Month: June 2017

Odds & Ends: Kidd, Parker, Dwight, Iguodala

Former Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy had a lot to say about the Nets, calling them “bush league” in a recent radio interview, but Jason Kidd took the high road rather than blasting him back.  “I think we have one of the best owners and so I’m confident,” said Kidd, according to Andy Vasquez of the Bergen Record (Twitter links). “Everybody has their right to their opinion, but the guys in that locker room are fighting.”  More from around the Association as we look ahead to 2014..

Western Notes: Dudley, Thompson, Spurs

Jared Dudley was the glue that helped hold the Suns together and this season he’s brought his chemistry-boosting power to the Clippers, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.  Meanwhile, the Suns’ acquisition of Eric Bledsoe has made them a surprisingly solid team this season and turned them into a much more athletic squad.  More from the Western Conference..

  • Kings forward Jason Thompson is struggling in his sixth NBA season and while his name has been involved in trade rumors, he’s determined not to let them become another roadblock.  “All of my teammates over the years give you different advice and tell you how other organizations are,” Thompson said in a conversation with Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. “I have been on this team a good amount of years, so there’s nothing — like trade rumors — I haven’t seen before. “If a team wants to get rid of you, another team wants you. It’s good that you’re wanted. You only control what you can control. We’ll see what happens. I’ll play to the best of my abilities no matter how the situation goes.
  • The Spurs announced that they have recalled guard Nando De Colo and forward Malcolm Thomas from the Austin Toros of the D-League.  Both players made their fourth appearance for the Toros this season on Sunday when they led Austin to a 96-93 home victory over the Tulsa 66ers.
  • In today’s mailbag, a reader asks Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com if Andrew Bynum is worth the risk for the Mavs if he becomes available.

Atlantic Rumors: Knicks, Teletovic, Blue

Thaddeus Young is playing at an All-Star level this season, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  ”I think Thaddeus’ last [four] games are off the charts,Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “It’s at an all-star type of level. He’s playing with versatility and a toughness and a leadership. It’s just a real strong package that he’s showing us. I really feel, the last [four games] if that’s what he is, he’s something special.”  Meanwhile, the 25-year-old continues to hear his name in trade talk.  Try not to get teary-eyed on us, because this is the final Atlantic Rumors post of 2013..

  • J.R. Smith, who took to Instagram to express his frustrations with the Knicks’ decision to waive his brother, didn’t speak to reporters today, but coach Mike Woodson doesn’t expect Smith to have hard feelings against Jeremy Tyler, who replaced the younger Smith on the roster. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details. Chris Smith isn’t sure whether he’ll sign to play in the D-League and he may wait awhile before making his next move, Berman notes.
  • Tyler could play a significant role for the Knicks, as Keith Schlosser of Knicks Journal examines.
  • Mirza Teletovic doesn’t answer a question about whether he’s asked for a trade, but he tells Emir Jesenković of the Bosnian newspaper Avaz that he’s not thinking about the possibility of a trade and that his focus remains on the Nets. Teletovic also lends his support to coach Jason Kidd (translation via NetsDaily).
  • Sixers camp invitee Vander Blue is once more a free agent, as Maccabi Rishon LeZion of Israel has waived the former Marquette shooting guard, according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter links).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Pelicans Waive Lou Amundson

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at New York KnicksThe Pelicans have waived big man Lou Amundson, the team announced. The move frees up a roster spot, since New Orleans had been at the 15-man limit. His contract was non-guaranteed, so the Pelicans won’t be on the hook for the remainder of his minimum salary.

The move wasn’t unexpected, especially given comments coach Monty Williams made shortly after Amundson signed along with Josh Childress in mid-November. Williams deemed the moves “nothing to write home about” and said, “We’re just taking a look” at the veterans. New Orleans released Childress earlier this month.

It’s the third time Amundson has hit waivers in the past 11 months. He had stints with the Timberwolves, Bulls and then-Hornets last season, and spent camp with the Clippers this fall.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dominic McGuire To Play In D-League

Six-year NBA veteran Dominic McGuire is set to join the D-League, according to Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. The 28-year-old swingman was in camp with the Jazz this fall. He’s still free to sign with any NBA team.

