Month: February 2024

Bulls Rumors: Fredette, Thibodeau, Granger

The Bulls appear on the verge of a deal with Jimmer Fredette, and although coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t address the soon-to-be former King specifically with reporters, he dropped strong hints that Fredette is the sort of player the team wants to add. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com rounds up the coach’s remarks.

“We could always use shooting so we’ll see,” Thibodeau said. “I know (Bulls executives are) looking at a number of guys right now. But any time we could add shooting, we’re interested. I think the more shooting you have the more it opens up the floor. It’s just to create the space, too. We want to open things up where we could attack off the dribble with our cuts, things of that nature. But it’s also how you complement your primary scorers, so we feel that’s an area of need.” 

There’s news about Thibodeau himself amid the latest from Chicago:

  • Bulls vice president of basketball John Paxson operations issued another dismissal of rumors that Thibodeau will leave the team this summer over disagreements with the front office, notes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times“He is not going anywhere. … I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our team is the best prepared in the NBA with Tom as our head coach,’’ Paxson said Thursday on WGWG-FM 87.7.
  • Sources close to the Bulls tell Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald that they didn’t have strong interest in Danny Granger or Caron Butler, despite reports putting them in the mix for both.
  • Trade chatter surrounded Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich before the deadline, but the Bulls never engaged in serious talks to deal away either of them, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com, who answers reader questions in his latest mailbag column.

Stan Van Gundy Unlikely To Coach Next Season

Former Heat and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is highly unlikely to return to the sidelines next season, barring an overwhelming opportunity, as he tells Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (All Twitter links). The 54-year-old still has interest in coaching, but he says he’s promised his family that they’ll have a say in his decision, and he doesn’t want to move with two children in high school.

Van Gundy has been linked to the Knicks this year, and said this past offseason that four teams had contacted him about their vacancies. In that same interview, he acknowledged that it’s possible that he’ll never coach again, a sentiment he also expressed in May. Van Gundy last coached in 2011/12 with the Magic, who let him go amid what appeared to be a broken relationship with Dwight Howard. The two have since reconciled and become close.

His teams made the playoffs in each of the seven full seasons he coached. The only time he didn’t take a team to the postseason was in 2005/06 with the Heat, when Pat Riley stepped in for him 21 games into the season. That team went on to win the championship. Van Gundy never guided a club to the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but he made a trip to the Finals with the Magic in 2009. He has a 371-208 record overall.

Gustavo Ayon Done For Season

Center Gustavo Ayon had surgery today on his right shoulder and he’ll miss the rest of the season, the Hawks announced. The news is a blow to a team that’s perilously thin on the front line as it fights to hold on to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are already without Al Horford for the rest of the season, and they’re missing Paul Millsap and Pero Antic, who are out with short-term injuries.

Atlanta recently signed bought center Mike Muscala out of his Spanish league contract and signed the 2013 second-round pick Thursday to shore up the team’s inside presence. The team has lost 10 out of 11 games to fall from third place to eighth in the East. The Hawks hold a lead of three and a half games on the Pistons for the final playoff spot, and they’ve been using DeMarre Carroll as a small-ball power forward in the starting lineup, with Elton Brand at center.

The Hawks still have a $5.15MM trade exception for Horford they could use to add a player between now and March 10th. It seems unlikely they’ll use the exception unless an intriguing big man comes available on the buyout market, since most free agents at this point would command no more than the minimum salary.

Ayon has been out since February 18th, when he injured the shoulder against the Pacers. He’s making $1.5MM this season in the final year of a three-year contract, and he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer if the Hawks make a qualifying offer worth $1.875MM.

Celtics Don’t Plan Buyout For Keith Bogans

The Celtics aren’t planning to agree to a buyout with Keith Bogans, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. A source recently told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that Bogans intended to “stick it out” with the team the year, presumably an indication that he didn’t want out of his contract, which pays him more than $5MM this season. The 33-year-old has been away from the team since early January, when he and management agreed to informally part ways over Bogans’ frustration with a lack of playing time.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge last month deemed Bogans a trade chip, suggesting that a swap was more likely in the summer than at the deadline. That was another hint that a buyout was unlikely, since retaining him allows the Celtics to offer him up to other teams as a de facto expiring contract. Bogans’ deal runs through 2015/16 with salaries in excess of $5MM each year, but the only guaranteed salary is for this season. The Dan Fegan client scored the over-market contract as part of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce blockbuster. The Nets needed to add to the swap to make the salaries match, prompting them to throw Bogans in via sign-and-trade. Sign-and-trade deals must cover three seasons, but only the first year needs to be guaranteed.

Bogans and the Celtics have until the end of Saturday to have a change of heart in time for the 11th-year veteran to be eligible to play for a team in the postseason. The shooting guard is one year removed from starting 23 games for a Nets team that made the playoffs, but he’s only appeared in six games this season.

