Month: December 2017

Western Notes: Nash, Wolves, Harris

Steve Nash has been away from the Lakers since being ruled out for the rest of the season, but the veteran finally paid the team a brief visit, Arash Markazi of ESPN.com writes. Nash greeted the team at the airport as they prepared to board a flight to Chicago, Markazi notes. “It was great to see him, first of all, and for all the players to see him,” coach Byron Scott said. “It was a great gesture on his part to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. He still has to deal with the fact that his career might be over. That’s still something he’s wrestling with. I’m still inviting him to come around here for practice and to join in and just be a part of the team and part the coaching staff. That’s something that he has to deal with and when he wants to and he feels he’s able to do that, whatever time that might be, he’ll be welcome with open arms.”

Here’s more out of the West:

  •  The improved play this season of Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad is making the 2013 trade of Trey Burke to Utah look like a great deal for the Wolves, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes.
  • Former Lakers guard Manny Harris has inked a deal to play in Turkey with Eskisehir Basket, the team announced via Twitter (translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Harris was with Los Angeles on a pair of 10-day contracts during the 2013/14 campaign, and he spent parts of 2010/11 and 2011/12 with Cleveland.
  • With the Nuggets‘ season all but lost, it is now up to GM Tim Connelly to try and rebuild the franchise through trades, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post opines. If the Nuggets want to tank for a chance at a higher draft pick, then Ty Lawson is the obvious player to trade, Kiszla notes. After Lawson, there isn’t another player on the roster who can consistently direct Denver’s already unreliable offense, and the result of dealing him could be a top five draft pick, Kiszla adds.

D-League Notes: Dinwiddie, Vonleh, Suns

The D-League is becoming an integral part of the NBA’s process of developing younger players, as well as a source for locating hidden gems to bolster rosters during the course of the season. You can easily stay on top of which players are coming and going from the D-League all season by checking out our 2014/15 D-League Assignments, Recalls tracker, which is updated daily. You can also find this page anytime on the right sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features.”

Here are the latest D-League moves:

  • The Pistons have assigned Spencer Dinwiddie to the Grand Rapids Drive, their D-League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Dinwiddie has appeared in eight games for Detroit this season, averaging 3.0 points and 12.4 minutes per game.
  • The Suns have recalled Tyler Ennis, T.J. Warren, and Archie Goodwin from the Bakersfield Jam, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This was the second trip to Bakersfield of the season for Ennis and Warren, and Goodwin’s inaugural journey.
  • Noah Vonleh has been recalled from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the D-League, the Hornets have announced. Vonleh saw action in two games with the Mad Ants, averaging 7.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 block in 13.0 minutes per game. With Al Jefferson set to miss at least a month, Vonleh will likely see increased action with Charlotte.
  • Toure’ Murry has been assigned to the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz‘s D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Murry’s second sojourn of the season to the D-League. In six games for the Stampede, Murry has averaged 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals in 31.5 minutes of play.

And-Ones: Richardson, Mekel, Jenkins

Sixers guard Jason Richardson said that he expects to return to the court in late January after being sidelined for nearly two years, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports. Richardson last played in an NBA game on January 18th, 2013 before knee and ankle maladies sidelined him. “It will mean a lot to come back,” Richardson said. “I thought I was done playing. I really did. But seeing my son play AAU over the summertime, seeing his love for the game, it made me get the love back for the game. My thing is to always walk away on my own terms. I understand that things happen. Me having this knee injury, fading away like that is not the way I wanted to go out. Retirement is three or four years away from now.”

Here’s more from around the league and abroad:

  • Michael Jenkins has signed a deal with the Turkish club Istanbul BSB, David Pick of Eurobasket.com reports (Twitter link). Jenkins was in training camp this season with the Thunder prior to being waived.
  • NBA scouts and executives are essentially in agreement that Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker are better pro prospects than fellow Kentucky backcourt studs Andrew Harrison and brother Aaron Harrison, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, who writes in his weekly chat. Booker is No. 35, Ulis is No. 48, Andrew is No. 65 and Aaron is No. 67 in Ford’s prospect rankings.
  • Gal Mekel is still hoping to land with an NBA team after being released by the Pelicans earlier this month, Allon Sinai of The Jerusalem Post writes. “After I was released by New Orleans I received several offers from Europe and Israel,” Mekel said. “I wanted to give them the respect they deserve and listen to them all. It is no secret that I really want to remain in the NBA and I believe with all my heart that I can succeed in this league. But I also really want to play, lead and realize my potential.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Cavs Granted Disabled Player Exception

The NBA has granted the Cavaliers a disabled player exception in response to the season-ending injury suffered by Anderson Varejao, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The exception will be valued at approximately $4.85MM, or half of Varejao’s $9,704,545 salary for the 2014/15 season. Cleveland has until March 10th to use this exception on a player whose price tag fits into that allotment, whether it be through free agency or trade.

