Arturas Gudaitis

Central Notes: Griffin, Jackson, Butler, Gudaitis

While the Pistons remain within striking distance of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, privately the organization’s focus is on the 2018/19 season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press writes. Most of the Pistons’ remaining schedule is on the road and Detroit hasn’t played well as the visiting team.

The Pistons acquired All-Star Blake Griffin from the Clippers before the deadline, a move that signaled a late attempt to keep battling for the postseason. Realistically, Griffin was acquired as a future piece to help the team contend beyond this season. However, whether or not the team can make a competitive run to end the season likely hinges on Reggie Jackson. Jackson is nearing a return from an ankle sprain.

“He is progressing, we’re hopeful those practices before the West Coast trip that we’ll get him back,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I think anything earlier than that would be an unexpected bonus.”

Check out other Central Division notes below:

  • Speaking of Jackson’s return, this past Monday marked two months since he last played in an NBA game. If he does practice prior to the West Coast trip, and it goes off without a hitch, the Pistons can expect Jackson back by mid-March, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.
  • When Jimmy Butler collapsed with a meniscus injury last Friday, it evoked bad memories for his former coach Fred Hoiberg and recent torn ACL returnee Zach LaVine, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago writes. LaVine tore his ACL last season and returned a few weeks ago; Hoiberg saw Butler suffer a similar injury that only cost him a few weeks in his first season as Bulls coach. Butler underwent surgery and will be sidelined for four to six weeks.
  • Cavaliers draft-and-stash player Arturas Gudaitis recently signed an extension with Olimpia Milano until 2021, per Sportando. However, Gudaitis, who was acquired in a three-team deal with the Kings and Jazz, holds NBA opt-outs in both 2019 and 2020 worth $650K.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Future, Gudaitis

LeBron James is on pace to play in all 82 games of a regular season for the first time in his career. Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue feels that James’ leader mentality is driving him to set an example for his teammates, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes.

“I just think being the leader of this team, I don’t think he thinks he can take games off, because, you know, guys being hurt and going through a rough patch, and now new guys coming in,” Lue said. “So, I think he’s trying to lead and lead by example … I think we still got to be smart about the situation, but [the training staff] say he feels good.”

James continued his impressive season on Friday in a 112-89 win over the Grizzlies as he recorded his 11th triple-double of the year with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. Cleveland’s roster is revamped and James’ level of play has remained on par with the best of the game.

Check out other Cavaliers notes below:

  • The Cavaliers did win on Friday night but even in their losses, James seems to maintain a positive attitude. Cleveland lost 110-103 to the Wizards on Thursday but James said he likes the team’s direction, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “I think we played well tonight, even though we lost,” James said. “I hate losing, obviously, but I think the way we played, the way we shared the ball. Defensively, we were flying around as well and those guys, they just played better than us tonight. I like the start, I like the direction we’re headed.”
  • The Cavaliers have invited Lithuanian big man Arturas Gudaitis to come to Cleveland for a tryout this summer, tweets basketball journalist Donatas Urbonas. Gudaitis, a 2015 second-round pick of the Kings, was sent to the Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal at the deadline. He’s currently with Olimpia Milano of the Italian LBA but his rights are owned by the Cavaliers.

Cavs Notes: Smith, Gudaitis, Roster Improvements

J.R. Smith‘s 2017/18 season has been a difficult one, but head coach Tyronn Lue‘s loyalty to Smith dates back to Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. In defense of his shooting guard, Lue referenced Smith’s eight straight points in the third quarter of that decisive seventh game and his overall value to the team.

“Sometimes your shot is going to come and go, that’s just part of the game,” Lue said. “For the most part, his effort is there every night. That’s why I wanted to stick with J.R. and I don’t want to lose J.R. Make sure keep him in good spirits, going in the right direction. He’s big for us. When he’s making shots, when he’s being aggressive, our team is a whole different team.”

Leading up to the trade deadline, Smith’s name was floated in several trade scenarios as the Cavaliers — who ended dismantling and restructuring the roster — looked to improve. Smith has played better recently, posting 15 points in Cleveland’s win over the Celtics on Sunday.

There’s more news out of the Cavaliers organization:

  • As part of the three-team deal that netted the Cavaliers veteran George Hill, Cleveland also acquired the rights to Lithuanian big man Arturas Gudaitis. Gudaitis was a second-round pick of the Sixers in 2015 but he has been stashed away overseas. Per basketball journalist David Pick (via Twitter), Gudaitis is on track to strike a lucrative deal with Italian team Olimpia Milano that runs until 2021 and will include flexible NBA opt-outs.
  • It was just one game with the Cavaliers‘ reshaped roster, but the early results are promising, Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Sports writes. LeBron James look re-energized, the new players seemed to play their roles properly and the flow of the game was consistent. There are still several months to go in the regular season but, as Mannix notes, the opportunity the other Eastern Conference contenders had to bury the Cavaliers in the standings has likely dissipated.

Cavs Acquire Rodney Hood, George Hill In Three-Team Trade

7:57pm: The trade is official, according to press releases from the Jazz and Cavaliers. The terms of the deal are as follows:"<strong

1:41pm: ESPN’s Brian Windhorst adds more details on this complex three-team deal, tweeting that the Kings will receive $2.1MM from the Cavs and $1.1MM from the Jazz. Utah will have the option of swapping second-round picks in 2024 with the Cavs. Cleveland also acquired the draft rights to Arturas Gudaitis from the Kings and surrendered the draft rights to Dimitrios Agravanis.

12:03pm: A busy day in Cleveland continues, as the Cavaliers have agreed to acquire Rodney Hood from the Jazz in a three-team trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). The Cavs will also receive George Hill from Sacramento in the deal, with the Jazz acquiring Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose.

The Kings will get Joe Johnson and Iman Shumpert, per Woj (Twitter link). TNT’s David Aldridge tweets that Sacramento will also acquire a future draft pick and cash considerations, with Sam Amick of USA Today providing some details (via Twitter), reporting that the pick will be Miami’s 2020 second-rounder from Cleveland. The Kings will also get a little over $3MM in cash, Amick adds.

The move, which comes on the heels of the Cavs reaching a deal with the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., further reshapes a Cleveland roster that will look a whole lot different by the end of the day than it did at the start of it.

By surrendering Crowder, Rose, and Shumpert in exchange for Hood and Hill, the Cavaliers will take on about $4MM in extra salary, and far more than that in projected tax payments. However, the cost of the deal may be worth it for the on-court impact, as Crowder, Rose, and Shumpert have all underperformed and/or battled injuries this season.

Hood will give the Cavs a young, perimeter scorer who has fought through some injuries of his own, but has enjoyed a career year when he’s been on the court. In 39 games, the 25-year-old has averaged 16.8 PPG on .424/.389/.876 shooting. As for Hill, the veteran point guard has struggled mightily in Sacramento this season, but has historically been a good shooter (.454/.384/.800 career shooting line) and a solid defender. His ability to play off the ball should make him a good fit to play alongside LeBron James.

Hood will be a restricted free agent this summer, while Hill remains under contract for two more years beyond this one. He’ll earn $19MM in 2018/19, and has a $18MM salary in 2019/20 that only features a very small partial guarantee.

From Utah’s perspective, the trade will allow them to get out from under Johnson’s $10.5MM salary — the veteran forward was viewed as a buyout candidate if he had remained on the roster through the deadline, and will likely remain a buyout candidate in Sacramento. The Jazz had to give up Hood as part of the deal, but he had been mentioned frequently in trade rumors in recent weeks and no longer appeared to be part of the club’s long-term plans.

In exchange, Utah will acquire Crowder, who has a reputation as a solid three-and-D wing on a team-friendly contract despite his struggles this season, and Rose, who may not be in the team’s plans. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets that the Jazz will likely release Rose.

As for the Kings, they’ll get out from under Hill’s expensive multiyear deal, acquiring Johnson’s expiring contract as well as Shumpert, who has a $10.3MM+ player option for next season. The deal creates nearly $9MM in 2018/19 cap flexibility for the Kings, and also nets them that aforementioned 2020 pick and some cash. Sacramento had committed to playing its young players over its veterans down the stretch this season, so Hill’s playing time had been sporadic.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Notes: Depth Chart, Gudaitis, Labissiere

Don’t look now, but the Kings have assembled a veritable stockpile of intriguing assets. Recently, Shahbaz Khan of the team’s official website broke down what fans can expect to see on the team’s depth chart.

