The emphasis on guard play and the 3-point shot hasn’t depressed salaries for big men, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders notes. High-profile players like Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside and Dwight Howard were paid over $20MM annually in this year’s free agent market but less heralded centers also cashed in, Greene continues. Timofey Mozgov (Lakers) and Ian Mahinmi (Wizards) were both signed to four-year, $64MM deals, even though Mozgov had a diminished role with the Cavs last season, while the Wizards already had an established center in Marcin Gortat. Bismack Biyombo received an even bigger contract from the Magic after playing a limited role with the Raptors much of last season, while the Bucks will pay Miles Plumlee an average of $13MM annually over the next four seasons even through he’s never averaged more than 25 minutes during his career.
In news around the league:
- USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo will not discourage Team USA players from speaking out on social or racial issues, The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears reports. NBA and WNBA players have increasingly taken public stands on hot-button topics, while the league pulled the All-Star Game from Charlotte this week over a controversial North Carolina law. “No, we’re not telling them what to say,” Colangelo told Spears. “We are saying we’re supportive. We’re in fact encouraging and they have to make their own choice. We’re not telling them what to say and what not to say.”
- Courtney Fortson has signed with the Chinese team Zheijiang Guangsha, international journalist David Pick tweets. Fortson played last season with Banvit in Turkey. The point guard appeared in a combined 10 games with the Clippers and Rockets during the 2011/12 season.
- The Warriors’ new trio of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant played two minutes together during Team USA’s exhibition win over Argentina but more often in pairs, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes. Team USA had a lot of success with a smaller lineup featuring Green at center and Durant at small forward, according to Windhorst. “Honestly, if you want me to be quite frank with you, I didn’t even notice me, Klay and KD were out there together,” Green told Windhorst.