Nets Rumors

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Dinwiddie, Fall, Simmons

Kyrie Irving‘s interest in playing in New York dates back to at least December, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said on a podcast with Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).

“You could just tell from the conversation that it was a little bit different,” Dinwiddie said. “… Actually, it definitely was December because he made a comment to me, he was like, ‘New York might be real fun next year,’ because I hadn’t signed yet. … That’s when I was first tipped off to the whole thing.” 

Dinwiddie signed an extension on December 13 and started developing a strategy to get Irving and Kevin Durant to join him in Brooklyn. He spoke frequently to Irving about the organization, touting the style of play, the training staff and the family-oriented atmosphere that GM Sean Marks has installed.

“Of course I’m going to be like, ‘Bro, it’s perfect for you,'” Dinwiddie added. “‘And (head coach) Kenny (Atkinson) gonna let you rock.'”

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Rookie center Tacko Fall will come into camp on an Exhibit 10 contract, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tells NBC Sports Boston that he will be given a chance to earn a roster spot. “Tacko is fun to watch,” Ainge said. “… Guards get in a bind and they just throw the ball up in the air and then Tacko grabs it and tip-toe dunks it into the basket. It just looks like a senior in high school playing against fourth-graders sometimes.”
  • Sixers guard Ben Simmons confirmed on Twitter that he won’t be playing in the FIBA World Cup. He plans to host camps in Australia and train with the national team, but he won’t take part in any games. Simmons expressed an intention to participate in the Olympics next summer.
  • The Raptors have a $2.95MM trade exception that will expire tomorrow, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. It’s left over from the deal that brought Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs last summer.

Celtics Attempted To Work Out Irving Sign-And-Trade With Nets

  • The Celtics attempted to work out sign-and-trade deals with the Sixers and Nets for Horford and Irving, respectively, but both teams wanted more draft pick compensation than Boston was comfortable with, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Turning those free agent departures into sign-and-trades might have allowed Boston to retain more cap flexibility or pick up an extra asset or two.

Nets Sign Henry Ellenson To Two-Way Contract

JULY 17: The Nets have officially signed Ellenson to his two-way contract, the club announced today in a press release.

JULY 15: The Nets have reached an agreement to sign free agent big man Henry Ellenson to a two-way contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Ellenson, the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft, spent the first two and a half seasons of his professional career with the Pistons, but was never able to crack the team’s regular rotation and become a dependable contributor. He appeared in just 59 total games for Detroit before being waived at this year’s trade deadline to accommodate Wayne Ellington.

Ellenson later caught on with the Knicks, appearing in 17 games for New York down the stretch and posting averages of 6.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 0.9 APG in 13.8 minutes per contest. However, the Knicks turned down the 22-year-old’s team option for the 2019/20 season and didn’t tender him a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Nets’ two-way players for most of last season were Theo Pinson and Alan Williams. Pinson has since been promoted to a standard contract, while Williams is a free agent, so Brooklyn will have a second two-way slot available even after officially signing Ellenson.

Nets Sign David Nwaba

JULY 17: The Nets have officially signed Nwaba, the team confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 14: David Nwaba has agreed to a two-year contract with the Nets, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The deal includes a team option for the second season, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who adds that the Pacers, Kings, Rockets and Suns all had interest in Nwaba (Twitter link).

It’ll be a minimum-salary deal for Nwaba, who will make approximately $1.7MM for the upcoming season and $1.8MM in 2020/21 with a July 7 deadline for the option decision, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Nets now have 15 players with guaranteed contracts.

Brooklyn will be the fourth stop in four years for the 26-year-old shooting guard, who spent his first three seasons with the Lakers, Bulls and Cavaliers. He appeared in 51 games for Cleveland this year, averaging 6.5 points in about 19 minutes per night.

The Cavs opted last month not to tender a $1.9MM qualifying offer to Nwaba, making him an unrestricted free agent. Even so, Cleveland had expressed some interest in bringing him back.

The addition of Nwaba continues an impressive summer for Brooklyn, which hit the free agent jackpot by signing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Livingston, Cauley-Stein, Cook

Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry is confident he’ll mesh his skills with D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired from the Nets in a sign-and-trade, according to an ESPN report.

“The chemistry will develop quickly. We’ll be really purposeful about that and trying to set the tone for how we’re going to play this year,” Curry said.

He’s also looking forward to being in an underdog role for a change with Kevin Durant signing with Brooklyn and Klay Thompson expected to miss a large chunk of the season.

“I’m excited, to be honest with you,” he said. “Five straight years in the Finals and we’ve accomplished a lot, and three championships. There’s a lot to be proud of. But everybody wants a new challenge in terms of how do you get back to that level.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • The Warriors are likely to offer Shaun Livingston a role in the organization if he opts to retire, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The veteran guard was waived this week before his $7.7MM salary for next season became fully guaranteed.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein was courted by Curry, Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr and that made his free agency decision easier, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. Cauley-Stein accepted a salary slightly above the veteran’s minimum in order to join a perennial winner after the Kings rescinded his qualifying offer. “It honestly just came down to situation. I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year,” he said. “But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security.”
  • Guard Quinn Cook harbors no ill will toward the organization, though he was surprised it pulled his qualifying offer in order to clear cap space, as he told Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. Cook wound up signing a two-year, $6MM deal with the Lakers. “It was tough for me with how everything went down, but no hard feelings,” Cook said. “We’re family forever and champions forever.”

Five Creative NBA Offseason Cap Maneuvers

The 2019 NBA offseason has been perhaps the craziest in league history. Since the 2018/19 All-NBA teams were announced in May, six of the 15 stars from that group (Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Kemba Walker) have changed teams.

Current and former All-Stars like Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, D’Angelo Russell, and Al Horford also have new homes. So do impact players such as Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari, and Malcolm Brogdon.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

As NBA teams revamp their rosters, many of them have gotten particularly creative in how they’ve acquired players within the rules of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Cap space has been maximized. Trade exceptions have been created, used, and re-used. And sign-and-trades have made a comeback in a major way, with 10 players having been dealt via sign-and-trade this offseason (a total of four players were signed-and-traded during the previous four offseasons).

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Offseason Trades]

We’re still stepping back and taking stock of all of this summer’s salary-cap machinations, but there are a few maneuvers in particular that have stood out to me, which I think are worth highlighting.

These aren’t necessarily the cleverest cap maneuvers of the offseason, and these five teams certainly aren’t the only ones that have employed creative tactics to acquire players. However, the moves listed below are five of my favorites of the offseason so far.

Let’s dive in…

1. The Nets create space to sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan without using the room exception.

When the free agent period began, the Nets didn’t have quite enough cap room to accommodate maximum salaries for Durant ($38.2MM) and Irving ($32.74MM). Another move appeared to be required to carve out that space.

However, not only did the Nets avoid making that extra move, but they also found enough cap room to sign Jordan to a four-year, $40MM deal.

Cap expert Albert Nahmad first broke down the Nets’ sequence of events last week, explaining that by retaining their rights to D’Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier, and Treveon Graham, the Nets were able to sign Irving to a near-max contract and give Jordan a starting salary close to $10MM before going over the cap to acquire Durant in a sign-and-trade.

Irving signed a contract that featured a starting salary just $1MM below his max, though he can make up the difference in unlikely incentives. Once the Nets signed Jordan and second-rounder Nicolas Claxton, the team used nearly every dollar of its leftover room to sign Russell to his new four-year contract.

Because Russell’s deal was signed using cap space, base year compensation rules for salary matching didn’t apply, meaning the Nets had the ability to use D-Lo’s full $27,285,000 first-year salary for matching purposes. However, Brooklyn needed to send out $30,479,200 in order to satisfy the matching rules and take in Durant’s new $38,199,000 salary.

In order to bridge that gap, the Nets included Napier and Graham in the deal. Both players had non-guaranteed contracts, which don’t count toward a team’s outgoing salary total for matching purposes, so Brooklyn gave each player a partial guarantee worth $1,597,100. Combined with Russell’s cap hit, those partial guarantees pushed the Nets’ outgoing salary total right to the required $30,479,200, essentially allowing them to “sign” Durant to a full max deal without having nearly enough space for it.

Throw in the fact that the Nets managed to get the Warriors’ 2020 first-round pick (top-20 protected) in the Durant sign-and-trade, and it turned out to be a very nice piece of business for GM Sean Marks and Brooklyn’s front office.

Read more

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Ennis, Durant, Nets

When Kelly Oubre struck a deal with the Suns late on Wednesday night, he represented the last of the players on our list of 2019’s top 50 free agents to reach a contract agreement with a team. However, two of those agreements are in flux.

As we previously relayed, Reggie Bullock and the Knicks are attempting to rework a two-year, $21MM deal that fell apart due to an issue with Bullock’s physical, and Marcus Morris is re-evaluating his two-year, $19MM deal with the Spurs now that New York may have cap room again.

As of Thursday morning, there’s still mutual interest between Bullock and the Knicks in finding a new deal that works, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Begley notes that a source told him earlier this week that the Knicks are hopeful of landing Morris, whose veteran presence and toughness intrigues the club. Steve Popper of Newsday adds (via Twitter) that he has heard from people inside and outside the Knicks’ organization who think that Morris will end up in New York.

As we wait for resolution on those two free agents, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Atlantic…

  • After agreeing to a new deal with the Sixers as a free agent, forward James Ennis expressed major confidence in the team’s outlook for 2019/20, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “We had a good chance last year. Kawhi (Leonard) is gone. He went to the West,” Ennis said. “So we are going to walk to the Finals in the East.”
  • Kevin Durant initially “balked” at the idea of being signed-and-traded to the Nets straight up for D’Angelo Russell, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN. As Windhorst explains, Durant didn’t believe it was a fair deal, presumably because he could have signed outright with Brooklyn using the team’s cap room. The Warriors ultimately ended up including a heavily protected first-rounder in the swap not just to satisfy the Nets, but to satisfy KD, says Windhorst.
  • Sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post that the Nets‘ newly-added star power could increase Barclays Center revenues by about $40MM through “increased sponsorships, merchandising, and ticket sales.”

Trade Details: Napier, Graham, Warriors, Pacers, More

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has provided some additional details on one of the most interesting trade sequences of the offseason, filling in the blanks on the deals that sent Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham from Brooklyn to Golden State to Minnesota.

As previously outlined by cap guru Albert Nahmad (Twitter link), in order to match salaries in their sign-and-trade deal for Kevin Durant ($38,199,000), the Nets had to send out $30,479,200 in salaries of their own, but D’Angelo Russell‘s maximum salary was only worth $27,285,000.

Brooklyn included Napier’s ($1,845,301) and Graham’s ($1,645,357) non-guaranteed contracts to make up that $3,194,200 difference, but had to partially guarantee those salaries in order for them to count for salary-matching purposes. According to Pincus (via Twitter), the Nets did so by giving each player a guarantee worth $1,597,100.

The hard-capped Warriors, who only took on the duo in order to acquire Russell, didn’t want those contracts on their books, so they flipped them to the Timberwolves in a separate trade. According to Pincus (via Twitter), Golden State paid $3.6MM in cash to Minnesota in that deal, more than enough to cover both players’ full salaries and make it worth the Wolves’ while (Napier’s and Graham’s combined salaries total $3.5MM for 2019/20).

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Offseason Trades]

Interestingly, teams are limited to sending out a total of $5,617,000 in cash in trades during the 2019/20 league year, and the Warriors have now sent out $3.6MM to Minnesota and $2MM to Memphis (in the Andre Iguodala deal). In other words, Golden State won’t have the ability to send out additional cash later in the season in another trade.

Here are more details on recent trades:

  • In the three-way trade that landed them T.J. Warren from Phoenix and three future second-round picks from Miami, the Pacers sent $1.1MM in cash to the Suns, per Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers sent $110K to the Heat in the four-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade deal, says Pincus (Twitter link). That small amount of cash – the minimum allowable in a trade – was the only outgoing piece for the Clips in a swap that landed them Maurice Harkless, the Heat’s lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick (later included in the Paul George package), and the draft rights to 2017 second-rounder Mathias Lessort.
  • In addition to getting $1.1MM from the Wizards in their three-team Anthony Davis trade, the Pelicans also received $1MM in cash from the Lakers, tweets Pincus. Pincus also notes that Washington used its trade exception from February’s Markieff Morris trade to take on Bonga’s $1.42MM salary. That exception was originally worth $8.6MM and was also used to acquire Davis Bertans ($7MM), so it has essentially been all used up.

Details On Contracts For Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant

After word broke last week that the Nets had reach agreements to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to four-year, maximum-salary contracts, a follow-up report indicated that the two stars would take less than the max to accommodate DeAndre Jordan‘s four-year, $40MM contract with Brooklyn.

That’s still the case, but turning the acquisition of Durant into a sign-and-trade deal helped allow the Nets to give both of its new stars deals that could still be worth up to the max, via incentives. ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks have the specific details on those contracts, explaining that each player has about $1MM annually in incentives. Irving’s are considered “unlikely” and don’t current count toward his cap hit, while Durant’s are viewed as “likely” and are included in his current cap charge.

Irving’s contract, which has a fourth-year player option, as previously reported, has a base value of of $31,720,000 in year one, according to ESPN, which is $1MM shy of Kyrie’s max. The deal features eight separate incentives worth $125K apiece — they’ll be worth slightly more in each of his future seasons as the value of the contract increases.

He can earn $125K bonuses in 2019/20 for meeting the following benchmarks, for up to $1MM in total:

  1. Appear in 70 or more regular season games.
  2. Commit fewer than 2.4 turnovers per game (must appear in 60+ regular season games).
  3. Attempt at least 4.6 free throws per game (must appear in 60+ regular season games).
  4. Shoot at least 88.5% from the free throw line.
  5. Make at least 2.8 three-pointers per game.
  6. Commit fewer than 2.1 fouls per game.
  7. Nets score at least 114 points per 100 possessions with Irving on the floor in the regular season.
  8. Nets allow fewer than 106 points per 100 possessions with Irving on the floor in the regular season.

For more details on the odds of Irving (and the Nets) reaching those marks, be sure to check out ESPN’s breakdown.

As for Durant, his contract – which also features a fourth-year option, as previously noted – features simpler incentives.

KD’s likely $1MM bonus will be earned if any one of the following four criteria are met, according to ESPN:

  1. The Nets make the playoffs.
  2. The Nets win at least 43 games.
  3. Durant appears in at least 50 games.
  4. Durant makes the All-Star team.

Durant is expected to miss the entire 2019/20 season, so the last two benchmarks won’t be possible, but the first two are very realistic possibilities.

Depending on whether Irving and Durant reach their incentives this season, this year’s cap hits could be retroactively adjusted. Future cap hits could also be altered, depending on whether those incentives are still considered likely or unlikely after 2019/20.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Westbrook, Nets, Durant

Frank Ntilikina‘s name has come up increasingly frequently in trade rumors in recent months, with Ian Begley of SNY.tv writing that the Knicks talked to at least one team prior to the draft about trading the former No. 8 overall selection in a deal for an early second-round pick. The Knicks have also discussed moving Ntilkina for a late first-round pick, Begley adds.

Still, Ntilkina remains under contract in New York for now, and told reporters – including Begley – this week that that’s just fine with him.

“I’m happy to be a Knick,” Ntilikina said. “I still take as much as I can get from every situation that I can. I’m in their jersey. I’m happy to be a Knick. I’m happy to be here. I’ll work very hard to make this situation successful.”

Assuming the Knicks don’t move Ntilikina before the season begins, he’ll once again face plenty of competition at the point guard spot in 2019/20. Dennis Smith and Kadeem Allen will be back, with Elfrid Payton entering the picture as well. Head coach David Fizdale had Ntilikina play minutes at the two last season, so we’ll if the team tries that again next year.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York franchises:

  • Russell Westbrook isn’t currently on the Knicks‘ radar, a person familiar with the situation tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. If Westbrook remains on the trade block on December 15, when New York’s offseason signees become trade-eligible, the Knicks could explore that avenue, but the team doesn’t plan on doing so for now, says Berman.
  • In an interesting piece for Sports Illustrated, Chris Mannix offers some behind-the-scenes details on the Nets‘ pursuit of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. According to Mannix, the Nets’ medical staff did all the research they could on Durant’s Achilles tear, but had limited information from afar. Days before free agency, GM Sean Marks gathered them and asked for a show of hands on who would be in favor of committing to Durant on a four-year, maximum-salary deal. Every hand went up, per Mannix.
  • After signing a new two-year contract with the Nets, Theo Pinson is making his case for a regular-season roster spot, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Pinson’s new deal has a second-year team option, notes Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link).