Month: November 2018

Southwest Notes: Anthony, Okafor, Randle, Grizzlies

Carmelo Anthony is looking to make the game fun again in his first season with the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Anthony is set to enter his 16th professional season, with the 34-year-old having his vision set on winning an NBA championship.

“Just enjoy the game and play basketball … I’ve been doing it for a long time,” Anthony said. “I still know how to do it. I’ve just got to make it fun. The game just has to be fun.”

The Rockets are expected to be a championship contender this season, with the team featuring a deep bench, star center and All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and James Harden. The level of production Anthony gives will help determine how far the team gets in its journey.

“He’s a great basketball player, so we just try to make it optimal for him and us,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s always a little bit of a challenge, but if you had asked me the same question (last year) about James and Chris I would have said the same thing: ‘Well, it looks good. I’m excited.’ So same thing with him.”

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Smith, Williams, Brand

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard showed flashes of brilliance in his debut with the team on Saturday, finishing with 12 points, three assists and one steal in 19 minutes of action.

“I think everybody saw Kawhi, he was shaking off some rust, right?” coach Nick Nurse asked postgame, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “But you can obviously see the level that he has and I think he looks like we’re all running around really fast and he gets it and everything goes into slow motion. It’s kind of a gift for guys that are as good as him and it’s neat to watch, too.”

Leonard was traded to the Raptors in July after a tumultuous end to his stint with the Spurs. He missed most of last season due to injury, with Saturday’s preseason game marking his first contest since January.

“I think it’s just going to take on-court minutes, getting the experience together, going out there and playing and getting a feel for the overall team, the overall game that he likes to play,” Kyle Lowry said of Leonard. “And the pace. We played at a really good pace tonight. It was a fun game, just good to get out there and compete against another team.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

 

Pacific Notes: Kings, Lakers, Booker, Labissiere

The Kings have made two additions to their basketball operations staff, according to James Ham of NBC Sports.

Adam Filippi has joined the team as the Director of Pro Scouting. He most recently served as the Director of Global Scouting with the Hornets, and will be based out of Los Angeles covering the Southeast Region.

Sacramento also hired Anthony Darmiento as the Assistant Performance Coach. Darmiento will work alongside Head Performance & Strength Coach Ramsey Nijem this season, and holds experience in similar roles with USA Volleyball, USA Water Polo and the USA Olympic Committee.

There’s more out of the Pacific division:

 

Glen Davis Signs With Croatian Team

5:33pm: Davis has signed a contract to join KK Zadar in Croatia, reports Nicola Lupo of Sportando. This marks the first time Davis has ever signed a deal in Europe.

8:52am: NBA veteran Glen Davis is close to a deal to play in Croatia, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Davis, who was part of the BIG3 league over the summer, is in advanced negotiations with KK Zadar.

Davis, 32, is best known as a member of the Celtics team that captured an NBA title in 2008. He also played for the Magic and Clippers during an eight-year career, but hasn’t been in the league since appearing in 74 games for L.A. during the 2014/15 season.

Davis has experienced legal problems in the past year, being arrested on both drug possession and assault charges.

Kings Waive Brandon Austin

The Kings have waived training camp invitee Brandon Austin, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports. Austin signed with the team on Thursday after appearing in 15 games with the team’s G League affiliate Reno Bighorns last season.

Austin, who went undrafted out of Northwest Florida State in 2016, is a 6-foot-6 guard who’s shown flashes of potential on both ends of the floor. He’ll likely rejoin the Bighorns for the upcoming season, according to Sean Cunningham of ABC10.

Following the decision to waive Austin, the Kings now have 19 players on their active roster. This includes the two-way contract of Wenyen Gabriel, along with the non-guaranteed salaries of Cameron Reynolds, Jamel Artis and the recently added Kalin Lucas.

Wolves Notes: Butler, Thibodeau, Wiggins

The Timberwolves have yet to move All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler in a trade, keeping a distraction on their roster one game into the preseason and almost a week after the team’s media day. Butler requested a trade in early September after spending just one season with the team, with head coach Tom Thibodeau now focused on making sure his players don’t get distracted.

“That’s the NBA. That’s part of everyone’s job,” Thibodeau said, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. “Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. You have to be focused on what your job is. My job is to do what’s best for the Timberwolves and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Minnesota’s asking price for Butler is said to be steep, with the team reportedly seeking quality veterans, future assets and cap relief. The idea of losing Butler, a longtime teammate of Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, and other members of the Timberwolves, could make for a period of adjustment in the coming weeks.

“That’s part of being a pro,” Thibodeau said. “So in this league there could be distractions every day if you allow it, so it’s important to understand how to approach your job and I think we have a good mix of veterans who have been through it and they understand how important training camp is and getting ready for the season.”

There’s more from the Timberwolves:

Wizards Notes: Meeks, Porter, Howard, Wall

As the season nears, Wizards guard Jodie Meeks is still awaiting word on his suspension appeal, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Meeks was docked 25 games at the end of last season for a reported violation of the NBA’s drug policy. He has already served six games and is hoping to have the penalty reduced. If it isn’t, he won’t be eligible to play until November 26.

“Nothing’s changed,” Meeks said. “I’m preparing like I’m going to play [in] Game 1. So, still in the appeal process. I can’t really talk a whole lot about it, but all I can do is prepare like I’m going to play.”

Meeks signed with the Wizards last summer in hopes of bringing some much-needed firepower to the reserve unit. However, he shot less than 40% from the field and averaged just 6.3 points per game. After testing positive for for ipamorelin and growth hormone-releasing peptide-2, he was forced to miss the playoff series with the Raptors. Meeks contends he’s innocent and filed a formal appeal of the suspension September 13.

There’s more today out of Washington:

  • The Wizards are experimenting with a small-ball lineup that includes Otto Porter at center, Buckner adds in a separate story. Porter has never played the position and doesn’t really have the physique for it at 6’8″ and 205 pounds, but it could become an option in the team’s quest for versatility. “The more playmakers that we can put on the floor, I think it’s going to be better for us,” coach Scott Brooks said. “The league is so small, there’s times you can go with maybe four guards and a big or Otto at the five. There’s all kinds of lineups you can do now.”
  • John Wall‘s recruiting played a role in Dwight Howard‘s decision to join the Wizards, but the center also recognizes the value of winning a title with the franchise instead of joining a team like the Warriors, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports“I just think Golden State, they’ve won a couple championships in the past couple of years,” Howard said. “So, me going there and winning it’s like ‘well, you went to a team that’s already won.’  In D.C., I think the last time the Wizards won they were the Bullets if I’m not mistaken. So, I think that impact would be bigger for the city.”
  • Bringing a title to Washington is also a priority for Wall, who tells Hughes in a separate piece that his career would be a “failure” without one.

Weekly Mailbag: 9/24/18 – 9/30/18

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.

With Anthony Davis linking up with same agent as LeBron James, do you think there’s a good chance he’ll join LeBron with Lakers in the near future? — Greg Dizon

It’s a good theory because we know that LeBron likes to play alongside Klutch Sports clients, but Lakers fans shouldn’t be counting on a James-Davis tandem in their future. Davis will be eligible for a supermax extension next summer that could become the richest deal in NBA history. Only the Pelicans can give him that, so he won’t be pushing for a trade before then. Davis could be expected to spend at least two years in New Orleans once that deal is in hand before exploring trade options. LeBron will be 36 by then, and who knows how successful he and the Lakers will be? Davis has said repeatedly that he’s happy with the Pelicans, and as long as they remain a playoff team that’s where he’s likely to stay.

Andrew Bynum is trying to make a comeback. This reminds me of Larry Sanders. They both kind of had the same potential at one point, though Bynum did accomplish more. They both had poor attitudes that led to their NBA exit. Are both these comebacks money grabs? — Nicolas Galipeau

Sanders continued to have off-the-court problems during his brief comeback with the Cavaliers at the end of the 2016/17 season. He spent most of his time with Cleveland’s G League affiliate, but reportedly showed up late and missed a team bus when he was with the Cavs. For all his talent, it never seemed like basketball was his top priority. Bynum’s NBA downfall was related to injuries, especially his knees. He’s not in position to demand more than a veteran’s minimum contract, so he’s probably not motivated by the money. More likely, Bynum misses the NBA lifestyle and would like to prove he can still be productive at age 30.

