Cory Joseph

O’Connor’s Latest: Gasol, Conley, OKC, Prince, More

As we relayed earlier today, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer hears that the Hornets‘ offer for Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a protected first-round pick. That would be an underwhelming return for Gasol, but there hasn’t been much league-wide interest in the 34-year-old, O’Connor writes.

The Kings and Pistons were among the teams potentially in the mix for Gasol, according to O’Connor, but Memphis didn’t have any interest in Detroit center Andre Drummond and Sacramento was unwilling to part with promising young wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Grizzlies wanted.

The Raptors reportedly explored a potential Gasol deal, initially attempting to come up with an individual trade for one Grizzlies veteran before turning it into a package for both Gasol and Mike Conley, O’Connor writes. However, those talks didn’t advance and league sources tell The Ringer that it’s unlikely Toronto ends up with Gasol or Conley.

Elsewhere on the Conley front, the Jazz continue to make a strong push, with an offer that includes Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and a first-round pick, per O’Connor. The sense around the NBA is that the Grizzlies won’t settle for a modest return for Conley, which is something we heard in relation to the Pistons’ offer earlier today.

O’Connor’s latest piece for The Ringer features several more trade-related tidbits, so we’ll round them up here…

  • The Thunder are believed to be among the teams with interest in Cavaliers guard Alec Burks, league sources tell O’Connor. However, Burks wouldn’t fit into OKC’s $10.88MM trade exception. The Thunder, along with the Sixers and Trail Blazers, have expressed interest in Hawks wing Taurean Prince, O’Connor adds.
  • Following up on his report from last week about the Rockets and Grizzlies discussing a Brandon Knight trade, O’Connor suggests that Marquese Chriss and a first-round pick would also go to Memphis in that proposed deal. Houston would be targeting JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple in the swap, though it remains in the discussion stage for now.
  • The Kings have made calls about veteran forwards Harrison Barnes (Mavericks) and Otto Porter (Wizards) but have found no traction on a Porter deal, writes O’Connor.
  • While DeAndre Jordan looks like an obvious trade candidate, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Knicks keep him around as a potential recruiter for Kevin Durant, according to O’Connor, who notes that Durant and Jordan are good friends. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote about this subject on Tuesday.
  • League sources don’t expect the Celtics to do anything at the deadline with Terry Rozier, since he could serve as potential Kyrie Irving insurance or a sign-and-trade sweetener for Anthony Davis in the offseason, says O’Connor.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers remain open to moving one of their two veteran point guards, Cory Joseph or Darren Collison. Both players are on expiring contracts.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Pacers, Dunn, Bucks

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo knew right away that the injury he suffered tonight was significant, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. There are concerns that Oladipo may need surgery on his right knee that will keep him out for the rest of the season, but the team will await the results of an MRI tomorrow before making a decision.

“I just slipped and knew it was serious,” he told reporters after tonight’s game. “We’ll see what tomorrow shows and go from there. My teammates stepped up earlier this season and everyone has the utmost confidence going forward.”

Oladipo is Indiana’s top scorer at 19.2 points per game and leads the team in steals with 1.7 per night. He made the All-Star Game for the first time last season and was in contention for another trip this year.

“It’s tough watching our best player go down,” teammate Darren Collison said in a video tweeted by the Pacers. “Not just because he’s our best player but because he’s one of the best people to be around.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have two weeks until the trade deadline to figure out how they want to proceed without Oladipo, writes Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Indiana is third in the East at 32-15 and making the playoffs shouldn’t be a concern, but Woo states that it’s hard to see the Pacers having any postseason success without Oladipo. He notes that they have roughly $59MM in expiring contracts in Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Cory Joseph and Kyle O’Quinn that could be moved for future assets if they decide to play for next season. Indiana will be in position to offer a max contract this summer, but Woo notes that the team’s bargaining power with free agents could be reduced if Oladipo’s rehab stretches into next season.
  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn had extra motivation in his matchup with Hawks rookie Trae Young tonight, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Even though Chicago’s front office assured Dunn that he was the team’s point guard of the future, they brought in Young for a pre-draft workout and had legitimate interest in selecting him, Cowley writes. Dunn prevailed in the individual matchup, holding Young to a 1-for-12 shooting night, but Atlanta won the game.
  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers become a minority investor in the Bucks when he bought a 1% share of the team last year, but he tells Jim Owczarski of Packers News that he might be interested in expanding his role in the future. “When I’m done playing, there’s going to have to be something to fuel the competitive juices,” Rodgers said, “and being involved in sports would be great as long as it’s not commenting or maybe a GM. The ownership part seems a little more my speed and what I want to do when I retire from sports.”

