Month: December 2017

Atlantic Notes: Carroll, Rose, Kuzminskas

DeMarre Carroll‘s first season with the Raptors after signing with the team as a free agent was marred by injury, with him seeing action in only 26 games as a result. While he’s still not 100% recovered, Carroll hopes his second campaign in Toronto is more productive, The Associated Press relays. “I look at it as basically my first season [with Toronto],” the 30-year-old Carroll said. “A new season, a new beginning. I’ve just got to come in and get back to playing DeMarre Carroll basketball when I’m healthy.” Speaking about the steps he took to prepare his injured knee for a return to the court, Carroll said, “We took a hard approach about it and we did it the right way. Last season it was more of a rush, trying to get me back. We didn’t go through the whole thing we needed to go through to get the knee to where it needs to be. I feel that we’re on the right track.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic:

  • Not only is Derrick Rose getting used to a new city and new teammates, he’s also attempting to acclimate to the Knicks‘ triangle offense, which isn’t an easy task, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes. “It’s complicated a little bit right now because it’s new to us. It’s foreign. But I think the more we work on it and the way the coaches are putting it into the offense, it’s [going to get] little bit easier,” Rose said after Thursday’s practice. “[There’s] like 40 to 50 options on one side of the floor. It’s like giving you your space for creativity. It’s like if you’re doing it the right way, you could do everything you want, you could freelance but you just got to know where you’re going.
  • The Knicks are pleased with the outside shooting of rookie Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who may end up being Carmelo Anthony‘s primary backup at small forward, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “He’s a guy that with his size, got agility, you can look at him at the 2 or 3,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said. “There could be times we use his length at the 2 spot. He’s a guy who cuts — cutters open everything up. The stat’s not in the paper. You don’t get glory from it but it’s a huge part.’’
  • Dario Saric‘s athleticism and versatility is earning him praise from the Sixers coaching staff and is setting the rookie forward apart from the other members of the team’s crowded frontcourt, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Clarkson, Garnett

Veteran center Tyson Chandler isn’t upset that the Suns selected two big men (Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss) in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “I thought it was good for the future to be quite honest,” Chandler said. “I thought that was where we lacked last year – at power forward. We’ve already got young guards with all the shooting in the world so we needed to build on that side of the ball. That’s what I came here for. That’s my job, to help hand the leadership off. It’s even that much more important for me to teach them how things are supposed to be done. I want to be part of this franchise getting back to the glory days. I feel like I’m definitely going to tap into it. I feel like we’ll be better than people expect. Just the competition. If we play like we’ve been playing out here, that’s good enough for me.

Here’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers want to push Jordan Clarkson, who inked a four-year, $50MM deal this summer, to become a better defender, Mark Medina of The Orange County Register writes. The guard has embraced the challenge that new coach Luke Walton has given him for the season, Medina adds. “I was just terrible on that end, taking wrong angles, wasn’t there on tags and wasn’t there on late closeouts,” Clarkson said of his 2015/16 performance. “It got to the point where it was bad. We were a bad defensive team as a whole last year. But I take it upon myself really to improve on that.
  • Kevin Garnett attending the Clippers‘ practice on Thursday and he worked with a number of the team’s big men, Jovan Buha of ESPN.com relays. “KG was phenomenal today,” coach Doc Rivers said of Garnett’s appearance. “This morning, before practice, he had a teaching clinic that you would pay a lot of money to see. It was great. It was great for Blake Griffin and [DeAndre Jordan] and the young guys as well. It’s great to have him around. He’s a great teacher. We know him as a great player. I knew him as a great teacher. He’ll be really good for us.” Garnett reportedly has been offered a coaching position with Los Angeles, as well as with the Cavs.
  • Despite the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors want Kevin Durant to feel comfortable and to not pass up open shots, Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com writes. “That’s why they wanted me here! They want me to come out here and be myself. I’m not going to play timid or not step on anyone’s toes, but I’m still going to be myself,” Durant said. “Nobody’s telling me I’m shooting too much. They want me to be myself out there.

