Month: April 2017

Sixers Notes: Noel, Young, Mbah a Moute

Michael Carter-Williams has three triple-doubles on the season, which ties Rajon Rondo for the most in the league. The Syracuse product had a triple-double in Friday’s win over the Wolves and nearly had another one in Wednesday’s win over the Pistons as he accumulated 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. Earlier in the week, I examined the point guard’s trade value as well as the future plans for the Sixers.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Giving up on Nerlens Noel would be an unwise move for the Sixers, opines Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey acknowledges that if the team gets the first pick in the 2015 draft, center Jahlil Okafor should be the selection and it might be difficult to find heavy minutes for both players. Still, Pompey believes Noel is rapidly improving and compares a potential Noel trade to the 2012 trade that sent Nikola Vucevic to the Magic, which should be a lesson for the franchise about giving up on a young talent too early.
  • Thaddeus Young had nothing but praise for the Sixers when he returned to Philadelphia to play the team on Friday night, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. “I gave my blood, sweat and tears literally to this franchise for seven years,” Young said. “It’s great to have these fans behind you because sometimes they can be pretty brutal, but they always stuck behind me, no matter what. … It was a great seven years, amazing seven years. It’s a business and you have to move on, but definitely I miss this place.” Young was sent to the Wolves in a three-way trade last offseason.
  • Although Luc Mbah a Moute has been valuable to the Sixers as a player and as a mentor to their young players, the forward may find himself in Philadelphia for only one season, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. The team should have a handful of young, talented players next season and the 28-year-old could find himself in a limited role. If he is going to be the eighth or ninth man on a team, in terms of minutes played, it may be more beneficial for him to be in that role on a winning team, which Philadelphia doesn’t project to be. Mbah a Moute will be a free agent at the end of this season.

Lakers Notes: Clarkson, Hill, Melo, Bryant

The Lakers believe they have a contributor in rookie Jordan Clarkson, writes Jovan Buha of ESPNLosAngeles.com“I think we have a pretty good basketball player in this young kid,” coach Byron Scott said. “When he falls on his face, he gets right back up. He wants to get better; he works his butt off every single day. If you look at his first game [starting] against San Antonio, and his last game last night, he’s shown improvement.” Clarkson is averaging 13.8 points per game while shooting 40.4% from the field during his four games as the team’s starting point guard.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Jordan Hill and Jeremy Lin are among the players whom Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders believes could be dealt before the trade deadline. Hill would probably garner the most in a trade but the center has a de-facto no trade clause in his contract, which might make a deal difficult. Kennedy lists the Clippers and the Blazers as potential destinations for Hill based on their need for frontcourt depth.
  • Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant decided they wouldn’t work as teammates last summer when Anthony was a free agent, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. “It was a great visit. The conversations I had with Kobe was just man to man. We both had to come to reality and say, ‘Is this what we really want?’ And it didn’t happen,” Anthony said. The forward also added that he believes Bryant will not retire at the end of the season. “I know him, and this is not the way he wants to go out,’’ Anthony said. “I’m pretty sure he’ll do whatever he has to do to get back on the court one more time before he hangs them shoes up.’’
  • Some people doubt that Kobe Bryant will be able return to the NBA from his latest injury, but Fran Blinebury of NBA.com is optimistic that the 36-year-old will silence his doubters. Blinebury compares Bryant to other former stars, such as Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon, who were injured late in their careers yet continued to play, just not at the level than people were used to seeing.

Thabo Sefolosha To Miss Six To Eight Weeks

Thabo Sefolosha is expected to miss 6-8 weeks due to a calf strain, according to the Hawks’ twitter feed. The 30-year-old injured his calf in the win over the Blazers on Friday night.

Sefolosha is only averaging 19.0 minutes per game and while the team is also without the services of forward DeMarre Carroll due to an Achilles injury, the Hawks most likely won’t need to make a move in order to maintain their position in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has a full 15-man roster, so an addition would have to come at the expense of someone on the roster.

