Month: July 2024

And-Ones: Butler, Spurs, Magic

Let’s round up the latest news and notes from the Association on Tuesday night:

  • Jimmy Butler said extension talks between his representatives and the Bulls were going in the right direction, telling reporters that he wants to remain with the team “however long it takes,” writes Nick Friedell of The deadline for an extension is October 31st, but Butler could instead re-sign with the team as a restricted free agent next summer.
  • Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News examines the Spurs roster, reminding us that San Antonio already has 15 guaranteed deals on the books, as shown in our 2014/15 Expanded Roster Counts. If the Spurs do decide they want to keep Bryce Cotton, Josh Davis, JaMychal Green or John Holland, McCarney opines that they might consider eating the $1.063MM salary of Austin Daye.
  • Orlando’s deals with Peyton Siva, Kadeem Batts, Drew Crawford and Seth Curry all contain partial guarantees, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The Magic have promised Siva $100K, Batts $150K, Crawford $75K and Curry $100K despite having room for only one more fully guaranteed deal on their roster (via Twitter).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

West Notes: Jokic, Kanter, Burks, Gasol, Beasley

Here are the latest news and notes coming out of the Western Conference on Tuesday night:

  • There’s been no word of a deal between the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic, and his name isn’t among the 19 on the preseason roster that the Nuggets released today, so presumably the 41st overall pick from this year’s draft will remain under contract with Serbia’s KK Mega Vizura this season.
  • On the heels of yesterday’s report that the Jazz have opened extension talks with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, GM Dennis Lindsey said the team anticipates the duo to be with the Jazz for a “long time,” writes Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune. “They’re both valued members and we’re really proud of where they’re at as people and as players,” Lindsey said. “We’ll see if we can get something done early … but we anticipate both of them being with the Jazz for a long time.”
  • When asked about his impending free agency next summer, Marc Gasol reiterated his affinity for his teammates and the city of Memphis, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal in a subscription-only piece. Gasol also suggested that it would be hard to sign an extension prior to next summer knowing how quickly things can change in the NBA. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said in August he’s determined to keep Gasol in Memphis for the rest of his career.
  • Also from Calkins’ story, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger had the following to say when asked what it would take for Michael Beasley to end up on the roster: “Just be as good as he can be on the court and off the court. He’s going to have to come in and take somebody’s spot, and he knows that.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Rockets Notes: Papanikolaou, Dunn, Howard

The Rockets have been busy lately, finally inking Francisco Garcia to a new contract yesterday and earlier tonight deciding to exercise the options on Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas come late October. Let’s see what else is going on in Houston on Tuesday night:

  • Kostas Papanikolaou‘s new contract with the Rockets isn’t guaranteed unless he sticks on the roster through Saturday, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, who adds that next season carries both non-guaranteed salary and a team option (Twitter link).
  • Rockets head coach Kevin McHale has hired T.R. Dunn as an assistant coach, the team announced today. This will be the second stint in Houston for Dunn, who was also an assistant on Rick Adelman‘s Rockets staff from 2007 to 2011. The defensive-minded coach has been an assistant in Minnesota since then and also spent time on staffs in Sacramento, Denver and Charlotte.
  • While Dwight Howard can become a free agent at 30 in the summer of 2016, GM Daryl Morey likes his chances of re-signing him, writes Grantland’s Zach Lowe in a longer, Rockets-based piece. “We’re the first team Dwight has ever picked,” said Morey. “James [Harden] and Dwight are a combo you can win a title with, and we plan to have them here for the remainder of their careers.”

Chuck Myron also contributed to this post.

Rockets To Pick Up Option On Jones, Motiejunas

The Rockets plan to exercise their fourth-year team options on the rookie scale contracts of both Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The team will wait until the October 31 deadline to do so for the duo, both of whom are entering their third seasons in Houston and will compete for minutes at power forward alongside center Dwight Howard.

Jones, 22, really came into his own last season in his sophomore campaign out of Kentucky, averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in 71 starts for the Rockets. Montiejunas, from Lithuania, occupied more of a reserve role, playing 15.4 minutes off the bench. As Feigen notes, the seven-footer was dropped from the rotation in the playoffs. Both players are former first round picks. Jones was selected 18th by the Rockets in 2012 while Montiejunas was taken 20th by Minnesota in 2011.

Once the options are officially exercised, the 2015/16 salaries for Jones ($2.489MM) and Motiejunas ($2.288MM) will become guaranteed, locking in over $50MM in total commitments for Houston next season. With all of the changes to the Houston roster this offseason, there was some speculation that the seven-foot Motiejunas could be dealt. While this news makes that less likely, it’s hard to rule anything out when it comes to the always-active Rockets.

