Andre Iguodala

Southwest Notes: Murray, J. Jackson, Iguodala, Ball

After missing the entire 2018/19 season due to an ACL tear, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray began the 2019/20 campaign on a minutes restriction and then was removed from the starting lineup. However, head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t necessarily view that move as a demotion — the team believed that removing the responsibilities of running the first-team offense might allow Murray to play a “freer, more instinctual game,” writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

While Murray’s play for the second unit has been up and down, he had one of his best games of the season last Friday in a Spurs win over Sacramento, with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three steals in 32 minutes. That last number may be the most important of the bunch, as it suggests Murray’s minutes restriction is no longer in effect. With no more nightly cap on his playing time, Murray is eager to show what he can do.

“I know it takes time,” the Spurs’ guard said. “There was the minute restriction, a lot of stuff going on. It is what it is. I’m going to bust my tail, continue to work, continue to learn. I’m just ready to be unleashed.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • After being held out of Monday’s game, Josh Jackson once again won’t play for the Memphis Hustle on Wednesday, the Grizzlies announced today (via Twitter). Jackson, who reportedly missed a team meeting, has essentially received a two-game suspension for violating team rules.
  • What sort of trade options might the Grizzlies have for Andre Iguodala? Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian takes a deep dive and explores several hypothetical scenarios, labeling the Mavericks as Memphis’ most logical trade partner and the Nuggets and Raptors as possible wild cards.
  • Lonzo Ball was one of the key pieces acquired by the Pelicans in their blockbuster trade with the Lakers over the summer, and New Orleans is doing all it can to get the most out of the former No. 2 overall pick. Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com takes a closer look at how the Pelicans have worked on rebuilding Ball’s jump shot.

O’Connor’s Latest: Thunder, Blazers, Love, Iguodala, More

As we relayed earlier this morning, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Rockets have “serious interest” in Timberwolves wing Robert Covington. That tidbit was just one of many in a longer article jam-packed with notes and observations on the NBA’s trade market, so let’s round up some of the other highlights from O’Connor’s piece…

  • As expected, Thunder veterans Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Danilo Gallinari are all available, league sources tell O’Connor. However, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday, Oklahoma City also seems willing to take on bad contracts and unwanted money, according to O’Connor, who hears that getting out of tax territory isn’t necessarily a priority for the club. The Thunder don’t anticipate a major tax bill this season and know they won’t be back over that line in future years, so they’re willing to live with a slightly bigger penalty this season if it means acquiring extra assets.
  • Speaking of Gallinari, the Trail Blazers are expected to pursue the Thunder forward, league sources tell The Ringer. O’Connor also hears that Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love would like to play for his hometown team in Portland.
  • O’Connor identifies the following teams as ones that appear most open to trading late first-round or early second-round draft picks: The Bucks, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Sixers, and Mavericks. Some of those clubs hold other teams’ picks and could dangle those in trade talks. For instance, Milwaukee owns Indiana’s lottery-protected first-rounder; Philadelphia has New York’s and Atlanta’s second-rounders; and Dallas controls Golden State’s second-rounder.
  • League sources tell O’Connor that Davis Bertans (Wizards), Marvin Williams (Hornets), J.J. Redick (Pelicans), and Marcus Morris (Knicks) are among the veterans who are candidates to be dealt before the deadline. Redick likely won’t be moved, but multiple execs believe New Orleans could strongly consider the idea if the right offer comes along.
  • O’Connor hears that there’s “no world” in which the Grizzlies buy out Andre Iguodala. Memphis will trade him — it’s just a matter of when and where, says O’Connor. A source tells The Ringer that the Grizzlies are open to any type of trade package, even if it means taking back a multiyear contract.

Western Notes: Crowder, Lakers, Holiday, Bates-Diop

Former Jazz forward Jae Crowder took time this week to discuss his time with the team, detailing the close friendships he made and the impact head coach Quin Snyder had on him.

Crowder, who was acquired by the Grizzlies last July, also discussed Memphis’ slow start to the 2019/20 season in an interview with Aaron Falk of Jazz.com.

“We’ve come out on the losing end, so obviously we’re not where we want to be but we’re figuring it out,” Crowder said. “We’re competing at a high level and trying to do what it takes to win games. At this level, with a young team, it’s just hard to win games. We’re learning from our losses and wins and trying to build every day.”

The Jazz traded for Crowder in February of 2018, giving the 29-year-old roughly one-and-a-half seasons with the franchise. He averaged 11.9 points in 80 games for the team last season, quickly gaining respect from the fans and confidence from the coaching staff.

“He just gave me a mindset that added on to fueling my fire,” Crowder said of Snyder. “To always compete at a high level and always embrace wherever you’re at in life. He gave me a role on that team and I’m appreciative of him. I’ve told him that personally. I appreciate him believing in me, believing in my effort and coaching me the way that he coached me.”

There’s more from the Western Conference today:

  • The Lakers tied a team record on Friday for the best start in franchise history, extending their current record to 17-2. The team recorded their 10th straight win with a victory over Washington, led by the likes of Anthony Davis (26 points, 13 rebounds) and LeBron James (23 points, 11 assists). “Obviously, this is a historic franchise; they have done so many great things,” Davis said, as relayed by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. “To be a part of a franchise like this is definitely amazing. I just want to leave my mark here and just keep it going. Obviously, our goal is to add another banner here. It’s something we feel like we can do, and if we do that, to be a part of that would be nothing but great.”
  • Andre Iguodala, one of the league’s all-time great defenders, has tabbed Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday as the best defensive player in the NBA today. “Best defender in the league… @Jrue_Holiday11”, Iguodala wrote on social media. Holiday is consistently mentioned as one of the toughest defenders in the NBA, with the 29-year-old making the All-Defensive Second Team in 2019 and All-Defensive First Team in 2018.
  • Timberwolves forward Keita Bates-Diop is slowly but surely forcing his way into the team’s rotation, Chris Hine writes for the Star Tribune. Bates-Diop, 23, was drafted 48th overall in 2018 by the Wolves after spending four seasons at Ohio State. He’s averaged 8.9 points in seven games (17.9 MPG) this season.

Mavs Expected To Enter Andre Iguodala Sweepstakes

Andre Iguodala remains on the Grizzlies. He’s away from the team and the franchise is expected to trade him at some point this season. Many assume that Los Angeles will ultimately be where the former Finals MVP ends up but that’s far from a certain outcome.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com hears from rival executives that the Mavericks could be contenders for Iguodala’s services. Courtney Lee ($12.8MM) is on an expiring deal and the team could package him along with another young player or draft picks (Windhorst mentions Dallas’ extra second-round picks) to acquire Iguodala.

The Mavericks have the NBA’s best offense, though their defense is in the bottom half of the league, per NBA.com. Iguodala could bring his defensive prowess to a team that is already outproducing its expectations this season.

Southwest Notes: Iguodala, Ball, Ingram, Doncic

The Grizzlies haven’t softened on their stance of resisting a buyout with Andre Iguodala, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link from Siva Kodali). In a report last night, Wojnarowski said teams with interest in acquiring the veteran swingman should be prepared to make trade offers.

“The message that Memphis has delivered to teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Rockets is that you’re going to have to trade for him,” Wojnarowski said. “‘We are not buying him out. He will not be on the free agent market.'”

Iguodala has been in limbo ever since the Warriors shipped him to Memphis in July to open up cap room. He hasn’t spent any time with his new team and is waiting for a deal so he can start playing again. Iguodala would be a valuable addition to just about any contender, but his $17MM+ salary makes it challenging for the top teams to work out a trade.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Pelicans should consider using Lonzo Ball off the bench now that Kenrich Williams has claimed a starting spot, contends William Guillory of The Athletic. Injuries forced coach Alvin Gentry to use 11 starting lineups in the first 15 games, but he has more options now that the team is getting healthier. New Orleans has played very well when Brandon Ingram and J.J. Redick are on the court together, and with Jrue Holiday holding one starting backcourt position, that doesn’t leave room for Ball.
  • Ingram has displayed All-Star potential through the first month of the season, observes Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. The Pelicans didn’t reach an extension with Ingram before last month’s deadline, but Kushner believes a long-term deal this summer is virtually certain, even if it means the team has to match an offer sheet for the restricted free agent.
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN looks at how Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle learned to trust Luka Doncic during a sometimes difficult first season in Dallas. Doncic’s occasional carelessness with the ball wasn’t a good fit for a no-nonsense coach like Carlisle, but he understood that his rookie guard needed a chance to develop his game at the NBA level. “For the development of a great player this young, the best thing they can do is make mistakes and grow from those mistakes,” said former Dallas director of player development Mike Procopio. “You can’t freak out over every mistake. Rick understands that. Rick is intelligent. Rick knows this kid is the future of that organization. He can’t get in the way of that.”

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southwest Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

Although the Spurs don’t typically make splashy in-season trades, the Southwest could still end up being one of the NBA’s busiest divisions in 2019/20 in terms of trade activity. The Rockets and Mavericks are in position to buyers, while the Pelicans and Grizzlies may seek out deals that position them to better build around the top two picks from the 2019 draft.

Let’s focus on three players out of the Southwest who could emerge as trade candidates before this season’s deadline…

Andre Iguodala, G/F
Memphis Grizzlies
$17.19MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Iguodala is perhaps the most obvious trade candidate in the NBA at the moment. The Grizzlies are so resigned to the fact that the veteran wing has no future in Memphis that they’re not even requiring him to be with the team, having reached an agreement in September allowing him not to report to camp.

While the Grizzlies are holding out hope that a favorable trade emerges for Iguodala, many of his primary suitors don’t have much to offer to match his $17MM+ salary and may rather wait to see if he’s bought out. A recent survey of executives conducted by David Aldridge of The Athletic revealed that most people around the league expect Iguodala to end up with the Lakers, but they have no realistic path to a trade, given the construction of their roster.

It makes sense for the Grizzlies to be patient with this process. Iguodala would fit in well on just about every NBA roster, and more buyers could emerge by January or February, increasing Memphis’ leverage.

Courtney Lee, SG
Dallas Mavericks
$12.76MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Lee had one of his best seasons as a pro in 2017/18, averaging 12.0 PPG on .454/.406/.919 shooting, but he has been slowed by injuries since then and isn’t currently a fixture in the Mavericks‘ rotation.

Although he doesn’t have positive value, Lee’s expiring contract would be Dallas’ best salary-matching piece if the club goes out in search of an upgrade. The team is well below the tax line, so taking on some extra money in a deal involving Lee wouldn’t be an issue.

By way of example, the Mavs could offer Lee and another asset to the Grizzlies for Iguodala (and perhaps already have). Although there’s a gap between their cap charges, the NBA’s trade rules would allow Dallas to take back up to $17.76MM in exchange for Lee alone.

Nene, C
Houston Rockets
$10MM cap hit; $10MM non-guaranteed cap hit for 2020/21

When the Rockets gave Nene an incentive-heavy contract that was only fully guaranteed for $2.56MM (his minimum salary), the idea was to create a trade chip like the one the Mavericks have with Lee. Because the deal featured $7.44MM in incentives deemed “likely,” Nene’s cap hit is technically $10MM, but as long as he doesn’t play more than nine games, he ultimately won’t count for more than $2.56MM against his team’s cap.

Unfortunately for Daryl Morey and the Rockets’ front office, that plan backfired, as the NBA ruled that only the guaranteed portion of Nene’s contract can be counted for salary-matching purposes. That significantly limits his trade value.

Still, it’s not as if Nene now has no value as a trade chip. On his own, he could bring back a player earning up to about $4.59MM. Paired with a little-used player like Isaiah Hartenstein, the Rockets could acquire a player earning up to approximately $7.07MM. That could still come in handy when the deadline rolls around.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aldridge’s Latest: Iguodala, Nunn, Kings, Wizards

Andre Iguodala technically remains under contract with the Grizzlies, but the expectation is that he’ll be traded or bought out at some point this season, allowing him to join a contender. While it remains to be seen which club Iguodala will end up playing for, David Aldridge of The Athletic asked several NBA executives to hazard a guess and virtually all of them predicted the Lakers would be the landing spot for the former Finals MVP.

“[The Lakers would offer the] best combination of ring chance and role,” one longtime team boss told Aldridge.

For Iguodala to get to the Lakers, the Grizzlies would almost certainly have to go the buyout route, since L.A. probably doesn’t have the necessary salary-matching pieces to take on Iguodala’s $17MM+ salary in a trade. The only non-stars on the Lakers’ roster earning more than $4.77MM this season are Danny Green ($14.64MM), who is a key rotation player, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8.09MM), who holds a de facto no-trade clause.

As Aldridge notes, a league-wide belief that the Lakers will land Iguodala doesn’t mean it will actually happen. There will also plenty of people around the NBA who thought Kawhi Leonard would become a Laker in the summer, and the Clippers ultimately closed that deal. The Clips – who were the only team besides the Lakers to receive a vote in Aldridge’s informal poll of execs – would presumably be in the running for Iguodala too.

Here’s more from Aldridge’s latest Athletic article:

  • Kendrick Nunn‘s agent Adam Pensack tells Aldridge that he “pushed pretty strongly” in his attempt to get his client a 10-day contract with an NBA team last season. When that didn’t happen, Pensack and Nunn went looking for an NBA home once the G League season ended. The Kings brought in several players for a workout and told them they’d sign the best player in the group. Sacramento chose B.J. Johnson over Nunn, opening the door for the former Oakland standout to catch on with the Heat a week later. We explored that deal in more depth last week.
  • Here’s more from Heat director of scouting Chet Kammerer on why the team signed Nunn and spent time developing him: “Coach (Erik) Spoelstra is big right now on having guys that are versatile, on guys that aren’t one-dimensional. It’s the fact we saw a couple of things. He was really versatile. He always seemed like a tough kid, physically and mentally tough. To me, he was hard to guard. When we played them, he found ways. It was tough to stay in front of the guy. He’s an attacker. He competes hard. He was a better shooter than all of us thought, too. You look at his percentages, and we said, ‘This is a guy can shoot the ball.’ You look at all of those things, and that’s a Heat guy, to us.”
  • Despite the Kings‘ slow start, general manager Vlade Divac told Aldridge in a text message that he’s pleased with what he has seen from head coach Luke Walton so far. “Very happy with him,” Divac said. “His approach, communication and relationship with the players needs more time and he needs to learn about personalities but I really like what I see. It’s a process; can’t do stuff over night.”
  • While the Wizards probably won’t be a playoff team in 2019/20, they’ve been fun to watch so far this season, which has rubbed off on the front office. “I actually like coming to work in the morning,” a senior member of the team’s staff told Aldridge.

Windhorst’s Latest: Celtics, Sixers, Blazers, Lakers

The 2019/20 NBA regular season is only eight days old, but a handful of potential contenders may be starting to think about how to fill the obvious holes on their rosters, says ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

For instance, Windhorst believes that the Celtics will be keeping an eye on the trade market this season in search of a possible upgrade at the center spot. Boston was always expected to be thin up front after losing centers Al Horford and Aron Baynes, but missed games from Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis in the early going have exacerbated the issue.

Windhorst identifies Steven Adams and Clint Capela as two centers the Celtics might have on their radar, though he cautions that the Thunder have told teams they view Adams as part of their future. As for the Rockets, they expect to be a contender and may not want to move their starting center, but executives are still watching Capela — Windhorst notes that the Rockets explored moving the big man early in the 2019 offseason, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they do so again.

Here’s more from Windhorst:

  • Windhorst believes the Sixers would like to add a shooter — not a star, but someone who can reliably knock down three-pointers and space the floor. While Philadelphia may ultimately turn to the buyout market, the club has several extra second-round picks available if a trade target emerges.
  • The Trail Blazers could use a scoring forward, according to Windhorst, who thinks the Thunder‘s Danilo Gallinari is a more realistic target than Kevin Love. Gallinari’s expiring contract would make more sense, given Portland’s long-term cap outlook.
  • Rival executives view Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green as the Lakers‘ best trade assets, but both players will be important contributors in Los Angeles. With few other viable trade candidates, the Lakers may ultimately have to rely on the buyout market if they want to acquire a ball-handler and/or a wing defender, writes Windhorst.
  • Windhorst wonders if the Nuggets might try to find a small forward capable of slowing down stars like Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James in the postseason. Torrey Craig is Denver’s best option for now, but if the team seeks an upgrade, Andre Iguodala could be a target. Using Mason Plumlee‘s $14MM expiring salary, the Nuggets might be able to put together an offer that appeals to the Grizzlies, says Windhorst.

Warriors Notes: Green, Durant, Thompson, Iguodala

Draymond Green addressed last year’s altercation with Kevin Durant on a podcast by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that also includes Warriors GM Bob Myers. Green, who was suspended for one game after the November incident, said he began to question his future with the franchise and his standing with Myers.

“I started to tell myself in my mind, ‘Wow, [Myers is] flipping on me,'” Green said. “And it just felt like, ‘Wow, OK, is this not the guy I’ve known for all these years? Is he turning on me?’ And I started to tell myself all of these things, and then everybody’s like, ‘Oh my God, the Warriors sided with Kevin Durant.’ That was the hardest thing for me, because a lot of people don’t understand me. Bob does.”

Green added that he had to get over his “stubbornness” and accept that he mishandled the situation. He refused to apologize to Durant after being told to do so by Myers and coach Steve Kerr, and didn’t offer an apology “until I came to grips with myself.”

“What people don’t know — which is so hard to know, which requires time and energy — is Kevin and Draymond probably will be the closest guys,” Myers said. “They’re going to be friends for their whole life like this. … In the aftermath when they spoke, they laid it out for each other and they’re like, OK, I got ya. Like, now I know where you’re coming from, from both sides. But that could have happened earlier and that would’ve prevented it.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Green is preparing to play the entire season without Klay Thompson, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Kerr said yesterday that Thompson seems “unlikely” to return from an ACL injury, although the team hasn’t made any official announcement. Green said that it will be an “added bonus” if the All-Star guard can get back on the court by the end of the season.
  • Marc Stein of The New York Times believes Andre Iguodala will sign with the Warriors next summer and finish his career with Golden State. Iguodala remains in limbo with the Grizzlies, where the Warriors traded him to open cap space. Memphis is hoping to get something in return for the former Finals MVP and has been reluctant to discuss a buyout.
  • Rookie Eric Paschall has a chance to get consistent minutes, writes Monte Poole of NBC Bay Area. Paschall was used at center and power forward during the preseason, but his best opportunity may come at small forward. “Most guys when they come in, they’re just not ready for this level of strength and force that exists in the game,” Kerr said. “Eric’s ready for all that. He’s gonna play a lot this year. We’re really excited about him.”

Charania’s Latest: Kings, J. Brown, Rockets, China, More

One complicating factor in the Kings‘ contract extension negotiations with Buddy Hield is the four-year, $85MM deal the team did with Harrison Barnes earlier this offseason, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to Charania, Sacramento has already expressed some remorse over that deal, since it has set a precedent in talks for Hield and may impact the Kings’ ability to complete extensions for other key players.

Meanwhile, in other rookie scale extension news, Charania says several teams around the NBA are monitoring the negotiations between the Celtics and Jaylen Brown. Sources tell Charania that those teams are waiting to see if they’ll get a chance to “make Boston and GM Danny Ainge pay” with a big offer sheet for Brown next summer.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The NBA/China controversy appears to be at an impasse for now, with teams around the league waiting to see how Chinese TV networks handle opening night on Tuesday. It’s not clear if China will lift its suspension of NBA broadcasts at that point or if it will continue to blackball telecasts, according to Charania.
  • With Gerald Green potentially out for the season due to a foot injury, the Rockets are “scouring the market” for help on the wing, says Charania. Houston discussed some Andre Iguodala trade scenarios with the Grizzlies, but is reluctant to go way into luxury-tax territory by trading for Iguodala, Charania adds.
  • Charania provides updates on a pair of roster battles, writing that Javonte Green is the favorite to become the Celtics‘ 15th man over Max Strus, while Marquese Chriss is “moving closer” to claiming a regular season roster spot with the Warriors.
  • Free agent swingman Iman Shumpert has spoken to a few teams, including the Bulls and Grizzlies, Charania reports.
  • Charania suggests that Bulls forward Chandler Hutchison has suffered a hamstring strain in “recent days.” His wording makes it sound like it’s either a different injury than the strain Hutchison suffered in early September or a re-aggravation of that injury. The second-year Bull is expected to miss more time, league sources tell Charania.