Nets Rumors

Chinese Teams Interested In Jahlil Okafor?

Jahlil Okafor appears to have offers waiting in China if he can’t find an NBA team to sign him, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

The third player taken in the 2015 draft, Okafor washed out in Philadelphia and didn’t play much after being traded to the Nets in December. He got into just 26 games with Brooklyn and averaged 6.4 PPG in 12.6 minutes per night.

Okafor is working out in Miami, but the Heat aren’t interested in signing him, Carchia writes. We detailed several other franchises that have apparently withdrawn their interest earlier this week, including the Nets, Pacers and Bulls. However, four teams sent representatives to Okafor’s recent workout in Las Vegas and he remains hopeful of catching on with someone before training camps open.

Jeremy Lin Was Surprised By Trade To Hawks

Jeremy Lin was denying rumors of a possible trade the night before the Nets shipped him to Atlanta, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Fans of the veteran guard have been bombarding Brooklyn GM Sean Marks with message of disapproval, but Lewis states that the trade shouldn’t be considered a surprise. Lin, who is about to turn 30 and is coming off a major injury, doesn’t fit the Nets’ rebuilding timeline. Still, he was blindsided by the deal with the Hawks.

  • The Nets considered making an offer to free agent Jabari Parker before he signed with the Bulls, Lewis adds in the same story. They decided against it because of the price tag and a recent comment Parker made in a radio interview that “They don’t pay players to play defense.” Brooklyn opted for a pair of trades with the Nuggets and Suns that brought in Kenneth Faried and Jared Dudley.

Suns Trade Dudley, Second-Round Pick To Nets For Arthur

2:16pm: The Nets and Suns have officially completed their trade, according to a press release issued by the Nets. Dudley, who told Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link) that he’s not a fan of buyouts, expects to play for Brooklyn. Wojnarowski suggests the Nets may envision Dudley as a stretch four in their lineup.

9:16am: The Nets and Suns have agreed to a trade that will send Jared Dudley to Brooklyn and Darrell Arthur to Phoenix, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Nets will acquire a top-35 protected 2021 second-round pick in the deal, according to Wojnarowski.

The deal appears to be financially motivated, with Wojnarowski indicating that Arthur and his $7.46MM expiring salary will likely be bought out by the Suns. Dudley, who is on a $9.53MM expiring contract, could have a similar conversation with the Nets, Woj adds.

The savings in the trade are minimal for the Suns, but it’s possible they have another move or two up their sleeves. According to Basketball Insiders’ salary data, Phoenix will have a team salary of $98.63MM after the deal, which is good for $3MM+ in cap room.

[UPDATE: Suns to acquire Richaun Holmes from Sixers]

According to John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports (Twitter link), the Suns had been trying to buy out Dudley for the last couple weeks. Arthur is a little cheaper and it’s possible he’ll be more amenable to a buyout.

As for the Nets, they remain in asset-collection mode after having acquired a pair of draft picks from the Nuggets in a salary-dump deal that included Arthur earlier this month. Today’s move will ensure that Brooklyn once again has a second-round pick in the 2021 draft — the club traded its own ’21 second-rounder in the Dwight Howard deal with Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marcus Smart Signs Four-Year Deal With Celtics

2:36pm: Smart has officially signed his new contract with the Celtics, according to agent Happy Walters, who tweeted a photo of the signing. The team has also issued a press release confirming the deal.

9:25am: Marcus Smart has agreed to a four-year, $52MM deal to remain with the Celtics, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports first reported that the Celtics and Smart were finalizing a deal in that neighborhood after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the two sides were engaged in serious discussions.

The final terms are a little higher than the $46-$50MM range that was reported yesterday, and the deal takes one of the last high-profile free agents off the market. Smart has been with the Celtics since being selected with the sixth pick in the 2014 draft and has developed into one of the league’s top perimeter defenders.

Smart’s contract will push the Celtics into luxury tax territory, at least for now, notes ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). It will also become Boston’s only contract between $7-20MM, which could make it a valuable trade chip down the line, adds Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer (Twitter link).

A restricted free agent, Smart had expressed frustrations with the slowness of the process while waiting for an offer. He met with several teams, including the Nets and Grizzlies, last week during the Las Vegas Summer League, according to Charania, but also had a private meeting with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Significant progress was made in the past few days, allowing the team to quickly finalize a deal in a meeting this morning with Smart and his agent, Happy Walters.

The Celtics were happy to get a long-term deal done with Smart a year before backcourt mates Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier both become free agents, Charania adds. The team will now have at least one of its point guards locked up before entering into negotiations with Irving and/or Rozier.

