Chris Paul

Atlantic Notes: CP3, Nash, Stevens, Hayward

After the Sixers were swept out of the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the team fired longtime head coach Brett Brown, who had survived several front office shakeups. But the on-court personnel could use some changes, too. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer makes the case for a Chris Paul trade.

Paul, an All-Star in 2020 during his first season with the Thunder, is scheduled to earn $41.3M and $44.2M in the final two years of his current contract. The 35-year-old point guard could give All-Star guard/forward Ben Simmons more off-ball opportunities and serve as a first-rate facilitator for All-Star center Joel Embiid.

Pompey posits that forward Tobias Harris or center Al Horford could be packaged (presumably along with future draft equity) into a deal for Paul.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • New Nets head coach Steve Nash acknowledges that he was brought on board with the franchise because of his interpersonal relationships and culture-building skills, rather than his knowledge of X’s and O’s. “I think they understand that my acumen for the game is strong and I can catch up on any of the tactical aspects,” Nash told Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in a recent edition of Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast (per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). “I think they hired me because of my experience, the personality to work with these guys and help them grow and reach their potential and bring it all together.”
  • Following an emotional postgame locker room conversation, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens held a late-evening hotel meeting with four of his frustrated stars, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart met with Stevens to unpack their feelings following a Game 2 loss to the Heat that puts Boston in an 0-2 hole for the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is hoping to return to action for Game 3 on Saturday, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hayward’s addition to the active roster would give Boston much-needed lineup flexibility and shooting help.

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.

Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.

The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.

While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.

Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Rumors: CP3, Giannis, Bledsoe, More

While a potential Bucks trade for Chris Paul has been the subject of much speculation since Milwaukee was eliminated from the postseason last week, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the club will pursue such a deal. According to Sam Amick and Eric Nehm of The Athletic, sources with knowledge of Bucks ownership’s thinking say it’s “highly unlikely” that the team will seriously go after the Thunder point guard.

As Amick and Nehm explain, the exorbitant cost of Paul’s contract ($41.4MM in 2020/21, with a $44.2MM player option for ’21/22) is one factor working against a trade. There also may be concerns about bringing a strong personality like CP3’s onto a roster that already has a superstar leader in Giannis Antetokounmpo, according to The Athletic’s duo. All indications are that Milwaukee would prefer to look elsewhere for upgrades, per Amick and Nehm.

Here’s more on the Bucks from The Athletic’s latest report:

  • The reported three-hour lunch meeting between Antetokounmpo and Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry last Friday also included Bucks senior VP Alex Lasry (Marc’s son), Giannis’ brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and their agent Alex Saratsis, league sources tell Amick and Nehm. According to The Athletic, all parties left that meeting “in good spirits and with a sense of synergy.”
  • While Antetokounmpo’s future remains unknown, a source with knowledge of the Bucks’ perspective tells Amick and Nehm that they’ve long had confidence that the reigning MVP will ultimately sign a super-max contract to stay with the franchise.
  • The Bucks were more concerned about their outside shooting issues in the playoffs than about the defense the Heat employed against Antetokounmpo, per The Athletic. That’s one reason why Eric Bledsoe – who has made just 22.9% of his three-pointers during the last two postseasons – could find himself on the trade block this offseason.
  • Head coach Mike Budenholzer had been prepared to significantly increase Antetokounmpo’s workload for Game 4 against Miami (and beyond) if he had stayed healthy, according to Amick and Nehm. Based on how the series played out, Budenholzer may be more open to a minutes bump for his stars earlier in next year’s postseason.

O’Connor’s Latest: Bucks, CP3, Giannis, Clippers, Dragic

Shortly after the Bucks were eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday night, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted that a number of rival teams believe Milwaukee will explore a trade for Thunder point guard Chris Paul this offseason.

In his latest column, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer digs deeper into that idea, arguing that the Bucks need an upgrade at the point and making the case that Paul would be an ideal fit alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.

While the Bucks likely wouldn’t face a ton of competition if they pursue Paul due to his exorbitant cap hit ($41.4MM in 2020/21), O’Connor cites league sources who say the Sixers have “seriously debated” the idea of going after the veteran guard. The Knicks – whose front office is now being run by CP3’s former agent Leon Rose – are also a potential suitor, as O’Connor notes.

The Bucks could conceivable outbid either team for Paul, but they don’t have a ton of appealing assets, in O’Connor’s view — after this year’s No. 24 overall pick, the next first-rounder Milwaukee can trade is in 2024.

Here’s more from O’Connor:

  • League sources view the Bucks as the “clear favorite” to retain Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021, but the Heat, Raptors, Warriors, and Mavericks are among the teams hoping to make a run at him, according to O’Connor.
  • Interestingly, O’Connor also reports that multiple league sources have said recently that the Clippers intend to pursue a deal for Antetokounmpo. It’s hard to imagine such a deal coming to fruition, but Giannis has an “admiration” for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, O’Connor writes.
  • Goran Dragic is one player the Bucks could try to sign in free agency as they seek a point guard upgrade, but league sources expect Dragic to remain with the Heat, per O’Connor.
  • League sources expect a somewhat quiet trade market this offseason, says O’Connor.

Giannis Says He’s Not Looking To Leave Milwaukee

In the wake of the Bucks‘ second-round elimination at the hands of the Heat, speculation about Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s future in Milwaukee will begin to ramp up. However, the star forward tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that he has no intention of asking to be traded as he prepares to enter the final year of his current contract.

“It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo said. “Some see a wall and go in (another direction). I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”

While his comments to Haynes conveyed his commitment to Milwaukee in stronger terms, Antetokounmpo also hinted during his post-game media session on Tuesday night that he has no plans to leave the Bucks, as Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays (via Twitter).

“Hopefully we can learn from this and get better as a team,” Giannis said. “… Hopefully we can build a culture in Milwaukee for many years that we can come out here and compete every single year for a championship.”

The Bucks have had the NBA’s best regular-season record in each of the last two seasons, but were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago by Toronto after taking a 2-0 lead in the series. This time around, the fifth-seeded Heat knocked them out in the Eastern Semifinals in a near-sweep, raising more questions about the Bucks’ ability to win in the postseason — and about whether Giannis might be looking for an exit ramp.

[RELATED: Heat, Raptors viewed as top suitors for Giannis Antetokounmpo]

Although he won’t be eligible for free agency until 2021, Antetokounmpo will be eligible this offseason for a super-max contract extension. The value of that five-year offer is in flux due to the uncertainty surrounding the NBA’s salary cap going forward, but the deal would be significantly more valuable than what any rival suitor can offer him as a free agent, and the Bucks plan to put it on the table as soon as they can.

Even if Antetokounmpo doesn’t immediately accept that offer, that doesn’t mean his days in Milwaukee will be numbered. Multiple sources are adamant that the Bucks wouldn’t trade Giannis even without an extension, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, who suggests the club would instead focus on convincing the reigning MVP to stay.

Whether or not Giannis re-ups with the Bucks when he becomes extension-eligible, general manager Jon Horst figures to exhaust every possibility when it comes to upgrading the roster this fall. Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets that some rival teams believe Milwaukee will look into trading for point guard Chris Paul if the Thunder make him available.

Antetokounmpo’s future will almost certainly be one of the hottest topics of the NBA offseason, but he’s not entertaining the speculation for now, telling Haynes that he’s focused on getting his sprained ankle healthy and getting back to work.

“If winning a championship was easy, everyone would have one,” Giannis said to Haynes. “We lost. Everyone saw that we lost. It’s disappointing, but what are we going to do? We’re going to keep working. I’ve got confidence in my teammates.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Paul, Jazz, Donovan, Wolves

Thunder star Chris Paul accelerated the team’s rebuild this season by exceeding expectations on and off the court, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes.

Paul, 35, embraced his role as a leader upon being traded from the Rockets last summer, taking young players such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander under his wing and holding each of his teammates accountable to the fullest extent — much like Jimmy Butler has done with the Heat in the Eastern Conference.

“When I’m in, I’m in,” Paul said. “Y’all thought I was going to ask out or something. No, I liked the direction of the organization and I believe I can play a part in elevating this team. When I step on the court, I feel like I can compete with anybody and I wanted them to feel that way too.”

The Thunder finished with a 44-28 regular-season record, taking the Rockets to seven games before losing 104-102 in the final contest. Paul finished with a triple-double, recording 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

“We didn’t give a damn about anybody’s prediction going into any series. In any game, we expected to win,” Paul said after Game 7, as relayed by Haynes. “That’s how we played all season long, every game. We fought hard all year.”

Paul remains under contract for next season, with a $44.2MM player option in 2021/22, after playing a key role in the Thunder’s success this year. The team has multiple rotation players set to reach free agency, however, including starting forward Danilo Gallinari.

There’s more from the Northwest Division tonight:

  • The Jazz‘s painful first-round defeat to the Nuggets won’t shake the team’s core confidence, Tony Jones of The Athletic details. Utah lost a hard-fought seven-game series to Denver, coming up short without one of their best scorers in Bojan Bogdanovic (20.2 PPG; season-ending wrist surgery). “We went from being an ‘unsalvageable’ team three months ago to this, and I don’t think anybody outside of us expected that,” Donovan Mitchell said. “I’m happy with the way we played, obviously not the result. Look man, like, we’ve got things that we know we can fix and like I said, we felt like we kind of gave (away) situations when we had control of the series and we let it get out of hand. … With Bojan coming back, not putting everything on Bojan, but with him coming back it’s another weapon. This won’t happen again.”
  • Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman ponders whether Billy Donovan wants to stick around as head coach of the Thunder for the future. Donovan’s contract with the franchise is set to expire, with the veteran coach coming off a successful season with the team this season. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has previously made it clear that he hopes to have Donovan return, though that decision will ultimately be his to make.
  • Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam purchasing the Timberwolves would be redundant, Zach Harper of The Athletic opines. A recent report from Sportico indicated that Haslam was considering an offer for the Wolves, a team that’s attracted multiple interested bidders to date.

Restart Notes: Malone, NBA Statement, James, Bubble Ball

Nuggets coach Michael Malone created a controversy on Friday when he criticized the NBA for not allowing coaches’ families to enter the Orlando campus. Malone said the league should be ashamed for the prohibition, according to The Denver Post’s Mike Singer.

“I miss my family, and I think I speak for me, I speak for my coaches and probably all the coaches down here,” Malone said. “Sixty days and not having access and not being granted the privilege to have my family come here, to me, is criminal in nature.”

Players were allowed to bring in a limited number of family members and guests after the opening round of the playoffs.

  • In response to Malone’s criticism, as Sam Amick from The Athletic relays (Twitter link), the NBA issued a statement that read in part: “We are hoping to add additional family members for other participants beginning with the Conference Finals.” Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle then issued a statement, relayed by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link), indicating that “NBCA discussions with the league office are ongoing. We will continue to work with the NBA as partners to evaluate the viability of coaches’ families coming to Orlando as more teams exit.”
  • LeBron James paid homage to Players Association president Chris Paul for his role in the restart and leadership in Orlando: “Obviously we’re here right now in this bubble and the restart of our season is a large part to him and to everyone that had anything to do with the PA,” James said. “But CP was very instrumental to this thing getting restarted. I commend him on that, his leadership, his candid words since he’s been here, both on and off the floor. Just another inspiring person, man. Not only from a basketball perspective.” (hat tip to The Orange County Register’s Kyle Goon)
  • Offensive efficiency has increased during the restart and The Athletic’s Seth Partnow explores the potential reasons for the upswing this summer.

Northwest Notes: Clarkson, Murray, Timberwolves, Donovan, Paul

Jordan Clarkson enjoyed his stint with the Jazz this season, but it’s uncertain whether he’ll remain in Utah, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News notes. Clarkson will be an unrestricted free agent and multiple suitors will be after his services, Todd points out. Clarkson was a sparkplug off the bench for a playoff team, averaging 15.6 PPG, and the Jazz will be first in line to make him an offer, Todd adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Jamal Murray can truly cement himself as a superstar if the Nuggets can overcome Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, Sean Keeler of the Denver Post opines. Following his huge performances in the opening round against Utah, Murray was held to 12 points in Game 1 of the Nuggets’ second-round series against the Clippers on Thursday.
  • The Timberwolves will stay open-minded as they mull what to do with the No. 1 overall pick, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas says all options are on the table, since there’s no surefire star in this year’s draft class. “We’re going to do incredible due diligence, whether it’s a point guard, whether it’s a big,” he said. “I’m 100 percent in the camp of ‘find the best player with the best upside.’ That’s the path we’re going to take.”
  • The futures of head coach Billy Donovan and point guard Chris Paul are the biggest questions looming over the Thunder, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. Paul is under contract for two more seasons but OKC isn’t likely to attach draft picks to a potential deal, considering Paul’s strong season and playoff performances.

Thunder Notes: Dort, Paul, Donovan, Offseason

Of all the roster moves made in June and July when the NBA lifted its transaction moratorium, none may be bigger over the long term than the Thunder‘s revamped deal with swingman Luguentz Dort. A two-way player for most of the season, Dort was promoted to Oklahoma City’s 15-man roster in June, signing a four-year contract worth $5.4MM that will keep him under team control at the minimum through 2023.

Dort enjoyed the best game of his career on Wednesday vs. Houston, pouring in 30 points on 10-of-21 shooting (6-of-12 on threes) and locking up James Harden on defense, holding the former MVP to a series-low 17 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

Harden ultimately got the best of Dort in Game 7’s final minute, blocking a three-point shot that would given the Thunder the lead. Despite a disappointing first-round exit though, Dort projects to be part of Oklahoma City’s core for years to come.

Here’s more on the Thunder in the wake of the end of their season:

  • Chris Paul takes exception to describing his performance in 2019/20 as a “rejuvenation” or “resurgence,” since it suggests his play had fallen off in previous years, writes Royce Young of ESPN. Whatever you want to call it though, Paul’s play this season helped reshape the road map for the Thunder’s future, as Young explains — a full-scale rebuild no longer seems like the most obvious path for the franchise.
  • Thunder general manager Sam Presti has made it clear he’d like to have Billy Donovan continue coaching the club, but Donovan will have to decide whether he wants to remain in Oklahoma City, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who suggests that Donovan may want to hear the team’s plans for the next few years before making a new commitment. Donovan’s five-year contract with OKC expires this year.
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks examines the Thunder’s looming offseason decisions, including whether or not to retain free agent Danilo Gallinari, whether to explore extensions with Dennis Schroder and/or Steven Adams, and what to do with their stash of future draft picks.

Restart Notes: Rivers, Beverley, Roberts, Protest, Paul

Clippers coach Doc Rivers felt the season would resume when the players sat out Wednesday’s games in protest but acknowledged it could have gone either way, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “I knew how high the emotions were and I just, I had a lot of faith that it would all calm down,” Rivers said. He added that the players’ vote whether to keep playing was close. “I don’t think it was a layup either way,” he said.

We have more regarding the decision to resume the season:

  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley admits he exchanged words with Players Association executive director Michele Roberts during the contentious players meeting on Wednesday, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk notes. “Oh, just we had a very interesting conversation,” Beverley said Friday. “The PA is like a family… You don’t always agree with your family members, and that’s OK. You communicate about it and you try to make it better.” Beverley interrupted Roberts more than once, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports, and shot back “No, I pay your salary,” when Roberts objected. Other players, including Chris Paul and Udonis Haslem, intervened and admonished Beverley.
  • Players showed the power in their voices and action by sitting out games but must wield their influence wisely, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated opines. Players are hurting emotionally and want answers, but there aren’t any easy ones. Changes can only come in small increments, and there is only so much NBA owners can do to alter that, Mannix adds.
  • Paul has done a remarkable job leading the Players Association, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said to The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto and other media members. “I don’t think there’s ever been a president of the Players Association that’s had to endure and handle what he’s had to handle this season,” Donovan said.