The Hawks sit atop the conference with a record of 39-8, seven games ahead of the second place Raptors. With that kind of lead, the team can afford to see what it has on its roster before making any kind of move. I would speculate that Atlanta will give extended minutes to reserve Kent Bazemore and perhaps John Jenkins during Sefolosha’s absense.

Western Notes: Wiggins, Kelly, Mavs

The rapid development of rookie Andrew Wiggins is one of the few bright spots for the Timberwolves this season, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press writes. “He’s above where we thought he would be,” president of basketball operations and coach Flip Saunders said of Wiggins. “There have not been very many rookies that have gone through a 15 game stretch where they’re averaging 21 [points] a game and been in a situation where they’re taking the other team’s best defensive player and playing both ends of the floor.

Here’s more from the West:

  • Mavs forward Greg Smith has signed with agent Seth Cohen of Versus Management, Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype reports (Twitter link). Smith, who is earning $948,163 this season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • The Lakers have recalled Ryan Kelly from the L.A. D-Fenders, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This was Kelly’s first trip to the D-League of the season.
  • The Mavs knew that they would experience some rough patches as Rajon Rondo was integrated into the team, and it’s a process that is still ongoing, Schuyler Dixon of NBA.com writes. ”We got a point guard that’s got a lot of experience and a championship and is a great player, but I also think we’ve still got some work to do on both ends of the floor,” Dirk Nowitzki said. ”I could certainly see the potential that’s there, but the problem is the West is just so tough. It’s kind of hard to see right now how it’s going to end up.

Following Specific Players On Hoops Rumors

We’re less than three weeks from the trade deadline, and it’s already been a busy season for trades. In addition to methods of keeping track of your favorite teams as they make their moves, Hoops Rumors also provides ways to easily follow the latest on all of your favorite players and trade candidates. If you want to stay up to date on Brook Lopez rumors, you can find Lopez’s page right here. For intel on where Reggie Jackson might end up, go here. Updates on lingering free agent Ray Allen are found on this page.

Every player we’ve written about has his own rumors page. You can find any player by using our search box (located in the right sidebar); by clicking his tag at the bottom of a post in which he’s discussed; or, by simply typing his name in your address bar after hoopsrumors.com, substituting dashes for spaces. For example, Allen’s page is hoopsrumors.com/ray-allen.

You can also set up an RSS feed for any of our player pages by adding /feed to the end of the page URL, like this: hoopsrumors.com/ray-allen/feed. Entering that URL into the reader of your choice should enable you to get updates whenever we write about Allen. It works for teams, too. If you’re a Warriors fan, you can enter hoopsrumors.com/golden-state-warriors/feed into your reader and stay on top of all the latest from the Bay Area.

In addition to players and teams, there are a number of other subjects you can track by clicking on the tags that we use at the bottom of posts. You can keep tabs on news related to next year’s draft right here. Items related to the NBA D-League can be found on this page. You can simply scan our top stories here. Again, you can set up a feed with any of these pages by adding /feed to the end of the URL.

