Month: June 2017

Spurs Notes: Parker, Lee, Leonard

Although Tony Parker‘s 2016/17 numbers may be a far cry from what he’s posted throughout his career, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle flags him as a possible game-changer in the upcoming Spurs/Rockets second-round series.

Parker posted just 10.1 points per game this season, his 16th, but raised that to 16.3 in his squad’s first-round victory over the Grizzlies.

Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, one man who will have to check the veteran playmaker, knows all too well that Parker is still capable of dealing damage.

He gets better with time, right?” he said. “He just continues to get better. Tony. His mid-range, his floaters, his spin moves. At his age, how fast he is is unbelievable. He’ll go down as a Hall of Famer, for sure. It’s always good to play a type of player like that.

There’s more from the Spurs:

  • When Dewayne Dedmon was under the weather prior to Game 4, Gregg Popovich thrust David Lee into the starting lineup. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News discusses how the veteran was able to make the seamless transition into the starting lineup.
  • Even though he’s made a case for the award himself, Kawhi Leonard understands that he’ll have his work cut out for him guarding MVP candidate James Harden. “It’s going to take my all to try to make it difficult for him out there,” the forward told Melissa Rohlin of MySanAntonio.com.
  • One of the key matchups to watch in the second-round tilt between the Spurs and Rockets will be Parker versus Beverley. Tom Osborn of the Houston Chronicle wonders if the 34-year-old veteran can keep his offensive streak alive against his pesky counterpart.

Community Shootaround: Favorite Pierce Moment

When the Clippers fell to the Jazz in Game 7 of their first-round series the legendary, 19-year career of former Celtics forward Paul Pierce officially came to an end. The man had made no secret of the fact that the 2016/17 campaign would be his final campaign in the NBA.

For nearly two decades Pierce routinely established himself as one of the game’s deadliest offensive weapons in the clutch, decorating his resume with a laundry list of accomplishments along the way.

Although he was the 2008 Finals MVP when the C’s knocked off the Lakers in an instant classic battle, it’s the endurance and longevity that he showed throughout his time in the league that stands out the most.

A Top 20 all-time scorer with 26,397 total points, Pierce showed up year in and year out to lead Boston’s offense. From 1998-2013, Pierce averaged 21.8 points per game all while wearing Celtics green.

Though not quite as memorable as his legacy with the C’s franchise, Pierce also reaffirmed his spot in NBA history by emerging as a critical factor in postseason appearances with the Nets and Wizards.

Simply put, there’s no denying that Pierce was an icon of his generation and an exemplary pro. Where there may be some debate, however, is what Pierce story or chapter stands out as the most memorable.

Was it the late-nineties dynamic duo he formed along with Antoine Walker? His incredible return to the court at age 22 after being stabbed in a nightclub? His brief tenure as a Raptor killer in the twilight of his career? The back-to-back Finals battle with the Lakers? The Infamous Wheelchair Incident of 2008?

Sure, there are too many to choose from, but we’re going to ask you to do it anyway.

We’ll miss you Truth.

McCants Is First Overall Pick In BIG3 Draft

If you had Rashad McCants in your office BIG3 Draft Pool, today is your lucky day. The 32-year-old former Timberwolves guard was the first player drafted in the initial three-on-three league roster draft.

To Kenyon Martin‘s Trilogy the explosive shooting guard goes hoping to replicate the 2007/08 campaign that saw him average 14.9 points per game.

The second overall draft pick was Andre Owens, a now-36-year-old point guard whose NBA resume is limited to two partial seasons with the Jazz and Pacers.

Notable names taken high in the first round include Reggie Evans (third overall), Kwame Brown (fifth overall) and Jerome Williams (sixth overall).

Other notable players taken later include Larry Hughes (14th overall), Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (17th overall) and Ruben Patterson (21st overall).

Worth noting is that several marquee players said to have been available didn’t end up getting drafted, this includes Latrell Sprewell, Steve Francis and Isaiah Rider, among others.

For a complete list of of the draft results, check out the league’s official site.

For a continually updated list of the rosters – including a list of the players who were announced but did not get drafted – check out our own BIG3 player database.

Burks May Be Shut Down For Postseason

The Jazz could be without the services of Alec Burks for the remainder of the postseason, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Per the paper’s sources, the guard could be shut down for the rest of the playoffs on account of his current knee injury.

Burks saw his role decrease substantially in 2016/17 and he averaged just 6.7 points per game in the opportunities that he did get. Sidelined for the entirety of Utah’s first-round series against the Clippers, Burks hasn’t played meaningful basketball since April 12.

The emergence of Rodney Hood over the course of the past two seasons and the offseason addition of Joe Johnson have limited Burks’ chances to thrive in the Jazz lineup.  The 25-year-old, however, is just two seasons removed from averaging 33.3 minutes per game in an injury shortened 2014/15.

Jones adds that, while it appears as though the shooting guard will be shut down with Utah’s second round slated to begin on Tuesday, no final decision has been formally made.

Pacific Notes: World Peace, Clippers, George

He may be officially enrolled at UCLA, but that doesn’t mean Metta World Peace is ready to retire from the NBA. The Lakers forward recently reassured Serena Winters of Lakers Nation that he remains intent on playing two more seasons.

I’ve got two more years and I’m going to be 20 years, a professional basketball player,” World Peace said. “This year I was more mentoring [for the Lakers], but obviously, if I would have played I would really have had Staples Center rocking more! I still feel like I can bring something to the table, whether it’s mentoring or whether it’s playing, I’m open to either.

Just because the veteran hopes to continue playing in the NBA doesn’t mean he’ll be back with the Lakers however. Earlier this month the 37-year-old tweeted goodbye to the franchise after reportedly being told that Magic Johnson said he probably won’t be re-signed.

In 24 games for the young Lakers, World Peace averaged just 2.4 points in 6.4 minutes per game. His last taste of heavy NBA action came in 2012/13.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Insiders says that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin love it with the Clippers and want to stay, writes Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register. Both have signed new contracts with the Clippers in the past without entertaining a presentation from another franchise.
  • Several factors will influence the Lakers‘ chance of acquiring Paul George, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, including whether or not the forward qualifies for the designated veteran salary boost and where their pick falls after the draft lottery.
  • When the Kings hired Scott Perry to be their executive vice president of basketball operations they netted one of the masterminds behind the dominant Pistons teams of the mid-aughts. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee details Perry in an extensive feature.

Bucks Notes: Henson, Terry, Parker

The Bucks may be watching the rest of the playoffs from afar after losing their opening round series to the Raptors. Despite the loss, the team is optimistic about the future, as Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.

“We were a couple shots falling from this series going to Game 7, and in a Game 7 anything can happen,” Bucks center John Henson said. “I think it’s going to fuel the hunger next year. But you win your first playoff series by getting the higher seeds. That’s what we want to do. Being in the top four, that’s when the expectations come on you to win. You get home court first so if you can get a couple home-court wins, the pressure is on them.”

Here’s more from Milwaukee:

  • The Bucks will likely be open to re-signing Jason Terry, according to Andrew Wagner of the Star Tribune. The 39-year-old shooting guard played 74 games for Milwaukee this past season, averaging 4.1 points in 18.4 minutes per game.
  • Coach Jason Kidd believes Terry and Matthew Dellavedova will be key members of the Bucks‘ future, Gary D’Amato of the Journal Sentinel relays. “ ‘Jet’ and ‘Delly’ are winners,” Kidd said. “Hopefully, that will help our culture as we move forward.”
  • Henson added that he believes Jabari Parker, who is recovering from an ACL injury, can help take the Bucks to the next level, as Gardner passes along in the aforementioned piece. “I think he’s an all-star level player, a great kid,” Henson said of Parker. “If we add him into what we do now, with Khris and Giannis, it could be scary.”

Eastern Notes: Carter, George, Ibaka

Vince Carter, who will be a free agent this summer, can still be a contributor on a contending team despite his age, Benny Nadeau of Basketball Insiders contends.

Carter will turn 41 in January, though he recently said he would like to play two more seasons. He played in 73 games for Memphis this past season, scoring 8.0 points per game while making 37.8% of his 3-point shots.

Nadeau names the Celtics as a potential fit based on Carter’s ability to make shots from behind the arc. The scribe also wonders if the veteran would be open to a reunion with the Raptors, something that may help to heal wounds with Toronto fans who never forgave him for pushing his way out of town back in 2004.

As we await Carter’s decision in free agency, check out some notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Larry Bird decided to step down as the Indiana’s team president and A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet wonders how that impacts the Celtics chances of landing Paul George. Kevin Pritchard, who took over Bird’s role, previously worked in Portland and has a history of making deals with GM Danny Ainge. Blakely believes Boston is in a great position to make a competitive offer for the small forward should the Pacers look to trade him.
  • The Cavaliers handily beat the Raptors last postseason, but coach Tyronn Lue believes Toronto’s midseason trade acquisitions will make the team tougher to beat this time around, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes.  ” You get a guy who is a great shot blocker, a great defender,” Lue said of  Serge Ibaka. “A great one-on-one defender and he can also make a shot. He can make a 3-point shot now. His mid-range game is very nice also, so he adds a different dimension to their team and I know they was talking about being better defensively, so adding Ibaka and adding P.J. Tucker really helps that for them.
  • Kevin Love agrees with Lue’s assessment of Ibaka and the Raptors, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays. “Just a different dynamic,” Love said of Ibaka. “Definitely shooters with both him and [Patrick] Patterson out there. He brings a ton of energy. Played really well in Round 1, so he just gives them a whole different look and a guy who has a ton of playoff experience coming from Oklahoma City. Obviously getting traded from Orlando, but all his playoff experience being there and playing in a lot of big games. He really helps them.”

Rockets Notes: Gordon, Zhou, Anderson

James Harden and Trevor Ariza were both heavily involved in recruiting Eric Gordon, as the shooting guard writes for The Players’ Tribune. Both players called Gordon nearly every day leading up to free agency, explaining to him that he was the missing piece while talking about how unstoppable the offense would be and how successful the Rockets could be in the postseason if he decided to come to Houston. Gordon ended up signing a four-year. $53MM deal with the team last summer.

Here’s more from Houston as the team gets ready for its round two matchup with the Spurs:

  • Gordon said that neither Harden nor Ariza had mentioned coming off the bench during any of their offseason phones calls, Gordon writes in the same piece. That revelation came 11 games into this season when coach Mike D’Antoni told him that he would come off the bench.  “Bam. No leading into the conversation. No softening the blow. Just like that, I’d lost my starting spot,” Gordon writes.  The shooting guard has embraced his role off the bench and he’s a top candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
  • Zhou Qi, who was the No. 43 overall pick in the 2016 draft, will begin training with the Rockets with the hope of joining the NBA club next season, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. “We are looking forward to sitting down and talking and seeing what might happen in the future. His dream is to one day play in the NBA. Right now, we are focused on training,” Zhou’s agent said.
  • Ryan Anderson, who signed a four-year, $80MM deal with the Rockets last offseason, is excited to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2009/10 season, as Feigen writes in a separate piece“Series one went by quick. This season went by quick. But it feels like this group has been together a whole lot longer than it had because we enjoy being around each other. It’s been a fun year,” Anderson said.

Weekly Mailbag: 4/24/17 – 4/30/17

We have an 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:

What is the likelihood Blake Griffin is gone if Clippers get bounced, and what team has a shot of landing him? — Bleedingreenbetty via Twitter

Clippers management keeps saying it wants to keep the team together regardless of cost, but the price of retaining Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick would be enormous. L.A. would be about $11MM over the cap next season if Paul and Griffin both opt in, which won’t happen, but would mean $24.27MM for Paul and $21.37MM for Griffin. There are rumors that a five-year, $200MM deal is ready for Paul to sign when the playoffs end, which would bump his salary up to around $40MM for the first season. It’s hard to see how they can afford a similar deal for Griffin, especially when luxury taxes and the repeater tax are added. It would be a huge financial commitment, even for a title contender, and the Clippers have never even reached the conference finals. Any contender with cap room (the Celtics, for instance) would have interest in Griffin, who might benefit from a change of scenery.

Are the Pelicans still considering firing Alvin Gentry? — Michah, via Twitter

A report this morning said the team is still evaluating Gentry and GM Dell Demps. Logically, it seems like both should get at least one more season to see how the Anthony DavisDeMarcus Cousins combination works out. They’ve only been together since the All-Star break and haven’t really had time to mesh. Give Demps an offseason to find some shooters to surround them and give Gentry at least half a season to make it work on the court. If they aren’t a playoff contender in January or February, then start handing out pink slips.

Does it make sense for Greg Monroe to opt out of his contract with the Bucks? He had a good year off the bench and is still only 26 years old, but it’s hard to imagine him topping $17.9MM for next year as a free agent. — Oscar, via Twitter

In a different era, Monroe could safely opt out, knowing that teams would be lined up to offer him a huge payday. But his old-style post game doesn’t fit the direction that the league or the Bucks are headed. Monroe averaged 11.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season, numbers that increase to 18.8 and 10.5 when projected to 36 minutes. But he was used exclusively as a reserve and played just 22.5 minutes per night, less than half the game. Milwaukee would love to get Monroe’s $17.9MM salary off its books for next year, but he will probably take the safe road and opt in.

Nuggets’ Will Barton To Refuse Extension

Nuggets swingman Will Barton will turn down a contract extension and become an unrestricted free agent in 2018, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.com.

At age 26, Barton has blossomed into one of the league’s top sixth men, averaging 13.7 points per night and shooting 37% from 3-point range in 60 games this year. He will make a little more than $3.53MM in 2017/18 in the final season of a three-year contract.

The Nuggets expected Barton to test free agency and try to land a big contract in the prime of his career, Haynes adds.

The new collective bargaining agreement allows players on three-year deals to receive extensions starting on the second anniversary of the signing. Barton could have gotten a new deal starting at either 120% of his salary for 2017/18 or the average salary for next season, which is projected at about $9MM. Given 8% annual increases, Barton’s extension would have been valued at about $39MM over four years.

Haynes notes that Barton could be looking at much more, considering the contracts that were handed out to similar players last summer. The Trail Blazers matched a four-year, $75MM offer for Allen Crabbe and gave Evan Turner $70MM over four seasons. The Hawks re-signed Kent Bazemore for four years at $70MM. Barton has outscored each of them over the past two seasons.

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