Sixers Waive Pierre Jackson

The Sixers have waived Pierre Jackson today, reports Marc Stein of (via Twitter). This move comes as no surprise after Jackson didn’t show up on the team’s training camp roster yesterday. Philly traded for Jackson in June and then curiously signed him to a partially-guaranteed deal a month later after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in summer league. Jackson starred last season for the D-League’s Idaho Stampede, averaging 29.1 points and 6.2 assists in 41.5 minutes per contest.

As Stein suggests in a separate tweet, it now appears that the $400K that the Sixers guaranteed to Jackson, who will undoubtedly miss the entire upcoming season rehabbing his injury, might have been intended to encourage the Baylor product to rejoin the team next summer. Philly, of course, loses the rights to Jackson by waiving him.

It was actually the Sixers who drafted Jackson out of Baylor in 2013 second round before dealing him to New Orleans. He joined the Pelicans for summer league but went unsigned through the fall before being selected in the D-League draft. Once he emerged as a force for Idaho, New Orleans allowed Jackson to reach out to other teams to see if they’d be interested in trading for his rights. After nothing materialized, he signed with European powerhouse Fenerbahce Ulker before the Sixers acquired his rights in June.

Blazers Owner On Aldridge, Tax, Involvement

Paul Allen has to settle for the title of second-richest NBA owner, since new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer outranks him, at least according to the Forbes 400. Allen and his Blazers have recently found themselves looking up at the Clippers and others in the NBA standings, too, but there weren’t many teams in between Portland and the top last year. Allen is enthusiastic about the direction of the Blazers, but he stopped short of declaring his team a contender when asked after the team’s first practice today. The tech magnate opened up about plenty of other topics, as Casey Holdahl of transcribes. We’ll share a few highlights here:

On extension talks this summer with LaMarcus Aldridge

“I just thought it was very important that we have a direct discussion with LA. It went great. We presented him with a couple of options and obviously he thinks the option of being unrestricted next season and of course looking at a very long [new contract] is the one he chose to pursue. We understand that, but we thought we should talk through all those things. It was just great to be able to sit down with LA and get a chance to really understand his thinking about the team. He’s very excited about the team. You guys talked to him at media day yesterday and I hope you got that sense, too.”

On paying the luxury tax:

“I think it’s been a while since I’ve been in the luxury tax. David Stern used to give me an extremely hard time about being as deep in the luxury tax as we went at one point. It’s not something I’m looking at, at this point, but look, we’ll try to do what we can to be as competitive as we can in the future without causing ourselves a bunch of problems down the road by going way over the cap and impacting our ability to sign free agents in the future and things like that. So it’s a very delicate balancing act to try and create yourself a championship window and then keep developing young players, too. I think if you look at, for instance, what the Seahawks, what we did winning the Super Bowl, that was with a very young team. So you have to blend the experience with young players and develop those as well. That’s something [GM] Neil [Olshey] and his staff are very focused on.”

On his involvement with the team:

“It’s funny, I was just looking at the press guide. Certainly I was excited when I first became the owner. I think now, I’m just as excited. I think we’ve got a great staff here and I’m not quite as involved in the details of things as I used to be, although I still love the draft. We’re going to have a meeting after this practice to go over the plan for the season and even looking ahead to the offseason after that to try and see what things we’re going to keep in mind. I love it and it’s going to be an exciting year.”

Nuggets Sign Pops Mensah-Bonsu For Camp

3:24pm: The team has made the deal official, including Mensah-Bonsu’s name on an updated version of the camp roster.

TUESDAY, 1:04pm: Mensah-Bonsu practiced with the team today, observes Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post, confirming that the veteran will indeed be with the team (Twitter link). The Nuggets have yet to publicly acknowledge any signing, however, and they haven’t made any announcement regarding their reported deals with Alonzo Gee and Joe Alexander, either.

MONDAY, 4:51pm: The deal is non-guaranteed, a source tells Pick (Twitter link).

4:10pm: Four-year NBA veteran Pops Mensah-Bonsu has turned down a pair of lucrative offers from European clubs to instead agree to join the Nuggets for training camp, tweets David Pick of The Nuggets have the capacity to give the 31-year-old more than the minimum, but it seems unlikely they would do so for the 6’9″ power forward who last appeared in an NBA regular season game during the 2010/11 season. It’s unclear whether there’s any guaranteed money involved.

Mensah-Bonsu has made stops in Turkey, Italy and Spain since his departure from the NBA, averaging 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game last season for Turkey’s Galatasaray. Still, it’ll be the second straight autumn in which the former George Washington University standout will join an NBA team for camp, since he did so with the Wizards last year.

Nuggets GM Tim Connelly is making a habit of bringing players long absent from the NBA to Denver’s camp, having done so with Joe Alexander and Marcus Williams already this year. The Nuggets have 13 fully guaranteed deals and two that contain partial guaranees, so there’s no clear path for Mensah-Bonsu or the other two NBA vets to make it to opening night.