It’s not clear which D-League team McGuire will play for, since he’ll first have to go through the D-League’s waiver process before he lands with a club. It’ll be the first D-League stint for the former second-round pick who’s managed to play in the NBA every season since the Wizards made him the 47th overall selection in 2007. He’s averaged 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game over his career, and his most significant action came back in 2008/09 with Washington, when he started 57 games.

McGuire last appeared in the NBA with the Pacers in 2012/13 on a pair of 10-day contracts. A 10-day deal could be McGuire’s path back to the Association, since teams will once more be allowed to give out those short-term deals beginning Monday. The timing of McGuire’s move may also be tied to the D-League showcase, a five-day gathering of the league’s teams in front of scouts in Reno, Nevada, starting Sunday.

Horford Injury May Prod Hawks To Make Move

The Hawks are planning their next move in the wake of Al Horford‘s surgery today on a torn pectoral muscle that will keep him out for the season. The front office is evaluating its options to upgrade its depth and talent with the big man out, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That suggests the club could be looking at a roster move.

The Hawks are under the cap, so they couldn’t apply for a disabled player exception that would help them acquire a player via free agency or trade. They can only clear about $2MM worth of cap room, and while they have the $2.652MM room exception at their disposal if they want to sign a player, it probably wouldn’t take more than the minimum salary to bring in a free agent at this point. They’re at the 15-man roster limit, but they have three players on non-guaranteed deals (Mike ScottCartier Martin, and Shelvin Mack) whom they could waive to clear a spot.

GM Danny Ferry‘s roster is “built to trade,” as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote earlier in the season, so it’s reasonable to expect the team to explore a swap of some kind. Lowe wrote in the same piece that Ferry had been turning down offers for Horford, and even though the big man is injured, I’d be surprised if Ferry changed his stance, since Horford is under contract for the relative bargain price of $12MM a season through 2015/16.

Players Who Could See Time In D-League

As the 2013 part of the 2013/14 season draws to a close, 16 of the 30 NBA teams have made at least one D-League assignment, as our log shows. At this point, it’s apparent how (or if) most clubs intend to use the D-League, but there’s still plenty of time for more teams to get involved. The Celtics haven’t sent anyone to the D-League this season, but they’re reportedly considering doing so with Rajon Rondo.

All-Stars like Rondo don’t make the likeliest candidates for a D-League assignment, of course. Since he has more than two years of experience, he’d have to sign off on the move, and so would the players union. Usually, guys who are sent down are in their first, second or third years, since teams can unilaterally assign those players, and there’s more to be gained from a development standpoint.

I’ve compiled a list of each player with less than three years of experience seeing fewer than 12 minutes a game on the 14 teams that have yet to make a D-League move. No players fit those criteria for the Bobcats and Heat, but the Trail Blazers have five such players, perhaps reflecting an organizational unwillingness in Portland to use the D-League. The same may be true for the Suns and Timberwolves, who have four such players apiece. Some of the candidates here have been seeing more minutes of late, but we’ll include them nonetheless:

Celtics

Bobcats

  • No players fit the criteria

Nuggets

Clippers

Grizzlies

Heat

  • No players fit the criteria

Bucks

Timberwolves

Pelicans

Magic

Suns

Trail Blazers

Raptors

Wizards

Los Angeles Notes: Pau, Williams, Bledsoe

As the Lakers prepare to host a New Year’s Eve contest against the Bucks, let’s check in on the latest items on Los Angeles’ two NBA teams….

