Month: April 2024

Michael Beasley To Play In China

1:50pm: Beasley has essentially acknowledged the deal, posting a Shandong logo on his Instagram account (hat tip to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel).

11:57am: Michael Beasley has signed a contract with Shandong of the Chinese Basketball Association, as the Chinese outlet Hupu reports (translation via HoopsHype), and as international journalist David Pick confirms (Twitter link). The deal will pay the former No. 2 overall pick $600K this season, a source tells Pick. It’s a return to China for Beasley, who averaged 28.7 points in 38.1 minutes per game across 37 appearances for Shanghai Dongfang last season. Those numbers don’t include the 59-point performance Beasley put on during the CBA All-Star Game in January.

The 26-year-old Beasley returned to the NBA later in the season, signing a pair of 10-day contracts with the Heat, who ultimately inked him to a multiyear deal for the minimum salary. That deal included a team option, but Miami declined it in June, and little chatter about another NBA deal followed this summer, as Beasley’s rumors page shows.

That’s seemingly in contrast to a year ago, when Beasley joined the Grizzlies for training camp only to ask for his release midway through the preseason so he could take the offer from Shanghai Dongfang. He’ll have a chance to once more circle back to the NBA if interest exists at the conclusion of his latest Chinese commitment, which could happen as early as February if Shandong doesn’t make the playoffs.

Do you think Michael Beasley will play in the NBA later this season? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Clippers Notes: Rivers, Stephenson, Smith

The specter of the Donald Sterling saga hurt the Clippers in free agency last summer, Doc Rivers says, but after this past offseason, one in which Rivers had owner Steve Ballmer behind him, the onus is on Rivers the coach to deliver on what Rivers the executive set up, writes Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times.

“The first summer was tough. We didn’t have an owner in place. Recruiting was near-impossible,” Rivers said. “You go in and talk to free agents and their agent would say, ‘Well, we don’t even know who’s going to own your team. Why would we commit to you guys?’ That was a hard summer for us.”

Ballmer’s riches didn’t play too much of a role this year, since Paul Pierce taxpayer’s mid-level exception deal was the only outside signing for more than the minimum that salary cap rules allowed the Clippers to make, but Rivers also made noise via trade, as we examine more closely amid the latest on the Clips:

  • Rivers still held out hope that his Spencer Hawes signing from 2014 would pan out and didn’t want to mess with his team’s strong play at the time when he passed on a deal that would have brought in Lance Stephenson midway through last season, according to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. Rivers ultimately traded Hawes in this summer’s deal for Stephenson.
  • Clippers offseason signee Josh Smith is enthusiastic about what Stephenson can do for the team, calling him a “walking triple-double” who was simply misplaced in Charlotte, as Woike notes in the same piece. “I think it was the wrong fit,” Smith said of Stephenson on the Hornets. “It’s all about a player being comfortable and happy in a situation. Me in Detroit, it was kind of a similar situation. I think he looks at this as a breath of fresh air.”
  • The Clippers were the first team to contact Smith in free agency this summer, and that helped impress upon him that the Clippers wanted him more than the Rockets, who also made an offer, Smith said, according to Rowan Kavner of Persistence from GM Dave Wohl also paid dividends, according to Rivers. “I give Dave credit,” Rivers said. “He didn’t stop. He called every single day, like 21 days in a row. He kept calling, and Josh called Dave and said, ‘I’m coming.’ Then Dave called me. That’s how we got the news. I just think the opportunity, he looked at our team and what we had, and I think that’s what sold him.”

Blazers Opt In With McCollum, Plumlee, Vonleh

The Trail Blazers have exercised their rookie scale team options for the 2016/17 season with C.J. McCollum, Mason Plumlee and Noah Vonleh, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves keep all three under contract for that season at a combined cost of nearly $8.3MM.

McCollum, 24, is enthusiastic about the expanded role he’s poised to take on this season after playing mostly on the fringe of Portland’s rotation his first two NBA seasons. The former 10th overall pick showed plenty of potential during the playoffs, when he averaged 17.0 points in 33.2 minutes per game for the injury-riddled Blazers. He’ll be eligible for an extension next summer, since 2016/17 is the last on his rookie scale contract. The exercised option means the Blazers will pay him $3,219,579 for that 2016/17 season.

The 25-year-old Plumlee arrived via trade this summer from Brooklyn, where he went in an out of favor with the Nets, who reportedly resisted trading him in a deal that would have sent Deron Williams to the Kings last winter before burying him on the bench for the playoffs and ultimately dealing him to Portland. The 22nd overall pick in 2013 had a breakout performance for Team USA in the 2014 offseason, and he figures to have the opportunity to shine on a largely depleted Blazers roster. Like McCollum, he’ll be extension-eligible next summer in advance of the final year on his deal, one in which he’ll make $2,328,530.

