Carmelo Anthony

Lakers Trade Zubac, Beasley To Clippers For Muscala

8:07pm: The Clippers have officially announced their trade with the Lakers, issuing a press release to confirm the move. While there’s no indication yet that Beasley has been released, the statement from president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank makes it clear that Zubac is the prize of the deal.

“For two-plus seasons, we have seen Ivica up-close and watched him develop into a skilled center,” Frank said. “For his age, Ivica has proven to be an energetic rim protector who can score around the basket. We are eager for him to join our group of promising young players.”

1:39pm: The Clippers have agreed to trade power forward Mike Muscala to the Lakers for young center Ivica Zubac and journeyman forward Michael Beasley, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal will open a roster spot the Lakers, affording them the opportunity to sign a player on the buyout market, with Carmelo Anthony among the players they’ll consider, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter links here).

The Lakers will “seriously look” at Anthony, the Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner tweets. The Bulls waived Anthony on February 1st after acquiring him from the Rockets last month. Anthony has often been linked to the Lakers since things went sour quickly with the Rockets this season. He’s close friends with LeBron James, who recently stated his desire to play with the longtime All-Star forward.

“I’ve always wanted to play along Melo and if the opportunity presents itself, it would be great,” James said.

Muscala was just acquired by the Clippers in the blockbuster deal with Philadelphia that sent Tobias Harris to the Sixers. He gives the Lakers a big man who can shoot from deep. Muscala, who was averaging 7.4 PPG, is a career 36.5% shooter from distance.

The Clippers’ initial plan is to waive Beasley, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Zubac gives them a young big man to grow in their system. He was averaging 8.5 PPG and 4.9 RPG in limited playing time this season. The Clippers would have to extend him a $1.93MM qualifying offer this summer to make him a restricted free agent.

Bulls Acquire Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Waive Carmelo Anthony

1:03pm: The Bulls have issued a press release confirming that they’ve sent a heavily protected 2020 second-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash. The team has also officially waived Anthony, lining him up to clear waivers on Sunday.

Chicago plans to hang onto Luwawu-Cabarrot, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).

12:39pm: The Bulls and Thunder are in the process of finalizing a trade that will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash considerations to Chicago, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Chicago currently has a full 15-man roster, so the club will need to trade or waive a player to finalize the deal. It sounds like that player will be Carmelo Anthony, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Anthony had remained in limbo after being sent from Houston to Chicago in a trade last month, but appears set to become a free agent, assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers. The Lakers remain a “real possibility” for Carmelo, Woj adds (via Twitter).

The trade itself between the Bulls and Thunder appears financially motivated. Oklahoma City will be on the hook for a huge tax bill at season’s end, so clearing TLC’s $1,544,951 salary will save the franchise exponentially more than that in tax penalties. ESPN’s Bobby Marks pegs the tax savings at $7.3MM.

As for the Bulls, they’ll likely receive enough cash from the Thunder to cover more than Luwawu-Cabarrot’s remaining salary, so they’re essentially being paid to use a spot on their 15-man roster — the deal is similar to the financiallymotivated swaps Chicago made with the Rockets earlier in the season. It’s not clear if the Bulls will hang onto TLC, an unrestricted free agent in 2019, for the rest of the season or if they’ll replace him with another player after trading for him.

The 24th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Luwawu-Cabarrot hasn’t developed into a reliable NBA rotation piece. In 142 career games (14.9 MPG) for Philadelphia and Oklahoma City, he has averaged 5.5 PPG and 1.7 RPG with a .385/.317/.829 shooting line.

The Thunder will dip to 13 players as a result of the deal and will have two weeks to add a 14th man to their roster. By signing a player – or player(s) – to a 10-day contract or a prorated rest-of-season deal, the club will save some money on its year-end tax bill. I explained this concept last week when I identified Luwawu-Cabarrot as a potential trade candidate.

Meanwhile, the Bulls will use part of the $2.73MM trade exception they generated earlier this season in the Justin Holiday trade in order to absorb Luwawu-Cabarrot’s salary, Marks notes. The Thunder, in turn, will create a TPE worth TLC’s salary ($1,544,951).

Bulls Notes: Hutchison, Parker, Anthony, Dunn

Serious injuries have now affected nearly every key piece of the Bulls‘ rebuilding effort, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. The latest casualty is rookie Chandler Hutchison, who will be sidelined until at least the All-Star break with an “acute injury” to his right foot.

He joins Lauri Markkanen, who missed the first 23 games of the season with a right elbow injury, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis, who both had extended absences with knee issues, Denzel Valentine, who is out for the year after ankle surgery, and Wendell Carter Jr., who may miss the rest of the season after thumb surgery.

The timing of Hutchison’s injury is unfortunate because he had just moved into the starting lineup when the Bulls traded Justin Holiday to Memphis.

“You see the confidence Hutch is playing with and the growth he has had, the confidence Wendell was playing with and the growth he has had,” coach Jim Boylen said. “And you forget about Denzel coming into his third year ready to go, pumped, had a great summer. So it’s gut-wrenching. It’s painful for them individually and painful for the team. It’s tough.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Boylen has several options at small forward while Hutchison is out, Johnson adds in the same piece. Jabari Parker could be moved back into that spot or the team could try a smaller lineup with Wayne Selden or Shaquille Harrison. Regardless, Parker should see steady playing time after about a month of hardly leaving the bench. “The dude’s special,” Zach LaVine said of Parker. “He’s one of the only dudes on the team who has averaged 20 points per game in the NBA. He’s one of the most talented dudes on the team. I’m happy for him. It’s a tough situation, but he’s handling it well.”
  • Chicago acquired Carmelo Anthony this week, but the move came five years later than the organization would have liked, Johnson notes in a separate story. The Bulls were serious suitors for Anthony when he was a free agent in 2014, and Johnson speculates that he could have been the missing piece to make the Bulls title contenders.
  • Parker and Robin Lopez have dominated the trade deadline speculation in Chicago, but the most important decision may involve Dunn, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The third-year point guard will become eligible for an extension this summer, and the Bulls have to decide soon whether he will be part of their future. Mayberry notes that the team recently scouted Murray State point guard Ja Morant, who now projects as a top five pick.

Bulls, Rockets Complete Carmelo Anthony Trade

The Rockets and Bulls have completed the Carmelo Anthony deal, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). The Bulls have confirmed the trade is official.

Anthony will head to Chicago along with the draft rights to Jon Diebler and approximately $1.56MM in cash while Houston will receive the draft rights to Tadija Dragicevic.

Diebler is a 30-year-old shooting guard who was originally drafted with the No. 51 overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Blazers. Dragicevic, who will turn 33 later this month, is a power forward who was selected with the No. 53 overall pick back in 2008 by the Jazz. Both players currently play in Turkey. Neither player has any NBA experience and it’s unlikely either “prospect” makes his way to the league any time soon.

The Bulls are not expected to play Anthony but will likely either release him or scour the league for a trade. Anthony reportedly wants to find a place where he can make an impact.

The cost for picking up Anthony’s salary at this stage of the season is $675K, so the cash Chicago is receiving more than enough to covers his deal. The Rockets are facing luxury tax concerns, so moving him allows the franchise to lower their anticipated tax payment.

Anthony played just 10 games for the Rockets, averaging 13.4 points per game.  The fit wasn’t there in Houston and he’ll likely wait until after the trade deadline to find a new home. The Lakers reportedly have some interest, though the team’s roster is full and the franchise doesn’t want to waive a player on a guaranteed contract in order to add the 10-time All-Star.

Southwest Notes: Carmelo, Cousins, Faried, DSJ

The Carmelo Anthony trade between the Rockets and Bulls is still expected to get done at some point soon, but the trade call has yet to take place, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Stein, the deal may have to be amended due to a discrepancy involving the rights to a draft-and-stash player.

In addition to receiving Anthony and cash in the trade, the Bulls are also expected to receive the rights to Marko Todorovic, while the Rockets receive Tadija Dragicevic‘s rights, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. However, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the NBA has made an effort to crack down on swaps that include a player who aren’t expected to ever come stateside. It’s not clear if those efforts will impact what the Rockets/Bulls swap ultimately looks like.

Let’s round up a few more items from out of the Southwest…

  • Within an article about DeMarcus Cousins‘ free agency and his debut with Golden State, the big man admits to Shams Charania of The Athletic that he hasn’t forgotten about how his time with the Pelicans playing alongside Anthony Davis ended. “I think about our pairing all the time,” Cousins said. “Me and A.D. talk about it. It’s f—ed up. It could’ve been something great, something special, but other people had different things in mind. That’s out of our control, and you never know what’ll happen later on down the line.”
  • After sitting on the bench in Denver and Brooklyn, Kenneth Faried is happy to have an opportunity to play an actual role for the Rockets, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details. “The coaches and team believe in me,” Faried said. “They want me to come out and do what I do. I’m excited to be here.”
  • The Mavericks are listing Dennis Smith Jr. as a probable starter for his return game tonight, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who tweets that the club never discussed a possible move to the bench with Smith before his sabbatical.
  • Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has been fined $10K for kicking the game ball into the stands during Saturday’s game, the NBA announced today in a press release.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Kings, Divac, Carmelo

The Warriors’ decision on what to do with their open roster spot depends on which teams they view as their biggest threats, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. While GM Bob Myers recently stated that adding another big was a priority, that could change if small-ball teams like Houston, Boston and Toronto are viewed as the primary threats to another championship. It makes more sense for Golden State to obtain another big if Utah, Denver and Oklahoma City are viewed as potential stumbling blocks. A deadline deal is unlikely, so the buyout market is a more likely source for a roster addition, Slater continues. Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon is a name to watch on the buyout market if the Hawks are unable to deal him, Slater adds.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings are in the market for a small forward with more size and a quality backup to point guard De’Aaron Fox, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. The Kings have been linked to Washington’s Otto Porter but the Wizards don’t appear to be in sell mode, Jones continues.  Dallas’ Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore are some of the other wings the Kings could pursue, while Atlanta’s Jeremy Lin would be a good fit at the point.
  • The perception of Kings GM Vlade Divac has changed dramatically for the better over the past two years, Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee points out. Divac was heavily criticized for the DeMarcus Cousins deal with New Orleans but it turned out Sacramento’s favor. The Kings have been one of the league’s surprise teams this season despite a modest payroll. “We’ve made a huge step forward and I’m very happy where we are now,” Divac told Breton. “We need to grow. We need time … (But) we’re not in a hurry. We’re going to go step by step.”
  • Carmelo Anthony would be a poor fit for the Lakers, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Los Angeles has been mentioned as a possible destination if the agreed-upon deal between Houston and Chicago becomes official and the Bulls waive him. Anthony would be competing for limited minutes with Michael Beasley, who is a superior rebounder and more efficient scorer. He might also take minutes away from wing players Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart, who are better 3-point shooters and defenders. They’re also more comfortable playing off the ball than Anthony.

Southwest Notes: Anthony, Smith Jr., Matthews, Davis

The Rockets will improve their luxury tax situation if the proposed trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls goes through, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. Houston started the day with a projected luxury tax bill of $13.9MM but will see that number drop to $12.4MM if the trade becomes official. It will also create a $1.5MM trade exception and open up a roster spot. Big man Kenneth Faried, signed earlier in the day, will earn $917,271 with the Rockets incurring a $683,661 cap hit.

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Dennis Smith Jr.’s decision to rejoin Mavericks on Tuesday was mostly about damage control and protecting his future value, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Smith realized after talking to coach Rick Carlisle it was in his best interests to return, rather than the club making up excuses about him being ill, MacMahon said. It’s unlikely that the Mavs will find a palatable deal before the deadline but those talks can be revisited and new suitors could emerge during the offseason if he finishes strong, MacMahon adds (Twitter links).
  • Wesley Matthews has heard the trade chatter about getting thrown into a potential deal involving Smith but he’s handling it professionally, as he explained to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Matthews has an expiring $18.6MM contract and the Mavs are reportedly searching for deals with his contract as bait. “I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me,” Matthews said. “No one’s supposed to feel sorry for me. I didn’t get into this business with people feeling sorry for me. No one felt sorry for me when I wasn’t drafted. No one felt sorry for me when I tore my Achilles. … There’s bigger things than trade rumors and hater fans and all that [expletive]. That’s never going to affect me.”
  • Anthony Davis‘ finger injury is a body blow to an already scuffling franchise, Scott Kushner of the Baton Rouge Advocate writes. The Pelicans face a tough stretch of games heading into the trade deadline despite beating Memphis by 20 points on Monday. They remain below the .500 mark and are in danger of falling completely out of the playoff picture with Davis expected to miss 1-2 weeks with a left finger sprain.

Rockets To Trade Carmelo Anthony To Bulls

The Rockets have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and cash to the Bulls, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Chicago will not acquire the longtime All-Star for the purpose of playing him, Wojnarowski adds in a follow-up tweet. He could be released quickly but it’s possible that franchise will hold off on waiving him until the trade deadline. That would allow the Bulls to seek a trade, though they can’t aggregate his contract in another deal.

The Bulls have an open roster space, allowing them to add Anthony without dropping another player. The cost for picking up Anthony’s salary at this stage of the season is $675K. The cash received from Houston will more than cover the cost, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Anthony will be better off waiting until the trade deadline to hook onto a new club if Chicago doesn’t move him. Anthony wants to find a place where he can make an impact and that opportunity could be created by waiting for trades to happen and roster spots to open up, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link).

There has been plenty of speculation where Anthony might ultimately end up this season, including the possibility of joining forces with good friend LeBron James in Los Angeles. The Lakers have some interest, according to Wojnarowski, but they have a full roster and don’t want to cut loose a guaranteed contract to pick him up (Twitter link).

Houston announced in mid-November its intention to part ways with Anthony and he’s been in limbo the past two months, occupying a roster spot without being an active participant.

The Rockets have been seeking to trade him rather than releasing him outright. Moving him to the Bulls takes the team off the hook for the tax penalties associated with his $1.51MM cap hit.

Anthony averaged 13.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 10 games with the Rockets.

Iko’s Latest: Rockets, Carmelo, House, Ellington

With Kenneth Faried poised to join the Rockets once he clears waivers, Houston may finally get the type of backup big man it has long been seeking. As Kelly Iko of The Athletic explains, the Rockets hoped that Brandan Wright – and then Marquese Chriss – would be the sort of athletic big who could roll to the rim, catch lobs, and rebound for the second unit. Health issues sidelined Wright, and Chriss hasn’t been a great fit, so the Rockets will try their luck with Faried.

Adding Faried will also address Houston’s frontcourt depth for the time being, meaning the team can shift its focus back to the wing as the trade deadline approaches. Iko identifies a number of potential trade targets for the Rockets, so his article is worth checking out in full for those suggestions.

Iko also drops a few interesting tidbits along the way, which we’ll round up right here:

  • While a trade remains the preferred outcome for both the Rockets and Carmelo Anthony, a buyout “isn’t off the table,” league sources tell Iko. Iko names the Lakers, Heat, and Pistons as teams that could be willing to take a chance on Anthony.
  • According to Iko, Danuel House‘s representatives were interested in a deal that would have paid House a “significant chunk” of the Rockets‘ mid-level exception. “He essentially wants to get paid like a top-seven pick,” one source said of House. As of today, Houston should have about $3.64MM of its MLE left, though that number declines a little every day. Iko notes that GM Daryl Morey wants to hang onto that exception for flexibility. I explored House’s stalemate with the Rockets right here.
  • Sources tell Iko that the Heat don’t really want to take back any salary if they move Wayne Ellington. It’s not clear if that’s a reference to multiyear salary or if Miami doesn’t want to take back any money at all in a potential Ellington deal. The latter would be trickier – a trade partner would need cap room or a traded player exception to accommodate the sharpshooter’s $6.27MM salary – but would be financially advantageous for the Heat. It appears they could dip ever so slightly below the tax line by getting off Ellington’s contract.

Central Notes: Lopez, Anthony, Burks, Bledsoe

The thumb injury that will sideline Wendell Carter Jr. for the next eight to 12 weeks won’t change the Bulls‘ plans to trade veteran center Robin Lopez, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Even though a deal would leave Chicago short-handed in the middle the team, the team could give more minutes to Cristiano Felicio or get by with a small lineup until Carter returns.

With an expiring $14.3MM contract, Lopez is unlikely to return to the Bulls next season and management wants to get something now by shipping him to a contender. Relegated to a reserve role, Lopez’s numbers are about half of what they were last season, averaging 5.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

The Bulls will continue to look for deals involving Jabari Parker as well, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Parker recently returned to the rotation after being exiled when Jim Boylen took over as head coach, but Chicago reportedly made no progress in working out a Parker trade while he wasn’t playing.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons had internal discussions about acquiring Carmelo Anthony, but decided not to pursue him, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. There were reports yesterday that Anthony, who remains on the Rockets’ roster although he hasn’t played in more than two months, has multiple options for his next location. Houston needs to open a roster spot before signing Kenneth Faried, so the team may have some urgency to get the Anthony situation resolved soon.
  • Alec Burks wasn’t sure if the Cavaliers planned to keep him when they acquired him from the Jazz in November but he says the experience in Cleveland has been positive, relays Chris Fedor of Burks’ playing time has increased with the Cavs and he has become the team’s top perimeter defender. “I would say there’s more opportunity here, definitely,” he said before Friday’s return to Utah. “I think it’s been great. Been up and down. Still going to be up and down I feel like just trying to find a rhythm. But it’s getting better and better. I’m adjusting more and more every day.”
  • Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated examines the impact that point guard Eric Bledsoe is having in his first full season with the Bucks.