  • Following up on ESPN’s report that the Lakers and Cavs have discussed a trade centered around Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com writes that such a move would represent a “fundamental shift in [the Lakers’] competitive and financial DNA.” Rival executives are dubious that the Lakers would really make a drastic cost-cutting move, and Berger doesn’t believe it would benefit the team in the short- or long-term, though I think he may be underselling the benefit of getting out of the tax this season — in that scenario, the Lakers could be a tax team again by 2015/16 and avoid paying the repeater penalty.
  • For what it’s worth, the early returns on Hoops Rumors’ poll today suggest many of our readers believe the Lakers‘ best strategy for Gasol involves a salary-dump trade.
  • In his list of potential fits for Bynum, ESPN.com’s Amin Elhassan (Insider link) classifies the Clippers as strong contenders, and doesn’t mention the Lakers. Of course, Elhassan’s piece is focusing more on logical on-court destinations for Bynum, rather than the best trade partners for the Cavs.
  • In a separate ESPN Insider piece, Tom Haberstroh writes that the Lakers should embrace 2014’s Tankapalooza.
  • Terrence Williams‘ D-League team will be the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers‘ affiliate, according to Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. Williams, who played for the Celtics last season, signed to play in Turkey this year, but returned stateside in November for family reasons.
  • Eric Bledsoe spoke to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com about returning to the Staples Center to face the Clippers for the first time as a Sun. Doc Rivers discussed Bledsoe as well, referring to the three-way trade involving the Clippers and Suns as a deal that should ultimately help both clubs.
  • More Rivers on Bledsoe: “He was ready to be a starter. There’s no doubt about it. We really only had one talk and I talked to his representatives, and they made that very clear. If it wasn’t starting, it was playing a lot of minutes. That could have happened here. I just didn’t know if it was going to happen here, and I didn’t know if he would be happy or not. I think he would have handled it, but it would have been no fun.”

Poll: What Should Lakers Do With Pau Gasol?

Earlier this morning, we passed along an overnight report from ESPN that revealed the Cavs and Lakers have discussed a potential swap centered around Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Such a deal would be financially motivated for the Lakers, potentially allowing the club to dip below luxury-tax territory, avoiding the repeater tax, creating some future flexibility, and saving $20MM+. It could also better position them for a top pick in the 2014 draft.

According to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers would still want assets of value in such a deal, but it’s hard to imagine the Cavs parting with a player like Dion Waiters to rent Gasol for a few months. If the Lakers want to acquire real talent, or real future assets, for Gasol, they’ll likely have to take on longer-term contracts than Bynum’s, which would only be worth $6MM if he’s waived by next Tuesday.

The Lakers have set themselves up to have room for a max-salary free agent in either the summer of 2014 or 2015, so taking back long-term salary in exchange for Pau’s expiring $19MM+ contract may not be in the team’s best interests. In fact, Gasol may end up being one of the better free agents on the market next summer, so it could make sense for the Lakers to hang onto him, re-sign him at a lower salary, and pursue other second- or third-tier free agents with their remaining room.

In a perfect world, the Lakers would find a trade for Gasol that allowed the team to cut costs and maintain flexibility while simultaneously adding young talent or future draft picks, but I’d be surprised if that perfect deal materialized. For the purposes of this poll, we’ll assume that the Lakers would have to choose between two kinds of Pau trades: One that cuts costs and increases cap flexibility without adding much real talent, or one that nets the team assets at the expense of future cap space.

So what do you think? What’s the best course of action for the Lakers with Gasol in the coming weeks?

Knicks Sign Jeremy Tyler, Waive Chris Smith

TUESDAY, 10:18am: The Knicks have officially signed Tyler and waived Smith, the team announced today (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 3:32pm: The Knicks have yet to officially announce any roster moves, but the team has reached a contract agreement with Tyler, tweets Begley. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link), Tyler is expected to ink his deal tomorrow morning.

1:39pm: The Knicks have decided to release J.R. Smith‘s younger brother Chris Smith, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. The move will open up a roster spot, allowing the team to sign Jeremy Tyler. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter) that Tyler left the Erie BayHawks for New York yesterday, and that the details of his contract with the Knicks are being “hammered out.”

Begley and Berman had both reported earlier that Smith was a candidate to be waived as New York prepared to make room for Tyler. The move won’t save the team any money, since Smith’s non-guaranteed salary became fully guaranteed when he made the Knicks’ opening night roster. Cole Aldrich and Toure’ Murry are still on non-guaranteed deals, and could have been cut, but both players have received more minutes this season than the younger Smith, who just made his NBA debut last Wednesday. According to Begley, the team considered waiving Aldrich but ultimately decided to part ways with Smith instead.

The Knicks’ signing of Smith, and the subsequent decision to carry him on the regular season roster, raised eyebrows around the NBA, as we’ve detailed. Given the club’s limited flexibility to sign J.R. Smith to a lucrative long-term contract this summer, some rival agents viewed the two signings as a package deal, and one GM referred to Chris Smith as “maybe the worst player in the history of the Summer League,” according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Once the release of Smith becomes official, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 26-year-old rejoin the Erie BayHawks, New York’s D-League affiliate.

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