Smart appeared in 54 games last season, with his playing time limited by a right hand injury caused by punching a glass frame and a torn UCL he suffered in his right thumb while diving for a loose ball in March that caused him to miss the start of the playoffs. He posted 10.2 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 3.5 RPG during the regular season, along with 1.3 steals per night.

“It’s been a tough summer with free agency and his mom’s (cancer),” Smart’s high school coach, Kenny Boren, tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. “It’s been tough emotionally for him.” (Twitter link).

Smart ranked 14th on our list of the Top 50 Free Agents of 2018. His signing leaves Clint Capela of the Rockets and Rodney Hood of the Cavaliers as the best unsigned players left on the market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Notes: Russell, Napier, Faried, Whitehead

Nets GM Sean Marks won’t rule out the possibility of giving guard D’Angelo Russell an extension but it seems unlikely, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter links). “For now, we’re going to see how this group plays together, how it all unfolds…I’m not going to rule out anything,” Marks said in a news conference, adding, “As we stand now, this is the group and we have no plans to make any crazy changes, whether that’s an extension or signing or trade anyone else. But things happen quickly.” Russell will make a little over $7MM this season and the team would have to decide whether to extend a qualifying offer of $9.16MM next summer if they don’t sign him to an extension.

In other news regarding the Brooklyn franchise:

  • The Nets will have to figure out how Shabazz Napier will fit into their backcourt but he’s not worried about it, Tom Dowd of the team’s website reports. The team already has Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie to play the point and Caris LeVert can also fill in at that spot. Napier was Damian Lillard‘s primary backup with the Trail Blazers last season. Napier signed a two-year contract on Tuesday. “That’s something I’m going to figure out when training camp starts,” Napier told Dowd about his role. “Right now, I’ll just continue to be who I am and come into training camp with an attitude of competing at the end of the day.”
  • Brooklyn took on Kenneth Faried‘s contract in a Nuggets salary dump but Marks feels Faried can be a major contributor next season, Dowd relays in a separate story. Faried has an expiring $13.76MM contract. “I think he fits with that Brooklyn grit that we talk about in terms of how he plays; he plays with high intensity, obviously at a fast pace,” Marks said. “His game will transition well to Brooklyn and what [coach] Kenny’s [Atkinson] wanting to do here.”
  • No one was more disappointed about the trade with the Nuggets than guard Isaiah Whitehead, the player shipped to Denver in the deal, as Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily relays. Whitehead appeared in 89 games for his hometown team over the past two seasons. A source close to Whitehead sent a text to Fonseca after the trade that stated, “Being in Brooklyn meant everything to him.”

Treveon Graham Agrees To Two-Year Deal With Nets

The Nets have reached a two-year agreement with swingman Treveon Graham, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. The first year of the contract will be fully guaranteed, Charania adds.

The 6’5” Graham had drawn interest from the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, among other teams, during free agency. Graham, 24, appeared in 90 games with the Hornets over the past two seasons.

He was a rotation player last season, seeing action in 63 games, while averaging 4.3 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 16.7 MPG. Graham hasn’t shot many 3-pointers during his short career but he’s made 43.8% from long range.

Graham will try to break into a wing rotation that includes Joe Harris, Caris LeVertDeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe.

More Reactions, Notes On Jabari Parker’s Bulls Deal

In the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst discuss Jabari Parker‘s move from Milwaukee to Chicago at length, suggesting that if Giannis Antetokounmpo badly wanted the Bucks to keep Parker, the team would have found a way to do it.

Despite Parker’s end-of-season dismissal of the idea that the Bucks ever offered an extension in the range of $18MM per year, both Lowe and Windhorst insist that was the case, though they acknowledge that a handful of scenarios were discussed, and Milwaukee’s multiyear offers from last fall may not have been fully guaranteed. In any case, Parker managed to exceed that annual salary on his new deal with the Bulls, albeit on a shorter-term contract.

Before he signed with the Bulls, Parker received interest from the Kings and the Nets, according to Windhorst, who suggests that Brooklyn kicked the tires on the veteran forward after lining up the Jeremy Lin trade with Atlanta. However, the Nets ultimately decided Parker’s price was too high and used their remaining cap room to take on unwanted contracts and draft picks in a deal with Denver, helping clear the path for Parker to land in Chicago.

Here’s more on Parker’s move back to his hometown:

  • Parker “means more playing for the Bulls than he ever could anywhere else,” according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com, who suggests that the former No. 2 overall pick is already “the most recognizable face on the team.” The on-court fit may not be as strong as the optics, but the Bulls are at a stage in their rebuild where it makes sense to take a chance on Parker, says Woo.
  • There’s reason to believe that Parker isn’t yet a finished product, since his development has been slowed by multiple knee injuries, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Still, Johnson acknowledges that the Bulls may have to “win some shootouts” next season, since Parker won’t improve a mediocre defense.
  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, it will be important for the Bulls to limit Robin Lopez‘s minutes in 2018/19. As O’Connor explains, Lopez isn’t part of the “future equation” in Chicago, and there are only so many minutes to go around in the team’s frontcourt. The less Lopez plays, the more minutes Parker could see at the four, which is probably his best position.
  • Parker tells Nick Friedell of ESPN.com that Chicago native and former Bulls MVP Derrick Rose is “still a hero for a lot of people, including myself.” However, Rose’s time as a Bull didn’t end well, prompting Friedell to explore whether Parker could have more success with his hometown team.

Latest On Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but hasn’t exactly been a hot commodity among teams looking for frontcourt help — this is our first story about the former third overall pick since free agency began 17 days ago.

Still, Okafor appears to be generating at least a little interest. Sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that Okafor worked out for four teams in Las Vegas last Wednesday, and remains “hopeful” about signing an NBA contract before camps open in September.

It’s not clear which teams were in attendance at Okafor’s workout last week, but Deveney rules out a few clubs. According to the Sporting News scribe, Okafor had drawn some interest from the Pacers and Bulls earlier in the year, but neither team was at last week’s workout. The former Duke standout also won’t be returning to the Nets next season, Deveney adds.

Okafor, originally a Sixer, averaged 17.5 PPG and 7.0 RPG during his rookie season in 2015/16, but has seen his playing time and production decline since then. After being traded to Brooklyn this past season, he posted 6.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 26 contests (12.6 MPG) with the Nets.

As TNT’s David Aldridge details, Okafor has been working this summer with Miami-based trainer Idan Ravin, who has been “reconstructing” Okafor’s jump shot and looking to expand the 22-year-old’s offensive game. We’ll see if that work helps earn him another NBA shot this fall.

Nets Sign Shabazz Napier

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

JULY 14: Shabazz Napier will head to Brooklyn on a two-year deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. The terms of the agreement between Napier and the Nets have not yet been disclosed, but it will feature a second-year team option, per Wojnarowski.

Napier, who is celebrating his 27th birthday today, was the No. 24 overall selection in the 2014 draft. He experienced his best season as a pro during the 2017/18 campaign with the Trail Blazers, averaging 8.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 2.0 APG as the first guard off the bench for Portland.

Although he was eligible for restricted free agency this summer, Napier didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Blazers, making him unrestricted. As such, he’ll be able to sign with the Nets outright.

The UConn product will join the Nets and compete for minutes alongside D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. Brooklyn could use another ball-handler after shipping Jeremy Lin to the Hawks earlier this week.

Having taken on the Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur contracts in a trade with the Blazers, the Nets don’t have much cap room left, but may have the flexibility to offer Napier more than the minimum, if they so choose. The team will use its $4.45MM room exception to sign Ed Davis.

Nets Sign Rodions Kurucs To Multiyear Deal

JULY 16: The Nets have officially signed Kurucs, the team announced today in a press release. According to reports from Sportando and The New York Post, his deal is expected to be worth about $7MM over four years.

JUNE 22: The Nets and second-round pick Rodions Kurucs have reached an agreement on an NBA contract, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that it will be a four-year deal.

Kurucs, who was selected using the 40th overall pick that initially belonged to the Lakers, had one year left on his contract with Barcelona. However, the Nets and Kurucs’ Spanish club were able to negotiate the terms of a buyout, says Pick.

[RELATED: Full 2018 NBA Draft Results]

While Kurucs’ buyout was believed to be worth upwards of $4MM at one point, his camp was reportedly able to get that figure lowered substantially, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (as relayed by NetsDaily).

Because Kurucs wasn’t a first-round pick, he won’t be subject to the NBA’s rookie scale, but it sounds like he’ll still sign a four-year contract. The Nets will have the flexibility to offer that many years because they’ll start the 2018/19 league year as an under-the-cap team. It’s not yet clear how much Kurucs’ contract will be worth, or how many years will be guaranteed, but the two sides will be able to finalize the agreement in July.

Kurucs was one of two international prospects the Nets selected in the 2018 draft, along with No. 29 pick Dzanan Musa. General manager Sean Marks indicated last night that club also expects to bring over Musa immediately, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link). The Bosnia forward reportedly has a buyout worth about $1MM.