Bobby Marks

Grizzlies Trade Mike Conley To Jazz

JULY 6: The trade sending Conley to the Jazz is now official, per the NBA’s transactions log. Darius Bazley, who was selected with the No. 23 overall pick last month, will be re-routed from Utah to Oklahoma City in a subsequent deal, while Korver will be sent to Phoenix.

JUNE 19: The Grizzlies and Jazz have reached an agreement on a trade that will send standout point guard Mike Conley to Utah, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Memphis will receive a package made up of Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Grayson Allen, the No. 23 pick in the 2019 draft, and a future first-round pick. Per Wojnarowski (via Twitter), that second first-rounder will be a 2020 pick, which features protections through 2024.

Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian provides the full details on those protections, tweeting that the Grizzlies will get the pick in 2020 or 2021 if it falls in the 8-14 range. If it doesn’t convey in either of those drafts, it would become top-six protected in 2022, top-three protected in 2023, and top-one protected in 2024.

The deal will be completed once the new league year begins in July for cap reasons, according to Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). The Jazz will have to absorb Conley using their newly-opened cap room, but won’t necessarily have to waive Derrick Favors‘ non-guaranteed contract to make the deal work, Marks notes (via Twitter).

It’s a huge acquisition for the Jazz, who will be able to pair Conley with Donovan Mitchell in their backcourt, with Favors and Rudy Gobert up front and Joe Ingles providing floor spacing on the wing.

[RELATED: Ricky Rubio not counting on return to the Jazz]

Conley, 31, is coming off perhaps the best season of his NBA career, having averaged a career-high 21.1 PPG to go along with 6.4 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and a .438/.364/.845 shooting line.

Utah reportedly tried to land Conley at the trade deadline, putting an offer on the table that featured expiring contracts and a first-round pick, but that wasn’t enough to get Memphis to accept. The Jazz figured to face competition for the point guard from possible suitors like the Pacers, Heat, Celtics, and Mavericks when they circled back this offseason, but they were able to get a deal done early in the summer.

The Jazz can now focus on filling out their roster with complementary players. With Conley’s lucrative contract set to hit their books, they’ll no longer be a player for major free agents, but will have the room exception available. It’s projected to be worth $4.76MM.

Conley is owed $32.5MM in 2019/20 and $34.5MM in 2020/21 before his contract expires in 2021. His deal aligns him with Utah’s other core pieces — currently, Mitchell and Gobert are both on track to reach free agency in 2021 as well.

As for the Grizzlies, they’re expected to shift into rebuilding mode after trading long-time cornerstones Marc Gasol in February and Conley now. They’re poised to select Ja Morant with the No. 2 overall pick in tomorrow’s draft to supplant Conley as their point guard of the future. He and Jaren Jackson Jr. project to be the franchise’s building blocks going forward.

It’s not clear yet whether the Grizzlies intend to keep all the players and draft picks they’re acquiring in exchange for Conley. Crowder and Korver are on fairly modest expiring contracts (Korver’s salary is only partially guaranteed) and could appeal to contenders. Allen and the picks, on the other hand, represent solid assets for Memphis’ rebuild, though David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link) hears that the club will listen to offers for the No. 23 selection.

The Grizzlies are also in position to create a massive traded player exception in the swap, assuming they remain an over-the-cap team. Cap expert Albert Nahmad estimates the value of that exception to be about $25MM (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The rest of the Pelicans’ haul includes a 9-30 protected first-rounder in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected first-rounder in 2024.

New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and will have the option to defer the 2024 pick until 2025, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links).

[UPDATE: Davis trade will become a three-team deal]

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Suns, Kings, Oubre

For the first time since 2010/11, when a sophomore Stephen Curry shared a backcourt with Monta Ellis, the revolutionary Warriors guard will go into a season without Klay Thompson. Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic details just what’s in store for him and for the franchise heading forward.

Not only will Curry have to shoulder more of the scoring load without Thompson and Kevin Durant, two of the game’s deadliest offensive weapons, he’ll need to do so after everybody and their grandmother saw Raptors coach Nick Nurse employ a successful series of zones against the Warriors.

Those are new questions that Curry will have to answer, but they aren’t the first questions he’s ever faced. This, Thompson writes, isn’t the guard’s first gut-check offseason. Curry has established and re-established his value after injuries and previous Warriors titles and will look to do so again.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Expect the Suns to either keep their No. 6 pick or look to trade down in the draft, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix tweets. The dialed-in radio host says that he can’t envision the team dealing that pick for players like Lonzo Ball, Mike Conley or Spencer Dinwiddie.
  • The Kings have announced that they’ll welcome another batch of prospects for a workout on Monday. The franchise that picks at 40, 47 and 60 will audition Shamorie Ponds, Jaylen Hands and a handful of other candidates.
  • Did Kelly Oubre do enough in his 40-game trial with the Suns this season? Bobby Marks of ESPN writes that Oubre played some of his best basketball in Phoenix after coming over from the Wizards and the Suns were wise to nab him when they did. Phoenix will have the flexibility match an offer sheet the restricted free agent lands and they’ll have his Bird rights.

Draft Rumors: Hawks, Bazemore, Porter, Suns

With Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III viewed as near-locks to be the first two players off the board in the 2018 NBA draft, the No. 3 pick is worth keeping a close eye on. Zach Klein of WSB in Atlanta hears (via Twitter) that the Hawks trading back to No. 5 is a viable possibility. In that scenario, the Mavericks would select Luka Doncic and Atlanta would grab Trae Young.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer follows up on Klein’s report, tweeting that the Hawks and Magic – who hold the No. 6 pick – have also been connected, according to a source. In either trade scenario, Kent Bazemore may be involved in a deal, per Klein and O’Connor.

As we wait to see what happens with the No. 3 pick, here are a few more draft-related rumors and notes:

  • In the latest version of his mock draft at ESPN.com, Jonathan Givony reports that there’s a chance Michael Porter Jr. will slip out of the top 10 due to concerns about his back and hip. Givony has Porter coming off the board at No. 12 to the Clippers.
  • The Suns continue to gauge the market as they explore a possible move up from No. 16, but it will be “extremely hard” to make a deal, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, adding that most teams in the top 10 are reluctant to trade. If Phoenix stays at No. 16, keep an eye on Maryland’s Kevin Huerter as a possible “sleeper” pick, Gambadoro adds (via Twitter).
  • As ESPN’s Bobby Marks details (via Twitter), the Hawks, Bulls, Mavericks, and Sixers are ineligible to acquire any cash in trades tonight, while the Cavaliers and Heat can’t send out any cash. Although those teams have reached their 2017/18 limits, they could always reach a tentative trade agreement and finalize it in July, after those traded-cash restrictions reset.

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its 2017/18 All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with Defensive Player of the Year candidates Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis headlining the First Team.

Gobert led the way in voting, receiving 94 of 100 potential First Team votes. He also received four Second Team votes, and was left off of just two ballots, earning him 192 total points (two points per First Team vote; one point per Second Team vote). It’s his second All-Defensive First Team nod.

[RELATED: NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams]

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the All-Defensive recognition will pay off financially for Gobert, who earns a $500K bonus as a result of his spot on the First Team. Meanwhile, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will receive a more modest $100K bonus for being named to the All-Defensive First Team.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team

  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz (192)
  • Anthony Davis, F/C, Pelicans (163)
  • Victor Oladipo, G, Pacers (136)
  • Jrue Holiday, G, Pelicans (105)
  • Robert Covington, F, Sixers (90)

Second Team

Rockets point guard Chris Paul (74 points) and Thunder forward Paul George (69) narrowly missed earning spots on the All-Defensive Second Team. A total of 29 other players received at least one vote, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.

You can find the full voting results right here.

Cody Zeller To Undergo Surgery, Miss Six Weeks

Hornets center Cody Zeller will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus in his left knee on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets, citing league sources. Zeller is expected to miss six weeks, Wojnarowski adds.

Zeller injured the knee last week against the Warriors. Zeller was relegated a second-unit role this season with the addition of Dwight Howard but had been productive, averaging 7.2 PPG and 5.5 RPG. In his absence, Frank Kaminsky and Johnny O’Bryant will likely share minutes behind Howard. Kaminsky has missed two games with an ankle sprain but is expected to play Monday.

Zeller, 25, has long-term security but it remains to be seen whether the knee injury will have a lingering effect. He’s making $12.6MM this season and his contract runs through the 2020/21 season.

If the Hornets want to add a big man, they could sign a free agent to a pro-rated, non-guaranteed minimum deal and remain below the luxury tax line, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The Hornets have a roster spot open and are $1.8MM below the tax line, Marks notes.

And-Ones: JVG, Award Votes, Singleton, Wanamaker

After a decade of rumors about his possible return to the sidelines, ABC and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy has finally landed a new coaching gig — but it’s not an NBA job. As Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical details, Van Gundy has agreed to coach USA Basketball as Team USA attempts to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

Last month, we heard that the Team USA roster for the World Cup qualifiers wouldn’t feature NBA players. Instead, USA Basketball will put together a squad primarily made up of G League players. Wojnarowski notes that the roster may also include Americans playing in international leagues. Assuming Team USA qualifies for the 2019 World Cup, which shouldn’t be an issue, NBA players figure to take it from there, while Gregg Popovich will take over for Van Gundy as the club’s coach.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA has published the full voting results for all of its 2016/17 awards, so if you’re dying to know who gave Isaiah Thomas his only All-Defensive vote, you can find out right here.
  • EuroLeague star Chris Singleton has interviews lined up with two NBA teams, and is poised to opt out of his contract with Panathinaikos if he receives an NBA opportunity, tweets international reporter David Pick. However, Singleton’s teammate Kenny Gabriel will remain with Panathinaikos, having opted to pass on a non-guaranteed NBA offer, per Pick (Twitter link).
  • Pick also provides an update on Brad Wanamaker, reporting (via Twitter) that Brad Wanamaker is putting Euroleague offers on hold in the hopes of securing an NBA deal with the Pelicans or Celtics. Wanamaker, who played for Turkey’s Darussafaka last season, was voted to 2016/17’s All-EuroLeague team.
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical identifies his top 20 free agents for 2017, with a pair of Warriors topping the list.

Woj’s Latest: Celtics, Griffin, CP3, LeBron, Snell

The Celtics are expected to be the Clippers‘ biggest threat for Blake Griffin this summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who discussed 2017 free agency on a podcast with Bobby Marks. Wojnarowski suggests that Griffin and Gordon Hayward are expected to be the Celtics’ top two targets next month, adding that if Hayward leaves the Jazz, it would be a “tortured” decision.

As for the Clippers, Wojnarowski doesn’t see a scenario in which the club is able to bring back Griffin, Chris Paul, and J.J. Redick. And while Redick is probably the most likely of the three to change teams, Woj thinks there’s a “real chance” the Clippers would move on from from Paul if the two sides can’t come to a quick agreement when free agency begins. Wojnarowski names the Spurs, Heat, Lakers, and Rockets as teams that could get involved in the CP3 sweepstakes if the veteran point guard seriously considers leaving the Clips.

Here are some of the other highlights from Wojnarowski’s conversation with Marks:

  • The Cavaliers aren’t necessarily assuming it’s a given that LeBron James will re-sign with them in 2018. A move out west – possibly to the Lakers or Clippers – a year from now is “very much in play” for LeBron, according to Wojnarowski.
  • Wojnarowski suggests that Tony Snell may be a popular restricted free agent this summer, since teams may feel like they can put pressure on the Bucks, who won’t want to approach tax territory. An annual salary in the $11-13MM range is within range for Snell, says Wojnarowski.
  • During a discussion of possible Nets RFA targets, Wojnarowski mentions Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and notes that the Pistons don’t really want to max him out. However, the idea of losing KCP for nothing would likely be even less appealing to Detroit.
  • While the Lakers haven’t necessarily made any decisions yet, they’re “looking hard” at Josh Jackson with the No. 2 pick. Wojnarowski observes that there are a lot of voices in the team’s front office, so Jackson has support from some execs.
  • Wojnarowski and Marks dismiss the idea that the Kings would trade the fifth and 10th overall picks to move up to No. 3 to nab a top point guard. However, they acknowledge that Sacramento packaging the No. 5 pick with something a little less valuable in order to trade up wouldn’t be unrealistic.

Eastern Notes: Sessions, Magic, Rondo, LeBron

The Hornets have an important decision to make with Ramon Sessions, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. The point guard has a $6.2MM team option for next season and Charlotte is over the salary cap, so declining it wouldn’t net the team additional room to sign a replacement. If the franchise decides to let Sessions hit the open market, it would have to find another option off the bench either in the draft or by using the mid-level exception.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Magic need to build through the draft and work the trade market this offseason rather than look to sign high-priced free agents, Marks contends in a separate piece. Orlando has made a quite a few major signings over the last few seasons and the moves haven’t helped the team in the win column.
  • Rajon Rondo, who was reportedly unable to play over the last three games because of a thumb injury, revealed that he also has a torn ligament in his wrist, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com tweets. The point guard remains a “longshot” to play in the Bulls‘ first-round series, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue isn’t worried about giving LeBron James too many minutes in any one playoff game, as he tells Chris Haynes of ESPN.com“Bron today just said he feels worse when he doesn’t play,” Lue said. “Like right now, he said he feels worse, so, we just got to gauge it and see how he feels. Everyone else’s minutes were great outside of LeBron. He said he feels great. He didn’t really have a defensive assignment. He was able to roam off guys during the series and, so, it was good for him. With him playing the minutes he played during [the] course of the regular season, it has helped him in the playoffs.”

Contract Details: Dieng, Gobert, Kelly, Hunter

Gorgui Dieng‘s four-year extension with the Timberwolves, reported to be worth $64MM, will actually count against the team’s cap for $62.8MM over four years starting in 2017/18, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. Dieng’s new contract, which currently puts him on track to be the second-highest-paid player on the team next year – behind Ricky Rubio – will start at about $14.112MM before eventually increasing to $17.288MM in the fourth and final year.

Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert‘s four-year extension with the Jazz has a base value of $90MM, but will count against the cap for a total of $94MM over four years, since it includes $4MM in likely incentives. The deal, which starts at about $21.225MM next year, according to Pincus, contains another $8MM in unlikely incentives, per reports, meaning it could max out at $102MM overall.

Here are a few more contract details from across the NBA:

  • Ryan Kelly, who re-signed with the Hawks on Monday, got a two-year deal from the team, per Bobby Marks of The Vertical. It’s a non-guaranteed, minimum salary contract for Kelly, so he likely won’t be assured of a roster spot through January 10.
  • Marks also has the details on R.J. Hunter‘s new pact with the Bulls, indicating that the ex-Celtic got a fully guaranteed salary from Chicago. However, it’s just a one-year, minimum salary deal for Hunter.
  • According to Marks, Victor Oladipo‘s four-year, $84MM extension with the Thunder also features $1MM total in unlikely incentives — $250K per year.