Celtics Sign Chris Babb To 10-Day Contract

FRIDAY, 11:15am: The Celtics have officially signed Babb, the team announced. The move brings Boston’s roster to 15 players.

THURSDAY, 7:22pm: The Celtics plan to sign guard Chris Babb to a 10-day contract on Friday or Saturday, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Babb has been playing with the Maine Red Claws in the D-League.

Babb went undrafted in 2013, but played in the summer league for the Suns. He then signed with the Celtics on September 30th, 2013, but was subsequently waived by the team on October 26th. He joined the Red Claws on October 31st.

Babb has played in 32 games for the Red claws this season, and has averaged 11.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, and 1.2 SPG, while logging 37.5 MPG.

Heat Stars Not Planning Hometown Discounts?

LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade aren’t going to be “sacrificing millions for the good of the team,” a source tells Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. All three have early termination options on their contracts that they can exercise at season’s end, and it appears they’ll seek the highest paydays possible after signing for less than the maximum salaries they all could have commanded in 2010.

James would no doubt become the most sought-after free agent on the market if he opts out, though he’s given no indication about whether he’ll do so, nor has he suggested that any team would be the favorite to sign him. Similarly, no such hints have come from Bosh, who should also warrant maximum-salary offers if he were to become a free agent, or Wade, whose age (32) and knee troubles would make him the least desirable of the three.

All three could make the most money over the next two seasons by remaining under their current deals, which run though 2015/16. James and Bosh are set to make $20.59MM each in 2014/15, with Wade slated for $20.164MM. If they opt out, the maximum that James and Bosh could make as a starting salary in a new deal, whether with Miami or another club, would be $20,020,875, or 105% of their current salaries. The max for Wade would be $19,606,650. It’s conceivable that the NBA’s maximum salary could rise high enough to make it somewhat more lucrative for all three to sign new contracts, but that won’t be determined until after the July Moratorium, past the deadline for the trio of stars to decide on their early termination options.

Still, they could guarantee themselves a greater sum of money over the long-term if they opted out and signed new four- or five-year contracts. The Heat stars took less than the max in 2010 to join up, with Wade, then still in the prime of his career, making the largest sacrifice. James, Wade and Bosh were all clients of the Creative Artists Agency at the time, but James has since left to join longtime friend Rich Paul of the Klutch Sports Group. If the three stars opt in and rejoin the Heat next season, each has another opportunity to get out of their respective deals via player option in the summer of 2015.

Miami has Bird Rights with all three, allowing the team to exceed the salary cap to re-sign them. The issue for the Heat, as it has been over the past few years, would be figuring out how to maintain a championship-caliber roster around their stars, particularly if Wade’s health continues to decline. The Heat have recently convinced several others to take discounts, but they’ve nonetheless paid the luxury tax the past two seasons, and are set to do so again. The tax penalties will become much greater next season, when repeat offender tax rates kick in.

Western Notes: Clippers, Granger, White

After years of futility and being seen as a less than desirable location to play, the Clippers have officially become a draw for players, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. With the recent signing of Glen Davis and the team possibly inking Danny Granger, it definitely is a departure from the past. The fact that a veteran player in pursuit of a championship ring would consider signing a minimum deal to join the Clippers over teams like the Spurs and the Heat is yet another example of how far the Clippers have come as both contenders on the court and in the minds of players as a destination franchise, opines Markazi. Doc Rivers, weighing in on the matter, said, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it THE destination, but we want it to be one of them. That’s our goal. Bringing in Big Baby when he could have gone to a lot of other places was a good thing. Darren Collison could have gone to a lot of other places and came here. At the end of the day we just have to keep being a good basketball team and the rest of the stuff will follow. I think the key to this is showing that we have a shot and we’re a good team. Players follow that. They’ll go anywhere for that.”

More from the west:

  • Speaking of Granger, he is expected to make a decision on Friday, and the Clippers are his likely destination, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • In a video for the Journal Times, Gery Woelfel says the Jazz were considering Nate Wolters for the 21st overall pick last summer. Wolters wound up going 38th overall and has been a mainstay for the Bucks this season.
  • The Kings have been entertaining the idea of signing Royce White to a 10-day contract. Tom Ziller of SB Nation details the reasons why this pairing could work out, and also looks at some possibilities for why the Sixers traded for him this past summer.
  • Rockets center Greg Smith is going to have surgery on his knee, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. It is unknown if and when he will return to the court this season.
  • A scout claims the Timberwolves tried to trade J.J. Barea at the deadline because team executives want Ricky Rubio finishing games, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). The scout also weighs in on why he thinks Rubio is overrated as a player.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Anthony, Johnson

The Sixers wound up with only a second-round pick in return for Evan Turner, thanks to their buyout deal with Danny Granger, but a team offered GM Sam Hinkie a first-rounder for Turner at last year’s draft, according to Tom Moore of Calkins Media (Twitter link). With Granger now waived, the team came away with a significantly lower return for Turner at the trade deadline.

More from the east:

  • Carmelo Anthony says whether or not the Knicks make the playoffs this year won’t be among a litany of on-court and off-court factors that will play into his contract decision this summer, as Mark Berman of the New York Post examines.
  • The Hawks and Antawn Jamison had mutual interest in a parting of ways when the team waived him shortly after the trade deadline last week, as Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes.
  • The multiyear contract that Chris Johnson signed with the Celtics was originally reported as a three-year deal, but it’s actually a four-year arrangement that runs through 2016/17. Only this season is guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • Mark Montieth of Pacers.com, in his mailbag column, casts the likelihood of Orlando Johnson returning to the Pacers this summer as greater than the odds of Indiana reuniting with Danny Granger.
  • The Bucks are eyeing D-Leaguers and the overseas market for someone who can fill Caron Butler’s roster spot on a 10-day contract, tweeted Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Kings Agree To Buyout With Jimmer Fredette

5:52pm: Fredette is “strongly leaning” towards joining the Bulls once he clears waivers, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com (Twitter link).

3:26pm: The Kings and Jimmer Fredette have reached agreement on a buyout, the team announced. Sacramento’s press release doesn’t specifically state that the team has placed him on waivers, but presumably that’s the case. The Kings and Fredette’s representatives with Octagon Sports have been engaged in buyout talks this week after Sacramento failed to find a new home for its former 10th overall pick before the trade deadline.

Fredette will likely become a free agent on Saturday, and the Cavs and Bulls appear to be the teams with the most significant interest in signing him. Fredette is reportedly cool on the idea of joining Cleveland and is strongly considering latching on with a playoff team from the Eastern Conference. Chicago is pursuing others on the buyout market, but its best shot at landing a player of note appears to be with Fredette. The Grizzlies had interest, but Fredette was leaning against signing with Memphis in the hours before the Grizzlies claimed Beno Udrih off waivers Thursday, likely short-circuiting any chance of Fredette ending up with them.

Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio nonetheless hears the Grizzlies, as well as the Nuggets, are intrigued, and he names the Jazz a likely suitor as well. The Cavs are a long shot, according to Amico.

It’s not clear how much of Fredette’s $2,439,840 salary he’s giving up in the arrangement. The Kings declined the fourth-year option on his rookie scale contract, so he was due to hit free agency this summer. He never lived up to his draft position in Sacramento, where he saw his playing time shrink with each passing season. Still, he’s shooting 49.3% from three-point range with a 16.5 PER this season in 11.3 minutes per game.

“This was a very tough decision, but we’re confident that the agreement reached today represents the most productive path forward, both for Jimmer and the Kings,” Sacramento GM Pete D’Alessandro said. “Echoing a sentiment that everyone who knows him appreciates about Jimmer, he’s a tremendous person and a consummate professional. We thank him for the meaningful contributions he made to the team and in the Sacramento community. On behalf of an entire organization, we wish him nothing but great success in the future.”

The move opens a roster spot, and a report earlier this week indicated the team was likely to fill it with a 10-day contract for fellow former first-round pick Royce White. Still, coach Michael Malone said Thursday that such a move wouldn’t be happening soon.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

D-League Notes: Blazers, Mavs, Hamilton

The Blazers are ending their one-to-one affiliation with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede and will share an affiliate with other NBA teams next season, reports Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. GM Neil Olshey prefers to let Portland’s assistant coaches develop talent rather than farm the job out, as Freeman explains.

More D-League news:

  • The Mavs have assigned Jae Crowder, Bernard James and Shane Larkin to the D-League, and they’ve recalled Ricky Ledo, the team announced. It’ll be a one-game stint for the trio of assignees, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who first reported the moves (Twitter links).
  • Xavier Henry will see those three Mavs tonight when the affiliates for Dallas and the Lakers meet up, since the Lakers have sent Henry to the D-League, the team announced. It’s a rehab assignment for Henry, who’s been out since December 29th, tweets Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
  • The Wizards Otto Porter had been mentioned as a candidate to head to the D-League, but that looks less likely to happen now, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Porter is needed for depth in case Martell Webster or Trevor Ariza suffer an illness or an injury. The team might also resist sending him down as not to damage his confidence, opines Michael.
  • Dakota Schmidt of SB Nation profiles Sioux Falls 7-footer Justin Hamilton, and thinks that he is the most talented big man still available to make the jump to the NBA. The former second-round pick out of LSU has developed quite the offensive arsenal and could be the next player to land a 10-day contract, opines Schmidt.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.