Brooklyn Nets

Nets Waive Luis Scola

The Nets have waived veteran big man Luis Scola, the team announced today in a press release. The move, which opens up a spot on Brooklyn’s roster, will allow Scola to retain playoff eligibility if he joins a new team, since he was waived prior to March 1.

“We appreciate everything Luis has done for our team this year,” GM Sean Marks said in a statement (Twitter link). “His approach and dedication to the game will continue to serve as lasting models for our young players. While we would have loved for Luis to be with us for the remainder of the season, we felt that he deserved the opportunity to contribute to a playoff contender.”

Scola, who will turn 37 in April, inked a one-year, $5.5MM deal with the Nets last summer. In 36 games this season, his numbers are not far off his career averages on a per-minute basis. However, he has played a career-low 12.8 minutes per contest, resulting in career worsts in several other categories, including PPG (5.1) and RPG (3.9).

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical explains (via Twitter), Scola’s $5.5MM contract featured $500K in incentives which will be removed from his cap charge. Assuming Scola clears waivers, he’ll be free to sign with any team, while the Nets will be on the hook for his salary.

It remains to be seen how Brooklyn will use its newly-opened roster spot, but adding a young player on a 10-day contract would make sense.

And-Ones: Jones, Thornton, Suns, Raptors

The Pelicans waived Terrence Jones on Thursday after being unable to find a trade partner for him and the Nets waived Marcus Thornton after acquiring him in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade. Both players have cleared waivers and are free to sign with any team, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

Jones should have no problem finding a new home. He’s a productive 25-year-old big man who was averaging 11.5 points per game in New Orleans while sporting a 16.2 player efficient rating.

Thornton may have to wait slightly longer to find a new club, but he should be able to help a team fill out the back end of its rotation.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Hawks sent $500K to the Suns as part of the Mike Scott trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). In addition to the cash considerations, Phoenix received the draft rights to Cenk Akyol for taking on Scott’s contract, while Atlanta received a protected second-round pick.
  • As part of the P.J. Tucker deal, the Raptors sent the Suns cash considerations of $1MM, Pincus tweets. Phoenix also received Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks in the deal. The Suns waived Sullinger on Friday.
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, has traded Cameron Jones to the Canton Charge, leagues sources tell Adam Johnson of D-League Digest (Twitter link).

NBA Teams Below Salary Cap For 2016/17

At this point in the season, most teams aren’t going to do much with any leftover cap room. Teams are no longer able to make trades, and most free agents still on the market won’t demand more than the minimum.

Still, there’s reason to consider which teams remain below the cap after this week’s trade activity. With useful veteran players potentially hitting the free agent market as a result of contract buyouts, a team with some extra cap room might have a leg up on teams without any spending flexibility.

For instance, if the Rockets and Warriors were to pursue the same free agent – perhaps Andrew Bogut, if he’s bought out by the Sixers – Houston could offer a deal worth up to about $3.5MM with cap room, while Golden State would be limited to offering a prorated minimum salary worth closer to $400K. That’s a significant difference.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on teams that remain below the minimum salary floor, since those clubs could enter the bidding for a bought-out player or could claim a player off waivers. The Jazz, for instance, probably don’t need a big man like Bogut, but if they wanted him and he became available, Utah has enough cap room to claim his entire $11MM+ contract. That would keep him off the open market and allow the Jazz to surpass the salary floor.

Using our Salary Cap Snapshots, let’s take a closer look at the teams below the cap, starting with teams still below the salary floor:

Teams below the salary floor:

  1. Utah Jazz: $13.64MM below cap ($4.23MM below floor)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.66MM below cap ($3.24MM below floor)
  3. Denver Nuggets: $11.56MM below cap ($2.15MM below floor)
  4. Brooklyn Nets: $10.21MM below cap ($793K below floor)

Less than a month ago, there were six teams below the salary floor. Since then, the Nets and Nuggets have taken major steps toward the floor, while the Suns and Sixers have gotten above it entirely. That leaves the Jazz and Timberwolves as the clubs furthest below the salary floor.

As we’ve noted in the past, there’s no real penalty if a team remains below the floor — the team simply has to make up the difference by paying their current players a little more money. However, the Jazz and Wolves figure to be mulling other opportunities to reach the floor. That could mean placing a waiver claim or – in Utah’s case – renegotiating a contract.

