Month: June 2017

Western Notes: Nash, Lawson, Mavs, Smith

Steve Nash worked hard to return to the court this season and eliminate the Lakers‘ ability to use the stretch provision, he reveals in a video at Grantland. Nash dispels the notion that he would consider joining the Clippers if the Lakers were to release him, saying, “It’s either back with the Lakers next year or this is it.” (Transcription via Bill Oram of Orange County Register on Twitter.) Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told Dan Barreiro of KFAN 100.3 that he’s confident coach Rick Adelman will complete this season with Minnesota (as transcribed by Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter). Adelman contemplated leaving the Timberwolves prior to the season due to concerns over his wife’s health, and has spent time away from the team this year tending to her issues.
  • The Nuggets aren’t planning to shut down point guard Ty Lawson for the season, coach Brian Shaw tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “Going forward, we’re pretty much out of the mix in terms of the playoffs, being realistic at this point. But you still want to see combinations of guys working together,” says Shaw. “Our young guys get a chance to have the focus a little more on them and play in combination with Ty, looking forward to the rest of the season and what possibly lies ahead for next season as well.” Lawson has battled multiple injuries this year, and is currently missing time due to a fractured rib while the Nuggets slide further out of contention. 
  • The Mavs have recalled Jae Crowder, Bernard James, and Shane Larkin from their D-League affiliate, while reassigning Ricky Ledo to the Texas Legends, reports Adam Wermuth of Mavs.com. This was the reversal of a one-game assignment/recall of the same players the Mavs made yesterday.
  • Rockets center Greg Smith is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear, reports Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle. A lengthy recovery could put the rest of his regular season in jeopardy. The second-year big man played in 70 games for the Rockets last year, but injuries and Houston’s acquisition of Dwight Howard have limited Smith’s role this season.

Warriors Notes: Blake, Iguodala, Free Agents

The Warriors might have put the final nail in the coffin for the Knicks 2013/14 season with a dominant win tonight. Stephen Curry had a triple double to help the Warriors move past the Mavs into the 6th seed out west. Here’s more from Golden State:

  • The Warriors haven’t added anyone from the buyout/free agent market since the trade deadline like some of their Western Conference competitors, but coach Mark Jackson isn’t concerned about the lack of activity. He told reporters, including Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links), that adding players is sometimes “too much” for an already-performing roster: “Sometimes the best move is no move.”
  • Steve Blake has been so impressed with the Warriors, he’s already thinking about re-signing in Golden State just a week after being traded there, he tells Diamond Leung of Inside Bay Area“I can’t lie. I wonder where I’ll be next year. If I had the opportunity to be here, I would love it,” says Blake. “I already knew from the outside that they were a special team. I didn’t realize what a great group of guys it was and how nice it is to play for [coach Mark Jackson]. Those are all things that I’ll be looking for, for a place I’d like to finish off my career at.” Blake is on the final year of his four-year, $16MM contract, and says he’s more interested in playing on the bench for a winner than getting a bigger role with a rebuilding team. “I don’t know if I want to go start on a team that’s going to win 20, 30 games that’s rebuilding. At this point in my career, I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for. If my role is to come off the bench like it is right now and contribute in that way and we’re winning, I’m all for it. That’s all I want to do is win right now, and I think this team has a chance to really do that.”
  • Curry told reporters before the game, including Brian Windhorst of ESPN (via Twitter), that the Warriors had a sign-and-trade deal for Andre Iguodala worked out with the Nuggets that fell through a week before Golden State eventually worked out a three-way arrangement with the Nuggets and Jazz.

Jazz CEO On Trade Deadline, CBA, Silver

Jazz CEO Greg Miller did a lengthy Q&A with Matt Moore of CBS Sports, covering Utah’s young roster, the upcoming draft, and more. The whole thing is worth checking out, but here are some of the highlights:

On the quiet Jazz trade deadline, and contentment with the team as constructed:

“I’d say that this has been a very good developmental year. Going into the season, we stated openly our plan is to go young and develop the young guys into a championship contender. I think the development we’ve seen has been exactly what we’ve hoped for. And I’m happy with it.”

On relating to his players:

“I consider them all friends. I think we’re all blessed to have gentlemen on and off the course. They’re good for the community; they represent the franchise well. I try not to get too close to any of them because it’s the nature of the business that it’s fairly dynamic in terms of personnel moves. It’s tough enough without having that added dimension. Having said that, I feel like I’ve made an effort to express my appreciation to the guys who are going to be part of my guys in the future. I’d include Derrick Favors, [Trey] Burke, [Alec] Burks, Gordon [Hayward], Enes [Kanter] and others. When I see them at games, I feel comfortable around them and I think they feel comfortable with me.”

On new commissioner Adam Silver:

“I’ve had the benefit of having known Adam for a little over five years and worked with him as deputy commissioner. I’ve been impressed with him; the more I’ve gotten to know him the more impressive he’s become. He’s very thorough in whatever issues he’s about to tackle. He does his homework. He knows the strategy he wants to employ and what he wants to get done. I think he’ll be different from David in that he’s a little more even-tempered, but he’s articulate. He’s got some big shoes to fill, which I can relate to. My dad set the bar very high in our organization. I’ve always felt that we have that in common. We’re both successors to people who did their jobs very, very well. I think Adam is the right man for the job. David served the league and the fans and the owners really well for 30 years. And he certainly did his part to build the game of basketball and build the value of NBA franchises. It’ll be Adam’s turn to see what he can add. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

On whether the new CBA is helping small market teams stay competitive:

“I think it’s had the effect of leveling the playing field. The luxury tax is now so punitive that even the markets with deeper pockets would have to be really crazy to go into that. I can tell you that as long as our family owns the team and the current tax structure, you’ll never see the Jazz go into the luxury tax. The playing field has been leveled somewhat. I think it’s a good thing for small markets. I think it’s a little too new to have a completely clear picture of the impacts. I think based on what we’ve seen, it’s been good for small markets and good for the league.”

Spurs Notes: Daye, Free Agents

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters, including Josh McDonald of San Antonio Express-News, that Nando De Colo‘s request for San Antonio to move him to a better situation was the impetus for GM R.C. Buford to trade him to the Raptors last week. Popovich says Buford was working to accommodate De Colo’s wishes for some time (Twitter links). Here’s more from San Antonio:

  • Popovich said in the same session that he isn’t feeling very anxious about what free agents the Spurs could add, per Mike Monroe of San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links): “R.C. and the boys are doing their due diligence but there’s nothing there we’re super excited about.” The Spurs have been linked to multiple players on the buyout market, but haven’t landed any to this point.
  • Austin Daye, whom the Spurs acquired in the De Colo trade, tells Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press that turbulence with the Pistons during his few years in the league helped him mature: “I saw a lot of things usually a lot of first-year guys don’t see, second-year guys don’t see—guys getting into it with coaches and stuff like that and all type of different stuff going on. It was tough when guys didn’t want to go to shootaround and all that stuff,” says Daye. “I kind of had to grow and mature as a player and as a person. I think I was able to do that my third to fourth year. Just be mature, come into work every day and beat somebody out for their spot. Just earn your minutes as best you can, instead of expecting stuff.” 
  • Daye hopes to make enough of an impression for the Spurs to guarantee the final year of his contract next season, worth $1.1MM. He wants a chance to succeed like other Spurs reclamation projects have. “Look at what happened to [Danny Green]. He wasn’t playing at all in Cleveland, never sniffed the floor when he was there. He came into this system and the system really helps players like that. It helps players with perhaps a special skill-set or maybe even one skill-set,” says Daye. “I think it’s a great chance for me—I don’t think it’s the last chance for me. If that’s what they’ve been saying, that’s what they can think. I know I’m a good player in this league, I know I can play in this league.”

Eastern Notes: Muscala, Jennings, Raptors

Updating an earlier note, former Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo reveals that the 2011/12 season is when he tried to tank the team’s performance for a better draft pick, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Colangelo says the losing mentality was limited to the roster’s assembly. “I didn’t ‘come out and say, ‘Coach (Dwane Casey), you’ve got to lose games.’ I never said that. I wanted to have him establish a winning tradition and a culture and all of that, but I wanted to do it in the framework of playing and developing young players, and with that comes losing.” Here’s more from the Eastern Conference, home to a few teams suspected of tanking this year:

  • Dwane Casey is still the Raptors coach, and declined to comment on the tanking season in retrospect, per Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun (via Twitter).
  • Mike Muscala spoke with Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constituation about joining the Hawks earlier than expected. “I was surprised. I was playing in Spain and my agent called me and told me about it last week. My whole thought process was to play the entire year (in Spain) so it was definitely a surprise.” Muscala said he is pushing through nerves, uncertainty, and inexperience in an NBA system to gain the most from the final stretch of the season. “I’m not sure in terms of a role but what I should be focusing on is putting more pressure on the rim offensively and defensively, getting rebounds offensively and defensively, playing with the skill I have in the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situation.”
  • Brandon Jennings doesn’t think fired Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks received a fair shot before Detroit let him go, he tells David Mayo of MLive.com“You give a coach a half-a-season, with new faces and new chemistry, that’s not enough time, I don’t think. I felt like he was basically in a losing situation.” Jennings is frustrated with Detroit’s struggles this season, after an offseason that was meant to turn them into a playoff team. “It’ll be very disappointing and kind of embarrassing, the fact that with myself coming over here, and Josh coming over here, and us making these moves, and we don’t get it done–it’s going to be real disappointing.”
  • Jennings also told Mayo he doesn’t know whether the rumors of Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith playing a part in Cheeks’ firing are true.

Los Angeles Notes: Marshall, Kupchak, Clippers

Aside from Danny Granger‘s official signing with the Clippers earlier today, a lot more is happening in Southern California. Here are some notes from L.A.:

  • Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com says that the Clippers trade deadline was a success, although it appeared to have fizzled out at the time. After merely subtracting Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens from the roster during deadline week, the Clippers actually made room for buyout additions Glen Davis and Granger without giving up significant players or hiking up their team salary.
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey was asked at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference who the best negotiator in the league is, and immediately named Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com (via Twitter).
  • Kendall Marshall uses the criticism and disregard he’s received from media and teams as motivation to improve, he tells Mark Medina of Los Angeles Daily News“I made a list of things in my phone and things that drive me that people said I couldn’t do. I recite those things to me every single day.” Marshall has already surpassed his totals from last season for games started, minutes, points, and assists in just 22 contests with the Lakers this year. The Suns traded him before the season to the Wizards as part of the Marcin Gortat deal. Washington promptly released him, making Marshall the rare early first-rounder who doesn’t make it to the second year of his initial rookie contract. “Part of it came with hitting rock-bottom and being out of the league. You can’t go anywhere but up from here. They already think you can’t shoot. So you’re either going to solidify what they think or you’re going to surprise them.”

Danny Granger Signs With Clippers

The Clippers have officially announced their signing of Danny Granger, who cleared waivers today after he agreed to a buyout with the Sixers on Wednesday. The former All-SNBA: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacerstar and five-time Pacers scoring leader is perhaps the most significant coup on the buyout market, and he strengthens a Clippers team already in championship contention. He joins Glen Davis as another key acquisition for the Clippers in the wake of the trade deadline, bringing the team’s roster to 14 players, which leaves room for one more.

Granger had also been considering the Bulls, Spurs, Heat, and Rockets, and the Mavs had been expected to make a run at him, too. He was traded to the Sixers from the Pacers at the trade deadline after spending the first eight-plus years of his career in Indiana, but was subsequently waived after negotiating a buyout. Terms and length of the potential deal being discussed are not yet known. Aaron Mintz of the Creative Artists Agency represents Granger, as our Agency Database shows.

The Clippers had the edge over the other teams, since they are able to offer the most playing time, perhaps making him a starter at small forward. Granger also has an offseason home in Los Angeles. He wanted to play for a contender, and with the Clippers’ record of 40-20, four games back of the Thunder for the top seed in the Western Conference, they definitely fit that description.

The ninth-year veteran has struggled to regain his form after missing all but five games last season. Granger played in 29 games for the Pacers before being traded to the Sixers, and averaged 8.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 22.5 minutes per contest. He didn’t see any action for the Sixers, and last saw the court on February 19th, when he scored two points in 18 minutes versus the Timberwolves.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star originally reported that Granger had chosen to sign with the Clippers.

Jrue Holiday To Miss Rest Of Season

Jrue Holiday has undergone surgery on his fractured right tibia and will miss the rest of the season, reports Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com. New Orleans is already without starting center Jason Smith for the balance of 2013/14, and Ryan Anderson is likely out for the season, too.

The Pelicans received a Disabled Player Exception for Anderson worth $4,154,250, but it’s too late to apply for another such exception to compensate for Smith or Anderson. New Orleans probably won’t use the majority of its Anderson exception, which expires March 10th, since most available players would command only the minimum salary. The Pelicans received the exception shortly before the deadline, but the team didn’t make a move.

There’s little motivation for the Pelicans to push for the playoffs at this point, since they’re 10 games out of the postseason and in 12th place in the Western Conference. They’re four games up on the Celtics, who hold the fifth-worst record in the league, and if the Pelicans’ draft pick winds up in the top five this year, they get to keep it rather than send it to the Sixers. They agreed to surrender the first-rounder to Philadelphia in last summer’s trade to acquire Holiday.

The 23-year-old point guard hasn’t played since January 8th because of the injury. Holiday averaged 14.3 points and 7.9 assists per game with a career-high 17.4 PER this season, the first on a four-year, $41MM extension he signed while still with the Sixers.

Odds & Ends: Nowitzki, Colangelo, Fredette

Rockets GM Daryl Morey said today that he asked Mark Cuban about acquiring Dirk Nowitzki this summer out of fears the Warriors would keep Dwight Howard from coming to Houston, according to ESPN (Twitter link). Cuban didn’t realize Howard hadn’t committed to the Rockets, and interpreted the proposal as a taunt over the Mavs‘ failed pursuit of Howard. Morey made his remarks at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and we’ve got more from that meeting of the minds as we pass along the latest from the NBA:

  • Former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo admitted that he attempted to tank a few seasons ago, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Presumably, that happened during his Raptors tenure.
  • Jimmer Fredette piqued the interest of the Celtics, but it “wasn’t a good fit for either side,” as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters today, including Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves have no interest in Fredette for “myriad reasons,” according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
  • Some within the Lakers organization wanted to retain Pau Gasol through the trade deadline to keep his Bird Rights, but Gasol writes in his blog that L.A.’s financial advantage to re-sign him won’t play into his decision (translation via HoopsHype). The 7-footer says he wants to go where he can help a team win a title, but he’s not ruling out a return to the Lakers.
  • Caron Butler‘s role on the Heat would have been similar to the one Mike Miller played in recent years, and part of his decision to instead join the Thunder centered on the chance for more playing time, notes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links).
  • The top half of the lottery picks in this year’s draft will be a star-studded bunch, but there are still other potential franchise-changing players in the mix, writes Zach Harper of CBSSports.com, who examines five potential steals.

Bobcats, Ben Gordon Talk Buyout

3:36pm: The Thunder have interest in Gordon, who continues to pursue a buyout with Charlotte, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Unlike other clubs thinking of signing him, Oklahoma City is open to giving him a deal that would allow him to become a free agent this summer, Shelburne adds (Twitter links).

FRIDAY, 10:23am: The Bulls are not expected to have interest in Gordon unless they miss out on Jimmer Fredette, according to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. Fredette is reportedly “strongly leaning” toward Chicago.

FEBRUARY 27TH: Buyout discussions continue between Charlotte and Gordon’s representatives, but the Raymond Brothers client doesn’t want to hook up with any team that wouldn’t allow him to hit free agency this summer, as he’s currently scheduled to do. The Bulls, Clippers and Rockets are apparently dangling two-year offers (Twitter links).

FEBRUARY 21ST: 5:40pm: Gordon and the Bobcats are close to completing an agreement on a buyout, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

1:38pm: The Bobcats and Ben Gordon are in negotiations about a buyout of his bloated expiring deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Gordon is making $13.2MM in the final season of a five-year, $58MM contract. He was rumored to have been a part of discussions about the trade Charlotte made with the Bucks yesterday, but the 30-year-old shooting guard remains a Bobcat.

Gordon has seen action in just 18 games for the Bobcats this season, averaging 5.3 points in 14.4 minutes per contest. The career 40.2% three-point shooter has made a career-low 28.6% of his long-range attempts this year. Gordon has been in trade rumors since clashing with former coach Mike Dunlap last season.

The 10th-year veteran came to Charlotte from the Pistons in the summer of 2012 as part of a deal for Corey Maggette and a first-round pick that could become a lottery selection for the Bobcats this year. Buyout chatter has emerged surrounding Charlie Villanueva as well, meaning both key figures from Detroit’s 2009 spending spree may wind up ending their deals early.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

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