Month: October 2018

Grizzlies Sign Omri Casspi

JULY 11: The Grizzlies have officially signed Omri Casspi, the club announced in a press release.

JUNE 30: The Grizzlies have agreed to add forward Omri Casspi on a one-year deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. Memphis would mark the 30-year-old’s seventh NBA stop since 2011.

Casspi’s one-year deal will be a fully guaranteed, minimum-salary contract, tweets Chris Herrington.

In 53 games for the Warriors prior to being cut late in the season, Casspi averaged 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Despite the modest numbers in 2017/18, however, Casspi has carved out a nine-year career as a solid depth piece and should help a Grizzlies team intent on returning to contention for a playoff spot.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Drawing Interest From Clippers, Grizzlies, More

A number of teams are interested in the services of Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope following his one-year stint in Los Angeles, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets.

Although the Grizzlies are the only team that Scotto specifically names, ESPN’s Chris Haynes adds that the Clippers will go so far as to meet with the swingman on July 1.

In 74 games with the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per contests but while his career stat lines appear to have stagnated, he’s a renowned 3-and-D option still just 25 years old.

As things stand, the Grizzlies have approximately $9MM in cap room for this season, which would be considerably less than the $18MM he signed on for with the Lakers last summer.

The Clippers, with DeAndre Jordan‘s $24.1MM player option now off the books, will be able to offer slightly more than Memphis, approximately $14MM. In that situation, it’s likely that he’d replace pending free agent Avery Bradley.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Clippers aren’t interested in bringing Bradley back, however, as Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times reports. Bradley and the Clippers will also be in touch on July 1.

Ironically, the Pistons essentially replaced then-restricted free agent Caldwell-Pope with Bradley last summer when the opportunity to acquire the latter from the Celtics came up ahead of the Gordon Hayward deal.

 

Jerami Grant Signs Three-Year Deal With Thunder

JULY 7: The signing is official per a news release from the team.

JUNE 30: After reaching an agreement to retain Paul George, the Thunder aren’t done. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Oklahoma City has reached an agreement with forward Jerami Grant on a three-year contract worth $27MM. Grant will have a player option on the third season, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link).

Thunder officials had feared that Grant would get a better offer elsewhere, notes Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype (Twitter link). However, Oklahoma City was able to keep him in the mix even after committing a four-year max deal to George.

The 24-year-old forward just completed his second straight productive season in OKC, averaging 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds as a valuable member of the Thunder’s reserve squad. He was particularly solid in the postseason — in the first round against the Jazz, the Thunder had a +8.9 net rating when Grant was on the court, and a -17.1 net rating when he sat.

Oklahoma City had a memorable night on the free agent front, but also an expensive one. Grant’s new contract, plus the four-year, $137MM deal for George, represents a lot of new money for a team that already had luxury tax concerns.

It could be a sign that management intends to either pursue a buyout with Carmelo Anthony or waive him and use the stretch provision on his $27.9MM salary. Alex Abrines, Patrick Patterson, and Kyle Singler are other candidates to be traded or waived to cut costs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Re-Sign Aron Baynes

JULY 7: Baynes has formally signed his new contract with the Celtics, according to the NBA’s official transactions log.

JUNE 30: The Celtics have reached an agreement with free agent center Aron Baynes, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). According to Charania, Baynes will re-sign with Boston on a two-year, $11MM contract. The second year will be a player option, Charania adds (via Twitter).

A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston first reported several days ago that Baynes would likely stick with the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent.

Baynes, who was playing on a one-year, $4.33MM deal in 2017/18, averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 81 regular season games (18.3 MPG) for the Celtics. The 31-year-old was also a key contributor in the postseason, flashing a newfound outside shot — after having made just four three-pointers over the course of his six NBA seasons, Baynes knocked down 11 of 23 three-point attempts in the playoffs.

Having initially signed Baynes during the 2017 offseason, the Celtics hold his Non-Bird rights this summer. Those rights would allow the team to offer a starting salary of up to $5,193,600, which is likely the route that Boston is taking. Using Baynes’ Non-Bird rights would allow the C’s to retain their mid-level exception for another move.

Baynes was the No. 41 free agent on our list of 2018’s top 50 free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Sign Doug McDermott To Three-Year Deal

JULY 6: McDermott’s contract is now official, according to a press release from the Pacers. “In Doug’s case, we were looking for elite shooting, but we were also impressed with how he moves without the ball and his spot-up shooting,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard.

JUNE 30: The Pacers have agreed to a three-year, $22MM deal with Doug McDermott, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The small forward comes off of a year split between the Knicks and the Mavs.

In McDermott, the Pacers will add a solid perimeter threat with size. The 6’8″ forward is a career .403 three-point shooter and posted a .494 average in 26 games with Dallas.

Despite his solid stint with the Mavericks, McDermott was not made a restricted free agent this summer. Dallas initially tendered a qualifying offer to the veteran sharpshooter, but withdrew it shortly thereafter, ensuring that McDermott would be unrestricted. The Mavs intended to use a significant chunk of cap room on DeAndre Jordan, and didn’t want to carry McDermott’s $10MM cap hold on their books.

McDermott will add valuable depth to Indiana’s rotation, slotting in behind starting three Bojan Bogdanovic. Meanwhile, the Pacers should still have cap room available to add another player or two.