Nuggets Sign Alonzo Gee

3:23pm: The team has made the deal official, including Gee’s name on an updated version of the camp roster.

2:58pm: Gee didn’t take part in the team’s first practice today, but he took his physical and is still on track to join the team, tweets Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. Gee’s name wasn’t on the camp roster the Nuggets released today, but it seems that’s a matter of timing and doesn’t signal that the deal is off.

7:31am: The Nuggets and Alonzo Gee have struck agreement on a deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Denver had been actively pursuing the free agent small forward, as Charania wrote over the weekend. The team has the capacity to exceed the minimum, but it’s unlikely they’ve done so in this case. Still, it seems a distinct possibility that there’s at least a partial guarantee involved for the five-year veteran.

Gee cleared waivers Saturday after the Kings cut him loose last week, not long after acquiring him from the Rockets in the Jason Terry trade. It was the third trade in which Cleveland’s former starting small forward found himself this summer, as teams passed around his contract, which had been worth a non-guaranteed $3MM for this season. Still, the 27-year-old Happy Walters client drew interest from the Nuggets as soon as he became available, proving he still has some value in spite of a down year this past season.

The move will bring the Nuggets to the preseason roster limit of 20 players. Denver has guaranteed deals with 13 of them and partial guarantees out to three more, so just how much guaranteed money Gee gets will probably dictate the likelihood that he’ll make the opening-night roster.

Eastern Notes: Rondo, Monroe, LeBron, Raptors

Soon-to-be free agent Rajon Rondo expressed utmost confidence Monday that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge can return the team to contention, as Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald observes.

“Yeah, I’m pretty smart,” Rondo said. “I know this isn’t a championship team. But we’re going to go out there every night and fight hard. I think if we continue to do the little things and believe in each other and believe in [coach] Brad Stevens, we’ll surprise a lot of people. I have complete trust in Danny. The worst year of my career, in two months we turned it around. So I’m not worried about what he’s capable of doing. He’s done it.”

Rondo also spoke about the frequent appearance of his name in trade rumors, half-kiddingly suggesting that he’d like a no-trade clause in his next deal. It’ll be tough for him to avoid more rumors this season, one in which he seems like the most prominent trade candidate leaguewide. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Pistons aren’t giving up hope that they’ll reach a long-term deal with Greg Monroe, even though his signed qualifying offer means he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer, owner Tom Gores told reporters, including Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free-Press. Monroe isn’t ruling it out either, as we noted yesterday.
  • Mike Miller confirmed a June report from Brian Windhorst of that the Heat‘s decision to amnesty him in 2013 upset LeBron James, as Miller tells Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer. “LeBron thought it was an unnecessary change,” Miller said. “I’m not saying I would have been a difference-maker. San Antonio was unbelievable last year and there are a lot of things that go into a season, but it was difficult for LeBron. It was difficult for all of us. It was difficult for me. I had to uproot my family and move again. It was tough. I think he was disappointed because he understands legacies and he understands what he wants to do in life. That’s what makes him special.”
  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri had hoped to find a one-to-one D-League affiliate for this season, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, who writes that the idea remains on the table for future seasons. Toronto will be one of 13 NBA teams sharing the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this year.

Deal Off Between Nuggets, Joe Alexander

SEPTEMBER 30TH: Alexander tore his hip flexor and failed his physical with the Nuggets, so he won’t be in Denver’s camp, as he said in an appearance on Sportsline with Tony Caridi on MetroNews radio in West Virginia (audio link at 29:30 mark). His name didn’t appear on the preseason roster the Nuggets released today, so it appears the contract was voided (hat tip to Justin Harrison).

SEPTEMBER 24TH: It’s a non-guaranteed pact, Charania confirms (Twitter link).

SEPTEMBER 23RD: The Nuggets have signed Joe Alexander to a training camp deal, according to the RealGM transaction log. The news was first tweeted by Shams Charania of RealGM. The deal will give the forward an opportunity to compete for a regular season roster spot.

The Nuggets have 13 guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014/15, and Alexander’s deal will be the fourth non-guaranteed contract for the team heading into training camp. Denver must roster between 13 and 15 players during the season, so Alexander has a reasonable chance at making the team to backup the wing behind Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.

Alexander was a lottery pick for the Bucks in the 2008 draft, but he hasn’t been in the league since the 2009/10 season, save for training camp appearances with New Orleans in 2010 and Golden State last fall, and he’s otherwise spent recent years playing overseas and in the D-League. Nonetheless, he had received interest from multiple NBA teams this summer. Alexander averaged 4.7 PPG in his rookie season with Milwaukee, but saw his minutes cut to just 3.6 per contest in his sophomore campaign with the Bulls.