Vonleh is another offseason trade acquisition for the Blazers, who brought the 20-year-old in after his quiet rookie season for the Hornets. He saw action in only 25 games last year, notching 10.4 minutes per night, after becoming the ninth overall pick in 2014. He’ll compete with Plumlee and others for playing time in the frontcourt. The Blazers, who are now in line to pay him $2,751,360 in 2016/17, will again have a decision to make on a rookie scale option for him next summer, and he won’t be eligible for an extension until 2017.

Today’s moves give Portland nearly $44.5MM against a projected $89MM cap for next summer. That’s only slightly less than the almost $47.9MM the team has in guaranteed salary for this season, so the Blazers continue to have a wealth of flexibility.

Which of McCollum, Plumlee and Vonleh do you see having the best career? Leave a comment to tell us.

Central Notes: Rose, Ilyasova, Hammond, Crawford

It’s not yet clear how long Derrick Rose will be out with his latest injury, an orbital bone fracture suffered during practice, but it’s poor timing, given that new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg must implement his system in camp without him, and Rose’s recent comments about free agency, opines Ken Berger of The point guard is well-known for his frequent injuries, but he also makes a habit of remarks that antagonize him to fans, Berger notes. The latest such slip of the tongue came Monday when he talked about all the money he could make when he hits free agency in 2017, the summer the cap is projected to hit $108MM. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune takes Rose to task for coming across as “a tone-deaf millionaire,” though Rose insists he’s just making prudent plans for the future.

“I’m trying to prepare myself and my family,” Rose said, according to Haugh. “It’s all for my son, even though we’re comfortable. You talk about ‘X’ amount of dollars, it raised everybody’s eyebrows. There’s nothing wrong with being overprepared.”

See more on the Bulls and their Central Division rivals:

  • Ersan Ilyasova was discontented with the revolving door of coaches he had with the Bucks and has already taken to Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy, who traded for him this past summer, as the stretch four tells Keith Langlois of Van Gundy is entering the second season of a five-year deal“Me and Stan had this conversation by phone,” Ilyasova said. “It’s a really good thing. I played for a lot of coaches; I never see a coach like this who really cares about you and when you see something like that, you want to give even more. On some level, coach and player, is going to be always issues. The communication is a key all the time and it’s really important. If you have a coach like this, Stan, who is going to explain to you, it helps.”
  • Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens said Monday that he felt it important to align the end of GM John Hammond‘s contract with that of coach Jason Kidd, notes Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). The deals for both Hammond and Kidd are set to expire in the summer of 2017 following the one-year extension the Bucks granted Hammond earlier this month.
  • The non-guaranteed contract that Jordan Crawford signed with the Bulls is for the minimum salary and covers only one season, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Camp invitees Jake Anderson and Marcus Simmons are also on one-year, non-guaranteed deals for the minimum salary, according to Pincus.
  • Cavaliers coach David Blatt bristled last season whenever someone mentioned that he was a rookie NBA head coach, but he admitted Monday that he didn’t realize how much he had to learn about coaching in the league, observes Chris Fedor of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Blatt  survived apparent early-season doubts from Cavs brass about his performance before guiding the team to the Finals.

New York Notes: ‘Melo, Fisher, Seraphin, Young

Carmelo Anthony said that he’ll be taking Kristaps Porzingis under his wing, further distancing himself from the idea that he was upset with the Knicks for drafting the Latvian big man fourth overall, as Marc Berman of the New York Post details.

“As far as him going into this season, I kind of feel bad for him,’’ Anthony said. “There’s so much pressure on him. This guy hasn’t played one minute in the NBA. I’m going to try to be a big brother to him and try to take the pressure off. There’s going to be so much pressure he’s never experienced yet. He’s 19 years old, first time in the NBA. This is new to him. A newcomer in New York. That’s tough. I don’t think he knows what he’s getting himself into. I have to be that role for him.’’

