Charlotte Hornets

Latest On Brandon Jennings

2:55pm: Despite Van Gundy’s assertion, the Hornets are happy with their signing of Weber and are currently unlikely to pursue Jennings, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link). Stein adds (via Twitter) that multiple teams are eyeing Jennings, with the Wizards apparently at the “front of the line.”

1:53pm: David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com (Twitter link) is hearing from “several places” that Jennings-to-Charlotte isn’t necessarily a done deal. The Wizards are among the team still working on landing Jennings, per Aldridge.

12:35pm: Having been released by the Knicks today, Brandon Jennings is on track to clear waivers and become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, assuming he goes unclaimed. However, it sounds like Jennings may have already have a new team lined up. Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy told local reporters today that Jennings is headed to the Hornets (Twitter link via Keith Langlois of Pistons.com).

As the Pistons’ president of basketball operations, Van Gundy is plugged into player movement around the league, but an agreement between the Hornets and Jennings has yet to be reported elsewhere, so we’ll wait for further confirmation. It’s also worth noting that Jennings will have to clear waivers first — Charlotte doesn’t have the cap room or exception available to claim him, so if the Hornets do land him, it would be in free agency.

A former 10th overall pick, Jennings signed a one-year contract with the Knicks last summer, and averaged 8.6 PPG and 4.9 APG in 58 games to go along with a .380/.340/.756 shooting line. New York waived Jennings today, and at least one report indicated that the veteran guard had asked for the opportunity to join a playoff team.

The Hornets are currently just one game ahead of the Knicks in the standings and sit 11th in the East, so Charlotte would be a somewhat unusual landing spot. Having signed Briante Weber today, the Hornets also have a full 15-man roster, though because Weber and Johnny O’Bryant are on 10-day contracts, it wouldn’t be hard to open up a roster spot if it’s needed.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Wizards also have interest in Jennings.

Hornets Sign Briante Weber To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 27: The Hornets have officially signed Weber to a 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. Charlotte now has a full 15-man roster.

FEBRUARY 26: Briante Weber, whose 10-day contract with the Warriors expired Saturday, will sign a similar deal with the Hornets, tweets Chris Haynes of ESPN.com.

Weber appeared in seven games during his two 10-day stints in Golden State, averaging 1.7 points in 6.6 minutes per night. The Warriors elected not to sign him for the rest of the season, reportedly to open up a roster spot to add Jose Calderon, who is discussing buyout options with the Lakers.

The Hornets had two roster spots to fill after 10-day contracts for Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey expired Friday. Both players have returned to the D-League. Charlotte signed power forward Johnny O’Bryant to a 10-day contract Friday afternoon.

The Hornets will be the fourth stop for Weber in his brief NBA career. He played six games for the Grizzlies and one for the Heat last season.

Tobey Returns To D-League

Hornets Sign Johnny O’Bryant To 10-Day Deal

3:14pm: The Hornets have officially signed O’Bryant to a 10-day contract, the team announced this afternoon in a press release.

7:32am: After playing on a pair of 10-day contracts with the Nuggets earlier this season, Johnny O’Bryant is poised to join a new team, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back, who reports (via Twitter) that the Hornets will sign the free agent forward to a 10-day contract.

The Hornets have been carrying 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, along with a pair of players – Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey – on 10-day contracts. The latest 10-day deals for both McCallum and Tobey expired overnight, so it seems the Hornets won’t retain both players.

Assuming the team finalizes a deal with O’Bryant, there would still be one opening on the roster to sign McCallum, Tobey, or someone else. Since McCallum and Tobey each signed two 10-day contracts with Charlotte, they would need to be signed for the season to stick with the Hornets.

O’Bryant, 23, was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and spent his first two NBA seasons with the Bucks. In 100 games for the club, O’Bryant averaged 3.0 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The LSU product signed as a free agent with the Wizards prior to training camp last fall, but didn’t earn a regular-season roster spot with the team.

O’Bryant subsequently joined the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns, averaging 18.5 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 24 games for Phoenix’s affiliate this season. He even added a three-point shot to his game during his time in the NBADL, making 38.0% of his attempts and averaging more than one three-pointer per game. That earned O’Bryant a couple 10-day contracts with the Nuggets, for whom he appeared in seven games, averaging 2.9 PPG and 1.6 RPG.

Post-Deadline Housekeeping: New TPEs, Open Roster Spots

There were no superstars on the move on Thursday, but NBA teams made eight trades, and there were many more signings and cuts completed once the deadline passed. In the wake of the deadline, we’ll take a look at a few roster- and cap-related notes, rounding up the new traded player exceptions that teams created on Thursday, as well as examining which teams still have space available on their rosters.

Let’s dive in…

New trade exceptions:

Several over-the-cap teams acquired new trade exceptions on Thursday. They’ll all expire on February 23, 2018, a year after they were created, or until they’re used or renounced by the teams below. If a club wants to use cap room, it must renounce its trade exceptions, but until then, these TPEs can be used in the summer or next season to acquire players.

Here’s the breakdown, in order of TPE value:

  • Dallas Mavericks: $6,642,537
  • Chicago Bulls: $5,462,000
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $5,000,000
  • Atlanta Hawks: $3,333,334
  • Houston Rockets: $3,333,333
  • Dallas Mavericks: $1,514,160
  • Houston Rockets: $612,172
  • Toronto Raptors: $328,000
  • Houston Rockets: $233,880

Some notes related to these TPEs:

  • Multiple teams on this list, including the Rockets and Bucks, could open up cap room by renouncing their trade exceptions. In Houston’s case, this is particularly notable, since the club would create more than $3.5MM in cap space by renouncing these TPEs. That cap room could come in handy very soon if the Rockets are trying to entice a free agent to sign with them instead of another contender that can only offer the minimum.
  • As is always the case with TPEs, some of these exceptions will be more useful than others. The Mavericks could end up doing something interesting with their $6.6MM+ TPE, but the Raptors will almost certainly never use theirs for $328K.
  • The Thunder also came out of Thursday’s action with a new TPE — sort of. Oklahoma City had created a trade exception worth $7.4MM on November 1 when the team sent Ersan Ilyasova to Philadelphia. The Thunder used a portion of that exception at the deadline to absorb Doug McDermott‘s salary, leaving approximately $4.94MM left on it. OKC will have until November 1 to use the rest of that TPE.
  • For the complete list of trade exceptions across the NBA, click here.

Teams with open roster spots:

A day after the trade deadline, the list of teams with open roster spots is incredibly fluid. Some teams that acquired players in trades don’t have any use for those players, and will waive them. Other clubs will fill roster holes with D-League call-ups, while other teams will be a little more patient and wait out the buyout market.

All of this is to say that this list is up to date at the time of publication, but could change quickly as teams make more moves this weekend. Here are the teams that currently have at least one open spot on their 15-man roster, with their player count noted in parentheses:

  • Charlotte Hornets (13): The 10-day contracts for Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey expired overnight, so Charlotte has two open spots. The team reportedly plans to use one on Johnny O’Bryant.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (14): The Cavs have 13 guaranteed contracts, plus Derrick Williams‘ 10-day deal. The team expects to sign Deron Williams as well, so if any other roster additions are coming after that, Cleveland would need to clear a roster spot.
  • Dallas Mavericks (13): The Mavs have two openings after completing a two-for-one trade with the Sixers, then waiving Deron Williams.
  • Houston Rockets (14): The Rockets opened up a roster spot by trading K.J. McDaniels, and may waive Marcelo Huertas as well. Houston is expected to be active on the buyout market.
  • Milwaukee Bucks (14): The Bucks created a roster opening by sending Roy Hibbert to Denver, and they’re expected to fill it by signing Axel Toupane to a 10-day contract.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (14): Unlike most of the teams on this list, the Wolves have carried an open roster spot for a while, and that didn’t change at the deadline.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (14): The Thunder traded three players to Chicago and received just two in return, creating an opening. They have their eye on free agents and buyout candidates.
  • Orlando Magic (14): Like Minnesota, the Magic were carrying an open roster spot prior to the deadline and didn’t make a move on Thursday.

The Suns will join this list as soon as they officially waive Mike Scott and Jared Sullinger, as is expected. They’ll fill one of those two newly-open spots with Ronnie Price. There are also three teams that have full 15-man rosters with at least one player on a 10-day contract. The Hawks, Warriors, and Pelicans fall into this category, with Briante Weber‘s second 10-day deal in Golden State set to expire soon.

For a full breakdown of NBA roster counts, check out our list.

Southeast Notes: Porter, Heat, Plumlee, Magic

The Wizards may not be finished dealing after a multi-player trade with the Nets this afternoon, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Washington will continue to look for help through Thursday’s trade deadline at 3 p.m. Eastern. Today’s deal, which sent Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and this year’s first-rounder to Brooklyn in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, clears cap space to help the Wizards re-sign Otto Porter this summer, notes David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link). Nicholson, who had fallen out of the rotation in Washington, still has three seasons and nearly $20MM left on his contract.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bogdanovic has a 15% trade kicker, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). That amounts to $157K, which Brooklyn will pay, but his cap hit for the Wizards is now $3.73MM.
  • The Heat will avoid any deadline moves that would tie up their future cap space, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That makes them unlikely to pursue the Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler or the Nets’ Trevor Booker, who both have contracts that extend beyond this season. Jackson cites a rival GM who has spoken to Miami about a deal and believes “they seem content to stand pat.”
  • Miami expects to have Josh Richardson back in the lineup for Friday’s game, according to a tweet from the team. A foot injury has kept him out of the lineup since January 8th. “He’s had a healthy approach the last 4-5 weeks to prepare,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. Justise Winslow won’t be back this season, but he is making progress from shoulder surgery, the Heat noted (Twitter link), as his sling has been removed.
  • Hornets center Miles Plumlee will be out of action for at least two weeks with a right calf strain, the team posted on its website. An MRI revealed the second-degree strain, and Plumlee will be re-evaluated in 14 days. He has played just five games for Charlotte since being acquired from the Bucks in a February 2nd trade.
  • Despite a 21-37 record, the Magic have no plans to tank the rest of the season, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando is currently fourth in our Reverse Standings and would have an 11.9% chance of winning the lottery. Coach Frank Vogel believes it would be a mistake to try to improve those odds by losing on purpose. “As a coach, you worry about one thing, and that’s getting a group of guys that haven’t won in five years to learn how to win,” Vogel said. “That’s more important than any one player you can add.”

Hornets, Rockets, Pelicans In Mix For Lou Williams

The Lakers’ front office turnover hasn’t stopped teams around the league from inquiring on Lou Williams. Speaking to reporters today, new Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said that he has already spoken to 10 general managers, per Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). As Bill Oram of The Orange County Register notes (Twitter links), Johnson confirmed that most of his calls have been about Williams, adding that it will take “a lot” to get him.

As we’ve heard in the last 24 hours, the Jazz are in the mix for Williams, and so are the Wizards. However, they have plenty of competition. Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reports (via Twitter) that the Rockets and Pelicans have also expressed interest in trading for Williams. Chris Haynes of ESPN.com adds Charlotte to the list of Williams suitors as well, tweeting that the Hornets have “aggressively” pursued the veteran guard.

With a 24-32 record, the Hornets aren’t currently in playoff position, but the team remains on the lookout for pieces to improve their 2016/17 roster, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney wrote earlier today Charlotte was one of many teams to inquire on Williams, suggesting that the Hornets have been looking for a scorer off the bench and depth at point guard.

A player like Williams would appeal to the Hornets and other clubs due to both his solid on-court production and his favorable contract. Despite only playing 24.2 minutes per game off the bench for the Lakers, Williams is averaging a career-high 18.6 PPG, and has established new career bests in three-pointers per game (2.1) and 3PT% (.386) so far. The 30-year-old is also earning just $7MM this season and remains under contract for $7MM in 2017/18.

According to both Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype and ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links), teams around the NBA still expect Williams to be moved this week, despite the massive restructuring that took place in the Lakers’ front office.

Hornets Complicated Cap Situation Could Limit Deals

  • The Hornets complicated their cap situation when they acquired Miles Plumlee earlier this month but retain some expiring contracts that could be dealt ahead of the deadline. General manager Rich Cho, Bobby Marks of The Vertical explains, has made four trade deadline deals since his first year with the squad back in 2011.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Southeast Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic and Northwest. Today, we’re examining the Southeast.

Buyers:

The Wizards (33-21) have been one of the NBA’s best teams since the first 10 games of the 2016/17 season, but their roster probably isn’t quite deep or talented enough to match up to a healthy Cavaliers squad in the playoffs. Washington doesn’t exactly have a huge collection of promising young players to dangle in trade talks, but the team does have all of its future first-round picks, and could use at least one of them to strengthen its rotation. A deal similar to last year’s Markieff Morris acquisition wouldn’t move the needle enough to make the Wizards conference favorites, but it would make the club a little more dangerous in the postseason without mortgaging much of its future.

The Southeast’s second-place team, the Hawks (32-24), looked like sellers a month ago, but the team is prepared to buy now, and has several future draft picks and expiring contracts to dangle in trade discussions. As some observers have pointed out, Atlanta actually looks like a good fit for Carmelo Anthony, matching up better as a trade partner for the Knicks than most of Carmelo’s preferred destinations. Anthony’s no-trade clause makes a move to the Hawks extremely unlikely though, so the team will have to look elsewhere for scoring help on the wing or in the backcourt.

Read more

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

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