The Cavs were reportedly seeking a rim protecting big man prior to Varejao suffering a torn Achilles. Cleveland currently has the league maximum 15 players on their roster, including 12 players with fully guaranteed deals. This means that the Cavs would need to deal or release a player prior to signing or acquiring another body via trade. Cleveland has been in talks with the Celtics in recent days about Boston’s willingness to participate in a trade as a third team, though no deal appears to be imminent.

Varejao had started 26 games this season, averaging 9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while playing 24.5 minutes per contest. His slash line was .555/.000/.733.

Kings Notes: Corbin, Heslip, Cousins

Tyrone Corbin says the Kings have lifted the interim tag from his job title, as he told reporters from The Associated Press and other outlets today, essentially confirming an earlier report that he’s signed a new deal to be the team’s head coach for the rest of the season. However, the Kings didn’t use the term “interim” when they announced earlier this month Corbin would replace the fired Michael Malone.

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t looked happy since the Kings fired Malone, and the Kings have asked Corbin to coach “essentially 14 angry men,” argues Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (All five Twitter links here).
  • The deciding factor for why Brady Heslip chose to pass on signing with Banvit of Turkey was that his agent had reached out to a number of NBA GMs and had received enough positive feedback about his client to warrant remaining in the U.S., Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reports (Twitter link). The Kings and Clippers have reportedly held interest in adding the sharpshooter to their NBA rosters.
  • The Kings neglected to inform their players that Corbin would coach the team for the rest of the season, something that may not sit well with the team’s star, Cousins, DeAntae Prince of The Sporting News writes. “I didn’t know,” Cousins said. “I didn’t know officially until [Monday] night, either. That’s when a lot of us found out.”
  • If Sacramento hopes to keep Cousins for the long term, the team will have to show marked improvement, Prince adds. Contrary to some of his past statements, Cousins said that he believes that the responsibility for turning around the franchise rests with the players, not with the head coach, Prince notes. “Honestly, at the end of the day, it’s on us no matter who the head guy is on the bench,” Cousins said. “At the end of the day, we go out there and play the games. It’s time for us to stop looking for excuses, stop trying to make excuses. We’ve got to man up and play basketball. We know what we need to do on a nightly basis. We know we need to defend and we know we need to share the ball and come out and play hard. I believe with those three things that 70% of the job is done. It doesn’t matter, we’ve got to go out and do our jobs.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Hoops Rumors Chat Transcript

Check out this week’s chat transcript below.

Live Blog Hoops Rumors Chat: 12/31/2014
 

Atlantic Notes: Rondo, Nets, Young

Rajon Rondo will return to Boston as a Celtics opponent for the first time Friday, and he hasn’t quickly forgotten his more than eight seasons in green, as he made clear today to reporters, including Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com (All Twitter links). Rondo thanked co-owner Wyc Grousbeck and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge for the chance to have been a Celtic, calling the C’s “one of the best franchises in sports history.”

“Hopefully I won’t be too emotional. I’ll try not to cry a little bit,” Rondo said, as Sneed also tweets. “I’m very excited to go back. Those fans are amazing.”

The threat of Rondo’s impending free agency at season’s end surely played into Ainge’s decision to trade him to Dallas, but Rondo’s comments seem to indicate that he was in no hurry to leave Boston. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets are discussing numerous deals with several teams, but it’s not certain that Brooklyn will trade Deron Williams, Brook Lopez or Joe Johnson, league sources tell Robert Windrem of NetsDaily. A lot of the proposals the Nets are talking about would add to the payroll, at least for the short term, the NetsDaily scribe also hears.
  • The Celtics have sent James Young to the D-League, the team announced. It’s the seventh D-League assignment of the season already for this year’s No. 17 overall pick.
  • The Atlantic Division has the worst combined winning percentage of any division in the league, but it boasts two of the 10 underrated offseason acquisitions on Alex Kennedy’s list for Basketball Insiders. Raptors trade steal Lou Williams and Sixers draft find K.J. McDaniels are giving their teams much more than expected.

Poll: NBA’s Biggest Non-LeBron Story Of 2014

Any time that the best player in the game changes teams, that’s usually going to be the top story of the year on Hoops Rumors. That’s even more true when that player turns the heartbreak of four years prior into a heartwarming return home. The choice LeBron James made to leave the Heat and go back to the Cavaliers, his original NBA team, had wide-reaching consequences that changed the balance of power in the league. The Heat, finalists all four years that James was there, have only the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference this season even though Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are still in Miami. The Cavs became title favorites in their stead, and the arrival of James helped spur their acquisition of Kevin Love, whom Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders insists would still be in Minnesota had it not been for Cleveland’s offer.

The 2014/15 season hasn’t gone as planned for James and his new team, however. The Cavs are just 18-13, and rumors have begun to dog coach David Blatt just six months after Cleveland made the unprecedented hiring of a coach tested only in overseas competition. James figures to be at the center of some of 2015’s top stories, too.

Still, there were several other attention-grabbing headlines on Hoops Rumors this past year, and while a few, like the Love trade, were somehow tied to LeBron, most of them stand on their own. Here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy events of 2014:

  • The Clippers and the Donald Sterling saga: Accusations of racism had swirled around Clippers owner Donald Sterling for decades, but none of them stuck until an audio recording became public in the midst of the team’s playoff run this spring. New commissioner Adam Silver acted swiftly, banning the league’s longest-tenured owner for life, even as he still legally clung to the team. Wife Shelley Sterling helped cut the final tie between her husband and the Clippers, agreeing to a record $2 billion sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and a judge later cleared the way for the transfer to become official.
  • The Hawks, Bruce Levenson, and Danny Ferry: Racism again became an issue later in the year when Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson announced he would sell his stake in the team amid regret over a racially charged email that he sent in 2012. Soon, racially insensitive remarks from GM Danny Ferry became public, and for the first time, someone from the basketball operations side of a team was swept up in the controversy. Ferry took an indefinite leave of absence, which he still remains on as the team’s sale process forges ahead slowly.
  • Carmelo Anthony re-signs with the Knicks: Had it not been for LeBron, Carmelo Anthony would have had the spotlight of free agency mostly to himself. Just one year removed from a scoring title, the star of the Knicks visited with the Bulls, the Mavs, the Rockets and the Lakers before finally inking a massive deal worth more than $124MM with the Knicks and new team president Phil Jackson. As large as the deal is, it’s still over $5MM less valuable than it could have been if he’d signed for the max.
  • The NBA’s new TV deal: Soon, more players will be cashing in like Anthony did. The NBA and its television partners agreed to new contracts that will give the league $24 billion over nine years. It’s a nearly three-fold increase on the TV revenues from the last arrangement, and the players are entitled to roughly half of that money. It’ll come by way of a profoundly higher salary cap, though just how swiftly the cap will escalate is still a matter of negotiation between Silver and new union executive director Michele Roberts.
  • The Kevin Love trade: It’s true that this move is intricately connected to LeBron, since the conditions that set it in motion wouldn’t have been in place if LeBron hadn’t returned to Cleveland. Yet the deal is still a massive story on its own, given that nearly half the league was trying to acquire Love, who’d made it clear he wasn’t long for Minnesota. The Cavs gave up quite a package in the three-team deal that also involved the Sixers, relinquishing 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins as well as 2013 top draft choice Anthony Bennett.
  • The Rajon Rondo trade: The Celtics were one of the teams that tried and failed to deal for Love, and that shortcoming helped lead to another star changing hands. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge dodged Rajon Rondo rumors for more than a year before finally sending the point guard to the Mavericks. The Celtics came away with a return that little resembles the kind of haul that Minnesota received for Love, aside from the $12,909,090 trade exception that the move allowed Boston to create.
  • Paul George‘s injury and the implosion of the Pacers: The sudden decline of the Pacers is even more profound than that of the Heat, who beat them in the last two Eastern Conference Finals. Indiana’s core first started to crumble when the Pacers played hardball with Lance Stephenson, failing to make him an offer to his liking before watching him sign with the Hornets for salaries similar to what they had put on the table. Indiana’s season then came crashing apart when Paul George broke his leg in gruesome fashion during a Team USA exhibition game that was promptly stopped. The injury is likely to keep him out all season. The Pacers, last year’s No. 1 seed in the East, are 11-21.
  • Pistons waive Josh Smith: A late entry to the conversation, the Pistons pulled a stunner last week when they released Josh Smith rather than accept trade offers that weren’t to their liking or continue to allow him to take up space on the roster. Detroit coach/executive Stan Van Gundy used the stretch provision to take the $13.5MM that Smith was set to receive in each of the next two seasons and spread it over the next five years instead, and set-off rights will likely allow the Pistons further financial cushion. Still, it’s a stunning move for the team’s prize free agent acquisition of 2013.

So, which non-LeBron story was the most compelling of the year? Let us know, and feel free to mention any write-in candidates you might support in the comments.

Jazz GM On Burks, Extension, Roster

The Jazz delivered some tough news Tuesday, announcing that Alec Burks will have left shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season. That the team just two months ago signed Burks to a four-year extension worth $42MM plus incentives makes his absence even tougher to swallow. GM Dennis Lindsey spoke with reporters, including Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune, shortly after making the announcement, and Lindsey let the media in on his thoughts about the extension as well as what comes next for the team. The entire question-and-answer session that Falk shares is worth a look, but we’ll pass along Lindsey’s three most noteworthy comments here:

On whether the team knew about Burks’ shoulder issues when he signed his extension:

“Yeah. We knew because we knew about it during the draft. This is an [injury] that predated Alec and the Utah Jazz. … Really, I think as much as anything, the reason why he was so durable is a credit to Alec, [trainer Gary Briggs and strength coach Mark McKown] and all the pre-hab.”

On whether he’s disappointed that he signed Burks to the extension:

“I don’t think so. Every contract signing and certainly extension signing, our medical staff does a [thorough] review — X-rays, MRIs, physical examinations — and Alec, at that point in time, passed. So no disappointment because we don’t think this is going to impact his long-term playing career, either from a length standpoint or a quality standpoint. So we’re very comfortable with the decision that we made and the knowledge we had at that particular time.”

On whether the absence of Burks will prompt a roster move:

“So we have 15 [players] now. Some are partially guaranteed, some are non-guaranteed, so we do have some flexibility. We’re comfortable with where we’re at. Again, someone’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. Certainly Rodney [Hood] will get a lot of those minutes. We wanted to see Rodney as a two-guard so here’s a little bit of his opportunity. Last night, Dante [Exum] played a lot with Trey [Burke] and Dante’s certainly big enough to [handle] the position as well. And then there are some guys who haven’t received as much opportunity, Ian Clark, Toure’ Murry, Patrick Christopher, that we’ll be able to kick the tires [on] a little bit and take a look at. And as you can imagine, we’ll be evaluating what’s available to us. But frankly, [coach] Quin [Snyder]’s very comfortable with where we’re at and we’ll see how the young guys do.”

Bucks Work Out Kenyon Martin; Cavs Eye Him

WEDNESDAY, 10:34am: Kidd acknowledged today that Martin worked out in front of him and Bucks assistant coaches Tuesday, Gardner notes (Twitter links). “He looked good,” Kidd said. “There’s nothing, just a workout. Just to talk to him. We’ll see what happens.” Kidd acknowledged that it’s questionable whether Martin can still perform, but the coach praised Martin’s intelligence and says he believes that a team will sign him at some point, as Gardner shares in a full story.

TUESDAY, 10:11am: Martin will work out in front of Kidd today, Spears writes in a full story, so evidently the Bucks are indeed interested in him for a playing role. The Cavs also have some interest in Martin, Spears adds, so it appears that feeling is mutual, though Cleveland isn’t rushing to replace the injured Anderson Varejao, according to Spears.

9:20am: The discussions are “preliminary,” a source tells Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

9:05am: Milwaukee has yet to make any offer to Martin, Spears clarifies (on Twitter).

8:57am: Bucks coach Jason Kidd will meet with free agent big man Kenyon Martin today, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Martin, who turns 37 today, is traveling to Cleveland, where Milwaukee is preparing for Wednesday’s game against the Cavs. Martin recently expressed interest in joining the Cavs, but it’s unclear if he’ll be speaking with anyone in the Cleveland organization while he’s in town. Kidd and Martin have a relationship that dates back to their time as teammates on the Nets in the early 2000s, when they made back-to-back Finals appearances together, Spears notes (on Twitter).

Martin met with the Grizzlies last month and with the Rockets in October, though in each case there were conflicting reports about whether the visits were about coaching positions or playing roles. Spears doesn’t specify what Martin and Kidd will discuss. The Bucks have a full 15-man roster, and every player is fully guaranteed, as our roster counts show. Still, No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker is expected to miss the season with a torn ACL, Ersan Ilyasova is recovering from a concussion, and center Larry Sanders has been out with flu-like symptoms, leaving the team thin up front.

The Knicks put Martin in the starting lineup 15 times last season, and he averaged 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game across 32 appearances. Still, the former No. 1 overall pick has only played in 50 NBA games since the end of the 2011/12 season.

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