Month: November 2017

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 1/31/16

We recently learned that the Pistons have interest in Ryan Anderson as a free agent this summer, but not as a trade candidate because Detroit would rather not surrender assets to acquire him. Of course, any team would prefer not to part with anything to add talent. With the Pistons, however, there may be a reason to be confident in landing Anderson, who, as a stretch-four, would likely be a significant boost for Detroit. Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy used to coach Anderson when they both were with the Magic, so they have a relationship.

Holding off on Anderson sounds ideal, but it also is the best decision for the Pistons, in my opinion, because they will have a significant amount of money to spend this summer. What’s more, it does not seem sensible to me to trade away assets for what might amount to an improvement of only a few more wins. Either way, Anderson won’t come cheaply this summer; he’ll be a veteran of eight years by then, so he’d be eligible for the middle-tier max of a projected $24.9MM.

On the other hand, the Pistons have lost five of their last eight games and are now 25-23. They would prefer to use current starter Ersan Ilyasova off the bench. Detroit is also reportedly set to target Donatas Motiejunas, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Pistons are a solid team, but they are a piece or two away from seriously contending for the championship.

That leads us to today’s shootaround topic: Should the Pistons pull the trigger on a deal now or wait to sign a power forward in the summer?

Being mindful of our commenting policy, let us know in the comments section below what your thoughts are. We look forward to what you have to share.

And-Ones: Lee, Gasol, Griffin

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has had conversations with David Lee and his representatives regarding the power forward’s future with Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com reports. Our own Chris Crouse examined Lee as a trade candidate earlier today. The Celtics are open to moving to moving Lee, who is set to be a free agent after the season. Ainge would not detail to Blakely what the conversation was about, but did compliment Lee for dealing with what many would label as a difficult situation; Lee, who has experienced plenty of success over his 10-year career, is no longer in the Celtics’ rotation.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Pau Gasol‘s new agent is Steven Heumann of Creative Artists Agency, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune confirms. Gasol hired Creative Artists Agency to represent him earlier this month. The Bulls are familiar with the firm because the agency is headed by Leon Rose, who represented former coach Tom Thibodeau, Johnson adds. Gasol possesses a player option worth $7,769,520 for 2016/17 and has said that he’s leaning toward opting out of his contract this summer.
  • The NBA’s investigation of Blake Griffin‘s fight with an assistant equipment manager is still ongoing Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports. Broussard previously reported that the investigation was complete. There is no timetable for an announcement regarding any discipline for Griffin, per Broussard.
  • Center Tyson Chandler remains committed to Phoenix despite the Suns‘ disappointing season, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News relays. The Suns signed Chandler to a four-year, $52MM deal this past summer after his productive season with the Mavs. “I’m not jumping ship,” Chandler said. “If the organization decides to move me or something like that, then clearly, that’s something that’s out of my control. But I came here for a reason. I thought it was a young, promising team and I wanted to be a part of helping turn this around and help go to the next level. And I feel like I’m capable of doing that and this organization is capable of doing it. Clearly some things have to change.”

Hoops Links: Cavs, Jazz, Nets

Every Sunday, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Then you should send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown…

Please send submissions for Hoops Links to Zach at HoopsLinks@gmail.com.

Western Notes: Conley, Mavs, Suns

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace gave a strong indication that Memphis intends to re-sign Mike Conley this summer when the point guard becomes a free agent, Matt Moore of CBSSports.com reports. Conley will be eligible for a projected maximum starting salary of $24.9MM for 2016/17. The Grizzlies are also not interested in trading Conley prior to the deadline, according to Moore. This jibes with earlier reports that stated the top priority in free agency this summer for Memphis is re-signing Conley, who has already said how much he would like to remain with the Grizzlies.

“If you look back at the five years since the tide has turned for this franchise, we have re-signed every core player for the Memphis Grizzlies,” Wallace told Moore.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban said “nothing is really tempting” as the trade deadline nears, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com tweets. Cuban added that he likes how the Mavs are currently constructed. Dallas is 27-22.
  • The Suns project to have a crowded backcourt next season when Eric Bledsoe returns, so Eric Saar of Basketball Insiders suggests Phoenix could make a trade to make room for Devin Booker, who has shown an ability to make plays consistently and run the offense.
  • The Lakers have recalled Tarik Black from the D-League, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Clippers have recalled Branden Dawson from the D-League, the team announced, as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register relays (via Twitter).

Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 1/24/16-1/31/16

In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have 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 us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com. Here are this week’s inquiries:

With Blake Griffin out, will the Clippers make some bold moves? — Richard

HR: There is no debating Griffin’s talent, but losing Chris Paul would be a bigger blow to the Clippers. Heck, considering the way Griffin tends to dominate the ball, losing DeAndre Jordan would probably be worse than not having Griffin, too. As far as “bold moves,” I don’t see any on the horizon for the Clippers. They’ve won four straight and their bench has looked vastly improved lately. It’s easy to point to Lance Stephenson and say he should be traded, but who would take him? What would the Clippers get in return? Coach/executive Doc Rivers seems to imply that Stephenson will remain on the team through the deadline. If the Clippers don’t make it to the finals this season, I would expect significant moves, perhaps one involving Griffin, especially if the Clippers continue to show they can consistently win without him.

Do you think the Hornets will try to trade for Marco Belinelli? — Nick

HR: Teams have reportedly shown interest recently in acquiring Belinelli from the Kings, but it is unclear if the Hornets are one of those teams. I doubt it. In previous seasons, the Hornets were known for making a deal, but they find themselves in a unique situation this time around. Unlike previous seasons, the Hornets don’t have a major flaw and they are a pretty decent team. Granted, not many expected the Hornets to be as competitive, but since they are, why acquire a guy like Belinelli, who is signed for two more years after this one and is experiencing a down season? I expect the Hornets to let the deadline pass without making a move.

Central Notes: Ellis, Cavs, Pistons

Monta Ellis, whom the Pacers signed this past offseason, is still averaging the fewest amount of points per game since his rookie season, but he has experienced an uptick in scoring recently because of treatment to his right knee, Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star relays. Ellis, 30, is averaging 18.4 points per game over his last 10 outings. Ellis recently had fluid in the knee drained, according to Buckner.

“It’s been night and day with having that knee drained as far as his energy and just the way he’s moving,” Pacers star Paul George said. “It’s a lot easier, and it’s a lot better for him. He went the whole length of this game of constant pressure on their team. You definitely notice that. I think for Monta, this is something that’s been reoccurring, so he’s dealt with it before, and he knows the difference between the two.”

Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has improved the team’s morale because of his straight-forward approach to handling roles, rotations and expectations, Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains. On the court, the Cavs are playing faster and have scored at least 110 points in four straight games.
  • Despite referring to this season as the most difficult challenge of his professional career, Mo Williams is not interested in playing for another team and will not request a trade, Haynes reports in the same piece. The Cavs point guard is out of the rotation and played in only five games in January. “Nah, man. I’ve moved my family around enough,” Williams told Haynes. “I’m sticking this thing out.”
  • Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings is still adapting to coming off the bench after playing in 17 games so far since returning from an injury, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays. “It’s basically just me,” Jennings said. “I have to show up with a lot of energy. My role is different and I know that. I have to approach the game differently. I have to be ready and when my number’s called I have to be able to perform.”

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Sixers, Celtics

Signing Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson, who is set to be a free agent after this season, in the summer would make sense for the Nets because they need outside shooting and would have the money to spend, Andy Vasquez of The Record details. The Nets were actually Anderson’s first team before they shipped him to the Magic, as Vasquez points out. Anderson, 27, is enjoying his best season in the league and is averaging 17.5 points per game. Anderson is also pals with Brook Lopez, and that could be an advantage for the Nets, Vasquez writes. It is worth mentioning, however, that Thaddeus Young, a bright spot for the Nets this season, plays the same position as Anderson.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Ish Smith‘s former agent turned down a $2.9MM deal from Suns and later declined a $1.5MM offer from Kings over the summer because he strongly believed the Sixers would re-sign him after Smith played well in 25 appearances with Philadelphia last year, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes in an extensive profile. Of course, that did not happen, but Smith nonetheless found his way onto the team this season. The Sixers acquired Smith in a deal with the Pelicans last month and the point guard has flourished since the trade, as Pompey details in the worthwhile read. Smith switched from IAM Sports & Entertainment to Dutt Sports Services for representation.
  • Knicks point guard Jose Calderon, who is signed through next season, has been a stabilizing presence for New York despite his underwhelming defense and lack of speed, Scott Cacciola of the New York Times relays. Calderon has a reputation around the league for being an ideal teammate, Cacciola adds.
  • The interesting combination of Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko on the floor together has opened things up for the Celtics, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com details. Over Boston’s last 10 games, Olynyk and Jerebko have combined to go 29 for 51 on 3-pointers, according to Forsberg. The Celtics re-signed Jerebko this past summer on a two-year, $10MM deal.

