De'Anthony Melton

Grizzlies, Suns Swap Kyle Korver, Josh Jackson In Multi-Player Trade

JULY 7: The trade is official, the Suns announced in a press release.

JULY 3: The Grizzlies and Suns have agreed to a trade that will send newly-acquired Memphis sharpshooter Kyle Korver to Phoenix along with Jevon Carter, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies will receive Josh Jackson, De’Anthony Melton, a 2020 second-round pick, and a conditional 2021 second-round pick in the deal.

That 2021 Suns second-rounder will only change hands if it falls between 31-35, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian. Brooklyn will receive it if it lands between 36-60.

Because Korver is part of the Mike Conley trade with Utah that hasn’t yet been completed, this deal can’t be made official until after the one is finalized. Once both deals are done, the Grizzlies will pick up a former No. 4 overall pick (Jackson), as well as a second-rounder from last year’s draft (Melton), along with at least one future second-round pick.

In two NBA seasons, Jackson has been inconsistent for the Suns, averaging 12.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG but shooting just .415/.294/.650 in 156 total contests (25.3 MPG). He has also faced questions about his maturity and off-court behavior.

However, he’s still just 22 years old, so the Grizzlies will get the opportunity to see if they can continue to develop him and help him reach his ceiling. They’ll also have to decide by the end of October whether to pick up $8.9MM option for 2020/21 — at this point, I’d be surprised if they do.

Melton, the 46th overall pick in 2018’s draft, is another intriguing roll of the dice for Memphis, one the team has long had its eye on, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The former USC Trojan is considered a strong defender, and started 31 games for the Suns in his rookie season, averaging 5.0 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 50 total contests.

As for the Suns’ side, the move looks like it’s primarily designed to clear the cap room necessary to complete their other reported moves this week, including Ricky Rubio‘s three-year, $51MM deal. They’ll also be able to retain Kelly Oubre‘s cap hold, and will presumably see if Carter can earn some minutes in their backcourt rotation.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Korver is expected to be bought out by Phoenix before his $7.5MM salary for 2019/20 becomes fully guaranteed. Korver’s deal is only partially guaranteed for $3.44MM as long as he doesn’t remain under contract through July 7.

If and when Korver clears waivers, the Lakers, Bucks, and Sixers will be the frontrunners to sign him, says Wojnarowski.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter), the Grizzlies will be able to use trade exceptions to absorb Jackson’s and Melton’s contracts, generating two new trade exceptions worth $3.44MM (Korver’s partial guarantee) and $1.42MM (Carter’s salary).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/21/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/20/19

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Rockets assigned Isaiah Hartenstein to their Rio Grande Valley affiliate, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Clint Capela‘s expected return from injury tomorrow night reduces the need to have Hartenstein with the NBA team.
  • The Kings sent Caleb Swanigan to their affiliate in Stockton, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Swanigan was acquired from the Trail Blazers at the trade deadline and hasn’t played yet for Sacramento.
  • The Suns assigned rookie guard De’Anthony Melton to Northern Arizona, the team announced on its website. This is the fourth G League assignment for Melton, who has been sidelined since January 24 with a sprained right ankle.
  • The Heat shipped newly signed Emanuel Terry to their Sioux Falls affiliate, according to a press release from the team. Terry inked a 10-day contract with Miami earlier today.

Suns’ James Jones Talks Rivers, Ariza, Oubre, PGs

League executives were puzzled by the Suns‘ decision to waive both Tyson Chandler and Austin Rivers so early in the season, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. As Windhorst observes, even though the Suns may be tanking and weren’t interested in taking on multiyear money, parting ways with Chandler and Rivers – who were both on expiring contracts – closes the door on possible trade opportunities at the deadline.

In a discussion with Gina Mizell of The Athletic, interim co-general manager James Jones indirectly addressed those criticisms, explaining that Phoenix wants to do right by players. “We should be a place where every party, everyone involved, feels invested and feels connected,” Jones said. In the case of Rivers, Jones said that the team and Rivers’ camp mutually agreed that it “would be best if he found an opportunity that fit him better.”

Jones also weighed in on a handful of other subjects during conversations with Mizell and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, so we’ll round up some of his most noteworthy comments here:

On whether it was true that team owner Robert Sarver wouldn’t allow Trevor Ariza to be sent to the Lakers:

“No. Throughout all of this, Robert has been adamant that his focus is on what helps the Suns grow and be the best. That was inaccurate. Actually, if something could have worked out, Robert would have been a huge proponent, just because of that investment and understanding that Trevor and his family are (based) on the West Coast. If we can do right for both parties, it should make sense. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t do something that benefits both parties.”

