Bojan Bogdanovic

Central Notes: Robinson, Pacers’ Plans, Thomas, Bucks Cap

The addition of swingman Glenn Robinson III filled the Pistons’ biggest need this offseason, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The Pistons didn’t anticipate an early commitment but a phone call from new coach Dwane Casey as the start of free agency helped to seal the deal with the ex-Pacers wing. Robinson received a two-year, $8.3MM contract. “We didn’t expect we would get Glenn that quickly,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We felt getting the two-year commitment was huge to us. To find a young wing who can make a shot, they’re hard to find in the league. When the opportunity came up that quickly, we felt we had to make a move. If it wasn’t for him, we would still be out there looking for a guy.”

In other news involving Central Division teams:

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard hopes to use a majority of next summer’s cap space on his own free agents, Mark Monteith of Pacers.com reports. Rotation players Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Tyreke Evans could all be free agents next summer, which would free up as much as $57MM in cap space, Monteith notes. But Pritchard would prefer to use most of the money to re-sign some of those players, as he told Monteith. “We have the season like we want to have, our free agents will be the priority,” he said. “I think this team has a chance to grow this year. … We already know these guys. They become our priority in free agency.”
  • Rookie second-round pick Khyri Thomas could get playing time with the Pistons through his defensive prowess, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. The swingman out of Creighton views himself as a defensive specialist. “When I was younger, I didn’t get the ball a lot playing with older people so I just stole the ball to get it,” he told Beard.
  • The addition of center Brook Lopez gives the Bucks 13 guaranteed contracts for next season but they’re still $15MM away from being hard-capped, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Lopez reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Sunday. Milwaukee still has to deal with restricted free agent Jabari Parker‘s status, as he remains unsigned, but they could gain more flexibility since the contracts for Tyler Zeller and Brandon Jennings are not guaranteed, Marks adds.

Pacers To Guarantee Bojan Bogdanovic’s Salary

JUNE 29: The Pacers are guaranteeing Bogdanovic’s $10.5MM salary for the 2018/19 season, league sources confirm to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Today was the deadline for Indiana to waive Bogdanovic in order to avoid that guarantee.

JUNE 24: The Pacers plan to retain veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic through his salary guarantee date later this week, a source familiar with the team’s plans tells Ben Gibson of 8Points9Seconds.com.

Having signed a two-year deal with Indiana last summer, Bogdanovic is under contract for the 2018/19 season, but his $10.5MM salary is currently only partially guaranteed for $1.5MM. The club could clear $9MM from its books for next season by waiving him before June 29, but apparently has no plans to do so.

[RELATED: NBA Salary Guarantee Dates For Summer 2018]

The Pacers’ intentions for Bogdanovic come as no surprise, since the former second-round pick excelled during his first season with the team, setting new career highs in PPG (14.3), FG% (.474), and 3PT% (.402), among other categories. Bogdanovic started 80 regular season games for Indiana, and the club would be comfortable keeping the 29-year-old in the starting lineup entering the 2018/19 campaign, Gibson writes.

Bogdanovic’s contract is structured similar to Darren Collison‘s, and the Pacers reportedly plan on guaranteeing the point guard’s 2018/19 salary as well. Keeping both players on the roster will reduce Indiana’s potential cap room this July, but the team should still have a good amount cap flexibility.

Even if Bogdanovic’s and Collison’s salaries become fully guaranteed and Thaddeus Young‘s player option is exercised, the Pacers’ guaranteed salaries for 2018/19 would only total about $78.6MM. The club also barely has any guaranteed money on its 2019/20 cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Cavs, Bulls, Pistons, Bogdanovic

While the Cavaliers could still land an impact player with the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick (No. 8 overall), the on-court results from the Kyrie Irving trade have been extremely underwhelming to date. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were ineffective in Cleveland and were flipped at the deadline for players like Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, and Larry Nance, who haven’t made an impact in the postseason.

As Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes, at least one Cavaliers player was ready to call the Irving blockbuster a net negative for Cleveland several months ago. After one bad loss during the winter, the unnamed player turned to Lloyd and said, Danny Ainge is a f***ing thief.” Given the results of the Eastern Conference Finals so far, with the Irving-less Celtics up 2-0 on the Cavs, that player probably isn’t alone in his view.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • While Bulls executive John Paxson acknowledged that versatile wings are more important than ever in today’s NBA, that doesn’t mean the club is zeroed in on acquiring such a player with the No. 7 pick. As Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Paxson said the Bulls intend to take the best available player. Paxson added that the club won’t rule out the possibility of trading up, though he admitted that’s “hard to do.”
  • In a separate article for NBC Sports Chicago, Strotman lays out a case for why the Bulls should use the No. 7 pick to select Missouri prospect Michael Porter Jr., who is recovering from back surgery.
  • The Pistons no longer have their 2018 first-round pick, but they’ll be on the lookout for second-round options at this week’s combine. Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press identifies five names to watch, while Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details why the club could draft a player at any position.
  • Speaking of the Pistons, they don’t yet have a new head of basketball operations in place, so GM Jeff Bower continues to run the front office — despite the fact that his contract is set to expire on June 30. Writing for The Detroit Free Press, Ellis has the story on Bower’s unusual situation.
  • Count Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic among the players who intends to represent his country during this summer’s 2019 World Cup qualifiers. As he tells FIBA.basketball, Bogdanovic will look to turn things around for Croatia after the squad went 1-3 in the first two sets of qualifiers.

Pacers’ Pritchard: We Hit Jackpot With Oladipo

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard lavished praise on Victor Oladipo and revealed he consulted the team’s current star on potential moves, Dakota Crawford of the Indianapolis Star relays. Pritchard’s comments were made during radio interviews with ESPN’s Dan Dakich and CBS Sports Radio’s Kent Sterling. Pritchard said Oladipo changed the organization after being acquired from the Thunder in the Paul George deal last summer, not only with his breakout season but with his personality.

We feel like we hit the jackpot,” Pritchard said. “No offense to Paul George, he’s having success and he’s going to go wherever he wants this offseason …”

Pritchard texts regularly with Oladipo and indicated he’d ask for the guard’s input on future decisions. Pritchard began doing that at the trade deadline.

“We looked at two or three deals. Two of them were just OK. But one of them, we really looked at. We went to Victor … he said some things, and we (kind of decided to leave it on the table).”

In other nuggets from the interviews:

  • Pritchard said he’d like to retain forward Thaddeus Young, who has a player option on his contract. “He didn’t talk a lot in the locker room, but when he did it was powerful. Thad was amazing. We hope he comes back.”
  • Pritchard hinted he wasn’t interested in pursuing George in free agency. Front office executives aren’t allowed to speak specifically about opposing players. “One of the things we’re about, we don’t care about big names, we don’t care about big personalities we don’t care about big brands. What we care about is being humble … Anybody that fits in, yeah, we’re interested … But if they don’t fit that, I’m not interested. It’s that simple.”
  • Pritchard liked the way the contracts of Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic worked out and indicated he might take the same approach this offseason. Both were signed to two-year deals with a team option. “We think big, but the challenge is, if we lose a lot of our pieces to go big … are you better off with a couple major players, or are you better off with a really good group of players that don’t make the $30 million? That (instead) make the $10 or $12 million.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Bullock, Bogdanovic

The Bulls will use the last few games of the regular season much as they’ve used the rest of it, auditioning players for long-term roles. As Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes, there’s a relatively short list of players who will certainly be back in the picture for the team next season.

While Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen headline the Bulls’ young core, veterans Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday have proven their worth as leaders in the locker room.

Cowley writes that Bobby Portis, David Nwaba and Denzel Valentine have all shown that they can be valuable bench pieces as the team heads forward, leaving five spots to be filled by the likes of incoming 2018 rookies and perhaps current Bulls players who have shown glimpses of promise in 2017/18.

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • Now that the Pistons have been eliminated from playoff contention, they’ve shut guard Reggie Bullock down for the remainder of the campaign. Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes about the veteran’s career year.
  • Make no mistake, LeBron James would have no qualms playing for a female head coach. “I mean, if she knows what she’s doing, we’ll love it,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin when asked about Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. “I mean, listen, at the end of the day, basketball … it’s not about male or female. You know the game, you know the game.
  • Offseason addition Bojan Bogdanovic has thrived for the Pacers this season and is filling the role he expected when he signed with the club over the summer. “I was not looking for the money. I was looking for the opportunity that I was going to be a starter and play a decent amount of minutes,” Bogdanovic, who averages a career high 30.8 minutes per game for the Pacers, told J. Michael Falgoust of The Indianapolis Post. “Talking to the coaching staff during the summer in free agency they told me exactly it was going to be this way I didn’t have any doubts signing with the Pacers.

Eastern Rumors: Jefferson, Dedmon, Pacers, MCW

The roster spot of Cavs veteran forward Richard Jefferson is in jeopardy, according to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd. The signing of Dwyane Wade gives the Cavs 16 fully guaranteed contracts, along with Kay Felder’s partial guarantee. Even if Felder is traded or released, the Cavs will have to rid themselves of a guarantee contract and Jefferson is a likely candidate, Lloyd continues. Jefferson, 37, has a $2.5MM contract but if he’s released it will cost the club approximately $10.5MM in luxury taxes since it is a repeat offender, Lloyd points out. A second-round pick may have to be packaged to move Jefferson, Lloyd adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Center Dewayne Dedmon probably won’t be with the Hawks beyond this season but he can help them in the short term, as Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains. Dedmon, who played with the Spurs last season, will make $6MM this season with the Hawks and holds a $6.3MM player option for next season. But Dedmon would probably benefit from testing the market again if he has a solid season, Cunningham continues. He’s adept at rolling to the basket in the pick-and-roll and he’s efficient in transition but needs to cut down on his fouls, Cunningham adds.
  • The Pacers will start Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo at guard, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic at forward, and Myles Turner at center in their preseason opener on Wednesday, coach Nate McMillan told Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star.  The surprise on the second unit, as Brown notes, is forward Damien Wilkins. The 37-year-old hasn’t played in the league since the 2012/13 season. He’s signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
  • Hornets backup guard Michael Carter-Williams expects to be cleared for contact early next week, he told the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell. Carter-Williams received platelet-rich plasma injections in both knees to promote healing of patella tears, Bonnell continues. He’s been restricted to noncontact drills during the first week of training camp.

Pacers Sign Bojan Bogdanovic

JULY 10th, 10:48pm: Bogdanovic has officially signed with the team, according to a Pacers press release.

JULY 7th, 1:48pm: The Pacers have agreed to sign Bojan Bogdanovic to a two-year, $21MM contract with a partial guarantee in year two, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). The news comes right on the heels of a report that the Wizards pulled Bogdanovic’s qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.BojanBogdanovic vertical

Bogdanovic, 28, enjoyed the best season of his NBA career in 2016/17, starting 54 games for the Nets before being sent to the Wizards at the trade deadline. For the season, the 6’8″ swingman averaged 13.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG, with a .445/.367/.893 shooting line. He also chipped in 8.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 13 playoff games for Washington.

After receiving a qualifying offer from the Wizards, Bogdanovic entered July as a restricted free agent. However, Washington’s priority was to retain Otto Porter, and the team is now poised to match an offer sheet for Porter from the Nets. That put Bogdanovic out of the Wizards’ price range, particularly after the club agreed to sign a lower-cost replacement in Jodie Meeks.

Reports earlier in free agency pegged Bogdanovic’s asking price at $16MM per year over three or four seasons, which might have been attainable last summer, but was never realistic in this year’s market. The Pacers will get him at a $10.5MM annual salary, and will have an out for the second year if things don’t work out in Indiana in 2017/18. The new-look Pacers likely envision Bogdanovic as a replacement for C.J. Miles, who remains on the free agent market.

The Pacers will use cap room to sign Bogdanovic, and won’t have a whole lot of space left after also having signed Darren Collison to a deal that looks similar to Bogdanovic’s. Based on my rough calculations, Indiana’s team salary will be at around $94MM after officially adding Bogdanovic.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Bojan Bogdanovic is not the same player as Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has agreed to a three-year deal with the Kings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bojan Bogdanovic’s Becomes UFA; Pacers Make Push

1:45pm: The Pacers have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Bogdanovic, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

1:36pm: The Wizards have withdrawn their qualifying offer on Bojan Bogdanovic, giving up their right of first refusal on the free agent forward, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. As a result of the move, Bogdanovic will be an unrestricted free agent and can sign outright with any team.

Bogdanovic, 28, enjoyed the best season of his NBA career in 2016/17, starting 54 games for the Nets before being sent to the Wizards in a deadline deal. For the season, the 6’8″ swingman averaged 13.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG, with a .445/.367/.893 shooting line.

Despite his solid production, Bogdanovic isn’t viewed as an elite two-way player, so it came as a bit of a surprise when one report indicated he was seeking $16MM annually over three or four years. That sort of money may have been available for a player like Bogdanovic in free agency a year ago when nearly every team had cap room, but the market hasn’t been as prosperous this time around.

Sean Deveney of The Sporting News suggested on Thursday that Bogdanovic’s price tag was “quickly dropping,” though perhaps becoming unrestricted will help. The Hawks, Kings, and Nuggets were among the teams showing interest earlier in free agency — it’s not clear if they’re all still in the mix.

The Wizards are poised to match the Nets’ offer sheet for Otto Porter and reached a deal with Jodie Meeks earlier this week, which made Bogdanovic the odd man out in D.C.

RFA Rumors: Mirotic, Noel, Simmons, Green

A handful of restricted free agents have made out well so far this year on the open market. Tony Snell, Joe Ingles, Cristiano Felicio, and Andre Roberson got lucrative new multiyear deals from their respective clubs, and Otto Porter reportedly has a maximum salary offer sheet in place with the Nets, though the Wizards have yet to receive it.

Still, there are a number of RFAs still on the market as league-wide cap room begins to dwindle. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News takes a closer look at six big-name RFA still seeking a new contract, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Prior to free agency, rival executives estimated that Nikola Mirotic would seek something in the range of $20MM annually. However, the Bulls‘ power forward may have to settle for something closer to $12MM per year, according to Deveney, who notes that team owner Jerry Reinsdorf has played “hardball” in these situations in the past.
  • Deveney predicts that the Mavericks and Nerlens Noel will eventually negotiate a deal in the four-year, $85MM range.
  • The Spurs are expected to match reasonable offers for Jonathon Simmons, which could mean something in the range of $30MM over three years, per Deveney. The Kings and Knicks have expressed interest in Simmons.
  • Grizzlies RFA JaMychal Green has drawn some interest from the Bulls and he may be a backup plan for the Spurs depending on what happens with Simmons, says Deveney, adding that Memphis still wants to retain Green.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic‘s price tag is “quickly dropping,” according to Deveney. The Wizards RFA was believed to be seeking something in the range of $50MM over three years, but that doesn’t seem realistic at this point. The Kings may be Bogdanovic’s best bet if they don’t land another small forward, writes Deveney.

Southeast Notes: Porter, Bogdanovic, Isaac, Bosh

The Kings’ decision to use a major part of their cap space on George Hill and Zach Randolph leaves the Nets as the most significant threat for Wizards RFA Otto Porter, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Porter met with the Kings on Sunday and reportedly received a max offer, but didn’t sign it, wanting to talk to other teams first. Sacramento’s moves today means it no longer has room for a max deal unless it unloads some other salary. The Wizards can match any offer sheet that Porter brings to them, and have stated that they plan to do so.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards plan to explore sign-and-trade options for Bojan Bogdanovic, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. Bogdanovic appears to be on the way out after this week’s deals with Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott, but Washington won’t revoke his $4.7MM qualifying offer, hoping to deal him and create a traded player exception. Bogdanovic is reportedly seeking about $16MM per year, which seems unrealistic. Michael notes that the Wizards have made use of TPEs in the recent years, picking up Jared Dudley, Kris Humphries and Tim Frazier.
  • The Magic will hold first-round pick Jonathan Isaac out of the final two games of the Orlando Pro Summer League after he suffered a hip strain Monday, relays John Denton of NBA.com. Tests didn’t reveal any structural damage and the injury isn’t considered serious, but the Magic are keeping him sidelined as a precaution.
  • In a move to free up cap space, the Magic have reached an agreement with 2005 first-rounder Fran Vazquez that he won’t play in the NBA this season, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Orlando still owns the rights for the 34-year-old, and the move takes away his cap hold for the upcoming season.
  • The Heat are expected to end their seven-year relationship with Chris Bosh this week, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami will erase Bosh’s $52.1MM from its cap under a medical retirement in the wake of recurring blood clots. Bosh must be given 48 hours to clear waivers before the move becomes official, and it will push the Heat’s cap space from $9MM to more than $34MM this year.