And-Ones: Hield, Pelicans, Drummond

The rapid improvement of Buddy Hield‘s 3-point shot leaves Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com skeptical that Hield will bring his record setting accuracy to the NBA level, as Pelton writes in a collaborative piece with ESPN.com’s Chad Ford. The Oklahoma shooting guard is taking 8.3 shots from behind the arc and converting 52.4% of them. The senior hasn’t made more than 39% of his 3-pointers in any other season for the Sooners. Still, both scribes project Hield to be a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Hield would be a good fit for the Pelicans and he is a realistic target for the team in the upcoming draft, Jeff Duncan of The Time-Picayune opines. The Pelicans are 18-28 on the season, owning the seventh worst record in the league, as our Reverse Standings page shows.
  • The Hawks are expected to recall center Edy Tavares from the Austin Spurs of the D-League as soon as today, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
  • Andre Drummond, who will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, was the first Piston to be selected to the All-Star game since Allen Iverson, who was voted in by the fans in 2009, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. Ellis notes that Drummond’s accomplishment represents a sign that the team is taking the right steps forward. The last time the Pistons had an All-Star was also the last time they made the postseason.

Trade Candidate: David Lee

Not receiving minutes on a championship contender is one thing, but being removed from the rotation on a team that’s meandering through the middle of the Eastern Conference is another. “I told [coach Brad Stevens] while I disagree with [being taken out of the rotation],” David Lee said earlier in the month“I also told him he’s the coach and can choose to do that.” Lee has only played in two games since the start of 2016, tallying a total of 25 minutes, and Boston has gone 9-7 over that stretch. The power forward remains supportive of Stevens and he hasn’t requested a trade, though doing so may not get him anywhere as the Celtics have been open to moving him for quite some time.

Dec 9, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward David Lee (42) makes the basket against Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol (16) in the second half at TD Garden. Celtics defeated the Bulls 105-100. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

David Butler II / USA TODAY Sports Images

The demand just isn’t there. The power forward position is evolving, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors mentioned in his Taj Gibson Trade Candidate piece earlier this month. Ideally, teams want power forwards to possess the lateral quickness that allows them to slide over and defend a small forward when opposing squads play small ball. According to this new prototype, big men should have the ability to switch onto smaller players in pick-and-roll defense and not appear overexposed when a speedier guard is attempting to drive past them. Throw in the ability to make 3-pointers and you have a player that fits the stretch-four model that’s been parroted by executives and sportswriters alike over the last few seasons. That player will certainly demand the attention of nearly every team in league on the trade market. Lee is not that player.

The University of Florida product plays an old man’s game, but he isn’t unplayable at this point in his career. For Boston, he’s the equivalent of that awkward piece of living room furniture you’ve acquired for basically nothing, thinking that it’ll be useful, but in reality you just have too many fixtures and not enough square footage for it all to work. That’s Stevens’ dilemma. He has too many pieces, and with Jared Sullinger’s surprisingly masterful defense, Amir Johnson’s sheer goodness and Kelly Olynyk showing promise, spare minutes are hard to find. Account for the stretches with either Jonas Jerebko or Tyler Zeller, who was a candidate for an extension this past fall but let the deadline pass without reaching an agreement with the team, and you’re watching a solid, deep rotation in the frontcourt. Lee is watching the same thing from the bench.

Lee was playing 15.9 minutes per game through the last week of December and his 15.8 player efficiency rating would indicate that he was doing just fine. However, it was becoming apparent that finishing at the rim was becoming a problem. Getting airborne was never a staple in Lee’s game, but his lack of hops compounded the issue. He made 49.6% of his shots within 5 feet of the hoop this season and of the shots he missed, 40% were blocked, according to NBA.com. Lee can’t shoot the 3-ball, making only one in 29 career attempts. Stevens has tinkered with positioning Lee outside the paint in an attempt to manufacture spacing. It hasn’t really worked. The big man is making just over 29% of his shots outside the paint, which is below the league average from any given area within the arc, per Statmuse. Stevens’ pace-and-space system has led Lee to a career high 4.1 assists per 36 minutes, but his 2.9 turnovers per 36 minutes are a career worst. All that being said, Lee is still doing a few things well. His points and rebounds per 36 minutes are hovering around his career averages of 16.8 and 10.8, respectively, and his free throw percentage this year is slightly above his 77.5% career mark. There seems to be enough left in Lee’s tank to be a productive reserve, though Boston may not be the place for him to prove it.

Lee’s salary, which is slightly under $15.5MM, limits his suitors. Lee’s skills would be welcomed in Miami, considering the team’s underwhelming backup big men, but absorbing Lee’s salary would likely mean giving up Luol Deng and offloading other salary to avoid the tax. The Duke product hasn’t been spectacular this season, but the Heat’s need for wings exceeds its need for a third big. The Clippers have a glaring need at power forward after trading away Josh Smith and watching Blake Griffin hit the sideline with a broken hand. Yet, making a reasonable, salary-aligning trade for Lee would mean sending out Jamal Crawford and Lance Stephenson, which is something that doesn’t really make sense for either party. The Raptors could use a four, but they’re likely probably looking for a defensive minded big to pair with newly-extended Jonas Valanciunas, given the Lithuanian’s struggles on that side of the ball. The Lakers would like to move Roy Hibbert and the center’s $15.5MM salary would allow for a swap of the two big men. However, the Lakers are likely looking to gain an asset back in any Hibbert trade, considering they gave up a second-rounder to acquire him just months ago. Although the Celtics have the picks to propose such a deal, swapping Hibbert for Lee would be exchanging one massive human being on the bench for another, as Hibbert likely wouldn’t crack the rotation in Boston.

The Hawks want to compete with the Cavs for the Eastern Conference crown, and if they are going to come out on top after tussling with the likes of Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov, they will need to improve their rebounding totals, as the Wizards are the only team pulling down fewer rebounds per game than they are. Atlanta is struggling on offense this season, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors detailed in his Jeff Teague Trade Candidate piece. Though Lee would help improve the team in both those areas, it’s hard to construct a trade for Atlanta that makes sense. Tiago Splitter could be the main piece in a Lee-centered deal, though coach Mike Budenholzer is a fan of the center going back to his days with San Antonio, and Splitter, who’s on a contract that has just one year remaining after this one at $8.25MM, probably doesn’t move the needle for Boston.

If Lee ends up changing teams via trade, it’s more likely that he is part of a larger deal. Short of a true franchise player, Boston’s biggest need is a go-to scorer. The Celtics’ last 10 losses have all been by single digits and nearly all of the losses were a result of the offense running stagnant near the end of the game. Kevin Love would have been a nice weapon for Stevens to utilize over that stretch. The Love trade speculation should continue over the next few weeks, given that three of Cleveland’s four best players, including Love, are arguably best suited to play the four. The Cavs’ biggest need is a small forward who can guard the opposition’s best wing and take some of the burden off LeBron James. Jae Crowder fits the bill. The Marquette product won’t be mistaken for a true No.1 option, but he has blossomed into a nice two-way player this season, turning his five-year, $35MM contact into a steal in the process. A package of Crowder, Lee and a future first-round pick or two isn’t tantamount to Andrew Wiggins. Cleveland simply isn’t getting that type of prospect back for Love. Still, it’s a proposal the Cavs should investigate. Bringing in Crowder adds a legitimate contributor to the roster and it would help reduce the team’s near record-setting tax bill starting next season.

That kind of deal would be a home run for Boston, though, as Myron noted in a recent chat, it’s doubtful that the Cavs move Love before the end of the season. There are other scenarios wherein Lee could be a piece of a package, such as a deal for Joe Johnson that sends out Lee, Jerebko and Evan Turner. Johnson wouldn’t excite the fan base in the same way a Love or Gordon Hayward acquisition would, but a player of Johnson’s caliber is an easier catch.

Adding a go-to scorer or finding an upgrade to give Turner’s minutes to without sacrificing future flexibility should be Boston’s main objectives this trade season. It’ll be hard to accomplish either aim or net anything useful this season for Lee alone. A larger trade is a possibility. More likely, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge keeps an eye on the market, perhaps netting a second-rounder from some team that would like to swap high-salary players. Ainge could also simply invite Lee to the table to start negotiations on a buyout agreement. Lee the free agent will definitely have more suitors than Lee the trade target, but until a buyout is agreed upon or an injury to someone in Boston’s rotation occurs, the 32-year-old likely won’t see much court time.

Pacific Notes: Morris, Stephenson, Randle

Golden State sits atop the Pacific Division with a record of 43-4, which is tied for the best 47 game start in NBA history. The Warriors beat the lowly Sixers in dramatic fashion on Saturday night by a score of 108-105 on a last second buzzer-beater by Harrison Barnes, who will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The team will take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight, and as the Warriors await their next opponent, let’s take a look at some notes from their foes in the Pacific Division:

  • Markieff Morris views this year’s Suns differently than the 2012/13 team that lost 57 games, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “Three years ago, when we were losing, we still were having fun,” Morris said. “It was just put together the wrong way. Now, it’s more like a rebuilding type of thing. We’re playing a bunch of young guys. It’s hard because it’s something different every game. Back then, we had a bunch of talented guys but some guys didn’t fit in. It’s a tough situation.” Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors examined Morris as a trade candidate earlier this month.
  • The Clippers may opt to give offseason addition Lance Stephenson a bigger role with Blake Griffin sidelined, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I still say he’s going to help us,” coach Doc Rivers said of Stephenson, who was the subject of trade chatter earlier this season. “But I just like his spirit. He’s ready every night, he wants to play. He’s been a great team guy.” The 25-year-old had an impressive game against the Lakers on Friday night, accumulating 16 points and five rebounds while shooting 6 for 7 from the field.
  • Julius Randle is showing signs of improvement and Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders believes he is one of the most promising young power forwards in the NBA. Randle is pulling down 9.7 rebounds per game, which is good for 12th most in the league this season.
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