On what he expects Kelly Oubre to bring to the Suns:

“Exactly what he’s demonstrated in the past. He’s young, but he’s experienced. He’s played in a lot of games. He’s played in the playoffs. He’s had tremendous success against some of the best players in the Eastern Conference, some of the best players in the NBA as a whole. His athleticism, his activity, just his competitiveness is something that, as we look at building the identity of this team, those are the foundational characteristics of all the players that we target. Do they play hard? Do they compete? Are they selfless? Do they sacrifice to win? He embodies that, and that’s why we’re excited to have him.”

On what happened with last Friday’s failed three-team trade involving the Wizards and Grizzlies:

“I’ll leave it as just a miscommunication. Going forward, we’re excited to have Kelly. Through everything, we have Kelly. We have a guy we know fits with us and we’re excited about.”

On the Suns’ ongoing search for an answer at point guard:

“For us, as free agency hit (during the 2018 offseason), you talk about that tier of starting caliber point guards, they chose other destinations that were a better fit and better suited to compete right now. As far as trades, I always say it takes two to tango. That’s not something you can control.

“For us at that position, we need someone who will compete defensively, can be impactful and can play well off our other perimeters… [De’Anthony Melton]’s been doing that and we’ll keep pushing him to get better.”

Suns Notes: Holmes, Melton, Okobo, Canaan

Richaun Holmes has settled in as the Suns’ backup center since Tyson Chandler‘s contract was bought out, as Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic notes. Holmes has averaged 7.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 15.9 MPG during the month of November. Coach Igor Kokoskov cites Holmes’ biggest asset as something that goes beyond box scores. “Energy is a talent, we always say, and that’s his job,” Kokoskov said. “He helps his team, and for him to understand his role, and just embrace it, is a huge thing for our team.” Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers during the summer, has a $1.6MM contract that doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th. He’l be an unrestricted free agent in July.

We have more on the Suns:

  • Rookie point guards and second-round picks De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo have been bouncing back and forth between the NBA and G League and it’s proving beneficial, as Bob Young of The Athletic details. The duo has gained experience by playing and practicing at both levels. Melton has appeared in four games with the Suns and five with Northern Arizona. Okobo has seen action in 12 NBA and two G League games. “I think it’s helping me a lot,” Melton told Young. “I trained for it all summer, to be a point guard. I don’t think it matters to me. I’m fine getting off the ball. Down in the G League, I got to handle the ball a lot and really run a team and show what I can do.”
  • Kokoskov expects point guard Isaiah Canaan to quickly find another NBA job, Gina Mizell of The Athletic writes. The team waived Canaan on Wednesday after he lost his starting job. “It’s just a pure business decision,” Kokoskov said. “I wish him nothing but the best, and he’ll be good. I know a lot of teams (will have) interest in him.” The Suns have two open roster spots, which will facilitate a potential trade for a more accomplished floor leader. Devin Booker has been moved from shooting guard to the point for at least the short run.
  • The Suns are one of the teams interested in acquiring second-year point guard Frank Ntilikina from the Knicks. Get all the details here.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/10/18

Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Grizzlies rookie Jevon Carter was on the move today, being recalled from the Memphis Hustle, reassigned for the G League team’s practice, then recalled again for tonight’s NBA game, according to a tweet from the Grizzlies.
  • The Thunder recalled Abdel Nader from Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in an email.
  • The Magic sent rookies Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier to their Lakeland affiliate for tonight’s home opener, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
  • The Pistons recalled Henry Ellenson and Khyri Thomas from their Grand Rapids affiliate, according to an email from the team.
  • The Suns recalled rookie De’Anthony Melton from their affiliate in Northern Arizona, the team announced on its website.
  • Jacob Evans has been recalled from Santa Cruz, according to a story on the Warriorswebsite.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Holmes, Cousins, Gortat

The Sunsbuyout with Tyson Chandler would have helped the team much more if it had occurred during the preseason, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The parties have reportedly had a standing deal on a buyout in place for some time, but Chandler was reluctant to commit until he was confident that another organization would pick him up. The consensus is the Lakers will be his next team.

The money saved through Chandler’s buyout could have benefited the Suns in a number of ways, Nahmad notes. De’Anthony Melton, a second-round pick acquired in a trade with the Rockets, was limited to a two-year, minimum-salary deal because Phoenix didn’t have money available for a three- or four-year offer (Twitter link). Nahmad is assuming Chandler will give back about $452K in his buyout, and notes that the Suns waited until just before the start of training camp to sign Melton in the hopes that they could free up more cash.

Unloading Chandler earlier would have also opened a roster spot and would have eliminated the need to waive Davon Reed when Jamal Crawford was signed (Twitter link). Reed, who is now on a two-way deal with the Pacers, is still owed his entire $1.4MM salary from the Suns.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The news about Chandler explains why Richaun Holmes was the Suns‘ first choice at backup center in Friday’s game, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason trade, played a season-high 13 minutes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is expected to have a one-year stay with the Warriors, but GM Bob Myers isn’t giving up on the idea of extending their arrangement, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. During a recent appearance on the team’s pre-game show, Myers said “options are open” when it comes to keeping the All-Star center. “These type of predictions — good or bad — are pretty fruitless because you just don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don’t know if it’s going to be better than you think … but it’s not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let’s bring him back.” If Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both re-sign, Golden State would be well above the cap and would be limited to offering Cousins its mid-level exception again.
  • Clippers center Marcin Gortat re-tweeted a message bemoaning the end of his consecutive games streak. L.A. traded for Gortat in June to help offset the expected loss of DeAndre Jordan, but he has averaged just 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG and is losing minutes to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/3/18

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Pacific Notes: Ball, James, Canaan, Marjanovic

Lonzo Ball is expected to make his preseason debut Wednesday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, which will also mark his first time on the court with LeBron James as a teammate. The Lakers have been careful with Ball as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, even as they have raved about his progress. Ball and James were both held out of tonight’s contest against the Clippers, but coach Luke Walton plans to use them in the next game against the Warriors.

“That’s one of the things I still need to see that we haven’t had is what lineups look like when both of those guys are playing,” Walton said. “I’m excited and hopeful, but again, we’re going to take it day by day. If any setbacks or whatnot, then we won’t rush it, again. But I would expect Wednesday that happens.”

Ball has received medical clearance to play and participated in full-court, four-on-four matchups with contact this week. The Lakers have been resting James, playing him about 15 minutes in the first half of each of their first three games.

There’s more tonight from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns‘ inexperience at point guard has been on display through the preseason, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. With no established veterans at the position, coach Igor Kokoskov has been using a committee approach, giving playing time to  Shaquille Harrison, Isaiah Canaan and rookies Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton. The results have been ugly as Phoenix is averaging more than 20 turnovers per game and had power forward Ryan Anderson handling the ball for part of Friday’s contest.
  • Canaan was on the court Friday for the first time since fracturing his ankle in January, writes Cody Cunningham of NBA.com. Canaan, who had 11 points for the Suns in 32 minutes and drilled three 3-pointers, was grateful to be back in action. “I could barely sleep last night just knowing that I would have the chance to play again,” he said. “It just means a lot to me personally and I just give a lot of credit to this organization and to this training staff for doing an unbelievable job getting me, not only back on my feet, but also competing at a high level.”
  • It shouldn’t be hard for Boban Marjanovic to increase his playing time with the Clippers this season, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Marjanovic averaged 8.3 minutes in 20 games after coming to L.A. in a January trade, but coach Doc Rivers said all he has to do for more court time is “Just keep being big.”

Western Notes: Suns, McCollum, Jazz, Middleton

The Suns used a portion of their room exception to sign De’Anthony Melton to his first NBA contract, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Without using that exception, Phoenix would only have been able to offer Melton a first-year salary of $838K. Instead, the Suns were able to bump that figure to $949K. They still have $3.5MM of their room exception available.

Meanwhile, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders indicates (via Twitter) that while Devin Booker‘s new extension with the Suns is projected to start at 25% of the cap in 2019/20, there are triggers in the deal that could push that figure higher. Pincus isn’t sure of the specific details, but reports that Booker could get 27.5%, 28.5%, or 30% of the cap if he meets certain criteria. I’d guess that those criteria are related to whether he earns spots on the first, second, or third All-NBA teams.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • C.J. McCollum is often the subject of trade speculation, but the Trail Blazers guard tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic that he’d welcome a long-term stay in Portland. “I’m forever grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me and would love to be a Blazer for life,” McCollum said.
  • While it may be a little early to start speculating about 2019’s free agent period, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune suggests (via Twitter) that Bucks wing Khris Middleton is a player the Jazz like a lot. With Ricky Rubio, Alec Burks, and others on expiring deals this season, Utah could have plenty of cap flexibility next summer.
  • As Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com details, Jahlil Okafor said there were a “multitude of reasons” for him to sign with the Pelicans, calling the decision a “no-brainer.” Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link) hears that New Orleans was comfortable with waiving Emeka Okafor in part due to how good Jahlil has looked. “He’s in amazing shape, and he’s going hard on both ends too,” Smith’s source said. “Seems like he really gets it now.”
  • The Timberwolves recently announced some additions and promotions on their coaching staff, including Pat Zipfel as an advance scout and Malik Allen and Larry Greer as assistant coaches (link via Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune).