Brandon Knight

Eastern Notes: Carter, Clarkson, Fall, Tyndall

Bulls second-year center Wendell Carter will be the foundation of the team’s defense, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Carter will do most of the dirty work, along with being used as an offensive facilitator. The Bulls will rely on him for shot-blocking as well as to mask some of his teammates’ defensive shortcomings, Strotman adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson are the Cavaliers veterans with the most trade value beyond Kevin Love, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and Brandon Knight rank next in terms of trade value, as all have expiring contracts, Fedor notes, but none are core pieces.
  • Celtics rookie center Tacko Fall suffered a mild knee sprain in a collision going up for a block during a workout, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. He’s expected to be sidelined for only a week, Weiss adds. Fall, an undrafted 7’6” center, was signed to an Exhibit 10 contract in July.
  • Donnie Tyndall has officially been named head coach of the Pistons’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, the NBAGL team tweets. The Pistons’ plan to hire Tyndall was first reported in July. Tyndall has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors 905, helping win a league championship under Jerry Stackhouse in 2017.

Cavs Notes: Smith, Coaching Search, Expiring Deals, Draft

Cavaliers GM Koby Altman told reporters Friday that he has already been contacted by a team interested in trading for J.R. Smith, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The interest isn’t so much in Smith as a player – he parted ways with the team in November and only appeared in 11 games this season – but in his contract, which is valued at $14.72MM but carries only a $3.87MM guarantee.

[RELATED: Why J.R. Smith May (Or May Not) Be A Valuable Offseason Trade Chip]

A team looking to unload salary could deal for Smith and be on the hook for just $1.29MM annually if he is waived and stretched over three seasons. The Cavaliers showed a willingness this year to take on unwanted contracts in exchange for draft picks, trading for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Matthew Dellavedova and Nik Stauskas.

“We are actually the only team in the NBA that can provide guaranteed cap relief from teams or salary relief until July 1,” Altman said. “We can guarantee that right now and we actually had a phone call yesterday on that (Smith) trade chip, so, we’re going to keep on being aggressive adding those assets because we do eventually want to consolidate and be really good at some point.”

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Vardon:

  • Altman promised an “open-minded” approach to the team’s coaching search and brought up the possibility of making history by hiring a woman for the job. Though he couldn’t mention her by name because she’s under contract, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is an obvious candidate if Altman wants a female coach. Hammon interviewed for the Bucks’ head-coaching job last year, ran the Spurs’ summer league team and has a player development background, which Vardon states is important to the Cavaliers.
  • Other coaching possibilities that Cavs players mentioned to Vardon include the Nets’ Bret Brielmaier, the Mavericks’ Jamahl Mosley and the Trail Blazers’ Nate Tibbetts. All three have previous experience in Cleveland. Altman said interviews will begin soon with candidates whose teams aren’t in the playoffs.
  • The Cavaliers believe their expiring contracts for next season might generate some interest on the trade market this summer. Knight and Dellavedova will both be free agents in 2020, along with John Henson, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson.
  • Cleveland won a tiebreaker with the Suns for second place in the draft order heading into next month’s lottery. If they Cavs do wind up with the No. 2 pick, Vardon notes, their view of what type of player Collin Sexton will develop into may determine whether they opt for a point guard in Ja Morant or a wing player in R.J. Barrett.

Eastern Notes: Knight, Sixers, Bucks

Brandon Knight, who was sent to the Cavaliers at this season’s trade deadline, is embracing his role as a mentor to Collin Sexton, Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes.

“I don’t know what the process was before I got here … I do know since I’ve gotten here I try to talk to [Sexton] as much as I can,” Knight said. “I see myself a lot in him as a young guard having vets around me, having to learn when to score and when not to score, trying to use my speed but also trying to slow down. There’s a lot of things I had to deal with. So when I see him do certain things I’m like, ‘Man, I used to do that.’ ”

Knight and Sexton were each selected eighth overall in their respective drafts. Knight started for most of his career and he knows what it’s like to feel the pressure of being a top selection.

“It took me a couple years,” Knight said. “If we can get him to do that — what I learned year four — by year two, how much better will our team be? I just try to tell him those little things.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers assistant coach Billy Lange has interviewed for the St. Joe’s head coaching job, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Lange has been with the team for six seasons.
  • The Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, has fired coach Jordan Brady, according to the team’s Twitter feed. “We greatly appreciate Coach Brady and his staff for their efforts the past 2 seasons,” GM Dave Dean said. “While they have played a significant role in the organization’s growth on the court and in the community, we feel it’s in the best interest of the Herd to explore other options.”
  • Something needs to change in Boston, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports contends. Inconsistency has plagued the Celtics all season, prompting Forsberg takes a look at some potential lineup changes that coach Brad Stevens could make.

Cavs Notes: Durant, Chriss, Knight, M. Richardson

Between the day that the Cavaliers beat the Warriors to win the 2016 NBA Finals and the day Kevin Durant opted to sign with Golden State, Cleveland’s then-GM David Griffin gathered his staff and instructed them to look into possible paths to landing Durant, writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe. As Lowe explains, there was a fear after the Finals that KD would head to the Dubs, and even though the Cavs recognized they had little chance of securing a meeting with him, they wanted to do all they could to explore the possibility.

“I don’t believe you can dream big enough in the NBA,” Griffin told Lowe recently, looking back on that 2016 offseason. “You have to go through the exercise.”

Of course, Durant ultimately signed with the Warriors and the Cavaliers didn’t get a meeting. That second part, at least, came as no surprise, since Cleveland was one of just three clubs during the summer of 2016 that ended up staying over the salary cap despite a huge cap spike that created room for 27 other teams. It would have been extremely difficult for the Cavs to create space to sign Durant, and a sign-and-trade with Oklahoma City would have been a long shot, even if the star forward had considered Cleveland.

It’s hard to even view the Cavs’ failed run at Durant an intriguing what-if scenario, since it never got off the ground at all. Still, it’s a reminder that even the league’s most successful teams will do their due diligence to find ways they can add another star and become even more dangerous — even if the road to an acquisition seems improbable.

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • While many NBA observers and fans questioned the league’s decision to suspend Marquese Chriss for a game after he defended himself from a physical attack from Serge Ibaka, Cavs head coach Larry Drew thought it was the right call, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays. “Punches were thrown by both guys and I thought the ruling the league made was the right decision,” Drew said.
  • When the Cavaliers acquired Brandon Knight from the Rockets at last month’s trade deadline, he was viewed as the salary dump necessary for Cleveland to secure Houston’s first-round pick. Since his arrival though, Knight has been a regular part of the club’s rotation and has showed flashes of his old self, Fedor writes for Cleveland.com. “He’s the Brandon that I remember,” Drew said. “Probably not as explosive as he’s been in the past, prior to the injury, but still a guy who has a tremendous work ethic and he competes. That’s the thing I admire about him and respect about him. He’s a team player and he’s going to give you everything he has when he’s on the floor.”
  • Former Kings and Raptors swingman Malachi Richardson signed a G League contract and has been claimed off waivers by the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s NBAGL affiliate, a league source tells Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link). Richardson was traded from Toronto to Philadelphia at last month’s deadline and was subsequently waived by the Sixers.

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Bulls, Knight

When they explored the market for Reggie Bullock prior to last week’s trade deadline, the Pistons had options beyond the Lakers’ offer of a second-round pick and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. According to president of basketball operations Ed Stefanski, the Pistons could have instead had two second-round picks in exchange for Bullock, but liked Mykhailiuk enough to take him in place one of those picks.

“Instead of getting two seconds, we got Svi and a second,” Stefanski said. “We know he’s a prospect. We know he can flat-out shoot the basketball and we’re excited about seeing if we can develop him. The idea of putting a name to a player and getting a second-round pick was intriguing to us as opposed to bringing in two second-round picks.”

As Langlois relays, one of the Pistons’ goals has been to acquire controllable – and cheap – players on rookie contracts, since the team’s cap is otherwise loaded with pricey veteran deals. The club achieved that goal at the deadline by landing Mykhailiuk and Thon Maker, who is one more year left on his rookie contract after this season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders shares some details on the cash changing hands in a pair of Central trades. According to Pincus (Twitter links), the Pacers sent $110K to the Rockets in the Nik Stauskas/Wade Baldwin trade, and the Bulls received $2,610,464 from the Thunder in their trade involving Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Chicago, which has now maxed out the cash it can receive in 2018/19 trades, will receive that money from OKC in three installments worth about $870K apiece on the first of March, April, and May, Pincus notes (via Twitter).
  • In a podcast discussion with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Bobby Marks mentioned in passing that Khris Middleton‘s name is one the Pacers have “circled” as a potential offseason target (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). Re-signing Middleton will be a top priority for the Bucks, who will also see Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez, and Nikola Mirotic reach free agency.
  • The Pacers‘ style of play and the promise of a starting job were key factors in luring Wesley Matthews to Indiana, as the veteran swingman confirms to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.
  • Brandon Knight has barely played over the last two seasons, and has seemingly become known more for his contract than his play on the court, after the Rockets dangled him in trade talks for much of the season. Now a member of the Cavaliers, Knight tells Ben Stinar of AmicoHoops that he remains confident he can recapture his previous form. “I had a full year off, but I’m still the same player,” said Knight, who averaged 19.6 PPG as recently as 2015/16.

Shumpert To Rockets, Burks to Kings In 3-Team Trade

FEBRUARY 7, 11:33am: The trade is now official, the Cavaliers confirmed in a press release. Here are the full details:

  • Cavaliers acquire Knight, Chriss, the Rockets’ 2019 first-round pick, and the Rockets 2022 second-round pick.
  • Rockets acquire Shumpert, Stauskas, Baldwin, and the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cleveland).
  • Kings acquire Burks and lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ 2020 second-round picks.

FEBRUARY 7, 7:21am: The draft pick the Kings are receiving from Houston in the deal will be the lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ second-rounders in 2020, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California.

FEBRUARY 6, 8:10pm: The Cavaliers will also receive a lottery-protected 2019 first-round pick from the Rockets, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who states that the front office is “thrilled” by what it was able to get in return for Burks.

7:25pm: The Kings, Rockets and Cavaliers have agreed to a three-team deal that will send Iman Shumpert to Houston, Alec Burks and a second-round pick to Sacramento and Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight to Cleveland, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets will also receive Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from the Cavs, adds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both guards were acquired Sunday when Cleveland shipped Rodney Hood to Portland. Houston hasn’t decided whether to keep both players for the rest of the season, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Because they were just acquired, Stauskas and Baldwin can’t be aggregated in the same trade, so the Cavaliers and Rockets will have to make two separate deals, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Burks will be traded for Knight, while Chriss’ $3.2MM salary will be absorbed with the TPE that Cleveland created by sending Hood to the Trail Blazers.

The Cavaliers had to include both guards to remain below the luxury tax, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. They created a $1.5MM trade exception for each player and are now $1.2MM under the tax. Knight carries cap hits of $14.6MM for this season and $15.6MM for 2019/20, while Chriss has a $3.2MM expiring deal. Cleveland is dangerously close to tax territory for next season, Marks adds, hovering about $10MM below without accounting for a projected top five draft pick.

Houston will save $6.3MM in projected tax payments and bring its bill down to $6.1MM, Marks notes in a separate post. The total could drop even lower depending on what happens with $1.5MM in bonuses for Clint Capela, who is sidelined after thumb surgery. The Rockets will inherit Shumpert’s Bird rights and will sit about $4MM above the tax threshold with the addition of the three players.

The Rockets had been seeking veteran wing help and were hoping to unload the contracts of Knight and Chriss after acquiring them from Phoenix over the summer in a deal to unload Ryan Anderson‘s hefty salary. Shumpert has an $11MM expiring contract. Burks also has an expiring deal worth a little more than $11.5MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rockets, Cavs Remain Engaged On Alec Burks

As of Tuesday night, the Rockets and Cavaliers remained engaged in trade discussions involving Cleveland guard Alec Burks, according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. The hypothetical deal would send Brandon Knight and a first-round pick to the Cavs, Lloyd notes.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported last week that Houston and Cleveland had talked about a trade involving Burks, Knight, and a first-rounder, but suggested at the time that those discussions had “quieted.” Based on Lloyd’s account, it sounds like neither club has closed the door on a deal quite yet.

Burks, 27, has enjoyed a solid bounce-back season after being traded from Utah to Cleveland earlier this season. In 34 games (28 starts) as a Cavalier, the former 12th overall pick – who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end – has averaged 11.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.9 APG on .400/.378/.806 shooting.

Trading for Burks would cost the Rockets their 2019 first-round pick, but it would create extra financial breathing room for 2019/20 by clearing Knight’s salary. Houston will have ongoing tax concerns moving forward and would like to move Knight’s contract if possible.

The Cavs, having already traded Kyle Korver, George Hill, and Rodney Hood, are looking to get what they can for their veteran assets, but a Burks trade wouldn’t be popular in the locker room, Lloyd writes. According to Lloyd, Burks has “built up equity” among Cleveland’s veterans since arriving from Utah and some would like to see him stick around long-term, though that appears unlikely.

As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reiterated earlier today, the Rockets are also dangling Knight, a first-round pick, and Marquese Chriss in talks with the Grizzlies, presumably for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple. If Houston prefers that potential deal with Memphis, perhaps the club views a Burks acquisition as a Plan B.

The Thunder are also said to have interest in Burks, per O’Connor.

O’Connor’s Latest: Gasol, Conley, OKC, Prince, More

As we relayed earlier today, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer hears that the Hornets‘ offer for Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a protected first-round pick. That would be an underwhelming return for Gasol, but there hasn’t been much league-wide interest in the 34-year-old, O’Connor writes.

The Kings and Pistons were among the teams potentially in the mix for Gasol, according to O’Connor, but Memphis didn’t have any interest in Detroit center Andre Drummond and Sacramento was unwilling to part with promising young wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Grizzlies wanted.

The Raptors reportedly explored a potential Gasol deal, initially attempting to come up with an individual trade for one Grizzlies veteran before turning it into a package for both Gasol and Mike Conley, O’Connor writes. However, those talks didn’t advance and league sources tell The Ringer that it’s unlikely Toronto ends up with Gasol or Conley.

Elsewhere on the Conley front, the Jazz continue to make a strong push, with an offer that includes Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and a first-round pick, per O’Connor. The sense around the NBA is that the Grizzlies won’t settle for a modest return for Conley, which is something we heard in relation to the Pistons’ offer earlier today.

O’Connor’s latest piece for The Ringer features several more trade-related tidbits, so we’ll round them up here…

  • The Thunder are believed to be among the teams with interest in Cavaliers guard Alec Burks, league sources tell O’Connor. However, Burks wouldn’t fit into OKC’s $10.88MM trade exception. The Thunder, along with the Sixers and Trail Blazers, have expressed interest in Hawks wing Taurean Prince, O’Connor adds.
  • Following up on his report from last week about the Rockets and Grizzlies discussing a Brandon Knight trade, O’Connor suggests that Marquese Chriss and a first-round pick would also go to Memphis in that proposed deal. Houston would be targeting JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple in the swap, though it remains in the discussion stage for now.
  • The Kings have made calls about veteran forwards Harrison Barnes (Mavericks) and Otto Porter (Wizards) but have found no traction on a Porter deal, writes O’Connor.
  • While DeAndre Jordan looks like an obvious trade candidate, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Knicks keep him around as a potential recruiter for Kevin Durant, according to O’Connor, who notes that Durant and Jordan are good friends. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote about this subject on Tuesday.
  • League sources don’t expect the Celtics to do anything at the deadline with Terry Rozier, since he could serve as potential Kyrie Irving insurance or a sign-and-trade sweetener for Anthony Davis in the offseason, says O’Connor.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers remain open to moving one of their two veteran point guards, Cory Joseph or Darren Collison. Both players are on expiring contracts.

