Danny Green

Atlantic Rumors: Green, LeVert, Marks, Williams

Danny Green believes Kawhi Leonard will have a tough time leaving the city of Toronto once he settles in during his first season with the Raptors, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Green, who was included in the blockbuster deal that sent Leonard to Toronto, made the comment during an Inside the Green Room Podcast. “The city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there. I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.” Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • LeVert played a total of 30 games at the point last season when D’Angelo Russell was injured, Milholen notes, and posted averages of 13.2 PPG and 4.8 APG in 27.2 MPG. Russell will start for Brooklyn and the Nets also have free agent addition Shabazz Napier at that spot. LeVert can also be viewed as a long-term insurance policy since Russell could become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, Milholen adds.
  • The early returns on Sean Marks‘ first-round picks bode well for next June’s draft, Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily.com opines. The Nets GM found two valuable assets during the last two drafts in LeVert and starting center Jarrett Allen, even though those picks were in the bottom third of the first round, Rose notes. Thus, Marks and his staff have shown they can not only identify talent but develop players as well, Rose adds. The Nets could have two first-rounders in June, their own pick plus the Nuggets’ top-12 protected pick acquired this summer.
  • Dominating at the G League level would make for a successful rookie season for Celtics first-rounder Robert Williams, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. That’s where Williams will spend a good portion of the season, Blakely notes, and the big man must prove the left knee injury he’s dealing with won’t be a major issue. Williams also needs to show more maturity off the court, Blakely adds.

Atlantic Notes: Musa, Dudley, Knicks, Bird

Nets first-rounder Dzanan Musa has been bulking up since the draft in hopes of being physically prepared for the NBA, relays NetsDaily. In a weekend interview with with Radiosarajevo in Bosnia, Musa said he has been focused on “physical progress” and has gained 15 pounds this summer.

“As far as my physical predisposition is concerned, no one has to worry,” he said. “I have put on seven kilograms in a 25-day period, so I do not have to have any disadvantages by the start of the season, and I will try to give my team immediate input.”

The 29th overall selection has spent most of the summer at the Nets’ training facility, but recently returned home to Bosnia to participate in a pair of FIBA World Cup qualifying games.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Trade restrictions on the NetsJared Dudley will expire September 20, according to a separate story on NetsDaily outlining important upcoming dates for the team. That date will mark the two-month anniversary of the trade that sent Dudley from Phoenix to Brooklyn, and it will lift the restriction that he can only be dealt in one-for-one trades.
  • The Knicks picked up a pair of promising young players on one-year deals while preserving their cap space for next summer, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders in the season preview for New York. The Knicks signed Mario Hezonja for $6.5MM and Noah Vonleh for a non-guaranteed $1.6MM, giving them a year to see how much they can contribute before making long-term decisions. Blancarte also believes David Fizdale was the right choice to take over as coach.
  • Jabari Bird is under guarded watch at a Boston-area hospital following his arrest Friday on a “domestic incident,” tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Bird is expected to be released from the hospital today or tomorrow and will be officially charged for his role in the incident.
  • The Raptors have scheduled a press conference for September 21 to introduce Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). Both were acquired from the Spurs in a mid-July trade.

Eastern Notes: Leonard, Galloway, Johnson, Ntilikina

Hiring Kawhi Leonard‘s close friend Jeremy Castleberry away from the Spurs as a player development coach was a wise move by the Raptors, in the view of Danny Green, as Steven Loung of SportsNet Canada details.

Green was traded along with Leonard to Toronto and the Raptors are hoping to convince Leonard to re-sign with them next summer. The addition of Castleberry should help the cause, according to Green

“It’s good to have (Castleberry) on board. Hopefully, it helps Kawhi feel more comfortable at home and keeps him in the city that they want to keep him here,” Green said. “Obviously (the Raptors) traded for him for a reason. They think they can sell him. … It’s an amazing city in Toronto. So the city sells itself. … And now you have your best friend with you. What else could you ask for?”