Pacers To Consider Trading Veteran Point Guard?

Executives around the NBA believe that the Pacers may explore trading one of their veteran point guards before this season’s deadline, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

As Windhorst outlines, while Darren Collison has been Indiana’s starting point guard over the last two seasons, he has roughly split the position with Cory Joseph — Collison has averaged 29.0 minutes per game since joining the Pacers, while Joseph has played 26.7 MPG.

Both Collison and Joseph are in contract years, creating some uncertainty about whether they’ll remain in Indiana beyond this season. Meanwhile, rookie guard Aaron Holiday, who entered the team’s regular rotation when Victor Oladipo went down last month, has impressed the Pacers, and Indiana won’t necessarily want to relegate him back to the bench with Oladipo on the verge of returning. Trading either Collison or Joseph would open up minutes for the rookie.

The Pacers, who currently rank fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 17-10 record, will be looking to make a playoff run this spring and won’t want to harm their short-term outlook with a trade. While Collison and Joseph may not be long-term building blocks in Indiana, they’ve been key contributors, with Collison averaging 11.6 PPG, 5.4 APG and a .479/.442/.851 shooting line over the last two seasons, while Joseph has chipped in 7.8 PPG and 3.3 APG on .433/.365/.713 shooting. Any deal would probably have to return immediate help at another position.

There’s no shortage of teams in need of point guard help around the league, though it’s not clear if a trade with a rebuilding club would make the most sense. Collison or Joseph probably wouldn’t welcome a move from a top-four seed to the league-worst Suns, for instance, and even though they’ve sought a reliable point guard, the Suns likely wouldn’t give up much of value for a veteran on an expiring contract. A deal involving a playoff contender like the Sixers, Spurs, or even the Magic might be a better fit, though that’s just my speculation.

Suns Considering Beverley, Joseph, Dinwiddie

Some more names have emerged in the Suns’ search for a point guard, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, who reports that the team has targeted the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Pacers’ Cory Joseph and the Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie.

Beverley may be expendable in L.A. after the Clippers matched an offer sheet this week for Tyrone Wallace. That move gives the team 17 players with guaranteed contracts and adds to a crowded backcourt that also includes Avery Bradley, Jawun Evans, Milos Teodosic, Sindarius Thornwell, Lou Williams and first-round picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson.

Beverley has a non-guaranteed deal that will pay him a little more than $5MM for the upcoming season. The 30-year-old received full medical clearance in June after having microfracture and meniscus surgery on his knee last November. He started all 11 games he appeared in before the injury, posting a 12.2/4.1/2.9 line, and is considered among the NBA’s best defensive point guards.

Joseph, 27, has a $7.9MM expiring contract. One of the league’s best sixth men, he averaged 7.9/3.2/3.2 while playing all 82 games in his first year with the Pacers. However, Indiana has Darren Collison entrenched as its starter and selected Aaron Holiday in the first round of this year’s draft.

Dinwiddie, 25, would come much cheaper at $1.6MM and is also on an expiring contract. He played 80 games for the Nets last season with a 12.6/3.2/6.6 line.

The Suns have been in the market for point guard help since trading Brandon Knight to the Rockets last month. Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo are the only options on the current roster.

And-Ones: Pitino, Free Agents, Team Canada

A return to the NBA doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Rick Pitino, who coached the Celtics from 1997 to 2001 before spending most of the last two decades with Louisville. Having been dismissed from Louisville after the program was investigated by federal prosecutors for potential recruiting violations, Pitino writes in his new book, “Pitino: My Story,” that no NBA doors have opened lately.

“Since leaving Louisville, my agent has reached out when NBA openings have surfaced,” Pitino wrote, per Jeff Greer of The Louisville Courier Journal. “We couldn’t even get an interview. I can’t blame the general managers who turned me down. Louisville fired me so abruptly, it instantly created the impression that I must be guilty of something.”

Asked today on Good Morning America if he wants to coach again, Pitino replied, “I don’t. It’s over for me, I know that” (video link).

Here are a few more items from around the basketball universe:

  • Veterans like Dwyane Wade, Rodney Hood, and Jamal Crawford may be the most notable free agents still available, but they’re hardly the only ones capable of helping an NBA team. Mark Deeks of GiveMeSport examines 30 unsigned players who are candidates to land on NBA rosters.
  • In an entertaining column for The Advocate, Scott Kushner makes his case for why the NBA season should start its season on Christmas Day, pushing the playoffs deeper into the summer.
  • Team Canada’s training camp roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers features a handful of NBA players, including Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), and Khem Birch (Magic).
  • In a reversal of roles, Damian Lillard broke some news regarding Chris Haynes today, tweeting that the veteran reporter will be leaving ESPN for Yahoo, where he’ll become the Senior NBA Insider and will help build the site’s NBA team. Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania, and Bobby Marks have left Yahoo within the last year and a half.

Central Notes: Robinson, Pacers’ Plans, Thomas, Bucks Cap

The addition of swingman Glenn Robinson III filled the Pistons’ biggest need this offseason, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The Pistons didn’t anticipate an early commitment but a phone call from new coach Dwane Casey as the start of free agency helped to seal the deal with the ex-Pacers wing. Robinson received a two-year, $8.3MM contract. “We didn’t expect we would get Glenn that quickly,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We felt getting the two-year commitment was huge to us. To find a young wing who can make a shot, they’re hard to find in the league. When the opportunity came up that quickly, we felt we had to make a move. If it wasn’t for him, we would still be out there looking for a guy.”

In other news involving Central Division teams:

  • Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard hopes to use a majority of next summer’s cap space on his own free agents, Mark Monteith of Pacers.com reports. Rotation players Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Tyreke Evans could all be free agents next summer, which would free up as much as $57MM in cap space, Monteith notes. But Pritchard would prefer to use most of the money to re-sign some of those players, as he told Monteith. “We have the season like we want to have, our free agents will be the priority,” he said. “I think this team has a chance to grow this year. … We already know these guys. They become our priority in free agency.”
  • Rookie second-round pick Khyri Thomas could get playing time with the Pistons through his defensive prowess, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. The swingman out of Creighton views himself as a defensive specialist. “When I was younger, I didn’t get the ball a lot playing with older people so I just stole the ball to get it,” he told Beard.
  • The addition of center Brook Lopez gives the Bucks 13 guaranteed contracts for next season but they’re still $15MM away from being hard-capped, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Lopez reportedly agreed to a one-year deal on Sunday. Milwaukee still has to deal with restricted free agent Jabari Parker‘s status, as he remains unsigned, but they could gain more flexibility since the contracts for Tyler Zeller and Brandon Jennings are not guaranteed, Marks adds.

Canada Basketball Unveils 18 Training Camp Invites

Canada Basketball has announced its preliminary 18-man roster of players who have been invited to participate in training camp and exhibition play ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers next month, reports Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.

Among the 18 named individuals, eight played in the NBA last season – Khem Birch (Magic), Chris Boucher (Warriors), Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies), Cory Joseph (Pacers), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kelly Olynyk (Heat), Dwight Powell (Mavericks), and Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

The preliminary roster also includes former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, as well as three other G League players – Aaron BestOlivier Hanlan, and Kaza Kajami-Keane.

The remaining six players are former first-round pick of the Magic, Andrew Nicholsonformer college standouts’ Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, Baylor’s Brady Heslip, and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos, as well as brothers Phil Scrubb and Tommy Scrubb.

As also highlighted by Lewenberg, notable absences include Trey Lyles (Nuggets), Nik Stauskas (Nets), and most glaringly, Andrew Wiggins (Timberwolves). Per Lewenberg, multiple sources indicated that one factor in Wiggins’ decision to decline Canada Basketball’s invitation is his strained relationship with national team head coach Jay Triano, who left Wiggins on the bench during the final moments of a qualifying game for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Pacers’ Cory Joseph Picks Up Player Option

MAY 4: While there has been no formal announcement from the Pacers, Joseph has officially exercised his 2018/19 option, according to RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

MAY 2: Pacers guard Cory Joseph will exercise his player option to return to Indiana for one more season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The 2018/19 option will pay Joseph a salary of $7,945,000 before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2019.

Joseph, 26, was a reliable rotation piece for the Pacers in his first season with the team, appearing in all 82 games and starting 17 when Darren Collison was unavailable. In 27.0 minutes per contest, Joseph averaged 7.9 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 3.2 RPG with a shooting line of .424/.353/.745.

If Joseph had faced this year’s player option decision in either of the last two offseasons, when NBA teams had more cap room available, he likely would’ve opted out. With teams expected to spend less aggressively in free agency this summer, it’s hard to blame the veteran point guard for playing it safe and exercising that option. Joseph is already the third veteran to pick up a 2018/19 option – joining Jeremy Lin and Wesley Matthews – and he certainly won’t be the last.

[RELATED: Five player options that look like locks to be exercised]

While Joseph’s opt-in will add more guaranteed money to the Pacers’ cap for next season, the team remains in very good financial shape, with just under $48MM in guaranteed salary on its books. If Thaddeus Young – like Joseph – picks up his player option, that would add another $13MM+ to that total. The Pacers will face decisions of their own on Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic, Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, and Joe Young, all of whom have team options or non-guaranteed contracts.

You can follow all of this year’s player option decisions using our tracker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Notes: Sabonis, Turner, Young, Offseason, Pritchard

With the Pacers eliminated from the postseason, the focus turns to next season and how the team can improve. With several roster options to consider during the offseason, the Pacers figure to weigh the pros and cons of potentially starting both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, Mark Monteith of NBA.com examines.

While neither player is a finished product, both possess attributes that helped Indiana this season. Turner is a good three-point shooter and shot blocker, whereas Sabonis is the better rebounder and mid-range shooter. Although neither player is a traditional center or power forward, team president Kevin Pritchard believes that both Turner and Sabonis can help the team if they are on the floor together.

“Players who play with each other a couple of years, they know where they’re going to be,” Pritchard said. “That makes the game come slower. Domas, the game already comes slow. He can make reads. Myles, he gets a little frantic. And that makes a difference. He’s got to calm down a little bit.”

Check out more Pacers notes below:

  • Both Cory Joseph and Thaddeus Young, who have options in their contracts, could leave Indiana this offseason. However, during his end of season media session, Pritchard indicated that both men expressed interest in returning during their exit meetings, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star writes. Since then, a report has indicated Joseph will pick up his option.
  • Pritchard addressed several aspects of the Pacers’ season in his media session, including the team’s somewhat improbable run to the postseason, roster, and impending offseason decisions, NBA.com’s Mark Monteith writes. “In my 26 years (in the NBA) I’ve never been around a team that brought it like they did this year. They had each other’s backs,” Pritchard said.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN Insider (subscription required) looked at the Pacers’ impending decisions this summer. Marks examines whether Turner should be signed to a long-term deal, whether the Pacers will keep their roster together, and more.

Pacers Notes: Young, Offseason Outlook, Barton

As we relayed earlier today, Cory Joseph will opt in to his contract for next year, leaving Thaddeus Young as the only Pacers player with a decision to make on a player option for next season. J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports that GM Kevin Pritchard indicated in exit meetings that both Joseph and Young would like to return. As it turns out, he was correct on his assessment of Joseph, and we’ll soon find out whether Young will join Joseph in exercising his player option for 2018/19 worth about $13.8MM.

Michael opines that Young will likely opt out of his salary for the opportunity to sign a long-term contract, while Bobby Marks of ESPN estimates that a starting salary for Young on the open market would likely fall short of his salary for next season should he choose to opt in. Per Marks, Young will need to determine whether the future financial security of a long-term contract with a lower annual salary outweighs earning a higher salary for one season. Ultimately, Marks thinks Young will opt in, leaving the Pacers right at the salary cap come this summer.

There’s more out of Indianapolis:

  • Pritchard and the Pacers face an important offseason this summer, writes Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. Gone are the days when the Pacers can sneak up on opponents with their new-found success, with head coach Nate McMillan saying, “We won’t go under the radar, so to speak, next season.”
  • Mark Montieth of Pacers.com takes a look at the options facing Pritchard and the Pacers’ front office this offseason. The overarching question that must be answered is whether Indiana will risk their new-found positive locker room culture by bringing significant new players or leave the status quo and rely on improvement from young players such as Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis.
  • As we touched upon a couple of weeks ago, one potential free agent target for the Pacers could be Nuggets swingman Will Barton, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer.