Anthony Tolliver

Coronavirus Notes: Tolliver, Dudley, Testing, Asterisk

Add Anthony Tolliver to the list of players who believe there’s strong support throughout the league for finishing the season. Tolliver, a member of the NBPA executive committee, offered some insight into the players’ position during an interview with Darren Wolfson of KSTP (video link).

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that guys want to play, and I think guys want to do it in a safe way,” Tolliver said. “We need to figure out a way where we’re not putting the assistant coaches, especially the older people who would be in that environment, as long as we’re not putting them in serious health risk — I think that’s going to be the biggest key. Guys want to play ball. Guys don’t want to lose money. I think that as long as we have the protocols in place that everybody’s confident in, that’s whenever things will start to pick up some momentum.” 

It was already an eventful year for Tolliver, even before the league shutdown. He left the Timberwolves last summer to sign with the Trail Blazers, then was traded to the Kings in January. Sacramento waived him a month later, and he signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies on March 2. Tolliver says he was planning to ink a second 10-day deal on March 12, but the league hiatus got in the way.

There’s more coronavirus-related news:

  • Lakers forward Jared Dudley believes the season will start again in July, probably in a bubble atmosphere in Las Vegas or Orlando, relays Steve Popper of Newsday. Appearing on ESPN Radio in New York, Dudley said the amount of money at stake will drive the league to find a solution. “We’re going to be safe in this bubble because of the testing — we’re going to be doing them before every game,” he said. “That’s why Adam Silver wants to wait another month or two to be able to sign off on it because he wants everybody in society to be able to get tests first. And second, the data will show the virus that between the ages of 19 and 35, it’s what, 0.001% that someone has died and that’s not even a professional athlete.”
  • The NBA’s willingness to push back the start of next season increases the likelihood that this season will be completed, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the decision to permit asymptomatic testing in some cities shows that the league is serious about playing again.
  • The unusual circumstances surrounding the end of the season means this year’s champion should receive an asterisk, especially if the playoffs are affected because some players have to be quarantined for two weeks, argues Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, ESPN’s Jalen Rose disagrees, telling Mike Singer of the Denver Post that champions have always had to overcome some type of obstacles.

Seven Players On 10-Day Contracts When NBA Suspended Season

A moratorium agreement between the NBA and the NBPA will reportedly affect players on 10-day contracts, as Shams Charania of The Athletic said earlier today. Following up on that point, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) confirms that the clock will stop on the 10-day contracts that were active when the NBA suspended its season.

Presumably, Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver won’t be impacted. His 10-day deal with Memphis was set to expire on Wednesday night, the last night of game action before the suspension began. Once the moratorium is lifted and play resumes, he’ll likely have to sign a new 10-day contract or rest-of-season pact with the Grizzlies to remain with the team.

However, there were seven other players whose 10-day contracts had yet to run their course as of Wednesday night. Here are the affected players, with the number of days remaining on their deals noted in parentheses:

We’ll have to wait for official details on the moratorium agreement to confirm exactly how these 10-day deals will be handled.

Based on today’s reports though, it sounds like the contracts for players like Chealey, Hall, and Randle, which would have expired on Thursday night, will carry over to the day the season resumes. A player like Noah, who still had a week left on his 10-day contract, should play out that week following the resumption of the season.

Unless we learn otherwise, our roster counts page and 10-day tracker will assume these seven 10-day contracts remain active.

Western Notes: Conley, Turner, Howard, Suns

After a long, successful run with the Grizzlies, Mike Conley was viewed heading into this season as the player who was going to help turn the Jazz from a solid playoff team into a bona fide contender. However, it has been an up-and-down first season in Utah for Conley, who is averaging just 13.5 PPG on 39.8% shooting.

Speaking to Tony Jones of The Athletic, Conley admitted he hasn’t been able to entirely block out the criticism he has faced this season, and that he understands that criticism.

“Nobody is more frustrated than me,” Conley said. “Not the fans, not the media, not my teammates. I’m not a guy who runs from looking in the mirror. But, at this point, I have to control what I can control. I have to stay locked in. I have to focus on what I can handle. I know what’s being said. But in a big way, it’s not in my control what people may think.”

As Conley gears up for the home stretch and looks to become a consistent, reliable contributor for the Jazz, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Western Conference…

  • The Timberwolves and Evan Turner “came close” to reaching a buyout agreement by Sunday night, but couldn’t finalize a deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of SKOR North. According to Wolfson, Turner would still like to play this season, but that seems unlikely to happen with the Wolves, who are prioritizing the players they expect to be longer-term pieces.
  • Discussing Dwight Howard‘s initial stint with the Lakers, team owner Jeanie Buss singled out former Lakers – and current Rockets – head coach Mike D’Antoni as a reason why the veteran center didn’t succeed and chose to leave in free agency. “We hired a coach that didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed,” Buss said (video link via The Los Angeles Times).
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines how Jordan McRae could fit with the Suns this season and potentially beyond. Phoenix reportedly intends to place a waiver claim on McRae, but there’s a possibility Detroit will do so as well, and the Pistons would have the higher priority.
  • NBA fans interested in the league’s salary cap minutiae will enjoy Jeff Siegel’s latest article at Early Bird Rights, which details the unusual case of the Kings‘ buyout agreement with Anthony Tolliver and explains why it could indirectly cost the Trail Blazers a little money.

Anthony Tolliver Signs 10-Day Contract With Grizzlies

11:02pm: The Grizzlies officially signed Tolliver and waived Bell prior to tonight’s game, according to a team press release. Tolliver logged 19 minutes and had a +25 rating, knocking down 4-of-5 three-pointers in Memphis’ blowout win over Atlanta.

4:19pm: Veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver has agreed to a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. In order to open a roster spot, the team is waiving forward Jordan Bell, Charania reports in another tweet.

Tolliver was waived on Saturday after finalizing a buyout agreement with Sacramento. Tolliver gave back $144,901, the same amount as a 10-day contract, as we relayed this afternoon. Tolliver was on a veteran’s minimum contract, so Sacramento will still have a cap hit of $1.6MM.

Tolliver, 34, began the season with the Trail Blazers and appeared in 33 games, including nine starts. He was dealt to the Kings and saw action in nine games before getting waived. Tolliver is a career 37.3% 3-point shooter, though he’s struggled from the perimeter this season.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke and Justise Winslow are all currently sidelined with injuries and Memphis obviously didn’t feel comfortable giving Bell expanded minutes.

Bell began the season with the Timberwolves, then was dealt to the Rockets. They quickly flipped him to Memphis for Bruno Caboclo just before the trade deadline. Bell, who has a $1.62MM contract, appeared in just two games with Memphis after coming off the bench in 27 games with Minnesota.

Buyout Details: Crabbe, McRae, Tolliver

Allen Crabbe surrendered $681,544 in his buyout agreement with the Timberwolves, according to reports from Dane Moore of ZoneCoverage.com and Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter links). That’s more than the veteran wing would earn if he signs a rest-of-season deal with a new team after clearing waivers, but it wasn’t quite enough to get Minnesota below the luxury-tax threshold, as Moore and Siegel note.

If the Timberwolves are dead-set on getting out of tax territory, buying out Evan Turner remains a possible path, but it appears less likely now that he would no longer retain his playoff eligibility if he’s released.

The Timberwolves’ other option for sneaking below the tax line would be to cut a little-used player who is likely to be claimed on waivers, like Miami did at the end of last season with Rodney McGruder. That’s a risky alternative though, since any player valuable enough to be claimed on waivers probably isn’t someone Minnesota wants to lose.

Here are more details on the latest round of buyouts from around the NBA:

  • Jordan McRae agreed to give up $390,424 in his buyout from the Nuggets, per Siegel (via Twitter). That’s the equivalent of McRae’s $1,645,357 salary prorated over 42 days. However, if the Suns claim McRae off waivers, as they’re expected to, the buyout agreement will be unnecessary and won’t apply to his cap hit — he’ll simply continue earning the rest of his remaining salary for 2019/20 in Phoenix instead of Denver.
  • Anthony Tolliver gave back $144,901 as part of his buyout from the Kings, according to Siegel. That’s the equivalent of the 10-day salary for a veteran with 10+ years of NBA experience. Tolliver’s cap hit on Sacramento’s books ($1,620,564) will remain unchanged, since the NBA is reimbursing a portion of his minimum salary. However, the Kings will save a little cash as a result of the agreement.
  • Our recap of the 2020 buyout market can be found right here.

Pacific Notes: Bender, Kings, Lakers, Ayton

After failing to become long-term building blocks in Phoenix, former Suns lottery picks Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender have reunited in Golden State. Bender is only on a 10-day contract for now, but Chriss thinks his former and current frontcourt mate is fitting in nicely with the Warriors, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details.

“I think it’s a good fit for him, especially being around people who believe in you and help you grow,” Chriss said. “I think that’s all he needs.”

Bender’s 10-day contract with the Warriors will expire on Tuesday night, at which time Golden State will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day deal before having to make a decision on a rest-of-season commitment. Bender, who is simply looking to prove he still belongs in the NBA, hopes he’s making a good impression.

“I take it day-by-day,” Bender recently said, per Rankin. “I think there’s always options, but with this team, take it day-by-day and see what happens. Obviously, a great place to be, like I said. Great organization. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, but like I said, take it day-by-day and see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Although the Kings have missed Richaun Holmes over the last two months, they could actually have a logjam at center soon, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. Holmes is reportedly nearing a return, but Harry Giles and Alex Len have played well up front for Sacramento as of late, so it’ll be interesting to see how the team divvies up playing time down the stretch.
  • Despite the fact that Anthony Tolliver was waived by the Kings over the weekend, he and Kent Bazemore helped get the team out of its lowest point of the season in January, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The two recently-acquired veterans told their new teammates in a team meeting that they were better than their record showed. “We were very vocal about the potential here,” Tolliver said. “Coming from Portland and seeing how we played there, and seeing how these guys played here, even though they were losing a lot of games at that point, we were like, ‘You guys are not that far away from winning.'” Sacramento is 11-5 since that motivational pep talk.
  • With a comfortable hold on the top seed in the West, the Lakers are using the final stretch of the season to experiment a little with lineups, says Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. That included starting Alex Caruso when Danny Green missed Saturday’s game with a minor hip injury.
  • Even though he’s not the All-Star and borderline MVP candidate that Luka Doncic is, Deandre Ayton is on an impressive run for the Suns, averaging 20.9 PPG and 12.4 RPG in his last 19 games. Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic makes the case that it wasn’t a mistake for Phoenix to select Ayton first overall in 2018, two spots ahead of Doncic.

Kings Waive Anthony Tolliver

The Kings have placed veteran forward Anthony Tolliver on waivers, the team announced in a press release.

Tolliver got into nine games with Sacramento after being acquired from the Trail Blazers in a January 21 trade. He averaged 1.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game. The 34-year-old was on his second tour of duty with the Kings and has played for nine teams in his 12-year NBA career.

Tolliver will be playoff eligible if he signs with another team before the end of the season. Tomorrow is the deadline for players to be released without having their eligibility for the postseason affected.

Sacramento had a full 15-man roster before the move, so the team now one open spot.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Lakers, Saric, Suns

Appearing in their first game as members of the Kings on Wednesday, Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were part of the team’s sixth consecutive loss and 15th in the last 18 games. While Sacramento’s playoff chances appear to be slipping away, the two newcomers remain optimistic that they can help turn things around.

“Me and Kent both feel exactly the same way — it’s not unfixable,” Tolliver said this week upon joining the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “It’s not something where we feel, ‘Aw, crap, we’re just gonna have to ride it out.’ We really feel we have an opportunity to do something with the guys we have.”

The Kings are now 5.5 games back of the No. 8 seed in the West, but Bazemore isn’t convinced that deficit is insurmountable, as Anderson relays: “You win two or three games in a row, you finish strong going into the (All-Star) break and you have plenty of time to make up that slack. This league is about getting hot at the right time.”

Despite the disappointing stretch, the Kings have no changes planned for their coaching staff or management group, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California, who tweets that the club will need to work things out with the current group in place.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the Pacific…

  • Asked by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link) if the Lakers need one more piece to cement their place as a championship contender, LeBron James declined to lobby for an upgrade. We have enough right now,” he replied.
  • As a result of starting 41 games this season for the Suns, Dario Saric has met the starter criteria and will be eligible a slightly higher qualifying offer if the team makes him a restricted free agent this summer, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. A former 12th overall pick, Saric would have been in line for a $4.79MM QO, but it’ll now be worth $5.09MM, the equivalent of a QO for the ninth overall pick.
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams and star Devin Booker expressed enthusiasm about NFL receiver Larry Fitzgerald joining the club’s ownership group, as Brendon Kleen of Forbes.com writes. “The level of credibility of our franchise continues to go up,” Williams said. “When someone like Larry partners and pours his money into it, it says a lot about who we are and who we’re trying to be.”

Kings, Trail Blazers Complete Five-Player Trade

JANUARY 21: The trade between the Kings and Trail Blazers is now official, according to press releases issued by both teams.

JANUARY 18: The Kings and Trail Blazers have agreed to a trade that will send Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento in exchange for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the Blazers are trading Bazemore to Sacramento.

The Kings will also receive Portland’s second-round picks in 2024 and 2025 as part of the deal, a source tells Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link). ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter) that the swap can’t be officially completed until Tuesday, when Gabriel’s trade restriction lifts.

For Portland, the deal represents a cost-cutting move that shouldn’t impact the team’s on-court performance too drastically, if at all. Both Ariza and Bazemore have had down years so far, but Bazemore’s drop-off has been more precipitous —  he has posted a career-worst .347 FG% to go along with a .327 3PT%. Ariza is at least still knocking down his threes (.352 3PT%) at his usual career rate, even as his role was reduced in Sacramento.

Tolliver had been a rotation player for the Blazers, with 16.8 minutes per game in 33 contests, but hasn’t been at his best either — his .368 FG% is his worst mark since he was a rookie in 2008/09.

Bazemore and Tolliver are earning a combined $20.89MM, compared to a total of $15.68MM for Ariza, Swanigan, and Gabriel. Besides trimming more than $5MM off the Blazers’ team salary, the deal will also reduce the organization’s projected tax bill by $12.6MM, according to Marks (via Twitter).

Additionally, the Blazers will create a pair of traded player exceptions, including one worth just over $7MM, since they have a disabled player exception available to acquire Swanigan. The team will have the opportunity to keep Ariza for the 2020/21 season if he finishes the year strong. His $12.8MM salary for ’20/21 is partially guaranteed for $1.8MM, per Basketball Insiders.

It’s not clear if Swanigan and Gabriel fit into Portland’s plans, though it’s worth noting Swanigan was originally drafted by the Blazers before being traded to the Kings a year ago. Both players are on expiring contracts. Portland won’t need to cut anyone to make room to accommodate the three incoming players, since the club already had an open roster spot.

As for the Kings’ side of the deal, Amick observes (via Twitter) that it opens up a roster spot immediately and also creates slightly more flexibility moving forward, since Bazemore and Tolliver are on expiring contracts. The Ariza signing hadn’t worked out like the franchise had hoped, so Sacramento will hope that Bazemore can bounce back and that Tolliver looks more he did when he was a member of the Kings in 2016/17 and shot .442/.391/.744.

There are no plans to buy out Bazemore, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who tweets that the veteran swingman has a “great relationship” with head coach Luke Walton and the Kings’ front office.

Even if the Kings’ new additions keep slumping, the team will come away with a pair of future assets in the trade by picking up the Blazers’ 2024 and 2025 second-round picks. Sacramento had already acquired multiple extra second-rounders for 2020 and 2021, so the team is building up quite a stash of draft picks, which could be useful in future deals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hollinger’s Latest: Blazers, Warriors, Load Management

There hasn’t been an NBA trade since mid-July but the Trail Blazers appear to be a prime candidate to make a deal, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Zach Collins‘ shoulder injury, which is expected to cost him most of the season, creates an even bigger need at an already thin position. Journeyman Anthony Tolliver is the only true power forward remaining on the roster, Hollinger notes. The Blazers could also use another small forward in their rotation.

Portland has some desirable assets, including expiring contracts, young players and draft picks, in order to upgrade its forward spots. One offshoot of the Collins injury that the Blazers are playing with smaller, faster lineups and that could prove beneficial.

There’s more from Hollinger:

  • The Warriors may trade one of their free agent additions on expiring contracts in order to add one of their two-way players to the 15-man roster. Golden State is pushed up against the hard cap and could free some money by dealing center Willie Cauley-Stein or guard Alec Burks. Any potential deal involving a free agent signed this summer can’t happen until mid-December.
  • Waiving Marquese Chriss‘ non-guaranteed deal is also a strong possibility for Golden State, considering Chriss has already had his role reduced after a strong preseason. The Warriors have already used up eight of the 45 days on the service clock of two-way players Damion Lee and Ky Bowman and can’t convert either to a standard contract unless they make another move.
  • People who criticize load management fail to realize that the modern game is much more taxing on players’ bodies than in past decades, Hollinger writes. The goal is to maximize the number of high-quality games the player can play and that makes it a sound strategy.