Month: September 2017

Jazz Sign Taylor Braun

The Jazz have filled the final spot on their 20-man training camp roster by signing free agent swingman Taylor Braun, the team announced today in a press release.

Braun, who went undrafted out of North Dakota State in 2014, has caught on with a couple NBA teams for Summer League action since then, but has mostly spent his time playing overseas. Braun played in Belgium during his first professional season, and has spent the last couple years in Germany.

In his final college season back in 2013/14, Braun averaged 17.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG, making 41.4% of his three-point attempts. He was named the Summit League Player of the Year and helped North Dakota State pull off an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Having signed Braun, the Jazz now have 20 players under contract, including 15 on guaranteed deals and two on two-way contracts. Braun figures to be one of the three players in Utah camp on non-guaranteed contracts, along with Naz Mitrou-Long and Raul Neto.

Kings Sign Marcus Williams

Former first-round pick Marcus Williams is back on an NBA roster, according to the Kings, who issued a press release today announcing that they’ve signed the veteran point guard to a contract. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but a non-guaranteed pact seems likely.

Williams, 31, was the 22nd overall pick in the 2006 draft, but the UConn product spent just four years in the league, appearing in 203 total games for the Nets, Warriors, and Grizzlies. He hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2009/10 season, making the signing a curious one for the Kings.

Although he hasn’t been playing in the NBA since 2010, Williams has continued his professional career overseas, spending time with clubs in Russia, China, Spain, Serbia, and Montenegro. Most recently, he signed a deal in March with Cholet Basket in France.

The signing of Williams may have been influenced by Kings assistant general manager Ken Catanella. The veteran executive worked in the Nets’ front office from 2006 to 2008, which were the same years that Williams spent with the club.

Williams should not be confused with the former Arizona forward of the same name, who last played in the NBA for the Spurs in 2008/09.

Cavaliers Sign JaCorey Williams

1:37pm: Williams’ deal with the Cavs is now official, the team confirmed in a press release.

8:24am: The Cavaliers will fill the final spot on their 20-man training camp roster by signing undrafted rookie JaCorey Williams, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. According to McMenamin, Williams will likely ink an Exhibit 10 deal, which could be converted into a two-way contract next month.

Williams, a 6’8″ forward, played his first three college seasons at Arkansas, but didn’t see much action for the Razorbacks, averaging just 11.9 minutes per game in 96 total contests for the program. After transferring to Middle Tennessee State for his senior year, Williams enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 17.3 PPG and 7.3 RPG. He was named the Conference USA Player of the Year for 2016/17.

After Williams went undrafted in June, it initially appeared that he may end up in camp with the Warriors, but his agreement with Golden State only spanned Summer League play. Rather than joining the defending NBA champions, Williams will head to camp with the Eastern Conference champs, and the Cavs are intent on having him develop with the Canton Charge, their G League affiliate, McMenamin notes. Williams may end up as an affiliate player if he doesn’t land in one of the club’s two-way slots.

While the Cavs will have a full 20-man roster after finalizing Williams’ deal, the signing won’t preclude a pursuit of Dwyane Wade, who is on track to clear waivers on Wednesday. Cleveland would need to waive or trade a player to add Wade, but such a move would have been necessary by opening night anyway if Wade chooses the Cavs, since the team already has 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts.

Warriors Reached Out To Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade appears likely to strike a deal with the Cavaliers at some point this week, but several teams reached out to express interest in him after he reached a buyout agreement with the Bulls, and one of those clubs was the Warriors, reports Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.

According to Kennedy, while Golden State displayed interest in Wade, the discussions between the two sides didn’t last long. The former Finals MVP has conveyed to potential suitors that he wants to have a substantial role on a contending team, and the Warriors didn’t make it clear what sort of role would be available for him in Golden State.

With or without Wade, the Warriors will head into the 2017/18 season as massive title favorites, so adding another future Hall-of-Famer to their roster seems unnecessary. Still, it makes sense that the team would do its due diligence. The Dubs don’t have any cap room or exceptions, but Wade’s primary suitors – the Cavaliers and Thunder – are expected to make minimum salary offers, which Golden State could match. If they’d been able to land Wade, the Warriors also would have kept him away from a Cavs club that they’ve faced in the NBA Finals for three consecutive years.

Despite league-wide interest, Wade looks like a very good bet to join the Cavaliers sometime after he clears waivers on Wednesday, as we detailed earlier today.

Bulls Re-Sign Nikola Mirotic

SEPTEMBER 26: The Bulls have officially re-signed Mirotic, the team announced today in a press release. The club’s roster count is now at 19 players, including 13 on guaranteed deals.

SEPTEMBER 24: The Bulls have agreed to re-sign Nikola Mirotic to a two-year, $27MM deal, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Mirotic has a right to veto any trade in the first year of his new Bulls deal, Charania adds. Mitrocic’s second year will include a team option, per Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago (Twitter link).