See more on the Knicks and their New York rivals, the Nets:

  • Derek Fisher has twice reminded reporters that he, and not Phil Jackson, is the coach of the Knicks in response to inquiries about Jackson’s plan for increased involvement with the coaching staff this season, but Fisher resists the idea that he’s feeling insecure, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News“I was asked a question. I don’t think about it until I’m asked about it. I’m me and he’s him and I don’t get caught up in how much and not enough and it’s my job. I’m the coach of the team. How we do will fall on my shoulders,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t matter who says what or how many percentages or times we meet and watch film or whatever. It’s on me. And I’m comfortable with that. I wouldn’t have accepted the job if I wasn’t comfortable with it.”
  • The Knicks convinced Kevin Seraphin that they have room for him to contribute, a key in persuading him to sign with New York after he felt frustration about his lack of playing time with the Wizards last season, as he explained to reporters, including Berman, who writes in a separate piece. Seraphin signed a one-year, $2.814MM deal with the Knicks after averaging 15.6 minutes per game in 79 appearances for Washington this past season.
  • Thaddeus Young cited his family’s comfort in the New York area as one reason he decided to opt out and re-sign with the Nets instead of opting in for the coming season, notes Mike Mazzeo of Young, believed to be the first Nets player to live in Brooklyn since the franchise moved there three years ago, inked a four-year, $50MM deal in July after turning down a nearly $10.222MM player option.
  • Joe Johnson wasn’t exactly fond of Deron Williams, sources told Mike Mazzeo of, and Johnson expressed puzzlement Monday about why Williams would buy his way off the Nets, as Mazzeo details. Williams gave up all but about $27.5MM of the nearly $43.374MM left on his contract to escape Brooklyn, but, “It’s not that bad here,” Johnson insists.
  • Johnson, 34, also hinted at retirement, saying that he plans to play beyond this season, the last one on his contract with the Nets, but not ruling out a change of heart. “God willing, as long as I’m healthy I’ll continue to play,” Johnson said, as Mazzeo relays in the same piece. “I don’t think it’s my last, but we’ll see.”

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Wizards Pick Up 2016/17 Option On Otto Porter

The Wizards have exercised their $5,893,981 team option on Otto Porter‘s rookie scale deal for 2016/17, according to the RealGM transactions log. That’ll keep the former No. 3 overall pick under contract through that season, the last on his rookie scale pact. The team has yet to make an official announcement, but it appears as though Washington has made the move well in advance of the November 2nd deadline.

It’s no surprise to see the Wizards pick up the option, even though it adds to their books for next summer, when they’ll surely be chasing Washington native Kevin Durant in free agency. Porter took strides last season after a disappointing rookie year, and he made a strong impression in the playoffs this past spring, when he averaged 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game across 10 postseason appearances. The 22-year-old small forward figures to see more minutes this season in the wake of Paul Pierce‘s departure.

Adding Porter’s option gives Washington more than $39MM in guaranteed salary for 2016/17, roughly $50MM less than the projected $89MM cap. Durant’s maximum salary is a projected $24.9MM, and the Wizards are also considering an extension for Bradley Beal that could add up to $20.4MM to the ledger, based on Beal’s projected max. A max contract for Durant and a max extension for Beal, plus the cap holds the team would be required to carry for open roster spots, would probably leave the Wizards without the flexibility necessary to build a credible bench for next season, as I explained when I looked at Beal’s extension candidacy. Letting Beal hit restricted free agency next summer would allow the Wizards about $6.2MM more in cap flexibility while still affording them an opportunity to sign him for the max after they use up their cap space on others, since Washington would have Beal’s Bird rights.

Porter looms as a potential sign-and-trade candidate if the Wizards ink Beal to a max extension this fall and if Porter continues to blossom. Still, that would require the Thunder to play along, and Oklahoma City might not want to assist another team even if Durant makes it clear he’d like to play elsewhere.

What do you think Porter’s ceiling is? Leave a comment to tell us.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 9/29/15

During the Kings’ annual media day, center DeMarcus Cousins and head coach George Karl referred to their relationship as “solid.” Karl had reportedly wanted to trade Cousins after he took over as the head coach late last season, and Cousins had tweeted emojis depicting a snake in the grass in response. Cousins said their offseason meeting in Las Vegas this summer went a long way toward establishing a relationship between the two men.

“When we met in Vegas, we came to a head and we talked our differences out like men,”€ Cousins had said. “And at the end of the day, it’s about winning games. That’€™s one thing me and him can agree on –€“ we want to win and that’™s our goal and that’s all that really matters, winning.”€ For his part, Karl gave Cousins an A-plus for his offseason training and said Cousins has shown maturity. “€œI see a different player,”€ Karl said. “€œI see a different substance of character in this guy right now.”

This brings me to the question/topic of the day: Will DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl be able to successfully co-exist in Sacramento for the long haul?