We haven’t heard any rumors lately about the Jazz discussing a new deal with an extension-eligible veteran like George Hill or Derrick Favors, so that seems like a long shot. But the team does have until the end of February to renegotiate and extend either player’s contract, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Teams below the cap, but above the floor:

  1. Phoenix Suns: $9.226MM below cap
  2. Philadelphia 76ers: $8.62MM below cap
  3. Indiana Pacers: $4.14MM below cap
  4. Boston Celtics: $1.11MM below cap

Although the Suns and Sixers have inched above the salary floor, they’re not necessarily out of the woods quite yet. Phoenix needs the contracts of Jared Sullinger and Mike Scott to pass through waivers unclaimed, while the Sixers will require the same for Bogut if they eventually cut him. If any of those deals are claimed, they’ll move to another team’s cap, pushing Phoenix or Philadelphia back below the floor.

Teams that could clear cap room by renouncing exceptions:

  1. Houston Rockets: $3.54MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $3.33MM)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder: $3.05MM below cap if lone TPE ($4.94MM) is renounced
  3. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.75MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $5MM)
  4. Chicago Bulls: $1.59MM below cap if lone TPE ($5.46MM) is renounced

These teams are technically over the cap, but could go under if they chose to renounce their trade exceptions. In some cases, that might not make much sense. For instance, the Bucks and Bulls would have less than $2MM in cap room if they renounced their exceptions. Both teams have trade exceptions worth at least $5MM, so it probably makes sense to stay over the cap for now and see if those exceptions come in handy around the draft.

On the other hand, the amount of cap room the Rockets would have if they renounced their trade exceptions would be greater than the amount of their largest TPE, so it makes sense for Houston to dip below the cap, expunging those TPEs from their books. That would also allow the Rockets to use cap room to sign a free agent, something they couldn’t do using a trade exception.

The rest of the NBA’s 18 teams don’t currently have cap room. That includes the Lakers, whose moves this week took them over the cap by just $316K.

Nets Notes: Lopez, Lin, Dinwiddie, Nicholson, McDaniels

Nets GM Sean Marks spoke to the press about Brooklyn’s trade deadline activity. While the team held onto Brook Lopez and Trevor Booker (each of whom have another year left on their contract), Marks was involved in a few lower-profile transactions.

“We’re very familiar with Andrew [Nicholson]…he’s a system fit for us,” Marks said. “He’s a stellar young man and another guy with high character and that’s exactly we’re trying to do.”

The Nets acquired Nicholson along with a first-round pick and Marcus Thornton (who was subsequently waived) in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough. Bogdanovic performed well for the 9-47 Nets, but was a restricted free agent-to-be, and was dealt for an invaluable draft pick. Marks spoke about his team’s position in the upcoming draft.

“Now having two first round picks, it all helps,” Marks said. “It helps give us another vehicle where were can be systematic with the draft and see what happens. We obviously value the draft or we wouldn’t have done it. It’s about being strategic and having two picks now gives us an opportunity to move up with those picks, you can hold them where you are if your players are there at the time.”

More from Brooklyn…

  • One of the reasons Marks held onto Lopez at the deadline was to see how well he played with Jeremy Lin, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Lin has been limited to just 13 games this season due to injury, and hasn’t had an opportunity to be properly assessed by coach Kenny Atkinson. “To have a healthy Jeremy and a healthy Brook out there together with this team, it’ll be nice to evaluate that,” Marks said. “It’s something we started the season off with, and unfortunately, we only got a handful of games under our belt seeing that. We all know what those two bring to the table: They lift everybody else’s play.”
  • Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post profiled Spencer Dinwiddie, a former collegiate star at University of Colorado Boulder. Dinwiddie suffered a torn ACL during his junior year at CU, falling to the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Still just 23 years old, Dinwiddie has averaged more than 20 MPG for the first time in his career with Brooklyn. “He’s steadily getting better,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie. “He played pretty well before the all-star break, started shooting it better and getting to the rim. We like his defense. He’s been a pleasant surprise, quite honestly.
  • Nicholson and K.J. McDaniels– each acquired at the deadline- are ready to step in right now for the rebuilding Nets. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me,” McDaniels told Greg Logan of Newsday“I’ll be able to show Brooklyn what I do, and play both ends of the court and just try to bring energy.” McDaniels’ acquisition was commended by writers across the league. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post gave the trade an “A” grade, describing the transaction as low-risk, high-reward. “If he doesn’t do anything, the Nets can simply decline his option for next season. If he does something, then it’s found money. For a team with no talent or assets to speak of, it’s a good move to make — and saves them money to boot, as they were below the salary floor.”
  • Dan Favale of Bleacher Report echoed Bontemps’ sentiments, praising Marks for taking a flier on McDaniels. “Getting K.J. McDaniels for absolutely nothing is a great encore to parlaying Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough into Andrew Nicholson and a first-round pick,” Favale wrote. “Although McDaniels is beyond raw, he has the length and lateral gait to be a lockdown defender across all wing positions.”

Nets Sent $75K To Rockets In K.J. McDaniels Deal

Nets Acquire K.J. McDaniels

6:33pm: The Rockets will receive cash considerations, not a draft pick, from the Nets in exchange for McDaniels, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. The deal is now official.

3:57pm: The Nets will send a future draft choice – presumably a protected second-round pick – to the Rockets as part of the deal, according to a report from The Associated Press.

1:32pm: The Rockets have traded K.J. McDaniels to the Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links). The deal will save the Rockets roughly $3.3MM, which the team plans on using once the buyout market establishes itself.

Teams cannot take on a player/draft picks from another team without receiving some sort of compensation in return, per NBA rules. It’s likely that Houston will receive either a heavily protected second-round pick or the rights to a player currently playing abroad in the trade.

Brooklyn was about $13.5 under the salary cap after the Andrew Nicholson trade and it had an open roster spot after waiving Marcus Thornton on Wednesday. With McDaniels aboard, the Nets have 15 players under contract, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates.

McDaniels shined during his rookie season with the Sixers, but he hasn’t gotten consistent playing time since Philly traded him to Houston at the 2015 trade deadline. The Clemson University product saw 1352 minutes of action during his first half season in the league with the Sixers, but he only received a total of 447 minutes in the two years since.

 

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Okafor, Ainge, Lopez, Hawks

Before making today’s deal with Oklahoma City, the Bulls tried to obtain point guard Patrick Beverley from the Rockets, tweets Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago. Chicago reached out to Houston on Wednesday with an offer of Taj Gibson and Isaiah Canaan in exchange for Beverley, but the Rockets turned it down.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference on an active deadline day:

  • The Sixers didn’t trade center Jahlil Okafor, but it wasn’t because they didn’t try, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). He says Philadelphia made a strong effort to unload Okafor but was unable to find equal value so close to the deadline.
  • The Celtics were rumored to be seeking Jimmy Butler and Paul George, but decided to stand pat. GM Danny Ainge explained the conservative approach to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). “We had a lot of conversations,” Ainge said. “There were things we could do to improve our team, but nothing that was good enough to do.” The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski claims that Boston was willing to make both of the Nets‘ first-round picks available (Twitter link).
  • Nets GM Sean Marks didn’t indicate if he tried to trade Brook Lopez, tweets Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. “Brook’s here and we’re happy he’s here,” Marks said when asked about the veteran center. “He’s been the face of this franchise for a long time.”
  • After shipping Mike Scott to the Suns, the Hawks have two open roster spots, notes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link). The team will focus on the buyout market and possibly D-League callups.

Nets Waive Marcus Thornton

Thursday, 2:49 PM: Brooklyn has officially waived Thornton, according to a team press release.

Wednesday, 8:04 PM: The Nets will waive Marcus Thornton, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reports (Twitter link). Thornton came to Brooklyn in the Bojan Bogdanovic deal earlier today.

Thornton is on a one-year, $1.3MM deal, which is fully guaranteed. He was seeing regular minutes for the Wizards before rookie Sheldon McClellan took his role off the bench and the 29-year-old shooting guard didn’t play in Washington’s last 21 games.

In the 33 appearances this season, Thornton averaged 6.6 points and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 35% from the field. He’s also sported a 10.5 player efficiency rating.

Celtics Rumors: Butler, George, Bogut, Fultz

The Celtics remain hopeful of acquiring either Jimmy Butler or Paul George before the trade deadline but it’s more likely they’ll hold onto their main assets, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports.

One sticking point is that GM Danny Ainge is reluctant to part with the first-round pick the Net owe them this summer via a swap of positions, Bulpett continues. An agent with connections to the potential deal between the Bulls and Boston informed Bulpett that Ainge’s unwillingness to deal the pick scuttled preliminary discussions. The Pacers would likely want that same pick as part of any deal involving George, Bulpett speculates.

Unless a blockbuster deal is worked out that would give them a serious chance of supplanting the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics have no real incentive to move their most prized assets, the thinking goes in the Boston front office. According to another league executive, teams have offered solid veterans to Boston but Ainge only wants to a “real star” for those assets, Bulpett writes in a separate column.

Other nuggets involving the Celtics possible moves:

  • Andrew Bogut, whom the Mavs agreed to trade to the Sixers today, could be re-routed to the Celtics, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets. However, ESPN’s Chris Haynes tweets that Philadelphia is expected to engage in buyout talks with the veteran center.
  • Ainge wants to remain a player in this summer’s free agent market unless he can obtain a franchise cornerstone today or via the draft, according to Bulpett. If the Celtics end up holding onto the Nets pick, Washington freshman Markelle Fultz could be the player they’re coveting.
  • A lesser trade involving a forward such as the Grizzlies’ JaMychal Green or Suns’ P.J. Tucker remains a possibility, Bulpett adds.

Rival Execs Unconvinced Nets Will Move Brook Lopez

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