The Kings are loaded with youth this season, and it’s not just first-rounders De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles that show promise. Sacramento has at least one – if not multiple – young projects at each spot from 1 to 5, from international star and darkhorse Rookie of the Year candidate Bogdan Bogdanovic to the lengthy Skal Labissiere, who flashed promise after the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

The club isn’t without its fair share of veteran leadership, however, and Khan discusses the experience the young Kings will be able to glean from offseason additions like Vince Carter and returning players like Garrett Temple.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • While there was plenty of turnover on the Kings roster this offseason, De’Aaron Fox leads Sacramento’s new cast of players, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England writes.
  • Don’t expect to see 2015 second-round pick Arturas Gudaitis debut with the Kings any time soon, the Lithuanian big man recently signed a two-year deal in Italy without an opt-out clause after the first season, Sportando tweets.
  • After a solid rookie season, Kings big man Skal Labissiere has changed representation, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. The Haitian has signed with Thad Foucher and Jason Ranne at Wasserman.

Pacific Notes: Clarkson, Gudaitis, Iguodala

Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson has chosen Jeff Austin and Chris Emens of Octagon Sports to represent him, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News reports. Clarkson was previously represented by Mike George of Excel Sports Management, which reportedly broke off its relationship with the young guard back in September. The young combo guard was reportedly frustrated with the agency’s communication and felt he received conflicting information about marketing opportunities, according to an earlier report by Medina. Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press first reported the split. Clarkson is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lithuanian big man Arturas Gudaitis, whose draft rights are held by the Kings, said that Sacramento has expressed interest in signing him for next season, according to a report by Donatas Urbonas of 15min.It (translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). Gudaitis, who is signed to a multi-year deal with the Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas, said his dream is to play in the NBA, and that he will travel to Sacramento to work out for the team after his season is completed, Urbonas notes.
  • The Warriors intend for veteran swingman Andre Iguodala to continue his role as a top reserve during the 2015/16 season, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group writes. Nothing is set in stone, but we won 67 games, so I don’t think we’ll change the starting lineup to start the season,” coach Steve Kerr had said prior to taking his leave of absence due to back related issues. “Why would we? Why would we change what we did last year when we had as much success as we did?
  • Jamal Crawford has been the subject of numerous trade rumors throughout the offseason, but he says that his time spent in New York as a member of the Knicks prepared him for the daily barrage of questions from the media, Janis Carr of The Orange County Register writes. “That time [in New York] prepared me for this,” Crawford said. “It’s a business and in a day, you can only control what you can control and worry about how you can get better.” The veteran shooting guard also noted that he is extremely happy to still be a member of the Clippers, Carr adds. The franchise was reportedly exploring trades involving the two-time Sixth Man of the Year shortly before the draft, with other reports this summer indicating that the Heat, Cavs and Knicks have held interest, but Doc Rivers recently said that the team was unlikely to deal Crawford.

Sixers Acquire Stauskas, Landry, Thompson

6:35pm: The Sixers and Kings have issued press releases announcing the trade is official. Philly gets Stauskas, Landry, Thompson, Sacramento’s 2018 first-round pick and the right to swap first-rounders in 2016 and 2017. Sacramento gets the rights to Gudaitis and Mitrovic.

“Jason, Carl and Nik are all tremendous professionals and we’re grateful for their contributions,” Kings president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac said in Sacramento’s statement. “Jason leaves an indelible mark in Sacramento as the team’s alltime leader in games played, but he was also a champion in the community. Carl and Nik were well regarded as teammates and respected stewards of the organization during their time as Kings. We wish them all great success in the future.”

JULY 10TH, 11:48am: Neither team has made an official announcement, though the RealGM transactions log and salary cap expert Larry Coon (Twitter links) indicate the trade has indeed taken place. Sacramento creates trade exceptions equivalent to the salaries of Stauskas, Landry and Thompson, but those are poised to disappear once the team formalizes its free agent signings.

JULY 3RD, 11:35am: Executives around the league are talking about the notion that the Kings might back out of the deal now that they’ve missed on Ellis and Matthews, though none of those execs truly expect Sacramento to pull out, reports Jake Fischer of SI Now (Twitter link).

JULY 2ND, 8:54am: A future second-round pick is also going to Sacramento, Wojnarowski writes in his full story. The Sixers receive Sacramento’s 2018 first-round pick and the right to swap first-rounders with the Kings in 2016 and 2017, a league source tells USA Today’s Derek Bodner (Twitter link). The overseas assets that the Kings receive are the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic, the 47th and 60th picks, respectively, in last week’s draft, ESPN’s Pablo Torre tweets. Gudaitis just signed a two-year deal with an option for a third year with Lietuvos Rytas of Lithuania, the team announced (translation via Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). The Sixers are interested in keeping Landry, Thompson and Stauskas rather than waiving any of them, a source said to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News (on Twitter).

10:56pm: The Sixers will receive a protected first round pick from the Kings, and swap rights with Sacramento in the first round of two other drafts, Zach Lowe of Grantland tweets.

JULY 1ST, 10:17pm: The Sixers and Kings have agreed to a deal that would send Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, and Nik Stauskas to Philadelphia, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). Philadelphia is expected to send Sacramento the rights to overseas players in return, notes Wojnarowski (on Twitter), though it is unclear which players will be involved.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

The deal is a salary dump for Sacramento, tweets Wojnarowski, with the Kings clearing room for pursuing free agents. Thompson is set to earn $6,431,250 in 2015/16, Landry $6.5MM, and Stauskas $2,869,440. Sacramento is clearing the decks for a pursuit of point guard Rajon Rondo, swingman Wesley Matthews, and possibly Monta Ellis, the Yahoo! scribe adds (via Twitter).

Stauskas, 21, is the prize here for the Sixers, who were willing to absorb the contracts of Thompson and Landry to acquire him, Wojnarowski tweets. The young shooting guard failed to impress in Sacramento after being selected with the No. 8 overall pick back in the 2014 NBA Draft. In 73 appearances during his rookie campaign, Stauskas averaged 4.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.9 assists, with a slash line of .365/.322/.859. He should have every opportunity to develop on a young Sixers team badly in need of shooters.

Thompson still has two years remaining on his deal, though his salary of $6,825,000 for the 2016/17 campaign is partially guaranteed for just $2.65MM. In 81 contests last season, the 28-year-old averaged 6.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 24.6 minutes per game. Landry, 31, also has two years remaining on his contract, though both seasons are fully guaranteed. He logged 70 appearances last season for the Kings, posting 7.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 0.4 APG in 15.0 minutes per night.

Central Notes: Jackson, Bucks, Draft

If Emmanuel Mudiay were to fall to the Pistons, who hold the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the team would consider selecting him and letting Reggie Jackson depart as a free agent, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com writes. “They’re not 100 percent sold on Reggie,” a league source told Berger. Detroit also likes Duke’s Justise Winslow and Croatian swingman Mario Hezonja at that spot, Berger’s sources also informed him. Jackson can become a restricted free agent this offseason if the Pistons tender him a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683.

Here’s the latest from the NBA’s Central Division:

  • Rumors persist that the Bucks would give up Michael Carter-Williams in a package that nets a top-10 pick, writes Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, who suggests the Bucks could dangle John Henson, too, but strong indications are the Bucks are resistant to trading either, as Chris Mannix of SI.com hears (Twitter link). Milwaukee considers both core players, Mannix adds.
  • The Pistons held pre-draft workouts today for Gabe Olaseni (Iowa), Tekele Cotton (Wichita State), Aaron Harrison (Kentucky), Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington), Mateusz Ponitka (Poland), and Arturas Gudaitis (Lithuania), Keith Langlois of NBA.com relays (Twitter links). Gudaitis was the headliner at the workout, Langlois notes, and he could be an option for Detroit with the No. 38 overall pick.
  • With the Bucks still unclear on what kind of player Jabari Parker can be in the NBA, the franchise could benefit by adding more frontcourt depth through the draft, Genaro C. Armas of The Associated Press writes. Milwaukee has narrowed its draft wish list to four or five players, Armas notes. The team’s top needs are a big man who can rebound and defend, as well as an outside shooter, according to the AP scribe. “You know you hope you can maybe get a rotation player,” Bucks GM John Hammond said. “Sometimes in that range you can get a little luckier, maybe get a starter in a bit. Hopefully it’s a keeper piece and a player that can be a contributor.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.