Luka Doncic looks like a runaway candidate for Rookie of the Year. Is it too early to put his name on the trophy? — Big D, via Twitter

Doncic was impressive in the Mavericks’ preseason opener Saturday night, making five of seven shots and scoring 16 points in 30 minutes, but don’t get carried away. Dallas was playing the Beijing Ducks, so Doncic still hasn’t displayed his skills against NBA competition. He is among the Rookie of the Year favorites, and his role as the primary distributor in the Mavericks’ backcourt will get him a lot of votes. However, there’s a very talented field this year, a lot of whom appear in line for plenty of playing time. Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Trae Young, Wendell Carter, Collin Sexton and Kevin Knox will all be formidable contenders.

Kings Notes: McLemore, Mason, Giles, Bagley

Shooting guard Ben McLemore has been among the pleasant surprises in Kings‘ training camp, relays Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The Kings made McLemore the seventh pick in the 2013 draft and he spent the first four years of his NBA career in Sacramento before signing with the Grizzlies last year. The Kings brought him back in a trade this summer.

“My confidence is on high and I want to continue to get better each and every day, help my teammates … and do whatever they want me to do,” McLemore said. “That’s defensive, offensive, whatever the case might be. I’ve prepared myself all summer for this moment, so I’m ready.”

A knee injury to Bogdan Bogdanovic that required arthroscopic surgery could provide an early-season opportunity for McLemore. Bogdanovic is projected to miss four to six weeks, opening up some minutes in the backcourt. McLemore believes he can claim them and likes the up-tempo approach the Kings have adopted.

“The style of play they want to play, it fits me perfect, the way I play, the things I do,” he said. “I shoot the ball well, I run the floor, play defense, all those kinds of things.”

There’s more today from Sacramento:

  • Frank Mason is counting on better judgment to help him win an expanded role this season, Anderson adds in the same story. A backup point guard, Mason excels at getting to the basket but his drives often resulted in turnovers or forced shots. “[Last] year, I got in there and made a couple of wrong decisions, and some games I made the right decisions,” Mason said. “It’s just watching film and making the right reads and the right plays.”
  • Harry Giles is happy that his long wait to play in an NBA game is almost over, Anderson relays in a separate story. The 20th player drafted in 2017, Giles sat out all of last season as the Kings tried to protect his knees after a series of surgical procedures. He showed promise during summer league play and will make his debut in a Kings’ uniform tomorrow night in the preseason opener. “I love Harry’s game,” said teammate Willie Cauley-Stein. “He’s going to be a beast. Like most of us, coming into the league, you’ve got to find that pace, and once you find that pace it’s going to be scary.”
  • Kings fans probably won’t see Giles and this year’s top pick, Marvin Bagley, in the lineup together for a while, Anderson writes in another piece.

2018 Offseason In Review: New York Knicks

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 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 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the New York Knicks.

Signings:

Trades:

  • None

Draft picks:

  • 1-9: Kevin Knox — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-36: Mitchell Robinson — Signed to four-year, $6.57MM contract. First two years guaranteed. Signed using mid-level exception.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $107.4MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Hard-capped at $129.82MM.
  • $656K of mid-level exception still available ($7.99MM used on Mario Hezonja and Mitchell Robinson).
  • Full bi-annual exception ($3.38MM) still available.

Check out the New York Knicks’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Head coaching changes are nothing new in New York, where David Fizdale is the 12th man to hold the position in the past 18 years, but there’s a sense of optimism that the Knicks may have finally found the right man. Fizdale had been among the hottest names on the coaching market since being fired by the Grizzlies last year and had interviewed with the MagicHawksSuns and Hornets before accepting the job with the Knicks.

Fizdale was a highly regarded assistant with a reputation for relating to players before getting the opportunity in Memphis. He guided the Grizzlies to the playoffs in 2016/17 before getting fired early last season after an injury to Mike Conley caused the team to stumble to a 7-12 start. Fizdale also clashed with Marc Gasol, which he used as a learning experience in dealing with Kristaps Porzingis. Shortly after the Knicks hired him, Fizdale traveled to Latvia to meet with Porzingis and discuss his role with the organization.

Fizdale has moved quickly to put his stamp on a franchise that has endured five straight losing seasons and endless turmoil in its front office and coaching staff. He declared an open competition for all five starting spots and said even established players such as Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. will have to earn their playing time during the preseason.

Despite the optimism that Fizdale brings to the franchise, he still faces an uphill battle in his first season on the Knicks’ bench. Porzingis’ status remains uncertain as he recovers from a torn ACL, and there have been suggestions that he may not play at all this season. Fizdale’s primary job will be to set a foundation for next year, when the Knicks hope to have Porzingis healthy and add a maximum-salaried free agent.

Read more