Mirotic, 26, has been a steady scoring presence for Chicago the last three seasons. The Montenegro native averaged 10.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 70 games (15 starts) for the Bulls last season. The 6’10” forward was one of the last restricted free agents on the market — with Mirotic returning to Chicago and Alex Len signing his qualifying offer in Phoenix, Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green is now the final unsigned RFA.

Earlier this week, we noted that Mirotic had not made any progress but that his qualifying offer remained on the table. Now, he has a multiyear deal that will keep him in Chicago.

Trail Blazers Notes: Trades, Davis, Nurkic

The Trail Blazers had one of the quietest seasons in the NBA, with few new incoming or outgoing players. The trade that sent Allen Crabbe to the Nets was Portland’s only major deal of the summer, but that wasn’t for lack of trying. Speaking to reporters at Media Day on Monday, Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey suggested that his club was “incredibly aggressive” in exploring potential upgrades (link via Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com).

“I don’t like to talk about things that could have been, but like I said, we did everything in our power to try and accelerate where we’re trying to get to as a team,” Olshey said. “In terms of trades, it didn’t work out, but like I said, we didn’t give anything up either in terms of the future of the roster that we continue to build.”

Here are a few more highlights from Media Day in Portland:

  • While Olshey was unable to add any impact players via trade over the offseason, he pointed to the Blazers’ $12.97MM trade exception – created in the Crabbe deal – as a tool that will continue to create opportunities for the club going forward, as Jason Quick of CSNNW.com writes. “Things are not over yet,” Olshey said. “We have the biggest trade exception in the league; we are still aggressive.”
  • Veteran forward Ed Davis confirmed to reporters, including Holdahl (Twitter link), that he has been medically cleared to practice, and plans to be a full participant for training camp. Davis is coming off shoulder surgery, which he underwent back in March.
  • Jusuf Nurkic, who is eligible to sign a contract extension until October 16, said he feels like Portland is the best place for him (Twitter link via Joe Freeman of The Oregonian). “I want to be here,” Nurkic said. While the Blazers likely feel the same way, an extension for the big man may be challenging, since he has only appeared in 20 games for the franchise, and the club has a handful of expensive, long-term commitments on its cap.

2017 Offseason In Review: Phoenix Suns

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2017 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 2017/18 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Phoenix Suns.

Signings:Len vertical

  • Alan Williams: Three years, $17.04MM. Second year non-guaranteed. Third year team option.
  • Alex Len: One year, $4.188MM. Signed qualifying offer.
  • Mike James: Two-way contract. One year.
  • Alec Peters: Two-way contract.

Camp invitees:

Trades:

  • Acquired Troy Daniels and a 2018 second-round pick (second-most favorable of Grizzlies, Heat, and Hornets second-rounders) from the Grizzlies in exchange for Suns’ own 2018 second-round pick (top-55 protected)

Draft picks:

  • 1-4: Josh Jackson — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-32: Davon Reed — Signed to four-year, minimum salary contract. Second year partially guaranteed. Third and fourth years non-guaranteed.
  • 2-54: Alec Peters — Signed to two-way contract.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Operating under the cap and under the salary floor. Could create up to $13MM+ in cap space (carrying approximately $85.4MM in guaranteed salary), plus full room exception ($4.328MM) still available.

Check out the Phoenix Suns’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

The Suns entered the 2017 offseason armed with cap room and ready to make a major splash in free agency or on the trade market. After having been linked to Kevin Love in several trade rumors, Phoenix lined up meetings with the top two free agent big men on the market, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap.

Ultimately, Love remained in Cleveland, Griffin cancelled his meeting with the Suns after quickly coming to the terms with the Clippers, and the Suns reconsidered their direction. Less than 24 hours after the free agent period began, the Suns backed off their pursuit of Millsap, opting instead to continue taking a patient approach to the rebuilding process and to potentially use their cap space to accommodate salary dumps rather than to sign an impact free agent.

The Suns may have been tempted to deviate from that approach later in the summer when Kyrie Irving made his trade request — Irving is younger than Love, Griffin, or Millsap, and would’ve been a better fit for the Suns’ timeline. However, acquiring Cleveland’s star point guard likely would have cost the Suns Josh Jackson and a future first-round pick, and despite being the club most frequently linked to Irving, Phoenix wasn’t willing to pay that price and compromise its rebuild.

That looks to me like the right call. Clawing their way back to the upper ranks of the Western Conference will be a long, challenging road for the Suns, but going out and compromising their future cap flexibility to land an impact player would have represented an ill-advised short cut. This roster has a long way to go before it’s ready to contend, and adding a single star wouldn’t have changed that.

Read more

Cavaliers, Dwyane Wade Nearing Agreement

11:08am: Wade is nearing a commitment to sign with the Cavaliers, and could finalize his decision as soon as Wednesday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

10:29am: Dwyane Wade is strongly leaning toward signing with the Cavaliers when he becomes a free agent, and may in fact have already made the decision to join old friend LeBron James in Cleveland, league sources tell Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Wade is on track to clear waivers on Wednesday.

Although Wade is expected to receive interest from several other clubs, including the Spurs, Thunder, Heat, and Lakers, the Cavs have been cited as the frontrunner for his services since even before his buyout with the Bulls was finalized.

One prominent league source with knowledge of Wade’s thinking tells Vardon that the future Hall-of-Famer has “no intention of going anywhere else” besides Cleveland. Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times hears from a front office source in Chicago that the Bulls also anticipated Wade would ultimately land with James and the Cavaliers.

While the Cavs can’t offer as much money as the Heat, Lakers, or Spurs, Cleveland almost certainly offers Wade a better chance to compete for a title than any of those clubs, not to mention an opportunity for a reunion with James, his good friend and former teammate. The Thunder would be an intriguing destination for Wade, with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George reportedly recruiting the veteran guard, but Oklahoma City is limited to the minimum salary.

The Cavs will likely end up offering Wade the minimum as well. The team has about $2.55MM left on its taxpayer mid-level exception, but the difference between that figure and Wade’s minimum salary ($2.33MM) would be marginal. Additionally, the NBA would pick up part of the tab on a minimum salary deal, leaving only about $1.471MM on the Cavs’ books, which will be a key consideration as the team tries to keep its projected tax bill in check.

If the Cavs do sign Wade, they’ll have to trade or waive a player with a fully guaranteed contract before the regular season begins. Cleveland is currently carrying 15 such players, so adding Wade would take them over the opening-night limit.

Nuggets, Will Barton Discussing Extension

The Nuggets and Will Barton have engaged in discussions on a contract extension, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN (Twitter link). Since Barton isn’t on a rookie scale deal, there’s no real rush for the two sides to finalize an agreement — the deadline for Barton to sign an extension is June 30, rather than October 16.

While it makes sense for the Nuggets and Barton to see if they can find common ground on a new deal, the talks represent a change in the swingman’s stance on the subject. Haynes reported back in April that Barton intended to turn down any extension offer from Denver, planning instead on reaching unrestricted free agency in 2018.

It’s possible that Barton is simply listening to the Nuggets out of courtesy, but it’s more likely that the evolving market for NBA free agents made him reconsider his position. League-wide spending wasn’t as extravagant this summer as it was in 2016, and there are expected to be even fewer teams with significant cap room in 2018, meaning Barton isn’t necessarily guaranteed a huge payday on the open market.

Because Barton is only earning about $3.53MM this season and the Nuggets are above the cap, the team is limited in what it can offer him. Still, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows a starting salary worth up to 120% of the estimated average salary, with 8% annual raises. That would result in an extension that looks a lot like the four-year, $42MM pact Josh Richardson signed with the Heat last week.

That would be a significant investment for the Nuggets, but Barton has shown in the past couple seasons that he can be a very effective part of the club’s rotation. In 2016/17, the 26-year-old averaged 13.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.4 APG, with a shooting line of .443/.370/.753.

Southwest Rumors: Noel, Carmelo, Tucker, Pondexter

Mavs big man Nerlens Noel will likely come off the bench this season behind Dirk Nowitzki, coach Rick Carlisle told Tim MacMahon of ESPN and other media members. Noel started 12 of 22 games after being acquired from the 76ers in February. Carlisle informed Noel and agent Rich Paul of his plans over the weekend, MacMahon adds. “At this point in time, Dirk at the 5 position is probably the best scenario for Dirk and for our team, and I just don’t think that Dirk is a guy that’s going to come off the bench as long as I’m here,” Carlisle said. “So there’s a very good chance that Nerlens will come off the bench.” Noel had a tumultuous summer as a restricted free agent, changing agents and ultimately signing Dallas’ qualifying offer of $4.1MM when he didn’t get the contract offers he expected. Noel will an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets were never close to acquiring Carmelo Anthony before he was traded to the Thunder, according to a Houston Chronicle report. GM Daryl Morey said he wasn’t disappointed that he failed to work out something with the Knicks, the report adds. “We were involved in rumors in a situation he was very interested in coming here,” he said. “We had some interest if we could maybe work it out, but never did.”
  • Small forward P.J. Tucker will miss some of training camp because of a hamstring injury, according to another Chronicle report. Tucker suffered the injury during a recent workout but it’s not considered a major issue, the report adds. Tucker signed a four-year contract with the Rockets as a free agent this summer.
  • Former Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter contracted a life-threatening infection while awaiting a third surgery on his problematic knee in January, he told Chris Haynes of ESPN. He required surgery to flush out the infection and spent a month in the hospital after the knee operation, Haynes continues. Pondexter was then dealt to the Bulls earlier this month. “It was a shock,” Pondexter told Haynes. “I was tired of letting the organization and fans down the last two years, and I wanted to do my best to help the Pelicans return to the playoffs. It was definitely a gut punch.” He also said he was never fined or missed an appointment during his knee rehab in 2015, refuted what coach Alvin Gentry claimed at the time.
  • Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge shrugged off the trade rumors this summer and came to camp with something to prove, Melissa Rohlin of the San Antonio Express-News reports. “I’m a guy who is never satisfied,” he told Rohlin. “I’m definitely going to show that I can play my game and I’m still good.”
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