Chris Duhon

And-Ones: Draft, Dragic, Neal

The NBA draft is still more than three months away but the debate on who will be the first player taken rages on. According to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, scouts have told him that if the draft were held today, the first overall selection would either be Kansas center Joel Embiid or Duke forward Jabari Parker. While Embiid and Parker represented the top tier in this poll and Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Dante Exum represented the second tier, the six through ten choices were all over the board according to the article. There is a chance that neither Embiid, if his back proves too problematic, or Parker, if he decides to play one more season as he’s hinted, will even declare for this year’s draft.

More from around the league:

  • According to La Opinion de Malaga (translated by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando) Slovenian guard Zoran Dragic is weighing his options in regards to entering the NBA next season. Dragic is averaging 11.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.3 APG this season with Unicaja Malaga.
  • Bobcats guard Gary Neal was held out of tonight’s game against the Wizards for an “internal team matter”, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. About the benching, Neal said, “I made a mistake, me and coach talked about it and we’ll move forward from there.” According to Bonnell, head coach Steve Clifford said that this would not affect Neal’s minutes going forward.
  • It wasn’t his health that made Chris Duhon break the contract he signed with JuveCaserta of the Italian League, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The reason, it turns out, is that Duhon’s wife, Andrea, was pregnant with twins, and Duhon decided he needed to remain near her rather than make the trip across the Atlantic. It turned out to be a sound decision, as last week, Andrea Duhon gave birth two months premature. According to Deveney, Duhon still intends to return to basketball, but it is unclear if that will be in the NBA or overseas.

Chris Duhon Breaks Deal With Italian Team

WEDNESDAY, 8:01am: Duhon has decided to back out of his contract with Juve Caserta, Carchia reports. Since the deal had already gone official, it’s unclear what repercussions the guard will face.

3:44pm: Atripaldi, Caserta’s GM, puts the chances of Duhon playing with the team at 30% in an interview with Prima Rete (transcription via La Reggia Del Basket; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).

TUESDAY, 12:06pm: The deal may come apart because of family matters for Duhon, according to Carchia, who says resolution about whether the guard will indeed play in Italy should come within the next few hours (Twitter links).

7:15pm: Juve Caserta has officially announced the Duhon signing, Carchia reports. The team’s GM Marco Atripaldi stated, “We have a deal with Chris Duhon. He will land in Italy next week.

1:40pm: Duhon’s deal is now official, Carchia reports. Caserta will announce the signing later today, and Duhon will likely join his new club next week sometime.

SATURDAY, 9:11am: Duhon has not yet signed a contract with Caserta but is expected to do so today, a source close to the team tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

FRIDAY, 11:18pm: Chris Duhon has reached an agreement to play with Caserta in Italy, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Duhon last played in the NBA for the Lakers during the 2012/2013 season. He averaged 2.9 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 2.9 APG last year over 46 games. Duhon was originally drafted out of Duke in 2004 by the Bulls. He was taken as the ninth pick in the second round. His career averages over nine NBA seasons are 6.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 4.4 APG. He spent his first four years with the Bulls, then spent time with the Knicks and Magic before ending up with the Lakers.

During his last season in L.A., back issues related to a herniated disk slowed him down until he was finally waived by the Lakers. Then in October of 2013 he was involved in a bizarre accident, where a motorist intentionally hit Duhon with his car after the two men had had a verbal altercation. He hit his head on the windshield, and sustained both head and body injuries from the incident.

His agent, Ray Bradbury of BDA Sports was quoted as saying, “Chris is ready to play again and wants to show everyone he’s healthy. This is a great opportunity.”

Odds & Ends: Lakers, Pierce, Austin

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak directly addressed questions about the team’s point guard situation and didn’t seem too confident about finding anyone on the free agent market who could play big rotation minutes immediately (Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles):

“I think for the time being we’re going to roll with what we’ve got…To find a player that doesn’t belong to somebody right now that can come in and play in front of (Kobe Bryant), in front of Xavier Henry), in front of (Jodie Meeks), it’s unlikely…But maybe there’s a player out there that we can take a look at…It’s a good time to perhaps look at a player, but I don’t think there’s somebody that we’re going to bring in and we’re going to start or is going to play big minutes.”

As it stands, the team doesn’t appear to have any immediate plans to add a point guard via trade, free agency, or D-League call up. Here’s more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes, including more from McMenamin’s piece:

  • Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee reports that mayor Kevin Johnson has launched a political campaign aimed at defeating a June ballot measure in Sacramento that would require voter approval of subsidies to sports arenas. The Kings are expected to play a role in the effort along with Johnson, although team president Chris Granger said the role hasn’t been decided yet.
  • When specifically asked about Leandro Barbosa, as well as former Lakers Darius Morris and Chris Duhon, Kupchak said that they’re “all on the list” of players being considered.
  • Whether or not the Lakers decide to make a move to address their backcourt issues, ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne gets the sense that they’ll look for the best available point guard and not necessarily put a priority on those with past familiarity of Mike D’Antoni’s system. She also makes note that the team still has luxury tax considerations to factor into their decision-making (All Twitter links).
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers weighed in on the Nets, saying he was disappointed in how the situation between Jason Kidd and Lawrence Frank developed, endorsed the idea that Paul Pierce would be willing to come off the bench, and suggested that Pierce still has plenty of basketball left in the tank beyond this season (All Twitter links).
  • RealGM’s Jonathan Tjarks examines how Baylor center Isaiah Austin helped his draft stock after his 13-point/5-block performance against a highly touted Kentucky frontline that included Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Alex Poythress last week.
  • ESPN’s J.A. Adande and Israel Gutierrez discuss ideas on how to correct competitive imbalance in the NBA.

Lakers To Target Leandro Barbosa, Other PGs

The Lakers announced that Steve Blake will miss at least six weeks with a torn ulnar ligament in his right elbow, and while GM Mitch Kupchak doesn’t expect to find a player worth signing, he’ll nonetheless look for one, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. Kupchak says players with ties to coach Mike D’Antoni, including Leandro Barbosa, Chris Duhon and Darius Morris, are among those the team will pursue, Pincus adds (via Twitter).

The injury to Blake leaves the Lakers without a healthy point guard, as Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar are also hurt. They plan to go with Kobe Bryant as the starter with Xavier Henry backing him up.

Barbosa is scorching the Brazilian league and appears fully recovered from his torn ACL, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com notes (Twitter link). Morris was supposed to work out with the Grizzlies this week, but Memphis appears to be looking in a different direction. There’s been little recent chatter about Duhon, who wasn’t in camp with an NBA team.

The Lakers have an open roster spot, so they wouldn’t have to waive anyone to sign a free agent. If they want to make a splashy trade, Kyle Lowry is available, but the Lakers aren’t among the teams that have reportedly been pursuing him.

Latest On Notable Veteran Free Agents

Even with about 550 players currently under contract with NBA teams, there are still a number of interesting names remaining on our list of 2013/14 free agents. That list will only grow in the next several weeks, as teams release camp invitees in an effort to reduce their roster counts to the regular-season maximum of 15. Still, it wouldn't be surprising to see some of the players presently available to land on NBA teams once the season gets underway.

Injuries are already starting to pile up for some teams, and when a club needs to add an extra body or two during the season, a veteran addition is more likely than a rookie signing. Even if a team would rather take a look at a few young players during camp, a known commodity has more value when that same team needs immediate help during the season.

So which players could we see join teams at some point after training camp ends? Here are a few names to keep in mind, along with the latest rumors and updates we've heard about them:

Rodrigue Beaubois
Previous team: Mavericks
Latest updates: The Heat were reportedly hoping to bring Beaubois in for an "audition," but a wrist injury derailed those plans. If and when he gets healthy, Beaubois could draw renewed interest, though perhaps a lottery team would be more likely to take a flier than a contender.

Jason Collins
Previous team: Wizards
Latest updates: ESPN.com's Marc Stein recently explored Collins' free agency, identifying the Nets, Wizards, and Clippers as potential fits for the big man. Coach Mike Woodson also confirmed that the Knicks kicked the tires on Collins before deciding to go younger.

Chris Duhon
Previous team: Lakers
Latest updates: The Knicks and Sixers were said to be considering Duhon back in August, and we heard again about Philadelphia's interest last month. The team went younger and cheaper shortly thereafter though, signing Darius Morris.

Richard Hamilton
Previous team: Bulls
Latest updates: A report a month ago indicated that the Rockets and Knicks could have interest, but both clubs have several other options for now. Perhaps New York could re-emerge as a viable option if J.R. Smith has lingering issues related to his offseason knee surgery.

Josh Howard
Previous team: Timberwolves
Latest updates: While some of the players on this list may be waiting out the market in the hopes that teams will get more desperate when rosters are reduced to 15 players and injuries start to add up, Howard was said to be in the market for a camp invite. That doesn't seem to bode well for his chances of catching on with an NBA team this season, though there's still plenty of time.

Stephen Jackson
Previous team: Spurs
Latest updates: Jackson was linked to the Rockets and Heat back in August, but both of those teams have several other three-point shooters in the mix. With Jackson's production in decline, clubs may be reluctant to roll the dice on the 35-year-old and his strong personality.

