Nets Rumors

Nets, Dwight Howard Expected To Negotiate Buyout

Dwight Howard is poised to head to Brooklyn in a trade between the Nets and Hornets, but Howard may not remain a Net for long.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Howard has expressed interest in a buyout, and the Nets will attempt to accommodate him. The two sides are expected to finalize an agreement that will allow Howard to reach free agency sometime after Charlotte and Brooklyn complete their trade in the new league year, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

“I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win,” Howard told Haynes. “That’s my only goal. All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it’s not people talking about my past.”

Howard is coming off a productive 2017/18 season in which he averaged 16.6 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 81 games for the Hornets. Despite his solid numbers, there’s a perception that Howard isn’t a great fit for teams in terms of chemistry and locker-room presence. He’ll be moving onto his fourth team in the last four seasons, but pushes back on the idea that he’s not a great teammate.

“If you come into the locker room, I’m literally somebody that tries to bring joy in the locker room,” Howard told Haynes. “I try to talk to everybody to get to know them more on a personal level. But I’m not somebody that goes around trying to destroy your team or the locker room because I want to win, but now that I’ve been traded, that seems like it’s a subject to get people to talk about that instead of the value that I bring to a team.”

Howard, who likely would have backed up Jarrett Allen if he remained in Brooklyn, has a $23.5MM salary for 2018/19, so it will be interesting to see how much of that money he’s willing to give up to find a new team. Dwyane Wade‘s buyout last summer could be a logical point of reference — Wade had a $23MM+ expiring contract too, and gave back about $8MM to complete a buyout with the Bulls, though Brooklyn might not drive as hard a bargain as Chicago did.

Howard is expected to draw interest from contending teams if and when he becomes a free agent, writes Haynes.

Teams Lining Up For No. 3 Pick If Kings Pass On Doncic

The Mavericks, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, and Clippers have expressed interest in moving into the Hawks’ No. 3 slot to select either EuroLeague guard Luka Doncic or possibly Texas center Mohamed Bamba if the Kings pass on Doncic at No. 2, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Those teams, along with the Nuggets, have also talked to the Grizzlies at the No. 4 spot. The Celtics don’t appear to be a serious contender for either pick, O’Connor adds.

Here’s some other tidbits from O’Connor’s story:

  • The Hornets’ willingness to deal Kemba Walker has waned since they reached an agreement with the Nets to trade Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov. The Cavaliers have shown interest in solving their point guard dilemma by acquiring Walker.
  • The Clippers could select Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker with one of their first-rounders and then ship him to the Hawks. The Clippers have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in the lottery.
  • The Bucks are trying to package the No. 17 pick with point guard Matthew Dellavedova‘s contract. Dellavedova has two years and $19.2MM remaining on his deal. Milwaukee would trade down in the draft in that scenario and not exit altogether.
  • The Timberwolves have a strong interest in Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the No. 20 pick.
  • There are rumblings that the Bulls made a promise to draft Boise State shooting guard Chandler Hutchison. That would have to be at No. 22 unless they make a deal.
  • The Trail Blazers and Lakers are interested in IMG Academy shooting guard Anfernee Simons with their late first-round picks.
  • Kentucky small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs, and Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham are believed to have received draft promises.

Mavs Optimistic About Signing DeMarcus Cousins

The Mavericks believe they have a strong chance of signing DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Cousins, coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, will be an unrestricted free agent next month. While the Mavericks’ interest in Cousins has previously been reported, Scotto’s story suggests the Mavericks are ready to make him a hefty offer to lure him away from the Pelicans. If the Mavs pass on Texas big man Mohamed Bamba with the No. 5 pick, that would reinforce the notion they’ll go all in to secure the services of either Cousins or the Rockets’ restricted free agent center, Clint Capela.

Scotto also has several other notable items to pass along:

  • The Sixers discussed the possibility of packaging the No. 10 and 26 picks, along with last year’s top pick Markelle Fultz, to move into the top five of the draft with Michael Porter Jr. as their target. However, lingering concerns over Porter’s back have cooled their interest in making that move.
  • Tobias Harris expiring contract is part of the package the Clippers are dangling to move up in the lottery. They have back-to-back picks at Nos. 12 and 13.
  • The Hawks are trying to make a deal with the Clippers or Nuggets (No. 14) in order to nab Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker IV. They are looking to package their picks at Nos. 19 and 30.
  • The Nets are dangling point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and the No. 29 pick in order to move into the middle of the first round.
  • The Rockets have received calls on guard Eric Gordon and could move him in order to get a mid-first-rounder.

Why Nets' Workouts Of Prospects Who Withdrew From Draft Could Pay Off

Nets, Hornets Finalizing Swap Of Mozgov, Howard

The Nets and Hornets are finalizing a deal that would send Timofey Mozgov to Charlotte and Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Hornets will also acquire a pair of second-round picks and cash considerations in the deal, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski provides more details on the picks involved in the deal, reporting that Charlotte will receive the No. 45 pick in this year’s draft, along with Brooklyn’s 2021 second-rounder.

The swap will allow the Nets to acquire a more productive center in the short term while also further clearing their cap sheet for the 2019 offseason. Howard’s contract is set to expire at that point, as are DeMarre Carroll‘s and Jeremy Lin‘s. By clearing Mozgov’s 2019/20 salary from their books, the Nets should have the flexibility to create two maximum-salary slots that summer.

As for the Hornets, they’ll save some money in the short term, since Mozgov’s $16MM salary for 2018/19 is more modest than Howard’s $23.82MM cap charge. While Charlotte is taking on the longer-term contract in the deal, the club will have far more breathing room below the projected luxury-tax line in ’18/19, and will pick up a few extra assets for its willingness to take on Mozgov.

The inclusion of Mozgov in the trade, one year after he was sent from the Lakers to the Nets, is interesting for a couple reasons. For one, the veteran had recently expressed dissatisfaction with his role – or lack thereof – in Brooklyn, suggesting that his relationship with head coach Kenny Atkinson had reached a “breaking point,” as Brian Lewis of The New York Post wrote this week. By moving him, the Nets should avoid a potential locker-room issue.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the general manager who is taking on Mozgov now is the one who initially signed him to his current four-year contract back in 2016. This is Mitch Kupchak‘s first roster move since being named the Hornets’ president of basketball operations and GM in the spring. His 2017 ouster in Los Angeles was largely attributed to the Lakers’ signings of Mozgov and Luol Deng in the summer of ’16, so this is a somewhat ominous start to his time in Charlotte.

Howard, meanwhile, will finally land in Brooklyn, which was his preferred landing spot several years ago when the former first overall pick was still a member of the Magic. Howard never made it to the Nets at that point in his career, but he’ll do so now, joining his fourth team in the last four years.

Howard is coming off a solid season for the Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 PPG and 12.5 RPG with 1.6 BPG in 81 contests. As for Mozgov, he fell out of the rotation early in the season, appearing in just 31 games for Brooklyn and averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 11.6 MPG.

If the two teams intend to finalize the trade before the new league year begins on July 1, at least one more player would have to be included, since Howard’s cap hit for 2017/18 ($23.5MM) is substantially larger than Mozgov’s ($15.28MM), and Brooklyn doesn’t have the cap space to accommodate the difference. However, the Nets could create the necessary cap room after July 1, so there’s a good chance it won’t be finalized until after the July moratorium ends, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter).

Assuming the Nets and Hornets wait until the new league year to make the trade official, Brooklyn will become a cap-room team for 2018/19, losing access to its mid-level, bi-annual, and trade exceptions. Meanwhile, Charlotte would create a trade exception worth $7,819,725.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Wanamaker, Jeanne, Crawford, G League

The Celtics are giving strong consideration to signing Euroleague star Brad Wanamaker, international basketball journalist David Pick tweets. Wanamaker, the MVP of the Turkish finals with Fenerbahce, is a 28-year-old, 6’4” shooting guard who went undrafted in 2011. He has spent most of his pro career overseas, though he had a stint in 2012 with the G League’s Austin Toros. The Magic, Nets, Sixers and Heat have also expressed interest in him, according to Pick. However, Wanamaker has a $3.8MM contract with Barcelona that runs through 2020, so he may stay in Europe, Pick adds in another tweet.

In other news on the domestic and international front:

  • Jonathan Jeanne, who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, has been cleared by his doctor to play, his agent told Sportando. Jeanne, a 7’1” center from France, was considered a potential first-round prospect before the diagnosis was made last June. He went undrafted and now will explore all international possibilities, Sportando adds.
  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford is looking for the best fit in free agency after deciding to opt out, he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Crawford insisted he wasn’t unhappy with the Timberwolves, despite leaving $4.5MM on the table. “For me, it’s just fit. I don’t think anything’s wrong (in Minnesota),” Crawford told Krawczynski. “There’s nothing wrong that’s not wrong anywhere else. It’s the NBA. Everybody’s not going to get along every second. That’s not realistic.”
  • The G League Expansion Draft will be held August 22, tweets 2 Ways & 10 Days. The only team utilizing the draft is the Capital City Go-Go, the new affiliate of the Wizards.
  • How does a swap of Chander Parsons and the Grizzlies’ picks at No. 4 and No. 32 for the Clippers’ lottery picks at No. 12 and No. 13 plus Danilo Gallinari sound? ESPN’s Insiders throws out a number of trade scenarios heading into the draft.
  • Longtime NBA coach Larry Brown officially signed his contract to coach Fiat Torino in Italy, Sportando relays.

Cavs Rumors: LeBron, Love, Trade Talks, Coaches

While LeBron James will have until June 29 to exercise or decline his 2018/19 player option, his final decision on his next team won’t happen quickly and figures to stretch into July, Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday during a draft special on ESPN (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). If that’s the case, James seems more likely to opt out than to opt in next week, which would have an impact on which suitors are viable destinations, as I explained here.

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski also reports that the Cavaliers would like to package Kevin Love and the No. 8 pick for a star player on draft night, but that combo may not net the kind of star they’re seeking (Twitter link via Trika). As Wojnarowski observes, Love’s value isn’t at its peak and the Brooklyn first-rounder isn’t quite as strong as Cleveland had hoped, limiting the appeal of that package to some extent.

Let’s round up a few more Cavs notes and rumors…

  • The Cavaliers have talked to the Grizzlies on more than one occasion, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoop.net, who cautions that he doesn’t know the specifics of those discussions. Memphis is reportedly open to the idea of attaching Chandler Parsons‘ contract to the No. 4 pick in a trade, so it’s possible Cleveland has checked in on that possibility.
  • Echoing a Monday report, Amico confirms that the Cavaliers are expressing interest in Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and have kicked the tires on disgruntled Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
  • Although Amico expects the Cavs to hang onto the No. 8 pick, a lot of teams are interested in trading up to that spot, including the Nets.
  • The Cavs have had discussions about potentially acquiring another late first-round pick “to help open up the possibilities,” a league source tells Amico.
  • The Cavs are parting ways with assistant coach Jim Boylan and player development coach Phil Handy, multiple league sources tell Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. By not renewing the contracts for Boylan and Handy, the Cavs are clearing the path to give Dan Geriot and Damon Jones larger roles on their coaching staff, per ESPN’s report. No longer employed in Cleveland, Handy may be a candidate to join Nick Nurse‘s Raptors staff, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

Draft Workouts: Sixers, Grizzlies, Pacers, Hornets, T-Wolves

The Sixers will host Kentucky forward Kevin Knox and Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith for the second time on Tuesday, according to a team release. Knox’s workout will be separate from the other six players they will bring in, including Smith. The Sixers hold the No. 10 selection in the lottery. Knox is currently ranked No. 9 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Smith is slotted at No. 16.

The other members of the group workout are all guards, including B.J. Johnson (La Salle), De’Anthony Melton (USC), Tyler Nelson (Fairfield), Malik Newman (Kansas) and Landry Shamet (Wichita State). Melton (No. 24, Givony) is a possibility for the Sixers with their other first-rounder at No. 26.

We have numerous other draft workouts to pass along:

Draft Updates: Musa, Knox, Williams, Sixers

The Nets may be willing to package their picks to move up for Bosnia’s Dzanan Musa, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The 19-year-old small forward has spent the past week visiting teams that might be willing to use a first-round selection on him. The Nets hold the 29th pick, but may have to give up their second-rounders at 40 and 45 to get into Musa’s range.

Musa has two years remaining on his contract with KK Cedevita in the EuroLeague, but he plans to come to the NBA next season.

“I want to compete at the highest level and to compete with the best players in the world,” Musa said in an interview with CBS Sports affiliate 1430-AM in Indianapolis. “[My strength is] scoring: shooting, midrange floaters, to the rim. … I just want to get picked by the team who sees me as a project. But I think I’m a lottery pick for sure.”

There’s more draft-related news to pass along:

Mozgov's Agent Talks To Nets About Playing Time

  • The agent for Timofey Mozgov has talked to the Nets about his client’s lack of playing time, but hasn’t demanded a trade or discussed a buyout, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. With two years and $33.7 million remaining on his contract, Mozgov is virtually untradeable, and Lewis points out that the Nets are unlikely to go through with another buyout while they’re still paying Deron Williams. “I don’t know any reason why I first lost my place in the starting five and then not playing even a minute,” Mozgov said. “But it’s the head coach’s decision and he is responsible for result. I tried to speak to [Kenny] Atkinson, but he was not able to give me an answer.”