Lowe’s Latest: Rockets, Prince, Blazers, Heat

The Rockets and Cavaliers had discussions about sending Brandon Knight to Cleveland along with a first-round pick in exchange for Alec Burks. However, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com hears that those talks have ceased. Houston has also spoken with the Grizzlies about potential Knight deals.

Cleveland is selling Burks, Rodney Hood, and any other “indispensable asset” prior to the deadline, Lowe writes. The team is willing to take back future salary in exchange for picks.

Houston is expected to scour the market for deals leading up to the deadline with an eye on attaching a future first-rounder to Knight and Marquese Chriss. The Rockets would likely push for lottery protections on any picks that would convey past James Harden‘s prime.

Lowe’s latest piece contains trade nuggets from several teams in the league and we’ve already passed along news from the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley and Marc Gasol sweepstakes as well as the Magic’s pre-deadline plan. Here are the rest of the newsworthy notes from the ESPN piece:

  • The Hawks have made Taurean Prince available in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Atlanta hasn’t received a ton of traction on Prince deals because of its asking price. The organization wants a young prospect and a pick in exchange for the small forward.
  • The Blazers have put their first-rounder on the table in trade talks, sources tell Lowe. Portland has reached out about Otto Porter Jr.‘s availability, though Wizards owner Ted Leonsis previously announced that the team would not be trading Porter before the deadline.
  • Porter has drawn interest from several teams. In addition to the Blazers, the Mavericks and Jazz have kept an eye on the situation. Dallas was interested in swapping Harrison Barnes for Porter prior to the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
  • Miami appears to be willing to move anyone but Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo for cap relief. Lowe expects the Heat to try to get at least a second-round pick for Wayne Ellington.
  • Lowe confirms a previous report that JaMychal Green, Justin Holiday, and Garrett Temple are all available. Holiday, who was acquired from the Bulls earlier this year, cost the Grizzlies two second-round picks.
  • The Kings have approximately $11MM in cap space available and they want to use it to pick up an asset. Lowe writes that it could be a draft pick or a player who will help them win this season.
  • Sacramento is willing to engage in trade talks about Willie Cauley-Stein, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Kings may simply let the center walk should he receive too high of an offer this offseason.
  • The Bulls are expected to listen to offers for anyone but Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter. Lowe doesn’t expect Chicago to deal either Kris Dunn or Zach LaVine though, as the team’s asking price is anticipated to be too high.
  • The Nuggets own a pair of trade exceptions and have slightly less than $7MM in breathing room under the tax. They are open to taking on a salary dump if another team calls and has to shed a player in that price range.

Rockets, Grizzlies Discuss Brandon Knight Trade

The Rockets have discussed a trade with the Grizzlies involving guard Brandon Knight, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Houston has been offering a first-round pick to sweeten the package, O’Connor adds.

Knight is making a guaranteed $14.6MM this season and another $15.63MM next season. Knight, 27, has only appeared in 12 games this season after missing all of last season with a knee injury. He hasn’t seen the court since January 11th.

It’s not clear which Grizzlies player(s) the Rockets would be targeting in return for Knight, but Memphis has gone into fire sale mode and is shopping veterans Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green, both on expiring contracts, are among the Grizzlies’ lower-cost trade candidates who could help a contender like Houston.

The Grizzlies would likely try to buy out Knight if they acquired him.