Al Jefferson

Al Jefferson Confirms Retirement

Al Jefferson, who announced last week that he plans to play in the BIG3 this summer, told Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe his NBA career is over (Twitter link).

“I was able to be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time since high school,” Jefferson said.

The 34-year-old center played for five teams in 14 NBA seasons, ending his career with the Pacers. Indiana waived him in July to save $6MM on his $10MM contract for the current season. The Pacers offered him a chance to re-sign, but Jefferson opted to play in China, saying he had a chance for a “nice payday.”

The Celtics selected Jefferson with the 15th pick in the 2004 draft. He also spent time with the Timberwolves, Jazz and Hornets, averaging 15.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 915 games.

Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson To Play In BIG3

Ice Cube’s three-on-three BIG3 league has secured a couple of its biggest names yet, as the league announced (via Twitter) that Joe Johnson and Al Jefferson signed on to play in the BIG3 for the 2019 season.

Johnson, a seven-time All-Star, played in the NBA last season for the Jazz and Rockets, appearing in a total of 55 games. Although he didn’t catch on with a new NBA club this season, the 37-year-old also hasn’t announced his retirement as a player, so it’s possible he’ll still attempt a comeback in 2019/20 after spending the summer playing BIG3 ball.

In 17 NBA seasons, Johnson has averaged 16.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.9 APG with a .441/.371/.802 shooting line. He has appeared in a total of 1,276 regular season games for Atlanta, Brooklyn, Phoenix, Utah, Boston, Miami, and Houston, plus 120 postseason contests for those same teams (minus the Celtics).

As for Jefferson, the 34-year-old big man played in China this season after spending the previous 14 seasons with the Celtics, Timberwolves, Jazz, Hornets, and Pacers. His NBA averages stand at 15.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 915 career regular season games, and he was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2014. Like Johnson, he hasn’t indicated that he plans to retire as an NBA player, so a comeback next season remains a possibility.

While Johnson and Jefferson are two of the most noteworthy name added to the BIG3’s roster this summer, they’re far from the only former NBA players to join the league’s ranks. The BIG3 has also added Gilbert Arenas, Lamar Odom, Daniel Gibson, C.J. Watson, Charlie Bell, Stromile Swift, and many others to its player pool during the offseason.

Al Jefferson Set To Play In China

2:24pm: Aldridge has confirmed that Jefferson will join the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China (Twitter link).

12:00pm: Veteran NBA big man Al Jefferson is opting to play in China for the upcoming season, a source tells TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). According to Aldridge, Jefferson had an opportunity to rejoin the Pacers after being waived by the team earlier this month, but was offered a “nice payday” overseas.

Shortly after releasing him, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard revealed that Jefferson was mulling the possibility of playing international ball in 2018/19. While Aldridge’s report doesn’t specify which team Jefferson has lined up a deal with, a report earlier in July indicated that the big man was expected to sign with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Jefferson, 33, has averaged 15.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG over the course of a productive 14-year NBA career, but played a career-low 13.4 minutes per contest for Indiana last season, appearing in just 36 games. Although the veteran’s per-minute production was still strong, he wasn’t a major part of the Pacers’ plans going forward, and his $10MM salary for 2018/19 was only guaranteed for $4MM, making it an easy decision to cut him.

Assuming Jefferson finalizes a deal with a Chinese club and spends the 2018/19 campaign overseas, he could return stateside in the spring, since the CBA season ends before the NBA’s does. This past April, for instance, Ty Lawson returned from a stint with the Shandong Golden Stars and immediately signed with the Wizards, claiming a regular rotation role with Washington during the team’s brief playoff run.

FA Rumors: LaVine, Parker, Jefferson, Beasley

While the Bulls and Zach LaVine aren’t necessarily close to a deal, the team has had communication with LaVine and his representatives, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. According to Johnson, the Bulls assured LaVine that speculation they wanted to do a $14MM-per-year deal wasn’t accurate, and have “proactively” negotiated in good faith with his camp on a deal that could be in the range of $18MM annually.

That seems like a very reasonable number for LaVine, particularly since only two other teams can currently offer a deal worth anything close to that, and neither of those teams seems to be pushing hard for the Bulls guard. As Johnson details, the Bulls don’t want to let LaVine get away and aren’t eager to have him play on his qualifying offer, so it seems like there’s a good chance the two sides will eventually get something done.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • The market for Bucks RFA Jabari Parker hasn’t materialized like he hoped, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, noting that there may be some league-wide concern about Parker’s attitude and health.
  • After being waived by the Pacers, Al Jefferson is considering playing overseas for the 2018/19 season, Indiana president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said today (Twitter link via Tony East of 8 Points, 9 Seconds).
  • Michael Beasley hasn’t heard from the Knicks since free agency began, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. A source tells Berman that Beasley, who is drawing interest from a couple teams, is “disappointed” in the lack of interest from the Knicks, but understands that they’re “going young.”
  • Longtime NBA forward Dorell Wright is finalizing an agreement to sign with Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick.

Pacers Waive Center Al Jefferson

The Pacers have waived veteran center Al Jefferson, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets.

Jefferson had a partial guarantee of $4MM on his $10MM salary for next season. Indiana gains $6MM in cap space by the move and could use the stretch provision to create even more room for thie summer.

Though the Pacers declined their $4.33MM option on Lance Stephenson‘s contract, they have added plenty of salary in recent days. They guaranteed Bojan Bogdanovic‘s $10.5MM salary and Darren Collison‘s $10MM deal.

Indiana also made a surprising three-year, $22MM free agent splurge for forward Doug McDermott and agreed to terms with first-round pick Aaron Holiday.

Jefferson, 33, has played for Indiana the past two seasons. He saw spot duty in 36 games last season as the No. 3 center, averaging 7.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 13.4 MPG.

Pacers Notes: Oladipo, Culture, Jefferson

The Pacers have been riding a wave of overachievement in the first half led by 2018 All-Star Victor Oladipo. With the departure of Paul George — who was dealt for Oladipo — the Pacers entered the season without a franchise star and dimmed playoff hopes. Thus far, the team is in playoff position and Oladipo is happy to be the leader, ESPN’s Mike Wells writes.

Ownership’s faith in the current roster was best demonstrated when the Pacers stood pat at the deadline. No moves were made the roster was given a vote of confidence to continue its mission. And, on this mission, the leader is a player who has developed into a possible franchise mainstay.

“After what we went through with somebody who didn’t want to be here, to have someone who really wants to be here is so rewarding and refreshing,” owner Herb Simon said to ESPN. “His whole spirit brought life into the whole team and the whole organization. So we love that.”

Check out other Pacers notes below:

  • General manager Kevin Pritchard was active on the phones during the deadline but a request from six Pacers players to not break up the roster swayed his opinion, NBA.com’s Mark Monteith writes. “Unless we knew we could really help the team I wanted to make sure there were no disruptions,” Pritchard said. “Our culture means everything.”
  • Al Jefferson is no longer the starting center who averages a near double-double, but he has an invaluable presence as a veteran on a young, overachieving team, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes. Cory Joseph vouched for Jefferson’s ability and revealed a nickname he came up with for the veteran when he was in Utah. “Instant Buckets,” Joseph said. “That pump fake? When I was in San Antonio, we played Utah in the playoffs. I’d always be on the bench like, ‘Don’t jump.'”
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Hoops Rumors also caught up with Jefferson to discuss why he is happy to stay in Indiana and why the team “can do something special.”

Al Jefferson: Pacers Can ‘Do Something Special’

Al Jefferson‘s second season with the Pacers reminds him of his first season with the now-defunct Bobcats four years ago. Neither team was expected to be in playoff contention, but 57 games into the 2017/18 campaign, the 32-25 Pacers – currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference — are on track for the postseason.Al Jefferson vertical

“Yeah man, it reminds me of my first year in Charlotte during the 2013/14 season,” Jefferson said to Hoops Rumors in an exclusive interview before Wednesday’s first-half finale against the Nets. “No one counted us, nobody thought we would be good, and nobody thought we would be a playoff team. We became a playoff team and did well.”

The Bobcats won just 28 total games in the two years before Jefferson signed a three-year, $40.5MM pact with Charlotte. Conversely, the Pacers began their post-Paul George era with reduced expectations and unanswered questions. Would Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis be a sufficient return for George? Can a team without an established star compete in the East? Could young players like Myles Turner take a step forward?

So far, the answer has been yes across the board.

Jefferson has 14 years in the NBA and five trips to the postseason to his credit. This season, the 33-year-old has accepted the role of reserve center and mentor. He has appeared in just 28 games, averaging 6.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 13.6 minutes per game – all career-lows.

The Pacers reportedly explored several trades at the deadline and Jefferson’s name was floated in discussions. Ultimately, the organization stood pat as the deadline passed. Jefferson and other Pacers players were happy that ownership allowed the current group to continue its playoff push.

“People counted us out from the beginning and nobody thought we would be where we are now,” Jefferson said. “We have a great group of guys that plays hard, that plays together, and wants to win, and nobody cares about anything else but winning.”

Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard shared the sentiment.

“They feel like they are overachieving and had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Pritchard told reporters, including The Indianapolis Star’s Jim Ayello on Sunday. “They wanted to have the opportunity to finish this out and try to get into the playoffs. That carried a lot of weight with me.”

At the All-Star Game this weekend, the Pacers will be represented by Oladipo, who is just the second Pacer not named Paul George to make the team since 2011. Indiana has also played well against the NBA’s upper echelon, with wins over the Celtics, Spurs, and Cavaliers to the club’s credit.

It will be a challenge to maintain their first-half level of play but Jefferson maintains the same confidence in the Pacers that Pritchard had when he decided to keep the band together.

“I think when you’ve got guys like that and a great coaching mindset like the coaching staff we’ve got, I think we could do something very special,” Jefferson said. “I’m a believer in taking it one game at a time and seeing how far you can go.”

Trade Deadline Rumors: Carroll, Kings, Lakers, C’s

The Nets and Pacers have considered a deal that would send DeMarre Carroll to Indiana in exchange for Al Jefferson, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. The deal would be a way for Brooklyn to clear money for next season, as Carroll is owed $15.4MM, while Jefferson has a $10MM salary that’s only partially guaranteed.

Carroll, who was traded to the Nets over the summer, is averaging career highs in scoring (13.2), rebounds (6.4) and assists (1.9). Jefferson has settled into a reserve role since coming to Indiana two years ago and is averaging 6.7 points and 3.9 assists in 26 games.

There’s more to report as the trade deadline draws closer:

  • The Kings are willing to move second-year center Georgios Papagiannis if they need to open a roster spot to complete a larger trade, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (Twitter link). However, Sacramento has since agreed to trade Malachi Richardson in a deal that seems designed to open up a roster spot.
  • With Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis both battling injuries, the Suns may be interested in a minor deal for point guard help, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Josh Gray is the only healthy option currently on the roster.
  • The Lakers appear to be done with major deals after acquiring Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye from the Cavaliers, relays Bill Oram of the SoCalNewsGroup (Twitter link). Oram adds that a minor trade could still be in the works.
  • The Celtics remain engaged on several trade fronts, but continue to be reluctant to include a first-round pick in a deal, sources tell Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Cavaliers weren’t able to gain any traction with the Hornets on a Kemba Walker trade before pulling the trigger on a series of separate deals, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Hornets Michael Jordan places a high value on Walker and won’t move him cheaply, Woj adds. Jordan said in a recent interview that he wouldn’t part with Walker “for anything but an All-Star player.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Woj’s Latest: M. Gasol, Evans, Pacers, Randle

With general managers around the NBA gearing up for the final hours before the 2018 trade deadline, there’s not a whole lot of enthusiasm for an “impactful” day of deals, says ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, there’s a sense that trades will be made, but the day may be short on difference-making deals.

Still, Woj has several trade-related notes and rumors to pass along, so let’s dive in and round them up…

  • Teams have been reaching out to ask the Grizzlies about Marc Gasol, but those clubs have consistently been shut down, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). As has been the case all season, Memphis refuses to engage in trade discussions involving Gasol.
  • The Grizzlies continue to seek a first-round pick for Tyreke Evans, but suitors like the Celtics, Nuggets, and Sixers have been hesitant to offer more than either a second-round pick or a young player, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Teams seem to be hanging onto their first-rounders tighter than ever, per Woj.
  • The Pacers have been aggressively seeking out deals that would allow them to land a first-round pick while taking on a bad contract, tweets Wojnarowski. Indiana is willing to offer Al Jefferson in such a deal, Woj adds. The veteran big man doesn’t have a lot of value, but his $10MM salary for 2018/19 is only partially guaranteed for $4MM, making it a pseudo-expiring contract.
  • The Lakers have passed on multiple offers of second-round picks for Julius Randle, league sources tell Woj (Twitter link). Randle’s impending restricted free agency makes it very unlikely that any club will put a first-rounder on the table.

Central Notes: James, Jefferson, Stephenson, Wade

LeBron James‘ future in Cleveland could be tied to the Brooklyn Nets’ performance this season, writes Harvey Araton of The New York Times. The value of the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder that the Cavaliers received in the Kyrie Irving trade won’t be known until much later in the season. If Brooklyn finishes last in the league again, the Cavs will have a 25% shot at the number one selection and their choice of players such as Michael Porter Jr., Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley.

Although rumors have been persistent that James will be headed to the Lakers next summer, Araton speculates that scenario might change if the Cavaliers are in position to add another franchise player. If Isaiah Thomas returns to All-Star form after his hip injury, Jae Crowder improves the perimeter defense and James returns to the Finals for the eighth straight year, he might have a difficult time saying good-bye to Cleveland.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • Pacers center Al Jefferson lost a significant amount of weight in preparation for his second season in Indiana, relays Scott Agness of VigilantSports. The 32-year-old opted for a vegetarian diet after posting his worst season in more than a decade, averaging 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games. “He looks incredible, man,” said teammate Myles Turner“I think he’s dropped 40 pounds. When you see him you’ll see [how] he’s really trimmed down a lot. He’s moving well, he’s running the floor.”
  • The Pacers are counting on youthful energy to carry them through the season after most of the organization’s veteran presence was lost over the summer, relays Mark Montieth of NBA.com. In addition to Paul George, who was traded to Oklahoma City, Indiana cut ties with Jeff TeagueRodney Stuckey, Monta Ellis, Aaron Brooks and Lavoy Allen. “Everybody wants to talk about the whole Paul thing, but we’ve blocked all that out,” said Glenn Robinson III. “We’re looked at as an underdog team, but we’re coming in very hungry. I’m excited for this team. It seems we all have our minds in a great place and are ready to get better.”
  • Lance Stephenson, who returned to the Pacers in March, will be used as a sixth man, Montieth adds in the same piece.
  • Bulls vice president John Paxson and GM Gar Forman will meet with Dwyane Wade when he returns to Chicago to discuss his future with the team and a possible buyout, according to CSN Chicago. Paxson insists he and Forman were honest about their plans for the offseason during Wade’s exit meeting after the playoffs.