Bobby Marks

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.

Contract Details: Selden, Waiters, Celtics, Eddie

After passing along a handful of contract details last night, we’ve got several more to round up. Let’s dive right in…

  • The Grizzlies added Wayne Selden to their offseason roster with a summer contract, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, who notes (via Twitter) that the training-camp, minimum-salary deal offers no real injury protection for the former Jayhawk.
  • Dion Waiters‘ new two-year deal with the Heat features a 15% trade kicker, tweets Pincus.
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical has the details on Demetrius Jackson‘s and Ben Bentil‘s contracts with the Celtics. Jackson’s four-year deal, which is worth nearly $5.5MM in total, starts at $1.45MM fully guaranteed in 2016/17, and declines annually in subsequent seasons. Bentil, meanwhile, got a three-year, minimum-salary pact that is partially guaranteed for $250K in year one.
  • According to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com, the Wizards guaranteed $175K of Jarell Eddie‘s contract in order to get him to agree to push his guarantee deadline back. Eddie originally would have been owed his full salary if he hadn’t been waived by July 15, but the two sides worked out an arrangement to postpone that deadline to October.
  • Mike Tobey received a $75K on his two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Hornets, while Beau Beech got $45K guaranteed on his one-year, minimum-salary pact with the Nets, according to Pincus (Twitter links).

Western Notes: Lakers, Kings, Jazz, Mavs

Byron Scott said that the week before the Lakers fired him as coach, he met with GM Mitch Kupchak to talk about free agent targets, current Lakers players and the draft, believing the visit was a signal that the team would keep him for at least one more year, as Scott told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The timing of the Sunday night meeting in which Kupchak informed Scott of his fate seemed odd to the coach as he made his way to it, but it wasn’t until the GM delivered the news to him that he suspected he was out of a job, as Bresnahan details. Scott added that he’s disappointed but wants to coach again and still has affection for the Lakers franchise.

See more from the Western Conference:

  • Vlade Divac said Tuesday that DeMarcus Cousins needs rules and structure, but the hiring of player-friendly Dave Joerger as coach doesn’t jibe with that, observes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Still, the Kings found Joerger’s postseason experience with the Grizzlies his most attractive asset, and Divac, who said he won’t trade Cousins this year, insisted the days of constant turmoil are over in Sacramento, Voisin writes.
  • The Jazz will work out Idaho State junior point guard Ethan Telfair on Tuesday, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Still, Telfair is expected to withdraw from this year’s draft and return to college ball before the May 25th deadline for him to do so, according to Goodman. The 6’0″ 21-year-old who’s the younger brother of NBA veteran Sebastian Telfair is outside the top 100 prospects on the lists that Chad Ford of ESPN.com and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress compile.
  • The Mavericks aren’t one player away from title contention, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks opines, so they should avoid handing out a max contract in a weak market this summer and focus instead on upgrading the bench with young players who have potential, Marks writes. Dallas is without a first-round pick in this year’s draft and has only one second-round pick, at No. 46.

Northwest Notes: Stotts, Kaman, Donovan

Agent Warren LeGarie will make a hard push to secure a long-term extension for Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, and he hinted that he won’t be afraid to shop his client to other teams if Portland doesn’t show interest, as Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune relays. Stotts has one more year left on his contract, but it’s a team option that the Blazers have yet to pick up.

“You would hope his body of work says it all,” LeGarie said to Eggers. “This time, we’re probably going to take a bit of a stand. You can’t keep putting him in [a lame-duck] position. I’m hoping [Blazers owner Paul Allen and GM Neil Olshey] feel the same way. I’m always optimistic. If they’re not interested, there are a lot of teams that will be.”

LeGarie represents both Stotts and Olshey but insists that isn’t an issue, as Eggers details. Olshey has insisted that no contract talks will take place during the season even though he received an extension from the Blazers in January 2015, Eggers points out. Stotts doesn’t seem too concerned, acknowledging that many coaches end up in lame-duck situations as he expressed his affection for the city and the organization.

See more from Portland amid the latest from the Northwest Division:

  • Soon-to-be free agent Chris Kaman has clashed with his coaches before, but the Blazers veteran is a strong advocate for Stotts, as Eggers chronicles in the same piece. “They should rip up his contract and give him a five-year deal — in player terms, a max deal,” Kaman said. “That’s my guy. He does a great job, and honestly, who thought we’d get 30 wins with this team, let alone 44? It’s a testament to what him and his staff are doing, and also to the players. We have a good group of guys. Everybody fits well. It’s been a pretty good year for everybody.”
  • The Thunder often struggle down the stretch in close games and it took new coach Billy Donovan time to calibrate his rotation and substitutions, but the first-year NBA bench boss succeeded at incorporating more ball-sharing into the offense and overcame absences from two veteran assistants, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt details.
  • The Nuggets are in favorable position to contend for a playoff spot next season, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical opines in his Summer Agenda series. The franchise has hit the mark on building its roster and finding a long-term head coach but shouldn’t get impatient with the process, Marks continues. The team has three of the top 19 picks in the draft but must exercise caution in parlaying those picks for an immediate impact player, Marks adds.

Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Anderson, Duncan

Two moves the Mavericks made last summer are paying off in the stretch run, with free agent signee J.J. Barea and Justin Anderson, the 21st pick in the 2015 draft, delivering in prominent roles of late, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com examines. The NBA just named Barea the Western Conference Player of the Week. “Barea’s been here before,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s been heavily relied upon, and he’s had to fill in in big situations. So he knows what this is about. Anderson has learned gradually, and his teammates have been a big part of his development. He’s been an attentive learner, and he’s a really big part of what we’re doing right now.”

See more from the Southwest Division:

  • San Antonio’s success this year has come at a tangible cost, and part of that is a $750K bonus that Tim Duncan earned when the Spurs won their 62nd game of the season last week against Memphis, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. It means San Antonio is in line for an extra $1.5MM in projected tax penalties, which go on top of the $750K the Spurs have to shell out to Duncan. The win also inflated the cap figure for Duncan’s player option for next season to $6,393,750, since the league considers it likely he’d trigger the bonus against next season.
  • The Grizzlies appear to be exploring the feasibility of carrying more than 15 players on their playoff roster, though it seems unlikely the NBA would allow it, writes Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal in his Pick-and-Pop column. Memphis is at 17 players, including Xavier Munford, whose second 10-day contract runs out after Tuesday’s game. His minutes and production have increased, and he’s making a case for a deal that would keep him around for the rest of the season and the playoffs, as Herrington details. Such a move would likely necessitate offloading someone already signed through season’s end, and Herrington speculates that Ryan Hollins and P.J. Hairston are candidates to be cut.
  • A freewheeling offense and a lack of emphasis on defense provide the right environment for Michael Beasley to succeed with the Rockets, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The former No. 2 pick has put up strong numbers since Houston signed him a month ago, having averaged 14.1 points in just 19.8 minutes per game across 15 appearances.

And-Ones: Young, Russell, Bogut, Draft

A source close to Nick Young tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that D’Angelo Russell hasn’t apologized directly to him, which conflicts with an earlier report that Young had accepted an apology from the rookie for secretly recording his statements about women other than his fiancee. Young chose not to be in the room when Russell apologized to the team as a whole for the incident, Medina hears. Other Lakers teammates indicated through their remarks Wednesday that they’re ready to move past the tension that’s existed since Russell’s recording went public, but Young declined to address the matter beyond a brief statement, as Medina details. “I don’t want to get into my personal life right now,” Young said. “I think it’s best me and D’Angelo handle the situation we have in a private manner outside of the media. I think it’s something we do need to sit down and talk about. That’s about it. What happened is what happened. We have to work on it.”

See more from around the NBA:

  • Andrew Bogut reiterated recently that he’d like to reach an extension deal with the Warriors in the offseason, reports Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Bogut becomes eligible to formally sign an extension October 25th, just as the regular season begins. He first spoke publicly of his desire for an extension in December with Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • Rutgers freshman point guard Corey Sanders will enter the draft without an agent, he announced via Twitter (hat tip to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com). The lack of an agent allows him to return to college ball if he withdraws by May 25th. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress pegs him as just the 73rd-best freshman prospect, and he’s not listed in Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider rankings.
  • The Vertical’s Bobby Marks, a former NBA executive, delves into the inner workings of draft promises, a fairly common phenomenon in which a team lets a player know it’ll draft him if he’s available at a certain draft slot. It’s unheard of for teams to renege on promises, and early promises sometimes prompt supposedly long-shot prospects to declare for the draft, knowing the team has their back, as Marks details.
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