Atlantic Notes: Sanchez, Grant, Stevens

Orlando Sanchez remains on the Knicks‘ radar as a player worth grooming for the future, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. The 26-year-old forward currently plays for New York’s D-League affiliate in Westchester, and the Knicks envision Sanchez making their roster out of training camp next season, Berman notes. Sanchez looks at the success that Langston Galloway has had turning a 10-day deal into a new contract as a source of inspiration, Berman adds.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Despite Celtics coach Brad Stevens owning a career NBA record of 41-86, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge insists that Stevens’ job is secure, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald writes. “When I was going through things at Butler and we were having all kinds of success, I just kept learning how important it was to just keep coaching your team,” Stevens said. “Here we’re experiencing our fair share of growing pains and it’s the same answer. Here the biggest thing is our ownership and our leadership team. They’ve been very good with me and very supportive. As I said, at the end of the day you’re just coaching your team as best as you can every day.
  • The Celtics‘ challenge of trying to field a playoff-caliber team while trying to acquire talent and draft picks for the future is one that Ainge embraces, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes. “I would love to see our team in the playoffs, but I don’t want to see us back into the playoffs with a really bad record and not even have a fighting chance,” Ainge said. “If our team can keep getting better by developing, if we can make some deals at the trade deadline that put us in position to actually get into the playoffs and have a chance to win a playoff series, I think that would be a lot of fun.
  • The Knicks have spoken with Horace Grant regarding a position within the organization, Andy Adler of PIX 11 News reports (Twitter link). Adler adds that the former NBA player has met with coach Derek Fisher, and that the discussions could have been about a position on Fisher’s coaching staff. Grant has ties to team president Phil Jackson, who coached Grant in Chicago and with the Lakers, and he is familiar with the triangle offense as well.

Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 1/25/15-1/31/15

In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have added a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:

“The expectations are that Monta Ellis opts out and becomes a free agent this summer. He seems an odd fit with Rajon Rondo in Dallas, as neither player is particularly valuable off the ball.  Assuming the Mavs re-sign Rondo and Tyson Chandler, what FA options would pair better with Rondo?” Jonathan D.

I wouldn’t necessarily close the door on Ellis and Rondo playing well together just yet. They’ve only been paired alongside each other for a short time, and the Mavs are still figuring out how to best utilize a pass-first point guard like Rondo. Plus, Ellis is a 20 point per game scorer who is shooting over 46% from the field, something not easily replaced. Having said that, I’ll now get to your actual question. Looking at this summer’s free agent market, there aren’t many players that would be a clear upgrade over Ellis. There are only three potential free agents who immediately come to mind as interesting replacement ideas should Ellis depart Dallas — Goran Dragic, Reggie Jackson, and Jimmy Butler.

Both Jackson and Butler are set to become restricted free agents, which means that their respective teams will have the ability to match any offer sheets that the players sign. Chicago is likely to do whatever it has to do in order to retain Butler, so he’s a real long shot to end up in Dallas. Butler would be a tremendous upgrade over Ellis defensively, but the swingman would be seen as an upgrade on most teams, so that’s hardly a bold statement. I just wouldn’t invest in a Mavs jersey with his name on the back of it anytime soon.

As for Jackson, he wouldn’t perform much differently than Ellis does alongside Rondo. Jackson’s game is also one that demands the ball be in his hands, and he’s too undersized to play the two spot full time. If I’m Dallas, then I’d take Ellis over Jackson, despite Jackson’s youth and upside, because Ellis is the proven commodity. Plus, Jackson isn’t likely to come cheap, and he still hasn’t proven himself as a star-caliber player who will be worthy of such a likely long-term investment. Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t have many seasons left in him, and neither does Chandler. If Rondo re-signs with Dallas, then he’ll have only a short window before he begins his inevitable decline as well. Banking on Jackson’s potential along with with an aging core is a risk that would outweigh the potential reward in the short-term for Dallas.

Dragic has a player option for the 2015/16 season that he isn’t likely to exercise, which means that he’ll be testing out free agency this summer. He’s a strong enough outside shooter to be paired effectively alongside Rondo, and Dragic would be comfortable playing shooting guard full-time. There aren’t many top-flight two-guards set to be on the market this summer, and Ellis has proven his worth in Dallas. If the team decides to allow him to move on this summer, then Dragic is the best free agent replacement option, should he decide to leave Phoenix. But unless the team can somehow snag Butler, or an upgrade via a trade, then keeping Ellis is the wiser move if he’ll agree to a short-term deal.

“What are the chances that Philly trades MCW [Michael Carter-Williams] prior to the trade deadline? Is [GM Sam] Hinkie wise to try and get something for him while he still can, or should he keep MCW? Kris L.

The Sixers certainly appear to be willing to deal Carter-Williams if the right opportunity presents itself. But unless the point guard market drastically changes, I don’t see that scenario happening for Philly. MCW’s trade value would have been much higher prior to the season than it is right now. In fact, the Lakers had reportedly offered the No. 7 overall pick and Steve Nash‘s expiring deal for the point guard prior to the 2014 NBA draft. Unfortunately for the Sixers, Hinkie isn’t likely to garner anything close to such a generous offer right now for Carter-Williams. So unless Philadelphia is willing to collect pennies on the dollar for its young player, then the team would be best served to hold onto him for now and try and trade him after the season.

“With Kobe Bryant now out for the year, will the Lakers look to dump everyone by the deadline? Who is the player most likely to be traded?”  Matt E.

I’m not sure who the “everyone” that you refer to are. I’m assuming you meant the team’s appealing veteran players, which Los Angeles doesn’t have an abundance of. I think the Lakers would like nothing more than to clean house and pick up a few useful assets for the future, but they possess precious few players who would be of interest around the league.

Jordan Hill would be the most appealing player that the Lakers have to offer other teams right now. Hill is having himself a solid year, averaging 12.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, and plays a position of need for so many teams. His $9MM salary for next season is a team option, which means that any franchise that acquires him wouldn’t have to lock up its cap space and miss out on this summer’s upcoming free agent frenzy. I definitely see the Lakers fielding some calls about Hill, especially after he went for 26 points and 12 rebounds versus Chicago on Thursday.

I also think Steve Nash‘s expiring $9.7MM contract is likely to be involved in a number of trade discussions prior to the deadline. Expiring deals aren’t worth as much as they used to be, but I can see the Lakers getting involved as a third team in a trade and flipping Nash’s contract for a draft pick or minor asset. Beyond Nash and Hill I just don’t see many opportunities for the Lakers to deal for anything of value.

“What do you see happening with Reggie Jackson? Do the Thunder trade him, and if so, where doe he go?” Rob V.

I’m not sure that even Thunder GM Sam Presti knows what the team wants to do with Jackson just yet. I’m sure the ghost of the James Harden trade is hanging over Presti’s head when he contemplates whether or not Jackson stays or goes. But I do think that the Thunder should swallow hard and trade him before the deadline. I also believe that OKC will indeed decide to try and find a palatable offer for the young guard. With the way that the team has cut down Jackson’s minutes since acquiring Dion Waiters, I think Oklahoma City is testing out what life would be like without the point guard in its rotation.

As for where Jackson could potentially end up, I see the Knicks, Nets, Heat, Kings, and Lakers as the most likely landing spots. A number of teams will be scared off from making Oklahoma City an offer because of Jackson’s impending restricted free agency, which is understandable. Jackson’s almost certain to be a player who commands more in salary than his track record warrants on his next contract, which isn’t a great selling point for prospective bidders. But he also has the potential to quickly develop into a star, which is why rebuilding teams like New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Sacramento may be willing to take on the risk.

If I had to pick one team that would end up with Jackson, the Nets would seem the likeliest bet at this point. The two franchises have already been involved in talks for Brook Lopez, and adding Jackson into that potential mix could prove too tempting an offer for Brooklyn to resist. OKC would get some scoring punch from the pivot, and the Nets would get a young player to pair with Mason Plumlee as the franchise looks to rebuild. If Brooklyn is determined to deal Lopez, a return centering around Jackson wouldn’t be a bad haul.

That’s all the space that I have for this week. Thanks to all those who sent in their questions. I’ll be back next Saturday to answer a whole new batch. So fire away and keep filling up my inbox with your inquiries.

Knicks Ink Lance Thomas For Rest Of Season

SATURDAY, 9:23am: The Knicks have signed Thomas for the remainder of the season, the team has announced.

1:10pm: The deal only covers the rest of this season, a league source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter links).

THURSDAY, 9:49am: The Knicks will re-sign combo forward Lance Thomas to a contract that covers the rest of the season when his second 10-day contract with the team expires at the end of Friday, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Such rest-of-season deals often carry an additional year with non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed salary, as is the case with New York’s latest arrangement with Langston Galloway, but Begley doesn’t indicate whether Thomas’ new contract will extend any longer than this season. The Knicks are limited to giving out the minimum salary.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher publicly lobbied Wednesday for new deals for Thomas as well as fellow 10-day signee Lou Amundson, who’s started the last five games for the Knicks and whose second 10-day contract with New York expires tonight. Thomas, a John Spencer client, has also played a significant role in six appearances with New York, averaging 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game. He’s at a career high 21.6 MPG for the season, having made 13 starts for the injury-plagued Thunder at the beginning of the year before Oklahoma City sent him to New York in a three-team trade earlier this month.

New York waived Thomas shortly after the trade to avoid guaranteeing his minimum-salary contract for the season, but it seems that the Knicks have since warmed to the idea. A new deal for Thomas would give the Knicks 14 players signed through season’s end.

Southeast Notes: Ferry, Vaughn, Whiteside

Hawks GM Danny Ferry is largely responsible for Atlanta’s success this season, but there is almost zero chance of him returning from his leave of absence to the team that he built, Paul Newberry of The Associated Press writes. A number of the Hawks’ current players believe that Ferry deserves a second chance, and some of them applaud the way Ferry rebuilt the club without allowing the franchise to fall to the bottom of the standings while doing it, Newberry notes. He did it a totally different way,” Hawks forward Kyle Korver said. “I think there’s a whole lot of owners who would rather do it that way, rather than lose for five years and hope their draft picks turn out at the end of the day. Danny is going to have another job. There’s not any doubt about that.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic‘s front office had better hope that coach Jacque Vaughn is the reason that the franchise isn’t performing up to expectations if it fires him, Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel writes. If bringing in a new coach doesn’t improve matters quickly, then GM Rob Hennigan‘s job will be in jeopardy, Bianchi adds, since Hennigan is the architect of the Magic’s underachieving roster.
  • Hassan Whiteside has been filling up stat sheets for the Heat this season, but the big man’s chance to shine in the NBA has been a long time coming, Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes in his profile of the player. Whiteside, who is scheduled to earn just $981,348 next season, has quickly become one of the biggest player bargains in the league, Haberstroh opines.
  • With Vaughn’s job as Magic coach in serious peril, Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel runs down a number of the team’s options for hiring his replacement. Coaches who could be promoted on an interim basis are Orlando assistant coaches Wes Unseld Jr. and James Borrego. The candidates whom Schmitz speculates the team will consider as long-term solutions include George Karl, Scott Skiles, Tyronn Lue, Michael Curry, and Mark Jackson.

And-Ones: Silver, Carter, D-League

Mark Cuban had his run-ins with former commissioner David Stern, but the Mavs owner has no shortage of praise for Adam Silver, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays from Cuban. Still, there are challenges ahead for Silver as his first year atop the league comes to a close, and union executive director Michele Roberts has left many around the league believing she’s “looking for a fight.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Lakers have assigned Ryan Kelly to their D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, the team has announced. This will be Kelly’s first jaunt to the D-League of the season.
  • An MRI performed on Vince Carter has revealed that the Grizzlies veteran has suffered damage to a tendon in his left foot, the team has announced. The 38-year-old is out indefinitely and will be re-evaluated in a week’s time.
  • The Pacers have recalled Shayne Whittington from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This was Whittington’s first trip to the D-League of the season, and in one appearance he notched five points and four rebounds for the Mad Ants.
  • Milos Milisavljevic, who plays for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, is working toward hearing his name called in this June’s NBA draft, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. The Serbian had passed on offers from a number of Euroleague teams so that he could come to the United States and play for Santa Cruz. Milisavljevic chose the less lucrative D-League path in order to demonstrate to NBA executives his high level of commitment to making it into the league, Howard-Cooper notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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