Celtics Notes: Green, Young, Rozier, Brown

One of the main reasons Gerald Green decided to sign with the Celtics this offseason was the impression that Isaiah Thomas left on him when the two were teammates with the Suns, Mike Petraglia of WEEI 93.7 FM notes. “It kind of began in Phoenix,” Green said. “He was a genuine guy, came in really humble. I see the talent was there I knew he could be one of the best point guards in the league, and right away when we both stepped on the court we both had the same mentality. By any means necessary, go get a bucket and go get stops. We both had the same mentality, just try to push the first team because we were both coming off the bench. Just try to make the first team better and that’s what we did every day. We were able to finish games as a unit at both ends of the floor. Now, me teaming up with him here, we’re gonna try to do the same thing.”

Thomas is also a fan of Green’s, noting that he had no doubts about the swingman’s value to the franchise, Petraglia adds. “We needed someone like him,” Thomas said. “A guy that can shoot the ball, a guy that can space the floor, and he’s just an instant scorer — whether he starts, whether he comes off the bench, that’s what he’s going to do. And he’s explosive. We needed somebody like him and, when we played in Phoenix, it was like we played together for years because we clicked so easy. I know where he likes the ball, I know where his hot spots are. He’s just somebody that’s very excited and something we need. I just put my magic on it and usually it works. I can’t tell you my secrets.

Here’s more out of Beantown:

  • James Young is entering his third year in the league and will need to impress the Celtics’ coaching staff in order to land a roster spot for 2016/17. The swingman feels that he’s off to a solid start in training camp and isn’t focusing on what may happen if he doesn’t make the team, Marc D’Amico of NBA.com relays. “I’m playing well so far, so I’m not worrying about [the final roster spot]. Just going out here and playing my game,” Young told D’Amico. “I’m grabbing boards, I’m making the right plays and I’m just knocking down shots. Those are the main things, and things have been clicking so far.”
  • Another player who’s on the bubble for a regular season roster spot is Terry Rozier, but the point guard has impressed coach Brad Stevens thus far with how his game has improved from a season ago, Logan Mullen of WEEI 93.7 FM writes. “You can see Terry’s a different guy year two than he was in the first couple of days of year one, he just stands out right now,” Stevens said. “And I think that’s probably pretty typical because of the comfort level of going through camp again, for the first time versus again.”
  • Jaylen Brown is trying to manage the expectations that come along with being the No. 3 overall pick on a team that is expected to compete for an NBA title, Mullen relays in a separate piece. “There’s going to be highs, there’s going to be lows. Just the peaks and valleys,” Brown told Mullen. “But, just to stay with the process, just to keep confidence and keep working. Just stay with the process. Defensively I think I add it right way. I think I talked to Brad [Stevens] a lot about that. Just being able to get on the floor, defending at a high level. It would be one thing, and just hitting open shots would be another. Those are two key things to get me on the floor and that will help me add to this team.

And-Ones: Newton, Oden, Execs, Camp Deals

Former Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton departed from the franchise last year, when Flip Saunders‘ passing led to an overhaul of the club’s front office and coaching staff. However, he remains interested in returning to an NBA front office, telling Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he wouldn’t be opposed to an assistant GM role. No teams have approached him about executive positions since his departure from Minnesota though, according to Milton.

“A young guy like Milt should have teams calling him if not to be a GM, to be a part of their organization,” Former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told Spears. “He did a great job in Minnesota. He built a young team. He’s a great dude. He works well. He’s one of the best young talents in the league. What more can you ask for?”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former first overall pick Greg Oden has returned to Ohio State to finish working toward his college degree, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). While the former Trail Blazers center is in Columbus, he’ll also help out at Buckeyes’ practices, says Rothstein.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders lists six top basketball executives who could find themselves on the hot seat at some point in the not-so-distant future if their respective teams don’t play well in 2016/17.
  • With training camps around the NBA having gotten underway this week, Bobby Marks of The Vertical delves into the training camp contract, explaining how they work and how different language in deals affects a players’ preseason earnings and injury protection (or lack thereof).
  • The Lakers‘ signing of Timofey Mozgov has received plenty of criticism this offseason, but Los Angeles won’t be the only team with buyers’ remorse this fall, according to Mitch Lawrence of Forbes.com, who identifies five other clubs that may come to regret their summer deals.

Rockets Sign P.J. Hairston

SEPTEMBER 30th: The signing is official, the team announced.

SEPTEMBER 29th: P.J. Hairston will join the Rockets on a training camp deal, Adrian Wojnarowksi of The Vertical tweets. Houston will hold his D-League rights, Wojnarowski adds.

A 2014 first-round pick, the 6’6” small forward played for both the Grizzlies and Hornets last season. He was acquired by the Grizzlies in a deadline deal in which guard Courtney Lee landed in Charlotte.

He started half of the 18 games he played for Memphis last season, averaging 6.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20.8 minutes. He started 43 of the 48 games he played for Charlotte, averaging 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes. Hairston has shot just 34.3% from the field in 111 career game.

Hairston recently worked out for the Nets and Pacers before the Rockets offered him a deal. He also attended the Lakers’ mini-camp for free agents in August.

Latest On Chris Bosh

Despite failing his most recent physical and not being cleared to participate in training camp, Chris Bosh still wants and intends to continue his NBA career, though, it appears he’s resigned to the fact that it won’t be in Miami, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports.com relays. Team president Pat Riley told reporters during Miami’s media day, “I think Chris is still open-minded. But we are not working toward his return We feel that, based on the last exam, that his Heat career is probably over.” In response to that, Bosh addressed the matter in a video post today:

Got the news. I was in disbelief for a couple seconds, then I threw my phone down and I stormed out the room… But I’m glad I didn’t break my phone. I wanted to break it, but I didn’t….I guess my career in Miami is done. My career is not done. I did not expect that at all…. That does not mean my NBA career is over. There are 29 other teams, it’s a whole league. One team does not make up the opinion of everything.

Bosh also took a shot at Riley and the team, saying, “I want to tell everyone in Miami this is not how I planned it to be. They don’t want to hear Dwyane Wade is gone. They don’t want to hear, ‘oh yea, Chris is never going to play for the Miami Heat again.’ People don’t want to hear that. I just feel for the fans. I wanted to give them more, I wanted to give them something better. Because they deserve better than what they’re getting right now.

The forward also penned a letter to Heat fans on his personal blog, writing:

It’s funny how things change. All I have right now associated with basketball are my friends and memories. And I’m so thankful for those things. I remember just a few years ago when the Big 3 were together and we were having a ball playing the game we love with some of the most professional, talented guys the NBA has ever seen. I remember the fans of Miami coming out to see the show every night. The love, the compassion and the energy we felt was second to none. I want to thank the city of Miami from the bottom of my heart because things may change but the good times will last forever in my memories. Thank you!

Things are different now and Miami has incredible young talent with a tremendous upside. These are not only talented ball players but great people and friends. I enjoyed playing with those guys and doing my best to mentor them by being an upstanding role model and veteran player. It’s their time to go through the ups and downs of the game with this great city. I want to thank not only the fans of Miami but everyone around the world who has supported our team and who has supported me through this time. I see you posting with #BoshRebuilt on social media every day and I receive the love that you give me. Thank you so much. I couldn’t make it without your support.

Latest On Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets

With an October 1 deadline looming for Donatas Motiejunas and the Rockets, it doesn’t appear the two sides are closing in on a long-term deal. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), Motiejunas the Rockets aren’t currently negotiating, though Wojnarowski cautions there’s still time for the two sides to re-engage.

[RELATED: Rockets’ depth chart at RosterResource.com]

Motiejunas received a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683 from the Rockets this summer, which gives Houston the right of first refusal, preventing the forward from signing outright with another club. The Lithuanian big man, who turned 26 this month, could sign that one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but he would likely prefer some longer-term security and a bigger payday.

Earlier in September, Motiejunas’ agent B.J. Armstrong publicly expressed some concern with the situation, telling Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com that the Rockets have yet to make a serious contract offer for his client. According to Armstrong, October 1 will be the moment of truth for the Rockets and Motiejunas, with resolution expected to come by that point.

October 1 is the deadline for Motiejunas to accept his qualifying offer. After that point, he remains a restricted free agent, but he’s no longer able to sign that $4.434MM QO that was on the table for the previous three months. So if the Rockets don’t offer him a deal he likes in the very near future, Motiejunas will likely take the QO and focus on unrestricted free agency in 2017. If he signs the QO, he’d also gain the ability to veto any trades involving him this season, which could come in handy, considering the Rockets nearly moved him at the 2016 trade deadline.

2016/17 Non-Guaranteed Salaries By Team

We’ve already rounded up all of the players whose 2016/17 salaries aren’t fully guaranteed, sorting them by position. To get a better sense of which players might avoid being waived before the regular season though, it’s helpful to take a look at the non-guaranteed contracts by team.

Below, you’ll find a team-by-team breakdown of the players whose salaries for ’16/17 aren’t yet guaranteed. Unless otherwise noted, these players are on minimum-salary contracts. Players with partial guarantees have their guarantees noted in parentheses. For details on which players will have their salaries guaranteed prior to the league-wide salary guarantee deadline of January 10, be sure to check out our schedule of salary guarantee dates.

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

  • None

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

  • None

Detroit Pistons

  • None

Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets

Indiana Pacers

  • None

Los Angeles Clippers

  • None

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

  • None

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • None

New Orleans Pelicans

  • None

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Philadelphia 76ers

Phoenix Suns

Portland Trail Blazers

Sacramento Kings

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Offseason In Review: New York Knicks

Over the next several weeks, Hoops Rumors will be breaking down the 2016 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2016/17 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the New York Knicks.

Free agent signings:

Draft-and-stash signings:

Camp invitees:

  • Ron Baker: One year, minimum salary ($75K guaranteed)
  • Chasson Randle: One year, minimum salary ($100K guaranteed)
  • J.P. Tokoto: One year, minimum salary ($100K guaranteed)

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • None

Departing players:

Other offseason news:


Check out our salary cap snapshot for the New York Knicks right here.


The Knicks entered the offseason as a franchise at a crossroads, needing to choose between hitting the reset button and building around Kristaps Porzingis, or attempting to maximize Carmelo Anthony‘s few remaining productive seasons by adding veterans who could step in and contribute immediately.Derrick Rose vertical

Team president Phil Jackson chose the latter, adding a number of talented players who have the potential to help New York return to the postseason, but carry with them significant injury concerns. Are the Knicks a better team on paper than a season ago? Absolutely. But just how many games the team can expect to get out of the trio of Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah remains to be seen.

New York made its biggest strides as a team this summer by improving on its woeful backcourt of a season ago. The addition of Rose is a gamble that could pay off significantly for the team if the 27-year-old can remain healthy. This is obviously not a given, considering he has averaged just 33 games per season over the last five campaigns. Given his track record, not to mention the grind of back-to-back games that take a terrible toll on players, it isn’t realistic by any means to expect Rose to play in 82 contests. But if he can be a semblance of his former self for 60 to 65 games, which I believe is a realistic target, then Jackson’s gambit of acquiring him in a contract year may end up working in the short term.

With Rose as the starter, the Knicks will need depth at the point — not just in the event that disaster strikes, but to allow him to sit out the occasional game to rest. This is where things get a bit frightening for fans of the team. While I love the addition of Jennings, especially at the bargain price of $5MM for one year, he’s coming off of a ruptured Achilles tendon and is no sure bet to avoid sitting behind the bench in street clothes for stretches of the campaign. The only other point guard currently on the roster is undrafted rookie Chasson Randle, who is probably better suited to log minutes in Westchester for the team’s D-League affiliate this season than in Madison Square Garden. If the franchise is serious about making a playoff push this season, it should seriously consider signing Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole, the two top remaining free agents at the position. If Sasha Vujacic ends up becoming the fallback option as playmaker, ‘Melo may end up regretting not pushing for a trade this summer.

For the second summer in a row, Jackson added a shooting guard via free agency. Last year’s signing of Arron Afflalo failed miserably, with the team essentially pushing him out of MSG, shutting the doors, changing the locks and turning off lights once he opted out of his deal. Courtney Lee should be a much better fit for New York than Afflalo was, especially if new coach Jeff Hornacek is given free reign with the offense and not forced to stick with the triangle as his predecessors, Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis, were. Lee’s solid defense and three-point shooting will be a boon to the team, though inking the 30-year-old to a four-year, $48MM+ deal is a bit of a gamble given his career scoring average of 9.6 PPG.

Speaking of risks, the signing of Noah to a four-year, $72MM+ pact is perhaps the biggest roll of the dice this offseason for Jackson. There’s no denying that Noah, when healthy, can impact the game on both ends of the court. The 31-year-old is almost assuredly going to become a fan favorite in New York, but he has only averaged 63.5 games per season during his nine-year NBA career, and big men don’t generally grow more durable once they reach their 30s. This contract not only has the potential to become an albatross around the Knicks’ necks; it could negatively impact the development of Porzingis, whose best position may ultimately be at center. Anything that could have an adverse effect on the second-year player and potential superstar is a bad thing for the franchise.

It’s in no way a given, but if the majority of their players can remain healthy this season, the Knicks should improve upon the 32 wins they notched in 2015/16. Still, I’d be wary of expecting too drastic an improvement, as the eight seed and 40-42 wins seems like a favorable scenario for New York this year.

With Rose and Jennings each only signed for one year, it’s possible the franchise will find itself rebuilding and/or retooling in 2017. If that’s the case, Jackson needs to look in the mirror and ask himself if making the Knicks a borderline playoff contender this season was worth not tearing down the team and starting anew.

Of course, the Zen Master could be gone next summer, since he has the ability to opt out, leaving the cleanup to someone else. By that time, Anthony will be a another year past his prime and will hold less trade value than he did the past two seasons. It’s been 43 years since the Knicks won an NBA title, and it may be a few more years before fans have another legitimate shot at cheering for a champion.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

LeBron Discusses Cavs’ Negotiations With J.R. Smith

A year after the Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson took contract negotiations down to the wire, the team is once again engaged in a standoff with a key free agent. This time around, it’s J.R. Smith who remains unsigned, despite the fact that the Cavs have made him an “incredibly competitive and aggressive” offer, according to general manager David Griffin.

While the two sides are still expected to reach an agreement eventually, count LeBron James among those who isn’t thrilled about the fact that there’s no resolution yet. Speaking today to reporters, including Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Finals MVP said he hates “having to deal with this s–t again” during training camp, adding that “it wouldn’t be good for any side” if the Cavs and Smith don’t work something out.

“Negotiations are always two sides but J.R. did his part,” James said. “He showed up every day. Worked his ass off every day. Became a two-way player, a model citizen in Cleveland and he’s a fan favorite, obviously we all know that. All of the sudden now he’s a season ticket holder at the Indians games. We just miss him. We miss having him around. He’s a big piece of our team and they just need to get it done.”

While LeBron suggested he’s not involved in negotiations at all, his praise for Smith suggests he wants to see his teammate gets paid, and his comments today may be designed to nudge the Cavs toward increasing their offer a little. According to Vardon, the club’s offer to Smith, which he rejected, was somewhere between $10-11MM annually. The veteran guard was reportedly seeking $15MM per year earlier in the offseason.

Smith, who turned 31 this month, started a career-high 77 games for the Cavs during the 2015/16 season, and also started all 21 of the team’s playoff games. During the season, he averaged 12.4 PPG and shot 40.0% from long distance, making 2.6 threes per game. He increased those three-point numbers to 43.0% and 3.1 per game during the postseason.

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