected when they signed Beasley to a non-guaranteed pact.
  • Dwayne Wade says that the Heat are the deepest team he’s ever played on, writes Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report.  “No knock on any other team that I’ve ever played on, besides the Olympic team, this would probably be the deepest team that I’ve played on,Dwyane Wade said Friday night.

Poll: Will Nets And Knicks Make The Playoffs?

Is it time to panic in New York?  While there’s still a long way to go in this NBA season, we are nearly at the quarter-mark and the dreadful starts for the Nets and Knicks cannot be ignored.  The Nets fell to 4-12 last night with a dreadful loss in Houston thanks to their matador defense and lack of ball movement on the other end of the floor.  The Knicks, meanwhile, dropped their eighth straight contest, losing 97-95 on the road to the Nuggets after Carmelo Anthony‘s last second shot to force overtime missed.  New Yorkers aren’t known for their patience and as both teams languish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, both Jason Kidd and Mike Woodson find themselves on the hotseat.

While everyone is still busy chuckling at Kidd’s “cup-gate” scandal, the Nets have much larger problems facing them at this juncture of the season.  Under Kidd, the Nets look like a team without direction or motivation and frankly, they look downright old.   Granted, there have been injuries.  Deron Williams and key reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry are still sidelined with TBD return dates.  Center Brook Lopez was out for seven games with a tweaked ankle before coming back last night to have the only solid performance of anyone wearing black and white.  Still, the team looked out of sorts before the injury bug hit.  Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett appear to be fractions of what they used to be and without those two clicking, this team isn’t going to get very far.  And in case you’re thinking that the Nets’ deep-pocketed ownership will sign off on another pricey acquisition between now and the trade deadline, think again.  Mikhail Prokhorov has made it clear that the team is at its absolute spending limit.  The Nets also don’t really have first-round picks that they can deal thanks to the Celtics blockbuster.

While some Nets fans might be wondering why Kidd was given the reins as head coach this summer, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says the club desperately misses his veteran leadership.  Maybe he’s right.  The Knicks bent over backwards to re-sign last season’s Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith and upgraded their frontcourt with Andrea Bargnani, but they’ve stumbled badly out of the gate.  If the Knicks can’t right the ship, it could have repercussions that go far beyond the 2012/13 season.  It’s hard to envision Anthony, a free agent at season’s end, turning down the likes of the Lakers to stay with a lottery-bound Knicks squad.

Still, it’s a long season.  How do you see it all playing out for the Nets and Knicks?

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