The Kings as an organization have not been the picture of stability recently, which led to this unusual situation of a new coach and star player not being, at least initially, on the same page. The organization reportedly considered firing Karl this summer, but cooler heads have seemingly prevailed since then, and all parties involved are now saying the right things publicly. But can this detente last, especially of the team gets off to a rough start in the standings? How long can these two strong-willed men maintain a good working relationship? A week, a month, multiple seasons? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

Southwest Notes: Matthews, Jones, West

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has already reportedly ruled out Wesley Matthews for the team’s opener, but the swingman has designs on proving his new coach wrong, Tim MacMahon of writes. “I’m trying to be ready by opening day,” Matthews said. “Whether I can play in it or not, I can’t really control that. But my goal is to [be] ready and available opening day.

Matthews doesn’t think it relevant to compare how long it has taken other players who have had similar injuries to his own to recover, MacMahon adds. “I don’t really pay too much attention to that because if I paid attention to people that were in my situation before me, then I wouldn’t be up here standing and talking to you guys,” Matthews said, “because I can’t think of too many undrafted free agents that have done what I’ve done.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets forward Terrence Jones enters the 2015/16 season with a different, more mature outlook, Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle writes. “I felt like I really needed to grow as a person,” Jones said. “I think I am a lot more mature this year.” Jones is eligible to ink a contract extension with Houston prior to the deadline on November 2nd.
  • David West said that the Spurssigning of LaMarcus Aldridge was the deciding factor for him to join the team as an unrestricted free agent this summer, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News tweets.
  • Despite concerns regarding his agility and foot speed, the Spurs‘ signing of center Boban Marjanovic is exactly what the team needed to help offset the free agent losses of Aron Baynes and Tiago Splitter, writes Dan McCarney of The San Antonio Express-News. McCarney notes that Marjanovic’s ample size (7’3″), as well as his inexpensive contract, make the 27-year-old a wise pickup.
  • Pelicans star big man Anthony Davis is hoping that the additional 15 pounds of muscle he added from working out over the summer will make him an even more dominant player, Brett Martel of The Associated Press relays. “I feel great right now. Even just working out, I feel explosive. I feel quick,” Davis said. “When you start actually going against people and all that, it’s a lot different. So I’m going to see how it is during training camp and preseason and go from there.
  • Despite the expectations that arrived in San Antonio along with him, Aldridge is doing his best to fit in and adapt to the way the Spurs organization handles its business, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes. “It’s never been about one guy here,” said Aldridge. “It’s always been about the team. So it’s not about me.
  • After missing the end of the 2014/15 regular season and the playoffs, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley is itching to get back on the court, Creech writes in a separate piece. “Six months, nine days,” Beverley said. “That’s the longest I have ever been out and away from basketball. Injuries aren’t something you can control, but I am ready to get back, ready to play and get this thing started.

Southeast Notes: Bazemore, Heat, Wizards

Hawks guard Kent Bazemore is entering the final season of his current deal, but there is mutual interest between the team and the 26-year-old in reaching an agreement on a new contract next offseason, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. Speaking about his feelings for Atlanta, Bazemore said, “I’ve come to love Atlanta. Of the whole summer, I was probably only gone two weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I just moved into a new house. I’m renting it. Maybe I can buy it next year.” Bazemore and the Hawks will have to wait until next summer to work out a new deal since his current deal was signed for less than four years, meaning Bazemore is ineligible to sign an extension during the season, Vivlamore adds.

Here’s the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat assistant Dan Craig was officially named as head coach of the franchise’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team announced. The news of Craig’s hiring was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
  • Jaron Johnson‘s one-year deal with the Wizards is non-guaranteed and for the league minimum, while Jaleel Robertsagreement is also for the minimum, but his includes a partial guarantee of $10K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter links).
  • The Heat‘s deals with John Lucas III and Tre Kelley are one-year pacts for the league minimum and do not include any guaranteed salary, Pincus tweets.
  • Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer said that it may make more sense for the team to carry the regular season maximum of 15 players rather than keeping a slot open, Vivlamore tweets. Atlanta currently has 13 players inked to fully guaranteed deals.
  • The Hornets are hoping that Jeremy Lamb will get off to a fresh start in Charlotte after not seeing much playing time during his three seasons with the Thunder, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. Lamb was acquired back in June in exchange for for Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second-round pick.
  • Greg Stiemsma‘s and Nnanna Egwu‘s one-year, minimum salary deals with the Magic are non-guaranteed, while Keith Appling and Jordan Sibert‘s minimum salary arrangements include partial guarantees of $100K, Pincus relays in a series of tweets.
  • The presence of Goran Dragic, who re-signed with the Heat this offseason, was a big draw for Amar’e Stoudemire to join Miami as a free agent, Surya Fernandez of SB Nation tweets. Of Dragic, Stoudemire said, “If he would have stayed in Phoenix, I would have thought about going back to Phoenix.