Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts To Play In Greece

JULY 25: According to international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link), Roberts’ deal is worth $950K in year one and $1MM in year two, with an NBA out in between. That opt-out comes when we expected, but the value of the deal is smaller than previously reported.

JULY 24: NBA free agent point guard Brian Roberts has signed with Greek club Olympiacos, the team announced this weekend (Twitter link). Roberts will receive a two-year contract from the franchise.

According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, Roberts’ new two-year deal will be worth $4MM, and will also include an NBA opt-out. While Scotto doesn’t specify the details on that opt-out clause, I’d expect Roberts would have the opportunity to return to the NBA next offseason, following the first year of the deal.

Roberts, who played his college ball at Dayton, made his NBA debut in 2012 and has spent the last several seasons with New Orleans, Charlotte, and Portland. In 2016/17, he appeared in 41 games for the Hornets, but saw limited minutes, averaging 3.5 PPG and 1.3 APG.

The Hornets, who had been seeking a reliable backup for Kemba Walker, tried Roberts and Ramon Sessions there last season, but both players were free agents this summer and it appears neither will return. Sessions remains on the market, but Charlotte signed Michael Carter-Williams to be Walker’s new backup.

Meanwhile, Roberts will have the opportunity to play a larger role overseas next year for Olympiacos, and will also get a pay raise after earning the minimum in Charlotte. His new Greek club earned a spot in the EuroLeague Final Four in 2016/17, falling in the championship game to Turkish team Fenerbahce.

And-Ones: Dream Teams, Sports Betting, Roberts

Eight of the 12 players who played with Team USA during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London have since changed teams, Tom Haberstroh of ESPN writes. Seven of them either immediately or eventually reunited with a teammate from the same Dream Team squad.

The scribe has published a full feature detailing the impact that international teams have on superteams in the NBA, referring to playing internationally as a form of modern team-building.

The article, of course, touches on the fact that yet another player from that same team – Carmelo Anthony – could be on the move to reunite with Olympic teammates before the end of the summer.

Additionally, Haberstroh points out that five of the players from the 2016 Olympic squad can be free agents next summer. Could more reunions be in the cards?

That’s not all from around the NBA:

Hornets To Sign Brian Roberts

Nick Turchiaro / USA TODAY Sports Images

Nick Turchiaro / USA TODAY Sports Images

Brian Roberts will return to the Hornets as a reserve point guard, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The 30-year-old will receive a veteran’s minimum contract.

Roberts spent a season and a half in Charlotte before being traded twice in February. The Hornets sent him to the Heat on February 16th in a three-team deal that brought back Courtney Lee, and Miami shipped him to the Blazers in a cap-clearing move two days later.

Roberts appeared in 30 games last season with the Hornets, averaging 4.8 points and 1.3 assists in 11.1 minutes per night. His playing time was cut almost in half in Portland, and his per-game averages dropped to 2.9 points and 0.8 assists.

And-Ones: Len, Brown, Cavs, Roberts

Suns interim head coach Earl Watson has no qualms about pairing up centers Alex Len and Tyson Chandler in the starting lineup, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Watson wants to utilize Len as the team’s primary offensive target the rest of the season and foster his development, Coro continues. “Who’s playing two 7-footers any more?”  Watson explained to Coro. “We have this trend of playing small ball and we know the greatest small ball team is the Warriors. We’re not going to catch them. Let’s create a new trend. Let’s let Alex Len get experience.”

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • Swingman Jabari Brown, who played with the Lakers last season, is joining the team’s D-League D-Fenders after returning from China in recent days, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets. Brown, who appeared in 19 games with the Lakers as a rookie, was the last player cut in training camp when the club decided to keep veteran Metta World Peace.
  • A coaching change that’s produced only an 11-6 record so far and the inability to land Joe Johnson are among the problems that ail the Cavaliers, as TNT’s David Aldridge examines in his Morning Tip for NBA.com. Internal carping from players about their respective roles, shots and ability to mesh on the court with LeBron James has also been a factor, Aldridge hears.
  • Point guard Brian Roberts, whom the Trail Blazers recently acquired from the Heat, believes he’ll land an NBA job next summer when he enters the free agent market, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders reports. Roberts passed through the Heat organization via the Hornets after he was included in the three-team deal that sent Courtney Lee from the Grizzlies to Charlotte. “I feel like I’m a guy that whatever opportunities I get I’m going to make the most of it,” he told Brigham. “I’m reliable, and that’s what it comes down to in this league. If you can be dependable every night, you’ll have a job.”
  • Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson will be a prime target for the Mavericks in free agency, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News opines. Anderson’s ability to stretch the floor would make him a very good fit but he’ll be in heavy demand, Sefko notes.
  • The Grizzlies recalled rookie power forward Jarell Martin from the Iowa Energy, the D-League club tweets. Martin, a first-round pick, averaged 18.3 points over three games in his latest assignment there. He made his fourth appearance with Memphis on Monday night.
  • The Bucks recalled small forward Damien Inglis from the D-League’s Westchester Knicks, Milwaukee announced through its website. Inglis played 13 games for the Knicks’ D-League affiliate, averaging 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21.4 minutes.

And-Ones: Marks, Foye, Lee

Thunder GM Sam Presti referred to the trade with Denver that netted the team Randy Foye, as well as saved the team approximately $9.8MM in cap commitments, as “smart business,” Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman relays (Twitter link). “The roster spot clearly gives us some flexibility to survey other opportunities to improve,” Presti said. “Then financially, that obviously wasn’t the intent of the deal, but because of the presence of Dakari Johnson, Semaj Christon and Alex Abrines in the drafts that we’ve had previously, we feel pretty good about those guys. So the draft choices in this particular draft were more valuable to Denver. And the money that we were able to save, the way that we’ve operated here, that allows us to reinvest in the team and clearly our team is going to become more and more expensive.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Bucks didn’t make a deal prior to Thursday’s trade deadline and a big reason was that the team considers Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker to be virtually untouchable, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel writes. One of the duo would likely have had to be included in any swap for a big-name player, which was a non-starter as far as the franchise was concerned, notes Gardner. “Those guys are vault guys,” coach Jason Kidd said. “They’re in the vault. You don’t start a conversation with Jabari or Giannis. There’s no conversation to be had, right. So word gets around that those guys are untradeable.
  • The Celtics came close to dealing David Lee, who was waived earlier today, and viewed his expiring contract as a means to work a swap for a marquee player at the trade deadline, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe writes. “We almost had trades a few times, or thought there was a possibility,” team executive Danny Ainge said. “His [Lee] contract was a good way for us to get into a lot of the conversations we had.
  • Dmitry Razumov, the chairman of the Nets‘ board of directors, indicated that new GM Sean Marks will guide the team’s search for a new head coach but team ownership will also have input in the process, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays (ESPN NOW link). The team is likely to strongly consider San Antonio assistant coach Ettore Messina for the vacant slot, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News opined when Marks’ hiring was first announced.
  • The Blazers sent $75K to the Heat in exchange for point guard Brian Roberts, which is the minimum allowable amount per league rules, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.

Blazers Acquire Brian Roberts; Heat Duck Tax

Nick Turchiaro / USA TODAY Sports Images

Nick Turchiaro / USA TODAY Sports Images

5:19pm: The Heat traded Brian Roberts and Miami’s unprotected 2021 second-round pick to the Trail Blazers for cash, the teams announced. The move takes the Heat beneath the luxury tax threshold, according to Wojnarowski (on Twitter), and averts the repeat-offender tax penalties the team had been facing,

Miami progressively shed salary throughout the season, dealing Shabazz Napier, Zoran Dragic, Mario Chalmers, James Ennis, Chris Andersen and finally Jarnell Stokes and Roberts in separate deadline-day deals to avoid becoming the first NBA team hit with the repeater tax, which starts at a rate of $2.50 for every dollar spent. The tax isn’t calculated until the final day of the regular season, and the Heat are only about $1MM shy of the $84.74MM threshold, so they could still add enough salary to again cross it. That’s an unlikely proposition given their months-long efforts, however.

The Heat gain a trade exception worth Roberts’ $2,854,940 salary. It’s the second time the point guard has been traded this week, as he went from the Hornets to the Heat in Tuesday’s three-team Courtney Lee trade. The contract for the 30-year-old Roberts expires at season’s end, and he’ll surely hope for more opportunity to showcase himself for free agency than he saw in Charlotte. His 4.8 points, 1.3 assists and 11.1 minutes per game are all career lows for the fourth-year veteran. Blazers GM Neil Olshey hinted in the team’s press release that Roberts will get a chance to contribute in Portland.

“Brian is an experienced player and a quality person,” Olshey said. “He has a skill set we value and fills a positional need as we head into a critical time in the season.”

Roberts went into Portland’s open roster spot and the team’s ample cap space. Miami’s deadline moves, including the Stokes trade, leave the Heat with the regular-season minimum of 13 players.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports first reported the trade (Twitter link). Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel identified the second-round pick going to Portland as a 2021 selection (link to Twitter). RealGM confirms the pick is Miami’s own and carries no protection.

Southeast Notes: Jennings, Payton, Plumlee

The acquisition of Brandon Jennings in Tuesday’s trade with the Pistons doesn’t mean the Magic have wavered in their belief in Elfrid Payton, GM Rob Hennigan said, though coach Scott Skiles has been looking for more lately from Orlando’s incumbent starting point guard, notes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Still, the trade was about creating flexibility to chase stars in the summer, as Schmitz sees it, suggesting Jennings and Ilyasova will merely be rentals if the right marquee player comes calling. The deal reduced the Magic’s guaranteed salary commitments by $16.8MM for next season, bringing their total down to $44MM. See more from Orlando amid news out of the Southeast Division, where three teams have made trades within the last 24 hours:

  • It appears as though the Wizards had talks with the Bucks about Miles Plumlee, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports, citing sources, writes that Washington could revisit discussions about the big man if Milwaukee isn’t hung up on other business.
  • The Wizards see the return of Alan Anderson as a de facto trade deadline acquisition, and a decent chance exists that he’ll be playing by week’s end, reports Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The Wizards signed him to a one-year, $4MM deal this past summer thinking he’d be ready for the start of the regular season following ankle surgery in May, but a follow-up procedure has kept the swingman on the shelf all season so far, as Castillo details.
  • Heat team president Pat Riley pointed to the importance of upgrading Miami’s point guard position in the wake of Tyler Johnson‘s injury as he addressed Tuesday’s trade to acquire Brian Roberts, according to his remarks in the team’s statement. Johnson has said there’s no guarantee he returns to play this season.
  • It’s likely that the Hornets will use the roster spot they opened in Wednesday’s Courtney Lee trade to sign a third point guard out of the D-League, GM Rich Cho said, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • The Magic are down to four cities in the running to play host to their one-to-one D-League affiliate in 2017/18, CEO Alex Martins told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. All are in Florida: Jacksonville, Kissimmee, Lakeland and an Orlando location not far from where the NBA club plays, as Robbins details.

Hornets Acquire Courtney Lee In Three-Teamer

Bruce Kluckhohn / USA TODAY Sports Images

Bruce Kluckhohn / USA TODAY Sports Images

6:45pm: Courtney Lee is headed to Charlotte as part of a three-team deal involving the Grizzlies, Heat and Hornets, all of whom have officially announced the trade that Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports originally reported. The Heat pick up Brian Roberts in the deal, while Lee is the only asset going to the Hornets, but the Grizzlies come away with two players and four second-round picks.

From Charlotte, the Grizzlies receive P.J. Hairston, Charlotte’s 2018 second-rounder and Brooklyn’s 2019 second-rounder, which the Hornets acquired this past summer. From Miami, Memphis gets Chris Andersen, Miami’s second-rounder for 2017, with top-40 protection, plus Boston’s 2019 second-rounder with top-55 protection that Miami acquired this past summer. USA Today’s Sam Amick and Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal reported the details of the picks changing hands (All Twitter links).

We are excited to be adding a quality veteran wing player to our roster in Courtney Lee,” Charlotte GM Rich Cho said in his team’s press release. “Courtney has proven to be a team defender, a consistent outside shooter and a solid scorer in our league for the past eight years.  Particularly in terms of experience, he adds depth to our roster in a position of need for us and we expect him to fit in to our system and contribute right away.”

The Memphis-bound Hairston had started on the wing for Charlotte in place of Kidd-Gilchrist while he dealt with an earlier shoulder injury that kept him out for the season’s first few months, so presumably Lee will slide into that spot alongside soon-to-be free agent Nicolas Batum. All four players involved are on expiring contracts, with Lee’s worth $5.675MM, Anderson making $5MM, Roberts getting close to $2.854MM and Hairston seeing more than $1.201MM. The Grizzlies won’t be able to re-sign Hairston to a deal with a starting salary of more than $1,253,160 for next season because the Hornets declined the team option they had for next year on his rookie scale contract.

Memphis, Charlotte and Miami are all dealing with significant health issues, too. Marc Gasol has a broken foot, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, and mystery surrounds the status of Chris Bosh as he deals with another blood clot. Miami is also missing Tyler Johnson until at least April, if not the rest of the season.

The Grizzlies had reportedly been testing the market for Lee, though they apparently rejected a proposal from the Timberwolves of Lee for Kevin Martin several weeks ago, before Gasol went down. Andersen had been a trade candidate for months, with the latest dispatch indicating that Miami was aggressively trying to trade him as repeat-offender tax penalties loom. The trade as reported lowers the Heat’s payroll by about $2.1MM, but Miami would still need to trim roughly another $3.4MM to sneak under the tax line.

Hornets Rumors: Batum, Zeller, Cho, Clifford

The Celtics offered the Hornets a package that included four first-round picks to entice Charlotte to give up the No. 9 pick last month, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Boston was willing to give up its own pick at No. 16, the No. 15 pick that they would tentatively have acquired from the Hawks, an unprotected future first-round pick from the Nets (presumably the 2018 pick Brooklyn owes Boston) and a future first-rounder from either the Grizzlies or the Timberwolves (presumably the ones those teams already owe Boston), as Lowe details. Some front office members in Charlotte liked the idea, but owner Michael Jordan preferred to roll with Frank Kaminsky, whom the Hornets took at No. 9, several sources said to Lowe. The Grantland scribe delves into the implications of that choice, and he touches on more, too, as we highlight amid the latest from the Queen City:

  • Nicolas Batum‘s camp has been talking about how much he’d like to play with the Raptors, given the international appeal of Toronto, several league sources tell Lowe. The native of France, whom the Hornets traded for last month, is set to become a free agent after this coming season.
  • The Hornets have been willing to talk about Cody Zeller when they discuss trades with other teams, sources tell Lowe. That jibes with a report from shortly before the draft that Charlotte was aggressively shopping the big man.
  • GM Rich Cho and coach Steve Clifford have had a chilly relationship since last year’s departure of president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, sources familiar with the situation tell Lowe, yet Cho, Clifford and Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk all downplay the notion. “I would say it’s a good relationship now,” Cho says. “I value his input. We’re not always going to agree, but I wouldn’t expect to.”
  • Polk, Jordan, Cho, assistant GM Chad Buchanan and director of player personnel Larry Jordan, Michael’s brother, are the primary decision-makers for the team, according to Lowe.
  • Charlotte shopped Noah Vonleh and the No. 9 pick in a package to try to move up in the draft before abandoning that pursuit and trading Vonleh in the Batum deal, as Lowe details.
  • The Hornets had interest in Rodney Hood going into last year’s draft, Lowe hears. Hood wound up going at No. 23 to Utah, and Charlotte had an opportunity to move down into a spot where it might have nabbed him instead of Vonleh, as Lowe explains.
  • Hornets brass likes Elliot Williams, whom the Hornets have reportedly agreed to sign to a camp deal, but they see him as an insurance policy and don’t view him as a replacement for backup point guard Brian Roberts, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).

Eastern Notes: Whiteside, Roberts, Russell

Hassan Whiteside is finally getting an opportunity to prove that he is an NBA-caliber player after toiling away overseas and in the D-League, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. When asked how he feels about getting his chance to play for the Heat, Whiteside said, “It’s a blessing, you know. I told my teammates, man, you won’t believe how things work out in life. Three months ago, you can ask anybody in Charlotte at the downtown [YMCA], I was just there. At the downtown Y, just chillin’. Workin’ on my game. I couldn’t even get a team to pick up the phone.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With starting point guard Kemba Walker expected to miss a minimum of six weeks due to a a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Brian Roberts is the player who will be called upon to contribute more for the Hornets, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. “Here’s another opportunity for me to step up and help this team win games,” Roberts said. “It’s a challenge and everybody has to step up and take a little bit more ownership. Filling that void will be a group effort.
  • The Pacers are high on Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell, but even as Indiana’s lottery chances improve, Russell’s improvement will make it tough for a team without a top-five pick to nab him, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes amid a chat with readers.
  • The Pacers have assigned rookie big man Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team has announced. This will be Indiana’s first utilization of the D-League this season. In 13 appearances for the Pacers this season,Whittington has averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game.
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