Mickael Pietrus
Previous team: Raptors
Latest updates: Although Pietrus received a camp invite from the Spurs, he continues to seek a guaranteed deal, as he did a year ago. It worked out for him last fall, when he signed a guaranteed contract with the Raptors several weeks into the season, but he didn't play well and didn't stay healthy in Toronto. We'll see if his patient approach to free agency pays off again this time around.

Other notable veterans on the market: Daequan Cook, Drew Gooden, Lamar Odom, Sasha Pavlovic, Tyrus Thomas, Jamaal Tinsley, Luke Walton, Hakim Warrick, Chris Wilcox

Read more

Odds & Ends: Spurs, Sixers, Suns, Mekel

No team in NBA history has seen their 15th man have a significant impact on their season and the Spurs aren't likely to be the first, writes Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation.  However, the fact that the Spurs are thinking about point guard Mike Bibby and Sebastian Telfair might say something about their concerns over the aging Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  Here's more from around the Association..

  • The 76ers are considering a number of free agent point guards including Rodrigue Beaubois, Chris Duhon, and Daniel Gibson, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (on Twitter).
  • New Suns GM Ryan McDonough is eager to rebuild in Phoenix, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.  McDonough moved or released five of the team’s top nine scorers from last season with an eye on the bigger picture.  “Walking in there, the main thing I wanted to do is upgrade the talent,” said McDonough. “And do it in a fashion that was sustainable for the long term. I didn’t want to try to take any shortcuts or try any quick fixes.
  • Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype caught up with new Mavs point guard Gel Mekel.  Mekel said that he chose Dallas over three other NBA clubs because he believed that Dallas sees him as a long-term piece.
  • Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wonders if financial security would make the D-League more desirable for players.
  • Based on an early best estimate, Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld looks at the teams that will be in position to go shopping during the free agent bonanza of next summer.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Pistons, Bucks, Heat

Let's round up some Wednesday links from around the Eastern Conference….

Knicks, 76ers Interested In Chris Duhon

Two Atlantic Division teams in search of a point guard, the Knicks and 76ers, are showing interest in Chris Duhon, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Duhon was released earlier in the offseason by the Lakers before his salary for 2013/14 became fully guaranteed.

As we heard yesterday, the Knicks remain in the market for a third point guard to complement Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, and Beno Udrih continues to be the team's top target. It looks as if Duhon is also among New York's possible options, along with others like Mo Williams and Bobby Brown.

Meanwhile, the Sixers are several million dollars below the minimum salary floor required by the Collective Barganing Agreement, so it may benefit the team to sign a veteran free agent or two. Since Michael Carter-Williams currently projects to be Philadelphia's only real point guard, the club figures, at the very least, to bring in two or three players to compete for a roster spot and minutes at the point. A veteran point guard would make sense, to relieve some of the pressure on the 21-year-old Carter-Williams.

Duhon, 30, has seen his numbers decline in recent years with the Magic and Lakers. The nine-year veteran has recorded 3.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, and a PER of just 7.5 in 160 games for those two teams over the last three seasons.

Lakers Waive Chris Duhon

According to GM Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers have waived back-up point guard Chris Duhon tweets Lakers.com writer Mike Trudell.

Duhon signed a four-year $13.25MM contract in July of 2010 by way of the mid-level exception. The final year of his contract would have paid him $3.75MM.

By waiving the nine-year veteran out of Duke before midnight tomorrow night (June 30), the Lakers only have to pay him $1.5MM guaranteed, saving $2.25MM with the cut. Duhon now becomes an unrestricted free agent.

 

Lakers Not Expected To Retain Duhon, Ebanks

The Lakers exercised their team option on Jodie Meeks and extended a qualifying offer to Robert Sacre yesterday, but it doesn't appear that they'll do the same for Chris Duhon or Devin Ebanks. Kevin Ding of the Orange Country Register reports (via Twitter) that the Lakers have decided not to retain Duhon and Ebanks for next season.

Duhon, 30, remains under contract for $3.75MM for next season, but only $1.5MM of that amount is guaranteed. The Lakers will have to release him on or before this Sunday in order to avoid paying the rest of Duhon's guarantee. As for Ebanks, the Lakers have the option of extending him a qualifying offer to make him restricted, like Sacre, but it appears the team won't make that offer.

Neither Duhon nor Ebanks played much for the Lakers last season, and neither player was particularly productive when he did play — Duhon finished with an 8.0 PER in 46 contests, while Ebanks posted a 6.3 PER in 19 games. Assuming the Lakers officially release Duhon and don't extend a QO to Ebanks, both players will become unrestricted free agents next week.

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