Suns Interested In Ariza, Bradley, Randle

The Suns are targeting Rockets forward Trevor Ariza, Clippers guard Avery Bradley and Lakers forward Julius Randle, tweets Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Phoenix will have about $18MM in cap space to work with after waiving Tyler Ulis earlier today. Ariza and Bradley are both unrestricted free agents and would provide a needed boost to the Suns’ defense. Randle is restricted, and the Lakers will have the chance to match any offer sheet he receives.

Ariza, 33, has spent the past four seasons in Houston and was a steady two-way player on a team that won 65 games this year. He averaged 11.7 points during the season and shot 37% from 3-point range.

Bradley, 27, was known as one of the league’s top defensive guards in Boston, but his game took a downturn after trades to the Pistons and then to the Clippers. A sports hernia limited him to just six games in L.A.

Randle is the youngest of the group at 23. After the Lakers decided not to give him an extension, he responded with a 16.1/8.0/2.6 season that has made him a popular free agent target.

Community Shootaround: Superteam in L.A.?

Speculation continues to grow that the Lakers will land the biggest prize of the summer in LeBron James, but the other pieces they were hoping for appear less certain.

Lakers fans watched in anticipation today as LeBron took a flight from his vacation spot of Anguilla to Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles. It could be a clue or it could just mean that James and his family were returning to their summer home.

Halfway across the country, Thunder fans are finding hope in a “summer hype house party” hosted tonight by OKC star Russell Westbrook. Teammate Paul George is on the guest list for the bash, which would serve as an ideal location if he wants to announce that he’s staying in Oklahoma City. Guests are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which adds to the anticipation that major news is on the way.

George is one Los Angeles native the Lakers were hoping to add to their mix. The other is Kawhi Leonard, who has requested a trade out of San Antonio. However, the Spurs are seeking a “clean out the cupboard” type deal, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, and the Lakers have been unwilling to meet their price. He adds that L.A. views Leonard as a “distressed asset” who is almost certain to leave San Antonio next summer, so the Lakers’ front office is unwilling to give the Spurs what they want. The Celtics and Sixers are also in on the bidding for Leonard and both might be willing to make better offers.

With the start of free agency less than 30 minutes away, we want to get your predictions. James, George and Leonard — how many of them will be Lakers when the season starts in October? Please leave your responses in the space below.

Latest On Paul George, Thunder

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, there’s growing reason to believe that the Thunder may have a verbal agreement with Paul George considering that the soon-to-be free agent is currently partying with Russell Westbrook and members of the club’s front office at an Oklahoma City house party.

With less than two hours until teams and players can formally negotiate, Stein tweets that the Thunder will have fooled many if the two parties don’t come to an agreement on a two- or three-year max deal quickly.

It was Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports who first reported that members of the team’s front office were in attendance at the shindig but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has since tweeted that Thunder general manager Sam Presti had specifically wanted to hold the team’s meeting with the free agent in Oklahoma City as part of it’s year-long recruiting effort to retain him.

As Royce Young of ESPN writes in a feature on the party, Westbrook is hosting the 500-person get-together that has been branded as a “summer hype house party”.

According to Young, Westbrook flew eight hours from Hawaii, where he was vacationing with his family, in order to host the event.

DeMarcus Cousins Next Target For Lakers?

With Paul George looking more likely to stay with the Thunder, the Lakers are turning their attention to DeMarcus Cousins, tweets Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. League sources say that L.A. is considering a short-term max offer for the free agent center.

Cousins was headed for a full max deal in New Orleans before suffering a torn ACL in January. The Pelicans grabbed the No. 6 seed without him and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, raising questions of whether the organization would be fine without him.

Cousins has played less than a full season in New Orleans after being acquired in a trade with the Kings, but he has put up All-Star numbers. In 65 games, he averaged 25.0 points and 12.7 rebounds while forming a dangerous frontcourt combination alongside Anthony Davis.

The Lakers, who have been seeking another star to help attract LeBron James to Los Angeles, could use some help up front. Incumbent starter Brook Lopez is a free agent and Ivica Zubac is the only center currently on the roster. O’Connor notes that in 2017, James referred to Cousins “the best big man in our game.”

In an interview last month with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Cousins said he is happy with the progress he has made and he hopes to be ready for training camp.

“Just getting this amount of time to rest my body, I’ve never had this much rest probably since I picked up a basketball.” Cousins said. “I feel like it’s been tremendous for my body. I feel great. I feel fresh. I feel brand-new. It’s crazy to say.” 

Hornets Notes: Monk, FA Targets, Coaching Staff

A disappointing 2017/18 put the Hornets in an awkward position, staffed with enough talent to compete for one of the East’s final playoff spots, yet financially compelled to blow things up and start fresh. This season stands to be different. In a recent interview with Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, newly appointed head coach James Borrego discusses his vision for the club heading forward.

The biggest change heading into 2018/19 is Borrego’s willingness to incorporate 2017 pick Malik Monk heavily in the team’s rotation. Whereas previous head coach Steve Clifford opted to play veterans over youth, Borrego sees Monk as “major player for the team” with the potential to be an elite shooter.

Borrego also notes that it’s a priority of the Hornets to add a ballhandler that can serve as the primary backup point guard to Kemba Walker.

There’s more out of Charlotte tonight: