Abdel Nader

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Nader, Schroder, Millsap

The Timberwolves have hosted a handful of free agents for a workout this week, with Marcus Georges-Hunt, Rashad Vaughn, and John Jenkins among the latest players to earn a look from Minnesota, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 (Twitter link) also adds Eric Moreland to the list of players auditioned by the Wolves.

Nick Young, Arron Afflalo and Corey Brewer worked out for the Timberwolves too, but according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, a number of agents believe the Wolves simply plan to sign Luol Deng, making them reluctant to send their players for a workout with the team. Minnesota reportedly launched its pursuit of Deng this week.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Following his trade from the Celtics this summer, Thunder forward Abdel Nader is looking forward to his new opportunity with the team, relays Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com. “It’s great,” Nader said. “I met a lot of the younger guys mostly, and even Russ, PG, Raymond (Felton). Everybody has been great. It’s a great group of guys. High character guys. I’m just really excited to be able to start playing with this team and build chemistry on the court as well as off the court.”
  • Dennis Schroder, who was also traded to the Thunder this summer, discussed his upcoming season, the difficulties he faced growing up in Germany and the advice he received from Dirk Nowitzki in a separate piece written by Nick Gallo. Schroder will provide depth off the bench behind All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook this season.
  • Nuggets forward Paul Millsap is set to start the season injury-free after wrist surgery forced him to miss 44 games last year, as detailed by Chris Dempsey of Nuggets.com. Millsap will be relied upon to anchor Denver’s defense and stretch the club’s offense.

Few Early NBA Salary Guarantee Dates This Fall

Over the summer, NBA teams faced a number of decisions on whether to keep a player and guarantee his salary or waive him and avoid that extra cost. In total, nearly 50 players had some sort of guarantee deadline on their contracts in June, July, and August.

Typically, that pattern continues to some extent in the fall. All NBA contracts for a given year become guaranteed on January 10 (not counting 10-day deals), but several contracts include trigger dates that come before the new year, most frequently around the start of the regular season.

A player with a mid-October salary guarantee date in his contract receives a sizable bonus if he makes his club’s regular season roster, perhaps even having his entire salary guaranteed. If he doesn’t earn a spot on his team’s 15-man squad, he’s waived without getting that guarantee, but has the opportunity to seek a new job elsewhere.

For the 2018/19 league year though, fall salary guarantee dates are scarce. While there are plenty of players on non-guaranteed contracts around the NBA, virtually all of those contracts will remain non-guaranteed until January 10.

According to data from Basketball Insiders and ESPN, the Knicks are one of the few teams carrying players with salary trigger dates this fall. Trey Burke, whose deal is currently partially guaranteed for $100K, will have that partial guarantee bumped to $400K if he remains under contract for the first game of the regular season. Noah Vonleh, on a non-guaranteed contract for now, will receive a $100K partial guarantee if he’s not waived by September 25.

Outside of those two dates, September 1 represents the other deadline of note for salary guarantees. The Thunder and Abdel Nader reportedly agreed to push his guarantee deadline from August 1 to September 1, so Nader – who currently has a $450K partial guarantee – should be in line for a fully guaranteed salary if he’s not waived by Saturday.

Elsewhere, there’s some conflicting info on a pair of Pelicans players. Emeka Okafor and DeAndre Liggins have $100K and $75K partial guarantees, respectively, according to Basketball Insiders. However, ESPN’s Bobby Marks indicated this week (via Twitter) that those partial guarantees won’t actually lock in until after September 1. If Okafor remains under contract through October 16, his guarantee would increase to $200K, per Basketball Insiders.

Salary details are still trickling in for some recent signees, and it’s possible that a few more free agent deals between now and the start of the season will feature trigger dates. For now though, there aren’t many salary guarantee deadlines worth keeping an eye on this fall.

Western Notes: Smith Jr., Nader, Caboclo, Jokic

Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. is looking forward to the challenge of playing more at the shooting guard spot with the addition of rookie Luka Doncic, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Coach Rick Carlisle said he’s not concerned about how Smith and Doncic will mesh, even though Smith mainly played the point last season. Smith wasn’t thrilled about playing the two-guard spot at times last season, according to Sefko, but the second-year guard is now a willing participant. “I made strides toward the end of the year playing off the ball. And I got better playing with it, too,” Smith told Sefko. “I believe both guys can play with it and without it.”

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Thunder have to decide by September 1st whether to fully guarantee Abdel Nader‘s salary for next season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Nader will receive $450K of his $1,378,242 salary if he’s not retained. If Nader sticks, the Thunder will have 15 players on guaranteed contracts along with both two-way slots filled. It would be a surprise if the Thunder let Nader go, since they traded with the Celtics for the swingman last month.
  • Forward Bruno Caboclo believes he can learn a lot from the veterans on the Rockets, as he told Blake Murphy of Uproxx.com.  The former Raptor signed an Exhibit 10 contract, giving him a chance to make the opening night roster with the possibility to become an affiliate player if he doesn’t. “I’m a lot more mature right now, and I think I’m gonna learn a lot on this team,” he said. “Me and my agent, we saw every option, and we thought that Houston was gonna be the best option for me. It’s more betting on my talent and if I don’t sign here, I’m not gonna be stuck in one team.”
  • Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will not play for Serbia in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament next month, according to a Sportando report. Serbia will face Greece and Estonia. Jokic signed a five-year contract with Denver this summer.

Thunder Notes: Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nader, Patterson, Adams

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is a world traveler, but he hasn’t spent much time in his new home of Oklahoma City, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. The second-year forward, who played in today’s NBA Africa game, spent just one day in OKC after being traded from the Sixers in a three-team deal July 25.

“It’s a new start,” he said. “Everything is new. I haven’t been there for more than a day, so I can’t even fully realize that it’s gonna be a new life, a new city, a new coach, a new staff, new players, new friends, new things to do in the city, new restaurants. Everything is gonna be new. I love learning new things when I move somewhere.”

Luwawu-Cabarrot hopes the change of scenery is accompanied by an increase in playing time. He was a first-round pick in 2016, but had limited opportunity to show off his skills in Philadelphia, spending part of his first season in the G League and averaging 16.5 minutes of playing time in 121 NBA games. The Sixers didn’t use him at all in the playoffs.

“I feel like it’s a very good opportunity for me,” he added. “I feel like Philadelphia didn’t want me anymore, so it’s a good thing that they traded me.”

There’s more tonight from Oklahoma City:

  • Also getting used to a new home is Abdel Nader, whom the Thunder acquired from the Celtics July 23, notes Dan Shalin for The Chicago Tribune. A second-round pick in 2016, Nader played one season in Boston, but was dealt when it became clear there wasn’t a roster spot for him. He is doing rehab work on his right wrist after undergoing surgery in June. “When [the trade] happened, I was a little bummed,” Nader said. “But I flew down instantly to OKC, met with the GM [Sam Presti] and with the coaching staff. Everybody is on the same page, and they welcomed me with open arms, made it seem like they wanted me. It felt good that the organization was putting their trust in me.”
  • Patrick Patterson is hoping to put up better numbers in his second season with the Thunder, writes Nick Gallo of NBA.com. Even though he played in all 82 games, Patterson was limited at the start of last year because of a summer procedure on his knee.
  • Steven Adams blasts former Thunder guard Reggie Jackson in his new book and says players were relieved when he was traded to the Pistons in 2015, relays Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops.

Upcoming NBA Salary Guarantee Dates To Watch

Over the last month or so, we’ve seen a number of players traded or waived before their salary guarantees for the 2018/19 season kicked in. Players who sign contracts that feature non-guaranteed salaries in future years often have June or July trigger dates, forcing teams to make decisions fairly early in the offseason — that way, if the player is waived, he’ll still have the opportunity to catch on with a new club well before the new season begins.

We’ve been tracking those decisions using our list of guarantee dates for the summer of 2018. While most of those deadlines are now in the rear-view mirror, a few teams will have decisions to make within the next week.

Here’s a quick rundown of the decision dates to watch this week:

Brandon Jennings (Bucks): $2,222,803 salary becomes guaranteed after August 1.

Jennings’ salary was initially set to become guaranteed if he remained under contract through July 1, and there were reports at the start of the month suggesting he believed that would happen. Instead, the Bucks pushed back his guarantee date until the start of August, giving the team time to assess whether it needed the veteran guard on the roster once it was done making other offseason moves.

The Bucks recently agreed to add Pat Connaughton to their backcourt and haven’t been able to trade Matthew Dellavedova this summer, which may not bode well for Jennings’ roster spot. Even if Milwaukee decides to cut him though, Jennings could return on a new minimum-salary contract at some point — his current deal calls for a $2.22MM cap hit, but the Bucks could give him the same salary on a new one-year contract with a $1.51MM cap charge.

Brandon Paul (Spurs): $1,378,242 salary becomes guaranteed after August 1.

The Spurs tend not to throw in the towel early on developmental projects, preferring to give them time to ease their way into larger roles. Paul only averaged 9.0 minutes per contest last season, but he appeared in 64 games, signaling that San Antonio had enough confidence in him to continue giving him NBA minutes rather than hiding away in the G League. That’s a positive sign for Paul as decision day approaches.

Abdel Nader (Thunder): $1,378,242 salary becomes guaranteed after August 1. Already partially guaranteed for $450,000.

The Thunder went out of their way to acquire Nader from the Celtics in a trade last week even though the young wing already has a partial guarantee of $450K. Oklahoma City’s luxury-tax issues are well documented and the club wouldn’t have traded for him if it didn’t intend to keep him, so Nader looks like a virtual lock to have his full salary guaranteed.

Okaro White (Cavaliers): $1,544,951 salary becomes partially guaranteed for $772,476 after August 5.

White, who missed a good chunk of the 2017/18 season with a broken foot, talked earlier this month about how he’s still working to mentally get over that injury. He was physically healthy enough to play for the Cavaliers‘ Summer League team, but his performance in Las Vegas was a mixed bag. He showed off his energy and rebounding ability with 7.4 RPG in 23.9 minutes per contest, but struggled to put the ball in the basket, averaging just 6.0 PPG on 33.3% shooting.

The Cavs have roster spots to spare and could stick with White, but if they’re still unsure about his place on the roster, they’ll likely waive him by next Sunday to avoid guaranteeing half his salary for 2018/19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Loyd, Nader, Knicks’ Plans

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving fully expects to be ready for the start of training camp, Jeff Goodman of ESPN tweets. Irving told Goodman he hadn’t yet participated in a 5-on-5 full contact scrimmage but he has been working out with his trainer. He underwent a surgical procedure on his left knee in early April in which he had two screws removed. At that time, the team provided a projected recovery time of four to five months.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Combo guard Jordan Loyd is finalizing a buyout agreement with Turkish club Darussafaka, which will allow him to sign a two-way contract with the Raptors, Sportando reports. Loyd, who played with the Raptors’ summer-league squad, spent last season in Israel after playing the previous season in the G League. The 6’4” Loyd made a strong impression on Toronto’s brass while mostly playing the point in Las Vegas, leading to the contract offer.
  • The Celtics will pay the Thunder $450K before December 2nd as part of the Abdel Nader trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Celtics, who will get a trade exception at the same amount, will essentially be paying the guaranteed portion of Nader’s contract, Pincus notes. The swingman, who was on the verge of being waived, was dealt to OKC for guard Rodney Purvis.
  • The current Knicks’ front office is not fully committed to signing two top-level free agents next summer and that could be a good thing, as Sean Deveney of the Sporting News explains. The Knicks would have to clear a lot of cap space to get into that position and would likely have to give up a lottery pick to move a bad contract, Deveney continues. With a young core that includes Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, dumping a high pick to improve their free-agent market prospects sounds unwise, Deveney adds.
  • The Raptors have officially added Adrian Griffin, Sergio Scariolo, Nate Bjorkgren and Phil Handy to Nick Nurse’s coaching staff, the team’s media relations department tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Davis, Dudley, Green, Celtics

After playing for four teams in eight seasons, newly signed Nets forward Ed Davis feels like he has found a place where he’s wanted, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn was quick to pounce on Davis, offering a one-year, $4.4MM deal minutes after free agency opened.

“The main thing is they definitely came out aggressive when July 1 hit. I definitely wanted to go to where I was wanted, so that had a lot to do with it,” Davis said. “Then, I talked to Allen [Crabbe] and Jeremy [Lin] about the coaching staff and how the organization was run, and it was nothing but great things. Then, this team has potential, definitely. We can try to make this push into the playoffs this year. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s one of the reasons why I’m here.”

Davis topped all NBA reserves in rebounding last season with 575, but the Trail Blazers decided he was expendable. Portland executive Neil Olshey told reporters he was on the phone when Davis when he received the Nets’ offer and advised him to accept it.

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Veteran shooter Jared Dudley, who met the media today following a trade that sent him from the Suns to the Nets, almost came to Brooklyn two years ago, writes Tom Dowd of NBA.com. Dudley said he considered the franchise because of the style of offense that coach Kenny Atkinson runs. “That’s one of my strong suits here in the NBA with reading defenses, moving side-to-side, going to pick-and-rolls,” Dudley explained. “I just think it’s kind of a perfect match.”
  • He may be considered a throw-in from the Kawhi Leonard trade, but Danny Green is exactly the type of player the Raptors need, according to Steven Loung of SportsNet. Green will solve some of the team’s spacing issues with his 3-point accuracy, and he’s an excellent defender to match up against opposing wing players.
  • The Celtics were able to save some money by trading Abdel Nader to the Thunder instead of waiving him, Bobby Marks notes on ESPN Now. The move saves Boston about $675K in tax penalties and another $450K in salary. Getting rid of Nader leaves the Celtics with 14 guaranteed contracts and a tax bill of $3.8MM if they waive Rodney Purvis, whose $1,378,242 salary doesn’t become guaranteed until January 10.

Thunder Acquire Abdel Nader From Celtics

8:53pm: The trade is official, according to press releases from the Thunder and Celtics.

8:11pm: The Thunder will acquire swingman Abdel Nader from the Celtics, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. Nader, who was on a partially guaranteed contract, was expected to be waived before Oklahoma City came calling, Charania adds. The Thunder will also receive cash considerations, Charania adds in another tweet.

Recently acquired guard Rodney Purvis will go to Boston and be waived, according to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link). Purvis has a non-guaranteed contract. Purvis was traded from the Magic to the Thunder last week.

The 6’7” Nader is due to make $1,378,242 next season, which included a $450,000K guarantee. He’s signed for two additional years, though the second year is non-guaranteed and the third year is a team option.

Nader was chosen by Boston with the 58th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and spent a season with the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics’ G League affiliate, before signing an NBA contract with the Celtics last summer.

Nader, 24, averaged 3.0 PPG and 1.5 RPG in 48 contests last season. He’ll likely play the small forward spot and fight for playing time behind starting forwards Paul George and Jerami Grant.

Celtics Trade Abdel Nader To Thunder

JULY 23: The Celtics have traded Nader to the Thunder rather than waiving him. Our full story on the deal is here.

JULY 21: The Celtics are waiving swingman Abdel Nader, league sources tell Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Nader was chosen by Boston with the 58th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and spent a season with the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics’ G League affiliate, before signing an NBA contract with the Celtics last summer.

The Celtics will not be on the hook for Nader’s full 2018/19 salary, as his contract did not become fully guaranteed until August 1. He reportedly had a partial guarantee worth $450K.

The move will leave the Celtics with 14 fully-guaranteed contracts and a team salary of $125.85MM, about $2.07MM north of the tax line. Because the Celtics are in tax territory, they may be looking to enter the 2018/19 season with only 14 players on their roster, a la the Warriors. However, the C’s still have their full $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception to spend on a 15th player should they so choose.

Nader, 24, averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 48 contests (one start) with the Celtics in 2017/18, his lone NBA season.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Luxury Tax, Irving, Hayward

Marcus Smart essentially ended up with the same contract as the one the Celtics offered him via an extension last fall, sources tell Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The combo guard inked a four-year deal worth $52MM on Thursday.

That contract technically has a base value of $50MM, but annual $500K bonuses will bring the total value to $52MM, notes Fred Katz of MassLive.com (Twitter link). Those incentives aren’t linked to playoff success or individual accolades, but rather to body-fat and weigh-in requirements, according to Katz. They’re considered likely to be earned, which means they’ll count toward Smart’s annual cap hits.

With Smart under contract, the Celtics are now about $3.9MM over the luxury-tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. Boston could cut costs slightly by waiving Abdel Nader‘s partially guaranteed contract, which could also open up a roster spot for two-way free agent Jabari Bird, as Nahmad observes. Trading Marcus Morris‘ $5.38MM salary at some point could allow the C’s to avoid the tax, but there’s no indication the team is considering that for now.

Here’s more from Boston:

  • The Celtics may have first reached a four-year, $52MM agreement with Smart on Tuesday — a source tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that GM Danny Ainge changed his mind after initially making an offer at that price. In the ensuing 48 hours, Ainge changed his mind again and the deal was finalized, says Schultz.
  • Three player agents tell Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that they expect Kyrie Irving to opt out and leave the Celtics next summer. However, sources close to Irving tell Bulpett that the point guard is happy with Boston and has been talking about his future with the franchise beyond the 2018/19 season.
  • In an Insider-only piece, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explores what Smart’s new deal means for Irving and Terry Rozier, speculating that the Celtics may eventually have to decide between Smart and Rozier.
  • Re-signing Smart was worth the cost for the Celtics, according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who gives the club a B grade for the move.
  • During a media appearance on Thursday, Gordon Hayward expressed confidence that he’ll be back at full speed by August, suggesting he’ll “see how [his] ankle reacts to that,” per Jacob Wolf of ESPN.com. Hayward also said he likes the Celtics’ chances to make a run at a title in 2018/19.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.