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Langston Galloway was a major disappointment in his first season with the Pistons and he’ll have a tough time making the rotation, Ansar Khan of MLive writes. Galloway didn’t fare well when he played the point on occasion and posted career lows in several categories while mostly seeing action at shooting guard, Khan continues. Galloway, who has two years left on his $21MM contract, has plenty of competition at the guard spots in the upcoming season, Khan adds.
  • Pistons small forward Stanley Johnson could blossom in coach Dwane Casey’s first season, Khan writes in another post. Casey has praised Johnson’s work ethic and feels that Johnson has untapped scoring potential, Khan continues. Johnson became more aggressive going to the basket last season but needs to improve his outside shooting, Khan adds.
  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (France) and Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (Finland) will not play for their national teams in FIBA World Cup qualifiers next month, according to a Sportando report. Both players will focus on preparing for their second season in the NBA, the report adds.

Atlantic Notes: Davis, Dudley, Green, Celtics

After playing for four teams in eight seasons, newly signed Nets forward Ed Davis feels like he has found a place where he’s wanted, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn was quick to pounce on Davis, offering a one-year, $4.4MM deal minutes after free agency opened.

“The main thing is they definitely came out aggressive when July 1 hit. I definitely wanted to go to where I was wanted, so that had a lot to do with it,” Davis said. “Then, I talked to Allen [Crabbe] and Jeremy [Lin] about the coaching staff and how the organization was run, and it was nothing but great things. Then, this team has potential, definitely. We can try to make this push into the playoffs this year. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s one of the reasons why I’m here.”

Davis topped all NBA reserves in rebounding last season with 575, but the Trail Blazers decided he was expendable. Portland executive Neil Olshey told reporters he was on the phone when Davis when he received the Nets’ offer and advised him to accept it.

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Veteran shooter Jared Dudley, who met the media today following a trade that sent him from the Suns to the Nets, almost came to Brooklyn two years ago, writes Tom Dowd of NBA.com. Dudley said he considered the franchise because of the style of offense that coach Kenny Atkinson runs. “That’s one of my strong suits here in the NBA with reading defenses, moving side-to-side, going to pick-and-rolls,” Dudley explained. “I just think it’s kind of a perfect match.”
  • He may be considered a throw-in from the Kawhi Leonard trade, but Danny Green is exactly the type of player the Raptors need, according to Steven Loung of SportsNet. Green will solve some of the team’s spacing issues with his 3-point accuracy, and he’s an excellent defender to match up against opposing wing players.
  • The Celtics were able to save some money by trading Abdel Nader to the Thunder instead of waiving him, Bobby Marks notes on ESPN Now. The move saves Boston about $675K in tax penalties and another $450K in salary. Getting rid of Nader leaves the Celtics with 14 guaranteed contracts and a tax bill of $3.8MM if they waive Rodney Purvis, whose $1,378,242 salary doesn’t become guaranteed until January 10.

Spurs Rumors: DeRozan, USA Basketball, Green, Ginobili

Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan has decided not to participate in Basketball Without Borders or the NBA Africa game, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN. DeRozan’s former boss, Raptors president Masai Ujiri, is a prominent ambassador for Basketball Without Borders, which will conduct camps leading up to the August 4 game in Pretoria, South Africa.

DeRozan has made critical comments about Ujiri and the Raptors organization in the wake of a trade last week that sent him to San Antonio after nine years in Toronto. DeRozan claims Uriri promised he wouldn’t be traded just days before the deal was completed.

There’s more Spurs new to pass along:

  • DeRozan plans to attend the USA Basketball mini-camp this week in Las Vegas, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. DeRozan sees it as an opportunity to get better acquainted with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has taken over as head coach of USA Basketball.
  • Danny Green, who was sent to Toronto in the DeRozan deal, played much of last season with a groin tear that wasn’t diagnosed by the Spurs’ medical staff, relays Kyle Newport of Bleacher Report. In his “Inside the Green Room” podcast, Green says he suffered what he thought was a strained groin in December and he didn’t learn about the tear until his exit interview,  Although Green’s agent suggested a second opinion when the injury occurred, Green said he trusted team doctors and still claims they did “everything they could.” In light of his experience, Green adds that nobody should criticize Kawhi Leonard for obtaining a second opinion on his injured quad.
  • In the same podcast, Green speculates that Manu Ginobili will return to the Spurs for a 17th season, Orsborn writes a separate story. “With the way he’s been working out, with the way he’s been talking, it seems like we will probably be playing against him this year,” Green said. “I don’t know for sure, (but) he’s under contract and it doesn’t seem like he’s ready to give it up yet.” Ginobli, who will turn 41 on Saturday, has one year left on his current deal at $2.5MM if he decides against retirement. He appeared in 65 games last season and averaged 8.9 PPG.

Latest On Kawhi Leonard

While the blockbuster trade between the Spurs and Raptors was formally announced nearly a week ago, the move is now officially official, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who reports that Kawhi Leonard has passed his physical with Toronto. Danny Green and DeMar DeRozan also passed their respective physicals, Windhorst adds.

As we saw last summer when the Celtics and Cavaliers made their Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas mega-deal, a problem with a player’s physical can prevent a trade from becoming official even after the teams have sent out press releases announcing the move.

In the case of the C’s and Cavs, Cleveland’s concern about Thomas’ health dragged out the process for another week and resulted in the Cavs receiving an extra draft pick in the swap. There will be no such adjustments to this year’s trade between the Raptors and Spurs.

Meanwhile, Leonard won’t attend Team USA’s non-mandatory mini-camp in Las Vegas this week, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, who tweets that the star forward will instead use the time to prepare for the transition to his new NBA team.

Leonard’s decision doesn’t come as a surprise. Prior to last week’s trade, reports indicated that he was considering attending the mini-camp to show prospective suitors that he was healthy, but now that he has been traded, that incentive to show up has faded. Considering Leonard missed all but nine games with an injury last season, it makes sense for him to sit out the session.

Stars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry also don’t plan on attending this week’s mini-camp, though DeRozan is expected to be present, per Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link). Of course, Team USA and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will also be there and will get a first-hand look at his newly-acquired All-Star.

Spurs Notes: Leonard, Trade Details, Green

In his breakdown of this week’s mega-deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto and DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, ESPN’s Zach Lowe relays several intriguing Spurs-related tidbits on the situation. According to Lowe, San Antonio “never showed interest” in Leonard offers that were heavy on draft picks and unproven young players. Even in talks with the Sixers, it’s not clear if Markelle Fultz would have piqued the Spurs’ interest — San Antonio wanted one of Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid in any deal with Philadelphia, says Lowe.

Lowe also notes (via Twitter) that the league memo announcing the Leonard trade between the Raptors and Spurs includes one more interesting item: San Antonio is sending $5MM in cash to Toronto as part of the swap. As Lowe observes, that money is likely meant to help make up for the fact that Leonard’s trade kicker will increase the Raps’ projected tax bill for 2018/19, as we detailed on Wednesday.

Here’s more from Lowe, along with a few more Spurs notes:

  • The Spurs had dangled Danny Green in previous trade discussions over the past year, and weren’t seeking a big return for him, sources tell Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, San Antonio lowered its asking price for Leonard in the days leading up to the club’s agreement with Toronto. However, it was still difficult for other teams to put together an appealing package, since the Spurs’ top priority was acquiring an established veteran scorer who was under contract for multiple seasons.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the Leonard trade, explaining the team’s thinking and making an effort to turn the page on the Kawhi drama. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com has the story, along with the quotes from Popovich, who had nothing but good things to say about Leonard. “Kawhi was a great teammate the whole way through,” Popovich said. “He did his work, and he was no problem for anybody. Talking heads out there have to have a story. If I was a talking head, maybe I am, I would have stories, too. All the stories that denigrated him in that regard, that was unfortunate and inaccurate.”
  • In an interesting piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes an in-depth look at why the Raptors matched up best with what the Spurs were looking for and won the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes over teams like the Celtics, Sixers, and Lakers, who approached Leonard trade talks more conservatively.

More Notes, Updates On Kawhi Leonard Blockbuster

The Raptors and Spurs officially announced their blockbuster trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan today, issuing a pair of press releases to confirm the deal. However, the Raptors have yet to conduct a physical on Leonard, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted during an appearance on Outside the Lines.

Windhorst suggests there’s a chance that the Raptors could waive Leonard’s physical, since they just want the two-time Defensive Player of the Year on their roster and may be willing to take a gamble on his health. Still, it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on. Last year, the Cavaliers and Celtics seemingly finalized their Kyrie Irving blockbuster before Isaiah Thomas‘ physical held up the deal for an extra week. I don’t expect that to happen here, and it’s even less likely that this trade falls through, but it’s not necessarily officially official until the Raptors make a call on that physical.

Here are many more reactions, notes, and updates on today’s mega-deal:

  • Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has a reputation for making bold decisions, but the team’s acquisition of Leonard is his boldest move to date, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. As Lewenberg observes, Ujiri has long wanted to land a bona-fide superstar, and finally gets a chance to do so with his deal for Leonard.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich informed Leonard’s camp of today’s trade early on Wednesday in what was called a “cordial” conversation, a source tells David Aldridge of TNT. According to Aldridge, Leonard isn’t thrilled about being sent to the Raptors for a few reasons, including the higher taxation rate in Canada — Texas, of course, has no state income tax.
  • The Spurs‘ top priority in Leonard trade talks was landing an established scorer capable of averaging 20+ PPG, per NBA columnist Mitch Lawrence (Twitter link). The club achieved that goal by landing DeRozan.
  • According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, there’s a “fine line between hope and desperation,” and Deveney believes the Raptors land on the wrong side of that line with this trade.
  • The trade is “tantalizing on paper” for the Raptors, but includes plenty of red flags and comes at a cost, given DeRozan’s loyalty to the franchise, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.
  • The Raptors are sending a loud message that they’re not happy with merely being good and want to be great, says Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
  • Longtime Spurs swingman Danny Green posted a goodbye message to the club and its fans today on Instagram, adding that he’s looking forward to his “next chapter” in Toronto.
  • We passed along more notes on the Spurs/Raptors trade earlier today.

Raptors, Spurs Finalize Leonard, DeRozan Trade

11:06am: The trade is now official, according to a press release issued by the Spurs.

8:07am: The deal will send Leonard and Green to Toronto in exchange for DeRozan, Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first-round pick, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News first reported Green’s inclusion in the trade (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that the 2019 first-round pick is protected from 1-20. If it doesn’t change hands after one year, it would turn into a pair of second-round picks instead.

The extra assets beyond Leonard and DeRozan look good for the Raptors, who will get to hang on their top two prospects in Anunoby and Siakam, and will only surrender a late first-rounder, at worst. Toronto will also add Green, a three-and-D wing who is a career 39.5% three-point shooter and is on a $10MM expiring contract.

Toronto will also create a modest trade exception equivalent to Poeltl’s $2.95MM salary in the deal.

7:15am: The Raptors and Spurs have reached an agreement in principle on a deal that will send Leonard to Toronto and DeRozan to San Antonio, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Woj, there are more pieces involved on both sides, and players are still being informed about the deal. A trade call with the NBA is expected to happen later today.

4:53am: The Raptors are finalizing a trade to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs, Chris Haynes and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN report. San Antonio would receive a package headlined by DeMar DeRozan in the swap.

The Raptors and Spurs have been exploring such a trade for at least two weeks now, though Haynes adds that DeRozan was allegedly told during the Las Vegas summer league that he wouldn’t be dealt.

“Be told one thing & the outcome another,” DeRozan wrote in a story on his Instagram account early Wednesday morning. “Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing.”

Neither Leonard nor DeRozan appears to be particularly pleased with the potential deal, with Haynes noting in a subsequent tweet that sources have told him that Leonard has no desire to play in Toronto. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe tweets, Leonard would risk fines and possible forfeiture of his 2018/19 salary if he’s traded to the Raptors and doesn’t report to the team, unless he can provide a legitimate medical reason.

The two clubs are said to have discussed several packages and a deal could be agreed to in principle as early as today.

With Leonard eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Raptors president Masai Ujiri is taking a substantial risk trading a committed All-Star for an outside player with eyes for Los Angeles. That said, the Thunder took a similar chance trading for Paul George last summer and it paid off when he re-signed long-term earlier this month.

Leonard, who has a 15% trade kicker, is set to earn approximately $23.1MM in 2018/19 (counting that trade bonus) before becoming eligible for free agency a year from now, so even if the Kawhi experiment doesn’t work, the Raptors could clear some long-term salary from their books in a deal. DeRozan will make $27.74MM annually for the next two years, with a player option worth the same amount in 2020/21.

Given the difference in salaries between the two stars, and the fact that the Spurs will likely receive another player or two in any deal, the Raptors may also take on another veteran to even out the ’18/19 money involved. Patty Mills ($11.57MM), Danny Green ($10MM), and perhaps even Pau Gasol ($16.8MM) would be candidates.

As we wrote yesterday, the supposed asking price for Leonard could be as high as an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks. If DeRozan represents the first item on that list, it will be interesting to see what other pieces round out the offer. Toronto’s roster features a handful of intriguing young players, including OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl. The Raptors also control all their future draft picks.

At full health, a content, committed Leonard could easily justify such a substantial haul, but concerns about his quadriceps injury and his willingness to re-sign with a non-L.A. team trading for him may have diminished his value.

Although the Raptors have been prominently linked to Leonard of late, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports notes in his own story on the potential deal that the Lakers, Clippers, Sixers and Celtics were said to be suitors as well. On Tuesday, we learned that the Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards also talked to San Antonio about a possible trade.

Given that he was limited to just nine games last season, and didn’t look like his All-NBA self, it’s hard to gauge exactly what the Raptors might expect to see from Leonard on the court. Still, he’s just one year removed from back-to-back finishes as a top-three MVP candidate and a member of the All-NBA First Team.

Those All-NBA nods allowed Leonard to qualify for a Designated Veteran Extension worth 35% of the cap with the Spurs. By the time he officially became eligible to sign such an extension this week though, the star forward’s desire to leave San Antonio was well known, making a new deal with the Spurs an extreme long shot — even if the club was willing to offer it.

Leonard will lose his eligibility for that five-year super-max deal – worth an estimated $221MM – if he’s traded. If he’s sent to Toronto and becomes a free agent next summer, Kawhi would be eligible for up to five years and nearly $190MM with the Raptors or four years and $140.6MM with another team, based on current cap projections for 2019/20.

In nine seasons with the Raptors, DeRozan has averaged 19.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. The 28-year-old has been named an All-Star in four of the past five seasons and played an instrumental role in Toronto’s rise up the Eastern Conference ranks the past half decade.

Per Wojnarowski (via Twitter), a Spurs/Raptors swap has been close for a few days, but has nearly fallen apart multiple times. Ujiri wanted to let DeRozan know about the impending deal himself late last night, according to Woj, who adds that DeRozan and good friend Kyle Lowry talked a few hours ago.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Spurs, Morey, Gasol

Despite perhaps winning the 2018 NBA Draft with the selection of some pundits’ top-ranked player, Luka Doncic, Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram doesn’t see the Mavericks making the playoffs next season, writing that Dallas will likely end up picking in the NBA Draft Lottery for a second straight summer in 2019.

The projected lineup of Dennis Smith Jr., the aforementioned rookie Doncic, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and a center-to-be-named-later, while an improvement, is not enough to crack the top eight of Western Conference, in Engel’s opinion, even if that new center is potential free agent DeAndre Jordan or free-agent-to-be DeMarcus Cousins.

Despite the hype surrounding Doncic and his experience playing with professionals overseas, he will still be an NBA rookie next season, and as Mavericks’ president Donnie Nelson puts it, that means “he’s going to get his rear end handed to him.” Add in the fact that Smith Jr. is also still only 20 years old, and you’re left with one of the youngest – albeit most talented – backcourts in the NBA, which is probably not enough in the deep Western Conference.

There’s more from the Southwest Division.

  • With Danny Green choosing to opt in for the 2018/19 season, the Spurs are situated to be near the projected salary cap line of $101MM at the beginning of free agency, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks adds that in addition to renouncing free agents Tony Parker and Rudy Gay, the Spurs would also likely need to unload some heftier contracts like those belonging to Green and Pau Gasol in order to create cap room this summer.
  • Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey said the team wasn’t really close to making a deal to move up in last week’s NBA Draft, but that there was an opportunity to move into the No. 20 to No. 25 range.
  • Pau Gasol is doubtful that the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard can mend their relationship, telling EpDeportes, via Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone, “I do not know if the situation can be rectified after Kawhi’s request to leave, I do not know if a multi-million dollar offer would fix it, he has not talked to him for a long time, he’s a very reserved player.”